Burden of Guilt

Arwen and Eowyn

These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and New Line Cinema with the exception of Caranthir who appears by kind permission of Evendim. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain

Eowyn unfastened the Queen's heavy gown and let it slide to the floor. A maid had already brought hot water and towels with which she helped Arwen bathe, noticing as she did so how much larger her belly had grown.

"I think the baby will come fairly soon." Eowyn commented.

"I wish I knew how long I have to wait. "Arwen groaned, "It could be as soon as next month or not until the Mid Winter festival when your own child is due!"

"I hope not as I cannot be in two places at once!" Eowyn joked, though secretly she felt anxious, as she did not think the Queen could safely grow much larger.

"I just do not know what happens when the mother is an elf and the father human. "Arwen mused, shifting uncomfortably as the babe inside her kicked. Impulsively, she grasped Eowyn's hand and guided it to where the child was kicking.

"This babe is strong!" Eowyn smiled.

"You are sure everything is going as it should?" Arwen fretted.

Eowyn used the opportunity to carry out a brief examination, as Arwen had become increasingly shy as her body swelled, though in her friend's opinion she was a vision of fecund beauty, the curves of her swelling body framed by her mane of shining raven hair and the silvery stretch marks on the ivory skin appearing more of an adornment than a disfigurement. .

"The babe's head is in the correct position and it moves strongly." Eowyn assured her. "Also you should have plenty of milk for it, though I assume, you will have a wet nurse?"

"Indeed, I will not!" Arwen replied. "Who but myself would have the right milk for my child?"

Eowyn agreed she had a valid point and applauded her decision as she intended to feed her own babe too, as such was the custom of Rohan.

"I think this babe is getting eager to be born!" Eowyn smiled as she helped the Queen get on to the bed, no easy task given her considerable bulk.

"I am eager too!" Arwen replied, rubbing her aching back. "Aragorn is impatient as well to see his child, he tells me he does not mind whether it be a boy or girl, as in the past the women of Numenor have worn the crown. He wants the eldest to succeed him regardless of gender."

"Faramir says he doesn't mind either what our child is." Eowyn replied. "We are fortunate in our husbands."

"Oh, my back!" Arwen groaned as she tried to make herself comfortable.

"Shall I massage it for you?" Eowyn asked tentatively, for although both the King and Queen had taught her the Elven massage techniques, she was far from skilful in them. "Or would you rather I fetch Aragorn?"

"I would be pleased if you would do it. It works best when a friend does it as it is meant to be relaxing rather than exciting!" Arwen replied, turning awkwardly on to her side. " Let Aragorn and Faramir enjoy themselves together for it makes me happy that they are now such good friends. Aragorn was like a bear with a sore head before, he was so lacking in companionship as men need each others' company and friendship as much as we women do."

"Faramir is much happier too now." Eowyn commented, as she tried to use her fingertips as she had been taught, hoping she was easing the Queen's discomfort rather than adding to it. "It pleases me how at ease he is now with Aragorn instead of jumping at the sound of his voice and flinching away from his touch."

" It used to hurt Aragorn that Faramir was so afraid of him as he always wanted to befriend him. Now they are inseparable and I could not imagine it ever being otherwise for which I am glad" Arwen commented, stretching herself as the pain in her back eased," That is much more comfortable." Arwen said at last. "Thank you. I will gladly do the same for you, once my child is born."

Eowyn sighed with relief. "I feared I lack the correct technique. And thank you, I would like that."

"If it is done lovingly, it always works!" Arwen said with a smile. "That is what true Elven magic is!"

"I often wondered!" Eowyn replied as she helped Arwen don her nightgown, plumped up the Queen's pillows and arranged the covers in place.

"You return to the men folk now." Arwen said once she was settled." I am comfortable now and will sleep soon.

Eowyn bent to kiss her friend on the cheek and turned to leave. Arwen surprised her by suddenly starting to laugh.

"I was just thinking of what our husbands must have looked like skulking through the city this afternoon!" she tittered." How I wish I'd been there!"

"So do I!" Eowyn replied, hastily leaving before she too was overcome with mirth as she had some serious questions to ask.

Faramir and Aragorn were seated side by side on the couch when she returned, sipping goblets of wine in companionable silence, while Aragorn with his free hand eased the knots from his Steward's neck caused by the stressful events of the day.

"I could do that for you!" Eowyn said in mock indignation though it actually pleased her that Faramir was now so at ease with the King.

"I know but this is the expert!" Faramir replied, "In any case you would only tease me about my ordeal this afternoon!"

