"Duty," he whispered. In response, I ran after them, the wizard and the Halfling. They did not note. I laugh still when I think upon it. None ever note my presence unless I want them to. I followed them to the house where the wizard usually stayed. I let them wander up the stairs, thinking they were alone, but used window sills and such to climb up and perch on the sill of the sitting room of their quarters. I had to quickly slide back for the Halfling stood on a bench and looked out of the very window I had made my hiding place.
'Blast Berúthiel,' I thought as I jumped from one stone casement to the next. The wizard had come to stand beside the Halfling, and, though it was easy enough to hide from the young one, it was nigh unto impossible to hide from the wizard. I breathed a sigh of relief at my escape.
The Halfling was very tired, but mostly hungry. I could agree. The morning was already long and I was famished. Not once did I get my bowl of milk. Finally, I had rubbed my back against Lord Denethor's leg and he offered me some of the white cake. It was tasty, but it did not fill me, and I was amused to see that it did not fill the Halfling either.
As I said, I followed them. Of course, the wizard walked so quickly, not many could keep up. I wondered if he constantly walked that way so the poor Halfling had to struggle and run behind. Lord Denethor had always been wary of this one; I was beginning to feel the same.
The Halfling had stood up well to Lord Denethor's questioning and I began to see more than a four-foot something. He never saw me, but I watched him continuously, instead of Lord Denethor, which was my wont. This one intrigued me. Courageous. He did not blink an eye when the Steward asked why he lived and Boromir died. I almost mewed in appreciation of his answer, but I know how to hold my tongue. That is how I have kept alive these twenty years.
I perched on the sill and waited while the wizard gave me more of the information Lord Denethor had sent me for. They spoke so easily, one could tell they were not used to court machinations. The Steward had sent me on an easy assignment this time.
At last, the wizard left and right behind him was the Halfling. I did not follow the wizard; he was going to meet with Denethor, but I did follow the Halfling. I wondered at his changed status. He was now a soldier in the Steward's service. I now owed him my allegiance.
What an odd thing this is, serving men. I have done it for the last eighteen years of my life, but I still find it perplexing. If they would only consider sitting in the sun more, drinking warm milk, laying about and watching as the world went by, they would live longer, as I have done. But they are full of cares and cannot be stopped in their spiral towards death. Mayhap it is my nine lives that give me peace, knowing I have complete control of my own ways and wants. I have to laugh again; I hope you will forgive me, but I have learned many things.
Many think the Queen finally landed in Harad and took up her former life, but I know the truth. She and all the cats that were not able to escape the banishment were caught in a storm in the Bay and drowned. Happy am I that my own ancestors knew better than to be trapped and sent on that doomed ship. I learned my lessons well; my mother, as soon as I was let go from her womb, taught me to think for myself, to watch with the great gift we were given - that of seeing and hearing and understanding men - and to never be such easy prey.
Lord Denethor has used me well all these years, once he found I had Berúthiel's gift. He cares well for me and I care well for him. Yet, I find myself taken with this Halfling. Now that he is in the Steward's service, I will discover what mettle runs through his blood. It should be interesting.
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.