When I first thought about writing my version of this, I was in my adolescence and I didn't have the patience to write it. And then many many many years later, I saw it all played out through the trilogies. It has promoted a deep respect for Kiwis in me. But Éowyn and Faramir's screen time was a little short even in the extended DVD version, and for die hard Éowyn/Faramir fans such as myself…it was unsatisfying. This prompted a rewrite of my old ideas. I typed it out in the wee hours of the morning for several weeks without much sleep. But here it is.
You scarce few who are also surfing the Web at ungodly hours, do please take the time to read and review.
Revised for typographical errors and lack of clarity! Ugh. Eight years later... (12/1/14)
Chapter 1: Out of Darkness
"Your father is dead, child. Go to him now, and pay your respects." Her mother's hollow words rang through her ears. She looked up at her older brother and saw that he was trying hard not to cry. The tears glistened and brimmed, welling up so that they nearly fell from her eyes.
Dead? What is death? she asked herself.
Death is darkness and pain, hissed a voice. The voice was raspy and cruel and hollow like a grave. The sound of hit wrapped cold fingers around her heart. Was this voice in her mind? Did her mother and brother hear it?
Suddenly the images of her family swirled into a whirlpool of light swallowed into shadow and all was dark.
Death is all that awaits you now. There is nothing left…only despair. The cold, dead voice was unfeeling and persistent. They will all leave you, in the end….
Then she found herself in a dimly lit room, where the candles flickered with the movements of those who drew near to the light. Women were sobbing by the still figure of a woman, lying very still in a large bed amid rich furs. The body was draped in a gauzy shift from head to toe.
But Éowyn could still see her face through the thin linen. She looked upon the face of her mother, somber and graceful in her repose. The sister of King Théoden was a renowned beauty in her day, but this beautiful face was also lined with grief and sorrow even as it was held by death.
Éowyn tried to cry, but no tears came. Her mother's death was sudden and unexpected, just like her father's. It was almost too much to bear, and she was incapable of shedding tears due to the shock of realizing she was suddenly an orphan, but not from a lack of sorrow. Her heart wrenched with grief and pity, and also remorse for not being able to do more for her mother when she was alive.
Again, the scenery changed in a swirl of light that was unsettling, but this time, a flash of lightning in the dark blinded her momentarily, and she was taken aback by the foul wind that hit her full in the face. It was so oppressive she felt like choking. The sky was dark and grim, and thunderous clouds ominously loomed in all directions of the horizon while lightning flickered and colored the clouds bright silver and steely gray. She felt as though her heart had stopped and her blood had chilled. Silent terror rose in her throat as the tall, heavily armored figure in a black hooded cloak stood menacingly before her. The monster was tall, and the mace it held seemed to grow in size as the dark figure rose from the dead winged creature she had just slain. The head and the carcass of the winged dragon were on either side of her, smelling heavily of foul blood and still twitching, ever so slightly.
In her mind, she could still hear that foul winged beast with the bone shattering cry. Its shriek alone made her face turn ashen white and she had hacked the creature's neck in twain in a desperate attempt to do anything to make it stop. Its black blood still flowed from the neck and the detached head, polluting the ground with a bubbling black puddle at her feet.
But now, a more formidable foe stood before her; the Witch King of Angmar. For this was one of the accursed; a Nazgûl. Somehow she knew this was Nazgûl the minute she saw it. It was larger than any man, and wore a cruel crown of metal spikes. Surely, it was he; the main ghoul in the stories meant to scare children-the very essence of nightmares. It was the faceless menace who had haunted the edge of her dreams while she slept underneath the roof of the Golden Hall when she was a child.
She had heard of this monster from foreign travelers passing through Rohan, escaping the terror of Sauron. It was once a king of men, but blinded by hate and fear the king became Sauron's minion. His very presence disturbed the core of her very soul. She knew it had the malice to peel her flesh from her bones and he would feed her soul to the monsters Sauron kept in his dark tower. There was nothing to stand in his way now, but Éowyn. She wanted to run, but her feet would not move. Desperately, she cursed her body, trying to will it to move. For the first time in her life, she felt numb with fear. Naked fright seared through her brain and made her tremble from head to foot. Éowyn broke into a cold sweat.
The hooded figure stepped over to her, raising its morning star to ready a swing. I am going to die, she thought to herself. The fear left her at this final realization. She stood still, ready to take the first and fatal blow.
Yes, die now. Die now and join your loved ones…said a voice in the wind. It was spiteful, and snakelike, much like the voice of Grima Wormtongue, and the words wrapped tightly around her heart like a noose. The mace went into full swing in a sudden rush, and through sheer instinctive will to live she raised her shield arm to defend herself.
Then all went dark and there was nothing but pain. It shot up through her arm and her shoulder and into the rest of her body and it blinded her. It hurt to breathe. Her lungs seemed to tighten, and her throat felt constricted as if she were suddenly drowning in her pain.
Your mother and father are dead. Your uncle's lifeless body remains rotting beneath his useless horse. A warrior indeed! A fine day when the men of Rohan are killed by their own beloved horses! Your brother lays on the battlefield torn to pieces by orcs, his body scattered across the plain. There is no glory for your family. There is nothing now but for you to die, said the voice.
No! Éomer would not die. He is brave and strong, unlike me. He will come back, insisted Éowyn.
