Chapter 10: Awoken Memories
It was two days since the passing of Bilbo and Frodo. Galadriel and Gandalf were leading a weary and grim company of Elves. Galadriel had sped off earlier to search and examine the lands about them, for it was long since she walked in the fair streets of the Tirion, or Valinor. The land was silent and empty and was only lighted by the moonlight at night and sunlight by day. Galadriel upon her horse was like a breeze in the trees: all beings that saw her just thought of her as a spirit passing through the streets of old memories.
She reached the feet of Taniquetil and looked up. The evening was playing on the Mountain's peak and it glowed gold. Old memories were awoken inside Galadriel. The thought of Manwe and Varda in Oilosse, seated upon their thrones in Ilmarin, and the Light of Varda's stars about them like a holy aura about them formed in her mind, but then also the vision of the Valar seated in the Circle of Doom, proclaiming the banishment of Feanor for his evils done in the City of Tirion and Valinor, and how her father deserted his children to turn back and stay in the Blessed Land. As Galadriel sat upon her horse, it bore her further into the wood that was about the Pelori. She came to a point where she perceived---shielding her eyes against the setting sun---the hill of Tuna, with glorious, glimmering Tirion nestled upon it and upon its green crown was the Tower of Ingwe---Mindon Eldalieva. It was surrounded as if by a great, grey wall of the gigantic and majestic Pelori Mountains; it was a silver-white pearl trapped within a sea of ash, towering in endless clouded cascades above it. Galadriel sat upon her horse and lowering her hand, she smiled and whispered:
"Tirion." She urged her horse to a gallop and raced to the city, like a white shooting star.
The White Guard of Tirion loitered lazily by the gates. One of them lay on the large boulder that was up against the City wall and rested with his helm pulled down to his chin; the second one sat his back propped up against the gate, and his spear leaning on the other boulder. The third one leaned on the shaft of his spear and stared out onto the vast plain stretching before him. They had seen nothing all day, or the day before, or even the day before that.
"Ai!" suddenly cried the Elf that was standing up. "I think I saw white thunder touch down yonder, on the Plain, unless my eyes have been deceived by the brightness of the Sun." he sounded frantic. His comrades jumped up and also gazed at the green sea of grasses. But they saw nothing.
"Ah, Saeros, it probably be the wine you drank last night and its making you see things!" they sighed. But Saeros would not stand of being called a drunk.
"I swear I haven't dreamed it Firgal. Look, there it is again!" This time Firgal saw it too.
"And what do you make of it?" he asked. Saeros shrugged his shoulders.
"Ah, you're both drunk! Go and rest, and I'll keep watch." Cried the third one, lounging back on the boulder. Firgal and Saeros cast him a cold look and he piped down. The white thunderbolt leapt from hillock to hillock on the plain, and then sped like a shooting star towards them.
Finally the Guard of Tirion, clad in the snowy armour of the city that stood by its pearly gates saw Galadriel advancing and barred her way with spears.
"You cannot pass, Lady, unless you tell us whence you come from," Saeros, Leader of the Guard said in a stern voice. Galadriel looked from one grim, yet fair face to the other. And as her piercing gaze held them, they dropped their spears and bowed low, crying:
"Galadriel has come back!" at once, many other Elves appeared and stood in awe.
"Yes, I have come back! And I have a company not far behind that has suffered great loss and are in need of housing." Cried the Lady of the Golden Wood as she came up and stopped her horse before the onlookers who stood dazed by her unexpected coming.
"But the Kor is now lost to those who left the shores of Middle-earth," said Saeros. Galadriel started at the new name of the city. "You must depart to Tol Eressae. I will not let you pass." The White Lady leapt off her horse and towered over Saeros. She looked like a mighty queen, clothed in perfect white silks that nearly matched her fair, blanched face; her long golden hair was blown back by the wind and it shimmered like newly minted gold. Her piercing, menacing gaze held the captain of the guard, who quailed under it.
"My host has been shipwrecked," she began bitterly. "We have lost two members of our crew and we have no way of getting to the Lonely Isle, unless you are willing of providing us with a new ship. If you do not open the gates right at this instant, you shall be requested the same by Olorin the Maiar, but I don not think that he will be as kind as I am! Would you not even let me speak to your Lord, who is my father?" her complexion softened and the she could see the fear and anger in Saeros's eyes.
