A Fell and Bitter Light
Circling above in the darkness, the rider looked down at the vast host below him, this morning of June 10. Somewhere far above was the hated face of Arien, but he knew that once again the protecting cloud of darkness would fend her off for another day. All had gone so well through the long days of the march from the Dark Land, and nothing and no one could impede them now, could stay the hand of destiny as it wrote with blood-drenched fingers. This war would indeed mark the end of an age.
But something was amiss.... he saw the Light as it began to form and he felt it in his being, that endless well of darkness, between the two worlds of the known and unknown, where his power and will dwelt. The Light grew brighter....
....The white horse rose in terror at the sight of him and the white forelegs of the horse lashed out. Falling as the black arrow struck him, he crushed his master beneath him.....
.....The fallen... It was his due, was it not, to take the prey that lay before him? A trophy, was it not, for felling an enemy, and did his beast not hunger for the taste of the fallen's flesh? But no! Some insignificant creature rose to challenge him. "Fool!" he thinks, "No living man may slay me!".....
But yet something was amiss. The Light glowed in its intensity and began to strive with his will. He felt it first as a pulling, an attempt at undoing and unmaking. "Stay, Essence of Light! Come not, for thou dost not belong. This is mine, and thou canst not come here. Stay!"
....The insignificant figure stands before him. "Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!"....
Something was amiss. He could feel the Light begin to shine on the blue ice, and the reflection began to blind him. "Stay back, meddler! Fool! Thou canst not contend with me! Go forth!"
...."Come not between the Nazgul and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shriveled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye."....
....The horseman dares challenge him, and now draws his sword and boasts.....
But something is amiss. The Light upon the ice shimmers and figures and patterns meld together and break apart, dancing and glowing upon the surface. The Light grows until it is a furious white fire. He will not cover his eyes at the sight. He will not give the White Figure the satisfaction of seeing him avert his gaze. "Why thou fool, thou meddling one, dost thou wrestle with me?"
....The figure before him takes off his helm and laughs. "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Eowyn I am, Eomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.".....
....The light shines around her, and he sees that this is not a man who stands before him, but a woman, and the light shines upon her mane of golden hair. The maiden lashes out at his beast, but the beast moves his great neck. He dismounts the beast and he smashes at the Light. The Light breaks, and falls sparkling and golden before him as his mace crushes her shield and the darkness closes about her....
....He glances to his side and he sees a small glow like a candle shining in darkness, and knows it must be a companion to the horseman who has fallen. The blade this brat holds sparkles with a fell and bitter glow. He has seen that bold light before and knows that he must destroy this small one, lest this small one's fiery light destroy him first.....
....The mace rose and fell, the helm was rent, and the newborn sun glimmered as the skull exploded and the blood mixed with the light....The second blow smashes the small body and the third mixes the flesh with the dirt of the blood-drenched field, and so the Light goes out....
....The maiden, clutched in the chains of agony, looks at him with terror pouring from her eyes. He thinks to himself, "Shall I slay her now, as I slew her companion? Her light gleams brightly. Shall I end it....? Nay!"....
....."Maid, look to me." With those words, the maid's will leaves her, and she is paralyzed, frozen to the spot. "Thy great brightness shall know darkness indeed, and from thee shall be extracted payment in full." He turns from her and strides to the horseman crushed beneath his steed. The woman pleads first, then screams as she sees him take the head of his fallen enemy with a single blow. He held her tightly as she screamed all the way to Barad-dur, and the glazed, dead eyes of her uncle seemed to scream with her as it hung tied from his saddle....
Yet something was still amiss. Fully now he feels the power of the Light, and of the strength of the one who wields it. The blue ice begins to glow red with a reflective brilliance of the Light. His mind and will begin to reel as he feels a burst of penetrating Light from the One Cloaked in White.
