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Story [Tolkien] "The Histories Shall Say", DDC 2014, Celebrían's diary, Entry 30 up 1/06!

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade , Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    the histories shall say”

    Fandom: J. R. R. Tolkien's 'Silmarillion', 'The Lord of the Rings', and other histories of Middle-earth.
    Genre: Drama, Romance
    Rating: PG

    Summary: During the long voyage West, Celebrían records her story for those in Valinor who will wish to hear it. Filling the pages before her was better than focusing on what she left behind her, at the very least.

    Author's Notes: This year, for the Dear Diary Challenge 2014, I am tackling the diary of Celebrían. (The daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn, wife of Elrond and mother of Arwen, for anyone not familiar with Tolkien's books. :)) This story will focus on the middle parts of the Second Age, when the Rings of Power were forged and Sauron waged war against the Elves of Eregion for possession of those Rings. Theoretically, I would like to get all the way through the War of the Last Alliance and the dawn of the Third Age, but I don't know if this year will give me enough time for all of that – I have so many ideas planned, and this is looking to be a bit of an epic as a result. 8-}:oops: So! I may just have to do another diary next year and carry the story on - ambitious, I know, seeing as how I haven't finished this one yet - but! Plans and goals, they are a good thing, no? ;)

    To anyone who is interested, I am taking the contents for this story from both the chapter 'The Forging of the Rings of Power in the Second Age' in the Silmarillion and the Tale of Galadriel and Celeborn from the Unfinished Tales. This time period and the exact history of these characters is rather fractured, told in numerous bits and pieces, but I am trying my best to string this story together while staying as true to canon as I may. I will include notes as I go, but if anyone has any questions about anything in particular, feel free to ask – I always love a good chat. ;)

    Now, that said, lets get started! :cool: [face_dancing]

    Disclaimer: I am simply a wanderer in the Professor's world. Nothing is mine, but for the words. :)

    Entry I

    I can feel the waves as they lap against the hull of the ship.

    The sensation is soothing, a gentle up and down motion that lulls the body and fills the spirit with ease. Further on in our journey the sea may turn wild, but for now the starlit waters hold the ship as a cradle in the night. The waves heal, the current soothes; so much so that a part of me even feels the urge to rise and seek the deck beyond. Long have I loved the spray of mist against my skin, and yet, there would lie only saltwater beyond me. It would not be the bright, fresh waters of the home I have now left far behind, and I . . . I do not yet think that I can face the difference.

    A day ago, I would not have been able to walk to the door of my cabin. Now I am contemplating walking that far on my own power, and even beyond. It is a small step, but a momentous step, and I grieve that I am alone to bask in the progress of my body. It is quiet around me; too quiet. My skin itches with the silence, and my hand on the quill is unsteady. For months I had known the steady hum of my family about me at all times – my children and parents sitting with me throughout the day, and my husband awake and holding me at night so that my mind would not torment me with dreams . . . with memories. I miss Erestor and his prim flutterings about my rooms, making sure that I had all that could possibly grant me comfort. I miss Lindir 'conveniently' practicing his newest compositions on the balcony beneath my own so that I always had music to hear . . . even when my mind was far from listening. I miss Glorfindel and his smiles; his easy humor and terrible jokes, each quip turning more and more ridiculous as he tried to snare my own joy in return. But, no matter how he tried to give me smiles, I could see his worry as it dimmed his Valinor-brightened eyes. Eyes that I will so dearly miss . . .

    Now, they are gone and all I hold of them are the reminders that decorate the small table before me. Closest to me, its pages waiting beneath the swaying lantern above, there is an empty journal of parchment. Erestor was kind enough to include it, anticipating the long sea-journey and my penchant for writing my every thought down when I had the time to do so. The journal waits between gifts from my children – a wooden horse that Elladan carved for me as a child, a polished river stone that Elrohir had turned into a necklace at much the same time. There was a leather roll, protecting paintings done by Arwen in her careful hand, each capturing the likeness of all in my household - so that I would remember . . . so that I would not forget.

    I can feel my body strengthening the further and further West we sail. It had turned as a leaf towards the sun upon the quays of Mithlond, and now that we make our way towards the Straight Road, I can feel awareness once again return to my bones. A healing peace lulls my spirit, even though the brunt of that particular fight still lies before me.

    . . . is it terrible that my soul strengthens, even as I am taken from all that I have ever loved and held dear? Already I can feel the bonds tied to my fëa flicker as the waves take me. Once I pass the veil of Aman they shall break completely. The ever-warmth of my husband, the brightly colored strands of light that were my children . . . even the old and steady flames that were my parents, the first sparks to birth my soul . . . those bonds will sever. They will be past my ability to reach, sleeping like the wood in the winter until until my family too would find the waterways West.

    I . . . I have never lived without these strands about my soul. It was a thought that terrified me, everything that was instinctive in me tried to turn me away from my course, away from my path. At the flush of my fear, I could feel Elrond's spirit warm about mine. He had scarcely blinked since my ship left the harbor, and I know that he will not turn his thoughts away from me until he can feel me no more. For centuries we have existed as one, and now, to know two separate beings once more . . .

    This is not an ending, I have to tell myself - merely a parting, and yet my soul aches with the separation to come. At the thought, I could again feel Elrond's spirit as it engulfed mine, holding on as if by doing so he could cling to me even past the veils of Valinor and beyond.

    Sometimes, in my weakest moments, I wish that death had come to me in the Orc den. I wish that Elrond had not been able to heal my body so completely . . . I wish that Mandos would have taken my soul before my sons found me half-alive and too broken to even fight. Then, when my family West would someday come, they could have met me whole and healthy again, newly arisen from the Halls to learn Aman by their sides. They would never had seen me fade until I was but a shadow of she whom I used to be.

    My thoughts are like those of a small child now, afraid of the night. I turned my mind again to my husband across the distance . . . I . . . I am not strong enough to do this alone, I fear. And yet, I was not strong enough to stay in Ennor, either. I would have fallen to Mandos in time, and we had all known the truth when Mithrandir whispered that West I must go. In Lórien, the Valar could fix what was broken, and yet . . .

    Shame still fills me when I think of how I left my family. I had been like a doll on strings in the days before I was taken to the Havens. My husband and mother took turns dressing me and brushing my hair, feeding me as if I were still a helpless infant. I could respond to neither word nor touch of soul . . . my poisoned mind could not even remember the names of my family as they moved about me. My fëa recognized safety and home and warmth, and while I could take comfort from them in the basest of ways, I could offer none in return.

    To let me say my goodbyes, the Grey Maia had touched my brow and poured of his own fire into my spirit. For all of my days, I shall never have the words to phrase my gratitude for Mithrandir and his gift. For I was Celebrían again when I said my farewells. I knew the names of my family and shared in their grief. I was strong enough to walk on my own power – to kiss my husband and hold my children tight. I was aware of my father's arms around me; I could feel my mother's gentle touch against my spirit. I can feel her even now, watching and clinging even as Elrond clung. They would not leave me until the West took me, and with the whisper of that thought I could feel my mother's spirit shine as a such a warmth in my mind, offering me comfort. I let her power fill me, I let her again be a strength to me, as she has been for so very long.

    That first night at sea, I could see things on the horizon . . . I have but little of my mother's gift, being more akin to my father in temperament and talents, but the Sight of Indis had been strong with me as I saw pictures on the waves . . . reflections of a time to come.

    Someday, I knew that I would be joined in the Uttermost West. Someday I would need to be a strength for my husband as he so long was a strength for me. He would join me broken in spirit, torn apart by a war greater than any we have yet faced, and burdened by more impossible choices after a long life of such choices . . . such losses. Already I can see fracture lines about his fëa from the weight of the Ring he wears, the same as my mother bears . . . For so long I had tried to fill in those weak lines with the strength of my own spirit, but now . . . now, I was going, and what was fractured would have to someday heal, else it shatter completely. He would find me in the West, and I would then be something strong for him, a bulwark as he so often was for me. A strength I will even be for Galadriel Finarfiniel, the greatest of our people to ever walk the ground of Arda marred. Already I knew of the sea longing in my mother. the burdens on her soul and her yearning for home . . . For her too I will be a strength, for my father will not immediately seek the shores of hallowed Aman. Not when . . .

    There will be something holding them back, my father and my sons. A final farewell to two figures in shadow – a farewell I cannot see in its entirety. A part of me feels pain at the foresight - for already I knew of the turmoil in my son's souls; the violence in their hearts, the anger. Already they burn as the sons of Men burn, and I fear . . . As a mother, I already know the choice of the Firstborn to be made in Elrohir's heart. But Elladan . . . Elladan is more like Elros and Eärendil before him. His soul was hot and dry, just as those with too few of years, and already his thoughts have turned past the circles of the world more than once. As one chooses, my other son will not be far behind – down one path or the other, and I know an ache in my heart for the choice they could make. I fear . . .

    For all of the knowing what my children could possibly choose as the last of the Peredhil - the Half-elven - the thought of never seeing them again hurts more than any torment I ever suffered of body. It is a hurt that settles spirit-deep, for my kind are not made to know permanent sundering. We are not made to bear such a grief, to understand such an agony. And oh, but it is agony that I feel . . .

    I hugged my daughter goodbye on the quay, and I had somehow known that it was for the last time. Last . . . such a curious word. Last . . . an impossible idea to my mind, for not even death could sunder the spirits of the Edhil permanently. It could delay their reunion, but never could it permanently part those who loved and waited. My daughter . . . the blood of the Firstborn runs strong in her. She has the magic of the Song that bore this world in her heart, in her very soul, and where the world whispered Lúthien whenever they saw Arwen's fair likeness, my mother has often shaken her head and whispered Melian in a voice that remembered. Great would be the power given to Arwen should she choose what her heart already knew, and yet . . .

    I held her, and knew that I would never do so again. I had pressed the Elessar into her hand, whispering about sunlight never fading once remembered, as the stone was proof of, and felt as if I was speaking about something greater than even that. The stone had been Arwen's great delight as a child. Even as a babe she would forsake any other ornament I wore to touch the green gem with a solemnity that did not match a child's face. Now she was a woman in her own right, and the Elessar belonged in Middle-earth where such reminders were needed. It would be swallowed in the light of Aman, it's value and great symbolism lost.

