12. After the Ball
The scribes described the official part of the Coronation ball as informal compared to celebratory functions in the recent past of Minas Tirith. They could have written that the latter part of the evening was raucous, but that might have implied an implicit criticism of some of its most illustrious participants. After the arrival of Faramir and Éowyn, Lothíriel was no longer without a rival. However, she was perfectly happy, as she by then had secured Éomer's undivided attention.
Éowyn danced with Faramir countless times, as well as with Imrahil, Elladan, Elrohir, Legolas, Merry and Pippin (together), and every Tower Guard, City Guard, Swan Knight, Ranger and Rohirrim Rider who was self-possessed enough to ask. She even managed to drag Aragorn onto the floor, twice.
Meanwhile, one of Lothíriel's bare feet eventually was trod upon, when she and Éomer passed too closely to Éowyn and the king. Aragorn was appalled, but Éowyn had laughed, as had Éomer. Then Éomer ever gallant had picked Lothíriel up and carried her to a chair at the side of the dance floor. He persisted in making a fuss petting and tickling her purportedly injured foot, to the general amusement of the dwindling group near the dais, with the exception of Imrahil, who bore all of this stoically, assuming the resigned air of an indulgent parent who is unwilling to exert the effort required to make his children behave as he might wish.
Lothíriel was taking a well-earned recess, while Éomer danced with his infatigable sister, when Elladan approached her.
"Hello." she said. "What do you think of our Shieldmaiden?" she asked him. An open smile lit up her face, only to turn into a slight frown at noting Elladan's seemingly aloof posture that she perceived as arrogant. In truth, he struggled to control his anxiety. The delicacy of her features, the modulation of her voice, the velvety inflection of her Elvish, all wrenched at his heart in the most perplexing way.
"She is indomitable," he answered, referring to Éowyn. "Poets who have written of the incomparable beauty of the Firstborn with such conviction, clearly never saw the likes of your golden Rohirric brother and sister. Your cousin Faramir is indeed a brave man," he replied with what struck Lothíriel as affected detachment.
"Elladan, you seem to have an infinite capacity for talking nonsense while making it sound nearly like wisdom," she replied archly.
"Your cousin is the best of men and they have passed through great sorrow to the joy that they have found. I am happy for them," Elladan said affronted at the sharpness of her tone.
"I am sorry. I do not wish to always argue with you," Lothíriel sighed.
"Come," he said, helping her to her feet and guiding her by her elbow past a noisy group at the end of the dais, and out into the darkened courtyard, "I would like you to show something that is not as pretty, but which you may rarely if ever have the opportunity to see again."
"What?" Lothíriel asked.
"A drunken Wood-elf," he laughed.
"Oh, poor Legolas. It is that rascal Gimli's fault I am sure. That Dwarf has an immense capacity for ale," Lothíriel said. "And he always taunts Legolas to match him drink for drink."
"Yes, but do not waste your sympathy, for Gimli will have an appalling headache in the morning and Legolas will be as fresh as a spring flower," Elladan countered. Legolas's dulcet tones rang out:
His sword was long, his lance was keen,
his shining helm afar was seen;
the countless stars of heaven's field
were mirrored in his silver shield.
"What is that song?" Lothíriel asked, with a puzzled frown, "I have never heard those words."
Elrohir stood before them with his arms folded across his chest, his legs apart, and his head cocked to one side with a affable amused expression--all mannerisms that for Lothíriel distinguished him from his brother. He answered, "It is the lay of The Fall of Gil-galad that Bilbo Baggins translated from High Elvish. I would give all the riches of Elvenkind to see Thranduil's face if he were to hear him singing it."
Legolas leaned somewhat unsteadily on Elrohir and looked up toward his face, as though struggling to understand what he had just said, but giving up and smiling vacantly.
"No, Elrohir, you miss the point entirely. Thranduil would laugh. With the emphasis he puts on the words sword and lance, Legolas turns it into a bawdy song," Elladan said.
"He does not look well," Lothíriel said, genuinely concerned, pointedly ignoring Elladan's comments.
"Legolas, would you like for me to find someone to walk you to your rooms?" she asked, soothingly touching his shoulder.
"Princess Lothíriel, thank you for the offer. Please do not trouble yourself. Stay and enjoy the party. My good friend, Elrohir, will look after me," Legolas said earnestly, before launching into another song.
