Not In This World
10. Sing To Me A Lullaby
In two month's time, Roselinde learned all she could about her new home from Celeborn. They lived in Aman, otherwise known as Valinor, or the 'Blessed Realm'. It was the home to all elven-kind, most of who had returned from a larger land called Middle-earth. In Aman, the elves dwelt in cities such as Valmar, and in each city there was a meetinghouse where the Valar came to deal with problems that the High King could not. That was a rare occurrence, from what Roselinde was told. Finarfin was a good and fair King, who ruled his people wisely. It felt strange to be a subject of a monarchy instead of a citizen of a democracy, but so far she'd managed quite well.
Her lessons also included stories of the Valar, which she found were similar to myths and legends in her world. They were like the gods and goddesses in the Greek myths she had to read in school, and when Celeborn named each Vala, she wasn't surprised to find out that Este, Manwe, and Varda were among them.
Celeborn's house was settled along the outskirts of Valmar, and on a good day, it took a good half hour to walk to the heart of the city. Roselinde loved to go there, even if she wasn't going for any particular reason, and had already found her favorite shops, most of which were found off the main path of the market square. There was a clothier, a produce vendor, a florist, and a knickknack shop that also carried children's toys that she frequented. This is where she met the few friends she had in this world.
Vaniel reminded her so much of Eden that they became best friends. It was Vaniel who found out that Roselinde was Celeborn's lady. Roselinde learned more than she wanted to about Galadriel, Celeborn's ex-wife. It seemed Vaniel knew the story as if she witnessed everything first hand. Roselinde wasn't quite sure how to react to the knowledge, but Vaniel put her at ease.
"Valmar is a large city, but the community in which we live is fairly close knit. We know each other as if we were family. Most of us are from Lorien, where Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel ruled," she told Roselinde. "Most of us knew about the Lady's indiscretions, but anyone who confronted her about it was ordered to keep silent. In Lorien, their word was law. No one defied them. Most especially not her."
"But she doesn't rule here," Roselinde argued. "Why didn't anyone tell Celeborn when he came over?"
"Partially because we did not have the heart to tell him, and we knew he would not believe us. His love for Galadriel was great, and one that was believed to last for all time. Then, when we saw the two of them reunited, we believed that all was well and she would not continue her adultery."
"And you found out that wasn't the case?"
"So why didn't anyone tell him then?"
Vaniel couldn't explain it well enough to satisfy Roselinde. In her mind, Galadriel had done Celeborn wrong, and was not worthy of defense. No one saw fit to tell him what he should have known, and so he was forced to find out the hard way. More and more, she wanted to at least see this Galadriel. It was remarked upon once, that she was a renowned beauty, with hair of gold mixed with silver, and eyes so blue, they rivaled the sky. The lady was also very powerful, being one of the three elven Ring-bearers. Whether the ring she still wore gave her the power or not, it didn't seem to matter here. Everyone knew who she was, and in some cases, many people were afraid of her. Roselinde made a mental note to see if she would be able to catch sight of Galadriel the next time she was at market. The lady still lived in Valmar, though on the other side of the city. Chances were it would happen sooner or later.
After walking Vaniel home from the market, she walked back to her home to find Celeborn alone in the living room. His hair was unbound, falling in perfect silver-blonde waves to end at his shoulder blades. Roselinde shivered at the sight of him lounging in his robes. His eyes were closed, and his head was propped up on his hand, and the slow smile that appeared on his face let her know that he wasn't asleep. Closing the door behind her, she walked over to him and began combing her fingers through his hair. As she worked, his head lifted off his hand and he held still as she loosely braided his hair. Then, he reached back and caught her hands in his, bringing them to his lips to kiss each palm.
"What did you find in town today?" he asked her, pulling her around to the front of his chair. He grabbed her waist and pulled her down to sit in his lap. Roselinde giggled as she settled down within his embrace.
"The clothier has a few new styles of tunics and gowns for the offering," she began, "and the produce stand is selling the last of the summer fruits and vegetables to make room for the fall harvest. The florist has already brought out her autumn and winter plants, and I saw some charming new toys in the window of the knickknack shop."
"Did you not buy anything?"
"No, I was just looking today. Oh! I did buy lunch for Vaniel and me."
"How does she fare this lovely afternoon?"
"She's doing well. She thinks she's closer to catching Sabron, but hasn't yet discovered how to win his heart completely."
