Title: Something Borrowed
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.