A/N: The concluding chapter of 'Dark Eyes' – and because it will contain a description of a wedding night, I have had to change the rating of the story. And yes, if you wonder about my description of the landscape, I have actually been to New Zealand and I have seen the place, which was "Rohan" in the movie ----- I actually got the inspiration for this story right there!

Thank you for all your reviews and encouraging remarks! I am glad that you have enjoyed my story (so far).

I know that it is a long one, but I did not want to split it up …. So you'll just have to endure it!

Love, Frigg

Chapter Eight

Edoras was a good week's ride from Belfalas. Luckily, the journey was quite uneventful, and we had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. As we approached the borders of Rohan, I became more and more aware of the landscape around me. True, it was more rough and bare than the land that I grew up in, but it was also beautiful with the vast open plains, the high mountains with eternal snow on the peaks and the green foothills below them. At this time of the year, flowers bloomed all over the plains, making them colourful and beautiful.

As we approached Edoras, the beauty of the city stuck me once more as it was situated against the clear blue sky and the mountains.

I was riding beside Éomer and he turned towards me, taking in the look on my face. "The future Queen of Rohan does not seem too disappointed by her new country?" he said, teasingly but with a note of insecurity in his voice.

"No, my Lord," I said, "Neither the country nor its king are disappointments to me." I paused for a while and then added, equally teasing, "so far!" He shot me a glance and then grinned.

"You will never be sorry," he mumbled.

Éomer sent a rider ahead to notify his sister when we would be arriving at Edoras, and we were therefore welcomed by an honour guard and waving citizens. It was obvious that the people of Edoras were looking forward to the forthcoming celebrations in connection with our wedding.

Éowyn and Faramir stood on the stairs of Meduseld welcoming us. My betrothed's sister embraced me warmly, welcoming me back to Edoras. "Arwen and Aragorn will be arriving the day after tomorrow, the hobbits – that is Merry and Pippin – are on their way, and Legolas and Gimli are already here." She was smiling happily.

"Marriage obviously agree with you," I said.

She grinned at me. "Oh, if you only knew --- but then you will soon."

We walked into the Golden Hall, arm in arm, and the rest of my family followed us. Éomer, it seemed, had already been hauled away by a couple of his advisors, and he only had time to send me a blatant look of despair.

I did not get to see him until dinner, at which time he certainly looked like he needed some peace. We had our dinner en famille; that is my family, Éomer, Éowyn and Faramir – as well as a dwarf and an elf. The last week before our wedding would be a endless row of visits from nobles from all over Gondor and Rohan as well as numerous deputations, but at least for a couple of days, we had some chance to rest and just enjoy the company of friends and family as they arrived.

Later, Éomer and I went for a walk in the gardens behind Meduseld in the warm midsummer night. "It is, indeed, a place of magic," I said, inhaling the scents of flowers and blooming trees. "Your grandfather did a good job of creating this garden for his queen."

"He did, indeed." Éomer admitted. "Who told you that it was Thengel, who made this garden for my grandmother?"

I smiled. "Actually it was Aragorn. At my last visit, the day before your uncle's funeral, Aragorn took Arwen and me for a walk here. You were so busy. Aragorn said that he remembered that the garden was still new when he was a rider in the service of Thengel."

Éomer grinned. "I keep forgetting how old Aragorn is. But he is right, my grandmother Morwen came from Gondor, and my grandfather wanted her to have this garden so that she would not miss her country so much when they moved here."

"I remember that Aragorn told me of her beauty – and of your mother and uncle. It is strange to think that your grandmother was a dark-haired Gondorian. You cannot see that when you look at you and Éowyn." I stated.

"That must be the strong bloodlines of my father. My uncle always said that the only thing, which gave away where my grandmother came from, was my eyes. My mother had them, too." Éomer smiled.

I looked into those eyes; the night was soft and quiet. I had, of course, had a hidden agenda luring my soon-to-be husband out here. These past days' travelling with the family and this busy day had not left us any private time together. So, I reached up to kiss him. He kissed me back enthusiastically.

When he let me go, he took my hand and led me towards a garden bench. As we sat down, he squeezed my hand and asked. "You are aware what is going to happen the next week?'"

"Yes, we will be subject to endless congratulations and well-wishes from all corners of Middle Earth --- and will probably not be left with much time to ourselves," I said.

"Which will probably leave us both so frustrated by the time that our wedding day arrives that we will not be able to enjoy the celebrations and will not be thinking of anything but getting behind closed doors and being alone," Éomer chuckled. "But if you feel that you can manage, I think that we should try to meet out here, whenever we can, just for a little while when everyone else has retired – to avoid insanity."

I concurred, but I also knew that it was going to be difficult. And it was. At the end of the day, we only managed a few brief, stolen moments! Éomer had been right when he once said that it would never be enough.

Then I woke one morning and realised that this was the day! It was still early, but from the noises that came to me through the open window, I could tell that Meduseld had already been awake for quite a while.

I had a while to myself before maids, marshal's wives, sisters-in-law and a queen would invade my peace, all with the purpose of preparing me for my big day. Éomer I would not be allowed to see until we were to meet in the Golden Hall for the ceremony. I smirked a little as I remembered last night. We had been able to meet briefly in the gardens very late in the evening and Éomer had almost growled with frustration as we had to part.

"I am thankful that our wait is over now; I would have gone completely insane if I had to wait any longer," he said as we parted below the steps leading up to the back entrance to Meduseld. "Tomorrow night they cannot keep us apart anymore."

I stretched in my bed. No, this morning would be the last that I would be alone in bed. I almost blushed at the thought. True, I had shared a bed with Éomer before, but only fully clothed and sleeping – tonight it would be different. Apart from the "instructions" about what to expect between the sheets of our conjugal bed, which I had received from the well-respected noblewomen of the Dol Amrothian court, I had picked up some good advice these past couple of days.

I giggled to myself. Cerwyn and Mélia – not to speak of Éowyn and Arwen – had been most helpful. They had drawn me aside the other night, and, together with a couple of bottles of Éomer's best Gondorian wine, we had spent a night of giggles, talking about men – especially our own – and all sort of subjects, which I am sure that no true Gondorian noblewoman would be seen knowing about. Women of Rohan and the Elves certainly had no inhibitions in that area!

Faramir had told us the following morning that we had been heard way down the corridors, but as the men had chosen this particular night for their "introduction" of Éomer into the ranks of married men, it had been quite all right. Deeming from the faces of Éomer's marshals, my brothers, my cousin --- aye, even Aragorn and especially Éomer himself, this had obviously been quite a success in respect to the quantity of spirits they had consumed. Only Gimli and Legolas seemed unperturbed.

I was not scared of my wedding night, nor of what was to transpire – on the contrary I was looking very much forward to it. Of course, I was a bit nervous; what woman would not be, when it was her first time? The married women had assured me that there was nothing to be afraid of; and Éowyn had under much giggling whispered to me that it might not hurt as much as I had been told – after all I had been riding astride since I was very young, and this might have – shall we say – eased the way; I had almost choked at this revelation.

I also trusted Éomer; he would do nothing to hurt me deliberately. So I awaited the evening – and my wedding night – with anticipation.

