Login

Lost Password?

Create New Account

Trust To Hope

Chapter 4: Chapter Three

by Novedhelion

Trust to Hope - Chapter Three

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

Warnings: Mouthy Princess…Sharp tongued Marshal

Beta: Riyallyn…the Queen of quotation marks…

Disclaimer: I am not J.R.R. Tolkien. I do not claim any of these as my own except Camwethrin…the others are all characters Tolkien created. Elenion is also mine. Still no money to be made, still none to bother suing for. Elvish translations at the bottom.

Feedback: Yes, please.


***************
Part Three
***************

“If it is your time, love will track you down like a cruise missile.” Lynda Barry


Rohan
21 Nínui, 3019 T.A.
***********************

“Look behind you, sister… always look behind you…” her brother’s voice echoed in her head.

Whatever that noise was, Anhuil wished it would stop. She forced her eyes open, and in the dim light she could see the silhouette of a man, sharpening a knife across a piece of stone. The scraping sound made her head pound. She turned toward him, intending to ask him to stop, the movement causing her so much pain that she could only moan softly. Her eyes closed again as the tent spun.

He heard the sound, and looked up. Seeing her with her hands over her face, he stood. “Oh, good, Miss, nice to see you are awake. Don’t go runnin’ off, now. The marshal wants to have a word.” He exited the tent, leaving her alone.

Anhuil opened her eyes, slowly forcing herself to sit up. Turning sideways on the cot, she placed her feet on the ground in an attempt to steady herself, and raised her eyes to look around. The tent was sparsely furnished, a low table with a lantern sat near her. The brief thought of running crossed her mind, but with the pain in her head she figured that she would be lucky to continue sitting upright.

And who in Middle Earth was the marshal? She did not particularly feel like having a word with anyone at this moment in time, except maybe whoever put this dent in her skull. Him, she’d like to find.

**********

Éomer sat in his tent, studying the items the men had left on the wooden table. A short bow, beautifully carved, with two extra bowstrings. Several finely fletched arrows, all matching the one he had taken from the dead orc. An ornate, jeweled dagger, inscribed in a language he could not read, but recognizes as an Elvish script. A neatly rolled clean tunic and a pair of leggings. A small comb. A pouch containing Gondorian coins.

A quill, a bottle of ink...a small vial of some kind of oil. He popped the cork, inhaling the lavender scent, closing his eyes. He wondered if those soft, dark curls that framed her face smelled this good, and immediately chastised himself for having such thoughts. She is a captive and a potential spy, he reminded himself. What business have you wondering what her hair smells like? Gods man, has it been that long?

His eyes fell on a small book. The cover was plain leather, bound with a leather thong. He untied the cord and flipped it open. In the same small, neat script that her dagger was inscribed with, she had written page after page. Drawings were scattered throughout, landscapes, flowers, even some of a wolf. With a sigh, he wished he had paid more attention to his tutors who tried to tell him learning the other languages of Middle Earth was a worthwhile endeavor. As he was about to snap the leather cover shut, a drawing caught his attention. It was the sunburst design of a Rohirrim shield.

“My lord?” Éothain’s voice interrupted his thoughts. He looked up at his friend. “She is awake, now, sir.” He ducked back out of the tent.

With a nod, Éomer gathered her things back into her bag, and followed.

*********

Back in the tent, she raised a hand to touch the sore spot on the back of her head. Both hands came up together and she frowned, realizing her hands were bound. The princess was still staring at the bindings in a fog when the guard who had been watching her returned with another man.

Anhuil blinked hard in an effort to keep her eyes focused, which would have been easier if the world would have stopped spinning.

The newcomer knelt on one knee in front of her, looking her over. The marshal was tall, even kneeling. Blonde hair spilled across broad shoulders. His handsome face was smudged with dust, a scruffy beard covering his chin. Deep brown eyes surveyed her closely. The corners of his full lips turned up slightly, as if trying to hide his amusement at this turn of events. The tent was not large to begin with, and it seemed to shrink with his presence. He wore an air of authority like an invisible cloak.

“Leave us for a while,” he quietly commanded the other man, without taking his eyes off the princess.

“Yes, sir.” The younger man backed out of the tent.

Éomer regarded her silently for a moment. His intense scrutiny made her uncomfortable. She straightened her back and returned his gaze, determined not to allow him to intimidate her.

