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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

By the Light of Roses--Chapter Thirteen

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

By the Light of Roses--Chapter Thirteen

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In last week's chapter, Eressetor was finally "won" by Fëanáro.

This week, the tensions in the House of Fëanáro continue to escalate as the exile draws nearer to ending and the sons of Fëanáro--and Eressetor--begin to question their fates and whether Nerdanel will resume her marriage with her errant husband.

Only two chapters follow this one, so we draw near to the conclusion of this story!

Please remember that this story is rated for adults only for reasons of sexuality and mature themes and contains slash. My thanks to everyone who is reading along! As usual, all comments are welcomed.


By the Light of Roses
Chapter Thirteen

Behind Locked Doors


I adore you.

Daringly, he had taken to leaving little notes upon scraps of paper, tucked into the books on which I was working for the week. Sitting opposite Maitimo in the library, I would find them and tuck them hastily beneath the table before Maitimo could see, peeking at them pressed into the palm of my hand, my pallid cheeks ablaze.

You have become my life.

Maitimo was working on a new variety of roses, puzzling over the possible combinations for long hours, trying to breed a variety with petals clear and crystal as water. So far, his experiments had yielded only species that were blue-gray and reeked slightly of fish. I was immersed in the Ardacarmë, a dusty tome that described the building of the world by the Valar in tedious, savoring detail, and amid the accounts of raising mountains and delving oceans, I found the notes tucked away and written in Fëanáro’s unmistakable hand.

I love you.

“What if someone else finds them?” I’d hissed to him, after finding the first weeks earlier, a few days after our lovemaking had finally been successful.

“No one but you has reason or interest to revisit that boring tripe,” he’d said with a wave of his hand, his voice trying to sound condescending but too humored, affectionate despite his best attempts otherwise. He’d dismissed the Ardacarmë as thinly veiled proselytism designed to glorify the accomplishments of the Valar while utterly negating their failures, and I’d been amused to read, upon the first page, “Firsthand Accounts of Creation, Transcribed and Translated by Curufinwë Fëanáro Finwion,” in a very familiar hand.

“Maitimo might find reason to reference it, as might Curufinwë,” I’d argued, but he’d made a dismissive noise with his lips and gone back to pondering a list of steel alloys for a project on which he was working in the forge, needing something, he’d said, malleable and with a bluish cast.

“Then I shall tell them that the notes were left long ago. For their mother,” and his dismissive tone—as well as the mention of Nerdanel—told me that the subject was closed.

The nights we could spend together were rare. Always, we slept in his bed because I’d pointed out the ease with which I could hear Curufinwë and Terentaulë next door, and he’d smiled impishly and said, “You listen to my son and his wife making love?” not giving me chance to answer before laughing at my open mouth fighting to answer without incriminating myself, saying, “No worries, I would probably listen too.”

I thought of him constantly, sketched bits of him in the margins of my notes and shredded the paper, guilty. I took a brief liking for love poetry because of how keenly it expressed my emotions, but that died quickly when I discovered that Fëanáro had marked most of his poetry books with notations about which poems to give to Nerdanel for what occasion. I could not read of “passionate fire” while thinking that he’d given her that poem when they’d discovered that she was pregnant with Tyelkormo.

What I hadn’t meant to do—give in to love and obsession, helplessness—I’d done, turning upon my back and baring my throat to the beast, hoping that he would see fit to spare my life.

In the loneliness of nights spent alone in my own bed, I pondered the whole of my existence like this, should Nerdanel return and Fëanáro forsake me. I would never be able to love another like this; like Fëanáro’s Silmarils or the Trees of Yavanna, this love was something that I could only accomplish once, and the thought of an eternity alone in my bed, listening to the lonely sough of my blood night after night…I would not bear it.

In my dark fantasies, Fëanáro left me and I cut myself with his blade and bled upon the floor or I used the book on botany that he’d translated to concentrate and mix a poison, and I took my own life. In my dark fantasies, my spirit lingered just long enough to watch him collapse into grief.

My darkest fantasies failed to consider: What if he didn’t grieve at all?

Nightly—except when I slept in his bed, in his arms, and so was assured of his love for me—I checked the closet at the end of the hall. Not long after he’d begun leaving me notes, I found a new steel statue there with a bluish cast: Nerdanel in a dress flowing around her ankles, seeming to rise from the froth of the sea.

He still loves her.

I slammed the door and did not sleep that night, but the next night—when the house slumbered—I returned to torment myself yet again. The statue, though, was gone.

There were plenty of others—sketches, paintings, statues, ceramics—to take its place.

I dreamed sometimes of binding Fëanáro to my bed—wrists tied to the headboard; feet to the footboard and legs splayed open, the secret places of his body opened to my intentions, defenseless—facedown, with a cloth upon his eyes and a gag in his mouth.

