11. Minas Tirith - The Coronation
The remaining time in Ithilien passed by all too quickly. Éomer had little time for personal dalliance during long days consumed by details of troops dispatches and information gathering relating to the remaining military threats. The logistics of moving the great host from the fields of Cormallen to Minas Tirith by ships, largely provided for or supplied from the Dol Amroth fleet, required considerable attention from all of Imrahil's offspring. Nevertheless, they would look back on those days as the most peaceful and agreeable that they had yet experienced in their young lives.
Lothíriel and Éomer did find long evenings when they sought comfort together, entertaining all the hopes and dreams universal to young lovers. Lothíriel was greatly relieved when her father made Elphir happy by sending him to Dol Amroth in his stead, where he would be united his young wife and son, removing from Lothíriel the nagging fear that she might not be permitted to travel with the host to Minas Tirith. Amrothos and Nimrodel accompanied him and, while Lothíriel would miss their merry and playful company, she was thrilled for every additional day she could spend with Éomer.
Late in the afternoon on the eve of the first day of May, the host of the West and its followers arrived finally at the Pelennor fields. The armies set up their great pavilions to await the planned entry with the King into the city at dawn. Lothíriel, radiant with excitement and anticipation at seeing her confidant and mentor Faramir again, hurried through the open gateway to Minas Tirith, bearing messages and reports to the Steward from both Imrahil and Aragorn.
She was not alone. The streets and passageways were crowded with returning citizens, visitors, and refugees, not only those who had arrived with the host from Cormallen, but others pouring in from all the surrounding areas. In all her experience of great feast days of the past in Minas Tirith and Dol Amroth, never had she been borne along amidst such a press of people. Nor had she ever experienced anything resembling the intensity of the city's collective outburst of joy and anticipation.
Level by boisterous level the crowds pushed Lothíriel forward and upward, through the White City, where she saw that gardens bloomed again and much of the worst of the debris and rubbish from the siege had been cleared. Half-ruined houses had been swept out and scrubbed clean; neat stacks of building blocks inside and in front of them stood ready for reuse. Faramir has been busy, she thought. One could not avoid being inundated with the euphoria, sheer relief, and wonder of the returning masses.
After several false leads, Lothíriel finally located Faramir and Éowyn at the wall on the sixth level near the residence of the Stewards looking out over the city, down upon the open fields of the Pelennor, and the darkening sky. Already a few scattered lights appeared among the tents and pavilions below as evening fast approached.
Laughing and crying Lothíriel embraced and kissed both of them fiercely, and then clung to Faramir, burying her face against his chest until he pried her loose.
"Are you happy to see us, Lothíriel?" Faramir said innocently, his gentle tone betrayed by the mischievous grin that she loved so well.
"I have missed you, Faramir, more than you can imagine. We all did. You both look so wonderful! I have messages for each of you. Oh, Éowyn, I have never seen you look so well," Lothíriel gushed, fumbling in her bag and shoving a substantial bundle of letters at Faramir.
"We are both well, although Faramir has been working far too hard," Éowyn answered. "And can you tell me how my brother fares?" she asked her eyes suddenly merry.
"He is magnificent, Éowyn. He asked me to kiss you for him and tell you he is happy for you." Lothíriel grabbed Éowyn and kissed her again in earnest. Éowyn laughed, tightly embraced the younger woman, and then held her at arm's length and looked with mock gravity into her face.
"Should I be happy for him, as well?" she demanded.
"You were right, of course," Lothíriel admitted. "He has asked me to marry him. I love him so that it nearly rips my heart out every time I see him smile. He is so splendid. I am afraid I will never be good enough for him," she said as tears threatened.
"Ah, Lothíriel, I know Éomer far better than you do. You are exactly suited," Éowyn answered dryly. "He is as stubborn as you are willful. I do not think either of you will have a peaceful life, but it should be an interesting one," Éowyn said, unable to control another laugh.
Then Éowyn's eyes met Faramir's, whose look had grown sober and concerned, as he glanced up from the papers he had been reading. "Do not look so worried. My brother is a man of great passions, but with a heart as tender as yours, my love, and as steadfast. He will treat your cousin well."
"And my uncle, is he pleased with this turn of events?" Faramir asked, turning to Lothíriel.
