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The Princess and the King

Chapter 10: Chapter 10

by JMac

Chapter 10

Within the Houses of Healing, Lothiriel sat beside her
father’s bed reading a book. She had scarcely left
his side since the attack a week ago. Imrahil was
weak but recovering, as was apparent in his
ever-increasingly bad attitude. He sighed heavily.

Lothiriel looked up from her book. “Is there
something I can get you?”

“My sword. My horse.” Imrahil winced as he struggled
to a sitting position.

“You would look rather silly riding a horse in what
you are wearing now,” Lothiriel said.

Imrahil glanced down at the white sleeping gown he
wore. “I want out of here.”

“Impossible. You must rest and regain your strength.
You’ll do no good to anyone if you ride off to
battle.”

A string of curses came from his lips. Lothiriel
ignored them and looked back at her book.
Reluctantly, Imrahil lay back against the pillows.
“What are you reading?”

“A book on Rohirrim history. I’m reading about Helm
Hammerhand at the moment.”

Imrahil raised his eyebrows. “His history is
well-known. He and his sons died during the war of
the Dunlendings. His nephew took the throne, which
was the beginning of the second line of kings.”

“Theoden’s line?”

Imrahil nodded. “Eomer begins their third line of
kings.”

She nodded. Her thoughts strayed to Eomer. “When do you think they’ll return?”

“There’s no way to tell. If the enemy wanted a fight
it would have already taken place. My best guess
would be that Aragorn and his men are in pursuit. And
if that is the case, it could be well on a month
before we receive word of them.”

“I thought when the War ended, it would be ended for
good,” Lothiriel said.

“Sadly, that is rarely the case. There are always
enemies. Some worse than others,” Imrahil said.
“The worst of it is over. These men are little more
than ruffians. The battles against them will be mere
skirmishes compared to the War that just ended.
Though that does not mean people will not die.”

“When - - when you kill a man in battle. Even though
it is in self-defense, do you still feel guilty about
it?” Lothiriel asked.

Imrahil sighed. “That is a question I did not expect
to have to answer until your brothers were grown.”

“Then consider me practice,” Lothiriel said.

Imrahil stared at Lothiriel, she would not meet his
gaze. Instead she was content to stare at the pages
of the book, though it was obvious she wasn’t reading.
“What has happened, Lotty? There is something you’re
not telling me.”

When she spoke it was barely a whisper. “I killed
a man. In the alley, during the attack.”

Imrahil sat up in bed, ignoring the pain that radiated
through his chest. “Tell me. Now.” Though his words
were firm, his tone was gentle.

Once her words started they seemed to flow out of her
in a tumble. “Eomer and I were on our way to the
stables. We heard the horns and then the enemy was
everywhere. It all happened so quickly.”

“That is usually the way of it,” Imrahil said,
grimly.

“I was grabbed from behind, we struggled, and then my
dagger was in his chest. There was no time to think,”
Lothiriel said.

“But there is plenty of time to think afterwards.”

Lothiriel nodded.

“I shall tell you what I intend to tell your brothers
before they go off to battle.” Imrahil took her hand.
“There is no shame in mourning the loss of another
life. But do not let that guilt eat away at you. If
they did not fall, you surely would have. Be thankful
for every breath you take. And hope that the souls of
those who fell in battle found their way to the halls
of their people.”

Lothiriel considered his words and nodded.

“I know it is little comfort to you now, but in time
you will learn to live with your actions.” Imrahil
reached out a hand and smoothed down Lothiriel’s hair.
“You have seen more of battle than I would have
liked.”

“I’m sorry.”

Imrahil smiled. “It is no fault of yours that things
rarely go according to the visions parents have for
their children.”

“I’m sorry, anyway,” Lothiriel said. “I never meant
to be a disappointment.”

“Disappointment?” Imrahil tipped her head up to meet
his gaze. “I am anything but disappointed in you. I
could not be prouder to have you as a daughter.”
Imrahil kissed Lothiriel on the cheek. “Now, you
needn’t sit here with me all day long and brood. Go
and enjoy the day. The fresh air and sunshine would
do you good.”

