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Family Games (NC-17) Print

Written by December

19 December 2010 | 65301 words

Chapter 2. Sweetness in the Dark

And so Faramir’s story begins.

He rode out to Ithilien before sunrise the following morning, together with Eldir and Belegorn, the two Rangers he had met in the Steward’s hall.

In other circumstances the young lord would have been glad for the opportunity to spend time with such men, the sort of men he liked to have as friends. They had the familiar reassuring air of rugged, careless manliness, of inborn trustworthiness and dependability that he had always associated with his older brother. Their stern, neatly chiseled features, the keen hard eyes, the relaxed confidence of seasoned, battle-hardened warriors all served to imply a grave no-nonsense personality – yet Faramir was not of the chatty frolicking kind himself, and had nothing against long stretches of good-natured companionable silence.

Were he in a better mood, he would have no doubt found Eldir’s and Belegorn’s presence greatly refreshing after the several days he had spent at Minas Tirith getting to know his father’s court. These two apparently cared very little for refinement, decorum, and fancy talk – they were all about what made up the genuine worth of a man: valour, strength, reliability and loyalty, they were about doing much and talking little, and knowing how to do it well.

Yet as the small party passed through the tall gate and followed the wide empty road through the Pelennor, Faramir’s heart grew increasingly heavy, and he felt neither glad nor refreshed. He understood the way he was going to be received by the rest of the company greatly depended on what these soldiers would make of him, and he saw his chances were low – little wonder, though, given the scene they had been witness to.

The young man wanted to scream with frustration. For his part he may have well understood what agenda had driven his father to speak in such diminishing terms of the Rangers’ trouble and consequent attempts to solve it, as well as to so easily replace his older son, reputedly very popular among the men, with an inexperienced boy of twenty whom nobody had even heard of for the past ten years. Faramir hoped that Boromir – given the sentiments that had passed unconcealed across his face when Denethor would not even allow him embrace his younger brother – also knew that their lord’s decisions had little to do with either Faramir’s or his own capabilities as warrior and captain.

But the men Faramir was assigned to take charge over – how were they to know of the Steward’s purposes? In fact, it was part of the scheme that they did not know.

Hopefully, Boromir was clever enough not to take this replacement as personal offense, as an insult to his previous accomplishments and his ambitions for the future. Boromir may have been rash and self-assured, yet he was no fool, especially when he had direct personal experience to base his judgement on.

But the Rangers had nothing else to found their opinion of Faramir on but the odd exchange they had beheld – and the immediate impression his looks and conduct were to provide.

Yes, his chances were low.

Back in Dol Amroth his appearance had always been on his side – at times even too much on his side. But in Dol Amroth expectations had been different.

He had arrived there as a skinny boy, wearing the label of a high lord’s second son, already so deficient even to his own father’s eyes as to be considered a futureless burden and thus be dumped on the other side of the family to take care of. Yes, Faramir had no elusions regarding the popular explanation of Denethor’s decision to part with him – part so suddenly and so completely.

And before a few seasons had passed and Faramir had grown old enough to understand certain things, he had even entertained the notion himself.

On his first night in the Southern castle – and it had been a dark windy night, chilly and damp – he had been unable to find sleep, unaccustomed to having a bedchamber all to himself. So the boy descended to the common floor to see if anyone else was still up. He heard voices coming from one of the drawing rooms, and saw the friendly warm glow of a blazing hearth, and turned his quiet footsteps that way. Yet before he had made himself seen, he was able to discern that the men speaking were his grandfather and uncle, and they were speaking about him. Not wishing to cause embarrassment he stopped in his tracks – yet curiosity and anxiety prevented him from leaving immediately either, and he overheard part of the conversation.

“I still do not understand this: young Faramir seems fine to me,” Uncle Imrahil said thoughtfully, and from his tone it was clear he had a puzzled frown on his brow.

“Perhaps it is too early to tell – after all, Denethor is no fool, his decisions are usually well justified, and he certainly does not have one child too many,” Grandfather replied just as thoughtfully. “Although I agree, I am also quite perplexed. Had we both not heaved a long sigh when this request came that we accommodate the boy – indefinitely? Had we not speculated at length as to what kind of nuisance we would have to deal with? Perhaps an insufferable arrogant brat, lazy and shallow? A weak spineless coward, pathetic and soppy? Or a talentless unambitious dimwit, mediocre and dull? Maybe someone his father could not trust, a skillful little liar, calculating and cold-hearted?”

The younger man snorted unkindly. “Yes, Father, the latter outcome would have surely left me unsurprised – given his parentage…”

“Imrahil, please! I know you are still sore about your sister, and I am well aware of where you allocate the responsibility – and this is not the time to discuss any of it. In fact, now that we have the boy in the house, I would rather you kept your grievance to yourself altogether. Faramir has been effectively exiled from his home, I am sure he has enough bitterness of his own.”

There was a long moment of silence, and Faramir chewed on his lower lip and clenched his hands, knowing he should go, yet unable to resist the temptation to stay and perhaps shed some light on the matters that so haunted both his dreams and waking hours.

At last Adrahil exhaled heavily and went on, “The point is, your nephew matches none of our guesses – for that matter, I see no fault with him at all. He comes across as a perfectly normal boy, perhaps a little shy and on guard, but that is only natural given the circumstances. But apart from that… He is hale and comely, modest and complaisant but not without some healthy confidence, and from what I’ve heard of him talk, I’d say he’s sensible, and sharp, and unusually mature for his years.”

“Do you know, my father,” Imrahil mused softly, “I would go even further than that, and say that he is outright charming. We had all sorts of prejudices against him, and already we like him – and not only we. The young maids, I have heard, are waging a war over the right to clean his room – that is certainly telling, isn’t it? My brother’s-in-law argumentation notwithstanding, I believe we might come to actually enjoy Faramir’s stay with us.”

At that point Faramir’s prudence got the better of him, and he headed back to his room.

Although the boy did feel relieved to hear the men speak kindly of him, on the whole his little expedition proved to render him sleepless not only on that particular night, but for many more to come – and shame of eavesdropping on his elders was by far not the main cause. He would lie on his back staring into the darkness, listening to the nervous sound of his own breathing, trying to understand. He had suspected as much, and now that he had heard others voice his thoughts, he knew it to be true: he had done something to direly displease his father – or else his father had discovered some fundamental unfixable fault with him.

Much as Faramir raked his mind for a recollection of some outrageous offence on his behalf, he could find nothing. His behaviour was not perfect, of course, but hardly any more ‘not perfect’ than that of any other boy his age – if anything, he was actually far less troublesome than the average pre-adolescent lad. Yet far from bringing him comfort this thought filled him with innermost blind dread, for if he had done no misdeed, it could only mean there was something gravely, hideously wrong with him, with his very self – so very wrong that he had no idea what it could possibly be.

Yet even though he could not come up with as much as a half-plausible guess at the nature of this accursed flaw, the boy knew there must be something indeed: he had proof.

He had been unable not to overhear another exchange, back in Minas Tirith, earlier that very day when without any warning he would be told to take supper in his room and prepare to depart on the morrow. Many heated words had passed between his father and sixteen-year-old brother, yet Denethor had been the only one talking loud enough for Faramir to catch something. Most of it had seemed meaningless to the boy, yet one particular bit he had comprehended well enough.

Boromir muttered something spiteful, and then for the first time in Faramir’s memory dared raise his voice at the Steward – but his cry was hoarse and clouded with tears of powerless anger, and entirely incoherent for that.

“Unfair?” Denethor retorted sarcastically, apparently reiterating a part of Boromir’s last line. “Damn sure it is. But seeing as I am now forced to part with one of you, I would rather it be him.”

Ten years later Faramir understood everything his father had said to Boromir back then – and could well imagine what Boromir had replied. But that was of little relevance at this particular hour, when the task at hand was to start on the right foot with the Rangers.

What was relevant was that he was no longer in Dol Amroth, where being amiable, polite and unassuming had often been more than sufficient to keep people happy. They had prepared themselves for a bother, and instead received a boy who took very little of their time and did not add to the lists of their worries. That on top of it he was pleasing to look at had only been seen as a plus.

But with these men now his fairness was hardly a strength – if anything, they were likely to take him for a spoilt self-assured fool used to getting everything on the sheer grounds of having a pretty face. He also suspected that most of the soldiers, if only they were not much younger than his two current companions, could have daughters of marriageable age – and with such folk young attractive men were hardly particularly popular.

Faramir, being unpresumptuous of character, would have never come to actually define himself as attractive, had he not been given countless and mostly uncalled-for testimony of the allure he exerted over the gentler sex. Said testimony ranged from the subdued little expressions of interest like the long wistful glances, the veiled artful compliments and incessant giggling – most of which he preferred to attribute to the inborn female propensity to coquetry – to the more prominent ones. Among the latter was the collection of anonymous letters he had accumulated over the recent years, some romantic and innocent, others quite educational in the explicitness with which they denoted to what use the author would like to put the endurance the young lord had acquired in his military training. Other examples were the caring solicitous inquiries as to whether he was feeling lonely so far away from home – inquiries that always happened to take place in some private secluded location, and also happened to be accompanied by serious meaningful looks and confidential pats and caresses planted on his forearm.

Faramir had never encouraged any of this attention, even when he did find the other party engaging and lovely – for reasons of his own he had long since developed a wariness of the sensual side of life, and to merely consider the subject brought about unease and a vague sensation of indecency and shame. Thus he had come to prefer and even seek the society of women who did not envision him as their husband or lover, for with them he could enjoy himself and be a man without feeling threatened or growing uncomfortable and ill-at-ease.

Yet again, the Rangers knew nothing of this, and he was certainly not going to tell them. That aside, all their other assumptions about him, unlike those of his grandfather and uncle, unfortunately happened to be correct.

He was exactly what they saw him as, namely unworthy of the role he had been given: he was young, without any experience whatsoever either as a fighter or an officer, and very little like his brother apart from the features of his face and the colour of his hair. Word of Boromir’s uncontainable prowess, of his love for battle, of his passion for risk, of the fact that his body simply lacked the organ responsible for generating fear, of how easily and naturally he established unquestionable authority over his men and gained their devotion – word had long since spread throughout all of Gondor, and had well reached Dol Amroth, so that even there instances had occurred of Faramir being referred to as ‘Lord Boromir’s brother”.

Faramir, on the other hand…The last anyone in Minas Tirith had heard of him was that upon turning eleven he had been sent to reside in far South with his mother’s side of the family – presumably for educational purposes. But everyone in Gondor knew that for a proper upbringing, including military training, men sent their sons to the capital, not away from it. The swan-knights of Prince Adrahil may have been esteemed for their finesse and stamina, and their school enjoyed a fine reputation, yet for the past few decades they had ever only displayed their skill at pompous festive tournaments…

The Rangers of Ithilien were the elite, the best of the best, handpicked by the Steward himself – even to join their ranks as a cadet was an honour to be hard earned. And here he was, a beardless boy of twenty, all of a sudden given command over them, handed this position on a plate – this same position that his brother had paid for with sweat, blood and an immeasurable amount of work. Truly, Faramir could not blame the Rangers for being less than thrilled.

And thrilled they were not, and did not try to pretend otherwise.

Faramir needed to talk to them, if not to establish a personal connection, which he had little hope of succeeding at, then at least to learn all the matters that he, as the new captain, could not afford not to know. Eldir and Belegorn, however, seemed intent on staying several feet behind, as though in order to keeping a respectful distance from their superior – needless to say, this did little to facilitate the conversation. Faramir either had to raise his voice, or keep talking over his shoulder, neither of which he enjoyed.

