Eowyn dried her reddend and swollen eyes on a dry handkerchief. Glancing out the nearest window, she noticed that twilight had fallen. How long had she been crying? How long ad she been alone with her thoughts? She wasn’t sure.
Propping herself up on the bed, she realized it was probably close to suppertime – if she had not missend it already. Getting up, she remembered that they now had guests – and handsome ones at that, especially the Lord Aragorn – so she decided to change quickly before she made her entrance.
She soon found what se needed: a long, luxurious dark sapphire colored velvet gown with white lace and gold trimming. The sleeves were long and made so that the end trailed in a flowing fashion to her knees. She braided her long golden hair, then tucked it into an elegant bun at the base of her neck. A small golden circlet sat atop her hair and a gold chain with a stone the same hue as her dress hung from her neck. Gemstones similar to her necklace adorned her ears. Examining herself in the mirror, she observed the way the dress hugged her small figure and how the dark shade of the fabric held a startling contrast between her fair, delicate skin. This will get their attention, she thought.
She splashed some cold water on her face to clear away the last traces of of any puffy or swollen eyes due to crying for so long, then calmly walked down the long stone corridor leading from her room. The halls were deserted. The only sound made was the soft click, clack of her shoes on the cold floor.
A young maid silently stepped out from a side room, wringing her apron in her hands. When she saw Eowyn, she ran down the hall. “Milady! There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you. My Lord wants you in the Dining Hall right away!”
Eowyn smiled despite all that had happened that day. “Thank you for telling me Finari. I was just on my way. Would you run ahead to announce my coming to My Lord?”
The maid curtsied deeply, the hurried off to the Dining Hall. Following her, Eowyn entered just as the maid was informing the King of her arrival. She stepped gracefully into the room, turning all heads. Lifting her dress from the floor, she nimbly treaded the few steps to the level stone below, giving all the impression that she was walking on air.
Theoden stood, then came to greet her, a warm smile on his face. He wore brown suede breeches with a soft evergreen tunic edged in silver, and an even darker green overrobe draped over his shoulders. His beard had just been neatly cut and his wavy golden-brown locks were swept back from his face. Stopping a few feet from her, he bowed, the offered her his hand. She curtsied and took the offer. He turned to face the table and everyone stood.
“Friends, I am honoured to have you as my guests tonight. However, before we feast, I must properly intorduce you all to my niece, Eowyn of Rohan.” He led her to the end of the long table, stopping in front of the Dwarf.
The Dwarf bowed politely, his long frizzy beard almost touching the ground under his earthy-colored clothing. “It is by chance that we met fair Lady. I am Gimli, son of Gloin of the Dwarf kin. I am delighted to be in your presence.”
She curtsied to the short, stocky Dwarf and they moved on to the tall, elegant Elf. At length, he too bowed, a hand over his heart, his pale hair gleaming in the flickering light. “It is a great pleasure to behold one so lovely as you, milady. ‘Tis strange. You seem of Elven kin; is it so?”
She smiled and giggled. “No, I am sorry. I am not of Elven kin. You may wish to ask My Lord of this though. Our family seems to possess many of the Elven qualities. ‘Tis strange indeed.”
A grin appeared on his attractive face. “I will do so, milady. I am Legolas Greenleaf, son of the Elven King Thranduil of Mirkwood.”
She nodded and finally they came to the Lord Aragorn. He too had decided to change before the feast. He was now wearing a warm looking pair of deep-green breeches, an ivory tunic and a rusty-hued suede jerkin. His dark hair had been fixed to stay out of his face. He looked wonderful.
He took her small hand in his large, rough one and kissed it gingerly. Her heart skipped a beat, then suddenly started up again, pounding furiously against her chest. She was sure everyone in the Hall could hear its thudding.
Looking up, he gazed into her eyes just as he’d done earlier that morning. She now realized that they were the same shade as the stones in her ears and on her necklace. They sparkled with wonder and curiosity as he spoke. “‘Tis an honour to be in such company with a maiden so beautiful as yourself. I am known as Aragorn, son of Arathorn. You are, to me, like a cold spring morn with the golden sun warming the land. I am humbled to be in your presence milady.”
Eowyn was at a loss for words. Her petite hand trembled in Aragorn’s grasp. He let it go and it dropped lifeless at her side. Finally she remembered to curtsey, and Theoden began to escort her back to her seat next to him. There was no need to be introduced to the Wizard, he had met her on many occasions before.
She sat daintily beside her Uncle and waited as he settled, then said the evening prayer. Immediatly after this, plates and dishes of food were placed before them. Raising his hands, Theoden decreed, “Now, feast!” Everone began to dig in, but she didn’t eat very much. The dishes were wonderful, but she couldn’t stop herself from looking at the Lord Aragorn or thinking about her cousin.
Reaching for her wine goblet, she sipped, noticing Aragorn did the same, glancing furtively at her from the opposite side of the table. She put the glass down abruptly and began to nibble at the contents of her plate. However, it seemed everytime she looked up from her meal, he was looking or smiling at her. The butterfly in her stomach began to flutter again. Could he be the one? she thought. Could he be the man destined for me?
Soon after her thoughts about Aragorn had diminished, the feast ended and Theoden arose, saying he’d like to hold a meeting with his guests. She too got up, but she whispered to him that she would not be attending the meeting. He nodded and turned back to the others, motioning them to follow him. Theoden escorted her to the corridor where their paths would separate. She wished them all a good-night, then turned to walk down the stone hallway to her room. When she had nearly reached her chambers, she glanced back to find they had gone. She went into her chambers and opened up a large oak chest at the foot of her bed. Pulling out a long, heavy object, she shut the chest and left her room.
