The Day the Numenorean's Left

Disclaimer: This story is based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. I am not him and make no money off this whatever, so kindly don't bother trying to sue me.

Chapter One: I Came

Amandil could hardly contain his excitement when the havens of Mithlond came into clear view. He'd only ever met elves once before and then only a small group. This time he was going to their capital city and would probably be there for over a month with the delegation from Tar Palantir.

The idea was to reopen and restart the friendship that it once been so strong between the two peoples and prevent them from becoming totally estranged. It was a goal Amandil believed in with all his heart and to see it so close to becoming real filled him with wonder.

Across the ship, a parrot screeched. Amandil looked over to the other side of the vessel, where the parrot clung to her perch in a golden cage. Pharazon was hovering around her and she was hissing at him. He poked the bars again, saying something Amandil couldn't hear. The bird responded by yelling at him. "You foul beast, go kiss an orc! Orc balls! Cuttlefish tentacles!" Amandil stared in shock, before walk again over to his friend.

"Pharazon, what have you been teaching this parrot? We can't give it to the High King like this."

"It's not my fault," he said. "With the sailors all yelling obscenities, why are you surprised that the parrot picks them up? I've been teaching it the elvish phrases you taught me like Lord Niluadun told me to, not Adunaic obscenities. Fortunately it doesn't matter. I doubt Gil-galad speaks Adunaic."

"You're probably right, but even so... I'm not sure about this whole gift idea in the first place. I have a nasty feeling something will go wrong."

"You know I don't like it either," said Pharazon, turning his back on the parrot. "It looks too much like we're giving tribute and we shouldn't be getting tribute to anybody. It was us that saved them when they were in trouble, not the other way around."

Amandil shrugged. "Whether we like it or not, the gifts are going to be given. Older and presumably wiser heads than our own have decreed that it will take place."

Pharazon laughed. "Presumably wiser indeed. Since we are both off-duty until the ship nears shore, what do you say to going up in the rigging and getting a better look at this city?"

Amandil's smile broadened. "Absolutely," he said and up they went.

Chapter Two: The Perils of Parrots

They were received with great ceremony into a spacious and well appointed audience chamber where Lord Niluadun made a speech. His Quenya was elegant, but the speech seemed over-proud to Amandil. He seemed to believe that the Numenoreans were doing the elves a favor by coming to visit them. The High Kings's expression was hard to read, but Amandil couldn't imagine the speech impressed the High King, who was, after all, older than Numenor itself. His councillors bore expressions Amandil interpreted as polite for the most part, although one blond elf rolled his eyes until poked by the elf next to him.

Then came the presentation of the gifts. All went well enough until the parrot was presented. On the cloth being whisked off of the cage, the bird opened its eyes and glared, shrieking "Go kiss an orc! Son of a deranged warg! Orc balls in butter!" in Adunaic. It followed this up with "Mithiel want a biscuit." in Sindarin.

The High King sat very still for a couple of seconds and went slightly red. Amandil too froze, wondering with horror if he was going to find out what punishments elven kings inflicted when they were severely offended, but Gil-galad started laughing. "I, um, thank you." he continued. "This is a most unique gift."

His councillors, however, did not seem so amused. There were many outraged glares aimed at the offensive bird, who had resumed chattering, although in harmless sindarin this time. There were still three more gifts to give, and the presentations resumed.

All went well until they reached the beautiful sword with the hilt of mithril and jewels. Lord Niluadun introduced it as being a Numenorean heirloom of unknown antiquity. When Gil-galad saw it his eyes narrowed, but he said nothing. Amandil had a nasty feeling that this was a worse mistake them the parrot although he had no idea why.

Gil-galad made a graceful speech in return, suggesting that he would be delighted to renew an acquaintance with Numenor. He spoke in rather archaic but otherwise perfect Adunaic. So much for him not understanding the parrot's foul mouth... in spite of his delight at seeing elves, Amandil found himself much relieved when they were all shown to their quarters in the guest wing of the palace.

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Meanwhile, the elves too were glad to let down their guard. Gil-galad rubbed his forehead where the crown had been pressing while his councillors chatted and prepared to leave the room in search of luncheon.

"These Numenoreans! Of all the outrageously arrogant gestures," Celeborn said.

"They have fallen far indeed since Elros' day," Cirdan said. "I am glad Elrond is not here to see them."

