Hello, all, and welcome to the beginnings of a brand-new Grima/Eowyn story! Firstly, a dedication to the wonderful Auri Mynonys for getting me off my lazy ass to actually write something. :D As for other stuff... the rating is currently PG, but it will go up. How high? Depends on how naughty I'm feeling. ;) Without further ado, here it is.
She awoke only to darkness. She blinked a few times, gradually becoming aware of her surroundings. She lay in a bed piled with blankets; the air in the chamber was heavy and close. Upon trying to sit up, she found herself struggling. Her head ached; her reaching fingers discovered thick bandages wrapped around her matted hair.
Her heart beat quickly as she wondered where she was – perhaps a healer's rooms. Yes, and soon the healer would be along to bring her water, and to tell her where her uncle and her brother were.
But were they even still alive? The last thing she remembered clearly was the explosion at the Hornburg – a cacophony that shook the very walls of the caves, and then darkness. After that, she could recall nothing. No, not nothing, she realized. She could remember cool hands upon her burning forehead, and a soothing voice whispering words of comfort. Yet she felt no comfort now.
I am Éowyn, daughter of Éomund, she said to herself. Like a child fearful of the dark, she dared not speak aloud. I am the sister of Éomer, Third Marshal of the Mark, and niece of Théoden, King of Rohan. I am a shieldmaiden of the Riddermark, and I am not afraid.
She suddenly jumped, hearing a scuffling sound across the room. This was shortly followed by a small squeak – it had been nothing but a mouse.
I am not afraid, she whispered, drawing on every ounce of her strength. Everything would be fine. She drew her knees up to her chin, and waited.
Despite herself, she must have fallen asleep again, because she was brought back to consciousness by the unmistakable presence of another person in the room. Opening her eyes, she saw a thin figure across the room, standing with his back to her. The light in the chamber grew as he lit several candles.
Éowyn noted several things about the room: it was small and circular, with black, gleaming walls. Three cascades of dark fabric covered what one could assume were windows. The most eye-catching feature of the otherwise drab quarters was the veritable library it contained. Everywhere she looked, she saw shelves and shelves of books, maps, rolls of parchment, battered quills, half-empty bottles of ink.
But then she turned her attentions to the man before her. She observed black garb, pale hands, limp, dark hair. A horror began to grow inside her, and she tried to shrink underneath the blankets which covered her. One was especially heavy; closer inspection revealed it to be trimmed with black fur that gave her goosebumps when it brushed her arm. Not a blanket. A cloak. His cloak, she realized, recoiling from it.
Pieces began to fall into place – the battle, the explosion, and now this chamber of ebony stone… and him…
He turned around as silently as a shadow, and smiled faintly to see her awake.
She gritted her teeth, causing a burst of pain in her head. Wincing, she growled, "Wormtongue, how have I come to be in Orthanc? When my Uncle the King—"
"The King of Rohan is dead," he interrupted, picking up a tray which held a bowl, a pitcher, and a goblet. "As are nearly all the Rohirrim who were at Helm's Deep. Men, women, children. Soldiers and civilians alike." She studied his face as he set the tray down on a small table next to the bed, and she saw in it no remorse.
"Our people," she whispered, thinking of her uncle's kindness, Éomer's brotherly affection. But she would not cry before him. She would not allow it.
"Your people, perhaps," he said coldly, pouring water into the goblet. "They ceased to be my people long ago."
Éowyn looked up at him scornfully. "So you have not kidnapped me for ransom. What for, then? I expect you wish to use me for your own perverted delights, snake that you are—"
"I saved you," he snarled, coldness quickly morphing into something more bitter. "My lord Saruman bade me ride to the Hornburg after word came of the victory of his Uruk-hai. My task was to assess the losses and see if there was anything of worth there." He handed her the bowl, which was filled with a soup which appeared thin, but steamed invitingly. "And I did indeed find something of worth, down in the caves."
"The only Rohirric life of any value to you," she said harshly. "Save perhaps your own miserable hide."
"Say to me what you will, my lady. My heart shattered when I saw you, deathly pale and bleeding." His voice barely masked a deep intensity. "I brought you back to Isengard straight away; here you have lain in a fever for three days."
"Better you had left me for dead."
He looked at her with icy eyes. "I am sorry if you prefer the company of corpses to mine. I must confess, I would have thought my lady stronger than to wish for death." This touched a nerve in her – he, the greatest coward she had ever known, daring to insinuate she was weak! – though she refused to let it show.
"I shall take my leave that you may rest, and enjoy the solitude," he said pointedly.
She grabbed his cloak and pulled it off of her. "Take this filthy thing with you."
"The tower is cold, my lady. Keep it." He turned and made it halfway to the door before she spoke again.
"Why do you taunt me so?" she cried. "I am royalty no more; you know this. I am surprised you have not yet made mention of it, in fact. Why must you call me lady?"
That strange, faint smile returned to his pale lips. "Though you are no longer a princess, my lady you shall ever be, Éowyn." And with that he left, leaving her briefly wondering if he felt as cold as she did, as cold as the stone of Orthanc.
Thus ends Chapter One. I really wish I could write longer chapters, but never mind that. More importantly, I haven't written much of anything in awhile aside from RPG posts, so I feel like my writing is a little rusty. Constructive criticism is therefore more than welcome, and indeed encouraged. Drop a review and let me know what you think!