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Trust To Hope

Chapter 3: Chapter Two

by Novedhelion

Trust to Hope - Chapter Two

Author: Novedhelion
Type: FP Het
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Pairing: Éomer/Lothíriel (eventually)
Rating: PG for now…

Warnings: Mild violence

Beta: Riyallyn…thanks for all the LATE nights…

Disclaimer: I do not claim any of these as my own except Camwethrin…the others are all characters Tolkien created and I used and abused them. No profit made from this story. I tried to follow canon where possible, but if PJ can banish Éomer, I can furnish him with tents.

Feedback: This is my first attempt at Fanfic, so of course! Bring it on!

***Elvish translations at the bottom…I try to stick as close to Tolkien’s Elvish as possible. I know it is not perfect. I am not a linguist nor do I claim to be. ****

************
Chapter Two
************
“The bow is bent, the arrow flies, the winged shaft of fate.”
Ira Frederick Aldridge

Firien Wood
Rohan
17 Nínui, 3019 T.A.
**********************

The princess was awakened before dawn by the wolf nuzzling her face. "Elenion, daro!" she said irritably, pushing him away. Impatiently pushing her short curls from her face, she yawned. She stood, and looked toward the camp. The men were packing up in preparation to leave. Might as well relax. She sat back down on the soft moss under the tree and leaned back.

Pulling a bit of cram out of her bag, she took a bite. “Anirach i mado go nín?" She broke off a piece and tossed a bite to the wolf. He looked down at it with disdain. "That is all I have," she said apologetically, brushing the crumbs off her hands. “Unless you plan to hunt later.”

Elenion looked back at the piece of waybread on the ground, and deciding it was better than nothing, gulped it down.

Remaining hidden in the edge of the wood, she waited until the men had packed and gone before setting off in the same direction. She would follow them until she could regain her bearings. With luck, they would never know she was there.

For three days and nights, she followed the tracks of the horses, crossing their previous campsites. At night, if they had been lucky, she roasted whatever small game they had managed to catch over a tiny cook fire. Elenion could catch even the fastest rabbit, and the princess had on occasion been successful at flushing out small game birds and nailing them on wing with her bow, though there were not many to be found this time of year. Sitting by the small fire at night, she would write in her journal, and sleep curled beside the wolf under her cloak. Sometimes she passed small farms in the distance, but there were no real villages to speak of, nevermind any inns.

Anhuil figured she was at least two days behind them on the trail, following the river upstream. On horseback, they would soon leave her far enough behind that she need not worry about running into them. At least, she hoped that would be the case.

The setting sun was just leaving the horizon on the evening of the fourth day after her encounter with the men as she scrambled over a rocky embankment. Smoke rose just over the ridge. Quickly ducking back down, she crawled forward and peeked over the top of the embankment. Apparently the men had halted their ride for several days here, camping along the riverbank.

A soft curse escaped her lips under her breath. “Man hí?” she asked the wolf lying flattened on the ground beside her, impatiently tapping her fingers on the rock. Realizing her quiver behind her might give her away, she removed it and lay it down beside her against the rock. From where she was the camp was at least a furlong away, but if she moved along this ridge she risked being seen in the full moonlight. Taller rock formations jutted out further ahead. She edged along the top of the ridge slowly for what cover she could find.

In his tent, Éomer leaned back in a chair, absentmindedly turning the broken arrow in his fingers. A young soldier shoved the tent flap out of the way, stepping inside, startling the marshal out of his reverie.

"Sir," he addressed Éomer, "we are being followed."

"Followed? By whom?" The marshal leaned forward in his chair.

"We are unsure, sir. Some of the men doubled back this morning, looking for a few of the horses that had wandered during the night, and they found tracks."

"How many?" he queried, running his hand through his tousled blonde locks.

"Appears to be only one, sir. The footprints are small.”

Éomer’s brow furrowed. "Only one? Cannot be much of a threat, now, can it?" He regarded the arrow in his hand. "Send out a scouting party and see what you can find."

"Yes, sir." The man nodded, backing out of the tent.

