Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Sequel

This is the first part of my the sequel to 'The Deepest Wounds Bleed Not' in which we finally see a happy ending!

Title; The Greatest Battles Are Fought Within
Author; captainraz
Rating; PG-13
Warnings; mentions of self harming, suicide and general mental imbalance
Summary; Éomer triumphed over his demons, and now they are subdued. But his past will not stay secret, and his despair allows his demons to take hold once more. Caught once more in a downward spiral, Éomer knows he must do something to rid himself of despair once and for all. But first he must find the root of his problems, and learn so much about himself. In the end, will Éomer be able to fight his greatest battle alone?
Author's Notes- Once again, I own nothing but the plot, and there is every chance i may have lost that at some point!




Chapter 1- Confessions

I can see,
When you stay low nothing happens
Doesn’t feel right
Late at night
Things I thought I put behind me
Haunt my mind


When Éomer, King of Rohan received the dispatch from King Elessar of Gondor that his presence was required at a week long summit of the Captains of the West, his heart leaped with joy. He had an excuse to travel to Gondor to visit his sister and brother-by-marriage, and his dear friend Lothíriel. Now that he was here, however, he had a different opinion.

---

Absently Éomer scratched the scars on his arm. Quiet reminders of a turbulent and violent past, evidence of demons not yet completely fought. Éomer’s thoughts however were not on such serious matters. His thoughts were not on anything at all, certainly anything but the council he was currently in attendance of.

It took all of Éomer’s self control to prevent himself from falling asleep. Being a warrior and a man of action, he hated councils at the best of times, but this man was so boring. Looking around the room he could tell he was not the only one who was bored to tears. All of the Dol Amroth party, including Lothiriel and her father, looked half awake; Éowyn and Faramir were entertaining themselves by sending flirty looks at each other, and playing ‘footsie’ under the table; Elessar appeared to be listening, but his eyes had long ago glazed over, and even Queen Arwen’s elven self control appeared to be being tested to the extreme. The others around the room were either fiddling and fidgeting, or attempting to stay awake.

The monotonous drone of the speaker’s voice was broken quite suddenly by someone snorting as they jolted themselves awake. The man who was speaking stopped suddenly, looking furious that someone would dare find his speech boring. King Elessar jumped in quickly to avert any conflict.

“I do believe that we could all do with a short break. Get some fresh air, clear our heads, stretch our legs.” He looked around for people to agree, and they were numerous. “This council is adjourned for one hour.” The speaker looked even more furious, but was not about to oppose his king.

Éomer watched as Aragorn took his wife’s arm and led her off, and Faramir and Éowyn did the same. He had the suspicion that they would not be using the free hour to stretch their legs. An almost unfamiliar feeling panged Éomer’s heart at that thought, but he shrugged it off.

Taking Aragorn’s advice he went outside into the gardens for a walk and some fresh air. After a short while he found a stone bench in an alcove and sat down, pondering. A few moments later, Lothíriel, Princess of Dol Amroth wandered over and sat down next to Éomer King. Éomer stretched languorously.

“I’m glad to be out of that conference hall,” said Éomer, “I don’t think I’ve ever met a man who was more boring.”

“Quite,” agreed Lothíriel, “What was he actually talking about?”

“I’m not entirely sure; I lost the will to live after about ten minutes of listening to him drone on!” Éomer had meant the comment as a joke, but Lothíriel’s scowl told him she had taken it quite differently.

“What?” she said, her voice quiet and dangerous.

“Oh come on Lothíriel, you know I only meant it as a joke,” said Éomer sounding exasperated. He was sure he did not understand why she would react so to his comment.

“One should not joke about such things, Éomer King, especially not those such as you.” Éomer was stung by Lothíriel’s use of his title, and showed it by reacting angrily.

“I wouldn’t have thought that those such as you would not judge me such. You know better than that!” he growled.

“Well perhaps some us merely worry about you, and do not want to hear of you losing the will to live, even in jest.” Lothíriel rushed off then, and Éomer knew that she was in tears, and was utterly confused.

