Part 19 – A Brother’s Lot
The day grew into early evening. Light from the dying sun’s rays were shining their last light on the tall mountain tops around the fortress of Helm’s Deep. The first flickers of the stars above shown their beauty down on Rohan. No soldiers, guards, or citizens of Rohan looked up at the glimmering stars as continual business prevented them from raising their heads towards the heavens.
Theomin was not occupied by such business as those around him. He stood upon the deeping wall, looking up at the sparkling stars. His mind was not occupied with such trivial thoughts of daily business. His mind was busy with the thought of Keymel. Though his heart had not the burden it did earlier that day, his heart felt an emptiness only Keymel filled. His memory rose to the stars above in peace and in love.
He had not thought of his journey for much too long. His mind was only occupied with the thoughts of the little girl and her family. Earlier that day, the whole family had thanked him deeply for what he had done for them. The little girl, still afraid of Theomin, clung to her mother’s leg. All her father could do was take Theomin in his arms. He just held him there, holding him tightly. They did nothing. They gave nothing. They had nothing to give but their gratitude and that was enough for Theomin.
Later, after the family said their goodbyes and the sun had already set behind the western horizon, Theomin felt exhausted but had to eat. He headed to the dining area and there he sat. Alone. He looked around, thinking of Keymel and how things changed for him. He knew his mind would be occupied a long while with the thought of Keymel and how he sacrificed himself for the good of the group.
After Theomin filled himself with bread, chicken, and water, he quietly strolled down the busy way of the Hornburg. Everything there reminded him of what had happened. The joy yet the despair that he lived though in the past two days. He could not feel regret because, as Eomir said, great good came from Keymel’s sacrifice. He had to look ahead. He had to concentrate on his journey to Eriador.
Theomin headed up to the beds he slept in two nights past. It was a long journey up the stairs as he was too sore to move quickly. His muscles ached from the long night he had the night before. His bones creaked and cracked as he slowly climbed the stairs up to the sleeping area.
As he reached the sleeping area, he saw Kemel sitting still, looking at the floor. His face was empty of all emotion. He just stared at the floor. Doing nothing. Theomin approached the man who had just lost his brother.
As Theomin approached Kemel, Kemel looked up. “I did not see you there.”
“If you would like, I will leave.” Theomin said just stepping away.
“No stay, please.” Kemel looked back down at the floor. “I was just reminded about a promise Keymel and I kept.”
There was a slight pause. “You were to share an ale together.” Theomin nodded.
“I suppose he shared that with you for a reason.” Kemel gave a slight smile.
“When we approached Flodgeheld, he thought you had died. He talked about that promise you shared as brothers in arms, and as siblings. He saw that outpost of yours and only thought of you and the vengeance he wanted to bring to the enemy of Rohan.” Thomin looked down.
“There is irony in that. He thought I was dead yet it was he who died, not me. A part of me wishes it had been me.”
“Never say that, Kemel.” Theomin reprimanded him. “Your brother gave his life so you…so we all could live. Please, do not soil his sacrifice by wishing death upon yourself. Your brother deserves more than that.”
“Why are you here anyway? To lecture me about how I should be feeling about myself?” Kemel snapped at Theomin.
“You are a Rider of Rohan. A man of greatness. Making wishes like that is not who you are. Eomir would not have chosen such a…”
“…A what?” Kemel goaded on Theomin.
“Such a coward.” Theomin finally said, unsure of what Kemel could do to him.
Kemel stood up, he placed his hand on the hilt of his sword and readied himself. Others looked up at Kemel. He calmed himself though. He placed his face in his hands and started sobbing. “You are right, my friend. You are right.” Kemel admitted. “I am a coward. I ran from Flodgheld to avoid being killed. That is how they capture me. That is how I ended up in the orc camp. While the others fought bravely at the outpost I ran. I ran as hard as I could. I am no great warrior. I’m am just Kemel, the brother to the great Keymel.”
Theomin placed a hand on Kemel’s shoulder. “I do not know what else happened that night, but I can tell you, you are not a coward. If Eomir took you in as a Rider of Rohan, then you are every bit as great as your brother and you will prove that someday.”
Kemel sat for a few minutes. He looked as if his mind was processing everything Theomin had said. He then looked up at Theomin. “You still have not answered my question.”
Theomin looked puzzled down at Kemel. “I am sorry. I missed your question.”
“What are you doing here? I mean at Helm’s Deep, I mean. Are you a refugee?”
Theomin snapped back to what he was doing. He had not thought of his quest for some time. His journey. Remembering his journey felt like a fresh cup of cold water on a hot day. “I am traveling.” Thoemin finally answered.
“I am traveling to Eriador.”
“Eriador? Why would you want to travel there?”
“I am almost certain that is where I am from. I was adopted by a Rohan family long ago and they kept that adoption a secret until recently. All signs I have found point to somewhere in Eriador. That is all I know. I really wish I knew more.”
Kemel looked down at the floor again. “I am sure you know this but I will tell you. You will be traveling through Dunland, our sworn enemy. You are okay with this?” Kemel asked, unsure.
“Believe me, if there was any other way I would take that way.” Theomin shook his head, “There just is not any other way.”
“Do you believe they will allow you to pass though their lands untouched?”
“I do not know what to expect. My only thought is to my quest north. That is all.”
Kemel stood up and patted Theomin on the shoulder. “Then I wish you luck. You are a great man and if your family is from Eriador, then Rohan has lost a great man.”
Theomin raised a smile toward Kemel. “Thank you, Kemel.”
“Now if you will excuse me, my stomach is telling me to eat. The orc food is only good if you are an orc.” He smirked. “I believe this is where we shall part.”
Theomin grabbed Kemel’s arm and they exchanged glances. “It was a pleasure, Kemel.”
“Theomin,” Kemel said, “my life is saved and it is because of you. The pleasure only mine. Go now with the banner of Rohan’s friendship to Eriador. Go and find your family.”
Theomin found a good place to lay down. He laid his head on a pillow and looked toward the ceiling. His thoughts, instead of drifting toward Keymel and that terrible night, looked forward to his journey north. He thought of the Lady of the Elthengles and how she sacrificed everything for him. He thought of the night at the Gondorian Tower and the map he held. His last thoughts that night, was for his mother. He wished her a good night, and hoped her nothing but joy while they were parted.