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[personal profile] ost_in_edhil
Here's another tennis ball lobbed back in reponse to Kindness Repaid on [livejournal.com profile] surgsteelfic Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] surgicalsteel for allowing me to borrow Serindë, for writing Serindë's fearful soliloquy, and all 'round instigation. :^)

Despite the frigid rain that spat from an iron sky, Mélamírë decided this was a gloriously beautiful day in this city of cold stone. She wrapped the woolen cloak tighter around her body when a gust of wind struck her. The walk from the Citadel to the Houses of Healing was short, but she relished every second of freedom from her quarters which had become confining of late. She breathed in the damp air, absorbing the moment of then and there.

She had awoken from her afternoon nap more refreshed than she had been in months, and certainly since her sons had been born almost two months ago. Today, the babies had slept just a bit longer, letting her rest immersed in a dream that had perturbed but also exhilarated her. Her excitement threatened to bubble over unless she could share it with the one whom she knew would most appreciate the idea.

Ivrineth, her midwife, had been on hand to help with the boys when they had awoken shortly after Mélamírë had. With gentle but firm orders, the midwife had directed the young nursemaids to change the babies' diapers and then helped Mélamírë settle the infants at her breasts.

"You're lucky," said Ivrineth had said, watching Mélamírë maneuver the babies. "Your boys have a good latch. It's a challenge for mothers to nurse twins, but you're mastering the art."

"Practice makes perfect," replied Mélamírë. "Sometimes it feels like nursing them is all I do these days."

"That will improve. I hear young Fëaril has been gracing his father with smiles. That must please your husband."

"It does, and Culunáro is not to be outdone by his brother." She lowered her eyes to look at the babies, both vigorously sucking. Ivrineth rose and poured water the empty glass sitting on the low table by the bed. Ivrineth's anticipation of her needs as a new mother -- even the smallest ones -- never failed to impress Mélamírë. The boys' nursing had slowed, and they had entwined their free hands. Once they released her, Mélamírë had asked the midwife, “Would you mind staying here for a little while with the babies while I go speak to Mistress Serindë at the Houses of Healing? I would like to see her sooner than later. It’s not that I don’t trust Férwen or Meril. They are so helpful but…”

“…they are so young and still learning.” The mortal woman finished her sentence, voicing Mélamírë’s concern about the two girls whom Mélamírë and her husband had employed recently as nursemaids. “Go on, my lady. I daresay Mistress Serindë will be glad to see you. You've not set foot outside of your quarters for weeks now so the outing would do you good, too.” Ivrineth lifted Culunáro, now sated but bright-eyed, from Mélamírë’s side. “The boys will be fine, and should you be needed, I can always send a messenger boy to the Houses.”

Grateful for the opportunity to have some of her own time, Mélamírë had thanked the midwife. She had wriggled into a chemise, pulled a wool shirt over her head, yanked on old trousers pock-marked with burns, thrust her stockinged feet into worn boots -- the cast-offs of a mortal smith -- and had been ready within minutes, kissing her babies before she left. It was not that she did not cherish her sons -- she loved them more than she could ever have imagined -- but she sometimes felt like motherhood had consumed every facet of her life. At times, she was unsure where the babies ended and she began.

The rain now stung with pellets of sleet that bounced off the stone street. Mélamírë picked up her pace, reaching the entryway of the Houses shortly. She shoved back her hood and asked a harried group of apprentices if the surgeon was in her office.

“Butcher, you mean, my lady?” the young man said. “Yes, she is in her office now, probably slicing and dicing our exams.” His companions snickered.

Mélamírë’s lifted brow silenced them. Apprentices! she thought. Are they all the same? She rebuked herself at the uncharitable thought while she made her way through the corridors. She had been an apprentice herself to two demanding masters, not just one, having to prove herself again and again not only to them, but also to her male peers, many of whom had whispered that she – a woman – had been apprenticed to the Otornassë Míretanoron only because of the connections of kin. Her own first apprentice had been a gawky boy of little means who had turned out to be wonderful student. She smiled when she thought of Thornangor. How glad she had been to find him living in Imladris, that he had survived the fall of Ost-in-Edhil and had not taken the Straight Road to Elvenhome. No longer an awkward youth, Thorno had grown into talented master smith and a strikingly handsome man, but still with the same humor and wide-eyed wonder that he had as a boy.

A few more turns in the halls brought her to the closed door with the sign on it:

Headquarters of the Butcher of North Ithilien
Trespassers Subject to a Death Worse Than Fate.

Mélamírë ran her fingers over the darkly humorous warning: a death worse than fate. She remembered the first time she had seen that and had laughed aloud. Serindë had been pleased that she had gotten the joke. Mélamírë had responded that with her family’s checkered history, she couldn’t help but appreciate the grim humor.

