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The Star-Tree (G) Print

Written by Shireling

13 December 2005 | 4946 words

Title: The Star-Tree
Author:shirelinghpc (shirelinghpc@hotmail.com)
Rating: G
Warning(s): Spanking, Fluff
Summary: Faramir's attempt to do a good deed leads him into trouble


The first winter of the King’s reign turned out to be the coldest in living memory; a particularly severe burden for the barely recovered Kingdom. Food and fuel were scarce and the few families who had moved out of the city to begin working the land were forced back within the city walls to seek shelter and sustenance. Only the generosity of Prince Imrahil and the people of Belfelas prevented widespread hardship, sending boatloads of grain, rice and provisions for the beleaguered citizens of Gondor.

Not even the oldest citizens could remember ever seeing the Pelennor blanketed with deep heavy snow, making the plain all but impassable except to horse drawn sleds. Midwinter was fast approaching but the people of the city were in no position for festivities; huddling within their dwellings to ride out the worst of the winter as best they were able.The King, his Steward and the rest of the Council had made what provision they could to ease the hardships of the people and the King had excused the councillors for a week so that they could spend the holiday period with their own families.

Within the Queen’s parlour the mood was subdued. “Things have changed greatly here in Gondor since I was last here,” Estel commented to Faramir. They were gathered together after dinner along with Arwen, her twin brothers, Legolas, Gimli and Prince Imrahil and his daughter.

“How so, Estel?”

“I remember there being a big festival to celebrate mid-winter; stalls and players, tournaments and food; I remember the stalls spilling out of the city and spreading out over the plain. Everyone dressed up in their finery and there was music and dancing.”

“Yes, Boromir used to tell me about it.”

“Do you not remember it yourself?”

“No. The year my mother died the festivities were cancelled as the city was still in mourning. In later years my father seemed to lose heart for large celebrations. We still celebrated together as a family with a feast and by exchanging gifts but the mid-winter festival was never revived and as the years passed and the struggle against the darkness of Mordor intensified, the people of the city ceased to bother too.”

“That is so sad, Faramir,” Arwen commented. “Do you have no festive traditions you can share with us?” Faramir shook his head sadly.

“Well, we Dwarves know how to celebrate; a whole week is given over to feasting and drinking and dancing; it is a grand time.”

“Yes, in the Elven lands Midwinter is a special time. We also celebrate with music and dancing; we decorate our Hall’s with lanterns and greenery and celebrate the coming of a new year.” Arwen’s eyes were sad and full with remembering and she snuggled closer into Estel’s arms.

“What is your strongest memory, my love?” Estel asked.

“Apart from my family? I think what I shall miss most is the Star-Tree,” she said wistfully.

“What is this Star-Tree?” Gimli asked. All of the Elves and Estel exchanged fond smiles as they all recalled their own memory of this particular tradition.

It was Elladan who explained. “The Star-Tree is a tall Fir tree that Ada planted in the garden for our mother, it was the only Fir tree in our forest and when we were young we thought it was special because it stayed green all year, never losing its leaves. On Midwinter Eve we would decorate it with candles and garlands and ribbons and on the top would sit a large star, fashioned from crystal and delicately wrought metal. . .it was a special time. . .magical!”

Faramir was enchanted by the vision the Elf’s words conjured but he was saddened to see that the memories for Arwen were bitter-sweet, he could see the tracks of her tears reflected in the glow of the fire. In that moment Faramir made a silent vow; he had no traditions to share with his friends but he would ensure that Arwen had her Star-Tree; no matter the cost he would see his beloved Queen’s face light up with joy.

All night Faramir pondered on how to achieve his goal. There were few trees within the city and, as far as he knew, there were no trees of a similar type to that described by Elladan. He knew of only one place within travelling distance where such a tree could be found but with the snow on the Pelennor and the treacherous conditions in the mountains reaching it would be difficult. He wanted this to be a surprise for the Royal Couple and he was all too aware that permission for such an expedition would not be forthcoming. He could not do this alone, he would need an accomplice.


