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Armenelos, 2nd Era 3261, 4th day of Tuilë
My precious husband is in a most foul temper today. He received reports from our fleet returning from Middle Earth this morning, and these reports are an insult to his endless pride. The Númenorean harbours from Pelargir to Umbar are being threatened and our colonies are being pushed back by hostile armies. These armies are all serving the necromancer called Sauron, who has ordered that he is to be proclaimed everywhere in Middle Earth as Lord of the Earth and as the King of All Men. What irony that Pharazôn has just been secretly preparing a council decree by which Pharazôn would be bestowed that very same title: King Of Men. I don’t think Pharazôn is prepared to go into history as the King of Númenor who lost all the lands that were conquered by his predecessors. He will have to find a way to cope with this threat to his ambitions.
He tried to come into my rooms again this night. I made him change his mind. There will be no heirs to magnify the glory of King Pharazôn the Golden. At least that I can withhold from him.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3260, 7th day of Lairë
Pharazôn has issued decrees ordering the council to prepare a combined fleet of the Gold, Red, Blue and White flags. This fleet is to be armed for war, and as soon as preparations are made this fleet will sail to Middle Earth under the command of Pharazôn himself. Now this is quite something. The last ruling King of Númenor who commanded the fleet himself was Ar-Belzegar, whose name was engraved as Tar-Camalcil in the year 2737. I hope he sticks with his decision. I could be facing a prolonged period of being freed from my husband's presence. Who knows what perspectives could result from that.
This diary I now save in a solid steel box locked with a chain that not even the Mace of Morgoth could break. It was made for me in secret by Elendil’s smiths in Romenna. I keep the box in a tiny hidden cove high up in the palace pinnacle that only I know off. If my diary were to fall into the wrong hands ...
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3261, 16th day of Tuilë
Today is the big day. Pharazôn is sailing with his fleet. I am told that the fleet lying in the harbour of Nindamos is an incredible sight to behold. Seven and sixty ships, beautifully in line, waiting for the signal. The Blues are not commanded by Elendil, he sailed last year and just yesterday we received his report to have landed at Pelargir, where he met with Gil-Galad and Elrond, the elvenlords. They succeeded in keeping that harbour safe for the moment. Elendil will not have the doubtful pleasure of seeing Pharazôn arrive in his moment of glory, for the fleet will be landing at our main harbour at Umbar.
From the moment Pharazôn sails, I will be "assisted" to rule in his name by a Triad of Regents, consisting of the Lords Amandil and Imrazûn and Deacon Zamîn.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3262, 27th day of Lairë
One of the white ships returned from Middle Earth yesterday, carrying a report, copies of which we received today:
Umbar, 2nd Era 3261, 33rd day of Hrivë
To the people of Anadûne!
To the Council of Anadûne and to the Regents Mandatory!
Know that our Most Illustrious Majesty Ar-Pharazôn the Golden, King of All Men, has landed safely in Umbar, that he has successfully established his authority over all the regions of Middle Earth and that thanks to his Illuminating Leadership our forces have reached a complete and total victory! The barbaric usurpator that was threatening our colonies overseas has been humbled completely and will be brought to Anadûne as a prisoner. Our Majesty Ar-Pharazôn hereby orders the Regents Mandatory to prepare forthwith the harbour of Nindamos and the capital of Armenelos for a most magnificent reception of his Majesty and his Victorious Fleet, to be expected from two weeks after the arrival of the ship carrying these joyful messages.
In the name of Our Most Illustrious Majesty Ar-Pharazôn, King of All Men,
Sealed and signed at Umbar, 2nd Era 3261, 33rd day of Hrivë.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3262, 34th day of Lairë
Apparently the pompous letter describing Pharazôn’s victory was hardly an exaggeration of the way of things as they occurred. One of the sailors on the White Ship is loyal to Lord Amandil and reported to us personally. As I understand it Pharazôn did not have to put up any fight whatsoever. He just had to journey through the regions of Middle earth with banners and trumpets, heralds proclaiming his Majesty, commanding the necromancer to bow before him and to swear him fealty.
