In the Midst of Adversity: Part II
It was very early in the morning of the third day since Eomer had been taken prisoner as Eowyn and Cyrene were, as usual, having their sword practice at the back of Meduseld Castle.
The guards and servants at the castle were used to see their princess and the stranger who had come from the ocean a year ago practicing with weaponry every day. They cared deeply for the kind Lady of Rohan, and since the dark haired stranger had arrived at Edoras, they were inseparable, and the deep sadness that accompanied Eowyn seemed to have lifted, and both women even laughed while attending their chores inside and outside the castle.
When Cyrene had arrived, Theodred and Theoden had been suspicious at first, but when she showed them the medallion with the white horse, the old King remembered about the pact forged many years ago, and welcomed her to Rohan.
The legend said that Eorl the young himself had been once saved in battle by an amazon, and had sealed women a pact of alliance with the tribe of the warrior. But after many centuries the amazons had been almost extinguished, and there were rumors that they had moved to an island far from the continent.
So when this woman appeared, bearing the proof and sign of Eorls pact and only requesting sanctuary in Edoras in exchange for her services, Theoden had welcomed her.
Eowyn parried the swift stroke of Cyrene’s sword, but almost lost balance. Cyrene turned swiftly and threw Eowyn to the ground, the tip of her sword lying at the princess’ throat. “Eowyn, you have to defend your ground. Stand secure on your feet. Let’s do it again.” She offered her friend a gloved hand to help her up. Eowyn used the impulse given her by the helping hand and shoved Cyrene to the ground, putting her own dagger to the amazon’s throat.
“Is this also a way to do it, my friend?” she said, sitting astride the larger woman.
“You are learning, my sister, even though an orc in battle would never help you up and give you the opportunity I gave you!” She buckled under Eowyn, threw her over her head, and jumped to her feet. In the maneuver, Eowyn’s dagger had scratched her cheek, leaving a long shallow cut.
Eowyn let out a small cry.” Cyrene, I have hurt you!”
Cyrene laughed. ”Don’t worry, milady, you know I don’t have to take care of my beauty in order to be acceptable for a man. It’s just a scratch.”
Eowyn ripped a piece of the man's shirt she was wearing and wetting it in the water of a jar they had left nearby, she cleaned the small wound. Both women were clad in men’s clothes, since they were the best for weaponry practice, and Cyrene had only since she lived in Edoras got accustomed to wearing women’s clothes. She was trying hard to fit into the “mans” society, but never forgetting the essence of her amazon ways.
Eowyn wondered what her friend was thinking. Cyrene hadn’t told her the reason had she left the amazons, but she saw the deep sorrow and longing in her friend’s eyes when she thought of her people. Cyrene had only said that she would serve Rohan as far as she could, but that she might have to move on some time, because her duty to the amazons was to bring fame and honor to her people.
Eowyn enjoyed her friend’s presence in Edoras immensely, Cyrene being there to support and accompany her. She could even endure all of Grima's intrigues and schemes at the court, since she knew she wasn’t alone and she wasn’t a burden to Eomer.
Cyrene understood her friend’s need to be more than a beautiful maid adorning the court, and taught her the handling of weapons that her race mastered since childhood. In exchange, the amazon had agreed to learn the ways of what women were supposed to learn and know about in this part of the world. She learned to wear gowns and slippers, some healing techniques, how to cook, and the ways of stewarding the castle. She also learned to act demure and discrete when helping to attend the table at all meals, but Eowyn knew that deep in her heart she forced herself to act like the women “outside” the amazons-society. Eowyn understood that whatever had happened to make her friend leave her home, Cyrene was never going back.
The Lady of Rohan finished cleaning the cut and smiled to her friend. “Have you ever considered that you might know a man and want to share your life with him?”
Cyrene looked up sharply to Eowyn’s face. For a slight moment something like a flash of fear showed clearly in her eyes before with a blink the young amazon guarded her eyes again. “Eowyn, you know those are not the ways of my people.”
“ But what if you fell in love and want to be with a man…?”
The amazon laughed out loud, with the easy laughter of someone who enjoyed life. “My sister, you keep telling me of people that fall in love and share never ending love forever and then die of grief, like in the old ballads and legends. I am sure I prefer to live without those experiences.”
The sound of the horn at the entrance of the city being blown interrupted their laughter. Word reached them of visitors at the entrance of Edoras. They threw a knowing look at each other and rushed to the castle. Cyrene said to Eowyn:
”Go change your clothing and prepare to receive the visitors into the King’s Hall. I’ll go to the dungeon”.
The princess of Rohan smiled and said: ”I hope Eomer was right about the travelers.”
“So do I, my dear sister, so do I.”
| Part III |
| Index |