I'm sorry for the long wait; it took me a while to be sure how I wanted to continue this story. As a side warning, I jumped a few scenes as it would have taken too long to elaborate them all.
It was dark; deep night having fallen upon the woods in which they now walked. Yet they had not gone more than a mile into the forest that they came upon another stream flowing down swiftly from the tree-clad slopes towards the mountains. They had heard it before they saw it, now still they heard more than saw it splashing over a fall away among the shadows on their right. The waters were dark and hurrying as it joined the Silverlode in a swirl of dim pools among the roots of trees.
"Here is Nimrodel!" Legolas exclaimed while the Company stood before its shore uncertain, "Of this stream the Silvan Elves made many songs long ago, and still we sing them in the North, remembering the rainbow on its falls." He urged them to follow his example and to bathe their feet in its stream.
One by one they climbed down and did as the elf bade them. Faramir walked slowly into the waters. It was cool through his clothing and cold onto his feet yet it was clean. It eased his tired limbs and lightened some of the burden which rested upon his shoulders. When he had crossed he felt as if the stain upon him and the weariness had been washed away and he was glad.
They sat and rested and ate a little food; and Legolas told them tales of Lothlórien that the Elves of Mirkwood still kept in their hearts. He sang them the song of Nimrodel, the maiden which had given her name and her voice to the stream. He told of the tale of how Nimrodel was lost in the passes of the White Mountains and Amroth, Nimrodel beloved who still waited for her by the sea.
While he spoke Faramir gazed at the flowing waters and listened to its voice singing out to them. He knew then, as sometimes the knowledge was bestowed upon him, that none of them would ever seat near Nimrodel again nor would their ears catch the sounds of the elven maid voice. Dread overcame him, bringing back the burden of sorrow which had been lightened and he rose calling out to the others.
"Let us make haste, we have sat here already longer than is wise."
Aragorn looked up at him, holding his gaze for a moment before nodding and rising. "We shall follow the counsel of Gimli. Let us do as the Galadhrum and seek refuge in the tree-tops if we can. Building a house shall be beyond us but it would grant us safety."
"Go now!" said Celeborn. "You are worn with sorrow and much toil. Even if your Quest did not concern us closely, you should have refuge in this City, until you were healed and refreshed. Now you shall rest, and we will not speak of your further road for a while."
The Company went, walking slowly, still dazed from the Lady's gaze and beauty. The Elves spread for them a pavilion among the tress near the fountain, and in it they laid soft couches. For a little while the Company just sat and lied there. Then they spoke. They talked of their night before, of their day's journey, and of the Lord and the Lady. They did not mention the days before that, as grief hung still too heavily upon their minds.
Faramir listened more than he talked, as the hobbits exchanged their impressions of the Lady Galadriel. He too, had been offered what his heart desired in his mind, yet sadly there had been no peace involved. He had been born under Mordor's everlasting shadow and he had grown up seeing it stretch further and closer to his home. Peace seemed to have vanished, taking hope with her.
His heart was troubled. Since more than three months now had he left his home behind. While he hadn't dared hope for any news from his homeland, it still weighted heavily upon his mind and his heart. For now two paths lay open before him, a choice in which before he had been able to relay upon Gandalf. He had meant to follow his King to Gondor and be of any help possible there. Yet now that Aragorn was leading the Company, none knew what was to happen. Would his King still turn towards Gondor or towards Mount Doom?
Further his thoughts turned to himself. Would he follow his King into Mordor? He longed to gaze at the White City one last time and to fight under its flying banner, but who knew where his path would lead him. Even the Lady had left him a choice, not an order, even less advice.
Nights and days passed in the fair Lothlórien, how many none could truly say. One evening both Sam and Frodo failed to come back at to their camp, and while he knew no danger could bypass the borders of Lórien, Faramir still rose to search for them.
There had been no need as he saw them nearly immediately, Frodo walking a step behind Sam, his head bowed in thought. Faramir knew then that it was time to leave the green grass and trees of Lothlórien and turn again towards their journey.
Ten days ago they had departed. None of the Company had risen to the offer of the Lady to stay in Lórien; all choosing to continue, where to still undefined. Amon Lhaw lay upon the left side while Amon Hen onto their right. They could go no further without choice between the east-way and the west. The last stage of the Quest was before them.
Night fell, allowing them to rest, followed by the rise of the sun, at first low in the east before it rose high and clear above them. When they had eaten Aragorn called the Company together. The topic which he addressed had been heavy upon them all, ever since the Lady's words. When Aragorn had spoken silence befell them. Not only had they been placed before a choice, time was working against them. Their decision should come fast.
Finally, Aragorn turned to Frodo. They all understood that this was the Ringbearer's choice and nobody else's. As Aragorn spoke the rest gazed at the seated hobbit, kindness, pity, and worry reflecting upon their faces. All wondered at the path Frodo would settle for.
He did not answered at once and when he spoke it was slowly and wearily, "I know that haste is needed, yet I cannot choose. The burden is heavy. Give me an hour longer and I will speak. Let me be alone!"
Aragorn gave him the hour demanded and all of the Company took their eyes off the Ringbearer, conscious that it was an unfairly placed burden if a necessary one. Presently Frodo got up and walked away, passing out of sight in the trees at the foot of Amon Hen.
The others remained where they were, some standing and pacing while most sat. Slowly though, they gathered in a circle, at first avoiding to speak then. Then, attempting to ease their minds, they questioned Faramir and Aragorn about the realm of Gondor. It was a wane effort; soon their words turned around and came back to the matter at hand.
Listening with growing unease as the others offered their interpretation; Faramir could do little to help. There was no doubt in him that there was no hope left in Minas Tirith. The Ring would bring destruction among the men not salvation. Its powers were darker than most would believe and if the wisest of Middle Earth wished to see it destroyed then there were reasons behind such judgment. Yet not all would listen to the words spoken of an Elfen Lord in Imladris and those of a wizard rumored to bring ill news in already ill times.
It was as Sam suddenly spoke up that all of their attention gathered. His words ran true. If anything stood between Frodo and his decision, it was fear.
Away in the middle of trees, not completely aware of the discussion being held, yet not oblivious to it either Frodo sat. His eyes gazed straight ahead while seeing nothing. His mind was in Imladris alongside Bilbo, in the Shire, at Gandalf's side. No true comfort came from those memories though; there was no hidden clue, nor message. There truly was only one way. He would go to Mordor. Alone.
Yet he did not move. Fear had him rooted. Once he stood it would be the end of the Company. He would not burden anyone else with his task. How could he walk back to the others and tell them his decision? They had walked with him, fought alongside each other for him. Beyond the fear of the Ring, of Mordor, of Sauron and the forces he commanded, there lingered another deeper, darker fear.
The Ring. Always so heavy upon its chain, it was a constant beautiful reminder of his own weakness and the weakness of the men around him. It would not ceases to attempt luring one of his companions into its grasp. Who could truly say what powers it would develop back under the shadow of its true master?
Frodo knew he would go alone. Alone, into Mordor.