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Gifts by Erulisse (one L)

Author: Erulisse (one L)
Title: Gifts
Rating: G
Theme: Plot Bunnies
Elements: Fourth Age, Gondor: We know Faramir kept his mother’s mantle. Does Éowyn have anything from either or both of her parents even all these years later?
Beta: None
Word Count: 1692

Summary: Éowyn accompanies the body of Théoden King to Rohan for burial. While in Meduseld she retrieves something that she had brought from the Eastfold after her parents died and remembers the past, the present and the hopes she holds for her future.

Author’s Notes: Disclaimer: Tolkien built the sand box; I only play with the bucket and shovel that he left for me. No money, profit or non, is made from the publication of this story.


Gifts


Éowyn shivered, pulling her cloak closer around her. A small smile appeared as her hands stroked down the front of the cloak, but it quickly disappeared as her eyes refocused on the wagon ahead of her. A wrapped body draped with the standard of Eorl lay in the wagon bed. The procession had been traveling toward Rohan all day and now were camped for the night. Four warriors guarded the King's body; an honor guard comprised of men from both Gondor and Rohan. Each one had earned this honor either through his deeds on the battlefield or through exemplary service to his respective king.

“You should rest,” a familiar voice said from behind her.

Her brother walked to her and put his arm around her shoulder, pulling her close to his side. “You are but recently recovered from near-death. Faramir will have my heart cut from my breast and served to him on a platter should any harm befall his betrothed.”

A low chuckle escaped her before her controlled mien returned.

”Nay, brother. I am well enough and kept warm by his gift to me.” Her hands adjusted the collar of the cloak of stars higher around her neck. The winds were picking up and her breath was showing in the cold mountain air. “My shiver comes from the thought of the days facing us; saying a final farewell to our Uncle and continuing our lives without his wisdom and love.”

Éomer took her shoulder, turning her to face him. With his finger under her chin, he tilted her face up and looked into her eyes.

“Are you happy with this scholar, sister? Is he strong and intelligent enough to tame your wildness without clipping your wings?”

She nodded slightly and whispered, “I am happy. I freely choose to wed this man and share his life in a new land.”

"Then Théoden can go easily to join his ancestors, knowing that you will be cared for by one whom you have learned to love." He pulled her closer to his side and they stood in silhouette against the firelight and the last remnants of the western sun, two golden-haired warriors remembering one whom they had loved dearly.

* * *

Three more days passed before they rode through the gates of Edoras. The remainder of the funeral procession who had come from Gondor followed the wagon containing Théoden's body, preceded by an honor guard. Each mourner led his horse as a sign of respect for the deceased. Those Rohirrim who had remained in Rohan or returned to Edoras lined the sides of the broad roadway, many openly weeping. As the last of the procession passed, cries of grief arose as many of those watching realized that their own loved ones would never return. They had fallen on the battlefield and had remained behind, interred within the bloody earth of Gondor. Théoden King was not the only Rider who had lost his life on the fields of the Pelennor that day.

An array of sounds – horns and shouts of “Théoden King,” and “Éomer King,” - followed the former king's body as it was borne through the doors to Meduseld, carried upon the shoulders of members of his personal guard. They placed the body upon a broad stone that had been set in the center of the Great Hall. As the doors to the hall opened wide, the people of Rohan began filing in to pay their respects to their fallen king. The deceased's closest relatives, Éomer and Éowyn, stood immobile at each side flanking the bier.

As the sun set many hours later, the doors of the hall were closed for the night. The burial of the king would commence as the sun's rays struck the prepared burial mound. Éowyn swayed with weariness, her arm caught by a nearby guard before she lost her balance.

“You need to eat something and then get some sleep, my Lady,” he whispered as he helped her regain her balance. “You have been on your feet for most of the day and sunrise will come early to the hall.”

She nodded and slowly walked to a nearby table where serving women had set out trenchers of a thick stew, fresh-baked loaves with butter and mugs of ale. Sitting down she began to eat, but after a few bites, put down her spoon and rose from the table. When several of the men sitting with her made motions to accompany her, she shook her head.

“Nay, do not leave your meal. I am too tired and heartsick to eat. I'm going to sleep.” She walked toward the hall leading to her bedchamber to a chorus of voices wishing her a good sleep, but she knew that sleep would be hard to come by and she had one other errand to accomplish first.

Gathering her waning strength, she walked briskly down the hallway, passing the hall leading to her bedchamber and making a sharp turn down a narrow back corridor. She went down a set of stairs and around several corners, finally arriving at the cellars below the great hall. Here, in cool earth-sheltered rooms, was the storage area for food, drink and various other items.

She stood at the junction of several corridors. Nodding to the guard, she reached to her left, took a torch from the stand and lighted it from a nearby stanchion. The light flared up briefly, then calmed into a steady glow. One torch would be ample for her errand. Looking ahead, she began walking down the third passageway. Doors were staggered down the sides of the corridor; some full sized but others very small cupboard sizes. Finally, she arrived at a familiar doorway and pulled a key from her bodice. This door was one she had ignored for many years in an effort to keep it secret from Gríma Wormtongue. Behind the barrier was what remained of her childhood, along with several items she had brought with her from her childhood in the Eastfold.

She unlocked the door and entered a small room, brushing spider webs from her path as she approached shelves braced against the far wall. Placing the torch into a wall bracket, she surveyed the shelves. Here were several boxes of clothing that had belonged to her as a child, her brother's first bow, her own first sword made of soft copper with a rippled, dull blade, and a quilt that her mother had made that had covered her bed while she was a child.

