1. Hoarded History
Teglon peered at the faded scroll with squinting eyes and drew the lamp closer. The scroll was difficult to read, and the light of the oil lamp was not entirely helpful in deciphering the writing that had grown blurred and indistinct with age. It would be easier to read in natural daylight, but Teglon was reluctant to expose the ancient manuscript in such a way, for his long experience as an archivist had taught him to protect these precious records from heat and light as much as possible. Great care had been taken throughout Gondor's long years to preserve her books, scrolls and histories, and that care had made it possible for works such as this one to still be read, thousand of years after first being penned.
But even the most well cared-for text could not last forever. He had seen scrolls more ancient than this one with the writing as sharp and clear as if it had been composed only days before, but that was not the case with this particular scroll. Inferior ink or lower quality parchment was no doubt to blame in this instance. With a sigh of regret, Teglon carefully laid the scroll aside as one that would need special attention, perhaps even recopying to preserve the record it contained. Part of his duties in the archive were as a scribe and copyist, for as the years passed, more and more records needed copying so that the information and history would not be lost.
Teglon's passion for the collected writings and histories of Gondor and his skill at organization had made him one of Denethor's most trusted and valuable servants, given charge of the Hall of Records that housed the most precious archives of Minas Tirith. He loved his position as chief archivist and pursued with loving zeal the cataloging, copying and preserving of Gondor's history. Even after many years of service in the Hall of Records, he was still finding hidden treasures in the recesses of the collection, and it brought him great joy to make available these previously forgotten histories. The scroll he had been reading was one such treasure, and it irked Teglon that he was unable to properly interpret the faded writing.
No use fretting over much! he thought. Perhaps a brief time in brighter light will be necessary, after all. It will be worth the risk to the scroll to get it copied out so that it can be read properly. It was turning out to be quite an interesting tale of the early days in the city....
Such a task would have to wait for another time, however, for Teglon was expecting an important visitor. He had been looking forward to the visit since his lord Denethor had sent word of the visitor's intentions. It had been quite some time since Mithrandir had been a guest in the City, let alone at the archive. Mithrandir was one who understood the value of collected wisdom and he availed himself of Minas Tirith's libraries as often as he was able. Teglon relished the opportunity to converse with him again and aid him in his quest for further knowledge.
"Ah, Teglon!" exclaimed Mithrandir, grasping the man's hand warmly. "It is good to see you once more."
"Indeed, my lord Mithrandir!" Teglon replied. "It has been far too long since you graced this City with your presence."
Mithrandir laughed. "I thank you for your kind words! You make me feel quite welcome! However, I must confess: I have passed through Minas Tirith several times before this, but I had no opportunity then to visit you here. Forgive me."
"Do not apologize, my lord! I understand," Teglon nodded. "I do know that my lord Denethor is careful with his archival permissions, and access to this particular archive is not often or lightly granted, even to important guests such as yourself. It is possible that even if you had wished to visit me here during your prior stays, it might not have been allowed. "
"Denethor is right to guard this treasured hoard so securely!" Mithrandir answered. "But I am grateful indeed for his allowance on this particular occasion."
"My lord informed me of your interest in records of ancient days and the beginnings of the City. I have been instructed to remain at your service until you find that which you seek." Teglon gazed at Mithrandir thoughtfully. "He did not mention the importance of your research, but I sense it is a matter of some urgency. Am I right?"
"Ah, well,you know how I am, Teglon," Gandalf replied with a smile and a wave of his hand. "All matters that take up my attention are urgent -- at least to me."
"Then I shall treat it as urgent, as well," Teglon answered decisively, with a knowing look. "Come this way, if it please you, my lord. I will show you where to begin your study."
Teglon turned and led the way through several arched doorways into a room walled with shelves and bookcases. "This is the chamber where the more ancient records are housed," he explained. "On this wall are the histories of Gondor, and on the far wall are maps and travelogues. These receptacles are where you will find scrolls and manuscripts dealing with the beginnings of the City. Here is a table and chair set for you with a trimmed lamp for light, and quill and parchment for copying as needed. I shall be nearby, ready to assist you if you have need of anything other than what has already been provided. I wish you well with your search, my lord! Call if I am needed...."
Bright light from a high window was just what was needed to read the old, faded scroll properly, and Teglon applied himself happily to the task of copying it. He had just finished and was preparing the original for safekeeping when he heard the creak of the archive door and the slow, purposeful tread of his lord the Steward. He rose quickly to meet him, bowing low in greeting.
"It would seem Mithrandir was successful in his searching," Denethor remarked, faintly questioning. "He took his leave of me not long ago and left the City in some haste."
"Indeed, my lord," Teglon replied. "He spent the better part of the day here, but it would seem he found what he was seeking in the end."
"Did he say, by chance, what he had discovered?"
"No, lord. He did not."
"But you know which records he focused upon in his search, yes?"
"Indeed, my lord. I was present to help him return the scrolls and books to their shelves and receptacles in proper fashion, after he had finished. I can show you, if you wish."
"Yes, do show me. Mithrandir's research has renewed my own interest in the history of the City, and I feel the need to read once more some of those ancient records. Why not begin with the very scrolls which caught Mithrandir's attention?"
"Of course, my lord Denethor! If you will follow me, I will show you...."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.