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Trust To Hope

Chapter 15: Chapter Fourteen

by Novedhelion

Trust to Hope - Chapter Fourteen
Author: Novedhelion
Type: FP Het
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Pairing: Éomer/Lothíriel aka Anhuil
Rating: PG13
Warnings:
Beta: Riyallyn
Disclaimer: Characters are not mine, no money to be made...interweaving book and movie...you’ve read it all before...

Translations at the bottom.

**********************
Chapter Fourteen
**********************



Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it.
Albert Camus, French Existential Writer

*************************************


The Palace of the Prince
Dol Amroth
25 Gwaeron 3019 T.A.
***************************

As the party approached the palace, Anhuil drew a deep breath. Some things did not change, and of that she was glad. Dismounting, she handed off her horse to a stable hand and looked around the courtyard.

Huge paws pounded her nearly to the ground. Bending down, she threw her arms around the neck of the wolf. “Elenion!” Hugging him tightly, she took his large head between her hands. “I was worried about you. You disappeared on me. I know you do not like the city but the least you could have done was let me know you were leaving,” she scolded him, ruffling his fur.

“He showed up several days ago,” Cam told her. “At first it frightened me, but then I realized he would not have left you if something was wrong.” The blonde patted the wolf’s head. “He has been good company.”

“That he is,” the princess agreed.

Heading up the steps and into the doors, the princess could not help but smile a little. Home was still home, after all.

*************

Their dinner was a pleasant affair, the food wonderfully prepared and the conversation light. Although the Eagle’s news of victory over the Enemy brought them peace, they were still awaiting word from her father and brothers. As they finished their meal, Anhuil sipped her wine, and asked the question no one had dared bring up.

“Where is Fenwick?”

Cam stiffened. “I asked him not to come this evening. I told him you would be tired from your journey and that you would wish to be well rested when you see him.”

“And he agreed to this?”

The blonde licked her lips, raising her gaze to meet her friends. “It was not for him to agree or disagree with,” she informed her.

Anhuil stifled a giggle. “I see.”

Amrothos chuckled. “Well, I am certain he will be here first thing tomorrow to see you, so you should probably rest tonight.”

“I believe you are right, Amrothos.” She rose from the table. “Goodnight, everyone.”

The men rose from their seats, and Cam stood also. “I am going to retire as well. It has been a long day. Tomorrow, Amrothos, I will go over the shipping schedules with you and show you the logs.”

The prince nodded, not disappointed at the prospect of spending more time in the company of his sister’s best friend. “I will look forward to it, Lady Valesa,” he responded with a polite bow.

Stepping over to her father’s chair, Cam kissed him on the cheek. “Goodnight, Ada. I am glad you are back.”

“I am glad to be back, Valesa. Sleep well. I might like a sparring match tomorrow, if you are up to it.”

The blonde grinned. She could never turn down her father for a good round on the training field. “I accept your challenge,” she teased, “but you will have to go easy on me. I have not had much time for practice of late.”

“We shall see about that,” he joked. “Goodnight, girl.”

Anhuil and Cam headed for their chambers, leaving the men to talk of the war.

Outside the dining room, Cam caught the princess’ hand. “Go change and meet me on the beach.”

With a brief nod of acknowledgement, Anhuil dashed off to her room.

*******************

Sitting on the dry sand, Anhuil picked up a handful, letting it sift through her fingers and blow in the breeze. The moonlight shimmered on the dark waves. The wolf lay beside her, huge head resting on his paws. Her journal rested on her lap. The sound of footsteps behind her caught her attention.

She turned to see Cam, striding over, in tunic and trousers, barefoot. She was carrying a bag in one hand and her boots in the other. Plopping down on the sand unceremoniously, the bag thudding to the soft sand beside her.

“Cam—“ Anhuil began.

“Wait.” Cam said quickly, holding up one finger. She opened the bag, pulling out a tall corked bottle. Deftly removing the cork, she took a long swig and handed the bottle to Anhuil. “So, tell me. Who is he?”

