LEST WE FORGET
Written for Elwen
"Even the orc-rags that you bore in the black land, Frodo, shall be preserved. No silks and linen, nor any armour or heraldry could be more honourable." The Return of the King
There sat the mighty crown of the Sea Kings of Númenor; but to the hobbits' astonishment, it rested neither on a velvet drape nor folds of sumptuous silk.
"But..." Frodo looked up at the King, puzzled. "Why?"
Aragorn knelt and took Frodo's small hands in his own. "The crown of the King rests on these garments so that I – and any rulers who follow me – never forget what it took to bring peace, and secure the future of Middle-earth. So that we never forget the blood spilled, the innocence lost, and the courage shown by even the smallest of folk. So that..." Aragorn's voice choked, and he bowed his head. "So that we never forget what you endured, Frodo – you and Sam and your cousins – lest vanity or arrogance ever poison our rule. The crown will rest upon these orc-rags until the end of days; there is no more honorable cloth that will serve."
"Oh," Frodo whispered, wide-eyed with wonder.
Aragorn glanced at the faces of the three hobbits standing behind Frodo. Merry's head was bowed, and Pippin beamed with pride in their cousin – and their people... while it was obvious that Sam could scarcely believe what he was hearing. Aragorn motioned to them to come forward, then gathered all four into a warm embrace.
"As long as Gondor stands... as long as the West endures... you will never be forgotten, my friends," the King murmured. And Boromir, my brother, he whispered to himself, I honor my vow to you. Your City will live... for as long as we remember what it took to preserve it.