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Akallabeth in August
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It is said that Amandil set sail in a small ship at night, and steered first eastward, and then went about and passed into the west. And he took with him three servants, dear to his heart, and never again were they heard of by word or sign in this world, nor is there any tale or guess of their fate.

At the Edge of the World by Lady Roisin

A stunned hush fell over all of those who stood upon the stairs, watching a figure walk towards the house of Amandil. The former Lord of Andúnië watched it approach, the form almost materializing out of the dense fog that rolled on the prior evening from the sea. Anariel staggered forward a few steps at a time and Amandil’s heart both soared and sank. It was a state he never wanted to see his great-granddaughter come towards her home in, but at least Eru granted her mercy to return. Anárion’s head bowed once Amandil’s gaze fell upon him. But his youngest grandson could not avert his eyes before Amandil could see the tears falling from them.

The rest of the day and night passed on in one excruciating minute after another since Anariel, Anárion’s eldest child, left on an errand. The local silversmith’s apprentice arrived at Amandil’s house with a bloodied nose and terrifying news. Anariel was about to leave the silversmith’s shop when guards approached her. According to the apprentice, Anariel separated one of the guard’s hands from his wrist with the sword she carried and put out the eye of another before the others beat her into submission and dragged her off. The apprentice tried to break up the scuffle and give Anárion’s daughter a chance to escape, but ended up being beaten himself. Anárion and Elendil rushed throughout Rómenna to try and find Anariel before she met an even worse fate. But alas they returned home with nothing but a few half empty clues.

A soft cry came from somewhere behind Amandil, causing him to turn around and see Tindalómë press both of her hands over her mouth, her eyes wide with shock. Isildur stopped short just behind his wife, his facial expression soon mirrored hers. Amandil didn’t have a chance to take a step forward before Anariel crumpled onto the lawn much like a doll without rigid limbs would after being cast aside in disdain.

“Go fetch the doctor,” Amandil ordered swiftly to his eldest grandson. He watched Isildur spring into action and launch himself across the courtyard to do as his grandfather bid. Amandil closed the distance between himself and the others. With each step his fear increased. He felt almost afraid to place a hand upon the fallen woman, least even a well meaning touch bring her further harm. He could only imagine the ordeal Anariel endured, and yet he did not want to.

Finally Amandil knelt at Anariel’s side and reached out a reluctant hand to carefully lift Anariel’s head, cradling it gently. Anariel’s face could barely be recognized underneath the layer of dirt and dried blood. The young woman’s eyes were closed as if she merely slept. Amandil could only hope that was all that kept her from stirring.

“Bring her inside,” Amandil choked in an attempt to hold his own tears at bay. “We shall do what we can to save her.”

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Stars alone illuminated the room Amandil dwelled in, his eyes focused on the western horizon. Storm clouds gathered there and dull flashes of lightening illuminated the bubbling and swirling taking place within them. He could hear the rough crash of waves, creating an audible clue to the divine rage that surely continued to build. Maybe they sensed his thoughts, his plans. Even then Amandil wondered if it would be the right thing. But there was no other choice now.

“Father?” Amandil jumped to hear Elendil speak up without warning. He turned to see his son close the door behind him, a lamp held in his hands. For a moment Elendil’s presence seemed almost symbolic in light of Amandil’s decision. If there was anyone he could depend on to carry on the legacy of the Lords of Andúnië, it would be his son.

“You wished to speak with me?” Elendil asked solemnly as he placed the lamp down onto the large desk that sat near the window. Amandil studied his son’s form. Elendil stood a good head taller than him, something that Amandil always took pride and humor in. The exiled lord used to joke with his son that he somehow received two sons at once, not only due to Elendil’s height, but his manner and aptitude for learning. Indeed Amandil could not have been more blessed by Eru had he begged for it. He knew the Faithful would be able to look to Elendil, maybe to an even greater degree than they had him.

“I believe it is your time to lead our people, “Amandil began as he crossed the room. “I have chosen to sail west. I fear what will become of this land. The warnings are plain, and yet so many chose not to see it. I would try and beg mercy for those who have remained loyal. I can longer bear to see so many innocent lives destroyed so thoughtlessly.”

“But the edicts, the ban,“ Elendil stammered. “This is absolute folly! I know you are devastated by the injury dealt to this house, but sacrificing yourself would not undo what has been done to Anariel. And who is to say you would not bring further wrath upon this land?”

Amandil shook his head and offered Elendil a sad smile. “If it had not been her, it would have been another, and it has been countless times. How many more wives, mothers, fathers, husbands, sons, and daughters have to be victims of pointless crimes, and even die in the temple fires, before someone takes a chance on their behalf?”

