The room Léowine had been placed in was like any other in the Ithilien Houses of Healing; small and utilitarian. The Rohirrim had been laid on a small cot and covered with a wool blanket. Nearby was a small table with a wash basin and a tray of supplies the healers had used to wash and bandage his wound. The water in the basin was clear, but red of no pale hue. Léowine himself slumbered in fever, his face still as stone and nearly as grey.
A small chair with the Matron of the Houses upon it was the only other thing in the room when Faramir came. He entered as silently as he could in his armor, somewhat helped by the white tabard embroidered with the Tree and Seven Stars of Gondor in silver. As he set his helm upon the table and leaned his sword against the wall, he was brought up short by the smell of blood that hung in the air. Although he had smelled his share of it during the War of the Ring, it still made the Prince’s stomach turn slightly. He did not flinch, however, and joined Ioreth’s side, looking upon the stricken rider with concern.
“How fares he?” he asked the Matron.
“Fevered, my lord,” Ioreth replied solemnly, “and he has lost no small amount of blood. But, his men brought him to me care swiftly. Master Léowine shall be bedridden for a few days, but he shall recover.”
Faramir nodded his understanding. “He shall dislike that news. I trust you will keep him here with your usual zeal?”
“No less, of course. He shall remain in this room if even I must fetch Elven hithlain from Lothlorien itself.”
Faramir nodded and came closer to Léowine’s side. He put a hand to the rider’s fevered brow. “Garo post, herdir roch
,” he said, “ú-gosto úanath vi hin raim
.” After a moment of contemplative silence, he turned back to Ioreth, prepared to give her instructions to be ready for other wounded who may return from their ride. However, he was halted by the sound of hurried footsteps in the hall.
“Matron Ioreth!” Bergil’s voice floated into the room. He repeated the exclamation and a moment later came skidding around the corner and into the doorway. He was out of breath and gasped for a moment before saying anything. “It’s Lady Éowyn! She says the baby is coming!”
Ioreth shot to her feet and set aside the book she had been reading. “By the Valar!” she cried. “The child comes two weeks early, by my reckoning!”
Faramir was out the door nearly before Ioreth had come to her feet, hastening in the direction that Bergil had come before he remembered that he hadn’t asked where Éowyn was. He forced himself calm long enough to realize he could follow the growing flurry of activity and in that way he found Éowyn already in one of the rooms in the Houses of Healing, being attended by several of Ioreth’s nurses. As Faramir entered, they paused and offered him abbreviated bows. The Prince paid them no heed and went immediately to Éowyn’s side.
“You come late,” she said to him as he took her hand and sat in the chair near her bed. She breathed deeply and sweat had already started on her brow. “I always imagined the child would decide to come when we were already together.”
“Nay,” Faramir said around a gentle kiss to her hand, “Madame Ioreth says the child comes early.”
“You will have to forgive the babe,” said Éowyn, “ for it knows naught of time as yet.” She then allowed her face to fall serious. In Faramir’s eyes, she could see the spark of fear that had suddenly come to him. She reached out and put a comforting hand on his cheek. “Fear not, husband-mine; children come into this world every day.”
“And the fathers fear for the mothers every day.” He gave a heavy sigh, sadness deepening in his eyes. “Would that this had had better timing. Éowyn...”
“You dress for battle,” she said.
“There are Orcs near Minas Morgul. They must be routed if-” He was silenced by Éowyn’s hand covering his mouth.
“Speak not of it,” she said, “do what you must.”
“I should be here with you.”
“Ioreth would send you from the room anyway. This is one thing that men cannot typically stand. Go. Attend to our people. I shall attend to our child.”
“Ai, Éowyn,” Faramir breathed, “my beloved White Lady. Please remain strong.”
“Ever, my love,” she replied, “and you. Return in triumph and good health. But, the latter is the more important to me. The child will need his father.”
“His? You speak as if you know it will be a boy.”
“It is finally dawning on me, beloved; a mother knows these things.”
“Now, now, who ever let the Lord into this room?” Ioreth groused as she entered. “I’ll not have him losing his head over all of this, like all men do. Out with you, Faramir.”
Both Faramir and Éowyn looked at Ioreth with a measure of incredulity, but the Matron was unswayed.
“Yes, yes, you heard me, right enough.” She waved a finger at Faramir, then took hold of his arm and led him toward the door. “I remember when you had your own mother in this state and if you have any of the disposition of your father in the matter, I’ll not have you in here while it happens. This is no place for a man. Commoner I may be, but I have the authority in this as one who’s handled it more times than I can remember. So, out with you.”
At the last moment, Faramir took hold of the doorframe and stopped Ioreth’s forced escort from the room. “Éowyn,” he said, “may our child have half of your bravery for with that alone, he will be the strongest man in Gondor.”
“And the other half he will gain from you.”
The two locked eyes for a moment and Ioreth paused, letting their gazes speak to each other for a time. Finally, she decided that it was time to go back to work and she pushed Faramir through the door with one final push. “Enough of that. Out with you, already.” And she closed the door an instant later.
Faramir stood in the hallway, staring at the closed door stupidly for nearly a minute. He did not even react when he heard Beregond’s footsteps approaching.
“She threw me out,” Faramir stated in amazement.
“That woman has no scruples,” said the captain, “she did the same to me when Bergil was born. I believe she would throw Manwë himself from the room if she were the midwife to Varda.”
“I am going to be a father.”
“Oh, is that all?” Beregond put a hand on Faramir’s shoulder and turned him from the door. “Come along, my lord. She may lack subtlety, but Ioreth is right. You do not want to be within earshot of the birthing.”
The Prince sighed as they walked down the hall, away from Éowyn’s room. “And yet, I must ride with the company, even with this.”
“My lord, you still plan to ride with Iorlas?” Beregond asked in confusion.
“There is naught for me to do here and much to be done elsewhere.”
“But with the Lady... My lord, I rather assumed you would send me in your stead. I can ride with Iorlas just as well and the men here will follow your order even better than mine.”
“I must see to this myself, Beregond. If Ithilien is under siege, I must know.”
“I can recognize preparations of a siege as well as any man.”
“None the less, I wish to see for myself. I will ride with the men.”
“Faramir, there is no need for you to put yourself in such danger!”
The Steward stopped dead in the halls and whirled on Beregond, his eyes hard and his voice slightly louder and fathoms sterner. “You will mind yourself, Captain! It is not for you to question my command or my order. My decision stands. I will lead the sortie and you will lead the men in Minas Estel. Am I clear, Captain?”
Once again, Beregond found himself flabbergasted. He wavered for a moment between acknowledgement and an apology before dropping into a bow. “Yes, my lord. I understand and I obey.”
Faramir seemed satisfied by this and turned to continue down the hall without Beregond. However, after only a few steps, he turned back and found that the captain had not moved. Beregond’s face was one of utter confusion and more than a little hurt. With that, the sudden spark of anger that had lit itself in Faramir’s heart was extinguished and the normal gentleness that resided within him returned. He sighed heavily.
“Beregond,” he said. Slowly, the captain looked up again. “I do count you my friend.” The captain gave no response other than a tight, uncomfortable nod, so Faramir pushed onward. “I hold your loyalty more valuable than the White Rod or the Winged Crown itself. But there are things that... I cannot forget what... neither of us can ever forget what has been placed before us.” Beregond nodded tightly again, but still seemed not to trust himself to say anything. In the next few silent moments, a debate both began and ended in Faramir’s mind and he came to another decision. “When this task is done,” he said, “when... there is more time, there is something I wish to discuss with you... as a friend?”
Finally, Beregond met Faramir’s gaze. He gave a grim smile and nodded. “As you wish it, my lord.” The two of them clasped arms, then, and both knew the damage had been repaired. “Lacho galad, drego dú
!” Said Faramir.
The host of the White Company rode forth from Minas Estel in the afternoon sun. The Lord Faramir was at the head of the riders with Iorlas to his right and the Prince Legolas on his left. With them also rode Mablung, Hadoriel, and Valithar. The company shone white in the sun, at one-hundred strong, and the unadorned flag of the Steward went with them.
