4. Silent Reproach
Faramir and Eowyn stood outside the doors of the Steward's hall. Faramir had requested a meeting with his father. He was nervous, not knowing how Denethor would react to the news of Eowyn's rejection to Boromir's proposal. He had also requested Boromir be present since this involved him.
"Are you ready to do this, my love?" Faramir said, taking Eowyn's hands. He looked deep into her eyes. "I swear by my life, I will not let any harm come to you."
"But what if something goes awry and you are restrained, or worse?" Eowyn began to shake at the thought.
"It won't. I don't think things will go that far. We will see what happens and take it from there. My biggest worry is for Boromir. This is going to destroy him and I have never hurt him before." Faramir lowered his head in shame.
"It troubles me that so many will be affected by our selfish decision. Are you sure we are making the right choice?" Eowyn said, feeling his dismay.
It startled Faramir that she was still hesitant about their decree. "I know what my heart tells me, Eowyn. I have no irresolution about us. But if you second guess yourself, then maybe we should not do this. I am taking a lot of risks for us, especially with my brother."
"No, Faramir, it is not like that. I love you, of that I am sure. It's just… everything has happened so fast." she said with tears in her eyes.
Faramir brushed them away, and then kissed her. "I'm sorry. I don't mean any disrespect. I love you and that is all that matters."
"Then let's go see the Steward." Eowyn smiled but with uncertainty.
Slowly, they pushed the door open and entered. Denethor was standing at his window, looking out over his city. His back was towards them but he heard them come in. "Ah, I have been waiting for you." he said in a deep, dark voice.
Faramir looked around the room but didn't see his brother. "Where is Boromir? I asked that he be present."
"Your brother decided to leave for Rivendell in the middle of the night. It seems the Lady Eowyn was not the only one deterred by a hasty wedding."
Faramir and Eowyn looked at each other, confused. Had he somehow found out about their liaison last night? Faramir turned back to his father.
"Did he say anything? Did he leave a message for Eowyn?" Faramir said trying to get some information about his sudden departure.
"No. I'm afraid it was rather sudden. But when we spoke yesterday he said the wedding would take place upon his return to Gondor. He is but a fool in love." Denethor spoke as if his words soured his mouth for he did not believe in love. "But it is a mystery to me, why he would leave the way he did. It is not like him to behave so abruptly. You wouldn't happen to know the answer to this puzzle, Lady, would you?"
Eowyn wasn't sure if Denethor already knew the answer or was trying to learn it from her. "I never saw Boromir yesterday. In fact, I haven't seen him since arriving to Minas Tirith."
Denethor turned his attention to Eowyn, giving her a vengeful look. "It seems the same could be said about you, my lady. You have been unaccounted for since our talk yesterday."
Faramir didn't like where this was going and stepped in. It was time to get this over with. "Father, we have something important to discuss with you, something that will change the course of things."
Denethor walked over to where Faramir stood. "And where were you yesterday? You disappeared also. Rather suspicious don't you think? The two of you are nowhere to be found and then your brother disobeys and leaves. I think I know where this is going. But please, enlighten me. What is so important that you call for a special meeting?"
Faramir was paralyzed by his father's intimidation. He wasn't sure where to start. Whatever he said it would not sound good. Denethor was already apprehensive. "Father, something has happen that was not expected. Even before Boromir asked for an arrangement with Lady Eowyn, her heart belonged to another."
Denethor stopped Faramir and turned to Eowyn. "Is this true?"
"Yes my lord, but…" Denethor cut her off and went back to Faramir.
A crooked smile appeared on his face and he laughed as he spoke. "You? The Lady of Rohan loves this… this… scholar?" His laughter turned quickly to anger as daggers seemed to shoot from his eyes. "I should have known you would be involved with this. You have never done anything right. And now… now Boromir has left to bring Sauron's weapon back on his own. Tell me, what did he witness? You have dishonored me and Boromir. You take away what is rightfully his." he yelled.
Eowyn took offence to his last statement. "I am not a piece of property. I should be allowed to choose who and what I want. It was you who forced this upon us. Even Boromir did not support your decision to have us marry now. That is the real reason he left."
"My son left because of you. You promised yourself to him and while he's out there protecting his city, his future, you are running around with another; his own brother no less."
"You will not speak to her in such a tone." Faramir said his own anger evident. "We did not force these feelings on each other, it just happened. But you were already scheming with plans to marry her off to Boromir without her knowledge. Then you threatened her life. If you are going to blame anyone, blame yourself."
"You only think you love her. She is no different than any other woman. They are the ones who scheme. They do not know love but they know how to twist your mind so that you will do their bidding. Stay with her and she will have you sleeping on the hay littered floors of her so called palace." Denethor spoke as if Eowyn wasn't in the room.
Eowyn had heard enough. "I will not listen to this wickedness. You know nothing about love. You have never loved. You treat Faramir as if he didn't belong. He has only ever tried to please you but you do not see. You only care for Boromir, your warrior."