Lothiriel stood to go. “Is there anything I can get
you before I leave?”

“You could tell me exactly what you and Eomer were
planning to do in the stables?” Imrahil asked with an
innocent grin.

“W-W- We were going to check on the horses,”
Lothiriel stammered.

“Is that what they are calling it now?” Imrahil
smiled. “Perhaps you are not as against a betrothal
with Eomer as you once were?”

“Perhaps you should get some rest,” Lothiriel said,
as she rushed from the room.

* * * * * * *

Lothiriel followed her father’s advice and walked out
upon the high walls that lined the gardens outside the
Houses of Healing. Eowyn was already there. Eowyn
was staring off into the distance as if she could make
Faramir appear simply by the strength of her will.

"It was upon these walls that I fell in love with
Faramir. I did not expect to spend the first days
after my wedding here," Eowyn said. "But I suppose I
should not be surprised. Men are forever rushing off
to battle."

"It wasn't too long ago that you were one of them,"
Lothiriel reminded her.

Eowyn smiled. "Those days are over. I swore a solemn
oath. Besides, I expect Eomer would throw me over his
shoulder and cart me back here if he saw me so much as
in sight of a battle."

At the mention of Eomer's name, Lothiriel's teasing
demeanor faded. Eowyn noticed and gave Lothiriel a
quick hug. “Do not worry. Eomer is strong and
stubborn, there is no orc or enemy alive that could
defeat him. He’ll be back.”

"He told me he loved me.”

A huge grin lit up Eowyn’s face. "It’s about time.
All he did after he returned from Dol Amroth was pace
around Meduseld. I don’t know what you have done to
him while you were in Edoras, but he has never been
the same.”

“Nothing.” Lothiriel said, pacing the high walls in
frustration. “I’ve done nothing. I didn’t even tell
him I loved him in return. I simply stood there and
let him go. If anything happens to him -”

"Nothing will happen to him,” Eowyn said. “Now come
along with me. We can’t have you pining away, sword
practice will do you good.”

“Why does everyone think they know what will do me
good?” Lothiriel teased as Eowyn dragged her towards
the stairs.

* * * * *

An unspoken frustration rippled through the ranks as
Eomer and the rest of the host stopped to rest the horses.
After seven days of pursuit they were still no closer to capturing their quarry. Indeed the majority of the enemy forces had scattered to the winds, taking different directions after their initial attack. Small troops of rangers had been dispatched to investigate all the possible leads, while the main force of Aragorn’s army followed the largest retreat
of enemy troops.

The mingling sound of men and horses filled the air around them with a companionable noise as they watered their horses at a stream. Eomer knelt beside the stream, splashing the water on his face. Except for the company of Rangers and the warmer weather of the South, this pursuit had been no different of those he had led while Third Marshall. Like those, this was mostly pursuit with little action. It was a tiring but necessary fact of a warrior’s life.

Beside him, Faramir sat in not so quiet contemplation.
A dramatic sigh issued from his lips. “Why do they
run? If they wanted a fight, then let us fight.
Surely they know these long distances are wearying to
morale and stamina should it come down to a fight.”

Eomer grinned. “Surely your stamina is such that you
will recover sufficiently to keep up with Eowyn upon
your return.”

Aragorn chuckled. It was a well-known fact that
Faramir had been interrupted in his wooing of Eowyn on
their wedding night and was eager to return to Minas
Tirith.

Farmir ignored the comment. “And they bring us ever
closer to their own settlements. Do they wish to
endanger their women and children?”

“I think that is exactly what they wish,” Aragorn said.

“Rider coming!” a voice yelled. The men turned to see one of their scouts riding at full speed towards them. He dismounted and approached Aragorn.

“My Lord, the band of Haradrim is but two leagues from here. If you ride hard, we may yet catch them before they reach their outpost.”

“How many leagues beyond is their outpost?”

“I am uncertain. It has been many years since we patrolled so far south,” the scout said.

