8. Come What May
Two hours later, Celeborn watched the retreating figure in grey as he strode from the Lady's Garden. The Lord of Lothlorien struggled to contain his rage.
"Curunir may be a traitor, but his assessment of your old friend Mithrandir has never rung more truly than on this day," he said bitterly, when the Grey Wizard was well beyond hearing, "As the White Wizard has said, it seems to please the Grey Pilgrim to use others as tools, and when their usefulness to him has passed, he drops them and moves on."
Galadriel looked at him and frowned. "Such words could be said of any who wield power; it could be said of you, husband...or of your wife. If what you say of Mithrandir is true...and I do not say I agree it is...think you, truly, that such actions bring him pleasure?"
"He is willfully abandoning us to our fate!" Celeborn hissed. "He alone has the power to stop this…"
"Nay, you are mistaken. He may have been able to alter the fate of which he has warned us, had things gone otherwise…and only, I suspect, by paying a very steep price. And you are mistaken that he alone has such a power. Do you forget that another has done so? Perhaps he shall repeat his famous deed."
The Lord of Lothlorien sniffed. "He is not here. He will only have such an opportunity once all we have built is destroyed."
"We knew we would be a target in the coming war…"
"Yes, but we knew not that what would assail us cannot be overcome!"
"What we have built is not Mithrandir's task to protect. His responsibility is elsewhere."
Celeborn looked up and stared stonily at her. "Then our fate is sealed. He leaves us to defend against the indefensible, while he flees from peril..."
She stared back steadily. His eyes dropped, and he scowled at the ground; but he said nothing. Galadriel's fierce gaze relented as she went on softly.
"It is not granted to me to see what images come to another's eyes in my Mirror, husband. But that does not mean that I do not see. I have seen a glimpse of the road he plans to take. He does not flee from peril, or abandon his task. He goes to fulfill it."
Celeborn turned suddenly and strode swiftly to the bench where Galadriel sat, and knelt at her side. "Then you must go at once, my love…"
"And leave your side, beloved?" she said sadly, as she reached out to stroke his cheek. "I belong here, with you…"
"No!" he cried hoarsely, grasping her hand. "Go to Imladris! Take our granddaughter with you, to the Havens…"
"The way is yet closed to me, Celeborn. They would refuse me, and because I was with her, the way would be blocked to Arwen. No, my dearest. She and I both have chosen. The choice cannot be unmade when the way becomes harrowing. My fate is entwined with yours, as hers is with her betrothed, come what may. As she must await him, so must I remain by your side."
"It is too cruel! In the end, to be undone, by what Dwarves reawakened…"
"Blame them not for what they did not make. The blame lies at the feet of Morgoth, and his Chief Servant, whose device stirs all creatures of darkness in these final days of reckoning."
He drew in a slow deep breath. "We must prepare, then, as best as we can."
"Yes, and send messages to our brethren. We will face whatever comes, side by side, as we have through the Ages." She smiled, and it seemed to Celeborn that her face suddenly shone with the light of a young elleth of a far off Spring. "Perhaps it is time that I earned the name my mother gave me, at last."
He smiled sadly in return, and rising, he sat beside her on the bench and wrapped his arms about her. "Dearest Nerwen… If Eärwen so named thee for thy courage, thou hast already earned it a thousand-fold, long ago."
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.