"Edro i ennyn." He said and the pearly gates were unlocked by two of the guards, but a tall Elf came out of the crowd who awaited Galadriel dressed in white from head to foot. His mail shirt shone pearly in the sunlight and his snowy white mantle went over his shoulder and was bound at the neck by a silver brooch resembling a Sea Bird in flight. His face was hooded, but looking at Galadriel he said in a fair voice:
"You say that you are Galadriel, who was the fairest of the grandchildren of Finwe. But neither Feanor nor Finglofin had a daughter by that name." Galadriel looked at him long and searchingly. Finally she recognized the Elf and he lifted his face to gaze back. Those wise blue eyes; the long wheat-golden hair flecked with grey with age; his straight and tall stature:
"Finarfin, son of Finwe...my father; Lord of Tirion." She hopped off her horse and looked at him. He looked just as he did when they parted, many millenniums ago. Then she embraced him and said:
"I cannot contain the joy that is in my heart at seeing you again! Will you not come with me further into Kor so we can talk there? For there is much to tell, I am sure."
"Yea, daughter," answered Finarfin. "For there is indeed much to tell, but I heard that you are searching for the one named Celebrian."
"She is my daughter." Answered Galadriel softly. "Can you tell your people to make accommodations for a large host of Elves? For I have a weary and sorrowful company behind me."
"I shall see what I can do." Said Finarfin and went off.
Later that evening, when all were inside the gates of Kor, the host of the Noldor and Eldar of Middle-Earth and the rest of the crew from the Swan Ship sat in a large hall in the House of Finwe with many eager listeners, waiting for tales of wonder; Finarfin sat in his great throne-chair.
"What has become of you Lady? For after Feanor and his followers left, we thought that you would not return, for only Finarfin returned and ruled the remnant of the Elves that remained here." They asked.
"I followed my brothers and Finglofin's sons through the Helcaraxe, where Feanor betrayed us to our doom and left us on the shores of Aman," Began Galadriel. "When we finally reached Beleriand, we were called the Noldor, and all were placed under the Doom of Mandos. All the Sons of Finwe then had alliance, but Morgoth grew wrathful and we assailed him with five glorious battles, but to no avail, for all our hopes turned to pain and torture. I went with my brother to the Hidden Realm of Doriath, home of King Thingol, and brother of Olwe of Alqualonde. In Doriath, I met Celeborn, kinsman to Thingol and we loved each other since that day. Long did we dwell in the Hidden Realm, beneath its tall trees, under the protection of Thingol and Melian the Maiar, but the King was brought a Silmaril of Feanor by Beren and thus was the doom of Doriath planted; he lusted for it and when he was brought the Nauglamir, the Necklace of the Dwarves, he bade them to bind the Silmaril in it. The Dwarves, too, wanted the Silmaril and when Thingol denied them of it, they slew him and Melian in her grief departed from Doriath to dwell here in the Gardens of Lorien.
"Thus Doriath was destroyed and could not be made again. Finally, when the Valar came to help us against Morgoth, Beleriand was no more and the land was changed. Celeborn and I refused to come back when pardoned by the Valar, and so we fled over the Ered Lindon and the Mountains of Mist. There, we dwelt in the golden woods of Lothlorien; it was like to Doriath, but it could never be it. Thus any who came with us or entered the woods and dwelt there, were called the Galadhrim (the Tree-Folk), for we built dwellings in the golden trees. Fair folk lived there and the fairest were Amroth and Nimrodel, but their story is sorrowful; for Nimrodel was lost, and Amroth died trying to find her. Celeborn and I were called the Lord and the Lady of the Golden Wood and our daughter was Celebrian." At this she stopped and cast her eyes towards the sky, looking at its vastness, but perceiving naught. A tear rolled down her cheek and dropped on Nenya, her ring, which radiated.
Galadriel mostly talked, for many were eager to learn of what had become of her when she left Aman. Golden Wood of Lothlorien, and about Sauron the Dark Lord and about Nenya, the Elven Ring and about their wars with Morgoth and the deaths of the sons and grandchildren of Finwe and about other events that require no great detail. At all this, the people of Tirion seemed surprised.
Eventually, the Elves grew weary of talking and desired for sleep and were given it. Their rooms were rich and spacious, but at that point, anything would do, for they were weary of travel and a sorrow that could not be mended. Finally all fell into a deep sleep. Galadriel and Finarfin were the only ones who walked abroad under the starlit sky. Then, Finarfin spoke.
