11. Life, Death and Truth
It was a long journey to Gondor and that gave Eowyn plenty of time to think about her situation. All this time she thought Faramir was well removed from her life. Within a few minutes after speaking to Merry, he was back at the forefront of her mind. It seems Denethor was successful at keeping them separated but his plan fell apart after the death of Boromir.
Eowyn thought about how Faramir must have felt to never hear from her again. She thought she was the only one suffering from this ruined relationship but his heart ached also. It seems they were doomed from the very beginning even though she still held a spark of love for him. Then along came a handsome Elf Prince and stole her heart, helping her to love again. Eowyn wondered if some fair maiden had done the same for Faramir. Had they both moved on with their lives? Had they both found comfort with others while abandoning their own impulsive adoration for one another? Something definitely existed between Faramir and Eowyn that was powerful and genuine. Would she still hold her affection for him as she once did? That may be the one thing that worried her the most. What if seeing Faramir again brought back all the old sentiment she held for him? Where did Legolas fall into all of this? He had asked her to become his soul mate and she had almost completely consented. She would have if it was not for Faramir. It was still true, all things led back to this man who she could not ultimately forget. Even after all this time and a new love in her life, Faramir still haunted her mind.
Faramir was trying to hold the city of Osgiliath but it was no use. The city was soon overrun with Orcs. They came on boats across the river in the dead of night. Faramir fought with all his might but it was folly. Too many of his men had been slain. Their numbers were too few. He had to save those that were left and ordered them to return to the city. Faramir would face his father one last time. He would surely be beyond disappointed at his only surviving son. It didn't matter anyhow. His life was desolate as the latest information of Eowyn pounded in his brain. His brother was dead, his father would disown him and the only woman he had ever loved was in love with another. All hope was gone.
It was this line of thought that almost ended his life. Overcome with sadness and depression, he was not thinking straight when he was caught off guard by an Orc. His senses were lessened and the Orc snuck up from behind. The poisonous blade came down hard on Faramir's back, slicing through skin and muscle. A small shard broke off and buried deep in the wound. Faramir instantly fell to the ground, blood escaping his limp body. When he made no further movements, the Orc left him for dead.
"That should take care of the Steward's son, if he should survive." the Orc mumbled to himself. "Now for the Steward himself. The Dark Lord has other plans for him."
As a small band of his men were trying to escape the city, they came upon Faramir's body. Thinking he was dead, they stopped to pick him up and take him back to Minas Tirith for a proper burial, not to be left as carnage for the Orcs or their beasts. The men left as quickly as they could so as not to face the same fate as many of their fellow soldiers. Only when they were a safe distance away from Osgiliath did they stop to survey Faramir and see what deadly wound sealed his fate. That's when one of the men felt a faint heartbeat.
"Our Captain lives but only by a thread. Quick, we must get him to the healers." one of the men cried and they left quickly. Upon entering the gates of Minas Tirith, they made their way to the houses of healing. After close examination, they found the wounds to be deep but treatable. But that was not their main concern. The blade which struck Faramir had been poisoned. Because the wound was deep, the poison spread quicker. It would take a lot to heal the Lord of Gondor and even then they weren't sure he'd survive. If he did survive, there was a chance he would suffer some kind of permanent damage, though what, they did not know. Right now he was unconscious and they could not tell what damage had been done until he awoke.
Denethor was notified and he demanded that Faramir be sent to the Citadel. The healers were reluctant but they followed their commands. Faramir was transferred to the uppermost part of the city. As Denethor was waiting for Faramir's arrival, he got his first good look at the war below. There were thousands of Orcs as far as the eye could see. Rohan was nowhere in sight yet. He assumed they had fallen back on their oath and would not come.
"If this is to by my end, then it will be with pride and dignity and not by the hands of a filthy Orc." he yelled to his men. "Go and bring me wood and oil. If my son is to die then we shall die together." He waved his hand to the men and they left to carry out the Stewards orders.
Denethor laid Faramir on the stone slab where past kings and stewards bodies were burned after their deaths. So was the custom in Gondor but it had never been performed on the living. Denethor seemed to have lost his mind. All hope had dissipated. He would die this day and he would take his son with him.
