Dol Amroth: August 2975
It was the day that all widows feared and hated. Ivriniel dressed solemnly for the funeral of her late husband. She wore a black gown with a silver circlet holding her black veil in place. Despite the week that had passed since Losdir's sudden death, Ivriniel still could not accept it. Her dreams at night were filled with images of Losdir walking into her chambers as if nothing had happened, as if he had never left on that patrol. Her family were thought to have the sight – why did nobody forebode this. It was not fair. It was not fair.
Finduilas stayed by her side through the whole funeral procession. Losdir was to be buried among the members of the princedom family. The procession was led through the streets of Dol Amroth; the people standing on the sideline, draped in black garments. Ivriniel could not bear to look at them. She could not look at anyone; she kept her eyes to the ground. They arrived outside of the city - a few hundred yards away - where the cemetery lay, facing westward. The whole area was surrounding by tall, green trees, protecting the tombs from the eyes of the enemy. It was so peaceful, being inside the cemetery, where a large statue of the first Prince of Dol Amroth stood in the centre, above his tomb.
Losdir was to be buried in the northern section of the cemetery, near the resting place of her late grandmother. Ivriniel wept as they lowered his body into the white tomb. She held her sister's hand, weeping silently. Her shoulders were shaking as Imrahil gently wrapped a comforting arm around her, kissing her hair. This is not what was supposed to happen, she kept telling herself. He was supposed to live; we were going to grow old together. Prayers were said in honour of the body, and items were placed next to Losdir into the tomb before it was sealed shut, never to open again. Ladies of the court threw flowers atop of it, and Angelimir stepped up and spoke of how Losdir had brought his beloved granddaughter many month of happiness. Ivriniel wept harder, not wanting to hear any of it. She just wanted to be left alone.
"He has left her a gift, a reminder of him," Angelimir continued. "A child unborn, residing within my granddaughter. May this child bring peace to her as its father had done."
The child. Ivriniel had almost forgotten she was with-child. Did she still want the child? She did not know. It would be a constant reminder of Losdir, and was that something she wanted?
After the funeral was over, a gathering of the court was held in the great hall. Ivriniel sat with her mother, not eating anything and refusing to drink. Her eyes were swollen from crying, and were heavy with tiredness. She felt like a wreck; there was no life force keeping her going. She wanted to leave the hall and return to her apartments where she would be left alone.
"Mother," she said quietly. "I have made a decision." Lady Anneth turned to her daughter, a questioning look strewn across her face. "As the Valar are my witness, I vow I will wear black for the rest of my life."
"Ivriniel," her mother said quickly, grabbing her hand, "renounce it."
Ivriniel frowned, shaking her head. "Never. I will never wear any other colour. I shall mourn for the rest of my life."
"No, my dear," Lady Anneth said hastily. "This phase shall pass; you will see. It hurts at first, to lose one you so dearly love. But the pain will pass."
Ivriniel shook her head again. "No, Mother. I will never recover; I know it."
"Nobody is asking you to remarry," her mother said, wishing that Ivriniel would soon be past her mourning stage. "And nobody is asking you to forget Losdir."
Ivriniel winced at the sound of his name. "Please, do not... I cannot bear to hear his name aloud."
In the days that were to follow, Ivriniel received many letters of condolences from other noble families. At first, she was touched by their sympathy and the time they consumed to write to her. But as the letters continued to come, she grew tired, no longer wanting their pity. She kept to her vow, and with Nan's reluctant assistance, Ivriniel threw all her colourful gowns into the fireplace. Some, she decided to spare and give to Finduilas, along with all her beautiful jewels. She decided to keep all of Losdir's belonging, keeping them safe in a large coffer in her wardrobe. She then sat in front of the fireplace watching her clothes in the fireplace darken, burning in the fiery red flames; the smoke became black and wavered beyond the fireplace, causing Ivriniel to cough. She stood up and walked over to the table. She opened a leather, blank book in front of her and started to write. She would write down all her memories of the wonderful marriage she had endured.
She sat there for several moments, wondering where she could begin. She dipped the quill into the ink.
I found love that was not meant to last in this bitter world of mortality; yet one that shall flourish everlastingly when we meet again over the horizon, where will shall live an endless life in peace.
An endless life in peace. How dearly she wanted it. Ivriniel wanted nothing more than peace and quiet, for the enemy to leave her homeland alone, to vanish into the dark abyss where they deserved to be. They took that love from her in the cruellest of manners. Her lower abdomen twitched in pain once more; she winced, clutching her stomach. She laid her head on the table beside her journal, weeping once more. It hurt everywhere - her heart, her head, her stomach, and her back. Her entire body ached, longing to feel Losdir again, yet heartbroken knowing that his touch was never to be felt.