"I'm also glad of that," said Gil-galad. "They're barely recognizable as what they once were. If this trend continues I fear we may not have allies in them much longer. What I'd really like to know is where they got Celebrimbor's sword. I would have thought Sauron would have it locked away in some trophy hoard in Barad-dur." He walked over and picked the sword up, drawing it from the sheath and looking at it critically. There was a strange mark two-thirds of the way along the blade that somebody had tried to polish out. It looked almost as if acid had been spilt on the blade. "I wonder..." said Gil-galad. "Galadriel, look at this." He handed the blade to her. "What do you make of this mark?"

She examined it, frowning. "We should probably show it to Glorfindel, but I think perhaps Celebrimbor managed to strike at least one blow on Sauron before he was overcome."

"That's what I thought," said Gil-galad. "I would certainly like to think that true. Do you remember when he received this?"

"And swore he'd put it to a bettor use than Curufin had? Yes." She shook her head. "At least the Numenoreans returned it, even if they didn't realize quite what they were returning."

Over the other side of a room, there was a parrot shriek and a muffled oath. Gil-galad turned to see Glorfindel clutching his hand and glaring at the parrot. "The little monster bit me," he said. "It really is an orc-minded thing isn't it?" He opened his hand to show blood dripping from two of his fingers.

Gildor snickered, but quickly turned this into a cough when Gil-galad looked in his direction. "It does look it, doesn't it?" Gil-galad said. "You might want to go and get a healer to look at that to make sure it doesn't get infected."

"It will heal quickly enough on its own," said Glorfindel. "The little beast has no poison but its tongue." He smiled brightly. "I believe it belongs to you. What are you going to do with it?"

Gil-galad looked around the room at the miscellaneous livestock, plants and other objects. "For now, I'd like all the inanimate objects to go in storeroom number three. The tiger cub can go to Galador the Hunt Master with instructions for him to train it to fight orcs. The monkeys... does anyone here want monkeys?"

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Back in quarters, Amandil turned to Pharazon the moment he walked in. "I doubt Gil-galad speaks Adunaic," he mimicked sarcastically.

"I don't need to hear it from you too," Pharazon complained. "Lord Niludadun yelled worse than the parrot and has confined me to quarters for the next two days - when I'm not on the ship's deck scrubbing it with the common sailors! I'm not going to get to go out and see all this fascinating architecture for ages."

"You did let yourself in for it," Amandil said and then relented. "Never mind. I'm sure we'll be here longer than two days so you'll get to see the architecture. "

"It is still unfair," said Pharazon. "Did you look at the palace on the way in? It's beautiful, but it's clearly designed as a fortress. You can tell they had just come out of a war when it was built. Peace or not they've still got murder holes in all the ceilings, as well as the full moat, drawbridge, and portcullis. Then there's the fact that they built it on a natural high point. It would be a nasty place to tackle. It might be easiest to poke a hole in the wall around the moat, although it is thick enough it would take quite a while..."

Amandil rolled his eyes at his friend's obsession. "Then just be glad it's in the hands of friends."

"Is it?" said Pharazon.

"Of course," said Amandil. "Now if you want a difficult castle in the hands of enemies why don't you go attack Barad-dur?"

"You never know," Pharazon said with a smile. "Someday I just might."

"And conquor the moon and the sun the day after," Amandil said. "Right." He threw a cushion at Pharazon's head. Pharazon grinned and threw it back.

Chapter Three: I Saw

That night there was a feast in the Numenorean's honor with music and dancing to follow. Pharazon couldn't come, but Amandil soon found himself standing in front of Lord Niluadun with the others getting a last minute lecture on what not to do in elvish society. Lord Niluadun appeared a little haggard as he finished up with "and no oaths, especially any that invoke the name of Eru. Elves take oaths literally and you may find yourself expected to do something you had no intention of ever doing. Oh, and elven ladies are look but don't touch."

"How do you dance with someone you can't touch?" Lieutenant Zimazar asked.

"Not in any way that isn't part of the dance," Lord Niluadun said. "Elves have extremely strict marriage customs and you don't want to run afoul of them. We're here to reopen friendship and alliance, not to cause trouble."

"No parrots," Azare said. Amandil turned to look at Captain Gimlihazid's mistress. She looked the picture of innocence with her wavy red hair and wide blue eyes, but you couldn't let that fool you. He'd come back once to the cabin he shared with Pharazon to find them together in there and had had to back out hurriedly.

