The cruel wind bites harshly at her nose and mauls at her ears. Her hair whips at her face and neck, her eyes sting and burn from the salt of tears.
She does not want to be here. She wants nothing to do with these people. Home is all she wants. Home, family, warmth and security. She has none of these anymore.
“What is your name?”
She turns her head and looks at the boy standing beside her. He is a sturdy lad, around the age of fifteen, with clear eyes, dark hair and tanned features, from hard days of work in the sun. She had seen him around the village before, working with the horses and tending them. She knows that she should be grateful to him, a kind soul amid the cruel. Instead, she cannot help but hate him to her utter depths. She needs to place the blame on someone, so she will make him guilty, at least in her mind.
He searches her face for an answer and does not see the malice within her heart. She wishes the King’s Men would come and do something to him.
“Mírima,” she answers, turning her head back to the shore, which is far off in the distance.
“My name is Zimrukhâd,” he continues.
Mírima turns her head further away, to let him know she does not want to talk to him anymore. He does not get her point.
“I do not suppose you have ever seen any of the Fair folk before, have you? The Elves?”
Of course she hasn’t seen any elves. She is only nine and the elves only came to the Isle in secret, everyone knows that.
There is a twitching anger within her. Mírima wishes she could throw Zimrukhâd overboard and cast him into the reeling seas; let him know what it feels like to have someone take charge of your life without any mercy.
“No, I have not seen any.”
He nods, rubbing his hands together for warmth and looking up at the overcast sky.
“Well, I have heard that perhaps sometime soon we will all be able to see them,” he says.
Looking up at the clouds too, Mírima doesn’t reply to him. She thinks Zimrukhâd is a fool with foolish dreams and desires.
There are dark clouds that block most of the sky. It is once again a blood colour, as it has been for the past days. Mírima doesn’t know what the time is. There is no sun, yet it is not quite dark. You lose track of time when you are being swallowed and regurgitated by the terrors Fate. Mírima closes her eyes and thinks back over what has happened since she had left her mother in the woods.
They had reached the ships in the harbour and had been accepted onto one of the smaller ones, Zimrukhâd’s horse (or rather Azrubêl’s horse) was allowed on board as well. Mírima then heard Zimrukhâd talking to an older man who questioned him, and she learned that he was an orphan from the town of Nindamos. He came to Rómenna over a year ago and had since been working for Azrubêl.
Then, as the boy had spoken, the King’s Men came to the shore to take more of the Faithful. The man questioning Zimrukhâd had left them to help the other mariners, and ships left the shore before anyone could be claimed.
Mírima opens her eyes again. Zimrukhâd hasn’t left her since the ship was anchored again into the sea, asking her if she was all right, and offering her food and drink. He does not understand how I feel, the stupid boy, she thinks.He has never known the true meaning of family, so he can never understand me.
“Mírima…do you know if there is anyone on this ship, or perhaps one of the others…someone who will look after you?” he asks, slowly, after their few moments of silence, listening to the thunderous sounds.
Mírima’s lips are tightly pursed together before she answers him.
“There is none.”
Mirima knows the truth. Perhaps she was a child when she was driven from her house, but she is not that child anymore. She has become a victim of plain cruelty and injustice. She has been robbed of her old self and has seen the rape of her village. She knows better than she did before; her eyes have been opened to the reality of the world. She has been forced to grown up.
Those men were sent to destroy her life and the lives of other innocent people. Mírima knows that despite his promise, she will not meet her father on the ship. He will not come for her. He is probably now dead; nothing but charred bones from defending their burning house.
She will not see her mother either. Tálith has sacrificed herself for her daughter. She is probably dead by now too, Mírima thinks, or barely alive.
No, there is none on board any of the ships of Elendil and his sons who will be there to hold Mírima and care for her. She now too is an orphan, like Zimrukhâd, alone in a vast world. Even if there was someone there for her, Mírima sees now that there will always be evil in the world to ruin her life and the lives of others.
Mírima is no longer a child, but still she is hurting like a child would. Alone, she desperately wants ammê.
But what is this?
Mírima looks at Zimrukhâd wide eyed, the salt in the sea air adding to the sting from her tears. He has taken her hand in his, two cold hands entwined together, and he looks down upon her. Though his face is emotionless, she sees in his eyes a warm tenderness.
