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Author: Dreamflower
Title: In the Courtyard of the Fountain
Rating: G
Theme: The White Tree
Elements: This story starter sentence: The only sound was the music of the fountain.
Author's Notes: This story will be a fragment of my larger story, In the Court of the High King. It tells of the time that eight hobbits spend in Minas Tirith. Among those eight is Frodo's cousin, Mosco Burrows. This tells of a brief encounter shortly after the hobbits have arrived in Minas Tirith.
Summary: Mosco Burrows has a conversation with the Steward...
Word Count:1,274

In the Courtyard of the Fountain

Mosco stood with his hands clasped behind his back. The only sound was the music of the fountain. It trickled soothingly beneath the slender boughs above it. The evening was young and only a few stars had made an appearance in the East, while in the West there was still the faintest rosy tinge of sunset still painting the horizon. The White Tree nearly glowed in the twilight. He'd heard it called "White", but he'd never known before how many sorts of "white" there could be. The bark of the trunk was striated in very pale shades and textures, from smooth to rough. There was an opalescent silver sheen to the underside of the leaves, but the uppersides were a velvety dark green, scarcely visible due to the myriad of snowy blossoms that nearly obscured the leaves altogether. He tried to ignore the forms of the Guardsmen, who were as still and silent as the statues he'd seen in the King's Throne Room. It was rather unnerving, and somewhat unnatural to see living things be so very still. He glanced over at one of them, at the gleaming silver and white embroidery against the black of his livery and then looked again.

"It's not quite what I expected," he muttered to himself as he stared at the young Tree.

"And what did you expect, Master Burrows?" asked a low voice behind him.

Mosco jumped, startled nearly out of his wits, for he had not heard the Man coming up so close. He turned, blushing to the tip of his ears. It was Prince Faramir! How embarrssing, to be caught gawking at the Tree and talking to himself by the Steward! "P-prince Faramir, I-- I--" he stammered, and then stopped, feeling himself flush even more.

"I am sorry, Master Burrows, I did not mean to interrupt you, or to intrude on you. I often come out to look upon the White Tree, and was pleased to see you here doing the same."

"N--no, my Lord! I- I mean you're not intruding..." He took a deep breath and straightened up. "What did I expect? I expected it to be beautiful, and it is. And I expected it to be white. And it is. But I didn't expect it to be so treelike, although I know it's a tree. But--" He stopped again, trying to explain what he meant. He looked up, and the Prince gave him a kindly and encouraging smile. He furrowed his brow, as he tried to gather the right words. "I guess I expected something more like, well--" he stopped and gestured at one of the silent Guardsmen with one hand, and at his chest with the other. "I thought it might look like the Tree does on the uniforms and on the banner, perfectly shaped with all the boughs even on both sides, just like the Tree we see everywhere. I've seen trees trimmed and trained to grow just so, I suppose I thought this one would be like that." He stopped and blushed again. "I know now it must have been a rather silly notion..."

The Prince chuckled, but his mirth was warm and not mocking. "It is a charming notion, I think, that the White Tree might look like the White Tree we use as our symbol. But none, I think, would dare to prune or constrain this Tree. It grows naturally, although some might think it grows unnaturally quickly."

Mosco nodded. "I understand that now. It just seems odd to me that I did not understand it sooner. A picture of something is not often a truly accurate likeness."

"No," the Prince replied, "not often. And yet those of us who behold a likeness very often expect that it is."

The hobbit chuckled ruefully. "It's not very sensible, though. And I think it is much more beautiful as it really is. It reminds me in some ways of the new Party Tree Sam planted. That grew too quickly as well. But even though they are both beautiful, they do not look alike. But there is something about them that makes them seem more--" Mosco stopped and turned his attention to the object of their discussion once again. "More alive than the things around them, and they both seem to be ancient, even though they are still slender and not much more than saplings."

"You are very discerning, Master Burrows," Faramir replied. Mosco blushed again, this time with pleasure at the compliment. Faramir continued, "I think that you see the air of the Tree from whose line this one is sprung, all the way back to the beginning, and the light of the Two Trees when the world was young, before the Sun and the Moon."