Silence created a wall between the two men who were normally so close. Amandil watched as Elendil moved towards the window where he stood before his son entered the room.

“You know that I would gladly go in your place. Our people look to you to lead.” Amandil could hear the mixture of desperation and fortitude in his son’s voice.

“I know this, and it is one of the reasons I know for sure that your place is here,” Amandil began while he moved to stand at Elendil’s side. “I have taught you everything I know. I have no doubts that you shall be a great leader. You are a far greater mariner than I, and I know you would be able to lead our people to safety.”

Amandil met Elendil’s eyes. He half expected further argument from his son, but in the dim lighting he saw his son sigh and shake his head instead. Elendil was so much like his father, especially when it came to stubbornness. In moments like this, Amandil could see hints of a man far greater than himself reflected back in Elendil’s eyes. No doubt Elendil would fight for what was right and just.

“You must gather forth all our people, all those who have remained faithful to Eru through these dark times. You and your sons have great ships, place all those you cannot bear to part with onboard.” Amandil turned his body and looked upon a great map of Númenor unfurled upon his desk amidst his earlier ruminations. His hands ghosted over the intricate painted surface while he continued to speak in an abstemious tone.

“Ar-Pharazon has already begun to gather forth his great army and it shall not be hard to prepare your ships amidst the floundering and chaos that is soon to take place. You and your sons must act with purpose and care to be ready for whatever is to come once Ar-Pharazon wages war on forbidden shores. My heart can do nothing but fear the worst, and it is all the more reason I must go.”

“But what about you,“ Elendil asked cautiously, almost as if he feared his father’s answer. “Do you really believe you will return from this?”

Amandil shook his head, allowing his silence to serve as his irrefutable answer. He reached up to place his hands upon Elendil’s broad shoulders while the low rumble of thunder drifted in through the open window.

“If one life can save many, then I cannot look back in fear. I once served the King of Númenor, but he has turned his back on his people, and my duty has always been to them. Someone must speak for those who lived in silence for so long. “

Elendil reached out his own hands, clapping them upon Amandil’s shoulders in the same manner. The mixture of sadness and admiration in his son’s eyes was almost enough to make Amandil wish to weep as well as run for the harbors.

“Then I would hope that I would do what would is right for our people as well,“ Elendil murmured while he gripped Amandil’s shoulders. “Know that if fate had allowed it, I would have gone with you to the very end.”

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If Amandil thought his private farewells to Elendil were difficult, then the partings upon the harbors were enough to render a man’s heart to pieces. A small crowd gathered on the pier to bid their leader farewell. Amandil sought to deliver what optimism he could from his own stance and expression to try and erase the fear in their eyes. But at the same time he took what hope he could from those who offered it to him in their gaze.

Both Isildur and Anárion tried to convince Amandil to allow them to come along. Even in their final parting Amandil could see they did not share their father’s recognition of the fate that lay ahead of them. Amandil could not recall a time where it felt so difficult to leave. Each step up the gangplank felt heavier than the last. Once aboard, Amandil walked towards the helm of the ship, watching his three companions lower the sails. As much as he wished to look back at his loved ones one last time while the ship moved out towards the open sea, he did not dare, knowing he would forfeit his mission if he did.

The shores of Rómenna eventually grew smaller, but Amandil kept his eyes fixed upon them until they finally blurred behind a blanket of fog. His journey would take him and his companions east before turning to sail past Númenor. Somehow the northern shores of Númenor never seemed so beautiful to Amandil, making it all the more difficult for him to tear his eyes away from it and guide his ship westward. Once again he considered returning. Thoughts of his beloved family came to mind now that the floodgates to that stream of consciousness were thrown open. Of course they would welcome him gratefully, but could he live with himself if he turned back now?

Then images of Anariel’s battered body entered his thoughts and Amandil’s hands grew firm upon the helm, keeping the ship on its proper course. Days passed and bled into an endless stream of time. Eventually Númenor lay behind him, disappearing into the eastern horizon and Aman could be seen rising in the west. The waves reached higher, forming white froth upon their tips and bobbed Amandil’s ship up and down.

“My lord, the winds are against us,“ one of Amandil’s three companions shouted over the wind. Amandil looked up in time to see the sails billow backwards in the opposing downdraft.

“Reef the sails! We’re windbound and shall be sent back to Númenor!” Amandil felt his throat tighten with the force of his yells, yet they seemed barely above a whisper in contrast to the howl of air rushing past him. His hands fought to hold the helm fast. The boat rolled sharply and the Amandil watched the three men grapple frantically for the closest manrope. Water splashed over the sides of the ship, soaking the deck.