From the tower on the end of the north keel of the citadel, Beregond watched them ride with his son at his side. His face was proud, but not undisturbed and it seemed for all the world as though he was determined to keep his gaze north until the company returned to the safety of the city gates.
Faramir was arrayed in armor of gleaming silver. The high crown of his helm was set with vines of gold and over his lamellar was a tunic of white leather with the Tree and Seven Stars in silver. He disliked the clunky armor as it conflicted with his instinct as a Ranger. It was heavy and made a great deal of noise when he moved. But he recognized the need for it in this case.
Iorlas led them to the place where the Ithilrechyn had been attacked that morning and by the time they arrived, the Sun was beginning to sink in the west. The horses were once again beginning to grow skittish and it was made all the worse by the lengthening of the shadows around them. The light seemed deadened somehow as if it shown through some veil that hung heavy in the air.
It was no help that the remains of the morning’s slain Orcs were still rotting on the plains when they arrived. The sight was made all the worse by the fact that some creature seemed to have been at the corpses, tearing open their ragged armor and feeding on their decaying flesh.
“What creature could have done this?” Hadoriel asked of Legolas as they and Valithar tried to guess the signs. “To rend metal in favor of dead flesh.”
“Some claw did this,” Valithar said simply, running a hand along one of the rent edges of the Orc’s armor.
“Yes, but the tearing of the flesh was done with teeth,” said Legolas, “some creature opened the armor as a child might tear paper from a sweet and then feasted.”
“Certainly, it was no Orc that did this, then,” said Hadoriel, “but what creature would have the cunning for this? It is a puzzle indeed.”
“The Orcs came at us from the east,” Iorlas told Faramir, gesturing to the stones that had been the Orcs’ hiding place. “Likely, we surprised them as much as they surprised us.”
“Yes, but what sent them out of Mordor in the first place?” Faramir mused, his eyes skimming over the morning’s battlefield. “We must track their movement backward. See that the area east of the stones remains undisturbed by the men for now, Iorlas. Mablung, come with me. This will take a Ranger’s touch.”
“I shall come as well,” said Legolas, “and Hadoriel. Perhaps four pairs of eyes will see the signs better than two.”
“And you, Master Valithar?” Iorlas asked.
“If Valithar comes but three strides beyond the stones, we shall be journeying in circles for hours,” said Hadoriel.
“And if Hadoriel were left to the actual shooting of the prey we used to hunt, we two, she and I, would have starved some time before the fall of Númenor,” Valithar rejoined. “Nay, I shall remain with the soldiers. My skill is in the fighting.”
Faramir then led the way to the space beyond the stones. The four rangers, both Man and Elf, left their horses behind them in the care of the other soldiers. They searched the area east of the stones for some time and it was Mablung who found the first sign; a myriad of tracks that led from a high knoll that the road went over.
“The Orcs must have espied the Moon Riders from there,” said Mablung.
Legolas nodded his assent. “And came here to set the ambush before they lost the advantageous ground.”
“But there can be no more than twenty dead upon the field,” said Hadoriel, “and I see no sign of other Orcs. What madness would make them attack a force three times larger than their own?”
Faramir pondered the tracks for a moment, running a hand along the heel of one of the muddy footprints. It was cut deep into the moist spring grasses and Faramir surmised that it mast have been from a stride taken in haste. “Desperation,” he said at last, rising and pausing to gaze down the nearby path that led eastward. After some time, he turned back toward the rest of the company and began rapidly striding back. “How right Iorlas was.”
“My lord?” Mablung asked as he and the two Elves followed.
“The Orcs patrolled,” Faramir stated, “and even they would only make such an attack as this out of desperation. And yet, what would they be so desperate to keep watch over as all this?”
“A camp?” Hadoriel offered.
“Nay, a camp could be moved if its location were found,” said Legolas, “a fortification.”
“But there is only one place east of here and yet still within Ithilien where Orcs could effectively entrench themselves,” said Mablung.
“They wished to keep their presence secret for now and so the Orcs tried to chase the Ithilrechyn away and distract us,” said Faramir, “the Orcs rode from Minas Morgul.”
The White Company took to the east road and journeyed toward Minas Morgul for some hours. Their horses grew ever more wary as they went and a few riders were forced to dismount and travel by foot, leading their despondent destriers along the road.
