Burden of Guilt

Where did you get your eyes so blue?

BOG53

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 or will be made from it.

Where did you come from, Baby dear? Out of the everywhere into the here. Where did you get your eyes so blue? Out of the sky as I came through.

George MacDonald (1824–1905),

This chapter is dedicated to everyone who wanted to see Eomer meet the baby with especial thanks to Raksha for her suggestions

When Aragorn visited Faramir the next morning, he found him in considerable pain, though trying hard not to show it.

Ashen faced, he was sitting propped up in bed in his dressing room. Convention decreed that he did not share Eowyn's bed so soon after her having given birth.

"Why did you not send for me?" Aragorn chided gently, feeling that he maybe should have kept Faramir with him the previous night after the ordeal of the treatment.

"You needed your rest as you had as much or more to endure yesterday than I did," said Faramir, unlacing the neck of his nightshirt and sliding it from his shoulders," I did not wish to disturb Eowyn either and thought it best to wait until she was with Ioreth and the Queen."

"I fear this sometimes happens," Aragorn sighed once Faramir's upper body was bared to his gaze. A large bruise had appeared across his chest, while the scars on his arm and back looked red and angry. No doubt the scar tissue concealed by the bandage looked as bad, but it was important not to unwrap it until three days had passed.

"The scars itch too!" Faramir lamented, wriggling violently to avoid scratching. "Do those on my back look as bad as they feel?"He vainly tried to crane his neck to look.

"They do but as they itch they must be healing!" Aragorn smiled for the first time since he had entered the room, " And that is a good sign!" he said. "Sometimes the mud bath does cause pain and irritation if the wounds were very severe."

He closed his eyes and held his hands over the scars and Faramir sighed with relief as he felt the pain slowly ebb away.

" I just been informed that Agond died in the night without regaining consciousness after I left him," Aragorn told his Steward, noting his heart was beating a little too quickly but not dangerously so.

"May the Valar grant him peace!" Faramir's nobility of spirit was awe-inspiring, given that the man had caused much of his current pain.

"I am told he was a soldier in Lossarnach for many years and did many deeds of valour but then he was wounded during the war .He took to drink to numb the pain while he recovered, but was unable to stop drinking afterwards. He was dismissed from the army and took to begging in the streets. That was when he was arrested and attacked you," Aragorn explained.

Faramir merely nodded.

"I have some salve that will ease the itching" Aragorn told him," I brought it in case it was needed. Lie on your side and I will apply some to your back!"

"I must be well for the trial tomorrow!" Faramir fretted as gentle hands rubbed the soothing calendula salve into his itching scars."

"I think it best that you do not go," Aragorn said gently but firmly, "I will see that justice is done upon Mahrod but seeing him again would only distress you and you need to rest for three days after the mud bath,"

"Surely it is my duty?" Faramir protested.

"There is no need as there are witnesses aplenty of what he did to you!" the King replied.

Aragorn could feel the shudder convulsing his Steward's still painfully thin body. "Once this treatment has had time to work, you will look very different than you did on that dreadful day!" he soothed, "Trust me to deal with this!"

Faramir turned his head to look Aragorn straight in the eye. "I will do as you bid me," he said quietly.

"You need to rest now," Aragorn said gently but firmly as he helped Faramir ease his nightshirt back over his shoulders.

" I need to prepare for Eomer's visit this evening!"Faramir protested, " I cannot lie abed! Please, Aragorn, could you, the Queen and your son, join us for dinner too? Eowyn and I would be very grateful if you did!"

"We will be delighted to!" Aragorn reassured him, "Now lie down as you have plenty of time to rest before tonight! But remember when you get up, you must not wash your scars until the three days have passed!"

Conceding defeat, Faramir lay back on his pillows and closed his eyes. Aragorn gently brushed his eyelids with his fingertips sending him into a light refreshing sleep.

He stood for a moment looking down at him, his eyes full of compassion.

He then made his way to Eomer's apartments as the King of Rohan had sent a message begging for some Elven treatments for his arm.

That afternoon Eowyn had just fed Elestelle and replaced her in her cradle when a knock came on the door of the nursery.

"Come in!" she called.

Her eyes lit up when her brother rather hesitantly entered the room. He was clutching a bunch of the few winter flowers to be found in Minas Tirith.

She raced across the room and enfolded him in a loving embrace exclaiming," Eomer, it is so good to see you!"

"Um, your um husband invited me to see the baby," Eomer said awkwardly, handing her the flowers.

"Come and meet your niece then!" Eowyn smiled, leading him towards the cradle and lifting her child out.

"This is Elestelle!" she said proudly, "Elestelle, meet your Uncle Eomer!"