    And I . . . I wished for something tangible for Arwen to remember me by. Perhaps what strength I have left to give will lend her courage enough to face the time to come, to be with her as the captured sunlight within.

    My hand shakes upon the quill now. My letters are quite unreadable, and yet . . .

    Sleep beckons to me. My thoughts leave me weary, but I force my eyes to remain open. Gandalf's parting gift still runs strong inside of me, and I have no intention of wasting my awareness. I have no desire to ever return to waking-nightmares. Instead I will remember, and prepare to share my story with all those who await its telling amongst my mother's family in far off Aman. I have many blank pages before me, and I intend to fill them all before my journey's end. It is a story that deserves telling, and now, I have the time alone in which to do so . . . I will not let my mind return to that black and awful place that it has swam through for so long. I will no longer let the shadow have me. I will hold on to me, I will be myself, even before the shores of Valinor greet me.

    And so . . . I begin.

    This story starts, as most stories do, with a young woman, nearly grown. A child who thought herself to be quite more than that. An Age ago, in a land that has long since been ruin and wild things. A land called Hollin, where I was born . . .

    Handy Dandy Tolkien Notes:

    Mithrandir: Gandalf's Sindarin name.
    Edhil: Sindarin term for 'Elves'.
    Ennor: Sindarin name for 'Middle-earth'.
    Aman: Another name for Valinor, the West, the Undying Lands, etc.
    Fëa: 'Soul' in Quenya.

    The Elessar: The Elfstone. There are two versions of its creation, but in each version it was created in Gondolin and carried West by Eärendil. In one version, Gandalf brought it back from Aman as a sign that the Valar had not forsaken Middle-earth. He gave it to Galadriel, but prophesied that it would not be in her possession for long before she would pass it on to another of the same name (Aragorn).

    In the second version, the one I am using here, Galadriel wearied of the decay of life in Middle-earth, homesick as she was for Aman. Upon seeing so, Celebrimbor, who is in love with her, remade a version of the jewel for her. Galadriel then passed the Elfstone on to Celebrían who in turn gave it to her daughter Arwen. And then, years later, Arwen gave the Elessar to Aragorn.

    The stone was made to capture the sun when it was much younger, so Celebrimbor's copy never had the true beauty of the original Elessar - but it still had a magic of its own. For when wearing the gem, you could see things old as young again. It was a symbol of immortal endurance and the everlasting beauty of the world, even when laying beneath shadow.

    Random Comments and RX_Sith like this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] [face_dancing] =D= How poignant and stunning and real -- I just knew this would be perfection. @};-

    I can not even imagine how hard it is to separate oneself from those one has a mental/empathic link with. :( And then to not see one of your children again, ever?! I can feel Celebrian's tender affection for her family, her incredible fortitude.

    I think a Galadriel story about her meeting with Celeborn and their history in Lothlorien would be off the chain. :D [:D]
  3. laurethiel1138

    laurethiel1138 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 6, 2003
    Oh! What a gem of a story!

    I can hardly distinguish between the many feelings this entry evoked. But over all of them prevail a bittersweet sadness mixed with relief, that Celebrian herself could have felt at this juncture in her life. A wonderful start to a diary I will follow quite closely, indeed.

    Lauré :)
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  4. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 13, 2006
    Great beginning as Celebrian begins her quest and says goodbye to her mother.
  5. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    AHHHH I'm so excited to see you doing a diary! And who cares if you carry it into next year? :p

    I'm in love with it aleady. Your writing is beautiful as always, and my heart aches for Celebrian and her family and the struggles they've been through. I can't wait to learn more about her and her world!
  6. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: [:D] You are such a gem, and an inspiration to keep on writing - I just have to tell you that! I'm glad that you liked this first glimpse, and I hope that you continue getting to know her throughout her journey. [face_love]

    laurethiel1138: Thank-you so much for the kind words! I am glad that the emotions hit where they were aimed, that is wonderful to hear as an author. And now, I hope that you continue to enjoying Celebrían's tale. [face_love]

    RX_Sith: Thank-you so very much! [:D] :)

    NYCitygurl: Why thank-you! =D= I am so excited to be telling this story - now, if I can just keep this fire going all year long. And next year too, who are we kidding? [face_laugh] ;)


    Entry II

    The sounds from the feast echoed through the ways of Ost-in-edhil.

    The day had been warm; the sweet wind seemingly dancing in time with the harps and flutes as it breezed through the holly trees. Their song seemed to play in time with the tinkling of the fountains, fed from the great Sirannon river, rushing down from the Misty Mountains just beyond. Voices sang along with the music, rising and falling throughout the day as they called to Aulë, both thanking him for our last season of craft and praying for his blessing on the season to come.

    The summer festivals had long been one of my favorite times of the year. There was such a sorrow that clung to the autumn revelries, when we would sing the land to sleep for another year; and though the spring songs to Yavanna welcomed the earth anew, there was something about the summer that captivated me. During this time of year the land was at the zenith of its bounty, and the sky was blue and clear above us, full with the warmth of the season. I knew no happier time than when the earth was filled to the bursting with its bounty and might - indeed, sometimes it seemed as if my heart was full enough to match the land around me. For joy had been simpler in that time, much simpler indeed.

    In the springtide of the Second Age, there was a land called Eregion just to the west of the Misty Mountains. At the penning of this journal, that land is now wild country, the forests having long since grown to reclaim the ruins of those who once lived there. The natural world erased the pains of an old evil, but the scars still remained in the form of broken pillars and crumbling mortar. Stones sang to travelers who passed through the lonely land, calling out in both sorrow and warning for the woes of the Elves of Eregion. Yet, once . . . once Eregion had been home to the city of Ost-in-edhil, the settlement in which I was born.

    After the War of Wrath and the defeat of the Dark Vala Morgoth, the Foe of the World, many pushed east of the mountains of Ered Luin, curious of the further lands of Ennor, now that Beleriand was no more. My father's people sought out kin that had already passed over the mountains centuries earlier, and my mother's people sought a place to carry on with their craft in peace. The last remaining followers of Fëanor gathered around his grandson Celebrimbor Curufinwion, a smith of unparalleled might, and great in his own right. Those Noldor had found it difficult to settle in Lindon beneath Gil-galad's kingship, no matter that they had no hand in the three Kinslayings, and thus, they were eager for a land of new chances and new opportunities. My mother, ever restless – especially after refusing to return home to Aman with her father after the Great War – was eager for a new beginning, and she found that new beginning in a settlement, ruled in fiefdom beneath Gil-galad the High-king.

    The Noldor craftsman of our group set up the Gwaith-i-Mírdain, the guild of jewel-smiths, and immediately devoted themselves to their work. The Sindar of our group took to the trees and high places of this new land. Some moved on across the mountains to where Amdír ruled in Lórinand, and Oropher further on in Greenwood the Great, but many of my father's followers remained – they having followed Celeborn from Doriath, to the Haves of Sirion, and then to the Isle of Balar and Lindon in its birth over the course the First Age and after. Many of the Sindar there were kin of mine, distantly related through an ever branching family tree, and I knew a love for the ways of my father's people as much as I did for the ways of my mother. Our settlement was a beautiful mixture of two cultures, blending two ways into life into one, and the lessons I learned in those days lasted with me long into my later years.

    Even though my mother's people still lived underneath the Doom of Námo as long as they stayed in Middle-earth, they still remembered the high spirits in the West, and thanked them in song during the festivals of the year. My mother was often solemn and reflective during these festivals, remembering the family and the way of life she had left behind her, while my father looked on with a tight jaw and hardened eyes. The Valar had forgotten Ennor, the land of his birth, and he had little love for the powers who seemed to have such little care for his people. Neither of my parents had great love for the Valar, but they would observe the customs of their people for their sakes. Over the years I had learned to keep myself to the roles of hostess rather than to stray near to either, they both being lost in old thoughts and old wounds as they were.

    While I could not say yes or no to my own devotion to the Valar, I did enjoy the excuse to revel. It was a good thing to see this people – a people who had lived through and endured so much devastation and heartache – laugh and sing in easy bliss and simple joy. So far, the fourteen centuries of the Second Age had been kind to us, and I knew that I was fortunate to have been born and raised in such a time of watchful peace.

    During that day, I remember the piper's tune being fast and bright. I remember laughing as I took my friend Sítheril by the hands and danced with her in clumsy, breathless circles about the clearing. We were too caught up in our laughter to pay much attention to form and style, and our steps tangled with the high grass and our long skirts. My people were not a people who bore children often, but I was fortunate to have been born in a time when many parents brought their children into the world – our kind neither marrying nor bearing offspring when there was a threat reigning overhead. Sítheril was only three springs my younger, and we had spent nearly every day since then together in friendship.

    Now she laughed alongside me, her black hair flying as we danced, and her pale skin flushing with her mirth. I knew that I was breathless enough to match as I stumbled, nearly taking her with me with my momentary lapse in grace. But it did not matter, for the joy of the day was nearly tangible, and not a thing could dilute our high spirits.

    The tune from the harp changed, signaling a song for couples. Still smiling, we made our way over to the side of the clearing, and only a moment passed before Sítheril was claimed by her intended – a tall and handsome smith's apprentice named Aradhelon. In the absence of my friend, I smoothed my skirts down and reached up to make sure that the silver of my braids were still in place. Around the circle of the clearing, tall torches leapt, throwing their flames up in time to the approaching twilight – as if Aulë himself truly was blessing the offerings given in his name that night.

    I waited for the music to change again, staying off to the side and tapping my foot in time with the harper's melody. I looked when the crowd took on a murmur, and saw that my parent's had joined in with the slower song. I was glad to see them doing so. Their minds had been wearied as of late, their days filled with tense talk and their eyes ever turning towards the shadow of the future. Yet, for now they cast a beautiful couple, all gold and silver in turns, the grace and power of their years and the strength of their bond a light enough to match the glory in the sky above as Anor made to set and Ithil readied to take her place.

    I looked around the gathered crowd, and saw where Celebrimbor watched my mother with something unreadable in his gaze. The Fëanorian had been little seen the last few months, he being all but unmovable from his forge. I looked, and saw where his white skin was pale as with sickness. His face was wan and thin, with purple spots blooming around the white-grey flame of his eyes like twin bruises. The rings on his fingers and the silver circlet on his brow caught the reflected torchlight, but even that was a false light, not quite reaching his eyes. I felt a whisper of foreboding crawl up and down my spine at the sight of him. Celebrimbor did not look to be well at all, I worried, and it was because of -

    “My lady,” a low, smooth voice greeted from behind me, and I nearly jumped in reply to hearing it.

