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The Last Blossom of an Ithilien Tree (G) Print

Written by Dream in a Jar

09 July 2005 | 3120 words

Paring: Not really, slightly hint of Faramir/Boromir
Rating: G
Beta: Iris
Warning: None
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Prof. J.R.R. Tolkien. I wrote this just for fun.
Feedback: Yes please. Send to dream_in_a_jar@yahoo.com or dream_in_a_jar@gmail.com
Summary: POV of a white tree who spent her whole life in Ithilien for the entire Third Age, and her encounters with the most beloved two sons of Gondor.

Notes: AU elements, and not biologically correct. Story inspired by a poem from Lady Mu-Rong She, a Taiwanese poet whose collection “Seven Miles of Fragrance” a major hit in 1980s. This writing is also my very first writing, when I say very first, it is very first by all means. And, to see a photo manipulation illusion for this story, go here.

I am a tree in the Ithilien forest. Tall and proud, I have been standing here for three thousand years. Generations after generations, people called me by different names, for I am the only one tree of my kind, if there is ever such kind in the rest of the Middle Earth. I was a seed dropped from my mother’s branch some three thousand years ago, by the very end of the Second Age, right after the moment the Great War ended with that blast that destroyed most of the world around that area. Small and tiny, I survived the blast when I was pushed out of my mother’s embrace, and while I was traveling through the burning air toward the shaking ground, I saw my mother for the last time, I watched as the beautiful leaves that covered her elegant figure flew away with a gust of wind, and her trunk broke with the power. I was carried away by the powerful wind, into whatever darkness awaited for me. I can not remember how many centuries had passed before I was woken up again by the sunlight, and made my way out of the dark underground world. I saw the blue sky again, new trees around me, strangely shaped mountains in the distance. A river not far from where I was and still am standing. Pieces of the last memory started to come back to me, by the time I had fully grown up, I remembered my past life and my mother, how she was shaking in that final blast that seemed to destroy the whole world. Here I am, in the new and strange world, all by myself.

After many seasons of standing here solemnly, one spring, my body started to tickle strangely. Something new is growing inside me, and wanted to sprout out of the branches. It was not the feeling of the spring leaves, it was something new, something different. When that morning came, when I saw the first white bud sprout out of a tender branch, I finally realized, that I am a flowering tree! Minute after minute, I was so thrilled to see more and more white buds sprout out of my branches, the tickling became a joy that was almost painful for my skin. Yet I was so overwhelmed to see this strange thing happening on my body. This was not what my kind meant to be, as I never saw my mother bloom even once. I am one of a kind.

When all the flowers on my branches were in full bloom for the first time, my joy and pride were replaced by emptiness. No one, not a single creature around me to share my blossom. No birds, no animals, no human beings. But somehow I remembered, that I stood here, covered by all these beautiful white flowers, as an excited bride before her wedding march: I was supposed to show this moment to my groom. But who is he? How can I find him, or rather, how can he find me here? In the deepest part of a forgotten forest, surrounded by all kinds of non-flowering trees that are many times taller and stronger than I am? And how long do I have to wait for him? How many centuries do I have to endure, before he comes to me, and most of all, will I be ready to bloom and show him all my beauty, by the time he comes?

Year after year, century after century, I stand here, with all such thoughts alternating inside me, cycling my mood season after season. I drink from the cold dew, stretch under the solitary starlight. I am waiting, patiently, for the meeting. Gradually, this part of the forest became busy, first with birds visiting, then animals, then human beings, and recently, nasty creatures called Orcs. But it is very rare for human who called themselves rangers to pass this part of the forest, their language and gear changed over the long years. Sometimes they sit in my shade, talking about the strange flowers that seemed so out of the place in this part of the forest. But they never mean any harm to me. So I remained in peace, and wait for my groom to come and greet me. He will find me, and will come to me, and he will see my flowers. For three thousand years, I made myself believe.

One late summer, a new face appeared in a certain group of rangers that would pass my shade from time to time. My branches shook by the sight of his figure. His blue eyes flicked with excitement, his muscle tensed with nervousness. His red golden hair bounced when he marched on. He gazed at me for a short moment, then passed on. I sighed at his fading back, knowing that he is not the one I am waiting for, but excited enough to know that somehow, he is connected with the one I have been waiting for, and he will bring the one to me. My groom will come to me in this lifetime, in this century.

