Monday, 12 February 2007

Fanfiction

A while back I had my ff.net account hijacked and lost a load of my stuff on there, which i couldn't be bothered to put back on. So i thought i'd start posting the vast majority of my work on here.

This one is one of my earliest LOTR pieces, and my first big multi-chapter story.

Title; The Deepest Wounds Bleed Not
Author; captainraz
Format and Word Count; fic- 9700 words
Rating; PG-13
Genre; Angst/Romance
Warnings; The rating is there because this fic explores the issue of self-harming. If that is offensive to you, i suggest you do not read this fic.
Summary; Éomer struggles to come to terms with his grief, and is slowly losing his battle with depression. It can only be a matter of time before things get out of control, and when that happens, will it be too late?
Disclaimer; I do not own LOTR, nor do i own the snippets of lyrics I have used in this.
Author’s Notes; This one might not be to everybody's taste.



Nothing Wrong With Me

There is a wound that’s always bleeding,
There is a road I’m always walking,
And I know you’ll never return to this place.
-Opeth, Hope Leaves


After the War of the Ring, life began to return to normal for the inhabitants of Middle Earth. Indeed it did more than get back to normal, life got better, for a great shadow had departed. At least, life got better for most of the inhabitants of Middle Earth. Éomer son of Éomund found that he was King of the Mark, his uncle leaving him the throne after his death on the Pelennor fields. He was completely unprepared for this office, having grown up to be a soldier while it was his cousin who was supposed to take the throne.

But Théodred had died, as had Théoden, leaving the throne to Éomer. This left Éomer virtually alone in the world, as his only living relative, his sister Éowyn, was leaving to marry and make a new life in Gondor.

And so Éomer found himself trying to cope with a completely new set of duties all alone. He never had the chance to grieve, for he was always kept far too busy for that. And after his sister had married, he had no one; no one to talk to, confide in, no one to help him overcome his grief. Kings don’t have friends, they have subjects. Éomer turned to the only comfort that had always been there; drink. If drink had been the full extent of it, there would not have been much problem, Éomer had always been a heavy drinker and could hold his drink well. But soon he found that alcohol induced oblivion neither hid his pain nor eased it, so Éomer turned to more extreme methods to ease his pain…

*********************************************************************

Éomer sat back in his chair with a large sigh; today had been an especially long day. He sighed again as his thoughts drifted away from the protocol of Meduseld to his friends. How far away from him they now were, probably enjoying themselves with their respective wives, while he sat in his study all alone and forsaken.

He let the despairing thoughts wash over him; it never helped to try to stop them anyway. He was alone with his thoughts; his parents long dead, his uncle and cousin recently left him, and his sister was happily married to Faramir and living in Gondor. Éomer smiled briefly as he thought that he may soon have a little nephew or niece.

But no children of my own thought Éomer reaching for the whiskey, no one to love, no one to hold, no one to talk to. Three large glasses of the amber liquid later and he was neither drunk nor feeling any happier. Snap out of it, he thought to himself you’re being silly.

“Again.” He breathed out loud.

Of late he had found it hard to escape lonely and depressing feelings, and though he himself thought the reasons for the way he felt to be silly, he could not help but be consumed by them. There was no one to really talk to about the way he felt, no one really cared if he was not talking about things that would benefit the country. So he retreated into himself, talked to nobody and bottled everything up until he thought he would explode.

Éomer sighed and got up from his chair, drink didn’t work, and sleep invariably didn’t, but he needed the latter if he were to present anything that vaguely resembled a human being to the world tomorrow.

He walked down the corridor to his room, the room that until recently had belonged to his uncle. I wish Théoden were here, thought Éomer. He entered the room and was immediately struck by how large, cold and silent it was, and it reminded him strongly of how lonely his life was at the moment.

As Éomer began to undress his thoughts took a different turn. Suddenly he wished he could punish himself for feeling so bad, things were better now and he should be glad for it.

Life had never really been easy for him. Family life had always come second for his parents. They had loved him and his sister enough, but duty had always had to come first, such were the times. After they had died he had been left to care for his sister, more or less alone; His uncle Théoden and cousin Théodred had always had duties to do. Then as he got older he had had duties of his own to do. Éomer had remained helpless throughout Wormtongue’s reign at Edoras and then life had been extremely dangerous in the lead up to the War of the Ring.

But now there was peace, and the chance of happiness that he had never really had before. So why did he feel so depressed? He was alone, left with little but his thoughts, and more often than not they were not happy thoughts.

Éomer wished he could punish himself for being so selfish, so silly. Then his eye fell on his small hunting knife on his bedside table.

Éomer picked it up; unsure of what he planned to do with it. Slowly and deliberately he drew it across the tip of his finger. He let out a small gasp at the pain, but then he felt suddenly better.

The pain of the cut drove out the pain he felt at life, everything felt suddenly better. It was as if life’s problems were seeping out of him with each drop of blood.

Éomer placed the knife at the top of his arm, against the naked flesh. Again, he drew the knife slowly across the skin, leaving a fairly deep and deliberate cut. The pain was greater this time, as was the release. So he did it twice more, so that there were now three cuts across the top of his arm, all intentional.

Éomer cleaned his wounds, but he didn’t care about the blood, the mess. Nothing bothered him. He suddenly felt free and Éomer knew, he had found his vice.



Something’s Got To Give

I push my fingers into my eyes
It’s the only thing that slowly stops the ache
But it’s made of all the things I have to take
Jesus it never ends it works its way inside
If the pain goes on, I’m not going to make it
–Slipknot, Duality


The days went by, and slowly Éomer was consumed in a seething torrent of rage, confusion and despair. When he cut his skin, pain flooded his body and yet he felt as though he were finally free of life’s trials. In the first day or two, Éomer tried as hard as he could not to do it if he could help it. Part of him knew that the act was wrong, and part of him loathed what he was doing, but that part was fast losing control of Éomer’s mind. Éomer felt like he was falling, falling into a black pit of despair, caught in a downward spiral.

