the elven court

tbh i love all the headcanons going around about elven/fae courting rituals or whatever (either in universes where robbie is fae, or just in canon where sportacus is an elf)

BUT whenever I hear anything too specific about “””binding their souls””” or “””bonding rituals””” or “””mating for life””” or “””exclusive commitment””” i just nope the fuck away because I am TOO POLY FOR THIS

give me elven culture where all types of relationships are commonplace, especially life mates who come in groups larger than two, couples who are committed for life but anticipate additional relationships in the future, and happy elf love conglomerates

give me a Robbie that is embarrassed that he doesn’t want to be married or elf-married or whatever to Sporp because he doesn’t feel like the “”marrying”” type but when he finally admits it sportacus is kind and honestly Relieved that that’s all that robbie is worried about because–while elves do have commitment ceremonies and ceremonies that honor lovers’ relationships–they are certainly not one size fits all and can be made to fit whatever level of commitment one is comfortable with

treelinesandpoppyfields  asked:

I just wanted to say I love your story. I'm currently finishing up a castle for an elven court in my own and this gives me such inspiration for so many things. It could have not come at a better time for me. Your story is so beautiful and intriguing. Thank you for being here and posting it. Have a nice day and a fantastic Hallows. 🎃

OOOOH, did I hear the words elven??? I’m sold already! And thank you for saying such nice things about my humble little story. I’m happy to post Children of the Forest, because my stories are the only thing I can really offer the community at the moment, and it’s been burning a hole in the back of my mind since I watched Strange Magic and desired to completely trash its plot with something I thought to be more palatable (even though the only thing that these two really share is a sister with the same name). 

I look forward to seeing your palace, I love your builds. :D

Originally posted by ive-been-mistreated

Analysis A4

THE GENERALS:

Asides from Helena, we do gain some more insight about the other 3/5 of the Evil Squad.

Their development is nonexistent, Lovestruck attempts nothing at redeeming them, but we do learn more.

First, Jinhai.

Jinhai is perhaps one of the cruelest Generals the Witch Queen has. He is hinted at being a former member of the Elven court, but was removed due to his mind control of animals.

Iseul claims that Jinhai broke Elven rules and twisted the mind’s of animals through horrific infiltration.

And we see that this is the case.

However, I did come to wonder if Jinhai cared about the animals he used.

Certainly he doesn’t pay any mind to most of his slaves, we see this during training.

So it becomes apparent that he doesn’t care much-

Until this little scene.

Interesting word choice, “protection”.

Does this mean that Jinhai does care about his more gruesome pets? That he wants the rejects of society because it reminds him of how the Elves rejected him?

Or was this merely a man concerned about losing his revenue the way a businessman worries about the stocks and economy?

I don’t really know the answer to this question, but, either way, I found this interesting.


Second is Magnus.

Magnus, we don’t see much of him in this route that can really be delved into. In the beginning, we see that he is seemingly the leader of the Generals-

-in the absence of the WQ, and that he is very calculating in his moves.

What I mean is that, he analyzes things. In Reiner’s route and August’s route, MC is forced to spend time with the Evil Squad. She is embraced by Alain and Helena as the Witch Queen, worshipped by Lennox, and questioned by Jinhai on strategy, but Magnus simply watches her.

To me, this sounds like he is analyzing her and trying to find whether or not she is legit.

And in this route, he openly suspects her the entire time. Even after MC freezes him, he remains suspicious of her.

So, with this, we know that Magnus is very cunning and analytical. This makes sense because he is a General and Generals have to strategize attacks. (I think it’s also shown that Magnus is in charge of coming up with attack plans for the WQ in a few routes and ordering her army).

Plus, Reiner also hints in his own route that Magnus was a General before the Witch Queen and was a very intelligent and honorable soldier.

So this all makes sense.



Finally, for Lennox, we do see some new things.

First, is his cult-leader mind-tricks.

Lennox, the leader of the WQ’s religion, is very good at manipulating a person’s mind. We see this in Saerys’ route where he turns the townspeople against him with a few carefully chosen words. Plus, he even remarks this himself-

And it checks out.

There is an entire world of psychology facts regarding cults. I have watched countless of videos as to how Jim Jones and other cult leaders got into the minds of ordinary people and bent them to their will. It’s truly, truly astounding, and Lennox knows this game well.

Additionally, he is also careful with what he says. Helena remarks that he is fond of half-truths-

And it makes sense. A cult leader must be firm in position, but not specific. If they go into too much detail about their prophecies, beliefs, etc, they are likely to lose followers. (Think about how the guy who predicted the world would end last month doubled back at the last minute and changed the date. This was to save face). So we do see this.

