Disclaimer: Most of the characters in this story were created by Tolkien, master of all that is Middle Earth. However, a few of them come from my own brain, inspired by him, of course. I'm sure you will know the difference.

Author's Notes: Well, the majority asked, and the majority shall recieve. This story is a continuation of my first LotR story, "A Love Beyond All Fear." It would help to read that one first, but it isn't totally necessary. Because so many people seemed to enjoy it, I decided to go ahead and tell the story of the children. I hope you like it as much. Don't worry, the original characters will make plenty of appearances. Happy reading! And many thanks.

Dedication: For my father, who thought LotR made wonderful bedtime stories for his children, and is therefore the source of whatever creativity I possess.

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The Power of Two

by Kristen Elizabeth

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"Do you intend to rise anytime time soon, sister, or shall I be forced to invent an excuse for you, rather than tell Mother and Father that you stole away from the house late last night to go riding, and did not return until dawn?"

A head of hopelessly tangled blond curls poked out from underneath a woven quilt. Mustering up the most withering scowl that her tired, bloodshot eyes could manage, Edoawen of Ithilien snapped back, "You would like to, wouldn't you?"

"You know that is not true." Her twin, Elioclya, was putting the finishing touches on her own flaxen locks, although they were immaculately groomed, pulled away from her beautiful face in perfect braids tied with ribbons that matched her pale blue gown. Once she was done, she put her hands on her hips. "Although it is true that I take no pleasure in covering up your misadventures."

Abashed, Edaowen fought her way out from under the warm covers of her bed. "It is not fair. You have no secrets that I could keep for you…in exchange for your silence about mine."

"I have never let slip your secrets." The youngest of the pair sat on the edge of her sister's bed with all the grace of the Elven Queen Arwen. "And I never will."

"I know." Edoawen sighed heavily. "Of course, if I were Elboron, there would be no need to keep any secrets. When he lived in this house, he came and went as he pleased, no matter what the hour or in whose company he happened to be. And I am certain he does all that and more in Minas Tirith." She paused. "With Prince Elboron."

Elioclya tilted her head to one side, studying her sister. It was like staring into a looking glass. At seventeen years of age, the twins had grown into great beauties with their waist-length golden hair that reminded everyone of their mother, but with the soulful eyes of their father. They were absolutely identical, down to the small beauty marks beneath their right eyes, just below the dark fringe of their lashes.

Yet there had never been any trouble identifying which girl was which, at least not for those who knew them at all. Their physical appearance was exactly where they ceased to be at all similar. Where Elioclya was everything a lady was brought up to be, Edoawan prided herself on the fact that if it weren't for her slender body, long hair and feminine features, she could pass for any well-trained soldier.

"Do you truly envy our brother? He bears many burdens, not the least of which will be our father's title upon his passing. I should not like that responsibility."

"I might," Edoawen replied, her scowl reappearing. "But it will never happen. Even if…" She stopped and placed her hand over her heart for a moment. "…Valar forbid…something were to happen to Elboron, there is still Théodan."

Elioclya smiled at the mere mention of their other brother, the youngest of the offspring of their parents, Faramir, Prince of Ithilien, and Lady Éowyn. The nearly fifteen year-old boy held a special place in her heart as he was her only younger sibling, and therefore the only one she felt ever looked up to her. "He is tremendously excited about the journey to Minas Tirith. You would think he had never seen the White City."

"Please do not remind me about this," Edoawen groaned. "I had hoped to talk Father into allowing me to stay behind, but Mother said going was a duty and I could not escape it."

"I confess, I am glad. I am quite looking forward to having our entire family reunited. Even if it means you shall have to suffer a bit." Her twin stood, and Edoawen couldn't help but notice that there was not a single wrinkle in her beautiful gown. Had it been her, the material probably would have caught a loose nail in the bed frame and ripped to the point of indecency. It was for this reason exactly that she wanted to stay in her family's comfortable home in Emyn Arnen where she could get away with wearing men's clothing. In Minas Tirith, she would be in the company of Elessar-king's family and court, as well as those of her mother's brother, Éomer, King of Rohan and various noble families of both countries.

In short, she would have to wear a dress and keep it clean. Every day.

Over the years, the twins had come to a mutual agreement that whenever Eliocyla attempted to help her sister adjust to the life at court that she hated so much by teaching her what she knew about etiquette, small talk, hairstyles and dance steps, Edoawen would invariably pretend to pay close attention, while her mind wandered where it would. The same was true of Elioclya whenever her twin talked about horses, swords, archery and Ranger's skills. It served both of their purposes and did nothing to alter either their own personalities, or their deep affection for one another. Even now, as Elioclya prattled on about the banquet that was to be thrown in honor of the reunion of what remained of the Great Fellowship, Edoawen found herself planning how to avoid the festivities without angering her parents.

"Come on," Elioclya interrupted her thoughts. "Father wishes to leave following breakfast, so that we might reach the City before sunset." She watched her sister pull herself out of bed. "Would you like my help in choosing a gown?"

"Do you think I cannot choose one for myself?"

