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Stories By The Fire

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“Oh come off it, Léonere!” Eowyn heard the voice of one of one of the King’s Guard shout at his comrade as she hurried down the hill from her uncle’s tent to the fire where their dinner had been cooked that evening.

As per usual, It seemed that some of the men had gathered to swap a few stories while they waited for their watch to begin, and she, being very much appreciative of a good tale telling, didn’t want to miss out on anything interesting.

“I don’t know why yer so quick to call me a liar, Folmund,” Young, rosy cheeked Léonere answered his elder companion, sounding quite offended by whatever accusation had been made.

“If you took the head off an orc’s wolf with one swing then I’m a bloody princess!”

Eowyn giggled to herself as she walked closer to join them at the fire. Good old Folmund had always been a bit of a snark, especially when it came to cocky young bucks like Léonere.

“Well then, Mi’lady, I apologize for frightenin’ ya with such a bold, heroic tale!” The new recruit dared to challenge the old veteran.

It was a good thing, Eowyn thought, that Háma came over a moment later to see what all of the commotion was about.

“Here’s the captain!” Folmund growled at Léonere. “We’ll just ask him!”

“Ask him not.” Háma sighed, sitting down next to Gamling at the edge of the warming flame, and accepting a mug of beer that was passed over to him. “I want no part of this quarrel.”

“Just tell this pup to shut his face, for’ I shut it for him!” Folmund growled across the circle at a smirking Léonere. “I’m sick an’ tired of his lies!”

“Calm down and drink, ya old git.” Gamling laughed at the aging guard’s sudden temper. “We all know Léonere’s pullin’ your leg. Ya don’t have to go yammerin’ on about it all night.”

“Aye,” Balred, a scar faced lieutenant, chuckled lightly as he worked on whittling a figure of a horse out of a piece of extra wood from the fire pit. “I doubt the lad’s ever seen such a monster, much less killed one. He’d piss himself if he did.”

The entire gathering erupted with laughter, aside from Léonere, who only rolled his eyes.

“Funny,” He hissed at Balred, hiding his embarrassment behind his beer.

“What’s everyone laughing about?” Eowyn inquired, finally announcing herself as she came to sit down next to Háma, who nearly choked on his drink when he realized the little lady had been listening.

“Balred! You watch your language from now on...” He warned the chuckling guard, who nodded obidiently, going back to work on his carving.

Eowyn continued to stare up at Háma with wide, excited eyes. “Can I please hear Léonere’s story?” She asked hopefully.

“Oh, little love,” Folmund spoke gently to Théoden’s niece before his captain could say anything else on the matter. “Ye don’t want to hear such a far fetched fib.”

“Hush,” Háma told the old man. “That’s not a story for little ears anyway...Eowyn? Why don’t you tell us one of yer own? I’m sure you have many, aye?”

Eowyn nodded eagerly, humming in thought as she tried to think up a story of her own to tell the men.

“The one you told me about chasing off the wild men from the stables was good.” Gamling suggested with an adoring grin.

“But I already told it to you.” Eowyn frowned.

“But you haven’t told anyone else, have you?” Gamling reasoned with her. “I’m sure everyone would love to hear it. Wouldn’t you, boys?”

A chorus of unanimous agreement came from the other guards that had gathered near the fire, and Eowyn couldn’t help but smile with pride.

“Alright then!” She decided finally, proceeding to tell her friends all about how she had come upon a band of wild men trying to steal the king’s horses right out of their stalls.

“I kicked the biggest one in the knee!” She declared, standing up from her spot on the ground and demonstrating how she had fought the intruders off. “Then I punched one in the gut, and smacked another in the face with my shield!”

The guards listened to the child, though many of them had to try very hard to keep themselves from laughing.

The little lady certainly had a talent for story telling, no matter if her fantastic anecdotes had even the slightest shard of truth to them or not. At least she was more entertaining to listen to than Léonere.

“I bet they ran as fast as they could go from you, mi’lady.” Folmund smiled warmly at the girl as she continued to show them all exactly how she had sent the wild men running scared into the forest.

“They did.” Eowyn confirmed, showing off one last mighty kick before she stood tall and proud before the guards, her hands on her hips and her chin held high. “I don’t think they’ll ever come back. I told them I’d stick ‘em all with Uncle’s sword if they did!”

“I’m sure you did.” Balred chuckled.

“Aye. She’s certainly a brave little lass, aren’t you?” Háma agreed with his comrade, gently ruffling the long golden curls on Eowyn’s head when she finally sat back down next to him. “Though, I’m sure your Uncle is wondering where you’ve gone off to right about now.”

“Aye, mi’lady.” Gamling nodded to the girl, who was giving Háma a disappointed glare. “It’s late and we’ve got plenty of traveling to do come the dawn. You should get to bed while you can.”

“Not to worry, child. We’ll call on ya to help if any more wild men come creepin’ up in the night.” Old Folmund assured the King’s niece.

“Promise?” Eowyn asked, crossing her arms over her chest in an irritable manner.

“Cross me heart, dearie.” Folmund nodded with a smile as Háma stood up and reached to take Eowyn’s hand.

“Come on, now. Let’s take ya back to his Majesty.” He pleaded with the child, who pouted at him and gave an exasperated sigh before eventually complying and allowing him to lead her away from the fire and back up the hill to the tent of Théoden King.

“I wanted to tell more stories!” She complained to the Captain of the Guard, though a short yawn escaped her just a moment later, proving how tired she truly was.

“Tomorrow, Little Lady.” Háma replied gently, bending to pick the girl up so that he could carry her the rest of the way up the hill. “We’ll all be glad to hear another tale tomorrow.”