The waves gently broke upon the shores of Dol Amroth. Lothíriel breathed in the salty air as she stood barefoot on the beach. The Sea truly was beautiful.
And Lothíriel didn’t have to fear to look at it, didn’t have to fear ships coming that would destroy her home. The War of the Ring was over and the Dark Lord had been vanquished. Then Lothíriel smiled. Her father, the Prince Imrahil, was due back today from political talks with the lost King of Gondor and Arnor, Aragorn Elessar. She ran into the Sea, not caring that the hems of her skirts got wet. She only cared that she didn’t have to fear anymore.
The Prince rode in from the North with an entourage of guards. Lothíriel heard the neighs of the horses from her balcony and ran through the castle to meet them. When her father dismounted, she ran to him and hugged him tightly.
“Oh,” Imrahil said affectionately, “my Thiri. How did you fare during my absence?”
She let go of him and said, “I missed you, Father. Dol Amroth isn’t home without its Prince to preside over it. How was the King?”
“Good. The talks went well and Gondor shall soon resurrect their old ties with Rohan. But I must tell you something inside.”
The pair went inside and the Prince was met with many glowing faces, especially one. Calaer, Lothíriel’s serving maid and Imrahil’s good friend, hugged him tightly as well.
“I see Thiri has taught you well in the art of choking your Prince,” he choked out. “I must see to stopping that.”
“What was it you wanted to speak to me of?” Lothíriel asked later in the evening. She and her father were in their sitting room pleasantly drinking tea. “I pray it is good tidings.” Her long dark hair shone in the firelight.
Imrahil sighed. “I’m leaving again.”
Lothíriel could hardly believe what she heard. “Leaving? But you just returned! Surely nothing is amiss and you need to set out so soon and–“
“I want you to come.”
The princess stopped immediately. “Where?”
Imrahil smiled. “To Rohan. I have a friend there, King Éomer, who was unable to come to the talks in Minas Tirith. He sent a messenger to tell us about the farings of Rohan and to tell him about the talks, but I still want to visit him.”
“You don’t trust the messenger.”
“I only miss the man. Éomer is a good man and deserves all the blessings he receives. And he also told me of his interest to meet you. I told him about Dol Amroth when I could and he was immersed in my tellings. Will you come with me?”
Thiri was still shocked that she could possibly be going somewhere. Somewhere important. “Of course! And Calaer has to come, too.”
The next day, preparations were made for father and daughter and maid to set out. To make a boring and long part of the story short, they left and arrived in Edoras with no hitches. It was evening when they arrived and the King planned a feast for the three. There was a lot of good food and much laughter between Imrahil and Éomer and even Lothíriel and Calaer had a good time though they only knew each other.
Calaer was looking at Éomer quite a lot actually. “The King is handsome, My Lady. Any girl would be lucky to have him.” Calaer was also of Dol Amroth. She came from a family that had given their services to the house of Imrahil and his ancestors. She was only a few years older than Thiri and like a sister to her and a mother at times. Lothíriel’s mother died when she was young. Calaer was the daughter of a fisherman and had a rough accent . “Even I would love to be the Queen if he was my King.”
“But Calaer,” Thiri said quietly, “he probably is already wed.”
“Yet I see no fair lady at his side. You are just so pessimistic, My Lady. Cheer up! And did I tell you that that yellow dress is lovely on you?”
Dinner ended a few minutes later and Éomer approached Lothíriel and Calaer while the other guests were going back to their rooms. He held out his hand to the princess. “May I interrupt your little conversation to take a walk with the Lady of the Sea?”
Calaer replied, “Only if I may come along and make sure that My Lady is comfortable at all times. If you take my meaning, My Lord.”
“I assure you, I would do everything in my power to make her comfortable.” Éomer said. “Though I do not doubt your words, maid.”
Calaer blushed. “You may call me by my name, Calaer, My Lord.”
Lothíriel saw that the King wasn’t going to get anywhere talking with Calaer, so she accepted Éomer’s proposal and the two slipped out of the Hall unseen by all but Calaer. Éomer took Lothíriel outside and they walked in the shadows so that no ugly rumors would be spread about them being together. Finally, they reached the back of Meduseld where very few people ventured.
“You will have to excuse the lack of seating out here, My Lady,” Éomer said. “I always liked the ground better.”
As Thiri leaned against the back of the building, she realized she couldn’t think of anything to say. This man seemed much more casual than she expected and so she was speechless. “I do not find fault with you. The view, even in the light of the moon, is greater than when I first arrived. You truly were lucky to have grown up here, My Lord.”
As the princess looked over at Éomer, she saw that his eyes weren’t as joyful as they were earlier in the evening. They seemed to hold an untold pain.
“My Lord, did I say something-” Thiri was cut off when the King turned away and spoke to her in a tone she wished she had never heard.
