1. Blessing the Garden
I walk gingerly, worried about stepping onto a sharp stick or angry bee. When Gimli asked us to come with him to pick out a building site for our home here in the Moon-land, I certainly did not expect to roam about barefoot. Faramir strides ahead of me without hesitation, following Gimli closely as the dwarf stalks the stream’s bank. He looks back at me.
“Come, my lady! You fall behind! I shall need your help to find the right spot!”
“I am walking as fast as I can,” I reply with dignity. “You forget my feet are not like yours.” I glance down at his equally bare feet; they are as sturdy, and nearly as hairy, as Merry’s.
Gimli chuckles. “So you have a weakness there? Be grateful I am toughening you.”
“You did not mention this was a training march, Gimli,” says Faramir. “But I do not mind, now that I have the chance to show the beauties of Ithilien to both of you.” He lets his hand caress a tree branch, and smiles at me. I smile back and take a deep breath as the sweet perfume of many flowers fills my nose.
I was surprised, and more than a little touched as well, when Gimli sought out Faramir and I earlier today and offered to build a house for us as a wedding present. After Faramir told him that any home of ours would be in Ithilien, not Minas Tirith, Gimli begged us to ride there with him. He told us earnestly, “One must be very careful in selecting the place—the earth must accept the house and the people in it, if you are to be happy together. I know you will be leaving soon for Edoras, Lady Eowyn, and are pressed for time, but it would be a great boon to me if we find the location before you depart. Then I can begin a small temporary place to shelter you both, until the main structure is done.”
“You need both of us to accompany you?” Faramir asked.
Gimli nodded vigorously. “Aye, I do, for your spirits shall aid me in my search. Shall we ride?”
There was nothing for it but to saddle up and ride forth. Faramir led the way at first, with Gimli clinging behind him, but I soon let my joy at being astride overcome me. I spurred my horse, galloping eagerly towards my future home and leaving them in the dust. Faramir fought to keep up, laughing as he raced me and ignoring Gimli’s shouts of distress.
We halted along the small stream that flowed from Henneth Annun, in a clearing filled with blooms and surrounded by towering trees. As soon as we dismounted, Gimli pried his heavy boots off and insisted that we both do the same, telling us it was the only way to feel the earth properly.
Since then, we have wandered about for a while as we search for just the right spot. Gimli stops frequently and puts his ear against the ground before moving on again, twirling his beard round a finger. Faramir meanwhile tells me stories of his campaigns here in a low voice, and points out different flowers that he particularly loves, before hurrying back to Gimli’s side. I struggle to take it all in, for Ithilien is so rich and abundant that it overwhelms my senses. Home, I keep thinking. This shall be my home, the place where I bear and raise my children. The thought both heartens and worries me, for while I have already begun to love this golden land, it is nothing like Rohan, nothing like my old home. Will I be able to adjust to the change?
Gimli leads us into another clearing, bigger than the first one but equally verdant. He stops dead in the middle and closes his eyes, digging his toes into the loamy soil. I can hear the waterfall’s roar faintly in the distance.
“Yes . . .” he murmurs. “Yes, this feels right.” He motions to us to join hands with him; I step forward and take his right hand while Faramir grasps the other. We instinctively form a circle, and remain silent as Gimli throws his head back. He finally opens his eyes after a few minutes and smiles at us.
“This is the place. The earth is very welcoming here, and wishes to nurture you and yours. Look around. Do you like it?”
“Yes, I do, very much,” says Faramir. “In fact I have oft admired this spot in the past.” He looks thoughtful. “I cared for some of my wounded men here once, for it is near the Window of the Sunset but well sheltered and hard to see. This is ground hallowed by their blood and sacrifice. You have chosen well, my friend.”
Gimli looks pleased. He takes a small ax and wooden stake from his belt and lays them down. “There is one other thing we must do before we leave. Wait here for a moment, and I shall fetch the things I need from my saddlebag.”
He hastens back along the stream to where we left our horses. As soon as he is out of sight, Faramir embraces me and kisses me passionately, leaving me breathless. He breaks the kiss slowly and says softly, “You truly like it here?”
“Yes, it is so very beautiful—you did not lie when you spoke of its loveliness.” I smile shyly. “I am very lucky to have such a glorious place to call home now.”
“Ah, but you will be even luckier to have such a glorious lover to call husband.” He gives me a comic leer, making me laugh.
“Have I ever said otherwise?” I tell him teasingly.
He kisses me again and lets his hands glide over my body, making me shiver. We only stop when we hear a cough. We look down at a blushing Gimli as he waits on us patiently. He clutches a wineskin, a goblet, and a tiny pouch.
“Sorry—I daresay you understand,” says Faramir, unabashed. “What do you need us to do?”
Gimli lays down the wineskin and goblet and scoops up some soil. He mixes salt from the pouch with it, and says gruffly, “Cup your hands together and I shall place this into them.” We do as he tells us; the earth is warm and fragrant. He then pours wine into the goblet, and raises it to the sky above our hands as he begins chanting in the strange dwarven tongue. I do not know what he is saying, but there is an unexpected music in his words that is wonderfully soothing. I feel the wind brush my cheek, and my feet seem to root themselves, becoming one with the land around me. I look at Faramir, and from his expression he too feels the same. He tightens his grip as Gimli continues to chant.
Finally, Gimli falls silent. He tips the goblet and lets the deep red wine flow over our hands, wetting the earth and salt. “Let the earth go now,” he says. It falls to the ground as we release each other.
“What have we just done?” I ask curiously.
“It is a special dwarven blessing, one that is used for a betrothed couple to insure their happiness and fertility.” A sad look passes across his face. “I have had no reason to speak it for too long, for our babies are very few and rare of late. I hope that will not be the way of it for the two of you.”
I lean down and kiss the top of his head. “Never fear—thanks to your blessing, we shall have fine babes indeed.” He blushes a touch again, but pats my hand in return.
“Come,” he says, “let me mark the place, and then we shall ride back.”
He picks up the stake and taps it into the ground with the head of his ax. He slips the ax into his belt and looks up at us. “Let us be gone.”
He begins to walk back to the horses. Faramir wraps his arm around my waist as we follow. I give a sigh of satisfaction. I am united with my new home now, and always will be.
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.