Was it a love match? Was it arranged? We shall never know but it is such fun imagining. This is the first of two, three or more pieces of nonsense that will offer different scenarios. It is written just for fun, not much is mine. Many thanks to Eirwen for ironing out my mistakes. LB
Afternoon 19 July 3019
The stone was hot; Éomer, gazing out over the plain, withdrew his hand quickly and stood back from the wall. It was just over two months since he had stood in this spot, so much had happened but it seemed like yesterday. Would he ever get used to it? It was not the responsibility that bothered him or the decision-making; it was the all-pervading intrusion into his private life that he found so difficult. He had never fully realised the difference between being a King and a mere Marshall, the nephew of a King. It was vast. In spite of the sultry steamy July weather he had needed to issue a direct order to his valet before he was allowed to come out in just a shirt and breeches. They had hot days in Rohan, but never like this. Oh, for a breeze from the sea. He laughed to himself: one could not be lucky twice.
At least it kept the women away. The ladies of the City were far too worried about their complexions to risk being outdoors mid afternoon on a day like this. He sighed. He never thought that he would ever find women irksome but he had to admit his advisors had been right. He was a definite target.
With so much to do after the war the last thing he was thinking of was producing an heir for the Mark. Surprisingly the subject had taken up more time than anything else at the frequent council meetings at home. He was not sure if they were more worried about him not producing one, or that he would be inveigled into an unsuitable liason that would cause problems for the succession. He had been extremely curt when they had tried to probe: he was not discussing his bedroom arrangements with anyone. Keeping anything private, living in Meduseld, was difficult enough. In the end he had admitted, 'No, there was not actually any lady whom he had even considered for Queen'. A grave mistake, for that was when they pounced, 'Ah, my Lord, then have you considered an alliance with Gondor?'
He had never given it the slightest thought, leave alone considered it and after last night he was extremely unlikely to do so. He was normally quite fond of bosoms, but to have them so blatantly shoved in his face, one after the other, he somehow found slightly off putting. As for that powdered white skin, it was darned unhealthy looking when you got close.
He had only just arrived from Edoras and could really have done with a catch up talk with Aragorn without all that dancing. There had not been a lot of choice though. He just wished Éowyn were here as she would have sorted them. It was probably those painted nails clasping his arm that really put him off: they reminded him of talons holding on to him. In the end he decided to have some fun and had just mentioned 'horse' to each and every one. He thought that there might be one who did not wrinkle her nose, but very delicately of course, wrinkle it they all did.
He would have to go home and report that an alliance with Gondor was definitely out (not that it was ever in). He had tried his best but he would have to look at home. Another problem there they said, 'Take a wife from the Eastfold, my Lord? Perhaps, my Lord as not to show favouritism you should look in the Westmeet.' Why look at all? Why indeed. He had managed quite well up to now; surely he did not need to produce an heir when the last King was not even buried?
Well, he had given that subject enough thought, however if Arwen had a sister it might have helped. One a bit more earthy perhaps, he laughed.
At least with all this stone as much as it was hot out here, it was cool inside. Firefoot should be reasonably comfortable as even the stables were made from thick blocks, but it was a good excuse to go and see. He had time before the evening meal and the next onslaught. Perhaps the best plan would be not to bathe, just smell of horse. That would certainly keep them away, he grinned to himself.
He was expecting the stables to be peaceful and quiet. He was not expecting to hear raised voices and certainly not a woman's voice. Surely they did not bring any with them from Rohan? No, of course they did not, whatever was he thinking? It must be the heat. Anyway it was an unusual accent although he was sure that he had heard it before, although slightly different. He crept in and hid behind a pillar.
She was standing with her back to him. He could see long black hair tied up in a knot. The knot was coming loose. Unconsciously he felt his fingers twitch. Her hair looked heavy, silky and soft, the knot would need just a little tweak for it to come tumbling down.
The stable lad had his back to a stall. His arms were outstretched forbidding her entrance and his face was bright red. Éomer listened with interest.
"Whatever you say, my Lady, I just cannot let you in there it would be more than my life is worth."
"I am telling you that there is something wrong with that horse and I think I know what it is."
"My Lady, he was perfectly alright this morning when Lord Éothain rode him."
"He is defiantly not alright now and Lord Éothain, whoever he is, will not be riding him tomorrow morning. Oh well," she sighed exasperated, realising that the lad was not to be shifted, "then please just send someone to fetch him."
