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Leaving home; Coming Home  by Mirkwoodmaiden

Ch. 5 - Treasures of the Heart Unearthed

Faramir stood in his father’s study, a place familiar and yet unfamiliar to him.  Familiar because it was here in which countless rebukes of his seemingly enumerable faults were delivered.  He looked at the desk at which he had stood listening to the litany of his faults any number of times.  Unhappy memories.  Unfamiliar because this was no longer his father’s study. It was now his as the Steward of Gondor, though now under Aragorn, King of the Reunited Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.  He had come into this room with a purpose but the aura of the room, all the memories crowding in around him stopped him cold.  Closing his eyes, taking in a deep breath, he managed to push aside those memories for the moment.  He had come to retrieve something.  He went over to a bureau of drawers and started to look through them.  He found various bits.  Blank parchment, bottles of ink, the detritus of a mind that was all business.  Then in the third drawer he found it.  An ornate box of carved wood and on the top an intricated painted scene of a lady on a swing laughing.  It was so out-of-place in this austere place of work.  Faramir carefully extracted the box from the drawer placed it on top of the bureau and carefully closed the drawer, quietly so as not to attract any attention.  He slipped out of his father’s study and stole away quietly to his own chambers where he could be alone.

Once in his own chambers he closed the door and sat on the edge of his four-poster bed.  He sat the carved box on the rich dark velvet coverlet and gently opened it.  Inside was a ruby ring set in gold with intertwining leaves circling the single gem.  Another sapphire ring set in what he always perhaps whimsically thought of as mithril, maybe it was only silver; he did not know.  A brooch of carnelian with a silhouette of a lady carved into it.  He had always assumed it was his mother, for this was her box of jewels kept in his father’s study after she had gone away.  He picked up a necklace and held it to the light.  It was a large single opal set in a gold setting. The light from the window igniting the specks of light within making the light dance across the densely translucent surface of the gem.  Each piece held a memory.  Some bittersweet as he, at only five-years old could remember his mother wearing some of these pieces.  He brushed away a few stray tears as he continued to look at the pieces.  Other bits of jewelry evoked memories only connected to the times he would steal into this room after his father departed for the day and look at the treasures within as a reminder of something that belong to his mother though he did not quite remember her wearing them. 

At the time he did not understand why his father kept the jewels in his study and not in his bedchamber or the vault.  Now having seen a little of Denethor’s heart, his emotions; he realised that his father had wanted something of his beloved Finduilas near him at all times.  These jewels through tragic inheritance were now his and he planned to give them all to Éowyn.  Their beauty reflecting the beauty of his beloved.  He searched for a pair of earrings, ones he most definitely remembered his mother wearing.  He smiled as he thought of Éowyn wearing these. He closed the box and brushed away a last tear and started to Éowyn’s chamber with the precious treasure in his hand.

Éowyn was sitting at her dressing table waiting for her maid to return with a repaired strand of pearls and matching earrings she had wanted to wear when she heard a knock at her open door.  “Come in…”  She wondered why someone would knock on an open door.  Faramir stood at the entrance of the door, looking a little sheepish. 

“I waited for Waerith to depart.  I wanted us to be alone.” Faramir stated as he walked into her chamber.

“My lord!  We will have to wait for the wedding night.” Éowyn teased.  To her amazement Faramir coloured just slightly.  Éowyn took pity on her beloved, he looked a little nervous.  “We will be alone for a little while, Waerith has just gone to get the clasp on a set of necklace and earrings I wished to wear replaced.”

“Oh,” Faramir looked a little disappointed, “Well, if that is the case then. Well, that’s all right.” He turned to leave.

Éowyn placed a hand on his arm to stay him, “My love, what is it that you wished to say?”

Faramir looked at her, his earnest light blue eyes searching hers. “I just thought that maybe.” He stopped and seemingly reorganized what he was going to say.  “My father had in his keeping certain things.”  He paused.

At the mention of Faramir’s father, the Lord Denethor, Éowyn had work hard to keep her emotions from showing on her face.  She truly disliked very few people in this world but Denethor was most certainly one of them.  She would never understand how he could have mistreated Faramir as he did and any thought of the man immediately darkened her eye.  But right now that wave of emotion would not help whatever it was that Faramir was trying to tell her.

