19. A World Turned All Around
I found myself subdued by his words, yet the scenario in the House of the Stewards assailed me, over and over again. I could not hide from the images. I began to writhe in agony. The man called Elessar held me close. I watched again as the oil upon the pyre furiously flamed the torch's fire. I felt this stranger listening to me, though I made no attempt to communicate. I had finally acknowledged that I was servant to Denethor, not the other way around. And yet, because of my deep love for this great man, I willingly bowed, would bow again if he but lived. Tears coursed down my face while my cheeks blazed. Elessar stroked my back.
Was it shame that caused my cheeks to blaze? How can it be shame when one loves and is totally beholding? Or was it pride? Because I have always felt I was the one to say, 'Yes, I will do what you want because I will it.' Or 'No, I think I will not attend you today.' Yet, attend him today was the only thing I wanted at that moment. To sit at his feet and listen to him and do his bidding. But never again. Never again to feel his tender hand upon my head, nor see his fingers holding out a tidbit of salmon, nor hear his gentle laugh at some little witticism of mine. It was too much to bear. I felt Elessar's mind reach out to me and a weariness filled me. I found myself falling asleep.
When next I woke, I was lying at Faramir's feet. I quietly stood and padded up next to him. I touched his cheek with my paw; he was not hot! I nuzzled him with my nose and found he slept - peacefully. How could this be? He had the Black Breath; none survived the Black Breath. I watched his chest rising and falling easily. Shivers ran down my back. What sorcery was this? What had that malevolent wizard done to him?
"Hallo, Alqualondë! It's good to see you awake," Pippin grinned as he entered the room. "I'd almost given up hope. I've been visiting with Merry and just popped back to see how you and Faramir were doing. How are you doing?" He sat next to Faramir and held out his arms.
Well, I thought, my world has definitely turned all around. I suppose I can let him hold me. I stopped in surprise. 'You ask me a question? Do you expect to hear me?'
"Well, while you were clawing at Gandalf, everyone in the room could hear you. I guess we can still do it now; I don't know how. It's a good thing it was just Strider and Gandalf and I. If Ioreth had heard you, she'd have told the whole city. She's quite a talker. Oh! I shouldn't say that. She's a good woman and has really, really helped Merry and Faramir and all the wounded soldiers. What in the Shire! I sound like her myself. Not even taking a breath to see if you're all right. Are you all right, then, Alqualondë?"
Despite myself, despite what I had just been through, I found myself smiling at the wondrous being that was this Hobbit. His heart was as pure as ever I thought it was. How had he recovered so quickly from the horrors we had seen?
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.