Disclaimer: Grima belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien, creepy little bugger that he is. ;) This little vignette belongs to moi, and moi alone. No touchy, plagiarists! *glare*

A/N: Erm...this is a creepy lil' thing that I spawned from the deepest depths of my brain. It's about Grima being born...

The Birthing

by Thalia Weaver

It was not an easy birth. The slight, pale woman shuddered, each pain wracking her body as she convulsed on the straw bed. Her cries burst forth, shattering the stillness of the night.

There was no moon. The woman's dark hair, plastered with sweat, spread over the midwife's lap as she cradled the mother's head, coaxing her to push through the fiercest of the pains. The woman bucked and thrashed, screaming.

"Mercy! Mercy! Give me mercy!"

There was no mercy the midwife could give. That darkest hour rang with shrieks of agony. The pains had begun while the sun had still been high; now the stars shone pale and cold far above, and beneath the roof of the hovel, the child had not yet come.

The midwife watched with wide eyes as the frail woman pushed with all her strength.

It is killing her…the babe is killing her…

This would not be the first mother that had died in childbirth, nor the first painful labor. The midwife shivered in the darkness of the night, seeing death in the pale skin of the woman before her as she fought to breathe between the pains.

"Mercy!" the woman cried again, as her flesh tore. "Mercy!"

She pushed against the pain that rushed to meet her, engulfing her in a raw blackness that throbbed to the time of her own screams.

A dark-haired head emerged, covered in the blood of the still-thrashing woman. The midwife swiftly came around the woman and opened her arms to catch the baby as he slowly emerged, until finally he hung kicking and wailing from her hands. She looked to the mother, trying to smile. The woman's dark eyes were impossibly wide against her white face.

"You have a fine son," the midwife said.

The woman could not raise her head. She had given to the boy what life she had, and lay, exhausted, drained of all will- even to see the boy that had sapped all her strength.

"Name him--" she gasped out, choking, and closed her eyes. The last word came out as a hiss, slithering out from between her lips. "Grima..."

There was nothing more. Her eyes were closed now, and no breath came forth from the white-lipped mouth.

Alone in the house of the dead woman on this night…the midwife, still clutching the child, suddenly felt that there would be no dawn.

There was no moon. The baby, dark-haired as his mother had once been, looked into her eyes and seemed to smile.