10. Lothiriel's Journal 8
She entered the chamber quietly and tip-toed across to the bed. Éomer lay face down covered to his waist by a sheet, the muscled contours of his back thrown into relief by the light of the bedside lamps. A few strands of hair fluttered, disturbed by his regular breathing. Her husband of three days slept. A smile twitched Lothíriel’s lips: hardly surprising – they had gone out for a ride together just after dawn, but whilst he had spent the rest of the day sparring, she had benefited from relaxing and gossiping with the other women – not that she hadn’t kept half an eye on her husband, enjoying watching his prowess on the training fields, and the strength in his lean but solid frame as he battled against her brothers – and then, at the end of three days of wedding celebrations, he had spent virtually the whole evening dancing with her. No wonder he had fallen asleep while waiting for his bride to join him.
Pondering on the pleasurable sights of the afternoon, Lothíriel considered whether to just get into the bed and snuggle up to that wonderful warm body. But she did not feel sleepy, so maybe she should take the opportunity to bring her journal up to date. She had not written a single word since arriving in Edoras. Now would be a good time to record the details of the wedding day. A giggle threatened to escape: writing about the ceremony would cause no problems, but as for night – dare she commit that to parchment?
Deciding that she would at least make a start, Lothíriel took a candle over to the small table that stood against the wall to the side of the bed, before fishing her journal out from the bag in the wardrobe. Faced with a blank page and with so many thoughts going through her mind she hesitated on what to write and where to begin. In the end she managed to get down the main details of the ceremony, finishing off with the moment when Éomer had kissed her…
‘Belecthor certainly would not have approved of the kiss Éomer gave me to seal our wedding vows, it was nothing like the chaste one I received at our betrothal ceremony. My new husband swept me into his arms and did not let me go until his men whistled their approval.’
Yes, that had been very satisfactory and the first of many even more satisfactory things that had happened over the last few days, but she must say a bit more about the evening…
‘Everyone, lord and commoner, were able to enjoy and join in the wedding celebrations. After our meal we went for a walk arm and arm through Edoras and received the good wishes of all the citizens, most of whom were very keen to drink our health and encourage us to join them. But Éomer told me to pretend to take a sip of what was offered and then he passed it to the guards to dispose of. We were accompanied all the time, not that we were in any danger, of course, but by that late hour the crowds were in a rollicking mood and he did not want me jostled. Eventually we headed back up the hill and I was spirited away to prepare for my wedding night. With three women – Éowyn, Meren and Anniel – laughing, joking and arguing about how I should wear my hair, I hardly had a moment to be nervous. It seemed no time at all before I was sitting in the middle of our huge bed waiting for my husband to join me.’
Lothíriel put down her quill and glanced over towards Éomer, remembering how wonderfully considerate and kind he had been: understanding that even though she had every expectation of enjoying her wedding night she might have a natural nervousness of the unknown. In fact, she had only really been anxious that she may do or say something embarrassing, but right from the moment he had entered the chamber he had sought to relax her and give her time to adjust to their new relationship....
He came in not in a robe or a nightgown but still wearing boots, breeches and a shirt and with a green cloak in his hand. Lothíriel’s eyes went from his face to the cloak and back to his face in a question. “Éomer, are we going somewhere?”
“Just outside. It’s such a beautiful night. All the stars are out and the moon is shining on the high peaks of the Ered Nimrais. There is no rush for anything, Lothíriel, and we haven’t had any chance to talk since you arrived. Come, I have brought you your new cloak, but it’s not cold out there.”
Surprised, and warmed by his words, Lothíriel threw the quilt back and got out of the bed, looking around the floor, “I’ll have to find my slippers,” she said, not having noticed where her maid had put them. All the time she could feel her husband’s eyes on her.
“That’s a very lovely nightgown.” Her head jerked up as his eyes scanned over her, glinting in the candlelight. Blushing, Lothíriel wriggled her feet into the slippers just as Éomer stepped towards her and draped the cloak lightly around her shoulders, dropping a kiss on the top of her head. The nightgown was lovely, made from a delicate silken fabric that clung to her curves, in a colour that changed like the sea – between green and blue. Not exactly transparent, it was not opaque either. Meren had ordered it for her after they had donated the ones Aunt Ivriniel had given her to an old servant. Lothíriel swallowed, Éomer would not really want to know the details of her nightgown but she felt she had to say something. “It’s sewn from a special silk made in the south. My aunt thought I should be covered top to toe in heavy white cotton, but my sister- in law is more enlightened.”
