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Ch. 11- Admissions of the Heart
Prince Imrahil had been waiting in the interior courtyard waiting for Aragorn and Faramir. They were going to speak of a few matters of diplomacy presenting themselves concerning Umbar now that Umbar had made overtures of relations beyond that of raiding the coastline near to Dol Amroth. He smiled mirthlessly. It seems that after Sauron had been defeated Umbar was far more interested in peace than in trouble. As he pondered this new reality another new reality seemed to be forming right above his head. He heard his daughter’s voice from above. He looked up and was about to call to her but the sight above stopped his voice. He saw Éomer King standing at the railing and then looking toward his daughter’s voice. He could no longer hear what was being said but the look on Éomer’s face was most intense. And then something happened that every fatherly instinct shouted out to stop but he somehow managed to restrain himself. Éomer had just kissed his daughter. His more rational instincts said that the kiss had been mutual but rationality when it came to his beloved daughter was often in short supply.
“Well, an interesting turn of events.” A voice interrupted a father’s desire to storm the battlements and demand satisfaction. Imrahil looked to his side. Aragorn stood looking up at the unfolding scene, “Very interesting!” he added with surprise. Imrahil looked up and saw Éomer sweep Lothíriel up in his arms. He started for the nearest staircase but a soft engaging giggle from above stopped him. It seems that Lothíriel was in no immediate danger.
He looked at Aragorn, impotent fatherly fury waging war with his reason, “But they only just met! Last night at dinner!”
Aragorn looked at Imrahil and said in a knowing voice, “Sometimes one meeting is all that is needed…” His mind cast back to a forest glen somewhere in Imladris, decades before, when he lost his heart to Arwen.
Prince Imrahil stood in that courtyard looking at his king and feeling moments of life rushing past him. Every fiber of his being wanted to put a stop to what he had just seen. He wanted to stop time. He wanted to keep a hold of his little girl just a little longer. He had rejoiced in the fact that she had seemed uninterested in the suitors that her mother had paraded in front of her. Much to her mother’s chagrin, Lothíriel seemed unmoved, more interested in her horses, her archery, her charitable works around Dol Amroth than in any marriageable prospects. He had laughed gently at his wife’s attempts to beguile her daughter. She was his little girl, the youngest of their children. He suddenly felt old. he told himself that maybe perhaps it was only a passing fancy.
The next morning, however, he knew differently. After breakfast in the upstairs dining room where family and close friends gathered, once Lothíriel had left with Arwen and Éowyn, Éomer rose from his seat across the table and walked purposefully towards Imrahil. He stood at his chair and bowed slightly and upon straightening he said, “My Lord Prince, I would speak with you on a matter of great importance to me. If you would be so kind.” Éomer nodded again awaiting an answer. Imrahil knew of what he wished to say, or at least the subject he wished to broach and he wished to the Valar he knew a way to delay but in his heart he knew could not.
“My Lord King, are you at leisure now?” He stated figuring to get it over with though it weighed heavy on his heart.
“I am,” the younger man stated, intensity flowing from him in waves.
“Let us step onto the balcony,” Imrahil motioned to the bay doors that stood off to the side.
Once upon the balcony that ran the length of the second floor, Imrahil closed the doors. Éomer stood with his lips pursed as if unable to decide upon his words. Strain shown upon his brow and he stood silent. Imrahil simply waited for the young man to begin.
At length Éomer started, “I am a man of few words, at least not the ‘pretty ones’ that are required for such a precious task. I shall speak plainly and then I shall endeavor to follow with more words after the essentials are established. I love your daughter.” He admitted emphatically.
Imrahil’s eyebrows shot up, “And yet you have only just met.” But his heart heard the word “precious” used. He looked upon Éomer with new eyes, perhaps he saw the beauty of Lothíriel’s soul. It was all that Imrahil as a father could hope for his beloved daughter. A man who would value Lothíriel for the gift that she was.
“Yes, I know that.” Éomer stated in clipped terms. “But in ways that I cannot even explain she is essential to my heart. I know not the fancy words to dress up what is in my heart but only to say she is kind and fierce at the same time. She has a fire for life that matches my own.” He ended passionately.
Imrahil was surprised that the younger man could have described Lothíriel's heart so perfectly, and on so short an acquaintance. He met Éomer’s gaze to take what he hoped could be an honest appreciation of what he saw there. Éomer held his look with equanimity. What he saw both pleased and dismayed him. He saw confusion but genuine emotion. He saw respect and he saw love. Éomer, he knew, by reputation, was an honorable warrior and a good leader who inspired love in his men. He was dismayed, selfishly, because he knew that he had lost his little girl to this good man. Pursing his lips before speaking Imrahil said, “What is that you are asking of me? That I could not have guessed already having accidently viewed yesterday at the railing?”
Éomer stopped short dropping his eyes respectfully. “My lord I have no explanation for that.” He looked up, eyes filled with concern at what Imrahil would think, “We met on accident. It was not my intention to dishonor your daughter in any way. It is why I am speaking to you now. I wish for your permission to pay court to your daughter. I wish to do things properly. To honor her and you.”
“Have you spoken to my daughter about your wishes. Does she share this desire?”
“Yes, My lord. I have!” Éomer stated emphatically, “And yes she does!”
“Indeed.” Imrahil countered, raising his eyebrows again. Éomer opened his mouth and then shut it again, words did not come. But his eyes told the story. In his eyes Lothíriel’s father saw the truth of Éomer’s emotions. He would make a fine and worthy husband. Damn him for taking his daughter away from him. He quickly silenced that selfish voice that wanted to keep his daughter by his side; that was not the way of things. He smiled a sad smile, “Be at ease, my Lord. If I had any doubts you have allayed them. It is only mine to give permission but for Lothíriel to give her heart. And she knows her own heart and mind amply well.”
