Frodo and Sam lay lifeless in the talons of the eagle's arms. Déorwyn ran out of the house of healing toward them. If she hadn't known it was them, she would not be able to recognize either due to the dirt, ash and sweat that had caked itself on to their faces and clothes. Frodo, surprisingly, looked livelier than she had last seen him in Lothlórien. Through the grime on his face, she could see the same rosy color that was present on the other three hobbits cheeks. His eyes were wide open, and seemed more at ease than the last time she saw him.
Gandalf dismounted the king eagle and went to check Sam, then Frodo. Déorwyn went to his side, and did the same, checking Sam to make sure that, other than scrapes, bumps, cuts, and smoke inhalation, he was alright. He was asleep, but was coughing and tossing about in the tight grasp of the eagle.
"Get him to a bed!" Déorwyn pleaded with a nearby healer. He obliged and carried Sam to a private room next to Eomer's.
Déorwyn looked over to Gandalf, and saw him sitting on the ground with Frodo laid about in his lap. She went and knelt next to them, and checked him over. There was a lot of blood on his clothes. She needed to find the source; it was still red and wet. She looked over his entire body intently and quickly, trying to find the incision. Gandalf stopped her, and with out saying a word, brought her gaze to his left hand- the index finger had been removed. She quickly ripped off a strip of cloth from the bottom of Frodo's shirt and wrapped it around it tightly to cauterize the wound. Frodo's eyes were still awake, but he said nothing, he just kept staring toward the blue shining sky.
The rest of the fellowship, who had seen the three eagles return, rushed down to the large balcony on the side of the healing house. They all stopped before Frodo. Aragon moved forward and asked, " Is he alive?"
Gandalf nodded, with a smile. The five that stood before them let out a sigh of relief. Frodo slowly broke his gaze to the sky and moved his head to the right to look at his fellowship. They all waited for him to say something, but instead he just smiled, and closed his eyes.
"Frodo!" Pippin shouted, fearing he had passed.
"Fool of a took!" Gandalf harshly said, eliciting chuckles from the fellowship. "The dear hobbit has been on the adventure of a life time, risking his life and his sanity! I think, at least he deserves to rest!" He said, almost shouting.
Pippin smiled and began laughing. Gandalf gave him a soft smile and began laughing too. Aragon walked over to them and picked up Frodo off the ground and brought him to another private room.
On the way to the room, Déorwyn checked in on Eomer, who was still sleeping soundly. She went in and threw a light blanket over him to make him more comfortable. He looked so peaceful when he slept. Another thing she adored about him was just this. She loved how he was such a ferocious warrior, yet out of his armor, he was gentler than a summer's breeze.
She sighed to herself, and left the room to enter Sam's room, where she found Merry and Pippin who sat upon the massive bed in the middle of the room. Surprisingly, Sam had already been cleaned and changed, and lay in bed under the sheets. He was awake and eating soup and bread that was brought up for him.
Weakly he said, "Lady Déorwyn!" with as much enthusiasm he could muster. She smiled and went over to him, kissing his forehead and said,
"My brave, brave hobbit. Rest, and save your strength."
"Mr. Frodo, Where is Mr. Frodo!"
"Shh, Sam, He Is alive. He is missing a finger on his left hand, but other than that, he will live." She said.
"It was the creature Gollum! He bit it off!"
"Shhhh, now Sam, you can explain after you rest." She said, believing the hobbit to be slightly delirious.
"How is Lord Eomer, Déorwyn?" Merry asked. " He was not faring well on the horse on the way back to the city"
"He is fine, he has a gash on his side that I took care of. He will be up and about tomorrow morning," she said, then remembering that they were to talk then.
"Who is this Lord Eomer?" Sam asked.
"The future King Of Rohan who Lady Déorwyn is quite taken with! He loves her!" Pippin exclaimed. Déorwyn felt instantly embarrassed by Pippins words.
She lightly clapped him on the shoulder and said, "Perrigrin Took! Do not speak of things of which you do not know!"
"But it's true" he muttered under his breath. Merry began laughing, and Déorwyn shot him as well a death glare.
"Anyway, Sam, you will meet Lord Eomer tomorrow, but now I must plead you to rest. You two troublemakers, come with me. We must check on Frodo and then get you two ready for dinner!"
"Bye Sam!" Pippin said
"Good bye!" Merry followed.
