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Leaving home; Coming Home  by Mirkwoodmaiden

A/N: It took me a while to figure out whether to continue with this story and where to take it if I did. but I have now decided and here is chapter 20.  Enjoy! :-)

Ch. 20 – A Sense of Purpose

One month later…

Éowyn sat in Arwen’s solar that overlooked the city, sipping a cup of tea.  It had become something of a ritual these mid-morning visits.  She and Arwen seemed to have developed a bond of friendship that Éowyn treasured.  Other than Legolas Arwen was the first Elf she had truly gotten to know in more than just passing.  She did not entirely understand than Arwen was longer essentially an elf but it was not something she sought to delve into either, as when mention of Arwen’s past found its way into casual conversation a shadow would fall across her fair features.  She could see there was pain that Arwen was concealing, but it was not a pain that would bear any kind of witness or bear any comment, at least not from her, so Éowyn would swiftly move past it, deftly switching the conversation.  Her time spent with her uncle as he slipped further into Saruman’s grasp had taught her well how mind the conversation to stir clear of trouble.  Other than those moments Arwen was wonderful company.  Faramir and she were still residing in Minas Tirith.  They would be removing to Ithilien, but many plans had to be made before they could take up residence in Faramir’s newly bequeathed princedom.  Questions ranging from where in Ithilien would they build their home and what kind of settlements were to be established. Who was going to take up the King’s Challenge and follow them into Ithilien to re-build this land of forsaken beauty.  All needed answers and the planning stage had just been embarked upon.

Arwen sat down on the overstuffed settee and tucked her legs under her, Nariel the serving maid handed her a cup of tea. “Thank you, Nariel,”

“You are welcome, My lady.”

“Nariel,” Éowyn eyed her meaningfully.

“Yes, my lady.” Nariel said looking respectfully in her direction.

“How is Telion been keeping these days?”

“Oh my lady,” Nariel blushed, “He is well, He is very good, my lady.  A fine young man, my lady. Oh, but perhaps I should not say.”

Arwen gently glowed when she said kindly, “Nariel, please do not be uneasy. I understand that in many noble houses, servants are actively discouraged from even thinking about the opposite sex.  But I do not understand the reasoning for that rule.  In Imladris servants were not treated as such.  Seen and not heard indeed!  You have lives outside of your work here.  We were ever mindful of that. In Imladris this was our way and such will it be here in my household.  If you have any trouble in this regard you will kindly tell me, and I will see what needs to be attended to.”

Nariel looked at the Queen and she swore to her dying day that she somehow seemed to glow when she spoke kindly. “Aye, my lady,” she spoke in something of a bewildered way, “I will, my lady.”

Éowyn pressed on a little bit because she had grown very fond of Telion in the short space of time they had known each other. “Are you keeping company with him?”

“Aye, my lady,” she admitted, looking at Arwen for tacit permission to continue.  Arwen simply smiled, “He is ever so nice.  So talented.”  She beamed.

Éowyn spied a little silver rose in bloom dangling from a delicate silver chain that Nariel was wearing around her neck.  “Did he make that for you?” she said referring to the necklace. 

Nariel’s hand flew to her neck, fingering the little bloom, “Oh yes, my lady,” She said shyly.  “He said I am his little flower.”

Éowyn smiled, “It is lovely.”

“Thank you, my lady.” Nariel bobbed a little curtsy and said, “I best be going, Cook will wonder what is keeping me! Is there anything else, my lady.” She asked looking at Arwen

“Thank you, Nariel, but No.” Arwen said kindly.  The serving maid curtsied again and left the solar.

Éowyn had a big smile on her face.  Arwen looked up from her tea, “Someone is looking very happy!” she said merrily.

“I admit it!  I’m happy and I am so happy that they are happy as well.  Listen to me!  I sound like a ninny.” She chuckled to herself.  “A year ago, I could not see what could happen, only what was.  And now I am happy.”

“I hope I have had a hand in that!” Éowyn turned around and saw Faramir with a teasing look on his face and a large smile.

Éowyn bound up from the settee, “You’re home!” she ran to give him a kiss.

“Newlyweds…you can take them anywhere!” Arwen heard the voice of her beloved from just behind Faramir.  She got up from the settee and walked over to where Estel was standing and simply looked up him and said silkily, “What are we going to do with them,” as she pulled him down for a sultry welcome home kiss.

A few minutes later, Faramir said as he surfaced for air, “I should go away more often if only to get this welcome.”

“Silly man,” Éowyn murmured, continuing her welcome home kiss. She then looked up into his blue eyes and said “You may have something to do with my current happiness. I suppose.”

Faramir raised an reddish blond eyebrow, “Only something to do with…  Hmm!  Let me see if I can improve upon that,” His kiss deepened until Éowyn felt she was upright only because Faramir was holding her up.

As the kiss ended, Éowyn murmured, “Mmmmhm!  Definitely more than somewhat.” Faramir laughed out loud and continued to improve his standing in her eyes, lips meeting again.

At that point Nariel came back into the solar upon Aragorn’s instructions to Cook to bring wine and a light repast into the solar. “Oh!” she softly exclaimed as she saw the King and Queen and the Lord Steward and his lady all kissing.  “Beg pardon My Lord! I should never have thought to interrupt—”

Immediately Aragorn sought to allay the girl’s discomfiture. “Nariel, is it?”

“Aye, my lord!”

Aragorn smiled his most conciliatory smile, “Thank you for so promptly bring what I asked for.  You may set it on the sideboard over there.”