The days became weeks.

The longer he went without cutting, the harder the despair hit him, and the more he tried to fight it, the harder it hit him. he could not escape; it would never end. It did not take long for Éomer to surrender his body to the pleasure of the cold steel, for that was the only way he could describe it to himself; if he tried to fight, it simply took him anyway, and the fall was all the harder.

As this darker side of his mind took control, Éomer found himself actually enjoying those few brief seconds when he could watch the knife slide across the skin, leaving a trail of dark red blood in its wake. Part of Éomer still screamed out that it was wrong, but it became easier to ignore that voice; the sheer weight of his duty and the loneliness he felt drowned out the one part of his mind that held on to what was right.

Éomer soon had a collection of thin white scars on his arm, but he was a soldier, scars did not matter to him and few people would have asked questions. Éomer hid the marks anyway, unable to completely rid himself of guilt at what he was doing. He withdrew into himself, embracing the darkness as a way of escaping the tedious despair that was slowly eating him alive. Éomer went about his daily duties as normal, but it did not escape the notice of his councillors that he was living his life as one removed from them. The King they had known did not walk on the same world as them, though they did not ask him where his mind wandered; his temper would never have allowed for that.

Éomer cut himself as a way of escaping, but soon came to realise that he was trapped by that; trapped by his own urges for pain. For those few seconds, he was alive but the rest of the time he felt numb, incapable of feeling anything. He came to realise that he could never escape, but he no longer cared. Had death come to him then, he would have embraced it, for it would have given him escape from w world with no escape. He was naked in the dark to his inner emotions, his inner demons; and he could no longer control them. Something had to give soon; he could not go on like this.

Respite was offered to him three months later, by his sister and brother-in-law, who invited to stay in Ithilien for a while, in their newly built homer. Éomer accepted the offer readily, thinking that perhaps he could run form his demons while he was there, thinking that perhaps the company would chase them away. He craved escape from loneliness, for with the loneliness came despair, and the silver glint of steel followed the shadow of despair.

So it was that Éomer came to Emyn Arnen, and brought a shadow with him.



Push Me Again…


Skin against skin, blood and bone,
You’re all by yourself, but you’re not alone,
You wanted in and now you’re here,
Driven by hate, consumed by fear
-Drowning Pool, Bodies


One evening Éomer was sat with his sister, her husband, and Faramir’s cousin Lothíriel , who was also staying with the couple. Éowyn frowned as her brother knocked back his sixth glass of whiskey.

“Don’t you think you’ve had enough to drink?” she asked crossly. Éomer shrugged as he reached for the bottle again.

“I can take my drink.” He said simply.

“Even so, six glasses of whiskey is not healthy for anybody.” Éowyn pointed out as he knocked back a seventh.

“Stop worrying Éowyn, I know when I’ve had enough. How much I choose to drink is my business.” Éomer’s temper was famous throughout Middle Earth, and alcohol only served to shorten it.

“You’re my brother Éomer; I’m going to worry about you even if you don’t want me to. Especially as I have been hearing from your men that you’ve been behaving rather strangely recently.” Éomer frowned and rubbed the top of his left arm unconsciously.

“Bloody treason.” he muttered. Éowyn’s brow furrowed further at her brother’s out-of-character behaviour.

“What happened to you Éomer? You’ve changed recently.” She said curiously.

“You’d change if you suddenly found that you were King.” Said Éomer irritably.

“It’s not just that,” said Faramir, ignoring the warning signs. “You’ve changed since we last saw you. You seemed quite happy at our wedding, now you seem so… withdrawn.”

“Yeah!” yelled Éomer in return “Well maybe it’s because I don’t like people interfering with my personal affairs!”

“Éomer!” exclaimed his sister, “We’re your family, and your personal affairs are our business! If something bothers you it affects us!”

“Well I haven’t seen you there for me the last few months at Edoras!” he spat bitterly.

“I’m married Éomer, I live in Gondor now!”

“Leaving me alone! You don’t seem to realise how lonely it is at Edoras!”

“This has been bothering you for a while, hasn’t it?” Asked Éowyn lowering her voice. Éomer looked enraged at himself for letting so much out.

“Not that you would care.” He spat. Éowyn was shocked at the venom in his voice.

“Éomer, I do care. If only you had spoken to me about it sooner.”

“How could I, this is the first time I’ve seen you since you married him!” screamed Éomer, leaping up and pointing an accusatory finger at Faramir.

“You would blame me for loving your sister?” shouted Faramir also jumping to his feet.

“Yes, I would blame you for my loneliness.” Said Éomer bitterly. Faramir looked like he was going to punch Éomer and had to be restrained by his wife and cousin.

“You bastard, you absolute bastard!” screamed Faramir, losing his usual composure “You would condemn your own family because they are happy and you are not? You selfish bloody bastard!”

“And you would condemn me for feeling lonely. It seems that you are no better than I.” Éomer’s voice was extremely dangerous but Faramir waded on, calling Éomer something which should not have been said by anyone other than an orc. Éomer’s temper finally snapped and he stepped towards Faramir, intent on punching his lights out. He would have done had Éowyn not jumped out from behind her husband to restrain her brother.

“FARAMIR! ÉOMER! STOP THIS NOW!” she yelled, trying top push her brother back.