“You do not have to worry. I will look after you,” he says gently.
Mírima is silent for a few seconds, only staring at Zimrukhâd.
She is mentally berating herself for thinking of him the way she had. If it weren’t for him, she would have been dead.
Her lips tremble a little and then before Mírima can stop herself, she is in the boy’s arms, crying into his chest.
Mírima is not a child anymore…but she is still only nine years of age. She is still unstable like a babe when it first stands.
The sky soon starts to cry like Mírima, first lightly drizzling, and then battering heavily. The little ships in the tumults of water begin to sway uncertainly.
“Get below!” the mariners of Anárion’s ship shout to Mírima and others who shouldn’t really be there, because they were ordered a while ago to stay below deck.
Covering both of them with his jacket, Zimrukhâd carefully leads Mírima beneath the deck of the ship. Mírima is still crying, but the rain is hiding it. She feels ashamed of herself for the outburst.
Beneath the deck there are many others; widowed women with crying children, orphans, young couples, old couples, the remains of broken families. Aged men sit on their own in the corners, muttering and shaking their heads.
Mírima and Zimrukhâd find themselves a seat beside the bags of flour. Already sitting there is a group of young people, two boys and an older looking girl. One of the boys and the girl look the same – probably brother and sister.
Mírima sniffles and puts on a bold face. Zimrukhâd nods at them and shakes the boys’ hands. He seems to already know them.
“This is Mírima,” he says, pointing to her.
The girl smiles warmly at Mírima and moves her ragged shawl away from next to where she was seated.
“You can sit here,” she says.
Mírima lamely smiles back and sits down next to the girl. Zimrukhâd and the boys start to talk with each other quietly, the girls listen to them.
She leans against the side of ship and feels the waves hitting the ship through the planks, along with the cold. Mírima’s only belongings were in the rucksack packed by Tálith, and that was now lying somewhere in the midst of the trees, dirty and cold, covered with rain water and perhaps Tálith’s blood. She is not wearing anything very warm either, and so she shivers silently with the cold of her wet clothes as she listens to the boys.
The girl looks down at her with a frown and offers her muddy, torn shawl.
“For warmth?” she asks quietly, handing it to Mírima.
Mírima smiles feebly and takes the shawl, saying, “Thank you.”
“That is no problem,” the older girl says kindly.
“Gimilbêth is my na-”
Suddenly from outside there is a large roar, and inside the ship screams follow. Everything seems to be rocking and toppling over and Mírima’s world seems to tip to the left. Gimilbêth is shrieking, and so is Mírima, as the ship then tips right and everything slides. Crying aloud, Zimrukhâd falls on top of Mírima. Screaming, she is crushed between the boy’s weight and hard wood.
The ship rocks the other way again and Zimrukhâd is thrown off of Mírima, landing hard against a wooden crate of goods. Mírima tries to hold onto something and finds herself grasping onto Gimilbêth.
“Hold on!” the girl screams, taking Mírima’s hand.
Suddenly Mírima feels wet, and from everyone else’s screams she can see that they too are feeling the moisture. Water has slipped from the deck into the ship and it drenches everyone who squirms to keep their place on the floor. It is icy cold and salty, and it sloshes in Mírima’s face, stinging her skin. With the taste and smell of the salt and the jolting of the ship, Mírima begins to feel sick and wants to vomit.
“What is happening?” she manages to wail at Gimilbêth while the ship tips again.
Gimilbêth is clutching onto Mírima’s hands, and is desperately trying to tie herself and Mírima to the hooks in the bulkhead of the ship with some chain and rope for some stability.
“I do not know!” she shouts back. “Here, hold onto the chain! Do not let go!”
Mírima nods and grabs onto the chain, wrapping it twice around her wrists. Now that she is somewhat stable she can see everyone else in the hold of the ship. Zimrukhâd and the boys are all struggling to hold onto a sliding crate. There are women sitting on the deck, trying to hold their children up above the water and trying not to slide with the ship.
The hatch, from where Mírima and Zimrukhâd entered below deck, opens and more water comes in. In staggers one of the mariners. He is coughing and drenched with water.