But we also see his regards of his own cult.

Lennox is the embodiment of a cult leader. He has the manipulation, arrogance, and callousness down; plus, he also has the “I don’t really care about my people” mindset.

In Reiner’s route, Lennox suggests using his flock as cannon fodder for the WQ’s return. He offers them up as torture subjects without even blinking. This points to the fact that he doesn’t actually care about his followers.

No, Lennox doesn’t care. He isn’t a preacher because he wants to lead his followers into enlightenment, rather, he wants the recognition. Just look at this little scene where MC tries disbanding the Generals:

See that? His concern is about his status as a preacher and not his flock.

Interesting isn’t it?

Magnus brings up his solders:

And Jinhai his beasts, but Lennox brings up his profession.

He cares more about people listening to him than the people actually listening to him.

Which makes sense since most cult leaders are narcissists with the desire to be venerated.

So, yeah, we do learn some little things about Lennox which add on to his personality.

Do you think Vax ever realizes the irony of it all? The true irony of his feelings for Keyleth?

He’s the bastard son of an elven ambassador. He’s a thief who fled court, because he couldn’t stand how coldly the nobility treated him.

And then he slowly ends up falling hopelessly in love with a literal princess who spent her sheltered upbringing in a figurative ivory tower.

Vax'ildan, clever and worldly rogue that he is, knows how to maneuver his way through the rich and powerful and can blend into high society without breaking a sweat, but is still considered a bastard with no noble standing. He could have been an incredible ambassador, like his father, if the world was more accepting or encouraging. He could have played the game of thrones with finesse but he was never given that chance because of the conditions of his birth and upbringing.

But Keyleth, the precious little druid girl with the golden heart of a lion, can’t pick up on social cues or talk her way out of even the most simple situations, but is an Ashari princess of royal blood. She’s been arrested for being awkward, but her father rules over an entire kingdom of magic users. She can’t lie to save her life, but she’s expected to prove herself a strong and steadfast leader of tribes that haven’t spoken to each other in over a decade.

Do you think it ever dawned on him that he’s a bastard who could have been a great ambassador, who’s now fallen in love with a princess struggling to lead?

Do you think Vax ever realizes the irony of his fleeing life at the royal elven court because it was too unloving toward a misfit half-elf, only to later find love in the form of a half-elven woman of royal birth?

Here are some writing/story titles to help get the Creative juices flowing. Could also be song titles or part of poems. Any ways enjoy. N plz do use. No credit necessary.

She sells sanctuary
Quote the prophet
Eating the words
All my children
He was mine
Nobody knows
Hear the crow fly
Red Scarlet
Heat of passions
Heart of the world
Fleeting love
The goats bleat
Thunderhoof
White moon,black sun
Chocolate n daggers
He cries wolf
Eyes in the night
Gargoyles of Los Angeles
Tattoos of my soul
Hark does the wind cry
Oceans apart
Bittersweet
Cherry blossoms
The sword of evermore
The oceans depths
Light in the dark
Firebird
Temple of the white rose
Dragons breath
Woman seeking robot
Faerie rings
I smoked purple clovers
Azure haze
Angels among demons
The dead sea
Davey Jones locker
The golden cup
Black night
The elven court
Valhalla
On white shores
Storm’s cry
Weeping Mary
Stranger in the mist
Dreamscape
Artist’s muse
Paintbrushes
Kiss my ass,for I don’t care
Irish coffee
Man who killed the messenger
The parcel
What’s in the box?
Black cat
Small things
Eat my shorts Robby Dickson!
The wind cries Mary
The Hendrix effect
My king,my heart
Leopard in the grass
Letters from Africa
Shades of violets
Where the green grass grows
When will I fly?
Will you walk with me?
Quoth the raven
Call of the shores
To kill a man
Thief in the night
The gypsies caravan
Rogue of Venice
Winter’s coming
The Fae king
Queen of the mountain
Smile in the sun
Temple of Ra
Priestess of bast
Eyes of Horus
Staff of Anubis
The Nile queen
The thief,the knight,and the bard
Camilla’s wardrobe
Doe eyes

The different settings of drama

Lian: Necromancer but appears in full grand elven regalia @ court to silence nobles, keeps a zombified dragon in his basement, does that dramatic kiss thing with his boyfriend where he just launches himself into Krakat‘s arms, played dead to make a grand reveal that He Was Alive After All just to shock his friends and enemies.

Celia: Sorceress who Ran Away from her husband to be, pregnant, because she didn‘t want to marry him after all, joined an adventure team and slayed dragons and got a girlfriend after, likes the grand entrance^TM where she pushes open double doors and cantrips fog and wind to have her hair and cape flutter dramatically, lives in a castle where the grand hall is usually used for every small gathering just so she can sit at the head of a long table and feel important.

