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Chance Encounter  by Dreamflower


The door to the chamber shared by the hobbits was flung open, and Frodo knew without turning around that his cousins had returned and Pippin was first in the door.

Frodo put the quill carefully into the holder. His calligraphy was improving, but it had a long way to go before it was once more as good as it had been before he lost his finger.

"Pippin," he said in a tone of fond exasperation, "can you never simply *open* a door?" He turned to see his two cousins standing in the doorway with broad grins. Obviously, they had what they thought of as good news, and he gave a small smile of anticipation.

Pippin's grin threatened to split his face. "You'll never guess who we found in the City!" He reached to the side and gave a tug. A Man came into view, also grinning.

Frodo's jaw dropped. Then he leaped from his chair, scattering the cushions on which he sat, and dashed to the door where Menelcar knelt down.

"Menelcar!" he cried joyfully, "it's so good to see you!"

Remembering how Pippin had reacted to a show of formality, the minstrel contented himself with returning the hobbit's embrace, saying simply, "Frodo Baggins! I am glad to see you again!" As he held the hobbit briefly, it seemed it had been no time since his visit to the Shire; yet since their last meeting, this small person had defied and thrown down the Dark Lord forever, an incredible feat that great and mighty warriors had never quite managed. His eyes stung briefly, and he blinked. It would not do to begin such a reunion with such serious thoughts, but he knew that he almost certainly owed Frodo Baggins his life, and he would never forget it.

"Well, do come in, Menelcar. Pippin, wherever did you find him?" Frodo went back over to the chair he had abandoned, and offered it to the minstrel; Merry and Pippin had flung themselves onto one of the beds, and Frodo, a bit more decorously did the same.

"He was singing on a street corner on the third level." Pippin shook his head, still a bit amazed himself at the coincidence.

Merry spoke up. "He'd not tried to come see us. Apparently they've been turning away charlatans who claim to know us, and he feared they'd do the same to him."

Frodo looked at Merry sharply. "How do you know this?"

"Faramir told us."

This news disturbed Frodo, but he put it out of his mind, and asked the minstrel to recount how he had come to return to Minas Tirith, and Menelcar asked after the Shire. They were having a quite pleasant visit.

"And how is Master Samwise? I know that he came with you."

"Sam is doing just fine. And that reminds me of something. We don't have a lot of time--" he looked at his cousins. "-- I asked Gandalf to take him down to look at the guesthouse, but we won't have much time for planning now. They've been gone quite a while already. I did not realize that the two of you had gone out when I sent them off. I spent a bit of time with Aragorn while waiting for you."

Merry looked abashed. "I'm sorry, Frodo. But Faramir invited us to go with him on the spur of the moment, and we did not realize you were going to get Sam out of the way this morning."

Menelcar looked puzzled. "Is there something you do not wish to tell Master Samwise?"

The three hobbits laughed. "It's going to be his birthday in less than a week," said Merry. "We missed my birthday altogether, being in Lothlórien and so never having any idea what day it was, and well--Pippin was not in any condition to celebrate his birthday, after the Last Battle--"*

Pippin looked distressed. "I wish I could have given you all something--"

Frodo put an arm around his shoulders. "You did, Pip, you stayed alive, and that was gift enough for all of us." Pippin's green eyes filled, and he brushed a hand roughly across them. Frodo gave his shoulders a squeeze, and Merry reached out and embraced them both briefly.

The serious moment passed, and Merry said, "At any rate we are in the mood for a Shire birthday. And it just so happens that Sam is going to have one."

Pippin grinned. "Do say you'll help us, Menelcar!"

Menelcar smiled. "I would be glad to assist you in giving Master Samwise a party! I am a minstrel after all, and parties are my bread and butter! What is a Shire birthday like?"

"Lots of food and music," said Pippin firmly.

The others laughed. "Not music and food?" Merry teased. Pippin just grinned.

"We want to invite a few of those whom Sam has met and been friendly with since we woke up, and the Fellowship, and Faramir of course, and now you!" said Frodo. "And we will be able to have it in somewhat cozier quarters than the Citadel, as we will soon be moving into a guesthouse that the King has ordered made ready for our use."

"So," said Merry, looking at Frodo, "you've seen this house we're to move into?"

"Yes, I have," answered Frodo. "We will still be able to share a bedchamber, which is on the ground floor of the house."