"Poor Vaniel," he whispered, nuzzling his way to her neck and bestowing feathery light kisses from just below her earlobe to the part where her neck met her shoulders. "I am convinced Sabron will not give up his solitary ways." Roselinde shuddered with pleasure and mumbled her agreement, letting him continue kissing her. They spent a long time sitting in the chair, just enjoying their closeness and the fact that they were alone with nothing else planned for the night.
Well, almost nothing.
A week later, Roselinde was sure something was wrong with her, but couldn't figure out what it was. Nausea plagued her constantly, and she couldn't hold down much of anything except bread and ice water. Sometimes the room spun around and she had to hold on to the nearest piece of furniture for dear life. That was in the mornings. After she had visited the bathroom to pay homage to the porcelain gods. Luckily, she was able to hide it from Celeborn, but she wasn't sure she could for much longer. The fact that she served him a large meal for dinner and only ate a piece of bread and water might just tip him off, she thought with a short laugh.
Thinking that a nap might do her some good, she went to the bedroom and laid down on the bed. It was warm enough outside still that she didn't bother with a blanket. That was another thing. Roselinde was tired almost all of the time, though she knew she was getting plenty of sleep. Well, when she and Celeborn weren't making love, of course. She felt a smile curve her lips as she started slipping into slumber. But just before sleep took hold, her bladder had other ideas. Cursing darkly, she got up off the bed and hurried into the bathroom to take care of business.
Before leaving the bathroom, she caught sight of the small plastic bag that held her feminine products, and it slowly dawned on her that she hadn't had her monthly cycle at all since coming here. Just to make sure, she emptied the contents of the bag and counted what she had left, which was the same amount she had when she packed it. Could she really be…?
Catching sight of her reflection in the mirror, she could've laughed at her shocked expression: wide eyes, jaw dropped and mouth hanging open. Sleep forgotten, Roselinde went from the bathroom to sit on the bed, her hand automatically going to her belly.
Was she really pregnant, or was it stress that kept her period away?
Didn't a woman know when she conceived? She remembered some of the stories told to her, in her world and this one, that it wasn't unusual for a woman to know she was going to have a baby. And here, both the man and woman knew they were going to be parents. Vaniel told her that much.
Standing up again, Roselinde waited for the room to quit trying to send her to the floor and then strode purposefully out of the room. Her desire to talk to Vaniel was strong, though she wished Eden were here. She loved Vaniel as much as a sister, but she desperately wanted Eden here. Opening the front door, she was greeted by a steady downpour. Great. Super. At least she knew what kept Celeborn at the meeting he had gone to this morning. Why didn't she notice it raining before now? Sighing, she fetched her cloak from behind the door, put it on, and pulled the hood up over her head before stepping outside. Closing the door behind her, she walked fast, almost a jog, along the narrow road that would get her to Vaniel's house.
"That would explain a few things," Vaniel said cryptically after Roselinde told her what was happening to her and her suspicions of pregnancy. Vaniel's smile was mysterious as she handed her a cup of tea.
"What do you mean? What things?"
"You have been looking at baby toys and clothes quite often lately, and you always look wistful when a group of younglings run by in the square."
"I've always done that," Roselinde rebutted. "I love children. I always have."
"That may be so," Vaniel replied and shrugged. "But there is something else I have noticed."
"There has been an aura about you that was not there when I met you. Your actions have also softened a bit. Roselinde, I think you are pregnant. This is wonderful news!"
Roselinde sipped her tea, mulling over what her friend told her. She had to admit that Vaniel had a point. Several points, in fact. Her interest in anything having to do with babies and children had increased in the last couple weeks. When little children ran by them in the square, laughing and playing, she knew she was smiling as she watched them. She had no idea about the aura her friend mentioned, but it all started to make sense to her. The morning sickness, the dizziness and fatigue; all of it made perfect sense. Looking at Vaniel, she saw her friend smiling widely, and she couldn't help but return it. Never in a million years did Roselinde ever think she'd become a mother. Of course, she never thought she would find a love like the one she found with Celeborn.
Celeborn! He was going to be a father again, and he didn't know it yet. Her surprise must have registered on her face because Vaniel laughed and gently took the shaking teacup from her hands.
"The rain has stopped, my friend," Vaniel said, pointing out the window. Indeed, it had, and the sun was shining through the remaining grey clouds. Roselinde sat up in her chair and readied herself to stand. Vaniel quickly came to her side to help steady her. "Would you like me to walk you home?"