"Kadô Zigûrun zabathân unakkha...." And humbly the wizard came...". The sailor went on to give as his personal opinion that there must have been some misunderstanding that caused all this, for the ways and words and appearance of this wizard were of a most wise, kind and pleasant nature. And he showed himself quite willing to come as a hostage to Anadûne, to see for himself the land that produced the most beautiful of all people and the most gracious of all Kings. Following the sailor’s description the armies of Númenor saw before them a wise and gentle nobleman, nothing that would relate to the demon Sauron that allegedly is roaming somewhere in those regions as well. The Zigûrun maintained that his aims are quite the same as those of Númenor: to be a guidance and illuminator to the ignorant and wild men and elves in those barbaric countries. And such efforts are so easily misunderstood, aren’t they? According to the sailor the Zigûrun made Pharazôn look like a quarrelsome and overly loud little boy.
This last aspect of the sailor’s report appealed to me more than a bit, but Amandil warned me not to be deceived. Demons are apt at disguise and even the Noldor in Aman were easily deceived by Melkor’s initial appearance.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3262, 41th day of Lairë
Hail the conquering hero! The celebrations and victory ceremonies are like nothing this land ever saw before, Pharazôn travelling from city to city, taking the Zigûrun with him as a hunter carrying his trophy. When they arrived at the palace the Zigûrun addressed me with great respect, properly calling me Tar-Míriel, making no secret for his admiration for me. He is veritably a most pleasant and gentle man. When I asked him how we were to call him, he answered that he has been called by so many names, and that he is called wizard because the ignorant so easily confuse real science and knowledge with magic and sorcery. But everyone calls him Zigûrun and he does not have any problems with that.
It is utterly improbable that he is the demon that was known as Sauron. I think our forces somehow failed to discover the whereabouts of the demon and came up with this Zigûrun instead.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3264, 11th day of Tuilë
Our Land of Gift is flourishing as it has never done before. All the sciences, crafts and arts are having a period of major bloom these last two years. And many agree that most of this is due to the councils and suggestions of the Zigûrun. The Zigûrun is allowed to walk our land freely nowadays and he is welcomed everywhere outside of Orrostar and Romenna. The people praise the day the Zigûrun set foot on our land. And indeed, it cannot be denied that by his influence many improvements have been made. He is no necromancer, but our medical schools have had great benefit from his knowledge, and so have our jewellers. He is a real magician where it comes to forging rings and precious stones. He personally made me a necklace unparalleled in beauty and radiance. I am starting to grow fond of this Zigûrun, no matter what Lord Amandil says.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3265, 29th day of Lairë
Today we celebrated the most joyful occasion of the Zigûrun being installed as a member to the council of Anadûne. His maiden speech was warming to all hearts and all of us were delighted with the visions he gave us of the luminous future of our Land. Lord Amandil started an argument with the Zigûrun, but I think Lord Amandil is getting old. He sounded like a crow telling a pigeon to behave peacefully.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3267, 12th day of Hrivë
Is my husband getting insane? This morning I was reading the Ainulindalë in the garden pavilion, when Pharazôn came up to me and ordered me plainly to give up reading these "evil lies, distorting the true nature and history of the acts of hostility of the so-called Lords of the West against mankind". I reacted a bit puzzled, for Pharazôn has never shown any inclination of being interested in religion, he always used to call Aman an illusion and the Valar products of superstition. But in this respect he was always more mocking than hostile, and never has he shown any inclination to be really interested in these matters at all.
I asked him why he would make a point about something he did not believe in anyway. Since when did Pharazôn start to believe in the existence of the Lords of the West?
But he went on to say "I now know that Aman exists. And it and its inhabitants are the origin of all the perils that are threatening mankind. It is they who have kept the secret of life from mankind, and have striven to keep men ignorant so that they would easily be oppressed. And they have thrown the Friend of Mankind who strove to aid us out of this world."
I was too astonished to speak. What had happened to him? Since when did Pharazôn become interested in metaphysics in the first place? And where did he get these absurd views of his? I am resolved to find out.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3267, 20th day of Hrivë
So that’s it. The Zigûrun is the demon Sauron. Amandil was right, I should have trusted his judgment. This is the conversation as I overheard it, eavesdropping at the door to Pharazôn’s private quarters:
Pharazôn: "(inaudible) Darkness"?
