A/N: Okay, ladies and gentlemen, this is it, my first Silmarillion-based fic. Actually, it's probably more of an Unfinished Tales-based fic, because it carries in it an alternate theory on the history of Galadriel and Celeborn, which can be found in the aforementioned book. In this one, Celeborn is a Telerin prince who Galadriel meets when she goes to live with her mother's family in Alqualondë for awhile. So it's not AU per se, because the idea came from Tolkien, but it is a different take on Galadriel and Celeborn's relationship. They're younger, it's Pre-Kinslaying…you get the idea. I have deviated in one place: Celeborn's origins. In UF, Tolkien had intended for Celeborn to be the grandson of Olwë, but that would make him Galadriel's first cousin. I'm aware that such a close relationship would likely weird some people out, so I've left his background ambiguous for the moment. In all other ways, I've tried to stick with the canon.

Oh wait, there's one more. I know that technically-speaking, I should be calling Celeborn, "Teleporno" since that's his name in Quenya and Sindarin wasn't in Aman, but in all honesty…I hate that name. So I hope the purists will forgive me.

(And one more warning for you Silmarillion buffs…I do NOT like Fëanor.)

Many thanks to Jasta Elf for beta-reading!

Trumpet of the Swan

Chapter One: Birth of the Swan

The ship was as grand and fair as any of the towers of Tirion, and twice as alive. Walking upon the gleaming dock to her side, one had to look very closely to see the seams of the white timbers from which she was wrought, and if one beheld the nails that held her planks together, one might think only that her great white body was adorned with white gems, for the nails were topped with the palest of opals and mother-of-pearl. Her smooth flanks were carved in the most delicate likeness of folded wings, and her prow arched as a graceful neck, ending with the fair face of the most lifelike of swans, her eyes of gold and jet, and her beak of sparkling gold. It seemed to the one beholding her that there was not a fairer ship in all of Alqualondë or all the world.

However, the mariners aboard all the other ships thought differently, for each Telerin captain declared vehemently and lovingly that his white swan was the fairest.

The captain of this swan looked down from her white deck to his guest upon the docks who beheld it for the first time. "Well? You have stood there contemplating her long enough. You must tell me how you like her."

Upon the dock of the Swan Haven, the daughter of Finarfin stood stock-still, gazing in awe and delight at the marvelous vision. At length, a sigh of wistful admiration escaped her. "Words desert me," she murmured, knowing that the ship's proud owner could hear. "I have sat in the tutelage of Manwë in the light of the Trees, walked the golden streets of Valmar and the crystal stairs of Tirion, and basked upon the gem-strewn beaches of Eldamar. But never have I seen such life wrought from craft, and I may safely say that this living beauty exceeds all the arts of the Eldar."

Her praise delighted the Telerin prince, and he sprang down from the ship's side, taking the lady's hand. "You are well-pleased with her, then?"

She laughed. "Most well pleased."

"Then come. I shall introduce you to her." With the uninhibited eagerness of his people in sharing the beauty of their craft, he led her laughing up the ramp to the swan's deck. Together upon the white timbers, the Noldor princess and Telerin prince were a sight to behold in themselves. Clothed in a soft gown of white, the lady's fair skin glowed with the light of the Two Trees, and her hair was lit with gold as though it had caught in a mesh the radiance of Laurelin; thus she lived up to her reputation as the most beautiful of all the house of Finwë, King of the Noldor. The captain of the newborn swan was her kinsman and close friend, Celeborn of Alqualondë. He also was well-suited to his name, for his hair was the palest silver.

"Unfurl my swan's sails!" he cried to the other mariners happily tending the ship. "Let her greet the Lady Artanis properly!"

Always willing to hear the praise of their kindred for their ships, their pride, the mariners obligingly unfurled the white sails of the fair ship, letting them billow and catch softly in the light sea breeze. When the prince led Artanis to the hinges where the oars sat waiting to be laid, she clapped her hands in delight: the oars were painstakingly carved and painted in the likeness of long feathers. The daughter of Finarfin had no doubt in her mind that when the sails were full and the feather-oars rowed the ship out of the Bay of Eldamar, it would carry the perfect likeness of a swan in flight. Long she had sat in the instruction of Valar and Noldor alike, and she had learnt much in the craft of gleaming weapons and the building of cities and the polishing of gems. Yet she could not fathom the arts that could take plain planks of even the finest wood and even the purest threads to build and weave together such a perfect living thing.

