The Elf Behind The Queen

1 Celeborn Speaks- Lothlorien

(A/N: Hi! I'm LoveChilde, and this is my first Tolkien based fic. All characters and most events belong to the great Master- you'll notice it when I branch off to do my own thing.

For the sake of this story, assume: 1. Celeborn is not a cactus. 2. Elves have a personality. 3. In their private forests they act a bit differently than they do in mixed company. Also, I'd love to do as certain other writers do and insert lovely bits of elvish words in, but I've only done it once so far for the simple reason that they're constantly speaking Sindarin, 'kay? It's like English to them.

Dedicated to Joannie Milligan, my beta, and to Nemis who inspired me so many times.)

I have seen many things in my long, long life. Even for an elf I am considered aged, older than most left on this Earth. I have seen cities ruined, brother fighting brother, Gods and beasts and elves and men. But I feel that this will be something new, even for me. There is a tension in the air almost thick enough to cut through, and my wife, my beloved, sits on her throne in a trance while I wait for her to tell me the news of the world outside.

The battle is almost over, yet hardly begun at all. All our hope rests on a single perian, a halfling almost untried in war and strife. Still, so it has been prophesized.

I pace around the throne room, glad that no one is here to witness my agitation. My wife has sent them all away, claiming that she needed to concentrate. I am grateful to have been allowed to stay. She can be rather trying at times, my Lady. I can sense her pain, her anxiety and inner turmoil through our bond, and silently step closer to her, my hand hovering over her shoulder so as to lend her strength without disturbing.

As I wait, I muse upon the nature of our relationship. I know that many think we have grown cold towards each other over the millennia, and are alike to two marble statues, devoid of emotion. Let me assure you that it is not so. Our love is deep still, after all this time, too deep to be described in words- our bond is too strong to be shared with others. Each of us is constantly aware of the other's love, and so we need not display our emotions in public. Her current pain tears at my soul.

My contemplation is cut short by a spike of pure agony, and we both cry out in pain and alarm. It is like nothing I have ever felt, yet but a shadow of her own, for she, in her anguish, did transfer some of it onto me. I raise my head to look at her, and she seems somehow different. Not as radiant as before, perhaps, or as vital, but still the Queen. I do not need to ask, but do so anyway.

"It is over, is it not?" I feel almost rude in breaking the silence. She nods weakly.

"It is, my husband, and over well. The One Ring is destroyed, and the Shadow has been lifted. The Dark One has perished. The halfling is triumphant". She lowers her head, looking at the jewel I can now perceive on her finger. It is indeed the Ring of Adamant, but its light has grown dim, and the very fact that it is visible tells me that most of its power is gone. The room around us feels different as well. Could the power of the One have been this strong?

"Aye, the halfling has defeated the Dark Lord, but the war is not yet over." I reply. "His minions walk the land, and must be overcome, although their power is diminished. We are still under attack, and must defend ourselves." Thrice have we been attacked, and thrice have our warriors stopped the attackers and destroyed them. Now, for the first time since the Second Age, elves would march to attack, in defense of our own home. I notice that my wife looks pale, her beautiful skin ashen, and hasten to her side. "What is the matter, beloved?" I ask.

"It is nothing, my Lord." She replies quietly, but I can still feel her sadness and despair, and understand them not. 'I will be well shortly." She tries to rise, but stumbles and falls back, and I instinctively catch her. She is trembling, and I deem it worth the risk to hug her, settling back on the throne with her in my arms.

"Please, my Lady, tell me what ails you," I beg her, angry that I cannot sense her thoughts more deeply, 'I do not understand."

"The Ring, Celeborn." She whispers, "I cannot feel its power any more, nor any of the others. The power is gone. It is," She hesitates, "disorienting. I am in truth diminished."

I have not seen her this unsettled since our daughter went West, perhaps earlier. She buries her face in my robe, shivering like spring leaves in the wind. "Nay, my wife." I tell her, hugging her close to me, "You were mighty before the Three were forged, and shall ever be so, even now. You will adjust to life without that burden. Believe in your strength as I believe in it." I see that she is not comforted, and try something I have not tried in many ages, not since our first days together. 'I love you, Altariel."

Her head snaps up at the sound of her High Elven name, and she stares at, me her eyes bright with tears. "No one has called me that in so long…Oh husband, I know not what to do!" She lays her head down again and weeps.

I am at a loss for a moment. Not since the ruin of Doriath have I seen my wife cry. Instinct again takes over, and I stroke her a murmur soothing words until her tears run out. I manage to find an embroidered handkerchief in my pocket, and offer it to her. She takes it and squeezes my hand shakily.

"I am well now, Celeborn. Let us tell our people the news." She is herself again, Galadriel, Queen of the Galadhrim. Again she becomes the Lady of Lorien, the closest thing the Elves of Middle Earth have to a leader. Her leadership is needed now. Later, when things have calmed down, she will be my wife again. I rise and help her up. She takes a deep breath and leads the way out. Regal and graceful, we make our way hand in hand to the main court and greet the awaiting crowd. As my Lady tells them of the victory, I hope I am the only one who notices her voice is not always steady. I squeeze her hand, and she returns the gesture with a smile. I try to smile but find that I cannot. My wife, my land, our lives are forever changed.

A victory indeed, but at what price to my love?