“Valar be praised, you found her!” Arwen gasped, her face as white as snow as Elladan carried Celebrian into the palace.
“Where’s Father – ” Elladan started to say, but Elrond burst into the room. Elladan wordlessly surrendered Celebrian, carefully placing her in Elrond’s arms before withdrawing with Elrohir. Arwen bit her lip, her eyes bright with tears as she looked at her mother.
“Please, Arwen.” Elrond did not even look at her. She left.
Elrond stared down at the drawn, motionless face of his wife, lying in his arms. He carried her into their room and placed her on the bed, his tears falling like soft raindrops onto her face. “Please, Celebrian,” he whispered. “Love, please…” He took her cold hand and felt her wrist for a pulse. It was faint, but it was there. She lived!
Elrond saw at a glance why she was so near death. It was not her foot that had almost killed her, but the shoulder wound, poisoned. He called to a servant to get a healer.
The healer arrived soon, but he took one look at Celebrian and whispered, “I can do nothing.”
Elrond stood up. “Then leave me your kit,” he commanded. “Perhaps I can do something.” The healer dropped his kit on the bed and left.
“Beloved…” Elrond stroked Celebrian’s cheek. She stirred and moaned, but did nothing else. “Celebrian, oh, Celebrian, please…”
Elrond checked the poultice on her shoulder. It was still fresh. Time for the drink. He lifted her body, let her head fall back on his shoulder, and opened her mouth, tipping the specially prepared drink down her throat. Celebrian writhed as she swallowed it, but Elrond had expected that: the drink was brewed to fight the poison in her. He stroked her face and hair until she relaxed, then poured some more into her mouth.
Haggard, Elrond knelt by Celebrian’s bed. He had done all he could, tried all the remedies known to all races. They had done nothing. He wept silently. It wasn’t supposed to end this way! he thought angrily. We were supposed to live together forever. She wasn’t supposed to die! He wrapped his arms around her body, pulling her close, his tears falling onto her marble-white face.
Something stirred. Hardly daring to hope, Elrond pulled back, examined her face. “Celebrian?” he whispered, his voice choked with tears, sorrow, and hope.
Her eyelids fluttered open. “Elrond,” she breathed. “I called for you, but you weren’t there…you didn’t come…”
He buried his shining face in her shoulder. “I am here now,” he whispered, tightening his arms around her. “I am here, and I will never leave you again.”