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Akallabeth in August
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For Pharazôn son of Gimilkhâd had become a man yet more restless and eager for wealth and power than his father. He had fared often abroad, as a leader in the wars that the Númenóreans made then in the coastlands of Middle-earth, seeking to extend their dominion over Men; and thus he had won great renown as a captain both by land and by sea.

In the days of their youth together Amandil had been dear to Pharazôn ...

The Day the Numenoreans Left by Aiwen

They were received with great ceremony into a spacious and well appointed audience chamber where Lord Niluadun made a speech. His Quenya was elegant, but the speech seemed over-proud to Amandil. He seemed to believe that the Numenoreans were doing the elves a favor by coming to visit them. The High Kings's expression was hard to read, but Amandil couldn't imagine the speech impressed the High King, who was, after all, older than Numenor itself. His councillors bore expressions Amandil interpreted as polite for the most part, although one blond elf rolled his eyes until poked by the elf next to him.

Then came the presentation of the gifts. All went well enough until the parrot was presented. On the cloth being whisked off of the cage, the bird opened its eyes and glared, shrieking "Go kiss an orc! Son of a deranged warg! Orc balls in butter!" in Adunaic. It followed this up with "Mithiel want a biscuit." in Sindarin.

The High King sat very still for a couple of seconds and went slightly red. Amandil too froze, wondering with horror if he was going to find out what punishments elven kings inflicted when they were severely offended, but Gil-galad started laughing. "I, um, thank you." he continued. "This is a most unique gift."

His councillors, however, did not seem so amused. There were many outraged glares aimed at the offensive bird, who had resumed chattering, although in harmless Sindarin this time. There were still three more gifts to give, and the presentations resumed.

All went well until they reached the beautiful sword with the hilt of mithril and jewels. Lord Niluadun introduced it as being a Numenorean heirloom of unknown antiquity. When Gil-galad saw it his eyes narrowed, but he said nothing. Amandil had a nasty feeling that this was a worse mistake them the parrot although he had no idea why.

Gil-galad made a graceful speech in return, suggesting that he would be delighted to renew an acquaintance with Numenor. He spoke in rather archaic but otherwise perfect Adunaic. So much for him not understanding the parrot's foul mouth... in spite of his delight at seeing elves, Amandil found himself much relieved when they were all shown to their quarters in the guest wing of the palace.

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Meanwhile, the elves too were glad to let down their guard. Gil-galad rubbed his forehead where the crown had been pressing while his councillors chatted and prepared to leave the room in search of luncheon.

"These Numenoreans! Of all the outrageously arrogant gestures," Celeborn said.

"They have fallen far indeed since Elros' day," Cirdan said. "I am glad Elrond is not here to see them."

"I'm also glad of that," said Gil-galad. "They're barely recognizable as what they once were. If this trend continues I fear we may not have allies in them much longer. What I'd really like to know is where they got Celebrimbor's sword. I would have thought Sauron would have it locked away in some trophy hoard in Barad-dur." He walked over and picked the sword up, drawing it from the sheath and looking at it critically. There was a strange mark two-thirds of the way along the blade that somebody had tried to polish out. It looked almost as if acid had been spilt on the blade. "I wonder..." said Gil-galad. "Galadriel, look at this." He handed the blade to her. "What do you make of this mark?"

She examined it, frowning. "We should probably show it to Glorfindel, but I think perhaps Celebrimbor managed to strike at least one blow on Sauron before he was overcome."

"That's what I thought," said Gil-galad. "I would certainly like to think that true. Do you remember when he received this?"

"And swore he'd put it to a bettor use than Curufin had? Yes." She shook her head. "At least the Numenoreans returned it, even if they didn't realize quite what they were returning."

Over the other side of a room, there was a parrot shriek and a muffled oath. Gil-galad turned to see Glorfindel clutching his hand and glaring at the parrot. "The little monster bit me," he said. "It really is an orc-minded thing isn't it?" He opened his hand to show blood dripping from two of his fingers.

Gildor snickered, but quickly turned this into a cough when Gil-galad looked in his direction. "It does look it, doesn't it?" Gil-galad said. "You might want to go and get a healer to look at that to make sure it doesn't get infected."

"It will heal quickly enough on its own," said Glorfindel. "The little beast has no poison but its tongue." He smiled brightly. "I believe it belongs to you. What are you going to do with it?"

Gil-galad looked around the room at the miscellaneous livestock, plants and other objects. "For now, I'd like all the inanimate objects to go in storeroom number three. The tiger cub can go to Galador the Hunt Master with instructions for him to train it to fight orcs. The monkeys... does anyone here want monkeys?"

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Back in quarters, Amandil turned to Pharazon the moment he walked in. "I doubt Gil-galad speaks Adunaic," he mimicked sarcastically.

"I don't need to hear it from you too," Pharazon complained. "Lord Niludadun yelled worse than the parrot and has confined me to quarters for the next two days - when I'm not on the ship's deck scrubbing it with the common sailors! I'm not going to get to go out and see all this fascinating architecture for ages."

"You did let yourself in for it," Amandil said and then relented. "Never mind. I'm sure we'll be here longer than two days so you'll get to see the architecture. "

"It is still unfair," said Pharazon. "Did you look at the palace on the way in? It's beautiful, but it's clearly designed as a fortress. You can tell they had just come out of a war when it was built. Peace or not they've still got murder holes in all the ceilings, as well as the full moat, drawbridge, and portcullis. Then there's the fact that they built it on a natural high point. It would be a nasty place to tackle. It might be easiest to poke a hole in the wall around the moat, although it is thick enough it would take quite a while..."

Amandil rolled his eyes at his friend's obsession. "Then just be glad it's in the hands of friends."

"Is it?" said Pharazon.

"Of course," said Amandil. "Now if you want a difficult castle in the hands of enemies why don't you go attack Barad-dur?"

"You never know," Pharazon said with a smile. "Someday I just might."

"And conquer the moon and the sun the day after," Amandil said. "Right." He threw a cushion at Pharazon's head. Pharazon grinned and threw it back.

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