She knocked firmly. An irritable “Come in!” snapped from behind the door. The apprentices were right. She must be marking exams, thought Mélamírë. “This had better be important or…”

“My good broideress,” Mélamírë slipped into the surgeon’s office.

“Istyanis! I’m surprised your young taskmasters let you go,” said the surgeon, leaning back in her chair and smoothing her shirt over her belly, which week by week swelled with her unborn child.

“The boys were unusually cooperative. They slept longer this afternoon and were in a good mood when I left them with Ivrineth and the girls.”

“So Férwen and Meril are working out?”

“For the most part. I still feel more comfortable with Ivrineth.”

“They’ll learn from her. I think you can trust them. It was good of you to take them under your charge.”

“The least we could do, all things considered,” said Mélamírë, thinking of all the fathers, husbands, sons and brothers who had perished during the War of the Ring and left many women and children adrift. She rubbed the mithril ring on her left forefinger absently, a long-ingrained habit. “Look, Broideress, I’m running on borrowed time so I’ll get to the point. I’m here about your lights.”

All color in the surgeon’s face drained away in an instant. “You’re here about…my…my…Oh, sweet sanity!” Serindë stammered, flattening her hand against her upper chest as if trying to catch her breath.

“What in Udun’s blazes is wrong with you? You look like you’ve seen a wraith.”

“Sorry, I likely didn't eat enough earlier. Let me just find the tin with the ginger biscuits...” The healer made to stand but not before Mélamírë had waved her back to sit, the elf-smith striding over to the cabinet where the tin was kept, the sharp scent of ginger tickling her keen senses even through the sealed container.

“Here.” Mélamírë handed the tin to Serindë who popped open its lid, sending ginger fragrance throughout the office, causing Mélamírë’s mouth to water. She gratefully accepted the proffered tin from Serindë and helped herself to a couple of biscuits.

“So,” said Mélamírë between bites of the second biscuit, making note that she really must ask for the recipe of these delectable tidbits. “Have you recovered enough that I can tell you of my plans for your lights?”

Serindë mumbled a "yes," her mouth full, so Mélamírë proceeded.

“The curwë is based on that which the Noldor of Aman used for their famous blue lights, but a bit different. Like those, these lights do not use flame but a…” Mélamírë thought a moment of how to explain it. “They exploit a cold process, something that is desirable given your use of ether. You are, of course, familiar with fireflies and glow worms. Do you know of animalcules that give off light?”

Serindë nodded again, all color now back in her face. “Yes! We call these Uinen’s Stars. They bloom in the coves near Dol Amroth. If you wade or swim through the water at night, little motes of light sparkle all around you.”

Mélamírë smiled, again pleased by her friend’s sharp mind and quick uptake of concepts. “There you have it! The essences that produce those lights in fireflies and such animalcules can be captured and combined. One of my colleagues in Ost-in-Edhil did exactly this. With the assistance of his master, he knitted together the essence of fireflies with that of light-producing animalcules that grow in swamp lands and then embedded this mix in crystal. The crystals then emit light, but instead of blue like the older Noldorin lamps, the light is bright – more like sunlight – which would serve your needs better. I mean to replicate Sámaril’s methods to create lights for your operative theater.”

“Sounds like elf-magic!”

Mélamírë cocked her left brow, readying to explain that no, this was not magic, even though it might seem like that, until she saw the twinkle in the surgeon’s eyes and noted that Serindë had added a burr to her voice-- a burr like one of the Shirefolk -- when she had said that. Serindë was, as the Mannish vernacular said, pulling her leg.

“Yes, you might say that. But from a more practical standpoint, if you have a moment, I’d like to have a look at the operative theater. I have a good idea of its dimensions and existing lighting, but I’d like to confirm this.”

Mélamírë thought she saw the ghost of anxiety flit across Serindë’s face, but it disappeared after the surgeon picked up another biscuit and rose from her chair.

“No time like the present,” she said.

Mélamírë rose from her chair, but something on Serindë’s desk caught her eye. A book. She picked it up, looked at the cover, and opened it, leafing through its contents.

“Khandri verses! And rather choice ones at that.”

But instead of responding with an acidic quip as Mélamírë expected, her friend snatched the book from her and replaced it on the shelf. Serindë’s face was not as pale as it had been before, but still drawn.

She is pregnant after all, thought Mélamírë. I know I was often queasy and moody, too. She followed the surgeon out of the office and told Serindë of her plans while they walked along the corridors.

