Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings trilogy was written by J. R. R. Tolkien.

I make no monetary profit from this story.

Author’s notes: The first passage is borrowed from Appendix B, Lord of the Rings, Return of the King. I was upset when I read this and wrote this fic to give it a happier ending. Contains spoilers for RotK. Non slash. Title written in Quenya

Rating PG – Adventure, Soul discovery

Pronunciations (minor characters): Ania (Ah-ni-a) short a
Lithuvìen (Lith-oo-vee-an) – short i and a
Eirtaé (Here-tay)


~ … But after the passing of Galadriel in a few years, Celeborn grew weary of his realm and went to Imaldris to dwell with the sons of Elrond. In the Greenwood the Silvan Elves remained untroubled, but in Lórien there lingered sadly only a few of its former people and there was no longer light or song in Caras Galadhon. ~



Haldir returned from a long day’s patrolling. He and his brothers had rushed to three false alarms on either end of the rather large forest. One, some Rohannian children thinking it was fun to romp around Lothlórien, tempting fate, two, a travelling family of weary Hobbits and three, a deer foal caught and struggling desperately under a fallen tree, which they had freed. All in all, it had been a tiring day. Although Haldir knew that it was an Elf’s duty to patrol the woods, and he was grateful there had been no injuries or enemies to ravish the Golden Wood, it was disappointing to have wasted so much time and energy as they returned to Caras Galadhon.

With a sigh, the Galadhrim sheathed Galadhdes, his sword and hung up his elegant bow and arrows. Haldir heard what he thought at first was the lovely fountain of Caras Galadhon, but he frowned, sensing something amiss. He looked down to find his feet surrounded by water. Puzzled, he looked up to see the stairs as though they had become a waterfall. Very concerned now, he traversed the edge of the stairs, where the water was little and made his way into Lord Celeborn’s chambers, where the source of the water seemed to be emanating.

He made his way into the bath chambers and saw the elegant marble bath overflowing, the water still running and he saw Celeborn sitting in the bathtub, clothed.
“My Lord?” Haldir called, very concerned.
No answer came. Even more concerned now, Haldir approached and turned off the water, the exquisite silver swan taps, ceasing to release their quarry.
“My Lord?”
Celeborn jumped. “Haldir … I am sorry … I did not hear you approach.”
“My Lord, what is wrong?”
“Haldir … I … leave me.”
“My Lord?”
“Leave me … please, Haldir.”
“My Lord, what troubles you so?”
Celeborn raised his voice a little. “Haldir, leave me, I say.”
“Nay, My Lord. Many of us have sensed your distress, but have been shy to confront you. This is nay like you, Lord Celeborn. Please tell me what ails you so.” Haldir spoke gently and knelt beside the bath. He cared not that his robes were wet now. Deeply concerned was he for his Lord. Never before had he seen him so forlorn, so dishevelled. Celeborn’s usually shining silver hair now clung wet, dishevelled and lacklustre over his shoulders.
“I … I am so cold …”
Haldir took the older Elf’s hand and felt him shivering. With his free hand, he touched the lukewarm water.
“Perhaps you had better undress and have a warm bath, My Lord.”
“Nay…” Celeborn sighed. “It will do nought.”
Haldir felt his Lord shiver intensely. “Then it would fare you well to dry yourself and don some fresh clothing. Let me help you.”
“Nay, Haldir. I do not want you to see me like this…” Celeborn sounded clearly distressed.
“It is a tad too late for that, My Dear Lord, and you have my word, I will not reveal this to the others. Come, let me help dress you.”
The older Elf sighed.
“My Lord, I will not leave until you let me help you.”
The Lord of Lórien managed a small smile. “You be the most stubborn Elf I know, Haldir O Lórien.”
The Galadhrim smiled as he helped his Lord up. The older Elf almost slipped, but Haldir caught him. “Careful…” he cautioned gently.
The silver haired Elf clutched onto Haldir’s hand, feeling embarrassed. “You must think me a fool.”
“Nay, My Lord, I do not. What I do think is something troubles you, deeply.”
He sat Celeborn down on a large, elegant chair. “I will fetch some dry attire,” he said.
The older Elf nodded, looking quite forlorn. “Thank you …” he whispered, barely audible.

Haldir returned with a fresh set of clothing as quickly as time would allow. He placed the attire on another beautiful Elven chair, while he helped to undress his Lord. “Please do not be embarrassed,” Haldir comforted. “My only wish is to help you.”
“Thank you, Haldir,” Celeborn said, softly. He pushed off the rest of his cold, wet clothing and Haldir helped to dry him. The older Elf shivered and Haldir helped to dress him as quickly as possible. He placed the wet clothing in a white wicker basket, then led his Lord out of the bath chambers, and felt he was still shivering.
“I am cold …” Celeborn said, softly. “So very cold …”
Haldir lead him to the bed chambers, which he was glad to note had not been flooded.
“Look at the mess I have made,” Celeborn said, dismayed.
“My Lord, the water has spilled over the opening. I am sure the trees will welcome it, and the rest will dry naturally.”
Celeborn nodded. “You must think me so selfish … Very few of the higher privileged Elves are the only ones in Middle Earth with running water … And to waste it like this…” He shook his head.
“My Lord, you are deeply troubled. It is all right.”
Gently he sat his Lord down on the enormous bed and sat next to him.
“Please tell me what ails you.”
The Lord of Lórien looked away, a tear slipping down his pale cheek. “You must see me as weak and pathetic.”
“If it is any consolation to you, I do not. I do not perceive your state to be one of weakness. You are distressed, aye, but I nay think any less of you.”
Celeborn managed a small smile. “Thank you, Haldir.” A long silence followed. The older Elf’s gaze drifted elsewhere and he sighed and closed his eyes.
Slowly, it begun to dawn on the younger Elf and he took his Lord’s hand. “We all miss Lady Galadriel, My Lord.”
“Am I that transparent?”
“Only her departure could pain you so. We are all pained by our Lady’s loss.
Her gentleness, her love and wisdom…”
Celeborn’s blue grey eyes closed tighter and he failed to stop tears escaping. He opened them when he felt Haldir gently wipe away his tears.
“Do you miss it, Haldir? … Do you miss the serene way she used to play the mithril harp?”
“Yes, My Lord. I do. I would offer to play for you, but since I have never played before, I warn you, I will probably be atrocious.”
Celeborn gave a soft, short chuckle.
Haldir wiped another tear away. “I believe you require a good rest, My Lord.”
The older Elf shook his head. “What I require is a very strong ale.”
“Nay, I must protest, My Lord.”
Celeborn looked at Haldir, his gaze stern. “I am your Lord and you will fetch me the strongest ale in Lórien.”
“Aye, you be my Lord – which means it be my duty to protect you.” Haldir’s tone softened a little as he took Celeborn’s hand. “What you need at this moment is rest, nay to be swaggering around Caras Galadhon in a drunken stupor. A strong ale may take the pain for a night, but what of the morrow? You have enough pain within you without the after effects of alcohol.”
Celeborn sighed. “Once more you are right, Haldir, and again I am ashamed of myself.”
“Do not be, My Lord. You are pained beyond words. Your love of millennia has departed to the West. I am sure Lady Galadriel had her reasons, though you love her dearly and it pains you so very deeply.”
Celeborn sighed sadly and nodded. “I do not suppose I could trouble you for a warm ginger honey ale?”
Haldir smiled. “Now that I will do. Ginger will be good for you.”
“It will not take the pain,” Celeborn said. “But it will ease my parched throat … I doubt anything but death will take the pain…” he said, softer.
“Do not speak that way,” Haldir said, concerned. “My Lord, please tell me you are not thinking of-”
“No, Haldir, I am not. To be truthful, it was a fleeting thought, but I could nay do that to the Lórien Elves. I could nay do that to beautiful Lothlórien… I had considered departing to the West, though what would become of Lórien?”
Haldir knelt down and took Celeborn’s hand. “Please do not leave us, My Lord. Lady Galadriel’s departure has given us grief enough.”
Celeborn looked down at Haldir. He did not want to leave, but by the same token, part of him did. What remained for him here now that the Lady of Lórien was gone?
The Lord of Lórien gently stroked the Galadhrim’s head. “I will need you in the coming days ahead, Haldir.”
“I will never leave your side.”
Celeborn smiled. “Thank you, my most trusted Galadhrim. I do not know what I would have done without your help.”
“I dare say you would have come to your senses, My Lord, but I am glad I am here to assist you.”
“As am I, Haldir.”
The Galadhrim stood. “And now, you need your rest.”
“Aye, but there is much to be done.”
“Yes, indeed, but it can wait ’till the morrow.”
“Haldir, I-”
“I will brook no argument, My Lord. To bed with you.”
Celeborn looked at Haldir. “Are you ordering your Lord?”
Haldir nodded. “Aye.”
Celeborn chuckled softly. “You have just reminded me of why I value your counsel so.”
Haldir smiled. “I do what I must, My Lord, and now to bed with you.”
“Am I to trust this mother henning of yours to become ritual?”
Haldir smiled. “Only if you do not do what is good for you.”
Celeborn chuckled as he climbed into the covers. “Even my own mother was not so protective. Have you thought about fathering children of your own?”
Haldir hesitated. “To be truthful, I have not. I cannot see myself as a father.”
“My young Galadhrim, let me be the first to say, you would make a fine father, should you choose that path.”
“We shall see, My Lord, now silence, you need your rest and do not let me catch you sneaking about in the middle of the night.”
“I shudder to think what punishment you may have in store for me,” Celeborn said with a smile as he laid his head down on the soft pillow and smiled again when he felt Haldir place a warm silver silken blanket over him.
“I will fetch your ginger ale.”
“Thank you, Haldir,” Celeborn said. Gently he took the other Elf’s hand. “I honour and cherish your friendship greatly.”
“As I honour and cherish yours, My Lord.”

Haldir left to fetch the warm drink. He was heartened to find a small hearth alight as he began to gather the ingredients. Carefully he chopped the ginger, squeezed the lemon juice and measured the correct amount of honey. He was grateful when the brew did not take long to warm and he said a silent thank you to the Elf Mage Ania, who had written the recipe some time during the First Age. Haldir tasted it and added a shred more ginger before he was satisfied and took it up to Celeborn’s bed chambers.
He smiled when he saw his Lord, fast asleep, breathing gently. Haldir set the warm brew down on the table next to the bed.
“Melui elei, Nîn Hîr,” he said softly. {Sweet Dreams, My Lord – Sindarin}

The night was dark in Lórien, as the light of the full moon waned slowly. Although he found it difficult, Haldir sat in silent meditation, as he knew with an eclipse came new beginnings. The trees swayed in the cool breeze. Haldir breathed in silence as the serene wind washed over him. He prepared himself for the coming days ahead. He knew they would not be easy. Could he lie to his Elven brethren? Tell them that everything was all right, when indeed, it felt as though things were falling asunder. The Elves had sensed that something was amiss about their Lord, but all of them had been too polite to say a word. Celeborn had been quieter than usual, if that be possible. He had not been seen in the dining talan when the Elves shared their evening meals, nor their breakfasts. Haldir had been concerned, but he had forced himself to believe that Lord Celeborn was strong and regal and that he would come through and Haldir was shocked at how wrong he had been. He did not think any less of his Lord, nor did he believe Celeborn was weak, but the Lord of Lórien needed someone to lean on now. Haldir was honoured that his Lord has chosen him, though he was at a loss of what he could do.

Haldir’s sleep was restless and troubled and he awoke the following morn, tired and irritable.
“Gods you look a fright,” Rúmil said, taking in Haldir’s hair.
Half of it hung loose and scraggly, the other half seemed to stick out yonder.
Haldir groaned as he regarded his wayward mane. He stood up, a little clumsily and inwardly berated himself.
“Easy, Brother,” Orophin said. “You have had a terrible night. You tossed and turned like a whirling dervish.”
Haldir groaned once more. “Never again will I eat goat’s cheese tart before I retire.” He hoped his brothers would not ask his questions.
“That is a good idea,” Rúmil said. “In fact goats cheese alone is enough to turn the stomach of a hardened Gondorian warrior.”
Haldir smiled. “Indeed, though it was all I could find at that late hour. Come, let us prepare ourselves for the day and hope there is some of Tinuvìel’s delicious fruit salad left.”
“Indeed,” Orophin said. “I must obtain the recipe from him.”
Rúmil chuckled. “You will have to beg.”
“I will do that,” Orophin said with a laugh. “There are few things worth begging for and that is one of them.”
Haldir was grateful for the light amusement.

As fortune would bestow, there was enough fruit salad to go around. As Haldir expected, the Lord of Lórien did not grace the breakfast table with an appearance. The Galadhrim heard Lithuvìen and his partner Tinion whispering.
“Do you suppose Lord Celeborn is all right?”
“I do not know, but I worry so.”
“As do I,” Rúmil said, speaking up.
Orophin nodded. “Haldir, what make you of Lord Celeborn’s absences?
Haldir had dreaded this question. He so much wanted to tell his brothers and the others, but he had made a promise to his Lord.
“It is odd,” he said, “but perhaps our Lord requires solitude.”
“There are times when we do not see him for days,” Lithuvìen said, concerned.
“It is as if he … He has … forsaken us…” Tinion sounded upset.
“Lord Celeborn has not forsaken us,” Haldir said, a little annoyed, though he did understand where young Tinion was coming from. “He has-”
“It is all right, Haldir.”
The Galadhrim looked around to see Celeborn walking slowly down the stairs. The Lord of Lórien felt uncomfortable with the eyes of all the Elves upon him. Haldir wanted to help him to the table, but sensed Celeborn wanted to make it on his own. The older Elf sat in silence. He looked regal, in shimmering robes, his hair immaculate, but Haldir knew inside, he felt like he would fall apart any moment and he was sure the others could see this too, though he knew none of them would dream to say anything or think any less of their Lord, just as he did not.

A few moments passed before Celeborn spoke. “I apologise for my apparent absence,” he said.
For a moment Haldir thought he might lie, and say he was visiting the Shire or some other place.
Celeborn sighed inwardly. “I have not been myself lately,” he admitted. “I … am sorry if I seem to have forsaken you. I have not, I-”
“We know you would never forsake us, Lord Celeborn,” Orophin said.
“I … I apologise, My Lord …” Tinion said feeling ashamed. “I spoke harshly.”
Celeborn gave a warm smile. “You spoke your feelings, young Tinion, something which should be encouraged.”
“Thank you, My Lord.”
Lithuvìen stood and left the table for a few minutes.
Celeborn took a deep and silent breath. “Even though I have rested a great deal, I still feel weary. I have meditated, but found no solace … I am sorry to burden you with my troubles.”
Orophin shook his head. “You are no trouble, you are our Lord.”
Celeborn managed a weak smile. “It is kind of you to say so, Orophin, but I have not felt much like Lord … a lord of anything … I am sorry to have troubled you all… I -”
He began to stand. Haldir held his hand and gently pulled him down.
“We are all here for you, Lord Celeborn, and we will help you if you allow us to do so.”
“Thank you …” Celeborn struggled to keep back his tears.
Instinctively, Orophin reached out and placed his hand over Celeborn’s. The Lord of Lórien was touched by this gesture, and one tear escaped. Gently Haldir wiped it away with his other hand.
Lithuvìen returned with a bowl of warm slightly salted pollen soup.
“Thank you,” Celeborn said.
“It is the least I can do, My Lord,” he said. “The soup will warm you, though do not drink it too quickly or it will not be as effective.”
Celeborn managed a smile. “It is good to know that I have my trusted Elven brethren to mother me.”
The Elves smiled in return as Celeborn sipped his soup in silence and with grace.

After breakfast, Celeborn stood slowly and began to return to his chambers.
“Is there anything we can bring you, My Lord?” Tinion asked.
“No thank you,” Celeborn said. “You have been kind enough.”
Haldir walked with Celeborn up the stairs.

