38. Chapter Thirty-Eight
Arwen knew that Laeriel was right. When Aragorn had come to her that day in Lothlórien, he had been weary of all his travels and had come close to giving his destiny up. She had seen it in his eyes that he had reached the end of his endurance. They had spent a season within the borders of Lothlórien and on Mid-Summer's Eve, they pledged their troth on Cerin Amroth.
They returned to Rivendell after that, and within a few weeks, Aragorn had disappeared into the Wilds once again. Arwen knew that her father and he had had words, but to what extent, at the time, she didn't know what. Aragorn had finally told her what her father had told him the morning before he left with Frodo and the rest of the Fellowship.
So when Laeriel said that her father had warned her away from Aragorn, she knew that yes, he would have been callous and cruel in his choice of wording.
"So, you allowed Aragorn to think you were dead. And your daughter was born in Mithlond. Tell me more of your time with Círdan."
Laeriel moaned in pain and exhaustion as yet another labor pain rippled through her belly. She had been in labor for many hours and still there was no sign of her child making its way into the
"Not much longer, my lady…" Merilwen said, wiping the perspiration from Laeriel's brow.
"I can't…" Laeriel groaned. "I am so tired…"
"Laeriel…you may sleep after the child is born," Círdan ordered. "Not before."
Laeriel glared at him, and yet knew that he had a point. There would be no way for any of the ellith to bring her child into this world without her. She could see the concern in Merilwen's eyes and heard the whispers between Cuileth and Minuial, though they tried to disguise their words.
"There is a problem, isn't there?" Laeriel asked Merilwen.
Merilwen looked to the twins, frowning. She shooed them from the room, leaving only Círdan and herself to look after Laeriel. "The baby is in trouble. I can sense the heartbeat slowing."
"You must save my child," Laeriel told her, for the first time, fear shining in the depths of her blue eyes.
"I have done all I can…I am not skilled enough to do more."
Laeriel felt the tears slide down her cheeks. She looked at Círdan and sent a silent plea to the elf lord. She knew he could still contact Lord Elrond, ask for advice. She would do anything to save her child. To save his child.
Círdan left the room quickly, without a backward glance. He had to risk Laeriel's ire and contact Lord Elrond. Even if he could not be here for the birth of her child, he would know what to do.
Círdan paced his library, wrestling with the notion of contacting Lord Elrond and asking him for his advice. He knew he had promised Laeriel that he would not bring the elf lord into her affairs, but he felt that if he didn't, they would lose not only the child, but Laeriel as well. When he heard a muffled scream, so torturous to his ears, he hesitated no
"My Lord Elrond, I beg you for help. In my care is a woman, a human woman, heavy with child. The birth is not going well and we fear we will lose her and the child. I need your expertise. What do we do to save the woman and her child?" Círdan asked, the telepathic connection he had with Elrond.
"Is the woman in labor?"
"It seems to have stalled. The pains are subsiding and she tires. Merilwen senses the child is in danger and I fear for the woman's safety as well."
"Have you tried a mixture of black and blue Cohosh? Make a tea using raspberry leaf and nettle. These herbs will strengthen the uterine wall and the blood. To this tea add cramp bark and skullcap to reduce worry and cover the pain. Add the black and blue Cohosh to the tea to bring about labor. After the child is born, give the mother a tea made of Shepherd's Purse and Motherwort. These will help with excessive bleeding and calming the nerves."
Círdan rushed to find the twins and explained what he needed to be done. After he instructed them on the preparation of the teas, he headed back into the delivery room and to Laeriel.
"How is she?" he asked Merilwen.
"Not good, my Lord. She is very tired. And still the child is not born."
"I have spoken with Lord Elrond…" he began and seeing the shocked look on Merilwen's face, held up his hands. "I did not tell him who I was asking his help for, but he did tell me of two teas to try. One tea will help with pain and to induce the labor once again and the other tea is to help control bleeding after the birth. We need to try this. It is her only chance."
Merilwen nodded and returned to Laeriel's side. She gently shook the woman awake and smiled when she looked up at her. "We have something we are going to try. I will need you to trust in me and do everything I say."
Laeriel nodded. When the twins returned, she saw that they carried trays with teapots and cups on each. With help, she sat up, pillows propped up behind her. Merilwen handed her a cup of tea, which she drank without question. She trusted the elf with her life and with the life of her unborn child.
"Now…the tea we are giving you will induce the labor once again and help with the pain. The second brew will help with bleeding after your child is born."
