Disclaimer: Wakabe Writing Firm doesn't own Lord of the Rings

A/N: TED has a lot of things to inspire a writer. Which means that Natsumi is having to be dragged away from it in order to actually do work. Hope you enjoy.-Onoro (Elf Secretary, Wakabe Writing Firm)

Gilraen stoked her growing belly, marveling at the feel of life inside of her body. Surely, such a miracle could not feel so wondrous, so fulfilling, like such a blessing in moments like this, when all was right in her world. Such a strong child, she thought to herself, as she felt the babe kick at her hand, pressing toward the hand of its mother. Who will you be? she wondered to herself, trying to conjure up images of the child that grew in her belly, waiting for the time that he or she would emerge into the world.

"What shall I call you, my love?" she asked her expansive stomach. "What blessings will you give to Arda? To me?"

She thought about it, trying to conjure up images of the little one that she had been gifted with.

"I suppose you'll be a boy," she said after a moment of consideration. "After all, your father's line is known for giving sons first before mothers can have their daughters. Which I find slightly unfair, making a mother wait for her daughter, but I am sure that you will prove to be more than I dared to dream of, no matter your sex. Hmm, but what else?"

A lapse of silence as she thought of what her child, likely a boy, could look like. She hums and smiles, pulling together traits from herself, her husband, and their parents.

"I think you'll have blue eyes, like your father and I," she starts. "Or maybe more of the eyes of your grandmother, that is, my mother. She had green eyes, but they constantly seem to change color. I remember loving to watch them as a child, because they told me so much about what she was feeling. When she was happy, they were a deep green. When she was feeling mischievous or playful - which was not often - they sparkled like emeralds. And those eyes were always laughing, always smiling. They smiled..."

Her voice trailed off as she thought of how those eyes that she so loved were gone. Her body started to curl up, wanting nothing more than to have those eyes upon her again. She felt those feelings of sorrow and guilt begin to claw out of their box that she had shoved them in, wanting to overwhelm her spirit like they had when she had first lost her. Gilraen inhales sharply, closes her eyes tightly against the sudden rise in tears as they threatened to try and drown her in past hurts that she still carried. Silence descended once more until Gilraen was sure that she could control herself and keep her mind focused upon lighter things, no matter who they were connected to.

"They were always smiling," she said softly, voice still thick with tears that were only now beginning to dry up and be taken back to the well of anguish and sorrow that Gilraen held deep inside herself. "But then again, she had much to smile about. She had a loving husband, many children, and before she... before she left, she was surrounded by grandchildren as well, from my brothers."

"I hope that you will grow up tall. Though not too tall, as I shall have to crane up much too high in order to kiss you. It is a good thing, to be tall. It makes it much easier to be able to survey the crowds that you will no doubt be in when you are older. And maybe you'll have my straight hair. Or maybe you'll inherit another part of your father, cursed with unruly hair." Here she laughed, remembering all the times that her husband had softly cursed as he fought against his hair, trying to force it into some semblance of control and order, usually failing as his wife watched on, amused by it. "Oh, I do so hope you do. I can imagine the sounds you will make as you do battle against those curl! Though mind you, if I hear the same words coming from your mouth like your father, I will not hesitate to take you to my knee!"

"And what of hair color? As much as I love my mother, I do hope you don't get red hair. Though it is a lovely color, I would rather not have to deal with trying to blend into a crowd. Mother always had a hard time doing so, because of how brilliant and eye-catching such a passionate color was, even in cities where she was not the only one. I wonder if you will come to be like me, blond and golden. Mother would hope so. She was always mourning the fact that my brothers were born with dark hair, and that I was the only one with fair hair. Did you know that what she used to call me, when I was younger? She used to call me her little star. She said it was because of my hair, that even in the darkness, she could spot me, because my hair was so bright - as bright as my spirit was, she would say. But I don't think you will inherit this of me. No, more likely, you will be like your father: dark in color, better to appear with dignity and wisdom when your greys come in. Just like your father. Though I do hope that you will find time to bathe more than he."