"I told you, my Lady, there is no one here but me. The stable master has gone to early supper and I am not allowed to leave."
Éomer stepped from behind the pillar. The stable lad saw him but before he could react Éomer put his finger to his lips in a gesture of silence.
"Perhaps I could help?" he enquired politely.
Two things happened. Firefoot whickered softly and she spun around.
She was quite a sight, he thought. Golden skin and long black lashes but he couldn't quiet make out the colour of her eyes. Green/grey he felt, he definitely needed a closer look. Her lips were deep pink and her face was slightly flushed, probably from the argument. Surely she could not have been riding in this heat? She was dressed for it though; leather tunic, hose, boots and a blouse with the laces loose and unfastened. No wonder the stable lad was looking red. He found himself wondering if the tan went all the way…his thought was interrupted.
"Are you Lord Éothain?" she asked sharply
"No, I am not." He could tell she was assessing him and he saw what he hoped was a spark of interest in her eyes.
"Then I do not suppose that you can. I understand that none but he is allowed near his horse."
"I am a close friend, my Lady. He will allow me."
She turned and looked enquiringly at the stable lad who nodded acquiescence. He then bowed and gratefully departed at a gesture from his King.
"What is the problem with Helm?"
"Is that his name? It suits him. Come and look."
He stood next to her as she leaned on the wooden door. She was not quite so tall as Éowyn, although above average, he thought. His superior height gave him a good view of her cleavage but she would need to lean forward for him to see right the way down. He smiled at the possibility and tried to concentrate on the horse.
"You see, he is rubbing the front of one leg with the other."
"Hmm," he mused, "he was fine when we went out this morning."
"Did you go along by the river?"
"Yes, for quite a way."
"It is almost certainly as I thought. There is a plant with wicked seeds that burrow into the skin. You probably do not have them in Rohan, as it is too cold. If it is not removed soon it will fester and he will rub it raw. There is a knack to getting them out. I could show you."
"Thank you, I think you had better." Éomer opened the gate and she followed him into the stall. He watched as she introduced herself to the big stallion and then very gently ran her hand down his leg. He twitched a bit, but then stood still.
She squatted down, "Look, here it is."
Éomer was definitely looking. Maybe all those bosoms last night had affected him more than he thought. He was determined to see if that lovely golden tan went all the way down to her…yes it did!
"Do you see?"
He dragged his eyes away. She was looking at him strangely. It was hardly surprising really. He was grateful his shirt was long and loose as the consequence of him glimpsing those dusky pink nipples, was fast becoming evident. He did not usually behave like this and found himself wondering if perhaps he should have availed himself of what was on offer the previous evening. Perhaps it was the heat. He fixed his eyes on Helm's leg.
"Oh yes, that purple thing."
"You have to pull it out the same way as it went in or it will break and cause intense irritation. Watch." He watched as she grasped the seed and twisted it gently. "There we are, we caught it in time."
"Will he be all right now?"
"Yes, a little salve will help."
"I will see to it, I shall tell Éothain. Thank you."
Éomer closed the gate behind them. "Have you been riding, I would have thought that it was too hot?" he enquired. The knot was slipping more now, requiring just the slightest tweak. He put his hands resolutely behind his back. Whatever was the matter with him?
"My horse was born to this heat, but I just walked her to the river for a paddle. We have been shut up on a ship for three days and we both needed to get out."
"I thought I did not see you last night. Why?" It came out more forcibly than he had intended.
"Surely that is obvious. I was not here. I did not arrive until midday."
"That I gathered, but I would have expected that you should have." He said with a smile.
"Why should you have expected that?" she looked directly at him with rather an amused look on her face.
"Powers of deduction," he grinned. "It was an important banquet, you are a high Lady," he laughed at her questioning expression. "That is your horse is it not? It must be. It was not here this morning and it is more than a palfrey but not a warhorse. Somebody, daddy probably, does not stint on the horseflesh. This stable is reserved for royalty and high lords of Gondor and Rohan, your horse is here, so therefore I assume that you should have been there last night." He looked pleased with himself.
She smiled, "You are correct."
"Then why were you absent?"
"The ship missed a tide or two."
"Oh, I am sorry," he saw something in her expression. Were her eyes green, grey or blue? "You are not?"
