Our king has come back to us. He is the first of the Third Line, and brings Théoden King home for burial. Papa tried to teach my brother and me the history of our people, but that was before everything changed. I remember when strange tales came from the capital: talk of our king and growing danger. Mama and Papa said that we should not listen to evil rumours, but I knew they were worried. I could hear them talking after my brother and I had been sent to bed at night. He was too young to understand and quickly fell asleep, but I lay awake long into the night.
Mama confides in me now that Papa has gone, for since my first blood I am no longer a child. The war has left us with no time for play - even the smallest child helps now. War came soon after the year’s harvest had been planted. The seedlings were young and we could see them growing daily, but when we fled they was destroyed. Whilst we were at Dunharrow the men and orcs that had been harrying us for years swept across Rohan. They torched our homes and our buildings, and the newly planted crops were destroyed and many of our animals were killed.
Mama says we must be strong for the men and boys that died to save us, for Papa. But even she wept as we walked amongst the ruins of our village. Most of us had fathers in the Mark and in those troubled times they only came home to help with the planting and the harvest. Many of my friends are gone now. It was only a year ago that we played and practised our knife work together. What we learnt was only enough to protect ourselves against raiders - for it was not as safe as it had been when my parents were children - our practise did not enable us to hold off stronger, trained opponents. Yet still in this war children fought and died. They counted themselves men, and they gave their lives for Rohan, but they were young, the same age as I.
Word came to us at Dunharrow of the War's ending and we rejoiced, for a little while. The surviving men were with the king, but there were many who had perished. When some of the wounded returned, they brought with them further news. Papa was not with them, nor was he with the king, and he did not return, ever.
We went home, all bearing arms for it still was not safe. We were used to farming without the men, and we knew the survivors would come when it was safe to do so. But the work done by the boys now fell to us girls, and it was hard. My home was all but destroyed, and we had to gather what we could and move in with another family. Much of the corn was burnt and trampled, and the fields had to be re-ploughed and re-sown with the few sacks of seed we had brought from Dunharrow. The root vegetables had survived and so had most of the orchards. We managed to capture some of the animals that were running wild and rebuild our homes. Mama said that we were lucky that a few of the old men were carpenters and could instruct us. But I didn’t feel lucky, I was always so tired, and at night, when I didn’t have to be strong, I cried for Papa and my friends and kin who were gone.
The worst is behind us, people’s homes have been rebuilt, and a few large buildings house the animals and the harvest. The crops were planted late and didn’t grow much, so the harvest was poor, but the fruit is preserved and the vegetables gathered and stored. It will be a hard winter, but we will survive, for the village has become much closer and everything we have we share. Now we can truly begin to rebuild our shattered lives.
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.