29. A Slip of the Tongue
By evening, I was feeling quite happy. I finally excused myself and went back to the Citadel. The Elf and the Dwarf went to find the King. Pippin and Merry were in the garden. Pippin squealed in delight when he saw me, much to my dismay. He is a rather effusive creature and his enthusiasm, I have found, sometimes overwhelms me.
"Oh, Alqua! I so wish you had been here. Legolas and Gimli came and told us all about their ride through the Paths of the Dead and how they fought the pirates and how they came up the river and saved Minas Tirith. Now mind you, not as great an adventure as we were having here, but still a great adventure indeed."
I smiled. 'I am sorry I did not hear the tale. But, Pippin, we have both been quite rude to your cousin.'
Pippin looked at me in surprise.
'We have not been formally introduced.'
"Oh lawks! You're right. Let me." He stood up and bowed to Merry. "Merry, my lad, I would introduce you to Alqualondë, of the line of the cats of Queen Berúthiel of Gondor and friend to the Lord Denethor."
I bowed. 'Very pleased to meet you,' I said and sent a quick thank you to Pippin for the kind remembrance of Denethor.
Pippin continued. "And Alqualondë, I would introduce you to Meriadoc Brandybuck, only son and heir of the Master of Buckland, Saradoc Brandybuck."
Merry bowed. "Very pleased to meet you."
"I hope you forgive me for not introducing you properly before, but Merry was indisposed at the time, and not quite himself, so I thought it best to keep still."
Merry looked at his cousin in surprise. "Peregrin Took, when did you ever keep still?"
I watched in astonishment as the two began to tussle right on the Houses' lawn. How did the Hobbit have the strength of arm to even... But I noted Pippin's holding back and smiled at the love that shone from that face. However, if Ioreth ever came out and found them... The thought was too gruesome to dwell upon. I jumped lightly onto a nearby bench and waited. After a moment, I gasped in astonishment; I recalled Boromir and Faramir doing the same as youngsters. I waited no longer and ran directly into the Houses and Faramir's room. He slept. I climbed up onto the bed and tucked myself in next to his feet, thoroughly ashamed that I had been gone so long from his side.
"Alqua?" I heard his soft voice.
'I am sorry. Did I wake you?'
"Nay. I am glad to see you. I... have had some strange dreams and a friend's face is most welcome."
"I dreamt of my father," his voice choked, "but I will not recount it. There was a pleasanter dream, but peculiar. I dreamt of a beautiful woman, with hair as gold as the sun. She wore mother's cloak. How came she by it, I know not. She stood in the moonlight and..." He blushed. "I had my arm about her waist. Think you that I gave it to her, the cloak?"
'I think the first question might better be, who is she?'
"I thought she resembled Lady Éowyn of Rohan. I have not seen the lady since she was a child, but there was something about her that recalled that girl to my mind."
'Rohirrim have golden hair, mayhap that is why you think it is her?'
Faramir frowned. "I know not. It must be her, for I have seen her brother..."
I held my paw to my forehead. 'What a dolt I am. Of course it was she. She is here. Here in the Houses. She was wounded in the Battle.'
"Wounded? How? In the Battle? Who would let her? Where were her guards? She is niece to Théoden King!"
I put my paws over my head and mewed in distress. My mouth was as unchecked as Pippin's.
Faramir's jaw set. "You have further news, have you not, Alqualondë?"
I sighed resignedly. 'The Lady Éowyn, if the story Pippin tells me is true, disguised herself as a Rider and rode to battle with the other Pherian, Merry, upon her steed.'
"What was Éomer thinking? How could he let a woman go to battle, never mind his own sister? Where was her father?"
Patiently, I waited for the flurry of questions to cease. 'She was disguised and hid amongst the lesser guard of the Rohirrim, towards the back of the assemblage. She did not come forward until they had entered the Pelennor. Faramir, she fought bravely. A true shieldmaiden. Her grandmother would have been quite proud of her.'
"You say she is here? Is she gravely hurt?"
'Yea and nay. Her arm was broken by the Witch-king - "
Faramir almost leapt out of the bed and I had to stand on his chest to keep him down. "The Witch-king?"
'Calm yourself! You will open the stitches and the healers will never let me stay here.' He finally leaned back against the pillow and I continued. 'The Witch-king.' I shuddered. 'May I find Meriadoc and bring him here? Best you should here it from one who was there with her. Oh and Faramir, the Hobbit helped kill him.'
He shuddered at the thought.
'I will return in a moment.'
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.