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Marigold's Tale Challenge 37 - Among The Rohirrim by Gryffinjack

Feb. 4th, 2007

10:12 am - Among The Rohirrim by Gryffinjack

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On the way to the Muster at Dunharrow, Merry finds he is not the only one who can't sleep...



CHALLENGE 37 – AMONG THE ROHIRRIM

Theme: write a story that involves any character or characters learning about a different culture that begins with an assigned starter sentence.
Starter sentence: ____ opened his eyes with difficulty, his head spinning.

Thanks to Dreamflower for betaing this vignette and for her kind words.
Additional beta by Marigold and Llinos.

Dedicated to Barbaro, who lost his courageous race earlier this week, but gained many friends along the way.



Merry opened his eyes with difficulty, his head spinning. After Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli had departed with the Rangers toward the Dike yesterday, Merry had ridden down the Coomb many long hours beside Théoden on their steady march through long dales and across many streams toward Harrowdale. It seemed like mere minutes had passed instead of hours since Merry had gone to his rest last night. He knew he needed more sleep, but he was too unsettled. He longed to see Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf and Sam again. And he tried *not* to think about Pippin or Frodo, for fear that the ache would be too great.

Instead, Merry allowed his eyes to adjust to the dim grey light before dawn. He exhaled softly, watching as the mist from his breath disappeared into the chill air. He had become used to their small Fellowship and had yet to accustom himself to the quiet noises of the crowded war host. All around him, he heard the coughs of the Men in their sleep and the soft whinnying of their horses.

Knowing that all further attempts at sleep this night would prove futile, Merry flung his grey cloak about his shoulders as he left his bedroll and went to check on his shaggy grey pony, Stybba.

“There you are, lad,” he said, stroking the white blaze on Stybba’s forehead. “It looks like we are the smallest in this company.”

Stybba nickered and shook his head to express his quiet assent. It was reassuring to have someone who was relatively his own size to talk to again.

“Well, we may be the smallest, but we will stand as tall as any of them, no matter what may come in this strange land. I am troubled by Aragorn’s gloomy words when we parted.” Merry leant against Stybba’s shoulder, glad of his warmth. “What I would not give for Frodo’s guidance or Pippin’s unquenchable cheer just now.”

Merry continued his discussion with Stybba as the dark of night gradually thinned. The Men would be moving soon, he supposed, and so he turned to go back and see if he could be of any service to Théoden. However, he had barely left Stybba’s side when he saw his king leaning against his own great white mount, Snowmane.

“My lord,” Merry said as he approached his king. “I did not know you had risen.”

Théoden smiled kindly at him. “Do not apologise, Master Meriadoc. The darkness before us grows, though day approaches. I found my sleep restless and thought to look upon Snowmane. We Rohirrim find our horses to be of great comfort to us in times of trouble. Did you know that in Rohan, it is the horse that chooses his rider, not the other way around? It is important for horse and rider to have a strong bond between them.”

Merry listened intently to every word Théoden spoke, absently reaching out and gently petting Snowmane. He was still surprised that it was as easy to speak with his new king as it was to his own father.

“In Buckland, that is, where I come from, we are equally as attached to our ponies, though I do not suppose any are as fine as Stybba. We value our ponies as our friends.”

Théoden nodded. “It does not take the light of day to see that, Master Meriadoc. You may have been born a Hobbit, but you were also born to become one of the Rohirrim. Apparently, there is more in common between our two races than some of our words.”

Merry’s eyes widened.

“I have noticed your reaction to some of our speech. It is as if some of it is distantly familiar to you.”

“Yes, my lord. It has been some measure of comfort on this journey towards Harrowdale to hear words not foreign to my tongue,” said Merry.

“Come,” said Théoden, wrapping an arm around Merry in a manner that reminded Merry of his own father. “You shall ride by my side today and tell me more of your land, where ponies are valued as much as they are here in Rohan.”

Merry grinned up at Théoden.

“I would like that very much, my lord.”

