Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Sequel

The Second Part of my sequel to 'The Deepest Wounds bleed Not'

Title- The Greatest Battles Are Fought Within



Chapter 6- fight back, Éomer, fight back

All I know for sure is I’m trying
I will always stand my ground

Stand my ground
I wont give in (I wont give in)
I wont give up (I wont give up)
No more denying I got to face it
Won’t close my eyes n hide the truth inside
If I don’t make it someone else will

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


“First things first, we need to keep you busy,” announced Faramir happily over breakfast the next morning. Éomer looked up at him sceptically from his bread and honey.

“What on earth has gotten into you Faramir?” he asked. Faramir merely shrugged happily, but Éomer got the feeling that Faramir knew something that he didn’t.

“You need to stop dwelling on your problems and find something constructive to do.”

“And what is there constructive to do around here for mad people?” asked Éomer sardonically. He could hear high pitched giggling in his ear again, but resisted the urge to swat his shoulder; he would get the better of them.

“Evidently what you are lacking is mental discipline,” said Faramir suddenly dropping the giddy tone. “And look at you Éomer, you are as unfit as anything; your muscles are far too relaxed, and you’ve been drinking far too much lately, you’ve developed a real beer belly! What good are you going to be if you cannot fight?”

“I haven’t been able to practise for months. My bad arm hindered me for a long time and you try finding time to practise your swordplay when there are a hundred councils to attend in a day,” said Éomer irritably.

“Well, now your arm has healed, and you have plenty of time on you hands, you can get into shape again.” And with that Faramir dragged Éomer to his feet and out the door with his giddy school boy face back on, leaving Éomer mourning his only half eaten breakfast.

----

Not too long later Éomer found himself in the practise ring stripped to the waist and sword in hand facing an equally half-naked and similarly armed Faramir, who was still sporting his silly grin.

“What in the name of Gandalf’s undergarments is wrong with you? You and Éowyn aren’t expecting my first niece or nephew are you?”

“Well if we are then Éowyn hasn’t told me yet,” said Faramir seriously “Here’s to hoping!” the silly grin was back on his face. Éomer shook his head as if in despair at his brother’s childish behaviour.

“Then why the silly grin Faramir? What do you know?” Faramir merely tapped the side of his nose.

“I brought you out here to get you into shape, not to answer silly questions.” Then Faramir straightened up, saluted and shouted, “Éomer King, have at thee.”

For the next hour Faramir pressed him hard, and by the end both were sweating profusely. Éomer’s muscles had burned painfully from early on, but he practised the mental discipline Faramir had told him he needed and ignored it; he knew he needed to do this as much for his sanity as for his fitness. After a quick drink and a bucket of water over both their heads to cool down, they were back in the ring and fighting again.

Éomer was tired, and he found he couldn’t fight both Faramir and the constant urging and giggling in his head. His muscles burned, and his instincts cried out to stop so that he could confront his demons head on. Instead Éomer launched himself at his brother-in-law with such ferocity that Faramir had a hard time matching him. Steel clashed against steel with frightening tempo. At the end of the allotted hour Éomer refused to relent, and pressed Faramir hard until they were both exhausted. Even Faramir’s well kept muscles were burning with the effort now, and his throat was dry. Éomer simply would not let up, his brow was furrowed, and Faramir knew that it was not him that he growled at.

Finally, the pain and mounting exhaustion built up a wall that the demons could not penetrate through, and Éomer’s determination kept it there. He fell down suddenly, finally succumbing to fatigue, and Faramir nearly fell over him. Both men lay on the ground breathing hard and painfully for some time before Faramir found the strength to speak.

“What happened, Éomer?” asked Faramir through laboured breaths.

“They tried to get into my head, but I wouldn’t let them. I thought you said I didn’t have mental discipline,” laughed Éomer.

“Okay you proved your point, but did you have to take it out on me?” gasped Faramir clutching his heaving chest still; they had been practising at a ferocious pace for well over an hour, and it was showing in both the men.

Éomer grinned even as he felt the first attempts to breach the block of his weary mind, but he denied them. This was all in his head, and in his head he would be in control; if he could not even control his own thoughts, then how could he ever hope to keep control of a country? He growled away the shadows that threatened to overtake his thoughts; only sheer determination would keep his own thoughts under control.

