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Garnet and Gold, by Rhymer

Author: rhymer23
Title: Garnet and Gold
Rating: PG
Theme: January potluck: The jewels of June (June 2013)
Elements: Garnet
Author's Notes: Despite initial appearances, the bulk of this story focuses on major characters from The Lord of the Rings.
Summary: Long after the end of the Fourth Age, a unique treasure is uncovered in what was once the Shire. This is the story of some of those who owned it, and why they cherished it, and how they passed it on.
Word Count: 5140



He was nearly sixty years old now, but Edward still felt a fierce thrill whenever he caught the glint of gold in a trench. Some of the best pieces of historical evidence were dull things, of course, but the treasures were the best. It was one thing to unearth a piece of pottery and know how your forefathers had lived, but it was quite another thing to unearth a piece of jewellery and know what they had treasured.

"What have you got there?" asked Harry, peering over his shoulder.

Edward frowned. "A piece of a sword hilt, I think. I can't see much before cleaning, but I think… Yes, look! It's gold, definitely, inlaid with garnets. A fine work. Yes. Yes…" He turned it from side to side, letting it catch the light. Inside, his heart was racing, although he tried to keep his voice steady in front of the lad. Already he sensed that this small piece could be the find of his lifetime.

"It looks like Golden Age Rohirric work," Harry said. "Why would that be here in the Tower Hills?" He used the ancient name for the place, of course, as they all did.

"If it is Golden Age Rohirric," Edward said, "it's unique. There's styling there that doesn't look like anything from Rohan, and I've never seen a sword hilt so richly decorated. It can't have been practical. Ceremonial, perhaps? But not like anything else we've found – not that ancient Rohan is my period, of course."

"Unique, and far from home," Harry mused. "I wonder if we'll ever know…"

******

The sun would never shine again. Never again would she take pleasure in the singing of the birds. Never again would a valley seem fair. They were leaving, Lily Banks and her Ma, and moving to the Tower Hills, where Lily had never been. All the special, secret places of her childhood were being left behind, and she would never see her friends again.

She was filthy and exhausted, tired out from days spent packing up her treasures, and nights spent weeping. "Do we have to go?" She had asked it a hundred times before, but maybe one day she would get a different answer, and the sun would come out again.

"Of course we do, Lily." Ma's voice was flat and tired. Once, not so long ago, she had sparkled. "Your dad's gone, and there's nothing to be done about it. My aunt will take us in. It's beautiful there, Lily; as beautiful as here."

"But it isn't home." Lily slammed the trunk shut, raising dust.

"Lily!" Ma said, but even her shouting was flat and dull now. "For shame, girl. You're fifteen years old."

Fifteen years old, and her life had ended. All the familiar trappings of her childhood were packed away, and all that was left was this hollow space that echoed when she spoke. There was little left to pack, just the long-forgotten contents of the deepest cupboards. Lily kicked the wall. She wanted to shout. She wanted to scream.

"Goodness!" said Ma, with a spark of life in her voice. "Look at this, Lily!"

Lily wanted to stomp off and ignore her. Nothing could be remarkable, here in this empty shell that had once been her home. But then Ma crawled out from the depths of the cupboard. She had half unwrapped something from its covering of soft velvet, something that shone like gold. Despite herself, Lily edged forward. No, it was gold, inlaid with shining dark red jewels. Ma stood up, and drew the treasure fully out of the velvet. It was a sword, Lily saw, with a hilt decorated like the finest jewellery.

She wanted to hate it. She wanted to dismiss it and walk away. Instead she found herself almost touching it, but not quite. "How…?" she breathed. "How did we…?"

"Your dad came from a good family, on his mother's side." Ma looked as fascinated by the sword as Lily was. It was a long time since Lily had seen her take an interest in anything. "He told me once that he was descended from Meriadoc the Magnificent, himself."

