by Mel Baggins

This gathering was to pay tribute to the honored dead- the men of Rohan who valiantly sacrificed themselves so that we could live. I stood beside my uncle and brother and drank to their memory, feeling the bitterness in my heart momentarily soothed by the bitterness of the draught.

After a moment of silence the gathering broke up, as the survivors – our living heroes – began joyfully, sometimes sorrowfully sharing stories of those who had been lost. Myself, I took leave of my family to mingle with our people and to perhaps, warm a few frozen hearts. As I headed towards a group of soldiers my eye was caught by someone across the room.

I stopped and stared, drinking in the vision my eyes have found - one of the only three who was not of Rohan, but perhaps more deserving of this honor than all of them together. I caught a flash of bright blue eyes and felt myself fall prey to their beauty. How many other women had stared into them, held fixed by their spell?

Suddenly, feeling self-conscious, I stepped behind the nearest pillar and hid behind it as I stared, feeling almost as if I were stalking him. I couldn’t help myself- all I could think of was how beautiful he was, how fair and noble and regal – acting in this moment very much like the King he could one day become. The very air about him seemed royal.

I had also heard about his skill as a warrior, how quickly and fearlessly he’d defended our people. His weapons always found their mark, almost as if they were an extension of himself.

I caught myself wondering what it would be like to be married to such a person- a thought ever present in my mind these days. Among the Rohhirim there were many men who were noble indeed, but none would match him. None could. He was one who I would be proud to call my husband, and my uncle would be positively overjoyed for me.

Suddenly, even as my thought ended, his eyes flashed up once more, piercing me with their light. I realized too late that he was looking at me – he’d seen me. Was that…a smile? He’d not only caught me staring, but he was pleased that he had? Quickly I backed away, hiding further behind the pillar so that I could finally wrench my eyes from his. I turned to look around me, to see if anyone else had noticed when I saw Eomer watching from behind an adjacent pillar. He held my gaze for a moment, as if trying to read my thoughts or intentions, before nodding to me with a smile and turning to leave.

I blushed a fierce scarlet at the thought of him knowing. My own brother finding out about my foolish little crush. Foolish indeed! How could he ever return my feelings? I am only the niece of the King, not a princess that would befit one as noble as he. Nay, I say to myself, it could never be. I finally

Sign myself to leave him alone, and to not covet what I could never have.

After all, he is an Elf.