He looked up and met Faramir’s eyes; those kind grey eyes that held so much wisdom and hid a lifetime of pain. Faramir had fought away his demons, Éowyn had helped him do that, just as he had helped her fight hers, and now he and Éowyn were helping him fight his demons. And Lothíriel is helping me too he thought. Éomer realised how lucky he truly was to have those three; they gave him reason to fight, they gave him hope, and that is the most precious gift of all.

Éomer said none of this, but he knew Faramir understood; Faramir always understood.

“Come on you great oaf,” he smiled, “lets get some food.”

Éomer’s stomach growled loudly in answer and both men laughed.

---

Éomer’s physical condition improved dramatically over the next week, and his mental discipline increased daily. By the end of a fortnight he was once more the powerful warrior he had previously been, beating all in Ithilien who would fight him. His demons were under control during the day now, and the noble and honourable man he truly was began to surface once more.

Night time was an entirely different story. His demons manifested themselves in his dreams, and not a night went by when he was not visited by horrific nightmares. During the night, Éomer relived all the bad things that had happened in his life, relived every gruesome battle in sickening blow-by-blow detail. He would wake several times a night, drenched with cold sweat and screaming, often entangled in his bedclothes from thrashing violently.

Despite this though, Faramir thought he was ready to re-enter the public domain, inviting him to attend the Council of Gondor when he went on the 20th of May. Éomer politely declined. He knew it would be better for him to wait until he was completely recovered before he re-entered public scrutiny once more.

But Éomer still didn’t know when that would be.



Chapter 7- Consequences and Revelations


Look into my eyes, you will see
What you mean to me,
Search your heart, search your soul
And if you find me there you will search no more,
Don’t tell me it’s not worth trying for
You can’t tell me it’s not worth dying for
You know it’s true
Everything I do, I do it for you.
-Bryan Adams, (Everything I do) I Do it For You



Éomer awoke one morning before the end of May to find himself on the cold stone floor and Faramir stood over him with an ugly look on his face. Éomer sat up and shook the sleep from his head.

“What in the name of all the Valar in Valinor have I done now?” he asked, dreading the answer.

“You’ve been walking in your sleep again,” said Faramir in a cold voice that chilled Éomer’s soul “and you attacked Éowyn.” Éomer groaned and buried his face in his hands. Not only had he probably turned his sister and brother-in-law against him, but in the same night he had managed to undo months of hard work. “And if that weren’t bad enough, Éowyn is also with child.”

“I’m going to be an uncle?”

“Possibly,” replied Faramir and Éomer could not hold back his tears then. Faramir’s heart melted, deeply moved by pity for his troubled friend. Éomer was sat ranting nonsensically through his tears, saying that he should just be left in the wilderness to die and other such ridiculous ramblings. Faramir cleared his throat to get Éomer’s attention.

“You need not worry your silly little head too much,” said Faramir, the tone of his voice dramatically different, “the healer says that a fall down the stairs shouldn’t have caused any damage to the unborn babe; Éowyn is as tough as old boots and twice as stubborn.” Éomer was shocked out of his crying.

“You’re covering up for me again aren’t you?” Faramir smiled. “Do you ever think that you’d be better off if I had killed myself, after all the trouble I’ve caused?”

“Never!” replied Faramir truthfully. “You have a knack for attracting trouble that others have to get you out of, but we’ll see you through it.”

“I don’t deserve friends like you,” said Éomer miserably.

“Stop winging you great pansy! Do you want to visit your clumsy sister or not?” Faramir’s eyes twinkled, and Éomer joined in the jesting.

“So you were lying to me when you said I wasn’t going to be an uncle.”

“I didn’t say that,” Faramir protested “I said that Éowyn hadn’t told me.” Éomer dragged himself up form the floor and wiped the remnants of his tears form his eyes. Faramir smiled, he could see in Éomer’s eyes that his night time attack hadn’t undone the work they had all put in to his recovery, it had simply doubled his resolve. “Come on, let’s go see Éowyn.”

---

Éowyn as it happened turned out to be quite alright apart from a few bruises, and was more bothered about the fact Faramir was keeping her to her bed than the fact her brother had beaten her up. Éomer had sat and cried and apologised profusely, and Éowyn let her brother get it out of his system. Both she and Faramir were glad that he wasn’t going to give up after this little setback; it was commonly known that the love Éomer held for his sister was rival to none, and if anything had happened to her because of him it would have destroyed him.

Eventually Faramir pestered that Éowyn should be left to sleep, much to her disapproval, and Éomer slipped out to be alone. He needed to think.