“Would you like something to eat, My Lord? You ate barely enough to fill a infant Hobbit. Shall I bring you some more soup?”
“Nay, thank you, Haldir. I hunger not for Lithuvìen’s soup, as delicious as it may be.”
“I know what you hunger for, My Lord.”
“And what do I hunger for?” There was a slight edge to Celeborn’s voice.
“You hunger for love and companionship,” Haldir said. “Myself and the Lórien Elves will wholeheartedly provide both of those, but we cannot replace Lady Galadriel.”
Celeborn sighed as he sat. “I am sorry I spoke harshly … There are those who believe that I craved copulation.”
Haldir knelt down next to his Lord. “I do not believe that, My Lord and neither would the others. Your love for Lady Galadriel went much, much deeper.”
Celeborn stroked Haldir’s golden head with a smile. “Yes,” he said. “At times all I wanted was to be held by her.”
Haldir nodded, understandingly and took his Lord’s hand. “I understand, My Lord…”
Celeborn was silent for a few moments. “Haldir … Will it be too much trouble for you to help me bathe?”
“Not al all, My Lord,” Haldir said, standing. “Please do not feel uncomfortable and do not feel any task is too menial.”
“Thank you. I feel I can barely stand.”
Haldir helped his Lord into his exquisite bath chambers. Celeborn sat down on the chair whilst Haldir ran a warm bath with the relaxing essential oils of lavender and germanium. He did not want to make the water too hot. He turned and helped his Lord undress.
“I sense your discomfort,” the Galadhrim said. “There is nothing to be afraid of, My Lord.”
Celeborn smiled warmly as the younger Elf helped him climb into the bath. “Hanta elyë, Haldir.” {Thank you, Haldir – Quenya}
The Galadhrim helped lower his Lord into the large, elegant vessel. He made sure his Lord was comfortable as Celeborn began to wash himself, though the soap kept slipping out of his hands. Celeborn sighed with annoyance.
“Let me help you,” Haldir said, catching the slippery sandalwood and cinnamon scented soap and working up a lather. He began to was his Lord’s back. Celeborn had not realised how gentle the Galadhrim could be.
“Thank you,” he said again. “This goes beyond your duties.”
“My duty is to help you, My Lord, but I do this as I also consider you a close and beloved friend.”
“Again I thank you, Haldir. I too consider you and the Galadhrim to be amongst my closest friends.”
The Galadhrim smiled warmly as he began to lather Celeborn’s hair, which at first felt like straw. He washed away the lather and ever so gently, began to brush his Lord’s long silver hair. Celeborn thanked him again.
“I can do no less for you, My Lord.”
“As I would do for you, Haldir, should you have been placed in this predicament.”
“Thank you, My Lord, you are most kind … Are you cleansed?”
“Yes, thank you.”
Haldir helped the Lord of Lórien out of the bath and aided him to dry himself. He was happy to see his Lord’s hair regain its usual shine and soft texture.
“I cannot thank you enough, Haldir,” Celeborn said. “Even something so simple as bathing has become a colossal effort for me and it is a relief and a blessing to have someone to aid me.”
Haldir took his Lord’s hand. “As I am blessed to assist you, My Lord … Now It is time you rested.”
“But I have just awoken not much more than an hour ago.”
“Did you have a good sleep?”
Celeborn shook his head. “Nay … It was dreamless, but restless also.”
Haldir stood and gently pulled his Lord up.
“This means I must get changed into my night attire again,” Celeborn said with a smile.
“It is no hassle,” Haldir said, helping Celeborn change into his silver grey night clothes.
Neatly, he hung up Celeborn’s day clothes and folded his white satin sash. Gently Haldir ran his hand down an exquisite silver satin robe, entwined with mithril thread.
“That is my oldest robe,” Celeborn said. “It has worn extremely well. It is older than you.”
“And it is your most beautiful,” Haldir said.
“There are many who believe that those like me are the epitome of conceit,” Celeborn said.
“Do you believe that, My Lord? I certainly do not and I can guarantee you, neither would any Elf who dwelled in Lórien, or anywhere upon the Earth for that matter. You are the epitome of Elegance, My Lord.”
Celeborn managed a small smile. “It is kind of you to say so, Haldir but at this moment, I nay feel elegant. I feel so fragile I fear I may break.”
Haldir took his hand in a comforting gesture. “I will nay let that happen. I will protect you, My Lord, I promise upon my Oath as a Galadhrim.”
“Thank you,” Celeborn said, touched.
“And it is your right to feel down,” Haldir continued. “None of us can look as elegant as mithril indefinitely. Unlike mithril, we can sometimes lose our lustre, but with polish, we will always regain our shine.”
Celeborn chuckled softly. “You are wise beyond your years, Haldir of Lórien.”
The younger Elf smiled as he helped Celeborn into bed.
“May you have a restful sleep, My Lord.”
“Thank you. I hope I will.”
“And do not let me catch you sneaking about.”
Celeborn smiled. Haldir left as the Lord of Lórien closed his eyes.

“Brother…” Rúmil came to Haldir as soon as he emerged from Celeborn’s chambers. “There be anything I can do?”
Haldir saw the worry in his youngest brother’s eyes. “Not for the moment,” he said. “Lord Celeborn rests.”
“I feel I should do something useful.”
“There is little we can do. Lord Celeborn needs to work through this.”
“Aye, but in the meantime, he needs our help.”
Haldir nodded. “Aye, but he must not be made to feel as though he is an invalid. He is proud and elegant and he is still our Lord.”
Rúmil nodded. “Of course, but-”
Haldir smiled warmly as he placed his hand on his brother’s shoulder. “The best you can do is keep Caras Galadhon orderly for the time being. This will give our Lord less to worry about.”
Rúmil nodded. “Then I will do that, but please let me know if there be anything else I can do.”
“I will, Brother,” Haldir said, wishing there was more he could do himself.
Rúmil went to clear off the breakfast table, while Haldir went to meditate as best he could.

He did not find the usual comfort he felt under his favourite tree. He sat cross legged, placed his palms upward on his knees, slowed his breathing. He did not meditate often and was grateful Rúmil and Orophin had been patient enough to teach him, but he felt he needed more practice, but he surmised that at least it had calmed his mind a little and alleviated some of his worry. He sent healing energies to his Lord and hoped that Celeborn found the strength within to heal himself.

* * *

Early the next morning Rúmil made his way up to Celeborn’s chambers with a hot steaming bowl.
“Haldir?” Celeborn called.
“Nay, My Lord, It is I, Rúmil. I am sorry if I am intruding, but I have brought you some hot lembas pudding.”
“Thank you, please set it down.”
“My Lord, are you all right?”
“I am fine. Please set the pudding down. I will have some when it cools a little.”
Rúmil was not convinced that his Lord was fine. He approached the elegant four poster mithril bed and saw his Lord. He was not quite prepared for what he saw, but he was not shocked either.
“My Lord?”
Celeborn turned in the covers and sat.
“I bid you leave me, Rúmil. I do not wish you to see me like this.”
The younger Elf smiled. “Like what, My Lord?”
“Like this!” Celeborn raised his voice.
“With your hair dishevelled and the fact that you slept in your clothing?”
“It is not becoming of an Elf Lord.”
Gently, Rúmil took his hand. “But you be troubled. Please let me help you.”
“No, Rúmil, I beg you, please leave me.”
“My Lord, please … I would rather battle the creature Shelob stark naked and with my bare hands than watch you suffer so.”
Celeborn managed a small smile picturing Rúmil fighting the massive spider skyclad. “I am touched by your concern, young Galadhrim, but I know not what anyone can do.”
“There have been times in my life when I too have felt out of sorts … One time that comes to mind was when Orophin I were told that Haldir was killed at the battle of Helm’s Deep.”
Celeborn nodded solemnly. “I recall.”
“Both Orophin and I were lost, we were crushed. And you comforted us as we cried into your arms, as though we were your own children.”
The Lord of Lórien gave a warm smile. “It feels as though you are and I cannot tell you what a relief it was to find that Haldir’s wounds had not been fatal. Nearly so, but he recovered.”
Rúmil nodded. “Aye, and I know now that even if he had passed to the Halls of Mandos that night, his spirit never would have left us.”
Celeborn nodded again, Rúmil’s words giving him some hope that Lady Galadriel’s spirit still sung with him.

Haldir entered the Chambers and smiled warmly when he saw his brother kneeling beside his Lord’s bed.
“I see you have been having visitors.”
Celeborn smiled, he cared not now that his hair appeared as though it had been sizzled by lightning, and his clothes badly creased, as his friends and trusted subjects were here to comfort him, but still they could not alleviate the pain crushing his heart.

* * *

Celeborn mediated under the second largest tree in Lórien, but his meditation was not as serene as he had hoped. The Golden Wood was silent, bar a subtle wisp of wind in the trees and an occasional bird chirping, but he would not quiet his troubled mind or quell his sadness.
“Why will you not speak to me?” he whispered, seemingly at the ground.
A tear slipped from him, being absorbed by the dark Earth. “Why can I no longer hear your song?”
He remained under that tree for many hours, crying in silence.

* * *

“My Lord, where have you been?” Haldir looked frantic.
Celeborn sighed. “I have been meditating.”
Haldir looked relieved. “Please inform me in future if you decide to take off like that again.”
“Am I to understand that I have become a prisoner in my own Realm?” Celeborn regretted the angry words as soon as he had uttered them.
“Nay, of course not, My Lord. But we were all of us worried. We knew not where you were and-”
“I am sorry, Haldir…” Celeborn looked contrite. “I am not used to being mothered. Not even by my own mother … I am not used to others looking after me. I am supposed to be the Lord of this wood and I cannot even meditate without drowning in sorrows.”
Celeborn sat hard on his bed and began to sob softly. An instant later, he felt Haldir’s arms around him and he felt touched. For a moment he pretended Lady Galadriel sat with her arms around him and it was a comforting thought, but Celeborn rejected it, as he felt that it was not fair on Haldir. The Galadhrim held his Lord for what seemed like an age, though he did not count the hours.

* * *

Not much was seen of heard of Celeborn for a number of days. Haldir, Rúmil and Orophin checked up on him, from time to time, but their Lord seemed to be content, siting for hours, finishing an enormous and exquisite Elven tapestry that Lady Galadriel had left behind. They knew it would only be a matter of time before he broke down, but for now, they felt it was better for him to be lost in the threads of the ancient tapestry, than wallowing in despair. The Lórien brothers only hoped they would be able to do something for their Lord when the time came.

* * *

One clear night, Rúmil took Lady Galadriel’s mithril carafe to the mirror. He was fully aware now that the Lady of the Wood had left, one must obtain permission from Lord Celeborn to gaze into the mirror, but Rúmil did not want to worry his Lord with his own worries. Lord Celeborn was fragile enough as it was.
Slowly and gently, the youngest Galadhrim poured the crystal clear water into the mirror. He took a breath as he peered inside. At first, all he saw was his own worried reflection, the tips of his golden hair, touching the water. In the next moment, the surface began to ripple, and visions began to emerge, through this portal on the water. Rúmil saw Lórien, but it looked sad and lonely. He saw the Lórien Elves, looking just as forlorn.
He shook his head. “No … Please tell me our Lord does not…”
The young Elf saw Celeborn in the mirror with Lord Elrond. The Galadhrim was relieved to see his Lord was looking somewhat better, but still sad, his eyes looked lost, and then the water showed only the Lórien Elf’s reflection once more.
Troubled by what he saw and unsure what to make of it, Rúmil slumped down beside the mirror and allowed himself to cry. He hoped the trees would comfort him as they often did, but this time they seemed distant, as if they too knew something was wrong. For the very first time in his life, Rúmil wished he had access to a palantir. He knew of the dangers of the Seeing Stones, but at this juncture, he did not care. He was desperate to make sense of these visions … to make the sadness depart, but he could not.

The begrieved Elf was found by Tinion, who escorted him back to Caras Galadhon. “Please do not tell Lord Celeborn about…”
Tinion smiled warmly. “I will not, Rúmil. I know why you wished to look in Lady Galadriel’s Mirror … But what did you see?”
The Galadhrim shook his head. “I am not sure…” He did not want to burden Tinion with the sadness he saw. “Please leave me, I must rest.”
“Take care,” Tinion said, gently, leaving him in peace.

Rúmil slept, troubled by dreams of sadness and despair.

* * *

Haldir sat alone at the table in the main dining area and sighed to himself as he fiddled absentmindedly with a leaf fallen from one of the trees.
He sensed another presence, but did not look up. Orophin sat beside him and placed one of his hands over his brother’s.
“I know what ails you, My Brother. We all worry for Lord Celeborn. But he has to come to terms with it himself.”
“Aye, I know…” Haldir sighed. “I only wish I could do something … But I know not what.”
“The best we can do is to be there for him, and that we are doing, and to do what he asks of us, within reason of course.”
Haldir nodded. “You are right, brother, but I worry for him so.”
“Aye, as do we all, Haldir, but I am confident he will recover in time.”
“How much time?”
Orophin sighed. “That, only the Valar know.”

* * *

The next morning, Rúmil entered Lord Celeborn’s chambers and was shocked at what he saw.
Celeborn sat on his bed, smiling. “I have missed you, My Lady, but it’s all right … You have returned now.” Celeborn raised a mithril hairbrush.
Rúmil stared as his Lord began to brush thin air. “My Lord?”
Celeborn looked up and smiled. “Rúmil. It is not wonderful? Lady Galadriel has returned.”
The Galadhrim was at a loss at what to do. He did not want to tell Celeborn that there was no one sitting beside him, but how could he let his Lord believe in such an illusion?
“Are you not going to greet your Lady?” Celeborn asked, somewhat surprised.
“Oh … I am sorry … it is still a shock … ” He felt uncomfortable uttering the following words. “I bid thee well, Lady Galadriel. It is wonderful you have returned to Lórien. I have brought Lord Celeborn a pot of ginger brew. Would you like some?” The young Galadhrim felt foolish talking to thin air, but he was convinced Celeborn would be crushed if he knew that this Galadriel was a figment of his imagination.
“I am sure My Lady would love some,” Celeborn said.
Rúmil poured a goblet for his Lord and one for ‘Galadriel.’ He was relieved two chalices stood on the table. He would feel a right fool if he had to fetch a chalice for an hallucination.
“Is there anything else you require, My Lord, My Lady?”
“No thank you, Rúmil, you have been most kind. I have all I require.” Celeborn gazed lovingly into thin air as he stroked ‘his Lady’s’ hair.
Rúmil wanted to cry as his Lord embraced the air.
He left in a hurry to find his brothers.