Aurelian: SIGHS and FLUTTERS and REGALIA and DRAMATIC EYEROLLS and FOR LIFE OR DEATH I CAN‘T CHOOSE BETWEEN THE GREEN OR BURGUNDY SETS THEY BOTH LOOK EQUALLY HORRIBLE BUT THEY ARE CURRENTLY IN FASHION AND I CANNOT BE IN INFERIOR CLOTHING AT THIS GATHERING and LET ME KILL THIS AND THAT IN THE MOST FLASHIEST OF WAYS BECAUSE #AESTHETHICS

anonymous asked:

Hi I was wondering if you have any merthur fics where Merlin is the royal/powerful one? :)

That’s an interesting request, anon, because I don’t see Royalty and Powerful as being synonymous. I’ve read plenty of BAMF!Merlin fics where he’s just a servant (and others where he’s a prince). But I’ll give you a bit of both:

Royalty!Merlin who is also Powerful!Merlin

An Bruane by sassafrasx

Word Count: 13,998

Summary: Camelot has been at war with the Druids for decades, ever since Arthur’s birth, and neither Merlin nor Arthur have ever known anything else. But destiny is a many twisted thing and when their paths are thrown on a collision course, there will be a reckoning.

Comment: Merlin isn’t a Prince, but he’s definitely the leader of the Druids, plus he’s powerful.

Forlæte - The Surrender by Gbean

Word Count: 26,587

Summary: Arthur and Merlin are princes of two opposing races due to a conflict that started with their parents and plunged the planet into a brutal civil war. Arthur belongs to an ancient race of dragon shapeshifters. Merlin is the most powerful sorcerer to ever live. Arthur and Merlin are placed into an arranged bonding with hopes that it will bring peace to their nations. The bond between a shapeshifter and a sorcerer is an ancient ceremony to keep the sorcerer’s magic from flaring out of control. Is Arthur strong enough to keep Merlin’s magic from consuming him? Will the two men give into their feelings for one another?

This is part 1 of 2 from the Draka Series by Gbean

Comment: Prince!Merlin and Prince!Arthur. Plus it’s a Space AU (yesssss)

The Beltane Cycle by astolat

Word Count: 27,725

Summary: There is a story that is not told in Ealdor anymore, not for many years now, a story about Beltane Eve.

Comment: Merlin isn’t exactly a Prince, but he is the son of a God-like creature, and I think that’s close enough, plus the usual Powerful!Merlin

The Crown of the Summer Court by asolat

Word Count: 24,339

Summary: “The king sent me to get you,” Merlin said, with a tone that implied strongly that he wasn’t rolling his eyes where Arthur could see, but just wait until his back was turned. “He said you’re to get changed into formal clothes and meet him in the Great Hall, there’s a delegation coming from the Summer Court.”

Comment: Elven Prince!Merlin; Canon AU. This is also a kind of Merlin Classic (also by asolat) and its one of the best Canon AUs I’ve read.

The Three Elven Courts

The one idea from my What-If? post that gained the most reactions was my idea of the elven races all being just the three different courts of all elfkind. So, here’s me developing that idea.

For the record, part of the reason why I cooked up the idea of your elven flavor (high, wood, dark) being a matter of choice is that I personally really hate the idea of dark elves being evil because of their culture. While I do think D&D needs bad guys, just having races that are color-coded as “Yeah, these guys are evil, it’s okay to kill them” is just lazy and potentially problematic. Even the traditional bad guy races (orcs, goblins and so on) should be represented as having agency in choosing their moral code instead of being written as simple bad guys. (Incidentally, this is another reason why Eberrowns.)

Anyway, without any more rambling, here are the three courts of the elves.

The Summer Court. The elves of the Summer Court are alternately known as either sun elves or high elves. In elven culture Summer is the time when arcane magic flows the strongest, but it also represents the victory of the sun over the evil forces of death. The elves who choose to align with the Summer Court learn to harness the power of the sun to bolster their arcane magic (treat as getting a bit of anti-undead magic on top of their arcane magic). The Summer Court is Lawful.

The Autumn Court. Elves who align themselves with the Autumn Court are known as wood elves, leaf elves or tree elves to the outsiders. Autumn is the time elves most strongly associate with animal and plant life. It’s the time when the natural world prepares itself to the hard and cruel realities of winter. Elves of the Autumn Court learn magic that on the surface resembles the magic of Druids, but the elves will politely point out that their traditions predate Druidic magic. The Autumn Court is Neutral.

