With One Voice

King Comes Home, The

12. The King Recieves The Scepter

Annuminas was the final riddle, a city Atanatar the
Glorious would have envied hidden in the heart of a
Dark haunted forest, beautiful and untouched by time.
But nobody lived there, the houses were filled with
Dunedain, a tall swarthy Easterling folk, stocky brown
haired 'Runedain' like the Ranger Beomann, not to
mention Halflings, Elves and Dwarves in some numbers,
but there were no shops, no taverns, no workshops. All
these folk were but visitors come to see the King.
Annuminas had been abandoned, just like ruined
Tarcilion, but why?

Hirgon was brooding over the mystery in front of a
grand but empty guild hall when he saw the King pass
by, with the Queen beside him and the little Princess
in his arms but no other attendants. Scarcely able to
believe his eyes Hirgon followed at a discreet
distance, watching Elessar and Undomiel stop to chat
with passers-by who seemed astonishingly unperturbed
at having their King come among them in such an
informal way.

Hirgon remembered that Elessar had once tried
walking though the lower circles of Minas Tirith
during the rebuilding - to the agonized embarrassment
and dismay of his new subjects. The Northerners
however seemed to take it as a matter of course, and
for the first time Hirgon understood why the King had
done such an unaccountable thing - he had simply been
following the practice and custom of his Northern
realm. And it had never until that moment occured to
Hirgon, or he suspected any other Gondorim, that the
Northern Kings might have traditions of their own,
very different from those of Gondor.

A surprising number of his people seemed to be
personally acquainted with the King, and all treated
him with the same easy familiarity as his Rangers did
back in Gondor. The Dunedain among them, and the tall
dark Easterling folk, showed an especial delight in
the little Princess.

Once Hirgon chanced to be close enough to hear what
a Man in Ranger leathers was saying to the King, in
the usual low pitched voice Ranger voice, as he
chucked Princess Silmarien under the chin.

"At last someone to carry on the Line! And high
time too, Dundadan."

"So I have been told, repeatedly." the King
answered drily.

"It's not *my* fault." the Queen said primly, and
the Man grinned at her.

"No indeed, my Lady!" a sly, sidelong glance at
Elessar. "We know very well who is to blame."

The King heaved a sigh. "And I will be hearing
about it, from my people as well as my wife and kin,
for the rest of my life."

"Even Kings must pay the price of their follies."
the Ranger answered lightly, shocking Hirgon to the
core, but Elessar just laughed.

"I've been told that more than once as well."

Innocent of the ways of courts Barliman Butterbur
saw nothing odd in the King of the West paying a call
on his subjects, and if he was a bit nervous and
overawed at first the feeling quickly passed.

For all his grand clothes the King was still
recognizably the Strider Barliman'd known all of his
life - Only better humored and more approachable, as
all the Rangers had become since the War now that they
didn't have to worry about keeping their secrets

After greetings and introductions the official
delegation from Bree settled themselves on the gallery
overlooking the canal to share a convivial pipe with
their King who started the conversation by assuring
them there would be no trouble at all about confirming
their charter.

"I'm fond of Bree myself," he said. "and don't want
to see it change. Except for the better if that's

"Gandalf said you'd feel like that about it."
Barliman remembered. "And I think I speak for us all
when I say it's a great relief to us to have a King
who knows our ways."

Hearfelt nods of agreement all along the row of

"Thank you." said the King "I hope to give
satisfaction to all my peoples here in the North."

"By the by, sir," from old Gummidge of Staddle,
"just what is your proper name? Some say Aragorn and
others say Elessar and I can't seem to get the right
of it."

"It's both." the King answered readily. "It's the
custom of my family to give two names; one for
everyday and one, in the old High Elven language, for
best. Aragorn is the first and Elessar the second." he
smiled at them. "I have also taken the surname
'Telcontar' which means 'Strider' in the Elven tongue
for myself and my House."

"Oh." was all Barliman could think of to say.

"I'm afraid it wasn't meant as a compliment when we
called you that, sir." Ted Tunnelly admitted.

"I know." said the King. "But I find I've become
rather fond of the name over the years."

Barliman took a deep breath. He'd said it to Gil
and to Belegon, and he should say it to Strider - to
King Aragorn Elessar - too. "We Breelanders are right
sorry about the way we've acted towards you and the
other Rangers over the years, sir. Believe me we
wouldn't have treated you so badly had we no known the
truth. And we hope there are hard feelings."

