LLYFR GALADRIEL -:-:- STATIONARY TRAVELOGUE
Fit the Third: PROMPT CRITICAL
The golden light shone on the leaves of the trees in the fresh, clear air. It was that kind of exhilarating weather where simply standing on the ground carries all the sensations of soaring at three thousand feet. A cool breeze rustled the leaves and stirred the lush grass of the broad ride that ran through the wood. To one side of the ride, in an alcove of trees, stood a small building, something between hut and cottage; a slate roof atop drystone walls, with large, glass-less windows, whitewashed on the inside, light and airy, containing a hearth, a simple rectangular wooden table with two or three equally simple wooden chairs, and not much else. It bore some resemblance to buildings in the Tellurian Lake District, but without the touch of grim hardship that those buildings acquire from their constant battle against the wind and rain, for this was the land of Aman, and here the weather was always mild.
Along the ride an elf came dancing, tall and beautiful, clad in simple white, her arms held out to the sky, her hair a radiant garland. This was Galadriel, now grown to full flower of womanhood, greatest of the Elves ever to live on Arda. She moved with the gentleness and grace of the breeze itself; the light shining on her form seemed to collect an extra sparkle from the contact. She approached the hut, passed through the open doorway and seated herself at an angle on one of the windowsills, her back resting against the stone of the side of the window, her right foot on the seat of one of the chairs, her left leg supported on the windowsill leaving that foot free to swing.
Leaning her head back against the stone, she contemplated the inside of the roof for a half-minute, drew in a deep breath and let it out again with a long sssssssshhhhhhhhh.
"Well, birdie", she said, turning her head to address the pigeon who as ever was accompanying her, nestled on her shoulder. "Yurr we be, eh?"
"Endlich zu ende?" said the bird, taking Galadriel's earlobe in her beak and giving it an affectionate tug.
"De cette partie, bien sûr", Galadriel replied. "The tongues of your world have a strange sound, but not without grace of their own."
"Wish I could stay", said the pigeon.
"I'd love you to stay", said Galadriel. "Of course. But it is better not, this time, and you have your own small part, do you not?"
"So you tell me", said the pigeon, getting to her feet and giving her wings a shrug.
"G'wan then", smiled Galadriel. "As you said to me once, I won't be a tick."
"Or indeed any other species of arachnid", said the pigeon.
"Twat", said Galadriel affectionately. The pigeon stuck her beak between Galadriel's lips and they shook their heads together a few times. "Love you."
"Love you too, Gala", said the bird. "...Ah well, here goes nothing..." She leapt from Galadriel's shoulder and was soon lost to sight beyond the waving treetops.
Galadriel looked idly round, at the interior of the hut and the view outside the window, sitting as she was half way between the two. She got up, gathered some kindling, and lit a fire in the hearth. Then she stood and went to lean against the end wall of the building. All was now ready.
"Showtime", she said to the empty air.
The pigeon banked over Tirion, scanning the streets below her. She was looking for Fëanor. It didn't take her long; she just had to home in on the centre of the area where the light lost its sparkle and took on a quality of dry emptiness. There he was; she could see him through the window of that building, doing something or other, she neither knew nor cared what. The important point was that he was on his own, which would make things quicker. Fëanor looked up as she landed on the windowsill with a whir of wings and a thump.
"Oi, cunt", she said.
"What are you doing here?" said Fëanor. "I haven't..."
"Shut it", cut in the pigeon. "Hold your hand out, cunt."
"What?" said Fëanor. "You come here, you try and..."
An unseen force caught hold of his neck, slammed him against the wall and held him there, his feet off the ground, his eyes popping as he struggled to breathe.
"Shut the fuck up", said the pigeon coldly. "Do as I say and this will be over quickly. Fuck me about and... it may not be. Now hold your fucking hand out, cunt."
Fëanor decided not to argue. He had crossed paths with this bird once before and had very quickly ended up wishing he hadn't. He had since gathered that it came from another world, which added to his lack of confidence; if it had the power to travel between worlds, which not even the Valar could do, who knew what else it was capable of? He held out his hand.
There was a peculiar tugging sensation inside his head, and in his palm there appeared a strange object, a kind of slimy ball with tentacles. He had never seen anything like it before.
"That is the device I implanted in your head the last time I had the misfortune to encounter you, the device which monitors your actions and triggers the explosion of your bones should you misbehave. Throw it in the fire, cunt."
Fëanor did so. The strange object hissed, crackled, began to melt, and then burst into flame, burning with a fierce heat that soon left nothing but a few fragments of ash which were whisked up the chimney by the draught.
With a flash of wings the pigeon was gone, as suddenly as she had arrived. Released from the invisible hold on his neck, Fëanor fell to the floor; picking himself up, he looked at the fire. There was nothing left of the ball. For a moment he felt only bafflement and relief that the bird had perpetrated no more serious assault. As his composure returned, though, it began to dawn on him what had actually happened...
It didn't take him long to turn up. I had half-wondered whether he might, over the intervening years, have realised that he would do better to keep away altogether, though it seemed unlikely. I had more concern that perhaps once he found himself released he would allow caution to prevail over arrogance, and turn up only after some indefinite delay; this was somewhat less unlikely, but I knew I could rely on my bird to treat him with suitably provocative contempt. Sure enough, here he was, darkening the little stone hut with his foul presence.