"It seems so short a time, yet so much has happened to Arda." He said, as they walked under the eves of a forest. "And it seems as though you were always involved in all matters. I do not understand but one thing though: what made you come back?
"All the Rind-Bearers are bound to that fate," said Galadriel quietly. "To complete their part in Middle-Earth and then to depart to the West, and to lose what they once had.
"But you did not lose me," Said Finarfin.
"Yet, father, I have left my love there and the Woods where I used to be a queen and all loved me and I felt peace and happiness." Answered Galadriel.
"A part of what you lost may be granted, though it may not be much." Said Finarfin as he stopped and looked at Galadriel. "A part of me says to leave to follow the aimless road through the Blessed Realm, and see the wild, ancient beauty it beholds, but another part says to stay, for it foresees I will be need. I do not know which should I do, but this I know: I cannot be Lord of the Noldor any longer. It is a wearisome job now. I need someone young and spirited to take my stead.
"The Elves from Middle-Earth and the folk of Kor need a strong and wise ruler and Feanor's son cannot be king, for the spirit and of his father lives in him and he might again lead Aman to grief and loss. Since you are now going to dwell in Tirion, like I did so long ago, you are my heir now, for none of your brothers live and you must rule Tirion. Will you not take the crown?" he kneeled and looked at his daughter with eyes that might pierce all darkness. Galadriel seemed unchanged to him, yet now, she realized that he changed, but in what way, she could not tell.
"I will take the Crown of Tirion, with Celebrian my daughter and the Lord Elrond by my side. But do not leave, father! It would ease my heart if you stayed for a while. We have much yet to decide. Stay with your kin until the crowning, then you are free to go wither you wish." Said Galadriel and smiled for the first time since the day of the great sorrow. Finarfin nodded in silence and they walked together slowly back to the merrily lit streets of Tirion by the Sea.
The morning dawned fair and warm, but Galadriel did not sleep that night. Instead, she thought about her future life and what it will mean to be Queen once again. Later that day, she was found with Elrond and Gandalf, walking through a vast garden at the back of their present dwelling. Galadriel finally spoke:
"Finarfin, my father, bade me to take the Crown of Tirion and rule all who will dwell there."
"The Lord Finarfin has chosen a great Queen." Said Elrond.
"You and Celebrian shall take my place when I am away," said Galadriel and spoke no more.
All three were amazed by the splendor of the Tower of Tirion, as they walked up to it when the Sun rose high above the Mountains: it was like a white tower out of a dream: gleaming snow-white and golden at the top. At night, a ray of a ghostly light would still be seen, pointing like a guide across the Great Sea, back to the East. Many flights of stairs led from the gate to the Tower and in between was the fair city of Tirion, with its gardens and streets that were decorated with stones of many colours and trees of magnificent size and beauty.
A tall Elf came up to the trio and bowed low. His long black hair was tied behind him in a neat, flat ponytail, but as he bowed, it slipped off his shoulder and lightly brushed the pathway. He was wearing a silver mail-shirt, and a long white cape.
"Welcome, Lady Galadriel!" he cried. "Joyous it is to see you return again to Aman. I am Firgon, councilor and student of the Lord Finarfin. He has told me of your coming last night and if you just follow me, I shall lead you to permanent dwellings. We have prepared several small houses for your company, where some of their kin live and a large home for the Bearers." Galadriel beckoned the others to follow and herself caught up with Firgon, so that they walked astride.
"The Lord Finarfin is my dear father," she said.
"I know well who you are and who he is, Lady. I was told of your inheritance to the throne also." Answered Firgon.
"That is well, but do you know the one called Celebrian? Finarfin has told me she dwells in Tirion." Asked Galadriel.
"She has dwelt in Tirion, but she left a month ago and now no one knows where she walks now." Said Firgon, lowering his voice.
"Are you aware that she is my daughter?" asked Galadriel. "She left Middle-Earth ages ago and removed here." Firgon gave Galadriel a look with his keen eyes that clearly answered her question. The Lady nodded.
"When I first beheld the Lady Celebrian, I thought that indeed Galadriel has returned, for to my eyes, she has carried your beauty, but now I see that my eyes were deceived!" He admitted, smiling and shaking his head at his own foolish mistake. Elrond who was riding with Gandalf behind Firgon, now came up to his right side and said:
"Thank you, Firgon, for your news of Celebrian, for she is my wife and mother to the Queen of Middle Earth and its realms." Firgon looked at Elrond and was amazed anew; for here was a Lord that he had not seen before, yet one he knew from tales.
