He'd Rather Die

It was at times like these, rare as they were, that Celeborn wished he'd have listened to Elu and not cast his lot with the fortunes of the Noldor. One specific Noldo elf in particular. Damn Celebrimbor and his rings! He hadn't even learned from his father's and uncles' histories. These tokens of power did nothing but corrupt and destroy—even elves as strong and well-intentioned as Galadriel and Elrond. All three of the rings should have been given to Mithrandir. Maybe that balrog would have destroyed them all, along with killing the wizard.

He didn't mean that he'd wanted the wizard dead. In fact, he wished fervently for his advice and counsel now.  Galadriel was taking Frodo to her mirror, and she knew she would be tested. Just having that evil thing—the Ring—in Lorien was a test for her. And now, she would have the Halfling alone, with the Ring close enough for her to feel Its call to her, drawn by the power she wielded through her own ring.

Damn Celebrimbor! Damn the Noldor and their forges and their jewels and their insatiable thirst for power! It was for that reason that Celeborn waited near the mirror glade, his sword drawn, with two of his guardians hidden in the tall trees, prepared to shoot to kill. If he couldn't kill her, they would. Then they were to kill him. If she fell, they would both die. He wanted her to die by his hand. This would be his last act of mercy, the last way he could show her he loved her.  He would rather die with her than live without her.

He stood still then. At peace with himself and the beloved land around him. He concentrated on thinking of only how much he loved her, and how strong and wise she was.  How her own need for power was no longer important, it was nothing more than a lingering sensation from her past.

He knew the moment Frodo held the Ring out to her, and he fell to his knees, whispering a quiet mantra of his love for her. He felt as if the whole dark world was turning upside down. He was sure hours had passed while he struggled to breathe, to seek her light, to bypass the evil shadows that now enveloped her. His warriors were tensed, one of them aiming his bow at a spot past his own head, the other aiming at him. He gradually became aware of something other than Galadriel filling his senses. It was lighter, the moon having broken through the dense cloud cover. Or maybe it was a veil that had been lifted, letting him feel the light. And it had. The dark aura that followed the Ring was still there, in Lorien, but it was no longer tempting Galadriel. He knew it now.

He stood, sheathing his sword and motioning to the guardians to stand down. As soon as Galadriel stepped through the opening in the trees, she ran to him, her smile and heart lighter than it had been in millennia. She had refused Frodo. She had passed the test. Would he have passed his?

He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it. He was glad he'd never know.

******

~End~

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