"None at all." answered the King firmly. "We wanted
your folk to think us rogues and vagabonds - for our
safety, as well as yours. I won't say your scorn
didn't sting sometimes, but we never blamed you for

Which was exactly what Gil and Belegon had said. No
doubt it was true, and made Breelanders feel a bit
better. But it didn't change their determination to
make up for their former bad behavior in way that they

There was no formal procession of recognition as
there had been for Elessar's coronation in Minas
Tirith. The morning of the day set for his
ensceptering his people gathered expectantly in the
great terraced square before the palace, and at the
windows, balconies and even on the roofs of the
buildings overlooking it.

The delegation from Bree had a place reserved for
them near the front where they'd have a good view of
the proceedings and the Butterburs had just settled in
their places when Beomann came out of the palace by a
small side door to join them.

He was almost unrecognizable in a splendid black
surcoat embroidered with stars and a broken sword in
silver thread over a pale grey tunic bordered with
more embroidery in silver and black.

"Is that real silk?" Peg demanded, feeling the

"Probably, I didn't ask." her brother answered.
Then to his parents. "Won't be long now."

A fanfare of trumpets proved him right. The great
golden doors of the palace swung open and two files of
guardsmen armed with spears and clad in black surcoats
embroidered with crowns, stars and trees over silvered
mail, trooped out to the music of invisible trumpets
and flutes, and lined the steps down from the doors. A
moment later another line of Men emerged, six of them
one after the other, four in black surcoats, one in
white and one in green, each carrying banner that
matched the device on his coat. They descended the
stair to stand, three to a side, at its foot.

"Those are the banners of of the Royal Family."
Beomann explained to his kin.

The music swelled in a second fanfare and a tall,
sleander lady in a wonderful gown of black and gold on
the arm of an even taller swarthy Man in scarlet and
black came out the door and down the steps to stand
beneath a black banner ensigned with a golden eagle
and silver stars.

"Oh look at that *dress*!" Peg whispered excitedly.

Beomann smiled at her. "You haven't seen anything

A second even taller lady, in black and green under
a magnificent mantle of gold cloth brocaded with
eagles and suns emerged next, between a pair of even
taller Men, as alike as two peas, both dressed in blue
and black all encrusted with gold. They joined the
others under the eagle banner.

"That's Lady Beruthiel, the King's cousin, and her
children." Beomann told his family.

The rest of the Royal Family followed in ones, twos
and threes: First a pair of young girls holding hands
and pretty as flowers in their gowns of pale green and
white. Then two Men, not much older, in black and
white glittering with silver embroidery. And finally a
lady in a green and silver gown beneath a black and
silver mantle. All took their places under a black
banner ensigned with a small star and a large white

"That's Belegon's sister Lady Angwen and her
family." said Beomann.

Belegon himself was next, looking taller than ever
in his long robes of green and gold and trailing black
velvet mantle. With his golden lady all in shining
white on his arm and his little boy, dressed like his
father, by the hand. They went under a black banner
with a bow and quiver and a star.

A lady, not quite so tall, and all in dark green
glittering with gold and silver and red jewels came
out alone and took her place under the green banner
with its white and silver tree and stars.

"And that's Belegon's mother, Lady Region." said

Then came Aranel, who the Butterburs had known as
Lightfoot, dazzling in a silver gown, holding her son
by one hand and her daughter by the other, both
dressed entirely in white. Theirs was the white banner
with its black sword surrounded by stars.

And finally her brother Gilvagor, as grand as she
in black and grey and silver, took his place to the
right of the steps under a black banner ensigned with
stars and a broken sword.

There was another fanfare and the King and Queen
appeared, hand in hand. She sparkling in white robes
covered with crystals of adamant, and he all in black
velvet girded with silver beneath a glistening white
mantle. Both wore a large white jewel set like a star
upon on their brow. They descended the steps to the
first terrace, bowed and curtseyed to the crowd, who
bowed and curtseyed in return, then turned to face the
still open door.

