The sun was sinking below the horizon, bathing the ruins in a soft red glow. Its rays gave some final warmth before the darkness of the night took over. Gwingris was more occupied today than usual with a group of travelers who had just come from Imladris. They sat beside the fire now, sharing its warmth and a kettle of herbal tea. Some of them had stepped aside to stand watch or speak with the inhabitants of Gwingris. At this time, Eliriael broke away from the group quietly and inquired into borrowing writing instruments and the use of a messenger bird. Quickly, she wrote onto a small slip of parchment.
Dearest Lord Ambassador Parnard of Vanimar,
We have reached the safety of the ruins of Gwingris and set out for the snowy passes tomorrow. I write to you now, knowing it may be difficult to send any further word once we pass over east of the mountains. May the Valar watch over you and our House until our return.
She rolled the parchment neatly and handed it to the bird-keeper, who assured her that the message would be delivered with all haste to the valley. After bowing her head in thanks, Eliriael took a quiet turn about the ruins. She could make out Tancamir and Caethel's profiles in the distance as they kept watch, and she lifted her head slightly to catch the breeze that blew past her. The cool mountain air drafted down to them, carrying the scent of holly trees.
She was sure the Lords of the House disapproved of their errand. It seemed clear in their hesitancy this morning, as they spoke of war breaking upon Mirkwood and of the risk they all took for the small hope of saving one life. In her mind, Eliriael counted their numbers; only three of their group wielded weapons masterfully and were expected to protect the other four of them who did not. When Lord Parnard had inquired if they all knew how to defend themselves, even she had made her excuses to leave the discussion. There were many problematic matters to consider, regarding their mission - not the least of which was that Eliriael herself had brought no weapon with her.
Yet, she was not an elf who gave thought to such things, and it was an improvement to say that the concerns of her Lords weighed upon her at all. Since when had the reservations of others kept Eliriael from coming and going as her mood guided her? Surely, it was the last couple years, during which she resided under the influence of her House and Lords, that had begun to change her. At another time, she would have simply relished the freedom of the wilderness and open air. However, today, she left the valley with a heavy heart, thinking their errand displeased her House.
Eliriael glanced back towards the fire where she saw the glow of the sun painting Eleanias' tresses with gold. Despite everything that might stand in their way, Aeralin needed a cure from her slow, eternal suffering and Eleanias was determined to find it. Even if they could not find the Anvelain mushroom, perhaps they could at least acquire more Elenduin flowers. Hesitancy came over Eliriael once again - should she have stayed in Imladris with Aeralin? What if they could not find Anvelain? It had been an entire age since she had last seen it herself, and the Greenwood was much changed since then.
She took a long slow breath, closing her eyes. Eregion was now a more barren place than it was in the Second Age but it still spoke of calm and rest like a place suspended in time. Listening to the quiet of the land, her worries were slowly lifted from her mind and borne by the autumn wind to a distant place. She remembered - finding these plants was about more than aiding Eleanias and healing Aeralin. The healers of Vanimar had been studying a cure for spider poisons as well as the one that had taken Themodir from them. Somewhere beneath her worries, she believed that they would find something in Mirkwood to protect their kin from future suffering from these evils.