Author's Note: Apologies, apologies, apologies for not updating for so long. I had half of this chapter on my hard drive for about three months, and I just couldn't figure out how to end this part. I expect that the next chapters will be a bit sooner in the coming. Thank you all for your patience, I hope you enjoy this part.
You cannot enter this land, said the Elf, pointing an arrow at Saruliel's forehead.
But Galadriel's my mother! protested Saruliel, her voice a plaintive whine. There was an awkward moment as the world seemed to rewind and start again. Gandalf had once told Frodo that this was called an .
Haldir smiled in a far-off sort of way. Welcome to Lothlorien, Fair Lady Saruliel, I knowst not what horror took me and maked me say such unkindly things to thineself, he said, dropping to one knee in a cross between a bow and a marriage proposal.
La la la la, sang Rumil and his brother, dropping their bows in favor of frolicking about and strewing rose petals at Saruliel's feet.
I just remembered why I hate Lothlorien, grumbled Boromir, following the rest of the Fellowship under the eaves of the golden wood.
For indeed, Caras Galadhon was teeming with beings completely enamored of Saruliel. See how loved I am? said the Sue, smiling as if she had just tricked Legolas into dipping himself into a great vat of cream.
The Fellowship growled as a party of Elves ran up to Saruliel, embraced her, then carried her off to be their very own Vala, complete with hymns and personal manicures.
Let us see how Galadriel has fared with Saruliel masquerading as Celebrian, suggested Gimli, trudging forward without blindfold.
Aragorn stopped dead in his tracks. Oh, do not say that! For that would mean that she shall be my in-law!
Pippin giggled behind his hand. You certainly manage to pick them well, he chortled.
'Oh, Aragorn, I love what you have done with Minas Tirith!' said Merry in a high-pitched voice. 'Sure you could nay'eth use some pretty butterflies and kittens around the place?'
Aragorn hid his discomfort well, and certainly hoped that Saruliel would be long gone before he was crowned.
And then they were standing before Galadriel, who was arrayed in a robe of gaudy purple linen with an oversized crown on her head. This was specified whenever the guard announced her as Queen Galadriel. Gimli went over to one of the support beams and started to bash his head against it. Saruliel chose that moment to appear as well, sparkling almost as much as her mother, except that her shade was tinted pink.
Pst. Over here.
Gimli looked up from his frustration and saw Lord Celeborn sitting on one of the steps, swinging his feet over the edge of the talan. The dwarf left the Fellowship to the usual nancy introduction to sit beside the Elf lord.
How are things on the outside? asked Celeborn, offering Gimli a piece of lembas that smelled neither of Tollhouse nor Chips Ahoy.
It is grim, said Gimli. Fell beasts walk abroad, great evil roams the land, Sauron has risen, and your daughter' has been trying to molest the Elf since we left Rivendell.
Celeborn shook his head, his silver hair spilling over his shoulders. It is not much better in these woods. Galadriel has fallen into shadow. Lilac eye shadow, to be precise.
And how do you fare? asked Gimli.
Celeborn grinned. Some days I am not myself, and feel a great urge to become Master Elrond and pronounce four-letter words somberly. Other days I am forgotten, and may walk unseen in the woods. He picked up a small pebble from a pile beside him and tossed it from the flet, waiting for it to go (or hear someone yell All right, who's the stupid sod who threw that?).
Saruliel is not your daughter, then, I presume? asked Gimli as Celeborn tossed a pebble at the Sue. It smacked her in the face, but as she didn't appear to see who had thrown it, must have assumed that the Magic Rocks of Doom were at it again.
Not mine, said Celeborn defiantly. I have no red-haired kindred, nor, I think, does Galadriel. That and the fact that Celebrian has gone into the West.
agreed a random Elf, one of the few who were not enamored of Saruliel. She wouldn't want to be around to see this.
Celeborn snorted and pulled his knees under his chin. I never thought that Galadriel would go... this way, if you catch my meaning. She was so strong.
