The next morning Haldir addressed the troops as he had promised.
“You may wonder what it was we saw yesterday morning in the forest. I believe, along with some of my fellows, that it was a tree-herder, or otherwise known as an Ent. I assume they are not a myth, as some suppose, but real beings that have been forgotten about over the long years. There may also be more, if the great sounds we heard before the Ent came across our path. I think they were meeting or gathering for something, which may truly be a signal of the dark times ahead. I also do not deem they will harm us, or even come out of the forest, but we must not give the reason to. We are now out of the forest and in the final stages of our journey. We must get moving now, for the Plains of Rohan are vast and will take a long while to get across. Fall into position.
~ ~ ~
Gythien was worried about exposure. How could anyone miss an extremely large company of elves marching across the plain? No one else seemed worried, though, so she put it in the back of her mind. Late that night when she and Haldir were together she asked him about it.
“Do you not know?” he asked, with some astonishment. “The cloaks we wear shield us from the eyes of others, for they are of a material only the Lady Galadriel knows how to make and it is said that into it is woven some kind of magic.”
Gythien was amazed at the power of the Lady of the Wood. It seemed that nothing was impossible for the majestic elf-queen.
“Come and sleep closer to me.” Haldir said, and Gythien agreed. She moved her gear closer to Haldir’s tent and later fell asleep, felling safe and content, in Haldir’s protective embrace.
~ ~ ~
The eighth day of their journey had come. Everyone knew the next night they would not be setting up camp again, but preparing for battle. That thought shook Gythien a little, but the knowledge that at least she and Haldir were together and the fact that they could, and would, protect one another greatly eased her mind. All that day she tried to think of other things, and her mind settled on the baby. She was so excited about it. She knew it would be a girl, she had a gut feeling, plus there was the dream where Haldir said it was a girl. She couldn’t help but smile as she imagined the look on Haldir’s face when she told him about their child growing inside her. She knew he would make a great father and she could already imagine him playing with their daughter. Then she thought of something. Would she make a good mother? That thought had never crossed her mind till that moment, and a slightly worried expression crossed her face. She was an only child so she had never had a chance to be around small children. Could she do it? She realized she didn’t even know the first thing about caring for an infant. She felt a faint jolt in her stomach and she smiled as she realized she would do just fine, it was like her baby had told her that. Her face slid back into an easy smile at the thought of her child and all she would experience for the first time in the next few months.
~ ~ ~
Haldir knew she would be mad if she knew, but he had watched Gythien silently for the whole journey so far. It was amusing to him to watch her face change as her thoughts did. Today she seemed to go from really happy one moment, to great concern and worry the next, then she was back to happy and carefree again, in fact it seemed almost as if she was glowing with joy. He couldn’t imagine what could make her so happy. He had also seen, just moments before the worried look had been erased from her face, the slightest movement of her hand to her stomach. What was that about? He would have to ask her later. Haldir stopped for a moment and turned his face toward the rising sun. He felt gloriously free as he let the sun warm his gently smiling face. He loved the feeling of just being out of the sometimes stifling forest. He turned back to his company and smiled. Everything was perfect, just perfect.
~ ~ ~
By the time night had fallen Haldir had completely forgotten about asking Gythien about why she had almost touched her stomach. They lay peacefully together in the night. Haldir’s sleep was dreamless, until he shifted in his sleep and his hand came to rest on Gythien’s stomach. His blissful sleep was interrupted by a dream of Gythien. She was sitting on a ship with something in her arms. Haldir approached her and saw it was a baby. As he looked at the tiny being it looked deep into his eyes and he knew its name, as if it was meant to be. “We shall name her Unedë.” He said, and she looked up to him with tear filled eyes, her expression telling him everything.
He suddenly woke up. That was why she had been almost touching her stomach, she was pregnant! The joy and wonder at this thought had him beaming, but his face changed as he remembered where this journey was taking them, right into the heart of a war. She couldn’t fight, he wouldn’t allow her. How could he tell her? She was just as stubborn as him and he knew she would never give up. He also wanted to know why she didn’t ell him about the baby, obviously she knew about it. Thousands of questions were racing through his mind, but he didn’t want to wake her. He decided to let his questions rest till morning. He silently cuddled up next to her and fell asleep once again, but this time all his thoughts were on their baby and everything it held for their future.
~ ~ ~
Orophin was restless very early the next morning, so he went to Haldir’s tent to see if his brother was awake yet. He peered inside and gasped. He saw Haldir and another elf, who was unmistakably Gythien. What was she doing there? How did she get there? He noticed the soldier’s clothes on the ground and figured it out. She had come in disguise. He remembered the new elf Haldir had placed into the ranks at the last minute. That must have been Gythien. He saw Gythien stir and he silently stepped outside. He would confront Haldir about it after the battle.
~ ~ ~
Shortly after Orophin left Gythien woke up. She smiled at the sheer comfort and joy of waking up in the arms of the one she loved. She woke Haldir by kissing the tip of his nose. They just laid together for a few minutes, basking in the glow being with each other. Gythien knew she had to leave his tent soon, before the rest of the company woke up, but she wanted to just savor the few precious minutes they had together before starting that day’s march, the final march.
“I love you.” she whispered before getting up and dressing for the day. Haldir propped himself up on one arm and enjoyed watching her.
“I love you, too.” he said. He got up and also began getting dressed. Just before Gythien left to go back to where she had set up her stuff the night before he walked over to her and kissed her lightly on the ear.
“We need to talk later,” he whispered in her ear, “before the battle. It’s important.” Gythien wondered what he could possibly have to say, but she soon pushed those thoughts aside as she left his tent, ready for the final day.
~ ~ ~
The day dawned bright and clear. The fresh air had just a hint of winter’s clinging cold to it, just enough to turn the cheeks of the elves rosy. The whole company marched on, each thinking their own private thoughts. Everyone knew that night they would were going to war. They all knew their fates would be decided before the next dawn. This day seemed longer than the others, more drawn out. They were pushing the pace harder so they could have at least a moment of rest before the battle began. There was also more unease among the elves, just the lingering uncertainty about what the future held for them. Who would live and who would die? How many would they be up against? How many would there be fighting alongside them? What condition was the army of Rohan in? Did they even stand a chance? These questions were going through the minds of each and every elf in the company. The brightness and cleanliness of the day seemed like a mockery to the vicious battle that loomed before them. No one shared their feelings, though, they just silently marched on.
~ ~ ~
As night fell the company took a short rest. It was then that Haldir confronted Gythien.
“Come over here.” he whispered as he led Gythien away from the rest of the company. She was confused, but she followed him anyway.
“What is it?” Gythien asked Haldir.
“I know about your pregnancy and I was thinking…”
“What?!” interrupted Gythien. “How did you find out?”
“I had a dream,” Haldir said, “you were holding the most perfect little child I had ever seen and the baby looked at me and told me its name, not out loud, but through its mind, as if that was its destined name, then I turned to you and told you what it had told me. Its name was Unedë.”
At this Gythien gasped. His dream was exactly the same as hers had been! Her reaction to his dream startled him a little bit.
“I had the same dream, but I had mine the morning before we left on the journey. I didn’t want to tell you about the baby until we got back. I knew you would not let me come if you knew.”
~ ~ ~
At the same moment that Haldir and Gythien were talking Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli were standing on the walls of Helm’s Deep hoping and wishing that some form of help would come. They knew they would need it before the end.
~ ~ ~