Lord Niluadun glared back at Azare. "I suggest you not even mention the word. Now all of you, be back here and ready in one hour."

One hour later, Amandil was back as requested and required. Fortunately, Pharazon had already gone back to the ship so Amandil didn't have to listen to him fuming about being left behind. Lord Niluadun looked them over critically before finally nodding his satisfaction. He led them into the great hall in a long line like uncommonly colorful ducklings following their mother.

The great hall was beautiful enough that Amandil found himself turning his head from side to side trying to take it all in. After the first few seconds he stopped himself, not wanting to look like a complete yokel in front of the Eldar. The great hall in Armenelos was larger and had more gold and precious jewels, but in terms of sheer beauty this one definitely had it beaten.

The vaulted ceiling was painted with many colorful scenes from the elder days. From his brief first looks around Amandil recognized the Lay of Leithian, the city of Gondolin, and the Two Trees. While some of the lighting was candles and a great fire in the hearth at the far end of the hall, there were also strange blue lanterns hanging from the walls at intervals. With a thrill of wonder, Amandil realized these must be the Feanorian lanterns he'd read about but never seen.

He was seated at one of the long tables with most of the other junior members of the delegation and a goodly number of elves of Gil-galad's court. Amandil soon discovered that the elf across from him did not speak Adunaic, so he ended up playing translator for both sides.

The elves asked politely after Numenor and were told that it was getting along very well. The humans asked after the elves and were told that things were as well as could be expected in Middle-earth. Amandil wondered how much the elves were leaving out, considering that none of the Numenoreans had seen fit to mention the continual lower-level resistance of the more rabid King's men to Tar Palanir's reforms. Such troubles were to be found throughout Numenor and sometimes even worse in the Colonies. Umbar was a particular problem.

The food arrived, and Amandil was soon paying far more attention to it than to what his companions were attempting to say to each other. It was beautifully presented, often adorned with flowers or candied fruits, but you didn't really notice the difference until you ate it. It was difficult to put into words, but when you tasted it you understood.

After the feast, the tables were pushed to the sides and there was dancing with musicians playing by the fire. Amandil wandered over to where the musicians were playing to listen more closely. He'd always heard about elvish singing but he'd never actually heard it before. Its reputation really didn't do it justice, unless you counted the wilder tales about active enchantment... it was a long time before Amandil could pull himself away.

What finally did it was Azare insisting he couldn't stand at the sidelines like a complete ninny all night and that he must come dance with her. Amandil dutifully danced. Fortunately the elves explained the steps to all the humans who had never seen it before. After that dance, he was quickly swept up into a rather confusing dance involving about 20 people moving in intricate patterns. He broke Lord Niluadun's rule about not touching ladies: he must have stepped on the toes of at least five by the end of it. Some time later, Amandil left the dance floor looking for something to drink and a place to sit down.

He nearly walked into Azare, who wasn't looking at him but across the room. Amandil followed her gaze to the High King and Lord Niluadun, who were smiling politely at each other and nodding occasionally at something each other said.

Azare walked away from Amandil in their direction. Amandil shrugged and headed for a nearby table where he poured himself a class of apple cider. After a few minutes he struck up a conversation about managing hunting sustainably in forest areas with a tall silver haired elf who said his name was Celeborn.

"We avoid hunting deer during the..." Celeborn stopped, his eyes and attention abruptly elsewhere. Amandil looked and was alarmed to see Azare's red hair at the other end of Celeborn's gaze. She was very close to the High King, who had his back against a wall. The guard next to the King appeared unsure what to do. "If you'll excuse me," Celeborn said absently and got up and left. Out of sheer curiosity, Amandil followed him, although not too close behind. Whatever was happening was not something he wanted to be too close to.

"Lady Azare," the High King was saying, "I am sure there are many of your own people here who would love to dance like that with you, but in my culture it is not considered seemly to dance in such a manner, nor do I wish to dance so with you."

"Gil-galad, might I have a word with you about the state of Cirdan's ships?" Celeborn asked.

"Certainly," the High King replied. "If you will excuse me," he said to Azare, pushing past her when she failed to prove out of his way. "Yes, Cirdan's latest experiment," he said to Celeborn as they walked away.

Amandil found himself faced with a pouting Azare. "What did you think you were doing?" he asked her. "You don't corner the High King of the elves of Middle-earth and harass him into dancing with you in what his culture considers an 'unseemly manner'! This is supposed to be a diplomatic mission."