"Yes, I would. Thank you," Roselinde answered gratefully. Then she thought of something. "Would you mind delivering a message for me? I want to be sure I'm really pregnant, and maybe Lady Este can help."
"Oh! And would you mind, terribly, if I asked you to keep this quiet? I don't want Celeborn finding out before I've had a chance to tell him."
"Do not worry, Roselinde. Your secret is safe with me."
Vaniel walked back with her and they talked about anything and everything concerning children. Roselinde was still a little shocked at the news, but was really beginning to look forward to being a mother. She felt a little sad that her own parents and Eden wouldn't be here to share the joy, and there was no way to tell them about it, either. But knowing Vaniel and Celeborn as she did, there would be plenty of people to help see her through this new aspect of her life.
Celeborn slipped inside the house quietly, hoping to surprise Roselinde with her favorite flowers. He visited the florist on the way home from his meeting with the city's mayor and council members. It had been sheer tedium, and he endured it, but had to stay longer than he wanted to when the rains came. Now, with the fresh cut lilacs in his hand, he went quietly from room to room, searching for his Roselinde. When he reached the bedroom, he found his beloved sleeping. She slept on her back, a soft smile gracing her face, and her hand resting lightly on her belly. Celeborn entered the room without a sound, and placed the lilacs on the bedstand. Then, he reached down to trace the outline of her face, and brush back a lock of her beautiful red hair. Bending down, he kissed her delicate lips tenderly. When he rose to look at her, she was gazing up at him.
"Good afternoon," he whispered, kissing her again only a little more passionately this time.
"I'm so glad you're home!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms around him. Celeborn tried not to show surprise, but Roselinde giggled at the sight of his face. "I missed you."
"I tried to get home as quickly as I could, but the rain kept me at the council house for longer than I would have liked." He picked up the flowers and presented them to her. "For you, beloved."
"Oh Celeborn! They're beautiful."
"Not as beautiful as you are, my love."
Roselinde put the lilacs down again, and then pulled Celeborn down to join her on the bed. They settled together and lay still, content to just hold each other. During her light sleep, she wondered when a good time to break the news to Celeborn would be. Maybe when he came home, but that didn't feel quite right. During dinner, perhaps? A possibility, surely. Of course, now might be a good time too, she thought happily. With her mind made up, Roselinde pushed away just enough to look at him, opened her mouth to speak….
And nature once again demanded her attention. Hurriedly, she rolled off the bed and dashed into the bathroom, nearly slamming the door behind her.
"What is this all about?" Celeborn said to himself as he pushed himself up to his elbow and waited for her return. Then, he heard her heaving and his curiosity turned to concern. Getting off the bed himself, he went into the bathroom, and was at her side, holding her hair back as she threw up again.
"Whatever is the matter, dearest?" he asked, gently rubbing her back when she was finished. When Roselinde tried to get up off her knees, he insisted she sit instead as he took care of the clean up. "Did you eat something that does not agree with you?"
He handed her a damp cloth to use on her face, and then gave her a glass of water. Sitting down beside her, he caressed her face and smoothed his hand down her arm to take hold of her hand.
"If it is not something you ate, then why are you sick?"
Roselinde somehow mustered a smile. "I was hoping to tell you at the perfect time, but I guess now will have to do," she said. At his confused and worried look, she reached up to lay a hand on his cheek. "I'm fairly certain that pregnant women all go through morning sickness in the first month or two."
"But it is not morning…" he began, but when what she said sunk in, his eyes nearly fell out of his head. "Say that again, beloved," he urged her.
"Did you not hear me the first time?" she inquired playfully, batting her eyes and acting innocently. "I said, I'm fairly certain that pregnant woman all…" that was as far as she could get as Celeborn pulled her against him in a fierce embrace. Laughter filled the air, and he let her go again to run both hands through her hair and then cup her face.
"Are you certain?"
"As certain as I can be without any sort of test. Vaniel delivered a message for me so that we could see Lady Este as soon as possible." He nodded and then embraced her again. "Can I ask you something?" She laid her hand on his chest, over his heart.
"Vaniel told me that when a man and a woman want to be parents here, they would know for sure that they were going to have a baby. Did you know?"
"I did not have the slightest clue until you told me," he assured her. For some strange reason, that comforted Roselinde to know that Celeborn was as unaware of becoming a parent as she was. It might not have been the perfect time to tell him, but now that she had, she wouldn't have changed it for the world.
