Author's notes: Written for Many Paths to Tread third anniversary. On a Live Journal LotR Community Challenges, there was a challenge in which participants had chosen any of the verses from the hobbits' walking song (chapter "Three's Company) as a prompt for their stories. I chose the verse "Hill and water under sky".
This takes place soon after Galadriel and Celeborn settle in Lothlorien. Thanks to Cairistiona for beta-reading.
Galadriel walked among the trees of her new home. Little by little, she got acquainted with them, touching their bark and listening to their stories. This day she went further than any before, almost to the border of Caras Galadhon. Everything was desolate here; there were no telain here and she knew she had come very near the white walls of the city. Evening shadows grew longer and she thought she should return, but something pulled her further. Here, the whisper of the forest was stronger, and the very soil seemed to radiate with magic. Totally unconsciously, the elleth quickened her steps; it was as if her feet carried her and she didn't even know what her goal was... until she was in front of it.
She stood on a clearing. The first evening stars began to shine in the blue sky above her, and in front of her there was a little hill. A small stream ran beneath it. Shimmering rays of Eärendil's star fell on it and intertwined with little droplets and bubbles. The water sang and glittered as if it were alive, colourful sparkles of light dancing above the stream. She immediately realized that this place was not like the others: the light of the Silmaril gave it special power. For a moment, it seemed to her that among the sparkles she saw something more – some reflection or image – but it lasted less than a blink of an eye and she couldn't be sure. But there was no time for a more attentive look, for in that moment she heard a call inside her. Letting out the breath she didn't even realize she had been holding, she blinked in surprise.
The water called her. But no, not her, she corrected herself in realization. She looked down, having become aware of the growing weight on her hand, and her eyes widened in wonder. Her ring was surrounded by a bluish light. Nenya – Ring of water. She watched it for several moments, feeling the strength in it pulsating in response to the summons of the water in the stream. The light was growing brighter. Feeling drawn by a magical call, the elleth moved without a conscious intention, and crossed those few steps that separated her from the stream. She knelt and submerged her hand into the water.
She shivered; not from the cold, but from the onrush of power that flowed through her. As soon as the water touched her ring, it seemed to boil; the purl turned into thunder, little waves swelled, and for a moment the sparkles shone brighter than the stars. Galadriel felt the stream drawing power from her ring, as well as from herself, and felt how the power grew and became instilled into the very essence of this place. But she didn't lose anything, because this was mutual giving and taking; the water, filled with sheen of Silmaril, returned the power to her through Nenya at the same time. She was joined with water and light, the stream intertwined with the air and soil, and the rays of ancient light, created eons ago in Valinor, imbued and bound them together. Heartbeats, twinkling of light, purl of water... conjoined.
Finally, the thunder slowly lulled, the waves subsided, the light surrounding Nenya faded away, and the elleth, a little breathless, couldn't really tell how how much time passed. Just a short moment? An hour? But it didn't really matter. She lowered her gaze towards the water and immediately felt how changed it was – enriched and strengthened. She took some water in her palms and waited for the surface to calm; for she suddenly knew that the images that had twinkled among the water droplets, earlier so elusive as if they weren't real, would now clearly show on the surface, as if she were holding a mirror.
And indeed, the reflection of the sky and the stars changed: in front of her eyes there flew images of her daughter, of her long lost brothers, the scenes that made her smile, as well as those that filled her eyes with tears. And there were also some places and faces unfamiliar to her. Past, present... future? Or just some events in this moment, but far away and unknown to her? She didn't have the answer to that. But she intended to find it, to discover all the secrets of this place. At first glance, just the ordinary hill and water under sky... but actually, so much more. Water, light, magic and power.
A mirror of world and time.