“DON’T YOU DARE CALL ME THAT EVER AGAIN YOU BASTARD!” screamed Éomer to Faramir, ignoring Éowyn’s attempts to calm them both. Faramir tried to get to get to Éomer, but was held back by the surprising strength of his cousin.

“Don’t be an idiot Faramir, you don’t want to fight him.” said Lothíriel harshly in his ear.

“I want to rip his head off.” Seethed Faramir, just loud enough for his brother-in-law to hear.

“You wouldn’t stand a chance against me in a fight, book-boy.” That really was the last straw for Faramir, who lost control completely.

“WE’LL SEE ABOUT THAT!” screamed Faramir, straining against Lothíriel.

“Drop it Éomer.” Said Éowyn dangerously, knowing that there would be no calming her husband now.

“He’s not worth the effort in a fight.” Said Éomer, breathing heavily with his anger.

“YOU BLOODY COWARD! COME GET ME YOU BASTARD!”

For once, Éomer used his better judgment. He wrenched free of Éowyn and went to pour himself a drink in an attempt to calm down.

Faramir used the orcish insult again.

Éomer let out a stream of curses in Rohirric and stormed out of the room. He marched to his bedroom, knowing that if he had spent another moment in the room he would have ripped Faramir to shreds.

Éomer entered his room, picked up his knife, and began to vent his anger.



Separate the Skin From Bone

If I offered you a picture
And the pain is yet to dry
Could you live with just a whisper?
A flower is meant to die
If I had all the answers
I could pour salt on my wounds
So no one will ever see
-Breed 77, The River


Twenty minutes later Éowyn and Lothiriel cautiously approached Éomer’s room, hoping that he had calmed down. Having finally managed to pacify Faramir, they went to see if Éomer’s temper had also been played out. As they approached the door they heard a quiet sobbing coming from within the room.

“Éomer?” asked Éowyn pushing the door open. What she saw next horrified her.

Éomer was sat against his bed, sobbing and cradling his maimed left arm to his chest. The shirt he was wearing had been white, but was now soaked red with blood. The walls were spattered with blood from an obvious arterial bleed, and there were also drops of blood splashed all over the floor. A bloodstained knife glinted in the moonlight.

“Faramir!” shouted Éowyn rushing over to tend to her brother.

“Valar help us.” Muttered Lothíriel entering the room after Éowyn.

Faramir entered the room moments later to find Éowyn bent over her brother, both of them blood soaked, and Lothíriel stood by the doorway looking shocked.

“Faramir, we need to get him to the houses of healing. I can’t lift him alone.” Faramir merely nodded his face pale.

Slowly the pair of them helped him to his feet and supporting him, got him to the houses. As soon as Éomer were laid on the bed Faramir left the room, leaving his wife and cousin to deal with his wounds. Carefully the removed his ruined shirt, trying not to damage the already maimed arm even more. Éowyn saw the thin white scars on the top of his left arm and gasped. She ran her finger over the ridged skin, pointing the scars out to Lothíriel.

“These are intentional.” Lothíriel looked carefully at the marks.

“They are old as well. Most of these scars are more than a month old.” They exchanged dark looks. At that moment in time Éomer was in no fit state to care about their discovery.

“Leave me be.” He muttered weakly “Don’t bother.”

“Don’t be silly” said Éowyn gently “I’m not going to leave you.” Éomer nodded and closed his eyes, appearing to fall asleep.

Éowyn bustled around, finding the correct herbs and collecting hot water, bandages and a sewing kit. As she began tending to her brother, Lothíriel knew that she were not needed to help, so she sat down next to Éomer and took hold of his hand stroking it gently, offering her silent support.

“You don’t have to do that.” he said weakly, opening his eyes slightly.

“No,” she replied “But I thought that you could use a friend right now.” Éomer smiled momentarily and then winced as Éowyn began to bathe his wounds.

Faramir returned around an hour later, by which time Éowyn was clearing up. Éomer lay on the bed, his arm neatly bandaged and his right hand still clasped in Lothíriel’s, though both had fallen asleep. The calming scent of the herbs made even Faramir feel sleepy.

“Where have you been?” asked Éowyn of her husband.

“Cleaning up. The room is almost spotless, save for a broken window.”

“You made it look like an accident?” asked Éowyn looking puzzled.

“Yes. Have you any idea what this could do to his reputation if this got out? They would question his ability to rule.”

“This is not the first time he has done something of this nature.” Faramir looked wide eyed at his wife. “He has been cutting himself on a regular basis for well over a month.”

“Why have we not heard anything about it before then?” questioned Faramir.

“Because Éomer has not done anything on this scale before. All the other cuts were precise and easily covered up.” Faramir groaned, remembering the blistering row they had had earlier that evening, and the things he had said.

“The argument we had was the cause of this. He took his anger out on his arm.” Éowyn nodded. “Then it is my fault. I shouldn’t have shouted at him, I shouldn’t have said what I did.”

“No love, I shouted at him too. If truth be known then there is no one really to blame, but we should have been there.” Faramir looked over at his brother in law who was now sleeping peacefully, no trace of his earlier anger on his face.

“What could drive a man to intentionally hurt himself?” whispered Faramir. Éowyn shook her head and gave he husband a reassuring kiss. “We have to help him Éowyn, all of us.”

“Lothíriel stayed with him, he seems to trust her. she kept him talking while I stitched up his wounds. He will need her friendship more than he needs ours.” Faramir nodded.

“How bad were his wounds.” Éowyn’s face darkened.

“Bad.”

“But why?” asked Faramir rubbing his eyes with his fingers, obviously frustrated.

“I don’t know why Faramir. I don’t think even Éomer knows quite why.” Faramir ran his hand through his hair, still not quite convinced.

