Despite living in Nan Elmoth for three and a half year already, there was times when Aredhel felt like that it was still a dream she might wake up from. Gondolin, the hidden city of her brother Turgon, had been a nice place to live in, but after that her niece Idril had grown up and no longer needed a older female relative to guide her into adulthood, her old restlessness had started to haunt her once again. It had not helped in that it was very long time ago since she last had seen her Fëanorian cousins either.
At her side, Eöl mumbled something in sleep as a very tiny foot kicked through her belly into his elbow, as she currently was laying on her side for a more comfortable sleeping position. She may only be six months into her pregnancy but their unborn son proved to be a bit restless just at this time in the early morning.
“Let your mother sleep, Ion-nin….” Eöl muttered, moving his hand over his eyes to remain in sleep himself. He had been up very late yesterday night to try and fix a basic design of a crib for their son to use after birth since neither one was sure that there would be enough space for all three of them in the master bed. Like how Aredhel often changed sleeping positions, movements that could be dangerous for a small infant, and Eöl having rather long limbs.
“I will take a morning walk after breakfast, or my legs will cramp up due to lack of movement,” Aredhel whispered in her husband's ear before leaving the bed. A closing of his fingers told her that Eöl had heard what she said, even if he still was sleeping.
Aredhel always had a good appetite, but it had grown slightly as she needed to eat for her son so he could grow well inside her. Some of her nightmares was haunted by the underfed mothers on the Grinding Ice because there had not been enough food to give them, and the far too premature babies born in that horrible cold only to die a freezing death almost as soon as they left the womb. No, she was very grateful for that her own son would be born in late spring the coming year, when summer would be on its way with warmth.
Right now it was late autumn, the first nights of frost had already arrived. As a survivor of the Grinding Ice, Aredhel hated the coldest season of the year, when snow laid on the ground and the air was cold. Thankfully there was a lot of things to do here in the house of her husband during winter time, such as the baby clothes her son would need after birth.
“I will only walk to the lake and back, if Eöl wonders,” she said to a servant, before donning the thick cloak with fur she had gotten as a one of several courting gifts from Eöl to keep her warm. He might be a bit grumpy and not much for smiling, but he spoke a lot though body language and those black eyes of his.
The lake had some thin ice on the surface, promising a cold season just as Eöl had taught her. Nan Elmoth was a bit of a odd forest, if Aredhel had to say it. Íts trees was the tallest and darkest in Beleriand, blocking out the sun completely from the forest floor. But there was spots of sunlight slipping through if one knew where to look, clearnings created when really old trees had fallen over. Aredhel would go to a such spot of sun, when she grew tired of the darkness of the forest despite the light from glowing mushrooms growing on trees.
“What was that?”
A strange sound from somewhere. She had a hunting dagger in her belt out of habit, but she had not brought anything else with her. That mistake, along with going alone, proved itself when a large cat, black as the winter night, landed in front of her. Aredhel had heard about them from Eöl, and even tried to spot them during a hunt a few times herself before her pregnancy. Those was powerful animals, said to be a living symbol of a powerful Elf soon being born.
Then Aredhel heard why the cat had came, a small cub, no bigger than a common housecat, was meowing somewhere in the bushes to her right. Hurrying away, she hoped that the mother cat could not see her as threat to the cub.
It did not take long, before a worried voice was heard;
“Aredhel! Where are you?”
She knew at once who it was.
“I am here, Eöl!”
Eöl arrived between some of the trees with a lamp, and seemed very soothed at seeing that she was unharmed. He had already apologized several times under the past months for being so nervous when it came to keeping her and their unborn son safe, but after the horrors of the Grinding Ice, Aredhel felt that she could not blame her husband for fussing over her like that.
In a attempt to make him think of something more pleasant, she told him about the mother cat and the cub she had seen.
“Perhaps the cub is a sign of our son, that he might be just like those cats. Powerful and mysterious.”
Eöl smiled one of his rare smiles over her suggestions.
“Yes...that sounds very fitting for him.”
Aredhel blushed at her hand being brought up to his lips and kissed. A simple sign of affection.
“May I temper you with a warm bath at home and a view of the finished crib this evening, my hunter princess?”
She responded with kissing him directly on the lips, while their son kicked inside her womb.
“I hope that our son will not inherit too much of your restlessness, beloved, or he will be a little tricky to deal with when he is old enough to start crawling around and able to move on his own.
Aredhel only laughed in agreement over that.