Daughter of Kings

by Evermind

Chapter Thirty Seven: Grima's Treasures

Eowyn walked purposefully through the corridors of Meduseld. The order had been given. The King was to ride forth as soon as the army could be marshalled. Eowyn glared fiercely, biting back a tirade of rage and frustration. She was not to ride with them, of course. Even after all these years of service to him, her uncle refused to see her for the fighter that she was. And they would need every able body and more before the night was over, she was sure of that.

No, instead she was to lead the women and children to Dunharrow, to mind the babes, tend the wounded. She clenched her teeth in a fair impression of a wildcat. Everything was moving so fast. Gandalf Greyhame, she had long ago discovered, tended to have that effect.

As she passed the door to the great hall, she paused suddenly. A heavy wooden chest stood open beside the firepit. Grima's. Placed there so that men could retrieve their stolen treasures. Tentatively, Eowyn crossed the room, walking slowly towards it. The chest was large and solid, carved from dark wood with a design of horses. A pitiful collection of valuables were jumbled inside it, almost everything of worth having already been reclaimed by the residents of Meduseld. A tarnished chalice, a few gold coins and worthless gems filched from the treasury.

And beneath them, wrapped in a faded red tunic, Grima's true treasures; A tiny golden brooch of Morwen Steelsheen's that Eowyn had once worn pinned to her smock. A single lock from the mane of a black horse. Eowyn swallowed, fighting back tears. Ellen. The brave little colt who had died to protect him. And two sheathed swords. One, she recognised with a gasp of surprise was her own Aenlic that Theoden had taken from her when she became a woman. The other was a plain short sword in a sheath of black leather, looking shabby and out of place next to Aenlic's golden glory. Grima's own sword which he had carried as a boy. With a strange tightening in her chest, Eowyn half-drew the blade. It was still in brilliant condition, the leather sheath oiled, the blade honed to perfection. Forcing away her thoughts of him, Eowyn stuffed the blade angrily back into it's sheath. She threw it back into the chest and snatched Aenlic, belting the green leather sheath in it's familiar position about her waist. She tried not to look at Grima's blade, looking suddenly forlorn and lost without it's mate.

Angrily, Eowyn slammed the lid of the chest shut, wheeling away. She drew Aenlic, holding the silver blade up to the light. She raised the shining sword, feeling the accustomed lightness comfortable beneath her calloused hand. The sword gleamed exactly as it had on the day Theoden first gave it to her. Half entranced, her hand caressed the bronze guards, wrought in the likeness of two horses which reared their golden heads upon either side of the blade. Her eyes followed the flowing tracery along the gently fullered blade. Running horses, little star-shaped flowers with silver petals.

Aenlic... She had not laid eyes on this sword since she was sixteen years old, yet the silver blade still gleamed dangerously, still as keen and perilous as the day it had been taken from her. Perhaps Grima had cared for this blade as well.

With a yell of anger, she swept the sword high, striking out at Grima's half-imagined ghost. She spun the sword around. Rather unexpectedly, there came a clash of steel as someone met her blade with their own.