The princess turned to her friend with a shocked expression. “How did you know?”

“I did not, until now,” she grinned. “Who is he?”

“Where did you get this?” Anhuil held up the bottle of wine.

“Wine cellar, where else? Drink! And talk.”

“What do you want to know?” The princess tipped up the bottle, then looked out across the ocean.

“Everything! Who is he, where is he, everything.” Cam took the bottle from her hands.

Anhuil handed Cam her journal. The blonde flipped through the pages, skimming the words she could barely read in the pale moonlight. She stopped suddenly on the page with the ink drawing. “Is this him? Oh, my, Ani...he is...he is very handsome.”

“I know. And I do not think I did him justice.” She glanced over Cam’s shoulder at the drawing and winced slightly.

“So where is he?” the blonde asked.

“I do not know where he is. Amrothos told me about their plan to march on the Black Gates. I assume he went with his men.”

“He is a soldier, then,” Cam observed, still studying the picture. “What is his name?”

Anhuil smiled shyly. “His name is Éomer,” she said finally. “He is one of the Rohirrim.”

“Let me guess. He is tall and blonde,” she said sarcastically.

Anhuil cuffed her on the shoulder. “You just described every soldier in the realm of Rohan.” Sighing heavily, she lowered her gaze, stroking the wolf’s head slowly. “I never meant for this to happen. The last thing I was looking for when I left here was another man.”

Cam snickered. “I can certainly understand why, considering you had the illustrious Mardil Fenwick eagerly awaiting your return,” she remarked. “So, how did you meet this handsome soldier of Rohan?”

Grinning mischievously, the princess took another sip of the wine. “I saved his life,” she announced with mock pride.

“Saved his life?”

With a mischievous grin the princess relayed the entire tale as they passed the bottle of wine back and forth. Cam shook her head in disbelief.

“He kissed you?”

“I had gone out by myself for a walk...anyway, he came looking for me, and we talked...and he just...Cam, I have never been kissed like that. I thought...well, nevermind what I thought. It certainly was not proper!”

“Propriety is highly overrated, Ani. I have long told you that.” Cam grinned widely. “You are in love with him.”

“Is it that obvious?” she queried. Her friend nodded.

“You never saw him after that?”

Anhuil smiled wistfully. “He did come to see me after the battle outside the city, but I did not see him.”

The puzzled expression on her friend’s face made her laugh. “I was asleep. I had been working in the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith, helping with the wounded, and he came in to see his sister. He found out I was there. Ioreth would not allow him to wake me, but he left me his cloak. He covered me with it as I slept. I never saw him.” Her voice faltered slightly, the tears falling silently down her cheeks.

“It sounds as if he loves you as well.”

Anhuil shook her head slowly. “I do not know. He said he would die before he let anything happen to me.”

“Perhaps he will come looking for you,” Cam offered.

“No,” the princess argued, shaking her head ruefully. “He does not even know my real name. How will he find me? Besides, it does not matter. I am still betrothed to Mardil, and father would never let me marry some soldier from Rohan, officer or no.” She wiped her tears with the back of her hand.

They sat in silence, watching the endless waves crash against the sand. The moonlight made a path of sparkling light on the water, stretching out as far as they could see. Anhuil dug her fingers into Elenion’s soft fur, and wondered what it would be like to follow that path, never turning back.

******************
The Palace of the Prince
Dol Amroth
30 Gwaeron 3019 T.A.
****************************

The princess stood on the balcony overlooking the ocean. Ships crossed the harbor in the early morning mist. The charcoal gray dress she wore matched her mood. Her hair was loose, falling across her shoulders and blowing in the offshore breeze. Shoulders squared, she silently surveyed the ships coming and going through the harbor.