“If only you had known what my childhood was like. My father was barely ever home, always away hunting orcs. Éowyn and I couldn’t stay outside for long periods of time because Mother feared that orcs may come and attack at any given moment. And when I was eleven and Éowyn seven, we received word my father had been killed on one of his scouts. Not long after that, our mother died of grief. So to say I had time to enjoy the view would be folly. I lived in constant fear and anger of those creatures, and still do.”
As soon as he said this, he wanted to take it back, for Lothíriel looked at him as if he wasn’t the King of Rohan, but someone who had just come from a savage land. “My Lady, I-“
“Please, accept my apology; I had no idea you had to live like that,” Thiri said quickly.
Éomer waved his hand at her, dismissing the request. “It is I who should be apologizing, not you, My Lady. I should not have spoken to you in that tone, I had no right.” The king turned his back on Thiri, ashamed of his actions. But she soon let go of her fear and walked up to his retreated form and spoke to him.
“I accept, My Lord. But do not feel alone with your feelings.” At this, Éomer turned around with curiosity at what Lothíriel would say next. “When I was young, ten years old to be exact, I lost my mother to the elements. She was swimming near the shore and later caught cold. It turned into pneumonia soon after and we lost her in the night. For a few years following that incident, I wouldn’t set foot in the water for fear I may also leave the Circles of the World. But I’ve gotten over that now and understand to take care of myself. I’ve done that for thirteen years after her death.”
Éomer lowered his eyes trying to think of something to say, but Thiri’s words left him feeling slightly better, knowing he found someone of royalty who wasn’t perfect. As he raised his head again, he began to thank her for coming, but his face went pale seconds later.
“My Lord,” Lothíriel asked, concerned, “what is-” She was cut off when a cold object made its way to her throat and her hair was grasped roughly, forcing her head back. A cold voice said, “You say one wrong word or make one wrong move and her blood is on your hands. Now, down on your knees, King.”
Éomer didn’t respond immediately, angered by the fact that the princess could be killed and shocked that he was found off his guard. Because of his delay, the knife that was held up to Thiri’s throat was pushed into her skin, causing a tiny rivulet of crimson to slide down her neck. Also, two men in dark clothing came up behind the king and roughly pushed him into a kneeling position. “Bind his hands and feet,” the man behind Thiri ordered (he seemed to be the leader), “and don’t try anything careless, for your Lady’s sake.”
Lothíriel could feel her heart racing in her chest and hoped these men couldn’t detect it in her. As they tied him up, everything became a blur for her, though she couldn’t be sure if it was the shock of the situation or the realization that the knife was still cutting into her neck, making more blood drip down her neck. Her eyes closed of their own will and she started to fall forward. She never remembered hitting the earth.
The light breeze roused Lothíriel in the middle of the night. She sat up, only to find herself in the thick of a small forest. Looking up she couldn’t see anything, which meant that the treetops were very dense. Since her hair was in her face, she brushed it away and continued to rub her neck, hopefully to relieve the tension in her body. But when her hands ran into a sticky substance she remembered everything about the knife to her throat and the men in black and–
“Éomer!” she said to herself. She frantically looked around in the dark, hoping he would be there. “My Lord!” she said a bit louder, this time getting a response.
“My Lady?” The voice was hoarse, but unmistakably Éomer’s.
“Éomer! Where are you?”
“Behind you, My Lady.” Lothíriel turned in that direction and crawled in front a tree where she found the king. His hands and feet were still bound by the nasty rope and even in the darkness, she could see that he was bleeding. “Would you mind trying to loose these things? I am a little helpless.”
Lothíriel immediately looked at his bound wrists behind his back and set to work with her nails. That didn’t work right away so she looked around for something sharp. There was a fat chance that she would find anything, but strangely, a sharp stone was laying next to the king. It was white stone and hand carved. Thiri quickly picked it up and soon the bonds were cut.
The two sat in silence for a few minutes, trying to take in all that had happened. Then Éomer said, “My Lady, this was not how the evening was supposed to play out.”
“Understood. We must get our bearings before…we…oh, bother it all. We are lost!” Lothíriel stood up in irritation, bumped her head on a low tree branch, and sat down again. Éomer noticed all this.
“‘Twould be best not to do that again, My Lady. It is bad for the head and the tree.”
Thiri rubbed her head and said, “Éomer, since I am calling you by your name, the least you can do is call me by my name in return. I really do not think the trees will mind. I suppose we’ll have to wait for the morning to tell which way is north. If only I could see the stars…at least Earendil, then we could move out faster.”
“Lothíriel of Dol Amroth,” Éomer said, “you are truly one of the Sea.”
That night went surprisingly quickly and uneventful for the two royalties. The next morning, one could see the sunshine through the trees and realize that they were very close to the edge of the forest. Lothíriel woke up right when the sun peeked through a gap of trees and some light fell on her face. Sitting up, she saw that Éomer had been up longer than her because he was walking around, looking through the trees and nodding to himself.