Pippin stayed in the shadows and watched what was transpiring. It was a morbid scene which took place in front of him. Faramir should have been with the healers now, not being burned alive by a mad man. He had to do something and fast. Pippin went off to find Gandalf, who was in the midst of battle in the city down below.
Denethor's men came back with wood and fuel for a fire. The Steward climbed onto the table and poured oil over himself and an unconscious Faramir. Then he demanded one of his men set them alight. The men looked around at each other, wondering who would do the dirty deed. No one wanted to be responsible for such a thing. Denethor snatched a torch from an unsuspecting man and was about to drop it into the oil when Gandalf burst through the doors riding Shadowfax. He went to the stone table and knocked Denethor down. As he fell, the torch dropped from his grasp setting Faramir and himself on fire. Denethor took off running down the hall, screaming as he burned alive. This was the end of the Steward of Gondor. Pippin went to where Faramir laid and, with all his might, pushed Faramir far from the stone slab and onto the floor. His hair was singed and some of his skin was burned but what bothered Gandalf was the gaping wound on his back. He quickly got him back to the houses of healing but much precious time was wasted. Was it too late to save him now?
"Are we close, my lady?" Merry whispered to Eowyn.
"Yes, Merry. We will arrive soon. Today we will see war. Stay close to me. We must look out for each other now." Eowyn answered.
They had managed to keep their identity hidden from the company of Rohan riders, especially Eomer and Théoden. Eowyn kept her eye on the king. She wanted to stay as close to him as possible without being discovered. She loved her uncle very much, but he was getting old. She feared for his safety and the lack of his quick reactions during battle. She felt a sudden need to protect him. "I believe he will need me before the end." she had told Merry one night during their journey to Minas Tirith.
And so they had arrived to find Minas Tirith under attack. The Black Army greatly outnumbered Rohan. There would be no turning back now. They would fight or die trying, the latter being the fate of many. Eowyn and Merry hoped they would not share that fate as the Rohirrim army charged forward into the black sea of awaiting Orcs.
Eowyn's plan was to fight her way into the city and hopefully find Faramir. But for now, her goal was to stay close to Théoden. At that very moment, a shadow traveled across the field, moving to the place where Théoden stood. Eowyn and Merry looked up and saw a giant black winged beast soaring across the sky. It sent a fear through them that they had never felt before. Eowyn watched in slow motion as the creature dipped lower and flew straight at her uncle. It knocked the king to the ground and his fatally wounded horse pinned him down. Théoden was also wounded from the blow of the creature. Eowyn could only watch for it happened so fast.
The winged dragon landed and made its way to where Théoden lay on the ground. Eowyn observed an armored figured that rode on the creature. He was bigger than any man or Elf. He was covered from head to toe in black metal. Fear paralyzed Eowyn as she looked upon him.
From somewhere behind Eowyn, she heard Merry's voice. "It's a black rider, my lady, a Nazgul, ring wraith. From the looks of it, he's their leader." Merry's voice wavered with dread.
"The Witch King of Angmar." Eowyn whispered. She instantly kicked into battle mode when she noticed the dragon getting closer to Théoden. She ran up to the beast, sword raised, and brought it down on the creature's neck, severing its head from its body with one swift movement.
The Witch King climbed down from his scaly steed and looked around for the intruder. His black stare fell upon Eowyn. She was dressed in her armor, her face covered by her helmet. The Nazgul thought she was a Rohirrim rider. He approached her, his oversized mace swinging. Eowyn stood her ground. She would protect her uncle at all costs.
"You will stay away from my king or you will have to deal with me." she said, her voice as cold as ice.
"So it was you who destroyed my beast. For that you shall pay dearly. Then I will finish off your king." the Witch King said, raising his mace and swinging it around. Eowyn lifted her shield as he approached. The spiked ball came down hard and broke her shield into splinters. Eowyn's arm had also been struck in the process, shattering her bone in many places. She fell to the ground in a heap.
