By early afternoon, most everything had been set up and started, all that I needed to do now was to assign the men that would dig the burial mound and have them start and then wait until everyone was done and all was ready. As I walked down the hall from my room, I found Gambling on his way to find me.
“My Lady, the remaining men of Lord Theodred’s company are here to see you. There is something they wish to speak to you about.”
“Thank you Gambling.”
I made my way to the hall wondering what they wanted with ME but glad that they wanted it enough to come see me. I was quite lonely and perhaps i could finaly talk to them about Theodred.
“My lady.” They stood and bowed. I gave them a small smile and a slight bow.
“What can I do for you?”
“My lady my name is Taran, and this is Hethar, and Halfarad.” He paused a moment then continued We have served for your cousin Lord Theodred for quite some time. In fact we have grown up here and trained with him and your brother. There were two others that were childhood friends that have fallen in battle in the past years. It use to be the five of us. During our time under your cousins command there were many times when we were in danger. Your cousin always seemed to be there for us, his men that is, and now we would like to do him one last favor in his honor.”
I struggled to hold back the tears that threatened to stream down my face. I understood them perfectly. Théodred had always been there for me when I was in trouble or was having a hard time. That was why we had all loved him so. He would have made a great king with his nature.
“And what would that favor be Sir?” I asked trying to keep my voice even.
“We would like to build his burial mound my lady.” A few tears finally broke through and slipped down my face. I was humbled by the fact that they had come here just to ask me.
“You didn’t have to come ask me. I couldn’t have found anyone else in all of Edoras more fit to build it. It is I who should be asking you. Please if you will follow me I’ll see that you have all the tools you need.”
I had went down with the men and watched them dig the mound giving my assistance when was needed or asked for, or to bring water. When it was finally done, we went back to the city. On the way, I finally got the nerve to ask them about the battle. They were surprised at my question and a bit hesitant but finally with grim looks on their faces, they answered me.
“The attack caught us by surprise” Taran started “but we were ready however when it came. Our numbers were much smaller than there’s and the out come didn’t look good at all but we fought it all the same.”
“This battle though didn’t seem to be a battle at all. The fighting was always centered around Théodred. Most of the time I found I had to chase them down because they were all running away from us and trying to get at Théodred.” We had arrived at Meduseld by now but I did not notice. I stared at Halfarad with wide eyes. It could not be.
“What do you mean?” I stammered. I knew what he was getting at but I did not want to believe it.
“My lady, orcs do not act like they did without a reason. When they attack they kill anyone who is in front of them instead of all going for the same one person unless they have instructions to.”
“By the time they had hit him there were so few of us left. All of us were so confused and angry but they just left striking only to get away from us and in the end we were the only one’s left.” Hethar was the one who summed it all up in the end.
We were all silent as we stood there, I in shock and they lost at what to do. Finally, I broke the ice.
“Thank you. It means a great deal to me that you should tell me this.”
“If there is anything else we can do for you m’lady. You only need ask us.” I nodded and bid them go and rest. It was a difficult thing to build a burial mound and it was especially warm out today. After watching them go, I turned and went inside.
The Funeral was not to take place until a little later in the evening and so I went to say goodbye to Théodred one last time, at least privately.
My mind was buzzing and I was a mixture of emotions that wouldn’t go away. I slowly made my way down to Theodred’s room and pushed the door open and as I entered though I calmed immensely and I was only filled with sadness. Although it was still immensely hard to look at what had once been my handsome young cousin who had taken me in and helped me through my childhood and my life now I knew this was my last chance to see him. I did not want him to fade away like mother and father had through the years, but then I had only had so long with them. I had had at least 17 years with Théodred but still I wanted to at least be able to remember what he looked like when I no longer had any real part of him left but a memory, but as I looked at him now he was much different. His face was pale blue and his lips were purple. That was not what he looked like at all or what I wanted to remember him as. But I found that I did not have to look at him because his face came swimming up in my mind.