The Winter Court. Alternately known as snow elves or dark elves (due to their seemingly cruel ways), the elves of the Winter Court associate with the powers of death and darkness. The Winter Court has a thankless but necessary job: to cull the populations of nearby non-elven settlements to make sure that at least some of them have a chance of surviving through the hard months of Winter. Even though city-dwelling folks see this as unnecessary and cruel, in the untamed wilderness close to elven communities being taken by the dark elves when you’re old and sickly is seen as a matter of honor. The Winter Court is Chaotic.

Before elves reach maturity they are assumed to be unaligned and their appearance and mood changes with the seasons. In the Summer their skin takes a golden hue and their eyes shine with the light of the sun. In the Autumn their skin becomes washed with tans, greens and browns, their eyes shine with the light of the stars and the moon and their hair seems to be full of braids of vine and leaves. In the Winter their skin and hair takes on the hue of snow and ice, and their pupils have the appearance of ever-shifting snowflakes. When an elf aligns themselves with one of the courts, they permanently take upon the appearance of their season.

The three courts take alternating turns running the show: during the Winter only elves of the Winter Court are present at their palaces. The only exception to this are elven monarchs, powerful semi-divine beings who embody all of the seasons as appropriate. The three courts don’t talk to each other, but they see the presence of the other two as necessary.

So, where’s the Spring court? No one knows, and the elves sure ain’t telling.

lifeofaquirkyartist  asked:

Heeeey, so I'm writing a story that I really love, but I've hit a road bump. There's a scene that I have to write that is crucial to the plot, but from a writer's (and likely reader's) perspective, the scene is boring. Do you have any advice on spicing up important but dull scenes???

Hello there, writerly friend~ ♥︎

I like you, because this is a question I have been meaning to tackle for ages! I’m super excited to finally get a chance to talk about this :D

Before we begin, though, I want to give the usual disclaimer that the following is not gospel. It’s just my take on this situation. Consider this advice as building blocks. Take the ones you like, play around with them, and make them work for your own writing style~ ♥︎

And, with that out of the way, let’s take it from the top!

There’s a scene that is crucial to the plot, but it’s boring to write. How do I deal with this?

Well, those of you who have been following my blog for a while know my stance on writing— and that it should be FUN. If you (as the writer) feel like what you are writing is boring, then your readers will most likely agree. Just ask your English teacher if they can tell when a student actually enjoyed writing a paper c;

But, what if this scene happens to be important to the plot? Well, I think that there are two ways to go about this, but before we talk about them— I need you to be honest with yourself.

Is this scene really that important?

Seriously. Take a deep breathe. Step out of your story, and look at it objectively. Do you really need to have that scene? If you were looking at it as a movie, would this scene make it to the final cut, or would it end up as a ‘deleted scene’? I have an example of this that I have been using for ages, so let’s look over it again c;

Barry Prespen is a Wizard working for the San Francisco Police Department as a freelance Detective.

In Barry’s world, there are lots of supernatural creatures bumping about in the night.

The Elves and the Vampires don’t like each other, they are going to hold a council to talk about a possible peace treaty. The writer of this story knows that this scene is important, because it will show the Elves and Vampires trying to find a happy medium but ultimately ending in bloodshed. This scene is important, as it will strike the match that sets the plot in flame (if you may c;).

The problem? The writer finds this scene to be incredibly boring to write. Who wants to listen to a bunch of old men talking politics for 30+ pages? Nobody, that’s who.

So, the writer finds himself at a fork in the road.

☆ One way to fix this: “Get To The Point” ☆

What I generally do in a situation like this is to define the point of the scene at hand. In the example above, the whole point of that scene is to show that the Elves and the Vamps where unable to reach a happy medium and that the bloodshed has launched the entire supernatural world into an all-out war. Now, take a deep breath, and consider the following:

“How can I give the reader this information, without boring them?”

Seriously, it’s as simple as that. Find a way to give this information to the reader, and then go about with your job (which is to tell the story c;). In the example above, the writer decided to do this:

The next morning, just as Barry wakes up from a horrible hangover— he gets a call from his contact in the Elven District. Barry’s jaw drops to the floor. The Vampire and Elven negotiations ended in the death of the Elven Prince. Shit just hit the fan. Barry picks up his coat and heads out the door, head spinning as he takes a cab to the Elven District.

