"And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely!"
Galadriel had warned herself of this, she had known what would come. But now in her mind the visions of what could be became clearer than ever before, fueled by the Ring's own desire, no doubt. The power that the Ring could bring her would give her more than anything she had ever dared to dream of. Her dreams of ruling over a patch of Middle-earth were nothing, she could rule over all life on earth with the powers of this Ring.
"In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. "
Sauron could be vanquished. Galadriel saw it; she was stronger than he was. She was powerful enough to wield this Ring against him. It could be done. She would avenge every evil he had done; she could make her own banner terrible and frightful enough to avenge the one of Sauron all those years ago when he had taken Celebrimbor.
Everything would be as it should, in place of all else there would be only the things she willed, whatever she willed.
"And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! "
All would be hers. Her imagination now fed deeply off the images the Ring was feeding her. She could destroy every orc and foul thing that had ever been. The time of the Eldar was not ending; her time would just be beginning.
She saw herself, larger than life, fairer than ever before, sitting upon her own tower much like Sauron's. But instead of spreading darkness she would vanquish every last bit of it forevermore.
But it would not stop there, at the riddance of all that is evil, there was so much power- the Ring deserved to do so much more, with it she could do anything!
She could build the whole of Middle-earth to her liking, and all would worship her! Elves, men, all other creatures that were and ever would be, under her rule, under her power.
"Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightening! Stronger than the foundations of the earth.
She will forever be set at the very top, without guidance from any other; she will have dominion over all things! Any who oppose her shall be utterly destroyed, torn and ripped apart! Life and death themselves will be hers to command! There will be destruction of all things evil, and of all things that ever oppose her! None can ever chance to stand against her, not ever again, not even the Valar themselves!
"All shall love me and despair!"
She lifted her hand and a light fell over her, seeming to draw the light out of everything else as all else was plunged in darkness. She felt the power of the Ring, everything she could be, felt everything she had ever dreamt of power and fame and glory right in front of her. All she needed to do was to reach out; with one touch to that Ring it would all be hers.
All shall love me and despair…her words echoed through her mind. Suddenly Celeborn's face flashed before her, through her visions. His eyes, more intelligent than any other she had ever known, and his smile, the kindness in it. The memory of the warmth of his strong arms around her, of his hand in hers. Celeborn, who had always stood so strongly beside her, whatever her decisions had been. Celeborn who had given her the name Galadriel that she used now, so many ages past.
Then there was Celebrían before her eyes. Her beloved daughter, her sweet, only child. She saw Celebrían as an elfling, all waves of silver hair and laughter lighter than light itself. Celebrían grown; strong, proud, fearless, wise, and most of all unerringly kind. She saw her daughter again, as a mother now, and then Galadriel saw her grandchildren too- the fearless Sons of Elrond and beautiful, passionate Arwen. Then painfully, she saw Celebrían when she passed into the West never to return, little more than a broken shadow of what she had been, seeking recovery in the lands of her mother's birth.
Valinor… it was then Galadriel saw her parents. And her brothers- slain during the first age, along with so many others. Finrod, Felagund, Angrod, Aegnor. She was reminded of Melian, and thought of all that Melian had taught her.
What would they all think of her if they saw her now?
She faltered slightly, and grasped onto that falter.
She knew in that moment it truly was not power she hungered for anymore. That had been her goal all those years ago when she had set out for Middle-earth, prideful, talented, fierce, and ambitious. But it no longer was. She loved her people, but it was a different ambition than ruling that held her heart now. Now it was the sea-longing that filled her; the desire to be home, with her daughter, and with all the family she had left.
She knew in her heart that this had been her final test. She would go West, and now be allowed passage to return home. Sadness filled her for what losses there had been these many years, but also peace- her time in Middle-earth would come to an end very soon.
She lowered her hand and the light around her faded. All returned to normal. She laughed, though whether with joy or with sorrow even she could not tell.
"I pass the test,' She said to the hobbits, who likely had perceived little of what they had just witnessed. Her voice was gentle now, soft and sad. 'I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel."