Eomer saw a good deal of Merry during the summer and early fall. Merry would come and sit with him every chance he could.
“Tell me about your children, Merry. I didn’t see them as much as I wanted to.”
“Well you know I have three: a wonderful son and two very beautiful daughters.”
“Theoden, Iris, and Violet.”
“Theoden is married now to a marvelous lass named Marigold.”
“A lovely name. What about your girls?”
“They have both been courted. Other than that, nothing. Iris is more comfortable with boys, while Violet would rather be attending to things that needed to be done. Both are so much like Eowyn in so many ways.”
“Eowyn,” Eomer whispered. Merry saw that his face had suddenly grown pale.
“No children though, for Theoden and Marigold. I’m sure there will be some later, and it is not in Eru’s plans for me to see them.”
One morning in early October, Merry came out of his bedroom and saw Lothiriel weeping uncontrolably. One of the nurses was trying to comfort her while she herself was crying. Merry rushed to her side.
“Lothiriel, what happened?”
“Oh Merry.” She held his hands and criedfor a few minutes. “Eomer died last night,” she finally said. Merry took a few steps back. He felt dizzy. The world started spinning and he knew nothing more.
When he awoke, he was lying on top of his bed. Pippin was leaning over him with fear in his eyes.
“Pippin, oo my head.”
“Are you all right?”
Yes, except I feel a little sick to my stomach. I need something to drink.” Pippin left and returned with a cup of water. Merry took it and drank. It settled hs stomach and he sat up.
“He’s dead, Pippin. It seemed that he was getting better and then he was gone. Just like Eowyn.”
“And Diamond.” Merry looked at his cousin. Pip was staring at the floor. Sorrow was in his face. The black hood covered his head like a shadow of grief. Was he thinner? Merry didn’t like this.
Four Riders bore Eomer’s body to the mound. Lothiriel was crying softly while Elfwine tried to comfort her. Merry sank to his knees as Eomer’s body passed him.
“Goodbye brother, in battle and through marriage. You will not be forgotten, noble king of the Mark.”
Eomer was very much loved by Rohan and offical mournin would last for three months. Elfwine would take the throne, but he would not be crowned until the mourning had ended.
Merry talked with Pippin that night. They sat on Merry’s bed, leaned forward and whispered like children passing a secret.
“I can’t stay here. I love this place and yet it gives my grief. It’s time to move on.”
“What are we going to do then?” Pippin asked.
“I don’t know.” He sat, deep in thought until an idea came into his head.
“Pippin, what do you think about going to see Aragorn and Arwen in Minas Tirith?” Pippin stared at him for a moment and said, “That fine.”
They packed their bags that night. They wanted to leave without much fuss. The two hobbits slept for a little while, then dressed, and quietly approached Elfwine while he was eating breakfast.
“Elfwine, we need to talk to you, alone,” Merry said.
“It’s all right. We seem to be the only ones awake. Why are you up so early?”
“We ask for your permission to leave.”
Elfwine nodded. “It’s given I will go tell some servants to pack your things.”
“It’s done,” Merry said.
“You two really did want to get off early. I wish I had the power to keep you here. You have brought joy to my life, my friends. I will help you saddle your horses.”
Elfwine looked at the two hobbits. They were staples of his childhood and now he had to let them go. He wondered if he would ever see them alive again. It seemed to him that everything he loved was fading away. Elfwine bent down and kissed their foreheads. As he rose from Merry, he whispered something to Merry. “Goodbye, Uncle Merry.” Until the day he died, Merry treasured that moment in his heart.
To be Continued.