To The Halls of Mandos

Chapter 9

"Il-ya! Il-ya!"

A young girl of eight winters stood, her arms full of flowers. She smiled as she waved at the man and woman walking towards her. "Mother! Father! I am here!"

The man and his wife smiled, walking hand in hand to Il-ya, who was laying the flowers at a mound. Simblemynes bloomed around the mound, filling the family's lungs with fragrance. The girl kneeled again, touching mound, her head bowed in prayer. The man and woman watched as the girl prayed, and when she was finished, she stood and walked towards her parents. The man took her hand, and gazed at the mound lovingly.

"It's been eighteen years since that war, Folcwine." The woman said as she gazed at her husband. "You have grown strong, and have become one of the greatest Rohirrim to Eomer King. Do you owe this woman so much that you named your daughter after her?"

"My dear, I would have ceased to exist if it weren't for her." Folcwine said. He has reached his twenty eighth year, his hair long and brown, and his face strong and sure. His sickly demeanor has faded in his youth, and he is a strong and powerful as any Rohirrim. He smiled down at his wife, "You would not have married such a man, nor have children as beautiful if she had not prevented me from going to war. I owe her my life."

"And my life too, is that right, Father?" The young girl said as she pulled his hand.

Folcwine smiled down at his daughter, "Yes, Il-ya... your life too." He breathed in deep, and looked around at the other mounds near Il-ya and Haldir's graves... graves of other fallen soldiers, both Men and Elves, during the war at Helm's Deep. "We all owe them our existence. They gave their lives for this... our freedom and our time of peace. Their lives is the price they paid for our freedom. Such sacrifice must never, ever be forgotten."

The woman smiled and kissed his cheek, "And so it shall be."

Folcwine and his wife bowed their heads in prayer, while little Il-ya waited. Soon they raised their heads, and Folcwine sighed, "We must return home soon. Eomer King has tasked us to hunt for our people, and I promised Haldir that I would teach him how to throw a spear. My son will be a great soldier, as was the Elf I named him after, so I've heard."

His wife smiled, "Very well. Let us head home, Folcwine."

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