At last, Aragorn tells them they have to press on.
They walk down the Dimrill Stair to the Mirrowmere, a dark, clear lake that reflects the sky rather than the people peering into it.
The Company follows the River Silverlode toward the woods of Lothlórien; it is "the fairest of all the dwellings" (2.6.19) of the Elves.
As the Company hurries to Lothlórien, Frodo and Sam start to fall behind.
Frodo is finding it hard to breathe.
Aragorn apologizes to Frodo and Sam for not tending to them earlier.
Sam has a shallow cut on his forehead that is beginning to get infected.
When Aragorn treats Frodo's injury, he finds the mithril coat that Bilbo gave him; Gimli is pretty impressed at the mail coat's quality.
Underneath the mail is a deep bruise, which Aragorn soothes with some athelas.
Then Aragorn tells Frodo to put the mail back on – it's the best protection he can have.
That night, there is no sign that Orcs are pursuing them, but Frodo can still hear the padding of footsteps, as he heard in Moria.
They arrive at the edge of the Golden Wood, Lothlórien.
Legolas says that there "is a secret power here that holds evil from the land. Nevertheless its folk are seldom seen, and maybe they dwell now deep in the woods and far from the northern border" (2.6.48).
Aragorn agrees, and they decide to make camp.
Boromir does not want to go to Lothlórien. He wants a straightforward road.
Aragorn assures Boromir that the only evil in Lothlórien is what people bring with them.
About a mile into the forest, they find another stream: the Nimrodel.
The stream seems to wash Frodo's aches and pains away from him. Nice.
They ford the Nimrodel, sit down for a bite to eat, and for something completely different, Legolas sings a song. This time, it's about Nimrodel, the elven maid.
They decide to spend the night in the tree-tops for safety.
Legolas climbs up, but a voice suddenly stops him: "Daro!" (2.6.72). The voices are coming from the trees.
They speak to Legolas in an Elven language that Frodo cannot understand. They ask Legolas to climb up with Frodo, since they have some news of his journey.
Frodo climbs up to a platform in the trees, where an Elf, Haldir, greets him.
Legolas says there are eight in the Company (besides Frodo), one of whom is a Dwarf.
After a consultation, the Elves agree to allow Gimli into Lothlórien as long as he consents to wear a blindfold.
As the Company sleeps in their trees, a gray-hooded Elf suddenly appears and says, "Yrch!" (2.6.100) – Orcs!
They are searching around the trees for the Company.
The Orcs eventually move away, but Frodo is still aware of something out there sniffing at the tree.
He sees something, which suddenly darts away, and then Haldir comes climbing up the tree. He notes that there is something nearby, and it's Orc.
The Orcs will be killed by his people in the forest, he asserts. They can proceed with their journey the next morning.
The next day, Frodo and Company leave the Nimrodel behind and begin walking along the fast-rushing River Celebrant.
They must cross the river on a thin rope bridge.
Haldir tells them that no strangers are allowed to see the secrets of the Naith (or Gore) of Lórien.
(A "gore" in this case is a triangular piece of land; Haldir means the triangle made between the Silverlode and Anduin rivers.)
Haldir demands that Gimli go forward blindfolded from now on, and that the others must be blindfolded once they reach the Angle of the Gore, Eglandil.
Gimli stubbornly insists that he won't be treated any differently than the others.
Haldir tells him he can't go back, either: now that he's come this far, he has to see the Lord and the Lady.
Aragorn decides that they will all be blindfolded, even Legolas, to show solidarity.
As Frodo walks through the Naith, even though he can't see anything, he feels that he has entered the lost world of the Elder Days.
They march all day until they meet a company of Elves, who reassure them that the Orcs from the Mines of Moria who made it to the forest have been destroyed.
Even better, the Lady of Lothlórien has decided that they can all walk without their blindfolds, even Gimli.
Haldir removes the Company's blindfolds, and they look in wonder around the forest of Lothlórien. They have reached Cerin Amroth, the heart of Lothlórien.
Frodo sees that there is no blemish or darkness in this land.
Together, they all climb upwards to look out over the realm.
Haldir shows them distant Dol Guldur, in Southern Mirkwood, where the dark power has taken hold again.
When Frodo and Sam descend, they find Aragorn holding a yellow elanor flower and smiling.
He is thinking of Arwen.
Aragorn says that the heart of Elvendom in Middle-earth is here.
He takes Frodo's hand, and together they walk away from the hill of Cerin Amroth.