Twilight began to set in as they crested the last hill before the City of Sorcery. Minas Morgul stood nestled amongst the roots of the Ephel Dúath, the muted last rays of the sun silently kissing the very tip of its tallest tower. The rest of the city was doused in dismal greys, seeming to retreat into itself to avoid even the faintest of light. The very walls of the city themselves seemed to crowd one another, competing for the numerous corners of darkness. Still present was the city’s ancient heritage as the dwelling place of Isildur. But that had long-since been snuffed out by evil carapaces and fortifications rising from the towers in dark, ragged, terrible spikes. A chill wound its way up Faramir’s spine as he looked upon it.
Standing between the White Company and Minas Morgul, in the plains just outside the city’s walls and before the dark bridge that led over the river from the Morgul Vale, a tattered camp had formed. It was chaotic and disorganized and yet it stopped a decided distance from the city, as though a second wall had been placed there. And yet for all the movement in that camp, there seemed to be none within the city itself.
“Well, it would seem you were correct, Hadoriel,” Faramir heard Legolas say from somewhere behind him, “the Orcs have a camp after all.”
“But why are they not within the city?” she asked in reply.
The activity in the camp suddenly increased. From their vantage point, Faramir could see several Orcs and Uruk-hai that had been on guard about the perimeter now rushing about. A moment later, a foul note issued from a horn and the whole camp was roused in alarm.
“We have not the time to guess this puzzle, now,” said Faramir, turning back to the rest of the company, “we must attack before they can organize. Mablung, take your men down the left. Iorlas, take the Ithilrechyn on an attack from the right. The rest shall follow the Steward’s Banner down the center. Draw swords, men! And ride now for Ithilien and Gondor!” The Steward drew his sword and took up position at the front of the company. He thrust it into the air, shouting “flame light!”
“Flee night!” came the response from the White Company. Twice more Faramir shouted the call and twice more he was answered.
Horns blew behind him as Faramir called the charge and the White Company rode down the hill, bursting upon the still-forming Orckish line. Uruk-hai were at the fore and slashed at the riders as they came, but were hewed down by the thundering hooves of the White Company’s horses.
Well behind the first line, Faramir spied a rough catapult being hastily readied by panicked Orcs. He made for it, sword raised high and his brothers in arms with him. The fight for the weapon was brief and soon fire had been produced by one of Faramir’s riders. The old, dry timbers of the siege machine took to flame readily, all its stones still in a pile next to it.
But the Orcs and Uruk-hai were not to be so easily dismayed by the battle. One of the Uruk-hai called a rally to him with a foul cry. Near fifty Orcs gathered to him, some of them chased toward the center of the battle by Mablung’s Rangers and Iorlas’s Moon Riders. Legolas and Valithar, too, rained arrows down upon them as they retreated into a small knot. A hundred or so of the White Company surrounded the Orcs, the rest still engaged in small peripheral battles. It looked as though the job was nearly finished when Faramir heard the Uruk-hai leader raise his voice above the din of hooves and clashing swords.
“Parley!” the beast called. “Parley!”
With uncertainty, both sides ceased their battle. The Orcs retreated impossibly further into their knot and the White Company backed off a few paces until there was a decided moat of brown grass between the two sides. For several moments, Man and Orc stared each other down as if daring the other to make the first move.
“Speak quickly, Orc, if you must,” Faramir insisted at last, “we would know why you have entered Ithilien and attacked us.”
“Ithilien no longer exists!” said the Uruk-hai. “These lands were conquered for Mordor in the war! They are ours!” He came now to the fore of the group, standing toe to toe with Faramir. He was small for an Uruk-hai and had three angry slashes across his face.
“Your master was defeated,” said Faramir, “and these lands returned to Gondor. Surely you called parley for some other reason than this.”
The Uruk-hai flicked his eyes to the flag-bearer on Faramir’s right, then leveled his gaze back at the Prince with a disturbingly keen eye. “You are the Steward of Gondor.”
“I am Faramir Denethorion,” he answered, “and I would know your name, Uruk.”