As I lay contemplating these matters – and was beginning to feel hot and flushed at the thought, I heard a subtle knock on my door and Mélia peered in. "Good morning, my Lady," she said, "Did you have a good night's sleep?"

"Yes, thank you, Mélia; I have slept really well," I said as I swung my legs out of bed to stand on the fur rug. I put on my robe; Mélia smiled as she was setting the table for my breakfast.

"I can tell that you did," she said, "you look all rested and relaxed."

I smiled, "I had a little help from Arwen in that respect, all Elvish magic."

Éowyn came through the door; her blue eyes glittered and she looked truly beautiful, calm and serene. Marriage definitely suited her. No wonder that my cousin nearly six months after their wedding still looked totally smitten when she entered a room where he was.

"I told Faramir and my nervous brother that I would break my fast with you this morning. By Béma, I believe that I shall leave my big brother to Aragorn – and his marshals this morning. They might be able to handle his outbreak of last minute nerves." She chuckled. "And how are you, Lothy?"

"A bit jittery, I should say but I suppose that it is as it should be. I do believe, however, that once I see Éomer – and we get all the ceremonies over with – I shall be all right." I smiled at my sister-in-law. We sat down to have breakfast and to my surprise I was actually hungry.

Mélia laughed. "It bodes well, you are not more nervous than you can eat."

I murmured. "Never will you see the day when I cannot eat – or so my brothers will tell you."

We sat at breakfast for quite some time, laughing and chatting. By now it was mid-morning, but the ceremony was not to take place until late in the afternoon, so we had plenty of time. Leia, Amelica and Cerwyn came through the door.

"And now for the bridal bath," Cerwyn announced – and the five giggling women led me through the door to the adjacent room, where a bath had been prepared for me.

A large, wooden tub stood in the middle of the room. Maids were pouring hot, steaming water into it. Éowyn poured the contents of a small vial into it. "This is the extract of lavender from the gardens of Ithilien, made according to the instructions once prepared by your aunt Finduilas," she said.

And Cerwyn poured the contents of another small vial into the tub, "and these are oils pressed from the seeds of fruits growing in the gardens of Edoras. They will make your skin as soft as silk."

Then they helped me remove my nightgown and robe and get into the tub. As I ducked into the water, somewhat shy of all this female attention, Amelica looked at me with sisterly love and said. "You need not be shy of your body, Lothy. Éomer will not be disappointed."

"And from what I have heard, neither will you." Cerwyn deadpanned. Damn that woman, but she could light up her surroundings. I liked Gamling's outspoken wife very much, and I was pleased that she would be one of my companions. I just knew that my life in Rohan would suit me, more than a life in Gondor would ever do.

The others giggled. Leia and Mélia washed my hair in lavender soap and combed it out. It would take a while to dry. I soaked in the tub until the water was no longer warm and then I got out and was immediately wrapped in towels. I felt relaxed from the bath.

Leia dried my hair with cloths and started combing through it in order to let it dry even more. The other women had laid my wedding dress out on the bed. As a princess I was, of course, used to having servants and being waited on, but I had certainly never experienced being pampered on like this. "One could get used to this," I grinned.

"Do not get too used to it; you are in Rohan," Éowyn laughed. "But just once in your life it is nice being treated like a goddess." I remembered her wedding day; she had been subject to the same kind of treatment, and although she had protested enthusiastically, claiming that she was not a pampered doll, she had enjoyed the pampering and the luxury after all, and so did I.

All this had taken its time, and it was time for me to get dressed and for the others to do my hair. Éowyn brought me a thin, exquisite shift, which I was to wear under my wedding dress. "And that is all a Rohirrim bride will ever need," Cerwyn grinned, "I have never known any of us to need a nightgown – at least not for long. Men of Rohan have large hands."

We all spluttered. Arwen laughed her melodic laugh – and I could not help blushing.

"Really, Cerwyn, you are too much," Éowyn giggled helplessly. I looked at Amelica; I was afraid that she might be offended, but my brother's wife just giggled along with the rest of us.

Mélia and her sister helped me into my gown. Éowyn gasped. "Oh, Lothíriel, you are most certainly going to leave him speechless. You look absolutely lovely."

I let my hands glide down the front of the dress, smoothing the thick ivory silk. The gown had long, tapering sleeves and a neckline that left my shoulders bare. The upper part clung to my body and tapered at the waist. Around my hips, Éowyn placed the golden belt, which had once belonged to her aunt, and my only other piece of jewellery was the necklace that Éomer had given me when he proposed to me.

"Gold to match your crown," Éowyn whispered to me. True, I was going to be crowned Queen of Rohan today as well. I felt a jolt to my stomach; the hour was truly near. Éowyn smiled at me, sensing my mood.

"Now, how to do your hair?" Leia inquired.

"I think something simple, but which will still fit a queen," Arwen suggested. "A couple of thin braids to hold her hair away from her face, and then the rest down her back?"

"Yes, two small braids," Éowyn said and Amelica nodded. "Yes, she is still a maid and may wear her hair down." I frowned; I remembered that once you were married, you were expected to wear your hair up – and sometimes under a veil.

Mélia smiled. "Do not worry, Lothíriel. In Rohan, we are still allowed to wear our hair down when we are married. Amelica was not aware of this, being a Lady of Gondor. It is only on very official occasions that noblewomen of Rohan wear their hair up and don a veil."

Mélia braided my hair in little braids and tied them together in the back with a clip. Then Éowyn took my hand and led me towards the large mirror, which hung on the wall. I saw my own reflection in the mirror and gasped. Who was that woman? I hardly recognized myself. The summer sun had left my skin slightly tanned – although I was never entirely pale even in wintertime, and it had also brought out freckles across my nose. My eyes were wide and larger than ever, and shone with a serene light.

"You make a most lovely bride," Arwen said, and as she had done with Éowyn, she fastened a golden, Elven brooch to my gown right below the neckline. "My wedding gift for you," she said as she kissed my brow. I thanked her vehemently, but she just smiled. "It is for our friendship, too," she said and added, "and to remember that the house of Dol Amroth are of the line of the Eldar."

The other women smiled and told me that they would now leave me to get ready themselves.

"Not that it will matter much, you will outshine us all today and it is as it should be," Éowyn laughed. "I am looking so much forward to seeing my darling brother's face when he meets his bride." They left, chattering and giggling, leaving me to my thoughts. My Ada would soon come and fetch to take me to the Golden Hall – and Éomer.

I went over to the open window and inhaled the fresh air as I looked out over the city. It was a day of celebration; even though Meduseld was situated high above the city, you could tell from the anticipation and the cheerful atmosphere. After the ceremony, Éomer and I would go out on the stairs to greet our people.

There was a knock on my door, and through it came my darling Ada. He was dressed in the ceremonial blue and silver of Dol Amroth with the Silver Swan on his chest. His dark hair with the fine silver tresses was careful brushed and tied back with the warrior braids that he occasionally wore.

"Are you ready, my daughter?" he asked and looked at me with pride in his eyes as I turned around to face him. "You look absolutely lovely, Lothy. But then I knew that you would; your mother was a beautiful bride, too." He kissed my cheek. Then he took my hand and placed it in the crook of his elbow. "Shall we, my Lady?" he said with a smile. "I think that it is high time that Éomer King meets his bride.

