Burden of Guilt

The Comfort of Friendship

These Characters are the property of the Estate of J. R. R Tolkien and New Line Cinema. This story has been written for pleasure and no profit has or will be made from it.

She then placed a hand on her friend's forehead and sat for a few moments in deep concentration .She could sense Eowyn's soul was troubled but unlike Faramir her life force was strong and she was not on the brink of falling into darkness. Moving her hand down to Eowyn's belly, she sensed the life essence of her unborn child was as strong as that of its mother's.

Although they would both need a great deal of love and support, which was willing to freely provide, she felt her friend was in no great danger. When Aragorn had returned to her bed just after dawn he had confided his fears, so at least she could now offer him some reassurance about Eowyn.

Rising to her feet, Arwen tucked a luxurious fur wrap tenderly around Eowyn and then went to collect Eldarion from his Nurse. She found it hard to be apart from her beautiful son for more than a few minutes.

He was just so perfect and the exact image of his father, the Queen was convinced; although Aragorn always insisted he was the image of her!

Settling herself in a comfortable chair and gently rocking her son in her arms, Arwen waited for her husband to return.

Eldarion felt hungry after an hour or so and started to cry to be fed, so Eowyn awoke to the comfortable image of the Queen sitting on the rocking chair suckling her child.

A roaring fire blazed in the hearth and the walls were lined with tapestries which Arwen had brought from Rivendell, giving the room an unusually cosy feel setting it apart from others within the cold stone walls of the Citadel.

"Did he wake you? I am sorry." Arwen said, smiling kindly at her friend.

"Don't worry, I didn't mean to fall asleep. I was just going to close my eyes!" Eowyn replied as she sat up and yawned.

"I thought you might be comfortable in one the robes I would wear while I was expecting Eldarion here on the bed for you. Aragorn could return at any time now." Arwen said, gesturing towards a comfortable looking silken garment. "Would you like some raspberry tea? I had my maid bring some up."

"Thank you." Eowyn slipped on the robe and sat on top of the bed drinking the tea, her mind soon returning to her troubles now she was awake. Not only was she very worried about Faramir, but his inability to forgive himself brought back memories of her own conduct a few months before. How easily and readily she had accepted Aragorn's forgiveness, which maybe was unmerited.

"You should not treat me with such kindness, Arwen!" she blurted out. "I do not deserve it!"

"Why not?" Arwen asked gently, placidly shifting Eldarion to her other breast.

"I once thought about killing your husband as I wrongly believed he connived to force Faramir to marry me, I had his sword in my hand! And I spent a night together with Faramir holding him in my arms, that is one reason Eomer is so angry with him!" Eowyn's confession came out as an outspoken, albeit somewhat jumbled muddle.

"I know. Estel told me." The Queen said equally placidly, turning momentarily away from her child to look Eowyn in the eye. Her gaze was compassionate and totally devoid of either anger or horror.

"You don't hate me for it?"

"Estel forgave you and so do I," Arwen said quietly. "We all make mistakes at times. I admit I would find it hard to forgive, if you had killed my husband as the grief would most likely have killed me too! Yet I cannot deny I have wanted to kill him myself on occasion, especially when I was in labour! As for holding him, Estel cannot even remember the incident and I would gladly do the same for you or Faramir if the need arose, so put your mind at ease!"

Eowyn rose from the bed to kiss her friend warmly.

"I am blessed indeed to have you and Aragorn as my friends!" she said.

"We feel the same about you and Faramir. Arwen smiled, returning the kiss. Eowyn had changed a great deal since her return from the Hunting Lodge and had become much more open and affectionate in her manner with her, much as Faramir had done with Aragorn before the fight which appeared to have destroyed him. "Now all we need is a cure for your husband!" Arwen continued," He needs to put the past behind him like you have learned to do."

"Aragorn made me promise to talk about anything that troubled me," Eowyn confided.

"And that was sound advice!" Arwen replied, "I only wish you had confided in me when you were so unhappy!"

"I thought I was the only one who saw how 'bad" Aragorn was and everyone else was wrong!" Eowyn said ruefully, "I made a dreadful mistake as he is the noblest and kindest of men!"

"It took me a while to love him too!" Arwen confided, "He fell in love with me at first sight and although I had a foreshadowing of my future, I saw only a love struck youth whom I tried to be kind to. It was not until we met again years later that I realised how much I loved him!"

They sat in companionable silence both lost in memories until a knock on the door roused them from their reverie.

