Summary: The War's over, Eomer is King of the Mark, and his sister is happily engaged. So what's this guy's problem, anyway?
(At Minas Tirith, sometime after the coronation of the King, and the Wedding of Elessar and Arwen. Aragorn and Eomer are sitting around drinking beer.)
Aragorn : ...and then the elf went, "That's not my foot, buddy!"
Eomer : (almost chokes on his drink) Bwahahaha!! Oh my Eru, that is a good one! (Takes several deep breaths, attempting to recover.) Drat!
Aragorn : What is it, Eomer?
Eomer : Oh, nothing. I have just spilt some beer on this pristine white shirt.
Aragorn : Let us summon a lackey to fetch you some bleach, my friend.
Eomer : (Gets up) Trouble yourself not, my lord King. I am a "hands-on" kind of monarch.
Aragorn : Good man! Cleaning supplies are in the hall closet, second door on the left.
(Eomer walks down the hallway)
Eomer: (muttering) Stupid stain... Don't know how Eowyn keeps her clothes clean... "White Lady of Rohan" and all... *mutter mutter*
(He opens the closet door. A disheveled-looking Eowyn and Faramir tumble out)
Eowyn: (on the floor) Eomer!
Faramir: (also on the floor) Eomer-king!
Eomer: What in the name of Eorl are you doing to my sister?! (closes his eyes and shakes his head) No... wait... I do not desire that knowledge.
Eowyn: We... were... reciting Numenorean sonnets!
Eomer: (crosses arms) And this requires the use of the broom closet?
Faramir: Well... at times, my lord, full appreciation of the verse is aided by a complete lack of visual reference. (smiles uncertainly)
Eomer: (seizes Faramir by the collar and hauls him to his feet) Look, weirdo...
Eowyn: Eomer! You are speaking to my betrothed!
Eomer: (rolls his eyes) Okay, look, my lord weirdo, it would behoove you to remember that you and my sister are not yet man and wife-- and should you chance to forget it again, I shall show you a thing or two about "complete lack of visual reference!"
(Releases him and storms off. After a few seconds, he storms back in and grabs a bottle of bleach from the closet)
Eomer: Good day!
(Storms off again)
Faramir: (helps Eowyn to her feet) That was rather unfortunate.
Eowyn: (fixing her hair) Fear not, my lord Steward. My brother holds you in very high esteem indeed.
Faramir: (brushing himself off) High esteem?
Eowyn: Verily, yes; for your head is still facing the right direction, and you yet retain all your teeth. (smiles) So... shall we move on to some elven haiku?
(Aragorn is sitting where last we left him. Eomer comes back and sits down, shaking his head and blinking periodically.)
Aragorn: Did you find the bleach, Eomer-king?
Eomer: (darkly) Oh, I found the bleach, all right. You can bet I found that bleach...
Aragorn: What troubles you, my friend?
Eomer: It is nothing.
Eomer: Well... I... My liege, have you ever seen something, and-- Well, have you ever just felt like you needed a bath, or something?
Aragorn: (pause) No, not really. (His face darkens) Although the Queen would have something different to say on the matter.
Eomer: It is my sister, my lord.
Aragorn: What of the White Lady? Do you think her unwell?
Eomer: I-- no, not exactly... It's just... Well, before all this happened, it's true, she had some issues with depression and all, but verily, she was one of the most kickass shieldmaidens in all the West. Now, ever since she has hooked up with that Furrier of Gondor--
Aragorn: His name is Faramir, and he is a most worthy man.
Eomer: Right, whatever. Anyway, now that she has hooked up with him, she speaks of naught but poetry, and healing, and gardening, and... girly stuff. (shudders)
Aragorn: And you perceive lightness and gentleness to be unfit for your sister?
Eomer: I-- no-- but-- well, perhaps there is something else that troubles me, too. But let us speak no more of unease-- we have had far too much of it in these past months.
Aragorn: So be it, my friend. (straightens up) So, this next one I really think you'll like, too... A balrog walks into a bar, and...
(Later that day. Eowyn is sitting on a bench in the garden with Gandalf. She is listening to what he has to say with rapt attention. Eomer overhears their conversation as he approaches.)
Gandalf: ...What even many of the wisest fail to understand, then, is that the word "white" actually encompasses a multitude of varying hues.
Eowyn: Oh... when Saruman chose the path of evil, did he not reveal himself as being "Saruman the many-colored," not Saruman the white? Is that the thing of which you speak?
Gandalf: Oh, no! By the Valar, no! I was speaking of bone-white, off-white, natural-white, white-white... Some speak of "white" in such monochromatic terms, but when coordinating outfits, the balance of the different shades must be taken into careful consideration, my lady.