Thiri finally got up and joined him where he stood. “Do you have any idea where we are?”
Éomer didn’t look at her when he answered. “It appears that we are south of Edoras because I can see it from here.” He pointed across a grassy plain to what looked like a miniature city, almost toy-like to Thiri’s eyes; it was so far away. “I do believe we are on the slopes of the White Mountains. Ered Nimrais.” Finally, the king looked at Lothíriel and noticed her bloody neck. “I found a stream nearby where you can wash that off.”
They traveled a few minutes to the edge of the trees where a small stream trickled down from the rocks and collected in a puddle a few feet down. As Lothíriel was washing up, Éomer watched her with almost unblinking eyes. Thiri did not appear to him as a spoiled, whining, selfish court lady, but a generous, quiet, loving daughter. She also was as beautiful as the sunset beyond the Sea on a day free of any bad weather. She had long, black hair that fell gracefully down her back, except when it was put up in elegant braids or knots, as it was now. Lothíriel finished and all that was left as evidence of the capture the night before was a thin cut in her fair skin.
“We seem very close to where we were captured,” Thiri said as they walked back to the woods. “Do you think our captors weren’t very bright?”
Éomer sighed as he sat back down (he had indeed been beaten pretty hard to become unconscience and was tired) and later said, “The plan may have been foiled or not fully carried out yet. It would be best to keep an eye out.” He tried to get back up and found that he was so sore and exhausted that it wouldn’t happen any time soon. “Er…this is very odd for me, but I can’t seem to get up. Would you mind to help me?”
Lothíriel didn’t rebel at all and immediately was at Éomer’s side, pulling on his huge, muscular arm to get him off the ground. “You have a strong grip, Lothi, if I may call you that,” Éomer said.
“Lothi? I haven’t heard that one before. Yes, you may call me that. And thank you for the compliment about my brute strength.” She flexed her relatively small arm muscle and acted as if it were huge, which put a pleasant smile on Éomer’s face. “Father thought I should at any rate be able to lift some things a little bit heavier than myself. And my little brother, Amrothos.”
“We should be on the move. Now that Edoras is in sight, we musn’t waste time. We don’t want to travel during the night.” Éomer was about to move onward when the pair heard twigs crunching in the distance. Their breath caught in their throats, for they feared the worst. Éomer looked at Thiri with a grim look in his eyes and motioned for her to give him the stone knife she had found. As soon as she obeyed, he threw the knife in the direction of the noise and was rewarded with a sick thump as the knife hit flesh. Then the voices arose. Male voices.
Éomer took Thiri by the wrist and ran toward Edoras, getting them as far away from the voices as possible. They reached the edge of the grove of trees and started to slide down the rocky slope when a rider in dark clothes speedily cut them off from escape. His face was blocked from view by a large hood, but his voice was clear as a rippling spring. It was not the same man from before.
“Ah! Look at this, a little lord with his little lady,” the man said. He lifted his head up as two men on a horse came up behind Éomer and Lothíriel. “Where’s Springer?”
A man behind answered, “This so-called King killed him. And with my own knife!”
The leader looked back at Éomer. “You killed Dograth’s horse. Surely a horse-lord such as yourself would rather kill himself than a horse. Fool. Argrone,” he looked back to his friend, “if Dograth feels like killing the king, do not discourage him and do not let the lady–” But he was interrupted as Lothíriel quickly ran up behind the leader’s horse and roughly slapped its rump so that it reared and caused its rider to fall off. She took this oppurtunity and heaved herself onto the horse as soon as it had landed on its hooves again. Taking one last look at Éomer before she rode off, she saw that the two behind him had already dismounted and were trying to kill him, beating him again, but this time with rocks and sword hilts. Thiri urged the horse on. If she could help it, Éomer would not die.
The horse was still startled and angry after his slapping and didn’t take lightly to having a new rider. So Thiri had a bit of a troubled time getting the horse to obey. When he finally did, they were at the gates of Edoras and they swung open. One of the guards must have recognized her. The next thing she knew, she was racing up the stone steps and swinging the doors open to reveal the interior of Meduseld. Calaer was the first to see her and ran to embrace her. “Where have you been? What happened to your neck? Why are you alone? Is something wrong with the king? Where is he?” These questions and more spilled out of her mouth as Thiri yelled, “Éomer is out there and needs our help!” Imrahil and others from Éomer’s éored came rushing to the dark-haired woman and started to crowd around her, but she somehow found her way from their tight circle and approached the only other Rohirrim who wasn’t trying to smother her.
“Father,” Thiri cried out to the Prince, “he needs our help! Will you at least help him without coming to me first? He needs us–“
“I heard,” came the quiet reply before he turned on his heel and shot out the building toward the stables.
