men of middle-earth ❅ northmen ❅ headcanon disclaimer
The Riders of Rohan were the horse-mounted warriors of the Rohirrim, divided into several éoryd led by the Marshals of the Riddermark. At the time of the War of the Ring, many riders did noble deeds and many others perished in battle.
Among the éored of Éomer who overran the Uruk-hai of Uglúk were his squire Éothain, who doubted the tale of holbytlan captured by orcs, and the warriors Gárulf, Adwig, and Ethelred, who lost their lives in the fight. The Three Hunters were given horses by Éomer, Aragorn riding Hasufel, once the steed of Gárulf, while Legolas and Gimli together rode Arod, once the steed of Adwig. Ethelred’s horse, Brego, fled the battle and ran wild, until eventually he was recovered and returned to Edoras, where Aragorn soothed him into a steed worthy of riding into battle once more.
Two valiant captains of the Riders were Grimbold of Grimslade, descendant of Grim, and Gamling the Old. Grimbold served under Théodred, Second Marshal of the Mark, and took command of the Fords of Isen after his prince fell, holding it until reinforcements arrived. Gamling, known in his youth as Baldwig, was an old man at the Battle of the Hornburg, but he was still a commanding presence and was the first to realize that orcs had penetrated the Deep through its culvert, and led the counter-attack himself.
Dúnhere, Lord of Harrowdale and nephew of Erkenbrand, served under Grimbold in the Battle of the Fords of Isen, and later rode the muster of the Rohirrim at his homeland of Harrowdale, answering the call of the King for soldiers to fight in the War. Many riders answered and all were welcomed, including Wídfara of the Wold, Herubrand and his son Herefara, the ceorl Fastwine who had served as a messenger and won the King’s favor, and many others. Wídfara joined the éored of Elfhelm, while Herubrand, Herefara, and Fastwine were invited to Théoden’s personal éored, the King’s Riders, to replace three soldiers who had fallen at Helm’s Deep.
The only warrior whose service was refused was the Lady Éowyn, the King’s sister-son, who was commanded to remain in Rohan to lead in his stead. But Éowyn would not be denied, and she disguised herself as the warrior Dernhelm and rode with the Riders to Gondor against her uncle’s orders. On the journey, she befriended Meriadoc Brandybuck, who was likewise defying Théoden’s word, and together they rode the horse Windfola into battle. In the end, the combined attack of Dernhelm and Merry were enough to slay the unkillable Witch-king of Angmar, though not in time to save the life of Théoden King.
Many men fell in the Battle of Pelennor Fields, including six of the King’s Riders: Harding and Horn, valiant men both; Herefara and his father Herubrand; the ceorl Fastred, akin to Fastwine, and Guthláf the banner-bearer. So also fell Dúnhere and Déorwine and Grimbold, mighty commanders. All were remembered in the Song of the Mounds of Mundburg, a grand poem honoring those who gave their lives fighting against the Shadow, their names going down in history alongside those of Gondor’s Captains of the Outlands who also perished on that fateful day.
Tolkien Secret Santa 2019
title. so comes snow after fire (5+1)
summary. newly-wed éowyn and faramir experience their first joint winter in ithilien – five times they undertake winter activities and one time they don’t. @officialtolkiensecretsanta
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The first rays of sunlight had hardly touched the white hills of Emyn Arnen when a delicate food stepped onto the ice of the glistening pond behind the house where descendants of Húrin lived. “Careful,” Faramir cautioned, but Éowyn was already whirling around on her skates. “I haven’t done this for so long,” she uttered. Her nervous breathing made the air crystalize in an instant, and Faramir held out a hand.
“It is strong enough,” she said to him. Her face was earnest, but her legs trembled. It was seldom to see such stark concentration on her face. It was delightful.
“Careful,” Faramir repeated, but Éowyn, serious as ever, signalled him she had control. “I can manage it. I can… Come on onto the ice!”
“It would have been more thoughtful had I stepped onto it before you did,” Faramir said with a nod, arms swimming as he slid forward. He could not stop his amusement from tainting his voice.
“Because you are heavier than I?” asked Éowyn, probably to distract herself. She gasped when she did stumble over her feet and fell right into Faramir’s arms. The surprise took them both down.