And Artanis, or Nerwen, as her mother called her, was not an elf given to such strong flights of fancy. Yet here she was, swept up in the wonder of the white swan upon whose back she stood, and caring not for the thoughts of any others, she sighed, "Beautiful."

Her companion would also not be counted among the most fanciful of elves, yet in his pride for the living wonder he had made, joy was patent upon his face. "I shall see her praised above all the crafts of Noldor and Teleri alike."

Artanis laughed. "I think she must be the love of your life." He laughed in turn, unmoved by her teasing, and she moved closer to the swan's head. "Does she have a name?"

"Nay, we do not name our swans." He ran a hand up the sweeping prow as though caressing the swan's neck. "There is no need. They are all the same, yet all different, and none who see her in the Bay or upon the sea shall fail to know her as mine."

"And they shall cry, 'Look! There passes the swan of Celeborn, the fairest of all sea-birds,' and Ulmo himself shall weep at the sight of her!" declared Artanis, taking both of his hands.

Celeborn beamed; she had known him in passing since she was a girl, and they had become close acquaintances when she had come from her father's house in Tirion to dwell with her mother's kindred in Alqualondë. Yet in all their associations, Artanis could not remember a time when he had appeared quite so joyous.

Then again, what possible reason could he have not to be, she reasoned, standing upon this magnificent work of art that he himself had created. It rather led her to reconsider her own opinion of Celeborn. In the earliest days of their acquaintance, she had found the quiet, reserved kinsman of her grandfather, Olwë, to be rather irritating at times--well, perhaps irritating was not quite the word, more like frustrating. He had qualities admired by many of the Eldar, Noldor and Teleri alike: subtlety, tranquility, and considerable intelligence. As Artanis herself was described by her kin as being "brilliant in mind," she found Celeborn a pleasant conversationalist, for he knew and understood much about the world, even if he had not spent nearly as many years in the tutelage of the Valar as she had. He was quick to learn.

Her frustration often came from the area in which their personalities most differed, for while Artanis was also described (often disapprovingly) as "swift in action," Celeborn most certainly was not. Her mother name of "man-maiden" had come just as much from her restless nature as from her strong mind and body, and it rather irked her to see an elf of so many talents putting them to so little use. For all her love of Aman and her people, Nerwen felt increasingly confined there, and ever her heart and mind grew more drawn to the thought of Middle Earth as a place where she might yet build a home, or even perhaps a realm of her own, under her own auspices rather than someone else's. It was an idea that occupied an increasing number of the Noldor of late.

And it was here that she and Celeborn most strongly disagreed.

Since her coming to Alqualondë, and the growth of their friendship, she had learnt quite well that the design and construction of a ship of his own was Celeborn's one great ambition. Despite her own mild aggravation over his lack of interest in more, one might say, "significant" matters, she had good-naturedly tolerated his endless poring over drawings and examination of timbers and poles, at last resigning herself to the fact that she would never attract him to the world beyond Alqualondë until his ship was built. While the art of ship-building itself interested her somewhat, she found it less captivating than the crafts of the Noldor, and because of this (also due to the fact that it was impossible to get Celeborn to talk of anything other than the ship while he worked) for the most part she left him to it.

Now, standing upon the pristine white deck beneath the billowing sails, gazing at its living perfection, she felt at last the she could understand. *Our ambitions are not quite so dissimilar as I at first believed,* she mused to herself. *Merely the scale differs. I seek to journey to Middle Earth because that which I would build is too large for Aman. But Celeborn also desires to build; it is only that his dream is a little smaller than mine. Small enough for Alqualondë. Yet now I see that does not make his accomplishment any less.*

As she thought this, he led her below the decks to see the fine cabins, deceptively spacious for so relatively small a vessel. As they went back up to watch the work of the mariners, she found she could offer nothing but praise. Celeborn smiled, "Then whither shall I sail you?"

Raising a playful eyebrow at him, she suggested, "To Middle Earth?"

Accustomed to her teasing (or nagging, depending on who one asked) he shook his head in mock-vexation. "Not that again."

Feigning innocence, she protested, "What is the point of having so fair and seaworthy a ship if you intend not to sail anywhere?"

He laughed at her, in too pleasant a mood to be irritated. "I shall sail many places. But why should I wish to travel?" he gestured around them at the flock of swans drifting in the Bay of Eldamar, at the gem-studded beaches and white pearl mansions and walls of Alqualondë. "Why should I travel?" he repeated, grinning at her. "I am already here."

