54. An Excellent Name
Lying bastards. All of them. Every last one of them. Especially Sauron. Telling her that Morion had twenty years left. No, no, Morion was the bigger lying bastard. Telling her he loved her and then giving up the ghost. Bastard.
Khamul kicked the horse and it sped up, rocketing across the land, hoping that it might dislodge its rider if it went faster.
There was a cold wind whistling through the land. Far too cold, even for winter.
Where did the winds come from? That was an interesting question. Why not find the answer?
So Khamul followed the wind. It grew colder and colder, icier and icier. It seemed to freeze the marrow in her bones. But it also seemed to freeze away the memories of Morion.
"I should've known," Khamul muttered, stopping at the base of what was undoubtedly generating the wind. "What do you want now?" she snapped.
Caradhras loomed above her, covered completely in snow except for the most sheer of its bloody sides.
"You have lost someone dear to you. I am sorry."
"You're a mountain, you don't have feelings."
"Nevertheless, you have long been in my prophecies. And you have seen prophecies of your own."
"What do you mean? The little Halfling feast? It didn't matter."
"Ah, but it did. And I can make sure that it will never occur."
"What do you mean?"
"I shall make this journey of yours the most profitable. Leave this place at once lest you find yourself caught in another war of the dwarves and orcs."
"They're still fighting?" Khamul asked with a sigh.
"One dared to attempt to resettle Khazad-Dum. The balrog was not pleased." Caradhras sounded excited when it spoke of the balrog.
"It's time's coming, isn't it?" Khamul guessed. "Sooner or later it's going to be obliterated."
"I eagerly await that time, though other world events intrigue me now."
"You started off with the balrog, and now you've moved to everything else."
"Go to the windswept plains of Rohan. Ride across the Riddermark."
"And I'll find another lost and lonely child who is actually the son of Theoden, right?"
Caradhras chuckled. A small avalanche broke out on one of its sides. "No. You will find no king, nor great lord. You will find someone of no importance in the great histories of the world. Someone much as yourself."
"I'm important!" Khamul yelled. "If I hadn't been born, Isildur's heir would be dead!" Dammit. That wasn't something to be proud of.
"Indeed. Still, it may be profitable for you to go there."
"Go south. Not far. The Dead Marshes hold more than faces of corpses. You will find there – if it has not moved on – something you long thought lost."
Caradhras refused to say more on the matter. "We shall not meet again until the war," it said. "We shall not again meet until the balrog has been destroyed atop Zirak-zigil."
That was another of the mountains, though Khamul couldn't remember which one. "Rohan then," she muttered. "I'll go there."
Caradhras's talk of a war unnerved Khamul, but she'd handled wars before. Besides, this one couldn't be as bad as the Last Alliance.
"Stupid mountain," Khamul grumbled. "What does it know? And it isn't sorry either, whatever it said. It's just a mountain. It's just a damn mountain."
However, Khamul wanted to get to Rohan quite badly. And quite fast. Whatever was happening there, it was going to be well worth her time. She was sure of that. Just as long as it wasn't another Eorl incident.
The long grasses of the Riddermark looked like waves in the strong wind. There was snow on the higher places of the land, but down in the Westfold it was reasonably temperate.
"What am I looking for anyway?" Khamul muttered. "Ah, who cares? These things tend to find me themselves." She just hoped it wasn't Gandalf. She really didn't want to see him again. Or Estel. She'd probably have to kill him now, what with both Sauron and Morgoth loose in Arda.
Khamul soon found herself near a winding silver river coming out of a large forest. There was an eerie quality to the forest, a quality Khamul associated with Caradhras. Perhaps the trees were as sentient as the mountain.
Not wanting to find out, Khamul stayed far away from the trees and kept an eye on them at all times.
It was not long before Khamul found that Rohan was not as uninhabited as it looked. Down the river a bit a wagon was parked in the long grass. It looked to Khamul like it was deserted or abandoned. Hoping for some good scavenging, she nudged her horse in its direction.
"Halt!" cried a large, fierce man with hair so vibrantly blond it was almost blinding. He was also carrying a very large spear and seemed ready to use it.
"Just passing through," Khamul said. If you squinted, the fellow kind of looked like Eorl. Bigger, much bigger, but still like Eorl.
"Well keep on passing," the man spat. "Go on, leave!"
"Father!" A boy with the same horrible hair sat up in the wagon. He noticed Khamul and stared, his eyes growing wide.
Now that boy looked like Eorl. Like an identical copy of Eorl. Well, this wasn't good.
"What is it?" the man asked, still watching Khamul warily.
"Mother had her baby!"
"Did she?" the man asked, taking his eyes off Khamul and walking over to the wagon. "How are you, dear?" he asked, glancing into the wagon, presumably at his wife and their new child.
"Just fine," came the quiet voice. "I think I'm getting a bit old for this kind of thing."
"Ah, isn't she beautiful. As fair as any a flower in the land."
"What should we name her?"
"Well…I don't know. Something like her brother, I suppose. So's people can tell they're related."
"If she has his hair, that won't be a problem," Khamul said.
The man's wife sat up. She had a very tired face and brown hair. "Who is she?" she asked her husband.
"Just some traveler," the man said. "Go on, leave," he said. "This is a family occasion."
"Eomund!" the woman exclaimed. "You mustn't be so cruel! Especially to strangers! Why, she might be on her way to Meduseld to offer her allegiance to the king!"
"I might," Khamul said.
"You must always be courteous to strangers," the woman continued, "lest they take their revenge."
"Don't worry about me," Khamul said as Eomund gripped his spear tighter. "Wouldn't harm a fly. Just leaving right now."
"Simbelmyne!" Eomund said suddenly.
"What?" his wife asked.
"That's what we should name her. It's a good name. A type of flower."
"A type of flower that grows on burial mounds! We will not be naming her that!"
Khamul sighed. "Why not Eowyn?" she suggested. "Fits with your name, and it's the name of the…" She trailed off. She'd heard that name in the future. The fairest woman in all Arda, that's what one of the Halflings had said. Damn it all!
"That's an excellent name," the wife said. "Eowyn it is. See, Eomund, strangers give very good advice."
"Fits with mine," Eomund muttered, "fits with Eomer's," The boy grinned, "it's a good name." He nodded approvingly at Khamul.
Well, I've done it now, Khamul thought. Theoden and Eowyn are born and ready for the war. It's got to be the war. And then there's Elessar. Estel. Damn it all.
While the happy family was talking and observing baby Eowyn, Khamul made her escape, cursing herself all the while. Damn Caradhras! It was the mountain's fault she had come. Of course, Eowyn would've been born anyway, but she would've had a different name.
I haven't really done anything, Khamul thought. Nothing awful. Everything's going to turn out for the best.
And what exactly was the best?
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.