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The Small and Secret Things by Dawn Felagund

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Author's Chapter Notes:

For Gadira, three double drabbles about Númenor. Tar-Palantir is troubled by visions of his daughter Míriel, her future, and her fate. Warning for implications of canon incest and non-consensual marriage. It's nothing particularly explicit, but readers sensitive to these subjects should tread with care.

I. Míriel
I called her Míriel as they laid her in my arms. A strange name, they said, not only for the tongue in which it was spoken but for the meaning of it. Even now, in an age of disillusionment with our friends to the west, we learn the legend of Míriel Serindë, if only on moonless nights when tales of horror slither from a brother's lips and into the darkness silent but for frightened, frantic hearts.

But why is it strange, the name I have bestowed upon her? Indeed, she had been a long-looked-for gift; gladly I became her caregiver to spare her wearied mother, waving away the nursemaids to sit upon the balcony, looking on Meneltarma, blankets tight around her but my own shoulders bare and shuddering in the icy winds from west. I waited for visions to descend as a victim of long torment waits for the arrival of pain: cringing, willing it at the same time as hoping to prolong my comfort, knowing that no matter my wishes, it will come nonetheless.

But one need not be far-sighted to know that Míriel would share the fate of her namesake, as do we all.

We all die here.

II. Meneltarma
Once, upon the slopes of Meneltarma, a strange thing happened.

Míriel walked ahead of me, eager as always for what secrets might hide under the next rock, her voice bright like bells in the still summer air. I glanced up at the mountain, where it became precipitous and nigh impossible to climb, rocks so sharp they would slice your hands, and--

with a gasp like the time in the sea so cold with Gimilkhâd disappearing suddenly beneath the thrashing waves and my voice alone beneath the sky, calling for him and fearing he had drowned, tears upon my face that tasted of the sea, then a cold hand upon my ankle and a roar as water filled my ears, my mouth still wide from calling for him and the air wrenched already from my lungs for the strength of my cries, now filling with water that tasted of brine, of things rotted, and my useless pounding blood and I was drowning, drowning until he emerged

--laughing, "Father, what is wrong?" and her forehead creasing suddenly with understanding, a whisper--What do you see?--that I heard not.

For the roar of water. Of wind. It stole her from me.

III. Pharazôn
I didn't like him from first sight, the golden, laughing son of my brother, who was bold and brazen and loved like his father. Why, then, couldn't I love him? Pharazôn, my brother-son? I did not know. Inside, there was a feeling at the sight of him like insects on my skin: such small things yet they set my whole body to shuddering, scratching to be rid of them.

When he neared Míriel, I snatched her wrist and yanked her away hard enough that she cried out. My brother wore an expression of bemused superiority. The crazy Inziladûn at it again with his so-called "visions." Maybe he could see for me a bottle of wine and a pot of gold?

Forced by decorum to release my grip on Míriel, to dry her tears and pat her back to encourage her to play with her cousin Pharazôn.

The wooden toy he proffered in his hand, in his palm, a palm that I saw clapped over her mouth, his laughing mouth making a joke to entice her to play, now bent over her face defiant and wrenched from his, grinning teeth that bit her ear, slippery tongue tasting her blood, hissing


Chapter End Notes:

Today's Word:

plenipotentiary plen-uh-puh-TEN-shee-air-ee; -shuh-ree, adjective:
1. Containing or conferring full power; invested with full power; as, "plenipotentiary license; plenipotentiary ministers

1. A person invested with full power to transact any business; especially, an ambassador or diplomatic agent with full power to negotiate a treaty or to transact other business.

Plenipotentiary derives from Latin plenus, "full" + potens, "powerful."

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