Title: Taking Root
Author Name: Linda Hoyland
Prompt: “Write or create art in which a character plants something. (What she or he plants can be literal or metaphorical!)”
Mortality, change, growth are key elements to define the different race in Middle-earth. Write a story or create art where these topics play a central role.
Summary: Aragorn plants the new White Tree.
Author's Notes: 500 word FLF. For Shirebound on her birthday
A prequel to my story "The White Tree."
Aragorn carried the sapling as carefully as one might carry a new- born babe. In his heart, it indeed represented his future hopes of children, as well as the land he yearned to see blossom under his rule.
The guards in the Court of the Fountain at first looked aghast when he ordered them to uproot the withered tree and bear it to the Rath Dinen. Their grim expressions relaxed into smiles, though, when they beheld the new sapling.
They looked even more horrified, though, when he requested a spade be brought and he rolled up his sleeves and began to turn over the earth with it in preparation for planting the sapling. Nothing could spoil the joyous mood Aragorn was in that day. He grinned at them and said, “I engaged in far more arduous labours during my long years as a Ranger. Becoming King has not rendered me entirely helpless!”
A small crowd had gathered to see what was happening in the usually serene Court of the Fountain. Aragorn ignored them and concentrated on his labours. Although the old tree had withered and died many years ago, the soil had been as lovingly tended as if it were yet alive. It was rich and fertile. Any weeds that had dared to grow there had swiftly been uprooted. The precious sapling should thrive and flourish in such a spot. Aragorn thought. Maybe he should have asked Samwise Gamgee to help him plant it. Unlike the Hobbit, Aragorn was not renowned for his gardening skills. But no, this tree was the symbol of Elendil’s line- his line. It was fitting that his should be the hands that planted it here as had Isildur’s hands planted its forebear.
Aragorn knelt and placed the sapling tenderly in the ground then arranged the soil around the roots with his bare hands. Around him, the crowd murmured and gasped. He could hear Gandalf chuckling softly beside him
Once satisfied with his handiwork, Aragorn stood up and turned to address the crowd, “Behold your new White Tree!” he said. “Long it lay hidden in a secret Hallow. Now may it flourish and blossom in the sight of all!”
The crowd cheered.
Aragorn stepped back and turned around again to contemplate the freshly planted tree. It was wondrous fair to behold. The leaves sparkled like pure mithril, reflected in the droplets from the fountain.
For the first time that day, Aragorn felt a pang of regret for his impulsiveness. Maybe he should have asked the other members of the Fellowship to watch him plant the tree, not to mention his Steward. Instead, apart from Gandalf only a handful of guards and passers-by had seen what he hoped would be a turning point in Gondor’s history. No matter, though, he would be able to surprise them with the new sapling.
Aragorn continued to gaze at the tree. In his mind’s eye, he saw it covered with blossom, as if adorned to greet the coming of his bride.