    I turned, faster than I would have liked, to see a tall, imposing figure waiting in my shadow.

    “My lord Annatar,” I greeted, hiding my instinctive unease with an easy, blank look, showing neither favor nor disfavor. Lord of gifts, Annatar had first introduced himself as an emissary of the Valar, a disciple of Aulë himself, seeking out others in good friendship to share his craft with. Even so, with all of his smiles and benign words, there was still an aura about him . . . a presence that felt lined with teeth and ever waiting to bite.

    Yes, he was beautiful, to be sure, with his bronze skin and his hair curling in waves of molten copper. He had eyes of flame, golden and red at turns, showing his affinity with the deep places of the earth in the intensity of his stare. That night he wore feasting robes in colours of warm cream and pale gold, with flashes of the deepest reds peeking out from the layers of fabric underneath, teasing the eye with flashes of blood and wine as he moved. Like Celebrimbor, he too wore gaudy rings on every finger, even through the circlet at his brow was a sharp design of black metal, rather than any precious material. He was striking, to be sure . . . but there was an aura of other about him, as if he were a spirit who wore flesh and bone as if the very idea of a tangible shape was something far beneath him. His skin was like parchment stretched over an inferno, I could not help but think - as if all of the heat beneath the crust of the earth was struggling to escape though his pores, through his eyes of flame . . .

    For almost two centuries now, he had worked hand in hand with Celebrimbor, furthering his crafts and deepening his wisdoms. And yet, I knew . . . I feared that he was the reason for the mad flame in the Fëanorian's eyes; the pallid cast of his skin and the bruises beneath his gaze.

    “It is a true shame that one as lovely as yourself is not dancing,” the Aulëndil's smooth voice wrapped around the syllables of his speech like the touch of a lover against skin. Even after many years of hearing him speak, his voice reminded me of molten gold as it was poured into a mold. “It would be my great honor to remedy this most grievous of slights for you.”

    With a low, courtly bow, he held his hand out to me in invitation. I looked around, hoping that my face did not give my unease away. And yet, when I saw no viable distraction or excuse in sight, I courteously placed my hand in his. His skin was hot to the touch, as if there were embers beneath his flesh, waiting to take flame.

    “I accept,” I gave politely. When I looked up, I found both Celebrimbor's and my parents' gazes upon me. Celebrimbor looked at Annatar as if searching for a reason to boast of his guest's good manners and easy charm, while my parents looked to find fault – and their argument was an old one, tired in shape.

    I did not care to make this day another battlefield of words, and so I let Annatar guide me towards the ring of dancing couples. I counted out the beats in my mind, finding the dance to be in the middle of its reel. Not much of the song remained, but our time together would be long enough. I held my breath as he settled a hand on my waist, spinning me through the first step of the dance with an easy grace. Many of the women who were not dancing – and a few who were – looked at me with green envy in their eyes for the beauty of my partner, even as I fought to keep my own smile polite and serene upon my face.

    “You grow more and more beautiful with each passing season,” Annatar complimented warmly. His voice was like the flicker of candlelight over skin – and I knew more than a few of my peers who admitted to going weak at the knees for hearing him speak. “You are far from the child I first met, seeking out monsters in the shadows.”

    “Indeed, I know better now,” I said, tilting up my chin. This close, Annatar gave off heat like a furnace, turning the air thick with warmth. “Now, I simply seek my monsters in more appropriate places."

    Annatar glanced over my shoulder, catching my mother's gaze. I could feel the weight of her stare as it bored between my shoulder-blades, seemingly seeking out the spirit beneath.

    “Ah,” Annatar drew the one syllable out. I felt the thumb of his hand pass against my waist, the caress hidden in the acceptable confines of our dance. When we turned, he moved closer to me, nearly sharing my stride. “And what have you found?” When he spoke, his words were too close, his mouth nearly brushing the tip of my ear with each syllable.

    “I do not know,” I whispered in reply. “I cannot yet give it a name.”

    He laughed at my reply, and I tried to draw back from him, putting a thin space between our bodies. His voice was liquid and warm with his mirth - the sound should have been beautiful, but it was not.

    I once more looked over his shoulder, and saw where my parents spun closer, each one intent on the man I danced with. Annatar watched them too, his smile lazy in reply.

    “Truth be told, I am surprised to see you here, my lord,” I spoke rather than allowing him to take the conversation where he would. “You do not much stray from the forge as of late.” My words were polite, but there was a question lingering there nonetheless.

    “Once too did I serve Aulë in the Uttermost West,” Annatar said, inclining his head benignly. “I would observe the day that honors him even still.”

    “And now?” I asked as we spun. “Now, whom do you serve?”

    “I serve a great master, even still,” Annatar answered smoothly, and the torches surrounding the clearing were a ring of flame to my eyes.

    His words tugged at something inside of me, a riddle long close to the unraveling, even when the answer still proved to be beyond my reach.

    “I serve the well-being of all the peoples in these lands,” he continued, drawing himself back from whatever thought had taken his mind. “This is the only master I answer to, and great is his calling.”

    “Such is a master we all serve,” I agreed, watching as his eyes flickered across my mouth before turning back to stare at my mother once more. We spun, too fast for me to see the answering look on Galadriel's face, but the music then ebbed, the last notes sounding sweetly on the air before giving way to silence.

    We slowed before coming to a halt, and while Annatar stepped back from me in reply to the song's end, he did not turn away completely. Instead, he reached up to touch my cheek, the motion steeped in fondness, even though my skin prickled as if he instead ran the talon of a clawed hand across my flesh. I held my breath in answer, every nerve in my body seemingly braced for action as the next song began. He looked, not at me I saw, but at my parents even still, and yet -

    “My lord,” came a voice from my left. “Begging your forgiveness, but I wish to claim the honor of leading the lady next. Alas, I was to dance the last with her, but found myself in a conversation I was unable to break from until now.”

    I turned to see Aradhelon, Sítheril's fiancée, with his hand held out expectantly for mine. Beyond, my mother stopped where she had started to approach. I looked, seeing where she raised a golden brow in expectation. My father was rigid at her side, the line of his mouth harsh as he held Annatar's stare.

    “If I were you, I would not have left such a partner to wait,” Annatar said, even as he bowed, offering my hand to the other man. "You never know who is there in the shadows, waiting to snatch such beauty away."

    Aradhelon's grasp was familiar and sure, and I tightened my fingers about his as he pulled me away.

    “Until next time,” I curtsied, and Annatar returned the gesture with a bow of his own.

    “Until next time,” he answered, his voice shaped like a promise. His eyes slanted away from me, flickering over my mother one last time before he turned to join Celebrimbor once more.

    I shivered, grateful beyond words for my friend's aid as the next song started. Aradhelon and I had clashed mightily in the days of our childhood, we both having strong personalities and rather frank opinions - but time had tamed both of our edges. Then with his managing to endear himself to my friend, he endeared himself to me as well. Sítheril loved Aradhelon, and what she loved, I too could bring myself to see the value in.

    “I do believe that your mother was about to set fire to the clearing with her eyes,” Aradhelon said, a grim smile pulling at the corner of his mouth.

    His own observations tugged at me. My thoughts were troubled, even as I plastered a tight smile to my mouth. “They are two great powers,” I said. “They are bound to clash.”

    “And you think that is all there is to the matter?” Aradhelon asked, truly curious as to my opinion.

    “I think,” I said lowly as the music spun, “that this is neither the time nor the place to speak of such things.” I sighed, the sound deep from my lungs. “Instead, I would like to dance with my friend, and forget my cares - for a little while, at least.”

    “That,” Aradhelon said kindly in reply, “I agree with completely.”

    Now . . . now I remember that day, even though many years have passed. I remember that dance, and now, centuries later, I laugh to think that I was ever such a wide eyed child.

    The waves cradling the ship are rocking me now, as if sensing the turbulence of my thoughts within. Though I had not told my parents or husband, I knew that they had seen my thoughts within my mind. It had not been any mere band of hunting Orcs to find me passing over Caradhras. No, for their leader had spoken with a voice of liquid gold when asking for the location of the Three. His had been a familiar voice, from a lifetime ago . . . It was not the Dark One in person so much as his spirit spoken through one of his thralls, but I had known the shape of his voice; knew its turn and sound as it looked on my torment with a low, base satisfaction in its every word.

    Even now, I can remember Annatar's hand on my cheek, and the rage in my parents' eyes in reply. It had been a small gesture, but a pebble atop a mountain of such gestures as the night carried on to its inevitable end.


    Handy Dandy Tolkien Notes:

    Eregion: The land to the east of the Misty Mountains.

    Ost-in-edhil: The main settlement in Eregion – you can see the ruins of it in FOTR when they pass in Peter Jackson's adaptation, and Legolas can hear the stones singing in sorrow in the book for the horrors committed there.

    Annatar: A name meaning 'lord of gifts'. As a Maia, Sauron still had the ability at this time to take on a fair form with which to seduce the Elves of Eregion into creating the Rings of Power with him. Maiar were the spirit servants of the Valar. Gandalf is a Maia, for example.

    Celebrimbor: The grandson of Fëanor (Fëanor was the elf who forged the Silmarils and created the Palantir, the seeing stones in LoTR). He was the jewelsmith who forged the sixteen Rings of Power for Dwarves and Men with Sauron.

    Aulë: The Vala (one of nine creators of the world beneath Eru) who created the Dwarves, and was teacher of the Noldor Elves in Aman before the First Age. Sauron's first master before he fell to evil.

    Lórinand: The name for Lothlórien at this time.

    Sítheril and Aradhelon: They are both OCs from my story]“breath[/url] held, eyes closed”. If you want to know more about them, and the encounter that Annatar refered to with Celebrían, you can find it there.

    The Time Line: We know that Galadriel and Celeborn moved east to Eregion in the year 750 of the Second Age, and that Celebrían was born sometime after. (Around the year 1180, for this story). Sauron came calling in 1200, but Galadriel did not leave for Lothlórien until after Celebrimbor's revolt in the year 1400 - which is where we are right now. :)

    Now, until next time - [:D].

