Difficult Decisions

by suzie sheelf

CHAPTER ONE


Ilweran stood looking out over the valley of Imladris, taking in it's
beauty, when she heard the hurrying footsteps and the voice of the seneschal
of Imladris.

"Ilweran, Ilweran!"

"In here Erestor." Erestor walked into the room, looking extremely perplexed.
Ilweran looked at the dark haired elf as he came through the door stepping
onto the balcony. "What's all the fuss, I can't remember when I last saw
you in such a bother."

"Bother, well bother this; Lord Elrond wants to see you promptly! in the Hall of Fire."
Erestor said more primly that usual.

Ilweran laughed at the other elf, "Promptly, Hall of Fire, my, my, you are in a bother."

Erestor glared at Ilweran "It is important, and he wants to see you now!"

"Ok, Ok I'm going."

As she wandered the hallways of Rivendell, Ilweran mused on what could
possibly have gotten Erestor into such a state. He was usually so calm cool
and collected, but today. 'must be bad news,' she sighed shaking her head.
'I can't think of any thing I have done today that would of have upset, Elrond,
though yesterday, now that is another story. Come to think of it last time
Erestor got this upset and bothered was when the messenger came from Lothlorien.
With the news that Lady Celebrian's, caravan, had been attacked, her escorts
slain, and the Lady Orcnapped. But that was almost a year ago, and my Lady
is healing well, I should know I helped Elrond with her care. Well here I
am, time to face the music.' She thought to herself.

Ilweran slowly opened the door peered in and saw Elrond leaning over
the fire peering into the flames. She notices that the hall was almost empty,
unusual for this time of day she mused. She peered around, looking to see
if any one was there, she saw a lonely elf sitting in the corner of the room
writing something.

Walking over to Elrond she observes his stature; something is amiss.
He is in some kind of turmoil, almost like he is in pain, she mused.

"Excuse me My Lord, you called for me."

Elrond looked at Ilweran, Ilweran pointed at the only other elf in the room, and Elrond nodded.

" Ah, yes Ilweran, thankyou for coming so promptly."

Ilweran hid a wry smile, "How may I be of service my Lord."

"Ilweran, have you heard the news, that Lord Cirdan has finished building his boats."

"No, my Lord I had not."

Ilweran looked into Elronds eyes.

"My Lord what is the problem, you look, as though you have received dire news."

"Problem, the problem Ilweran, is that Lady Celebrian, wants to depart this realm.

Her wound still pains her, and she has lost her love for Middle Earth, and nothing I do or say, can sway her"

"I am sorry to hear this my Lord, but how does this concern me"

Elrond looked at Ilweran, and studied her face for a moment, dropped his eyes, and let out a loud audible sigh.

"I need an escort for Lady Celebrian; you are a good healer, and are
also skilled with the bow and sword. I would like you to go with Lady Celebrian
to the Grey Havens.

With you will go a armed escort, and others seeking the Blessed Realm."

"May I ask why you have chosen me, my Lord."

"Because, you helped with her care, you know the extent of her injuries,
Celebrian trusts you, and most importantly of all Lady Celebrian, asked specifically
for you to be her escort. Apparently she discussed this with Arwen and the
twins. Elladan and Elrohir, speak highly of you, as does Arwen."

" I am honoured my Lord," she bowed. "And will do as you ask."

"Ilweran."

"Yes Lord Elrond."

"When you reach the Grey Havens, the choice is yours."

"Choice my Lord"

" Yes, To leave Middle earth for the Blessed Realm, or to return here to Rivendell.

Seeing the indecision on her face, Elrond told her to think about it,
Celebrian would not be leaving just yet. Ilweran left the Hall of Fire, thinking
to herself, what am I to decide? I am not ready to leave Middle-earth, or
am I.




CHAPTER TWO


Shortly, preparations for the journey began in earnest, Lady Celebrian,
wanted to leave by the end of the month, at the latest. Elladan heard the
clang of metal on metal, stopping, he watched from the doorway as the two
elves inside sparred.

" Elrohir how much more must I practice? I have packing to do and medicines
to prepare?" she sighed, "Oh what have I gotten myself into?" Ilweran said
shaking her head.

Lowering his sword, Elrohir looked at Ilweran." I'm sorry to push you
so hard, but you need to be prepared, for anything, Ilweran."

"I am prepared," Ilweran muttered to herself. Then she whispered, "At least I think I am."

"You seem worried," Elrohir asked.

