The Fellowship had arrived in Caras Galadhon the previous night. She had met them face-to-face, standing by the side of her husband. Celeborn was her life’s partner and a source of her strength. He provided her with solace and support on those rare times when she allowed her memories to overcome her thoughts. Now was one of those times. He escorted her to the ramp leading to the high small flet she used for her meditation, bowing over her hand with a lingering kiss as she began the long walk to the top of the massive tree.
She had looked at each of the eight surviving walkers, looking into their eyes and peering into their souls. She had sensed the love and devotion of the hobbits. Their dogged determination to help Frodo achieve his unenviable task gladdened her heart.
She perceived that Aragorn was wavering on a knife’s edge as he debated whether or not he would take that last step to proclaim himself Isildur’s Heir. He didn’t realize that he had already made that commitment, but she sensed that his path would come clear to him soon.
She wove her thoughts carefully through the internal conflicts of Boromir, the son of an overbearing and unyielding father. The Steward of Gondor would welcome the Ring, but not the Ringbearer. Nor would he happily greet the King who would supplant his rule and cast him from his seat of power.
The dwarf, Gimli, was an uncomplicated and direct warrior who possessed a deep wellspring of love and devotion towards his family, a strong sense of beauty with the skill in his hands to craft metals and stone, and a solid love of Middle Earth. Where she had originally welcomed him because his long-ago kin in Moria had allowed her and Celebrían passage when Sauron had besieged Eregion, she quickly recognized that he was worthy of respect on his own merit.
Finally her eyes had landed upon Legolas, son of Thranduil, King of Mirkwood and, for a moment, her heart had stopped. The young, lithe, golden-haired wood elf stood in front of her self-assured, deadly, and very reminiscent of her oldest brother. It was apparent that his father’s heritage was strength and determination, but the stubbornness of Thranduil was tempered with the affection that Legolas held for Aragorn and was developing for Gimli. This unexpected streak of compassion in the frame of the elf caught her off-guard.
Suddenly instead of Legolas standing in front of her, she saw her brother, Finrod as she had last seen him when they had separated long Ages before. His golden hair had been blowing in the breeze as she had set her sights on the mountains and the long journey toward Ost-in-Edhil. She had looked back just before cresting the hill and he had raised his arm in farewell, the newly-risen sun momentarily lighting him, causing him to glow with life and hope. Galadriel had never seen her beloved older brother again and would not until such time as she passed back to the West either over the sea or through the Halls of Mandos. She rapidly blinked several times to hold back her tears. It was just a momentary weakness, but it was noted by Celeborn. He took her arm into his, pulling her closer to his body and offered her silent and unquestioning support.
She had welcomed the travelers with soft words acknowledging their grief and weariness and assuring their comfort and safety. She encouraged them to relax and mourn as they wished. She then dismissed them after assuring that they were comfortably settled with food, drink and bathing facilities. They would meet with the Lady and Lord again in the days to come.
Celeborn escorted his wife to the ramp leading to the upper branches where she chose to sit for meditation and remembrance. Galadriel climbed to the highest flet in the very crown of the great tree and sat on a cushion, listening to the wind make the mallorn leaves sing. Much later when her thoughts had settled and her breathing had calmed, she rose to her feet and walked to a small sheltered niche. Taking a rush from the nearby holder and touching it to the flame sheltered within the single lit lantern hanging securely next to the cubby, she cupped the small flame within her hand and walked towards a half-wall ahead of her.
The short wall, in the shape of the crescent moon, featured a single small shelf that held a candle and three stones gathered within a small carved depression. Two smaller stones in an unusual blue-grey color signified her younger brothers Angrod and Aegnor. A slightly larger stone, gleaming white with veins of pure gold, represented her brother Finrod, he who had died fulfilling his oath to the second-born man, Beren. Touching the lighted rush to the candle wick, she then took the white stone into her hands and sat in front of the candle watching its flickering flame and remembering her brother.
She remembered his cocky smile, his flashing eyes and his wicked sense of humor. She reviewed how he had cared for all of them as they crossed the Helcaraxë together, making sure that they were cautious and held together, ensuring that all four of them arrived safely in Middle Earth. She thought about his honesty, and finally his sense of honor that was so strong and immutable. She mourned about how his honor had led to his death in the dungeon of Tol-in-Gaurhoth.
She missed her brothers; she was the last of her family still remaining in Middle Earth. Every day she fought against the evil of Melkor and his lieutenant, Sauron. Her hand unconsciously moved to her ring, twisting Nenya around her finger while still holding onto the white stone.
As the dawn was breaking and spears of light threaded their way through the Golden Woods, Celeborn climbed up to the small flet and stood behind his wife, placing his hands on her shoulders, once again passing his strength to her. The candle had burned down and her tears had dried once again. The visage of Legolas would still remind her of Finrod, but her gaping wound had once again been bandaged. Soon the wood-elf would be gone and the Lady of Lothlórien would once again live undisturbed by her memories and her regrets, until the next time that she needed to light a candle for a brother.