13. Rats in Gondolin
Minas Tirith, F. A. 3019
Glorfindel stood upon one of the many bastions of the Seventh Circle, surveying the lands eastward. It seemed impossible that Sauron had vanished from Arda entirely, when ever before he had merely abandoned his material form temporarily. Besides the famed warriors of the Last Alliance, his friend Finrod had also "slain" the Maia, to no avail. For that matter, if bodily form were important, so had Huan! Celebrating a victory was one thing, but how could all be so certain that this time…
A very small Guard of the Citadel tapped him lightly on the elbow. "Glorfindel?"
Caught off guard by a Hobbit. That'll teach me to obsess over imponderables. It is well that it was not Aragorn.
The Elf smiled. "Good morn, Peregrin. The sunrise is magnificent, is it not?" He turned back eastwards - sunrise over a Black Land free of the Enemy was nothing less.
"It is wonderful." Pippin replied.
And then followed with "Did they have rats in Gondolin? Faramir was telling us tales of your city, and they all sounded so impossible. He said he did not know whether the long years had changed the tales, and then started talking about someone named Pengolodh, and … well, Faramir's a grand fellow, but when he starts talking of scribes and … such, rather than wizards and dragons, it's time to take your leave!"
Glorfindel laughed aloud. He had been warned of the Steward's insatiable curiosity before arriving in Minas Tirith, and had so far managed to avoid being cornered and questioned on the finer points of Turgon's councils (the handful that had not been excruciatingly dull, had been terrifying), or the policies of Tuor (rather limited in scope, truth be told), or a thousand other things he had no wish to recount.
"Because it sounded so perfect and tragic - not real. So I wanted to know, did Gondolin have rats? If it did, the other stories will be easier to believe, somehow."
Glorfindel briefly considered answering "The arts of the Noldor were such that the vermin of Morgoth could not enter," or something similarly fantastic. Pengolodh, indeed! He was glad Erestor was not present - the mere mention of that scribe's name would put his friend in a foul mood for days.
"So, did you have rats?" Pippin looked up hopefully.
"We did, in the beginning." the ancient warrior admitted. "But we brought many cats with us from Nevrast, when we moved. So, after a while, the rats died out. There were still mice, though. I remember one day Salgant…"
But the Hobbit did not hear, having gleefully run off. "I won the bet, Merry!" the Elf heard as the small figure drew near the tower. "No duty the rest of the day!"
Glorfindel wondered what would happen if he told Faramir that the Gondolindrim had also been famed as, ah, "expert storytellers", but thought better of it. Better to let a simple spirit remain so.
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