Happy New Year
The characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate
Three days later
"The King is here to see you my lady," a servant announced to Éowyn.
Although it was still early, the Princess of Ithilien was already up and dressed. Smiling, she rose to her feet to greet Aragorn.
"How is Faramir feeling this morning? I hope the treatment worked for him?" Aragorn enquired of her after they had exchanged greetings.
"I don't know yet." she replied. "He went straight to his dressing room when he awoke and is still in there. How I wish I could have seen you both in the mud!" she laughed.
Aragorn thought how happy and contented she looked now, almost glowing with well being.
"We were not a pretty sight at all, I assure you!" Aragorn grinned back. "Now can you call Faramir? I should like to see him before I join Arwen for breakfast."
Faramir kept the door of dressing room firmly shut. As was his custom, he had donned his drawers and breeches under his nightshirt. Today he was loth to shed the garment. He took a deep breath, trying to summon up the courage to see whether or not his body was still heavily scarred. Could the promised miracle have taken place? The lack of the constant pain, which had plagued him for so long, suggested that it might well have done.
Suddenly, there was a tap on the door, which opened before he could say anything. His wife entered, closely followed by Aragorn.
"I have come to see how you are faring, my friend," Aragorn said.
"I feel well, thank you" Faramir replied.
Grinning, Éowyn turned to the King "Did the mud bath work for you?" she asked in her usual outspoken fashion. " Let us see you first!"
Faramir found himself holding his breath while Aragorn good-naturedly, albeit rather shyly, removed his tunic and shirt. The ugly red marks of three days ago were now so faint that had they not known, Faramir and Éowyn would not have noticed them.
Éowyn circled the King, gazing intently at his now unblemished back. To her great relief, even the scar caused when she had so roughly tugged away the bandages had faded to near nothingness. "That is amazing!" she exclaimed, "You can get dressed again now!"
Aragorn struggled to refrain from bursting out laughing; no one else, save maybe the garrulous Ioreth ever spoke to him like that, now he was King. He found it oddly refreshing and hoped she would never change. It was good to have friends who would treat him as one of them, rather than as Elessar Telcontar, High King of Gondor and Arnor.
"Now it is your turn!" Aragorn said, smiling at Faramir encouragingly.
The Steward's fingers were suddenly all thumbs as he tried to unlace his nightshirt. Éowyn went to assist her husband, and before he could protest, she had whisked the garment over his head.
"That has worked very well, just as I knew it would!" Aragorn exclaimed delightedly
Faramir finally dared to look down at his chest and shoulders. He gasped with delight when he realised the painful scars, which had plagued him for so long, had faded to almost nothing.
Aragorn moved behind him. "The scars on your back have faded, you no longer bear any disfigurements, mellon nîn," he said gently." And I give you my word, I will never let anyone lay a finger on you again!"
"Thank you so much," Faramir impulsively embraced his King.
"You are even more handsome now than before, I shall have to watch you with all the court beauties!" Éowyn teased, as she too embraced Aragorn.
The King smiled, and returned their embraces, he had found the rainbow he sought, and it was filled now with all the colours of love and friendship. "It is a pleasure to see you healed, my friend," Aragorn replied. "I had also come to invite you both to a New Year supper with Arwen, her brothers, and myself.
"We gladly accept." Éowyn replied while Faramir smiled agreement.
That evening, Aragorn sat at the head of the dining table, with Arwen and Faramir seated either side of him. "Your happiness for the coming year, my friends!" he said, proposing a toast.
"Your happiness as well!" they replied, raising their glasses.
Faramir smiled happily, secure in the love of his wife and his King. For the first time in his life, he had cast off the shadow of his father's disapproval.
Éowyn looked into the eyes of her handsome husband and rejoiced that he loved her. She was so thankful that she had never sent that letter to her brother, or by now she would be back in Edoras, living off Éomer's charity, rather than enjoying her husband's love and the friendship of the King and Queen.
Aragorn looked round the table at his beloved and beautiful wife, her brothers; his dear friends from childhood, his Steward, whom he had grown to love as dearly as a son, and Éowyn who had become as a sister to him. This New Year he had so much to celebrate. Gondor was at peace; he was surrounded by the love of family and friends, and Valar willing, he would be a father before the year ended.
Clasping hands they wished each other a Happy New Year.
A/N This is the final chapter of my revised version of "Shadow and Thought." .You can see read the old version if you follow the link on my profile page. I hope I have managed to improve the story and am interested in what readers think.
"Coastal Tales", "Alphabet of Arda" and "Out of the Depths" will continue soon. Also look out for a special story to mark the anniversary of the death of Boromir.