“Hmm…,”an eyebrow rose, and his gaze came to rest on the area of her exposed breasts. “I imagine so. Especially if your aunt is the mother of that prig…what was his name …Pelilas, I think. Your father introduced me to him in Minas Tirith.”
Lothíriel grinned. My goodness, did he know what her cousin had said about him? Best to pretend she knew nothing. “Yes, Pelilas. If you met him you can guess what Aunt Ivriniel is like. She tried to give me a lecture on what you would do and how I should behave on my wedding night …Oh!” Lothíriel put her hand up to her open mouth, heat flaming her face. Why had she said that? Nerves, she supposed. But beside her Éomer started chuckling.
“Did she now? That should be interesting. Later on you must tell me if I am doing everything correctly.”
That was it – she began giggling, burying her head into a very convenient warm chest and mumbling a bit incoherently. “Already things are different than in Gondor. I cannot imagine a bride going outside in her nightgown and as you know the groom is escorted to the bridal chamber by a procession of trumpeters.”
“I do remember the look on Faramir’s face,” he agreed with a short laugh.” Luckily my sister is unruffled by such things.” Éomer released his hold on her and reached out to open the door. He took her arm as they crossed the passage and within moments Lothíriel found herself staring up at the great peaks of the Ered Nimrais. Once again they were bathed in moonlight, just like the first time he had kissed her. But tonight the sky resembled a jewel-studded velvet cloth. “A beautiful sight, isn’t it?” he said.
Looking up, Lothíriel nodded. “I used to go onto the balcony at home and look out to sea. The stars looked like they went on for ever and ever. They seem closer here.”
Éomer pulled her back against him, resting his chin lightly on her head and staring at the mountains from over the top of her. “It varies, I think. I have always thought that in Rohan they appear to be hanging just above us in the mountains, but on the plains they stretch way past the earthly horizon. I imagine that’s a bit like the sea.”
Her turn to speak, but she was having difficulty in forming her words. Probably due to Éomer’s arm being wrapped around her and tucked under her breasts. He had not grasped her tightly and the wool of her cloak lay between, but still she felt short of breath. Luckily he forestalled any reply.
“We were looking at the moon and the mountains the first time I kissed you and you told me you would be happy here. Do you remember?”
Remember? It was etched in her mind. She would never forget. Lothíriel squirmed around until she faced him, which was the best thing she could have done because he slipped his arms under her cloak, holding her gently around her waist. She looked up; his eyes looked much darker in the moonlight. “Of course I remember, I had been waiting for you to kiss me for ages.”
“Oh, you had, had you?” He looked to be having a hard time not to burst out laughing, “Let me tell you that having your father and brothers around was extremely off-putting. Besides that, I thought a properly brought up young lady might object.”
Lothíriel giggled. “You must have been reading Belecthor.”
“Who in Béma’s name is Belecthor?” Éomer asked, frowning slightly.
“Oh, he wrote my aunt’s favourite book on the behaviour expected from Gondorian ladies. He said that one’s betrothed should only be allowed one chaste kiss and my aunt warned me to keep my mouth closed. I didn’t though,” she added as an afterthought.
“No you didn’t.” He couldn’t stop the laughter now and Lothíriel joined in, again burying her head against his warm body. Once they had regained composure he whispered in her ear, “I am getting a bit worried about what this aunt might have told you. Are you going to let me in on any more of her bizarre recommendations?”
Should she? But why not? Now that he was her husband she could surely discuss anything with him. “Well,” she said a little hesitantly, “she ordered me the cotton nightgowns because she said it was unwise to show any flesh. She thinks husbands should not be encouraged in any way and that they do not expect their wives to show any pleasure in their lovemaking.”
“Oh, don’t worry, Anniel put me right on that. She was married before, so knows all about it.”