Eowyn: You are wise indeed, Mithrandir! Now I know why Faramir was ever glad of your counsel. Different shades of white... now, that is a thing I have not yet considered when selecting ensembles...
Eomer: (horrified) Gah!
(Eowyn and Gandalf turn around and see him for the first time.)
Eowyn: Good afternoon, Eomer!
Gandalf: Eomer-king, it gives me joy to see you about this day. Will you not come join your sister and myself in our talk?
Eomer: I-- uh-- no, thank you kindly. Important, uh-- kingly business to attend to-- uh, paperwork, bureaucracy, total mess! Good day! (Walks off. Then, under his breath) Ugh-- naught but girly stuff! (shudders)
(Gandalf and Eowyn look at each other and shrug)
Gandalf: Anyway... But forgive, me, for I digressed from our original topic. It is no easy matter, my lady, scouring orc-blood from one's white clothing.
Eowyn: Verily; especially when you have the whole decapitation-spray-thing going on. (Pantomimes a horizontal slicing motion, complete with gory sound-effects. Giggles)
Gandalf: Yeah, but it is wicked cool, even with the mess.
Eowyn: Verily. Wicked cool.
(A little while later. In another portion of the garden, the four hobbits are sitting around a small square table, playing cards. Frodo has a slightly distracted expression on his face, fanning and re-fanning his cards)
Sam: Mister Frodo, it’s your turn.
Frodo: Hm—ah, thank you. (Hastily makes his play) Sorry about that.
Sam: (concerned) Is everything all right, Master?
Frodo: Oh, everything’s fine, Sam, it’s just…
Pippin: What’s the matter?
Frodo: I miss my finger.
Sam: (sympathetically) Yes, that was a right horrible scuffle for you, Mister Frodo.
Frodo: (slightly worked up about it) I mean, it’s jolly grand being “Frodo of the Nine Fingers” and whatnot, but have you ever tried opening a can of Coke with just four digits on one hand? Have you ever tried holding a bloody bunch of cards, even? And I suppose I won’t be taking piano lessons anytime soon. It weighs heavily upon my soul, my dear friends. (A solemn pause ensues. Then…) Okay, your turn, Pip.
Pippin: Okay…right… (Looks around.) Sam… have you got any fives, or shall I go fish?
Merry: Pippin, we’re playing bridge. Remember?
Pippin: (looks at his cards) Oh. (pause) Well, that explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Merry: Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be you. (Eomer walks up.) Eomer-king… hello!
Eomer: Good morrow, masters holbytlan. How fare the Ringbearer and his companions this day?
Frodo: Well enough, thank you. And how fares the King of Rohan?
Eomer: I am also well enough, I suppose. Actually, I have come to ask counsel on a certain matter. Have you had many dealings with um… with… Paramour of Gondor? (The hobbits stare at him blankly) You know, raven-haired, solemn-eyed, engaged to my sister?
Pippin: Oh… Faramir?
Eomer: Right, whatever. What think you of the guy?
Sam: A wonderful man, Sir… Very hospitable he is, and very clever too!
Pippin: And brave!
Eomer: I see.
Frodo: Never have I met a man who resisted temptation so well.
Eomer: (folding his arms, skeptically) Oh, is that so?
Frodo: Lord Faramir is of the very noblest of men, and a truly worthy match for your valiant sister, Eomer-king, if I may say so. (pause) You have not heard aught otherwise, have you?
Eomer: No, no… all attest to his good character. If I may speak in confidence, though, there is still something that bothers me about this whole business, although I do not know what it is. (pause) Ah well, perhaps ‘tis only a passing thing. I shall see you soon, then, good holbytlan. Many thanks for your counsel.
Hobbits: Good day, Eomer-king.
(Eomer leaves. The hobbits chat as they resume their game.)
Sam: I do hope we put his mind at ease, poor fellow.
Merry: Just protective of his sister, I’m sure. (pause) Although I’d be hard-pressed to think of anything Lady Eowyn would need protecting from. Your turn again, Pip.
Pippin: (grins broadly and lays down his cards) Gin!
Merry: (putting his head down on the table) Okay. Maybe it’s time for lunch.
(At dinner that night. Everyone is sitting around a long banquet table laden with food and drink. Aragorn and Arwen occupy spots at the head of the table. Musicians play softly in the background, beneath the sedate buzz of polite conversation. Eowyn is talking to Sam, who is seated next to her. Faramir, on her other side, is talking to Gimli. Eomer, seated across from them, is also engaged in the chat.)
