Before morning came, I watched as the Hobbit opened his eyes. "I'm happy to see you, Alqualondë. Why are you here? Ah! I know. It was terrible yesterday. I was grateful you were with me. Do they always bicker so? I suppose you're used to it?"
"That is good."
The Hobbit was becoming very adept at reading my hisses; I laughed to myself.
"My own father and I, sometimes we shout at each other. But it doesn't mean I love him any less. I suppose it's the same with Denethor and Faramir?"
I mewed and rubbed my back against his face.
"I suppose I best be up. He'll be expecting me and I still haven't got the hang of the livery. Hopefully, Gandalf's still here and he can help me put it on. I wish you could; you probably know all about putting on that stuff, watching the soldiers of Gondor like you do."
I liked the fact that he knew I watched. It was heartening. 'Mayhap Frodo is not as witless as I think. Mayhap, the Hobbit can... Nay,' I thought bitterly, 'it is a fool's hope, as Mithrandir said. Yet, what more have we?'
Mithrandir's eyebrows rose as he saw me enter the room from Peregrin's sleeping chamber. "You are still with us? What about your appointed rounds? Why are you not at the Lord of the City's side? Have you abandoned him?"
I hissed sharply and turned my back upon him, jumping onto the window's sill and launching myself into the air. I could hear Peregrin's gasp from behind me and laughed wildly. 'Mayhap Frodo will fly into Mordor as it seems I have just done!' I landed gracefully and ran to the parapet.
Anor was near to rising though none would see it this day. The air was foul and dark. The Steward was just now making his way to our spot. I sat and cleaned my face. The milky stain still covered it from earlier. I did not want Denethor to note; I might not be fed again if he determined I had already broken my fast. I laughed aloud before he reached me. It is difficult, even for me, to hide anything from the Lord Denethor!
"We have not long to spend here, Alqualondë. I have called for my Council. They will be in my study within the quarter hour. Have you found any news? How goes my City?"
When he discerned where I spent the night, I could feel his displeasure. 'My reports are no longer of import, my Lord Denethor,' I thought quietly. 'The out-garrisons are where your attention must be this day and for many days to come. Whether or not the City is saved depends not upon my reports.'
He nodded. "What of the wizard, Alqualondë? Is he to be trusted?"
I shook my head. 'I know not. He looks beyond Gondor. I suppose that is a good thing.'
"Like Faramir!" Denethor spat his son's name in hurt and frustration.
'Like Faramir and Boromir. Is that not why you sent your son westward? If Gondor falls...'
He looked out upon the Pelennor and the pain in his eyes crushed me. "Like Faramir and Boromir. Faramir thinks so little of himself that he considers his loss miniscule. Have I caused that, Alqualondë? I value him. Now more than ever," he choked back tears. "Yet, I must send him off again. Probably to his death. I spend my sons like water, Alqualondë, and receive naught in return, not even their respect."
'You have Faramir's respect and his love.'
"I think not. He is the wizard's now. Did you not see him? He watched to see what the wizard thought, not what I thought." A deep sadness filled his countenance. In a moment, he had pulled himself together. "Come! Let us go. My Council and he will be waiting."
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.