Númenorean Diary

Part I: Childhood

Fragments of the diary of Tar-Míriel,
"translated" by Irmo-(Valar)
April 12, 2001

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Part II > Part III

Armenelos, 2nd Era 3197, 44th Day of Lairë.

At least I succeeded in convincing daddy not to punish the servants. I am sure it was Pharazôn’s doing. He is always teasing me. Going to bed yesterday I found a rat on the floor. I almost stepped on it. I was screaming like I have never screamed before. The whole palace came to look what had happened. Pharazôn was among the arriving spectators. When I looked into his eyes I saw the hardly concealed glee there and I knew. And today the little pest is walking around with an unmistakable air of mirth around him. I told Elendil about my suspicions. His reaction: "Pharazôn playing with rats eh? How well matched!".

Armenelos, 2nd Era 3200, 9th Day of Lairë.

We received our reports from school today and daddy is so pleased with me! I half expected high marks for Quenya, but I even got a veritable Laitalë from Loremaster Ciryan! I love Quenya, it is such a beautiful language. The marks for Valar Lore were not that great though. I mostly remember the Aratar – the High Ones among the Valar and Valier - and their descriptions, but the rest of the Valinorean pantheon...there are just too many of them. I always seem to forget Vána, the spouse of Oromë.

Of the lesser Valar Amillo and Lirillo – the Music Makers - are my favourites. I so enjoy music! I cannot wait until Lord Amandil comes to visit daddy again, so that I can play with Elendil. Nobody is able to accompany me on the harp like Elendil. When he is playing I seem to sing better.

Cousin Pharazôn got his report too. He did not do too bad as well, but his school is so easy! At the Valinorean School, the Istýamen Valaina, we have to learn much more than at the Saphâzadan Aru. At the King’s Schools they don’t teach Quenya and Nólë Valaina of course. And instead of 1st Era History they only have a distorted chapter called "Indilzar’s Ancestry".

But trust Pharazôn to make a mockery of it all. As always he disqualified our lessons at the Istýamen as superstitious nonsense. When I was little he made me cry by acting like that, but not anymore. He said "Look here, Míyel! My dad says the days of this Valinorean rubbish are numbered anyway. Nobody believes in it anymore. Every city in Númenor has a Saphâzadan, while there are only three Istýamen left on the whole island. My dad says that in a few years time, the last Istýamen will have to close its doors."

Pharazôn always calls me Míyel in stead of Míriel. As a toddler he just could not pronounce the r properly, but somebody told him that Míyel in Quenya means "small daughter". My name Míriel means "jewel-daughter" of course, but it is true that I am not very tall for my age. I am twelve years old, but Pharazôn is still eleven.

Anyway, I could not care less for what Uncle Gimilkhâd has to say. He is a horrible man. Uncle Gimilkhâd is always crossing daddy’s government and mingling in his brother’s affairs. He is the leader of the "King’s Men". My daddy is the king and these so-called King’s Men are the ones that are continuously making life miserable for him. King’s Men, bah!

Armenelos, 2nd Era 3201, 1st Day of Yavië

I am so excited! Tomorrow we are going to uncle Amandil in Andúnië and I am to stay a whole week! Of course uncle Amandil is not really an uncle of mine like that awful uncle Gimilkhâd, but since earliest memory the members of the Royal Family and of the Lordship of Andúnië have been close. Indeed they are far relatives of ours, because they are descended from Silmarien, who was the daughter of the fourth king, Tar-Elendil. And uncle Amandil is a full nephew of my grandmamma Inzilbêth.

Anyway, we are going to Andúnië for the celebration of Eruhantalë. This is the annual festival where all men, women and children join equally to express their gratitude to Eru and Yavannah for giving us the harvests. It used to be celebrated throughout the land, but these days it is only visited by a substantial part of the population in Andúnië and Romenna. Of course there is a formal celebration by the priests in the temple on Meneltarma, but not many people here in the capital go up there. They are either too busy making money or they prefer the military parades uncle Gimilkhâd organises every year on just that same day.

Eruhantalë is a lovely feast of singing, dancing and merry ceremonials. The summit is the frugal offering, and Elendil and I are to sing at it!