"But he wasn't real," Lily laughed. She was no baby, to believe in such things. In the stories, Meriadoc and his best friend Peregrin were giants, hobbits who stood as tall as Men. They wore shining mail, and they were fierce when they needed to be, but more often they were joyful and generous. At the end of all stories, they rode away to Gondor, never to return. But one day, when the Shire was in danger, the great lost horn would sound again, and Meriadoc and Peregrin would come riding back from the south to save the land they had loved so much.

"Oh, he was," Ma said. "He was that." She laughed. It was a rusty sound, as if she had forgotten how to do it. "I didn't believe it myself, but your dad took me to the archives and showed me proof. Meriadoc lived so many years ago, but he lived. He lived."

Even in the faint light from the half-shuttered windows, the sword was gleaming. Lily picked up its soft velvet covering, and pressed it to her face. "But even if he was real, it doesn't mean he did everything he does the stories."

In the stories, Meriadoc had killed an immortal demon. He had been made a knight in a country far away. He had spent a season in Fairyland and had emerged unscathed. He had commanded a battle against an evil wizard, here in these ordinary, everyday valleys. Along with Peregrin, he had bound an entire forest to his service, and had commanded it to break down a mighty fortress. She was no baby, and soon she would no longer be a child. How could she believe such things?

"But how is it here?" Ma wondered. "This wasn't made in the Shire. It… Why, it must be more valuable than most anything else in the Shire." She carried it out into the light, and Lily followed. It looked even more beautiful outside, covered with patterns of gold and dark red. "Your dad lost his parents when he was young, but this was their house. Maybe there was a story that came with this sword, but we will never know it."

"But we can sell it!" Lily cried. "If we sell it, we won't have to move."

"Do you want to?" Ma asked. "Is that what you really want?"

Lily traced the swirling patterns with her eyes. She thought of Meriadoc the Magnificent, who was her ancestor. Was this his sword? It was too long for any normal hobbit to wield, but Meriadoc was a giant. How many stories were true? Why had the sword ended up in a simple hobbit hole, and not in Brandy Hall? The sword had a story. It was a story she would never know, but her Dad was part of the story, and so was she.

"No," she said quietly. The sun came out, faint and tremulous, and her Ma was smiling for the first time in months. The Tower Hills were very beautiful; everyone said that, and there were great archives there, where the past was not forgotten. "No, I don't." And then she was weeping, sinking to the ground. "I miss him, Ma. That's why I…"

"I know, my darling. I know." Her Ma sank down beside her, placing the sword on the grass. Clinging together, they wept until they had no tears left to shed.

When they rose again, the sun was blazing, and the jewels on the hilt shone like the fierce brightness of memory. They clung together, and smiled, and cherished it.

*****

The birds always sang in Emyn Arnen. Leaning on the carved balustrade, Merry looked down on the trees that lined the avenue, and the bright flowers and clear fountains of the gardens that surrounded the mansion. The pillars of the balcony were twined with vines and trailing blossom. It made him think of Rivendell in years gone by. Nowadays, so many things reminded him of long ago.

"It feels as if this house has always been here," he said. "As if it has… grown, somehow, from the landscape." It was not always like that with the buildings of Men. He remembered the reeking chimney that Saruman had placed in Hobbiton. Saruman had uprooted flowers to build it, but here the flowers embraced the towers.

Éowyn joined him at the railing. As she did so, the wind stirred the treetops, flashing the pale undersides of a thousand green leaves. "I remember the digging of the first foundations," she said quietly. "I remember those trees being planted, and now they are tall and old."

Merry turned towards her. She was still as straight and slender as a tree. There was silver in her hair now, but even in her youth, her hair had been such a pale gold that it had seemed almost silver in sunlight. She was still beautiful, or so Merry thought.

"But they are still strong," Merry said firmly.

"And they will outlive us all." A faint smile danced on Éowyn's lips, and then she sighed.

