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The Return of the Queen
(TA 1599)

Copyright Eric Dubourg ©2001

Edited by Joe Mandala and Cory Rushton for The Guild Companion

For years rumors had occasionally surfaced in Bellakar concerning Belkâli and her five children, but Sakalthôr had always managed to suppress them. While no one had any regular contact with Gondor, she had secretly informed some of her female relatives in Bellakar. Sakalthôr, when he found out, was once again enraged. However, he made a pretense of concern for Belkâli and advised her to stay in Gondor until her children were grown. With the unexpected death of Arzagar II, desperate to complete the unification of the realms, he publicly announced the continued exile of Belkâli and her children. As they were of direct descent from the great heroes of the Tumakveh line, they gained popular support as possible leaders of a renewed kingdom. It also helped that they had been out of the country all their lives and had no local enemies in a political system now rife with corruption and hatred.

The situation was desperate, as Northern Bellakar under the rule of King Narakhîn was slipping under Umbarean domination to an even greater degree. The Regent Sakalthôr sent his own son Izinduzîr, who assisted his father in his task of controlling Southern Bellakar and who shared his opinions of the Dúnedain of Gondor and Umbar, to Gondor (Najam 1599) in order to prepare the return of Queen Belkâli to her own land. He was received in Osgiliath by Prince Anardil (Ishat 1599), who learned of the disastrous situation in Bellakar and the desperate need for Belkâli to return to the land of her childhood.

After thirty years of marriage to Anardil, Belkâli was noticeably aging while he was not. This was not unusual in the royal court of Gondor, but Belkâli became depressed and reclusive. Anardil, who still loved her deeply, could do little to ease the burden of the Gift of Men. Seeing no way to make her final decades of life happy ones apart from returning with her in Bellakar, he took counsel with his father Vinyarion. Anardil then proposed to the amazed Bellakaranî princess to return with her to Bellakar, and also to establish a permanent alliance between the two realms.

Several months of preparation were needed for the departure to Bellakar. In 22 Mizir 1599, Anardil, Belkâli, her family, a chest of Gondorian gold, and a company of Gondorian guardsmen arrived in Ûrêzâyan despite desperate Umbarean and North Bellakaranî attempts to intercept them. Welcomed by the Southern Bellakaranî, the Queen was escorted by great crowds to Nîlûlondê. There the Regent, who had organized an official coronation for the Queen, received her.

Three days later, Belkâli was crowned Queen of Gondor (12 Kuralid 1599). The Regent now confirmed publicly the marriage of Belkâli to Anardil, prince of Gondor, and agreed to the alliance treaty between Gondor and Bellakar. The Southern population was astonished by this declaration, but there was no formal opposition as Gondor had come to be popularly seen as a trustworthy ally. Anardil, after signing the Treaty of Perpetual Grace and Counsel, renounced to his rights as a Prince of Gondor and took an Adunâic name, Khâruzîr: "Today I renounce forever every claim for me and all my descendants to the realm of Gondor, whatever might be decreed for Gondor. Minardil my brother and all his descendants will be kings of Gondor, while my descendants are destined to become Kings of Bellakar, and there will be a true and lasting peace forever between these two realms. I do not renounce to my Adûnâi heritage, as Bellakar is forever the ally of Gondor."

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