What was most annoying about this seemingly puny inconvenience was that it was a sign of a worrying tendency. Faramir could live without these people’s understanding, without their affection or approval. He could stand them to think he spent all his free hours seducing naïve gullible girls, that he wanted to rival with his much worthier brother for their father’s favour – even that he despised them all and considered himself infinitely above them. But he could not manage without their cooperation – in fact, it was in their self-interest to help him be a better captain, for, ultimately, their survival depended on the wisdom of his decisions.

Yet he saw clear as day that at least these two Rangers were closed to him. The young man asked many questions regarding the work ahead, and they made their answers as short and undetailed as they only could without actually refusing to reply – so that he was forced to ask yet more questions, and the whole talk was growing rather awkward and strained. What rendered him even more awkward was that he was beginning to get the unpleasant impression both Eldir and Belegorn were deliberately presenting themselves as men duller than they actually were, as though playing along with what they reckoned a haughty young lord would take them to be: dense narrow-minded commoners.

Faramir’s candid nature nudged him to be sincere with these men and say, “Look, I know you are unhappy with me being here, and so am I, for I know this is not my place. I understand you are wary, and distrust me, and resent me for having played however unintentional a part in humiliating your beloved captain and your entire unit, which to me all seems fairly justified. Truly, I regret this is what things have come to – yet it is not in my or your power to change this arrangement, so wouldn’t it be more beneficial for all of us to try and make this work somehow?”

The young man may not have been to war, yet he knew a little about the workings of a man’s heart – knew enough to understand that all his good intentions would be entirely misinterpreted, and at least for the present such a speech would serve only to turn things for the worst.

And so he said nothing, and did not ask his two companions to ride abreast with him.


Only once did Faramir’s spirits lift throughout the whole trip: when they crossed the bridge at Osgiliath and finally entered the woods. Even at this time of year, when the ground was brown with last season’s withered grass, and the trees stood stripped of their emerald vestures, he could feel the intense flow of life in this place. The air itself seemed fresher and more fragrant, as though spring were already approaching.

At this point the young captain held his mount back to let Eldir overtake him and lead the way. Faramir was dismayed to note that now that they were embarking on the final part of the journey, his heart took a leap and began to pound in earnest – he still hoped the men he was soon about to meet would miraculously take to him, and this whole venture would be saved from turning into a complete disaster.

The party turned north-eastwards and for more than two hours followed some unseen path, the older Ranger confidently finding his way through the thickets, around gullies and across smaller brooks so that they had not once had to dismount. Faramir said nothing, yet to him the place felt distantly familiar, too, at least it had until they moved out of hearing distance of the River: after all, in his childhood years he had been on the Eastern bank of Anduin many a time, and the deeper layers of his memory carried some recognition. He wondered how long it would take him to learn the terrain like Eldir did, and whether he would be given the time…

Faramir had grown thoughtful and was startled when Belegorn who rode behind made a whistle akin to how a bird would, at once ringing and soft, long and intricate. Even though the trees were bare and visibility was good in the clear morning air, the answering whistle that came almost immediately sounded unnervingly close. A few seconds later arrived yet another one, about two or three hundred yards ahead, and then again, still further away.

Yet the men did not actually meet or even see anyone until they practically entered the Rangers’ camp itself. They passed around the bend of a steep rocky mound, rode out of the dense thicket, and suddenly in sight came a neat clearing with people busy about.

At once they were spotted by one of them, a tall middle-aged man with silver in his hair, all clad in brown and grey. He straightened up, wiping his hands on the front of his jerkin.

“You are back already!” he exclaimed with a pleased grin, heading towards them.

Reining in his mount, Eldir turned to Faramir and said loud enough for the approaching Ranger to hear, “This here would be Dearmad. He was in charge of the company in the captain’s absence.”

Before Faramir could say anything in return, Dearmad gave Eldir a good-natured thud on the thigh. “Begging your pardon, my good sir – ‘was’? I still am, unless a toothless cub like yourself would like to put that to a challenge. In case you’ve forgotten, ‘twas our Captain Boromir himself who assigned me this post, and it shall stay mine until he returns – and, much as it pains me to say so, I don’t see you bringing him with you now.” There was a faint questioning note in his voice, as though he hoped Eldir would say that no, in fact Captain Boromir was due to arrive any moment now. The Ranger even craned his neck to throw a searching glance behind the company. “Well then,” he concluded with an air of finality and a resigned sigh.

Then his eyes turned to Faramir. Taking in at a glance the young man’s brand new ranger garb and his alert anxious expression, Dearmad smiled warmly. “So, a new arrival, I take it? ‘Tis not usual for us to get cadets at this time of the year, but oh well, we could stand to use some extra help around here. Get down, son, I’ll find someone to show you around the camp. I see you’re very young, but don’t count on getting any special treatment: we’ve got a lot on our hands these days as is.”

Faramir took a deep breath, meaning to finally get a word in edgewise, but just as he opened his mouth, Eldir, who had already dismounted, said, “Actually, my good sir, this is our new Captain. Young or not, you might want to reconsider calling him ‘son’.”

Dearmad gave the other man a look of unconcealed annoyance. “Darling, I don’t mean to be brutal, but ‘tis time someone finally told you humour is not your strongest trait. One lame tease a day is more than enough. Alright?”

“Don’t fret, I’m well aware of that. That’s why I am being kind and not teasing you right now,” Eldir gave him a tight smile and patted the older man sympathetically on the shoulder. “And Lord Boromir isn’t coming back, by the way.”

“Oh,” Dearmad looked up at Faramir, and the change in the older man’s expression as the truth sank in confirmed to the young lord that his stay would be something to remember.


That first day had passed in a blur, although on the surface it had been quite uneventful: no attacks, not even a sight of the enemy.

As time for sleep had at last arrived and Faramir settled down by the fire, his starkest recollection of the day was the desperate, burning shame that consumed him as was receiving Dearmad’s apology for the disrespectful conduct the man had allowed himself on the grounds of misunderstanding, for which he apologised also.

Faramir had hurried to jump off his horse, so at least he would not be physically above the man. He saw it made no difference, though: Dearmad was completely lost to him already, buttoned up to the very chin. It was almost as though it were a different man before Faramir: all his patronising friendliness, his good-natured grumpiness, his pleasant familiarity were gone without a trace.

To his utter horror, Faramir had realised that their arrival had not passed unnoticed, and the strange hold-back was attracting even more attention. The other members of the camp were quickly gathering around them, looking on in wonder…

Lying down and shutting his eyes, the young captain did his best to rid his mind of the images, and soon drifted off into troubled dreamless blackness.


Faramir’s eyes flew open.

The morning was still far, far away, too far to even seem plausible.

The young man was lying on his side, and behind himself he could sense the slow deep warmth of the dying campfire – not a fire as such, only the dimly crackling embers. What light they might have been yielding was securely blocked by his back, and ahead of himself he saw only the thick, impenetrable darkness of a cloudy night.

But he knew there was someone in the darkness. He had known it before he awoke, and it was why he had awoken. It was looking at him, and he had registered as much with his very skin.

He could see nothing, absolutely nothing, not even the overall shape of it, yet he knew beyond reasonable doubt that this was no other but the source of Boromir’s frustration and anger, come to pay Faramir a visit on his first night with the Rangers.

Strangely, he was unafraid. Although it was not strange, but only rational: there was no point in fearing, death was inevitable. Faramir knew the stranger had him nailed: no matter how fast Faramir’s reactions may be, it would still require him at least a moment to reach for his blade and draw it out, certainly enough for his observer to end his life with one precise stab of a dagger, or whatever weapon it used. And even if Faramir managed to get that far – what next? Would he blindly throw himself forth relying on luck to guide his strike? Or would he roll back and scramble away in hope of making a swift escape? Would he simply shout at the top of his lungs to alarm the guards and scare the visitor away? In whichever scenario, the unseen creature would have enough time to finish him off before safely disappearing into the night.

Faramir also understood, of course, that the most appropriate thing would be to raise the alarm. He would die, yes, but at least the others would have a chance of catching the intruder.

And yet…

He lay still and silent.

He did not feel ashamed of his inaction, though, for he knew it was caused by neither reluctance to part with his life, nor by stupefied indecision. He sensed very clearly, although he could not come anywhere near being able to explain it to himself, that doing nothing at all was the one proper course to take.

So he lay on his side, looking where he was certain – although why? – was the creature’s face, or snout, or wherever it had its eyes. He knew he was being studied in return, studied with keen, highly intelligent attentiveness. He could sense no malevolence behind it, only a shade of apprehension – and the whole notion did not unsettle him. For some reason, it only intrigued and amused him, and he felt himself getting progressively excited by the situation, to the point of his cock twitching in his trousers.

Had he known mortal danger could be this fun, he would have understood his older brother a little better.

Faramir strained his senses, striving to catch the stranger’s smell, to make out the sound of its breathing. Yet there was nothing besides the usual scents and noises of a sleeping forest.

And then, exactly where he was gazing, about two feet from the ground, Faramir saw a momentary gleam, the dim symmetrical reflection of light on a pair of eyes. The young man gasped sharply – and then, amid the general blackness, he saw a vague shape only a shade lighter than the rest of the night swiftly fall away to the side, swerve around and disappear. It had not made a sound – he had only felt a gentle wave of air on his face.

Faramir sat bolt upright, breathing heavily, as though he had just come back from a blood-curdling nightmare.

The warrior sleeping next to him stirred.

“Som’thin’ amiss?” he murmured hoarsely.

“No, no,” Faramir whispered hurriedly, settling back down.

It did not take him too long to steady his breathing, yet even trying to close his eyes was out of question.

And then, as he looked up at the starless sky through the net of naked branches above, Faramir’s mind registered two rather unnerving things.

First, he did at last catch an unusual scent, one that was rapidly fading away now that the visitor was gone. A trace of the sweet redolence of melliferous herbs. Nothing out of the ordinary about it in the heart of the woods, of course – except that it was the middle of January, and not a single flower was yet in bloom.

And second, Faramir was having a stunningly powerful, throbbing erection.

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50 Comment(s)

Wow, December, I did hope that my request would go to you, I know you write so well… but I never expected to get an eighteen-chapter story! And how will I find the time to read it all, now?

Well, thank you so much, I’m sure I’ll love it, and I’ll start reading at once; but you might have to wait a bit for a full commentary…

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 13:50    #

Ha! I never expected to write an eighteen-chapter story either, lol. It just happened to me, like writing always does :) I do indeed hope you like it, and I’m so flattered to have you say you wanted it to be me (blush).

December    Sunday 19 December 2010, 13:56    #

Well, first chapter finished. I love the idea of Boromir being insecure and disconcerted for once and seemingly making a fool of himself in front of his younger brother and his father (and his men). I love also how he’s outraged to discover that “his” seat is occupied by a “stranger”. Haha.
In fact, so far you would almost think Faramir is the eldest and favourite child, the one who is sent to right his brother’s mess chuckle. But it is more ambiguous than that. Difficult to make out Denethor’s feelings or intentions. He seems to think that Boromir will manage better than Faramir with the trolls; on the other hand, changing assignments like that just after Boromir comes and says he can’t deal with the situation in Ithilien, really comes across as a disavowal. And then of course there’s the situation Faramir is going to find himself in; to his father he may be just sent to deal with a thief (something less dangerous than trolls), but to the men here’s an upstart coming to replace the captain that they trust and admire, and precisely when the situation is too bad for even said captain to manage it…
Well, there’s too much confusion on my mind, I think I’ll just go on to next chapter…

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 14:22    #

Well, well, well, second chapter finished. I must say, I am very intrigued by this strange beast, and Faramir’s reaction to it; I guess there will be some fun as I keep reading. The circumstances in which Faramir takes command of the Ithilien Rangers are perfect; were I Faramir, I would have been sincere with the men (was funny to read what he wanted to say since it was about exactly what I was thinking), but well, maybe I underestimate the rank gap and what expectations it creates about an officer’s behaviour.
Faramir showing anxiety when arriving at the camp? Come on! He may have been anxious, but really, showing it? This is not the Faramir I know, but well, every story is different and I will wait till the end to judge him :-).
By the way, it seems just so plausible that he would be able to deal with a strange mystery that has his brother bluffed… (and me too, so far, by the way).
Well, I guess I’m more intrigued than before, maybe, so let’s get on with the next chapter…
By the way, I wonder: what are those “reasons of his own” that drew Faramir to shun “the sensual side of life”? His reactions seem quite quick on that side… I hope we learn about that mystery later in the story.