Merry watched as she fell and snapped out of his paralyzed state. He took his dagger out and charged at the Nazgul, stabbing him in the back. The force of the attack threw him backwards and knocked him unconscious. The black rider was temporarily taken aback. It was just long enough for Eowyn to get up and walk over to the evil king. She plunged her sword into its faceless helmet. The Witch King let out a scream and crumbled into nothing more than a pile of empty armor. Legend said that no man could kill the Lord of the Nazgul, but it never said anything about a woman being able to.
Eowyn was in horrendous pain and again fell to the dry earth. She crawled over to where Théoden lay. He was still alive, but barely. He looked up into Eowyn's eyes and smiled. She was crying and knew he had not long for this world.
"Eowyn, you are here. I'm afraid this is the last time I will look upon your face. Tell Eomer he is to rule in my stead. I love you, dear niece. You have made me proud." Théoden slowly closed his eyes and was gone. Eowyn laid her head on his chest and cried before the pain and the poison turned her own world black.
"So this is the end." she thought. "And I never got the chance to tell Faramir that I still love him. I hope he will know." It was the last thing that went through her mind before she fell into a deathly sleep.
Meanwhile, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas had made their way through the mountain which housed the dead army. After some convincing, the ghostly captain agreed to help the men of the living world in exchange for their freedom to pass to the other side. They took over the Corsair's ships and sailed to Gondor. Their arrival was unexpected and the dead men made short work of all they came in contact with. The three fellowship members fought valiantly and made their way to the Rohirrim riders who were at the outer walls of Minas Tirith. That's where they caught up with Eomer.
"Thanks to your help, this war is almost over." Eomer said to the fellowship. "Today we will see victory."
Just then, one of Eomer's men called to him. "Come quick! But prepare yourself for what you are about to see." he said.
Eomer's heart sunk. He knew it had to be Théoden. The battle had gone on long with no word from his king. He ran to where the man stood. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas followed. The sight they came upon was horrendous. The first thing they witnessed was the beheaded dragon which lay in a pool of black blood. The smell of decay was overwhelming. A heap of armor lay near the wretched beast. Legolas took a closer look.
"It is the Witch King of Angmar or what is left of him. He has been destroyed, but by who?" he said looking around. Many bodies were strewn about, one in particular which was much smaller than a man. Legolas knelt down and turned the small figure over.
"Aragorn, it is Merry! He is alive but unconscious. He needs a healer." Legolas said picking up the Hobbit. At that very moment, there was an awful heart-rending yell, one which Legolas had never heard in all his long years nor would he ever forget. It was Eomer.
"No! No! No!" he bellowed repeatedly at the sight he came across. At first he saw Théoden and his worst fear was confirmed; the king was indeed dead. But he was not prepared for what he found next. It was Eowyn. She lay next to the king, her face deathly pale.
"What is she doing hear? Why did she come? Oh no, dear sister. This is all my fault. I should have told her." Eomer wailed in an incomprehensible scream. Legolas heard him and his heart pounded at the thought. Surely he must be mistaken. She had promised to stay put in Dunharrow. Legolas handed Merry over to Aragorn and ran to where Eomer stood. His eyes came upon his love lying in the dirt and he couldn't believe what he was seeing. He dropped to the ground and lifted Eowyn's limp body in his arms. His hand cradled her head as he looked into her ashen face. Tears filled his eyes as he felt his heart break into a million pieces. He held her close, laying her head to his chest and that's when he felt the slightest breath escape her parted lips. He laid her back on the ground and put his ear to her chest.
"She is alive. There is a faint heartbeat. We must get her to the city while there is still time. I think she has been poisoned. There will not be much time before she passes into shadow." Legolas said to Eomer who still stood near them. He wondered what Eomer meant when he said he should have told her. There was no time for questioning now.
Everyone mounted their horses and they carried Eowyn and Merry through the gates of the city and to the houses of healing. One section had been set up especially for those who had been poisoned. That's where Eowyn was sent. Merry went to another ward. His injuries were not as severe and he would recover quickly. Pippin was with him the whole time.
Eowyn's injuries were much worse. Her arm was broken in several places. The healers did what they could to set the bones. Only time would tell if she would regain use of her arm. The poison was quickly reversed. She remained unconscious for several days, however. Legolas sat with her every day as did Eomer. They took turns tending to her scrapes and bruises and administered medicine as needed.
