A New Hope by Vanagristiel|
Disclaimer: They are not mine!! As much as I want them, they are still not mine!! *sigh*
Summary: Aragorn finds something unexpected in Minas Tirith, and has to do what he knows is right.
'It seemed like a good idea at the time', he thought with a weary sigh. Actually, it hadn't been only a good idea... It was the only one. It was the right thing to do. But now he couldn't help but wonder if it wasn't too soon... and the reason why this had happened now... still so early in his ruling.
Aragorn looked around, admiring for a moment the breathtaking scenery that surrounded him, somewhere in the slopes of Mount Mindolluin. It was simply mesmerizing.
He inhaled deeply, in awe of so much beauty... a beauty that not long ago had been ferociously threatened, and had stood on the brink of destruction, of disappearing forever.
But then, a miracle had happened. Against all odds, two little hobbits had made their way into Mordor fulfilling the task that they had been given... and right when they thought that all hope was gone, it was restored to them.
He smiled at the thought of those behind the achievement of this new found peace... those who anonymously and yet heroically gave up their lives for this dream of a world ruled by love, and not hate... by light, and not darkness.
He kept walking silently, searching for a place he didn't know exactly where it was or how it looked like. That was when he came to a stop.
It was this little alcove he had reached. A beautiful, hidden, protected place, simply perfect for his purpose.
He knelled down, carefully unloading the bundle he had been carrying on his back, and placing it gently on the ground, always mindful of the preciousness that it held.
He opened it, exposing the little white fruit inside. A fruit from the White Tree. A seed of hope, but that right now brought so many doubts to his heart. And that made him think of the events which had happened not two days ago.
Aragorn found himself wondering in the stone courtyard, almost as if he had been drawn there by something. He stopped in front of the White Tree, so beautiful, so noble, a symbol of the old days, of Númenor, when his people were still close to Ilúvatar, and the Meneltarma stood tall in the middle of the star shaped island. But that was before the fall.
He closed his eyes in grief for his ancestors. They were tricked by Sauron into believing that Melkor was the one they should honor, making them forsake Eru… and so Eru forsook them. Númenor was destroyed, only a few were spared… a few that had not taken part on that treachery, the ones from the house of Elendil.
But even those were still weak… and they failed to destroy the ring when the time came... the ring that had caused so much pain and destruction.
A shudder went by him as he thought of the battle that had taken place in this very city… in this very country that he now called home... and how close they had been to losing everything.
He looked again at the White Tree, the grief being replaced by gratitude. That tree was not just the symbol of Gondor. It was a symbol of hope… a living statement for everyone to see and remember that, even after all that his kin had done, Ilúvatar was still with them, still protecting them.
He laughed softly to himself. How could anyone ever forget that? If not for Eru Ilúvatar, how could they ever explain their victory against Sauron’s minions? How could they even conceive that a small hobbit would be able to carry through a task so grand that no other in Middle-earth had had the nerve to offer himself to fulfill? If not for Eru, how could he explain Helms Deep, where 300 men came out victorious after fighting 10.000 foes? If not for Him, how could he explain an elf giving up her immortality to be by his side? No… he had lived and been through enough to know that there was no such thing as luck or casualty. This was grace... this was a miracle… and there was only one to thank for it.
"May I ask why are you smiling, mellon nîn?"
Aragorn turned to see Legolas looking fondly at him.
"Just thinking…" he answered quietly, turning his gaze back to the tree.
That’s when his eyes caught something he had not noticed before. A fruit. There was one single fruit amongst the leaves of the tree. How hadn’t he noticed this before?
"Legolas" he exclaimed, wonder coloring his words "do you see that?"
Legolas looked in amazement at the small shape hanging delicately on one of the branches, knowing how rare that was, and how special it made this moment to be.
"Yes, my friend" the elf finally said. "These are indeed blessed times when Telperion's offspring offers its seed to the world".
Aragorn nodded, remembering Gandalf's words on the day they found the young white tree in the slopes of Mindolluin. The wizard had told him that if ever a fruit ripens, it should be planted. He just had never imagined that he was going to be the one to have the honor of performing such a task.