“Now I intend to ask the King to send a party to the Dead Marshes to collect the animalcules. Perhaps you could suggest a scholar interested in natural history who is also not a superstitious type to do this? Then…well, I have been informed that a cave in the White Mountains has deposits of clear quartz that will suit my purposes admirably. I’m thinking Gimli and his folk might assist there. Now for the cultures of the materials, I’ll require vats in one of the breweries for the broth in which to grow the animalcules and filters to separate them from the broth. Ah, yes! Broth! I’ll need yeast extract and beef broth.” Mélamírë interrupted her stream of words and chuckled. “I know you are quite familiar with the latter. At any rate, I’ll need quantities of those. I must collect some samples from a privy for the base animalcule in which the essences of firefly and the swamp animalcule will be placed or maybe I could obtain such from one of your patients? Fresh stool would be fine for that and...”

“Are you going to take a breath, Istyanis?” Serindë had stopped before a set of doors.

Mélamírë laughed. “I do get carried away, don’t I?”

Serindë’s mouth bowed with a wry smile. “I have been known to babble, too.”

“You’ll have to forgive me. I haven’t spoken to anyone about this since Sámaril told me about his work. How I miss him! He was more than a colleague -- my brother-of-the-heart, really.”

As soon as she said those words, the horrible memory of when she had last heard the same phrase threatened to engulf her: a nightmarish scene of the two men who had once been close friends, one bound and naked, and the other ready to set a hot iron rod on the exposed flesh of the man whom he had named his brother-of-the-heart. Mercifully, she had lost consciousness from what had felt like a blow to her head before she had seen more. She forcefully shoved the agonizing image into the vaults of deep memory.

She shook her head a little, returning to the present, looked around the operative theater and proceeded to pace its length and width, all the while nattering about the natural daylight in the theater from the north-facing windows, the placement of the new lights, and that they should be made for mobility on campaigns as well as for use in the theater.

She returned to Serindë who stood by the basin where trays of surgical instruments lay. All had been cleaned, but Mélamírë spotted the taint of rust. She picked up a scalpel, turning it over and scrutinizing it.

“Rust is an issue which could be eliminated by using different alloys,” she said offhandedly when she set the scalpel back on the tray.

Again, Serindë's face lost all color, alarming Mélamírë. Mere illness from pregnancy had not caused the surgeon’s discomfort. Mélamírë saw outright fear in the surgeon’s eyes, but also a look of puzzlement, too, as Serindë studied her face as if in search of an answer. The change in the surgeon’s expression – from fear to astonishment -- told Mélamírë that pieces just might be falling together. Mélamírë knew she must take control of the situation, cursing mentally that it had come to this. It was too soon in their friendship for the frank discussion that the truth would entail.

“I am not the first with whom you have discussed the need for lights, am I?”

Serindë swallowed hard. “Yes, I’ve heard what you’re suggesting before. Please don’t ask… They’ll hang me, you see. It’s been… You must have heard about the whole damned investigation, surely?” Mélamírë nodded. That had been a tumultuous time for Serindë. The surgeon continued. “My brother was cleared, thank the stars, but my aunt, my first cousin, they came this close to being convicted of treason – trading black powder to Umbar, for the love of sanity, and pipeweed and foodstuffs from the Shire down to Isengard…” she stopped, took a breath, and shook her head. “Helping open up trade routes that allowed Saruman’s people into Bree and the Shire, and one of my son’s childhood playmates killed because the bastards were looking for my daughter...No, they’d hang me. And it wouldn’t be the first time they’ve tried, either, you know. Denethor – he hated me, and I can’t say I felt kindly toward him, either, and he only left me alone for as long as he did because I was good at my work. But he hated me, and he knew I was popular with the troops – because I treated them well, you know, and he knew I was Aragorn’s friend, and he suspected Aragorn’s identity and I think he was afraid I’d throw my support to Aragorn if he claimed the throne and that some of the men would go with Aragorn because of me. He must have plotted for years… It was a charge that would stick, you know, graverobbing, because I was in charge of the dissection theater. Fuck, my own mother believed it. So I was given the choice of leaving or staying and facing trial and being hanged – and for myself I don’t think I’d care, but they’d start looking at Halbarad and Thorongil and Tarië and I’ve another child on the way. I can’t risk… I thought it was a dream at first, there was someone in my office looking through my books…” she stopped and shook her head. “No, I can’t...they’ll hang me.”

Mélamírë, astounded by the litany of fear that had streamed from Serindë, did the most natural thing she could think of: she embraced the surgeon, who, stiff at first, melted into a returned hug.

“Don’t worry, Broideress,” said Mélamírë, patting her friend’s back. “No one will hang you. They would have to get past me to do that!” She released the surgeon who had quickly regained composure and wiped her eyes. In the space of a few breaths, Serindë had delivered to Mélamírë a list of sound reasons for fear. From what Mélamírë had observed of the machinations that roiled beneath the surface of courtly behavior, the threat of hanging was a real one, whether Elessar sat on the throne or not. Mélamírë studied her mortal friend. She knew that Serindë had only skimmed the surface of the fears that must have dogged her steps for years. This woman did not need another reason for fear thrown into the mix. Mélamírë knew then how she must handle this.