She shook her head and leaned over the side of the ship, where to the west over Túna she could just see the top of Laurelin. It was an old argument in which neither of them had budged from their position in years. Celeborn was perfectly content in Aman. It was true that at the moment she found she could not blame him, but ever her heart stirred for the a freedom that all the beauty and splendor in the world could not give her.

His touch upon her shoulder drew her eyes back to him, and she caught his troubled gaze. "Why do you wish to travel?" he asked her softly.

With a sigh, she smiled to let him know she was not angry, though at times his complacency vexed her to the point of near-fury in their debates. However, today she was not. Perhaps it was her desire not to spoil his proudest moment with a fit of temper. Perhaps it was the beauty of his ship, or the peacefulness of the day. Whatever the reason, she felt an air of almost sadness as she spoke with sincerity. "I have learnt all that I am able from the Valar."

"And that drives you from these fair lands?" protested Celeborn. "Surely there is always more to learn--"

"--Yea, perhaps the Valar have more to teach," Artanis answered, feeling the first inklings of frustration marring her pleasant mood (though they were directed more at the Valar than at the elf beside her.) "But I have come to realize that my time as a student is at an end. I would take my life into my own hands, to travel where I will and build what I wish without waiting for a 'by your leave' of anyone."

"Even the Valar? By Eru, Lady, you speak like Fëanor!"

NOW she was irritated at him. "Compare me not to my uncle!" she said tersely. "For we are not alike. Though I may thirst to see things beyond the shores of Aman and live under the dominion of none, I bear no ill will toward the Valar. Rather I am but as a child who would at last come of age and be granted rights to determine my own destiny. You shall not find me among the Fëanorians stirring up unrest and hoarding their gems and their trinkets that none may look upon them who have not Fëanor's favor. Free he would call himself, but a hypocrite he is, and I will suffer none to place me in the same league as him!"

"Peace, Lady!" cried Celeborn, but he laughed. "As you will, then, I beg your pardon, if only to spare myself a Noldor dagger in my throat!" Seeing her lingering vexation though, he seized her hand and laughter left his face. "Come, bright daughter of Finarfin, resent me not. It was never my aim to offend you so."

However irksome he could be at times, Artanis found that she could seldom remain angry with him--and that in itself was strange enough given her usually-quick temper. As it was, she met his somewhat pouting gaze and could not help but smile. "Very well, Lord, I forgive you. So long as you forget not that to compare me to the least reputable of all my kindred is insult indeed."

"I shall not forget!" and then they both laughed.


From the windows of the mansions of Olwë, at the same time…

"I see a new swan amongst your flock, Father. Who wrought her?"

"She is the swan of my young kinsman, Celeborn, one of my most ardent students."

Eärwen, daughter of Olwë and swan-maiden of Alqualondë, looked out upon the Bay of Eldamar at the newest of the ships in the Teleri fleet that gleamed white and brilliant closest to the shore. "I can tell," she observed, the ship's beauty bringing a smile unbidden to her lips. "Indeed, she is as fair as the swan you yourself built. She shall grace the seas when at last she sets sail."

"That I do not doubt," agreed Olwë. Coming to her side, he remarked, "I am most pleased with Celeborn. He is a good elf, of many talents and strengths, yet also most wise of heart. A very worthy kinsman."

"And there sits the testament to his worthiness," Eärwen laughed. She narrowed her eyes against the brilliance of the white ship to see a tall figure clad in silver-grey upon the deck, calling up to one of the mariners upon the mast. "Would that be him there?"

Olwë leaned forward. "Yea, that is Celeborn. Surely you have met him."

"Of course I have, but not in these recent years. He has grown fair." Turning to her father, she asked, "You have him in mind to rise among the lords of Alqualondë?"

Olwë nodded. "He is a true Teleri. The craft of ship-building is his joy, yet he is sensible, with taste, judgment, and intelligence. He applied himself well to his studies and learned much from his fathers and from the Valar. He possesses more patience than most elves his age, that much is certain, and still he is well-liked among his people. I should like for him to ascend to leadership among them. Now more than ever, it is important that we keep our people united."

Eärwen gave a little chuckle, for she knew to what her father was referring. Like Celeborn, the Teleri were content in their Swan Haven with their ships and their crafts, but the unrest of the Noldor had not left them untouched. Whispers oft reached them of the goings-on in Tirion and Taniquetil, and troubled them greatly. But there was naught to be done, other than counsel (and at times plead for) patience from their restless Noldor kindred and pray to the Valar for an end to the mutterings. "We shall find all the unrest we need from the surging seas," Olwë liked to say. "We need make no more of it upon the shores."