The intricate crystal structures begin to melt as they are torn with another fierce bolt of the Light, and a mist comes before his eyes and with the mist comes the pain. He knows that the spell has been broken, rendered asunder, and that the maid is free. He shrieks, and his brothers shudder, for they know that for the first time in his existence, if just for a moment, the Witch-King of Angmar is overcome by pain.
SHADOWS AND HEALING
Shortly after dawn
June 10 Dunharrow
She listlessly drifts through the many long leagues of the darkened forest. How long had she walked under the canopy of the black twisted trees? Had she been there before? She could not remember, for the musty air of the evil wood brings about a sense of timelessness. Her soft footsteps make slight impressions in the dry, crumbling dirt, and she walks in silence, occasionally stepping over a knobby root that strays out into the main part of the road. The only light to guide her path seems to come from within her, and she is vaguely aware that she seems to glow more with each step on her journey.
He appears, a figure of shining silver light, as though Tillion descended to earth and gently planted the last flower of Telperion in the road before her. She halts and stands motionless, her grey eyes wide and staring.
"Fair one, why hast thou not come to me? I await, but thou doest not heed my calls." He bows his head sadly.
Her beloved! A comforting presence is he amid the forest of silent, lurking evil, of intense loneliness and despair. He calls to her and she must heed his summons. "My lord!" she cries and moves towards him. "I heed thy calls."
He holds out his hands to her. "Take my hands, thou wilt find them soothing to thy touch." She slowly puts her gentle ivory hands in his haggard ones, and looks desperately into his glittering eyes. He draws her closer and holds her in an icy embrace, and a blissful coolness fills her. The feeling is refreshing; like wading through the cool waters of a gentle brook after a hot summer's day. She sighs in contentment. Every muscle in her body relaxes and goes limp, and she slumps weakly against him.
He holds her tightly in her swoon, and they are as a brilliant ball of light in the forest under nightshade, shining like mithril-silver and white flame. An icy mist rises from the ground and surrounds them, spiraling and twisting about their glowing bodies. The mist gently caresses her, filling her with chilling calmness, and she slips into a sense of peaceful serenity as she rests in the arms of death. Her eyes slip shut, and she feels herself about to drift away with the mists that coil about them.
He calls to her, his voice soft yet commanding, and she harkens to his words. She rises with the mist into the air with her beloved and they float together above the dusty path. Carrion birds call out and fell shades seem to moan as they rise into the darkness, the eternity of death. His voice is soothing, hissing, almost purring like a cat. "You will come with me now.... into eternity, fair Eowyn of Rohan."
Vaguely she is aware of the sensation of floating far above the confines of the earth. Her hair billows about her like wispy strands of gold, as the fair leaves of Laurelin, and her body shines as the stars of Elbereth as they glittered in the twilight of ages long past. Even if she wanted to, she is helpless now to move or to resist... she floats ever upward, in a state of pure bliss... at last now she can be with her lord in peace... forever.
But she hears a new voice calling her, begging her to come back the way which she came. Strangely, both voices are identical... the one urging her to come with him into peace and eternity, and the one urging her to turn back and come in to the light. She feels her body slowly sinking back down to earth, and she stands there, wavering.
Both voices call to her, trying to sway her, bringing her more confusion than she has ever had before. Yet one voice is stronger, more powerful, having powers to take her away from the evil forest and chase away the shadows upon her. It compels her to listen and follow.
She turns around and takes a few cautious steps back towards the way she came, heeding the more powerful voice and presence, almost against her will. A faint breeze filled with the scent of some pleasant herb blows softly through the musty forest and gently tousles her golden hair. Another force seems to be drawing her back, preying upon her own confusion, curiosity and desire to be with her beloved, and she finds herself retracing her steps on the road on which so many ill-fated travelers have walked but few seldom return.
Maltriel wakes up to see him.... her beloved... Lord Angmar kissing her forehead, then stepping back and standing at her bedside. Her heart overflows with joy and her eyes shine to behold him once again. Truly, he was an outstanding healer and a kind and noble lord, not to mention a king. She beams with happiness, for now he has come back for her, to rescue her from her captors! But, but... how? Had he been forced to pay ransom to get her back? If so, what had been the price? She knew she was not worth that much, and felt guilty and unworthy of his love and kindness.