All thought of rest was forgotten, as the riders took off at full speed over the vast lands of Harad. Pushing their horses to their limits, they raced the Haradrim to the gates of the outpost. But the enemy had too much of a lead to be caught. As the last of the horses rode within the gates of the city, the archers manned the high parapets and shot a wild volley of arrows towards them, forcing them to keep their distance from the gates.

Eomer reined in Firefoot, and approached Aragorn. “We should have no trouble waiting them out. A siege would be easy in these lands.”

Faramir nodded in agreement. “They cannot stay inside forever.”

Aragorn shook his head. “Tomorrow we turn back.”

“After coming so far?” Faramir asked.

“We could wage battle here,” Eomer said.

“We could,” Aragorn agreed. “A siege would be
possible but I will not have a siege. I have no
desire to subject innocents to the cruelties of war.”

“They did not hesitate to take innocent lives,” Faramir reminded him.

“There have been enough lives lost already, I will not add to that number,” Aragorn said.

“Would you have them continue to terrorize your people?"
Eomer asked.

"No. I will not allow that,” Aragorn said. “I will leave a small party of Rangers to patrol the area. Should the enemy leave their outposts we will be forewarned.”

Aragorn stared at the gates and signed wearily. “This battle will be fought another day. Though I wish it did not have to be fought at all.”


* * * * * * *


A week later the company rode within the gates of
Minas Tirith. It was well after midnight, most of the
castle was asleep but the men had decided to push on,
mostly due to Faramir's urging. Aragorn had been just
as eager to return home. It seemed that the comfort
of a beautiful woman waiting in a warm bed gave them
endurance to ride straight on till dawn. Eomer yawned.
He wanted only to sleep. Although he had to admit
that the prospect of a soft bed was tempting even if
his was empty.

Eomer saw to his horse and walked back to the castle.
Every muscle in his body was sore. He glanced up at
the darkened windows of the castle. He wondered which
one Lothiriel was in. The feelings that stirred within him
were so much stronger than happiness that it was more
akin to the anticipation he felt before battle. But
that would have to wait until morning.

He opened the door to his room. It was dark and he
felt his way across the room, too sleepy to bother
with lighting a candle. Deftly, he unbuckled the ties
to his armor and one by one put each piece away. He
pulled off his chain mail, and stripped off his shirt.
After spending days in armor, he enjoyed the feel of
nothing but the air on his skin.

Eomer sat down on the bed and removed his boots. It
had seemed like a year had past since the last time he
was within this room, not merely two weeks. Had he
really told her that he loved her? What had he been
thinking? More importantly what was she thinking? In
the two weeks he was away, he’d managed to push the
worries from his head. But now that he was back in
his room, his worries came back in full force. Eomer
stared at the ceiling. He knew sleep would be a long
time coming.


* * * * * * * * * *

Lothiriel awoke at dawn to the sounds of noise and
commotion outside of her bedroom. From the bustle of
people moving in the hallway.
Lothiriel knew something was different. She poked her
head out the door and stopped one of the girls who
worked in the castle.

“Why the rush?”

“The King returned late last night. We only got word
of it this morning, my lady,” the girl said as she
continued rushing up the hallway. “We must have food
prepared for more than we were expecting. The cook is
in quite an uproar.”

Lothiriel’s heart pounded in her chest. Eomer was
somewhere in the castle. The thought sent a
simultaneous jolt of excitement and dread through the
pit of her stomach. She sat down on the edge of the
bed. She had seen him a thousand times before, why
should this time be any different?

* * * *


Eomer sat at the end of one of the long banquet tables. The kitchen staff had only just set out the breakfast trays. One by one the members of the castle made their way to breakfast. Eomer yawned. Despite the soft bed he’d gotten little sleep. He knew exactly the reason why but he did not wish to admit to it. In his entire life, the only
woman he’d ever lost sleep over was Eowyn. And that
was only in recent years when Wormtongue had been
tormenting her.

Elfhelm sat down beside him. “I had heard you arrived
late, but from the look of you it was later than I
realized.”

“It was not so late that anyone should notice by
looking at me,” Eomer said.

Elfhelm smiled. “Only those who know you well will
notice the difference.”

“How did things fare while I was away?”

“A messenger arrived from the Mark yesterday. All is
well, they await your return.”

