1. To Shun His Hateful Sight
The others around him spoke of her sorrow and distress, and he heard them with half a mind. Silently he called to her – “Éowyn, Éowyn!” She turned to look at him, and seemed to shrink away. Aragorn sought her, pursued her as she sank further down into the mire of her malady. He would not let her go, for if he did she might never return.
Gently he caught at her, and she spun to face him. He reached a hand out to touch her cheek, and said softly, “Will you not return my lady? You are sorely missed?” Éowyn tried to twist out of his grasp, but he was stronger than she in this place. He held tightly around the upper arm, and he realised suddenly that he was hurting her, for tears had sprung in her eyes, and she was struggling against him all the more.
Still she said nothing. He spoke again, trying to impress her with the strength of his feelings. “Please Éowyn, come back to us, come back to us. I would not have you die here, alone in this place.” She still said nothing, but he could feel the slight shift within her, signalling that she was listening.
He looked in her eyes and saw a sorrow so profound, darkness so intense that he knew it could not be lifted from her even by a herb so powerful as athelas. Aragorn sought the right words, feeling suddenly as a callow youth awkward in front of his first love. Never had he been so sure that every word counted for Éowyn’s life hung in the balance, and he would not let her die.
Éowyn should not die – not for him. She should not lose her life for one most unworthy; most incapable of returning her regard, or even of soothing the pain she bore. He would not let it happen. Aragorn pulled her fair face closer to his and said, “You must live Éowyn, you must not give up – not for unrequited love, not for any despair.” Something kindled in her eyes - a painful, sickly hope that died even as she looked on him.
The slim form he held, the spirit of Éowyn, pulled away from him, becoming insubstantial as a mist. He called to her, “Éowyn!”, but she continued to move away. Her eyes bored into his, cool, but she refused to say a word – somehow Aragorn knew she would not waste such a thing on one who she could not trust.
Éowyn would not return from the shadows, not for him. Only one who she loved and trusted could pull her back from the shadows that now consumed her – and he was not such a one. He had driven her to the last reach of her despair, which had pursued her until there was nothing left but a shell and a spirit that withered in the dark.
He pulled back, and gave her hand to Éomer. “Call her.”
Aragorn walked from the room. It was only when he heard Éowyn’s voice say, “Éomer? What joy is this? I thought you were dead…” that he allowed a tear to drop to the floor. Some might say that his hand had drawn her from the shadow, but he alone knew that in the last hour Éowyn had refused his help as unworthy of her. His shame could consume him.
I wish I could claim that this is an original idea, but it’s not. In Virgil’s Aeneid, when the hero (Aeneas) travels to the Underworld, he meets his lover Dido, who killed herself when he abandoned her. Aeneas attempts to gain her forgiveness, but she refuses to speak to him, and he is bowed down by guilt (until of course he’s told he’s going to be a King, at which point he becomes interested in other things). I couldn’t help but think that it was suitable for Éowyn and Aragorn, especially as she refused to come when he called. The Aeneid is available on the Internet Classics Archive at http://classics.mit.edu/Virgil/aeneid.html if anyone’s feeling curious.
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.