No. No cloth and no gag. I wanted him to see and scream with what I did to him. I would penetrate him as he’d done me, without mercy, under the guise of love, giving him pleasure skewered with a silver spike of pain. Many times since, he’d penetrated me; even now, he hurt me with the excuse of his ardor. More than once, I’d bled and awakened in the morning to insides that felt like mush. Yet he never let me enter him, and I dared not ask.

In my dreams, I didn’t ask, I just did. Just as he’d done to me.

I didn’t tell him my dreams, although I think that he would have liked to hear them. Probably, he would have supplied me with the rope to act them out. (Once, he’d bound my hands with a silken scarf, over my head, but there would be no silk for him: I wanted rope that would chafe his wrists and ankles as he writhed, at once trying to escape me and impale himself further upon me.) But in the dark of night, I thought of them and brought myself to climax over and over again until I was exhausted. Then, often, my thoughts took an even darker road and pondered Nerdanel’s return and his leaving me…and my own death to avenge his betrayal.

His blade, cold against my flesh, and my blood spilling upon the ground, gleaming darkly in the low light of evening, seeping beneath a closed, locked door.

The forge door.

I awakened and realized that I had been dreaming.
~oOo~

The forge: Daily, Fëanáro disappeared there, emerging blinking and distracted, sometimes irritated, sometimes sullen. Sometimes jubilant, as though a dream had come true in there, manifested beneath his hands like magic.

I’d never given much thought to what he did in there for the work of a craftsman had always been boring to me, too finite, to confine the wanderings of one’s imagination to what can be held in the hand. I preferred the nebulous realms of abstract thought, of philosophy and literature and history, where theories were possible that could not be tested, and hope, therefore, need never die. That which came into existence beneath Fëanáro’s hands was too tangible and, thus, did not interest me.

Maybe he was counting on that?

He was a craftsman and always busy, yet he no longer accepted commissions and burned unanswered the letters from hopeful young Elves wishing for an apprenticeship with him. He was in the forge for hours, yet never showed any signs of productivity. On some days, the hammering was unrelenting and the air smelled sanguine, of hot steel. On other days, I wallowed in silence, but he was behind the door and the door was locked and he expected us—me—to believe that he was working.

I began finding excuses to walk past the forge door, and always, I paused in front of it and tried the knob, running away with my heart hammering in reproach when I found it locked yet again.

What is he hiding there?

I decided to take an interest in his work. Lying in his bed one night, with my head upon his chest, listening to his heartbeat slow from our exertions and breathing the electric scent of his skin, I asked him, “What exactly do you do in the forge, Fëanáro?”

“Projects,” he answered, and closed his arms upon me—a sign that I was to sleep—but I could not. For the whole of the night, I listened to his heart and wondered why it never resumed its normal rhythm but rather tripped, nervous and clumsy, until I found restless repose in the morning and ceased hearing it altogether.

Another time, as he critiqued one of my essays on the Ardacarmë, I pushed again, harder: “I would like to spend the day with you. In the forge. To see what you do.”

Without looking up from the page, which was already bleeding with red ink from comments that he’d made, he muttered, “You told me that you hate forge-work, so why would you want to do that?”

“Because I hate forge-work but I love you and I feel as though I should know what captivates you. Inspires you. Takes you from me for so many hours every day.” I laughed nervously. I did not sound like myself but rather a parody of Maitmo, diplomatic and subtly, viciously persuasive, sensual and swaggering; only, unlike Maitimo, I was not good at it. Fëanáro’s brow had knit; he heard it too.

“It’s not possible, Eressetor,” he added, and I immediately retorted with the childish squeak, “Why not?”

“Because,” he said with the patient, tired sigh of a father who has raised seven sons and now only barely endures the puerility of his adult lover, “you are not trained and it is dangerous in there. I work with many chemicals and materials of a new and rather experimental nature, and they are not very stable and could be upset by the slightest error on your part. And I could not bear for you to be injured.”

Of course, those of his sons who were trained—Maitimo, Carnistir, Curufinwë—were also banned from the forge. As winter thawed into reluctant spring, I sat outside on a rare warm day while Terentaulë and Vingarië scoured clothes in a washtub; Vingarië was consoling Terentaulë, who’d had a vicious fight with Curufinwë that morning. “Well,” quipped Terentaulë, “I blame Fëanáro because, when he locked his forge against his sons, Curufinwë began to go mad with boredom. Where he would burn and freeze and hammer upon metal, he has turned his attentions instead to me.” Bestowing me then with a careful look, like she had forgotten my presence and had spoken amiss somehow, scrubbing the clothes harder as though I—as Fëanáro’s apprentice—also deserved some of the blame.

Daily, I checked the door. Daily, it was locked.

I tried to glean some information from Maitimo, but he was clever in diplomacy whereas I was awkward—my tongue a thick wad in my mouth; my voice high and false—and he recognized my attempts and became suspicious, and I said no more of it, lest I lose his trust entirely.

