During a visit to Minas Tirith, Diamond has had an unfortunate reaction to the food.

(This story written in 2009 for ceshaughnessy.)

Aftermath of a Feast

The darkness behind her eyes seemed lighter and warmer, and she felt as if she were floating up to wakefulness from the bottom of deep water. Yet she felt comfortable, for all that. Her right hand was warm, and was being held.

"Pippin?" she blinked, and his face came into focus. He was lying alongside her in the large bed, though atop the covers and fully dressed. He was sitting up against the pillows, and had been watching her sleep.

"Good morning, Diamond. You gave me a dreadful fright last night." He took his other hand and reached over and gently smoothed away the hair from her face. "You gave us all a dreadful fright, for that matter! I am just glad for the hands of the King."

She gazed up at him. He looked awful-wan and red-eyed, his curls disheveled, and a crease of worry on his brow.

"What? Oh- " she tried to remember. The feast at the King's table last night, she had suddenly felt very ill, and had difficulty breathing. It had been quite a terrifying sensation, but she could not remember much more than that. "I don't know what happened, Pippin. It came on so suddenly."

"The King said it was the prawns."

"But we were all eating them." She recalled that the Belfalas prawns, served in garlic and butter sauce, had been quite delicious.

"He said that for some reason, a few, a very few, people are sensitive to them in a way that others are not. I am sorry to say, dearest, no more seafood for you this visit! For it is quite likely that if you are sensitive to prawns, you would be sensitive to other types of food from the sea." He gazed at her, and his eyes glittered. He blinked away the tears, and bent to kiss her forehead. "Oh, my Diamond! I was so afraid! I have never been so afraid in my life, not even in the midst of a battle."

"I'm sorry, Pippin."

He swallowed. "It's not your fault, love."

"I'm thirsty."

He smiled and sat up, and reached over to a table by the bed, where sat a silver pitcher, its sides frosty and beaded with moisture. He took it up, and poured some of the water into the goblet that stood next to it, and held it to her lips. The cool water tasted so sweet and fresh, it was an effort to only sip, and not to gulp it all down. When she had finished she felt quite tired.

Pippin placed the goblet back on the table, and stretched out his arm as he lay back against the pillow. She snuggled into him, pillowing her head against his chest, and closed her eyes. Not asleep, merely drifting, she felt the beating of his heart, and the pleasant rumble of his breath as he began to hum, and then to sing. It was an old Shire love song, but long ago when they had first wed, he had changed some of the words, so that they were just for the two of them.

Diamond the Fair is my heart's delight;*
Her gay heart laughs out from her eyes so bright;
Cheeks like apple-blossoms just right;
Her neck like a swan's in the spring morning light.

Oh she is my life, and my jewel of a wife,
And I'll wrap her up tight in my arms.

Her hair is as dark as ever I've seen,
Her lips are like the red roses' sheen.
But my lips have touched no other I ween,
Save the glass that I drank to the health of my queen!

Oh she is my life and my jewel of a wife,
And I'll wrap her up tight in my arms

Down in the village or up in the town
Or between two barrels of ale so brown,
With my fair Diamond upon my knee,
I will sing to her pleasantly.

Oh she is my life and my jewel of a wife,
And I'll wrap her up tight in my arms

There are those who say that they know
From all of the Shire's prettiest lasses I'd go;
But from my Diamond, oh never! Oh no!
Till I'm in the ground all cold and low.

For she is my life and my jewel of a wife,
And I'll wrap her up tight in my arms.

Safe and warm and wrapped in song, Diamond fell once more into sleep, and dreamt of the green hills of home.


*This song is adapted from "Pastheen Fion", an old Irish folk song that I have wanted to rework for Pippin to sing, ever since the first time I heard it.