“I apologize for my men. They did not know you were a woman.”

Reaching out, he gently touched the scrape on her cheek with his fingertips. Anhuil jumped slightly at the unexpected contact. One hand on her chin, turning her face to the light.

“I told him to tend to this, ” he commented, almost to himself. On the nearby table was a bowl of water and a cloth. He dipped the cloth into the dish and gently touched it to her cheek. She winced slightly.

“I am Éomer, son of Éomund. Third Marshal of the Riddermark.” He paused, waiting for a response that did not come. She tried to move her face away from his hands. “I am not going to hurt you,” he reassured her quietly.

Anhuil’s head spun again. So this was the marshal. The princess closed her eyes, trying to sort her thoughts into some sort of logical order. She was not going to answer his questions. Not yet, anyway.

“Surely you are not traveling alone. Where are your companions?”

Opening her eyes again, her gaze locked on to those deep, dark eyes.

“Who are you?” he asked quietly. When she still did not answer, he continued. “My men said you cursed them in the Elvish tongue. They said they had never seen a woman fight like you did.” Anhuil stared at him, but did not respond. “You are not Elfkind,” he commented.

Clearly, she thought to herself. How very observant of him. But...Melkor’s chains, this man’s voice...just his voice sent shivers down her spine.

Éomer held her face, the fingertips of one hand lightly resting on the curve of her jaw as he cleaned her cuts with the other hand. Her coppery skin was lightly freckled across her cheeks and nose, and very soft under his calloused fingers. Trying his best to be gentle, he wiped the blood from the cut on her swollen lip. Her mouth slightly parted, her straight teeth flashed white in the dim light. Deliberately tearing his gaze away from those lips, he concentrated on her injuries.

Anhuil tried to keep her breathing even. His familiarity was somewhat disconcerting, however innocent the touch. She tried to convince herself it was the injuries and not his warm fingers that made her pulse race. Dark eyes bored into hers, searching for answers. She tried to summon the power of speech and found that for the present, it had left her entirely.

The marshal found himself staring into her eyes. It was hard to tell the color in the dim light, although the fire in them belied her seemingly calm demeanor. Her delicate lips clamped shut, as though she were forcing herself to keep quiet. He wondered, momentarily, if she perhaps did not understand his questions. After all, she had spoken and written in another language. But she was not an Elf, that he could tell. And the spark he saw in those dark eyes told him she not only understood him, she was deliberately defying him.

Éomer smiled inwardly at her obvious spirit. It was hard to imagine one so small taking on the men of his éored. Éomer was used to women who could fight, his own sister was quite proficient with a sword. But this small thing? Threatening was hardly the word he would use to describe her.

Rein it in, man, he chided himself.

Trying to convince himself it was purely gratitude he felt toward her for saving his life, he continued. Tenderly wiping the blood from the cut on her lip, he continued, “If you continue to choose not to speak, this conversation is going to become indescribably dull.”

Her head pounded. She remained stonily silent.

Éomer lay down the cloth and sat down on a small stool, leaning back. His fingers gently grazing the line of her jaw as he removed his hand. Her involuntary shudder amused him, though he wasn’t sure why. She was, after all, technically a captive. He should not be having lascivious thoughts about a potential spy. Squashing his libido purposefully and with no small effort, he smiled at her.

“My men thought you were a spy, but I do not believe you are.” He reached behind him and held up her small quiver. “A spy would not be so careless as to leave weapons behind.”

He pulled out one of the arrows. “These are very skillfully made. I have only seen arrows like this once before.” She watched as he pulled out the broken one he had taken from the dead Orc, holding the two together. He looked at her again, as if waiting for some reaction. The flicker of recognition at the arrow did not escape his notice.

Anhuil swallowed hard, listening as he continued. She was beginning to feel dizzy, whether from the injury to her head or from looking into these dark eyes, she didn’t know.

“Why are you following us?”

Suddenly, she recognized the voice. The man by the stream. He had called out to her as she dashed into the bushes… Where is your tongue, woman? she berated herself silently.

Éomer saw the flash of realization cross her face and bit back a smile. “It was you, was it not? By the Firien stream…you killed those Orcs.” He paused. “Why?”

When he still received no response, he relented. “Maybe you will feel more like talking in the morning. I will see that you get something to eat. You must be hungry, if all you had with you was that waybread in your bag.” He stood, looking down at her. She glanced down at the bindings on her wrists, then up at him.

