4. Forbidden Fruit
Never as nimble as his brother, he moved as swiftly as he could. If he should stumble in the dark and lose his burden, then his brother would have suffered fell wounds in vain, and hope would surely be lost. Even now, their great house was being watched by the King's men. Trudging through the fetid waist-high waters of the sewers under Romenna, Anárion fingered the pouch hung round his neck. The pouch felt warm, perhaps by the sunlight caught in the stolen fruit it held. Move. Breathe. Listen. The Son of the Sun smiled, and walked on, without pursuit.
Never was the pale light of the morning more welcome to the man who was named for it. Anárion shambled out of the tunnel, shivering and half-blind after the night spent walking in darkness. He knew this land, having traveled the coast of the Hyarrostar years before. Sun on his face, Anárion hastened to a hidden grove, deep in a wood of sea-spruce and gold-flowering laurinquë. There, in the rich soil near a rippling stream, he dug a bed where the Tree of the Kings could be reborn.
Anárion brought the Fruit of Nimloth out of the pouch into the warmth of the rising sun. Anar's rays shone upon the soft golden fuzz coating the silvery fruit. Silver for the moon, gold for the Sun; he thought, reminded of his brother. No gold or silver plundered by Pharazôn could be worth more than this one fruit, Anarion thought. May the false king and his devil Sauron choke on the fumes when they give Nimloth to the flames!
A dark red streak marred the fruit's perfection. Isildur's blood! Anárion considered wiping the stain away. No. "My brother bled to save thee," he said softly as he planted the fruit. "Remember him!"
Never had he thought, however much he loved trees, to spend the cool spring night huddled in his cloak beside a fragile sapling in the wilds of Hyarrostar. Yet Anárion could not think of what else to do. Isildur lay in a deathlike sleep. The wounds he had taken when he saved Nimloth's doomed Fruit had not healed. Even the athelas raised in their mother's own gardens had not helped. Desperate, Anárion had returned to the grove, hoping to find some sign, some help, for his brother. But the small buds pushing out of the new Tree's branches had not yet opened.
The sap of Isildur's life wanes, even as the sap of life rises in this scion of Nimloth, Anárion thought sadly. He looked to the distant stars and moon, the shining lights of Over-heaven. "Do not sunder the Servant of the Moon from the Son of the Sun," he begged to whatever Valar might hear. "Or, take me and spare my brother who risked all to save the line of Nimloth."
A light rain pattered down from the dark skies. Sighing, Anárion curled his weary body around the sapling, gently gripping its slender trunk. He slept deeply, dreaming of a strange white city jutting out of a mountain and a White Tree as fair as Nimloth blooming at the city's height.
And when the sun rose out of the silver sea, Isildur stirred in his sickbed. Slowly he opened his eyes, smiled upon his wife and mother. Eyes and heart faraway, he said: "Anárion."
Listen, Anarion. Breathe. Move, said a rather merry female voice from the edge of dreams. Anárion obeyed it, stretching out stiff legs and rubbing his eyes. Then he blinked. For there, on the little Tree, a new, moon-white leaf stood forth to greet the morning sun.