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Serving Gondor  by Larner


            As Andred, her mother, and her friends Norien and Gilriel prepared to head down through the city to the Second Circle once more, the doors to the Citadel were opened, allowing the King and Queen and several of their guests to come forth.  Lanriel paused, her eyes on the White Tree.  “Oh!” she exclaimed.  “Look—it is beginning to bloom!”

            Merry’s smile widened.  “Of course!” he answered.  “It always does on April sixth.  Same with the mallorn tree in the Party Field, there below the Hill in Hobbiton.  The flowers always begin to open on Sam’s birthday, and cease blooming on Frodo’s in late September.  They are both Elven trees, you must remember.” 

            He and Pippin exchanged looks and began turning toward the King’s party, which was heading for the White Tree.  “We should join them,” Pippin said.  “If you will excuse us….”

            The rest of the Hobbits from about the Court of Gathering were already headed toward the Tree, all growing visibly excited.  Gilriel commented, “It appears all intend to meet beneath the tree as it blooms.”

            “Meet?” said Merry.  “I should say so!  Sam will be under the Mallorn by now, and I’ll wager that Frodo spent all night sleeping beneath the White Tree of Tol Eressëa last night so as to watch the first blossoms open.  He always loved a good reason to sleep under the stars, you see, and to watch the flowers bloom.”

            He glanced at his cousin.  “Shall we join them, Captain Peregrin?”

            Pippin’s smile grew to match Merry’s.  “Oh, yes, Sir Meriadoc—indeed!  It is, after all, time to pay our respects.”

            As the four women reached the top of the ramp down to the Sixth Circle, they paused and turned as one, looking at the now large party gathered beneath the canopy of the White Tree of Gondor.  All were looking at their Lord King Elessar expectantly, and he smiled as he stepped forward, matched by Merry and Pippin Took, to lay their hands together on the trunk of the tree. 

            And it appeared that two more figures, one golden and the other outlined by the color of mithril, joined them, as if from a far distance….

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