Daughter of Kings
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
"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.