The girl looked up at him with pleading eyes. The desperation reflected there broke his heart. He was moved with pity for her. A part of him wanted to clasp her to his breast and kiss away all her sorrow and pain. But he had made that mistake before. Many years ago he had learned the peril of confusing passion and compassion. In the end it brought only more grief, for everyone concerned.
He would never forget the sad-eyed lady from whom he had learned that lesson. She had confided in him about her loveless marriage, her loneliness. Her husband was a hard man, and his indifference was tearing her apart. She had provided him with an heir, and apparently her husband now had no further use for her.
He himself had first met her many years before she was married. He could remember her as a joyful maid in her father’s house. He was appalled by what her husband had done to her. Everything in him protested against the wrongness of her treatment. He could not deliver her from the bitterness of her life, but he could give her comfort for one night at least. Little did he realize that he would kill her with his “kindness.”
He had ridden away to open a new chapter in his own life, ridden to Lothlorien. Beyond his fondest hopes, beyond his wildest dreams, there he had stood with Arwen Undomiel in his arms, the elanor and niphradel blooming beneath his bare feet, as she had sworn forever to be his own.
It was not until many years later that he heard any news of the woman who had been the recipient of his pity. He learned that she had borne a second son in the year that he had lain with her, a son whom her husband must have known was not his own. Though the man had said nothing openly, his indifference to her had turned to a seething hatred. As the years passed he had made her life increasingly unbearable, until one day she suddenly died.
She died young, and for no explained cause. It was rumored that she’d been poisoned. Some whispered that Denethor’s wrath against her had finally turned murderous. Others speculated that despair had driven Finduilas to take her own life, but Aragorn knew the truth. Regardless of who it was that put the poison in her cup, it was he who had killed her. Her blood was on his head.
Aragorn looked back at Eowyn. He would not be responsible for her ruin.
“I’m sorry,” he said softly. "I cannot give you what you want." He mounted his horse and rode for the Paths of the Dead without looking back.
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.