The Return of Éomer to Meduseld

By Eledhwen

They rode through the night, and by dawn they could see the roof of the Golden Hall shining brilliantly in the sunlight. At the gates of the city, Éomer dismounted and gave the reins of Windfola to Éothain. He then made his way to Meduseld. At the top of the steps, Háma, doorwarden to Théoden, stopped him.

"Greetings, my lord. I hear thou hast fared well in battle." He said.

"We have," Éomer replied to the guard, "Alas, we lost fifteen men and twelve horses. The full tale will reach your ears shortly, but I must inform Théoden King immediately."

"Go well then, my lord." Háma replied uneasily. Then, lowering his voice, he said, "Take great care, for Wormtongue’s influence over the King has grown greater in your absence.

Thanking Háma, Éomer entered and swiftly made his way through to the great hall where Théoden sat. Wormtongue was beside him.

"Théoden hal, I have come from the battlefield on the eaves of Fangorn. The orcs were halted in their evil purposes."

Théoden looked up, and replied harshly: "You were ordered to stay in Edoras for the protection of our people, to which you abandoned for your own sport."

"I did what had to be done," Éomer replied softly, "otherwise those same orcs would be destroying the homesteads of our people."

"And what of the losses, Éomer?" Théoden asked, "Rumours tell that fifteen men and twelve horses were taken, and yet only one steed returns."

"Two I lent to three companions hunting the same orcs we destroyed in search of their friends. A Man, an Elf, and a Dwarf they were, clad in the grey cloaks of Lórien. They had passed through there after Gandalf Greyhame perished in Moria. I lent them the horses to seek their friends and I swore my life upon their return."

"Thou art a fool, Éomer," cried Wormtongue, " and thy life is indeed forfeit for allowing strangers in league with the Sorceress of the Golden Wood and Gandalf Stormcrow to roam at will in Rohan, on the steeds of the Rohirrim, no less."

"The beasts will return, master Wormtongue, along with their riders" said Éomer hotly, "and until it is proven that my judgement of the strangers was poor, my death will not be yours to give."

"It is death you deserve for riding against the King’s orders." Wormtongue replied.

"Which you ordained." Éomer’s voice was thick with anger, "Death should be given to one who heeds not the suffering of the Rohirrim. For this, I will willingly give you death."

Éomer’s hand went to his sword, and Théoden, perceiving the threat to his counsellor, called his guards. They laid hands on Éomer before Guthwiné was fully drawn and wrested it out of his grasp. Captive, Éomer faced Théoden as Wormtongue spoke to him.

"Thou hast disobeyed my commands and threatened Gríma in my halls." Théoden said. He then turned to his men and commanded, "Lock him away."