A/N: Sorry it took so long to update but with school and everyday life it was kinda hard to get back to this fic, this is a short update but I'll do a longer one next chapter. Hopefully my readers will like this. Anyway send plenty of reviews. -Rei
Rohan, 3019 TA, February 29-Night.
Not for the first time, Kennonomoi admitted to herself that waking up wasn't the best idea. However the ceaseless throbbing in her now most assuredly mangled shoulder wouldn't allow for the bliss of unconsciousness. As it was she barely held back an angry groan as her Orc inflicted wound was prodded in the most unpleasant of ways. And though the brawler was no longer in the embrace of oblivion she was most assuredly not fully awake, barely aware of the two speculating men of Rohan tending to her wounds.
"My lord, the prisoner may not be an agent of our enemy, besides being a woman; she was bound, and battered before Logard knocked her out." Eomer son of Eomund regarded his host' chief physician with slightly disbelieving eyes, the trickery of their' enemy was vast and he wouldn't put it past Saruman to plant an Easternling spy amongst them. "It matters not Eoherë, she is still of the enemies ilk, perhaps she is not a spy, but then again perhaps she was punished for failure. There are too many questions that have yet to be answered."
Eoherë raised an eyebrow, his dark eyes truly curious as to what his commander was thinking. "So you're not going to execute her then sir?" Eomer grimaced, he wasn't going to lie and say the thought hadn't crossed his mind. War had hardened his heart long ago. Killing, even the seemingly defenseless became a necessity that Eomer was intimately familiar with. "No, we need answers, and I will not leave a potential threat unattended in our lands." Kennonomoi barely managed to crack open her eyes, hearing her person and death mentioned in the same sentence. Neither lord nor physician noticed whisky eyes regarding them from under pitch black lashes. Eoherë sat on the edge of the cot she was lain upon.
Even as he conversed further with his young lord, the honey haired Eroling dressed and bound her shoulder. He barely took notice of the torn and bloody remains of her shirt, but did take slight interest in the pendant lying precariously between her bound breasts. He went to take a closer look at it only to find his hand snatched up in iron grasp of his now 'conscious' patient. Unable to stop himself Eoherë shouted in surprise, causing those stationed outside the tent scrambling in and Eomer into drawing his sword, moving to neutralize the threat to one of his men. Too pain stricken to actually know what she was doing, Kennonomoi shoved Eoherë away from her.
Then she was barely able to freeze when cold steel glided just scant centimeters from her throat, "You will be still, or you will die." Dazed and in pain the dark haired woman gazed up at the honey haired with nothing short of acidic malice spitting liquid fire from her eyes and equally foul curses spewing forth from her lips. Doe brown orbs didn't waver even as steel pressed uncomfortably close to Kennonomoi's unprotected throat. "You attack helpless women often?" She couldn't help but snarl. Disdainfully Eomer snarled right back, "be silent Easternling."
Kennonomoi knew that she shouldn't provoke the man currently holding a sword to her throat, but was in too much pain to really care. "My lord!" the protest stilled the third Marshall's hand as he glanced over at Eoherë who was now gazing at him disapprovingly. Eomer suddenly realized what he may have looked like to his men who were watching him. The king's nephew leaned over an injured woman with a sword. An Easternling she might be, but injured, and most assuredly a helpless woman she was. Gridding his teeth Eomer slowly backed away, sheathing his sword. "My apologies, lady." He spoke the words as propriety demanded of him.
The dark beauty bit her tongue, pinpricks of pain still shooting live jolts from her shoulder then up and down her spine, translating into the mother of all headaches. When the world came back into focus, Eoherë was leaning over the youngest Espada with a cup pressed firmly against her chapped lips. Kennonomoi tried to gag at the slow slimy taste slipping an icy path down her gullet but the healer messaged her throat, coaxing the concoction down as gently as possible. Suddenly it didn't hurt so much, and Kennonomoi knew she'd probably been drugged up to her eyeballs. Not that she was complaining.
Eomer cast his still livid gaze to the two guards that were supposed to be on watch outside. Immediately the two sheepish men, scrambled back outside. The rider of Rohan turned his attention back to the wounded woman lying on the coot. And for the first time he truly took stock of the damage done to her. The Eastern ling's dark torso was riddled with cuts and bruising in various stages of healing, her lips red and nearly swollen from biting down to curb the urge to scream. And he couldn't say that he blamed her if her most severe injury was anything to go by.
The third Marshall couldn't help but wince in sympathy as his eyes locked on the charred black rip in the girl's shoulder. Eoherë had already assured him that though the method in which she was 'healed' was crude and probably unimaginably painful by any standards, their' dark prisoner would make a full recovery. There was no way to tell what the original cause of it was, but the fact that the cannibalizing enemy would go to any lengths at all was still very telling. However what the white wizard would want with her?
