Daughter of Kings
Chapter Six: Grima Returns
Grima was not dead, but it would have been better for all if he had
been. Grima had been twelve at the time of the accident, and it was
another year before he returned to Edoras. His friends has missed him
terribly, and were glad when they heard that he was returning home, but
they were not prepared for the change the accident had wrought upon the
boy. Saruman escorted the boy back to the golden hall, walking, not
riding. Grima would not ride again. They were forced, too, to go
slowly, because of Grima's injuries, which still pained him. He walked
now with a shuffling gait, his shoulders hunched and his head bowed
low, not looking at the road in front of him. Theodred was at that time
away patrolling the borders with his Eored, having now assumed the
title of Second Marshall of the Mark, but Eowyn and Eomer stood upon
the steps of Meduseld, eager to greet the friend whom they had believed
lost. As the wizard approached the king, Eowyn leapt swiftly from the
steps, rushing to embrace her friend. The look she saw in his eyes
brought her up short, and a small gasp of breath escaped her. Grima's
eyes narrowed. His face had a sullen, hostile cast, and his once
laughing eyes were pale. Close to, Eowyn could tell that the boy had
not washed for a long while, and his hair hung lank and greasy over his
"Grima." Eowyn whispered his name. Beside her, Eomer let out his breath
in a low hiss. Eowyn recovered herself swiftly. Her friend had almost
been destroyed, of course he had changed. What had she expected? 'Not
this.' her thought said within her. 'Never this.'
"Grima" she spoke steadily now, trying to convey all the old friendship
in her tone. "We are so glad to see thee returned to us! How hast thou
been? We have missed thee." She fell silent again under the glance
Grima now gave her from his dead eyes.
"My Lady." he spoke at last, speaking cordially as though to one he
hardly knew. A slight tilt of his head to Eomer. "My Lord." then,
without a glance at his friends, he shuffled past them to stand with
bowed head behind Saruman.
Eomer glanced at his sister, and she could tell that he was as
concerned by their friend's words as she. But it was the look in
Grima's eyes that haunted Eowyn the most. In the split second before he
had glanced away, Eowyn had thought she discerned in Grima's eye a
hunted, pleading look, like one imprisoned beyond all hope of recovery.
It was not until later that Eowyn first had the opportunity to talk to
her friend. Theoden, at Saruman's asking had taken pity upon the
crippled child, and offered him chambers in Meduseld, that the boy
might not be alone when his father was away. Grima had acknowledged
this with a silent nod, and had then retreated to his chamber. They had
already gathered from Saruman that the boy now disliked venturing
outside. Eowyn was strangely disconcerted by this, she kept remembering
the way Grima had fought with her at the tournament, the old light in
his eyes and his ever ready smile. She thought of the look he had given
her today, the trapped and desperate glance that he had quickly
concealed. Eowyn knew now what she must do. She must befriend him
again, teach him again his old life, Bring her friend back from the
dark void into which he had descended. With the resolve fresh in her
mind, Eowyn arose and went to seek out her friend.
"Why did thou not ride here?" Eowyn asked. She sat with Grima upon the
edge of his bed, and although he plainly was not comfortable with this,
there was nothing he could do to prevent her, crippled as he now was.
"Saruman hath worked a marvelous change in thee." Eowyn persevered
"I'll wager thou couldst ride now as well as afore time."
"Ellen is dead." his voice was remote and distant. "He is dead, and I killed him."
"It was but an accident, Grima." Eowyn said "It was the orcs who killed him, not thou." Grima looked at her strangely
"There were no orcs, Lily. I was riding too fast. I tried to jump too high. Ellen fell. It was I who killed him."
"No." Eowyn whispered she thought of the tale of the riders who had
found Ellen. Dead they had told her. Dead, with three orc arrows in
him. Eowyn shook her head, confused. Mayhap Grima was still ill.
"Thou canst ride any horse in the Mark." Eowyn told him firmly. Grima smiled a strange, twisted half smile.
"Why, Lily" he asked her "Canst thou ride any horse in the Mark?"
"Of course" Eowyn replied, wondering at the odd question. Grima's smile broadened.
"Ride Shadowfax for me."