Characters: Ecthelion, Denethor, Arwen
Disclaimer: Tolkien’s characters… Kortirion’s artefacts.
Winter rarely took complete hold of the White City. On the heights above, yes... snow clung, thick and all-enveloping below ice-encased trees. He’d tramp there for pleasure; taking a sure-footed horse as high as was reasonable before leaving his companions in the beacon-keepers shelter while he walked on alone. The silence... he loved the silence... the only sound the crunch of his boots breaking the sparkling snow, sunlit and glinting as if encrusted with tiny diamonds.
His wedding gift was a parure of mithril jewellery; delicately wreathing bare branches rimed with diamonds... winter gems for Ecthelion’s pale northern bride.
Denethor did not care for the inherited gems of his illustrious predecessor, eight times removed. Grudgingly, he admitted the Bride’s Jewels were particularly finely made... one could almost imagine them real twigs rimed with everlasting hoar-frost, instead of mithril and diamonds.
He decided his antipathy was their resemblance to the dead tree in the Court - and the resonance that the White Tree was not his emblem. He thought a bride of his should have new jewels... golden leaves set with sapphires perhaps?
But he fell for a sea-princess and she wore them because they reminded her of ocean-drenched corals.
Arwen brought her own gems with her – elven-wrought creations, delicate and fair, curving in sinuous, eye-confusing patterns, though they still sat simply upon her dark hair. As the new chatelaine, the Steward’s jewels were hers to command, not that she acted in haste or without consultation, but when the king and queen gave public thanks and celebrated the first anniversary of their marriage – the Bride’s Jewels were transformed. New leaves and flowers unfurled amid the bare twigs, dewed with diamonds that scintillated with light and life.
Future brides of Gondor would celebrate with summer blossoms... now the winter was past.