More Precious than Jewels by wtiger5

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A/N: I don't own LOTR. It all belongs to Tolkien. I'm just blessed to be able to play in his little slice of reality. Written for Teitho Contest: Jewels where it placed third. Beta read by Linda Hoyland

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. Prov. 31:10, The Holy Bible (ESV)

The early morning sky was painted with oranges and reds as Faramir, Steward of Gondor, rose and wandered out into the courtyard before Meduseld. The fresh air washed over him, dispelling the last vestiges of slumber. He took a deep breath feeling more alive than he had since learning of his beloved brother's death. Noticing a lone rider exercising a nearby paddock, he gave into his curiosity and drifted in that direction. He watched for several minutes appreciating the ease with which the rider moved every motion in perfect concert with the animal.

"A fair sight, are they not?"

Faramir turned as his liege joined him. "Indeed, my lord. The Rohirrim are truly worthy of their name 'horse masters'." He inclined his head toward Gondor's new king.

"And Éomer is a master in his own right," Aragorn Elessar added, shading his eyes from the rising sun. He leaned against the railing of the paddock, watching not only the rider but also his Steward. "You have risen early, my friend."

"I wished to speak with Éomer King and after much discussion with Éowyn, we decided that it would be best to approach him before the funeral procession tomorrow."

"You intend to ask him for his sister's hand?"

Faramir nodded, even as a slight blush darkened his cheeks. "I suppose my intentions have become self-evident over the last few months."

Aragorn chuckled softly. "There is no need for embarrassment, Faramir. I am glad for you and for her, for you both richly deserve such happiness."

"Thank you my lord." Both men turned as Éomer dismounted beside them.

"Aragorn, Faramir," he greeted them with a smile.

"Éomer, King," the Steward replied.

"Éomer." Aragorn drew his shield brother into a hug.

"What brings the two of you out this early on such a fine morning?"

Aragorn chuckled at the sudden look of unease on his Steward's face. "I believe that Faramir wished to discuss a matter with you in private. I shall take my leave." He strode away as the Rohirric King turned to the Gondorian Steward.

"What is this matter that you wish to discuss?" Éomer's grey eyes held Faramir's own grey ones.

The Steward took a deep breath. "I wish to ask for your sister's hand in marriage." The former Ranger Captain's words were soft yet determined.

Éomer regarded him for several long minutes, the silence growing weightier with each passing moment. "You would take my sister from the only home she has ever known, from her family, and from open fields to live in your city of stone?" His question was direct, yet with no trace of malice or anger.

"No, I would allow her to choose and then support her choice whatever that may be." Faramir forced himself to remain calm.

Éomer continued to regard the Steward with an intense stare while remaining silent. Finally, he smiled. "You are a good man, Faramir of Gondor and I know my sister truly loves you. You have given her a joy that I have not seen in her for many long years. I give you my blessing and I rejoice to call you brother." He held out a hand to the Steward. "However, if you hurt my sister, not even King Aragorn Elessar will be able to protect you."

"I would expect nothing less from the King of Rohan," Faramir replied, a smile crossing his features. He took Éomer's hand and allowed the younger man to draw him into a hug. "Thank you, my lord."

"Not lord, brother."

The next evening, Faramir escorted his betrothed into the Golden Hall. On her hand, Éowyn wore a ring that once had belonged to Finduilas. The blue gem sparkled in the light of the hall, yet Faramir had eyes only for his intended bride. In his mind, the fairest jewel in all of Middle Earth paled in comparison to his beloved.

At the last when the feast drew to an end, Éomer arose and said: 'Now this is the funeral feast of Théoden the King; but I will speak ere we go of tiding of joy, for he would not grudge that I should do so, since he was ever a father to Éowyn, my sister. Hear then all my guests, fair folk of many realms, such as have never before been gathered in this hall! Faramir, Steward of Gondor, and Prince of Ithilien, asks that Éowyn Lady of Rohan should be his wife, and she grants it full willing. Therefore they shall be trothplighted before you all.'

And Faramir and Éowyn stood forth and set hand in hand; and all there drank to them and were glad. 'Thus, said Éomer, 'is the friendship of the Mark and of Gondor bound with a new bond, and the more do I rejoice.'

'No niggard are you, Éomer,' said Aragorn, 'to give thus to Gondor the fairest thing in your realm.'

-Return of the King, Many Partings

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