Thanks to all who have read and reviewed. Most of the dialogue in this chapter is pulled directly from Lord of the Rings, because no one could write it better than JRRT did. He owns all characters, and in this chapter, many of the words.


They stood long at the wall, silent and adrift in their own thoughts, watching the carrion birds wheel above Pelleanor. As the wind began to rise, biting with cold, Eowyn shivered against Faramir's side. Faramir pulled aside a passing page, and shortly thereafter he returned with a heavy, deep black cloak, embroidered with silver stars around the neck and hem. Faramir helped swirl the mantle around her shoulders, then his eyes changed and she looked askance. "What is it, my…" She stopped herself and smiled, swallowing back the title of Lord. "Faramir?"

"The cloak. Never did I think I would see another wear it." Eowyn's brow furrowed, and Faramir smiled. "It was my mother's." Eowyn's breast was filled with a swell of warmth and she tucked herself close again to Faramir's side. He caught the corner of his lip in his teeth and worried it for a moment, then with a breath he plunged forward. "Think not ill of me if I say to you, the days we have shared…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." He pulled away from her and gently grasped her shoulders. "Eowyn, I would not have this world end now, or lose so soon what I have found."

"Lose what you have found?" Eowyn's heart fluttered in her chest, quaking with anxiety and anticipation and fear and hope. "I know not what in these days you have found that you could lose." She drew again close to his side. "But come, my friend, let us not speak of it. Let use not speak at all." Faramir did not speak, and his face seemed suddenly pale, and with new trepidation Eowyn followed his northward gaze.

To her shock and fear, in the far off distance there rose a darkness, a black cloud that seemed to roil and froth as it grew, building as the ocean's tide. Terror gripped Eowyn's chest and she grasped blindly for Faramir's hand. Finding it, she clasped it tight, too horrified to notice that his hand had gone icy cold with his own fear.

"I stand upon some dreadful brink…" Eowyn's voice nearly failed her, a mere whisper almost lost to the rising wind. "And it is utterly dark in the abyss before my feet, but whether there is any light behind me I cannot tell." Faramir's hand tightened over her own, an iron grip. "For I cannot turn yet. I wait for some stroke of doom."

"Yes, we wait for the stroke of doom," Faramir repeated, eyes never leaving the onrushing darkness. With terrifying suddenness, the wind ceased and the sun seemed to dim to deep dusk, and all went silent as though deafness had befallen them both. The carrion birds no longer wheeled, the leaves no longer rustled, and it seemed that their hearts no longer beat within them.

The blackness rushed onward, now crackling at the edges with lightning, building, rising, racing. Without warning, the ground seemed to heave beneath their feet and Eowyn was rocked against Faramir's side with a force that took her breath and she almost stumbled to the ground. Faramir caught her and wrapped an arm around her shoulder, steadying her, and wrapped his other arm protectively across her chest. "It reminds me of Numenor," Faramir breathed to himself.

"Of Numenor?"

Eowyn's question brought Faramir back to himself and he murmured, "Yes, 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." He couldn't quell a shudder and his voice broke, strangled. "I often dream of it."

"Then you think that the Darkness is coming?" Eowyn's voice was thin, nearly inaudible, and she trembled in Faramir's arms. "Darkness Unescapable?"

Faramir tightened his arms around her. "No. It was but a picture in the mind." He shook his head. "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." Eowyn twisted from his arms and looked up at him with fearful but dry eyes. With gentle fingers, Faramir lifted her chin so he could meet her gaze full on. He stared at her for long moments, drinking her in, memorizing her. "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." A small and true smile marked the corners of his mouth and he whispered, "Eowyn, Eowyn…White Lady of Rohan. In this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure." With her chin still cupped in his fingers, he dropped his head and pressed a lingering kiss upon her forehead.

They looked long into one another's eyes, then turned back to face the north, silent, hand in hand, but as they did it seemed as if Faramir's words had been taken for commands, for the shadow seemed to shrink back, boiling and rolling as it consumed itself, jagged lightening bolts now turned to explosions of pure light, all failing and falling and dying, drawn back into the north as though called back by a violent ebb tide.

And as the darkness withdrew, the late sun shone forth as if doing her part to drive back the night, and in that sudden light Eowyn and Faramir's hearts swelled with such hope and gladness that they both felt nearly overcome. Faramir, uncaring of watchful eyes, pulled Eowyn into his arms and embraced her, and they stood thus entwined, high upon a sun-drenched wall of a newly born city.