Zigûrun: "It is he whose name is not now spoken; for the Valar have deceived you concerning him (inaudible) but he that is their master shall yet prevail, and he will deliver you from this phantom; and his name is Melkor, Lord of All, Giver of Freedom, and he shall make you stronger than they."
Pharazôn: "(inaudible) to do"?
Zigûrun: (inaudible) work in secret. Step by step we will then show that this land is repentant and that the people of Anadûne are willing to accept Melkor again as their rightful master. (inaudible) secret of life and death. (inaudible) death is a curse unnecessary, eternal life can be obtained (inaudible).
Pharazon: (inaudible) idiots called Elendili (inaudible) handled?
Zigûrun: (inaudible) sleeping dogs (inaudible) and then (inaudible).
That is all I could make out of it, but it was enough. How long has this been going on? Lord Amandil has to be informed right away. What are we to do? This country is being led by a demon.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3267, 22th day of Hrivë
I spoke with Amandil today and he said: "Alas, it is as I have feared then. Do not blame yourself for being deceived by this monster, I have to admit that I too started to doubt my judgment from time to time. I will speak with Pharazôn and see what can be saved. But I fear that Sauron has been manipulating him all these years and that he might be too far gone. In that case I will have to take action to protect the people in this land that are still faithful. Those I will gather around me, I think Romenna is the obvious place to withdraw to. If the King cannot be persuaded to reason there is no point in maintaining the illusion of my position in the Council either.
You, my queen, I urge to seek the way of Erendis, and to have yourself separated from the King. Then you can join us at Romenna."
I answered him: "You have seen through Sauron, but I know Pharazôn better than any other living being. Never will he allow me to be separated from him, I am his precious toy. Maybe he will leave you in peace at Romenna, but were I to go there he would follow me there with all his might."
And I saw in Amandil’s eyes that he heeded the truth in my words.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3269, 4th day of Yavië
Pharazôn has decreed that no living soul, upon pain of death, shall ever set foot on Meneltarma again, either to worship Eru or for any other reason. Pharazôn and I are hardly speaking to each other anymore. Ever since Amandil withdrew himself to Romenna, calling all the Elendili and faithful to join him there, Pharazôn has not discussed with me matters of politics or religion. He suspects me of being a spy for the Elendili. And he is right on that score. It is the only reason I still attend council meetings: to be able to know their schemes well in advance, so that my friends in Romenna can be warned in time.
Yesterday I received the very sad news that Ecthelimë, Elendil’s wife whom I have come to be so very fond of, died in childbed two days ago. Death comes often and swiftly to Númenorë these days. I know they won’t let me go to the burial at Romenna, so why bother asking permission.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3271, 24th day of Yavië
I overheard a discussion between Pharazôn and Sauron last night, in which Sauron tried to persuade my "husband" to cut down the White Tree, Nimloth the Fair. Pharazôn told Sauron of my father’s prophecy: were Nimloth to decease, then the realm of Anadûne would come to an end as well. Which caused Sauron to laugh sardonically, but the King’s High-Councillor did not press the matter further. Yet. I immediately sent word to Amandil today, to warn him, and – if possible – to take action. Yes, two or three in the palace are still loyal to me and can be trusted.
Today, Sauron has ordered the Tree to be guarded day and night. No chance of bringing it into safety, I suppose.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3271, 27th day of Yavië
That was quite a night! But at last I accomplished something to justify my prolonged presence here as pseudo queen of this unhappy Land of Gift. It must have been around the second bells of nightwatch that I awoke startled by loud clamours in the courtyard under my windows. I looked outside where I saw guards chasing a tall hooded figure, who appeared to be defending himself vigorously. Something made be go downstairs and when I arrived the guards had almost surrounded the perpetrator, whom I recognised as Isildur, Elendil’s son. O yes, I recognised him immediately, the moment I looked in his eyes that are his, but also his father’s. So unhidden powers awoke in me, and I yelled: "Who dares to disturb the peace of the Queen of Anadûne? Guards, to me!" One of the louts started to mutter something about burglars and the like, at which point I interrupted and said: "No reason to assail my servants. The man you seek I saw escaping into the direction of the West Gates a few minutes ago. Now come, Dorlag, I have waited for your messages all night." At which point Isildur calmly followed me inside. I saw that he was heavily wounded and horribly pale, but there was no time to spare. I directed him to the stables and safely saw him off riding through the East Gate. Then I awoke poor old Dorlag and gave him his instructions. I wonder what Isildur has been up to.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3271, 28th day of Yavië
Isn’t that something? The "Unidentified Perpetrator" of last night was reported as having stolen a fruit from Nimloth. So that is what Isildur came to accomplish. More power to him! And I have at last done something useful.
