The women spoke nothing of their trip to the seamstress and, thankfully, the men really did not want to hear about such things. Two days passed in wonderful camaraderie. Éalwyn felt she could add two more friends to her growing list. She really liked Gamling and Aglaril. They were a perfect match for each other and so in love. She wondered if she would ever have that...perhaps with Erkenbrand.
She and Erkenbrand had left Aglaril’s cottage with the bride. The captain went to Gamling’s quarters upon reaching the Golden Hall and Éalwyn went to the “bride’s chamber” to help Aglaril get ready and to dress, herself. Erkenbrand said he would meet her at the entrance to the gardens just before the ceremony.
She took in her reflection and blushed; it was hard for her to believe what the mirror showed. Where once there was a frightened, bruised little girl there now stood a striking woman of Rohan. She swept her long hair up at the sides with delicate silver combs letting it trail down her back in cascades of soft mahogany curls. She wore a delicate silver chain with a tear-shaped emerald—it had been her mother’s. Éalwyn took a last deep calming breath and turned from the mirror.
As Éalwyn walked along the corridor, she could feel the eyes of those she passed watch her, a whisper here and there. Her heart raced and she had a terrible desire to flee. Who was she kidding? She could never pull this off; she felt beautiful, and frightened, and shy, and a swarm of butterflies fluttered in her stomach as she emerged into the late afternoon sun. Erkenbrand stood with his back to the entrance, talking with a dark haired man, a lord of Rohan judging by his attire. The other man noticed her first and tapped Erkenbrand’s arm with an appraising look; the captain turned and time stopped.
The blond man stood with mouth agape, entranced by the vision that now moved toward him. This was not his little Colmáse! This was an enchanted being from the fairy realm. Éalwyn wore a dark blue underdress with alluring split sleeves and a wide, scoop neckline. Over it was a light blue boned bodice embroidered with soft swirls. It laced up the front, allowing her bosom to fill the delicate bodice, showing more than a bit of cleavage. With her hair pulled back, the long creamy column of her neck and collar were bared to all. The Captain had never seen her look so beautiful or desirable and his body began to react. Éalwyn would have thought her companion’s reaction comical if not for the trembling of her own legs that threatened to give out; a shy blush graced her face.
When she reached them, the man with whom Erkenbrand had been speaking reached for her hand and placing a gentle kiss to the back as he greeted her.
“My lady,” Marshal Elfhelm began smoothly, “so lovely a creature should not be unattended.”
“And she is not,” Erkenbrand said a bit more crossly than intended, possessively placing her hand in the crook of his arm. The Marshal chuckled as an elegant woman approached the trio.
“Are you being a cad?” the woman asked as she slid her small hand into the Marshal’s large one. “My apologies my dear; as the king once warned me, he is quite the charmer. I am Arathea and this is the illustrious Elfhelm.”
Éalwyn gave a small curtsy, bowing her head respectfully to the Marshal and his lady. “My lord and lady,” she replied softly, suddenly feeling very out of place. She did not realize Erkenbrand had friends in such high positions.
Erkenbrand gave the hand resting on his arm a little squeeze. “This is Éalwyn, the best adjutant in all the Riddermark…and the most beautiful,” he added gazing down at her. Éalwyn’s blush deepened.
“You had best keep a close eye on her or you will find her stolen away,” Elfhelm said with a chuckle, noticing the inquisitive stares of many young men. Erkenbrand was not blind; he saw them, too. He would not let *his* little mouse out of his sight.
The wedding was lovely and the feast afterwards incredible. While she had been to other celebrations, Éalwyn never had much fun as she was always with the advisor. She shivered at the horrid memories and slid her hand into Erkenbrand’s, stepping close, needing to feel his warmth. The tall man looked down at her and saw the shadow in her eyes. He withdrew his hand and wrapped his arm about her, pulling her to his side, relishing the way she leaned into him. The couple spent much time speaking with Marshal Elfhelm and Mistress Arathea and only Éalwyn was shocked when the King strode up to join their little circle.
“Captain,” Éomer greeted his friend with a warriors’ grip. “How has so fine a woman come to be at your side?” he asked, his smile kind and his eyes welcoming.
“Sire, Éalwyn—Éalwyn… Éomer King.” The young woman bowed respectfully to her king, her cheeks again flushed.
“Éalwyn is the legendary ‘Colmáse’ that Grimbold always raved about, my Lord,” Elfhelm supplied with a sly grin.
“I see,” replied Éomer, taking a good look at the young woman. He had heard much about her and her skill; he had not realized that she was equally beautiful. As it was clear she and the Captain had more than a working relationship, the young king decided to have a little fun. “Well, perhaps I shall have to see about a transfer for her. Edoras could use such skill. I fear now that Gamling is in love, he just does not have the where-withal to keep all the paperwork straight. Tell me,” the King announced, looked at Éalwyn intently, “How would you feel coming to Edoras?”
Panic seized Éalwyn’s body. Was he serious? What was she to say? She did not want to leave the West-mark…leave Erkenbrand. Yet, she could not deny her king. She felt the protective, almost possessive, arm of her Captain tighten about her. She looked at the ground and answered meekly. “If that is what my King would ask.” Erkenbrand glared at his friend and Éomer, realizing his jest was misconstrued, let up with a smile.
“I only tease. I would not dream of taking you from the West-mark. I do not think the good Captain would be agreeable and I am wise enough to know I am no match for him.” Éomer winked at the young woman when she finally looked up in relief. The king turned to the tall blond. “However, may I request a dance with your lady?” he asked politely.
Erkenbrand looked at Éalwyn, still tucked safely at his side. Éomer had meant to joke, but the Captain had felt her tense; he knew memories of the past still assailed her. Any other person would have seen it as the jest it was, but not Éalwyn. She was used to demands with no consideration for her feelings. She would do as she told. The tension in her passed and her green eyes shone as she smile up at him, silently letting him know she was well. “If she is agreeable,” Erkenbrand said. Etiquette dictated that Éomer ask the Captain since she was with him, however Erkenbrand wanted Éalwyn to have the choice.
“I would be honored, my King,” she said, accepting his out stretched hand. Erkenbrand watched them move about the clearing. He tore his gaze away long enough to congratulate the newlyweds.
“All the best, my friend,” he said with heart felt joy as he clasped his mentor’s forearm. “She is good for you.” Gamling smiled in response.
The tall Captain then bent to hug the bride. “You are the best thing for him; keep him well,” he said.
Aglaril held the embrace a moment longer to whisper in his ear, “As Éalwyn is for you; she is a keeper. You are lucky for she chooses you.” The blacksmith stepped out of the embrace leaving Erkenbrand with a thoughtful expression on his face as his rich hazel eyes sought out his heart’s desire.
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.