1. First Battle
Author's Note: This story came out quite different than it was planned. I wrote the first part of it some time ago, but in writing the focus changed dramatically. Amazing. But in a way, I like the „new" story that evolved – and I hope you will, too! ;)
Oh… perhaps I should mention that I don't believe Grima to be of such repulsive appearance like shown in the film. I think Tolkien described him only as „dark-haired" with „heavy-lidded, clever eyes". Most likely he looked very average.
So now, enjoy!
He awoke, startled by the sense of some presence lingering in the darkness of his chamber. A human presence. Her presence.
Without any doubt, even though it was a very strange thing, it was her in his chamber, her and nobody else, who had been visiting him infrequently in his dreams but never in waking. And with the sharpness of a knife he knew this to be waking.
He waited for her to address him, but nothing. He could hear her breathe and the sound was harsh, tense, like the breath of soldiers facing battle.
"Why would you have come?" he finally asked into the impenetrable darkness before his eyes. The answer was a long time coming. Maybe she herself tried to figure out just now.
"Because you, perhaps, would understand," she said at last. Her voice was barely a whisper, but her words were clear and distinct. She took a deep breath, as if willing herself for some hard task to do and said gravely: "I want you to know it is not out of some love I bear you, that I'm here."
Bitterly, he nodded, and, recalling she could not see him either, added: "Now, *that* would be too much to ask for, I suppose."
"It is said that it could be of some help, in great," she continued, hasty, without giving notice to his remark. "That it could be a solace. The greatest and best solace in the world, if you … become one." And then: "I know no-one but you, who would understand. You *do* understand, don't you?" Her voice was pleading, hopeful.
Oh yes, I *do* understand.
I understand you need a father to shelter you from the pitfalls of the world, a brother to guard you, a mother to comfort you, a friend to share your sorrows. But you have none of them. You have no one. So you now cherish hope some lover could give you all these things you so desperately need, some lover you do not love.
I understand you listened to stupid songs for a lifetime and now you are beginning to believe them.
"I *do* understand." He sighed. "I suppose you want to "become one" with me now, girl?" He thought it was good right to abandon courtly talk now.
"Well – yes." Her voice sounded a little hurt. "If you have no objections."
In this moment, he was close to sending her out of his chambers. What a foolish, unreasonable child she was – running into ruin with her eyes open! Nonetheless, he could not help feeling flattered by the fact she stood before *his* bed now and not at the bedside of some handsome young rider or marshal. It seemed to him that somehow – even if this was a completely absurd thing – she had made a wise and deliberate decision.
And, come to think of it, what would it hurt? *He* had known for quite some time it would come to this. She was the highest-ranked woman in all of Rohan, and from the house of Eorl. That should make it easier for the people to accept as a righteous ruler of the Mark any man she would take. Of course, only if there was no other heir of Eorl by then. Eomer surely was a problem, but did not young marshals lead dangerous lives in times like these? Not unlikely there was some evil fate to befall him – and not unlikely this evil fate made Theoden's end also…
But to Eowyn he was going to be a good lord, in any case as best he could. He meant to do her no harm, quite the contrary. He knew it would be hard and painful for her in the beginning, without kinsmen, without confidants, with a husband she did not love. But it had to be and she would be up to this charge, he knew; for he knew her well. Like him, she longed for new splendour for Rohan and new lordliness for its royal house. He had seen her curl her pretty lips in embarrassment many a time, whenever naughty servant's kids scuffled around under the tables, or when the skalds forgot old verses or the young men shame.
And, by and by, fondness would grow, when she would see what good would come from their union and how beneficial it was for Rohan. She would become calmer and softer and more content, when she would become a mother – he had seen that oftentimes. No matter how reluctant in the beginning of a marriage, if a woman got children, she then put their well-being over all matters, even her own well-being, and found her happiness in their health and welfare.
So what would it hurt to begin this essential and desirable union some little time earlier; to get Eowyn used to this matter awaiting her anyway? Well, not that this would be a completely self-effacing act on his behalf?
"Well, there would be few men, who *could* have objections, myself surely not being one of them. But, you know… the first time is going to hurt, or so they say." He did not know exactly why he said this; for he did not want to warn her, did not want to stop her, did not want to save her from her own madness, not now. It was entirely she who was to blame, she had come by herself. But somehow he believed her derring-do (or her naivety) deserved – if not sympathy – at least some degree of honesty.
"I am not afraid of pain," she whispered. "Not this kind." But as if to prove the opposite, she started to chatter her teeth.
„Come," he asked, his voice friendly and polite, fitting for such a wise stupid child. "You must be cold. Get under the blankets."
He heard her slipping off her shoes and felt the bed tilt a little, when she came to rest on it. Only briefly hesitating, she finally slid between the sheet and covers. Long minutes passed with nothing to happen. None of them moved. The silence was impenetrable like the darkness, and only the faint sound of her breath and the trembling of her body gave evidence that she lay there beside him, making him the most enviable man in all of Rohan. It took some time, for both of them, to quite grasp this madness going on. But then her trembling gradually faded.
At last he heard her whisper "You won't say anything, will you, no word, and me neither." The next moment she laid her cool, slender fingers on his lips, then grasping for his hand and closing it over her mouth, to seal the promise that nothing that happened would ever be spoken of. And this was her first touch.
The second touch, he made, and the third, and all that followed, too. She seemed to consider her active part in the play complete. He touched her angular shoulders and sinewy arms, stroked her maiden breasts and sides under the fabric of her shirt, caressing her slender hips, moving from her thighs to her knees, and then to the hem of her shirt, to grasp it and gently pull it upwards.
He praised her beautiful young body with hands and lips as she deserved it, but it was like reciting a praising verse before a warrioress who did not understand a word of his art.
When they finally „became one", as she put it and had asked for, he felt her young body struggling against his conquest and trying to rear up. And yet it was not him conquering her, but she herself. He heard her making a sound, soft, like some animal in agony, a deep dry sobbing, but no more. He could not have said later, whether her dumb fight and her pain had added to or lessened his joy. It was completely unlike his dreams of days to come that he had allowed himself to cherish, there was no soft warm body nestling up to him in yearning, not at all – it was more like having a brave little soldier in his bed, trying to bear up a battle that all the world depended upon, and could not spare feelings for anything else.
He noticed that it did not bring her joy, nor the so-hoped-for solace, but decided to draw at least as much joy as possible for himself out of the fact to be the first and only one possessing her. And it was this triumph, in mind more than in body, that sealed his rapture.
When at last their bodies parted, he felt the wish to take her in his arms and thank her, comfort her, promise her that all other times would be better, if her body only would be accustomed to being conquered – but he did nothing of the like. He had given a promise to not saying anything, not even this. She turned away from him – and slid out of the bed only a short time later, also without a word. He heard the small sound of her shirt falling over her thighs again and how she put on her shoes again. And then her steps to the door, and how it opened and closed again. Then nothing more. Only darkness.
He wished he could make a verse of it, form something lasting, something beautiful out of this night, something that proved its existence, but he could think of nothing: here all art failed. No Kenning could possibly depict the strange entanglement that held his strange bedfellow captive. In some way he felt sorry, but he did not pity her.
In the morning, when he got up from bed, he saw the blood that she had shed on this battlefield and the idea crossed his mind how much she was bonded to her country.
"It is with you like it will be with Rohan, my brave little soldier. The beginning has to hurt and there has to be blood, before it can be good."
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.