They prepared and packed their packs with care; food and water skins for themselves, tools, sacks and ropes for the tree. They dressed warmly and sent word to the citadel that they would be engaged in errands all day.

“How are we going to get out of the city without being seen?” Legolas asked, “Gimli is still working down near the gates and is bound to ask questions.”

Faramir just smiled and wiggled his eyebrows.“How do I usually get out without detection?” he asked.

“The tunnels!. . .but you promised Estel that you wouldn’t use them again, except in an emergency.”

“But this is an emergency. How else can we get Arwen’s tree.”

“Faramir, you know what it will mean if we are caught. . .it won’t be just your backside that gets roasted!”

“We will be out and back before anyone realise that we are gone and hopefully they will be so pleased with the surprise that they won’t think to ask how we did it,” Faramir explained, ignoring the Elf’s groan. “If you don’t want to come I’ll manage on my own,” Faramir pouted, earning himself a clipped ear from his Elven companion.

“Behave. I’m beginning to think Estel was right when he said you were a bad influence.”

“How can doing a good deed for our beloved Queen be bad?” Faramir wheedled.

“Come on; let’s go before I change my mind.”

For more than an hour they traversed the subterranean passages by the light of a lantern, back into the depths of the mountain. Faramir moved confidently through the twisting tunnels, checking for markings at the intersections to guide him to the correct passageways.

“Promise me you will never come down here alone, Legolas. These tunnels go on for leagues and you could easily get lost.”

“What are they here for, anyway?”

“Some are natural and some have been excavated. They provide a means of escape from the Citadel, should the need arise. They also provide the legitimate rulers of the city with a means of retaking the city, should it ever be overrun. There are refuge caves up in the mountains. . .we are heading for one now.” The Steward explained.

They stepped down from a fissure in the rock into a large, sandy-floored cavern. Set into the walls were large stone chests.

What are in these?” Legolas asked.

“Essential supplies for those fleeing the city; blankets and clothes, tools and weapons, flints and kindling and at the back of the cave there should be a stack of firewood and peat.

“Who checks on them?” Legolas asked, examining the contents of one of the chests and pulling out a bundle of candles.

“The Tower Guard is responsible for seeing that they are stocked. They should be checked every six months but I don’t know if it has been done since the siege. . .I will need to look into it.”

They dowsed the lantern and placed it near the mouth of the cavern. Stepping out into the sunny but snow-covered landscape left them blinking against the glare and they had to wait for their eyes to adjust to the dazzling light.

It took another hour to hike to the grove; Legolas found the going easy, able to traverse on the surface of the snow without difficulty but for Faramir it was more of a struggle; the snow was knee-deep in places making it hard work to keep up with the fleet-footed Elf.

The grove had been transformed by the weather. The horseshoe shaped cliffs of rock protected the glade from the wind but the snow lay deeply across the flat meadow. The Rowan trees had dropped their leaves and the birds had stripped off most of the jewel red berries, leaving the skeletal branches dusted with snow. The waterfall was a frozen cascade of ice glittering in the bright winter sunshine and the stream and pond at its base were frozen solid.

“These trees are not what we were looking for, Faramir. Are we in the right place?”

Faramir didn’t answer but took his arm and led him to the far side of the grove to a sheltered spot behind the rowan trees. A small stand of fir trees stood ranged like green soldiers against the bright white blanket of snow. Faramir grinned, “Will one of these do?” he asked. The wood Elf examined the trees and stood with his head tilted to one side as he pondered.

“They are a little smaller than the Imladris tree but they are an ideal shape,” he pronounced, finally.

“We have to be able to carry it back; we don’t want too big a specimen.” Faramir pouted.

“Too true; it has to be one that one Elf and one puny human can manage!” Legolas joked, throwing a large snowball at his friend.

The tree was forgotten as the two friends played and gambolled in the snow like children; the fought and wrestled, had snowball fights and skated along the frozen stream until they were breathless with exertion and laughter. Legolas had never seen his friend so carefree and joyful and he wished he could capture just one perfect moment to share with Estel and Arwen and the rest of their friends.

