62. Chapter 61 - August 1435
Ivy watched her sister trot the pony around the paddock. For being only five, Wyn had an excellent feel for horses. “Very good, Wyn!” she called. She nudged her own pony into a trot to catch up with Wyn, the two of them riding side-by-side. “Want to ride down to the barracks and back?” Ivy asked.
“Sure, I... Oh, there’s Dad!” Wyn pulled her pony off to the side, heading for the gate that Faramir was approaching.
Ivy smiled to see him. He’d been in Minas Tirith the past few days. And it was about the time he’d be bringing letters back. Her smile stretched into a grin when she saw that he was indeed carrying a stack of papers in his hand.
“I’ve brought you a present!” he said to Ivy, holding up the letters.
She dropped from her pony and reached for the letters, then stopped, glancing back at Star.
“I’ll take care of her for you,” Faramir said, pressing the letters into her hand.
Ivy took the letters and hugged him. “Thank you,” she said. She glanced up at her sister. “Sorry, Wyn.”
Her sister was frowning and looked like she might get upset, but then Faramir stepped in. “How about I go riding with you, ladybug?”
Ivy felt a slight lump in her throat when Wyn beamed at her father. She was just as much of a ‘daddy’s girl’ as Ivy was, and it made Ivy miss her own father. And she had a letter from him.
She found a nice shady spot under one of the big elms in front of their house and tore into her letters.
They were the same as always, news of everyday things in the Shire, but she treasured every word. She missed the Shire and it was driven home every time she read the letters.
She read through Pippin’s letter carefully, trying to get some sense of how he really was. He had written about his trip to Rivendell with her Dad early that summer. Celeborn had let them take any books they wanted from the library there, before most of them were sent to Minas Tirith. Pippin had written about some interesting books he’d found and told her she could try translating them when she got home, if she wanted. But there wasn’t much else in the letter. He wrote that he’d missed Fari during his trip, but nothing else to give her any idea of how he was.
Theo’s letter was saved for last, and it was the same as his letter in the spring: Pippin was still a mess, Fari was practically living at Brandy Hall now.
I’m worried about Fari. He’s stopped being angry. It’s kind of scary. He doesn’t react much to what goes on at home now, with Uncle Pippin and Diamond. He doesn’t even talk to me about it anymore. I’ll ask him how things are and he’ll just say “Fine!” and then start making jokes or something. I’m worried about him.
Ivy sighed. She worried about Fari as much as she worried about his father. Ivy had sometimes felt sorry for herself in her life, not having her real mum around, but after seeing what Fari went through, Ivy considered herself lucky. Maybe her mum wasn’t around for most of her life, but at least Ivy knew that Éowyn loved her. Fari was stuck living with a mother who didn’t care about him.
Uncle Pippin looked a lot better after his trip to Rivendell with Dad. But as soon as he went back to Tuckborough, he started drinking again. There’s something going on with Diamond, but I haven’t been able to find out anything more on what it may be. Mum glares daggers at the old cow every time we visit, though, so I think it’s something bad.
Ivy crumpled Theo’s letter in her fist, scowling, furious at Diamond for the misery she caused her husband and son. Ivy would have liked nothing better than to toss Diamond into Mount Doom, like Frodo had done with that evil ring. She set her jaw and stood up, then turned and trotted into the house and up the stairs to her room. She sat at the little desk and pulled out a fresh parchment and dipped her pen in the bottle of ink. She couldn’t rid Middle-Earth of Diamond’s evil, but she could send Theo some more ideas for pranks to play on the old cow.
If there was anything worse than the summer heat of Gondor, Ivy didn’t know what it was. She plucked at her bodice, sticky with sweat, and sighed. She longed for the cool breezes of the Shire and the lazy currents of the Brandywine. She glanced at her friends. They would be horrified at the thought of swimming in a river with fish and frogs. Not that it mattered. The Anduin was far too large and swift to swim in anyway.
She was sitting with her friends in the shade of Kelian’s garden in Minas Tirith. Kel had invited them to visit, so Faramir had brought the girls to the city to spend a few days with their friend. None of the girls had seen Kel since her marriage that spring and they had a noisy, tear-filled reunion. Geron had shook his head and left the room as the giggling girls had caught up with his wife on their arrival.
Kelian set down a tray of cold tea, a popular drink in the southern heat. Ivy had been wary of drinking tea cold at first, but found she quite enjoyed it with a squeeze of lemon.
“So are you going to tell us why you’re smiling so much, or are we going to have to guess?” Gwen asked, grinning at Kel.
Kel sat down in her chair and beamed at them. “I’m going to have a baby!” she said.
Ivy just managed to not drop her glass in shock. The other girls all squealed in delight, getting up to hug Kel. Ivy just stared at her friend. A baby? She’d been expecting it, of course, but now that it was real... She set down her glass. A girl her age was having a baby!
She got up and hugged her friend. “Congratulations,” she said and smiled at the huge grin on Kel’s face. She looked beautiful, sitting there now with a smile on her face and a hand over her belly. Was it a little rounder than usual?
“When are you due?” Gwen asked.
“Spring. March, most likely.”
“This is so exciting!” Brenna squealed. “We get to be aunties!”
“How are you feeling?” Eife asked. “My sister was sick all the time for her first baby.”
Kel grinned. “Wonderful! I haven’t been sick at all. Just a little tired.”
“Not sick at all?” Brenna asked.
“You don’t always get sick,” Ivy said. “It varies with each woman and with each pregnancy, even.” They all looked at her and she shrugged. “Both my mums are midwives.”
“You’re lucky,” Kel groaned. “My mum believes all the old wives’ tales, so she was arguing with the midwife over all sorts of things. At least you won’t have to go through that, Ivy, with your mum being a midwife.”
Ivy nodded. She wouldn’t have to worry about it because first she’d need a lad to make her pregnant. But she didn’t want to spoil Kel’s mood. She chuckled. “Just nod and smile when she brings up those old tales. That’s what Éowyn does.”
They chatted about babies and pregnancy and birth, peppering Ivy with questions about things she’d learned from her mothers. When Geron came out to join them for lunch, Kel looked up at her husband and grinned. “Ivy said it’s a Rohirric tradition that the father is present for the birth. What do you think about that?”
They all giggled at the look of horror on Geron’s face. Ivy felt her spirits lift. How could she feel sorry for herself when Kel was so happy?
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.