Part 60 of the Elfwine Chronicles. The Elfwine Chronicles are a series of one-shots built around the family group of Eomer, Lothiriel and Elfwine. The total number will depend on how many ideas I get for new vignettes.
A/N: When I wrote "Obstacles", I let Tracey read it over to see if she saw anything that needed "fixing" or "adding", since I was struggling with it a bit. She made a comment that I couldn't see a way to properly address during that story, so I set it aside to do later and, finally, here it is.
I decided to post this one first, since the other two are more appropriate to Valentine's Day. So #58 and #59 will be up in the next two days. Don't worry! And, yes, it isn't technically "tomorrow" yet (Sunday), but it IS tomorrow somewhere in the world, probably in Middle Earth, so I'm posting now. Quit yer complaining!
(Jan, 28 IV)
Theodwyn stormed into her mother's sitting room and flung herself angrily in a chair, arms folded across her chest. Giving a mental sigh, Lothiriel continued with her sewing, waiting for her daughter to voice her latest grievance, most likely about her new husband, Freawine.
It did not take long for Theodwyn to launch into a tirade about the most recent instance of his behavior that had annoyed her, and her mother listened in silence until she was finished. Finally running out of steam, Theodwyn flung herself back in the chair, from which she had risen to storm about the room during her discourse, and stared at her mother, expecting consolation.
Calmly, Lothiriel rose and told her daughter, "I will be back in a moment, dearest. Wait here." She was out the door before Theodwyn could protest.
Locating Gamling, Lothiriel jotted a note and gave it to him, asking, "Would you have someone take this to Eothain immediately?" He eyed her curiously, but nodded his agreement.
Several moments later, Eothain appeared in the door of the riders' hut and fixed his gaze on Freawine, "Freawine, get up to the Hall and see the queen. She has need of a rider for some task." He was purposely vague, having been warned to be so by Lothiriel in her note.
Curious, Freawine rose and headed out the door, wondering what this odd request was about. As he entered the Golden Hall, he found the queen talking with his father and approached them quietly, giving a bow to the queen. "You sent for a rider, my lady?"
"I did. Gamling, do you have time to join us for a few minutes?" The Doorward nodded, and the two men followed the queen back to her sitting room.
Theodwyn was startled by who was accompanying her mother, but managed an angry glare at her husband anyway. Lothiriel waved the men to seats, and then turned to face the three of them.
To Gamling, she said, "You are only here to witness what I am about to say to our children. I hope you will pass it along to your wife." He nodded his understanding.
She then fixed her eyes on the married couple, and sighed. Crossing her arms, she told them sternly, "You both know that I love you dearly, and I wish you to be happy, but this cannot continue. You have been married less than two months, and in that time both of you have come to me at least three times to complain about the other person. I am sure you hope that I will impart some sage advice, possibly preferring that said advice assures each of you that you are right and the other one is wrong, but that is not the way to deal with your problems. The two of you must learn to talk to one another and work out your difficulties. If you truly cannot reach an agreement, I am happy to help, as are Freawine's parents, I am sure. But neither of you is putting effort into dealing with matters on your own. You yell at one another or angrily keep silent, and then come to me to solve the mess that has been made. I will not do that. It does you both a disservice and it does not bode well for your marriage."
Freawine was looking embarrassed by this time, honest enough to admit the truth of her words. The queen was so much easier to talk to than an angry, emotional Theodwyn, that it had been simpler to discuss the problems with her than deal with Theodwyn's temper.
Theodwyn, however, wasn't quite ready to accept that responsibility, "But, Mother…"
Before she could continue, Lothiriel cut her off, "No 'buts', Theodwyn. If you are upset with Freawine, you need to talk to him, calmly, about the problem and work together to find a solution you both can live with."
Theodwyn's jaw clenched and she sunk lower in her chair, her arms still crossed defiantly. Lothiriel recognized the gesture and told her, "Dearest, you will learn to do this, or we will have your father terminate your marriage right now. You are no longer a child, you chose to marry, you assured us you were old enough and sensible enough for the responsibility. Now you need to prove your claims. We will not leave this room until you have worked this out with Freawine, or you are no longer married."
Theodwyn had jolted upright in her chair at this edict, "Mother! You cannot be serious! I do not wish to have our marriage voided! All I need is…"
Again her mother interrupted her, "I have told you your choices, dearest. You have only to choose between them."
Freawine reached for Theodwyn's hand, but she snatched it away from him, feeling quite put upon. Even so, he pressed on, "My love, please. Your mother is right. We should not be bringing our problems to her, or to my parents, or to anyone else. We need to solve this. Please, can we not talk about it? I truly do love you and, given our choices in the matter, I prefer to talk." He cast a rueful sideways glance at Lothiriel.
A tear slipped down Theodwyn's cheek, and she brushed it away in annoyance, but finally declared, "Why is it so wrong for me to want you home for supper on time?"
Freawine sighed, and tried again to explain it to her, "Beloved, I cannot decide when my work ends. That is up to Eothain, and we do not have the right to expect him to treat me differently than any other rider in the king's guard. He releases us when he judges it appropriate. We must accept that. I assure you, I come straight home as soon as he lets us go. Believe me, I have no wish to be away from you any longer than I must." He gave her a tender smile, and she could not prevent a slight smile tweaking her mouth, though she tried to check it.
He reached for her hand again and softly told her, "Ask whatever you will of me that is mine to control and I will do it, beloved, but this is not mine to dictate. I fear you have married a servant."
Her eyes came up to meet his, horror showing in hers that he would say such a thing, "I do not care about…" She stopped, suddenly understanding that her actions belied the words she had been about to speak. She did not care about his status in life, but railing against the strictures of it was as good as rejecting it as beneath her. With a gasp of realization, her eyes filled with tears and she flung her arms around his neck.
"I am so sorry, Freawine. I did not mean to belittle you. I just miss you so much during the day and want to see you as soon as possible, so I let it upset me if you did not arrive home at the earliest instant that I expected you. Please forgive me, my love!"
He held her close and kissed her head, "Of course I forgive you, my sweet. Never think I would stay away from you even one moment longer than I absolutely must. But Eothain stuck his neck out by choosing me for the king's guard, risking censure for playing favorites. I cannot fault him if he requires me to work long hours. At least when my shift ends, I can come back to our home instead of being leagues away in a cold tent and only dreaming of you."
Theodwyn began smothering him with kisses of apology, which he gladly received. When both finally came up for air, and looked around in embarrassment, they discovered their parents had gone. With a grin, Freawine rested his head against his wife's and commented, "I was blessed to receive you as a wife, beloved, but we are both blessed to have your mother's wise counsel."
End note: It is best that you read the Elfwine Chronicles in the order they were written. The more of them that I wrote, the more likely I was to make reference to one of the previous ones and something that happened there. If you want to read them in order, go to the top of this page and click on my name (Deandra). That will take you to my profile page. Scroll down and you will find all the stories I have written. The Elfwine Chronicles are in order from bottom to top since ffn shows them in the order they were posted. A few were posted out of number order, but you can read them in posting order or number order since those few won't be affected in the story content.