Hurt colored Elioclya's expression. "I merely offered." A moment passed. "Do not be late to the table."

She had just reached the door when she heard, "Clya!" Edoawen waited for her sister to turn back around. "Perhaps…you could do something with my hair? You know I have no control over it."

With a little smile, her twin nodded. "It would be my pleasure."

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"I have never worn one myself, but I cannot imagine it takes this long to put on a dress." From his place at the head of the dining table, Faramir, Prince of Ithilien looked to his wife. "Or is it merely the fact that we must make haste that keeps our daughters from hurrying?"

Éowyn set down her water goblet and returned the look. "I have little doubt that it took much effort to rouse Edoawen from her bed, as she snuck out to go riding last night."

"Again!" The little lines around her husband's eyes that aged him, but did not mar his handsome face, increased with parental fury. "I have told that girl more times than I can count that she is not to go galloping across the countryside without an escort. Especially at night!"

"Would you keep her caged, my lord?"

His wife's cool question calmed Faramir for the moment. "No, love. I would cage no man. Or woman." His frown reappeared. "But she is not a woman just yet, is she?"

"The girls have blessed our house for seventeen summers," Éowyn reminded him. "You might wish for another seventeen to pass before you let them go, but have you forgotten one of the purposes of this visit to the White City?"

"I have not forgotten." He picked up a piece of bread only to set it down again, his appetite suddenly diminished. "But I tell you, Éowyn, I care not how many titles the noblemen of Gondor or Rohan carry, if they so much as lay a hand on either of my girls…"

"When Clya and Awen marry, they will no longer live with us, will they?"

They had been so caught up in their discussion that they nearly forgot the presence of their youngest son. Théodan sat between them, picking at his food, but listening carefully. He was a child no more, being past his fourteenth birthday, but having been carefully shielded by an older brother, even from the short distance of Minas Tirith, and smothered by two sisters who adored him, Théodan was still, in many ways, innocent.

Éowyn considered her son. He looked ever so much like his father. After passing into manhood, Elboron's looks had changed to reflect the Rohan blood that ran in his veins. But her youngest, she hoped, would always resemble Faramir. "No, they will not. And we shall miss them when they do. But it may not be for several years yet, so there is no need for gloom." She pointed to his plate. "Eat well; the journey will be long."

"Several years," Faramir repeated, his fists balled up tightly. "There is no need to rush the inevitable. Besides, there are few men in the land who can take on our Awen." The statement was spoken with pride, but when the girl in question overheard her father as she and her twin paused on the stairs, out of sight, it sounded quite different. "Although we might say goodbye to Clya too soon, I suspect we shall have Awen around for years to come."

Elioclya glanced at her twin. Her hair was combed and pulled back at the sides and her dress was neat for the moment; she looked every bit a princess. Only she, having shared the same womb with her, could have noticed the slight wobble in her chin. She took Edoawen's hand. "You know Father only means that…"

The wobble vanished as her twin firmly set her jaw. "It matters not. I have no intention of being married off now or ever." Edoawen flashed a weak smile. "And after all, Father is merely stating the truth. What man would have a wild woman, me, when he could have a lady…you?"

"Awen, don't…"

She was cut off again. "I am hungry. And tired of this conversation."

Elioclya watched her sister run down the remaining steps and burst into the dining hall with the force of a summer thunderstorm. Sometimes, she wished she could be as free in her movements as Edoawen, but whenever she tried, she inevitably failed.

Some women put themselves in cages.

****

Riding past what remained of Osgiliath was always painful for Faramir, a fact of which his wife was well aware. As their riding party approached their final destination, Éowyn urged her horse ahead to catch up with her husband. He led his own horse towards Minas Tirith, but his eyes were on the ruins of the city he had fought so hard to save.

"I wish that you could see it as I do," she said, guiding her horse as close to his as she could. With one hand on the reins, Éowyn reached out for his.

"Do you see something more than crumbled stone, my lady?" he asked, his voice blowing in the strong wind. "Something more than failure."

She squeezed his fingers until he was forced to turn his attention to her. "For me, it is a monument of your devotion to your country and its people. It is not a place of failure, but of survival."

After a moment, Faramir brought the back of her hand up to his mouth and kissed it through the delicate leather of her riding gloves. He released her, glancing back at the ruins. "Still, Elessar should have cleared it away years ago. It is an eyesore."

"I believe he may be of the same mind as I am."

"Sentimentalists," he replied, finally smiling. "Both of you."

Many yards behind them, Elioclya sighed softly and shifted in her side-saddle. She enjoyed riding, if she did not have to do it for long distances. The elements were harsh, and even her heavy cape couldn't keep her completely warm. And she did not even want to consider what state her hair might be in after hours in spent in the tossing winds. Fortunately, Minas Tirith was only another thirty minutes or so away, and there would be time to correct the damage before they would be expected to appear before the King.

Meanwhile, Edoawen's dread grew the closer they came to the city. The long, wonderful ride was nearly over, and she would likely not see a horse until it was time for them to depart and return home. She comforted herself with the knowledge that Minas Tirith was a very large place which provided quite a few ways for a body to lose itself for several hours.

