Falling Leaves


Disclaimer: The characters are the property of the Tolkien estate. These drabbles  are written for pleasure, not profit.

With thanks to Raksha.



Custom decreed that the maidens present evergreens to the Chieftain's heir each Mettarë, that the line of Elendil might be as evergreen as the holly, ivy or pine.

Still Arathorn remained unwed.

He smilingly took a sprig of greenery from each girl before the Midwinter feast began. One maid stood out from the rest. She carried a branch of holly, scarlet berries adorning the glossy leaves.

"My little girl has grown into a fine young woman since you saw her last, has she not?" chuckled Ivorwen.

Arathorn's heart stirred as the girl handed him the branch. Gilraen was indeed fair. 

Pine - Evergreen

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The women had laboured hard all morning in the forest, cutting down the choicest pine branches to decorate their houses. It would be a simple Mettarë celebration. Food was scarce in this season.   Yet the evergreens, like the Rangers, weathered both good times and bad. 

The green boughs carried welcome cheer into every house; calling forth memories of nature’s abundance, and fresh scents of the forest in summer at this darkest time of year.

Gilraen arranged the pine branches around her home and protectively patted her swelling belly. Winter would pass. This spring would bring new hope to their people. 

White Tree - Harbinger

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Of all the wonders that Minas Tirith had to offer, this was the one he most wanted to see. It stood beside a fair fountain and was more closely guarded than even the Steward himself by wing-helmed guards.

Thorongil had heard of this scion of Nimloth from those who had beheld the tree's venerable ancestors. This withered symbol was all that remained in Gondor of Elendil's glory?

He drew near and felt like weeping before the long dead tree, the branches bleached like bones

Thorongil turned away, trying to envision it renewed. Could sap ever flow again through these dry branches? It seemed impossible, as impossible as his love for Arwen.

And yet…had not Beren returned from the Halls of Mandos? Had not the line of Isildur survived against all the odds? Maybe somewhere in Arda's vast reaches, some shoot or seed of the White Tree lived too?

He closed his eyes and suddenly he envisioned a living tree covered in blossoms, which he stood beneath with his lady. Upon his head was the Winged Crown of Gondor.

Was this the foresight, or but a dream? There was always hope.

The White Tree might be dead, but Elendil's heir lived! 

Yew - Tree of Life and Death


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Faramir never passed the old yew tree without pausing. No man could recall how long the ancient twisted trunk had stood.


“Did you know that this is the oldest tree in Gondor?”


Faramir turned to see Mithrandir standing beside him.


“Older than the White Tree? Surely not!”


“This tree was mature when the White Tree was still a fruit. Deadly though it is, the Wise call yew the tree of life. It outlasts both Man and beast.”


The longbow in Faramir’s hand seemed to grow heavier. He had dealt death to many with this branch torn from the living yew.

Apple - First Fruit



The old orchard had suffered long years of neglect when no man had dared prune the trees. Dead branches lay entangled with sharp brambles and weeds on what once had been carefully tended grass.

Faramir sighed. Ithilien had once been fair, but now it seemed a desolate place to build a home. The land had been neglected for so long. Could it ever again be fruitful?

Then he saw it: a huge single apple growing from one of the gnarled trees

Faramir smiled and carefully harvested the apple. Yavanna had given her blessing; this was the first fruit of many

New Leaf - Only Sleeping



“Are you hurt, Eldarion?” Aragorn anxiously enquired of his four-year-old son, who ran inside from the garden, crying.


“The trees are dying, ada!” Eldarion sobbed. “All of their leaves are falling off!”


Aragorn smiled. ”No, ion nîn, they are just preparing to rest for the winter, like you undress before going to bed.




When spring came, Aragorn took Eldarion outside and showed him the buds adorning the stark branches. “Look!” he said. “The trees have their new raiment for spring. Is it not fairer than ever?”


Eldarion gazed in wonder at one new leaf, freshly emerged to greet the sun.

Aragorn and Arwen

The first time Aragorn saw her, she walked beneath the birches, slender and lithe: the breeze rippling her hair. He gave her his heart.


Long years passed and he cherished his hopeless longing deep within his soul. Then they were reunited beneath the mallorns, where she stood crowned in the light of sun-dappled golden leaves. He vowed to make her his Queen. They gave their hearts to one another.


Today Arwen sits beneath the White Tree, a baby girl in her arms. Their son chases the falling blossoms, trying vainly to catch one.

Their love had flourished and born fruit.

Willow - Banks of Green Willow



Every year Faramir returned to honour those who fell at Osgiliath.


It was hard now to imagine that so many lives had been lost at this now peaceful spot


The willows grew green and fresh on both sides of the Anduin, their long branches seeking the river, offering shade from the summer heat.


How apt, Faramir thought, that weeping willows should grow here, to forever mourn the flower of Gondor who were slaughtered there. Only the memories remained: vivid and unsullied as the living trees. The wind sighed through the branches, singing its mournful lament for fallen sons and brothers.


Holly - Rebuilding

Aragorn's heart swelled with joy. A new town, ringed by fertile fields, had arisen in the heart of the once desolate Hollin. Folk of all ages, Men and visiting Dwarves, flocked to greet him.

The mayor welcomed the King and Queen bearing two circlets of holly; its abundant scarlet berries shining like jewels against the glossy green leaves.

"It is meet that we should remember those who came before us to this land," Aragorn said, bowing his head to receive the leafy coronet. "May the memory of the Elven-Smiths be as evergreen and bright as holly berries in mid winter." 

Oak - Time's Out of Joint


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The woodcutter could not recall a time when the old King was not on the throne, nor could his father, or even his grandsire.

No doubt, Lord Eldarion, now King Eldarion, would rule well enough, but things felt different somehow, as if the world were turning upside down.

The woodcutter shook himself; he had work to do. The forest remained unchanged while Men came and went. The great oaks outlasted the foresters by centuries; their branches budding anew through countless springtimes.

In the forest's heart, the woodcutter observed that the mightiest oak had fallen, cleft asunder by a lightning bolt. 

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