Disclaimer: I don't own anything from J.R.R. Tolkien's works. I'd be happy to own them if they would be given to me for free...only possible in my dreams, but by Eru I have my right to dream whatever my subconscious would throw at me!
A/N: Inspired by Massacre at the Fords of Isen scene from the Special Extended Edition of The Two Towers (scenes from the movie are not verbatim on purpose). This is PG-13 because there will be certain descriptions of sicknesses and other things. I might be overdoing it, but I'm just being safe. Review, please! I feel so sad when I don't get lots of reviews! Maybe that's why I'm writing sad fics all the time! Come on, help me out here!
-- Italicized wordsare flashbacks. --
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Éomer gripped the reigns of his horse tightly as he lead on the soldiers. He could hear them murmuring pessimistic things, cursing everything they could think of. He tried to keep calm in his mind as he rode through the forest towards the Fords of Isen. The smell of blood came to his nose faintly from the obstructing rain. He was not sure from which direction it came. Peering earnestly with his tired eyes, he tried to find something as a sign of hope.
All that came to his eyes were the black of trees, grey of cloudy sky and rain.
Soon the search party came near the Fords, for they heard the current flowing weakly. Éomer urged on his horse, bidding everyone follow him. When they reached the water, the sight made his stomach churn. Carcasses of Orcs were mixed with bodies of dead Rohirrim, the river of Isen flowing pink with blood.
" Find the King's Son!" Éomer shouted. Others dismounted and went on in search by foot, carefully picking their way through the mess. Many grimaced as they saw the familiar faces of dead comrades, faces very pale from lifelessness. One cried out, " Mordor will pay for this!"
Éomer looked at a cadaver.
" These Orcs are not from Mordor."
He knotted his brows in anger as he glared at the Orc's hideous face. Ordering one soldier to pick up an Orc's helm, he went on looking about.
" Lord Éomer! Over here!"
The Third Marshal's heart almost stopped when he heard a soldier motioned for him. He ran at first, then slowed as he dreaded the worst. He carefully turned over a body wearing an elaborate armor. His face turned pale at the thought of what might have happened.
" He is still alive," he said as he looked at his cousin's face. Blood and dirt on the regal face could not hide the pain that was engraved in every wrinkle of the grimace. Éomer found his heart slowly beating again.
Soldiers quickly mounted their steeds as one helped Éomer place the body before him. The search party rode away in haste as they completed their mission, yet still saddened by what they found. It did not ease their minds.
They rushed past the gate guards and peasants, only one thing on their minds. Peasants gasped in terror as they saw the prince in such state, fearing that all was lost. If the Orcs defeated the Prince of Rohan, what would keep them from overthrowing the feeble king upon his golden throne?
Servants of the royal household came to aid, helping the prince off the horse and in to his room. Éomer wished to follow them, but his feet would not move as he desired. So much blood and death he seen, but this struck at him with a deadly blow. His dear cousin, the only son of the King of Rohan, was gravely wounded - possibly beyond healing arts.
He finally coerced himself to walk to his cousin's room, finding servants busy going out of the room to prepare things. They were to bring in basins of hot water, bandages, sheets, and medicines. Éomer first hesitated in entering, thinking that he would only find it too bitter to watch. Still, he managed to force his legs to move one at a time. A servant bumped into him in haste, forgetting to apologize to the king's nephew. Éomer did not mind. His mind was too numb from the sight he saw. Théodred lay still in bed, so silent.
" Please, Prince Théodred! Please come back to bed!" The nanny shouted. She sat in frustration, too tired and mad to chase after the young boy. Adolescent Théodred ran and laughed in triumph, so proud that he had managed to escape the nanny. He did not wish to sleep so early while his father stayed up so late. He very wished to be just like his father, brave, intelligent, and admirable. Théodred wished to play with his father.
" Please come to bed, my prince!"
Éomer laughed as he saw Théodred wave around his wooden sword, pretending to fight the nanny. The young prince could never keep still, even in sleep.
' How has it come to this? How have they broken your spirit?' He thought. The energetic prince somehow lay still without a sound, his face so pale from the blood he lost. Éomer went closer despite his terror, sitting by the bedside. The deathly face was so close to his own now. It was so close that he felt as if he was looking into a mirror. Beads of cold sweat clung to the flesh, moistening the dried flakes of blood.
Suddenly the door swung open, revealing Éowyn in despair. She ran up to the bed, tears in her beautiful eyes. Sorrow encircled the pale orbs, diminishing her beauty. Lifting the armor, Éowyn took a look at the wound on Théodred's stomach. The flesh was shredded and tattered, moist with crimson blood. It ever flowed from the hollow hole, soaking the white sheets Théodred lay on. An infection already took place in the wound. Gangrene and pooling blood smelled so foul that Éowyn soon rose and stood a bit away. Éomer was too numb in all of his senses to smell it. His young sister swallowed hard and tried to hold back her tears.
Servants now returned with the things, quickly cleaning the wound and the prince's face. Théodred appeared whiter. His lips began to carry a tinge of blue.
" Lord Éomer, Lady Éowyn, you should not see this," said someone as he led the two siblings out of the room. They only peered at their dear cousin as the door closed before their face.
A nurse carefully wiped around the wound with a damp cloth. She jumped back in fright when the prince cringed his handsome face and moaned painfully. Éomer and Éowyn gasped as they heard the pitiful sound. The doctor motioned for her to continue. Another placed a cold cloth over the forehead, then felt the pulse.
When the nurse had finished cleaning around the wound, the doctor took her place and grabbed a fresh cloth. He looked at the wound carefully, then dabbed some blood onto his finger. Smelling it, his eyes went wide. The poison from the Orc's scimitar had spread quite a bit already. Looking at the wound once again, he contemplated whether or not he should clean the wound of the poison that still clung to the ragged flesh. The blood and other bile would soon have to be cleaned for the funeral anyway, he decided. It may also keep the prince alive before the king would come and see him, he thought. It was too late to save the young prince from his certain doom.
He prayed silently, asking forgiveness for what he was about to do.
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A/N: Ah, the suspense! Next chapter is not for the fainthearted (oh, so bloody)! More flashbacks coming soon to explain some things that we are all wondering about Éomer. Review now to let me know what you think of this so far! ;)