"If they do not allow you to go riding by yourself, Awen, I will go with you."

She looked over at Théodan. How was it that her brother was able to know what she was thinking before she even thought it herself? He had ever been perceptive, even as a very small child. And while she had always appreciated having his tiny, but steadfast support, it was a bit disconcerting to think that she might be such an open book for him to read.

"No doubt they could not deny me a ride with so valiant an escort," she told him, winking. "Thank you."

"Mother and Father only fear for your safety," the boy went on. He stared blankly ahead for a moment; the empty look in his eyes sent a cold chill down her spine. "As do I."

Edoawen licked her lips and shook off her apprehension. "Who is the elder here, you or I? Do not worry for me, brother. If I know nothing else, I at least know how to care for myself." Nudging her horse's sides, she galloped ahead, soon passing even her parents. Faramir called to her, but she pretended not to hear. The speed and power…the utter freedom of riding…she would not be slowed down!

Her mother cleared her throat to hide her laughter. "Is her sudden enthusiasm not preferable to dragging her into the King's Hall against her will?"

Faramir watched his eldest daughter, considerably less amused. "She will be the death of me."

****

From the significant height of the Citadel, two young men looked out over the plains that spread out around the White City. Though the approaching riders were but dark spots on the brown grasses, there was little doubt whom they were.

The younger in the pair, but only by six months, smiled broadly. "Father must have been quite strict with my sisters if they left home early enough to be here now." Elboron glanced over at his companion. "Eldarion?"

The Crown Prince, the eldest child of Elessar-king and his Elven wife, Queen Arwen, continued to look down upon the gates of the City, which were being opened to welcome the Prince and his family. "Hmm," he murmured.

Even after two decades of friendship, Elboron never quite knew how anything he said would be received or responded to by his friend…if he would be granted an answer at all. It was the Elf in him, Elboron reasoned. Mystery and composure ran in Eldarion's blood as strongly as his masculine beauty and slightly pointed ears.

Although neither of them thought much on their looks, the women of the court who happened to pass by them when they stood together invariably swooned. Where Elboron was tall and tanned, with eyes the color of a rain cloud and sun-kissed waves that hung to his broad shoulders, Eldarion was just as tall, but with fair skin, black locks that just barely brushed his collar, and a frame made up of sleek, lean muscles. His eyes were those of his mother's kind, and saw far more than his friend ever could.

He was lost in the sight before him, so far down, yet so clear. Eldarion watched the younger of his friend's sisters as a guard helped her down from her horse. Loose strands of gold whipped around her face and her cheeks were pink from the cold, but she was even more beautiful than she had been the last time he saw her, nearly two years past. Princess Eliocyla of Ithilien.

The woman for whose hand he wished to ask.

Eldarion sensed the presence of someone approaching them long before Elboron did. He turned and confronted a face he hadn't seen in several years.

"I knew you would come," the Prince said, very nearly smiling.

His own eyes looked back at him, only far more aged, having seen a thousand more years than his. Legolas of the Woodland Realm nodded at his oldest friend's child. "The winds drew me here."

"And the promise of praise for your great deeds mattered not?" Elboron quipped. When the two pairs of Elven eyes turned on him, he coughed. While he would never back down from Eldarion alone, the Prince of Mirkwood was another matter entirely. "My apologies, Master Elf." With a little bow, he backed away. "Excuse me. I should greet my family."

"He resembles his father's brother," Legolas mused, watching Faramir's son depart. "Is his will stronger?"

Eldarion replied, "It has never been tested. These are times of peace, my teacher. Have you forgotten?"

"Gatherings such as this do not allow me to, even if I wished it so."

The boy whom he had taught when his travels with Gimli, Son of Gloin, found him in Minas Tirith turned and looked back down at the gates. She was no longer within his sight, but at least he knew he would be seeing her again soon.

Legolas stepped forward, taking Elboron's place beside him. "You have given your heart to someone."

"You know this simply by looking at me?" Eldarion asked.

"That…and I spoke with your father upon my arrival." The Elf, who did not look a day older than his pupil, glanced at Aragorn's son. "He tells me you intend to speak to Faramir at the banquet."

Eldarion shook his head. "I wish to. But I have no intentions until I consult the lady herself."

"Last I saw of her, she was quite fair. More so than many of her kind."

"She is fair, yes. Fair and mortal." He closed his eyes briefly. "And I am not sure what I am."

Legolas thought this over for a moment. "It is a wise man who realizes this in his youth, rather than his old age."

"Ah, but I am not a Man, am I? Nor am I one of you, either." A moment passed before Eldarion moved away from the stone wall. "I should like to discover whether the lady can love me, whoever I am, and not just my title. I shall see you at dinner." Nodding at his mentor, he took his leave.

The sun had touched down on the dark peaks of Mordor, coloring the countryside with various shades of reds and oranges before Legolas spoke again. "Many moons shall come and go before you find your answer, young one," he said aloud, though no one was near enough to hear him. "Is your own will strong enough to stand the test?"

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To Be Continued