But he calls her......... Eowyn.
And he claims to be Aragorn son of Arathorn, king of Gondor.
She feels cheated somehow, betrayed by the desire of her own heart, and the wicked treachery of the evil West. May Melkor curse them all forever! Mere words in either the common tongue nor black speech cannot describe this cruel jest played upon her. She now rues having not followed the first voice, for now she realizes that, indeed, he was her true love. What a fool she had been!
Maltriel seethes with anger, hurt and resentment, but she is too weary to turn her thoughts into words or actions. The desire to sleep envelops her like a warm, soft blanket and she gives into it, falling into a deep slumber, but she vows to tell the black-hearted brigands of the West a thing or two when she wakes up. And she knew a few choice words for just such an occasion in the language of Mordor. True, it was not very lady-like, but sometimes the orcs were right about some things.
A bright light shining in Maltriel's eyes causes her to wake up. It is the wizard, and his staff glows with a brilliant light. She gasps and sits up, sensing that the old man possesses a great power beyond her understanding. "She is bound to the will of Mordor," he tells the others standing around her bed, his voice dire and grim.
Every muscle in her body is tense now, and her thoughts are frantic. "The old wizard wishes to do me harm.... I will be forced to endure torments long and agonizing, and what little I know will be cruelly ripped from my brain. Then I will die a long, painful death, tormented by the knowledge and guilt that I was inadvertently treacherous and treasonous to Mordor. I must escape!"
Maltriel's heart pounds in her chest and her breathing becomes more rapid. "I am ever loyal to Mordor!" she chokes out in a raspy squeak, attempting not to show her fear.
"Rest, my dear, you are in no harm's way," the wizard says in a kindly voice. Her eyes narrow. She does not trust any of them now, especially after being tricked into leaving eternal peace with her beloved.
Maltriel herself is temporarily ignored by the wizard and this man claiming to be the king of Gondor, but she knows they are whispering about her. She slowly begins sliding one leg closer to the edge of the bed, preparing to bolt at a moment's notice.
Then the wizard turns his attentions back to her, and waves his hand in front of her eyes. But before she can lash out or cringe away, she finds herself falling into a deep, dark pit.
And then she experiences pain and torment like she never had before, save for when she stood before the fiery presence of Sauron.
Eowyn's eyes open, and she finds herself looking up at the ceiling or whatever it is that hangs above her. It is blurry and veers from side to side as her body seems to rotate on...... is it a bed? She wills her fingers to respond to her commands and she weakly touches the soft sheets that lie under her hand. Yes, it seems to be a bed or a cot, and it is the thing that is slowly rotating, not her body. She stares up aimlessly, watching as the ceiling of the tent spins, feeling as though she is floating in a timeless oblivion. The sounds of people milling about echo painfully in her ears, but she blocks them out until they are nothing but a soft buzzing, like bees flying about her head as she lies in a groggy haze.
She attempts to form coherent thoughts, but the effort sends shooting pains through her head. She groans, and weakly begins to move her hand which feels as heavy as a leaden weight. It falls limply upon her pillow, her fingers amidst the tendrils of her hair.
A sudden bolt of emotions hit her.... a sense of unbearable loss, grief at what she had lost, guilt and feelings of failure, and then pain and anguish of many torments. But then they are gone as quickly as they came, and for the time, she knows not why she felt them.
She goes back asleep, wondering where her mother and father are, and if they will be coming in to see about her soon.
Eowyn wakes up with a splitting headache, vaguely aware of being in a pavilion with many other people.... her own people. She stifles a groan and turns over on her stomach, putting her face into her pillow and clasping her hands to her head. She feels hair beneath her fingers. Her hair. Her eyes widen, and a jolt of horror goes through her. Where is her arming cap, which cushioned her head against the hard metal of her helm?
