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In All My Battles

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Her heels clicked over loud upon the stone floors which were covered in gaudy designs. The shoes, with their pointed toes and heels and rough decoration made her feet feel as though she had decided to walk upon dagger-like rocks. Miriel wished she could take them off and through them out the window into the garden far below but the courtiers would begin to whisper behind their hands once more, calling her mad.

Not that it would be any different than normal.

Miriel would avoid the pleasantries and courtesies her husband had become so fond of. She found she rather disliked this place of brightness and rumors. She felt the old longing to return to the land of her birth. The Ainur would never allow it. Her people and the others had become blind worshipers to the Valar, their false gods. Ingwe especially, with his blindness to his surroundings and constant singing of hymns and prayers to the Ainur. Her heart squeezed as she thought of his little son, Ingwion, who was no longer little with no true name that anyone except Ingwe knew of. And Ingwe would not - or could not - say. It had been a long while since she last saw the boy, but she could remember how he, along with her and many of their peoples, had become ill upon arrival to these wretched "Blessed Lands". How he had wasted away for a long while before recovering. Miriel knew she never truly had recovered from the light illness. She did not forget the deaths that began before they stepped foot on these lands from the light. 

No death in these lands?, she laughed morbidly. It showed itself before the light began to burn us. 

The younger generation had never seen death and the light remained a joy for them. The elder generation forgot the death( no one bothered to mention there was no writing on the subject either) because they had to. (Miriel could still remember Ingwe and Finwe coming from the meeting of the Valar with dazed expressions before they commanded it to never be mentioned again.) Miriel hated the light of the Trees. It burned and irritated her skin while her eyes and head pounded and her breath shortened. Telperion was easier to take then Laurelin, the softer silver light pricked more than stabbed. A sharp jab to her innards distracted her from her musings. Yes, little fire, I know, Miriel halted in an alcove to catch the breath stolen from her. Soon.

She knew she would have to reveal the unborn child soon, especially to her husband, as she was nearing her delivery date. One reason it remained undiscovered were the clunky clothing that had been in fashion for almost two decades(at least the corsets were no longer in use). The other was all the others who knew had been sworn to secrecy. She hoped her ladies did understand secrecy, but she doubted they would remain quiet for much longer. 

"Queen Miriel! How lovely it is to see you," Princess Indis beamed at her, her entire faces practically shining. Her eyes were colder than winter. Miriel flashed back to when the only light they knew was the stars, to the memory of Indis bathed in the blood of one of her infant cousins. She would not forget Indis tearing apart and devouring the child. She knew the cruelty and beast-like nature underneath those impeccable manners.

"Princess Indis, it is always a most enjoyable occasion when you grace the halls of my palace." Miriel fought to keep her voice polite and her words pleasant. 

"It has been too long since we last spoke, Queen Miriel. Perhaps we could go hawking together or another civilized activity," Indis never dropped her smile. "I would rather it be outside this . . . humble castle. I saw a spider earlier and had to kill it."

Miriel's blood ran cold. My lovely spider, my most talented weaver, her husband's pet names for her echoed in her head. Indis had heard these before. Miriel forced a smile, "Perhaps. Anything in the gardens is off limits, I'm afraid. My husband, King Finwe, is having the garden replanted. Globe Amaranths, Bellflowers, Red Carnations, Heliotrope, Honeysuckle, others like them. We had some other flowers shown to us, and I thought of you. Did you get them?"

The bright smile lost it's brightness and became rather fixed. "Columbine, Red Dahlias, Black Roses, Mint, Hydrangeas, and Lobelias. Quite a beautiful selection. I'm afraid I didn't have them planted in time. I'm afraid on my way here, my foot caught in one of your beautiful tapestries. I offer my deepest apologies."

Miriel felt her patience thinning more and more by the second and their difference in height did nothing to help. "Why don't you go and speak to your brother, King ingwe? I was just thinking of my own."

Indis's smile disappeared all together and her face paled at the mention of Miriel's brother. "You're not supposed to speak of the dark lands," she hissed out through clenched teeth before she fled down the hall.

Miriel knees nearly crumpled in relief. She could hear the echoes of the Party beginning below her. "My Queen?"

