My Aragorn Stories
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Many Guises and Many Names: 20. At the Pig and Thistle (Pippin)
At the Pig and Thistle
Once he got used to it, Pippin enjoyed being a Guardsman again, now that he had recovered from his wounds. True, he had a lot of work to do, but he looked forward to merriment in the pubs at night, for the City was vigorously celebrating the downfall of Sauron and the crowning of the new King. And now that Strider was in the City, Pippin found that his reputation as one of the Nine Walkers and a personal friend of Elessar opened hearts and doors.
"It's not that I've made up my mind about him, you realize," said the barkeep at his favorite pub, the Pig and Thistle, where the ale was almost as good as at the Green Dragon. "We haven't had a king for some thousand years, and nobody ever thought it would be any different. True, he's done some wonderful things, and not just swinging that magic sword—he saved my sister's grandson's life. For that he has my allegiance."
Taking a big slurp of ale, Pippin wiped his mouth and nodded.
"But I learned a long time ago that it takes more than a fancy title to make a true nobleman. Why, the greatest man I've ever known didn't have any title at all. He was a stranger to the City. I served under him in those years, before an Orc's blade ruined my leg and ended my days as a soldier. This captain would sleep on the ground with his men and eat our food—nothing special for him, always the same that his men had—even if he'd earned honors from the Steward for all his victories. He didn't hold himself our better, but he was a great leader and a true lord, and no title made him that. He'd look at you with those grave eyes of his and you knew you would do your best. He trusted us and we trusted him."
"I see," said Pippin. "And who was he?"
"Nobody really knew. He had no father-name. But he could have taken the measure of this new King, and I'd have trusted his opinion, no matter what. He was bold and courageous, too. He led a fleet against those corsairs and beat them, and he didn't need any ghosts to help. We called him Thorongil, and it was a sorry day in Gondor when he left."
"Er," said Pippin, who had recently learned that his friend Strider had a remarkable past, "I think you're in for a surprise."
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