Title: Stay Behind
Summary: Éowyn does not appreciate being told to stay behind yet again.
Word Count: 360
“Wait,” Éowyn ground out from between clenched teeth as she stormed through Meduseld.
“Watch over things here,” she mimicked as she slammed the door to her rooms.
“Stay behind,” she fumed. “Again.” She paced the floor, gesturing angrily with her hands. “Am I not the daughter, niece, sister of warriors? Does the same warrior blood not run in my veins? I was not born to sit at home and play nursemaid,” she exclaimed. “I am a shieldmaiden of Rohan!” Éowyn came to a sudden stop. “I am a shieldmaiden of Rohan,” she repeated softly, her eyes widening as an idea took hold. She sank onto her bed, her mind whirling. “I am a shieldmaiden of Rohan,” she said firmly. “So perhaps it is time that I behaved as one.”
In the end, it turned out to be easier than she anticipated. The bustle of preparations for the Riders’ departure gave her the chance to gather the last pieces she needed for the armor she’d secreted away over the last years as well as making sure that Windfola’s tack was ready.
On the morning of departure, she exchanged private goodbyes with Théoden and Éomer and then gave the customary blessing and sending to the gathered troops. As they dispersed to mount and organize their ranks, she hurried to her rooms to change into “Dernhelm”.
She was in the stable checking the girth strap one more time when she heard the distinctive voice of Theoden’s new squire. He seemed to be arguing with someone, and as she listened she realized that it was her uncle. It seemed that the little Halfling had no more taste for being left behind than she did, but was receiving the same reply - stay here and wait. She shook her head in sympathy.
She led Windfola out, mounted and spied Meriodoc was standing to the side, frustration written clearly on his face. Suddenly the order was given and the Riders headed out. At the end of the file, Eowyn wasn’t even conscious of making a decision until her hand closed around Merry’s shoulder and lifted him up behind her.
“No waiting behind,” she promised for both of them.