The sharp snap of ropes and sails pulled Amandil’s attention upwards in time to see one of the large square sails flapping wildly in the wind. The rigging on one end came loose in the strong gusts, leaving a loose rope to flail about like a hungry viper released from a cage. Amandil watched in horror as the rope knocked one of the men from his feet, sending his body hurtling through the air and into the grasp of a large wave that reached out to claims its prey.

“Lords of the West, have mercy upon us!” Amandil shouted as loud as his voice would allow, hoping his pleas would somehow be heard over the shrill howl of the wind. The ship bucked sharply to one side, slamming Amandil into the helm, his hands holding it tight enough to whiten his knuckles. The water roared underneath the battered vessel, and Amandil could have sworn he heard his name upon the wind.

“Turn back,” Amandil heard the feminine voice as if a woman stood just behind him and whispered in his ear. Yet the voice dispersed and resonated all around him.

“I have no wish to set foot upon the forbidden shore,” Amandil called out in the hopes that his pleas would be heard. “I only wish to plead for mercy upon those who have remained steadfast and true to the rightful creator! We do not wish for war!”

The ship lurched sharply, ripping the helm from Amandil’s hands, forcing it to spin wildly. Amandil lifted his head to scream with all the might he could muster. “Lady of the Seas, I beseech you, aid me in my task!”

The helm continued to spin violently. Surely the ship would be burst open like a child’s toy flung onto the rocks in a fit of rage. Amandil cringed at the groan of a vessel pushed to its limits and the snap of timbers breaking free. Another one of his companions cried out as his grip slipped from his hold on one of the masts and slid across the deck before toppling overboard. Thunder crashed overhead with a force that sent Amandil to the deck of the ship. He could sense his last moment so near. It lay next to him like a reclined lover, ready to pull him into its embrace. A vast roar filled Amandil’s ears to a point far past physical discomfort. His hands clamped over his ears in an attempt to block some of the deafening sound. Just as quickly as the bellow came, stillness replaced it.

Amandil looked up in time to see the helm’s wild spinning jerk to a halt. His eyes continued the ascent to see the turning wall of water mere feet away from the prow. Awe forced the air from Amandil’s lungs. The great wall spiraled around the boat in all directions, enclosing it in a vast whirlpool that reached towards the storm clouds overhead. Lightening illuminated the silhouettes of sea-dwelling beasts, creatures far stranger than anything he ever saw in his wildest dreams. Some of them dwarfed Amandil’s ship three times over in size. They swam with the current without fear or care even though they floated hundreds of feet into the air within the enormous wall of water that surrounded the ship.

Everything remained eerily still and silent within the eye of the storm. Amandil dared to look over the side of the ship to see the water below resembled glass. His third companion backed up in obvious fear. He shouted for Amandil to forgive him just before jumping overboard, preferring to bring about his own fate rather than face the wrath of the Valar.

“Eru forgive us, “Amandil whispered while tears rolled down his face in awe of the unmatched majesty and power displayed before his very eyes. “If only they could see.”

“It is by their choice that they make themselves blind.” The same female voice from before spoke again, its tone much like a whisper near Amandil’s ear, yet somehow also a commanding roar that surrounded him. The encircling walls of water seemed to resonate with the voice. “It is by choice that they have abandoned my songs as well as the praise to one far greater than I. The music of the deceiver is deafening, and I can no longer bear to listen. The Land of Gift is lost.”

“No!” Amandil shouted forth, his hands clinging to the rails of the ship. “No, it is not lost, nor have all of them abandoned your songs. I beg you to hear them! They still call to you, Lady Uinen! They still require your protection!”

The watery walls began to spiral faster until a face emerged from it. Amandil’s knees grew weak in the presence of one long revered by the great mariners of Númenor, the Uinendili. Her voice rolled forth like distant thunder. “You risk great pains to yourself to come forth in such a manner. You would speak for those who make war against the Powers of the World?”

“Alas, much of Númenor has chosen folly,” Amandil began as he lifted his head to look into the liquid eyes that gazed back at him. “But Númenor is far more than its war waging King, or its nobles who lust for conquest. Númenor is also those who celebrated life and embraced death. She is the child that memorizes the stories of the Eldar in secret and carried those stories in her heart after being orphaned and left with nothing. I hear Númenor in the forbidden poetry recited even though it carried the risk of death, or the songs sung by those who were carried off by guards to meet their fate. Númenor is in the tears shed by mothers for their unborn children just before both their lives are sacrificed in the temples. I come forth to speak for the Númenor that has endured all along despite persecution and unyielding opposition and I would beg the Lords of the West for the chance to allow that Númenor to carry on.”

Unyielding silence initially met Amandil’s heartfelt pleas, but even so he would not allow the fear in. Memories of his family and those who came to bid him farewell filled his mind and he allowed the images to strengthen him. The spiraling water began to move faster, causing the walls to inch closer around the ship. Even so, Amandil remained fixed in his place upon the deck.

