Home » Fiction

The Broken Ones (G) Print

Written by Nessa Lossëhelin

23 February 2013 | 13751 words | Work in Progress

Title: The Broken Ones
Author: Nessa Lossëhelin
Rating: G
Pairing(s): Faramir & Éowyn
This is the first chapter of many to come. I could read about Faramir and Eowyn forever,so I was disappointed that the relationship wasn't explored more fully in the movies or in the books. Of course none of the main characters belong to me and I am only

After Eowyn and Faramir are wounded in Pellenor Fields – the rest of the story is told. There are sequences and dialogue from the books to provide more depth and ground the remaining tales. There are two point of views: Faramir and Eowyn.

Chapter 1

The Battle of Pelennor Fields has concluded. A deep fog has set in the plains between the city of Minas Tirith and the Anduin. The air is heavy and damp; the fields are muddied with rain and blood. While survivors of one of perhaps the most epic battle of the third age pick through the remains, looking for survivors, Aragorn is busy in the House of Healing tending to the gravely wounded. He spends considerable time with his Steward, not knowing for how long the man has been asleep with his fever and infection. He moves on to others hoping to reach as many as he can in the little time he has remaining before he must confront Sauron at the Black Gate.

Sitting next to the barely breathing body of Lady Éowyn, Gandalf and Aragorn, now King Elessar, Elendil’s heir, spoke of her condition. “Here there is a grievous hurt and a heavy blow.” Aragorn looked over Éowyn’s arm and spoke to her brother, Éomer, and Gandalf. “The arm that was broken has been tended with due skill, and it will mend in time, if she has the strength to live. It is the shield-arm that is maimed; but the chief evil comes through the sword-arm. In that there now seems no life, although it is unbroken.”

“I fear that her spirit is broken,” replied Gandalf. “She faced an enemy in Gríma and protected King Théoden the best she could, and then faced the Witch-King of Angmar. She has defeated enemies that bested her in strength but not in spirit.”
Aragorn looked down, “I hold myself to blame for her condition. Few other griefs amid the ill chances of this world have more bitterness and shame for a man’s heart than to behold the love of a lady so fair and brave that cannot be returned. Sorrow and pity have followed me ever since I left her desperate in Dunharrow and rode to the Paths of the Dead; and no fear upon that way was so present as the fear for what might befall her. And yet, Éomer, I say to you that she loves you more truly than me; for you she loves and knows; but in me she loves only a shadow and a thought: a hope of glory and great deeds, and lands far from the fields of Rohan.”

Aragorn thought back to the time he spent with Éowyn of Rohan. She was very beautiful and very brave. Had he not promised himself to Lady Arwen it is entirely possible he would have asked Éowyn for her hand in marriage. She would have made a wonderful queen, and it is possible had events transpired that way she would not have sacrificed herself in battle. She would be walking proudly among the living. Helping him heal the wounded.

He stood up and leaned over Éowyn. “I have, maybe, the power to heal her body, and to recall her from the dark valley. But to what she will awake: hope, or forgetfulness, or despair, I do not know. And if to despair, then she will die, unless other healing comes which I cannot bring. Alas! For her deeds have set her among the queens of great renown.” He sighed, heavily. “Only a new love and affection can heal her heart.”

Then Aragorn stooped and looked in her face, and it was indeed white as a lily, cold as frost, and hard as graven stone. But he bent and kissed her on the brow, and called her softly, saying:

“Éowyn Éomund’s daughter, awake! For your enemy has passed away!” He repeated this softly to her has he caressed her brow, and while Éomer caressed her right palm.
After a brief moment, her very slow and silent breathing became heavier and returned to a normal pace. She still did not wake, but it did appear that now she was simply sleeping and not dead. Aragorn felt defeated. He was doing everything he could to bring her back but she was stubborn and she was deliberately resisting his efforts to heal her.

Éomer sat by her bedside and sobbed. He held Éowyn’s hand and smoothed her hair as Gandalf and Aragorn walked slowly down the hallway to speak with the Warden of the Houses of Healing. Éomer began telling her of the tales of Rohan they grew up with and loved. He talked about their parents and their Uncle, as well as their cousin Théodred. He kept talking to her and stroking her hair and her palm until he fell asleep in his chair with his head upon her bed.

Another visitor appeared and watched silently for a few moments as Éomer slept near his beloved sister. It was Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth. He had discovered Éowyn’s body on the Pellenor Field and brought her to the Houses of Healing. He was unsure of her condition, but had heard that she was the warrior who slew the Witch-King and wanted to ensure she could be saved. He departed, sadly shaking his head, praying that she will make it through this Darkness. Her condition reminded him of one he loved: his nephew Faramir. Both suffered greatly, more so than any one person should have to suffer in such a short lifetime. To himself, he said softly, “they are the broken ones.”

The next morning, Aragorn returned and once more to Éowyn. He crushed two leaves of athelas and cast them into steaming water; and he brushed her brow with it while her right arm still lied cold and nerveless on the coverlet. He and Éomer sat by her side for several hours. “Call to her, Éomer. She loves you purely and will respond to your earnest request to come back to the land of the living.”

“Awake, Éowyn, Lady of Rohan!” said Aragorn again sternly, and he took her right hand in his and felt it warm with life returning. “Awake!” he commanded her. “The shadow is gone and all darkness is washed clean!’ Then he laid her hand in Éomer’s and stepped away. ‘Call her!’ he said, and he passed silently from the chamber.

‘Éowyn, Éowyn!’ cried Éomer amid his tears. But she opened her eyes and said: ‘Éomer! What joy is this? … for they said that you were slain…” After some time, and much effort, she continued to speak softly but closed her eyes and turned her head away, “Nay, but that was only the dark voices in my dream.” She had dreamt it. She had thought her brother had been slain – perhaps that is why she resisted returning to the living. The darkness played tricks on her mind while she slept. Turning back to him, she asked, “How long have I been dreaming?”

“Not long, my sister,” said Éomer. “But think no more on it!” He was happy and the joy brought color back to his face as he smiled at her.

“I’m afraid that I have no hope and only fear of the dark days ahead,” replied Éowyn. Then she looked away from her brother, closed her eyes, and willed to go back to sleep for the one she loved was not with her.

The day after Aragorn set the bone in my shattered elbow and arm, I awoke in a private room in the Houses of Healing with a sling fitted snuggly to my upper body. The arm still hurt, but it felt secured and I was confident that I could sit upright without moving it or making it hurt even more. On the count of ‘three,’ I swung my legs over the edge of the bed as I grunted and sat up straight. I noticed that I was in new bedclothes: a clean white linen chemise and a cotton shawl tied around my shoulders. It was chilly and the fire was low in the hearth. I found slippers exactly where my feet fell to the floor. I slipped them on and walked to the hearth to stoke the fire and place a couple of logs onto it to heat the room a little more. I then walked to the window where the breeze was blowing in from the west. From the west. I sighed. I desire for my window to look to the east.
A handmaiden gently rapped on the door and came in without any response from me. I glanced in her direction. I think she was surprised that I was awake. Honestly I was surprised I was awake. A day ago I wished I were dead. I did not have a glorious death in battle like so many of my kin from Rohan or like my King, Théoden. I wished that rather than be injured both in heart and body that I would have perished on the battle field and neither had to face Aragorn, the object of my affections denied, or live with a maimed arm and elbow. My arm was feeling better and more secured, so perhaps I would only live with a maimed heart. Ah, there is nothing worse than a broken heart or love unrequited – I’m certain a battlefield death is preferred.
I was such a fool. I acted so foolishly, and I felt ashamed.
Knowing that none of the soldiers were in Gondor and that Aragorn, my brother Éomer, Prince Imrahil, Gandalf, and the Hobbits marched to Mordor to confront the Black Lord sickened me. I wished to be with them. I wanted to fight the enemy and stand up for those I loved and stand beside those who still lived.
I looked over to where the handmaiden had refreshed a washtub and a pitcher of water. She also left me some food: crackers mostly, but there was a bowl of porridge under a cover and it was still hot.

