5. Greetings and Salutations
At last, the Hobbit was rid of the guard and I was able to greet Peregrin properly. He was walking down the circles to the First; I leapt from my perch on the parapet when I heard him tell Beregond where he was going. Much to my delight, however, he stopped first at the stable. As he offered the great mearh a small snack, I decided it was time to introduce myself; I rubbed against him. He looked down in surprise, but quickly recovered and I offered him my head. As I had surmised, the Hobbit was indeed brilliant and understood immediately. He knelt and proceeded to give my ears and chin a very nice scratch. Trying to be as polite as he, I meowed and turned away from him. He realized I was being gracious and followed me. We walked slowly down the circles; he spoke and I listened. He told me of many things and my heart grew heavy. How much would I tell Lord Denethor? I hissed as he spoke of something from Lord Faramir's dream and the Hobbit, ever watchful, stopped and stared at me. I could not tell him I could communicate with him, at least, not yet, perhaps never. I hardly knew... In fact, none in Minas Tirith knew I had the gift of Berúthiel's cats save the Steward himself. I could not let this one know. Yet, there was a comfort in his eyes and a kindness in his voice that drew me closer to him.
He sat upon a stone bench along the wall of the Fourth Circle and motioned for me to join him. I nimbly jumped up and again rubbed against his thigh. Finally, gaining some further trust, I leapt onto his lap. He laughed a gay and wondrous laugh, the kind I had not heard since Boromir left on his errand, and I purred.
"What are you trying to tell me, cat? I am not doing as Gandalf bid me, am I? But I have no one else to talk to. My best friend, Merry, is not here and I am very lonesome. May I not speak with you?"
I purred even louder and wriggled my body against his. He again began to speak of the dream and the... thing that Lord Denethor was most concerned about. I promptly began to spit and Peregrin stopped.
"I understand," he looked at me with wondering eyes. "I may share much, but not all?"
I meowed and licked my paw.
He sat for another long moment and stroked my back. I waited, suddenly impatient to be on our way. I wanted none to see us stopped like this. Tales could and usually would be told. I needed none of Lord Denethor's spies to see me in such a compromised situation. I could not wait any longer; I jumped from his lap down onto the street and began to move towards the First Circle.
"All right, cat. I suppose our time for talk is done."
I stopped and rubbed against him, purring as loudly as I dared.
"Oh! I might talk, but must watch what I say? Even to you?" The Hobbit's eyes grew wide. "I will remember that. If I forget, you will warn me?"
I meowed and walked forward again. Once more, Peregrin began telling me of his journeys. I had not been outside Minas Tirith in a very long time and I listened avidly. Especially to the part about the Horse Lords. They knew how to treat an animal, not like some here in the City!
We entered Rath Celerdain and I stopped well away as the Hobbit watched the rug rats that remained in Minas Tirith, ostensibly to run errands and take missives back and forth. However, I had noted that most of them spent their time in idle play. I held them in deepest contempt. I slid back into the shadows and watched as one came forward.
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