Summer became autumn, and then spring followed the long dark winter. This fair young solider became a young captain, leading his rangers to fight those nasty looking creatures in this forest. He is brave and smart, can always beat the much larger group of Orcs with his smaller group of brave rangers. One late spring day, when he passed my shade again, for the first time, he saw me in my full bloom. He ordered his troop to halt for a short rest. He came to me slowly, eyes fixed on the white flowers. So strange, the way he looked at me, for three thousand years no one ever looked at me in such a way. I think some of the white petals grew pink when I felt shy under his gaze. Oh my young prince, you are the perfect match for my blossom, but you are not the one I am waiting for. So I stand silently, keep my posture elegant and noble, without betraying my excitement. For I know, he will bring the one to me, he might describe me in front of Him. I stood so still, holding the trembling branches and silencing the whispering flowers. I returned my gaze to the young man’s eyes. He bowed, and touched my trunk gently, like a young boy who run into a fairy lady and couldn’t help to touch her hair to feel the substance. He looked up into my branches under my shade, closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, he inhaled the air, holding his breath for a length that almost panicked me, then, with a soft smile on his face, he exhaled slowly. The smile rode from his mouth to his eyes and reached the rest of his body, relaxing his muscles and even his hair. I giggled at that moment, allowed the white flowers to whisper with the breeze that came from the river bank. For the first time, I realized that the white flowers were not only pure, but also carried a fragrance. Thank you, young stranger, for telling me this, and for paying so much attention to me. But you are not the one I am waiting for, you are related to him; bring him to me, please.

From that day on, the young man came often to sit under my shade. Sometimes, resting his back on my trunk. He always gazed into the river not far from where I stand. He wrote letters or read one. Sometimes, he murmured a name that will make my branches shake without winds. “Boromir, brother mine” was what he would say with his soft sighs. I know that is the name of my groom, the one I have been waiting for for three thousand years. And his love towards that one, connected me with him. That is why he noticed me the first time he passed me some twenty blossoms ago, and that is why he kept on visiting me, missing his love under my shade. No, my young captain, your Boromir will not answer your love because he is mine, my destiny. Bring him here, and you will understand. It seemed he heard my thought, as he turned to me, gazing at me, then said in a rather sad voice: “Tomorrow, my brother will come and join me, for a peril that will be so deadly I fear that none of us shall return.” With that news, I shuttered. This is still very early spring, my branches are still dry and lifeless and naked. If it was meant to be just one meeting after my three thousand years of waiting, at least, make it the moment I look my best! The young captain left, leaving me shaking in the cold early spring night. My branches twitching the whole night long, but no, I can not change the nature of myself and skip the season, to get myself ready for the meeting I have been waiting for more than three thousand years. The morning came. I drank the cold morning dew as much as possible, my roots wanted to walk toward the cold river to moisten my branches.

Here they came; I can hear the horses coming near. I can see, the shinning red gold hair bouncing with the ride, I can hear the laughter from the captain, the shining lights in his sky blue eyes. I have never seen him so happy, so complete, so beautiful, so carefree, but all his beauty faded when my gaze focused on the one riding next to him: my groom, just the way I dreamed: strong, broad shoulders, proud and noble, determined gaze in his green eyes, wisdom shining through his forehead, his face lined with weariness from battles, his mouth curved with pride and confidence. His black gear with a white tree in front on his chest; that is me you are wearing, do you know that? For all your life you fight for that white tree, and I am standing here, alive, with gray and naked branches stretching to you with silent greetings. My love, my groom, I have been waiting for more than three thousand years, fate spared me and launched me onto this strange land that is a thousand miles away from my home, in this strange and still foreign land, standing in centuries of solitude, just for this moment to meet with you. I feel the burning inside of me, I gathered all the energy from the very tip of my roots and burst it all the way to every end of the branches. I wanted to run to you, abandon the ground that holds me still for three thousand years, abandon the dry and gray skin that beholds my white beauty, I want to run to you, embrace you, bloom for you, cover you with my white flowers. Then I felt the burning pain when my skin burst into pieces, I felt the rush of my blood leaking from the thousands of little wounds. Painful but graceful, my branches covered with blooming flowers in a few seconds. The moment my body was within the sight of my groom, I was in full bloom. The trunk, the branches, and all the newly bloomed while flowers trembling with the excitement, with the miracle that my love and joy had done to break the spell of rules of seasons and nature. I will bloom for you, my groom. I wasted all my three thousand years of graceful blooming, I will burn for you for this one moment, look at me, please look at me, the white tree coming to life in front of your eyes, the symbol you bore in front of your heart. My love, my groom, smell the fragrance that is so raw and so sweet with my burning blood. I am blooming for you, for the last time of my long and lonely life, for this is the bloom that really matters, for this is the bloom I was meant to. Please look at me, through my flowers, look into my soul.