We walked down the corridor past the king's bedroom, where Arwen and Aragorn had resided the last time they were in Edoras, and where Éomer and I were to spend our nights from now on. Then we entered the Golden Hall, which was filled to the brim with guests and family. Guards in their finest armour were placed as an honour guard at the entrance and I could see my family and our friends waiting for me at the far end of the room.

Éomer stepped onto the dais, flanked by Éothain and Gamling. And everybody else in the room disappeared from my view. Éomer, King of Rohan waited for his bride. Dressed in a dark-green, knee-long tunic with gold embroideries and a golden belt – and on his brow the crown of the kings of the Mark. His hair was worn loose and hung over his broad shoulders as always. How could you not want to marry a man like this?

As Ada and I came closer, he stepped down from the dais and took my hand. I looked up into his eyes. They were dark and intense and he smiled warmly at me, obviously catching his breath as he looked at me. "Lothy," he whispered softly – the way he said it told me everything. No, if I ever had been nervous, I was not anymore.

Rohirric wedding ceremonies are not that elaborate. We spoke our vows both in Rohirric and Westron, swearing loyalty, love and fidelity to each other; we promised to live together and to raise any children that may come of the union together. We exchanged rings; on my request Gimli had made a thick, but simple mithril band for Éomer and he gave me a golden band with sunburst symbols engraved in it, matching my necklace. He smiled at me as he let the ring glide onto my finger.

Then my father and Aragorn stepped forward and announced that we were truly man and wife, and Éomer pulled me into his arms claiming my lips in a fashion that left no one in doubt that he had truly waited for this moment a long, long time. I cannot recall the exact duration of the kiss; time stood absolutely still for me, but I do recall that it left us both flushed and out of breath – and it had the crowd cheering loudly and rowdily.

When Éomer finally let me go, grinning cheekily and a bit flushed at me, Gamling stepped onto the dais holding a small chest; he held it towards his king. Éomer held up his hand to silence the crowd and then spoke. "Now that Lothíriel of Dol Amroth has spoken the vows, which makes her my wife one more thing remains to make her Queen of the Mark. Lothíriel, please kneel before me." I did so and Éomer opened the chest and removed from it the crown of the queens of Rohan, a thin and exquisite, unadorned golden circlet.

He looked down at me with love in his hazel eyes and then carefully placed the golden circlet on my head. "Please rise, my love," he said softly and took my hand to help me up.

"Royalty and dignitaries of Rohan, Gondor and Dol Amroth. Behold Lothíriel of Rohan, Queen of the Mark and my wife." Éomer's deep voice rang out between the walls of the Golden Hall. He raised the hand that he held in his to his lips and kissed it. The crowd roared, "Hail, Lothíriel, Queen of the Mark!"

Éomer turned towards me. "Are you ready to meet our people, my queen?" he asked. I nodded and we walked down the dais, through the crowd and out onto the stairs of Meduseld. A large crowd of Rohirrim had gathered. We went to stand on the edge of the stairs and Éomer held my hand, calling out, "Éorlingas! Behold your queen, Lothíriel of Rohan!"

The crowd cheered, and I could feel the warmth streaming towards us. Éomer turned towards me with a devious glint in his eyes. Certainly he was not going to ----- not in front of his people!

But he was – and he did. He pulled me into his arms and kissed me so my knees buckled and I gasped for breath – much to the amusement of the Rohirrim present. As he let me go, he looked into my eyes and grinned cheekily as if to say. "You did not believe that I dared, did you?" I smiled and waved to the people – our people.

As we left to join the celebrations in the hall, Éomer addressed the people. "Now, enjoy the celebrations!" He took my arm and led me inside.

As I had been told, the wedding celebrations in Rohan differed quite a lot from celebrations in Gondor, and those that I had attended in Dol Amroth. Loud singing, catcalling and bantering flowed across the room; heavy drinking and eating, speeches --- and most certainly a lot of merrymaking. Aragorn's eyes twinkled as he leaned over to toast us from his place across the table. "I realise how stuffy and sombre Gondorian celebrations must seem to a Rohirrim," he said, "and especially to our friends the hobbits. They certainly seem to be enjoying themselves." He pointed towards the table, where Merry, Pippin and Gimli were enjoying the company of some of Éomer's men and their wives.

According to tradition, the newly married couple were to start the dancing with a traditional dance of Rohan. Leia had taught me the steps with a little help from Amrothos, and I felt fairly confident when Éomer took my hand and led me onto the dance floor. However, I had seen the quantity of wine that my groom had consumed and therefore whispered as he pulled me into his arms, "I do hope that your feet are steady, my Lord."

"Do not worry, my Lady. It will take more than a few goblets of wine to make the feet of a Horse Lord unsteady," he grinned cheekily as he led me in the various turns of the dance, seemingly effortless. When the dance ended, the crowd applauded and we danced yet a couple of dances. After that I was swirled away by Faramir, Éothain, Amrothos, Aragorn, Gamling --- and a number of others, known and unknown. Finally I ended up in the arms of my Ada.

"You make a fine couple," he said, "I am proud of you both. And I am certain that you will be a good queen, my daughter. The people already seem to adore you."

"We shall do our best, Éomer and I, Ada," I said as I squeezed his arm. "Éomer is already doing so well, although he thinks that he is not, and I will do my best to help him."

The evening was rapidly advancing. I was sitting at the main table with a goblet of wine in front of me, relaxing and conversing leisurely with Mélia, Éothain, Arwen and Aragorn. I felt Éomer's hand on my shoulder. "Come," he whispered, "I think that it is time for us to leave."

Éothain looked at us with a knowing grin, "So --- you could not wait anymore, my sovereign?"

"Hold your tongue, marshal – or I shall tell the present company how much patience you showed at your wedding," Éomer grinned. Éothain grinned back and Mélia lit up in a big, enticing smile.

Éomer looked at Aragorn. "I trust that you will understand that I will not stand the ceremonial gatherings at our wedding bed; I know that you had to, and Faramir, too – but I am of the Éothéod, and it is not in our custom to make such a spectacle of taking our wives to bed."

Aragorn grinned at us. "As I said, I wish that I could have celebrated my wedding thus. Go, young friend – and take your wife with you; enjoy your wedding night." He reached over and took his wife's hand and looking into her gorgeous blue eyes, he continued. "Our thoughts will follow you – and we shall keep the fortress here." Éothain and he shared a big grin, and Arwen smiled at me and squeezed my hand.

Éomer pulled me up and slid an arm around my waist. I could feel his hand burn through the fabric of my dress. "Now, wife," he grinned, "are you prepared to make a run for it?"

I giggled. "Most certainly, husband! But do you not believe that we shall be missed?"

"They will not notice, at least not for a while," he said, "and when they do, we will be long gone." He steered me through the crowd, as if headed for another dance, and towards the doors leading out onto the terrace. Gamling had apparently guessed where we were heading and Éomer signalled to him, mouthing, "We are leaving." Gamling nodded, and Cerwyn, who was standing beside her husband, winked encouragingly at us.

We reached the doors and went past the guards. They did not lift an eyelid. Well outside, Éomer took me in his arms. "Phew, what a night. If I had not held back, they would have had me well and truly incapable of performing at all on my wedding night." He grinned as he bent to kiss me. "And now to our wedding bed, my Lady." He scooped me up in his arms and carried me the short distance to a smaller door, leading into the corridor.

The corridor was dark and quiet, and Éomer carried me straight to his bedroom, which was now going to be ours. He kicked open the door and entered. Inside the room he set me down and locked the door behind us. "Just in case," he quipped.

I looked around me. Since I was last inside these rooms, they had changed. The front room, which was to be our sitting room had been refurbished with new curtains, a couple of extra chairs and tapestries. I even recognised some of the things that I had brought from Belfalas. It was no longer a soldier's room. When it had belonged to Théoden, it had been a man's room, simple and functional. I knew that Éowyn had helped her brother transform the room.

Candles were lit, and a small fire burned in the fireplace, casting a warm glow over the room. A jug of wine, goblets and a bowl of fruit were placed on a small table, and through the door I could see the big bed, on which the covers were folded down.

Éomer moved up to me. "This is it, Lothy. Now we are finally where we have wanted to be for nearly a year, and I am afraid that it is too late for any regrets," he said huskily as he bent his head to brush his lips over mine.

"Regret?" I asked. "Well, we shall have to see about that, my Lord. If you wake up tomorrow and find me gone, then you know what has happened. But so far I see no reason," I chuckled. "So it is entirely up to you, is it not?"

Éomer laughed heartily. "That is what I call a challenge, but you will find, wife, that I am up to it!"

He released me and reached up to remove his crown. He placed it on the sideboard and then he proceeded to remove the golden circlet from my head and put it beside his. "You looked so beautiful today," he said. "I am proud that a woman like you have consented to be my queen and wife." He leaned over and kissed me.

"And your wedding dress; I thought that one of the Valar had decided to take your place." His hands slid down my back and came to rest on my hips. He crushed me against him.

"Éowyn recommended that I had a nightgown and a matching robe made for you," he murmured against my hair. "But …."

I continued his sentence, "we are in Rohan, not Gondor – and who will need a nightgown, certainly not your wife. Her husband's hands are all that your wife want on her body tonight," I whispered boldly.

"I shall be more than pleased to comply to that wish, my love." Éomer chuckled, holding me very tightly. "May I?" he inquired as he lifted his hands to my hair. I nodded. He removed the clip that held my braids and let his fingers glide through my hair so that it now flowed freely down my back.

"You have the loveliest hair in all of Middle Earth," he breathed.

I shivered, goose pimples breaking out all over me as I felt his hands on my back. Then my hands caught in his hair and I pulled his face down towards mine; I kissed him softly.

"This feels good," I whispered. "Now, where do we go from here?"

Éomer smiled. "Impatient, love?"

"Yes!" I breathed as I started to undo the clasps on his tunic.

"Obviously," he grinned. Soon the tunic fell to the floor and his light undershirt followed, leaving his upper body bare. I inhaled sharply. I had seen him without a shirt before, but still the sight almost left me quite out of breath. Suntanned from his outdoor activities in the early summer sun, with his golden mane over his broad shoulders and light chest hair covering his muscled chest. He was gorgeous and I told him.

He grinned shyly as he started working on the laces on my dress. He opened them deftly. "Have you had much practice?" I inquired and he grinned.

"You could say that." He did not proffer anything more.

Soon the dress came off; Éomer cast it over the back of a chair. Now I was down to my thin slip – and Éomer to his breeches. He sat down in a chair to remove his boots and then rose to pull me against him.

I felt his body against mine. A hot feeling shot through me; I shivered involuntary and let out a whimper. He chuckled low in his throat and reached up to cup my breasts. I slid my hands down to his waist and pressed against him. He laughed softly.

I pulled a little away from him and looked shyly down his body; the hair on his lower abdomen, a little darker than his chest hair led down past his waistband and I could only guess at where it ended. I saw the bulge in his groin and whimpered softly as he pressed me against it again.

"I cannot keep my body from responding to yours, my love, as you well know, you've felt it before," he whispered huskily. "Do not be afraid, I shall not rush things; if you do not want them to happen, just say so." He let his hands glide down my body, until they reached my waist. Then he crushed me to him and he groaned slightly, letting his lips move from my lips to my neck.

I whimpered as I felt his hot mouth against the side of my neck and a hot feeling rushed through me. What was this; these were feelings like I had never had them before. I shivered violently, goose pimples breaking out everywhere again, as I felt him move his hands to the hem of my shift pulling it upwards.

I did not prevent him and soon I was left naked with only my husband's glittering dark eyes and his warm hands on me. "You did say that the only thing that you wanted on your body was my hands?" Éomer said as he nuzzled his lips against my ear. His voice was low and husky.

"Yes, I did say that," I whispered back. And then I looked at him, my eyes meeting his. I moved my hands to his waistband; they were shaking but I managed to open his belt, which I let drop to the floor. Then I pulled at the laces and the breeches slipped down his slender hips, pooling around his lower legs.

Éomer stepped out of the breeches and I realised that his arousal was now fully evident. I had seen men without their clothes before at the Houses of Healing and with three brothers, you get to see a little of each – but this was different, it was the man I loved …. and wanted. But I had not seen a full arousal before. I gasped involuntarily.

Éomer held my gaze in his and kissed me. "Do not be afraid, love – but this is what you do to me," he said huskily. He took me by the hand and led me towards our bed. I sat down and he moved so that I ended up on my back beneath him.

"Just where I wanted you," he chuckled. "Are you nervous?" he asked.

"No, strangely enough I am not," I whispered as I reached up to caress his face and remove the strays of hair that had fallen into his face. He lowered his lips on mine in a searing kiss. I pressed up against him; I was not nervous. Somehow all this seemed quite natural; it was Éomer – and the feelings that I had for him were so strong and sincere that it was as it should be. He moved his lips down to my neck.

"Éomer." I breathed his name. I could feel him smile against my neck, and I bent my head back as I felt him starting to explore the area between my throat and my shoulder. One hand slipped up my body and came to rest on my left breast and then I felt him move further down. His mouth closed over the nipple of my other breast and I whimpered loudly in pleasure.

The hand that had cupped my other breast moved lower, until ….. it moved past my thigh, down to …. . I sucked in my breath. He must have felt my reaction; he raised his head and looked at me. "Lothy, love, what is it?"

"Nothing I suppose …," I stuttered breathlessly, "but what are you doing?

Éomer grinned. "Just trying to please my wife; what did you think that I was doing?" He pulled himself up so that he looked into my eyes. "Am I moving too fast, love? If so, tell me and I will go slower."

I managed to utter a breathless "No."

He kissed me again, slowly and passionately. "Relax, my love, this is for you." And his hand roamed down my body again. I decided that I would do just that, relishing in the touch of his warm hand.

As he kissed my neck and my breasts, his hand moved down between my legs, moving unerringly against the most sensitive part of me and rubbing it gently. I felt a strange sensation and after a while a gush of wetness between my legs. I pressed my body against his hand.

He laughed breathlessly – and moved his hand so that one of his fingers slid into me. He moved it slowly. Oh heavens! All coherent thought disappeared from the sad remains of my brain as I squirmed under his touch, whimpering loudly.

Éomer looked at me; through the hazes I could tell that his eyes were dark and glazed over. "Feel good?" he whispered and I whimpered in reply. Yes! He nudged my legs apart and placed himself between them and let his mouth follow where his hands had been. I threw myself back in the pillows, my body arching under his touch. Oh, Béma …… I could not help myself; the most wonderful feeling overtook me and I screamed out his name; my entire body shuddered – and then relaxed.

Éomer lowered his body on mine, covering my mouth with his. "Did I please you, my Lady?" my husband inquired, looking intensely into my eyes.

"Oh, yes!" I breathed, "it was most wonderful ---- was it what I think it was?"

"If I am any judge, then yes," Éomer said. I looked up at him and then smiled a little shyly. I let my hands glide down his chest, fingering his chest hair, resting on his nipples. I tentatively kneaded them as he had done to me, and then lifted myself putting my mouth on one. He moaned softly and whispered. "Go on, love ---- explore me, find out what I like."

I hesitated a moment before I let my hand glide further, over his stomach down to his manhood, and I did so with demurely lowered eyes and burning cheeks. I hesitantly touched him and felt the size, the smooth and silky length. It was hot against my hand, and I became bolder as I heard my husband's reaction and felt him tense under my hands. He grabbed my arms and pulled me up for a passionately hot kiss. "Lothy – please, no more or I will be unable to consummate anything tonight."

"So I am doing it right?" I asked.

"You are doing it very right, love --- and another time I might let you continue," he breathed against my mouth. He rolled me over in his arms so that he lay almost on top of me, one leg between mine. He let his hands glide down my body again; I spread my legs deliberately and he eased down between them. "Will you allow me, my love," he whispered as he lowered his mouth on mine.

"Yes," I breathed, unable to word the feelings that rushed through me. I did not know exactly what they were, but I felt that I wanted …….. something.

"I want you – and I have waited so long for this moment." I felt him against me, prodding and hot. He eased himself into me --- this was the most extraordinary feeling, like nothing else I had ever experienced. I moaned, and he laughed huskily as he trust inside of me. Only slight uneasiness – and nothing else; I realised that they must have been right when we talked about …... my thoughts again slipped away.

Éomer trust inside me; I laughed helplessly as I felt a hot, hot feeling inside me. I whimpered, and Éomer growled and moved further inside me.

I had no sense of the time; it felt like forever as we lay savouring each other's bodies; I squirmed beneath him, arching my back and encircling his waist with my legs as if to draw him further into me. He growled from pleasure. Suddenly I got the feeling that I could not take anymore, it was as if everything inside me and before my eyes burst --- into nothingness. I cried out --- a hoarse, croaking sound that seemed to come from somebody else. Éomer moaned loudly – and he collapsed on top of me, roaring out his release.

For a long, long time we lay shivering, breathing hard until Éomer rolled over on to his back, bringing me with him. He held me against him, as he kissed me softly. "That was the most wonderful experience, I have ever ….. Lothy, I love you – and, thank you for loving me." His dark eyes looked into mine.

I looked at him, without really seeing him – and the first coherent thought that entered my brain was: So that is what all the fuss is about – what an amazing experience. I sighed loudly and worded my thoughts and Éomer chuckled, "The fuss? Really, Lothy – the fuss? Is that all you can say?"

I looked intensely at him, raising myself up on one elbow. "You know what I mean. Why is everybody trying so hard to keep us away from doing this? It must be the most wonderful thing that can ever happen between two people, and people in love are ever forbidden to do it until they are married – or at least the women are."

"Yes, it is odd, is it not?" Éomer grinned. "But now we are allowed to do it as much and as often as we want to. In fact, we are encouraged to do so – everybody wants us to produce an heir." He caressed my cheek softly.

"Which is certainly a good thing; how soon can we do it again?" I said teasingly, sending him a coy smile.

"Whoa, my Queen. Give a poor man a moment to recuperate – and to get something to drink." Éomer got up and walked over to the table where the wine stood. I lay back in bed, pulling a sheet over me and admired him as he stood in the candlelight, pouring wine into two goblets. My tall, handsome husband; his hair tousled from our lovemaking – and obviously not at all intimidated by the fact that he was naked.

He grinned cheekily at me as he was returning to the bed carrying two goblets. He set them down on the small table beside the bed and jumped into bed with me. He leaned over to kiss me. "You are looking absolutely lovely, my Queen – now that you are now longer a virgin," he grinned, letting his tongue slide sensually over my lower lip.

He reached over and took the goblets, handing me one. He sat up against the headboard and pulled me up against him. I took one sip and moved closer. He kissed me again, licking the wine off my lips. "Um, what an entirely nice way to taste the wine," he said. I let my fingers caress his chest, looking up at him, my eyes demurely lowered and my voice in a purr. "Éomer?"

"Umm," he replied, groaning contently as he obviously savoured the feeling of my hands.

"Éomer, have you had many women?"

Éomer looked at me, one eyebrow raised – obviously in slight shock. "Lothy – that is really not something that a new bride is supposed to ask her husband, especially not on her wedding night. But – then when were you ever conventional? Why is this so important to you?"

"Because I would like to know how I compare to those women, being so inexperienced. Please, Éomer. I am not jealous – just curious."

He groaned. "Just what every newly wed man would like to do, telling his bride about the women, he has known in his life."

I put a finger on his lips, "Just this once, Éomer – and then I shall never ask you again, I promise."

Éomer looked at me, "I would like you to know, you please me just fine; you are all the woman I will ever want or need, my love. Trust me."

He took my hand and kissed it; then he continued with a deep sigh, as he realised that I would not let go of the subject. He knew me too well by now. "Being the king's nephew, I have had my share of offers. I believe that Théodred perhaps was more in demand, but still – I had plenty. On my sixteenth birthday, Théodred decided that this was the perfect time to introduce me into manhood – and he took me to --- a brothel, where he had bought a wench for me as my birthday gift. She introduced me – so to speak – and I went there a few times afterwards, mostly when we returned from patrols. Then I met Fréya, and I loved her so much that I stayed faithful to her."

He paused and took a sip of his wine. Then he sent me a lopsided, slightly embarrassed smile, kissed my hair and continued. "After Fréya died, I did not fall in love again for a very, very long time – in fact not until I met a certain very, very lovely princess from Dol Amroth with eyes the colour of the sea." He leaned over and kissed me.

I caressed his cheek. "But what about in between – do not tell me that you have stayed celibate ever since – until this very night? You forget that I have brothers, who are also soldiers! I do know something about how men behave."

"Did I say that?" Éomer grinned a bit sheepishly at me. "No, I did not. I have had my share of tumbles. I am not very proud of it – nor of the way that I treated these women; release and diversion that is what I needed them for….."

"Were they only paid women?" I asked bluntly.

Éomer sent me a curious look. "Oh, I keep forgetting, being Amrothos' sister you are bound to know such things."

He grimaced. "No, not all of them – but never here from Edoras, nor from the royal household. Uncle used to say that he did not want his son or his nephew taking advantage of their position to bed the kitchen maids. I have made this a principle, although several of them have thought that they could bring me out of my loneliness. There might have one or two wenches from the villages that we stayed in during our patrols, though. You need not worry that you will meet any of my 'conquests' - and trust me – since I met you and fell in love with you I have shared my bed with no one," he said, as his hand caressed my arm.

