When we have shuffled off this mortal coil

Forever

1. A Southern Wind

   

With a sigh

You turn away

With a deepening heart

No more words to say

You will find

That the world has changed

 Forever

And the trees are now

Turning from green to gold

 And the sun is now fading

 I wish I could hold you

Closer

~*~

A stone manor had been built on a hill overlooking the land. The courtyard offered a view of rolling hills and plains, thick woods, and sparkling streams. In the golden light of the autumn evening leaves and grass glowed russet and emerald, and tiny rainbows danced around the fountain in the court, the sun reflected through the water that burbled merrily down into the basin.

 The courtyard was open to the sky and surrounded on three sides by the walls of the manor; the wall of the fourth side, the one that opened onto the land, was punctured by crenels. The fountain sat at the heart of the yard, soft green moss clinging to the basin and the stones on the ground. Potted flowers and bushes were scattered about, splashes of colour against the smooth grey stone.

Seated on a low flight of steps that led inside was a man. His eyes were half-closed, his raven hair falling across his forehead, his mouth moving as he sang quietly one of the songs of old. At his side, dressed in a mantle of deep blue edged in stars, was a woman, her head resting on his shoulder as he stroked her hair.

They had retreated to the courtyard after the evening meal, seeking peace and solitude after what had been a very busy day. Here amidst the music of the fountain, the scent of flowers, and the quiet wind, all the troubles of the world seemed to evaporate.

The man continued his song, his voice low and rich, and a soft smile touched the woman's lips. When at last he fell silent, she stirred in protest. 'Don't stop,' she murmured.

He grinned and tipped up her chin. 'Would you have me sing myself hoarse?'

Her smile turned mischievous. 'I would.'

He laughed, then – something he had done with greater frequency since marrying her – and hugged her to his side. After a moment, he began again; with a smile of contentment, his wife nestled herself comfortably beneath his arm and closed her eyes.

Suddenly there came the sound of running footsteps echoing through the stone corridors. An instant later one of the servants appeared, looking out of breath. 'My Lord Faramir,' he gasped, sketching a bow as they turned to look at him. 'A messenger from the King has arrived – he says he has urgent news.'

Frowning worriedly, Faramir rose from his place on the step. 'Tell him I am coming.'

With another hasty bow the servant scurried away, leaving them alone once more.

Bending over, Faramir kissed the top of her head. 'I will return,' he promised. Then he, too, was gone.

Éowyn watched him leave, a feeling of unease settling on her shoulders; given the current state of affairs with the Haradrim, an urgent message from Aragorn could mean only one thing: war.

Aragorn and Faramir – and anyone else remotely familiar with the political situation in Harad – had seen it brewing. They had hoped to avoid it, but now it seemed that war had come again, in spite of their best efforts.

War.

Éowyn glanced down at her hands lying quietly in her lap, white against the deep blue of the mantle; suddenly restless, she jumped to her feet and began walking about the courtyard, absently fingering a leaf or petal, trailing her fingers in the ice cold water of the fountain, moving at last to stand in one of the crenels looking out over the land. A chill breeze whispered and she sighed, pulling the mantle closer.

Minutes slid by and then quiet footsteps sounded on the stones behind her, crossing the court, drawing closer until their maker stood at her side.

'War,' she said tonelessly, the wind teasing strands of pale hair across her face.

Faramir nodded, a frown creasing his forehead. 'What troubles you?' he asked, tucking the errant locks behind her ear.

She shrugged and their hands met and clasped. 'I do not know,' she said at last, her voice betraying her impatience with herself. Slowly she shook her head and turned to face him. 'When do you ride?'

'At dawn,' he replied, tracing the contours of her face with his eyes. 'Your brother is also to ride with us.'

The corner of her mouth twitched. 'Make certain he does nothing rash – Éomer has been known to do so.' Faramir laughed. 'I shall – but I'll not tell him what you said.'

'You may tell him I said it – and if he has aught to say, then you may tell him that I will meet him on the training field,' Éowyn answered, mouth curving in a grin.

Faramir chuckled again and kissed her nose. 'If such is my lady's wish,' he murmured, inclining his head, 'then I will deliver this message, and gladly.'

A quiet laugh escaped her lips and she buried her face in his shoulder, while Faramir closed his eyes and rest his head on hers.

Gradually the golden glow faded and night descended, filling the sky with shining silver stars. A pale sliver of light hovered across the horizon for a moment, then disappeared. With the loss of the sun the chill in the air deepened, but neither Éowyn nor Faramir stirred; night birds called softly to one another and the water in the fountain continued tumbling into basin after basin, splashing quietly.

Faramir reached up to stroke her hair. 'I love you, Éowyn of Rohan,' he whispered.

Her fingers tightened around his own. 'Dawn,' she muttered, her voice muffled by his shoulder.

He sighed. 'Dawn.'

~

Months ago word had reached Gondor that one of the more powerful Haradrim chieftains, one with little love for the Northerners, had united the other chieftains under his banner – whether willingly or not, it was hard to say. Subsequent diplomatic overtures had been met with coldness and the messengers had returned home filled with unease and fearing for their lives until they passed safely into the realm of Gondor once more.

As a precaution Aragorn had begun to quietly gather Gondor's army together, in the event that they might be needed; Éomer had also begun to bring together the men of Rohan and journeyed to Minas Tirith with them. When scouts reported that Harad's army was being massed, they knew it was only a matter of time.

Now that hour had come.

King Elessar, now rode out to face the enemy with Éomer, son of Éomund, and as the Lord Faramir's knowledge of Haradrim warfare was required, the Prince Imrahil was left in charge of the realm.

So many had already died, the people mourned. How many more lives would be claimed this time?


This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

   

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Ti'ana Luthien

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Rating: General

Last Updated: 12/12/05

Original Post: 05/12/05

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