She stood quietly in one of the many unused rooms in the White Citadel, looking out through the glass pane on the land of the King. Dusty paintings hung quietly on the walls, observing her through their unmoving eyes and the solid stones of the walls were cold as ice. A flock of birds drifted slowly into the last of the sun’s dying rays as it bathed the land in a surreal, golden glow.
She wore a simple gown of pure white, accentuating her shimmering hair and fair skin. The woman’s eyes were a piercing, metallic grey, and her expression was wistful.
Tomorrow, the King would take the Lady Evenstar to be his queen in the majesty of the White Courtyard, beneath the blossoming Cormandë trees in full view of all. Elves, Men, dwarves and hobbits would all be present for this event and
Eowyn was excited, not only because her dear friend would finally receive the happiness he deserved, but also because that meant her own marriage was not far off.
Ah, Faramir. She smiled. Not Aragorn; FaramirJust the mere thought of him made her skin tingle and her heart flutter nervously in her chest. Stop it. You are a Shieldmaiden, not some shy little girl; now actlike it!The truth of it was she cared not what she was; only that this man loved her, and she him. She enjoyed relishing the image of him in her mind, his handsome face filling every corner of her thoughts until she felt drowned in his smile.
Her thoughts were abruptly interrupted as she heard the door creak open, and she was instantly annoyed that her most private thoughts had been disrupted. In a somewhat passive aggressive manner, she continued to stare out the window without turning her head. Her arms were folded neatly across her chest and her feet were set at shoulder-width apart.
Arwen went into room silently, noticing that the lady purposely ignored her entrance. Her flowing, lavender gown rustled softly as she walked and suddenly she felt rather overdressed, seeing Eowyn in such a simple yet becoming white dress. Standing silently by the door, Arwen took the opportunity to observe her.
Her hair was radiantly gold, much like her grandmother’s, as it flowed in a river of silk about her. The line of her back was rigid, suggesting her strength and athletic prowess. Her gaze was set firmly on fading Anar and her eyes were such a pale shade of grey that they were almost translucent.
So, this is the woman who slew the Witch King of Angmar. Lady Eowyn of the Rohirrim; such a rowdy lot, they are.Arwen was amused by her, though she remained silent.
Eowyn seriously wondered who could possibly be standing behind her. She had no clue, and in truth she cared not. The only indicator she had that someone had even entered the room was the creaking door, so she immediately concluded that it must be an elf. It could be Legolas, but she doubted it. This close to the wedding, he would ever be by Aragorn’s side, as would Gimli and Faramir. It could be one of many elves, since those of Rivendell and Lothlorien had been staying in the city for the wedding and coronation. She truly had no desire to turn her head and find out who it was, so she let the thought fade from her mind.
Arwen smiled and strode silently towards Eowyn until she stood beside her, gazing out of the window with a certain twinkle in her starry eyes. There was no mistaking the elf now. She had long midnight black hair that cascaded down her back in gentle, rolling waves. Her head was held upright in a most regal manner and her presence was haunting, ethereal even. Eowyn thought she could smell the scent of pine, but let the thought pass.
“It is beautiful, is it not?” Arwen murmured. Her voice was soft and light, like the sound of a singing nightingale. Eowyn never thought of herself as particularly poetic, but she swore she could hear years of fear and anxiety echo in the elf’s voice, as if Arwen was suddenly weary, burdened by the magnitude of thousands of heavily weighted years.
“Indeed it is, my lady.” She still had not made eye contact with the elf, and for some strange reason she was afraid to. She did not know what she would see in the fathomless depths of an elf’s eyes.
“You are a woman of few words, Lady Eowyn.” Arwen commented smoothly after many moments of heavy silence, looking into the girl’s face.
Eowyn finally turned to Arwen and replied honestly, “Is it not said that actions speak louder than words?”
Arwen seemed somewhat surprised that the woman would make such a thoughtful observation, but she replied, “On occasion.”
“Your words seem to imply that your opinion differs slightly from mine.”
“Sometimes the opposite is true, is not, lady? At times may not a word or letter relay more than a simple gesture?”
“Before there was speech, creatures of capable thought were able to efficiently communicate, without words and runes.”
“Yet sometimes it is the effectiveness of these gestures that remain in question. Sometimes the simple phrase, `I love you’ means more than a kiss on the cheek.”
“I fear we are on different sides of this, my lady. Perhaps it is so because humans, I believe, are more known for their ways of passion, of emotion rather than of thought. I am in no way belittling the mind of the man, but in most ways I consider the senses to reveal more of the ways of the heart. Perhaps it is different for you and your people.”
“Perhaps it is as you say.”
Eowyn kept quiet, reining in a haughty reply that probably was a little inappropriate. This was not lost on Arwen, and she continued to smile. This woman was such a fascinating creature! She was fiery stone, aloof yet radiant; her aura of indestructible spirit and willpower radiated from her like heat from a flame. However, Arwen was growing tired of the game, as she only wished to meet and talk to the soon-to-be Stewardess.