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  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= =D= I felt like I was there in that beautiful place. I can feel Galadriel's and Celeborn's mixed feelings about the Valar and how arduous it must be to lay those aside for the festival but I'm glad they can enjoy it. Whew! Creepy crawlies -- :p over Celebrian's encounter with the sly and hidden Annatar. Yes, I can just believe he and Galadriel have clashing of wills. [face_love] !! I will certainly check out your OCs in your other tale. Like hand-in-glove your works fit into this splendiferous worldscape! ^:)^
  8. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 13, 2006
    I like how in depth this story of Galadriel is; her dancing and having a good time while Annatar tries to make some moves even with her parents watching his every move.
  9. laurethiel1138

    laurethiel1138 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 6, 2003
    What a wonderful evocation of Celebrian's youth... and what a chilling tale it is also, with the long shadow of Annatar already looming over Middle-Earth. I especially liked how you showed the cost of learning dark arts in Celebrimbor's eyes, at once dimmed and set afire with an unholy light. It is a burden, to be of Feanor's line, as one single step can easily lead them astray.

    Though I must say that my favourite line is perhaps this one: “I do believe that your mother was about to set fire to the clearing with her eyes.” I do hope we will see something of that in TABA...

    Lauré :)
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  10. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    Wow! I'm really getting into this. I feel bad for her that her childlike innocence will be ruined and that Sauron will attack her directly out of spite. Smart girl, though, to fear him, even if she does not know why.

    I think you can totally continue this for months (years) to come!
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  11. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Aww thank-you! It was a lot of fun visiting yet another time and place in Middle-earth, and I am thrilled that everything is resounding so well. As always, thank-you so much for your lovely comments. [:D]

    RX_Sith: Why thank-you. :D

    laurethiel1138: Celebrimbor's is an interesting tale to tell, that's for certain - for he truly did mean well. But, there is a saying about hell and such intentions for a reason. :( And on Galadriel - that I completely agree with and hope for a hundred fold! If Peter Jackson gives us a battle brilliant Galadriel in TABA, I will be one happy camper indeed. [face_love]

    NYCitygurl: I am thrilled to hear that you are getting into this! :D While Celebrían did grow up in a time of watchful peace, Sauron certainly was a damper on those happy years, that's for certain. :( I'm glad to hear you are enjoying her story so far. [:D]

    And now, that said . . .
  12. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Entry III

    Shortly after my dance with Annatar, he disappeared from the festivities, as did Celebrimbor. A weight seemed to lift from the gathering as they left, and many carried on with a lighter step and an easier breath in the wake of their departure.

    My parents no longer danced, but my mother did touch my hand as she passed from the clearing, letting me know of her pride in the smallest of ways. I turned after her curiously when she followed Celebrimbor, wondering at what sort of unspoken test I had just passed. For a moment I considered following, before my father paused by my side and shook his head. Celeborn too looked on me in approval, but his look narrowed as he gazed after my mother. I felt unease rise in my throat, wondering then -

    “Later,” my father answered the unspoken. “We have waited too long, and now there is much to decide.”

    With those cryptic words he left me, and I turned back to my duties as a hostess, even though my heart was no longer in the revelry. Nearly an hour later, Anor was in the last moments of her descent, and the master of the feast asked me where my mother had gone. The last part of the feast was a ritualistic lighting of Aulë's flame, and as Ost-in-edhil's Lady, my mother was to light the torch. I looked, but noticed that Galadriel had not yet returned to the feast. I tried to catch my father's eye, but he was deep in conversation with two of his advisers, and I knew better than to interrupt for something so trivial.

    I felt at my mind, looking for that spot that bound me to my mother. Normally, her place within my spirit was a place of warm light, golden and soft. Now her presence crackled as with static, like the sky before lightning struck. I turned in the direction of her presence, finding the roof of the Gwaith-i-Mírdain through the treetops, and I knew where to look.

    The forges were quiet for the night, only the tell-tale sign of heat still lingering on the air from where they had been in use only hours before. I walked through the dark halls, looking up through the ornate openings in the ceiling, where the patterns of coloured glass let in the last rays of the dying sun above. I could smell smoke upon the air; I could taste metal as it bit the back of my tongue. As I came nearer and nearer to Celebrimbor's office, located above the main workrooms, I could hear the sound of voices - voices raised in anger.

    I bit my lip, pausing at the bottom of the wrought iron staircase. I did not want to interrupt, but I was now unsure how to leave without being noticed. Of course, my thinking that I ever did anything without my mother's knowing was but an illusion when Galadriel's voice turned as a warning against my mind.

    A moment, she said, and the words were accompanied by the ocean's tide of her anger. The wave of feeling was not for me, I realized after a heartbeat, but for -

    “ - and yet, you would risk the safety of all for the petty gain you would receive in return?” My mother's voice was an icy, low sound; one she only ever reached in her truest rage. It was a tone I had heard but rarely in my years.

    “Of what risk do you speak?” Celebrimbor returned, a matching anger in his voice. Where my mother was as a cold water in her fury, he was a fire, righteous and indignant - all of Fëanor's flame of old surviving in the shape of his words. “For two centuries Annatar has dwelt peacefully within our walls. He has done nothing to cause you suspicion but to give freely of the secrets of his craft – and we have learned much at his side! Yet, you would have me turn him away now, all for a feeling of yours? A feeling of shadow and dread? Truly, cousin, I did not think you so easily startled.”

    “They are feelings that have never failed me before,” Galadriel retorted, the tone of her voice frigid. “And I am not the only one who mistrusts his fair facade. Gil-galad and Elrond did not even let him past the guard-tower in Lindon before sending him off on his way. Even they - ”

    “ - oh yes,” Celebrimbor brushed her words aside. He snorted in derision. “As your pupil of old, of course Elrond shares you worries. As for Gil-galad - Fingon's son is young, and still taken in too easily by ghost stories. He is overly cautious, and yet, it is a faulting I can allow him, seeing as he is King, with the good of the many to see to.”

    “And do you not also have the welfare of the many to attend?” Galadriel turned his words back on him. “For the people of Eregion respect you; they look to you to lead.”

    “And lead them I do,” Celebrimbor replied. “I am not the only one to have benefited from Annatar's direction - each one of my smiths have grown in knowledge a hundredfold since his arrival, and we all owe our newfound talents to him. We are grateful for everything he chooses to give to us, and look forward to expanding our craft even more so in the days to come.”

    “His talents I do not dispute. Indeed, they are the very things that troubles me,” Galadriel said. “Annatar gives you just enough for you to keep him on, and for what? Have you seen yourself as of late? You are pale and wan; you eat but little, and partake in rest even less - for I can hear you working long into the unwaking hours. You have not shown yourself in public for months, keeping only to your labors until today -”

    “ - is that what bothers you, my lady?” Celebrimbor cut in, his voice like a blow. “I noticed the attention that Annatar gave your daughter. You should be honored that an emissary of the Valar grants her such favor. It is a mark of credence towards you, even.”

    “It is a mark of favor I could do without,” Galadriel retorted, her voice turning hot for the first. “You speak from your pride. Fëanor too had such a pride in the work of his hands, but look to what end that arrogance turned him.”

    “Even so, his arrogance was not without foundation, for the Silmarils were the greatest work of two hands to grace these lands since the Song of Creation itself,” Celebrimbor did not agree. “I know that you were not Fëanor's supporter, even before the Darkening, and yet, even you cannot deny that the works he gave this world were great.”

    “And such a work of hands – a petty a trinket as jewels, no matter how holy - led to the three slayings of kin on kin,” Galadriel would not budge. “Indeed, have you learned nothing from such a lesson stained in blood?”

    “I swear no oath,” Celebrimbor said fervently. “What I make I will give freely for the good of all races. I work for the betterment of all in these lands, to grant a light to these peoples to rival the splendor of Valinor itself. This is a yearning of your heart as well as mine - do not deny it, for even you wear the Elessar in memory of the light as it was.”

    “I wear the Elessar to remind myself of light in dark places – and that includes a light in marred Endórë,” Galadriel returned. “And yet, the works of your hands will set not a light upon the people you would so serve, but rather a flame. These people need not of the works of the Noldor, not anymore. They look for you to lead them in wisdom, and you would do them a wrong instead.”

    “As they look to you?” Celebrimbor asked, something thoughtful rising in his voice. “The following of Noldor here is strong, very strong. If ever it came to my will against yours, who would they listen to? Who would they trust to lead them true? We have led this settlement in partnership, but would you trust your word to hold as law if you were to speak against Annatar's presence publicly? For my smiths are united behind me, and they are the majority within the city - seeing as most of your husband's folk wish to take their due from the trees, and live not within our walls of stone. Your long years with your Moriquendi mate must have changed you more than I realized if you would so ignore the calling of your blood – a calling which Annatar understands to its fullest extent.”

    I heard the threat in his words as easily as my mother did. I made my hands fists over the metal of the railing, feeling as the air took on a tremor – a whisper of warning. For while Celebrimbor's name was old, my mother's was even older still, and her might was a thing not to be tested. I held my breath.

    “Speak carefully,” Galadriel muttered lowly. “I am not to be crossed, Telperinquar. Not over this.”

    “Neither am I, Artanis,” Celebrimbor returned, and I could feel a spike in the air.

    “You have changed," she said softly – icily. “You have changed, and not for the better. Once, you were a strong man who repudiated his father's deeds, refusing to swear of his Oath. But now you foolishly and blindly walk the path of your name, and you can see it not.”

    “And yet, you will not see me throwing myself into a chasm, or walking the seashore singing lamentations for all time,” Celebrimbor said dryly. “I will be greater than my father, greater than Curufinwë Fëanáro even, and when you see what I have been working towards . . . You will understand then, and only then.”

    I could feel the flame of his fervor, the light of his belief, as it filled the air to challenge my mother's presence. The air crackled, causing my temples to ache with the strength of their respective might. I took in a deep breath against the onslaught of power, hating the way that my skin itched in that moment, as if in warning.

    “Careful, lest you too become as ash on the wind, for that was all that was left of Fëanor's great might in the end,” Galadriel said. “Ash, and dust.”

    “Ash . . .” Celebrimbor repeated lowly, thoughtfully. “Dust . . . Perhaps that is all any of us can look for in the end.”

