The stones beneath her feet were stained with blood
The crimson that had flowed warmly mere hours earlier through the veins of the free men, mingled now with the thick black blood of the loathsome orcs.
So now did their bodies lay, thrown about as carelessly about as a child's toys that had been broken.
Broken of body but not of spirit, they had fought bravely. Worthy of the laments that would be sung for them..
Those whom had still had the strength to do so had already began to the terrible task of separating their fallen brothers from those whom had struck them down.
Oh sweet Bema!
There was a eerie quiet within these walls now, where only a short time earlier they had rang with the sounds of battle, the constant clash of steel meeting steel, the war cries of the men who had valiantly fought to keep the narrowing line between beasts and those who waited hidden in the caves below.
The battle was won...Yet so much was also lost
Acidic smoke stung her eyes and caught in her throat, she wandered slowly amongst her fallen kin.
A careful touch upon her shoulder
"Lady, Come away from here"
"Leave me" Eowyn said without turning, her eyes fixed steadily upon a soldier as he carefully dragged a young man no more than perhaps seventeen summers from beneath the massive corpse of an orc.
A shudder ran through her and only then did she yield to the gentle touch upon her arm that guided her away.
Vaguely she remembered a carved wooden goblet being placed into her hands, she traced the fiber of the wood as he sat down across from her, his back resting against the wall.
Eowyn set the untouched cup aside.
He was hurt; far more than he would let himself show. The bandage hastily wrapped around a deep gash in his arm did not escape her sharp eyes. Blood seeped through the dirty fabric.
There were was also something in his eyes, something she knew and recognized. The look of a man who had fought a hard fight, who had drank the bitter draught of a battle and only now realized what he had come through.
With hands that trembled, she reached out to him; she wanted to comfort him even as her own heart ached within her breast.
She would give herself to him, she would make herself a vessel to him which might be filled to take from him for a time the memory of horror and sorrow of this night, as venom is drawn from a wound.
It was not completely selfless, for she too needed to forget, for a time.
The White Lady of Rohan, chaste and pure. At the moment she could not begin to give care of her own honor, not while so many of her brothers lay dead on the cold stone beyond the doors.
He buried his face in her long hair as he roughly took her. Eowyn felt the strength of his body as it moved against her own.
Teeth grazed against her fair skin, marked her.
Hands that did not know their own strength, or did not care, bruised her flesh. Eowyn was not herself gentle; she did not come away without leaving her own marks of lust upon him.
Again and again he broke upon her and still she would have him go further.
More, further, deeper. Eowyn could no longer give words to what she needed of him, she only felt.
Sorrow, fear, anger was drawn away from her. Everything within that moment grew distant, shrank back further and became no larger than what could be held within her skin. What could be felt within, every fiber of her being sparked and burst into flame. It burned away all else.
There were no words spoken as they rose with the dawn and dressed. If their absence had been marked, there was naught said of it.
Eowyn quickly braided her hair and rolled her up sleeves. There was too much to be done this day to dwell on this night.
Several months later
This night a storm was raging over the lands of Rohan, horses stood stalk still in there paddocks heads lowered as the rain drops collected and rolled away from there shaggy coats as they simply waited for the rain to pass over them.
Though for a time the rains had subsided, and save for the distant rumble of thunder in the distance, the land was strangely silent, peaceful.
Sheets of rain fell but the cabin was too well and carefully built that it did not allow the smallest drop of moisture to seep inwards.
Heedless of the impatient gaze of the man who stood in the corner, a dark haired woman busied herself at the hearth. Pouring a kettle of freshly boiled water into a earthen bowl. Gathering more towels, the woman seemed perfectly content setting herself to mindless tasks and ignoring the growing tension in the room.
Eomer knew very little of the mysterious ways of women, but he had felt certain that such things were not meant to take so long.
The Kings mood had grown darker as the night had drawn on to this hour near morning.
To be in a position such as this!
The wooden supports of the bed creaked faintly as Eowyn turned herself, trying to find a way to lay which may alleviate her discomfort. For hours now she had been unable to keep herself still.
Eomer stared at her swollen belly beneath the blankets and felt ashamed and angry, if his sister would not feel it, he would feel it for her!
If his sister had caught his look of sharp disapproval, she did not betray it.
It would only be his sister, with the boldness he had long expect of her, who would travel with a light guard to arrive in the late of the night to tell him that she carried a child not sired by her husband.
If he did not love his sister so dearly, he might have sent her fourth, allowing her to return to Ithilien in her current state of shame.
No, he could not have done that to Eowyn though the thought had crossed his mind in his fury.