After the ball is over
After the break of morn
After the dancers' leaving
After the stars are gone
Elladan turned to Lothíriel, "He has an infinite supply of such songs, each more naive and maudlin the last."
Many a heart is aching
If you could read them all
Many the hopes that have vanished
After the ball.
"One has to love our Sinda with the Silvan heart: he laughs in the face of doom and sings melancholic songs when he is happy," Elladan continued.
"He certainly is dear to me," Lothíriel said scowling at Elladan. Elladan's eyes widened and he opened his mouth to speak, but said nothing.
"My dear friend, Elrohir of Imladris, will you see me to my quarters?" Legolas asked. "I am more than a little tipsy. Good evening, everyone, my dearest friends, on this most memorable of nights." Lothíriel leaned in to give Legolas a sisterly kiss on the forehead, earning herself a sweet endearing smile. "Good night. Rest well," she said.
"Here," Elrohir said, grabbing Legolas's mithril diadem, which was dangerously close to slipping off, and tossing it to Elladan. "Take care of this. It is doubtless a priceless relic from who knows which ancient fallen city."
Elladan caught it handily, "Are you sure you can manage alone?"
Elrohir nodded positively. "Come along now. I have you," Elrohir said, speaking with the tender patience one might use with a beloved child. Legolas and Elrohir walked off together carefully arm-in-arm. Lothíriel and Elladan stood in the darkness watching them. Then she turned on Elladan.
"Twins--alike as two eggs, only one of you is kind and the other not, and I must find myself involved with the one that is mean as a snake," she said self deprecatingly.
"Shame on you, Elladan. You are not half as witty as you think you are. And Legolas is a lovely gentle drunk."
Elladan answered, "You are cruel to me," smiling regretfully.
"No, I am not. You are always pushing or pulling at me. Legolas and your brother do not behave with me as you do."
He responded lightly, "You understand nothing of Elves, exquisite one. That neither he nor my brother asks anything of you is nothing extraordinary. That I do is." To his own great astonishment, he bent down and gently kissed her on the lips.
When she did not immediately pull away, he deepened the kiss. It was apparent to him that it was as exhilarating for her as it was for him, as he had often imagined it could be, but had dared not expect it would be. He opened his lips softly over hers and she did not resist, but touched his tongue delicately with hers, and permitted herself to relax against his broad chest.
Finally, as the kiss turned passionate, almost painfully desperate, she put her hands against his chest reluctantly pushing him back. Her sigh was nearly inaudible when their lips separated.
He said longingly, not entirely without hope, "That was not so terrible was it?" locking his eyes with hers, relentless and earnest. She does want me, he thought. Why am I obsessed with this Mortal who is love with another man? "Say it, please," he pleaded. "I need to hear the words. Just once."
"You want me to tell you that I took pleasure in your kiss. That I desire you," she said distraught, breathing shallowly, her words barely a hoarse whisper. "What kind of spell do you weave?"
"Say it," he said, touching her chin and lifting her face so she was compelled to meet his gaze; it was agony for him to comprehend her rash young splendor, the glow of her midnight hair and cheeks flushed with repressed emotion, her gray eyes shining with tears, level yet apprehensive.
"No. There is no point to it," she answered utterly miserable, looking up into his handsome, pale, elegant face. Then she put out her hand and lightly caressed his cheek.
"Do not be angry with me," she said forlornly.
He was overwhelmed with tenderness, "I am not angry with you. I am in love with you."
She leaned slightly toward him, and for a brief moment, he believed that she meant to kiss him, but she turned instead and walked back into the lighted hall. Elladan stood motionless on the cool marble terrace in the shadows of the balmy night under the starlit sky.
Behind him were the sounds of a quick Rohirric folk tune. Something about it struck him as hot and dangerous, but not without humor. He thought of Lothíriel and Éomer, of Faramir and Éowyn. These two most Elvish of their Númenórean peers would chose those of the younger children of the Second Born upon which to build their future. The days of the Elves are fading. This is the age of Men. I have that choice as well. Is that what draws me to her? This obsession with her is madness.