Merry and Pippin exchanged a look of relief. The hobbits still suffered badly from night terrors. When they had been, the first night, presented separate chambers in the Citadel--something Men thought of as an honor--the problem had become much worse than it had been since they had all been reunited. The previous night the four of them had shared a chamber, and it did help somewhat. When Pippin and Frodo had both woken up, crying out and trembling, the others were right there to offer comfort.

"Sounds lovely," said Pippin. "When do we move?"

"Perhaps as soon as tomorrow," Frodo answered, "so we definitely will be able to hold the party there. Menelcar, you will come, won't you?"

"Of course I will, if you want me--"

Just then there came a loud rap on the door.

Frodo's eyebrows rose; it wouldn't be Sam--Sam would just enter.

Merry hopped down from the bed, and flung open the door. All eyes turned to see Legolas and Gimli standing there.

"Legolas!" cried Pippin, "Did you get it?"

The Elf smiled wordlessly, and held forth a small bundle, and taking Pippin's enthusiasm as an invitation, he and Gimli entered the room, giving the strange Man an inquiring look. Frodo stood up instantly to make introductions.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Master Menelcar. I have heard of you from Pippin," said Legolas.

"Menelcar--Menelcar?" Gimli drew his brows together in concentration. "Were you not at the Lonely Mountain a few years back?"

"Indeed I was, Master Gimli. I spent several weeks there. It was then I first heard of Bilbo the Burglar, and it was the tales and songs I heard there which sent me in search of the Shire."

Pippin, meanwhile, had pulled the cloth wrapping away from the bundle Legolas had brought, and taken out the small fiddle and bow, which it had been concealing. "Oh, thank you, Legolas. It's splendid to have a fiddle again!"

"I am afraid it is not of the best quality, Pippin," the Elf apologized.

"Oh," said Pippin breezily, "I didn't expect it would be, if you could even find one, as I knew it would just be a practice instrument for a child. But I should have no trouble playing it." He drew the bow experimentally across the strings, and everyone in the room winced at how badly out of tune it was.

"Well, I'll have a bit of work to tune it, but I should be able to play for Sam's party."

There was another rap at the door, and fearing it might be Sam, he thrust it beneath the bed. Merry, who had yet to sit back down, opened it again to see one of the Citadel's many servants standing there.

The servant bowed profoundly, and looked at Frodo. "Ringbearer, the Guard at the side door said you wished to be alerted when Lord Mithrandir and Lord Samwise returned."

"Yes, yes, thank you!" said Frodo. He gave a nod to the others.

Éowyn headed for the wing of the Citadel where the Rohirrim were housed. But when she arrived, she found only one of the men there.

"Where is everyone, Elfhelm?" she asked.

"They've all gone down to the stables, Lady Éowyn."

She nodded. She should have known. None of those from Rohan were happy staying in this great stone City, where horses were seldom seen, and there was so very little green and growing. Her brother, King though he now was, was no exception.

She took herself to the chamber that had been set aside for her use, and changed from the dark blue gown she was wearing to a man's tunic and breeches. She did not see any reason to go to the stables in one of the few dresses she had right now. She had allowed only a small number of dresses to be made for her, for she knew that she would be going home soon, and did not need many, but those she had were too fine to wear while mucking about the stalls.

Tying her hair back, she came back to where Elfhelm still waited. "I am going to the stables myself. I expect to see my brother there, yet should he return, and we have somehow missed one another, please tell him where I have gone." She slipped back out, and headed back down toward the stables.

It was not far, but it was long enough to give her time to think about Faramir. She smiled. It was still strange to think of Faramir in that fashion. Until she had met the Lord Aragorn, she had never thought to love any man in that way. And when he had clearly shown her that his heart was otherwise occupied she had not thought to ever feel that way again.

And in a sense that was true. For what she felt for Faramir was different altogether from what she had felt for Aragorn. Aragorn was a hero out of legends, however real, and for all his kindness, he seemed to loom distant and larger than life. Faramir was a hero as well, yet he seemed so much more approachable. He had a warm heart, and an abiding sorrow that made her wish to comfort and protect him. She knew that grief for his brother and father lay heavily on him, as well as shame for what his father had done, and a long and deeply felt hurt for the way his father had always scorned him. Sometimes she found herself wishing that Denethor yet lived, so that she could have the chance to visit her own scorn upon him, to heap upon his head reproaches for the way he had treated his younger son. The thought of him made her scowl fiercely. She would certainly have told him a thing or two.

She came to the stables. She could hear the laughter and talk of the men, including her brother, and she went to join them.

"Brother," she said, by way of greeting. He was leaning over the stall gate where his own horse was housed, and talking to their cousin Éothain.