Mardil Fenwick stood inside, watching her. One could not deny that she was attractive. The dark hair and skin were a nice contrast to most of the fairer maidens he had known. She was a little short, but that was all right, her figure more than made up for that. The dull, drab colors she chose to wear would have to go, as would the boyish trousers and tunics she seemed to favor. Do something with that hair… Yes, looks she had. The attitude could be adjusted. Best of all, Daddy was the prince.

He smiled at his own cunning. Her father was going to entrust him, Mardil Fenwick, to operate as harbormaster in Dol Amroth. He would aid the Admiral and the prince by controlling the land based operations of the harbor, freeing the Admiral to run the fleet without distraction. Total control of the seaports in two regions. A smug grin crossed his lips. Money in his pocket. And a pretty princess bride to boot.

Straightening his navy blue tunic, he tossed his dark hair and strode out to where she stood. She did not acknowledge his presence.

“Good morning, Lothíriel,” he used his most charming voice, drippingly sweet. “I trust you have recovered sufficiently from your...travels.”

“You are not concerned with my well-being, Mardil, so dispense with the pleasantries. What do you want?”

“You know what I want, Lothíriel. I want to get married. As soon as possible. You agreed to—“

“I agreed to nothing, Mardil. This marriage was arranged without my consent.”

“Your father had every right to make this decision and you know it. I do not know what you were thinking when you left, but I promise you, if you even try to—“

She turned, glaring at him. “Do not threaten me, Mardil. I told you, I know to what my father agreed. I will fulfill the contract. I am doing this for Father, not for you.”

“Many women in this fair city would change places with you gladly, Princess.”

“I would happily exchange my lot with any of them,” she retorted, fiery green eyes staring him down, “if it meant I did not have to spend even one night as your wife.”

Fenwick’s jaw clenched. He pulled her to him, crushing her against his chest with his arms. “You will learn to like being my wife, Lothíriel. You will see.” He brought his lips down hard on hers. She struggled, trying to free her arms from his grip, her lips from his. He held her fast. Unable to free her arms, she stomped down hard on his instep with her heel. As soon as he released her, she brought her hand up to slap him. He grabbed her wrists, wincing in pain, leaning on the balcony rail for support.

“You will not strike me.”

“You will not kiss me,” she hissed at him.

“Oh, yes. I will, Lothíriel. You will be my wife. In every sense of the word.” His steel gray eyes bored into her.

“Not willingly I will not!

Fenwick chuckled. “You silly little chit. When are you going to figure out that I hold all the cards here? You do not tell me what you will and will not do. Besides, your father thinks the world of me.”

“Father is misguided in his desire to do what is best for his people.” He still gripped her wrist tightly, and as he released her he twisted it painfully. “I should tell him—“

“But you will not, Lothíriel. You will be a good daughter and honor your father’s agreement. We will be married as soon as possible. And if you think you are going to behave this way after we are married, just know that I can make your life a living hell.”

“Mardil Fenwick, being married to you will be a living hell.”

“If you cross me, Lothíriel, I assure you it will.” He straightened his tunic again, striding away with a slight limp.

Anhuil rubbed her wrist, glaring after him as he stalked away.

************
Dol Amroth
1 Gwirith, 3019 T.A.
*****************************

Amrothos walked down the wooden walkway toward the shore. Stopping at the end, he kicked off his boots before striding out on to the beach. Anhuil was sitting on the sand, leaning forward on her bent knees.

"Mind if I join you?" He plopped down beside her. She did not look up. "You know, Ada was pretty upset when you left."

"He was only concerned about the betrothal to Fenwick, Amrothos. He was not worried about me."

"That is not fair, tithen siler. Le ista Ada mela le. He just wants what is best."

She glared at him. "Do you honestly think that is what he is thinking about with this marriage, Amrothos? Because if you do then I would like someone to explain to me why I have to be the one to marry a miserable little twit like Fenwick just because pirates are raiding our harbors? Explain that to me, please. Somehow I cannot help thinking this is more about what is best for Dol Amroth than what is best for Lothíriel! No one is making any of you marry an insufferable prat."

