Daughter of Kings
Chapter Twenty five: A Dark Child, And A Golden, You And I.
Eowyn hurried along the corridor that led to her chamber. The night was
chill, and the stars outside were veiled. Eowyn was exhausted, both
physically and emotionally, more tired now than she could ever remember
being. She sighed. She hated to leave her uncle, even for this brief
time, but she must needs sleep. She had left Hama stationed outside
Theoden's door, with stern instructions to call her at once if anything
was amiss. Her brother and cousin had not yet returned.
"If only they knew." She thought bitterly. They fight their wars far
away, imagining us safe at home, protected by their valour. Little
indeed the warriors knew of the real war, of the long sleepless hours
of guard, endured by those few, to keep the Kingdom of Rohan safe from
the worm of treachery. Eowyn, Idis and Hama. For years now the three of
them had waged this war, sleeping little even in the hours of dark.
Always, one must be at the King's side, for none could tell the moment
when the worm might choose to strike.
Suddenly, Eowyn's quick ears caught tiny sound. The shieldmaiden stood
as if tranfixed, and it seemed to her that she heard a child weeping.
The stiffled sobbing came from the room directly to her left. Eowyn
reached out her hand for the door handle, but drew it swiftly back as
though burned. It was the door to Wormtongue's chamber. Eowyn hesitated
a moment, and then warily, fearing some new treachery, she pushed open
the heavy door.
A wooden bed stood in the shadowy corner of the room, and on it, it
seemed that a child lay asleep. Then Eowyn took a step closer, and the
breath caught in her throat, for the child was Grima Wormtongue.
He lay curled in a tangle of blankets, fists clenched, and his eyes
closed tightly, as if with pain. His dark, unkempt hair hung like a
ragged halo about his shoulders, and his face was pale and drawn. Eowyn
started as the figure cried out. His thin arms thrashed out, fighting
with the darkness, and his slender frame shook with racking sobs.
Wormtongue it was, and yet not so, for Eowyn could see his face clearly
now, and the change in it startled her. His face, in sleep was no
longer twisted with malice, but resembled only the child who he had
been. His face was still beautiful, Eowyn realised, beneath the evil
mask, as if the evil that bound him had for a moment forsaken it's
grip. Suddenly, Eowyn realised that Grima was enslaved. Enslaved to
some dark treachery, just as surely as he in turn enslaved Theoden. She
shivered, as she watched a tear slide down Grima's cheek.
Suddenly Grima's eyes opened, and for once he seemed to see her fully.
His light blue eyes were pained, fearfull, but clear, and it seemed
that for once, he compreheneded fully the horror of his own being.
"Lily!" Grima's voice was hoarse and frightened, and he clutched at his
left hand, as if to assure himself that the bracelet of plaited
horsehair was still knotted about his wrist.
"Lily." He whispered her childhood name. "They're dead Lily. I killed them. I felt it. I killed them all."
"Who?" Eowyn whispered, fear rising in her throat.
"My Father. He's dead. I saw him fall, and I drove a spear through his
back. He's dead." Grima let out an anguished sob, his voice choked with
tears. "I saw them all die." He whispered. "Men and horses, and...
"And what?" Eowyn pressed, fear thundering in her veins. "Grima, tell me."
"I killed him." Grima's eyes widened in horror, tears flooding his eyes. "Theodred, Lily. He's dead."