It was not unheard of to Eomer for a Lords daughter to leave her family for a time, months to be precise, and then return to her family only to return home and carry on as thought nothing had been amiss and she might still find herself a respectable husband. There were many a unmarried daughters of farmers with a babe at their hip, he never gave such things much thought, he had no reason to.
Even in her current delicate position, Eowyn was utterly unapologetic. This infuriated him to no end. Did she not see why she could not have her child? Eomer had been quick to send for a healer, for a potion that might see an end to this. Eowyn had flatly refused to even entertain the thought.
Eomer knew Eowyn too well, there was to be no changing her mind once it was set.
Once it was amply certain that she was determined to give birth to this child Eomer began to think of ways he might somehow come closer to accepting this. Rohan had lost so many of its sons. Perhaps one day Eowyn’s son would ride with him into battle. Or perhaps farm; learn to give life back to a parched land. This winter had been long and difficult for the Rohirrim, their rations had dipped dangerously low.
Eomer knew he must start thinking as a King, and not a brother concerned for his sister. Within days Eowyn would be riding with increased guard to Ithilien though her child would not return with her.
If there was a crack in his sister’s strength, it was Faramir. Though married for only short months now it obvious to all that Eowyn felt very deeply for him, if she had wished she might have passed the child off as his son yet Eomer knew that his sister would not stand to carry the burden of such a lie for long.
Faramir was kind and honorable, there was no doubt he would accept the child even if it were not his own. Still, Eowyn had sworn to Eomer he would not know of it, any of it.
Eowyn let loose a string of colorful curses that brought Eomer’s head up from his thoughts. If circumstances were different, he would have scolded her for such language. Still for the briefest moment he wondered where his dear sister had heard such things.
For a night that had felt to stretch on endlessly what happened next did so very quickly. Within a heartbeat the midwife was at Eowyn’s side, her face deeply creased with concern.
With little time left for modesty the blankets were torn aside and Eomer quickly looked away.
It seemed done as quickly as the pains of birth had started.
‘Eomer’ Eowyn’s voice was thin and he moved quickly to her side.
Eomer blocked out the shrill mewing wails of the child that the midwife carried away to be bundled for the journey ahead.
Eowyn’s cheeks were flushed and her brow damp, her hair had pulled itself free of its braid. Still, he thought, she looked strong and well for one who had just given birth. Though to truly believe this, he was forced to ignore the wounded look in her eyes.
Eomer crouched beside the bed beside the bed ‘Well, Sister, what shall we call your child’
‘I do not know. I do not wish to know. I do not wish to see it’ Eowyn replied in a flat tone, Eomer had never heard his sister speak thus.
‘If I know a name, a face…I fear I shall turn on my decision and come look for my child’
‘That is not so wrong, if you wish it so sister’ Eomer said gently.
Eowyn shook her head and bit down on her lip, tears glistened in her eyes now
‘No, It must be this way’
Eomer said nothing more; it was cruel to prolong this for her sister. Rising he kissed her damp brow and turned upon his heel to depart.
The midwife stood silently, a small bundle at her chest.
Eomer was hesitant to take it from more experienced arms, something so small and delicate.
‘What shall he be called?’ Eomer asked as at last he reached out his arms and accepted his small charge.
The midwife gave him a bemused look
‘You may call her whatever you wish, Sire’
Naturally at the last his sister would saddle him a bastard daughter instead of a bastard son. At least a son might have proved himself of some worth, one day.
Eomer stepped out into the cold night, drawing his fur lined cloak tighter about himself.
The King was a hard man, yet not so hard that he remained wholly untouched by his sisters sorrow. As he had stepped fourth from the cabin he had not been deaf to the muffled sobs hidden behind her hand.
The cries of one so new to the world were strange to him, and just as much disliked. The very moment he had stepped into the night the child had begun to wail loudly once more. The horses nearby raised their heads, ears perked forward.
Eomer strode towards the group of riders who stood waiting. There was one in particular amongst them who he sought.
‘Take her’ Eomer said gruffly as he thrust the child into the woman’s waiting arms. Whatever he truly felt about this, he could not betray before his men now.
The woman had received a handsome payment for the simple task of caring for the child for a brief time. Silence was had become very valuable to Eomer.
Eomer mounted his waiting horse in a single fluid motion, gathering rein and waiting for his men to follow. The woman was assisted to mount her own horse by two of his riders, the child then passed to her still crying loudly. It was a sound that seemed all that much louder in the quiet of the night.
Ignoring the cries, Eomer touched his heels to the horses side.
That night, the King did not look back.
Just a note from Spiced Wine: Child of Storms is Anwyn's story, although I did contribute a little. When Anwyn uploads it, I will go in and put my name on the parts I wrote (and I need to edit them.) I won't reply to reviews on Anwyn's chapters. :)
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