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Akallabeth in August
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There was a lady Inzilbêth, renowned for her beauty, and her mother was Lindórië, sister of Eärendur, the Lord of Andúnië in the days of Ar-Sakalthôr father of Ar-Gimilzôr. Gimilzôr took her to wife, though this was little to her liking, for she was in heart one of the Faithful, being taught by her mother; but the kings and their sons were grown proud and not to be gainsaid in their wishes. No love was there between Ar-Gimilzôr and his queen, or between their sons.

Even Roses Have Thorns, Part 1 by Lady Roisin

The lyrical melody of flutes and viols, driven by rhythmic beat of drums and tambourines, filled the great hall of the King. The throng that ringed the hall was transfixed on a group of five dancers who glided across the floor with athletic but fluid grace. A swirl of brightly colored skirts caught the eyes of the crowd just before they gasped in unison when the outer edge of the metal fans held by one of the dancers became engulfed in flame after brushing past a torch held by another.

The court dance master had promised the King a good show. Gimilzôr--the King’s heir--nodded his head in approval as he watched the woman weave in and out of the arcs created by her fiery props, the light reflecting off of the gilded mask that hid the dancer’s identity. At least the performance kept his attention for the time being. However, his eyes soon drifted back to the faces in the crowd that encircled the floor where the performers held their attention. The King’s heir became far more absorbed in scanning the faces in the crowd that encircled the floor.

Gimilzôr recognized a few of the nobles, but others appeared new to court. His gaze fell upon an unknown maiden upon whose brow rested a wreath of lavender flowers with a great pearl set in the center. Her chestnut hair flowed unbound past her shoulders, unlike the elaborately plaited styles most often favored by the women of the court. The maiden’s eyes turned towards Gimilzôr, as if she sensed his stare. Her cold expression deepened before she turned her back on the King’s heir and disappeared into the crowd.

“Are you familiar with that maiden, the one with the flowers?” Gimilzôr murmured to his father, Ar-Sakalthôr, seated at his side.

The King craned his neck and nodded. “She is a daughter of the household of Andúnië, Inzilbêth I believe is what her grandfather calls her.”

“Strange that we have never seen her presence at court,” Gimilzôr murmured before turning his head back to face the dancers.

The King could not help but feel a sense of relief when he had seen the longing in his son’s eyes. At last a maiden--at least one who promised to become a pious and noble queen--had caught Gimlizôr’s eye. The King already had to play his pieces right to cover the damage inflicted by his heir through his son’s game of beating the nobles to their chaste brides-to-be. Hopefully, Ar-Sakalthôr hoped, this Inzilbêth would prove every bit as clever as she was beautiful. If she served to distract Gimilzôr from his predilections, then the match would be more than worth the trouble of convincing her guardians to relinquish her. With a bit of luck the girl would breed quickly.

“I shall have her sent an official summons so you may get to know her better.” Ar-Sakalthôr’s could not deny the sense of triumph once he saw the smile of approval on his heir’s face.

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“I don’t think it is wise for you to go see him.”

Inzilbêth could not contain the urge to roll her eyes at her older brother’s statement. “And what do you expect me to do? I don’t wish to go any more than you wish me to.”

Nimruzîr scowled, his arms allowed to thud heavily upon the table. “Don’t think I haven’t seen the way he looks at you. You should have never gone to court in the first place!”

“I went for us.” Inzilbêth’s voice remained calm, yet stern. She reached out to gently grasp her brother’s forearms, offering him a half-smile. “You know how suspicious the King is, especially of our household. If I had not gone to court, and especially if I do not abide by the King’s summons, then there would be no telling what Gimilzôr, or his father, would do. We can’t risk his wrath, not now.”

Further argument from her brother would have been more bearable than the tense silence that ensued. Inzilbêth turned to her mother for some sort of reassurance, but instead her heart tore in two to see a single tear slide down the side of her mother’s face. For so many years Lindórië had served as her daughter’s strength, as steady as a rock never yielded to Ossë’s waves, a beacon of strength no matter what kind of difficulties were presented to her or her children.

“Oh Naneth,” Inzilbêth murmured as she stepped forward to wrap her arms around her mother’s shoulders in support. “Please, don’t cry, Naneth.”

Lindórië dabbed at the corner of her eyes with a finger and shook her head. “You are brave and I know you shall be all right. But something tells me I cannot trust this man, or his motives, especially towards you. I always wanted to keep you and your brother safe. Except now, you must go into a place where I cannot protect you.”