---

Éomer was sat with his back against a tree in the Gardens of Ithilien, widely regarded as the most beautiful gardens in all of Gondor, but it was not his sister’s handiwork that concerned Éomer now. Éomer hated himself for what he had done to Éowyn, and he felt wretched that she and Faramir had covered for him yet again. Éomer knew that these were emotions that his so called demons could feed on, but he refused to let them; he was going to find a way to destroy them once and for all.

All he needed to do was discover the emotion that gave them most power, and then find a way to eliminate that emotion; easier said than done.

Éomer sat racking his brains for the best part of an hour, trying without much success to find the root of all of his problems. He mentally went through all the major events in his life, trying to sort through the emotions he had felt at the time, but he failed to find a solution to his problems; his demons were still laughing at him somewhere inside his head. Éomer buried his head in his hands in despair.

I wish Lothíriel were here he thought miserably. Then he lifted his head up, realisation slowly dawning in him at last. His hands reached to his throat to where his swan pendant hung, almost forgotten. He took it off and turned it over in his hands, remembering at last what he had discovered that night he had almost killed himself, that night he had blocked out of his memory.

This simple gift, nothing more than a necklace had saved him, and at last he knew why. It was a gift from someone very dear to him, someone who cared about him and had lent him strength when he most needed it; and so the pendant lent him strength too. The swan necklace was a gift from someone he loved; for Éomer realised now that he did indeed love Lothíriel, and Éomer felt stupid for not realising it sooner. What he had to do was clear to him now, and excitedly he set about preparing for his journey.

---

An hour later Éowyn came out of the house to find out what all the commotion was about, to find her brother sat astride Firefoot in a set of armour he had purloined from the Ithilien armouries and quite obviously prepared for a long journey.

“Éomer! What in the blazes do you think you are doing?”

“I have to go to Dol Amroth Éowyn,” replied her brother, who was trying to convince the gate keeper to let him out.

“What the hell for? Éomer I don’t think you should attempt this right now,” warned Éowyn when her brother looked as if he would argue with her.

“I have to get to Dol Amroth!” Éomer almost shouted, “Trust me on this!” Éowyn though that her brother had lost his mind completely and was about to voice this opinion when she felt her husband’s hand on her arm.

“It’s alright,” he said to Éowyn more than to Éomer, “You go get your girl Éomer.”

Éowyn wondered what the hell her husband was on about for a moment before it dawned on her. Éomer merely smiled; the ever astute Faramir had of course known how he felt all along. Faramir had known the solution to Éomer’s problem but had had to ensure he stayed alive long enough to discover it for himself.

“Thank you.” He said simply.

“Any time, little brother,” said Faramir with an affectionate smile on his face, “Now go.”

Éomer kicked Firefoot into motion and was gone, bound for Dol Amroth and his fair lady.

“He is healed.” Said Éowyn.

“Almost,” replied Faramir “Almost.”



Chapter 8- Dol Amroth


Éomer had envisioned some slight problems about his unexpected trip to Dol Amroth, but he hadn’t envisioned them being problems with getting into the palace. The Doorward at the Palace had evidently heard too many of the rumours surrounding the ‘madman’ King of Rohan and was obstinately refusing to grant Éomer entry.

“Listen you damned fool I am the King of the Riddermark; open the flaming door!” barked Éomer attempting rather unsuccessfully to keep his notoriously fiery temper in check; he would bear scars for the rest of his life from the last time he lost his temper.

“Sorry milord, but I can’t do that. No offence sir but they say you admitted to being mad, and I can’t let a madman in to see my lord the Prince.”

“I may be mad but now you are making me angry,” warned Éomer “Open the door.” When the door ward looked like arguing for the umpteenth time Éomer cut across him. “If you listened to the rumours properly you’d realise that I am more of a danger to myself than to anyone else.” The Doorward didn’t have a satisfying argument to this and so reluctantly he let Éomer in.

---

Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth looked up as someone barged into the council room unannounced. His face quickly turned to surprise when he saw who it was.

“Éomer King, what brings you to my door?” Éomer smiled inside that someone still recognised his authority.

“Prince Imrahil, I am sorry for the unexpected visit but I really must speak with Princess Lothíriel.” Elphir wasn’t the only one on the council who looked jumpy at that announcement. Imrahil however didn’t flinch.

“She’s out in the terraced garden, reading if I know her.” he smiled.