"Sister," he said, unsurprised to see her there. For though she spent much time in the company of the Steward who had won her heart, yet she was still a shield-maiden and woman of Rohan, and would miss the horses.

She climbed up, to sit atop the stall's partition. "Éomer, does the name 'Menelcar' mean anything to you? I met today a minstrel of that name, and I am sure that I have seen him sometime before."

Éomer shook his head. "I do not recall the name. I might perhaps know him if I saw his face."

But Éothain laughed. "No, you would not remember, my lord cousin. You were off with my father at the time, riding over the Eastfold, becoming familiar with the country that would come into your charge when you became Marshal. But I am not surprised that *you* remember, Éowyn. We were both in disgrace at the time."

Éowyn's eyes widened. Of course. She had been, just barely, fifteen when it happened…


The summer when she had turned fifteen, she had been quite a hoyden. Her aunt, one of the King's sisters, Éormangilda, was in despair over her increasing reluctance to spend time learning the various "ladylike" skills that would someday be required of her. She had thrown herself into riding and weapons practice, something that was not denied to any high-born girl of the Mark who showed the inclination to become a shield-maiden. But as her uncle was forced often to remind her, it did not mean she was to neglect the more traditional duties of womanhood. 

This was not something she cared to hear. Surely she had spent enough time on stitchery and in the kitchens and in the stillroom. What else could she possibly need to know that was more important than riding or learning how better to use her weapons? She was insolent and sulky by turns, oftentimes flatly refusing the tasks set before her, which of course, only resulted in her losing the privileges for which she was aching. It did not help that her brother thought it was funny, or that for once her indulgent cousin, Théodred, and her usually patient uncle, the King, did not support her.

It had finally resulted in both she and her aunt losing their tempers one day, resulting in a deplorable shouting match, which Théoden had put a stop to personally.

It was decided that when Éomer went to Aldburg to stay with his father's brother Éodred for the summer, Éowyn would accompany him and be put in the charge of her aunt Leofgifu. Éormangilda was quite frankly out of patience with her, and was more than ready to let someone else deal with the stubborn child for a couple of months.

Éowyn was at first subdued and remorseful. She had been a bit shocked to have actually been sent away from Meduseld, and she resolved to turn over a new leaf, and be cooperative. She dutifully attended to the tasks set by her aunt. For her part, Leofgifu wondered what Éormangilda had found to complain of; as far as she could tell, the girl was too quiet and compliant.

It lasted for all of three days.

More embroidery. Éowyn looked at the fabric in her hands, and shook her head. How much embroidery could one person be expected to do? But she had made up her mind to behave properly. It was just that her
brother had ridden out that morning with their uncle, and would not be back for a week to ten days.

"Éowyn," said her aunt.

"Yes, Aunt Leofgifu?"

"I must needs leave you here for a bit. A travelling bard has honored us with his presence this day, and I wish to go and see to having a chamber prepared for him. He is going to honor us with song at the evening meal."

"Yes, Aunt," she replied dutifully. A bard. That would be nice.

Her aunt went out, leaving her there alone. She took about three more stitches, and then impatiently flung the work down and went to the window. From there she could look down into the courtyard. Her cousin Éothain was down there, on horseback, tilting at the quintain. And she was stuck up here *embroidering*. She gave a huff, and then left the room.

"Éothain!" she called out, as she approached the practice yard.

He startled at her cry, and missed. "Now look what you made me do!"
Éowyn laughed. Her cousin was within three months of her age, though she was by that amount the elder. Before her parents' deaths, the two had been playmates, but she had not seen him in several years. And since her return, he had been somewhat arrogant over the fact that he was a boy, not to mention boastful of his own abilities.

He flushed and dismounted. "It's not funny!"

She giggled, which infuriated him the more. "It's not like *you* could do it. You're just a girl!"

She did not say a word. She tied up her skirts in a most unladylike fashion, snatched his spear, and mounted his horse before he could do more than shout "Hoy!" She was slightly shorter than he, yet in spite of the fact that her feet scarcely reached the stirrups, she set herself firmly.

With a grin, she launched herself at the target and gave it a fair stroke, sending it spinning.

She galloped back and dismounted showily, tossing the spear back to her flabbergasted cousin. "I guess I can't," she smirked.

He goggled at her, torn between rage and admiration.

She looked over at the rack of wooden practice swords, and grabbed two. "Let us spar!"

"With you?" he said incredulously.

Her eyes narrowed. "Why not?"