Inzilbêth swallowed back the lump in her throat and took a deep breath. Never before had she seen her mother in such a fragile state. Although it pained her to see tears in Lindórië’s eyes, it only served to strengthen Inzilbêth’s determination.

“I do not know what this man shall try to do, or his real motives towards me. But I shall always remember what you have taught me, and nothing, not even a monster of a King’s heir, can remove those things from my mind, and heart.”

A second tear rolled from Lindórië’s eye, followed by a third and fourth. Without hesitation, Inzilbêth reached up to her mother’s face to brush them away with the side of her hand before allowing the palm to rest upon her mother’s cheek. So many times Lindórië had done the same for her daughter when she had shed tears from everything to a skinned knee to the greater growing pains such as the first time when a lad had broken Inzilbêth’s heart, and she had learned the cruel life lesson that not everyone could return her love in the way she hoped or deserved. Surely Inzilbêth would have wept in the past if she had known this day would come. But today she began to understand why love had enabled her mother to wipe away so many of her daughter’s tears. Now it was Inzilbêth’s chance to return the pieces of Lindórië’s heart that she used to help make Inzilbêth’s whole again.

“It’s all right to be afraid, Naneth. But let this be my chance to be brave for you, for all of us.”

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The beauty of the citadel’s architecture could not diminish her shock when she first caught sight of the withering Nimloth. A second glance at the fabled tree proved to be as potent as her first. That night--when she had attended court for the first time--the spectre of the dying tree had been almost too heartbreaking to witness, but now her attention focused upon it as a distraction, however depressing it was, from Gimilzôr’s rambling.

Ever since her first audience with the King’s heir, he had made love to himself with his words and molested her with his gaze. The way his eyes drifted down her body and back up again made Inzilbêth’s skin crawl, yet she hid her revulsion behind a carefully guarded façade. Her exterior remained like the large statues that lined the courtyard; regal and unyielding to the elements. But on the inside, she felt more like the fading Nimloth.

“No King before me shall have had such a lavish wedding ceremony. But then again, no King before had a fairer bride to display to his people.”

The man could not even offer a simple compliment without praise being directed back at him in some way. From what Inzilbêth could discern, his only virtues were his handsome features, his wealth, and--if the rumors of women’s moan and cries of pleasure that came from the heir’s personal chambers were true, his skills of another sort. Hopefully Gimilzôr would be so absorbed in his paranoia along with his verbal and mental masturbations that, as his wife, Inzilbêth would have a measure of peace and quiet.

“That is very kind of you, your Majesty,” Inzilbêth cooed, taking care to flash her betrothed a winning smile. “But I am far more interested in the chambers you have promised me. I expect there shall be rooms for my mother to help me with the care of your heir.”

Gimilzôr’s boots squeaked upon the marble underneath them, bringing their easy jaunt to a sudden halt. “I’m afraid, my dear, that I have already made provisions for her in Rómenna. It is tradition for the royal children to be cared for by trained nurses. It is for their safety--and yours.”

“But my mother,” Inzilbêth stammered. “I already made plans for her to assist me.”

“Rest assured, my bride, your mother shall be permitted to visit from time to time.” Gimilzôr raised the righteous ire deep in Inzilbêth’s core. She watched as two gentlemen came forward to speak with the King’s heir. A mere nod of Gimilzôr’s head in Inzilbêth’s direction served as his curt farewell. The servants in her father’s home had more respect when dismissed than what he had just given to her. Once the men were out of sight Inzilbêth’s knees grew weak, sending her to the ground. Her hands clamped to her face in order to muffle her scream.

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Lindórië allowed herself a small smile while she watched her daughter dance with her new husband. Queen Inzilbêth. No, she had never dreamed of such a thing. It was true: Inzilbêth had been born for great things. Both she and Lindórië were descendants of Tar-Calmacil, eighteenth ruler of Númenor, a great sea captain of old. Yes, Inzilbêth was a natural in her future position, yet Lindórië could only wish it had come about with happier circumstances.

Her daughter looked so beautiful and noble in her regal wedding garb, a true Queen that would have made even Tar-Ancalimë fume with envy to see. The only thing that was missing was a smile upon the bride’s face. Not even the trace of one found its way to the corners of Inzilbêth’s mouth. Lindórië could not help but be proud of the woman her Inzilbêth had become, yet she had hoped for so much more for her beloved child. Above all, Lindórië desired joy for her daughter, yet the royal wedding felt a step away from a funeral with its solemn air. Not even the sight of one of the most handsome newlyweds in all of Númenor breached the somber atmosphere.