Faint behind the shimmering wood, a trumpet sounded. Faramir was returning from Minas Tirith, and Pippin would be there in his train, guarding him as he had guarded him long ago. One more evening together, and then it would be time to leave and return to the Shire. It was no longer a perilous journey, now there was a king to maintain the roads, but it was a long one, and Merry was no longer young. Even Pippin now complained of aching joints on cold days, and had started to stare reflectively into the fire when certain songs were sung, or a certain turn of phrase stirred a long-ago memory.

"I don't think I'll make this journey again," he murmured, "except for one last time, and then there will be no returning."

Éowyn placed her hand on his shoulder. "Merry," she said. Her gaze was clear; no fierce longing for death in them now, as he had seen at Dunharrow. "Merry, I… may not be here when you return to Emyn Arnen."

His head snapped up. "Are you…?"

"No." She shook her head. "But we Men of the Mark are not as long-lived as you hobbits." A shadow of pain darkened her eyes. The Men of Númenor lived longer still, he knew, and Faramir had in him much of the blood of the Men of the West.

"But you will have many years yet," he said firmly. She was still tall and unbowed. Her hand on his shoulder was strong. He remembered how she had held him during the wild and terrible ride to Minas Tirith. He had not known who she was, but he had trusted her not to let him fall.

"Perhaps." She gave a faint smile. "I would give you a gift before you leave, Sir Holdwine of the Mark."

Smiling, Éowyn went inside. Merry remained on the balcony, and waited. He was the Master of Buckland, and he was a knight of Rohan. He was taller than all other hobbits, and the great ones of the world called him friend. Many young hobbits were in awe of him, but his grandchildren thought he was set in his ways, even boring, telling tales of the past when they wanted to be outside climbing trees that they thought belonged to them alone. But in that moment, Merry Brandybuck was young again, wondering what this great lady's gift could be.

It was dark inside, in contrast with the sunlit balcony. As Éowyn approached the open doorway, Merry saw only that she held a sword. But when she stepped outside, its patterned hilt blazed golden, and he knew that she held a treasure of great price.

She held it out to him. He could not take it. "My lady..." The hilt was richly inlaid with garnets, set in swirling patterns amongst the gold. In those patterns, he saw hints of flowers and sleek moving animals, and the pommel was set with a dark red stone as big as an egg.

"My mother left it to me when she died," said Éowyn, "but I prefer to give my gifts when I am still living."

Merry shook his head, still caught in the beauty of the garnets. "You've given me so much already. It's an heirloom. You should give it to your own children."

"I choose to give it to you," she said.

The trumpets sounded again, nearer this time. Below him, Merry knew, horses and banners would be visible. Pippin would be looking for him, trying to sneak a quick wave. Merry touched the hilt, but still did not grip it. "My lady..."

"This sword... helped me to a decision, once," Éowyn said. "You were part of it, too. It is right that I give it to you. I want to give it to you."

Merry thought he knew what decision she meant. Éowyn alone had seen his misery in Dunharrow, for it had been akin to the misery that she herself bore. When she had taken him onto her horse, it had been the first and greatest of the gifts she had given him. It had never occurred to him before that perhaps the sight of his need had been a gift to Éowyn, too.

"It is too long for a hobbit to use as a sword," Éowyn said, "but it was not made to be a weapon. It was not the sword I took into battle. It is..."

"A treasure," Merry breathed. For a moment, they both held it, their hands side by side on the grip.

"And like all treasures, it is made of memories." Éowyn let out a breath. The wind stirred her silvered hair. "I have not wielded a sword for nigh on fifty years."

The trumpets were at the gate now, sounding high and clear. Below them, the birds were singing. In Emyn Arnen, the birds were always singing.

"Merry," said Éowyn, suddenly urgent, "is it possible to be utterly contented in your life, but to mourn, sometimes, the paths that you chose not to take?"

"I... think so," said Merry, thinking of the way Sam would still gaze sorrowingly into the west at times, even as he lived with his family in love and great joy. "Yes," he said. "Yes, it is."

Éowyn's hand tightened on the jewelled grip, then released it. "Take it, Merry, please."