When I was not with Fëanáro, I thought of him. The spaces between the words on the page were shaped into his face, his busy hands. What was he doing? What was that coming to life, earning his singular focus as I never had? It was her, it was his hands caressing her body done in metal, shaping her from his memories, letting thought of her—she who had betrayed him—usurp me. Who loved him.

He invited me to his bed that night, and he laid at my back and wanted to enter me, but I refused, and we fought. “Why do you reject me?” “Why must you always decide how we make love?” “Why don’t you trust me?” “Why do you want to do what you know will hurt me?”

“The hurt is in your imagination,” he said, and I flopped away from him and across the massive bed, to curl on my side, tottering so close to the edge that my knees poked over the side. The mattress creaked as he stood, and I heard the rustle of cloth slipping over his body as he dressed, and he went into the sitting room, closing the bedroom door with a bang.

It is happening again! Just as it did with Ornisso! You have trusted your heart to a faithless man.


I wondered if I should leave and return to my own chambers and bed. I hated myself, for so rarely did I get to spend nights with him, and now I’d ruined it. I turned onto my back and cursed myself.

I must have slept because I awakened and he was standing over me. “Are you quite finished now? With your tantrum?”

I waited for my defenses to bristle, but his voice was tender, and he slid into the bed and slipped his arms around me, and I could not. I loved him. I nestled stiffly into his embrace and raised my arms to hold him too, caressing his strong shoulders and arms through the thin silk of his nightshirt. I was still naked, but his hands were not tempted to roam my body. Vaguely, I wondered: Should I be insulted by this? Or maybe—naked and defenseless where he was clothed—I should fear him?

“Eressetor, I do not know why you will not trust me,” he said suddenly. “You feel different to me lately, as though you are always guarded, expecting me to suddenly strike out and wound you. It is as it was when we first began to love each other and I believed that you were afraid to give your heart to me. At last, you did…why are you trying to take it back? Now, of all times, when I love you so much and need you so badly? I know that you have been hurt in the past, by that ‘Ornisso,’ but I have been hurt too, my heart trod upon by my faithless wife who loved the Valar more than her husband and the father of her children. Who would sooner kneel with her nose in the dirt than stand proudly beside me, in defense of our right to think for ourselves, as Eru intended. Do you think that I am any less afraid to give myself to you? That it is easy to trust you when you could find one young, like yourself, and unwed without the burden of seven children, at any moment? And forsake me? Yet you will not give me your trust, even as I lie with my heart bared to your mercy, telling you that I love you…and yet you doubt.”

When the light of Laurelin shyly emerges each morning, so the tender leaves of newborn plants will uncurl towards her. That was me: delicate and still easily hurt, but reaching for his voice—for the light of the world—and drinking of it, becoming stronger, daring to hope for blossom?

I snuggled closer to him, and his chin was upon my hair, our limbs raveled and the lengths of our bodies pressing, not in lust for once but simple and perfect love.
~oOo~

There was heaviness upon the House of Fëanáro, a swollen feeling like clouds ready to burst with rain, but I was dazed by love, and I did not feel it. Not immediately. Like the hairline cracks that had once been sketched across my bedroom ceiling, widening and lengthening as the years progressed, the faintest of pressures spurring one anew, a tributary of the others, until the whole ceiling appeared ready to crumble upon me.

Finwë had returned to visiting the towns of northern Aman, and his departure seemed to leave the door open for something new and sinister to enter the House of Fëanáro. The sons no longer crackled with excessive, harmless energy but brimmed with destruction like a rain barrel brims with water after a lengthy storm, and—at times—a careless shift in balance sent the whole mess sloshing over the sides.

Spring was upon us, and Nandolin had returned to plant his father’s fields, and Telvo was absent again, more often than not. Breakfasts were tense and nearly silent affairs, ending with the seven sons scattering in opposite directions like small, ricocheting missiles as soon as the minute was up, leaving Fëanáro and I mostly alone, except for Vingarië and Terentaulë, who spoke more with each other these days, it seemed, than with their husbands, and a squirming, impatient Tyelperinquar, who had begun to despise being cooped in the house with his mother when he could have been having adventures with his uncles.

I was content in my library, in the company of my books, and ignored again by the sons of Fëanáro, who seemed as perpetually frustrated and vicious as bulls. The silence of the house was punctured by scuffles: by voices raised in anger and fists meeting with flesh, even the gentle Macalaurë and charming Maitimo, whose faces had become pale with bruises beneath their eyes as though they were not sleeping at night.

I was in the library, finishing my final treatise on the Ardacarmë, when I heard the wrathful voice of Curufinwë, he whom I’d learned to fear the most, for it seemed that in his senseless violence, he was showing me of what his father was also capable: The apple and the tree; I must have learned this somewhere! The centers of his eyes like hot coals, charred and insensate outside but still burning within. More nights than not these days, I was kept awake by his relentless arguing with Terentaulë, for hours at a time, their arguments swirling in ever-narrowing, dizzying circles, while poor Tyelperinquar screamed, unacknowledged, in the background.