He found them sitting in the dining area.
“My brothers … something terrible … ”
“Rúmil?” Orophin asked, concerned.
“It is Lord Celeborn … He …”
“I sensed his mood improve,” Haldir said.
“That is just it…” Rúmil began to say. “He…”
“Than what is so terrible? Look, he approached – and he is smiling.”
Rúmil shook his head. “All is not as it seems.”
Celeborn walked to Haldir and his brothers.
“Good Morn, My Dear Galadhrim,” he said.
Haldir gave a polite bow.
“I wanted to thank you for all you have done for me. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.”
“It is our pleasure, My Lord,” Haldir replied.
“We could do no less,” Orophin said.
“Never the less, it went way above and beyond your duties.”
“You are our friend as well as our Lord,” Rúmil said, noticing that Celeborn had his arm tucked in a peculiar fashion.
“My Lady and I are going to meditate,” Celeborn said.
Haldir and Orophin became confused. “My Lord?”
Celeborn’s smile was radiant. “She returned last night after her long voyage. Ohh how I missed My love …” He turned to ‘her’ and smiled.
And it dawned on the other two Galadhrim.
“Are you not going to greet your Lady? … Though I guess it is quite sudden …”
“Greetings, Lady…” Haldir said, feeling quite foolish.
Orophin bowed.
“Would you like to join us?” Celeborn asked.
“Uh .. no thank you, My Lord …” Haldir said. “It is best you spend some time alone with … her.”
“Thank you, Haldir,” Celeborn said, his arm still tucked around ‘Lady Galadriel’s’.
The Lord of Lórien turned and walked down the stairs with his ‘lady. Haldir winced as he saw Celeborn gently kiss thin air. He waited until his Lord was out of earshot.
“What are we going to do? This is getting far out of hand. He actually believes Lady Galadriel has returned! And he has just kissed her.”
“I know not what we should do,” Rúmil said. “He looks so happy.”
“It is an illusion!” Haldir snapped, then looked contrite.
“If we tell him she is but a figment of his imagination, he will be crushed,” Rúmil said. “But if we let this charade continue, things may become worse.”
Haldir and Rúmil turned to Orophin. “What do you believe we should do, Brother?” Rúmil asked.
“Leave him.”
“What?!” Haldir exclaimed. “He is in denial!”
“Yes,” Orophin said. “A perfectly normal state for one who has lost someone so dear. It will pass. Eventually he will realise that ‘she’ is an illusion. He will come to his senses, however painful.”
“But how long will-”
“I know not. It differs from person to person.”
“You sound like you have had experience with this sort of thing,” Haldir said.
“I have. You and Rúmil were too young to remember our father, Tinuvìel. When he was murdered by Orcs, our mother went through a state of denial. It lasted only two weeks, but she was much like our Lord – .talking to ‘him’ making him ginger tea. It was very painful for me to watch, but I knew she needed to believe he was still there. And when she finally realised he was not, it was painful for her, but I am glad I was there to comfort her.”
Haldir wiped a tear away from his oldest brother’s cheek. “But who was there for you when our mother was murdered a month later? You took care of us both for many months.”
“If it had not been for Lord Celeborn, I do not know what I would have done,” Orophin confessed.
Haldir and Rúmil embraced their brother.
Orophin smiled warmly. “I never forget to thank the Valar for such loving brothers.”
“As we thank the Valar for you,” Rúmil said.
“And now we have to be here for Celeborn, as he was for us,” Orophin said.
“Rúmil, you are the slightest of us all. You must find him and watch him.”
“Are you suggesting I spy on my Lord?”
“Aye. It is for his own good. Though do not let him catch you.”
“I will not. Oh, I worry for him so…”
“We all do.”

* * *

It was quite painful for Rúmil to watch Celeborn sitting under the second largest tree in Lórien with an imaginary Galadriel. He spoke to her, stroked the illusion’s hair, laughed with her… The Galadhrim only hoped when the time came that his Lord would not be too heartbroken when his mirage vanished.

* * *

“It has been six days,” Rúmil said. “This morn, he asked me to wash her soiled dress! I had to turn around while ‘she’ undressed and then I had to pretend to take the dress away…”
“It would be amusing if it was not so dire,” Haldir said. “So, did you clean the dress?”
Rúmil could not help but chuckle. “It is hanging out to dry.”
Haldir could not suppress a chuckle either.
“I hope this does not go on much longer,” Rúmil said. “For all our sakes.”

* * *

Upon the morrow, Rúmil ascended the stairs, followed by his brothers, almost dreading to enter Celeborn’s chambers. He became concerned when he saw his Lord, siting on his bed, crying softly.
He looked up at the Galadhrim. “She is not here, is she?”
Rúmil took a deep breath. “No, My Lord. I am sorry.”
“She was never here, was she?”
Rúmil shook his head.
Celeborn wiped tears away harshly and sighed heavily. “You must think me a first class fool.”
“Nay, My Lord,” Haldir said, kneeling down next to him.
“You could have told me that she was an illusion of the mind.”
Haldir shook his head. “Nay, we could not. For a time you needed to believe Lady Galadriel had returned.”
Celeborn took a deep breath. “And now I know better … I am so sorry … I must have made you feel awfully uncomfortable and not to mention awkward.”
“It is past, My Lord and you need not apologise.”
“I do not know what I would have done without you three.”
Orophin took his Lord’s hand. “You were there for us when we needed you the most, and now it is our duty and our pleasure to be here for you.”
A tear meandered down Celeborn’s cheek, like a miniature river. “I cannot thank you enough.”

* * *

It took the Galadhrim three days to coax their Lord out of his room, after having been so very embarrassed with his ordeal with the faux Galadriel. They assured him that the others did not think any less of him and Celeborn was quite relieved and touched that the other Lórien Elves were concerned more than anything else.
“Here, My Lord, I have made you a pot of kingsfoil tea,” Lithuvìen said. “It will calm your nerves and ease your stress. I have not made it too hot, so you will be able to enjoy it.”
“Thank you,” Celeborn said, touched as he sat down and sipped the pleasant, unsweetened healing herb tea.

* * *

Celeborn sat in his bed chambers, deep in thought. He sighed to himself when he stood and dressed. Haldir was not long to enter.
“My Lord, do you require any assistance this Morn?”
“No thank you, Haldir, but thank you all the same. I have an announcement to make. Can you please gather the Lórien Elves?”
“Certainly, My Lord,” Haldir said, wondering what it could be as he left to do what was asked of him.

Celeborn walked down the stairs. Haldir noticed how his Lord had to steady himself on the railing. Celeborn stood before the Elves of Lórien. He took a deep and silent breath before he spoke.
“As you know I have been out of sorts of late. I deeply apologise if my behaviour caused any duress.”
“We understand, My Lord.” Haldir said. “We would have felt the same in your position.”
“Thank you,” Celeborn said.
A long pause followed before he continued. “I have the utmost respect and admiration for you all and I am deeply touched by your support. You have given myself and Lórien the finest care. Lothlórien is our blessed home. Home to the Galadhrim, the Silvan Elves and myself and our recently departed Lady of Light… Which is why the following decision is so painful for me.” Celeborn paused again. The Elves looked concerned.
Their Lord took another deep breath. “I … I have decided to leave Lórien.”
A shocked silence followed.
“I cannot remain here …” Celeborn continued. “As much as I love and respect you all, I feel alone, as though a great rift has torn me apart.”
“But My Lord ..” Tinion said, almost in tears. “Where will you go?”
“I will travel North East to reside with Elrond in Imaldris.”
“Will … will you return?”
Rúmil placed his hand on Tinion’s shoulder, sensing the young Elf was about to break down.
Celeborn paused before he spoke. “Of that I am uncertain. I do not have plans to return in the immediate future. I am truly sorry if this causes any of you duress. It pains me deeply as well.”
“Then why leave?” It was the first time Tinion had spoken so candidly to his Lord, but he was desperate.
Celeborn stepped down a few stairs and placed his hand gently on the Silvan Elf’s other shoulder. “Please forgive me, Tinion, but I must leave … I am truly sorry, for the decision to leave you all pains me more than I can say.”
Tinion placed his arms around his Lord. “Please do not leave us .. We will do anything to help you. You are our Lord…”
Celeborn sighed. “I am so sorry, young Tinion.” He looked around at the others. “You have all gone beyond the bounds of duty and friendship to help me through my ordeal and for that I am truly grateful and I do not know how I would have fared otherwise, but please understand that I must speak with Lord Elrond in person.”
Tinion let his Lord go. Gently, Celeborn wiped away his tears.
“You believe his wise counsel will ease your suffering,” Haldir said, taking his Lord’s hand.
Celeborn smiled warmly at the Galadhrim’s deduction. “Perhaps.” The Lord of Lórien did not reveal to Haldir how much he craved Elrond’s counsel, how he felt it was the last ray of hope he felt he had in this world.
Tinion nodded. “I understand, My Lord, but you will be sorely missed.”
“As I will miss all of you. Please … let me leave you in peace.”
Celeborn watched as the Elves returned to their daily business, with hearts as heavy as his own. Haldir, Rúmil and Orophin remained behind.

“You are not going-” Haldir began to say.
“Haldir, I am sorry, but I have made my decision.”
“My Lord, you-”
“And I ask you not to argue with your Lord,” Celeborn said, slightly irate.
Haldir raised a hand and smiled slightly. “Please, let me finish, My Lord. I was going to say ‘you are not going alone’.”
“Haldir,” Celeborn sighed. “I thank you and the others for everything you have done for me, but I need to reside with Elrond and the Rivendell Elves.”
“I understand that, My Lord. What I meant was, two or more of us will escort you to Imaldris.”
“I do know the way and I am perfectly capable of riding a horse.”
Haldir nodded. “My Lord, with respect, you can barely walk down a flight of stairs without steadying yourself. How will you make it all the way to Imaldris unaided?”
Celeborn looked forlorn.
“It is not an attack upon your capabilities, My Lord,” Haldir said. “Let myself and Orophin take you. He is the better marksman, should we run into ill waters.”
“I will saddle my steed,” Rúmil said.
Haldir shook his head. “Nay. You must remain behind.”
Rúmil looked indignant. “I may not be as apt with a bow as my oldest brother, but I am capable of firing a straight arrow.”
“That is not what I meant,” Haldir said, a little annoyed and he calmed himself. “Out of the three of us, you are the most sensitive to the energies and the spirits. You are closer to the Valar than any of us. I have heard you talking to them and I know they hear you. I need you to stay here and talk to them. Meditate and pray that we make it safely, and that Lord Celeborn finds the solace he searches for. Please, Rúmil.”
The youngest Galadhrim stood down and nodded. “Aye, I will, My Brother. I apologise for speaking out of turn.”
“You spoke your mind, Dear Brother, but perhaps next time, do not be so quick to anger.”
Rúmil nodded. “I will endeavour not to. Thank you for teaching me such a valuable lesson.”
Haldir gave a warm smile. “And when we return, perhaps you can teach Orophin and myself how to meditate for longer than five minutes without fidgeting.”
Rúmil chucked. “I will do that.” He turned to his Lord and took the elder Elf’s hand. “Peace be with you, My Lord.”
“And also with you, young Rúmil.”
The young Galadhrim placed his arms around his Lord. “Please do not forget Lórien.”
“I would never forget my beautiful home, nor my beloved friends.”
“Be Well, My Lord. Good Journey.”

Rúmil helped Haldir and Orophin pack some lembas and water for the journey.
“I made a canister of kingsfoil tea for Lord Celeborn,” Lithuvìen said. “I fear it will lose its warmth on your journey, but nevertheless, it will aid the healing process.”
“You have read my mind,” Haldir said. “I was going to ask you to brew some. Thank you, Lithuvìen.”
“It is my pleasure and my honour.” He handed the canister to Haldir.

Celeborn, Haldir and Orophin walked down the spiral staircase, encircling the large ancient tree.
“A family of travelling Hobbits are staying in that talan over there,” Haldir said, indicating.
“I know nothing of them,” Celeborn said.
“I did not want to trouble you,” Haldir said. “They seemed harmless enough … We will need their horses and cart.” He indicated two rather dull looking horses and a wooden cart.
“What is wrong with our own?” Orophin asked. “Elvish steeds and travelling appendages are surely much more elegant than that.”
“Exactly,” Haldir said. “A white Elvish carriage may look elegant and beautiful, but it would be akin to travelling through the lands with bells on, and we do not wish to draw unwanted attention to ourselves.”
“You are right, Brother,” Orophin said. “There are times when it is wise not to stand out.”
Haldir gave a nod. Orophin caught his Lord as Celeborn nearly tripped on the last stair.
“Do not be embarrassed, My Lord,” he said. “You are ailing, but your health will return.”
Celeborn gave the Galadhrim a warm smile.

Haldir approached the father of the Hobbit family. “I have a favour to ask of you,” he said. “I require your steeds and cart. In exchange I will give you two steeds and a carriage crafted by the Elves.”
The Hobbit looked confused. “But why-”
“I apologise, but do not have time to go into the why’s and wherefores. I stress, I need your transport.”
“An Elvish carriage is much more grand…”
“Indeed, and for various reasons, I need something less grand. Please do not take offence.”
“None taken, Master Elf. There’s not a catch, is there?”
Haldir did not know whether to smile or draw his bow at this annoyingly amusing Hobbit.
“The transport is yours, Master Elf. Can I please have the pleasure of your name?”
“My name be Haldir.”
The Hobbit bowed politely. “Ferran.”
“Thank you, Ferran.”

Orophin lead the Elvish steeds and carriage to the Hobbit as promised. The Hobbits stared in awe.
“You are sure about this?” Ferran asked. His wife held his hand in disbelief.
Their two children were already playing in the carriage, pretending to be Elf Princesses and Princes.
Haldir smiled. “Aye. I am sure. May you and your family fare well.”
“And you as well on your quest, Master Haldir.”
The Elf gave an honourable nod. He and Orophin began to load packages of lembas and canisters of water and Lithuvìen’s tea into the cart.
“I thought you might be able to use this,” Ferran said coming to them. “It will make the card more comfortable. We have many more.” He handed Haldir a blanket and a pillow.
“Thank you, kind Hobbit,” Haldir said.
“We also brought some food,” he said. “I guess you have your lovely lembas, but I thought you might like to try a loaf Hobbit grain bread.”
“Thank you again,” Haldir said, taking the delicious looking bread, touched that someone he had just met could be so kind.
He handed Ferran a small parcel of lembas.
“I have always wanted to try some,” the Hobbit admitted with a smile.
One of the children tugged on Haldir’s tunic. The Galadhrim looked down.
“When I grow up,” the child said. “I’m going to grow my hair long just like yours. It loos so pretty.”
“Why thank you,” Haldir said with a smile, until now having no idea that children could be so delightful.
Celeborn smiled. “You were young once too,” he said.
Haldir chuckled “It seems like an age.”
“Not as long as it has been for me,” Celeborn said with a chuckle.
Haldir smiled and placed his hand on his Lord’s shoulder.

The Elves finished packing the cart. Orophin helped his Lord climb inside.
“I am sorry, My Lord,” but we will have to cover you. We cannot risk you being seen.”
Celeborn nodded. “I guess there will be another time for sight seeing.”
Orophin chuckled. “Aye, when you return to Lórien.”
Although he was smiling, Celeborn saw a longing in the oldest Galadhrim’s eyes. He had not the heart to tell him that he did not plan to return soon, if ever. Celeborn laid down in the cart, on the blanket, resting his head on the down pillow, grateful his friends were taking care of him. He honestly did not know what he would have done without them.

The Elves all watched from their talans, forlorn to see their Lord depart, but knowing in their hearts it was what he needed to do at this time. Rúmil could not stop a tear escaping, as he went to meditate in silence. He would follow Haldir’s instructions to the letter to ensure their safe passage to Rivendell.

* * *

The first half of the first leg of the journey was uneventful, for which the Elves were grateful. Haldir stopped on occasion to check on Lord Celeborn. He could tell his Lord was not very comfortable in the cart, but the elder Elf understood this was the best solution at this time.

Orophin slowed down. “It is best we have something to eat,” he said. “I will hunt for some coneys. Our Lord needs protein to recover his strength. We best make a fire now while daylight remains, otherwise it may attract unwanted attention.”
“Aye,” Haldir said. “I will make the fire.”
Celeborn was grateful for the stop. He climbed out of the cart and straightened his robe.
“I am sorry things are not more comfortable for you, as they would be in an Elven carriage, My Lord.”
“I understand, Haldir, but right now comfort is a luxury we must do without.”
Celeborn poured some water in a large pot the kindly Hobbits had given them, as Haldir began to make the fire. Within minutes, Orophin returned, carrying three dead coneys. It never ceased to amaze Haldir at how aptly his oldest brother caught the nimble creatures.
Orophin laid them down on the ground and stroked each one gently. “Thank you for your sacrifice,” he said, “you are needed and may your spirit’s journey continue.”
It had always touched Haldir how Orophin thanked each and every creature he killed for food and he and Rúmil had learned to do so as well. Haldir heated up some of Lithuvìen’s kingsfoil tea for his Lord while Orophin began to prepare the meat. Much to Celeborn’s amusement, the two would not let him do any work as he drank his steaming tea. He also noticed they gave him the biggest helping when the meal was cooked. Orophin poured a little of the stock over each plate.
“Thank you,” Celeborn said.
“It may not be an Elven banquet,” Orophin said. “But we must be grateful for what we have.”
“Aye,” Haldir said. “Indeed.”
Celeborn nodded his agreement. The three Elves began to eat their hearty meal, indeed grateful for the pleasant, but slightly tangy meat.

When they hand finished, Orophin wrapped the remains of the three coneys in large leaf. Gently he placed them in a pothole in the ground and thanked the animals again.

