18. The Life of a Lady
The field was empty of all save shattered weapons and churned mud, the healers were near exhausted, and pyres burned day and night. Yet hope and joy swept through Cormallen unchecked, even amidst the toll of war; the Shadow was defeated, a King tended the wounded in the White City, and Faramir, it was said, would live.
Imrahil felt relief as surely as any man, felt hope spark in his heart and lift his eyes eagerly towards the future, where before he might have shuddered and turned away. Yet he could not find it in himself to rejoice quite so loudly as his men. The truth was, war-- even victory-- weighed heavy on his heart, and he could not forget the men he had lost. Nor one who still lay in the Houses of Healing, the noblest lady he had ever known. If Éowyn could not recover from her battle with the Witch-King, it would be a terrible weight to the already heavy price he knew they had paid for victory. Imrahil had saved her life, when all others had believed her dead, but now he heard news that she lay as sadly as ever in the Houses of Healing. And if she could not regain herself, might it not have been better to let her die honorably on the field of battle? Might he, perhaps, have wronged her by bringing her back to a life she no longer cared for?
"My lord--" a soldier approached, saluted, "My lord, our standard was torn irreparably in battle."
Imrahil frowned slightly, surprised he would be consulted on such a minor issue. "What of it? Surely another banner can be made to the same design." But then, an idea occurred to him, giving pause to his brusque dismissal. Éowyn was beyond his charge now, but surely there was still something he could do for such a valiant lady. With his words, he stopped the soldier mid embarrassed retreat. "Or no. Have our standard remade as it was, yet add a small silver vambrace in the corner."
"A vambrace, my lord?" The soldier echoed, puzzled.
Imrahil smiled, eyes focused beyond his soldier's face. "A vambrace. In hopes that the life of a lady may yet be saved."
A/N: (When Éowyn was carried off the Pelennor Fields, Imrahil proved she still lived by holding his polished armguard-- "vambrace"-- to her lips, which showed the mist of her breath.)
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.