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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

The tour went well. Amandil found the shipyards especially fascinating but by the end of the morning he still hadn't managed to find Lord Niluadun, let alone speak to him in private. He stopped back in his and Pharazon's room for a few moments before going out to lunch and was surprised to find Pharazon there. "Why hello there," Pharazon said, giving him a cheeky grin.

"Aren't you supposed to be on the ship supervising the scrubbing of decks?" Amandil said.

"Oh, I managed to convince Gimlihazid and Niluadun that I really wasn't at fault."

"I wish I was as good as convincing people of things," Amandil said. "I've been trying to talk to lord Niluadun since last night and I can't even find the man."

"Your problem is that you're too polite," said Pharazon. "What were you trying to talk to him about?"

"Azare," said Amandil. "Actually, I may not need to talk to him if you can help me with this. You like her and she likes you."

"Yes," said Pharazon, nodding. "Lots of women do."

Amandil rolled his eyes at his friend's arrogance. One of these days it was going to get Pharazon into big trouble, but until then there wasn't really much he could do about it. "Azare has been harassing the High King of the Noldor," he admitted, "and I think it's likely to cause an incident if she doesn't leave him alone."

"Harassing him in what way?"

"You know Azare. Guess," Amandil said sourly. "She had him cornered against a wall and one of his councillors had to come rescue him."

"You're joking," said Pharazon. "The great and puissant High King of the Noldor, member of a clan whose deeds include challenging Morgoth to single combat and killing werewolves with their bare hands, is afraid of a pretty girl. That's hilarious."

"You may find it funny, but it is likely to cause a mess if we don't deal with it. Please keep Azare occupied during the dancing. I hear there's going to be another dance tomorrow night, and considering how badly things went last night they had better go properly tomorrow."

"What else did I miss last night?"

"The Captain drinking himself into a stupor and making nasty remarks about elves when I woke him. I then had to lie to the elves who wanted to know what he said. Several elves now think that there is a bush in Numenor called the whizzish bush that produces fruits that we use to make fermented beverages."

"I have to hear this," said Pharazon. "We've got time before lunch so why don't you tell me the whole story of what happened last night?" Amandil did, and found telling the story much more fun than he had the actual events. He was also much relieved by Pharazon's promise to keep Azare occupied and out of mischief during the dancing.

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Pharazon was as good as his word the next night and Amandil found himself actually able to relax and enjoy things. There were a couple of minor incidents involving the monkeys getting into the food and being chased by a silver haired lady sporting a circlet and an elvish councillor getting into some sort of argument with Lieutenant Zimazar about appropriate uses for garlic. The latter was made worse by the fact that neither really understood what the other said, but it was still nothing like the first night.

Yes, tonight was much better. Some distance away from where he sat beside the musicians, Amandil could see Pharazon and Azare with their heads close together talking intensely about something. Amandil shrugged. It didn't really matter what they were talking about so long as she kept out of trouble. He leaned back in his chair and went back to listening to the musicians. There was a quartet of bowed instruments much like viols going at the moment. Each was a different size and they produced the most enchanting tones.

Behind him a couple of elves were speaking in low tones but he didn't listen to them until he heard the words "parrot. Did you know that it bit Glorfindel?"

"No. That bird must have a death wish. I wouldn't attack the balrog slayer if he were unarmed and naked and I were in full armour with a sword! What happened after that?"

"I understand the King has it in his quarters. What he wants with it I do not know."

"He always did have an odd sense of humor."

"I guess the parrot isn't so bad, but the sheer gall shown in trying to pass off a sword made by Feanor as Numenorean work is unbelievable. One also wonders how they got hold of Celebrimbor's sword. It's almost enough to make you believe those tales you hear about some of the Colonies falling into dark paths and following Sauron."

"It does make one wonder indeed. I don't want to believe it, but..." The elves moved away, and Amandil lost the rest of the conversation. So that was why Gil-galad had reacted so strongly to the sword! He'd probably seen it before. I have to tell Lord Niluadun about this before it does any more damage. Amandil got up and went in search of Lord Niluadun.

He found him, but unfortunately he was dancing with one of the elvish ladies and Amandil had to wait for the dance to finish before screwing up his courage and asking Lord Niluadun for a word. He might be heir to the Lord of Andunie, but he was as yet too young for people to take him seriously and being one of the Faithful did not make things any easier. Lord Niluadun saw him standing there and frowned. "Yes, lad, what is it?"

"It is very important, my Lord, but should probably not be discussed here."

"In that case, my lady, I must leave you for now. I thank you for the dance." He walked into the corridor with Amandil and looked at him expectantly.

"The sword that we gave to the High King isn't Numenorean. It is a very famous elvish blade made by Feanor and last borne by Celebrimbor. I overheard some elves talking about it, and they are quite angry about our misattribution. They were also speculating on it being acquired by friendly links with the enemy among some of our Colonies. I thought you ought to know this."

"Captain Gimlihazid assured me that it was of Arzim's making. If what you say is correct, it must have been spoils of war from the war of the Elves and Sauron. I know quite a number of things were taken back to Numenor as souvenirs. Are you sure the elves were telling the truth?"

"I think they must be. Were you looking at the High King's face when they handed him the sword? He recognized it, and he was angry. I didn't know why at the time."

"I will investigate this further. Thank you for informing me. Have you any further disturbing revelations I need to know?"

"I don't think so," said Amandil.

"Well then, I'll be off. You have a good head on your shoulders. Excellent work with the Sindarin. I saw you translating the other day. Well done." Lord Niluadun clapped Amandil on the shoulder and walked back into the crowd.

Amandil watched him go, feeling relieved. Then he remembered he hadn't told Lord Niluadun about Azare, but when he went back into the room to look for Lord Niluadun the man was gone.

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