    He sounded, I remember now, as if he was not completely present as he spoke. His voice was distant, far away, as if he gave his words with a mouth other than his own. I dared going a step higher, and could then see them through the open door. Celebrimbor was so very pale, the veins on his hands and neck stark with his anger as he leaned against his desk. And his eyes . . . I remember his eyes being a friendly, grey colour in my earliest days. They were dark now . . . dark, and so very black.

    Galadriel stood very close to him, but they did not touch. Celebrimbor was looking down at his hands, as if they held his every answer, and when my mother reached over to touch him – to tilt his chin up, to force him to meet her eyes - he jerked away, his movements clumsy and violent.

    “I shall not ask Annatar to leave,” he said softly – finally. “I will be no such ungracious host, not after everything he has done for us . . . everything he has revealed to us. If that does not make you comfortable . . .”

    “You would force my hand?” Galadriel asked lowly. “Really, must it come to this?”

    “The choice is yours,” Celebrimbor returned. “Lindon is far behind us now, and Gil-galad's rule even further still. I have the support of the Noldor, and the Sindar are too few in number to hold your will as law, not as dispersed as they are.”

    “So, this is your decision? You would destroy everything we have built, all for a stranger veiled in secrets?” Galadriel asked, her voice softening to match his, but losing none of its strength. I looked, and saw where Celebrimbor was not as unaffected as he would have my mother believe. His face was pained. He blinked, as if trying to free his mind from a haze. I had an uneasy feeling then, thinking only that it was not Celebrimbor himself who spoke so - for Celebrimbor was a gentle soul, eager and curious. Celebrimbor loved my mother – even to the point of hopelessness, and to see him wage such an inner war . . .

    “No,” he finally answered on an exhale, swallowing as he did so. “No . . . I would look ahead to everything we still could build – and build together. Yet, if you cannot share my vision . . .”

    We are done here, I felt my mother's thought brush across my mind, and at her summons, I ascended that last step and knocked softly on the doorframe.

    “I am sorry to interrupt,” I said when Celebrimbor's head whipped around to find me. His gaze focused, as if he had trouble recognizing me, before his features softened to a polite mask, the fire of Fëanor once again retreating behind his eyes to wait for another time. “But you are wanted; the torch is to be lit.”

    Galadriel inclined her head in answer. Celebrimbor's head was bowed, while she stood tall and proud in her belief. She had yet to look away from the smith, even when he refused to meet her eyes. “Think on what I have said,” she said softly, finally. "For your own sake, if nothing else."

    She then turned, and I followed her.

    I wove my fingers together and then separated them again, ill at ease with what I had overheard. I wanted to speak, but the shadows of the Gwaith-i-Mírdain were still thick around us, and I did not want to offer them my words. I looked behind us only once, and in the empty workroom I could have sworn to see a gaze of flame, staring out from the shadows. Yet, I blinked, and then the strange sight was gone.

    I turned away, and did not think about it again.

    When we returned to the clearing, Celeborn was waiting. His face was grave and drawn, and the look he traded with my mother was significant. Their bond meant that he would have seen and heard every word she traded with Celebrimbor, had she wished it, and from the way he took her hand as she approached, I knew she had. Galadriel returned the affection for but a moment, steeling herself with her husband's strength, and then walked to where the master of the feast was waiting for her.

    Seeing my return, Sítheril and Aradhelon drew me to the front of the gathering, and while I followed them, I had few smiles to offer my friends. The evening was tainted now, the shadow of the future darkening to match the sun in her final moments above. As Anor's last light filled the sky, we bowed, a song of thanksgiving rising on our lips, beautiful and powerful. But my heart was not in the song, even as it rose to fill the clearing. Our song mingled with the song of the earth, taking its sound from the rock and wood and stream; all notes left over from the original Song of Songs. I could fell it hum alongside my bones, settling next to my heart, and yet it did not touch me as deeply as it should.

    As the sunlight died completely, Galadriel took the lead in the refrain, and when she reached out, the basin leapt with flame as if Aulë himself had heard and stretched out his hand in blessing. I never knew if it was my mother's might or the Valar's indulgence that lit the flame, and even after all of these years I still do not know. For then, the Valar had seemed very far away, and would seem even further still in the years to come.

    When I looked up, I could see Celebrimbor at the edge of the clearing. He did not sing, and the firelight made strange shapes across his skin. He wavered oddly to my vision, and for a moment I could not tell which was his own light and which was the trick of the shadow. At his side, Annatar stood very close, and while he did not bow, he did sing, soft and low, so that no one else could hear. He looked not at the flame, but at my mother, and the look that passed between them was rife with tension.

    I stopped singing, and at my side, Sítheril noticed. “Is all well?” she asked, not knowing what had happened, but feeling the note of discord on the air nonetheless.

    “I do not know,” I answered the best I could, and she smiled in wordless support, unsure of how to offer me comfort. I tried to brush away the ill breath of premonition, but when I tried to sing again, my heart was no longer in the song. Its very notes seemed to be tainted.

    Instead, I looked at the flames, and let its flickering swallow me.


    ~MJ @};-
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= =D= Astoundingly written and fantastic dialogue to reflect a mammoth contest of wills. Natch, Galadriel came out in the ascendancy. [face_love] Her wisdom blends with forthrightness. What is there not to admire, to love? :D
  14. laurethiel1138

    laurethiel1138 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 6, 2003
    Ai! And so the strife between their forefathers is visited upon Galadriel and Celebrimbor... Would that she might have been even a little less haughty, and he just slightly less stubborn! But nothing can stop one of the line of Feanor when he is set upon his course, setting into motion events that would yet again shape the fate of Middle-Earth. There is also somewhat of an irony that this turning point would occur during the Feast of Aule: they are celebrating his gifts as one of his followers inexorably turns his back to the Valar...

    I especially appreciated how you wove Celebrian's presence into the tale, giving us a unique perspective on this key moment. Along with her, we felt the bitter taste of lost innocence as the stain of the Dark Lord(s) mar Arda once more.

    Lauré :)
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  15. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 13, 2006
    Bad premonitions surface at the end as a dark cloud descends upon the singing snuffing it out and leaving an eerie presence behind.
  16. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    It's sad that Celebrimbor rejects Galadriel's wisdom -- I sense a parting to come. I find it interesting that Galadriel let her daughter overhear. Does Celebrimbor know?

    I look forward to the conversation between mother and daughter!
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  17. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: You are such a dear! Indeed, she is the incarnation of grace and wisdom, and it was fun trying to capture her voice here. I am so glad you are enjoying this tale so far. [:D]

    laurethiel1138: There is a saying about sins of the father and what not, and Elven memories go back a long way, that's for sure. :( Celebrimbor is another one of those that I pity in Tolkien's work, simply because he was trying to do good for the land his family had so wronged, and there is a tragic beauty to his story. :( I couldn't help but form these events around Aulë's feast, and I am so glad you picked up on that. Poor Aulë had a bad run with those dear to him turning their backs on he and his fellow Valar, and it was certainly happening again here. :( That said, thank-you for reading, and I am so happy that you are enjoying this tale as it spins. [:D]

    RX_Sith: That sums it up perfectly. :(

    NYCitygurl: A parting indeed! :( Unfortunately, Celebrimbor is a bit . . . not completely himself, and he wouldn't have noticed Celebrían unless she walked right in front of him. As for Galadriel letting her overhear, well . . . it is time for her to grow up, and she would know for herself sooner than later. Things are going to get dark very quickly with Sauron's return. :( (That, and eavesdropping! It is a trope that I am going to use to its fullest extent as a plot device here. Take that first person POV! [face_laugh];))

    Entry IV

    My parents left the festivities shortly after the lighting of Aulë's flame. The celebration would last long through the night, near til dawn, and yet, too much had happened for them to take part in thanksgiving any longer. When they turned to leave, I followed, wishing to ask about what I had overheard between Celebrimbor and my mother. Unease bit at my bones, and I needed to know what they were thinking – what they were planning for the days to come.

    I followed them from the clearing, back into the city walls, and to our home. The house was still dark when I entered, though a warm glow came from one of the inner rooms, where a candle had been lit, and I followed the light to the sound of voices.

    I caught snippets of conversation as I came closer - “no proof,” and “grows too bold,” and “I fear . . .” The words were low and quick, spinning over each other faster than I could follow, until -

    “You wish for us to leave?” my mother's voice was clear to me, shaped in surprise – matching the indrawn breath that I sucked in at her saying so. “Leave, when there is -”

    Celeborn did not let her finish. “ - would that I could send you both far across the sea, even, but I know how to pick my battles.”

    I could imagine Galadriel's narrowed eyes. When she spoke, her words were careful and slow, “This is a fight I have fought since my earliest days. And now, at the first sign of Shadow again returning, you would have me turn craven and take my flight?”

    “Craven?” Celeborn repeated. “If that is what you would call it, then yes, I am craven indeed. If this is what we think it is . . . I want you, I want our daughter, as far from here as I may. If Celebrimbor will not act, then we must, and much will be lost in between.”

    Galadriel was silent for a long moment, but often was it when they conversed, half of their words passing between their shared thoughts before they spoke with their mouths. “To Lindon, you were hoping?” she asked, her argument resting for the moment.

    “I was thinking east, rather than west,” Celeborn said. “Take the dwarf-road through the mountains. Durin's folk will aid you, and then you can seek out Amdír in the Golden Wood, and then Oropher's settlement in the Greenwood after that.”

    “You would send me to forge alliances?” I could hear my mother's raised brow. “Your ways of coaxing me into my leaving are strange indeed, husband.”

    “I seek not to sooth your pride, that much you know to be true of me. This is not a time for arrogance, but practicality,” Celeborn said frankly. “Shadow returns, and our people can no longer go on dispersed and closed off from one another. We will need all hands to take up a shield, and my folk are too sheltered in the trees. They will need a strong presence to organize them, to prepare them for the days to come.”

    Galadriel was silent. I could hear a rustling of fabric, and I knew that Celeborn knelt before where she was sitting. They were silent for a long moment. “I seek to utilize your strengths,” he said lowly – warmly. If he held her hands in his own, his grip would have been tight, desperate. “If that too assuages my fears as a husband and a father, then I will offer no defense to that. I do not see the need to.”