I sat down at the window and looked outward. I noticed that the sun was setting in the west. I believe they were only away one day, except I was unsure as to how long I was asleep after I last saw Aragorn and my brother as they tended to my arm. Was it only yesterday that I awoke and found my brother by my side and my King tending to me? It seems years ago.

I recall inquiring about Master Meriadoc – and was told that he was safe and recovering from his injuries. Those hobbits are hearty folks and simply resilient to evil. Pippin had visited me during the evening but I was already half-asleep. After he hushed me and protested my awakening, he had left me a note on my bed-table saying that he was planning to ride out to battle with Aragorn and Gondor, now that he was in service to the steward of the city.

The handmaiden returned about an hour later and asked if she could draw me a bath. I sat down on the edge of the bed and looked down. I tried to speak but my first words were so soft that she did not hear me. I cleared my throat – feeling as though I hadn’t spoken in days – and requested that I speak to the person in charge about my quarters. She looked at me with surprise – and I was unsure if it was because I had actually spoken after all my silence or if she was taken aback by my request to speak to her master. I was afraid she thought she was in trouble!
I tried to speak as loudly as I could, but still my words were soft. “Let me clarify, there is nothing wrong with what you’ve done to take care of me or tend to my needs,” I attempted to reassure her. “Rather, I would like to request a change of rooms so that I could look out at different scenery other than the western sky. It’s where the sun sets…. and I prefer the sunrise.” My voice cracked.

My room was so high up in the citadel that I couldn’t even see the smoldering battlefields below. I looked out on hilltops and tree-tops on the side of the mountains. I couldn’t see any being or look to see if the army was returning. I felt anxious and my heart raced. My heart was with that army; mostly with my brother, but I would be lying if I said I did not care about Aragorn still. I wanted to be among the first to see them coming back from war and I wanted to count every last one of them as they rode back to Gondor.

The handmaiden departed. She took the empty tray with her and closed the door behind her. I lay back down on the bed and closed my eyes. The room was very warm now and I quickly fell back to sleep.

Prior to his departure to the Black Gate to call Sauron’s eye away from Frodo, on the second day, as with the day before, Aragorn took Faramir’s hand in his, and laid the other hand upon the sick man’s brow. It was drenched with sweat; but Faramir did not move or make any sign, and seemed hardly to breathe. There was no way that Aragorn would leave this man until he was safely out of his fever.

“He is nearly spent,” said Aragorn turning to Gandalf. “But this comes not from the wound…. Had he been smitten by some dart of the Nazgûl…, he would have died that night. This hurt was given by some Southron arrow…. Who removed it…?”

The Prince of Dol Amroth stepped forward. He had not left his nephew’s bedside for more than a minute at a time. “I drew it forth,” said Imrahil, “and dressed the wound…. It was, as I remember, just such a dart as the Southrons use. Yet I believed that it came from the Shadows above, for else his fever and sickness were not to be understood; since the wound was not deep or vital. How then do you read the matter?”

“Weariness, grief for his father’s mood, grief for Boromir, for Gondor, a wound, and overall the Black Breath,” said Aragorn. “He is a man of staunch will, for already he had come close under the Shadow before ever he rode to battle on the out-walls. The shadow has hunted him his entire life. Slowly the dark must have crept on him, even as he fought and strove to hold his outpost. Would that I could have been here sooner!”

Now Aragorn knelt beside Faramir, and held a hand upon his brow. And those that watched felt that some great struggle was going on. For Aragorn’s face grew grey with weariness; and ever and anon he called the name of Faramir, but each time more faintly to their hearing, as if Aragorn himself was removed from them, and walked afar in some dark vale, calling for one that was lost.

The Nazgûl hunted Faramir. Aragorn knew this. The Witch King of Angmar and Sauron understood the purity of Faramir’s character. They foresaw the importance of Faramir’s role in this war and did everything they could to have him eliminated – including poisoning the mind of Faramir’s own father in an attempt to have his killed many times over. They tried to break him, first a young boy devastated by his mother’s death, and relentlessly hunted him since.

I am aware that I had a fever and I kept drifting in and out of consciousness. I was on fire. I felt as though my head, my skin, my throat; my insides… were all on fire. Any sleep that I was fortunate to receive was in fits; when I was awake I was in pain. My left leg had burns from the fire that I vaguely remember, and I still have no recollection as to how I got there. Perhaps the burns were a figment of my nightmares and my sensation of fire. I remember Beregond and Ioreth, tending to me, before I lost consciousness. Gandalf and my uncle, Imrahil, were at my side most of the time I was awake. I have a feeling that they were also at my side when I was asleep. I remember muttering to Gandalf that there were surely others in the Houses of Healing who needed him more than I did. All he would do is lay his palm on my forehead, hear him mutter…. I’d feel the fever break, and then I would go back to a deep sleep.

I resisted raising my left arm; to do so brought stabbing pains in my ribs and chest. I was acutely aware that I had some type of infection in what appeared to be a stab-wound. Was I stabbed by a sword? The wound appeared too small for that. But yet the wound was too large to have been from an arrow. I was perplexed. And then, the burns on my leg…

Our King, Aragorn has returned to Gondor! Fresh from the battlefield, Gandalf brought him over to me. I again protested – there are surely others who are in more need than I. I looked at Elessar. I recognized him as the Ranger from the North. In years past he spent time in Gondor in our libraries and consulting with my father. Thorongil was his name! Of course this was when I was a child. I remember him roaming the halls of the palace and speaking with my father and counselors, and with Gandalf, my mentor, during much of the time he spent in Gondor. How I always knew he was special and was noble. I never expected that he was our King!

He sat down at the foot of my bed and pressed a kingsfoil paste on my wound and my leg burns. It soothed me. Yet I protested, “My Lord, King. Please do not tend to me – there are so many others who are in greater need!” I watched, in awe, as he set to heal my wound.

“My brother, Faramir,” he smiled at me. “You are always thinking of others before your own needs; please allow me to make you comfortable. You are much more important to me alive than you would be in the tombs of your ancestors.” The paste soothed leg insomuch that I stopped protesting. I laid back down onto my back and rested my head on the pillow. It hurt to attempt to prop myself up with just my good arm. My eyes were still heavy with sleep.

He inspected the wound in my chest and I heard him quietly confer with Gandalf and Imrahil about it. “Send for Ioreth,” he instructed an attendant. “I need more kingsfoil.”

Aragorn then turned his attention back to Imrahil and Gandalf.
“How is his wound from the Southron’s dart?” asked Imrahil. Even though they attempted speech in hushed tones, I could still make out the conversation. My uncle looked old; as if he aged forty years since the last time I saw him – possibly a week ago. He was in the halls with me as my father asked if there was any captain with courage still to reclaim the garrison of Osgiliath. When I left that hall to carry out the orders that my father desired, Imrahil confronted me – telling me to defy the Steward – as he was sending me on a suicide mission.

Imrahil responded. “I recall his return from Osgiliath … and I had my soldiers place him on a cart where we brought him up to his father… whatever it was that struck him imitated his death. We could not wake him.” He looked troubled. I hoped that he did not blame himself for my decisions.

