The clouds began to descend on Ithilien, bringing cool winds to the land of Emyn Arnen. The breeze from the open window washed over Éowyn as she sat at the edge of the bed, combing her golden hair. Her long ivory fingers assisted the comb in removing the tangles in her still damp locks as she hummed a simple tune. The smile that played on her lips was not a product of the difficult work at hand but of the work she anticipated ere the night was done: for Faramir, Prince of Ithilien, was to arrive home from his journey to Minas Tirith.
It was the first time since their marriage that Faramir had left Éowyn’s side, and his absence had been of almost a fortnight’s duration. Éowyn had encouraged her husband to attend to his duties while secretly harboring an intense fear and disappointment at his departure. After such a long and peaceful respite from the loneliness and fear of the previous years, she began to worry that all of this was only some wonderful dream. A dream that would end as soon as Faramir left her side. As alarmed and surprised as she was about these irrational and girlish feelings in her heart, which had once been fearless and cold, she could not dismiss her apprehensions and the prospect of sleeping in an empty bed left her feeling vulnerable.
She had ridden out with him to the edges of the hilly region they now called their home, absorbing every word he said to her as if it was his last, searching his face with her eyes a thousand times and secretly wiping away tears when he was not looking. When they finally dismounted to say their farewells, Éowyn placed her hand on his chest and finally broke down in tears.
“Éowyn,” Faramir said, laughing despite his wife’s pale and drawn countenance. “I will be home before you know it, back by your side. There is no need for tears now, my love!” he said, placing his hand over hers and cupping her cheek with his other hand.
Éowyn laughed a little at her own expense then, remembering her reputation as a fearless woman warrior that laughed in the face of death and contrasting that image with the weeping wife who wanted nothing more than to hold her beloved husband in her arms.
“I will not know what to do with myself,” Éowyn said, brushing her shed tears from her cheek and drawing Faramir’s arms around her waist. “All alone in my garden… in our bed.”
Faramir kissed her forehead and grinned knowingly. Pulling Éowyn close to him, he whispered, “In that case I shall hurry home, my lady, before our bed grows cold from my absence. But as I must go now, it will be your duty to keep it warm while I am away.”
“Duty, my lord? It is a duty that I hold dear to my heart and would not neglect for the world,” Éowyn said. Éowyn kissed Faramir teasingly on the lips before withdrawing and watched him mount his horse. The men who were to accompany him to the city and had been watching awkwardly from a short distance now joined their Prince and took leave of his wife, leading the way on the road winding down to the Anduin. Faramir winked at Éowyn, saying only “A fortnight, my lady” before joining his men.
Éowyn spent the greater part of her isolation attempting to order the household. She had little time for these trivial affairs when Faramir was at hand, persuading her to ride with him to all parts of his new princedom, exploring all the secret groves of Emyn Arnen. Now she performed the wifely duties with obligatory diligence, but her mind ever lingered on the night when he would arrive home and she would once again be in his arms.
It came as a surprise to Éowyn just how much she had gotten used to Faramir’s constant presence and love--- and how much she had come to depend on it. Dernhelm and the woman that had once feared neither death nor pain seemed to be slowly fading into the past as her heart melted and became part of Faramir’s. Without him, she did not feel whole. At first she had been horrified at leaving behind all the strength and endurance that had accompanied her battle persona, but then she realized that she was even stronger now. She supported Faramir as much as he supported her. She was needed for the first time, not as someone else, but as herself. These thoughts buoyed her spirit and helped her through the days and nights of her solitude.
Finally the day arrived, dawning bright and warm: the first day of summer in Ithilien. Éowyn rose early, ordering clean linens and water to be brought to the chamber, bathing and taking special care in the arrangement of candles around the room. Her handmaidens rolled their eyes and exchanged looks at their mistress’s requests, but Éowyn had not minded their joviality. Her spirits were high and she did not see the need to hide her joy at welcoming home her lord and husband in whatever way she saw fit.
