After spreading a blanket over the flower-decked grass in the glade, I kneel to unwrap the still-warm pastries tucked within the food basket.
"Ahhhh!" Mithrandir approaches from the burbling brookside — deserted just moments before. "Some treats are worth temporary confinement to a body... the heady fragrance of your spiced nut-cakes among them. One of the more ingenious melodies in the Song."
"Nonsense!" I retort, hiding a grin. "I merely improvised one day when the proper ingredients were unavailable... and my family preferred the result."
His mirth resounds throughout the meadow. "Never doubt the subtlety and sheer slyness of Ilúvatar's designs!"
Pretending to use my napkin decorously — while discreetly licking the last crumbs from my fingertips — I thank Celebrían.
"I am glad you received my message, Mithrandir, despite the unusual couriers."
"Yes," I chuckle. "The Súruli teased me mercilessly about a cryptic invitation to share the pleasures of the flesh...." She snorts indelicately. "I finally extracted a hint about nut-cakes, revealing you to be the mysterious sender. Yours are the finest in all of Arda!"
Wistfully, she smiles. "Elladan often said so."
At last! "And how fares your family here, dear lady?"
"Elrond is slowly mending, but... I worry about Mother."
As Celebrían unfolds her concerns about Galadriel, I marvel anew at the resolve of this deceptively soft-spoken mother.
Despite her sufferings in Middle-earth, sorrow for a daughter's loss, and lingering uncertainty over reunion with her sons, she still places the well-being of dear ones before her own. Much as she did when she tore herself away from her beloved home — although holding scant hope of healing here — so her family would not witness her fading....
Even had she not so often welcomed and succoured me graciously at Imladris, I would do all within my power to aid this courageous lady.