Thanks so much for the reviews!:) It's encouraging to say the least. It's practically my first fanfic but I hope I do this couple justice. I've only recently begun to be a fan of Eomer and Lothiriel: So many possibilities!

To VeronicaD13: I'm thinking of a gradual unfurling to Eomer and Lothiriel's relationship. Nothing too sudden. Just some tension here and there before...well, you know.

Chapter 2

Eomer woke up, thankful that Edoras was finally in plain summer and began receiving a warmer morning air, other than the usual frigid one he was enduring in this cold room at night. It was a very slight difference but he thought that it couldn't possibly get any worse than being without a fire in the evenings.

He smiled grimly, Yes indeed, not worse than this. His mind hesitantly turned to the woman in the next room as he shifted his body to move his arms behind his head, trying to blink out the sleep from his eyes.

As far as he was concerned, this marriage had begun on a terrible note.

A month had passed and he still saw the timid uncertainty in her grey eyes when they would awkwardly encounter each other in the corridors or when they attempted to have any sort of discussion when they ate together, which he was sure she was trying to avoid these days.

He deeply regretted his behaviour with her on their wedding night; it shattered their relationship and scared her off.

But as far as Rohan was concerned, their marriage couldn't have been better; food and supplies were being offered generously this past month to their lands and all couldn't be more pleased for Rohan's bright future.

Eomer's mind then rested on their public relationship: He believed that the only time Lothiriel raised her chin and looked him confidently in the eye was when they were in front of his people; though, he didn't quite know how to feel about that.

He could see that she was well suited to be a queen: her regal aura and kind nature exuded through her warm smiles to his people was proof enough. And for that, he admired her. She had come alone to stay in Rohan, a realm of strangers. She was so new to his customs and traditions but she seemed to take it all in easy patience nonetheless, knowing that she was improving in her Rohirric by sitting through council meetings, her eyes glowing with innocent fascination each day.

The only thing that would make her absolutely perfect was if she actually knew how to ride a horse proficiently. But he would solve that problem soon enough. For now, he thought she was doing an impressive job—no one had expected her generosity and responsible nature so early upon her arrival let alone for her age.

He almost felt a twinge of resentfulness at the fact that she was taking all these royal duties so easily. He oftentimes found it difficult, being more suited for a warrior than for a king. It was times like these when he desperately wished Theodred was still alive. A man who would have ruled Rohan as greatly as Theoden did.

Eomer would much rather be out riding, patrolling his land, like he did before all this happened; before he consented to be married off to an admirable woman to live as royalty.

She was raised for royalty, meant for it.

But where was this self-assured woman in his presence?

He dearly wished she would open up to him; seeing that behind those warm grey eyes lay a woman who had passion and spirit in her just waiting to rip out of the pristine court life she was raised in, at least, he hoped so.

She would run and hide in her shell when they were alone, doubt seeping out of her demeanour.

Was she still affected by our first night?

If so, he couldn't think of attempting it again: he didn't want to see fright in her eyes when he approached her. The scar on his finger was reminder enough.

He had been marred by many scars his whole life, and he didn't particularly care about how he had received them. But it was this tiny one that was his undoing. The very sight of this small, thin line across his skin made his stomach fall.

Since that night, he had resolved to take things slowly until that doubtful look in her eyes disappeared. There was a saying in Rohan that said to approach a woman like you would approach a wild mare; you never marched right up to one shamelessly, unless you wanted some broken ribs. And he was hurting now.

So he decided to begin by touching her soft hand with his to get accustomed to the each other's touch. And it seemed as though she was fine with that, giving him small smiles of assurance when he did.

He sighed frustratingly, his mind wandering off to the curious brows his advisors were giving him the past few days. He never liked to dwell on the opinions of his advisors, but he didn't have to be a genius to guess as to why they would look at him expectantly when the topic of heirs came up. None of them had said anything yet, knowing that it had only been a month since Eomer married, but he imagined that it was only a matter of time when he would begin to receive blatant prodding from the old men to give Rohan an heir.

He stared up to the wood ceiling then, hearing it groan with the wind.

He would have to get up soon; the sun was nearly peaking out of the horizon and casting a cyan tinted light through a crack between the shutters. He could faintly begin to hear the soft bustling of a new day in the corridors.

