Bittersweet: As The Leaves Turn

It was a perfect autumn day, and Eruviel once more waded through the tall grass towards the old oak tree. It had grown a little since she had visited four months earlier. Beneath the thick coat of gold and orange leaves she could just make out small sprouts growing from branches that had yet to surrender to the inevitable change of seasons.

“Right where I left you,” she noted as she set her boots down by an exposed root. Turning, she took a small jar of wax and a cloth from her pocket, and kelt down by the carved branch that stood guard over the grave blanketed with grass. “I assume you know what this early return means.”

The marker remained as silent as ever, and a light breeze whispered through the leaves above her.

Twigs were cast aside, leaves were thrown to be carried away by the wind, and an invasive weed was uprooted as the Elf cleaned off the small mound. Taking a circlet of late wildflowers and grasses from her head, Eruviel set it around the marker. “From Eboric. He piled them on my lap when we were out earlier.”

The wind picked up, and the Elf fell silent as she removed the cork from the jar. The summer had been kind to the grave, and another coat of wax would see the marker safely through the winter. With care she worked the thick substance into each if the letters, and a small crack that had sprung up at it’s base.

“He’s grown so much since I was last here. Such an adorable little boy.” Managing a chuckle, Eruviel fit the cork back onto the jar. “You should have seen the look on both of their faces when Eirikr first held him. He will be a wonderful father. I’ve known it for a while… well, you have known it much longer than I, haven’t you?”

Against her will, the Eruviel’s throat tightened. Setting the jar aside, she fell back to lay on the grass beside the soft mound of earth. She stared up at the canopy that swayed above her and the buried memories beside her.

“How do I help him raise a child? I’ve never raised a child. Daran, and the years of babysitting do not count. I can tell you this, of course… What do I do? He will never want for anything, I have seen to that, but… but he is so little! What if he is harmed? Orome, what if I accidentally hurt him?! What if Eirikr dies too soon… What if Eboric calls –” Her voice cracked, and she draped an arm over her eyes.

It was overwhelming. She felt rediculous, but he couldn’t see her doubt, or worry, or fear. How in Arda was it that a child made her feel so vulnerable? Several minutes passed. Eruviel sniffed, and chuffed a weak laugh. “I am sorry. Forgive me. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I did this last time, didn’t I? Of all the things to be afraid of.” 

Letting out a ragged sigh, she sat up and wiped at her moist eyes and pink cheeks. “I should head back. I need to consult our gracious host on how to get our boys home safely.”

Rising to her feet, Eruviel took a cleansing breath, and gathered her few things. “I don’t know if he will visit….” Looking a great deal less burdened than she did before, Eruviel smiled at the grave, and offered the remains a graceful curtsey. “They will be taken care of. I hope your afterlife is as peaceful as I imagine it to be.”

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