Later that evening she slept, but the pain she began to experience in her stomach was incorporated in her dream. She dreamt that the enemy had shot her instead, piercing her stomach; she fell to the ground, clutching her body to try to stop the bleeding. But it would not be. Her life was slipping away; everything was becoming hazy. Losdir was there, touching her face, his eyes filled with concern. He was speaking, but she could not catch his words. The pain was so great; she let out a cry, her head throbbing.
She sat up in her bed; her entire body was sweating, her clothes sticking to her as if wanting to be saved from drowning. She was panting, her heart thumping so loudly; it was all she could hear. She wiped the sweat from her face, feeling her cheeks burning. She wondered if she had a fever; her whole body was wet from her sweats; she shifted her legs apart and felt more wetness between them. She grimaced, wishing the window to be open to let in the cool breeze. As she pushed the blankets away from her body, she gasped, screaming in fright. There was blood on the sheets, a lot of blood. Her chemise waist down was covered in it, and now being soaked into the linen on the mattress.
Nan hurried into the room. "What is it, my lady?"
Ivriniel could not speak, she whimpered, fearing the worst. Nan walked over to the bed's side and saw the blood. She gasped in horror. "The baby," she whispered, covering her mouth. "I will fetch the physician."
"No, no, no!" Ivriniel shouted, not wanting to believe it was true. Not the baby, not the last gift she had received from Losdir. She grabbed a handful of the sheets and placed them between her legs, thinking foolishly that it would stop the bleeding, thus saving the child's life. Her stomach went into a fit of cramps, making her huff and puff, her eyes shut tightly from the pain.
The physician entered a while later, carrying his bag of utensils. Ivriniel looked up at him in horror. "It's gone, isn't?"
He hesitated, looking at Nan for some sort of support. "Perhaps your chambermaid should draw you a bath. The hot water will soothe the cramping."
After Ivriniel nodded, Nan left for the washroom. Ivriniel shut her eyes again, letting tears fall down her cheeks. "It's over. It's gone." The physician – Ioristion – placed his bag on the end of the bed; he opened it, taking out a small vassal containing a liquid.
He handed it to her. "Please, you must drink this. It will rehydrate your body as you have lost a lot of fluids."
Ivriniel glared at the vassal of liquid before grabbing it, tossing it onto the pillow next to her. "I will drink it later."
"But, my lady..."
"I don't want to hear it!" she shouted, choking on her own voice. "Is it gone? Tell me!"
Ioristion frowned, concerned for the princess's physical and mental wellbeing. "Let me see." He gestured towards where the crumpled sheets were stuffed between her legs. She pulled the sheets away from her legs, revealing clotted blood. She winced at the sight, feeling nauseous. Ioristion sat on the edge of the bed, observing the mess before him, a frown on his face. "Are you in any pain?"
Ivriniel nodded. "My stomach continues to cramp in the most vial way; it makes my head feel dizzy."
He nodded. "Do you feel any need to push it out?"
She shook her head. "No; should I?" Hope rekindled in her eyes.
Ioristion sighed. "Just as I had thought; you are too early in the stages of pregnancy. From all the stress, anxiety, and physical strain you have put yourself in, I am not surprised."
Ivriniel glared at him. "Are you saying this is my fault? How dare you! Get out! Get out!" she screamed, pointing at the door. "Leave!"
Ioristion jumped at her harsh words; he nodded, stood up, bowed, and left with his bag. Nan hurried back into the bedchamber after hearing the commotion. "My lady, what happened?"
"I've lost the baby," she said, breathing heavily. Coming to her senses for a short moment, she asked, "Is the bath ready?"
"Almost," Nan replied. "Do you need me to do anything in the mean time?"
"Would you fetch my brother and sister for me?" she asked, feeling her anger wither away.
As Nan left, Ivriniel picked up the vassal of liquid. She eyed it, feeling rebellious. She did not want to consume it. She got out of bed and walked over to the window; she tossed it out, watching it fall to the stone pavement below, heaving its distant smash. She slammed the shutters shut. Blood was still trickling down her legs and the cramping began once more. She moaned, clutching her stomach; she toppled over, grasping to the bedpost for support. She eyed her bed warily, not wanting to get back in. Blood and clots lay there of what had remained of her pregnancy. She pulled the sheets up and then ran to the basin, becoming sick from the sight.
Not long after, Finduilas and Imrahil entered her bedchamber to find their older sister leaning over the basin. They rushed to her side. "Nan told us," Finduilas said, rubbing her sister's back. "Everything is going to be okay."
Ivriniel straightened her body, her face wet with tears. "I lost the baby." Imrahil walked over to the bed and pulled the sheets away.
"When did this happen?" he asked, not flinching from the sight of blood.
"Just now," Ivriniel replied, clutching her sister for support. "It's gone, never to return."