“And as he,” Faramir paused and then continued, “As he has died.  Those certain things have now come to me.”  Éowyn waited patiently for him to begin again, “My mother’s jewels.  I wish to give them all to you.  If you will have them.”  Faramir opened his hand to reveal to Éowyn a pair of beautiful emerald drop earrings.  A casting of gold leaves and an emerald set in gold. 

Éowyn gasped.  She had never seen anything so delicate and so finely crafted. But they could have been river stones and she would have loved them because of what they clearly meant to Faramir.

Faramir watched her face and asked tentatively, “Do you like them? She had others if you don’t like these.” a somewhat worried look on his face. 

Éowyn turned to him, eyes brimming with tears and kissed him soundly.  “They could be river stones and I would love them because of who they belonged to and that you honor me with their gifting.

Éowyn hugged him and Faramir’s heart sang with joy.  “Let me see them on you.  I always remember her wearing these.” He said smiling a tremulous smile.

Éowyn placed them in her ears and Faramir could not believe how beautiful and perfect they looked on her.  Then he noticed that she was wearing a blue gown, “but they don’t match.  Mama had a pair of sapphire ones as well, I will go and get those.”

“Pish!” Éowyn said fervently, “I will wear these!  Anyone says anything, they will get the backside of my hand.”

Faramir laughed and spun her around, “that is my lady of fire!”  He proceeded to fervently kiss his soon-to-be wife full of spark and life.

“My lady!” Waerith exclaimed as she entered the room, shocked at the display of affection, “This is not seemly.”

Both Faramir and Éowyn started to laugh.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Arwen met Éowyn as they were going to the reception room in which the family and close friends gathered before the grand entrance into the Great Hall was to be made. There were chair and divans to relax upon and groaning tables filled with enough food to make even a hobbit happy. She held out both hands in greeting to Éowyn and Éowyn grasped them warmly.  Immediately Arwen noticed the beautiful emerald earrings dangling from Éowyn’s ears.  Her hair had been purposefully upswept to show them off. 

“They are beautiful,” Arwen said.

Éowyn smiled, and with happy tears lining her eyes, she stated, “Faramir gave them to me before we came down.  They belonged to his mother.”

Arwen, knowing a little of the history of Faramir’s family as told by Aragorn, mouthed an awed “Oh” , “Then they are very special indeed.”

Éowyn agreed, “Yes they are,” She looked thoughtful and then asked, “Arwen, can you give me the name of a good jeweler here in the city.  There is something I want to have reset before the wedding.”

“Yes, of course.  I will instruct my attendant to take you there tomorrow morning, if you like?” Arwen stated.

“Thank you so much!  Yes! That will be ideal.”  Éowyn bit her lip as she thought about what she had planned and prayed it could be done in time.  Arwen looked at her pointedly.

“I will show you before anybody else, but for now I just want to keep it secret.”

Arwen nodded her understanding and mercurially switched subjects, “Now to business,” she whispered.  She surveyed the room and saw her chosen quarry.  “Mingle, talk to others.  See if you select the same lady.”

Éowyn took on her mission with an intense curiosity.  She obtained a goblet from an attendant and began mingling.  She surveyed the gathered family and higher nobles who would be entering with Aragorn and Arwen.  She saw a few younger women, all very pretty but she was unsure if any would be suitable for her brother, who could be a handful.  She saw a table laden with food and gravitated over to it.  She took a small pearlescent plate purposed for the selection of cakes and tartlets and small pies and thought that Merry and Pippin would have found themselves quite at home just sitting at the table and eating.  She smiled to herself thinking of the dear little hobbits.  She saw a plate next to her piled high enough to make even Merry or Pippin proud.  The owner of the plate appeared as she added another tartlet.  Éowyn looked up into a pair of laughing blue eyes.  “I know.  I know.  But I eat when I get nervous and gatherings like this sort always make me nervous.” The blue eyes belonged a gamine face and petite figure who truthfully did not look like she would eat one quarter of what she had put on her plate.

Éowyn laughed wishing to put the girl at her ease. “I’m not terribly used to this sort pomp myself, though I guess I should be.” Her eye unintentionally fell upon the plate again as the girl added a mushroom tartlet.