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Not even crunching, the ice stayed strong, Faramir noticed. Then he looked into Éowyn’s bright eyes beside him. “Hello,” he greeted playfully.
“Are you hurt?” she blurted out, and her stern eyes made him blush helplessly and swallow down any drollery he might have had left. The White Lady of Rohan possessed the gallantry of a chevalier. Her attentive eye noticed his bashfulness, so she softened and steadied his cold chin with elegant hands to face him. “It seems to me neither of us is qualified to lead the other, clumsy as we are,” she smiled.
“You have done this before,” Faramir said softly, “whereas I have never worn these shoes.”
“There are skates,” Éowyn laughed and rolled around to get them onto their feet again.
“They are extremely… slippery,” Faramir said, holding her hands tightly to keep himself steady.
“That is the idea,” Éowyn explained. “You move with the flow of the ice. You should see the pirouettes my brother can do.”
“I am afraid I don’t even know how to move forward,” Faramir sighed and looked up through lose strands of hair. “Please,” he smiled, “take the lead.”
Éowyn returned the smile just as brightly before returning to her seriousness about the task. “It will be my pleasure. Hold on tight!”
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With this year’s last carriage, a package had arrived for Faramir and Éowyn. It was a wooden box. Inside of it was a letter, on top of smaller boxes and thick cloths. “It is from the Shire. From Merry and Pippin!” Faramir read with joy.
“How sweet! Do you mean to say the whole box?” Éowyn asked in awe.
“Yes,” Faramir said and opened the letter to read it to Éowyn. Pippin sent them one of the Shire’s most traditional winter recipes. “’For apple cider. And some of the best apples I could find, so that you can start to brew right away’,” Faramir read. He narrowed his eyes when he continued: “’How cruel it would’ve been if you had no apples at hand to try this out immediately’.”
“What a friend,” Éowyn smiled.
Merry on the other hand had sent them herbs from Buckland and recommended to either ’brew a tea or smoke them in your favourite pipe’.
Faramir lowered the paper. “Small devil.”
“Don’t be mean,” Éowyn laughed, taking the bags of herb from the box. “Merry knows all about weed and smoking.”
“That’s what has me worried,” Faramir said.
“There is no need to worry, beloved,” Éowyn reassured him and took a deep breath as she opened the bag. “My Merry would never – Oh.”
They did brew the apple cider but could not stay awake long enough to taste it. The sweet scent mixed with the bitter smoke of the herbs. “Small devil,” Faramir laughed when he collapsed onto the kitchen table. Éowyn leaned onto him, pipe smoking in her hand. She giggled sweetly ere falling asleep on his chest.
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Éowyn helped shovelling snow just like Faramir, and it warmed his heart to be able to call this golden-hearted woman his wife. He would’ve loved her equally if she had stayed inside in the warm chambers, but he would not have been this flustered by her strength, as he was now. The iron shovels were heavy even to fit men, but Éowyn used them as though they weighed nothing.
Faramir could hardly get his own work done. Face boiling, he preferred to clear the path on the Western side of the house.
“Here,” Éowyn said when they had sat down onto the snow mountains with the other servants. She handed him a warm cup of apple cider. “A strong beverage for a strong worker,” she smiled, cupping her own drink with both hands. She looked tiny in all those pelts, and her knuckles were pink from the cold.
Faramir thanked her and silently sat down by her side, cup steaming merrily between his hands. Ahead, the house’s warm lights were dancing at the end of the snow path.
“I must say,” Éowyn said somewhen, “that I was tempted to hollow out this very mountain and make it our winter residence. I heard houses of snow are surprisingly warm inside, once there are people living inside of them.”
“So you’ve heard?” Faramir asked and swallowed. If his Éowyn would be inside with him, his love for her would melt down the whole mountain, he was sure.
“Yes,” she said softly, “so I have heard.” Her head came down to rest on Faramir’s shoulder, glowing with adoration.
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He knew an Elvish recipe for sweet pastry.
