2. Explorations and Discoveries
None stopped him as he made his way slowly through the stone city driven on by an unseen force; whether that force was indeed his own curiosity or perhaps a higher power he knew not, all he could feel was the lure of the city, or, perhaps, something within it. And, not even the guards who would on occasion appear halted him for long; for one of those who had beheld the primeval lights of Aman was he, and none could hold his gaze for long, and indeed more than one found themselves in awe of this bedraggled stranger. Though why that should be, none did know.
The hour was still early as he began to explore the streets of the city, and yet, for all Vasa was only beginning to rise in true might in the heavens, they were already beginning to fill with people.
Colour was splashed all over, from the large banners suspended above the streets, to the brightly coloured festive clothing that the children wore; reminding him of the festivals that he would celebrate when he was but a child.
He walked slowly up through the city's circles, so unlike anything he had ever seen before. He marvelled at the constructs of these Atani, so distant from anything that they had ever wrought in their youth. The white city walls glimmered in the early morn's rays; while the banners played in the wind making rainbows appear upon the walls and streets of the houses. It was, as he stared up at these banners that one in particular caught his eye. It was not bright and cheerful held up high where all could see, but a great sable standard where on flowered a single white tree, with seven stars about and a high crown above. And this standard held him in thrall. It was solemn and noble and though he knew not yet why a white tree did stand upon the banner; the symbol in itself was not completely unknown, for it was clearly derived from the Two Trees of old, or the younger tree of Tirion; but why that should be this peoples emblem, he knew not.
He was jolted suddenly from his thoughts as a small body knocked into him. It was a young child who had bumped into him; her dark hair loose about her shoulders but flowers were entwined within; while her garments were a simple sea-blue dress, that was faded and clearly too small, over what appeared to be a plain white shirt. Clearly the girl was dressed in her most festive clothes. Quickly did she turn to call out an apology to him; though her pace did not slow.
Intrigued by what the child found so important that she would forgo proper manners for, he walked after her, never losing sight of her though she did run and the streets were bustling with people attempting to sell their wares, while others haggled over prices, and yet more just tried to simply navigate the crowds to go about their lives. But even through all of this hustle did he manage to follow her; leading him through all the inner circles of the city; and, as he walked through the streets the morning light slowly gave way into the brilliance of the mid-day sun.
She led him into a tunnel like street, climbing upwards towards the mountains summit. Though he had entered through the lower parts of the tunnel four times previously, this last time was different. Earlier the tunnel merely connected two parts of the same circle, so each entrance and exit was upon level ground. But, this final one, lit by glowing lamps that it made it stiflingly hot during the summer days led upwards.
He was forced to raise a hand to shield his eyes so as to prevent Vasa's rays from blinding him, as he exited the dark tunnel; and he entered into a large paved courtyard, containing a wide stone fountain, set before a high white tower. But, it was not the tower that caught his attention, but rather, what stood before it, in all its splendour; and finally, the riddle of the banner was answered.
A tree stood before him, a great white tree, one of the scions of old Galathilion in Tirion that was planted before another white tower; that one, the Tower of Ingwe, the Mindon Eldalieva, and it was planted there long years before even he was born. But this scene before him now, was alike unto that which he saw when he was but in his youth...
"Not as pretty as Amme."
Three young boys stood with an older man staring in awe at a shining white tree in full blossom.
"That is because Galathilion is a tree little one, not a person." The older man spoke, smiling at the children as he crouched beside the youngest, who had spoken just before.
"I still think it's pretty!" The first boy spoke again, his dark hair placed into many long braids that would, on occasion, hit him or, anyone else who stood close by, in then face, if the wind blew or he moved his head too quickly.
"Aye cousin, that it is, though I have to agree with my little brother," he paused as his brother muttered his disagreement at being called little making him grin before continuing, "that it's definitely not prettier than mother." The eldest and tallest of the boys spoke, smiling all the while; shooting a glance at the elder man he finished, "would you not agree Grandfather?"
Seeing where this seemingly idle question was headed, the Grandfather simply laughed, bidding them to, "kindly leave me out of your quarrels," before he pulled the three boys close, who hugged him back all the while. Standing, he picked the youngest up who giggled in delight at being carried up high; "come on you two, your father's will be waiting for you."
Moving away across the courtyard the boy with the braids' words carried far," I still think Galathilion is beautiful Grandfather; well, as beautiful as a tree can get..."
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.