She lies there, face into pillow, daring not to move. Had her cap been torn off as she tossed and turned in bed? How long had she been lying there? And why was she in a tent with many other people, instead of camping alone? Why had no one realized who she was? Had Elfhelm told them all to ignore her presence like he did with Merry? Or had the darkness that belched forth from the evil land kept her identity hidden, even though were many people about? Or had they just let her sleep, and would shortly berate her for dressing as a man and following the men into battle?
It was the night of March 14, wasn't it?
No, it must be the early morning of the 15th. In just a few hours, the army would set forth from the Grey Wood and ride to the Pelennor Fields, coming to the aid of Gondor. Keeping her face concealed by her pillow, Eowyn pats the bed around herself and fumbles through the sheets, searching for her arming cap. What if it fell to the ground? Panic rising at the thoughts of discovery, she slowly slinks to the side of the bed, keeping her face down, and searches for her cap.
"Lady Eowyn!" exclaims an excited voice. She freezes, her heart skipping a beat. No one should know who she is save Elfhelm...not even Merry. "You've finally awake! How are you feeling?" The young sounding, excited voice does not give her a chance to answer, but begins announcing Eowyn's presence to everyone who happens to be standing nearby.
Her head shoots up and she is too distraught to soften her glare. To her surprise, she sees a halfling sitting on a bed beside her. He resembles Merry slightly, but is in no way the hobbit with whom she had traveled with in secret since Dunharrow.
Pippin recoils slightly at her gaze, and wonders if the spell was truly broken. "Lady Eowyn? Maltriel?" he asks softly.
"Pippin? But - but how? I heard you had left with Gandalf for Minas tirith!"
Pippin swallows. How much could she remember?
"Do you know what day it is?"
She looks at him questioningly. "The early hours of March 15, ere the dawn."
Pippin hesitates for a moment. Should he or should he not? But Gandalf had called him an honest fool. "No, my lady.... it is the evening of June 10, and we are in Dunharrow. The Nazgul flew over, and we got the black shadow... you almost died, but then Gandalf and Aragorn flew by on an eagle and cured us!"
Eowyn sits on the side of her bed, her mind reeling with pain and confusion. "June....10...? Dunharrow...? The Black shadow..?" she whispers, trying to recall what happened in the past four months. She was not used to such shocking revelations. "But... but... what of the war and the battle?" she gasps, dread creeping up on her like some menacing black shape.
"The battle was lost. Minas Tirith fell," Pippin says sadly. "And Gondor was conquered by the enemy."
An old man comes to the foot of Eowyn's bed and interrupts Pippin as he speaks. The man bows, "my lady, I am one of the healers. We are glad to see that you are feeling better. But your health shall not continue to improve if young Pippin here keeps you awake with his constant talking!" Pippin winces slightly from guilt, and the old healer turns his attention to him. "Now, Pippin, do not tell her everything at once! She has been through a lot, and needs to rest." he casts the little hobbit a knowing look.
"Let me tell her a bit of what has happened!" says Pippin. "She thinks it's still March 15, before the battle of Pelennor."
"Very well, but not everything, not all at once, and don't take too long. Wait until tomorrow, after she has rested," warns the healer. He whispers in Pippin's ear, "and mention not a word of her capture at Pelennor, nor of her thraldom to the enemy." Pippin nods, and the healer bows and leaves to attend to others in the pavilion.
Eowyn listens in horror as Pippin tells her more about what happened at Pelennor and afterwards and about his adventures with the Gondor army as they crossed over the White Mountains. His speech is quick and bubbly, filled with disjointed stories out of order. After a time, he falls silent, resting from his exuberant chatter.
Eowyn ponders his tale, but she notices he says anything of what she has been doing the past months. She looks him in the eyes and asks slowly, "You mention naught of my uncle nor Merry nor of my own deeds in these past bitter months, yet I sense that something indeed evil has befallen."
