Author: Karigan Rohanna
Challenge: Holiday Mathoms Challenge
Word Count: 1,693
Warnings: OCs, a lot of Adunaic
Summary: In the reign of Tar-Telperien, it is the day to remember the dead with feasting.
Request: A Numenorean holiday for the dead.
Notes: This fic features 2 things I like very much; OCs and Adunaic. The Adunaic come from the Ardalambion Article, as did all the names of all the OCs. At the bottom is a key to all the Adunaic used. I hope it meets the desires of the requester! Edit: I made a silly typo in the summary. Sorry.
Two boys, tall, dark haired and tall, made their way down the road towards the city of Armenelos, clad in their finest clothes. They were on foot, both clad in black and gray, making jokes as they passed by others on the road, waving. Going to the city was a glorious thing, especially for lads of twelve and thirteen. Behind them, considerably farther behind, was a girl, crowned with curly brown hair, only ten at oldest, trying vainly to keep up with their progress without ruining the long hem of her dress.
"Agrahil," the girl complained wearily, "you are walking to fast. Slow down!" This was what she got for agreeing to keep an eye on the boys. She should have ridden with Ammî and Attô, and all the other adults, instead of having to walk on foot. "I am going to ruin my dress!"
"You will only ruin your dress because your legs are so short, Miyi-Nithil." The older of the two boys turned, flashing his sister a grin. She flushed, picking her skirts up in one hand and hurrying faster, trying to catch up.
"Oh don't be so unkind to poor Zamîn, Agrahil. She's so young, you know. It's her first festival, you could at least appreciate that." Ulbar stopped, turning around, and Zamîn hurriedly dropped her skirts so he couldn't see her ankles and tried to walk quickly anyway. Her third cousin was so very nice, after all...
"If you'd just walk slower I'd be able to keep up." Zamîn said, eyes darting around to see if anyone else on the road was noticing the trouble. No one yet. Good. "It's just that Agrahil walks too fast to keep up with!"
"Agrahil is very inconsiderate." Ulbar agreed, as Agrahil protested noisily. "...if I cannot make him slow down, shall I carry you, if you like. You are yet light enough that I can carry you." Zamîn's eyes darted back and forth, considering this proposition. Ulbar was very strong. She had seen him pick up Agrahil, after all. And it would save her dress. But on the other hand...
"I don't think Ammî would like that much." She said after a moment. "You know she would be if she found out. I might miss the next festival."
"Your mother is a terribly strange woman." Ulbar agreed languidly, offering Zamîn his hand. She took it after a moment, and he began a leisurely pace down the road.
"You humor her too much." Agrahil complained, trying to match the slower pace. "She's only a girl." Zamîn resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at him. It probably wouldn't impress anyone.
"It's her first festival, give her peace." Ulbar returned, rolling his eyes. "Ignore him," he told Zamîn. "Your brother is only trying to irritate you."
The drew nearer Armenelos, while Zamîn tried not to get too excited at the sight of tall towers and buildings that shone in the sun. Even Agrahil appeared to have forgotten his earlier irritation, for they all fell silent as they drew near the gate that opened into the city.
Zamîn mentally reviewed the instructions she had been given to see that Agrahil and Ulbar followed. Follow the crowds to the gates of the king's house, listen to his speech, and then go where the feasting tables were set up, and find the fifth table, the one where their whole village would be feasting. It would be decked in blue and silver, Ammî had said.
They passed through the gate of the city without much talk. "The gate is for show, you know," Agrahil said as they passed underneath the arch high, high above. Zamîn stared up at the curving stone until they moved on. "We have nothing to fear here. That is why Armenelos has no doors for its gate."
"...what about bandits?" Zamîn asked, looking around her at the crowds of men on foot and on horses. "You've heard Îbal talk about how he was robbed by thieves once on a festival day. He came back bruised and hurt."
Ulbar's hand tightened around hers, and he leaned down to whisper in her ear. "I'll keep you safe, Zamîn, just stay close to me." Zamîn didn't mind staying close to Ulbar at all, and kept in his shadow as they made their way towards the crowd assembling before the King's House. They were all looking at a tall balcony, high above the ground, waiting. It was very loud as many people were crushed together in the courtyard and street, all hoping to have a look at the balcony.