Éomer murmured his thanks and set off, quite definitely distracted. Once out the room the council erupted into a thousand protests about “that madman being allowed to be alone with the Princess.” Imrahil calmly stated that he trusted Éomer with his life and most certainly trusted him with his daughter before matter-of-factly returning to the issues at hand.

---

Lothíriel was indeed sat in the terraced garden, reading a book on the histories of Gondor and looking out over the sea. It was a fine day, the sun was warm on her face, and Lothíriel pitied anyone stuck inside at that moment. Lothíriel heard a slight commotion in the corner of the garden and looked up to find Éomer striding across the lawn towards her wearing the livery of Ithilien.

Lothíriel’s first thought was how good it was to see her friend again; her second was how good he looked. His muscles once again looked impressive under the fine armour he wore, and there was pride, dignity and power in his gait once more. But it was his face that was most striking; the wind whipped cords of his golden hair about a face that spoke of nobility despite the unkempt beard on the chin, and his eyes showed none of his troubles, and held the most happiness Lothíriel had seen in them in a long time. There was much more to behold in those tender brown eyes, and none of it spoke of demons or knives or self harming.

“What in Arda’s name are you doing here?” Lothíriel called when Éomer was near enough.

“Am I not allowed to come visit my dearest friend?” he grinned as he swept her into a warm embrace. “I missed you.” he whispered into Lothíriel’s ear.

“I missed you too.” She replied as he released her from his bear-hug, “Which is why I am surprised to see you here. I never got one letter, not even to tell me you were safe and well and back in Emyn Arnen.” Éomer’s eyes changed then, and a hint of sorrow crept in, but Lothíriel saw something else in his eye that she thought she recognised, though she did not take it for granted; Éomer’s emotions were rather unpredictable. “Why are you here Éomer?” she asked not quite keeping the suspicion out of her voice.

“To bring you the wonderful news that I am healed in my mind, or very nearly so. There is just one thing I have left to do.”

“What do you have to do?” asked Lothíriel, not liking the seeming distress in Éomer’s eyes as he told her he was well again. Lothíriel could see he was scared, but she could not understand why.

“Valar Lothíriel I’ve been such a damned fool!” he burst out suddenly “The answer was right in front of my face all the time and I was too stupid to see it!”

“What answer Éomer?” as a reply Éomer took out the swan pendant Lothíriel had given him.

“It was there all those months ago; I knew what I had to do back in November, but I allowed myself to be distracted and I forgot about it. I recognised the power this simple gift had and I allowed my own self concocted demons to hide it from me because I was scared of the truth. I did not dare believe it was so simple.” Éomer stepped closer to Lothíriel and showed her the pendant with a smile back on his face and in his eyes. “This pendant helped you through the darkest hour of your life, because your mother gave you it. It was a gift from someone you loved dearly and who loved you in return. It provided support because when you held it you remembered the love your mother gave you. When I held this little swan I remembered the friendship and support you have shown me since the beginning, and I realised that you are the only one who can truly save me. I love you, Lothíriel, more than I ever thought I could love anyone, and will only truly be saved if you can tell me that you love me too.”

Lothíriel looked surprised for a moment as she absorbed what Éomer had just said, before breaking out into a wide smile.

“Éomer you are the biggest bloody fool there is. I knew I loved you when I gave you that pendant; I have loved you since the moment I first met you. My mother told me that the only person I was to give this to was the man I planned to spend the rest of my life with. I loved you enough to know that then and I love you even more know.” Lothíriel stepped towards Éomer’s waiting arms and whispered in his ear. “You are free.”

“No,” he murmured “I am home.”

Then their lips met and they were lost to the world, lost in each others embrace. Neither were aware how long they stood there; they had both waited far too long for this to worry about such trivial matters. Both were amazed at the hidden passion that had been bubbling under the surface of both of them, and when the pair finally surfaced, both were struggling for breath even though the kiss had started off as tender, an exploration of the unknown.

“Did you say something about me being the man you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?” asked Éomer with a grin.

“I think, Éomer King, that we will have to if you keep kissing me like that!” Éomer laughed.

“Marry me?” he murmured against Lothíriel’s lips before gently kissing her.

“I thought you’d never ask.” Said Lothíriel with a happy smile on her face.

Éomer laughed, and kissed her again, and again, and again. He never wanted to stop kissing this wonderful woman, and he could not remember feeling as good as he did when Lothíriel was in his arms. They only stopped kissing each other when the dinner bell went, and Éomer realised he was still in a set of armour borrowed from his brother-in-law’s armoury with nothing else to change into. Reluctantly he released Lothíriel and set of to see if he could borrow some clothes form someone.

