Away from his guards and the bustle of the camp, Aragorn walked, at a slower pace than was his custom, through the glades of Cormallen. The soft, fresh leaves of beech, culumalda and linden were at their fairest, bright emerald- hued and moist with early morning dewdrops. Water from a sparkling stream rippled over a bed of stones. Had ever a spring morning been so beautiful?
This was the spring that he had not thought he would live to see. He had briefly escaped from the camp and his now ever present guards, for he knew he needed this short time walking alone to reflect and to renew his strength. So much had happened, so much had changed.
Aragorn glanced down at the brooch he wore upon his breast and on a sudden impulse, unpinned it, and cradled it in his palm. He had cherished Galadriel's precious gift from the moment he had received it. The gift had brought the hope that his heart's desire would be realised. Its power had helped him revive Faramir, Lady …owyn, the Hobbits, and countless others. Yet he had not until today enjoyed a moment of leisure to really look upon it.
He turned the eagle shaped brooch over in his hand. How apt for one who had once been known as the "eagle of the star"! It was the stone, though, that caught the eye. At first glance, it might be taken to be an emerald, but no emerald could so capture the clear light of sunlight shining through spring leaves.
Aragorn knew this stone had come to Galadriel as a token that the Valar had not forsaken Middle-earth, a gem with the power to heal and renew. Soon, he would be crowned, and as King, would labour to rebuild what the Dark Lord had destroyed. He was both Elessar and Envinyatar. His labours were far from over, they were just beginning, but now his heart was full of hope and joy. No longer was he a weary and oft despised Ranger, but the King of Men, thanks to the courage and endurance of Frodo and Sam. Today he would awaken them and give them the honour that was their due.
He smiled as he thought of his plans. He would slip away so that they would awaken with Gandalf beside them. He would surprise them with his new estate. He had asked Faramir to send the finest of Gondor's minstrels to sing their praises. Sam especially would enjoy that. Then there would be a feast fit for Hobbits to enjoy!
Aragorn held up the brooch so that the sunlight sparkled and scattered on the facets of the gem, casting a shower of emeralds on the path. Then he carefully re-pinned the brooch upon his cloak.
The King of the Western Lands stood for a moment, with his eyes closed, relishing the sun on his face and the gentle breeze filled with the fresh scents of springtime, caressing his face and playing with his hair. Birds sang sweetly from high in the treetops, calling to their mates.
He opened his eyes again and drank in the beauty around him; emerald leaves and grass, trees laden with blossom, the unshadowed blue sky, the abundance of daffodils and lilies. Butterflies and damselflies fluttered amongst the blossoms. It were as if Lady Yavanna herself had walked amongst these glades and blessed them.
His heart full of thankfulness, Aragorn prepared to honour the Hobbits.