Characters/Pairing: Eowyn and Gleowine, Theoden's minstrel
Disclaimer: Tolkien wrote the song; I added a note or two.
A/N Continuing the Ladies of the Rohirrim series, a double drabble: two conversations between Eowyn and Gleowine, the first during Theoden's illness, the second after his death.
Nobody, seeing her walk proudly down the hall after her conversation with Grima, would know she is blind with tears. It is the sound of his harp that draws Eowyn’s attention to the minstrel in the corner.
‘That passed and so may this,’ sings Gleowine softly.
She sits down beside him and listens as he sings of ancient grief: Eorl mourning his father, Brego mourning his son.
‘That passed and so may this.’
‘Who made this song?’ she asks.
‘I do not know,’ answers Gleowine. ‘But some say Helm’s daughter sang it towards the end of the Long Winter.’
She sits again beside Gleowine, watching a bar of sunlight laid across the floor of the hall.
‘I’m working on it,’ says Gleowine quietly. ‘I will say of him: Hope he rekindled and in hope ended.’
Eowyn remembers well the black moment when hope seemed very far away, but holds her peace. Is it not nevertheless the truth?
‘Say also of him,’ she says instead, ‘that he was, in his day, the most generous of men, the most amiable and the kindest to his people—how he upheld the reputation of our House!’
‘I will say that also’, promises Gleowine.
A/N: [comes with teal deer warning]
The first drabble is based on the Old English elegy Deor and quotes or paraphrases its refrain.
The second drabble takes elegy in a different and more general sense: "a lament for the dead". The quotation from Gleowine's lament for Theoden is taken from "Many Partings" in RotK, where his lament is quoted in part. (The title is also taken from Gleowine's lament.) The words Eowyn asks Gleowine to add to his song are actually a paraphrase of the lament for Beowulf with which the poem Beowulf ends. I thought this was appropriate as the description of Theoden's burial in RotK seems to be partly based on the description of Beowulf's burial in Beowulf.