Characters: Galadriel and Celeborn
The war was over, the Ring destroyed. And, slowly but surely, the powers of those lesser rings created by others under Sauron's direction and used to do good were fading, and all their works with them.
And Galadriel, Lady of Lorien, knew that the time had come for her to Sail, and take Nenya with her.
The Lord Celeborn did not agree, and tried to persuade her to remain yet a little longer. But she would not be moved.
"My lady, is such a rush really necessary? You and I are the king and queen of this place, and we still have some power - surely together, we can stave off what is happening for a time?"
"Celeborn, do you not understand what is happening? The age of the Elves is over, and I can no longer protect this place from enemies or from the simple passing of time, as I once did. The trees of the forest will wither and die, and the music of our people will no longer be heard in its groves and clearings."
Celeborn's face twisted, as he tried to deny to himself what his wife was telling him. He could not, in his deepest heart, but neither could he accept it. Finally, he vented his misery as anger.
"Go then, but do not expect me to go with you! I will remain here, with such of our people as choose to remain with me. And I will Sail when I see fit, not when you, or any other, dictates it to me."
On hearing those words, Galadriel left him, to prepare for her imminent departure. She did not remain in her former realm for very much longer before journeying to meet Elrond, and thence to the Grey Havens.
Celeborn remained alone, inescapably aware of the truth of his wife's words, but forbidden by his pride to admit it and follow her. He would not do so until the eleventh hour, when he no longer had the choice. It was a decision that he would come to regret, as it was to weigh heavily upon him before he was finally able to best his pride.
Alone in the Golden Wood, with only a few servants to attend him, he understood the meaning of despair.