Goldberry had initially signed-off at this point—and a tear had fallen on the paper. But she had scratched out her signature and taken another sheet…
I tried to be helpful, but I’m afraid I was an awful burden on you. Yet I like to think I did my little bit in the end.
Tom had a palantír, you know. Or perhaps you don’t. It’s the Stone of Amon Sul. The sea nymphs, my sisters, recovered it from the ice-wreck of Arvedui Last-King’s ship and entrusted it to our care. Because, like us, they knew it shouldn’t just drop out of history. They knew it had one more part to play in the unfolding of the world. Now I’m taking it back with me to the sea.
When we parted in the bistro in Minas Ithil, before I followed you to Minas Tirith, bringing Snargy as you asked, I went back and fetched Tom’s palantír from my apartment. While you were in prison I crept secretly into Rath Dínen, where the kings of Gondor lie sleeping eternity away. When they brought you upstairs for trial I was once again sitting on the tomb of Denethor, watching it all happen. Just like Tom and I used to do by the pools of the Brandywine.
Once again I took the blackened palantír from Denethor’s scorched hands (he was always thinking about the Ruling Ring and it’s still in there—you can see it among the flames!) and I touched it against the Stone of Amon Sul. Tom lent me all his strength—I have none of my own that does not go with the river’s flow. He gave me everything he had to give.
I was watching you the whole time. When Elandrine came down the steps to strike you dead in front of the whole court, she hadn’t wanted you and her to be invisible. She’d wanted to make an exhibition of herself making an example of you. To give you a chance—by cloaking you in the protection of the elf rings—that was my little contribution.
Then, in that last mad dash through the bedrooms and secret stairs of the White Tower, I switched the power of the rings on and off by touching and parting the palantíri. You may have wondered why the rings would suddenly work one minute and not the next. Well, that was me—nudging you along. And then, when that horrible Imalad met his end, in that very instant Tom expired. And I flopped back on the marble slab beside the skeleton of the old steward. It was hours before I could make the effort to put his palantír back in his bony fingers, pick up Tom’s and drag myself back to Minas Ithil in time to catch the stagecoach out here.
Have fun with Elandrine. I shall miss you both.
I sat there letting the tears stream down my face. Lady Éowyn didn’t say anything. She just went and got me a cup of hot camomile tea and sat and waited. She didn’t ask questions. She just let me cry it out of my system.
Then I got up, took my leave of Lady Éowyn and went in search of Snargy. He was playing on the grass outside, even though it was too dark to see much by. He wouldn’t come in. He doesn’t like old people. At that age you don’t have to bother with them, do you.
“Have you been crying?” he accused.
“Don’t be silly,” I sniffled. “Big men like me don’t cry.”
We mounted up on Bess and plodded back to Osgiliath by way of Minas Ithil, where we stopped off for an ice cream each at the bistro with the green slatted chairs.
“What’ll we do now?” asked Snargy.
“How’d you fancy going way out East tomorrow, beyond the Sea of Rhûn?”
“What’s out there?”
“Well, that’s where old Treebeard got himself chopped up for firewood. He was looking for the entwives, so Quickbeam told me over a bucket of green water. He called Treebeard a silly old fool.”
“Well he was, wasn’t he?”
“Look here my boy. Don’t you see? What if we find the entwives—where Treebeard failed? Think of the fame! Think of the fortune! Why, the ents alone now…”
“What will the ents do for us?”
“Well… we’ll be set up in buckets of green water for life!”