But he is dead, hissed the voice. In the murky light she thought she saw her brother's dead face, disembodied from his corpse. She tried to scream but could not find her voice. The horror she felt was unbearable.
Yes, they are dead. And now you must die, it whispered.
Yes, she thought. I must die. I have failed to protect them. I hope they are not cross with me for coming to fight. But it has all been for naught…
Deserter! said the voice. You are a deserter. You are a selfish girl who failed miserably to protect her people. Your selfish desire to gain honor and renown in battle has led you here. There is no honor now. Your body is being hacked to pieces by orcs even as you sleep. You are a shameful wretch, and you will die in the shadows, just as you lived…
I deserve to die, then, said Éowyn, thoroughly convinced of her own wretchedness. She began to feel her life flow out of her body, being sucked into some other worldly void, and she despaired. She did not want to die like this and her heart wept for Death was so cold and lonely. She realized that there was no glory at all in dying like this.
Éowyn, harken to my voice.
Whose voice was this? So warm and so familiar….
My Lord Aragorn? Her thoughts sounded hollow as if they echoed in a great empty chasm. Her despair doubled at the thought of never seeing him again.
Éowyn, hear me. Let my voice lead you away from here…away from the darkness and grief. It is all behind you now. Follow my voice and live.
I have nothing to live for now, she thought sadly. They are all dead will not return. I am all alone, now. And you will not have me.
But he kept calling her name, and his voice was so gentle, beseeching. Just hearing it brought her that hope which she had almost forgotten she could feel. His voice warmed her heart.
Follow me, Éowyn…follow me…the voice began to fade.
No! Lord Aragorn, do not leave me here! She willed herself to follow the voice, as if she were slowly floating up through a dark tunnel. Do not leave me alone!
"Éowyn Eómund's daughter awake! For your enemy has passed away! Awake, Éowyn Lady of Rohan! The shadow is gone and all darkness is washed clean!" Lord Aragorn's voice was very clear now, and she felt as though she was reaching up towards it, trying to grasp it so that it could lift her from the dark pit she had fallen into. She could no longer hear the snakelike voice that haunted her sleep.
"Éowyn! Éowyn!" shouted a voice also very near.
Whose voice was that? It was a voice she had known all of her life. Éomer.
Éowyn's eyes opened slowly to a blur of candlelight and dark silhouettes. Hushed voices came near and shuffled away. The air was filled with a scent she did not recognize. The scent reminded her of springtime in the Mark, on a fresh and cool day when tall, green grass stretched beyond the horizon. Somehow, it also reminded her of Lord Aragorn.
"Éowyn? Éowyn! Thank the gods you're awake," said her brother. Her vision cleared and she saw tears in his eyes. She was touched by his display of affection.
"Éomer. They said you were dead," said Éowyn slowly, trying to focus her eyes on her brother's face. She was so tired. "But nay, those were the voices in my head trying to trick me." She paused. "But Théoden King is dead. That was no dream. I saw our uncle die with my own eyes."
His brother's expression confirmed what she knew in her heart and her lip began to quiver.
"But he bade me to say goodbye to you, sister-daughter, who was as dear to him as any daughter of his own." Her vision blurred a little as she remembered the sight of her uncle's broken body, but she did not cry. She did not have the strength to. Her brother kissed her brow tenderly, in place of their uncle, who in many ways was like a father to both.
Her eyes then looked around to search for one who was no longer in the room. Lord Aragorn had left, but she felt certain it was he who called her back from the edge of death. Her brother, perhaps sensing her thoughts, changed the subject and called a servant to bring her water and some bread if she could stomach it.
And so, she learned in what conversation could be had while the women attended her and she managed a few pieces of food and water that her little companion and fellow in arms, Merry, had also survived and was in a room nearby in these Houses of Healing, as the Gondorians called them. She was relieved. It was that Halfling's valiant desire to help her that brought her enemy to his knees so that Éowyn could smite down her foe upon the field. In that brief moment when her shield arm shattered and she was brought to her knees and all seemed lost, Merry was there to aid her. He was as brave and true as any rider of the Mark and Éowyn was glad she brought him along for the journey. It was Fate, certainly. As her eyelids became heavier she kept the thought of wanting to see her friend again close to her heart.
Her brother's visit was not long, and he kissed her healed hands and left her in the care of the mindful servants in the Houses. She wanted to go with him, but there was no possibility her body could get out of bed, let alone stand and fight again.
Gandalf was also present, though quiet and standing further away from the time she awoke. Before he left, he spoke words of comfort to Éowyn, his eyes looking through her in an understanding, grandfatherly way, then he too departed for the battle that was still being fought outside the City. Éowyn had to stay behind yet again, and her tears welled up in her eyes and onto her pillow. The hope she had felt when she heard Lord Aragorn's voice while wandering in her fevered state was gone. There was no chance of her dying a glorified death now, no chance of renown as a Queen—no chance of anything else; and she was deeply disappointed.
Must I now lay here as an invalid while my only kin goes with the man I love to fight the honorable fight? Why did I even bother waking? There is nothing for me here, she thought to herself. Bitter thoughts held her mind as she slept fitfully into the night.
Author's note: You know, the attraction to Tokein's tale in the modern day I think stems from our childhood notions of honor and valor and adventure. Too bad we don't have the opportunities in this world to prove our mettle with sword in hand! When I was younger, I wanted to be just like her! LOL. On to the next chapter! –Kero.