“Eorllic will be all right then,” Éomer muttered under his breath.
But Lothíriel caught his words and sniggered before asking seriously. “Do you know what his intentions are? I would not like her to get hurt.”
“Very serious, I imagine. A Rohir does not spring-clean his house in the autumn and order new curtains for nothing.” Éomer quipped.
“Oh good, so she might be staying here permanently?”
“Very likely, I should say. But enough of your companion and my captain, I am rather more interested in you.” His voice had dropped an octave and for some reason Lothíriel shivered, bringing about an immediate response. “Are you cold, my love?”
“No, not really, I…” But before she could say any more his lips descended on hers and the cloak was shoved right aside as he pulled her hard against him. Wonderful, this was so wonderful: the pressure of his muscled body against hers; his strong hands caressing her back; the tickle of his tongue exploring her mouth. And when one hand cupped her breast, the thumb gently flicking her nipple, she could just enjoy the sensations and not worry at all because he was her husband. How amazing it all felt.
Lothíriel shivered as the curtains moved. Sometime during the evening the wind had got up and the temperature had plummeted. Seeing that the fire needed stoking, she put down her quill and went to the hearth, adding a few logs as quietly as possible so not to disturb her sleeping husband. When she got back to the table and looked down at her journal, she had written no more than .. ‘We went outside to look at the moon and the stars, before …’ before what? Consummating their marriage? – what a banal way to describe so incredible a thing…
Éomer pushed the door open with his shoulder and then held her against him with one arm whilst he closed and locked it. A few strides took him to the bed and he deposited her gently in the middle of it. “I’ll take this.” Éomer pulled the cloak from her shoulders and hung it over a chair and then went around the room turning down lamps and dousing candle flames. Lothíriel took the opportunity to tuck her legs under the sheet, but stayed sitting up hugging her knees, her eyes following him around the room – for such a powerful man he moved with an easy grace, perhaps the warrior in him responsible for that fluid economy of movement. A delightful shudder of anticipation and expectation ran through her – how lucky she was to have such a handsome husband. When only the fire and one small lamp remained to light the space, he turned and caught her watching him. A smile lit his features, “You look so cosy in there I cannot wait to join you.”
No, she could not wait either and felt a little guilty for the lack of maidenly nervousness. But her confidence had grown since his letter – he wanted her for his wife and nothing could be better than that. Lothíriel moved across a bit to give him some room as he perched on the edge of the bed, already tugging off a boot. The other followed and he grasped the bottom of his shirt pulling it over his head and throwing it on top of the cloak. As the breeches hit the floor, Lothíriel caught a glimpse of tight buttocks and a peep of something interesting just before he slipped under the sheets.
She had enjoyed all his kisses, but lying down with a naked chest pressed against her breasts and the heat of a honed body burning through the thin material of her nightgown, awakened a passion she did not know she possessed. The melting urgency of their first real kiss as man and wife had her straining against him seeking for something yet undiscovered. Eventually, he lifted himself slightly and looked down upon her; she might not have much experience but recognized desire in those smoldering eyes.
“Lothíriel, I know you have been advised to keep yourself covered, but I would like to look at you, all of you.”
No doubt what he meant, especially as large fingers were starting to undo the ribbons that held her nightgown together. “May I?” Swallowing, she nodded, and with what could be called practiced ease, the garment was rolled up over her hips, waist and breasts and over her head. He threw it deftly towards the chair so that it ended up on top of the recently abandoned shirt.
Naked. Totally naked to her husband’s gaze, her breath came fast and shallow until he cupped her face gently in his two great hands and whispered, “You are so beautiful, I am going to kiss every part of you.” And then she relaxed, and the last thing she remembered him saying was – “Lothíriel, I expect you to show and experience extreme pleasure and I will keep on making love to you until I am sure of it.”