"Oh, he's just shy," said Azare. "I could have persuaded him if that rude elf hadn't interrupted."

Amandil shook his head. The woman obviously had a poor grasp of reality. Where was Captain Gimlihazid? She was his mistress, so surely he must be able to restrain her disgraceful behavior. He looked around but couldn't see the Captain.

"Well, I guess I'll just have to dance with you instead." Before Amandil knew what was happening she dragged him back onto the dance floor. As they whirled around the the floor, Amandil caught a brief glimpse of Captain Gimlihazid. Unfortunately, he had his head on the table and an overturned wine glass beside him so he obviously wasn't going to be any help at all. Now what? Where was Pharazon when you needed him? Pharazon would talk Azare into dancing with him for the rest of the night and then she wouldn't be free to cause diplomatic incidents.

As that dance ended, Lieutenant Zimazar walked over to them and requested Azare's hand for the next dance. Azare smiled and accepted, leaving Amandil free to go and search for Lord Niluadun.

As he passed the sleeping captain Gimlihazid he heard some rather unpleasant comments. "Passed out drunk with his head on the table. That is in addition to the sword and the parrot. These modern Numenoreans have no couth whatever. Do you think we should try and sober him up?"

"You needn't trouble yourselves," Amandil said. "I can deal with the Captain. I fear he is unused to dorwinion wine."

"Perhaps so. I'm sure you know your own kind best, so we'll leave him to you." The elves turned on their heels and walked away, leaving Captain Gimlihazid to Amandil. Amandil shook Gimlihazid's shoulder, but he did not wake. Amandil then tried splashing some water on his face. The Captain woke. "What," he said, slurring the words heavily. "There's no call for that."

"You need to wake up, Captain," said Amandil. "You're in the middle of an elvish great hall and you don't want to be fast asleep in the middle of a hall full of elves do you?"

"No. Bunch of wizardly cowards, the lot of them. Can't stand elves."

Amandil watched in horror as some nearby elves turned interested expressions their way. "Bush of whizzish..." one said, obviously trying to puzzle out what the captain was saying. "What's a whizzish bush?" he asked.

Amandil thought frantically, and decided that a little white lie was the best part of valor here. "The whizzish bush grows only in Numenor," he said. "We make a special alcoholic drink from the fruit and he thinks he's had too much of it."

"He does appear very drunk," the elf said. "Would you like some help taking him back to his quarters?"

Amandil took one last look around for other Numenoreans but couldn't see any close enough for him to get hold off easily. "Yes please," he said. Hopefully the Captain wouldn't say anything else unfortunate that that elves would repeat to someone who spoke Adunaic fluently.

Together Amandil and the elves took Captain Gimlihazid back to his quarters and laid him on the bed to sleep it off.

"Thank you very much for your help," Amandil said. "I would have had a terrible time getting him back by myself. I am called Amandil. Who are you?"

"I am called Gildor," the blond elf said, "and this is my friend Galador who runs the hunt. I understand you like hunting."

"Yes I do," Amandil said, wondering how that little piece of information had gotten around so quickly. "But I should really go to inform Lord Niluadun of what has happened to the Captain."

"I suppose you should at that. In that case, we will leave you to it." The elves waved casually and walked off down the corridor. Amandil leaned against the wall, exhausted. How did he get into these situations? They never seem to happen to his father and Pharazon always managed to wriggle out of anything he didn't like. He sighed and pushed himself away from the wall. He really should go look for Lord Niluadun.

He went looking, but on the way out of the Numenorean area he met Liutenant Zimazar and Azare coming in the opposite direction. Lieutenant Zimazar informed him that everything was winding down and ordered him to go to bed since there would be a tour of the city in the morning. Amandil obeyed, hoping that he be able to to speak to Lord Niluadun in the morning.

A/N: Amandil has grown up in a very dangerous society. Being able to lie convincingly is a very useful skill in such a society and one I think he would have been forced to practice given the fact that he will be one of the Faithful, dear to Pharazon, and a member of Pharazon's Council. These things would have been very difficult to reconcile even before Sauron turned up.

The names of all Numenoreans present except Amandil are Adunaic. I used Lalaith's Guide to Adunaic Grammar . as a source for name elements. I am not a linguist or anything close, and any mangling of names is my own fault.

