She stands at the riverbank looking after the Fellowship long after they have floated out of sight. I walk to her and see the look she never lets anyone else see; the look of one who will not be defeated but who is exhausted. I remember the first time I saw that look. It was Outside of Doriath when Thingol had his guard escort her and her brothers to the border of the land after he learned of the kinslaying. She had held her pride and the regal bearing of the queen we all knew she wished to be until the guards turned to return to my city and her brothers turned to tend the horses. I did not turn. I saw the armor removed. I saw the woman within it. I did then as I do now; I walk behind her and pull her close to me. She leans against me, as I will strength to her. I take her hand, squeeze it, and turn her toward her people and as she did then, she walks proudly.
I remember when I first saw that walk. When she swept into the Throne Room for the first time, formally presented to the Court in Doriath, Thingol's realm. Tall as I; beautiful as a Maia, rival to Melian my Queen; stately as the Royal Guards marching, all knew she would be great.
I remember Melian taking her as apprentice. Many said it was to assure that Melian could watch her, my opinion of Melian is higher than that, she saw My Lady's future and wished to assure it. They became as sisters and as sisters sometimes they fought. The first time they did so in public all drew back from them as from a battle of balrogs. I was surprised to see that the points of My Lady's ears turned red when she was angry.
I remember when My Lady and our daughter argued. I do not know if I was prouder of Celebrian for the skill she showed when she became old enough to join the Council or for her ability to avoid her mother's domination without loosing her mother's love. Once the level of argument between then exceeded the levels the My Lady reached with Melian, with Celebrian respectfully and determinedly insisting the East border needed the reinforcement while My Lady insisting on the South. The entire Household was becoming upset. I tried to calm the fire by applying a bucket of water to the dispute. While it was successful, I never attempted it again. Being faced by two tall, wet, angry Eleven princesses and four bright red ear tips was too much of a strain on my diplomatic skills.
She is still sad as we enter the Great Room for the evening's songs. She had not really been paying attention to where I was taking her so she was surprised that we would attend. I knew how much it would help calm her but I was not surprised when she took me to an alcove to ask why I had brought her here. Before she could speak I drew up to my full regal bearing, ... and burped. She gave a shocked look, then a disgusted look, then her most Queenly stare, ... and burped back, and smiled.
I remember the first time I used that means to calm her. During our time in Eregion some relatively minor problem in the realm kept reappearing and coming before us. She was getting more and more undone by the issue and getting mad at the Steward who could not deal with it. When she finally got around to getting mad at me for not getting as mad as she was she asked if I knew how important this matter was. I used a talent hidden since childhood to demonstrate how unimportant this matter was, and she had understood me perfectly. She used a similar, surprising talent to answer me The Steward was spared her anger, but not my instruction.
My lady has brought a darkness and a trouble to my mind. She now wants to go to the West.
As she relaxes and begins to truly enjoy the poetry and music she becomes even lovelier, and I remember. I remember her bravery when the Dark Lord drove us from Eregion. I remember how she inspired the other fugitives to rebuild their lives. I remember how well she rules Lorien.
At the end of the song, we return to our sleeping chamber. I remember:
After Celebrain was born My Lady seemed tired longer than many other ner after birthing. She did not want to perform any duties or pleasures. The healers assured me that some ner just take longer and that I should let her rest. One night when she was asleep Celebrian needed changing. I decided to do it rather than wake her or her attendant. The process was slightly more difficult than I expected, though Celebrain was cooperative. After Celebrain and I had finally reached an agreement that she would stop moving so the diaper would not fall off and I would no longer attempt to pin it to her skin I picked her up and turned to put her back in her cradle, and looked to see my lady quietly laughing at us. In some strange way we cured her tiredness.
Soon after our chambers at Lorien were completed, we were standing on the grand stair looking at the beauty of the trees when I saw my lady looking at a gentle slope with a pile of leaves at the bottom of it. She looked at me, raised an eyebrow, and nodded. Seconds later I was sitting in the pile of leaves after rolling down the slope. My Lady landed on top of me an instant later.
In the first years of our keeping of Lorien My Lady wood become sad and, considering herself too old and noble to cry, she would indulge in wine, very much wine. She began to gain a name amid some of our people for this. One night, I matched her cup for cup until she passed out from her indulgence. She recovered after two days and never forgave me for getting her so drunk, but she never was as drunk publicly again. And she never noticed that I half-filled my cup with water before I poured in the wine.
My lady has brought a darkness and a trouble to my mind. She now wants to go to the West, and I must decide if I will go with her.
Tonight, My Lady climbs into bed first and holds her arms out to me. I lie so she can rest her head on my chest, her hand on my shoulder. I remember the first time I spoke the name I had chosen for her, the one that so fit her, soft and gentle as is the part of her she never shows to another. Later she told me she felt as though the Valar were saying a blessing to her when she heard it.
I remember long before that day, the first time I walked beside her without talking. I realized that the sound of her dress rustling as she walked was different from the sound any other ner created.
As she relaxes against me and I began to become lost in the smell of her, I gently hold the wrist on the hand with Narya on it and raise what protection I can against the darkness that presses on her mind. I do not know if it has any effect but I feel her slip into the dream-rest of our people.
We get up in the mornings and have breakfast in our bedroom. Usually we discuss appointments and plans. Sometimes, for no reason I can remember, we laugh at each other. Today is one of the laughing days. I never remember what starts our silliness; today part of it is release from the worries of yesterday. Even as she leaves my lady whispers my name and walks out giggling.
I do not have to remember, for I constantly ask, my question as to why I am here. It is meet and right that I should rule, I am Thingol's nearest living relative and his heir, but that she should choose me to rule with her amazes me. Even more amazing is, not that I love her but that she loves me back and that this terrible, beautiful Noldorian who would still be Queen seeks rest and comfort in my arms. She who demanded nothing but the greatest took me as great.
My Lady has brought a darkness and a trouble to my mind. My memories have brought light to that darkness and the trouble is gone. I know with foresight that My Lady will return to Valinor when this war is over. She has passed her greatest test; there is nothing here for her now. I, too, have passed my greatest test. I will stay in Middle-Earth; this is my home and my reign is here. I must work to repair the hurt done here over these ages and prepare it for those Elfs who will stay and for those Men who come after. But more than Middle-Earth I love My Lady and must be with her. I will be that which I was created to be, the Elf next to Galadriel. Some day I too will diminish, and go to the West, and remain Celeborn.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.