The King remained standing if front of his throne and the Queen rose too as the Dwarf delegation was succeeded by a tall, silver haired Elven lord with a lovely rose-gold tressed Elf-lady on his arm. Both were
clad in white beneath their long dark grey mantles glimmering with crystal stars and both crowned with diadems of interwoven leaves wrought of mithril and gold.
"Welcome Celebros, King of the the Lake, and Queen Arianlos." Elessar said formally. Then descended the steps of the dais to give the Elf-King a warm kinsman's embrace, as Undomiel embraced Queen Arianlos.
"Welcome home." said Celebros. "It's good to see lights on the southern shore again."
"There are few things sadder than an abandoned city." added his Queen.
"I agree." said Elessar.
The King and Queen of the Lake gave way to a tall golden haired Elf, dressed all in green with a chain of emeralds and pearls around his neck and a light silver circlet on his brow.
"Welcome Lassarion Eluchil, Lord of Harlindon." said Elessar, and embraced him too before then handing him over to his Queen for a similar greeting.
Lassarion's eyes twinkled as they went from one to the other. "Not just a King but a Queen and royal heir as well! And may I say it's about time?"
"Why not, everybody else has." said the King resignedly as another ripple of amusement passed over the Northern Dunedain and their allies. The Gondorim exchanged glances and wondered just what the joke was. Lassarion went to stand near the red bearded Dwarves.
Then a hush fell over the crowd as it parted to allow a small procession to approach the throne. At its head walked a tall Elf woman with a cascade of ice white hair falling past her knees over a mantle of snowy swans feathers. She wore a delicate silver crown wrought in the form of swans wings and a gown of silver cloth and was followed by twelve dark haired Elven ladies each crowned with a circlet of silver feathers and clad in a swanfeather cloak.
The lady bowed to Elessar who returned it. “Welcome, Isfin.”
The Gondorim in the crowd exchanged incredulous looks: No, it couldn’t be.
The white haired Elf-lady glanced at Queen Undomiel and smiled mischievously at the King. “I won’t say it.”
“For which I am most grateful!” Elessar replied with fervor. Once again a ripple of laughter passed over the northerners. Then he turned serious. “And also for your aid during the war, thank you, Isfin.”
“You’re welcome.” she said. “But it was the least we could do. It was all our fault - as usual.”
“I think Sauron deserves some of the discredit.” Elessar said dryly.
“Perhaps a little.” she conceded. Kissed the King’s cheek and joined the watching crowd.
The next delegation to approach the throne was made up of Hobbits and headed by an older male who looked remarkably like Sir Peregrin, wearing a thin golden circlet and beaming all over his face.
“My lord King, the Hobbits of the Shire offer their congratulations, welcome and allegiance!”
“Thank you, Perehir.” Elessar replied. “I and all the Free Peoples owe a debt that can never be repaid to the Hobbits of the Shire; to the Ringbearers Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, to Sir Meriadoc Brandybuck Nazgul Bane and to Sir Peregrin Took Troll Bane.”
The Hobbits’ lord literally glowed with pride, and Hirgon remembered that not only was he Sir Peregrin’s father but near kin to both Frodo and Meriadoc.
“In token of this debt,” the King continued, “I give the lands between the Brandywine and the Far Downs, known as the Shire, to the Thain and his folk to hold free from tax or service until the Ending of the World.”
Men, Elves and Dwarves applauded enthusiastically. When the noise subsided the Perehir bowed. “We are honored, Dunadan, but that offer of allegiance still holds. We’ve got a debt to repay too, you know, for the protection your folk have given ours these long years.”
“I accept of course.” said Elessar, eyes glinting. “I am not such a fool as to reject the alliance of so puissant a people!”
The Perehir snorted a little but seemed pleased none the less by the compliment. He and his fellows bowed again and gave way to a mixed delegation of Hobbits and short, brown haired Runedain dressed in the odd Halfling style.
The balding Man at their head bowed rather jerkily then said loudly and a little too fast: “Your Majesty, the people of the Breeland present their compliments, congratulations and fealty to the High King, and to her Majesty too, of course.” He finished and heaved a huge sigh of relief at having gotten it all out.