“I believe I know who you think it was you saw in your dream, but be assured I will not tell anyone. It’s not in anyone’s interest to tell, neither mine nor yours. But let’s think about this logically. You say that...this unnamed person spoke to you in a dream. Earlier, you made that remark about Sauron and shaking his hand, and you had recently seen me. I understand that those of Númenórean blood sometimes have prescient dreams. It could be that you dreamed of our conversation today, but your dreaming mind set that other person in my place, a person whom your dream decided was Sauron himself.”

“Perhaps, but that doesn’t explain the book of Khandri verses. When I woke, it was exactly where…that person placed it.”

“Or you might have placed it there yourself the previous evening and being tired, forgot that you had. An exhausted mind can play tricks on memory.”

“I wasn’t that tired!” Serindë snapped. “I know that book had been on the shelves and...”

“Is that what you wish to believe?” Mélamírë's eyes bored into her friend’s. “Or is it better to be logical about this? Sauron was destroyed when the Ring was. He is no more. What you saw was the phantom of your own mind combined with your native prescience. Nothing more, Serindë. Nothing more.”

Serindë opened her mouth, ready for a response, but then snapped it shut and nodded. “Yes, nothing more. It’s better to be logical about this.”

“Indeed it is,” said Mélamírë. Then a tingling sensation tightened her breasts, now full of milk again, and dark splotches dampened her shirt. “Ai! If this doesn’t tell me I’d best return to my babes, I don’t know what would. I must take my leave, Broideress. I will begin plans for the lamps. Rest assured I will tell no one of your dream.”

The women walked together back to Serindë’s office. Mélamírë left her friend, making her way to the main gates of the Houses of Healing. She wrapped the cloak around her before she stepped out into the sleet and wind, but she did not hurry, instead taking a more circuitous route back to the Citadel. The boys could wait a few more minutes for her. She had a discussion that needed tending first. She pulled her hood further over her head to overshadow her face, but the street was empty of passersby, assuring her that no one would notice her apparently talking to herself. She then forcefully rubbed her thumb against the mithril ring and muttered “Wake up!” several times.

Yes? murmured the disembodied but familiar voice, remote at first but then more distinct, deep and silky. I am here.

“What in all of Eä were you thinking?" she whispered between gritted teeth. "You spoke to her before I had a chance to...by the Valar, can’t you not interfere?”

Well, she did say she would shake my hand if I could provide better lights for her. How could I resist such a challenge? As I told you before, I owe her forefather a great deal. In a way, I believe I owe her something, too. Besides, I think she rather enjoyed our conversation. I know I did.

“Do you have any idea how frightened she is now?”

She has no reason to be afraid, and you know it. I trust that you can take care of any difficulties this might present.

“How like you to use another to achieve your ends!” Mélamírë gasped with exasperation. “If I could fling you all the way to the Máhanaxar, I would.”

I wish you could. The voyage to Valinor on Olórin’s hand is going to be a very long one: that much closer to that awful pipe of his and who knows what else.

In spite of herself, she snorted. He still had his sardonic sense of humor. That had always been fundamental to his personality, even before ambition consumed him, but she knew that the playful bravado covered something else. In spite of his motivation to return to Valinor, repent and throw himself at the Valar’s mercy, he was deeply frightened of what awaited him in the Máhanaxar.

He should be frightened, she thought. Some of the Valar could be merciless. She knew the punishment of his dark master weighed heavily upon him: Morgoth had been shoved past the Gates of Night into the strange thing that lurked in the heart of the Sirë Elenion, the Mother of Ungweliantë, the Valar called it -- the monster that devoured all light. She found herself almost pitying the one trapped in her ring, a voluntary prison of his own devising. She mentally shook herself. He did not deserve pity, and she refused to give it to him.

The voice had been silent while she walked along the wet street. She thought he might have gone back to sleep, but then the voice spoke again:

Admit it, Náryen. You are looking forward to crafting these lamps. Motherhood becomes you, but you must apply your intellect to more than your sons, as worthy as they might be. Just think. These lamps will be counted among your great works: the Mirror of Galadriel, the forging of Andúril, and now this. The Lights of the Houses of Healing or probably a name more pretentious if the habits of the Gondorian loremasters hold true.

“More likely the Butcher’s Beacons or something even less flattering. Apprentices usually name these things.”

Usually, the disembodied voice chuckled. Nonetheless, you will help many others if you craft these. And remember there’s nothing wrong with taking pride in one’s work.

“The lamps will be nothing more than replications of Sámaril’s and your methods.”

Oh, please. I know you. I fully expect that you will add your own touches, which will improve the lamps that much more.

