God alone abiding
God alone sustaining”
- Tony Feany
She mutters desperately to herself, eyes darting from doorway to the window, hands frantically pushing clothes and other personal items into a rucksack.
Her heart is beating, faster than the wings of a butterfly. She is no fool. She can hear the trumpets far off of the King’s Men and she has heard the warning calls ring in their small village. She knew that this would happen, sooner or later. Despite her husband’s assurances to their daughter, she knew that things were not as fine as he deemed. She knows that this is their turn.
They are coming.
"Tálith, are you ready?"
Her eyes look to the doorway and she sees her husband walking through it, sheathing a short sword at his side. She knows he is not one for violence, he never was, but still, he kept that flimsy blade in their house -- these were dangerous times. She knows that he has probably never wielded it against another man before. She knows there is a possibility that he will have to within mere minutes.
"Yea," she answers him, pushing a thin sheet that would offer little warmth into the rucksack. "Are you ready?"
His face hardens and his hand goes down to grasp the hilt of the blade.
For all the fear in her, she cannot not help but smile sorrowfully.
Beyond the door, further into the house, there is a crash followed shortly by a scream that she knows only too well.
"Ammê, they are here!" cries the young voice of their daughter.
At once both she and her husband run out of their bedroom into the main room of the house.
Before she looks down to the frightened face of her daughter hugging her waist, she sees the stone which has been thrown through their window. Outside the cracked glass, there are the screams of women and the cries of children, mingling with the smell of burning houses and the light of bright flames devouring other houses in their small village.
Loud trumpet calls ring through the night above any scream or cry, and the loud voice of shouting men--King’s Men--follow.
Her husband turns to her and she sees, for the first time in all these days of darkness, fear within his eyes.
"Take Mírima and run!" he shouts, pushing the rucksack into her hand.
"Run! No, I will not leave you here!" she says angrily with a frown.
Another scream comes from the world outside their lowly house and she sees a woman, a neighbor and a mother like herself, dragged from her burning house against her will by a large, burly man. He strikes her on the head and she falls limply in his arms and is dragged to a carriage where other bodies of live people are piled one atop of another.
Beneath her, her daughter hugs tightly. She feels her child’s tears upon her skin.
"You must run! Flee from the back door, I shall stay here and help the others. You must go on and get onto a ship quickly," her husband says quickly bending down and embracing their daughter tightly.
"Do not be foolish, Huor! I will not leave you alone to be burned at the temple. We must stay together if we wish to stay alive!" she shouts.
"Ammê, please do not get angry now," her daughter whimpers.
"Nay heart, ammê is not angry," Huor says gently, lifting their daughter off the ground and kissing her cheek. He carries their daughter down to the end of the house where he opens the back door. Their house is the last of the village and behind they can see nothing but the red shadow of flames in the darkness.
"Where are you taking her, Huor?" Tálith says as she follows her husband and daughter.
"Now, my love, I want you to take ammê down to the docks and get onto Lord Anárion’s ship," her husband says to their daughter, as he sets her down on her feet and ignores Tálith. "All you have to do is tell anyone who questions you that you are of the Faithful and tell that person my name. Take your mother to the ship Mírima and do not get off it. I promise you I will meet you there ere the sun rises. Do you understand me?"
"Yea, attû," the little girl whispers, more tears slipping from her eyes.
Huor stands up straight and looks at his wife.
"If you will not run for me or for your own safety, then for the sake of your daughter, run," he says to her briskly.
She looks into his grey eyes. She knows he is right. It does not matter if either of them is burned upon the altar, but their daughter…no, Tálith cannot let that happen.
"Then I will see you on the ship ere the sun rises?" she asks, false hope plaguing her heart.
"Yea, you shall," he replies and he quickly kisses and embraces her as the screams become louder and the threat of being discovered higher. "Now run! Run as fast as you can. Do not turn back and do not stop till you are at the ships. There are nine there, any one will harbour you."