Neither Faramir nor Éowyn were especially talented when it came to cooking, but Faramir did know a thing or two about baking, which was what he yearned to do with Éowyn ever since he had stepped into their house’s kitchen, and now that dream of his would finally come true. Éowyn hurry-scurried through the room like a bee in spring, but Faramir was not only enchanted by her – this dough was delicious even on its own. Time after time, he would stand by the oven and nick a tiny bit of the Elvish miracle.
Sighing, Éowyn gave him a playful look over the table. “If this hobbit keeps stealing dough, there won’t be enough for the biscuits,” she said.
“I can hardly claim to be a hobbit, lazy and truant as I am,” Faramir replied.
Éowyn laughed. “You are not truant! You’re hard-working and sweet.”
“Thank you,” Faramir said and bowed overdramatically. Right afterwards, he nicked another bit of dough from the bowl, making his wife gasp in mockery. “You filthy thief,” she said.
“Am I not ‘sweet’?” he asked, standing up to embrace her.
Éowyn’s eyes scanned his like two sapphire hawks. “You are,” she whispered and reached for his hand, sticky from dough. Without looking down, she kissed Faramir’s fingertips, one by one, tender and careful. Then she guided his fingers to ghost over her puffy lips, melting into the touch.
Oh, Son of Gondor, catch your breath.
“Yes,” Éowyn whispered with a gleeful giggle that made her eyes shine brighter than any stars in the night sky – oh, Eärendil would have fallen silent in awe. She took his hands in hers. “True it is,” she repeated, “you are indeed very sweet.”
Faramir felt like falling onto his knees and marrying her all over again.
Just as he wanted to shower her with every kind of poetic metaphor that came to his mind, Éowyn’s face formed a frown, and she asked, “What’s that smell?”
“The first baking sheet,” Faramir gasped.
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The sun was low, but neither the horses nor their riders were thinking of going home. Éowyn’s white robes were flying as she put Windfola to a trot. She smirked over her shoulder as Faramir still thought about her request.
“A Rohirrim is challenging me to a horse race?”
“Do not receive it ill, my love,” she smiled, stopping and caressing her horse. It was her element after all.
“I do not,” said Faramir, “but the unfairness of the situation can hardly escape you.”
“Let’s see if you can escape me, Steward of Gondor. To the White Mountains!” Not wanting to lose, Faramir stormed after her, up the hills, hooves swirling up snow dust that drew wondrous patterns in the wind. Éowyn seemed to fly, but always made sure her husband would not fall too far behind her. On top of a hill, right beneath the pastel coloured sky, they stopped side by side, breathing hard as their laughter cut the fresh air. How beautiful a land! Every tree in sight, every blade of grass was glistening with ice, dreaming frozen dreams.
“Oh, to be here with the White Lady of Rohan,” sighed Faramir, leaning sideways to rest his forehead against Éowyn’s. She smiled against his yearning lips. “To be here with my beloved,” she answered, kissing him tenderly ere lashing down the hill, white robe blending into frozen ground.
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The raging snowstorm, a phenomenon not uncommon despite Gondor’s mild winters, did not permit them to go outside that day. Instead, Faramir and Éowyn stayed inside all afternoon, and not only that; they had hardly left their chamber. There was enough firewood to keep them warm until nightfall.
When that time of day had come, Faramir had pulled a blanket over his beloved and caressed her tired face. Éowyn was so beautiful, so graceful the dying light of the fire that he could not help but kiss her. Tender hands stroked wavy strands of hair back into place, and as Éowyn did this, the robe slid down her shoulder to reveal a bit of her fair skin.
Faramir was awed, enchanted by his lady’s beauty. Helpless, he bent down to her shoulder, fondling every inch of it as she sighed contently beneath him. Her voice reassured him his kisses were placed well. Here by the fire, Faramir saw to his wife’s needs, and he withdrew when he felt her tremble and light the silent chamber with her glow.
“What about you?” Éowyn asked him with rosy cheek, caressing his face.
“I am fine,” Faramir assured her with a heavy breath and a smile. Both were tired after all, despite having done nothing today. Faramir silently snuggled up to her, resting his head on her lovely chest, where it was warm and safe. He closed his eyes as he embraced her under the soft blanket, feeling sleep prevail over desire.
