All the characters and places featured in this story belong to Tolkien. Helm’s daughter was previously unnamed, so I christened her myself. 😉

Old English Vocab.

Helm’s Children

The still calmness of the warm summer night was a stark contrast to Princess Braenna’s troubled spirit. She had been sitting pressed up against Meduseld’s heavy timber walls ever since the sun fell, thinking about what they had said.

“Old Freca is a wily one, and sure to want some favor from Helm,” the first gossip had speculated.

“After all he hasn’t been to the King’s Gemot in years,” added the second gossiper.

“I am willing to bet that he wants and alliance between the princess and one of his men, or maybe with Freca himself. After all such a marriage would bring him closer to the kingship and at the same time give him temporary alliance with Helm.”

The second gossiper’s incredulous reply had faded down the corridor leaving Braenna struck at the thought. She could not even remember who they were anymore; her heart had been stunned, her brain frozen.

Freca had long been a thorn in father, King Helm’s side. He was a wealthy and powerful warlord, who owned his own fortress beside the Adorn River, not far from the Gap of Rohan. He had never paid much heed the king and had managed his own affairs independently until now…

I’m only fourteen, just a child! Braenna’s heart cried out.
It’s just a rumor… Said another voice inside her.
What if my father should deem it best to accept?
It’s just a rumor, just a whisper…
I cannot leave my home, I am too young!
Just a whisper…
What if it is best for Rohan?
Just a whisper…

She shivered suddenly as she felt a hot breathe on the back of her neck. She turned suddenly and stared into a pair of deep gray eyes that mirrored her own.

“Háma what are you doing out so late?” She snapped at her younger brother, irritated that her solstice had been broken.
Háma grinned at her impishly, “Same as you of course. Come to see fat old Freca and his group of goblin men descend on sleepy Edoras.” He went round the corner and pointed to a small patch of yellow light in the west moving slowly towards them.

“What?” Braenna breathed, rising swiftly and joining Háma. “So soon? The gemot is not for three days.”

“You didn’t notice sister?” Háma teased. “The guards have been watching them for the last hour at lease. They say Freca wishes to gain advantage over the king by catching him in bed asleep, so as to make him suffer an indignity. They also say… they also say that he will make good his claim on the kingship, on his claim to be descendant from old King Fréawine.”

Braenna’s heart seemed to beat louder. “Perhaps,” she aid more calmly that she felt.

Now both became silent, watching the torch lit procession come closer, looking for all the world like a small innocent group of fireflies.


The oasis of flickering light shimmered and danced ominously on the faces of the men riding briskly through the darkness. Few of the company carried unscathed Rohirric blood, most were an odd mixture and sported strange irregularities not common among the Rohirrim. The flashing light of the torches did indeed make them look like Háma’s “goblin men.”

Amidst this group of half-breed warriors, rode a richly dressed and very fat man, Freca himself. Any of King Fréawine’s blood that he might carry had been cruelly mixed with that of the Dunelanders, as that of his men. Only his proud bearing and light blue eyes seemed to have escaped taint. His hair and beard were brown and unkempt as was the Dunelander’s custom. He was powerfully built, yet of great girth from living a soft life for too long. For Freca was a shrewd man who could rightly claim position as the second most powerful man in Rohan, and mostly by his own making.

Beside him rode his young son, Wulf, who shared his father’s shrewd glance and powerful build, though he was still lean and strong. The precious stream of horsemaster blood seemed to have trickled to a halt before it reached Wulf at all. His stance was neither proud nor noble but rather like a hunter stalking his prey. His eyes were cunning, but not blue and his complexion was not fair.

Both father and son had their gaze fixed upon Edoras’s gate as it drew ever closer. The elder turned and chuckled wheezily,

“Ah the sleepy sentries will have seen us and we will have caught Helm asleep. He will be struggling to appear kingly so soon after being woken. Whether on or off a battle field it is best to do the unexpected and surprise the enemy.”

As Freca’s party pounded their way up the quiet street up to the golden hall, the king and his household silently gathered on the stone platform before the hall’s great double doors.

King Helm, as wide awake as if it were midday, stationed himself in the center and raising his hand said loudly, “Let the torches be lit!”

Suddenly the air burst into a golden orb of light, glinting off of Helm dressed in full battle amour and staining his iron gray hair and beard with streaks of gold. As he stepped down toward Freca’s halted party he smiled a cold and ruthless smile, but it was also impish just as his son Háma’s had been.

“Meduseld never sleeps, Freca, nor does its master. You have forgotten much since last you walked here.”

As her father spoke, princess Braenna, who was stationed next to him and her two brothers, stared searchingly down at the infamous visitors. Freca was fat and soft but dangerous, she could tell from his eyes. The young man next to him was obviously his son Wulf, by the two men’s similarities. As she looked down at him, he suddenly glanced up and their eyes met. His expression was arrogant, mocking, almost approving as he looked her up and down.

Braenna felt her spine chill at what seemed to confirm her fears. He is the one! She shuddered and looked away.

She suddenly remembered what her grandfather had said long ago, “You can always tell a true man of Rohan by the way he handles his eoh. An eoh is not a mere dumb brute to pushed and pulled this way and that, but a living, breathing, moving creature to be held lightly and kindly. A true Rohirrim also knows that it is never wise to restrain the bewerian.”

She glanced down again to where Freca and Wulf sat. Both were holding their horses tightly, jerking and pulling to keep the nervous animals still. Braenna shuddered again.


This is my first fanfic, so any comments/feedback would be very much appreciated. More chapters are planned. I hope you enjoyed it!

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