Lothíriel stifled a giggle; she didn’t want to wake him. Now how could she write all that followed that in her journal? She thought she had shown a great deal of pleasure, she’d certainly felt it, but it hadn’t stopped him making love to her again that night, or her shyly exploring his body. He had such a sense of humor too; because they had lain talking for quite a while and she had been comfortable enough to tell him about some of her aunt’s other ideas…not the bit about the laundry – she would wait to recount that little gem – but her aunt’s instructions on how a well brought up Gondorian lady should accommodate her husband’s desire had afforded them great amusement. Lothíriel clamped her hand over her mouth, the laughter threatening to burst forth at the memory of the night before when she had woken in the early hours to find him lying propped on his elbow watching her. He had grinned and said cheekily, “Luckily you are not wearing a nightgown, Lothíriel, so there’s nothing to pull up.”
How quickly any notion of modesty or shyness had been abandoned between them. She had wondered if he had deliberately done something to wake her, although he wouldn’t admit to it, and anyway, after this morning she would forgive him anything. At least that was something she could write about…
‘This morning we woke early and left our chamber just as the sun was rising. Firefoot and my new mare, Stardust, were already saddled and waiting at the bottom of the steps…’ Her new mare – what a magnificent creature Éomer had given her, the lightest of grays, with black mane and tail – they suited perfectly. Sighing at the pleasure of the memory of Éomer presenting her with the horse, Lothíriel continued writing… ‘A beautiful morning to go for a ride. As we passed through the gates a light mist swirled around our horse’s feet, but it did not look likely to last long as already the sun hung in a cloudless sky. However one of the guards reckoned the fair weather would soon break.’ And he had been right, Lothíriel thought, as she heard the wind rattling the window, but the morning had been perfect… ‘We turned right and followed the Snowbourn down towards the marshes of the Entwash. The track wound its way through groves of alders and willows that edged the bank of the river, and sometimes the trees were replaced by vast reedbeds over which harriers quartered, searching for prey. We had been traveling for about an hour, sometimes cantering, sometimes galloping, as the track permitted, when Éomer signaled a halt. We stopped in a small copse and through the trees I could see a narrow path disappearing into some reeds. Éomer lifted me down, saying he wished to show me something. He said a few words to the guards, my Rohirric not adequate enough to understand, but the instruction became obvious as they waited while he took my hand and led me along the path. The trees thinned and opened into a little clearing edged with reeds. I gasped, for there amongst the tussock grass peeped pale blue flowers…
Of all the things she had discovered about her new husband the events of the morning had surprised her the most. A warm feeling spread through her as she remembered her astonished gasp…
“Éomer, they’re gentians.”
“Hmm,” he squeezed her hand. “I know they are not quite the same, not so bright a blue. But they are the only ones in bloom this time of the year.”
“I realize that they are the marsh variety. They grow near Dol Amroth. But why have you brought me here?”
“I owe you a bunch of flowers.” Lothíriel shot her eyes to his face. He said it with a determined voice as though steeling himself, but when her gaze met his, he grinned.
Lothíriel grinned back. “Éomer you don’t have to. You are not the flower picking type”
“No, but I want to. And my men can laugh all they like. I wish to do something to show you how much you mean to me, how glad I am that you came into my life. Something other than presenting you with jewels and horses…”
He didn’t get anything else out because Lothíriel flung her arms around his neck and kissed him. That delayed the picking of any flowers for a moment. “Just one,” she said when they broke apart. You need only pick me one…”
Lothíriel twirled the small flower in her fingers. It had already wilted, but she carefully smoothed out the petals, laying them flat and pressing the precious plant between two sheets of blotting paper ready to mount in her journal later. Picking up her quill and intending to make an effort to finish the outstanding entries, a tingle of awareness quivered on the back of her neck. Turning around quickly, quill in hand, she saw her husband watching her from the bed.
He raised himself up a bit, looking over towards her. “What are you doing?”
Now why did her heart start beating double time just at the sound of that velvet voice? “I thought you were asleep so I decided to bring my journal up to date.”
“I am awake now. Leave that until tomorrow and come to bed. I find that a short sleep has totally restored me.”
No mistaking that! The undercurrent of seduction in his husky tone was enough to quash any good intention of bringing her journal up to date that night. The quill hovered, and then returned to the stand. After all, as Belecthor stated – a husband’s wishes were paramount.
Once again, a big thank you to Lia for lending me her precious book. I am sure it will be well used in the future. LBJ