On this particular day, Legolas brought fresh flowers for Eowyn's room. He arrived just as he had said to relieve Eomer who had been with her most of the evening. Legolas entered the dark room to find Eomer resting his head upon Eowyn's chest. His elven hearing picked up the sound of faint sobs. His heart rose to his throat as he instantly thought bad news had been brought to Eomer about his sister's condition. Legolas dropped the flowers on a table and went to her bedside.
"What has happened? Is something wrong? Did someone bring ill news about Eowyn?" Legolas asked with slight distress in his voice.
Eomer hadn't heard the Elf enter the room and jumped slightly at the sound of his voice. "It's alright. There has not been any change or any news. I have just been alone with my thoughts for too long." Eomer said as he stood to leave. Legolas looked at his forlorn face.
"What has you so troubled my friend." Legolas asked. "What did you mean when you said it was your fault and you should have told her? Told her what?"
It was time to tell the Elf everything he knew about why Eowyn may have come to Gondor. Eomer put a hand on Legolas' shoulder. "Let us go somewhere quiet so that we may talk in private." Eomer said and they walked a little ways down the hall to a waiting area. Eomer proceeded to tell Legolas everything he knew about Merry, Pippin and the messenger. He told him of the fake letter and the real ones that never made it to Eowyn and how Faramir still loved her. Legolas' mind was in a whirl from all of this. He sat still and didn't say a word. A crease formed on his brow as he frowned. Suddenly he understood why Eowyn declined his proposal. It seemed a greater power was at work. Fate stepped in and made sure these two former lovers would have one last chance meeting. They just didn't know it yet.
Legolas finally turned to Eomer and spoke in a whisper. "How long have you known this and not said anything?"
"Since our return home from Isengard has it been plaguing my mind." Eomer said shame in his voice. He knew he should have said something earlier.
"But why did you not tell her? Why keep this information from her? She needed to know this. If she had known the truth about Faramir, she may not have come here." Legolas said accusingly.
Eomer was not taking too kindly to Legolas' tone of voice but he knew he probably deserved it. "I withheld this from her because she was with you. She was finally happy. I could not bring further pain to her."
"But she was still unsure. She told me this when I asked to bind to her. She told me she needed to know the truth about why Faramir left her. You knew the whole time and now she lies in a bed down the hall instead of being safe in Dunharrow. She came here looking for Faramir though she promised me she would not. I should have known better. Her will is too strong. I should have known she would do something like this. I made a promise to keep her safe but I have failed." Legolas was feeling his own guilt creep up on him now.
"How do you suppose she found out?" Eomer asked. He was still trying to find out how she could have known the truth.
"My guess would be the Hobbit Merry told her. A Hobbits' tongue wags too easily, especially when traveling. Merry was denied to come by Théoden. Merry and Eowyn must have come together." Legolas said.
A maiden came into the room where Eomer and Legolas were talking. "My lords, it seems the Lady Eowyn is beginning to wake. She asks for her brother."
Eomer and Legolas both got up and ran down the hall to Eowyn's room. Eomer entered first and approached his sister's bed. She was still quite pale and weak. Her eyes were just slits but she was awake for the first time in a week. She looked up to Eomer, meeting his eyes. Tears began to form in her own as she thought of the last thing she remembered before passing out. Tears turned into sobs as she thought of Théoden and his last words.
"He has passed, brother. Our uncle is no longer with us. I tried to help him but it was too late." she said with a whimper.
"Do not speak any more of it. I already know. I saw his body on the field. It was Legolas and I who found you and brought you to the city. Your arm has been badly broken. The healers are not sure you will regain full use of it. The poison you received from your injuries has been reversed." Eomer told her.
"Legolas. Where is he? Is he alright?" she said looking around the room. Legolas stepped in from the door and went to her. He grabbed her hand and leaned down placing a delicate kiss on her forehead.
"I am here meleth nin. I have hardly left your side. Eomer and I took turns keeping watch over you while you slept."
"How long have I been asleep?" she asked not knowing what day it was.
