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87
The Might of the Númenorian

For RiverOtter, for her birthday, with much love and many thanks!


~~~

The Might of the Númenorian


They were referred to as the Númenorians, although none could say precisely why these were so called when they were no more such than was the family of the King or, say, the Steward, or a host of other lineages of the hereditary lords of Gondor. But it was said that their own line was descended from the younger sons of Tar-Calmacil as well as the younger sister of Pharazôn, who had gone into exile in Romenna with Amandil and his family rather than to number herself among the fold of the King’s Men, and so put herself into obedience under his fell advisor, known on the Star Isle as Zigur. Pharazôn’s sister had married a descendant of Calmacil, another Prince among the Faithful, without the benefit of her brother’s blessing—or permission. She died in childbirth a day before the King’s Men came to bring her back to the capitol, where she was to have been given to the altar in Zigur’s temple. When they came, the King’s Men were shown her body being prepared for burial, and by it lay the still form of a newborn; in reality her son Faramir had lived and had been exchanged secretly for the stillborn daughter of a servant within Amandil’s household; only when he was eight years of age and his foster mother had died was the child reunited with his true birth-father and acknowledged within Romenna as a prince of the realm.

Faramir the Númenorian was a man grown and accounted very wise when the Faithful put to sea upon the advice of Amandil ere he sailed West to lay the griefs of the Faithful before the Valar—if they would deign to hear his petitions on behalf of the people of Númenor. His ship stayed with those of Isildur and Anárion, and he chose to settle among those who had colonized the islands off the southern coast of Middle Earth, themselves largely descended from younger sons and daughters of the line of Kings who had rather be important among the emigrants from Númenor than be merely smiled at with tolerance in the courts of the King remaining on Elenna. Here Faramir’s wisdom was honored, and he was made their Prince, and in time he built his stronghold upon the heights overlooking the Sea, near the Elven haven of Edhellond. Wide lands he governed in the names of Isildur and Anárion, and he was a frequent visitor to Osgiliath where his advice was always heeded by the Kings of Gondor and Arnor, who accounted him their close kinsman and liegeman.

And even now, when most of the remaining descendants of the Kings of Gondor squabbled petulantly with one another and held but little power in their own names, the Prince of the Southern Fiefdoms was still accounted great in the eyes of the realm and ruled second only to Eärnil. So it was that he known as Imrazôr the Númenorian was honored more on his visits at his father’s side to Minas Tirith than many who counted Aldamir or Telemehtar among their ancestors. Those known as the Númenoreans were yet mighty while most of the descendants of Anárion had sunk to the rank of petty lords of the realm. And Imrazôr looked upon them and shook his head at their envy and sycophancy, welcomed as he was into the personal chambers of the King while they were reduced to maneuvering against their own kindred in order to gain a seat on Eärnil’s council!

How the mighty had fallen, he thought.

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