Andúnië, 2nd Era 3201, 3rd Day of Yavië

This morning, Elendil and I went to visit granny Inzilbêth in the tower of Dol Oromet. They say that grandmother was the most beautiful woman of Númenorë when she was young. She was born by the name of Lótëquë of the House of Andúnië, but grandfather made her change her name. She is now the oldest person alive, but her mind is still as sharp as a razor blade! She interrogated Elendil and me vigorously about school, firing question after question until finally she was satisfied. She knows more about ancient history than our teachers! Granny even smiled when I told her about my second subsequent Laitalë for quenya, and granny is not renowned for smiling too often. She was in a moderate mood altogether. She can be quite foul-tempered, especially when she starts off about the King’s Men, calling the wrath of the Valar upon the unbelievers.

Of course, it would be more appropriate for the queen-mother to live at our palace in Armenelos. But she says the sea air of Andúnië is better for her health. The servants whisper otherwise, however. They say that granny would do everything to be far from the vicinity of her son Gimilkhâd. They hate each other completely. Therefore father arranged for her to live in the old tower of Tar-Minastir, where in old days one could be the first to see the white ships arriving from Tol Eressëa. It is rumoured that she already stayed at Dol Oromet on a regular basis when she was the ruling queen, because the marriage between her and grandfather Ar-Gimilzôr was a disaster. It is also rumoured that if granny had not prevented it, grandfather would have appointed uncle Gimilkhâd as his successor to the throne. Nonsense of course, since daddy is the eldest. Never in all of the history of Númenorë has anyone become ruler of our land other than the eldest son or daughter. If grandmamma and daddy knew the things the servants whisper!

After lunch, we all went for a walk along the beach. The white dunes of Andúnië are so wonderful! There is always this gentle breeze, blowing from the west to this western part of our world. The air seems to be of a different quality here indeed, more fresh and wholesome than at home.

Daddy and uncle Amandil strolled away a bit and they had a long and serious conversation. Obviously they did not want to be overheard, but I am a most ingenious eavesdropper. Being rather smallish, I can move with the stealth of the ancient green-elves of Ossiriand!

"You cannot stay here for the feast, Palantir", uncle Amandil said, "it would not be wise to leave the capital to Gimilkhâd at this time, and as the King you are to lead the celebration of Eruhantalë at Meneltarma." Daddy answered that nobody but the priests would miss him in Armenelos, and that at least here in Andúnië there would be a decent crowd of people to celebrate with. To which uncle Amandil answered: "But it could be interpreted as another favour to the side of the Elendili. Already there is much dissatisfaction among a majority of the population on that score. Neither you nor I, Palantir, can at this moment afford to choose their side openly and formally. It would lead to loosing my influence in the council in my case, and – in your case – it might quite possibly lead to open rebellion. It would give Gimilkhâd precisely the chance he is waiting for: to usurp your throne with the help of his cronies. Do not forget you had to fight a civil war after your ascendancy to the throne. Remember what we have agreed upon. We have to bring back this country to loyalty and to the old Valinorean ways step by step. If we move too fast or too openly, the forces against us might get out of our control."

Uncle Amandil is younger in years than daddy and daddy is the King, but when they speak together it is always uncle Amandil suggesting to my father what should be done instead of the other way around. But then, uncle Amandil being chief-counsellor to the King and chairman of the High Council of Andor, this is quite appropriate I suppose.

Andúnië, 2nd Era 3201, 5thDay of Yavië

It all came to ruin when Pharazôn decided to come party-crashing! But let me start from the beginning.

The feasts today were more splendid than ever. Daddy would have been so proud, but he went back to Armenelos yesterday. The enthusiasm of the people was overwhelming. And Elendil and I were called back time and again, the crowd applauding our performance of the song of Valion Númenaryon. It goes like this:

Ilu Ilúvatar en kárë eldain á fírimoin

Ar antaróta mannar Valion: númessier.

Toi aina, mána, meldielto – enga morion:

Talantie. Melko Mardello lende : márie.

En kárielto eldain Isil, hildin Úr-anar.

Toi írimar. Ilyain antalto annar lestanen

Ilúvatáren. Ilu vanya, fanya, eari,

i-mar, ar ilqua ímen. Írima ye Númenor.

