“You have to surrender and pay me tribute now,” he said loftily.
“I don’t have to do anything. You get out of my house.”
“Children,” pleaded Alasse, the woman assigned to watch them.
“Tell her I conquered her, she has to pay me tribute!” pouted Calion.
Alasse, who was Míriel’s nurse, was clearly at her wit’s end with the girl’s cousin. Already harried, she sighed and pled with him to play nicely.
“She has to pay tribute!” the boy insisted.
“That will be quite enough,” said a voice. Alasse turned in relief as the King’s Heir came striding up the garden path. Míriel, always heedless of the proper protocol when her father came to visit, raced into his arms.
“Calion is being mean,” she whimpered into his robe. “He won’t let me play.”
Holding his daughter in his arms, Inziladûn stared down at his nephew, who neither stood nor showed any other form of deference, but merely stared up at him defiantly. “Well, young man. Would you care to explain yourself?”
“I won. She has to pay me tribute.”
“I wasn’t even playing your stupid game!” cried Míriel.
Inziladûn gently shushed her. “Well then, lad, what sort of tribute do you think she ought to pay?”
“I should get to be King and she should have to do what I tell her.”
This boy’s arrogance, no doubt learned from his father, was too much. “There is already a King in Armenelos, and now his son is telling you to go clean yourself up. I will not send a ragamuffin home to the Lord Gimilkhâd. Now go, and come back when you have better manners.”
Calion, pulled to his feet by the nurse, pouted and complained until he was out of earshot. It was always the same complaint: he wouldn’t have to mind his manners if his father were King. Then he would be the King’s Heir and he could play whatever games he liked and his cousin Míriel wouldn’t be able to say anything about it.
Still holding his daughter, Inziladûn found a seat on a marble bench under the boughs of the White Tree and settled Míriel on his knee. “I would not have you play with him,” he said. “He is proud and willful, and these are not traits I would have you learn.”
“There’s nobody else to play with, atar.” Míriel quietly laid her head on her father’s shoulder. “I wish I had a sister.”
The child missed her mother too much, for Inziladûn had not heard this complaint while his wife lived. “Then I shall find you someone. Some of your mother’s ladies have daughters your age, I think. They would be happy to play with you.”
“Do I have to play anymore with Calion?”
“No, child, you do not. Sit up now, daughter, and look at me.” Inziladûn shifted his hold upon her, gently tugging up her chin so she could look into his eyes. She knew that he sometimes saw things that other Men did not see. When they did not think she could hear, or perhaps dismissing the child’s attention, the servants whispered about the prince’s long Sight. They said he had even seen the death of his wife months ere she fell ill. She wanted to ask him about it but was afraid. She wanted to ask if he had seen her in a dream but then, too, was afraid. Maybe it would be something she would not like, and then she would not want to know.
Her father’s voice was now grave and commanding. “Stay away from Calion, daughter. There is some darkness in him. I would not have you fall under that shadow.”
She nodded and said she would, though she did not quite understand all he said. “I won’t play with him anymore.”
Inziladûn smiled and was once again the loving father. “For now,” he said, “that will be enough.”
Míriel chewed her lip and asked, “Atar, what do you see? They say you see things that will happen, before they ever do. Is that true, atarinya?”
“Sometimes, hína, sometimes, though I should like to know who has been filling your head with such talk.” Her father buried his lips in her tousled hair and held her as though he would not answer. “Your cousin, he troubles me.”
“What do you see?”
When her father spoke next, his voice was distant, as if describing something faraway. “When I think on Calion, I hear in my mind the name Ar-Pharazôn. I see many ships and…and I see ruin.”
Young as she was, Míriel understood enough to answer that. “How can he be King, atarinya, when uncle Gimilkhâd isn’t the King’s Heir?”
“I do not know how this thing will come to pass, or if it will. Perhaps I will not live to be King, and then the Sceptre will pass to your uncle and then to his son.”
She did not like her uncle Gimilkhâd, the way he looked at her, his eyes cold and measuring, the way he called her Zimraphel, even though that was not her name. “My name is Míriel,” she told him, at which his lip curled slightly.
“That is what I said, foolish child,” he replied. Later it was her grandmother, Inzilbêth the Queen, who explained that Zimraphel was merely her name in Adûnaic, and that Gimilkhâd, like most Númenoreans, did not use Quenya.
Her father’s words made her afraid. She wished she had not asked, and yet, she could not help her pressing curiosity. “What will happen to me, atar?”
“I do not know,” he murmured. “I see a young woman at your cousin’s side and they call her Queen, but her face is in shadow. My heart tells me this is Calion’s wife. It could not be you, hinya, it could not.” He spoke with the tone of a man in disbelief over what he saw, one who was trying to convince himself of something. “No, it is not you,” he said suddenly. “Calion’s wife will come of the line of Elros, but you are his cousin, too close for marriage, and it cannot be you.
“But here you are wanting to know what will become of you. I do not know, hína. If I die before I become King, then you will go live among your mother’s people and some good marriage may be made for you. Númendil the Lord of Andúnië has a grandson, Elendil, who is your age. A good lad, I am told, not at all like your cousin. Perhaps you may wed with him, or with one of the great captains of that city. I am told the Eldar still come there in secret, bearing gifts and counsel. I know you have longed to see one of the Elder Race. I, too, should like to see them one day.” Inziladûn’s voice was wistful, and he seemed to hold her ever tighter, rocking her gently on his lap.
“Why don’t they come here, atar?” asked Míriel. “Don’t they like us anymore?”
“Child, it is we who have turned against them,” he answered. “It is Men who envy and despise the Eldar because they are immortal and we are not. But through the gift of Eru Ilúvatar, when our days end we are released from our cares and leave the circles of Arda to join Him.”
“Is that where mamil is?”
A hand stroked her hair, smoothing back the stray strands. “Yes, she is with the One now.”
“That’s not what Grandfather says, and uncle Gimilkhâd.”
For a moment, his embrace was distant and unyielding. “Because they do not believe anymore,” he said. His voice was cold, and she was afraid because she knew to speak thus made him angry. Sometimes she heard him argue with her uncle and grandfather, and always they called him a fool.
Tilting his head, he looked at her. “You have been listening where you should not, yes?”
“I am sorry, atar, but I could not help it.” She lowered her eyes to her lap. “I heard shouting, and they said terrible things.”
To her relief, he was not angry with her. “Men say terrible things in their fear, and your uncle and grandfather fear death. But I believe in the gift of the One, even as your mother believed.”
“Why did she have to die?”
“Because her days were ended, hinya, and there was no leechcraft to cure what ailed her. She was sad, but she was not afraid. And no, Míriel,” he said, pressing his lips to her hair, “I did not foresee her death, for I know that question has long been on your lips. I do not see all things, and some of the things I have seen I do not wish to see.”
“What, atar? Are they bad things?”
He waited a moment before answering. So long, in fact, she began to think he would not answer at all. “Míriel, my jewel, do not ask me again.”
hína: (Quenya) daughter
hinya: (Quenya) my daughter
mamil: (Quenya) mother
atarinya: (Quenya) my father
According to the “Line of Elros” in Unfinished Tales, Calion is one year younger than Míriel.
Inziladûn is better known by his Quenya name, Palantír. However, his father Ar-Gimilzôr is King at the time the story takes place, and it seems that Inziladûn did not change his name until after he took the Sceptre.
According to The Peoples of Middle Earth, HoME XII, Elendil was born in 3119 and is two years younger than Míriel. This is rather at odds with Tolkien's statement that Calion/Pharazôn and Amandil were great friends in their youth, as they are apparently not of the same generation.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.