I contemplated what he had told me. I did not feel jealous. I knew that I had been on dangerous ground asking such questions, but I had had to know. I wanted matters settled between us before we started our married life. I told Éomer as much. He nodded solemnly.

"I understand," he said. Then he set down his goblet and removed mine as well. He took me in his arms. "Lothy, my love. I trust that you believe it when I say that none of these women has meant anything to me. I have never felt anything like what I felt with you just now. Lothy, I am yours – heart, mind, body and soul."

I kissed him softly. "I know."

He held me at arm's length and looked into my eyes. I could tell that there was something he wanted to ask me. "Lothy, I know that you had been with no man before me, but there must have been suitors – or perhaps somebody you loved?"

I took a deep breath. I understood why he had asked. Obviously he still wanted to be absolutely sure that I loved him – and only him. And I realised that this had been my reason for asking him about the women before me as well.

"Yes, there have been plenty of suitors; as a princess of Dol Amroth I was prey to most of the noblemen – young or old – and rich merchants of Dol Amroth and Gondor, all of them seeking their fortune, I suppose – as well as the honour of being the son-in-law of the Prince of Dol Amroth. You have met one or two of them."

I paused for a moment. "A couple of the younger I admit that I found slightly attractive, and I have had any number of crushes on my brothers' friends. In spite of the well-known Gondorian sense of propriety, I admit that some of them I have also kissed in secluded corners, but that is about it. To most of them, I was fiercely independent and outspoken – too much so, actually - and admit it, my love, not all men like that in a women."

Éomer grinned. I looked fondly at him and caressed his cheek. "But not until I met someone who was entirely different from the men I grew up with, did I fall truly in love. A tall, blond soldier of Rohan with the darkest eyes, I have ever seen."

"I am glad," Éomer said as he pulled me closer in. He planted a kiss on my forehead and I snuggled in closer. He started caressing my body again and soon he fulfilled my wish, repeating his actions of before.

Afterwards he just held me in his arms, and soon I could tell from his even breathing that he had fallen asleep. No wonder. It had been a long day for both of us. I closed my eyes, and soon I fell asleep, too.

When next I opened my eyes, I felt completely bewildered. Where was I? Then I looked around me, took in the room – and saw my wedding dress slung across the back of a chair, my discarded slip and Éomer's clothes, which were lying in a bundle on the floor. I felt a movement beside me, turned my head and looked into my husband's smiling eyes.

"Slept well?" he asked, his voice husky from sleep – and perhaps desire?

"Yes, thank you – and you, my Lord?" I smiled at him.

"Very well. I must have fainted at some point, because the last thing I remember is that you told me that you were in love with a tall, blond soldier of Rohan with dark eyes. Who is this man? Do I know him?" he inquired teasingly as he moved closer and I felt his hands on me under the covers.

"Oh, I think that you might." I breathed. "If I am not mistaken, he is trying to take advantage of his wife right now …… if you keep doing that, Sire, I must say that you asked for it – you might regret it."

"I do not regret anything," Éomer chuckled as he claimed my lips. When he ended the kiss, he groaned. "I aim to take advantage of you as often as I can – and most certainly this morning before anybody gets the idea to come and fetch us for breakfast."

Then he kissed me again. And then it took a while before any of us concentrated on anything but pleasing each other. I found that making love was something that came very natural; at least my body reacted very naturally to my husband's touch – and I was beginning to find out what pleased him as well, as he encouraged me to experiment.

---ooo000ooo---

The sun shone warmly into the room when we finally surfaced again. "I have a feeling that we had better get up and get dressed; it is customary in Rohan to wake up the newly wed couple and take them to breakfast. I know Gamling and Éothain well enough to know that they will not let this opportunity slip, nor will Aragorn. Get up, wife!" he said, slapping me gently on my bottom. I stuck out my tongue at him and dived into the covers, pretending to be offended.

Chuckling he rolled over, placed a kiss on my shoulder and then swung his long legs out of bed. He picked up his clothes and went into the small, adjacent room, which was some sort of combined dressing and washroom. I heard him whistle.

I stretched and then decided to get up as well. I had a humming feeling all over my body – from our lovemaking I suppose. It was a good feeling, I decided. I smiled as I picked up my slip and my wedding gown. I hung up the gown in the closet, found a dress and a slip and then went into the dressing room.

Éomer was washing when I came in. At first he looked a bit stunned, but then he grinned. "I suppose that I have to get used to having somebody else in here with me," he said. I went over to him and slipped my arms around him.

"I suppose that we both shall have to get used to a lot of things, but I will have no difficulties being around you," I said, standing on tiptoes to kiss him.

Then I went over to the other basin, poured in water and started washing myself. Éomer looked at me with a tender smile, which soon turned devilish. "Ah, a most inspiring sight, I must say." He moved towards me.

"Oh, no you do not," I protested. "You said it yourself, we have to get dressed."

"I know I did, but they will just have to wait until we are finished," he grinned as he pulled me into his arms, lifting me and pinning me against the wall. What could I do but succumb and let him have his way? So that is what I did. He slid into me with ease and I wrapped my legs around his waist.

Through the last throes of our passion and our heavy breathing we heard the knock on the outer door. "Go away," Éomer growled as he lowered me to the floor.

"We thought that you might want some breakfast now." We heard Gamling's voice and the chuckling of at least two other persons outside the door. "Considering the activities you have – ahem – been excelling in."

Éomer groaned against my neck. "Well, I suppose that we shall have to comply."

I giggled. "Yes, my Lord. And will you now allow me to finish what I was doing?"

He grinned, lowered me carefully to the floor and gave me a rather chaste kiss. "Of course."

"We shall be joining you shortly," he growled loudly, "now go away!"

We finished washing and dressing. The dress code did not call for anything specific for the morning after the wedding, so we just dressed casually in light fabrics, it was summer and the weather was warm. I brushed my hair and braided it.

Éomer tied his hair back with a leather thong, as he usually did for riding. He took my hand and led me out of the door and down the corridor. Before he opened the door leading into the hall, he kissed me lightly on the lips. "Ready?" he asked. I nodded and we walked through the doors.

Smiling faces welcomed us – and any number of rowdy remarks. Éomer just grinned and answered for the both of us that yes, we had indeed had a good night; yes, we had slept well; and no, he had no intentions whatsoever of going into details. To this, my father remarked dryly that he was most grateful.

After breakfast, my brothers, Faramir and Aragorn hauled Éomer away saying that he could probably do with a bit of fresh air – and perhaps a ride. That is if he felt like sitting on a horse? Otherwise they would be most happy to provide him with a cart ----- and perhaps a cushion to sit on. My husband shook his head at their friendly banter, saying that they should remember that a horse lord would be able to ride under any conditions – and telling my youngest brother that he had better remember this; some day soon it would be his turn. The men left us under much laughter and bantering, and the other women and I went for a walk in the garden.

Éowyn came up and took my arm. "You look radiantly happy, Lothy," she said, "I trust that my brother was no disappointment to you?"

I smiled. "Certainly not. I do believe that he is all that I shall ever want for."