There were inquiries of course, and both Sauron and Pharazôn were looking at me in a most troublesome way. But without proof even they cannot lightly accuse the Queen of Númenor, which I still am – to a few.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3271, 32nd day of Yavië
Today, with lots of ceremony, Nimloth was slain, They felled the White Tree, the symbol of all that Númenor once stood for, and found it reason for celebration. I called in sick.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3272, 13th day of Hrivë
In the midst of our proud city, Armenelos the Golden, we now have a hideous Temple five hundred feet wide and five hundred feet tall, crowned by a domed roof of utter gloominess. Ever since the temple was initialised last month by the ritual burning of Nimloth, evil seems to ooze from that place and it’s getting worse. I did not know that evil can actually be smelled and seen, but it can. The place cries evil in every way. After the burning of the White Tree there were blood rituals in the days thereafter, so I was told. Faithful who did not make it to Romenna were sacrificed to Melkor that he would release Anadûne from Death. These Elendili were charged with high treason against the majesty of Pharazôn and of plotting against his life. Rubbish of course. Human sacrifices. Abomination!
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3309, 25th day of Hrivë
It has been long years since I have felt comfortable to write my thoughts on paper. Today, with Pharazôn and Sauron both out of town I will make an effort to describe some of it all. O Númenorë! The stench of decay is everywhere. Bitterness and hate dominate our lives. The proud people of Númenor now have slaves to work for them, dragged from their homes in Middle Earth to sail on the Black Ships of Númenor. How they must hate and fear us. Death is omnipresent in the Land of Númenor these days: in the daily blood rituals at the Temple, in the madness and sickness that assail hundreds of people every day, and in the ceremonial burial rites that accompany the mummification of our deceased, assembled in ever larger pyramids all around the country. Silent witnesses to a civilization that has lost its moral grounds.
And yet, our economy is more flourishing than ever before, and our military might is probably more awesome than anything that was ever witnessed in Beleriand of old. Ar-Pharazôn the Golden has turned into the mightiest tyrant this world has witnessed since the fall of Thangorodrim. At his smallest wimp hundreds of ships and thousands of soldiers are ready to make war on whomever dares to displease him. So far, he has left Romenna alone. Why I don’t know. Probably he thinks it is a matter too small for him to waste his attention. And of slaves to sacrifice in the temple there are enough, ships arriving from Umbar almost every day.
The boy who teased me when I was a child has grown old to become purely evil. There is even nothing of his old sarcasm or irony in his ways and speech anymore: his soul has gone to complete and utter darkness. And indeed, he is getting old. Like his father before him, old age is coming to him swiftly and certainly. And the nearing of death he fears more than anything.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3310, 19th day of Lairë
I am getting too old to be overhearing conversations through keyholes, but it has been a lifelong habit, so why change now? But what I overheard last night was so grandiose, so grotesque, that I still cannot believe I heard it correctly. This is what passed between Pharazôn and Sauron last night:
Pharazôn: "(inaudible) death (inaudible) avoided (inaudible) undying lands?"
Sauron: "The Valar have possessed themselves of the land where there is no death; and they lie to you concerning it, hiding it as best as they may, because of their avarice, and they fear lest the Kings of Men should wrest from them the deathless realm and rule the world in their stead. And though (inaudible) gift, which is his due, should be withheld from the King of Kings, Ar-Pharazôn, mightiest of the sons of the Earth (inaudible). Great kings do not brook denials, and take what is their due."
Pharazôn: (inaudible) my rightful claims (inaudible) by force.
The rest was barely audible, but what it comes down to is this. My deluded "husband" and his demonic advisor are actually planning to go to war against Valinor!
