Only Darkness: 1. Only Darkness

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1. Only Darkness

He marvelled sometimes at the pale fragility of her beauty, marvelled at the way its delicate frailty blended so seamlessly into the dark solidity of her will. For as long as he could remember she had been as lovely and as cold, beautiful as a distant star is beautiful; detached and radiant and unattainable. To the untrained eye she appeared only as another meek, naïve maiden, but he knew her too well for that; knew that she was no more naïve than she was submissive. A good sword was unerring and deadly in those delicate hands, only waiting to be wielded as her decisive nature saw fit.

She was like a wild thing sometimes, barely suppressed rage bubbling beneath her skin and emerging as a raw spark kindled in her eyes, captivating and half-feral. Strength gilded every line of her slender body even as it reinforced her resolution, and he had watched her long enough to know that any man who meant to capture her, friend or foe, would do well to watch his step.

He had seen the rage emerge on few enough occasions, spewing forth in a tangle of violent, uncontrolled blows and bared teeth and yells caught through with tears of anger, but he knew that it was always there. He saw it shining in her eyes, heard it as a barely perceptible tremble lacing her voice, detected it in the stiffly controlled grace of her poise.

It occurred to him that in some ways she was almost like an untamed bird; so small and fragile, so easy to break, and yet so full of passionate anger that nothing was too foreboding to fight. Like the bird, she was beautiful, volatile and evasive; like the bird, she feared only the brutal repression of captivity. In her eyes he almost fancied there was a flicker of affinity when she glanced at him, a flicker he clung to like a drowning man clings to a straw.

Drowning. He had been drowning for years in the icy wash of her loveliness, lost in the impulsive, fiery intensity of her temper. To see her cross a room in passing was as if he had been granted a vision of angels. He watched her so closely, so avidly, that whenever the merest breath of wind caught in the voluminous folds of her gown he found himself tracking, all in a second, the pattern of the fabric's movement from her shoulder to the floor. He watched, silently, the gentle shadows of doubt and anger and anxiety as they passed over the elegant features of her face; watched the steady flicker of firelight on the hard curve of her collarbone, strands of her long hair tumbling unheeded over it.

And, oh, her hair was like spun gold, bright and untarnished, and he longed for nothing more than to wind his fingers in it, to entwine his hands in the burnished waves and press his mouth to hers. He knew that her hair would be soft as thistledown and that her mouth would be softer, strong and uncompromising and almost aggressive. She was not weak, she was not compliant, she would not yield, and he would not have her yield to him.

There had been a girl once, long ago, when he was young, a girl who had been strong and bright and beautiful with honey-gold hair that he had longed to tangle his fingers in. He remembered the sunny glow of her laughter; she had laughed oblivious of his watching, laughed at him because he loved her, he who was cold and strange and near-sepulchral while she was fair and golden as summer.

Eowyn rarely laughed. He had heard the sound only sporadically in recent years, and although its loveliness made his breath catch painfully in his throat with wanting he did not wish to hear it more, for laughter would always remind him of those who had derided him for dreaming. Cold and fair was how he wanted her, how he wished to watch her, and cold and fair she would remain.

Sometimes, when darkness had enveloped Edoras like a lover and its inhabitants lay sleeping in their beds, he would sit alone in the shadows and wait for her; watch her haunt the night like an anguished spirit. She was beautiful in the sunshine, beautiful when the light caught in her hair and shone in her eyes, but to his mind she belonged to the night, glowing white and pale and graceful in the blackness like a nymph of the shadow.

Grima had always been a creature of darkness, had always served the secrecy of shadow and flame. He loathed the stark brightness of light, loathed the way it revealed every flaw and misdeed. He haunted the night because he was ill suited to the day, because he was pale and unearthly and strange, but she was fair and lovely and strong, an angel the sunlight loved.

He mused, as he shifted further into the cold clamminess of the darkness, that perhaps she moved in the blackness in answer to the call of a distant dream, a darkness that consumed and troubled her deep within herself. Where his darkness was outside, slowly pressing inwards, hers was growing like a tumour in her heart and gradually emanating out, a child of fear and pain and sorrow that the sun could not nurture. There was no remedy for the pain but darkness to sate it, subdue it, caress it; she was a slave to the respite only darkness could give.

He let the blackness take him as he watched her, following the gentle curves of her body with his eyes, and pondered that perhaps they weren't so very different after all.

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.

Story Information

Author: Janette Le Fay

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Other

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/24/03

Original Post: 04/12/03

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