Pippin averts his gaze. "You should rest now, my lady. You almost died of the black shadow. Both of us did! I was tormented by horrible nightmares, and I know you must have been as well! Are you tired? Or hungry? I know I am... both tired and hungry! .The day has been quite long." That is an understatement, he thinks, Eowyn's shrill shrieks still echoing in his ears.
Eowyn knows Pippin is nervous and babbling, and is probably under orders from the healers to withhold certain information from her. She suddenly feels very tired. "Then I assume that indeed something evil has befallen them, and your news would be grievous, but I shall not press the matter, for I am weary and my head brings me much pain."
She lies back on her bed and pulls the covers about herself. "Sleep well, my lady, and may you feel better when you wake up," Pippin says softly, but Eowyn does not hear for she is already sound asleep. Pippin looks at the peaceful expression on her face as she sleeps and says a silent prayer to Elbereth for her safety and healing.
King Aragorn had given her the letter the
night before, but Hathawyn had not given it to Pippin for he had
been resting after being healed from the shadow. She headed to
the healer's pavilion in the early twilit morning to deliver the
Pippin sat in bed, eating breakfast..... or, perhaps, second breakfast. "Good morning, Pippin," greeted Hathawyn.
Pippin looked up and exclaimed excitedly, "oh, hullo Hathawyn!"
After exchanging greetings for a while, Hathawyn looked at the empty bed beside him. "Where is the Lady Eowyn?"
"She got up earlier and went to talk to the master healer. They have been gone an hour or two. She is feeling better, but a great weight lies heavy upon her mind, and she seemed troubled about something."
Hathawyn nodded. "Aye, she has been through a lot indeed." She handed Pippin a folded up note. "Here, Aragorn said to give this to you. He gave it to me last night, but you were resting and I did not want to disturb you."
Pippin took the note, unfolded it and looked at it.
Gandalf and I must leave you now. I fear it is, perhaps, the last time we shall ever meet- but of this, I am not sure. You have fallen under the spell of the Nazgul and have been cured. You are a brave Hobbit and a cherished friend. Look after Eowyn as you have promised. It will not be easy for her to learn what has befallen her since she has been under the spell. Gandalf and I must go to Helm's Deep and make our last stand against the armies of Mordor there. We may never make it back, but that is unknown to us at this time. We will be thinking of you as we face this final challenge. Let us remember our friends who gave their lives in this struggle and do our best to honor them in this hour, for the Fellowship still binds the rest of us in our hearts.
Farewell Peregrin Took,
After talking with him a while, Hathawyn departed, wishing Pippin the best of health and recovery. As she left, there was a hesitancy and slowness in her steps, and she glanced black over her shoulder often.
June 11, morning, Dunharrow
Pippin sits in his bed on the healer's
back supported by pillows even though he feels as
strong as ever now. His head is clear, and no
nightmares have plagued his sleep since Aragorn healed
him. The hobbit basks in the wonderful feeling of
health, savoring the absence of pain. He happily
munches on his breakfast, although he wishes these men
would eat two breakfasts instead of one, like
sensible hobbits would.
"Good morning, Pippin!" intones
a cheerful voice. He
looks up to find Hathawyn smiling down at him. He
quickly smooths his wrinkled shirt and pats his
disheveled hair down, combing the locks off his
forehead with his fingers.
"Oh, hullo Hathawyn!" Pippin
beams at her. Her hazel
eyes hold a warm glow, and her blond hair hangs in a
plait over her shoulder. A few strands have blown
loose and curl to frame her face. Her mouth curves in
a good-natured smile. Pippin's breath catches
"How are you feeling?" she asks,
sitting on the
bedside and facing him.
"Much better!" Pippin rejoices.
"They used to say in
Gondor, 'The hands of the king are the hands of a
healer,' and he healed many there. But I never
thought to experience it myself. I am so grateful to
him, for what he did for me and Eowyn, and everyone
"Where is the Lady Eowyn?" Hathawyn asks.
