Tumgir
#The Gift Of A Gentle Heart {Faramir}
weezlbot · 3 months ago
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Reasons Legolas loves his friends
Gimli
Perfect hug height
Gifts pretty gems
Comforting to be around, due to strong build and hard axe (take of that what you will)
Strong!!! Arms are nice for hugs!!!
Always down for games, competitions, debates, and mischief
Beard is well-kept, magnificently fluffy and lovely to touch (if you can convince him to allow you to)
Aragorn
Wise, gives very good advice
Kingly
Has grown so big!!! and so strong!!! since they first met when Aragorn was a little kid in Rivendell!!! and Legolas is so proud of him!!!
Hale-hearted and kind
Knows all the fun Elvish drinking songs
Good emotional control
Healing hands are warm and gentle
Arwen
Sweet! So so sweet! Buys treats for Legolas!
Makes Aragorn bathe so he doesn’t smell bad
Understands that sometimes you just need to be around some trees
Also knows all the fun Elvish drinking songs, and is a soprano to Aragorn and Legolas’s tenors, so she rounds out the choir
Well read, tells good stories
Faramir
Loves Aragorn as much as Legolas does
Likes flowers and trees as much as Legolas does
Compliments Legolas’s pretty hair
Wise beyond his years and very kind, so much more so than he believes himself to be (towards the end, Denethor would refer to him as stupid, unwise and inexperienced, and after a while he genuinely started to believe it, even though it’s not true)
Merry and Pippin (he can’t tell which is which, and regularly calls them by each other’s names, but he still considers them both his friends)
Very funny and cheerful
Entertaining to be around
Schemes! Always down for schemes!
Tell the best stories
Always have food
Eowyn
Sings like an angel--maybe even better than Arwen. Legolas is in the process of teaching her Elvish songs so she can sing with him at festivities.
Always down to race horses with him and others
Understands the need to leave the city and run around in the fields, climb trees, swim in rivers, etcetera
Loves animals, like Legolas does
Elladan and Elrohir
Understand the need to go into nature and just be
Always down for archery
Tell very good stories
Can live off the land, which Legolas respects
Lighthearted! Both Elladan and Elrohir and Legolas love to laugh and joke!
Know all the funny songs from Mirkwood due to a short time of residence there
Tauriel
Always down for adventure
Always down for archery 
Always down for singing and festivities--they like the same songs
Passionate
Athletic
A skilled healer
Very pretty! For a while, Legolas really thought she would be the one he would soul-bond with and marry. However, this was not to be--the two have remained friends and nothing more, and he visits her whenever he returns to the Greenwood
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moonrainbowfish · a year ago
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Lotr characters and how they would show you their affection Part 2:
A/N: thanks for all the notes on the first part everyone! I hope you will enjoy the second part just as much!
Also big thanks to @msfandomfreak for helping me again. But I blame you for making me write for Gollum/Sméagol lmao.
Arwen:
She's very kind and gentle and enjoys giving you gifts. She also would treasure anything you gift to her. Arwens love for you is so pure. Full of light and hope. She sees you as someone to cherish. Someone, she would never want to loose. She is also very loyal towards you and would die for you. She would give up anything for you, including her immortality in a heartbeat. She doesn't even care what her father thinks. She loves you and that's all what matters to her.
Elrond:
Elrond is definitely very protective of you, he would never forgive himself, should anything bad happen to you. He loves to spend all his afternoon with you, sharing an intellectual conversation. Just like you, Elrond is also very smart and he appreciates your intelligence. But it was your courage which actually drew him to you, the way you always stand up for those weaker honestly made his heart beat faster. He'll always let you know, he really cares about you and you're always welcome in Rivendell.
Galadriel:
Galadriel would give you words of affirmation. Letting you know your presence is always wanted and important even if you think otherwise. She will guide you with her wise words and is very gentle and soft towards you. Sometimes she would talk to you telepathically and giving you encouragement. She would compliment and flirt with you telepathically and secretly loves the flustered look on your face.
"Always remember Y/N. You're stronger than they think you are. I believe in you."
Éomer:
Towards you Éomer is really sweet and a true gentleman who knows how to treat his partner right. He would compliment you, telling you how nice you look today. He's also a fan of physical affection and he likes showing everyone that you're his. He's still a tough warrior tho and would protect you with all his might. He doesn't want you to fight, but it's because he doesn't want you to experience the horrors of war, not because he thinks you're weak. It's quite the opposite actually, you're one of the strongest people he knows.
Éowyn:
Éowyn is very supportive and always believes in you. She always makes sure you know how valuable you are and likes to teach you how to fight. She had lost so much in her life. Her loved ones, family, friends. So she wouldn't risk loosing you too. She'd protect you from any dangerous situation and prefers to keep you by her side, so she can watch over you. You would often meet by the stables where you would talk about almost anything and share lots of lighthearted moments.
Faramir:
Faramir would love telling you stories as well as eagerly listen to yours. He is very supportive and loving towards you and always makes sure you know how important you are to him. Faramir also knows what it's like to get no love from his father so he makes sure to always be there for you. Faramir is so sweet, optimistic and gentle towards you. He wants you to know, how loved you are.
"Faramir, is it true that you love me?"
"With all my heart, Y/N. I always have and I always will."
Haldir:
In public, Haldir is very prideful and calm. But when you both are alone, he is very sweet and gentle with you, pressing light kisses to your temple and caressing your cheek. I feel like he would take a walk with you through Lothloriens woods and would trust you with his deepest secrets. He is also very loyal and protective of you, and is willing to do anything to keep you safe.
"Come melleth nin, there's something I'd like to show you." He would say, as he leads you to a secret spot in the forest.
Gollum/Sméagol:
At first he screamed at you and threatened to kill you. But you were always kind to him. You pitied the poor creature, twisted by a powerful ring. He loves to catch fishes, or even rabbits for you. You're the only true friend he has and deep down inside he really appreciates it. He soon realized you truly cared for him, somehow he did too. His Sméagol side truly wants to be your friend where as his Gollum side thinks you're just here to keep his precious away from him which often leads to the creature of two minds fighting with himself.
"We likes them, my precious. At least we thinks we does, yesss"
"But they're nasty precious. We can't trust them, nooo"
"You'll see precious. They are our friend. Yes they are, our only true friend."
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sing-from-the-hair · a year ago
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And Éowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: 'Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Éowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Éowyn, do you not love me?' Then the heart of Éowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her."
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southfarthing · 6 months ago
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For the character ask, could you please do Faramir?
thank you!! also asked by @thorinsbeard and @mumble-muse hehe I'm glad I've made my faramir love clear :')
favorite thing about them: WHERE TO START. BIG BRAIN BIG HEART BIG B- (this is sounding a lot like what I wrote about lancelot lmao). he's so smart and passionate and he's a loved and respected captain of his people and everyone in gondor is in love with him and he can??? read minds kind of?????? he's a beautiful black-haired king and he will tell his dad he's a dumb bitch to his face to protect his own pride and he'll stick to his stupidly noble guns even if it kills him and he's just. god. gandalf loves and respects him so much. so does beregond. so do all his men, all his citizens. god I'm back where i started but that scene where he arrives at minas tirith and the whole city is chanting his name as he goes through like he's a rockstar and pippin is swept up in the atmosphere and starts screaming his name too even though he hasn't met him yet because he knows this is a man who is incredible just from the way he's received. yeah that lives in my head rent-free
least favorite thing about them: the way he speaks to sam at henneth annun >:( also the way the film depicts him as a meow meow / simp lmao book faramir would eat film faramir for breakfast
favorite line: yeah i love only that which they defend and yeah do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart eowyn etc etc everything my guy says is poetry but.... this passage makes me scream
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AND WHOSE FAULT IS THAT???? film faramir gets so sad here but book faramir gets angry lmaooooo
brOTP: faramir + pippin + gandalf. also wish we got to learn more about him and boromir. ALSO i think he'd have a lot in common with elrond and i think it'd be really interesting to see how they'd interact when elrond came to minas tirith!!!!!
OTP: faramir and eowyn!!!!!!!!!! the most couple ever!!!!
nOTP: -
random headcanon: kinda touched on this in my answer for eowyn but I think he'd be really interested in documenting rohan's orally told folklore and history. also bet he's the kinda period drama guy who stares wistfully into the distance at inopportune moments and talks about the splendour of numenor or smth and eowyn is like?? babe you have never been there????? also he likes growing herbs and flowers and healing plants and eowyn likes growing fruit and veg
unpopular opinion: it would've been really funny if aragorn died and faramir became the steward and they decided, either because there's no point waiting around for another heir to the throne or because faramir also gives off kingly numenorian vibes, to crown faramir as high king of gondor and arnor... so funny... haha unless......
also yknow those 'memes' about how pathetic faramir is and how much denethor hates him? yeah not a fan @pj fight me in the lidl bakery for what you've inadvertently caused
favorite picture of them:
https://southfarthing.tumblr.com/post/670396306073731072/ lmaooooo also that shot of faramir in two towers in henneth annun looking over that map 😍
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fool-of--a-took · a year ago
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Swords and Sunsets
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Word count: 1425
Pairing: Faramir x Fem!Reader
Warnings: Angst, Injury, Fluff, Unconsciousness, Curses (only one or two tho), sad Faramir :(
Prompt: 'Do you think she knows that? That I love her?' (Prompt's in bold)
Summary: You and Faramir are courting, but you get injured while protecting him in Osgiliath
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‘I cannot believe Denethor,’ you thought to yourself, as you hurried down the hall after Faramir. You could not even begin to understand why in Middle Earth, Denethor had sent Faramir on a mission that would undoubtedly bring all hell down on Gondor. As you caught up to Faramir, you said, ‘I can’t believe him’
‘I’m fine, don’t worry about it’
‘No, you’re not fine. I don’t know how you do it.’
‘How I do what?’
‘Pretend you’re okay…’
‘I’m not pretending.’
‘Yes, you are. Every single day. And it breaks my heart.’
‘(y/n), I’m sorry, but I have to go.’
“Faramir, don’t do this.’
‘Someone needs to.’ With that, he turned and left the hall, but what he didn’t notice was you, sneaking down the path that led to the armoury.
When you arrived, the guards who normally kept watch there had been taken from their posts to help prepare for Faramir’s ride to Osgiliath, and therefore the armoury was deserted. You crept in, making sure not to knock anything over because that would surely cause some form of commotion. There were only a few things left in there, but luckily for you, they were around about the right size. You grabbed a helmet, that would cover most of your face, a chainmail shirt, a cloak, a shield, a pair of greaves and a sword. When you grabbed the sword, you spun it, testing the weight and the balance that would ultimately affect your capability to fight. Deciding that it was a good sword that would serve you well, you snuck back down the path to your quarters that, luckily, were nearby. Upon arriving at your quarters, you began to put on the equipment that you had borrowed from the armoury. Fortunately, all the gear fit you well, and you were soon ready to go and join the troops that were gathering in preparation to charge Osgiliath.
Upon arriving at the gates, you found yourself a horse and got into position near the back. You knew where to stand because you had frequently watched the drills that Faramir performed with his troops. You had also been taking fighting lessons, in secret, with a couple of the guards when they had some free time, insisting that it was just in case you needed to defend yourself. You were looking around for Faramir when he went to the front of the group and informed them of the plan.
‘Our attack is to be swift, and we are to fight until every last orc has been defeated. So are the orders of the High Steward of Gondor. Move out!’ And with that, he blew his horn, which started the charge across the Pelennor Fields.
When you arrived in Osgiliath, it was packed with Orcs. You tried to keep Faramir in your line of sight as he slew all the foe that came before him. You were killing Orcs nearby him when you noticed an orc archer taking aim at Faramir. As he let his arrow fly, you dove in front of it, blocking the blow from Faramir. As the arrow pierced your chest, you let out a gasp of pain, prompting Faramir to notice you lying on the ground. He quickly shot down the archer that was taking aim again and then knelt down next to you, lifted your helmet off, and gasped.
‘(y/n)! What are you doing here!?’
‘Do you think you could sound a bit more disappointed that I’m here? SAVING YOUR FUCKING LIFE IS WHAT I’M DOING’
‘Oh my god, there is an arrow inside you!’ Normally Faramir was used to seeing injuries similar to this one, however seeing his love in so much pain made him panic, and for a minute he didn’t know what to do. However, he quickly regained control of himself, and sat you up on his lap, holding you.
‘I’ve got. It’s going to be fine. You’ll be fine,’ he kept repeating, trying to convince himself that he wasn’t going to lose you, ‘(y/n), I know this hurts, but you have to stay awake for me. Don’t close your eyes, please don’t close your eyes.’
You tried to keep them open, but the pain was overwhelming, and you couldn’t fight it anymore, so slowly your eyes closed. Faramir murmured a prayer to every god he believed in, begging them not to take you from him, ‘Please, you can’t take her. It’s too soon. She’s my everything. Our life together is already short enough, please, you can’t make it any shorter… I haven’t even gotten to tell her that I love her yet. Do you think she knows that? That I love her? I love you (y/n)’ He planted a gentle kiss on your forehead, and those words were the last things you heard before you drifted into the unknown.
For the next few days, you came in and out of consciousness. You woke up when you were being taken back to Minas Tirith, and again when you were put down on a bed in the House of Healing. After that, each time you awoke, Faramir was there, squeezing your hand, pleading for you to stay awake. You tried to, wanting to talk to him, but the pain quickly pulled you back into unconsciousness. When you finally awoke, Faramir was there, and he quickly called for one of the nurses because it was the first time you had been awake for longer than a minute in days. Once you had drunk a tiny bit of water, you found that the arrow was gone, and Faramir told you that it had been a week and three days since you first charged to Osgiliath. The arrow was a poisoned one, which is why it took so long for you to wake up. You tried to talk, but you were quickly told by a nurse that your throat would be sore for the next few days and that you wouldn’t be able to talk because they could only get you to drink enough water to stay alive. For the next few days, all you did was sleep, eat, drink water and listen while Faramir told you of the world that was outside the bed to which you were confined.
After about four days, your voice was back to its full intensity, and you were itching for Faramir to come and visit you, as you had so much to say to him. It was few words, but those words held the weight of the world. As Faramir walked through the curtains that surrounded your bed, you said, ‘I love you too. Isn’t that what you said? That you loved me?’
‘(y/n), you can talk!’ and as your words sank in he said, ‘You remember that? But you were unconscious… ’
‘Not entirely’ you said, grinning at his astonishment, ‘So, do you still love me?’
‘More than all the stars in the heavens, and I would sacrifice my life to protect you.’
Suddenly, you noticed the flowers that he was holding and the box he had in his hand. ‘Going from that,’ he said, ‘I was wanted to give you this.’ He passed you the box, you opened it, and you saw the most gorgeous necklace. It was a thin gold chain, with golden leaves that shone in the light that was streaming through the window above your head. ‘Faramir, it’s beautiful’ you gasped, as he gently put in on you. ‘It belonged to my mother, and she gave it to me, saying that I should give it to the one I love most.’ With that, he got down on one knee before you, and said, ‘(y/n), I love you more than you could possibly know, and it would make even luckier than I already if you would accept this gift as a token of betrothal.’