Lifting the furs off himself, he walked on the cool stone floor to the other room.

He softly opened the door, seeing Lothiriel fast asleep. Eomer couldn't begin to explain the warm longing her sleeping form in his bed gave him every morning, his need was beginning to build in straining defiance.

His eyes lingered on her as he went to the window and opened it a fraction to let some light in, looking back to see if she stirred.

He did this every morning; switching rooms when no one was looking, and it was beginning to tire him to speak truthfully. He only did it because he knew Lothiriel would feel ashamed for not being the wife he needed at night in the eyes of the court. Rumours would surely fly if it was discovered, and he didn't want Lothiriel go through that. It wouldn't be beneficial to him either; his people thinking that he was incapable of bedding her.

They would sleep in the same bed when she was ready, he resolved. But she clearly had not shown any inclination to as of yet. So, he was to settle with this.

He slowly approached the bed and lifted the furs carefully as to not let any cool air seep between the covers to disturb her sleep. Softly, he lay down beside her: and here he would stay, unmoving, for about another half hour before Geradea popped her head in behind the chamber door.

Eomer took advantage to look over his wife during this time, it being the only time he ever got to watch her so barefaced between his duties.

Soft breaths escaped her rosy lips, making a strand of hair she had over her face move up and down at her mouth. He swished it aside with a grin dancing on his lips.

The light that streamed into the room lit her face; her elven blood, diluted as it was, revealed itself in the way her skin glowed.

Her long dark hair was very messy, he noticed, as it was every morning. He always smiled at the sight of it; if she only knew how humorous he found her large tangled mass of hair to look like on her fair head. He was sure she would surely melt in embarrassment.

He gave a cheshire grin then, finding her candid appearances endearing, knowing that he would be the only man to keep them secret, quite possibly forever.

"Eomer King," came a whisper from the door, interrupting his musings.

Geradea was used to finding him awake, gazing at his wife. She was happy for their marriage; for it seemed both her king and queen were getting along quite well. "Your bath sire. It's ready." With that she left, scurrying down the hall to prepare breakfast.

He turned to his sleeping wife again, who was completely oblivious when he leaned over her to kiss her soft brow.

**

"Lothiriel....Lothiriel!" came a whisper from her side, a warm hand shaking her gently awake, "The sun has come up my Lady, I have a warm bath waiting for you." said Geradea with a chuckle once she took in Lothiriel's appearance, "One would never think that a queen would ever have a heap of tangles such as yours upon her head." she added, earning her a disapproving moan. She never remembered Eowyn having such problems, she tried to recall as she cheerfully stepped out of the royal chamber.

Lothiriel trudged along groggily across the corridor soon after towards the bathing room, seeing a metal tub full of steaming water and her wardrobe trunk open and ready to be raided.

She quickly undressed; not wanting to lose the warmth of the bed that still clung to her skin, and climbed in. She put a couple of drops of lavender oil into the hot water, in which she proceeded to scrub herself clean.

She remembered that on her journey to Edoras, Arwen had suggested that she bathe in lavender scented water: apparently, according to her, it stirred the heart of men to smell it and that perhaps she might like to try its effects on the king of Rohan.

Pft..nothing here, Lothiriel thought sourly, dunking her head into the water.

As if I would know what to do if that ever happened again.

She had honestly been terrified on the night of her wedding. Never expecting to have felt something as hard as Eomer was so close to her warmth. She had no clue when it came to men, and it was showing.

She was progressively getting better at estimating the time Eomer would finish eating to step into the hall, for she felt as though breakfast with the king must have been starting to feel more like a chore to him; their conversations being scattered with thick silences and his eyes glued to her face, expecting some sort of miracle from her.

She purposefully spent more time than was necessary to wash herself.

Once she finished, she dried herself off and felt the pinch of the morning air on her skin, making her breasts perk and skin crawl with goose bumps. She would never get used to this wind, she thought. It wasn't like the warm and slightly humid breeze she was used to back home.