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 15:13    #

Nerey, thanks for such generous comments, I’m so thrilled the story is getting you involved!
As for the way Faramir is, and some of his conduct – I liked it that you asked for him to be young, because at 20 he can’t possibly be as we know him at 37, and it’s interesting to explore how he would behave in this or that situation. And maybe something of what you learn later in the story might explain how he came to be the man we meet in Ithilien in the time of thr War…
Again, thanks for your response!!

December    Sunday 19 December 2010, 15:21    #

Hi again, December!
Now I LOVED this chapter. Sent me shivering. This is the Faramir I dreamt of; calmly stepping forward in the face of death, just because he trusts his own assumptions. I also love his “style” with the Rangers: prudence does pay, doesn’t it? Although Boromir might do the same work in half the time, Boromir does lose many men. And “Nothing particular happened, we’ve been killing orcs slowly and steadily with no losses” does sound better to me than “we fought a grand battle against a force thrice our own and won, though of course we lost half our men in it, couldn’t be avoided”.
I love also how he gets on with the Rangers, that they are too mature to be petty to Faramir, and that he is flexible enough to allow them not to call him “Captain” (I guess also he would prefer to earn the title than just force it out of them). And not trying to imitate Boromir was a wise choice. He is just himself, not what anyone would want him to be. I loved the idea that “he does what he can, but would not have the men thinking that he is going out of his way”.

What else? About chapter 2, Faramir seems to understand more than I do about Denethor’s motives; I hope those are made clear later.

Oh, and the end of the third chapter just shows a master’s hand. To end the chapter at that moment of intolerable suspense… (savour the sensation for a few seconds before going on to next chapter)

You know, this Faramir that steps out in the clearing reminds me of two films I have seen, both with Gregory Peck (one of my favourite actors of all times): Twelve o’clock high and The Big Country. In the first, general Savage takes command of a group of pilot fighters during Second World War, who loved their captain and resent being led by this newcomer. He, like Faramir, also decides that it’s no use to try to “enter a popularity contest” with his predecessor.
In The Big Country, a sailor settles into the West, and everyone expects him to prove his manhood and bravery in various ways, which he refuses to do. However, when two families are ready to fight to death over a girl being held hostage by one of them, he steps forward, unarmed, to rescue her through dialog. And when one of the leaders (obviously eager for battle) points a gun at him and threatens to shoot him down
if he does not stay out of it, he just moves forward, daring the man to shoot and prove that the girl is but an excuse to fight a personal war… So in the end, he shows he’s no coward, he just doesn’t feel the need to prove his worth ceaselessly and to everyone…
That is to say, your Faramir is on a pair with some of the greatest cinema heroes of all times… :-)
And by the way, he also reminds me of another of my heroes (also embodied by Gregory Peck on the screen), Captain Hornblower. He’s a British Navy officer during Napoleon’s wars, and he’s more sharp than most of his colleagues, so he always finds intelligent ways to deal with situations with as little loss of men as possible, though at need he is as resolute and brave as Faramir is… and he shares many other traits with him, not least a fair amount of personal insecurity… to everyone but him absolutely groundless:-)

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 16:39    #

Beautiful chapter as well… seems Faramir finds it easier to be sincere with this elf than with his men.
You transmitted very well the elf’s feelings: strung as Faramir’s men must have been, weary of hiding, ready to fight for his life and even more for his dignity as he puts it. Now I wonder (or not) what he meant by “I did not tread on property that didn’t want to be treaded on”. And another question remains: why did he decide to stop stealing arrows from the Rangers, precisely when Faramir arrived? Again, I do make some assumptions… let’s see if they are correct.
I can see Boromir’s face when he learns that the horrible beast was just a stray elf and that Faramir brought him down from the tree merely by going there and talking to him… and the men, what will they think now? They can no longer say it was a coward’s action, since Faramir did risk his life to reach this agreement… and did so serenely…

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 17:12    #

Chapter 5: haha, I love the idea of the men thinking that Faramir can see further and understand more than they do… which of course is true and, again, reminds me of Hornblower (I love to compare different heroes to one another).
You did a very good job of that misunderstanding, it was great and so credible (poor Orophin, elves are wary indeed, aren’t they?). Still, I love hunting for the small clues you let fall here and there: what was the exact relationship between Orophin and “his lord”?
And now, what will happen with Denethor? What will he do? Though I have a feeling that something might happen to delay them as they travel to the White City…

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 17:52    #

Well, I did not expect that… but it was sweet, Orophin risking his life to save Faramir who was ready to risk his life to save the other two…
Now Denethor seems to have something on his mind, and Faramir is too troubled or weary to notice it… how will everything turn out? And why did Orophin leave Lórien? Unless the Lady was jealous of him having an affair with the Lord, I can’t see… but I have a feeling that that would be to simple an explanation, and that the truth is elsewhere… let’s see if chapter 7 tells us something about it.

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 18:12    #

Hm. This is disquieting. Clearly Denethor is up to something, and intends to use Orophin in some way, and Orophin has been left alone with Denethor for three months… what may have happened in such a length of time? What will Faramir find upon his returning?
This reads like a mystery/suspense novel… I so want to race ahead and have a swift look at the last chapters…

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 18:30    #

Well, well, well… so much is made clear… why Faramir (and not Boromir) was sent away, why the brothers can’t see each other, and (I think) why Orophin is valuable to Denethor. I guess the Lord of the City wants to use the elf in some way to solve this strange situation between the brothers… Now, in which way? He obviously creates a situation where Faramir’s breath should be taken away with the elf’s loveliness (the song episode), but how does that help? It is like witnessing a chess game and trying to understand the opponent’s moves…
Now, Denethor’s feelings are clear. He has similar feelings for his two sons; whether he loves them or not is still to be seen, but he doesn’t despise or dislike Faramir more than he does Boromir. And it seems as though his feelings won’t influence in the least his decisions, anyway. So what really matters to him is that Boromir is the heir and will be favoured for that reason, regardless of his worth and his brother’s. But he does say that Faramir is up to leading the Rangers. Denethor going out of his way to give Faramir a compliment… and I love also the blunt way in which he explains his motives, and his opinion of Faramir’s “foolishness”… On to next chapter! (you’ll have a lot of work reading this, but it’s only fair).

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 19:01    #

Wow, wow, wow! Again, Nerey, thanks for your wonderful comments! I love the serious analysis going here.

About Denethor’s view of his sons. It always seemed to me Denethor was not the ‘unconditional love’ kind of father, and simply ‘loved’ more the son who to him was simpler to predict (aka control), who wasn’t too much of a free thinker, and was less like Denethor himself (because, frankly, I think Denethor has some self-esteem issues, given how he had resented that his own father had once chosen Thorongil over him). It always struck me how in the book he said that he would have rather it were Faramir who died instead of Boromir because Boromir was loyal to Denethor, and not some wizard’s pupil. He didn’t say that he loved Boromir more, if I remember correctly… And apparently he did see Faramir’s merit, for Faramir was after Captain of the Rangers, and their job was the most perilous…

I’m not saying he did not love his boys at all, but I think that love was hidden so deep beneath all his taska and purposes that it did not come out unless something horrible happened.

December    Sunday 19 December 2010, 19:25    #

Mmm… I very much enjoyed the uncomfortable talk between the two brothers. Clearly Faramir has been shaken by what his father has told him, whereas Boromir refused to believe whatever Denethor said… It would be so like Faramir to be caught in a personal dilemma because he’s used to trusting people’s truthfulness and wisdom, so he can’t just wave aside what Denethor says even though it is against what he himself wants to believe of Boromir… yep, always hard to find out that people can voice contradictory ideas and you’ll have to choose between them, however much you want to believe everybody… and it is clear that Boromir is attracted to Faramir, and as for Faramir… I guess he’s attracted to Boromir as well, but he also is to Orophin, so… well, knowing you I suppose a Mir pairing in the end can be reasonably expected… although maybe with Orophin coming in at some point…
By the way, I was surprised that Boromir, rash as he is, could stand this ten-year separation without trying to see Faramir en cachette… now you’ve provided the answer. :-)

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 19:33    #

“Denethor has some self-esteem issues”, I laughed out loud at that. I guess you’re right. I never thought much about him, but your analysis makes sense to me. If I remember right, he never says that he loves Boromir better, but Gandalf says so, and I doubt his bitterness at Boromir’s death could be just due to political reasons; after all, he must have realised that Boromir would be no great ruler (he lacks the subtlety and sharp intelligence of Denethor and Faramir), for all that he was a good warrior.
I have just re-read some parts of the book, and indeed you have a point; there’s nothing in Denethor’s words that cannot be attributed to grief over Boromir’s death and fear about the Ring falling into the Enemy’s hands… nothing except Faramir’s reactions, which seem to indicate that he is used to being despised by his father…

Nerey Camille    Sunday 19 December 2010, 19:53    #

You know, I don’t mean to demonise Denethor, or to say he has no heart at all: I do, after all, feel a great sympathy for him. He did have a hard life, and many temptations, and given his proud calculating character, little good could have come out of that.

And I believe he did love his family, to the best of his ability that is. Let’s not forget that he loved Finduilas above all – apparently loved her so well she went into severe depression and died… Naturally it hurt him to lose his sons, like it would any normal man – but still I don’t think he loved the boys as people, on a personal level, but rather for what joy they could bring him, for how they could make him proud. And as for what Gandalf said, I think he meant mostly that Denethor overindulged his eldest in some aspects, letting Boromir grow up believing he was the centre of the universe and had a right to everything… That’s an approach that all too often backfires, and results not so much from love, as from the parent’s egoism and reluctance to see faults in his own offspring. I think a truly loving father would have rather tried to teach Boromir some healthy humbleness…

And, also, I think in Faramir, who had his own heart and mind to guide his decisions, Denethor saw a potential rival, and that is hardly something an authoritative lord like him could take well to, right?

I agree, Faramir is certainly used to being treated with coldness and often scorn, for even though Denethor needed him for practical reasons and acknowledged his worth as captain, still the Steward was obviously never kindly and cuddly with him…

December    Sunday 19 December 2010, 20:45    #

My, what cruel Denethor! And poor Boromir! And Orophin!!! :( :(

It was a wonderful reading, but what cruel and short end! My my…

I liked the way Denethor speaks a lot, still. (Because, truly, he is an interesting character. Even if this cold-hearted man we see here does not go quite in the direction I think him to be… But this worked very well in this story!)

Thanks for the story!

elektra121    Monday 20 December 2010, 15:12    #

elektra, thank you very much for reading and commenting!

Would you care to elaborate on Denethor? What direction do you think to be his? I find it extremely interesting to discuss him.

And, well, he prioritises propriety, and dignity, and honour over the desires of his sons’ hearts – but on the other hand, how many parents in his place would have taken a different position…? Perhaps he even thinks he’s acting in their own best interest…

December    Monday 20 December 2010, 15:24    #

Yes, highly possible he thinks he does.
I’ve always thought him to be as good a father as he can be, given his position and nature – even if most think otherwise. I’m sure he really loves both his sons as his children and the children of his dear wife and as the men they are.
But he knew few ways to let them know when they grew up in a society such as Gondor and him being the ruling steward – and perhaps Denethor himself is a man quite good at reading but not so good at showing feelings.