Eowyn sat on the pony next to her father as they entered the city. It certainly would be different living here, but even though she did not want to admit it she was a little excited. She hadn’t been the least bit fond of the idea of moving but now that she had no choice she figured she would have to make the best of it. When she looked up she realized that they had reached the Golden hall of Meduseld where her uncle and cousin had stood before they had begun to climb down the steps to meet them. She had only met her uncle about 3 or 4 times in the just over five years of her life but she liked him very much although she was very shy around him and never acted like she did but he seemed to know anyway though most of the time he acted as though he hadn’t the slightest clue. Her cousin on the other hand had been gone or busy most of the time and figured he would like Eomer a bit, which left her quite unsure of him.
“Welcome!” Uncle Théoden and Théodred had reached us and were now embracing us all quite warmly. “We are glad to see you made it safely. We were wondering what happened to you. We had expected you earlier this morning.”
“Well we had some problems with one of the carts but we found a nearby village and were able to fix it with some help.”
“Well were just glad that you were unharmed. Come you must be tired. We have some rooms made up and a meal on the table we were just about to go in and eat but then we saw you coming.”
“And how is my youngest cousin doing?” Théodred said lowering himself so that he was crouched on the ground. “That was quit a long journey for you.” He said smiling at me.
“Oh I’m sure it was no trouble for her at all. She’s the strongest of the whole family, Aren’t you Eowyn?”
A shy smile crept across my face but I was silent. Théodred just giggled to himself, however what he did next surprised me a bit. He seemed to be quite the opposite of what I had expected.
“Come on, let’s go get something to eat. You get to sit next to me. We have quite a bit to talk about since I haven’t seen you in quite a while.” He said and taking my hand, he led me inside.
I had ended up sitting next to him at dinner and he asked me so many questions because at first I was only shaking my head. I had been surprised he could think of so many. Eventually he had gotten my talking without me noticing. He had taken me to play after dinner and we had played all night until mom had finally decided it was time for bed. I remember I had been quite upset with her and would not go to bed until Théodred had offered to put me in bed. He got me in my pajamas helped me brush my hair and even read me a story and sang me a song when I had asked.
After that, my life would be different forever. Everything was how I would have wanted it, until of course, we actually moved in to our house. I was most upset to have to be that far from Théodred and uncle Théoden even though I was only about a half a mile from them, but things really changed when only 9 months later daddy left us all for good, and then mommy left about a month and a half later. I will never forget moving back into the golden hall. Cynthia and Théodred had ended up being my mother while Uncle Théoden became my new father. He was the only one I would confide in when I was really upset or sad but Eomer was always the one I would confide my worst fears or my worries, my angers and my sadness. We would talk about mommy and daddy because he was in my same shoes when it came to that. But I found that Théodred was always the one I could count on for anything. He was whatever I needed him to be. He was my playmate, my friend my mother and even my father when uncle Théoden had become ill, and when I needed it he was even my lord. He knew when things needed to be over looked or when I needed something to keep myself busy. He knew when I needed a duty to perform and when I needed to be treated from a political point of view. I guess he was the one who always knew how to get a response from me as he did that night at dinner, weather it was a good response or weather it was what was best for me. Théodred was the one who really saw me.
Knowing that I had lost this person who had been gifted me to help me through my life as I faced these trials left me in excruciating pain. I owed him so much but I could never repay him now. There was nothing I could have done anyway that would have been enough to say thank you after all that he had done for me.
I dropped a kiss on his now unbelievably cold hand. Everything seemed so unreal…like a dream however it was all interrupted when the familiar chilling voice made its way to my ears.
“Oh, he must have died sometime in the night. What a tragedy for the king to loose his only son and heir I understand his passing is hard to except especially now that your brother has deserted you.”
He came and sat down next to me on the bed but I kept my eyes down and my gaze on the floor. He put his hand on my shoulder and utterly disgusted I jumped up and backed away. I felt I could not have been angrier with him. It was because of him that Théodred was dead yet he acted as if he had nothing to do with it.
“Leave me alone snake!”
“Oh but you are alone.” He stood up and walked around me his words echoing in my ears as all my thoughts left me. “Who knows what you’ve spoken to the darkness in the bitter watches of the night, when all your life seems to shrink the walls of your bower closing in about you a hutch to trammel some wild thing in.”
“So fair, so cold. Like a morning of pale spring still clinging to winters chin.” His hand seemed to find its way to my cheek and slid down to my neck. His touch was cold. I closed my eyes trying to regain my state of mind.