The hour passed all too quickly and all had to return to conference. Some were undeniably in a much better mood, and it was not hard to guess why. Éomer however entered the room scowling, and Lothíriel’s expression was unreadable. Sitting down in her place, she pointedly avoided Éomer’s gaze.

---

Indeed Lothíriel began to avoid Éomer altogether, and he remained utterly perplexed as to the severity of her reaction. He was also slightly angry that she was avoiding him so, when there was so much he really needed to tell her.

Éomer finally cornered Lothíriel on the fifth day of the week long summit. Unable to catch her any other way, Éomer grabbed her elbow as she passed by him, and pulled her into a dark side corridor.

“Hey! What…?” Éomer put his hand over her mouth to halt her protests.

“You have been avoiding me, and so I have been forced to use drastic measures in order to be able to talk to you.” Lothíriel angrily shook herself from his grip.

“You are a pig Éomer King!” Éomer looked stung, noticing that she was again using his formal title.

“Will you stop being so formal with me Lothíriel! I only wanted to talk to you, to tell you exactly why I am not going to lose the will to live just because of some silly, boring old man at a summit!”

Lothíriel calmed down significantly, and looked both worried and fearfully curious.

“Why…” Éomer lowered his eyes and his voice.

“Because I’ve already come so close to letting go on life.” Lothíriel’s eyes widened and she had to fight back tears at the thought.

“Oh Éomer! When? Why?”

“About three months ago. I told you I had started cutting again, but the response I had from you was nowhere near enough to pull me out of my despair. This time I almost went too far, this time I became suicidal.”

“No!” gasped Lothíriel. Éomer nodded grimly.

“I even got as far as putting my knife to my throat. I had everything prepared for in the event of my death. I was ready to die.”

“What stopped you?” Éomer smiled slightly, and that surprised Lothíriel.

“You did. Or at least, your necklace did.”

“My necklace?” Lothíriel sounded confused, and Éomer put his hand to the swan at his throat.

“Yes. You told me that it would help me through my darkest times, and it did. I recognised the power it held, and it saved my life.”

“And yet you still make jokes about losing the will to live?” Lothíriel’s voice sounded both incredulous and hurt at the same time, if that was possible.

“I didn’t think. I didn’t think about how my words would hurt you.” Lothíriel knew that was the closest thing to apology she was going to get. “It is in the past, and a past that I am trying to forget. I didn’t think.” He ended lamely.

“You shouldn’t want to forget about something like that Éomer. It is not yet fully gone, is it? It could come back, you could start cutting again if you go downhill, couldn’t it?” Éomer nodded sadly, tears forming in his eyes. It felt like the wall he had built around his feelings that last few weeks had just crumbled, and now everything was just pouring out.

“Oh Éomer!” said Lothíriel, folding him in her embrace, tears falling down her cheeks. “Tell me everything.”

For over an hour they sat to together, crying in the dark. All of the grief and despair the Éomer had tried to hide came flooding out and Lothíriel did her best to comfort him. Together they went over the past with a fine-toothed comb, trying to come to terms with all that had happened to Éomer since the War of the Ring. Lothíriel sat and comforted Éomer, and listened to his troubles, his hopes and his fears, just like she had promised him.

When neither of them had any tears left to cry, Lothíriel wiped her friend’s face and they both went to dinner, somehow managing to hide form the world what had just transpired. Eomer certainly felt better for having talked, but he knew that his troubles were far from over.

Neither of them knew about the figure who had waited in the shadows, listening intently to every word. No, Éomer’s real troubles were only just beginning.



Chapter 2- the beginning of greater troubles

I just know there’s no escape now once it’s set its eyes on you
But I won’t have had to stare it in the eye

Stand my ground
I won’t give in
No more denying
I’ve got to face it
Won’t close my eyes and hide the truth inside
If I don’t make it someone else will
Stand my ground


The final day of the conference had finally arrived, and King Elessar was just about to officially end the day’s council when a cunning politician by the name of Tyrannon rose and begged leave to speak.

“My lord Elessar, there is one item yet which I wish to be discussed.” Elessar nodded wearily.

“Speak.”