I imagine him to very strictly devide his life into the “official” and the “private” part – never meant to touch each other; like I’m sure many people in times not so long ago did, as I am told. If he is steward he is steward, there is no possibility to show any personal affection for any human being, be it son or wife or not. A son has no more worth than any other captain – he is a useful pawn, nothing more. A wife is a bearer of sons, nothing more.
In private though, when there is no-one around to see and hear it may be possible to show to a child that it is loved, even if it is in giving only the most expensive and valuable gifts, the finest clothing, the best teachers, the finest food; or in being strict. It may be possible to be a man that loves his family, but only behind closed doors. Perhaps ist may be possible to show to a wife how much you adore and desire and love her, but only in the darkness of night.

And of course, he had a heavy weight upon his shoulders and must have been very lonely. There may have been very little “private” Denethor left in “The return of the King”.

Not so easy to say in English… ;)

elektra121    Monday 20 December 2010, 16:16    #

Hey again, elektra – and thanks for your response! Yeah, for me it too would perhaps be easier to say it all in Russian, but oh well :)

You know, I’ve been thinking on this subject since yesterday… And I guess maybe my definition of love, or at least parental love, is a little too strict, at least when it comes to fathers. I’ve always deemed conditional love to not be really love… But it’s true men are more given to it than women, and more often try to be ‘objective’ towards their children, don’t you think? And with Denethor it’s very clear that his affection is allocated to his children in direct proportion to how each of them makes him proud. Like in the Book it said that he loved Boromir, but Faramir displeased him. You see what I mean? Displeasure is not the opposite of love. Your kid may make you mad like 200 times a day, and do really stupid things, and even things you deem wrong and horrible, but if you love them, it won’t make you love them less…

Of course love is a very complex thing, and not something we always understand even in ourselves, and it’s even harder to speak of someone else. If Denethor himself thought he loved his sons, and that what he did was for their ultimate good, does that qualify? You would think so, but on the other hand, for ex., there are so many men who tell you they love you more than life itself, and would do anything for you, and even believe it themselves – but all their actions speak otherwise. Maybe it is that they love to the best of their ability, and that ability is just not very big… And so for Denethor – I totally agree that he wanted and tried to be a good father. Question is, what was his idea of ‘a good father’, and how much did he succeed in his attempts?

And of course it did not help that, as you say, he was a very ‘official’ man. Like when he said ‘like a good lord, I spend even my own sons in battle,’ it sent chills down my spine – but he thinks it’s only fair, that they indeed should be treated like other captains. Although I have a feeling that if Aragorn were in his place, he would have gone to battle himself. And Theoden too, when his evil enchantment lifted, rode to war himself and didn’t just send Eomer…

And of course what warmth Denethor had towards the boys he did not very expressively show. Like in this story, he never told little Faramir that he was afraid for him, and that it hurt him to send him away, and that he was sorry for punishing him for something the boy had no conscious fault in…

All that said, may I ask how you think Denethor would have acted if put in a situation described in this story?

December    Monday 20 December 2010, 17:33    #

Dear elektra, answering your other message.

1st of all, cosidering your suggestion re writing a 1st time Faramir/Eowyn – that topic shall be explored in the story I’m writing for iris’ challenge – not very explicitly, perhaps, but all the same :) I’m glad you’re interested, all the more stimulus to get me back to work on that tale.

Now, back to Denethor.

I must say I find your view of him very refreshing – especially since, like you yourself say, it rather differs from the popular opinion. Now that you’ve told me a bit about your family, it’s beginning to seem to me that what we focus on in Denethor’s character is somehow connected to our own fathers. Like that lovely example you gave of your father and raspberries – you pick up a similar thing in Denethor, with him letting Faramir eat first and then talk. (For ex, I had never paid much mind to that instance, if anything, it seemed to me Denethor was being ironic when he told his son to go and have a good rest…). It’s obviously much easier for you than for me to allow that Denethor could be loving in a reserved way, under all his status-imposed decorum. I very much do envy you for being able to see so much good in him. My own family experience has led me to be far more skeptical towards the parenting merits of proud, masterful, unsentimental men like Denethor. So I guess with these differences it’s best to acknowledge we won’t be able to fully agree on him, each of us having a different filter to look at him through. I of course very much hope that I’m too hard on him, and he’s nicer than I think.

May I ask, why do you think he’s equally proud of both his sons? In the book I’ve mostly managed to find evidence as to the otherwise: he scorns Faramir for his connection with Gandalf, and for trying to look kind and gracious in the eyes of their people, and for using his own brain to think with. I didn’t really get the impression Denethor viewed him as the man he himself would have wanted to be like, or that as an authoritative lord he approved of Faramir’s propensity to think for himself.

As for what Denethor felt in this story, whether it be when sending Faramir away, or ridiculing Boromir’s feelings for him – we’ll never know, will we? ;-p Sometimes I like to write just from one POV, like in ‘Casualties of War’ – then you can only interpret other characters’ actions through the eyes of the narrating character. We can speculate, though… Personally, I don’t think nothing inside Denethor moved when he sent his 11 y.o. away for nothing, or when he humiliated his older son in the bathroom, naked and wet as poor Boromir was. I don’t think the man was in any way monster enough to get a kick out of being the one to cause his own sons suffering. But he thought it had to be done (like later he thought he had to burn Faramir…), as the smaller of the evils he had to choose between – so he did it.

Once again I’m coming to think what else Denethor could have done. Ignoring the situation or telling Boromir it was wrong – would that have stopped Boromir? I suspect the boy already knew his feelings were not something to be entirely proud of, given he did not act on the reactions of his body while Faramir was still too young to understand anything. But as time went by – what would have happened? And I think Denethor, being much older and far more cynical than Boromir, didn’t believe that all that much time would have to go by – or that a 16 y.o. boy could be a paragon of self-restraint when it comes to sexual urges… From the book I got the impression Denethor was a man who liked to keep everything under control, and would not have allowed such a risky situation to just take its course… Perhaps a gentler man would have first had a quiet earnest talk with his sons – and perhaps not, given what he feared would happen between them was indeed against all the morals of Gondor, and enough to freak out even the kindest father.

Maybe sending Faramir away was indeed partly out of desire to be a good father, aka do what’s best for his children, even when his heart perhaps didn’t want to part with his son. Personally, I think that love can sometimes get quite in the way of being a good parent, like for ex. Denethor spoiling Boromir in the first place with all his fatherly pride. I don’t believe that loving a child always results in being a good parent to them – or that to be a good parent one necessarily has to love the child…

December    Tuesday 21 December 2010, 11:28    #

Hu, quite a lot of questions and things to think of…
And, you may be right with the filter thing – my opinions have ever been very idealistic ones… think only the best of others and only doubt it until there is proof you must be wrong.

The food thing, still, seems to me of highly symbolic character. From what I know of heroic epic writing (which Tolkien was inspired by) gestures are of great importance and sometimes be more of a clue than the words. For example I remember a chapter in an epic that titled “How he did not rise before her/did not greet her”. Nothing more – and everything about the whole situation and both characters (and of course the very gory ending of the story) is said.
Rereading the scene with Faramir, Denethor, Pippin and Gandalf, it definitely has a lot of “show-don’t-tell”: Faramir sitting on a “low chair at his father’s left hand” – it shows F. to be of lower rank and no-one that is authorized to advise his father in any matter (advisors would have sit right-hand). But the possibility remains left is chosen for some other reason: left is where the heart is. It could be saying there is some kind of affection between lord and captain here – if not, they could have sit face-to-face for a report. Faramir gets white bread and wine – which is valuable food and thus shows how this captain is valued. Gandalf sits “removed a little” – this is about Faramir and Denethor, not him. When F. begins to speak of halflings, Gandalf “grips the arms of his chair” and Denethor confirms he has understood what is going on with a silent nod. From then on, F. does NOT look to his father – clearly there is some kind of uneasiness about the matter. (F. knows his decision will not please Denethor.) Gandalf’s hands begin to tremble – that shows to Pippin he really worries. And so on and on.
Denethor speaks about Gandalf having “Faramir’s heart in his keeping” – really: this sounds very much like jealousy on Denethors behalf.
When Faramir takes his leave, he swayes and his father commends on his fast and far ride, “under shadows of evil in the air”. (I believe that to be some kind of praise, small as it is.) Faramir wishes to not ponder that unpleasant incident, and his father grants him the favour and tells him to go and rest. I don’t see irony in that.

About the equality of proudness: you may be right entirely… there is no real proof of my opinion in that matter. May be wishful/idealistic thinking again. But I somehow sense Denethor likes his son to want to follow suit of the kings of old. He is way too much a lover of nobleness and dignity himself to not being proud of that wish.
It always occured to me both could be alike in not so few aspects… and that may be one of the causes they don’t get along all too well – like it is not seldom, if a parent and a child are too much alike…

To question of how Denethor is supposed to react to such threatening situation like in this story… honestly, as I said – I don’t know.

Oh boy sigh – maybe Denethor is a coldhearted bastard with no heart whatsoever and I a romantic fool…

But I like to see him as a sad, embittered man, that still has some of the best in him only he makes some fatal errors.

elektra121    Tuesday 21 December 2010, 18:11    #

Regarding your reply of 12/19 – “It always struck me how in the book he said that he would have rather it were Faramir who died instead of Boromir because Boromir was loyal to Denethor, and not some wizard’s pupil.”

The book does NOT say that. The implication is that it would have been better if Boromir had been in Ithilien instead of Faramir – then the Ring would have been brought to him.

alcardilme    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 2:38    #

Alcardilme, thanks for joining in :)
Aye, ‘tis true, the Book never says so directly – so of course it can be said that it doesn’t say so at all. Personally, though, I always saw that message very clearly between the lines.
Right before that part in the conversation, Denethor says that such gentle choices as Faramir made re the Ring can be punished with death – and Faramir says, so be it. And that gets Denethor flaring, because he thinks they all are going to die because of what Faramir did – so here follows that line about the wizard’s pupil. And then Faramir too loses his cool and reminds Denethor it was Denethor himself who had sent Boromir away (aka to his death – which Denethor picks up in the next line). So the subject of death is there all the time, and Denethor’s words about them being exchanged instantly set Faramir thinking that at the time of their conversation Boromir is dead… So still I personally get the impression that even if this was not what Denethor meant, it was quite certainly what Faramir perceived… After all, it seems to me his later desire to go on a desperate pointless mission just to prove his worth to Denethor would be more grounded by thinking Denethor would have liked him dead instead of Boromir, than merely that Boromir had chanced to be in his place in Ithilien.
But, like I said, that’s not what’s written in the Book explicitly, and the subject is pretty much open to interpretaion.

elektra, hi again!
Well, re ‘idealism’, it seemed to me the book itself quite promotes the idea of thinking the best of people (even when they already show themselves as pretty hopeless). It always impressed me how Gandalf, being so it seems Nienna’s pupil, always wanted to give everyone yet another chance, trusting in their good nature: Gollum, Theoden, Denethor, Saruman – even with Pippin he’s very patient, although Pippin always lands poor Gandalf in a mess :) It does prove however, that only those kind by heart, who were tricked by enchantment or simply have too much curiosity for their own good, make it thorugh – whereas both Denethor and Saruman cosistently push away all the hope he’s offering them. But, he keeps trying, till the very end…
As for whether Denethor is a cold-hearted bastard or a lonely embittered man – well, I would certainly not call him a bastard :) Actually, I think his heart is very hot – he just doesn’t show it in the way Boromir did (we’ve talked of this before :) ). Really, I think he’s lonely and embittered more than anything else – very embittered. And also oppressed by Sauron, aka suspicious, apprehensive and generally worn out. Plus he’s proud, and masterful, and scornful. And again – very lonely. I can’t imagine him having any kind of a relationship after his wife’s death, even some platonic bond with a nice kind lady who would warm his heart a little…
And what you say about him being jealous of Faramir – I very much believe he is indeed. What father wouldn’t be jeallous if his son valued someone else’s opinion higher than his, especially since Denethor had never liked Gandalf in the 1st place? And, to think of it, I believe he may have had quite a bit of jealousy concerning his sons’ love for each other. It says Boromir was much beloved by him, and says there was great love between Boromri and Faramir – I didn’t see anything about Boromir having much love for his father… Boromri wasn’t a particularly sensitive man, so perhaps he wasn’t aware of how tough Denethor’s whole life was, nor thought much of what Denethor felt for him, likely took it for granted.
It indeed seems Denethor would have found much more support and understanding in Faramir had he turned to his younger son – but oh well… This is indeed ironic and very very sad.
Again, thanks for reading and the discussion!