Déorwyn went to him, and kissed his forehead again, and said, "Sleep well, little brave one."
They left the room, and entered Frodo's. Healers were quickly cleaning him and changing him. Gandalf had his hand on Frodo's forehead, and closed his eyes to see what Frodo had seen. Déorwyn went to a small closet and took out cleaning and bandaging supplies. She went to the bed, and took the hobbit's left hand and placed it on her lap on top of a towel. Whatever had happened, Frodo lost the entirety of his index finger and the skin around the open wound was ripped and rigid, as if it had been bitten off. She looked at it intently, trying to figure out what had happened.
"The Ring consumed the creature Gollum and it brought him to his death. He had been following with the two hobbits and gained Frodo's trust. He deceived Frodo and, in a failed attempt to get the ring back, bit off his finger and fell into the depths of Mount Doom. Forever he will burn with his precious ring." Gandalf said.
"So Sam was not lying. He isn't delirious?"
"Not at all. I would guess you would have a hard time even believing what they went through."
"It is amazing that something so small can accomplish something so massive." She said, bewildered, looking over the tiny hobbit.
"It is. I knew I chose the right one for this task." Gandalf said.
Déorwyn smiled and continued about her work. There was not enough skin to flap over it and cover the wound- Frodo would have to wear a bandage over it for the rest of his life.
"A small price to pay for his life back" Gandalf said. When she finished, he continued, "Come, let Frodo rest. I do believe that a grand feast is waiting up in the great hall.
She looked over to Merry and Pippin who had been silent the entire time. On the mention of food, their eyes grew twice their size and they bolted out of the room towards it. Déorwyn could hear Pippin telling Merry about all the sorts of food Minas Tirath had on their way up. She smiled and walked up to the hall with Gandalf.
At dinner, everyone was in great spirits. The kitchen had prepared mass amounts of food and the doors were open to every person of the city to come and go as they wished. The fellowship, Déorwyn, Faramir and Eowyn mainly stayed in the hall greeting everyone and catching up with their friends.
As the evening dwindled down the fellowship, Faramir, Eowyn, Déorwyn and high-ranking officials in both Gondorian and Rohirrim armies were in the hall. Gandalf got up and made his way to where the thrown of the king sat- which no one occupied. He loudly cleared his throat and the room silenced.
"Friends, We gather here on the most victorious of nights. No longer do the peoples of Middle Earth need worry of the shadow cast out form Mordor. May they days henceforth be blessed and peaceful as they once were. I hereby declare that this day be the marking of the Fourth Age!"
Cheers spewed from every single mouth in the room. Gandalf himself began clapping and laughing. The men all around the room began chugging their ale and embraced their neighbor. Déorwyn and Eowyn, who were sitting side by side, looked at each other and, in silent agreement, took big gulps of their ale and hugged. They began laughing and hugging their friends around them.
Gandalf raised his hands up, again, signaling that he was not finished speaking. The room quieted down and turned their attention to the wizard.
"In times of war, we cannot fully celebrate without honoring those who lost their lives. I take this time to honor all the soldiers who protected the free lands of Middle Earth and fought to destroy the ring."
Déorwyn looked at Faramir, who was sitting across the table. He caught her eye, and reached across the table to hold her hand. He gave it a squeeze. They both were thinking about Boromir. She was finished crying over their loss because she knew that he was amongst family forever in the hereafter.
Gandalf continued, "There are also many still in the house of healing recovering from battle wounds. May we hope them a quick recovery." Frodo, Sam and Eomer now came into Déorwyn's mind, and she as well, hoped that they would be healthy in a few days- one more so than the other two.
He went on. " And to the biggest matter at hand. Events of this war have left the two realms of men ruler-less. Before he died, King Théoden of Rohan named an heir to his seat. This man, is Eomer, son of Eomund, and Third Marshall of the Riddermark. Due to traditions, He will be crowned in four days time, in front of an audience of his country men here in Gondor." Cheers followed. Déorwyn looked to Eowyn, who was beaming with pride and joy for her brother who was obviously not present. She, herself, felt the same way that she did when she first heard of Eomer's promotion to the heir of the thrown. Eomer is to be king! Eomer is to be king! Went through her head thousands of times, and still she could not believe it.
"And to Gondor. For many decades, this country had been kingless. With the coming of the Forth Age, this will change too. Aragon, will you come forth?"
