9. Shieldmaiden's Mystique
Night had fallen and the Rohirrim had made camp for the night. The road to Helm’s Deep was a long one and (with the exception of the riders) the people were unused to such travel. Aragorn had been keeping watch until Legolas convinced him to go to bed and let others handle it.
He lay now in his tent, eyes closed, unable to find sleep. Anxiety over the fate of these people and the battle they must soon face clouded his mind. He thought of Théoden’s plan, wondering if it would really work, and of Théoden’s men, hoping they were strong enough to face what was coming...and of Théoden’s niece.
Éowyn was a beautiful, strong, and noble woman. Any other man would have counted it a rare honor to be looked upon with such eyes as she gave him. She felt things for him, he knew, and had things been different, he might very well grow to return those feelings. But his heart was claimed long before she was even born.
“What troubles you, my love?” a low, sultry voice curled around his ears like wisps of smoke.
It was her. But how could she be here? He must have fallen into another dream. He smiled lazily as she slipped into the tent, her purple gown fluttering in some imagined wind.
“Arwen,” he whispered, “You are not here.”
“No,” she replied, kneeling beside him, “I am leaving, remember? As you told me.”
He turned away, despite himself. His will and his desire were conflicting, and she could tell. She leaned over him, resting her arm on his chest, stroking his hair with her other hand.
“Be at peace,” she whispered to him, “This is the way it must be. I will go and be with my people. And you will remain, and find another to be with.”
He looked into the deep pools of her eyes, “How can I?”
“You must,” she bent her head low, so that she spoke directly into his ear, “I wish it.”
With one hand, he reached up and caressed the back of her head, then pulled her down into a kiss. It was sweet and tender, and after several long moments, she pulled back and said to him, “It is over.”
She stood and he moved to follow, but she pushed him down gently, saying, “I must go, and you cannot follow.” She glided out of the tent and Aragorn’s eyes drifted closed.
Outside, the night was dark and there were few still awake. There were none that saw the elf maid exit the tent, as there were none that saw the strange blue ripple pass over her, like a wave of needles, as she transformed into her true shape. The woman smiled and licked her lips once, then returned to her tent between those of her brother and the king.
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.