: there make a gardenAuthor
: Jedi ButtercupDisclaimer
: The words are mine; the world is not.Rating
: For the Bechdel Test Comment Fic-a-Thon
, prompt "LOTR, Éowyn & Arwen - get your hands dirty." Title is from ROTK.
"Éowyn, here you are," Arwen said, smiling down from horseback at the Princess of Ithilien where she knelt among the gardens under the high stone walls of her new-built home.
Éowyn looked up from her task, eyes bright with both embarrassment and pleasure, and shook her skirts as she stood. "My Queen! Give me but a moment to cleanse my hands; I have been setting the herb-beds to rights all morning. Never did I think, when I said I would be a shieldmaiden no longer, that I would spend quite so much time up to my elbows in dirt."
Arwen laughed warmly and dismounted, handing the reins to one of the guards that had accompanied her from Minas Tirith. "I learned much of herbs and healers' lore in the house of my father. The care of living things demands no less skill and attention than the art of war."
"Would that someone had told me as much before I suffered myself to be tamed," Éowyn laughed in return, holding her hands carefully away from Arwen's unstained bodice as she embraced her friend.
Whatever speculation might have been made of their differences in the early days of their respective marriages-- dark and fair, Elven and human, elegant Queen and wild White Lady of the North-- they had been determined to like one another at first acquaintance, and had remained close companions ever since. As foreigners in their adopted country, wedded to the first and second lords of that land, and equally possessed of good heart and determined mind, they had made common cause of their adaptation to Gondor.
Arwen smiled, and took the besmirched hands in her own as she stepped back once more. They were warm with work, marked with damp soil and the green of growing things; yet the calluses earned over a lifetime of swordplay remained to perturb the idyllic image Éowyn otherwise presented. Arwen would have it no differently; for the woman who had slain the Lord of the Nazgûl was no man's chattel, though she had set her shield aside to learn the gentler arts, and her strength of will was refreshing to Arwen among a people whose gender segregation was more pronounced than in the realms of her forebears.
"Never say you are tamed," she said, "for your husband would be much disappointed; and so would I. And please, do not trouble yourself; I have brought a basket, that we may eat here and then dirty our hands together. For I have also brought you athelas
from the gardens of the Houses of Healing."
Éowyn's smile brightened at the news. "But that is wonderful!" she cried. "It is the perfect day for planting, for eating out of doors, and perhaps a ride afterward? There is not a cloud in the sky, and the men of the household will not return until dusk."
"You have named my thought exactly," Arwen replied, and between them they spread a wide cloth embroidered with eglantine upon the newly-turned earth.