"Quick, give her to me! I want to see her!" she cried, holding out her arms, but Legolas shook his head, busily cleaning the babe, and said:
"Nay – not yet; let me but get her to breathe, and tie the cord off with this twine; then I shall give her to you, and we shall bring forth the after-birth."
"O!" Éowyn in her excitement had forgotten there was still much to do; she watched feverishly as Legolas chafed the babe with warm wet cloths, crooning softly to her in his own tongue; at last as he wrapped a bit of clean twine about the thick purple-white cord the babe gave a thin high wail.
"Ah!" exclaimed Legolas, his eyes alight; "she breathes! Hold out your arms, O Lady of Emyn Arnen, and welcome to yourself your firstborn daughter, and the latest fruit of your love for your lord!"
Eagerly Éowyn took the bundle, but when she looked upon the thin narrow face she gave an exclamation of dismay. "She is so small and pale! What is wrong with her, Legolas?"
"Naught two extra months within the safe confines of your womb would not have conferred," said Legolas, drawing yet more cloths beneath her hips. "Put her upon your breast, Éowyn, and begin to nurse her; then your womb shall tighten and help you to push out the after-birth."
She was so far beyond modesty at that point Éowyn did not even think; she unbuttoned her bodice and brought the tiny infant to her breast. After stroking the flaccid cheek she at last made the babe's mouth to open and seek her out; then when the infant began to suckle she felt another contraction.
"Here we are then," said Legolas. "Now push."
The after-birth slipped out smoothly, and then while Éowyn still nursed Legolas put his palms upon her stomach and began to knead it, forcing out great quantities of blood and clots, wiping her legs betimes with cloths until he felt he had got as much as he could. Then taking his last clean helm-full of water he washed her again, and folding up a pad thick and small placed it beneath her, removed the stained cloths and at last drew her skirts down her legs.
"There you are, little mother!" he said smiling tenderly at them. "Now should all go well I shall have little need to lift your skirts again."
Éowyn laughed, so full of gladness she felt almost as though she were floating; all weariness had fallen away and she was very happy. "Look at her, Legolas!" she said exultantly; "but look at her! Is she not perfect? Is she not beautiful? Look at her tiny hands, each with its little nail! And see the hair upon her head; I think it shall be curly. O what color do you think it will be? It seems almost dark to me but it is yet damp; do you think it will be pale like mine?"
"It is hard to tell yet," smiled Legolas, wrapping the soiled cloths in a big bundle and carrying them to the far side of the fire. "Do you remember Fastred's hair was light but grew the darker as he grew the older."
Éowyn sighed. "How I wish he were here, he and my husband both!" she said. "How I wish I could but convey to them the good news, that with your aid I have brought forth a daughter! Legolas – " she looked up at him as he approached, face full of joy and gratefulness. "How fortunate am I to have been befriended by you, Legolas Thranduilion! What other of my friends could have done so much for me, and so skillfully?"
"Aragorn perhaps," laughed Legolas, picking up another cloth. "Arwen, of a certainty. Now, my lady, I am going to cook the after-birth and you will eat it; you know well yourself, from your forays into horse-husbandry, that it is full of blood and other good things which a mother loses in her labor. Then I shall make you to drink some water and you must rest."
"Very well," said Éowyn, and humming a lullaby to herself watched her tiny baby suckle, contented and well.
Faramir was hard pressed to not force his tired mount into a gallop; he checked the steaming horse impatiently, following Himbaláth into the woods. They had been riding hard through fresh-fallen snow for three days, and though the Elf showed no sign of weariness all in the party were cold and tired. They ducked beneath low-lying branches heavy with snow and ice, their horses' hooves crunching and slipping upon the white path; now and again an errant drip from the canopy above would catch Faramir upon the face and he would look up at the naked trees resentfully. The sky was leaden and gray, and it was cold, damp, and very uncomfortable; though he felt it not for himself he could not but think of his poor wife and newborn babe shivering in the mists; he reminded himself Legolas would surely not allow them to get to that state but it was still difficult to arrest his worry. Then he bethought to himself that perhaps the Dunlendings had returned, and the knot of fear resumed, and he had to fight down the urge to break into a run.