---

Imrahil sidled over to where the young King of Rohan was watching the dancing. He looked fine in an open necked tunic made of a light blue colour; Dol Amroth’s colours as he had borrowed it from Imrahil’s eldest son Elphir. The open neck allowed the Prince to see something very interesting; Éomer was wearing a beautiful silver swan pendant, with just a single sapphire.

“So it was you that she gave it to?” asked Imrahil by way of greeting. Éomer looked surprised at first, but quickly put his hand to his neck, understanding what it was the Prince was talking about. He smiled and nodded. “I thought she had. Lothíriel stopped wearing it some months ago, but insisted that she had simply put it away for safe keeping. I knew she wasn’t telling the truth, but also that she would tell me who she had given her heart to when she was ready.”

“Are all Gondorians so perceptive?” asked Éomer pretending to sound annoyed.

“No,” laughed Imrahil “Just the ones with elvish blood. Faramir knows as well?” Éomer nodded.

“Faramir knew before even I found the intelligence to work it out; and he probably knew of Lothíriel’s intentions when she gave me this pendant last spring.”

“Indeed, I am sure he did.” Imrahil cocked his head, as if in amusement. “I think that you will make an excellent son-in-law Éomer.”

“Then you give your consent for me to marry your daughter? What will the rest of Gondor think about Lothíriel marrying the madman King of Rohan?” Éomer looked and sounded slightly worried, but Imrahil never stopped smiling.

“They probably will not like it but frankly I don’t give a damn! You have shown immense courage Éomer; you have faced your innermost fears and demons and overcome overwhelming odds to find yourself again. You stood tall and brave at the Black Gate and fought for the freedom of Gondor on the Pelennor Field before the gates of the White City and for that you won great renown, but the greatest battles are fought within ourselves. Few who endure such emotional and psychological torment come through as you have; you are a blessed man Éomer King.”

“Éadig,” murmured Éomer quietly.

“Pardon?” asked Imrahil.

“Éadig,” replied Éomer “It means blessed in the Rohirric tongue.”

“Very well then, Éomer Éadig you shall be. Now if you will excuse me a moment.” Imrahil moved away to the dais at the end of the hall, and the next thing Éomer knew Imrahil had called the room to attention in order to make a speech.

“Ladies and Gentleman, Lords and Ladies of Gondor, I have great news indeed for our lands. Éomer, King of Rohan has asked for the hand of my daughter, Princess Lothíriel, which she grants full willing, and thus, so do I. Therefore I have great pleasure in announcing the betrothal of King Éomer the Blessed to my daughter, Princess Lothíriel of Dol Amroth.”

For a moment the room stood still in a shocked silence, the noble of Dol Amroth hardly able to believe the folly of their Prince. The first to move was Prince Elphir, who strode over to where Éomer was stood looking slightly tense to say the least. Elphir held his hand out to the King which Éomer took and shook nervously.

“I believe congratulations are in order upon your betrothal, brother.” Éomer smiled at the last word, and Elphir returned the grin and took Éomer into a brotherly embrace. “Forgive me for doubting in you, brother,” whispered Elphir in Éomer’s ear “but by your own words we all thought you mad.”

“You are quite forgiven Elphir, and I swear I will make Lothíriel Queen.” Elphir nodded as he drew back.

“When a man’s engagement is announced it is a polite custom to offer the couple a toast,” said Elphir almost angrily as he looked to his father.

“To Éomer Éadig and Lothíriel of Dol Amroth; long may you be happy together,” called the Prince by way of a toast, which was reluctantly taken up by the nobles.

“Éomer Éadig and Princess Lothíriel,” called the assembled nobles as the pair in question grinned at each other across the room.

There was still much work to be done, but Éomer was going to be all right at last.



Chapter 9- Leaving

Éomer spent a blissful month in Dol Amroth; the most wonderful time he had ever spent in his whole life that he could remember unless it was those months with Faramir, Éowyn and Lothíriel the previous year.

During that time Éomer began his rehabilitation into the world in which he would have to walk if, when, he took up his throne once more. Many hours were spent in council with Prince Imrahil, his sons and other nobles striking preliminary agreements on trade arrangements and other such bureaucracy.

Many blissful hours were also spent on the beach with Lothíriel, and the couple soon became the talk of the City, not least because of their ‘inappropriate’ displays of affection for one another. Not that either Éomer or Lothíriel cared one jot; they were just glad to be together, and happy that for once things seemed to be going right for Éomer.

