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A World That Never Was

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Bitter Sweet, by just_ann_now

 

For twenty years my little cousin Lothíriel filled our lives with delight. In her twenty-first year, she was married to King Théodred of Rohan; a useful alliance and a clever one. I danced at her wedding, kissed her and wished her joy, embraced my new kinsman in the sight of all.

I occupied myself at first with some minor military engagements far to the south, and then spent the next several years setting Gondor and Harondor to rights. Peace and prosperity were new to our lands, and for once I enjoyed the travel. I never married; Aragorn did not press me, and after a time I named Faramir and Eowyn's lively boy Elboron as my heir.

The land of the Horse-Lords prospered as well. Lothíriel bore her husband three strapping sons, assuring the future of the House of Éorl, before a summer chill turned to lung fever and she was taken. For a year and a day Rohan mourned the loss of its queen, and I, my dear cousin. Now I ride north, at last, to give what comfort I can.

***

For a year and a day we mourned the loss of our gracious queen, she whose charm and laughter had brought such a sense of contentment, of well-being, over the past twenty years. Three fine sons she gave me, and two pretty daughters as high-hearted as herself. I vowed faithfulness to my wife, and my vows were neither bent nor broken, though I was spared the sorest test.

Today, the messenger brings word of a single rider, a powerfully built man, riding in the style of Gondor, yet bearing no device or livery. My eyes are not as sharp as they once were, but even after so long, I recognize him at once. Startling a tradesman at the gate, I take his horse and ride, ride, far and fast. I would not meet him before the eyes of so many others.

“My lord king – ”

“My Boromir – ”

At the last, there is no need for words, only the warmth of his embrace, the feel of him in my arms again, comforting.