Éowyn’s stroked his hair. Her voice was like velvet when she said, “My eternal beloved, you make smile so much. What fortune, what bliss to be able to be with you! I am forever grateful. Faramir.”
“So am I,” said Faramir. He held onto her as though to never let her go, and she did the same. Whilst the snowstorm howled, they blissfully sang each other to sleep.
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My giftee will be tagged on the 24th – I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you to everyone reading. Have a nice, wondrous and safe winter ♡
Éowyn was the second child of Éomundand Theodwyn. Like her brother Éomer, she was related to King Théodenthrough through their mother, the King's sister. Her father was slain and her mother died of illness in TA 3002. Afterwards, Théoden took Éomer and Éowyn in his household and raised them as his children.
During the War of the Ring, Éowyn was forced to stay in Meduseld and care for her declining uncle for several years, as he was weakened by the influence of Saruman and Gríma Wormtongue. When Gandalf restored the King, he prepared to defend Rohan against Isengard. Since Théoden planned to ride to battle himself, he asked his doorwarden Háma, to suggest a leader for the people in his absence. Háma recommended Éowyn, who, though a woman, was "fearless" and "all love[d] her".
Éowyn reluctantly obeyed the King's orders to stay behind in Edoras while Aragorn, Théoden, and the rest of the men confronted Saruman's army at the Battle of the Hornburg. When they returned, victorious to Edoras, Éowyn had kept everything in perfect order for their return. It was near this time when she confessed her growing feelings for Aragorn, but he reluctantly refused.
When Denethor II urgently called for Théoden's aid against Mordor, Éowyn again, begged to be allowed to ride with Aragorn to battle, but he refused.
In bitterness, she disguised herself as a man, under the alias Dernhelm, and rode to Minas Tirith on her horse Windfola. She took Meriadoc Brandybuckalong because he likewise wanted to follow his friends to battle, but had been refused by Théoden. Because Éowyn weighed less than a man of similar height, Windfola was able to bear both her and Merry.
During the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, she fought in Théoden's escort; when he and his company were attacked by the Witch-king of Angmar, lord of the Nazgûl, she and Merry were the only riders who did not flee. As Théoden lay mortally wounded, she challenged the Witch-King, who boasted that "no living man may hinder me". In answer, she removed her helmet, exposing her long blond hair, and declared, "No living man am I! You look upon a woman! Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter. Begone if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him!".
In a rage, the Witch-king attacked her, but she cleaved the head off his Fell Beast. The Witch-king shattered her shield with a blow of his mace, breaking her arm, but stumbled when Merry stabbed his leg from behind with a Barrow-blade of Westernesse make. Éowyn stabbed her sword through the Witch-king's head, killing him, and thus fulfilling Glorfindel's prophecy a thousand years earlier at the Battle of Fornost that "not by the hand of man" would the Witch-King fall.
Her constitution already severely weakened by her loneliness and despair, combined with her physical injuries, Éowyn succumbed to a severe case of the Black Breath. Théoden, not knowing that she was nearby, told Merry with his dying words that she had been "dearer than daughter" to him.
Seeing her lying apparently dead on the battlefield caused her brother Éomer to go temporarily mad, and charge in fury at the enemy. But during the battle she was found by Prince Imrahil, who noticed that she was still alive, though barely, and ordered her taken to the Houses of Healing. There she was healed by Aragorn, the cure of the plant Athelas, and the entreaties of her distraught brother.
Éowyn remained behind in Minas Tirith while the Army of the West marched toward Morannon, the Black Gate, to challenge Sauron. She met and fell in love with Faramir, who had likewise been injured before the battle. After the War of the Ring had ended, she decided to give up dreams of glory in battle and devote her life to peace and a happy marriage.
At Éowyn's insistence, Merry was made a Knight of the Riddermark. He attended Théoden's funeral and Éomer's coronation as King of Rohan, where Éowyn presented Merry with a parting gift: the Horn of Rohan, a small silver horn taken from the hoard of Scatha, the dragon.
Faramir and Éowyn settled in Ithilien, where they had at least one son, and their grandson was Barahir, who wrote The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen in the Fourth Age. The date of Éowyn's death is nowhere recorded.