December    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 8:14    #

My, my – poor Denethor! :(
I agree he never would have even thought of any relationship after his wife’s death. I’m pretty much sure he had seen that as betrayal.
I think “lonely”, “worn out”, “embittered” are the best words to describe him.

And yes, I personally too believe Denethor does not have meant he wanted for Faramir to die instead of Boromir. But maybe – it could be what Faramir perceived.

As to Gandalf: wow, amazing how opinions differ! I have NEVER liked Gandalf much – not even in the “Hobbit”. (In my opinion Wormtongue’s “lathspell” is a very to-the-point name… aside from it’s linguistic beauty ;) ) I’ve always thought not so less of Gandal’s dislike for Denethor is caused by the fact that Denethor is one of the very few men that could be equal to him in some parts (strategy, thinking for himself) and thus dangerous or annoying.

Really, interesting men. I remeber very few fanfictions that ponder those facts mentioned above… – sad as it is; but those few that do tends to be very good ones.

elektra121    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 9:36    #

Hi December,

I totally agree with this, must remember to keep it in mind for future stories:
“And what you say about him being jealous of Faramir – I very much believe he is indeed. What father wouldn’t be jeallous if his son valued someone else’s opinion higher than his, especially since Denethor had never liked Gandalf in the 1st place? And, to think of it, I believe he may have had quite a bit of jealousy concerning his sons’ love for each other. It says Boromir was much beloved by him, and says there was great love between Boromri and Faramir – I didn’t see anything about Boromir having much love for his father… Boromri wasn’t a particularly sensitive man, so perhaps he wasn’t aware of how tough Denethor’s whole life was, nor thought much of what Denethor felt for him, likely took it for granted.
It indeed seems Denethor would have found much more support and understanding in Faramir had he turned to his younger son – but oh well… This is indeed ironic and very very sad.”
Apart from this, I’ve been very busy these last few days, but here I am to finish reading the story (though I couldn’t resist to peep at the end the other day) and comment it.
And it’s cool that there’s such a debate about Denethor, because I am meditating a challenge about him!

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 19:27    #

Well, chapter 10. Love the humour between Orophin and Faramir. So many sentences worth being remembered, especially the idea that such a man as Faramir would always have people around ready to risk their lives for him.

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 19:47    #

Oh noes, you’ve peeped at the end! Next time I’m writing something for you, I’ll publish it chapter by chapter ;-p But seriously, that’s how I wrote it: first 9 chapters, then the end, then what’s in between. And you’re reading it just like that :) I wonder, though, how it’s going to go down now that you know the finale…
Yes, Denethor… It’s funny, this was meant to be a story about Faramir and the Rangers (and a ship), but somehow most of the debate is around Denethor… The more I think of it, the more I feel bad for him in this story. Everyone
else’s pain is quite obvious, but he comes across as such a villain, you really have to make an effort to sympathise with him.
And Orophin… Well, he thinks of Faramir better than Faramir thinks of himself…
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the rest of this!

elektra, wow, you’re always bringing new perspective. We’ve already discussed Faramir, Denethor and Gandalf with you, and on all them, it seems to me, you have a rather untypical point of view. (Not to mention the ‘noble stupid Aragorn’ from your other letter :D) So fun talking to you!
It didn’t surprise me much Gandalf wasn’t all uber-friendly with Denethor, given Denethor’s as impolite with him as propriety only allows… And indeed, Denethor has quite a will to match his – that silent battle of stares between them, ooh, sparks fly… Although I was rather under the impression it was not so much Denethor himself Gandald didn’t like, but rather what of Sauron’s influence came through in his conduct. Like I said, it seemed to me Gandalf was an extremely forgiving person…
And I very much like your cues about meal scenes. Indeed, in most traditional cultures taking food is full of symbolism. Like I read that in the early Slavic culture breaking bread with someone was an equivalent of calling them your allies, because you could not assault them without your honour; and a maiden who ate from the same cut of food with a man could not marry him, because they were like siblings after that…

December    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 19:55    #

Chapter 11… Yes, Faramir admiring his naked friend and having Elven sweets made for him and accepting one from Orophin’s hand into his lips, but of course there’s no attraction at all between them… Poor naive Faramir, no wonder he’s spent years avoiding sex, otherwise he wouldn’t be so confident… And clearly if Faramir is not consciously attracted, Orophin’s feelings are another matter…

I only peeped, I promise… so I know the end roughly but not how it comes about. And by the way, I’ve been wanting to ask you about the ship. I meant a boat, did you understand that or did you think I meant a relationSHIP?
Don’t worry about the story being about Denethor, it’s wonderful. And after all, mine ended up being Gríma’s story, much more than Faramir’s.

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 20:05    #

“Do not worry, I can fancy it”, what a beautiful line.
Then Faramir interpreting Orophin’s touch as mere curiosity towards his hair (I mean, honestly!).
Then confidences (aaaah, we know in the end why Orophin stopped stealing arrows), then awkward questions, and then… sure enough, the situation evolves here! What will Faramir’s next reaction be? To attribute the kiss to curiosity as to how men taste?

By the way, I agree with you about Gandalf, I also don’t have the impression that he really dislikes Denethor, just as I don’t really think he dislikes Saruman or Gollum. But I guess he’s annoyed at Denethor’s folly because it means danger, just as he is every time Pippin messes up.

It’s funny I’m reading the story in the same order you wrote it!

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 20:25    #

Ah, but you see, Nerey, the way my imagination works, it’s far easier for me to fit an Elf and a lovesick Boromir into Ithilien than a boat. When it comes to boats, I’m a Hobbit, aka all I know about them is that they swim (wait that’s not right) sail. So yes, since in the writing world the word has multiple meaning, I chose to see it to denote romance… So, no ‘bonus points’ for me, I guess? ;)

December    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 20:27    #

Chapter 13. I love how Faramir quickly goes from “we can’t do this” to “I could return your kisses, but not give you the intimate contact you want” to “I do want to be with you, just don’t rush me” meaning what, meaning “don’t rape me at once and do talk me into it for a few more minutes before we actually set to it like mad”?
I’m sorry, this might sound a bit harsh, but it’s really good-natured. It’s just that Faramir’s reactions are so funny after all his “there’s absolutely nothing going between us” self-talk. And why do I get the feeling that Orophin is a very innocent-looking, diabolically sly person who’s playing drama to persuade Faramir to yield?

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 20:42    #

“all I know about them is that they swim“, LOL. Yeah, you “chose” to see it that way… well, no bonus points then, you nasty shipper.

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 20:45    #

No worries, I’m not offended, lol. It is kind of funny when you think about it, and I’m glad you see it that way too. It’s like ‘let’s be at least a little decent about it, I like to see myself as a good boy’.
Seriosuly, I’ve been there, when you can’t even conceive that the person you’re with could possibly be making a pass at you, and you come up with these idiotic explanations… It seems to stupid when you look back on it afterwards xD
Again, I’m glad you’re enjoying!
And Orophin… Orophin is an Elf. That pretty much says it all, I guess.

December    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 20:48    #

Chapter 14. Oh, this is hilarious! Faramir never heard of a kiss? Faramir thinking it’s “the elven way”? Oh heavens. I love his “well, seeing as I’m already doing what I shouldn’t, let’s do it thoroughly” self-arguments. And the boy is so innocent, yet he had already imagined himself kissing another man… hrrrmmpf.
Faramir’s reactions being due to “Elven magic”, LOL. And he’s sure about it, too (“recognised”)! That one was great, December. Ah my, what next? (I’m commenting even while I read, otherwise I forget things).
Nah, Boromir wouldn’t have kissed him in this way… love for Boromir wouldn’t have been pure… sure we believe you, Faramir (what was that great experience of yours that allows you to speak with such certainty, by the way?).
Proceeding… wiping it with his hair?! Never heard of that anywhere… and I thought it was not easy to shock me!
“Faramir discovered the Elf had lost the lower half of his attire, although the Man could not recall that happening”, laughing again.
And that is such a beautiful moment, Orophin smiling to Faramir “not so much with his lips as with his eyes”. I can picture the Elf here… but “they were doing it for the right reasons”? I’m waiting to see Faramir explain that to Denethor!! Which right reasons? Ah, I think this whole chapter is not so much about Faramir discovering carnal pleasures as about how he incredibly manages to delude himself, even when it seems altogether impossible.

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 21:32    #

Actually, I don’t think Faramir is necessarily wrong in his assumptions; it’s just the fact that he feels so certain about things he wouldn’t have dreamt of five minutes before, and at the same time he’s so inexperienced that you just know he’s going to think differently in another five minutes… but for him it’s The Truth.
Aaaaah… chapter 15. So endearing, Orophin asking Faramir what he’d like to do and Faramir kissing him, like it’s the most exciting thing he can think of… you marvellously managed to make him seem incredibly young… it’s wonderful… and Orophin’s “I see”, as in “I see I’m going to have to take matters into my own hands, else we’ll still be kissing in a year hence”.
Very insightful, I think, to have Faramir in the “penetrating” role, at first at least…
Beautiful image of Orophin riding Faramir in the light of the hearth…
Can’t believe Faramir is still analyzing Orophin’s beauty and the meaning of their lovemaking… doesn’t the man ever stop thinking?
Very powerful, the moment when Faramir witnesses Orophin’s pleasure…
Funny, too, how Faramir’s desire to love a man “equal” to him contrast with his obvious enjoyment (not only sexual but intellectual) of “power” over his lover… while at the same time starting all this out of desire to be nice…

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 22:28    #

Chapter 16… I thought they would switch roles on this one, but no… later maybe? Still a bit unsettled by Faramir’s obvious liking for domination.
Aaaah, confessions… remember I thought that Orophin might have been Celeborn’s lover? Well, now we’ll see if I was mistaken…

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 22:53    #

Chapter 17… such an image of the Lady and the Lord? What happened between them, I wonder?
Anyway, very poignant image of Orophin lying under snow and leaves… of course a human could not do it, but an elf… what a sad picture of his state of mind!

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 23:08    #

Oh, goodness, this chapter was absolutely brilliant, from beginning to end.

Boromir finding out, his pain. “Everything had been said without a word being spoken.”, that sentence is so strong, really… wow.

Then Denethor’s words, how he accuses Boromir of desiring Faramir and he doesn’t deny it; and poor Faramir is finally forced to accept the truth of it.

Then Denethor’s demand for an apology: brilliant! How he makes a fool of Faramir, beats him hands down, proves him wrong in everything and thereby justifies all of his actions of the previous years. It is to Faramir’s credit that he takes the defeat in a mature and dignified way, even the fact that Orophin must leave at once.
Oh, it was such a brilliant story, the end is truly sparkling. And everything fits so well… I wonder, how did you build it? I mean, how did you imagine this story starting from my request?

