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Mother-tongues

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Idril hates the sticky, sweaty feeling after making love to her husband, for the sweat rapidly cools no matter the number of blankets or how closely she clings to her husband’s warm body afterwards, leaving her chilled. Tuor usually falls asleep soon after, though he will attempt to stay awake, threading his fingers through her long hair with his remaining energy, mumbling nonsense. Soon he falls asleep, no matter how valiantly he tries, and Idril listens to his snores. His inability to stay awake after such strenuous activity does not bother her, and the sounds that her husband makes is soothing. Not sonorous- but not irritating, as the feeling of cold sweat is.

She runs her hand across his cheek, feeling the prickles of hair where her husband has shaved a portion of his face. He has started to grow out the hair above his lips and on his chin, and Idril finds she enjoys the feel of his beard as much as she does the stubble that grows before he shaves. Her mortal husband is self-conscious about his hair, a product of his elven upbringing and his years of enslavement by the Easterling, Lorgan. He refuses to cut his hair short, for the long years where he suffered as a thrall his hair was cropped close against his will. Hair atop his head, not that of his face, for in that the Easterlings were also punctilious about the distinctions between thrall and freeman. Tuor learned to shave through self-training, and until recently had labored to remain smooth-cheeked. It does not disguise the lines of wear on his face, and the handsomeness of his features are that of a man, not elf. No Adanedhel, her love. However, he speaks with the accent of a native of Nevrast and not a human accent like his father and uncle, and in his mannerisms Idril sees nothing of Húrin or Huor. He cannot speak the tongue of mortal men easily, be it that of the Houses of Bëor, Hador, or Haleth. Those of the Edain, that is. In his dreams Tuor speaks the language of the Easterlings that enslaved him, and when he curses when stubbing his toe or pulling a muscle as they attempt a new position in their bed, he uses Easterling curses almost as often as Sindarin colloquialisms. In Sindarin does he sing praises, when they make love, when all other thought leaves him. It pains her, for it pains Tuor not.

Idril pulls out of bed and finds a cloth to wipe the sweat free of her body and slip on a heavier nightgown. Already her feet feel cold, so she crawls back into bed and shoves her toes against Tuor’s warmer feet. This jolts a break in his snores as he unconsciously jerks away. Idril slides into the warm depression on the mattress and snuggles against him as Tuor settles back into deep sleep. She begins to hum one of the tunes that Tuor taught her during their courtship, a song that he learned from his foster-father Annael. Supposedly the song was his mother’s creation, and it is one of the only pieces of Rían that he has. She had crafted many songs, Rían of the House of Bëor, and repeated them while pregnant with her son. Tuor clings to those songs as the only tether that he has to his mother and her love.

Idril strokes his cheek and tries not to cry for her husband’s sake.