Lord of the Rings

The Steward and the King

After Aragorn's army had been gone two days, the Lady Eowyn rose from her bed and sought out the Warden of the Houses of Healing. "Sir," she said, "I am in great unrest, and I cannot lie longer in sloth."

When the warden told her she should rest, Eowyn asked to be taken to Faramir, Steward of the City, who was also a patient in the House. At the time, Faramir was walking in the gardens outside the Houses of Healing.

"My lord," Eowyn asked Faramir, "I cannot lie idle, caged. I looked for death in battle. But I have not died, and battle still goes on."

Looking on Eowyn, Faramir felt that her loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart. "What would you have me do, lady?" he asked. "I also am a prisoner of the healers. Death in battle may yet await us. You and I must endure with patience the hours of waiting."

"But my window does not even look eastward," said Eowyn.

"That can be amended," said Faramir. "I will speak to the Warden. If you will stay in this house and take your rest, then you shall walk in the garden, and look east for sign of our hope."

And so it came that each day Faramir and Eowyn walked in the garden together, and often they stood on the walls looking towards Mordor and Aragorn's army. And Faramir's heart was stirred by her beauty.

On the seventh day since Aragorn had left, there was a roar in the east, and a great cloud of darkness rose into the sky. Somehow, their hearts were lifted up, and they saw a great Eagle flying out of the East.

The Eagle bore tidings beyond hope, crying out as he circled over the city: "Sing now, ye people, for the Realm of Sauron is ended, for your King shall come again. Sing all ye people!"

All the city rejoiced, but in the days that followed, Eowyn seemed to sadden. Faramir sought her out and asked her of her sorrow. "I wished to be loved by another," she answered, "but I desire no man's pity."

"Once I pitied your sorrow," said Faramir, "but now, were you sorrowless, still I would love you. Eowyn, do you not love me?"

Suddenly, Eowyn's winter passed, and the sun shone on her. Faramir took her in his arms and kissed her, and she was healed of all her hurts.

The days were busy in the city, preparing for the return of Aragorn. At last the day came. When the Captains of the West arrived at the city, they found the people of Minas Tirith gathered outside the walls, and Faramir stood in the place where the great gates had been.

When Aragorn approached the entrance to the city, Faramir bowedd and said, "The last Steward of Gondor begs leave to surrender his office." And he held out the white rod that was the insignia of the Stewards.

Aragorn gave him back the rod. "That office is not ended, and it shall be thine and thy heirs' as long as my line shall last. Do now thy office!"

Faramir stood up and spoke to the surrounding crowds, "Men of Gondor, behold! One has come to claim the kingship again at last. Here is Aragorn, son of Arathorn, of the line of Isildur. Shall he ddbe king and enter into the City and dwell there?" And all the host cried "Yea" with one voice.

Faramir brought out the crown of Earnur the last king, which had been saved ever since the line of the kings of Gondor had failed, and gave it to Aragorn. But Aragorn did not place it on his head. "By the labour and valour of many have I come into my inheritance. In token of this I would have the Ring-bearer bring the crown, and let Mithrandir set it upon my head."

And so Gandalf set the crown on Aragorn's head, saying, "Now come the days of the King, and may they be blessed."

In the days that followed his crowning the King sat upon his throne and pronounced his judgements, on allies and former foes alike. All the city saw that Aragorn dealt with them in justice and wisdom.

In all those days the remaining members of the Company of the Ring stayed together in Minas Tirith, but their came a day when they could not find Aragorn. Early in the morning Gandalf had taken him out of the city and up Mount Mindolluin by secret paths, until they came to a high hallow overlooking the city, where they found a scion of the Eldest of Trees. Aragorn took the sapling from that place, and planted it in the Court of the Fountain. In the month that followed it grew and bloomed. "The sign has been given," said Aragorn, "and the day is not far off."

The day before Midsummer, messangers came saying there was a riding of high elves out of the North. "At last they have come," said Aragorn, "Let all the City be made ready!"

Aragorn met the company at the entrance to the city. All the household of Rivendell was there, and the Lady Galadriel and Celeborn with elves of Lorien, and last of all came Elrond and his daughter Arwen.

When Elrond alighted, he presented Aragorn with the scepter of Annuminas, the symbol of the kingship of the northern kingdom of Arnor.

He also laid the hand of his daughter in the hand of the King, and together they went up into the city.

And Aragorn the King Elessar married Arwen Undomiel in the City of the Kings upon the day of Midsummer, and the tale of their long waiting and labours was come to fulfilment.

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