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4
Éowyn

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters; I am only borrowing them for fun for a little while. They belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.

Many thanks to my wonderful Beta’s, Marsha and J.


~~~

Éowyn didn’t really hear what her uncle had said about a surprise waiting in her room, it was a place she desperately wanted to avoid. As soon as the door closed behind her, she grabbed her brother’s hand. “I don’t want to go to my room!” she said hoping Éomer could do something. He must know a way for her to get clean without returning to the very place where Lyfides was waiting for her. She needed to find some way to stay out of her room for the next few days until Théodred talked his father into bringing Wynléas here to Edoras.

“You have to get cleaned up before supper, Éowyn. Your dress is filthy and Uncle won’t allow you to sit at table looking like you do.” He gestured toward her tear-stained face as he began making his way down the hallway toward his sister’s room, tugging on her hand to force her to follow along.

“But Lyfides will be there,” she protested with a deep scowl. She knew it would be useless to try to escape while Éomer had ahold of her hand. She had to try something different. “Can’t I go with you and get cleaned up in your room?”

“No.” He didn’t even bother slowing down.

“Why not?” she asked plaintively, willing herself not to cry. She’d shed enough tears that day already and she knew it wouldn’t do any good. Not with Éomer, anyway.

“There aren’t any clean dresses in my room,” he replied with a quick glance over his shoulder as they turned the corner that led to their rooms.

“Oh,” she replied, sighing. She tried brushing off her dress but it was no use, she had to put on something clean, just as she knew she had to face Lyfides… at least until Théodred followed through on his promise. The smile that crossed her face at that thought faded when she realized that even if he asked Uncle Théoden and even if her uncle asked Wynléas, that didn’t mean she would come. Perhaps the nursemaid had forgotten her or maybe she’d already become the nursemaid for other children. Éowyn chewed on her lip nervously and was so lost in her thoughts that she plowed into the back of Éomer when he stopped in front of her door.

“Ow,” he cried as he lost his balance and stumbled forward. He turned and glared down at her. “Be careful,” he scolded and she nodded, looking down and away from him. Éomer frowned and swallowed the rest of what he was going to say. “I’ll be right back to take you to supper, Éowyn,” he said in a low voice. A sudden thought occurred to him. “Remember wh-what mama told us.”

Éowyn looked up at him with a puzzled expression and then she slowly nodded and took a deep breath. She lifted her chin and a firm resolve entered her eyes as she looked at the door. She would make her mama proud of her, she would not back down from Lyfides or anyone else. Still, she hesitated as she slowly opened the door to her room where she knew her nursemaid would be waiting for her. It took her a moment to take in the scene that awaited her and when she did, Éowyn screamed for joy as she ran into the room and threw her arms around Wynléas.

“Hush, child,” she said patting Éowyn’s back. “There’s never a reason to scream or raise your voice,” she reprimanded her gently as she stepped a pace back from the little girl.

“I was just…”

“Éowyn! Éowyn, what’s wrong?” Éomer darted into the room and skidded to a stop right in front of his sister and Wynléas. He looked up at his former nursemaid and swallowed hard as his hand unconsciously rubbed at his ear. “How did you… I mean, Théodred was just going to ask Uncle Théoden today if you could come and take care of Éowyn,” he said, confused.

“You know better than to run when you’re inside, Éomer son of Éomund,” Wynléas scolded him, though her voice was gentle and he smiled with relief.

“How did you get here?” Éowyn asked. Now that she had recovered from the shock of seeing her old nursemaid she was as curious as her brother.

“I came by horse, child,” Wynléas replied with a small, amused smile. “As to your real question,” she looked at them each in turn, “On the day of your mama’s funeral Théoden King asked me to come and care for you. But, I couldn’t come immediately as I had many things that needed to be taken care of first. I’m surprised he didn’t tell you, but perhaps he wanted to wait in case something happened to delay my arrival.”

“I’m just glad you’re here now,” Éowyn said shyly. “I-I missed you so much.”

“I missed you, too,” said the nursemaid as she hugged the girl again. Wynléas turned to Éomer and looked him up and down, her eyebrows climbing at the sight of the stains on his breeches. “I see you haven’t changed, but I even missed you.”

“I’m glad you’re here,” Éomer replied. He hadn’t missed her and he wasn’t going to lie, still it was nice to see someone from home and so the smile he gave her was genuine. “I need to go and change for supper and I’ll be back to get you in a little while,” he said to his sister. Éowyn nodded as he hurried out the door, slamming it shut behind him.

“Don’t be angry at him,” Éowyn pleaded when she heard the little tuts of disapproval that Wynléas made as the door rattled.

“Ah, child,” said the nursemaid as she guided her over toward a table where a basin of warm water was waiting. Wynléas began gently wiping the smudges from Éowyn’s face as she spoke. “I’m not really angry with Éomer, though you must not tell him I said that. He and I get along well enough.”

Éowyn waited for her to say more, to explain what she meant, but when she didn’t Éowyn knew she would have to ask her brother about it. Sometimes adults said the strangest things.

“How did you get so dirty?” the nursemaid asked as she picked out a new dress for Éowyn to wear. It was a deep green color with a collar of pale yellow that had running horses embroidered on it. It was one of Éowyn’s favorites and she smiled as Wynléas slipped it over her head.