Clearing his throat Eomer forced the dark woman's attention back on him. Eoherë removed the cup from her lips sure that pain was finally numbing under the effects of his remedy. "I must ask ladies, who are you and what is your business in the Riddermark?" He couldn't help but to follow the flutter of her long pitch black lashes, like little tambourines against her red stained cheeks. "You may call me Bee, sister of Strider, as to my business in the Riddermark horse lord, I have none." Kennonomoi breathed in deeply trying to keep her answer straight under the influence of the drugs flooding her system.
"I was dragged here against my will, as were two others of our party, hobbits, or small folk of the shire if you don't know them." Eomer raised an eyebrow, and crossed his arms over his golden chest-plate. "You give a ranger's name; say that you traveled with halflings, and expect me to believe that you were kidnapped by the creatures that your race serves?" If she weren't so drugged Eomer was sure that Bee's glare would flay the skin right off his bones. "Whether you believe or not doesn't make it less true. The real question is if you deal with the imprisonment and or the death of someone innocent of what you accuse on your hands."
The King's nephew flinched at the dark woman's wry tone, not at all comfortable with the fact that once again her words had struck a nerve. Was the death of one person really worth the lives of his people whom he was sworn to protect. Yes, it was, but it didn't make it any easier. Suddenly a thought struck Eomer like a bolt of lightening. Breaking eye contact he drew his sword, and once again pointed it at her throat, "witch," he hissed. "Be gone your foul craft before I cut your tongue from your mouth." Caught between laughing at the man's stupidity and snarling at his arrogance, Kennonomoi gave a hacking cough.
"Put that away you fucking retarded anally abused pit bitch, I am not, nor have I ever been a witch, it doesn't take a genius to see what your thinking when the shit is written all over your face." She snarled, her temper finally getting the better of her. Eoherë gagged behind his hand, resisting the urge to laugh at the especially graphic insult. This woman had some steel in her spine that was for sure. And her western was too flawless for her to be a child of the east, yet the color of her skin didn't lie, she had to be descendant of their' enemies in the land of the rising sun. And yet her clothes and only piece of jewelry, unique as they were, were not of the East.
"Then who are you? For surely you aren't born to the north of rangers." The healer interrupted his lord before he could retaliate. Kennonomoi grimaced, "adopted actually." Both lord and physician looked at each other in disbelief. A grand tale this bedridden woman tells indeed. Had she any energy left to do so, Kennonomoi would have rolled her eyes. She had told them the truth or at least some of the truth, even though she was tempted to just lie. It was too late to go back on what she said now. All the youngest Espada could hope for was that her 'brother' and his friend weren't too far behind.
Rohan, 3019 TA, February 30
Aragorn and Legolas raced across the flat lands of Rohan's terrain, the cubs scudded at their 'uncle's' feet, keeping pace while Gimli brought up the rear. Suddenly hearing the pounding hooves of many horses, they dived behind a large group of boulders, and out of sight. The ranger peeked out from behind the outcropping to see the riders swiftly riding by. Aragorn stood from their' hiding spot and called out, "Riders of Rohan what news of the mark?" Instantly the riders wheeled around on them, horses racing as they surrounded them in a tight circle, the Riders who did not have bows drawn had spears pointed at them.
Only Aragorn raised his hands in a sign of peace, even as Tango and Cash let out whimpering growls at his feet. The lead rider, face covered by his helmet, moved closer, and looked at them in barely disguised wonder. Both the fair folk and the mountain folk were the things of children's tales to most of the Rohirrim. "What business does an elf, a man, and a dwarf have in the Riddermark? Speak quickly!" he commanded, and said dwarf visibly bristled at his scornful and suspicious tone.
Gimli's hands clenched around his axe and he glared at the man, "Give me your name, Horse master, and I shall give you mine." he growled. The flight to the aid of their' lost comrades had not helped his already gruff temperament and Aragorn placed a stilling hand on the fiery tempered warriors shoulder. The man handed his staff to another rider, and dismounted, approaching the Dwarf. Eomer set his own glower pierce him, as he said derisively, "I would cut off your head, Dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground." Aragorn held back an exasperated groan as he heard Legolas swiftly draw his bow.
"You would die before your stroke fell!" The situation degenerated even further when the riders closed about them, and the threatening spears were now pointed ominously close their throats. Aragorn managed to push down Legolas's arm, causing him to lower his bow. Holding out his arms out in a gesture of peace Isildur's heir spoke once more, "I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, of the Dunedain, also called Strider. This is Gimli, son of Glóin, and Legolas of the Woodland realm. We are friends of Rohan and of Théoden, your king."