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3310, 27th day of Lairë
Amandil writes that he has received my reports on the schemes of Pharazôn in good order. He has ordered all the remaining faithful within the walls of Romenna. Furthermore he writes that he is now resolved to sail to Aman himself, in order to plead for mercy upon Men and their deliverance from Sauron and his evils. This he says, must be done in uttermost secret lest the King would wreak vengeance on those that have stayed behind. Bless Uncle Amandil, but I fear his hopes might be idle. Will the Valar amend to another voyage like Eärendil ‘s?
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3316, 6th day of Tuilë
The fleet of Anadûne is reported to now completely encompass the bay of Eldanna. Seven hundred ships have been gathered there and yet Pharazôn is pressing on with his armament.
The Valar have given notice that they are aware of what is happening here. For days the sun was darkened last week by enormous eagle shaped clouds slowly looming up from the west, bearing thunder and lightning on their wings. The sight of the Eagles made people tremble with fear. I heard them shouting: "Behold the Eagles of the Lords of the West" and "The Wrath of the Valar has come upon Anadûne". And indeed some of them even repented and others were troubled by doubts. But this soon changed as my husband gave a thunderous speech yesterday, in which he claimed that thus was proven even more that what should be obvious to all: That the Lords of the Western Realms have betrayed mankind, and have been plotting against us. And his concluding words: "The next blow will be ours", were welcomed by hysterical cheers.
At that very moment a terrible thunderstorm came and men were slain by lightning. But then Sauron went to stand upon the very pinnacle of his temple dome and the bolts gave way before him and he was unharmed. And the people worshipped the might of Sauron.
Elendil writes to me that yesterday his father finally set sail to Valinor. He also writes that Lord Amandil has ordered him to keep himself, his sons and all that volunteer to accompany them ready in ships, to sail at Amandil’s sign, or at any sign that is bound to come. He says that he is busy fulfilling this request, and that he has amongst other valuables seven palantiri and the Ring of Barahir in safety on his ship. On Isildur’s ship will be kept the scion of Nimloth the Fair that was saved from desecration. Nine ships they are holding ready in the Bay of Romenna.
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3319, 6th day of Tuilë
This morning the nine hundred and score ships of Pharazôn’s Armada were once more visited by the Eagles of Manwë. "Bawiga dulgî", black winds, they are called by the ignorant people in the streets. They came at dawn, arrayed as for battle. In line they came, ever growing in size, carrying flame and lightning. The earth shook beneath them.
More people than ever were sent to be slaughtered at Sauron’s temple today. And then, at noon, Pharazôn chose the moment to board his Castle of the Sea, Alcarondas, to sit upon his throne and to raise his standards. And with the ringing of thousands of trumpets the fleets of Númenor set sail west.
Now, while I sit here at night writing, the silence is unnatural. After all the turmoils of the last weeks it is now as if the world has gone to rest, but for what? Will the Númenoreans find the lands they seek? What will happen if they don’t? And what will happen to poor Númenor if they do?
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3319, 21st day of Tuilë
I received a letter from Elendil today, in which he urgently begs me to come to Romenna and to go aboard his ships. Apparently he is having this same feeling of premonition that I have. Something terrible is going to happen, but what? If I were to go to Romenna now, who would stop me? But I will not flee. People are desperate and are reported to be slaying themselves and each other. By thousands people go to Sauron’s Temple these days seeking solace, but the Temple square got so crowded that yesterday he ordered the masses to be removed by armed guards. And in this hour of need even some of my people remember that they have a queen and come to me for comfort. I am doing what I can. I am to stay here. What else can I do?
Armenelos, 2nd Era 3319, 45th day of Tuilë
The world is coming to an end today. This is no earthquake, it is the earth being rent apart . Nothing can describe what is happening around us. People are dying everywhere. Sauron is finally showing his true face. He is standing on his pinnacle, no longer showing traces of being human. He stands shouting at the skies like a madman, shaking his fists, screaming obscenities. His voice and appearance are those of a veritable demon now, and the people flee from him.
In the west there is a darkness gathering that is so utterly and completely black, that it can only mean final doom upon us. I will go up to Meneltarma and pray to Eru. May he have mercy upon our souls.
Here ends the Diary of Tar-Míriel, Last Queen of Númenor.
Stories > Irmo's stories > Part I > Part II > Part III