4. We Meet Again
Elrond had told her to select five medical books from the library as his gift to her. He had recommended two, one that covered wound treatment as well as one on general surgery but she was free to choose those she felt would be of most use to her in Lorien. Nurael spent several hours reviewing a number of scrolls and books from the library. As she finished, she rose from the chair she had occupied for most of the evening, yawned and placed the last book on the table in front of her. With a final nod she made her decision and placed his recommended two and three others that dealt with medicinal plants, recent successful treatment techniques and elleth care and midwifery aside. She felt he would approve of them all. All that remained now was to sort her personal belongings.
During the period of waiting Elrond introduced Nurael to Arwen. They quickly became friends with both of them proving to be intelligent with a wicked sense of humor. Arwen was delighted and eager to have her company on the usually somewhat monotonous trip. Learning that Nurael was originally from Lothlorien she found Nurael’s tales of her childhood adventures with Orophin and Rumil and the clashes with Haldir and their results highly entertaining. When Nurael told her that she had some deep reservations about facing Haldir when he arrived and facing his reactions when he discovered she was the healer returning with them, Arwen suggested that she just ignore him and see if he recognized her before doing anything to call attention to herself. After mulling over other possibilities Nurael decided that it was probably the best course of action to follow.
Healers were regularly dispatched from Imladris to visit the more remote villages to care for the health matters of the elves living there. Occasionally there were accidents or the yrch raids that would require the skills of a healer. Nurael asked to make one last such trip and was gone for nearly two weeks arriving back just a few days before the departure to the Golden Woods.
Haldir had been cooling his heels for the better part of a month waiting for the Lady Arwen to complete her preparations for the return trip to Lothlorien. He showed little interest in who would be accompanying Arwen or who the healer was. As the time seemed to drag on he found that he was not relaxing but was in fact becoming more tightly strung then before. During that time he reluctantly agreed to go hunting with Elrohir and Elladan the twin sons of Elrond or occasionally sparred with Glorfindel hoping to work off some of the frustration he felt. He continued to chaff at his perceived ‘elleth sitting’ duties and was eager to get it over with.
The day of departure found the travellers congregating in the main courtyard early on a brisk morning during firith, Nurael stood off to one side waiting for Arwen to appear and studied the pile of packs and supplies that would accompany them. Nurael had managed to stay in the background and out off Haldir’s sight. She wasn’t sure why but it seemed the prudent thing to do. She was wearing a dark grey travel cloak that enveloped her from top to bottom. Under it she wore a tunic, leggings and sturdy calf high boots with a sword belted at her waist. She had found this outfit more practical when she had travelled to the various villages on healer business.
She was no stranger in the use of the sword either. Elrond insisted that all the healers be able to defend themselves and she had spent a number of hours under the guidance of Glorfindel learning to use it.
As she waited, a close friend, Dior, another of the Imladris healers crossed the courtyard only to pause at her greeting. He just returned from an extended trip through the southern tier of villages. Spotting her he grinned and swept her up in a bear hug glad for the opportunity to say farewell before she left. Laughing she returned the hug and they stood for sometime talking quietly.
Haldir chose that time to appear and start overseeing the distribution and loading of the packs on the horses. Haldir watched as Dior hugged Nurael again and exchanged final farewells. He recognized Dior from an earlier trip and assumed he was the healer travelling with them. When Elrond and Arwen appeared and descended the steps, Dior turned to them and bid her farewell as well.
“My lady, we shall miss your presence here in Imladris, I hope you will return soon.”
Arwen smiled at him. “I thank you, Dior. Be assured, I do not intend to be so long before my next visit.”
Dior gave a graceful bow and departed the courtyard.
When Elrond crossed to Haldir to check on how soon they would be ready to depart he noted the puzzled expression on Haldir’s face and raised a quizzical brow.
“Is not the healer Dior travelling with us back to Lothlorien, Lord Elrond?” he questioned.
Elrond looked startled and glanced over at Arwen and Nurael and then back at Haldir. He smiled and replied, his eyes resting on Nurael, “No, March Warden, Dior will not be travelling with you.”
Haldir shrugged, “We are ready to depart then if the Lady Arwen and her companion will mount their horses.”
Elrond nodded and assisted Arwen onto the horse. Arwen settle into her saddle adjusting her riding habit skirt. Haldir move to help the companion onto her animal.
“My lady if you will allow me.”
“Thank you, March Warden”, she replied evenly.
He reached out to lift her into the saddle. She looked at him with calm steady eyes lifting her hands to his shoulders to steady her self as his hands encircled her waist. Haldir froze as the emerald green eyes and the silver blond plat of hair emerged from the deep hood of the cloak stunned him. Only one person had such eyes and hair.
“Nurael?” He croaked in shock.
“Hello, Haldir, I think I cleaned up quite nicely, don’t you?” She grinned up at him cheekily. She wondered what his reaction was going to be when he found out she would be accompanying his warriors to the fences!
firith = "leaf-fall," autumn between October and November
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.