Lord Aldamir drew up beside him, his breath expelled in white clouds and ice crusting in the folds of his heavy red cloak. "My Lord Faramir," he said, chafing his gauntleted hands, "the forward scouts have returned; they did report that Lord Legolas is but a half-hour's ride to the north-west."
Faramir's countenance lightened, but then clouded; he said, "What of my wife? Have they seen Lady Éowyn?"
"Nay, my lord, they but caught sight of the Green Knight as he stood upon a ridge watching for us; he waved his hand, they said, and disappeared back into the woods."
Faramir scanned the horizon. "That ridge there then?" he asked, and looking more closely at it said: "Well that might indeed be smoke from a fire, but it is very hard to tell, it is so misty hereabouts."
"Yes, it is always thus at this time of year, my lord." They rode on in silence a few moments more, the Red Knight marking well Faramir's agitation; at last he said: "Fear not, Lord Faramir! Do you not know your Lady Wife was left in the careful and compassionate hands of the Green Knight? You know well he has done all he could to succor and protect her."
"I know," said Faramir, smiling at him; "but still you must allow me my indulgences; it is a husband's right to worry over his wife's wellbeing."
"Is it?" sighed Aldamir; his unmarried state was a sore point with him. "Well I fear I must take you at your word, my lord."
They climbed the slope steadily, though betimes their horses slipped upon the slick ice; at last they gained the ridge, and Faramir unable to restrain himself pushed his horse forward to Himbaláth's side; the Elf smiled at him and urged his destrier aside so that the Lord of Emyn Arnen might pass, and Faramir pressed on eagerly into the woods. He could now smell the fire, and though it was but late afternoon thought he could perchance glimpse the warm flickering light amongst the black tree boles. Then stepping out before him, his pale hair mocking the gleaming snow drifts, was Legolas; he held in his arms a bundle of tattered rags, and upon his fair face was a wide smile.
"Welcome, O Faramir Lord of Emyn Arnen!" he said as Faramir hastily dismounted; he held out the bundle and said: "You must needs greet your daughter first; she is most anxious to make her Lord Father's acquaintance."
Faramir stood very still a moment; he could hear the others ride up behind him and halt, but he found for a wonder that though he had at last achieved his aim his legs were insensate. "A daughter?" he asked in wonder. "Éowyn has given to me a daughter?"
"She has!" smiled Legolas, and seeing Faramir was numb stepped forward and placed the babe in her father's arms. The tiny face turned, seeking the one to whom she had grown accustomed, but upon perceiving Faramir's eyes upon her she gazed solemnly at him, and then gave a small hiccough. Faramir raised his head to ask Legolas how Éowyn had fared, but found to his amazement his throat had seized shut, and his eyes with tears had become too clouded to see much more than a blurred outline of his friend's face; laughing lightly Legolas kissed him upon his forehead, and taking him by the arm led him deeper into the woods.
They passed a large cairn set about with spears and shields, and a smoking pit filled with the detritus of charred bodies; these all passed by without comment, drawing ever closer to the red-gold light of the bonfire. When they entered the clearing Faramir's eyes were drawn to the pallet arranged before the fire; upon it lay his wife, her golden hair plaited neatly and winding like a yellow snake across her makeshift pillow; her eyes were closed in slumber, and though they were marred by dark circles there was yet a blush of pink upon her cheeks. Breathlessly Faramir approached, knowing Legolas was behind him and drawing comfort from his firm presence; he knelt with the babe by his wife's side and kissed her gently upon the crown of her head. She stirred, and opening her eyes looked up into her husband's face; she smiled, and in full view of all put her arms about his neck and kissed him soundly upon his lips.
"Finally!" she said. "What kept you?" And though Faramir still could not speak, he could hear, and when he lay the babe in his wife's arms he heard Legolas chuckling gently.