Gandalf interrupted to fill in more details for the King. “Faramir led the charge to Osgiliath – he was the sole survivor, dragged back to Minas Tirith by his loyal horse over several mile at the least. The arrow had pierced his armor and I believe that Faramir was especially targeted by Sauron’s sentinels. The trauma he experience was unlike anyone who could have survived any recent battle.”

They fell silent for a moment. “Faramir was instrumental in holding the garrison at Osgiliath and buying time before the other armies arrived in Gondor’s aid,” said Imrahil. “If not for him…”
“I’m sure Faramir was targeted. And if that were the case, then I have no doubt that the arrow that left that wound was laced with the Black Lord’s poison.” The King shook his head. “I promise to do everything I can to heal Faramir, but he will need constant supervision. If his fever spikes inform Ioreth that she must draw the poison and the infection from the wound.”

“We cannot allow him to walk in the shadows again. I fear he’s walked among them too long already.”

I involuntarily stirred, and opened my eyes, and looked on Aragorn who bent over me; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and I spoke softly. ‘My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?’

‘Walk no more in the shadows, but awake!’ said Aragorn. ‘You are weary. Rest a while, and take food, and be ready when I return.’

‘I will, lord,’ said I. ‘For who would lie idle when the king has returned?’
Aragorn smiled gently at me and brushed the hair back off of my forward. Then stood up and took his leave. I then immediately became sick.

The new kingsfoil salve under my bandage was very soothing. The King informed my uncle to request Beregond to stay posted by my bedside “just in case Lord Faramir’s fever returns and decides not to tell anyone.” Then he stood, “I must depart now, Faramir. For there are others who now need me.”

The King left my bedside and walked and talked with Gandalf down the hallway. My uncle came to my side and took a damp cloth to my forehead. He then felt my forehead for fever.
“I thought I had lost you.”

I looked up at him into his eyes and could see the tears peaking around the corners. He smiled at me and then sighed. I barely remember my mother, but in my dreams and when I try hard to remember her – I imagine that she had the same eyes as my Uncle. I have no idea if she did or not, but his eyes always brought me comfort for that reason.

“It appears that your fever has subsided for now,” his voice softer. He then stepped back from my bedside and picked up a chair to move toward the wall where it had originally been, I assumed. He had his back to me but his body language read that he was trying to think of something to say to me, or knew what he wanted to say to me, rather – he could figure out how to say it. He turned to me from the wall and fumbled as he looked for something in his chest pocket, most likely some soothing leaf and his pipe.

“Uncle, what is it?” I tried to sit up to meet his gaze but it was excruciating to move my arm or even bend my torso in a manner to sit upright. I eased back down to my back and turned my head toward him so that I could see him.

“We ride out to Mordor in the morning, Faramir. It appears that our time, the age of men, will either die its pitiful start or survive and we are now at that hour.” He sat down on the end of my bed, having now located his pipe. He began to pack the longbottom leaf into the end of it before lighting a match and deeply inhaling the leaves.

“But who rides with you?” I wondered aloud – knowing that many of Gondor’s finest soldiers died on our ill-fated charge to Osgiliath. I know that many died defending Gondor at the Battle of Pellenor Fields. I was acutely aware that the battle had taken place – assumed that I must have slept through the majority of it. It was only when Pippin filled me in that Mordor’s army retreated from Pellenor that I had him tell me all the details. But the details were so emotional to me that my fever spiked and I fell into another deep sleep. I assume that Pippin was instructed not to tell me anything more. I had requested Pippin tell me how my leg was burned, but he averted his eyes and left my bedside before giving me any answer. I haven’t seen Pippin since. I felt as though my body kept betraying me. Any time I would request information, the details made me weak.

“Well, Gandalf will ride with me, as of course, will the King.”
“But Uncle, that is still too few! Gondor’s soldiers must be weary. And Gondor just welcomed the return of the king! We can’t let him leave…”

“What would we do, Faramir? Arnor mustered five thousand men. Eriador sent soldiers about five thousand as well… and of course Rohan’s soldiers and cavalry will also ride with us – about nine thousand remain – and yes, they are battle-weary as well.” He slowly inhaled and exhales more of his pipe. It was calming him.
“Rohan!” I was surprised by my Uncle’s mention of Rohan. Pippin alluded to assistance from other nations but did not mention them by name. “So Rohan came to our call!” I was fascinated by history and understood that Gondor and Rohan had a friendship and alliance many years ago. King Thengel married a woman, Morwen, I believe, a kinswoman of my mother and uncle. I believe her family was from my beloved Ithilien. I knew that the alliance needed maintenance and that my father and King Théoden, son of Thengel, were no longer on good terms. I knew that Rohan’s people suffered from famine and attacks from the White Tower as well as Orcs. I knew that Rohan requested Gondor’s help many times over to secure its borders but my father ignored their pleas for he felt that Gondor need its full army. Nevermind. I was very fond of Rohan and their Rohirrim. Their culture always intrigued me. I admired their bravery and their just manner toward one another.

“Yes, Rohan fought bravely and their King, Théoden, gallantly. You are probably unaware that he fell in battle.” My uncle’s tone was considerably soft and quiet. “So many fell in battle.”

Unwillingly I fell asleep again while my uncle had been at my side speaking about the battle and smoking. When I awoke, my uncle was no longer with me, yet his scent lingered in the room. Rather, my good friend Beregond stood loyally by my bedside and I looked up to him. He had tears in his eyes. Beregond and I were childhood friends. He was born of nobility but chose to serve in the royal guard instead of becoming a merchant as his father had been before him. His older brother assumed many of the commercial duties and took over the family business. Beregond and I were very much alike. While Boromir had been trained to become the next steward, he still loved being a soldier more – and attempted to cast many of the steward responsibilities to me. Father disagreed with that course and had me train as a soldier as well. He assumed all the steward responsibilities without keeping either of us informed. I preferred being a ranger because it allowed me the freedom to roam Gondor. Beregond preferred being a palace guard because it was removed from mercantilism. He could not stand it and found it stifling. In many ways, Beregond and I were very much alike…

“Faramir, for so many hours we thought you were lost to the shadows.”

I slowly sat up in the bed, and while my arms and abdomen were sore, I was able to sit up without buckling over in pain. “It appears that my fever is gone, Beregond.” I placed my feet on the floor. “Where are my clothes?” Yes, I fully attempted to get out of bed.

Ioreth rushed into the room, face flushed from tears and then exclaimed: “Lord Faramir has awoken! He has been healed by the hands of the King!” She ran out into the hallway to make the announcement, but then came right back into the room and lifted my legs off the floor and pushed me back down on the bed! I cringed with the force and the strength that she displayed as she pushed her hand on my chest wound. “You lay there, Lord. Otherwise I will instruct Corporal Beregond to strap you down.”
Beregond raised his eyebrows at this and looked away. I believe he stifled a laugh.

Chapter 2 – The Broken Ones – Continued:

Unknown to Éowyn, Aragorn and Éomer instructed the Warden of the Houses of Healing that she was to stay under his care for at least ten days. “I know Éowyn, and I know she longs to ride with us to Sauron’s Gates,” Éomer tells the Warden. “She is going to be extremely upset and will demand you to let her leave the Houses and find us. Yet, as you know, she is still too fragile in body and spirit. After ten days, if we have not returned, you may release her because her people in Rohan will need her to return to them. My uncle left instructions that she is to lead Rohan if the outcome is such …”

“As for Faramir,” Aragorn interrupted, but looked to Éomer to convey he meant no disrespect to his friend – but understanding of the difficulty of his words ahead, “he must not know the full details of his father’s death, although he will wonder now that he is the Steward. Do not give him any details until he is fully healed.”