Calaer came to Thiri. “My Lady, your neck–“
“Off me!” Thiri cried, annoyed. She turned to the rest of the Rohirrim gathered and said, “Will you not help your King? He’ll die if we don’t help him!”
Finally, a group of armed men was saddling their horses and following Thiri’s lead along with Imrahil barking orders at them. The ride toward the mountains seemed even longer for Thiri than when she had ridden in haste to Meduseld, so her mind formulated terrible scenarios of what to find of Éomer if they came too late. She had been given a fresh horse after “borrowing” the other one and using all of his energy, one that did obey her. Thiri wasn’t the best rider, but with the adrenaline pumping through her veins, anything was possible.
Then she saw him.
“Éomer!” she cried. “Behind you!” One of the men was indeed behind the King and about decapitate him with his sword, but one of the Rohirrim threw his spear at the attacker and brought him down. Lothíriel dismounted when she reached the edge of the rocks and bent down next to Éomer. She had arrived before the others and had only a few moments in private with Éomer to say some things. But before she could, she saw how badly the men, who ran back to the mountains when the Rohirrim came running, had threatened his life. His left temple was bleeding and his hands werecovered in cuts and bruises already beginning to appear. Worst of all, Thiri noted, he was hunched over and grabbing at his sides. “Éomer,” she lamented. “How could they do this to you?”
He barely lifted his head to look at her and choked out, “They didn’t do it to you. And that’s all that matters.” Suddenly, all strength seemed to leave him and he fell onto his side.
Lothíriel placed a damp cloth on Éomer’s forehead as he slept. She had been tended to when they returned to the Golden Hall by ever-faithful Calaer and now tended to the King of Rohan. No one seemed to mind, of course, their thoughts were often elsewhere, especially on the attackers whom had been captured. It turned out that they were some rebellious Rohirrim who were angry with the fact that the second line of Kings was ended at Pelennor Fields with the death of Théoden King. These men simply didn’t have an outlet for their anger and would most likely spend many years in mining camps for the Dwarves in the Glittering Caves of Helms Deep*.
Éomer’s eyes slowly fluttered open when Thiri checked the bandages on his hands. “Surely I have died to see such beauty before my eyes,” he said quietly. “Or else, some Elvish beauty has found its way into the Halls of my forebears without my permission.”
Thiri bowed her head and blushed. He was wooing her! And working, she thought. After fidgeting with his bandages needlessly, she looked back to him and said, “It is said that the line of the Princes of Dol Amroth has Elvish blood in it. My father is Galador’s direct descendant through twenty-one generations. Galador was Half-Elven; his mother was the Elf-maid, Mithrellas, or so ’tis said. So it is possible that some Elvish magic has sneaked past your gates, Éomer.” She gave him a smile that also set a twinkle in her eyes.
The King tried to laugh, but then stopped when his chest began to ache uncontrollably. Lothíriel saw this and immediately came closer to his face to try to comfort him. “I’m sorry, My Lord, I should have told you before I said anything else.”
He looked at her quizzically while also trying to hide the obvious pain he was feeling.
“You have a broken rib, but it’s not too bad. According to the healer, it will heal soon, but you need to rest and stay in good hands.” Only when Éomer looked into her eyes, did she notice how close she was to him.
He raised his left arm and traced her chin with his fingers. “Are those ‘good hands’ yours?” Lothíriel began to shake ever so slightly and closed her eyes. She had a feeling that something big was going to happen soon. She wondered what her older brothers, Elphir and Erchirion, would do if they saw her right now. “Lothi?” Éomer’s voice brought her back to the present and she opened her eyes to see that he had a genuine look of concern etched in his features. “Is everything all right?” She nodded.
“Did your father tell you why I asked you here?”
“He said that he told you stories about home and that you were interested in meeting me.”
Éomer moved his hand to the edge of her jawline and the side of her neck, now covered by a silk scarf to hide the cut on her neck. “That is true. And it is also true that this kingdom of mine is in need of a queen.”
Thiri winced inwardly. “I figured as much. When you asked me to walk with you after that feast, I knew something was up.” She placed her hand on his. “Father was right. You’re a good man, Éomer. Any woman would be lucky to have you.”
He just looked at her with a blank expression. Finally, he asked her, “The proposal wasn’t good, was it?”
The new expression on his face made Thiri smile. “No! No, not at all!” She bowed her head to keep from laughing. “I just didn’t expect it coming from a bed-ridden man.” She smirked in his direction. But she almost forgot that his hand was still in its current position until she felt her head being pulled down to Éomer’s own. Thiri didn’t have time to think before her lips made contact with his in a passionate kiss, the first the couple ever had.
When they finally parted, Éomer asked, “Did you expect that from a bed-ridden man?”
The Princess of Dol Amroth grinned from ear to ear. “You’re in good hands, My Lord!”
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.