"Wouldn't you be! I'm Sorry, I did not mean to snap at you. I would be
lying if I said that I was not worried, but I agreed to escort your mother,
and that is exactly what I'm going to do, worried or not."

"Good for you, so what is worrying you, Ilweran?"

Ilweran laughed lightly, "How is it you know me so well, Elrohir?"

"What is on your mind, Ilweran?" He pushed not willing to change the subject.

"Elrohir, do you realise that I have lived many years in Rivendell, yet,
I feel I really do not know Lady Celebrian at all. Why would she ask for
me?"

" By the end of the journey you will know her very well indeed, I would think." He winked at Ilweran.

Ilweran smiled and laughed " Your point being?"

Elrohir just smiled back. "Just don't worry so much. You will be fine and so will mother. Oh, hello Elladan."

"Hello brother, Ilweran. I have news, Arahad's Dunedain, are patrolling around Amon Sul, they will be watching out for you."

"Thankyou Elladan, that is good news." Ilweran said, as she clasped Elladan's shoulder in greeting.

"Ilweran, Ilweran!"

"Oh no not again, what could possibly be wrong now?" Ilweran said rolling her eyes.

"Erestor, Ilweran's in here." Elrohir called out.

Ilweran looks sideways at Elrohir " Thankyou Elrohir, thankyou very much."

Smiling innocently Elrohir looked at Elladan, " I think we better leave
now." Elrohir ducked a mock punch from Ilweran. "I'll talk to you later Ilweran,
and you can tell me what is really worrying you."

"Good morning Erestor"

"Morning my Lords"

"Good morning Erestor, what can I do for you today?" Ilweran asked.

"Ilweran, Lady Celebrian would like to see you in her rooms, when you are free"

"Well, now seems a good a time as any, just let me freshen up a bit first."

"I will let her know you are coming, then."

Arriving at Lady Celebrian's door, she was met by Elwyn, Lady Celebrian's handmaiden. "Come in, M'Lady is waiting."

"Ilweran, mae govannen, please have a seat." Celebrian said, welcoming Ilweran into her room.

Taking a seat Ilweran looks around at the lush surrounding. Her eyes
fell on a canvas painting on the wall. Celebrian followed her gaze. "Beautiful,
is it not?"

"Yes, yes it is"

"I had Ingwil paint it last year. Do you know how hard it was to get my boys to sit still long enough?"

Smiling Ilweran answered " Yes I can imagine"

"Ilweran, I have asked you here, firstly to thank you for agreeing to
be my escort, and secondly for assisting Lord Elrond in my care and healing."

"How are you feeling today, My Lady?"

"The wound is still painful, but I get by, I have my good days and my bad days"

"And today would be?"

Smiling Celebrian answered "Today is a good day."

Elwyn returned with a tea tray "Thankyou Elwyn. Tea, Ilweran? How do you feel about the up coming journey?"

"I see it as an adventure My Lady"

"And have you made a decision yet?"

"No My Lady I have not." Ilweran answered wondering where the conversation was leading.

"Have you done much travelling?"

"No, but I have roamed about Rivendell's valley's looking for medicinal
plants. I have been as far as the Bruinen. Apart from the occasional journey
to Lothlorien."

" You were not born in Rivendell though?"

" No, I was born in Lindon, I travelled here with my father, and Gil-galad the High King" Ilweran hoped her voice was steady.

"I am sorry about all the questions, but we are to be spending a lot
of time together, so we should get to know each other, a little more than
we already do." Celebrian said,

"I understand, My Lady."

"Ilweran, do you miss Lindon at all?"

Ilweran sighed and with sad eyes answered, "Yes and no. I have no desire
to go back there. All those I love have left Middle-earth voluntarily, or
perished in the war against Sauron and are in the Hall's of Mandos."

"But?"

"Do not worry My Lady, we are going to Mithlond, not to Lindon."

"Oh I see" Lady Celebrian said, as her colour paled.

"Lady Celebrian, are you feeing alright, you are looking extremely pale"

"Ilweran I think you had better call Lord Elrond, I am not feeling all that well" Celebrian slumped in her chair.

Ilweran called to Elwyn "Get Erestor to call Lord Elrond now! And get
me some boiling water and athelas from her room." The items were quickly
brought. 'If this is a bad day, I'd hate to see a good one,' Ilweran said
to herself as she tended to Celebrian, who now lay unconscious on the floor.


CHAPTER THREE


"Lasto beth nin, tolo dan na ngalad" Ilweran said the healing spell again over Celebrian.

Slowly Celebrian opened her eyes," What happened?"

"You fainted my lady."