“I wish to bring in to question Éomer King’s ability to rule.” The room was thrown into chaos at this statement. Éomer merely groaned, knowing what this was about. Faramir, Éowyn and Lothíriel all jumped to their feet, shouting in protest, and the other lords of Rohan added their voices to the tumult. Even Elessar sat forward in his chair in surprise, hiding well the fact he also knew what this was about.

“Faramir!” shouted Éomer, silencing the room. “All you three sit down; let us hear this man’s accusations.”

“Lord Tyrannon, know you that the consequences could be dire if your accusations prove unfounded. On what grounds do you seek to depose King Éomer?” warned King Elessar.

“I wish to bring in to question his mental well-being. The accusations which I level are grave indeed. I put forward that Éomer King is incapable of ruling on the grounds of several of his actions. I have heard admitted from his own mouth that for months he has intentionally been cutting his arms with a knife for no understandable purpose. I also heard admitted two circumstances which are serious indeed. The first is an occurrence in which Éomer King hacked his own arm to pieces in anger, admitting that if he had not done so he would quite likely have killed your own Steward, my lord. The second is more alarming still; that Éomer King took it into his head to commit suicide, and took it as far as putting a knife to his throat before being deterred. Need I say more?”

The entire room looked on in stunned silence at these accusations, though they were not revelations to all. Éomer stood slowly and sadly, facing Lord Tyrannon.

“I will not deny the allegations which have been put forward against me. There are scars upon my body which were caused by my own hand, I will admit that. I will also say to you that I would not expect any one of you to understand my reasons for doing so, and I do not care to explain them. I will however contend with the question of my ability to rule my country; my personal torment has not affected Rohan thus far.”

“But you did attempt to commit suicide.” Argued Tyrannon.

“I intended to, but I did not attempt. None of your claims can I truthfully deny; for indeed was I troubled in mind.” Éomer paused and thought out his next words, and he knew that saying them could be a rash move indeed. “I will not deny you allegations, but neither will I allow your condemnation; it is not granted to any lord of Gondor to judge the Kings of Rohan fit to rule or not. Leave is given only to the people whom I serve, and that power is afforded to only three in this room. Therefore ere we depart let us hear their judgment, by which I shall abide, and let us conclude this business at this time.”

The three lords of Rohan who were present squirmed in their seats, none wanting to speak first. Neither Gamling nor Elfhelm nor Éothain wished to betray their King, yet they had been bidden by him to pass judgement. None of them dared speak treason, even in foreign halls.

“Come now, let us be done with this business. In my halls your judgement shall not stand as treason, not when you have been commanded by your King to speak thus.” Said Elessar, forcing his words out. He did not want to see his friend removed from office, but he wanted to be done with the uncomfortable affair.

“Éomer is my King, by blood and by deed. As my captain he fought beside me, and I counted him as my friend. Thus I shall not speak against him, for it is not the place of a Marshall to bring his King to account.” Éothain spoke first, and when he was done he sat in his seat, glaring at the other two Rohirrim. Éomer gave a small smile, thankful for the support, but he knew the other two could still vote against him.

“I put my faith in the bloodline of Eorl. Éomer is my King, yet even a king needs rest. If he would take my advice I should advise him to make the most of the leave of absence he has been afforded in the next two months, that he may better rule when he returns.” Elfhelm’s judgement was not condemning, but still suggested he took a rest form duties. Gamling stood to pass his judgement.

“I have heard the claims made against my king, and heard the admissions from his own mouth. For me it serves to make sense of Éomer’s behaviour of recent months. Moody and withdrawn he has been about his personal life, but I have not known it to have affected his rule. Quite the opposite, I have seen my lord throw himself passionately into his duties and shown unswerving commitment to the people of the Mark. But I have heard him admit that he would have killed himself, and this sits badly with me. The death of the King would have affected the people of the Riddermark.

“Yet still I stand by Éomer, for he is King by right of blood and by strength of deed and by the word of the late King Théoden. Éomer is the rightful King of the Mark, and the authority to depose him does not belong to any lord of Gondor. This then is my judgement; Éomer is King, and shall remain thus, yet I would have him stand down for a time to confront that which so obviously has troubled him, that he might return to Rohan when he is judged to be ready.”