She nods and kisses her husband once more. She hears their front door fall to the floor by the strength of some other man.
"By order of the Lord Annatar, come forth rebels!" booms the voice of the intruder.
"Run!" her husband shouts, pushing her out of the door. Without another thought she does as he says, taking Mírima’s hand and clutching her rucksack.
It does not them long to get into the trees, but though they are under cover, they do not stop running.
"Hurry my love!" she says desperately, as they run through the trunks and over the rain sodden undergrowth.
A hunted animal is exactly how she feels at that moment as she runs as well as she can with the rucksack and her daughter, who struggles to keep up. Despite her husband’s warnings she cannot help it, and looks back through the trees at the burning village. She hears the cries of her folk…she knows that those heavy footfalls that trail them are not her imagination.
The voice of someone shouting echoes through the trees.
"Oi, they’re escaping to the woods!"
The hunted-animal feeling increases tenfold at the sound of the man’s voice. Many other shouts of reply follow and soon enough little embers of fire are emerging from the furnace of houses to seek them out.
Mírima struggles on alongside her, panting heavily and taking great sniffs alongside the tears.
"Quickly love. Just keep running and we shall get to the ships," Tálith whispers encouragingly.
Mírima takes a deep gulp of air and exhales with a small sob, nodding to her mother with the little determination the child can muster.
"We will see attû again won’t we?" she sniffles breathlessly.
Tálith feels a tug at her heartstrings. Too young, she thinks bitterly. Her child and all the other children of the Faithful are all too young to suffer or to realise the situation of their becoming.
"Perhaps child," she answers running over twisted roots of great trees, "but you will have no chance of seeing him again if you do not hurry. Remember he said that he shall meet us again upon the ship of Anárion. We must make haste, else we shall not meet your father."
Again Mírima nods and Tálith sees in the shadows of the night and the dim light of the moon, a small glint of courage in the child’s eyes.
They are now running uphill and she knows that a little after that climb they will reach the waters.
Then it is only a matter of running along the coastline towards the ships and boarding one of the nine, which are waiting for them. The only problem is that the coast has no sheltering. She will have to carry her daughter and run as fast as she can before she is sighted. If she is, then she will have no choice but to run to their death in the sea, or be caught by the King’s men, dying anyway.
She lets go of Mírima’s hand so they can both get up the hill with ease. They near the top, when they turn their heads and look down behind them. What they see are many dozens of little flamed torches, making their way through the trees in search of them and other runaways.
Tálith sees the look of terror upon her child’s face but before she can do anything, Mírima has opened her mouth and shrieked loudly--loud enough for all wandering in the trees to hear.
At once there is a roar of reaction from the men.
"There they are!"
"Filthy Faithful Rodents!"
"Hurry and seize them, we mustn’t allow any to get away."
"They will reach the ships and warn Elendil of our coming! Hurry! Let none escape!"
Tálith looks behind her and the little embers now swarm together and head towards them.
"Run Mírima!" she cries, pushing her daughter onward. Her voice is almost as loud as her daughter’s first scream, but it does not matter anymore. The King’s Men know where they are. Tálith knows that soon she and her daughter will be found by them. They are coming.
Their feet pound on the forest floor as hard as their hearts thump at their chests with anxiety. More screams ring out from behind them, not of the King’s Men, but of woman and children, their friends and neighbours. Mírima’s scream has not only revealed their location, but that of others’ as well.
"Ammê I can’t run anymore…" Mírima is slipping behind her.
Tálith looks to her weary daughter. There are tears in her eyes and she can barely stand, let alone run any further.
"Don’t be silly Mírima! You have to run!" she shouts harshly at her daughter. She knows that she should not take her own fear and weariness out on her daughter, but now is no time for guilt.
"I can’t! Please ammê…"
The sound of feet slipping in dry grass comes to her ears and then something heavy falls to the ground behind her.
She turns; Mírima is on her knees, crying and holding herself.
"Mírima!" she shrieks angrily, "Get up you fool!" Her fear and weariness easily turns into anger.
