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Something Borrowed by Celeritas

Author:  Celeritas
Title:  Something Borrowed
Rating:  PG
Theme:  The Wedding of Your Nightmares
Elements:  "Something Borrowed"  (duh!)
Author's Notes:  This story is dedicated fondly to those who have followed Helge Fauskanger's "Ideas for a Westernesse Movie," particularly Fauskanger himself (who is responsible for the image at the end of the story) and nyarendil who first theorized one of the political reasons for Miriel's agreeing to marry Pharazon--namely, that she would probably outlive him in the end.  
Summary:  Tar-Miriel reflects on the day she bound her life away.
Word Count:  542

It should have rained on that day.


She thinks that maybe, if it had rained, she might have had some sort of premonition of what would happen.  It would not have been too late to change things.


She shakes her head; she knows that dwelling on might-have-beens leads to madness.  No one, except perhaps her father, could have known he would take things this far.


She remembers very little of the day itself, just vague memories of cold white marble and a golden splendor that belied the lead in her heart.


She did not think she was signing the rest of her life away then, oh no, for she was of a stronger line than he and did not fear death.  Just a century or so, to wait until he died, and then in the years that remained to her she could restore what could be restored and choose a worthy heir.


The alternative was unthinkable at the time, for her people were all of Westernesse, not just those who believed as she did, and she would not risk a civil war.


She used every art she had to gain a week’s time after the proposal, to weigh her options and make up her mind.  Pharazôn had granted it to her too willingly.


And though she knew what choice she would make if she were her own, she knew she belonged not to herself but to all of Númenor.


She could find no other option.  Neither could Amandil.  And when at last she had made that choice that no one should have to make, that no one other could have made, he only had the cold comfort that had sustained her through the wedding and many of the past years of her life: It is only for a time.  You will survive him.  Be strong, and do what you can.


And that is what she has done.  She has seen glimpses of the hushed meetings and the strange lights in people’s eyes since Sauron suggested a way to cheat death.  She has seen animals go missing.


She has looked into the hearts of the servants, and sent those who she could far away to better masters.


She knew it would be harder than she expected, but nothing could have prepared her for this.  The Faithful had waited such periods out before, she told herself.  They would do it again.


But now she feels doom pressing against her, smothering her in its velvet grasp.  However things turn out, she knows for a fact that she will be the last Queen of Númenor, and she will never hold the Sceptre in her hand again.


It is not clear today, for white smoke obscures the sun.  Her father was foresighted and she does not doubt his visions.


She picks up the Scroll of the Kings and unrolls it, the long list of names from Elros Half-elven who chose Man’s lot for himself and his line all the way down to Tar-Míriel and Tar-Calion her consort.  She draws out the quill she brought for this purpose, and dips it into the golden ink of the scribes.  With a steady hand she draws a line beneath her name.  The line of the Kings of Númenor is complete.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 9th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
Sad, scary, and a true nightmare! Poor Miriel, I never thought a great deal about *why* she married him before-- I suppose I always assumed she had no choice. But this makes it in some ways even worse, to see a choice made for reasons that simply relied on wrong assumptions.
Jul. 9th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
To be fair this story was written with ideas created for a theoretical Westernesse movie, in which we must have a strong, but tragic, heroine. So giving her more options, and suggesting that refusal would have led to civil war, is slightly better than the "marry me or die" scenario. But I'd also like to think that Miriel actually was someone of enough character to go through with this and do what good she could.

The idea that she might outlive Pharazon (and indeed, have banked on this) is not, of course, my own. But I thought it'd fit in well here given that I've included other political ideas not included in Tolkien's account.
Jul. 9th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
A chilling,heartrending and spine tingling tale.Brilliant, I loved it.
Jul. 9th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! I always felt really bad for Miriel, not least because things just happened to her and she was never able to do anything about it. The idea that at some point she knew she was doomed only makes it more tragic.
Jul. 9th, 2009 09:27 am (UTC)
Nightmare indeed, and not all that far-fetched that Númenor might have fallen into civil war otherwise; I'm not certain that the assumption she would outlive Pharazôn would be 'safe' to make, given how close kin they are, but that doesn't distract from the fic.
Jul. 9th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
I'm not certain either, and I did try my best to find where the theory was originally voiced as I'm sure there was more to it than what I actually said. But I couldn't find it and just finally decided to write the darn thing.

Honestly, if Miriel didn't have a choice, I think she could take whatever comfort she could get.
Jul. 10th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
I was merely wondering *g* It may well be correct, given that there seems to be a spiritual component to Númenorean longevity; but whether Miriel would know that? Anyway, she can do with that comfort.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 9th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I always felt bad for Miriel. :-(
Jul. 9th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
This is indeed a marriage out of nightmares.
Jul. 9th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
I think the only one that comes close to it (especially depending on what you think the story behind it is) is Aredhel/Eol. And since apparently there wasn't a wedding for that one it's kind of hard to write about it.
Jul. 10th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
As someone who is not at all familiar with these characters (*g*) I found this very moving and sad. I really enjoy your writing style and phrasing. Lovely piece.
Jul. 11th, 2009 12:00 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

Honestly, like most characters who only show up in The Silmarillion there's not much to know about the last Numenoreans. Almost everything, at least as far as motivations go, is speculation. ^_^
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
Truly there could be no marriage that turned out to be as much a nightmare as this one!

Some of Tolkien's own more obscure writings (early concepts, apparently) indicate that Miriel chose to marry Pharazon and may actually have loved him--at least at first. But I doubt she foresaw to what he would come once he married her and took the Sceptre for his own.

Well done, and I can so imagine her doing just as she did at the end. Tar-Calion preferred to be Ar-Pharazon the betrayer and betrayed, alas. Why he accepted Sauron as a counselor....
Jul. 11th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
I dunno; some interpretations of Aredhel/Eol look to be pretty nightmarish, too!

As I recall the earlier concepts deal with Miriel being complicit in Pharazon's treachery (lovingly called "Bad Miriel"), so I'm not sure how much of that carries over to the later conceptions of her. But it's fun when writers mix the two, even if I haven't done that myself.

I do love that image at the end. It comes straight (well, almost. I changed the timing of it a little) from Helge Fauskanger's "Ideas for a Westernesse Movie," which is highly entertaining and may be found here: http://folk.uib.no/hnohf/num-intro.htm.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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