Mírima can hear thunder and a great wailing, deep and inhuman. The noise reminds her of mountains.
“Men!” the mariner shouts, standing up in the water and looking around. “We need more men to manage the ship! We need to leave now and we need more men to help us!”
Immediately many of the young men try to stand up in the rocking ship to volunteer. Zimrukhâd and the boys volunteer too. Gimilbêth’s brother crawls over to them and he shakily kisses his sister, saying, “I shall be back soon,” and then follows the stream of people exiting.
Zimrukhâd looks back to Mírima before he leaves too, and gives her a fleeting smile, and then disappears up the stairs to the surface of the ship.
The ship continues to jolt here and there, but not as much as it first did, as the ship moves away from the Isle. Mírima stares at the door with a frown. The mariners should be handling the ship better with their extra help, but she does not understand.
The mariner who came in said that they needed to leave. But why? Was not the ship safe enough?
“Why are we leaving the Yôzâyan?” she asks Gimilbêth beside her.
“Perhaps it is because of the storm,” the older girl answers.
Mírima is quiet with thought. She suddenly hates the ship. Attû lied to her; he said that the ship would keep them safe. Mírima thought that it was a refuge from the evil men, not a cargo ship bearing them wherever the mariners wished.
“But I do not want to go,” she says to Gimilbêth.
Gimilbêth looks at her for a moment, pity in her eyes.
“Neither do the rest of us, but evil has come upon the Isle. The Anadûnê is not as it once was. We cannot stay here…if we do, then we shall perish.”
At the moment Mírima thinks that it is better to perish in the land she was born in than to start her life anew in an unknown land alone, without anyone there to love and care for her.
“Are you cold?” Gimilbêth asks, offering another dirty and ragged cloth.
There is still water seeping in from the deck of the ship and Mírima feels the cold. She shakes her head though. She wants Tálith’s dirty swathe, not Gimilbêth’s.
“Come,” Gimilbêth says, standing up with effort as the ship sways. “Let us sit on these crates so we do not get wetter.”
Mírima obediently stands up and follows Gimilbêth on top of the crates that are against the walls of the ship. She sits with her back to the wooden wall. The water is no longer splashing on Mírima’s face or spitting salt into her eyes, but she does not feel safe up on the crates while the ship is rocking.
Gimilbêth is smart and has chosen crates that have been tied to the wall. The other crates are sliding here and there, but not the ones they are on. She gives Mírima a small smile, sitting beside her and covering both of their legs with her ratty swathe. Mírima still does not feel safe. She will never feel safe until she is in the arms of Tálith or Huor. That will never be.
“It would be best if we held onto the chains, just in case,” Gimilbêth says, giving Mírima the iron bonds.
Mírima carefully twines them around her wrists and then slumps where she is. The girl was right to hold onto the chains, for just as Mírima lets her hands down with the chains, the ship jolts and everyone slides, everyone except Mírima and Gimilbêth on the crate.
From the top of the crate Mírima can see everyone in the room. The little children cling to each other stupidly and slide here and there with the water. The old women and men are huddled in a corner, offering each other warmth and comfort. Many of the women are alone, their men are on the deck helping the mariners steer the ship. All the babies are crying madly.
Mírima doesn’t know why they are crying. At least they still have their mothers to hold them.
Beside the crate she is seated on, there is a woman on the floor, hugging her daughter. Both of their faces are ruddy and they both look frightened. The little girl in the woman’s lap looks the same age as Mírima. Mírima stares down at them.
They remind her of Tálith and herself. Mírima wonders if they had someone like Huor in their family, who told them to come to the ship for safety, who stayed behind to guard their burning home.
“Ammê…I’m frightened,” the little girl whimpers in her mother’s arms.
The woman holds her child closer to her breast and kisses her brow.
Mírima’s bottom lip trembles and her eyes are glazed with tears as she stares at them. The stupid girl. What has she got to be afraid of?
“Hush my love…” the mother says soothingly, stroking her daughter’s matted hair. “We are safe now. Remember what attû said?”
The mother too is being foolish with hope, Mírima thinks as she sniffs and blinks away the tears.
“Where is attû?”