But the person that answered him that day wasn’t Terentaulë but the unexpected voice of Telvo. They volleyed back and forth for a long while with the stubborn persistence of Fëanorians, growing louder and more insistent, and I had risen to close the door to the library against their voices—for their argument was over something silly, a toy being given to Tyelperinquar for his begetting day by Telvo—when I heard the whipping crack of flesh meeting flesh, followed by a hard thud and the heavy, wrathful footfalls of Curufinwë taking him out the front door.

I rushed down the hall and to the parlor, but Terentaulë and Vingarië had both reached him first, and Telvo was seated on the chaise with Vingarië pressing a rag to the bleeding corner of his mouth—unshaken but with his eyes smoldering—while Terentaulë paced and fairly gnashed her teeth in rage.

“Do not worry about it, Terentaulë,” Telvo was saying. “He did not mean it.”

“How can you say that? Are you as much a fool as the rest of them? As your father and your brothers? You are bleeding!”

“He hit me with an open hand. He needed to hit something is all, to release his anger; if he’d wanted to hurt me, it would have been with a closed fist.”

“That is madness, Telvo! I am sick of him, of his stupid anger and his violence.”

“We are all frustrated these days, you as well as he. Do not pretend that you do not start your share of the arguments that keep half of the house awake, Terentaulë. We are going mad in this exile, and if I must bleed a bit to relieve it, then so be it.”

But Terentaulë was not assuaged. Like a caged beast, she paced the length of the room; her hands twisting as though desperate to wound something, even if only herself. I watched her, standing half inside the door and so far unnoticed. “Our son does not realize that” came her sharp retort. “Our son is learning that to hit one’s brother is an acceptable way to relieve frustration and solve problems.” She paused and turned her gaze on Telvo. “The other day, I thought that I might be pregnant. I am not, but it made me think: What if I was? How am I raising my son? What would he have done to the infant, when it had been born? What kind of family have we become?”

“Terentaulë—“

“I am leaving him!” she shouted suddenly. Silence fell in the wake of her extraordinary exclamation. She swallowed hard and pushed her hair behind her ears with shaky hands. “I am going to my cousin; she lives near here. I am taking Tyelperinquar with me and leaving him.” Even from the doorway, I could see her lower lip quivering. “I cannot—will not—tolerate this, nor will I force my son into the destiny that he is forging for us.” She sank to the chaise opposite Telvo and Vingarië and buried her face in her hands.

Telvo took the rag from his mouth and crossed the room to her. He dabbed her eyes with the un-bloodied half of it; he cradled her in his arms. “Why can’t they all be like you?” she sobbed. “Why couldn’t I have loved you, not him?”

“Because it would have been unrequited and your beautiful son never would have been born. And if you leave on my account, Terentaulë, how can I forgive myself that?”

“It is not on your account! It is—“

“In response to a foolish fight between two foolish brothers who both wanted an excuse to unleash the hatred in their hearts, if only for a moment. It means nothing. Our exile is over in less than two years now, and I believe that our family will heal then. We have been wounded, but it is not the nature of our people to fester but to heal. When our mother sees our father again—sees us—she will know the mistake that she has made. She will glue us back together.”

Numbly, I watched Terentaulë nod and rise from Telvo’s arms, her shoulders as squared and proud as any lady of the Noldor. “Then I shall wait, and pray that your mother will save us.”
~oOo~

So if Nerdanel was to save them, then what was I wishing for?

For I liked Nerdanel where she was, sequestered neatly behind the walls of Tirion, more than a day’s ride on a fast horse away from us. It seemed appropriate, somehow, for Nerdanel to be confined within the stuffy city while Fëanáro’s exile had bought him freedom to roam all of Aman.

Except to her.

Since his exile—or so the rumor went—she’d not left Tirion, as though she expected that he would accost her on the plains that lay south of Túna or manifest from the shadows of the forest that marked the boundary of the hills to the north. Even to Alqualondë, it was said, she did not go, perhaps fearing that the seething sea itself would swell and expel him to lie at her feet, clutching her ankles, dooming her to love him forevermore.

To me, he never spoke of her, though I persisted in checking the closet—although not every day—and the icons within it still changed. So he thought of her, but those thoughts were not for sharing with me. At times, I wanted to mention her in an offhand way, to hear how his voice shaped her name in my presence, but I could never muster the courage, for what if it lingered like a caress or savored her like a fine wine? My own name was clipped and quick in his voice, efficient, even at the heights of passion, signifying an ending, a climax. “Ai! Eressetor!”

I passed the closed forged door—always locked—and thought of her. Of him. Of him and her.