Eowyn: (smiling) At a party, you say?
Sam: Oh, yes, Miss Eowyn, truly one of the finest parties the Shire had ever seen, was where the whole thing started—that is, if you don’t go too far back, I suppose. There was a special tent all set up, and gifts for everyone, and the most brilliant fireworks you ever saw!
Eomer: (laughing) Sounds like a fine party to me, Master Gamgee. I suppose there were a great deal of guests?
Sam: Oh, absolutely! My old Gaffer said that Mister Bilbo must have invited everyone and their mother!
(Eomer’s smile fades, although Sam and Eowyn have continued the conversation and do not notice)
Eomer: (softly) That’s it.
Eowyn: (looking up at him) What’s it, Eomer?
Eomer: I’ve just realized what’s been bothering me all day. (Eowyn looks at him quizzically. He stands up suddenly. Loudly: ) Eowyn, I forbid you, under any circumstances whatsoever, to bear any of his (points at Faramir) children!
(Faramir looks up and chokes. The musicians stop playing. Everyone halts their conversations and looks at Eomer. Eowyn stares at him with her mouth slightly open.)
Eowyn: (eyes narrowed in disbelief) Eomer, you did not just say that.
Eomer: You heard me! You are not to have any of his kids! Or anyone else’s, for that matter!
Gimli: (whacking Faramir repeatedly on the back) Breathe, man! Breathe!
Gandalf: (in his most diplomatic tone) Eomer-king, although you are sovereign of the Mark, there are perhaps some matters which do not fall beneath your jurisdiction.
Aragorn: I must agree with Gandalf, Eomer my friend. (pause) Do you want another beer?
Eowyn: Eomer, what is the meaning of this?
Eomer: I’ll tell you what—every woman on this godforsaken Middle-earth of ours who bears children seems to meet a miserable and untimely end! Just look what happened to our mother!
Eowyn: But Father died before she did!
Eomer: That matters not! You! Armoire of Gondor!
Eowyn What? Who?
Merry: Um… do you mean Faramir?
Eomer: Yes, Faramir! Whatever. What befell your mother?
Faramir: (has finally managed to clear his throat, though he is still extremely taken aback) She… well, she died young, pining away for the sea, my lord.
Eomer: See? Died untimely! (turns and looks at Arwen) And what became of your mother, my queen?
Eowyn: (puts her face in her hands) This is even more embarrassing than the time you filled Snowmane’s trough with ale. (Merry and Pippin, hearing this, proceed to stare at Eomer with expressions of unalloyed awe and admiration)
Arwen: (evenly) She is not dead, my lord, though her torments in the orc dens were too great for her to bear in this world, so she dwells far to the Wes—
Eomer: Right! Same thing! We all know it’s a metaphor for death, anyway. And you, my liege-lord, does your mother yet live?
Aragorn: (sighing) She passed unhappily, some years ag—
Eomer: There! Died untimely!
Aragorn: But I am an octogenarian, so—
Eomer: (ignores him. He’s on a roll.) You, Ringbearer! What has become of she who bore you?
Frodo: Well, actually, when I was quite young, there was an unfortunate boating accident, and—
Eomer: There you go! You guys! (indicates Legolas and Gimli) Have you two any mothers to speak of?
Eomer: Enough said. (Turns toward Beregond, who is standing guard at the entrance to the hall) You there! I’ve never heard that little urchin of yours speak of a mother! What gives?
Beregond: Well, actually, it’s rather a complicated story…
Eomer: (sits back down and looks squarely at Eowyn) You see? I’ve made my case. I’ll not have any premature deaths or “complicated stories” befalling my only sister.
(At this point, everyone begins talking at once.)
Aragorn: (to Arwen) Actually, he does seem to have a point…
Arwen: (rolls her lovely elven eyes) Don’t tell me you’re taking his side.
Aragorn: Well, nnnn…. No. No.
Legolas: (scratching his lovely elven head) Come to think of it, somehow I cannot recall whether I have a mother…
Gimli: Well, certainly I have never heard you speak of one.
Legolas: You have never spoken of one, either, friend dwarf…
Pippin: Can we play chess after dinner?
Merry: Only if you promise not to mistake it for Boggle like you did last night.
Faramir: (head in his hands, to himself) Must… repress… angst… Must… repress…
Eowyn: (to Eomer) Don’t you think you’re being just a little unreasonable, though?
Eomer: Absolutely not! It’s causality! It’s there! It--
(Suddenly, a beautiful young lady rushes in. Everyone stops talking and looks at her.)