Celeborn wiped his plate with a cloth he found in the cart. Haldir took it from him.
“You need to rest, My Lord. Let us-”
“Forsooth, Haldir!” Celeborn exclaimed, exasperated. “I must do something! I feel like a dead weight.”
The Galadhrim shook his head. “Nay, My Lord. That you will never be. But you must rest.”
Celeborn managed a smile. “Am I to take it that I am to be mollycoddled all the while to Imaldris?”
“Aye,” Haldir said simply. Orophin smiled as he put out the fire with the remaining stock water.
Celeborn chucked and shook his head. “What in all the lands did I do to deserve such loyal and true friends?
“You have been yourself, My Lord,” Haldir said. “Governing us with a kind, but firm hand. Teaching us the value of serenity and silence, to truly hear the Song of Lórien and the lands.”
“And you saved our lives,” Orophin said. “For two years I struggled to raise my brothers and it was a heavy burden as they were not much younger than I. I do not know hat I would have done without you.”
“You were but an Elfling of six when I found you, and to have raised your brothers from age four, many would have buckled under the pressure.”
“I was about to, but the Valar sent you to us.”
“As they have sent you to me,” Celeborn said. “You needed me back then, as I need you now.”
“And do you remember how you would not let me do any cooking or cleaning?” Orophin said. “You insisted that I play with my brothers. You even had to teach me how to play again.”
Gently, Orophin embraced his Lord.
“Perhaps we should all learn to play again,” Celeborn said, “but unfortunately that time is not now.”
“Aye, we must make way,” Haldir said. “It is well past noonday.”
He helped Celeborn into the cart and gently covered him. He and Orophin boarded their horses and rode toward Rivendell.

Orophin looked into the Westerly distance and stopped. Haldir followed suit.
“Riders approach on horseback.”
Haldir placed his hand on the hilt of Galadhdes, his sword. Orophin drew his bow. The Galadhrim were prepared to defend their Lord to the death, but both of them hoped that the strangers would bear them no ill will.

“There are many,” Orophin said.
“We will fight them to the end if necessary,” Haldir said. “But let us hope they be friends.”
The riders approached. Their leader rode up to the Elves. Haldir relaxed the grip on Galadhdes as the man’s face became clear.
The rider removed his headpiece. “Elves…” he said upon approach. He gave an all clear signal to his people. “We bear no malice toward you.”
Haldir motioned for Orophin to put down his bow. The older Galadhrim was still unsure.
“As we bear none toward you, Éomer of Rohan,” Haldir said.
“Haldir of Lórien. Never did the chance come to me to thank you and the Elven army. Without you we surely would have lost the Hornburg. Many of you fell. I am sorry for your loss and the loss of my people.”
Haldir gave a nod. “As am I, but I am afraid we do not have time to reminisce. We make way to Rivendell and we cannot delay.”
“I must warn you, you must take a detour East. Do not cross the Gladden River.”
“But that will place a day or more on our journey,” Haldir protested.
“A party of Orc raiders have been spied along that river. Many unsuspecting passers by have met an untimely end.”
Orophin could not contain his disgust as he spat on the ground.
“I share your sentiments, Friend,” Éomer said. “Myself and the Riders of Rohan are on our way to lay waste to them. I would ask you to join us, but I sense your journey is of great importance.”
“Aye,” Haldir said. “It is. Thank you for your warning, Éomer. The last thing we need is to be waylaid by a rabble of Orc filth.”
The leader of the Rohirrim nodded. “What of your cargo? Is it precious?”
“More than you know.”
Before Haldir could stop him, Éomer lifted the tarp with his sword. He did not hide his surprise at what he saw.
“Our Lord is ailing,” Haldir said. “And we must take him to Rivendell as quickly as possible.”
Éomer nodded. “Good journey, My Friends.”
Orophin nodded. “May the Riders of Rohan slaughter every last Orc without a single loss.”
“Your sentiments are much appreciated,” Éomer said. “May you reach Rivendell safely. I leave you on your way.”
He placed his helmet back over his head and rode to join his fellow riders.

The Elves watched them go. Orophin could hardly hold his frustration at not taking an opportunity to rid the world of evils, but the safety of his Lord was more important at this juncture and he quelled the impulse to rush off to combat the Orcs.
“There will be another time to battle Orcs. Your discipline impresses me,” Haldir said, as if sensing his brother’s thoughts. “But at this moment our Lord is our prime concern.”
“Aye,” Orophin said, “and for this reason alone I remain … If it had not been for Éomer’s warning, we may have not been able to complete our journey.”
Haldir shuddered at that grave thought. “Thank the Valar for small mercies.”
The Elves rode off on an Easterly tangent.

The party crossed the River Anduin and rode into the Gladden fields, keeping a very safe distance from the river of the same name. In the distance they heard bloodcurdling howling of hideous Wargs.
“A curse upon them all!” Orophin hissed. “May all the evils of this world fall into the deepest, darkest chasm and be crushed by the Earth!”
“My sentiments exactly, Brother,” Haldir said as they rode on.
Inside the cart, Celeborn sighed. Would the world ever be rid of evil? Perhaps. Someday. He closed his eyes, though he could not see a clear picture. As he laid his head upon the small pillow, he thanked the Valar for his loyal friends and what they had done for him and the troubles they had gone to.

“We have made good distance this day,” Haldir said. “The Valar ride with us.”
“Indeed,” Orophin nodded.
They stopped for a while and checked upon their Lord. Celeborn lay in the back of the cart, breathing slowly.
“My Lord?” Haldir inquired, a worried look upon his face.
“I … I do not believe I can travel any more this night …”
Haldir saw Celeborn’s face looked paler than usual.
“It will be dangerous to remain here,” Orophin said. “We have not put enough distance between ourselves and the Orcs. I have confidence in the Riders of Rohan, but to be on the safe side, I suggest we ride on. I know of a tavern not many more leagues from here and we will be able to rest there for the night. It will do us all some good.”
Celeborn nodded.
“Agreed,” Haldir said. “We must all recover our strength. We still have a day and a half’s journey ahead and we need our wits about us. Can you hold on until then, My Lord?”
Celeborn nodded and laid back down. The ride was bumpy, but he endured it.

A light shone in the distance, and Haldir saw some intoxicated people emerging from it. A mixture of Men, Hobbits and Dwarves.
“This is the tavern?” He did not sound impressed.
“I did not say it was reputable,” Orophin said, “but we have little choice.”
Haldir nodded. They stowed their horses alongside some trees. Haldir and Orophin helped their Lord out of the cart, being careful not to be seen.
“My Lord,” Haldir said. “It is important that no one knows that you are ailing. Aye, there are kind folk about, but there are also those who will not think twice to take advantage of us.”
Celeborn nodded. “You do not have to lecture me, Haldir,” he said with a smile. “I am well aware of our predicament.”
Celeborn dusted off his robe, which Haldir was impressed to note, he had kept from any large creases.
“Do not be afraid, My Lord,” Haldir said softly. “We will protect you with our very lives should it come to that.”
“Let us hope it does not,” Celeborn said. “Let us hope our journey is uneventful.”
The Elven brothers and their Lord entered the rowdy Tavern. Haldir could barely hide his distaste at the noise, and the drunk populace of the place. Nevertheless, he made his way to an empty thick wooden table.
“I will go and order, though I warn against anything alcoholic.”
“Agreed,” Orophin said. “It is never a good idea to drink and ride.”

Haldir approached the bar in a mist of pipeweed smoke.
He indicated the bartender for service. “A flagon of ginger brew,” he said. “With a tablespoon of cayenne pepper.”
The man looked at the Elf strangely. “Sure you don’t want something a little stronger?”
“Ginger brew,” Haldir said, beginning to get annoyed.
“We have seventeen different types of whiskey, and twelve-”
“Will you make ginger brew or do I have to go to the next tavern?”
The bartender scoffed. “The next tavern from here is the Prancing Pony – miles and miles away in the village of Bree.” The man looked smug.
Haldir looked at the bartender, glowering. “Then my party and I will travel to the village of Bree if you do not provide me with what I ask for! A flagon of ginger brew, four goblets. Do not delay!” The irate Elf slapped payment down on the bench and made his way back to the others, leaving an astonished bartender.
“Honestly, the stupidity of some people…”
“Calm yourself, Haldir,” Celeborn said. “Do not let the norms of this world upset you.”
The Galadhrim took a deep breath, the air filled with the rather pleasant smell of clove pipeweed, being smoked by a Hobbit at the next table.
He nodded. “It is difficult, My Lord, but I will endeavour to do as you say.”
He offered Celeborn a piece of waybread.
“Thank you.” The elder Elf took it from him and broke off a small piece and began to nibble at it.
Haldir kicked away a mangy rat, which had come scurrying in search of crumbs.
The Galadhrim cringed when he heard a crash of crockery in the kitchen.
“I hope that was not our brew.”
Fortunately it was not and it was not long before the brew was brought to them and poured out. Haldir gave the fourth goblet to the waiter.
“Take this to the bartender,” he said.
A strange request, but the waiter did so. Haldir turned around as the bartender took the earthen goblet of ginger brew. He gave Haldir a disdainful smile. No sooner had he taken swig, he spat it out and madly tried to cool his tongue with whatever he could grab. Haldir smiled as he held his own goblet, his gaze seeming to say “too strong for you?”
The bartender huffed in defeat as he began to wipe down the bench.
Haldir turned back to the others.
“You enjoyed that, did you not?” Orophin asked with a smile.
“Why is it that in this world, people believe that alcohol is the only beverage with a kick?” Haldir shook his head.
Orophin began to sip his brew. “It is rather strong.”
“It’s the cayenne pepper which gives it that extra kick,” Haldir said. “It will keep our bodies warm, but do not consume it too quickly.”
Celeborn took a sip and raised his eyebrows. “Impressive. Where did you learn about this?”
“It is a recipe Aragorn taught me. He had me drink gallons of this stuff when I was recovering from my wounds at Helm’s Deep and indeed it was a blessing.”
“A toast to Aragorn, wherever he may be,” Celeborn said.
The Elves raised their goblets. “To Aragorn.”
Orophin set down his empty vessel and began to tug gently on his earlobe. Haldir noticed his brother did this every time he was nervous. “What is it, Brother?” he asked, concerned.
Orophin spoke quietly. “I … I believe that Dwarf maiden at that table diagonally to our left is making eyes at me…”
Discreetly, Haldir turned and saw a buxom Dwarf femme seemingly staring at his brother. He turned around and chuckled. “I am jealous.”
Orophin hit his brother with a napkin.
“What am I going to do?” Orophin whispered, desperate. “I do not wish to hurt her feelings …”
“Considerate,” Celeborn said. “There was a time when I had no love for Dwarves, but when I met Gimli, son of Glóin, my attitude changed for the better. He showed me that they are not all greedy, obsessed with finding treasures.”
Orophin nodded. “Aye, but you do not have one making eyes at you.”
“True,” Celeborn said with a smile.
“Jealous, My Lord?” Orophin asked, with a smile.
Celeborn chuckled.

The Dwarf, dressed in black leather began to approach. Orophin stiffened.
“Greetings,” the fiery red haired maiden bellowed. “I do not mean to intrude upon your conversation.”
Celeborn shook his head politely.
“I am Gila,” the Dwarf said, “Daughter of Hórin. I bring greetings to the fair Elves.”
“And greetings to you, Gila, Daughter of Hórin. I am Celeborn, and my travelling companions, Haldir and Orophin of Lórien.”
The Dwarf bowed politely. “I travel with my brothers, Filan and Hafin.” She indicated two burly Dwarf men sitting ta the table.
Celeborn gave a polite nod.
“I realise relations between my people and yours are somewhat strained,” Gila said. “But let me assure you, fine Elves, not all of us feel that way.”
“Thank you,” Celeborn said. “I have some to realise myself that there is a lot more to Dwarf kind than meets the eye.”
“Kind of you to say, Sir Elf … It is difficult for me to say .. But … My one of my brothers … Filan … has taking … a liking to you …”
“Me?” Celeborn asked, in disbelief.
Gila nodded, sheepishly. “He is quite shy you see and e asked me to …”
“I … I … I am flattered …” the Lord of Lórien said, at a loss at what to say.
“But I can see you are not …”
“I am betrothed, yes,” Celeborn said.
Gila sighed. “He will be so disappointed. He believes you are very elegant.”
“Why thank you … But I am so sorry,” Celeborn said, contrite, though at a total loss why a male Dwarf would fancy him.
“He will understand. May you all fare well.”
“And you and your brothers as well,” Celeborn said.
“Diola lle,” the Dwarf maiden spoke in Elvish. {Thank you}

She returned to her brothers. Celeborn could barely look at the disappointed look on Filan’s face, and gave him a contrite look.

“There will be other Elves,” Gila said to her disappointed brother. “I am sure you will fine one that is right for you.”
Filan nodded and took a large drink. “You are right, My Sister, but he is so lovely.”
“Aye, as were his brothers, but I sense they are not for us. There will be a lovely Elf waiting for each of us somewhere.”
“Hear hear!” Hafin bellowed, banging his large mug on the table. “Bartender, another round of ales!”

“You see, the Dwarves have regained their spirits already,” Haldir said,
Celeborn nodded.
“It was you they were eyeing all along,” Orophin said, looking at his Lord.
“Jealous?” Celeborn asked with a smile.
The Elves laughed amongst themselves and finished their now lukewarm brew.
“The hour grows late,” Haldir said. “My Lord, you are not well enough to travel any further this night. I will acquire a room for us. I hope you will be well enough to travel on the morrow.”
“As do I, thank you, Haldir.”

Haldir caught the attention if the innkeeper. “We require a room with accommodations for three.”
“You be in luck. We have only one Elf sized room available.”
“We will take it,” Haldir said, grateful as he paid the fee.
Despite the ginger pepper tea warming him, Celeborn could barely stand. Although he did and kept an aura of stability and elegance around him. There were few whose head did not turn when he walked past. Celeborn gave Filan another contrite glance, but the Dwarf seemed to understand.

It took an effort to climb the stairs, but the Lord of Lórien managed it without aid.
Haldir looked grateful as they entered the room. “You can rest now, My Lord.”
“We all deserve a rest,” Celeborn said.
“The horses…” Orophin started.
“I have paid the stablehand to care for them and our cart for the night,” Haldir said.
Both he and Orophin helped Celeborn into bed.
“I know you are not accustomed to sleeping in your clothing, My Lord, but I am afraid there is little to be done about that at this juncture.”
Celeborn chuckled. “You act as though I have never had to sleep in my day attire before. I will be fine. And when we have time, I will tell you and your brothers stories about your Lord that may surprise you.”
The Elves smiled before returning to separate beds.
“Are you comfortable, My Lord?” Haldir asked.
“Aye, I am fine. It may not be Lórien, but we are safe here for the night and these mattresses are rather soft.”
Haldir smiled, grateful for the shelter as he made himself comfortable as he, his brother and his Lord got some much needed rest.

