Burden of Guilt

Love is Come Again

These Characters are the property of the Estate of J. R. R Tolkien and New Line Cinema. This story has been written for pleasure and no profit has been or will be made from it.

Warning – This chapter contains material, which some readers may find distressing.

With special thanks to Lily for her help with this chapter

A few lines are taken directly from Tolkien.

"When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,

Thy touch can call us back to life again;

Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:

Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green."

John MacLeod Campbell Crum (1872-1958)

"Give her to me!"Aragorn demanded urgently.

Dame Enye gaped at this sudden interruption; "The cord will need cutting first and I can't see what the hurry is as the poor child is dead!" she protested

"Cut the cord then and be quick! There is no time to lose !" Aragorn snapped, thrusting his hunting knife towards the old woman.

"I've got to tie it first or the poor woman will bleed to death as would a living child. You men know nothing at all!" Dame Enye said grumpily, without making any move to do as she was bidden.

"Do as I say, woman and make haste!" Aragorn replied in his most commanding tone.

"Who do you think you are to speak to me like that?" Dame Elan said indignantly though she did as she was bidden without further argument. "Have you no respect for your elders?"

Ignoring her, Aragorn snatched up the pitifully small and lifeless infant and stood with it by the roaring fire He cleared its nose and mouth with his finger before gently pinching its nose and blowing into its tiny blue tinged mouth.

He could hear Eowyn weeping pitifully a few feet away while the midwife tried vainly to console her.

It seemed a hopeless task and yet how could he not try his uttermost to save this child? What would it do to Faramir's fragile health if he were to lose his daughter like this? And what of Eowyn? She had been so courageous these last months. Was she to lose everything through one foolish act?

Not only was this babe the child of his dearest friend but also he sensed had too that it could have a great destiny ahead when she was conceived. She was not meant to die at birth.

The infant still showed no sign of life and Eowyn's heartrending sobs of "I killed my baby!" rent the air. Dame Enye could only murmer soothing words andsettle her back on the bedroll and cover her decently with the blanket.

As well as trying to breathe for the baby, Aragorn slapped its back and rubbed the waxy skin vigorously.

Faramir groaned, gradually regaining consciousness and becoming aware of his wife's cries of distress, crawled to Eowyn's side and grasped her hand, trying vainly to comfort her as the tragedy of what had happened dawned on him.

"How can you ever forgive me?" Eowyn choked. "It is my fault our baby is dead!"

"This would never have happened if I had stayed with you." Faramir lamented, " I am as bad as my father destroying my own offspring!"

"You are wasting your time." Dame Enye informed Aragorn, who was now frantically rubbing the baby's chest, all the while still blowing gently into her mouth.

He ignored her and continued his ministrations; all too aware they seemed doomed to be fruitless.

He turned and looked at his friends, shaking his head sadly. He was a skilled healer but no man could raise the dead.

"Aragorn!" Faramir's cry of anguish tore at his soul. Now that they were Thought Bonded he could actually feel his friend's pain.

"I am sorry but I cannot bring back the dead," he said bleakly.

Jumbled fragments of the prophecies he had heard about himself suddenly began to course though his brain 'A great doom awaits you, either to rise above the height of all your fathers since the days of Elendil –The dead awaken –Life to the dying in the king's hand lying!' The prophecies did not apply to a situation like this and yet….

A far away look now on his face, as he took an athelas leaf from his pocket, left there in case Faramir needed it again, and breathed on it then crumbled it, hardly aware any more of what he was doing, only that he must.

He placed his hands on the lifeless child. "Come to me, little one, I command to come to where love awaits you!" he called

The firelight shone on his brow, making him look as if he were crowned with living flame as he sank to his knees and poured out his life energy into the child.

"Whoever does he think he is? He is mad, quite mad!" Dame Enye muttered disapprovingly,totally uncomprehending of what Aragorn was trying to do.

Faramir, seeing the look of rapt concentration on the King's face, realised what was happening and knelt beside him.

He found himself hardly daring breathe as the awareness dawned upon him that he was witnessing a miracle.

The baby suddenly jerked and gave a strangled cry. Aragorn looked on the verge of collapse yet continued rubbing the tiny chest and back The infant started to take more confident breaths and the blue tinged skin gradually turned to a healthy pink.

Silently weeping, Faramir returned to his wife's side and took her hand.

Now grey with exhaustion, Aragorn struggled to his feet and carried the baby over to her parents.

"She lives!" he told them, his own eyes full of tears. "I think she has a chance now."