“We’ll talk with him in the morning.”



You’re All By Yourself, But You’re Not Alone

Wish I was too dead to care
If indeed I cared at all
Never had a voice to protest
So you fed me shit to digest

I wish I had a reason
My flaws are open season
For this I gave up trying
One good turn deserves my dying
-Stone Sour, Bother


Éomer woke up the next day and groaned. His arm throbbed painfully, but he knew he deserved it. He disentangled his hand from the Princess of Dol Amroth and got up and, ignoring the dizziness that washed over him, he walked over to the window.

The previous night came flooding back to him at full force.

Éomer remembered how he had felt uncontrollable rage. How he had picked up his knife and instead of the usual precise cuts, he had hacked at his arm with all the strength he possessed. How once the rage had died down the pain had overwhelmed him, and he had almost fainted. How he had cradled his maimed arm to his chest and watched it bleed while he wept.

He remembered how the rage and anger had quickly turned to despair, and shame. He knew Éowyn had found his cuts; they knew what he had been doing to himself. And he knew they would want to talk about it; and that scared him. The very thing he had wanted to do for months now scared the living daylights out of him.

And it scared him that people had discovered his secret. What would they think? They would probably declare him as mad and remove him from his throne. Or perhaps they would throw him out, and disown him entirely. Looking retrospectively, Éomer found that he could understand it if they did abandon him. He was suddenly overwhelmed with the wish that he was dead, and he knew that he had come so very close to achieving that wish the previous night.

Éomer was woken from his reverie by a movement beside him.

“You shouldn’t be up, you will do yourself more damage moving about after how ill you were last night.” Said Lothíriel.

“I had to think.” He said rather awkwardly.

“Well if you’re going to be moving around then your arm should be in a sling or you will do more damage to it.” Éomer knew she was right, his arm did nothing but throb and hang useless at his side. Lothíriel went to find him a sling and applied it expertly.

“Thank you.” He murmured. The pair lapsed into silence. After a while Lothíriel spoke again.

“Éowyn says that you did these on purpose,” she said, pointing to the scars at the top of him arm, “What made you do such a thing?”

Lothíriel had just asked the question he had most been dreading. Éomer took a deep breath and sighed heavily.

“Many things made me do it Lothíriel, and I only want to relive them once. You shall hear the story soon enough, for I know that Éowyn and Faramir will not let me escape interrogation.” Lothíriel shook her head.

“Not interrogation Éomer. They want to know what happened. We could have lost you last night, and I know I’m not the only one who was worried.” Éomer looked at Lothíriel with an innocent look of disbelief on his face.

“You were worried about me?”

“I worry about my friends.” Lothíriel stressed the word friends, knowing how much it meant to him. Éomer smiled, looking somewhat bemused yet content. After a brief silence Lothíriel turned back to Éomer, taking off the pendant that was around her neck.

“My mother gave me this before she died. She told me that it would help me through the darkest hours of my life, and it did. But now I think you need this more than I do. This is your darkest hour, and I want you to have this.”

Éomer took the pendant and had a good look at it. It was a swan carved out of the finest silver, with a tiny blue gem in its eye. It was beautiful.

“I don’t deserve this.” He said simply.

“But you need it more than I do.” Lothíriel took the small swan out of his hand and fastened it around his neck. The chain was long, so it fit him perfectly, the swan coming to rest just below his throat.

“Thank you.” Those simple words could not express the gratitude he felt. Lothíriel merely smiled but before she could say anything, someone entered the room. Éowyn frowned when she saw Éomer and Lothíriel stood by the window.

“You should still be in bed. After the state you were in last night I should keep you in bed for a week.” She said matronly. Éomer nodded sedately.

“I couldn’t stay in bed, I had to think.” Éowyn sniffed.

“Well at least your bad arm is in a sling, but I’ll bet that wasn’t your doing. Alright then, get dressed, breakfast will be ready in a few minutes, then we need to talk to you.”

Éomer shot Lothíriel a worried look as Éowyn swept out of the room.



No More Lies

Well I know you’ve got problems
I see it in your eyes
But if you want to live
To see the morning
Give it up to your brother
Or you’ll get a surprise
-Audioslave, Hypnotize


Éomer sat down opposite his sister and brother-in-law feeling nervous. Breakfast had been a quiet affair, no one wanting to ask awkward questions just yet, and so instead all they got was awkward silence. Éomer had struggled somewhat with his useless arm in its sling, but he had received help without question from Lothíriel. Éomer was glad that Lothíriel was also with them; she seemed to understand something, even if Éowyn and Faramir did not.

Éowyn began the uncomfortable proceedings by informing Éomer of the exact extent of his injuries. Eleven deep slashes, criss-crossed over his left forearm. Many of the major blood vessels had been damaged, as had the muscles and ligaments; it was highly unlikely that Éomer was going to be able to use his arm fully for some months, and in the worst case scenario, he might never regain full use of his arm again; especially if he took it into his head to repeat his violence.

“All we need to know now is why.” Finished Éowyn matter-of-factly. Éomer sighed.

“Why is not so easy as what.” He said sadly “You know of course about the other cuts.” Éowyn nodded. “I won’t pretend to you that they were accidental, or try to fool you with excuses. The cuts at the top of my arm were done by my hand, and done deliberately.”

“We know you made those cuts Éomer, but we don’t know why.” Said Faramir “We cannot understand why you would do such a thing, or what purpose it would have.” Éomer sighed again.

“Even I do not fully understand why. Any explanation I give you will be disjointed and nonsensical.”

“But it is clear to us that you need to talk about it, however nonsensical the explanation.” Said Lothíriel kindly. Éomer’s eyes smiled for a moment, then they darkened again as he began to think about what he had to say.