Nan reappeared, carrying a bucket of seaming water. "Not long now before your bath is ready, my lady."
"We must clean you up," Imrahil said, pulling the sheets off her bed. "You should not have to put up with this sight. Where is Nan? After she has finished drawing you a bath, get her in here and dispose of this!" He gathered the sheets up into a bundle in the middle of the bed, before making his way over to Ivriniel.
"I am so sorry, Ivriniel," he said. He wrapped one arm around Ivriniel and another around Finduilas holding his sisters in a three-way embrace. Finduilas was crying, holding onto a shaking Ivriniel, who ended up crouching in immense pain.
"I cannot bear this anymore!" she cried, clutching her stomach. Blood trickled on the stone floor where she was crouched. "Make it stop, make it stop!"
Imrahil pulled her up, holding her. "Shhh," he said, trying to be of some comfort. "It will all be over soon."
Finduilas wiped her face, and then walked over to the washroom the fetch some linen to clean up the blood.
"I lost the baby," Ivriniel said again. "Losdir will be so disappointed."
Imrahil held her closer, resting his chin on top of her head. "Do not say that. None of this was your fault. It was an act of nature, Ivriniel. Some things are just not meant to be."
"I am not meant to be happy," she said, hiccupping. "I am not meant to have a child or a husband." At the thought of her loss once more, she let out a wail of grief.
Nan and Finduilas returned. "Your bath is ready, my lady," Nan said, gently hooking her arms into Ivriniel's. "Come, I will help you undress."
Finduilas knelt down and mopped up the blood, her shoulders shaking. Imrahil knelt beside her, holding her for comfort. "I must go and wake Father." Finduilas nodded. "I will return shortly. Make sure Nan cleans up the sheets."
Ivriniel slipped into the bath, holding her legs up to her chest. Nan poured warm water through her mistress's hair and began gently combing out the knots; Ivriniel loved having her hair brushed; it brought some comfort. She closed her eyes, enduring the sudden cramping that would come and go. It was horrible, disgusting, vial. It was all she could think.
Finduilas entered the washroom. "I will comb my sister's hair. Nan, please go and clean up the bloodstained sheets."
Finduilas took the comb and sat down on the stool. She kissed Ivriniel's hair. "How are you feeling now? Is the pain going away?"
Ivriniel shook her head. "It comes and goes." She let a few tears spill. "Why am I so cursed?"
"You are not cursed," Finduilas answered sternly. "Lately you have been... misfortunate. Everyone has a time in their life when nothing goes right; it all ends up horrible."
"I cannot stop weeping," she said, sniffing. "I feel... I feel so empty now. I have no purpose. My child is gone; my husband perished doing what he loved. I have no prospects left."
Finduilas closed her eyes, wondering why the Valar had been so careless towards her sister. "Ivriniel, I want to help you; more than anything. But I do not know how."
"Nobody can help me," Ivriniel replied, resting her chin on her knee. "I am a lost cause."
Finduilas frowned, concerned. "No you are not." She placed the comb aside. "You need to get out of here; out of Dol Amroth. You need a fresh start. Nobody is in need of one like you. Come with me to Minas Tirith and stay by my side. We can look after each other."
Ivriniel shook her head. "I could not. I will not. Minas Tirith is a cold place. It no longer shines as it once did. I could not bear living within its walls."
Finduilas' heart clenched. "Now you know how I feel. I wish I could stay with you, here."
Ivriniel sniffed. "Our lives are in shatters."
After an hour of soaking in the tub, Ivriniel emerged feeling no better. Though, her nausea had ceased, which was something, she guessed. When she entered her bedchamber, Imrahil was sitting by the fire with their father. At the sight of him, Ivriniel broke down into tears, not caring if she woke the entire palace. Adrahil strode quickly to his daughter, holding her tightly.
"My dearest," he said, clutching her head to his chest. "My darling. My poor child." Ivriniel wept harder. He slowly moved her over to the bed, gently lying her down on fresh linen. He kissed her brow, caressing her cheek. "Allow your body to relieve itself from all these emotions. It is natural to weep." He wiped away the tears on her cheeks. "Grieve as long as you need. Your family is here by your side; we will look after you."
Ivriniel choked on her tears. "I do not want to be a burden."
"You are not a burden, and you never will be," he replied. "Now hush, get some rest before morning arrives. I will have Nan stay with you in case anything should happen."
Ivriniel nodded. Her father handed her a glass. "Drink this; it will help you sleep."
Instead of throwing it out of the window, she accepted it. She wanted to sleep; sleep for an eternity. But she knew that sooner or later she would awake, remembering all the past events that had just occurred. There was no escaping what had happened - nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. She had no choice but to face it all, and that was something she did not have the willpower to do.