“Luglash,” the Uruk-hai bit out, flicking his eyes strangely over Faramir’s shoulder, to the western horizon. He said no more and stood in silence.
“Tell me, then,” said Faramir, “why have you called parley?”
Luglash gave no answer, giving a low growl instead. His gaze flicked again to the western horizon.
Faramir’s unease began to grow. Luglash was obviously not the parleying type. This was a move that he had not planned to make. Again, Faramir got an impression of desperation. The signs were in front of him. He simply could not read them. He and Luglash stared each other down across the gulf of grass that separated the two armies in silence. They studied everything about each other for several long moments.
And suddenly, Faramir realized with strange clarity that the slashes across the Uruk-hai’s face could not have been more than a week old. He had seen its like only hours before.
A moment later, there came a great howl from within the walls of Minas Morgul, reaching deep into the hearts of the White Company. The men around Faramir faltered and the horses stamped their feet and whinnied in barely suppressed panic. All else was silent until the howl came again.
“What trickery is this?” Faramir mused aloud, reigning his horse to calm.
Luglash began a low, guttural laugh and directed a twisted smile at Faramir. “Fool of a man!” he shouted. “Parley! Ha! You should not have given us this time!” He raised his jagged sword above his head and cried aloud in a voice somewhere between a howl and a scream. With that signal, the rest of the Orcs abandoned their watch on the perimeter of their knot and made a charge for the White Company surrounding them.
As the battle began anew, the Men saw rising from Minas Morgul two great shapes, black against the grey of the twilight sky; winged creatures with eyes of cold steel and teeth long as knives. Upon their backs an Orc sat, pulling on ragged reigns as the creatures thrashed back and forth in disobedience.
The call of an Orc horn rose from the battle and one of the two mounted Orcs answered. With cracks of whips, the creatures rose from their terrible perches on the walls of the city and flew toward the battle, a foul stench riding the wind from their wings. The creatures howled once again and wheeled overhead, dipping with their great claws extended.
With the new threat, it did not take long for the battle to lose its organization. Men and Orc alike scattered to avoid the flying menaces. Faramir found himself battling against a small group of Orcs along side Mablung and Iorlas. He parried a charge from one Orc, sidestepping and lifting his own weapon so that it found the Orc’s chest. He wrenched it free and spun, striking at another, nearly losing his fingers as the Orc parried.
Legolas, meanwhile, led an assault upon the flying creatures. Hadoriel and two of Mablung’s rangers covered Legolas and Valithar against the onslaught of the Orcs as they released arrow after arrow at one of the beasts. Finally, the creature had had enough. Unheeding of the commands of its rider, it descended and grasped the two Men in its outstretched claws. The three Elves narrowly escaped its grasp and were knocked to the ground. Behind, they could hear the agony of the creature’s two captives, silenced only the sounds of crunching bone but a few moments later. As they came to their feet and turned, they found the creature crouching upon the grass, the twisted remains of its victims still beneath its feet. It had tossed its rider and now howled at the Elves in anger.
“Fell worm!” Legolas shouted, drawing back an arrow. “Go back to the dark pit from whence you slithered!” He let his arrow fly and it found flesh along the beast’s wing. It wailed again, this time in pain as well as in anger. It struck out in response, thrashing its head forward toward the Elves and snapping its jaws.
Hadoriel’s spear flashed and she rent a wound in the flesh of its neck. With a flick of its tail, the beast sent her reeling aside. Valithar let loose an arrow, then, and it found the beast’s hind leg. The beast stumbled, sprawling on the ground and both archers put another arrow into it. Hadoriel had gotten to her feet then and avoiding the thrashes of the beast, came to its neck. She halted it by stabbing her spear into its jaw. As the beast began to shake loose, Hadoriel pulled her spear back and ran its side blade across the worm’s throat.
The monster wailed and fell to the ground, still thrashing, but weakly. Legolas and Valithar both took aim and their arrows each found the tender spots of the beast’s eyes. Soon, the worm was still and silent.
Seeing the demise of his mount, the Orc that had been riding the beast put a horn to his mouth and sounded a call.