But mostly her, this ugly woman glimpsed once from afar yet known now with almost a feeling of intimacy, as though in touching her statues I was touching her, in kissing her husband, I was entering her place in their marriage.

Or as though I was searching for an excuse to hate a stranger.

I sought Maitimo in the library once; he was still working on his “crystal roses” without success, his most recent experiments seeming to take him further from his goal. He and Fëanáro had fought about it; Maitimo called it impossible and Fëanáro said that only impossible was impossible; Maitimo retorted that that did not make sense. “What if I’d called the Silmarils impossible? Do you think that was never the easiest thought to have?” and Maitimo’s reply, in a voice high and offended, “You belittle me? For being less than you and the impossible tasks you set before me?”

He was working upon the roses when I found him, but the words he was writing upon the paper were appearing in halting, ponderous gasps, as though he only wanted to give the appearance of an attempt, of working. His face was pale, the skin stretched tight beneath eyes that once glinted sharply but now stared dully, as though marred by dust.

I wanted the truth about Nerdanel, about their estrangement. The stories were numerous: that she had publicly repudiated him and it had been he who had insisted upon the separation. That she had given him conditions to meet and he had not and so she had been the one to leave. That the separation was for the duration of the exile only; that she had gone to the Valar with a plea to have their marriage ended; that they loved each other, hated each other, or weren’t sure what would happen between them, when he walked again through the gates of Tirion; that they didn’t know if they wanted to or ever would see each other again; that the separation was part of the punishment, even, and she was keeping her part of the conditions.

Maitimo’s eyes were hard to look upon as I made my inquiry; they were red-rimmed and swollen with exhaustion, the benevolence and lucidity that contributed to his appeal veiled behind red veins and bits of grit left in the unwashed corners.

He sighed and raised an ink-smudged hand to clear his auburn hair from his face. “I suppose it is natural,” he said, “for you to wonder,” and I was relieved, wondering if he would perceive my true intentions. “You have been here nearly a year now, and the exile is less than two years from ending. You are of this family and yet not, and you must wonder about your fate.” He sighed again, as though he wondered about his fate too.

“Our mother argued with our father once, in public, and that’s where it came to be known that she had ‘publicly repudiated’ him. It was no secret that her thoughts of the Valar and his were wildly different, even when their marriage first began. Yet love,” he said with a smile, “can bridge nearly any gap. But the true story of their estrangement is not dramatic, and so even if people know it, they do not like to tell it. The truth is that our mother was supposed to come with us; she had all intentions and even had Tyelkormo and me bring her trunks to her chambers, a week before we left. But she never packed; she never came. On the day we left, she simply failed to appear, and we had to be beyond the city limits by mid-day, and we waited until we could afford to do so no longer…and she never came.” He shrugged. “That’s it. What that means for the future of our family, upon our return, I do not know. Neither our mother nor our father will say.”

My next words were difficult to summon and came in a near-whisper: “Do you—do you think that he still loves her?” and Maitimo smiled. “Of course he still loves her. He could love no other.”
  • Heehee, fish-scented roses...

    Ouch for Eressetor... and I'd hate to be living in that house with all that tension in the air!

    One little possible nitpick:

    Spring was upon us, and Nandolin had returned to plant his father’s fields, and Telvo was absent again, more often than not. Breakfasts were tense and nearly silent affairs, ending with the seven sons scattering in opposite directions like small, ricocheting missiles as soon as the minute was up, leaving Fëanáro and I mostly alone, except for Vingarië and Terentaulë, who spoke more with each other these days, it seemed, than with their husbands, and a squirming, impatient Tyelperinquar, who had begun to despise being cooped in the house with his mother when he could have been having adventures with his uncles.

    Is "leaving Fëanáro and I mostly alone" supposed to be "leaving Fëanáro and me mostly alone?"

    A fine chapter, as usual. :)
    • Eep! Thanks for catching that! I was ingrained in third grade that it is always "Person and I," never "Person and me." Of course, that's not true, but I still make that mistake a lot.

      Thanks for reading and noticing my boo-boo! :^D

      (And fish-scented roses...no wonder he's depressed!)
  • Oh, noooo... I don't like where this is going! Just when Eressetor seemed set to have a rather nice and fulfilled life as the lover of the shiny Fëanáro, things start going wrong in this uneasy exiled family. :-(

    Feanor... I don't even know what to think about him anymore. On the one hand, that leaving love notes in Eressetor's books thing is adorable. On the other hand, he just seems so insincere about all of it sometimes. Like he's just using Eressetor as a handy willing body, and if/when Nerdanel comes back into the picture, all of his affection for Eressetor will be proven false. BUT, I'm going to keep up hope that Feanor is true, because of that lovely fireplace scene a few chapters ago that Eressetor totally did not dream at all. :-D

    I've said it before and no doubt I'll say it again for the rest of the chapters: poor, poor Eressetor. I don't know if he could ever be truly happy with any lover, let alone someone as beautiful and "perfect" as Feanor, because of his terrible self-esteem and his really screwed-up ideas of what it means to be lovable. And those dark thoughts of his... poor guy. He needs some serious counselling.

