I'm not quite sure what to call
these. The best word would probably be drabbles, although they could be
anything between 50 words and 500 for all that I know.
I wanted to write some Celeborn
stuff, mainly because he's so neglected, and he also happens to be one
of my favourite characters to write. I chose periods of their history
which weren't common knowledge at the time of the WotR, perhaps to
emphasise how much more there is to his character than we ever see.
If you have not read the Sil you may
be slightly confused at times, but hopefully it will encourage you to
read it! There is much debate about the exact history of Celeborn
and Galadriel, and so I have picked and chosen details from the various
accounts as suits me. The most notable of these is that here, Amroth is
again Celeborn and Galadriel's son, and Celeborn himself is a Grey Elf
of Thingol's kindred. - E.
The First Dawn
The Children of Finarfin
The Two Greatest Craftsmen
The Rape of Doriath
Of Eregion, the Dwarves and Annatar
The Last Ship
The First Dawn
The young elf peeps from the shadowed canopy. He balances with perfect
ease, the slender bough a pale shape in the darkness. One slim brown
hand rests lightly upon the trunk of the tree, and he feels its
heartbeat quicken, stiring the sap to life so that the leaves rustle in
the keen wind. High above, the cold stars glimmer, illuminating nothing
but his bright eyes. Not even the wild creatures will know him, masked
as he is by the shivering hemlock leaves. Not that he knows them as
hemlock. The grey elves have their own names for things.
He is a creature of the twilight. He was born here, long ago by the
reckoning of beast and bird, though to himself it is but a fleeting
time. The dark wood, the Avari called it then. He has never seen the
light, though he has heard the rumours. He was not yet born when the
eldest of his race left seeking the light in the West across the sea,
and he does not remember. Once, he thought he saw Orome, riding upon
his high white horse Nahar, so bright that the orcs and evil things
crept away into the darkness and were afraid.
Slowly, far off in the East a strange light grows and Celeborn watches
warily, wondering. The light grows stronger, piercingly bright it seems
to him, and the elf shields his eyes before the glare. The eastern sky
lightens now, and he stands as if stricken, torn between curiostiy and
terror. With a blush of pink and gold,a great shining orb breaks free
of the horizon and the clouds all around are kindled to crimson flame.
The world before him is a sudden blaze of unimagined colours, myriad
and wonderful, for which he has no names. The fields and plains are
bright and warm and overwhelmingly alive; the great river sparkles deep
and clear, reflecting a sky suddenly ablaze with light. All about him,
a host of birds break into song. He gasps, and shrinks back against the
trunk of the tree, hiding his face in awe from the terror and beauty of
the first dawn. Far below him upon the earth, the secondborn children
of Illuvatar are awakening.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Children of Finarfin.
He sits at the high table with Thingol and Melian as befitting a close
kinsman. Daeron the minstrel sits beside him, but there is no speech.
The silence is tense with expectancy. Watching, he sees the flicker of
it in Thingol's grey eyes. The King sits erect at the head of the
table, his silver hair, like Celeborn's own, is crowned with leaves.
Beside him Melian sits, and she alone of all the assembled company is
serene, gentle and graceful as Arien herself. Beside Celeborn, Daeron's
slender fingers play nervously about the strings of his silver harp.
There is a short fanfare of trumpets, and the strangers are led into
the carven hall. The one in the lead is tall and proud, with blue eyes
and hair of brilliant gold. He is clad all in blue, and he bears a blue
banner wrought in gold with the tokens of a swan and two trees. He bows
low to the assembled host, and then to Thingol and Melian, he speaks.
“Hail, Lord of Menegroth, and kinsman as I hope to call thee hereafter.
Finrod I am named, eldest son of Finarfin, Finwe's son, and of Earwen,
daughter of thy own brother Olwe of Aqualonde. From far out of the West
we have journeyed, to avenge the evils done to us by Morgoth the
accursed. Accept this gift, Lord of the thousand caves in token of our
kinship, and I hope that hereafter I may name thee friend as well!”
He bows again, presenting Thingol with a coronet studded with many
jewels, and the elves assembled gasp in wonder. Then his brothers step
forwards; Orodreth the second son, grave and courteous and bold; Angrod
the minstrel, secretive and soft-spoken, with a little half-smile;
Aegnor his twin, proud and fiery, swift in word and deed.
And then Finrod leads forward his sister Altariel. Strong and golden
and beautiful, her eyes hard and fell. Tall and slender, clad in blue
like her brothers, her head held high, and her long hair shimmering
with some inner light, as though the mingled lights of Arien and Tilion
themselves was caught meshed within the golden strands.
