Reflections in a Broken Shield: 2. Change

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2. Change

I did not mean to be there at the end. It was Faramir’s place alone to share his lady’s final breath, but it happened that she would not release my hand, and so I set patiently by her side, pondering the wreck that mortality wrought on men, until the gnarled fingers loosened and slipped away.

“You were her friend.” Faramir whispered hoarsely, his gray-steel eyes glittering with tears.

Friend.

Was that what Éowyn had become to me? “Companion” was, perhaps, more apt. For, though the Lady of the Shield Arm and I had never been easy together, she had shared the chapters of my mortal life.

How short they were! After three thousand mortal years of a youth that oozed like honey in the snow, time had lurched suddenly forward. No sooner was I wed to Aragorn Elessar than I found myself with child. One became two. Two became four. Barely had I learned the joys and trials of motherhood before, in a twinkling, my babes had grown and gone away. Two daughters were already wed. Faster still had time sped for the shieldmaiden. The blood of Númenor did not run true in her veins.

Still, I envied Éowyn as she took her final, ragged breath. Her mind and her spirit were at peace. She did not fear the ending. It was yet another change.

Change was the constant in Éowyn’s life. Elessar did not often speak of her, but the timid girl that he described from his first feasting in the Meduseld did not match the woman I had met. Legolas and Gimli confirmed the tale: that Éowyn had meekly served her uncle whilst her brother was imprisoned, and Théoden was kept in Wormtongue’s thrall. She was caged there, in Edoras, and Aragorn was her means of her escape. But Elfstone looked at her only with pity, and so reinvented herself. A ruler emerged-- a shepherd to guard her people while her uncle and brother rode to war. When even that feat failed to earn his regard, she transformed again and took up the sword.

How many things had Éowyn rationalized in the name of her so-called love? I was angry for the web she spun to capture my beloveds affections, but I was equally indignant to reflect on the others she had trampled in pursuit of her own desires. Did she never think of the Rohirrim ladies and elders that she left abandoned on Dunharrow’s plain? Did she spare no care for the anguish her brother, dear Éomer, felt when he looked upon his sister and thought her dead?

Éowyn was a deserter.

Men have hailed her prowess on the field, and praised the stroke that marked the witch-king’s doom, but I cannot call it courage for myself. Courage is being afraid, but pressing forward. Éowyn’s taunt to death was a choice to run away.

Perhaps I judge her harshly. My feelings are not uncolored by the regard she claimed for my lord. Perhaps she did love him, after her way. Her love was short-lived. It was a flame that flickered and sputtered in the winds of life until finally it was snuffed.

Éowyn tried to smother in the ashes, but Faramir would not let her be. He pulled her back from doom, as surely as the hands of the king. Even now, at the end of days he was a constant that would not bend or break beneath her whims. I marveled at his patience. Loving Éowyn must be like stepping into the sea. He could never know where the land would fail beneath his feet. She was vast, and ever changing. She was restless on her shores. She was a woman of sudden storms and impenetrable depths. After a life spent taming her waves, how would he fare,now that the winds had stilled forever?

It was a question that only the Steward could answer, and so now I would leave him to his grief.

“To Mandos.” I whispered, tucking her hand across her breast. I looked a final time upon the Maiden of the Shield Arm. Then, I arose to tell the king.


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: Kirixchi

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 4th Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 03/09/03

Original Post: 08/20/02

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