“That’s entirely possible.” She walked through the tunnel that led to the Citadel, her footsteps echoing until she stopped before she walked out into the cold sleet again. She faced the white sapling, its pale form small and graceful in the mist of sleet and rain. She stared at it for a few moments, hoping this symbol of triumph over his dark designs might reach him, reminding him of what he had done and all those he had hurt. “I’m almost home. You must go back to sleep.”

Very well. I am at your mercy. The voiced paused. So when do you think we can start working on the lamps?

“Soon. Now please, go to sleep. And don’t trouble Serindë.”

She waited before she entered the Citadel. Her mithril ring warmed a little, like a fleeting kiss, and then was silent.

Yes, soon, she thought. And as much as she hated to admit it, she looked forward to working with him again.


curwë - technology

For those who are less familiar with The Silmarillion, the Máhanaxar is the Ring of Doom before the gates of Valmar in Aman.

Mélamírë's reaction to the phrase "brother-of-the-heart" is explained further in Broken Star in my (pandemonium's) little corner of the Silmarillion Writers' Guild (see sidebar). She had the misfortune of witnessing part of that terrible event.

Date: 2009-04-14 06:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
*bounces* SQUEEEEEeeeeeeee! *bounces more*

I love this so much! This was absolutely wonderful!

I have nothing more coherent to add at the moment. :D

Date: 2009-04-14 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Thanks! This is just too much fun. :^D

Date: 2009-04-14 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofoshun.livejournal.com
Great story loved all the references to both your story cycle and Surgicalsteel's. Laughed at Denethor not liking Serinde (not likely he would)! Loved the jokes about apprentices and also the mention of adorable Thorno (I love him so much). Sorry if my comments are incoherent, but I really enjoyed the story. (I'm a little confused about how exactly Sauron is living in the rings though. Where did you write about that?)
Edited Date: 2009-04-14 07:15 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-14 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Thanks so much , Oshun. Steel and I find that we are pretty synergistic.*

Sauron in the ring is in "Inheritance" tucked away here under lock and key. That was the birthday fic** I wrote for Gandalf's Apprentice. You read that quite some time ago, so I'm not surprised that slipped by. Also, the mithril ring that Aulendil is engraving in "All Rings Great and Small" in The Apprentice (I think that is the chapter) is the very same ring that Mélamírë is wearing...and w/ wh whom she is conversing.

*Not unlike you and Dawn.
**I have a modern times Nelyo and Káno fic in mind for your belated b-day. :^)

Edited Date: 2009-04-14 07:34 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-14 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofoshun.livejournal.com
Thanks for the reference. I knew I had read something, but the details were to fuzzy and the where and how of it, I wanted to re-visit.

I can see how synergistic you are! More fun for all of your readers.

Yes, it's odd and really great to come across another person whose universe is so compatible.

**I have a modern times Nelyo and Káno fic in mind for your belated b-day. :^)

Wow! That would be quite a treat! Looking to forward to it.

Date: 2009-04-14 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofoshun.livejournal.com
I re-read "Inheritance." Great read. There was really a lot of personal!canon of yours in that segment. (Really a hoot to see how extensively I had commented on it at the time and then managed to misplace the ring details a few months later! Oh, well. Senior moment, I guess!)

Date: 2009-04-15 11:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Heh. I have many senior moments. And I'm not going through nicotine withdrawal.

Thanks for having a look again, and naturally, I edited a sentence of two while I was in there, too. I'm afraid my personal canon is so wrapped up in my own head that it's probably obscure to others.

Date: 2009-04-15 04:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Yes, I re-read "Inheritance" as well. Wonderful, just wonderful.

Date: 2009-04-15 11:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Thanks so much, Lilith!

Date: 2009-04-14 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
I had a lot of fun even just helping with this - Pandë mentioned the idea, and I said 'Oh, this is how Serindë would react,' and the next thing I knew she'd taken over my fingers and her panicked diatribe was written.

I'd be happy to give you links to the various confrontations I've written between Denethor and Serindë, too, all the way back to a young apprentice healer falling off a ladder in the archives and landing on the Steward's Heir. ;)

Date: 2009-04-14 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofoshun.livejournal.com
give you links to the various confrontations I've written between Denethor and Serindë

I would love that!

Date: 2009-04-14 11:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
This would be the first one in my timeline (although not the first one I wrote, I tend to be non-linear and can't stick to a story outline for the life of me):
The Incident in the Archives.

This one makes reference to another confrontation:
Disciplinary Action.

This one's actually one of the earliest bits I wrote, so the prose isn't the greatest:
The Making of a Surgeon

And I've got two different perspectives on the actual banishment from Minas Tirith:
Exile and Charges.