Eomer looked rather doubtfully at the bundle his sister held out for his inspection. Tentatively he held out a finger towards the infant in greeting and found it clasped in a surprisingly strong grip. Filled with an overwhelming sense of tenderness towards his niece, his fierce warrior's heart melted. He knew then he would be her slave for life.

"She is beautiful!" he choked, blinking away a tear," A true daughter of Rohan, just like her mother!"

"Would you like to hold her?" Eowyn asked, gesturing for her brother to sit down on the couch.

"What if I drop her? " he asked anxiously.

"You won't!" Eowyn reassured him as she carefully positioned Elestelle in his arms and showed him how to support her head.

"Eowyn, I am so very sorry about your husband!" Eomer said flushing slightly, after sitting in silence for a few moments, raptly contemplating his niece.

"Faramir has suffered a great deal but I should never have written that letter!" Eowyn replied, "We must share the blame over what happened!"

"I swear when I set out from Edoras, I only meant to bring you home with me," Eomer said ruefully, "But during the journey I had time to imagine all manner of horrors that I believed your husband had inflicted upon you and that combined with the copious amounts of ale we consumed and the boasts of my men about what they would do if their sisters were harmed, set my blood a boil! I shudder now though to think what I did, for not only did I wound your husband and cause his arrest, but by acting in the way I did, I broke all my oaths of friendship to Aragorn, the man I admire above all others!"

"Faramir and Aragorn have forgiven you and so do I!" Eowyn replied, kissing his cheek " I have my brother back and Elestelle has her uncle. That is all that matters!"

Faramir felt much better by dinnertime and was able to stand beside Eowyn at the appointed hour to receive their guests. He was wearing a loose black robe embroidered with silver, while Eowyn wore a flowing gown of blue.

The King and Queen with their son, were the first to arrive and Eowyn was touched to notice that Aragorn too wore a lose robe, forsaking his usual attire of tunic and breeches in order to make Faramir more at ease. The purple velvet, embroidered with gold, made him look especially regal though and Arwen was unable to resist casting frequent adoring glances in his direction. She wore a simple red gown, which highlighted her exquisite Elven beauty to perfection.

Eomer was more simply attired in a green tunic and brown breeches, which suited his muscular masculinity far better than any formal robes could.

The babies were settled in adjacent cradles and as the soup was served the talk turned to whom they most closely resembled.

"Eldarion is just like his father!" Arwen pronounced as she daintily took a piece of bread.

"He cannot be! He is far too attractive!" Aragorn protested," He is like you, Vanimelda!"

"No, he is just like you, Estel!" Arwen said firmly, jabbing the bread into her bowl and crumbling it.

"Who do you think he is like, Faramir?" Aragorn asked, turning to his Steward for support.

Faramir groaned inwardly at being posed such a difficult question." I think he resembles you both!" he said tactfully.

Aragorn laughed; "You are always the diplomat!" he chuckled, " Now your Elestella is like both her grandmothers! I remember both of them, though I think she will have Rohirric colouring and a Numenorean bone structure!"

" I hope she does not have my nose!" Faramir said wryly, " But do you really remember my mother, Aragorn?"There was a note of longing in the Steward's voice.

"Indeed I do!" Aragorn replied," She was very beautiful and had a gentle nature, in which you take after her. I remember when your brother was born. He was a lovely baby though Elestelle is prettier as a little girl should be!"

Eomer, who had been concentrating on his soup, suddenly joined in the conversation. "Elestelle looks just like her mother as I remember when she was born!" he said, "There was no fairer babe in the whole of the Mark!"

Eowyn looked unsure whether to be pleased or not at this comment as she glanced between her brother and her husband.

"I warrant she has her father's eyes though!" he conceded, clapping Faramir heartily on the back and causing him to wince slightly and splutter slightly as he swallowed a mouthful of hot soup too quickly.

"You are not the only diplomat present, Faramir!" Aragorn teased, determined to enjoy himself tonight before the trial on the morrow.

Faramir and Eomer smiled at each other.

"Now I am almost healed I am looking forward to being reunited with my wife and then maybe soon we will have our own little one to introduce to you!"Eomer said, "Seeing these babies has made me yearn to be a father myself!"

Aragorn and Faramir could not help but both look rather smug.

TBC

A big thank you to everyone who found the correct chapter 54 for your very much appreciated reviews. My sincere apologies to anyone who has been looking for it, I was starting to think it must be my worst chapter ever as it attracted so few comments and then realised in trying to revise it, I somehow had posted the previous chapter twice!

The Drinker's Disease is Cirrhosis, unfortunately no figment of my imagination.

This is the last of the "extra" chapters.

I hope to have a new angst filled sequel ready very soon after this concludes

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