Author's notes: In some aspects of this story, Imrahil and those of Dol Amroth might seem to put them selves above even the King of Rohan. Let me explain—the line of Princes (Imrahil's family) was of Numenorean and elvin descent and ruled an autonomous region of Gondor (for all intense and purpose, Imrahil was a minor king who would later acknowledge Elessar as king of the reunified kingdom of Gondor). The people of Belfalas, therefore, see themselves as higher than the other races of man (i.e. Rohan and Harad). Think of it in elvish terms—Eldar to Sindar so to speak. So, in my little corner of the sand box, Imrahil does see himself as at the very least, equal to Eomer…not to mention he is older and therefore deserving of respect. Only Elessar stands above Imrahil. Therefore, since they are very traditional it can be expected that Imrahil would want his daughter to merry a Gondorean noble of Dúnedain decent…even though he likes and respects Éomer as a man and a king.
Éomer looked at the two letters the messenger had delivered that were of a personal nature. One was from his sister's betrothed and one was from the Princess Lothiriel. Setting the lady's letter to the side, he broke the seal and began to read Faramir's letter.
Please forgive the familiarity with which I address this, my lord, but I write to you as a friend and kinsman of Lothiriel. I am aware of your attraction to my cousin and while I think it would be a wonderful match; my opinion here carries little weight. Therefore I feel I should explain how things are in Belfalas and in particular Dol Amroth.
The people of the coast take their connection to the Dúnedain very seriously. Rarely do they marry outside their culture for they wish to keep the Numenorean blood strong. I fear their isolation has made them a bit aloof; it reminds me a little of the stories of ancient Gondolin Gandalf used to tell me. Belfalas is a region and culture all their own and is not always welcoming to outsiders. Although my uncle and cousins respect a man more for his merits than his bloodline or position, they still follow the ancient traditions; which brings me to Lothiriel.
My uncle lost his wife when Lothiriel was just five years old. As he had no other female relative to oversee her upbringing, he assigned her a chaperone. It is how a young woman learns to be a Lady of the Court for her father certainly cannot teach her such things. Although a chaperone must answer to the Lord of the House, she has complete control over her charge in all things from education, to social matters, to love. It is part of a chaperone's sworn duty to find a husband—in Lothiriel's case assumedly of Dúnedain decent--, negotiate the dowry and present the intended to the Prince. As such, chaperones can be quite overbearing as in Lady Beriedis' case. She means well, and having been in a successful arranged marriage herself it is all she understands. Love and affection before marriage is irrelevant. It is how things are done. Imrahil even arranged Elphir's marriage and the couple is very happy.
Now Lothiriel has been with Beriedis for so long—they are never apart more than a few hours—that she readily accepts her thoughts and actions. As an obedient and well-mannered Lady, she is loath to speak out against Beriedis for any reason. It would be viewed as disgraceful and ungrateful on her part.
My point is, Imrahil is oblivious to this whole situation as he does not feel a need to concern himself with such matters. He trusts Lady Beriedis explicitly which only complicates matters. Lothiriel should have been married by now and Beriedis dismissed, however, with the rise of Sauron, other matters took precedence. To be honest, my cousin should speak to her father and have the Lady dismissed as she is now an adult but Lothiriel is loath to disobey her father's wishes and he wishes her to be married. I know my cousin has feelings for you. She is young though, and lacking in experiences of the heart, so does not know what to do. Continue to show her what a fine, honorable, passionate man you are and I am certain you will win her over. She deserves a man like you who will teach her to live life to the fullest, find joy in the simple beauty of Arda and love her beyond measure. I for my part will aid in whatever manner I can. Do not lose hope, my friend.
Please forgive my intrusion in your private affairs, but I love you as a brother and, like Éowyn, believe you deserve great happiness.
You brother in arms and life,
The King of Rohan sat back in his chair and thought about everything Faramir said. It certainly explained a great deal. Gamling had often expressed wonder that Prince Imrahil would keep such an opinionated woman around, especially as a mentor for his daughter; now Éomer understood. He still did not like the woman but at least he respected her devotion to Imrahil and dedication to making Lothiriel all she can be. And truth be told, if she was responsible for Lothiriel's upbringing, Éomer may have to actually thank her for the young princess was gracious, kind, strong-- in a silent way, and beautiful beyond words. The young man eyed the letter resting on his desk, her flowing script evident. He had waited anxiously for her letter. Now he hoped he had not cause any sort of conflict between Lothiriel and her Chaperone. He picked up the letter and inadvertently brought it to his lips before breaking the seal and reading…
My Lord Éomer,
I hope this missive finds you well and your lands prospering. I wish to congratulate you on your sister's betrothal to my cousin. I am so happy for them both! Lady Éowyn is so wonderful for Faramir. Her self-confidence and acceptance will help raise him out of his brother's shadow and erase much of the doubt and lack of self worth inflicted by his father. Yet do not get me wrong! Faramir is by no means a weak man; quite the contrary though he finds strength in words as important as the sword. He will be good to your sister and love her with all his being—I assure you she will want for nothing.
My only true regret is that they live so far from me for I greatly enjoy your sister's company and would love to count her as a friend. It seems, however, that is to be my lot for all those I wish to be closer too are so very far away! Still, I have 'Scamp' to keep me company and she reminds me of you always. I cannot thank you enough for so sweet and thoughtful a gift. I hope someday to be able to repay the kindness.
Alas, the night grows late and I shan't want to miss the messenger so I will end this now with the hope to see you come Yule. May Béma keep you safe.
Éomer smiled to himself and set the letter on his desk. Pulling a piece of parchment from the drawer he dipped his quill in ink. He wished he could write her in her native tongue but his lessons with Arathea were short and all too infrequent. So, for now, they communicated in Westron. After a moment's thought, the King began his letter.
My Lady Lothiriel,
Your letter indeed found me well though my mood improved greatly upon receiving it—Gamling thanks you for that! I hope you and your family are well. I am told that many of the scars of the war have been erased from your lands. I am happy to hear that.
I do no doubt that Faramir will be good to Éowyn; if I did, I would not have given him my blessing. Faramir is an honorable man and a good friend. They seem a perfect match and I must admit I am a bit envious. Still, I begrudge my sister nothing and have often been accused of spoiling her as brothers do.
While I will be attending the Wedding this Yule—Éowyn always loved the winter—it will be, regrettably, a short visit. We have worked out a warrior exchange with East Lórien and, come the spring thaw, twenty elvin warriors and their families will reside in Edoras for a year's time then we will send our warriors to East Lórien for one turn of the seasons. It had originally been planned to be a two year trade, but that is a long time in the measure of men so Lords Celeborn and Thranduil agreed to only one year. I am not sure I am ready for something like this and I was happy that Lady Arathea would be here to help. However, I am not sure that will be the case for it seems there is something brewing between her and Marshal Elfhelm of the East-Mark. But forgive my ramblings--these are not things for a letter to so lovely a young woman.
I am glad 'Scamp' brings you joy and no thanks is necessary for it is only a small token of gratitude for the kindness you showed me in the Healing Halls and at my Uncle's funeral. Your pleasant disposition and enthusiasm lifted my spirits greatly and thoughts of you have often given me strength when faced with trying situations. I, too, regret the leagues that separate me from those I care for; yet with a strong Rohirrim horse, the distance is not so great.
I look forward to our meeting at Éowyn's wedding and hope you might honor me with a dance at the feast.
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.