The Warden agreed to watch over both Éowyn and Faramir. He embraced the men and gave them healing supplies before they left the room to rest. They would be leaving just before dawn.

Aragorn, Gandalf, Imrahil, Éomer, Pippin, and the remaining armies of Rohan and Gondor left in the early morning before Éowyn awoke. There was no opportunity for protest. The handmaiden returned to Éowyn’s quarters to inform her that the Warden would speak with her, as she had requested.

Moments later, I walked hastily down the hallway with the handmaiden to speak with the Warden. With my robes trailing behind me, I nearly tripped several times before I had enough sense to pick them up as she walked down the stone hallways of Minas Tirith. I was focused on my task at hand.

Éowyn sternly rapped on the door to the Healer’s office. He bid her to enter.

Without missing a beat, I walked in and began my relentless quest to be released from his care. “I beg your pardon, Sir, but I demand to be free from your house.” I proclaimed with courage and a strong voice to this very old, but very distinguished-looking gentleman.

“Ah, Éowyn, I expected you sooner,” he gently chuckled. He turned toward me. He had very kind eyes, a wrinkled and furrowed brow with many decades of worry traced upon his face, and the slight upturn of a smile at the corners of his mouth.


He shook his head, kindly, but with obvious pity. “I don’t mock you, Éowyn; it is just that it was instructed of me, prophetic really, to keep you here as you may request to leave sooner than you should; sooner than when you are fully healed.”

“Well, to whom may I speak who could release me from this house? If you will not, sir, I expect to speak to whoever commands this city, for he will certainly grant me my request.”

I waited for his reply, aware that I appeared impatient. I did not care. Yet, the look on his face was light-hearted and kind. I doubt he meant to cause me any distress. It appeared however, that he was concerned as to what he should say to me next.

“I will request Faramir, Steward of Gondor and Lord of Minas Tirith, speak with you as soon as he is able. He, too, is a resident of the House as he was injured in the field… although I am unsure of his exact condition as of this day.” The Warden beckoned a servant nearby to fetch Ioreth, one of his senior healers tending to Faramir, I learned.

When Ioreth entered the hall, “Warden, I am obliged to have found you,” she exclaimed, “The King has returned, Sir! I witnessed with my own eyes; Faramir is healed!”

The Warden nodded, and replied, “I feel that the King has healed the Lady Éowyn, also.”

Then the Warden looked to me. “Lady Éowyn, I will request the Lord Faramir speak with you as soon as he is able. Is there anything I can do in the short-term to make your stay more tolerable?”

Tolerable. I felt awful now about my demands; a petty request, to leave the safety of the Houses of Healing when those who staff this residence have treated me so kindly and taken care of me so vigilantly. I looked up at the Warden, “No sir, my accommodations are most tolerable. In fact I undeserving of such comfort while my kinsmen are fighting at this very moment. I only wished to be with them in order to defend those I love.”

The Warden looked at me. “Our handmaiden mentioned that you would like your room to look to the east. That is a simple request. Would that improve you stay and hasten your healing?”

“Yes, Sir, it would. I would very much like to look to the east so that I could see the darkness as it grows. If I cannot be in battle I wish I at the very least wait in my window, facing east, so that I could see my brother, our King, and our soldiers return.”

I then departed and stayed in the gardens of the sixth circle of the citadel of Minas Tirith, waiting for the Lord Faramir. I hoped that he would release me. I desperately did not want to be in the city. I yearned to saddle my horse and ride quickly to meet the soldiers and stride with them into battle.

While in the garden, I thought about my brother, Éomer. He was with Aragorn, sure, but I still feared for his return. Oh, Aragorn! I felt his rejection so freshly as if it were a slap on my face. It stung. When he left me in Dunharrow and rode to the Paths of the Dead, I knew he was sincere. His heart is with another. He never has said it, only claiming that he cannot return the love that I seek, but I am certain. He wears her charm around his neck.

Oh, how I longed to be a queen. If I were not to wed Aragorn, then who? I softly muttered aloud, “it was never meant to be, but that does not make it any easier.”

I walked through the arboretum. It was calming; the leaves rustling with the slight breeze and the birds softly singing in the branches. These surroundings are so different from the hills of Rohan. We have trees, sure, but they are found only in forests; which of course we avoided because of the dark things that inhabit them. I found a bench and decided to set awhile and rest. Perhaps Lord Faramir is not well and will not speak to me today. Nonetheless I will wait and rest awhile, especially since I knew that the Warden was having my room moved to a room facing east. I rested my head against the back of the bench and felt my eyes slowly close.

As the sun set I could not shake this darkness that enveloped me. It made me shiver and think dark thoughts. How I wish I were dead. How I wish I were not maimed. How I wish to be loved.

I was resting underneath a tree, sitting up against the trunk with a book face down in my lap when I saw her. I did not know her name, nor could I recall ever seeing her before. She walked through the groves and looked over the rail for some time before walking back to the entrance of the grove and locating a bench to rest. She sat down and smoothed her skirts. She leaned back and winced as she adjusted her arm, wrapped snugly in a linen sling. She simply sat there, looking up at the sky, closing her eyes, wiping away tears. She appeared to be so sad and unsettled, and my heart went out to her in pity.

On the late afternoon of second day, the Warden found me walking alone in the garden of the Houses of Healing. The sun felt wonderful on my face and arms. It warmed me and I felt as though I might recover from this illness after all. I saw that he was not alone. Walking with him was a woman, tall, with long wavy yellow hair. She had the fairest skin and loveliest face I had ever seen. She took my breath away. I immediately realized that she was the same beautiful woman I had seen the day before in the gardens.

“Lord Faramir,” said the Warden with his hands extended to me, “here is the Lady Éowyn of Rohan. She rode with the king and was sorely hurt, and dwells now in my keeping. But she is not content and she wishes to speak to the Steward of the City.”

Upon his call of my name, I snapped back into focusing on his voice. He had caught me in a daydream. I kept thinking back to the day before… she was even lovelier today, as the sun was setting behind her in the west and it illuminated her profile. The sun gave her a halo around the outline of her hair. She walked toward me.

“Do not misunderstand him, Lord,” said Éowyn. “It is not lack of care that grieves me. No houses could be fairer, for those who desire to be healed. But I cannot sit here on my hands, lie in sloth, idled, caged. I looked for death in battled. But I have not died, and battle still goes on.”

I glanced at the Warden and nodded for him to depart so that I could speak with the Lady Éowyn in confidence. “What would you have me do, Lady?” I asked. “I also am a prisoner of the healers.” I looked at her and pity stirred in me for her because her loveliness among her grief pierced my heart. She was clearly a woman bred among men of war. Why would any woman desire to die in battle? Looking over her sincere face, seeing her damaged arm, clearly here is a woman that no Rider of the Mark, or Ranger of Ithilien for that matter, could outmatch in battle. I was touched by her sadness and captivated by her tranquility. I wanted to pity her, however I knew better than to pity her. She was perhaps the fairest woman I had ever seen but her confidence and her eyes displayed a courage I had never experienced before.

I looked at Lord Faramir and could feel his stare and his eyes attempting to read my feelings. His countenance displayed grave tenderness. He pierced his lips and frowned a little before he asked me again, “What do you wish, Lady? For if it lies in my power, I will do it.”