"Lord Elrond!" he said, catching his breath and bowing anew in reverence.
"Yes, I am Elrond Half-Elven, second son of Earendil and Elwing." Said Elrond, smiling.
"The living child of Earendil and Elwing shall defiantly find great welcome among the Noldor and Eldar! Indeed it is an honour to meet you!" cried Firgon happily. They reached their dwelling in a short while. It was of great size and white, with vast gardens on all its sides. A grandiose, crystal fountain was set in the middle, which was made of several elevations letting the water cascade in sparkling waterfalls down to the deep basin, in which the water looked golden in the westering sun. There were many windows in the house and many slender trees and stairs all around. A small set of wooden stairs led to the front porch, which was a large terrace that seemed to be going around the full length of the house, overshadowed by a low roof, which was supported by craved beams of wood representing tall, elegant trees with splayed branches upholding and weaving around the base of the roof.
Benches were standing with their backs to the white walls of the house and they too, showed the elven skill at its finest.
"This is like to the Last Homely House," said Gandalf with great satisfaction.
"And yet not it." contradicted Elrond, as he came up to the great doors and pushed them open. Inside it was cool and spacious. They seemed to be in a small hallway that eventually made its way into a large hall with open walls; upheld by great, sculpted pillars; the floor was made of many-coloured marble stones. As they came in further down the hall, the three remaining Bearers found themselves in the vast hall with a large wooden table, carved of some dark wood, with books and scrolls scattered on its surface, three great chairs which encircled the three sides of the table, and many statues portraying the valiant Elf Lords that now were no more. This was a sort of Common Room and it had many other passages of short halls, which led to other smaller rooms with tables of silver wood and beds with thin white blankets. The trio made themselves comfortable in the large spacious room, admiring the beauty of the dwelling and the nature outside that surrounded them; one could just walk out of the hall and find themselves lost in the splendor of a great garden, grown for many years by the Elves that loved such places. The Elven Lord and Lady, and the Wizard were seated into their great seats of wood, as many other Elves came in silently and looked in wonder at the host of the newcomers.
After Firgon introduced them to the rest folk of Tirion, who were filled with wonder, he bade the Bearers to join him and several others of high standard in a small feast to celebrate their coming.
Time went on and the Elves slowly settled in, in the prosperous city of Tirion. They went back to their everyday lives: filling the hearts of their kin and everyone else with the joy and love that they were so gifted with, creating ornaments of beauty with their crafty hands and singing in their melodious, rich and high voices the songs of the good times past and present. Nearly two months had passed since the coming of the Elves of Middle-Earth, and with each passing week, the horrific memory of the shipwreck grew dimmer and fainter, until it was finally nothing more than a spark of worry and sorrow, fighting against all the joys and mirth of the Elves.
Late one night in, a maiden appeared at the gates of Tirion and demanded to speak with Firgon. The guards were reluctant to let her through, but when she told them hastily who she was, they opened the gates with many a `forgive us Lady. It is our duty to question people after dark'. Without any reply, she sped upon her white steed to the house of Firgon. The Elven guards followed her with their eyes until she was gone and then looked at each other in confusion; that was indeed very strange.
"Lord," she began, "I am in need of haste and your aid: Frodo, a Halfling, friend to many, may perish if we do not help him!" Firgon looked at her and said in a joyous voice:
"Lady Celebrian! You have returned! This is well indeed, for your mother and husband are here. Shall I go get them?" Celebrian caught her breath and looked straight in the wise and beautiful eyes of Firgon. Then she shook her head and cried:
"Did you not hear what I have said? That Halfling is a dear friend to my mother and he may die if we cannot give him aid!" at this Firgon jumped and hurried out the door. Celebrian grabbed a warm cloak that hung on a rack and ran out of the house.
"Take me to him," said Firgon as he mounted his grey stallion that was stabled nearby and they sped off into the night, hoping that their urgent need for good speed will bring them to their destination before the evening after tomorrow.
