114. Chapter 113 - August 1443
“A letter from your mum,” Pippin said. He walked into the parlor carrying a handful of what looked like letters. He sat next to her and held one out to her. Ivy eagerly snatched the letter from his hand. She’d been waiting to hear from her mother, to hear how she was doing after losing Faramir. Sam and Rosie had left right after the funeral, to bring the news north, so they didn’t know how Éowyn and her children were coping.
I am so happy to hear about my new granddaughter. News of Éoleof has brought us much happiness to ease our grief.
Elboron was made Steward and Prince of Ithilien in March. It has been hard for him, having to take over from his father at such a young age, but Aragorn has been a good mentor for him. Théodred has thrown himself into patrols and I don’t see much of him. I fear he is looking for revenge against all orcs for the death of his father. He reminds me of your grandfather Éomund in so many ways. Wyn was hit hardest. Faramir doted on her and losing her father has broken her heart.
Ivy felt sorry for her sister. She could understand how Wyn felt. She didn’t want to even consider the thought of losing her father.
Wyn and I are going to Rohan in July. I think it will do her some good to get away for a while. She is quiet, like her father, and does not show her feelings so easily. Elfwine’s first child will be born in August and I hope the baby will be a good distraction for her.
Ivy quickly read the rest of the letter, searching for some indication of how her mother was feeling, but Éowyn never mentioned herself. She wrote of the changes in Ithilien following the increased raids, the empty houses as people moved to the safety of Osgiliath and Minas Tirith. Wyn wasn’t the only one hiding her feelings.
I have spoken to your brothers and sister and I have decided to come to the Shire next spring with Wyn. I miss you terribly, Ivy, and I long to see you and my grandchildren.
I love you and miss you,
“She and Wyn are going to come visit us next year,” Ivy said to her husband. “They’re in Rohan now. Wyn’s taking Faramir’s death very hard and my mother thought that getting her away would help.”
“Poor girl,” said Pippin. He looked over her arm at the letter. “How is your mother?”
Ivy shrugged. “She doesn’t say, really. But she’s worried about Théodred. He’s gone on patrols most of the time. She thinks he’s looking for revenge against the orcs.”
“Hot-headed Rohirrim,” Pippin said softly.
Ivy nodded. She couldn’t argue with that. Théodred’s behavior was what had killed her maternal grandfather. Éomund of Eastfold had been consumed with eradicating the orcs that threatened his people and had become reckless. His final act was to attack a band of orcs numbering nearly twice the size of his éored. She sighed. For their mother’s sake, she hoped Théodred wouldn’t get himself killed, too. Éowyn had lost too many people she loved to the orcs.
Pippin took the letter from her hand and set it aside, then drew her to him, pulling her close and wrapping his arms around her. She turned into him, pressing her face to his chest and inhaling his comforting scent. Ivy could have stayed here all day wrapped in Pippin’s arms, but her daughter had other ideas.
“I’ll get her,” Pippin said. He unwound himself from Ivy and got up to go to the cradle to get his whimpering daughter. “Are you hungry, love,” he murmured to her, cuddling Éoleof on his shoulder. He patted her bottom, then wrinkled his nose at Ivy. “A change first, then food,” he said. Ivy smiled, watching him walk with Éoleof to the bedroom, considering herself very fortunate that she had a husband willing to change messy diapers.
When they returned, Pippin handed her Éoleof and Ivy settled her at her breast. She watched her daughter nurse, playing with the white-blonde curls on the baby’s head. Pippin and her father were right. Éoleof took after her in every way--the set of her eyes and the shape of her chin and even the slight roundness of her ears. Her dad had told her he’d startled himself a few times, having to remind himself it wasn’t Ivy that he held.
Ivy traced a finger around Éoleof tiny ear and smiled. She had felt lifeless in the weeks before Éoleof was born, too grief-stricken at the loss of another parent to prepare for the birth. Éoleof had eased her grief, but she still felt bad that once again a child of hers had been born into sad times. And she didn’t think she could risk going through that again--looking forward to a happy birth, only to have it end in sadness. As much as she would have liked a large family, Éoleof would most likely be her last child.
“Aragorn says your mum is holding up,” Pippin said. He was reading the other letters they’d received that day. “He said she seemed in good spirits the last time he saw her. And he knows about Théodred. He says he’s got a few of the rangers keeping an eye on him, to keep him in check.”
“Good,” Ivy said, relieved that her mother was well and that someone would be watching out for her brother.
“He says the Haradrim have even been helping against the Easterlings. They’ve sent some oliphaunt troops to guard the southern borders.” Pippin shook his head. “Who could have thought the Haradrim would be helping us someday?” He grinned at Ivy. “I bet Sam will be glad to know the oliphaunts are officially on our side now. He went on about seeing oliphaunts for days after we were reunited in Cormallen.”
Ivy sighed. “I never got to see an oliphaunt when I was in Gondor.”
“They’re amazing!” Pippin said, and he suddenly had a gleam in his eye that, for all of his fifty-three years, reminded Ivy of a little boy. “I’ve never seen a creature so big! They can carry little houses on their backs and many Men can ride in them, and--”
“Who is excited about oliphaunts now?” she asked, cocking an eyebrow at him. He pouted, looking just like their sons, and she laughed, so hard that she startled Éoleof from her nursing. “Sorry, dearest,” she murmured, smoothing her daughter’s silky curls.
Pippin smiled and leaned in to kiss her. “It’s good to see you laugh like that,” he said.
She smiled and kissed him back. It felt good to laugh like that. It was something that had been rare these past few months. The past two years, really. She didn’t want to be sad anymore. She pulled back and patted his cheek. “You always make me laugh,” she said sweetly, then grinned.
He paused for a moment, obviously thinking about that, then wrinkled his nose at her. “Is that supposed to be a compliment?”
She giggled and he laughed, too. He set his letters aside and turned to put his arms around her and the baby. He rested his head on her shoulder. She sighed contentedly.
Their peace was broken by the arrival of their other children. An exasperated Fari came in, leading Ari by the hand. Bori and Willow were following behind. They looked guilty.
“I’ve pulled him out of the paddock five times,” Fari said, pointing at Ari. “And those two...” He glared behind him at his brother and sister. They shrank under their brother’s gaze. Ivy could only imagine what they had got up to this time. Bori seemed to have inherited the knack for finding trouble from his father and grandfather, and he’d recently figured out that Willow was a willing accomplice.
Fari turned back to his parents. “Uncle Dinodas wants to have a word with you about them.” He looked at his dad and smirked. “And he muttered something about apples not falling far from the tree.”
Pippin sat up. “I’d better go take care of it,” he said, patting Ivy’s knee. He grinned. “I know all too well that it only gets worse if you make Uncle Dinodas wait to yell at you.”
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.