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As soon as Nimlith entered the room, Eglanel could see by her grave expression that his hope had been unfounded. He tensed, waiting for the healer to speak.
"I am sorry. I bring no good news."
"Tell me."
Nimlith nodded, looked down.
"I examined your sister, her scars... they speak of evil things and corruption. Things I cannot name, down in the fires of Khazad-D?m..."
She spoke on lowly, aware to be the bearer of bad news.
"Her body is being corrupted by the shadow, the result of what was done to her in the Fires. Her spirit is fighting it, hence why she does not remember... If we heal her, her memories may come back, eventually."
She sighed. "But it is not guaranteed."
Eglanel looked at her. "As long as she lives... did you get a sense of what has befallen her?"
The healer shuddered, recalling the images she had seen in Lindarwen's mind, still vivid in her own.
"Whoever it was, in Moria, was attempting to corrupt her body in the same way the yrch in Moria are corrupted." She fell silent, unable to speak on for a moment.
"If she succumbs to this..."
The elf-lord looked at her in shock. "Her spirit and soul will vanish and be replaced... is that what you mean?"
She nodded. A silence fell over the room as she let Eglanel consider what had been said.
"Lord Eglanel..."
She looked at him, speaking slowly and precisely to make him listen up despite his grief.
"When I went to war, I asked one in my trust to kill me, if my body or mind would become corrupted by the shadow. Surely you have done the same, with the one you love."
He laughed harshly. "The one I love... no." He looked pained for a moment. "No. There is no such contract."
The healer looked at Eglanel questioningly for a moment, then continued. "Nevertheless... if we do not find a cure, her body shall be taken over by the corruption, her spirit destroyed. Before this happens.. either Lord Elrond or I will kill her."
She put a hand on Lord Eglanel's shoulder. "We shall do it with mercy, and not before we have tried every possible way... but we shall do so, if it must be done. Do you give your permission?"
He looked at her, his mind racing. "Corrupted... surely you do not mean... no, they were gone when Angband fell, were they not?"
Nimlith shrugged. At the moment, she had a different concern than speculating on the reason for the disease. "We need your approval, Lord."
He clenched his fists, nodded.
"Of course... before her spirit is destroyed forever, to release it to Valinor..."
He faltered. "Tell me not before it is done, for I would but hinder you."
She nodded understandingly. "Let me assure you that I will not do anything before I am sure nothing more can be done. But I shall not let her suffer in... a body corrupted."
Again, the healer suppressed a shudder. Suddenly she looked small, and very old.
Eglanel looked at the elf as if seeing her for the first time since he had learned the news. He struggled to find the appropriate words.
"Thank you, Lady, for what you have done... and may have to do. I am sorry to have put this burden on you."
She nodded, and straightened herself again. Her face returned to its normal calmness, and she looked him in the eyes as before. "Think nothing of it. It is my duty."
"It should be mine..."
She shook her head, speaking clearly and decidedly. "No, it should not. It cannot be asked of you. The bonds of kin... they go deeper, and may stay your hand when the time is at hand. It is our duty as healers, and the reason we forgo bonds to kin."
He allowed himself a light smile, wondering at his friend. "It must be lonely."
"I have never known another life." She shrugged the question off lightly. "Perhaps, when the shadow has passed, I shall... not now."
She looked away, her voice fading. Again, silence descended.

Suddenly Eglanel started to pace around in the room, picking up things and throwing them into his bag, his mind already wandering dark roads. "Mordor... I must go to Mordor, to wrest the cure from the enemy."
Nimlith looked at her friend gravely.
"My friend... do not go to Mordor yet. You are needed elsewhere."
"If there is no other choice... then I must. For her, and for me."
"Perhaps not. But there may yet be clues in the area that she was found in. Rituals, a source of the poison. It is a strange poison, like to the one that is corrupting or trees, but acting on our kind instead."
He paused in his packing, looking across the room at her. "Khazad-D?m, then... the Flaming Deeps. But what should I look for, if I may not even recognize it if I see it?"
She shrugged.
"I have no advice for you. Safe this: do not go into Khazad-D?m alone. If you do..."
"I will die." The Elf laughed harshly. "I know. Lord Elrond has already told me."
She nodded calmly. "Yes. If you go to Khazad-D?m, you will die."
"Then what do you suggest?"
The healer sighed. "I say neither yea nor nay. I cannot give you good advice in this matter. It is your decision."
"Please... as my friend, what would you advise?"
"There is no good decision." She looked away, speaking not to her friend but to the air. "Yes: I would advise you to wait, research in Lord Elrond's library, and... prepare for her death. But you shall not do that."
He nodded grimly. "No. If there is any hope of finding a cure... I must go."
She had expected that answer. "Then I shall tell you this: there is little chance for you to find a cure for your sister, even if you should return alive. If you go alone, you will not return, and both of you will be lost. And if you do not... who knows what the price will be?" She stopped herself. "No... I shall not say more."
He hung his head. "Then Lindarwen is doomed?"
"There is always hope." Again, Nimlith put a hand on the Lord's shoulder. "You spoke of love before. Hold on to it, for it is the light of hope that shall lead us through the shadow."
"I... thank you."
Giving a curt bow, she turned to go. "I am sorry I could not be the bearer of better news, tonight."
He smiled and walked up to her, embracing her in friendship. "You have done more than you can imagine... Farewell, my friend."
"Farewell." Smiling back, the healer returned the hug briefly, then stepped away from him towards the door. For a moment, it seemed like she wished to wish him luck, but then thought better of it.
"And may the stars shine on your road."
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