Ch. 1 - Introductions
I am a proud descendant of the most famous cats in all of Middle-earth. Both sides mind you.
That is why I will now allow myself to share a little of what happened in those days. No ordinary cat would dare, but then again, I am no ordinary cat.
I am Berúthiel’s own. Famed, gifted, beautiful. I am Alqualondë.
It started when I first saw him, riding in front of the wizard, one my former master was not fond of. I make not light of the situation, but will discuss it no further. He is dead and I am not. I, at least, have the good sense not to cross wizards, stewards or kings.
Be that as it may, it was dawn, my favorite time of day, and I was at my favorite place, the bow of the ship. Do not laugh. That is what he called it, Lord Denethor. He and I would meet there, for I would have been busy during the night, seeing to my duties, and he would just be coming from his study, finally leaving his paperwork for a brief moment’s respite.
This day – we did not find it. Instead, I watched as his brow furrowed. He had sight almost as fine as mine. I could tell, by the time the horse reached the Great Gate, that it was the wizard, though much changed in appearance. And, another strange sight, he rode upon a mearh. I had only seen one once before, long ages ago, but once one has seen a descendant of Felaróf, one does not soon forget. They watch their hooves. Never have I heard of a cat being hit by one, though the common horses oft hurt a cat who would walk the roads unawares.
He stroked my forehead, which pleased me greatly, and said, "Look, Alqua." He was the only one I let call me so familiarly. "Much has changed with our wizard. Will he deign to grace us with the reason of this change of appearance? How it came about?" A short chuckle. I lifted my back in appreciation of the jest. "I think not. Well then, I will not ask. I wonder, will he note that my own hairs have turned grayer and are more pronounced?" He paused a moment, "I wonder, does he know I have It and use It?"
We both watched his progress up the many levels, the mearh scarcely breathing hard. A great sight to see indeed. When the wizard reached the Fourth Level, I heard Lord Denethor draw in a sharp breath. That is when I first beheld the Ernil i Pheriannath. "A Halfling." A touch of awe colored his voice. "It is true." His hand left off its pleasant stroking and gripped the wall, hard enough for me to see the knuckles whiten.
‘Faramir should be here,’ I thought. I knew of the dream, knew of the prophecy, and yet it was, even with my great knowledge of Middle-earth’s history, a bit of a shock to see legend before my very eyes. Faramir would be delighted. The boy, I still continue to think of him as a boy. Did he not grow up in my very sight! The boy always did hope that the fanciful things he read about were true.
Lord Denethor abruptly turned and walked back into the Great Hall. As was my norm, I followed and placed myself in a propitious spot, where I could watch and hear all that occurred.
'This is one interview I will not miss!' though my stomach gurgled at the lack of my morning's milk.
A/N - 1) Ten cats belonging to the Queen of Gondor. Queen Berúthiel was the wife of Tarannon Falastur,
the twelfth King of Gondor. She had nine black cats and one white cat.
Her cats were stealthy and adept at finding their way in the dark.
Queen Berúthiel used the cats as spies in order to learn the secrets
that the people of Gondor wanted to keep hidden so that she could have
an advantage over them. She was able to speak with her cats or read
their minds in order to learn what they had discovered. The people of
Gondor hated and feared the cats, but the cats were not safe from Queen
Berúthiel either. She tormented them and she had the white cat spy on
the black cats. It is said that Tarannon Falastur set Queen Berúthiel
and her cats adrift at Sea and they were never seen again. Sources:
The Fellowship of the Ring: "A Journey in the Dark," p. 325
Unfinished Tales: "The Istari," p. 401-402 note 7 http://www.tuckborough.net/animals.html 2) Mearh is the singular form of mearas - Encyclopedia of Arda and Wikipedia LOTR.
Not sure if this is a single little shot... What am I saying??? Do I ever write a single shot! Well, truthfully, once in awhile. This little tale just kept me awake for two nights in a row and I decided I best write it down if I was ever to sleep again. Hope you enjoy the ride!