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About Éowyn and Faramir

Éowyn and Faramir were both in the Minas Tirith's Houses of Healing at the same time, healed of bodily hurt by Aragorn. Eowyn was discontented, she who had wished for death in battle as opposed to life. She went to seek Faramir, to ask to be let go from the keeping of the Warden.

...He looked at her, and being a man whom pity deepty stirred, it seemed to him that her loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart. And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.

He could not release her, but at her lamenting that her window does not look Eastward, towards Mordor and towards those whom she waited for, he granted this request and entreated her to walk with him if she so wished:

"...If you will stay in this house in our care, lady, and take your rest, then you shall walk in this garden in the sun, as you will; and you shall look east, whither all our hopes have gone. And here you will find me, walking and waiting, and also looking east. It would ease my care, if you would speak to me, or walk at whiles with me."

Then she raised her head and looked at him in the eyes again; and a colour came in her pale face. "How should I ease your care, my lord?" she said. "And I do not desire the speech of living men."

"Would you have my plain answer?" he said.

"I would."

"Then, Éowyn of Rohan, I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of your hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither maiden nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back."

"Alas, not me, lord!" she said. "Shadow lies on my still. Look not to me for healing! I am a shieldmaiden and my hand is ungentle. But I thank you for this at least, that I need not keep to my chamber. I will walk abroad by the grace of the Steward of the City." And she did him a courtesy and walked back to the house. But Faramir for a long while walked alone in the harden, and his glance now strayed rather to the houe than to the eastward walls.

Not discouraged, he asked about her from the Warden, and then, later, Merry. She did not come to walk with him that evening, but she did so the next morning and the days after that, sometimes talking, sometimes just walking or sitting together in silence. On the fifth day:

"Does not the Black Gate lie yonder?" said she. "And must he not now be come thither? It is seven days since he road away."

"Seven days," said Faramir. "But think not ill of me, if I say to you: they have brought me both a joy and a pain that I never thought to know. Joy to see you; but pain, because now the fear and doubt of this evil time are grown dark indeed. Éowyn, I would not have this world end now, nor lose so soon what I have found."

"Lose what you have found, lord?" she answered; but she looked at him gravely and her eyes were kind. "I know not what in these days you have found that you could lose. But come, my friend, let us not speak of it! Let us not speak at all! I stand upon some dreadful brink, and it is utterly dark in the abyss before my feet, but whether there is any light behind me I cannot tell. For I cannot turn yet. I wait for some stroke of doom."

"Yes, we wait for the stroke of doom," said Faramir. And they said no more; and it seemed to them as they stood upon the wall that the wind died, and the light failed, and the Sun was bleared, and all sounds in the City and in the lands about were hushed: neither wind, nor voice, nor bird-call, nor rustle of leaf, nor their own breath could be heard; the very beating of their hearts was stilled. Time halted.

And as they stood so, their hands met and clasped, though they did not know it. And still they waited for they knew not what. Then presently it seemed to them that above the ridges of the distant mountains another vast mountain of darkness rose, towering up like a wave that should engulf the world, and about it lightning flickered; and then a tremor ran though the earth, and they felt the walls of the City quiver. A sound like a sigh went up from all the lands about them; and their hearts beat suddenly again.

"It reminds me of Númenor," said Faramir, and wonder to hear himself speak.

"Of Númenor?" said Éowyn.

"Yes," said Faramir, "of the land of Westernesse that foundered, and of the great dark wave climbing over the green lands and above the hills, and coming on, darkness unescapable. I often dream of it."

"Then you think that the Darkness is coming?" said Éowyn. "Darkness Unescapable?" And suddenly she drew close to him.

"No," said Faramir, looking into her face. "It was but a picture in my mind. I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Éowyn, Éowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!" And he stooped and kissed her brow.

And so they stood on the walls of the City of Gondor, and a great wind rose and blew, and their hair, raven and golden, streamed out mingling in the air....

There was great happiness and many preparations in the City, and Merry and Éowyn were sent for, while Faramir stayed to prepare the City for the coming of its King. However, Éowyn did not go though her brother begged her to, and Faramir wondered at this but was busy with preparations. She stayed in the Houses of Healing, and the health that had come to her during the days of walking with Faramir seemed to fade away again. Troubled, the Warden spoke to Faramir, who then sought her out.

..."Éowyn, why do you tarry here, and do not go to the rejoicing in Cormallen beyond Cair Andros, where your brother awaits you?"

And she said: "Do you not know?"

But he answered: "Two reasons there may be, but which is true, I do not know."

And she said: "I do not wish to play at riddles. Speak plainer!"

"Then if you will have it so, lady," he said: "you do not go, because only your brother called for you, and to look on the Lord Aragorn, Elendil's heir, in his triumph would now bring you no joy. Or because I do not go, and you desire still to be near me. And maybe for both these reasons, and you yourself cannot choose between them. Éowyn, do you not love me, or will you not?"

"I wished to be loved by another," she answered. "But I desire no man's pity."

"That I know," he said. "You desired to have the love of the Lord Aragorn. Because he was high and puissant, and you wished to have renown and glory and to be lifted far above the mean things that crawl on the earth. And as a great captain may to young soldier he seemed to you admirable. For so he is, a lord among men, the greatest that now is. But when he gave you only understanding and pity, then you desired to have nothing, unless a brave death in battle. Look at me, Éowyn!"

And Éowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: "Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Éowyn! But I do not offer you my pity, For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Éowyn do you not love me?"

Then the heart of Éowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.

"I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun," she said; "and behold! the Shadow has departed! I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren." And again she looked at Faramir. "No longer do I desire to be a queen," she said.

Then Faramir laughed merrily. "That is well," he said; "for I am not a king. Yet I will wed with the White Lady of Rohan, if it be her will. And if she will, then let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden. All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes."

"Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?" she said. "And would you have your proud folk say of you: 'There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Númenor to choose?'"

"I would," said Faramir. And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many. And many indeed saw them and light that shone about them as they came down from the walls and went hand in hand to the Houses of Healing.

The Warden released her from his charge afterward, but she stayed in the Houses of Healing as it had become for her a blessed dwelling. Upon Aragorn's arrival, Faramir received the Princedom of Ithilien, and Éowyn went back to Rohan to set things in order, but promised to return. When Éomer returned to Gondor to finally bring back Théoden to Edoras, Faramir accompanied them back. In the feast after the burial, Faramir and Éowyn then plighted their troth.

At last when the feast drew to an end Éomer arose and said: "Now this is the funeral feast of Théoden the King; but I will speak ere we go of tidings of joy, for he would not grudge that I should do so, since he was ever a father to Éowyn my sister. Hear then all my guests, fair folk of many realms, such as have never before been gathered in this hall! Faramir, Steward of Gondor, and Prince of Ithilien, asks that Éowyn Lady of Rohan should be his wife, and she grants it full willing. Therefore they shall be trothplighted before you all."

And Faramir and Éowyn stood forth and set hand in hand; and all there drank to them and were glad. "Thus," said Éomer, "is the friendship of the Mark and of Gondor bound with a new bond, and the more do I rejoice."

"No niggard are you, Éomer," said Aragorn, "to give thus to Gondor the fairest thing in your realm!"

They were wedded in 3020 at Rohan, as Faramir could not part with Éowyn any longer. They dwelt in the Hills of Emyn Arnen, in a white house with gardens designed by Legolas. They had a son, Elboron, and their grandson Barahir wrote the tale of Aragorn and Arwen.


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