Nan úye sere indo-ninya símen, ullume;

ten sí ye tyelma, yéva tyel ar i-narqelion,

írë ilqa yéva nótina, hostainiéva, yallume:

ananta úva tare färea, ufárea!

Man tare antáva nin Ilúvatar, Ilúvatar

Enyárë tar i tyel, írë Anarinya qeluva?

We alternately sang in daily language:

The Father made the World for Elves and Mortals,

And he gave it into the hands of the Lords: they are in the West.

They are holy, blessed and beloved: save the dark one.

He is fallen. Melko has gone from Earth: it is good.

For Elves they made the moon, but for Men the red Sun;

Which are beautiful. To all they gave in measure the gifts

Of Ilúvatar. The world is fair, the sky, the seas,

The earth, and all that is in them. Lovely is Númenor.

But my heart resteth not here forever, for here is ending,

And there will be an end and the Fading, when all is counted,

And all numbered at last, but yet it will not be enough, not enough.

What will the Father, O Father, give me

In that day beyond the end when my Sun faileth?

I was dressed in my formal yellow feast robe. The Vaimamalina suits me so well, and it makes me look taller than I am. Elendil’s harping was just perfect. All was perfect, until, when we were preparing for dinner, Elendil came into my room, saying: "Guess who came to dinner? Our beloved Nyaro!" Elendil calling Pharazôn Nyaro, which is Quenya for "rat", has been a private joke between Elendil and me ever since the incident in my bedroom.

I was quite astonished that Pharazôn had seen fit to leave his father’s parade for the sake of our festival, for which he so overclearly has no sympathy whatsoever. But there he was all the same. And after dinner, it happened. I have no idea how it started, but suddenly Pharazôn and Elendil were fighting like madmen, punching and kicking each other all over. I am sure Elendil would have won the fight, but then Elendil was bitten by Rakha, Pharazôn’s wolfhound. Elendil was viciously wounded!

Elendil was taken to the Houses of Healing. When I came back from seeing after him, Pharazôn was still his usual nagging self: "How touching you are in your care for that arrogant fool. Might it be that you are even infatuated with him? Then I have news for you. Your father will never allow you to marry him. He knows perfectly well, that your only chance of succeeding him to the throne is when you are married to someone that is trusted by the majority of the people. I foretell you that in the end you will have no choice but to marry someone of the King’s Party. Yay!, come to think of it Míyel, that one might even be me!"

Of course that was a ludicrous thing to say, and I told him so. Our laws specifically forbid any intermarriage of those more nearly related than cousins in the second degree. But Pharazôn answered: "Our laws", dear Míyel, are changing every day at the moment. Who knows what laws the future may bring?" And with that he left me alone, laughing at me all the way.

Armenelos, 2nd Era 3201, 10thDay of Yavië

I went to see daddy and I asked him about Pharazôn’s absurdities. And this is what he answered: "There is indeed no chance of you marrying Elendil my child. You know he has been betrothed since birth to the daughter of Lord Hathaldir of Romenna. And indeed, we have to be careful to see that you marry a man who will strengthen your position as the future queen. But Pharazôn is just teasing you again my child. Of course there can be no question of you marrying him ever whatsoever. Don’t hurt your little head even thinking about it." So that is that then.

Armenelos, 2nd Era 3214, 42ndDay of Hrivë

This has been the second funeral in the royal family in one year. Last year we buried grandmother Inzilbêth, and yesterday uncle Gimilkhâd. What a complete difference between the two occasions! Grandmother was the oldest person in the realm by far when she died, while uncle Gimilkhâd was only 198 years old! Grandmother died peacefully, blessing us all, but the way uncle Gimilkhâd went beyond was just horrible beyond description. He has been raving like a madman, cursing the Valar for bringing death upon him so soon. He has asked Pharazôn to seek revenge for his sake, and Pharazôn has even sworn to this. Er yes, I was eavesdropping again.

Grandmother’s ceremony was simple but sincere, the few people that were present genuinely mourning her. Uncle’s funeral was quite extravagant, a pompous exhibition of Pharazôn's wealth. But the people were ecstatic! Pharazôn must have been saving for years to pay for all the gifts. The people were given free meals at the games to commemorate the passing of "Gimilkhâd the Great". The people love Pharazôn. Whether this love be earned or bought, the result is the same. They adore the ground he walks on.