He looked at the sword, and at her trembling fingers, and at the eyes in her pale face, lined with age but still beautiful. Her decision in Dunharrow had changed so much for him, but had changed the world for her. By riding to battle, she had started down a path that had brought her here, to this place of peace and soft flowers. He thought he might understand how she could cherish something that had been part of that decision. He thought he might understand why she might want to give it away.

"I will." He turned it in the sunlight, and saw fresh beauty in it with every turn. "Thank you, my lady."

Éowyn smiled. Moving to the balustrade, she leaned out to peer down at the door, like a young girl waiting for lover in her father's hall. When she turned back to him, her eyes were brimming with happiness. "My lord has returned home. Shall we go down to greet him, Sir Holdwine of the Mark?" But just before they left the balcony, she paused. "Utterly contented, Merry. I said that. I meant that."

"I know," said Merry, meeting her eyes solemnly. "I know what you meant, my lady."

******

Éowyn had wept but twice since leaving childhood behind. She had wept with joy when Gandalf Greyhame had restored her king to her. On a morning without a dawn, she had wept with desolation when the man she loved had ridden away into the shadow of death, leaving her behind.

In the grey days of Gríma Wormtongue, when her king had drifted ever more far away from her with each day, she had not dared let herself weep, for fear that if she started, she would never stop.

She did not weep now.

The world was shrouded in shadow. All colours seemed faded. The riders of the Mark wore mail that did not gleam. Their banners were muted, and their jewels were dull. Alone in her tent, she picked up a jewelled goblet. Even that she saw as if through a veil.

He was gone. Soon, everyone she loved would be gone from her, and they would leave her here alone.

When she closed her eyes, she saw the dead who lived beneath the mountain. Sometimes she saw them like pale smoke in the darkness, wreathing and swirling in the seeming of a man. Sometimes they were rotting flesh that clung to old bones. Sometimes they had dark pits for eyes. Sometimes their eyes were cold green light. Sometimes they reached out with a long and skeletal hand.

She tried to imagine Aragorn riding proudly through them, but always she saw the dead.

Tottering, she moved to the entrance to her tent. The air was cold, chilled by the wind that came from the mountain. Gripping the wooden pole, she watched the riders preparing for war. Their mail seemed dull to her now, but she imagined it gleaming in battle. Their banners were woven with silver and gold; how they would shine beneath the walls of Minas Tirith! How their swords would blaze! The trumpets would sound fiercely again, and men who now stood quietly would shout until they were hoarse. Their charge would be joyous, even as they raced towards death. They would ride and fight and sing, their movements swift, their trappings shining like jewels.

Gripping tightly, she slid her hand down the tent pole. A long splinter gouged into her palm. She drew it out, and a small bead of blood welled up on her pale skin.

Blood was the only colour. War was the only thing that could pierce the veil that had fallen across her vision. Death was the only thing that could banish the dead.

She let the tent flap fall. In the dark light, the bead of blood on her palm was almost black.

They would not let her go. Aragorn had ridden away from her, the only man who had ever seen her weep. Her king and her brother would forbid her even if she begged them. They would leave her here with her memories of the grey days, and her visions of the dead below the mountain.

Kneeling, she reached for the chest that had carried her treasures from Edoras: her mother's brooch of amber and diamonds, and her aunt's circlet with its six woven strands, set with pearls from Gondor. She had thought perhaps to wear them at the feast of farewell, before her king and her brother and Aragorn rode away to hope and glory. She wore no jewellery now.

Beneath them lay the sword that her mother had left to her. No words had come with the sword, because her mother had been too lost in grief to say them, or maybe Éowyn had just been too young to remember them. Éomer had scoffed at it; she remembered that much. It was no true sword, he had told her, just a silly ornament. But her uncle had taken her on his lap and told her that it was a precious gift indeed: a jewel, yes, but no mere useless bauble, such as soft women wore in gentler lands. It was beautiful, but it was strong, as you will be one day, oh Éowyn, my dear sister's daughter. She should cherish it, he had told her.