“I would have you command the Warden to release me. Bid him to let me go.” My voice cracked and pitched upward as I finished my request. For the first time I doubted myself as to whether this was really what I wanted. As I looked at this tall man, both stern and gentle, what would he think of me? Wayward? A spoiled child that has not the firmness of mind to go on with a dull task to the end?

He replied softly and shrugged his shoulders forward, “I myself am in the Warden’s keeping. Nor have I yet taken up my authority as Steward in the City. But had I done so, I should still listen to his counsel, and should not cross his will in matters of his craft unless in some great need.”

“But I do not desire healing!” I stomped my foot on the stone pathway which made a loud click. “I wish to ride to war like my brother Éomer, or better, like Théoden the king, for he died and has both honor and peace.”

“It is too late, lady, to follow the Captains even if you had the strength. If possible I would have done so myself.” Faramir walked closer to me and softened his voice. “But death in battle may come to us all yet, willing or unwilling. You will be better prepared to face it in your own manner if while there is still time you do as the Healer commanded. You and I, we must endure with patience the hours of waiting.”

I looked at him. I raised my hand in protest but then reached my fingers slightly forward. He was very close to me; so close that I could feel his breath, and fought the urge to touch his lips with my fingertips. I studied his face – his grey eyes, his dark eyebrows – his face, flushed pink on his cheeks. I lowered my hand which I had instead brought up to my own face.

I did not know what to say. I wanted to be petulant. Yet, I looked at him as he looked at me and something in me softened. Tears sprang to my eyes and one slowly fell down my cheek. I dropped my head, somehow feeling ashamed for appearing pathetic in front of this man. “I cannot stay here another seven days.” I sighed and looked up at him. He was still concentrating on me and had lowered his head slightly so that he could see my eyes as I spoke. “My window still does not look eastward,” I remarked sadly.

Faramir’s voice lightened and he reach his hand out to gently touch my slinged shoulder. I think his voice was still filled with pity as he replied, “Your window does not look eastward? That can be amended! In this I can command the Warden. If you will stay in this house in our care, Lady Éowyn, and take your rest as requested, then you shall walk in the garden in the sun, as you will; and you shall look east, whither all our hopes have gone. And here you will find me, walking and waiting, and also looking east. It would ease my care, if you would speak with me, or walk at whiles with me.”

I looked at him as he spoke and read the kindness in his face and the sincerity of his words. He too had sadness about him. His words were also panged with loneliness as though he had too suffered great loss. While I did not pity him, I did feel that I could help him and keep him company. Yet I was conflicted about this feeling. What I desired was death in battle. I desired to be with my king and my cousin, as well as my parents whom I feel I barely knew.

Looking Faramir in the eyes, I replied without any expression, “How should I ease your care, my lord, when I do not desire the speech of living men?”

“Would you have my plain answer,” he asked brightly.

“I would.”

“Then, Éowyn of Rohan, I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither flower nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still.”

I looked him in the eyes. I had not been prepared for that answer! Never had any man so brave nor noble, request my companionship. He was requesting that I spend our last days on Middle Earth with him.

“Lady Éowyn, for you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back. You have so much to live for, and if we survive this dark time and see to the end – happier days are ahead.”

My thoughts drifted to the war. Lord Aragorn. He was fighting for our lives and how I wished to be with him right now, fighting along-side him for everything I love! “Alas, not me, lord!” I exclaimed. What could I do to help Lord Faramir? Nothing. I am worthless. “The Shadow lies on me still. Look not to me for healing! I am a shield maiden and my hand is ungentle.”

He touched my slinged arm and pick up my right hand. “I see in your eyes a great sorrow. I understand the difficulty you have staying here while those you love are fighting against evil forces. But there is nothing we can do but hope for their safe return and wait to see them again. Please, walk with me each day you are here. It would be a great honor for me to have your company.”

He couldn’t release me from this prison, but he understood my grief. “But for you, I know that I need not keep to my chamber. I will walk abroad by the grace of the Steward of the City.” I did him a curtsey and walked back to the house. I thought to myself as I walked back to check on the progress of my rooms: here is someone who could have kept me in a cage, but chose not to and instead honored my wishes the best he could.

After Lady Éowyn departed I stayed in the gardens for some time. The sun had fully set and the moon and stars were out. The wind had chilled and softly rustled through the gardens. Rather than looking east as I had been previously, I now looked toward the Houses in hope that Éowyn would reappear.

Several hours later, after supper, which I foolishly skipped, I called for the Warden and asked him to tell me everything he knew about the Lady of Rohan.

The Warden explained that when Imrahil brought Éowyn to the Houses he had thought her dead. “He had seen her fighting on the battlefield not knowing that she was a woman. He witnessed her fell a dark enemy.” The Warden continued, “Lord, you would learn more from the Halfling that is with us; for he was in the riding of the king and with the Lady at the end, they say.”

“Then send the Halfling to me,” I requested, “and please send some supper for us both.”

When Merry appeared we ate supper together and talked long into the night. I learned so much about Lady Éowyn; much more than Merry was able to put into words. He spoke of King Théoden’s curse, this witch Wormtongue, how Éowyn was a prisoner at Edoras and cared for a King who was nearly senile. He bargained that Éowyn was a prize promised to Wormtongue had Isengard succeeded in defeating Rohan. He told me how she protected himself and Pippin and how she tolerated the company of warriors for she knew nothing else. She was a shield maiden for sure, raised among horsemen, fighters and bawdiness. Yet, she had a gentleness and kindness about her that I had not experienced as I was, too, raised in the realm of men and warriors.

Merry told me of how Éowyn defied Aragorn and Théoden and disguised herself as a man in order to ride into battle with her king. Merry told me of how she carried him on her horse and how they were able to bring down many Southron soldiers. He told me the chilling tale of how the Witch-King of Angmar and his Nazgûl felled King Théoden, and how Théoden was defenseless, crushed under the weight of his horse.

When Merry told me of how Éowyn stepped in to defend her king so that he would not be slaughtered and humiliated by the Witch-King, tears sprang to my eyes, for here was a woman more valiant than any man I ever knew. After Éowyn beheaded the Nazgûl, Merry told me how the Witch-King swung his mace at Éowyn. And after he shattered her shield-arm, he picked her up by her throat. As she struggled to release his grip, Merry explained that he stabbed the Witch-King behind his knee with his sword charmed by the elves. At this the Witch-King released Éowyn to tend to his pain. This gave Éowyn the opportunity to remove her helmet so that the Witch-King could see her face; then she took her sword, with her good arm, and stab him between his mail and his helmet, right through the neck.

After Merry finished, we fell silent for some time. I asked him to walk with me in the gardens tomorrow. It was late and we both needed sleep. When Merry departed, I sat for awhile, sipping more wine, thinking that perhaps I understood now something of the grief and unrest of Éowyn of Rohan.

The following day I woke up to the sun shining upon my face. My window now faced to the east! I noticed that breakfast had arrived, so I quickly dressed and ate what I could before walking hastily to the gardens of the Houses of Healing. It was the third day of my stay and I was hungry for news of the Battle in the east but also craving company. I was hoping that Merry was better, and thought that perhaps I should call on him. But I was also hoping that Lord Faramir would be walking in the gardens as well.

I was disappointed when I arrived and Lord Faramir was not in the gardens as I had hoped. So I stood on the walls facing east as the sun continued its ascent into the morning sky. Birds sang and trees gently waved with the wind. It was a glorious spring day and warm at that, and I could feel some of the darkness and shadow lifting from my heart. However standing there on the edge of the walls, there was something very tempting about letting go, feeling my hair and my clothing whip around me as I could fall several hundred feet to my death. It was a grim thought and I entertained it. I moved my slippered feet closer to the edge, but I did not let go of the pillars on either side of me. I stared down at the cobblestone below.