"When Tar-Telperien arrives on the platform," Ulbar told Zamîn, "I shall lift you up on my shoulders so you can see. Then you can see for all of us." Zamîn smiled, grasping Ulbar's hand tighter as the crowds pressed in thicker around them. She could see Agrahil on the other side of her.
The sun rose to midday, warm and sticky among the throng, and Zamîn began to grow hungry. The crowds pressed thicker around still, before the doors to the balcony began to open. The crowd let out a roaring sort of cheer. "This is it!" Ulbar shouted to Zamîn, bending so she could climb onto his shoulders.
Tar-Telperien was a beautiful woman, Zamîn thought, as she stared at the woman clad in beautiful white clothes trimmed in gold, wearing a circlet for a crown. Belted to her waist was a long ceremonial sword, as tall as Zamîn was. She was the tallest woman Zamîn had ever seen, and she stood alone on the platform, reaching out one slender hand to still the shouting so she could be heard. Zamîn had heard stories of Tar-Telperien, the eldest daughter of the last king, who had taken the throne because her brother Isilmo had not wanted it. She had heard stories, about her being proud and unwed. Agrahil had described her as 'a fair maid', but as Zamîn looked at her, she thought she looked like the hero of her own story, brave enough to stand up there alone.
"People of Anadûnê!" Her voice echoed over the hush that had fallen over the crowds, strong and beautiful. Zamîn felt pride surging through her. This was the woman to whom some of last summer's grain she had helped harvest had gone to, in her beautiful city. This was her queen. "People of Anadûnê! We come here on this day to remember those who have walked before us. This day, each of you shall remember the lives of those whose steps have trod a path before yours. For some of you, this is the last time you shall ever lift the cup for the fallen. Do not fear Êru's gift to us, to his Êruhînim, to the Adûnâim. For each of you, a time will come, when, freed of your plowshares and fields to tend, when freed of the rigging of your ships or the tools of your crafts, we shall raise a glass to the life you have lived! Feel no sorrow, cry no tears, for one day, you shall join those who have come before, far beyond the pains and struggles of this life. Honor the noble dead! Honor the great days of their lives!"
Zamîn echoed her cry, with the rest of the crowd, "Honor the noble dead! Honor the great days of their lives!" Someone began the cry of her name, "Tar-Telperien! Tar-Telperien! Long may you rule as queen!" Zamîn took that cry up as well, chanting the name excitedly. She watched the distant face of the fair woman, who held out her hand, calling for their silence, waiting as the crowd died out once more.
When all was silent, she turned, gesturing for a man, a little younger than she, to come forth. They seemed near of height and appearance, from what Zamîn could see. He bore a goblet in hand, which he handed slowly and with great sobriety to Tar-Telperien, who turned back to the crowd, raising the silver and gold goblet high.
"Drink freely the toast to the fathers who built your houses and the mothers who gave you birth, who stand no longer beside you! Drink freely to the friends with whom you laughed deeply and shared much, who rest quiet against the hills! Drink freely to the wives you kissed and the husbands you loved, and the children you miss! Raise your glasses this day for those who have long lain quiet, who paved your paths to this day! Honor the noble dead! Honor the great days of their lives!"
Raising the fair goblet to her lips - no fairer than Tar-Telperien herself, Zamîn thought - the queen drank the wine, her dark hair tumbling behind her as she raised her head high, to drink the full measure of the glass. The sun shone down upon her, lighting up the gold of her circlet and the goblet in her hands, making her seem to shine like the sun. When the goblet was empty, when she lowered her head and stood once more before the people, she made a sweeping gesture with the goblet in hand, hand passing over the full width of her audience. "Go, go feast, and drink, and value the gift that Êru has given his zirân Êruhînim!"
There was cheering, and much more chanting, as Tar-Telperien stood and watched the people slowly trickle out. Ulbar let Zamîn off his shoulders, grinning at her stupidly, and Zamîn smiled back. He put his arm around her, pulling her close so she would not get lost, and with Agrahil they began to steer their way towards the great tables where they would feast and drink in memoriam.
Zamîn wondered who the beautiful Tar-Telperien would drink for.
* ammî - mother
* attô - father
* Miyi-Nithil - 'little girl'
* Anadûnê - Númenor
* Êruhînim - children of Eru
* Adûnâim - Númenóreans
* zirân - beloved