3. Nothing Gold Can Stay? by Starlight
"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay."
(Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost)
He had seen it in his mind's eye: his wife, her beauty heightened by the assurance of absolute power; her confidence unshaken through the forgetting of the past in utter certainty of the future; her skills perfected by the melding of her soul with that of another-- a stranger, not himself; her mind finally satisfied with the knowledge of all she had always pursued.
And himself, a thrall-- enthralled anew by her beauty, self-assurance, charm, kindness, wit-- until it all shattered in a heap of unfulfilled longings and promises lost to fear, consumed in the fire of greed and pride.
Power may not always be harmful.
True, he had conceded, for power wielded to help, to bless, was honorable and noble.
True, she had conceded. For not all beings grow at one rate; love, skill, patience are needed to help some reach full stature.
True, he had conceded. But, who decides who needs help? What is each being's full stature?
There all debate ended.
Their union had brought them completeness, one supplying where the other lacked; her keenness refining his notions, his steadfastness tempering her fire. Her choice would force choice upon him... had he the will to make it?
His knowledge of her fea told him, unmistakably, that the test had come. He had awoken with a start, the strings of their bond tugging fiercely every which way, pulling him, twisting him, binding him tighter.
"Hold on, Love," he pleaded. For, if you fall, my strength may not avail but to fall deeper with you.
When she finally returns, he is waiting, grim-faced, frightened.
"Who are you?" he asks through dry lips.
She smiles, looks him in the eye.
As they embrace, relieved, grateful, he remembers it was not her beauty that first dazzled him, but her strength.
"I pass the test... I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel." (The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien)
"All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
(Pied Beauty, Gerard Manley Hopkins)
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.