1. Big Dreams, Small Rooms
On still days the lake gives a perfect view of the sky when she looks down. Clouds hang like ornaments from the ends of her hair; below them is the abyss. If she leans too far out she will fall...into an indigo ocean of air. She imagines she will descend slowly, endlessly...like a paper-moth.
Éowyn dreamily watches the blurred movements reflected in the mirror's metal pane as Morwen brushes her hair...a bedtime ritual they both enjoy.
Sometimes a wistful note enters Morwen's peace and she cups her hand around the hard curve of Éowyn's forehead.
Such big dreams....such small rooms...
Crow's Silver, Fool's Gold
In the large kitchen Éowyn lets the comforting cadence of the women's chatter wash over her. Underneath its flow, in intense concentration, she arranges her recently gathered rocks in patterns only she can interpret.
The rocks glimmer bronze-yellow and silver-charcoal in the firelight. The women have their own names for them. Crow's Silver, Fool's Gold...
Like the promises of a man, one of them says, cheerfully.
Sometimes the cadence drops to a hushed giggle.
He sits tall in the saddle still, but perhaps other parts of him no longer stand quite so tall...
Éowyn has her eyes fixed on the stones; her face towards the fire, her back against the rush of words. She is unaware of the glances they sometimes throw her - with headshaking affection.
Hair like a tangled horse's mane, knees bruised, dress torn...
She knows full well the treasures she collects have no real value. Not like the gold and silver added to a girl's dowry together with the horses.
For her they represent other things; the world outside of her small rooms, and, if she is forced to admit it, the spaces inhabited by the beloved women around her. A world of high sky-vaults over swaying grass plains and wide rivers. And when the sun cuts a sudden slit in the clouds on a windy day, a net of diamonds is thrown across the water from one riverbank to another.
One of the women pats her pale head as she walks by. The caress registers only faintly at the edge of Éowyn's awareness, so she doesn't look up to meet the woman's pensive gaze.
Enjoy it, lass - while you can.
Note: "Crow's Silver" is mica, "Fool's Gold" is iron pyrite.
We were pulled ashore you and I...and told to live.
A big place, the future...
I wasn't at all sure I belonged there, but when someone has fought to save you, you owe them to stay...at least for a while.
Mine was a hueless world; muted, dead to my touch, but the texture of your sorrow brought a tingle to my fingertips.
You were different to other men; wiser, stronger...frailer.
Ours became a quietly relentless intimacy...like salt diffusing in water. And the future a place where I dared stretch my hand out, and perhaps watch moonlight fall into my cupped palm.