Pippin knows that Hathawyn almost idolizes
Lady, so he gives her the full details of her healing
and return to her old self. He tells her of Eowyn's
lingering depression and the talk she is having with
the healers. "But I am sure they will treat her
gently, and the White Lady will return, who was
thought lost forever. So you see, we hoped and were
rewarded beyond our expectations! Many were saved,
and even Eowyn has regained her mind."
Hathawyn smiles, but Pippin senses an uneasiness
her. She seems about to say something, then quickly
"What is it?" Pippin asks, his smile fading.
Hathawyn pulls a note from her apron pocket
it out to him. "Here, Aragorn said to give this to
Pippin stares at it. "A note?...Does
that mean they
have left already?"
She nods. "He gave it to me last night,
but you were
resting and I did not want to disturb you."
Heaviness settles on Pippin's heart. He
terrible sense of loss. Gandalf and Aragorn are gone,
possibly forever! He sits silently, staring at the
note. Finally he meets Hathawyn's eyes with a
stricken look. "I never said goodbye."
"I'm sorry," Hathawyn sighs.
She gently puts the note
in his hand, then rises and turns to leave. But her
feet drag, and she stops to look at him over her
shoulder. As he reads, the shock in his face turns to
sadness and then pain, burning ever brighter in his
eyes. Hathawyn feels terrible, as though she has hurt
him and is watching his blood flow.
Pippin looks up and beckons her over. "Look
he says gravely. She stands behind him, her hands on
his shoulders, and silently rereads the letter with
Gandalf and I must leave you now. I
fear it is,
perhaps, the last time we shall ever meet--but of
this, I am not sure. You have fallen under the spell
of the Nazgul and have been cured. You are a brave
Hobbit and a cherished friend. Look after Eowyn as
you have promised. It will not be easy for her to
learn what has befallen her since she has been under
the spell. Gandalf and I must go to Helm's Deep
and make our last stand against the armies of Mordor
there. We may never make it back, but that is unknown
to us at this time. We will be thinking of you as we
face this final challenge. Let us remember our friends
who gave their lives in this struggle
and do our best
to honor them in this hour, for the Fellowship still
binds the rest of us in our hearts.
Farewell Peregrin Took,
Pippin looks over his shoulder to see Hathawyn's
reaction. "They may yet return," she smiles weakly.
"Or they may not," Pippin replies,
"and they are
willing to take that risk. The Fellowship is broken
again, but not by necessity this time! Not by death
or capture or some other misfortune--simply because
they do not want me!" He jumps out of the bed and
paces angrily. "My place is with them! The
Fellowship did not only swear loyalty to Frodo; we
swore to stand by each other! And I must stay here
tending this woman I don't even know while they make
the last stand for Middle Earth? Any boy of Rohan
would be proud to be her page. I was proud to do it
while it was my duty, but now! Valar, I am a knight
of Gondor! I should be fighting! And she wants to
fight as well; she doesn't want to be here any more
than I do. We have both proven our strength. They
should let us fight! THAT is our duty now!"
Pippin notices Hathawyn's confused look
at his last
words. "You don't know the story, do you? Very well,
I am not a hero like Eowyn and Merry; I have never
really fought. But I have passed through so much that
I wouldn't even begin to tell anyone here but you,
because they would never believe me. You will believe
me, won't you?" he pleads.
Hathawyn sits on the bed to listen. "I
He continues, pacing and gesturing. "I
was with Frodo
long before there was a Fellowship. Merry, Sam and I
vowed to go with him and risk our lives for him before
we even knew Aragorn existed. We travelled alone, the
four of us, through the Shire where the Nazgul chased
us, through the Old Forest where the trees almost ate
us alive, and through the Barrow-Downs where we were
almost sacrificed to the Dark Lord. I helped tend
Frodo when he was wounded on Weathertop, and at
Rivendell I joined the Fellowship, though I did not
really know what we were getting into back then. We
travelled on foot, and we even tried to climb
Caradhras, but the mountain was too cold and
treacherous, and we hobbits would not have survived.
