"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. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the
same hand drew us back."
"Alas, not me, lord!" she said. "Shadow lies on me still."
~The Return of the King



~*~**~*~



Sun and Moon



She stood before him, an image of grace and beauty in the midst of unending sorrow. Years ago, he had called her the White Lady of Rohan, pale as a lily but cold as frost. He remembered her standing on the eastward wall of the Houses of Healing, her golden hair tangled in the wind and her grey eyes hinting of pain concealed behind her lovely face.

Today, she was dressed in black. Those desperate eyes were hidden behind a thick veil; the yellow richness of her braids had become marred by a few grey strands. Yet his words remained true. There was wisdom in the lines by her eyes and the creases around her mouth; but he still thought her beautiful. He had once said that Éowyn was fairer than the women of Gondor, and he firmly believed it. None could rival her elegance, her courage, or her compassion. She was perfect.

She held a young boy's hand, and watched the proceedings with composed attention. The King had died five days ago, attacked by orcs on Rohan's borders. Threats of danger still remained after Sauron's defeat, but many people had forgotten the meaning of tragedy in recent years. His death had reminded them all that evil was still present in the world.

Éowyn squeezed the child's hand tighter as the coffin passed. Her son was also clad in black, his father's eyes filled with tears in his mother's china-fair face. His hair was raven, unlike his mother's kin, but in many respects he was more like Théoden and Thengel of old than his Númenorean ancestors. He knew that the boy would be brave, a true hero in the tales of ancient times. With Éowyn Nimhíril as his mother, the child was destined for nothing less than greatness.

Faramir shifted his white Steward's rod to the other hand, and tried to pry his gaze away from her and back to the proceedings. He could not. Even in dark dress, she was as captivating as of old. Clothed in white, she gleamed like the radiant sun, a symbol of purity and power. But in black, her beauty was subtler- dimmed, but not extinguished. A figure of lamentation, with hints of brilliancy escaping from beneath the shroud of mourning.

He had loved her then, pitying her grief; he loved her even more now, when she seemed weighed down with innumerable troubles. Her misery added a weight to her attraction that he had never felt before.

She turned away from the funeral, and approached him slowly. Suffering was etched in her patient face; Faramir felt his heart ache. She dipped her head gravely in greeting. "Lord Faramir."

"Milady."

She dabbed at reddened eyes, and tugged gently on her son's hand. "Anardil needs to return to the Citadel. I hope my presence will not be missed."

He shook his head. "No, milady. This is not a place for children."

She glided off towards the White Tower, and he sighed. He loved Éowyn as much as he had during the War of the Ring.

But she was the Queen of Gondor. And the King Elessar, her husband of seventeen years, had died less than a week ago. She could never return his affections. Her heart had been taken before he ever had a chance.


tbc