A.N: Thanks a bunch to the people who replied to my latest chapter – you gave me heart for a bit longer. ;)
Interlude - Departure
"In the name of the King, do not resist!"
He did not move. The soldiers had made a circle around him, but they did not advance, as if held back by an invisible wall.
Away in the distance, he heard his grandson´s voice. He was telling them not to harm his wife and Artanis -lonely, unfortunate Artanis, how she would miss the golden trees-, but he knew that they had been told not to touch any of them. It had been like this the other time, before any of them had been born.
Now, they would be brought to the Palace. There would be a trial. And later in the night they would be taken East, to the shores where his own life had begun in exile so many years ago. The proud Merchant Princes, newly allied to the Royal family, would suffer no opposition either in trade or politics.
With the first indice of anxiety that he had felt since they broke into his house, Eärendur wondered for a moment how Inziladûn would face these new circumstances. For years he had taken great pains to impress the nature of their respective duties in the mind of his young, royal kinsman; asked, entreated him to never betray himself no matter what happened to them in the future. Their own roles in this drama were secondary, fleeting lives of dedicated service and constant incertitude until their time came. And he thought that Inziladûn had understood – yes, he told himself with a small allowance to pride, he had taught him well.
His role was now over.
A young child sat upon the ground, listening to the distant cry of the seagulls.
"Mama, are those the birds from home?"
His mother shook her head in sadness.
"No, my dear. We have no home."
The first cry of surprise came from behind his back. Another followed almost at once, and suddenly he saw nothing but confused faces, the clank of metal and a shuffle of feet running towards him. Cold hands grabbed at his arm, trying to pull him up, to force him to stay with harsh threats, but this, he thought with a smile in triumph, was the only thing that the proud King of Men would never be able to command.
Eärendur closed his eyes, willing back to his mind the memories of the first time that he had leaned on the prow of a ship to see the majestic cliffs of the Bay of Andúnië. Once again, he sought the secrets embedded on the grey lines with the enthusiasm of a child, until he found the city of his ancestors, carved in stone and cradled by rock like the nest of an eagle.
We have a home, mother, he muttered. Far in the distance, someone shook his body as if it was a broken puppet. And no one will take it away from me again.
A light shone in the West, white and radiant like foam under the sunlight. With a last, pitying glance at his loved ones, Eärendur rose, and began the travel.
His voice broke. A weak grin flickered for a second over the emaciated face, before it contracted in a renewed spasm of pain. The cold hand gripped his harshly, drawing nails against his flesh.
Gimilzôr did not feel the pain.
"Father, listen to me." he repeated, this time in a firmer, more composed tone. Still, somehow, the treacherous anguish managed to seep through, and a part of his soul cringed at its haunting sound. When had he come to this humiliating weakness? "Númenor is safe now. The rule of the Western lords has ended. The merchants of Sor and Gadir are our friends, and we will keep things under control. One day, a new ruling family will be born from this alliance." He paused to swallow the knot in his throat. "Inziladûn´s line is broken. We have saved Númenor, Father, do you see? We did what had to be done. You - understand it now, at last, do you not, Father?"
Ar-Sakalthôr´s huge, wide eyes stared at him in incomprehension. Little by little, the pull began to subside, and a feverish hand tried to find its way to clean the sweat from his brow. Gimilzôr sought for a handkerchief and wiped it himself, while his father watched his every movement in some tension and a slight wariness.
Suddenly, the old King broke into a short, raspy laugh.
"Who are you?" he said. Gimilzôr took a long breath. He was delirious.
"I am your son." he said. "Your son, Gimilzôr."
Ar-Sakalthôr shook his head, but did not answer or show any further signal of recognition.
"I have no sons." he muttered a long while later, as he studied the glazed tiles of the wall in quiet disdain.
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.