Will that do for a start? :D

Date: 2009-04-14 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofoshun.livejournal.com
Thanks! I'm looking forward to reading them. I completely understand non-linear. I jump all over the place chronologically in my own Matimo and Findekano story cycle.

Date: 2009-04-14 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
Yay for another non-linear writer! :D

One of Maine's most famous writers, Stephen King, apparently is a non-linear writer, too. He's just down the road in Bangor. ;)
Edited Date: 2009-04-14 11:35 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-15 11:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
King's book On Writing sits on my book shelf. In it he discusses his non-linear approach, which is pretty cool.

Date: 2009-04-15 11:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
I've been known to read non-linearly, too. In fact, that's what I did the first time I read The King's Surgeon! But on subsequent reads, I was linear.

Date: 2009-04-15 12:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Without revealing too much, I heard a rumor that Steel is writing a fic that just might have a guest appearance from Thorno.

I really like him, too. I thought of a fic featuring him that would fit nicely into the early part of Eregion. Taking inspiration from Darth Fingon's imperfect elves, Thorno will come from the elvish equivalent of the "lower class" and will piss off his father, a guard of Ost-in-Edhil, who thinks Thorno is striving beyond his station when he wants to try to join the Gwaith-i-Mirdain.

Date: 2009-04-15 12:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whitewave16.livejournal.com
A feature about Thorno would be very nice indeed.

Date: 2009-04-15 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Oh, yes, yes, yes! I think that's fantastic!

Date: 2009-04-14 08:49 pm (UTC)
ext_79824: (black leather)
From: [identity profile] rhapsody11.livejournal.com
Oh my gosh, the plot thickens and I really really could not resist reading this while I should be off to bed with the wee!one. More coherent thoughts in the morrow, but I loved this. Many things clicked suddenly! *hugs*

Date: 2009-04-14 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
I'm pleased to have been allowed to contribute to this - working with Pandë is so much fun!

Date: 2009-04-15 09:19 pm (UTC)
ext_79824: (Dance)
From: [identity profile] rhapsody11.livejournal.com
You two make such a great team. I could see why she would be so afraid: there is even now with a babe on its way even more at stake!

Date: 2009-04-15 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Mélamírë would sympathize with your need for rest. :^)

Thanks for having a look, Rhapsy!

Date: 2009-04-15 09:27 pm (UTC)
ext_79824: (Gods - Rome)
From: [identity profile] rhapsody11.livejournal.com
Pffff and again I am having a look when I should be in bed. As a mom I take a delight in those touches of mommyhood, babies latching on strongly *nods* Been there. It makes her in a way a very tangible character, especially the notion of not knowing where the babies and and you begin. However wouldn't she worried that when mr Dad/Sauron takes over how that would in a way interfere with her maternal instincts? He could block out perhaps her 6th sense of when a baby needs her. I know this sounds silly but I usually wake up before Susannah does, so I have been wondering how an internal sense can be turned towards that. These days I miss half of Kevin's nightly awakenings (I manage to sleep through those, hubby doesn't). But then she's lucky and she has nursemaids, so she probably would rely on them, nvm. I sometimes do wonder if I am not being too much of a mom these days instead of, eum, me. OKay, I should really sleep.

Date: 2009-04-16 12:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
I'm afraid my elves are not ethereal beings, but quite human so yep, Mél will face a lot of the same issues we do. I know we've heard the objections to such humanized elves (who are human!) on the SWG Yahoo group, i.e., "Elves are not just Pretty Men." Well, no, but JRRT wrote that they are "Men as we would like to be" which could mean all the time in the world to pursue interests, free from chronic disease, etc. I have to wonder if those who object to elves which are "just Pretty Men" have ever performed the thought exercise of sitting down next to a relatively ordinary-looking man or woman, perhaps noticeably fit and healthy and appearing to be in, oh, say his or her mid-thirties or so (prime of life). Then find out that he or she is 2000 years old. That would give me the heebie jeebies.

Be assured that Mél's children have nothing to worry about from Sauron and that "6th sense" (I know what you mean, too!) will remain intact. What's in the ring is the better (but weakened and diminished) part of himself that survived all this time. Still doesn't mean he's entirely good though. :^)

Date: 2009-04-16 09:00 pm (UTC)
ext_79824: (Bards)
From: [identity profile] rhapsody11.livejournal.com
Well reading the quote from Tolkien from his letter regarding the biology of both (that they are equal), well you know what I mean, I wouldn't expect anything else :) Its one of those gorgeous details you weave into your stuff. And I don't like pristine elves myself, there is nothing more fun than to write a sweaty elf taking a bath ;c)

Then find out that he or she is 2000 years old. That would give me the heebie jeebies.