Lady Ellian came out, her night blue surcoat and
mantle powdered with glittering stars, with a collar
of adamant stones around her neck and another upon a
thin fillet above her her brow. On either side of her
was a tall Elven lord, each the mirror of the other
even to his robes of grey, violet and silver and the
the great metal casket in his hands.

"Those are the Queen's brothers, Elladan and
Elrohir." Beomann whispered because the musicians had
suddenly fallen silent.

Ellian advanced to the edge of the uppermost step,
opened her mouth and sang in a clear, strong silvery
voice beautiful fluid words meaningless to the
Butterburs yet which somehow put a picture in their
heads of a bright fruitful island suddenly overwhelmed
by a great, dark wave.

When she ended the Dunedain and some of the Men of
Rhudaur in the crowd sang the last line back to her in
thunderous chorus.

"That's a verse from the Atalante," Beomann
whispered, "telling how Westerness was drowned in the

She sang again, and this time the listeners saw
ships scudding before a terrible storm to land on a
grey shore. Once again the last line was sung back by
the people.

"And that's about how Elendil, the first King, made
it back to Middle Earth in his ships." whispered

Surprisingly, after all that singing, the Lady fell
into plain, spoken Westron. "The generations of
waiting are ended. The prophecy has been fulfilled.
Come Elessar Envinyatar and recieve the scepter of
your fathers'."

The King climbed the steps and knelt at his aunt's
feet. She turned to the Queen's brother on her right
and took from his open casket a heavy silver rod
tipped with the delicately wrought figure of a soaring
gull, and put it into Elessar's hands, raised and
kissed him and set him beside her on the top step.

Then she cried out in a strong voice: "Aiya Elessar
Telcontar Envinyatar, Arataro i Numende, Taro Arannore
ar Ondor; Aragorn Arathornion Edhelharn, Ar-Tor i
Annui, Aran Arnor ar Gondor; Behold Elfstone the
Renewer, High King of the West, King of Arnor and

He looked gravely down on his people and sang a
short verse that didn't make any pictures but made the
Butterburs feel peculiar just the same.

"Out of the Great Sea to Middle Earth I am come."
Beomann interpreted quietly. "In this place will I
abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world!"

And the people sang back the last line: "Sinome
maruvan ar hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta!" sending
chills down the spine.

Then Elessar gave his scepter to his aunt and
smiled down at the Queen. She mounted the steps and
knelt before him. Turning to her other brother the
King took a second scepter, this one twined and tipped
with jeweled flowers, from his casket and placed it in
his wife's hands then raised her up, kissed her and
brought her to stand beside him.

"Aiya Undomiel Perelda, Aratari Numende, Tari
Arannore ar Ondor; Arwen Elrondien Gil-Aduial,
Ar-Toril Annui, Ris Arnor ar Gondor; Behold Arwen
Evenstar, High Queen of the West, Queen of Arnor and

Queen Undomiel didn't sing anything, just smiled
down on them as the people applauded her.

A man in the silver armor, black cloak and
fantastic winged helmet of the King's Gondor guard
came out of the crowd with the little Princess in his
arms, climbed the steps and gave her to her father.

"And here is my heir," the King proclaimed,
"Aredhel Aragornien, daughter of Elfstone and

That got cheers from the normally reticent Rangers
and some laughter too. The Butterburs, applauding with
the rest, wondered why.

At the King's coronation three years ago the
Gondorim had been surprised but touched when he'd sung
the words Elendil spoke after escaping the ruin of
Numenor, taking it as an expression of homecoming by
the long exiled King.

Now Hirgon saw it had in truth been part of that
Northern tradition none of them had ever imagined
existed. And recognized the words true meaning and
intent: A renunciation of the temptations of the
Valinor and immortality and acceptance of Man's mortal
destiny in Middle Earth. A resignation Gondor had
never completely achieved.

But all else was forgotten, drowned in dismay, when
Elessar proclaimed his little daughter his heir. The
Gondorim exchanged appalled looks as their Northern
kin applauded. Much as they loved their Princess none
of them had ever dreamed the King would regard her as
his rightful successor!

The law of Gondor forbade the accession of a ruling
Queen. So far Elessar had always yielded to them in
matters of law and custom, but would he this time, and
what would happen if he didn't?

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.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Morwen Tindomerel

Status: Beta

Completion: Work in Progress

Rating: General

Last Updated: 08/07/04

Original Post: 11/25/03

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