Eldarion found himself walking towards Katrina’s room. When he reached it he heard soft breathing and muttered words. Frowning he lightly tapped on the door. No response came, so he pushed the door open.
Katrina was on her side, turned toward the window. Slowly, she rolled over and lay on her back. He could see the steady rise and fall of her breast as she slept. Her short hair made a golden hallow for her head. The night shift she was wearing had golden threading and she looked lovely in her chamber.
What was he thinking? Had he not just heard these words?
Walking into the room he could hear what she was saying, though difficult to understand it was…
“Mommy, no, don’t leave. Not now… Daddy… Please stay with me… It hurts so bad… It hurts!” Suddenly her arms flew up and slammed into the bed. She shook her head fiercely. “Please! Don’t leave, Jake, don’t leave!”
Eldarion sat beside her bed on a stool he drew up. Taking her hand in his, he could feel the sweat on it as it clung to his.
“Eldarion!” Her eyes flew open, and then she sat up. “Oh, it hurts!” She fell back.
“What hurts, Katrina? What hurts?” He stroked her forehead with his hand.
“My back! God! Please! Take the pain away!” She thrashed away from him and nearly fell out of bed. “LORD! Make it stop! Make it stop!”
“What stop, Ëarannawen?” Eldarion caught her by the arms and held her fast.
“MY PAIN!!” She cried at him, though she was unaware. “MY LORD, MAKE THE PAIN GO AWAY!”
“I’ll be back!” He rose and ran through the door. Out into the corridor, he charged down the hall towards his parents’ chambers. He had to wake them, they would know what to do.
Leaving all sense of decorum in the dust, he called into the wooden door, “Father! Mother! Come quickly! It’s Ëarannawen, she’s in great pain!” Eldarion stood pounding on his parents’ door. His mother was the first to come, her hair askew and and a robe thrown about her shoulders. Then Aragorn came, a red tunic draped over his chest and he wore brown trousers.
“How do you know this?” Aragorn asked as they made their way down the long hall to the maiden’s room.
“I heard murmurs from within, so I knocked, but no reply came. So I went in, all appeared at peace, at first. Then she started crying out to her `mommy’ and `daddy’ and some person named Jake. I tried to calm her, but she kept saying to make it stop. She said my name and opened her eyes, but I do not think she was awake, for she fell back onto her bed. Then she called upon the Lord, begging Him to make it stop.”
“Did she ever say what was hurting?” Arwen asked as they came to the door, and they could hear cries from within.
“Yes, her back…” Eldarion pushed the door open.
Katrina was sitting upright in her bed, her eyes were blank and saw through them. Tears fell from them, landing on the coverlet. “Please! Stop it!” She hollered. Then, her eyes saw them. “Eldarion?” Like a rag doll, she fell back, hitting her head on the back board of the bed. Her cries silenced for only a moment, then they started up again. “Lord, give me strength! My God, my God, why have You ignored my cries for mercy!” The maiden rolled onto her side and pulled her knees to her chest.
Aragorn came to her side, and lifted her out of the bed. She did not resist, she only cried again, “Lord, take the pain away, take it away…”
Arwen left, her feet carrying her swiftly. Eldarion did not know to where she was headed, but then he did not know where he was going either. For he, too, ran down the hall, though in the opposite direction.
Aragorn, take care of My daughter. She is in your hands now. The same soft voice of the One known as Savior told Aragorn. Ease her pain, by Me you have the healing hands of a king.
“Yes, Messiah, as You wish it, I will do it…” Aragorn did not know where he had heard that name, but he knew it was placed on his tongue by God.
“Lord, give me strength. You are my Refuge, my Fortress, of none shall I be afraid. Take me under Your wing, O Lord of Zion. In You I place my trust. I need You like the water, like breath, like rain. I need You like the mercies from heaven came. Take me to Your sanctuary, O Lord of all creation. Take me there, where You are…” Katrina muttered as she inhaled deeply.
“Hold on, dear Ëaranna. Hold on.” Aragorn bore her to his room. “Not much further, child…”
“I need athelas.” Arwen told the old woman at the Houses of Healing. “Now!” She did not mean to be so rough, but she needed it immediately.
“Lady, I’m afraid that we have none left.” The old woman hobbled closer to her. “I’m sorry.”
“No, I need athelas! Send someone to fetch some in a hurry. It is important!” The Queen thrust her hands down on the desk. “If you will not, then you will help me find some.”
“Ma’am. I’m afraid all of the girls have gone home for the night.” The woman raised her shaking hand. A sparkle lit her dark brown eyes. “But I will help you find some. Tell me, is it time? This early? I would have thought you had another six months.”
“No! Have you told anyone of that?” Arwen helped the elderly woman out of the Houses of Healing.
“Certainly not! The Lady asked me not to speak of it, so speak of it I have not!” The woman’s name was Marian, and she was one of Arwen’s maids. A scowl crossed her face, as if the Queen had accused her of high treason.
She was a good confident and friend. She had been the first to know of all of Arwen’s pregnancies, though this one was still kept from Aragorn. He did not need to know, not right now. Little Elanna was only one, and he was still adjusting to having her in their room with them. No, the news of a fourth child would only make him worry. “Good, thank you dear.”
“You’re welcome, Lady. Now, let’s find some athelas, shall we?” They had come to the herb garden, where athelas was one of the weeds they did not pull.
When they had gathered what Arwen thought to be a sufficient amount, and enough for Marian to take to the Healing Houses, they departed. The old woman to the Houses. The Queen to her bed chamber.
Eldarion came to Legolas’ room, and drew the sleepy Elf down the hall to his parents’ chamber.
