Chapter 5: Doubts and Fears
Well, here it is at last—chapter 5. I apologize for the long wait. I have been terribly terribly busy lately. To add insult to injury, my muse up and deserted me! So, I had to waste a good deal of time, looking in personnel offices for one. Luckily for me, Faramir volunteered and his rates are fairly low, too! That Middle Earth Muses place really knows their stuff. For all those of you suffering without your muses, I heartily recommend it to you. : )
Anyhow, this chapters one of the longest I've written so far, I think. It's a bit clunky and has gone through several revisions. That is my other apology. However, I still unabashedly post it and beg and plead for reviews. Heh, not really. :-) Sorry, just a wee bit hyper today.
Standard disclaimer applies: I write neither slash nor incest.
Here dear Bor is clueless, and Faramir, his romantic adviser, is amused. Enjoy! Oh, and did I mention Bor and Wyn meet for the first time?
Denethor's eldest son looked up at Faramir with exasperation. "Yes?"
His brother smirked slightly at him. "All packed?"
"Yes, nearly. Bother, what does one wear to a wedding?"
"Boromir! Your ceremonial uniform will do, I believe. Honestly."
He shook his head at the pile of clothes on his brother's bed.
"Making a mess, are we, brother?"
His older brother merely snorted in reply. Faramir began to sort through his brother's clothes, folding a few and putting them into a chest and returning the rest to the wardrobe.
After a few moments, he asked seriously, "Have you a gift for her?"
"A gift?" Boromir looked puzzled. "King Theoden has her dowry. That is the duty of the father. I have no gift to bring."
Faramir shook his head.
"My dear brother, you must remember: Women's hearts are oft turned by jewels."
"And who is that, Far? Another one of your poets?" Boromir smiled, teasing his brother about his reading habits was a favorite pastime.
Faramir smiled. "The finest—Denethor II, son of Ecthelion II. Have you not heard how he courted our Mother?"
"Of course. Yet, surely you jest? You think a proper lady to be turned by mere trifles? I would think little of such a woman."
"As I would, brother. Yes, I jest. However," Faramir grew serious, "I think perhaps you would not be amiss if you were to give Lady Eowyn the gift I suggest. You wish to make her feel special, do you not?"
Boromir gave his brother a confused look.
Faramir sighed and then began, patiently, to explain.
"I have not met the Lady of Rohan, yet I think her to be as joyful about the match as you are, dear brother. Think of it as she must: she leaves behind everything she has known—her family, her home, her country. You must help her to feel welcome. You must give her something of Gondor. I know the perfect gift."
"Not flowers, Far! Please. I could not lift my head with pride again if my men were to see me!"
"Some day, Bor, perhaps you will change your mind," Faramir laughed, "Peace, though, I do not suggest flowers. Rather, this."
He held his hand and on it, a golden locket. The gold glimmered, catching the light. Boromir took it in his hand and studied it.
"But, what is this, brother? I have never seen the like of this crest."
"Here is a horse, the symbol of Rohan, and here stars for its mane, the symbol of Gondor. Do you understand now?"
"Yes, I think I do. Oh, curse it all! You should marry, Far, not me!"
Faramir smiled. "You will find your way, Boromir, and ere the journey ends, your duty shall turn to love."
Eowyn dug further into the chest. She had put off packing for her new life for as long as possible and now that the wedding day was only a few days away, she could delay no longer. It was an old chest, filled with many childhood heirlooms, most of which would be left in Rohan. Her searching hands felt a soft—and lumpy—piece of cloth. She drew it out and then looked at it with a cry of joy.
The Lady of Rohan held in her hands a small, thread-bare, well-loved, stuffed cloth horse. For years it had been her favorite toy, her comforter in the storms of earth and life, and her fellow adventurer. As she had gotten older, time had taken her away from her play and slowly the toy had collected dust. At last, all of her toys, even her beloved horse, had been put away. Her own mother had made it for her, the day Eomer had gotten his first horse...
"Look, Wyn! I am riding! It is my horse, my very own. Papa gave him to me!"
Eowyn gazed, awe-struck at her brother.
Eomer rode slowly at first, then cantered, then Papa let go of the reins and he was galloping.
"Mama! I want a horse!" She cried.
"Oh, Dear One, you are not big enough yet." Theodwyn gathered her young daughter in to her arms.
"I am, Mama. I am five! I am big!"
"Come, Darling, I will make you a horse," Eowyn's mother rose and took her hand.
"All for my very own?"
"Yes, Eowyn, for your very own." She smiled down at her child.