A week had passed and he returned, but the light had faded from his face and he ran to the dwelling of the Three Bearers. When he saw Elrond, he came up to him and said:
"Lord Elrond, Celebrian has been here six days ago, but she seemed in a great hurry to save a one named Frodo Baggins; great trouble has befallen him and he needs to be brought here for healing. Will you help me in preparing the house of healing for his arrival?" without answering or asking questions, Elrond followed after Firgon outside and they trod up crystalline stairs, and soon stood inside a beautiful, arched and pillared white dwelling. They walked through a small hallway and ended up in a sunlit room, with windows facing a garden, abundant with small waterfalls and a whole assortment of wild, unfamiliar, but unmistakably beautiful, merry flowers; the room was not very large, for about 5, large, white beds stood there, each with its own little bed-table and bench. There were also very beautiful, carven images of elves on the walls above the beds, looking down with sad, unseeing eyes, pitying the souls that had to lie in these beds for healing.
Shortly after Firgon's arrival---two days after, to be exact---Celebrian came back with Frodo and Anarie the Fairy. Firgon met them at the gate and brought them to Elrond's house. The Lord, after a while of silence and disbelief at seeing the Elf maiden again, met Celebrian warmly, but beckoned her to go to Galadriel who sat in the garden and while Elrond was tending Frodo, they spoke.
"Dearest daughter," said Galadriel. "Great is my joy to see thee again!"
"I thought we would never meet again, after we parted, but it seems not so now. Where is my father, Lord Celeborn and what has become of you while I was gone? Why did you not come sooner?"
"Calm down, child! I will tell you all that you would like to know and more than that, but in due time. Do you see this ring? It is a Ring of Power that was made by Celebrimbor, the greatest craftsman of Eregion during the Second Age; son of Curufin, but slain by Sauron. This is one of the Three Elven Rings that were wrought by him. Nenya, the Ring of Water is it's name and the one your husband wears is Vilya, the Ring of Air. All Bearers of such Rings were bound to one fate: to complete their part in Middle-Earth (which was to aid it's people against the power of Sauron) and then to depart over the Sea and dwell in Aman so that Middle-Earth will dwell in peace from the masterful powers of the Rings; even of those that would be used to do good. You father could not come, because he was not a Bearer of the Rings and I could not come sooner, because I still had to complete my role; he shall come when his time comes."
"Frodo was one of the Bearers also? He has told me of his great deeds in Middle-Earth, but I never clearly understood him."
"He was the Bearer of the Ring that Sauron had made to rule all the other nineteen Rings of Power; the One of the Lidless Eye it was called. He took its burden upon himself in Rivendell to take it to Mordor and destroy it so that Sauron could be no more."
Celebrian nodded slowly as she began to understand.
"What of my children, Arwen, Elladan and Elrohir? What has become of them?" she asked.
"Your sons have fought in a great battle against the forces of Sauron, before the Gates of Minas Tirith and before the Morannon of Mordor and live. Your daughter has wed the Lord Aragorn of the Dunedain, Heir of Isildur, and now they rule as King and Queen in the realms of Gondor, Arnor and Eriador, where there was no King for a thousand years.
"But if the Lord Aragorn is of the line of the Dunedain, than he is Númenorean---a mortal. Wouldn't my daughter then be mortal also?" asked Celebrian, getting confused again. Galadriel nodded.
"Long was Elrond against their marriage, but in the end, he saw that Aragorn was indeed worthy of Arwen's hand. For they loved each other since Aragorn was a score of years old. Now she is indeed a mortal woman, but she is happy with her decision. Arwen would have come with Elrond and me, but she gave her place willingly to Frodo."
"Many things have befallen since my departure!" sighed Celebrian. "And though I am parted from my children and my father, I shall not be wholly alone; for at least you and Elrond have returned. Now we must go and see in what way we can help Elrond."
"There is also another matter that I must tell you." Said Galadriel. "Your grandfather, the Lord Finarfin, has left Tirion and it's people in my hands. He has given to throne to me. You and Elrond shall by my heirs and you shall crown me. I have not yet told of this to the people of Tirion, but it will be said in due time." Celebrian stood up and seemed taller and fairer than she was before. Then she bowed low to Galadriel and said:
"Hail, Queen Galadriel! Command me if you will!" Galadriel smiled and answered:
"My first command to you is this: go and rest! For you must be weary of your long labours and journeys." Celebrian stood up and said:
"As you will." And she left. Galadriel's gaze followed her daughter until all sight of her was lost in the lush growths of the garden, and then looked at the Tower of Tirion above her; it was like a great white pillar in the darkness of the night. A single beam of light could be seen, coming from the top chamber and penetrating the sky with its silver luminescence.
"If you see this light, Celeborn, love, then may it bear this message: let it be a guide to you across the Road so that we may meet once more in everlasting bliss!" said Galadriel and left the garden.