Mi Autalë
For my darling Rynne on her birthday. I love you!

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Days like these are reasons he sometimes wishes that life could forget him. The sky is a thick, tumultuous grey spread over faint patches of blue, hung over the garden below. Faramir watches her from the window in his chamber, thankful that she cannot see him. He has seen her walking here for the longest time, yet he has barely said anything to her. Dusk does not suit her, he thinks. Éowyn is as the morning, always rising to some forbidden hope. She does not fade. She will not fade.

Her icy grey eyes are diamonds, bringing him to a state of awe he has not felt in the longest time. She is as pale as winter personified, he deems, her golden hair like sunshine on a fresh layer of snow. Years of isolation and regret have taken their toll on her. She is wiser than her twenty-three years; nevertheless, she is wayward as a child, and as untrammelled as the wildest of animals. And perfect. She is perfect in her despair; broken, yet there is always beauty in the breakdown. She will not be conquered, yet she has conquered herself.

She holds fast to the little of herself she has left, hoping she will not come undone, and he knows it. Faramir has seen the tears she thought to conceal beneath a veil of joy. He himself has been going nowhere fast, though the world, seemingly, has gone on without him.

It is as he read to her several days ago: Mi autalë, túrë utúlië an ringi, yernar indor; terë lómë lantantë, a meruvantë an melir mí ilquava. She had responded with a faint smile, commenting on the eloquence of his speech and the magnificence of the High Elven tongue. That was the only time he had seen her smile. But she talked a while with him, softly, then she had gone to the gardens again, and the colour had faded from her face like fresh ink washing away in the warm summer rain.

And it is not just now that he realises it: yesterday was the only time he had seen her smile. But it is a beginning, he thinks, a beginning of something better, if only she would allow it. And for him, to believe is enough.

I cannot help but despair, my lord, Éowyn had said, for I truly have naught to live for. But even Faramir knows she holds a hope she cannot grasp, but can envision. Those dreams of dark and light, those visions of night and day in a world she knows not, are the very sinews of her soul. She had seen them in the bitter watches of the night long ago at Edoras, those visions of raven and gold mingling together high on the walls, and though she had known not what they had meant then, they mean the world to her today. A shred of hope is worth living for, worth dying for.

"Wait, Éowyn," he wishes he could say, "Let me help you. Let me take you to all you have never known."

But she waits for no one, not even herself. He wishes she would.

And now, wishes are all they have.