Another break, another chapter. I watched all the LotR's on BluRay today. Teared up during all of Fellowship. Highly recommend, completely incredible.
Even Éomer's presence could not distract her from the ceremony upon the steps of the King's House. Grave but with the slightest smile, Gandalf the White held the winged crown aloft as the king knelt before him.
"Now come the days of the king!" he cried, his words echoing out over the Citadel. The crowd watched in utter silence as the wizard lowered the crown onto Elessar's brow. Quieter but triumphant, Gandalf murmured his last words. "May they be blessed."
Cheers of joy went up and a great many clapped and stamped their feet. Her brothers were no exception, each one making more noise than the next. Lothíriel joined in as best she could, clapping as loudly as etiquette would allow. But manners were the farthest thing from her mind.
The King of Gondor had returned. The Enemy had gone.
Some whistled aloud and many heads turned. High, keen and clear, the noise carried over all, emanating from the many Rohirrim standing behind their own king. Éomer whistled as well, clapping all the while. A few Gondorians looked confused, offended even, by what they considered to be a barbaric display. But like the new king of Gondor, Lothíriel only smiled.
With such joy, they could have kept clapping and cheering and whistling well into the afternoon but Elessar raised a hand. The crowd fell quiet almost at once, waiting in rapt attention for his first words as king.
"This day does not belong to one man but to all." He spoke with a deepness of a man beyond his years. All could see the memory of war and the promise of peace in his shining eyes. "Let us together rebuild this world that we may share in the days of peace."
Another great cheer and again he asked for silence. This time he sang out in Elvish, a language that few knew but many appreciated for its beauty. All were quiet as he sang, descending the steps to the walk before him. The king fell into a slow pace, bowing and nodding to either side. As he drew close, Lothíriel noticed his hands, still torn from battle. One rested on the hilt of his legendary sword; it seemed war was not yet so distant for him.
The House of Dol Amroth bowed as one when Elessar stopped before them, bowing himself to a lineage almost as old as his own. Prince Imrahil beamed broadly.
"Hail, Elessar King!" he shouted, and his family, along with much of the crowd, followed suit.
The king smiled and nodded. Truth be told, Lothíriel thought he looked more embarrassed than anything by the display, though he tried to hide it. She thought it strange for a man of such greatness to act so, but then she did not know him. It was not her place to guess his heart. Not yet, if her father would have his way.
And the thought of marriage wormed its way back into her mind. She sighed aloud, a small noise, but enough to draw the king's eye. He noticed her, done up in white feathers and fine silks, and knew her immediately as the young princess Imrahil had offered up. Their eyes met and she quickly lowered her gaze, disliking his attention. A perceptive man, Elessar sensed her discomfort and hastened on, bowing to Éomer, Faramir and great many others down the avenue.
"Hmm," Amrothos murmured once the king had passed. His eyes twinkled with the usual mischief.
Lothíriel narrowed her eyes. "I'd thank you to keep your opinions to yourself, Brother," she hissed, keeping her gaze on the king's procession. The dwarf was quite interesting.
"Opinions?" he mocked. "Me? Never!"
Smirking, she elbowed him lightly. Amrothos grinned in return and plucked a wayward white feather from her dark hair.
"Quite a silly getup, you know," he added, smiling all the while. "If it wasn't for your complexion, you might be able to pass for one of those elves." He gestured towards the king, who was now receiving Elven royalty a few yards away.
She laughed louder, drawing Éomer's eye from across the avenue. "It would take all of the White Wizard's magic to make me an Elf. And a boatload of powder on top of that."
But Amrothos wasn't listening, his gaze on the Elves. "They're fascinating, you know. Deadly too. I saw that Legolas fellow take down an entire mûmak! He's just there you know," he gestured, careful not to rudely point, "next to that dark-haired one, Elrond. From Rivendell, by the looks of him and the girl."
Lothíriel agreed, noting their dark hair and pale complexions. The girl was actually a woman, fiercely beautiful, dressed in the soft greens of spring. The king halted before her and she bowed, eyes shining.
"Did you know Elessar was raised by Elves in Rivendell?" Amrothos was still going on. "They're probably his foster parents- oh!"
"I don't think so," she giggled, watching the king and the Elf woman passionately embrace. He spun her around, eyes closed, for a moment forgetting the hundreds of eyes upon him.