    Now, Telvo. He's continuously surprising me with the new aspects to his character. Dispite being the youngest of the brothers (and in the earliest chapters, he definitely acted like it), he's so utterly wise, patient, and absolutely sweet. But does he honestly believe that Nerdanel will come back to them and that their family can be patched up so neatly, just like that? And Maedhros, too? That surprises me, especially now that we know the story of how Nerdanel did not come with them to Formenos. Maybe they just refuse to accept that their mother could abandon them like that, and cling to this idea because they can't believe anything else.

    My next words were difficult to summon and came in a near-whisper: “Do you—do you think that he still loves her?” and Maitimo smiled. “Of course he still loves her. He could love no other.”

    ... Waaaaah! What a crushing blow to a poor Eressetor's heart (and to mine, because I sekritly love Eressetor, but don't tell him that, please).
    • Feanor... I don't even know what to think about him anymore.

      Good. >:^]] I mean, that's kind of what I intended. *innocent whistling* I don't even know his true motivations. Sometimes, I think he might be messed up to where he doesn't either. I think that he wants to honestly do right by Eressetor. He honestly cares for him. But at the same time, if Nerdanel was to walk through the gate and ask to have him back, what would he do? I don't think that we want to know the answer to that. :(

      Now, Telvo.

      Ah, yes, Telvo. >:^D Probably my personal favorite in this story--and personal crush in this story too. (Why do we both go for the gay guys? *sigh*) What I was trying to do with making him seem to grow up so drastically is show that perhaps he really hasn't changed much but Eressetor perceives him differently. Now that he knows the reason why he behaves strangely, the "strange" behavior is no longer worth mentioning and he can pay attention to other aspects of Telvo's character. I hope this makes sense. I'm not sure that I did this as well as I wanted (and I am open to reader opinions on the subject!) but may have come on too strongly. *sigh* Well, I'll sit on the story for a few months and revise it again then.

      But does he honestly believe that Nerdanel will come back to them and that their family can be patched up so neatly, just like that? And Maedhros, too?

      I think that they know what really happened, of course. But they've been ten years without word (except for the occasional letter) from their mother and subject to the influence of Feanaro. (Brings a whole new meaning to DUI! :^D) And he wants them to believe that he was somehow betrayed in a dramatic fashion that has to do with the Valar and a whole host of other things. They're probably confused about what really happened that she didn't come along. Perhaps, Feanaro knew all along that she wasn't coming and simply never told them. (I did once write a story about this, "Estranged," for allie_meril for Christmas! So the answer is there, just not in this story.) He's manipulative like that, and they've surely learned that by now.

      Just another day in the life of the House of Feanaro. ;)

      What a crushing blow to a poor Eressetor's heart (and to mine, because I sekritly love Eressetor, but don't tell him that, please).

      Awwww...I won't tell. He'd probably say, "Ewww, she's a girl!" anyway! :^D
      • Why do we both go for the gay guys? *sigh*

        Um... because you write your gay Elves as the sweetest characters? ;-P

        What I was trying to do with making him seem to grow up so drastically is show that perhaps he really hasn't changed much but Eressetor perceives him differently.

        Aha, I see your intention, then. I suppose I'm comparing Telvo now with what he was like in the first two chapters, particularly the breakfast scene in Chapter 2, when he's just so lively and youthful and fun compared to the rest of them, and it seems like he's changed a bit since then. But then a year has passed since then, and as you say, the mood of the household has changed after Carnistir's begetting-day party, and also after Finwe's departure. So I don't think Telvo's changed too much, or unbelievably so. I can accept him as the same character -- but we're seeing new aspects to him, which is also cool. :-)

        He'd probably say, "Ewww, she's a girl!" anyway! :^D

        Well, I love him quite platonically, so you see, he has no need to "ewww" at me. And he did like Terentaule for a while, didn't he, even if it wasn't love like he was trying to pretend? Anyway, I'm used to my love for fictional characters like Caranthir and historical figures like Alexander Hamilton and Lord Byron going unrequited, thankyouverymuch. ;-P
        • P.S. I missed this bit the first time reading it:

          Once, he’d bound my hands with a silken scarf, over my head

          Ooo, it's a kinky!Feanor. I definitely approve. But how in the world did he get Eressetor to agree to that one?

          Or do I really want to know?
          • I don't know. However, I'd be willing to offer a challenge to anyone willing to find out.... >:^))
  • Ah, love.

    You've done a fantastic job with this chapter, Dawn! With this whole story, actually, there is such an intense, awkward, overwhelmingly lonely mood that it just makes me cold. Can't quite describe it, really, except to say that the differences in mood between this and AMC are so strikingly opposite.