Gamling sat when his speech was over, and there was silence in the hall until Éomer stood to speak.

“You have heard the judgements passed upon me, and true to my word I shall abide by them.” Faramir was shaking his head, his eyes wide open. He stood up suddenly in protest.

“You cannot!” nearly everyone in the room looked surprised at Faramir’s uncharacteristic rashness. “You cannot do this Éomer!” Éomer simply locked gazes with his brother-in-law and continued.

“As of this moment, I stand down from my throne and pass the care of Rohan to my three lords in this room, for a time.” Faramir bowed his head and muttered no to himself. Others in the room simply looked shocked at the turn of events, and Éowyn and Lothíriel seemed to be struggling with tears. “With that business concluded I do believe that this council is ended. There is nothing more to say. Lord Elessar.” Éomer nodded to the King of Gondor and left the room, leaving a stunned silence in his wake. Slowly people began to move and leave.

Elessar looked in a foul mood and motioned to his Steward and the Dol Amroth party.

Tyrannon was one of the last to leave the room, and Éomer was waiting for him. As the politician left the room Éomer grabbed hold of him and dragged him into the shadows, pinning him to the wall.

“What do you think you’re playing at?” protested Tyrannon.

“I am giving you a warning. I do not know what you think you have gained by removing me from office, but I tell you now; you have not won. I will return to Rohan to take up my seat in the Golden Hall once more.” Tyrannon smiled wryly.

“When you have been judged fit.”

“And who is judging me? You have not the right.”

“You are a madman Éomer; they won’t let you back, not if I have anything to do with it.”

“You want to be careful, I’ve just about had enough of you.” said Éomer dangerously, letting his temper show just enough as to be a warning.

“Is that a threat?”

“It’s a promise.” And with that Éomer walked off, not letting Tyrannon see just how upset he was at this turn of events.

The whole world would know, and the whole world would judge, whether they had the right or not.



Chapter 3- further down the spiral


The White City was still tingling with the revelation of Éomer King’s abdication when the Rohan party was leaving three days later. Éomer had spent very little time with his friends, and hadn’t been seen at all in public.

The party was stood in a courtyard on the sixth level, just outside the Citadel entrance. All three Rohirrim Lords and their guard were incredibly subdued, the burden of the task ahead weighing down on their minds and on their spirits. Many had gathered to see them off, but all were equally subdued because of Éomer’s admittance, resignation and apparent retreat into recluse. Aragorn Elessar was bidding farewell and offering advice to Gamling when an unexpected person made an unexpected appearance.

Éomer look weary and dishevelled; he had obviously not slept much and his eyes looked laced with drink. He wore simple breeches and a shirt that was only half tucked in. No longer was he the tall and regal warrior king they all knew, nor did he pretend to be. No one had expected him to turn up, but his untidy appearance surprised none in light of the recent revelations. Nodding briefly to those he passed in the now silent courtyard he made his way over to Gamling.

“This is a proclamation that I wish to be made all over Rohan.” Éomer’s voice was amazingly sober, but it was despondent. Gamling looked puzzlingly at him as Éomer handed him a piece of parchment. “The people of Rohan deserve to know the truth. They deserve to know of the madness of their king, and they have the right to judge me for themselves.”

“You are sure you wish to do this?” Gamling asked hesitantly taking the parchment.

“I will not lie to my people, and I will not lie to myself anymore. Please do this, for me.” Gamling nodded. Éomer smiled grimly. “I will be back, I promise you. I will not abandon my people.”

“And neither shall your people abandon you, Éomer King.” Replied Gamling with a salute, before spurring his horse and riding out. He was quickly followed by the rest of the party from Rohan.

Éomer stood watching the road long after everyone else had left, and long after the dust from the horses had settled. Eventually, as it turned dark, Éowyn and Lothíriel came out and made him go in for something to eat. Worry was clearly etched on the two women’s faces, and they were right to worry.

They didn’t know if Éomer would ever be the same man again.

