Disclaimer: I own nothing. If we want to nitpick Esdur and Beriadir are mine, but the Professor could have them any day.
One White Tree
"Faramir, you are the fastest boy in all of Gondor!" Finduilas called to her son as the boy raced ahead of her. Their footsteps echoed in the white stone corridor leading outside, Faramir winning by several lengths. They halted at the archway, hand in hand, while the Lady of Minas Tirith caught her breath, clutching a half-made scarf to her chest.
"And I shall be the biggest boy in Middle Earth! Taller than Boromir, even!" Faramir exclaimed as they began to walk. The two guards on either side of the passage bowed low, holding in place their winged hats.
"Good morn, Esdur, Beriadir. A fine day it will be!" Finduilas greeted, blinking in the sunlight.
"Indeed my lady," replied Beriadir. Faramir tugged at his mother's skirts.
"We'll be off, Faramir," she laughed, and together they set off leisurely across the courtyard.
"Mama! Come sit with me at the fountain! I can play prince and rescue you from peril, if you wish."
"That would be lovely, Faramir. Of course I would like to play." Finduilas seated herself on the stone edge of the fountain, spreading her needlework at her side. Behind her, the clear water pooled around a fading white-gray tree. While Faramir watched, a drip from the fountain caught on a barren branch and quivered for a few moments before falling back in. Presently, this was repeated on several different branches, and Faramir wondered vaguely how the tree could appear so sad. Finduilas reached out a delicate finger and let a droplet slip onto it and return to the pool. She sighed wearily, her pale skin drawn tightly across her high cheekbones.
Faramir, being small, took no notice, and instead he asked, "Why does Papa keep a dead tree?" For he could think of much nicer ones to plant there. Finduilas drew him into her lap and wrapped her arms about her youngest son.
"It is the King's tree, Far. Isildur planted it."
"Yes, the King. And it grew and grew-"
"Like me?" asked Faramir, grinning broadly.
"Why, yes, just like you!" laughed his mother, and for Faramir, the day seemed brighter. "But it died when King Belecthor did, the last King of Gondor. And it has remained her ever since."
"Even though it is sad and dead?"
"Even though it is lonely and far from its home. It comes from Valinor, you know." Finduilas absently stroked her son's forehead, blue eyes gazing westward, to the sea.
"That is a sad story, Mama."
"It is. The White Tree is a sad tree."
"Someday, there shall be a new tree in its place, and a new King. I know it."
"You know?" Finduilas smiled at the confidence in Faramir's voice.
"Yes. If I wish very hard, it shall happen," he stated firmly.
"Then it shall." And as he spoke there came a wind from the north that sent the clouds scuttling. The Dead Tree swayed mournfully, sending water to scatter in the pool below. Finduilas shivered and was suddenly reminded that it was only February.
"Shall we go back, Mama?" asked Faramir, also feeling the cold. "It's nearly time for lunch."
Finduilas nodded and set Faramir on his feet. She gathered her unfinished sewing, and taking her son's hand, the two returned to the palace to seek out the kitchens.
Thanks for reading!