Author note: The rebuilt city of Annúminas and the choosing of its steward are from my story “The Rings of Evendim”.
The White Tree of Annúminas
The sun had not yet risen over the sleeping city when three people approached the large fountain that stood near the royal residence above the Brandywine River. A gentle mist from the fountain filled the air and touched their faces before falling gently onto a plot of carefully-prepared ground.
The steward of Annúminas, Cîrbarad son of Halbarad, stepped barefoot and bareheaded onto the damp earth. After a moment of reverent silence, he spoke in a ringing voice:
“Yavanna Kementári, sweet singer of all growing things, far to the south a noble king of men has come into his inheritance after many trials and testings. He respects the land, lends strength and justice to the vulnerable, and carries the thanks of his people to the ancient hallow. He honors the past and embraces the future. He is the bridge between the days of the Eldar and the time of Men. Here in the north where he was born, the King now returns, and the people acknowledge him. To this city many are gathering and will find a home. All who cherish peace are welcome. On their behalf, I greet you.”
He motioned, and a hobbit came forward, his eyes shining. He carried a small package.
“Here is Samwise the stouthearted, hero of the West and gardener of renown, in whose heart your song is alive.”
As Cîrbarad spoke, Sam carefully unwrapped many layers of cloth and moist soil to reveal something lying within.
“Our King brings a treasure to leave in your care,” Cîrbarad continued. “Behold the scion of Nimloth, scion of Celeborn, scion of Galthilion, in memory of Telperion the blessed of Valinor. As in the south, it is our hope that what takes root and blooms in this place will remind us always of what was, and what is, and what ever shall be: the power of your song, the resilience of life, and the endurance of beauty. Bless and hallow this fruit, Queen of the Earth, as the King transfers it to your protection.”
At his words, King Elessar Telcontar, also bare of foot and bareheaded, came to join Cîrbarad and Sam. Sam handed him the small fruit, then he and Cîrbarad stepped back a few paces. Elessar knelt, and lifted the fruit to his lips. He whispered a few words that neither Cîrbarad nor Sam understood, then pushed it into the soft ground.
“Not too deep, sir,” Sam whispered.
Elessar smiled, nodding, and patted the earth gently over the fruit. As he did so, the first rays of the sun caught the misted air in a brilliance that caused Sam to clap his hands and laugh with delight. Cîrbarad, seeing his beloved sovereign enveloped in a shower of sparkling light, felt that his heart might burst with joy. At their feet, nestled in the rich, moist ground, life stirred and quickened. And the King, sensing an approving Presence among them that he could not see, bowed his head in gratitude.
** END **