“How were things here?”

“Quiet. I rode patrols with the Rangers.”

Eomer set down his fork and turned to Elfhelm. “Were
their horses as good as I have heard? Those among the
Rangers who rode with Aragorn were magnificent
creatures.”

“They were that. But there are better horses in the
Mark.”

“Indeed there are. If you have time, find the head of
the stables and set up a meeting with me before we
leave. I wish to discuss a trade of sorts,” Eomer
said.

“Breeding?”

“We do not have the stock with us now, but perhaps we
could take a few of theirs with us on good faith.
Bring the foals down here when they - - - “ Eomer cut
off his sentence for he had just noticed that
Lothiriel had entered the room. She crossed the room
and Eomer said, “Please join us.”

Elfhelm rose from his seat. “Excuse me, my lady.
Duty awaits me.” Elfhelm said with a grin, making an abrupt exit.

“Was I interrupting something?”

Eomer shook his head. “We were just discussing
breeding practices.”

“Eowyn said that such matters were not far from most
Rohirrim men’s thoughts but I didn’t think you would
admit to it,” Lothiriel said.

Eomer laughed. “Not breeding children..though that is
not a bad idea either. We were discussing horse
breeding.”

“Ah. The one thing that combines both of your
favorite subjects. That takes true talent,”
Lothiriel said.

“Would you like to hear the finer points of it? I’d
be more than willing to - - show you,” he grinned at
her.

She looked him up and down. “I don’t think any mares
of Gondor would have you.”

“Then would you? You are as wild as any mare and far
more beautiful,” Eomer said.

Lothiriel said nothing but gave him a pointed look.

“I meant no offense,” Eomer said.

“I never take offense at your words…but others might.”
Around them several ladies of the courts of Gondor
had taken seats and were watching them intently.
“Perhaps we could finish this discussion elsewhere?”
she suggested.

Eomer nodded. But before he could rise from the table
Aragorn approached him.

“We are convening a council to discuss what measures
should be taken about the Haradrim,” Aragorn said.
“I would be honored to have you in attendance.”

“Honored?” Eomer gave a sound that sounded like
something between a sigh and snort. “The last time I
attended one of your councils, the only assistance I
lent you was my rumbling stomach as an excuse to
reconvene later.”

Aragorn smiled. “This council will not be one of
diplomatic niceties, I assure you. You will not be
forced to hear all the customs of crowning the King of
Gondor. If we were I would find an excuse not to
attend that one myself.”

“Then I shall be there.”

Aragorn looked at Lothiriel and pointed to the banquet
tables. “Shove some of that bread into his pockets
before he leaves.”

Lothiriel bowed. “Of course my Lord, though he most
likely already has some sort of horse treats that
could suffice.”

Aragorn laughed as he took his leave of them.

Eomer took a few quick bites of food.

“You’re leaving now?”

“Sadly, yes,” Eomer said, with a mouth full of food.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned about the new
King, is that he doesn’t waste time once he gets down
to business.” Eomer shoved another bite into his
mouth, trying to finish his meal as quickly as
possible. Knowing Aragorn and his aides, the council
would last well into the morning and probably into the
afternoon.

“Oh.”

“Is there something you wished of me?” He reached for
his goblet and downed the contents in one long drink.

“No - - - there was something I wished to tell you but
it can wait until later.”

“Tell me now. This council could take up the entire
day,” Eomer said. He grabbed a piece of bread and
held it between his teeth, while he struggled to put
on his coat, dropping his bread in the process. A
flurry of Rohirric curses was mumbled under his
breath. Across the room, he saw Faramir leaving with
Aragorn. “I must go. What did you want to say?”

“Just that I love you, too,” she said, with a little
shrug as if it were nothing of consequence.

He had expected his declaration of love would come up
in later conversation, but he did not expect her to
return the words so freely. He stared at her in
astonishment, until a slow smile spread across his
face.

“Do not keep the King waiting, go to your council,”
Lothiriel said.

“I would rather hold council with you,” Eomer took a
step towards her. She took a step back.

“We can discuss this later.”

