lindahoyland (lindahoyland) wrote,

Of Cats and Kings

B2MeM Challenge: Picture Prompt – Thieving Cat
Format: Short story
Genre: Character study, humour
Rating: G
Warnings: none
Characters: OFC, Aragorn, Faramir
Pairings: none
Summary: A cat steals a chop and an old woman reluctantly attends a coronation.
The characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate. No profit has been, nor will be made from this story.
A/n Some words are taken directly from Tolkien. A sequel to “Greeting the Dawn”

Back to Middle-earth Month 2015 Participant

Fëanor‘s crowing woke Idril from a deep slumber. She yawned as she tried to recall what was supposed to be happening that day. Ah yes, they were going to crown that new king, Elessar, or whatever his name was and the standard of the Stewards would fly over Gondor for the last time today. She was not pleased by this turn of events at all. Who was this Elessar fellow in any case to think he could just help himself to Gondor’s crown? What did he know about the land and her people? She hadn’t liked Lord Denethor, but Lord Faramir was different. He would have made a good Steward, but this Elessar was usurping his birth- right and all because he claimed descent from someone who died thousands of years ago!

At least Lord Faramir had recovered, thanks to this Elessar, folk said; well maybe poor Lord Faramir felt so obliged to him that he offered him the crown. Well, she didn’t intend to traipse all the way down to where the main gate had stood to see Elessar crowned. She had a nice chop for her noonday meal and once she had been to the fishmonger to get Beren a treat, she would stay at home for the rest of the day.

Beren mewed and sat up from where he had been curled beside her on the bed. She stroked his head for a few moments until he began his morning ablutions, which Idril always took as a sign to begin her own.

She washed and dressed as quickly as her old bones would allow then went outside to feed Fëanor and the hens and collect the eggs. Fëanor strutted around, condescending only to take the best grains from her. It seemed the rooster had already forgotten the hardship of the siege. It was a beautiful spring morning and Idril decided to brush the courtyard when she returned from the fishmonger. That would be a far more productive way to spend the day than watching some king strutting around like her old cockerel!

Idril went back inside and checked her larder. The chop looked succulent and delicious and her mouth watered at the thought of the meal she would have later. She had better get moving, for the merchants would close early today.

She put on her cloak, made her way to the fishmonger, and bought a large fish for Beren. The tom was a good companion and deserved the best. She would cook the fish in milk just the way he liked it. She bumped into several acquaintances on the way home and paused to talk to them. It seemed they were all going to the coronation. A small flicker of doubt started to attack Idril’s resolve. Maybe she was missing something. Her resolve strengthened again. No, she wasn’t going to watch poor Lord Faramir have his rights taken from him. Why she might say something that could get her into trouble and then where would her poor creatures be? She would enjoy her chop and spend a pleasant day with Beren and the chickens.

As she entered her courtyard, she caught sight of a flash of ginger fur. Beren raced past her out into the street, clutching her chop in his mouth! Idril stood there clutching the fish. “Bad cat, come back!” she cried. Beren ignored her. He leapt up on to a nearby wall and began to eat his prize.

Maeglin, her neighbour was looking out of his window and laughing his head off. Idril glared at him. “What is so funny?” she demanded. “Beren has stolen my noonday meal!”

Maeglin laughed. “Well you did name your cat after the hero who stole a jewel from the Evil One’s crown,” he said. “But why are you cooking today? There will be food aplenty at the coronation feast.”

Idril snorted and went inside. She realised at once that she had left the larder door unfastened and the wily Beren had been swift to take advantage of her carelessness. There was nothing for it but to cook the fish for her own noonday meal. She looked at it doubtfully. It seemed to glare at her balefully with its dead eyes. Idril decided she didn’t fancy fish today. She sighed. Maybe she should go to the coronation after all, not that she held with this Northern nobody supplanting Lord Faramir.

She washed the smell of fish from her hands and changed her gown. Not for Elessar, but in case any of her neighbours saw her. She didn’t want them thinking her shabby. She went out through the courtyard, bidding Fëanor guard the house. Beren still sat on the wall, carefully washing his whiskers. She glared him. He ignored her.

Idril slowly made her way down to where the main gate used to be before those murdering devils destroyed it. Her spirits lifted as she walked. The weather was perfect for a stroll and the City was decorated with flowers. Despite the damage from the war, it looked fairer than she had ever seen it.

She could hear music playing as she approached the wide space in front of the walls and could see musicians playing harps and viols to entertain the crowd. She was still quite early and found a good vantage point.

After a while, the music stopped and a procession approached. First came a bunch of Elessar’s Northern cronies, trust them to be given pride of place, then a tall man who was clad in black mail girt with silver, over which he wore a white mantle. There was something oddly familiar about him. With him were that meddling wizard and one of those fair-haired horse lords and Prince Imrahil. Shame on him for taking part in this spectacle to replace his nephew! Then came four richly garbed small figures. Idril thought at first they were children, but their faces were too old to be. Then she realised they must be Perian! Such tales she had heard about these little folk! People were saying two of them went to the Black Country and set fire to the Dark Lord’s tower! Surely, that couldn’t be true. They looked such harmless little creatures.

A single trumpet then sounded and Lord Faramir appeared together with Húrin of the keys. They were followed by four Citadel Guards bearing a large casket.

To Idril’s disgust, Faramir knelt before the tall man in black and offered him a white rod. He took the rod and immediately gave it back, saying: ‘That office is not ended, and it shall be thine and thy heirs’ as long as my line shall last. Do now thy office!”

Idril’s opinion of the stranger softened. He was not dismissing Lord Faramir after all. He was smiling at the Steward. It was then that she recognised him. It was Captain Thorongil! Well she never did, coming back after all these years and still as handsome as ever!

Then Faramir stood up and faced the crowd. Idril had never seen him look so radiantly happy before. He spoke in a clear voice: “People of Gondor hear now the Steward of this Realm! Behold! one has come to claim the kingship again at last. Here is Aragorn son of Arathorn, chieftain of the Dúnedain of Arnor, Captain of the Host of the West, bearer of the Star of the North, wielder of the Sword Reforged, victorious in battle, whose hands bring healing, the Elfstone, Elessar of the line of Valandil, Isildur’s son, Elendil’s son of Númenor. Shall he be king and enter into the City and dwell there?”

The people all cried “Yea” and Idril added her voice to the shouts. If ever a man was right kingly and deserved a crown it was Captain Thorongil! To think that she had almost missed all this. The Valar be praised that Beren had stolen her chop. She would cook him that fish as soon as she got home. Such an excellent cat he was!
Tags: btme15, short stories

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