Éowyn chuckled. "I know. I feel the same way about Faramir." Her face shone with a new glow that had never been there before. It was evident that my cousin made her very happy, indeed. But there was something else, too? I hugged her; I was most pleased to have her as a sister-in-law, having no sisters myself. True we would be far apart in our everyday life, but there would be letters – and visits whenever we could. I told her as much as she was hugging me back.

Cerwyn and Mélia came up to us. Mélia was carrying her youngest daughter on her arm and the oldest clung to her skirt.

Cerwyn smiled at me. "You could tell a mile away that our king made you happy this night, both from his sheepish grin and your happy face." She chuckled. "But – then men of Rohan do live up to their reputation."

Éowyn looked at her and then said dryly. "Aye - or so they say. And I can tell that Gamling has also been busy, or am I mistaken. Is it not so that you are expecting again?"

Cerwyn smiled. "Indeed, and I would so like to have a daughter this time. Three boisterous sons are more than enough."

We all congratulated her. I held my arms out, asking Mélia if I could hold her daughter for a while. She handed me the babe, a beautiful little girl with red hair and Éothain's grey eyes. The little girl gurgled and sent me a gummy smile, waving her little arms in the air. She was now seven months old, having been born shortly before Éowyn's wedding.

Holding the little girl in my arms made me wonder what it would be like having a child of my own; Éomer's child. Arwen must have guessed my thoughts; she smiled at me. "It will be your turn sooner than you know." And Mélia chuckled as she relieved me of her daughter. "Did I not tell you once that Rohirrim do not waste their time once they are home?"

Éowyn snorted. "And as Lothy said, neither do men of Gondor."

I looked at my sister-in-law. "Éowyn, do you mean that ….. is this true? When?"

Éowyn smiled. "In the autumn. The heir of Ithilien will be born when the autumn comes."

Arwen smiled her enigmatic smile. "And so will the heir of Gondor."

"Why have you not told me before?" I enquired.

Éowyn grinned. "I wanted to be sure before I told you – and besides your wedding to my illustrious older brother was the main event, was it not? The other news could come later."

I embraced both my friends, and Éowyn grinned even more. "And now my big brother will have to hurry up if my child is to have a cousin to play with."

I blushed. If the Valar would make it possible for me to conceive, I was quite sure that Éomer would waste no time to comply, that is if last night – and this morning - was anything to judge by.

The others laughed at my blushing face. Arwen caressed my cheek. "I am sure that the Valar will grant you this ere long," she said softly.

The men came back from their ride, as we were sitting on the terrace overlooking Edoras watching the people of the city going back and forth with their daily duties and life.

I watched Éomer dismount and lead Firefoot into the stables, and my heart skipped a beat seeing him. Fréalin came out onto the terrace. "Seeing that the king and his guests have returned, I shall tell the maids to lay the table for the midday meal, my Lady," she said.

I nodded. "A good idea, Fréalin. I think that they will be hungry by now. We shall be there shortly. And – will you ask someone to provide some hot water and towels for the king and his guests?" I smiled at her and received a smile back.

"Certainly, my Lady," the housekeeper said.

"She likes you, you know," Éowyn said. I knew that; during the time I had spent at Edoras I had seen much proof of that, and I truly was starting to feel comfortable with the older woman, although she still made me nervous at times because she was so capable.

We entered the hall and sat down at the table, waiting for our men to join us. The doors opened and Éomer entered as the first. His eyes sought mine, and not for the first time I realised that all and everybody else disappeared. However crowded the room might be, it made no difference, I would only see him. I snapped for breath.

I pulled myself together, remembering who and where I was. "Please," I said to our guests, "please sit down. You must be hungry after your ride, my Lords."

Éomer sat down by my side and took my hand as he leaned in and whispered in my ear. "Hungry, yes – but mostly for you."

My father, who had finally emerged from a walk with one of Éomer's older marshals, Erkenbrand, smiled at me from his seat across the table from us. "You look well and happy, my daughter. But then – I expected nothing else."

We ate our meal, chatting and laughing. It was good being in the company of friends and family, but I longed to be alone with my husband. As it were, we did not get to spend time alone together until late in the evening, because Éomer's advisors trapped him, wanting to get a number of matters settled. "And this day after my wedding!" the king sighed as he left us to join his council.

In the evening we had another feast, more modest that the one of our wedding day, but we still had to be the hosts. We were both exhausted when we entered our bedroom – after all we had not had that much sleep the previous night. But we were young, and exhaustion was no barrage to lovemaking, although we did fall into a deadly sleep afterwards.

The days went by; we took our guests for outings in the countryside; bathing in the river – still freezingly cold as it was fed from the mountain streams. We had small tournaments and competitions and all too soon it was time for our guests to leave us. The first to leave were the noblemen and dignitaries of Gondor and Rohan; and then Arwen and Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas – then the hobbits, and finally Éowyn, Faramir and the rest of my family.

Seven days later we stood on the stairs of Meduseld waving to my family – and then we were alone. Well, almost that is; we still had faithful friends close by, but now people did not constantly surround us. The marshals and their wives had their own homes in Edoras, and retired there when their presence was not mandatory.

It was sad to see our friends and family go, but we actually rejoiced in having some time to ourselves – as little as it was. When we had seen my family off, and the heavy doors closed behind us, Éomer scooped me up in his arms and carried me to our bedroom.

Of course we had had time to ourselves, even with our guests around. The nights, of course – and Éomer had surprised me at times pulling me into dark corners, kissing me fervently and telling me how much he wanted me – and showing me, too. On one occasion we had even ended up in the stables, which was actually not very dignified behaviour when you are king and queen of a country. But we were only human, very much in love – and very much newly wed.

A couple of times we had even managed to sneak off and take a ride across the plains – and had usually ended up in the grass somewhere by the river. Most of the time, when Éothain found out that we had left on our own, he had sent a guard after us, but they had been most discreet and had kept at a distance.

Most of our people found it quite amusing that we could not keep our hands off each other. My father furrowed his brow, but as nobody else seemed to mind, he kept his tongue – barely I could tell. After all, what could he do? We were married and the rulers of a sovereign nation. With different views on propriety than Gondor I might add – and at least without the double standards.

In Gondor, it would never do that newly wed kings and queens disappeared in the middle of the afternoon – or even held hands openly, let alone kiss. I had already seen how the women of Rohan took leave of their men when they went on patrols; a display of both love and passion, which came quite natural.

This afternoon in our bedroom, Éomer made slow and passionate love to me. The windows were open and the scent of flowers and summer streamed into our room, as did the everyday noises of the city and the court.

As we lay afterwards, my head resting against his chest, I asked my husband whether he was aware that his sister was expecting?

"Oh, yes," he chuckled and I could feel the resonance in his chest. "Oh, yes – Faramir told me ---- and Aragorn, too. Once these two knew that they were going to be fathers, they were not able to hold their tongues. I gather that you knew about Arwen, too?"

"Aye, she told me. But I am really disappointed of you men. You are no better than women when it comes to gossip!" I giggled as I felt his hands grabbing me.

"Are you calling us gossips?" my husband chuckled. "Do you really think that we would hold our tongues and abstain from bragging, once we knew that our efforts had been successful. I certainly would not be able to; I would shout it from the rooftop if I knew that I was going to be a father." Then he lifted himself so that he could look me in the eyes. "Are you …?"