Lindórië’s eyes flicked towards some of the courtiers standing across from her. Jealousy clearly painted the features of a few of the young women; they averted their eyes once they realized the mother of the bride looked their way. Lindórië hoped that Inzilbêth had the gift of womanly wiles to keep her future King’s attention fixed upon her and that dalliances with these women of the court would be curtailed. She had no doubt that her daughter had her work cut out for her. Nearly a half an hour had passed when Lindórië felt a tap upon her shoulder. One of the King’s servants stood mere inches away from her ear.

“The King wishes to have a word with you, my lady.”

Lindórië offered no more than a curt nod before taking one carefully measured step after another towards the place where Ar-Sakalthôr sat. The king put a warm smile on his face once he noticed Lindórië approaching his seat. Even so, she knew better than to hope for good news, especially with the predatory gleam that flashed briefly in his eyes.

“I trust you approve of my preparations for the wedding feast,” he said. Lindórië should have expected a greeting to be absent from the first sentence with which Ar-Sakalthôr chose to address her. Regardless, his lack of courtesy caught her off-guard.

“Approve of them I do, but it would have brought peace to my heart to see my daughter happy upon her wedding day.”

If the King felt offense upon hearing Lindórië’s words he hid such a fact from his face. The same rapacious look remained in his dark eyes while he spoke in a cold, even, tone.

“My son has asked that you leave and that you not return to court or step foot upon the royal grounds again. Are we understood, Lady Lindórië?”

The words sliced Lindórië’s heart in half, yet somehow she resisted the pain, forcing it back until she felt certain that only pride shone forth on her features. She straightened her posture before offering a formal bow to Ar-Sakalthôr.

“Aye, we are understood, your Majesty. I bid you good evening.”

Lindórië pivoted on her heel with a flourish of her skirt before taking one purposed step after another. There were others who were said to have left the King’s halls in shame, but she would not be one of them. A loud cry brought all activity within the room to a sudden halt.


Lindórië could hear a few individuals gasp audibly when Inzilbêth’s mournful voice called out the word in the forbidden tongue again. She could barely maintain her pride when she heard such sorrow in her daughter’s tone even from across the hall. The frantic look on Inzilbêth’s face pierced Lindórië’s heart further. Inzilbeth embraced her with a fierce grip before Lindórië could stop her. Tears burned the inside of Lindórië’s eyelids when she felt the trembling of Inzilbêth’s limbs., The unshed droplets of grief threatened to engulf her already broken and bleeding heart. Lindórië pulled her daughter close and nestled her face against her hair, breathing in its scent for the last time, and prayed the memory would keep her strong for the remainder of her days. Only now did the full bitterness of her father’s words take hold. Love had helped Lindórië to raise her daughter to be the woman that now stood in front of her, and it would be love that would help Lindórië to let her go so that Inzilbêth could be the Queen they needed.

“No more tears, sell vuin,” Lindórië soothed as she gently pulled herself out of her daughter’s grasp.

“The Valar have placed you here because you are stronger than any of us. Give your King an heir; change the course of history. Only you can do that,” Lindórië whispered in her daughter’s ear before pressing a final kiss to Inzilbêth’s brow. Somehow she found the strength to step away.

Annon gur nîn achen bereth vuin.”

Lindórië said the words loud enough for them to reach Gimilzôr’s ears in the hush that feel over the room. Surely if it had been any other day than the wedding of the future King and Queen, Lindórië would have been arrested faster than she had a chance to provide a translation for those who did obey the King’s laws in regards to the Elvish tongues. Instead on this day Lindórië found her way to her carriage unhindered. She waited until the clop of horse hooves were loud enough to drown out the sound of her sobs before letting her tears fall unhindered.

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The years were not wholly unkind to Inzilbêth as they passed one by one. Not long after she married Gimilzôr, she bore him a sturdy son, Inziladûn. Indeed Inzilbêth hoped her little boy would live up to his name and become a flower to grow from the wasteland that had replaced their once-rich heritage. From a young age, Inziladûn favored his mother’s company, something she would not deny him no matter how Gimilzôr tried to scorn them. There would be little he could do, especially because his future Queen secured his line.