“The thing that makes it worse for me is that I know it’s all in my head; it’s all about the way I think, the way I feel.” Éomer sighed again.

“It began just after the war. I was struggling to cope with my new duties as King, and I was struggling to cope with my grief. I had recently lost the only two people I had looked up to since my father died.”

“If the truth be known you never got over the deaths of our parents.” Said Éowyn quietly. Éomer’s eyes said all that they needed to.

“I was just about coping, coming to terms with everything, but then Éowyn got married, and my world collapsed.” Éomer looked guiltily at Faramir. “Please don’t get me wrong, I was happy for you both, and I’ve never been as proud of my little sister as I was on the day she married you Faramir. But then I went home, and it somehow didn’t feel like home anymore; it was empty. There was nothing there, save painful memories and ghosts of the past, and a bleak future. I had never really overcome everything, and I was left alone to contend with my demons alone, now that my rock had gone.” Éowyn’s eyes began to fill with tears, and Éomer was struggling too.

“Éowyn has always been the one who had been there for me, through thick and thin; and I had been there for her too. We had looked out for each other after our parents died, but she didn’t need me anymore, and I hadn’t realised just how much I still needed her. Éowyn had found the life she had never dreamed of, never wanted, but she had found happiness. I found myself in a downward spiral of despair. I won’t pretend that I didn’t compare my life to yours, I won’t pretend that I wasn’t jealous; I was.

“The emotions that I felt were overwhelming in their strength. I was still grieving for all the people I had lost, friends and family. I was jealous of my sister, and I was bitter with it, I don’t really know whether I felt hatred, I know I was jealous though. But above all I was alone, and I despaired of it ever being otherwise; the loneliness grew until I felt it as a physical pain.” Éomer choked, and his hand went to the pendant at his throat, and he regained his composure.

“I was the king, and I was alone. Kings don’t have friends, they have subjects. There was no one to talk to, not about how I felt anyway. People seem to think that a King rules a country, and nothing else; they don’t seem to want to talk to him as a person. Even those I had known before abandoned me. I was struggling with all these powerful emotions, and there was no one I could talk to to ease the pain. I was trapped within my own head, and I had nowhere to turn. I could not have run from my problems if I had tried, so I hid them instead.

“Drink didn’t help, and after a while I just couldn’t get drunk anymore, no matter how hard I tried. Even stiff drinks like whiskey didn’t work, and I was drinking enough of it to knock out a stallion. One night, my life just seemed so empty, so bleak; the knife was just there. I felt so guilty for all the emotions raging inside me. I felt guilty for feeling so depressed when times are so good. I just wanted to punish myself for my selfishness, ease my guilt. The knife was there and I picked it up. I don’t know what gave me the idea but I did it; I cut myself.

“I can’t explain how I felt when I sliced my own skin. All I know is that everything seemed so much better when I did it. I felt as if I were really punishing myself for all the negative emotions that I felt. In those few seconds of pain, I was flying. My life didn’t seem so bad when I did it, and I did it regularly for three months. The cuts I made were precise and easily concealed; I kept everything from the world. It was cold and calculated and I hate myself for it now.

“Last night I lost my temper, I lost control. I was just so angry; angry at myself for letting my façade slip; angry at Éowyn for getting under my skin; and I was angry at Faramir for just being Faramir. I hated him for taking my sister away from me and I blamed him for my loneliness. I lost control and took all of my seething rage out on my arm. Even now I feel that it was probably best that I did. If I hadn’t I would probably have killed Faramir the way I was feeling.

“And now it is all in the open, and I have a chance to get help. I want to stop this and I know that I cannot do it alone. I am weak, naked in the dark to my inner desires; I cannot control this, and I want it to stop. I need your help.” Éomer’s eyes were pleading.

“We will do all that is within our power to get you out of this downward spiral Éomer.” Said Faramir gently. His warm grey eyes were full of pity, and pity always deeply moved him. Éowyn was crying silently, tears running down her face unchecked.

“We both suffered Éomer, and were not the only ones. The difference between you and me is that I found something good in my life, but my gain was your loss. I am sorry.” Murmured Éowyn through her tears.

“Sorry for being happy? Do not be, dear sister.” Said Éomer miserably. “Do not feel that because I am unhappy that you have no right to happiness. You deserve all the happiness in the world.”

“I deserve happiness yet you have it not? Somehow I cannot bear to live my life in happiness while you cannot find it.”

“He will find it.” Said Lothíriel suddenly. “We have to help him find it.” Éomer smiled weakly.

“We’re your family Éomer, and we are going to do our damned hardest to get you through this. We will help you fight your demons.” Faramir stood up and clapped his brother-in-law on the shoulder. “We’ll see you through, I promise.”



Things Aren’t So Bad

Oh I see your scars
I know where they form
Fresh and cut and bleeding till you’re dead and gone
I’ve seen it all before
You’ve explained it all
It’s when heaven turns to black and hell to white
Right so wrong and wrong so right now
-HIM, Beyond Redemption


Two days later Éomer was sat twirling his knife in his good hand. He wasn’t going to cut himself again, but there was now something about the knife which helped him think.

A strange calm had descended on him since he had spoken about his depression and self-harming as Faramir termed it. He felt almost empty now. He felt slightly numb, and certainly incapable of feeling what had driven him to hack his own arm apart. Éowyn, Faramir and Lothíriel had been trying to keep him busy, trying to prevent him dwelling on hopelessness he had felt, but his arm was still in its sling, and that severely restricted activities.

