10. Why Me?
Exasperated Nurael stopped and glared back at him. “Rumi, get a move on. I would like to get there before sunset.”
“Nuri, please, do not go in there in this mood. The Lady will not like it and it could bode ill for you and Haldir.”
“The Lady is well aware by now of my feelings about this. Master Maenestad will have already informed her of my reluctance to become involved in this situation. She is also aware of my requirements if I am to proceed.”
Appalled Rumi stood there staring at Nurael. “You gave her some demands? Oh Nuri, you have not been here even two weeks and she will send you back to Imladris in disgrace!”
Nurael snorted. “I doubt that very much. There is no one else that would even consider this. None of you have the effrontery to cross the great March Warden. Besides, the requirements are no more then Master Maenestad would require if he were faced with a new patient. I just wish he were the healer going instead of me. I don’t know anything about this kind of illness.”
Rumil studied her worriedly. “If you don’t know anything about it then why have you been chosen to go with him?”
“You will have to ask the Lady about that.”
“You have no idea?”
“Just a suspicion. But if it’s real then it not just my training as a healer that was the basis of the choice.”
“You think about it.”
With that she turned and resumed her travel to the royal talan followed by the still worried Rumil.
Upon reaching the royal talan, Nurael climbed to the walkway and nodded to the two sentries. Pausing she turned to one and stated that she was there in answer to a summons by the Lady and asked to be announced.
He nodded, “The Lady has already informed us. You are to go straight up to the entrance to their private rooms. Someone there will meet you.”
She waved a casual arm back towards Rumi and added. “Warden Rumil is with me. Is he also to come?”
With their entrance cleared, they moved up the walkway and through the public portion to the private rooms beyond. Orophin was waiting and grinned at Nurael.
“I can see fashion for the ellyth will be undergoing a change when they see you with the March Warden. You are trying to set a new trend are you not?”
Nurael stopped and faced him glaring, her hands on her hips. “Don’t you start, Phin. I am not very happy with either you or your brothers right now. All I wanted to do was be a healer. I was not seeking to get involved with Haldir. Now I am to be saddled with him for the Valar knows how long.”
Orophin raised his hands in placation, “Peace, Nuri, peace. I am sorry you are in the middle of all this but the Lady believes you will be able to help him. He has been withdrawn and hiding his pain for over a year now. If we can’t find a way to help him he may not survive. I know it is something very serious even if we do not know what it is.”
Rumil nodded. “The Lady directed me to tell you to go in and we would join you all when Master Maenestad arrives. Apparently we are all to provide some information with the hope that a clearer picture will emerge and help to determine what steps are reasonable to effect his recovery.”
Nurael grimaced and entered the private quarters of Galadriel and Celeborn. The room was a comfortably furnished sitting room that she had not seen the previous visit when she was their guest for dinner. Pausing, she glanced about for some indication of what she was expected to do.
*Welcome Nurael, you are most prompt. * Galadriel’s voice brushed her mind with some amusement.
*My lady, one does not delay when you request their presence. * Nurael responded cautiously.
*Be patient, child, just a while longer. We will be joining you momentarily. * She responded more seriously. *I would talk with you first before the others add their thoughts. *
*As you desire. *
Nurael studied the room and noted with some surprise the pleasing colors of the simple cushioned furniture and the tapestries that hung about. It was a comfortable room and did not seem to fit the picture one would expect for the Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood. She turned to face Galadriel as she entered and gave a formal bow in respect.
Galadriel smiled and waved her over to a circle of chairs. “Come Nurael, let us sit and relax a moment with a glass of wine. The others will join us shortly.”
“My lady, I do not understand why you feel I can deal with Haldir’s problem. He barely tolerates me as it is. This will guarantee he will have nothing to do with me.”
“You already know how to deal with him.”
“But if his illness is of the faer, how can that help?”
“I do not doubt that there is a problem at some level. What I do believe is that he has dwelt on it overmuch to the point that it has been magnified beyond its original importance. Haldir is a great warrior who tries to be an unwavering steadfast leader. He takes very seriously his responsibilities as March Warden even as he did when he was faced with the responsibilities of raising his brothers.”
“Hence his frustrations with ‘the terrible trio’ and my subsequent harassment of his personal life.” Nurael added thoughtfully.
“Yes. He does not accept failure lightly. I suspect that something happened a year ago that makes him believe he failed at something very important. As a result, he now tries to control everything even to the minutest detail him-self to insure what ever happened before does not happen again. This fear has led to recurring back-to-back assignments on the fences for more then a year now. This intense unrelenting control has stretched him to near the breaking point. If we fail to isolate the cause and relieve it, I fear the Golden Wood will loose its March Warden.”
“Again I ask. How can my bluntness help?”
“You are not afraid of him nor is he afraid of you. He is more likely to let you near him than anyone else since he has strong perceptions of relationship role to all the rest of us. He sees our protection as his sole responsibility and our worries for his well being of less importance then his duty.”
“My lady, you could search within his mind for the answer much quicker then I will be able to discover what the source is.”
“Any attempt I would make will merely cause him to throw up stronger walls in self-protection and could cause irreparable damage if I seek to force my way in without his consent. And I can assure you the few discreet attempts I have made have clearly shown this.”
“I have to talk with Lord Elrond about this, my lady. I know you are concerned about insuring this goes no farther, but if you and Master Maenestad have not been able to come to any kind of agreement on the best approach, I certainly do not want to go stomping in without some idea of what I should be prepared to deal with or what could happen.”
Galadriel hesitated before answering and Nurael continued her effort to clarify her position. “He need not be told who the patient is, only the nature of the problem. I have no doubt he will guess but he will respect the healer-patient relationship and say nothing to anyone else. I must have some guidance, my lady, if I am to have any hope in succeeding.”
“What do you propose?”
“First I will need to get as clear as possible a picture of Haldir’s actions from the time you became aware of his problem from you and Lord Celeborn, his brothers, and from his nearest companions on the fences.
Galadriel frowned. “I would not have his warriors know of this.”
“I doubt if his fellow warriors are not aware of the problem. However, this may be a reason for you to seek those answers without them being aware of what it is you search for. I believe your talents within that area are without peer. You could also assign them on a mission of sorts that would keep them out of the way for a few weeks.”
Galadriel broke into laughter. “Nurael, you are brazen, you would have me search their minds undetected and then order them out on a mission to keep them in the dark?”
Nurael looked at her momentarily suddenly none plus. “I apologies my lady, I didn’t mean that to sound like an order, merely a suggestion.”
“Very well, if we accomplish this, then what would you do next?” Galadriel asked amused.
“I will also need to discuss this with Master Maenestad in detail.”
“He expects you to do so.”
“When I have a fairly clear picture, I will need to ask Lord Elrond some questions that will be based on what emerges. If you can send a messenger then, then hopefully he will respond fairly quickly and I can begin.”
“I think we can do a little better then that.” Galadriel smiled. “When you are ready I will mind link with Elrond and we will get what ever help he can offer much quicker then by messenger.”
Nurael responded laughing, “We may just be able to put Haldir back together, after all.
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