Mosco looked startled. "You mean to say that's a true story? I mean about the Two Trees? I recall Cousin Frodo telling that one at Yuletide in Brandy Hall one year! It seemed to me to be just a pretty fancy!" He laughed. "Of course, most of us thought the King returning was a pretty fancy! And there were some of us who even thought Elves were only a pretty fancy!" He made a rueful face; he had been one of those youthful doubters.

Faramir laughed as well. Then he leaned down and said in a conspiratorial whisper, "Master Burrows, I know some within the sound of my voice right now who once thought that the pheriannath were only a pretty fancy!"

"But--" Mosco stopped, as he realised that the Prince had spoken so low that no one but the two of them could have heard what he said. "You mean to say you did not believe in hobbits?"

"Not even after my dream. Not until I saw two of them spring up out of the wilderness of Ithilien, walking out of fable and into my life, and carrying the fate of the world in their hands." He straightened up and looked down at Mosco seriously. "And they were not at all as my fancy would have painted them either. But, Master Burrows, I most assuredly believe in them now. I believe very firmly in hobbits."

Mosco knew he did not merely mean that he believed hobbits existed. "Some hobbits are worthy of being believed in. I think most of us have yet to prove we are worthy."

Faramir shook his head. "Never doubt it, Master Burrows. Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee did a deed worthy of song for so long as Arda shall endure. But they could accomplish that deed only because of the love of their home and the people they had left behind."

"I could never have been so brave as Frodo or Samwise. Or as Merry and Pippin for that matter," Mosco murmurred ruefully.

"Master Burrows, from what I know of hobbits, they find their courage as Mithrandir-- Gandalf-- always called 'in a pinch'. And I have no doubt that if you were 'in a pinch' you would find your courage."

Mosco looked back at the White Tree, and then once more at the Tree on the guardsmen. "I would like to think you are right, my Lord. But I doubt if I ever have occasion to put it to the proof."

Faramir placed a kindly hand on his shoulder. "Let us hope no such occasion does arise, for I would hate to think of you in such danger. Shall we rejoin your friends in the Merethrond?"

Mosco nodded, and followed the Steward back to the Feast Hall. But he turned and gave one more look back at that Tree. He would never forget the sight of it.


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 21st, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
I didn't expect it to be so treelike

Indeed, seeing a symbol wouldn't prepare Mosco for the real thing. This is a lovely conversation, especially Faramir declaring his belief in hobbits. *grins*
Jun. 22nd, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
I sort of gave myself the idea. It seems that I tend to identify my friends on my flist with their icons-- I mean, I *know* that they don't all resemble Frodo, or Merry or Pippin or Sam or whoever or whatever they use-- and yet that's still how I think of them, so that when I see an actual picture of one of them, I am slightly surprised.

I wondered if the hobbits, traveling so far among the Gondorians, and after having seen Pippin's livery, might not expect the Tree to look just like its depiction.

And I thought that Faramir would have a special belief in hobbits. *grin*
Jun. 22nd, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
I really do look like this...

What a lovely piece, it stands alone perfectly, but I can see how very well it will fit into the whole.
Jun. 22nd, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
How very charming! I would love to read the rest. :)
Jun. 22nd, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
I've just begun to write this story, In the Court of the High King-- it's a sequel to my story The Road to Edoras, which in turn is a sequel to my story A New Reckoning.

I plan to incorporate this vignette into probably chapter 3 or 4.
Jun. 22nd, 2010 05:37 am (UTC)
This was most enjoyable! I loved the discussion about "Believing in Hobbits". How very like Faramir to be out looking at the tree!
Jun. 24th, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)
I thought about what he said to Frodo: "I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings..."

I believe he would often go to look at his wish come true!
Jun. 22nd, 2010 02:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, this should fit in perfectly with the larger piece!
Jun. 24th, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)
I hope so; the plan is for Chapter 3 or 4. I think 4 most likely.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 24th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC)
I am sure it was slender and perfect, but it would have been perfect in the natural way of trees, and not like a tree that's been espaliered to be completely symmetrical. And I don't think it would have been especially fragile.

