Somehow, in the aftermath of traveling to home to Rohan and laying Theoden to rest, Eowyn had never managed to talk to Lady Galadriel. It had been easy to plan to talk to the great elvish Lady both Gimli and Arwen had spoken so much about and that Rohan's legends were apparently so wrong about, but actually finding the courage to go up and talk to her was another matter.
Honestly, thought Eowyn, I killed the Witch King and here I am afraid to talk to an elvish lady who is probably perfectly nice. It's just that when I actually see her I feel like it I'm a gawky teenager dressing in my brother's castoffs. I look at her and I can't imagine her doing anything of the sort, no matter what Arwen says she was like as a young girl.
Propelled by self-disgust as much as by courage, Eowyn walked up the Lady Galadriel where she stood beside Lord Celeborn, holding a half-empty wine glass in one hand as she listened to the musicians. Galadriel turned round and saw Eowyn.
"Lady Eowyn," she said, smiling. "it is good to finally meet so valiant a woman."
"Lady Galadriel," said Eowyn, "it is good to finally meet the source of many legends."
Galadriel raised an eyebrow.
"I mean your granddaughter's tales, rather than our rohirric legends" Eowyn clarified. "Apparently those have become highly warped with the passing of the years and too many tellers."
"If the questions we are sometimes asked are any indication, we have spent far too long becoming more and more isolated from the outside world," said Galadriel. "Alas! But it is too late to remedy for most of us. I and many others shall be going west, now that Sauron is defeated."
"Over the sea?" asked Eowyn, frowning. "But why? I would have thought that with Sauron defeated and the world coming back to life around us, the elves would find joy in the world again."
"You must understand," Celeborn said, "that my wife originally comes from Valinor and her entire family is there. She is homesick, I believe you would say, and as the world ages and alters further from what it was she becomes more so."
"Also, the world becomes less less and less healthy for elves as it ages, whether Sauron remains or no," said Galadriel. "Yet we cannot escape it by dying as mortals do. Aman is different because of the presence of the Valar, and only there can we be at peace these days. But as Celeborn so wisely says, I am also looking forward to seeing my family and many friends whom I have long missed."
"I see," said Eowyn. "I can see that that makes sense, but we will miss you. It seems such a shame to lose the elves when we have barely begun to know who you really are."
"That is so, but it is perhaps better thus than to come to love intimately and then lose what you value forever."
"I would beg to differ," said Eowyn. "To have and then to lose is the lot of mortals, so I know of what I speak. Is this not my uncle's wake? Choosing not to have at all is choosing not to live, for whatever you gain in this life you will you lose in the end: you cannot take it with you." Eowyn blushed slightly. "Even were I to lose him tomorrow, I would rather have met Faramir than not."
"I am glad you feel so," said Galadriel. "But while that is the way for mortals, it is not so for elves. Time does not dull our memories, and we live with our regrets until the world's end."
"Regrets of things done, or of things undone?" said Eowyn. She knew she should probably not continue on this course of conversation, but it was too interesting to stop.
"Both," said Galadriel.
"Then why not do, and base regret on knowledge?" said Eowyn.
Celeborn laughed, before turning it into a cough and turning away. Galadriel herself grinned, startling Eowyn. "So did I say when I was younger, and I did, and I now regret based on knowledge. But only some of it, for as you have rightly guessed there is much I do not regret. Many of the younger elves of Middle-earth will be staying for a time, but as for me, I am truly weary and I need to go home."
"Then leave you must," said Eowyn, "and I wish you well. May you find joy in seeing your family again."
"I will," said Galadriel. "I will. But come, let us talk of other things. What tales has my granddaughter been telling you about me?"
Eowyn returned Galadriel's smile. "Well, the one about you, two of your brothers and four very large spiders was particularly memorable..."