1. Mantle of Stars
It is strange how one comes to the end of all things, yet finds a beckoning light as would draw one back. I heard the King once, calling my name in the darkness, and obeyed. But if she bade me into the shadows, the places where she found comfort, I would not deny her, not answer the calls of my master.
She shivers now to the North wind's warning. Proof warmth lies within.
I sense her desire for solitude as she draws the dark cloth around her; tighter, ever tighter. Yet I cannot turn away from such beauty as the stars that now lie about her throat, made more brilliant by the light of her luminous skin and golden hair. Were it within my power, I would place the White Lady in the sky, and allow the Ages to seek her out, to ponder her mysteries. But she does not belong to such icy darkness; though she should desire it, even now.
And I would warm her if I could, but she would not wish it.
'Tis strange, how she is transformed, suddenly, as I look upon her now. Like the shadow of Ithilien hills against a midsummer night; both bright and dark, beauty and peril, my own first happiness turned grief; as was this last wound, both pain and a release.
With these thoughts I turn my gaze eastward, where her eyes remain fixed.
Such a rash choice, I am reminded, for one in whom haste had all but been extinguished. For I asked that it be brought forth, this covering that would draw me in, entice me to forget such unescapable doom as is fast approaching. I dream of death still, in the dark, beneath the hours that stretch forth as the unending horizon. And in the morning, I wake, and think myself able to conquer this fear, this madness of my father's. I banish what I can of the dark, and turn my thoughts to the garden, and such practical matters as the comfort of guests.
My waking mind tells me this cloak would guard against the cold, that it would help her heal. And my reason allows that it suits her well; bringing her exquisite colour to greater brightness, like some terrible beauty, offering all to the eye and none to the heart. But more than this, it befits this Lady of great sorrow, of the hopeless heart so cautiously guarded, and more carefully restrained. For she is made more beautiful by the darkness that surrounds her.
Still, I would wish to see her in the sun.
And so it is that I am reminded of the one who wore such a cloak before her. She who could not live only for me or my brother; but withered, gazing southward, to her home.
My hand reaches for the wound at my shoulder. It is almost closed. I am nearly healed.
Love is a strange thing, a fearful thing; sharper than the deadliest of weapons, greater than the games of men. I had believed it was not for me, that it could not thrive in a barren land, nor find root in such places as this. Yet it has come and seized me.
I turn my gaze to her, the cloak she wears. I loved her before this day. Indeed, I loved her before I knew that I loved her.
Shall I discard reason, and let my heart lead? I give her the choice, lay my heart in her hands. For at the end of all things, amid darkness and doubt, there is only one thing certain.
Éowyn, love me.
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.