“Mama! Elladan broke my sword!”
“But Elrohir was using mine!”
“No I – “
Celebrian had to hide a smile. Although more than one hundred years had passed, her sons were still children, and subject to quarrels. She said, “Elrohir, why don’t you give Elladan back his sword, and Elladan, you must ask your father that another one be made for Elrohir.” Apparently satisfied, the two boys grinned at each other, the quarrel suddenly over, and Elrohir returned his brother’s sword. Now Celebrian let herself smile as they ran into the palace. She loved them both dearly, but they were very prone to caprice and sudden mood changes – rather like herself when she was that age, Celebrian realized amusedly.
She laid a hand on her belly, round with a full pregnancy. She felt the baby inside stir, but not kick. This one was very calm. With a wry grin, Celebrian remembered how Elladan and Elrohir had kicked – enough for ten babies, she had thought. But this one was peaceful and restful, unusual even in Elven babies.
Elrond came out to join her on the terrace. “So, the conqueror’s sword had been broken, eh?” he said, sitting in a chair next to her. “All the fuss they’re making over those toy swords, you’d think I’d ordered Narsil reforged for them.” He laughed, and Celebrian laughed too. It was true – both their sons had been ecstatic when Elrond gave them each a blunted short sword a month ago.
“If they keep breaking each other’s sword, you may well have to reforge Narsil to make new ones,” Celebrian returned, smiling. She reached for Elrond’s hand, then suddenly gasped as a now-familiar pain began.
“Celebrian! What – ” Elrond started to say.
Celebriano cut him off. “The baby’s coming,” she said shakily, trying to smile. Her last labor had really not been easy, and she was a bit frightened of what this one would be like. “Please get Mannaurwen.”
Amazing, Celebrian thought only two hours later, as she lay in bed with her baby at her breast, I made it through without fainting. Though this time it was pretty easy. She looked down at the baby, its tiny fists tangled in her hair. Her daughter.
The baby girl finished nursing and looked up at her with large blue eyes. Many babies’ eyes were blue at birth, but Celebrian knew instinctively that this baby’s eyes would stay blue. She stroked her daughter’s cheek with a light finger.
Out of nowhere, a name leaped to mind. Celebrian whispered it aloud, trying out the sound. “Arwen.” Somehow, it was perfect.
Arwen looked at her again, then giggled and lay back onto Celebrian’s chest. Celebrian smiled and patted her on the back.
Arwen hiccuped, then burped noisily. Celebrian groaned and reached for a cloth to wipe off the mess.
“You may be special,” Celebrian murmured to Arwen, still happily cuddling on her mother’s shoulder, “but you are still a baby. And a mischievous one at that!” she added, playfully scolding.
Then Celebrian smiled. “But I forgive you.”