Daughter of Kings

by Evermind

Chapter Thirty Five: Of the Children of Morwen

They stood before the high green mound where the old King Thengel lay entombed, all three of them together. Eomer, Theoden, Eowyn. The last of the House of Eorl. Before their feet, the road ran on, winding like a silver ribbon in the early sun.

All about them reared the ancient mounds of the dead kings, silent sentinals by the wayside. Small blossoms flowered over all, silver-white, the snowy petals formed with flawless symmetry. How fair are the bright eyes in the grass... Eowyn knew that the same thought ran through all their minds. Seven mounds upon the left, and nine upon the right. And one more, that should have been. But he was not here, nor never would he return again to claim his rightful place in that ancient line. Theodred, son of Theoden, lying cold and silent in his unmarked grave in the midst of the stony ford where the flowers of Simbelmyne would come never unto the world's ending.

Eowyn's thought's wound on. Theodred. Eomer. Herself. A small dark haired boy with eyes laughing as he begged the aed faeder for a story. Her twin, her other self curled beside her, his long lashes shut tight, his dark locks mingling with her golden as they slept upon one pillow. Grima, the only son of Galmod. Of all the evil Saruman had brought to Rohan, perhaps this was his worst deed of all. She wished she could forget the sight of Grima, eyes glittering, hands working as he snarled and spat before Theoden's feet. She wished that she could forget the pang of loss that she had felt as the traitorous worm fled.

Haldar raised his head, seeing the high hill of Edoras rise at last before them. He loosed his stiff hands about the reins, and though stumbling with weariness, the old gelding raised his head. With a catch in his throat, Haldar shook Aerin awake. His sister's face was streaked with dirt, her eyes red-rimmed and swollen from weeping, but now she was quiet. She raised her face to his, weary now beyond grief.

Three tall figures stood unmoving in the midst of the way. Haldar drew Guthlaf to a halt, and slid exhausted from the saddle. His legs buckled beneath him as he landed. He recognised them without needing to be told.

"My Lords," he whispered, but his eyes went to the shieldmaiden alone. "I am Haldar, son of Ceorl. I bring word from my mother, Morwen of Westfold." His voice trembled only slightly at their names.

Eowyn felt her heart stop. Morwen was dead. She had to be. She would not have sent her son if there was any hope left. Eowyn fell upon her knees in the dust of the road, clutching the boy by his slender shoulders. His eyes, exhausted, defeated, overwhelmed with grief, were unlike those of any child she had ever seen.

"Tell me." She whispered.

"My mother... My mother told me not to speak my tidings to any save Eowyn, daughter of Eommund."

"I am she. What tidings from Morwen can brook such urgency? Tell me!"

Haldar's eyes flickered momentarily to Theoden's face. "The Westfold has fallen, my Lady." He whispered.