Comments:

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From:shirebound
Date:February 4th, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC)
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It's lovely to read more about the close bond between Merry and Theoden.
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From:gryffinjack
Date:February 5th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
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They do have a wonderful relationship and, yes, I, too, wish authors explored it more.
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From:slightlytookish
Date:February 4th, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
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What a lovely glimpse into Merry and Theoden's relationship - one of my favorites from the book. I love how welcoming Theoden is, especially since Merry is feeling so lonely. I especially liked this bit:

You may have been born a Hobbit, but you were also born to become one of the Rohirrim. Apparently, there is more in common between our two races than some of our words
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From:gryffinjack
Date:February 5th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
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Theoden was wonderful king and more than that, a wonderful person. He has a warm spot in my heart for making Merry feel so welcome, and part of the family. It seemed meant to be that Merry would join the Rohirrim.
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From:pearltook1
Date:February 4th, 2007 09:41 pm (UTC)
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A wonderful tribute to Barbaro! This is a soothing story to come from such a troubled time in the books. Well Done, Gryffinjack!
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From:gryffinjack
Date:February 5th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! Barbaro was a fine horse with a lot of heart, and we were very saddened by his loss.
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From:grey_wonderer
Date:February 4th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
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I love the way Merry talks to his pony. This was a lovely moment between Theoden and Merry and I enjoyed it very much!
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From:gryffinjack
Date:February 5th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! I imagine Merry as having been very close to ponies ever since he was a child, and I do think he would regard them as friends. It's no wonder he fit right in with the Rohirrim.
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From:pippinfan1
Date:February 5th, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)
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Apparently, there is more in common between our two races than some of our words.”

You know, I've thought that, too, for quite a while now, and it would be nice if ever you decided to expound upon it! This was a lovely moment between Theoden King and Merry.

PF
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From:gryffinjack
Date:February 5th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you liked it! I enjoyed writing this very much and perhaps I will write more about Merry and Theoden's relationship later on.
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From:dreamflower02
Date:February 5th, 2007 02:30 am (UTC)
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You know I love this! It's just as lovely on re-reading! You have a lot of insight into Merry.
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From:gryffinjack
Date:February 5th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
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Well, you know how thrilled I am that you love it and approve of my Merry! I am rather fond of the little Sprout, and really enjoyed writing this little vignette.

I still owe you some e-mails, and I promise I will reply to them.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 5th, 2007 09:56 am (UTC)

From Elemmírë

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Hobbits and horses, two of my most favorite things. It doesn't get much better than this! *sighs happily*

~Elemmírë~
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From:gryffinjack
Date:February 5th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)

Re: From Elemmírë

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Hobbits and horses are indeed wonderful. I'm glad I made you happy!
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From:gamgeefest
Date:February 5th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
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What a lovely little bonding moment! I too greatly enjoy Theoden and Merry's relationship from the book. It struck me how quickly Merry likened the king to his own father. It must have been a great comfort to Merry when he felt so alone and abandoned by the rest of the Fellowship.
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From:gryffinjack
Date:February 6th, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC)
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It always struck me, too, as amazing how quickly Merry thought of Theoden like his father. It shows just how special Theoden must have been. Yes, I'm sure it was a huge comfort to poor Merry, alone and abandoned by the rest of the Fellowship. Thank goodness he had Theoden.
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From:garnet_took
Date:February 6th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
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This is so sweet. I love it.

Theoden and Merry developed such a close relationship very quickly and you reflect this nicely.

I especially liked Merry's little talk with Stybba.
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From:telperion1
Date:February 7th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
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Oh, I like this. Merry seems to see Theoden as a father-like figure, and it's good to see how that relationship might have developed.
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From:danachan
Date:February 7th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
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Eeeee, Merry and Theoden. *happy sigh* I must say, I love your Merry here - and I love this glimpse at the relationship between the two of them. Was beautiful, it was.
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From:ceshaughnessy
Date:February 10th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
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It's wonderful to see a glimpse into the relationship between Merry and Theoden - thank you for a delightful story!
Cathleen