Chapter fic! Grima/Eowyn, what else? Don't own em. Never will. Hopefully, someday, I will own Grima, though, and then there shall be much rejoicing .. yay..

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I. Loneliness

Éowyn daughter of Éomund stood in front of the mirror in her bower, carefully brushing her golden hair.

Thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty... she counted in her head, remembering how as a child she had counted one hundred strokes without fail each night and morn. She was no child now, and was hardly paying attention to her hair for beauty's sake, for now it was merely out of lack of other things with which to occupy her time.

She missed Éomer sorely; it had been a full ten days since the Wormtongue had banished him from Edoras. Théoden her uncle was dead of will, aged before his time by something she did not fully understand. She only knew Wormtongue and the wizard of Orthanc were behind it. Théoden failed to acknowledge her presence when she spoke to him, and even when she took his wrinkled hands in hers and beseeched him to say something, anything, he showed no sign of the ability or desire to do so.

As the people who cared for her were stolen away – Théoden, Théodred, Éomer – her hope had dwindled. It was over. Wormtongue and his master Saruman had won. It infuriated her how ignorant the rest were. Did they not see that their villages and even the Golden Hall itself would burn if they stood idly by? The guards were good men who recognised the Worm as untrustworthy, and yet as long as the king sought the aid of his councilor they would not harm the creature.

Such restraint would destroy them all.

Fifty-one, fifty-two...

Éowyn stopped, her hand and the brush dropping to her side. She studied her reflection carefully. Her face was paler than usual from worry, and circles were beginning to stain the skin beneath her eyes as a result of her troubled sleep. The White Lady of Rohan was gone, and in her stead was only a stern princess, shrunken in beauty but grown in grim resolution.

A wry smile flitted across her lips. There was one other who cared for her – if it could be fathomed that a serpent cared for the one object of prey it could never catch, that the cat cared for the mouse it toyed with.

Wormtongue had often told her that she was fair, and once or twice had ventured to say beautiful or even radiant. Never had he said that she was brave, or strong, or worthy of song. Clearly it was only for her looks that he desired her.

She put the brush down and mussed up her hair, undoing her careful grooming. She looked in the mirror once more, satisfied to see that the face that looked back at her was not too far from what she had looked like before she was up and dressed.

Now she was ready to face the dreariness of the world.

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Painfully short, I know. But I have seven more chapters already written and I plan on making this fic about ten total. Review and chapter two will be up sooner!