Boom. Done. I’m glad we didn’t have to spend 30+ pages listening to old men talking about politics (of all things, politics). Now the writer get’s to do what they like the most— write about Barry trying to get himself out of yet another rut with the supernatural creatures of Chicago, er I mean, San Francisco :p

But, that is not the only way to go about solving this problem…

☆ The other way to fix this, “Make It Fun” ☆

Now, let’s say that you still think the scene needs to happen. What do you do now? You have a scene that you don’t find fun to write, but you must write it… so, why not MAKE IT FUN :D? Seriously. Step aside. Take a deep breath, and ask yourself: what would make this scene more fun to write? Here’s what the writer of the example story would do:

Barry is at the pub, drinking away the night after another shift of battling supernatural creatures… when suddenly a member of the Elven court taps on his shoulder. Barry is taken by force to the Vampire/Elf negotiations to act as a mediator. Barry of course tries to not get involved, but as the only person to effectively interact with all the leaders of the supernatural clans… he’s actually the most qualified person to be the mediator. Barry stands in the middle of the council room, Elves on one side and Vampires on the other. He does not know it yet… but the fate of two clans, and the people of San Francisco, balance on his ability to keep these supernatural creatures from killing each other.

Now, THAT is something that sounds fun to write. The writer loves putting Barry in horrible situations and watch him struggle to find a way to save his ass. This is exactly what the writer needed. He gets to show the death of the Elven Prince— except now the entire Elven clan will blame this on nobody but… our unfortunate protagonist!

Oh, can you taste the drama? I love it!

PS: If you’re looking for more advice on making a scene fun, I have an old video just about that c;

Sorry for the long post! I hope this helps~ I really do feel that, ultimately, writing should be FUN. You don’t have to write boring scenes. Seriously. Either do away with them— or find a way to make them fun. If you have any more questions, make sure to send them my way!

Want more writerly content? Make sure you follow my blog for your daily dose of writing advice, prompts and writerly inspiration: maxkirin.tumblr.com!

Awakening

Thranduil Fan Fiction

by ladywyldfire

18+, eventually nsfw, starts fluffy but ends smutty

Links to previous Chapters:  Chapter 1  Chapter 2  Chapter 3  Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Several weeks had passed since the night Thranduil took Maderia to the glowing cave.  He had walked her back to her chamber for the first time that evening, still wrapped in his cloak with his arm around her underneath it.  As they walked, she had slipped her arm around his waist. It made walking together easier certainly, but he had nearly stumbled when he felt her hand come to rest just above his hip.  He had already been struggling with an inappropriate physical reaction to simply having his arm around her and her hand’s gentle touch pushed past his control.  He was extraordinarily thankful for the voluminous robe he was wearing this evening as it hid the evidence of his reaction to her touch.  

She had turned slightly and looked up at him outside her door and he had very nearly leaned down and kissed her.  But he was afraid if he did, he wouldn’t be able to stop at just a kiss.  Not tonight, when his self control was already slipping.  So he had released his hold on her and let her slip out from under his cloak.  They had resumed their nightly Elvish lessons after that, although he felt that something had subtly shifted between them.  There was a new tension between them now, simmering just below the surface of their interactions.   

The time of the Autumn Celebration Feast was approaching and Thranduil had been busier than normal the last couple of weeks dealing with the arrival of guests from far and wide.  This meant evening engagements that prevented him from spending his usual amount time with Maderia.  But tonight she was coming to him.  He had fended off several invitations to socialize with visiting nobility just so he could see her this evening.  He missed reading to her.  He missed correcting her pronunciation. He missed hearing about her days and telling her of his.  He missed just being around her.  

He had been able to extract a somewhat reluctant promise that she would attend the Feast. She had been newly arrived in his Halls at this time last year and had not attended the celebration then.  She had confessed, somewhat embarrassed, to him that she had yet to attend any of the seasonal feasts or celebrations.  In that respect Maderia was as solitary as he was, and he understood her reluctance, but he wanted her there anyway.  There would be good food, plenty of wine, and dancing.  He enjoyed watching his people celebrate the changing of the seasons.  It was one of the few times he could relax and just enjoy being the King.   He wished that she could be seated at his side, but he knew that wasn’t possible.  He would just have to content himself with watching her from afar during the festivities.  

In discussing the Feast with her he had discovered that some of her fellow healers had taken her under their wing and persuaded her to have a new dress made for the occasion.  He was pleased to hear that.  He wanted Maderia to be happy and feel as though she belonged here.  Without being too obvious, he hoped, he had found out from her that her new dress was dark green.  He doubted she possessed any jewelry suitable for the occasion, so he had taken it upon himself to have some made for her.  He had personally overseen the design and selection of gems for it.  Tonight was probably his only opportunity to present it to her, as he was likely to be busy until the Feast was over.  Jewelry was a typical Elven courting gift, given by the man to show his interest in the woman.  Acceptance of the gift meant an acceptance of the advances.  Thranduil knew that it wouldn’t mean the same thing to her, but he was ready to take a step in the direction of declaring himself to her.

