Part 182 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.
(Nov, 1 IV)
"Do I even want to know?" Lothiriel asked with exasperation, her hands on her hips.
Eomer glanced guiltily up at her and shrugged. "Probably not," he replied. Then with a rueful grin added, "But neither will you rest easy until you find out!"
His wife moved closer to watch the healer bandaging the king's ankle, murmuring, "No doubt I can thank Eothain for this!"
The big man was standing nearby and protested. "That is not fair!" When she glanced up at him questioningly, he amended with a grin, "It was Eomer's idea, after all!"
"Which absolves you of any responsibility, of course!" she retorted sarcastically, turning to her husband and folding her arms. The message was clear – she wanted an explanation, and it had better be good.
The king's eyes flicked to Eothain, who gave a sigh and said, "Maybe I ought to be the one to tell you what happened." He thought a moment, as Lothiriel tapped her foot impatiently and the Healer continued his work in amused silence.
"Well, it was like this. We went to Aldburg –"
"Yes, I am aware of that, Captain. The injury?"
"I am getting to that part. After the meetings, we decided to have our dinner before departing so we went to an inn."
"Why did you not just go to Eomer's home there?" the queen asked, her brow creased in puzzlement.
"We were going to, but Frealaf's brother owns this inn and so we thought it would be a nice change to go there."
"And how is dinner so dangerous as to injure my husband?"
"Wait! I am going to explain. So we went to the inn and ate, and drank a couple of tankards of ale. But the bench had a weak leg."
"Yes. So the weak leg gave out from the weight of three large men sitting on it, and it collapsed, dumping them onto the floor."
"What does that have to do with Eomer's ankle?"
"Eomer was one of the men."
"So he hurt his ankle when the bench collapsed?"
"No, later," Eomer interjected helpfully. Lothiriel glanced at him and then back to Eothain for further clarification.
"So the cat –"
"What cat?" Lothiriel asked in exasperation.
"The cat at the inn," Eothain stressed, as though it were obvious.
"Eomer tripped over a cat?"
"No, no, the cat ran away."
"What does that have to do with Eomer?" she exclaimed in frustration.
"When Eomer and the others fell, it scared the cat and it ran away."
"And why is that important?"
"All those people unnerved it so the cat scrambled up on top of a high cupboard. Then the innkeeper's daughter started to cry."
"The innkeeper's daughter?"
"A little girl," Eomer mentioned.
"Most daughters are girls! Why was she crying? Because the bench broke?"
"No, because of the cat. It was a pet."
Lothiriel rubbed her forehead tiredly. "And what does that have to do with Eomer's ankle?"
"Eomer did not want the girl to cry so we tried to retrieve the cat for her."
Lothiriel glanced again at her husband who gave her an earnest nod of agreement with the story Eothain was telling. "Continue," she instructed.
"So we climbed up and finally were able to catch the cat and get it down for her."
"And Eomer hurt himself while climbing?"
"No, later. Once the cat was down and the girl stopped crying, we paid our bill and were going to leave. Only the bench was still broken."
"And someone came in as we were leaving and tripped over the bench. He fell on the floor."
"I am very sorry to hear that, but what about Eomer?" Lothiriel demanded, wide-eyed with aggravation at the story's slow progress to an ending.
"The man fell in front of Frealaf, who tripped over him."
Lothiriel's foot was tapping again and her glare was getting fiercer, so Eothain hastily concluded, "And then Eomer tripped over Frealaf. That is when he hurt his ankle."
Turning to look at her husband, Lothiriel asked, "Then why did you not have a Healer treat it there instead of waiting until you returned home several hours later?"
"The Healer had been called away –" Eothain offered.
"And it did not hurt that much," Eomer added. "So I thought it would be satisfactory to wait until I was home. Only along the way did it begin to swell and pain me so much."
"And that is what happened," Eothain finished triumphantly.
Lothiriel was silent a few moments, then asked the Captain, "I thought you said 'it was Eomer's idea'. How was any of that Eomer's idea?"
Eothain raised his eyebrows in surprise at the question. "He is the one who suggested we climb up and retrieve the cat," came the answer, as though he was astonished she hadn't figured it out already.
"I see," Lothiriel murmured, shaking her head slightly. Then, fixing them each with a glare, she added, "I see I must never let the two of you out of my sight ever again!" With that she stormed out the door muttering under her breath about ridiculous men.
There was silence for a long time after she departed, broken only when the Healer indicated he was finished applying the bandage. Tentatively, Eomer tested his foot, leaning on Eothain for support. Satisfied that he could hobble back to the Hall with only a little help, he thanked the Healer and started for the door.
"Actually," Eothain remarked thoughtfully, "Lothiriel took this whole thing a lot better than I expected…"
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.