“Your words are poison.” I spat out and left the room. I opened the doors to the great hall and went outside on the Platform taking my usual place as I looked out onto the plains. So many things were running through my mind. Why? WHY?! Why Théodred? Tears rolled down my cheeks. I was furious with him for leaving me but when it came down to it, I knew it was not his fault. I wanted to run back inside and tear grima to pieces like he had me, to yell my brains out at him to make him understand my anger and that you cannot just take someone when you want them, or for that matter kill someone, but I knew I would only make things worse. Then I realized their was nothing I could make worse. I had no one left to loose so what harm could I do? The thought was filled with bitterness. I was free to do what I pleased, there was nothing left to stay for and no one to hold me back, …was there?
My gaze wandered and my eyes fell upon a guard on duty. Duty. There was something holding me back. Duty. My Duty. At that moment I felt more trapped then ever. My only purpose now was to be the stranger’s nursemaid. I would do nothing except clean and walk him to bed at night and serve him his daily meals…… and be stalked by a slimy slithering worm, and remain invisible forever.
When I looked down on the plains I saw three riders heading for the city. I looked up suddenly as the flag tore off the pole next to me and watched it fly away with the wind. How I wished I could fly away but I was stuck never to move of my own free will.
When I came back to reality I realized that these riders were right in front of me. There was a man, an elf and I think a dwarf and in front of them to my shock was Gandalf. The man looked at me for a moment but I had no want of Guests and went inside.
I was walking in the hall to my room when I heard noises. I stopped and started running back to the Great Hall. I had no idea what was going on but it could not be good. When I reached the hall, all I saw was my uncle and Gandalf. He was doing something that was causing him great pain. I ran up to stop him but someone grabbed me.
“Wait.” He whispered in my ear. It was the man I had seen earlier. He had firm grip on me and would not let me go and reluctantly I was forced to do as he said unless I was to fight him however I was to shocked right now. The words they spoke made no sense.
“If I go Théoden dies.”
“You did not kill me, you will not kill him.”
“Rohan is mine.”
Uncle slumped forward a bit and started falling. I pulled hard, the man let go of me, and I burst forward to catch him.
I held him back up and as I looked at him, he grew younger right before my eyes. I watched in silent disbelief. Could this truly be happening? Was he finally well again? He turned his eyes upon me. The fog in his mind seemed to slowly be leaving.
“I know your face.” He looked at me hard, trying to remember and finally he smiled.
Amid the tears that covered my face, I smiled. Relief flooded through my body. My king had finally returned to me.
The fact that my uncle was well again had lifted my spirits up … until he had asked where his son was. I seemed to drop all over again, but farther. How was I to tell him… and for a second time no less? It was hard enough the first time but to have to do it again. I had just come to face the facts myself, did I have to force the reality of things upon him so soon after his recovery. However knowing that he was awaiting the answer, I walked down the steps and took hold of his arm.
“Uncle, will you not come inside?”
“Where is Théodred?” I pulled on his arm a little but he would not move.
“Uncle please just come inside. I promise I’ll tell you.” With a frown on his face, he reluctantly agreed and allowed me to lead him inside.
We all slowly filed back into the hall. I was not entirely sure I was glad of their presence however, they were there and my king waited for an answer. He looked at me and I gathered what courage I had to muster up the words he so reluctantly awaited yet demanded of me. In his heart, I could tell he already knew yet had hoped I would only tell him differently.
“He’s dead uncle.” The words were a whisper yet they seemed to echo through the hall.
“His burial has been readied for this evening.” All he did was nod his head. Gandalf then stepped forward.
“Leave him for a while lady, I shall care for him.” I was quite reluctant to leave especially since I was the one who had been here all this time, not to mention that after all I had done I was now simply dismissed and yet I was further dismissed by Théoden himself.
“The time for fear is over. Go Eowyn sister- Daughter and leave us for a while. We have much to discuss.” Being now instructed by the king I grudgingly turned and left but turned back one more time and upon doing so caught the eye of the man who had stopped me earlier. There was something about him that was vaguely familiar. His face. Turning once again, I left the hall.