A gentle tap at his door interrupted his thoughts.  “Enter,” he called, watching as the door swung open to reveal Maderia.   As she stepped through the door his heart began to race as it did each time he saw her now.  She was so beautiful.  She was wearing a dark gray dress this evening, one of the colors she preferred.  But this dress was one he had never seen before.  It was cut to flatter her figure more than her usual dresses. The waist was narrow, the skirt more fitted, and the neckline swooped a bit lower than Thranduil was accustomed to seeing on her.  He immediately liked it.  Her hair was in its usual long braid and it was pulled forward over one of her shoulders tonight.  But when his eyes met hers he forgot everything else.  She was sad.  He could see it in her eyes and as he watched a tear trickled down her face.  

“Is everything alright?”  he asked, quickly stepping across the room to her side.  She nodded but seemed not in control of her emotions.  “Shall we sit and you can tell me what’s wrong?”  he asked her gently.  Again she nodded, but made no attempt at moving.  He took a deep breath, gently wrapped an arm around her, and then lead her to the sofa in front of the fire.  Once seated, she buried her face in her hands and burst into tears.  His arm was still around her and almost without thinking he pulled her into his lap and wrapped his other arm about her as well.  She kicked her shoes off and curled up in his lap, resting her head on his chest as her shoulders shook with her sobs.  He found himself humming an Elven lullaby under his breath as he held her.  Her sobs began to calm in intensity and finally subsided into gasping breaths, but he made no move to let her go.   She seemed content in his arms and he was happy to let her stay there as long as she wished.  

“Thranduil?” she whispered.  

“Yes, my lo…lady,” he replied softly, shocked that he had nearly called her my love instead of my lady.  

“The song you were humming just now.  Does it have words?”  she asked softly, her question interrupted by the hitch in her breathing.

“It does.  Shall I sing it for you?”  he asked her softly.

“Yes, please,” she was back to whispering as if embarrassed by her request.  He closed his eyes for a moment, willing himself to recall the words.  It had been hundreds of years since he had sung to anyone.  He began slowly and softly as the words came flowing out of him.  When he finished he felt her sigh against his chest.

“Do you wish to tell me what’s wrong?” he asked her gently.

He felt her take a shaky breath before she answered, “Today is both my son’s and my husband’s birthday.  Or would be if they were still here.”  Thranduil sat in shocked silence for a moment.  He had assumed she lost a husband in the attack on Laketown, but he didn’t know she had lost a son, too.  No wonder she had been crying as though her heart was broken that night he found her in the forest.  

“Oh, Maderia.  I am so sorry.  I didn’t know,”  he said with true grief.

“No one knows.  I chose not to speak of it.  But today…” she trailed off as she began to cry again.  Thranduil’s son had been all that had gotten him through the death of his wife.  To lose them both at the same time may have killed him.  And Maderia had not only lost her entire family, but had come north to live among a strange people and had never spoken of it until now, over a year later.  He found himself slightly in awe of her strength.  

His arms tightened around her as he asked, “Will you tell me about them?”  She lifted her tear stained face from his chest and gazed at him incredulously.  

“Truly?  You wish to hear about them?”  she asked him.  

“Of course, why would I not wish to know about those dear to you?”  he asked her with genuine puzzlement.  Her smile was like a ray of sunshine breaking through storm clouds as she gazed up at him.  The words started to tumble out of her and she alternated between smiles and tears as she told him the story of her life.  Maderia had been born and raised in Laketown, marrying young for love. They had one son, he had been 12 summers old, nearly an adult if Thranduil understood human ages properly.  She had been happy and content with her life. Until Smaug came, and in one night of fire and horror, destroyed her world.  She had come north with the Elves after the battle, unable to bear any reminder of her former life.  

When her words ran out it was Thranduil’s time to share his sorrow.  He told her of his wife and how he lost her.  He told her of his decision to remain in Middle Earth alone to raise his young son.  And more recently, his own actions that had resulted in his son leaving and perhaps never returning.  Sometime during his story, she had slipped out of his lap to sit on the sofa beside him and he found his head resting on her lap as she stroked his hair and wiped his tears away.  She leaned down and kissed him on the forehead, and he felt truly happy for the first time in centuries.  

Chapter 12

So, today, 1 April 2014, is book release day for Katherine Addison’s THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, a book I had the pleasure of reading many months ago.