-----

After the party from Rohan had left Éomer returned to his hermit-like existence. He had been understandably crushed by his ‘problem’ being made public, but even he didn’t know how badly it had affected him. He did know that it was unlikely that he would ever be allowed to return to office and take his rightful place in the Golden Hall. Everyone in the world thought he was mad at best, and possessed of an evil spirit at worst. Éomer tried to avoid everyone that he could, spending long hours alone in his room. Not even Éowyn and Faramir could get through to him, and Lothíriel too was hard pressed to get anything coherent out of him.

Eventually, Lothíriel, Éowyn and Faramir were forced to tell him that they were going to Emyn Arnen as planned, and would leave him in Minas Tirith if he continued to sulk. It was common knowledge that Éomer had been drinking heavily since… but few knew the true extent of the destruction he was wreaking on his body, nor did many people know of the dangerous downward spiral that Éomer had once again placed himself on. Éowyn, Faramir and Lothíriel wanted him away from the public, and where they could keep an eye on him. Reluctantly Éomer agreed.

-----

Éomer continued to drink heavily at Emyn Arnen. That was, until Faramir put his foot down rather hard because his brother-in-law had drunk half of the bottles of his favourite (and most potent) wine.

“That is the last straw, Éomer you drunkard!” Bellowed Faramir when he discovered his depleted wine rack. “How are you ever going to convince them that you are not mad if you age always drunk?”

“Define ‘them’.” Retorted Éomer “You don’t think I am mad, so who exactly is judging me? And I’m not drunk!”

“The whole world is judging you Éomer. You made your problem public, and now the whole world judges.” Éomer started to argue that he hadn’t made his problem public, but Faramir ignored him and continued. “And I think that you are a fool, you fall into the same trap time and time again and don’t seem to realise it. One day you won’t be able get out of that trap, and you will be so caught that we won’t be able to help you. It started with drink last time didn’t it?” asked Faramir quietly and pointedly.

Éomer bit back the tirade he had been planning. He knew what Faramir referred to, and in his heart he knew that Faramir was right. If he calmed his mind, cleared it of the alcohol induced fuzz, he could feel it. It was an almost tangible being, one that no one else knew was there, silently urging him to use his knife. He knew that that was why he had started drinking in the first place, the alcohol numbed the insistent nagging in his skull. But had it awaked a new monster?

Éomer shook his head violently, as if in denial.

“I need to think.” He said simply, and with that he walked out.



Chapter 4- the downward spiral (the bottom)

It’s all around,
Getting stronger, coming closer
Into my world
I can feel
That its time for me to face it
Can I take it?


Éomer disappeared after that, for two whole weeks. In that time it seemed as if half of Ithilien was running around trying to find the errant royal, and the other half was occupied trying to keep their Prince from finding himself and blowing a hole in Éomer’s head with his bow. To say that Faramir and his family were angry would be an understatement, but they were also very worried. The best rangers in all of Gondor could find no trace of him for two weeks, and in his state of mind it was obvious as to why they were so worried.

----------

Éomer sat down upon a small hillock and wiped the rain from his face. It was pouring it down, and Éomer was soaked to the skin and shivering from cold, but he hardly noticed. Éomer didn’t quite know how long he had been out here, and was completely oblivious to the mayhem he was causing. He knew that he had neither eaten nor slept since he left Faramir standing looking puzzled in the wine cellar, but that didn’t bother him either. He needed to think.

He was scared. Once more he was on a downward spiral drawing him inexorably towards death and destruction, and even now, after all he had already been through, he felt more helpless than ever. He felt as if he was watching someone else’s fall into darkness, unable to help them. And Éomer knew that that was how it would seem, that he would be unable to do anything to help himself until he discovered the true reasons that gave his ‘demons’ their power.

For that was how Éomer saw them now, as demons. Living, breathing beings, ones that only he could see, ones that lived only in his head, and lived only to lead him to darkness. If Éomer had looked in a mirror then, his confused and troubled mind would have seen little shadows dancing on his shoulders, laughing and leering at his pathetic attempts to fight them. Their mere presence was a mockery of the noble and honourable man that Éomer truly was, the noble and honourable man that was fighting every moment to escape from these demons. But no matter how hard or how long he fought, Éomer knew that, ultimately, he was failing.

He was falling.

