King Comes Home, The
13. The Court Of Annuminas
being displaced in the succession he seems actually
happy about it." Hirgon and Angrod looked their
disbelief. "Either that or he's good enough an actor
to fool not just me but the King." Edhellos finished
defiantly. And that of course was impossible,
Elessar's insight was already legendary in Gondor.
"Even if Silmarien is Heir in the eyes of all the
North, including the rightful heir male, she still
would not be acceptable to Gondor." Hirgon worried.
"We should have expected this," said Angrod,
"didn't Elessar give Anorien and the constableship of
the Northern Fortresses to the Lady Idril? not to
mention seating her and the Princess of Ithilien and
Queen Undomiel on his Council."
"Clearly he has very different ideas of what is due
the ladies than we." Hirgon agreed.
"Can you blame him with with such a grandmother?"
Hirgon smiled wryly. "We have a strong grandmother
too," he reminded his cousin, "but however much she
may have run Grandfather, and still runs my father, we
would never dream of making her steward or chancellor
of our demesne."
"Maybe Elessar is more honest than we." said
Edhellos, then shrugged. "I think you are distressing
yourselves over nothing. The King and Queen are like
to have other children, including a son to displace
Silmarien which will satisfy everyone."
"If he follows the law of Tar-Aldarion." said
Hirgon. "But what if he cleaves to the law of
Tar-Ancalime? Then Silmarien will remain Heir in his
eyes no matter how many sons the Queen bears."
As in Gondor the rest of the day, once the formal
ceremonies were over, was given over to feasting and
merry-making lasting far into the night. There were no
pageants or masques such as those made by the lords
and burgesses of Minas Tirith but there was music and
singing, dancing and games.
Elves and Dunedain performed plays of the War of
the Elves and Numenor against Sauron, the Foundation
of the Realms in Exile and the Last Alliance.(1) And
after nightfall there were magnificent illuminated
displays, most on themes the Gondorim didn't
recognize, save for one depicting the fall of Baradur.
The King's table stood not in some grand banquet
hall but on the upper terrace of the palace square
surrounded by a hundred or more others, enough to
feast the entire temporary population of the city. And
the King did not stay upon his throne at the high
table but moved among his subjects, sitting and eating
familiarly among them.
He had done that in Minas Tirith as well, leaving
his place at his coronation banquet to talk and drink
with those at the lower tables. In the festive
atmosphere it had passed as a gracious condescension
on his part. But to him it had been no such thing,
Hirgon now realized, just the normal courtesy of the
North. For the first time it occured to him to wonder
if perhaps their new King sometimes found his Southern
subjects as unaccountable as they frequently found
The day after the coronation in Minas Tirith had
been given over to a lengthy ceremony in which the
greater and lesser Lords of Gondor paid homage to
their new King. The Northerners however had long ago
sworn oaths to Elessar as their Chief and had no need
to repeat them. Instead the King and Queen appeared on
their thrones to accept congratulations and hear
It would have been hard to imagine anything less
like the chill, austere grandeur of Gondor's Hall of
the Kings than Elendil's Great Presence Chamber. It
was round, and entered through four tall golden doors
north, south, east and west. The walls were painted
with landscapes of lost Numenor between gilded
pillasters wrought in the form of mighty laurinque
trees, their interlacing boughs of golden leaves
framing oval windows beneath the great dome. This was
night blue and studded with Elven crystals, flickering
like stars, set in the constellations that had shone
A dais rose in broad low steps at the center of the
Chamber, and from it seemed to grow a giant,
glimmering silver tree. Its fragile, rustling leaves
filled the air with soft, chiming music. Light from
the windows reflected off silver and gold to create a
beautiful mingling of moon and sunlight unlike
anything the Gondorim had ever seen before.
At the foot of the Tree, facing east and shaded by
a graceful bough, stood the silver chair of Elendil.
Its high back was wrought in the form of the Kings'
winged crest and set with Elendil, and the North
Kingdom's, device of seven and one stars. A second
chair had been placed, one step down, for the Queen.
It too was silver and twined with jeweled flowers like
People entered from all sides through the open
doors and mingled, talking quietly, as they waited.
The sharp rap of a chamberlain's staff of office on
the marble paved floor cast a hush over the great
chamber and turned everybody towards the east door to
see not the King, but the Ringbearer with his pretty
little lady on his arm.
At first Rosie was so dazzled by the starry ceiling
and great glittering tree that she barely noticed the
people. Then she lowered her eyes and saw Big Folk,
Elves, Dwarves and even Hobbits all bowing and
curtseying in their direction. She looked over her
shoulder, expecting to see the King and Queen, but no
one was there. Looked in bewilderment at Sam and saw
he was bright red from brow to chin and ear to ear.
Only then did she realize all these grand folk were
bowing to *him*.
He gave her a little tug and they started across
the floor towards the dais with its silver tree,
people parting before them like they were royalty. It
seemed a very long time before they reached their
places, one step up on the central dais, just below
the King's throne, and everybody finally straightened
up and looked away.
Rosie knew all about the quest, as she'd told the
Queen, but she'd always thought about it in terms of
what it had done to poor Mr. Frodo and even to Sam.