It was getting late and the prominent citizens of Minas Tirith had already left. Of the fellowship, only Gimli remained. Aragorn did not see Elrohir, Elladan or Legolas, but was aware that Elrohir had intended to escort Legolas nearly insensible with drink back to his room. Éomer stood with Faramir and Éowyn on the far side of the wide hall.
After walking to main entrance with a departing Gondorian noble, Aragorn passed the door that led onto the terrace. Princess Lothíriel tore by him, clearly distressed, with no awareness of the near collision. Her face was flushed and her eyes wild. She stopped some ten feet away from him, still unaware of his proximity, looking as though she might break down sobbing at any moment. Where did she come from?
He wondered briefly if he should approach her, so distraught did she appear. He decided against it. He thought that he had extended himself sufficiently for one evening on behalf of the welfare of this flirtatious princess barely out of her teens. He mused that this sort of thing was more Arwen's line. How unfortunate she is not here to handle it with her inimitable compassion and humor. Then with a sense of annoyance tempered by amusement, he thought: Lothíriel has a father, a brother and a trusted cousin here. Any one of them is a far more appropriate candidate for such an intervention than I am.Why does this concern me? Why, indeed? Because I would be more a fool than I am if I were to think her agitated state is not directly related to Elladan. I cannot blame the princess. I of all others should be able to understand how an impressionable young Mortal can be fascinated by the one of Elrond's comely children. The singular allure of their subtle fusion of Elven and mortal attributes can be intoxicating. Yet she somehow seems less Mortal than Elven at times perhaps it is that mixture itself that draws them to one another. Damned Elladan. First diplomatic embarrassment of the reign of King Elessar is provoked by the seduction by his Elven foster brother of the promised bride of the King of Rohan and only daughter of the Prince of Dol Amroth.At that moment, Lothíriel turned abruptly, straightened her shoulders, hitched up her chin, and walked purposefully in direction of the doorway where Aragorn stood. Elladan must be on the terrace. She intends to return to whatever entanglement she so recently fled.
"Lothíriel, are you well? Is there someone you are looking for?" Aragorn said.
"No, sire. Thank you. I am fine," she stammered, not looking well at all. "I just thought I would get a little air." You did not get enough earlier?
"Would you like me to accompany you?"
"Perhaps, I would rather have a drink of water instead," she answered turning to walk back into the hall. "Please don't trouble yourself, my lord. I am fine."
"As you wish, princess," he said.
Then she turned to Aragorn and lightly touched his arm, "I appreciate your concern, my lord," she added with a telling look. It has been scarcely two hours since I told her to stay out of my head. Elladan may have met his match with this one.
Elladan heard the sound of someone in the doorway and spun around, hoping against hope that Lothíriel had returned, only to see Aragorn standing in the light. He walked up to Elladan and placed his hand on his shoulder.
"I would speak with you, Elladan. I am concerned for your sanity," Aragorn said lightly.
Elladan did not laugh. He immediately read the underlying concern in Aragorn's eyes. He imagined he saw something more—judgment, irritation—and was certain of the subject his foster brother wished to discuss.
In the half-light of the shadowed courtyard, Aragorn had difficulty seeing Elladan's face, but sensed his rigid control of strong emotions.
"I always appreciate your concern. You have my complete attention," Elladan answered expressionlessly.
"I just came across the Dol Amroth princess in a state obvious emotional distress…" Aragorn began.
Elladan interrupted him, abandoning his previous pretense of disinterest, "…and you assumed that this state was almost certainly due to something I had done. Such curiosity relating to the private affairs of others is unlike you, Estel. More the sort of behavior I would associate with my grandmother or sister."
"You are wrong there, Aragorn chuckled. "Over the years, your personal affairs have often engaged my curiosity, but I have been satisfied to observe from a safe distance. The unsolicited reports that I have received from Galadriel or Arwen usually provided more details than I truly wanted to know."
"But now you are inclined to interfere," Elladan bristled, suddenly defensive. "One would think there were matters of state of more worthy of your attention."
"Have you considered that your pursuit of this young woman could develop into a matter of state?" Aragorn asked quietly.
"Do you think I would endanger your regime or that I want to idly amuse myself at her expense?"
Aragorn answered ironically, "To your credit, I do not. At least not intentionally. You may be reckless, but you have never been stupid or cruel. I do wonder if you need to be reminded that she is young and inexperienced. She admitted to me earlier that she is attracted to you. Moreover, she has had only her feckless brothers to advise her on matters of the heart, but loves and intends to wed Éomer, an important ally. I cannot but hold you responsible if anything damaging occurs between the two of you."