    “You shall not come with us?” Galadriel asked at last, and Celeborn sighed.

    “Your folk are united around Celebrimbor, but he is right about the Sindar. They are too dispersed in Eregion, and I will not leave them without a voice to follow when the error of Celebrimbor's decisions comes to light.”

    “He shall seek you first when his true face is shown,” Galadriel warned. “Already Annatar watches, and watches closely.”

    “And yet, there is an advantage to your kin thinking that you married far beneath you,” Celeborn said dryly. “Celebrimbor will not see a threat in me, and will let me go unobserved for the most part. I will be able to lead, and lead quietly – my pride is not so great that I cannot allow the Fëanorian to think he holds the minds of all in these lands.”

    A long moment passed, so long that I thought my mother would argue what he thought best. I felt my own thoughts swim as a tempest within me - wishing to stay, wishing to leave - and for that moment I could not breathe.

    “Wise you have been named,” my mother whispered. She spoke quietly, as if they were very close to each other. “And wise you continue to be.”

    “As is she whom I named,” my father whispered in reply, his voice soft with fondness. “Always, I endeavor to be so for her.”

    Another silence passed. I heard my mother sigh, and I knew that she was defeated. She agreed with him. And yet . . . “Are you certain, husband dear, that the only reason that you will not join me is that you wish not to pass through Moria?”

    “There is that,” my father did not bother hiding the smile from his voice. As a son of Doriath, he was ill at ease with dwarven kind. And yet, he had learned how to live side by side with the last followers of Fëanor, and I imagined that to be just as difficult for him. Sometimes, for all of the great years of our kind, we managed to carry old wounds and old grievances on long after they should have been laid to rest. This particular prejudice was one my mother had been working on for years – for Galadriel was Noldor, and she felt kinship with Aulë's children, a kinship my father would not let himself understand.

    And yet, he heard the words unspoken, and said, “Hopefully, Annatar's true face will show itself sooner rather than later. I do not like the thought of each of us sleeping for so long beneath different trees, and yet . . .”

    “We will do as we must,” Galadriel finished. “As we always have.”

    “Someday,” my father's voice was rueful. “This land will allow us to take a true peace, not these times of watchful rest between great threats.”

    “And yet, until that time,” Galadriel let her words tapper off, and then there were no more words, but another rustling of fabric, a moving of bodies as one embraced the other. Allowing them their privacy – for surely we would leave sooner rather than later, I turned, and slipped out from our home again.

    Our home, I thought, my mind in turmoil. My home . . .

    I had known no other home than Ost-in-edhil. That spring I had celebrated the twentieth begetting-day of my second century. By the standards of my people, my mind was little more than that of a youth, even though the body I had was that of a woman grown. Though I felt curiosity for the lands past my own, the idea of actually leaving . . .

    The mansions of the Dwarves, my mind whispered. The Vale of Golden Song and the great Greenwood of the East . . . it all sounded terribly like an adventure, and my hands both clenched with a desire to stay with the home I knew and loved so well, while my feet itched with the urge to walk and never stop walking.

    My thoughts were torn. They swam within me like a strong current between river stones, and I could not calm them no matter how I tried.

    Leave we were going to do so, I tried to make the thought real in my mind - and, more than that, we were going to leave Adar behind . . . leave him behind with a monster in the mist and a threat waiting just beyond the light. Merely the idea of such a parting caused a lance of unease to pierce my stomach. Who knew how long it would take for Annatar's plans to come to fruition? Would Celeborn's safety even be assured once Annatar was exposed for the fell face he truly was? When would we see him again? Even if a century were to pass before our reunion - two centuries, three - reunited we would be, and yet . . .

    My eyes burned. I sucked in a breath, but could not let it go.

    You are a child, my mind meanwhile berated me. There is danger here, real and sure, and your parents will have enough to worry over without the weakness of your heart.

    I tried to tell myself that I needed to be brave, that I needed to be strong, and yet . . .

    I let my feet carry me back towards the clearing, unsure of what to do to sate the restless unease within me. Perhaps the turbulent spin of my thoughts summoned her, or perhaps she sought me out on her own, for Sítheril appeared on the wooded path a moment later, her dark brow creased in worry.

    “Celebrimbor's creature grows too bold,” I said before giving my greetings. “My father wishes to send Mother and I away before the threat grows too large for us to leave. He . . . he wishes for us to pass through Moria, to seek council and set up a plan for aid with Amdír and Oropher should the worse come to worst . . . Many leave, I know,” I tried to sit on a felled tree before standing again, unable to abide by stillness. “Those who sense violence on the air go to the Havens and eventually Valinor beyond. Those who stay are blinded by Celebrimbor's thirst for knowledge and skill – they share his simple trust, and will seek no further than that.”

    It took me a moment to see that my friend was not surprised by this news. She was wringing her hands together, biting her lip as she heard me out. And I realized that she was gathering herself. She wanted to tell me something I would not wish to hear.

    “Celebrían,” Sítheril finally interrupted me, and I flinched at the strength of her tone. “I will not be staying in Eregion.”

    I blinked at this, not understanding what she said. Aradhelon was one of Celebrimbor's finest apprentices – and the price of breaking such a contract meant that Aradhelon would find tutelage beneath no other smith in Middle-earth. Unless he did not mean to stay in Ennor . . .

    “You go,” I said, my voice stammering dumbly to my own ears. “You shall go West . . . you will flee with the rest of them.”

    Numbly, I processed this. Sítheril had always been a soft and gentle soul. The Shadow - war if it came as my parents feared it would - neither would treat the tender flesh of her spirit well, and while the logical part of my mind knew it so and understood, a larger part of me – a part that was selfish and possessive and fey – wanted to bare my teeth and hold my fingers tight. No. She would not, I could not . . .

    “You would leave me?” Instead of coming out strong, my voice was a child's whisper. I sat down on the felled tree again, my legs suddenly weak to my use.

    “Aradhelon cannot stay,” Sítheril said, a note of pleading breaking into her voice as she dropped down to sit next to me. She took both my hands in her own, and I tightened my fingers about hers. “Please, try to understand . . . Do you have any idea what Celebrimbor has been doing? He has been forging rings, of all things. But they are not empty trinkets . . . there is power in them; a great power, an unholy power. Celebrimbor thinks to forge a might to preserve and protect, to grant to Middle-earth the same grandeur of light and deathlessness of far off Aman - a home he can never return to for the sake of his pride. Annatar feeds off that obsessive goal - no good may come of it.

    "He . . . just last week, he forged a ring, and the apprentice they made wear it . . . He did everything that was bidden of him, everything that Annatar whispered. It was as if he was not himself, but Annatar's toy thrall wearing the ring. Celebrimbor was frustrated that it did not do as he wished it to do – something about protection and preservation magicks – but Annatar just smiled, as if the ring had done what he had wished all along . . . It was not natural. The apprentice is still not himself, muttering and seeing into a land beyond our own whenever he closes his eyes. Celebrían . . . it could have been Aradhelon they tried the ring on. It could be Aradhelon who is asked to forge such a thing, and I cannot . . .”

    “You are being brave,” I finally said, forcing a smile onto my face, even though my eyes burned with grief. “My friend, always have you called yourself a rabbit-heart, but I see much more fearsome a creature before me.” I pretended to squint as I looked at her, as if looking for another to exist in her gaze.

    “I am nothing to you,” Sítheril protested. Her cheeks flushed, but she did not look away.

    “You have born every misadventure and ill conceived idea I have had for nearly two centuries,” I argued ruefully. “If not bravery, perhaps that speaks instead of stupidity . . .”

    I laughed, but it was a choked, dry sound. There were tears in Sitheril's eyes when she tried to smile, and the love I saw there hurt.

    “Here,” Sítheril pushed something small and smooth into my hand, wrapped in a handkerchief. “Aradhelon took this. He knew that your parents would know what to do with it – that they would understand.”

    “But, this,” my eyes widened in alarm as I pulled the cloth away, careful not to touch the trinket within. She'd passed a ring to me, a simple band of silver, glittering in the moonlight. The metal had a bite though, there was something . . . something in the ring. A power, not fully realized, but one that searched. Was this what Annatar was using Celebrimbor for? What secret of craft was he trying to unlock? I puzzled. And to what end?

    “We will leave before first light,” Sítheril said. “Once the theft is discovered, we will already be riding for the Havens.”

    “So soon?” I asked, my voice a dry sound to my own ears. Only this morning I had awakened, confident of my world and its turning, and now . . .

    “We must,” Sítheril answered. “We have talked about this for a while now, and our time is upon us.”

    “Brave indeed you are, my Ecthelion,” I said, meaning my words, even though they hurt to say. “I . . . I do not know what I shall do without you.”

    A moment passed. Sítheril squeezed my hands in her own, her own face creased with sorrow. “Come with us,” she said next. “You are young, and there is nothing yet binding you to this world. Come and start your life in Aman, free of the shadows of Ennor. I . . . I love Aradhelon, but you are my dearest friend, and I do not want to leave you behind.”

    For a moment, I thought about it. I truly did. And yet . . .

    How could I explain that I felt drawn to this land as roots were to the deep ground? Part of it was my Sindarin blood, I knew - the desire to never leave the trees that sheltered my birth, that succored my soul. The other part of it was duty. I was born of great names, of a great line – a line to whom responsibility and leadership belonged in ever way. I would feel . . . selfish, if I took my fight now, if I left before seeing just what aid I could offer the land that my soul was bound to so dearly.

    “I cannot,” I said, feeling a twisting at my heart even as I said so. “I . . . my feet are tied to the ground, my heart to these trees. I love Middle-earth, and for that love, my eyes have not once turned towards the Sea.”

    “Truly?” Sítheril asked, her voice a low, wistful whisper. “I can feel it . . . the waves pound in time with my soul, it seems. My heart rises with the tides. The West calls to me, and it hurts, Celebrían . . . it hurts to ignore that call.”

    Sítheril was Noldor, I thought. She lived underneath the Doom of Námo, the same as her parents did. The same as I did, in part, though my father's blood cut through my mother's curse. Sítheril would long for the sea until she turned for Valinor, and I would not have her stay underneath such a burden.

    “Remember me,” was all I said, feeling my words as they stuck in my throat. My eyes burned, and yet, I could not remember loving my friend as dearly as I did then. I leaned forward to embrace her, holding on tight as if my arms alone would be enough to keep her with me. “Remember me, as I shall you.”