She bows low before them, and as she straightens he sees the pride and
anger in her grey eyes. He is lost.
In his heart, Celeborn has already named her anew. Galadriel, Lady of
The Two Greatest Craftsmen
Only once, he remembers seeing Feanor. In a dream of torment when he
awoke with sweat beading his brow and fear in his eyes on the night
that the first Noldor leapt bloody-handed to the quays of Losgar, and
offered up in spite of the Valar that first terrible burning. He
remembers watching as the flames billowed and rose up, high, higher,
the tenrils licking about the mastheads. He remembers the white swan
ships, their wings half unfurled, as if torn down in the very act of
rising from the burning pyre. Carven feathers black and charred with
smoke, and the great glass eyes staring sinister from behind wisping
shrouds of flame.
He remembers how the white sails caught and flamed like swift torches
in the darkness. He remembers the face of Feanor, and though it was
only a dream, he knows him. That face could belong to no other, not in
ten thousand lives of men. King, warrior, loremaster, craftsman,
minstrel. Traitor and rebel and god to those who cluster about the
burning fleet and cry his name in ecstacy and fire: Feanor! Feanor!
He still sees sometimes the pride, the beauty in those high cheekbones,
the dark brows drawn low with wrath, the moon-silver skin flawless over
strong-chiselled features, gaunt and fierce, and noble. The red lips
parted in a wild, exultant cry, the white teeth bared in a scream of
vengeance. He remembers Feanor's face, blood-red, illuminated by the
flame of the burning ships. And even in that ghastly corpse light,
Feanor is beautiful, perfect in all parts of his making. He stands like
their king, with a red banner, and a great sword raised upon high, and
his black hair flows in the wind which swirls about him chips and
sparks of glowing ash. Then Feanor's gaze falls upon him, and the
strength and terror of those eyes will never leave him after. Feanor's
eyes are grey, almost black, and they burn with some strange inner
fire, entirely separate from the chaos that surrounds him. There is a
power in those eyes, a vengeful flame of lust and despair.
Years later, he meets a young craftsman in Nargothrond who names
himself Celebrimbor, son of Curufin, Feanor's son. Fair and strong, the
greatest jewel-smith of his time, and his rival for the hand of
Altariel. Celeborn looks at him, and sees in his eyes that same flame.
Celebrimbor speaks of his desire, to make things more beautiful and
powerful than any in middle earth. Celeborn hears the craftsman's
words, sees the dark fire in his eyes, and is afraid.
The Rape of Doriath
The hall is plunged into darkness. Flames from spilt candles spring up,
lining the walls with fire. The flames make the darkness heavier, even
his eyes blind in this sudden eclipse. He hears screams and cries
ahead, the sound of running feet, and the unmistakeable clash of steel.
His own sword sings through the air. The flames catch at the tapestries
lining the walls and blaze upward, and by the red light of the burning
webs he can see the glint of blood slicking the tiles, dyeing the
intertwining shapes upon the floor with black.
He leaps through the gaping doorway, and the clash of steel is loud in
his ears. He springs backwards to avoid the sweep of a gleaming axe,
dances sideways, and cleaves it's bearer in twain. Behind him, out of
the darkness, a sudden light blazes, and Dior is there. Dior, Thingol's
heir, with the Nauglamir bearing the Silmaril about his neck, the light
of it so brilliant that he cannot bear to look at it.
Then they are through that hall, and by the light of the Silmaril, he
sees the body on the stairs. A blade sings out of the darkness behind,
and Celeborn stumbles, racing for the body. Nimloth stares with
unseeing eyes up at the carven ceiling, her silver locks spilling
outwards, and blood blossoming over the front of her white gown.
“Nimroth!” And Celeborn can't tell if it is he or Dior who screams her
name, but a red mist falls before his eyes, and he lashes out wildly,
blind to anything but the song of his shimmering blade, as it cries out
for slaughter. The Silmaril blazes in the darkened hall, and the
Feanorians are drawn to it like moths to a flame. He hews them as they
come, and cares not as they fall before his feet and he leaps over
them. Tears are blinding him. He cries aloud as he sees cruel Caranthir
racing towards them, his wicked blade screaming in its lust for Dior's
blood. The brothers are beside him, howling with the despair and desire
of their oath. Celegorm's accursed blood sprays up as Dior hews him
down, and the warm droplets rain down upon them, veiling the Silmaril
on Dior's breast so that the light of it burns red.