"Any interest she may have in me in no way diminishes what she feels for Éomer. I have told her that I respect completely the bond she has formed with him. She is not a child," Elladan replied archly.
"I refuse to accept that you cannot but realize that she has not the slightest idea of what you imply by that," Aragorn said tersely "and, compared to you, she is, indeed, a child." It was less the dangerous clench in Elladan's jaw, than the immeasurable sadness in his eyes that stayed his brother's voice.
"You of all people, Estel, dare to counsel me that I ought to avoid any risky or unsuitable entanglements of an emotional nature," Elladan snapped. Yet, he knew Aragorn was aware his pain and confusion. When Aragorn enfolded him in a brotherly embrace, he did not resist.
"Among my dearest wishes is that you also may find joy in these days. But I fear you will not find it there, gwanur."
"Estel, forgive my cruel stupid words," he said, his voice breaking. "It is as though I no longer know who or what I am these days, and I have little understanding what, if anything, this has to do with my compulsion toward this woman."
****The ball was over. A few musicians played Rohirric tunes for the remaining handful of soldiers of Rohan and their newfound sweethearts who persisted in drinking and dancing. Lothíriel stopped for a moment and listened to their voices. Some spoke to one another in Rohirric or to their female companions in the Common Tongue heavily accented. Their voices rang out with strong intonation. The sound was curiously caressing to her ears, their broad vowels and harsh consonants pleasing. The whole ambiance was for her permeated with a resonance of male physicality; the mesmerizing maleness she imagined that these Rohirric warriors surcharged into the air reminded her of how she had felt the first time that Éomer kissed her.
Only a small corner of the grand hall was still lighted near the front, to one side of the dais. Tireless and voluble Gimli drank on with three graying Rohirrim. Éowyn had collapsed upon a bench and was happily leaning back against Faramir who balanced her against him with one arm encircling her waist, while he whispered into her ear, lazily stroking her upper arm with his other hand. Aragorn and Imrahil spoke softly with two Dúnedain of the Grey Company, who Lothíriel did not know. Erchirion was nowhere to be found. Éomer ambled toward Lothíriel, looking pleased to see her, completely sober, smiling with his relaxed charm that always wrung her heart.
"Where were you? Did you send Legolas home?" Éomer asked.
"Yes. Elrohir took him. For some reason Elladan dragged me out with him to see them off," she answered.
"Any excuse for your company," Éomer said knowingly, touching her face softly. His eyes gently questioned her.
"Something happened," he stated. He looked at her as though to read her face and failing, waited.
"He kissed me," she blushed furiously.
"And was it pleasant?" he asked evenly.
"Unexpected. Unwanted. But I cannot honestly say unpleasant," she answered her eyes wide, meeting his unwaveringly, concealing nothing.
"Was it like this?" Éomer leaned forward and kissed her softly.
"No." He kissed her again more compellingly.
"Yes. Somewhat like that," she answered.
He took her in his arms and kissed her deeply, seductively, moving his hands on her back, pressing her body against his. She felt none of the anxiety and intimidation she had experienced when Elladan had kissed her. The heat and passion were there, with none of the desperation and danger. Then Éomer held her away from him, looking into her eyes. "It was not as agreeable as that though, was it?" he said grinning.
"Oh, no! Nothing like that," she answered, throwing her arms around his neck and laughing, at ease, relieved. "Shameless man. You are so sure of yourself."
"No, I am not at all sure of myself, as you say. However, I now understand something of you. You are an innocent but dangerous young woman," he said earnestly. "I should look after you more seriously. I want to come to you tonight. Do you remember what you offered me?"
"Of course I remember. Will you take me home now and make love to me?" she whispered her voice catching, serious, rapt with her yearning adoration of him, desperate he could still change his mind by pleading politics, manners, or custom.
Éomer kissed her fiercely and then pulled away, laughing with joy, and said, "I will never say no to you again."
"And how do we do this?" he asked, suddenly overcome with unbounded tenderness for her.
"Very discreetly," she answered with assurance. "We should leave now, but first we must say good night to my father and Aragorn, and to Faramir and Éowyn."
