Leaves of Grass by FoxRafer

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When she was a child she spun whole stories from nothing but blades of grass, an unconscious game she could play for hours, meandering around in the back of her mind.

The short-cropped grass of the foothills and mountains around Aldburg became soldiers in formation, each Éored poised to charge at their captain's call. They waged great battles, their helms gleaming in the sun, led by a mighty warrior and her brave steed.

The yellowed patches of grass along the heath, crowded by shrubs and purple flowers, saw the drama of a large market. The merchants and craftsmen plied their trade in colorful stalls, while a sharp-eyed blacksmith, her skill at the forge held in high regard, solved mysteries and caught villains.

The flowing grasses of the open country, away from forest or farmland, housed numerous settlements of the little folk; their homes, no taller than your thumbs, nestled beneath the swaying fronds. The local wheelwright would travel far and wide for her supplies, unafraid of the vast fields, and return with stories of the giants that often threatened their lands.

The grass of Edoras, nearly all tamped short and flat by horse's hooves and wagon wheels, masked vast underground caverns, each blade a key to a secret passage known only by the wisest young horsewoman of the land.

Éowyn would return to each story as her mood shifted on the wind, embellish them with more colorful characters or exciting adventures. But for years the tales lay frozen in time, abandoned as age and the growing darkness blocked out childhood daydreams.

She was reminded of these long forgotten stories as she and Éomer accompanied their uncle on the long road to his final resting place. But it didn't take a child's fancy to tell the story of this earth, to read the pages in these fields. Once vital and bountiful, the landscape an invitation for adventure or quiet reflection, now blood-stained and scorched. The War had erased the original text, replacing it with solemn dirges of death and misery.

And yet there was hope among the ruin, glimmers of life in the devastation, life she would see nurtured and protected. While she may soon begin a new story amidst the Ithilien hills, the horseman's land would never not be home, and she cradled the signs of new growth as they passed. She turned each leaf of grass, inscribed their words onto her memory. She would see to it that each of their stories were told, the original tales woven seamlessly into new, more powerful revisions.

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