    The hints throughout, about Feanaro's desperation at Nerdanel's abadonment, at his stil-undying obsession with her, are quite terrifying. Who could live on such a pedestal and not crack?

    "Our exile is over in less than two years now, and I believe that our family will heal then. We have been wounded, but it is not the nature of our people to fester but to heal. When our mother sees our father again—sees us—she will know the mistake that she has made. She will glue us back together."

    Oh.
    My.
    God.

    To know the real ending of this, ahead of time, is absolutely heartbreaking.

    Anyway. I have homework to do, so I can't leave anything detailed, except to say that I can't wait for the next chapter!
    • Thank you, Allie, for your kind words!

      I'm pleased that the tone you noticed is coming through. When I was writing this, I thought at times to myself, "Foil of AMC." I wanted the tone to be dark and depressing and wanted the family to be caught in a perpetual state of disarray. They are falling apart. What will it take to bring them back together?

      Two more chapters and you'll find out. ;)
  • All I can do is agree with everyone else! I think this might be my favorite chapter so far, even with first-time sex! :)
    • This is so interesting to know what chapters people really like. When I read this chapter, it read to me like a transition between the chapters on either side of it more than contributing something new to the story. So I'm pleased to hear that you liked it so much! Makes me feel less bad about posting what I thought would just be filler material between the action. ;)
      • I think it's that it's rather realistic, as well as fitting in with "canon" for lack of a better yet equally brief term, what with everyone fighting and edgy and generally not happy happy happy! Or at least all their emotions and tensions stem from something much bigger than the somewhat petty little things of AMC.

        Though I have to rescind my comment...now that I've read the end, this one is no longer my favorite. ;) *And* Nandolin has become one of my favorites for this story, up with Terentaule (did I spell that correctly? Probably not).
    • *And* Nandolin has become one of my favorites for this story

      Except that it sounds like "mandolin"...*hehe*
    • I think it's that it's rather realistic, as well as fitting in with "canon" for lack of a better yet equally brief term, what with everyone fighting and edgy and generally not happy happy happy!

      Yes, I'd imagine the Feansters were not a happy lot around this time! And their troubles are certainly more profound than AMC: "Oh, Tyelko ran away! What shall we doooo?!" (And actually, that was probably the most pressing conflict in that story! :^D)

      Though I have to rescind my comment...now that I've read the end, this one is no longer my favorite.

      I'd guess Chapter 15? I cried a little when I wrote it and still cry a little now, rereading it.

      *And* Nandolin has become one of my favorites for this story, up with Terentaule (did I spell that correctly? Probably not).

      You did! And I was thinking today of keeping Nandolin as an OMC in Formenos in Felakverse, even if I don't exactly pursue the gay-Elf-sex angle. ;)

      I love him too. *huggles Nandolin's big awkward shoulders*

      And if I bring Nandolin into Felakverse, that means that I can slash Vorondil in BtLoRverse.... >:^]]
      • Yes, I'd imagine the Feansters were not a happy lot around this time!

        Hmm, I wonder why...;P

        I'd guess Chapter 15? I cried a little when I wrote it and still cry a little now, rereading it.

        Yes. :) I didn't quite cry, but I didn't breathe for a bit.

        You did!

        Yay! *feels speshul*

        And if I bring Nandolin into Felakverse, that means that I can slash Vorondil in BtLoRverse.... >:^]]

        LOL!! YES!
  • So. I've read it, and I've thought for a while about what I want to say about this chapter.

    For me, it has the distinct feeling of wheels spinning in mud. Eressetor, Fëanáro, and all the kids are trapped in a distinctly sticky and increasingly gloomy situation from which they cannot seem to extract themselves. Each and every one of them seems to be getting more and more depressed about it, but they don't seem to be able to do anything. Fëanáro is doing completely random things in his workshop, his relationship with Eressetor has plateaued at an unhealthy level of dominance and non-communication. Eressetor continues to fritter his time away is vague and seemingly unproductive "studies." Even Maitimo, the most active of the bunch after dear ol' Dad, is reduced to puttering around breeding completely useless roses.

    It does make me want to see the ending, in the hopes that something will happen to break them out of this stasis. On the one hand, some of this chapter is atmospheric, and you've written it with your usual exact attention to psychological detail. On the other hand, there's a lot less oomph to this story than to AMC. Partially because of the characters' particular arcs in this one, and partially because you don't seem to be as focused on what the characters are actually doing at any given point. Eressetor is the consummate navel-gazer, noticing relatively little about his immediate surroundings.
    • I'd say this chapter is the lowest of the low. The next chapter, Eressetor actually takes some matters into hand, and things begin to improve, not just for him but for the entire House. I am not particularly fond of this chapter because it feels to me like connective material between the last chapter and the next chapter, so very little happens. Alas, I cannot break myself of the habit of writing stories on big long chunks; I had the same problem with AMC.