"Why did you not want to be there?" he asked rather surprised.
"I cannot tell you."
"Oh, and why not?"
She sighed, "That," she said pointing to Firefoot, "is your King's horse. The saddlecloth hanging up tends to give it away," she chuckled. "That is Helm, Lord Éothain's horse, they are next to one another. I therefore assume that Lord Éothain is close to King …Éomer is it?"
"You tell me that you are a friend of Lord Éothain's, so I deduce that you must also know your King quite well. Even be a friend?"
"We are quite well acquainted."
"That is why I cannot tell you. I do not like to lie, so I will say nothing."
Éomer looked surprised, "Your reason for not wanting to be here last night has something to do with the King of Rohan?"
She did not answer.
"Have you met him?"
"I do not believe that I have had that pleasure."
He thought for a moment, "If you have a problem with King Éomer then I would like to know."
"Perhaps I could help. I do know him quite well."
"As I said, that is why I will say nothing."
Éomer sighed rather exasperated. Whatever it was he was now totally intrigued and needed to know. "I promise you that anything you tell me will go no further, whatever it is. Most things can be resolved and it may help to talk."
"I suppose it may. I only have my brothers to talk too and they are useless. They think he is wonderful, probably due to the number of orc heads he has apparently removed. I suppose you think the same?" She looked up at him, "Is that the way men always judge others?"
"Not always," he laughed, "and I believe he can do other things. But please tell me your difficulty." He was becoming desperate now having got himself into this situation, not being able to introduce himself or ask her name.
"Well it is not easy and I hope that I will not offend." She took a deep breath, "As I understand it your King is reasonably young and unmarried?"
"You are correct."
"Now let me guess," she smiled, "his advisors have already suggested that he needs an heir." She raised her eyebrows at his expression. "Further more they are probably hinting that he is in danger from scheming unscrupulous women who would try to take advantage in the hope of 'trapping' him into marriage."
Éomer wondered if she had been hiding under the table at their recent council meeting. "I have heard it mentioned," he replied.
"Having put that idea in his head," she carried on, "they are now suggesting possible matches and no prizes for guessing the favourite. Heal old wounds, my Lord," she mimicked, "strengthen bonds. What could be better, my Lord, than an alliance with Gondor?"
He had to refrain from laughing out aloud as he suddenly realised what was coming next. He had surely done those old men a grave injustice.
"That is the problem I have," she said quietly, "for that alliance is me."
"And that is so bad is it?" he asked. Hoping it wasn't.
She looked at him incredulously, "I have never even met him and do you really think that I wish to be paraded in front of him like…?" She fought for words, "Like a brood mare in front of his horse!"
"Well," he said calmly, "I should not worry. When you meet you may get on in which case it will be fine, if not," he shrugged, "then nothing is lost."
"You think that it will matter if we do not get on? I do not have much choice and he most likely thinks he has, but has none. It is all down to that awful little word, 'duty'." She sighed, "I am supposed to be going to Edoras when you escort King Theoden's coffin. I would probably enjoy it if it were not for their plans."
Éomer looked at her thoughtfully, "If we accept that you have no choice, which I personally doubt, why do you feel that he has none?"
"Can you not imagine what they will say to him when he gets home?" She mimicked again, "But, my Lord, the credentials could not be better. Think of the trade, my Lord, the strength of the treaty. You could do worse, my Lord, at least she can ride. It will not be too bad, my Lord, you can blow out the candles. An heir or two, my Lord and no one will mind if you go elsewhere!"
"Well I will mind," she sniffed. He was sure she sniffed. "I do not wish for a husband who goes elsewhere!"
Éomer stared at her. How could she ever imagine that any sane man would wish to blow out the candles? That golden skin in the flickering light would be….he shook himself and opened his mouth to speak but before he could do so she carried on.
"My eldest brother is married, it was so romantic. He was visiting friends and came across her in the garden, she had a thorn in her hand that he removed. He had no idea who she was but it turned out she was eminently suitable." She sighed, "They have this sweet little boy and they are so happy. They spend ages holding hands just watching him sleep."
She put her hand to her face, as though wiping away a tear, "I wish to be a wife and a mother with a husband who loves me. I do not wish to be an alliance!"
She looked up at him sadly, "I should not have told you. I am sorry, please forget I spoke. You just seem easy to talk to."