“He must be on another ship, love.”
The woman’s voice sounds strained as she says the last sentence. Mírima can see tears in her eyes.
“I want to go home, ammê. I don’t like it here,” the girl cries.
Her mother holds the little girl tightly, kissing her again and rocking her like a babe in arms.
With tears, Mírima watches the mother and daughter. Slowly the girl drifts off to sleep in the strong and secure arms of her mother, despite the constant swaying of the ship and the roaring outside.
Mírima wishes she has someone to hold her and to assure her that everything will be fine, even though she is aware it will not. She has no one. Gimilbêth is a stranger. Zimrukhâd is also a stranger, but at least he is someone, even though Mírima does not particularly like him. He is the only person now that she has.
She tries to hide her face from Gimilbêth and rests her head on her bent knees, her eyes looking at the woman and her child beside her crate.
The little girl is asleep and the mother sits there motionlessly, her eyes closed and tears dribbling down her cheeks.
Mírima hears the prayer the woman mutters and she closes her eyes, listening to the words and pretending it is her ammê who speaks the words:
Nothing affright thee;
All things are passing
God never changeth;
Attaineth to all things;
Who God posseth
Alone God sufficeth.
In her mind’s eye she sees Tálith whispering the same words as she lies on the forest floor where Mírima last saw her.
The grass about her mother’s body is fresh and emerald green, speckled with mauve and cream flowers, sweet smelling as the flowers of the Nísimaldar. There are fresh flowers in Tálith’s hair and she in dressed in a white gown. Mírima sees her mother as flawless and completely unstained, other than her tear-streaked cheeks.
Everything in the woods is silent except for Tálith, whispering her prayer to The One. She says the last line and then, with a sigh, she dies, a small smile upon her lips and her brows unworried, committing her spirit to He whom she placed all her trust in.
More jolts of furious water thrust the ship here and there. Beneath her, Mírima hears a deep groaning. She doesn’t know if it’s the ship that is groaning or if it is something else. The groaning continues and again Mírima is reminded of the mountains. There is more noise now, creaks and rumbles.
Evil has come upon the Isle? Perhaps the mountains have stepped on the feet of the river. Stepping on the feet of other people has always been an evil thing in Mírima’s eyes. It is also an evil thing in the river’s eyes. He gets angry with the mountains and calls with a deep voice to his friend, the sea, to aid him. The watery force then assails the mountains. Mírima plays out the little scenario she has devised in her head.
Little does she know that what she imagines is slowly becoming a reality for Tálith and all the others still on the Isle.
Mírima’s crying is not heard over the terror of the sea and the screams of the women and children.
Neither is Tálith’s as she tries to run. The cart was overturned when the ground first started to tremble and she ran as far as she could as the whole of the Isle violently shook and crumbled beneath her feet.
As her daughter imagines her, she is screaming prayers to The One to have mercy and to relieve her from the bonds of life.
Eru Ilúvatar hears her prayer. At the same moment Mírima imagines her mother saying the last lines of the prayer, a tree falls on top of Tálith and she is dead before the earth crumbles and the mouths of the sea opens to devour the land. Her body is crushed beneath the weight of the great trunk and as the world sinks, it all falls on top of her body. When the devastation is over, not even Uinen’s bright eyes will be able to find her body to mourn. Tálith dies cold, scared, dirty, bleeding and broken -- everything contrary to what Mírima imagines. But still, she dies.
With her face buried in her hands and her head shielded by her legs and knees, Mírima cries quietly to herself. The ship rocks, the ocean roars and the babies scream. She is not heard or noticed. She is only a girl, small and alone.
The woman still mutters the prayer beside the crates, and in her mind, Mírima mutters it too. Now that she has seen Tálith die in her mind’s eye, she knows that she is truly alone, alone like the nine ships of the Faithful in the vast ocean of battering hateful waves, fleeing from the horror of the fall of the Anadûnê.
ammê - (Adûnaic) Mother
att û – (Adûnaic) Father
Yôzâyan – (Adûnaic) ‘Land of Gift’, a name of Númenor in Adûnaic
Anadûnê - (Adûnaic) ‘Westernesse’, a name of Númenor in Adûnaic.
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.