4. Uruzephel Nozjan
"I will tell you my story now," said the woman.
"Go on," said Faramir. "Surely your story will be interesting, for I am a great lover of stories. I have been since I was a child..."
"I will go on," said the woman. The woman moved herself to make her seating more comfortable and began her story.
"My name," she said, "is Uruzephel Nozjan. I was born in the year 2643 (2996 in your reckoning). I am the elder daughter of Jolozîr. a merchant of Jurûm, and his wife Yagmîth. I have a sister, Azrumis, who is three years younger than me."
"My father had been a great sailor in his youth, reaching as far north as western Gondor. He was on good terms with everyone, even the Gondorians. He later settled down back in Felaya and married my mother. However, when I was not yet eleven, my father took sick and died, him being only forty-five years old. My family was devastated at the loss of Jolozîr, and my mother has not married again. She could not find anyone as great as my father.
"Since my mother refused to remarry, my father's older brother, Juruvik, took residence in my home. Then my world came crashing down. He was a troublemaker from the start, and caused a lot of chaos in my family. Juruvik would take no wife and father no child, likely due to his selfishness. He was a rabid supporter of the harsh rulers that allied themselves with Zigurûn, whom you probably knew by the name Sauron. My uncle saw that I was growing older, and he knew that I disliked him. So he eventually persuaded my mother to find me a husband. This came in the form of a man named Khadjûran. I was sure that I would hate my future husband, especially after discovering that he was fourteen years my senior. We were married soon after I turned sixteen."
"Sixteen?" asked Faramir. "You were married when you were that age? I'm thirty-six, and I'm still not married, though I will be next year. Didn't it feel awful for you?"
"I suppose," said Uruzephel. "Then again, it's not that unusual for girls my age to be getting married - at least where I live. Most girls marry later than that, but my uncle wanted me to get out of his house as soon as possible. Nevertheless, Khadjûran proved himself to be a capable husband. He took good care of me, and he got along well with everyone in my family save my uncle. I had been adventurous as a girl, and my husband encouraged that in me. I often rode horses, went hunting, and even fought in skirmishes against the Orcs."
"I thought the Haradrim and the Orcs were allies?" thought Beregond. "Weren't they fighting together at the Pelennor Fields?"
"Yes. Now you would think that the Orcs were our friends, but that was not so. Orcs caused trouble for all Men, be they foes of the Dark Lord or allies."
"Continue with your story," said Faramir.
Uruzephel decided to continue. "The adventures were great for a while," she said, "but sooner or later, they would end. Within two years of my marriage, I was pregnant. I gave birth to a son, Najokhad, after that. And when I was married four years, I gave birth to another child. This one was a daughter, and I named her Zimrabêth. And yet it was easy for me...until one day."
"At the beginning of the year 2665, Khadjûran was called to service by the King. He was asked to sail up to Gondor in an attack on Osgiliath. He sailed up all the way to the ruined city, and spent time in Minas Morgul. While he was there, he was put under the command of a harsh general. The general ordered his troops to march westward to Osgiliath, where they camped. But then the Gondorians attacked. Khadjûran fought bravely, but to no avail. He died during the middle of the year, in a skirmish with the Gondorians. Word got out to me that he had died, so I decided to come up here in 2666."
Faramir and Beregond grew uneasy for a moment. They had remembered the fact that both of them had been present at that battle. They had fought against many Haradrim at the battle, and were nervous, for they thought that they might have been responsible for the untimely death of Khadjûran. They feared that Uruzephel would be furious.
"I was a commander in the battle," said Faramir, "along with my brother Boromir. We were fighting the Orcs and Haradrim. We were in Osgiliath. Beregond was present as well."
"Where was your husband at the time of the battle?" asked Beregond.
"He was not in Osgiliath proper," said Uruzephel. "Instead, he was at a wooded stream to the east."
"So we did not see him," said Faramir. "I know the stream that you're talking about."
"Anyway," said Uruzephel, "I sailed up here at the very beginning of 2666. To do this, I disguised myself as a man. When I arrived in Pelargir, I fought with the Corsairs there. My original intent was to avenge the death of Khadjûran. But then I realized that I would be unable to recover his body. And to make matters worse, I sighted mysterious beings that seemed to be ghosts. I was so frightened! After the ghosts were gone, I fled Pelargir and was given refuge in Umbar. There I have remained, unable to return to my children at home."