Format: short story
Genre: h/c, friendship
Characters: OFCS, Éowyn.
Pairings: Éowyn/Faramir, OMC/OFC
Creator’s Notes (optional) Adiva is a recurring character in several of my stories. Elbeth is another of my recurring OCS and entirely my own invention. I have no idea if Windfola was one of the Mearas or not.
Summary: Éowyn comforts an ailing Adiva.
Éowyn made her way to the stables. She was looking forward to an early morning ride with her friend, Lady Adiva, the wife of the Ambassador from Harad. Adiva was a fine horsewoman and had introduced Éowyn to the steeds of her homeland and gifted some to her friend to use as breeding stock. No horses could compare with those of the Riddermark, but the horses of Harad were exceptionally swift and strong with a good natured temperament.
To Éowyn's surprise, there was no sign of Adiva outside the stables where they had arranged to meet. She decided to wait for a few minutes and busied herself saddling Windfola, her grey stallion. She looked up and saw Falah , Adiva's maid come hurrying towards her.
“My esteemed Mistress is unwell, honoured Lady Éowyn and begs you to go riding without her. She sends her most humble and contrite apologies.”
“I should go and see how she is.” Éowyn made to remove Windfola's saddle.
“No, esteemed Lady Éowyn, nothing serious ails my honoured Mistress. She desires you enjoy your ride.”
“Tell her I will see her when I return from my ride then, Falah.”
Éowyn swung into the saddle and rode away. Sad though she was not to have Adiva's company, she was soon enjoying her ride. She and Windfola seemed to become as one as they galloped along together. The stallion was one of the Mearas, a race of horses brought from the West by Lord Bema so it was said. They were exceptionally long lived and wise and could understand human speech. They usually only permitted the sons of the House of Eorl to ride them, but Éowyn as a daughter of the house had been accepted by the proud Windfola. She loved the horse almost as one of her children as he seemed to sense her every thought and feeling and listened intently to whatever she told him. Good listener, though Faramir was, Windfola was even better!
Éowyn rode through the fields and was well content that her growing herd of horses from every corner of Middle-earth was thriving and the crops were growing well. It would be a good harvest this year. She returned from her ride in a good mood and after assuring herself her children were safe with the Nanny as were Adiva's brood and feeding Elboron, she went in search of her friend.
She found the lady still in her nightgown, curled on her bed and grimacing in pain. Falah hovered nearby. Before Éowyn could stop her, Adiva got to her feet, “Greetings, esteemed friend,” she said. “My sincere apologies that I missed our ride and you find me thus.”
“Please,my friend, lie down again and tell me what is wrong,” Éowyn said, her eyes wide with concern.
Adiva got back into bed and smiled wanly. “'Tis of no import, esteemed friend, merely the moon cycles that cause me to cramp. I hope Tahir will soon give me another child.”
Éowyn felt her brow to ensure she had no fever. “I feel for you, my friend. It is a most unpleasant affliction we women must bear until we are old and grey. I will mix you a potion of Lady's Mantle. That should ease you.”
“I thank you, esteemed friend.”
Éowyn went to the cupboard where she kept her considerable supply of herbs and prepared a tea for her friend. Adiva was sitting up in bed when she returned looking wistful.
“What are you thinking?” Éowyn asked as she handed her the cup. “Now drink this, it will make you feel better.”
“I was remembering my cat I had in Harad, Aafia. She was a wise creature and always at my side when I felt unwell and the warmth from her fur would soothe my pain. The false Lord of Gifts hated cats as they are subject to no one. He did not utterly ban them though or the mice would have destroyed his armies food supplies. I managed to keep Aafia safe under the pretext she was only to catch mice.”
“What happened to her?” asked Éowyn
“The journey to Gondor was too far to take a cat. I left her with one of Tahir's brother's wives whom I knew would care for her.”
“She must have been a very special cat.”
“She was and especially so as cats are sacred to our people.”
“I did not know that.”
Adiva sipped her tea and sat up straighter. “I will tell you the story if you wish to hear it, esteemed friend.
“I would.” Éowyn settled herself on the bedroom chair.
“Long ago, esteemed friend, Nabaha, the Lord of Cats was out hunting at night. He was hungry, but caught nothing as he could not see well enough despite the light from the Lord and Lady of the Moon. Full of sorrow, he yowled piteously. The Lady of the Moon, she who is most gracious, heard his lament and asked him what ailed him.
“I cannot see to catch mice, Gracious Lady,” said Nabaha. “My many wives and kittens will go hungry this night if I do not bring food to them.”
The gracious Lady of the Moon took pity upon him and said, “My Lord and I will give some of our own light to you and your children. Your eyes will glow with our light and you will all see so well that even your wives and older kittens will easily be able to hunt mice at night.”
Then behold, a great light shone in Nabaha's eyes and has shone in the eyes of every cat to this day.”
“A wondrous tale indeed,” said Éowyn. “Cats do indeed look as if they carry moonlight in their eyes.”
“I miss having a special cat,” said Adiva sadly. “We have mousers,of course, but I have never found another cat like Aafia.”
“I will leave you to rest now. I must go to my children for a while,” said Éowyn. She had a thoughtful expression on her face.
Éowyn left the chamber but instead of going to the nursery she made her way to Elbeth's room. Boromir's daughter was thirteen now and old enough to have her own chamber. Éowyn was delighted that the girl was a good horsewoman, but much as Elbeth loved horses, she loved cats even more and was familiar with every cat in the house and stables. She had need of Elbeth's extensive knowledge.
Later that day, Éowyn and Elbeth made their way to Aviva's chamber clutching a large basket.
They found Adiva was now up and dressed, though still looking rather uncomfortable. “The medicine has helped me, esteemed friend,” said Adiva. “I was just coming to join you.”
“Elbeth and I have brought you a gift,” said Éowyn.”Sit down on the bed while you open it.” Elbeth handed the basket to the Ambassador's wife.
Adiva opened the basket and a kitten scrambled out. It was jet black apart from white whiskers and glowing amber eyes. It clambered on to her lap where it promptly fell asleep.
“This is one of Midnight's kittens,” said Elbeth. “She always has sweet natured and clever kittens with loud purrs who love sitting on laps.”
“Keep the basket to take her back to Minas Tirith in,” said Éowyn. “I hope she will prove as good a companion to you as Aafia was.”
Adiva's eyes shone with joy and unshed tears. “You have given me the greatest of treasures, esteemed friends,” she said. “This little one will be my companion and comfort. I shall call her “Moonlight” in my tongue.”