Chapter Four: Plots and Counterplots

The tour went well. Amandil found the shipyards especially fascinating but by the end of the morning he still hadn't managed to find Lord Niluadun let alone speak to him in private. He stopped back in his and Pharazon's room for a few moments before going out to lunch and was surprised to find Pharazon there. "Why hello there," Pharazon said, giving him a cheeky grin.

"Aren't you supposed to be on the ship supervising the scrubbing of decks?" Amandil said.

"Oh, I managed to convince Gimlihazid and Niluadun that I really wasn't at fault."

"I wish I was as good as convincing people of things," Amandil said. "I've been trying to talk to lord Niluadun since last night and I can't even find the man."

"Your problem is that you're too polite," said Pharazon. "What were you trying to talk to him about?"

"Azare," said Amandil. "Actually, I may not need to talk to him if you can help me with this. You like her and she likes you."

"Yes," said Pharazon, nodding. "Lots of women do."

Amandil rolled his eyes at his friend's arrogance. One of these days it was going to get Pharazon into big trouble, but until then there wasn't really much he could do about it. "Azare has been harassing the High King of the Noldor," he admitted, "and I think it's likely to cause an incident if she doesn't leave him alone."

"Harassing him in what way?"

"You know Azare. Guess," Amandil said sourly. "She had him cornered against a wall and one of his councillors had to come rescue him."

"You're joking," said Pharazon. "The great and pussiant High King of the Noldor, member of a clan whose deeds include challenging Morgoth to single combat and killing werewolves with their bare hands, is afraid of a pretty girl. That's hilarious."

"You may find it funny, but it is likely to cause a mess if we don't deal with it. Please keep Azare occupied during the dancing. I hear there's going to be another dance tomorrow night, and considering how badly things went last night they had better go properly tomorrow."

"What else did I miss last night?"

"The Captain drinking himself into a stupor and makeing nasty remarks about elves when I woke him. I then had to lie to the elves who wanted to know what he said. Several elves now think that there is a bush in Numenor called the whizzish bush that produces fruits that we use to make fermented beverages."

"I have to hear this," said Pharazon. "We've got time before lunch so why don't you tell me the whole story of what happened last night?" Amandil did, and found telling the story much more fun than he had the actual events. He was also much relieved by Pharazon's promise to keep Azare occupied and out of mischief during the dancing.

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Pharazon was as good as his word the next night and Amandil found himself actually able to relax and enjoy things. There were a couple of minor incidents involving the monkeys getting into the food and being chased by a silver haired lady sporting a circlet and an elvish councillor getting into some sort of argument with Lieutenant Zimazar about appropriate uses for garlic. The latter was made worse by the fact that neither really understood what the other said, but it was still nothing like the first night.

Yes, tonight was much better. Some distance away from where he sat beside the musicians, Amandil could see Pharazon and Azare with their heads close together talking intensely about something. Amandil shrugged. It didn't really matter what they were talking about so long as she kept out of trouble. He leaned back in his chair and went back to listening to the musicians. There was a quartet of bowed instruments much like viols going at the moment. Each was a different size and they produced the most enchanting tones.

Behind him a couple of elves were speaking in low tones but he didn't listen to them until he heard the words "parrot. Did you know that it bit Glorfindel?"

"No. That bird must have a death wish. I wouldn't attack the balrog slayer if he were unarmed and naked and I were in full armour with a sword! What happened after that?"

"I understand the King has it in his quarters. What he wants with it I do not know."

"He always did have an odd sense of humor."

"I guess the parrot isn't so bad, but the sheer gall shown in trying to pass off a sword made by Feanor as Numenorean work is unbelievable. One also wonders how they got hold of Celebrimbor's sword. It's almost enough to make you believe those tales you hear about some of the Colonies falling into dark paths and following Sauron."

"It does make one wonder indeed. I don't want to believe it, but..." The elves moved away, and Amandil lost the rest of the conversation. So that was why Gil-galad had reacted so strongly to the sword! He'd probably seen it before. I have to tell Lord Niluadun about this before it does any more damage. Amandil got up and went in search of Lord Niluadun.

He found him, but unfortunately he was dancing with one of the elvish ladies and Amandil had to wait for the dance to finish before screwing up his courage and asking Lord Niluadun for a word. He might be heir to the Lord of Andunie, but he was as yet too young for people to take him seriously and being one of the faithful did not make things any easier. Lord Niluadun saw him standing there and frowned. "Yes, lad, what is it?"

