So. Now that The Littlest Edward's settled in--in fact, sturmclan, scrapbooker extraordinaire, sent him a nice care package of supplies that I got in the mail yesterday morning--
--I turned my attention to the various relationship dramas on The Shelf. Eowyn and Faramir One have actually been doing fairly well--now that Eowyn has a sword and shield of her very, very own, she and Faramir have been going at it (on the battlefield, you guys) for hours on end, which at least has been a good way to work off all the sexual tension. ("Man, have I been there," said Elizabeth. "'Sword-fighting lessons,' riiiight.") Of course then Faramir had to go and make the mistake of suggesting that they paint a White Tree of Gondor on her new black shield, which was actually a pretty fantastic compliment from his standpoint, but instead offended Eowyn's
"Now, forgive me for asking, but--are you bisexual?"
"Not to my knowledge, no."
"Not at all?"
"Not in the least."
"And you're definitely not straight. You know this for sure."
"Well, I spent a lot of time on duty in Ithilien... all those men, alone, all by their mansomeness, the lonely nights in the woods and the caves... I'm sure."
"Well then how in hell are you planning to make this work?"
"I don't know," he said, "but I'll think of something. I hope."
"I really don't think he's going to get out of this alive," Faramir One fretted; I was helping him and Eowyn tidy up the "battlefield" after a long afternoon of sparring (I was going to have to sleep on it that night, after all). "Can't you do something? Talk to her, at least?"
"Well, I don't really want to get a faceful of sword again, but I have to try and say something, I guess."
"Maybe..." He was quiet for a moment. "Maybe... I should go in his place."
Eowyn, who was polishing her shield, turned and gave him a look that was somewhere between incredulity and utter pissosity.
"I know, she said she didn't want me..." (WAY TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE BOY'S ISSUES, SERAFINA) "...but I can't just let my... brother-me... go down in flames. As it were. Do you think we could trick her, maybe? Bait and switch?"
"I... I really would not advise you to do that. Not with Serafina. Not no but hell no."
I would also not have advised him to say this in front of Eowyn, but you and I both know the boy has no game. It didn't cause a complete rift between them, but... I did notice that Eowyn whaled on him a bit harder after that, and in not an entirely friendly way.
(Helm's Deep Aragorn seem more perplexed than anything that Serafina hadn't chosen him. "I mean, I'm relieved," he assured me. "Arwen is the woman for me. Obviously. I'm just... you know. A bit surprised. I mean, of all the men here... a King of Gondor, and all. The good-looking King of Gondor, for that matter.")
(Fugagorn, the Fug of Men, seemed much more philosophical about it. "Well, I've been there before," he said, referring to other Shelfians crushing on him
Faramir Two's first plan, meanwhile, seemed to be stalling for time--not a bad plan, I guess; maybe, in getting Serafina to care about him, he could convince her to ease up on her determination to kill him. They started off with a get-to-know-you pie date, during which he expressed admiration, once again, for the fabulosity of her dress; she slyly offered to show him the interior construction. He was not the least bit fazed.
"She really is a beautiful woman," he told me, "and witches are very interesting people. Almost like elves, really."
That night, Serafina was settling down on her book-perch as the evening came to a close, knees pulled up to her chest (The Littlest Edward, who had come to ask for a cotton ball refill, covered his eyes and fled), musing to herself as I turned off the overhead light and settled down for one last email check.
"So... sorry about that bit with the sword."
"Yeah... well. It happens, I guess." I wanted to be stern about it, but the truth is that isn't even the first time I've been in the line of fire--Eowyn and Purple Arwen used to have legendary scraps over Fugagorn. And then there was that epic catfight between Eowyn and Ellowyne. Doll-on-doll violence used to be a lot more common around here. A lot. As it was, the best I could muster was mild sarcasm: "So... how's that whole seduction thing going?"
"Slowly." A Mona Lisa smile crept over her face. "Not unpleasantly."
"Well... that's good, I guess...? Okay, look, I gotta ask you this. You come here to protect Lyra, Edward's still around but you don't even bat an eyelash, everything's cool. And from everything I know about witches, you guys are generally pretty chill. Witches don't own things, they don't have a sense of 'honor,' you can't insult a witch because they don't care, whatever--do I have this right? And then you get an eyeful of Faramir and suddenly it's bitch time. I mean--what the hell?"
"Many of the emotions you feel are, for us, worn away by time," she said calmly. "And yet we feel some things so forcefully that they eclipse all others. I feel the beauty of the world around me so strongly that I don't feel the cold. And my love for Lyra is very strong. But since I have been here, I have had no sense that she was in danger, and so I have been at peace. But desire is one of those emotions--desire that grips you by the shoulders, clutches you by the stomach, the sudden ache that doesn't leave, the despair that's almost sweet--as soon as you are seized by fire you burn until you can be satisfied, unceasingly." She paused. "And also, killing lovers who spurn us is a tradition, really."
"But you had to choose Faramir? That Faramir? You had to choose anyone?"
"I didn't have to," she said. "Really, I didn't even choose. When I said, who will be my lover, I only meant that I knew that desire would strike. A new home, four men... the odds were simply in favor of it. And we are all subject to the fates. I simply perceived that mine, whatever it would be, was close at hand."
"So why Faramir?"
"Well, we witches love men who are beautiful, and intelligent, and brave. All of which he is. To be honest, though, it was his forwardness that attracted me."
"His forwardness?" I said. "His forwardness?"
"He was the only one who approached me. Not with that intent, to be sure, but he was the only one here with ease and confidence."
Well, that definitely explains why she wasn't interested in Faramir One. "And... it doesn't matter to you at all that he is not attracted to you, and cannot be attracted to you?"
"Well, we'll see about that. Witches are not ordinary women. And besides, he doesn't really have a choice, does he?"
"NO MEANS NO, SERAFINA PEKKALA!"
"He won't say no," she said, smiling that inscrutable smile. "Good night."
Well, I'm going to have my hands full on this one.
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