      When I wrote this, I had in mind to create something of a foil of AMC, both in the story's tone and even in the methods that I used as a writer. When I wrote AMC, I didn't expect that anyone would ever read it but me, so I let myself go play with the characters, exploring the land and culture, spending time on whatever I wanted to spend time on. Alas, I eventually became convinced into sharing it, but it has since been criticized (rightly, I think) that the plot is nearly absent in some parts of it.

      BtLoR was written off of an outline with a direct purpose in mind. I wanted it to end exactly where it does, whereas--in AMC--I went into the last chapter still not sure of Annawende would return to Maitimo and not knowing how the story would end.

      AMC was also written with the thought in mind of portraying a really light and happy time with hints of a shadow beginning to creep in at the edges. BtLoR was written as a dark story with little glimmers of light every now and again (really obvious in the last two chapters). So when I think of the two stories, I think of them as being complete opposites. Everything up to the experience of writing them was vastly different.

      Eressetor is the consummate navel-gazer, noticing relatively little about his immediate surroundings.

      He's also resolutely excluded by the sons of Feanor when they actually do things. They are busy with their tasks and taking trips and doing things, but they do not include Eressetor. He sits at home with Feanaro.

      In the last chapter, he finally gets to *do* something with the sons of Feanor, which is, of course, an important step for him in realizing his place in their family.
      • I see where you're coming from. I'm not yet entirely certain if you've succeeded in your goal, but I'll reserve a final decision on that until you've posted the final chapters.
  • like Fëanáro’s Silmarils or the Trees of Yavanna, this love was something that I could only accomplish once, and the thought of an eternity alone in my bed, listening to the lonely sough of my blood night after night…I would not bear it.

    Scary as it might sound...this reminds me of...me. Except for the fact that the perspective of such an eternity does not scare me quite as much as it does Erestor. Especially if I could have someone as extraordinary as Feanaro, even for a short period of time.

    I didn’t tell him my dreams, although I think that he would have liked to hear them. Probably, he would have supplied me with the rope to act them out.

    Ah, yes, he probably would... Perhaps if Erestor had resorted to this and submitted his hot-tempered and wild lover to some serious discipline, things would have turned out differently. Ok, Ok, I've been reading a lot of BDSM lately (it's all about those delicious blonds that I've been obsessing over as of late) so I might be a little...devious at times.

    “You feel different to me lately, as though you are always guarded, expecting me to suddenly strike out and wound you. It is as it was when we first began to love each other and I believed that you were afraid to give your heart to me. At last, you did…why are you trying to take it back?

    *sigh*

    Do you think that I am any less afraid to give myself to you? That it is easy to trust you when you could find one young, like yourself, and unwed without the burden of seven children, at any moment? And forsake me? Yet you will not give me your trust, even as I lie with my heart bared to your mercy, telling you that I love you…and yet you doubt.”

    Ah, who would be able to resist this? Even against the best of judgement, the last shreds of resistence would melt upon hearing such words, coming from such a man?

    We are going mad in this exile, and if I must bleed a bit to relieve it, then so be it.

    This is so Telvo in your story. *loves*

    Bad, bad Maitimo! As if he's clueless and doesn't know that Erestor is madly in love with Feanaro... Gah, it must be both heaven and hell to live and love the way Erestor does.This story is so intense- every sentence and every phrase-that I felt shivers creeping up and down my spine even at the... fourth or fifth re-read. ;)
    • Four or five re-reads? Wow! I had no idea you'd read it so many times! :^D

      You are such a Feanor fangurl, you know? (That's a compliment, of course.) Your post has me grinning because--while everyone else is doubting Fean's intentions--you're saying, "Who could resist him??" He does have a smooth way with words, admittedly. (And he's f***ing hott too, *ahem*)

      Ok, Ok, I've been reading a lot of BDSM lately

      Dayum. Well, vana_tuivana is curious how Feanor convinced Erestor to be tied up in bed, so maybe if you have time to write, that'd be a good challenge for you? *evil grin*

      And yes, I was drooling over the pictures in your LJ before. ;)

      This is so Telvo in your story. *loves*

      I am in love with my Telvo too. Funnily, I had no intentions of making this Pityo and Telvo my Felakverse twins, but now I'm attached....

      Gah, it must be both heaven and hell to live and love the way Erestor does.

      Having once been in a relationship with someone a lot like Feanor--very adept with sweet words but not so much with proving actual love--I can say that it is. I suppose that a lot of Erestor was me at a younger, foolish time in my life. (You know that whole sordid tale. *sigh*) It's like flying to be with the person; you can't doubt his love. But when he's gone, suddenly the magic is gone and there's the reality that he loves someone else more....

      Wow. Did I write a self-insert with myself as a gay male Elf? *evil grin*
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