The next day, Eowyn was asked to spar again – with Aragorn. Once again she accepted and the court was filled. This duel was like their first match, the only weapon used: a sword.
After what seemed like forever, Aragorn won. It didn’t surprise her; he was an excellent swordsman. But what she really liked about him was the fact that he didn’t boast. He never bragged about wins, just took them as they came. Although he looked like a Ranger, he acted like a noble, some might even say a King. But he is a King, she thought to herself. The King of my heart.
The next day, Theodred was buried. Eowyn didn’t go; the grief was to much for her to take. Later, when Theoden and Gandalf went to visit the burial ground, she practiced in the courts, trying to rid herself of his beautiful memory.
During the practice, she was called upon. Hama stepped in, a frown on his face. “Milady, My Lord requests for your presence in the Golden Hall immediatly.”
She nodded her thanks, then returned her sword to her chambers, wondering what was so urgent. When she entered the Hall, she knew why she had been called. Two children, a boy of about nine and a girl not too far behind were sitting on a bench near a table. The boy, exhaused though he was, had his small arms wrapped protectively around his sister. The little one looked about to cry.
Theoden glanced at her, winking. She knew what he meant. Walking over to the children, she put on her best “motherly” look, then squatted in front of them, “Hi there. My name is Eowyn. What are yours?”
The little girl, about to speak, was shushed by her brother. “We ain’t tellin’.”
Eowyn smiled. “That’s ok. I bet you’re hungry though. How about I take you two to the baths and get you some new clothes, then you can have whatever you want to eat. How does that sound?”
An impish grin appeared on the little girl’s dirty face. She looked at her brother and he whispered something into her ear, glancing sidelong at Eowyn. She waited patiently for their conversation to end. When it did, the boy let go of his sister and said, “Yes ma’am, it sounds right good.”
Eowyn stood. “Wonderful! Now, each of you take a hand, and I’ll lead you to the baths.” The girl eagerly trotted over and grasped one of her outstretched hands. The boy took the other. She then led them out of the Hall.
“She is great with children,” sighed Theoden, talking to no one in particular.
Aragorn smiled and puffed a bit more on his pipe. That she is…
After a hot bath and a change of clothes, the children were ready for a good meal. Whisking them back to the Hall, she sat them down and let the cooks cater to their every wish. Absently stroking the little girl’s hair while she ate and the men around them talked, she asked sweetly, “Where is your mother? How come you two came alone?”
The men stopped talking and turned their gaze on the children. The little boy spoke, slurping his soup, “We left ma back in the village. Th’ orcs were comin’ and she told us to go. She said she’d meet us here.” He put another spoonful of soup into his mouth. “When we got far enough away, we looked back an’ the whole village was burnin’.”
Eowyn looked up, shocked. These poor children, she thought. They’re probably motherless now. She stood, patting the child’s head. “They had no warning My Lord. ‘Tis an injustice.”
He sat in his chair, Gandalf at his side. He looked suddenly weary. Gandalf spoke. “Do you not see now, Theoden King? Saruon’s monsters are running free over your land, killing innocent people – “
Theoden cut him off. “What would you have me do? My people are too few. We are not strong enough.”
Aragorn, who had been sitting in a corner with Legolas and Gimli, spoke up. “You must fight My Lord. If you don’t, then the orcs will overtake the land.”
The King sat for a moment, contemplating. Finally he answered. “We will go to Helm’s Deep. ‘Tis the only option left. My people will be safe there.”
Aragorn got up. “My Lord, you don’t understand. Sauron doesn’t want your land, he wants to kill your people. Taking your people to Helm’s Deep is a trap. He will kill them all. Don’t you see? You must fight!”
Theoden glared at him. “The last time I looked Lord Aragorn, I was King, not you,” he said snappishly. He realized his mistake and put his face in his hands.
“My decision is final. It is only for the good of my people, and my land. We leave early tomorrow morn.”
Aragorn sat heavily, not wishing to look at the King. Theoden summoned Hama to him. The guard came and knelt. “Tell the people to pack only their necessary belongings and provisions. We leave for Helm’s Deep tomorrow morning.”
Hama looked upon the King in shock and disbelief. “Yes My Lord!” he said, then left to inform the people. Eowyn, shocked herself could only stroke the young child’s hair before her. Helm’s Deep? Why such a drastic measure? She would just have to trust her Uncle’s judgement. Maybe he was right in doing this, maybe not. They could only wait and see…