"It is very important, my Lord, but should probably not be discussed here."

"In that case, my lady, I must leave you for now. I thank you for the dance." He walked into the corridor with Amandil and looked at him expectantly.

"The sword that we gave to the High King isn't Numenorean. It is a very famous elvish blade made by Feanor and last borne by Celebrimbor. I overheard some elves talking about it, and they are quite angry about our misattribution. They were also speculating on it being acquired by friendly links with the enemy among some of our Colonies. I thought you ought to know this."

"Captain Gimlihazid assured me that it was of Arzim's making. If what you say is correct, it must have been spoils of war from the war of the Elves and Sauron. I know quite a number of things were taken back to Numenor as souvenirs. Are you sure the elves were telling the truth?"

"I think they must be. Were you looking at the High King's face when they handed him the sword? He recognized it, and he was angry. I didn't know why at the time."

"I will investigate this further. Thank you for informing me. Have you any further disturbing revelations I need to know?"

"I don't think so," said Amandil.

"Well then, I'll be off. You have a good head on your shoulders. Excellent work with the Sindarin. I saw you translating the other day. Well done." Lord Niluadun clapped Amandil on the shoulder and walked back into the crowd.

Amandil watched him go, feeling relieved. Then he remembered he hadn't told Lord Niluadun about Azare, but when he went back into the room to look for Lord Niluadun the man was gone.

Chapter Five: I Saw More Than I Wanted To

Gil-galad closed the door to his bedchamber behind him and stretched wearily. He normally enjoyed dancing and music, but the presence of these shadowed numenoreans meant he had to watch everything like a hawk in case it started going awry. He caught himself yawning and shook himself. Obviously it was high time to go to bed. A few minutes later he was in bed and the lights out. He fell asleep almost immediately.

He woke when he heard the closet door creak and stealthy footsteps along the floor towards him. He yelled "intruder!", and grabbed his dagger from under the pillow. He knocked the lantern and cover onto the floor with his other hand as he tried to grab it, but the cover didn't come off and the lamp skittered away across the floor. In the center of the room, he could dimly see a figure standing.

Gil-galad lunged towards the intruder, knocking them down and landing on top of them. He grabbed their throat and pressed his dagger against it. The intruder squeaked slightly and went rigid with fear. Gil-galad realized abruptly that his would-be assassin was female and wasn't wearing very much.

Two guards slammed the door open as they rushed into the room, weapons drawn and ready. By the light Gil-galad saw that the woman was Azare. She appeared to have neither clothing nor weapons. The guards stopped too, and stared for a moment before grabbing her arms. Gil-galad put his dagger away and stood up, looking down at their prisoner.

"My King, what is going on?" Ornendil asked.

"I don't entirely know," said Gil-galad. He looked back down at Azare. "But I think I can guess." Just to be sure, he asked "What did you think you were doing, sneaking into my bedchamber without any clothes on?"

"I think you're beautiful and I wanted to spend time alone with you," she said. "Why don't you send these guards away?"

"Remove her," Gil-galad said, grabbing a robe and wrapping it around himself. He was so glad he had been wearing a sleeping tunic...

One of the guards pulled her to a standing position by one arm while the other covered her with his cloak.

"No, wait," said Gil-galad. "How did you get in here undetected?"

"I was just trying to get your attention," said Azare. "I'm not an assassin."

"I realize that," said Gil-galad. "I'm still not interested. I also want to know how you got in here."

"I walked," said Azare. "I don't see why you're so upset."

"Obviously. When did you come in here, and did you run into any guards?"

"I came in when the dancing was still going, before you came back. I didn't see any guards close to here. I saw some earlier, but they didn't seem worried about me." She sniffled. "I can't believe you're doing this."

"Narglin, take her back to the Numenorean quarters and make certain sure she stays there. Tomorrow morning I need to speak with Lord Niluadun as soon as possible. Ornendil, stay here."

Narglin left, taking the now crying Azare with him.

Gil-galad sat down heavily on the bed and put his head in his hands.

"I don't believe that, that shameless hussy!" said Ornendil. "It is an outrage."

"Hussy is too mild a word," Gil-galad said. "The one you want is harlot."

When Ornendil looked at him in surprise, Gil-galad said "You've obviously never heard Aldarion after his horse trod on his foot. He language was as bad as that parrot's." They sat in silence for a few moments. "You can go back to guarding the door, Ornendil. There cannot be more than one naked woman hiding in my closet in one night. Although I think I may check just to be completely certain."