I blushed a bit. "No – that is I do not think so – yet. Although it has not been for lack of trying, my Lord."

Éomer sat up in bed. "Lothy, I would like nothing better than to have a son and heir, but if you feel that it is too soon, you must say so – and I will ….."

I looked at him. "No – it would be quite natural, and I would never dream of …. you know. We shall have the children that the Valar will grant us. And besides, we cannot stop now; Éowyn's child should have somebody close to its age for a cousin – and Arwen's for a friend."

"Does that mean that you require my efforts right now, my Lady? Because I would most willingly oblige?" Éomer grinned cheekily and begun pulling me down to him.

"No – no, Éomer – I am sure that you would and could ……, but I believe that it is time that the citizens of Edoras saw their king and queen. Take me for a walk around the city and tell me of your favourite places," I said, wriggling out of his grip.

He looked almost disappointed. "I suppose that I must succumb to your wish, my Lady. But trust me --- you shall not get away so easily tonight." He grinned and sent me a devilish look from his hazel eyes. "I believe that I shall take you to visit Gamling ---- perhaps his litter will cure you of any premature thoughts of having children."

"I have met his boys, thank you. I happen to think that compared to my brothers they are extremely well behaved. And – according to Fréalin they are no worse than you and Éothain were when you were younger." I chuckled as I saw his face.

"Hm, I must teach those, who know me well, not to speak treason. After all, I am the king." Éomer said as he rolled me over and gave me a quick, but fervent kiss. "Then – if that is what you want, then get up woman!" Then he rolled out of bed and proceeded to get dressed. I threw a pillow at him, which he ducked deftly.

"Lothy, you might consider changing some of your wild ways before we have children. You would not set a bad example for them, now would you?" he enquired with a big grin, which I could not help reciprocating. And once more I rejoiced in the fact that I had found a husband like Éomer.

I must have been daydreaming. I was startled by a knock on the door and a voice saying. "Mother, please --- both father and Elfwine are growing impatient. What in all of Middle Earth is keeping you?"

One of my twin daughters, recently married to one of my husband's young marshals, came through the door. Ciera had always been the gentler of my two eldest daughters, not as fiery tempered and mouthy as her sister – or her mother for that matter. "I cannot keep them at bay much longer, mother," she complained.

"I believe that all these wedding preparations got me dreaming," I smiled.

"What did you dream of, mother?" my daughter asked.

"Oh, I just got thinking of the time when I met your father – and fell in love with him. And of our wedding." I looked at my daughter's face, which lit up in a big smile.

"That is understandable, mother – but really, you know what your eldest son and your husband are like."

I chuckled. "Oh, yes – I can imagine. They are both stomping around like prime stallions of Rohan. I remember that your aunt told me that your father did. Just let me finish my hair – and put on the accursed crown, then I will be ready."

Ciera put the finishing touches to my hair, which I wore up for the occasion, as I was supposed to look like a proper mother-in-law and queen. Just as she was reaching for the queen's golden circlet to put it on my head, a well-known figure burst into our bedroom. The king, my husband!

"Béma's Balls, woman. What is keeping you? Your son is getting as impatient as Firefoot was before a battle. If you do not come soon, I am afraid that he will just grab Celebrian and elope with her!" My husband's hazel eyes shone with mirth. "Let me do that." He took the circlet from his daughter and placed it on my head with the ease of long time's practice.

"Get up, wife. I want to look at you!" I rose to stand before my husband. I could see that his eyes turned dark. Even after so many years of marriage ….

"Go to your husband," he said to our daughter, who giggled. She knew her parents – obviously.

Éomer took me in his arms and kissed me – as fiercely as he had done in his youth. "Béma, you are beautiful; you are well worth waiting for."

"Let us hope that our son thinks so as well." I said as I put my arms around his neck.

"What kept you, Lothy? You are not ill, are you? You have been working so hard to get everything ready." Éomer looked at me with worry in his eyes.

"Ill – no, I am not that old; a bit tired perhaps. I was up late last night." I said.

"I know; our bed turned cold as I waited for you," my husband growled.

"Aye, and my husband slept when I finally got to bed. He must be getting old. No, I just came to think about our wedding day – and the time when we met." I said, leaning my head against his chest.

He held me close. "I remember – the first time I saw you. At the Houses of Healing. I was devastated because I had just found Éowyn believing her dead, and you seemed a dream to me. And you gave me hope when we marched on the Black Gate."

I nodded. "Yes, and I wanted to kiss you – from the first time I saw you. You had the darkest eyes I had ever seen."

I took a step back. Even now when Éomer was in his fifty-sixth year, and perhaps was a bit sturdier than he had been in his youth, he was still an attractive man – at least to me. His hair was not without silver, neither was his beard, but his young riders still had to put in a considerable effort to beat him.

Our lovemaking might not be as fiery or as frequent as in our youth, but I had no reason to complain and had never had. Six children we had to show for it. And there might have been more, I had also lost a couple – from worrying and working too hard. Éomer had been called away more than once to fight alongside Aragorn to secure the peace in Middle Earth; I had the lines in my face that told this tale.

But I could tell from my husband's eyes that I was still as attractive to him as I had been in our youth. I looked into them; they were still as youthful – and dark – as ever. I reached up to caress his cheek. "I have loved you for so long," I said softly.

"Hopefully you still do," he said, grinning devilishly. "Now, if you are ready, my Lady, let us join our young stallion. He is stomping around, eagerly awaiting to say his vows to the lady of his choosing," He kissed me and whispered against my lips, "and if he is anything like me – which I believe that he is – he is waiting just as impatiently to bed her as I was to bed you."

I kissed him back, "Mm, I seem to recall – now stop stalling, my Lord. I am as ready as I shall ever be to become a mother-in-law again." And we went out the door, hand in hand to meet with our family.

Our children grinned and greeted us, except for our eldest son, the heir to the throne of Rohan. He furrowed his brow – something that made him look extremely like his father, shook his dark blonde mane of hair and hissed nervously. "What ever took you so long, mother?"

I looked at him and said teasingly. "Nervous are we, my darling?"

His siblings chuckled. His married sisters, Ciera and the Crown Princess of Gondor, Théodwyn; his younger brother Haldred, who would be married soon – and the youngest and the wildest: Bronwyn and Théodred were watching their big brother with loving and teasing smiles.

The bride's brother – Aragorn's eldest son and heir - Eldarion chuckled. "'Wine, stop fretting – you shall be married! What is the rush? Celebrian is not running anywhere; she will wait for you until the end of time!"

Éomer chuckled. "Now – stop this; and let us get it over with. I am sure that Aragorn is getting mightily tired of his daughter as well." Éomer and I headed the procession with our son, as we entered the Great Hall, where the guests were waiting.

Éomer and I watched our son, the next King of Rohan speak his vows to the Princess of Gondor. They were looking at each other as if there were no one else in the room and I smiled as I saw the look in my son's dark eyes. I knew that look. I had seen it often in the eyes of his father – and as I turned and looked at my husband, I saw it again, just as I had seen it all those years ago; we were thinking exactly the same. Our son and his bride would be as happy as we had been – and still were.

Dark eyes looked lovingly at me and I smiled.