Author's Note: Hello and welcome to chapter one of "The Price of Pity". This story is the sequel to "Wounded" but it is not at all necessary to read the first fic to understand this one. This fic takes place post-War of the Ring and has some AU elements. It is officially an Eowyn/Faramir pairing, though there are numerous mentions of a past Faramir/OC pairing. This story starts in medias res (the middle of things) so a majority of chapters will contain flashbacks and back-story. I do not have a beta and while I have proofread this chapter many times, I am sure I have not caught all my mistakes. Any errors that appear in canon, grammar or spelling are my fault and my fault alone. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on this fic, should I continue or no? Constructive criticism, both negative and positive, is most welcome. I hope you enjoy!
Summary: In the early days of their marriage, Eowyn helps Faramir accept the loss of his brother, father…and first wife.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of Tolkien's masterpiece.
The Price of Pity
Chapter One The Midnight Intruder
October 3019 Third Age
Eowyn could not sleep. The hollow chill of Minas Tirith after nightfall surrounded her, touched the flesh on her thin arms and made all the world seem pale. Starlight fell through the window, icily illuminating the bedchamber. Ghosts trod as shadows in the hall.
Eowyn nibbled her lower lip. Unfriendly eyes watched her, accusing eyes. Usurper, a dead voice whispered. Intruder. Forgotten moans gnawed at her ears.
She suddenly wished that their house in Ithilien was ready and they could leaves this place. Memory clung to the very stones.
Eowyn rolled over and pulled the blanket over her breasts. Faramir slept soundly beside her, a frown shaping his lips and furrowing his brow. What dreams haunted him still? Thoughts of fire perhaps and death groans. Blood spilling from a fair brow.
Eowyn shut her eyes. The cadence of her pulse thundered through her veins. She listened and soon the imagined noises stopped. And the ghosts returned to the cold clay ground, exactly where they belonged.
Her nerves were stretched thin. Any moment they might snap, leaving her in tears that she could not explain. Why had she come to this tormented place?
Faramir sighed, his arm flopping over the valley between her hips and chest. She rested her hand over his own, the warmth of his flesh chasing away her nightmares.
Yes, she loved him.
He had taken her from peril, shown her the sun and the happiness day could bring. Eowyn smiled and the coldness of the chamber eased into balmy breezes. She had come here for him.
Eowyn would have drifted to sleep, would have let slumber close her eyes and soften her heart…had not the wailing begun. She stiffened at once and the sound terrified her.
The Witch-king's screams, she thought and horror made her skin tingle with cold sweat. Of course not, reason chided her. It was only the child.
The child? From whence had he come? She had no child. And then Eowyn remembered.
Faramir's child, little Miresgal, with his sharp face and challenging eyes. He was only a babe and yet so stern, so harsh.
They said he much resembled his mother. Angry, misled, wounded. And from the whispers the servants spread through the halls, Eowyn could not decide if they were pleased at the mother's demise or not.
She had fallen bravely, crowning a wretched life with one moment of glory. It was what she had always hoped for, Faramir had said. To be remembered.
But Eowyn did not want to remember her, that strange female that dwelled in the recesses of Faramir's mind and haunted hers.
Miresgal screamed. Eowyn clutched the side of the bed. Her fingers fisted in the mattress. The nursery lay two doors down from their chamber. Straining to listen, she expected soon to hear the soothing tones of the nursemaid quieting the child, singing lullabies in the rolling Elven tongue.
But the child never silenced and the nursemaid seemed never to come. Eowyn glanced at Faramir's bare back. Would he wake and go to his son? He was a good father, attentive and soft-spoken despite his pain. Only he seemed to have a way with Miresgal.
Faramir mumbled something, a name maybe and fell deeper into sleep. Eowyn felt her shoulders sag.
It had been too soon. Eomer was right. She should not have wed Faramir so shortly after the death of his wife. Patience should have kept her away, waiting until his pain dulled, until he could love her fully.
But she had been eager to marry, to dim her own pain. The prospect of being a mother to a child that was not her own troubled her little. Often Eowyn spent her hours amongst young Rohirric children, how different could motherhood be? She had expected soft smiles, a round face and laughter. But Miresgal was miserable.
The crying continued and Eowyn fought the urge to stop her ears. Would the child tire himself out?
No, she had known him to screech for hours on end, calling for someone who would not come.
Sympathy tugged at her as she recalled her own dark hours. Often she wished her mother would cross the threshold of her bower and sing her to sleep.
Eowyn reached for her robe that lay on a nearby chair. She pulled it over her arms and swung her legs over the side of the bed. The stone floor caressed her bare feet.
Faramir did not notice her leave-taking and she took care to shut the door quietly. Shadows grew in the corridor, threatening her with cruel glances and whispers.
Eowyn held herself erect as she walked. Her feet made low, pattering sounds, her robe whispering in the breeze. She past a thin window that showed the moon, sad and alone in a sea of jealous stars.
Miresgal's chamber door opened silently for her and she found the nursemaid asleep by the fire.
"Lazy woman," she muttered. The nursemaid snored in reply.
Miresgal sat on his small bed, his blankets rumpled. One of his pillows lay on the floor.
"What ails you child?" Eowyn asked in what she thought was a kind voice. Miresgal wailed and threw his remaining pillow at her head. It fell at her feet. She stooped, picked it up and laid it beside him.
"That was not kind, Miresgal."
The child flopped back down on his bed and covered his face. Eowyn regarded him for a moment. She had known two-year-olds to have fits at every occasion, but this child could not be normal. Strange blood flowed through his veins. Perhaps that fueled his rage.
"Why do you cry?" Eowyn asked. She sat on the bed and stroked his back. Miresgal flinched at her touch.
A moment of silence past and Eowyn waited for him to answer. The child spoke little, often using the speech of the Elves that still bewildered her. At length, Miresgal turned his head to the side. His fair hair shielded his face.
A hot lump lodged in Eowyn's throat. She knew he asked for his mother.
"Miresgal, you…" But she could not speak. Her voice shriveled within her.
The child rolled onto his back and stared at her with his cold blue eyes. "Naneth?"
Eowyn's chin trembled and at once she felt alone, alone and watched by a ghost.
Author's Note: Those of you that have read "Wounded" might be a bit confused, but I promise things will clear up shortly. Thank you so much for reading! Please take the time to review and share your thoughts with me. The next chapter will be up in under a week.