Éomer was thankful that Dol Amroth largely kept itself to itself, and as such there were no rumours escaping to other parts of Gondor or even to Rohan of the betrothal of the King of Rohan and Princess of Dol Amroth, nor of Éomer’s rehabilitation into the world of politics and his seeming recovery.

Éomer would fight his battles, when and where he chose to fight them.

But Éomer knew he could not stay in the blissful peace and security of Dol Amroth forever; there was still one battle left to fight, and it could only be fought in Rohan. The only trouble was tearing himself away from Lothíriel, but she had to be told, and so Éomer faced his love one night about his departure.

---

Éomer went to Lothíriel in the evening, when the stars were just out and the flowers fragranced the air in the garden she was sat in, reading as ever. The first thing Lothíriel noticed was the glum look on Éomer’s face, and not being one to beat about the bush, she asked him what was wrong. Éomer sighed deeply.

“All is not well in the world; a kingdom is without her king, and that king dwells in exile. True, many generations have not yet passed but Rohan still awaits the return of her own king even as Gondor has done in all the days of my forefathers.”

“You are leaving.” Lothíriel did not ask, she merely stated, and she could not meet Éomer’s eye.

“Aye, though it tears me apart to do so, and I know that I will leave my heart behind in Dol Amroth.” Lothíriel at last looked at her betrothed. “I swore to Elphir that I would make you queen.”

Lothíriel crossed to where Éomer was stood and placed her hands on his chest as she looked tenderly into her beloved’s eyes.

“Not all your battles are yet won, and I must wait patiently as ever until you have triumphed again.”

“I have just one more thing left to do, and were it not for you, Lothíriel, I would not be able to fight this last battle. You have made me whole again, and I will spend the rest of my life paying off this debt that I owe you; I love you.”

“I love you too,” whispered Lothíriel.

Then their lips met in a tender kiss that neither Éomer nor Lothíriel was willing to break for a very long time, for they knew that it would be their last kiss until they met once more, whenever that was to be.

Éomer would leave in the morning.



Chapter 10- Éomer King’s Final Battle

Three figures on horseback raced across the plains of Rohan towards the capital, Edoras. They did not slow as they approached the gates of the city, and the guards did not dare stand on their way. The three riders made their way up the hill to the Golden Hall of Meduseld, the seat of the Kings of the Riddermark. They ascended the steps and at the sight of the riders’ golden haired leader the guards stood up straight and admitted him without question.

---

Éomer swept into the Golden Hall and his eyes were immediately drawn to a group of men stood around a table upon the dais at the far end. One man’s face in particular drew Éomer’s eyes.

“What is he doing in my hall?” bellowed Éomer, drawing the attention of everybody in the vicinity.

“I could ask you the very same thing,” replied the councillor Tyrannon with a very smug look on his face.

“Last I looked, Éomer, not Tyrrannon was King of Rohan,”

“And last I knew Éomer King had stepped down from his throne, willingly, knowing himself to be unfit for rule due to an unsound mind,” retorted the politician.

“It was not a permanent abdication and I fully intended to return when I was fully fit once more.”

Éomer was starting to get angry, but was doing a very good job of suppressing his temper. The sensible Rohirrim decided that their King was far more frightening when his temper was just bubbling under the surface, but under control. Tyrannon however seemed to have a reckless streak and ploughed on.

“And who has judged you to be fit, Éomer King.”

“Not you Tyrannon, you have not the right! By heritage you are Gondorian, though you do your country no credit, and as such you cannot judge the Kings of the Mark!”

Éomer let his temper out a little then.

“It seems to me that you are having trouble with your temper Éomer King, are you sure you are ready to rule a kingdom?”

Tyrannons voice was laced with silk and slime, and Éomer recognised the tone, especially when Gamling, Elfhelm and Éothain, who were stood nearby looked like agreeing with the Gondorian.

“Silence snake!” bellowed Éomer suddenly, “I swore when I took the throne that I would not allow such leech-craft in my halls again. It seems that in my absence a Worm has once more judged Rohan to be weak and ready for the taking.”

Éomer looked livid, and Tyrannon was suddenly afraid of the power the young King seemed to possess. Éomer walked slowly up to the politician until they were stood face to face, and then the King hissed in Tyrannon’s ear.