"You are right. It is not fair," He put his arm around her. "But I do not think Fenwick would have me."

Anhuil slapped his leg. "Dîn, Amrothos.” She leaned on his shoulder, sighing.

“Naethen, Ani,” he hugged her closer, feeling her hot tears against his shoulder. “If there is any way I can get you out of this, I will.”

***************

Mardil Fenwick stood on the balcony overlooking the harbor. His harbor, or at least it would be soon. Yes, this was definitely a good arrangement.

“Enjoying the view?” Amrothos strode out on to the balcony. He leaned against the rail, crossing his muscled forearms and regarding Fenwick.

“It is lovely, yes,” he answered sharply. “Was there something you wanted?”

“Just trying to make conversation. After all, we will be family soon.” Amrothos waited for a response. Fenwick wished he would go away.

“So,” Amrothos continued. “Have you talked to Ani since she got back?”

“I spoke with Lothíriel,” he emphasized her given name, Fenwick hated nicknames, “this morning as a matter of fact. Out here, on the balcony. We agreed to be married as soon as possible when her father returns from the battle.”

“She said that, did she?” Amrothos’ skepticism was annoying Fenwick.

“I told her I forgave her for running away and that I would still have her as my wife, and she agreed.”

“I see. Did she ask for your forgiveness?” the young prince asked.

“She need not ask. I know she is young and impulsive. She does not think about the consequences of her actions sometimes. She will learn. This time there is no harm done.”

“I spoke with her a while ago on the beach. She seems a little…disheartened,” Amrothos noted.

“All girls are nervous about their weddings. I am not surprised.”

“She is not a young girl, Mardil. She is a grown woman, or had you not noticed?” He hesitated. “Do you love my sister, Fenwick?” Amrothos asked him point blank.

“I cannot imagine what my life would be like without her,” Fenwick answered truthfully, inwardly pleased at his own cleverness.

Amrothos nodded, mentally noting he had not really answered the question. “Let me just say one thing, Mardil,” he stepped forward, very close to Fenwick. “Ani has dealt with enough pain in her life. If you ever lay a hand on her or harm her in any way, I will kill you myself. Is that understood?”

“My young Prince, I do not think that—“

Amrothos stepped up to him, his hand on Fenwick’s shoulder. “Just remember that.”

He turned and stalked off, leaving Fenwick fuming on the balcony.

***********
The Palace of the Prince
Dol Amroth
5 Gwirith, 3019 T.A.
***********************

Sighing heavily, the princess headed for her father’s study. Word had come swiftly that her father and brothers were well, and that they would be staying in Minas Tirith for the coronation of King Elessar, to return home the following month.

In the meantime, there was much work to be done. She had a meeting that afternoon that she needed to prepare for, and she needed to go over the books brought to her by the Magistrate. Deciding she was truly grateful to be last in line for the throne, she slid the key into to lock, surprised at the easy turn. The door was unlocked.

A figure was bent over her father’s desk. In the pale light, she realized immediately who it was.

“Mardil!”

He jumped at her voice. “What are you doing in Ada’s study?” She strode over to the desk, quickly slamming shut the volumes she had left open on the desk the previous night.

“Just assuring myself your tasks were completed, my dear,” he replied.

“You have no business here, Mardil.”

“Come, now, Princess, I was only trying to see if there was anything else you needed my assistance with. After all, I did promise your father I’d look after you,” he chided soothingly.

“I do not need or want your help, Mardil Fenwick. I am perfectly capable of handling this on my own,” she slammed the ledger book shut. “It is not your concern.”

“Ah, but should I be concerned about this?” He lifted another scroll from underneath the ledger. It was a historical account of the House of Éorl. Anhuil had found it in the library the evening before and brought it back to read. “Why this sudden interest in the history of those heathens?”