Éowyn brought the sword out of the chest, holding it in both hands, one beneath the hilt and the other beneath the blade. She closed her eyes, and the dead flooded her vision. When she opened her eyes again, still they wreathed around everything she saw. The garnets on the hilt were as dark as a doorway into a mountain. The blade was as dull as a cold dawn without hope.

It was no good to her. It was a sword, but it was too precious to be used in war. Its grip was not wrapped in soft leather, but was made of gold inlaid with garnets. The blade was a weapon, but its hilt was jewellery. It was a sword to cherish, not a sword to use. For years, it had been kept inside. It had never sung in the sunlight.

"But I am no jewel," she said, "and I will not be kept in a cage."

They called her beautiful. They wanted to keep her safe. Like the sword's blade, she had been fashioned for war. She had been allowed to bear arms, and her brother and her cousin had taught her to fight, casting scraps of lessons at her when it pleased them. She had devoured the lessons like a starving child. In the end, even Éomer had admitted that she was good. For a girl, she now thought he had meant, but he had not said it then.

But when war came, they saw only the jewelled hilt, not the blade. They had fashioned her for war, then told her she was mere jewellery.

She cast the sword away. The dead surged around her, stirring the shadows of the tent. Once again she headed for the tent flap. Once again, she tried to banish the dead with bright visions of war.

Instead she saw Meriadoc the holbytla, standing as one forlorn in the middle of the camp. His closest friend had been taken from him, Éomer had told her, riding to Mundburg with Gandalf Greyhame, and he, too, had been left bereft by the departure of Aragorn and his companions. He was small, and he was all alone, adrift in a sea of strangers. But even so, he had begged her king to let him ride with the host. Théoden, quite kindly, had told him he would only get in the way, or so it must have seemed to Master Meriadoc.

As she watched him, slowly the veil of shadow lifted, and she saw him more clearly than she had seen anything for two days, except for those visions of glorious death. She saw how his hand kept closing convulsively on the sword hilt at his side. She saw the brightness of his borrowed livery, and the courage and determination that had brought him this far. She saw the misery in his eyes, because it was reflected in her own.

"I am no jewel," she vowed, "and neither is he."

Returning to her tent, she buckled on her sword: not the decorative sword of gold and garnets, but the stern bronze sword of a rider of the Mark. The plain bronze gleamed, piercing the shadows. The smeared blood on her palm was a rich bright red.

She was resolved. Only death could banish the dead.

******

The dew lay like diamonds on the roses. Morwen ghosted her fingertip across a dark red petal, and bent to inhale the fragrance. A blackbird sang on a silver branch, its beak as bright as gold. Not far away, children were laughing in the flower-strewn meadows where once she had played.

"Beautiful," said a voice from behind her.

The petal fell away from her touch, drifting lightly to the ground to lie with others on the gentle grass.

"So they are," she agreed. A faint smiled curved her lips, then faded. She did not turn round.

"I did not mean the roses." The voice was soft. The blackbird took flight, heading for the safety of solitude.

Another petal fell; it fluttered to rest on her loosely curled palm. She closed her fingers around it, then clasped both hands together. "You flatter me, my lord."

"Nay, Morwen," said the man she was to wed. "I speak but the truth. You are beautiful."

She turned towards him at last. In the early sunlight, his pale hair shone like copper. His eyes were the colour of the sky over imagined grasslands. He was much older than she was. She thought she might love him, but she could not be sure.

"Whenever I think of you, I see you amongst the roses," Thengel said. He did not bow as a prince to a nobleman's daughter. He did not kiss her or embrace her, as a man to his promised bride. He was holding something behind his back, she thought.

"The roses of Lossarnach are famed throughout Gondor," she said. She had lived in Lossarnach for as long as she could remember. She wondered if there were roses in Rohan.

"Morwen..." He knelt before her. "It is the custom of... my people to give a gift to their promised bride."

