1. Victory and Loss
Thorongil kicked the stone.
'If I stay,' he thought, 'I will continue to damage Denethor's place in Gondor. Ecthelion is foolish when it comes to his son. Denethor tries, does everything he can to obey him, and yet he turns to me for council. I will never earn Denethor's trust. And trust me he must, for he will be my Steward if things come to pass as Elrond sees them.' He sighed.
'My heart is happy here. I love his son. I love him. And Finduilas and Indis could not be more courteous. If I leave now, if I do not return to Minas Tirith, perhaps Ecthelion will turn to Denethor and use him. This parting would be most painful. I love Minas Tirith, her people. Would I be abandoning them? Nay, it is more important that I not abandon Denethor. The longer I stay in Gondor, the deeper grows Ecthelion's attachment to me, the deeper grows the rift between Denethor and myself. I cannot let this continue. How will I tell them? Nay, there is nothing to say. I will leave a note and go. Bitter is this time.'
He kicked another stone. 'This is not what I planned.'
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