Tales of the Innkeeper: 2. Lie Down Late

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2. Lie Down Late

He looked tired. You’d think fancy folk like him would get more rest, havin’ servants to do all the hard work. How can a body tire from lyin’ about on silken sheets in a bed bigger than my largest room? But I reckon travelin’ in a blizzard like he’d done wears a man out. ‘Course, I don’t travel much myself, needin’ to be here at the inn tendin’ to guests. Now there’s tiresome work! People always needin’ something but are none too thankful to get it. But by and large, we get good folk here, folks like you.

You’d think that tired as he seemed, he’d have gone straight to his room, same one Denethor stayed in when he was here that one time. Maybe I should start chargin’ more for that chamber, call it the “Room of Royalty” or somethin’ of that ilk. Anyhow, the King, tired as he looked, remained downstairs talking to his men. I wasn’t able to make out exactly what they were discussin’—not that I was tryin’ to eavesdrop, mind you—but it seemed important; somethin’ about food supplies. One by one, each of his men retired for the night. It was the wee hours of the mornin’ before they were all gone, and Elessar still sat there by himself, goin’ over some sort of papers. ‘Course, I stay up that late to keep an eye out for folks who might be up to no good. That’s my life: lie down late; rise up early. Now you understand why my work is tiresome?

Before I retired for bed myself, I asked him if there was anythin’ more I could get him.

“No, but I thank you. You have been quite hospitable.” He gave me a weary smile and a nod of the head. Imagine that!—the King thankin’ me for simply doin’ my job. Some of my guests could take a lesson in manners from Elessar. Of course, as I said, most of our patrons are good folk like you.

“Very well, sire.” I almost told him not to stay up too late, but who am I to tell the King when to go to bed? Besides, I didn’t want to sound like his mother.

As I said, it’s usually late when my head finally hits my pillow, but I’m always up about my work early again the next mornin’. Usually still dark when I make my way downstairs, but I’m used to it; more than five hours of sleep and I’m groggy. Made of strong stock, I am. Besides, I like being the first one up; gives me time to clear my head before the day begins. But that mornin’ after the royal party arrived, I went down just as early as always to find that someone had beaten me: there sat the King goin’ over more papers. Don’t know whether he’d ever bothered goin’ to bed or not.

As I stood there watchin’ him work, I thought about what I’d heard the night before: the King and his men discussin’ the food supply. It occurred to me that folks seemed to think that once the shadow was gone, things’d be right easy. Seems for many, the hard part’s just beginning. People’re tryin’ to put their lives back together, and I reckon that it’s King Elessar they’re all turnin’ to. Thankless job, I imagine. And he’ll be at it for quite some time; I hear he has Númenor blood, and you know how long those folks live. Yes, goin’ to be many a year before this new King gets any rest.

Guess it’s just as exhaustin’ bein’ a king as it is bein’ an innkeeper. I reckon those satin sheets and big beds don’t do a man much good if he never gets to lie on them.

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: Allee

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 4th Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 12/01/07

Original Post: 09/13/06

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