Daughter of Kings

by Evermind

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..."
"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."