“My apologies, my lady,” he said calmly. “That was a necessary precaution. Apparently you have already injured at least four of my men.”

He was leaving? Say something...anything....

“Only four?” Anhuil quipped, raising her bound hands to rub the back of her head.

“What?” Éomer looked at her, puzzled.

“Only four of your men?” She touched her cut lip. “I thought surely there were more.”

“Ah, so you do speak.” He smiled at her arrogance.

“No harm would have come to them if they had not attacked me. Are there no gentlemen in your land? Have they no courtesy toward women?” She sat up straighter, squaring her shoulders.

She had a lovely, lilting voice, her diction precise, her accent certainly not that of a peasant's daughter. He was not sure what he had expected, but he was surprised nonetheless, mostly at finding himself appraising the qualities of her speech. Bless Béma, man, what has gotten into you?

“I told you, they did not know you were a woman. Women in my country dress like women, not after the manner of rangers,” Éomer said matter-of-factly. “And it was dark.”

The princess narrowed her eyes, glaring at him. “If the men of your country cannot tell a woman from a man in the dark, it is a bleeding wonder there are so many of you!”

He knelt again on one knee, his face level with hers and smiled at her. He leaned close, two fingers under her chin. “Men in my country do not often come across little hoydens dressed as boys attacking them in the night,” he responded calmly. “If you wish to be treated as a woman then may I suggest a change of attire and perhaps of attitude?”

The princess was suddenly finding it quite stuffy in this tent, despite the chill in the air. She jerked her face away from his hand defiantly, the sudden movement making her head pound again. She closed her eyes tightly, short curls falling across her face. Éomer withdrew his hand and curled his fingers, resisting a strong urge to push them back from her face. Opening her eyes, Anhuil was relieved to see he had leaned back slightly on his heels. “Please, I do not wish to be adversarial. Who are you?”

She was not about to tell the whole truth and risk being taken straight back to Dol Amroth. She didn’t want to lie, but… Taking a deep breath, she answered him. “I am called Anhuil.”

“Where are you headed, Anhuil?” Éomer continued his interrogation. Her head hurt and he was getting on her nerves.

“My business, were I to have any, is not yours.” She reached up with her bound hands and brushed the curls from her eyes.

“You travel alone?” Her icy stare was the only answer he received. “No offense, my lady. But it is not often one comes across a woman brazen enough to travel these lands alone. It is dangerous territory.”

”You doubt my ability to protect myself?” she asked indignantly.

“My men captured you, did they not?” he smirked. “Others may not treat you so kindly. Of course, that depends upon whether they figure out you are a woman before they kill you.” He had to fight back a grin.

“Are you suggesting I do not look like a woman, Marshal?”

Éomer drew a deep breath. He realized he was more aware of her as a woman than any other female he had ever met. Careful, man, he thought to himself. “If it is any comfort, one good look at you should confirm to any red blooded man that you are no boy.”

The princess glared at him, somewhat taken aback by his cheek. “I am uncertain whether or not to take that as an affront or a compliment,” she remarked dryly. “Are you often so backhanded with your flattery?”

With a smirk, he pressed on, ignoring her question. He opened the journal and flipped through the pages, examining the drawings and writing within, then looked up at her expectantly. “These drawings are quite good.” He regarded the journal again. “Is this your work?” She nodded slightly. “You write in the Elvish script as well,” he observed.

“Sometimes I do,” she admitted. “It is an expressive language well suited to such writing,” she pointed out. “You read Tengwar?”

He shook his head. “Unfortunately, no,” he answered. Éomer leaned forward, elbows on his knees, regarding her quietly. “So tell me, what are you doing out here?” he finally asked.

Cocking her head to one side, the princess raised an eyebrow mockingly. “I will tell you something, Éomer, son of Éomund, Third Marshal of the Riddermark. I am traveling alone, and minding my own affairs. My horse was stolen, and most likely eaten by the Orcs that attacked you. I managed to escape, but somehow became lost in this forsaken country, and there does not seem to be an inn anywhere for leagues. And yes, I killed those Orcs by the stream. I could not just sit by and watch you be slaughtered. I meant no harm to you or your men. I only sought to defend myself. And now here I sit, my hands bound, my face bleeding, my skull cracked, and you are interrogating me as if I were the Enemy himself. If this is the way the kingdom of Rohan shows hospitality then I daresay it is sorely lacking. If you would kindly remove these bindings and let me go, I will be most pleased to relieve you of my company.” Holding out her wrists, she stood and glowered down at him.

