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4
The Gift of Dawn

The characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate.

The Gift of Dawn

With grateful thanks to Raksha.


~~~

“Wake up, ion nîn!” Aragorn called, gently shaking the sleeping child.

“Ada? Why are you waking me?” Eldarion sat up. “It is still dark.”

“I want to show you something. Dress quickly, there is no need to wash or comb your hair.”

Eldarion beamed. The washing of his ears, face and hands by his insistent nanny was a morning chore he would gladly avoid. Eldarion scrambled out of bed and pulled on the clothes his father held out to him. Aragorn helped him fasten the laces in the dim light of a single candle.

The King took his son by the hand and led him through the halls of wood and stone, where the royal family were spending a few pleasant days with the Prince and Princess of Ithilien. They passed a few guards, and a bleary-eyed maidservant beginning chores in the kitchens; but most of the great house was still and silent.

“Where are we going, ada?” asked Eldarion.

“To the stables, for Iavas has given birth to her foal,” his father told him, leading the little boy outside to the spacious and comfortable building where the horses were kept.

Lamps illuminated the end stall. Faramir and Éowyn stood in the shadows, keeping a watch over Faramir’s chestnut mare.

Iavas stood over a small foal whose coat was still damp from birth. The delivery had been difficult, keeping Éowyn and Faramir from their beds for most of the night. Aragorn had kept watch with the Prince and Princess, using his healing hands to calm the mare. Like her mother, the foal was chestnut with a white blaze. The infant had already tried twice to rise on her slender, wobbly legs; but had not yet managed to stand.

Still holding Eldarion’s hand, Aragorn petted the foal’s head, “ Come now, you can do it!” the King coaxed the newborn, then stood back.

The foal whickered, then began to rise, the long legs trembling with the effort until she stood up on them. She did not fall! Eldarion watched in wonder as the little animal tottered to her mother’s side. Iavas nuzzled her baby affectionately.

“She is beautiful!” Eldarion exclaimed. ”What is her name?”

“You may choose, for she is to be your horse once you are both old enough,” said Faramir. “We thought it was worth waking you early to see her stand for the first time.”

Eldarion’s face lit up. He rushed to hug the Steward. “Thank you, Uncle Faramir, I think I will call her Amaurea, since ada woke me so early to greet her. How clever she is to be able to walk so soon! My sister couldn’t walk till she was a year old!”

“Horses grow up quickly, like kittens and puppies,” Aragorn explained.

“I wish I could grow up so quickly!” Eldarion lamented. “Then I would be tall and strong like you, ada, and a Ranger, and I wouldn’t need any more lessons!”

Faramir chuckled.

"You would have to take many lessons to become a Ranger," his father told Eldarion solemnly. "You would have little time to play."

Eldarion frowned, considering the information.

"I will take you back inside now,” said Aragorn. "Iavas should have some peace and quiet while she gives Amaurea her breakfast.”

The boy cast a final thrilled glance at his new treasure, who was now greedily suckling her mother's milk.

Eldarion felt like he was walking on air as he accompanied his father back to the house. The sun rose in the Eastern horizon, promising a glorious day.

~~~

A/N

This is an extended version of a story written for the prompt “Early” on the AA Discussion list.

I hope to post more of these short stories soon.

"Amaurea" means “Early Day” in Quenya. Iavas is Faramir’s chestnut mare, a wedding gift from Éomer.She was introduced in “Shadow and Thought".


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