"Do not apologise. I am glad you told me. And please do not upset yourself as I do not think you have to worry at all."
"Oh, and why is that?" She was looking very sceptical.
"Because the King of Rohan has found that his affections are already engaged."
She looked at him totally surprised, "You mean he has a lady back in The Mark after all?"
He shook his head.
"He has met a Lady of Gondor."
She burst out laughing, "Then my little plan worked. How wonderful."
"Yes. By not turning up last night I hoped he would meet someone else. The ladies of Minas Tirith are renowned for their beauty and sophistication. Also," she laughed, "for their predatory ways." She looked him up and down appraisingly, "I would have thought that they would have gone for you as well, dug their claws in. I am surprised you are still standing." She saw his expression, "Oh, I am sorry, have I shocked you? I am afraid it is having so many older brothers, it is impossible to be a prude."
"You have not shocked me at all," he grinned. "I was just thinking how right you were, but there were so many I could not choose. So I decided on none. However I am sorry to disappoint you, he did not meet her last night. He met her today."
" In the daylight? Without all that powder and kohl?"
"Yes, quite natural looking I think."
"She must be unusual, how lovely. Do you think she will be acceptable to the councils of Gondor and Rohan?"
"Perfectly acceptable I would say."
"Thank you for telling me I am so relieved. I hope they will be very happy."
"He hopes so too, but he has not yet approached the Lady in question."
She looked worried again, "I hope she will return his feelings. What will he do if she does not?"
"Go back to Rohan with a broken heart," he said straight away.
"I trust he does not have to do that, he sounds nice. And it will be a great relief to me."
Éomer could not help but show his amusement. "But tell me," he asked, "if he had not met someone and your first plan did not work, what would you do? I am sure that you must have another."
She grinned, "Tonight I intended to stamp on his foot as we would be bound to dance, eat an incredible amount of garlic at supper, and tell him I snore."
"Do I what?"
"I do not think so," she chuckled, "who ever I marry will have to find out." She suddenly sighed and looked unhappy again; "I will still not be very popular, as unfortunately who ever she is, she will not make such a good alliance as me. Oh well, at least I will get a little freedom until they find me someone else."
"Then why do you not choose your own, before they choose for you?"
"It is a good idea, but it is fraught with difficulty." She saw his quizzical expression, "I need to make sure that any suitor does not just wish to further his position. I do not really know how to do that."
"Why not start by only looking to those of higher rank, then you would be sure."
"Another good idea, but not quite practical for me. It would narrow the choice to almost nil."
"Oh, I see, that could be a problem," he said trying to hide his grin. "Well in that case you will have to rely on the kissing."
"The kissing?" she looked puzzled.
"Without a doubt. It is very difficult to fake a kiss. As you are not a prude," he laughed, "you will not mind me saying that there are things a man can do, especially with the candles out. But kissing is different. It can often be much more intimate."
He watched her closely; she was biting her lip in consternation.
"I have not actually had much experience of kissing," she admitted at last. "My brothers have very sharp swords, it tends to put most off. How do I tell?"
It was just too tempting, "We have been getting on well talking. I could help with the kissing."
"Yes I could. I would be happy to." He tried to keep a straight face but could not prevent the corners of his mouth from lifting slightly. "Now the first thing to remember is that if a man really cares for you he will not take advantage of your inexperience. He will begin very gently."
"That I can understand and the second thing?"
Éomer caught hold of her hand, "That he cannot possibly kiss you before he is really sure of the colour of your eyes." He led her to a window and lifted her chin with his finger, scanned her face and then looked deeply into her eyes, "What colour are they? It is unfamiliar to me." He could feel that she was trembling.
"That is because you have probably never seen the sea. It changes colour, just like my eyes I am told, green or blue, or grey sometimes."
He bent his head and kissed her. A light kiss, but one he allowed to linger, promising more.
"Then," he smiled, "he needs to know if the lady would like him to do it again."
"She would," she said softly, "but she is just a bit scared."
"Yes, a little. If one little kiss causes me to feel as I do, I would not like to risk more without knowing that the man in question was acceptable to my father."
"Extremely wise, I can tell that you are learning. So this is what I suggest. When we are introduced tonight…"
"Will we definitely be introduced?" she interrupted.
