15. Chaos Reigns
All that day the messengers ran to and fro, in and out of his chamber. But Denethor did not hear. Not a word of what was happening in his City broke through the grief that had settled upon his heart and his mind. He sat with Faramir's fevered hand in his own. I watched and Pippin watched as tears fell, never ceasing the whole day. At one time, Pippin tried to comfort him, but it was no use. My hackles rose as I heard Denethor say that the Lidless Eye had found it. I knew of what he spoke, though I think the Hobbit did not. He had seen it in the stone; somehow he had gone into the Tower of Minas Morgul and seen that Pippin's cousin had been captured and most likely killed, and that it had been taken from him. I fervently hoped that Frodo, though I only knew him from the fond words of Faramir, would have died quickly.
As the day wore on, I would touch Faramir's face with my paw. Gently I would mew to him, calling with the gift that I had. But he was nowhere to be found. I could not touch his mind. I quaked at the thought. To be so alone, cut off from all life was too hideous a thought. I finally left his side and sat at Denethor's feet. He did not notice.
As the sun moved behind Mindolluin, the unlit chamber grew darker. The visage of Denethor mirrored that darkness. He grew old before my very eyes. My heart tore open, spilled its love upon him, but he did not see, did not note. He did not 'hear' me. Never before had he been so distant. Never before had I not been able to read at least some sign from him. Not since the very day he had taken me in, found me upon the battlement and carried me home... Home. But now, it was as if a great, black, marble wall rose between our minds. The cold and isolation almost drove me mad. I had not realized how I had come to value our connection. How much I had loved him. Now that we were no longer one, I lost all hope.
Gandalf came as messengers ran about in total chaos, but Denethor refused to return to his troops. He hoped, beyond all hope, that Faramir would speak one last time. I could not imagine it. Faramir was not with us. His body was, but his mind was not. Gandalf took control of the Army of Gondor.
One last time messengers came to the chamber. Pippin let them in, hoping that something would rouse the Lord of the City. The Steward listened and then spoke such words of utter despair that I jumped from his side. The men ran out without even saluting. I had felt it too, the despair, and had not fought it, but I could do that no longer. There had to be hope. Faramir was still alive. The men of Gondor, bless them, were still trying to fight. How could I give up?
He stood up and I watched him, watched this old man who had replaced my master. My master, I choked, truly he was. As much as I wanted to be independent, I could not. He had taken my heart with his kindnesses and his courage and wit, and I fell under his spell, willingly, gratefully. Now, I realized too late how dear he was to me. But this man standing before me was not my master.
A/N - According to the text in ROTK - Denethor did sit and hold Faramir's hand that day. Whether or not Denethor 'saw' Frodo's plight, we are not told; however, Brian Shippey in his books firmly believes that Denethor 'saw' Frodo in Cirith Ungol and perceived the worst, being as the poor Hobbit was naked. Sadly, what else could the Lord of the City assume? "Now Denethor stood up and released the fevered hand of Faramir that he had held." ROTK: The Siege of Gondor
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