Denethor glared at her. "You know nothing of my family. I have heard enough. You have disrespected me, my son and even your own king. You have committed treason, punishable by death." Here he stopped to let her think he was about to make judgment, watching her eyes widen with fear. "You will leave my city. Go back to Rohan and stay there until Boromir returns. Then, if he still wants you, you will marry. You are to never see Faramir again and will never speak of this affair to anyone. Should you fail to abide, you will be tried for treason and put to death."
Eowyn began to cry and Faramir reached for her. But Denethor stepped in front of him, a look of forced concern on his face. "My son, do not make this any harder than it already is. You have been locked in a spell, unable to make your own decisions. Let her go and come with me. Let us talk things through."
Faramir looked at Eowyn. "But I love her father. Please do not do this. I love her." he pleaded.
Just then, two guards came in and took Eowyn by the arms. They escorted her from the hall. She did not put up a fight, afraid of the consequences. The last thing she saw was Denethor putting his arm around Faramir's shoulder, whispering something to him and Faramir glancing back trying to get one more look of her. She was afraid of the poisonous words Denethor spoke in her loves' ear. This was not how she wanted things to happen. If only she could speak to Faramir once more before she was forced to return home.
Denethor led Faramir back to his chambers where just the two of them could talk. He looked at Faramir and saw defeat in his eyes. His plan was working but he needed to make sure Faramir wouldn't go running off to Rohan. He needed to keep them apart until Boromir returned with Isildur's Bane. Maybe by then Eowyn and Faramir will have forgotten about each other.
"You have to get yourself together. With Boromir gone, you must take over his position. You have duties to attend to now." Denethor demanded.
"Why have you done this to me? Why can't you let us live our lives the way we want? You may have control over Boromir, but you do not control me. I will be with her again and you cannot stop it. You cannot change love." Faramir couldn't even look his father in the eye at this point.
"You are a fool to love her. She is not yours. Now, I am sending you to the forests outside of Osgiliath. There has been word of the Haradrim traveling through the area. It is time to prove your worth. You will take Boromir's men and slay all who do not belong. Is this understood? It is time for you to take up your brother's position."
Faramir knew he was right. With Boromir gone, it was up to him to take over. This was no longer about him and Eowyn. He had his men, his people to protect. War was approaching. "Yes father. I will get my men ready and we will leave soon."
After Faramir left his father's chamber, Denethor quickly began to devise a plan. He had to make sure Eowyn would forget about Faramir and want nothing else to do with him. When Boromir returned, he would put another plan in action to assure the wedding would still take place as planned.
Eowyn returned to Rohan with her Gondorian escort. She was ashamed to arrive in this fashion as if she was a prisoner. She thought about how to explain this scene to Théoden. Walking up the stairs to the Golden Hall, she felt a chill run up her spine. Something seemed out of place. The city was unusually quiet. Worry adorned the faces of the people she passed. Even the hall itself seemed somewhat lessened of its usual joy.
The Gondorian guards entered through the great doors with Eowyn. She was instantly approached by Grima Wormtongue, the king's advisor. He looked more pale than usual but it somehow made him seem stronger, as if he was in charge. She felt sick suddenly as there was a stench about the hall, not the sweet smell of hay. Things were not as they seemed.
"Welcome home, daughter of Rohan. We have been waiting for your return." Grima said as he encircled her. He nodded to the guards who turned and left the building. Their job was done here and they would return to Gondor. Grima stopped and stood behind her whispering in her ear. "It is always a pleasure to see your beautiful face."
A sudden chill ran up her spine and a sourness rose in her throat. "What has happened here? Things are not as they were when I left. I want to see the king." she said looking around and seeing how dark it was in the hall.
"The king has not been himself lately." Grima said with a slight smile. "So I have taken temporary ruling over the city."
"That is not for you to decide. In the king's absence, Eomer shall rule. And if not him then I am next in line." Eowyn said angrily.
"Well now, that's where the problem lies. Eomer has been on patrol with the Rohirrim and is unable to attend to his duty. And then there is you, my lovely. With the possible charge of treason hanging over your head, it seems you are unfit to serve leaving me in charge." Grima hissed, almost laughing.
Eowyn was shocked that he knew about her situation. "You do not know the whole story."
"I know enough. It seems the lady has been showing favors to another, one who she is not promised to. I didn't know you could be so malicious. I find that trait quite becoming. Seems there is hope for you yet, my pretty." he said brushing up against her as he walked past.
"You disgust me. I will not listen to your contempt any longer." she said storming out of the hall.
Grima yelled to her as she left. "It seems I am not the only one who knows a thing or two about disrespect." Then he laughed to himself and thought, "Soon enough, she will be mine and both of those spoiled Gondorian lords will have been long forgotten."
