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14
Epilogue: Meduseld, Edoras

First Year of the Fourth Age

"Why do they not come out of there, Léo, and tell me what's going on?" Éomer paced anxiously back and forth along a soft, flowered carpet that rested before a closed pine door. It was one of the comforts Lothíriel had insisted upon as she had worked to turn the drafty palace into their home. He thought obscurely that she would be most put out with him for wearing a path in it and stopped pacing, staring at the door as if he could command it open with his eyes.

"Anna said she would come out when there was something to tell," Léo soothed. "Did I tell you about the new colt?" he said, thinking to distract his friend. "He's Pasha's first from one of our stock-a beautiful little gold fellow with a night-black mane. I should have him trained up for you within a year or two."

Éomer smiled. "It will certainly please Lothíriel, to have her horse-" the words died on his lips as the pine door swung open and Anna emerged, looking tired. When she saw the King, she smiled brightly. "Well?" he demanded eagerly.

"It's a boy, with the most beautiful head of golden hair I've ever seen, your grace." Éomer's shout of triumph could be heard clear to the stables. He picked Anna up and swung her around, kissing her soundly. When she was allowed to breathe again, she said, "You can go in now. She's asking for you."

"Did you hear that, Léo? I have a son. A son!" Éomer exclaimed as though he was the first man ever to accomplish such a feat.

Léo laughed and pushed him towards the open door, for Éomer seemed not to know what to do next. "Congratulations, my friend. Now go to your queen and your little prince." After seeing the king through into the room, Léo closed the door softly behind him. "Do you suppose I shall be that silly, love?" he asked, gathering Anna into his arms.

"Of course not," Anna replied, one hand on her barely rounded stomach, the other drawing her husband down for a kiss. "You will be sillier."

******

Éomer tiptoed into the dimly lit room, not wishing to disturb Lothíriel, should she be sleeping. But she was not, and her soft voice beckoned him closer. "It's all right, my darling. Come see our son." He perched his large frame awkwardly upon the edge of the bed beside his very tired queen and peered curiously at the blanket wrapped bundle by her side.

"You cannot get a good look at him that way, silly man. Here, hold him." Before he could protest, Lothíriel placed the squirming bundle in his arms. Éomer caught the barest glimpse of blond fuzz above a face shaped just like Lothíriel's before his eyes filled with joyful tears. "We work together well, my husband, do we not?" she asked proudly.

"That we do, princess." He replied, stroking the silky cheek of the tiny boy who would be King after him. "That we do."

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