‘Of course!’ With that, he hugged you tightly, and you planted many kisses on his cheek.
‘You might be wondering why I didn’t get you a ring, and the reason I got you a necklace is because it doesn’t interfere with this.’ Then he pulled a sword from behind him and placed it in your hands. You pulled the sword from its scabbard and gasped at the gleaming metal. It was a simple, yet beautiful sword, not unlike the one that Faramir carried. The smile that you gave him was all the thanks he needed. You both walked out, into the court of the houses of healing, and you duelled in the setting sun.
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randomfandomimagine · a year ago
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Imagine: Stargazing with Faramir
Requested by anon
A/N: There is something special about Faramir, and I adore him, he’s so underrated! I’m so happy to write for him :D
_
The wind howled in the heights, making your hair dance in the breeze. It was the only sound that surrounded you. Everything else was quiet and tranquil. Peaceful.
“Lovely night, is it not?” Faramir’s voice startled you a little. He smiled as he approached you. “You look beautiful under the moonlight”
“Thank you, so do you” You coyly smiled. “Your blue eyes shine under the light of the moon”
Faramir smiled, deeply endeared, as he approached you. The moment was absolutely perfect, a sliver of time that you wanted to last forever. There, by Faramir’s side, in the gentle breeze under the full moon. It was breathtaking.
“I...” He began, although slightly bashful. “I had been waiting for a moment as wonderful as this”
“To do what?” 
“Something I had been wanting to do for the longest time” 
You frowned, uneasy about the possible yearning that his heart harbored. However, as Faramir slowly leaned in closer, a realization dawned on you. It wasn’t an evil that sheltered in his heart, but a desire that you very much shared.
Allowing him to move closer, you did too. Soon enough, your lips had finally met and his hand was tenderly resting on your cheek. The moment felt magical.
Suddenly, it felt as though all those wonderful details that surrounded you paled in comparison to the feeling that took over you. All of the stars and powers of Middle Eart had aligned to gift you with an even more perfect moment than it was a few seconds prior. For this very reason, the two of you lingered on the kiss as it brought you too much happiness to easily abandon.
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lillianofliterature · a year ago
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LOTR preferences || 2/?
main masterlist | imagines/preferences masterlist
DO NOT REPOST.
if gifs not sourced, they were found on google, lmk if they’re yours! I couldn’t make out the url on the elrond one or I would have linked it!
I wrote these sort of in an imagine style to make it more immersive since the prompt for this one is dialogue based. 
some are longer than others (by a lot, oops) and some phrases or descriptors may have been repeated a few times, but there’s so many characters and I only have one brain and I didn’t feel like reading through all of them again to make them all perfectly unique. it’s been a long road writing these xD 
elvish translations: melamin = my beloved/my love, melda = beloved/dear/sweet
tw: slight gore mentioned in aragorn’s
(more below the cut-off)
their first ‘i love you’ (confession)
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aragorn | word count: 647
Aragorn was always quiet about his feelings and often times reserved, being an introverted person. Those three words came when he could no longer withstand the pressure of not telling you how he truly felt. The risk of your eyes wandering to find another had crossed his mind more than once and the possibility of something happening before he had had the chance to overcome his nerves was overwhelming. And one day, as he was in the midst of this inner turmoil, you slit your hand open while sharpening the blade of your sword against a whirling  grindstone. 
He had been nearby, working with the string of his bow, when your cry of pain pierced the air. The sword rattled to the ground as you stood and pressed your hand against the palm of the other in your best effort to quench the rush of blood. Without a second’s hesitation, he came to your aid and whisked you into the smithy shop where there was a store of medical supplies for such an incident.
In his panic, he chastised you.
“Why aren’t you wearing the guard I gave you? I explicitly told you not to use the grindstone without it!”
Tears burned in your eyes as he poured a stout smelling liquid over the wound. “I took it off because it was chafing my wrist when I pushed against the blade,” you said.
“It would have prevented this, (Y/n). Look at what you’ve done to yourself!”
“Aragorn, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean for it to happen!” 
“You must obey my instruction when I give it to you. I do not speak just to hear my own voice.” 
There was a tense pause in your urgent conversation as he rinsed your hand in a basin of cool water and examined the wound up close with gentleness. His relief was audible as he realized the cut was much smaller than the loss of blood had let on. With a slower pace, he began bandaging your hand with linens.
His voice softer, he spoke again. “I tell you these things to protect you, (Y/n), not to patronize you.” 
“I know,” you sniffled.
He could see that his chastisement had startled you as much as the wound itself. He hadn’t meant to make you uncomfortable, but he needed you to know how serious this could have been, how badly you could have injured yourself.
“I apologize for my harshness,” - he caught your gaze with his own as he continued - “But I need you to take care of yourself. Especially when I offer you the means to do so.”
He knotted the linen and tugged at the cloth with his teeth before snipping it short with a pair of shears lying nearby. The heat of his breath against your fingers sent a wave of chills across your skin. When he glanced up at you, he saw a twinge of embarrassment in your expression.
“I always end up doing something reckless or clumsy, no matter how much I try to better myself,” you muttered. Avoiding his gaze, you stared at your wrapped hand as he released it from his grasp. 
The next words that left your mouth caught him off guard. 
“Why do you bother with me, Aragorn?”
He swallowed. 
His eyes drifted downward to your bandaged hand. Carefully, he took it in both of his and cradled it between his palms. Your breath caught in your throat, searching his face for any hint of insincerity. Of course, there was none. When his eyes flickered up to meet yours, there was something glimmering in his eyes. Something quiet and untamed. Tender. 
“I care for you, (Y/n). I care for you very deeply. So deeply, in fact, that I think there is no better word for it than love,” he confessed, gently tracing his thumb over your knuckles. “I love you, melamin.”
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boromir | word count: 952
Boromir had never been one to display much emotion. He had been taught from a young age that a man was not a creature of sentiment or expressive feeling, so he was not well versed in the commitment of making himself vulnerable. It wasn‘t until he began to see how this pattern of detachment and stalwart solemnness began to affect your relationship that he worked harder to make larger strides in undoing the toxic misogyny his father had engrained in him since boyhood.
You of course knew that Boromir had an emotional side; a softer, sweeter disposition he bore around his younger brother and even around you on occasion – before he subconsciously corrected himself. He had begun to notice that whenever he puffed his chest or resumed that “manly” behavior, you pulled away from him. You grew quieter, you sought solitude, you became annoyed more easily.  His arrogance, you knew, often acted as a wall of self-preservation. But you were tired of being on the other side of that wall, waiting to be let in.
It was after an argument between the two of you that he realized this wall of his was going to have to come down. Even though he had been defensive at first, he soon realized his refusal to be wrong, his hesitance at expressing emotion, his worry about becoming vulnerable – it wasn’t worth the risk of losing you.
You had since shown him that emotion wasn’t a weakness, it was a strength. He knew you understood where his hesitance and his way of thinking brimmed from, you always made the effort to understand. You weren’t asking him to change – you were asking him to grow. 
To allow himself to be Boromir.  Fully, completely, without restraint.
This was his moment, so to speak, in which he knew he was ready to give you everything. His pride had been holding him back for so long under his father’s approval – it was finally time for him to trust you and allow himself the comforts of self-expression.
He was ready to say it first. He was ready to be the one to get vulnerable first.
On the evening he decided to take his first big step into that growth, Minas Tirith basked in the white hue of moonlight. He sat beside you quietly, allowing himself a moment to gather his thoughts. Twirling in between your fingers was a pale blossom from the White Tree that he had plucked for you. Patiently, you waited. You could tell by his calm demeanor and open countenance that something had shifted within him since your last talk – his shoulders were relaxed as he walked, he had let himself stroll along slowly beside you instead of marching quickly like a soldier. He seemed relieved. At peace.
“I have something I must ask of you, my dear,” he began.
Your attentive gaze gave him permittance to continue.
“Your forgiveness,” – his hand covered yours as his voice softened – “I want to apologize for my arrogance throughout our courtship thus far. It was not my intention to hurt you with my attachment to my own pride.”
You leaned forward to interrupt him, but he held up his hand to stop you. You hadn’t wanted him to apologize – you didn’t blame him for a learned behavior he had had no choice in being raised into. But evidently, Boromir felt in necessary to express his remorse. Shutting him down was the last thing you wanted to do, especially if this was what he felt was right. You decided to listen.
“I never knew that I would find someone who would open me up like you have. I never even knew there was such a possibility for me to learn to allow myself to feel as you have. You know I was never allowed to show weakness as a child, or what my father perceived as weakness,” he glanced down at your intertwined hands as he swallowed over his next words, “I was not even allowed to cry. It was not the way of a soldier, or a steward’s son.”
When his eyes lifted to meet yours again, you could see the glistening of his tears in the moonlight. You tightened your grip on his hand, covering it with your other.
He seemed comforted by this as he continued. “But I am able to do so now, to allow myself to feel and become vulnerable. I owe you my thanks for that, (Y/n). If it weren't for you, I fear I never would have allowed myself to grow, to become a better man. A stronger man.”
He leaned forward suddenly, his peaceful expression shifting into excitement. “I love you, (Y/n), with a passion that even the fires of Mordor could not compare. And I thought that I would have to swallow my emotions to be the man you wanted, but instead you had given me freedom I have never been offered before.”
“Oh, Boromir,” you murmured. The image of his smiling face blurred as your own tears gathered and spilled over your cheeks. Your eyes fell to the blossom in your hands and the promise it held of everything to come – of what you already had, here, in his company.
His thumb gently tugged at your cheek as he wiped your tears. When you softened to his touch, he cradled the curve of your jaw in his hand. You leaned into him, covering his hand with your own.
This is all you had ever wanted.
For Boromir to be free, for his heart to be opened, for him to accept your love.
“I love you, too,” you whispered, pressing your lips to the palm of his hand that caressed your face.
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faramir | word count: 522
The complete opposite of his brother, Faramir had little to no trouble in connecting to his more emotional side. In fact, he was always eager to shower others in kindness and compassion. It had long been the thing his father hated most about him – Faramir was weak in Denethor’s eyes. Luckily, Faramir’s gift for sentiment could not be so easily squelched. It was what you loved most about him.
Faramir adored you all the more for your acceptance of his openness and empathetic abilities. He never had to filter himself around you or attempt to not be “too much”. He was expressive, kind, and vulnerable. He wasn’t afraid to cry, he wasn’t hesitant in displaying his softer side. He was just Faramir, the way Faramir was supposed to be. And in your eyes, he was perfect.
Those words of declaration, those three tender notes of sweet promise, when they finally came, did not necessarily come as a surprise. He had always been upfront with his feelings towards you – and respectful - with his affection and doting words of affirmation. Shy, but honest. But that did not mean they meant any less when you heard them spoken for the first time.
Faramir, though he had long known that he loved you, had not planned the moment he would confess to you. He knew the right moment would happen along, and happen along it did.
One fine afternoon in the sunlit halls of the library halls, your laughter echoed with an unkempt ferocity that made his heart melt. Evidently, the way he had attempted in retelling his brother’s joke was far funnier than the actual content of it. You had laid your hand upon his shoulder as you doubled over in a chortling fever of amusement. In seconds, his embarrassment had been assuaged your beautifully wild laugh that in turn encouraged his own to spill forth.
There you both stood under the setting beams of the warm sun that filtered into the halls, leaning into each other for support as you felt your sides begin to ache. His gentle hands gripped your forearms as you gasped for breath between cheerful bouts of laughter. He had been able to calm his jovial fit much sooner as his admiring gaze fell almost blissfully solemn. 
He couldn’t look away from your lips that were split into a wide smile, unconcerned whether your laugh was ladylike or if your posture was stiff. Those little crinkles in the corners of your glimmering (e/c) eyes were like the fine details of a painting. Oh, how deeply he had fallen for you.
When you finally began to catch your breath and your laughter had quieted enough for a lower octave to be heard, the words slipped effortlessly between his smiling lips with a soft chuckle. “I love you.”
Your boisterous laughter faded into breathy vowels as you asked, “What did you say?”
“I love you,” he repeated.
His smile didn’t waver. He was so sure, so sincere.
You could only smile up at him graciously, a light laugh of merriness flowing through you.
How perfect this moment was, how blissfully perfect.
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eomer | word count: 413
It happened one the eve before a long patrol - that could result in battle  - that he and his men were preparing for. Eomer, knowing he could promise himself a certain outcome, did not want to leave you waiting until he returned to say all that he needed to. He wanted to be sure he left no loose ends fraying in his absence.  He wasn’t one to leave things to chance.
As he walked out to the stables to prepare his supplies and brush out his steed, you followed along with him, eager to spend every minute you had left together before his departure. There were inquiries and concerns exchanged while he filled Firefoot’s bale with oats and cleaned his shoes of any muck. When he was reassured that you and Eowyn would care for each other in his absence, he felt one last thing needed to be said.
His hands wove through Firefoot’s mane as he considered his next words, soothing the horse’s nervous anticipation. The lull in conversation reminded of you how close dawn truly was. He would be gone soon and you would be left to worry and pray for his safe return. Busying yourself with tasks that would seem miniscule in comparison.
He patted the broad neck of his steed before wiping his hands clean and stepping nearer to you. “There’s something I think you should be aware of before I go,” he began. 
His tone made you worry.
“I think we are both aware of our feelings for each other since our courtship began,” he took your hands in his as he paused for breath, “It’s no surprise to you that I feel passionately for you. I don’t think it would be news for you to hear these words, but I would feel better having spoken them before I take my leave.”
You waited on baited breath. Was he truly going to say it after all this time?
“I love you, (Y/n), with every inch of my being, and I plan to act on that knowledge when I return.”
Yes, you already knew he loved you, and he knew you loved him. But to hear those words spoken aloud after the years you had pined for each other and in the months you had courted, it was the last bit of resolve you needed to face the world while he was away. And evidently it was the last bit of peace he needed to carry himself forward. 
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eowyn | word count: 312
Eowyn had long been sure of her love for you, but had lacked the courage to admit it. of course, she had no qualms with being the first to say it – of course a woman could say it first just as easily as a man and with just as much meaning. But when would the right time occur? How could she be sure you felt the same? That she would not be left with a gaping pang of regret?
But Eowyn, against all of her worries, knew the moment when it came.
And of course, her bravery shown through.
Her confession did not happen under the moonlit stars or in the halls of her uncle, nor even in the walls of her homeland. It happened in the uncomfortable, sweaty musk of battle as arrows pierced hide and swords battered shields. It happened as an enemy blade came bearing down on your armor as you lie defenseless in the wreckage, your weapon thrown own of reach.
You had accepted your death just as the thudding of boots came nearer and the Uruk’s bloodthirsty gaze drifted upwards, its blade halted. The beast stepped over your impaired body and poised the tip of its blade toward the approaching figure with a twisted smirk – and it was then that the sharp twang of her blade meeting the Uruk’s pierced the air. She parried quickly, shoving the beast back into a stumble. She stood over you, wielding her shield and blade with grace and courage enough for a hundred men – or perhaps a thousand.
