30. Naming the Babe
"Don't bother the child. He'll wake up soon enough and you can make silly faces at him then. You might even get a smile," the mother said.
"I wasn't making faces at him. I was simply watching him sleep," the father replied. "So peaceful. I would that all his days he may be so content."
"As would I. But who knows what the future holds? So for now, my dear husband, leave him in peace and come sit with me."
With a contented sigh, he left off gazing lovingly at his son to sit by his wife's side. "What shall we name the child?" he asked after a moment.
"Halandir," she said, without hesitation.
"What?" he asked, the smile slipping from his face. A shiver crept down his spine as he tried desperately to come up with another suggestion. "H-how about... Baralas?"
"What's wrong with `Halandir'? It's a perfectly good name; it was my grandfather's," she argued.
"Yes, and look at the end your grandfather came to..."
"Oh, surely you don't believe that H-names are unlucky."
"Of course I do. I've known too many men with such names to have fallen."
"Dear," she said, mustering all the patience she could, "you fight to defend Gondor. So did my grandfather. Our son will likely grow up to do the same. Already he may be fated to die in battle, whatever name he has."
"Exactly! No reason to then add an extra bit of help in that matter by giving him this name."
"You're not going to change your mind on this, are you?" she asked.
"No. I won't," he replied.
She sighed. "All right then. How about this? We honor your father by naming our son after him."
"That's a fine idea, my dear," he said, smiling once more.
* * *
Years later, Halandir - for he went by the name his mother had called him when his father was away, much preferring it to Minarmo - would remember this story as he stood as one of the picked men of the Tower of Guard, waiting before the Black Gate of Mordor. Even then he couldn't understand that debate about his name. For one thing, it seemed uncharacteristic of his father to be so worried about such a little thing. Halandir knew his father as one steadfast in battle - and everything else, for that matter.
More importantly, he couldn't see why "Halandir" would be such an unlucky name. For indeed, contrary to what his father was so afraid of, he had quite a lot of good luck. Some even said he had a charmed life. Small disasters did seem to befall him quite often, but he always got out of them unscathed by some lucky chance. His luck extended to the battlefield as well. On the Pelennor Fields, he'd straightened up from bending to retrieve a dropped arrow to find that the man behind him had been struck down.
So it was that he faced the Black Gate without fear. Halandir knew his luck might one day run out, but that day was not yet come. This day would be one to tell his grandchildren about. And indeed they loved hearing about it; their favorite tale was of how Halandir and his brothers-in-arms had been saved from death by troll by the brave young Ernil i Pheriannath.
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