Later that evening, they shared a meal of salad and warm bread with butter, and talked about making room for the baby. Roselinde declined her usual glass of wine for a glass of juice instead. Miraculously, she managed to keep it all down, too, for which she was incredibly grateful. They were just finishing their food, when a knock sounded at the door. Neither one of them were expecting anyone this evening.
"Wonder who that could be?" Roselinde murmured as she rose to go answer the door. "Who is it?" she called through the door.
"Messenger, madam. I have a letter to the lady Roselinde from Lady Este."
Quickly, Roselinde opened the door and took the proffered, folded piece of parchment from him. She turned to see Celeborn rising from his chair, grinning as he picked up a small pouch, retrieving a few silver coins. Hurrying to him, she traded the parchment for the coins, and then went back to the messenger and paid him. Bowing, the man left and Roselinde closed the door behind him.
"My dear child," Celeborn read aloud, meeting her halfway in the living room. "I am sorry this message is delayed, but I hope it gets to you in time. I will be pleased to meet you and Celeborn at the meetinghouse, tonight, if it would not be too much trouble for you. I cannot tell you in words just how happy I am for you both! I will be arriving at the meetinghouse at half-past nine. I cannot wait to see you!"
"She sounds quite happy," Roselinde quipped, taking the parchment from him and reading it herself. "I'm surprised she didn't come here herself."
"If she is as excited as she seems, then I have no doubt she might just do that." Celeborn took the parchment from her and tossed it onto the nearest chair, taking Roselinde in his arms.
"Do you think we'll have a boy or a girl?"
"Does it matter? As long as our child is healthy, I do not care what we have."
"Well, I'm hoping for a little boy."
"I adored my friend's children, and they all had little boys. I guess I thought that when I was to become a mother, I would have a little boy, too." She looked up at him and smiled. "I love you."
"And I you."
At exactly half-past nine, they walked in the doors of the meetinghouse where Este greeted them warmly. She took them to a familiar room, then shooed Celeborn out so that she could examine Roselinde in private.
"How long have you been ill?" the Lady asked.
"For about a week."
"What else have you experienced?" Roselinde told her about the dizzy spells and the frequent visits to the bathroom. Este listened to everything, nodding and smiling at each new symptom. She even started laughing when Roselinde told her about what her friend Vaniel noticed. "I noticed the aura, too, little one. I am surprised that Celeborn did not."
"I don't think he was expecting us to have a child so soon."
"Do you mean you were planning it?"
"Actually, no. This is a complete surprise."
"As well it should be." Este took Roselinde's hands in hers and held them over her belly. "Breathe deeply, my child, and try to clear your mind," the Lady commanded gently.
Roselinde closed her eyes and did as she was told. She felt a curious warmth flow through her body, centering under their joined hands. Where her baby would be growing. Opening her eyes again, she saw a faint blue light glowing around their hands. It lasted for a long while, and then the light faded away. Este let go and placed one of her hands on Roselinde's abdomen.
"Congratulations, little one. You will indeed be a mother soon!" The Vala went to the door and let an anxious Celeborn back in the room. "Greetings to the father-to-be, my Lord Celeborn."
Roselinde would never forget the look on his face as he looked at her. Quite frankly, she wouldn't forget any of this, and couldn't wait for the day when she would tell the story to her child. She reached out to him and he came to her side, gathering her up in his arms. There were tears of joy being shed and neither of them noticed when Este left them alone. All that mattered was that they were going to become a family.
"She is with child," Este cried, hugging both Varda and Manwe.
"It was bound to happen," Manwe agreed and the women laughed with him. Then he sobered up fairly quickly. "I do not mean to be a killjoy, but there will be one person that will not be thrilled to hear about this."
"Galadriel," Varda murmured. Manwe nodded, but kept silent. "We already know that Celeborn will tell his friends, and Celebrian will no doubt tell her mother."
"Oh no," Este whispered. "We cannot allow anything to happen."
"We do not know what Galadriel will do, Este. It could be that she takes it in stride and does nothing at all," Varda suggested hopefully.
"Have you ever known Galadriel to do nothing at all?" Manwe asked cynically.
"What can we do?" Este asked, nearly pleading.
"Until anything happens, we cannot do anything at all. We can at least keep an eye on things."
Este and Varda agreed and bowed and all three of them left the meetinghouse long after Celeborn and Roselinde. And even with the knowledge that Galadriel could cause trouble for the pair, the joy that they would soon be parents would not be diminished.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.