“And you would die for them?” The voice spoke up again, surrounding Amandil from every angle. Despite the intimidating way the Maia spoke Amandil could hear compassion smooth the edges of her tone, her true nature showing at last.

“Gladly, “Amandil spoke without hesitation. “My ship is tossed and torn. I cannot go back and it shall not last long in your lord’s rough currents. I have done what I came to do, and while I now follow in the wake of Eärendil, I know shall not share his destiny.”

The walls continued to close in. They reached higher before joining as one overhead. Amandil extended his hands upwards, not in an attempt to try and shield himself from the falling droplets, but to embrace the fate that would soon descend upon him.

“You are unafraid then?” the voice questioned.

“Aye,” Amandil called out to, blinking against the stream of droplets falling upon his face from above. “I am ready to accept Eru’s gift to man.”

“Then go in peace, Amandil of Andúnië. Gladly shall I speak on your behalf.”

Amandil was sure he blinked back tears along with the ever increasing amount of droplets that fell upon him and his ship. He watched the water shift rapidly, as if it had been released from its suspension. The last Lord of Andúnië took one last breath and released as the water came hurtling towards him.

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Red wine splashed from the tipped over goblet, racing towards the star map unfurled upon the desk. Elendil’s hands fumbled for a rag in an attempt to stop the spilled liquid before it reached its destination. He cursed his clumsiness while he mopped up the mess. Elendil always found comfort in gazing at the stars and he tried to find time to escape so that he could enjoy them in peace. Tonight he brought his supper into his father’s study. Obviously the plan had not worked out as well as Elendil hoped, having tipped over the glass in his haste to reach for the map.

Once the soiled rag mopped up the spilled wine to Elendil’s satisfaction, he discarded it upon the tray that bore the remnants of his evening meal. A large storm raged over Rómenna for much of the day. But the clouds gave way soon after sunset, leaving clear skies in their wake which only increased Elendil’s desire to hide himself in his father’s study.

He had not yet learned to read and write when Amandil began to teach him about the stars and their positions in the sky, or how they shifted throughout the year. Understanding them would be one of Elendil’s greatest tools as a mariner. The stars guided voyagers when nothing but the sea stretched out beyond the horizon on all sides. Over the years Elendil memorized their place and names. He barely had a need for the star maps, but kept one close anyway. His steps took him up the outside staircase leading to the roof where his father studied the skies.

Elendil looked out towards the west, identifying the location of Rothinzil before shifting his position so he faced the opposite direction. He lifted his hand and slowly lowered it until stood at the proper angle, helping him to identify the location of the familiar constellations. But much to Elendil’s surprise a new pattern of stars hung in a space that was not occupied this time of the year. He lowered his hand and moved inside to retrieve the map. No matter how many times he between the star map and the sky he could not confirm that the stars in question had been there the night before.

At last Elendil gave up trying to disprove what he saw and simply sat upon the roof to admire the new formation in the eastern horizon. After one last look at the maps, Elendil realized the constellation rested over the northern shores of Middle-earth and his heart seemed to stop. His thoughts focused even more intently upon his father. Had Amandil actually succeeded, and the Valar meant to send a sign of their decision? Did he even dare to hope that Amandil would return? Elendil shook his head and sat down upon the roof. If Amandil did not return soon he would take one of his own ships and go to the western shores of Númenor to try and search for him, but not before the Faithful were seen to the ships and readied for whatever would come once Ar-Pharazôn’s armament departed. If Elendil could be sure of one thing, it was the sign the new stars brought, beckoning them to sail once more.

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Author’s Note: After a great deal of consideration, I decided to have Amandil come face to face with Uinen, since it seemed the most fitting with her connections to the Númenórean mariners and Amandil’s connection to the sea. I also wanted to allude to Eärendil, but didn’t want to repeat the same story. Since I take influences from ancient cultures, especially Greek, Rome, and Egypt, for my vision of the Númenóreans I thought it fitting to give a nod to their mythology, particularly to the Greek and Roman myths of the gods placing great heroes, and other figures, as constellations in the sky. I liked the idea of the Valar putting up a new constellation in Amandil’s memory. I thought it was also a good way to keep some connection with the fate of Eärendil, and since Tolkien used alluding, or mirroring, events in his mythos, I thought it would work for my interpretation of Amandil’s fate and echo his fate with Eärendil’s in a way that was appropriate for a mortal man. I just didn’t feel suitable to me for Amandil to suddenly be welcomed in Aman, especially since man is not supposed to set foot in the Undying Lands, and I preferred the idea of him embracing his death, much like the Númenorean Kings of old. I felt it tied in with his beliefs as a leader of the Faithful especially.

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