Stepping closer to the White tree, Aragorn reached a tentative hand to retrieve the fruit, but hesitated.
"She trusts you, Elessar", Legolas said, encouraging his friend to proceed. "The tree trusts you and is honored that it is you who will care for her seeds."
Aragorn turned incredulous eyes to the elf beside him, and then to the tree in front him, and felt very humbled.
Carefully collecting the white fruit, he held it in his hands, admiring its perfect shape for a moment.
"The honor is all mine" he answered respectfully.
And now here he was. The idea was to find a good place to plant the fruit, so it could remain hidden and protected until it was time for it to sprout and bloom, and he had found that place.
But what troubled him so was that the fruit was to guarantee that the hope from the old days would live on, and the moments when it had happened before... the moments when a white fruit had grown had always been the omen of a tragedy... first, the destruction of Númenor and then, the moment when the line of Kings was broken.
So was this it? Was this peace only temporary? Was Melkor about to send another one of his servants to burn and destroy?
Aragorn sat on the ground, closing his eyes, trying to make sense of it all, trying to find an answer to these questions that now plagued his mind.
He tried to quiet his heart, as he felt the sun and the breeze and the rain on his skin.
The rain… he hadn’t even noticed it had started raining. But it was refreshing… and he lifted his face to the sky, letting each drop fall and cleanse away all the worries and grief that still lingered in his heart and soul... leaving him feeling amazingly purified.
The king had no idea how long he had stayed like this, but when he finally opened his eyes again, what greeted him was a sight that brought tears down his face.
A rainbow adorned the sky, lending its beautiful colors to the already dazzling view.
'A rainbow… the symbol of Eru’s alliance with men', Aragorn thought hopeful.
And at that moment he felt the sun grow warmer and brighter. The light became so strong that blinded him. He was suddenly engulfed by that light, and all his strength left him. He didn't think he would be able to stay upright, but somehow he didn't fall.
He always thought that if he ever found himself in a situation like this, of total vulnerability, that he would be scared. But instead of fear, all that he could feel was love... so much love that it was almost overwhelming, and he knew at that instant what that light was... who that light was.
All the doubts that had permeated his heart as he climbed up that mountain were washed away, and he understood the meaning of the fruit... he learned the answers to his previous questions... to why had that fruit grown so early.
That was Eru telling him that He was with the new king of Gondor. That He would be blessing his ruling as long as his heart was kept in the right place.
Using all the determination he possessed, Aragorn brought his head to the ground in front of him in an act of servitude and submissiveness. With only Ilúvatar's creation as his witness, the king of men bowed down before the King of Kings.
Iluvatar's presence was so strong that it made him feel weak, but in an amazing way, as if he could rest in the Creator's arms forever. And he knew that everything would be fine. He knew that his promise to Boromir had been true, and now he knew why!
I do not know what strength is in my blood, but I swear to you I will not let the White City fall... nor our people fail.
Those words still hung true. He knew his ruling would be blessed, for Eru's presence was real and true, and as long as he stayed with Him, he would lead his people to prosperity and glory... His glory!
Using his bare hands, he dug a hole on the ground, placing the little white gift inside it with much respect, and covered it ceremonially.
Aragorn rose to his feet, looking at the spot where the fruit now laid. It was a remembrance of Eru’s faith in men, of His faith in him, and of His promise to always be there.
Yes... it had been a good idea after all... to come out here and lay that little fruit where it belonged. Hidden in the shadows of the Ered Nimrais, protected from any harm. A descendant of Nimloth... of Telperion… a seed of hope for present and future generations.
He bowed his head, closing his eyes... his right hand tightly clutched over his heart... a heart that was now overflowing with joy and gratitude and excitement for what was to come.
He tried to find words to express all the feelings that were bursting inside of him, when he realized that words were not needed. Eru knew.
And so he turned to leave, glancing at the rainbow that still graced the sky.
He felt like laughing and crying, like shouting and singing all at the same time, such was the joy that he felt, but only two words escaped his lips, so softly that one would swear nothing had been said. But those two words carried the king’s heart to Ilúvatar, and He heard them with a smile.