“I will hold you to that promise.” Eomer turned to
walk away.

“Eomer.”

He turned back to look at her. She tossed him a piece
of bread. He grinned and slipped it into his pocket.

* * * * * * * *

The members of the council listened as the various scouts reported their findings. Due to the skill of the Rangers, the scattered bands of enemy troops had been pushed back into the Haradrim territory. The threat to Gondor had diminished, for the moment. Whether the peace would last weeks or months was unknown and Aragorn prepared for the future.

“We will have Rangers patrol the area.” Aragorn stood
at the head of the council room, studying the large
map of the lands south of Gondor. "Do we have enough
forces to expand our patrols to the south while
keeping the patrols heavy in both Minas Tirith and
Ithilien? I will not leave our people unprotected."

"We are not the strengths we once were, it will
stretch our resources to their limits," Faramir
said.

Imrahil said, "I can leave you a squad of my men to
help patrol the city. That would leave your Rangers
to patrol outside the city gates where they could be
of more use."

"I have not the men to leave my lands unguarded, but
my eored will be ready to ride whenever you call us,"
Eomer said. "You need not fight alone."

Aragorn nodded. “Until the enemy makes an attempt
at another strike, all we can do is wait. I fear this
fight will be a long one, friends.”

“We will see you through this, no matter how long it takes,” Eomer said.

The council meeting lasted well into the afternoon
until all the details of the protection of Gondor was
established to Aragorn's satisfaction. Once the
council was dismissed, Eomer had every intention of
finding Lothiriel as quickly as possibly. However,
his plans were quickly stalled by Imrahil. "Eomer,
walk with me."

Eomer fell into step beside him. He noticed that
Imrahil was still moving stiffly from his injuries
received during the attack. "How are you feeling?"

"Sore. I'm on my way to the Houses of
Healing now for them to change my dressings,"
Imrahil said. "Lothiriel was there when last I saw
her. She and Eowyn have been spending quite a bit of
time there as of late. . .she told me about
what happened on the night of the attacks."

“I am sorry I could not have done more. She should
not have been exposed to such violence,” Eomer said.

“I did not mention it to fault you, but to commend you
for your actions. It could have turned out much
differently. I have you to thank that it did not.”

"I would have taken whatever actions necessary to protect
her."

“I am well aware of that,” Imrahil said.

For some time they walked in silence, following the
narrow streets to the Houses of Healing. The sky was
a dazzling blue and the people of the city bustled
around them going about their daily business. A
renewed sense of hope was in the air. Though scars
from the battle could still be seen around the city,
only those who had lived through it knew how close the
city came to falling into darkness.

“You spoke to me once of an alliance between our two
countries,” Eomer said.

“So I did. I still believe a marriage between our two
countries would do much to ease the hurts of the
past,” Imrahil said. “But my daughter is stubborn.”

“I intend to persuade her otherwise… with your
blessing of course,” Eomer quickly added.

“You have my blessing," Imrahil said with a smile.
"And my luck."

They entered the Houses of Healing. Imrahil was led away by a healer, while Eomer walked through the houses into the herb gardens.

He followed the sound of voices, past the rows of
high hedges until he found them. Eowyn was on her
hands and knees in the dirt examining a plant. A
Healer knelt beside her, speaking to her in low tones.
Behind them, wandering aimlessly, was Lothiriel.

Eomer stepped into the path and approached her
quietly, careful not to disturb Eowyn and the Healer.
Lothiriel’s eyes caught his. He motioned for her to
be silent, taking her hand. They walked past the
rows of high hedges to the corner wall that surrounded
the garden. It wasn’t until they were secluded from
prying eyes that Eomer stopped, pulled her to him, and
set his lips to hers in a thorough kiss.

Eomer had heard tales of a potion made by the elves, one sip of which would
wash the weariness from a mortal
mind. But no magic of the Elves could compare to the
feel of Lothiriel’s lips against his. A peace washed
over him that he hadn’t realized he was lacking. He
may have been in Gondor but with her arms around him,
he felt at home.

Unfortunately, no kiss could last forever.

“How was your council meeting?” she asked,
breathlessly.