I heard someone walking behind me and so I turned to see the Lord Faramir had arrived in the gardens. I carefully stepped down from the ledge and turned to greet him. He smiled at me and raised his hand a little in a cautious but casual greeting.

“Good morning, Lord Faramir,” I called to him. He continued to walk my way. I noticed his appearance even more in my calmer state. He was a handsome man. He was tall, slender, and had a very pleasant gait. His dark hair was shorter than what men of Rohan wore, but it was pushed back behind his ears and made his light blue-gray eyes appear even brighter than they were normally. He wore a pleasant expression. He wasn’t smiling, necessarily, but one could see that he was not in a foul mood.

“Hallo, Lady Éowyn,” he greeted me as he also extended his hand and a slight bow and nod of his head. “Care to walk with me?” He extended his arm my way.

I coupled his arm with mine. He winced a little bit, I’m assuming from pain and not from my touch. Nonetheless I softened my clasp so that he did not feel he had to support me and instead I could support him if needed.

“Tell me about Rohan,” he said. “Tell me about your brother, your King, and your parents. I want to know about those you love…. That is, if you don’t mind, of course.”

“Why, I beg Lord, would you want to know about me?” I laughed a slight nervous laugh. “I am regretful and nothing appears to bring me any joy. Why you would want to escort me on a walk through these gardens, when I am sure that I am not good company.” I tried to be subtle with self-deprecation.

I sincerely did not understand why he would be interested in my life. He was a Lord of noble birth. He was the Steward of this lovely and powerful city. My life, my culture, my family, could not be of any interest to him. If anything, I feared he would find it lowly. We were horse-lords. Lesser lords and ladies. Gríma always told us so.

“Lady Éowyn, I enjoy your companionship and I want to know more about you. You are enigmatic. I have heard stories about your feats on the battlefield and I am in awe of your bravery and your accomplishments. I desire to understand what type of upbringing one had in order to be a brave and beautiful shield maiden.”

I blushed. I know my face and my neck turned deep red. It wasn’t difficult for me to do – with the alabaster skin and the fair hair – it was a curse that I had to bare.

“Alright then, I can, sure…” I hesitated. “I- I- I will talk about me, with the promise that we will talk about you, too.” I’m not sure what it was about this man. I felt comfortable with him. I did not have to keep my guard up around him. However I was absolutely nervous. He was noble, sure. He was gentle and kind and he made me feel at ease. Yet, I barely knew him, so I wanted to keep my emotional distance because I did not know his true intentions. However, deep down in my gut, I felt his qualities were sincere and that he was the most perfect gentleman. When I interacted with the men of the Rohirrim I was always very careful about what I said, how I dressed, and what I did in their presence. Granted if any one of them attempted to insult or defile me Éomer would have killed them instantly. Not that I couldn’t look out for myself! With the Lord Aragorn, I also felt the comfort and kindness that I felt in the presence of Lord Faramir. Whilst I felt that I could previously wed Lord Aragorn, that all changed when I realized that Lord Aragorn pitied me. I did not sense that pity with Lord Faramir.

“Before you begin, could you call me Faramir? I think we are on familiar enough terms now – granted that first, we are two of the very few souls that are allowed to walk the gardens unsupervised and not under the direct care of Healers. And second, we are both of noble birth that our friendship would not be seen as scandalous by any means.” He smiled after his last comment. I smiled at the words of friendship and scandal. I needed a friend. Outside of my brother and cousin I never had any friends. And the word scandal made me laugh a little bit at his statement.

“Scandalous, Lord, hardly!” I smiled. “I don’t care who sees me walking through the gardens with you. I’ve caused enough scandals in my lifetime attempting to be true to myself. Learning how to wield a sword, ride a horse, and ride to war with my brother and uncle are more than a lifetime worth of scandal for any lady.”

“Where did you learn to fight like you had?” Éowyn knew that Faramir was schooled enough in cultures of the various nations of Middle Earth to know that war was an ever-present part of life in Rohan. Our borders were always under attack from wild men and dark forces. He had to know that women who did not know how to defend themselves or their children were taken prisoner or killed… or worse.

“I can’t even remember, to be honest.” I thought for a moment back to my childhood. One of my earliest memories is of my father and my mother, and Éomer, sitting in our home in front of the fire. My father was Captain of the Mark, my mother was daughter of the king. I remember my father would come home in the evenings and he would take off his boots and hang up his helmet and scabbard and would sit by the fire and polish or sharpen his sword. He would clean his boots. My mother would mend his clothes. Most nights she would sit down on his lap and put her arms around his neck and they would cuddle and whisper to each other there in front of the fire while Éomer and I played on the rug with our toys.

“When I was little, I remember my father would let me hold his sword and swing at bales of hay in the barn. He showed me the proper way to stab and swipe, but my arms were still too little and weak for it to make much of an impression. I remember it was very heavy. I remember thinking that there would never be a time when I was strong enough to hold a sword correctly. But I was determined to do it right and so I would practice every chance I had. Éomer, my brother, would have the same opportunities. Then my mother would come into the barn and sit down and watch. The session usually ended with me and my brother and father wrestling on the floor. My mother did not like that part!”

“So you were raised in step with your brother?”

“For the most part, yes.” I thought about all the times I wasn’t with my father and brother. They would get to ride out to the borders and patrol while I had to stay behind.

Then the first of the wars came. I can’t recall exactly as to how they started, I explained. But nonetheless, it was the first war that killed my father when I was about eight years old and Éomer, ten. My grandfather, the King Thengel, was also killed after he was taken captive. Then my uncle Théoden ascended the throne and my mother, brother, and I began to live in Edoras.

Faramir stopped for a moment and beckoned for us to sit down under a tree. After we had settled, he said that he can recall this first war, for he was about twenty or so. His brother, Boromir, had pleaded with their father to assist Rohan. Instead, a ranger named Thorongil, who lived in our court, went instead.

I explained how my mother succumbed to a deep darkness after my father died. She was unable to bear the suffering that she witnessed all around: the women and children who fled to Edoras. Women who were shamed if they hadn’t been killed, children who were humiliated and maimed and had witnessed their fathers murdered. I recall that not even a year after my father had died, that my mother died as well. So my uncle assumed guardianship of Éomer and I and we were raised along with our cousin, Théodred. I did not go into detail as to how my mother died.

“I learned to fight, Faramir, because it was the only thing I could do.”

We sat in silence awhile, under the tree.

We sat under that tree together, sometimes in silence, sometimes in speech.

“Tell me about your life here in Gondor,” she asked as she placed her hand upon my hand in my lap.

“Well,” I said softly, “There isn’t much really to say. My childhood was dark. Gondor was always in the shadow of the mountain…. But I did not spend most of my childhood in Minas Tirith. I lived in a place called Emyn Arnen, which is in Ithilien.”

“Ithilien?” Éowyn inquired, “I don’t believe I’ve ever been to Ithilien or Emyn Arnen, but of course I haven’t exactly traveled many places in my lifetime.”

“Emyn Arnen is the place where my parents lived when I was very young. Many of my ancestors came from that place – for example, the first Stewards of Gondor originated from there. It’s not far from here, actually – about half a day’s ride, and then across the Anduin.”