Yet it was talking that now made such a difference to his life. He had gotten a lot off his chest at once, and he now found talking about his feelings so much easier. It was like the bursting of a dam in the spring floods. He was no longer hiding away from the world, and he owed it all to Éowyn, Faramir and Lothíriel. Three people he owed everything to, and three people he knew he could trust.

Éomer smiled and went off to find someone to go for a ride with, one of the things he could do with his injured arm. Éomer entered the library and was none too surprised to find his brother-in-law. Faramir looked up from his book.

“Oh no, Éomer!” Éomer looked down at the knife that was in his hand and promptly burst out laughing. Faramir looked irritated and puzzled by Éomer’s sudden mirth.

“What, may I ask, amuses you so?”

“Bad things are often amusing in retrospect, especially when they cause such paranoia in you.” Faramir frowned.

“I thought…”

“I know what you thought, dear brother, and I thank you for your concern. But you really should have some faith in me. I gave you my word that I would not cut myself again while I was in your house, and I have not gone against that.”

“Be that as it may, you are still carrying a knife, and I know that temptation is an evil which is not so easily fought.”

“Have I had any cause to want to cut myself in the last two days?” Faramir shook his head. “Then stop worrying. I merely wanted to ask you if you wanted to go for a horse ride.”

“Are you sure you can manage with your arm in a sling?” Faramir asked the question kindly, but Éomer looked incredulous at the suggestion.

“A Rochir could ride a horse even if he had no arms at all!” Faramir chuckled.

“It’s good to see that you haven’t lost your verve! Alright then let’s go.”

*********************************************************************

Faramir and Éomer enjoyed a long and tiring horse ride, Éomer proving to Faramir just why the men of Rohan were accounted the greatest horse lords in Middle-Earth. Éomer even managed to prove that a Rochir could indeed ride with no arms, after insisting that Faramir tie his good arm behind his back. As for Faramir, it warmed his heart to hear Éomer laughing again.

The two men returned from their ride in good spirits. That is until they saw the two formidable looking women waiting to greet them.

“Which one of us do you think is for the high jump?” Éomer asked his brother-by-marriage.

“You! And I feel sorry for you; Éowyn is not a woman to be crossed.”

“Don’t I know it brother!”

“And I’m afraid that my cousin is no less formidable than your sister.” Éomer gave Faramir a mock look of anguish and he laughed; a laugh which was cut short by Éowyn.

“We have been looking for you all afternoon.” She said grumpily to her brother.

“We went for a ride. What did you want with me?” asked Éomer brightly. He was too used to Éowyn’s moods to pay her much heed. Faramir on the other hand, looked nothing short of terrified.

“You need your bandages changing.” Éomer sighed resignedly and followed Éowyn into the house.

*********************************************************************

Éomer was sat in the healing rooms with a pale face. Éowyn was unwinding the bandages on his arm, and he had not yet seen the full extent of the damage he had done to himself. Lothíriel was sat as before with her hand in Éomer’s, offering him silent but much needed support.

Éowyn unwound the last section of the bandage and Éomer beheld what his anger had done to him. The arm was so badly sliced that it was hard to tell which cut was which. Some had been stitched up, and the black thread made the wounds look even more ugly. The wounds that had been left opened and closed if he moved his hand slightly and they oozed a horrible yellow puss.

All of his forearm was numb, and he could barely move his fingers. There was no strength below his elbow; there was nothing but a mutilated mess.

“What have I done?” Éomer asked in horror.

“Nothing that cannot be undone with a little time and some tender loving care.” Said Éowyn kindly as she began to examine his injuries. “The cuts have begun to fester but that is not my chief concern. Clench your fist.”

Éomer did as he was told and almost screamed in agony. Every one of the wounds opened as one each secreting its foul mixture of blood and puss, and his muscles cried out in protest. Éomer bit his lip so hard he drew blood. “Well at least the tendon is not damaged.” Said Éowyn seemingly in ignorance of the fact her brother had just nearly passed out. “The muscles are quite badly damaged and it will be a while ere you will have much strength in your arm. The cuts will scar, though.”

“Good! They can serve as a reminder to not lose my temper again.” Éomer said through gritted teeth, squeezing Lothíriel’s hand for support.

Éowyn cleaned the wounds gently and applied a salve to halt the infection and help the wound heal faster. Then she rebound the arm and set it in its sling once more.

“What are we going to do with you?” asked Lothíriel amusedly, still holding Éomer’s hand. Éomer chuckled as their eyes met.

“Anything you like, my lady, just as long as I am not left alone.”

“No, I won’t leave you alone.”

Éowyn rolled her eyes at the pair of them.



Can You Heal Me?

It’s just another day
The shame is gone
Hard to believe
That I’ve let it go…
-Lacuna Coil, Swamped


Over the next four months Éomer began to heal, in body and in mind. The friendship he formed with Faramir, Éowyn an Lothíriel was quite the talk in Ithilien, but they cared not. The summer was warm and the woods inviting, and the four of them would often shrug off their duties so that they could spend an afternoon down by the river. Éomer in particular benefited from these little jaunts, and that gave the others more reason to do so.

As Éomer’s arm healed his confidence in himself grew and his happiness bloomed. The road to full recovery was long and hard but Éomer tackled the challenge with surprising energy, grateful that he no had a new focus to his life.

The first two weeks were the most tiring and most painful. Éomer had not fully recovered from the substantial blood loss he had suffered, but threw himself into what he was doing anyway. Éowyn was changing his bandages every few days to ensure that the wound did not fester, and Éomer did not relish this. But after two weeks the skin had healed sufficiently to dispense with the bandage, and a week later the stitches in the more serious wounds came out.

