6. Rohan: Drabbles and Fragments about Horses and Riders
Swords and Sisters
He could not help but feel admiration.
She was slender, almost slight of build. In the beginning just holding the sword with one hand and moving it in a simple arc had made her arm tremble painfully.
Now, after hours, days, weeks and months of practice, endured with a discipline that bordered on stubbornness, she moved with the effortless grace of a wild cat. Her muscles rippled under the skin, her eyes gleamed with a dangerous light.
Yes, he was proud of his sister.
Éowyn would wield her sword with no less splendour than any of the shieldmaidens of old.
Sisters and Brothers
“Singing and destroying, that’s all you care about,” she screamed at him, after he ended his speech about how a lady should behave properly, especially in public. Most especially in front of his men.
“What I endure here means nothing to you! You can always ride away! Whereas I…” Her voice trailed off into tears.
He looked at his sister, dishevelled and distraught, angry and embarrassed at the rebuke.
Suddenly he felt foolish. She had only challenged him to a little sword-play. And she was right. He could leave Meduseld. And he was all too often glad for this freedom.
Horsebreeding – a tribble
“He was born late in the autumn and yet he is a strong stallion,” Éomer told me. He ran his hand lovingly along the gleaming flank of Hiswa, who turned his head towards his lord and snorted in low-pitched agreement. Hiswa was a noble horse; and Hiswa knew his worth.
“His sire was Snowmane. And Snowmane’s sire was Lightfoot. Hiswa is a worthy son of a noble line of Mearas. I could go on and on for hours about the various extensions of their line.”
Éomer paused for a moment and smiled at me. “Your Mithril is also the descendant of a very worthy line of Mearas. You might be interested to know that she is in no way related to Hiswa.” He glanced at the white mare that was tossing her head impatiently. “She’s a little headstrong, but a fine horse nevertheless.”
I winked at Éomer. By now I knew enough about horse breeding to know what he hinted at. “And why might you choose this time and place to tell me all that?”
“It seemed opportune,” Éomer answered, his face absolutely straight as he watched Hiswa prancing towards Mithril who did not seem altogether averse to the stallion’s attentions.
I raised my eyebrow at the love-struck horses. Then I turned back to my husband. It was a warm summer evening. We were in the middle of the wide and lonely plains of East Emnet and it seemed to me that we would remain here for some time to come. “And what, my lord, might we do until we get the chance to ride back to Edoras?”
A wicked gleam rose in Éomer’s dark eyes. The wind tousled his hair as he reached out for me. “You know, my love, I just might have something in mind for that!”
He thrust open the door and strode across the room, his leather coat billowing around him. He pulled her into his embrace. Desirously he let his hands roam over her body.
She allowed herself to be towed to the bed. She allowed herself to be laid down on the mattress. His hands pulled at the fabric of her dress. Finally the dress was open and gaping.
In the ensuing silence she felt she could hear three heartbeats. Hers, Éomer’s and the ones of her unborn child.
She reached for her husband’s hands and placed them gently on her rounded belly.
Béma – The Hunter
“I am sure that I have seen him once,” Éomer said abruptly. “Some say that the Valar have turned from us, that they forgotten us…”
He trailed off, hugging her to him. It was obvious that he did not believe what some did. Lothíriel snuggled up to her husband. “Go on, leofest, tell me!”
“I was but a lad… riding out on the plains. A courier ride, all alone. There was a storm coming on, a cloud of thunder and rain. And as such clouds are wont to do sometimes, it took form. It loomed above me in the shape of a great hunter… and it seemed to me that he turned to me… that he bowed to me. And the wind… it was as if there were words in the wind…”
“What were the words?” His wife asked.
“Éomer Eadig, I call thee, mythmaker I dub thee, in thee the oath of Eorl shall return.”
“Then lightning flashed and the storm was upon me, and I was not sure if I had seen anything at all… or if I had only imagined things, in my fear of the tempest…”
He shuddered against her. She felt an icy shiver run down her spine, an intangible feeling of awe that stole her breath away and made her heart race.
“Did you ever tell anyone about this?”
He shook his head. After a moment’s silence, he answered. “No. There was no one. Only my sister. And she was… so emotional, different… some called her deviant. I could not burden her with this…”
“But now you have told me,” Lothíriel whispered and buried her face against his chest.
Éomer laid a gentle kiss on her forehead, blowing away a few strands of her dark hair in a gentle sigh of relief.
“Yes, now I have told you.”
There was nothing he could do. They would not even allow him to carry the cauldron with hot water. To be sure, it was not a thing a king customarily did – he was also not sure if was able to carry anything without spilling it at the moment.
His knees were weak with fear. Thus the hero of the War of the Rings was reduced to walking up and down the corridor; shivering and scared… he swallowed hard.
There was already too much blood.
She was already much too weak.
How should he ever survive without his wife? Without his Lothíriel?
A Hero of Rohan
- dedicated to my beta-reader ObsidianJ
He stared at his wife, trying to ignore the stinking mess in the bucket between them. He smiled at his wife, trying to ignore the screeches of the soggy bundle.
His natural inclination was to turn tail and run. Run. As far as his feet could carry him. Or at least out of the nursery. Out of the royal apartments? Out of the Palace of Meduseld?
But, as always, courage, love and inbred Rohirric stubbornness won out.
He forced a smile upon his lips. “Here, let me take him!”
He regretted it instantly, as his son vomited on his shoulder.