LLYFR GALADRIEL -:-:- LONG GOODBYES
- REFUGEE -
And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.
And it seemed to him that he heard a voice crying over the water, calling to him in tones of greeting:
"Hail, Frodo! Hail, Bilbo! Hail to the Ringbearers! Halflings, we welcome you!"
And with the voice came a light, and he and Bilbo felt themselves borne across the water, and they came to rest in a hall before Lords and Ladies of tremendous greatness, fair beyond measure, and yet it was to him and to Bilbo that they knelt.
But the Lady Galadriel saw only the grey curtain of rain, and a light that appeared and bore away Frodo and Bilbo, leaving for a moment two pairs of dry footprints on the deck of her ship, footprints which soon filled with rain themselves and could be distinguished no more. And the words of the song seemed to her not the words of the Elves, but the words of a song of another world entirely...
Don't you know I've seen this all before?
History repeats itself once more.
I don't want to go, and I can't stay...
I don't want to be a refugee
I just want a single guarantee...
Galadriel looked around at her companions, seeing on their faces looks of joy, wonder, anticipation, and returning memories, mingled according to the nature and life of each. With some of them she had shared many long years of hope and sorrow, struggle, light and darkness. Some of them she had known only a short time, but still they were dear to her. She wished she could speak to them of the feelings that were burning in her heart, but she knew she could not. The knowledge was, and had to remain, hers alone.
She made her way to the very prow of the ship and stood there facing forward, looking not at the view ahead but at nothing at all, hiding her face from her companions while the tears fell slowly down her cheeks.
Well I'm planning it out, day by day
There's no room for doubt, just one way...
She was aware behind her that the light appeared again, to bear away another dear friend; Gandalf it was who was the next to go, and amid her sadness she felt a trickle of relief. Gandalf was a Maia, one of the spirits who had been before the world was made, with greater knowledge and a greater mind than any other on board save herself. Sad though she was at his departure still she knew that he alone had the wisdom to guess, even in tiny part, at what thoughts might be passing through her mind, and she knew now that this risk was no more; there was only the final test remaining.
Don't let it slip through your fingertips
The day wore on and still Galadriel did not move while the light returned again and again, bearing away with each appearance another one or two of her friends. Over the hours the rain gradually slackened and then ceased entirely, leaving only the grey clouds from which it had fallen. The wind, too, gradually slackened, the firm breeze that had become weak and fitful with the onset of the rain dying away further to leave only what feeble anabatic breath could be drawn by the land on so grey a day. The ship slipped onward, moving with ever greater slowness over a sea from which the waves themselves slowly faded, shrinking to ripples and then dying altogether, leaving the water as smooth as glass.
As the unseen sun dipped behind the land the day became even greyer, the sky blank, overcast, without life, the sea the texture of mercury but the colour of lead. The land that rose ahead became a formless grey mass, the shoreline a barely visible lightening at its base, the hill speckled here and there with yellow lights whose feeble glow only accentuated the gathering gloom.
Still Galadriel stood motionless at the prow while the light returned behind her again. By now beside herself only Elrond remained, and now for him too it was time to go.
Elrond, she felt herself scream inside her head as she fought the urge to speak out loud. The dearest and closest of all the friends who had accompanied her on this voyage, the desire to speak to him at least before he left was hard to resist; but resist she did, the only sign of the pain she felt the two hot tears that welled unseen from her eyes.
Galadriel was alone. Slowly and ever more slowly the ship moved towards the darkening shore. The light was fading, the sky an ever deeper grey. The yellow lights were fewer in number now.
Galadriel turned away from the view and made her way back along the deck, wiping the tears from her cheeks with a fold of her sleeve. The faint breeze ceased altogether. The sail hung slack. Imperceptibly the motion of the ship ceased. One by one, the remaining lights on shore were fading. The sky was now so dark it could barely be told from the land. The only light on the deck of the ship now was Galadriel's own. A vast silence hung over all.
The light appeared for the last time.
Galadriel did not move.
The light wavered and seemed to shrink as the being within it became aware of the look in Galadriel's eyes.
Quietly, but with utter certainty, she spoke.
"Get off my ship, Eönwë."
Imperceptibly, the first stirring of the katabatic breeze began.
A touch of uncertain mist seemed to brush the fringes of the light, but it did not move.
Galadriel's whisper was as quiet as the snow, as loud as the death of mountains.
"This ship is mine, Eönwë. It has not touched the shore of Aman. You have no authority here. Get off my ship."
The faint touch of the katabatic breeze stirred the sail in a single, soundless shake.
Very, very slowly, the ship gathered sternway.
The light did not move. The ship slipped backwards. The deck slid out from beneath the light. The bow rail left it behind. The light hung, fading, over the water. Of the lights on the shore now only two remained.
Galadriel faced it.
"I am Galadriel", she said softly, "and - you - will - not - do - this - to - me."
The light shrunk, and disappeared. The ship, with Galadriel standing on its deck, was left alone.
On the shore now there was only one light.
Don't let it slip through your fingertips
Lost if you leave too late
All at your fingertips
Gone if you hesitate
Galadriel raised her arms. The sky was now completely dark. The final light on shore went out. In all the world now the only light was that of Galadriel. Her soft whisper carried only a terrifying hint of the awful power she held within her.
"I am Galadriel."
She turned and went below.
For an undefined time nothing moved but the white ship, slowly gliding away from the shore in the cold stillness, the utter silence, as darkness began to fold itself around the world.
A small object, unseen in the increasing dark, rose out of the companionway and lifted itself against the sky.
Flames burst from the ship, enveloping it, covering it in an instant with a mantle of fire, the light a piercing incandescence in the darkness. Nothing moved but the burning ship as it drifted out into the dark, invisible sea.
мир, это мир...
The ship was gone. Nothing remained but darkness, stillness.
Melt away and turn it all to moonshine
Words that rhyme
Still in your mind...
I am Galadriel.
The shore was bleak, windswept, a strip of sand between the restless sea and the tough, shiny marram grass that lay flattened by the wind. There were no eyes to see, no ears to hear the cry, wild with exultation, shot with pain, of the white-clad, golden-haired Lady of the Elves who ran and danced along the beach, her arms upraised to embrace the whole world.
"I am Galadriel. I live."
She seated herself on a tussock of grass and took a long, deep breath, filling her lungs with the clean, cold air.
"I am Galadriel. I am."
The tears of a stabbing sorrow ran down her cheeks as they lifted in a smile of pure, free happiness such as in all her long life she had never yet been free to know.
"I am Galadriel."