And yes, it would have been the epitome of trees!
Jun. 22nd, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Charming! I liked the reflections about image and reality, very philosophical, very well observed!
Jun. 24th, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC)
Many times reality "spoils" an image, which is why many people feel a sense of betrayal when, say, an admired celebrity proves to have feet of clay. But other times, the reality is far more beautiful and captivating than the image, as usually proves to be the case with natural phenomena.

Still, even when the reality is more beautiful, we still have a very human reaction of surprise!
Jun. 23rd, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
This was a lovely encounter! I love how wise Faramir is about hobbits (I have SUCH a soft spot for Faramir!).
Jun. 24th, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC)
I have a great soft spot for him as well. He was so kind to Frodo and Sam when they encountered him!
Jun. 23rd, 2010 02:50 am (UTC)
I can't wait to read the rest of this. I love Faramir's comment about believing in hobbits and knowing how deeply and truly he means it.
Jun. 24th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)
Yes; I am sure that when he parted from Frodo in Ithilien, he honestly believed that he'd never see him again.

But he had faith that the two hobbits would do their best, and it was rewarded in the end.
Jun. 23rd, 2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
I really love this encounter and seeing Faramir's wonderful admiration for the strength and character of the hobbits.
Jun. 24th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
I think any of those wo encountered our hobbits on the Quest must have come away with a good impression of their courage and resilience.
Jun. 23rd, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
Is this meant to be ‘of his’ ...? I thought I’d stumbled upon a new word until I re-read the sentence and realised (I feel very foolish fo asking for clarification at the moment!).

I much enjoyed this conversation between Faramir and Mosco I could easily imagine it, standing by the Tree which has its so-very-still guards.

It was lovely.
Jun. 24th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
Is this meant to be ‘of his’ ...?

*ack* I've recently had a problem with keys randomly not working on my keyboard. In this case it must have been the space key. *scuries to fix*

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think Faramir would have liked talking about the Tree.
Jun. 24th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
*ack* I've recently had a problem with keys randomly not working on my keyboard. In this case it must have been the space key. *scuries to fix*
I know that feeling too well!

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think Faramir would have liked talking about the Tree.
I think he would've too which was why I enjoyed it so much.
Jun. 25th, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
Finally--time to read and savor this. I'm glad it was Mosco who was the main character of this, and that Faramir was with him. It just seems right somehow. And the realization that the pictures of the Tree are all stylizations, while the reality is so beautiful!

Ah, Barbara, I truly love this!
Jun. 28th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
Yes, Mosco did not get a lot of time in "The Road to Edoras". I hope to show a bit more of him in the new story!

When thinking about the White Tree, Faramir just jumped to mind immediately when I knew I wanted Mosco to speak to one of the Big Folk about the Tree. I think Faramir would have had a very special feeling about the new Tree.
Jun. 27th, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
I love Mosco's disbelief that hobbits were just not believed to have existed and Faramir's admission that he once did not believe but he most definitely believes now and especially that not only did two hobbits walk in the woods, but into his life and had a lasting effect on him as they burrowed into his heart as they have come into ours.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
Jun. 28th, 2010 03:16 am (UTC)
Yes, Faramir's admission was a good one for him to make; it helped Mosco to feel better about his own doubts!
Jun. 28th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
What an interesting idea to explore in a fic--that we judge based upon our preconceived notions even when the reality is superior. I loved Faramir confessing that he didn't believe in hobbits. He can be an elusive character to write, but your Faramir is perfect. He probably didn't mean to sneak up on poor Mosco, but old habits die hard, lol. Mosco seems like a younger hobbit who is still unsure of himself so Faramir tries to reassure him. This is such a warm, lovely fic. Thank you so much for sharing it.
Jun. 28th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
It is true. I have a tendency to associate my friends with their icons, even though I know there is no real connection between them! We do often confuse the image with the reality.

I agree-- I don't think he'd have meant to startle or interrupt Mosco. And you are right about Mosco's youth-- he has only just come of age in the Shire, and his journey to Gondor has been quite an eye-opener. He's not too sure of his own position in the group that made the trip, and has been feeling a bit superfluous. I think Faramir would have wanted to reassure him.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


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