So we went through the mines of Moria. There we had
to defend Frodo from a water monster, and then we were
attacked by orcs and goblins and even a cave troll. I
saw Gandalf fight a balrog and fall into the abyss
with it. From there we went to Lothlorien and then to
Amon Hen, where uruk-hai captured Merry and me, and it
was only through good luck that we escaped into
Fangorn Forest...do you really believe all this?"
Hathawyn stares wide-eyed, trying to take
it all in.
"Yes...yes, I do, Pippin. But it is a strange tale
"It gets even stranger," he warns.
"But after I've
been through all that, don't you think they should
consider me strong enough to fight? I admit I did not
fight in the first battle of Helms Deep, but then
again, neither did Merry, who is so famous now for his
bravery." He runs his hands over his face. "After
Helms Deep I had my worst fright, though it came
through my own stupidity. There was a palantir
recovered from the wreckage--a seeing-stone into
Mordor itself. But I did not know what it was. I was
curious, so I stole it, just to look at it, intending
to put it back right away...but I saw..." He points
to the sky, struggling to form the words. "I saw
them...the fell riders, flying right towards me. And
then..." He begins to shudder. "I cannot speak of
it! But...I faced the Dark Lord, Hathawyn. Not for
very long--I fell into a trance, it was so horrible.
I cannot tell you how horrible it was. But I did face
him, and I refused to reveal anything to him, even
though he hurt me terribly. Doesn't that prove that I
have some strength? Surely I am strong enough for a
battle, if I survived his taunts?"
"Of course, Pippin, of course,"
Hathawyn says, "but
you should not think of those things! You have only
just recovered from the shadow!"
Pippin nods and tries to calm down. "After
was in Gondor when it fell." He sighs with
frustration again. "And I didn't fight there
either...but I did help to save Captain Faramir, the
Steward's son. His father was mad and wanted to burn
him alive when they brought him back wounded. So I
ran and told Gandalf, and he saved him." He turns
pale. "But the Steward died. He set himself on fire.
I dreamed about it only last night."
He sighs and sits down heavily. "And
now, here we
are, stranded in this forsaken place. Why did they
leave me here, after all our travels together? Will I
never see Gandalf and Aragorn, and Legolas and Gimli?
Am I not still part of the Fellowship?" Suddenly his
eyes widen. "No...no, they no longer want me in the
Fellowship!...I was always a bother...I caused
trouble, and never did anything useful...I was only
allowed to join in the first place because I insisted
on going with Frodo. Oh, my dear Frodo! It was all
for him, and now he is dead, along with Merry and Sam!
And I cannot avenge them; I cannot finally prove
myself in battle; I can do nothing but sit here!" He
throws himself upon the bed and weeps.
Mid-morning June 11
As Eowyn walked with the old healer through
the camp, she pondered and contemplated the dreams she had since
the evening before. While she had slept, more of her memories
had come back to her, and she had awakened that morning with some
knowledge of her thraldom to Angmar and Mordor. However, she could
only remember bits and pieces of the journey with the Mordor Army
after they broke camp at the Firien Wood sometime in the late
spring. It all seemed strange and surrealistic, and she could
not discern what were memories of things that really had happened,
and what were memories of dreams and visions she had after taking
the potion Angmar gave her.
She remembered listening to Angmar teach her how speak the evil language of Mordor for hours, mesmerized by his deep and icy voice. A most earnest and dedicated pupil he had found in her, always eager to heed his instruction. He had preyed upon her desire to fight, to help her people, telling her lies about the evil West and how they wished to enslave the free people of the East. He even tried to dissuade her from fighting at first, knowing that an attempt to quench her fires would only fan them higher. And she had desired to fight against her own people, believing them enemies who were cruel and burnt their prisoners alive. Like her uncle, she was.... helpless, ailing, her mind prey to evil counsel and poisoned advice. But Grima was only a sly mortal gifted with the ability to craft cunning words, and not a being of great power and evil like Angmar.