The day passed by excruciatingly slowly, especially when a forerunner arrived, announcing that the Prince had been slightly delayed and would not arrive until late that night. Éowyn’s heavy sigh as she received the news had provoked smiles on even the most prudent servants’ faces, who could not help but find the plight of the young wife comical and at the same time comforting. They had seen their master in his darkest periods, most having served him since he was a boy, and to see that he and his wife shared so much joy in marriage brought them great happiness. The fact that Éowyn was so eager for Faramir’s return only impressed upon them further that she was a very young wife, not yet accustomed to the occasional disappointment or dullness of married life.
Indeed, Éowyn had only become acquainted with the advantages of her marriage in the past months. She found a deep well of pleasure and joy inside of her heart that she had not yet discovered the depths of. She learned what enjoyment could be had in the peace of morning, waking up beside her beloved, feeling the cool breeze on her naked skin and the warm touch of her husband’s hand on her bare body. She had also discovered the frantic, kinetic passion that Faramir awakened within her, and had spent the first months of her marriage amazed to discover that she could awaken the same passion in him. Marriage had been a journey of unparalleled joy and pleasure in Éowyn’s life, one that she had embraced with the energy and enthusiasm of her youth and love.
Now, as she sat in her bed, awaiting the continuation of that period of pleasure and discovery, Éowyn felt exhilarated to find that the moon had already risen. Faramir would soon be home, and in her arms. The very thought of her husband made the blood rush quickly to her head, her limbs suddenly growing very light as she anticipated the touch of his skin, the way he would run his hands down her spine and pull her close to his body, his hot breath on her face…
“My lady?” A serving woman whom Éowyn had asked to bring wine to the room arrived with goblets, just as Éowyn had closed her eyes and slipped into her pleasant reverie. Coming out of her hallucination, Éowyn sprang up from the bed, surprised.
The woman, pretending not to see her discomfiture. said, “Would you like me to set these down here or in the sitting room?”
“In here,” Éowyn replied, her voice unwittingly husky and difficult to control as the heat that filled her body began to rise to her head. “That will be all, if you please. I will attend to Lord Faramir when he arrives.” The smile that Éowyn saw on the woman’s face suddenly confronted her with how obvious she was being, and her face became slightly flushed.
“As you like, my lady. We will leave you to your… rest.” As the woman pulled the door shut, Éowyn went to the window, letting the chill evening wind relax and cool her hot face and body. But it was useless, every moment that brought Faramir closer, her mind grew more agitated, her body more tense. Closing the window, Éowyn took a long sip of wine and went to the basin to splash some water on her face.
Coming back to her seat on the bed, Éowyn grew anxious. What if something had happened and he could not return this night? All of the pressure that had been building inside of her after days and days of being alone and untouched was now beginning to come to the surface. Beads of sweat appeared on her creased forehead and her knuckles were white with the pressure she was exerting on the bed frame. The heat that had been building felt like it was radiating off her skin as Éowyn tried to recall all the contours and lines of her husband’s face, his hands--- his body. Suddenly her dress felt extremely restrictive, and she rushed into the antechamber to find a looser fitting nightgown. The white, airy gown she chose was several sizes to large for her, having been ordered for her wedding trunk by her brother as there had been no woman to take charge of the task. Éowyn’s ragged breathing began to slow as she rid herself of the constricting gown. When she re-entered the room, she inspected the arrangement of the candles and turned down the bed before going to the window to let in the fresh air.
Éowyn realized with surprise that it was raining. In her distracted state she had not noticed the downpour, and now wondered how long ago it had started, and whether Faramir would be riding in this weather, soaked to the bone. She almost went back to the wardrobe to get him dry clothes before realizing with a devious smile that she would have him out of his wet clothes soon enough…
Sounds in the courtyards of horses and men’s voices suddenly wrenched Éowyn from her almost peaceful state, plunging her back into the anxiety and anticipation that threatened to consume her like fire. Quickly running the comb through her hair once more, Éowyn extinguished all but the candles around the bed before crashing back on the bed, every fiber of her longed for the moment she would see Faramir come through the door and feel his caresses. After attempting several poses that suggested various moods of dutiful wife and passionate lover, Éowyn found she could only force herself to remain still if she sat perfectly upright on the edge of the bed. The moments seemed to last for hours as she sat there, her mind filled with feverish thoughts of lust, her body boiling over with desire.
