A cool summer breeze blew through the open bedroom window of an elven estate, carrying on it the warm sweet scent of the flowers from the gardens below. A baby's cry broke the pristine silence and the woman asleep on the bed stirred, rousing herself to tend to her crying child.

"No," a male voice said gently, touching her shoulder. He lifted himself from his place beside her, "I'll take care of him."

The woman nodded sleepily and settled back down into the bed. The elven man gently touched his small wife's cheek one last time before rising and crossing over to the nursery just off their bedroom and to his crying son.

"Now what's wrong, little one?" he asked as he lifted the crying child from its crib. The baby's cries quieted as he looked into the eyes of his father. The man quickly checked the child's needs, making sure he was clean and dry, and then touching the baby's lips to a bottle, only to have the child turn his small round face away. "Not thirsty?" the man murmured to his son, "Perhaps some air then will help then."

Gently wrapping the thin cotton blanket around his son and settling him next to his chest, he walked towards the bedroom door that lead to the garden. As he entered the bedroom his wife stirred, "Xan?" she murmured her voice thick with sleep.

"Go back to sleep Estel'amin, I have him."

"Where are you going?"

"Just out to the gardens, it's alright, go back to sleep."

"Be sure he's –"

"Sleep," he said gently touching his free hand to her lips. "I'll take care of him."

She nodded and curled back into the bed. "Thank you Xan," she said, her words slurred to where he believed she might actually go back to sleep. How she needed it.

Slipping on a pair of sandals, he quietly made his way to the moonlit garden. He enfolded the baby with both arms now, shielding him from the faintest hint of a breeze in the cool summer night as he walked through the cobbled paths in the large estate gardens. He held his son so he could see the moon and stars through the twisting branches of an ancient oak. The boy squirmed and began to fuss, and Xan feared he would begin his cries anew. "Lovely, aren't they?" he whispered, his eyes still on the stars.

The baby quieted down at the sound of his father's voice. "So you want me to talk do you?" Xan said, turning his gaze to the small child in his arms. The child cooed quietly.

"So what do you want me to speak of, e'sum?" He walked over to a stone bench near a small pool and sat with his back to the moon, its light and stars reflecting back at him in his child's eyes. "So young…" Xan said, his voice heavy with memories.

He grew quiet again, his thoughts drawing him to the past. The boy began to fuss again. Xan chuckled softly, and began rocking the child. "Need a story do you? Well, I could tell you one but it's not a happy story, and it's not over yet either."

The child stared up at him with the large blue-green eyes of his mother, the universe reflecting in their depths. "Very well child, very well. It begins in a warm summer almost thirty years ago…"

Elven words Used:

Estel'amin – My Hope, in Kulyok's absolutely AMAZING mod, Estel'amin in the name Xan gifts to the protagonist. I don't remember if in the non-bonded path he calls her this but I like it so I'm using it.
E'sum – son