“It lasted an eternity thanks to you.”

“Now you know how I felt while you were away.”

“You missed me then? I was not sure that you would,”
Eomer said.

"You know how to make quite a memorable exit,"
Lothiriel said, softly.

"I felt I could not leave without the words being
said." Eomer took his hands in hers.

"But you gave me no time to return them. Promise me,
you will not do that again," Lothiriel said.

"Only if it means you will be in my chambers every
time before I leave for battle." Eomer wrapped his
arms around her. "And when I return… especially
when I return," he whispered into her ear.

"Dol Amroth is a long way from Rohan," she reminded
him. "And I am leaving in a fortnight."

Eomer looked down at her, he stepped back and ran a hand through his hair nervously. “I know you said you were against a marriage of political alliance.”

Lothiriel opened her mouth to speak, but Eomer covered her lips with his hand. “Let me finish. My feelings for you go far beyond that of politics. Your father wants to heal the broken ties between Rohan and Gondor. Yet simply your presence is enough to heal what is weary within me. Will you have me?”

Her answer had barely escaped her lips, before Eomer showered her with kisses. And both were caught up in the moment that things like time and space and distance were forgotten.

* * * * *

“I assure you, I don’t any more advice,” Lothiriel said as she escorted Eowyn to the door of the bedroom.

“You did not hesitate to give me any,” Eowyn said with a grin. “Plus, I enjoy seeing how red your face gets.”

“You are worse than my own sister!”

Eowyn stopped at the edge of the doorway. “I’m glad it’s you, and not some courtly woman of Gondor whom I can call sister.”

“So am I.”

“Besides it is only fair that I get to torment you. Eomer insisted I follow Gondorian tradition and wait an entire year before Faramir and I wed. It is not fair that you get to follow Rohirrim tradition. Announce your betrothal the same night you - - ”

Lothiriel grinned and closed the door in Eowyn’s face. She paced the room. Her belongings were sitting amongst Eomer’s. Instead of feeling like they belonged, she felt as if she had intruded on someone
else’s private space. Things changed so quickly. Was it only a month ago she had been sitting back at Dol Amroth, staring at the sea?

The door opened. Eomer walked in, a smile lighting up his face.

“Where have you been?” Lothiriel asked. “Eowyn has been in here for what seems like an age of the world, giving me last minute instructions, as if she is an expert.”

“You make it sound as if you were learning battle
strategies,” Eomer said, as he stood in the doorway.
“I should hope the night will be more enjoyable than
that.”

Lothiriel grinned. “Well, I do plan on attacking
you.”

“Oh?” Eomer closed the door behind him and crossed
the room. “You look unarmed to me.” He walked up
behind her. His hands followed the delicate lines
of the thin gown she wore. “What will you attack me
with?”

“My lips.” Lothiriel turned around to face him, Eomer
slipped his arms around her waist.

“Then please, show me no mercy.” Eomer whispered
before his lips captured hers in a soft but insistent
kiss.

“Tongues make good weapons as well,” Lothiriel
muttered as Eomer trailed kisses down her neck.

“That they do.” Eomer said, as he continued his
assault on her neck.

Lothiriel clung to his arms trying to keep her balance
until she backed into the bed and they fell onto the
soft mattress.

The feel of his warm body pressed against hers was far
sweeter than anything she had imagined. She slid her
hands through his hair and pulled his head down to hers.
He deepened the kiss, his tongue slipping past hers,
around hers exploring the soft depths of her mouth.
And Lothiriel could do little but try to keep from reeling
from the sensations that crashed through her body in
waves.

And then his hands were. . . .everywhere. It took
her breath away. He grasped her waist, tracing the
curves up her body. She arched into his touch, inadvertently grinding her hips against his. Eomer moaned at the sudden contact. She felt him shift his weight a bit. And when he sought out her lips, they both got a mouthful of hair.

Eomer pulled away abruptly to sneeze several times,
swatting at his hair.

The spell of the moment was broken. Lothiriel
exploded into fits of giggles. “Shall I braid it for
you?” she teased. “Or pull it back into two tails,
like I used to wear mine when I was little?”