"You have been unconscious for a week." Legolas informed her. "But it was a sleep well needed. Your healing has been rapid." Legolas looked back to Eomer. "Will you allow us a moment alone?" Eomer nodded in agreement and exited the room, closing the door behind him.
Legolas sat down on the edge of her bed and gazed lovingly into her watery eyes. "I am sorry for your loss. Théoden was a great man and I know you loved him very much."
"Yes. He was like a father to me. I just wanted to protect him as he had done for Eomer and I when we were children but I failed." she said sobbing again. She looked up into Legolas' understanding eyes. "I'm sorry I broke my promise to you. I knew it was wrong but something inside told me it was my path to take."
"Why did you come, meleth? What was it that made you risk your life to come to this battle?"
"Oh Legolas, you know I love you so very much and that will never change. I received some information and I needed to know the truth. I just could not wait another minute or it may have been too late. I hope you will understand what I am about to tell you. In part, I did it for us for I so badly want to bind to you."
Legolas lay down next to Eowyn in her bed. He felt he needed to be as close as possible to her at that moment, even though he already knew what she was about to tell him. He thought it was important for her to come out and say these words on her own.
Eowyn proceeded to tell Legolas about talking to Merry and finding out the truth about Faramir. She told him she was not angry with Eomer and neither should he. Her brother only had her happiness and wellbeing in mind. Legolas listened to all she had to say. Now it was his turn to talk.
"I understand your need to speak to Faramir. But I will never understand your reason for not waiting. You could have died, and Merry too. On the other hand, if you had not been there that day, Théoden may have suffered a worse fate by the hands of the Witch King. You will be a hero among all people of Middle Earth. You destroyed the Lord of the Nazgul. No one has ever come close to this achievement. To just look upon a Nazgul, a man could die from fear. Your desire and determination is great and you have fulfilled your purpose in this war. I believe now that this was your path. But now a new path lies ahead of you, if you mean to follow through with your intention and seek Faramir."
"I do. I must find out where he is and what may have happened to him."
"As much as I wish you would not pursue this, I will not stand in your way but right now you need rest. You need time to heal." Legolas gave her a kiss.
"You are so good to me. I love you." Eowyn deepened the kiss. "You know, it has been a long time since… well." she said slyly.
"So you will not mind waiting a little longer. You are not strong enough meleth nin. Besides, there are too many around to have any kind of privacy." Legolas sat up and hung his legs over the side of the bed. Looking over to a table by the door, he noticed the flowers he brought earlier. He walked over and picked them up, bringing them to Eowyn.
"I forgot that I had brought these. This room needs some life. Too much stone is not good for the soul." He put them into a vase and sat them next to Eowyn's bed. "Now, I will leave you to get some rest. I'm glad you are awake now. I was very worried for you."
"Thank you, Legolas. I will do as you say and rest. I will not do anything until I am aloud to roam beyond the healing rooms." she said and Legolas gave her another kiss. Eowyn watched him as he left the room, his lithe body moving so elegantly. It was a view she had missed seeing lately.
Legolas was instantly summoned to join Gandalf and Aragorn for a very important meeting. Eomer and Gimli were also in attendance. Gandalf had learned of the whereabouts of Frodo and Sam. If it was true, they were taking a very unlikely route. It would be very dangerous.
"The ring must make it to the fires of Mount Doom." Gandalf said to the others. "We must distract the Eye of Sauron and his Orcs to give Frodo the best chance at victory. Let us muster all that can make the journey to Mordor."
"It will not be enough to defeat his army." Eomer stepped forward. "Most of my men are recovering from injuries or were lost in the last battle. What do you hope to accomplish by this?"
Legolas put a hand on Eomer's shoulder. "We are only to make a diversion. While Sauron is focused on us, he won't be searching for the ring bearer."
"Yes," said Gandalf. "Legolas is right but we may not return. The loss of a few could be the salvation of the greater. Eomer, gather all those who would make this sacrifice. Make sure they know of this possible outcome."
Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas came together. Aragorn spoke, "Again, I say that I do not ask you to come. Legolas, I know the Lady Eowyn still recovers. She may not understand the reasoning for this final battle, however folly it may be. Should something happen to Eomer and you, she would be left alone."