"Lady Galadriel", he said, trying to project his usual nauseating so-called "charm" and predictably oblivious to my disgust.
"What do you want, Fëanor", said I, knowing full well, of course, but the formula was necessary.
"It is as I have asked before, Lady", he answered (more fish-oil). "I want only one tress of your beautiful hair. I would make of it a golden ring, the like of which will never before have been seen in Arda."
This time, the third time, I had allowed him to complete the request. It was as I had expected, but it was necessary for him to speak the words, and in this place with no other nearby ears, now I could allow it.
"You may not have my hair, Fëanor. You may have nought of me. I have warned you twice not to ask me again. You have taken no heed. Now you have made the request a third time, and that is your last. You will not ask me again. That is not an order. It is a prediction. Now leave."
The formula was complete. If he did not leave now of his own accord, my hands were free to shape what would happen.
Of course, he did not. As ever, he was too arrogant to listen to reason and would respond only to superior force. As ever, he was too arrogant to admit that superior force was exactly what he was facing.
"But you have no reason to refuse, Lady Galadriel", he responded, with his usual fondness for telling others what to think. "It would take only a little time to grow again, and the ring I would make of it would be a thing of wonder, such as no other could make."
"Say, rather, such as no other would make", I told him. "Among the Elves there are none who have it in their hearts to set their abilities to such evil use. I know you, spirit of foulness, and I know your rings. I have every reason to refuse, and refuse I do. Now leave."
He dropped the appearance of charm and his face twisted into a scowl, ugly indeed but lacking in deception and therefore notably less nauseating to see. "Oh, you know me, do you? Then you will know that I always get what I want. I will not be defied by some chit of Indis. I will have your hair, Galadriel, and by the ring I shall forge of it you will not think to defy me again. And then, by the Valar, I will have... you... also..."
While speaking, he had drawn his sword and was using it to make threatening motions at me; with this, and even more so with the utterly revolting suggestion of his last words, I had had enough. I wrenched the pathetic phallic symbol out of his hand, crumpled the blade into a ball and threw the wreck at his head. He staggered back; with a flick of my hand I propelled him into the far wall, and he slid down it until his backside met the floor.
"Yes, I do know you", I told him. "I know that the whole race of the Elves means as little to you as one individual does. I know that as casually as you would destroy my life and happiness for the sake of your selfish, repulsive desire, so will you destroy the happiness of countless Elves for the sake of something equally selfish and even more pathetic. I know that your selfish regard for the precious works of your own hands, which you think will mark you as the greatest ever, will in truth mark you as the biggest baby ever. I know that you will throw a tantrum like a naughty child, but on so vast a scale that Elves born and yet unborn will suffer misery and death for many ages after your own death has removed even what insignificant vestige of point there might originally have been. And I know that even your claim to love and respect your own father is hollow, for you will have his blood on your hands the first of all."
He tried to get up at this point, so I flicked him back to the ground.
"Sit still and listen. You will not have my hair. You will not forge a ring of it, nor of anything else of mine. Your obsessive fantasies of control and domination are to me but the gibberings of a frustrated monkey's child. I will defy you as I please, no less than I will defy anyone who seeks to do me ill. And by Eru Himself, you will never, never, never have me."
"I will have what I want", he muttered.
"You will have what you want on one more occasion only, and then only because you will make it yourself, and not involve me or any other Elf. That is all. You will not even keep it; you will lose it, you will lose everything else you have, and anything else you may want you will never attain."
"Power", he grunted, his thoughts apparently reduced to the level of single words.
"Power? Ah! Power, indeed, you have already, you filthy little worm. Power to choose whether Elves without number will live the ages in war and misery, or in happiness and peace. Power to choose whether even the very lands they live in will be destroyed or will keep their form. There is power, is it not? To decide the whole future of the world, whether it will take a path of joy and life, or of misery and death? For do not doubt me when I say that this choice lies in your hands. It will be a matter of just one word. Oh, yes, there is power. And you will throw it away. When you are called to make the choice already the choice will be gone, lost at your own hands; only one of the two answers will it still be within your ability to give. Power, indeed, and wasted, destroyed, as everything is destroyed upon which your evil touch falls."
"My seven sons..." he said; speaking seemed to be causing him some difficulty.
"Oh! Yes, your seven sons! And think you that they will escape your curse? Then think again, for their blood will join your father's on your dead hands. Six of them will die, one at his own hand for shame at what you have brought him to, and the seventh will become insane and pass the ages living in a cave with the mind of a monkey. All through your doing. But yes, you have seven sons. Do you intend any more children?"
"No", he replied in a grunt.
"Then you know what to do."
Drawing a knife from his belt, he cut a length from the lace of his jerkin, then stood and dropped his trousers. He tied a neat ligature around the base of his genitalia, severed the organs with a clean cut, threw the bloody lumps into the fire and clothed himself again.
"And now you have experienced loss", I said. "You would do well to accustom yourself to the feeling, for this is but the first of many times that you will experience it."
