It was night, and Miriel dreamt.
(Open your eyes.)
All was glorious and light, eternal and sacred, forever, amen.
She reached forward, toward the whiteness around her, desperate to feel, that what she saw was there and not just a dream. She could almost feel the frustration rising before her, burning the whiteness away like a fire within. Stretching a desperate arm, she struggled to touch her surroundings.
What she felt was soft, smooth, and cold, like satin and steel. ( And she vaguely recalled her father's sword, sitting upon a bier but not ever used.)
"Flowers" she whispered to herself and the air rushed between her lips and back to them like the mists and waves of the sea. Indeed, there were flowers upon the ground, delicate and as fragile as porcelain, but it was the snow, the pristine white snow that was seeping into her dress (also white, but somehow more faded and worn) cold and wet. But she felt blessed and pure, an unsullied bride dancing on the virgin soil. The only thing that wasn't white was her nightshade hair, sitting on her shoulder in a finely woven plait.
("It's a show of fealty," she could hear her mother say, for a woman to shear her hair and give it to their intended.
They were watching as a young woman from Andunie shore her hair off, from nape of her neck to her forehead. It was a thick brown mane that brushed the ground and she handed it over to the father of her new husband and burning a half of it in a fire. Miriel had turned to her mother for answers.
"Women have a power that men haven't and we burn our hair for good luck. You smell that?" her mother had said, sniffing the air delicately. "It smells of spice, a sign of bounty."
She coiled a black lock around a her pale ring finger, savoring its warmth and thickness. She would never burn her hair for a man. She would keep her power. The women of Elros' line were notorious for their fine lustrous hair, a gift Luthien had bestowed them and a means to show their strength. "It's Luthien's immortal beauty," Tar-Palantir had said, his own hair having grown silvern and brittle with age and frustration. "It is a fair thing and distinguishes us from our mortal brethren. Lesser men are fair haired like Beor and Hurin of old. Many people, however, fail to see this for what it is. It is the good will and faith of Iluvatar and the elves that brings us this. We must always revere our predecessors."
Miriel bit her lip, recalling the words her father had said only a few weeks before. She reached out into the whiteness before her and grasped at the blossom so near her fingertips that it felt like she could feel the very air that surrounded it but not the actual flower. But with a gasp, she recoiled, a deep cut on her finger dripping blood quietly. So vivid was the red of her lifeblood that she stared, transfixed on the trickle down her finger and onto the snow. She couldn't recall the last time she had been hurt. Mentally perhaps more recent than she chose to recall, but physically, not since she had tripped on a stone on the way up Meneltarma to say her prayers. She could almost hear each drop hitting the petals of the flowers.
She felt a shadow come across her kneeling form, bending low and casting the luminescent pure snow (now stained a little red) into the dark. For a moment she felt a childish anger rise in her for having her fun spoiled, for being so easily caught and for bending over her, the way that only her family did, mostly her mother and..
"It's bad luck to bleed on the snow," said an age wizened voice, slightly haggard from breathing and heavy and warm, making Miriel feel as if it lied amongst the flowers instead of above her head. Miriel looked up into the face of her father, deathly pale like the frost around them and for a moment she wondered if perhaps that this was really just the ice. He was a specter, a frigid ghost that cooled her blood and grieved her greatly. She could see, looking to his side that he was wounded through the heart, the flesh angry and bright against his golden raiment, the clothes of the Numenorean king. Miriel felt her mouth pose to form a perfect 'o' of shock. It was the only thing her face could do. She couldn't even find her tears.
She wanted the scream, to beg her father to tell her what happened. She wanted to tell him that he would be alright and that surely there was something that could be done to save him. The princess in her wanted to say that the king could not die, that the monarch of Numenor was invincible.
His life flowed thickly and slow onto the melting snow, staining everything. What was once pristine was now ruinous and smelt strongly of copper and wilted flowers. (And she felt her skin crawl as she smelt burning skin and flesh.)
(And cries rose from the depths of the ocean in her mind, covering the macabre landscape in a haze of anger and sadness as she watched the white tree burn.)
"Father, my Father, would you leave me now to this darkness?" she asked with words that were not her own. She felt they were something from a fairytale. 'They're not mine, not mine, not mine...'
"And would you leave me Father, alone and helpless in the cold?" Her grey eyes rose, but there was no longer any Numenorean king before her, no dying Father, just a ring of vivid scarlett snow. She stumbled and grasped at where he had been just moments before. He was here, she swore to herself, he's here playing a game with me in the garden again in Andunie and Mother will run around the corner... She groped blindly amongst the snow and ice.
And then she noticed a gleam.
In the center of where her father had stood only moments before sat a small sharp stiletto dagger, sharp and shining brightly with her father's blood. It was Numenorean make. She took it into a trembling hand, clenching tightly as the horrible feeling of being ill came upon her.
And quite suddenly, another hand clasped over her own but instead of the chill she was used to, these hands were unbearably warm and soft with tenderness. What would have been a comfort made her stomach roil with sickness.
"I would have you put your weapons down and yield unto me, my jewel, my Miriel." She looked up into the eyes of the speaker, her cousin Pharazon, his face still and relaxed with desire. He seemed so kind, so gentle, but Miriel knew better. She knew the steel behind the eyes that could easily be forged and used against her.
She also knew steel was easily warmed and quick to burn.
"I am Numenor, I do not yield." she said imperiously. She was a knight, she was a warrior, taking up arms against the swelling darkness. She fancied herself the heroine of the story for all of a second. And then he spoke again.
"Then you will break under me instead." The steel in his eyes glinting dangerously as his hand smoothly grasped at the dagger she had lifted only moments before and pressed toward her, blade gleaming in the fell light of his eyes.
And then everything stopped, and she fell backward, her whole body slowing in its descent. Perhaps her body would stop falling altogether and she would be trapped in this moment of defeat forever. Her voice came out as a sigh ( not unlike the ebb and the flow of the tide against the walls of her home with her cousin Elendil)
("Falling, falling, the dead are near and calling." she chanted as a child, swinging in a careful circle with Elendil and Pharazon.
"We go to sleep, to rest our feet, and cry and weep when we're falling.")
She fell roughly onto the ground in the fragrant (both sweet and foul) blossoms and could think of nothing except that she knew she had seen these flowers before and they looked misplaced and undignified on the ground.
("I will restore the tree to its former glory," someone echoed from the confines of her memory.)
The blood of her father lay scattered and brutally smothered into her bosom where it settled over her heart like the center of the flowers. 'And thus the line of Fingolfin's bleeding heart is again exposed and trampled to the ground.' And then he was on her, a lion upon its prey, his dark mane covering her eyes His lips to her throat, he kissed the line of her jaw and took the dagger into his hand and brought it to her neck.
"I think you should know..."
He slit her white throat swiftly and shamelessly, and licked the deepest part of the incision, causing her to gasp helplessly, shivering and wavering upon the edge of consciousness.
"You are the sweetest flower that I have ever devoured."
The crown Princess Miriel woke with a deep breath, almost likened to the gasping breathing before death. She looked drowned, covered in blue satin sheets, feet wound in exquisite binding.
She feared what a dream portended, for it was not unknown amongst the men of Numenor to dream and see into the portent of the future. Her own father was far-seeing, the first after many kings.
But all that she had dreamed was disjointed, she tried to tell herself. There was nothing of value, just worry seeping into her evening dreams. So she shakily turned on her side and drifted back to sleep with the beating of the waves.
In Andustar, the cry had risen up in the night.
"The King is dead! The King is dead! Awake all Numenor for the King is slain and dead!"
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.