They spoke to the others and left the hall alone, only to realize that four Rohirric soldiers were following them. "I had forgotten that I no longer go anywhere without a tail," Éomer said.
"What will we do about them?" Lothíriel asked, sounding suddenly nervous.
"Don't worry. When we reach the house, I will send them away. They will be sympathetic and discreet," he said smiling. "Ah, now you worry, after your apparent disdain for appearances might have convinced me that you would not mind if an entire éored were following us."
"Watch what you say, Mortal…" she said with a seductive laugh, in an uncanny reproduction of the tone, if not the words, of a certain Elf lord.
"A joke in poor taste indeed, Lothíriel. Do not overestimate my tolerance," he smiled dangerously.
"You started it," she said affronted, "You accused me of inappropriate forwardness, when all I have ever done is acknowledge that I desire you and I know that you like it."
"Of course, I like it. That was what drew me to you the first time that I approached you," he answered amused.
"Are you saying you knew then that I wanted you?"
"I thought you did and I was right, was I not?"
"You know you were. That is easy for you to say now. But, was I truly so transparent then?" she asked doubtfully.
"You looked half the perfect Gondorian lady—proper and prim—and half cool, other-worldly Elvish princess. Yet, I guessed that you were neither. I could sense the heat in you from across the room. That is why I wanted to tease you—that you dared pretend to be remote. Do you remember?"
"You know that I remember every tiny detail of that day, but I have told you countless times that you have it wrong. You created the heat," she protested, "I never truly desired a man in such a way until I saw you."
****They arrived at the door and Éomer walked back to his Rohirrim guard, who had followed at a respectful distance behind them, and spoke briefly with them. Lothíriel tried the door's latch. It was still open. They entered and the shuffle of muted footsteps greeted them. A small plump grey-haired lady appeared in the foyer.
"Éomer, this Mistress Irilde. She has been our housekeeper here in Minas Tirith for all of my life. Irilde, this my betrothed, King Éomer of Rohan." Éomer nodded to her respectfully, with a boyish smile. She collapsed into a deep curtsey. Éomer took the older woman's hand and helped to her feet.
"Sire, what a pleasure," Irilde gasped, flushing with excitement, "We have heard such rumors. I'm sure you of all people know how quickly gossip spreads in the household of a prince. So, is it official now?"
Éomer could only laugh at her proprietary familiarity. There is no typical Gondorian formality in this household. This is more like home.
"Not yet official, mistress. However, it is no secret. There are papers to sign that our counselors and their scribes will fuss over for some time, but Prince Imrahil has consented, and Lothíriel and I have resolved that nothing will keep us apart," he said straightforwardly.
"Well, I am glad of it. There is no eligible man left in Gondor worthy of our princess. My, but the two of you make a handsome couple. When Imrahil was a young man and courting his bride he always said that he would only allow his children to marry for love," Irilde said. "He must have been happy to see the two of you together."
Éomer could barely control his features, remembering the hoops that Imrahil had forced them to jump through to gain his permission.
However, Irilde noticed nothing and continued briskly, "Lothíriel surely has told you of her passion for horses. That has ever been a bone of contention with her father. He always said, 'She demands too much horse for such a little girl. It will be the death of her.' I never thought of a king of the horse lords of Rohan for our princess. But, this is surely perfect."
Turning to Lothíriel she said, "Now Imrahil can rest and trust him to pick a proper horse for you."
"Thank you, Irilde," Lothíriel laughed and hugged the older lady. "I am glad that you approve. We have not talked of horses yet, but I do trust that Éomer is competent to help me chose one. Papa will be along shortly. You do not have to wait up for him. He will be tired and followed by his esquire and the usual guard."
"If I can't get you anything, then I will run along and leave you two alone. Now don't stay up too late. Good night, sire, and may all the Valar bless you both."
"Thank you, Mistress Irilde," Éomer replied with his charismatic smile. Irilde made a small attempt at a curtsey and ran off as abruptly as she had appeared.
Lothíriel grabbed Éomer's hand, "Up the stairs and to the right, quickly. Papa could walk in at any minute. Be careful. The marble is slippery." She took the stairs two at a time, hiking her skirt up to her knees, and dragging him behind her. She whisked him through the first door, closed it, and bolted it behind him.
