It was not quite two weeks later that they reached Minas Tirith, and were there most warmly welcomed. The travel-worn party for the most part ate and slept, but Legolas and Gimli had a private audience with the King and Queen. And Faramir and Eowyn were there. They had been waiting at Minas Tirith for almost a week so that they could be there when Legolas, Gimli, and their kin arrived.
“And what has happened in our absence?” Legolas inquired, sitting down beside Arwen.
“Not much,” Faramir said thoughtfully. “There have been a few minor skirmishes on the south-eastern border, but only one pitched battle. It was on the border of Rohan, and was a good deal of the Orcs of Mordor and some Moria Orcs trying to break out and retreat to Moria.
“Eomer managed to learn of their plans and sent a messenger here with a request for aid. The King and I left immediately, though much to Arwen and Eowyn’s consternation.”
Arwen flushed at the teasing remark and Eowyn glared at him.
“I was only worried that you would rip that new banner we spent so much time on,” she said defensively. Aragorn laughed. “Anyway, Faramir, it was only six months after our marriage. I wanted you to myself, and you keep on going off to these battles.”
“These fights are necessary distractions,” Aragorn pointed out. “If we do not fight we cannot have peace. I would rather stay here as well, but I have a duty to my people.”
“Though the Queen would probably wish that you did not have a duty to your people,” Gimli said dryly.
“But what was the outcome of the battle, Aragorn?” Legolas asked, seeing Arwen’s embarrassment.
“Well, it was clearly in our favor,” came the reply, “as I am still here and in relatively good shape. Orcs are not very formidable opponents, but strength is always greater when you are desperate and fighting for your life.”
“You would say this from experience,” Legolas commented reflectively. “As our strength was the greater in the last battle before the Black Gates. Though I suppose it was not too difficult to extinguish the Orcs.”
“No. We had a nice little fight, rested up, and took a scenic route home,” Faramir said.
“A long route home,” Eowyn corrected. Turning to Legolas, she asked, “Would you believe that he took almost three weeks in returning? He is much too wayward. I shall have to tie him down to keep him with me.”
“Tied to my wife’s apron strings,” Faramir sighed. “What a way to spend my life. I won’t even be able to attend Eomer’s wedding.”
“Eomer is getting married?!” Gimli cried, sitting straight up in surprise.
“Yes,” Faramir said, grinning. “It was somewhat of a shock to the rest of us as well.”
“Imrahil’s daughter Lothliriel,” Aragorn interjected. “She met him at the crowning, and he fell in love with her. They decided to be wed next spring so that you two could attend.”
“You should be grateful,” Eowyn said. “Usually my brother waits for nothing and no one. He was never a very patient man.” Legolas smiled, but Gimli snorted.
“Luckily, I do not have to live in Rohan with him and his impatient temper for another year at least. I will be very busy rebuilding your damaged doors, Aragorn.”
“I daresay you shall,” Aragorn replied. “But what of yourselves? Surely you did not travel all the way without something happening. What tales can you tell us?”
“Nothing really,” Gimli replied. Legolas had a sudden coughing fit.
“You’re a liar,” Eowyn informed the dwarf bluntly. “What happened?”
“Well,” Gimli said, “after we left Laketown, about half a day’s journey from the Lonely Mountain…”
It was, indeed, a year before the gates were entirely finished. They were wrought of mithril and steel, though it is not recorded where the mithril was obtained. The following spring Eomer married Lothiriel and the winter of that year Eowyn and Faramir’s first child was born. In the year 1323, Lothiriel gave birth to a boy that she and Eomer named Elfwine. Maedhros and Nori became good friends over the course of time, and would accompany their respective relatives to each other’s homes several times a year.