"That is a much longer story and would have been a happier one if you had been there to advise me. But, I think I can say safely that he now accepts it with good grace," Lothíriel answered, piquing Faramir's curiosity and apprehension. "But we will speak more of that later. You are tired and need to review your correspondence. I will handle feeding us, at father's house or, perhaps it would be better at Steward's residence, since people may seek you there tonight."
Before leaving the wall, all three turned and gazed out in silence across the Pelennor, already dotted with small glittering lights, until the first star appeared in the sky. Faramir stood between them with his arms wrapped firmly around both women's shoulders. Lothíriel remembered that morning such a few short weeks ago when she, believing they might soon face the end of all days, had watched those same Armies of the West depart, which would reenter the city in the morning joyous and victorious.
Lothíriel went to the nearby Dol Amroth townhouse and quickly surveyed its readiness for her father, brother, and guests. She was pleased with the work she had done before she had left for Cormallen and found that it had been admirably maintained in her absence. After collecting a few bottles of her father's good wine, she rejoined Éowyn and Faramir at the Steward's house and supervised the kitchen staff on the preparation of a simple supper. They sat up late talking of many things, elated and restless in anticipation of the portentous events of the coming dawn. Lothíriel took her leave first to prepare a large guest room containing two beds, leaving Éowyn and Faramir alone to share fond good night kisses. By the time Éowyn joined her, she was fast asleep.
Éowyn awakened in the morning to the sounds of trumpets, songs of the finest Dol Amroth minstrels, a steady buzz of voices drifting up on the morning breeze from the lower tiers of the city, and the first faint streams of light illuminating the room from the eastern windows. Lothíriel had opened the curtains and the windows before retiring. Other signs of the younger woman's competency, which Éowyn still found incongruous and slightly disconcerting, were evident. Their gowns had been removed and hung outside the wardrobes. Éowyn's was fashioned of gossamer thin layers of white silk, elegant yet youthful—a nod to Faramir's fondness for addressing her as the White Lady of Rohan. Near it on the dressing table, Lothíriel had placed a bright green sword belt, heavily embellished with golden thread, that she had not seen before.
Éowyn thought, Lothíriel certainly has a highly developed sense of the dramatic. Perhaps she is right. It would please Faramir and Éomer, as well as the Rohirrim guard. Lothíriel's dress was made of a rich Dol Amroth blue with an iridescent sheen, simple almost Elvish in its cut. The cheeky vixen is quite the political tactician and well-organized as well, Éowyn thought affectionately. My brother may be love-struck, but he has never lacked in judgment. It seems he has made this choice with a clear head.
A soft knock on the door roused Lothíriel, who jumped out of bed, apparently able to switch from deep sleep to her usual restless energy with no period of transition. Faramir stood behind the serving woman, who swept by Éowyn with a clattering tray, muttering, "The Princess left an order for tea and toast, milady."
The sight of Faramir in the official robes of the Lord Steward of Gondor, his long black hair falling thick and shiny around his handsome pale face, nearly took Éowyn's breath away. The roguish glint that replaced faint anxiety in Faramir's eyes as he beheld her standing before him, clad only in a thin summer sleeping gown that revealed as much as it concealed, finished Éowyn's unraveling.
She reddened all the way to her hairline, questioning Faramir with a husky voice, "My love?" Éowyn was irrationally pleased at the twin dots of color that appeared on his cheeks at his recognition of her feelings revealed in the timber of her voice.
He collected himself quickly and held out to her the scabbard holding the hilt and broken blade of the sword that had slain the Witch King, his face becoming solemn again and wary. The famous weapon, extended as it was in Faramir's long arms, looked small and inconsequential. It had been fashioned for Éowyn's small frame. "A messenger just arrived bringing this from the Houses of Healing."
"Oh, Éowyn, do not be angry with me. It was merely a whim I had late yesterday," Lothíriel said quickly, "I wanted to speak to you last night but I fell asleep. There is a belt of Rohan green as well. I thought your countrymen would be proud of how magnificent you would look bearing your sword."
"Calm yourself, Lothíriel; it is a bold idea. I shall wear it one last time," Éowyn answered. She lifted her chin confidently, her face suddenly bright, looking up into Faramir's smoky grey eyes, which at that moment seemed to her to be undeniably appealing.
"Thank you, Éowyn," Lothíriel sighed relieved. "Now kiss her quickly, cousin, and go away. We have very little time to dress."
