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Midsummer Prayer by Zdenka

Author: Zdenka
Title: Midsummer Prayer
Rating: G
Theme: "Celebrate"
Elements: The late afternoon was bright and peaceful. The flowers glowed red and golden: snap-dragons and sun-flowers, and nasturtiums trailing all over the turf walls and peeping in at the round windows.
Author's Notes: Erulaitalë, the Númenórean midsummer festival, was one of three times in the year when the King (or Queen) of Númenor traditionally ascended the sacred mountain Meneltarma and spoke aloud in prayer.
Summary: Míriel keeps Erulaitalë as best she can.
Word Count: 144, according to MS Word

“Kharun,” the queen says, “pick me some flowers.”

It is midsummer, and the gardens of Armenelos shine in the late afternoon sunlight. Her youngest handmaid cheerfully runs back and forth, returning at last with bright eyes and wind-tossed hair and her hands full of red and golden flowers, large sunflowers incongruously mixed with more delicate blossoms.

Míriel gently clasps the flowers and stands facing Meneltarma. In utter silence, barely moving her lips, the Queen of Númenor recites the Erulaitalë prayer of praise. She does not know if she believes the words; her heart is empty and her spirit is weighed down with grief and fear. But she is queen, and this is her duty.

She waits, looking toward the distant mountain. No sign of an eagle; not even a songbird flashing through the trees. She turns away.

“Come,” she says, “let us go in.”

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
talullahred
Sep. 22nd, 2014 01:09 pm (UTC)
This is so sad in a subdued way.

"But she is queen, and this is her duty." That's exactly how I picture her. Míriel has such an unfortunate fate but she holds on.

Lovely.
lignota
Sep. 22nd, 2014 02:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much.
shirebound
Sep. 22nd, 2014 01:25 pm (UTC)
What a discouraging, uncertain time for them, yet in some hearts there was still hope... and a sense of quiet duty. Very nicely written.
lignota
Sep. 22nd, 2014 02:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.
dreamflower02
Sep. 22nd, 2014 01:45 pm (UTC)
"She is queen, and this is her duty."

There is something so very Tolkien about this ficlet--of going on, keeping faith, and doing one's duty even when hope has waned. "Endurance beyond hope".

Edited at 2014-09-22 01:45 pm (UTC)
lignota
Sep. 22nd, 2014 01:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you -- that's a very high compliment.
curiouswombat
Sep. 22nd, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
Poor Míriel.
lignota
Sep. 22nd, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think things must have been difficult for her.
kgreen20
Sep. 25th, 2014 03:22 am (UTC)
And then, she died. She was killed when Numenor was buried under the ocean. If only she could have escaped on one of the ships!
lignota
Sep. 25th, 2014 04:58 am (UTC)
I agree that it's tragic and it seems unfair. It's hard to tell from canon how much she knew about what the Faithful were planning, or how difficult it was for them to get word to her.
keiliss
Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC)
Love the contrast you've drawn between the bright flowers and the Queen's grief and fear. And doing her duty despite her doubts. Nice work.
lignota
Sep. 22nd, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much.
hhimring
Sep. 22nd, 2014 10:31 pm (UTC)
Such an effective contrast between the spirit in which Kharun gathers those flowers and Miriel's bleak steadfastness.
lignota
Sep. 23rd, 2014 12:21 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
lindahoyland
Sep. 23rd, 2014 02:46 am (UTC)
Poetic and heartrending.
lignota
Sep. 23rd, 2014 03:19 am (UTC)
Thank you.
blslarner
Oct. 22nd, 2014 06:43 pm (UTC)
I've always grieved that Miriel could not follow the older ways, whether it was due to her husband's stubborn envy of the longer life of Elves or his suspicions of the Valar's intent. Good portrayal, although it would have perhaps been better for her had she dared to ascend the mountain herself.
lignota
Oct. 22nd, 2014 07:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

Tolkien doesn't say anything about Miriel's day-to-day situation or what she was feeling, so I realize this is only one of many possible interpretations: as I imagine it, she was closely watched and couldn't defy Ar-Pharazon openly, or she risked being imprisoned and losing what little power she had. (I realize I probably didn't convey that in 144 words.)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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