The roar of the celebration had slowly grown quiet when the strange man entered the hall. The eyes of all the guests now rest on the Galadriel and the man. They stared silently at one another coldly, making no movement at all. The man’s gaze was powerful, that much was apparent to everyone. However Galadriel did quite well in standing her ground. All of the occupants of the head table sat waiting for something, anything to happen. They did not sit waiting for very long.
“Do you not answer to that name any longer? What about Artanis, or perhaps Nerwen?”
Galadriel’s jaw tightened as his words echoed throughout the room. His voice was ethereal but also masculine. It was other-worldly, which seemed to match perfectly with his appearance and presence. In truth the man brought a feeling of familiarity to the elves in the room, for what reason they did not know. Though the sound of the strange but beautiful voice set all the others aback, Galadriel stood motionless. Her fists were clenched at her sides as she stared hard back into his eyes. The man’s arm rose in a fluid motion and lightly brushed a few strands of his white hair back from his face. The he spoke very softly, almost whispering.
“You were always so stubborn, nothing changes it seems. I see you are only Galadriel now.” His voice was proud and harsh and his tone was condescending.
“Yes, I am.” Galadriel replied tight-lipped, her anger becoming more and more apparent. Finally, all the mysterious banter was enough for Arwen. She cautiously leaned towards her grandmother and placed her hand on Galadriel’s arm. She turned and looked at her granddaughter, still looking angry.
“Grandmother, do you know this person?” Arwen asked hesitantly. Galadriel kept looking at Arwen for a moment, letting her words register. Her eyes averted back to the man before her and then back at Arwen. Her features softened as she answered her grandchild.
“Yes my darling, this is the Guardian.”
Aragorn had dismissed all of his guests from the hall, leaving only himself, Arwen, her father and brothers, grandparents, and the Guardian. Elrond was the only other that had any knowledge of what Galadriel spoke of. Not even Celeborn knew anything of this guardian that had made himself known. After exchanging glances with Elrond, Galadriel reluctantly began telling everyone all she knew. It was not something she wanted to delve into, she had always hoped that after so many years her memories would just fade. Unfortunately they had not faded in the slightest. The stranger calmly strode to the fireplace as she wove her tale.
“I have never seen an elf such as him.” Arwen ventured to state. The unexpected guest to her celebration had aroused her curiosity to its peak.
“He is not an elf.” Galadriel’s uncharacteristically dropped to her lap as her hands clenched together. None of her family had ever seen her in such a lack of pride and dignity.
“He is only known as the Guardian, he is one of the Maiar. One of the people of Varda, very powerful… He is the guardian of Elven-kind. I have crossed paths with him once before, many years ago.”
As he listened, Elladan glanced for to the fireplace. He still stood there, staring intently into the flames. The red glow of the fire against the starlight that surrounded him made an awe-inspiring sight. Only when Galadriel’s words continued did he turn his attention back at her.
“I was once told he resides at Cuivienen, where the first elves awoke. The Guardian knows every elf that was, is or will be. He knows every language spoken in Arda. All of the tongues of elves and men, Dwarvish…”
“And very poor Entish.” The Guardian’s voice was soft but it succeeded in startling everyone. He had left his place in front of the roaring fire and came over the group huddled around Galadriel. Galadriel’s eyes glanced upwards at him. There were still traces of anger but most of all there was melancholy. His eyes were still cold and indifferent, but they had soften somewhat. Her family had never seen Galadriel so unnerved, the man called the Guardian’s presence seemed to make her disposition worse and worse.
“I will retire now, good evening to you all my children.” As she rose she gave a small but warm smile to everyone. When she turned and was met face to face with the Guardian, the smile disappeared quicker than it had appeared. The two stood silently and looked at each other. The Guardian moved closer to her, his head tilted down as he stared into her eyes fully. His face displayed no emotion. The dim light of the room only served to make his eyes more brilliant as they poured over Galadriel’s fair face. The Guardian said nothing, he merely gave a slight nod of his head and she turned quickly and left the room.