Reluctantly they left their games to choose and dig up a tree. They wrapped the root ball in sacking and wound rope around the branches to protect the foliage. They tried to carry the tree but it was too heavy and awkward, so they changed tack and tied a rope around the trunk and pulled the tree across the snow.

They sang as they travelled, each teaching the other traditional ballads but after a while Faramir became more and more quiet as he focussed his energy on keeping up with Legolas. He found it more and more difficult to keep going, his clothes were damp and his boots and gloves wet and the chill wind was leeching the warmth from his body, despite the exertion of pulling the tree. It was only when Faramir stumbled for the second time that Legolas realised his friend was in trouble.

“For goodness sake, Faramir, you are freezing,” he gasped, dropping the rope and pulling him to his feet.

“So cold, Leg-las,” Faramir muttered as the Elf tried to rub some warmth into his him.

“We are nearly back at the cavern. Can you walk if I help you?”

“I’ll Try.” But Faramir’s limbs would no longer obey even the simplest commands. Legolas hitched him up onto his back and began to trot back towards the cavern.

“The tree! We can’t leave the tree!”

“The tree can wait. We have to get you into shelter before you freeze.”

When they got to the cavern, Legolas stripped Faramir of his wet cloak and damp outer layers and wrapped him in his own Lórien cloak. He used a flint to light the lantern and searched out kindling and wood to start a fire. He melted snow and with provisions from his own pack he made a hot drink for Faramir. Getting the drink into him was difficult as Faramir was only semi conscious and kept choking on the liquid. Legolas built up the fire and wrapped another blanket around his friend, holding him close until the youngster at last began to warm up and take notice of his surroundings.

“Faramir, I need to go for help. I can’t carry you back on my own and it will be dark in a few hours,” Legolas explained. He wanted to get Faramir back to the city before nightfall and though he hated the thought of leaving his friend he knew that Faramir’s best chance was to stay in the shelter of the cavern until he could bring help.

“Not the tunnel. . .you mustn’t go into the tunnels. . .promise me you won’t attempt it, Legolas,” Faramir begged.

“How else can I get help?”

“The trail outside the cave goes down the mountain to the edge of the Pelennor, if you follow the base of the mountain you will reach the city walls,” Faramir explained.

“How far is it?”

“In good weather, about 2 hours on foot. . .I’ve never tried it in the snow!”

“How are you feeling now? Would you like another drink?” Faramir nodded.

While Legolas prepared them both a drink, Faramir said quietly, “Legolas, I can’t feel my hands or feet!”

“I’m afraid you will start to feel them as you warm up more. I will wrap a couple of fire stones in some cloth; they should help to keep you warm while I am gone. I will leave you the lanterns; keep wrapped up and promise me you won’t leave the cavern until I return.”

“I promise. . .Legolas. . .I’m. . .tell Estel I’m sorry!”

“Faramir, you are going to be fine. I will go and get help and we will have you safely back in the Citadel in not time. . .and then Estel will make sure we are both sorry!” Faramir managed to grin weakly.


The duty guard raised the alarm when he spied the graceful figure of the Elf running easily across the snowy plain towards the gate. Barely out of breath, Legolas sent a runner to the barracks to organise a rescue party, ordering that a mounted troop and a sledge would be required. He then went up to the Citadel to the King.

The Elven twins and the King quickly gathered what supplies they thought necessary and the four of them rode off ahead of the troops leaving with orders that they should follow and wait at the foot of the mountain.

Ascending the trail on foot was treacherous and in several places the Elves had to help their human brother over the icy track. At the cave Faramir had drifted off into troubled sleep and he reacted with fear when the rescuers entered the cave; in his disorientation confusing them for the phantoms of his dream. It took Estel and Legolas to sooth and calm his fears.

Estel prepared a draught of herbs to strengthen him and to help restore the circulation to his extremities and added an analgesic to counteract the pain when sensation did return. From their bags of supplies they dressed him warmly and wrapped him in a heavy fur-lined cloak. As Estel was packing up his supplies and the Elves were readying the Steward to leave Faramir became agitated; Legolas tried to calm him.

“The tree. . .we mustn’t leave the tree. . .!” he pleaded.