Young Lady: (Flustered by the attention, though she drops a charming curtsy) Hello, ah—please forgive my lateness, everyone, I seem to have misplaced my day planner again, and… I had gone out in the gardens to read, and—well, there was some strange business with the maze of hedges, but-- Please don’t let me interrupt you…
Aragorn: (grateful for the distraction) Not at all, good lady. Do come join this… um… pleasant meal…
(Faramir smiles, gets up, and warmly takes her hand.)
Faramir: Everyone, please allow me to introduce my cousin, the Lady Lothiriel. (She smiles shyly) I believe there should be an empty place somewhere around here…
Lothiriel: Oh! I see one. (She goes and sits down next to Eomer.)
Faramir: (Taking his own seat again, nonplussed) Yes. Right. That is the Lord Eomer, new King of Rohan, and whatnot. Eowyn’s brother.
Lothiriel: (bows her head respectfully) An honor and pleasure to make your acquaintance, my lord.
Eomer: (totally smitten) Um… yes… Please, call me “Eomer,” my lady.
Lothiriel: Oh. (giggles) Very well. Then please do call me Lothiriel, Eomer.
(The musicians resume, and the dinner guests gradually fall back into their normal conversations)
Eowyn: (smiling) Ahem… Lothiriel, dear, we were just engaged in a most fascinating discussion of motherhood. I would be most gratified to hear your opinion on the subject.
Lothiriel: (thoughtfully) Motherhood? Indeed, a most expansive topic, with both its drawbacks and its benefits. My own mother is the dearest of my companions.
Faramir: (catching on) “Is”? Present tense? How very interesting.
Lothiriel: (looks at him oddly) Why? You should know, she’s your aunt and all. Anyhow, I suppose that I myself look forward to being a mother at some point in the future. However, such thoughts may be too far-reaching at present, for in these difficult past years I have scarce even given any thought to marriage, let alone childbearing.
Eomer: You—you mean, you’re not married?
Lothiriel: (giggles) No, I most certainly am not! (Turns to Eowyn) But Eowyn, dear, what was your opinion on the matter?
Eowyn: Mine? Well, I think… I think things have been very hard for all of us. (Looks at Eomer) But it’s going to get a lot better, now.
Faramir: (smiles) Hear, hear. Much better.
Lothiriel: An admirable outlook, if ever there was one. Eomer, what were your thoughts about it?
Eomer: Well, now… I rarely ever concede defeat to my baby sister, but… (smiles at Eowyn) I suppose that this time, she just may have a point.
Lothiriel: Marvelous! I do admire a man who heeds his kinswomen.
(Meanwhile, at the head of the table…)
Aragorn: Stop me if you’ve heard this one… So, these three orcs are walking down the street, and the one says…
Arwen: (throws up her hand) More wine, please!
(A few days later. Faramir and Eowyn walk down another Minas Tirith hallway.)
Eowyn: I want to be the shoe. But if I don’t get to be the shoe, I want to be the Scotty dog. And if I don’t get to be the Scotty dog I want to be the—
Faramir: Are we even playing Monopoly? For did not Pippin mention something about battleships and little plastic pegs?
Eowyn: Merry said not to mind him. Anyway, the board games should be in here.
(She opens a closet door. A disheveled-looking Eomer and Lothiriel tumble out)
Lothiriel: (on the floor) Faramir!
Eomer: (also on the floor) Eowyn! Faramir!
Faramir: YOU! (pause) Wait… did you just call me “Faramir”?
Eomer: Did I?
Faramir: (sighs) Well, we won’t ask if you don’t tell.
Eowyn: Would you care to join us for a game of Battleship Monopoly?
Eomer: Only if I get to be the horsey.
Faramir: Deal. Come on, you two. (Eomer and Lothiriel get up as Faramir pulls the Monopoly set from the closet.) Ah. Here it is. (pauses, remembering, as he dusts off the box) My father used to make my brother and me play Monopoly at least once a week. He said it built character in a lad, being exposed to the principles of ruthless free-market capitalism.
Eomer: Wow. And I thought my childhood was rough. (pause) Well, should I ever have sons, I will allow them to play whichever board games they choose. (resolutely) Or, none at all!
Lothiriel: And the daughters, too!
Eomer: Right, the daughters, too.
Faramir: So I take it this is bygones, Eomer-king?
Eomer: Yes, bygones. (grins) After all, we’ll all be family soon, won’t we? (puts a chummy arm around Faramir. Eowyn and Lothiriel just look at one another and smile) By the way, have any of you heard the one about the elf in the dentist’s office?
Acknowledgements to my own mother, who pointed out, rightly, that “there are no mothers” in the Lord of the Rings.