His proud, silver eyes followed her out of the room. He then turned his head and glanced out the window, looking out into the dark, night sky. The stars studded the darkness as the quarter moon shone brightly. He stared out of the window for a moment, and then his eye lids fell gently to cover his eyes. He sighing deeply, breathing in the scent that was unique to this place.
Everyone’s eyes were on him. The guardian never ceased to spark their curiosity. What the family of elves seemed to question most was the sense of familiarity they had with this person. None of them could place it, but a feeling coursed through them and it told them that they knew him.
Suddenly, enough to startle those around him, the Guardian’s eyes flew open and he swiftly strode towards the doors leading out into the rest of the palace. He was there one moment and then he was gone the next.
“Do you hear that my lord?” Aragorn asked quietly as he and Arwen approached Elrond. He was standing near the doors and opened out into the upper-most balconies of the Tower of Ecthelion. His posture was wistful and his eyes were closed, for he was absorbed in the sounds that came floating into the room. Without turned to look at his daughter or her companion, he answered in a soft voice.
The three grew silent and listened. There was single voice in the night, it was soft but it seemed to spread out for miles around. The voice was deep and ethereal; it sung a song that was equally as god-like. Elrond made his way out into the night, followed by Arwen and Aragorn, and looked down at the gardens and courtyards below them. There stood the Guardian, standing still and tall. It was his beautiful voice that could be heard. For some time the three of them stood and listened. Finally Aragorn reached forward and placed his hand on Elrond’s shoulder.
“Is his words not in Quenya?” Aragorn asked curiously, the majority of his attention still on the Guardian. At first Elrond was oblivious to his question, Aragorn had never known him to be so caught up and unaware of everything surrounding him. Moments later Elrond turned his head slightly to look at Aragorn, but never broke his eyes away from the man in the gardens.
“Yes, he sings in the High Elven tongue. He calls to all the elves of Middle-earth. The Guardian bides them to sail westward to the home that has been prepared for them. He says that Varda, Elbereth Gilthoniel, will light their path to the Undying Lands and protect them.”
As he heard Elrond’s explanation, Aragorn’s eyes were also drawn to the Guardian. It was an awe-inspiring sound. Never in his life had he heard something so beautiful and so haunting. The sight of him was also great to behold. He shone softly in starlight, as if he himself came from the heavens.
“When he first arrived I could not place why he felt so familiar. Now that I hear his song and his voice I know. Every night, as elves travel through their waking dreams, his voice is always present. All elves hear him calling to them, biding them to leave Middle-earth and sail into the West. I have heard the Guardian’s voice every night of my life, as has every elf before me.”
This only enhanced the awe that Aragorn felt. He turned and was met with a look of sadness on Arwen’s face. Her eyes were melancholy and her smile had disappeared. He touched her arm in concern and it seemed to free her from some trance. She turned her head and gave him a small but sad smile.
“I remember hearing his voice in my dreams; I cannot hear him any longer.” Arwen said sadly. It was true; when she had become betrothed the voice had grown quieter until she heard him no longer. They said nothing but the three knew the reason for it. She would never go to the Undying Lands. While it was her choice to forsake the fate of her people, the sadness of the absent beauty in her life had come over her.
The song that filled the night air softened until it was gone. When Aragorn looked over the railing of the balcony, the person he sought had vanished. No where was there a trace of the Guardian who had been in the gardens below. Finally the silence that hung between them was broken when Arwen turned to her father.
“Why is he here father?” She asked the question had been plaguing her mind all evening since he had arrived. What could a being such as he want with any of them? Elrond did not know what he wanted but before he could tell his daughter that he had no idea, a voice behind them answered her question. They all turned simultaneously and were met with Galadriel standing in the door frame.
“He is here for me.”
*To be continued…*