Speaking of restlessness, Eärwen gave a start and suddenly leaned forward, for among the gray-clad, silver-haired Teleri, she had caught a glint of gold. At her exclamation, Olwë simply smiled. "I had wondered when you would notice."

Aware that her father had caught her unawares (and enjoyed it) she mock-glared at him, and said in a deliberately flat voice. "I believe that would be my daughter upon the deck of your young protégé's ship?"

"You believe correctly."

"And what, pray tell, is she doing there?"

"The same thing we are doing, I daresay. Admiring Celeborn--ahem, his ship, that is." At his daughter's expression of growing outrage, Olwë laughed and raised both hands. "Peace, child! Do not tell me you would disapprove! Celeborn is a fine young elf. What cause could your Nerwen have not to like him?"

Turning her head back to the ship, Eärwen watched curiously the pantomime playing out upon the deck. The mariners upon the masts were furling the sails, and Celeborn stood below, pointing upward and directing with one hand resting lightly upon her daughter's shoulder. Nerwen appeared perfectly at ease with the arrangement, and was following the actions and words of the mariners with a positively radiant smile upon her face (such a smile would probably slay Fëanor himself if she ever bestowed it upon him.)

"How long has she been keeping company with him?"

"Almost since she arrived. It was a matter of chance, really. I must commend you, Eärwen, your daughter is very curious, and she has your fascination with the sea and the ships. During the first few months, she hardly stood still. She wanted to see everything--and then to learn and to try all that she had seen. Celeborn seemed to be the only one who could keep up with her--or perhaps the only one who dared to try!"

Eärwen laughed. "That is Nerwen! And?"

Olwë shrugged, smiling at the two elves on the deck of the ship. "It started as a simple friendship. Celeborn had only recently ended his studies among the shipwrights and was intending to build his ship. She oft came to watch and listen to the work, and at the feasts they would talk." He grimaced. "I must also commend you on having raised a daughter with a temper to match yours. She can be quite…intense…in an argument."

Eärwen laughed harder. "I fear it true; none can call her placid. Yet you cannot blame me alone, Father, for Nerwen's temper far exceeds mine."

"It is rather interesting; none could spark her ire like Celeborn, yet it seems he was the only one among the young lords for whom she was willing to tolerate disagreements."

"My daughter does not suffer fools gladly, and indeed she has a temper, but she herself is not a fool either. She will tolerate a disagreement if she thinks it worth her while. Your Celeborn must be very intelligent indeed to hold her interest."

"He is, though his ambitions lie almost entirely with the sea and with ships, he can speak on many things. In any case, there they are, and most important, when all is said and done, she seems to like him well, and he her. A good match, don't you think?"

The prospect of Nerwen marrying had, in all truthfulness, not entered Eärwen's mind much. The same qualities that had given Eärwen's daughter her name also made it highly unlikely that Nerwen would ever be inclined toward anyone save out of real fondness. Eärwen sighed, aware that she had seen little of her daughter since her coming of age, and almost none since she had gone to live in Alqualondë, or else she would not have missed the formation of this friendship with the Telerin prince. She certainly would not have missed the growth of this attachment that appeared to be growing between them had she been closer to her daughter.

But then again, Nerwen was as her name implied, and Eärwen had learnt long ago that it was easiest to leave the headstrong girl to her own devices. It was not necessarily unwise either, for Nerwen had plenty of intelligence to balance out her strong will and common sense to link the two. Most often her decisions in life were sound, and she had made good use of her adulthood thus far. Eärwen had been pleased by her daughter's desire to go live among the Teleri (while her husband had been more of the mind that it was the ships and not the Teleri Nerwen was interested in.) All the same, at least she was not exclusively under the influence of Noldor thinking (if it could be claimed Nerwen was under the influence of anyone's thinking save her own.)

With another sigh, she turned to Olwë and smiled. "I fear when it comes to the prospects of Nerwen's marriage, Father, what I think of the match matters little. It will be for Nerwen and Nerwen alone to decide whether the thought of marriage suits her."

Olwë laughed aloud. "You make me almost feel sorry for Celeborn! But I would not say it is entirely Nerwen's decision. Half of the choice to marry must also be his, after all."

Gazing out the window again, Eärwen watched her daughter seated upon the deck of the ship, her gown seeming to blend into the white planks as Celeborn climbed up one of the masts to untangle part of the sail. Nerwen could be quite calculating at times, and seldom sat still for any great length of time unless she had some great aim in mind, but upon the back of the swan below, there was an expression in her countenance that Eärwen had never seen before: contentment. Her eyes, quite clear to her mother's long elven vision, neither schemed nor darted about as they did when she was restless, but simply watched the Telerin mariner at work.