Éomer knew that somehow he had to go back to the start of all this. He had to find the root of all of this before he could truly be free, but how? All of Éomer’s life seemed to press in on him, suffocating him, preventing him from seeing or thinking clearly. Everywhere he looked in his life, there seemed to be a shadow over him. And for as long as he could remember there had been something missing from his life. Éomer strongly suspected that he wouldn’t know the source of his demons power until it was far too late.

------

Éomer returned to the Prince of Ithilien’s house a changed man. He no longer seemed to want to fight, he felt that he couldn’t. He no longer seemed to care what others thought of him, what did it matter anyway? How were other people’s opinions going to help him when they just thought he was mad? His face was gaunt and troubled, and he seemed to be bowed down by the weight of the shadows on his shoulders, shadows that only he could see. He was detached to the point where he just brushed off the absolute beating he received for having disappeared for over a fortnight.

Worst of all for Éomer was the news that Lothíriel had been forced to return to Dol Amroth while he had been gone. Unable to say goodbye, she had left him a letter, but still Éomer came close to complete and utter despair. He knew that a letter wouldn’t help him; it hadn’t in the past and it wouldn’t now. He needed Lothíriel there, with him, to guide him.

But she was gone; now he would have to do this alone, and that was what Éomer feared most.



Chapter 5- talk your way out of this

Though this might just be the ending of the life I held so dear
But I won’t run, there’s no turning back from here

Stand my ground
I won’t give in
No more denying
I’ve got to face it
Won’t close my eyes and hide the truth inside
If I don’t make it someone else will
Stand my ground


Éomer was sat in his room, alone again. Lothíriel had gone, and always there were duties for Éowyn and Faramir to be doing. It was the price you paid for being of noble station; you rarely had the time to spend with your family. And so Éomer was left alone in the fight against the monster that was himself.

Éowyn and Faramir had not been too happy about his little disappearing act and less happy when he seemed unbothered by their little rant when he returned. In the weeks since he had been back in Emyn Arnen, Éomer had been growing more and more certain that they too thought that he was mad. It wasn’t helping that the quiet urging had turned into an almost constant ache in the back of his mind. Thus far he’d managed to control it, but it was getting increasingly harder and harder.

Even as he sat there, in his room, he could hear the shadows in his mind giggling and laughing at him. He sat watching as they spat in his face, and his temples ached with the effort of resisting their insidious commands to pick up his knife and…

No! He would not think that. If he thought that then he would have lost for surely he would not be able to resist then. If he thought about it then he would do it, and he could not afford to take another step towards the doom that these demons promised him. although… if he did do it, then the debilitating nagging in his head would go away. He might actually be able to relax enough to get a decent nights sleep, untroubled by nightmares. All he had to do was pick up his knife…

“LEAVE ME ALONE!!!” bellowed Éomer suddenly, throwing his knife as hard as he possibly could through the window, shattering the glass. “GET OUT OF MY HEAD AND LEAVE ME ALONE!!!”

Éowyn came rushing in then, brought running by the sound of smashing glass, and by Éomer’s bellowing. She entered to find her brother stood in the middle of the room, face contorted with anger and breathing heavily, shouting and gesticulating at some unknown foe.

“Éomer, what is it?” Éowyn asked gently and cautiously, she had no way of knowing how he would react to her presence when he was in this state. To her surprise, he turned towards her with tears in his eyes before collapsing on the floor sobbing. Éowyn rushed to his side and wrapped him in a huge hug.

“It’s just too much for me. Too many emotions and I can’t control them. Everyone thinks I’m mad and I do too; I have voices in my head Éowyn, demons sat upon my shoulders. I’m going mad and the whole world knows it.” Éomer wept into his sister’s shoulder, and Éowyn didn’t know what to think. Certainly her brother seemed to be mad, but then, if he truly was would he be able to identify that he was mad?

“Come on Éomer,” said Éowyn helping her brother to his feet, “We need to get you a cup of tea and then we are going to sit down and have a little talk.” Éomer merely sniffed and nodded, tears still streaming from his eyes.

“What are we going to do with you?” said Éowyn under her breath.