A small stuffed horse stood in the far corner of the upper shelf. She smiled as she looked at it and reached up to grasp it. She remembered arriving at Meduseld, a frightened child whose parents had just died. Her uncle had been kind and welcoming, lifting her to his lap and promising her that she would be safe. He had kept that promise until he had been ensorcelled by Saruman through Gríma. She spat onto the dirt floor as his name came through her thoughts. The traitor, Gríma! His unwelcome attentions had forced her to hide things dear to her to keep them safe from his clutches. Reaching behind the stuffed horse her hand found the small box she sought and pulled it to her.

Holding the box in one hand, she flipped up the hasp and opened the lid. Nestled in a piece of shining linen cloth were two items. She took the fabric and its contents from the box, placing them into her pocket and returning the box to the shelf it had come from. She grasped the torch, locked the door behind her, and retraced her steps to the main level of the great hall. This time she turned and proceeded to her bedroom, closing the door behind her and dismissing her servants.

Sitting on the bed, she pulled the cloth from her pocket and carefully unwrapped it. Nestled in the slubbed linen was a thin golden ring featuring a single purple stone that had originally graced the hand of her mother, and a sturdy golden chased cloak pin bearing her family name between the decorations of her House that was one of two worn by her father. Éomer had their father's signet ring and sword, but Éowyn had these two gifts to remember her parents.

She picked up the ring and tried it on her finger. To her surprise, it fit her hand perfectly. She barely remembered the laughing golden-haired woman with eyes of cornflower blue who had given it to her.

“Keep this, child, to remember me. The purple stone will always remind you of the mountains of the Eastfold. The yellow gold will remind you of the bright sunshine that brings the golden summer grasses for the herds. Wear the ring when you wed and I will be there with you in spirit, standing next to my beloved daughter.”

A tear fell from her eyes as she remembered that afternoon in her mother's chambers. Her thumb caressed the golden band and she whispered, "I remember, mother, and I will wear your ring on my hand henceforth and your memory will be with me when I wed Faramir. He's a good man, mother and I think he will make me happy."

She reached down for the cloak pin. “This pin, heritage of my house, I will wear on my cloak of stars in memory of you, Father. I am marrying a kind man who is both puissant warrior and scholar. He has promised me land, horses and challenges enough to keep me busy. I think you would have liked him.”

She pulled her arms around herself, the pin held in her hand and ring upon her finger. She silently allowed herself to shed true tears for her lost family for the first time in many years. Holding their gifts, she felt strengthened by them and comforted that the life she was going to live would have met with their approval. Someday, if all went well, she would pass these gifts on to her own children. She nodded and readied herself for bed. Tomorrow she would begin a new life.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
shirebound
Jun. 19th, 2014 12:21 pm (UTC)
That's a beautiful story, and a wonderful way for Eowyn to keep her lost loved ones close to her as she enters a new, happy phase of her life.
engarian
Jun. 19th, 2014 01:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I like to think that once Eowyn had horses to care for, she would be happy no matter the location. I'm not sure what Faramir and the White Lady have in common for the long haul, but with horses, all is possible :-)

- Erulisse (one L)
lindahoyland
Jun. 19th, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC)
I liked this very much. You capture Eowyn perfectly.
engarian
Jun. 20th, 2014 01:25 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I really enjoy writing Eowyn and when I'm pressed for time (which was the case here), she's my go-to character.

- Erulisse (one L)
harrowcatliz
Jun. 19th, 2014 09:30 pm (UTC)
A lovely read. I especially liked Eomer's question about Faramir.
engarian
Jun. 20th, 2014 01:26 am (UTC)
Thanks! I suspect Eomer is as protective as many older brothers are about their sister's wellbeing.

- Erulisse (one L)
dreamflower02
Jun. 19th, 2014 10:21 pm (UTC)
This is nice.

I like the way Eomer is cautious about her feelings for Faramir, concerned, but not overprotective or jealous. And I really like the idea that she has a few tokens left from her childhood to remember her parents by.
engarian
Jun. 20th, 2014 01:28 am (UTC)
Thanks so much. I was quite relieved that a bunny was available that I felt I could do justice to in a time crunch. I love writing Eowyn, so this little story of the items bridging her childhood with her adulthood was like a gift to me :-

- Erulisse (one L)
aliensouldream
Jun. 19th, 2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
That's very emotional, very brave and brings us closer to Eowyn. Her story is one of the saddest, with great bravery shown in many ways. I'm glad these mementos give her that spiritual connection with her parents. She is sublime. Great insight and solace.
engarian
Jun. 20th, 2014 01:31 am (UTC)
What a lovely avatar for a horsewoman :-)

Thank you so much for your very kind words. I love writing about Eowyn and with each story she gains more depth in my mind. I almost feel that she has become a good friend who shares tea, cookies and stories about her life with me periodically, so that I, in turn, can share with all of you.

- Erulisse (one L)
hhimring
Jun. 21st, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
I can see Eowyn having to hide things like this from Grima. I'm glad she succeeded in keeping them from him and she has them now to give her courage for the future.
engarian
Jun. 22nd, 2014 08:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm sure it wasn't easy to keep such things secret from Grima, but she succeeded and can walk into her future with links to her past accompanying her. *hugs*

- Erulisse (one L)
blslarner
Jun. 21st, 2014 08:48 pm (UTC)
A worthy memorial of her own parents to take with her into her new marriage and life. And she is finding that, as Gandalf was to say later, not all tears are an evil. These are healing, and help prepare her for what will come, reminders of the good she knew in her earliest years.
engarian
Jun. 22nd, 2014 08:31 pm (UTC)
Tears can be very healing, and I don't think she allowed herself to grieve because she was so much in the public eye. I am pleased that there were small keepsakes of her parents that she could bring to her new life to remind herself of her own rich heritage when marrying the Steward's son.

- Erulisse (one L)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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