After I made certain the Steward and his son were indeed abed, I went to the wizard's quarters. There I watched, upon my sill, as hope flared in Mithrandir's eyes. He did not chastise Pippin for his question about hope - it exuded from him. I watched in amaze as he paced the little room, flinging his arms about him, and speaking of chances, of mistakes turned to right, of hope. My own hope flared.
And then that name again! Aragorn. 'Who is this man?' I wondered. 'What part does he play in this? He is of some import to both Peregrin and the wizard. I must keep watch; keep my ears open for any mention. I will not tell Lord Denethor, not yet, not until I have divined his place in this game Mithrandir plays.'
At last, the wizard sent Peregrin off to bed. I jumped through the window and stayed at the wizard's feet. "Ah, little one. You have come to apologize for your master... I am sorry, for the Lord Denethor?"
I hissed in astonishment. Never would I apologize for the Steward. His ways may seem difficult to discern, even for one so wise as I, but I would never doubt him. Had not he kept me, nourished me, cared for me, and protected me all these long years. One does not turn on the hand that feeds it, I told him petulantly.
"He is wrong, Alqualondë. What Faramir did was right and good and probably the only deliverance that Gondor has. Though the lad did not know the full import of his actions, do you not give him credit for his courage?"
'I love him dearly. As does his father,' I told the wizard, 'yet he disobeyed his Steward! How does one overlook such a thing? The Ring should be in the bowels of Minas Tirith, below the dungeons in some fell room, locked away, as Denethor suggested. To give it to the Dark Lord as a gift! It is folly.'
"Ah, folly it might seem, Alqualondë of the Havens, but it is our only hope. You know the histories of this land. Think upon it for a moment and remember."
My eyes opened wide in surprise. 'But if he is the size of Peregrin, how will he survive? If he has twice the wit of Peregrin, he still will not be able to cross Mordor to the Mount. It is folly, Mithrandir.'
"Then think it folly, my little Swan, but in the end, it will be seen as the greatest feat in all of this land's great history. Be at peace, Alqualondë. Our task now is to keep the Eye upon Gondor and not upon the plains of Gorgoroth."
I drew in a breath and hissed out sharply. 'So we are the mouse and the Dark Lord the cat?'
The wizard's smile was almost as brilliant as my Lord's had once been. "Now you see. We play a game of cat and mouse. We cannot let the cat catch the mouse. Do you understand?"
Tears filled my eyes. 'Why did not you say this to Lord Denethor? He would have understood.'
"He would not, Alqualondë. His mind is on Gondor only. He cares not what happens to the rest of Middle-earth."
'Therein you are mistaken, Wizard,' I spat. 'He knows if Gondor falls then all of Middle-earth will fall, even to the sea.'
"Ah little one. Gondor will fall. All of Middle-earth will fall, for there is no power that can conquer the Dark Lord. Yet, in the hands of the Hobbit is the one thing that can overturn the Evil One. Keep your eyes open, Alqualondë. You will see, if all goes well."
I shuddered and he noted. He took a bowl and offered me watered milk. I realized I had not eaten anything for hours. 'What will the Hobbits eat in Mordor?' I wondered aloud.
"The Elves have given them sustenance to carry into their battle. And a gift has been given them also. With our well-wishes, and the gifts of the Elves, and the courage of Frodo, Middle-earth will be free."
"From your lips...." I mewed quietly, sadly, then turned and jumped into Peregrin's bed. The lad never stirred.
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.