Legolas stood up straight and proud. "I have made it this far, Aragorn. I will not falter now. Each of us goes not just to battle but as a representative of their own realm. I act on behalf of the Elves."
Gimli stepped forward and very proudly said, "I go for all Dwarves, especially those who fell in Moria."
Aragorn had never been more proud to have befriended these two companions. "Very well. Let us go then. Gandalf," he called to the wizard. "How soon do we leave?"
"We should go before nightfall. If Faramir was right about the path Frodo was to take, then he is very likely already inside the Black Land."
Legolas' eyes widened at the mention of Faramir. When everyone was on their way to prepare to leave, he caught up to the wizard. "Gandalf, you say you spoke to Faramir?"
"Why yes, when Pippin and I arrived in Minas Tirith he approached us. When he saw Pippin he told us how he met another Hobbit out in the forests of Ithilien. Frodo and Sam were with him for a while." Gandalf told the Elf about Faramir facing his father and how he was sent back out to the overrun city. "I tried to stop him but he was devastated to learn about Eowyn. I did not tell him it was you who she had fallen for. I would much rather stay out of the affairs of others when it comes to matters of the heart."
Then Gandalf told Legolas about Faramir getting injured and brought to the Citadel and how Denethor tried to burn him. "If it wasn't for Pippin's quick thinking, Faramir may have perished that day."
"Then where is he now, Gandalf? Eowyn searches for him. She knows about the real letters. She needs to speak to him and properly end this chapter of her life." Legolas said.
"I don't know where he is if he is not in the houses of healing. He must be in a special ward set off from the others. He was almost fatally wounded. The poison traveled quickly. I'm not sure he will ever fully recover." Gandalf said. "There is no time for this now. We must be on our way. Eowyn will have to find him on her own."
"I must at least tell her this news and say goodbye before I leave. I will meet you and the others at the gate well before sunset." Legolas said and he was off to find Eowyn.
Legolas went to her room and entered. She knew right away that something had happened by the look on his face. She had already heard some of the maidens talking about loved ones going to Mordor and she knew Legolas would be among them. "You are leaving again." she said in a low voice as he approached her bed.
"You know I must meleth. But do not worry for me. I will return to be by your side and hope to never have to leave you again." he said sitting on the edge of her bed. Eowyn sat up and snaked her arms around his waist, laying her head on his shoulder. His scent filled her nostrils though it was not as strong as usual.
"You have been away from the forest for too long. The scent of the trees washes away from your skin. Please end this now, Legolas and come back to me soon. I need you by my side. I miss you terribly." she said holding him tight. His body felt wonderful wrapped in her arms.
Legolas turned to face Eowyn. "I have some news from Gandalf. Faramir is in the city though he was badly wounded. They're not sure he will recover fully or if he will even survive at all."
Eowyn loosened her grip on Legolas. This was what she was hoping for but now she was unsure. "He is here? He has been here this whole time?"
"Yes, but I'm not sure where he is being housed. His wounds needed to be specially tended to. He was kept separate from the others here in the healing houses. This is all I know." Legolas told her. A solemn look spread on the Elf's face. He wished she would not look for Faramir, afraid that he might lose her. But Legolas would not tell Eowyn that. This was her choice and he could not interfere. Maybe this was a test by the Valar to see whether this unlikely pair was meant to be together or not. There had to be some reason for this improbable situation.
Legolas spent a little more time with Eowyn before he left. They spent these last few moments holding each other. This could very well be the last time they would be together. Legolas hoped she would be here waiting for him when he returned. He prayed to the Valar that her love for Faramir was really a thing of the past. He so badly wanted to be with her. Only time would tell.
Too soon it was time to leave. Legolas kissed Eowyn one last time. His lips parted for her and tongues danced one last time. He inhaled the smell of her skin, memorizing every sensation. Would this be the last kiss they would ever share? Would she still love him when he returned, if he returned? For Legolas, life was now in the hands of the Valar. He would do all he could to play out his part and return to his love. Whether she would be there for him was yet to be seen.
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.