Well, I started a ficlet on day 1 of Back to Middle Earth month. Good thing I'm a procrastinator as I was able to work in a bunch more prompts over the last several days. Honestly, I don't expect anyone to read this as it's another in the mass o' ficlets coming out and not my best effort. This is my Elendil of Elegy for Numenor musing as he leaves Umbar. Some version of this may well end up in my story.
Beta: Russandol (smooch)
With the last of his crew, Elendil climbed up the swinging rope ladder alongside his ship Izré, named ‘beloved’ for his wife Lórellin. He signed with relief when his feet hit the solid planks of the deck. Finally, finally he was aboard, ready to sail for home. After slogging about in the mud and cold of the winter campaign, then dealing with one problem after another in Umbar, it couldn’t come soon enough. He was missing his wife and his boys more and more each day.
It took but a moment to adjust to the gentle roll of the deck under his feet. Once the sea got in the blood, its rhythm remained always with you, so his father said. Elendil breathed in the moist, salt-laden air, and leaned on the railing, running his fingers over the smooth, varnished wood as he took in his surroundings.
Seabirds filled the air, squawking with their rusty hinge voices, diving after the bits of biscuit floating about from some accidentally broken barrels. There were always casualties in moving an army of this size. The gulls were different here than those inhabiting the harbor of Rómenna back home. Here they had black heads. Briefly, Elendil wondered why. Looking down at the lacy caps of the waves churning about the hull, he could see rafts of brown seaweed, rising and falling.
Back on the shore, the walls of the Umbarian Regent’s palace, perched on the top of a high conical hill, appeared painted in gold by the late afternoon sun. A road wound back and forth down the slope until it disappeared into the city. That road was empty now, when earlier in the day it had been filled with wains and men.
The day was fine, the sky a clear blue. A few serene white clouds cast lavender shadows on the hilly landscape. A good day to depart if only Manwë’s priests could summon a breeze.
Elendil glanced over at the other ships in their fleet, scattered over the harbor like a flock of floating swans, awaiting the order to move. To his left was his father’s ship, the Pûh, with its eagle prow. On his other side in the distance, Ar-Pharazôn’s mighty vessel bobbed up and down, its great golden sails and black banner with the silver tree hanging limp in the still air. A dark-robed figure with long red hair leaned out against the railing, strangely quiet amidst the bustle of the crew, but Elendil could feel his eyes from afar, avidly watching him.
Elendil wished they were leaving that black-robed figure behind, the being they had come to destroy but who had surrendered without fighting a single battle. Seemingly no one but him and his father thought this was highly suspicious. Why wouldn’t Ar-Pharazôn listen to them? Instead, the King had insisted on carrying his prize back to Armenelos. “What can one sorcerer do surrounded by the might and wisdom of all of Númenor?” he had said. Elendil didn't know the answer to that, didn't want to.
There, he felt it – a breath of wind on his face. In the distance came the cry from Ar-Pharazôn’s ship for the fleet to move.
“Raise the sails,” Elendil called to his crew. “Prepare to cast off.”
The gulls screeched and dived, as they picked over the floating remnants of flotsam.
B2MeM prompts fulfilled:Adûnaic-Izré meaning beloved; Adûnaic- Pûh meaning breath or spirit; Beachly & Coastly - seabirds; Colors - lavender, & sky-blue; Emotions - apprehension; Landscape - hill; Of the sea - seaweed; Textures - smooth; Women of Silm - women of Númenor
Note: I had a whole flashback about Elendil’s memories of his wife for the women of Númenor prompt, but it didn’t seem to go well with this ficlet, so it will have to wait.