Disclaimer: I do not own Lord of the Rings or Buffy. They belong to their respective gods. I make no profit from any of this.Her Mother’s Daughter
It is on Caradhras that everything goes horribly wrong.
trap them against the unyielding mountainside with numbers too great to overcome. Her companions fight bravely, but they are outnumbered and at the disadvantage. Celebrían, unarmed, is dragged from her horse as her guard is slaughtered all around her.
She struggles valiantly, but it is one against ten, and though she is blessed with the grace and wisdom of the Eldar, Celebrían has not the strength for this. One of her guard stumbles forward, blood seeping through his cloak where a black arrow pierces the flesh of his shoulder. He pulls two yrch
away, yells for her to run, but Celebrían can only watch in frozen horror as an orcish blade slashes through the darkness and rends the elf’s head from his shoulders in a spray of steaming blood.
She is thrown roughly to the ground by her attackers, and her head strikes a rock. She rolls away and tries to stand, choking on blood, and dirt, and fear. There is a sudden, sharp pain in her side and she sees sunspots, although it is quite dark. She falls to her knees before her tormentors, strength failing.
After that, Celebrían prefers not to remember.
There was a time, a lifetime ago and beyond, when once she carried a sword and defended those who could not defend themselves against the burgeoning darkness; a time of bloodshed and violence, of strength and skill.
Celebrían has dreamt of such things since she was but a tiny child, too small to bend a bow.
But it has been centuries since Celebrían wielded a sword, and her graceful hands know not the curve of a bow, and her long skirts catch and tangle when she tries to run. She has forgotten what it means to be a warrior; forgotten her past, forgotten her fate.
Our futures are ever-changing, her mother tells her. Galadriel is very old, and in her lifetime she has known a million possible futures. She sees them form and crumble, sees the words that shape them and the actions that cause them to unravel. She sees the past, too, and the present, and shows these things to whom it pleases her. Galadriel knows of destiny, just as she knows that fate is never fixed.
Her mother’s mirror shows many things, but Celebrían dreams of things not of this world.
She dreams of girls – daughters of men, daughters of demon – who live and die like mayflies, like moths drawn to the flame and dead by morning. She dreams of dark things that dwell beneath the earth and threaten to devour it, and of things and places that do not exist anywhere but in the dreaming.
Her mother knows of these dreams, because her mirror shows her many things, but she does not understand
, because Galadriel, for all her age and wisdom, does not know what it feels like to die a mortal death.
On one of the highest peaks of the Misty Mountains, her twin sons rescue her from certain death.
Her body is healed by her husband’s patient hands, and she is cured of the poison that corrupts her bloodstream. She can walk, and talk, and everything is as it was before.
But something inside of her is broken beyond repair, because once upon a time, Celebrían knew the grip of a bow and the heft of a blade, and now she has forgotten and it has cost her dearly. Her body heals with time, but her strength is gone. If she remains on these shores, she will fade and wither into nothing, and she knows this as surely as she knows her own name.
Her husband knows this too, and tries to console her, tries to heal what even his skilled hands cannot. He holds her close and they both look to the West as the sun peeks over the horizon and a new day dawns.
Celebrían’s body is healed, and the sun rises as it has a million times before, but things have been irrevocably changed
. On Redhorn Pass everything falls apart, and the Lord of Rivendell finds a hurt he cannot heal, and the gwenyn
stop smiling as their sister’s light dims with worry, and Celebrían forgets her own strength.
She will fade very soon if she stays. Her husband knows this. Her children know this. Her kin know this, and her mother, who sees so many things, knows this best of all.
It is not the cry of the gulls that calls her to the sea, but something else for which she has no name. She hears it plain as day, ringing out across the water. It cuts through the fog of grief, and Celebrían knows her time on these shores is over.
So she smiles, and embraces her strong, too-silent sons, and says her last goodbyes to her beloved husband; he will not follow her into the West until his task on Middle Earth is complete. But on her daughter she pauses, because in Arwen, beautiful Arwen, Celebrían sees something of herself that her sons do not possess, and although she does not have her mother’s gift of foresight, there is suddenly a deep certainty in her bones that Arwen will die a mortal death.
“Go well, my daughter,” she whispers as the last rays of sunlight touch down on the wave-washed shores and refract into a million tiny ripples. A million possible futures born in the blink of an eye. “Choose wisely. Do not forget your strength.” She presses a kiss to her daughter’s silken hair, and smiles softly at the bemusement that is plain on Arwen’s face.
Galadriel sees all in her mirror, and begins to understand.
And so Celebrían steps onto the sea, and the ship that is meant to bear her West casts off as the sun disappears beneath the horizon, and this is proper, she thinks, because it is truly into the dark she sails.
She will not reach the Undying Lands at the end of this voyage. Of this Celebrían is certain. Her destination lies somewhere between sunset and sunrise, an ocean away, in the dream of a dream of a waking dream.
There is a strength within her like she has never known before, but once forgot and now remembers. Her graceful hands grip the ship's rail and remember the heft of a sword, and the moon rises and lights a burning path across the water, and the whole ocean is her mirror in which a thousand mortal girls live and die, and there is pain and strength and glory.
And so two paths lie before Celebrían, daughter of Galadriel, as her present fades away into the past and only her futures remain before her. To the West, the Undying Lands. And the other -
She is her mother's daughter. Her rebellion will not be forgiven lightly.