Gimli patted him on the back. Och, Lord Elf, the Lady is strong, but this terrible power is stronger. We have journeyed all the way from Rivendell, and still she refuses to kick the bucket. Even though we have tried, and tried to dispatch of that wench, she still refuses to fall!
Chicken grease under one's stilettos can sometimes really trip you up, have you tried that? asked Celeborn helpfully. Gimli raised his eyebrows until they disappeared beneath his helmet, and the Elf Lord finally blushed and looked away. Like you haven't been in one of those gender-bending cycles.
Wanting to change the topic of conversation as quickly as possible, Gimli produced the snow globe from the Weird Mathoms sack and handed it over to Celeborn. Here, we found this a little while ago, and I thought you might like it.
Ooo, pretty... cooed the Elf Lord, watching the sparkly bits float up and down. Suddenly he started and nearly dropped the souvenir as it began to play the music It's A Small World After All.
Gimli caught the thing and cradled it protectively. You might have broken it; I am working to reproduce the design, but still have not been able to create the pinging sounds that come from within.
It is a palantir, said Celeborn, eying the device suspiciously. Within its depths, I saw the battlements of a castle, surely it hails from Barad-dûr; you have found a tool of the Enemy!
I doubt Barad-dûr has signs that say Greetings from Euro-Disney' all around it, said Gimli in a patient, slightly sarcastic voice. He shook the snow globe one last time, then put it back into his pocket. In any case, I wish that it were in my power to make Lothlorien more habitable, as it once was. My heart grieves to see the Lady thusly.
Celeborn sat bolt upright as if someone had pressed a red hot poker to his back. Well, that or someone had told him that Saruliel really was his daughter, but that her mother had been a winged horse. Perhaps there is something your companions might accomplish to lighten the shadow which has come over us, said Celeborn. Ever since Galadriel became Queen' --oh, how Amroth would be displeased, I don't think we ever made the last payment on Caras Galadhon-- we have been free of orcs and all manner of pestilence that once troubled our realm. I am thinking-- I am guessing-- that if some sort of danger were to return to this land, my people might rally to their senses and leave behind this flowery slop about Butterfly Road to Happy Thoughts' and The Art of Kitten Zen'.
Gimli retched. What, praytell, are those?
Pamphlets written and distributed by my beloved daughter, growled Celeborn. Enemy propaganda if I ever saw it.
muttered a random elf.
mused the dwarf. I see great possibility in that notion, yet we could never defile this land by bringing in yrch...
Gimli's eyes suddenly brightened, and a slow smile formed under his beard. Oh, Boromir...
Later that evening, Boromir had flatly refused. I will not pretend to be the Necromancer just to free this land! he cried.
You're going to die anyway, said Frodo, Why not die for a truly noble cause-- the salvation of Lothlorien...
And dying for us wasn't heroic? protested Pippin indignantly. I'll have you know that Merry and I are very worth dying for, said the hobbit.
Yes, if we had been killed in that massacre, who would have destroyed the Witch-King? argued Merry.
said Aragorn. It just would have taken a bit longer.
But-- but-- sputtered Merry. Pippin jumped in to give his friend time to engineer a comeback.
Who would have alerted Treebeard and saved all of your necks at Helm's Deep?
said Gimli grimly. It just would have taken a bit longer.
Eh, eh, eh, started Pippin, lapsing back to the time in which he had been a very young, childish hobbit. Sam! Make Aragorn and Gimli be nice!
Boromir shook his head and crossed his arms over his chest. I only die for Merry and Pippin. Not for the Elves. That's the way it has always been, and that's the way I'll do it. Merry grinned cheekily at Aragorn over Boromir's shoulder.
Oh, really... said Frodo, removing the plastic-Ring-substitute necklace.
Boromir was peeved. Not just this is so annoying and I wish I were anywhere else but here peeved, but I'm going to kill the [expletive] [censored] [execration] that did this to me peeved. On the plus side, he did have the Ring. But as it wasn't in the position to do any good for Gondor (it's inscription said Rings, rings, the magical loot / Put me on, I'm really a hoot), but the fact that he had it was the principle of the thing.