Never until this moment had it truly come home to her
that Mr. Frodo had saved Middle Earth. And Sam, her
Sam, had helped him to do it. She shot an almost shy
sideways look at her husband, whose face was gradually
returning to its normal color, feeling a little awed
and very proud.
The chamberlain rapped the floor again and this
time it was the King and Queen, wearing the same grand
robes as yesterday and carrying their scepters,
followed by members of the Royal Family. Once again
everybody went down in bows and curtseys, except Sam.
Rosie, standing uncertainly next to him, didn't know
*what* to do.
King Elessar came to the foot of the dais and
looked straight at them with a glint that might have
been laughter in his eyes.
"I'm not bowing!" Sam told him.
He smiled. "So I see, well done, Ringbearer." then
*he* bowed! and Sam bowed back. Rosie hastily
Elessar and his Queen climbed the steps to their
thrones. Their long white mantles, hers glittering
with diamonds, curled around their feet as they turned
to face the people. And their relations took up places
on the steps of the dais or just below it.
"Welcome," said the King, his voice pitched to
carry clearly to the farthest reaches of the Great
Chamber. "Welcome, Men of the West and of the East,
long sundered kin and friends of old. Welcome all to
the Court of Annuminas." He and the Queen sat down on
their thrones and the presentations began.
A Dwarf with gold threads braided into his jet
black hair and beard and gold and silverwork
encrusting his clothes, attended by several others
almost as richly attired, bowed before the throne.
"Hail Aragorn Edhelharn Dunadan, Friend of the
Dwarves. It's good to see a King of Men back on the
throne after all this time."
Elessar rose to bow back. "Hail Curumaith, Lord of
Belegost, Friend of Men."(2)
Hirgon and the other Gondorim in the crowd
exchanged startled looks. Surely Belegost, the ancient
city of the Dwarves, had been destroyed at the end of
the First Age in the ruin of Beleriand?
"I thank you for your good wishes." the King was
saying, "And your people for the aid they have given
mine over the long years."
"Just returning the favor." the Dwarf-Lord said,
rather less formally, then grinned up at Elessar. "You
folk do have rare gift for trouble!"
There was a rustle of amusement among the Dunedain
in the audience, and some rolling of eyes among the
Men of Rhudaur.
The King's eyes twinkled. "All too true. And
fortunate we are to have such friends to help us out
The Lord of Belegost, with a final bow, gave way to
another delegation of Dwarves. These were all red
haired and somewhat less richly dressed, and seemed
far less at ease.
Elessar, still on his feet greeted them warmly.
"Hail Phazgan son of Tamruzor, Lord of the Firebeards.
Hail and most welcome. Without your aid the Southern
March might have fallen."
The Dwarf leader, bowed. "Hail Aragorn Edhelharn
Dunadan, of the blood of Elu Thingol." he straightened
and said awkwardly. "Three Ages of the world is long
enough to hold a grudge - even for Dwarves."
"More than enough." the King agreed. "The fault was
upon both sides, and both paid a bitter price for it.
It is best forgotten."
"We agree." said the Dwarf. "And therefore the
Firebeards of South Mountains offer their
congratulations on the restoration of the North
Kingdom and their friendship and alliance if you'll
"I will gladly, and thank you right heartily for
it, Friend of Men." the King replied with another bow.
His people applauded, and the Dwarves bowed back
before melting into the crowd. Hirgon had the distinct
impression that something momentous had just taken
place. But he had no idea what.
1. Dunedain/Elven Theatre is somewhat similar to that
of Ancient Greece. Scenery is non-existent - the stage
is set by a narrator or chorus, a highly trained Bard,
who also gives any necessary backstory and indicates
the passage of time.
Action takes place off-stage. Onstage the
characters describe what they did and how they felt
about it. The emphasis is on the beauty of the
language. Costuming too is elaborate and exquisite.
Music and dance are often part of the presentation.
2. The 'Broadbelts' of Belegost: Unlike Nogrod
Belegost survived the ruin of Beleriand, though not
without damage. The Broadbelts fought in the War of
Wrath and continued to have good relations with the
Noldor of North Lindon afterwards. Sindarin has been
their 'outer speech' since the First Age 'Curumaith'
is a Sindarin name meaning 'skilled hand'.
3. The Firebeards were the Dwarves of Nogrod. Though
their city was destroyed, it stood where the gulf of
Lune is in the Third Age, their mines and lesser
settlements in the southern Ered Lindon survived. The
remaining Firebeards, haunted by guilt over the ruin
of Doriath and nursing their grudge for the massacre
of their army at Rathloriel, kept very much to
themselves through the Second and Third Ages. They
carefully avoided the Sindarin Elves of Harlindon,
ruled by a descendant of Elu Thingol, and later the
Dunedain who were as well. However they had trading
relations with the Runedain of Eriador, and later the
Men of Cardolan and Rhudaur. Their outer speech is
Westron and their names are untranslated Adunaic.
During the War of the Ring Lassarion Eluchil, Lord
of Harlindon, went to the Firebeard's city and so
persuasively argued the folly of clinging to old
grudges in the face of so dire a common danger that
they agreed to march with his small force to the aid
of the Dunedain of Cardolan.
The something momentous Hirgon senses is Aragorn
and Phazgan's finally and officially laying to rest
the ancient feud between the Firebeards and the
descendants of Elu Thingol.
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