Title: A Garden For Gondor
Word Total: 1628
It was late in the evening in the late summer when Arwen broke the ground under the White Tree. She carefully enriched the soil with everything that she had learned would assist her child in the year ahead. It was the most satisfying feeling, getting the ground ready for her first sowing. The heartseeds she shared with her spouse were strong and vibrant shifting slightly with every beat of her heart.
The soil under the White Tree was rich and deep enough to support a child. She was certain of that. Bella had been kind enough to write her back with advice and she was following it as closely as possible. Since she had no one on hand to advise her for her sowing, the letter had been a fantastic bonus.
Arwen had brought her baskets of components for the babe to come out with her. It had taken several trips, but no one was allowed to help her but Aragorn and they had made quick work of it. Smiling softly she watched as Eldarion picked flowers and pile them up in a basket by the turned over soil at the base of the Tree.
She turned her eyes to the sky and sighed in pleasure at the setting sun. Arwen looked over her baskets and nodded. The time was right, she had all her supplies, she had the will and she had the magic. Digging the Mithril spade deep into the earth, she started piling it all to the side.
“Is it time, Mama?” her son asked.
“It is, love,” Arwen agreed. She looked over at her ever-present shadow and cleared her throat. “I think it might be wise to get the supplies I had put to the side at hand.”
Éowyn nodded and started snapping out directions to the courtiers hanging about, watching the Queen garden. Most of her directions were for them to leave the area, only a few pages were assigned actual duties. The guards slowly shifted outwards, establishing a deeper perimeter.
Aragorn leaned over to her and held out his hand for the spade. Arwen shook her head and stabbed it deeper into the soil. Her husband reached out to touch her arm and she smiled at him. “In this, I need to work alone. You can support me, provide for me and love the life we are sowing. But you can’t help me at this stage. It is for me alone.”
The lines around her husband’s eyes deepened and he nodded. “I’ll make sure you have plenty of space. The guards will make sure everything is kept safe.”
Arwen leaned forward and planted a brief kiss on Aragorn’s nose. “I’ll be planting a fairy circle around the tree too. Make sure the guards know not to cross it, it could kill them.”
“Understood. I’ll let you get back to what you’re doing,” her lover told her. The heartseed she was getting ready to nurture moved even more when he was around. It was impatient to be planted.
Éowyn arrived back then with the first baskets of river stones and mulch being carried by the citadel’s gardeners. Arwen directed them to place the supplies to one side of the great tree. Leaning her hand on it, she could distantly feel the satisfaction the tree had at being used as the start of a new life.
Humming an elvish nursery song she had learned at her mother’s knee, she started laying the first layer of stone down. Fitting each stone in place was a slow process and she made sure that each fit against its neighbor snugly before moving on. Her efforts had to last the full year of the sowing and would provide the protection she couldn’t from above the earth.
When the rocky womb was as snug as she could make it, Arwen turned to the Mithril blanket she had been gifted. Examining each link she nodded, it was perfect. Laying it across her shoulders, she tucked the shining length around her like a shawl and started lining the womb with the fruits of her gatherings.
She had spent the spring growing an herb garden in the Queen’s garden. Each plant had been picked for its meaning and nurtured carefully to grow as full and as lush as possible. While those plants were growing, Arwen began to ride far afield, gathering the rest of the material she needed for the cradle.
The stones she had just lined the cradle with had come from the many rivers that crossed Gondar. Each carefully chosen stone was ancient and worn smooth by the flowing water. Her next layer was the wood she had gathered from alder, hazel, and apple trees as she came upon them. When she found a field of wild heather, she stopped to gather all that her heart told her would be needed. The scent of the heather had lingered on her gloves and in her saddlebags every time she rode out thereafter. The trips had served to renew her knowledge of the realm and she had made a promise to do it as often as she could.
The third layer for the cradle was mosses that she had found growing wild in the far back corner of the formal gardens. The discovery had been fortuitous since she had been looking for some with every trip out. Arwen marked the location and made sure to keep the area wet and shaded. The results were sweet and slightly spicy. The moss was packed against the stones until something told her it was thick enough.
Digging her hands into the soil, Arwen pushed her grace into it, feeling for the seeds she had placed earlier in the week. Wrapping that and the love magic that was the basis for all cradle craft around the little pulses of life, she pushed them into growth. As soon as the plants broke the surface, the clean smell of rosemary wrapped itself around her.
The magic of the fairy circle bloomed with the plants and Arwen sighed in relief. So far, so good.
Pulling her hands from the soil, she wriggled her fingers in delight. No wonder Bella had spoken so glowingly of the experience. The next step was to mix the nutrients and symbols into the oak bowl she had made and then…
Her hands started moving, taking a little of this, and a little of that from each of the baskets before her. For some things, Arwen was content to take from the top of the basket and for others, she dug into the contents to find the best bits. When she was done, the oak bowl was full of a complex mass of greenery that smelled of everything good.
Arwen moved over to kneel by the cradle and swirled the Mithril cloth off her shoulders. Laying the glittering mass down, she smoothed it out into the shape of the womb. Then she started layering the contents of the bowl into it. Only when the last flower and herb were firmly pressed onto it, did she sit back.
Cupping her hands together, Armen rested them over her heart. It took no small amount of effort, but she slowed her breathing down enough to feel the heartseeds she carried. The one that had been moving the most grew then slipped free to rest in her cupped hands.
Resting the heartseed in her cupped hands, she looked at it. Red, green and blue fire rippled under the surface in ribbons and she was fascinated at how the colors interacted. It took several moments before she could pull herself away from the depths of her child’s soul.
It took effort to place the seed in the cradle Arwen took a deep breath and shook her head to clear it of the spell he heart seed had put her under. Dearest Valar, the hobbits were stronger than she dreamed to do this often.
“Aragorn, I need the knife and the bowl,” she called.
The knife she had forged herself was primitive but still sharp. It took a lock of her hair without a fault. The bite of it slicing into the ball of her thumb was sharp and hot, and the blood gathered in the palm of her hand. When it felt right, she tipped it over onto the heart seed. The lock of her hair followed and she used her magic to heal the cut before passing the knife to her spouse.
Aragorn quickly cut a lock of his own hair and cut the ball of his thumb to for blood to fill the bowl she had set aside for him. She had told him to add only as much as felt right and she watched as he waited, hand cupped for longer than she had before tilting his hand to add the fluid to his hair. He quickly bound the wound before he passed her the bowl with his blood and hair. Armen added the sacrifice from her husband to hers and set everything to the side.
The time for sowing was drawing to a close and Arwen closed up the Mithril womb. The soil she had moved to make the cradle was carefully pushed back into place. Mulch and earth went down in layers and Arwen watered her sowing with fresh spring water.
When the last of the dirt was in place, she patted the bare mound before adding a last layer of mulch. Rocking back on her heels, Arwen stood up. The change of position caused her blood to rush to her head and she staggered slightly before recovering her balance.
Stepping over the small bushes that marked the edge of the fairy circle, she fell into her husband’s arms. Sowing was done. Now they had to wait.