Daughter of Kings
Chapter Twenty: The Lord Of All Horses
Eowyn it was who offered to escort Gandalf Greyhame to the stales. She
had her own reasons for doing so, as she wished to speak with the aed
faeder away from Grima's prying ears. The stables of Edoras were as
magnificent as the golden hall itself. A long aisle ran down the
centre, edged on either side by wooden stalls. The high rafters were
carved with golden forms of horses, and above each stall was a woden
plaque bearing the horse's name. The stables smelt sweet, of horses and
mountain hay, and wisps of straw danced across the dirt floor.
The wizard and the shieldmaiden slowly paced the long aisle surveying
the proud horses who stood on either side with their heads high and
ears pricked sharply forwards. Long rows of the great animals, golden,
bay, chestnut, silver, grey, black as night. Tall and strong of limb,
sleek coats, soft muzzles, long flowing manes, all bold and courageous
with proud arched necks and wild, beautiful amber coloured eyes.
But ever and anon the wizard shook his head, unsatisfied. Too many of
the stalls now were empty, their occupants long away at war, the
faithfull servants of the house of Eorl whose loyalties waned not even
in death. All too many now were the empty spaces where the great beasts
should have stood proudly beside their kin. Few enough of these indeed
now remained. The broodmares with colts at foot, the wild untamed young
things removed now from the plains for their own safety. Old war weary
geldings and the few chargers whose riders would never again be in need
of any mount.
Windfola whinnied from one of the furthest stalls, recognising the
scent of her beloved mistress. Eowyn went to her and pressed her face
against the mare's soft cheek in anxious thought, the silver muzzle
cradled in her hands.
The wizard ended his inspection quickly, and Eowyn watched him shaking his head as he approached.
"None of these will serve my needs." he said sharply. "Where are the
great horses for which this land is famed? For I must ride now swifter
than the wind in the grass. Is there no horse left here who will bear
me? I am in haste."
Eowyn shook her head slowly, stroking Windfola's neck as she did so.
"Only the mearas can run as you wish, like the wind in the grasses. And
none of these would my uncle lend thee for they are dearer to the
Eorlingas than our own kin."
"This I know." the wizard replied "Yet it is their speed I must have,
else fail utterly. This is a thing of far greater import than thou
"I guessed as much." she whispered "You ride now on some swift errand.
There is but one horse I know of who will serve thee, but I warn thee,
he will suffer no man to ride him save the Lord of the Mark. Shadowfax
we call him, the Lord of all Horses"
"He will suffer me." Gandalf said with quiet assurance, and Eowyn
nodded again. That was what they said of him, the chief of the mearas,
but had not she herself once ridden him?
'Nay' said her thought inside of her. 'I
didst not ride him. But he bore me. He is not as the other horses of
this world, but he bore me because I asked his leave, and he will bear
a rider again if he knows their reasons to be just, and their heart to
"I will lead thee to him." Eowyn said quietly. "What may chance I
cannot tell. But if I do this for thee, then thou canst do me some good
in return. Thou art a wizard, aed faeder. Thou of all people can cure
my uncle of his malady."
Gandalf Greyhame paused for a moment, and then nodded once. "Take me to
him." He said, and he followed Eowyn swiftly from the stable.