Theoden, king of the Riddermark walked outside Meduseld. He took in a deep breath of the crisp air. The king then noticed a small figure standing on the top most step to the Golden Hall. "Eowyn," he said walking closer to the eight year old girl. "What are you doing out here all by yourself, little one?"
For a moment she didn't reply; he thought something was wrong. "Are you ill, Eowyn?"
She looked at him. "Oh uncle, Audrey says my bird is all better so I have to let him go."
The king nodded and sat down next to her; the girl sat in his lap. "Well your nurse maid is right,the bird is mended, you should set him free."
"But I don't want to let him go uncle; he's my friend."
"You have many friends, sister-daughter. Like Theodred and Eomer." Eowyn wrinkled her nose in a annoyed look. "But they are all older then me, and Eomer and Theodred don't like me hanging around them."
Theoden frowned. "I'll just have to have a talk with them about that."
"Eowyn," he continued, "would you like to start training as a shieldmaiden?"
Her eyes grew wide. "Oh yes! more then anything." She turned her head to look up at him. "Will you teach me, uncle Theoden? I hope so...your the best swordsman in Middle-Earth!"
The king of the mark chuckled, "well I wouldn't go that far child, but yes, I could teach you when time allows. But you will have a tutor just like you have one for reading and writing."
There was a few moments of silence between the two. Then Eowyn spoke, "I miss mama and papa."
"Oh," Theoden said, finally realizing why his niece was so distant this past week. "Well I know how you can talk to to them, but it's a secret"
When he didn't say anything further Eowyn turned to look at her uncle. "How? Please uncle tell me the secret."
The king laughed.
"Alright,you can tell what you want to tell them to your bird, then when you set him free he can tell your mama and papa what you want."
"Really?" asked the little girl.
Theoden nodded. "Yes, little one, now go and fetch your bird." Before he could even finish his sentence Eowyn was off in a flash, back to Meduseld to get her bird in it's cage from her room.
Back outside, Eowyn proudly displayed the little animal to her uncle.
Theoden was still suprised at the girl's courage as she reached into the cage and gently took the bird. She wasn't afraid of anything. well almost anything, there had been those nights just after she and her brother had come to live with him that Eowyn and woken up in the middle of the night; screaming after a nightmare.
"What do I say?'
"Whatever you want," he replied.
Again there was silence as Eowyn thought about what she wanted to say. Then she started whispering to the bird. When she was done she looked at her uncle. "Uncle, do you wanna say something to mama or auntie Elfhild?"
Theoden smiled down at the little girl; for she was sitting on his lap again. "That's very thoughtful of you, little one."
"Oh! maybe we should ask Theodred and Eomer if they wanna say something."
Eowyn told her uncle. "They are down on the plains; racing their horses. why don't we just say something for them"
"And I want mama and papa to know Eomer misses them a lot and loves them more. how was that uncle?"
"Perfect, little one."
"And I want Auntie Elfhild to know that Theodred wishes he could have known her.. and that he loves her. What do you want to say?" she asked.
Theoden thought a moment. "I want to tell Theodwyn, that I miss her graetly and that I will always love her. She was always my favorite little sister... I want her to know that I am and will care and watch over her children as if they were my own; til my last day." A pause. "To my darling Elfhild I want her to know that I love her so very much, I miss her. I want her to know that our son is a fine young man. I wish she could have seen him grow up."
After a few moments of silence Eowyn looked at her uncle. "Uncle? are you Ok? your crying."
She wiped away his tears with her little fingers. Theoden smiled at her. "Nay child, the wind just blew something into my eyes. Now, lets let your bird go so he can deliver his messages."
Eowyn nodded and let the bird go; Uncle and niece watched silently as the bird flew higher into the sky.
"Look uncle," Eowyn said pointing into the distance. "I can see Theo and Eomer racing back towards Edoras." The king nodded. He noticed his niece shiver. "Come little Eowyn, it's getting late and Audrey will have my head if your late for the evening meal."
They stood and Theoden took off his dark green cloak; the collar trimmed in fur. He wrapped it around his niece, then taking her small hand in his they headed back to Meduseld. "How can she uncle? she's just a mean old battle axe of a woman and your the king."
Her uncle laughed stopping to look at her. "Eowyn, where did you hear that? battleaxe?"
"From Eomer and Theodred." she said innocently.
Theoden shook his head. "I definatly have to have a talk with those boys."
They walked into the hall. "Uncle."
"Hmm, little one?"
"I love you, and I hope papa won't mind that I think your a great papa; not just to Theodred but to Eomer and me."
Theoden picked up the little girl in his arms. "I don't think your papa would mind at all little one." He kissed her on her forehead."I love you to Eowyn, my little dohter." The king then smiled when he heard his boys, Theodred and Eomer,racing up the steps of the Golden hall and argueing about what they were going to do the next day. "come along, children."
Theoden could just picture the annoeyed looks on the boy's faces. "I'm a grown man, father, why do you still call me a child?"
"Because you still act like one," he replied. That received a groan from Theodred and a laugh from Eomer.
"Ow. uncle, Theo hit me," the younger boy said.
Theoden shook his head and whispered to Eowyn, "Little children indeed."
The eight year old smiled, the small family then sat down to eat.
(dohter, anglo saxon/old english=daughter.)