She hastily dressed herself in a simple forest green dress that swished at her feet when she moved; the fabric being light and embroidered with intricately woven threads of gold on the neckline, hips and sleeves. It had been a wedding gift from Eomer's advisors, saying that it was a traditional Rohirric garb meant for royalty; having tiny emerald and garnet sewn between the beautiful patterns and two little horse heads facing each other at the front of her hips . The dress flattered her figure and made her skin look pearl white.

She grudgingly began to untangle the mess that was her hair and brushed it next to the fire until it looked glossy and like a raven cascade of ribbons, softly curling at its ends. Although it looked quite normal and ordinary to her, the people of Rohan thought her hair gave her a favourable exotic and alluring look. She wondered if Eomer thought the same.

She stepped out of the bathing chamber then and made her way down to the main hall for breakfast, cheerful and convinced that Eomer would not have to put up with her silence during his meal; she felt terrible for subjecting him to her bashfulness all the time.

He was just too feral and intimidating to think straight and so different from the men in her life before she came here. All three of her brothers and father were not as solidly built like Eomer, nor as rough looking. They were sophistically fair and lithe, much like she.

Eomer was imposing, reminding her much of the renowned horses of Rohan: wild, majestically strong and aware of his effect over people. She remembered seeing wild horses running through the plains of Rohan on her journey to Edoras and falling completely in love with the way their manes billowed fiercely in the wind and the way the steady beating of their hoofs on the terrain hypnotised her as they ran past their travelling party. She loved how utterly unabashed their lives seemed to be and how proud they all looked, Much like Eomer, she thought as she neared the hall.

The Golden Hall was brightly illuminated when she came in, the sun's warm rays streaming in through the windows up above like a welcoming embrace. But she was thrown when she saw her husband there, his gold hair glowing like a brazen fire, food untouched and looking her way expectantly.

She froze mid-step and internally groaned: he had waited for her.

Oh Lothiriel! You fool! Of course he would have caught onto my avoidance. What he must think of me! How long was he waiting for? She screamed at herself, desperately trying to come up with topics to speak of before she sat down.

His eyes were scanning over her figure, darkening as he took in the way her body was caressed by the light fabric of her Rohirric dress, accentuating every perfect curve. He thought she looked like she belonged here, and that he couldn't let her get away looking this delectable. He smiled slightly.

Lothiriel continued berating herself, Curse my sheltering father! How was I expected to have stimulating conversations with men when he practically hid me from them!?

"Is something the matter Lothiriel?" Eomer said suddenly with a frown, concerned that her face abruptly contorted in some sort of pain, her eyebrows furrowing and a grimace appearing upon her pouty lips.

Was she sick? Was it because he was here? His mind scurried through many possibilities until he saw her open her mouth.

Lothiriel rapidly changed her expression and sputtered, "Oh...um. Aah...thinking..."

What!? She fumed internally, how could she have said that? Now he probably thinks I'm mentally incapable! She scolded herself as she saw his chin tremble in humour; a wide smirk appearing on his face.

"Oh..." he managed to say. There ensued a long silence between them, Lothiriel looking anywhere but in his direction.

Yes, thought Eomer with hidden amusement, She is very much endearing. It was all he could do to not laugh at her slip up and the way her eyes widened in disbelief with herself.

"Won't you sit down?" he said finally, motioning to the seat across from him.

Lothiriel began walking again, trying to put that little scene behind her and hating the mirth she saw in his eyes.

"You didn't have to wait Eomer," Lothiriel's cheeks were ripe with embarrassment, her movements strained as she sat down across from him, "Had I known you were waiting for me, I would have hurried my bathing." she finished, taking some berries and cold meat. Her internal self pulled at her hair in mortification. But she kept her composure; trying to let her face relax and turn into elegant indifference, the way she was taught.

"I haven't been waiting long, I assure you," he said, beginning to eat, noticing her effort at ignoring him.

He had honestly been waiting since he saw her stepping out of their chamber and go into the bathing room, but decided to spare her the fact.

In those split seconds of seeing her cross the corridor to the bathing room he had noticed for the first time how very translucent her chemise was in the morning light, allowing him to see his wife's entire figure for the first time. He never noticed the way her rosy peaks begged for attention through the fabric before because she would always keep herself well covered in his bed. Nonetheless, the effect her figure had on him wasn't surprising, as he had quickly sat himself down at the breakfast table to avoid any surprised looks.

