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Chapter 3 : Edoras
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Arlena came to just as the Rohirrim were dismounting in the stables. Blinking furiously, she tried to regain her focus and once her vision cleared, she found herself staring at Théodred.
"Ah, it is good to see you're awake," he said as he guided his horse to its proper stall.
"I've never fainted before in my entire life," she said, her voice trailing off. She jumped slightly in the saddle when she felt someone squeeze her left side and turned just in time to watch Éomer dismount. So that's who she had been riding with.
"Let me help you down," he said, waiting for her consent.
She stared at him, weighing her options. She could be defiant and get down on her own, which would show him that she's not a helpless female. However, considering she had just fainted she was much more weaker than she would usually be. The bigger issue, however, was that she had never dismounted a horse whilst wearing a dress.
"Thank you," she said, giving her consent.
He approached her and Arlena placed her hands on his shoulders as he placed his on her waist. Effortlessly, he picked her up and set her on the ground. She did not fail to notice his face scrunch up in pain.
"You're hurt," she stated plainly, taking note of the bloodied bandage wrapped around his upper left arm.
"It is nothing serious, it only pains me when I move my arm a certain way," he said, brushing her concern off.
Théodred made his way over towards the pair. They had just emerged out of the stables and were about to walk towards the hall, but Arlena stopped them.
"Please let me look at it. Where I come from I'm training to become a Healer, but I've had loads of experience treating wounds just like yours," she said, trying to persuade him into letting her help him.
"And how would you have so much experience treating such wounds if you're only a trainee?" Théodred asked, curious.
"It's really a long story, one I shall tell you sometime, but I shall give a brief explanation. War sometimes results in battle wounds," she said, rather vaguely.
Éomer looked from his cousin to Arlena, and with a nod gave her consent to examine his wound. Arlena carefully removed the bloodied bandage and examined the cut. It wasn't all that deep and appeared to have stopped bleeding long ago.
"It doesn't appear to be infected and seems to have stopped bleeding awhile ago. You could have changed the bandage though. You're lucky it didn't get infected. When did you get it?" she asked, going into her Healer mode.
"Three days ago, we were attacked by a small group of Wargs," he explained.
"I have absolutely no idea what Wargs are, but they sound unpleasant," Arlena said conversationally.
"They are indeed," Théodred muttered.
"Well, the cut isn't that deep and if you'd like, I can fully heal it. When I'm done, you wouldn't even know it had been there," she said.
The two men stared at her strangely.
"How is that possible? It would take a week or more for it to heal. It would be a miracle for something to heal so quickly," Éomer questioned.
"It would be magic, not a miracle," she stated, biting her lip. She wasn't sure how they would react and this made her extremely nervous.
"Magic?" Théodred exclaimed incredulously. Éomer remained silent and she didn't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
She nodded, "I fainted before I got the chance to tell you that I'm a witch."
"A witch?" Théodred uttered, his eyes narrowing.
"Where do you get your power from? Wizards here have magical staffs that they use. Yet I see nothing of that nature in your possession," Éomer said.
"Oh, my wand is hidden away in a pocket in my dress," she said carefully taking her wand out. She didn't want to alarm them into action and attack her.
"I swear to you I have no intention of harming anyone here. Like I said before, I'm training to be a Healer. I like to heal people, not destroy them," she said honestly.
She stared into Éomer's eyes, hoping he would see she was telling the truth. She didn't dare think about what they would do to her if they didn't believe her.
"I believe she speaks the truth, cousin," Éomer said.
"And I trust your judgement, Éomer," Théodred said. "Do not worry anymore, Arlena. We were never going to harm you."
She remained silent, wondering if that was really true.
"May I heal your arm, then?" she asked quietly.
"You may," Éomer said.
Hovering her wand over the cut, she quietly murmured a spell and the two men watched in awe as the wound closed up and then all together disappeared. Éomer, in disbelief, touched the spot where it once was and smiled.
"I feel no more pain. Thank you, Arlena," he said.
"Maybe you can help us. We believe that my father's mind is being poisoned by Saruman, a wizard whom we had led to believe was good," Théodred began to explain quietly.
