2. Lending a Hand
Part Two: Lending a Hand
Arwen walked, lost in thought and paying no heed to her steps. The initial flurry of activity had ceased since Frodo arrived near death. But the hobbit improved, and now she wondered when his guide would arrive. Was Aragorn alright? Had he been injured? She could not help but worry about her beloved as the not knowing ate at her heart.
"Oh!" She stumbled back a step as something bumped into her and soft cloths tumbled to the floor.
"Oh, my apologies, my lady!" Ivornel, one of the chambermaids, gasped as her eyes met Arwen's. "Please, forgive me! I did not see you!"
Arwen smiled kindly as the servant set the basket she had been carrying on the floor. Ivornel scrambled with one hand to pick up the few towels that had fallen when they collided.
"It is all right, Ivornel. I was not paying attention to my own steps." She paused, noting the chambermaid's awkward fumbling due to a smaller basket slung over the maid's other arm. "Is Thalawest working you too hard, Ivornel? You are carrying far more than usual. Has he become so hard a taskmaster?"
Ivornel looked up, struggling to regain her feet with both baskets. "He is kind as always, my lady. But there is so much going on. New guests arrived today! There is simply too much to do. Oh!" She lost her hold on the basket and it thumped back to the floor, the newly retrieved towels tumbling out again. "Perhaps it is a bit much."
Arwen held back a laugh at the other's comical look of dismay. "It is indeed. Mayhap I can give you a hand with it? Where are the towels to be delivered?"
"Oh no, my lady! It would not be proper!" Ivornel cried out as she stooped to collect the fallen cloths.
"Nonsense! I am not above doing a bit of work. It is not as if carrying a few towels will even cause me to break into a sweat." She knelt and picked up the last towel, refolding it and placing it back in the basket along with the others Ivornel had folded. "Now, you just tell me where to deliver them, and then you can get on with your other chores."
"Thank you, my lady," the maid replied with a sigh of relief. "They are to go to the east bathing chamber. Gaeras is opening that room up for some of the guests, and he would like it stocked and ready should they wish to bathe. The towels just need to be set on the shelf." She curtsied. "I appreciate your help, my lady. It is a great relief!"
"It is nothing," Arwen assured her. "Now, be off with you! I can handle carrying a basket of towels to the East Wing." And so saying, she lifted the wicker and set it against her hip. Turning around, she made her way to the eastern side of the Last Homely House with a smile on her lips.
She entered the bathing room and was surprised to see a lantern lit the room, then her eyes fell to the occupied tub in the center of the room. Her eyes widened, then her smile tilted into to a rather wicked smirk. She would enjoy this encounter, that was for certain.
To Be Continued….