1. My Dark-haired Love
Composed, Éowyn returned to her seat and her watch over her sleeping lover. With her eyes she caressed the beauty before her… long limbs, slim shoulders with an archer’s muscles, hair as dark as a raven’s wing, muscles, sinew, bone and grace….. She’d tended her brother and cousin’s wounds oft enough that a man’s body was no strange territory to her, but to a girl of Rohan this man she had married, this man she watched in sated sleep, was almost exotic in his differences. He was tall, yes, but not as tall as her kin and almost slender next to them though finely carved with muscles. There was something in his more delicate features that reminded her of the Elves she was slowly getting used to and he moved, too, with that almost silent grace that had seemed so uncanny when she had first seen Legolas cross the floor of the Golden Hall.
It was his darkness, though, that most marked Faramir as strange to one that came of the flaxen-haired Rohirrim. She watched him now and counted the differences. Black hair tumbled onto the pillow; black curls clustered on his chest and traced a feathery path down his body; dark hair made soft traceries over brown-skinned legs and arms. My dark-haired love, she whispered to herself and felt warmth stirring within her.
Finally Éowyn looked away from her husband and down to the piece of paper she held in her hand. It was folded, fat and secret, and she opened it slowly, carefully smoothing out the cream-coloured sheet. For a moment she simply traced the writing without reading it; exploring each careful stroke of black, each bold and broad downsweep, each precise and arching upstroke as she had that night explored the unfamiliar planes of her husband’s body. In her mind’s eye she saw once more Faramir, in silken robe, give it to her with fleeting smile and uncertain shrug. In the faintest of whispers, she began to read it for a hundredth treasured time:
My love is made of shining gold -
All softly limned in silk and cream
Thee doth all sweetest beauty hold.
In deep delight of love’s sweet dream
I hold and touch and thee adore -
All softly limned in silk and cream.
Each curve of skin and bone and more,
Each line of fair beloved face,
I hold and touch and thee adore.
‘Tis in thine arms I find true grace –
Here worship I with truest heart
Each line of fair beloved face.
Lips, breast and skin – each golden part –
And heart- and soul - and fairest mind,
Here worship I with truest heart.
Here with thee I treasure find:
My love is made of shining gold,
And heart and soul and fairest mind,
Thee doth all sweetest beauty hold.
With a soft sigh, Éowyn let her eyes drift back to the man in the bed. Her eyes and throat burnt with tears as she folded the paper. His words were elegant, precise, beautiful… just like the man she loved – and she had nothing to give him in return.
In bed Faramir had whispered to her in Rohirric and caressed her with Sindarin endearments. In courtship he had recited Gondorian poems and sung Rohirric lays. At their reception he had moved smoothly from one language to another and with ease observed ancient courtesies. Here in his rooms the walls were lined with books and a half-finished manuscript full of polished words and phrases lay on his desk. Éowyn felt an uneducated child, almost a savage. She came from a people mostly unlettered, where the genealogy of a horse might be recited for fifteen generations back but no value was given to scholarship. Warriors and riders were remembered in song and legend - but a book was a rarity even in the Golden Hall. Westron was the language of trade and for a King’s sister-daughter a language of diplomacy but she could imagine coining no elegant phrases of love in it. Rohirric had its words of love, and here and there Éowyn had overheard them – in the stables, from her maids, even when her brother and cousin were whispering boasts of conquests – but they were bold words. Éowyn’s cheeks flamed again at the thought of speaking them to this man. Certainly she couldn’t write them down, far less turn them to poetry.
She glanced back at the paper in her lap
My love is made of shining gold,
All softly limned in silk and cream…
Such a beautiful gift and she longed, burned, to give Faramir something as precious. They’d exchanged formal bonding gifts - his hung still around her neck, warm against her breasts, while hers could be glimpsed, a small heap of gold, on the bedside table; exchanged sundry trinkets – strawberries, combs, golden-red leaves, sweetmeats and sketches; and one of the finest horses Éowyn had bred now wore Faramir’s saddle - but that wasn’t enough. She wanted this gift for him, this gift of words. She looked across the faint-lit room to her husband’s desk. Pens, ink, sheets of paper all lay ready but still she had no words.
Walking back to the window Éowyn berated herself. She could stitch a fine tapestry, gentle a raw horse, dose a fever, cleanse a festering wound, wield an accurate sword, negotiate a trade treaty, deliver a foal – but could find no words of beauty and love for her husband. He might as well have married one of his servants, she thought bitterly. She pulled her robe closer around her and leaned against the cold stone of the embrasure while she searched her mind for words. The sky in front of her was the faint cool blue of ice and streaked with ragged triumphant banners of pink and gold. Down below people were stirring: the first carts rumbling through the city gates bound for the markets, the guard change marching to the walls, birds stirring into uncertain morning flight; but Éowyn was conscious only of the sharp-cornered paper in her hand, the piercing beauty of the sky and the slow unhurried breathing from the bed behind her. With faintest breath, she whispered words to the unlistening air.
“Thee I worship … I adore thee… Beloved as the morning star…Thou art handsome and brave… ”
Éowyn shook her head in impatience – somehow what sounded beautiful in Faramir’s words sounded untrue in her own; as false as any of Grima’s honeyed flattery. With a sigh, she tried once more, leaving fancy words and phrases for those whose tongue leapt to them more readily.
“I love you… You are handsome… I am glad you are my husband…”
With a quiet, but inelegant, snort Éowyn turned away from the window. As well be Éomer listing the points of a horse he would sell. She moved to sit in a chair close to the bed, bringing with her the coolness of dawn and the fresh smell of the breezes from the mountains and tenderly she watched her husband sleep as she tried once more to find fitting words for her love.
Dark grey eyes the colour of water-washed rock opened and Faramir smiled at her.
“Up early, Miluiril?”
Éowyn nodded and with an inviting look Faramir moved over in the bed, making a space for her. Rising, she let her robe slip to the floor and gladly joined her husband’s warmth. Even as he stroked her face and gently traced her shoulder with kisses the folded square, still tight in her hand, reminded her of all she had wanted to say. She opened her mouth on the only words she could find - “My dark-haired love…” - and knew as Faramir kissed her that it was poem enough.
*Miluiril means, I hope, lovely one. I got it from:
*I know I don’t really write poetry well enough for this, particularly as Faramir is supposed to have written it but, well, I did it anyway. ;-) The form used is a Terzanelle.
*Yup, I do know unlistening isn’t a word but it expressed what I wanted so I used it anyway.
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.