“Grima’s leech-craft and lust for power turned out to be his downfall; be sure you do not meet the same sticky end.” Then Éomer stood back and called to his guards. “Guards, please escort this man to the dungeons, I trust they will be more suited to his temperament.”

“Stay where you are!” barked Tyrannon suddenly and angrily. The guards seemed unsure of which order to follow.

“Eorlingas,” called Éomer loudly “Who would you follow, your King who is of the house of Eorl, or this Gondorian politician of no house of renown?”

The guards decided to obey their king, and Tyrannon was dragged to the dungeons kicking and screaming. When the politician was safely out of sight Éomer turned and looked at his councillors with a strange look upon his face; a mixture of anger, defiance and a demand for respect.

“Well,” said Gamling with a sigh, “I think we can safely say that the King of Rohan has quite definitely returned and means business.” The other advisors fidgeted a little.

“What puzzles me,” said Éomer, traces of his earlier anger still evident in his voice, “Is why perfectly sensible and I hope, loyal, advisors such as yourselves would fall for the charms of such a man.”

“He said that King Elessar had sent him to offer his advice while Rohan was without her King. We had no reason to disbelieve him.” said Éothain. Éomer pinched the bridge of his nose.

“It did not occur to you that he might have brought about my being removed from office intentionally in an attempt to seize power over Rohan?” All three advisors looked stunned. “Well now I know I have the most dim-witted councillors in Middle-Earth, I hope that I can still count on them for their loyalty.”

“What puzzles me most, my lord, is why the King of the Riddermark chooses to make his dramatic return garbed in the livery of Ithilien and escorted by two Swan Knights of Dol Amroth.” Elfhelm’s only defence against the glare his King shot him was the smile upon his face.

“Well I would have preferred to have had my own set of armour, but apparently someone saw fit to bring that back to Rohan. I am escorted by Swan Knights because Prince Imrahil did not wish me to return to Rohan from Dol Amroth alone.”

“And why was our King in Dol Amroth?” inquired Gamling. All present were surprised when Éomer’s stern countenance finally melted.

“I went to seek the hand of Princess Lothíriel from her father. We were troth-plighted almost six weeks ago. Imrahil at least has faith in the soundness of my mind.”

“Éomer, you are honestly telling me that you are to wed the Princess of Dol Amroth?” Éothain looked incredulous

“Yes,” smiled Éomer, “Rohan is to have a Queen after more than forty years. Finally the Rohirrim will have something to celebrate.”

Then Éomer turned to one of the orderlies and gave him instructions in his own tongue. Once the servant had bustled off to fulfil the task given to him, Gamling turned to Éomer.

“Pardon me for asking my lord, but why to you require a tunic bearing The White Horse and a green cloak?”

“There is one last thing I must do before I can call myself King again; I must seek the approval of the people I serve.”

“Is that such a wise idea Éomer? After all, you made sure that it was known around Rohan about your, ahem, condition.”

Just then the servant returned with the items Éomer had requested. He removed the cloak he was wearing and donned the surcoat and cloak he had just been given.

“A king cannot be a king without the approval of the people he rules else he would be a tyrant. Look at me Gamling; do I look like a tyrant to you?”

“No my lord, you are no tyrant.” replied Gamling.

“Then I must see my people.”

---

A horn blew, and the people of Edoras looked up from their work to see a tall figure stood on the steps of the Golden Hall. His countenance was stern as he surveyed the city, and his golden hair and the green cloak he wore blew about him in the wind; there was no mistaking that this was the King of the Riddermark. For a long moment no one moved or spoke; a young Rider was the first to stir. Hesitantly he walked up the steps to the Meduseld until he was stood before his King. Slowly he drew his sword from its sheath, laid it at Éomer’s feet, before stepping back and crying out “Hail Éomer King!” The cry was taken up by the people as they all fell to their knees before the King.

Éomer’s features curved into a small smile before he turned his attention to the young lad knelt at his feet. He bent down and put his fingers under the lad’s chin, forcing him to meet his eye.

“What is your name son?” asked the King in a kind voice.

“Hereric son of Herefara my lord.” Replied the young man.

“Arise then, Hereric, son of Herefara, I owe you much.”

“Pardon me, your Majesty, but I do not understand how you owe me anything.” the poor lad looked terrified that the King could owe him anything.

“A King is no King without a Kingdom, and a Kingdom cannot exist without its people. My throne rested upon the will of the people, and all it takes is one solitary voice to woo the people; I owe you my throne, Hereric.” Éomer smiled, “Come Hereric, I must greet my people.”

