1. Strange Arrival
- Late Spring May, SR 2957 -
Theoden peered into the dim chamber. He was pleased to find a rather long lumpy shape on the bed. With he exaggerated stealth of a nine year old, he leapt onto the bed with a wild yell. The man on the bed groaned in pain but did not wake. The nurse, hearing the din, found the young prince frozen at the sight of his victim.
"'Tis not Fastred!" he cried indignantly. "Why is he in Fastred's bed?"
The nurse quickly snatched him off her charge and marched the young prince to the breakfast table, to face judgment from his rather forbidding parent. There, he found his intended victim wide awake, eating breakfast. The very same breakfast he was about to be banned from. And predictably, his father was not pleased with the nurse's account of his misdeed and sentenced him to help nurse tend the stranger for a week.
Theoden sat on the high chair with his legs swinging and hitting the chair leg with a rhythmic thud. His tummy growled ferociously. He, in turn, scowled ferociously at the cause of his current predicament. The stranger was a young man and looked much like a Gondorrim, only darker. He has the characteristic raven black hair and angled features. And he had rather heroic bandages bound around his head, arm and chest. And by heroic, he meant the stark red patches of blood that had seeped through the bandages. He wondered if the stranger might be dead. He might have killed the man with his weight. That eroded his resolve to dislike this man further. His tummy growled again and he decided he would not like this man as long as he was hungry.
Fastred finally came to rescue him from starvation with some bread and cheese. He was relieved that Fastred was not angry with him. And since it was rather hard to hold a grudge with a full stomach, he decided to forgive the stranger too.
"Fastred, how long will he sleep here? Where will you sleep?"
"He will stay here until he is well. For as long as he wishes. I am moving out of Meduseld."
"Why? Where are you going?"
"To my new home, little one, now that it is ready."
"I will come to Meduseld and to court. And I'll come visit you as often as I can. Is that all right?"
"But ..." Try as he might, he could not muster any protest to this new development. And being a prince, it is improper for him to throw tantrums to get his way. Heaving a long resigned sigh, he nodded miserably. This was turning into a worse day indeed.
"Well, Fastred, what happened?"
"My Lord, from what I gathered from the steaders, the steading was raided by orcs. Two strangers they did not know came to help them defend the steading. Both are men of great prowess and rallied the steaders to them.
"They had beaten the orcs when a new and larger band came. These fell upon their lines and overrun the barricades. One was killed and the other is here, badly wounded. The steaders know neither their names nor whence they came."
"Question him when he wakes. Then, when he is hail enough, send him to me."
"Yes, Sire. There's more, Sire."
"What is it?"
"Until yesterday, the two strangers had not approached any of our people. But they had been seen by other steadings before, all in West Emnet. Sometimes, they hear noises at night and in the morning, find carcasses of wargs and orcs. Baldor, who has just come from Fords of Isen, said he had seen the two men for about three months now, usually at dusk. The outriders called the tall young one the Eagle, the same man that is now our guest."
On the second day, the stranger finally woke. Theoden, who had been rearranging his bed clothes, jumped back with a barely suppressed squeak when confronted with a suddenly opened clear grey eyes. Soon, Nurse was brought in, followed by the Marshal Fastred.
Theoden was barred from the room and the presence of Fastred's guard outside the door prevented him from eavesdropping. He sulked for a bit, then remembered Fastred will most certainly report the interview to his father.
"He does not remember his name, Sire, nor the attack at the steading."
"Can we trust his words?" asked Thengel.
"There are no deceptions in his speech and manner, Sire. He spoke Westron, but with a strange accent, different from the men of Gondor. His speaks like a man of learning. He is not common bandit or vagabond."
"The men at the steading spoke of the stranger's great skill with bow and blade. Both he and his companion."
"I've examined their arms, Sire. They are very well made and well used. Certainly not made by Gondor or the Mark. If the rumours are true, I should like to test his blade work myself."
"And if you are satisfied with his horsemanship next, you would like to have him in your company," Thengel rejoined with a laugh. "Very well, Fastred, if he is agreeable, you may recruit him into your eored. It will be a kindness to him, if he truly has no where else to go."
"Thank you, Sire."
"One more thing, Fastred, he is a stranger to us. And we know little about him than what he chose to tell us. Do not speak of his companion until he brought it up. Let it be a test of his honesty and worthiness."
In 2957, the canon characters are :
Age - Name
09 - Theoden, son of Thengel
26 - Aragorn, son of Arathorn
36 - Morwen of Lossarnach, mother of Theoden
53 - Thengel, son of Fengel, King of Rohan
1. (TTT - Theoden : See that he /Wormtongue/ does no harm to any, but do not hurt him or hinder him. Give him a horse, if he wishes it.) Despite what Wormtongue had done to him and betrayed him, Theoden seems to forgive easily.
2. Fastred - OC. Thengel's closest friend who followed him to Gondor and back again. A Marshal of Rohan.