I spoke fondly of Ithilien. The happiest times in my life, I associate with Ithilien. After my father became Steward, I patrolled Ithilien’s forests with my brother, Boromir, and learned the name of every hill and creek. I worked with Boromir to keep the countryside safe. There were a handful of villages in Ithilien known for their own crafts – the brewers and the dairies, farmers, the potters and the smithies. I always associated Ithilien with a calmer pace in life; of people who were hearty, kind and cared for one another, who were creative and free, and darn good at what they did for a living. I explained that I was in Ithilien when I learned of my brother’s death and of the dream I had of him floating in the Anduin.

After some silence, she asked again. “Surely you have some happy memories of your brother, at the very least.”

“Aye, sure. But even that ended in tragedy for me.” I kept staring ahead, but then thought, well, it is only fair to give her some information about me. She had been very open about her life in Rohan that it would not be honorable for me to not return the favor.

I explained to her that I didn’t remember my mother all that much. I recalled that she was lovely and very gentle with me and that she protected me because I was an unhealthy child. Boromir said it was because I was born too early. But I never asked my father or uncle for sure as to why I was sickly.

I explained that my mother was from the seaside principality of Dol Amroth and that I remained close to my Uncle, the prince, there. I explained that my Uncle and Mother were direct descendants of the Númenors and Elves. Éowyn had some understanding of the Númenor and had met elves, but I gave her more history on why they settled in Dol Amroth and in Emyn Arnen.

As a child, my mother taught me to read early. I read a lot of books about dragons and far-off lands and I had a very vivid imagination. My mother encouraged me to read and to learn songs and I enjoyed learning all that lore because it was something that I knew she enjoyed as well. We loved to look at maps together. She would lay a map on the floor and sprawl out with me and place markers on the locations that she had visited or hoped to visit one day. She was friends with Gandalf, Mithrandir – and after she died he assumed a sort of guardianship for me as well. Even though my father was still alive and was steward of the city, he trained Boromir in all the duties. So Gandalf had assumed the responsibility of tutoring me in history, languages, music, and the like. I learned much about flora and fauna from Radagast the Brown, also Mithrandir. Looking back, I am amazed at the privileged education I received from those two.

“She died when I was just a few days after five.”

After some silence, I told Éowyn more. “My father wasn’t a bad father or a horrible man. He was good at his work and really, it was that he was absent a lot, or distant, I should say. He loved Gondor and did everything in his power to protect the kingdom.”

I missed my father. For even though we disagreed much of the time, when I was younger he was a good man. He loved my mother, and I am certain that he loved me as I knew that he loved Boromir. It was not until the past twelve years or so where his temperament began to change. Guards eluded to the foresight that father had, and knowing what I know about lore and the history of middle earth, I had my own theories as to how he acquired that foresight. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until the past ten years or so where he turned against me. As if he were poisoned against me … inexplicably, so.

“My brother, Boromir was five years older. After our mother died, Boromir also assumed some responsibility for me. He taught me so much and he was also patient with me as I learned, often very slowly.” Fighting never interested me. I did it because I had to and I would boldly fight to protect those I loved and the land that was ours, and would proudly take up arms for those causes. But war and fights were not something I desired, nor enjoyed.

“Boromir was the soldier,” I laughed lightly at the memory. “He loved being a soldier and a knight in Gondor. He wasn’t interested in getting married or settling down and having children – despite having plenty of female attention, sure. But he loved being a soldier and his duty was to protect Gondor. He was a very good leader.”

“I’ve heard that you are not so bad a leader either, Faramir.”

Again I laughed a little bit, “really, and who told you that?”

“I have my sources,” she smiled at me shyly. “In all seriousness, Master Pippin is a huge fan of yours and he told me stories of how your soldiers loved you and how one saved you from a funeral pyre.”

I sat there quiet. I screwed up my face at this remark. I had not known this specific detail about a funeral pyre. I was aware that there were details of my recent illness that were withheld from me, particularly those details about the burns on my leg and the death of my father. However in the past few days I was able to put pieces of the puzzle together. I had an idea of how my father died and how I got my burns. I abruptly withdrew my hand from underneath hers in my lap. She looked at me wide-eyed as I stood up under the tree.

“What it is?” she asked. Then she stammered, “I – I, didn’t mean to say anything to disrespect you or,” she shook her head and then looked down at the ground.

I reached my hand down to her. “No, no. It’s alright. Let us walk more. The day is still not quite half-past.” I lifted her up with my good arm and by her good hand not fitted to her torso in the sling.

On the morning of the fourth day I found myself walking to the garden, but this time Faramir had arrived first. I walked up to him and sat down next to him.

“I missed you at supper last night, my Lord.”

After I mentioned his leadership and how his soldiers loved him, he behaved oddly. I knew I had said something wrong and I desperately wish Master Pippin were here so that I could find out what it was that I did say that made Faramir introspective and gloomy.

“I must apologize to you, Éowyn, for my behavior yesterday afternoon. I know I owe you an explanation.”

He wasn’t looking at me, so I leaned over to him and turned so that I could look him in the eyes. I grabbed both of his hands with my one good one and piled them up on my knee. “Please tell me what troubles you.”

He looked up now, at least, but his eyes were red and glassy, and his expression was grim.

“The healers, Pippin, my friends… all have withheld some information from me. The first being how I got the burns on my leg. The second is regarding the death of my father, Denethor. No one has been able to tell me how he died.”

I had of course put much of this information together even though it was specifically withheld from me as well. Funeral pyre. Burns. Denethor’s death. I am certain Faramir had to understand how Denthor met his demise, but perhaps did not want to admit that he did. We sat in silence awhile longer. It seemed to me that the wind was changing. Where in previous days it was a warm wind that came from the south and the west, this new wind was shifting from the east. The sun was still shining, however, so I did not dwell on the thought much longer. I stood up and lowered my one hand to him. “Do not feel that you have to explain yourself to me, Lord. Come, Faramir, let’s walk more in the gardens. The day is still very young.” And then I was able to hoist him up from the bench and we walked hand in hand.

I looked over my shoulder and could see the Warden looking from his window at us, and he smiled and gave a gentle salute with his right palm. I looked back at him and smiled. I did feel lighter and I did feel as though I was healing. While the darkness and sorrow remained, I did notice that there was hope where there had been none before. And like Faramir’s inclination of how his father died, some things were just better left unsaid.

Chapter 3 – The Broken Ones – continued

Note: this chapter is really short – and I used a lot of the dialogue straight from the Return of the King because I wanted it to tie the 2nd chapter to the 4th in a better way than I could ever articulate. I beg forgiveness if it appears a little out of context.

And so the fifth day came since the Lady Éowyn went first to Faramir; and they stood now together once more upon the walls of the City and looked out. No tidings had yet come, and all hearts were darkened. Further, the weather, too, was bright no longer. It was cold. A wind that had sprung up in the night was blowing now keenly from the North, and it was rising; but the lands about looked grey and dreary. The pair spent much of their waking hours together. Both were forbidden from working, riding off to war, and roaming around the city. Rather they spent their time together, in conversation, musing, and sharing their meals together.

I woke up shivering, but it was not due to fever, for thankfully it had not returned. The wind had shifted and I thought that perhaps it would rain. Looking out of my window it was cloudy and cold, but I did not expect it would rain. This was a different darkness. My feeling was that the war was coming to an end. Which side we were on the end of it, I had no idea.

Immediately I thought of Éowyn. She could be in the gardens right now, possibly waiting for me. Or she could be in the gardens looking eastward hoping to see some sign of our soldiers: her brother and our King. Then I thought that if she is outside right now she would have to be very cold.

