Éowyn and Faramir: Meeting to Betrothal

Day One: Angry

The first time she met him, she felt anger. Not the vicious, throbbing rage that had sometimes settled into her pulse when Gríma lurked, a malevolent shadow from which she could never part; her mind was now too focused on what she needed to do. And he wouldn't let her do it.

With eerily similar desperate eloquence of speech by which the Red Arrow had been presented to her uncle Théoden, he'd granted her, a foreigner, friend to illness, and abandoned by kin, privileges of the City.

But not the battlefield.

Éowyn seethed, politely.

Day One: Dutiful

The first time he met Éowyn, he was astonished by her beauty. Though still crippled by his injuries, he felt stronger simply by seeing her, despite the stoniness in her grey eyes. She was obviously very displeased.

'Shadow lies on me still,' she'd said. She then scattered a few pretty sentences, like pearls before swine, as she left.

She'd wanted freedom, and it was not within his power to grant it.

His knuckles turned white, grasping at the stone walls of Minas Tirith as he stared at Mordor. Mordor was his keeper, his ruler, and oddly enough, his guide.

Nightmare was the only word that came to Faramir's mind as he massaged his chest.

Day Two: Acquiescence

Éowyn stood, staring down on the field where she should have perished. Others now lay dying, and she, like a wounded bird in a gilded cage, could only watch, helpless.

She cursed fate.

"Lady Éowyn?" fate replied in the gently commanding voice of Steward Faramir.

He was still her sole hope to be able to descend from these heights, to take up her arms again; to be set free.

"I am here," she answered.

Day Two: Approach
Dedicated to Altariel for her birthday

Faramir paced his room, the walls, the courtyards. Despite his many footfalls, restfulness remained ever ahead of him; tragedy lurked behind in his dim shadow. His feet took him to the Houses' kitchen, where, unsurprisingly, he found Meriadoc.

"Steward!" the hobbit exclaimed, scooting back from the table.

"No, no, please be as you were." Faramir sat down across the board. He felt an unlooked-for kinship with the halfling, his wounds shackling him to the stone walls of Minas Tirith as he himself was bound. Despite Meriadoc's stature, Faramir knew a devoted solider when he saw one, and ached at their doubled impotence. Better to think of something else, even if only for a while.

"You know the White Lady of Rohan."

The hobbit swallowed and dabbed at his mouth, vying for time before he answered.

"I knew Dernhelm, my lord. But I would be privileged to tell you of him."

Day Three: Transition

Merry and Éowyn sat in comfortable silence. Éowyn's eyes were shut, and despite her sling, she managed to braid some long stalks of grass, inhaling the now-familiar pungent scent of Merry's tobacco. While their friendship had initially been founded on well-meaning mistruths, Merry seemed at last to have accepted the change from Dernhelm to Éowyn. What had needed to be said between the two of them had been spoken; they were now mostly beyond words. She sensed a sudden, subtle shift in his manner and her eyes flew open as she turned to look at the door to the gardens.

The Steward. Again.

Merry made as though to leave.

"Are you tired of my company?" she asked, vexed at the impending abrupt change in companions.

A guilty look crossed the hobbit's face as he stood. "No, just feeling a bit peckish."

Éowyn conjured a convincing scowl. "You're always peckish. Stay?" she pleaded.

Merry shook his head. "I'll be back in a little while."

Éowyn followed his path down the short walk. As Merry and the Steward exchanged muted words, she appraised the Man. His face was stern, but not unpleasant to look at. He carried himself as a soldier, though he was slighter than most of the folk of Rohan.

Moments later he approached her, and Éowyn could see the questions burning turbulently behind his calm gaze.

This silence was not so restful.

Day Three: Fraternity

Faramir tried to bring a gleam to Éowyn's eye by addressing the differences in tack between horses of Gondor and Rohan. After a stifling polite and brief discussion, he recognized his futility. Silence enshrouded them, a well-worn garment that he was tired of wearing.

He had led her to a lower level of the City where quiet brooded in windows abandoned by their inhabitants. Faramir was thoughtful by nature – perhaps to a fault – but now, near the end of all things, he wished almost to jabber away. Though, of course, he did not.

The inside of his cheek knew that price well.

Éowyn stood straight, birch-like, eyeing an archway before them. With her good arm she fingered a talisman, soldered to a chain.

"Have you kin?" The words escaped his lips, triumphant on the air.

She turned and examined him, the resolute granite eyes keeping her secrets.

"A brother," she said simply, though Faramir sensed the world of regret behind it. "And you, my lord?"

"A brother," he echoed as they sat on a nearby broken bench. "I did have."

"Older?" She twisted at the bit of gold at her neck.

"He was."

She nodded. "Did he die in battle? For that's worthy of pride indeed."

Faramir bit at his tongue before seeing a telltale blush of shame creep at her throat.

"Forgive me, Steward." Éowyn stared at her feet. "I know neither you nor your kind well. I must seem like an untamed, brutish creature."

Through his heart's pain of recollecting Boromir and the shock at her frankness, Faramir gently placed a hand on her knee. "He did, though to this day I wish it were I who had gone in his stead."

Éowyn turned and stared. Faramir saw the shock of recognition unhinge her shuttered composure. "For love of brother, uncle and leige, I lied, I feigned manhood, and I deserted my kingdom," she said harshly. "Who kept you caged?"

Faramir debated a diplomatic answer before his teeth ground on the bitter truth. "My father, whose hope was never set on me."

"One more shadow we share, then." A wry, melancholy smile tendered across Éowyn's lips. "We stand ever behind our brothers."

He could think of no reply.

to be continued

Back to Tolkien Fanfiction