Danger in Edoras

by King Caspian the Seafarer

Disclaimer: I do not own the Lord of the Rings or any of the lands, characters, or adventures therein.

A/N: At last, after a good long two years of leaving everyone hanging in suspense after Morwen and Isildur (hehe...suspense...yeah right!) it is now my delight to (finally) announce the first chapter of Danger in Edoras: the (hopefully much better) sequel of Mowen and Isildur.

The setting is Rohan, early summer of the year 3011 in the Third Age. As this, like its predecessor, is AU, I've messed around with ages a bit and made Faramir and Boromir younger (Faramir looses 9 whole years to go from being 28 to 19, and I suppose that Boromir does the same). Eowyn, at 16, is the right age, as is Amrothos of Dol Amroth at 17. I do hope the AU-ness of this is not in any (serious) way confusing to anyone or detrimental to their enjoyment of the story.

This having been said, I am now pleased to present...

Chapter 1

The sky was the color of summer blue on the morning the adventure began. The sun smiled upon the smooth fields of green wheat that were soon to be golden, ready for harvest. The hilly plains of Rohan stretched to the north and east almost as far as the eye could see. Mountains loomed to the south, eventually trailing off into the western horizon like a road that gets smaller and smaller and then disappears as it moves further and further away.

Faramir, the younger son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, sat atop his dappled stallion and stared searchingly across the green fields before him. Soon his gray eyes rested upon one hill that rose higher than the others. Upon keener scrutiny, it proved to be covered with small structures, the largest of which was settled on the crest of the mound.

Edoras. The city on the hill. The capital of Rohan, and the castle of Théoden, King of the Mark.

Faramir smiled absently. In all his nineteen years he had only once before laid eyes on the City on the Hill. Although in some ways it could never compare to the grandeur of Minas Tirith, there was a certain loneliness about Edoras, a solemn, far-off feeling that he couldn't quite put a finger on.

"Is that it?" asked a voice from beside him—a young voice. "Edoras, I mean? I can't believe Father's never brought me this way before."

Faramir turned in the saddle to look at the speaker, a boy of seventeen whose hair was remarkably fair considering that both of his parents were dark-haired.

"He's never taken you anywhere before, Ro," he told his cousin with a grin. "You have only Boromir to thank that he decided to bring you with him on this visit."

Amrothos—affectionately nicknamed 'Ro' by Faramir, as well as his younger sister, who both knew him well enough to understand that he disliked being confused with the city of Amroth, their home—grinned and nodded, his dark eyes gleaming.

"Don't I know it?" he said with a groan. "It's about time Father picked me instead of the others. I was beginning to think I'd never see the lands outside of Belfalas!"

Faramir smiled grimly and glanced over his cousin's eager eyes and shining hair. It was little wonder he was his father's last choice when considering one of his sons for a companion. Amrothos was mischievous, curious to a fault, and had a quick temper, none of which made for a good diplomat. He made a fine cousin, however, and was a nice contrast to his two dark, serious older brothers.

Amrothos wheeled his horse around and cantered eagerly down the hill to where the rest of the company from Minas Tirith was slowly breaking camp, still in the valley-like place where they had passed the night. With one last lingering glance at Edoras, Faramir followed.

"Boromir!" shouted Amrothos all the way down the hill.

As Faramir thundered toward the encampment behind Amrothos, a young man with dark hair who had been adjusting his horse's girth looked their way. His brother, Boromir. A wide grin relaxed Boromir's features, and when Amrothos reined in his horse mere inches away, panting and grinning like a gremlin, the elder son of Denethor shook his head.

"By the elves, cousin, I don't think I've ever seen you move so quickly. One might almost think the enemy was approaching by your hasty entrance."

Amrothos swung down, trying to leap from his horse as he'd seen Faramir do, but tangled his foot in the stirrup and ended up falling off the horse with his foot still caught, looking most unprincely. Faramir dismounted with ease, and the two sons of Denethor stared at their cousin in silent amusement as he struggled to free himself. At last Faramir shrugged, grinning, and spoke.

"The city's in sight. We should reach it before dusk."

Boromir nodded steadily, and a man laughed from somewhere to their right.

"Truly, Faramir," said the newcomer, an older man with dark hair that was just beginning to gray at the temples, "for one who is usually so composed, you've been particularly impatient these last few days. Have you not seen the Mark's citadel before?"

"I certainly haven't," exclaimed Amrothos as he stood, having at last freed his boot. His face was flushed.

"Only in passing, Uncle," Faramir told the man with a grin, ignoring his cousin. "Father always said…" he paused at the mention of his father, but then shoved aside the dark thoughts that threatened to dismay him, "…I mean, I've always heard it was a fitting palace to cap a land of horsemen, but I never understood what that meant."

Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, uncle to Faramir and Boromir, and father of Amrothos, tactfully ignored the mention of his brother-in-law.

"You will find it very different from Minas Tirith, of course," his uncle began seriously, "but it has a beauty unlike any other place in Middle Earth."

"Even Belfalas, Uncle?" Boromir asked, innocently turning back to his own horse's tack.

"It has a different kind of beauty, I think," Amrothos said thoughtfully, combing his blond hair with his fingers.

"But surely not, Ro," Faramir cut in with a wry grin and elbowing his cousin as he picked up on his brother's joke. "Belfalas is renowned as the only place of beauty—the very loveliest land between the seas, home of courteous warriors and charming damsels."

"Ah, yes," Boromir replied, sighing dreamily and pausing. "Dol Amroth of the ships. May the Silver Swan sail ever on—"

"And never be defeated," the three cousins finished in unison, grinning widely as they mentally recounted the summer they'd spent together at Dol Amroth in Imrahil's house and the mischief they'd caused.

Meanwhile, said Uncle watched on in silent amusement. When his two nephews and son looked at him expectantly, as if waiting for either pleased laughter or a scolding, he raised an eyebrow in a look that he was famous for back in his own city.

"If you three will but stop behaving like mischievous children and begin acting like the noble companions I supposedly have with me, I believe the time has come to deliver our message to the King of the Mark."

A servant placed a pair of smooth black leather reins in the prince's hand, and Imrahil mounted his horse smoothly, giving the three young men another look once he was seated. Boromir gave the other two a grin that might have said, 'Cheer up. He's laughing on the inside,' and swung up on his own steed.

Exchanging a bemused glance, Faramir and Amrothos mounted as well. It wasn't often that they made the prince of Dol Amroth smile, but they certainly tried often enough. Somewhere in a tiny corner of his mind, Faramir relished the freedom to joke, to posture and tease with his cousin. His father never tolerated such indiscipline as Imrahil had encouraged, but the summer spent in Dol Amroth had done him and Boromir more good than anything else.

Once the tents of the encampment had been packed away and all was in order, Prince Imrahil gave the order to move out, and the guard from Gondor began marching slowly toward the city of Edoras.

To be continued...