4. The Love He Deserves
Casting an uncertain look at Eomer and receiving a reassuring nod Gamling rose. He paused at the doors, taking in her countenance. She seemed at peace though she wore an odd expression. Perhaps this was a bad idea; she might be waiting for someone. He watched her take a deep breath and let it out slowly, her head dropping. Perhaps, however, something troubled her. He approached slowly.
“Aglaril?” he asked softly.
“Ah, Captain Gamling,” she said, turning to him with a small smile.
“Is all well? I saw you leave and wished to be sure you are not troubled.”
She tilted her head and her eyes held something that Gamling could not quite read. “That is most kind of you. I fear it got overwhelming warm inside and I longed for some peace and the cool breeze.”
“Forgive my intrusion then, I will leave you to your peace.” He moved to leave. Her hand on his arm stayed his movement.
“I said peace, not solitude. I would welcome your company; I always do.” She finished with a blush on her cheeks. She cast her eyes down aware of the boldness of her statement.
The tall soldier moved to stand beside her. He looked out at the night. “I am glad, for I enjoy your company as well.” A lopsided grin graced his face as he kept his gaze forward.
Aglaril looked at the man next to her. She found him handsome. He was at least half a head taller than she with sandy strawberry blond hair that hung past his shoulders. In the flickering light, it had a coppery sheen! A smile came unbidden as she remembered how it would curl around his face in the heavy summer heat. He wore a full beard, as was common for the men of Rohan, but it was always kept neatly trimmed. Though she never had the pleasure, she knew that beneath his jerkin and linen shirt laid planes of lean muscle as strong as the steel in her forge. She suddenly felt heat flush her face as well as her core. She turned back to the landscape.
Her study of him did not go unnoticed and it bolstered the Captain’s courage. She clearly had no companion, so why not take a chance? He had caught the look of appreciation in her eyes; she said she enjoyed his company, she had asked him to stay. However, before he could speak again, she broke the silence.
“Forgive me, my lord. I am thoughtless, it is kind of you to stay with me, but I am certain you would prefer to return to the feast. I have seen several ladies cast desirous looks in your direction.” Her chin dropped a bit and Gamling thought he heard a touch of disappointment in her voice.
“I find myself content where I am, Mistress, if you have no objections.” He turned toward her as he continued. “You are a beautiful woman and I find myself drawn to your company. I always enjoy our conversations. However, I too have seen the eyes that watch you and cannot understand how it is you remain unattached. Even the Marshal has given you more than a passing glance.”
She turned to him, her dark eyes locking with his gray-green, “I hope for the one I lost my heart to long ago.”
“I see.” Gamling felt his glimmer of hope shatter and he suddenly wished to flee. Still he asked, “Is he not aware of your attraction?”
“I think my methods have been too reserved. I do not wish to seem insincere. He is an honorable man of good station. I am nothing but the daughter of a blacksmith from the north, a transplant here in Rohan. It does not help that I am a bit younger and I think he may still see me as the youngling I once was.”
It pained the Captain to hear of her heart’s desire, but it pained him more to hear of her doubts. How could she think she was unworthy of any man? She was intelligent- literate actually. She kept her father’s forge running even after his death. She was strong-willed, compassionate, kind-- he could go on and on. Years of hard work had made her physically strong, but she still held the soft body of a woman and her dress showed off her femininity. Gamling suddenly felt his heart flutter. He cleared his throat and spoke, hoping his voice sounded calm, “The man would be a fool to deny you. You,” he took a deep breath, “should speak to him of your feelings.” He hated that thought, yet he cared for her too much and would rather see her happy in another’s arms than living alone, uncertain of her worth. His hands grasped at the balcony wall as he looked back across Rohan, his jaw set.
Aglaril watched him with deep chocolate eyes. “It is you.” She said softly.
It took a moment and then he slowly turned questioning eyes on her. “Me?”
“Aye,” she said, looking down at her hands, suddenly feeling painfully shy. “Since before it was appropriate, before your wife passed. That is why I seemed so distant. I could not disgrace you or your wife with my feelings. Since her passing, however I have waited, watching for any indication that you might want another relationship. I look forward to seeing you at the forge. I watch you as you ride out on patrol and I pray to Béma that you return safely. I attend the festivals in the hope that perhaps you would take notice of me.”
Gambling looked at the woman, her eyes cast down as if ashamed. This wonderful creature wanted him. He could not fathom why. He was well past his youth; he had already raised a son and had no desire to have more children. However, she was still young enough to have children if she so desired. She was lovely and beautiful. He was scarred and battered; a tired, old war-horse.
“What could you possible see in an old war-horse like me?” Gamling asked her softly.
She stepped closer, reaching gently to cup his cheek. His strawberry blond beard was soft and warm against her palm. She caressed it with her thumb as she answered, “War-horse, maybe; old, no. You are a fine man, my captain, and have so much yet to offer.” The Rohirrim Captain closed his eyes at her touch. “I am no flighty maiden filled with reckless abandon, seeking some passion filled adventure of frivolity.” The blacksmith’s daughter stepped closer, the air between them charged. She rested her other hand on his breast and felt his heart beat. “I desire something deeper.”
Gamling opened his eyes and looked deep into hers. He could see the affection, the desire she had for him and he could not resist. He bent his lips to hers. The kiss was gentle but it awoke in the battle weary man a spark he thought long dead. He wrapped his arms around her supple form, pulling her to him as she slid her arms around his neck. Parting but a fraction to allow for a quick breath, their lips met again and Aglaril opened to allow Gamling’s tongue to seek hers. She melted into his lean form.
When the flames of passion began to swell, Gamling pulled back. Quickly he answered her unspoken question. “I would take you to my bed this night; but I have no desire for a tryst; those days are long past. I seek a lasting relationship.”
A sudden spark of mischief flared in her eyes as she stepped back with a devilish smile. “Then you had best catch me!” She said with a laugh.
Before her words could register, she darted from the balcony and down the steps, her gown pulled to her knees. With renewed youthfulness, the stately Captain of the King’s guard gave chase. The two raced across the grassy plain. Gamling could have over taken her quickly, but where was the fun in that? When she finally showed signs of tiring, he caught her about the waist and they tumbled to the soft ground. Rolling so the woman lay beneath him, Gamling sought her warm lips. They lay there through the night in a loving embrace, talking of all manner of things, stealing kisses and caresses. There was no rushing, no frantic lovemaking on the dewy grass. They enjoyed each other’s company while watching the stars cross the sky. When dawn began to tease the night, the two returned to Meduseld, hand in hand; the perfect image of quiet love. They retired to Gamling's quarters and his bed.
From his balcony, Éomer King had watched the pair return, pleased that Rohan’s faithful Captain finally found the love he deserved.
Author’s notes: So ends this first segment. But don’t fret, this story is not over and both the Captain and his Lady will be about and their story is hardly over! Thanks for reading!
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.