"There is no doubt about it," he smiled, "and then I will immediately ask your father if you can come riding with me tomorrow, in the cool before breakfast. He will say yes…"
"Are you sure?" she stopped him again.
"Absolutely. And then we can dance after supper, quite a few I should say. Of course it will be very warm so with your father's permission I will escort you outside for some air and we can carry on with the kissing." He grinned, "Does that reassure you?"
"It does, although he will be a little cross with me for causing the ship to be late. He may not be very cooperative."
"I promise you he will."
"In that case," she laughed, "I could risk one more, but then I must hurry to bath and change."
"If I am going to kiss you again," he whispered, "there is something I have to do." He put his hand behind her and gave a little tweak. Just as he thought it cascaded down past her shoulders.
"You have lovely hair," he managed to say before putting his lips to hers again. This time he pulled her against him with one hand whilst burying the other into her silky hair. She tentively put her arms around him as he gently nudged her lips apart with his tongue, inquisitively exploring before deepening his kiss. He felt her nipples harden even through the tunic.
"Oh," she stammered in confusion when he released her. "I see what you mean. It is very …."
"Intimate," he added helpfully.
"Nice, I was going to say," she answered rather demurely, trying to regain her composure.
"It can get better," he said with a grin, "but perhaps not before we have been introduced."
"I think that would be best but I shall certainly look forward to the next lesson," she said in a shaky voice. "Until tonight then."
"Oh dear, Firefoot," he said to his horse when she had gone, "I think she will be mad with me. But she will carry it off, no one else will know. I would not expect anything less of Imrahil's daughter."
"Thank you, I appreciate it."
"A pleasure, my Lord."
The steward bowed and went about his business whilst Éomer walked back to join Imrahil and Faramir. He could tell that Imrahil was a little on edge; he kept glancing towards the doorway. It was amusing him greatly. The supper gong would soon be sounding and she had still not arrived. He was not surprised; he himself had hardly enough time to bathe. He had pleased his valet though, allowing him full rein with dressing. Faramir had raised his eyebrows when he had appeared, probably at the surfeit of 'white horses'. He saw Imrahil stiffen and then the Prince excused himself making his way towards the door. Éomer moved slightly so that he was partially obscured by one of the huge marble pillars that held up the vast ornate ceiling of the great hall. He had a good view but hopefully the rest of him was hidden behind Faramir.
She entered on the arm of her brother Erchirion, and Éomer watched as her father joined them and led her towards Aragorn and Arwen to be introduced. Her hair had been softy curled and she was wearing a light floaty dress in the blue of Dol Amroth. Faramir was looking at him with an amused look on his face.
"You have not yet met my cousin have you, Éomer?"
"We have not been formally introduced," he grinned, "but I imagine that that is about to change."
Imrahil was heading towards them holding on to his daughter's arm.
"Lothíriel," exclaimed Faramir, "you look lovelier than ever. It is good to see you." He kissed her on the cheek.
Éomer stepped from behind the pillar and looked straight at her. He saw her stare at the emblem on his chest and then her face started to flush.
Imrahil looked surprised and began to make introductions but Éomer interrupted him smoothly.
"I confess, my friend, that Princess Lothíriel and I met by chance in the stable this afternoon."
"Oh," said the Prince turning to his daughter, "I thought you were resting."
"I needed some air," she replied quietly.
"Talking of air." Éomer smiled at her and then turned to her father; "I was hoping Imrahil that you would allow the Princess to come riding with me. In the morning before breakfast."
Imrahil looked between the two of them sensing some tension. He was unaware of ever witnessing his daughter blush before. "Of course Éomer, I am sure she would like that. Horses are her passion." He looked her in the eye, "Does that meet with your approval, my dear?
"Yes, Father." She looked up at Éomer, "Thank you, my Lord. I shall be honoured."
"Good", he laughed, "and now that we have been formally introduced no doubt we can dispense with the titles. Ah," he carried on, "that is the supper gong and as I am sure that your place is next to mine, Lothíriel, perhaps you would allow me to escort you?"
He held out his arm and after a moments hesitation she took it lightly and he led her towards the table.
Imrahil looked at Faramir who shrugged. They had decided not to sit them next to one another thinking it would look too obvious. There would be plenty of time for serious matchmaking on the journey to Edoras. At least they were now aware of the subject of conversation between Éomer and the steward.
"Are you cross with me?" he asked quietly as soon as they sat down.