"Arwen, Eowyn! May I come in?" Aragorn called.

" Come in! We are waiting for you." Arwen called.

He entered and she was immediately struck by how weary and dispirited he looked.

"How is Faramir?" Eowyn asked anxiously.

Aragorn shook his head sadly. "Not well, I fear. He is sleeping now and I left a servant is with him. He will neither forgive himself nor believe that I that I do not blame him for what happened. He is convinced he let me down and now wants to resign his Office, though I told him I would not allow it. I have tried treating him, but nothing seems to work as his will resists mine and prevents the remedies from working! He will not heal until his troubled spirit allows it and will not even permit me to examine him thoroughly. All I could do was apply a salve and give him some herbs to take. My heart cannot heal either as I brought these woes upon him!"

The King slumped dejectedly in a chair.

"Eomer's anger troubles his spirit too." he added, "Maybe if he forgave him it would ease him so that he could heal. Then why does he keep saying that he is tainted and no one must touch him? He acts as if he carries some dire contagion!"

Eowyn shook her head." I have no idea either. I can only assume that he considers that injuring my bother has in some way stained him given that Eomer is a King though it baffles me why he is so horrified if either of us try to touch him."

"He seemed horrified at the notion of you touching him either, Arwen." Aragorn commented, "It is very strange. It is almost as if …"

"If what?" Eowyn asked.

"He is afraid of being shown affection since he wounded Eomer." Aragorn concluded rather lamely, dismissing the suspicion in his mind almost as soon as it arose. There was no way Faramir could know of the examination he had carried out while he was unconscious and it was far too delicate a subject to burden him with in his current state of distress. nor was it a suitable topic to discuss with a heavily pregnant woman.

Arwen placed a now sleeping Eldarion in his cradle and placed a comforting arm round her husband.

"My brother would soften if he saw Faramir's wounds." Eowyn said thoughtfully, "If he but knew what cruelties had been inflicted upon him, he would be horrified!"

"That is true." Aragorn conceded, "But as Eomer refuses to see Faramir and Faramir refuses even to let me see his wounds as his healer without great difficulty."

"There must be something we haven't tried!" Eowyn fretted, "What about sending him away to somewhere more peaceful?"

"Maybe that would help if one of use could go with him," Aragorn replied, " But that is impossible at present with your condition and all the added cares of state I have to deal with at the moment. Imrahil is still preoccupied with a dispute over land, which needs his diplomatic expertise. It would be both highly dangerous and cruel to send him anywhere alone as he would feel more isolated and rejected than ever. Also with his heart condition he is far too weak to travel.

"What about herbal potions?" Arwen asked.

"He is resisting healing, so they will do little good, even when I order him to swallow them. Hypericin might lift his mood but would he take it, as he seems to want to suffer? There is one thing though I believe would help him but it is a big step to take."

"You should try it." Arwen said, a note of eagerness creeping into her voice.

"I had thought of gifting it to him long before this happened but I hesitated wondering if it were fair to you to share something so emotionallyintimate." Aragorn said doubtfully. "Yet now it seems to be the only possible way of helping him."

"Faramir is a gentleman, he knows where not to pry. Remember, I love him too, I know not as deeply as you do, but it pains me greatly to see him thus."

"Whatever are you talking about?" Eowyn interrupted.

"Thought Bonding." Aragorn replied.

"Whatever is that?"

"It is the greatest gift of spiritual love that both our people and the Eldar can share." Aragorn explained, "Though it is rarer in these times as the blood of Numenor is almost spent though it used to be the usual way a close friendship was cemented, an engagement was celebrated, or a coming of age was marked between loving parents and children. Once the bond is formed it lasts a lifetime"

"But you haven't told me what it is!" Eowyn protested.

TBC

A/N

A very big thank you for all your kind and much appreciated reviews. Your interest and enthusiasm is a great source of inspiration to me and I am updating quickly to show my appreciation. Also thank you to everyone who pointed out typos which I have endeavoured to correct.

I would like to reassure readers thatthere is nothing indecent in any way about "Thought Bonding" I admit I borrowed the idea from "Star Trek "!

The complete story exists in draft form already.

Aragorn does occasionally lose patience in the books. I try to portray Arwen as patient but firm.

As Tolkien suggested that Faramir's mother faded, I assume he could too.

I wanted to step back from Faramir for a little while for some calm before the storm ,and explore how Arwen and Eowyn are dealing with the situation. Aragorn is all too aware that time is running out.

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