"How can we ever thank you?" Eowyn sobbed, the tears now ones of joy.

" You have saved our daughter, thank you so much, my Lord Envinyatar!" Faramir was almost too overwhelmed to speak. He knew he had witnessed a miracle and not for the first time was awestruck by the powers his friend and King possessed.

He stumbled over to the King and sank to his knees kissing his hands in heartfelt gratitude while gazing at him with complete veneration.

Aragorn smiled at him through his weariness.

Faramir looked away as though blinded by the sun. Having so recently both shared his man's thoughts and seen just what depths of both power and love he was capable of left him completely overwhelmed.

"Nothing has changed about me, Mellon Nin, I still snore and forget to comb my hair!" Aragorn said gently, sinking down beside his Steward and squeezing his hand, the other still clutching the baby.

He felt completely drained having given so much of his life energy first to Faramir and then to the child, but he could not allow himself to rest yet.

"She needs bathing and clothing!" Dame Enye said, gaping at him open mouthed. "I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen with my own eyes! You must be some sort of magician!"

"Do it then and quickly, she must be kept warm." Aragorn said curtly, forcing himself to stand upright and ignore his weariness.

His large hands still clasped the tiny infant while Dame Enye fetched the water, into which he crumbled another athelas leaf. Together they bathed the tiny girl, who was covered in a waxy substance as well as the detritus of birth. On closer inspection they could see that apart from her eyebrows being very thin, she appeared perfectly formed.

"She needs to be wrapped in something soft and warm." Aragorn said, as Dame Enye dried the infant. Going to the other side of the room, he pulled off his tunic and undershirt, replaced the tunic and brought the soft garment, still warm from his own body to wrap round the baby.

"That is the royal cipher!" Dame Enye gasped, as she caught sight of the crest lovingly embroidered by Arwen's hands. "You have stolen it from the King, I thought all along you looked a rogue!"

"Madam, I am the King." Aragorn informed her calmly, as he tucked the soft fabric round the crying baby and handed her to Eowyn. Only then did he take a few sips of miruvor from his flask.

The old woman shook her head and could be heard muttering, "That lunatic should be taken to the asylum!"

She busied herself tending to Eowyn, dealing with the afterbirth and bathing her then clothing her in a clean shirt of Faramir's.

Aragorn and Faramir went outside for a few minutes to give Eowyn some privacy. They sat down on a fallen tree trunk, Aragorn resting his weary head in his hands, while Faramir was still too overwhelmed to feel like conversation.

Damrod approached them rather hesitantly before summoning up the courage to ask.

"How is your Lady faring, Lord Faramir? I hope Dame Enye could be of help?"

"She was indeed, Damrod, thank you, I have a little girl and my wife seems well."

Damrod beamed his congratulations before returning to his companions.

As Dame Enye came out to empty a bowl of dirty water, Faramir collected himself sufficiently to enquire; "How is my wife faring now and the baby?"

" They are both doing well." Dame Enye replied, " The child is breathing strongly now and as for your wife, no bleeding or tearing. She will make a full recovery. An exceptionally strong young woman! Who is she?"

"Eowyn, lady of Rohan, Slayer of the Witch King Princess of Ilithien and wife to the Lord Steward of Gondor." Faramir replied.

"You should not jest in such matters, sir! It was bad enough your friend claiming to be the King!"

"Have you not heard the King has the hands of a healer?" Faramir challenged.

"I am telling the truth, madam. Damrod, come here!" he called. When the man came towards him he said, "I believe you know Damrod, Dame Enye?"

"Indeed I do, since before he could walk. A fine healthy baby he was too!"

"Damrod, tell the good lady who I am! "Aragorn commanded with a mischievous gleam in his eye.

"This is King Elessar Telcontar, High King of the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor, Heir of Elendil and wielder of the Sword Reforged. The other gentleman is Faramir, Steward of Gondor and Prince of Ilithien, under whom I had the honour to serve for many years." Damrod announced with a flourish and a bow to the King.

This time it was Dame Enye's turn to faint. Aragorn sighed, he was beginning to wonder if the best way to dispel a rebel army might be to simply to ride up and announce his identity, as it seemed to have such a strange effect on people!

TBC

A very big thank you to all my reviewers for your kind comments and continued interest. You are greatly appreciated.

A/N The word "dolt" is found classic literature such as the works of Shakespeare and Dickens.

I always feel Eowyn can be somewhat impulsive as she did ride out to battle despite being ordered to stay behind.

You are very good at guessing that Aragorn's presence will save the baby !

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