Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me. They were created by J.R.R Tolkien, with the exception of Iavas, who is from lindahoyland's stories.
Summary: Surrounded by two Rohirrim as a family, Faramir has to prove his skills with horses. Who is the better rider? Eowyn or him? One chapter, fluff.
Thanks to Rosie and eggowaffles who beta-read this for me and to lindahoyland for her suggestions.
This story was inspired by this picture www.edoras-art.de/cgi-bin/eissmann.pl?filelotrfamily.jpg, and takes place about 5 or 6 years after RotK
Riders of the Wind
It was almost noon, and Faramir had just managed to finish his work. He was determined that he would join Eowyn and their son, Elboron, as soon as possible. They had ridden out nearly an hour ago, so he was rubbing down his horse, Iavas, with quick, experienced movements in front of the stable
He was scraping the mud and dung from the horse's hooves, when he heard the rhythmic sound of approaching hoof beats and the laughter of his son. Straightening, he saw Windfola coming towards his home, carrying his little family. He smiled. They were so beautiful
There was no saddle on the stallion's back, for the Rohirrim could ride bareback as well, and Eowyn wanted Elboron to feel and enjoy every single movement of the horse during his first gallop. Seeing the four-years-old's flushed face and merry grin, Faramir deemed that his wife was right in her suggestion. A few curls of Eowyn's hair had somehow escaped from her tight braid, giving her a slightly disheveled look, but her eyes were sparkling and Faramir loved her this way the most
Windfola stopped before the man and greeted him and Iavas with loud neighing.
"Well, how did you like it?" the Steward asked his son.
"It was wonderful!" exclaimed Elboron, and let his father take him off of the horse, talking constantly while he did so "All the time, we were riding bareback, see? And we galloped from the Great Oak to the creek! The wind was howling past our ears and mamma was so skilful! We jumped over the stream and she was guiding Windfola with only one hand all the way because she held me with the other! And she said when I am bigger, I will learn to do all of this, because I am half Rohirric." He straightened up proudly. "And they and their horses cannot be beaten in these things," he finished, gasping for breath.
"She really said this?" Faramir looked into Eowyn's mischievously glinting eyes, feigning surprise.
"Of course, you were missed… But now you are here, so we can go now, all right? Then we will show you what the Rohirrim are capable of!"
"What the Rohirrim are capable of?" echoed Faramir.
"Excuse me; did you say something, son of Gondor?" Eowyn threw back her head and eyed her husband dispassionately, but the corner of her mouth twitched.
"I was just wondering whether you underestimate the other peoples, which would not be wise, Shieldmaiden of Rohan!"
Eowyn's eyes gleamed challengingly.
"Then let us see your skills, man of Gondor!
Faramir stifled the urge to laugh out loud, and bent down to his son.
"Elboron, will you wait for us here? We won't be away long, I promise.
"All right," said the boy excitedly. He was really curious about what was going to happen.
Faramir asked a young grooms to keep an eye on his son, then quickly put the bridle on Iavas, but even before he had begun to saddle the horse, Eowyn said "We ride bareback! Race with me till the edge of the forest and back right here! See that big beech, there? We will turn around that. Do you accept?"
Faramir leapt onto his horse and nodded, then stood beside Eowyn.
"Elboron, you count!"
"One… Two… Three…"
"Are you sure you want to do this?" asked Faramir playfully.
Eowyn spurred Windfola into a gallop with a smile, closely followed by Faramir. They heard Elboron's agitated cries, then only the howling of the wind. They approached the beech, neck and neck.
"Do you give up?" cried Eowyn.
They reached the tree together, but Eowyn, being closer to the trunk, could turn faster, and Faramir fell behind. The horses' hooves raised the dust; they snorted, and lunged forward with all their might. Faramir felt every muscle in Iavas's body striving to get ahead until they were almost flying.
He loved horses as much as his wife did, but now he was losing. Unless… He smiled, and when Eowyn turned to the gates, he didn't follow her. He decided not to make that little detour, but instead tried something else.
"Come on, you can do it!" he encouraged Iavas, as they neared the wall, which was not very high, but tall enough to prevent any horse or man from getting over it. But now, there stood a wooden frame for the architects to reach the top of the wall, just in the right place for Faramir's plan. He knew it could hold a horse, as he had seen it burdened with more weight in recent days
Just as Eowyn reached the gates, Iavas, obeying Faramir's order, leaped from the ground. Her hooves made a loud knocking sound as they touched the wood, and then, at the urging of her master, she jumped over the thick wall. Iavas was a clever creature; he knew the wall was high, and, expecting it, she landed gracefully. Faramir almost slid over the horse's head as his momentum carried him forward, but managed to catch himself in time, regaining his balance and the control over both his and Iavas's bodies. Since they had touched the ground about twenty to thirty feet from the stables, by the time they managed to slow their pace, they found themselves in front of the stable-door, panting and sweating but victorious.
Elboron was absolutely delighted and was bouncing up and down, clapping.
Faramir patted Iavas's neck and glanced at Eowyn, who arrived a few seconds after him.
"So, what is my lady's impression?" he asked in hoarse voice.
"That you know something," smiled Eowyn.
"And what is the reward?"
"What do you want as a reward?"
Faramir urged Iavas to stand next to Windfola.
"Hmm… I do not really know…" he wondered. "Maybe a kiss from the most beautiful woman in Arda, who is now in front of me? Is it too much to ask?"
"Certainly not," chuckled Eowyn. Faramir leaned over and kissed her with all his love and tenderness, and she responded with the same devotion. Elboron giggled softly. When they broke apart, gasping for breath, Eowyn shoved his arm playfully.
"Really, Faramir, that was a foolish thing to do. You could have been hurt. It was not worth it"
"Oh, yes it was, if there was such a reward waiting for me. And if we add that…" He went to Elboron, bent down, and scooped up the eager child. "…now I have proven that my quality is high enough to take a big half-Rohirric boy with me… well, then it was truly worth it."
"Men." Eowyn flushed, but quickly composed herself. "A return match to the Great Oak?"
"Alright, just…" He couldn't finish because by the time he started to speak, Eowyn was nowhere to be seen. Shaking his head, Faramir urged Iavas to go after his wife, all the while enjoying his son's happy laughter.
He felt complete.