* * *

Upon the morrow, the Elves were relieved that Celeborn had regained most of his strength. Haldir had a flagon of rabbit broth brought up to the room of which the Elves drank their fill.
“My Lord, are you sure you do not wish any more?” Haldir asked.
“No thank you Haldir, if I have any more I am afraid I will burst and if I do not relieve myself soon, I’m afraid I will burst whether I have more soup or not.”
Haldir smiled and nodded.
The Elves gathered their few possessions as they left the room.
“I suggest we refresh ourselves in the Anduin before we continue,” Celeborn said.
“My Lord?” Orophin inquired.
“I assure you, it is quite temperate this time of year and it will do us good.”
“If you are certain,” the older Galadhrim said.
The Elves relieved themselves behind some trees before taking the short walk to the River Anduin.
Celeborn began to undress. Haldir and Orophin looked uncertain.
“What is the matter?” Celeborn asked. “It is not as though you have not bathed in a river in the past … And it is not like the trees have not seen it all before.”
Haldir began to undress, but Orophin still looked nervous.
“I have never bathed in the company of others before,” he said, uncomfortable.
Celeborn smiled understandingly. “Haldir is your bother and I helped raise you from age six. It is not like we have not seen it all before.”
Orophin gave an embarrassed smile. “You are right, my Lord, I guess I am a little conservative.” Orophin began to undress.
Celeborn was the first into the tepid water. Haldir watched with concern, but his Lord seemed to be all right. He glanced at Orophin, testing the water with his foot before entering. Once in, he found he rather enjoyed it. Celeborn placed his head back in the cool water, his long silver hair flowing along with the gentle current. When he had cleansed himself, Celeborn walked ashore. Haldir watched his Lord in awe, as the water glistened upon his body. Even naked, Celeborn held an aura of elegance, nobility and regality. The Elves did not bathe for long, for over a day’s journey awaited them. After they were dry, they donned their clothing and returned to the stable for their horses. Haldir was relieved to find both steeds had been well cared for and the cart was still in tact. Not that Haldir had doubted the stable boy, but in this world, you could not take too much for granted. He gave the stable boy a little extra.
“Thank you, Master Elf. This will help buy my family’s bread. If I may, kind Sirs, it is my job to point out places of interest. I would recommend the Aberdan falls, just beyond the Gladden River, not less than half a day’s ride South.”
“Thank you, My Friend” Haldir said, “but we are on our way to Rivendell and cannot afford the luxury of exploration. Perhaps on our return journey.”
“I wish you well on your travels,” the young boy said.
Haldir gave a nod and watched as the boy returned into the stables. The Galadhrim walked into the tavern and returned moments later, carrying a flagon.
“Broth of the day,” he said. “It will provide nourishment at noonday.”
Orophin nodded as he placed the canister in the cart.

When they were sure no eyes were watching, once again, Celeborn climbed into the cart and made himself as comfortable as possible. Haldir and Orophin mounted and rode on. The Elves had ridden for a number of hours when Orophin came to a stop. Haldir was not long to follow.
“Orcs!” the older Galadhrim hissed.
Haldir drew a dagger of Noldorim and handed it to Lord Celeborn under the cover. “Keep down!” he urged, soft, but urgent.
Celeborn nodded. He wanted to help them, but he knew he was in no condition to fight.
An arrow shot from Orophin’s bow slew the first Orc. Haldir’s first arrow slew the second. The two Elves dismounted, firing as they did so, felling two more of their foes. Orophin used an arrow to stab an Orc in the head who had come too close and used that same arrow to slay another. Haldir drew Galadhdes, disembowelling a foe that was almost on top of him. Their next two shots were right on target. The Galadhrim made haste to retrieve their spent arrows.
Celeborn lay in the cart, ready to defend himself should it come to that, but hoped it did not. He knew his weakness was only physical, though he wished he could help his brethren.

Haldir and Orophin flanked each other, firing relentlessly, arrow after arrow, felling yet more of their foes, dodging arrows fired by their enemy. Orophin was caught in his thigh by one. He reeled backward to be caught by Haldir, who swirled his brother out of the way of another enemy arrow. Grateful, Orophin braced himself as he dislodged the arrow in his leg and used it to kill the Orc who had fired at him. The brothers were separated by a volley of arrows, thankfully none hitting their intended targets. Haldir spent his last arrow on a particularly hideous looking Orc. To be honest, he believed all Orcs looked hideous, but there was always one who looked worse than the others, if indeed that was possible.

A large Orc clashed with Orophin, knocking Amonrath, his sword out of the Elf’s hand as he fell hard to the ground. The Orc raised a crude weapon. Haldir looked on in horror as there was nothing he could do to save his brother. He had spent his final arrow and did not have time to retrieve another. He slammed Galadhdes into the stomach of another Orc, but his eyes were on his helpless brother.
“No…” Haldir could hardly bear to watch.
In the next moment, the Orc fell backwards, dead, a dagger through its grotesque head. Haldir spun around to see Lord Celeborn kneeling in the cart, after having hurled the only weapon he possessed. The Marchwarden breathed a sigh of relief, his eyes thanking his Lord. He turned back to his brother, who was now standing, limping slightly with his injured leg, though grateful for his life. Both Elves were worried that their Lord was now defenceless, though the few remaining Orcs were coming from a Northerly tangent. Haldir motioned for Celeborn to hide himself. The Galadhrim felled the last two Orcs with arrows they had retrieved from the bodies of their enemies. They kept a watchful eye for more, but all seemed to be clear. No sooner had they begun to return to their cart, a hideous cry sounded over the hill as a massive Uruk-Hai came baring down upon them, a crude axe in one hand, a crossbow in the other. Haldir glared with pure loathing at the creature and its cruel weapon. If it had not been for Aragorn, the Elf knew his back would have been cleaved by an axe just like it. The repulsive creature roared as it raised its enormous crossbow and fired. The two Elves darted in opposite directions, narrowly missing being disembowelled. The large arrow remained on course as it slammed into the cart. Haldir and Orophin stared in horror.
“NO!” Haldir yelled.
And the blood of both the Elves ran cold as a red ooze dripped from the base of the cart. The Uruk-Hai’s toothy smile made Haldir’s blood boil. He raised Galadhdes, slamming into the Uruk’s next arrow, with an effort, deflecting it into the bushes. The Galadhrim hurled his sword, the weapon swirling through the air until it embedded itself in the Uruk-Hai. Haldir did not stay to look where his sword had landed. The massive foe dropped to his knees, screaming and clutching its groin.
Orophin stood. “Let me put you out of your misery,” he said, pure hatred in his voice. He loaded his bow and fired an arrow into the creature’s head, killing it instantly. Orophin retrieved his brother’s sword. He could barely turn around to follow his brother, but he forced himself to. Haldir could hardly bear to take back the cover from the cart.
He shook his head. “No … Please tell me it didn’t …”
Though the red stain under the cart seemed to tell a different story. The cover moved slightly, then flipped back to reveal Celeborn, his cape stained red.
“My Lord …” Haldir gasped.
Orophin was too scared to look, but he found the courage, though he thought he was seeing things when his Lord appeared unscathed.
“Thank you both for your concern,” Celeborn said. “It is much appreciated, but honestly, I am unhurt. Though I cannot say the same for our noonday flagon of tomato broth.” He held up the Uruk arrow, through which lay the flagon. Haldir could not hide his relief as he placed his hands on the cart and let out a deep breath. Celeborn put down the mangled flagon and placed his hands on the Galadhrim’s. “Your concern is truly touching.”
Haldir looked into Celeborn’s eyes, tears in his own and in the next moment, in a rare display of affection, he threw his arms around his Lord. Celeborn smiled warmly and returned the embrace.
Orophin looked his Lord over. “Are you certain you are all right?”
“I am fine,” Celeborn assured. “Though I hope I can get tomato broth out of these robes. They are my favourite.” He held up his stained robe and smiled.
Orophin and Haldir could not help but smile too. It was times like these when humour was a valuable asset.
The Galadhrim retrieved and cleaned all their weapons. Haldir gave the dagger back to Celeborn.
“Thank you. At times like this I wish I had Excalibrand, my loyal sword by my side. You will take care of him won’t you, Haldir, when you return.”
“Of course, My Lord. Excalibrand will be well looked after. I will keep him safe with Galadhdes.”
Celeborn smiled. “They will make a lovely couple.”
The Elves chuckled.
“Let us hope we do not have to fight again, but it may be necessary,” Haldir said.
Celeborn nodded.
Orophin took his Lord’s hand. “I cannot thank you enough, for you have saved my life yet again, and you did so by risking your own. To save me, you gave your only defence.”
“I could do no less, Orophin. Look at all you and your brothers, and the Lórien Elves have done for me. I am glad I was able to give something back.”
Gently, Orophin embraced his Lord. “Please do not frighten us like that again.”
Celeborn smiled. “I will endeavour not to.”
Haldir turned his attention to his brother. “Your leg…”
“Fortunately the arrow did not penetrate deep.”
“Nevertheless, we must see to it,” Haldir said.
Orophin took up his tunic, to reveal the wound.
Haldir nodded. “Wait here,” he said, “I will fetch some melaleuca alternifolia leaves.”
He was grateful they had passed some not five minutes ago. Before long, Haldir returned with a branch and gave them to his brother. Orophin chewed the spindly leaves and placed the pulp onto his wound. He was pleasantly surprised that it did not sting as he had expected it to. Celeborn took the rest of the branch from him and placed it in the cart.
“I suggest you refresh treatment every two ours,” he said.
Orophin nodded. “Even after all these years, you still fuss about us so,” he said with a smile.
Celeborn chuckled. “It is hard for me not to see you as my children, even after all this time.”
The Galadhrim mounted their steeds once again and rode on, keeping a watchful eye.

Nightfall was nearing once they reached the High Pass of the Misty Mountains.
“We will rest here,” Haldir said, indicating a small, but decent sized cave. “Orophin and I will take turns in keeping watch.”
“I was going to suggest the same thing, Brother,” the older Galadhrim said. “I will take first watch.”
Haldir gave a nod as he saw to his Lord. “Are you comfortable?”
Celeborn nodded. “Yes, thank you, Haldir and you?”
“Yes, this place is surprisingly comfortable for a rock hard cave.”
The Lord and Galadhrim smiled as they acquired some rest.

Haldir’s sense of timing never ceased to amaze his brother when he awoke in the wee hours of the morn for his watch.
“Good night,” he told Orophin, as his brother laid down to rest.
“Pleasant dreams, Brother,” Haldir whispered, so as not to wake his sleeping Lord.
“Thank you. Were yours pleasant?”
“I saw nought but a swirl of grey and black.”
“Let us hope things will improve.”

Haldir was grateful that his watch too passed, uneventful.
Celeborn arose later that morn. The brothers had not wanted to wake him.
“We much get under way,” the Lord of Lórien said. “It is only two hours from noonday. You should not have allowed me to sleep so long.”
“You required it, My Lord,” Orophin said. “And if we make good, we should reach Rivendell by dusk.”
Orophin treated his leg once more, grateful that the wound was nay as painful as it had been. The Elves relieved themselves before they set off once more, remaining ever watchful.

In the cart, under the covering, Celeborn felt very tired, though he found it hard to sleep as they travelled over the uneven ground. He endeavoured to get some rest, however difficult.

The Elves passed some travelling Hobbits on their journey, and greeted them, however they did not have time to stay and converse. They were relieved that the journey passed without incident, other than one of the horses getting a rock stuck in its hoof, which Haldir had quickly dislodged and the animal seemed fine after that.

It was nightfall before they reached Imaldris to discover the Spring Equinox Festival of Sheelala underway, however the travelling Elves were too weary to partake in any of the festivities, however wondrous they looked.

The Elves could not have been more relieved to have finally arrived at their destination. The horses were taken to the stables and Celeborn gratefully climbed out of the cart.
Gently Orophin stroked both horses. “Thank you,” he said, “for without you, our journey would have been near impossible.”
Haldir smiled warmly as his horse gently butted him with her head and he could not resist ruffling the mare’s mane.
“It is time for you to rest now,” Orophin said, “but we will require your services once more upon our return to Lórien.”

The weary Elves made their way up to the main balcony to be greeted by Gandalf. The Istari’s took Celeborn’s hand.
“It is good to see you again,” the elder Elf said.
“And you as well, Lord Celeborn.”
“And it be wonderful that you have returned to us, Mithrandir. When I heard you had fallen in shadow and flame Moria, I feared the worst … It felt as though one of the greatest lights in this world had gone out.”
“Well, not yet,” the old Wizard said with a smile, which Celeborn returned. “And neither will yours, My Friend.”
“Thank you. Your words bring me hope.”
Gandalf placed his hand gently upon Celeborn’s shoulder before departing.
“Mithrandir is right, My Lord,” Orophin said, confirming the Wizard’s words. “You may have been taken ill, but you will never diminish.”
“Thank you,” Celeborn said. “It is good to hear such reassuring words.”
He and his travelling companions were distracted and had to move out of the way in a hurry as some Hobbits rushed by, yelling and brandishing play swords made from tree branches and falling over each other.
Celeborn chuckled softly. “Hobbits are such delightful creatures, even when heavily intoxicated.”
Haldir and Orophin began to laugh and realised they had not laughed in many a day and were grateful for the rare opportunity as the Hobbits laughed and fell over one and other once more in their game.

Elrond greeted the party on the main balcony.
“It is a relief you have all arrived safely.”
“And for that we are grateful to the Valar,” Orophin said. “Although we were waylaid at one stage by a rabble of Orcs and an Uruk, we emerged victorious.”
Elrond nodded. “That is good. There is little or nothing in this world one can take for granted. Other than that, I trust your journey was uneventful?”
“Other than those intoxicated Hobbits down there, baring tree branches…” Celeborn indicated.
Haldir and Orophin smiled.
“Yes, them too,” Celeborn said.
The Lord of Imaldris smiled as well as he took Celeborn’s hand. “I am glad you have kept your sense of humour in the light of all this. That alone is a feat not to be scoffed at.”
The Lord of Lórien bowed slightly. “I am in your debt, Elrond of Rivendell.”
The other Elf smiled. “I will take no debt, Celeborn of Lórien. It is my pleasure and honour to have you stay amongst us.”
“Thank you,” Celeborn said, quietly.
“And you must all be rested, yourself most of all,” Elrond said to Celeborn. “But first you must be nourished.”
“We have brought some lembas.” Haldir said.
“And you will need that for your return journey.”
“The very least I can do is have some nourishment brought to you.”
“Thank you, Lord Elrond.”
The Lord of Imaldris had an enormous platter of various delicacies from afar, which had been brought to Imaldris for Sheelala.
“We are honoured to receive such a banquet,” Haldir said.
Elrond smiled. “Do not be shy. The festival participants seemed to have brought enough to feed the entire Shire for a year.”
The Lórien Elves chuckled as they sat down and began to sample the fine foods. They were grateful for such treats, but the exquisite flavours of the exotic foods did little to alleviate their sadness, nor did it take Haldir or Orophin’s worry for their ailing Lord. Celeborn sampled some of the delicacies, though he ate very little.

“Are you certain you have had your fill?” Haldir asked, when Celeborn placed his elegant utensils sown.
The elder Elf nodded. “Yes, thank you and thank you as well,” he said to Elrond.
“It is my pleasure, and now you must rest, My Dear Friend.”
The Lord of Imaldris helped Celeborn up and took him to an exquisite room, but then there was little about Imaldris which was not exquisite. A slight Elf entered with a plate of lembas and a large mithril chalice of morning dew and a set of silken night clothes. The young Elf set the plate and chalice down on the bedside table and set the clothes neatly on the bed.
Celeborn nodded his thanks. The Elf bowed slightly as he left.
“You must forgive young Eirtaé,” Elrond said with a warm smile. “He is a little shy.”
Celeborn smiled. “We all were at some stage … I must thank you again.”
“And again, it is my pleasure. When you have rested, I will fetch Arwen, Elladan and Elrohir. At present they are travelling on a four day soul trek.”
The Lord of Lórien smiled. “I would very much love to see my grandchildren again.”
“And you shall.” Gently Elrond took his hand. “We all share our concerns for you, and there is much we need to work through, but for now, you require deep rest.”
Celeborn nodded as he changed his attire and climbed between the soft, silken covers.
“You will be safe here, and well looked after,” Elrond promised.
Celeborn looked at him with thanks and laid his head down on the comforting pillow. It took less than five minutes for him to fall into a deep, much needed sleep.

Elrond returned to Haldir and Orophin.
“Ourselves and the Lórien elves thank you, from the deepest regions of our hearts and our souls for taking care of our Lord,” Haldir said. “Though I request that myself and Orophin remain for a few days, to be sure he settles in.”
“Of course you may,” Elrond said. “I was about to suggest the very same thing. And now, Orophin, your leg must be seen to.”

After Elrond had helped treat Orophin’s wound, equally exquisite rooms were given to the Lórien brothers, who welcomed the comfortable beds and the luxury of sleeping through the night without having to keep watch in case of attack.

* * *

Haldir and Orophin looked in on their beloved Lord every so often, but they did not disturb him as he slept peacefully.