Arwen turned away from the window and sat quietly in one of the old wooden chairs, her eyes resting with interest on Eowyn’s slim figure.
Honestly, the human couldn’t understand why there was such an unspoken, hostile feeling between the two of them; she had nothing against the elf. Indeed, this was the first time they had even exchanged anything other than pleasantries, and Eowyn was a little awed at her own lack of manners. Perhaps they were just testing each other; searching the other for weakness and strength, like two wild animals meeting for the first time.
She reluctantly let her arms unfold and drop to her sides, sighing gently. She turned around and seated herself in a chair opposite Arwen, letting her eyes rest on the cold floor. When she looked up, she noticed the elf staring at her with eyes so intense she nearly staggered backwards. (Except that she was sitting down, but had she been standing she certainly would have taken a step or two backwards.) She returned it as best she could, holding her tongue and returning her arms to their original place across her chest.
Arwen was simply fascinated by the Shieldmaiden. “How are you, Eowyn?” Her tone was sincere.
“I am well enough. And you?”
Arwen nodded in response, a slight smirk playing upon the corners of her mouth. “I am well, though I do not know if I shall be able to accustom myself to this city built of stone. They are so…cold and unresponsive.”
She gently ran her fingers over the icy stone of the walls, exploring this place that would soon be her home.
“Why wouldn’t you? You will hold dominion over those stones in only a few short days. These are solid stones, and you will learn to love them just as you do the trees of the forest. Rarely do such stones let one down.”
A merry twinkle flickered in the elf’s eyes.
“And you also are not native to this land. You leave your
wild horses and rustling meadows for these stones and the restless waves of the sea.” Her eyes were piercing as daggers, yet somehow compassionate.
“I do so knowing that the man I love will reside her with me, unto the ending of my days.” Eowyn replied.
Arwen could not hold back a smile. “It seems we both come here for the same reason. I leave behind my kin, my people to stay with the King of Gondor, and you also to stay with his Steward. We are not so different, although it may seem so, you the dawn and I the twilight.”
Eowyn’s gaze narrowed, searching for hidden meanings in the elf’s words.
Dawn and Twilight? What the hell is she talking about? Sometimes they just speak another language entirely, and most times I have no desire to understand it.
“You remind me so much of my grandmother, Eowyn. The likeness is uncanny. Although you are of different races and were born years apart, your spirits are of the same stuff. She, like you, endured terrible trials, and proved stronger than the obstacles set before her. This quality I greatly admire in you.”
Arwen’s words were genuine, and Eowyn was taken aback by the gentleness in her tone. Suddenly they had gone from icy speech to sharing some of their more deep thoughts. She felt a part of her open up to the elf, willingly.
Eowyn fought to keep from stuttering.
“I…I am grateful for your kind words, lady.” She, of course, did not succeed in her attempt. Arwen looked up to return the woman’s stare.
“Think nothing of it.”
“I can only imagine what it must be like for you.” Eowyn heard her own voice speak the words of her heart, thinking on Eomer and of the Rohirrim. “Leaving your family behind, knowing you will never see them again. My kin is only miles away…but yours is leagues and years away. You must feel terribly…alone.”
Eowyn saw the smooth, clear line of the sun as the world turned to dark blues and indigos, lit slightly by the shining eyes of Elbereth.
“I am not alone. I shall never be alone.” Arwen replied defiantly, as if she was arguing with fate itself. “Mine is indeed the choice of my ancestress Lúthien, to live and to die, to taste the bitter and the sweet, but I am set in my ways. I regret nothing.”
Eowyn grinned. “The less time you have to cherish things, the more precious they become. If there’s one thing this way of life will teach you, it is to never look back; onward and upward you move. As an elf you watched the tides of time through the eyes of an immortal; as a human you direct their flow.”
Arwen returned the smile playfully. “Such poetic words from one so skilled in the arts of combat. It seems your tongue is as sharp as your blade, Shieldmaiden.”
Eowyn chuckled, relaxing in the elf’s presence. “You are no less eloquent in your speech, dear lady. You could woo the stars from the sky and the gods from their sanctuary, if you so desired.”
The two girls laughed at the absurdity of their banter, their smiles growing wider with each word.
She is just like grandmother. She will be such a lovely Stewardess, to both Aragorn and this kingdom. Oh yes, this Rohirrim girl and I will share much in the years ahead.
Eowyn said as she left her seat, “Bema,it is nearly time for dinner. Perhaps we may walk together?” Her smile was as bright as the rising glow of Anar, her smile the shimmering beams of sunlight on the sea.
“I think that a marvelous idea, lady. Come! Let us not be late!”
Striding side by side in a relaxed, congenial manner, the two graces moved out of the dusty room and down the torch-lit corridors, smiling as they continued to speak, their unique auras mingling like the lights of Laurelin and Telperion in the fated gardens of Valinor.