    “I will tell my children tales of Glorfindel the Bold and Ecthelion her friend,” Sítheril promised, her eyes glittering as she remembered our childhood games – so silly now that true shadow fell over our heads.

    “And I shall tell mine of Sítheril the Brave, going on an adventure that not even I could bring myself to face,” I whispered, and she held me tighter. “Someday . . . someday I shall see you again. And I will wait for that time.”

    “Someday,” Sítheril agreed.

    . . . someday.

    Now, that day is upon me. Over four thousand years have passed, and yet I still remember my friend clearly in the halls of my memories. I remember the texture of her hair and the sound of her voice, the shape of her smile and the music of her laughter. It is a remembering that soothes me. I never forgot my friend, and for that I know that I will now remember those I left behind, holding them tight in my mind until I could hold them in flesh.

    It was not until my last winter in Ennor that I began to understand Sitheril's longing for the sea. Even when my mother started to look to the West in the days after the wars in Eregion, I had not understood. Yet, now . . . The ocean seemed to thrum in my bones. I could taste salt on the air with my every breath, and my spirit stretched as if pulled . . . pulled home, where it truly longed to be.

    Now I would meet my friend again. After so many years, she and Aradhelon would have long been married. Would they have sons or daughters, or even both? Would she have grandchildren now? How many stories will she have to tell? She would have as many as I, certainly, and thinking about those whom I looked forward to meeting in Aman made the sorrow of my journey that much more bearable. I would look forward to greeting those before me, and wait for the day when I would be joined by those I left behind.

    It was a lesson that was harder to learn when I was younger. For then the prospect of leaving the only home I had ever known was now real before me. All of a sudden, the world waited before me, its eyes expectant. It's path called me forward, waiting only for my footsteps to walk it.

    And so, walk it I would.


    ~MJ @};-
    RX_Sith and Nyota's Heart like this.
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    :) :) :) [face_sigh] Celebrian with her friend -- sweet and poignant and a striking contrast of her feelings past and currently relative to what place is home. So many reunions await her Westward. [face_thinking]

    The Galadriel/Celeborn scene -- marvelously tender and candid. You can feel the warmth of their affection and their implicit trust in one another. [face_love]

    Celebrian longing to stay versus go to strange and wondrous places =D= ... Very understandable indeed. @};- @};-
  19. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    I love this diary, giving more depth to the books
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Fact. ;) [face_love] !!!!!
  21. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 13, 2006
    A journey to a new place strikes fear and more into Celebrian as she now experiences a different world then she has ever known.
  22. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Why thank-you! I am glad everything came across so well. Once again, your thoughts just make my day! [:D]

    earlybird-obi-wan: Thank-you. :D That is definitely my aim. Tolkien told the tale, I am just filling in blanks. [face_love]

    RX_Sith: The deep breath before the plunge, certainly. I thank-you for reading. [:D]

    Entry V

    That night, I stayed with Sítheril for another hour, and then she had to take her leave. Her parents were leaving with she and Aradhelon before the morning hour, and they had much to accomplish if they wished to depart while the night was still with them.

    My walk home was then long and slow. I looked with eyes set to memorize upon the boughs of the trees, the stones of the path. I took in the homes with their elegant arches and twisting motives of vines and blooming summer flowers. Each fountain had a song, and I tried my best to remember each melody, as I did not expect to soon hear them again.

    I traced my hand alongside the stone ledge surrounding the pool outside of my house. I was not quite ready to go in yet, and so, I sat on the lip of the fountain, reaching down to trace my hand in the water as I let the song of the bubbling foam sooth me. Beyond me, the festival still continued, and the soft hum of far off voices joined the murmur of the water.

    I would miss this place, I reflected, a sinking feeling growing within my stomach at the thought. I would miss my home, and yet . . .

    “You, my daughter, have a talent for listening at doors that I would call troubling if I did not know that those who raised you have overheard worse in their time.” Galadriel's voice was wry in shape, but there was a question lingering underneath, waiting for an answer.

    I looked up as a shadow fell over me, seeing my mother haloed by starlight and smiling gently in the light thrown by the lanterns. Galadriel sat by me on the lip of the fountain, her clear blue eyes regarding me calmly.

    I swallowed, finding my words lost in my throat. My eyes burned as I wiped my wet hands on my dress, drying them.

    “Yet,” Galadriel said softly, “I am not here to speak of your rather considerable gifts with eavesdropping, but rather, what you have overheard.”

    “You want to leave,” I blurted out, the poised, measured speech I had prepared in my mind failing me. “You want to leave – leave our home, our people, and Adar . . .” All of my careful arguments and thoughtful, mature concerns fell to a child's whimper, lost and plaintive.

    “It has been suggested,” Galadriel said slowly. “And yet, nothing has been decided.”

    But it had been, I knew. It was a decision that would turn to stone as soon as I showed to her the trinket Sítheril had given to me.

    “We will leave as Sítheril will leave,” I said, my voice barely more than a whisper. “Sítheril will leave, and I . . .”

    “Sítheril?” my mother asked, concerned. “What do you mean?”

    “Aradhelon is scared,” I said, opening my mind to my mother so that she could see what I had seen. “Celebrimbor is not right as of late, and he fears Annatar as well. He . . . he wanted me to give you this.”

    I gave her the ring, wrapped in its handkerchief, only warning, “Do not touch it,” as she took it from me.

    Galadriel raised a slender brow, but I saw as her face changed when she looked down. She drew in a hissed breath, her eyes darkening as she asked, “What is this?”

    “This is what Celebrimbor has been working on with Annatar,” I answered. “Aradhelon rides for the Havens before first light, and Sítheril with him, so that they will be far from here when the theft is discovered.”

    Galadriel nodded as she wrapped the ring, putting it aside. I watched as her brow narrowed, as her thoughts turned closed from me. I felt a hum of power on the air, and knew that she was showing my findings where my father lingered at the edge of her mind.

    She exhaled, and I knew her decision.

    “There are many partings to those of many years,” Galadriel said slowly, carefully. “Some are more difficult than others, and while I would tell you that they grow easier over time, it is not always so.”

    I drew in my next breath, trying to appear poised and collected before Galadriel's infinite grace. I did not want to appear younger than my years; I wanted my mother to be proud of the daughter she had raised – a woman grown now, and not a little girl who waiting by the window for shadows on the path.

    When Galadriel reached over to cover my hands with her own, I looked up, feeling as her mind touched my own with warmth and light. I leaned into the familiar embrace, not realizing how much I needed the comfort until it was offered.

    “I know it is silly of me,” I whispered. “It is not as if it is her death I mourn, and yet . . .”

    “She is your friend,” Galadriel finished simply. “It is natural to mourn a parting, no matter its shape.”

    “She merely goes West,” I said, trying to make the logic of my words seep into my heart. “I shall someday see her again.” I shook my head, ruefully acknowledging: “I should be grateful that we have so peaceful a parting. I am fortunate that this is the first sundering I have yet to mourn, at that. I feel selfish for knowing grief over such a thing.”

    I looked at my mother, and felt my heart turn in my chest as I thought of all the losses she had known throughout her life. She had not been much older than I when taking her flight from Aman. She had known death from Morgoth's hands, taking the life of Finwë in hallowed Valinor, and then, at Alqualondë . . . Galadriel had to grow up quickly, and violently, at that. I should count myself fortunate that I had known more peaceful circumstances than she, that I knew my earliest years in a time of watchful peace, free of the Shadow and its taint.

    I knew all of this, and yet, my heart still hurt within my chest.

    Galadriel reached forward, and tilted my chin up. For the first time, she looked weary before me – a woman of flesh and bone instead of something greater, something more. Always had I felt small beneath my mother's name and might, and now was no different as she sighed, and drew me close. I was awkward and stiff in the embrace for but a moment. I leaned into her then, grateful for the comfort as I let her hold me like a child. My eyes burned, but this time no tears fell.

    “My silly, foolish daughter,” Galadriel said into the crown of my hair. “Strength is not in an absence of feeling, but, rather, what you do with the feelings you have. Even more futile is judging our own strength by the trials and actions of others. Yes, I was very young when I left Aman, but you are younger still, and asked to depart on a road you did not previously foresee. Even so, I do not see you trying to convince me to stay. You did not try to convince Sítheril to stay. You have accepted the days to come, and already look forward to them in your own way. The grief you now feel will fade in time, and the strength you will learn from seeing past your grief will linger on longer than your pain.”

    I inhaled, a shaky breath that left my lungs as a sigh. More than my mother's words was the warmth of her spirit, cradling mine as if it were a hearth fire sharing of its heat. I let my grief rise, bright in my mind, and then I exhaled with it. When I opened my eyes again, I felt as if I could breathe.

    Galadriel was smiling as I drew away, and then she stood. She looked into the water of the fountain for a long moment before turning to me again. In her eyes, a decision was made.

    “We too will leave with the dawn,” Galadriel said. “Pack what you need to take with you, and say your farewells . . . for, the next time you see these stones, they will be piled in ruin. That much I have seen, and know to be true.”

    I felt my heart twist at her words, looking back at the home I had known and loved. And yet . . . home was my mother. Home was my father. Home was my friend, and would continue to be so, even as she went on across the Sea. Home was in the heart, not in the stone and mortar. I loved Ost-in-edhil for its role in shaping me, but I then decided to know joy for future awaiting me – for the new places I would see, and the new days yet to dawn.

    I nodded, showing her that I understood. I got to my feet, and followed her back into the house.

    The sun was just starting to touch the sky when we stood ready to leave. Shadow still swallowed the pathways, and many were still at the revelries in the clearing beyond, singing the sun to the sky as Aulë blessed the day following our invocations of song. I took the flowers from my hair, and braided the long mass of silver practically away from my face. I donned a pale grey tunic, and dark leggings beneath sturdy boots, fit for the road ahead. On my back, I strapped my bow and my quiver, resting alongside my pack - carrying everything I wanted to keep from Ost-in-edhil. When I was finished, I came out into the main hall to see my mother dressed similarly, appearing no less brilliant to my eyes when adorned for the road. I swallowed as I shifted my pack on my back, the days ahead becoming real in that moment as they had not been before.

