A Time For Change: 6. Arrival and A Mystery

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6. Arrival and A Mystery

The sun’s rays had not yet warmed the cold early morning air when Nurael stirred in her blankets. Turning her head she locked eyes with Haldir who squatted at the nearby small campfire drinking a mug of tea. He continued to watch her intently for some time before nodding at her and rising to collect his own things and ready them for departure.

“It would seem our March Warden has made his mind up about you.” Arwen commented sleepily. “I wonder what he decided.”

Nurael shrugged as she pushed her blankets aside and stretched. “It matters not. He will have to deal with me as healer.”

She turned to Arwen. “I need to check on those injured in yesterday’s battle. Will you need any assistance to ready yourself to travel?”

Arwen chuckled as she shook out her blankets, “I am not quite the fragile flower that some make me out to be. I am quite capable of helping the others to break camp. See to your patients meldis nin.”

She nodded and after rolling her blankets, picked up her medical bag and crossed to the campfire. She gratefully accepted a mug of tea from one of the warriors. “Thank you, this is most welcome. If you have another cup for the Lady Arwen I will take it to her.”

He nodded, filled one and added some sweet breads and fruit to a small wooden platter before handing it to her. Before returning to Arwen, she gestured toward her bag. “Will you let your companions know I need to check their wounds before we depart?”

“Of course Mistress Nurael. Will you need to see the March Warden also? He just left to do a quick survey down the trail and should return shortly.”

“I will.”

“I will let him know when he returns.”

“Thank you.”

Haldir returned a short time later and glanced about noting that preparations for departure were nearly complete. The horses had been retrieved from where they had grazed over night and saddled. The loading of equipment and supplies were underway. Satisfied, he turned back to the campfire where he watched as Nurael checked the wounds of each warrior. Some she merely nodded or smiled at indicating his injury had healed to the point she would no longer need to check it. One or two would need additional treatment but she indicated she was pleased with their progress. Glancing up, she located the March Warden and waved him over.

“I would like to take care of your back now, Haldir. They need to put out the fire and finish packing the cooking pots. They can’t do that until I have no further use of hot water.”

With a grunt, he nodded, laid his bow and quiver near a log and removed his cape and tunic. Turning his back towards where her medical supplies were spread out he waited for her to remove the poultice and bandages.

For a time she studied his lower back silently, softly pressing an occasional spot, checking for infection and sensitivity. She gently swabbed the edges with the astringent and he flinched slightly at its sting. Nurael smiled then said, “It is healing well. I don’t think you will need another poultice. There is some redness but all in all I am quite satisfied. I will bandage it but even that will no longer be necessary by tomorrow.”

After finishing with the redressing of his wound, Nurael replaced her supplies back into her medical bag. She studied them and worried her bottom lip with her teeth. Turning to Haldir where he was donning his tunic she looked at him with concern. “I will need to replace some of these soon. If we face additional attacks before I can do so, I will not be able to provide sufficient care.”

Haldir paused as he lifted his bow and quiver to place on his shoulder. “We will reach a village two days from now. If I remember correctly there is an herbalist there. You may be able to find what you need or at least some of it.”

“Very well, I will wait until then. I will also keep my eyes open in case there are some along the way I can harvest.”

“I would prefer to get further along the trail before stopping.” He warned.

She sighed. “I understand. I will try to choose carefully and do it quickly if I find any. Arwen will help. She has often helped Lord Elrond gather plants and knows how it should be done.”

“March Warden,” a warrior called, “we are ready to depart.”

Haldir raised a hand in acknowledgement. Pointing at her bag, “Is that ready to be added to the pack on your horse?”

“Yes, I just need to get my cloak and weapons and I am ready as well.” He nodded and waited for her to return with them, then walked her to her horse, lifted her and placed her on the saddle.

Another warrior was helping Arwen settle in hers and Nurael noted with amusement she again wore her leggings. Seeing her grin, Arwen arched an eyebrow delicately, which sent Nurael into outright laughter. At her quizzical look, Nurael grinned.

“You lift your eyebrow just as your ada does. “

Arwen grinned back. “It’s a family thing.”

They had been travelling for two days and now the party stood on the brow of the hill overlooking the village that Haldir had referred to earlier as having a herbalist. He moved back to where Arwen and Nurael sat their horses towards the rear of the group.

“Lady Arwen, Mistress Nurael, I will send two warriors with Nurael to visit the herbalist. I would prefer that Lady Arwen remain here since the knowledge of her presence could lead to unexpected consequences or attacks.”

Arwen frowned. “Is that a real concern, March Warden?”

“Yes my lady, Forgive my bluntness, but the attack on your naneth nearly devastated your ada and gwanur, as well as your daer odhril. What would happen if such a fate befell you? As long as you insist on making these trips, I do not believe we can be too cautious. You will remain here and your presence will remain unknown.”