Something about the look on her face made him swallow the words "Because you're a girl" unsaid. Instead he said, "Why not?"

They started out cautiously enough. Her training from the finest weapons master of the King's court and her quickness made up for her slightness and lesser strength. He had a longer reach, and was quite strong, so they made a more or less even match, and soon forgot caution completely as they battered one another happily. Neither of them had bothered with armor, and any strokes that hit home were painful indeed. They were enjoying themselves quite thoroughly when they heard a shrill voice shouting “Enough!"

They faltered, and turned to see that they had gathered an audience. Leofgifu did not look amused.

"Mother!" Éothain cried, his voice breaking into an undignified squeak.

Éowyn flushed. And then said defiantly "We weren't doing anything wrong!"

"Nothing wrong?" Her aunt's eyebrow lifted. "Look at yourself."

Éowyn glanced down at herself. Her skirt had been pulled through her legs and tied about her waist, leaving her legs exposed and bare from just above the knees down. Her shins were skint and bruised. Her dress was soiled and torn. She knew her hair was unkempt and escaping its braids, and that her face was dirty and sweaty.

Among the others standing with Leofgifu was Danhelm, the weapons master. He wore a grim expression. He looked at Éowyn disdainfully. "I do not think much of the weapons master at Edoras if he allows his pupils to spar unarmored." She flushed. Anfrith would have given her an earful if she had dared such a thing at Meduseld. Danhelm turned his flinty gaze on Éothain. "*You* do know better. I cannot think why you would so willfully disregard my teachings and all the rules of safety. I know I have taught you better."
Éothain flushed. He did know better. But he had thought he could disarm a mere girl with only a couple of blows.

The cousins looked sideways at one another, united in their chagrin.

Standing behind Leofgifu was a lanky man, taller than most of the Rohirrim, clean-shaven, with straight, grey-shot ginger hair and humor-filled eyes. He had a harp slung across his back. He caught Éowyn's eyes, and his expression of droll sympathy made her suppress a wholly inappropriate giggle. She was in enough trouble.

Her aunt pinned them both with her glare. "The two of you will go to your chambers. You will remain there the rest of the day and tonight--without dinner. Perhaps hunger will sharpen your wits." She turned to Danhelm.

"Tomorrow you may mete out what punishment you deem needful to your pupil. Éowyn, you will spend tomorrow in the kitchens scrubbing pots. And both of you will take your dinners in your chambers tomorrow, as well."

Éothain, who had up until that point been taking the punishment rather stoically, suddenly objected. "Mother! We will miss hearing the bard!"

"So you will," she said. "Now, to your chambers! March!"

Éowyn had flopped on her bed, overwhelmed with the unfairness of it all.

She had not *meant* to break her resolution to do what she was supposed to; she had not *meant* to end up sparring unarmored with her cousin; she had not *meant* to get them both in trouble. Why did these things always happen to *her*?

She was too angry to cry, but she was not certain who she was angry with--herself, for going down there in the first place? Her cousin, for being so annoying that she just *had* to challenge him? Her aunt, for catching them out--and just when they were having such a splendid workout, too!

Just then, the door opened, and her Aunt Leofgifu came in, followed by a maidservant bearing a basin of water and some towels. Éowyn sat up warily. What now?

"Éowyn, get out of that dress. I want to check you over. I fear that you will be black and blue."

Flushing, she did as she was told, sitting back down in her shift and wincing as she did so.

Leofgifu nodded knowingly, and touched the large purple bruise beginning to form on Éowyn's upper left shoulder.

"Let me have a look at that left leg. I can tell by the way you are sitting that it is paining you."

Sure enough there was also a large bruise nearly two hand spans in size on the outer side of her thigh and hip. Her aunt wet a cloth in the basin that the maidservant was holding, and began to wash the bruised areas, as well as the scrapes on her shins. Éowyn flinched, but did not cry out as her aunt cleaned the sore places. She could smell the witch hazel in the water.

"Now, that's better. It is fortunate indeed that neither of you took head blows!"

Éowyn looked horrified. How stupid did her aunt think she was? "We did not have helms!" she exclaimed.

"I see. Well, I suppose I should be grateful that the two of you had at least that much sense. You know, Éowyn, if you had said something, I would have arranged for you to have some time on the training grounds. You did not have to slip out behind my back like that."


"I will speak to Danhelm. If he is agreeable, you may join my son while you are here. But not until after your punishment is over. And that does not mean you get out of the other tasks that are expected of you."