He seemed to think that having been allowed to remain standing after his autoorchidopenectomy gave him some implied permission to come towards me again; I flicked him back to the wall and there was a sharp thump as his head made contact with the stone. His cerebral functions decided to take a break at this point, so I wandered over to the window, swung my legs over the sill and sat there looking at the trees while I waited for him to start moving again.
"Ah, free will", I remarked at the sound of a groan from within. I did not bother to turn round; he could hear me perfectly well as I was. "Nice, isn't it... Consider this, Fëanor. You have just quite calmly removed and cremated your own genitals, with your own hand, with your own knife, without heed to the pain, without being under threat... and without even being instructed; it was an idea you got out of your own head, which struck you no differently from any other. Why was it in there? Was it of your own volition that you conceived and followed it? You certainly think it was. But you do not, and never can, actually know."
I shook my head. "And you would have me live the rest of my life in such a state because in your arrogant unthinking jealousy you perceive me as a threat. You hide your fear from yourself under such guises as sexual desire, hatred for the line of Indis, and anger at my defiance, because you are too weak to admit to it, but that is what it is: you see me only as one who could successfully challenge your ideas of dominance. And you are so set in that manner of thought that you assume everyone thinks like that; it is beyond your imagination that someone could exist who doesn't give a tinker's fuck about your juvenile politicking and egomania. Challenge your dominance? Why should I waste effort even thinking about it, when I would not take the effort to piss on you if you were on fire? I am a threat only to those who threaten me. Yet you threaten me anyway, threaten me with making my life an endless horror because you are too blind to see that, too distracted by the effort it takes to keep holding your head so far up your own arse you can see daylight."
He was saying nothing, but I knew he was still listening. I carried on.
"That you should so persistently seek power and greatness shows only that you have no idea what the true nature of power really is. You have not the capacity to imagine it, and if you did have such imagination you would be glad beyond measure that you did not have such power, for you would understand that the more one has the less may one use it. Rings, swords, crowns, and such childish trinkets have no place with me, and you have no power over me whether you have one or not. Indeed your purpose against me was always futile, and it would avail you naught to gain it. Nevertheless you repeatedly bother me with it and now for the third time. You annoy me. You irritate me. You display intentions which revolt me. Your very manner of approach is an insult to me. You are an insect, Fëanor, an insect of the kind which persistently makes a nuisance of itself by continually buzzing around."
I slid off the windowsill and leaned against the side of the window opening to look back inside. He was still in the same place, on the floor over by the other wall, looking in my direction but not moving.
"So like an insect I squash you, Fëanor. You have done this three times and you will do it no more. The ability to attack me never was yours. Now the very desire to do so is no longer yours. Your ability to even think of me in a manner contrary to my will I have taken away from you and destroyed. And it is my will that you do not think of me at all. From this day the name and image of Galadriel will be that of an utterly unknown stranger to you."
I walked a few yards from the hut, then turned, and came back, placing one hand on each doorpost to look in through the door, but going no further.
"And one last thing, Fëanor. From this moment, the day that you touch, even unknowingly, anything of me or mine, will be the day that you embark upon that stage of your path which leads, shortly and directly, to your death."
With this I walked away, and did not look back.
A time and a place of my own choosing; give him enough rope to hang himself... and so he had; thinking himself safe in the isolation of the hut he had gone more than far enough for my retaliation to own its place in reality. The Design was safe, the fool was neutralised, and I was free. Free at least for the moment; free from care, free to make the most of the few years that there were for me before the days of sorrow began, the years that would give me the only time for carefree life lived for the pleasure of the moment that in my whole time on Arda I would ever find.
For almost the first time I could remember my present was without worry; indeed it would not last, but for as long as it did there was no need to think of the end. For almost the first time I could remember I was free to purely be happy.
Alone in the middle of the wood, I raised my arms to the sky and danced, and to the trees only I spoke.
"I am Galadriel."
"Birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdieeee!"
The bare-concrete-with-junk-piles decor could hardly have been a less likely setting for the sudden appearance of a tall, beautiful golden-haired Lady of the Elves pirouetting with wild joy, but neither she nor the pigeon cared.
"Gala, Gala, Gala, Gala, Gala, Gala, Galaaaa... ooof!" The pigeon launched herself down the room and crashed full tilt into Galadriel's upper sternum; the elf's ready hands closed over her back.
"It's done, birdie, it's done! We're off! Waaaahaaaaiiii!" Galadriel flung her arms into the air and let herself crash backwards onto the sofa. "Where's my cup of tea?"
"Darauf, heiss und fertig", said the pigeon, indicating with her beak. Galadriel reached out for the mug and took a luxurious, much-anticipated slurp.
"Aaaah, that is good. Thanks, birdie." She made googly eyes at the pigeon over the top of the mug. If pigeons could laugh, this one would have creased. "This pot, then back, yes?"
"Oh, yes", replied the bird. "That's where we should be now..."
"Why not?" said Galadriel.
And thus the incongruously Tellurian teapot and mug next to the elf and the pigeon who lay crooning to each other on the grass of the woods of Aman.