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Author: Rhapsody
Title: Five Voices: Vignette 3, A voice of Wisdom
Theme: Young/Old Pairing
Elements: : plain, curious, shy, tall, sharp
Author's Notes: This is also a story I wanted to gift to Dreamflower, who made a personal request at my LJ last summer. Her personal request was: which Elves left with Sam? What did they think of him? Thank you Dreamflower, for being such a great friend over the many years we know each other.
Beta: Many thanks to Pandemoniom and Moreth at the Lizard Council for the meticulous nit picking! Special thank you for wenont who helped me with polishing and kept me company while I was editing.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Samwise Gamgee lived an unique life, meeting many people from different races and ages. But what did the elves who met this hobbit think of him?
Word Count:1827 words
Word Count so far:3557 words



Adjective used: plain

Something needed to happen, that much he knew as Celeborn descended the stairs to seek out the weaving masters. The usual murmur of birds, the sounds and songs of the Galadhrim at work, and the rustling of the trees, had seeped away from these woods the moment the eight walkers had entered this realm. The closer the company journeyed to the heart of his country, the more it seemed as if a dark presence tried to spread through the trees. He had perceived it instantly; the grief they carried within their hearts drowned out everything else, and he knew it was the mighty jewel that tried to overpower the one Galadriel carried. Elrond had warned them about what would come their way. Celeborn felt relieved that it had not diminished the power source of this realm once the Ringbearer crossed the boundaries. He knew that both the bearer and Nenya would do everything to keep the evil from spreading. Yet Celeborn could imagine how his people would sense this strife. Forewarned and standing strong, his spouse remained unperturbed by these sudden changes. Galadriel had gazed down upon the visitors with her usual demeanour; a gentle smile on her lips, her hands clasped in front of her, and her eyes betraying no emotion.

As he paused a moment before his feet met the forest floor, he sensed the sudden shift of energy that washed over him; the sombre undertone that had reverberated through the trees shortly before, was now replaced by silver sounds and songs of mourning. Celeborn imagined that many had retreated to their living quarters, turning inward in reflection, once the news the travellers brought quickly spread.

He knew there was much to consider, even though Galadriel had her own thoughts regarding this quest. He felt troubled by what he had seen, and gleaned more insight from the reactions of the eight remaining travellers while he spoke to them. Some responded in an unsettled manner, as Galadriel seemed to look into their hearts, leaving him to study their outward appearances.

Yes, there had been grief in their eyes, but in several, something else lingered beneath the surface of conscious thought. Aragorn appeared to be deeply troubled, whereas the younger man next to him, Boromir, did not dare a look at either Celeborn or Galadriel as he shifted uneasily in place. Legolas, as always, appeared quite at ease; his arms crossed in front of his chest while he tilted his head attentively, listening to one of his companions answering our curtsies at that moment. Thranduil’s son had nothing to hide from Galadriel that much was written in his eyes.

And that grumbling dwarf next to him. After so many years living with painful memories, she offered the first kind words to him - and indirectly, his kindred. Even though Gimli’s people had been responsible for his beloved liege lord’s death in Doriath, Celeborn also knew that she was right; it was time to forgive.

As for the four hobbits, the differences among them amused him; the fidgety Pippin, the curious Merry and ah, the haunted Frodo who already felt quite burdened by his quest. Then there was Samwise, plain looking and unsettled, clearly showing that he was not quite certain what to think of it all.

There was no doubt; the situation was as dire as his wife had predicted. Every action committed by one of the eight travellers would be of great influence upon the others. He was left with the responsibility of equipping them properly with well-chosen gifts. All would be items that would aid or guide them through the difficulties ahead. How much more could Frodo take, after all that happened in Moria? Would all of his friends stay beside him? Such loyalty and courage to face such dire times was not a given for everyone. Especially in this company. No matter how loyal Merry and Pippin might be, either their curiosity or bravery could get in their way. Celeborn perceived that Samwise could make a difference. Where Boromir did all but not look at them, the young hobbit met his gaze unwaveringly. To him, it appeared that Samwise was not easy to disturb, as he just stood there modestly behind his master, with a grateful look in his eyes, yet steadfast as a rock in a stormy sea. Of course, the lad blushed when his wife gazed down on him; Celeborn suspected that Samwise was braver than the young hobbit ever would let on.

Celeborn continued to walk across the lawn that stretched out in front of him. Once he reached the other side, where the forest path would bring him to the weaving masters, he halted in his steps for a moment to rest his hands on one of his beloved mallorn-trees. Over the ages, the two different breeds came together here in Lothlorien. The younger saplings came from Tol Eressea, and the elder mellyrn came from Gondolin which had barely survived the fall of ancient city. It was Gil-galad who had brought the saplings of the younger breed here. But it had been Idril who had entrusted the young Gondolindrim saplings to his wife, who had then nurtured them into their fullness. This sorrowful parting between his wife and her cousin had happened before Idril and her spouse sailed west. To him and his beloved, the trees would always remind him what had passed, either happy or sad. He had agreed with Galadriel’s plan to gift Samwise some soil and seeds, even though he was not sure if it was a wise plan overall. So much was at stake, now that Mithrandir had perished, and even the slightest action of the eight that were left could disturb the balance in a devastating manner. However, if the Ringbearer were to be successful in the future, the trees needed a caretaker after his kind left for the undying lands.

