Iron Bars: 1. Caged

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1. Caged

Iron Bars

Though I have spent many a night in conditions more wretched, never has my misery been so great. The room is little better than a cell, with a heavy door of crossed iron bars and a small window, also barred with iron. I take little solace in the fact that the guards are not as hostile towards me as they are to some of the others, as if to lessen my shame. I have seen three already who once served under me, and the pity in their eyes is too much to bear. I hang my head when they bring my meals and speak no words to them. Such is the pride of Éomer son of Éomund, once a great Marshal of the Mark, now reduced to a prisoner in the place I call home.

The look in my sister’s eyes as the king pronounced my sentence still haunts me. Ever has Éowyn been a maiden of ice, and to see such emotion conveyed in one look came nigh to shattering what little strength I had left in me. I swore to avenge her anguish one day.

I stood numbly for a few moments as two guards came up behind me and bound my wrists, reflecting on how things had taken a swift turn for the worse. I knew the law against drawing sword upon another in the Golden Hall, but when Wormtongue bestowed upon my sister a look of dark lust, my rage was ignited. Had it not been for Éowyn’s pleads for me not to kill for my own sake, I would have slain the filth where it stood. I cannot say now whether that would have been for good or ill; surely my punishment would have been more severe—banishment, perhaps—yet it would have been for the good of the Mark that its king should no longer be tainted.

As they led me away, I came out of my daze and saw out of the corner of my eye the smile of Gríma Wormtongue. His satisfaction was evident, though I would give him no further pleasure at my expense by struggling or protesting as I otherwise might have. My heart clenched at the thought of his ill counsel pouring into the king’s ears unchecked, yet even more distressed was I to realize that now there was naught to keep him from my sister. For now that I was out of his way, who would be there to watch over her as a menacing threat to deter any who might wish to commit ill deeds?

Now I am left to brood in my anger and the despair in my heart, for it is all that is left to me. I know that I will not remain here forever, though it may as well be so. For when I do finally walk free once more, what havoc will have been wrought already? Will the king’s mind be so poisoned with lies that he should see day as night and evil as good? And shall my sister—no, that thought does not even bear concluding. I can but hope that all is well, or at least that I will soon make it so once more.

The irons bars on the window cast checker patterns across me as I lay motionless on my bed now. I can hear footsteps in the corridor, likely the evening meal being brought, if it can be called that. Little more than a tasteless chewing exercise.

The footsteps grow louder, and I can hear that they have come to stop in front of my iron bars. Somehow I know who has come. He is here to gloat over his success. I glance over for only a second to see my thoughts confirmed.

“How very fitting,” his nasal voice drolls. “An animal locked away in a cage.” He laughs, and I grit my teeth at the sound.

But I will not allow him to see my expression, to see the utter lack of hope there. The long shadows are a boon, for I know that he would want to see my face in this my worst moment. Drawing in a long breath, I say, “An animal? Perhaps that is so, for I can be counted then among the faithful hounds who fight in defense of their owners. However it is this land—my home, that I fight for. I will not let you bring it to ruin.”

Wormtongue snorts. “You think that I care for the fate of pitiful Rohan?” he hisses. “Whether it stands or falls I could not care any less about. However, it is more to my benefit that it should plummet, and quickly. For then I will gain my prize...Go on, I am quite sure that you can imagine what that may be.” His tone is now gloating.

I let out a low growl in my throat, but I refuse to rise to his bait, lest my time in this place be lengthened as consequence. I can wait to exact revenge on behalf of Éowyn until all has been made right, and this serpent has been cast out. Seeing that he cannot derive any more pleasure by tormenting me, he slinks away and the sound of his footsteps slowly fades.

My eyes flick momentarily to the window to see how much longer of this day remains before returning to their study of a large crack spanning across most of the ceiling. I am relieved to know that the fourth day and thousandth year of my imprisonment draws to a close, as only a sliver of the sun lingers upon the horizon. I begin not to doubt that darkness will soon envelop this place...and I speak not only this room that I am caged in.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Rainbow Gem

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 02/26/04

Original Post: 02/03/04

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