"Fainted! Oh, what a nuisance. This is going to delay the start the of our journey."

"Please do not fret My Lady, our journey will begin, when it is supposed
to begin, and not before. Now rest, Lord Elrond will be in to see you shortly,
he has been here all day, but was called away, he was loathed to leave you,
but I promised to keep a close eye on you, and now that you are awake, I
shall call for him."

"Elwyn, please inform Lord Elrond that Lady Celebrian has awoken, thankyou."
Ilweran said turning to Celebrians hovering handmaiden.

"Right away, Lady Ilweran" Elwyn said as she ran out the door.


Later that evening.

Ilweran stood on the balcony looking at the stars, taking comfort from
them. Hearing elven footsteps, she turned to see who was approaching. The
younger son of Lord Elrond smiled "Beautiful aren't they?"

"Yes they, I see Earendil is sailing the sky tonight."

"You seem deep in thought Ilweran."

"Just thinking about the up coming journey, that is all Elrohir."

"Yes, but Ilweran, I believe that there is more on your mind, wont you lighten your burden and talk to me?"

Ilweran smiled at the perceptive elf, "Thankyou Elrohir but-"

"But what!"

"The stars are beautiful aren't they." Ilweran said

"Do not change the subject Ilweran."

"This was the original subject, was it not? Ilweran teased. Seeing he
was not to be put off, her face became troubled as her thoughts, "Elrohir
what troubles me is too painful to talk about." Ilweran turned and walked
back into the house. "Quel du Elrohir, quel kaima."

The next morning. Ilweran went in search of Elrond.

"Good morning Elrond, have you taken any rest?"

"Yes thankyou Ilweran" Elrond said looking at his friend, "Tell me, do
you have any clue as to why Celebrian collapsed yesterday?"

"I have been contemplating the reasons all night, I have a clue, but
first tell me what is on you mind nin mellon, I can see you wish to ask me
some questions."

Elrond looked at Ilweran, and nodded. "Yesterday, did Celebrian seem different in any way, any way at all?"

"Well actually Elrond, yes she did. For the first time since the attack
she seemed happy, talkative even, I suppose the only way to summarise would
be to say umm .animated."

"Hmm animated, interesting choice of words Ilweran. And why do you think this is so?"

" I believe that, she is looking forward to the journey."

"So why the collapse? Her wounds are all healed!" Elrond could not keep the anxiety from his voice.

Ilweran looked at the master healer of Rivendell and shook her head.
Husbands could be so dense, even master healers. "Yes Elrond her body is
all but healed, but her heart is another matter. You know yourself the extent
of her injuries, I'm surprised she survived at all"

"She is strong Ilweran"

"Yes Elrond, she is strong but I doubt that even I would survive similar injuries, and I've been in a few battles as you know"

Elrond looked at Ilweran, "But why now?"

"Elrond, do you know what yesterday's date was. It was the anniversary
of Lady Celebrian Leaving Rivendell for Lothlorien, the eve of her attack.
I'd say we need to watch her very closely, I do not think she should be left
alone"

They looked at each other and both turned hurrying towards Lady Celebrians
room. They found her sleeping peacefully, surrounded by her children and
Elwyn sewing unobtrusively in a corner. They both breathed a sigh of relief.

"Children"

"Yes ada?"

I need to speak with you all for a moment." When they joined him in the
adjacent room he continued, "Your mother is not to be left alone, not even
for a moment. We will all take shifts minding her, and we will do this until
we leave for Mithlond."


"We, Elrond?" Ilweran asked.

"Yes Ilweran, after this collapse, I will accompany you. I trust you
fully with Celebrian's care, but I did not forsee this when I asked you to
be her escort."

"Ada, can we come with you, please?" asked Arwen

"Yes ada please" the twins asked in unison "We could be part of the armed escort." Elladan said.

Elrond sighed and looking at the pleading faces of his children, he smiled.
"Yes, we will all go as a family to farewell your mother; also, it has been
along time since I have seen my old friend Cirdan. Yes we will all go."

"I will take first watch ada" The youngest stood, kissed her father, and left the room as he replied. "Thankyou Arwen"

Leaving the room Elrohir turned to Ilweran and asked, "Does this make your burden any easier Ilweran"

"Actually Elrohir, no it does not."

"I will find out, what is bothering you Ilweran" Elrohir said as he watched Ilweran walk down the corridor.

Ilweran turned back to him just as she reached the corner and smiled.
As she disappeared from his sight her smile disappeared and she whispered
to her self, "I hope not nin mellon. I hope not."