Notes of appreciation for my astounding team: To dearest Kat, as ever, thanks for the beta and *hugs* for all the late night counsel and for keeping me going. And Meghann, thanks for bravely joining Team Larrk!Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended. I don't own
Ere The Final March - Epilogue
I stood on my balcony, watching the great army march away, moving across Pelennor, banners whipping in the wind, the flags of many lands, many peoples, bright colors flying like exotic birds. The sun sparkled and danced on the mail, the helms, the armor, a thousand brilliant glistening lights. The horses, heads high, manes swirling in the wind, proudly bore their brave riders. And leading them all, now a small dot on the far horizon, was Aragorn.
My brother rode just behind him in the front guard, as did the noble Steward of Gondor, the Prince of Mirkwood beside the Steward and dear, dear Gimli behind the Prince. Gandalf’s white raiment gleamed, and amongst them, now too little to be seen, were my adored tiny friends, sweet Pippin and my loyal, blessed Merry. Once more, as I had hundreds of times, I prayed for the safe return of all of them, all whole, all unharmed, all alive. I could do little else but pray, here on my balcony.
But I heard him behind me, coming up softly. I felt him, another heartbeat sharing this space with me.
“Have you been outside my door all this time, sir?” I asked without turning.
“Yes, my lady.”
“As you see, I have not flown. I have not ransacked the kitchen boy’s wardrobe and donned his clothes, nor buried myself in the offerings of the armory.”
“So I see. I am very pleased, my lady. I wouldst rather not hunt you down amidst the entire Army of the West and escort you back to your room.”
I sniffed and smiled and turned to him, looking up into his sad quiet eyes. They captured me at once, as they had last night from the first moment I saw him. They held me as they had then while we sat and he talked and talked and talked. I had urged him on, silently, in my heart . . . speak on, Faramir, and let me listen . . . speak about whatever pleases you, just let me listen and gaze at you and sit with you. I would have said that had I dared.
I had faced down the King of the Wraiths, but I could not bring myself to tell this man of how he mesmerized me with his musical language and his gentle eyes and his soft laugh.
Looking at him now, I knew without a doubt that what I had sensed last night was indeed to be my destiny. I would not live out my days in Rohan. I would live wherever Faramir lived, here in the grandeur of this great city, or wheresoever Fate led us.
“How quiet you are, my la --”
“Eowyn,” I quickly said. “Please, my lord, I mean . . . if you please . . . I mean, it would please me if you . . . I mean . . . .”
And he just smiled at me, that kind, indulgent smile that forgave me anything. I could not seem to look into his eyes and speak at the same time. This could present a problem.
My face now totally in flames, I stepped back from him and turned, moving closer to the wall of my balcony, wondering if I should jump. I had no idea what to do with this man, but I found myself wishing I had my sword. I am a Shieldmaiden of Rohan! Give me a weapon with which I can hold my own against a pair of sweet, sad eyes!
Yes. Jumping looked good.
Instead, I opened my mouth, my most idiotic urges bursting forth: “I should have ransacked the kitchen boy’s clothing and donned a coat of mail and mounted a horse!”
“And do you recall what I said I would do to you, should that urge overtake you, Eowyn? What I would do if you ever again dared such a dangerous thing?”
A lovely tremor rattled through me. I actually shook. I closed my eyes, feeling the effect of his words, the vision those words summoned, racing through me, bewitching me.
“You . . . you would not . . . .”
“You would not . . . do that to me, sir.”
My breath came in short gasps now. Foolish, ragged, shallow, short gasps. Oh, how I struggled to find composure! I usually don’t misplace that. Where, oh where had it vanished to?
He moved behind me again, placing his hands on my shoulders . . . his mouth close to my ear, his warm breath lingering there . . . .
“I would not do what to you, Eowyn? Say it.”
“You would not . . . spank me.”
“I would indeed spank you.”
He turned me ever so tenderly, turned me to face him. Such forward behavior! In my land these things take longer. At least, I thought they did. Maybe they didn’t. In truth, how would I know? The greenest fifteen-year old maiden likely had more experience understanding males in this way than did I. Shieldmaidens of Rohan, nieces of a great king and sisters to the greatest warrior of the Rohirrim understood males best when sparring with them on the training field. This . . . this was wholly outside my ken.
Here, in his land, he placed his hands on my shoulders, turning me as he would and he talked to me endlessly because I had silently asked him to, and he listened, clear eyed and interested, when I spoke.
Here he could threaten to spank me. Here he dared make such a threat when he barely knew me, and it was all right. Was it all right? My stomach fluttered with the knowledge that, yes, it was indeed all right.
Again I thought of him standing right here with me last night after escorting me to my chamber. We had talked at the final banquet and we had continued talking at the fireside in my outer chamber and we had wandered out here to gaze upon the glittering lights of this beautiful city. Even battered as she was, Minas Tirith was glorious. Beyond the walls, the army stretched out across Pelennor, hundreds of fires, small dots of flickering gold around which sat thousands of brave men blessedly permitted to march with the army the next morn, and our conversation had drifted to my actions with the Rohirrim on the great day of battle.
As I had endless times since last night, I once again recalled his eyes when I spoke of what I had done, what Merry and I had done. Faramir's sad eyes changed as I spoke, flashing and taking on an intense glow, and when I finished speaking he had been quiet for a long moment, then Faramir said:
“Lady Eowyn, forgive my presumption, but I must be forthright – were you mine, I would have spanked you as you had never been spanked before. I know your brother disciplined you, and for now that will needs suffice. But I promise you, young Shieldmaiden of Rohan, should you ever endanger yourself so heedlessly again I shall indeed give you a spanking that will make all other spankings you have ever received pale in comparison.”
Outrageous man to speak to me so! None dared speak to me like that save my brother! Faramir and I had known each other but briefly, and he would dare to threaten me in such a manner!
Yet, in the instant he stopped speaking I had merely gazed at him, trembling and blushing furiously, and all I managed to mutter was, “We shall see about that, my lord.”
“Indeed we shall, my lady.”
I had no doubt whatsoever that Faramir would do as promised. He was a noble man. He would keep his promises. And going over Faramir’s knee would be like nothing I had ever felt before. I could imagine it – the feel of his solid legs ‘neath my quivering stomach, the feel of him raising my skirts and removing everything until I lay bared and helpless before him, for I somehow knew that, unlike my brother, Faramir would allow nothing between his hand and my bottom. No underpinnings to protect me . . . ohhhhh!
It would indeed be an entirely different feeling, and I could scarce think of it even now without my legs going weak. And, once again, as had happened each time after I imagined Faramir spanking me, my mind instantly leaped one step further, envisioning what my life would be like if I was 'his.'
‘– were you mine, I would have spanked you as you had never been spanked before.’
He would. And he would do so as often as I invited it with my behavior. I would still have my freedom, but impulsiveness would be costly. I would likely test him often. But my actions would always and forevermore have consequences. My Faramir would ever keep his promises. No longer would I do exactly as I willed, daring life to harm me and tempting Fate with my bold recklessness.
So I now lifted my gaze to him, facing where he had turned me, looking at him rather than the army marching away, and I knew that from this time forward I would never be alone.
Someone would be watching out for me, someone with quiet sad eyes that would likely miss nothing. And I would be watching out for him.
And that was fine with me.