Eärwen smiled to herself. "I think, Father dear, you may find that your Celeborn has less of a choice than he knows."


The next morning…

"This day shall be her maiden voyage."

"Whither shall you sail her?"

Celeborn glanced surreptitiously at Artanis's face, expecting to see her preparing to drag him back into that argument over Middle Earth yet again, but saw no devious intentions in her. It was a lesson he had learnt very early in his acquaintance with the daughter of Finarfin: one had to be constantly on the alert, lest one be verbally hauled into a conversation which one had absolutely NO possibility of winning. It was a wonder, really. Before meeting Artanis, the Telerin prince had never imagined that the simple act of talking and listening could be so exhausting. Yet this hot-headed, strong-willed, dauntingly intelligent Noldor princess had proven all too well that it was possible, and particularly when discussion turned to her own restless thoughts, she had a way of wearing him down.

But then again, she could daunt all she wished, but Celeborn had no intention of allowing her temper to quell his own beliefs, or his mention of them. In that, he was different from most of the other elves who spent any length of time in Artanis's company. Other elves, (particularly young lords) tended to react to her in one of two ways: either constantly yessing her so as to avoid a heated argument despite their own inclinations, or by reducing themselves to bellowing fury when her ideas clashed with theirs and storming off in a rage in the face of her unyielding will.

Celeborn did neither. There was no point in expecting Finarfin's daughter to change her opinions to conform to his, and he would be the last elf in Aman to change his own mind to suit her. His thoughts were his, and hers were hers, and there was naught either of them could do about it. That said and accepted, he rather enjoyed her fierce nature, and all the vexation and intimidation that often came with it. Celeborn knew himself to be of a quiet temperament, better suited for long explorations of the sea than battles of will and great deeds. He himself was seldom bored, but he knew that a restless maiden might well bore of him. All the same, while he and Artanis had few loves in common, she was never dull.

She was still awaiting his answer, so he replied matter-of-factly, "She shall not go far today. Just a little south and west, along the coast."

"That shall hardly stretch her wings!" said Artanis, though she did not seem surprised.

"She must first learn to swim before she learns to fly," Celeborn answered cheerfully, raising a hand to feel the wind. He glanced down at her, standing calmly upon the dock, her face betraying naught but idle curiosity (a definite sign that some intense desire was hidden beneath.) He considered what it was that she might wish, and found himself doubting that it was Middle Earth she thought of this time. Her poise would reveal more restlessness if she did. So that left only…but dare he ask? Dare he hope?

"Will you come?" he asked her before his courage failed.

Artanis blinked, but he caught the little spark of hope and pleasure in her eyes, and his heart skipped. "You would have me on this occasion?"

He laughed, lowered the ramp and extended his hand. "I would have you on any occasion, my dear kinswoman." She eagerly took his hand and came aboard, then they both realized what they had said, and for the first time in his living memory, Celeborn saw Artanis blush. Turning hastily away, he raised the ramp and signaled to the mariners and rowers, "Cast off!"

Behind him, he heard Artanis's breath quicken as the sails were unfurled and the silver anchor raised. He led her back to the raised stern of the ship where the tiller was mounted, which he himself took up, and as the rowers struck up a song to the beat of their strokes, all other thoughts left him as his swan took to the sea.

How fair she looked, her feather oars as beating wings while she glided between the other swans toward the mouth of the Bay. It was a fine bright morning, the wind fair, and many of the other mariners were upon the decks of their ships as well. Great cries of delight and welcome arose at the sight of the new swan making her way toward the open sea. Celeborn saw his kinsman and lord, Olwë, wave approvingly at him from the deck of his own ship, and broke his attention only to bow to the King of the Teleri. Over the strident song of the rowers, Celeborn broke into a song of the sea that was also a prayer to Ulmo, Ossë, and Uinen for the blessing of his new vessel.

A sigh from behind him made him remember his passenger as he finished the song, and Celeborn turned to smile sheepishly at Artanis. She smiled back, chuckling at the bliss she saw upon his face. "May she be worthy," he said.

Artanis laughed. "She must be. Ulmo could find no fault with a swan so fine as yours."

He glanced back over his shoulder at Alqualondë, its walls and mansions of white gleaming in the light of the trees, and its swans drifting like a contented flock upon the bay. "The seas shall never know their like again."


Chapter Two: Flight of the Swan……COMING SOON!!!

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