He hesitated before he spoke of his people. He had been younger than she was now when he had left Rohan. She remembered her first sight of him, long ago. He had been a grown man; she had been a child. The older girls had debated whether he was handsome or not, with his long pale hair and his jewel-coloured clothing. Morwen had been afraid of his horse.

"It is the custom of my people, too." She could feel the rose petal crushed against her palm. She could smell it, too: the smell of lost childhood. As a girl, she had made perfume out of rose petals and water.

"Your people give jewellery," said Thengel.

Unbidden, her hand rose to her throat, where she wore her grandmother's opals, from Dol Amroth by the sea. Gondor was white and silver and steel. Like all her kin, she was tall, with dark hair and eyes of grey. The colours of her family were pale blue and a white like pearls. Thengel had come to Gondor in gold and bronze, with a brooch of garnet and a cloak the colour of emeralds. The jewels of Rohan were the colour of gardens, not towers of old stone.

"My people…" Thengel faltered again. He had left in anger; she knew that now. He had left in anger, and in nearly twenty years, had not gone home. "My people give a sword."

"To a lady?" She laughed, just a little. Then she wished that she had not.

"The noble ladies of Rohan learn how to wield a sword," Thengel said. "They do not ride to war, but if war comes to them, they defend their halls and their hearths. A Queen of the Eorlingas is a sword and a shield for all the women of the Mark."

"I… knew that." She feared she sounded very young.

He smiled, but it did not reach his eyes. "I should give you an heirloom, a treasure of my house to be your own, but I have not gone home in nigh on twenty years. I brought with me no jewels to grace a lady's neck, and no sword to suit a lady's hand."

Home, he had said. She wondered what place his heart called home, when he had lived half his life away from the country of his birth. She wondered where he would choose to live out his days, without duty and his birthright to call him back to Rohan one day, to be king. One day, she would know him well enough to ask him. One day, perhaps, she would know without the need for asking.

"But I am Thengel son of Fengel, of the House of Eorl," he said, "although I have lived in Gondor these twenty years; and you are Morwen of Belfalas and Lossarnach in Gondor, although one day it may be that you will be Queen in Edoras; and this, Morwen, is my bride gift to you."

It gleamed in the sun like the river at noontide. It jewels were dark red, like the roses of her garden; but those that did not catch the light were dark as a summer night. It was a sword, but slimmer and shorter than the sword Thengel wore at his belt. Its guard and its pommel and even its grip were made of gold, inlaid with countless close-fitting garnets. Patterns of dark red and gold swirled around the hilt, tracing the shapes of flowers and animals. Beneath the pommel, she saw a swan, and turning it around, she saw a horse. The pommel itself was set with the largest garnet she had ever seen. She saw her reflection in it, fractured into a dozen facets.

"It is beautiful," she breathed. "It is both jewellery and a sword. It is Rohan, and Gondor, too. It is…" She felt herself blushing. She wanted to lower her eyes, but did not. "It is us."

His smile was sunlight. She had not realised until then how nervous he had been. In some ways, she was still five years old, and he was the noble prince from a far-off land. Grown men were never shy. Princes felt no fear.

She thought she might love him.

"Where did you get it?" She wondered where the garnets had come from. She was suddenly sure that the large stone had been used before, in a brooch, perhaps, or on a belt, or worn at the throat of a beautiful maiden. She wondered how the its previous owner had lost it, and what stories it had seen, and how it had come to her.

"I had it made," he said. "For you."

A skein of geese flew overhead, heading north-west. Rohan lay there, beyond the mountains. She would have to live there one day. She would be queen, and one day, perhaps, a son of hers would be king. She did not know if there were roses there. There was no Great River. There were horses instead of swans.

But Thengel would be there, beside her, and he loved her enough to make her this gift. He said he had brought no heirlooms. Let this become a new heirloom, then: the first of the new house that they would make between them.

She turned the sword in her hand, letting it catch the light. The great old garnet gleamed, showing none of its old stories, just her own reflection and the reflection of Thengel, who loved her.

