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2
II. Wind of Change (Witch-King, Glorfindel, Éomund)





Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
Song of Solomon 6:9-11

Glorfindel, looking into the gathering dark, said: "Do not pursue him! He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall."
Appendix A, The Return of the King





The storm clatters on the rooftops of Aldburg. In the great house on the hill, the King and the Marshal wait together. They tremble at the scream, quickly stifled, of a beloved voice. The woman laboring in childbed is a daughter of the House of Eorl, and will not easily yield to pain.

The wind besieges Minas Morgul. Inside the dark fortress, secure upon his high seat, the Witch-King of Angmar awaits his master’s call. But it is the wind, not the cold fire of Sauron’s thought, that intrudes into his shadowed peace. The Lord of the Nazgûl does not shiver at a wind, but he does deem it odd. The wind‘s sound carries a strange gladness, almost a laugh as it beats scornfully upon the tower.

The rainstorm subsides as Glorfindel nears the Bruinen. The Elf and his white stallion both shake out their manes, scattering droplets into the keening wind. The trees shiver, making their shadows dance on the leaf-strewn path. The wind then softens, and plays about the Elf-lord’s head. Suddenly, Glorfindel stiffens, his mind flooded by old memories and the urgency of forethought. He remembers the Witch-King; their battle on the plains of lost Arthedain. Like a horn-call, the knowledge of Angmar’s impending fall rings in Glorfindel’s mind. What had once been a prophecy was now, this very day, certainty. By his hand or another’s, the demon would perish! The Balrog-slayer rides homeward, joy in his heart and a song on his lips.

Thunder breaks over Aldburg, and the babe screams out its birth-cry in answer. The Marshal barely breathes until the women come forth and tell him that his lady and child are well.

“The little one is already a fighter,” Théodwyn says with a weak smile, as Éomund takes up the squalling bundle. “She would not stop or give quarter until she was free of me.”

Éomund opens the blankets and grins. He touches the child with hands that have birthed foals and slain orcs, and is pleased by the strength of her small limbs. What power this tiny creature has, to have caused such commotion! She is golden-haired and clear-eyed, as had been the newborn Éomer, but fairer! “Wondrous,” is all Éomund can say, but his heart burns with pride.

“Welcome, sister-daughter,” says the King of the Mark. He stoops to kiss the infant’s soft, fresh cheek. “You shall be the joy of our Houses.”

“Let us name her Éowyn, for joy,” whispers Théodwyn.

Éomund is ensorcelled by his beautiful daughter. He tries to think of her as a bride, a great lady, but can only see the snapping of banners in the wind and hear only the clatter of swords. “A worthy name, Théodwyn,” he answers tenderly, looking at the baby. “Our little shieldmaiden shall be Éowyn. May she know the joy of victory!”

The child quiets, then fearlessly gazes up at him and shakes a fist. Her perfect little fingers uncurl, as if reaching to grip the hilt of a sword.



_________________________________________________________



Author’s Note: The name Éowyn is of Old English derivation, probably from éo 'horse' and wyn 'joy'. Also, I am not the first to use the quote from the Psalm to open a story about Éowyn; but I cannot remember who did it first. If you know, feel free to remind me.

Thanx to Branwyn and LindaHoyland for very helpful beta/editorial assistance.

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