Kiss Éowyn he did, after he had turned to his cousin and teased, "Be at ease, Lothíriel. They will not begin without us, for I have the crown." Éowyn held onto to Faramir tightly for a moment. When she finally released him, she thought: I am the happiest woman in all of Arda to have found a love so ardent, wise, and comely.
Lothíriel stood in front of the members of City Guard and Tower Guard assembled inside of entrance to the city, facing Éowyn who took her place along with Elfhelm, Marshal of Rohan, with the Rohirrim contingent that had remained behind. It crossed her mind that at events of great importance in years to come they would trade places. She would stand with Rohan and Éowyn with Gondor.
The morning sun shone brightly now illuminating the ranks of the Captains of the West. Its reflection against the polished armor of the long lines of troops still approaching the gate hurt Lothíriel's eyes. Behind and above her, the white banner of the Stewards snapped sharply in breeze for the last time over the seven-tiered Citadel of the Kings of Gondor.
When the last of the knights and soldiers of Gondor and Rohan had lined up outside of the gate, the Dúnedain rangers of the north, clad in silver and grey, formed ranks before the entire host. Aragorn then walked slowly to the front accompanied by Éomer, Imrahil and Mithrandir. Aragorn was clad in black mail, a white cape fastened with the bright emerald brooch of Elessar, his head bare except for the Star of Elendil on his brow.
Emotion overcame Lothíriel. She struggled to process the events as they surged forth around her. Faramir and Aragorn faced one another. Seeing them together, they seemed to her to be much alike, almost as brothers: tall and lean, fair of face and dark of hair, sons of Numenor, wise and valiant. Boromir had been handsome, but he never had the heart-wrenching Elven beauty that she had so loved in Faramir. Yet, today Aragorn shone brighter by far than her adored cousin—luminescent, kingly beyond measure, yet with all the pathos and warmth of the Edain. For a single baffling moment, he appeared to her to be the reincarnation of Elendil.
I am much too overwrought. We have waited near one thousand years for this day. May the Valar grant that I do shame myself and faint, Lothíriel thought, annoyed. She focused intently on Éowyn, who appeared unruffled, and forced herself to breath more slowly. Nearest her, on her right, stood a young officer whose hand Lothíriel firmly grasped with an urgent movement. He will have to pick me up if I fall.
Faramir knelt before Aragorn, held up to him the white rod of the office of Steward of Gondor, and said, his clear voice brave, not without joy, "The last Steward of Gondor begs leave to surrender his office."
She heard Aragorn speak and saw Faramir rise, retaining the rod of Steward. The wind had stilled, the sun burned brighter, yet Lothíriel shivered and felt the tiny hairs rise up on the back of her neck when Faramir began the words he had prepared the night before.
"Here is Aragorn son of Arathorn, chieftain of the Dúnedain of Arnor, Captain of the Host of the West, bearer of the Star of the North, wielder of the Sword Reforged, victorious in battle, whose hands bring healing, the Elfstone, Elessar of the line of Valandil, Isildur's son, Elendil's son of Numenor. Shall he be king and enter the City and dwell there?"
The roars of "yeas" were thunderous. Faramir extended the crown to Aragorn and their eyes met—Faramir's exultant and Aragorn's solemn. The throng was silent again. Aragorn accepted the crown and raised it aloft chanting the words of Elendil, "Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta!"
Lothíriel trembled with an excess of happiness and relief that bordered on pain. She was surprised to see Éowyn turn her head slightly to one side and whisper in the Common Tongue, loudly enough to be heard by the ranks of the soldiers of Rohan behind her, "Those are the words of his ancestor Elendil: 'Out of the Great Sea to Middle-earth I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world'." Everything passed quickly after that. Lothíriel tried to remember each detail. Aragorn gave the crown to Frodo, who handed it Mithrandir. Aragorn was speaking, loudly and clearly, but she could not sort out every word. He calls on the blessing of the Valar or expresses his personal gratitude to Mithrandir. Or both, Lothíriel thought.
Mithrandir placed the Winged Crown upon Aragorn's head and intoned the words, "Now come the days of the King, and may they be blessed while the thrones of the Valar endure."
Then Faramir announced: "Behold the King!" The crowd went wild. Blasts of trumpets erupted, along with seemingly endless waves of cheers from within and without the walls. King Elessar and his companions walked into the city.
After the King and his party had passed her, Lothíriel turned to the erect young guard beside her and said, "I thank you for your support. I am Lothíriel, daughter of Imrahil of Dol Amroth. I hoped you would catch me if I fainted." Her smile lighting up her face with merriment, she asked, "Please tell me your name?"