Eowyn had never forgotten that smile. It had been so full of love and gentleness... Nor had she forgotten how her mother found brown cloth for the body, black yarn for the mane and tails, sand buttons for the eyes. She remembered watching intently as a horse took shape under her mother's careful fingers.
A tear splashed onto the horse and Eowyn hugged it very tightly to herself. She quickly thrust it into the chest that would accompany her to Gondor. There were some things too precious to part with.
The days had passed all too quickly for Boromir. Now they were half-way to Rohan, when all he wanted was to be home. He was frightened and it was a new feeling. He was a warrior, but this was unlike any battle he had ever fought. He had never trained for this... How did one prepare to marry a woman one had never met? What matter of woman was Eowyn?
Eowyn paced her room. If he had not been delayed, Lord Boromir was arriving today. She swallowed hard. After her Uncle had told her the news, time had passed far too quickly.
There was not much that could frighten her. After all, she was a daughter of kings! And yet... Here was something unknown. She did not know how to be a wife. She did not know how to be a woman of Gondor. And she did not want to have to learn...
She knew little of this Boromir. She knew he was a warrior of great renown, but his character was unknown to her.
The House of Eorl was in sight. Its golden walls beckoned many weary travelers, but to Boromir, it seemed a prison. The steward's eldest son fought back the urge to turn his horse around and ride home, back to the safety of Minas Tirith.
"Well, Boromir," Denethor remarked with satisfaction, oblivious to his son's discomfort, "We are nearly there."
Eowyn stiffened at the knock on her door, white hands clenching the dark green of her dress.
"My Lady, the Lords of Gondor have been seen and Theoden-King has requested you join him to welcome them."
The servant's words sounded as a death knell in Eowyn's heart. There was no going back.
"Lord Denethor, Lord Boromir, Lord Faramir, and Ambassador-Lord Amlach." The herald declared. Boromir felt his stomach turn. There was no going back.
As the lords of both countries greeted each other, Eowyn studied Boromir out of the corner of her eyes. He was a tall man and comely to look upon. Yet, perhaps his appearance hid the ugliness within? Boromir looked upon the lady before him; she was fair indeed. Yet, fairness had never long masked foulness.
Their steely grey eyes met, expressions unreadable.
"This is my son, Boromir." Denethor said, a proud smile etched on his face. Boromir bowed and Theoden nodded.
"Boromir, my sister-daughter, Eowyn, daughter of Eomund."
The two bowed to each other.
There was an awkward silence for a moment, as both parties scrambled to remember diplomatic procedure for such an event.
Amlach took over. "My Lord Denethor, Theoden-King, we have matters of alliance to discuss. If you might spare the time?"
Both lords nodded their agreement.
Amlach turned to Boromir and Eowyn, "If you will pardon us." It was a courteous, but unquestionable dismissal.
Eowyn swept from the room. Boromir, with great reluctance, followed her.
Eowyn's strides were long and fast. She knew he was following her and she wanted, more than anything, to flee! The more distance she put between the two of them the better. She threw open the heavy wooden doors leading out of the Hall and stepped out onto the porch that stood over Edoras. She drew a deep breath. I cannot do this!
His shadow fell over her. She looked to her side slightly. He stood beside her, gazing out at Rohan.
She looked up, then quickly away. They could not remain silent forever. "Do you enjoy the view?"
"It is beautiful. Nothing to see for leagues, but untamed wilderness."
"Rohan is not tame. No King can tame it."
He looked at her for a moment. Her eyes shone. She seemed to him as one of the land, beautiful and untamed. And he, Boromir son of Denethor, felt a fierce pride stir in him.
Then suddenly the image was gone, driven away by a Gondorian wind. Her shoulders dropped, her face became tired and sad.
Hoping to drive off the ill mood, Boromir blurted out, "You will be sad to leave it, I am certain."
Fool! Fool! Callous fool! Boromir could have kicked himself for a such a careless remark. He had no time to make amends, for Eowyn spoke.
"Surely, though, My Lord," Her voice was choked, "Gondor is as beautiful?"
Though he had not the gift of speech, as his brother did, Boromir had always before prided himself on always having words to say. All such words deserted him. Confound it, he was a man of action, not words! Had it been a man, he would have put a comforting hand on his shoulder. A woman was a different matter all together!
"I am sorry that it has come this, My Lady...Eowyn. I too had no wish to marry."
She stared at him wordlessly.
"It is our duty," he knew no other comfort. He hoped it strengthened her as it did him.
Eowyn felt a tremor ripple through her body. Here was a man who would give all he had for his country.
"Aye, our duty," she spoke softly.
It was an understanding, however fragile.
And, in the Rohan twilight, two heavy hearts beat as one.
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