Epilogue: What the Hell Just Happened?

"Ah, news from Edoras," Aragorn sighed, relieved. There were many papers stacked before him on the dining table, mostly reiterations of the devastation visited upon his people by the Dark Lord's servants when they scattered. Not all sought refuge in dark holes or noisome swamps. It saddened him that he could not solve everyone's problems all at once, but must address them piecemeal when his resources allowed. He'd long awaited the happy distraction of news regarding Eomer's nuptials, if the horse lord would ever get round to it.

"Does it concern a wedding?" Arwen asked hopefully, sipping her broth and glancing at his face. Her husband's expression made her freeze, spoon hovering before her. "Love?"

The King's eyes blinked rapidly as they consumed the words on the page. And read them again, just to be certain. Then he flipped it over and over, looking for some sign that the travel-stained missive was a joke.

"O Elbereth, she didn't," he breathed, reading through the message once more.

"Who? Elessar! You frighten me!" Arwen cried.

"Lynn," he said flatly.

Arwen breathed a sigh of relief. Her thoughts had often strayed to the woman who departed so many months ago, off to slay orcs with Captain Delon. "Is she well? We have heard nothing..."

"That depends on your definition," Aragorn replied tightly. He passed the note to his wife.

Brow furrowed, the Queen read. Her eyes widened, her hand went to her throat. "Oh my."



"I've no idea. But I intend to find out."

"Why has Eomer not sent word? It happened in his own hall!" she whispered, stricken. She let the parchment fall from numb fingers. "How could such a monster get so far past his guards..."

"Did you not read all of what was written?" Aragorn roared, stabbing a finger at the message, so seemingly benign. "He did not sneak in like some thief! He was brought, by her, and now they..." He winced, and sat down heavily in the chair he'd just left.

Though it disgusted her, Arwen lifted the letter and read it once more, seeing past her own discomfort to the words on the page. Her face paled.

"She loves him." The words seemed to fall like lead in her stomach.

"Aye." Aragorn stared at nothing.

"You must... you must speak to her. Make her see reason."

Aragorn's brows rose and he looked at his wife. "Speak to her? Make her?" Then he laughed. He laughed so hard his sides hurt. "No one makes Lynn do anything." Rubbing his face roughly, Aragorn shook his head. "She is stubborn, that woman. And she has her own mind. There'll be no way to change it. Then there is the matter of... issue from such a relationship. If she has come to... love...," he choked, grimacing, "love one of them, he is either the most clever manipulator to ever draw breath, or..."

"Or what?"

Sighing, he shook his head. "Or he has earned it."

Dear Strider,

Yes, I know I should lead off with all sorts of honorifics and titles and the names of territories you govern blah, blah, blah. Face it, you'll always be a scruffy ranger sitting in a corner booth of the Pony to me. Listen, I've got some news. I figure you're the one most stuck in one place of anyone, being King and all, so be a dear and tell everyone else when you've got a chance, all right? Wow, I thought this would be easier. Okay. Best to just throw it out there. I'm pregnant. Yes, one got in under the radar while staying here in Meduseld. Turns out some 'seeds' are stronger than others, I guess. Not all the rules apply.

So you're probably wondering who the dad is. That's not nearly as easy, believe it or not. Again, I have to just drop the bombshell. He's one of the Uruk-hai from Isengard.

I know you'll let Arwen read this, so I just want to say, don't blame Eomer for not having enough guards. If you've talked with that douchebag Delon in the last few months, you may already know about Ghrudur, but if he's been occupied elsewhere beating the crap out of orc children, he probably hasn't been around much. So I'll fill you in, briefly: I found Ghrudur in an orc camp. They tortured and starved him. He could barely move, he was in such bad shape. Maybe you think he deserved what he got, but nobody deserves what happened to him. Anyway, Elrohir stopped by and declared that I had to stick Eomer with the judgment call on what to do with him. I transported him here and nursed him back to health and... well... stuff just happens, sometimes. I love him very much, and he loves me. Never imagined that, did you? I guess he has just enough human blood in him to make a difference.

Remember that dagger I used against the nazgรปl way back when at Pelennor? This is the Uruk who forged it. He's working at the smithy here in Edoras, too. Eomer's pretty pleased with his work. And you know something? Ghrudur's pretty damn excited about being a father. Thanks me every single day for doing this for him. He collars Erna, the resident healer and midwife, every time he sees her, demanding a progress report even if she hasn't seen me since the last time he asked. His offspring isn't going to be touched by a sick bastard of a wizard, you see, and that's no small thing for him. I'm not sure how thrilled I am, since I'm already starting to show and my back hurts all the time, my feet are swollen, there is no ice cream to be had... But I'm happy. I have no regrets. You guys have to come out here for Eomer's wedding, if he ever sets the damn date, so you'll meet him then.

Please don't worry about me. Honestly. Nothing was forced. Nobody got hurt. If he was a danger to anyone, Eomer would have him in the dungeon, not walking to and from the forge every day without an armed escort. He's as done with war and killing as we all are. He just wants to live a normal, boring life. So do I.

See you soon, Eomer willing and the creeks don't rise,

A/N: Finally! The long-awaited sequel has begun. The story picks up again with Cure for Boredom: The Handmaid's Tale. Enjoy!