36. Chapter 35 - May 1426
A man was standing in front of the throne. He smiled and walked towards them. Ivy couldn’t believe how tall he was. Until this trip, her father had been the tallest person she knew. This man was now the tallest she’d ever seen.
“Éomer King,” her father said, going down on one knee and bowing. Ivy wondered if she should bow as well. Her father hadn’t told her what to do when they met the king.
“Master Meriadoc.” The King took her father’s hand and pulled him up. Then he bent down and embraced him. “It is good to see you, friend,” the King said. Then he turned to Ivy and gasped. “Ivy!” he said. He looked back at her father. “You’re right. She looks just like her.”
Ivy wondered if they were talking about her mother. Did this King know her?
The king turned back to her and knelt down in front of her. “Welcome to Edoras, Lady Ivy.” he took her hand and kissed it, his beard tickling her skin. She couldn’t help but giggle. No one had ever treated her like a Lady before.
They were introduced to Queen Lothíriel and little Elfwine, who was just over one year old, then Ivy and her father were shown to their room so they could wash up and rest after their journey. Ivy raced to the window to look out over the fields and the distant mountains. The urge came over her again to race her pony across those fields, to feel the wind blowing in her long hair. Then she remembered something and turned to her father.
“The King said I look like someone,” she said. “Does he know my mother?”
Her father nodded, not looking up from his unpacking. “He is her brother,” he said.
“The King is my uncle?” She wasn’t expecting this. “Is my mother here?” she asked.
“No. Not now, but...” He looked up at her. “She should be here tomorrow.”
“My mother?” Ivy felt her stomach leap and her legs felt weak. She was going to meet her mother? “Do you think she’ll like me?” she asked. Her mother was someone from a story. Now she was about to become real. It scared her. What if her mother didn’t like her?
Her father smiled. “Of course, she will. And she’s bringing your brothers, too. You have two more brothers in Gondor.”
Ivy sat down on her bed. Two more brothers? But she thought Theoden was her only brother. She’d had two more all along?
Her father sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before. But I thought it would be easier if you found out this way, by meeting her. And I wanted to make sure she was definitely going to be able to be here, before I said anything to you. Éomer said they will be arriving tomorrow.” He smiled at her. “Éowyn’s written to me and she can’t wait to see you.”
Ivy remembered that her father had gotten a letter not too long before they left the Shire. She realized that was when Estella started looking sad.
“Is that why Estella was sad. Is that why you were arguing?”
Her father looked sad now, too. He nodded. “She’s afraid you won’t need her anymore if you meet your mother.”
“Oh.” Ivy bit her lip. That wasn’t true. She’d always need Estella. Estella was like her mother, too. She suddenly felt bad for being so excited over going to Rohan, because it had made Estella sad.
“Are you all right, Ivy? I know this is a shock.” He sat next to her and put an arm around her. “But I know your mother loves you very much and she has waited a long time to see you.”
Ivy nodded. She got up and went back to the window. She wasn’t sure she was ready for this. The urge to ride her pony across the fields came over her again, but this time to escape.
Ivy couldn’t believe how far she was from the ground. But she tried not to be scared, especially since her uncle was sitting right behind her on the horse. It wouldn’t do for Éomer King to have a niece who was afraid of horses.
She had been on edge all day, waiting for her mother to arrive. Finally, her uncle offered her a ride on his horse. They had ridden out onto the plains at a gallop and Ivy had forgotten about worrying over her mother. It must be wonderful, having these fields to run your horse on every day.
The sun was getting low now, and they were heading back to Edoras. Uncle Éomer leaned over her and pointed. “Look, Ivy. Travelers approach.” She saw the tiny black line of horses approaching Edoras. Her heart thudded.
“My mother?” she asked.
“I think so,” said Uncle Éomer and he kicked his horse into a gallop back to Edoras.
As they trotted up the winding road through Edoaras to Meduseld, Ivy felt like she was going to be sick. The day she had been waiting for since she found out about her mother was here--and she wasn’t sure she wanted it.
They came through the gate and into the yard at the base of the hall. She saw people everywhere and finally spotted her father talking to a woman with golden hair. Next to them was a man holding a small boy, another boy clinging to his leg. They turned at the sound of the horse. Ivy made eye contact with the woman. The golden-haired woman had tears in her eyes. Ivy looked away from her and saw her father smiling up at her.
Uncle Éomer stopped the horse in front of the group and dismounted. He reached up for Ivy, but she was suddenly overtaken by fear. She clung to the saddle and burst into tears.
“Ivy.” Her uncle pulled her down into his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck, hiding her face in his hair. Behind her, she heard the horse being led away.
“Ivy?” It was a woman’s voice. Ivy didn’t want to see her. She wanted to go home to the Shire. To Estella. She didn’t want more brothers. Theo was her brother.
She felt a hand on her back and she held on tighter to Uncle Éomer.
“Let’s go inside,” her uncle said. “But give us a moment first.”
Ivy felt him climbing the steps and risked a peek behind them. The woman stood there, watching them go, in tears. On either side she was being comforted by her father and the man with the children. She hid her face again.
She felt the cool air of the hall as they entered Meduseld and she finally lifted her head. Her uncle walked to the end and sat on the throne. He turned Ivy around on his lap to look at her.
“What is the matter, Ivy?” he asked gently.
“I’m scared,” she confessed. She sniffled and wiped her nose on her sleeve.
“I don’t know.” She just knew she didn’t want to be here anymore.
“Éowyn loves you very much. She cried for days and days when she had to give you up. Do you know why she had to?”
“Dad told me. She couldn’t live in the Shire with us.”
He rubbed her back. “She’s waited a long time to see you. Can you be brave for me and give her a chance?”
Ivy nodded. She startled when she heard the door open. Her father and mother were coming in.
She had the urge to hide in her uncle’s arms again but fought it. She would be brave for Éomer King.
Her father came up to her and picked her up from her Uncle Éomer’s lap. He turned and took her to the woman. Ivy looked back at her uncle, but he had gotten up and was heading out a side door of the hall.
Her father stopped and she turned. The woman was kneeling in front of them. She was very pretty, but her eyes were red from crying. Ivy suddenly felt bad for making her cry.
“This is your mother, Ivy.” her father said.
It was hard to believe that this tall, pretty lady was her mother. “You’re huge,” tumbled out of her mouth and she blushed at her own rudeness. But her mother just laughed.
“As you can see, she takes after Pippin as well,” said her father.
Her mother smiled at her. “Hello, Ivy,” she said. “I’m glad you came to see me.”
Ivy forced a smile back.
“Can I have a hug?” her mother asked in a shaky voice. She held out her arms.
Ivy nodded. Her father put her down and she walked to Éowyn, who pulled her into an embrace.
“Ivy,” Éowyn sobbed.
Ivy cried, too, and hugged her back. Her mother was holding her.
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.