“What’s this all about?” The Elf asked. He rubbed his arm were the young man had accidentally pinched it while arousing the Elf.
“Katrina, she’s in pain. We may need your assistance.”
That brought Legolas right out of his dreams. The girl was like that of a daughter to him, now that he knew she was to be trusted. She was different than most mortals, though it was not the clothing she came in, nor her voice, it was something else, deep within her.
The two came to Aragorn’s room, they saw Arwen running towards them, and waited. She shoved the door open and ran to her bathroom, where they could hear buckets of water being dumped into the tub. Aragorn’s voice was loud, “Hurry!”
Arwen went in first, she crushed the athelas and dropped it into the water. Immediately it began to emit sweet fragrances that soothed everyone’s nerves.
Aragorn was lifting Katrina into the water when she cried out. “Stop!” She leapt from his arms, fully awake now. Slowly she stepped into the water, and eased herself in. She shivered as the water covered her back. “Oh, this wonderful plant! This wonderful gift from God! Ow!” She pushed her shoulders back as far as they would go. “Ow!”
“Is the water, too, hot?” Legolas asked from the doorway. He had been observing, amazed.
“No. The water’s fine. It’s my back…” She relaxed and sunk into the water. Her arms draped over the edge of the tub, her eyes closed. And then a convulsion of pain made her contort her face. She sucked her breath in sharply, trying to avoid from crying out. Then, as soon as the pain had come, it vanished, and did not come back.
Katrina pulled herself out of the water. Eldarion held a large towel for her, and wrapped it about her shoulders. The night shift she was wearing dripped water onto the floor, leaving a puddle where she stood.
“I guess I’m a little wet!” She laughed. In her heart she wished they would all forget it, just forget it all! Just as she wanted to… But never would her head let her forget the pain, the hurt, the anguish, no, never…
“Katrina, do you all ways talk in your sleep?” Aragorn asked.
“Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no.” She smiled at him. “Don’t worry, friends, all is well that ends well. I’ll be fine, I just had a little spasm.”
“It wasn’t little!” Eldarion exclaimed, surprised by her term.
“Okay, a big spasm, bigger than ever! But I’m fine now…” She shrunk into the towel. Her gaze came to Arwen. “Can we talk later, Lady?”
“Yes, later. Tomorrow I will talk to you. Now, you must rest. Eldarion, please take the lady to her room.” Arwen picked up a bucket and ran it through the tub, collecting water. Aragorn and Legolas began doing the same.
“Thank you!” Katrina called as Eldarion led her out of the Royal Chambers. Leading her down the hallway he said nothing. They remained silent, until they came to her room.
“Good night, again, Ëarannawen.” He stooped and hugged her after kissing her brow.
“Hope you sleep well.” She tugged the towel around her. “Man! It’s cold in here!”
“Lady, might I remind you that you are sobbing wet,” he cleared his throat.
“Oh, right… I knew that, I just forgot.” Katrina looked down at the pool of water at her feet and the trail behind her. “Oops.”
“Don’t fret, I will clean it up. Then, I will come check on you.” Eldarion smiled at her scowl.
“I’m fine, really. No worries, okay?” She opened her door. “By the way. If you do show emotion, it’s not a bad thing.” Smiling slyly, she took a step into her room. Peeking out from around the door frame, she winked. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Good night.” When her door closed, he said, “Meleth nîn.“
Nightmarish dreams haunted her sleep. Images of the one she loved pulling away from her, into the arms of the new comer. Soft songs rose in lovely melodies, challenging her to lift her own voice. The song that came from her own throat was broken and hideous. Cool blue eye’s mocked her, laughing at her mistakes. Terribly distraught, she took steps backward. Stumbling, she fell, tears falling down her ashen face.
Startled from her dream, Lothmîr sat up suddenly. Sweat beaded on her forehead and tears fell down her cheeks. Rising from her bed, she tugged a robe about her slender shoulders. Her hands pulled a brush threw her hair, smoothing the ruffled dark curls.
Lothmîr drew from her room and entered into the house of the king. She found Eldarion scrubbing the floor. So appalled was she, that she snatched up his arm, yanking him upward.
“What are you doing?!” She cried as she drew her open robe shut. For one instant, a white night shift had been revealed, the collar made of delicate lace, and the bodice interwoven with silver. “Down on the ground, doing what a servant should do!”
“Lothmîr, that’s enough. I do this, for I don’t mind getting my hands dirty. Go to bed.” He glared at her as he knelt back down on the floor. Grasping his towel, he wiped up some more of the water.
“Excuse me!” She placed a hand on her hip. “I do not believe I heard you correctly!”
“No, you’re right. I miss spoke. Go to your bed, before I have to send the house guards after you!” He rose and crossed his arms across his chest. “You do not belong in here. Not in your betrothed’s house, not at night. Get out!”
“Eldarion…” Lothmîr whimpered. “I- I could not sleep…” She shrank away from him. “That, that girl she haunted my dreams. I could hear her singing, see her dancing. Then, an ear-piercing scream! That wretch! She taunts me!”
Katrina had pushed her door open hearing all of the noise, just in time to hear the awful things she said… A cry escaped her parted lips.
Eldarion turned his head, only to see her slam her door shut. “Now see what you have done! Get out of here! Get out!” He moved to the door.
“You care for her more than me! My father will hear of this!” Lothmîr turned to run, but strong hands caught her from behind.
“Lady, I must ask you to remain still.” A deep, angry voice commanded.
Meleth nîn ~ My love
I wonder who that is… Oh, well. Guess you’ll just have to wait a bit. Don’t worry the next chapter should be coming soon. Oh, and Katrina’s pain is important, so remember it.