Although he was still locked in a bitter contest with Faramir, Luglash heard the horn call. The swords of the Steward and the Uruk-hai locked in a test of strength and Luglash took the moment it afforded him to scream a terrible call to the sky where the other fell worm flew. Abandoning the chivalry of the sword, for it had no place in a battle with Orcs, Faramir launched a kick at Luglash’s feet. The Uruk-hai stumbled backward, leering at Faramir and still brandishing his sword. A moment later, Faramir found that Mablung and Iorlas had rejoined his side, guarding his back from two Orcs.
Suddenly the worm descended from the sky and Faramir found Mablung atop him, pushing him to the ground. In horror, Faramir watched the beast pluck Iorlas from the ground, piercing the Moon Rider’s body with its claws. Iorlas barely had time to cry out before the sickening snap of bone heralded the crushing of his ribs. The worm dropped Iorlas a moment later and the Ithilrochon rolled to a stop along the ground and came to a halt in a bloody and unceremonious heap. The beast lighted on the ground a moment later, unheeding of the commands of its rider, and moved to rend Iorlas’ still form with its salivating jaws.
“Mardil!” Faramir cried and, brandishing his sword, he charged the beast.
“Gondor!” Mablung bellowed, hot on his heels.
The Steward all but skidded to a halt on the grass, his sword finding the flesh of the worm’s flank. It reared and with a mighty beat of its wings took to the sky, crying out. It circled around, first west, then east, then it made for lands to the north and east. As it flew over him, Luglash brandished a whip and lashed it around the worm’s leg. As he was pulled into the sky, he yelled in his own foul tongue, then changed to Westron.
“This is but the beginning, Steward!” he shouted. “Let it be known in the kingdoms of Men; these lands belong to King Urlak and the Uruk-hai of Mordor!”
As Luglash retreated, so did the rest of his army. The Orcs who were not routed utterly by sword and arrow ran across the darkening grasslands, following the flying form of their captain and his beast.
For his part, Faramir went immediately to the fallen Iorlas. But he was grieved when he found no sign of life left in the Rider’s eyes. “Be at peace, son of Gondor,” he said, “fly beyond the circles of the world and battle no more.” With a heavy sigh and a heavy heart, he stood again and once more found Mablung at his side. “By the Valar, Mablung,” he said sadly, “whatever shall I say to Beregond?”
Mablung shook his head in silence. “I never did envy you such duty, my lord,” he said with quavering voice. After a moment, the Ranger tore his eyes away from his fallen friend and straightened to attention. “Your orders, Captain?”
Faramir, too, collected himself. Sheathing his sword, he turned to Mablung. “Give aid to the wounded,” he ordered, “and gather the dead. Our own we shall bring home to Minas Estel. The Orcs will receive no honor for this atrocious attack. Pile them and burn them. As soon as all are ready, we will ride for home.”
As all this was done, Faramir wandered about his company, pausing only when he heard a brief lament near a small fire.
We came as the Sun was setting
From Minas Estel we rode
Six and one-hundred we numbered
And less than eighty ride home.
The Sun shall rise red in the morning
And this night the stars shall weep
For mournful is sword in the breaking
But its shards we always shall keep.
Our brothers lie dead on the grassland
Lives given for Ithilien fair
And grieving we sit by this fire
Alone singing songs to the air.
The shadow seems not yet ended
Yet our lands shall be defended.
Their ride home was slow, but unhindered by any enemy. Some were the walking wounded, others rode their horses as they were led, still more were carried in the saddle by others. The heaviest burdens were the fallen, each placed upon a horse and wrapped in swaddles of coarse burlap, their broken swords and splintered shields tied with them. They were the first to die in the service of the White Company.
Faramir himself led the horse that carried the corpse of Iorlas. In the first hours of the journey, his heart nearly failed him and he all but wept as he went. He contented himself with a mournful silence instead, using voice only when his role as captain called for it. The company came to Minas Estel as the first rays of the next morning’s sun were graying the skies above. The Steward’s heart nearly failed him again when he saw Beregond from afar, watching at the gate of the outermost wall.
By the time the White Company passed through the gates, Beregond was already waiting. He approached Faramir quickly, urgency in his gait.