Her aunt rose to leave. "I suggest you try to rest. It is a long time until breakfast."

Biting her lip, Éowyn nodded. Leofgifu and the maidservant left, and Éowyn lay back down on the bed. This was really unfair. How was she to know that Aunt Leofgifu was so much more reasonable than Aunt Éormangilda? Just then her stomach growled. It was going to be a long time until breakfast.

She had finally fallen asleep, was sleeping rather hard in fact, when she heard a rapping at the door. She sat up blearily, wondering who it could be at this hour.

"Éowyn!" hissed the voice outside her door in a loud whisper.

It was Éothain.

"What do you want?" she hissed back, dragging on a dressing gown quickly and moving toward the door.

"Let me in."

She opened the door, and he came in, carrying a bundle wrapped in what looked like a large napkin.

"I brought you something to eat. I slipped down to the kitchens. I have some bread and some apples."

Éowyn wanted to scorn the gesture, and honorably take her punishment, but her stomach chose that moment to rumble loudly in protest. "Well, come on in then."

He came in and they shut the door. They went over and sat in the window, and he unwrapped the bundle. He looked at her, and flushed. "I am sorry that I got you into trouble," he mumbled.

She giggled, and he looked up sharply, offended. "No, do not be angry, I am not mocking your apology. But I have been thinking all afternoon that I should apologize for getting *you* into trouble."

He grinned. "Well, perhaps it is that we are both at fault. I should not have doubted you."

"And I should not have challenged you." She grinned back. "It was good though, was it not?"

"Yes it was. I have a bruise on my ribs the size of a melon," he boasted with a grin.

"I have some bruises as well."

They ate silently for a few moments, until both bread and fruit were gone.

Éothain sighed. "Danhelm is going to really make me miserable tomorrow. And I am sure you will have great fun scrubbing pots all day. But I really hate that we will miss hearing the bard. We do not get bards here at Aldburg so very often that we can afford to miss hearing them."

Éowyn nodded. "I am sorry. But I know what you mean. We do have a bard in residence at Meduseld, but he is old, and I have heard all his songs so many times." She sighed. "I would not have minded hearing a new one for a change."

Her cousin nodded. "Well, I am going to return to my own chambers now. Mother told me that when our punishment is over, you may train with me some, while you are here. I look forward to sparring *properly* with you."

She smiled. "Thank you, cousin. And thank you for the food."

He got up, peered out the door, and then slipped away.

Éowyn went back to bed. Morning, and all those pots, would be coming all too soon.

The next morning Éowyn woke all on her own, before it was quite light. In spite of the bite of food brought by her cousin, she was ravenous. She put on the oldest of the dresses she had brought with her, and headed down to the kitchens. This would not be much fun, but it was only for a day, and would soon be over. Maybe if she told herself that often enough, she would believe it.

The head cook had been alerted by the mistress to expect this wayward girl, and she gestured for Éowyn to sit down with the servants for breakfast. It consisted of porridge, sausages, bread, jam and fruit juice, and she ate her fill.

As soon as she had finished, she was directed over to the large sink, where there were piled a mountain of dirty dishes and pots. Heaving a sigh, she set to doing the unpleasant work. It was not long before her face was covered in soot, and her hair fallen into her eyes. It seemed that the pile never diminished. For every dish that she washed, it seemed another was added to the pile.

She was working very slowly, for her arm was stiff and painful, as was her leg, where she had been bruised. One more reason to remember why armor was a good idea.

"Good morning, my dears!" said a cheerful and unfamiliar male voice, with a strange accent.

She cast a glance back, and saw that the bard had entered the kitchen.

She turned back around hurriedly. She hoped he would not notice her.

"Master Menelcar!" cried the head cook. "Please have a seat, and I will bring you some breakfast."

"For the price of a song of course?" he laughed.

"Well, we would not say no to a bit of a song if you cared to give us one when you have finished breaking your fast."

Éowyn turned all her attention to the mounting pile of crockery. Perhaps he would not see her there. She listened as the kitchen staff plied him with food, and easy banter. It seemed they *had* forgotten she was there, after all.

After a while, another pile of dishes was placed at her elbow, and she sighed. Then she heard the sound of a harp, and the bard's voice was raised quite pleasantly in song. She found herself working more quickly and easily to the sound of the music.

But all too soon the songs came to an end. The minstrel excused himself and left the kitchen, and Éowyn wished that he would have gone on much longer.