“Aye, My lord!” Nariel said in an overwhelmed little voice. She set the tray down where Aragorn had requested it be placed.  She turned back to Aragorn with a face burning red from embarrassment and squeaked, cleared her voice and gamely tried again saying, “Will there be anything else, My lord.” Her eyes blinked rapidly.

Aragorn smiled his most congenial smile and said gently, “No, Nariel.  That will be all.  Thank you.”

Nariel bobbed a quick curtsy and beat a hasty retreat.

Waiting a few seconds to make sure the serving maid was out of earshot, Arwen looked back at the door through which Nariel had retreated.  Looking back at the others, she crooned, “The poor dear!  I do feel bad that she was so uncomfortable.” 

Aragorn wrapped his arms around her, “And that is one of the reasons I love you so much.  Your kind heart.”

Éowyn looked at Faramir, teasing intent flashing in her blue eyes, “You wicked man! Causing a scene to embarrass a young girl like that!”

“What can I say? Though you cause the wicked thoughts, my love.”  Faramir put his arms around Éowyn and gave her a quick peck on the lips, “but right now I have discovered that I am hungry.”

“Said in true Hobbit fashion!” declared Aragorn who had now wandered over to the sideboard and poured himself a goblet of wine. 

“Speaking of the north, how was the trip to Cair Andros?” Éowyn asked as she poured herself a goblet of wine and bit into a small chunk of cheese.  She then proceeded to fill a silver plate with the chunk of cheese, a few slices of meat and a slab of dark rye bread that she been pleasantly surprised to find as far south as Gondor.  It was a staple in Rohan.  Aragorn and Faramir had been gone for about a week to see how the rebuilding and restructuring of the northern island in the middle of the Anduin was faring and to see what more was needed.

“Good,” Faramir said as he took a drink from his goblet and was surveying which bunch of grapes he was going to choose.  Having placed his selection along with a thick slab of the rye bread and a hunk of cheese on a plate of silver, he turned back to the settee to sit next to Éowyn.  “The rebuilding is going well.  Though they could use some more men for a few of the upcoming tasks.”  He paused to think, “My lord, what say you to putting out a general appeal, posted throughout the city asking for those with skills in masonry or woodwork to come to Cair Andros.  Pay and a chance of a new life.  We could even offer training should the unskilled wish to take part as well.  Surely that is enough to attract.”

“The idea has much merit.” Aragorn nodded approvingly and they began to speak in earnest about the possibilities and problems of such a plan.

Éowyn watched happily as Faramir and Aragorn discussed this matter.  At long last Faramir was being appreciated and his ideas valued by one whom she knew he respected beyond all others.  It warmed her heart as she thought of the life they were about to embark upon.  There were times she still had remind herself that this was her life now.  After years of duty and regret, wanting a life that could not be hers, she had found herself, and Faramir had been her guide to this new life.  In the Houses of Healing when the light finally broke through the shadows that had surrounded her, she said that she would not only delight in songs of slaying and of battle and that she would learn the ways of healing and of green and growing things. At last the two halves of her life were knit together.  It had created within her such a sense of freedom, of which she rejoiced in. 

She looked at Arwen and smiled, the Elven Queen returned the smile, shaking her head as if say “Boys will be boys” referring to the engrossing conversation of plans being laid and problems discussed.  Éowyn got up from the settee her hand gliding over Faramir’s hand and he instinctively caressed it gently even as he was deep in conversation with Aragorn.  She moved off to the windows that overlooked the city and she sat there sipping from her wine cup reflectively.  The windows were closed and the solar was warmed gently by the weak winter sun.  Arwen stood beside her and as she looked out over the city, she murmured, “It is a breathtaking sight, is it not?”

Still looking out at the panorama, Éowyn sighed, “Yes it is…  But also, it gives me a great sense of responsibility, I want to give back to the people for what they have given me.”

Arwen looked at her new friend and sister-of-a-sort, “And what is that they have given you?”

 Éowyn sighed, “A sense of purpose.”


Later that night when Faramir and Éowyn were in bed, Éowyn commented as she laid her head on Faramir’s chest, contentedly feeling his chest rise and fall, “I was so happy watching you and Aragorn talk about your plan for the re-building of Gondor.”

“If limestone numbers and pairs of hands needed are exciting to you, well you must come to the next council meeting, you will be completely enthralled!”

Éowyn lightly tapped his chest, “That is not what I’m talking about at all!  You silly man!”

Faramir gave a startled and soft, “Ow! Easy my lady, I bruise easy.” A teasing tone in his voice.

Éowyn picked herself up to looked into his eyes, “You bruise easily!  Hardly!  And that was not what I was talking about.”  She settled herself down again into the crook of his shoulder blade where she seemed to fit perfectly.  “It did my heart good to see your ideas listened to and respected.”

“So much needs doing.  So many people have lost so much.” Faramir stated in a voice laden with responsibility.

Éowyn paused and then spoke from the heart, “And we will work to see them healed.”

Faramir was quiet after that statement for moments long enough for Éowyn to raise her head in question.  He just looked into the middle distance. “Faramir?”

He shook from his reverie and looked her again, “Sorry, just every so often I realise just how different things are.”

“But it changed for the better, has it not?”  Éowyn gently inquired as she lay listening to his breathing. Faramir looked upon the reddish blond beauty who was laying her head upon his chest and his heart filled with happiness.  His hand moved to touch Éowyn’s chin with the gentle nudge for her to look up.  He was lost in the blue eyes of this fiery spirit that was in his life and in his bed.  One word uttered, “Yes,” and he bent his head to kiss her, their lips meeting…

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