Éomer genuinely smiled at that, “That she does, my lord. That she does.”
“But she is still young yet. Can a father ask for a little time?”
Éomer nodded, fist on heart, looking up he held Imrahil’s eye, “Thank you.”
Lothíriel was as nervous as a cat as the three women sat in Arwen’s spacious solar finalizing wedding plans. Éomer said that he was going to talk to her father about courting her as it was only proper but she had no idea what her father was going to say. There had been other suitors with the express intent of bidding on her hand. That phrase had always sat ill with her, as she was a prize philly to be awarded to the best stable. She had found none the young “stallions” or rather “colts”, to extend the metaphor further, to her liking much to her mother’s chagrin and more to her father’s secret amusement. But there was a world of difference between those young men and Éomer.
Éowyn looked at Lothíriel, “My dear, you seem a little anxious this morning.”
Lothíriel looked at her new friend and gently chewed her lower lip, “Éomer has gone to speak to my father for permission to court me.” Éowyn’s eyebrows shot up, “We know it is too soon for anything other than courtship but I still don’t how my father is going to react.”
Éowyn exchanged glances with Arwen. The elven Queen of Gondor said, “For some it might be considered rushing, for others not-so-much.” She smiled again in that mystically elven way, “It only took one chance meeting for Estel and I. We met in a forest glen in Imladris. One moment and,” Again a look of infinite sadness crossed her face, but she brushed it aside as quickly as she could, “We had to wait, of course. I was Elfkind and Estel is mortal.” Arwen again paused about to say more but she simply ended, “It was not generally done.” Whatever hurt had Arwen been given dealt with her marriage but Éowyn knew that some things simply could not be said before time, if ever.
Éowyn took up the tale to deflect away from whatever pain Arwen was trying to conceal. Everyone had a right to their privacy. “Faramir and I met in the Houses of Healing. We had both been seriously injured and both healed by Aragorn. At the time I was unready to accept anyone’s love. My life had been shrouded by doubt and regret. I could not see past my own misery and sorrow to see what was in front of me. I had gone forth to die in battle. I could see nothing beyond that. But Faramir,” Éowyn spoke the name with such love that it almost brought tears to Lothíriel’s, “he saved me, with kindness and gentleness and more patience than I have ever known before or after, he guided me to a path that lead past the desire to die in battle.” She smiled ruefully, “And I still could not accept what he was giving so freely. I would not let him say what was in his heart.”
“Then what happened,” Lothíriel asked quietly.
“She asked me to stay away. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but it was what she wanted.” Faramir said softly as he stood at the doorway, looking at Éowyn with love in his eyes. He walked forward, only having eyes for Éowyn seated at the large table covered with wedding maps and plans.
Éowyn’s eyes glowed as she smiled at her soon-to-be-husband, holding out her hand to him, “I remember saying, “The City grows so cold, it never feels warm anymore,”* she said looking into the gentle blue eyes that captured her heart.
“It is only the damp of the first spring rain. I do not believe this darkness will last,” Faramir murmured only having eyes for Éowyn, “Can you love me? Will not you love me?”* He caressed her cheek. Moments passed.
“I cannot believe I held out as long as I did,” Éowyn said, “Asking you to stay away. I was just so lost.”
“Not to worry, I will never lose you again!” Faramir said.
There was a knock on the side panel, which brought them out of the past of their reverie and into the present day.
A servant trundled in with a tea service. “Tea, my Lady!”
Arwen smiled happily as she had watched two good people being in love, as she walked forward to the tea on the tray. “Faramir, would you stay and share tea with us?”
“No, no. I can’t stay,” Faramir quickly averred, “In fact I was sent on a mission to find Lothíriel.”
“Me?” Lothíriel asked.
“Yes, I sent to say someone waits for you by the railing.” Faramir informed her with a big smile on his face.
Lothíriel blushed and then sprung up from her chair causing it to fling back violently. She blushed again and tried to right the chair, Arwen stopped her, “Never mind that. Just go!” she said, shooing the young girl towards the door, the happiness evident in her voice.
Lothíriel ran to the downstairs railing where they had talked yesterday. She stopped as she saw Éomer standing at the railing looking over the inner courtyard. He turned when he heard her approach. He smiled and said, “I see you are wearing a proper fitting dress this time, and are you wearing shoes?”
Smiling, Lothíriel lifted up her skirts to show soft pink kid leather shoes, “Yes, My lord! Do they meet with your approval?” she teased as she closed the gap between them.
“Oh my, but yes indeed,” as he caressed her cheek with a battle callused hand, staring deeply into her eyes. “I have spoken to your father.”
“Yes…and what does he says,” Lothíriel said distractedly as she was staring at his lips thinking how she wanted a repeat of the kiss from the day before.
“He said,” Éomer was distracted by the scent of lavender and rose that he had come to associate with Lothíriel. “That…” He was staring at her lips very much wanting a repeat of that kiss from the day before. He bent in ever so slightly and Lothíriel leaned in and their lips met in a kiss of promise and affirmation.
The kiss having ended Lothíriel stared into Éomer’s intense blue eyes, “Yep! Definitely a life changing experience!”
Éomer smiled, “Glad to know that you approve! Because there will be a lot more of those coming.”
Lothíriel’s smile was brighter and more joyful than anything in Éomer’s life before this, “I will then assume that my father was accepting of your intentions.”
“I abased myself and he acquiesced to my intentions.”
“He didn’t accuse you of stealing his little girl?” Lothíriel teased.
“It was implied in every word, but he did not in particular level that charge.”
Lothíriel looked in Éomer’s eyes and realised that she had found her life and it was leading her away from Dol Amroth and the sea. Away from her life as was and onto what will be.
* quote from either film or book
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