1. Chapter 1
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any characters from Lord of the Rings, except Freda and her family.
Freda was twenty-two years old. She was currently standing in the shade of a house in a village next to the river Snowbourne. A training session was in play and she longed to join them but she was a lady, her mother said. And training to fight was most unladylike. Tossing her long blonde hair behind her, she stalked back to her house. She lived in a modest house, nearer to the river than most of the other houses, with a small garden in the back. Her mother, seeing her approach, called out to her to fetch some water from the river. Freda disappeared inside the house and collected the bucket from the back end of the house. Having done so, she walked the 600 yards to get to a small path leading down to the riverside.
Herself and her mother were the only ones at home at the moment. Her father was on patrol with the Riders of Rohan. She often wished she could be on patrol with the Riders but being a woman, her duties bound her to her home. She dipped her bucket into the stream and made her way back to the village. She heard the sound of horses' hoofs coming into the village. She walked quickly back, trying not to spill the water. When she returned, she saw a host of men from this village and the next. She looked quickly for her father but couldn't see him. Her mother was on the other side of the crowd, also looking. Still carrying the water, she hurried over to her mother.
"Mother, have you seen Father yet? I cannot find him."
"Give me that pail of water. I am going to the Healers'. I may be able to help."
"What about Father?"
"I will come back later with news."
Freda handed the bucket over and watched her mother disappear into the crowd. Freda walked back to the house.
It was now late at night and Freda's mother still hadn't returned. Freda herself was sitting in a wooden chair with a blanket covering herself (even though there was a fire going) when she heard the door open. Her mother was back. Freda looked at her. She looked like she had aged several years in one day. Her mother sat down in another chair near to the fire.
"Mother, any news?"
Her mother looked at her. She had been dreading how to tell her daughter this.
"My child, I could not find your father. I asked some of the men and they said, they said he never came back with them. He was on the front line of attack and none of them came back."
They were both silent for a moment and then Freda got up. She made her way slowly towards the stairs and crept up them silently, not wanting her mother to see her crying. She went into her room and threw herself on her bed, the tears now streaming freely down her face. She got into bed without bothering to get dressed into her nightclothes and cried herself to sleep.
When she awoke the next morning, she smelt smoke and then jolted upright in bed. The village was on fire. She rushed downstairs and out of the door. Orcs were attacking her village and burning down houses. She saw her mother coming towards her with a horse. She handed the reins to Freda, who got on the horse. Freda threw her hand down to assist her mother onto the horse as well. But she didn't take it.
"Go." She said.
"Mother, there is still time. You can come with me." Freda said, dreading the reply.
"No, my place is here. Go!" She smacked the horse on the rump and it sped off, away from the village. It was several minutes before the horse slowed down and allowed Freda to turn around to survey the damage. The entire village was on fire and the orcs were chasing the last few people, the unlucky ones who hadn't escaped. She wiped away the tears in her eyes. Her family was gone, her home destroyed and so she now had nowhere to go.
In the end, she decided to make for the capital city, Edoras. She could probably get food and shelter there and she could tell them about the attack on her village.
Just before nightfall, she reached the city of Edoras. The city was just as she remembered it. She had last seen this place when she was twelve years old and was visiting an aunt. Her father had always said that if she needed someone or somewhere to go, she could go to Edoras. Then she hadn’t understood what he meant. Now she realized.
The gates of Edoras opened as she got to them. When she was safely inside, she dismounted and led her horse along the pathway that led to her aunt’s house.
Just before she reached it, a strawberry blonde woman came out of the front door. She looked up and saw Freda standing there. She looked at her for a moment and then smiled and beckoned her to come closer. Freda led her horse towards the house. As she got to the woman, her aunt flung her arms out to greet her niece.
“What brings you here, my niece? I haven’t seen you since you were a little girl. You have grown into a fine young woman now.”
“I have grave news, aunt. Our village was destroyed. Both my mother and father are dead. As far as I can tell, I am the only survivor.”
Upon hearing this, the aunt clapped a hand to her mouth.
“You must tell me, girl, how this happened.”
After stabling her horse, Freda preceded to tell her aunt everything that she could remember.
“I was fetching water from the river when the sound of horses coming into the village drew my attention. It was the men returning from battle. They had with them many of their injured but my father was not among them. They had managed to drive off the small force but they feared a larger force might be sent. My mother went to help the healers.”
“Next morning the wargs and orcs attacked us and burned our village to the ground. I was the only one to escape. Everyone else was either trapped inside or caught and killed later. Including my mother. She sacrificed her own life to save mine.”
Her aunt put a comforting arm round her and drew her close, whispering:
“Stay with me, as long as you want. Although I fear that if war came to your village, it will also come here.”
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.