Road Leads to the Lady, Part II



(( This part of story has been written together with Norliriel. ~*~ is a divider to mark the point of view.))

Elvealin looked at Norliriel with curiosity, and to her it looked like she was relaxed, which was well considering how strained she seemed to have been after she had seen her training with Fingolrin in the art of sword fighting. But as Fingolrin had said, he would not go overly rough with her, and neither keep her in soft cotton.

Then the news and requests to the Lady came back into her mind. ”It seems you found up here. Is everything fine?” she said. Norliriel nodded. ”I need to talk to the Lady. Do you wish to join me?” Norliriel answered: ”If I would be allowed…” Elvealin thought for a moment. ”She has seen me before… I could introduce you as a friend. I'm guessing that she would be interested in the news about our errand as well…”

Norliel's mind seemed to go in her old memories as she said: ”She has seen me before also, at least from afar. In Eregion…” Elvealin nodded and turned towards the door of her parents' house, saying: ”Much that was thought lost still lives here…” and slowly started to walk away from it. Norliriel followed her.

Elvealin stopped for a moment as she reached a familiar gazebo, with a happy memory flickering in her eyes. She turned to Norliriel and said: ”This was the place where a small celebration was held for the recovery of Lord Anglachelm.” Norliriel looked interested, but she would tell more about it later. For now they kept walking upwards, towards the largest mallorn in the heart of Caras Galadhon. The path entwining it's majestic stature was leading ever higher.

”Not far now…” Elvealin said as she saw Norliriel looking at the Mallorn with a respect on her face as they started ascending.

Norliriel entrusted her sword to the guard, since it would have not been polite to carry a weapon in the presence of the Lady. Elvealin turned to her. ”Are you expecting anything from her?” ”With one such as her, it is wisest to approach without expectations,” she answered.

Elvealin said: ”Indeed. She can feel your emotions and see into your thoughts. Coming with good intentions is enough… she knows a pure heart when she sees one.”

They knelt before the Lord and Lady, and Norliriel bowed her head in respect as Elvealin started: ”Greetings, Lord and Lady. We have come with the regards from our group… and Lord Anglachelm of Vanimar. Next to me is Norliriel, a friend of mine.”

The Lady looked at her and spoke not a word, but her ósanwë was reaching her mind instead, and she heard: ”Greetings, Elvealin. I have already heard what the your quest is. I have received a letter from Manadhlaer, which came with a bird.” For a while, she looked to be at loss. She was unaware that communications were being had before. ”I do have a counsel for your course.”

”But as for yourself, I see that you have ran into the estrangement which the Doom of Noldor is causing still. But my mother was not one of the Noldor, either.” Then Elvealin saw the Lady smiling warmly, and then she realized. She was partially a Noldo like herself, yet she was called Lady of the Noldor, and in Endor she had outlasted all of her brothers and cousins. Despite the sorrows which she had encountered, she was still high in her spirit.

And last Galadriel told her: ”You do know your own strength, Elvealin, and so do I. Deny it no more!” Elvealin felt like she was filled with warmth, like a flower that had been long watered with rains of strange waters but was now feeling the familiarity of sunlight, which source was the Lady, and so she smiled back at her.

Then Lady Galadriel turned to Norliriel.

~*~

Thus, as Norliriel raised her head again, she met the eyes of the Lady of Lórien that shone as with the light of countless stars. She felt herself pierced by that gaze, laid bare to the core, yet there was no sense of violation in this.

For as Galadriel saw her, Norliriel in turn saw Galadriel, and beheld compassion - a kind heart, not so different from her own, yet unfathomably greater and higher. For a moment, the eyes of the Lady, ablaze with the light of Aman, reminded her of her own mother. Norliriel felt herself smile, subtly so, more with her fëa than with her lips.

She heard the voice of the White Lady within her mind, deep and resounding as a bronze bell and yet as the whisper of leaves - "You carry great sorrow and greater fear. Still, you have heeded my counsel, and seek what is within the darkened woods. But what may you find?"

"Your counsel, Lady? I do not understand. I saw no bird return with your message, nor did Manadhlaer bring any word of it." In her confusion, Norliriel replied out loud.

Lady Galadriel responded, mind to mind - "Even unknowingly, you went forth to walk that selfsame path. It may be then, that this is the path you must go. Yet to what end, even I cannot fully foresee." Norliriel sensed that this was no counsel, but an insight. The choice to see their quest to its end would still be theirs; the Lady would not force nor hinder them.

~*~

Elvealin now started to understand what had transpired with the letter. She heard Lady Galadriel speaking audibly to both: ”Manadhlaer… I remember her from the earlier days, from Doriath. What more can you tell about her?”

Norliriel answered all she could, speaking of Manadhlaer's work as a gatherer and sharer of songs, and as a healer and caretaker of living things. She even spoke of her all too brief happiness at the side of Themodir of Gondolin, the gallant silver dancer, and of her widowhood that would not end this side of the sea. "Manadhlaer and Themodir were like unto a single flame springing from two candles. How could a cruel wind have blown out the one without quenching the other? Yet Manadhlaer still endures, and the flame of her kindness no grief could touch. Ever she seeks to give comfort more than to receive it."

No tear fell from Norliriel's eyes as she recounted this, and she allowed no cry of anguish to escape her lips, such was her respect for the Lady. Rather she spoke in a calm and gentle voice, yet with eyes full of sorrow, and vivid with love and esteem for the one she spoke of. The gaze of the Lady rested upon her while she did so, and it seemed as if she was hearing more than Norliriel was saying in words.

Lady Galadriel smiled upon Norliriel. ”I see that she has done what I requested, even to this day. Perhaps I could write her a letter – a personal one besides the one I've already sent back to Imladris. But it is for the best that I will not give it to you, yet.” She looked at Norliriel intently. ”But it will be for you to give, Norliriel, because I see what she means to you. Return to me once you have found the ingredient that you're looking for.” Norliriel knelt before Lady Galadriel, smiling up at her, overwhelmed with gratitude.

Norliriel and Elvealin knelt before Galadriel and asked for a leave to be dismissed. When they were out of the immediate sight of Lord and Lady, Elvealin said to Norliriel: ”She must have faith in you, else she wouldn't ask you to deliver the letter.” Norliriel said nothing, perhaps still pondering things inside her heart.

As they were back at the fountain of Celúrlin, Elvealin felt Norliriel's touch on her shoulder, and heard her thanking her. ”It is Lady that you should be thanking. I have mainly been one of her handmaidens,” Elvealin said back, and after the pleasant meeting they went on with their own preparations.

Dictionary:

Ósanwë = Telepathy (Quenya)

Endor = Middle-Earth (Quenya)

Fëa = Spirit (Quenya)