"This is it," she said breathless. "Do not worry about Irilde. I could tell that she fancies you. She appears to have a soft heart for good-looking young kings. She will not hear or say anything."
"Whatever you say, my love. I am completely in your hands here," he said, quietly, gently, with a barely wicked smile.
An oil lamp flickered low near the window. Lothíriel stepped away from Éomer and turned up the flame in the lamp slightly. As his eyes adjusted to the dim yellow light in the spacious room, he noted that it was not lavishly outfitted. There was, however, a simple, well-appointed, elegance to the furnishings. A wardrobe of a dark exotic wood stood in one corner. In the opposite corner, there was a mirror on the wall above a narrow dressing table slightly cluttered with combs, hairpins, and a few small ornate boxes. Unadorned lightweight white curtains, stirring faintly, hung in front of great windows, which opened outward. Two comfortable chairs, stood on either side of a sizeable fireplace, cleaned of wood and ashes in preparation for the summer, which held a large vase containing fragrant waxy, white flowers. A desk in front of the window held a leather-bound diary, pens, an inkpot, and half a dozen books.
"Look, I have a private bath," Lothíriel pointed to a second door, "The best plumbing in Minas Tirith. Legolas says that he has only seen better in his father's house. Apparently, King Thranduil has piped hot water."
"Ancient Elven magic, no doubt," Éomer joked, arching an eyebrow at her impudently.
"No. It is a simple matter of piping and access to nearby hot springs…you are teasing me again!" she laughed, throwing her arms around his waist.
Of course, being young, male, and human, Éomer's eyes were drawn to the wide bed, covered in a plain, white summer spread. He caught her eye as she followed his gaze toward the bedstead. Her eyes widened and her lips parted appealingly, causing a sharp intact of breath on Éomer's part. He groaned, seized her, crushing her against him, instinctively smashing his lips against hers, harder than he had before, harder than he had intended. Too hard, too much, not the way to woo a maiden who wants to make love for the first time, he thought. Before he could lessen the pressure, she threw her arms around his neck with her predictable audacity and opened her sweet soft lips under his, her tongue moving creatively against his. Ai, you are inventive. You knew nothing of such things the first time I kissed you.
Outside, the great white stone city was finally quieting for the night, although the festivities would resume on the morrow and continue for some days. Despite the late hour, there were still sporadic sounds of festivity—voices, the occasional laugh, or a faint strain of music—drifting up on the slight breeze from the lower levels of the city. Then Éomer heard the sound, much closer, of a familiar male voice saying something in Elvish with the, now unmistakable to him, southern cadence of Dol Amroth, followed by a soft feminine giggle.
Lothíriel pulled away from Éomer abruptly, put her finger to her lips, and whispered, "Erchirion," pointing to the wall, indicating that she believed her brother to be in the adjacent room. She quietly pulled both windows closed and then spoke aloud, but softly, "He has a woman in his room. Papa will be furious with him if he finds him out."
"And what about us, my love?" Éomer said, pulling her back against his body with a sly grin.
"I would plead extenuating circumstances," smiling she lifted her face to be kissed. "If I wait much longer I could die for lack of your touch." She began to unfasten his outer coat. He noticed that her hands trembled, but was sure they were steadier than his own could be. She hung his coat in the wardrobe.
He thought she sounded suddenly shy, as she said, "Sit down and I will help you with your boots," her eyes fixed on the floor as pushed him into the chair by the desk, He mentally thanked her father and brothers for the economical dispatch with which she performed the task.
Then she looked up at him conspiratorially, "I have learned that men prefer a woman to the best esquire to help them with their boots and certainly over grunting and straining to do it for themselves. It is such a simple way to make a man happy. You know that I read your thought just now."
"You did? I thought I read yours earlier. What witchcraft do you practice?" he whispered, clearly intrigued. She tossed his boots aside and pulled his stockings off as well.
"It's one of those gifts or curses of either my Númenórean or Elvish blood. I will teach you later, if you want, to learn how to barrier your thoughts from me, but I hope you won't want to tonight, not tonight." He blushed bright red at her thought of the possible sensual applications of this mysterious skill of sensing another's thoughts.