----

Ten minutes later Éomer was on his second cup of tea and feeling much better, although Éomer would credit this to that large shot of whiskey Éowyn had added rather than to the calming properties of the tea itself.

“Talk to me Éomer,” said Éowyn “What exactly is happening to you?” Éomer laughed, the first time he had done so since his ‘self-harming’ had become public.

“Apart from I’m going mad?” he asked ironically.

“At least he still has a sense of humour” muttered Éowyn. “You said that there are too many emotions and you can’t control them, would you care to elaborate?” Éomer sighed.

“It started off as grief, and as loneliness, but I already told you that. When I went back to Rohan after my four months here the loneliness hit me harder than ever, as did a depression I couldn’t control. You know of course that I started cutting again, and that I nearly killed myself?” Éowyn nodded grimly. “I can’t quite remember what, but I only stopped because I discovered something. Lothíriel’s pendant saved me, but for some reason I can’t remember what actually saved me. After that I was ok, I just threw myself into my duties. I wasn’t as happy as I could have been, but neither was I depressed, I supposed I just felt numb after what I had nearly done.”

“What do you mean, you don’t quite remember what actually stopped you from killing yourself?” asked Éowyn.

“They won’t let me.” Replied Éomer quietly.

“They?”

“These voices I have in my head. The personification of all the bad emotions, the things that drove me to cutting myself in the first place. I see them as shadow demons sat on my shoulders, and even now they are laughing at me.” Éowyn looked sceptical. “See I told you I was mad.” Said Éomer with a laugh.

“And these… demons, they tell you to cut yourself and they stop you from remembering things?”

“Yes. I can ignore their urgings up to a point, that’s why I haven’t cut since the end of November.” Éowyn looked impressed that he hadn’t started cutting again since he had been removed from office.

“But why would they stop you from remembering things?”

“I think that that night, the night when I almost killed myself. I think that I discovered the true, deep reason why. I think I discovered the one incident, the one emotion that gives these demons their power, and they don’t want me to remember what that was.” Éowyn was worried that Éomer saw these emotions as actual beings, but could not deny the actual logic behind the words, and they seemed to have given her brother some courage. “I know how to beat these shadows, these demons. I know how I can be rid of them so that I am truly happy and I’ll never have problems like this again, I just need to find it within myself.”

“And I think you need help to do that.” Said Éowyn. “Think now for me Éomer, what is it that makes you… cut, what makes you tick? When is it that these ‘demons’ are at their most powerful?”

“You think that there is a catalyst?” asked Éomer with a frown. “Something that happens in my life to unleash these deep-set emotions?” Éowyn nodded.

“Think Éomer, right back to the beginning, what made you start cutting?”

“I don’t know. The War of the Ring had just been fought, we’d lost Théoden and Théodred, I’d been made King, and you got married. There was no one incident, it just got too much. I think I’d had a hard day that day.” Éomer shrugged Éowyn let it go.

“And when you hacked your arm to pieces at our house?”

“The argument with Faramir,” said Éomer immediately “We both just snapped.” He added sheepishly.

“When you returned home in September?”

“I didn’t start cutting until October, after a frustrating four weeks in Dunland”

“When you decided to kill yourself?”

“Disappointment at the lack of help I got from Lothíriel’s letter.”

“And when the ‘voices’ and ‘demons’ appeared?”

“Tyrannon,” said Éomer despondently “I might not have wanted to be King, but the position is mine by right and I have a duty to my people.”

“Éomer, demons or not do you really have to break my windows?” said Faramir casually from where he was leant against the doorframe. Neither Éomer nor Éowyn were sure of how much he had heard, but neither need have worried. Faramir walked over to give Éomer a hearty slap on the back. “You, my brother, are going to have to stop smashing my windows long enough to find the source of your problems and solve them so that you can return to Rohan.” Éomer looked puzzled at the comment, but was glad Faramir seemed to understand.

“I promised I would stand beside you no matter what Éomer, and I plan on keeping that promise. You will get through this.” reassured Faramir with a smile.

If Faramir could hear what Éomer could in his head he wouldn’t have been so sure, but he was glad of the support nonetheless.

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