She didn’t expect this.
The clothes are heavy, white and gilt-edged. In the mirror, the woman she sees doesn’t look at all like Éowyn. She is tall and beautiful, she is the White Lady, the Wraithbane. A different person, one all of Rohan and half of Gondor seems to think they know.
They don’t know.
Among the Mearas, a mare may be as strong as any stallion. Stronger, sometimes. She smiles sadly at the woman in the mirror - she knows as well as Éowyn that there wasn’t a single warrior among the Rohirrim unaware of Dernhelm’s true nature.
The Rohirrim are not above needing the reassurance of appearances, sometimes. And is that not what this day is really about? The people seek to be uplifted from their own sorrow by the joy of others, of the promise of renewal.
The guests will already be here. Behind, somewhere along the corridors she can hear them. Aragorn – King Elessar, sorry, - and Arwen, who never needed a crown to be Queen. Gimli is here, and Legolas. And four little hobbits, whom she knows have already impressed the cook – who loves to feed people – with their appetites. Pale Lothíeriel, waiting, waiting.
The thought of Lothíeriel is like a knife to the heart, because that reminds her of Éomer.
“I cannot do this.”
The words ring out in the cold air. Edoras is chilly, even in summer. It is Éowyn’s task to bring the warmth back, to make Rohan whole again, and she never thought for a second that she could or would have to.
“You can.” Erkenbrand is dressed more formally than she can remember ever seeing him, everything crisp and shining. Marshall of the West-Mark, more now than just the man who was never too busy to help a clumsy young girl with her sword.
“Was it…” Éowyn examines the woman in the mirror again, who looks, for a moment, as confused and mortal as Éowyn herself. “Do you think it was my fault? Did he…”
“No.” His voice is sharp, as if denying something could make it true. “No, Éowyn. War is just like that – full of harsh chances. If I could have been at his side a second sooner – if another had come to his aid, if things were just a little different… then yes, maybe things could be changed. But they cannot. And Rohan needs you now, my Lady. Needs you without hesitation and without guilt.” He pauses, as if unsure of what he will say next.
“A letter came from Dol Amroth today, Éowyn. The Prince sends his regards, but regrets he will not be able to attend the coronation.”
Éowyn Wraithbane does not cry, but wishes she could, sometimes. Instead, she nods at Erkenbrand. “I am ready, now.”
And it is a bald-faced lie, but an accepted one, and as Éowyn makes her way to the Golden Hall, every step makes the lie easier.
When she steps into the hall, she is every inch Éowyn Wraithbane, the White Lady of Rohan.
“Hail Éowyn Wraithbane! Hail Éowyn Queen!”
The crowd of faces descends into just smiles and blurs, and she imagines she can hear the birds singing, the horses stamping in the stables, eager to ride, the wind whistling through the grass of the plains, the land itself greeting her.
“Greetings, our Queen,” it says. “Come now, there is much to be done.”
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.