Inside, Lothíriel felt another great weight lifting. The king already had a queen in mind; there would be no stiff courtship, no royal leash for Lothíriel of Dol Amroth.
"Well," her father said, his voice rather strangled. Red spotted his cheeks as he watched the king take the Elf's hand and pull her with him down the avenue. "Nothing's certain," he added, looking rather miffed.
Eyes trailing from Elessar to Éomer, Lothíriel heard herself speak out.
"Some things are certain."
Inside ten minutes, Imrahil had learned all he could about the new development and shared it with his brood in hopes of salvaging his daughter's betrothal.
"Her name's Arwen, she's an Elf of course, daughter of that Elrond, ruler or lord or something of Rivendell." He spoke very quickly, obviously flustered. "I suppose they were, I don't know, involved before all this Ring business."
Elphir chuckled. "I'd certainly say so."
"Father, I don't see anyway around this," Erchirion said, his voice grave but eyes bright. He winked at Lothíriel. "The king is spoken for."
Imrahil frowned but nodded all the same, hastening off to find a drink and distracting conversation. Dignitaries, nobility and royalty now roamed freely about the Citadel, anticipating the banquet later in the day.
"Shame really," Lothíriel sighed, smiling at her brothers. "I was so getting used to the title."
"Princess, was it?" a coarse but pleasant voice broke in. Éomer halted next to Amrothos and Elphir, though his eyes were on their sister.
The King of Rohan crossed his arms, the shadow of a smile on his features. His cloak, a deep emerald, fluttered in the high wind and there was gold clasped at his neck. For all his fine livery, he still looked the part of a warrior king, more accustomed to swords and iron than crowns and gold. The velvety doublet did little to hide his broad shoulders and strong arms and, while his hair had been tamed somewhat, it still tossed with the wind, reflecting the returned sun. There was no doubting what Amrothos had said; he truly was the Lion of Rohan.
She bowed stiffly and smiled, ignoring the shivers running down her spine like an icy finger. "Lord King."
"My lady, I'm afraid titles will no longer suffice," he continued, eyes dancing as he repeated her words from that morning. "Amrothos, my friend, would you care to introduce us properly?"
Amrothos smirked at his sister, who tried not to blush. "Of course, Lord Éomer, so long as you promise to regale us with the tale of how you met my dear sister."
This time, Lothíriel really did blush. "Oh, it's not that interesting," she said, words quick and forced. "Very, very ordinary, just something in passing-."
"Early this morning," Éomer cut her off, his grin wide as Amrothos continued to smirk. "Very early, mind you, much earlier than I would expect a lady to be out-."
"My Lord King," she hissed through gritted teeth.
"-I was out walking with my guard, exploring the city, you know," he continued, amused by her sputtering. "When this little thing walked right into me. At first, I thought she might've been blind, you see, since it was broad daylight in the middle of the street-."
"I was taking in the scenery!" she grumbled, crossing her arms. Amrothos and Elphir couldn't help their laughter. Even Erchirion smirked in his own reserved way. "It's not my fault His Lordship couldn't make way for a lady."
"My darling sister," Elphir managed around chuckles, "If you're going to bounce around the streets of Minas Tirith with your eyes closed, you might think of taking an extra guard or two. Perhaps a walking stick even?"
At this Amrothos doubled over and even Lothíriel cracked a smile, warming up. She did not like being teased but now, in light of the king's romantic situation, it was hard not to be happy.
Éomer laughed himself, pleased by her pleasant smile. "Oh yes, a walking stick would compliment that dress quite nicely, Princess. Put some chicken feathers on it, that should do."
"Chicken feathers!" Lothíriel giggled, looking down at herself. Yes, her beautiful gown was little more than a costume. And the King of Rohan had seen right through it. "My Lord King, my brothers have painted you falsely. I see you're a man of fashion."
"Of course," he deadpanned, "I'm much more at home with embroidery than swords. I do stitch a good shirt."
The image of the burly Éomer hunched over needlework was too much for her and she laughed, loud and clear. Not at all ladylike, but the men didn't seem to mind.
Lithiane, on the other hand, snapped to the sound in an instant, fixing her keen eyes on her sister-in-law. She set across the walkway, heading for her.