He tried to block out the images that were seared into the back of his eyes as he waited for her since then, every so often seeing the perfect breasts he had seen on their wedding night, and her long shapely legs, looking every bit as tantalizing as the warmth that lay between them.

This pleasant surprise had side-tracked his thoughts for some time.

But between his daydreams and her arrival, Eomer began playing with some ideas to work on their dead marriage; he definitely couldn't keep her behind clothes any longer. It was a crime to keep hidden a figure such as hers from her husband.

Upon seeing her walk into the court room, he had noticed the two horse heads on her dress, suddenly reminding him of a 'to do' task.

He had long been thinking of proposing riding lessons to her, they having been long overdue. He had long wished to ask her but thought it too early in her arrival to do so. It might have overwhelmed her to have so many responsibilities at once. But now seemed to be the perfect time: she was comfortable with her duties by now and in need of a hobby. He couldn't think of a better one for her.

No doubt that she had always ridden side saddle, but he was bent on teaching her how to ride like a woman of Rohan the day he remembered finding out she had little experience with horses. It had been after their marriage, during the celebration, that she told him (albeit shamefully) that she hardly ever rode horses. And he had thought it a shame that the new queen of Edoras had no great experience in the field. Most of his court had expressed their concern over this sometime later, but nothing had been done to remedy it.

He wondered if she was even interested and almost changed his mind in asking her. But he decided that it would be good for her; to give her a taste of the freedom and power riding a horse could give.

Eomer cleared his throat, "I have a proposal for you Lothiriel," he started, excitement appearing in his eyes.

She locked eyes with him in eager interest, glad that he brought something up to talk about before she did, but wondering what had made his eyes brighten all of a sudden.

Is he leaving? Was he going out on patrol? She couldn't think of anything else that would have made him look so eager than to be rid of her. She honestly thought she was a nuisance to him; a boring blubbering and frigid wife.

"I wanted to ask you if you would be interested in riding lessons. I've noticed some of your interest in horses from the council meetings." He stated, recalling how her eyes would brighten when the care of Rohirric horses was mentioned, "Would you like them?"

"Oh yes Eomer!" she said suddenly, her hands glued to the table in an impatient manner, as though she had been waiting for this opportunity for quite some time. To be honest, ever since she saw the horses of Rohan on her journey here she wanted to ride one. But she never thought she would be given the opportunity so soon.

"When can I start?" she said.

"Whenever you like." his heart tugging a bit. He didn't really expect this much of an outward enthusiasm from his shy wife, but he felt a surge of pride for Lothiriel just then.

That's my wife .He smiled wildly and taking in her flash of teeth as he looked at her from over the rim of his cup.

"Who will be teaching me? I would love to start as soon as possible." Lothiriel was beside herself in excitement, not only for the chance to ride a Rohan horse but to make her husband and his people proud. What kind of queen of Rohan would she be if she couldn't even ride? She recalled how Eowyn rode her horse when she left with Faramir soon after her marriage; she looked so beautiful, and all the people looked upon her with respect and love. She wished to have that sort of response from Eomer; she wished his eyes would glow with approval. She didn't want to disappoint.

"I will be teaching you, of course. Should we start today?" Eomer said simply, taking her hand in his.

Lothiriel tensed. He would be watching me learn?

She tried to mask the shock in her eyes when she strained to smile, "Oh...Perhaps we can start tomorrow morn?" she said unsteadily, "I...have a ...book. Yes, a book of Rohan history I wish to read today..." She looked down to her plate, unable to watch Eomer's dark brow lift in scepticism. He said nothing in return but simply nodded and continued to eat.

She wasn't expecting him to give his time to her so freely; she wanted to have at least a day to prepare herself for tomorrow now, hoping to ask Geradea to give her a few pointers so that she wouldn't make a complete fool of herself in front of the king. He would surely think less of her to see how little she knew of riding. She had expected him to assign one of the stable men or even Gamling to teach her before he saw her on horse.

Her stomach fell. It seemed that things in Edoras would never cease to be made more difficult for her in every way. She gave Eomer a weary smile before taking a sip of her cider.

**

The rest of the day Lothiriel spent 'reading', often times looking out her favourite window, observing the horses. She began dreading her lessons from Eomer and had retired to bed early, wanting to be well rested for the morning.

