The Sweary Nuclear Pigeons present...


- Orb -



In a clearing in some woodland long distant from the populated regions of Aman sat a small Elf-child, idly toying with a stone she had picked up from the ground. For a hundred miles in all directions there was no other sentient being. This was the Lady Galadriel, and she had made her way to this spot in search of quiet, solitude, privacy and peace.

The children of the Elves grow slowly in body, but rapidly in mind; and Galadriel's mind had a potential as far above that of the run of Elves as their minds in turn were above those of earthworms. Growing at the same proportionate rate, then, the small fraction of development she had attained at so young an age was yet equivalent to a level greatly exceeding that attained or attainable by any other mind of Arda. Young though she was, already she had a deep love for the world and for the Elves who lived in it; and in the manner of all great minds, that which she loved she wished to know and understand. She had come here immediately after paying a visit to the Valar, the lords of the world who had been present at its creation and who had made the Music from which Eru had given it form. Seeking knowledge, she had gatecrashed an assembly of the Valar to ask them questions; she had simply wandered in, unhindered, for in those days of peace there were none who would gainsay a child of the Elves, and especially not one so young and so beautiful.

Varda and Yavanna had loved her; Manwë had bowed to her; Aulë had congratulated her for her skill in making the golden circlets which she had woven into her hair; Mandos, the most perceptive in such things, had viewed her with awe, and said nothing. But answer her questions they would not; they had smiled indulgently and evaded the matter, with patronising remarks to the effect that such matters were too weighty for the mind of one so young.

Galadriel disagreed. Though she had as yet explored only a fraction of her mind's capacity, still she could see, now that she had the opportunity to make a direct comparison, that that capacity was vastly greater than that of all the Valar combined. And this was no mere childish hubris; she had already developed a theory of mind to a level which enabled her to prove it mathematically. She was well aware that conventional wisdom had it that no Elf could match the mind of a Vala. She was also well aware that this so-called "fact" was based not on any observational evidence, but on nothing more than the idea that "the Valar are, like, very great, man, therefore it must be so", and now she could see for herself that it had no more truth to it than one would expect of something founded on so logically dubious a basis.

She had no problem with the authority of the Valar. That had been conferred upon them by the One Who created the world. The world belonged to Eru; it was His creation, for Him to order as He saw fit. Eru had appointed the Valar to rule over it, and she would respect that. The Valar were the rightful lords of the world, and Galadriel would not view them as less than what they were. But no more than that would she view them as more than what they were. She would respect what they were, but she would not respect what they were not.

Perhaps if they had exercised their authority, if they had told her that she should not inquire of them such things, then matters might have been different. Or, indeed, if they had at least treated her questions with respect, made at least some attempt to give her respectable answers. But they had not done this. They had instead tried to fob her off by feeding her an excuse which was transparent bullshit. If they had been deliberately trying to find a way to put her back up they could hardly have found a better. She was Galadriel. She would not put up with being fucked around, no matter who it was that tried to do it.

She took the knowledge anyway. Unfelt and unsuspected, she reached into their minds and downloaded their entire memories into her own. She then integrated the multiple separate memory records into a coherent whole, correcting the fuzzy bits or gaps in the memory of one Vala with the clear knowledge from the memory of another who had remembered that bit better, checking and synthesising until she had a solid block of consistent, verified truth. Youngest of the children of the Elves, yet now she had knowledge shared in its entirety by no other being in the world; a complete record, exact down to the last detail, of everything that had happened since the Valar were first called into being.

Any other mind of Arda would have snapped under the load of such an awful weight of knowledge. But she was Galadriel. Galadriel. Galadriel. Her mind absorbed the knowledge thirstily like a flower absorbs the first rain that breaks the drought, and like the flower she became all the stronger for it. She listened to the Music, and she understood; she followed its themes, she saw how each chord, each note, each individual excursion of the waveform became manifest in the world she had already come to love.

And still she did not stop; she could see that the combined knowledge of the Valar, great though it was, yet left unsaid more than it described, and she was not satisfied. She carried on. For she had caught not the memories of the Valar only, but their entire minds; every last detail of their personalities, every little thing that allowed them to be the kind of beings they were. She constructed a complete virtual pantheon of Valar, let them live in simulation as blank slates, studied them, studied their interactions with each other, studied also their interactions with the virtual universe she was providing for them and what they required of it to function and exist. There she found the answers, there and in the comparison with the same observations repeated after she had restored the memories to the blank Valar. Things which had been left unsaid now became things that must be; by them other things were defined, and she followed the recursion relentlessly until there was nothing left, no scrap, no fragment; until she had gathered all there was to gather, and there could be nothing else.

Her mind held all that was, and all that was to be.

And now she knew.

A single hot tear fell from her eye and splashed on the stone she was holding.

She checked all around her once again. Yes. Still she was entirely alone; in a hundred-mile-radius sphere centred on herself there was no other mind. No-one would ever know of what she was about to do.

She froze the world. Throughout the whole of Arda, time came to a halt. Now she was safe.

I am Galadriel, she thought with all the force of her tremendous mind, and - you - will - not - do - this - to - me.

The stone in her hand became transparent, then blazed with a vast light. But only for an instant. Now within the stone a seething multitude of faint, soft, delicate, coloured glows swirled around each other in an intricate, continuous dance. Standing there holding it, Galadriel seemed already to have the form of the tall, beautiful, defiantly indomitable elf-woman she would become.

I am Galadriel. I am.

She lifted the stone in her hand, and spoke aloud.

"Where this may land, there are my friends."

I am Galadriel. I live.

She threw the stone. At the summit of its trajectory, exactly over the centre of the clearing, it vanished from sight.

I am.


The world unfroze.

The clearing was empty. Back in her bed at home, the little elf girl buried her face in her pillow, and, silently, wept, and wept, and wept.

- Ah, my beloved birds, you are so daft, so sweet. You want the world to love me as much as you do, and you write me like some fearsome witch goddess to impress them, when I was but a tiny child at the time... Gentle Internet User, I am not such a one as the ground would tremble at my tread. I am but a simple elf woman, and I thank you for your wish to read more of me; it means much. Galadriel x

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