It lay around her in bright, shining heaps in the lush emerald grass, coiling in silken curls and shimmering in Telperion's light.
Galadriel threw the scissors at it, put her face in her hands, and sobbed.
She sat up abruptly, wiping at her tear-stained face, when she felt a soft touch on her shoulder.
Finarfin, the youngest of Finwë's sons, brushing away the shorn locks, cleared a space to sit beside his smallest offspring. Her cousins had called her "the fifth son of Finarfin" when she was younger, but the time had past quickly.
"I see," Finarfin began slowly, an amused smile pulling at his mouth, "that it is not out of vanity that you denied your uncle a lock of hair."
"Half uncle," she muttered, leaning forward instinctively, although her hair no longer managed to hide her face from her father's eyes.
"Hush little one, you sound like Fëanor himself. I call him my brother, and my children will do the same. Whether or not he does the same for us." Finarfin's voice was chiding, but gentle.
Galadriel nodded sullenly, violently twisting the long strand of Telerin pearls her mother had given her around her fingers.
Finarfin, ever careful of his speech, waited for Galadriel to begin. She brought her knees up to her chest and hugged them, looking like a little girl in a young woman's body and raiment. After a moment, she spoke.
"Father…why does everyone have to go on about how beautiful I am?" Her voice rose in crescendo from a hesitant query to an insistent, annoyed demand. Whether this was the question of a confused child or a proud lady, Finarfin was unsure.
"Because they are truthful, love," he answered gently. "You are very lovely indeed."
"No more so than everyone else!" she replied heatedly. "Why do they single me out?"
Finarfin shrugged. "I am not the one to ask. I cannot help but think my little girl is as beautiful as they come."
She smiled. "I do not mind it when you say it," she admitted, putting her curly head on her father's shoulder. After a moment, she shifted a little, uncomfortable in her white gown sewn with mother of pearl beads.
"And why do you mind when others do?" he prompted gently.
She bit her lip. "I'm… afraid. Of being just what they say I am. That everyone will look at me and see that," she gestured at her piles of shimmering waves. "And only that."
"My child," Finarfin began, turning her face so that their eyes met. "You have been given many gifts from Iluvatar, and each of them is precious. And it is your responsibility to use each of them for His glory. You are remarkable."
"Well I don't want to be," she retorted quietly, looking away as tears formed in her eyes again.
"You were not given that choice," he chastised tenderly. "And others cannot help but see how special you are."
Silent, she twisted at her necklace again, and stared at her hair, as it lay like veins of gold.
"But," he concluded, taking her shoulders and turning her to face him once more, "I pity those who cannot see that your beauty is the least of your gifts."
[I chose not to use Galadriel's "mother name," Nerwen, or her "father name," Artanis, mentioned in "Unfinished Tales", because these references are associated with a different history of Celeborn than the one stated in The Silmarillion. This story, along with my story "Silver and Gold," is based as closely as possible on The Silmarillion. If I made any other mistakes though, please let me know!
Galadriel's never actually been my favorite character in Tolkien's writing, but she is a perplexing one. I think I started writing about her to make her seem more real to me.
Thanks, as always, to Anne-sempai for nit-picking, and to Deborah for her insights that got me thinking…]