An arrow hit the target dead center splitting evenly down already three broken shafts of the previously shot arrows. A slight breeze blew over the hill where the archer practiced her skill. An arrow fitted to the string in one fluid motion the arrow had been placed in the dead center of the target she was practicing on.
“Alenor you’re the finest archer in Edoras and you know it. Why do keep practicing so hard?” a maiden’s voice flits through the calmness of her practice. She sets another arrow to the string and pulls it back against her cheek. This time though the arrow moves slightly off course by the distraction of the female. Alenor set her bow down and looked at the ruined arrows how many that week? She’d lost count at five hundred. Alenor turned to face Eowyn who standing there like a royal princess waiting for her to bow. The slight breeze ruffled her golden hair and red and white dress. Alenor gave a wan smile at her friend.
“When did you ever become so beautiful without me seeing it Eowyn?” Alenor asked regretfully seeing how she must look. Her long brown hair tied in a disheveled braid, with brown eyes that often took a flame to them when her always there temper exploded. She didn’t wear dresses either; they were an aggravation to her practice.
“Now don’t start turning the conversation around Alenor,” Eowyn was saying when Alenor drew herself out of thought. Alenor said nothing just looked at her friend knowing she wished to say more. Taking the silence for advantage Eowyn spoke again. “You never practiced this hard Alenor. Never. It’s ever since my brother went away with Theodred that you have committed all you’re time to archery and sword fighting. I don’t see you anymore!”
“Eomer declined that I was a skillful warrior saying that a woman could not fight as well as any man. I shall prove to him that he has spoken wrong,” Alenor said defiantly.
“And so you will practice while my Uncle, your King sits on his thrown not knowing what happens in Rohan? And you will practice while Wormtongue takes hold of our land?” Eowyn cried pushing wind strewn hair out of her face. Alenor sighed and walked to the target. She could Eowyn’s hard gaze on her back watching her. This was going to be a time where Eowyn would stay unmoved until she had an answer.
It was only when Alenor was returning with what was left of her arrows that she spoke.
“If you have forgotten Eowyn I am not of Rohan. I know that Théoden if is my King. I practice for the survival of Rohan! Can you not see that? Your brother had angered me enough to practice harder then I have been for the past months!” Alenor said as they began walking to the Golden Hall. Alenor’s bow slapped gently against her legs as she walked.
“I am sorry I despaired in you Alenor. I am very sorry,” Eowyn said gently.
“No harm taken. I guess I have been over doing it a bit haven’t it?” Alenor asked. Eowyn nodded her head.
“I miss our old girl talks together. Or our arguments of learning the womanly ways,” she laughed gently at the memories. Alenor joined in as the Hall came in sight. Alenor hesitated until Eowyn took a firm hold of her arm.
“A valiant warrior such as you is cowed to enter your own house?” Eowyn teased gently. A look of hurt must have passed across Alenor’s face as Eowyn hurriedly added, “Oh Alenor I did not mean it that way!” Alenor touched Eowyn’s arm and gave her a soft smile.
“It is alright Eowyn. It is alright,” she assured placing a foot on the first stair of the Golden Hall then stopped. Eowyn gave her a light shove.
“I shall not see a brave warrior such as you be cowered,” she said firmly. Alenor saw the look in Eowyn’s eye as she said this and felt sadness swallow her. Poor Eowyn! She thought miserably she wants to be a warrior, she knows how to fight, but she cannot do it! To give her friend support Alenor clapped her friends arm.
I will watch for their arrival. They should be back soon I can feel it in this gentle wind. I will send first word to your brother that you’re skill on the blade has improved that you can challenge him evenly,” Alenor said promptly and darted away. As she left she heard Eowyn’s laugh follow her with a last remark, “I do not need such flattery my friend!”
Alenor’s first sight of the returning patrol of men placed fear into her heart. None of the riders did notice that she stood before the door until they was nearly there. That was when Alenor saw Theodred half-dead already on Eomer’s horse. Alenor gasped and rushed forward. Eomer glanced down at her as Alenor came running.
“Now is not the time for arguing Alenor. Put that bow down unless you can run swift with it! Run to my sister and tell her I will need her to help me with Theodred!” Eomer ordered. Alenor stared at Theodred unmoving. Could this really be the King’s son? “GO!!” Alenor jumped startled and from numb finger her bow crashed to the ground and she sprinted away. Alenor wasn’t even sure where she was running either. Was she running in the totally opposite direction she was supposed to?
Obviously not as she ran straight into Eowyn. Before the woman could speak Alenor charged forward forcing each word to form as she panted out of breath.
“Theodred is. . . injured greatly. Eomer. . . needs help . . . I don’t know where,” she gasped bending down and holding a hand to her knee to help support her while she regained breath. She didn’t need to hear Eowyn’s running footsteps to tell her that she was worried. The first word she had spoken told of the danger. That was when she heard the other footsteps, Alenor shot up and turned to see Wormtongue.
“So swift does this maiden lose her breath,” he said.
“Go away Wormtongue, I want nothing of you lies and deceits today,” Alenor said haughtily, breathing evenly with pain and before he could protest that for what seemed more then a lifetime of the Elves she strode off with an elegant stalk.
She headed away from the hall. Not wanting to see Theodred, Alenor already knew he was to die, the look of him on first sight and she knew. She didn’t want to see Théoden as he gazed with sightless eyes across a disheveling Rohan. If she had any other home other then Rohan she may have gone there for support or trust. Sadly though she had no one else. Alenor gazed across the plains as she came to her small one room cottage.
The gentle breeze had grown a bit stronger rustling the grass around her feet. Alenor opened her cottage door and stepped inside without further glance and dimly did she remember the dropped bow upon the ground when she had run. Alenor wasn’t sure why, but the words still stung even though she knew when she first saw him. Theodred was going to die. Theodred was going to die. Alenor fell across a small cot and before she realized it she had succumbed to the tears she had vowed that would never fall again onto her face.