“I narthair i Eru, gerithar vellas eden, eraithar na rovail be theryn.”
“What is she saying Legolas?” asked Boromir, drawn by the strange mutterings from Coralie’s lips. “Can you understand her?”
“Aye. She is speaking Sindarin,” Legolas replied.
“But that’s impossible! How can she know Sindarin? She’s not an Elf!” said Boromir.
Aragorn eyed Boromir coolly. “Neither am I an Elf, Boromir, but I speak Elvish as well.”
“But how did she learn to speak thus?” Boromir was clearly flabbergasted.
Gimli interjected. “Perhaps she speaks Dwarvish too! Ah! This lady is indeed a mystery beyond our ken. Come Elf! What did she say just then?”
Raising an eyebrow, Legolas answered the Dwarf. “Those that wait upon Eru, will have renewed strength, they will rise with wings like eagles.”
“That is strange indeed. Is she getting better?”
Aragorn laid a hand upon her brow. “The fever is still upon her. Gimli, I will need to change the dressing on her arm.”
“Say no more, Aragorn. The water is on its way,” answered the Dwarf. And with that he scampered off to re- fill the pot.
Aragorn gazed at his patient as he gently unwound the bandages he had wrapped around her left arm. He sighed deeply. This fever was the most perplexing one that he had ever encountered. He had seen people poisoned before and was familiar with the various types of toxins that Orcs could possibly use on their weapons. This was of a particularly evil kind, certainly fatal. It was a wonder that the lady had survived this long. But cling to life she did, and whilst there was yet breath in his body, he was not about to give up.
“We will prevail Aragorn,” said Legolas noting the shadow that had fallen over Aragorn’s features as he attended to the wound on Coralie’s arm.
“I pray that you are right my friend. But I fear that there is something else at work here beyond my ken. This is more than just a mere poisoning, Legolas. I am reminded of Frodo’s fight for life after the Nazgul struck him at Weathertop. It took all of Elrond’s skills to bring him back, and I have only his skills in part.” Aragorn looked keenly at Legolas before going on.
“Coralie was not struck down by a Morgul blade, as Frodo was. This does not make any sense. It’s almost as if we were not just battling for her life, but for her soul as well Legolas, and I am at a loss what to do!” Aragorn shook his head as if trying to come to grips with what he just said.
“The hands of the King are those of a healer Aragorn. Her life will be spared. I am sure of it,” reassured Legolas.
A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
O Elbereth Star-kindler
silivren penna míriel
glittering white slants down sparkling like jewels
o menel aglar elenath!
from the glorious firmament of the host of stars
To-remote distance having gazed afar
o galadhremmin ennorath,
from tree-tangled middle-lands,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
Fanuilos, to thee I will chant
nef aear, sí nef aearon!
on this side of the ocean, here on this side of the Great Ocean! “
Aragorn and Legolas caught their breath as Coralie spoke this Elven prayer in her fevered state.
“A Elbereth Gilthoniel
silvren penna mîriel
o menel aglar elenath!
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!”
Coralie was repeating the prayer without pause. Her voice sounded faint and weak to their ears.
Sighing to himself, Aragorn crushed more of the athelas leaves and breathed on them before placing them in the simmering water on the stove. The bright fragrance strengthened their hearts with its clean influence, restoring their hope, even as their faith wavered but for a moment.
“Nan lá ëa sére indonyan sinomë tennoio,
But my heart resteth not here for ever,
an sinomë ëa tyelma, ar euva metta ar i narquelië”,
for here is ending, and there will be an end and the Fading,
“Now she is speaking Quenya, Aragorn! That is part of Firiel’s Song. How came she to have knowledge of this?” asked Legolas troubled by her words. “Her voice sounds heavy with sorrow.” Legolas stroked Coralie’s cheek as he cradled her head in his lap.
“I know not Legolas. Perhaps this is her spirit speaking to us,” replied Aragorn.
“Mana tárë antuva nin Ilúvatar, Ilúvatar
What will the Father, O Father,
enyárë i metta pella, írë Anarinya queluva?
give me in that day beyond the end when my Sun faileth?
ar ilyë tier undulávë lumbulë
and all paths are drowned deep in shadow;
ar sindanóriello caita mornië
and out of a grey country darkness lies
i falmalinnar imbë met,
on the foaming waves between us,
A single tear slid down her cheek and rested on Legolas’ fingers where he caressed her. Legolas looked up in alarm.
“Aragorn she is bidding us farewell! She is saying goodbye!”