"Oh thank heavens, I'm not wearing a corset or I'd meet an unfortunate end," Lothíriel gasped, fighting rolling peals of laughter.
Éomer's eyes twinkled as he chuckled himself. "I'm offended, Princess. My knitting is no laughing matter."
"Oh dear, Lothí, I think a bit of your hair's come undone." Lithiane broke in, taking her sister-in-law's hand. "Come, let me fix it."
Éomer pulled back, his battlehewn sterness setting in again. He did not like this woman at once. Her smile was as tight as her elaborate hair and he had no doubt her heart was as cold as her jewels.
Amrothos waved a hand dismissively, "Oh leave it, Lithiane, you're always fussing over the poor girl."
"I fuss because I care," Lithiane clipped, her grip on Lothíriel tightening. And she didn't like it one bit, worming out of her grasp.
"Lithiane, please, if you put one more pin in my head I fear I may go mad," Lothíriel said, keeping her smile pasted on. The King of Rohan did not need to see her petty family conflicts. "Then again, if one of the more crazed courtiers decides to attack, I have a whole host of weapons to choose from." She pulled a sharp, tiny pin from her hair to illustrate the point.
The men scrutinized the pin with smirks and laughter, while Lithiane blanched. "Honestly, it's like you don't want to find a husband," she scolded, snatching the pin away from Lothíriel, who immediately blushed. Éomer didn't miss it and he lowered his eyes. The sport of ladies indeed.
"How on earth do you expect to be a queen if you're practically undressing in the middle of the Citadel?" Lithiane continued, her voice low and harsh.
Éomer's ears pricked up at that and he felt his blood chill. Was this her game then? Playing up to him in hopes of earning a crown? He didn't want to think so, but then his sister had warned him of this. Gondorian women were dazzled by titles, though he didn't think Lothíriel would be one of them. Lithiane, on the other hand, obviously was.
"Undressing, don't be foolish Lithiane," Erchirion chided, voice low.
Lothíriel's blush deepened, evident even through her make-up. "It's like I was the only one watching, King Elessar has already chosen-."
Elessar. Éomer looked at Lothíriel a little more closely. So she was one of the many girls Aragorn had mentioned after a weary day with his council. One of dozens offered up like gold and silver, allegiances to the new king.
But Lithiane pressed on, incensed. "He's chosen nothing! If anything, now you know the competition-."
"There's no competition," Lothíriel growled, squaring her shoulders.
"You are so silly sometimes, dear," Lithiane clucked, shaking her head. But everyone knew who indeed was the silly one and it was not Lothíriel.
"That's enough, my wife," Elphir murmured, gently pulling his wife away from his sister. "Why don't you go have a nice talk with, er, Faramir? I've heard he's getting married."
Lithiane didn't get the hint, but certainly took the bait. "Married? Really? And so soon? Well I should like to meet his bride at once, I'm sure she's more levelheaded than this one," she prattled, gesturing to Lothíriel. "Come Elphir." And then she was off, dragging Elphir, searching the crowd for an unlucky Faramir.
When she was gone, everyone let out a sigh of quiet relief.
"Well, I pity your sister," Lothíriel finally managed, looking up at Éomer. "Lithiane will have hunted her down in moments."
Éomer only chuckled, watching Lothíriel. "No, I pity Lithiane. My sister will tear her to ribbons if she's half the nuisance I just saw."
"Oh, well." Lothíriel dropped her eyes, allowing another smile. "In that case I hope she's her usual brand of awful."
They both smirked at that, eyes twinkling in a most similar way. She kept his gaze and he kept hers for a brief, quiet moment. Erchirion saw, but said nothing, while Amrothos did not see, but said quite a bit.
"Now that the greatest danger we might ever face as passed," he chuckled, gesturing to Lithiane now attempting to find Faramir in the crowd, "I think you asked for an introduction, My Lord. This is Lothíriel, Princess of Dol Amroth and Queen of Cheek and Impertinence."
So, so sorry for the long wait. I can't in good conscious say the chapters are going to flow out now, since classes start again on Monday and I have another feature script to write. Not to mention a drama spec from current television. Any suggestions? I'm thinking Sons of Anarchy, True Blood, The Walking Dead...thoughts?
Reviews are welcome too!