9. Starting over
Originally written for Vilwarin's birthday 2008. Her request was "someone someone settling in a new place - maybe even amongst a different people. Extra points if you write about a woman, preferably Arwen. If that doesn't inspire you, I'd be happy with something about the Northern Dúnedain."
Starting over: a vignette in three drabbles and a tribble
Even in the boat that took them towards the safety of the ships, Zamîn was still not sure whether she was doing the right thing.
"I shouldn't go, not yet. If Îbal comes back and doesn't find me there, he may think I too have been taken for questioning by the King's Men."
Her friend Inzil gave her a pitying look. Zamîn shivered and hugged herself as she looked back towards the quay. "Oh, you're right. I'm deluding myself. Îbal is dead or will be soon, as will all the Faithful who stay now. Pharazôn will not show them mercy."
The previous nightfall had been the worst yet. Not even the Eagles were visible in the West, only a cloud of deepest black obscuring the Sun's light without warning.
That morning, Zamîn had gone on deck to escape the oppressive air in the hold, and so she saw the fire burst from Meneltarma as the doom of the Valar struck Númenor. She was ushered into the hold before the storm that would drive them towards Middle-earth hit the ships. Yet as she looked at her home one last time, Zamîn had seen the approach of the Wave in the distance.
What had Pharazôn's pride unleashed? The devastation wrought by the fury of the sea was clear even to one who had never seen Ennor's coast; the line that marked the furthest reach of the water was miles from the shore, the land between littered with uprooted trees and debris.
Zamîn stared in horror at this proof of the wrath of the Valar; yet though she mourned her home, remembering the Darkness that had ruled Númenor, remembering the Temple in Armenelos and the blood-stained altars, she also rejoiced that at least that Evil had been cleansed from the face of Arda.
Despite their own losses from the angry waves, the Elves who dwelt in these lands had been quick to help the Dúnedain settle near Lake Evendim, where some of Númenorean descent lived already.
Zamîn's skill as a woodwright was in great demand in their new home, and she made her living making looms and other household goods, as she had in Númenor. After some time, she found her gaze would often linger on the man who made the weights for her looms, and she thought he looked at her with interest too, but at first she dismissed the idea. No matter how Baran's smile warmed her, she still grieved for her Îbal, and to wed twice was, if not unheard of, at least more than slightly improper.
Yet when she confessed her worries to Inzil, her friend laughed at her.
"Zamîn, forget about proper," and Inzil raised her hand to show a narrow ring of silver.
"Who?" Zamîn asked, both shocked and happy for her.
"Ulbor. He lost his wife and son to the altars. He wants to start a farm in the hills south of here, so we decided we will make a new start together." Her friend looked at her before continuing. "But you should grab your chance also. You're young, you're barely sixty, and you can still have more children. Îbal would not begrudge you any of that."
The next day, when Baran came by again, claiming he needed to know how many weights she would need in the next months, she returned his smile. Inzil was right. The past lay buried under the cold waves. They did not live here by choice, but there was no reason Ennor could not be made to be home. And Baran was a good, solid man. Things would work out.
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.