Anyway, thank you so very much for such a long story, that matches my request perfectly (even though you managed to insert a few more things of your own, which was very funny: I didn’t expect Faramir to have a love story, but it was definitely your right as long as you could fit it into the original plot, which you did). There are so many things: a study of Denethor’s character, a very interesting analysis of Faramir’s character (his goodness and where it can lead him), a wonderful portrait of him as an intelligent young captain and a completely idiotic young adolescent, an interesting portrait of the Lord and Lady of Lórien, as well as of the Ithilien Rangers and a distressed Elf; a very good picture of Boromir, and many, many other things: humor of many sorts, romance, sex, mystery, political games, human contact… Wow. Still, I guess what amazes me most is the fact that you managed to produce such a large quantity of well-written, well-thought text in a few weeks. I am absolutely impressed. Thanks again, so much!

Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 December 2010, 23:39    #

Great story. I was ‘uncomfortable’ with Denethor – but he was clearly a man of strength and will. He was said to be able to read men’s minds. Boy! Did he know his sons??? Got chills reading this. Very well done.

alcardilme    Saturday 25 December 2010, 3:52    #

Gosh, Alcardilme, if you only knew how uncomfortable I myself was with Denethor. The man’s already been overdemonised plenty, but… well… the circumstances of this story don’t exactly give him much chance to show himself in a good light… Although still, I believe he’s been ‘nicer’ throughout the whole situation than someone else in his place might have been: he’d plotted a lot, yes, but he did not actually force anybody to do anything, did he? And he ‘set up’ Faramir with a rather nice boy too, one who would obviously treat F with patience and mindfulness, not to mention skill… One might say D was unnecessarily cruel with Orophin, but then again – why the heck should he care for Orophin in the first place, let alone after Orophin ‘seduces’ his son? And by the way, he’s been softer on Orophin than the Elf’s own people had been to him for a similar offense, don’t you think…?

Anyway, I appreciate your tolerance towards his depiction in this work – I know this is a sensitive subject for you, and I hope this matter did not taint the rest of the story for you. Writing D is always tricky: he’s a controversial character, and whatever you do, he’ll either seem too soft to some readers or too harsh to others, or both…

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Nerey, my, if I had one, I’d give you a big shiny ‘honoured reader’ badge or something :) Put together, yours is the most detailed, attentive review I’ve ever had on anything I wrote, including academic theses. Many of the things you said made me smile, or think some more on the events in my own work – and I’m very, very happy that you, as the initiator of the story, are happy with the result.

Now I’ll do my best to reply to your points.
First of all, I love your in-depth analysis of Faramir’s personality, reasoning and actions. He’s a very troubled young man here, and in some aspects younger than his age – and it so pleases me how you’ve taken time to point out all the contradictions and discrepancies about his conduct, many of which he is not aware of himself! Yes, I can certainly see how his first intimate experience could make an observer smile or even laugh in places…

I’m also very impressed by your comparison of F to film characters. I’m ashamed to say I’m no big connoisseur of the works you bring up, but I very much like the parallels you describe :)

Mm, why does it unsettle you F’s dominating? Is it that something in the story had initially led you to expect differently from him, or something else…? And to think of it, maybe he would not have been so much so if he didn’t actually suppress it in himself so much… Although, on the other hand – whether he likes to see himself in such terms or not – F’s a young hale male with all that follows…

As for all the things he doesn’t know – never underestimate people’s capability for sexual ignorance, especially when voluntarily self-inflicted! xD After all, he’d kind of lived under a rock in that sense for the previous ten years…

And that Faramir had thought about kissing men – funny enough, perhaps Denethor himself pushed him in that direction. What with all the ‘I just know you would so sleep with your brother’, it’s kind of hard to keep one’s imagination from visualising it just a bit, isn’t it? ;)

Celeborn and Galadriel, now… Ah, I could hazard any number of guesses what happened between the two, from the obvious to the more O_o But Orophin never learns, and so won’t we ;-p In any case, the truth would have hardly comforted him.

Oh, the plot built itself from your request quite on its own; I can elaborate on this if you like… You know, after I finish making a story, I always like to stop and wonder how someone else would have handled this request/challenge… But with me, stories often take their own course, I don’t even get all that much of a say in who does what xD

December    Saturday 25 December 2010, 15:05    #

Hi December!

Thank you for saying this was the lognest review you ever got, I thought it was the least I could do! Faramir dominating unsettles me because I believe him to be the perfect character, and to me that includes the ability to consider his sexual partners as his equals… truly, and not fantasizing about “I’m the master here, yeah”… especially as I have known hale young men who wouldn’t react like that (I hope).
Why yes, in the book it always seemed to me that he treated Éowyn in a most feminist way, praising her courage, underlining the fact that she won renown on her own (as opposed to “by marrying a renowned man” as she seemed to wish) and asking for her permission (instead of her brother’s or his king’s, for that matter) to marry her. That attitude of his is one of the main reasons why I prefer him to Aragorn (need I to state again the King’s views on such matters?) so yes, it unsettles me that he should see penetration as an act of power rather than of love. He doesn’t strike me as the sort of man that likes power (the Ring is proof of that, isn’t it?). But then… maybe at the time he was a bit young and foolish.

Oh please, DO elaborate on how your stories build themselves on their own (and this one in particular). I’d love to know more!
My own stories are more like a game of chess, I mean I tend to choose the path that I instinctively or rationally feel to be the most efficient. And each choice is partially determined by the ones I have already made. There are parts where I just create (mostly when there are not too many things already defined to take into account), but a lot of it is just about testing each path and choosing the one that rings truer or leaves more possibilities open.

Nerey Camille    Monday 27 December 2010, 14:39    #

Hey, Nerey! Thanks for this comment!

Hm, I have a feeling there’s a bit of a misunderstanding here regarding the ‘dominance’ thing. So that I know without ambiguity what we are speaking about, may I please ask, exactly what do you see in this story as showing Faramir as ‘fantasising about being the master’ and as ‘seeing penetration as an act of power rather than love’?

December    Monday 27 December 2010, 16:32    #

Hi December,

I think it is mostly the following extracts (chapter 17) along with the fact that you use words like “defenseless” and “vulnerable” for the lover that is penetrated and “to claim” or “to take” for the act of penetration. To me, that gives the act a symbolic meaning of domination and possession, which Faramir clearly acknowledges and enjoys.
“Once again in Faramir arose the urge to be fully on top, to cover Orophin with his body, to bask in his eager capitulation. And so Faramir began to push harder, and gnawed at the curve of the other’s neck, and ran his palm proprietarily over the Elf’s chest, and belly, and in between his legs. This soon ceased to suffice, and then Faramir turned the unresisting Elf altogether over, and shifted atop him, pinning him down to the bed with his weight and spreading him further open with his legs.

He could not explain why it was so, but the knowledge that Orophin had drunk of him, and had received him between the legs brought Faramir a sense of great fruition and pride.

There are also a couple of moments in chapter 16, when F thinks it would be difficult for him to switch places, like OK, this is love and I trust you, but all the same I wouldn’t want to have done to me what I’m doing to you, wouldn’t want to be the “vulnerable” one. And when he wonders “why it felt so vital to him to penetrate his friend’s body as deep as only he could, while it was obviously for Orophin’s benefit they were doing this”.

It’s as if F, even without any previous experience, instinctively senses that what they are doing has a meaning – namely, that one of the lovers (himself) is symbolically dominating the other (Orophin). That Faramir should adopt such an interpretation of sexual intercourse is what unsettles me.

But then, I have had extensive training on such issues, and therefore my sensitivity and quickness to drawn conclusions are unusually high.

Nerey Camille    Monday 27 December 2010, 21:37    #

Again, thanks for the comment!

Training? My, that sure makes me curious ;)

Ok, so first of all, let me assure you I too would be most disconcerted with a Faramir who fantasises about being somebody’s master – I don’t think it would be in his character. Nor would I like it if for him the sole point of sex was ‘conquering’ someone else.

Anyway, to me all his sentiments you quote above seem evoked more than anything else by the role F was at that time playing in their lovemaking – i.e. it was what he felt at the moment, under the influence of what part he was performing in their arrangement. He fully enjoys it when he’s on top – and he equally enjoys it when later he’s letting Orophin access him from behind and do anything to him. (Yes, in chapter 16 he’s nervous about switching – I’d attribute it to him being very inexperienced and also afraid of his man-liking side: he’d probably had it put into his head that for a man yielding is ‘disgracing’ – not entirely easy to let go of such stereotypes. By the time Orophin starts treating him from behind, F has quite forgotten about those worries…) To me, personally, there is nothing wrong if during the actual act the ‘active’ lover feels a little possessive, like he’s claiming – it’s only natural, the very position puts him in physical control. That he feels this way during sex does not necessarily mean he would like to dominate and posses the other in the non-sexual side of their relationship.

Actually, I myself was quite under the impression that if anything, it was Orophin who was the dominating partner. Yes, he played the ‘recepient’ role in the actual penetration, but apart from that he had totally led Faramir through the whole experience: from the point of initiating it to determining when F should be mild and gentle – and when he should break wild and make Orophin scream. F quite likely would have ‘submitted’ to him when they were in the position convenient for doing so – it was O who had chosen to do otherwise. How would you interpret that? :)

Now, to your question re building the story.

You speak about choosing paths – I don’t know, perhaps I do that also, although then it must be on some deeply subconscious level.
For me, it always seems like there is only one path for the story to take, and I just have to let it grow into it, if you know what I mean, sort of let it come to me. When I write, I never ‘think up’ or ‘create’ – things rather ‘occur’ to me, so to say.
If anything, I only have to know from which directions not to expect the inspiration. For ex, like I told you re the boat – sailing’s not my strong side, so I didn’t even glance in that direction. I also know detailed action scenes, where you describe what sort of strikes the warrior made, and where the enemies came from, etc. – those are not my strength either, so I didn’t ask the Muse to send me one of those either. And I know I need a romantic line for inspiration to come – it’s like a bait for my Muse :) I also know the Muse works super-hard when there’s more than one pairing, therefore giving space for some intrigue and suspense.

So that led me to the place where F had to be ‘cleared’ before his men through something not based on slaying 200 Orcs single-handedly or carrying out some superb strategic move – and also that a lot of love had to be fitted into the tale somehow, or else it just would not work. Perhaps that’s choosing a path, I don’t know – or just being realistic about one’s abilities :)

And from this point, like I said, the thing just grew.
You said no romance between F and his men – so Boromir comes in.
Why would F be appointed Captain when there’s Boromir already there – Denethor’s plotting something + something unusual had to happen.
Why does everyone have such a distorted opinion of Faramir – Faramir was away for a very long time under some strange circumstances.
Why was F away and could this somehow be connected to D replacing Boromir with him – family scandal. (Yay, me was in the mood for scandal this time)
What is the unusual thing that happens in Ithilien that would also give a love line and let Faramir show his worth – why, it’s a stray Elf, agressive but frightened, being chased by a bunch of Orcs.
What’s the Elf doing in Ithilien – he had to leave Lorien.
Why did he have to leave Lorien and what does any of it have to do with Faramir – etc. etc.

None of this I had rationally decided – it just made sense that things should be this way and no other… It’s like, when one block is set down, immediately there is space for another.
The only problem with this approach, it usually yields lengthy results, whether you wanted them or not. But I’m quite icapable of writing my stuff any other way, so that means my stories, for better or worse, turn out the size they turn out :)

December    Monday 27 December 2010, 23:27    #

Hi December!

Thank you so much for your explanations. Yes, I agree that it was really Orophin who was in charge; and I guess Faramir had been taught that to play the recipient role was unmanly and disgracing, but I suppose I expected him to abandon such notions as soon as he was making love… Anyway. I can tell you more about my “training” by mail.