“Hush. Don’t worry, my friend. Somehow I will find a way to retrieve it later,” Legolas reassured him.

“Is he delirious?” Elladan asked Legolas, having overheard the exchange.

“No, I will explain later,” Legolas whispered back, casting a glance over to ensure that Estel was not listening. The Elf Lord nodded, realising that there was more to this story than had yet come to light.

The twins carried Faramir between them by locking their arms together beneath his knees and behind his back to form a seat. They moved easily but carefully down the track on sure Elven feet. Legolas and Estel followed on more slowly, Estel having greater difficulty on the steep icy path.

It was dark by the time they reached the troops waiting on level ground. The King settled himself in the sledge and the twins passed Faramir into his arms, wrapping them both in a cocoon of blankets and furs. Faramir had drifted back into exhausted oblivion. The rescue party travelled back across the moonlit plain, the harness of the sledge jingling in the still, icy darkness. The three Elves on horseback pressed ahead of the sledge party and Legolas used the opportunity to explain to the twins what had happened.

“You are doomed, Legolas,” Elrohir commented as they rode hard for the gate. “Estel will not let this go lightly; Faramir came near to freezing!”

“I know! I didn’t feel the cold and I forgot just how vulnerable these frail humans are to the extreme elements.”

“I don’t suppose Faramir has had much experience of weather this severe; I understand snow is rarely seen this far south. How did he get so wet?” Elladan asked.

“We were fooling around in the snow. . .he was having so much fun, I’ve never seen him so carefree. Will you help me to retrieve the tree tomorrow. . .there is no way Faramir will be able to get away and I cannot manage it on my own.”

“Why is it so important, Legolas? What is so important about that tree?”

“Faramir wanted to give Arwen a Star-Tree!” Legolas explained.

“Oh! And that is why he couldn’t inform Estel of his plans! What say you, brother?” Elladan asked, “should we help out these hapless youngsters?”

“I think it would make Arwen very happy to have a Star-Tree in her garden. I think you and I could slip away tomorrow. Legolas won’t be in any state to ride tomorrow by the time Estel has finished with him,” Elrohir smirked.

“Did you have to remind me of that, Elrohir?” Legolas scowled.

“Yes, it is a long time since we’ve seen you squirming in your seat at the dinner table!” the Elf Lord joked. “Come let us make sure that everything is prepared for Estel to care for Faramir when they return.”

“Yes, Elladan, and perhaps you could make up an extra large batch of ‘Faramir’s Friend’. . . I have a feeling it will be needed by more than just Faramir!” Elrohir said with a wicked smirk, referring to the cooling lotion Lord Elrond had formulated for soothing Faramir’s frequently spanked backside.


Warmed, bathed and dosed, Faramir slept peacefully in his own chamber. Estel sat in vigil beside him until he was sure that his friend had taken no lasting hurt. In the early hours of the morning Legolas knocked lightly on the door to Faramir’s chamber. With one last check to reassure himself that all was well, Estel rose and joined him in the ante-room.

“I hope there is a very good reason why you allowed Faramir to place himself in such peril,” he demanded, remembered fear and anger surged through Estel as he observed his subdued Elven friend.

“Is he alright. . .I was so scared!” Estel’s anger dissipated in the face of his friend’s distress.

“Come here, Elfling.” Estel drew him close and hugged him tight. “You are not the only one who was scared, if you hadn’t been so close to the cavern. . .” Estel couldn’t continue; he just hugged his friend tighter. “What were you doing out there?” Estel demanded.

Legolas took a step back and placed a hand on his shoulder. “I have a request to ask of you,” he said.

“I am in no mood for games, Legolas.”

“This is no game. I know that both Faramir and I will have atone for our actions but I would ask that you do not demand a reason for our expedition!”

“How can I properly judge how to deal with this if I don’t know the facts?”

“Punish us for what we did; the reason we did it is not important!” Legolas explained.

“Important enough for you to both risk your lives.”

“That’s not what I meant. Faramir wanted to perform a service for someone, something kind and thoughtful for someone who means a great deal to him. If you demand an explanation his surprise will be ruined. Please, Estel, don’t take this away from him,” he begged.

