Title: A Garden for Gondor
Fandom: Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit
A/N: This is based off of Keira Marcos’s “Beads on Her Feet”. When the story gets posted, I’ll put the correct link in there. Otherwise? It’s on her Facebook. If you haven’t gotten one, get one. Just to read EAD
The marriage of Aragorn, Elessar Telconta and Arwen Undómiel was feted throughout the land. Their love shown with every action and deed they exchanged. Three years after their union was celebrated by middle Earth, the welcomed a son. The line of succession was assured.
In time, Arwen Undómiel went to her king and brought to him news. She was nurturing new life yet again. The king was overjoyed. Gondar was just confused.
From the personal diary of Faramir, Steward.
“It is time to plan on another child,” Arwen told her husband as they got ready for bed one night. She was rubbing a hand over her breast, right above her heart.
Aragorn looked up from his book and smiled at the sight of his wife. She was beautiful on a level that took his breath daily. Motherhood had only ripened that beauty, made it meter if possible. Now, she was offering to bear another child “A’mael, beloved, I would be honored to plan another child with you.”
The smile that crossed his wife’s face was full of fierce joy. He was a good father to Eldarion, and he loved his son with all he had. Welcoming another child? The thought of a new babe made his heart beat with want.
“Good. We have much planning to do before our next child can be welcomed into the world. For I do not want to be pregnant again. Most uncomfortable. Bella was right, pregnancy is not civilized at all,” Arwen told him as she loosely wove her hair into a plait and tied off the end.
Aragon stopped and considered that statement. After almost forty years on Middle Earth he knew there were two ways for a child to be born. In the world of Men, the only method he had seen was the one where a child was born from their mother. For Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits, children were nurtured in special nursery gardens maintained by their families.
“You were almost too young to be part of the effort, but do you remember the welcoming for the heirs to Erebor?” Arwen asked him. Her eyes were turned inward and Aragorn knew she was thinking of something she had seen in her long life.
He had nowhere near as many memories to sort through, but the king settled back to think. He had been very young when Thorin II had announced the arrival of his first children. His spouse was… Frodo’s Aunt. He had met the young Hobbit in Rivendell when he and three of his kin had traveled to the Last Homely House to conduct a trade deal between the Hobbits and the Elves.
Bella Baggins had been the Ring bearer who had managed to destroy the One Ring before going home. There, she had grown the king his sons, in her garden. And when the Hobbits had moved back to their ancestral lands by Erebor, she had shared the secret of her feat with the Dwarves and Elves equally. It had lead to a population explosion for both peoples.
“Where will we be placing the nursery bed?” he asked carefully.
“Below the White Tree. The ground is fertile, the Tree will help guard our children and will help connect them to Gondar itself.” She told him.
The king nodded. Of course the nursery bed would be there.
The thing is, we had no idea what the Queen meant when she said that she would be planting a garden in the spring. The Citadel has space for a Queen’s garden and it even has plants in it. It’s a nice space, well protected, secluded even! With lots of light, water and the soil is very nice from what one of the gardeners told me when he was questioned about its suitability.
Queen Arwen didn’t want that space though. She was bound and determined to have her garden right at the base of the White Tree. It had once been thought to be dead, or at best dormant while my father had been Steward. There had been no leaves, no flowers, no sign of life from the Tree in my lifetime and we set guards on it and left it at that. Until it started to flower when our King assumed the throne. Now, the tree is lush and bursting with life.
I found myself very interested in what was going to happen.
From the personal diary of Faramir, Steward
“Come, my husband. We need to go visit the royal treasury,” Arwen ran a finger down his arm and Aragorn shivered. His wife was rarely coy or flirtatious. She didn’t have to be. Whatever room she was in, Arwen Undómiel had his attention no matter what was happening around him.
“The treasury? I thought you wanted to plant the nursery garden?” Aragon asked as he turned to head towards the series of rooms that held the collected inheritance of his family. The Stewards of Gondor had carefully hoarded every bit of material that had survived the sundering of Númenor and the madness of Isildur. He had looked into the rooms and made a mental note to explore one day. It seemed that that day had arrived.
Arwen glanced at him as she glided down the hallway to their destination. “Isildur was descendant of my Uncle Elros. He would have brought with him the method of sowing heartseeds. Father stated that Uncle and his wife had four children by this method. He would have gifted his brother with suitable cradle material to support and protect his kin as they grew.”
“Oh. What are we looking for?” the king asked as he pulled the door open. Stepping into the anteroom, the former Ranger stared at the wealth of his ancestors. There was a very great deal of stuff hidden away from prying eyes. “My ancestors were magpies.”
The silvery bells of his wife’s laughter spilled out and Aragorn smiled at it. When she trailed off, he stared at her in question, hoping for an answer. “We are looking for a woven blanket. Pure glowing silver, it will have no decoration but the quality of its make. There might be a maker’s mark on it and it would be stamped with my father’s sigil on it though. There should also be a shovel and trowel set made of the same silver with my grandfather’s sigil in the handles.”
“Pure, glowing silver? Arwen, this wouldn’t happen to be the same silver that comes from Moria, would it?” Aragorn asked as he started looking at all the displays. There was an awful lot of stuff in the room.
“Mmmm. Yes, it is.”
“What are you doing in here?” snapped a slightly reedy voice as they entered the second room of the treasury. “You aren’t supposed to be here. I’m going to call the guard!”
Arwen stopped and stared at the man blocking her way. He was neither short nor tall, but more of an average height, with brown hair and eyes. He didn’t look to be clever or stupid, just average, unassuming. Cocking her eyebrow at him, she stepped around him and started down the aisle again. There was a glint down the way that was catching her attention.