Aragon got up from his seat, next to other members of the fellowship, and approached Gandalf. He stood before him, back turned to the onlookers.
"Will you, or will you not, Aragon, son of Arathon, accept your birth right to the thrown of Gondor? Will you, or will you not lead the world of men valiantly with the diplomacy and strategy that you have demonstrated in these past battles? Will you or will you not be Aragon, King of Gondor and the world of Men?"
The hall fell silent, anticipating Aragon's answer. Déorwyn knew that her pseudo-brother had neglected claiming the thrown for fear that he would rule it like his predecessors. He feared that since their blood led to failure, and that blood ran through him, he would also set himself up for failure. She knew that not only did Aragon fear failing his people, but failing his own self as well. No one could deny, though, Aragon would make the greatest king Gondor had ever seen.
He stood there for a few moments, without saying a word. Finally he spoke, "I will, Mithrandir, on all accounts. I will accept the thrown of Gondor."
"Then, I present to you, your next King. It shall be made official in four days time!"
Yet again, another eruption of cheers and drinking flowed out of the hall. Aragon was approached by literally everyone in the hall, everyone wanting to congratulate him on his new title. They spent the rest of the night into early morning rejoicing the victory and celebrating the two men who would be crowned kings in four days.
She awoke late in the morning to knocks on her chamber doors. She threw her robe on and went to answer it. Not to her surprise, she found Merry and Pippin there, looking extremely happy to see her. With a "Good morning, Lady Déorwyn!" they both bounced into the room and threw themselves onto the couches in the sitting area. She turned to close the door, but found another there.
"Sam!" she said, surprised to see him up and about. He looked healthy.
"A good morning to you, Lady Déorwyn." He said with a slight bow.
"And you as well, Master Gamgee. I see you are on the mend!" she said, welcoming him into her chamber.
"Yes, the good nights sleep in a proper bed, I recon, really did the trick" he said. She smiled and went to the hearth to prepare some tea for her guests. She poured it for them, and went to wake Eowyn, but found her not in her room. She must be with Faramir she thought, with a wicked grin playing at the corners of her lips.
"Sam, how fares Frodo?
"He was still fast asleep when I checked on him this morning. Gandalf said there's nothing to be worried about. He just needs rest. Neither of us got proper nights sleep in the past weeks. Not with that creature Gollum lurking around our camp."
"Frodo was lucky to have a friend like you with him, Sam" She said to him.
"Thank you, milady." He said, blushing and sinking into his seat.
She went into her own room, and washed and dressed herself for the day. Remembering she was to talk with Eomer, she took extra care to perfect her hair and outfit. She emerged from her room, and found the hobbits silent on the couches looking rather bored.
"So, what say we take a walk around the city. Pippin, you have been here longer than the other two, and I'm sure you can teach them all you know!"
The three looked rather enthusiastic, and bolted up and to the door. Sam made it there first, and halted Merry and Pippin as they crashed into him. "Now just you wait!" Sam said, " Ladies first!"
He opened the door and motioned to Déorwyn to take first leave through the threshold. She walked to the doorway and said to Sam, "Such a gentleman!" Sam blushed as the other two mocked him.
They spent the better part of the morning in stitches. The lighthearted spirits of the two hobbits were enough to put Déorwyn back to her normal self. There was no talk of war, just of tales past from the Shire. They stopped at midday in the gardens near the House of Healing for lunch. They drank wine and ate fruit and cheese. And continued to talk about their lives and what they had in store for their futures.
"Do you think we will ever see each other again after this?" Pippin asked, sadness
"Of course!" Sam interjected immediately. "At my wedding."
"You're getting married Sam? Why didn't you tell us! We're your mates!" pippin yelled, offended.
"You bloody idiot" Merry said, slapping Pippin upside the head, "he's not getting married, where do you come off saying that Gamgee?"
"I made myself one promise atop Mount Doom, and that's to marry Rosie Cotton when we return to the Shire." He said, stars in his eyes.
Déorwyn smiled. " Miss. Cotton is a lucky woman then!"
Pippin and Merry erupted in laughter. Sam shot them a look. "Hey! She was looking at me with a twinkle in here eye that last night in the Shire!" Merry and Pip laughed even harder. Déorwyn let out laughs as well. Sam looked annoyed.
"What!" he said. " What is so funny!" with a bit of laughter in his own voice.
"I may ask the same thing." A deep voice said from the hallway leading to the gardens.
