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I Remain

By Zephyraria


She was beyond weary when she stepped into their flet that night.  Indeed, had elves been capable of clumsiness, she would have stumbled.

Despite all these years during which she convinced herself again and again that the ring was useless to her, that in obtaining it she would lose herself and everything she ever loved in this world, for some terrible moments today she had stood in complete, mindless awe of its power.  For a few terrible moments she heard only its call, and any notion of good and evil disappeared; she beheld raw power.  Losing herself no longer seemed so horrifying, as her new incarnation would have the power to command the skies and the sea and fear no retribution, even from Valinor.  She would have the love and the respect of the world, and its fear, if she only wished it. 

What kept her back?

A breeze through the ancient mallorns, a breath of flowing water in the glades.  A glimpse of silver hair and blue eyes in the raging inferno.  A calm voice, cool as the touch of water, saying, "Artanis? No, you are my Galadriel."  Long has he known her ambitions and understood them, though never sharing in them.  His soft words, soothing her mind - "ambition in ourselves is not to be feared or reviled.  It is in the way by which we fulfill our ambitions that speak most truly of what we are."  His laughter, mingled with her own and the delighted squeals of Celebrian.  He had spoken to her, the night before the ring entered the sanctuary of their woods, quietly, as was his wont.  She felt his many emotions swirling to the surface - anger, resignation, fear, longing, resentment, helplessness - but they all held to the strongest current of love.  He opened his mind to her, and then he kissed her gently on the lips, not a demanding kiss, not one to coax or to arouse, but one of acceptance - the culmination of a love spanning many Ages of the earth.  

Then he spoke her name; only that, only a whisper, but it returned to her tonight, standing before the outstretched hand of the Ringbearer.  She suddenly felt his lips upon her skin, saw his hair - silver as the light of Telperion, felt his mind upon hers, aiding her in whatever she would choose.  She recalled his scent, his warmth, his strength.

But in end the choice was hers, and hers alone.

To be a ringbearer is to be alone. 


She closed the door softly, and slid silently to the floor.  It was cold.  She closed her eyes and leaned her head against the wall; wondering how long it had been since she had last shut her gaze from the world.

She felt, rather than heard, him approach.  He knelt in front of her reclining form, and, with the slowness of Ages, he placed his hand upon hers that lay limp against the floor.  She shivered at his warmth; slowly, she opened her eyes.

They gazed long at one another.

I wanted it, you know that.

He gently placed his other hand against her pale face.  My love.  I know.

He seemed too understanding, too forgiving.  She had to explain.  I know all the reasons I should not take it, but I was not prepared...it offered me...everything.

He merely gazed at her, touching her face gently.

She continued.  Either way I would gain, and either way I would lose.  For a moment, I did not know.  Truly, I did think to accept it!

Hush.  It's over now; your test is over.  Rest.  He continued to kneel there, stroking her face, his other hand warming hers.  She looked at him, blinking tears from her eyes.  His love was almost a tangible entity, a burning warmth.

She reached out with her free hand to touch his face, but paused at the sight of Nenya.  And should the Ringbearer succeed...

They both looked at her outstretched hand for a moment.  Nenya twinkled back at them, yet in its full and undiminished glory. 

He put his arms around her now and gathered her to him.  She pressed herself against his solidity, her cold nose against the cocoon of his exposed throat.  Celeborn, meleth-min, had I been fully aware of the consequences when I accepted this...

You were fully aware, as was I.

Silence ensued.

 "Galadriel..." he spoke at last, voice muffled in her hair.  But he could not continue; his throat worked, but nothing more came out.    

She smiled through her tears.

"Galadriel I have always been.  Galadriel I shall ever remain."

It was not until she felt a warm tear descend upon her neck that she realized he wept also. 

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