"Never. I will never hide from you, my sorceress, if you don't hide from me," he said huskily. She leaned on his knees looking up into his eyes. "Never," she answered. This is right, perfectly right, he thought. He felt her melting, her need, her wanting, as he never had before, not through all those late nights of endless teasing kisses and half-bold, half-restrained caresses. Her lips sought his and captured them. He fumbled to unfasten tiny silver buttons on the front of the impossibly fine, silver-grey silken gown and miraculously succeeded. She lifted her arms and he pulled the dress over her head. She now wore only a thin silk shift hanging from her shoulders by single tiny ribbons on each side.
His hands enclosed her breasts. He had felt them pressed against his chest before, but never had taken them in his hands. They were small, but full, high, soft. He could scarcely breath. Her hands grappled with the laces on his pants. He caught her wrists and standing lifted her and carried her to the bed. I am experienced with women, but nothing has prepared me for this. He felt a thrill course through her body, again in response to his thoughts.
I counted on you to show me the way. No matter, love, together we will know what to do, she responded.
"Ai, what it is to be held by you, to look at you," she whispered, tilting her head back further to look up at him, brushing the coarse tangled golden locks back from his cheekbones with both hands, to better see his face. "Please. Off with your clothes," she demanded and again dropped her hands to the laces of his pants, determined not to be interrupted this time, but failed in her resolution when her knuckles brushed against his erection and she abandoned the laces again, rubbing both small hands against the contour of it.
At this rate, we will never get my clothes undone, he thought, plummeting into a maelstrom of love and lust, carnal and ethereal, falling, crashing into the old young bright flame of her. "Wait," he begged and hoisted himself up from the bed and somehow stood, tearing his tunic off over his head and finally pushed down his pants and undergarments kicked them aside.
"Oh, my," she breathed, sitting up and looking closely as though afraid to miss a detail. Her eyes widened, almost comically, if it were not for her serious expression. She stretched out her arms toward him. "Come closer," was her command, and to his never-to-be-forgotten shock and surprise stuck out her tongue and licked his engorged member. Naïve, but oh so gifted. He gasped, trembled, nearly blinded with desire, as he stroked her silken hair. Then she chastely kissed the tip of it and encircled it with one hand. She looked up at him and smiled. "Are you…is this considered large?" she asked sweetly.
"Lothíriel!" Éomer stammered, red-faced, holding her face in his hands. Then, as he remembered that he had vowed to be honest with her in all things, he answered, thoroughly disconcerted, but determined, "Nay, not that large. I mean…it certainly is not small...well, many might say large. I guess it is appropriately proportioned to the rest of me." What kind of a maiden would ask such a question? She pulled him back onto the bed on top of her laughing.
"Oh, Éomer, forgive me. I did not mean to embarrass you. I merely wondered. You are perfectly beautiful in every way," she said, still giggling quietly, moving under him creating a wonderful friction. "This feels simply amazing," she said her voice suddenly low, wicked, perilous.
Such cheeky wantonness was not what I expected, but what more of a fool can I have been to have thought you would be any less direct.
He lifted himself above her balancing on one arm and, with the other hand, seized the hem of her shift, pulled it up and off her in one swift ungentle movement. Unearthly beauty—no, human beauty—but with the exotic hint of Eleven blood. Exhilarating and magical. The warm scent of you so intoxicating.
He looked down at her now completely unclothed body and a sharp breath escaped him. The sound clearly enchanted her. She touched his cheek, moving his face until their eyes met. In a small, suddenly shy voice, she asked, "Do you like what you see?" At that moment, he sensed that to her his gaze seemed the most intimate gesture of all. "I love it," he said.
He balanced his weight upon both arms, lowered his body against hers, and began to gently move against her stomach without putting his weight on her. She let out a choked, almost begging moan, arching up against him. He rolled off her and onto his side and began to touch and taste her body, slowly moving downward from her breasts. As he drew near the center of her, she opened her thighs to him, groaned and grasped him firmly again with a silken hand as though to pull him into her. She reached out to touch his mind, Now?
No, my love, not yet. I would show you a few more things first. It will be worth the wait I promise.
________________________After The Ball Is Over, by Charles K Harris, U.S. hit song of 1890s. It seemed like the type of overemotional song that the character of Elladan in this story would dislike, but which, nevertheless, had curiously poignant lyrics in light of his conflicted emotions at the end of the ball.
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.