    I stood while my parents said their goodbyes. Celeborn did nothing more than rest his brow against his wife's forehead. He held his hands to cup her face in a tender gesture, his thumbs resting on the high arch of her cheekbones. His eyes were closed, yet they said nothing where no words needed to be said. I could feel the mingling of their spirits on the air, as strong as the sun as it dawned, their bond a cord that would connect them, even when stretched.

    They stayed like that for a long moment, before Galadriel stepped back, something soft still glowing in her eyes. When my father next turned to me, I stepped into his embrace without speaking. My arms were tight around his shoulders, my eyes closed as I burrowed my head into his chest, committing to memory the scent and feel of him. I could feel his hands touch my hair, my back, my face; he making a memory to match my own. I inhaled only once before stepping back, calling a smile to my mouth as he rested a fond hand upon my cheek. There was pride in his eyes when he looked at me, pride and love, and I felt myself stand up straighter to see so.

    We then turned, ready to set out on our path. Galadriel did not once look back, but I did at the gate, turning to find my father's gaze. I held his eyes for only a moment, then I too walked on.

    As soon as we passed from the shelter of the trees, the three peaks of the Hithaegelir loomed tall and imposing before us, swallowing even the sky in their breathless dominance of the land. Caradhras, I found the first cruel peak with my eyes, who was ill to travelers and ever blanketed with storms. Celebdil was next, so stained in silver snow that it shimmered pink and pale orange in the rising sun as it reflected the dawn. Taller than all was the mountain Fanuidhol, the cloudy head, named for his high place within the skies. He seemed to smile down at us from his great height, and I shouldered my pack upon seeing so, inhaling at the encouragement from the mountains.

    Onwards then, I thought, and onwards we went.

    We mostly walked in silence, which was not rare between my mother and I. Galadriel spoke only when she had something to say, and I was comfortable with the silence that fell in between. I let the bubbling of the Sirannon river speak to me as we followed its winding path up into the mountains. I listened, hearing both the muttering of the trees as they stretched their boughs to the sun, and the rise of bird-song as they filled the morning with their melody. We walked alongside the river rather than upon the east road, our footsteps soft in the silt so as to not leave a track, whispering through the tall grasses and hard, rocky land, careful to leave no sign of our passing through.

    We broke our fast only when passing the borders of Hollin, looking on the marked stones with a glance and then no more as we continued forward. The path angled itself more steeply the further we went, and the way became tricky at points, we seemingly climbing amongst the stones rather than walking them at times. These roads were still familiar to me, though, and our travel was fast for the most part.

    We spent that first night sleeping on the riverside, in a clearing that I remembered from years before – when my father had taken me on this same journey when teaching me to use my bow practically in the wild. He'd taught me to hunt and hide my own tracks as well as read the tracks of others, whispering the names of the trees we passed, and having me introduce myself to each in turn. Some of the older wood remembered me as we traveled, while the younger saplings looked with new eyes on the world as it changed.

    The next day we rested at a sandy spot on the river, one where I remembered swimming with Sítheril in the summers before. When we were very young, we would dare each other into the deeper waters, whispering old tales about a guardian of the waterways who lived there, a being with tentacles and scales, ever watching. We never once found the creature, but our games had been breathless indeed. Now the water was still and silent, and I merely looked out at imagined ripples in the calm surface before we got to our feet and continued on our path again.

    It was not until the third day that I came to a point in the wood I did not know. I stopped, first looking at the trees beside me, and then the trees just beyond. I hesitated.

    “What is it?” further ahead, Galadriel paused, waiting for me.

    I made to walk forward, before thinking the better of it. I paused, and looked behind me.

    “This is the furthest I have ever been from home,” I said, meeting my mother's eyes before dropping my gaze to stare at my feet. “Or, it shall be, after this step.”

    A shadow flickered, and when I looked up, Galadriel was at my side. There was something soft about her eyes, and she held my hand when she said, “It is just a step,” in a voice that no less understood.

    I imagined my mother – Artanis as she once was - at the mouth of the Helcaraxë, taking in a breath, and then -

    - I stepped forward, and the moment was gone. I walked through the new trees with wide eyes, and our journey continued on in silence.

    The mountain paths became steeper and steeper, and the trees fewer and fewer still. We walked through the evening hour, and when I looked to stop for the night, my mother shook her head and waved me on. “Only moonlight will let you see what needs to be seen,” was her explanation in reply.

    I did not understand, but I followed nonetheless. We walked as stars filled the sky, following the path until we came to where the river had its birthplace in a dramatic waterfall, pouring down from the crag overhead. This was the mouth of the Sirannon, I understood. Then, we should be . . .

    “But, I do not see a door,” I said, perplexed. And it was true. Here the path cut off abruptly. The rockface of the mountain was a sheer rise of stone that we could not ascend. There was no way forward that I could see.

    My mother smiled - a small, secret thing as she trailed a hand over the stone as if searching. “Dwarvish doors are curious things,” she said. “They cannot be found but by those who know where to find them, and are all but invisible to the naked eye, until . . .”

    She muttered something that I could not overhear, and a haze of silver seemed to shimmer in answer to her touch.

    Ithildin,” Galadriel whispered, and I understood.

    The Doors of Moria were traced with an impossibly bright light of silver, made from an ink of refined mithril – a fortune for any other land in Ennor but Moria itself, with its endless halls of true-silver. Ithildin was only visible underneath the light of the stars and moon, and I then understood why my mother insisted we continue our journey underneath the veil of night.

    I looked, and saw the design as it started to take shape. The doors were framed by two massive trees, their boughs mingling and twining to create the crest of the door. The emblem of Durin came into view next - a hammer and an anvil beneath a crown ringed by stars. I looked further down, and saw the eight pointed star of Fëanor upon the stone, and felt something inside of me twist when I remember what we had just left behind. In Eregion, there was still a friendship between the Noldorin elves and the Longbeards of Durin's line, even though theirs was a friendship that had since been forgotten in other parts of Ennor. My mother's kin were craftsmen, and knew fondness and respect for the children of Aulë, a respect that was mirrored by the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm. They shared their wares and secrets of craft, and between Celebrimbor and Narvi – the dwarf who had fashioned these doors, there was a great friendship indeed.

    As I thought so, words came into view - Fëanorian letters written in Celebrimbor's rolling, elegant hand across the face of the door.

    “The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria,” I read aloud. “Speak, friend, and enter . . . I, Narvi, made them . . . Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs.”

    I reached out to touch the glittering silver script, feeling a great might pulse in the words, waiting. I looked to my mother. “How shall we open the way?”

    Galadriel stood to the side, letting me examine the door. The silver reflected in her eyes, making them very bright in the night. “These doors are open during days of trade. We are merely early in the season for the doorwards to be here. And yet, Dwarves know of unplanned guests – you need only speak the word, and the doors will open.”

    “The word?” I asked, waiting for my mother to unveil some word of power or enchanted phrase. Instead, she merely looked at me, and I understood then that she was waiting.

    I looked to the door again, wondering at what unspoken secret I had missed. It was there in the script, I then understood, lingering right beyond my comprehension.

    I then remembered the long ago days before Annatar's arrival in Eregion. Often would Celebrimbor break from his work to sit with the young ones in the main square of the city. Perched on the lip of the fountain, he would give riddles, and then treats and trinkets to the quick minds who could unravel his words. Oftentimes he delighted in hiding the answer within the obvious, and so I now looked for that same easy answer in the doors before me.

    I felt a pang for remembering Celebrimbor this way, for such ease of humor had not been his for many years now. He no longer sat with the young ones of the settlement to play. He no longer shaped toys with his quick, restless hands.

    I exhaled, looking closer at the words, seeing, then . . .

    Speak, friend, and enter . . .

    It would not be that simple . . .

    . . . would it?

    I once remembered that he had fashioned a doll, one who would dance, but only when you sang. When your song faltered, so would the doll's dance, and I had wanted her so very badly. Celebrimbor would not give up his wares without payment, though, so he had knelt down before me and asked, “What has roots that none can see, and is taller than the trees? Up and up it goes, and yet, never grows?”

    I had thought for the answer until I was sure that my eyes would strain from trying to read the answer from his eyes. That day had been clear and cloudless, with the peaks of the Misty Mountains visible for untold lengths behind us. I had looked, my answer plain before me, and Celebrimbor had smiled when I solved the riddle, delighted with my reply as he passed the doll to me.

    I remembered, and now . . .

    Mellon,” I said the word for 'friend', my voice strong, and then . . . the star of Fëanor flickered, its light dominating the night as the doors swung open, revealing a dark passage of stairs within.

    I looked to my mother, and there was a twinkling in her eyes for my solving the riddle. “Well done,” she said simply, walking into the dark while I stood just beyond, the toe of my boot resting on the line of mountain-shadow and the dark of night.

    Within, Galadriel had taken a torch from the wall, and touched the tip, a blue flame leaping forward to dance at her command. The flame lit up the gentle veins of silver in the rock before her, illuminating our path. I could only espy the stairway climbing up, no matter how I peered.

    “Now,” she said, waiting for me, “If you are ready?”

    I was.

    This time, I walked forward with a strong step. I did not look back.

    RX_Sith and Nyota's Heart like this.
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Stunning details. Gentle, tender, and wise words permeated the mother/daughter talk. :) You can feel Celebrian's resilience already. The parting between the family was poignant. :D
  24. laurethiel1138

    laurethiel1138 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 6, 2003
    Two beautiful entries.

    In which Celebrian learns that not all partings must be forever, though it may feel like it at the time. It is nice to know that there will be a friendly soul waiting for her on the shores of Aman, to guide her first steps on this new land. The land of the Valar must be am impressive sight, and she has not her mother's memories to make the transition easier. In a way, Sitheril's going is a blessing in disguise.

    And in which Galadriel is ever the pedagogue, letting Celebrian come up with her own answers to her trials. To have Galadriel as a mother would be especially daunting, and it came through very well. On another level, I especially liked the LOTR references here, what with venturing the furthest away from home and the riddle on the Doors of Durin. Methinks the Watcher in the Water must respond only to ill intent, or that Celebrian and Sitheril were especially lucky, when they bathed in the river that day...

    Lauré :)
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  25. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Lovely entry with the words and scenes giving even more depth to the world of LOTR
    Nyota's Heart likes this.