The princess climbed up the steep rocks, and found a small cliff overlooking the encampment. She peered down through in the semi-darkness. Men were moving about the fires, some cooking, cleaning weapons, tending to horses. There were several large tents set up; most were dark, but some were lit inside with lanterns.

Suddenly she heard a voice directly below her. Ducking down, she scooted backward along the cliff, concealing herself in the shadows behind the sparse shrubbery. "Delio!" she whispered to Elenion, who disappeared into the darkness.

Watching the man below, she dug her teeth into her bottom lip. Three others now joined him, heading in her direction. She pulled her hood up over her head and tried to breathe quietly, a difficult feat considering her heart was pounding so hard she thought all of Rohan would certainly hear it. Stopping just below her hiding place, he leaned over and picked up the quiver full of arrows. "What's this?" He held it up.

She cursed herself silently. How could she have been so careless?

"Better take that down to the marshal. Someone's been up here, that's for sure." Two of the men started down toward the camp, the other two continuing to search among the rocks. She remained frozen, waiting until she was sure they had gone.

In his tent, Éomer sat poring over maps spread on the table. One of the men burst in. The marshal looked up expectantly.

"Someone is out there, sir. We found this." He tossed the quiver on to the table. Éomer looked down at it. He slowly pulled an arrow out, held it up in the light and looked at it carefully. It was a small wooden arrow, metal tipped, fletched in blue and white. He turned to the soldier.

"Find him."

The soldier nodded and exited the tent. Éomer picked up the broken arrow from the table and held it up next to the one from the quiver. A perfect match.

***********

"One doesn't leave a whole quiver of arrows just lying around. He can't have gone far." The two Rohirrim soldiers held their weapons ready, peering around the rocks.

The only weapon she had was her dagger; her bow was useless since she had foolishly left her quiver. The princess looked around. Across the field behind her was a large rocky outcropping in front of a copse of trees. Surely if she could make it up there, she could lose them. There were only two options. Use the dagger, or run. Orcs were one thing, but Anhuil had no intention of killing another human if she could help it. She chose the latter option.

Her foot slipped just slightly on the loose rocks at her feet, sending a few small pebbles scattering down to the plateau below. *So much for stealth*, she thought to herself. The men looked up and around at the noise, seeing the shadowy figure taking off at full speed. If she could just outdistance them long enough to make it to the ragged cliffs ahead, she could lose them in the trees beyond.

"Up here! He's making a run for it!" one of the Rohirrim shouted. "He's heading for those rocks!"

Anhuil vaguely heard shouts ring out through the camp. Running for all she was worth, she made for the cliffs. "Halt!" the soldier shouted, as the both took off after her. Weighed down by their armor, they were much slower than she. The princess thought she stood a fairly good chance of escape, until she heard the pounding of hooves over the soft ground.

The two soldiers on horseback rapidly overtook her, blocking her way. Quickly dismounting, one of them tried to tackle her to the ground. Anhuil slipped from his grasp, rolling away, her bow and leather bag falling to the grass. She drew her dagger.

"He's just a lad!" one of them yelled.

"Look out! He's armed!" The other warned.

The hood of her cloak was still covering her head. She almost laughed at the comment. *Lad indeed!* The humor quickly faded when one of them lunged at her with a broadsword, nearly knocking her down. Dodging the blade, she turned and kicked the hand that held it, sending the blade flying. Another sharp kick to the owner's chest sent him backwards, landing with a thud.

Turning to run again, she found herself face to face with the two who had been chasing her. Deftly blocking the swinging blade with her dagger, she rolled away from them. From the ground, she swept her leg out, taking one to his knees with a swift kick to the back of his legs. Her elbow to the back of his neck sent him to the ground. Sheathing her own dagger, she grabbed his sword from the ground and leapt to her feet.

The second man came at her, a well placed spin kick to his head sending him reeling back into the grass. “Naethen!” she called out, wincing.

Whirling around, she met a broad blade. The other rider had dismounted, and was now holding his sword to her chest. "Don't move," he warned her, watching her carefully. "Put the weapon down."

