4. The Queen and the King's Councillor
‘I saw your latest guest today, my lady.’ His voice was gently mocking, but not unkind. ‘Where did you make such a fine catch?’
Morwen smiled. ‘I hooked him out of the river, of course. At first, I thought him from Gondor, but he tells me that he hales from the north. He wishes to serve the king.’
‘A laudable quest,’ he replied solemnly. ‘And would you have him serve Thengel?’
‘I would have him do whatever he will.’
‘Provided you may watch him no doubt.’
‘Gálmód, you are an impertinent wretch,’ laughed the queen. ‘Get thee gone or I shall have you beaten before the steps of Meduseld.’
‘My lady, I tremble with fear at your feet. But this fellow is surely a great monument to manhood and should be slain lest he drive the rest of us feeble wretches to slit our own worthless throats.’
‘You have been in your cups again, my lord, and it is not yet noon. Besides, whatever his charms, he may ride like a lecherous dog and shoot like a drunkard. But in either event Thengel will remove you hence and put him in your place, if you do not treat your queen as befits your station and hers.’
Gálmód executed the most elegant bow his infirmity would allow. ‘Your honeyed words are all the wine a man could ever want, my queen. If I should die today, I would die glad that you deigned to speak so in my hearing.’
‘Get out before I feed you to my dogs,’ growled Morwen in mock rage.
A picture of pained innocence, the king’s councillor fled from the chamber. However, his curiosity about the newcomer was genuine and he made his way to the horsehead fountain to seek this, his latest quarry.
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