Pharazôn and Elendil are both growing into great seacaptains, but Elendil is not half as popular as Pharazôn.

Elendil’s ships depart full of all kinds of goods. But when he returns from those barbarian lands called "Middle Earth" his ships are nigh empty. His journeys mostly take him to the northern parts of those wild lands, to harbours called Mithlond and Amroth. He claims to have befriended even some of the elves of the ancient empires there. Not only wild Umanyar, but even some Noldorin survivors of Beleriand. Imagine some of the High-Elves veritably living in that wilderness!

Pharazôn’s ships on the other hand, are empty when they depart, but when he comes back they are piled with all kinds of outlandish jewels, cloths, ornaments and spices. Pharazôn and his men mostly journey to the south of Middle Earth, to a harbour called Umbar.

One might be tempted to come to the conclusion that the barbarians in the North are poor and ill-mannered, while the people in the south are apparently rich and generous. But the Elendili say otherwise. According to them, Pharazôn has become a pirate. He does not bring home gifts or goods from trade, but loot which he took from those lands using violence to get it from the people that live there.

There may be more than a bit of truth in these rumours, but the people only see what they see. And Pharazôn brings wealth and happiness to them. And the decrees which my father issued when he succeeded the throne are followed only half-heartedly nowadays, while the people hurry to respond to any of Pharazôn’s whims.

Andúnië, 2nd Era 3214, 43rd Day of Hrivë

This morning, I went to see father at Dol Oromet. He is often to be found there nowadays, looking silently and longingly over the western seas. When I entered his room he did not notice me. And I caught him murmuring "They won’t come, they won’t come".

I knew what he was referring to. When he became king he was so sure that by mending the old rules, by nurturing the White Tree, by reinstalling Eruhantalë and the other festivals, by re-establishing Meneltarma, that by doing all this the ships from Tol Eressëa would come our way again.

I asked him why the ships wouldn’t come, as we had done all this and more to confirm our bonds with Valinor. He muttered, still looking at the seas, as if still not noticing me: "Because the people’s hearts are not following us." A bit sharply I asked him why he was king if it was not to make the people follow his wishes. He noticed me then and answered me with the following story:

"Once upon the time there were three prophets. And they came upon a crowd. And the first prophet stood before the crowd and spoke onto them "Confess thee to righteousness". And the people answered: "How then shall we confess ourselves?" And the first prophet answered: "Sacrifice ye a lamb and a goat each year". And the people sacrificed. Yet they did not confess themselves.

Then the second prophet stood before the crowd and spoke onto them "Confess thee to righteousness". And the people answered: "How then shall we confess ourselves?" And the second prophet answered: "Pray ye every day onto the Holy One". And the people prayed. Yet they did not confess themselves.

And then the third prophet went to stand before the crowd and spoke onto them "Confess thee to righteousness". And the people answered: "How then shall we confess ourselves?" And the third prophet answered naught. Silently he went to stand amidst the crowd and he confessed himself. And the people saw. And one by one they started to confess themselves to righteousness."

My father continued: "It is thus with the Valar. They are guardians, not dictators, They are examples to be followed. And it goes for me also. If the people won’t follow my example in their hearts, then it avails nothing to try and rule them to act otherwise."

I said to my father: "I heed the truth in that story, as well as in your words. But tell me then. What example are the Valar giving us hidden in their unreachable Aman? And what example are you giving to the people hiding in this tower every day? It is Pharazôn they see day after day, parading through the streets."

But my father was already looking sadly over the western seas again. I doubt he heard a single word I said.

In a few weeks I will celebrate my 26th birthday. So another seven years until my "maturing", my coming of age. They will want me to marry somebody then I suppose. The question who that will be is the topic of many a gossip and much intrigue. As it is, I may surprise them all. I am not planning to marry any of the fools that have been courting me.

Here ends Part 1 of the Númenorean Diary:  Míriel’s childhood.

Stories > Authors > Irmo's stories > Part I > Part II > Part III 

Reader's comment:

July 12, 2001
Nice story!  Please write the remainder of "a Númenorean Diary" quickly.  I would really like to read more!!!