Immediately dropping the sword in her hand, she backed up slightly, hands raised in surrender. The soldier laughed at her. "That was easy enough." He relaxed slightly, taking his eyes off her to grin over his shoulder at his companions.

Quickly turning her upper body to one side, she used the hand closest to him to shove the blade away from her body, punching the young man in the chin with the heel of her other hand. Grabbing the hilt of his sword right above his hand, she punched it forward, tearing it from his grasp. Before he could react, her knee came up sharply, doubling him over, his helmet falling to the grass as he gasped for air.

As she backed up, watching the ones on the ground warily, she heard the crunch of a footstep behind her less than a second before there was a blinding flash, and everything went black.

The soldier on the ground near her jumped up, breathing heavily, and walked over to where the cloaked figure lay face down and motionless. He snatched up the sword that had fallen out of her hand. "I shall take that, thank you," he said, re-sheathing it. Bending down, he picked up her dagger, examined it for a minute, and handed it to one of the others with a shrug. The small leather bag and bow were collected, having fallen from her shoulder during the scuffle.

Another soldier rolled her over with his foot. Bending over her to check for other weapons, he suddenly noticed the rounded curves underneath the tight fitting tunic she wore. This was no boy. He flipped the hood of the cloak back, sucked in his breath when saw her face in the moonlight. Blood trickled from a cut on her lip, and her face was badly scratched, but she was clearly a woman.

Cursing under his breath, Éothain looked up at the others, who were staring in shock. "The marshal isn't going to like this a bit," he muttered. "See to them." He gestured to his fallen comrades. Kneeling, he lifted her up into his arms, walking back toward the camp.

~~~~~~~

Carrying her to a tent, he laid her on her back on a small cot. The soldier unbuckled the belt that held the dagger sheath, sliding it out from under her. She didn't move.

Éomer ducked inside. "You wanted to see me, Éothaín?" He stopped suddenly at the sight of the small person on the cot.

"We got him, I mean, er...her, sir."

He bent over her, almost laughing. "This is your spy?" The other man nodded, smiling. Furrowing his brow, Éomer gently touched her scraped cheek and saw the blood on her lip. "What happened?"

"She fell, I mean, when she got knocked out, she fell, sir."

Éomer glared at him. "You hit a woman?"

"No sir, I didn't. We didn't mean to. We didn't…know she was a woman, Lord Éomer. She was hooded, you know, and it was dark, and no woman I've ever seen fights like she did. I think Dormand is still unconscious from the kick she gave him. We thought she was a boy." Éothaín smiled slightly at the thought, looking at her now.

The marshal regarded her size. "She fought you?"

"Yes, sir, wounded four of us, for a fact. Knocked two out cold. Woulda slit my throat, if Hamrad hadn't cold-cocked her when he did." Éomer glared at him. "Sorry, sir, but really, we didn't know she was a lady." He handed Éomer her belt with the leather sheath. “The men put the rest of her things in your tent,” he informed him. The marshal nodded.

She was dressed in a grey tunic and black trousers, boots, and dark grey cloak. She wore no jewelry save a small silver ring on her left thumb, and a narrow silver chain around the ankle of her right boot.

Éomer stared at her face. Her skin was not fair, as women of his country, but darker, a smooth, coppery color, as if she had spent a lot of time in the sun. Her curls had been cut short, and fell across her face. Calloused fingers brushed them back carefully. Dark eyelashes rested against her lightly freckled cheeks. She was not a young girl, but it was difficult to guess her age. He found himself wondering what color her eyes were…

"See to her injuries, and let me know when she comes to." Éomer spoke sharply. He turned to leave, then looked back. "And bind her hands, if you believe her to be that dangerous." He smirked as he stepped out of the tent.



Elenion, daro! - Elenion, stop it!
Anirach i mado go nín? - Do you want something to eat?
Man si’ - what now?
Delio! - Hide!
Naethen - I am sorry

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Chapter Two
Created
20 Jan 2004
Last Edited
20 Jan 2004
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