I briskly walked through the apartment. There were many rooms with curtains drawn tight. These were rooms that the steward and his family had lived in for decades, centuries more probably. In one room I rarely ventured, I found an armoire that stored many of my mother’s clothes. I never understood why my father kept them, but for this moment was glad that he had. There was one mantle that I recall vividly from my childhood: it was a dark blue cloak with silver stars trimming the hem and the throat. I’m unsure how she acquired it – whether it was a gift from my father or if it was an item she had as a princess in Dol Amroth, I never knew. But it was perfect and I hoped that Éowyn would accept it from me as a gift to her.

I dressed quickly and warmly, and then grabbed the mantle as I headed out the door and to the gardens. As I expected, she was there. Her sling was now gone and she instead wrapped her arms around her body. She was shivering even though she had on layers of warmer clothes. I walked up behind her and before she could turn around, I had placed the cloak over her shoulders.

“Turn around, Éowyn, let me wrap this around you.”

She obeyed and looked at me without much expression on her face. I’m not sure how long she was out here or how she knew, deep down, that something was happening in the east. The color was returning to her face as I finished tying the mantle around her shoulders and neck.

“This is lovely and warm… thank you.” She said without too much emotion. She seemed to be very tired this morning or possibly distracted.

“I noticed that your sling is missing.”

“Ah, yes… it was removed last night before bed-time. The arm is weak, but I am told that it will regain its previous strength in time.”

Silence. We looked to the east.

“This mantle is very handsome, Faramir. It was exactly what I needed to warm me. I had under-dressed, but I had dressed in haste. I suspect that something isn’t quite right now in the world.”
I stood there and looked eastward with her. I had both too much to say to her and not at all knowing what to say to her. I wanted to remark that I noticed she appeared distressed this morning. I also wanted to affirm that this mantle was indeed a gift to her. It had belonged to my mother. There was much meaning and many memories tied into this mantle. I hoped that Éowyn would accept it and like it. If she rejected it, it would sting.

“I’m glad that you find it beautiful and warm,” I remarked and smiled at her, wanting to add that I found her both beautiful and warm as well. But I held my tongue… I did not want to rush into this or sound like I was triflingly courting her or worse, stifling here. I was not good at this type of conversation by any means. I never had a conversation like that before that I could practice!
I thought that she looked fair and queenly as she stood there at my side. “This mantled belonged to my mother, Finduilas of Amroth. She was but a memory of loveliness in far happier days, but also my first grief…. It seems, to me, fitting for the beauty and sadness of Éowyn.” I smiled at her, although not sure if she noticed. I desperately wanted to share my feelings for her, but I was afraid as to how she would respond. I wanted to tell her that the past six days were the best days, the happiest days I’ve had for as long as I can remember. That seeing her each day has stirred something inside me that I have never felt before.

Even under the warmth of the mantle, Éowyn still shivered. So I pulled her close to me. She did not resist, but instead looked upwards to the north, above the gray hither lands, into the eye of the cold wind where far way the sky was hard and clear.

“What do you look for, Éowyn?” I asked.

“Does not the Black Gate lie yonder?” Said she. “And must he not now become thither? It is seven days since he rode away.”
My heart sank. “Seven days, yes.” I said to her, drawing her close so that I could keep her warm. “But think not ill of me, if I say to you: they have brought me both a joy and a pain that I never thought to know. Joy to see you; but pain, because now the fear and doubt of this evil time are grown dark indeed. Éowyn, I would not have this world end now, or lose so soon what I have found.”

“Lose what you have found, lord?” She answered; but she looked at me in all seriousness, and her eyes were kind. They sparkled at me and did not show the worry that she displayed in her stature. “I know not what in these days that you have found that you could lose. But come, my friend, let us not speak of it! Let us not speak at all! I stand upon some dreadful brink, and it is utterly dark in the abyss before my feet, but whether there is any light behind me I cannot tell. For I cannot turn yet. I wait for some stroke of doom.”

I relaxed slightly, but still held her close. “Yes, we wait for the stroke of doom.” Then we said no more. We stood there in silence. It seemed to me that as we stood there the wind died, and the light failed, and the sun was dull and blotted out by the clouds. It seemed that all the sounds in the city disappeared or in the lands about were hushed: neither wind, nor voice, nor bird-call, nor rustle of leaf, nor our own breath could be heard. The beating of our hearts was stilled. Time halted.

Éowyn raised her hands up to where I had clasped mine around her mantle. And our hands clasped though we did not know it at the time. And we waited, even though I do not know for what. Then in the distance, there was a rumbling; an earthquake!

We steadied ourselves as the ground below us shook. In the distance, mountain after mountain fell, as if a rolling wave should engulf the world. And in their place, another mountain rose, one after another. It was the dream of the end of Númenor coming true – where a great wave rolled over the mountains and the valley. About them, lightening flickered and then tremor continued to run through the earth. We felt the walls of Minas Tirith shake, but the structure held! And then a sound, like a sigh, went up from all the lands about them.

Our hearts beat suddenly again. Everything was still and quiet.
I instantly thought of the stories that I read, and the tales that Gandalf told me about our history. “It reminds me of Númenor,” I said and was shocked to hear myself speak.

“Of Númenor?” said Éowyn.

“Yes,” I said, “of the land of Westernesse that foundered, and of the great dark wave climbing over the green lands and above the hills, and coming on, darkness unescapable. I often dream of it.”

“Then you think that the Darkness is coming?” said Éowyn.

“Darkness Unescapable?” She shuddered and drew even closer to me. My heart soared!

“No,” I said. I turned her around so that I could face her. “It was but a picture in the mind. I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Éowyn, Éowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!” And then boldly, I stooped forward and kissed her brow. She turned back around to view the landscape and I drew her close again.
And so we stood on the walls of the City of Gondor, and a great wind rose and blew, and our hair streamed out into the air and mingled, and stuck to the tears on our faces. Then suddenly, the Shadow departed, and the Sun unveiled itself from behind dark clouds and the light leaped forth; and the waters of the Anduin shone like silver, and in all the houses of the City one could hear men and women sing for the joy that swelled up in their hearts from what source they could not tell.
And before the Sun had fallen far from the noon out of the East there came a great Eagle flying, and he bore tidings beyond hope from the Lords of the West crying that the Realm of Sauron is ended forever and the Dark Tower is thrown down!

The days that followed were golden, and the spring and summer joined and made revel together in the fields of Gondor. Tidings now came by swift riders from Cair Andros of all that was done and the City made ready for the coming of the King. Merry was summoned and rode away with the merchants that took store of goods to Osgiliath and thence by ship to Cair Andros, but Faramir did not go, for now being healed he took upon himself his authority as Steward.
Éomer had summoned me begging me to come to the field of Cornmallen. I did not go. For what purpose? I stood in the gardens alone, for I saw Faramir seldom. The Darkness and shadow, I could feel it – it was returning to me.

To Be Continued…

NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/the-broken-ones. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

Be the first to comment

  Textile help

All fields except 'Web' are required. The 'submit' button will become active after you've clicked 'preview'.
Your email address will NOT be displayed publicly. It will only be sent to the author so she (he) can reply to your comment in private. If you want to keep track of comments on this article, you can subscribe to its comments feed.


Hide | Show adult content

Adult content is shown. [what's this?]

Adult content is hidden.
NB: This site is still for adults only, even with the adult content filter on! [what's this?]


  • DE
  • ES
  • JP
  • FR
  • PT
  • KO
  • IT
  • RU
  • CN