**

Eomer was caught by surprise when he entered their chamber, finding that Lothiriel was already in bed. Again he stirred, not only for seeing her on his bed but remembering the way her body looked that morning.

He began undressing and imagined what it would be like to undress her; to push away that fabric from her body, revealing the creamy skin underneath that begged to be touched even now in the warm glow of the fire. He couldn't help remembering the way her cheeks had reddened that morning and the way she became so eager to learn. He had seen her hesitation when he said he would be teaching her, but saw how her resolve tamed her fears bit by bit, at least in front of him.

He walked up to her, leaning over her then, daring to raise his hand to caress the side of her face with the back of his fingers. He saw how her breasts rose and fell in a steady beat, entrancing him to bring his fingers down lower to her neck, lingering at her collar before continuing down until he reached the lining of her chemise. He softly traced the lining like a soft breeze, going up to her perfect shoulder and back down again to the center of her chest. He looked up to her lips then, wanting so much to ravish them with his own. The proximity to her made him react in a not so surprising way considering the amount of time since he had been with a woman.

He brought his mouth closer to her face, is breath becoming quite ragged. He was so close to kissing her, his hand already pressed lightly on her chest, itching to cup the soft mound of her breast.

It took all his resolve not to completely ravish her; his lips tightening and eyes closing in strain. He instead took his lips to her forehead, kissing her like always, and carefully leaving her body on the bed like he had barely even been there.

He left to the other room, feeling despicable. Now you want to take advantage of a sleeping woman. Eomer you bastard. She's a complete innocent and you want to scare her off again.

He berated himself until he was under the covers of his own adoptive bed, feeling alone and incredibly frustrated with the bulge in his leggings. Normally when he was this frustrated he would go to any woman and his problem would be solved quickly, none being able to resist his virility. He was almost tempted to do so but quickly decided against it, feeling worse for thinking that it would have been a better remedy than having almost taken her by surprise in the other room.

**

He had left without a word, as moving silence like the waves of a ripple.

But he had not seen Lothiriel suddenly opened her eyes as he left her room; how they begged him to come back or how her hand now lay on her chest where his had been not seconds ago, still feeling the warmth he left on her skin.

She didn't know why she had feigned sleep when he came in or why she hadn't said anything when he was over her. He was so close to kissing her but didn't. It left her confused as to why she didn't feel his lips the moment his breath was so hot on her skin.

She ended up not having the fitful rest she was hoping to have that night. Instead she laid wide awake, turning back and forth in her bed trying to figure out why Eomer hesitated and why she suddenly felt so frustrated.

Eomer did much of the same in the room next door.

**

They both woke up the next morning; much like every morning but feeling tired and completely put off with themselves and their behaviour last night.

Eomer was wound up too tightly, as he had refused to take the urge away for himself during the early hours of the morning. Soon, he had said to himself,as though he was a child waiting for his first chance to ride his own horse.

He didn't know how today's lessons would turn out, but he was excited and eager to see her nonetheless. He was already outside in the stables, preparing her horse himself. It was a magnificent Friesian whose ebony coat shone as brightly as Lothiriel's hair. He had picked it out for her before she had arrived in Edoras, meaning to give it to her as a gift but decided to wait to do so the moment he found out she didn't ride much.

He finished strapping on the saddle when he heard light footsteps at the stable entrance. He turned and saw her looking rather nervous but lovely in her new riding garb.

It was a simple warm brown garb that opened up at the front to reveal black coloured leggings which he thought couldn't have done a better justice to her fine legs. Her sleeves were long but close to the skin, not taking any chances in risking any entanglement as she rode. Her hair, he noticed, was a complex series of braids that gathered and twisted at the base of her neck, revealing more of her luscious skin to his eyes.

She looked pale but had a determination in her eyes that gripped him.

"Good morning" she said as she approached him, eyeing the dark horse with awe. She reached up and petted the animal on its neck, relishing in the softness of it.

"Good morning Lothiriel," said Eomer, looking back and forth between her and the horse, hearing its soft approval of its new master.

"This is Maya, and my gift to you. I hope you like her," said Eomer, "I found her up north by the Anduin before you came. She reminded me of you." He stood aside, allowing Lothiriel to move in front of the horse then.