Maybe at first, but if it turns out to be one of my fav characters, I might glomp him hehe :)

Be assured that Mél's children have nothing to worry about from Sauron and that "6th sense" (I know what you mean, too!) will remain intact. What's in the ring is the better (but weakened and diminished) part of himself that survived all this time. Still doesn't mean he's entirely good though. :^)

Hahaha, he aims to misbehave!

Date: 2009-04-14 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Gorgeous, as usual. I am delighted with the way you weave Melamire's extraordinary struggles with her ordinary ones as a woman and mother -- I don't mean ordinary in a belittling sense, but rather in the sense that this amazing and unique woman faces the same dilemmas and stresses that other women do -- it makes her a rich and very satisfying character.
I also liked the neat echoes between this and Cat's Paws/Broken Star -- the manner in which her relationship with Samaril's echoes Aulendil's with Celebrimbor with the intense identification and creation of an adoptive family, with the notable exception of Aulendil's betrayal (but that too has echoes in that I do not see how Melamire, however innocent of fault, cannot be haunted by Aulendil's acts.
I really must catch up on Surgicalsteel's fic; there is so much backstory that intrigues and I am fascinated with the way you have woven it seamlessly into you story. I do like that Serinde has her share of political concerns -- though I wouldn't wish them on her and that, despite the ascension of Elessar to the throne, Gondor still has many problems to face.


Date: 2009-04-14 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
Any time you're interested in looking at my fic, I'm happy to give links! :D

Date: 2009-04-15 04:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you. I've made note of the links you have Oshun and would be thrilled to have any others you'd care to send to me. I thought I'd friend your journal, presuming, of course, you do not mind.

Date: 2009-04-15 10:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
If you don't mind reading about medical things, shovelling snow, and the difficulties of finding proper Andouille sausage in Central Maine, I don't mind you friending my journal. ;)

The novel that almost everything else is based on is probably most easily read here: The King's Surgeon on The Last Ship. Everything I've written is on my fic LJ: [livejournal.com profile] surgsteelfic. The top post on the fic LJ is a list of links to where various stories fall in the timeline - I tend to hop around a bit with my writing and not be particularly linear. Keeping a list of links helps me keep things internally consistent. :)

Date: 2009-04-15 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Heh, I went to graduate school in Rhode Island, and I can sympathize as I begged and bullied friends from Texas and Louisiana into sending ingredients I wasn't able to find in the Northeast and went on what one of my good friends referred to as the quest for the Holy Grail of sausages (either andouille or boudin and I was never able to find an acceptable substitute).

Thanks so very much for befriending me. I am looking forward to reading more of your work. I am delighted with Serindë; she's a marvel. I'm not a linear writer myself; I tend to focus more on an idea in terms of character and/or theme and deal with that more than the progression of a narrative arc.

Date: 2009-04-15 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
When I lived in southern New Hampshire, I was bizarrely enough able to find Andouille - up here, I order online, because what's labelled as Andouille really isn't. It's a slightly spicier than usual kielbasa. The chief nurse anesthetist in our hospital is an LSU grad who's originally from New Orleans, so I asked him where he found things like andouille and boudin. His answer was 'back home or online.' :D

And thank you for your kind comments on Serinde! She's very near and dear to my heart. :D

Date: 2009-04-15 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Lilith, you're too good to me (but don't stop). :^) Thanks so much for reading and the compliments. As always, I squeal at your insights. I swear I think you're in my head at times regarding the things which you pick up on, e.g., the observations of an adoptive family, how Aulendil's acts impact Mél). Very gratifying.

I strive to keep ordinary -- and therefore accessible -- characteristics in all the women I write. Things that a woman reader can relate to, whether the character is a scullery maid, a queen of exiled quasi-Atlanteans, or heck, even a large spider (I sometimes wonder how a fic from Shelob's viewpoint would turn out in my hands). So, in that regard, I think you'll quite enjoy The King's Surgeon. Serindë is an incredibly rich and believable character.

Date: 2009-04-15 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
I swear I think you're in my head at times regarding the things which you pick up on, e.g., the observations of an adoptive family, how Aulendil's acts impact Mél). Very gratifying.

Nah, as flattering as it would be to be in your head (although I do wonder about the brain share in regard to our different Dark Muses, perhaps they are spending time together drinking good red wine and not letting us in on the secret?), I believe you are just that good.

I do like the humanity of your different characters. Like you, I tend to think "And what have kings, that privates have not too,
Save ceremony, save general ceremony?" to borrow the lines from Henry V since I cannot say it nearly as well myself.

Can't wait to read more.

Date: 2009-04-16 12:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
perhaps they are spending time together drinking good red wine and not letting us in on the secret?