She runs to her daughter and tries to lift Mírima to her feet, cursing with furious desperation.
"I can’t ammê, I can’t run any more," Mírima cries, holding her mother.
Tálith looks behind her daughter; the flames are coming closer. She curses. They have to keep running or else they will be caught. She looks down to the sobbing Mírima. She will have to carry her daughter.
"Come on, then, quickly," she says, somewhat softer than before and lifts her daughter. Mírima’s arms tighten around her neck and her head buries in Tálith’s dress. She can feel her daughter tears soaking through and meeting the skin over her collarbones as she begins to run again.
Mírima is small and underweight for her age, but she is still heavy though, and weighs Tálith down. She cannot run as fast as she could before and it becomes harder to get over the steep hills.
Her arms are tight around her daughter, shielding, fearfully. Mírima’s hair is flying before her eyes from their speed.
Her pace becomes slower and slower with each step she takes as the weight of her daughter weighs her down. Soon Tálith is too tired to run properly and she staggers, trying to move as fast as she can. With each step she takes, the weight of the child in her arms seems to became heavier and heavier. She trips over the roots, once, twice - but she does not fall.
She hears horses. Mens’ shouts too. There are not so many screams in the background anymore. A few, yes, but not as much as there was. She wonders what has happened. Are they all dead? No, they are not dead. Only silenced. But it would only take a cart ride to Armenelos to make them dead.
She sees a silver glow behind the trees, far off in the distance as they run downhill. She sees and she has hope. The silver is the reflection of the night sky on the sea and the lights of the harbour. They are close now to the beach. She can then run freely upon the sand; see the ships, glistening with their lamps as a beacon of light, before her and the King’s Men, behind. There will probably be guards set by Elendilabout the coast to keep watch. They will help Mírima and her, protect them from the King’s Men, and take them upon their Lord’s ship to safety.
Her lips tremble with the threat of tears of joy. She kisses Mírima’s head and grasps her tighter, running faster with the nourishment of hope coursing through her veins.
"Light," she hears Mírima murmur.
"Yes, love, light. We are almost there," she pants.
"Light," Mírima whispers again.
Tálith ignores her daughter this time and continues running. Mírima must be shocked at the sight of the moonlight and too happy with hope to speak sanely.
"Lights," Mírima says again. This time her voice is louder.
The child’s hands begin to shake furiously at her mother’s shoulders.
"Lights!" she shrieks now, "Lights! They are here, ammê! They have found us! Run, RUN!"
Tálith looks behind them. Light and shadows chase them.
"Ammê, run, run!"
She tries harder than ever to run faster. Mírima is shrieking and clutching dangerously tight at her neck, shaking her. Mírima’s body begins to slip in her grasp.
"Ammê, ammê please! Run faster, faster! They are coming! They will take us!" Mírima cries.
"I am trying!" Tálith screams at her daughter.
She hears their footsteps, their grunts, and their horses behind.
"Please ammê, you must run!"
The silver light, the reflection of the ocean; they are closer. She can see fragments of the glittering sea between large trunks. Where are Elendil’s men? Where is her aid, her protectors from these evil men? There is no one here for them, no one to save her and her daughter.
"Eru!" she cries, "Eru, have mercy upon us!"
There is laughter from the men behind her.
"Ammê! Ammê! They’re here, ammê!" Mírima cries, jumping in her arms and gripping her clothes. "Ammê! Ammê!"
Her screams strangle Tálith’s heart. She has never heard her daughter scream with so much fear.
She feels a fist tighten at her hair and the man’s hand wrenches it painfully. Tálith falls to the ground at the man’s feet, and drops Mírima to the floor.
She scrambles to her knees and beats at the man with her fists, trying to ward him off. He grabs her hair at the roots and slaps her face hard.
"Ammê!" Mírima is screaming behind her.
She painfully manages to turn her head to her daughter. Another man has come and laid hands on
Mírima. He lifts her easily off her feet, despite Mírima’s struggles.