“You will not harm the one I love!” she shouted.
Your heart raced in the frenzy chaos of the moment – both from adrenaline and from the realization that Eowyn, the great lady warrior, the bravest heart you had ever met, had confessed her love for you while protecting you with her own life.
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elrond | word count: 928
Elrond was extremely mindful of his feelings and how he attached himself to others. He was quiet, reserved, and did not care for taking unwise chances – especially when it came to feelings such a love. He had given much thought to the subject and took his time in considering what his feelings might be – if it was simply the fleeting sensation of infatuation, a connected sensation of friendship, or truly the sensation of love itself.
When he found his every thought resolved itself back to you and nearly everything he saw or read prompted him to share it with you, he knew that he had fallen in love. And thus, it soon came time to be honest with you about his earnest feelings for you. It was time to finally say it.
During a private dinner with him, Elrond had prepared his words carefully. As he dotted the corners of his mouth with a red satin cloth, he cleared his throat. But before he could speak, your voice incidentally interrupted him.
“Elrond, do you think I’m a witless human?”
The words he had almost spoken caught in his throat. He lifted his gaze to yours across the table, studying the remorseful expression that had overcome the smile you had worn only minutes ago. He had felt that something about you was off that evening; your spirit seemed dampened like the fallen leaves of autumn when drenched with the harvest’s cool rain.
“Of course not. Why would you ever think that?”
He watched as you toyed with a piece of warm pastry, poking at the flakey crust distractedly. “I suppose I- I…I worry that I am unworthy of your company. You are a great lord and I am nothing but a wanderer who happened upon your halls years ago. There are many who are still uncertain of me, many who would rather I leave your courts and make my home elsewhere.”
“Anyone who say such things about you must be the witless creature, (Y/n), not you,” he reassured.
Your eyes met his. There was an urgency to your tone, an urgency that taunted him unintentionally. “I am dull and plain, milord. I do not belong in your world of elegance and majesty. I am like the dust of the earth and you- you are like stardust.”
Still silence fell as Elrond processed your words. You had returned to formalities, which you seldom did unless the situation called for it. This time, in the comfort of your shared solitude, it was not expected of you. Where had this all come from? Had someone chastised you? Spoken ill of your character?
He rose slowly from his chair and made his way to you. You kept your eyes on your plate, suddenly overwhelmed by a bashful sense of embarrassment. Every step he drew nearer, your pulse quickened.
The warmth of his hand stilled the nervous fidgeting of yours.
As near as he was to you now, knelt by your chair, you wondered if he could see the tears burning in your eyes. You blinked, dissolving the blurry liquid from your vision. You held your breath very still, only taking shallow breaths –you feared anything deeper would encourage more emotions to present themselves.
When his other hand swept your hair from your face, your breath caught in your throat. “You are the furthest thing from dull, melda. Do not compare yourself to the dust that is trampled by the feet of beasts – you are far more precious than even the light of the stars. You are worth far more than you give yourself credit for.”
The soft touch of his finger pulled your chin towards him, warranting your gaze to meet his. “I have spent these last two months considering how I might tell you this, and I find that is more perfect a time than ever,” he paused only to admire your eyes and the loveliness that reflected in them, “I am in love with you, (Y/n), and I fall more in love with you each day that passes.”
Your (e/c) widened and you felt your chest tighten – how could this be possible? How could he, the great elven lord of Rivendell, think of you as anything more than a wanderer? No matter how much you doubted yourself, you knew you could trust his words, despite the shock they invoked. He was never one to speak with haste or make himself vulnerable to anyone apart from his children. You were stunned to silence, waiting for him to take it back.  But he never did.
In fact, his brows drew together in an expression of absoluteness and he spoke again in a calmer, more pronounced tone. He took one of your hands in his and pressed it to his heart. “You are the most marvelous creature that has ever walked into my life. I am the one who has been graced by your presence. You have enriched my life when before it was simple and lonely…you are stardust, melamin, not me.”
Your sorrowful tears turned to joy as they poured from your eyes and spilled over your flushed cheeks. When you leaned forward to embrace him, he opened his arms to accept your human display of affection. A little too enthusiastic, it might have been – you wrapped your arms over his shoulders, pulling yourself to the ground where he knelt.
His chuckle reverberated against your body and you found yourself wondering how you had ever doubted your belonging here with him – there was no other place in Middle-Earth that could hold your heart.
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arwen | word count: 420
Arwen had known from the moment she had met you that something was meant to last between the two of you. Call it instinct, desire, or elven wisdom – whatever it might’ve been, she felt it clearly much like her father’s visions. Although she hadn’t been sure if it was the bonds of friendship or kindred spirits for some time, until her connection to you was proven by your shared desire to be near each other whenever you could.
She confessed to you on the morning of your departure with part of her father’s guard to oversee the treaties between your peoples. There was much riding upon the success of your deliverance and the treaties themselves – there was much hanging in the air, stiffening the backs of many anxious elves that mounted their steeds alongside you. Just as you finished loading your saddle, her voice carried across the yard of the stables and met your ears, drawing your attention towards you.
“I thought you were supposed to be with the farewell party at the gates?” You inquired. The smile her presence brought onto your lips warmed her heart.
“I am,” she drew near until she was within arm’s reach of you, “I came to say goodbye personally. I have something to tell you before you go.”
“Oh? What is it, my lady?”
“I want to offer you this,” – she took your hand in hers and discreetly place something within the grasp of your fingers, folding them back over it – “If you would but promise to take great care of it.”
Opening the palm of your hand, you found the cool glint of the Evenstar glistening back at you. To say that you were stunned was an understatement – surely this was not what it seemed to be. Was she offering her heart to you?
“Arwen, are- are you asking…?”
“I am offering you my heart with this jewel, that you may carry me with you while we are parted.”
You searched her eyes for any hint of uncertainty, but you found none. She knew what she was doing, placing this jewel in your care. She was offering you her love, her fidelity, her loyalty. Herself.
“But this must mean that-“
“That I love you,” she murmured, taking a step closer. She curled your fingers around the Evenstar again, this time enclosing her hands around yours. Her eyes flickered down as she placed a soft kiss to your knuckles, sealing her promise. “And I will be waiting for you when you return home.”
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legolas | word count: 259
It came in during one of the many nights that you sat close by him during the Feast of Starlight in his father’s halls. When he had seen your ceremonial gown laced with silver ribbon and your hair flowing free of any braids or decorum, he felt as though every thought and feeling he had harbored for you in his heart had been sealed by that moment. The need to confess his feelings came on so strongly that he could hardly speak throughout the feast, knowing the next words that passed through his lips would be ones of affirmation and promise. 
It happened in the basking glow of moonlight, just after you pointed out the constellations that glimmered brightly above you. He had placed his hand over yours gently, his fingers trembling slightly with anticipation. 
You glanced at him as his fingers enclosed around yours. His glimmering blue eyes narrowed down at your delicate hand, not yet meeting your inquiring gaze. His brows dipped together as though he were working very hard at thinking of what to say. 
“Legolas?”
He swallowed back his nerves before looking up to say, “(Y/n), you have been like my very own star, illuminating every part of my being with your passion. I think it must be time that I tell you just how much I care for you,” - his other hand came to cup the hand he held, encasing it in the warmth of his touch - “I love you, (Y/n), with a fire that burns brighter than the sun itself.”
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galadriel | word count: 207
The lady Galadriel, even in her vast grace and eloquence, could not find the words to say all that she felt for you. In the dusk of a summer evening over a private supper, she handed you a carefully folded letter that had been sealed with silver thread. You took it gingerly, looking up at her with curious eyes before unfolding its contents and delving into her written speech.
In it she had poured everything - from the moment she had met you to the very minute she had realized how her heart was binding itself to yours with the slow cadence of the changing seasons. She expressed that though her life had spanned a great millennium, you had brought a youthful curve to her smile, a liveliness she had not known for some time. At the very end of her confession that had been penned with her delicate penmanship were the concluding words of affection. She was in love with you. 
When you looked up at her, the letter quivering in your hands, she glanced away momentarily before saying, “Every word I wrote is but the truth I feel in my heart,” her smile was as dignified as ever, “and I cannot deny it any longer.”
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haldir | word count: 365
He will have thought about it for a very long time and have every word prepared to the syllable. The setting was carefully planned, the way he spoke and carried himself was rehearsed - for declaring your lifelong love for someone was no lighthearted matter. It could determine the course of his existence, as well as yours. Haldir wanted nothing less of himself than utter perfection, knowing well that you were worth every bit of his effort (and so much more). 
So there he waited in the beauty of the Lothlorien moon glow for your arrival. He had your favorite delicacies made in the kitchens by the skilled elves in the upper palace. There were pastries filled with tart berries and lathered with warm crème, a centuries-aged mulled wine, and votives shimmering in the grass. All to tell you that he loved you - to declare his heart as yours.
But all of that changed when you arrived suddenly and rushed up the slope to meet him. Unexpectedly, you took him in your arms and held him there without warning. There was a quiver to your body that he felt against his skin. He returned the gesture without hesitation.
“Melda, what is it that troubles you?” 
You spouted off about how horrible your day had been and how glad you were to have had this meeting with him, how it had kept you going throughout the gradual disappointments that had taken place since that morning. You went on to tell him how much he meant to you - all without explicitly saying ‘i love you’, but somehow he knew that had been what you meant. 
Without thinking, he said it over you shoulder in a whisper just loud enough to be heard by your human ears. It hadn’t been the way he had carefully planned out, but somehow it had been sweeter this way than any other way he could have imagined. It was natural, pure, and made his heart full. 
“I love you too, Haldir,” you murmured in return. He permitted himself to succumb to your human expression of affection completely as he tightened his embrace and gently nestled his chin over your shoulder. 
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gimli | word count: 346
The saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” must have applied to dwarves as well. For one night as you and the other members of your Fellowship bedded down for a meal and a few hours’ rest, the savory flavor you managed to infuse in the meager ingredients you rationed had done just that to Gimli, son of Gloin. It had been only a brief moment between handing him his own helping and sitting down next to him with your own that the words of adoration escaped his mouth.
“My love be yours, lass! This brew is delicious!” He had proclaimed, his voice rising higher above the hushed sounds of delight as the others enjoyed your cooking. Then his own words registered in his hungry mind - as they did to the rest of the group.
The spoon halted in his mouth as he froze stiff under the several inquiring looks from around the fire. Legolas’ expression was contorted in such a confused way, Gimli would have make a jab at the elf had he not been the object of attention himself. He hadn’t thought it possible for the dwarf to harbor feelings - well, positive ones, at least.
Your smile drove the dwarf’s cheeks into a reddening fit. “Your what be mine?” 
“Uh, ah,” he swallowed quickly and slurped in another mouthful of broth, “I dedn’t say anythin’.”
“Oh, I think you did, Gimli,” Aragorn chimed in with a wide grin on his face.
“I think he might ‘a said he loved her!” One of the hobbits proclaimed, encouraging a roar of laughter around the fire. 
Gimli muttered something over his bowl of stew that he cradled close to his beard. You smiled at him, knowing he was too embarrassed to even offer a rebuttal. It may not have been outright or plainly spoken, but you could see through the hard-pressed and unfeeling exterior he always wore that there was something soft not too far below the surface. You were happy to hold the affections of a certain red-haired, axe-wielding dwarf. 
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frodo baggins | word count: 612
Frodo loved nothing more than a peaceful day spent in the flickering shade of the forests and crossing through little creeks and rivers - especially if you were with him. He often invited you to tag along with him on his adventures to find a good reading spot or explore some hidden oasis of the Shire he had yet to discover. He always wanted to be with you. 
On one such day, Frodo couldn’t stop thinking about you. Every thought turned and found its way back to you. Each time he tried to concentrate on the book he cradled in his hands, his eyes wandered readily to find your peaceful face indulged in your own little world, just content to have his company without the need for conversation. 
He adjusted himself where he sat in the forked trunk of a comfortable tree and tried one last time to immerse himself in the paragraphs printed on the yellowed pages of his book. It was no use.
Minutes passed and Frodo couldn’t try any longer. His eyes settled on the texture of your (h/c) hair that you had left down that day with no braids or ribbons tying portions of it back. The midday sun that filtered through the canopy of trees sent waves of gold across those soft tendrils he loved tucking behind your ear. You sat primly at the base of the tree, weaving the stems of flowers together. 
Quietly, he admired the contour of your nose, the curve of your cheeks, the delicate shape of your lips and the pink tongue that poked out every now and then as you tried to concentrate on your pleats. A dreamy smile took over his quaint expression. The contented sigh that passed between his lips pulled your gaze up to meet his.
His sweet smile encouraged your own to make an appearance. Both of your hearts fluttered. “What’s that look for?” 
“I was just admiring how beautiful you are with sunlight in your hair,” he said. His voice was sugary and tender. It reminded you of the rich pastries his uncle offered you each time you came for a meal. So delicately ruch with sweetness that it sat in your belly and warmed, mixing perfectly with the twang of a hot berry tea. Frodo was like that - the perfect mix of everything natural and sweet. Pure.
Your blush overtook your expression and your averted your gaze bashfully. As your thoughts rushed with anticipation, wondering what was to come next, if anything. Perhaps he would say something else or return to his book, you couldn’t be sure. 
There was the definitive sound his book snapping shut and the scuffle of his feet as he hopped down from the tree. You teased him with a glance when he sat next to you and tucked his legs underneath him, turning your fingers around the stems of budding dandelions. His eyes studied your face for a moment longer before he wandered down to follow the steady work of your hands.
“What are you making?”
“I’m weaving a bookmark for you,” you answered. “After it dries, you can take it out and use it for other books.”
There was that fluttering in his heart again. 
“You’re marvelous,” he whispered. 
A short chuckle escaped you and your eyes widened with a mix of shock and curiosity. “I’m just weaving flowers, Frodo. It’s nothing special.”
His hand covered yours. Your fingers stilled.
“Of course it is. Anything you do becomes special.”
“Frodo, I-...”
“I love you, (Y/n).”
“You- you what?”
He traced his finger along your cheek, tucking your hair behind your ear like he always did. “I love you.”
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samwise gamgee | word count: 1,084
Sam had planned every minute of his confession. He would invite you to supper, cook every bit of it himself, and put it all in a picnic basket to be eaten in the quaint garden of his home. He had rehearsed his words over and over again, both to Frodo and the looking glass that hung by the front door.
When you arrived that evening, it was obvious that something was turning in that head of his (he was never any good at being discrete), but you didn’t let on as if you suspected anything. You figured that if Sam had planned something special, he would enjoy the surprise on your face better than the curious questions that would deflate his excitement. With a basket in tow, he led you back out the front door and onto the stone steps of his beautifully gardened walkway.
You paused to admire the lilies and tall-reaching sunflowers as he bickered with the key in the lock. Unfortunately, both of you were too distracted to notice the picnic basket slipping from his grasp. Before either of you could react, the beautifully packed picnic had tumbled out onto the dusty stones around your feet. 
