Two years later, we were still living in Edoras. It was really quite nice there. There had been a new addition to the family, a baby girl named Ivy. Note to all older siblings out there: NEVER volunteer to babysit your four younger siblings and your cousin for an unknown amount of time with only your brother and other cousin to help you. Thank the valar the baby slept most of the time and Colin and Rose were quiet. Oen and Nera were the problems. They ran around like crazy, and would not sit down when I told them to, so we had to get Rian to come in and yell at them. He's pretty frightening when he yells.
Then later that day, everything changed. A boy came in on a horse, asking for help. Our parents were away on a trip, so we went out to see what the matter was, and took Ivy, who had just woken up, with us."Dale has been attacked!" he cried, "we need help." "I'm sorry, but we can't really do anything for you. If you want, you could try to see the king, but he hasn't been doing well lately." I told him. "What's your name?" Rian asked. "Bain," the boy replied, "and yours?" "Rian and Eolina," Rian replied. "Goodbye," the boy, Bain, said as he rode up towards the top of the hill, "Thank you."
Later in the afternoon, we left Colin in charge and went with everyone to hear the king speak on the matter of Dale's being attacked. "If orcs are starting to organize and attack, we cannot risk sending our men away. But we will begin to train the young men of the city, in case we are attacked or have no choice but to go to war. In the morning, all men up to 30 summers and boys sixteen summers and older will gather in the fields outside the city. Some of the guard will teach you."
The next morning Rian was assigned to the third group, and I went with him. "Welcome, boys, to what will be one of the hardest things you'll ever do. Today we will be - girl, what are you doing here?" he said, noticing me in the back. "I, well, I had hoped to improve my abilities. My parents and aunt and uncle away on a trip, and I want to be able to protect my family if we are attacked before they return." "Haven't you any brothers?" another guard asked. "Yes, my twin and one younger, but the younger can't handle a weapon worth anything, and my twin, I'm sorry to say, isn't much better than I." The guards walked away for a moment, and when they returned, they said, "We have decided that you can remain. You make a good argument. But, if anyone should come down from the hall, you must leave or say you were bringing water or something." I quickly agreed.
It took them half an hour to just hand out the dulled swords and teach us how to use them without killing ourselves. Most of the boys had never used anything more than an axe or kitchen knife. Rian and I had used weapons before, when we traveled from Bree, so we helped out a bit. Then we just messed around while the other boys tried not to lose a limb.
Once everything had been handed out and instructions given, they paired the boys off and had them begin. I practiced with one of the guards because of the odd number. When I knocked his sword out of his hand in the first spar, he was quite surprised. I don't think he was expecting a girl to be able to beat him. Rian also won his first spar, against Haleth from down the street. An impressive feat, as Haleth's father is captain of the guard, and he has been learning since he was small. There were 9 more spars, I won 4 of them. I finally got him to stop going easy after the third one, when I (cough, cough) accidentally hit him on the arm. My dress had a large tear at the bottom by the time we were done, and I had bruises all over.