“There is much I need to discuss with Lord Celeborn,” Elrond told them. “There was a time when I required his counsel and now he needs mine, and with all my heart and soul, I shall give it to him.”
Haldir and Orophin respected Elrond deeply and now began to understand the reason Celeborn had desired to travel to Imaldris.
“We cannot thank you enough, Lord Elrond,” Haldir said. “And we are indebted to your kindness.”
The older Elf smiled. “Nay, as I told Lord Celeborn, I will take no debt. Both of you are welcome to remain in Imaldris for as long as you feel necessary.”
“Again, we thank you,” Orophin said.
“It is my pleasure as well as my honour,” Elrond said.

* * *

Celeborn slept for two days solid. He awoke one morning, the sunlight pleasantly shining through the opening and upon him, and he smiled warmly. He took back the covers and sat on the bed. He finished the water in the chalice and after eating a quarter of the waybread, he stood and changed into a fresh set of clothing which had been left for him. It seemed Elrond had thought of everything. The Lord of Lórien left the room and walked outside. He’d forgotten how crisp and invigorating the morning air was in Imaldris. The air in Lórien was just as refreshing, though it was slightly different here and for now, Celeborn welcomed the change. He took it upon himself for a brisk walk, amongst the trees and the waters of this beautiful place, again a very different beauty from Lothlórien, but exquisitely beautiful all the same.

Orophin rushed to Haldir in a panic and spoke so rapidly, the other Galadhrim strained to catch all of which was said.
“Our Lord is gone. He is not in his room. I looked around, but could nay find him anywhere and nobody knows where he is and -”
Elrond held up a hand. “Calm yourself, Orophin of Lórien.”
The older Galadhrim tried, though he found it considerably difficult.
“Do you sense any ill has befallen your Lord?” Elrond asked.
Orophin struggled to calm himself, then shook his head. “Nay … I sense no ill will…”
“Nor do I,” Haldir said. “It is likely that he has taken himself for a walk.”
“I hope he will fare well,” Orophin said. “He is in no condition to be doing anything strenuous. Forgive me, Lord Elrond … When I saw the empty bed in Lord Celeborn’s room, I-”
Elrond smiled warmly. “You panicked. It is nothing to be ashamed of, My Young Galadhrim, for you love your Lord dearly.”
Orophin nodded. “Aye, but in future, I will endeavour to keep a clear head.”
“That is well,” Elrond said. “One should not be embarrassed by their mistakes, as they are great teachers.”
“I hope to become as wise as yourself, Lord Elrond,” Orophin said with respect.
Elrond smiled warmly. “You are already wise, My Dear Galadhrim, and your wisdom will grow with age.”

Celeborn returned later that morning to find Orophin making up his bed. “I apologise if my absence caused any duress,” he said.
“At first I was very worried,” Orophin said, “you gave me quite a scare.”
“I am sorry,” Celeborn said, contrite. “I should have informed another to relay the message to you, but I only went for a walk.”
Orophin looked his Lord over. “You are well enough? You are not cold?”
Celeborn smiled. “Honestly, you are as bad as Haldir,” then he chuckled. “I am fine, I assure you. Your Lord is capable of walking by the stream. He is not as old and decrepit as you may think.”
“I thought nay such thing, My Lord, I was concerned that you may have found a walk stressful and tiring.”
Celeborn smiled and shook his head. “Nay, on the contrary. I found it invigorating, but thank you for your concern, but I journeyed slowly and on flat ground and I nay strayed far. You make it sound like I sought to trek the entire length of the Misty Mountains.”
Orophin chuckled. “That would be a mean feat, even for the fittest Elf or man … But please do not scare me like that again.”
Celeborn smiled. “Next time I will write a note.”
Orophin smiled as well.

* * *

The Galadhrim remained for a few more days, making sure their Lord was settling.
“Thank you both,” Celeborn said, “but I am fine. My strength is returning.”
“That is good to hear. My Lord,” Haldir said. “We will not leave until we are satisfied that you are certain this is what you want. Are you sure you will be all right?”
Celeborn nodded and took the Marchwarden’s hand. “Yes, Haldir … I am sure, for now and I appreciate your concern, but I am fine. To answer the question that you are not asking, is that I do not know when I will make my return to Lórien… As much as I love the Golden Wood, this is where I need to be at this time.”
“I realise that, My Lord, though we will miss you deeply.”
“As I will all of you, and my beloved home, but as it stands, my stay in Imaldris will be indefinite.”
It took all of Haldir’s strength not to convey his sadness, though Celeborn sensed it. “Though I do not say that I will never return … But I do not wish you to become falsely hopeful, as that will be cruel to you and the Lórien Elves. And until that day, I entrust the Golden Wood of Lothlórien to the Galadhrim … And Haldir, I appoint you as the new Lord of Lórien.”
The Marchwarden was taken aback and he stared at Celeborn. “But … but My Lord … I cannot possibly … You are the Lord of Lórien … I-”
“And she will need a new Lord whilst I am indisposed … Haldir, I have thought long and hard about this, even years prior to My Lady’s departure, to which one of you would I entrust Lórien, should it come to that.”
Haldir took a deep breath. “I am deeply honoured, My Lord, but I am not sure if I can live up to-”
“I am sure, Haldir,” Celeborn said, “otherwise I would not have chosen you.”
The Galadhrim let his Lord’s words sink in, though he was silent for a while.
“Please, Haldir,” Celeborn said, taking his hands, “I need to know that Lórien will be safe in your hands.”
Haldir looked into the older Elf’s eyes. “She will be, My Lord. I promise you, no ill will befall the Golden Wood.”
“Thank you, Lord Haldir,” Celeborn said with a smile.
The Galadhrim gave an embarrassed smile, clearly uncomfortable with his new title. “I am not sure I could get used to being called Lord … But I will protect the Golden Wood with my very life, should it come to that, but you, My Lord will always be the Lord of Lórien.”
“That is kind of you to say, Haldir, but for now, you need to take on that role.”
“And I will, My Lord, for you, Lórien and my people.”
“Thank you, Haldir.”
Lord and Galadhrim embraced. When they parted, Celeborn turned and took Orophin’s hand. “I entrust Lothlórien’s treasures to you and Rúmil, not the least of which be my Lady’s Mirror. I know you will treat them wisely and with respect.”
“I too am deeply honoured, My Lord, and even though our youngest brother is not with us at this moment, I know he will be as well. Lórien’s treasures will be kept safe.”
“Thank you both, I leave you in peace. May your journey home be safe.”
“Thank you, My Lord,” Haldir said, watching Celeborn leave them, struggling to keep tears back.
Celeborn spoke to the two Lórien brothers in the High Elven tongue of Quenya.
“May you have a safe journey home and may your days be peaceful. Please do not grieve for me. I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for myself and my hope is that in time all will become clear. Good Journey, My Friends, My Galadhrim.”
The Marchwardens gently embraced their Lord before departing

After a while, Haldir turned to his brother. “How is your leg?”
“It is much improved. Elrond is a master healer, though he did suggest I continue to use the melaleuca healing balm.”
Haldir nodded. “Then we make for Lórien within the hour.”
A silence followed. “Brother…” Orophin placed his hand on Haldir’s shoulder, “I have every confidence in you.”
Haldir turned and smiled warmly. “That is reassuring to know … Though I am at a loss why he chose me and nay you. You are the older brother.”
“Aye, but you are more suited to this honour than I and I do not begrudge you and nor do I envy you. Come, let us return home. There is little more we can accomplish here.”
Haldir nodded sadly. “Do you think our Lord will ever return?”
“I would like to keep optimistic and say aye, but in my heart of hearts, I am unsure.”
“As am I … But for now I will do as he asks.”

* * *

The brothers were grateful that their journey home was uneventful. Upon arriving, Haldir did not wish to bear the news, but he felt he must. He had thought about his words long and hard whilst travelling back from Imaldris, but standing before his people, knew not what to say. He wanted to reassure them, but how could he when he could not reassure himself?

Haldir took a breath and forced himself to address the Lórien Elves, but he did so with a heavy heart, Rúmil and Orophin by his side. A long silence ensued as he spoke and he chose his words carefully.
“Lord Celeborn has chosen to remain in Imaldris,” he said slowly, “for he requires the counsel of Elrond. I … I know not when he will return.”
As he expected, his words were not well received, though sensed the Lórien Elves bore him no ill will. They missed their Lord terribly, as he did.
“In the meantime, Lord Celeborn …” Haldir took a breath, “appointed the Galadhrim as the Guardians of Lórien …”
“And it was his wish to appoint Haldir as Lord of Lórien until his return,” Orophin said.
Haldir silently thanked his brother for saying what he found incredibly difficult, and he still felt terribly uncomfortable. “Aye, though I do not intend to replace our Lord, nor do I revel in the position … and you have my word as a Galadhrim that I will ne’er take advantage of it. I am not going to attempt to walk in Lord Celeborn’s boots as I cannot, but I will do everything I can to walk in his footsteps. Please do not feel that I will look upon you differently, or believe myself to be superior in any way, with my newly assumed title.”
“My brother will rule with a firm, but kind hand,” Orophin assured.
The news took a while to sink in and to Haldir’s relief, the Lórien Elves did not reject him, in fact they seemed happy and relieved to have a Lord, although Haldir was not Celeborn, but then the Galadhrim never claimed to be.
Orophin and Rúmil remained when the other Elves had departed.
“I wanted to thank you,” Haldir said to his youngest brother, “for the Valar were surely with us on our journey.”
“I am glad I was able to be of assistance. What of Lord Celeborn?”
“He is ailing,” Haldir said, “but his strength had begun to return once he started to settle in Imaldris. I hope it is not too long a time before he will return to us.”
“As do I, My Brother, but in the meantime we must do what we can to carry out his wishes. What would you like me to do, My Lord?”
The words seemed to come as a shock to Haldir.
“Yes, My Lord,” Orophin said. “What do you wish us to do?”
“I am not your Lord, I am your brother!” Haldir said, emphatically.
“You are also our Lord,” Rúmil said. “Unless you wish to go against Lord Celeborn’s wishes.”
“Nay, of course not,” Haldir said.
“Then what are your orders, My Lord?”
“My first order is for you both to stop calling me ‘My Lord.”
“Yes, My Lord,” Rúmil said with a smile.
Playfully, Haldir hit him and chuckled, then he looked out to the trees.
“We must do what we have always done,” he said. “We must protect Lórien.”

* * *

Celeborn sat down to retire for the night and although he was around many of his kind, he felt alone. Silent tears began to fall.

Sometime later, he sensed someone enter the room, but he did not look up. The newcomer knelt by the bed and took his hand, so gently, he barely felt her touch. Celeborn turned his head slightly and smiled warmly. “Arwen…”
“Do not keep your pain alone, Father Grand,” she said gently in her Elven tongue, her voice like soft silk. “For it is a burden too hard to bear.”
Celeborn sighed. “Forgive me, My Grand Daughter, for I know you have felt the very same pain … I felt it too when my daughter departed to Valinor …”
“The pain will pass,” Arwen promised. “You will always think of her, love and miss her, but know that her spirit is safe.”
Celeborn sighed softly and stroked his granddaughter’s head. “You are wise, beyond your years, Hinya.” {My child – Quenya}
Warmly, the Elf maiden smiled. The two elves were momentarily distracted by two others entering the room.
“We are not disturbing?” Elrohir said.
“Not at all,” Celeborn said. “Come.”
Elrohir and his brother entered and sat on the bed, either side of Celeborn.
“We have felt your pain,” Elrohir said, “for we once shared it.”
“I know …” Celeborn said, in Quenya. “Tell me, am I selfish to feel this way … Galadriel did not suffer the way my daughter did…”
“We cannot speak for Lady Galadriel, but you are nay selfish, Lord Celeborn, not at all,” Elladan assured, “like our mother’s departure, your Lady’s pains you terribly.”
Celeborn nodded sadly. His grandchildren embraced him gently. The Lord of Lórien felt touched to receive so much love.
“I will impart with a meditation I learned upon the Spring Equinox Festival,” Arwen said. “It will help release fears, worries and sorrows.”
“Hanta elyë, Melda Quén,” Celeborn said. {Thank you, Dear One – Quenya}
“It will not make Lady Galadriel return,” Arwen said, honestly. She did not want to give her Grandfather false hope, “it is up to you what you take within.”
Again Celeborn smiled. “Aye, and again I marvel at your wisdom, young Arwen.”
“And we will impart with a meditation of our own,” Elladan said. “One which Elrohir and I developed to help us cope with our mother’s ailments and departure.”
“I thank you all,” Celeborn said, “for your support and love.”

The Lord of Lórien spent the rest of the day outside in the fresh Imaldris air, in meditation with Arwen and her brothers. He fond the meditations to be relaxing, but at the same time invigorating and freeing, but deep inside, he still ached deeply.

Upon the evening, Celeborn returned to the Elven dwelling, after having thanked his beloved grandchildren for their help, patience and compassion. Elrond watched him and decided to wait until the morrow before confronting him.

* * *

Celeborn returned to the main balcony after his morning meditations
“I trust your meditations were pleasant?” Elrond said, approaching.
“Very,” Celeborn said. “Elrohir insisted I practice at least one daily.”
Elrond smiled. “And if you do not, he will mother hen you until you do.”
Celeborn chuckled. “That sounds like something Haldir would do.”
The Lord of Lórien spoke again after a pause. “I thank you again, Lord Elrond for your hospitality.”
“I could do no less, Celeborn. Did you expect me to turn you away?”
“I hoped you would not.”
“Of course I would not. Are you forgetting, you rode from Lórien to Imaldris in a flash to be by my side when I lost Celebrian, over five centuries ago … Are you forgetting that it was you who scalded me for drowning myself in Elven sweet wine, albeit gently. Are you forgetting, Lord Celeborn, that it was you who looked after me when I was wrecked … When I was too weak to walk to the bath chambers, it was you who helped me. It was you who fussed about me, made sure I ate correctly … had adequate sleep, and when the tears came, it was you who gave me comfort. Could I do any less for you?”
Celeborn took Elrond’s hand. “I had nay forgotten, and I am glad to receive your care … But as I told my grandchildren, Lady Galadriel was not tortured, by Orcs the way my daughter was. Her mind was not raped.”
“Nay, she was not … But tortured she was … She worried deeply for the safety of Middle Earth. She feared the return of Sauron. She feared the One Ring … And was tempted by it … Though she did not take it, she was tortured by her desire for it.”
Celeborn nodded slowly. “And I understand her desire for it … If she had such a ring, Lady Galadriel would have used it to better Middle Earth, but as Mithrandir did, she also refused the Ring, knowing that through her it would wield evil.” Celeborn sighed. “I sensed her fears … her worries … Her worry for Frodo, the Ringbearer … And all of Middle Earth … I too felt the evil … Sensed the wrath of Sauron baring down upon us … Felt the evil and hate he spread like a virulent plague across the land … And I shared My Lady’s fear and loathing of it … Despite all that was good and true in the land … Despite the songs of my people and of Lórien … The valiant warriors of both Elves and Men … The peaceful Hobbits … The stout Dwarves … Nothing seemed to fully drive the evil from the Lands…” Celeborn sighed sadly. “It all seems so senseless…” He sat, Elrond next to him.
“How … How did you …”
“It was not easy,” The Lord of Imaldris said. “For the longest time, I wondered how I would cope … Even with all the support and love I received from my family and others … I did everything in my power to heal my beloved … But she was too pained … She looked into the very deepest reaches of the purest evil and it terrified her … As hard as she tried, she could not see how Middle Earth could ever be rid of that evil … Her mind had been taken asunder … and the only way she sought to escape that evil was to sail West to Valinor.”
Celeborn nodded. “Perhaps Lady Galadriel felt the same … I would like to believe that we can rid evil from our lands, but for thousands of years we have fought it …”
Elrond nodded. “And to further answer your question … My heart shattered to see her leave, looking so terribly forlorn. She understood that myself and her children were destined to remain in Middle Earth for a time.
Her last words before her departure were, ‘I leave not because my love for you has diminished. I leave to escape the evils of this land. I leave because my soul requires peace, and that peace I will find in Valinor.’ I have never forgotten those words … I did not allow her to see my tears as her ship sailed yonder. I held Arwen as she cried into my arms. I did not see my sons’ tears, but I knew they came. Elladan and Elrohir would have ridden to Mordor to slaughter very Orc they could lay their weapons on that very day, had I not stopped them. They were terribly angry, but a suicide mission would have availed us not. I told them I could not lose my beloved sons as well as my wife.”
“I am glad you were able to convince them to stay. I do not think I could have borne the loss of my grandchildren as well as my daughter. I too miss her, but I understand that Valinor is where she needs to be at this time … I also understand this is also where My Lady needs to be, but still it pains me so … Again, I ask, am I being selfish?”
Elrond’s took Celeborn’s hand. “And again, I say nay. Your love for Lady Galadriel equals my love for Celebrian. Neither of us are selfish fo having such love. I also believe Galadriel understands your deep love for her, although she may have seemed not to at times.”
Celeborn sighed. “She was very patient,” he said, “but it is good to know that she did not reject my love.”
“Nor did Celebrian reject mine. To answer the question you are afraid to ask … Aye, I still miss her and there are times when I long to have her by my side … To hold her again … And I share your deep pain of your Lady’s departure, but I came to understand in later years that this is the way it was meant to come to pass. Often I sense her … I know her spirit has not left entirely.”
Celeborn sighed softly. “I hope the same is true of My Lady … I confess … I have been too lost in my own pains to sense anything.”
“As was I,” Elrond said. “But there will come a time when those pains will subside.”
Celeborn gave a grateful sigh. “Thank you, My Lord,” he said, “for you have given me hope.”
“As you gave me.”
“Though I still do not quite feel myself,” Celeborn admitted. “I feel as though I will break if I fall.”
“Your ailments will pass,” Elrond said. “It may take a few months, but as a fruit takes time to ripen, you will take time to heal.”
Celeborn gave a warm smile. “I am grateful and honoured to receive your counsel, Lord Elrond.”
“As I was to receive yours,” Elrond said. “And now you must rest.”
“I awoke not an hour ago.”
“And you look as though you have not slept in millennia. You can barely keep your eyes open.”
“Truth be known … I am somewhat tired.”
“Come, let me escort you to your room.”
“You are most kind.”
“I could do no less.”