Éomer spent many hours greeting his people, telling them his good news, assuring them of his health, and promising them a brighter future than they had had in a long time. When Éomer finally went back into the Golden Hall he sat down with his councillors and advisors to discuss events that had occurred during his absence, and how the King meant to move on from here.

When Éomer finally found a moment to himself it was very late indeed, and he was still wearing the armour he had travelled in, and the tunic and cloak he had requested earlier. Instead of ordering a bath and retiring to bed, he sat down behind his desk and began to write a letter to Lothíriel. He told her that he had arrived safely home, and that all was well now; he wrote of the events of the day he had had, and also informed her that preparations for the wedding would begin on the morrow.

Éomer finally went to bed that night feeling that all was right with the world; everything was at long last going to be okay.



Chapter 11- The Wedding

Éomer looked around the Golden Hall at the many drinking, dancing and laughing people. Edoras and even the whole of Rohan were celebrating, and this seemed strange to Éomer after the land lying so long in darkness. For a moment he closed his eyes and remembered the event that had brought such joy to his people.

In his mind he could still see Lothíriel’s smiling eyes as he uttered his vows to her; as he had proclaimed complete and everlasting love and devotion to her before the entire world. And when her voice had faltered as she repeated her vows, all he had to do was give her a small smile and there was courage and conviction once again in her words.

Éomer’s eyes searched around the hall, looking for Lothíriel amongst the many drunk and bawdy men of Rohan. His gaze finally rested upon his wife who was dancing with her cousin, while a heavily pregnant Éowyn looked on with a smile. Éomer wove his way through the crowd, hindered only by well-wishers who wished to offer their congratulations to their king upon his marriage. Finally he stood upon the dance floor in the path that Lothíriel and Faramir wished to take, causing them to stop in their tracks.

“Yes, can I help you?” enquired Faramir politely. Éomer smiled.

“I have come to relieve you of my wife, dear brother; it is time she was returned to me.”

“As you wish my lord,” replied Faramir formally, bowing to the king of Rohan.

Éomer took Faramir’s place as Lothíriel’s partner, and for a moment the two newlyweds were simply content to be in one another’s company. But soon enough Lothíriel’s curiosity got the better of her, and she voiced her musings.

“What was that about, with you and Faramir?” Éomer smiled, something he which seemed to be doing more and more of.

“I was simply teasing him, my love. And anyway, he looks quite content to be with his own wife.”

Lothíriel glanced over at her cousin and had to agree, Faramir looked none too bothered that Éomer had stolen his dance partner. When Lothíriel looked back at her husband he was looking at her with a strange smouldering look in his eyes.

“I love you.” he said simply.

“I love you too,” replied Lothíriel, but the look in her eyes belied the words she said.

Éomer halted their dance and pulled his wife close to his chest.

“What troubles you my love? Tonight is supposed to be a celebration.”

“There will be other battles to fight, and I fear that I cannot help you to win all of them.”

Éomer took her chin in his hand and raised Lothíriel’s head to meet her eyes.

“You have already helped me to win the greatest battle I have ever fought. You have equipped me with the shield of you love and the sword of hope. I will prevail in all my battles because I know that you will be waiting here for me to come home to, and that thought is warming indeed to my heart.”

Lothíriel had no words to truly reply to what he had just said, so she leant up and kissed him instead.

“You finally have the happy ending you so longed for, my love.” said Lothíriel tenderly stroking her husband’s cheek.

“No I don’t,” said Éomer “This is no ending, but the beginning of the rest of our lives together. The end will never come for us as long as we love each other.”

“I didn’t think you were a man of such poetry,” she teased “I had thought Faramir was more inclined to spout such flowery words.”

“Don’t get used to it.” growled Éomer in return, pretending to be annoyed.

“Anyway, that is enough talking; I have plans for you this evening, O my darling wife.”

And with that Éomer kissed Lothíriel soundly, much to the appreciation of the roaring crowd. When he had done he scooped her up in his arms and made his way to the door, completely oblivious to the jibes of those who knew perfectly well what was to come next for the two newlyweds.

Much later that night, when the stars were shining in the sky and fair Ithil was beginning his descent towards the earth, the King and Queen of Rohan finally saw fit to take their rest. And as the two lovers fell asleep, entwined in each others arms, Ithil who looked on thought that maybe, just maybe, even the deepest wounds can be healed with just a little bit of love.

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