23. Chapter 22 - September 1422
Merry stared at the letter in his hand. The seal was somewhat similar to Éomer King's escept it did not carry the royal mark. This had to be Éowyn's seal.
"Aren't you going to open it?" Pippin asked.
Merry nodded and went into the parlor. He sat in his chair and looked at letter again, working up his courage to break the seal. There was no use putting it off. He'd been waiting a long time to hear from her, hadn't he? He just wasn't sure how her letter would affect him. He was happy with Estella after all, planning their spring wedding. He didn't want to ruin that with old feelings coming back to haunt him.
Pippin sat in the chair next to him. "Open it," he scolded. "Or do you want me to?" He held out his hand.
Merry shook his head and broke the seal.
My dearest Merry,
I hope all is well with you. I am very sorry I haven't written sooner, but I needed time to grieve and heal.
I gave birth to a son this spring, a beautiful boy named Elboron. Faramir is spoiling him! He has brought much joy to us. It's because of him that I can finally move on and hear of our daughter.
I have read your letters. Faramir had saved them for me, until I was ready to know about Ivy. She sounds lovely, Merry, and I am looking forward to learning more of her. I still miss her. I've missed her every day since we parted, but I do not have any regrets. I know you are giving her all the love she deserves. I hope to meet her someday. I only hope she understands why I could not keep her.
Congratulations on your betrothal. I am happy that you have found someone to share your life with. I admit that it hurts a little, knowing she will be in Ivy's life when I cannot. But I know that you could only love someone who would love Ivy.
I am so sorry to hear about Frodo, that he suffered from his wounds after he had done so much to save us all. I know you loved him very much. I hope he can find peace with the elves.
Faramir sends his greetings to you and Pippin and Sam. Give my regards to Estella and my love to Ivy.
I miss you, my friend,
"Éowyn had a boy," Merry said, looking up at Pippin. "His name is Elboron."
Pippin raised his brows at him. "And how do you feel about that?"
Merry looked back at the letter, then looked up at Pippin again, his face breaking into a wide grin. "I'm very happy for her, Pippin. She deserves to be happy."
Pippin smiled back. "I bet Faramir is thrilled."
"Éowyn said he's spoiling the baby."
Pippin laughed. "Just like you! You spoil Ivy terribly."
"And you don't spoil her at all," Merry said, rolling his eyes.
Pippin looked at him smugly. "I'm her Uncle Pippin. I'm supposed to spoil her."
Ivy sighed and flopped down on her back on Merry's bed. "Can I go, too?" she asked, pouting a little.
"Sorry, love," Merry said, folding a shirt into his pack. "You get to go stay with your Gran and Granddad for a few days. Won't that be fun?"
She shrugged and swung her legs against the side of the bed. "I want to see Elanor."
"Elanor isn't going to be at Bag End, sweet. She's going to visit her grandparents, too. It's just going to be me and Uncle Pippin and Uncle Sam."
He sat next to her on the edge of the bed. "Do you remember Uncle Frodo?"
Her brows knotted for a moment. "He used to live at Elanor's house?"
"Yes. He is a very, very brave hobbit. He's my cousin and Uncle Pippin's cousin and Uncle Sam's best friend. And... well, he had to go away--far away--with the elves. And it's his birthday in a few days, and the three of us are going to remember him."
"A birthday party?"
"No. Not exactly. We'll just... think about him and tell stories about him, because we love him and miss him."
"Why did he have to go away?"
"Because he was very sick and only the elves could help him."
"Oh." She frowned. "If I get sick, do I have to go away with the elves?"
"No, love. He was a different kind of sick. Not a cough or a tummy ache." He hoped she'd be satisfied with that, because he didn't want to explain to an almost-three-year-old about Ringwraiths and Morgul wounds.
"Will he come back?"
Merry just managed to swallow the sob that threatened to come out of him at her innocent question. He shook his head. "No, love," he said quietly. "He can't come back."
She sat up and leaned her head against his arm. "Are you sad, Daddy?"
He sighed. "Yes, baby. I miss him."
"I can give you a kiss and make you better. That's what Gran does." She tugged at his sleeve and he bent down so she could kiss his cheek. "Are you better now?"
He smiled at her and stroked her hair. "Lots better." He tapped her nose lightly with his finger, needing to find a happier subject. "If you're a good girl while I'm gone, maybe Granddad will let you ride a pony."
Her little face lit up in joy and his heart lightened at the sight. Frodo was right. Ivy was a light in the dark.
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.