A loaf of bread that had been carefully wrapped in parchment seemed unscathed, as did the little pot of warm stew that had been tied shut with a thick ribbon over the lid. The jars of honey and jam clinked as they rolled into each other, a packed cheese board tumbled out and into the grass, and a lovely golden pie feel top-first onto the porch step with a splat.
Your first instinct was to clasp your hands over your mouth and stare idly at the unfortunate mess. Your eyes flicked to Sam, who stood with his back to you and his hand still on the key that stuck out of the door. His shoulders sank and an audible sigh of remorse left his lips.
“Oh, blast it!” he exclaimed under his breath, bending over to turn the basket right-side up.
Poor Sam.
“Oh, Sam! I’m so sorry!” You stepped forward out of your daze and tucked the jars in your arms. You picked up the stew that had only barely spilled a few drops when it tipped, careful not to knock the lid off anymore. When you set them down by the basket, you noticed the pie that had been smashed had splattered onto Sam’s feet and trousers. Helplessly, he tried to shake the gooey tart off, but to no avail.
“Let me go inside and get some towels,” you offered. Scooting between him and the doorpost – and narrowly avoiding the pie yourself – you took the key from his fingers and twisted it back, opening his front door wide open and quickly heading for the bathroom.
When you came back, damp towel in hand, Sam was slumped by the grass, picking up the cheese and berries that had hopped out like little frogs. You sighed at the sight of it, knowing he had most likely prepared and cooked every bit of this meal himself. You couldn’t help but notice that he looked rather defeated.
Approaching him, you could hear him muttering under breath, things like, “Samwise, you blundering fool” and “now the night’s all ruined because of your clumsiness”. Gently, you placed your hand on his shoulder and bent over to capture his attention. He stood and looked at you, a frown drooping his eyebrows together. It was enough to make your heart break right then and there.
“Here, leave that to me and let’s get you cleaned up.”
Taking his hand, you led him to the little bench by the potted tomatoes and gestured for him to sit. He sat down with a groan and reached for the towel, which you pulled out of reach. “It’s alright, Sam, I can clean it off.”
“You don’t have to do that, (Y/n),” he interjected. There was an embarrassed twinge in his tone.
“I know I don’t, but I want to help. You went to all this trouble to give me a lovely evening out and I want to do what I can to help make it happen still,” you reassured. You knelt by his feet and began wiping the crème and berries from his trousers, letting the water soak in and draw the hue out.
“Oh,” he sighed, rubbing his face tiredly with his hand, “This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.”
You glanced up at him curiously, quirking a brow. “Sam, it’s alright. It’s just one date – we can always try again and next time I’ll lock the door for you. Or I can carry the basket, although I can’t promise I won’t be the one to drop it.” Your snickering didn’t seem to assuage his deflated excitement.
“No, tonight was-…I was going to- to-...”
You leaned back on your haunches, your hands still. He was going to what?
“Sam?”
His silent anxiousness worried you. Tenderly, you placed a hand on his knee and bent forward to try and catch his gaze again. Bashfully, his eyes darted up, but they did not meet yours. Instead he focused on your hand that settled on his knee and found himself smiling softly, despite the tears that had welled in his eyes.
Following his gaze, you realized what you had done – the heat rose in your cheeks and you began to pull away, but his hand stopped you. With a sweet touch, he wove his together with yours and looked up at you. Your pulse quickened  - you had never seen that look before, in his eyes. The one where they shimmered almost like stars and his smile tipped to the side. He looked almost blissful.
“I had planned on telling you I love you. I had everything planned, including baking your favorite pie with little hearts woven into the crust. I wanted tonight to be special, so you would remember it when we’re old and grey and start forgetting what we ate for second breakfast.”
Sam watched as your smile grew, shrank into shock, and then grew again. When you sprang forward and enveloped him, it took a moment for him to register your sudden warmth pressed against him. But when he did, he happily returned the gesture and wrapped his arms under yours, tucking his chin over your shoulder. He could smell the sweet scent of lavender wafting from your beautiful hair.
“Sam, I’ll never forget this night for as long as I live.”
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merry brandybuck | word count: 409
With Meriadoc Brandybuck, nothing was ever subtle. The young hobbit had planned his confession like he might any other adventure or trip across the country. From morning until night, Merry had something in store for you to slowly build to the moment he was prepared to confess his truest feelings. 
It started with pulling you out your door at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise over Bywater Pool with a quaint breakfast in the square (which you forgave him for when he presented those deliciously warm muffins) and was then followed by a light frenzy of morning shopping from the markets that were selling sweet-tasting goods and homemade wares. He had seen the way you had eyed that little locket with the (f/c) jewel dangling from it and bought it when you weren’t looking, slipping it into his vest pocket. 
Not long after you had visited your friends in the Green Dragon Inn, there had been a lovely wagon-ride through the rich Green Hill countryside to reach the borders of the Shire, followed by a lunch under the trees of the forest in the curve of the hillside shadows. He watched fondly as you went about collecting flowers to braid into a crown for the two of you. After your meal had been finished (along with a day full of snacks and goodies he had brought along), he had led you on a hike the rest of the way to Tuckborough where the Great Willow sat patiently waiting for dusk. 
There, underneath the swaying loveliness of the weeping branches, he turned out his pocket and clasped the necklace around you from behind. 
A gasp escaped your surprised smile, “What is this?!” 
“I saw you eyeing it this morning when we were in the square,” he planted himself beside you, tucking your hair behind your shoulder, “And I thought you should have it.”
“Oh, Merry,” you looked down and marveled at its glimmering beauty, pressing your fingers to the chain, “You really shouldn’t have! This cost a few good silver pieces!”
There was pure adoration in his eyes when you looked at him, a look you hadn’t seen so fully expressed before. It was then, in the pause between phrases, that he said it all with just a look. You had never felt such butterflies before.
“No price could ever compare to the amount of my love for you, (Y/n).”
Oh, he was smooth. He was very smooth.
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pippin took | word count: 430
Pippin mightn’t have been the most creative when it came to planning elaborate dates or settings in which to confess his innermost feelings with, but he was no less sincere. When the quick knock had come at your door one morning before you had even had the chance to devour your first meal of the day, you hadn’t expected to find him standing anxiously on the other side. 
He wore that same crooked smile that alighted his whole face and held tightly in his hands was a bouquet of wildflowers. By the looks of them, he must has run up the lane carrying them - some daisies had lost a few petals and you spotted the dirt-knotted roots hanging from his hands from where he had pulled them from the earth. It was messy and imperfect, but it was Pippin. 
There was something so endearing about his childlike naivety when it came to the “proper” way of presenting things, such as the mop of unkempt curls on his head, the bruised flowers in his clenched hands, and the wide-eyed energy he never went without. You loved every bit of it.
You certainly hadn’t expected him to suddenly become shy when he began to explain the bouquet he placed in your hands, his fingers lingering over yours a little longer than necessary. He was never one to be slow to speak.
“I-I, uh, I thought you might like these pretty flowers, y’know, because pretty things like other pretty things,” he smiled for a moment and bounced on his feet, until he seemed to register his own words and how they might be taken, “Uh, not- not that I see you as a ‘thing’ or...anything.”
“I know what you mean, Pip,” you smiled at him through the blossoms as you pressed them to your nose, inhaling their sweet scent. 
“I also came to- uh- to tell you about my feelings.”
“Your feelings?” 
“Ah, those,” he giggled and spared a glance at his feet, “I just meant that I have feelings for someone. For you, that is. I mean. And, uh, I wanted to come out and say it. Like that.”
Your heart skipped a beat. “Oh, Pippin, that’s wonderful becau-”
“I love you, that is,” he concluded before adding a rushed, “You don’t have to say the same, of course. I was just putting it out there.”
You tucked in your widening smile and concealed your blush behind your daisies. “I do feel the same way. Would you like to come in for breakfast?”
You knew he never turned down a meal.
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tags: @moony-artnstuff​  @wellfuckmyexistence​
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quokkacore · a year ago
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son of wolves I [park chanyeol & byun baekhyun]
for @imsoba​, who asked for an angsty, fluffy enemies to lovers au. merry christmas from your secret santa! written for the @exolssecretsanta​ gift exhange.
summary:  your entire life, you've fought bravely to defend the walls of your home from the evil forest spirits of the spearwood trying to destroy it, alongside your family, friends, and your betrothed, baekhyun. until you're infected by the evil that resides in one of these spirits, and you run away from home, before it can spread to those around you. it's in your exile, wandering through the spearwood that you meet the wolf prince, a tall man of hardened eyes, few words, and a fiery temperament, raised by these spirits you've so grown to resent. it's here that you begin to question everything you've ever known, and wonder whether the evil was out here, in the forest, or inside the walls of a place you once called home.
pairings: hunter!baekhyun x reader, wolfprince!chanyeol x reader
genre: reverse princessmononoke!au, angst, fluff, slow burn, enemies to lovers, fantasy epic, slow burn, war au, wolf!au
warnings for this chapter: violence, animal attacks, mild descriptions of gore, mild body horror(?), can you tell i did my best to avoid calling them tentacles but there are only so many times i can use the words “coils” and “tendrils”, language, subtle emotional manipulation, reader feels VERY violent urges but they’re not too descriptive, hypothermia maybe?, intentional starvation for purposes of wilderness survival, chanyeol is kind of aggressive and intimidating, SO MUCH worldbuilding im srry, VERY precarious (and probably inaccurate) medical procedures performed by the reader, chanyeol is a slob but hes literally feral so??
song recs: ateez - hala hala // stevie nicks - rooms on fire // the weeknd - until i bleed out // joe hisaishi - departure (to the west) // howard shore & billy boyd - the sacrifice of faramir + to the edge of night // jorja smith - i am 
word count: 11.5k
a/n: first of all, i want to apologize a little bit to the person this was meant for. i meant to write this in two parts, but due to external factors, i’m going to have to split it into three. i hope you like it <3 second of all, i think i strayed a bit from the original source material, but i hope u guys can enjoy it regardless!! merry christmas to everyone, this is a gift to my followers as well. 
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main masterlist  // story masterlist
chapter one: the bite
It was supposed to be a routine patrol just outside the perimeter of Ironbend. You hadn’t been expecting the beasts and the rider to ambush the two of you in such a way. One moment you and Baekhyun were eyeing the treeline, the next the wolves were running up on you, and your reindeers were taking off, attempting to lead them away from the village. 
“Get the others!” Baekhyun called to you, running between the trees, “I’ll lead them away from the wall!”
You nodded, directing the reindeer to veer away from the chase. You looked back, eyeing Baekhyun warily before he and his reindeer disappeared further into the trees, the sound of howling getting further and further away. 
But the sound of large paws against the forest floor did not. Knowing what was coming, you turned, aiming the arrow you’d nocked earlier in your bow, and met eyes with the beast that had been chasing you. 
Immediately, you knew that this beast was different. Its running pattern was erratic, as if it were tired but still euphoric, and you could see a wound on its neck, staining its fur a dark color. Not red, but almost black. You let the arrow fly at it, grazing its side, but it didn’t growl. Its sneer grew bigger, but no growl or snarl left its mouth. You faced frontwards again, watching as you came closer to the treeline, the wall of Ironbend coming into view. 
“THE WOLVES!” You shouted towards the men on the parapets, standing guard, “GET THE RIDERS, THE WOLVES ARE—!”
The bite came both expectedly and unexpectedly, the wolf pouncing on you and knocking you off of your reindeer. You tumbled onto the ground, pinned down by the white wolf, feral and mad. The way your head fell against the ground, plus the cold snow left you disoriented and dizzy. Expectedly and unexpectedly, because in a fight like this, you always expect there to be injuries, maybe even casualties. But deep down, on a subconscious level, you never really expect it to be you. 
Humans cling to hope, and sometimes end up having it pried from their cold, dead hands. No matter how hopeless things become, everyone always has a “maybe”, or a “what if”. And today, your “maybe” had turned sour. Out of nowhere, the white beast had locked its maw around your arm, and was thrashing you back and forth. You could feel an intense pain in your arm as its teeth broke your skin and attempted to rip off your limb. In your disorientation, you began to panic, your other arm trying to beat the animal off of you. You pulled at its fur, and threw punches, but what seemed to distract it enough was when you tugged at the wound, and managed to stick a few fingers inside, gripping whatever was in the wound.
The beast reared back as it let out a pained cry and then a ferocious snarl. You managed to scoot back at least a little bit, putting some distance between you and the wolf, and grabbed the bow, which you had dropped as you fell.
Blood was dripping down your marred arm, and in those seconds that seemed to pass like an eternity, you realized that the wolf’s saliva was, for some reason, a thick, semi translucent black color. 
I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die. 
The scent of the beast’s rancid blood pierced your nose and the sound of other men shouting were the sensations you could feel around you, but not before you felt something inside of you, a deep, masculine voice echoing in your head.
Your hate infected me, the voice growled, now my hate will infect you, and you will die the same way I will: slowly, painfully and overtaken by rage.
Then the voice was ripped from your head, the same way the beast was ripped away from you as the other riders came to your rescue. You were picked up by one of them, thrown onto his reindeer behind him, and you gripped on tightly to his shirt with your uninjured arm as he turned his reindeer sharply to follow after the wolf, which was most likely returning to its pack, towards the sounds of shouting, howling, and gunshots.
“Are you okay?” He asked loudly, and you recognized the voice instantly. 
“I think so,” You answered Jongdae over the wind, “I’m hurt pretty badly, but nothing Yixing can’t fix.”
With some difficulty, huffing in pain as you did so, you reached for another arrow, nocking it into your bow in preparation to let it fly at another wolf. Jongdae’s reindeer followed the wolf in its tracks, and stopped when you ran through the trees and stumbled across the fight. The wolves were incessant in their snarling and attempts to trample the riders and their reindeers, but your eyes ignored them despite the chaos, falling to Baekhyun, who was now off of his reindeer, his sword pulled out, dodging the rider’s dagger. You could see the anger on Baekhyun’s face, his chest heaving.
You couldn’t see the rider’s face. You never could whenever they attacked. All you knew was that he was significantly taller than Baekhyun, and that his hands were tanned and littered with scars. His face was covered by a red mask, back covered by the pelt of a white wolf, neck accented by a necklace of sharp teeth from different animals. His simple clothes were black, hiding the rest of his body. The man moved aggressively, grunting as he played the offense, repeatedly trying to stab your lover. 
You sneered and let your arrow fly, catching him right in his right shoulder blade, piercing through his clothes. The man stopped, groaning in pain, back arching in pain. He was barely able to dodge Baekhyun, who had taken the hit as an opening for him to strike with his sword. The rider stepped back, letting out a loud whistle before getting onto the largest wolf. He whistled again, and the other wolves began to retreat, dodging the large metal bullets that rained down on them from the guns of the other soldiers.
When the silence settled, Baekhyun’s eyes settled on you, and then he was running towards you and Jongdae, eyes flashing in alarm as he saw the mangled flesh of your arm. 