"Allow me," said Ornendil as he got up and rummaged through the walk-in closet. "No, no human women, naked or otherwise, and no assassins either. On the other hand, she did leave these" he held up a red and turquoise gown and some lacy undergarments.

"I'll have to have those returned to her tomorrow," said Gil-galad. "I certainly haven't any use for them."

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Amandil startled awake at the noise in the corridor. On the bunk below, Pharazon also stirred "What in the black void is that?" he muttered.

"I don't know," said Amandil, "but I'm going to go find out." He moved to the door and stuck his head out. In the corridor were Lord Niluadun, Captain Gimlihazid, Azare and two elves in the livery of the Royal Guard. Azare was wearing a duty cloak that seemed to belong to one of the elves, and that elf was holding her tightly by the arm. Amandil couldn't hear what they were saying, but he saw the elf let go of Azare's arm and push her in the direction of Gimlihazid before turning and walking away. Lord Niluadun turned around and saw heads peering blearily out of various rooms. "Go back to sleep, the lot of you," he ordered.

Amandil duly pulled his head back in and closed the door. "What's going on?" Pharazon asked.

"I don't know for sure," Amandil answered, "but it looks like Azare has thoroughly disgraced herself this time."

"What a surprise," Pharazon said. "Dare I ask how?"

"Some of the High King's guards brought her back. She was wearing one of their cloaks and didn't appear to have much else on. They more or less dumped her into Gimlihazid's arms."

"Poor Azare," he said, smirking.

"She has only herself to blame. I wonder what happened, and what effect it will have on the delegation. Weren't you supposed to be keeping her occupied?"

"Only during the dancing. I can hardly keep her occupied at night when she's supposed to be with the Captain, now, can I? Where would I put her in here?"

"Never mind," said Amandil, grimacing. "I suppose we'll find out more in the morning."

A/N: Death is too mundane for Mary Sues. Humiliation and utter failure is much more satisfying.

Chapter Six: I Left the

Next morning Gil-galad met with Niluadun. "As diplomacy," Gil-galad said, "your mission is a failure. Even without last night, it was already doing more harm than good. I have the distinct impression that many of those under you do not wish it to succeed and I would rather you left before any more damage is done."

"I fear you may be right. Perhaps the time has not yet come for rapproachement between our peoples. The next generation may do better - Tar Palantir is raising his daughter as one of the faithful and Gimilkhad will not live forever. The young heir to Andunie, Amandil, is fluent in Sindarin and has been a great help to me here, while Gimilkhad's son has mostly behaved himself and I have some hopes that he will prove better than his father."

"Since we have come to no new alliance, will you take the gifts back?"

"No. The fault was solely ours and I see no reason to pretend otherwise. I would also like to apologize about the sword. It appears I was misinformed as to its origins. I recently discovered that it in fact belonged to Lord Celebrimbor, and should have been returned to the Eldar after the War of the Elves and Sauron, in which it was taken."

Gil-galad smiled. "It eases my heart to know that you did not know quite what you are doing there. I feared it might be deliberate insult on the part of Tar Palantir and the Numenorean delegation as a whole."

"It most definitely was not. Tar Palantir truly desires alliance and friendship renewed."

"In that case, I have prepared to a letter for him," said Gil-galad reaching down to the table beside him and passing the letter across to Niluadun. "I would also like him to have this." He held up a small sphere swirled in green, white, and blue that shifted in the light. "It contains images of Tirion under the light of the Two Trees, and it was made in that time. One of my ancestors took it with him when he left Valinor. I would like Tar Palantir to have something from us to remind him that while his efforts may sometimes seem fruitless they are not forgotten or unnoticed."

Niluadun nodded. "May the day come that our peoples can truly meet in friendship again."

"May it come again indeed. Until that time, may the stars shine on your path."

"And on yours also. Namarie."

"Namarie."

______________

Amandil stared behind the ship at the receding shoreline. He could no longer see Mithlond, for it was shrouded in clouds through which the mountains of the Ered Luin loomed. What an appalling mess. They would have done better not to go at all.

A/N: with reference to the chapter titles, I must apologize to the unknown student who misquoted Julius Caesar as 'I came, I saw, I left.' The correct translation is 'I came, I saw, I conquored'.