“I know,” the girl said genially, “My mother wonders where do I put it all.  She says I must have a hollow leg.  And that ladies should not eat quite so much! To which I say ‘Pish!’ then she looks at me in a shocked fashion!”  Éowyn’s intuition flared.  She looked at the girl a little more intently.  The girl colored a little, dropped her head a little, “I am sorry my lady, my mother says I should not use such language.”

Éowyn laughed, beginning to warm to the girl, “Oh that is quite all right.  I have used such colorful language myself, much the consternation of many a nurse and governess.  Other words just aren’t up to expressing certain emotions!”

The girl looked at her with new eyes, “Quite right!  I do not believe I know you.  Lothiriel, Princess of Dol Amroth.” She bowed slightly.

“You’re Faramir’s young cousin!”

“Yes!  And you are—” She stopped, “You’re Éowyn.  Faramir’s betrothed.”

“Yes!  I have heard much of you and your brothers and how much Faramir loved visiting you on the coast at Dol Amroth.”

“None of the naughty bits are true, I assure!” though the twinkle in Lothiriel’s eyes told a different story.   

Éowyn laughed.  The laughter traveled and fell upon Faramir’s ear.  He looked across and saw Éowyn laugh with his cousin Lothiriel.  A more beautiful sight he could not wish for. He simply had to be by her side at this moment.  He looked to his uncle, Prince Imrahil and Éomer, “Excuse I see trouble brewing and somebody must stop it at once.”  Prince Imrahil, at first was alarmed but then saw where Faramir was headed and understood immediately and smiled.

Faramir replaced his empty wine goblet and retrieved another one from an attendant’s tray, nodding his thanks as he made his way across the room.  “I see you have made each other’s acquaintance,” he began jovially, “And should I be worried about anything being said by either of you!”

“Always, cousin, always!” Lothiriel laughed.  She looked at Éowyn, “Faramir was my favourite cousin!  He never minded have a small girl tagging after him when he and my brothers would go off someplace.”

Faramir laughed, “Well it was easier than trying to get you to stay put.” He said teasingly.  Éowyn loved seeing Faramir at his ease bantering with his cousin.  It warmed her heart to know that family other than Boromir saw his worth.

Prince Imrahil walked across the room to join his nephew for he had yet to meet his betrothed, at least not formally.  Éomer accompanied him.

“Nephew!  You have yet to introduce me to your lovely betrothed.” Prince Imrahil said.

Faramir nodded his acquiescence, “Uncle, might I present Éowyn, daughter of Éomund and sister to Éomer.”

Imrahil took Éowyn’s hand and kissed it as she bowed a low curtsy. “It is an honor to meet you my dear.” He said, looking into Éowyn’s eyes for a few searching seconds, “So happy Faramir has found one who clearly sees the fine man that he is.” He ended approvingly.  Éowyn blushed.  Éomer stood amazed.  First that his sister of the two left feet could have performed such a low curtsy and the fact that anyone could make his unflappable sister blush.

“The honor is entirely mine, my lord.”  Éowyn, faced shining with happiness talking with another who clearly valued Faramir’s worth.

Faramir then turned to Éomer saying, “My lord king, might I present my cousin, Lothiriel, Princess of Dol Amroth.  Lothiriel, Éomer, King of the Mark and brother to Éowyn.”  Éomer awkwardly took Lothiriel’s hand and bent to kiss it, as Lothiriel performed a low curtsy.

Meeting Lothiriel’s eyes Éomer was stuck by the blueness of her eyes and yet by something else as well, a fire and spirit he had not expected to see in one so gently bred.  He paused and stumbled over his words, “It is an honour to meet someone so fair.”  He coloured as the unfamiliar words and emotions tumbled within and without. 

Lothiriel rose from her curtsey and upon hearing the stumbled words, she looked into eyes of blue that were suddenly unsure but beyond that she saw a well of kindness and loyalty and goodness of spirit that quite took her by surprise.  She replied with the expected phrase, “the honour is entirely mine,” but said with a kind of wonder at what she beheld.

Éowyn stood amazed.  First that her confident and self-assured brother, who had been no stranger to female company would stumble over his words and secondly that someone could make her normally unflappable brother blush.  She glanced at over at Arwen from across the room.  She was at Aragorn’s side as they were speaking to some minister she had been introduced to earlier.  Éowyn motioned slightly to Lothiriel.  Arwen nodded, smiling. Éowyn sent a smile back.  This was going to be a most interesting week for reasons previously unrealized. 





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