At last they reached the top of the stairs and emerged onto the great platform in the tree that served as Galadriel’s “front porch”, as the Lórien elves liked to call it. Galadriel was waiting for them.
“It is good to see you again, Gythien.” She said in her dreamlike voice. “I have been waiting for you.” She turned to Haldir and spoke to him through the mind so Gythien couldn’t hear. “Go down and wait for Gythien. She will be staying here for a while so have some elves prepare a room for her in one of the guest trees. She will meet you down there shortly.” Haldir nodded and moved to go down the stairs. At the last second, before beginning the descent, he turned around and took another look at Gythien. He knew now what he had been thinking ever since they had seen each other in the forest was true, he was still in love with her. He now knew that he always would be. He smiled at Gythien and she returned the smile before turning to Galadriel to hear what she had to say. He slowly started down the stairs.
~ ~ ~
“Gythien,” Galadriel said, “I have an important task for you, one that no one else can do. I trust that Elrond had told you about the Fellowship of the Ring?”
“Yes, he had.” Said Gythien shyly, wondering what she had to do and if she would be able to do it. She knew that it would be awful to let Galadriel down. She also wondered what the Fellowship had to do with it.
“Good,” said Galadriel, “then we won’t have to go over that, we can just get right to your task. You must not allow Haldir to leave until his time comes.” she commanded. The request startled Gythien. How was that important? Galadriel sensed Gythien’s confusion and quickly continued talking. “It is important for Haldir to stay in Lórien until his time. His actions will be remembered forever, but only if he does not rush things. It is more important than anyone may know. He must not leave.”
“Why me?” Gythien asked. She couldn’t understand why she was the only one that could do this task. How could she be important?
“Haldir knows you, he grew up with you. Elrond and I agree that he will listen to you more than he would ever listen to any of us.” Gythien knew that Galadriel was right. She remembered how stubborn Haldir had been when he was younger. Even back then she had been the only one he would listen to.
“How? How will I stop him from leaving? I am sure that if he really wanted to he would just leave, with or without me to stop him. Once he makes up his mind nothing can stop him.” Gythien knew Haldir well, they had spent their entire childhood together, and much of their adult life, until 1,000 years ago. What could she do to stop him?
“You will find a way, if the need arises. You could talk to him, reason with him, just don’t let him leave.” Galadriel seemed confident that Gythien could do it. “Now, you should go down to Haldir before he starts to worry about you.” With that Galadriel turned and walked away. Gythien sighed and started the long descent to the forest floor below.
~ ~ ~
Haldir slowly walked down the long staircase. He was so confused. He was happy that Gythien was going to stay, but her being there mixed up his emotions. He didn’t know if he still wanted to leave, the last thing he wanted to do was leave Gythien, especially now that she was back. He only wanted to be with her, and if that meant staying in Lórien, he was more than willing to stay. He would do anything to be with her, he knew that now in his heart.
When he reached the bottom of the tree he called an elf over and told her to go prepare the suite of rooms usually reserved for visiting royalty. He knew that Gythien would protest, but he wanted to do it, for her, because she was a princess to him. When the elf had left he ambled over to the great roots of the tree and sat down to think.
~ ~ ~
Galadriel sighed as she watched Gythien move down the stairs. She knew how much grief the young elf would have to endure in her future. She also knew how much the two elves loved each other, although they were both too shy to tell the other one. That was one reason Galadriel had suggested the move to Rivendell to Gythien’s parents 1,000 years ago. But, as time wore on, Galadriel had realized that she couldn’t split the two apart, that was just cruel. She vividly remembered the day she had met Celeborn and the day she had realized that she loved him; she didn’t want to take that away from the two young elves. She had also come to recognize Gythien’s importance in being there for Haldir. She was the only one he would listen to now. They would soon proclaim their love for each other and be truly happy, at least until Haldir had to leave, which would be sooner than anyone expected, just nine short days. She could only hope that Gythien would not be hurt too much by the fact that she would not be allowed to go with him. Galadriel knew that the two would find a way for Gythien to go, though, for she had seen it. She had seen it for the first time 1,000 years ago, and it had scared her so much that she had suggested the move to Gythien’s parents, more like demanded them to go. She knew now that that had been a mistake, there would be no stopping them, true love would always find a way. She sighed once again and turned around to continue to her home, and her true love, wishing that there was another way for the whole thing to unfold. She hated what she would have to do to the young elves, but it had to be done.
~ ~ ~
Gythien was very confused as she tried to understand why Haldir couldn’t just join the fellowship now. Why did he have to wait? She slowly walked down the stairs as she continued to think. What if Haldir asked her why Galadriel needed her? She knew that she could never lie to him, she loved him too much. She was still thinking about her emotions when she reached the bottom of the stairs, which seemed to take no time at all. She looked around and saw Haldir sitting in the roots of the great tree. She had forgotten the absolute beauty of the forest surrounding the mallorn tree, but right now she was standing in the middle of it and all she could see was Haldir. He looked sad when she saw him, but the sadness quickly dissolved from his face once he saw her. He smiled and got up. She walked over to him and smiled back. Would now be the right time to tell him how she felt, how she had felt so long ago and how strong the feeling still was?
“Hi.” he said, almost shyly. “Are you all done with Galadriel?” He was curious as to what Galadriel had said to Gythien, but he didn’t want to push. She looked uncomfortable, so he changed the subject.
“Would you like to see your room?” He saw the elf who he had told to prepare the room and he motioned her over. “Can you show Galadriel’s guest to her rooms?” he asked her. She nodded and they followed her to the mallorn tree that was reserved for visiting royalty. She motioned for them to go upstairs before walking away and disappearing into the forest.
“I see you’re getting the royal treatment.” Haldir commented to Gythien with a smile, knowing that she would be embarrassed at having so much attention. She blushed, confirming his thought.
“I don’t know why…”
“Because I told them to.” Haldir said, cutting off her sentence.
“You didn’t have to do that for me.”
“Yes, I did. Because, you see, it is real to me. You are my princess.”
“What?” asked Gythien? She was shocked at what Haldir had said.
“You’re a princess to me.” Haldir replied. “Gythien, ever since I saw you today I have known in my heart what I have felt since childhood. I love you. I always have, and I always will.” He was silent, waiting for her answer, hoping she felt the same way. She stared at him for a moment before smiling and throwing herself into his arms.
“I love you, too!” she cried, kissing his cheek. “I have for so long, but I was always afraid of losing our friendship. It nearly broke my heart when I moved away; I didn’t want to leave you. Now I’m back, and this time it will be for good, I will never leave you again, never.” She vowed as she looked up into his face. He smiled at her and slowly lowered his lips to meet hers. Then he pulled away and took her hand in his.
“Come, I will show you your room, princess.” He said with a smile, and they both went up the stairs to her beautiful room.
~ ~ ~