“You can’t be in here,” the man repeated and reached out a hand to grab her.
“And why can’t my lady wife be in here? Actually, why are you in here?” Aragorn asked as he stood behind the man. Arwen snorted softly and decided to ignore the male posturing thing her Estel was doing. As her grandmother had told her many times, indulging males when they went overprotective was useful at times.
Moving swiftly through the room, she went from display to display, moving back in time the further into the series of rooms she went. There were more and more artifacts with accents from Númenor on display, with the royal house’s embalm featured prominently. Running her fingers over the surface a trunk, she paused. Woven into the vines decorating the top of the piece were the elvish sigils for gardening.
Her breath caught and Arwen reached out and carefully lifted the lid to look inside. There was a bundle of oilcloth resting in the depths. Reaching out, the queen pulled the mass out. There was a solid core in there and she set it on the ground before closing the lid. Grasping the edge of the ancient fabric, she started unwinding it.
It was a struggle to not flap the fabric like a washerwoman shaking out a sheet. She wanted what was in the center of the package. But if it wasn’t the tools she was looking for, it might be fragile and there was so very little that had actually survived from her Uncle’s days that she didn’t want to take the chance. Finally, the last fold was moved and the objects she had been looking for were revealed. The ancient symbol of her Grandfather’s house shown on the handles and Arwen smiled at the sight.
The Queen had found part of what she required to ‘garden’ in the far achieves. I had been through there as a young child and still remember how overwhelmed I was at all the history that was stored there. Far more than my father or my teachers had introduced me to. My brother and I lost many hours in there, with him playing with the armor and weapons and me exploring the more personal items left behind. Not that I didn’t play with the swords too, but even then, I knew I wasn’t to be the warrior he was.
When the Queen came out with the spade and trowel cradled in her arms, I thought the court was going to have a collective fit. And funny though it might be, it wouldn’t be good in the long run if she beat them to death with the tools. Most of the court had no idea what she meant when she said she was going to be working the soil and were scandalized when she started digging at the roots of the White Tree.
The King made no bones about how much he didn’t care what they thought. After five years running the kingdom, it seems that Aragorn had finally picked up the indifference to scandal that a king needs to project. The Queen had come to us, already so equipped. It was interesting. When Aragorn sent to Rivendell for something, the gossips really got into a tizzy. Why they thought the Queen wouldn’t talk to her father, I will never know.
From the personal diary of Faramir, Steward
Arwen accepted the package from her father. She had requested that he help her find an acceptable cradle cloth since the one that her Uncle had had was no more. She and Aragorn had looked through the whole of Minas Tirith’s treasure rooms and found nothing. Given how long it had been since the Royal House of Telcontar had used cradling as a way to have children, she knew she had been lucky to find what she had.
The elf her Ada had sent looked at the package in her arms with knowing eyes and held out a second one as well. Her nose twitched at the scent coming through the wrapping. Mallorn. Eyes wide with wonder, she took another breath and the smell of family rose with the smell of trees.
“Your grandmother sends her regards and says to you that she wishes you all the best with your future children. And if you need any more of the supplies she has sent, she will make sure to send you more,” her Ada’s concierge told her. She had never been close to him, but he had managed to work around the various excitements Rivendell experienced with little problem. It spoke to the trust her father had in him that she had sent him on this errand.
“Thank you. Faramir will take care of you for tonight. Estel and I will be having a family dinner tonight. You are invited. We would love to have news of Rivendell,” Arwen told him, tucking both precocious packages close.
Lindir bowed and gave her a silent gesture of respect. Arwen returned it carefully before heading towards the royal chambers. She didn’t run, no matter how much she wanted to, but she did move far faster than anyone would expect.
When she reached the Royal Apartments, she went to her study and carefully made sure to lock the doors before she put her packages on her desk. Pulling the heavier one to her, she carefully unwrapped it. The outer wrapping was a plain oilskin and she set it aside without a thought.
Inside was a rough piece of burlap that was closed with leather ties buckled tight. Huffing lightly at her overprotective father, Arwen pried the buckles open and sighed. Another layer of protection in the form of a fawn skin pouch, only this one was a drawstring. Working the knot out of the string, she loosened the ruche and reached into the depths of the bag to pull out a mass of glowing silver.
Arwen could feel her breath catch in her throat at the beauty of the sight before her. Her father had managed to get her a cradle cloth that would hold and protect her children, and it was far more than she had ever thought to ask for. Opening the cloth, she laid it out on her desk. It covered the whole surface. Holding one edge up, she started examining the whole thing, carefully taking in the craftsmanship.
The whole thing was tightly woven, with enough room for the exchange to happen with the earth, but not so loose as to allow dangers to reach the child it would cradle. As she finished her circuit of the outer edge, she found the makers mark and smiled to see the familiar sight of her Ada’s sigil.
Folding the lightweight silver cloth, she set it aside to open the package from her grandmother. Unlike the one from her father, it was wrapped in a Mallorn leaf and tied with twine. When she got it open, she found that there were several pouches, all labeled with the careful script Galadriel preferred. Examining each, she saw that she had chips of wood from the main heart tree of Lothlórien , the one that supported her grandparent’s home.
Smiling softly at the generosity of her family, Arwen picked up with pouches and placed them on top of the cradle cloth before looking at the bottom of the package. Coiled carefully, she found five braids. Lifting them out, she felt tears gather in her eyes. She was holding braids from her brothers, her Ada and her grandparents.