A Cat In King Elessar's Court: 31. The Tunnels of Mindolluin

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31. The Tunnels of Mindolluin

Early the next day, I broke my fast with Faramir. After an hour's discussion, mostly of Boromir, but now and again of Éowyn, I left him. Another dose of Elessar's draught and I knew he would sleep for at least three hours. I went to Húrin's rooms and found the man waiting for me as planned, his face still pale. We walked the circles of Minas Tirith, breaking only long enough for me to return to Faramir and the Hobbits for nuncheon. I would be gone from them soon. I needed to make sure Faramir was healing well.

The tunnels were easily found. I heard Húrin's gasp and had to mollify him for his not knowing about them. None knew of them but the Stewards and their cats. I smiled as I remembered how my mother had taken me to them, when I was small. Even though I was but a kitten, she began to teach me my duties to the Steward, the same duties she had kept all her long life. I sighed in pride. Even the Steward's did not know that we made sure a Cat of the Line was always in attendance. Some knew of the gift; others did not.

I stopped in my tracks. I had no heir. None of the Line to follow me and care for Faramir when I passed. I cursed roundly and found Húrin staring at me in confusion. Pulling myself together, I continued our inspection. I showed him where all the hidden doors were; we walked one of the tunnels all the way to its end, to the slopes of Mindolluin. The door at the end, though not used in probably an age, quietly swung open, a tribute to its Númenórean carpenters. The mountain stood before us. It would be difficult for some to make the journey; there was no path and the slopes were treacherous. Thankfully, most of the women and children had been sent off to other parts of Gondor. Only those women who helped in the Houses and the sons of some of the guards, like Bergil, were left in the City. There would be enough hands to help them navigate the way. There were caves further up, I told Húrin, that the people could hide in.

I was gratified to see that Húrin fully understood the King's plan. That his King would probably not return and this would be Gondor's only hope for the people left in the City. Once Elessar's army fell at the Black Gate, it would be up to Húrin to rally the people and take them here, to Mindolluin, and hide them for as long as he could. Eventually, we both knew, all would die.

The wounded? 'Húrin!' I cried, 'what will we do with the wounded? They cannot come this way.'

He gave me such a look of pain that I turned from him. "They will stay in the Houses and the healers will stay with them, some of them, and they will die as soldiers of Gondor. There is naught that can be done."

More death. Always more death. But why should I be surprised? Were not the King and all his men and all the men of Rohan going out to their deaths? Why should it be different for those who were left behind? We walked on again, discussing a few other things, but nothing more of death.

At last, we finished. Walking slowly back to the Citadel, I spoke to him of one last thing. "I will have supplies brought to the mouths of the tunnels, not inside so that others will discover them, but near enough so that, once the time comes, you can pack them quickly and then leave."

Húrin turned towards me and stopped. "I do not understand all this, Alqualondë. Are you planning on going somewhere? Will you not be here to help me?"

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.

Story Information

Author: Agape4Gondor

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Other

Rating: General

Last Updated: 12/21/08

Original Post: 02/17/08

Go to A Cat In King Elessar's Court overview


WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

A Cat In King Elessar's Court

Kitt Otter - 19 Oct 08 - 10:17 AM

Ch. 31: The Tunnels of Mindolluin

Today was the day I decided to read this again… so much time slipped by without my knowing. I was delighted that the cat met Legolas and Gimli! I never imagined Gimli the cat-person, but he meant well. *snickers* No, beard hairs does not sound palatable in cream.

Pippin squealing in delight at the sight of Alqua reminded me so much of my brother it was almost scary. Be sure, his enthusiasm overwhelms most of the cats. I love this line: I held my paw to my forehead. A funny image that conjures up. Oh dear, the Cat really does have a loose tongue; and here he was chagrining Pippin!

I do think eating apples and cheese to the tale of the Witch-king was a wee bit out of place. But quite hobbity. Too bad Ioreth had to swoop in on them. Poor, poor Hurin! *giggles* I hope he is not too bruised.

This was a sadder chapter. I had not thought that much myself about the continuation of Alqua's lineage. It is true that the wounded soldiers would die as soldiers, even if not at the Gate. And what could the Cat be up to now?


A Cat In King Elessar's Court

Agape4Gondor - 21 Oct 08 - 7:56 PM

Ch. 31: The Tunnels of Mindolluin

Your comments were priceless, Kitt. Many thanks!

So your brother resembles a hobbit? LOL

And yes, soldiers will die, whether in combat or protecting their people in 'hiding.'

Bless you for continuing to read and respond.

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