"I know my father, and he is not himself. He has grown cruel and distant from me. He is also making outrageous decisions, like appointing Grima as one of his closest advisors," he continued, making it perfectly evident what he thought of Grima, whomever he was.
"Once you've seen Grima, you will understand. My uncle and him will spend hours together discussing who knows what, and I don't like it at all," Éomer said.
Arlena smiled sadly, "That's extremely dark magic. I'm sad to say, I will not be able to help him. Though I know how to defend myself physically from the dark arts, I'm completely lost when it comes to attacks on the mind. That is beyond my skill."
The two men looked at each other sadly. Arlena could tell they cared deeply for their King.
"In that case, I believe it would be wise if we keep your abilities a secret, with the exception of telling Éowyn, my sister. She will be glad to meet you, for there are few women to keep her company," Éomer said.
"Of course," Arlena agreed. She placed her wand back into her pocket, making a silent promise to herself not to use it unless it was an absolute emergency.
"Come, we shall introduce you to the King and get you settled," Théodred said and Arlena found no room to argue.
Arlena found Éowyn to be absolutely charming, albeit a little rough around the edges. She pegged it down to the fact that she is constantly surrounded by men and hasn't had a constant female companion around her. All Éowyn really needed is a friend, and Arlena is happy to fill in that role.
Arlena sat down on the bed and Éowyn joined her.
"Thank you so much for helping me get settled in. I would have been utterly lost if it weren't for you. Things are quite different here than from where I'm from," Arlena said.
"It is no trouble at all. But please continue telling me about your world. It sounds so wonderful," Éowyn said, her eyes lighting up in wonder.
"Well, I've already told you about Hogwarts, so I guess I'll tell you about my family," Arlena said.
A knock prevented Arlena from starting her story.
"Enter," she said, wondering who it could be.
Éomer walked in, inwardly glad to see Arlena and his sister getting along so well together.
"I came to check up on you to see how you're settling in before I retired for the night," he explained, closing the door.
"With the help of your sister, I have comfortably settled in. I was just going to tell Éowyn about my family, you're welcome to stay and listen if you'd like," Arlena said, knowing he was just as curious about her origins as Éowyn was.
"I think I shall," he said, settling down in one of the chairs.
"I'll start with my parents. My parents knew each other in school, and it wasn't until their sixth year of schooling did my father, Sirius, begin to court my mother, Elaine. They were very much in love and my father proposed to my mother in their seventh and final year of schooling," she began.
"They got married almost immediately after they graduated. A war was going on at the time, so it wasn't out of the ordinary for them to be married so soon. My uncle, Regulus, and my father never got along especially when it came to their beliefs. My uncle fought for the Dark, a group known as the Death Eaters, while my father fought for the Light," she continued.
"However, my uncle began to think differently but it was too late for him to turn to the light side. The Death Eaters killed my uncle and my aunt Elizabeth, whom he had secretly married, leaving my cousin Vera an orphan. My parents adopted her and took care of her," Arlena said quietly.
She could read Éowyn's emotions easily and could tell she was stunned. Éomer, on the other hand, was much more difficult to read.
"Vera was two when her parents died, and two years later my older sister Cora was born. Then, my father was framed for a crime he didn't commit and was thrown in jail," Arlena sighed.
She then continued on to explain how her mother was pregnant with her and her twin James, but Elaine never got the chance to tell Sirius since he was in Azkaban. For thirteen years, her father remained in jail, oblivious to their existence. He managed to escape, but since his name wasn't cleared, he had to remain in hiding. It wasn't until three years ago that her father became a truly free man.
"My mother is one of the strongest people I have ever met. She managed to take care of four children on her own, with the help of some close family friends," she said, ending her story there. She was exhausted and did not want to continue on explaining for much longer.
"There is more to tell, but I do not wish to tell you of such things yet," she then said after a moment of silence.
Éowyn got up from the bed, "I understand completely," she said. "But in the meantime, we should all get some sleep."
"Good night, Éowyn and Éomer," Arlena said.
Éomer, who had remained silent for most of the night, merely bowed his head in goodbye and wordlessly followed his sister out of the room. She stared at the door for awhile, wondering what his silence meant.
Arlena didn't understand Éomer one bit and it annoyed the hell out of her.
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