Meivel was confounded by Himbaláth's winning of their race; he felt it personally, though Himbaláth assured him it was not his fault; King Éomer's horse had foundered in the gathering drifts and delayed them two days. By the time Meivel's party arrived Legolas had deemed Éowyn and the babe fit for travel, though he warned them they must take it very slow; so they laid the Lady of Emyn Arnen and her tiny maid in the waggon and started their careful descent. A full five days passed before the party reached Amon Din, and as Aldamir had sent out runners with the announcement that the Green Knight had brought forth the Lord and Lady of Emyn Arnen's daughter himself, they were greeted at the gates of the keep by a great crowd shaking flags and pennants of green and white and red, crying, "The Green Knight for Gondor! The Green Knight for the White Lady! Hail the Midwife of Rohan!" For himself Legolas did not seem to mind the accolades, but Faramir was affronted; when they finally foregathered that evening in Aldamir's quarters and sat before the fire together he said to his friend: "I do not mind, O Legolas, your being known as either the Green Knight or the White Lady's champion, but to be known as a midwife does not seem fitting somehow, especially for a warrior of your stature."
"Do you not think so?" asked Legolas. He held the babe in his arms; she slept as did her Lady Mother, though Éowyn was ensconced in a room down the hall, with lady's maids aplenty at her beck and call, to see to her every comfort and remunerate her somewhat for her ordeal. The lady's maids and sundry nurses had objected at first to the Elf Lord's taking the baby, but as Éomer reminded them he had brought the babe forth himself they had grudgingly acquiesced, wrapping the little one up in warm flannels and urging him to mind her head. So Legolas sat in a comfortable chair upon the inglenook, cradling the tiny infant gently in his arms and watching her as she slept. "I do not find it abasing; I am sure once your daughter grows but a little older all shall forget my rôle and the title shall fall into disuse."
"I said not it was abasing," said Faramir smiling, "only that it was not fitting. For now every highborn woman about to deliver shall call upon you to aid her in her labor; they shall say, 'Well, he brought forth the daughter of Faramir and Éowyn of Emyn Arnen; and an Elf is better than a leech and cheaper beside!'" Legolas, Éomer, and Aldamir laughed, and Faramir said: "I am warning you, my friend; have a care to absent yourself from expectant women these coming years, lest the title of midwife stick so firmly you shall never shake it."
Legolas shrugged. "I am not concerned; who would willingly choose a warrior to bring forth a child?" he asked, eyes twinkling. "Ah, thank you, Gilmir – yes, the wine is excellent. Well, Faramir, have you and Éowyn decided upon a name for the girl? For it has been well over ten days since I first took her up in my hands and we have as yet naught to call her."
"We have discussed it," admitted Faramir taking a sip of his wine. "And we have decided."
"O, and what is it then?" asked Legolas.
"We have decided since the Green Knight was willing and able to come to his lady's rescue in her time of need, 'twould be his privilege to name the child," smiled Faramir, taking in Legolas' surprised expression with pleasure. "We neither of us can come to an accord – I wished to name her Galéniel, but my Lady Wife wanted Ehtarwen; both give the nod to your involvement but none seem to fit her somehow. Come, my friend! We freely give the choice to you; surely there is something you call her in the depths of your mind, privately before none else. Yes, I perceive that there is! What is it then, O Legolas?"
"Well since you ask," said Legolas with a glad smile, "it is this; all through that long night and following day were we obscured by mists and darkness, and even when first I held her the heavy cold mist swirled about us; I have in my mind been calling her Hísimë, for that is the month in which she was brought forth, and its very meaning attended her birth."
"Hísimë," said Faramir, and held out his arms. Legolas placed the child in her father's embrace, and she stirred and let out a small sound like a kitten; Faramir smiled and gazed down upon his daughter. "Yes, Legolas; Hísimë shall be her name, and she with her brother shall grow up to love and esteem you highly as do their parents."
"You will let them visit me?" asked Legolas anxiously, and Faramir laughed.
"Yes, yes!" he said; "it is not so far but they might spend time with a beloved benefactor, and you have certainly proved yourself able to care for and nurture such little ones."
"Well as I have none of my own I adopt my friends'," said Legolas, holding out his arms greedily; Faramir with a smile placed the girl in the Elf's hands, and watched as his friend held the babe up close to his face, kissing the tiny cheek. "Welcome, Hísimë!" he whispered, and the other men smiled.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.