Slower to heal was the damage done to his muscle, but Éomer found that the strength return slowly with exercise, painful though that was. Progress was slow, and it vexed Éomer greatly that he still had to used his sling. However, his stubborn nature meant that he did what he wanted to do anyway, regardless of the pain or how tiring it was. Éomer would swell with pride with every milestone he reached, and would usually run off to show it to someone. When his bandages came off he could barely carry the weight of a cup in his hand, but after just two months he could once again wield a sword, much to Faramir’s chagrin.

As his health improved, so did Éomer’s peace of mind. His eyes would shine with happiness and he would laugh heartily at every opportunity, and he was rarely seen without a smile on his face. Éowyn and Faramir knew that his mental healing was due in no small part to Lothíriel. She and Éomer were rarely seen apart, and he benefited as much from her friendship as he did from Éowyn’s healing hand. The dark shadows of his past seemed to have left him; he smiled again, and even his old nightmares troubled him no more.

But as the end of his fourth month came in sight, so Éomer knew his time in Ithilien was drawing to a close; his arm was almost healed. Autumn was drawing in, and the weather would soon be unsuitable for travelling as far as Edoras. And as his stay drew to a close, a new shadow descended upon him, the shadow of fear; fear that he should fall prey again to his demons and that this time, there would be no escape.



The Deepest Wounds Bleed Not

May it be, an evening star
Shines down upon you,
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from home.
-Enya, May It Be (the Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Soundtrack)


Lothíriel found Éomer alone one evening. He was sat upon a balcony with a troubled look on his face, and he was twirling his knife in his hands. Lothíriel strode over and took the knife from Éomer, but he just looked at her with a hopeless look in his eye.

“Why do I seek comfort from that which I fear most?” Lothíriel looked puzzled, and Éomer gestured to the knife in her hands.

“What do you fear Éomer?” Lothíriel asked gently.

“I fear the dark; for in myself there is darkness inescapable. I am afraid that when I get home that the dark cloud of depression and despair will return, and this time I shall be powerless to resist. I am scared that I shall start cutting again, that I shall lose control again, and that this time it will not be me that I will take my anger out on. I am scared that this time, I shall end up killing somebody.” Éomer finished quietly.

“You won’t lose control again Éomer. you won’t start cutting again, and do you know why? Because Éowyn, Faramir and I will always be here for you. We will give you reason no to cut.”

“But you will all be so far away.” Said Éomer sadly.

“Then write to us! We will do everything in our power to help you Éomer, because we don’t want to lose you!” tears filled Lothíriel’s eyes. “Don’t you ever forget that there are people that love you, and that you will never truly be alone.” Éomer paused a moment before he spoke again.

“Do you know what it is like to intentionally destroy yourself? Do you know what it is like to mutilate your own body, for no better reason than it makes you feel better about yourself? Can you imagine what a person must have to feel to be driven to that? Can you imagine what it feels like to have your own blood dripping down your arm and to know that you were the one that caused it to be?” Lothíriel shook her head sadly, as much as she wanted to she could never understand what went on in his head. “I was a soldier, Lothíriel, and as such I have suffered many wounds. Some were major, some life threatening, but none ever did me as much damage as these simple cut I have made to my own skin. Some wounds run deeper than others, Lothíriel; some wounds can never heal.”

“Deep wounds heal, your arm…” Éomer cut her off.

“The deepest wounds are not always the ones that bleed, Lothíriel.” Lothíriel’s eyes opened wide with understanding. “The deepest wounds are the ones that happen in here.” Said Éomer, pointing to his head, and then to his heart.

“Maybe the deepest wounds bleed not, but I refuse to believe that they will never heal.” Éomer smiled and touched his friend’s cheek.

“You will always be there to fight my battles for me, even if you are not there in person. But what do I do when you are not there?”

“Do as I did to rid myself of the despair of my mother’s death. I wrote letters to people; my mother, my father, myself. Then I burned them.” Eomer looked puzzled. “The smoke symbolises the bad feelings, the problems disappearing, and it truly does make you feel better. Plus no one can ever find out what you have written.”

Éomer simply nodded, grateful to have a friend like Lothíriel.

He knew that while Lothíriel was there nothing could touch him, but he still wasn’t sure how he would cope when she was not there. H didn’t know how he would cope when he went home.



You Can’t Live Like This

These are the darkest clouds
That have surrounded me
Now I find myself alone
Caught in a cage
There’s no flower I can find here
Not withering
Not pale to me
Everyone with a friendly face
Seems to hide some secret inside
-Within Temptation, Caged

Éomer returned to Edoras feeling very uncertain about the future. As ever, he felt that he had been left to fend for himself before he was quite ready. He sat upon his horse staring at his home, feeling very much like he was not returning home; he felt as if he had just left it. His hand went to the swan at his throat for comfort. The King of the Mark rode on, not looking forward to what ‘home’ had in store for him.

His worst fears were soon confirmed. It was only a matter of weeks before the cloud of grief and despair and loneliness settled over him again. He found that if he followed Lothíriel’s instructions, he could just about keep it under control, but he knew he could not carry on like that forever. Sooner or later he would have to confront his demons, and rid himself of his despair once and for all.

But it would get harder before he could be truly free

*********************************************************************

Éomer returned from a strenuous four weeks negotiating peace with the Dunlendings, a task he had known would never be easy. By the time the four weeks were up, Éomer had gotten nowhere and was ready to smash his head against the nearest stone wall.

During his stay in Dunland the depression crept up on him like a dark shadow, and he was not aware of it. It hit him like a thick, choking smoke almost as soon as he returned home. He felt helpless to fight it, and no matter how hard he tried to avoid using his knife he found that he could not.