He approached, and then he passed me, swiftly, without a single glance.

At that moment, my life and my world stopped into an eternal stillness and emptiness. Everything stopped, no pain, no trembling, no joy, and no excitement. I hold still with disbelieve, till I was sure I was out of his sight. Then I felt it, though, remotely, that the pain and burst boiling inside my body resumed three thousand fold. I let go of my hold, and I felt the tension drain from each end of my branches and roots. Remotely, I watched the way the flowers detached from my branches, flew into the chilly spring air. Remotely, I watched how each fragile petal was turned by the gentle breeze. Remotely, I watched when thousands and thousands of the white petals flew lifelessly around my body, and dropped toward the ground like silent sighs. The world is fading, I can no longer feel or hear, but strangely, for the first and last time, I can smell, I smelled the fragrance of my dropping flowers, my tears, my heart. Do you know, my groom, that these three thousand pieces of flowers that are scattering away from my body, were the three thousand pieces of my shattered heart? You passed me, this once in a three thousand year lifetime's meeting, without even a glance towards me. This is the only and last blossom for you, and for my long and doomed life. Farewell, my love, farewell, my groom. Finally, I woke up from the only dream I had been holding on for the long three thousand year lifetime, I could sleep now.

The last thing I saw, was when the red gold hair paused, and turned his head before disappearing out of my sight. For a second, I saw the confusion on his young and handsome face, he must have thought he saw me covered with fully blooming white flowers, but all he could see now, were the gray and bald branches, somehow, in a very sad and lifeless way. Just when he turned to leave, he tilted his head and took in a deep breath, held it as if he would never let it go. He must have noticed the faint fragrance floating in the air, the familiar smell of the white flowers that would cover my body every summer. Then he shook his head slightly, he must have thought this was all just an illusion, like his love towards his brother, so out of nature, so out of place, yet so real, like a waking dream. My fair one, do not wake up from your dream and love my groom for me, for mine was broken. My vision blurred when the young captain turned to catch up with his troop, heading to the peril with no return.

From then on, I could no longer feel the warmth of the sun, the cold of the moon, the wash of the rain, the breeze of the wind, time and season lost meaning and impacted me no more. Why can’t I just be destroyed the way my mother had been?

I lost all my senses, until one day, I felt a faint yet familiar touch on my trunk. I can no longer see or taste, but I still can feel the touch and the sound from the only one being who ever cared for my existence: my young captain. So you are still alive, you came back from your deadly peril and maybe many of them after that. But how long have I been dying? For it felt like eternity since the moment my heart burst into pieces.

“I have seen this tree bloom before, and in my dreams, she blooms every time I meet with my brother. And once, not two years ago, I almost believed that I saw her bloom within a few seconds, in the chill of an early spring morning. But that might well be just another of my waking dreams. I am bringing you here today my King, in hope that you can find the seed you are looking for,” came the voice of my young captain, somehow, his voice, still soft, yet filled with so much pain and sorrow. What happened to you and my cold-hearted groom during the past two years? Why are you bringing a stranger to me when all I wanted and waited for, is another one? Another touch on my trunk made me shiver with the warmth it brings. Somehow, this touch, gentle yet powerful, spreads the magic of healing towards my broken heart, where there's a seed of mine, trapped before I could release her. They are looking for the seed, the one I was so willing to give to my groom. Why has he missed me and why have we missed each other in this life time? But I am so tired now, too tired to think or to feel or to desire being healed only to stand for another three thousand years of solitude. My seed could be found by a pair of caring and powerful hands, that is all what mattered now. With the last sigh and trembling, I released the seed, wishing her all the life that I never had, I wish her to be loved and admired and respected whenever a creature set eyes on her, I wish her far away from this forgotten forest and be cherished by human beings in their world, I wish she'll bloom fully each year with happiness, I wish she will stand tall and proud through another long age. For mine, is over. “Rest in peace, my beauty. I wished my brother had seen you the other day,” was the last thing I heard.

The End.

NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]

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Dream in a Jar

For Dream_In_A_Jar’s artwork, see her artist’s page at this archive


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