8. Bull's-eye (tribble)
Rohirrim Camp near the treeline, Field of Cormallen. April, 3019.
"Rouse yourself, Captain. You'd better see this." A not very sober Éothain felt himself being nudged from sleep by the booted foot of Cenhelm who was the only sober rider in the entire camp, having been assigned the nightly watch.
"What's that?" Éothain growled.
"Er, it's just…there's been an impromptu archery contest, sir, and well…I thought you might want to see for yourself."
"I doubt it."
"The King is there, sir." Éothain detected a note of desperation in Cenhelm's voice.
"Then bother one of Lord Aragorn's captains."
"I meant Éomer King."
Oh yes. Well, this would take getting used to. Despite the stab of annoyance, he was now curious.
Éothain slouched out of his bedroll and pulled his trousers on. He didn't bother with his tunic and glumly followed the sentinel through camp feeling like a nursemaid.
He could hear their raucous laughter long before he saw the celebrants.
In the semi-darkness of the beechy glade, his bleary eyes could barely make out their faces. Light from a nearby bonfire flickered in the wind and as his eyes adjusted he could recognize five of his Eastfold men who stood shakily, each with bows and arrows at various stages of readiness. It didn't take much light to see that they were the worse for drink.
One of the archers dropped his arrow before it even touched the bow. Another nocked his but released the bowstring prematurely, embedding the arrow into the ground a foot away.
Very ominous endings.
But it was the sight at the opposite end of the glade that nearly voided the Captain's bowels. Five riders wobbled on their legs or else supported their soused buttocks against wooden casks.
Feeling curiously sobered, Éothain realized that the targets were apples squeezed between their thighs.
One of them was Éomer.
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