“And can this surprise still be achieved? Did you complete your preparations before the weather caught up with you?”

“Yes, there is still a chance to complete it. . .”

“I will not let him go out there again, nor you for that matter,” the King stated.

“It will not be necessary.”

“Very well, I will heed your wishes in this matter. . .but I will want a full explanation later.”

Estel said goodnight and left Legolas to sit with Faramir for the remainder of the night, leaving instructions that they were both to present themselves to his study at noon.

It was two subdued penitents who presented themselves to the King’s study at the appointed hour. Legolas was unmarked by their adventure but Faramir still suffered; his swollen and painful fingers protected by fine woollen gloves and his feet encased in thick socks and slippers.

Inside the King’s study they found a wooden chair and a lower foot-stool placed strategically in front of the fireplace; Estel sitting in the chair and Gimli on the stool.

“Greetings, gentlemen.” Estel beckoned them forward. Faramir how do you fare?”

“I am fine, Sire,” Faramir said, opting for formality in the face of their current predicament.

“Let me see your hands,” Estel requested. Faramir stepped forward and pulled off the gloves with his teeth. Estel examined his hands and nodded, pleased to see that some of the swelling had already subsided.

“Now then, Legolas has asked that I do not ask for an explanation for your truancy or for recklessly endangering your lives. In this case I will accede to his wishes. That does not mean, however, that I can let this behaviour pass lightly.

“No, Sire.”

“No, Estel.”

“Good, then let us proceed. As your actions demand a sincere lesson I have engaged Gimli’s assistance; I do not think my arm is up too administering two substantial lessons!” Legolas and Faramir exchanged worried glances, neither relishing the prospect of a walloping from the iron-handed dwarf.

“You mean. . .Gimli. . sp-spank. . .No, Estel! Legolas spluttered, backing back towards the door.

“HOLD!, Legolas.” Estel was beside him in a flash, guiding him back to where Gimli waited. “Legolas, Gimli is quite willing and able to assist me in this matter. He has my complete confidence and you know that you can trust him,” Estel reassured him gently but firmly.

“Come, Elfling. Let’s get this over with,” Gimli muttered, gently tugging the tall prince over his lap. Within seconds Legolas was settled into place, his elbows and knees resting on the floor and a stout Dwarven arm clamped across his back securing him in place; he shuddered as he felt his leggings descend. Gimli wasted no time in beginning his lesson.

Faramir too found himself in the same position over Estel’s knees, though Estel took longer to settle him and ease some of his rigid apprehension. But all too quickly Estel’s hand began its dance; administering spank after blazing spank to every inch of his bottom and upper thighs. It took little time before Faramir was kicking and gasping with each spank and his gasps soon turned to sobs as the assault continued. Only when he surrendered himself over Estel’s lap did the spanking end and the King was quick to pull him up into his arms to comfort and sooth his distress.

Legolas attempted to tough it out over Gimli’s lap, determined to ride out the spanking with his dignity intact. Gimli was equally determined to exact proper contrition.

“Your stubbornness is costing you dear, Laddie,” Gimli said, noting the brightness of the colour he had painted on usually pale flesh. “My stamina will outlast your stubbornness and if my right arm tires I can always swing you round and start again with my left!” When this failed to break through the Elf’s defences he tipped him forward and landed six harder, stinging blows in rapid succession all in one spot, tightening his grip as he did so. It had the desired result, Legolas arched up and howled.

“I’m sorry. . .please, Gimli. Please st-stop. . .no more. . .I’m sorry. . .I’ll be good!” he wept.

Gimli responded by gradually slowing his spanks, shushing and soothing his distraught friend. “All done now, Laddie. All finished. . .hush now. . .All done,” he whispered. He allowed Legolas to adjust his clothing and then held him until he had regained his composure.

“Thank you, Gimli,”

“Any time, Princeling,” Gimli chuckled as Legolas blushed to match the colour of his backside. “This discipline lark is thirsty work, Estel. Where are the refreshments, Lad?”

“Help yourself, Gimli, I think you’ve earned yourself a generous libation.”

“Too true, Lad. Too true.”

