We share an unexpected final feast with the Lady Galadriel and the Lord Celeborn. I find myself with little appetite, in the presence of the Lady of Light. My memory of her power and fury within the confines her private garden dims and all but vanishes, in this moment. Her resplendent beauty fills my thoughts, and my heart.
Lord Celeborn imparts his counsel on the path to follow, for those repairing to Minas Tirith, more particularly to Boromir and those who would travel with him. I am all too well aware my own journey does not continue to the White City. Yet, still I do not know when I shall separate myself from the Company, or even how to tell them. I push the decision away, again.
The Lady Galadriel shares with each of us, in turn, a drink from the cup of parting, then announces she prepared farewell gifts for the Company and desires now to present them. Already she has given so much; what more could she offer?
Aragorn is addressed first, as the leader of the Company. The elegant silver brooch presented him sports a gem of remarkable green, the like of which never have I seen before. She calls him by a title new to me, Elessar, the Elfstone of the house of Elendil. Years roll off his shoulders, and I fancy I glimpse of the king my heart whispers him to be.
To Boromir, she gives a golden belt; its craft and beauty worthy of a son of noble birth. Merry and Pippin receive silver belts with daggers; I hope, I know in vain, they’ll never need to use their gifts. Legolas receives a Galadhrim’s bow, with a quiver of arrows; I know of no other more deserving.
Dear Sam, clearly do I recognize his discomfort in the presence of the Lady. Some corner of his heart wishes for a dagger such as Merry and Pippin’s, yet he is not truly disappointed by the bit of rope presented him. He’s lamented his lack of it since leaving Rivendell.
Sam’s gift of a simple box of dirt, from the Lady’s orchard, tears at my heart; so what the mirror revealed is true. Perhaps not now, but it will be, if I fail, or have I failed already? My heart quails, and I shiver in the warm afternoon sun.
Gimli surprises and delights the Lady, with his humble request. Our gruff, battle-hardened Dwarf is wholly unable to hide his adoration for the gracious Lady. His admiration grows with every passing moment. Without net or trap, she captured his enduring veneration and bestows the desire of his heart, a single strand of her golden hair, three fold.
Finally, she stands before me. I cannot conceive what gift she might grant me; I long only for the task before me to be over. Her words warm my heart. How does one capture the light of a star in a crystal phial? The light flares and glows between us, and I see again the Lady of the garden, though now she is not terrible to behold. Words fail me, as I bow in gratitude.
She sings us farewell, and though it is beautiful, comfort escapes me. At last we are on our way, leaving fair Lothlórien and the Lady of Light behind...