2. A New Eagle
F. A. 117
Minas Tirith was abuzz with the news that there might soon be a new heir to the throne of Gondor. Most of those who had been born in the same year as Eldarion, one hundred six hears ago, had grown old and died before the Prince had even wed. The discontent and rumor spawned by the Prince's 'unnatural' behavior had grown into a real problem in the past decade, as Aragorn had finally begun to show his age. All but the witless now knew that Eldarion would soon be King, and so, an heir was needed most urgently.
But all the troubles would be put to rest now - as long as the child was healthy, and male.
The royal family was now gathered in the House of Healing. Aragorn and Arwen found themselves more worried for their son than for his beloved. Halloreth of Arnor was young and strong. Trouble was most unlikely, and if it chanced to visit them, Aragorn was fully prepared.
But Eldarion was not. Battles he had won, and governance now came as naturally to him as breathing, but for the first time since his childhood he found himself in a situation where he could do naught but wait. The midwives and healers had shooed him out of the chambers where his wife lay in pain, saying his presence would only hinder them. Arwen did not approve of this custom, but had long since learned that she could do little to change such things. In any case, similar practices had been followed in Rivendell.
Laereth, the youngest of Aragorn's children, did her best to keep her brother talking. "It will not be long, now, Dari. Do you not remember the births of Celwyn, Haldred and Aelric?", she said soothingly, naming her own children. "They came into the world easily - but a few hours of labor!" She smiled at the memory. "And Halloreth is every bit as strong as I am, or rather, was."
Eldarion smiled at his sister - what could he do but smile at she who had ridden from Anorien just to be beside him and his beloved on this day? His sister, who had embraced her mortal blood more fully than any of them, marrying, at an early age, an (at the time) minor lord of Rohan? Who was now, joyfully, a grandmother many times over? But he did not stop worrying.
Aragorn, too, smiled, not only at the affection between his children. Aelric, indeed! He suspected Elrohir had "helped" name that child just to poke fun at him.
Arwen glanced at her husband, the picture of innocence, before turning to her son. "Hear your sister's and your mother's words, ion nin. Halloreth is not likely to have any trouble. I have spoken to her many times over the past few months, and all of what she said, and did not say, boded well."
Eldarion smiled more truly now. His mother and his wife had taken to each other remarkably, and thus his house was freer of discord than most.
And so, though every second seemed an hour, Eldarion managed to keep his composure until the Mistress of the Houses came out, bearing a swaddled form.
"My prince, I present you with your first son!" The old healer beamed.
Eldarion took his son into his arms, as his family crowded around him. The boy seemed healthy, and his eyes seemed to eagerly explore the new world about him, though surely this must be a fancy.
"He is as healthy a babe as one could wish for." the Mistress pronounced, for one brief moment part of the family.
"And my wife?" Eldarion asked.
"Again, as well as any who come through such labors." the healer answered. "You may go to her now, but for ten minutes only, then she must rest."
Eldarion and his parents moved swiftly into the birthing room, Arwen carrying the babe. Halloreth, lying abed, looked pale and tired, but smiled at her husband. "He is beautiful, my love!" she said.
Eldarion knelt to embrace her. "As is his mother. Are you well?"
"Tired as I ever have been", she said, "but I have never felt better."
Valar be thanked, all said silently. Aragorn broke the silence. "The babe shares the beauty and health of his parents. You must rest, daughter, but I would ask one thing of you and my son ere I leave you with him. What is my new grandson's name?"
Arwen held back a laugh - the gleam in Eldarion's eyes reminded her so of her brothers.
"He shall be called Thorongil, the Eagle of the Star." the Prince answered. "Is that not a fitting name for a King?"
Aragorn smiled. None could have pleased him more. "It is. My counsellors will hear it, and word will go out in the city that the Eagle of the Star is born." He bowed, left the room, and, alone in the hallway, allowed himself a broad grin. Yes, the new Eagle is born, while the old one yet flies!.
A/N: "Aelric" seems to be the 'fanon' name under which Aragorn served Rohan in his youth; I am not sure who gave it to him.
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