“What happened to you?” He asked, voice loud and concerned. 
“The wolf that came after me knocked me off my reindeer,” You replied, suddenly feeling lightheaded as the adrenaline began to wear off, “Bit me pretty bad.”
He looked up at you, then to Jongdae.
“Get her to Yixing. Now.”
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“The bite left her cursed.”
Murmurs broke out amongst the council of leaders, and you felt your eyes flutter shut at Yixing’s tone. Normally soft and gentle, now his tone was loud as he spoke to the ten members of the council, and you could tell he was angry.
“What do you mean cursed?” Your father, head of the council, asked. 
“The beast was infected with hatred,” The healer explained, “Hatred of that kind stems from war and festers in ways we mortals cannot comprehend. As he’s a demigod, one of the sons of Selyne, it will most likely turn him into a demon.” 
“One of our finest female warriors cursed by a descendant of that wretched she-wolf,” The head of war huffed, her eyes settled on the bandages of your injured arm. “How will the curse work on Y/N?”
“It will manifest as dark magic.” Yixing’s voice was low, and you felt Baekhyun’s hand tighten around your own uninjured one. “It will harm her and those around her when it does, and it will slowly spread through her body. It will kill her when it reaches her heart, or her brain—whichever it reaches first.”
You looked up. “But there has to be a cure,” You quipped, “I can’t die. I refuse to.”
“Y/N.” Yixing’s eyes were sympathetic. “There isn’t. I hate to say this to you, but this is a death sentence. By my estimates you have at best, a month and a half.”
“Can we at least slow it down, hyung?” Baekhyun asked, voice pained. Your eyes squeezed shut at the slight desperation in his voice. “Make it less painful?” “Make it less painful, maybe. Slow it down… I don’t think I can, Baek. I’m sorry.”
You watched him nod, jaw clenching, the hand atop yours clenching slightly. “There has to be something,” You insisted. “What about the story of the wounded warrior—”
“Y/N, that’s a myth.” Your father’s tone was both sympathetic at your insistence, but also angered by your refusal to accept the truth. “And besides, that myth originated centuries ago, before we took hold of our destinies and left The Spearwood to build Ironbend.”
“Do you really think the Pillars of the Forest—do you think Emyr, the proud fool that he is, would heal you as he did the wounded warrior, after three centuries of war against his kingdom? After all of the weapons we’ve created, all the soldiers of his we’ve gotten rid of, ”
“Emyr asked the warrior for a sacrifice, then. I could negotiate something with him, and—”
“And what? What if he asks to give up our weapons, to leave The Spearwood be after everything it’s done to us, so that we may be overrun? Y/N, you may be one of our finest warriors, and you may be my daughter, but I refuse to sacrifice one life over all of Ironbend.”
“Send me on my own, then, papa, but I can’t just—”
“Enough.” His tone was final, and you inhaled sharply as you attempted to control the shaking in your arms. 
“You will stay here. And I promise we will do our best to make the rest of your life something for you to look fondly upon when you pass.”
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“It’s bullshit,” You growled, blinking back tears as you sat on the bed in the cabin you shared with Baekhyun. “There’s a perfectly good possibility and they won’t even let me try.”
“Y/N, my love,” Baekhyun whispered, coming to kneel between your legs so he could cup your face, “It’s a suicide mission. Going into The Spearwood, of all places, in the dead of winter, to find those four gods and ask them to heal one of their enemies, I… you have to admit, it doesn’t sound logical. If the cold doesn’t kill you, then Selyne and her children certainly will.”
His hand came to rub at your cheek, nose nuzzling against yours, and you knew he was right. 
In the beginning, when man was just another animal, the ancestors of Ironbend lived in The Spearwood, ruled over by the four Pillars of the Forest: Selyne, the wolf goddess, warden of the forest, Beval, the eagle god, keeper of the weather, Mirren, the bear goddess, guardian of families, and Emyr, the deer god, king of the gods, and ruler of the forest. Over time, humans became smarter: they realized they could build things with their hands that animals could not, and they grew proud enough to rally together and leave The Spearwood and the kingdom of the gods to build something permanent: Ironbend. 
The forest exodus triggered a seemingly endless war, which had been going on for over three hundred years. For three hundred years, your ancestors had attempted to destroy the gods’ uncivilized way of life, to end Emyr’s tyranny and extend Ironbend across all of the Spearwood, so that it would finally be gone.
If the gods were as ruthless as they said, Emyr would never heal you when you were a part of the threat to their archaic way of life.
“Baek, I…” You whispered shakily, eyes fluttering shut. “I can’t die like this. I-I can’t. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. W-we were supposed to get married, and we were going to lead the council, and have children, and raise them to end the war, and then… Baekhyun, do you really want to give that up?”
“You think I want to give that up?” Baekhyun snapped, leaning away from you. “What, you think I want to watch you die a slow and painful death, and not do a thing about it? I—” 
He caught himself when he saw the tears streaming down your face, and your injured arm shaking. You couldn’t explain the despair, the anger that washed over you, but you could see the injured skin warping and growing beneath the bandages. You felt the bandages tighten against your skin as it grew, and you grasped your injured forearm with your other hand to hold it back, because all you felt was the urge to hurt, and you wouldn’t live with yourself if you ended up hurting Baekhyun, the man who made you laugh and feel emotions you had never felt before, who had persisted to push himself up the class ladder because he wanted to be with you and help those around him. 
Not him, not your Baek.
He stepped back cautiously as you took deep breaths, trying to ignore the sudden black liquid oozing slowly out from underneath the bandages, staining them dark and dirty. You began to count, and counted for an eternity, only stopping at 136 before you felt the urge dissipate, burrowing back beneath the skin it had attempted to break free from.
“Are you alright?” Baekhyun’s tone was cautious, and you opened your eyes to find that he was eyeing your arm warily. You nodded. “Better. I just… need to remain calm.” 
He groaned and ran a hand over his face before pushing his hair back. “Shit, my love, I… I would march into that forest right now if I knew for sure that it would save you. But the truth of the matter is I don’t know, and neither do you, and chances are that it wouldn’t. No one has seen Emyr in a hundred years, and even if he showed himself to you, he would likely have you executed for treason.” 
When you didn’t respond, his hands fell to yours, bringing them to his chest. You spread out your fingers, feeling the fabric of his cream drawstring shirt and the firm muscle beneath it.
Your eyes fell on the pendant he’d always worn: a small opal on a gold chain, which had been his father’s. Noticing your gaze, he reached behind his neck, unclasping it and placing it around your neck.
 His eyes were desperate, voice breathless and slightly panicky. “Stay here, with me, Y/N. Where it’s warm, and y-you’re surrounded by people who love you, and we can be happy before you die. We can rush the wedding, I don’t care if it’s a big affair or not. If it means you spend the rest of your life with me, it would make me the happiest man in the world, and I promise I would make you feel loved until the end of your days.”
Your forehead fell against his, and his eyes fluttered shut. “I’m already on my knees, my love. Please don’t make me beg any further.”
“Baek…” You whispered, feeling his steady heartbeat beneath your fingertips. “Hold me, please.”
He nodded, quickly making his way onto the bed, ready to console you, not despite what just happened but in spite of it—he knew you were just as frightened as he was, because he knew you like the back of his hand. The argument was forgotten, and suddenly you were resting on Baekhyun’s chest, listening to him hum a lullaby to you. You let your tears stain his shirt, and he pressed kisses to your hair between beats, until the soft melody lulled you to sleep, dreaming of nothing, basking in the warmth of the arms of your betrothed.
When you awoke, you found that Baekhyun had blown out the candle on your nightstand, because your room was now dark. He was asleep beneath you,  snoring softly. He looked so relaxed now that he was resting. During most of the day, his face was pulled into a grim frown, as the council met to discuss serious strategies and the needs of the people of Ironbend.
He hadn't always been that way. Even now, occasionally bits and pieces of who he was when you had first fallen in love—the brightest, funniest boy you had ever met—shone through. He could still make you and your friends laugh until your stomachs ached, but now that you were all adults, and it was time to take the war from your parents' hands, all of you had grown more serious, and pushed aside the time to simply enjoy life and each other.
You were 11 when you met Baekhyun, himself 13. You met at the training academy in the town, meant to teach children the basics: how to read and do math, the history of Ironbend and the war, . He had been a year older, and wont to make everyone laugh. 
He helped you with your sword fighting skills, and in return, you helped him with his archery skills. A steady friendship bloomed, despite the fact that you were the head councilman's daughter, and Baekhyun was the child of a woman who ran away when he was a baby to be with her lover, and the town drunk. Baekhyun was crafty, however, and as he grew into a young man, he used his wits, natural charm and skill to climb the ranks. 
It also helped that he invented the first prototype for the shoulder guns.
He had always been good at making things, and his prototype for the shoulder guns, small cannons loaded with large iron bullets made from the metal extracted in the mines, were what began to give the town an upper hand against the ambushes the creatures of the forests made. And for him, it was what landed him in junior council, along with all of his other abilities.
You thought of Baekhyun, and the look in his eyes when the curse kicked in. The quake in his voice when he begged you to stay. How much it was hurting him to see you like this, to know you would die. Your hand drifted to the necklace he had placed around your neck, a silent promise.  
What, you think I want to watch you die a slow and painful death, and not do a thing about it?
Except there was a thing to do about it. 
The wounded warrior was a story your grandmother had told you as a child—everyone knew the story as a testament to Emyr’s cruelty. The wounded warrior had gone to the deer god as he began to die from an infected wound, and begged him for a cure, so he could live to see his children and his wife. And while Emyr took pity on him, he asked him for something in return: fifteen years of loyalty, of servitude. 
True to his word, the warrior did as he asked—he tended to the god’s every whim and desire, for fifteen long, grueling years. Fifteen years that, for an immortal, passed by in the blink of an eye, but for a human, were, well… fifteen years. When the warrior finally returned home, he found his wife had died believing he had died after disappearing for so long, and his children, now grown, were resentful of having grown up without a father. The warrior lived a full life, to a ripe old age, but it was a lonely one, for he had no wife or children to take care of him or keep him company.
And finally, you thought of the rider, of the odd red and gold mask that haunted both your dreams and Baekhyun’s. There were no towns around for miles, not unless you passed through the mountains, in the opposite direction of the Spearwood, and no child in Ironbend had gone missing and remained unfound for over eighty years. The man looked too young and had moved with too much energy to be 90 years old. 
Your puffy eyes fluttered shut, listening to Baekhyun’s steady heartbeat.
...And not do a thing about it?
Except there was something to do about it. And while your chances were slim, there was always a chance. 
Slowly, you lifted yourself off of Baekhyun’s chest and sat next to him on the bed, admiring his features as he slept. The bridge of his round nose, the moles on his face, the apples of his cheeks. 
Oh, how you would miss him.
Baekhyun was a pretty heavy sleeper, but you still took great care to dress quietly, pulling on a warm shirt, thick pants and a cloak, along with a pair of winter gloves. You grimaced pulling them on, as you used your injured hand, the skin swollen and irritated, pain prickling every time you flexed your fingers or your wrist. Your heart never ceased pounding.
Next, you grabbed a satchel and went to the kitchen, packing a loaf of bread, some jam, a few strips of dried meats, and some fruit. You could find water in the streams, you figured. 
Quietly, you set your bow and quiver next to the satchel on the floor, and hurried to find some ink and a scroll of paper. As you looked, a glint of silver out of the corner of your eye caught your attention. 
It was one of Baekhyun’s many swords, still partially sheathed, propped up against the wall. Smaller, a bit more lightweight. He didn’t use it much precisely because of that—he preferred something heavier, that could bring down more force. You thought of the rider and his knife, and how you would most likely end up injured if he came close to you; a bow and arrow is only so good up close. You swallowed a lump in your throat, quietly picking it up. Glancing at the bedroom doorway, where you could still see Baekhyun asleep on the bed, dark hair tousled, you took a deep breath, before tying the sheath’s leather band around your waist, securing it tightly. 
Blinking back tears, hands shaking, you wrote down a brief letter.
Baekhyun, my love, 
Please forgive me for what I'm about to do. I can't sit here and die when I know there's at least a chance. Life will find a way. Love will find a way. I will find a way. I will do everything possible to find my way back to you, safe and sound. Don't look for me. It's dangerous enough as it is in The Spearwood, and now with the chance that I might hurt you as well… If these truly are my final days, I want you to remember as I am, and not as what the curse will turn me into.
You shine brighter than the stars, Baek. Please don't stop doing so, ever. That shine will lead me back to you even on the darkest of nights.
Forever yours,
Y/N
Tiptoeing, you set down the weathered paper on your side of the bed, before looking at Baekhyun one last time. Carefully, you leaned over him, and pressed a kiss to his forehead.
“No matter what happens, we’ll see each other again,” You whispered against his skin, “And after you're done yelling at me, I’ll kiss you the way you deserve.”
Escaping was an easy feat when you knew the standard night patrol route—even easier when you were the one who wrote them. Carrying all of your things, you made your way to the stables, the moon your only source of light. 
There was no one in the stables, which made saddling up Ivan, your reindeer, easier. In the silence as you worked hastily, you began to doubt your actions. Go back, a voice whispered somewhere in the back of your mind, stay with your family, stay with Baekhyun. Hold him tight and don't let go until you die. Kiss him like it will free you from the curse, even though it won't. Be happy. Make them happy.
Your eyes drifted down to the bandage, which you had changed right before leaving, feeling the slight throb of your skin. You were reminded of the things that hung in the balance—or rather, imbalance. The unfairness of it all. Yes, life was unfair, but here you had a chance to take at least something back.
And so you didn’t go back. You continued to saddle up the reindeer, slinging the bag over its side, and finally, you left the stable, and quietly made your way towards one of the side gates. You knew the main gate was the one most heavily guarded, and that the side gates were generally more lax. Given the position of the moon in the sky, which was slowly being covered by clouds, you could also tell that the guards’ shift would be ending, and there would be a brief period where the gate was left unattended.
With baited breath, you waited, holding the large creature’s harness in your uninjured hand, watching from behind a corner as the guards stood at their posts. For about ten minutes, your heart pounding in your chest the entire time, you watched the parapets, and then turned to look at the alleyway you were hiding in. You did your best to hold your breath when you peeked around the corner, knowing that the condensation could give you away if they happened to look your way.
Finally, the two guards walked away, mumbling to each other as they did, and you took this as your cue. You led your reindeer to the gate, and pulled off the thick iron plank that locked the gate, careful to not make a noise. 
When it was open, you hopped onto the reindeer, nudged him slightly, and he slowly walked into the treeline. You looked down at the snow, and hoped that the dark would hide the trail until it started to snow. 
You rode on Ivan’s back for hours, until the darkness started to slowly fade. Somewhere during that time, it had started to snow. Now, the forest floor was covered with a fresh sheet of snow, that looked a shade of light blue rather than white, now during the twilight. During that span of time, as you rode on deeper and deeper into the forest, you realized the sheer magnitude of it. The stories the village elders had told you and the other children to keep away from the woods, and stay inside of the walls: that the servants of the gods were large creatures with sharp white teeth and long nasty claws, that the Spearwood was alive, and knew that humans had abandoned it, so it tricked travelers into going in circles—no matter how close the treeline seemed to be, you could walk for hours and never cross it because of the Spearwood’s magic, playing tricks on your eyes until you succumbed to the cold, or dehydration, or hunger.