A poisonous rage flows through Tálith’s veins.
"Release her!" she screams.
She tries to reach for Mírima, but the other man has his arms around her. She struggles against him and her fist meets with his face. There is blood on her hand and it splutters from the man’s nose.
"Bloody dog!" he shouts angrily and his own fist flies, first to Tálith’s face, then to her stomach.
Tálith is on the ground; there are tears mixed with blood. She hears Mírima’s screams but she cannot help her daughter. The man is there, swearing at her and beating her.
"Mírima run!" she manages to scream in her pain. He kicks her mouth and her lips are numb. She can taste the blood oozing down her throat. She tries to shield herself, to roll into a ball, but it is no use.
He grabs the collar of her dress and lifts her to her feet swearing some more. Through the blood, she sees Mírima struggling against the other man. He has a sword. Other embers she sees too – more men.
With large effort and little effect she hits the man who has hold of her. He simply throws her against the tree, making sure her head hits it hard.
She tries to hold herself up, clutching to him as they struggle. She is only a woman, only a housewife whose hands are used to weaving rough wool and cotton, cooking food and raising a child. She has no strength against a man who is trained to hold people like her captive, who enjoys beating people to pulp. Compared to him she is but a rabbit in the clutches of a bear.
"Mírima…" she gasps painfully, blood coming from her mouth. She has bitten her tongue and she feels like she might choke or suffocate on her own blood.
"Quiet you!" he shouts and he knees her this time in the stomach.
She falls forward towards him and he grasps her tight. She sees the dagger in his hand and she tightens her muscles, expecting the blade to be driven through. Resistance, at least to make her death hard upon his behalf.
He doesn’t do it though. He pushes her back against the tree, holding her firmly by the neck and with the dagger, he cuts a narrow slit through her clothes, right down the centre, from the hollow at her neck to the hollow of her navel.
There is a malicious glint in his eyes.
"I hear you women enjoy pleasuring men."
She feels sick and wants to vomit. The blood is warm and it oozes down her throat. Her head is spinning and she smells death and blood. She hears Mírima crying, screaming for her.
She has to help her daughter, set her free, and lead her to safety so she will not be burned at the altar.
The man comes closer, but she punches him hard on his groin.
He yelps and falls to the ground, curling in a ball and swearing. She takes his sword and tries to run to where Mírima is but she is too dizzy and there is too much blood everywhere. She stumbles and the world spins. Mírima screams louder.
"Please! Please, save me! Ammê, please – don’t touch me!"
There are little lights everywhere, flames and shouts. One by one she sees more men emerging from the darkness with sneers and swords.
She hears the horses and she knows they are surrounded. But Mírima is screaming and she cannot give up while she is yet alive. She must fight for her daughter, be a true mother. She must fight until the end, at last until she is either dead or broken, left for the King’s Men to take.
"Mírima!" she shouts. Mírima cries aloud in reply.
Tálith is crying too. She wishes she could help, but how? She is only a woman, only a mother who cannot defend herself.
She wipes blood away from her face and tries to focus, thrashing the blade at whoever dares come close to her. She sees Mírima now but the men try and stop her, holding her back, grasping her arms.
There is a horse’s cry and out of the shadows jolts a dark chestnut horse. Tálith knows that they are dead now, both she and Mírima. They cannot defend themselves against men let alone riders.
But no, the rider is not of the King’s Men. He is the stable boy who works for Azrubêl, who tends the man’s horses.
Azrubêl’s horse lifts its legs menacingly and charges at the other men. The boy calls to her, telling her to get onto the horse so they can flee together.
The King’s Men immediately get hold of her.
"You aren’t going anywhere my pretty," one of them growls in her ear. It is the man she hit in the groin.
She struggles and she cries to the boy for help. He tries to help her break free but it is no use. The
King’s Men swipe at his horse and it rears up in fear.
Tálith knows that her prayer has been answered, that the One has sent this boy to them. Not for her, but for Mírima.