“We thank you kindly for your good wishes, Master Butterbur.” Elessar replied, and Hirgon noticed his accent had changed to match the Breelander’s.
Another group of Men and Hobbits followed, representing the River Villages, whatever they were. Who gave way in turn to a delegation all of Men led by an elder with faded ginger colored hair who seemed much more at ease than either Mr. Butterbur, or the Villages‘ spokesman had been..
“The Men of the Angle are proud to offer their love, loyalty and service to the King.” He said, firm and strong, looking Elessar straight in the eye.
“The King is proud to accept.” he answered. “And to give his love, and loyalty, and protect in return for all the days of his life.” then, to the Gondorim’s amazement, Elessar descended the steps of the dais and took the head of the delegation into a kinsman‘s embrace.
The Man returned it, eyes filling with tears. “I just wish my father could have lived to see this day.” he choked.
“So do I, Osbert.” the King agreed sadly, kissed his cheek and let him go.
Hirgon was bewildered. Was this Runedain Man somehow kin to the King, and if so how? Certainly none of the Northerners seemed to see anything startling about the exchange. (1)
A company of tall, swarthy Easterners approached the throne, clad in barbaric finery of furs and supple dyed leathers and massive golden jewelry, their leader faced the King squarely. “My Lord, long ago a promise was made by your fathers to ours.”
Elessar smiled. “I remember it well. You wish to claim it now, Borgil?”
“Seems like the right time, with the Great Enemy defeated and the Northern tribes in disarray.” the Man answered confidently.
The King nodded. “I agree. We will need the shield and bulwark of Rhudaur if we are to restore the North to what it once was. But even were that not so, even if Arveleg had not given his word to Borlas, still I would gladly grant any boon the Rhudaurim asked of me in gratitude for their loyalty and service all these long years.”
Borgil was clearly well pleased by Elessar’s words. “Whatever else may be said of my folk we are at the least true to our salt.”
“And that is no small thing.” said the King.
A nervous looking Runedain abruptly detached himself from a huddle of Hobbits and his own kind, stepped up to the throne next to Borgil - then was seemingly struck speechless.
Elessar smiled encouragingly. “Yes, Will Greenroot?”
The Man turned red to the hairline but managed to stammer: “Well, Strider - I mean your Majesty! - back when Borgil’s people had their kingdom, my folk had one too - but of course you know that -” he shot a pleading look, not at Prince Elemmacar but at the squire standing behind him. Beomann Butterbur came down two steps of the dais to stand next to his fellow Runedain.
“What Master Greenroot is trying to say is he and his folk humbly petition the King’s Grace for the restoration of their ancient kingdom of Cardolan.” the squire said firmly.
Greenroot glowed with relief, pulled a handkerchief from his sleeve and mopped his forehead. “Yes, that’s it exactly. Sorry, Strider, I’m not used to this sort of thing.”
“Neither am I entirely.” the King reassured him, and Hirgon noticed he was using the country accent again. “No need for court manners, Will, just say your piece.”
“You see the thing is, Strider, we’ve got all sorts of new folk moving in - people from the South mostly.” the Man confided. “It’s not that they’re not welcome you understand, but how are they to know the land belongs to us if all they see is Wild? If we have a King then we can just send them to him and he’ll tell them where they can settle and where they can’t with no ill feelings on either side, if you follow me.”
“I do.” Elessar assured him. “I think it’s an excellent idea, Will.” continued briskly: “I summon you both, with whatever others you see fit to bring, to attend our council tomorrow at the third hour - that’s nine o’clock by your measure, Will - where we will settle all to your satisfaction.”
And that, apparently, was the end of the presentations for the King came down from the dais and began talking quietly with the Easterners, Squire Beomann and Master Greenroot.
The rest of the royal family also descended to mingle with the crowd, and Elves, Men, Hobbits and Dwarves all relaxed and began to talk. The leaves of the Tree chiming musically as they moved in the tiny drafts made by the movement and voices of the people below.
1. Osbert Attmead is the son of Oswald Attmead, a childhood friend of Aragorn’s, (see ’The Last Homely House’ adv.). Oswald, who was the same age as Aragorn, died a few years before the WR at the age of eighty-four.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.