Paranoia was trickling its way into your head, albeit slowly. As you stopped to let Ivan rest, you pulled out a piece of cured meat, chewing it until your jaw was sore as Ivan dug his hooves into the snow, only stopping when he found a patch of grass to chew on. You looked up at the sky, and then in all four directions. You knew that the mountains opposite the Spearwood were towards the north, and by going north you would eventually leave the forest and find Ironbend, but currently, with the snowfall and the clouds, you had no idea which way that was.
But you didn’t plan on returning until you knew for sure the gods would listen to you. 
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Apparently, the gods weren’t very keen on listening.
Onward you went for days, panic slowly kicking in as you realized that you had no way of actually knowing in which direction you were headed. You seemed to be riding Ivan in circles, and the silence of the forest, save for the sound of Ivan’s hooves against the snow, was beginning to drive you to madness. Every few hours you switched between walking on him and riding, taking quick breaks every time you decided to switch. The isolation was quickly becoming too much to handle. 
You thought of your friends, of your family, of Baekhyun, of everything said that night before you left. You didn’t want to imagine what was happening back home, but you couldn’t help it, what with walking around all day and not having anything to do. 
You knew that your parents must have been heartbroken, and that your friends would likely be losing their minds. But you knew that you were doing what felt right.
You had packed enough small snacks to last you about three weeks if you rationed correctly, but you felt as though you were constantly running on empty, never fully satisfied. You drank water every time you came past streams or snowmelts, because you didn’t know when you would find one again, cupping your hands together and drinking until you were practically full, fingers pained from the freezing water and your throat sore. 
The falling snow would stop periodically, and then start up again. Not very heavy, but not precisely light either. Your face became perpetually cold, your fingers cramped harshly to the point when you would wince in pain when you needed to change your bandages.
The falling snow would stop periodically, and then start up again. Not very heavy, but not precisely light either. Your face became perpetually cold, your fingers cramped harshly to the point when you would wince in pain when you needed to change your bandages.
The wound was getting worse. The curse was beginning to spread. Initially, while it had started at the bite mark in the middle of your forearm, it was now making its way to your elbow and wrist. The tissue seemed to be turning necrotic as well, secreting a sort of mucous substance that was black. The smell was bearable when you had the bandage on, but every time you took them off to change them your eyes watered and you had to hold back the urge to gag. 
When night fell, you slept on Ivan, who was pretty comfortable in the cold, laying down in it and laying against the trees. You had never realized just how dark the world could be without lanterns to light your way, and your small oil lantern barely illuminated anything. It did well warming your hands though, which would cramp when they felt the heat.
Worst of all, the deeper you went into the forest, the more it felt like you were being watched. Which was odd, because you saw no animals. None at all, which only served to put you on edge more. 
The first two days it seemed fine, but after that, it changed. Now that you knew that you were well and truly on your own, the crisp winter air felt tense. Even Ivan became a bit skittish, and you felt bad for bringing your innocent reindeer into such a stressful situation. You were on edge all hours of the day now, eyes darting from side to side always, ears straining as you listened for something, anything. It was as if the whole forest was holding its breath, waiting to release its wrath on you. 
Three more days passed before it finally did.
They came when you came across a lake in the middle of the afternoon, seemingly unfrozen. You got off of Ivan, an odd sensation pooling in your gut as you approached the crystal clear body of water. Oddly enough, you felt at peace, and for the first time in days, the striking silence was comforting. Now, instead of feeling like the forest was holding its breath anxiously, almost angrily, it felt as if it was holding its breath in anticipation.
The water was clear as day and seemed to span for miles. Trees grew out of the depths, and in the center, a small island emerged out of it. When you focused on the island, you felt your eyes widen—there was no snow on it at all. Quite the contrary, actually. It was a lush, beautiful green, with a blossoming tree smack in the middle of it. For such a small island, you were certain it was the brightest green you’d ever seen.
Your dry throat almost burned in anticipation as you kneeled. At this point, it had been about a day since you had last come across water, and your head was starting to ache. When you dipped your fingers in, you gasped. The water wasn’t freezing like it had been in the other streams you came across, nor was it cold. It was tepid, bordering on lukewarm. It felt kind, it felt welcoming, and while the setting lured you into a sense of security, you couldn’t help but feel as if this was wrong, because it was a lake, in a dangerous forest. It couldn’t welcome you, not at all.
That snapped you out of your trance, and you turned just in time to face the rider as he tackled you to the ground, pinning you down against the snow, the sudden cold causing your back to arch. You were vaguely aware of Ivan being startled, and the sound of growling somewhere off to your left, but you were more preoccupied by the red mask hovering above you, and the dagger about to come down on your face. You grabbed the man by his wrists, arms straining with effort as your injured arm flared in pain, wrenching a guttural cry from your lips.  
You pulled him forward, causing him to lose his balance and topple next to you. You took your chance, straddling his chest and knocking the dagger out of his hand with a kick. You pinned his arms down, before pulling off the mask swiftly, sneering at him.
But you stopped when you saw his face.
Somehow, you found yourself entranced; for his features were contorted into rage and pain but you had never seen such a beautiful person. His eyes were large and round, a deep dark brown. His plump lips were curled into a harsh sneer. He had painted three long triangles across his face with what appeared to be dried blood: one below each of his eyes, the third one in the middle of his forehead, ending beneath his eyebrows. 
His large ears, hidden beneath black, shaggy hair, gave him an elfish look. He was wearing large, white, circular earrings.. Beneath you, you could tell he was pure muscle, large and beefy to the point where it left you reeling because, oh, gods, how can one man be so big?
He took the chance and flipped you over, a groan leaving your throat when your head hit the ground hard, but saw an opening quickly and lifted your leg to knee him in the groin. He toppled over, groaning in pain, and for one final time, you found the roles reversed. On top of him, you unsheathed Baekhyun’s sword, ready to subdue the rider. You pressed the blade to his neck, poising yourself to speak—
When one of the wolves grabbed you by the collar of your cloak, dragging you away from him. The wolf stilled even though you continued to struggle against it. You could feel your injured arm bleeding beneath the bandages, and the subtle tremors riding throughout it as you watched the rider stumble to his knees, picking up the sword, and crawling towards you.
He did the same you had done and pressed the blade to your neck, breath heaving from his chest, air puffing into the cold. If he had been angry before, now he was furious, and while a small side of you felt the urge to cower back in fear, you could feel one side of your body heating up slowly, a sensation you hadn’t felt in over a week slowly making its way back into your system.
“Why are you here?” His deep, menacing tone didn’t sound like much of a question, but rather an accusation. 
“Take me to Emyr,” You demanded immediately. “I need to speak with him.”
He blinked. For a second, he seemed taken aback, almost offended. But then his features hardened again, and he pressed the iron even further into your neck. It didn’t break the skin but you felt a sting against your windpipe, grimacing at the sensation. Your fingers curled into fists, your entire body trembling now as you felt something moving underneath the bandages, beneath your very flesh.
“Don’t tell me what to do, human,” He spat, “This is not your forest.”
The wolf behind you growled, and you felt it one last time: the urge to hurt, the urge to kill, a feeling of absolute hatred. This time, as opposed to the first time, you didn’t hold it in, and you didn’t count. When the black goo oozed from your skin, turning the air rancid, you didn’t gag, but rather embraced it. 
And a split second later, just as the man had lowered his gaze to where the smell was coming from, his eyes widening at the bandages stained black, it was too late. 
This being only the second time you had felt it, and this being the first time you didn’t restrain it, you weren’t fully sure what you were expecting. But you most certainly weren’t expecting your arm to bend into a shape it wasn’t supposed to bend into, in a direction it wasn’t supposed to go. And you definitely weren’t expecting black, slimy tendrils to break your skin, pushing the man away with so much force that his back pushed itself into a tree. He yelled out in pain, clutching at his right shoulder. 
The violent coils did the same to the wolf, pushing it off to the side. And while momentarily, you rejoiced in the lack of restraint, it was taken over almost immediately by panic, because you just didn’t know how to make it stop. What frightened you even more was that a part of you didn’t want it to stop. As the tendrils flailed angrily, attempting to reach the man and the wolves as well, you felt the need to let it consume you, and then let it consume the man, and the wolves, and eventually, the entire forest. You wanted them dead, gone, burned to the ground, because none of this would have happened had it been for this disgusting fucking forest.
But you knew that wasn’t the way.
Fury coursed through your veins, and your eyesight blurred, quite literally blinded by anger. Clinging to your logic, you pushed yourself onto your front, pressing all of your weight onto the monstrosity that had once been your arm. The adrenaline had stopped you from feeling it before, but now, as you pressed your mangled arm into the ground, you could feel how broken it was, how the skin ached where the coils had broken through. You cried out in pain, in anger, in sheer terror, praying for it to stop. But it simply wouldn’t, and you wondered if you had come all this way to die because you had pushed the curse too much. 
Your mind went to Baekhyun as you screamed, of the way his eyes sparkled when the sunlight filtered in through the window in the mornings, when you woke up next to him. You started to believe you would never see them again. How you had broken his trust for an irrational decision you had made because of your stubbornness and pride, and how now you would never see the man you loved again, all because you believed you were right when you were so very, very wrong. 
But somehow, the thought of him grounded you, and you felt the curse weaken. Still, it was something, and you squeezed your eyes shut, sobbing as you conjured up mental images of Baekhyun making you laugh, and recalled the sensation of his lips softly kissing yours. You remembered the time he had first held your hand, at fourteen, right after an intense sparring session, and how at fifteen, you had been the one to kiss him, even though he was the one who asked you, because he was too nervous and unsure of what to do. 
The black appendages finally retreated back beneath your skin when you remembered how he had held you that last night before you fell asleep, and only when your free hand found its way to the pendant around your neck did your bones snap forcefully back into place. You were left hyperventilating, struggling to catch your breath as you buried your face into the snow, attempting to hide your weakness from your enemies. You heard footsteps crunching in the snow, coming closer and closer, but they froze when another rush of footsteps came from another direction. 
Even though you weren’t looking, you knew it was a large party. There was simply too much thumping for it to be one person… or whatever they were. All sound stopped, save for your panting, before you heard scrambling, and you lifted your gaze in time to watch the man drop to one knee, bowing his head in submission. 
“My king,” He murmured, and you turned your head ever so slightly to the direction in which he was leaning. Your heart was pounding in your chest, blood roaring in your ears, and your teary eyes widened as you saw what you saw.
The giant deer walked poised mere feet away from you commanded a presence over all of the other animals that had just arrived with him. You saw other deer, more reindeer, foxes, wolves, bears. In the trees all kinds of birds were perched, an eagle resting on a branch almost directly above the large creature. 
Its antlers were large, larger than you had ever seen, branching out in all directions, almost forming a sort of crown. When it took a step forward, you watched in awe as flowers and grass began to bloom where he stepped, peeking out from beneath the snow. 
Emyr, you realized with a chill, the deer god. King of the gods, ruler of the forest.
So, the god rumbled, without truly speaking, voice echoing through your mind, what is the meaning of all of this? 
Come to find out, Emyr wasn’t the only spirit you were in the presence of. Your weapons were confiscated. As the wolf dragged your body—weak from what just happened—through the snow, you realized that the four Pillars of the Forest were all around you. Emyr was leading the animals ahead of you, but the man walked next to the wolf as it dragged you, and next to him, walked the other wolves. The biggest one eyed you with burning distrust, and wisdom beyond your years, and when you locked eyes with her, something within you knew that this was Selyne, warden of the forest and goddess of the hunt. She growled softly, and the man’s eyes snapped to her, ready to listen to what she had to say. 
Disgusting, she growled, the nerve you have, little girl, to march all the way into this forest and injure my sons even more than you already have. I should rip your throat out right now—
Selyne. A giant brown bear lumbered up next to her, speaking gently but cautiously, she came here for a reason. The least we could do is listen before you do so, sister.
Your eyes widened, realizing this was Mirren, the bear goddess of family, matron of the forest. The wolf goddess let out something akin to a scoff, and before they could continue their discussion, Emyr stopped at a clearing not far off from the lake, where it seemed winter hadn’t touched down, grass green beneath you. The sun shone through a hole in the clouds, warming up the atmosphere, and your body shivered as you felt its heat pour over your body. In the center of the clearing, a large rock had three ledges, and a hole in the very bottom.
The Pillars of the Forest settled into the great stone. Mirren walked into the hole, Selyne hopped onto the lowest ledge, Emyr onto the middle ledge. Moments later, the eagle you had seen resting above Emyr’s head earlier flew onto the highest ledge, and you realized that this was Beval, the eagle god.
The animals around you chittered anxiously. The wolf set you down onto your knees, but did not step back. The rider stepped forward, however. He had picked up his dagger after you had been dragged away by the brown wolf, and now he held it forward to your neck once more. A silent threat.
Silence, Emyr said, and the animals obeyed. You could hear a pin drop. 
State your name, child, the bear ordered, and you cleared your throat. 
“Y/N,” You answered, voice raspy and gruff after not having spoken, “Y/N L/N.”
State your purpose in this forest. Selyne’s anger was barely contained, you could tell, but you refused to back down. Taking a deep breath, you steeled yourself, and flexed your free arm.
“I was cursed, great goddess,” You stated, “Cursed by one of your sons. I came to plead forgiveness, and ask to be healed.”
Forgiveness? Beval huffed, Healed? After everything your people have done to this forest? Burning your fires, taking our resources, and repeatedly trying to destroy our homes?
You looked down, before meeting the eagle’s strict gaze again. “I understand, my lord, that your kind and mine have been at war for hundreds of years. But I don’t wish to bring any of you harm, not right now into—”
Not now that you need us, Emyr deduced, and you bit your lip. 
“I don’t intend to use you for your powers, great king. I offer my service in return.”
If you don’t wish to harm us, why attack my son? Your eyes turned to the wolf goddess, trying to think of how to answer without angering her further. How do we know you’re even telling the truth?
“I was surprised,” You said after a few seconds of mulling over your answer, “His ambush caused me to panic, and defend myself. I understand why he’d do so if he didn’t know my intentions.”
“Even knowing your intentions, I’d have done it,” The man grumbled, “You’re a fool.”
You glared at him, but didn’t retaliate. You didn’t need to make yourself look worse.
What is this curse you speak of, Y/N? Mirren asked, And what do you mean it was one of Selyne’s sons who cursed you?
You told the story, choosing your words cautiously. Describing the attack, you watched as Selyne’s ears picked up, and she sat up straight, lifting her head. You described the tendrils, the black substance that secreted from your arm, the anger and hatred you felt when it controlled you. And you described remembering the story of the wounded warrior, how the curiosity drove you to leave home and wander for days until you came here.
