Celeborn and Galadriel
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Silver and Gold : 4. Chapter 4
“There you are, Galadriel,” Finrod
greeted, taking her by the hands and whirling her around. Galadriel laughed. What put him in such a good mood? “And how did you find Doriath?”
she answered, smiling. “And did Menegroth
live up to your standards?”
Finrod admitted with a grin. “There are
a few things I’ll do differently.”
that’s optimistic, isn’t it?” Galadriel replied, returning his grin with a
cynical twist that his lacked. “That’s
assuming you can find an appropriate site.
And assuming our people are willing to follow you.”
waved off these details. “Yes, yes, and
assuming that Varda’s stars don’t come loose from the heavens and knock me out
the Lady’s retribution,” Galadriel teased with a small, wry smile.
laughed. “Well my Galadriel, how would
you feel about another journey into Doriath?” he inquired.
naturally. Why do you ask?” She narrowed her eyes slightly at him.
shrugged. “Thingol has a mind to show
me the system of border sentries, and I’d like to see it. Would Milady care to join us?” he concluded
with a gently teasing smile.
would,” she retorted. “I’m curious to
see how the system that passed us along so efficiently when we arrived
works. I however, may not recommend any
improvements with which to offend my host,” she stated, raising her eyebrows at
we can’t expect the most beautiful of the children of Finarfin to also
be the most intelligent,” he replied, patting her cheek, eyes sparkling with
leveled a look at him best described as “dangerous.”
hurriedly looked up at Celeborn, who’d followed Galadriel into the hall a few
steps behind. “Er…will you be joining
us then, Master Celeborn?” he asked, changing the subject.
borders?” Celeborn asked, voice impassive.
“Would you like me to?”
smiled. “Please, if Luthien can make do
without her tutor for a few days. And
I’m sure that you know many more beautiful parts of the forest.”
raised an eyebrow, which Galadriel missed, as she was smiling at Celeborn.
her smile. “I do at that. I’d be
pleased to accompany you.”
then, Galadriel you should get changed.
That dress is not very sensible for traveling,” Finrod pointed
blinked. “We’re going now?”
blinked back. “Yes?”
his blade a disdainful look and leaned to wipe it on the closest limp
form. After that, he wiped it on the
grass. When he could, he’d clean it
more thoroughly. Nothing stained bright
Elvish steel like black orc blood. He
glanced around to take stock of the damages.
Thingol, unscathed, was attending his own blade. One of the sentries was nursing a strained
wrist, and Galadriel wiped sweat from her brow with the back of her
forearm. Finrod blinked. Someone was missing….
Celeborn?” he asked, looking back around quickly.
shrugged. “He tends to disappear after
battles like these. Not a bad hand with
a sword, but I think he has a bit of a weak stomach.”
sentries chuckled, and Galadriel glared at them as she passed.
Finrod asked, blinking. “Where…”
back,” she assured him, not looking back to answer him.
have to wander far before she found him, seated at the base of a tree, one of
his knees pulled up to his chest, and his head resting against it. His blade lay out of his sight among the
tangled roots. He looked up at her
approach, his face ashen-pale.
are you all…”
back,” he interrupted before she took a step closer.
I’m going to be ill.”
rooted on the spot until he lurched to his knees, and laid his white-knuckled
fist on the rough bark of the tree he’d chosen as his comfort.
moment though, she hurried forward to gather his silver hair loosely and hold
it in safety behind his head. Before
she was quite aware of it, she began softly rubbing his back and murmuring comforting
straightened, she carefully helped him to his feet. “Come on, let’s get you some water,” she suggested, leading him
towards the stream. Celeborn obeyed,
his face still pale, but lacking the grayish cast. She sat him down by the stream, and he leaned over and filled his
cupped hands with the clean water, infused with moonlight.
hurt at all, are you?” she asked politely.
his head. “No.”
nodded. “Galadriel, I…”
don’t have to explain. I know exactly
how you feel. Orcs make me want to be
ill as well,” she interrupted hurriedly.
And some just aren’t meant to be warriors, no matter how intelligent
and skilled they are.
that exactly,” he replied, staring out over the stream. He turned his face back to her. “Have you ever …looked one in the eye? Just as your sword slid through it?” He closed his own eyes.
seeing that kind of cruelty and evil…”
his head. “I don’t know how to explain
this, and I pray to Iluvatar you never have to see it yourself.”
she asked, baffled.
He took a
deep shuddering breath. “I was a little
more than a child the first time I slew an orc,” he told her, staring at his
hands. “I was good with a sword, and
Thingol sent me with one of the border parties. There was a skirmish…much like this one. Completely routine - the sentries weren’t
even concerned. Orcs came with border
duty. So they sent me out, a fresh
young warrior eager to defend his home with his blade.” Celeborn shook his head with a rueful smile.
watched him intently, waiting for more.
about them of course, and even seen illustrations. Nothing could have prepared me for seeing them,
though. They made my flesh creep. I just … wanted to make them go away. All of them.”
“Celeborn, I think we all know
that feeling,” Galadriel admitted, putting her hand gently on his, and
shuddering a little as she tried to free her mind of the image of the orc she’d
killed, with its wretched, cracked and blackened skin, and its twisted, bent
stature of one tall forced down by some unthinkable weight.
“The first kill
was so easy. My sword slid right
through it, but just as I was about to pull my weapon free, it…latched onto
it. And I looked right down into its
horrible, twisted face, leering at me, and its hollow eyes…” He looked up at her, grey eyes deep, and
full of pain. “I saw gratitude.”
silent, Galadriel twined her fingers with his and held his hand a little
their clasped hands, Celeborn went on.
“And I saw myself.”
let her grip slacken. “Orcs are
creatures of Morgoth, Celeborn,” she said coldly.
children of Iluvatar, no different than us.”
even making sense.”
I? Morgoth cannot make his own race of
children any more than Aulë could.
Morgoth can only twist what Iluvatar made.”
“I know that,
Celeborn,” Galadriel said tightly. “I’m
as well read in lore as you. Are you suggesting,”
she continued, “that the Halls of Mandos are full of those … creatures?” Her tone was scornful. “Whatever they originally were, they have long
since ceased to be our kindred.”
suggesting,” Celeborn replied quietly, “that nothing Morgoth could do would ever
shake Iluvatar’s love for his children, or his compassion for their
misery. And I wonder…if the newest
child of an orc looks any different than the children of the Elves.”
to silence him. Strike him or scorn him
or anything that would make that abysmal, shining truth stop. But some things were stronger even than the
will of the daughter of Finarfin.
didn’t you ever wonder why orcs are so easy to kill? They want to die…”
She stared at him. His beautiful face reflected a painful mixture of compassion and
revulsion, even as he thought about it.
“And I give
them what they want,” Celeborn murmured numbly. “Iluvatar help me, I give them what they want.”
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