1. This Moment
History is made up of moments.
Warm was the air that night, and scented with the fragrances of a thousand flowers and herbs that grew in the garden and the fields of Emyn Arnen. The sky held shade upon shade of purple, pink, blue, and gold, and the setting sun made the yellow fields blaze like fire.
Breathing deeply, the man walked out onto the stone balcony and rested his hands on the railing.
He was eighty-five, though his body remained hale and strong; men of his blood did not soon grow old. His raven hair was laced with silver and there were some new lines in his face – but these were about the eyes and mouth, for over the past fifty years he had been given more cause to smile and laugh than ever before. His eyes, too, were a lighter grey; the age-old sorrow no longer haunted him as it once had. He had found – been given – a reason for living.
At the sound of soft footfalls behind him he turned and his face broke into a smile. He held out a hand and the lady accepted it, smiling in return.
Fifty years had aged her. Her golden hair was turned white as snow and her face was touched with spidery lines about the eyes. She moved with a care she'd not known all those years ago, but she remained straight and tall. And in her eyes he still saw the glitter of the Shieldmaiden, the White Lady.
Raising her hand to his lips, he kissed it gently.
Fifty years ago today had been their wedding day.
His eyes widened as she came into view. Dressed in flowing white with flowers entwined in her shimmering golden hair, she glowed with warmth beneath the light of the sun. Her winter had passed and spring now came to take its place.
Her shining grey eyes met his and he felt his heart skip a beat. I love you.
Their hands were joined, words were spoken. Then the voices fell silent and they stood simply looking at each other, committing the moment to memory.
He raised a hand and brushed his fingertips against her face. Her hand came up to cover his own and she smiled, though a tear slid sparkling down her cheek. Gently he wiped it away with his thumb.
She sniffed slightly, looking annoyed with herself; he laughed and her smile reappeared, blinding him. 'Faramir,' she whispered, taking his hands.
'Éowyn.' Then without another word he leaned forward and kissed her under the sunlit sky.
She reached up and brushed away a strand of hair that had fallen across his face; her sleeve fell down and a bracelet of woven gold flashed suddenly in the dying sunlight.
He caught her hand and rubbed his thumb over the bracelet, feeling the grooves in the metal and the way it was braided together: the strands fit perfectly together, each slipping into the hollows of the other.
'You still wear it,' he said quietly, a little surprised; he knew her joints had begun to pain her. She arched a snow-white eyebrow, amused. 'I have never taken it off,' she answered. 'You know that.'
He did know…but sometimes a thing could become so familiar that it no longer attracted attention. He shook his head, smiling ruefully – perhaps old age was catching up to him after all.
Sliding the bracelet up her wrist, watching the orange-red sunlight dance across the golden braid, he remembered when he had given it to her. It had been his gift to her at their wedding.
The day was fading and the sun hovered just above the horizon, a fiery crescent beneath an indigo sky full of stars.
The celebration carried on inside the Golden Hall, but they had stolen away quietly once every toast had been made and every hand shaken. Now they walked in the hills, arm in arm, and hand in hand. A gentle wind rustled the leaves on the trees and rippled through the grass, whispering softly.
They said no word but walked on and on, and finally climbed to the top of a high hill. They gazed out towards Gondor and to the land just beyond the Anduin.
The place where they would build their life together.
Reaching into his pocket, he withdrew a small velvet purse. Loosening the satin strings, he turned it upside down and a shimmering gold bracelet slipped into the palm of his hand. Holding it out to her, he showed her how one strand was fashioned after the braids of Rohan, and the other after an old Númenorean weaving, laced together to form a single braid.
She said nothing, only fingered it gently, saying more with her eyes than she ever could with her mouth.
Taking her hand, he slipped the bracelet around her wrist and fastened the clasp. She moved it along her skin, watching as the light sparkled across it. Then she slid her arms around his neck and kissed him, just as night descended upon them.
She touched his face, fingered his hair. Then she slipped her arms around him and rested her head on his shoulder. 'I love you,' was all she said.
The words echoed inside his head and wrapped themselves around his heart; she had never been one to show emotion easily, and in fifty years she had said them only a handful of times. His arms tightened around her and he leaned his head on top of hers.
His sighed suddenly and pulled back. He reached up to cradle the side of her head in his hand, his long fingers disappearing into her hair. Her hair that was no longer gold, but white. Her face that was thinner, and lined… I will not always have you with me. That realization made every moment with her all the more precious to him.
'Of what are you thinking?' she asked softly.
'Of you. Of this moment…and others like it.'
His other hand came up and he traced his fingers along her cheek. As the sun dipped below the horizon, he leaned forward and brought his mouth to hers.
The history books record kings and battles and mighty happenings. But they forget the small things…and moments like this.
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.