I am aware that this is a Christmas fic. :P I wrote it on Christmas Eve last year. This was also my first shot at writing the Rohirric charries. :P I hope I did them justice.
This is a oneshot, so DO NOT ask for more because there will be no more.
LOTR (c) J.R.R.T I'm just someone who enjoys dabbling in his world.
Beta Readers: Bobadoo and Nierial Raina
FEEDBACK PLEASE!! Comments like "Good!" are okay, but I really want to hear your thoughts. What did you like? What did you find kinda weird? Were the characters in character? Etc.
A Yuletide Wish
She watched the candles throw their soft glow about her room restlessly. Her multi-colored blankets were given highlights by the yellow light and she purposefully made the blankets rustle to see the light sift and other parts go dark. This occupied her attention for a short time until she turned her gaze on the candles themselves. A drop of melted wax ran down one's side.
Eowyn sighed and shifted underneath her heavy quilts onto her side. She did not know how long she had been trying to fall asleep, but it seemed like hours since her uncle had sent her off to bed with Leofwine. Theodred had been teasingly regaling her brother with tales of his experiences as a Rohirric Marshal. She had wanted to stay and listen longer, and said so, but Uncle Theoden's promise that he would take her riding on her pony in the morning if she went quietly had made up her mind for her. That and some hints about her Yuletide presents too.
Now though, Eowyn found her mind constantly returning to her cousin's stories and inventing possible endings to the one she had had to leave in the middle of, endings which involved a certain Rohirric royal suddenly appearing on a great white horse and besting all of the orcs single-handedly, and then modestly accepting the prince's heartfelt gratitude afterwards. I'd simply say, "'Twas nothing, cousin," in a noble, but kind way and then say, "But as thanks, I must ask that take me with you from here on out. You have need of my humble skills, and I much desire to see the world! No more sewing or cooking or anything of that sort. A warrior should not do such things." And then Theodred would agree and wouldn't Eomer be jealous! The mischievous glint in Eowyn's eyes faded as her thought took on a more somber tone. And Father would have killed all those orcs, and Mother wouldn't have gotten sick, and we'd all be together again!
Biting her lip and blinking hard to rid herself of embarrassing tears—warriors did not cry-, she flopped back onto her back and stared at the dancing shadows on the ceiling. Eowyn wished fervently that her parents were still alive. She missed her father's "Ah, now here's my brave girl! Are you ready to come with me on my patrols?" when he came home and she ran into his large, strong arms for a hug and her mother's merry laugh as she managed to make even the dreaded cooking fun with her stories and songs. And the way the family would sing the Yuletide carols and how Eomer would forget about acting like Theodred and play with her in the snow after which Mother would always treat them to mulled wine and crisp spicy cakes. A sudden wetness dampened her cheek and Eowyn wiped it away fiercely.
The dark corners abruptly appeared very dark indeed now and the dancing shadows oppressing. The flames of the candles seemed to be reaching for her. Despite all her fancies, Eowyn did not feel brave at all now and longed for her mother's comforting presence. She knew how to make the scary night creatures go away. She clutched at her quilts and shrank into her mattress, all previous victories over orcs and wargs and cousins forgotten. Now, she was just a frightened seven year old wanting comfort.
Eomer! Maybe Eomer would understand. Even though he had been acting painfully grown-up and condescending since he had turned eleven, maybe he would know how to make night creatures go away.
Slowly inching out of bed, keeping an eye on the corners, Eowyn snatched a light blanket and wrapped it around herself, grabbing a candle from its bracket. Though she shuddered at the thought, Eowyn blew out the other one and scurried out of her room and away from the encroaching darkness.
Now that she was in the cold hall though, Eowyn hesitated. Eomer tended to be very grouchy when woken early. Theodred…? No. Definitely, no. Theodred would not understand anyway. He would probably poke fun at her fright and say how true shieldmaidens were not afraid of anything, much less the dark! Uncle? No. He was a King and could not be bothered with trivial problems.
Somewhere, a floorboard creaked and wind howled. Forgetting about angry brothers, Eowyn fled down the hall towards Eomer's room, almost extinguishing her candle on the way. Cautiously, she pushed his bedroom door open, flinching at the drawn out creak it made. Shifting from foot to foot in an effort to keep her feet warm, she held up her candle and winced as hot wax dripped onto her hand and hardened.
Eomer was cocooned in blankets and snoring softly. His dark gold hair lay tangled about his head.
"Eomer?" His sister whispered softly. When he did not stir, she repeated, a bit louder and more urgent. "Eomer?"
Her brother slept on in peaceful bliss, unaware of Eowyn's growing fear.
"Eomer!" Eowyn said again in a loud whisper, creeping closer to his bed and casting fearful glances at black closets. "Wake up, Eomer!"
Moaning and burrowing deeper into his blankets, Eomer groaned. "Stop it an' go t' sleep. 'S too early."
Relieved that he was now awake—if just barely-, Eowyn lowered her candle. "I'm frightened, Eomer."
"'At's great. Go t' sleep." He threw his quilts over his head.
She grabbed the quilts and pulled them away from her brother. He made angry sounds of protest, and tugged them back over himself. Stomping her foot softly, she hissed. "Eomer, please!"