Ah, the warrior, Emyr murmured warmly, Doyoung. What a fine young man. Of course, the circumstances were different then. His kind—your kind—was still a part of this kingdom, and he came to me looking to cheat death when he was wounded while he defended the Spearwood. 
“I understand, great king,” You answered, “But my plea still stands. Free me from this curse, and I will work as the warrior did.”
Resilient, determined. Mirren sounded amused. She’s not going to give up, brother. 
And what after you finish your years of service? Obviously, Selyne couldn’t be swayed, You return to your little Irontown, and continue to plot our downfall?
“Ironbend, and no, great goddess. You see, I am the leader’s only daughter. Next in line to inherit his place.”
You had your trump card, you realized, as the four gods took notice, all four of them exchanging glances, leaning forward. You could work around the original terms.
"My kind are tired of this war," You explained, growing more and more confident, "As I expect your kind are as well. It's all I've known, all my father's known, and all his father has known. If I can offer my people a stop to this war, I am willing to negotiate a truce of some sort.”
A truce… Beval mused, What are your conditions?
“I can’t stay as long as the warrior did. They’ll move on from me and pass my claim to the next person in line. Let me go back as soon as I am healed, and when I take my father’s place, I shall return, and we can negotiate a truce.”
Let you go, as soon as you are healed… The deer god repeated. I see what you are trying to do, girl. Don’t think you can fool a god. 
“No, great king, I don’t intend to—”
I am thousands of years old. You think you can fool me? My terms for healing are simple, service and loyalty to my kingdom. You are neither loyal to my kingdom, nor are you willing to serve me. 
You forced yourself to take deep breaths, attempting to remain calm. This had come so close to the way you had wanted it to.
You are too proud and too stubborn. You think that your status will help you now. No. I will heal not heal you… but you will remain in this forest. Learn a thing or two, and maybe then we can negotiate this again. 
"Stay in the forest? I… For how long? My healer told me I only had a month and a half to live. I—"
For as long as is needed. You do this on my terms, or not at all. If you wish to go, then do so at any moment. The war will continue and you will still be cursed. If you wish to be healed, you will stay until you earn your freedom from this curse. 
You swallowed a growing lump in your throat, meeting the god's eyes. "Very well, great king. I accept your terms."
Very well... But you will not serve me. You will serve Selyne and her sons. 
Your eyes widened, darting nervous to the white wolf. She looked displeased with the situation, but said nothing. 
He's doing this on purpose, you thought, he knows Selyne wants me dead so he's making it harder for me. 
Selyne spoke again. Serve me? Well, then. My sons will work with you. Her eyes looked at the wolf behind you and at the rider. As punishment.
The wolf behind you huffed, and the rider tensed. "Mother, I—"
Quiet, both of you. My orders were simple.  You were forbidden from leaving the inner circle of the forest without me, and forbidden from instigating the humans. You did both. You could have been killed, or injured as your brother is now. You deliberately disobeyed me and now because of your foolish actions, we have a human who has seen the inner circle, and knows where the most important part of the forest is. 
As insolent as she is, she has come for a purpose. She is to fulfill that purpose, and you will help her do so. Am I understood?
"Mother, she's—"
Chanyeol, the she-wolf growled, don't test me. 
Chanyeol. So that was his name. 
The princes of the forest, working with a human, Mirren said, this should be interesting.
You could tell that Chanyeol was not pleased with the situation. The other wolves of his pack as well. After the meeting was adjourned, and the other animals dispersed, Chanyeol pushed you to your knees, and he growled at you, "Follow me." 
You obeyed wordlessly, taking note of his temperament. You walked aimlessly, for about twenty minutes. Surprisingly, Ivan, ever faithful, walked behind you, but you could sense some apprehension from him. Your eyes looked at Chanyeol's back, covered by the pelt of a white wolf, serving the same purpose as your cloak. 
Your cloak, which had been dragged through the snow, and was now wet. You did your best to hide your shivering. You could deal with that later.
To distract yourself, you let your eyes stray to the wolves. There were three of them, all smaller than Selyne but bigger than the average wolf. One, the brown wolf who had dragged you along. The second one, black, the third one a classic timber gray. 
You realized that the white wolf who had bitten you wasn't there. 
"Where's the white one?" You asked, voice quiet and curious. Chanyeol and the three wolves stopped walking, and turned to look at you. 
"Resting," Chanyeol answered. You nodded, not answering, and they continued on, trailing behind them. You walked a little longer until you stumbled across a cave. Their den, you realized. You stopped, and so did Ivan behind you. You watched as Chanyeol and the other three wolves made their way into the den, but you couldn’t find the courage to enter. You almost felt as if you were trespassing. 
You turned to your reindeer, skittish and eyeing the den, and walked towards him, caressing the side of his head. “You’ll be okay, big guy,” You murmured, “I’m not letting anything happen to you.”
Your stomach rumbled, and you sighed softly, pulling out your loaf of bread and the little remaining jam there was.
It was a miracle you’d managed to make the bread last this long, you mused to yourself as you spread the jam onto it. 
“What is that?” 
You jumped, letting out a soft squeak. You turned to Chanyeol, who had creeped up on you while his brothers remained in the den. His face remained stoic and bordering on annoyed. “Stop fucking doing that,” You snapped, “It’s bread and jam.”
He tilted his head, and you blinked. “Do… I’m guessing that isn’t a thing here?”
Chanyeol shook his head, his earrings swinging as he did so. You pursed your lips, before breaking the slice in half. Slowly, you offered him one. Eyeing it with curiosity, and slight disdain, he grabbed his half. Then his dark gaze met yours. “You first.”
You furrowed your eyebrows. “What?”
“This. You eat it first.” 
Raising your eyebrows, you wondered if he thought it was poisoned. As if you would be stupid enough to poison the son of the goddess who hated you most, in front of all of his brothers. “Fine,” You huffed, and took a bite, eyes widening and shaking your head at him challengingly. He narrowed his eyes at you, studying your appearance. 
His eyes stopped for a moment when they landed on Baekhyun’s necklace. But a second later, he looked back up at you, and took a bite once he saw you swallow, before making his way back to the den. Shivering, you finished your jam before taking over your wet cloak. It was even heavier now that it was wet. 
Here, in what the gods called the inner circle of The Spearwood, it wasn’t as cold, so you hung your cloak over a low hanging branch and hoped it would dry soon. Now, you were unsure what to do. Chanyeol had gone to lay down with the wolves, presumably, and you stood awkwardly as you were left unsure what to do. You were tired after everything that had happened in the past hour or so—the attack, your meeting with the gods, now this—but you weren’t sure where you would sleep for now. You weren’t sure if you were welcomed in the den.
So you made your way over to a rock opposite the den, sitting on it and resting your head against a tree stump growing right next to it. You thought over everything that had happened, but mainly, how you had handled the curse. Your hand gripped the opal with your free hand, staring off into the trees. 
The curse is fueled by hatred, you surmised, love is what will ground you. 
You wondered what Baekhyun was doing right now, as you watched the forest grow darker slowly. For a horrifying thought, you wondered what could have happened to him that night if you hadn’t managed to control yourself. You quickly pushed it away, not willing to get caught up on what could have happened, but didn’t Your eyes grew heavier and heavier as you thought of home, and beneath your eyelids, the images danced so vividly…
“Wake up.” The voice was gruff, calloused hands shaking you haphazardly. You furrowed your eyebrows, humming softly as your eyes adjusted to the darkness. It had grown colder, and you found that you actually had managed to fall asleep. The sky had finally cleared up, the moon high up in the sky. 
“What’s going on?” You asked, rubbing your eyes, trying to ignore the pain in your lower back. You looked up at Chanyeol, who had pulled his mask back onto his face.
“We’re patrolling the border between the inner circle and the outer one. You’re coming with us.” His voice was muffled from behind the mask.
“Oh,” You answered, “Okay.”
You stood, arching your back to stretch out the kinks. The other wolves were standing behind Chanyeol, and he pointed at each one.
“Junmyeon,” He said at the brown wolf.
“Kyungsoo.” The black wolf.
“Jongin.” The gray wolf. 
You nodded at all of them awkwardly, unsure how to address them. They eyed you with disdain, Kyungsoo pulling off the first ever eye roll you’d seen on a wolf. Junmyeon huffed at him, and Chanyeol shook his head. “Whatever,” He grumbled, “Let’s go.”
The night was rough. Ivan was asleep, so all you had were your feet to trudge through the snow. For hours, you walked through trees and over rocks. 
You were trailing through the snow with Chanyeol, having pulled on your cloak again. He was riding Junmyeon, who was walking slower than the others. The brown wolf seemed to be the most gentle of the three—four? You had yet to see the fourth—wolves, watching you with more indifference than dislike. 
Kyungsoo and Jongin trailed ahead, seemingly content ignoring you.
“You do this every night?” You asked Chanyeol. He nodded. “Our mother is the warden of the Spearwood. It’s only natural that we take after her.”
You nodded in understanding. “Will I be coming with you every—”
“Yes. Stop talking.” His head turned to face forward again, back on alert.
The night was incredibly awkward and tense. You were unsure if the tension was due to the alertness of the wolves on patrol or because of you. 
A few minutes later, you spoke again. “Will I meet your other brother?”
Everyone stopped, slowly turning to face you. The three wolves’ eyes were narrowed at you, and you immediately knew that you had said the wrong thing. Kyungsoo took a step forward with a growl, but Junmyeon growled back at him, and he backed off. 
“He’s injured.” Chanyeol’s voice was clipped. “He was injured by people like you with those—those things.”
“Why can’t Emyr heal him?” You asked, tilting your head. “If he’s powerful enough to heal me, then why can’t he heal—”
“Because we don’t understand his injury,” Chanyeol snapped, getting off of Junmyeon. He began to approach you. “We understand the curse, but not the injury. If we can’t heal the injury, we can’t stop the curse. We understand your injury and your curse. It’s different. You wouldn’t understand. Now—”
“But I want to understand—”
“You could never understand,” Chanyeol snarled, making his way into your personal space, “Your kind never do, the vermin that you are.”
You glared up at the unwavering red mask, even harsher in the moonlight, inches away from your face. “Now stop talking,” Chanyeol demanded, poking you square in your upper chest, “And don’t talk about my brothers as if you deserve to.”
He made his way back up onto Junmyeon, and the foursome continued, not even watching to see if you walked to keep up.
Junmyeon stopped walking at your speed for the rest of the long, cold night.
When you made your way back to the den, the sun was beginning to rise. As Chanyeol got off of Junmyeon, and shooed his brother away, you approached him.
“Why can’t I hear your conversations?” 
You’d realized they were having a conversation pretty early on after your little spat, but didn’t comment on it, mainly because Chanyeol decided to whisper to his brothers so as to leave you out. You found it petty. But now, your curiosity got the best of you.
Chanyeol pulled back the hood of his pelt and took off his mask, scowling at you.“Why does it matter?” 
“Because I might never understand, but I can try.”
Chanyeol scoffed at you, pushing past you. You’d had enough. Your feet were aching, your fingers and the tip of your nose were numb, your lips were close to breaking because of how chapped you were, and you were hungry and dehydrated. 
So yes, you gripped his shoulder roughly, and pulled him back. You weren’t expecting him to let out a pained cry, and you didn’t expect to feel something hard beneath the cloak. 
Immediately, the three wolves stood from where they had gone to lay down, snarling angrily, but he waved them away. They stopped snarling, but didn’t sit.  
“What is—”
“Don’t touch me,” He said, swatting your hand away. 
“Let me help you,” You countered earnestly. “Please.”
“Why should I?”
You made a face. “Because I might be able to figure out what’s hurting you?”
Chanyeol rolled his eyes. “I already know what’s hurting me.”
You raised an eyebrow. “Then why haven’t you been able to stop it? It’s a shoulder injury, it’s not that h—”
You stopped midway, when your eyes drifted to his injured shoulder, hidden beneath his clothes, his right shoulder.
The very one you had shot the day you got bitten.
“I did that,” You mumbled, gears turning in your head “...And you can’t have one of Emyr’s healers treat you because… up until yesterday, no one knew you had left the inner circle of the forest.”
A smug grin spread across your face. “Scared of mommy finding out, huh?”
Oh, if looks could kill. 
 You shook your head, your smile leaving your face. “Really. Let me help, Chanyeol. Let me right a wrong of my own doing.”
Chanyeol’s eyes looked you up and down, eyeing you suspiciously. Finally, he grunted out softly, before nodding his head in your direction once. “What are you gonna do?”
You had him lead you to the nearest body of water, a small stream about ten minutes from the den. You sat him down on the banks of the stream, where there was no snow. You set down what you had brought: his knife, plus your bandages and a small jar of ointment Yixing had given you for your cut. 
It wasn’t working on you, but you had a feeling it was more due to the fact that you were cursed by ancient dark magic. 
“Take off your clothes.” You pulled off your cloak and rolled up your sleeves. He made a perplexed face. “What are you—”
“Keep your pants on,” You added hastily, “I need to see the injury.” 
After a few seconds of hesitation, he pulled off the pelt, and set it down gently next to where he was sitting. His tattered black shirt was also removed, and set down on top of it, but he left his necklace of animal teeth on. Kneeling behind him, your eyes settled on the tan skin of his back, before spotting the wound. 
He must have broken the wooden shaft of the arrow as he tried to remove it, because the edge was splintered and the arrowhead was lodged in his skin. The skin around the wound was an angry red, swollen. You could even see a bit of pus caking in the crevice of the cut.
You picked up the knife, mentally noting where you would cut around to pull the arrowhead out. Your other hand rested on his other. “This is gonna hurt,” You told him, voice soft, “I’m sorry.”
You pressed down around the wound gently at first, feeling him tense up beneath you. Then, when you pressed down with more force, he hissed in pain. Finally, when you plunged the knife into the wound, he groaned out.
His breathing turned heavy as you tried to work quickly, but not too hastily as to butcher your work. You used the knife as a sort of separation between the arrowhead and his skin, trying gently to pull it out. 
When you finally did, he let out a harsh, shaky breath, fists balled.
You led him to the stream, using your hands to wash out the wound. It wasn’t hot at all, and it probably wasn’t the cleanest, but it was the next best thing. Trying to remember how Yixing had done it that time you Jongdae accidentally shot Minseok with his bow, and you rinsed out the pus eventually. 
You slathered on the ointment a bit more generously than you probably should have, trying your best to not hurt him too much, before dressing the wound with some of your gauze. You ripped off a bit of fabric from your pant leg, before looping it below his arm and tying it taut, so the bandage wouldn’t slip free.
“Better?” You asked when you were finished. 
“I suppose,” He answered, moving his shoulder to test it out, “...Yes.”
You smiled, even though he wasn’t facing you. “You go back. I need to change my own bandages.”
“You know which way to go?” He asked, pulling on his shirt, and then his pelt. 
“Yes,” You answered, watching as he picked up his knife before he stalked off. 
He didn’t even thank you. You wondered vaguely if he knew how.
