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23
Fragility

25. Lothlórien: “She knelt on the floor, carefully picking up the shards of glass. Why did it have to be this one that broke?”
Galadriel, Celeborn, the children of Elrond and Celebrían


~~~

Fragility


She knelt on the floor, carefully picking up the shards of glass. Why did it have to be this one that broke? True, she had many phials in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. But this one had just been given her by her daughter Celebrían, and she’d found it particularly pleasing—a delicate green glass, shaped like the shell of the moon snail, one that not only brought to mind the giver but also days long past when she’d rejoiced to spend hours at a time along the sandy shores south of Alqualondë, in the days before the slaying of the Trees.

She picked up the last shard she could, and the slivers of glass she’d gathered lay in the palm of her hand, sparkling in the sun. Down on the lawn at the foot of the mallorn in which she dwelt she could hear Arwen and her brothers, talking and laughing. These three had chosen to accompany their mother here on her visit to the land over which her parents now ruled; and when she had left the Golden Wood to return to her husband and her home, Elladan, Elrohir, and Arwen had chosen to remain behind for a season, delighting in the depth of peace that covered Lothlórien.

She smiled to hear the young people at their talk—until….

She could hear the cries of dismay from her grandsons, and the corresponding lack of any sound at all from her granddaughter. Yea, they too had felt the shock that had touched her own fëa! Their naneth—her beloved Celebrían—she was under attack! In the glimmer on the glass she held she could see the assault—orcs and wargs and at least one troll and even dark-visaged Men were overwhelming the troop of Elves that guarded Elrond’s lady wife as they descended the path from the Redhorn Gate! They’d lain in ambush, awaiting them. The guards were felled from above by rolled and thrown stones and by arrows and spears that fell upon them with no warning; Celebrían and her maidens were drawing their own swords and knives—those who knew how to wield them, at least—but had no chance against the superior numbers that descended upon them. Celebrían herself swung her blade, and the head of a great Uruk rolled to the feet of her horse; but then a stone thrown from above took her in the temple----

And she could see no more!

Roars of rage and grief rose from her grandsons, and already the warriors of Caras Galadhon were boiling out of their homes, descending precipitously from their flets to gather near to Elrond and Celebrían’s sons and daughter.

And down from his tower study descended Celeborn, his face white with shock. He looked from the doorway across the room at where his wife knelt still beneath the window in which she displayed her collection of phials. “What have you seen?” he demanded of her.

Galadriel realized that she’d clenched her hand in the throes of her vision. She opened it to display the bloody shards of the shell bottle she’d been gathering. “It is our daughter—the forces of Darkness—they have taken her!”

Never, she thought, had she seen her husband’s face look so fragile.

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