Evening in the month of November found a warm hearth and blazing fire in the scullery of Bar-en-Acharn, as Cutch busied himself happily at his labors. He was preparing something sumptuous for his bride – even though he wed Seregrían months ago now, he still looked upon her as the bashful bride. As a slab of venison sizzled merrily on the spit, he was polishing a set of wine glasses, but stopped at the sound of a loud whistle. He turned to see Seregrían wearing an impish smile he had come to love.
“When did you learn to wolf-whistle like that, so unbecoming Your Ladyship,” Cutch teased.
“In trafficking among Mortals, one learns odd things,” Seregrían replied. “I see you are busy again, as you always are…”
“Always at Your Ladyship’s call,” he said with a bow.
She moved close, wrapping her arms around his neck and clinging to him. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close.
“Not service, my beloved fool – rather, sharing.”
“Both, melon nin.”
The embrace broke and she looked into his eye. “Dear one, I owe you an apology of sorts. Let us share some wine while we talk.”
“Which wine tonight, my love?”
“Tonight, only one will serve. Bring the glasses to the Salon.” She crossed behind the scullery rack and pressed a hidden panel in the wall. Reaching inside the recess, she produced a small dark bottle and met Cutch by the hearth. His eye widened in surprise at the bottle.
“I cannot imagine what you need to apologize to me – wait, that’s the Duillond Black!?”
“Yes, dear one – only this will serve.”
“Alright, but remember, I’m not as much Elf as you are, perhaps I better sit down?”
“Not for this, my husband. This is a toast, of a kind, and I wanted you near the hearth.” She took a breath, then plunged on. “Dear one, I have been absent, as you well know. I have been consulting in both Duillond and Celondim, with lore-mistresses of a very specific branch of lore - a branch I have never in all my life delved into.
“You see, Elves do not know disease or agues as Mortals do - and I was afflicted with something, and I was afraid of what it might be.”
His brows knit. “Afflicted? You are not well, melon nin? When did this start?”
“After you left on your hunting trip, it began. I dismissed it at first, after you returned so happy and content - I did not wish to dampen your spirits.” She took another breath, then went on. “With no answers to my questions, I began asking about for a possible cause. But now, with the help of others, I know the reason - and the reason is you.”
“Me? What... what have I done?'
She smiled a slow broad and lovely smile, as she took his free hand, and held it - over her middle. He began to guess.
“Im gaew, herven nin…”
“I am with child, my husband. The lore-mistresses I spoke with were the midwives. I am two months along.”
He took her glass and slowly set both of them on the table, all the while beaming at her. He wrapped his arms around her, slowly lifted her off her feet. He slowly spun with her, tears and a huge smile decorating his face. She laughed, a high real laugh from her heart.
“I shall give you a family, dear one! You'll have no more than just the Circle of Cutch, now you have a true family!”
“We are now three, my love!” He gently set her down, grinning, “Long have I dreamed of this!”
“Oh, but there's one more part of your dream come true!”
“What! What could be more than this?”
“The midwives showed me a way to know one thing more - I would never have guessed it were possible, but now I am certain.”
He nodded with anticipation as she took his hand once more and placed it over her middle, looking into his eye.
He stepped back, absolute joy on his face, dancing about in a circle. “She's here! SHE'S HERE! We must get ready for her coming, we must make a chamber for her! And clothes! And...and...”
She laughed out loud at his joy. “And all of that in time, dear one!”
“When, I mean, when shall she come?”
“According to the midwives, Bainiel was conceived not long ago - on the 22nd of September. It is very likely that I shall bring her to you on that day, one year hence.
He tried to think back. “You are so certain of the day? But, we have done so many…”
“We were both present, silly one - so yes, I recall…” They both fell to giggling.
“So, other than the midwives, am I the first to hear the news?”
“The only others who know are you and I, and the midwives - and I have sent word to Hartagil, Morenwenna, and Jersiel - the bridesmaids, after all.” She grins, “Morenwenna is already shopping; Jersiel shall look in on us as time permits - I have not yet heard from my sister.”
”Shall I send out word to Caladna?”
“I was rather hoping you would.” She suddenly pulled a sly, almost wicked look. “You know, I was going to spring this upon you at the feast, but I like this better.”
He laughed, “You are an imp! Part of the reason I love you so!”
She reached for the two glasses on the table and handed one to him. “Here, my man - I drink to us! The THREE of us!”