Lothiriel felt a tug at her heart, and felt a warmth travel up to her face at the thought of this magnificent creature reminding him of her.

It was beautiful; having a willowy and a graceful countenance that contrasted to the strong and golden pride of Eomer's steed. She began to feel the excitement grow in her now that she was here, her fears almost bustling away. Almost.

"Thank you so much Eomer...she's lovely." she said, looking up at him with bright eyes, a genuine smile on her face. It had been so long since she actually felt moved to smile so wholeheartedly. At that moment she felt truly happy; appreciating the kind gesture her husband gave her. It was probably the first time Lothiriel gladly accepted calling him her husband.

Especially after what happened last evening; she felt beloved by this man when he kissed her so softly and caressed her in a way no one else ever had.

But this horse was definitely the proverbial cherry on top.

He smiled down at her, entranced, trying to engrave the memory of her smile in his mind. It was so much brighter than any smile she had given since she arrived in Edoras, all the other ones hinted with a vague sense of melancholy.

"Come, let's get started," said Eomer, regrettably ripping his gaze off her, trying to refocus on what they were actually here for.

Seeming to snap out of her stupor, Lothiriel followed Eomer beside the horse.

"Now, put your foot into the stirrup and pull yourself up with the wither and saddle..." Eomer trailed off, bringing his large hands to Lothiriel's waist to help her. She was so thankful that he couldn't see her face just now.

She tried to desperately pull herself up, trying to escape from the same warm and intrusive feelings she felt last night, her body went into overdrive with his mere touch, but ended up pulling far too much and whipped her leg up too far, causing her to leap almost completely over the horse.

NOOO, she internally groaned, feeling her cheeks get even hotter, This can't be happening!

She was prepared to feel the solid earth on her face as she closed her eyes, hoping that the impact wouldn't be too painful.

She opened her eyes wildly when she realized she wasn't even moving. She was completely sprawled over the horse in the most ungraceful manner she ever let herself to be.

Eomer's grip had tightened over her, extending his body over the side of the horse to barely save her from falling over. He almost laughed but thought better of it when her body tensed in his hands.

It was quite a while until someone spoke.

"Eomer..." called Lothiriel, "I'm alright now..."

Realizing he was still holding her, Eomer immediately brought her back down to the ground.

Lothiriel thought that he lifted her with far too much ease for her comfort but was already missing the warmth of his hands on her waist.

"I can't believe I did that...I'm so sorry Eomer." Lothiriel was self consciously dusting off imaginary dust off her clothes, wanting to do anything than to look up to Eomer's eyes.

"No need to say sorry Lothiriel. That sort of thing happens...I guess," he added, not wanting to discourage her.

"It's not as though the view wasn't nice." he added with a wicked grin, much to her mortification.

She was going to have to get used to these little comments and inappropriate glances.

**

The morning continued fairly smoothly, for she had ridden horses before and was practicing her trotting now outside of Edoras.

Eomer looked on from his own horse, watching how some strands of hair had managed to escape from their braids and danced with the winds along her back. She looked very happy, and that was all Eomer could ask for.

She trotted up to him then, "Do you think I'm ready to run now?" she said eagerly, trying to mask the entirety of her elation.

"Not yet Lothiriel, it's best to take these kinds of things slowly." he said, noticing how her face fell a bit. But he was determined to start her off slow; one needed to trot as second nature—like breathing. She was still far too focussed on the trot to be running; still paying too much attention to each hoof fall. He saw how she noticed his resoluteness and rode away, continuing her practice.

Unlike Eomer, Lothiriel found that she was doing perfectly well, not slipping up at all so far, but she was beginning to feel unbearably bored with trotting around back and forth. She thought she was quite the natural rider, recalling Eomer's praises for when she began trotting so early on in her practice. She felt warm with the fact that Eomer was actually proud of her and was openly sharing his encouragement. Her heart was racing, and she could swear she felt the blood pumping through her body. She felt so free and independent—she couldn't take the smile off her face.

She wanted to keep feeling his eyes on her for the first time, wanting to see the approval in their depths, knowing that she was the cause for such feelings in him. It made her feel wanted. Something she wasn't used to feeling from her father when he married her off.