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When you returned, now with fresh bandages, Chanyeol had curled up in the den with his brothers, and you went over to Ivan, who was chewing on some grass he’d found to put away your bandages and the ointment. Wordlessly, you flexed your fingers, watching how the skin had turned a black, necrotic color that would look unnatural on any skin tone. You wondered vaguely how much longer you had, before shaking your head. 
You fell asleep again on the hard, uncomfortable rock, sleeping for hours upon hours.
You woke again in the late afternoon, around the same time you had first been attacked by Chanyeol and his brothers. The wolves were awake, some milling around the den and the others sitting in a circle. You could smell blood, and you perked up, figuring it must have been a catch. 
Slowly, you made your way over to them. Jongin noticed you first, gaze hardening. His snout was stained red, and you looked down between his paws to see a piece of red meat. Chanyeol turned around when he realized Jongin was looking at you, looking you up and down before turning again. You pursed your lips at his face, the skin around his mouth stained with blood—he'd obviously been eating the meat raw like the others.
"Can I…?"
"You have your own food."
You sighed. "Not really. Not enough to satisfy myself for a whole day."
Chanyeol stared at you for a few moments, looking disinterested, before sighing. He pulled out his knife, before cutting off a sizable chunk of meat from the deer. He handed it to you, and you nodded. "Thanks," you mumbled, before walking off, sitting on your designated rock.
You needed to figure out how to cook this thing.
Thankfully, they hadn't taken your oil lantern, which you quickly uncapped and lit, before breaking a small branch off of the tree. You used the branch to pierce the meat, before letting it hover over the flame. 
The flame was a bit small, but you knew it would cook eventually. At least until the exterior was cooked. 
While you'd been working, you didn't realize that Junmyeon had made his way over to the circle, all of the wolves watching you. 
What is she doing? Jongin asked, perplexed. She looks insane.
"I don't know," Chanyeol answered, leaning over to the gray wolf, "Maybe it's a human thing."
She's gonna burn it, Kyungsoo huffed, before spitting out a bone. If she doesn't burn down the entire forest first.
Chanyeol rolled his eyes. Yes, you were foolish, but he doubted you were incompetent enough to burn down an entire forest.
No, he's got a point. Junmyeon's tone was serious. Yeol, go see what she's doing. It could be dangerous. 
Chanyeol set down his chunk of deer, wiping his hands off and making his way to you. Your eyes met his once he was standing in front of you. “Can I help y—”
“What are you doing?” 
“I’m cooking my meat.” You sounded matter-of-fact. “I don’t want to get sick by eating it raw.”
Chanyeol tilted his head, frowning. “We’ve never gotten sick like that.”
“You’re used to raw meat, and they’re wolves. I am neither. So I have to.”
He pointed at the lantern, eyeing it warily. “What’s that?”
You stared at him for a second, before realizing just how isolated he had been from the human world. He didn’t know what bread or jam was, nor did he know about lanterns. He called guns those things, and he eyed you like you were other, as if you didn’t have the same shape of limbs, the same joints, ligaments and bones. 
“I-it’s a lantern,” You explained, snapping out of your thoughts. You explained how it worked, how it was lit, and how you had to wait for it to cook the fire before you could eat it.
You didn’t notice how your bodies scooted closer every few seconds. 
Neither did Chanyeol.
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thrift-store-tea-cup · a year ago
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An Epiphany About Why I Love Eowyn/Faramir So Much...
I’m still working my way through reading The Return of the King and I need to gush about something that I’ve always had a sense of but it finally occurred to me just now how to put it into words after my reading last night and that is why I love Eowyn/Faramir so very much.
This applies specifically to the book, there are things about this that got changed for the movie, anyway...
Okay, so, shortly after the battle of Pelennor fields, Eowyn is in the houses of healing while Aragorn is using the kingsfoil to help bring her back from the brink of death while talking to her brother. Aragorn points out that “Her malady begins far back before this day” and Eomer thinks that she was/is just sad about Aragon not reciprocating her crush on him.
But, then Gandalf explains to him that it goes back further than that.
“My friend... you had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the staff he leaned on.
 Think you that Wormtongue had poison only for Theoden’s ears? Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among their dogs?... My lord, if your sister’s love for you, and her will still bent to her duty, had not restrained her lips, you might have heard such things as these escape them. But who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?”
So, where does Faramir come into this? 
Eowyn has been suffering in silence under the same kind of curse as the king. Wormtongue has been steadily negging her into hating the home where she grew up and all who care for her. I suspect that had he not been driven away, his plan would have been to eventually break her spirit enough to get her so desperate to get out of Rohan that she would even run away with him.
Her brother loves her but is distracted with his own problems and is largely oblivious to how much she is hurting.
Gandalf rid the King of Wormtongue’s influence, because he needed the King’s help in the fight against Sauron, but Eowyn was forgotten, at least for the time being.
Under the partial influence of Wormtongue’s spell, Eowyn is desperate to run away with someone and leave Rohan behind her. Aragorn is a sincerely nice guy who matches that description. He can tell something is up, but the fate of the world is literally at stake, he doesn’t have time to unpack her complicated feelings and let her down gently, so regretfully, he, like everyone else in her life so far, tells her as politely as he can to get back in the kitchen. She is devastated, and decides that the only escape she has left is death in battle.
Even Merry doesn’t recognize her until they are in the middle of the battle, and they don’t talk to each other at all the whole way there.
She fights, but doesn’t die. She wakes up in the houses of healing, and finds that she has once again been left behind.
And this is finally where Faramir comes in. 
Faramir is established in The Two Towers as being a very good listener, even to the point of being supernaturally good at it. He, like his father before him, is extremely good at listening between the lines of what people are saying to get to the core of what is really on their heart/mind. We are also told that unlike his father, who uses this ability to be a dick to people and keep them always on their toes, Faramir is kind and gentle and is never a jerk about it. 
The two of them are stuck in the houses of healing with nothing to do but wait and watch for news, and to keep each other company. 
They talk, and for the first time in a long time, maybe the first time ever, someone really listens to Eowyn. Faramir sees her and falls in love with her for who she truly is, not just for some construct/expectation of her that he projects onto her. 
She is so not used to this that it doesn’t even register immediately. “I desire no man’s pity.” 
And then we come to one of my favorite parts of the whole book. 
“And Eowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: ‘Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Eowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Eowyn, do you not love me?’
Then the heart of Eowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.”
tldr; Faramir is the first person in a long time, maybe ever, to really listen to Eowyn, and that is why they make such a good couple.
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morwensteelsheen · 9 months ago
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On Love, in All its Forms
My piece for @innumerable-stars 2021 is up!
And at last, standing in that dark and haunted room, she understood how pity could be the gift of a gentle heart.
Also featuring shameless pro-Denethor agitation and me dunking on the Elves.
Rating: General Audiences
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Éowyn/Faramir
Characters: Éowyn, Faramir, Éomer, Imrahil, Denethor
On AO3
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absynthe--minded · a year ago
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You’ve maybe posted about this already, but what are your thoughts about denethor? (Since my feelings about Denethor and his kids have evolved as I have aged, and I’m interested to hear your take)
Oh.
Oh boy.
Okay.
I think all perspectives on Denethor (and on all controversial characters) have a space in fanwork, even when I’m frustrated by them or find them inaccurate to what I observe in the text. This might get heated but it’s not an attack, you know? also I’m going to be discussing my read on canon as opposed to what I think the Objective Facts of the text are - there’s different ways to interpret this stuff and this is only mine.
That being said.
Denethor, by my reading, is incredibly abusive, and his dignity and his intelligence and his admittedly impressive ability to resist Sauron don’t change that.
When we see Denethor in The Return of the King, he’s in the depths of an incredibly bad depressive episode that’s bringing out the worst in him. I think it’s important to note that he wasn’t not depressed before - Finduilas’s death broke him, in a very real and measurable way, and we’re told that he responded to this by alternately lashing out at and loving his sons. I think it’s interesting that Boromir and Faramir fit the golden child/scapegoat model we see in a lot of parental abuse situations, right down to the fact that Faramir seems to know that his failures as a military commander wouldn’t have been criticized to hell and back if Boromir had been the one failing. It’s not the existence of bad results that Denethor is unsatisfied with, it’s the one getting the bad results.
I think Denethor is threatened by a change in the status quo, too - he and the other Stewards are essentially absolute monarchs in all but title and they have less check on their power than the former Kings did, and if Aragorn comes to the throne he loses that power. I’d go so far as to say his political ambitions would have been a major check to Aragorn’s aims even without Sauron and grief fucking him over - back in his youth, he was jealous of “Thorongil”/Aragorn-in-disguise for how highly esteemed the man was, so I get the sense he was a bit of a schemer who knew what he wanted and that Finduilas was a supporter of his aims. He perceives Gandalf as a threat, and Gandalf is kind to Faramir, which only increases his frustration with the designated scapegoat child.
I don’t personally have enough attachment to Denethor to be too annoyed with what was done to him in the Jackson RotK - in that film he’s a metaphor for the old society that must be changed or removed for any lasting healing to come, and he serves that purpose well. And - here’s the controversial part - I don’t actually think his abuse of Faramir was invented for the film? It was more explicit, but it’s still there.
like - let’s take a look at the text:
‘As the dark drew on I knew that haste was needed, so I rode thence with three others that could also be horsed. The rest of my company I sent south to strengthen the garrison at the fords of Osgiliath. I hope that I have not done ill?’ He looked at his father.
‘Ill?’ cried Denethor, and his eyes flashed suddenly. ‘Why do you ask? The men were under your command. Or do you ask for my judgement on all your deeds? Your bearing is lowly in my presence, yet it is long now since you turned from your own way at my counsel. See, you have spoken skilfully, as ever; but I, have I not seen your eye fixed on Mithrandir, seeking whether you said well or too much? He has long had your heart in his keeping.
‘My son, your father is old but not yet dotard. I can see and hear, as was my wont; and little of what you have half said or left unsaid is now hidden from me. I know the answer to many riddles. Alas, alas for Boromir!’
‘If what I have done displeases you, my father,’ said Faramir quietly, ‘I wish I had known your counsel before the burden of so weighty a judgement was thrust on me.’
‘Would that have availed to change your judgement?’ said Denethor. ‘You would still have done just so, I deem. I know you well. Ever your desire is to appear lordly and generous as a king of old, gracious, gentle. That may well befit one of high race, if he sits in power and peace. But in desperate hours gentleness may be repaid with death.’
‘So be it,’ said Faramir.
‘So be it!’ cried Denethor. ‘But not with your death only, Lord Faramir: with the death also of your father, and of all your people, whom it is your part to protect now that Boromir is gone.’
‘Do you wish then,’ said Faramir, ‘that our places had been exchanged?’
‘Yes, I wish that indeed,’ said Denethor. ‘For Boromir was loyal to me and no wizard’s pupil. He would have remembered his father’s need, and would not have squandered what fortune gave. He would have brought me a mighty gift.’
For a moment Faramir’s restraint gave way. ‘I would ask you, my father, to remember why it was that I, not he, was in Ithilien. On one occasion at least your counsel has prevailed, not long ago. It was the Lord of the City that gave the errand to him.’
‘Stir not the bitterness in the cup that I mixed for myself,’ said Denethor. ‘Have I not tasted it now many nights upon my tongue foreboding that worse yet lay in the dregs?’
This is an abusive interaction. This is abuse, as I read it. Dismissal, mocking of the child’s interests, public reprimand with no care for who’s watching, confirmation that yes actually I would rather you have died, and even some DARVO (Deny Attack Reverse Victim and Offender) going on at the end where Denethor turns on Faramir for bringing up the fact that he’s responsible for Boromir’s death. At no point does he apologize, at no point does he admit that he was wrong to do this, and at no point does he ever recognize that he’s been treating his younger son like garbage because it’s easier than dealing with his complicated emotions regarding his wife’s death. Denethor is laying the destruction of all Gondor on his son’s shoulders for no reason other than “you did something I don’t like and I know I’m right about what’s going to happen.”
It’s not his fault he’s grieving, it’s not his fault he’s being attacked psychically by Sauron. It is his fault that he’s not wise enough or kind enough to recognize his actions are still his responsibility. Look at Frodo, look at Boromir, hell, look at Sméagol - they’re all impacted by Sauron, and all of them ultimately still claim responsibility for their actions in some capacity and make at least token efforts to fight back. Denethor doesn’t do that.
Ultimately I can’t like somebody who’s that way, you know? I respect that he went through a lot, I recognize his grief and his growing stress and despair at his attempts to protect his people, but you can’t just let all that misery rot you, you have to fight back.
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littlewoodenworld · a year ago
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This chapter DESTROYED me — I am sitting in my parked car crying my eyes out. Joy? Longing? Envy? Relief? I don’t even know. All of it together, maybe. My heart….
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Then Faramir came and sought her, and once more they stood on the walls together; and he said to her: 'Éowyn, why do you tarry here, and do not go to the rejoicing in Cormallen beyond Cair Andros, where you brother awaits you?'
And she said: 'Do you not know?'
But he answered: 'Two reasons there may be, but which is true, I do not know.'
And she said: 'I do not wish to play at riddles. Speak plainer!'
'Then if you will have it so, lady,' he said: 'you do not go, because only your brother called for you, and to look on the Lord Aragorn, Elendil's heir, in his triumph would now bring you no joy. Or because I do not go, and you desire still to be near me. And maybe for both these reasons, and you yourself cannot choose between them. Éowyn, do you not love me, or will you not?'
'I wished to be loved by another,' she answered. 'But I desire no man's pity.'
'That I know,' he said. 'You desired to have the love of the Lord Aragorn. Because he was high and puissant, and you wished to have renown and glory and to be lifted far above the mean things that crawl on the earth. And as a great captain may to a young soldier he seemed to you admirable. For so he is, a lord among men, the greatest that now is. But when he gave you only understanding and pity, then you desired to have nothing, unless a brave death in battle. Look at me, Éowyn!'
And Éowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: 'Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Éowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Éowyn, do you not love me?'
Then the heart of Éowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.
'I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun,' she said; 'and behold! the Shadow has departed! I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.' And again she looked at Faramir. 'No longer do I desire to be a queen,' she said.
Then Faramir laughed merrily. 'That is well,' he said; 'for I am not a king. Yet I will wed with the White Lady of Rohan, if it be her will. And if she will, then let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden. All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes.'
'Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?' she said. 'And would you have your proud folk say of you: "There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Númenor to choose?"'
'I would,' said Faramir. And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many. And many indeed saw them and the light that shone about them as they came down from the walls and went hand in hand to the Houses of Healing.
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moretreasurewithin · 2 years ago
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Gosh, I need Éowyn and Faramir talking about people who’ve hurt them and wronged them, and being ready to kick ass on the other’s behalf. Like can you imagine her telling him how Gríma was obssessed with her, and that she was gonna be his prize if Saurman succeeded???
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morwensteelsheen · 10 months ago
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`For myself,' said Faramir, 'I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace: Minas Anor again as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens: not a mistress of many slaves, nay, not even a kind mistress of willing slaves.
&
And Éowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: ‘Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Éowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Éowyn, do you not love me?’
sob
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