She snatched the scroll from his fingers. “My choice of reading material is also not your concern, Mardil. I happen to be interested in the histories of other nations, and in many things other than myself, unlike you.”

“History is a boring subject, Lothíriel. Your time is better spent considering your future.”

That’s exactly what I was doing, she thought to herself. “If my future is to be with you, Fenwick, then I choose to spend as little time dwelling on it as I can, for as long as I can.” She slammed the scroll down on the desk. “Get out.”

Mardil Fenwick raised one eyebrow. “Ordering me around now, Lothíriel?”

“I am still the princess. Do not make me call the guards, Fenwick. It would be terribly embarrassing.” Anhuil crossed her arms, her direct gaze daring him.

Jaw tightening, he decided not to call her on this one. Turning on his heel, he stomped out of the office.

***********
Dol Amroth
15 Gwirith, 3019 T.A.
***************************

Anhuil kept busy, assisting her brother with the daily duties of running the palace. While Amrothos excelled at dealing with the people, paperwork was a bane to him, so she took over the more menial tasks. She had not realized how tedious the duties could be. It did help to keep her mind off Éomer and Fenwick, at least part of the time, but she tired of being cooped up in her father’s office. Deciding it was time for a little break, she went to find Cam.

Agreeing that a bit of weapons practice might do them both some good, they set up a target on the beach. Cam excelled in sword skill, where Anhuil was sorely lacking. They joked that Cam couldn’t hit the side of the palace with an arrow, whereas Anhuil’s ability with a bow was her strongest point.

They worked on bow skill for a while, and when Cam got tired of being bested, they shifted to hand combat. Cam with her sword and Ani with her dagger, their fencing often turned into laughter, blades clashing, girls ducking and lunging at one another. More than once Cam flipped Anhuil’s blade from her hand, sending it to the sand with a soft thud.

Unbeknownst to them, Mardil had watched them practice on several occasions. Although he would never admit it, he truly enjoyed the sight of the two sweat soaked young women, one fair, the other dark. He liked the way their tunics stuck to their skin after their workouts, accentuating their curves, and the casual way both girls tucked up their hair. And loath to confess as he was, he was terribly impressed with their skill in weaponry. He decided to take a walk on the beach.

Their makeshift target was high on the sand, near the dunes. An old log sat nearby, next to which they had strewn their boots. The young women practiced defensive moves in the deep sand, both barefoot. Fenwick strolled over to where they were sparring, watching silently for a moment, seating himself on the log. He removed the hat he had been wearing and placed it beside him on the log.

Without taking her eyes off Cam, something she had learned the hard way not to do, Ani addressed Fenwick. “What do you want, Mardil?”

“I am only observing, Lothíriel,” he answered blandly.

“Go observe something else, Fenwick,” Cam snapped. “We are trying to practice.” She lunged at Anhuil, who for once deftly blocked her. She stepped back, grinning. “You are getting it!”

“Women have no business fooling with weaponry,” Fenwick chided. “Silly girls playing with boy’s toys.”

“You are only envious because you have no weapons skills, Fenwick,” Cam spat at him, pointing her sword toward him. “That is why the men left you here to begin with. That, and you are too much of a coward to go into battle.”

“I have explained to you that I stayed in case Lothíriel came home. I promised her father I would wait for her and be here to look after her when she arrived home,” he responded haughtily.

Anhuil lowered her weapon, facing Fenwick. “What makes you think I need someone to look after me, Mardil?”

“Your father was worried about leaving while you were still missing. I assured him I would be here should you return.”

“A convenient excuse for your lack of courage, if you ask me,” Cam quipped.

He ignored her obvious attempt to provoke him. “Enjoy this while you can, Valesa,” he sneered, using her given name, “Because once Lothíriel is married to me, she will not be participating in these…games of yours.”