"Lasgon of the Tower Guard, at your service, Princess," he said bowing deeply, a boyish flush reddening his cheeks. "Thank you again, Lasgon of the Tower Guard, I shall not forget your gracious assistance," she answered.
Then Lothíriel fell into place with Éowyn, behind the three Elves and the Dwarf Gimli in front of the long lines of troops as the King's party made its way to the heights of the Citadel.
"Lothíriel, you gave me courage standing there so stern and tall," Éowyn said, slipping her arm through hers companionably. Lothíriel's mouth fell open incredulously. Éowyn continued, "I saw how you took that young soldier's hand, just as he looked as though he might die of fright. How thoughtful of you. Such gestures of personal warmth become a monarch and will serve you well as queen of the Mark." Lothíriel giggled.
"Oh, no! I wish I deserved your praise. I simply feared I might faint or lose my tea and toast at just the worst moment. I took his hand hoping that if I faltered that he would drag me out of the front line! To think you looked to me for courage. I tried to use you as my model. You appeared so serene and calm," she laughed.
"Astounded and beset would be a more apt description," Éowyn answered.
"Yet you had the presence of mind to translate for your men," Lothíriel objected.
"I did not. I wanted to translate the words into Rohirric, but my mind would not work. Instead I recited the phrase in the Common Tongue from a text I studied as a child, hoping most of them would understand," Éowyn declared. "How magnificent it all was. We are fortunate indeed to live in such days."
"Then, it was endurable for you to see him so kingly and admirable?" Lothíriel asked whispering. "It did not make you sad?"
"Nay, I am the happiest of women," Éowyn answered. Her smile and the softness of eyes confirmed the truth of her words.
"Now a new age begins! If this is but a dream, I hope I do not awaken," said Lothíriel brightly, with a huge sigh of relief. Both women laughed elatedly.
Éomer fell back a step to walk between the two women. "Show a little respect, ladies. This is an historic occasion," he said, the pretense of a frown switching into a wide grin.
Éowyn chided him, but with her fondness transparent in her voice, "I hope you will have the wit to be more nervous at your own coronation, dearest brother."
The ball was only just beginning as Lothíriel walked up the great staircase and entered the Merethrond with Erchirion. The Great Hall of Feasts was flooded with light. The sounds of chattering voices and laughter all but overpowered soft music. She quickly scanned the room, looking for Éomer, knowing he was there, while gripping Erchirion's arm in a sudden fit of nerves. Her brother placed his hand over hers reassuringly. And then she spotted Éomer, laughing, surrounded by a crowd of young Gondorian noblewomen, all wearing the elaborately detailed gowns in the pale lavenders, pinks, greens and blues that were so popular in the fashionable circles of Minas Tirith during the spring and summer months.
A few tall young men had joined the widening circle around the King of Rohan, clad in the black uniforms of Gondor, with the celebrated tree embroidered in white or silver on the front, or the bright blues of the Dol Amroth Swan Knights. However, Éomer, with his bright light hair, resplendent in green with gold braid, stood out among the dark heads around him.
Lothíriel caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. The shimmering grey dress shot with silver that she had chosen to match her eyes, seemed somber to her, lacking in color, and simple to the point of plainness. For a moment, she felt a pang, of jealousy perhaps. I am not going to vie with that swarm of giggling ninnies for Éomer's attention, she decided.
She saw Legolas bearing down on them, with a look of relieved recognition. He was dazzling, clad in silvery grey as well, the golden luster of his hair contrasting with his tunic. His flawless face and form, his purposely casual, languid grace, drew eyes toward him as he headed straight to Lothíriel and Erchirion. He grasped her hand firmly with the strength and warmth of touch that she associated with him or one of Elrond's sons, which never ceased to surprise to her, always reminding her these enchanting beings were flesh and blood.
Bowing and kissing her hand, Legolas displayed an easy assurance that would make the most practiced courtiers of Dol Amroth look awkward by contrast. He is every bit the picture of the perfect prince tonight, Lothíriel thought, admiring how his mithril diadem became his faultless features.
"It is so close and noisy here. Such a crowd. I am pleased to find familiar faces," Legolas said, greeting Lothíriel and her brother with his seemingly artless smile. Lothíriel could not control an affectionate laugh at his well-practiced skill of charming everyone while appearing to be unaware he was doing so. She knew him well enough by now to know his exercise of this talent was anything but innocent. He has learned to cover his shyness with the effect of his beauty, she thought.