Thank you so much for this voyage into your head, it helps me understand both how you built the story and how you usually work… As you may have found out, my way is not so different; I also have these ideas building themselves one upon another, often at a madly quick rate, and it can yield very lengthy tales too. The main difference, I think (though maybe you do it too, though you don’t mention it here), is that when I have several possible lines I resort to reason and instinct in order to choose the one that will work best. And also that I have a strong liking for new experiences, so I often choose lines that will require me to expand my abilities… for instance, I don’t know much about combat either, but if I thought a fighting scene would work well in a story, I’d do the necessary research to write it, ant take it as a learning, rather than change the whole line… the only problem with this approach is that it can get very tiresome some times… :-)

Nerey Camille    Thursday 30 December 2010, 16:22    #

Yes, do write about that in your next mail! :)

Mm, I guess it might have been interesting to see how Faramir’s understanding of intimacy and his views on ‘roles’ would have evolved given due time. Who knows what he would have come to, had Orophin stayed…? I agree with you, F does show himself from quite polar angles, and this might raise questions. But gah, we’ll never know now :E

Well, re the journey into my head (oh, don’t I love how you put it), that’s just how it works for me concerning this specific format, aka predecided line for the story and time constraints: I just let the sotry write itself and don’t interfere with it, because otherwise it might easily take forever.
But apart from that, I too love new experiences (in fact, I’m currently considering picking myself up and relocating to the opposite end of the earth (again) – but that’s irrelevant to the discussion…), but I consciously choose to forgo embarking on any wholly novel paths when working with strict deadlines. I did do quite a bit of research for this story, actually, and tackled some topics I’d never before set upon: doing Man/Elf, and dealing with a situation where Denethor is actually aware something is going on between his sons, and Faramir not being eager to throw himself at Boromir… But still, I prefer to stick to the generally familiar ground: it’s like when entertaining, it’s safer to cook a dish you’ve made before, you know what I mean? After all, the main point, I think, is to produce a good-quality story in five-weeks’ time – artistic development is a good thing, but I allow only as much of it as won’t interfere with the main goal of the whole exercise. I could have, of course, started writing about ships – and you would not have seen the story till next summer ;-p That’s to say, rest assured that for ‘freer’ projects, such as the one you might be aware of ;) I’m willing to be as adventurous as you like :)

And I very much like how you keep several lines open and consider all of them, it certainly leaves space for many possibilities – and isn’t that fun? :D

December    Friday 31 December 2010, 9:52    #

Ух! Ну вот и я в теме.
Должна признаться тебе, December, что я читала твое произведение три дня, и у меня было очень большое желание комментировать по главам. Однако взглянув на полосу комментариев )))))) (дорогая, да тут, блин, одних комментариев на 18 глав!!!!! Я вознамерилась уж прочитать их, дабы не повторяться, однако вовремя остановилась… Неужели ты думаешь, что у меня хватит терпения прочитать все написанное тебе и все твои ответы? Ну уж нет! И если я кое-где в своем отзыве повторю позицию и вопросы других участников, пожалуйста, не отсылай меня читать комменты и будь терпелива. В конце концов, моего терпения ведь хватило!:))))))))))…. Так о чем это я? Ах да, когда я взглянула на полосу комментариев и увидела, что Nerey Camile итак прокомментировала каждую главу, и наши с ней мнения, кажется, не слишком расходятся, я решила, что права я была, решив прочитать историю полностью и уже потом написать комментарий… Так, это было мое небольшое предисловие :)))

Теперь к твоему произведению… ЭТО БЫЛО СУПЕР!!!!!!! Хотя, впрочем, нет. Супер – слишком сухое слово, чтобы выразить полностью мое восхищение твоей историей. И не столько историей, сколько, скорее всего тобой. Но сначала об истории. Хочу выделить три момента, которые мне безусловно непререкаемо понравились:

1. Денэтор :))))))))))))))) Я помню, когда мы с тобой задевали его в наших обсуждениях, ты не раз повторяла, что для тебя он является одним из самых интересных персонажей. Однако признаюсь, что несмотря на то, что он мне тоже всегда нравился и моя позиция относительно его отношения к сыновьям всегда совпадала с твоей, однако же я никогда не принимала этого героя близко к сердцу. Твоя же история позволила мне увидеть твою позицию как бы изнутри. Увидеть, понять и принять. И, надо сказать, именно из-за того, как ты описала его здесь, Денэтор стал мне не только понятнее, но, как-то, роднее, что ли. Я им просто восхищена. О, не могу тебе описать, как меня всегда завораживала эта способность некоторых людей к острой проницательности, пониманию людских сердец, мотивов их поступков, их внутренних побуждений и конфликтов. И то, что Денэтор обладал этой способностью, причем способностью с такой полнотой понимать своих сыновей, возвысило его в моих глазах стократно. Мне нравится также, как он говорит со своими сыновьями в твоей истории, как он относится к ним, какая мудрость звучит в его словах. Мне нравится то уважение, с которым он относится к Фарамиру, та отеческая насмешка, с которой он разговаривает с Боромиром, и то преклонение, которое оба сына выказывают своему отцу. Ох, много хочется сказать, но меня уже и так понесло… С такими успехами я никогда не дойду до следующих понравившихся мне пунктов. Так что..

2.Отношения Фарамир-Боромир. Ну, для тебя уж точно не секрет, то эта пара для меня единственная и неповторимая, и я готова читать о них абсолютно все. Но что я вдруг вижу у тебя?! Что Боромир, как мы действительно с тобой обсуждали, снова одолеваем внутренними конфликтами и желаниями, связанными с любовными переживаниями, касающимися своего брата, но Фарамир…!!! Что Фарамир? О, читая твою историю, я с ужасом осознавала, что Фарамир боялся, что Боромир мог испытывать к нему подобные чувства. Он напрягся, когда Боромир держал его за руку, почувствовал огромное облегчение, когда Боромир не предпринял никаких шагов сближения с ним, и мысленно умолял его опровергнуть слова отца в последней сцене. December, неужели ты сделала это специально?! Боже, мне напоминает это какую-то историю, которую я читала ранее, где Фарамир безмерно страдал от того, что видел в глазах Боромира чувства к нему, которых там быть не должно было. Неужели ты писала об этом же?! О, как ты могла!!!!! …….Но в любовной главе между эльфом и Фарамиром я вдруг вижу абзац, который ставит меня в полной тупик. Фарамир вдруг думает, что Боромир бы никогда не целовал его с такой нежностью и искусностью, как это делает эльф… Что это? No, he was not seeking Boromir in this kiss, this had nothing to do with his brother – он не искал Боромира в этом поцелуе, но он думал о нем?! Выходит, Боромир занимал немалую часть его мыслей… И у меня вдруг сложилось впечатление, что Фарамир больше отрицал в себе небратские чувства к брату, чем не имел их. Скажи, считаешь ли ты свою историю законченной? Должна признаться, что мне показалось, что конец оказался слишком многообещающим, чтобы закрыть тему на такой ноте. Однако же, пойду дальше…

3.Эльф. И я очень злая и не буду упоминать его имя. Но он мне, честно сказать, понравился. Открою тебе секрет: когда я читала о чем-то, что бродит и ворует стрелы, я думала, что это черные призраки, но все вдруг проявилось в гораздо лучшем свете. Эльф хорош, и история его до боли душераздирающая, но мне он понравился, как нечто, что утерло нос гордому Боромиру. Смешно, но когда я прочитала последнюю сцену ревности, я с удовлетворением подумала, что ты отомстила красавцу сполна… ибо я вдруг совершенно не в тему вспомнила историю Shining one. В общем, сцена с ударом была очень сильной. И, как и часто бывает со мной в таких случаях, мне очень хотелось, чтобы после удара Боромир заключал Фарамира в свои объятия и рассказал ему о своей любви. И Фарамир, конечно, смягчился бы, забыл бы про своего эльфа и отдался своему брату… Эх, пустые фантазии. Но на деле же Боромир, вдруг, оказался неожиданно жесток и сказал вдруг слова, которые я от него ну никак не ожидала. Но что только не скажешь в порыве ревности и боли, не так ли? В общем, потрясающая сцена! Но конец, пойми, сложно назвать концом. История с эльфом осталась незаконченной, история с Боромиром только началась – ведь им еще жить да жить вместе… Вот как это понимать, а?

Это были идеи, мне больше всего понравившиеся. Признаюсь, что чтение на английском существенно снизило мое удовольствие от прочтения твоего рассказа и я в который раз спрашиваю тебя, когда ты начнешь публиковать на русском?! И есть ли этот рассказ на русском вообще? Если есть, то, может быть, ты скинешь мне его на почту? Но если и нет, я все же хочу выделить наиболее удавшиеся моменты, на мой взгляд:

“Yes,” Orophin nodded, putting his cup down. “That word… ‘tis not a good word – ‘invisible’,” he winced as he said it. “It carries a highly negative meaning, perfidious, unwholesome; and we do not use it unless to suggest something of the sort. We say ‘hidden’ and even ‘unseen’, but that is different. A thing can be unseen, and still be – that is how our capes work, they merely cover and blend in, they do not make something disappear. I… I really am not certain how to best explain this: it may seem like a subtle nuance to you, but the difference is tremendous. Invisibility is not natural, Faramir. Some things are not seen by design, and never shall be: like wind, like song; others have a hidden side to them that shows itself to some and does not to others – but things that can alternate in a blink,” raised his hand and clicked his fingers emphatically, “Faramir, it just goes against the order of the world. There are various… planes, levels of existence, and everything under the heavens is allocated its proper place. When an object is made invisible – where do you think it goes?”
Очень красиво описано! Очень вдумчиво. Ты знаешь, я, наверное, никогда не смогла бы вместить столь глубокую мысль в такое короткое предложение. Ты – просто неподражаема!

It filled the listener with pinching longing for the spring that was forever gone, yet at once it shone with the promise of another spring to return in its place, year after year, age after age, eternally. It was at once a lament for the fragile, fleeting grace of all living things – and a hymn to life’s immortal nature, its uninterruptible continuity, its power, glory and resplendence.
Просто слов нет, как красиво ты пишешь! Мне показалось, что я сама услышала эту песню и сердце мое наполнилось ожиданием чего-то прекрасного и нереального.

Denethor folded his arms and looked ahead of himself. “Men, my son, are weak – and foolish,” he said slowly. “And the more foolish they are, the less they realise their weakness. Oh yes, do not look surprised, each of you two is quite a fool, in his own way. Your brother, Faramir, cannot possibly deny himself anything he desires, nor does he think that he ought. And as for you – ah, you have always been prone to these,” Это одна из фраз Денэтора, которой я восхищаюсь несказанно. Дорогая моя, ну откуда в тебе такая мудрость?

Boromir inclined his head, and briefly pressed his nose to the side of Faramir’s neck, taking a deep breath of the younger’s scent. For one delirious sickening moment it seemed to Faramir the older man would proceed to actually kiss his skin, and he shivered – but Boromir drew back and looked at him appraisingly. Ммм, одна из сцен, от которых я не могла оторваться. О Боже, как хотелось мне, чтобы опасения Фарамира были не напрасны!:))))))

This was not a place where one would head in search of joy – this was a place to be alone with one’s sorrow. Просто сильное и красивое место.

Тебе еще не надоел мой комментарий? Еще одно место, которое меня очаровало:
And then, just as he was about to make his presence known, the air moved above the city of Minas Tirith, and wind came. It stirred the leaves and ruffled the grass ever so lightly at first, naught more but a playful loving caress and a gentle sigh – to then abruptly switch to potent passion, which it exerted with overwhelming speed and force, throwing itself at the slender trees and making them strain and groan as it bowed their branches and tousled their foliage.

Дорогая, ты самый непредсказуемый, самый совершенный и потрясающий автор из всех, кого я знала! У тебя словарный запас больше, чем у любого носителя языка, и я не раз заглядывала в словарь, чтобы посмотреть новое слово! Твои идеи просто невероятны! Ты, реально, замечательный автор и верь мне, я не игнорирую тебя и не избегаю. Я хочу и буду и дальше читать то, что ты пишешь, просто в последние недели у меня совсем нет времени. Но посмотри, я прочитала твое произведение и прочитаю все остальное, как только смогу. Разве после всего того, что я здесь увидела, у меня хватит силы воли нt заглянуть сюда вновь и не посмотреть, что написала моя December? :)))))) Спасибо тебе за твой труд!

