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Women of Heart and Mind

Chapter 1: Women of Heart and Mind

by NancyBrooke

A woman of Rohan sat for a long time by a grave in Ithilien, until the sun’s warmth had replaced the long journey’s aches in her bones. Then she rose and stepped to where the earth was still bare of new spring grass, and on it laid a small white flower.

“Farewell, dearest friend. May you find peace.”

Peace. Ancalimë had taught her peace, a peace that comes from living. In the Houses of Healing Eowyn had awaited death, but found instead Ancalimë, fighting for her city’s life, her people’s, her own. Burned and mourning, Ancalimë never entertained thoughts of Death, but climbed each day to the Citadel to wield the Steward’s Staff, soon with Eoywn’s company. With Ancalimë’s to lead it, Eowyn’s heart turned to hope.

Into the dappled Ithilien sunlight, Eowyn sighed, “she was the bravest woman I ever knew.”

“She often said the same of you.”

At once Eowyn dropped her chin to her chest and chuckled to herself; she had grown unused to the ways of Rangers. Turning, and smiling, she greeted the only only man besides her husband had been able to catch her unawares.

“My Lord Halbarad.”

“My Lady Eowyn.”

The former Prince Consort of Ithilien leaned upon a stick Eowyn had not seen before and his face was lean from care, but he extended his hand gallantly as ever to the Lady of Rohan and returned with her to the nearby bench. For a time, the two old friends sat in companionable silence.

Then Eowyn spoke: “I regret I was not able to come before now.”

“You know what Ancalimë would say about regret, and she could not bear protracted mourning. Yet, I am sure she would be glad of your presence.” Again, silence settled between them, until Halbarad rallied himself with a breath.

“Tell me, how long can you stay? Our grandchildren cannot wait to see you. They have all heard sung ‘the White Lady and the Witch King’ a thousand times and want to see your sword.” And he stood, extending his hand again to Eowyn, who took it as she rose.

She threaded her arm about her friend’s, feeling their shared love of Ancalimë wrap itself around about them warmly. “Then it is high time they learned! Swinging a sword once against the undead is easy; weilding a scepter every day is much harder, and raising children hardest of all!!”