4. 22 Red Rangers - by Stefania
In these days of uneasy peace, the Ranger patrols were nonetheless largely uneventful. When they reached the clear pond not far from the Steward's manor in Emyn Arnen, the patrol dismounted and let the horses drink. One of the younger fellows, Maglor by name, declared himself longing for a swim. Faramir motioned his permission to the youngsters, then sat on the bank of the pond while the lads stripped off their leathers, tunics, and undergarments. They splashed gleefully into the water while the Steward guarded the discarded clothing and kept lookout.
Even in these days of peace, there was always a chance they could be ambushed by the rogue orcs that slunk about in the unexplored corners of Ithilien. If only Faramir didn't have to maintain the dignified demeanor of the second-in-command in Gondor. The water looked so inviting. At least I can take off some of this armor and moisten my tunic, Faramir thought. He had just unlaced his leather hauberk when his highly-trained senses heard a rustle in the bushes nearby.
He reached for his bow, which as ever was by his side, and was about to whistle a warning when he heard a female voice yell out, "Husband! That's you and your men, isn't it?"
Twenty-one skinny dipping Rangers, some of whom were lounging comfortably on the banks of the pond, quickly immersed themselves up to their necks in the water.
Eowyn parted a growth of bushes that tried to grab at her simple gown. Hardly phased by the sight of wet male heads in the pond and the piles of clothing strewn about the shore, she approached her sweltering husband, "A messenger just came from Minas Tirith. The emissaries from the Long Lake have finally arrived. Aragorn is calling a big council tomorrow at mid-day and wants us both to be there."
"Okay," Faramir agreed but then gasped. His wife had bent down, grabbed the hem of her dress, and suddenly lifted it over her head. Her flimsy chemise was revealed to the Rangers who could not help but look. Only Faramir could hear her muffled voice say, "It's so hot. I could use a nice swim, myself."
"Wife, you know well that we don't take family swimming holidays here in Gondor!" Faramir cried out in consternation but to no avail. Drat those Rohirric bathing customs, he thought, as the Princess of Ithilien blithely removed her remaining garments and stepped into the pond for a swim among her husband's troupers.
On that sweltering October day, there were 21 red-faced Rangers in the pond and one red-faced, red-headed former Ranger captain on the shore.
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.