How evil is the leechcraft of Mordor, to turn the secret feelings of one's own heart against them! To corrupt the fancies and the hopes of a young, desperate woman into a chain by which to bind her. Every time she beheld the empty hood, the faceless visage of the Witch-king of Angmar, she saw the face of Aragorn, whom she admired greatly and, perhaps, even loved. But how did Angmar know of her thoughts towards Aragorn? Was he somehow able to pry into her mind, to know her innermost thoughts? She could not remember! Curse him! Now every time she saw Aragorn's face, she would think of the Witch-King of Angmar.
She vaguely remembered her capture, the ill-fated charge against her own people, the shock and horror she felt when she saw Lomin and the men furiously galloping away, the riders circling around her. How she had fought and struggled like a wild animal! Then she had fallen ill to some unknown sickness and was weak and feverish for many days.
Eowyn burned with shame and humiliation as she walked, and wondered what her people thought of her now, if they still loved and respected her. She was made into a fool, Angmar's thrall successfully doing her master's bidding. She simmered with hatred, remembering how she enjoyed his company and conversation, the feel of his icy kisses and tender embraces. How easily she had accepted his affection and given hers in return! She wondered if she spent her 25th birthday fawning at his feet. She was a traitor, having lost her honor by treason, and was an embarassment to her people. But to dwell upon the matter would only make Angmar proud, for perhaps part of his purpose had been accomplished, to disgrace his vanquished enemy. No, she would try not to give him that pleasure, though it was difficult.
Before long, they reached a quiet spot in the Firien-field around a small grove of trees. She had requested to talk someplace in private, to hear the full story of what had befallen her out of range of curious ears and gossiping tongues. The old healer did not want to tell her everything so quickly, but she would not be daunted nor dissuaded by his pleas. Finally, he began to tell Eowyn her unremembered tale, from his knowledge and what he heard from others... Suvivors from the Pelennor Fields told of her Uncle's death under his horse and the Nazgul who swooped down on his fell beast to gloat over his trophy, how she had bravely tried to defend her uncle, Merry's death under Angmar's mace, the fate of Theoden's broken body at the hands of the Black Captain, her own wounding and capture. When she had been healed of her enchantment, Aragorn had said that she had stood before the Dark Lord himself and suffered much torment and agony. From there, apparently Angmar had enchanted her, causing her to lose her memory and think her name was Maltriel and that she was his betrothed. She had then been "released" to her own people, possibly in hopes that she would be inadvertently killed by them for she thought she was a soldier of Mordor and had charged into them yelling cries of war. She was taken to Edoras as a prisoner, her hands bound behind her back, and presented to her brother, whom she did not even recognize. Those civilians remaining in Edoras were sent to Dunharrow, and she rode in the entourage with the king's advisor, Bearn, whom she almost drove mad with her declarations of love to Angmar and loyalty to the Dark Land. He had left Dunharrow in the night after the Nazgul flew by, seeking aid for those suffering from the black shadow.
And when Eowyn had heard all those things, she wept, grieving for her uncle and Merry, and Elfhelm her captain when she heard of his death after the battle of Pelennor trying to defend her honor from a Nazgul boasting of her capture and disgrace at the hands of Angmar. She felt as though she had brought shame to her uncle, Merry, Elfhelm and all those who had fallen, slain by the cruel devices of the Enemy, and that she was unworthy to be of the house of Eorl.
The healer departed from her then, wringing his hands, for she said she wished to be alone for a while, to think upon all which had befallen her. As he walked away, he looked back and saw her wandering feet taking her out of his vision and into the shadows of the twilight-lit day. He wondered if he had done the right thing by giving in to her demands, and prayed that she would come back to the camp alive, and that her limp, lifeless body wouldn't be found beneath one of the cliffs around Dunharrow.
Return to Third Age: The War of Second Darkness
Return to Index