Anhuil whirled around and released her dagger. It spun through the air, efficiently nailing the log where he sat, right between Fenwick’s legs. He looked up in shock. She casually strode over and leaned over him, grabbing the dagger with her fist. “I have told you before, you will not tell me what I can and cannot do. If you think your threats and brute force are going to be methods of controlling me, know this. I far surpass you in skill with any weapon, including intellect. So do not try me, Mardil. Next time I may aim higher.” She jerked the dagger from the log and turned her back to him, stomping through the deep sand back to Cam, who was red faced with laughter.

Fenwick took a moment to regain his composure, then slowly stood. His face contorted with anger, he regarded Anhuil. “Your father has allowed you entirely too much free reign, Lothíriel. We will discuss this again another time.” He turned to leave, reaching for his hat, which sat on the log. Anhuil grabbed her bow and fired off one small, blue and white fletched arrow, piercing the hat and pinning it to the log. Without a word, she stood, staring him down, daring him to say something.

Mardil studied the arrow that now protruded from his hat, and then glanced at Anhuil. “You missed me.”

“I was not aiming for you,” she raised the bow, knocking another arrow. “Want me to try again?”

Fenwick narrowed his eyes at her, then turned and stalked off, halfway expecting to get the next arrow in the back.

*********************
Dol Amroth
15 Nórui 3019 T.A.
**************************

Anhuil sat at her father’s desk staring at the page of the book in front of her, re-reading the same sentence for the third time. With a sigh, she slammed the book shut and stared out the window at the harbor below.

The sound of resounding horns jerked her attention. Leaping to her feet, she ran to the window on the opposite side of the study, looking out over the courtyard. The tall banners, a silver swan on a field of blue, flapped in the breeze. Behind them rode Prince Imrahil, his sons, and the knights of Dol Amroth.

Bolting out the door of the study, she almost ran into Cam in the hallway. “They are home!” she exclaimed, grabbing the blonde by the shoulders. “Ada is home!” Releasing her friend, she took off down the stairs to the courtyard to greet her family.

Cam shook her head, grinning, and followed after her.

Amrothos stood on the steps, awaiting his father’s arrival. Anhuil stepped up beside her brother, taking his arm, as they watched the knights entering the courtyard. Imrahil dismounted and handed his reins off to a squire, who led the horse toward the stable. Turning toward the palace, he grinned widely at the sight of his children, and walked briskly toward them.

Standing straight and proud, Amrothos bowed politely to his father, who shook his head and grabbed his son in a bear hug. “I am so grateful to you, son, for the duty you have done in my absence,” he said to him.

“I could not have done it without Ani, Ada...and Cam...you would be amazed at what all she has accomplished these past months.”

Turning to his daughter, his smile only brightened. He embraced her and kissed her head.
Over Anhuil’s head, he saw Cam, standing back slightly. Releasing his daughter with a squeeze, he stepped over to her.

“Valesa, it is good to see you. You do not know how it eased my mind to know you were here to look after things.” He hugged her warmly and took her hands in his. “Is your father well?”

“It was an honor to serve you. And not only is the Admiral well, my lord,” she answered politely, “but he will be joining us for dinner. He is looking forward to seeing you.”

“And I him. Good old Merric. We have much to catch up on.”

Elphir and Erchirion leapt up the steps, clasping hands with their brother and hugging their sister and Cam. Imrahil shuttled the merry bunch inside, eager for a bath and a good hot meal. ‘It is good to be home,” he said softly, his daughter on one arm and Cam on the other, “even if only for a short while.”

“A short while? Ada, you have only just arrived! What could be so important that you would leave again soon?” Anhuil asked him.

“Not I, my dear, but all of us,” her father answered.

“For what reason?” she pressed.

“For the wedding of the king, of course,” he told her, with a grin.

*********

“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.“
Robert Montgomery


Translations:

Le ista Ada mela le. - You know Ada loves you.
Dîn - shut up/silence
Naethen- I am sorry

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Chapter Fourteen
Created
17 Feb 2004
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17 Feb 2004
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