Oh, stop moaning, said Aragorn, his mouth full of pins. This will only take a minute...
Celeborn was hanging upside-down from a low mallorn branch, applying a liberal coat of dirt to Boromir's face. As the only member of the Fellowship (save Gandalf, may he take his tea in peace) who knew what Sauron had looked like in the elder days, he was in charge of the costuming. That should do for your dark complexion, but, hmm... How shall we give him crimson eyes?
Frodo had a sudden thought, and pulled out the rose-tinted glasses from the Weird Mathoms sack. Will these do, Lord Celeborn?
Well, it is... interesting... said Aragorn, tilting his head sideways.
I think it might have been better to just give him a great long spear or something and pretend that he's the Establishment, said Sam frankly.
Well, does it look all right? asked Boromir for the fifth time, trying to twist around to see his back.
As practically nothing was black in Lothlorien anymore (most was tie-dyed, actually), the Fellowship had had to scrape together what best they could for a Sauron costume. Thus the breeches were dark blue and pink, the breastplate was a deep purple with a pattern of whiskered kittens, (and, for some odd reason, brown paper packages tied up with string), the cloak was dark green with embroidered pansies, and the helm, though muddied up, still displayed a golden inlay of butterflies. The rose-tinted glasses made Boromir queasy, but Celeborn had forced him wear them anyway.
If you die, we'll mourn you forever, said Pippin, his hand over his heart.
Have a good time! waved Merry.
Mutter, mutter, said Boromir, pulling the helm over his face. The rose-tinted spectacles flashed under the visor.
It's nice to be loved, said Saruliel, sighing as she sank back into a bubble bath. Galadriel nodded, a misty smile on her face (to a more observant person, the clenched set of her jaw might have been a little more noticeable, but not so to the Sue).
Around the clearing, Elves strummed lutes and braided each others hair. Orophin had a laundry tub set over next to the bole of a mallorn tree, and was making gray tie-dyed cloaks. Rumil had a prosperous little business going with mallorn-print silk boutique. It was the perfect image of peace and tranquility.
Until the Necromancer appeared.
What are you doing? roared the Necromancer. You're not even making this fun any more? He waved his mace, scattering the silk boutique booth and causing Rumil's lip to quiver. It was cute to begin with, yes, the Elves have a new hobby, how nice. But the challenge died faster than a fly in Cirith Ungol! Yes, here we go to fight the Elves, one of the races most skilled in warfare of all Arda', I tell my orcs. And then they show up, and you're making The Necromancer lifted the edge of a garland from where it had fallen to the ground.
Saruliel toweled off and put on her dressing gown as soon as danger presented itself. She started chanting in her mystical language, but nothing happened. No bolt of blue lightening crashed from the heavens to smite the intruder, no bolt of divine purity made maius gorthaurus an extinct species. I-I'm loosing it? she sputtered, staring at her fingers, her sickening eyes doubling in size. This is not possible! Mommy!
Saruliel ran off into the woods with the other Elves, but Galadriel did not. She had grown taller, and the light of the Elven-kings across the sea bore up within her, and she became the creature of majesty that had once, so long ago, taken the Oath of Feanor and lead her people into Exile. Her eyes blazed with the Light of Aman, and she stepped toward the Necromancer, a song of power flowing from her lips.
I'm sorry, don't hurt me, said the Necromancer in a very small voice. He stepped backwards, trying to retain his dignity and look Galadriel in the eyes, but it was too much for him. I-I'm going back to Barad-dûr now, he said. Then the Necromancer turned tail and fled.
Boromir blundered through the undergrowth of Lothlorien, the hem of his cloak catching on the greenery every so often. Why did he have to be the Necromancer? Was it because he was expendable? Or did everyone just not like him?
He crashed through a thicket and ran into another person.
Sorry about that, let me help you. A gauntlet made of dark steel reached down and grasped his elbow, pulling the Man of Gondor to his feet. Boromir pulled his hand back. The man's touch was like a burning brand...
Boromir stared at Sauron. Sauron stared at Boromir.
Nice glasses, said Sauron.