Éowyn was up early. She had leapt out of her bed with a happy heart, if not an entirely clear conscience. But somehow, having destroyed the formidable heirloom of Faramir's family didn't seem a crime that would shackle her moral sensitivities for any length of time. A look around the room revealed that there was indeed no sign of the Wedding Dress of Doom. Instead, her own green robe hung on the clotheshorse. She sighed in deep satisfaction and considered what to do next. It would be over an hour yet before Faramir would come along from his own quarters to join her for breakfast. She decided to go for a walk.
Outside, the morning air felt still cool and a fresh wind blew from north-east. She had left the citadel without any clear plan of where to go, but before she was aware of it her feet were taking her towards the Houses of Healing. It had rained overnight and the wet sheen on the cobbles flecked the street with a pattern of glossy dots. Éowyn breathed in deeply and walked with light steps and even lighter heart. Tomorrow she would wed Faramir in her green Rohirric gown. The triumph of having outwitted Ivriniel was still pulsing in her veins.
When she reached the gate to the gardens around the Houses of Healing, she met with a familiar figure.
"Good morning, Ioreth!"
The old healer looked up and clapped her hands together.
"Bless me, if it isn't the Lady Éowyn! Oh, how well you look, I am so pleased to see it! But no wonder, you're getting wed tomorrow, and a mighty splendid wedding it will be. The people are all excited about it, just like when the king got married, or more so, I dare say, for the Lord Faramir has been well loved for many years, no slight to our Elfstone. And what about the famous dress, how does it fit you? Oh, I remember well the Lady Finduilas on her wedding day. I couldn't help thinking she looked mighty uncomfortable in that big mountain of a dress, but noble folk have their own customs and I wager she wouldn't have swapped for the prettiest silk gown in Gondor. And how is the Lord Faramir, is he nervous yet? Watch your feet, Lady Éowyn, the grass is all wet here. You shouldn't be out in such dainty shoes, child. Oh dear, pardon me, my lady, I mean no disrespect but you just seem so –"
"Never mind that, Ioreth," said Éowyn. "But say: would people find it very strange if I wasn't wearing the heirloom dress?"
"Very strange indeed, my lady, very strange indeed. Why, has there been a problem with the fitting?"
"No, not really," said Éowyn evasively. Angling for a change of topic, she continued, "Faramir told me that you were building a new wing to the Houses to replace the one that was damaged during the war. Is the work progressing well?"
"Oh, it is, Lady Éowyn, it is. If you want to come along with me, I'll show you. Bless my heart, you look like the fresh flowers in the meadows, no more of that pallid sickness in you! I remember that dreadful day when they brought you in all cold and pale, and I thought, Ioreth, I thought..."
The old woman's happy chatter flowed on as the two walked across the garden towards the new building.
Later, when she sat at the table with Faramir and drizzled honey over her porridge with much enthusiasm, she said casually: "By the way, there has been a mishap with the wedding robe yesterday. The candlestick fell over and burnt a hole into it. I'm afraid it is beyond repair."
Faramir didn't even look up from the piece of bacon he was chasing around the plate with his knife and fork.
"Well," he said, "that's a shame. My aunt will be disappointed. But you weren't all that keen on it anyway, were you? Have you got something else to wear?"
Éowyn couldn't help wondering whether he had listened to anything she had said on the topic during the last three days. Did men simply switch off their ears when women talked about dresses?
"As I mentioned before," she said slowly and pointedly, "I have brought a dress with me from Rohan. This is what I intended to wear at the wedding from the start, and you are indeed right in assuming that I was not wholeheartedly pleased with the prospect of wearing the other gown."
Faramir beamed at her, his cheeks bulging with bacon and toast. He swallowed.
"Very good," he said. "That's it all settled then. We can get married tomorrow without fail."
"That we can," replied Éowyn and smiled.
After Faramir had gone to see to whatever tedious business occupied him even on the day before his wedding, she beckoned Acha to come with her into the bedchamber. Not a word was said about the heirloom dress, and Acha swiftly helped her into the green gown. Then they went back into the day room, where Queen Arwen's mirror still stood in a corner.
"Will you be wanting your hair braided in a crown tomorrow, my lady?" asked Acha.
"No, something plainer, I think," replied Éowyn. "Or, mind you. Mind you, yes, a crown would be just right."
She looked at her mirror image. The green gown gently hugged her upper body and flowed to the ground in soft folds from her waist. There were no frills, no ruffs, no adornments other than the embroidered white flowers. Her arms felt free and cool in the light, loose sleeves. This, she thought, flexing her sword arm, is the hand that slew the witch king.
"Yes, a crown," she said. "I think I've earned it."
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.