Defender of the White Tree


Title: Defender of the White Tree

Author: Linda Hoyland

Characters/Pairing: Aragorn,OCs

Rating: PG

Warnings: OC death

Book/Source: LOTR book-verse

Disclaimer - These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.

Today's Challenge:

There was no avoiding it; the letter had to be composed...

Who will receive this letter? An uncle? A lover? The High-King? Why is there "no avoiding it"? Circumstances? Or is Mother watching with arms crossed? Will the letter be written in haste? Or will each phrase be meticulously crafted?

Write a story or poem inspired by this line (you do not need to use the exact quote), or create a piece of art that reflects this situation.

There was no avoiding it; the letter had to be composed Aragorn sighed deeply as he picked up the pen. Out of all his duties as King, this was the one of those he liked the least. If a man had given his life for Gondor, though, the very least he could do was write a letter of condolence to their loved ones.

Mercifully in these times of peace it was not something that he had to do very often, but there were still skirmishes with surviving groups of Orcs or rebel groups of Southrons or Easterlings, and fighting led to casualties.

This particular death saddened him especially. Denborn had been one of the Citadel Guards, a likeable young fellow with a wife and small daughter. He recalled one morning seeing the young woman in the Court of the Fountain, clutching her little girl's hand when Denborn had first been given the honour of guarding the White Tree. The child had been puzzled why her daddy could not talk to her while on duty.

The King had been passing and had stopped to explain to the child a little about why the tree was special to all the people of Gondor.

A Citadel Guard's duties were mainly ceremonial, which made matters even worse for the bereaved family. Whoever could have foreseen that a mad man would attack the White Tree with an axe? Denborn had hurled himself in front the tree to protect it and had been brutally cut down before his comrades could overpower the lunatic.

The tree bore only a small cut upon its trunk as result of the attack,but a good man was dead as result.

Aragorn dipped his quill in the ink and began to write; praising Denborn's courage and devotion to duty. The words sounded hollow and patronising to him, even as he penned them. He remembered so clearly the little girl asking him if the tree was more important to her father than she was. He had assured her it was not. Now the child was bereft of her father on account of that tree! She was too young to understand that this tree represented the very soul of Númenor, the spirit that Sauron could not destroy; sprung from the fruit that Isildur had almost given his life for. Denborn's name would be added to a list of great heroes who had fought to preserve the Tree and all it stood for over the ages.

Aragorn sealed the letter and tucked it inside his tunic. He had met these people. He felt like a coward sending a letter of condolence instead of facing them.

He would visit the family to deliver the letter himself and tell them that they would be provided for. If they were angry then would listen to them, and if they wept,he would weep with them, genuine tears for the loss of a precious life.

In defending the White Tree, Denborn had given his life for Gondor and her King.

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