I have seen much in my time as King of this land. I have seen my people in health and prosperity, in happiness, in drought and starvation, in fear, in pain, in life and in death.
I have seen much, although my vision has lately been obscured.
Grima, silver-tongued devil, Saruman's spawn, poured the poison in my ear, and I shut my eyes willingly, willfully, against the world. I allowed the blinding white to creep across my vision, at first merely flashes at the corners of my eyes, eventually a protective cloud blanketing me, wrapping me against the cares of my country.
White on white, white shapes moving beyond the cloud, beyond reach, beyond me.
And then Greyhame came, and the white became suddenly whiter, breaking through, forcing open my unwilling eyes.
I have seen much, now that my vision has cleared.
I saw how my sister-daughter looked at him, the longing in her heart plain, the wish for something never articulated, never aroused by many a worthy Rohirrim. I saw her make excuses to walk beside his horse, to brush his dark hair away from his face, to lean close and run her fingers across the jewel around his neck. I saw, too, the way he looked at her, mirroring that same longing. How he dismounted to walk beside her, leaned in to catch her words, smiled at her touch. But where hope sparked in her eyes, sadness flickered in his.
I saw how his companions looked at him; all but Greyhame, who is too weighed down by present concerns to have seen that which was right in front of him. I witnessed the fire he inspired in the Elven creature and his Dwarf companion. I watched them look upon him, exhilarated, aroused by his mere presence, flushed with lust at his voice. I knew, as they turned to one another, that they sought to quench that lust with their own coupling. Quicksilver Elf and steady, smoldering Dwarf; the Man, ready tinder for their flames.
I saw, and I understood. If I had been but a little younger and he a little older... I cannot shake the image from my mind. Strangely, I saw a wisdom in him not present in other men of his age. Unspoken cares and worries seemed to sit upon his brow as heavily as on my own. He could not guess at the trials of a king so close to the end of his reign, yet his aged gaze unnerved me, his deliberate counsel unseating my own better judgment. He kneeled to me, and I wished in those moments to raise him up, to lower him onto my bed. I wanted to see fealty, obedience, and something more in his eyes.
I do not expect I will see him again.
I did not see him careen over the edge, dragged by a Warg, arms flailing, body twisting, breaking on the rocks, washing down the river. I did not see him go.
I did not see him fall.
But I saw the aftermath.
I saw the look on the Elf's face, the pain flickering in eyes too old for this world, yet too young to understand grief, to understand the loss of a mortal life. I saw him reflexively clutch the found necklace to his chest, fingers tightening around the jewel, letting go as sharp edges bit into his palm, as sorrow washed over him in waves. I saw the shock, the horror on the Dwarf's face, the incomprehension that one so charmed could fall so fast. I saw them look at one another, the fire between them dimmed, dampened under their shared weight. I knew, without having to witness it, that the dampening would leach their passion, drown the fire of their next union.
I cannot imagine the breadth of Eowyn's anguish when we reach the Hornburg and she sees he is not with us. I do not know how to speak to her of what I did not see.
How I wish I could not see.