Part 115 of the Elfwine Chronicles. The Elfwine Chronicles are a series of one-shots built around the family group of Eomer, Lothiriel and Elfwine. The total number will depend on how many ideas I get for new vignettes.

A/N: Another story idea courtesy of Tracey.

Survival

(July, 30 IV)

Theodwyn entered her mother's sitting room and plopped gracelessly down in a chair, looking decidedly uncomfortable.

Glancing up from her knitting, a glimmer of a smile flitted over Lothiriel's face, but she kept her expression neutral as she inquired, "Good afternoon, dearest. How are you faring?"

"It encumbers my balance!" her daughter retorted, causing a blink of confusion.

"To what are you referring, dearest?"

"This!" Theodwyn groused with annoyance, smoothing a hand over her distended belly. "Being with child interferes with my sparring!"

Lothiriel barely choked back a laugh and observed, "I must say, this is the first time I have ever heard that particular complaint from a woman who was with child!"

Theodwyn did not appear terribly impressed by this revelation, being too wrapped up in her misery. With a sigh, Lothiriel laid aside her work and focused on her daughter. "Dearest, this will pass. As for what you are unable to do for the duration, perhaps you are not making sufficient effort."

Theodwyn looked up, startled by the remark, but before she could question it, Lothiriel raised a hand to stay her tongue. "You are a shieldmaiden, are you not? In battle, one cannot always choose their circumstances. If your balance is different than it was, then you need to relearn how to spar with this changed condition. You cannot always expect everything to be perfect."

Theodwyn's eyebrows quirked, and she was clearly surprised by her mother's astute observation, especially given that Lothiriel had never been in battle in her life.

From the door, a voice seconded the opinion. "Your mother is right, beloved. Just as many learned to use a sword with their other hand after Elfwine's mishap, you must learn to be adaptable to whatever situation you face – in battle or otherwise."

Lothiriel smiled at her husband as he moved into the room to join them, pressing a kiss to each one's head before lounging on the couch beside his wife.

Heaving a beleaguered sigh, Theodwyn nodded. "Yes, I suppose so." Shoving herself up from the chair, she smiled ruefully at her parents, then excused herself to head home.

Once she was gone, Eomer let his head flop onto the back of the couch and chuckle. "Do you think she will ever learn to cope when things do not go as she wishes?"

Catching his hand, Lothiriel laid her head against his shoulder, and smiled. "Eventually, though I do not envy Freawine the waiting for it to come! Fortunately, he is a most patient man!"

xx

Theodwyn's return home was greeted with the rasping sound of Freawine sanding wood. He had been working on some decorative carvings to add to the mantelpiece, and was thoroughly engrossed in his work. He did not look up from what he was doing as Theodwyn bent to kiss his cheek.

She wandered the kitchen for a moment, idly glancing around and then announced, "I believe I will lie down for a bit, my love."

"Mmmmm," he murmured, only half listening, and missing the irritation in his wife's eyes at his lackluster response.

Though she did move to their bedchamber and settle on the bed, her 'rest' was short-lived and she was soon up, fretfully pacing the room, picking things up and then laying them right back down. At length, she wandered to the other room again and ventured, "Freawine?"

"Yes, dearest?" he asked, as he continued sanding.

"Dariel said she had some of Cirion's things that we could have for the baby. Would you run up to Meduseld and fetch them?"

"Of course, my love," he acknowledged. "Just let me finish what I am working on."

Theodwyn sighed and moved toward the back garden, though she knew full well there was nothing particular that needed doing there. Still, she wandered among the rows of vegetables, picking off a dead leaf here and there. Eventually, she strode back to the house, and confronted Freawine again. "Are you going up to Meduseld?"

"Yes, my love. I am almost finished here," Freawine patiently responded, not registering his wife's great annoyance.

For several moments she stood and glared daggers at him without his noticing, and then turned on her heel. Charging back to the bedroom, she slammed the door shut before she sat down and wrestled on her boots. An instant later, she snatched the door open again, letting it crash against the wall as she exited. Stiff-legged, she made for the front door, but by now Freawine could hardly miss the drama playing out in his home.

He looked up in alarm as she reached for the door latch. "Theodwyn? Where are you going, dearest?"

"If you will not go get those things, then I will!" she shouted.

In alarm he hurriedly rose, catching her halfway down the front path. "Dearest, I will go! I just wanted to finish that one thing! Please, come inside!"

He caught her by the waist but she struggled to break free. "It is not such a difficult thing I ask!" she insisted angrily.

With some effort, Freawine used his greater size and strength to literally engulf his wife in his embrace. Holding her tightly despite her attempts to escape, he said resolutely, "I will go now, my love. I did not realize you were in such urgent need of these things that it could not wait a few moments. Please, dearest, calm yourself. I am sorry to have upset you so."

Inexplicably, Theodwyn burst into tears at his words and collapsed into his clasp. Steering her back inside, he got her settled on the bed and fetched a cool cloth for her forehead. "Are you feeling better, my love?" he asked as the weeping subsided.

Sheepishly she nodded, not meeting his eyes. "I...I do not know what is the matter with me, behaving so," she told him.

With a grin, he reached out a hand and laid it on her belly. "I would say this is what is the matter with you, beloved! I am told such mood changes are not uncommon. Do not be alarmed." He gently stroked her head with his other hand and smiled tenderly at her.

"But I have treated you so abominably!" she mournfully admitted.

"I will survive, my love. Now try to rest a bit while I go fetch those things."

Rising, Freawine made his way into the other room and headed for the front door. Once there, he paused and looked back, then sighed wearily as he shook his head. At least he hoped he would survive!

THE END

1/4/07

End note: It is best that you read the Elfwine Chronicles in the order they were written. The more of them that I wrote, the more likely I was to make reference to one of the previous ones and something that happened there. If you want to read them in order, go to the top of this page and click on my name (Deandra). That will take you to my profile page. Scroll down and you will find all the stories I have written. The Elfwine Chronicles are in order from bottom to top since ffn shows them in the order they were posted. A few were posted out of number order, but you can read them in posting order or number order since those few won't be affected in the story content.