"I scarcely recognized you, wood Elf," Erchirion joked, "in your guise of Prince Legolas, son of Thranduil, legendary King of the Silvan Elves of Greenwood the Great. Yet the stately silks and mithril seem to suit you as well as your rustic greens and browns."
"As you have guessed, son of Imrahil, unlike you, I am not entirely at ease. However, tonight I do not suit myself, but seek to honor my comrade and King," Legolas replied with a pleased grin.
The musicians stopped for a second, beginning again in earnest with increased volume intended to be heard above the bustle. Legolas turned to Lothíriel and implored, "Please dance with me. So I can avoid conversation with so many strangers for while."
Legolas and Lothíriel were the first to take the floor. She was conscious of the stir they caused, but refused to look away from his face, not wanting to take notice of all the curious eyes upon them. Legolas's partnering skill turned a common dance to a hackneyed tune into a poignant duet between a man and a woman that spoke of both the fragility and persistence of love. He is so easy to dance with, Lothíriel mused. Elves raise simple arts to the level of magic.
"Everyone is watching us," Legolas said, his satisfaction apparent. His reassuring eyes lit up with mischief, although he was careful not to alter his placid expression.
"That is exactly what I want," she answered delighted. "Did you see all of those tiresome women fawning over Éomer?"
"I did. Yet, it surprises me that this should trouble you. You are by far the most beautiful woman here and you know there is no room in his heart for anyone but you. We should dance together for a bit longer. I dance well and am not unpleasant to look at either. Let us drive them all mad with envy," he said wickedly, tightening his grip around her waist and pulling her nearer.
"I think I like your plan," she responded.
After several dances, Imrahil became increasingly aware of Legolas and Lothíriel. He turned to Aragorn and Elladan, who stood near him and said. "Those two have danced with no one else for over an hour. What do they think they are doing? Surely they realize the attention that they draw to themselves."
Elladan laughed, "They are completely conscious. Lothíriel has plotted her strategy as thoroughly as a practiced general, with the enthusiastic support of Legolas."
"Perhaps, you should interrupt them, Elladan. Then Éomer can make his move," Aragorn chuckled.
"No, Estel. If I take her in my arms, I will not want to let her go." Elladan insisted ruefully. "In any case, it would be far more politic if you do so."
"After everyone has been watching her dancing with Legolas?" Aragorn asked in unfeigned horror. Imrahil laughed, shaking his head at their affectionate brotherly bantering.
"You are the newly crowned King. It does not matter if you trod all over her feet. Think of it as a small service to a friend. Éomer's an accomplished dancer, but he will show himself to even better advantage following you, Estel," Elladan said. Aragorn shrugged in genial defeat.
As the music ended, Aragorn handed Imrahil his drink and walked up to Lothíriel and Legolas. The three of them put their heads together talking and laughing briefly before the next dance started.
Lothíriel curtsied prettily, looking up into her King's handsome face. "This is an honor, your grace, that I will speak of to my children and grandchildren."
"Do not be impudent, Princess Lothíriel. I am well aware that dancing is not my strong suit," Aragorn answered, his eyes shining with mirth.
"I intended no such thing. You are our long-awaited King and my liege-lord," she answered. Not easily daunted, especially not by this kind man, she continued, "I think the Lady Arwen must like to dance." She smiled up at him and enjoyed what she saw--tall and strong, and, on this momentous day and glorious night, as beautiful as any Elf.
"Indeed, she does. How did you guess?" Aragorn asked.
"Because, you are only insecure when left to your own resources. When I take the lead, you follow me most agreeably," she answered, meeting his eyes with an impulsively flirtatious smile. Aragorn grinned back and shook his head, chuckling softly, before his face turned serious.
"I have wanted to ask you if there is something between you and Elladan," he said gently.
Lothíriel blushed strongly and stammered, "There was an accident. But we have solved the problem."
"An accident? A problem?" he asked, his eyebrows arching.
"The night of the celebration at Cormallen. We were dancing. I was open and unguarded, as was he. Then he reached into my mind and revealed to me desires and yearnings that he ought not to have expressed," she said. "I thought for a moment that Elves had no concept of privacy and that he believed he had the right to read what I was thinking. But, he apologized and said his touch was unintentional that he had assumed that I was mind blind," she finished, biting off the last two words distastefully.