Suddenly the horse lord's eyes became wide as saucers, "Théoden no longer recognizes friend from foe. Not even his own kin, tell me son of Arathorn, are you also brother of the one called Bee?" The broken fellowship let out thunderous sighs of relief, "Aaron is alive then?" Eomer raised a golden brow at the distinctly un-feminine name while the ranger continued to question him "What of the hobbits? There would be two of them, small, children to your eyes." The ranger asked. Eomer let out a piercing whistle, and called Eoherë forward. "Nay, we say none save your ward, all else was slaughtered in the night." He told them with a pitying look.
Gimli looked positively grief stricken, "dead?" Eomer nodded, "I am sorry." Legolas silently placed his hand on the stricken Dwarf's shoulder, his own face taut with grief. Aragorn wasn't paying attention, too preoccupied with checking over Kennonomoi, whom was placed in his arms unconscious and worn from riding for most of the day. Tango and Cash joined him in inspecting their 'mother' whimpering even as they renewed the scent markers that they had placed on her via rubbing their' furry hides against her sides.
Aragorn couldn't stop the growl welling up in his throat especially when he caught sight of his sister's bandaged shoulder peeking from under the wide collar of the big green shirt Eomer had lent her, "what happened to Aaron?" Eoherë sighed, "We don't know exactly, she was either shot or stabbed and then burned to disinfect and cauterize the wound." Legolas and Gimli moved to join them, taking in their comrade's battered state as best they could without losing their composure. It was hard but both the elf and dwarf managed it. The ranger's face suddenly hardened as he looked to Eomer.
"We have had a long journey, are we now to find that it has been in vain?" he said, "Through Lorien we came, and thence down the leagues of the Great River to the falls of Rauros. There Boromir was slain by the same orcs whom you destroyed." The honey haired lord of the Riddermark pitched back as if slapped, "Your news is all of woe!" He hadn't known the Stewart's heir well but Boromir was a good man all the same. "Great harm is this death to Minas Tirith, and to us all. He was a worthy man! All spoke his praise. He came seldom to the Mark, for he was ever in the wars on the East-borders; but I have seen him."
Taking in a gulp of air Eomer continued. "More like to the swift sons of Eorl than to the grave Men of Gondor he seemed to me, and likely to prove a great captain of his people when his time came. But we have had no word of this grief out of Gondor? When did he fall?" Aragorn's grip on his 'sister's shoulders tightened ever slightly. "It is now the fourth day since he was slain," Legolas replied for his friend, "And since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir." The riders stared at them, almost unable to believe in what they were hearing, "On foot?" Eomer asked incredulous.
"Yes, even as you see us." The ranger replied tiredly. Eomer's eyes widened slightly, "Strider is too poor a name, son of Arathorn," he said, with little jest, "Wingfoot I name you. This deed of the four friends should be sung in many a hall. Forty leagues and five you have measured ere the fourth day is ended! Hardy is the race of Elendil!" he added, knowing that no ordinary man could have done as such. Still, seeing the way the ranger held onto the woman in his arms Eomer couldn't help but agree that their' errand was that great.
And thus his wonder passed swiftly, and the hard lines returned to his face, "But now, lord, what would you have me do? I must leave in haste, for we are pursued by Wormtongue's spies. I spoke warily before my men. We are not yet at open war with the Black Land, and there are some, close to the king's ear, that speak craven counsels; such that banished us, but war is coming. We shall not forsake our old alliance with Gondor, and while they fight, we shall aid them; so say I and all who hold with me."
The coffee eyed man looked tired even behind the mask of his lordly manner. "The East-mark is my charge, the ward of the Third Marshal, and I have removed all our herds and herd folk, withdrawing them beyond Entwash, and leaving none here but guards and swift scouts." Aragorn furrowed his brow. "Then that is why the land is empty," he mused, "But what of your defenses, is nothing being prepared?" Eomer looked vaguely agitated, "The King believes that Saruman is our ally, not even the word of his own kin could sway him." They could all understand his frustration. War had been declared on his home and yet he is unable to protect it.
"Rohan prepares for nothing save what I do. But the time has come for us to depart, but your pursuit is a valiant one and I shall aid you." He turned and whistled, "Hasufel! Arod!" Two horses trotted up to their lord, saddled and ready. He turned to Aragorn, clasping his shoulder "May these horses bear you to better fortune than their former masters. Farewell!" he said as he replaced his helmet and mounted his horse. "Look for your friends." he called turning Firefoot, "But do not trust to hope, it has forsaken these lands. We ride north!" and they departed in a thunder of hooves, leaving the hunters to turn and gaze at the smoke coming from away.