Éomer wept as he tended the six fresh wounds upon his arm. There was nothing that could stop him from doing this, and he felt himself losing control once more. The first thing he did was write a letter to Lothíriel explaining what he had just done, and exactly why, as well as he could form it into words.

But even that thought filled him with despair; it was eight days ride to Ithilien, so it would be at least two weeks until he had a reply, and Éomer was unsure of what he would do in that time.

That night Éomer cried himself to sleep. Scared and lonely he curled up in his bed in the Royal bedchambers, and he wept like a little child.

*********************************************************************

Éomer opened Lothíriel’s letter in grim anticipation; he knew what she would say and he was not entirely sure it would help. He had not written to update her that he now had twice as many cuts on his left arm, and eight wounds on his right arm. He had continued to abuse his body, though the act neither had meaning, and no longer brought him release from the pain. Éomer began to read:

Dear Éomer,

I beg of you, do not give in to despair. Fight it at all costs. I remember a man not so long ago who smiled and laughed like a child, and now this same man writes to me fearing what emotions he feels. I know that it is hard for you Éomer, but please do not give in. Do not be ashamed of the ways you have found to cope, if they help, then they help.

I have spoken to Éowyn and Faramir, and they agree that you should come stay in Ithilien again as soon as possible. We had all thought that it would be longer than this before you started cutting again. I am sorry that I cannot be there for you, but I am afraid that you must fight this battle alone.

Only you feel the way you do, and only you are ashamed of what you feel. Therefore only you can stem the pain. I wish with all my heart that I could be there with you, but it is you who has to find your demons, and you must defeat it.

Remember, I will always be here for you to talk to, and there are other gifts I have given to help you through.

Do not give up hope, you must see the sun someday soon.

Lothíriel

Éomer almost tore the letter apart in his frustration; he had expected more. He did not want to be told that she would be there on the sidelines, while he had to fight his own battles. He was tired of fighting; war had ended, and yet he had not found peace.

Éomer buried his head in his hands in dismay; this was not the first time he had considered ending it all.



The End Of All Hope

It is the end of all hope
To lose the child, the faith
To end all the innocence
To be someone like me
This is the birth of all hope
To have what I once had
This life unforgiven
It will end with a birth

No will to wake for this morn
To see another black rose born
Deathbed is slowly covered with snow

Angels, they fell first but I'm still here
Alone as they are drawing near
In heaven my masterpiece will finally be sung

Wounded is the deer that leaps highest
And my wound it cuts so deep
Turn off the light and let me pull the plug

Mandylion without a face
Deathwish without a prayer
End of hope
End of love
End of time
The rest is silence
-Nightwish, End of All Hope


Éomer sat in his bedroom surveying what was before him. A letter, carefully written to each of those who meant something to him; a letter each to Faramir, Éowyn, and Lothíriel, and one to King Elessar. Laid beside these four items were detailed instructions as to the future of Rohan, and the succession of the throne once he was gone.

Éomer sighed deeply; he wished that there were some other way, but he had searched and searched and nothing could save him now, save the cold embrace of death. He wondered for a moment what would happen when they found his body, how people would mourn. He knew he would be missed deeply by some, and although he hated to cause them pain, what other choice did he have?

Éomer wore his finest robes, and had done his hair in he braids of the warriors of Rohan; his crown lay upon his bed, waiting for its next owner. He was ready.

Éomer picked up the knife with which he had made so many marks upon his skin; he knew that this would be the final time he would mark his flesh, the last time he would cause himself pain.

He placed the knife at his throat, and prepared to draw the blade deeply across his flesh. Tears formed in his eyes as he thought of those he would leave behind, but he knew he would see them again someday. Éomer took a deep breath and steeled himself, then his eye caught sight of something on the floor; his swan pendant. He put the knife down and bent over to pick it up. He wondered why on earth it had been on the floor. He ran his thumb across the polished metal, and he remembered the words that Lothíriel had spoken as she had given him the pendant;

“My mother gave me this before she died. She told me that it would help me through the darkest hours of my life, and it did. But now I think you need this more than I do. This is your darkest hour, and I want you to have this.”

Truly Éomer had now reached the darkest hour of his life, indeed the last hour of his life, but of what help could this small piece of jewellery be to him now?

Éomer suddenly realised something; Lothíriel’s mother had given her the pendant, and it had helped her, not because the trinket was anything extraordinary, but because it had been a gift from a loved one.

Éomer chuckled at his own stupidity; this pendant meant everything to him, because Lothíriel meant everything to him. This small silver swan could see him through because the person who gave it to him could see him through. He had been so consumed by his dark thoughts and his own inner demons that he had failed to notice that the great gaping hole in his life could have been quite easily filled. All along he had felt alone and misunderstood; all he had really wanted was to feel loved.

And he realised now that he was loved; Éowyn and Faramir were his family, and they loved him. Was it possible that Lothíriel loved him? Was it possible that she had known that which Éomer had just realised when she gave him the swan pendant? Was it possible that Éomer had fallen in love with Lothíriel without realising it? Éomer was not sure, he had little experience in love. What he did know was that Lothíriel meant a great deal to him, and that it was her who had saved him.

Éomer sheathed his knife, and threw his letters into the fire; he had no need for them now. His inner demons had been routed, and he had realised just how much of an idiot he had been. He had come so close to losing everything he had and everything that was worth fighting for. The smile was back on his face, for he knew that he was fighting for the right things once more; life.

Éomer put his beloved gift back around his neck where it belonged. For the first time ever, Éomer could see beyond the dark cloud of depression. He might not have found the sun just yet, but its first rays had broken over the horizon, and Éomer looked forward to finding what was beyond the horizon.

Dawn had broken; light had conquered dark once more.


The End

No comments :

Post a Comment