“Now can I trust you two to stay out of trouble for the remainder of the festive period?” Estel asked. The Steward and the Elf nodded. “And need I remind you that you are not to venture out of the city without my express permission. . .by any route, Faramir!”

“No, Sire.”

“Good. I suggest you keep yourself occupied by providing me with a copy of the maps and plans of these tunnels you are so fond of using and abusing. I would like to have the confidence that, should any one be foolish enough to get lost when they attempt to navigate them, we could send in a search party.”

“But, Estel, there are leagues of tunnels!” Faramir complained.

“Then I won’t have to worry about you having too much time on your hands, will I? I’m sure your partner in crime will be only too happy to assist you, wont you, Legolas?” Both miscreants scowled and muttered as they took their leave.



*

In the end everyone amongst the King’s inner circle knew of the surprise planned except for the Royal couple themselves. Legolas and Faramir busied themselves with organising and making the decorations for the tree. Princess Lothiriel assisted them with making the more delicate adornments and the twin Elf Lords, once they had successfully retrieved the tree, commissioned the court jeweller to produce a star for the top of the tree; a large, intricate star made of crystal and filigree, with an sheltered aperture to hold a large multi-wick candle.

Prince Imrahil was tasked with keeping the royal couple occupied so that the tree could be set in place and decorated before the banquet to honour Midwinter Eve.

At the end of the banquet, Faramir and Legolas slipped away as the guests gathered to exchange their festive gifts. When they returned a short while later they were both glowing with excitement. The other guests smiled in anticipation as Faramir addressed Arwen and Estel.

“My friends, I cannot begin to express the happiness I feel at being able to share this festive season with you. Although I spent few of the last years with my family at this festive season, I was dreading the thought of this first Christmas alone. . . but I have not been alone, I have my dear Uncle and Cousin here and I have the special friends who have so generously admitted me into their lives. I do feel blessed. I have no festive traditions to share with you except my love and I wanted to do something for you both to show you how very dear you are to me.” Legolas slipped behind the drapes and opened the doors out into the garden.

“Arwen, Estel, close your eyes,” Faramir requested as he moved between them. He took their arms, waiting until they closed their eyes. Legolas drew back the drapes and Faramir gently guided them forward, stopping in the doorway. He stepped back. “Now you can open your eyes!”

The garden had been transformed into a wonderland of moonshine and candle light. The paths and bushes were lit up with candles set in small crystal containers and to one side a large bonfire blazed in a brazier to warm the icy evening air. But the centrepiece was the Star-Tree, set in a large cut-down barrel in the centre of the garden. It was laden with sparkling decorations of glass and jewel-coloured silks, the facets of the decorations flashing rainbows of colour in the darkness. At the top of the tree the large star blazed with flickering candlelight.

There was stunned silence from the royal couple and them Arwen buried her face against her husband’s chest, weeping. “Don’t worry, Faramir, they are tears of joy,” Legolas whispered to his friend, reassuring him that his gesture was appreciated.

Faramir found himself swept into a tight embrace. “You did this for us? It is so wonderful, I don’t know what to say.. . .this is so special. . .Thank you, my friend. Thank you.” Legolas handed out cloaks and they all went out into the night to enjoy the sights.

“This was what you errand was for?” Estel asked. Faramir nodded, sheepishly. “I am sorry I walloped you so hard. . .I can’t think of any gift that would have made Arwen happier than this. . .I wish Ada was here to see that she is happy.”

“He knows he has left her in safe hands, Estel.”

“Yours and mine, my brothers.” Estel said, embracing his Steward and his Elven Prince, “Yours and mine.”

The End.

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3 Comment(s)


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Wounderful! It’s hardlie the word to justify this short story but I can’t think of anyone else right now. It brought tears to my eyes

— Ingrid    25 May 2009, 11:08    #

This was lovely. I loved your bratty but sweet Faramir. Also a bonus to have Legolas and Gimli who are both also favorites. Very fun story!

— Beth    20 July 2011, 08:19    #

Thank you again, as always! Wonderful writing.

— Treedweller    26 January 2019, 03:33    #

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