In the Midst of Adversity: Part VIII
It was already afternoon, when Gimli deemed it safe enough to let Cyrene sleep. Through the morning most of the archers who had fought beside them had walked to the place where they were camped to pay their respects to Cyrene. She had talked to each and every one of them, calling them by their name and smiling and making the effort to make them feel special.
But the entire sitting up and smiling and pretending to be well had taken its toll on the amazon. As she fell asleep leaning on a grain sack and still covered by Legolas’ cloak, the dwarf walked over to her and softly pulled her down, until she was lying more comfortably on the floor.
She had been sleeping for a short while, when a group of soldiers approached them, walking in the middle of them was Eomer, heir to the throne of Rohan.
Legolas made a sign to Gimli to stay with Cyrene and met the group of men halfway.
“Greetings, Marshall of Rohan. You fought well at a difficult battle.”
“Greetings Master Elf, I have heard wondrous tales about your skill on the battlefield. I am here to see Cyrene.” Eomer kept his tone civil but was upset to be intercepted on his way to see the amazon, more so as he saw her lying on the ground next to the dwarf and his concern for her well being grew.
Legolas remembered vividly the scene between Eomer and Cyrene that he had walked upon in Edoras. And he understood Eomer’s lack of patience for finding out if the woman was well, but Gimli and he had taken over the care of Cyrene, at least for the moment, and right now the beat up amazon needed her rest.
“I am afraid Milord, you may not disturb her now. She is resting from her battle injuries and she was in sore need of sleep.”
Eomer felt anger and frustration rise. This Elf dared to stop him from seeing her! And for a moment he regretted having allowed her to join the army, but he also new there hadn’t been a thing he could have done, short of locking her up in the dungeon, to keep her from doing what she wanted. His newly discovered feelings for the amazon were raging inside of him. And there was Legolas again, intercepting him on his way to her side. Was she really that badly hurt? But the archers had told him about her being well, only exhausted. He wanted to see for himself, his heart aching with the need to see her and making sure she would be fine.
“What injuries are those you are referring to, Master Legolas? I lost sight from your group in the battle. I didn’t know she was hurt.”
“She was hit in the head by an orc. A severe blow. But Mistress Cyrene kept on fighting until the end of the battle. She isn’t hurting much now, but we kept her awake from dawn on to be sure she wouldn’t fall into the “endless sleep” many men wounded in the head fall to. She is resting now. “ Legolas could read Eomer’s thoughts in his face as clearly as if they were written on his forehead. And for a moment, he felt uneasy at the thought of the Marshall being close to Cyrene. Was it...Was it jealousy?” Legolas thought and shook his head almost imperceptibly at the thought. He couldn’t be jealous about a woman he had met but days ago. He must be even more tired from the fight than he thought.
“I want to see how she fares. Step aside, Master Elf.” Said Eomer. He was going to see her.
Legolas stood his ground. He looked from Eomer to the soldiers around him and decided not to let them pass.
“I am sorry, Marshall, but you may not.”
Eomer took a deep breath, as he sensed the tension growing in the men around him. Some even put their hands on their swords. The elf was unarmed. He knew of the Rohirrim’s distrust of strangers, and who could be more foreign to them than the creature before him or the sturdy dwarf who was now standing in front of Cyrene’s sleeping form?
“May I come close and see her, Master Legolas? I won’t disturb her sleep.”
Legolas turned to Gimli, whose hand was holding the grip of Cyrene’s battle-axe as if measuring it. The dwarf nodded, imperceptibly for human eyes, but clearly for the elf’s keen sight.
Legolas turned to Eomer. “You may approach her, Milord Marshall, but please do it alone.”
Eomer turned to his entourage and made them a sign to stay behind.
He stepped closer to where Cyrene lay, and Gimli gave him space to kneel next to the sleeping woman.
She was sleeping on her right side, cuddled up in Legolas cloak. The bruise on the left side of her face was turning from black and blue to purple and yellow. The rest of her face was pale, so much that her normally tanned skin seemed lifeless and the freckles on her nose stood out to the eye. There were also dark shadows under her closed eyes. But she was sleeping peacefully; there was also a hint of a smile on her lips.
Eomer fought the urge to smooth a tendril of hair from her face. The elf and the dwarf were right. She was fine now.
But he wasn’t leaving her with them. She belonged to Eowyn, to Rohan, she belonged to him. He stood up and turned to Gimli and Legolas and spoke.
“She is not well and you cannot provide the proper care for her. She is a captain of the army of the Mark. She will be brought to the infirmary, there it will be seen to all of her needs.”
Legolas took a step toward Eomer, his hand resting on the dagger at his belt.
“She only needs to rest now, Marshall, leave her alone. She has been taken care of.”
“You don’t need to concern yourself further with Mistress Cyrene, Master Elf.”
“But she will remain with us until she wakes up and decides what to do.”
The argument was being held in loud and angry voices, both men trying to keep the appearance of civility but getting carried away by the each other’s stubbornness. Gimli put a hand on Legolas arm and motioned his head towards Cyrene, who was awake, trying to get up. As she accomplished it, she staggered slightly and both, Legolas and Eomer wanted to help her but she didn’t let them close. She gained her balance and looked at both, fury raging in her eyes.
“It seems that men around me have forgotten that I am my own and not some kind of property to be fought over. If it pleases you both to continue your argument, do so. But look for another object for your quarry. I am returning to my company of archers.“
She received her bow from Gimli’s hands and smiled brightly at him, then turned around, and leaning on her bow she strode past Legolas, Eomer and Eomer’s soldiers, ignoring all of them, headed towards the tents of the army set on the other side of the bay.
After Eomer and his men had left, Legolas had sat down across Gimli and was glowering at the dwarf. “She should have stayed here. We are her comrades in arms, we fought at her side and we took care of her.”
“ But she has lived for a long time in Edoras, Legolas. The Marshall thinks he has some rights where she is concerned” reasoned Gimli “And Eomer and you where arguing about her as if she were … hmmm … cattle?”
Legolas blushed. Gimli was right, and assuming Cyrene was as proud as the amazons were told to be, he had insulted her and her independence. If he treasured her friendship, he had behaved like an utter fool, no matter what his intentions had been. And he still wasn’t sure about his intentions towards Cyrene.
Gimli observed his friends face, and even though he couldn’t read the elf’s thoughts, he knew that Legolas thoughts weren’t far away, at least not outside the fortress walls, but most likely with a female archer captain.
| Part IX |
| Index |