Elrond waited until Celeborn was comfortable between the soft covers.
“Please do not hesitate call, should you require assistance, even if it is to walk to the bath chambers.”
Celeborn smiled. “I will endeavour to do so. Thank you, Elrond.”
“May your dreams be pleasant.”
“And yours as well.”
Celeborn laid his head on the soft swan down pillow and was asleep in an instant. Elrond left him in peace, leaving the room without making a sound.

* * *

Celeborn missed his home, though he felt comfortable in Imaldris for the time being. He had resided here for over six months now. Each day he practised meditations to calm and ease his soul, giving his best efforts to understand his Lady’s decision, and endeavour to sense her spirit.

Each day, he was assisted by Elrond and his grandchildren and his strength was slowly beginning to return, although he still felt lost in his sorrows and he yearned for peace within himself. He missed his home, though he felt he needed to be with Elrond for a time, as he continued his daily meditations, spending most of the day either meditating, reading, writing, doing embroidery or walking around beautiful Imaldris.

* * *

Haldir sat on a large chair, his heart heavy with loss. He nay noticed the exquisite Elven creativity of the chair in which he sat. He barely heard another enter the chambers.
“My Lord?”
Haldir’s head turned slowly.
“Am I disturbing you?”
The Galadhrim turned his head. “Nay,” he said softly. “What can I do for you?”
The young Silvan Elf knelt down beside him. “It is nay something you can do for myself, My Lord, but what you must do for yourself. Please forgive me if I sound impertinent, but I see you suffering day by day … I sense your sadness. We all miss Lord Celeborn. We all feel his loss, but you have the added burden of caring for us all.”
“It is an honour,” Haldir said. “One Lord Celeborn bestowed upon me.”
“Aye, it is an honour, but it is also a burden. All of us have heavy hearts … But you are the one who feels you must show strength at all times. I sense that strength fading, Lord Haldir.”
Haldir sighed. He still felt someheat uncomfortable being called ‘Lord.’ “Your words be painfully true.”
“If it may be of any consolation to you, I do not see this as weakness. Any of us would have felt the same in your position, and if I may say so, under the circumstances, your strength has been indomitable. It is an inspiration to us all.”
“That is kind of you to say, Tinion.”
“It is the truth, My Lord …” The young Elf paused before he spoke again. “It is true that you are not Lord Celeborn, but then you have never claimed to be. And you have remained true to your word. You have not taken advantage of your position. You have not looked down upon any of us and you have ruled Lothlórien, with firm, but kind hands. Not one of us has challenged you, My Lord, as we respect you deeply. You had our respect and love well before you became our Lord.”
“Thank you, Tinion, your words are most reassuring.”
“You also promised to protect Lórien and keep her safe. And you have done no less. Are you forgetting not three months ago, a band of Easterlings encroached upon our borders, hearing that Lord Celeborn was no longer with us, believing the Golden Wood to be ripe for the taking – and you showed them otherwise. You stood proud and tall, My Lord, unfaltering and the way you glared at them would have sent a Balrog running for cover.”
Haldir chuckled. “In all honesty, I dare say I looked more imposing than I felt and I had all of you by my side.”
“And it worked. Not a drop of blood was spilt in our beautiful wood, but I dare say you would have fought to the end, if you had needed to.”
“Aye,” Haldir said. “I would have.”
“And we would have fought and died by your side, if need be.”
“I know…” Haldir said softly. “I am glad that was not necessary.”
Tinion took Haldir’s hand. “Please do not feel that we resent you in any way. We do not. As Lord Celeborn before you, you are our Lord and I feel in my heart of hearts that if Lord Celeborn does return, you would give up your title and privileges freely.”
Haldir held Tinion’s hand and took a deep breath. “You speak my mind, young Tinion and once again, I thank you for your words. They have given me solace.”
“As they were intended,” Tinion said, standing. Gently he kissed his Lord’s forehead.
“Be at peace, My Lord, and know that the Elves of the Golden Wood stand behind you. Should you falter, we will catch you and help you stand tall once again.”
Haldir looked up at him, a tear meandering down his pale cheek.
“Hanna le.” {Thank you – Sindarin}
Tinion smiled warmly. “It is my deepest honour and pleasure, My Lord.”
Haldir watched the young Elf leave, silently praising him, but despite Tinion’s reassuring words, Haldir still felt forlorn. Without her Lord and Lady, it seemed Lórien was faltering. Haldir sensed the same feelings in the Elves … Although they trusted him with their lives, and honoured him deeply … It seemed without the Lord and Lady of Lórien … There was neither light nor song in the Golden Wood. It had been what seemed like an age, since Haldir had heard his people sing.

After much thought, the new Lord of Lórien had come to a decision. There would be song in Lórien once more, even if it killed him.

Every night, in Caras Galadhon, he held a vigil. It felt uncomfortable at first, and the words did not come easily with so much pain, but they did come. It pained many of the Elves to sing, with such heavy hearts, but at first they managed to.

To Haldir’s dismay, each night, fewer and fewer Elves attended the vigil. He thought to make it mandatory, but then he felt he could not do that to his people. Song was not something that should be forced. And he knew why many of them had opted out. It was simply too painful for them … To sing of love when they could feel none. To sing of hope when they had none. To sing of light when they could see none.

Even his brothers left in the end. They told Haldir they could not continue. They felt uncomfortable and untrue to themselves in song, singing to bring back light and love, when it had not come. They felt the Elf song should be sung with hope and light, and that hope and light, they did not feel.

Neither did Haldir, but he was desperate for that to return to the Golden Wood. Could the Valar not hear his song?

It pained Rúmil and Orophin deeply to hear their brother sing alone, his voice faltering with despair, though they knew he dearly and desperately clung to hope that his song would bring some hope, and they did not want to discourage him, but it pained them deeply to sense their brother’s forlorn despair.

* * *

Rúmil cried alone, just yonder of Caras Galadhon, one night, once again hearing his brother’s mournful song.
“Please …” he whispered to the Valar. “Help him … Help us …”
The youngest Galadhrim hugged his knees close to him as he sat in the roots of a large tree. “I cannot stand to hear his pain any longer … This cannot go on…”
Although Rúmil admired his Lord’s resolve and his belief that someone must hear his song, and that the Light and Song simply had to return … it had been two years since Haldir had tried to bring the light and the song back to Lórien and it had not seemed to have come. The young Galadhrim looked up into the few stars he could see through the luscious Lórien trees and knew what he must do.

Upon the morrow, Rúmil told Orophin that he was going abroad for a few days to clear his head. Ha hated to lie to his brother, but he did not wish to be discouraged. Orophin offered to come with, but Rúmil respectfully refused.
“Please tell our Lord, that I will be back in approximately five days, but tell him nothing is wrong. I do not wish him to despair any more than he does at present.”
“I will, My Brother. Safe journey.”
Rúmil nodded his thanks, and set off in the direction of Rivendell.

* * *

He was grateful when the first half of the first leg of the journey was uneventful, apart from assisting a party of Dwarves, of which one was trapped under a cart. Rúmil felt strange helping them, though relations between Elf and Dwarf kind had eased of late, since Gimli, son of Glóin had been a valued and true member of the Fellowship of the Ring, who had destroyed the accursed One Ring of Sauron.
The young Galadhrim resumed his journey to Imaldris.

Not long after, Rúmil saw a lone rider approaching from the distance. He was ready to draw his bow to defend himself, but it did not seem that the one who approached was an enemy. The rider had seen him now and also slowed his steed’s pace. Cautiously, Rúmil and the other approached one and other. It was clear now the other was an Elf. Rúmil relaxed and the stranger also seemed to gain confidence that he was not a foe. As they neared, Rúmil recognised the other Elf, and nothing could have surprised him more.
The older Elf seemed equally surprised. “Rúmil…”
“My Lord … Am … am I dreaming … Or is this a cruel mirage?”
Celeborn chuckled. “I am real, I assure you, that is to say are you?”
The Galadhrim smiled. “The last time I checked, I was solid.”
The Elves took each other’s hands. Rúmil’s heart filled with joy.
“What brings you out this way?” Celeborn asked. “Seldom do you travel without your brothers.”
The younger Elf sighed. “To tell you the truth, I was on my way to Rivendell.”
“Whatever for?”
“To fetch you, My Lord … and persuade you to return to Lórien … It pains me to say, though things in Lórien have not been right for a while … Please lay no blame upon Haldir. It is not his doing. He has done everything within his power to protect Lothlórien and care for the Golden Wood and her people and none of us have any agreements with his rule. He has been both fair and kind, and never once has he taken advantage of his power.”
Celeborn smiled warmly. “That is why I chose him, though not to give any offence to yourself or the Lórien Elves.”
“None taken, My Lord. Your decision was wise. Haldir was the obvious choice and none of us begrudge him in the slightest.”
A silence followed.
“You are returning to Lórien?” Rúmil asked, hopeful.
“I sense a great sadness … But I also feel the time has come for me to return home,” Celeborn said, “for a time at least.”
It was not indefinite, but Rúmil’s heart and soul could not have been more joyful to hear those words.
“Lord Elrond told me he knew this day was coming … He told me that someday he knew I would return home, even when I, myself was not sure, though for a time I needed to reside with him in Imaldris.”
Rúmil nodded. “Aye, we understand that, My Lord and we do not believe you abandoned us. We understand that you required the counsel of Lord Elrond.”
“And it was invaluable. I hoped he would not believe me ungrateful, when I chose to leave, but he only smiled and wished me well upon my journey home.” Celeborn paused before he spoke again. “It is interesting that we should meet midway. Entirely unexpected, but then not at all unpleasant.”
“Not at all, My Lord.”
“But tell me, as far as you knew, I was still residing in Imaldris. As far as you understood, you would have had to make the full journey and confront me there. You say you came to fetch me and endeavour to persuade me to return. What if I refused to return to Lórien?”
“I was not prepared to take ‘no’ for an answer. In that eventuality, My Lord, I would have dragged you back to Lórien, kicking and screaming.”
Celeborn chuckled. “Then let us be grateful that is unnecessary.”
“I am most relieved.”
Celeborn smiled, as he resumed his journey home, Rúmil travelling alongside him.

* * *

It was nightfall when the two Elves entered the borders of Lothlórien.

Celeborn took a heavy breath as they dismounted when they reached Caras Galadhon. “Such despair … Such beautiful song … But such pain…”
“Every night he has sung, for almost two years…”
Celeborn shook his head. “But in my heat of hearts, I never left Lórien…”
“With all due respect, My Lord, it did not feel that way.”
Celeborn looked at the Galadhrim. “I must go to him … I hope he will receive me.”
“Of course he will, My Lord as we all will.”
And Celeborn began to realise a revelation of his own.

Slowly, he traversed the stairs. He entered his chambers and looked around. Not a thing was out of place. All was as he had left it, bar one faerie statue, and some clothing neatly folded, which Celeborn recognised as belonging to Haldir. The Elf Lord approached Haldir, kneeling on the floor, in one of Celeborn’s most immaculate Elven robes, embroided with mithril thread, struggling to finish the song he had begun. Celeborn finished it for him. Haldir looked up, surprised that after all this time someone had come to join him in song … And he could not have been more surprised to see just who stood before him.
“My .. L … My … Celeborn …” Haldir began to breathe rather rapidly.
“It is good to see you as well, My Valiant Galadhrim.”
Celeborn helped him up. Haldir stared at him.
“I assure you, I am no hallucination,” Celeborn said.
Without warning, Haldir threw his arms around his Lord, more tears flowing. Celeborn returned the embrace, then sat with Haldir on the bed.
“Haldir … I …”
“You … must be terribly disappointed with me ..” Haldir said slowly. “You entrusted Lórien to me … and …”
“Aye,” Celeborn said. “I did – and I could not have left her in better hands.”
“But My Lord … The light and song have all but vanished … as hard as I endeavoured to…”
“I know …” Gently, Celeborn placed his arms around the grieving Galadhrim and kissed his forehead. “Rúmil tells me every night you sing alone, despite the pain you feel tearing you inside out.”
Haldir nodded. “But it seems to have done nought.”
“But it did,” Celeborn said. “Lórien has been kept safe from marauders … The Elves that reside within her borders are protected … And I sensed your song, Haldir … I also sensed despair … such sadness .. I had to return … I heard your song, and as mournful as it was, it was also beautiful … Hanta elyë, Haldir.”
{Thank you, Haldir – Quenya}
The Galadhrim returned his Lord’s embrace. “Please tell me you have returned indefinitely…”
“At first I was not sure, but now that I have returned, I realise that Lórien is my home, and shall ever remain so, no matter how far and wide I may travel.”
Haldir breathed an audible sigh of relief and made no effort to hide his joy. He smiled for the first time in what seemed like an age.
“I am glad, My Lord … For I know not what I would have done had you not.”
“I dare say you would have eventually brought the song and the light back to Lórien, however long it took.”
Once again, Haldir embraced his Lord.
Both Elves stood.
“I hereby relinquish my title of the Lord of Lórien and pass the mantle back to you, Lord Celeborn, but truth be known, you have always been Lórien’s rightful ruler.”
“It is kind of you to say, Haldir, but do not believe yourself to be under me. For a time, you held that title and Lórien could have not asked for a better Lord.”
“Hanna le, Nîn Hîr.” {Thank you, My Lord – Sindarin}
Celeborn smiled warmly. “It is my pleasure, Dear Galadhrim. Upon the morrow, I will address my subjects.”
Haldir took his Lord’s hand. “I shall gather my few belongings and return to my Talan,” he said. “It honestly has been an honour, a privilege and a joy to follow in your footsteps, My Lord. Even though it was trying and draining and even daunting at times, it was truly wonderful and enriching experience and I am honoured to pass this treasured gift back to you.”
Celeborn took Haldir’s and, noticing noticed the Marchwarden said those words without a single iota of resentment. He sensed Haldir was relieved, not because he did not want the responsibility of the title of Lord of Lórien, but that he was happy his Lord and dear friend had returned.
Haldir looked at the older Elf. “Just one thing, My Lord … may I please keep this robe?”
Celeborn laughed for the first time in many ages and his eyes smiled. “Of course, Haldir. It is good to see you have kept your sense of honour in the light this endeavour.”
Haldir embraced his Lord once again before gathering his things and returning to his talan. Truth be known, he felt more comfortable there.

