Chapter 4 – The Lovers Are Discovered
The lovers broke their embrace and they both took one step away from each other. Before them stood the displeased King Éomer; the figures behind him were the Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth, and his daughter the Lady Lothíriel.
The Steward gulped, and nodded to each person. "King Éomer, Uncle, Cousin. I did not expect your company."
Imrahil laughed heartily; obviously, the couple's embarrassing situation had amused him greatly. "Nephew! What shameful conduct for a Steward of Gondor! What would my sister say if she saw you doing this?"
Faramir grinned at his uncle, trying to conjure a clever response. "I believe my mother would have said that I was madly in love with Éowyn, much like when the mortal Beren first beheld the enchanting beauty of the Elf Lúthien Tinúviel. And she would have thought it was adorable!"
The Prince of Dol Amroth chuckled again. Éomer, on the other hand, was not so cheerful; he was appalled by the couple's inappropriate behaviour. Angrily eyeing his sibling's betrothed, he gave the young Steward a stern warning. "We wondered where you two had gone. You are quite free with my sister, Lord Faramir. Alone with her under the moonlight, with no chaperone! May I remind you that you are not married to her, yet. Explain your disgraceful conduct!"
Faramir avoided the King's gaze by staring at the ground, not knowing how he should respond to calm down his future brother in-law. He realized that nothing he could say would placate Éomer. After contemplating his condition, the Prince of Ithilien decided that it was wisest not to utter anything at all. Éowyn became concerned, for although Éomer was a powerful warrior, she knew from the first moment she had beheld the Lord Faramir at the Houses of Healing that no Rider of the Mark could outmatch him in battle. The King of Rohan started to move towards the Steward, and Éowyn could read in his features that he intended to force a response out of her future husband. Fortunately, she decided to intervene before their feud became any worse.
"Brother!" The Lady of Rohan stepped in between her betrothed and her sibling, her face teeming with defiance. "You are so overprotective! Who do you think defeated the Witch-King? I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself! You should not concern yourself with the Lord Faramir. For he is the kindest and most honourable man that I have ever met!" She then made quick glance at Lothíriel, then to the King of Rohan, and finally settled her eyes on the Prince Imrahil, masterfully plotting her revenge.
"Lord Imrahil," she stated formally. "It did not escape my attention how oft my brother and your daughter glanced at each other throughout the festivities whenever your back was turned. They sought my company after the feast to disguise their growing fondness. You should keep a watchful eye on them." The Dol Amroth Prince seemed extremely stunned by this news, and when he looked at Éomer, the King blushed while Lothiriel giggled lightly.
After an awkward pause, Éomer finally opened his mouth and hesitantly said, "Éowyn, you have won. This time." After he had nodded his head to acknowledge his defeat to his sister, the three of them walked back to the city gates. No doubt Lord Imrahil was discussing what must be done with the objectionable behaviour of the Rohirrim King and his daughter.
Alone again, Éowyn rested her head firmly against Faramir's shoulder while they held hands. Strands of their raven and golden hair mingled together with the cool breeze. She was secretly pleased with her victory and grinned with satisfaction. She could not help but notice that her future husband was staring at her lovingly, as if he was admiring her valiant nature.
"You were absolutely magnificent, my Lady." The Steward raised her hands to his lips and placed a soft kiss on each of them.
The White Lady of Rohan beamed at her Lord's compliment . "I know."
"How fortunate I am to be with a woman who could outwit both the King of Rohan and the Prince of Dol Amroth!"
She stared at him with amusement. "I thought you were the one who was supposed to be witty and wise!"
Faramir pretended to be offended by her words. "Éowyn, you know I was merely having a bad day."
The lovers laughed merrily. And as they stargazed together, both thought how impatient they were for their wedding day.
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