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About Éowyn Daughter of Eomund

Éowyn, a shieldmaiden of Rohan and niece to King Theoden, has never been a typical princess. She is the granddaughter of Thengel (sixteenth king of Rohan) and daughter of Eomund, Marshal of the Mark and husband of Théodwyn, youngest sister of Théoden.

Unfortunately, both parents were slain in her childhood, her father during a battle with Orcs in the Emyn Muil and her mother from sickness. Théoden loved his sister dearly and raised both her and her brother Éomer as he did his only son, Théodred. It was around this time that Gríma Wormtongue came to Rohan to serve as counsellor to the King and spy for Sarumen. Soon Éowyn was forced to watch in dread Théoden's decline into seeming insanity and disgrace, separated from her brother, and endured Wormtongue's undesirable presence and interest.

She grew increasingly depressed, impatient, and troubled, until the arrival of Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, and the subsequent healing of Wormtongue's poison in her uncle. The onset of war excited Éowyn, who wished to earn reknown and fame and valor; she also fell in love with Aragorn. But she was tasked with leading her people to safety, and when Aragorn refused to let her ride with him to Dunharrow through the Paths of the Dead, she disguised herself as Dernhelm, a male soldier, and rode with Théoden's host to the Pelennor fields. With her was Merry, who had also been "freed" from his service to Théoden, but wished to ride in the battle.

During the battle, Théoden was pitted against the Lord of the Nazgul, and he fell as his horse, Snowmane, went wild with terror. The men around him had died or their horses, terrified, had carried them away; save for Eowyn, who stood and challenged the Witch-king.

Then out of the blackness of in [Merry's] mind he thought that he heard Dernhelm speaking; yet now the voice seemed strange, recalling some other voice that he had known.

"Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!"

A cold voice answered: "Come not between the Nazgul and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left nakes to the Lidless Eye."

A sword rang as it was drawn. "Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may."

"Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!"

Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn am I, Éomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him."

The winged creature screamed at her, but the Ringwraith made no answer, and was silent, as if in sudden doubt. Very amazement for a moment conquered Merry's fear. He opened his eyes and the blackness was lifted from them. There some paces from him sat the great beast, and all seemed dark about it, and above it loomed the Nazgul Lord like a shadow of despair. A little to the left facing them stood she whom he had called Dernhelm. But the helm of her secrecy had fallen from her, and her bright hair, released from its bonds, gleamed with pale gold upon her shoulders. Her eyes grey as the sea were hard and fell, and yet tears were on her cheek. A sword was in her hand, and she raised her shield against the horror of her enemy's eyes.

And so, with Merry, she defeated the Lord of the Nazgul: she killed his winged mount, Merry stabbed him from behind with his sword from the Barrow-downs, and she thrust her sword into his face.

Unfortunately, her arm was broken when the mace of the Witch-king fell on her, and she sunk under the Black Breath of the Nazgul. Thought dead but recognized to still be alive by Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth, she was brought into the Houses of Healing, where Agagorn healed her with athelas. Though healed of her bodily hurt, she mind and emotions was still imprisoned and in need of healing.


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