Turning back, she returned the way she had come. Passing the large doors to the Dining Hall, she turned down a deserted corridor and entered through another set of doors to her left. She now found herself in the practice courts. Lighting some tourches, she put them in their brackets on the wall. The light was still dim, however, in the large court, only illuminating a small protion save the moonlight filtering through one of the many windows. Picking up the object she had taken from her chest, she looked it over lovingly, then grasped the ebony hilt and slowly drew her sword from it’s sheath. It was a lovely blade, named Moonlight Star for the large sparkling diamond on the butt of the hilt, and made of some of the finest steel.
She walked calmly to the middle of the court, her long gown swooshing with her movement. Putting a palm to the blunt side of the blade, she brought it up level with her face. Now she began the swift movements of the patterned dances: jabs, feints, thrusts and swings. Over and over she continued, the only sound the rustling of her skirt. I never did like meetings much, she thought, jabbing then blocking the invisible attacker. As she continued the dance, it got faster and faster until her blade was a blur of metal reflecting the seadily growing moonlight from outside one of the windows.
All of her concentration was put into this one fluid movement. She had not noticed the newcomer advancing behind her. She continued without hesitation, her mind bent on controlling the ever-rapid blade in her hands. Sweeping around and bringing her sword up rapidly, it was blocked by another sword.
Shielding herself with the blade, she peered into the darkness; the silhouette of a man stood before her. “Who are you? What do you want?” she demanded, sword at the ready.
The man stepped forward to produce the Lord Aragorn, his long blade at his side. “‘Tis only me, milady,” he explained, bowing deeply. “The meeting was becomming very boring, so I slipped out to explore the castle. I saw some light at the end of the hallway and found you in here. I was wondering, would you accept a challenge to spar with me?”
Eowyn lowered her sword slowly, her breath coming in gasps. She looked Aragorn over carefully. He looked like a seasoned warrior, and quite strong too. Could she take him on now that she was beginning to tire?
“I accept,” she said and swiftly aquired her “attack” stance; sword up and parallel to her eyes, feet set apart, eyes wide and mouth a thin grimace.
Aragorn too was ready, both hands on the hilt of his sword. They nodded at each other as a signal to begin, and immediatly began to circle one another. Eowyn waited for him to make his move to see if he had any weakness. Now it came, he lunged at her, thrusting at her shoulder. She blocked and feinted a swipe at him. He jumped out of the way and brought his blade up to sweep down on her unprotected side. She quickly brought Moolight Star up to meet his and the two blades clashed together making a ringing sound. She turned, locking her blade with his and they came together.
“You spar well milady,” he said casually. “Even in such attire as you are.”
She smirked and replied evenly, “I was taught to fight in dresses. No one knows when battle will come, so I must fight in whatever dress I am wearing at the time.”
Aragorn smiled then broke the lock on his blade. Again he tried to jab at her, to no avail. She had been taught well through her years. It was going to be a challenge to defeat her.
They locked together again, making sparks fly. She pushed against his bulk, but she was becomming weak. She didn’t have the same upper-arm strenght as a male, and she knew it. Pushing away, she brought her blade up into defense position, gasping for breath. She couldn’t keep this up for much longer.
They circled again, each looking for a weakness and seeing none. She is a good fighter, Aragorn thought as the same thing ran through her head for him. She feinted a jab at him and he brought up his blade to meet hers, thrusting so that she had to jump back to avoid his hit. He could see she was tiring; this was his chance. As she desperately tried to right herself for the next attack, he lunged forth, twisting his blade strongly against hers and throwing it from her grasp, also knocking her to the floor.
She sat there for a moment, dumbfounded. He had defeated her. No on form Theoden’s court had beaten her as of late. He reached out a big hand and helped her up as claps issued forth from the court’s doors. She turned to look and found that they had an audience: Theoden, Gimli, Legolas, Hama, a few more assorted guards and some maids, as well as the cooks from the kitchen.
Aragorn sheathed his sword, then went to pick up hers. He handed it to her and she took it, grasping the hilt with hands that shook. She felt incredibly weak from the strain of the battle.
Theoden, Legolas and Gimli walked over to the pair. “That was wonderful,” Theoden said smiling widely. He turned to Eowyn. “My dear Eowyn, I never knew you were so strong!”
She smiled weakly, trembling with the effort to stand. Why do I feel so tired? she thought. I practice all the time and I don’t feel this tired afterward. Maybe it’s from everything that’s happened today.
She began to turn visibly pale, and started to sway. Theoden looked at her in concern, as did the others. “Eowyn? Is there something wrong?”
Opening her mouth to reply, she found that she couldn’t speak, and could only stare at her Uncle. Aragorn came to stand before her, hands firmly on her shoulders. “Lady Eowyn. Look at me. Listen to my voice.”
She goggled at the handsome man in front of her, not realizing what was going to happen next. “Eowyn? Eowyn, can you hear me?” Aragorn demanded.
Her crystal eyes rolled back into her skull and her knees gave out. She slumped in his arms as he fumbled to catch her. The sword she had been holding fell to the cold stone floor with a dull clang.
Aragorn scooped the unconscious Eowyn up in his powerful arms. “Show me to her room!” he demanded as he rushed her from the court. A maid stepped up and quicky showed him the way, the rest of the group following them anxiously and leaving behind her precious weapon in their wake…