"I had an ordeal too, my cook burned the stew intended or lunch!" Eowyn retorted.

"I will massage your neck next then." Aragorn grinned at her.

"Thank you but a strong woman like myself is already quite recovered!" Eowyn replied, secretly wishing her pride did not demand she turn down the offer as Aragorn had a truly magical touch.

Aragorn finished his ministrations to Faramir and then picked up a letter from the table.

"I thought you would be interested to know that I have decided to have Duilin of Morthond's Hunting Lodge converted to a refuge for war orphans." the King told them. "I thought that would be the best use for it, and we can always visit if we wish, for although our time there was not very pleasant, it did serve to bring us together!

"That is an excellent plan!" Faramir enthused," There must be many more children like Elbeth."

Aragorn's features darkened. "That is something else, I must tell you, the Housekeeper writes that Elbeth has vanished from her sister's home and that she heard Hanna had escaped from the asylum. I wish we had brought the child back with us!"

"So do I." Faramir said sadly, "It just seemed better at the time to leave her in a familiar environment"

"I doubt Hanna would harm her daughter." Aragorn said reassuringly. "I would just rather that she were safe with us as she was such a beautiful child.

Eowyn cleared her throat; "Talking of children, there is something important I need to ask you."

"What is it? Is Arwen well?" Aragorn asked apprehensively.

Eowyn came straight to the point." Aragorn, how much do you know about Elven pregnancy and childbirth?" She asked bluntly, causing Faramir to blush at her outspokenness and nervously twist the Elven wedding band he wore round his finger.

"Very little, I fear about any sort of pregnancy." He answered her as one healer to another." Arwen was the last Elf born in Rivendell, long before I was born and as a ranger and a soldier, I was rarely amongst women. In any case, childbirth is a matter for midwives .The healing arts I was trained in are for wounds and other maladies, not the natural lot of women. Why do you ask?"

"I am concerned for Arwen." Eowyn said bluntly. Seeing the look of alarm cross Aragorn's handsome features, she added quickly. "She is well, but growing so large, I do not think it can be more than six weeks at most before the babe is born, yet she tells me it might not be due for another four months yet. Then neither Ioreth nor myself have any idea what an Elven delivery is like. I have asked Arwen, but she has no experience of childbirth amongst her own kind either."

"I have heard a child of a mixed union such as ours could be born after nine months if it favours the father, or twelve if it favours the mother, or somewhere in between. I have no idea if an Elven delivery is different than a human one." Aragorn replied.

"That is very helpful!" Eowyn said sarcastically." Could we send a message to Rivendell?" she added.

"It is a long journey." They might not get there in time before Elrond and most of his household sail for Valinor." the King replied." If only I had thought to ask Lord Elrond before we parted, or even Lady Galadriel!"

"A difficult topic to discuss with your father in law." Faramir remarked sympathetically.

Aragorn frowned and rubbed his hand worriedly across his brow as he sat lost in thought.

A/N Many thanks for all your kind reviews, which are much, appreciated.

Childbirth does come into this story, but only as a part of it.

Although this is a story about Aragorn and Faramir, I intend Arwen and Eowyn to play quite a large part too as I know I have some of their fans amongst my readers.

I know I am not good at writing Legolas and make no claims to the contrary!

Giant Hogweed has vast leaves about the size each of a child's umbrella!

The regulations surrounding childbirth are based partially on scripture, partially medical advice and are also taken from actual history.

The following abridged extract is taken from David Starkey's book, "Elizabeth, The struggle for the Throne "

'Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, was born on Sunday, 7 September 1533.

Royal births, like other royal events, great and small, from marriages and deaths to dressing and dining, were the object of an elaborate ceremonial.

. By the third week of August all was ready, and on the 26th there took place the ceremony of the Queen's 'taking her chamber'. First, she went in procession to the Chapel Royal. The company then returned to the Queen's great chamber Her lord chamberlain now called on everyone present to pray that 'God would give her the good hour', that is, a safe delivery. Another procession formed and accompanied the Queen to the door of her bedchamber. At the threshold, the males of the court took their leave of her and only her women entered.

Her confinement had now begun. the etiquette of the English court confined a pregnant queen indeed in a sort of purdah. Thenceforward, until the birth and her 'churching' thirty days after, she dwelt in an exclusively female world, attended solely by women.

These ceremonies were ambivalent. They emphasized that childbirth was a purely female mystery. And they paid the tribute of the dominant male world to that mystery. But they did so on strict conditions: the queen, literally, had to deliver. '

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.