Tálith sees Mírima struggling; she is bowed down to the floor by the men. The boy does not see her, or takes no notice of her, the little underweight girl in ties. But Tálith sees her daughter and her daughter is all that needs to be protected.
She looks to the boy.
"Kyernyél, as yendénya nornora an i ciryar!" she shouts, loud and clear.
The elven tongue had long ago been forbidden, but she had been taught in secret and so have all children. The King’s Men don’t know what she is saying. The one holding her laughs, thinking that she is saying another prayer to her God, who will not heed.
Mírima hears what Tálith says and she screams.
"Ammê no!" she cries struggling against the men’s grips on her. "Not without my ammê," she screeches looking at the shadowed horse.
The boy has heard her too and he sees Mírima now. He understands, and grasping his flimsy sword he charges to where Mírima is. The Men try to withstand him, slashing with their swords, but three men are no match for the crazed horse.
Then Tálith sees it, the boy, as he bends over and easily plucks Mírima off the forest floor, setting her before him on the horse. For a moment, her eyes meet with her daughter’s for a last time. There is a desperate look in Mírima’s tear filled eyes, desperation and fear.
She screams louder than she ever has, reaching her arms out for her mother and kicking at the horse and the boy. Her kicking only urges the horse forward and Tálith watches as the boy, with her daughter screaming frantically before him, ride off into the dark of the forest, bearing the most precious gift she has ever been given.
The voice of her daughter screaming ‘Ammê’ echoes through her head above the Men’s yelling as they run after the boy and Mírima.
Tálith doesn’t suppose she will see Mírima again nor hear her voice or feel her little hugs. But she has done all that she can do as a mother, it is now up to the boy to save her daughter.
She willingly now gives up and falls into the man’s clutches. There is no need to resist; she has already signed her death by saving her daughter's life.
But she would rather not cry now and think of the pain to come and the pain there is. She kicks the man hard, hard enough to anger him. He knocks her head against the trunk of a tree, weary of her disobeying.
Tálith’s head is spinning and slowly she lets the sight of her home and the memories of her life melt into the darkness of unconsciousness.
They dump her onto the cart with the other bodies. They too are near the edge of unconsciousness and few move or struggle.
Resisting with heavy lids, Tálith can see the night sky, and she sees the star of Eärendil, - Gil-Estel, - the Star of Hope. A small, somnolent smile comes to her lips, inspired by the irony.
The heirs of Gil-Estel had fallen long ago. The Land of the Star is now a corrupt place and the spirit of the Edain, who first set foot upon the Isle, now only exists in the handful of Faithful…the Faithful that are being carted off to Armenelos as an offering.
But Tálith has no need to fear. She has said her prayer to Eru and has trust that her daughter will be delivered from this evil.
The people beneath her tremble and shudder with the cart as the horses pull it over the rocky road.
Her last view is the deep blue eyes of a man who is beside her. He is less injured than she is and he smiles tenderly and takes her hand, which lies limp in his. The dead only have the dead as company.
She is still smiling as she closes her eyes, whispering inaudibly to any ear that would strain to hear her. "Hantalyë Ilúvattû."
To the First born, Eru Ilúvattû gives the span of all Time. Immortal they are and to the circles of Arda they are bound forever until it’s unmaking. Death, though, is the fate given to the Second Born, the gift of release from the world.
While the sons of Kings long lived discontented with their gift, Tálith has been taught otherwise and she sees death as what it is: a gift from Eru, rather than a curse. Alone in her darkness, in an outer void of her own mind, Tálith knows that she is only too eager to receive her gift.
ammê - (Adûnaic) Mother
attû – (Adûnaic) Father
Kyernyél, as yendénya nornora an i ciryar!- (Q.) Please, tale my daughter and run to the ships.
Hantalyë – (Q.) Thank you
Story title: Erukyermë – (Q.) ‘Prayer to Eru’
Chapter title: Eruhantalë – (Q.) ‘Thanksgiving to Eru’
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.