You nailed it! I always wonder where he goes when I fall asleep. I'll bet he meets your DM to go to Commander's Palace or Bourbon Street. ;^)

*Swoons deliriously at your Henry V quote*

Date: 2009-04-16 02:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Ah, Thû thinks that your DM (and you) would greatly enjoy the bar at Commander's Palace. It is located very nearly (virtually) in the kitchen and the comforting roar of the stoves would make a smith feel very much at home. Plus, the mint juleps and mojitos are divine, depending upon the DM's preference. Not to mention the fact that Tory McPhail, the lovely chef, will occasionally try out a new amuse bouche on a regular, which the DMs might like to be (I would but the price tag is a wee bit prohibitive, but Aulendil and Thû might be able to work the beautiful and charming angle or volunteer to keep the chef's knives in perfect condition.). Otherwise, I would humbly suggest Galatoire's on Bourbon; classy food and amusing people watching (both natives in their habitat and tourists on the go) or Herbsaint since they have a lovely drink called a Half-Saint, Half-Sinner.
Edited Date: 2009-04-16 02:17 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-15 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
And, yes, Shelob! What a grand idea!

Date: 2009-04-16 12:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
I identify with Shelob: bloated, cranky and toxic. :^D

Date: 2009-04-16 02:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-lessfair.livejournal.com
Sounds like me right about now. But what a perspective.

Date: 2009-04-15 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whitewave16.livejournal.com
I liked the lines you wrote for the DM:
"Very well. I am at your mercy." The voiced paused. So when do you think we can start working on the lamps?"

Really smooth transition there I think.

Yes? murmured the disembodied but familiar voice, remote at first but then more distinct, deep and silky. I am here.

Oh gosh for this one, I thought that the DM sounded like a genie here. ;-D Wonder if the Istyanis's husband knows about this little family heirloom? I'm very curious about the DM's last boat ride with Olorin. That should be fun!

I enjoy how you work with details: the book of the chandri verses and the rust-resistant alloys were cool touches, and the flashback to Aulendil and Tyelpo and what the Istyanis must have suffered then gave me goosebumps.

It's great to read about a strong woman, but two strong women is an absolute treat! It's good that they found "peers" in each other and I'm looking forward to reading more about their growing friendship.

Date: 2009-04-15 11:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
I think the Istyanis' husband is well aware of the nature of the family heirloom and that it has changed from being just a ring to something more. He and the DM no doubt have already had a conversation. I suspect it was a very difficult one.

I have to admit I grin wickedly when I imagine the DM on the boat with the other five Ringbearers, three of whom would know he was there, and two (mercifully) who would not. I imagine he's squirming uncomfortably.

Thanks so much for reading and the compliments. As noted, Serindë and Mélamírë combined make for some fun writing.

Date: 2009-04-15 12:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whitewave16.livejournal.com
He and the DM no doubt have already had a conversation. I suspect it was a very difficult one.

I have to admit I grin wickedly when I imagine the DM on the boat with the other five Ringbearers... I imagine he's squirming uncomfortably.

Now these are worth waiting for. ;-)

Date: 2009-04-20 11:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beruthiels-cats.livejournal.com
I was just telling Steel I had thought about this fic for days afterward, and actually couln't remember if I'd reviewed!
Shame on me.
No holds barred exquisite sublime 'creepiness' of this piece is something I truly appreciate...and I love a good 'booger tale'. Melamire rubbing her ring (both instances) is positively chill-worthy. WELL DONE!

Date: 2009-04-21 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Thanks a million, Cat! Shame on you? Feh. For what? Heck, I'm tickled that anyone reads my out-on-a-limb 'verse, let alone comment on it.

I try to ensure that the dark lord retains his edge even when in his most benign aspect, so I'm gratified to know that a bit of chill came across here. :^)

Date: 2009-04-21 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morethmusing.livejournal.com
Aside from cheerfully scribbling refs in regard to pregnant women (where would I be without you two!) - there is so much I love in this I can't begin to quote the lines!

“Rust is an issue which could be eliminated by using different alloys,” she said offhandedly ...

But I have to do that one!

I always wondered where Mél was when Ost-in-Edhil fell - obviously she didn't escape scot-free. A nice little teaser added there!

You know, I regret the day The Istyar must pass over the sea. Middle Earth would just not be the same... although I'm sure he'd give Mandos a good dose of acerbic wit!

Can I *Squueeeeee* now?

Edited Date: 2009-04-21 11:05 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-22 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
“Rust is an issue which could be eliminated by using different alloys,” she said offhandedly.

Mél is echoing word-for-word an assessment made by someone else in Steel's "Kindness Repaid." :^) The Istyar allows as how Steel nailed his character down cold in that.

obviously she didn't escape scot-free.

Goodness, no. That confrontation before the treasury of the Mirdain will be a devastating scene for everyone.

Can I *Squueeeeee* now?

Most certainly! :^D

And thanks so much for reading and commenting! These duets are so much fun!
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