1. First Time
Elladan poured his brother another measure of the rough wine and stretched out his long legs contentedly. Lethargy had settled on Meduseld with Théoden’s funeral over and Éomer concentrating on entertaining his guests before taking up the yoke of kingship. Long days of travel with many nights spent sleeping on the hard ground meant that not only the ladies appreciated the leisurely mornings. Which was why the Hall still buzzed with conversation even though the sun had risen high into a cloudless sky.
Elrohir twirled his goblet in long fingers; leaning forward, he closed the gap between them. “She’s watching us again. I feel her eyes on the back of my neck.”
Glancing over his brother’s shoulder, Elladan saw the girl, half concealed by a pillar. Sunlight streamed through the high window, it bounced on her head, turning blonde hair to molten gold. He smiled at her, but she dropped her eyes from his scrutiny, although she did not move. Normally no mortal women held any interest for him, appearing heavy and coarse beside the ethereal beauty of the first-born. But a few of the fair-skinned maidens of the Rohirrim could be eye-catching.
“She is pretty for human-kind. Her face is as fresh as the morning, and her skin blooms like the peaches in our father’s garden.”
“A rare flower amongst more common plants,” Elrohir agreed.
She turned her back on them. Picking up a cloth abandoned by a maid-servant she busied herself with beeswax, but he knew her senses were sharpened to their presence. Elladan let his eyes linger, enjoying the way her hips swung as she polished the intricate, carved panelling. “She yearns for the fulfilment of her desires. I see it in every movement of her body. Every toss of her head.”
“But she is shy, and hesitates to approach,” Elrohir mused, “afraid to ask for what she wishes from us.”
Elladan nodded, as the girl stretched up to the top of the panelling, the movement accentuating the firmness of her buttocks. “The men of Edoras have been lacking if they have let her want for attention.”
“Éomer would no doubt oblige, were he not so taken up with his princess. He should not neglect a beauty in such need.”
They both swiveled their eyes to where the Lord of Meduseld sat close to the Lady Lothíriel, blond and black heads with barely space between them.
“True.” Elladan leaned back in his chair, rubbing his bottom lip with a finger. “But I feel it is us she craves. Always the stranger is of more interest than the familiar.”
Elrohir stole a look to the side of the hall where the girl polished vigorously. “Do you sense she favours one of us over the other?”
“I think not. She will wish to take advantage of us both.”
“But not together.” Elrohir shook his head, his lips pursing. “She would not be up to it, would she?”
So used to working as a pair, Elladan had not considered that. But it would not do to overwhelm her on the first foray. “No, I agree. She will need to rest between.”
A slow, lazy smile lit up Elrohir’s face. “I think I would enjoy tussling with her.”
“So, we will do it.” Elladan stood up, draining his goblet. “We will do what we have not done in all our long years.”
“Yes.” Elrohir grabbed his arm, holding him back. “But be careful how you approach her. Even though she wishes this, she might take fright if you move too fast.”
“Am I not the one with tact and patience?” Elladan asked, raising a brow. But his brother waved him away with a grin.
Soft-soled boots on the tiled floor made no sound. He stood behind her, his chest a hand’s breadth from long yellow tresses. The polishing stopped, her body stiffening as she registered the intrusion of another being. Heeding his brother’s words, Elladan stepped back, allowing her space to turn. She did so quickly, looking up at him with eyes the colour of cornflowers and the wariness of a doe. A smile trembled on her lips, but the words stumbled and fell into nothing.
Elladan picked them up. “You must not be afraid of asking for what you desire, little one. My brother and I will be happy to do what you wish.”
“Three,” she whispered, twisting the cloth in her hands. “I need three of you.”
Three! There was no doubt the women of the Rohirrim were ambitious. But who could they get as a third? She was lovely, and deserved the best. His eyes snaked around to Éomer; he had his hand resting on Lothíriel’s thigh, out of sight of her father. Maybe they could prize him away for a short while, if they let Lothíriel watch. She might like to see how well the man she was to marry could perform. His thought was interrupted by the girl’s soft voice.
“I have to fight three expert warriors, one after the other. Only if I hold onto my sword for the given time can I claim the title: shield-maiden. Not one of us has ever fought an elf; fighting two would bring me great renown.”
Elladan bowed his head. He and Elrohir would do something they had never done before – raise their weapons to a woman.
With her wonderful hair scraped back, and eyes glittering threat through the slits in her warrior’s helm, where was the doe-eyed maiden he had so admired?
Elladan lunged his sword, but the long-fanged lynx on her shield bit at it with fearsome accuracy. The jolt travelled up his arm and sent his already tender head spinning.
Sparring with prospective shield-maidens was not to be taken lightly, or on top of a drinking session with Gimli. Now he knew why Éomer had looked so smug refusing the wine.
The gong sounded. Elladan bowed.
“Your turn,” he said to his brother, smirking.
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.