“The company was slow to return, my lord,” he said, “what news?” It was then the captain saw the hilt-shard of his brother’s sword tied to the wrapped body upon Faramir’s horse. Somehow, the captain seemed to grow small and the silence from his lord swelled to a crushing monolith.
“There was battle,” Faramir said simply and at last. And he placed the reins in Beregond’s hand.
“Please say not that my brother has fallen,” said Beregond.
To this Faramir had no answer and so he moved on, leaving Beregond to his grief and recommencing the administration of the battered White Company.
The honored dead of Ithilien, from that day on, were buried in the ruins of the old city to the south of Minas Estel upon Emyn Arnen. Caras Faerath it was called, the City of Spirits, and no living man dwelt within its bounds and it was made a monument. Iorlas was the first to be laid there and Beregond chose as his grave a space beneath a tree flowering with buds of white.
As soon as the urgent matters of his company had been resolved and Faramir was certain all else could wait some hours, he made his way to the Houses of Healing and there found Éowyn. She was still abed at the bidding of Ioreth and the healers, but she was hale and well. In her arms was a small bundle of white linen. When the Steward entered, Éowyn looked up at him and smiled. Faramir crossed the room almost shyly and his lady suppressed a giggle.
“Come, Faramir,” she said to him gently, “come and meet your son.”
As he sat upon the edge of the bed, Éowyn handed the babe to him. The child took after his father in almost all aspects of face, but he had his mother’s eyes. Soft curls of dark hair ringed his head. He shifted slightly and a small hand worked its way out of the linen and grasped at the air. Faramir stared at the child so long and with such silence that he almost didn’t notice that Éowyn had placed her hand upon his shoulder.
“Will you say nothing and stare at him until he grows to manhood?” she asked.
“Would that I could!” Faramir replied. “For he is as much a wonder as to me as the enduring stars! In him, I see how I will continue, and the house of Húrin.” He handed the babe back to Éowyn, then leaned over and kissed her upon the brow. “You have given me a great gift, my lady. I have had reason to despair of the darkness this day and now I have reason to be joyful as well.”
“He is a gift to us both,” said Éowyn, “but beyond all that he is your heir, the heir to the Stewardship of Gondor. He is for you to name.”
Faramir thought for a long moment, then with a smile reached over to lay his hand upon his son’s hair, gently feeling it with his fingertips for a moment.
“I greet you my son, my enduring star,” he said, “my Elboron.”
Here's a few translation notes:
Sindarin: "It is at last." A greeting.
Sindarin: "Well met." Also a greeting.
Garo post, herdir roch. ú-gosto úanath vi hin raim.
Sindarin: "Have rest, horse master. Fear not monsters within these walls."
Lacho galad, drego dú.
Sindarin: "Flame light, flee night."
Quenya: "Day shall come again."
And here's a few notes on names:
Menelovrel: Iorlas' horse, Sindarin meaning "abundant sky."
Hadoriel: one of Legolas' captains, Sindarin meaning "garlanded maiden who throws spears and knives."
Aradól: the Sindarin name of one of Legolas' captains, meaning "high hill." Since Valithar is not a name that would be possible in Sindarin, I decided to call this his ancient Nandorin name and give him a separate name in Sindarin.
Aldegil: a soldier of the gate guard, Sindarin meaning "slays not the star."
Ithilrochon: Sindarin meaning "moon rider." Plural is Ithilirechyn or Ithilrochonath depending on case and context.
Denethorion: Sindarin naming convention meaning "son of Denethor." An epithet for Faramir, not
a last name.
Caras Faerath: Sindarin meaning "city of the spirits."
Elboron: research on this name has turned up the Sindarin verb brona
meaning "to last, to survive." Closest meaning seems to be "enduring star."
A note on Hadoriel and Valithar
I'd like to make a preemptive apology if either of the two new Elf characters came off as Mary-Sue-ish. Valithar and Hadoriel were characters adapted from characters in a D&D gaming group I participate in; in fact, Hadoriel is my character in that group so I'm particularly concerned about her seeming like a Mary-Sue. I gave them a moment of niftiness with Legolas in this chapter, but rest assured it is not my intent to have them start saving the day all the time. They are background characters only and as of now it's not my intent to have them show up in more than a few instances.
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