She heard heavy footsteps on the stair. She wondered fleetingly what Faramir would do first: take her in his arms and kiss her passionately or calmly engage her in wordplay, teasing her with his delays and by doing so increasing her yearning. Hearing his movements in the outer room and knowing only a wall separate her and Faramir from their reunion, Éowyn had to steady herself on the bed and think calm thoughts just to get through the next moments. Finally, when she felt she might burst and scream out loud, the doorknob turned.
Éowyn’s heart fluttered and stopped. Instead of seeing her youthful, handsome husband’s face, full of desire and energy, she saw Faramir’s water soaked hair hanging over his down turned face as he entered, sighing with tired relief at finally reaching the warm light of his bedchamber. His every movement betrayed his extreme fatigue as he dragged himself into the room. His face lighted up momentarily from the haze of exhaustion when he saw his wife.
“Éowyn,” he said. In his voice Éowyn heard all the love and happiness that she had come to expect from him in his most passionate moments, this time said calmly and with increased tenderness.
She watched him shed his outer garments with difficulty and moved into the wardrobe to fetch a clean nightshirt.
Éowyn sighed with disappointment as soon as he was out of the room. Her smile turned into a frown as her head began to swim, overwhelmed with her frustrated emotions. After such a long wait and so much anticipation, Éowyn felt that she might cry and had to choke down the anger that she felt: at herself, at Faramir, at their situation. She glanced around at the candles and the wine and cursed herself for being such a lovesick fool. Her heart dropped and her mind became clouded.
She was so distressed by this sudden turn of events that she almost did not notice Faramir had re-entered the room until he was already sitting behind her on the bed, wrapping his tired arms around her warm body. “I have waited for this,” he said, smelling her hair and kissing her on the cheek before settling himself under the coverlet. Numb and confused, Éowyn remained sitting upright on the bed, even when Faramir had lied down, placing his head on the pillow.
“Waited for what?” Éowyn said bitterly, the words escaping her lips unbidden. Faramir did not seem to notice her tone, because he sighed happily and drew her down until she was lying next to him on the bed. He pulled her face close and kissed her tenderly, letting his hand stroke her cheek and hair as he did so. Éowyn met his kiss awkwardly, but then began to sink into the taste of his lips on her own, and let her arms encircle his shoulders as they lay side by side on their bed. She sighed when the kiss ended; shifting so that her head lay on Faramir’s chest and his arms held her in a warm embrace.
“What a wonderful homecoming,” Faramir murmured sleepily, drawing the coverlet over them.
“Not exactly what I expected,” Éowyn said teasingly, all of the bitter disappointment of moments before melting away with the sound of her husband’s soft voice. Faramir stirred somewhat and Éowyn knew he was noticing for the first time the candles, the wine, and the clean linens.
“Oh Éowyn. I… I’m so sor---”
“There is nothing to forgive, my love. Now get some rest. You are right back where you belong, and I’m happy.”
Faramir chuckled a bit, his tiredness taking over his senses one by one. “I love you, Éowyn. My White Lady of Rohan…” Within moments he was asleep, shifting to nestle his head in the bend of her neck. Éowyn felt the silence once again descending upon her chamber, only broken by the sound of rain on the trees outside the window. This time, the silence was not deafening and her body was not agitated. She was not alone. She was at peace, in the arms of the man she loved, and would love whether he was passionate or exhausted. Éowyn realized that she did not need the heat of their lovemaking to keep her warm. Faramir’s very presence warmed her and made her whole. And this night, and for countless nights to follow, his body next to her in bed would comfort her. And that, Éowyn realized as she drifted to sleep, was enough.
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.