There was no reply except for a rather exaggerated snore.
"I'm scared," Eowyn repeated softly, eyes brimming with tears.
With a long-suffering sigh, Eomer's head emerged from the sea of blankets and his eyes blinked wearily at her. "What is it that you have to come here now for?"
Eowyn looked down, saying softly. "It's the dark. And…I miss Mother and Father."
Eomer closed his eyes. "You know that if you go to sleep, the dark goes away, don't you?"
"But I want Mother and Father here! They would make the dark friendly."
Eomer's tone was gentler now. "I miss Mother and Father too. But there's no bringing them back from the dead, however much we want to. Maybe if thou sleep, thou will dream of them, Eowyn."
Eowyn shook her head. "I don't want to dream of them, I want them here. I want to go back to our old life. I don't want this Yule to happen without them."
"I'm sorry, Eowyn, I cannot fulfill any of those wishes. Let us be thankful that Uncle Theoden has taken us in." Eomer said, fidgeting with his blanket uncomfortably. "Go to sleep. Or go to Uncle Theoden. I'm sure he can make the dark friendly."
Seeing that he could not help her, Eowyn turned away. "Good night, Eomer."
A mumbled "Good night, Eowyn" was barely heard as Eomer tunneled back under his warm quilts.
Eowyn closed the door softly behind herself and stared at the small tongue of fire that caused the candle to grow shorter and shorter. "Let us be thankful Uncle Theoden has taken us in." Eowyn was thankful, very thankful that he had, but did not think he could make night nice as Eomer said he could. Besides, it would be rude to wake him simply because she was afraid and sad.
Not desiring to go back to her room, but seeing that she would need to blow out her candle soon, Eowyn went to the Hall of Fire and extinguished her light. The great fire pit in the middle of the hall had a blaze going and casting warm red and orange light on the gold and wood. Setting aside her candle, Eowyn was about to go sit by the flames, when a chilly breeze cut through her blanket and nightgown. Shivering, Eowyn realized that the wind was not as loud as it has been previously. Driven by curiosity, she walked to the great doors and pushed one ajar.
Cold air seeped through the gap and chilled her to the bone. The wind sang a wild dirge as it tried to alternatively open and close the door. She had to brace herself against the other door to prevent the wind from playing with it. Then she saw them.
Snowflakes. Hundreds of twirling, whirling snowflakes, covering everything they could reach with a cool coverlet. She stared in awe at the falling snow, not noticing the cold until her blanket slipped off her shoulder. After that, goose bumps formed on her skin and she tried to close the door, but only managed to shut off an inch.
Suddenly, a large hand closed over her small ones and shut the door all the way. Eowyn quickly re-wrapped her blanket around herself, aware that her nightgown was now freezing and looked up at the one who had helped her.
Uncle Theoden smiled down kindly at her. "What are you doing up so late, sister-daughter?"
Eowyn's eyes widened and her mouth opened a bit, before she caught herself and answered. "I couldn't sleep and so I came in here."
He placed a warm hand on her shoulder and guided her over to a seat by the roaring fire. "You must be cold. Sit, sit." Eowyn obeyed, sighing with happiness as the heat from the fire hit her face. Uncle Theoden sat down next to her. "That is quite a storm for our first one of the season, isn't it, Eowyn?"
Thrilled at being talked to like an adult, Eowyn nodded solemnly, her eyes shining. "Yes! And so late, but did you see it? Such a pretty sight! They were dancing and the wind was singing for them."
Suppressing a chuckle, he agreed. "Indeed they were. But you hardly got out of bed merely to see our first snowfall, magnificent though it is."
She gazed into the fire, chewing her lip. "No."
She felt her uncle's eyes on her as he said gently, "You can tell me if you want, Eowyn. I will not mock you."
Blushing with shame at her feelings, she said quickly. "I was afraid of the dark."
Theoden smiled encouragingly at her. She gave a half-smile in return and continued. "I was afraid of the dark, and I miss my parents. Especially now. Why did they have to die, Uncle? Why couldn't Father have stayed home from that patrol and then Mother wouldn't have gotten sick and she wouldn't have died."
Sadness clouded her uncle's eyes as he looked into her pleading gaze. "Your father was needed on that patrol. Thanks to him, several soldiers who would have died did not. He was a hero, Eowyn. I think though that he would want you to be happy and enjoy Yule as it is. Both your father and mother are still with you, though one cannot see them."
"How? I cannot feel them with me."
Theoden placed both hands on her shoulders and said stoutly, "Even when you cannot feel them, they are with you. They are in your heart and you carry them and your memories of them with you always; they are watching you become a strong shieldmaiden. If you continue to do so, they will never leave your side."
Eowyn felt consoled at this, but still asked. "If they're with me always, why can Mother not tell me stories to chase away the dark?"
Theoden raised a yellow eyebrow. "She might not be able to, but I can. Would you like that, Eowyn?"
"Oh, yes!" Eowyn leaned forward enthusiastically, eager for the tale.
For the next half hour, Eowyn followed elves, dwarves, princesses, princes, shieldmaidens, and horses on their adventure throughout all of Middle-Earth until she fell asleep with one last thought in her mind. Perhaps this Yule will be joyful after all.