Aragorn laughed, "Be cautious with Elladan. He has the all passions of Man, combined with Elven arrogance, and impulsiveness to match your own. And you revealed nothing to him when he touched you thusly?"
"He intruded just as I was thinking how marvelously attractive he was," she answered with self-deprecating bluntness.
The King laughed again, "Perhaps an accident on his part, or perhaps not."
"Well, in any case, I scolded him for being rude and he has been prudent since then, except for one forgivably minor incident," Lothíriel said mildly, wishing to lead him away from the subject of Elladan. "And, you, my lord, do you have the gift of reading the thoughts of others?"
"No. Except with Arwen and there the skill is on her side and greatly strengthened by our bond. However, I know if someone tries to read me. So do not think of trying," Aragorn chided warningly.
"I would never do that. I have known from childhood that such prying is unconscionable," Lothíriel answered archly.
"You might be able to touch Éomer so. I think that he would like it. However, if you wait until you are more intimate, the likelihood of success will be greater," he said with a wicked grin. Lothíriel blushed fiercely at that suggestion.
"And you call me impudent," she flashed.
Across the room, Éomer approached Elladan and Imrahil. "Finally, someone interrupted Legolas and Lothíriel," Éomer said smiling following her and Aragorn with his eyes. "She is lovely, is she not?"
"Clever too," Imrahil added. "It is your turn next, now that she has soundly routed all her rivals."
"She had no rivals," Éomer said flatly.
A mocking smile curved the corners of Elladan's lips as he added, "Those gentle ladies following you around do not know that."
"Gentle? They had me pinned in a corner like an animal in a trap," Éomer said good-naturedly. "While I was forced to observe Lothíriel dancing endlessly with our celebrated Elven prince."
"Now all you have to do is dance with Lothíriel and the ladies of Minas Tirith will trouble you no more. They will despair of competing for the heart of the young Rohirric King with a princess who challenges Legolas with her beauty and grace and was the first to claim a dance with the King of Gondor and Arnor tonight." Elladan explained.
"If you say so. I know little of such maneuverings. I do greatly enjoy watching her," he said. "She wears no shoes. Dancing barefooted with King Elessar at his coronation ball," Éomer said with heartfelt admiration. Imrahil nearly choked on his wine.
"Prince Imrahil, forgive me. I am afraid that was at my suggestion," Legolas said, without a hint of sincerity in his apology. "Your daughter takes her dancing seriously, unlike most ladies of Gondor. The shoes were an impediment."
"I doubt that Estel has noticed. My sister rarely wears shoes when dancing," Elladan added drolly. At that Éomer, who, not wanting to provoke Imrahil, had been trying heroically to control himself, threw his head back and laughed aloud.
Elrohir appeared to clap his hand upon Imrahil's shoulder. "King Elessar's court will doubtless be less formal than some of the stiffest Gondorians will welcome. We can only hope that the memory of their deliverance will be stronger than their disapproval," he said.
At that moment, the slamming down of a heavy tankard of ale shook the table behnd them, interrupting their discourse, followed by a deep roar of laughter from the Dwarf Gimli in response to some remark made by Legolas, joined by peals of high-pitched laughter from Merry and Pippin. Sam and Frodo looking jolly and well, shouted, "Here! Here!" in response.
Imrahil chuckled and answered Elrohir. "The principal instigators of such laxity in protocol will soon be well occupied in other areas." As he spotted Faramir and Éowyn, both looking exceedingly flushed and animated—unconscionably late—moving hastily toward the dais, he stated, "However, it does not appear that we can count on my nephew and his Rohirric warrior maid to supply any significant balance of solemnity."
As the music ended and Éomer adroitly moved in and about the couples on the crowded floor, reaching Lothíriel and Aragorn before anyone else had the opportunity. The music began again and, without asking her to dance, after executing a short bow to Aragorn, Éomer put out his arm to encircle Lothíriel's slender waist. As they moved to the music Lothíriel looked up into his face and found she could not stop smiling.
"I have been watching you all evening," Éomer said.
"And I you," she answered. Her irrepressible delight in him shone in her eyes. "My happiness would be complete if only you did not have to leave for Rohan in less than eight days."
The words of Faramir, Aragorn and Gandalf at the coronation itself from The Return of the King, "The Steward and the King."
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