Even though Inzilbêth was eager to teach her son in the manner she had been taught, she knew it was wise--and safer--to wait. Gimilkhâd arrived some arrived some years after his elder brother, further securing Inzilbêth’s favor in the royal house. Unfortunately, a fierce rivalry grew between the two boys. Inzilbêth knew she would have to wait until her sons grew into men rather than take the risk of childhood tattling that might reveal what she wished to teach Inziladûn. Gimilkhâd was a willful and impetuous boy from the start, which pleased his father greatly, yet the boy never ceased to find ways to terrorize his brother. Thankfully, one sharp glance or swat of the hands from Inzilbêth was all it took to rein in her youngest. Gimilzôr wasn’t the only one from whom Gimilkhâd inherited his intransigence: Inzilbêth had him outnumbered in years and quick thinking.

The day came when Ar-Sakalthôr’s life left him, and the sceptre passed to Gimilzôr. A great crowd gathered to witness the coronation of their new King and Queen. Inzilbêth’s eyes scanned the crowd for some sign of her family. Her uncle stood among the other councilors as the Lord of Andúnië. Eärendur flashed an encouraging smile when Inzilbêth looked his way. The moment felt surreal as her uncle placed the crown upon her head. The pride in his eyes reminded Inzilbêth of the last glance she had shared with Lindórië and her thoughts turned to her mother once more. She had not heard a word from her, not since the day of her wedding. If only Lindórië had been here to see her hope fulfilled, to see her grandsons.

Fortunately Inziladûn’s cheer helped to distract his mother during the coronation feast. His presence always had a way of keeping her from going mad in her fine prison; at least they were there together. During a moment of high revelry, Inzilbêth turned to see Eärendur sit beside her. She did not have a chance to ask him what he was doing before her uncle shoved an envelope onto her lap.

“It is from your mother, your Highness. No one must know,” Eärendur whispered in her ear. “Why have you never answered any of her letters?”

Inzilbeth felt the blood drain from her facial features. “I never knew she wrote to me.”

Eärendur opened his mouth to speak but Ar-Gimilzôr moved back towards the table where Inzilbêth sat and she quickly tucked the envelope into the bodice of her gown. The King offered her another one of his usual cool smiles before he took his place at her side. Eärendur had gone before Inzilbêth had a chance to thank him for the news he bore to her.

The room fell silent once the King lifted his hand to speak. The tall winged crown looked fierce upon his head while the sceptre seemed almost more like a sword than a token of his station.

“My good people,” Ar-Gimilzôr boomed forth. “Before this day is spent, it will be my duty to quell the questions that have risen since my father’s demise. While he stood as a great leader to us all, I am here to inform you all that I will make it my priority to see to it our land is secure.”

Inzilbêth’s heart sank while she listened to her husband speak. “No more will the spies of the Elves and Valar--these Faithful--be allowed to roam without being carefully watched. Our people must be kept safe from whatever sorcery our enemies try to bring to our villages and homes. I have no doubts that once we rid Númenor of this treachery that peace shall be restored. No longer shall we fight their wars and invite evil to our doorsteps. Let us work together to fortify this land with pride in our own heritage. Has it not brought us greatness? I tell you, my good people, these Valar are merely fictitious tales that our enemy has told us to render us into cowering children lost in the night, to enslave us to their wars. But it is not the Elves that the men of Middle-earth revere. No! It is the might of Númenor! From this day forward we shall stand unified, and become an even greater force to be reckoned with!”

The room erupted into cheers and applause while Inzilbêth’s worst fears became manifest. She met her uncle’s eyes and saw the stern look upon his face. His words from a moment earlier returned and Inzilbêth’s eyes flicked towards her husband. Suddenly the pieces began to fall into place in regards to the fate of her mother’s letters. Gimlizôr had taken them. Betrayal tainted the small sentiments of acceptance--and even love--for her husband that had grown in Inzilbêth’s heart over the years. Now she began to understand how deep his vanity went. If there was one thing Inzilbêth learned from her husband it was how to hate as well as deceive, and while she watched Ar-Gimilzôr revel in the praise of his people, the seeds of his tutelage began to take root within his Queen.

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Author’s Note: According to sources, Inziladûn (3035) and Gimilkhâd (3044) were both born before Ar-Gimilzôr became king after Ar-Sakalthôr’s death in 3201. This is why I have them married before Ar-Gimilzôr becomes King. Eärendur, Lindórië’s brother, was also the Lord of Andunie during Ar-Sakalthôr’s reign, so I would assume he might continue in that role for the very beginning of Ar-Gimilzôr’s.

Sindarin Translations

“Annon gur nîn achen bereth vuin.”--“I give you my heart, beloved queen.”

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