She spun around, finding herself face to face with Rumil, her heart still going too fast. "Rumil, you've scared me, my friend."

"I've come to escort you down to the Celebration." His face twisted at the word and she felt relieved not to be the only one to find the entire thing distasteful. "Your husband asks for you, while the Lady Varda expressed concern for your lack of presence." He continued as he moved his arm for her to grasp.

Miriel knew what that meant. The Valar had arrived and wished to watch her once more. They still displayed their deep suspicion of her, as she did not listen to them blindly as much of the others do. Varda especially disliked her, to say the least. 

"Of course," she clutched his arm as he led her to the stairs below. 


As the night wore on, Miriel's calm disappeared with it. 

Finwe, while devoted, was also oblivious to the less than respectable intentions of the many women in the hall, Indis in the center of this. Miriel was constantly surrounded, it seemed, by the various Ainur. She hated them more than she hated the trees.

Varda reminded her to much of the vampires of Thuringwethil. Her dark hair with stars and dark eyes and too pale skin and her red, red, red lips looked almost exactly like Thuringwethil herself, while Ilmare looked more like the vampires themselves. Their honeyed and hypnotic voices held the same lilt. 

Ulmo, as well as his maiar - Osse, Uinen( who appeared to be keeping him away for Eonwe - judging by their expressions a fight is about to break out), and Salmar - kept close to Olwe, Alpawen, their daughter Earwen( whose nickname was the same as her mother name), while the various other sons and daughters ran a muck throughout the room. 

Aule, Yavanna, Vana, and various maiar( Aiwendil, Curunir, Pallando, Alatar, Olorin, Tilion, and Arien were the ones she could name) stood close to the walls as Aule spoke to Mairea and her husband Mahtan, while their gaggle of children chased Olwe's around the room, easy to spot from their unique red hair. Tulkas, Nessa, Irmo, Este, Nienna, and a rather traumatized looking Eonwe danced around the floor in the midst of the elves. A gap in the crowd revealed the reason behind Eonwe's expression : one of Mairea's children had attached them self to his foot, whilst he spun Nienna around. 

Orome and Vaire seemed to be speaking of bow strings with a large group of elves. Manwe, who had been talking to the Vanyar delegation, appeared to have become distracted by having a heated argument with Namo whilst the Vanyar continued to politely and blankly stare at Manwe. 

She could barely look upon the Ainur much less stare at them for so long. Ulmo and his folk looked to be ruining the flooring as the water rolled off them, parts of them transparent as their bodies remained part water or scaled like a fish's. Aule glowed with a forge fire from within and his hair and beard appeared to be made of gold, Yavanna and Vana had plants growing from their heads and fingers. The maiar appeared to look very much like the Valar they served. 

Tulkas with his red face and eerie grin twirled with Nessa whose legs were that of some sort of hooved mammal and her skin deer brown with spots like a fawn's. Irmo was white all over like milk except for the red marks upon his face and the Canary yellow eyes. Este's skin was grey as stone with lips blue like those of the dead, her eyes white except for the irises. Nienna looked as though she aimed for elvish and just slid a little past, as long as you ignored her ever crying, empty pits for eyes. Eonwe with his feathered skin and his wings down, looked as though he wore clothes bedecked with feathers. 

Orome had the same skin as Nessa but had dangerous looking antlers coming from his head instead of hooves. Vaire's hair was made of yarn while her clothes were made of spider web. Manwe was the most frightening. He looked like the White-and-Blue version of the thing she once saw in the dark forests of her birth. Namo, who never changed his outfit, was wearing his hooded cloak that hid everything but his  too pale, too bony, too long hands and fingers. 

She felt a hot hand tight against her elbow. "A lovely evening is it not?"

She willed her heart to slow and she slowly turned her head to look at the face of Mairon. "Very."

He smiled at her, his golden skin shimmering as his amethyst eyes looked at her. "When will you make then announcement of your . . . miracle?"

"My miracle?" She echoed, knowing what he meant.

"Of course." His gaze flickered across the room. "Would you show me the gardens, before they are up rooted?"

"It would be my pleasure," she said faintly as she grasped his outstretched arm. "But is it okay with Lady Varda?"

"I'm sure she would not mind." He said confidently as he adjusted his long braid of hair.