There are two things I ought to tell you about Katherine Addison. The first is that you probably know her better as Sarah Monette, author of MÉLUSINE and its follow-up novels in the DOCTRINE OF LABYRINTHS sequence, as well as a lot of great short fiction and a number of pieces co-authored with my esteemed girlfriend Elizabeth Bear. The second is that she’s a friend of mine, and I admit that I have nothing but warm feelings for her and her work,* and even with that fully and fairly disclosed I am now going to attempt to sell you this book.

Because it’s really fucking good, and it and its author both deserve to shine.

THE GOBLIN EMPEROR scratched an itch I wasn’t even aware I still had before reading it, namely, the pleasure of a story sunk in courtly intrigue, ritual, and etiquette in which a badly overmatched protagonist must match wits against the social machinery of entrenched and dangerous opposition. As an old fan of the Ray Feist / Janny Wurts EMPIRE trilogy (probably the most intricate and clever novels ever written in the Riftwar milieu) I was delighted by the mental fires THE GOBLIN EMPEROR relit for me.

Maia is the fourth and final son of the emperor of the elven court, the product of an ill-advised political marriage to a goblin lady. The emperor has several pure-blooded sons, so the half-goblin Maia is banished to the middle of nowhere in the care of a drunk, indifferent cousin. In his late teens, he is just becoming used to life as an inconvenient historical footnote when imperial messengers bring the news that the emperor’s airship has gone down, taking with it the emperor and all his favored heirs.

Along with the crown, Maia inherits the disdain of any number of factions at the elven court, most of which are already moving confidently against him while investigators are still sifting pieces of his father from the airship wreckage.

THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, however, is so much more than a clever tale of wits and manners and letters flung like catapult stones. It’s an exploration of the ironic powerlessness of power; how Maia, who can order life or death on a whim for anyone in what is now his empire, will never again have the freedom to sleep alone, to dismiss his bodyguards, to show friendly informality in public, or to do so much as dress himself. Though he can start wars, bring down mountains, and bridge rivers, Maia must navigate the rules and traditions of his court like an invisible labyrinth, facing prejudice and treason even from those sworn to serve him most closely.

In this respect, it’s much of a piece with another fascinating book I read years ago, Vonda N. McIntyre’s THE MOON AND THE SUN (winner of the Nebula Award). The protagonist of that novel, Marie-Josèphe, is a lady-in-waiting at the court of Louis XIV who resolves to rescue a genuine mermaid being callously exhibited in a fountain at the royal court. What makes Marie-Josèphe so fascinating is her absolute lack of formal power. As a woman in 17th-century France, she’s one notch above property and her life is entirely in the keeping of her brother, who can banish her to a nunnery and seems to be waiting for an excuse to do so. Marie-Josèphe has genuine gifts for science and music, yet is incapable of using them to reason with the men around her, who rebuke her for any public display of simple competence. And yet she fights… an important thing to note, oh writers, that power and agency are two very, very distinct things.

Maia, the titular GOBLIN EMPEROR, leads an infinitely cushier life yet is just as separated from the heroic fantasy tradition of kicking ass to solve his problems. In fact, Maia doesn’t kick a single ass in this novel. Maia cannot, under any circumstances, raise so much as a fist to strike someone in his court. He has people who tell people to tell other people to do that for him. Maia has no magic, no sorcerous weapons, no secret fate, no intervening gods. He has no lightning-bolt scar on his forehead. His power is the power of whispers and letters, of appointments and offices, of ritual and ceremony. Death is the only prize for coming in second in this etiquette contest.

If you’re at all interested in any of this, if you’re at all inclined to see this book succeed (and to see an excellent writer get a second shake in the commercial arena after several painful years of health issues), then please, heed my shameless begging and buy a copy soon. Soon! The first week of a new book’s release is the most important week. It ain’t fair, but it is what it is.

An exploration of privilege and constraint, a story of outsiders breaking in, an unapologetic love-letter to baroque and beautiful linguistic customs, and a story of compassion finding its way through cracks in the walls of despotism and greed, THE GOBLIN EMPEROR is worth the turn of every last page.

—–

*In fact you might note that a blurb from yours truly adorns the cover of this novel. This is a delightful first for me.

daciafu  asked:

A prompt or two for you! A middle-earth where Smaug takes Mirkwood instead of Erebor and the displaced elves flee north and take refuge in Dale with the sympathetic humans. There's some interesting social-ties stuff you could play with between the races, now that they're all forced into such a close proximity. Alternatively, what if the dwarves had taken refuge with the elves after Smaug's occupation of Erebor and end up as permanent residents...

Went after the first bit of this prompt. Where the elves, or those who survived, are living in Dale. This became rather more fluffy than I intended. Sorry not sorry? Hope everyone enjoys!