Eowyn stood on the terrace and looked out over the land. This was the very same spot where Faramir professed his love for her. Now it felt like her prison. She began to cry, not knowing what had happened in her absence. Then she saw Eomer and his men approaching in the distance. She had missed him. Now she only hoped he was not poisoned as the rest were. She waited for him to arrive.
Eomer saw his sister and ran up the steps. He grabbed her in his arms, lifting her and spinning her around. It felt so good to be with her again.
"My sister, I have missed you. I heard of your escort back to Rohan and the reason for it, but I do not believe what they say. Tell me it is not true." Eomer said holding her so tight she could not breathe.
"I will not discuss this here. Let us go somewhere quiet and I will tell you what has happened. There is a truth to what you have heard though it has become twisted to make me look cruel and merciless." Then Eowyn hugged her brother again. She finally felt some stability in her life. "I have missed you Eomer. Now first, tell me about our uncle. I need to see him."
Eomer looked to the ground. "He has only gotten worse in your absence. He does nothing. Grima has taken over. Théoden withers away and does not speak to anyone but for Wormtongue. Something wicked takes place here. Orcs have been seen running across our lands, yet the king does nothing. I have taken it upon myself to patrol the area."
"I want to see Théoden but I'm troubled as to what I may find. Will you go with me?" Eowyn said.
Eomer lead her to the king's chamber. The room was very dark. She found Théoden sitting in his chair, slightly slumped over and looking aged beyond his years. He didn't look like himself.
"Uncle? It's Eowyn. I have come home and I do not plan to leave again. Uncle, are you alright?" she said, taking his hand. But the king just sat there mumbling under his breath something inaudible. Eowyn looked up to Eomer.
"He has been like this for days now. It seems the only one he will communicate with is Grima." Eomer informed her.
"What can we do to change this? Is he sick? Does he need healing?" Eowyn said noticing how cold Théoden's hands were.
"I'm afraid something evil is at work here and the only cure is that of the wizard in gray. But no one has seen or heard of him in many months." Eomer said. Then he placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Come, let us get you something to eat and then you can tell me what has happened in Gondor."
Eowyn kissed Théoden's cheek then got up and left with Eomer. They went to her room where she told him her story of Denethor's threats, the wedding, Boromir's leaving and her love for Faramir. She did not tell him about their night in the cave. Some things were still better left unsaid.
A few days later, Eowyn was approached by a messenger. In his hand, he held a letter sealed with the stamp of Gondor. She smiled knowing it could only be from Faramir. She missed him so much, it hurt. Maybe he was coming for her. Had he heard of the deception in Rohan? Eowyn hoped he rode to her city with an army to help her brother reclaim their lands from the Orcs. Quickly she ran to her room where she could read the letter in private.
I am writing to inform you that things have changed since you left. I can see clearer now and have thought long and hard about our situation. I have come to the conclusion that we should no longer see each other. I cannot hurt my brother like this. He is too important to me and I will not ruin our trust. He is all I have.
I feel that if you could betray Boromir with me, then you could betray me with another. My eyes are open and I now understand that this was never meant to be. It was all a mistake. I am moving on with my life and you should do the same. Do not come to Minas Tirith. I will not be here as I have taken up my brother's duties. I'm sorry if I hurt you but it is over. Goodbye.
Eowyn let the letter slip from her hands and watched as it fell to the floor. How could he do this to her? She loved him. She had given herself to him. How could he just throw it all away so easily?
She collapsed to the floor and cried until her eyes were swollen and red. He was all she ever wanted. She loved him so deeply it hurt. Her heart was torn from her chest. Why did it hurt so badly?
Now that the initial shock wore off, she began to second guess herself. Was this his plan all along? Was he jealous of Boromir? Maybe he only wanted to take her virginity away so that his brother could not. Had she fallen for nothing more than smooth talk and warm embraces? Maybe she did not know him as well as she thought.
After sadness and anger came the guilt. Maybe he was right not to trust her. She was promised to Boromir but went behind his back and made love to Faramir. She thought about how Boromir would feel knowing his bride had been with another just days before their wedding. She felt awful, unclean, unworthy of anyone's love. Not only did she let down Boromir, but she belittled herself and the guilt turned into shame. Faramir was right to distance himself from her. And what about Boromir? He left with the intention of going through with the wedding upon his return to Gondor, so he hadn't known what happened between her and Faramir. But he would surely learn of it when he came home. He would not want her then. Or would he make her go through with the marriage anyways, always reminding her of her infidelity for the rest of her days?
Eowyn cried herself to sleep that night. So many thoughts filled her mind and her head hurt from the conflict. But what hurt worse than anything was knowing that Faramir no longer loved her. She was so sure he would never turn away from her. It was why she gave herself to him that night. She knew, without a doubt that she loved him more than life itself. It was a love she thought would beat all odds, no matter what the situation was. But now, that love would slowly be pushed to the back of her mind as talk of war and evil stirred about her city. Things would go from bad to worse before all was said and done. Eowyn moved on with her life. It was the only thing she could do.
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.