Кстати, ты получила мое письмо?

— Anastasiya    Monday 10 January 2011, 5:56    #

Настасья, драгоценная, спасибо за такую чудесную рецензию!

3 дня читала? Мм, как приятно))

Повторы меня ничуть не смущают: мне интересно знать мнение каждого конкретного читателя, и то, что кто-то это уже когда-то говорил, вовсе не значит, что мне не захочется ещё раз это услышать)) Но вот только комменты читать опасно – а вдруг на спойлер натолкнёшься? ;) А так, если есть ещё что сказать конкретно по главам – ой, я только за, вперёд! Терпения читать комменты у меня больше, чем чего-либо))))

Дэнетор… Дэнетор, да, получился тут у нас в центре обсуждения, хотя это и не было моей целью) Я рада, что у тебя от него осталось такое впечатление! А то мне уже стало стыдно, каким я его злодейским злодеем тут показала – ан нет, всё зависит от читателя, как интерпретировать образ. А вообще, мне всегда казалось, что в его отношениях с сыновьями главное отнюдь не хлестание по щекам и беспочвенные оскорбления, а именно очень чёткое понимание того, что происходит у них в головах и прочих местах. Да, он, конечно, всё это очень по-своему понимает… Но что тут сделаешь, человек такой, и время такое, да и вообще – вот уж не знаю, что другой отец сделал бы на его месте.

По поводу Фарамир/Боромир. Ох, тяжёлая тема. Меня тянет смотреть на их возможную любовь с разных углов. В некоторых историях всё обоюдно и они ждут не дождутся, когда же можно будет наконец друг на друга прыгнуть – а в некоторых… Мой муз требует разнообразия! Мне очень нравится твой анализ по этой части. Боится – да, это, пожалуй, самое точное определение. А когда человек боится, трудно ведь что-либо сказать с полной уверенностью, да? Я не пыталась тут вывести некое окончательное заключение: хочет он Боромира или нет, любит его небратской любовью или нет, отказал бы ему или нет и т.п. Просто рассказала, как он на всё это смотрел во время развития событий истории. Конечно, это всё очень сложно и противоречиво. Он и так-то не мог понять, что же всё-таки происходит, а тут ещё вся эта история с Орофином, и вмешательство отца… В общем, как тебе нравится, так и понимай :)))))

Считаю ли законченной? Я скажу так: я считаю эту историю рассказанной. Больше мне рассказывать нечего. То есть понятно, что впереди еще 15 лет жизни Боромира, и, как и говорит Дэнетор, много ещё чего может произойти, но… Всё же основные векторы развития событий, я думаю, тут уже заложены, равно как и векторы динамики отношений между братьями. Первый куплет спет, и мелодия уже заложена. Случится ли между ними объяснение и божественный секс – это уж не мне судить, как-никак, это не мной придуманный мир, и за героев я уж точно ничего не решаю. Мне нравится дать некий простор фантазии читателя, чтобы было желание “додумать” возможные варианты их будущего. Если у тебя таковой вариант имеется – можешь рассказать, мне несказанно любопытно))

А эльф. Ну а что про него ещё писать? Эта история про Фарамира, и Орофин из неё вынужден выйти. Что уж там с ним будет потом, на это Фарамир вряд ли может как-то повлиять. А почему, кстати, ты злая относительно него??

На русском нет, этого рассказа нет, и вряд ли будет. Свои вещи мне очень тяжело переводить. Для меня английский, это как ткань в клетку, а русский – цветочный узор. У языка совсем другая пластика, другие законы передачи смысла и чувств… И потом, я к русскому тексту настолько более требовательна, могу сама себя съесть))) Да и переводить сцену секса я тоже не очень-то знаю как. В общем я рада, что ты хочешь читать меня на Великом и Могучем, и для этого я на нём и буду писать, сразу))

Спасибо за разбор по цитатам, очень приятно! С песней рада, что тебя задело) В книге очень много музыки, и мне всегда хотелось сохранить это ощущение, но вот только написать песню на уровне с Толкиеном я не буду даже пытаться, поскольку есть всё-таки вещи заветные) А написать плохенькую песенку – какой в этом смысл? Так что я просто описываю музыку, в силу своих возможностей))

Ещё раз, спасибо тебе наиогромнейшее за отзыв! Чем больше, тем лучше)))

Не, письмо не получала…

December    Thursday 13 January 2011, 16:07    #

Сделала злодеем Денэтора? В смысле, кто-то тебе говорил в комменте, что он получился у тебя злодеем? Да уж, тогда что можно сказать о тех многочисленных историях, которые мы стобой постоянно обсуждаем и где он совсем не такой лояльный:)))). Не, ну правда, какой же он у тебя злодей? Наоборот, он просто душка. Видимо, мнения о злодействе у нас с кем-то очень различаются.

Что бы другой отец сделал бы на его месте? Ну, настоящий злодей, по моему сугубо личному мнению, избил бы своего к великому несчастью родившегося второго сына и отослал бы куда-нибудь подальше из страны:)))) Так что еще раз повторяю: до злодея твоему Денэтору о-очень далеко.

Фарамир-Боромир: только что я написала коммент к твоей русской истории, а теперь, вновь перечитав твою фразу к этой истории: “Я не пыталась тут вывести некое окончательное заключение: хочет он Боромира или нет, любит его небратской любовью или нет, отказал бы ему или нет и т.п.”, улыбаюсь задумчивой улыбкой… Ты написала там: “Пальцы Фарамира у Боромира между ягодиц, губы Боромира у Фарамира по шее. Сдавленный, полупьяный вздох, прижатая к груди ладонь: подожди… Широкая довольная улыбка: ну, пóлно, ты же всегда знал, что так будет.”, и у меня в голове пронеслась явная связь между тем, что могло бы быть в продолжении “Морских узлов” в вообржении Арагорна и тем, что, на мой взгляд, ожидалось бы, в конце концов, здесь:)))) Ты сама дала волю воображению читателя:). Как видишь, мое воображение работает, а главные мысли твоих историй так или иначе объединяют друг друга (или дополняют).

Что касается того, что ты ничего не решаешь за героев и это не тобой придуманный мир:)))), ну полно, дорогая! Ты постоянно мне это повторяешь, и мне постоянно хочется сказать: зачем эта комедия? Да, во мне эти твои слова всегда вызыают улыбку, но мы ведь обе понимаем, что все, что написано автором, не важно, на бумаге ли, на компе ли или просто в воображении, – это все отражение внутреннего мира самого автора. Ты никогда не напишешь то, что не заложено у тебя внутри, ровно как никогда не скажешь даже в порыве гнева того, что не было у тебя в душе. Вот поэтому, я никогда не буду продолжать твою историю – она твоя история. И если ты считаешь, что написать здесь больше нечего, значит все, что будет написано кем-либо в продолжении, уже будет лишь отражением внутреннего мира другого человека, а мне приятней читать мысли самого автора произведения. И я не хочу упоминать здесь Толкиена – фик, все же, существует совершенно отдельно и самостоятельно, и все, что ты написала в Семейный играх – это только твое произведение.

— Anastasiya    Wednesday 19 January 2011, 6:18    #

Настя, спасибо за коммент!

А, моя дорогая, ты считаешь, я кокетничаю? ;) Вовсе нет. Ты ведь сама говоришь: приходит из внутреннего мира. Причём же тут решения? Оно же само приходит. И да, я тебе это много раз повторяю, потому что для меня так оно и есть. Я как бы смотрю в голове кино и с него записываю на бумагу сценарий – я его не выдумываю. Для меня мои истории, знаешь, как такие маленькие белые птички. Я склеиваю их из перышек – и с какого-то момента они начинают жить уже своей жизнью, мне остаётся только доклеить перышки на уже заранее определённое место. А потом они улетают. И если я через несколько месяцев их перечитываю, они уже воспринимаются мной, как и любая другая работа, а не как что-то “моё”, принадлежащее мне. И да, я всё-таки упрямо привязываю свои работы к Толкиену. Да, мне могут 1000 раз сказать, что Толкиен бы нас всех, бесстыжих слэшеров, убил бы кочергой за такое святотатственное обращение с его персонажами. И да, ни в одной из тех его работ, что на сегодняшний день я прочла, не было указаний на однополую любовь – про секс в деталях я уж молчу. И всё же, всё же, в моём личном понимании всё это каким-то образом вписывается в мир Арды. Люди в ней в общем-то такие же, как и в нашей реальности, поэтому мне не кажется преувеличением допустить, что среди прочего там точно так же встречаются мужчины и женщины, которых тянет к представителям своего же пола. Так что для меня описание в фике однополой любви вовсе не ставит этот фик в категорию запредельной фантазии.

И вообще, для меня все фанфики по ВК делятся на 2 группы: которые я воспринимаю как органичную часть мира Толкиена, и именно такие я и люблю читать и хочу писать – и на те, которые нет. Здесь влияют и атмосфера, и поведение и героев, и много ещё что. Бывает ведь, история сама по себе отличная – но всё же это уже что-то совсем другое, отдельно стоящее, и не возникает чувства родства с оригиналом. Да, это, безусловно, ограничивает творческую свободу: но ведь таков формат, мы сами делаем выбор писать в эту вселенную, могли и ориджинал сочинить, где делай что хочешь, никто тебе не указ. И мир этот действительно придуман не нами: мы каждый раз это пишем в дисклеймере, и это ведь не пустые слова.

Говоришь, мои работы перекликаются? Да, это так, я уж и сама об этом думала… Это, пожалуй, неизбежно, ведь пишу я про одних и тех же людей в контексте романтических отношений, и хоть и пейрю их по-разному, всё равно, сделать так, чтобы ни одна из моих историй не была похожа на другую, я не могу.

И ещё, знаешь, я тут обнаружила тенденцию: у меня проблема со счатливыми концами. Меня тянет писать “настоящие” истории, как могло бы быть на самом деле – а глазированный happy end после первой ночи любви мной не воспринимается, как реальность. Ведь даже если наконец-то наши герои переспали и даже признались друг другу в любви – это же вовсе не конец, это только начало. И надо ещё посмотреть, что они через 5 лет друг о друге будут думать. И вулканический секс ещё вовсе не означает, что они уживутся вместе, что в перерывах между постелью им будет интересно друг с другом. Поэтому, наверное, я так и люблю Ф/Б – с ними легче поверить, что они подходят друг к другу, как 2 половинки, потому что у них и так очень близкие отношения, и внутреннее родство и т.п.

Спасибо за добрые слова про Дэнетора! Ох, и противоречивый персонаж)))

December    Wednesday 19 January 2011, 10:38    #

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About the Author


December

Greetings, fellow fan, and welcome!

What to expect to find here: All the stories are based on Book-verse for looks and personalities, although you will often find the canon bent (hehe) in terms of events. Please prepare for an unhurried, often bitter-sweet read with lots of sexual tension.

A bit about me for those interested: feisty redhead headquartered in New Zealand. Living in a wooden house in the old forest not far from the sea – probably goes some way to explain why I write what I do. Other than reading and writing, my passions are music, visual arts, travel, gardening, dance, horses, acrobatics, medieval martial arts, jewellery making, banter, and above all chocolate.

Was introduced to Tolkien at the tender age of six, was never the same since.

Always keen to collaborate with all ye good folke in the fandom. Feel free to get in touch if you’re looking for a beta reader, too. Please, also, if you’re one of the dudes in the fandom, I would really really appreciate if you could please take a moment to share a bit of your perspective on how authentically my stories portray relationships between men.

Also, if you’re looking to visit New Zealand, happy to offer a bed and breakfast (second breakfast negotiable).

Cheers.