Fate's Desire--Part 1

Rhianan watched the golden sun rise above the horizon,
casting a red hue on the sky. So intently did she gaze upon it, she failed to notice Ilora's approach.
"The Riders leave soon, sister."
Rhianan turned to her twin. "Come then, let us see them
off." Forcing a smile, she took Ilora's arm in her's and started
inside. "Already they leave. So soon it is," she thought
wistfully. But she kept her smile lest her sister she her falter.
Ilora had always looked to Rhianan, for support, for courage,
for many things.


Not long after, many stood gathered watching the Rohirrim
prepare to ride out from Edoras. The sun was now overhead,
driving the chill of night away. The wind still blew, neverthe-
less, ruffling the horses' manes. The animals nickered softly,
awaiting their masters. Magnificent creatures the horses of
Rohan were; their muscles rippled beneath their sleek coats,
a mere hint of the stamina and strength they possessed. They served the Riders well.
Rhianan and Ilora stood with their brother, Eothain. Second
in command of the eored of Westfold Vale, he was of medium height and in his prime of life. Quite a bit older than
his sisters, he had held his position in the eored for some
years.
Eothain hugged Ilora, then Rhianan. "My love is with you
both," he said. Without further ado, he mounted his horse
and rode to the head of the Rohirrim.
Rhianan gazed at all of the warriors, though her gaze linger-
ed on one. He stood beside his horse, speaking quietly to the
Lady Eowyn. The Lady of Rohan kissed his cheek, then stepp-
ed away. Perhaps sensing the stare, the man looked toward
Rhianan. Immediately she looked elsewhere. "Oh pay me
no mind!"
she thought. "Look anywhere but at me,
anywhere, Eomer."

When she allowed her gaze to seek him out again, he was
mounted upon his steed. Sitting tall in the saddle, Eomer
shouted commands to the Riders, then he rode to the front,
stopping next to Eothain.
Eomer was the leader of this eored, and the Third Marshall
of the Mark. Yet Rhianan loved him not for his position, nor
his power. Had he been a peasant in the streets of Edoras,
still would she have loved him. For she knew while he was
nobility by birth right, it was the nobleness of his heart that
made him who he was.
Moments later, the Rohirrim departed.
Rhianan remained where she was, her mouth dry. Everytime
Eomer rode out, there was always the chance he might never
return; the possibility he would never know he held Rhianan's
heart in his hands. Rhianan closed her eyes, gathering her
wits. She was ashamed to realize her thoughts were with Eomer when her brother faced the same dangers.
"But its different," she argued with herself.
Her reverie was interrupted by a gentle touch on her arm.
Ilora stood watching her closely.
"Are you alright?" she asked Rhianan. Concern was written
across her features.
"I am fine," Rhianan answered. At her own words, Rhianan's
confidence rose and she tucked away all thoughts of Eomer.
Hidden deep within her, surely they would not surface to hurt
her.

* * * *

Later that day, Rhianan was surprised to receive a summons
by Lady Eowyn.
She went immediately to Eowyn's chambers. Upon her arrival
she found the Lady gazing forlornly out an open window. She
turned when Rhianan entered.
"M'lady," Rhianan said, bowing her head.
"Come, sit," she said, beckoning.
Rhianan did her bidding.
"How do things fare?" Eowyn asked.
"Well enough, m'lady."
Eowyn glanced at Rhianan. "You needn't call me so."
Rhianan dipped her head in acknowledgement, though she
was becoming uneasy.
"And you, how do you fare?" questioned Eowyn.
"I am well."
Silence ensued and Rhianan resisted the urge to fidget.
Eowyn let out a heavy sigh before saying, "My brother bid
me inquire after your well being. Prior to his leaving, he fear-
ed you were ill."
Rhianan's heart skipped. "I am only concerned for Eothain,
that is all."
The Lady of Rohan met Rhianan's eyes and held her gaze.
Rhianan struggled not to look away, so intense was Eowyn's
stare. Moments slipped by. At last Eowyn released her from
her gaze.
Rhianan felt that her soul had been laid bare and her secrets revealed. The Lady's gaze was like a sharp sword,
piercing and penetrating.
Eowyn returned to the window, seeming to contemplate
something she could not see. It was she who broke the silence.
"You love him."
Rhianan knew she spoke of Eomer and at this statement, fire leaped into her jade green eyes. "Love opens one to hurt
and pain," she answered sharply.
Eowyn whirled to face her. "Yet what have we without love?"
Rhianan had no reply. She was taken aback by the convic-
tion in Eowyn's voice. It was rare indeed for Eowyn to show
such feeling.
"Go now and leave me. Later we will speak further," Eowyn
said.
Rhianan took her leave gladly. Her emotions were confused
and her thoughts reeling after the talk with Eowyn. She did not understand why she had replied so harshly to Eowyn's
statement, She allowed herself to love Ilora and Eothain,
but.....it was true wasn't it? She feared to reveal her love for
Eomer.

* * * *

Days passed. Rhianan spoke with Eowyn only once during
that time.
One evening as dusk approached, Rhianan stood just out-
side the entrance of Meduseld, the King's Hall. Inside, minstrels sang and played their music as the people took
part in a feast. It was a splendid occasion, but Rhianan found
no joy in it.
As she stood without, she listened to the wind sing, and
watched the sun set. At first she did not notice the rider arrive
at the foot of the hill upon which Meduseld sat. It was the
commotion the guards caused that drew her attention. They
all but carried the man up the stairs and passed her, entering
the Hall.
Rhianan gasped when she saw him. It was Conal, a Rider
in Eomer's eored. He was battered and bloody, a deep gash
upon his head.
She followed the guards and Conal, her heart pounding.
The music ceased and all fell silent as Conal stood in the
center of the Great Hall. He struggled to remain standing as
he spoke to King Theoden.
"My liege! We were attacked and our men scattered. We
suffered heavy losses-" he broke off and collapsed to the
floor.
Nevertheless, Rhianan heard his last words before he pass-
ed out.
"I know not if Lords Eomer and Eothain survived...."


To Be Continued



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