Celeborn and the Galadhrim had a good and restful sleep that night and dreamed of a peaceful Earth.

* * *

Upon the morrow, Lord Celeborn stood before his people, amidst feelings of disbelief, relief, joy and astonishment. He allowed some time for those feelings to settle before he spoke. He took a deep and silent breath before he did so, the Lórien air enlivening his lungs, not that that Imaldris air was unpleasant, quite the contrary in fact, but it was good to breathe the air of his home once more.
“My loyal people,” he said gently. “For many reasons I have returned to Lórien… I have ne’er forgotten that my home is here, amongst the beautiful golden trees and with you all. It pained me so very much to leave you all, but at the time, what I needed lay in the boundaries of Imaldris with the wise counsel of Elrond. Although I am grateful to Lord Elrond, my beloved grandchildren and my people in Rivendell, giving me much support and love, even some I did not know did everything in their power to assist me and help my stay in Rivendell be a pleasant one.” The elder Elf paused before he spoke again. “I do admit I did not know at first if I would return to Lórien, but I understand now that on some level I knew that I would return home. I thank you for keeping the woods of Lothlórien safe … And I thank you for accepting Haldir as your new Lord, as I wished.”
“And he took upon the role with great honour,” Lithuvìen said. “We are indebted to him for keeping our spirits whole.”
Haldir smiled warmly. There were times when he felt he would fall apart, and that he could nay hold any longer … And that the others may falter as well, but to hear those words eased his heart and soul. His eyes conveyed his thanks to the young Elf who spoke them.
“Although I sensed your despair … ” Celeborn said . “It cut through me like a hot athame through butter … And it helped me to realise something. I never left Lórien … My spirit was here always … Although you did not see this … But do not despair, for I have made the same error. When My Lady left, I too felt the same deep despair … But now, upon my return, I realise that Lady Galadriel has nay left Lórien either. Her eternal spirit remains among us… Although her physical presence is nay with us, her spirit remains, as mine did.”
Tinion took a deep breath, stepped up to his Lord and embraced him. “I am honoured that you have returned, My Lord, as are we all … And we shall endeavour in future to look beyond the physical.”
“I could not have worded it better myself,” Haldir said.
Celeborn smiled warmly. “But we all stand united now. Come, let us celebrate in dance, ritual and song.”

The Elves eagerly and happily went about preparing for the impromptu ritual, much of the heaviness of their hearts beginning to lift. Celeborn smiled as the Elves fussed about, throwing themselves into this festival with renewed fervour that they had forgotten they had.

“Lord Celeborn,” Rúmil said, coming to him. “Are you-”
“I am fine,” the older Elf assured, with a smile. “It has never ceased to amaze me how much some care. Their love is more precious than all the treasures of Middle Earth … When I dwelt in Imaldris, there was a very young Elf named Eirtaé, not even yet thirty. He was so very helpful … a little too helpful at times,” Celeborn remembered with a smile. “He even assisted me to wash my hair at one time, when I lacked the strength to do even that. He assured me that he did not consider me to be weak and threatened to make me eat soggy lembas if I did not smile and so I did.”
Rúmil chuckled. “I am liking this Elf already.”
Celeborn smiled. “He was so kind and wise for someone so very young. He was sad to see me leave, though happy as well and upon my departure, he embraced me so tightly, I thought I would suffocate.”
Rúmil chuckled. “You must introduce him to us.”
“I will be sure to one day. I am sure you and your brothers would take an instant liking to him.”

Torches were lit, the flames dancing in the night. The Lórien Elves prepared spiced pomegranate mead, and ginger honeyed milk and white and milk chocolate lembas, a recipe known only to few. The finest Elven glassware and exquisitely crafted mithril chalices and utensils were used to display the food and beverages and the Elves wore their best attire. They sang and danced once more, their hearts and souls filled with hope and light.

Lord Celeborn taught his people the meditations that he had learned in Imaldris, to safely release pain, anguish and fears and he was grateful to see his people doing just that.

Haldir sat next to his Lord. “I am grateful you have returned, although I know now that you never left us.”
“I am also grateful to be back in the flesh,” he said. “And it has made me realise something.”

* * *

Meanwhile, in Imaldris, Elrond smiled to himself, happy for his friend that he had found peace once more. His children sat by him, also sensing the happiness that had been lost to Lórien for so long.

* * *

The Elves dined and danced all through the night. Celeborn was heartened that none of the Elves felt angry with him for leaving, in fact they all wanted to dance with him!

Upon the next morn, most of the Elves were too tired and flopped into bed. Haldir thanked the stars that none of the beverages were alcoholic, the thought of drunken Galadhrim swaggering around Lórien would not go down well in the history texts. He and his brothers and the Lórien Elves took to protecting the borders in shifts, as they had always done, but now more so in that all the Elves had stayed up for the entire night, even those who considered themselves to be morning Elves, but none of them sensed that any ill would befall Lórien this day.

It was not long before things settled in the Golden Wood … The Elves resumed their duties, Haldir was happy to note they did so with renewed vitality. He did not begrudge them for their feelings of despair before Lord Celeborn’s return and they assured him that their sorrows had nay to do with his brief rule of the Golden Wood, in fact they were happy to have a Lord, even if their new Lord had at times been unsure of himself.

Haldir sat sharpening his arrows and polishing his bow with his brothers.
“It is such a relief …” he said. “I can once again hear the song of Lórien… I know she never stopped singing, but there were times when my despair screamed so loud, I drowned out the Golden Wood’s beautiful song.”
“At times we both felt the same, Brother,” Orophin assured. “And I am willing to wager we were not alone … But now that thick fog of turmoil has lifted and we are free once more.
“Aye,” Rúmil said, leaning his bow on the Lórien Earth. “We have all learned invaluable lessons, as one does on the journey of life.”
“You are growing wise, My Young Galadhrim,” Haldir said.
“Each of has our on inner wisdom,” Rúmil said, “yourself included.”
The three Galadhrim placed their weapons down and touched hands, and listened to the song of Lórien.

* * *

It would be a further four hundred years before Celeborn, the Galadhrim and the Lórien Elves would depart the shores of Middle Earth, journeying beyond the White Towers, to the Grey Havens. It pained them to leave, but for now they knew they must. Many Elves remained in Middle Earth, in dense Mirkwood, in elegant Imaldris and some resided within beautiful Lothlórien.

Haldir and the Galadhrim travelled in the same elegant vessel as Celeborn.
“It pains me to leave,” Haldir said, “but for now I know I must.”
“And we must as well,” Rúmil said, “but fear not as I know the Valar will protect our Golden home.”
“Your words give me great assurance, young Galadhrim,” Celeborn said.
“And myself as well,” Orophin assured.
Haldir nodded, grateful for his youngest brother’s insight.

Valinor was more beautiful than they ever could have imagined. The sand on the shores was as white as the whitest snow … The trees glistened … Glowing Elves and men greeted them. There was no sadness here. No despair. No anger or hate. Nothing evil dwelled uponst these shores.

Celeborn looked directly ahead as a slender figure approached. Before he saw her face, his heart filed with love and warmth as he sensed his Lady. He climbed out of the boat as she came to greet him.
Gently, she kissed his cheek. “I am glad you have come.”
Celeborn smiled warmly. “To hear your voice, ’tis but worth more than all the mithril in Middle Earth.”
Galadriel smiled lovingly. “I am glad that in the end you realised that I had not left. It pained me so to sense your suffering. I did not intend to have you suffer so.”
“I know, My Lady, and it was a valuable lesson we all learned.” Gently, he embraced her.
“As I know your spirit never left me,” Galadriel said, “but I confess, I did miss being held in your gentle arms…” A soft as a feather, she wiped a tear from his pale cheek. “It is good to be reunited.”

Celeborn also became reunited with his beloved daughter. He was overjoyed to see her face full of light once more. Gone was the anguish and the torment as Celebrian sat amongst the glowing white flowers.
“I am glad you have returned, Father.”
“As am I, My Daughter. It is good to see you well again.”
Gently, father and daughter embraced. Galadriel smiled warmly.

The Galadhrim and Lórien Elves stood in awe of Valinor’s ethereal beauty, and to be with their Lord and Lady once more, they could nay have hoped for more. Although they missed Lothlórien, deep in their hearts, they knew that they were exactly where they needed to be at this time.

They followed Galadriel and Celeborn to the forests of Valinor, the trees welcoming them. They slept under the serene stars, the full moonlight caressing the trees.

“It is so very beautiful here,” Haldir whispered to his Lord, before he and his brothers retired for the night.
“Indeed,” Celeborn said softly. “Although I miss Lórien, Valinor has its own enchanting magic.”
The elder Elf walked to his new home, to sleep once more in the arms of his Lady.

Haldir slept under the trees and the starlight of Valinor with his brothers close by him, a novel experience for them to sleep without weapons of any sort – there was no fear of theft or attack here and no evil or ill will.
Haldir felt one of the glistening trees caress his cheek softly as het laid to rest. Gently, he held the branch.
“Thank you,” he whispered as soft as the wind, as he fell into a serene sleep.

* * *

It would be a further thousand years before many of the Elves made the pilgrimage back to Middle Earth, Celeborn and the Lórien Elves included. Lady Galadriel had chosen to remain in Valinor, though Celeborn was not disheartened to learn this, as he knew her spirit would never leave him.

The Lórien Elves were somewhat sad to leave beautiful glowing Valinor, but they had heard their forest call. It was time to return home. They gathered their few belongings, including their weapons. It felt strange to hold a weapon again after all this time, but they knew, they may need them upon their return, but there was not one amongst them who wanted to use them.

* * *

Upon arriving back upon the shores of Middle Earth, Celeborn and the Elves sensed much had changed in their absence. The Lord of Lórien had expected it to, but he had not expected Middle Earth to feel this way. In all his years, almost ten thousand, it had never felt this light. He Elves made their pilgrimage back to Lórien. Some felt hopeful, some apprehensive, to be absent for so long, they wondered what had become of their beloved Golden Wood.

And they stood in wonder as they arrived home. The trees stood tall … The air remained crisp … The trees welcomed their brethren home.
Haldir and the Galadhrim stood, astounded in their homelands once more.
“Even after being vacant for so long, Lórien did not falter…” he said in wonder.
“She knew we would return,” Rúmil said wiping a tear from his cheek. “She knew we did not abandon her.”
“We would never,” Orophin said, gently stroking one of the trees.

Upon arriving in Caras Galadhon, Celeborn sensed another, though he sensed no ill will. The Elves were greeted by a bearded man, who looked strangely familiar.
He bowed as he greeted the Elves. “I bring you greetings, Elf kind of Lórien. I was told by Lord Elrond to greet you upon this day, the day of your return from the Grey Havens.”
“As we greet you,” Celeborn said, “though you seem to have us at a disadvantage.”
The man smiled. “Forgive me. I am Arastorn, son of Araborn. My father was named in honour of you, Lord Celeborn. He fell before my birth.”
“I sense he was a valiant man.”
“Aye, he was … Though you may know me better as a descendant of Lord Aragorn, of the Dunedain.”
“Aragorn…” Celeborn said, understanding now why the young man before him looked so familiar.
“And I have been given you the honour of delivering meritorious news. Evil has finally been driven from our Lands. The last Orc and Uruk-Hai were slaughtered in the Battle of Mordor, four hundred years prior to your arrival. Mount Doom has since quietened and the land of Mordor is once again returning to its former beauty, a beauty long since forgotten. Men, Elves, Dwarves and even Hobbits have begun to make it their home, in the plains and forests, by crystal clear lakes… And the other evils have since departed. The creature called Shelob, wounded by the Ringbearer, over a century ago met her doom in her own cave. My father and others gave their very lives to rid the vile creature’s evil from the land … and the last Balrog of Morgoth fell almost a century ago, at the hands of Glorfindel and the Children of Elrond.”
“This is well news indeed,” Celeborn said. “It almost sounds too good to be the truth.”
“Aye,” Arastorn said. “But it be true. Middle Earth be free once more.”
“Thank you,” the Lord of Lórien said, “for delivering it to us. You have brought us much light and hope.”
Arastorn smiled. “Aye, but I am but the messenger. The deeds were done by valiant men, Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits.”
“Let us not forget you role,” Celeborn said. “I am sensing that you were instrumental in bringing peace to the lands.”
“I did all that was in my power.”
“Then no more could have been asked of you.”
“Thank you for your kind words, Celeborn of Lórien … I now go to Elrond in Imaldris.”
“I pray, remain here for the night and travel upon the morrow,” Celeborn said.
“Only if you insist.”
“I do.”
The man chuckled. “It is a pleasure and an honour to finally meet you in person, Lord Celeborn.”
Arastorn greeted the Lórien Elves. “It is an honour and pleasure to be amongst you all.”
He touched Haldir’s bow and gently ran his finger down the exquisite Elven markings. “Ah, the Galadhrim. Long have I heard tales of your valour. It truly is an honour.” He bowed before them.
“The honour is ours to greet the descendant of Aragorn,” Haldir said. “You are worthy of the truest and deepest respect of your forefathers.”
“It is kind of you to say, Haldir of Lórien.”
The Galadhrim smiled warmly. It had been a thousand years since a soul had called him ‘Haldir of Lórien’ … But it did not feel uncomfortable to him, even though he had been afar for so long, quite the contrary. It felt as though he had slipped into a silken robe. Indeed, he was home.

* * *

The Lórien Elves were once again heartened to be home, under and amongst the golden trees, knowing their forest was protected evermore. The Elves sat in meditation, their spirits unyielding, silently giving their love to their beautiful forest. They sang to her, gave her offerings of crystal clear waters and fresh foods. Gently, they embraced the trees, sensing the joy of the woods as she welcomed her children home.

And far beyond the White Towers, beyond the Grey Havens echoed the Song of Lórien.



Author’s Notes II: Written for a challenge – Here is the awesome prize!

A one-week, all expenses paid trip to Lothlórien!

The lucky winner will get a tour of the city with Galadriel and Celeborn, three whole days with Haldir, including a romantic picnic in the Golden Woods, a one-day trip to the riding stables with Orophin, and an archery lesson/complete day with Rúmil! The three Lórien brothers will take turns escorting you to dinner each night. And on that last night, you will enjoy a romantic, candlelit dinner with Haldir IN HIS PRIVATE FLET. All that, and you will have your own flet with a view! Several evenings of elf-tag are also included. Grima is not invited. A peek into Galadriel’s mirror is optional.

~ Challenge Guidelines: Below you will find a list of words. You must use at least 20 of these words in your story (more is better), which must include Haldir or one of his brothers as a main character. You MAY change the form of the word to suit your story. For example, FILTH may be changed to FILTHY.

Author’s Notes III: Melaleuca alternifolia = tea tree. All words used in my challenge. Only two words were altered. ‘Frustrate’ to ‘frustration’ and ‘impress’ to ‘impresses’

I didn’t win the Grand Prize 🙁 Which means I will have to start saving to do the fabulous Lórien tour next year 😉 It’s on my list with ancient Greece, Egypt, the Magickal Merlin, Elf and Faerie Lands and Antarctica and other natural beauties and fun places …

Though I did win the consolation prize of having Haldir, Orophin, Rúmil and Celeborn give me a massage and spend the afternoon with me and they gave be a gorgeous exquisite Elven jar of Lothlórien honey. It was so lovely! 🙂 I gave them a bottle of my Sacred non-alcoholic Pomegranate Mead and the recipe for it and they gave me some lembas and the recipe too!

(56 words)






















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