Celeborn springs backwards, away from the sweep of af Maedhros' sword,
weilded with his left hand. Then he watches, as with another's eyes, as
Caranthir's blade hits Dior in the gut. The Prince of Doriath buckles,
and his shoulders heave and wrench in his agony. Screaming as he falls,
Dior crashes to the earth, and lies face-forward on the broken tiles,
with the Silmaril buried in the dust beneath him.
Of Eregion, the Dwarves, and Annatar
“I will not.”
“For what cause, my lord?” and as she says it, her voice is ice.
“I will accept nothing, nothing, from the Naugrim! Hast thou yet
forgotten the murder of Thingol, and the theft of the Nauglamir? I have
not! And I tell thee now that I will never meet one of the stunted folk
with friendship, not though Morgoth himself should return!”
They glare at each other, and their eyes flash with fire.
“What then?” she says at last, “Wouldst thou have us wait in this trap,
and fight to guard the ruins of Celebrimbor's treasure house until thy
children are slain? And the only gift that Annatar ever brought to any
was a swift death!”
“I cannot!” he cries aloud, and then they stand in silence with chests
heaving, their eyes stinging with tears.
“Why?” she whispers, and her eyes plead with him. She looks so tiny, so
vulnerable, and a great fear rises up inside of him that what she
speaks of will indeed come to pass.
“I cannot.” he tells her again, and his heart is breaking. “Couldst
thou return to humble thyself before the Valar, craving pardon for
wrongs which were never thine?” And even as he asks, he looks at her
and knows that it is no question at all, for he knows her too well for
that. She is too proud, too valiant, too stubborn for that.
“Nay.” she answers, and she sighs. “There are some grievances which run
too bitter for atonement.Who can understand that better than I?”
He steps towards her, and taking her hand, he kisses it. Her fingers
are slender and white, strange and unadorned now, without the silver
“Go now,” he whispers, his voice rough with unshed tears. “Take Amroth
and Celebrian, and go to Narvi. And may he guide thee well.”
“He will.” she whispers back, and a tear slips down her cheek like a
bead of glass to rest against the corner of her mouth. “Seek for us in
Greenwood the Great.”
Gently, he leans forward and kisses the tear from the corner of her
mouth. Her eyes stare into him, and he has to turn his face away from
what he sees written there. He kisses her, and his rough warrior's
hands sift through her silken hair. Her arms about his neck, the smooth
curve of her shoulder against his collarbone. Her little hands in his
hair, and her slender body pressed against his own, her lips soft and
sweet, and salty with the taste of their tears.
The Last Ship
He stands upon the quay, his eyes fixed upon that far-off horizon. The
swan-ship bobs gently at her moorings, her golden beak turned eagerly
towards the light. A tiny step, that is all. But still, he hesitates.
What will he find, behind that veil of rain?
The sun sinks lower behind the bank of pink-tinged cloud, and still he
hesitates, lost upon the shores of the impassable sea. He feels,
stronger than he has ever felt it before, the life blood of the earth
pulsing beneath his feet. He feels everything. Every blade of grass,
every drop of rain. He feels the pain of every living thing on this
Middle Earth. The slow torture of overburdened stone. Trees bleeding
beneath the savage axe, sweet, astringent sap falling heavy to the
earth The swans, singing as they die.
How can he leave this? This is the world to him, all that he has ever
known. And for all her faults, he loves this Middle Earth. He loves the
wildness of it, the high, untamed places, the tangled trees in the
darkest reaches of forests where, even now, no foot has ever trod. This
land is mother and father both to him, and child as well. He thinks of
Lorien, his land, his own, grown strong by his nurturing.
All has failed. It is over. There is no place left in this world for
any but men, and he grieves, remembering the bright Noldor of the Eldar
days, their oaths and valour crumbled into dust. Now, only the dark
elves are left, secret and silent, retreating back into the darkness
from whence they came.
The memories of a life age swirl through him. Days before the sun arose
in splendour, before the High Elves came from over the sea, before
Gondolin or Nargothrond was raised and fell, before blood stained the
jeweled caves of Menegroth forver. He remembers Eregion, when it was
the fairest of all the lands in Arda. He remembers tears unnumbered,
and elves piled upon the hill of the slain. He remembers Amroth his
son, with golden hair stirred by the endless wave which covers the
jewels of Calacirya forever. He thinks of Lorien, her golden leaves
fallen now , her light extinguished. The last, dying mallorn standing
naked in the rain.
He thinks of Galadriel, and of Celebrian awaiting him. He steps from
the quayside onto the white stern of the ship, and now he cannot look
at the silver veil of glass, glistening upon the far horizon.