These years were the happiest of my life, that is until Gríma Wormtongue came. He slithered into Édoras and into our lives like the snake that he was. Soon, Éowyn and I lived in fear of this small, dark man who was like a nightmare brought to life. He stalked through the halls and corridors, we never knew when we would turn a corner and find him lurking there. Then Theoden began to become old and weak. He withered and aged far too quickly, it was unnatural. With his protect gone, Wormtongue became bolder and trailed Éowyn day and night. Because I stayed with Eowyn most of the time to support her, Wormtongue developed a great hatred for me. I was the last thing, besides her brother and cousin, who were often away protecting Rohan’s people; that stood between Wormtongue and Éowyn. Despite the knowledge that he could never harm her without facing dire consequences, Éowyn still slept with a knife under her pillow. She became increasingly more nervous and jumpy. I thought that this situation could get no worse. Then Theodred was injured.
I was with Éowyn in the practise courts when a small group of horsemen, including almost every soldier we knew, came back. As soon as a servant told us that Amérgin, Theodred and Éomer had returned Éowyn raced out to great them leaving me to put away the practice swords we had been using. When I reached the stables Éowyn, Éomer and Theodred were gone but Amérgin was still there, unsaddling his horse.
“Amérgin!” I cried out joyfully as I ran forward to embrace him. He smiled when he saw me but his eyes were sorrowful. “Amérgin?” I whispered, “What is wrong?” He shook his head.
“Elína, Theodred is badly injured.” I gasped at this startling news. How could anything happen to Theodred? I knew that he and the other men put themselves in life and death situations daily but to hear that someone was injured, possibly fatally, was almost surreal. Fatally injured? Theodred couldn’t die, he was too young to. I had to see how he was doing. After I helped Amérgin groomed his horse, I went off to search for Theodred.
When I found Theodred, both Éomer and Éowyn were both by his bedside. Both their faces had the same dismayed expression. I tentatively walked in and tapped Éowyn on her shoulder. “My lady, how is Theodred?” In my eyes he looked like a dying man, but I knew that my diagnoses wasn`t very valuable. I had no medical experience except for village matters such as child birth and trivial wounds and breaks.
Éowyn jumped, startled at my coming up behind her. She turned back to Theodred and shook her head.
“He is very badly injured Elína, but, he`ll be fine. I’m sure there’s something we can do.” Éowyn`s face hardened in a look of grim determination, she would not give up on Theodred without a fight.
“My lady, is there anything you want me to do?” Éowyn sighed and looked up at Éomer. “I don’t know. What can we do brother?” Éomer sadly glanced down at his cousin.
“We can talk to Théoden, at least try to.” He added in bitterly and scowled before asking me, “Would you be so kind as to stay with Theodred mistress Elína?” I nodded and crouched down beside Theodred’s bed as Éowyn and Éomer left to talk with their uncle. Poor Theodred looked like he was in so much pain.
“Theodred?” I whispered softly. He probably couldn’t hear me, and even if he could I was sure anything I could say would make much sense, but one thing that I’ve learned in my life is that a kind voice will make an injured or frightened person calmer. I talked to him in the same quiet voice, telling him everything I could think of, mostly about how much everyone loved him and how they all want him to recover. Once or twice he would muttered something that sounded like someone’s name but he never woke up. A while after Éowyn and Éomer had left me with Theodred, I heard someone come up the hallway. At first I assumed that it was someone coming to visit Theodred, and it was, but not the person I expected.
“Well, well, well. What do we have hear?” A cold whispery voice said. My breath caught in my thought. Gríma Wormtongue was here. I stood up and faced him. His pale, bulging blue eyes stared mockingly into mine.
“Good afternoon, sir.” I said forcefully, the words sounding more like an insult than a greeting. Wormtongue’s face contorted into a scowl
“Whoever taught you manners girl? I was just coming to see Theodred. Anyway, servants are to kneel in the presence of their betters.” I stood obstinately still, meeting his gaze as calmly as I good. His face twisted with hatred and anger at my refusal. “Kneel now!” He commanded, slowly drawing out a long thin dagger. If I hadn’t been without my knife at the moment, I wouldn’t have knelt in front of him, however; his silent threat was enough to make me kneel. Slowly I sank to my knees and bowed my head, than I rose trembling with anger. “Do my manners satisfy you Wormtongue?” He looked past me at Theodred. Knowing that Theodred was past helping anyone, he rudely looked me up and down and asked in a falsely kind voice,
“Have you heard the bad news mistress Elína? Éomer is banished. He and several soldiers have left Édoras and are riding away right at this very moment. Do you know what that means? Amérgin has left too.”
“That is not true!” I shouted fearing that he was, for once, telling the truth.
“Yes, yes it is. It would do you good to remember who your betters are, and how much power they have now that most of your allies are gone, and that…”
“Whose gone now?” A voice interrupted from the doorway. Amérgin leaned against the doorway, arms crossed.
“Yes, Wormtongue. Please continue your thought.” I said mockingly, relief flooding me. If Amérgin wasn’t banished, than it was most likely that Éomer wasn’t either, therefore, as I assumed, Wormtongue had just been making up lies to try and scare me. Wormtongue muttered something quietly as he spun and stalked out of the room. I turned back to Theodred, who had remained still throughout the entire time. Amérgin crossed the room and knelt by Theodred’s bed, a motion that was made awkward because of the chain mail which he still hadn’t taken off.
“How is Theodred?” Amérgin inquired.
“He is not well, as can be expected.” I replied, “However I’m sure he can recover. Leave that near your horse and I will clean it for you.” I said pointing at his filthy armour. Amérgin scowled at the door which Gríma had just exited through.
“He’s a retched man.” Amérgin muttered bitterly.
“Yes, I know.” I agreed, “so full of lies and-“
“Not always lies.” Amérgin interrupted. I paused and stared at him confused. “He was telling the truth before. Eomer is banished. I expect he thought I would have ridden out with him as well.”
“Eomer is banished.” I repeated the sentence bleakly. “But, how could he be banished? The king wouldn’t…” I trailed off. Amérgin didn’t need to reply, I already knew the answer. The Théoden I had known before wouldn’t, but the one manipulated by Gríma Wormtongue would. I shook my head, how could things get any worse?
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.