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4, Fourth Age, Ithilien, late spring
Čowyn stood at the balcony connected to their bedchamber here in Ithilien looking out over the countryside that was ridding itself of the taint of Mordor. It had taken awhile but now the result of love and hard work were showing. She looked down and could see that her lord and husband was just returning from Minas Tirith having met with the King. She watched as Faramir gave over the reins of his horse to a waiting attendant and would be home soon. As both Steward of Gondor and Prince of Ithilien it was a full life for Faramir, but a good one. And it was about to get better. Not only did they have their work here in Ithilien; it was a land becoming more beautiful every day, but she had news. On his birthday. As she waited for him to join her in their bedchamber she mused on their life here in Ithilien.
Many settlers from Minas Tirith had taken up the King’s call to come and resettle this land and make it lush and productive and happy again. Many were young people trying to find their way; many young couples just starting out in life together, or some older, trying to leave their sorrow in the White City, perhaps a loved one lost in the Ring War. Or an injury taken and they now looking for a new way to live and perhaps even thrive in a new land. Hope at what could be achieved overflowed. The King had returned and brought that hope with him
She thought of Aragorn and what he meant to her life, to her. Not just as King, but as healer. Healer of Middle Earth, the hope restored. But personally, how he touched her life. He found her in Edoras drowning in a sea of hopelessness and regret. He pulled her back spiritually from the Shadows and provided the lifeline needed for her to find her heart. And she did. She found Faramir, he was her heart, her life. And she was his. In the last days of the Ring War, they had met in the Houses of Healing, both saved from Shadow by the healing hands of the King. Faramir reached out with his loving, gentle heart and guided her ever so slowly through her own doubts about herself and her life. Before him, she was lost; awash in doubt and despair and then, like light breaking across the sky at dawn she could see through the doubts that were weighing on her soul and finally accept him.
After the Ring War was won and proper mourning in the way of her people was performed for her beloved uncle Theoden, who had lost his life in the battle of good and evil, on the Fields of Pelennor, Čowyn returned to Faramir and at last they were able to begin their lives together. The work of restoring Ithilien was hard but worthy and she felt alive with purpose. She paused for a moment in her musings, and thought she wanted nothing left to chance, so she pulled the attendant cord. Within minutes an attendant arrived.
“My Lady,” Waerith stated with bowed head, “what is your need?” she looked up.
Čowyn smiled, “Waerith, I see that my lord has just returned. Can you please bid him to come our chambers directly, if you please.”
“At once, my lady!” Hand on heart she bowed and was off on her errand.
The smile on Čowyn’s face grew wider in anticipation as she walked back to the balcony and waited, letting the afternoon sun warm her face. She hummed to herself a tune that her nurse used to hum when she and Čomer were growing up in Edoras.
As she was humming she felt arms circle her waist, “So beautiful, and so many talents you have, My Lady!”
“Sh-sh! My husband has just come home and can come in any second….”
“Silly man to leave such a jewel as you alone!” And Faramir began kissing her neck from behind.
Čowyn almost purred, “Continue along that vein and we may never get to the news I have to tell you. Although it is the cause of the news I have to tell you….”
Faramir stopped and she could hear the deep intake of breath as she could almost feel him thinking about what it was she had to say.
Čowyn turned around in his arms and saw incredulous joy and doubt chase each other across Faramir’s brow.
“Čowyn….what are you trying to tell me?” Faramir asked, daring not to hope.
Čowyn’s smile grew wide, “Yes, I am with child.”
The doubt left Faramir’s face replaced with nothing but joy. She watched as his gentle blue eyes started to tear up and he picked her up and swung her around and then soulfully kiss her as tears spilled down his cheeks.
As they hugged, Čowyn whispered, “Happy Birthday.”
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