The blackbird returned, joyful on the silver branches. Her heart was fluttering as she moved forward and let him take her in his arms. "We will make new stories." She spoke it into the warmth of his chest, where his heart was pounding as much as hers. "We will make new stories together, you and I."

******

END

******

Note: The style of the sword is garnet cloisonné, which was very popular with the Anglo-Saxons.

as_sutton_hoo_purse_lid

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
dreamflower02
Jan. 27th, 2014 01:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is gorgeous; I love that you take us back and back and back, tracing the history of the sword, and using it to illuminate beloved characters--and most especially the wonderful friendship of Merry and Eowyn!
rhymer23
Jan. 27th, 2014 07:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! The Éowyn scene was the first that came to my mind, but it didn't feel quite right. I sat on it, unwritten, for about a week, and then suddenly the rest of the story came to me in a flash. Strangely, although the Merry and Éowyn scenes are the heart of the story, it was Morwen and Thengel who most intrigued me. I may well return to them again one day.
curiouswombat
Jan. 28th, 2014 12:58 pm (UTC)
it was Morwen and Thengel who most intrigued me. I may well return to them again one day.

I found they intrigued me too - I hope you do go back to them sometime.
shirebound
Jan. 27th, 2014 09:55 pm (UTC)
Oh my, what a poignant and fascinating story. "Like all treasures, it is made of memories"... I just love that line.
rhymer23
Jan. 28th, 2014 09:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I enjoyed writing it. I was tempted to take the story even further back, and follow the story of the garnet in the hilt through its previous owners, but decided that this was taking things a bit too far. In the end, I liked the idea that even though we now know the story of the sword, it still holds stories that will never be known.
hours_gone_by
Jan. 27th, 2014 11:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, how lovely! I like the way you take us through the history in reverse, using the sword to link the characters together like stitches in embroidery.
rhymer23
Jan. 28th, 2014 09:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I actually wrote the story in chronological order - starting with the Morwen/Thengel scene and working forward - and I toyed with the idea of leaving it like this, but I was fairly sure from the start that it was a story that needed to be told in reverse.
hours_gone_by
Jan. 29th, 2014 12:49 am (UTC)
Really? It doesn't feel like it was rearranged at all, it flows very naturally.
curiouswombat
Jan. 28th, 2014 12:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you - I really enjoyed this tale.
rhymer23
Jan. 28th, 2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I enjoyed writing it, so it's great to hear that you enjoyed reading it. :-D
sally_maria
Jan. 29th, 2014 12:51 am (UTC)
I enjoyed all three of your stories this month, but this is my favourite. I love the device of a future society finding something that remains a mystery to them, but we go back and find out what really happened.

I loved all of the inset scenes, from Lily and her teenage angst to Morwen and Thengel, finding a way between their two cultures. Eowyn is still my favourite character, 30 years after I first read LotR, and these were two great views of her, in youth and age.
rhymer23
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I really enjoyed writing this. I just wish we could do this in real life - i.e. see a mysterious item in a museum - (doubtless labelled "probably ritual") - and then travel back to find out about who owned it, and what they felt about it. Glad you like the Eowyn scenes: this was my first attempt at writing her, so I hoped I'd done justice to her.
blslarner
Jan. 29th, 2014 02:01 am (UTC)
What a great treasure, and I like the way its story is being told backwards, as it were. And the example you show is fabulous!
rhymer23
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I've always loved Anglo-Saxon garnet jewellery - in fact, it inspired me to choose garnet and gold for my engagement ring - so I enjoyed getting to put it into a story. I just wish it were possible to discover the stories behind the real life examples, too.
lindahoyland
Jan. 29th, 2014 04:59 am (UTC)
I just loved this and the way it kept turning up in different generations. Also a fascinating glimpse the various women.
rhymer23
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:19 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it! It was really enjoyable to write... although it's now inspired me to try to get to see the Staffordshire Hoard some time this year. There's some amazing Anglo-Saxon treasures out there. It's just a shame that we'll never know the stories behind the real life ones.
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