“No!” Aragorn took hold of the feverish girl from Legolas and fiercely embraced her, holding her close to his breast. He then looked deep into her face as if he delved for some lost way in which he may restore her. The others hung their heads, as hope defeated, fled from their grasp. Aragorn’s eye’s appeared to grow even greyer with the sheen of sorrow that filled them.
“Coralie! Coralie! Come back!” he whispered as he rocked her in his embrace and kissed her brow.
“Coralie! I will not let you take that path willingly. Come back Titheniel. Little Maiden. Do not leave us! Coralie! Thêldithen! Little Sister! Thêldithen! Coralie!”
Each time Aragorn called her name, his voice grew fainter, as though even he had left them momentarily to tread the shadowy paths where now her spirit wandered. At last, Aragorn, grey with exhaustion, looked up and signaled for Gimli to bring over the little pot of warm water and some fresh leaves. Holding Coralie fast in his arms, he crushed a few leaves anew into the water. A sudden refreshment filled their hearts, as a soft breeze kissed the Mellyrn leaves atop their talan with its sweet breath of hope restored. Dipping his fingers into the fragrant water, Aragorn caressed Coralie’s face as he continued to hold her.
“Thêldithen, tolo dan enni! Little Sister come back to me! Coralie! Thêldithen, tolo dan enni” tenderly he kissed her brow.
The leaves upon the Mellyrns’ branches, reflected the clear dawn, as the sun broke its fresh countenance upon the green land. Pale streams of light bathed the flet in the soft embrace of a new day as birdsong fell softly upon their quiet vigil.
“Faug,” Aragorn started at the soft whisper that escaped Coralie’s lips and buried his face in her shoulder.
“Legolas!” he cried.
Gimli and Boromir sadly looked over at Aragorn as he crushed her to his breast, fearing that she had indeed passed away in his arms. Turning towards them, Legolas broke into a wide grin.
“She’s thirsty! Quick Gimli! Some water!” he spoke the words in rapid succession as the Dwarf immediately jumped up and poured some water into a cup. Relieved beyond all measure, he handed it to the Elf.
“Have we won?” his voice broke a little with the question.
“It would appear so,” replied Legolas smiling up at him. Boromir sighed as he shook his head with relief.
She could barely focus on the man who embraced her as he tenderly placed the cup to her lips.
“Mae govannen. Thêldithen. Only sip it gently. Not too much now,” spoke Aragorn gently as Coralie drank eagerly.
“Estel?” Aragorn was surprised to hear her use the name that his mother, Gilraen had given him when she took him to Rivendell as a child, but nodded smiling at her as she looked up at him with tear filled eyes.
“Mithrandir! Telin pân naid no,”
“Gandalf! It’s all my fault,” she cried.
“Na alohen, rîn,”
“No, Lady. None of it is,” said Aragorn trying to reassure her, wiping the tears away that fell from her lashes.
“He spoke to me.”
“Who?” Aragorn asked, puzzled by her words.
“I Om vorn. “
“The Black voice.” Her eyes, heavy with weariness, were closing even as she spoke. Aragorn lightly kissed her brow.
“Hiro hyn hîdh ab `wanath. Togo îdh.“
“Be at peace. Rest now,” he said gently as she fell asleep in his arms.
Carefully, he laid her on the floor and covered her with the sleeping bag. Relieved smiles were now overshadowed by her last words.
“I do not like this Aragorn,” whispered Legolas as he drew him away from the sleeping form of Coralie. “This `Black Voice’ she speaks of. What can she mean?”
Boromir and Gimli joined them as they spoke in worried tones.
“I suspect that the Lady came to more harm than we knew as a result of carrying the Ring in her mouth, than just the mere poisoning alone,” replied Aragorn.”The Enemy is aware of her presence among us now.”
“It does not surprise me,” said Gimli, “this has been a long, dark battle for the Lady’s life.”
“Is she alright now?” asked Boromir.
Aragorn nodded. “Well, the crisis has passed, but she is very weak and I think she will sleep most of the day. We will have to carry her.”
“I will do it!” interjected Legolas, noting the small movement from Boromir as though he made to volunteer. “You are almost spent Aragorn from your labors to revive her.”
“And what of you Elf? Are you not tired?” asked Boromir with one eyebrow raised.
Aragorn stepped between them and placed a hand on Boromir’s shoulder. “Come! I am sure that Legolas would not have offered to carry the Lady, unless he was well able to do so. There is no point debating this, and we still have a long way to go. Let us make haste to leave and pack our gear away. I’m sure that if Legolas tires on the path he will let us know,” he directed, as he turned to help Legolas pack up Coralie’s belongings.
“But somehow I don’t that is going to happen, is it?” he smiled softly as he clapped Legolas’ shoulder. By his friend’s returned expression, he knew this to be true.