With a deep sigh, the elf withdrew his hand from the tree and stepped onto the forest path. Then he halted, a faint mumble reaching him. It sounded like someone was talking to the mellyrn in quite an affectionate manner. For a moment, he stood there poised, not certain if he could discern whom he heard talking to the trees, because it did happen occasionally in this realm. Then he realised why this particular person caught his attention; it was the way in which the voice spoke to the trees, in a tone so beguiling, and how they responded to it in wonder.

As he came closer, Celeborn paused and smiled when he saw Samwise Gamgee touching a tree, while he looked up in wonder towards the golden-leaved canopy.

“It must appear like a crown of leaves,” the elf lord said kindly. “I heard from many of first visitors who have stood there before you, having looked in wonder and expressed it to me in these words.”

The young man looked as if he was caught stealing cookies, and stepped away from the tree, while a fierce blush graced his cheeks. He nearly stumbled over the roots.

“I didn’t mean to overstep my bounds here, Lord.” Samwise said after he found his balance again, 'Tis just that I have never seen such trees before and Frodo said he sensed something. I was just curious what they felt like!”

“I surely can understand that wonder, Samwise, for these trees have become a rarity amongst their kind, having seen and survived so much. Did you sense anything?” Celeborn asked, and observed in amusement how the Halfling looked up at the trees again with respect.

“I might have, I did feel something pulsing beneath the bark, yet from what I gather, I should not even feel such a thing because the sapwood shouldn’t be that close to the surface. Not with this massive trunk size. Back in the Shire, we have foresters and they have told me that there are species that grow tall and old, yet they do not look this ancient! They must have been well cared for here,” Samwise answered as he touched the tree once more in reverence, and Celeborn managed to suppress a chuckle. It pleased him to see Samwise in his element now.

“As much as we can. However, as you know, the trees can do for themselves. They do not need much aid from us to thrive here.” It was then that it dawned on Celeborn as to the why Galadriel had chosen Samwise to gift the seeds and soil of this realm; it was not only the obvious love for nature, and the loyalty to his master that spoke to Samwise's good character. It was also a different sense of purpose. A few might discern, but from what others told him, and from what had seen himself, Samwise had another destiny, one that would surpass this quest should the hobbit survive the ordeal to come. Yes, he now fully agreed with Galadriel that Samwise would be the perfect Guardian for the mellyrn. Even though Samwise might not realise fully, Galadriel’s intended gift would be of great importance, for he would become the guardian of their beloved trees. But how could he assure that Samwise could survive the quest and hopefully, beyond?

As both stood beneath the mellyrn, Celeborn realized that Samwise had continued to talk about all he knew, regarding gardening and forest lore. He reprimanded himself that he was an inattentive host to this guest.

“Would you care to accompany me for a little while longer, Samwise?” Celeborn offered and, as he expected, Samwise accepted gladly. He listened while Samwise continued to talk about his knowledge of roses and petunias. Patiently, he shook his head and hummed in accordance, enjoying the earthiness of this curious hobbit. Giving gifts was an important task, and he did not take it lightly. He had seen, all too often, how such well-intended gestures could lead to someone’s doom. A helm or a sword would not suit him. Nay, for a plain hobbit as Samwise was, it needed to be more practical. Something to hold on to if they ended up in dire straits.

As they walked through a small field of elanor, Celeborn decided that his first stop would be at the rope maker’s quarters. It was a simple gift. Perhaps he could arrange it thusly that Samwise would get it in a way that he wouldn’t think of it as a mighty gift. For Celeborn suspected that Samwise would not use it all too often if that were the case. A plan formed in his mind and with the fluid grace he still possessed, he knelt down to say goodbye for the moment. “Enjoy your stay, Samwise Gamgee, and may your time here bring the reprieve you will need for now. But do satisfy your curiosity, for the knowledge gained shall be of great importance one day.”

“I shall Lord Celeborn and thank you for your company,” Samwise answered politely, and after the young hobbit bowed to him, Celeborn could see to his task with surety purpose.

Author notes:
As some might have noticed, in this vignette I described that the mellyrn of Lothlórien have two different origins: from Gondolin and Tol Eressëa. Such notion is not strange in canon, since in Tolkien’s world, mellyrn also grew in Gondolin. For this I happily refer to Unfinished Tales:

It may be noted that later mentions of mallorns in Númenor, Lindon, and Lothlórien do not suggest, though they do not deny, that those trees flourished in Gondolin in the Elder Days (see pp. 175-6)
From Unfinished Tales, Part one, the First Age, 1. Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin, Note 31.

As to who gave the fruit of Tol Eressëa to Galadriel:

Its fruit was a nut with a silver shale; and some were given as gift by Tar-Aldarion, the sixth King of Númenor, to King Gil-galad of Lindon. They did not take root in that land; but Gil-galad gave some to his kinswoman Galadriel, and under her power they grew and flourished in the guarded land of Lothlórien beside the River Anduin, until the High Elves at last left Middle-earth; but they did not reach the height or girth of the great groves of Númenor.
From Unfinished Tales, From part two: the second age, I description of the island of Númenor.

Special words used:
Mellyrn and mallorn-trees:

mallorn, plural mellyrn, the trees of Lothlórien.
From: The Silmarillion, Index, entry -orn.

and
Alas! for Lothlorien. It would be a life far from the mellyrn. But if there are mallorn-trees beyond the Sea none have reported it.'
From: History of Middle-earth, IX, Sauron Defeated, chapter XII. Lothlorien.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
ceshaughnessy
Jun. 6th, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, how wonderful to see this story from our "Young/Old" challenge! That one was one of my favorites. Thank you for finishing it and sharing it with us!!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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