She was far away now, ready to turn, but she decided to let him see her running back this time around. Her confidence was peaked and she kept wanting to feel free and wonderful in front of him. So she turned to ride back and kicked Maya lightly, feeling her immediately begin a fast run.

She didn't expect the horse to bolt off the way it did, sending her bouncing off its back and towards the ground. Much to her misery, the last thing she saw were Eomer's shocked and frightened eyes from afar.

*

She landed painfully on her side, seeing a bright light from the impact on her head and feeling a terrible pain on her hip. She was still dazed and lying on the ground when Eomer rode quickly to her, expertly jumping off Firefoot and kneeling beside her.

"Lothiriel! Say something if you hear me." he said desperately.

"I hear you...I'm alright." Lothiriel looked up to his hazel eyes, which were now darkening with something she never saw directed at her. It was a cold and fierce look, making her cower away.

"What did you think you were doing!? You thought yourself practiced enough to run wild did you?" His deep voice was menacing and thunderous, making her hair stand up on end.

"Do you have any idea of what could have happened to you?" He was practically hysterical with nerves, "How could you be so irresponsible? Not only to yourself but to your people! You completely disregarded my advice and stupidly went off to follow your own!"

Her sight began to blur with tears that were threatening to fall over the edge. She had never seen him this angry before, never seen the cold his warm eyes could turn into. He was looking at her in the same way he looked like when he found out a village had been destroyed by left-over Dunledains not two weeks ago.

She was trembling under his gaze then, looking away in shame as the tears streamed out of her eyes. It hurt her to even to look up at his angry face.

He was paralyzed in worry, he didn't know what he would have done if she hadn't been awake when he arrived at her side. He was practically shaking in fret and anger.

He saw her scared eyes again, making him feel worse than before. All the weeks worth of mending that fright in her eyes was thrown out the window, bringing him back to the same place he was the day after their wedding. He suddenly felt a hard wave of helplessness collide into his chest.

He sighed frustratingly, scanning his eyes up and down her body for any flesh injuries. He spotted a red stain on her hip, seeing that she must have landed on a rock.

She was still looking away into the mountains until she suddenly felt his strong arms under her and carrying her away towards Edoras, Firefoot close behind.

"You won't want to sit down on a hard saddle with your injury." He said curtly, looking ahead of him in disinterest when he felt her eyes look up at him questioningly when he hadn't put her on his horse.

She looked up to his face, hating the way it hardened with her. She failed him. Failed to make him proud.

I'm so foolish.

He must be so disappointed. He had said that she let his people down, convincing herself that she failed as a queen. Not being able to ride was unthinkable in Rohan; he must have felt embarrassed to have a wife that hardly rode. She killed any chances of showing what a talented wife he had. He wouldn't have to feel ashamed of her. She felt new tears in her eyes.

Her self-depreciating wasn't helping the way she was breathing; Eomer could hear the hiccups of her sobbing and feel the way her legs twitched with discomfort. She finally noticed the bright red stain on her hip, looking ugly in under the bright sun.

Everything began to appear harsher to Lothiriel. The very clouds above her head lacked their bulbous form and instead looked thin and chalky across the sky. The mountains, which seemed majestic not too long ago, now looke jagged and menacing. The sunlight was even harsh to her eyes, not providing any warmth with the the horrid wind that blew violently now, whipping her hair across her face.

He hated seeing her like this. He thought he had lost her when she fell so violently on the ground and it made all the pent up frustration he felt over the past month ooze out of him like orcs' blood. He regretting yelling at her so but knew she needed to hear it. She couldn't just ignore his sounds advice and risk her life so foolishly; the people of Rohan needed her. He needed her.

He found that this past month, as hard as it was, was the first time he actually felt some semblance of being whole since his parents passed. He felt like he had a family again, unwilling as it was, but a family nonetheless. And now he felt those ties in slack. It would be hard to tie them back up now.

"Where's Maya?" he heard a soft voice interject his thoughts as they neared Edoras.

"She ran off," she said silently, almost dejectedly, "but she knows where home is. As long as she doesn't get lost, she'll be alright."

Tbc

Sorry this chapter was SOO long! It just sort of hurled itself out....but thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed:)