“I was sitting on the ground behind the woodpile,” she said in answer to the question. “It was mostly grass but there was some dirt and I guess I sat in it.” She shrugged, looking down at the floor.

“And your tears?”

“I wanted to go home,” she replied with a sigh. “I missed you.”

Wynléas placed her fingers under the little girl’s chin and raised her head until she could see her eyes. “You miss your mama,” she stated softly, her eyes full of compassion. Éowyn’s eyes filled with tears, though none of them spilled as she nodded. The nursemaid bent down and kissed her forehead lightly. It was quiet as Wynléas smoothed out the shoulders and sleeves of Éowyn’s dress. Finally, she picked up Éowyn and sat her on the edge of the bed and began brushing and braiding the child’s hair as she spoke.

“Child, I’ve known you since the day you were born.” She paused, remembering. “I held you before your papa did.” Éowyn glanced up at her and nodded, she knew her papa hadn’t even been there the day she’d been born, he’d been out riding with his éored. “No one can take your mama’s place, nor should anyone try,” Wynléas said. “However, I will be here if you need to speak with someone who knew your mama, or if you need help of any kind, or if you simply need someone to hold you.” Éowyn looked up at Wynléas and studied her for a moment.

“Thank you,” she whispered, blinking back tears once again. She jumped at the pounding on the door.

“Éowyn are you ready?” There was a pause and then Éomer’s voice came again, much quieter this time. “Éowyn, it’s almost time for supper and I’m here to escort you.”

Éowyn giggled as she slid off the bed. “I’m coming, Éomer,” she called back. She glanced at Wynléas who smiled and shooed her toward the door. As the door opened, Éomer’s eyes darted toward the nursemaid but she ignored him. He breathed a small sigh of relief. “Come on,” said Éowyn grabbing her brother’s hand and leading him down the hallway.

“Are you hungry?” he asked.

She shook her head and shrugged. “Not really. I just want to thank Uncle Théoden,” she said glancing up at her brother and smiling.

“Oh. Well, I’m hungry,” he said with a wink as he sped up. She was giggling as they walked into the Hall. Seeing her uncle and cousin already sitting at the table in front of the dais, Éowyn squeezed her way through the men and women of the court as she made her way toward the table with Éomer still in hand. She went straight to Théoden and without a word she threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly. “Thank you,” she said.

“You’re most welcome, child,” said Théoden as he patted her back. He gave Éomer a brief smile that the boy returned with a grin. After a moment, he pulled Éowyn up onto his lap and he motioned Éomer closer so he could put his arm around his shoulders. “I want both of you to remember that your mama, Théodwyn, was my sister and I loved her very much. While we do not know each other well yet, you may come and speak to me about anything. Anything you need or want, or questions that you may have, or if you are frightened,” he squeezed his niece gently as he said the last. “This is your home now and while I am not your father, I will act in his stead as you grow up here in my Halls. But what I most want you to remember is that you are much loved.” Théoden kissed Éowyn on her brow and then drew Éomer’s head down and did the same to him. “Now, go sit down so we may eat,” he said as he set Éowyn on her feet. She hugged him, a brilliant smile lighting her face before she walked to her place. Éomer simply nodded at his uncle as he slowly followed her.

Éowyn was just settling into her chair when her uncle called her back and she approached him with a wary look, wondering if she had done something wrong.

“Be at peace, child,” he said. “I simply forgot to tell you something I’ve decided to do.” He glanced at Éomer who had approached and stood protectively behind his sister and Théoden smiled at him. “Théodred told me that your room is… not to your liking and so I’ve arranged for you to move to a room that has a smaller room attached to it that Wynléas may have. I would not have you be alone and frightened in the night, child,” he said compassionately.

With a cry of joy that filled the large Hall, Éowyn launched herself at her uncle, landing in his lap and throwing her arms around his neck. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said repeatedly as he gently patted her back.

“I also thank you, Uncle Théoden,” Éomer said as he stepped up next to him. “I wasn’t looking forward to sneaking into her room at night and sleeping in a chair or on the floor,” he said, grinning.

Théoden and Théodred laughed while Éowyn ignored him. She was thrilled to have a room where she could sleep without fear. Both of the things she’d asked about when she was sitting by the woodpile a couple of hours ago she’d gotten. Maybe she should go back there and ask for another horse, perhaps one of the Mearas she thought with a sly smile. And then she laughed, perhaps living in Edoras wasn’t going to be so bad after all.

~~~

The End… well, sort of. This was to be the ending of the story and so when I mentioned in the first chapter that the story was completely written, that was true. However, the characters have really grown on me and are insisting that there really is more that needs to be told and so I’m working on a story that follows on directly from this point. It is not finished yet, but it shouldn’t be too long until you see a chapter. It will be posted as part of this story rather than a separate story since it really is a continuation of this story… it only ‘feels’ like a separate story to me! *grin*
Thanks to everyone who has left me a review, I appreciate the encouragement.


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