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Fear of Flying
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Fear of Flying

They were sitting on the grass, their backs to the East, waiting. The sun slipped behind a cloud, and Éowyn closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them again, she could feel herself the object of the steward’s cool regard. She turned to face him.

"Is there something the matter?" she said.

"Only that you seem weary this morning, Éowyn. Did you not sleep well?"

So calm, his voice, she thought, so tempting. If I let it, it could overpower me. Something within hit out at that. Fight or flight? she wondered.

"I slept," she said impatiently, "but I dreamed."

He did not reply. When she looked at him again, he was picking at the grass. The lines at his eyes and mouth had deepened further.

"They say," she offered, and saw him look up at the sound of her voice, "that if you tell another of your dreams, then they come true. Would you tell another your dreams, if you thought that would make them come true?"

"To rule my own end?" Something she did not understand passed across his face. He plucked a blade of grass. "What did you dream, Éowyn?"

"I dreamed..." she hesitated. "I dreamed that I stood at the edge of a precipice. All before me was in darkness, and what lay behind me I did not know. Everything within me told me to stand my ground – but I stepped forwards. And I fell."

"And then?"

"And then I woke up."

He twisted the piece of grass between his forefingers, waited.

"’Tis a foolish superstition," she concluded. "A tale old women and children tell. The truth of the matter is that we walked long high up on the walls yesterday, and then you made me eat too well before I slept."

He smiled. "Perhaps there is another meaning to your dream," he said. "Perhaps you were not falling, but flying. Perhaps that is what will happen." He turned his head slightly towards the East. "Men are, at times, not masters of their fates. There are times when you must refuse whatever fortune leaves you on the highway – but also times when you must seize it."

If I stepped forward, would I fall or fly?

She reached out and took the blade of grass from him. "What makes you so certain?" she said.

He smiled at her, sadly.

"I know more than a little about dreams, Éowyn," he said.


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