Though Déorwyn knew who it was, she didn't turn. She knew turning meant talking and she didn't know if she was ready for that yet. She wasn't prepared.
"Eomer!" Pippin exclaimed as he rose to greet him. "I mean, Lord Eomer," he said with a slight bow.
"You idiot, he's king now!" Merry said, with another slap upside the head.
"I mean, my King Eomer!" Pippin corrected with a deeper bow, bring him parallel to the garden ground.
Eomer's hearty laugh brought chills to Déorwyn's skin. "Get up! We are all friends here! No need to address me as so!" he said, giving the two hobbits a pat on the back. " And you must be Samwise Gamgee." Eomer continued, turning toward Sam.
Sam rose, and bowed to the new king, and said, " a pleasure to meet you, your highness."
Eomer picked up Sam's head and said, "thank you, master Gamgee. Forever you will have the gratitude of my people"
"Thank you, sir." Sam respectfully replied.
Déorwyn turned now, she didn't want to seem stand-off-ish toward Eomer. He looked more handsome than ever. He was casually dressed- tunic and britches, with his boots and trademark hairstyle.
"How is your side?" She asked. She mentally hit herself when the words came out of her mouth. That's the best you could come up with!
"Its fine, thanks to you. I'll admit, that tea you gave me really helped me sleep through the night."
"Of course. My pleasure" she said.
They all stood there in silence for a moment, until Sam finally spoke up. " Oy, you two" he said, referring to his hobbit companions, "let's go check on mister Frodo! He should be awake by now"
"yes," Eomer added, " I saw Gandalf and Aragon heading toward his room earlier, why don't you accompany them!"
The three hobbits nodded and said goodbye to Eomer and Déorwyn.
Déorwyn made herself busy by picking up the picnic they had had. Silently, Eomer helped. Just as she remembered, it wasn't awkward as she thought it was going to be. Just being in his presence was enough to satisfy her.
"Déorwyn I must explain." He said after a few moments. "before, when you left Edoras, I was an ass".
"Eomer, there's no need, you had a lot thrown at you. I understand com-"
"no, Déorwyn, how I acted toward you was unacceptable. All you ever did was be your lovely self and look how I treated you. "
"Let me finish silly woman!" he said steadying her in front of him. she laughed. "I never should have thought that you would stay in Edoras when your family was here in Gondor. I assumed too much. When I was named heir to my uncles thrown, I also found out that you would be returning to Gondor. You had just come into my life only to leave as quickly as you came. I'll admit, I was building feelings for you. But, then I saw how elated you were to return home, I thought maybe you didn't feel the same way I was beginning to feel for you. So, I dealt with it the only way I knew how- I was an ass to you thinking it would be easier to see you go if I cut off my feelings. I was wrong though. I have never missed any ones company more in my life. The minute you rode out of sight was the moment I knew. I wanted to go after you but I feared it too late."
This did not come as a surprise to Déorwyn- having already been told this by Eowyn. It was nice though to hear it from his mouth. "Eomer, I wont pretend that I didn't hate you for how we left things in Edoras, but that only lasted until I left the gates of your city. Eomer- every moment I was worried about you. I was worried you would go off to war and something dreadful would happen and I would never see you again. time and time again I wished for time to reverse and we could go back to the time where we met atop your horse after you rescued me. When my father imprisoned me, the only person I could think of was you storming in and saving me- taking me in your arms and making me completely safe. " She began crying. "Eomer, I never want to be without you again."
"Déorwyn, I love you." He said taking her chin in his palm, tilting her head up toward his.
"I love you, Eomer."
They shared a long, passionate kiss. When their lips met, everything came together it felt. Déorwyn felt complete. When they broke, she laid her head against his chest, and he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close.
" I will never leave you again." he said. "Déorwyn, stand by my side at coronation"
"I would be honored" she said and kissed him once again. they stayed like this for an eternity until..
Gandalf stood in the archway. "forgive me, young loves, but you both are needed by the sewers for fittings for your coronation attire."
Eomer took her hand and led her out of the garden. "Of course Gandalf." Eomer said. " and if you could tell Faramir that I need to speak with him of something of the utmost urgency, I would greatly appreciate it."
Gandalf looked at Eomer, then to Déorwyn and saw them happier than he had ever seen either. He knew what Eomer must speak with Faramir about. " of Course, my lord" giving Déorwyn a smile and a wink.