"How long will it take?" Laeriel asked, draining the cup.
Merilwen glanced at Círdan and when he shook his head, she turned back to Laeriel and smiled weakly. "I do not know, my lady. But we will not abandon you."
Laeriel leaned back against the pillows and tried to regain her strength before her labor began once again.
"When did you find out that my father was the one that sent the recipe for the teas to Círdan?" Arwen asked.
"Círdan told me after Adariel was born. He felt so guilty that he had broken his word to me. But I was thankful that he did. Had he not, I don't think Adariel or I would be here now. I will be forever grateful to your father for what he did. I don't even know if he ever knew it was me he was helping."
"When you met him again, did you ask him?"
"We talked, mostly about the first time I had met him, when I had traveled to Imladris with Strider. He spoke of how he regretted the way he treated me then and that he wished things had been different between us. He asked for my forgiveness and then asked after the welfare of my daughter. He said that he knew the trials of raising difficult children, especially daughters."
"My father must have figured out it was you. I was not the easiest child to raise, especially after my Mother sailed to the Undying Lands. I do believe that he was trying to explain to you that he knew what he had done to you, depriving you of Strider and his love while trying to raise a child."
"Well, it doesn't matter now. Adariel is a full grown woman and though she could be a handful, I can honestly say I would not trade a moment of her life for anything."
Laeriel screamed as she pushed her child into the awaiting arms of Merilwen. One of the twins, Cuileth or Minuial, Laeriel did not know which, placed a warm blanket around the baby after Merilwen placed it on her chest. She looked down at the baby, seeing the steely blue-grey eyes; eyes that looked so much like Strider's and yet not quite the same as his. They were a cross between his and hers; a combination of his grey-green and her blue.
"You have a daughter, Laeriel," Merilwen said softly, watching mother and child.
Laeriel placed a shaky hand on the top of her head and smiled before placing a soft kiss on the baby's brow. She was so weak, nearly too weak to hold her daughter. "Take her, Minuial. I do not want to drop her."
Minuial took the child, wrapping the blanket around her tightly. They needed to keep the child warm. She left the room, followed closely by her sister. They would see to the child, cleaning her of the blood and then swaddle her tightly before bringing her back to Laeriel.
"Laeriel, you must push the afterbirth from your body. Then you will be able to rest. You are almost finished, my lady. Do not give up now," Merilwen coaxed, knowing the woman was beyond exhausted.
Laeriel pushed one last time before falling back to the pillows, slipping into unconsciousness. Merilwen snapped her head up and found Círdan slipping behind the woman, holding her against his broad chest, his hands on her distended belly.
"We must push the afterbirth from her body, my lord. Gently massage her belly. Her body will do the rest."
Círdan massaged Laeriel's belly as gently as he could until Merilwen nodded. "It is done," she said, taking the bloody towel away. "She will need to wake long enough to drink the tea Cuileth made. I will return to help her wash up."
Círdan eased Laeriel to the pillows, pulling the sheet up over her. "Laeriel…wake little one. Just long enough to drink the tea."
Laeriel struggled to open her eyes. When she did, she found Círdan staring at her with a smile that shone brightly in his grey eyes. He gave her a steaming cup of tea, encouraging her to drink it.
"You did well, little one. Your daughter is beautiful. She reminds me very much of her father."
Laeriel glanced up at Círdan, worry shining in her eyes. "You know him?"
"He came here once, on a journey of discovery."
"You cannot tell him…either of them," she said.
"Your secret is safe with me, child. Now, drink more tea. And I will see what has kept Merilwen. I am sure you want to clean up before meeting your daughter once more.
Laeriel smiled and sipped on her tea. Círdan kissed the top of her head and glided out of the
"So, you kept your secret and those that helped you deliver Adariel agreed to keep it as well?
"I knew that if Strider knew about his child, there would be no stopping him from claiming us as his family. And if your father knew, he would need to lie to his son. I couldn't be yet another wedge between them. I did what I thought was right at the time.
"I think I can understand your motives. I know that Estel will too. I wish my father had trusted you enough not to push you out of Aragorn's life. Estel might have had the chance to know his daughter had Ada had just a little faith in the two of you.
"Arwen, your father did what was best for all of Middle-earth. Had I had my way, it would have served only my child and myself.
"I don't believe that, Laeriel, and neither do you.
Laeriel shrugged. If she had it to do all again, would she truly give up on the only man she had ever loved?
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.