In the Midst of Adversity: Part I
The Fellowship of nine was no more. At Parth Galen, Boromir was killed and Frodo and Sam had parted to bring Sauron’s ring to Mordor and throw it into the fires of Mount Doom.
Saruman’s Uruk Hai had taken Merry and Pippin prisoner and were on their way back to Isengard, with Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas in pursuit, honoring their vow to the Fellowship, running to the rescue of the two hobbits.
After days of pursuit and trailing behind Saruman’s troops, they came across a party of men of Rohan lead by Eomer, third Marshall of the Mark of Rohan.
The riders of Rohan had slain the Uruk Hai, but they hadn’t found the hobbits with them.
Eomer provided them with horses and let the travelers continue their journey, against the orders of king Theoden, who prohibited travelers on his domain.
Grima Wormtongue, main counselor of King Theoden of the Mark of Rohan, strode through the dark passages of Meduseld, the palace of King Theoden in Edoras. If there were anyone walking his way, they would walk away in disgust, not even meeting his malevolent eyes …
The man smiled to himself, the smile looking like an ugly grimace on his pale and haggard face. He was quite satisfied with his actions of the day. Old fool Theoden was like clay in his hands since the heir Theodred had been killed in battle, and today he had convinced the king to arrest his nephew Eomer, for not having brought some travelers to the castle… Grimas power was increasing day by day, and when the time was right he would be the King of the Mark and have Eowyn, Eomer’s sister to his mercy… Getting rid of Eomer would be difficult but not impossible, and when Saruman attacked… Rohan would fall into his hands like a ripe apple.
He felt like laughing out loud, but suddenly a hand shot out from the shadow, gripped his throat and crushed him against the wall. He let out a high-pitched squeal, before gasping for breath.
He felt warm breathing next to his ear and the tip of a dagger pricking his throat that was held in a firm grip. Grima didn’t move, paralyzed by fear.
He was surprised that anyone would dare to attack him. The crown, the power were so near … so within his reach.
“Are you enjoying your day of power, Master Wormtongue?”
Grima tried to recognize the husky voice at his ear, but could not…. And he couldn’t talk back either since the painful hold on his throat almost choked him.
“Don’t enjoy this day too much, counselor. Power comes and goes. Just remember, if you should ever raise a finger against Theoden’s rightful heirs again, you may not survive the deed to enjoy your gain!”
Grima felt the hand closing and gasped for air. All went black for a few seconds and when he could think again, he was alone in the passageway and the attacker had left.
The door to Eowyn’s chambers opened quietly, and a slender shadow entered.
In front of the fire stood Eowyn, the Lady of Rohan, stunning in her golden beauty. Tears stained her cheeks and anguish marked her features.
“Where were you, my sister? Is all set? Can we see him?” asked the princess of the Mark. The woman who had entered the chamber turned to her and lowered the black hood of her cloak.
“Eowyn mine, have I ever failed you?” she showed the princess the keys she held in her gloved hand.
Eowyn got her dark cloak from the bed and fastened it, securing the hood over her fair hair. “ Then let’s go, may the shadows of the night assist us.”
The other woman smiled, “They will, sister, they will, for the Goddess is with us.”
Both women walked silently trough the castle and the only sound that betrayed their presence was the rustling of the cloaks on the stone floor.
After a long walk along the staircases and passages, they reached the dungeon. The guard saw them, and opened the door connecting to the cells. In the largest one was Eowyn’s brother Eomer.
The large man sat on a narrow cot, and a candle cast dark shadows on his handsome, worried face. He looked up when he heard his cell being opened and the women letting themselves in.
Eowyn threw herself into her brother’s arms; the other woman stood a few of paces behind the embracing couple.
“My beloved sister, don’t cry! The king will realize his mistake and all will be well! He said to her, gently caressing her golden hair. He looked up into the face of the other woman. He grinned. “ I was waiting for you to storm the dungeon with a battalion or just by yourself, Cyrene!”
Cyrene lowered her hood and grinned back.” You knew I understood why you let the guards take you prisoner … what is the plan, my prince? “
Eomer felt like laughing despite his desperate situation. Cyrene could always do that. His sister’s companion was very special.
“First tell me. How come that Grima Wormtongue has taken over so much power over my uncle in my absence?”
“When word of Theodred’s fall reached us, it was like the King was struck by lightning. He gave up on life and Grima took over. He is also weakening him with his potions and leeches. He won’t last long, but he still is the king and Grima is using him. It’s like if he has put a spell on Theoden.”
Eowyn held her brother’s hand. “Short of storming Meduseld and taking the castle and the throne over, there is nothing we can do to stop Wormtongue. Now he has got you where he wanted.”
Eomer was thinking. ”In the current situation we can’t force uncle to leave throne and crown to others”
Cyrene leaned back on the dungeon's wall and watched Eomer intently: “What in the name of the Goddess were you thinking, giving Wormtongue the chance to degrade you like this? Who were those travelers you let go?”
Eomer and Eowyn sat on the cot, Cyrene stood with her hand on the dagger she carried at her belt.
Eomer looked at both women, the people he trusted and cherished most in the world.
“First we met a party of strange orc-creatures, they could move by daylight and were big, strong and fast ... we lost some men in the fight. Then we rode on and came across three travelers, a strange company: a dwarf, an elf and a man. They told us they were after the Orcs, looking for some friends that were taken by the creatures. I talked to the man and gave him some spare horses, because they were on foot, then let them go…”
Eowyn was surprised “Why did you help those strangers, brother? Do you realize you put us all at risk with your decision?”
Eomer saw the doubt in t he eyes of the women…. He was still wondering if he had done the right thing. “He said he was Aragorn, Isildur’s Heir, and he carried Ánduril, the sword that was once broken and forged again by the elves. He is going to face Saruman and Sauron.”
Eowyn didn’t say a word and Cyrene tried to recall all she had heard of Middle Earth’s history to understand what Eomer was saying … she knew that Saruman the wizard and the Dark Lord Sauron were at war with Rohan … she had slain enough orcs to know about the enemy. But what was so significant about this Heir of Isildur?
“Well, Eomer, then what do you wish us to do while you await for Theoden to come to his senses?” she asked.
Eomer looked up to Cyrene and said:” Just be on guard and keep Eowyn safe. I will be fine. Aragorn promised to come. He will.”
Cyrene smiled to her friend. “You know I will protect her with my life.”
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