He stepped out of the room and the day unfolded before him, great and beautiful and remote in the pale light of dawn. Mist draped the hills far to the east, and he spared only a thought for the black mountains they had once been.
He lifted his face and the wind caressed him, the gentlest touch of a morning breeze brushing against his drawn face with all the tender fierceness he missed so much. Eyelids slid closed and he turned minutely, opening his arms to the vastness of the sky and the wind and air rushed through the empty spaces that were his outstretched hands, waiting for something that had slipped past his grasp.
No, not forever.
He dropped to his knees and laid his head against the stone, so cold, she'd cried as they stood there for the first time, fresh and blooming on the threshold of wedding dreams. So cold, this stone. We must bring life here. And she kissed him.
Oh, that was his Éowyn, alright. Heir of Steelsheen, war-maid, sweet healer, love -
Emptiness ripped at his soul, and he might be a Man but he swore he'd felt the tangible sundering of their hearts as her eyes fluttered down, fighting all the way, for that was Éowyn. He'd cleaved to her, her fire to his cool waters, her laughter to his serious eyes, her brilliance to his being drawn to that indomitable light, broken and battered as it had been, but oh, so beautiful.
First time -
- He'd seen her she'd stood on the highest tier of the Houses of Healing in an arbour of white roses and wisteria, pale face and ice blue eyes looking to the east with a curious mixture of grief, anger, and deep, terrible despair. And her hair! The gold mane had obscured her face at first, then the wind picked it up and whipped it back and she was revealed to him in that hour after dawn and the sun had risen again. His love had awoken then and surrounded his shadowed thoughts with its warmth, trembling under the first tenuous breaths of morning, and then settling, kindling a burning flame of hope where there had been none. Oh, Éowyn!
He'd spoken with her then, words meant to woo and spoken to comfort. The love had warred with the pity until he'd seen the glint of a raging spirit in her eyes as they caught his for one, breathtaking moment, and the pity had been dealt a swift death.
I will love you
- The meadow was green and sweet and good, and he sank to his knees and revelled in the softness of the ground beneath him, soothed with the rolling waves of grass. A gentle field, she'd called it, laughing as she stood against the rising sun and lifted her hands and her face to the endless sky, A gentle field for a gentle man. And she took his hand and they ran through the field with all the euphoria of peace after battle, rest after labour, birdsong after bloodshed...
But, his morning princess, did she have to leave all the shattered pieces of her glory lying in her wake cutting his feet as he struggled on without her? Another breeze tugged at his hair, a playful, tender touch that made his eyes shimmer for a moment. Shoulders straightened unconsciously, lifting as the mantle of Steward and lord settled once more on the man.
'Til my soul leaks out of my body, beloved.
Rising again, he looked out and smiled, a hint of laughter lurking around the edges of the sombre face. Around a corner from the gardens two levels below this room, this was the place, this little piece of Éowyn's heart that still grew deep-rooted in the wholesome soil, a small plot of land hidden from disapproving eyes where the rohiril had planted Simbelmynë, tended it with such devotion that Faramir would often sit on the fence and watch her, the changeable features as they lifted in a smile, drew down in a frown, quirked with laughter or tightened with frustration as she nurtured the flowers that mourned the dead.
It was where they'd fought their first fight, the first time he'd objected to the rumoured bad luck that came with these flowers.
- Éowyn, please, Faramir, no, I will not! - Believe me, I love your love and will cherish your sweet works, but Simbelmynë, but no, Faramir! To mourn the dead to praise their deeds to hold their memory-
I will not forget.
He pushed the small gate open hesitantly, into this place that was once rosy cheeks and the taste of love and the peace of the beloved dead. Now it was just ash in his hands and on his tongue, the soil as it ran through his fingers, the air as it moved past him, chasing the ephemeral ghost of their lady. She was gone.
The flowers were dying, he realised with regret as he touched a shriveled white flower, watching silently as it fell free of the stem and drifted to the ground, resting there so serenely, calm in its defeat, not resisting death.
Her essence was in the very marrow of this place, lingering between the branches of the old oak tree, resting against the drooping stems of white flowers, resting on the soil, hands flung out wildly, hair across her face as she slept. She whispered between the leaves of the trees with their weeping arms, her lips brushed his forehead as it rested against the sturdy trunk of the oak, and her laughter and her sorrow echoed in every petal that fell from the last surviving remnants of her most precious work.
Get up, Faramir, her murmur gentled his ears as he sat brooding in the twilight, staring evermore to the east. Mordor was dead, the Tower fallen, but some things were not healed yet. Now now, my lady. But she set her jaw and took his hand with that smile of hers that bewitched him every time, leading him in a step so light it was almost a dance, a dance he followed with patience, enchanted by his shieldmaiden. Through the arch of the entrance to the gardens, beneath the shade of willows by the river, round a corner and...
White petals shook in the wind, their heads bowed in eternal homage to those gone before, and Éowyn fell to her knees before them and pulled him down. And she spoke of his father and his brother and every soldier who'd ever loved the Lords of Gondor and all the little children who'd been playing in the street when the Darkness swooped down upon them... it fell into a lilting rhythm to their broken heartbeats and somehow all the world's sorrows and all the world's griefs melded in one haunting lament in the tremulous, rich voice of Éomund's daughter.
And Faramir wept long and true and wild, the tears which cleansed the soul, and he cried for the dead but he cried too for the sheer sublimity of his lady.
Slowly, a dream of light and beauty holding him fast with its siren song, he rose and walked to the stream, a bucket mysteriously appearing in his hand- he certainly didn't remember taking it. Or had he? It did not matter. He fetched water, clumsily, hastily, sloshing it to the ground as he stumbled back, urgency colouring his movements now. But he stilled as he once again stood before the flower that still stood tall.
Ah, my heart, you have taught me well, but never to sing like you!
With the utmost reverence, he watered the plant and bowed his head before it and his heart swelled with memories of his lady love and a wistful peace settled upon him, gently drawing a cloak of hope and a promise of love beyond death around him. A wordless ode to a glorious woman who had bound her wild heart to his and tamed her wild spirit to his hand, Éowyn, how he loved her!
And far above him morning broke against the grey slopes of the mountains and its radiance illuminated the earth that stretched out below, far into the horizon.
"The Simbelmynë are blooming."
He smiled into the grey eyes of one he loved and would have served beyond this end, had he the ability. Elessar reached out and carefully placed the flower into his hand, the delicate petals like a lover's kiss to his weak hand, and with a last bow to this King who'd fulfilled all his dreams, he let his eyes fall shut.
His hand fell limp as the King kissed his brow, but the white flower stayed there, clinging to the man with all the tenacity of one who loved him, and outside, dawn broke.
Faramir's death is listed as F.A. 82. Éowyn's death is not specified anywhere, but Éomer died in F.A. 63.
Simbelmynë grew often on graves on tombs. It means 'Evermind'.
Mourning Glory is a reference on many levels. To Faramir, Éowyn is the morning's glory, yet here he mourns her, and the morning. I have here imagined that they met in the morning, this may be true, or it may not. All that is said in the book is that there was sunlight as the time, which I take to mean that it could be so.
In another sense, they met in mourning, in Éowyn's despair and Faramir's pain. Their love story is intriguing, for they get the only romantic kiss in the entire book (if you exclude Sam and Rosie's wedding) and more dialogue than any other couple. What was it about these two that made Tolkien so fascinated by them that he would give them so much time in the midst of all the great events at the end of the Third Age?
Reviews are much appreciated!