Eomer grinned. “Neither.” He leaned against the
headboard. She scooted up to sit beside him.

Lothiriel pushed his hair back behind his ears. Her
hand drifted down his cheek. He kissed her palm.

“You may not believe this now, but I did not intend to
simply tackle you and toss you onto the bed this
evening,” Eomer said.

“It was the way we made introductions,” Lothiriel
reminded him. “Why should I expect any less than that
on this night?”

He sighed. “Things never go as I plan when you are
around.”

“It might make things easier if you let me in on your
plans,” Lothiriel said. “What do you have in mind
for us next?”

“Whatever you wish, my lady,” Eomer said, softly. His eyes strayed to her gown. The ties to the front of it had loosened and gave the slightest glimpse of skin beneath.

“You first,” Lothiriel whispered.

Eomer sat on the edge of the bed and took off his
shoes. So far, this night was nothing like Lothiriel
had imagined it would be. In the great romantic songs
of old, it was all loving glances and kisses and
sweeping tales of romance. They spoke nothing of the
practical matters such as getting hair in your mouth as you kissed, or taking off your shoes.

But Eomer did not just stop at taking off his shoes. When he finished his eyes met hers, and a mixture of excitement and nervousness swept through her. No song ever described anyone who looked the way he did. Lothiriel decided she preferred reality.

* * * * * * * * *

They stayed at Minas Tirith for a fortnight, before heading back to Rohan. Imrahil rode with them as far as the borders of Rohan before turning towards Dol Amroth.

“You shall make a beautiful Queen,” Imrahil said.

“Do not look so sad. This was your idea remember? Send Erchirion to visit me soon.”

Imrahil nodded. “She will probably insist on leaving the day I get back once she hears news of you.”

“And you will let her go?”

“If I did not, you would probably convince Eomer did send out an eored to retrieve her.” Imrahil hugged her. “Send word as soon as you arrive in Rohan.”

“I will.”

Imrahil grasped Eomer’s hand. “Take care of her.”

“Yes, my lord.” Eomer said, with a slight bow. He looked back at Imrahil’s squad, which was less than a third of what he had arrived with. Imrahil had insisted on leaving most of his squad to assist Aragorn in Minas Tirith.

“My offer still stands,” Eomer said. “If you would like an escort to the borders of Dol Amroth, my men would be honored to ride beside you.”

Imrahil shook his head. “No, I will not take up your time. I fear neither of us will have as much as we should like before Aragorn calls us back to Minas Tirith.”

“You are probably right. And there is still much to be done in the Mark,” Eomer said.

“Aragorn will hold you to your oath,” Imrahil said. “You will see battle yet again. More times than I hoped any of us would like to.”

“My oath is good for as long as Gondor needs me. Where
the flag of Gondor flies to battle so will fly the flag of
Rohan,” Eomer said.

That night, as the sun was setting, Eomer stood at the opening of their tent and looked out at the rolling plains. “Look at the sunset,” Eomer said.

“I would rather be looking at you,” Lothiriel said. She walked to him and tugged at the laces of his shirt.

“It reminds me of the sun setting upon the seas of Dol Amroth,” Eomer said. She continued to tug at his laces. He took her hands in his, stopping her. “Lotty, if you ever get homesick don’t feel as if you have to keep if from me. You are free to go home whenever you wish.”

“Are you trying to get rid of me already?” she teased.

“Never!” Eomer pulled her to him. “But I want you to be happy.”

“I am happy,” Lothiriel said. “Are you quite finished with your foolish worries? Because I have a far better idea with what you can do with your time.”

Eomer grinned. “If it is anything like your idea last night then I do not expect we’ll be getting much sleep.”

Lothiriel shrugged and stepped out of his grasp. “If you are not up for it, then by all means sleep.”

Eomer grabbed her and pulled her back to him. “I doubt I shall ever get a good night’s rest as long as you are in my bed.”

“And how long will that be?”

“As long as my heart still beats within my chest,” Eomer said.

THE END

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Chapter name
Chapter 10
Created
10 Jul 2003
Last Edited
10 Jul 2003
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