But at least she had had an opportunity to hear the bard after all. Suddenly, she felt a bit guilty. She knew that Éothain had also been looking forward to hearing him, but her cousin would have no chance to do so.

There was a break from the pot scrubbing as luncheon was served. Éowyn sat at the table and ate the bowl of soup and chunk of bread she had been provided. When she rose once more to her task, she was as stiff and sore as she could ever remember being. The afternoon dragged, but finally her aunt entered the kitchen.

Leofgifu spoke to the head cook. "Has she performed her tasks satisfactorily?"

"Aye, Mistress, she has worked hard all day, and without complaint."

Leofgifu smiled then. "Éowyn, you may go to your chamber now. I have had a bath prepared for you, and a tray will be brought up to you with your evening meal. Tomorrow your punishment is ended. I hope that you have learned from this. Next time you have the desire for some swordplay, please tell me."

Éowyn felt tears sting, and she blinked them back. "Thank you, Aunt Leofgifu. I am sorry I caused you so much trouble."

Her aunt gave an indulgent chuckle. "Not you alone, niece. I daresay my son bears some of the responsibility as well. Now off to your chamber; I think that a hot bath will do much for your bruises and sore muscles."

It did. As well as the meal and the cup of willow bark tea brought by a servant.

But Éowyn could not help thinking about her cousin. She had had a chance to hear the bard in the kitchen. Éothain had not; and he had so wanted to hear him. She rose from her bed and cracked the door, listening carefully. The evening meal had begun in the great Hall--she could hear the bustle of servants and the murmurs of conversation. Éothain had brought her food the night before. She should do something nice for him.

Slipping quickly into her clothes, she peered out, and then darted down the passageway to her cousin's chamber, where she tapped softly. He cracked the door open, and looked surprised to see her. "Éothain? Do you want to hear the bard?"

"We will be in even more trouble if we are caught."

Éowyn grinned. "Then we should take care *not* to get caught. It is unfair that you not get to hear him sing. I got to listen to him sing in the kitchen, and he was wonderful. I do wish you could hear him as well."

And so the two of them had slipped out, and carefully keeping out of sight they took the back passages until they came near the Hall. It was crowded, and so they managed to find a vantage point next to a tapestry, out of the line of vision of anyone who might know that they were not supposed to be there.

Except for the bard himself. He saw them soon enough, but except for a small smile twitching at his lips, he made no sign that he had seen. He began to sing, and at once everyone was listening raptly.

Menelcar had begun with a couple of songs familiar to the Rohirrim, stirring songs of battle and valor. But then he began to sing songs new to them, though old perhaps in other places, songs unknown of the Elves and the High Men of lost Westernesse; then, as those listening had begun to feel themselves lost in those far-off times and lands and ancient sorrows, he suddenly changed again, to jolly, merry, rollicking tunes. They were songs of food and drink and good cheer such as the two cousins had never before heard, and they had many toes tapping. He sang a number of those songs without stopping, and then paused, to announce one last song.
There was no doubt he was looking right at the cousins, for he tipped them a wink before he began to sing.

"Let ancient prophesies relate,
Concerning King and Kingdom's fate--"

They had taken that as their signal to slip away. They returned to their chambers, and no one else ever realized that they had been there.

Éomer had listened in bemusement as his sister and their cousin finished the story. "And why did I never know all of this before?" he asked.

Éowyn laughed. "Because, dear brother, by the time you came back it was all old news." She shook her head. "But I don't know why it took me so long to remember Menelcar."

Her cousin grinned. "Well, we never got a chance to actually speak to him. Nor did we ever see him any closer than about ten feet away."

"I wonder did he remember me? But I have changed a good deal since I was fifteen."

Éomer shrugged. "If he does, he will doubtless tell you."

His sister blushed. "I am not too sure I want him to remember me. He did not see me at my best."


*AUTHOR’S NOTE: Marigold suggested that I put a footnote with the dates of “my” hobbits’ birthdays. Frodo’s of course, is canon, and is given as September 22 ( or Mersday, 22 Halimath, in the Shire Calendar). It is hinted in the Tale of Years, but not stated as fact, that Sam’s birthday could have been April 6, but I have chosen to interpret that differently for plot purposes, and make his birthday May 7 ( or Sunday, 7 Thrimidge in the Shire Calendar). My Merry’s birthday is February 14 (or Monday, 14 Solmath in the Shire Calendar) and my Pippin’s birthday is April 1 ( or Sterday, 1 Astron in the Shire Calendar). Those dates were chosen both for symbolic significance and for plot purposes.


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