She laughed at that, remembering the first time that her husband had returned from his patrols in the wild. It had been a very long six months, and more than once Gilraen had found herself in that pit of despair and fear over what her beloved would be facing, and if he would return to her. It had been one of the hardest things she had done, waiting. It continued to be the hardest part of life as the wife of a Chieftain. It pulled at her heart, making her long for the simpler days that she had never truly known, nor would ever know with the increasingly aggressive forces of Mordor that pressed at them from all sides.

"Oh, little one," she whispered, her hands once more roaming over her stomach, smiling sadly and softly as she felt little feet kick and tiny hands press out against her womb. "You are coming into a world that is full of such darkness and pain. I shudder to think of what you will have to face, of what your challenge will be in this life."

She paused, thinking of what to say, of what to tell her child. Dare she explain in gruesome detail what terrors lay in wait in the night? Or should she hide it from him, keeping him safe from such evils, even when his future brothers in arms and his people returned from the darkening world, bearing scars and missing limbs, if not missing lives? But could she spoil such innocence so early? How was she to balance her need to keep him safe and her duty to prepare him for the hardships and brutalities of life that would be his far before they should be?

"I suppose," she began slowly, "that I should tell you of some of the things that await your arrive, my love. But I shall keep some of the things for when you are older, because there are some things that I do not want you to know until you must. And if I could, you would never need know of such wickedness that is in this world."

"The first truth you must know, my darling, is that there are things out there, in the woods, in the cities, in places farther than you could possibly know and closer than you think, that would do you harm. These that would harm you are not like the monsters under your bed. These are real, and they are the very definition monsters. They are not just monsters that lie in dark caves, awaiting some poor traveler seeking shelter. They are also in the cities of Man, hidden in plain sight, shaped into the likeness of man, but are not. And even among those that are immortal and as close to perfect as any of us can hope for have some among them that are flawed and turned from what is right."

"But you should not let this deter you. Even in this time, when there is so much darkness out there, when there is such a thick layer of evil and hatred and war without hope for peace, you should never forfeit all thoughts of peace and love and unity. Because even when you are in the darkest place you can think of, when you feel alone and unloved, forsaken and abandoned, it is not the end."

"And this is something that we all must go through," she confessed. "For life is full of pain, full of darkness. It will always be there, always close, even if you think yourself in a place that is too pure for such things. And this life, will hurt you. You will come away from it again and again with scrapped knees and broken bones, given heartache and heartbreak. They will gift you with war and hate, ask for blood and death, demand things from you that they have no right to ask."

"But if you can overcome all of this, with the strength of a heart big enough for all of Arda, then nothing that this life throws at you will ever truly be the end. Because there will be days when it seems like giving up is the only option. Some days when even your closest friends and most trusted allies will not be enough, when even they will give voice to doubts or cause harm because they do not know your heart well enough to keep from trampling on it from time to time. And these are just things that must be borne, with the stubbornness and courage that runs thick in your blood. These are things that must be dealt with before they fester, or else cut from you completely so that they can no longer cause you harm."

"Because all of this, these pains and sorrows and aches and hurts are just temporary, no matter how they seem to last for eternity. Because without pain, how would we know pleasure? Without sorrow, what is joy but a hollow word that has no meaning? No, you must have bad times in order to appreciate and recognize the good ones. For even in the darkest despair, I know that you will find that spark of happiness, will find not only the silver lining in the clouds of grey, but will see the sun coming through. And in you, I am sure, will be the same love and light that your grandfathers have, which made them determined to protect those they loved, and even those that they did not. In you, I am sure, will be a mighty warrior that will push back the darkness that has taken so many already. And in you, I know, will be a man that I will be proud to call my son. And no matter what, I know that though your life will be hard, that you will stumble and fall, that you will never stop getting back up and pressing on."

"But until you are ready, I will be here to protect you as much as I can. I will be your shield, if not your sword as well. I will be your safe place, when the world is too dark and you need light. I will be here, even if you are far away. No matter how far you are from me, you will always be close to my heart. And don't you ever forget that I will love you, my little one, even past the end of time itself."

"Because you are my son."

Hope you enjoyed, and feel free to tell me what you think!