Arwen studied his face for some minutes as she considered his remarks, and then nodded her agreement. “As you direct, March Warden. I will abide with your wishes. I have no desire to add to our danger.”

Signalling to the two warriors at the head of the group, he glanced at Nurael and indicated she should follow him. Upon reaching them he instructed the two to escort the healer into the village and insure her safety.

Nurael was pleased that the herbalist had most of what she needed and was willing to let her have it for a reasonable price. At first she hesitated until one of her escorts moved forward and produced a purse with a variety of small coins.

“The lady provides for such matters. Since you used your supplies for our benefit, she gladly will replace them. In fact she will insist on it.”

With the supplies wrapped and stowed in a small basket, Nurael and the two warriors swiftly returned to the waiting escort and they resumed their travel. The balance of the trip proved uneventful and it was with great relief that Haldir entered the Golden Woods and delivered his charges to Caras Galadon. With a deep sigh he trailed Arwen as they entered the royal talan. After she greeted her grand parents, Arwen turned to Haldir.

“March Warden, Once more I thank you for your protection and care during our journey. As always you have proven your valor and wisdom as the March Warden of the Golden Woods.”

“I was honored to do so, my lady.” He bowed his head and raised his hand to his breast in a formal salute.

*You were honored to ‘elleth sit’, Haldir? * The amused voice of Galadriel touched his mind. Startled he straightened and looked at his lady as she smiled at him.

She continued aloud, “My lord and I both add our thanks for the safe arrival of our beloved daer sell. Now go and rest. I regret you will have little time to do so. You are needed on the northern fences where the yrch have become quite tiresome again.”

Jerkily, he again bowed and retreated, all too eager to reach the solitude of his own talan.

“Will you show Mistress Nurael to Master Maenestad before retiring Haldir?” Arwen called after him.

He nodded and finding Nurael waiting outside the royal talan, he waved to her indicating she should follow him. He was silent the whole way. As they approached the healing talan, he nodded towards it, turned back and left her standing there alone. She stared after him in surprise.

Shaking her head in annoyance she climbed the pathway leading to the main portion of the healing talan. Entering she glanced around and found Master Maenestad at the far side studying the broken ankle of a warrior. It had not healed well and he was deliberating the need to break and reset it again. He was talking to an assistant when he caught sight of her. Pausing, he indicated that they would finish the discussion later and joined her where she stood by the open door.

“How may I help you, Mistress?”

“I believe I may be able to help you Master Maenestad,” She smiled mischievously,“ I am Nurael, a healer recently completing my training at Imladris. Lord Elrond agreed to send me and I have just now arrived with the Lady Arwen.”

He looked her at sternly for a minute before breaking into a wide grin. “Aha, the terrible trio will be together again for the first time in over two hundred and fifty years. I fear Caras Galadon will never be the same again.”

“Terrible trio, is that what we were called?” Nurael laughed as she found herself enveloped in a big bear hug.

“Yes and when Haldir broke you three hellions up, life became immeasurably duller here.”

“I am glad to be back,” She looked up into the twinkling silver blue eyes of the master healer. “I wasn’t sure I would be welcome considering all the work and trouble we caused you back then.”

He sighed, “I would have welcomed even a soothsayer at this point Nurael, if they could help. The news that an Imladris trained healer was on the way was like receiving a blessing direct from the Valar themselves. When I received Lord Elrond’s letter regarding your qualifications I could not believe my luck.”

“Well I am here and I will be ready to start work as soon as I get settled in. Is there an empty talan I can occupy?”

He frowned, “You have not been shown to your new quarters?”

She shook her head. “The March Warden seemed rather preoccupied when he brought me here. He merely pointed and disappeared.”

Maenestad’s face became grim. “Obviously the trip did not help. Something else will have to be done. He will not return to the fences until this matter is resolved. I will have to talk to the Lady.”

“Master Maenestad, may I inquire what you are talking about?”

“Not now, Nurael, perhaps later. But let me show you to your talan. I believe you will be quite pleased with it. It is small but will do you quite nicely when you are back from your tours on the fences. We will discuss your duties in a day or two when you have had a chance to get settled and catch up with old friends. If you are free this evening, you would be most welcome to join my hervess and I for the evening meal.”

“I welcome the opportunity to do so.”

“Come then, let us get you settled. After that I must go see the Lady about our morose March Warden.”

meldis nin-my friend ( f)
gwanur-brothers, a pair of twins
daer odhril-grand parents
daer sell- grand daughter
yrch-orcs (P)

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.

Story Information

Author: Gilnaur

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Kings

Genre: Romance

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 09/08/07

Original Post: 03/13/07

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