2. Healing Halls
AN: Thanks to www. http://realelvish.net/sindarin_names_personality.php for name help. Please send feedback, reviews, comments, and thoughts! They are 'most welcome'!
—Late March 3019
Éomer sat at Éowyn's bedside. He had not moved in three days save to relieve himself. He took little food and when Gamling offered to sit in his stead, the new King of Rohan dismissed him with a curt, "I am fine." After that, he was left to his solitary thoughts.
He rubbed his hands over his face. He was exhausted, mentally and emotionally drained; why would she not wake? The Healing Hall became dim as the sun sat. Éomer heard soft humming and the rustle of a gown before he actually caught sight of the young woman.
Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth's daughter.
She was a pretty girl, barely past her majority. She seemed to frequent these Halls, with a spring in her step and comforting smile on her face and always humming as she worked. The former Rider watched her now as she began to bring up the lanterns. It seemed as if the war had not touched this girl; her innocent joy in life remained intact. He envied her that; his world was shattered and now he was adrift in a sea of sorrow and doubt. While she glided serenely through the day, the young man struggled to keep hold of what little he sanity had left.
Éomer then heard quick heavy steps and the swoosh of silk coming from the hall; he involuntarily shivered. The Princess' shadow, Lady Beriedis; Éomer disliked that woman though he knew her not. For all the joy and peace Lothiriel brought into the halls, her guardian sucked it away with each condescending look or comment. She was arrogant, cold, and less than gracious. The King could not understand why Imrahil would hire such a woman to educate his daughter! Éomer shuddered as the older woman strode into the large room.
"Lothiriel?" Éomer lifted his eyes to see the stern looking woman, hands on her hips as if to scold a small child, standing just inside the doorway. It was as if she dared not enter lest she soil her person. Éomer's already foul mood darkened. "Lothiriel, are you here? It is late and you should not linger in the darkening halls alone. It is not proper!" She cast a disapproving look at Éomer. The king focused on his sister.
"I will only be a moment," came the gentle reply from a nearby storeroom. "I only wish to fill a few more lanterns." He voice was a soothing balm to Éomer's raw soul and his head dropped as he just let the sound flow over him. He nearly jumped when he heard her address him directly. "My Lord, you have taken little food or rest; you will make yourself ill. Please, let me sit with your kinswoman while you refresh yourself. Even just a few minutes on the balcony or some stew and ale will help." From the corner of his eye he could see her, kneeling next to him, a compassionate look on her fair face. She seemed to almost glow and he dared not look at her directly; compared to her beauty and soft radiance, he felt like a beast, dirty and vulgar.
A cold voice answered her and Éomer resisted the urge to growl. "A servant can tend to this, Lothiriel." Lady Beriedis waved her hand in a dismissingly manner. "It is not your place and he is not your concern." There was no doubt how little the lady thought of Éomer and his people. The young man's blood began to boil but he fought against an outburst in front of the Princess—it was not her fault. "If his own people cannot see to his needs, why should you. Now, come."
Lothiriel looked at the handsome man, so lost and forlorn and her heart when out to him. She had watched him this past week, his silent vigil at his sister's side. It showed the depth of his love, his loyalty. While his soldiers had lain in the same hall, he would check on them however, never did he leave his sister for long. Lothiriel knew that kind of love…she had brothers of her own. The young woman wanted to offer Éomer of Rohan some kind of support, comfort, wrap her arms around him and sing away his sorrow. Lothiriel had no idea that just her presence gave the man comfort.
Lady Beriedis took Lothiriel by the elbow and pulled her to her feet. Yet before Lothiriel took a step, the princess heard a quiet voice, thick with emotion whisper, "Thank you."
As the two women left, Éomer could hear Beriedis berate the younger woman for her lack of decorum; Lorthiriel needed to remember her place as a princess of Dol Amroth. She should interact with people of her station and not concern herself with the simpletons of the world who cannot even raise their women properly. "To think that girl pretended to be a man just to go to battle! What kind of a lady is that! Oh, well, with no mother or chaperone, what can you expect from…" her biting words faded down the darkened corridor. The Hall suddenly seemed a bit darker and colder for that lack of Lothiriel and Éomer King, again, sat alone with his brooding thoughts.