"'Cross' is not the word that springs to mind," she replied through her teeth. "Furious, incensed or enraged seem to fit better."
"I am sorry," he said softly looking right into her eyes.
"No, you are not!" she said immediately.
"You are right, I am not," he said with a smile. "It is always good policy when starting negotiations to try and discover the thoughts of the other party involved."
She opened her mouth to speak but fell silent as a server placed soup before her. She waited until he had gone.
"On forming an alliance between Gondor and Rohan of course." He carried on before she could make any comment, "Negotiations which I am determined shall remain a totally private matter between the King of Rohan and the Princess of Dol Amroth. Do you agree?"
"Agree?" she hissed. "No, I certainly do not agree to any negotiations. Perhaps you have forgotten that you told me that he…. you had already met a lady. That was before you kissed me, if I remember rightly." She put her spoon down making no attempt to even start the soup.
"True," he grinned, nonchalantly biting into a piece of bread. "He did meet a lady of Gondor who stole his heart. He met her in the stables this afternoon." Éomer watched amused as the colour rushed to her cheeks. He waited for some answer but she seemed to be unable to look directly at him, or reply, so he continued. "The King of Rohan would like to offer the Princess of Dol Amroth certain assurances which he hopes may persuade her to open negotiations," he said gently. He saw her swallow and then she looked up from under her long lashes.
"Firstly," he smiled, "that the King of Rohan has no interest in taking any wife, whatever her credentials, who is only marrying him out of 'duty'. When he takes a wife he wishes to love her and wishes her to love him in return." He waited whilst the server removed the soup plates and then grinned to himself as he noticed that although she was managing to look outwardly composed she was screwing a napkin into a tight ball on her lap. "Secondly," he carried on, "having found such a wife he has absolutely no intention of 'going elsewhere'. Also," he said in a teasing voice, "although he admits that he has not yet experienced the situation, holding hands and watching babies sleep does sound like something he would enjoy." He leant towards her and whispered, "With the right woman of course."
"Oh!" was the only reply forthcoming.
"Having heard those assurances does the Princess of Dol Amroth think that she may now wish to enter into those private negotiations?" he asked quietly.
There was a silence for a moment and then she looked directly up at him. "Yes. She does," she said finally.
"Well, in that case," he grinned, "I think it is up to her to open the dialogue."
He could see that she was considering her reply. "The Princess of Dol Amroth," she said with a smile, "having received certain assurances from the King of Rohan has decided that she will not stamp on his foot."
"Oh good, that is a relief," he laughed. "Perhaps she would also consider," he looked at her with a mischievous twinkle, "not partaking of the garlic? Then we could forgo the dancing and go straight outside to carry on with the kissing!"
Imrahil was amazed; he could not believe it was working so well. Ever since the two of them had sat down they had been talking quietly with their heads close together. He looked across to Aragorn who grinned and winked at him. He had obviously noticed. They had talked about the possibility, but however good it would be for the security of Gondor, he would never force her to marry completely against her will. He loved her too much for that. He just had a feeling they would suit, hence the letter to Elphir suggesting he persuade her to come on the trip to Edoras. He had been disappointed when the ship had been delayed with a damaged rudder but it looked as if it was all for the best. He could not have planned it better.
Imrahil looked back at his daughter, he was sure she had never blushed before tonight and now she was definitely giggling.
Lothíriel stared out of the window; she did not think she would ever get to sleep. She could still feel his arms around her; still feel the touch of his beard on her face. Never would doing her duty be more pleasurable, she was looking forward to a long and happy alliance with Rohan.
She had been looking forward to it for quite some time, ever since their Knights had returned home with tales of the battle. How the Rohirrim had arrived at dawn, with horns blowing, just as the Witch King smote down the gates. How Éomer the king's nephew had taken up his dead uncle's banner and carved through the ranks of the Southrons. Then in the face of despair, when it seemed all hope was lost, he had raised up his sword in defiance.
He was just as she had imagined him.
The ship being late was no problem either; one could usually take advantage of such mishaps. Meeting in the stables was sheer luck. Of course when entering into negotiations it was always good practice to slip information to the other party involved.
She was surprised at Éomer though, he must have been distracted when he entered the stables. One would have thought that a horse master such as him would have known, that she was perfectly aware, of that lovely little noise a much loved horse makes when it greets its master.