Éomer chuckled softly at the admonishment. Somewhere a palace is missing one mouthy little princess, he thought to himself, not knowing how close he was to the truth. “If insulting those who try to assist you is how you thank them, I can understand why you are traveling alone.”

“Assist me?” Anhuil seethed. “You have a lot of nerve, Marshal. Is it that common an occurrence for men in your country to beat and tie up women? You call this assistance?” She jumped to her feet, holding out her bound hands. “This is how you reward those who aid you?” In her haste she had forgotten her head injury, and she stumbled forward as the tent spun again.

Éomer leapt to his feet and caught her as she fell forward, his broad hands nearly spanning her narrow waist as he held her up. Regaining her balance, she glared up into his dark eyes. Her expression softened at the concern in them. “Are you all right?” he asked her.

The princess opened her mouth to speak but had to fight for sound. “I...I am fine. Just a little dizzy, I suppose.” She tore her gaze from his and rubbed her forehead with the fingers of her bound hands. He nodded, standing her on her feet and making certain she had her balance again before releasing her.

She drew in a sharp breath as he pulled out a small knife. Éomer looked up at her. “Wisdom would say that a man should not trust easily in these evil days.” Taking both of her hands in one of his, he cut the bonds with a swift motion, and put the knife away. “But I am going to trust you, Anhuil. Please do not do anything foolish and make me regret that decision.”

Anhuil had thought he had been tall kneeling, but now he towered over her, still holding her hands. “Why would you trust me?” Her voice quivered slightly when she spoke. His warm hands gently rubbed her wrists where the bonds had been.

“Because you saved my life. Surely you did not do that just to take it now yourself.” Éomer found himself staring at her, still trying to figure out what color her eyes were in the dim light. His intense gaze was unsettling. “And because I now have your weapons.” He flashed her a devilish grin as she looked down, realizing the belt with her dagger was gone as well.

Jerking her hands away from his, she rubbed her own wrists and backed up slightly.

“I will have one of the men bring you something to eat. You will be our guest, and will travel with us, at least to the border.” Éomer spoke with finality. “I will leave you bag, your clothing, and your journal, should you wish to record for posterity the abhorrent manner of the Rohirrim.” With a smug smile, he turned, taking her quiver with him, and left her alone.

Outside the tent, Éomer spoke to one of his men. “See that she gets a hot meal. And bring her some warm water.”

“Warm water, sir?” inquired the soldier.

“I am sure our guest would like to clean up.”

Nodding, the soldier hurried off. Éothain was looking from the tent to Éomer and back again. “Guest, sir? Then should I dismiss the guard?”

“No. Not yet,” Éomer answered, looking back at the tent, where he could see her silhouette against the canvas. She was seated on the side of the cot, head in her hands. “Not yet.” He said again softly, to himself, as he made his way back to his tent.

Sitting on the small cot, she placed her pounding head on her hands. The audacity of that man! You will travel with us, indeed! Only as far as necessary, she thought to herself. Trust, hah! There were two armed guards outside her tent!

Anhuil leaned back on the cot, trying desperately to squash the thought of his dark eyes and the touch of his warm hands…

She was awakened during the night by a scratching sound. She sat up, careful not to move too quickly, creeping quietly to the back of the tent. She whispered his name. “Elenion! Tolo!” She heard a soft whimper. “Le delio. Aphado ammen.” The sound of his footfalls disappearing gave her comfort. At least he was free. She curled up on the cot and fell into an exhausted sleep.

Plunking himself down onto the bench in his tent, he frowned. It had seemed very warm in her tent, and Éomer was grateful his own did not seem so stuffy. Deliberately flexing his hands, he tried to forget the feel of her slim waist between them. He lay back on the cot. Green, he decided. Her eyes were green. As he lay back on his cot and closed his eyes, he wondered why that mattered.

***********
Tolo! Henio aníron - Come!
Le delio. Rado aphada le ammen - Hide! You must find a way to follow us.

Chapters

Jump to chapter

Chapter name
Chapter Three
Created
20 Jan 2004
Last Edited
20 Jan 2004
Hits
1559
Words
3615