His Uncle kept him from the Elves.

Ancient hatreds lingered, amplified by more recent events and kept strong by the ever present reminder of the once great Greenwood as it still smoldered in the distance. The elves blamed the dwarves for their misfortune and the dwarves took little responsibility, allowing for discontent to fester and grow. For, after the dragon had been repelled from the Gates of Erebor, it had sought retribution from others. Many elves had died before the dragon was done, and their kingdom reduced to little more than charred husks and ash.

But Kíli had always been a reckless and unruly child, and being forbidden from something only made him want it all the more. So when the Elven King and his party came to visit in his fifteenth summer, he’d snuck up into the rafters to watch. It was the very first time he’d laid eyes on her, flanking her golden haired King and Prince with curls the color of copper in a burn. She’d worn fine armor and a bow at her back, her every step graceful and commanding. He’d felt a fluttering in his heart even then, though it would be years before he understood its purpose or source.

His Uncle had been perplexed by his youngest nephew’s sudden interest in archery, but gave it little consideration.

-

The next time Kíli saw her, he was on his first official royal visit to Dale. Forty seven and sure of himself, he’d ridden proud and tall on his pony, riding beside his Uncle the King and his elder brother the Heir Apparent. The elves had been present during their arrival, but they lingered a little aback and their faces were pinched with barely concealed disdain. He looked for She-elf with burning red hair, but she was nowhere to be seen.

That night he found her stationed behind her King as they sat to feast, awkwardness as thick as the dessert pudding hanging in the air. But Kíli cared for little but the object of his ill-advised affection. When she looked at him, he shot her a wink and she rolled her eyes, looking pointedly away. She did not look at him again

Several weeks later he was sent to foster with his kinsman, Chieftain Dain of the Ironhills, and he did not see her again for many long years.

-

-

Their party was ambushed on his return journey from the Iron Hills. Kíli had seen several battles and a number of skirmishes in the last thirty years as the darkness to the South grew in strength and potency, and he was not the same dwarf who’d left home and family behind. Under Dain’s tutelage, Kíli had grown from a spoiled, reckless Prince to a being of honor and respectability.

The attack came quickly and fiercely, the Orc’s numbers far out ranking theirs. It was quickly apparent that the dwarves would be over run and Kíli fought fiercely but with little hope, using bow and sword as necessary, but still his men fell.

A massive Orc, hideous and terrible, struck him dumb, poised to skewer him, when an arrow appeared in the beast’s eye like a miracle.

A moment later she appeared with her small scouting party, wielding bow and daggers as she tore a path through the filth. When their eyes met over the carnage, Kíli knew he was lost.

-

Upon his return to Erebor, Kíli spent much of his time in Dale, strengthening ties and forming friendships. He and the King of Dale, as well as his eldest son, formed a close bond that did much to improve matters between their people. Over time, Kíli even began to befriend those Elves within the city, albeit slowly and with varying degrees of success. His Uncle was quietly impressed by the change in his nephew, and allowed him to take on heavier responsibilities as the years passed.

 Of course, Thorin was unaware that the second Prince was also secretly courting the Elven Captain of the Royal Guard.

-

“We shouldn’t keep meeting like this,” Tauriel muttered, the faint sounds of the celebration wafting up the corridor as she pressed him against a nearby wall. It was Durin’s Day and most of Dale had been invited to share in the festivities –though truth be told the entire idea had been Kíli’s.

She was wearing a gown, and it was so rare a thing that Kíli was near beside himself with desire. He grinned against the skin of her throat before pressing upward to capture her lips in a soft kiss. “Are you saying you wish to announce our betrothal publicly, my lady?”

She pushed at him lightly even as she sighed into his touch. He could feel her breasts through the thin fabric of her dress, hot and firm even through his tunic. She was driving him near mad. “I’ve told you before -we are not promised.”

He hummed low in his throat and reached up into her hair, searching for the hidden braid he knew would be within and coiling it around his fingers. “You keep saying that, but somehow, I know better.”

“Kíli-“ she began seriously, but he shook his head and silenced her with another kiss. This one was long and deep, his hands mapping her curves and her nails biting into his back and shoulders. It was she who pulled away, bracing her forehead to his.  

“We will need to have this conversation again,” Kíli muttered, nipping lightly at her lower lip, “but not tonight, not here. Tonight I want to dance with you, under the stars. We can worry about the future tomorrow.”

Tauriel pulled back and pursed her lips, raising a brow at him disbelievingly. “You always say that.”

He grinned and took her hand, leading her out into the clear night. “And I’ll probably keep saying it until you inevitably give into my charm and wit.”

“In that case, I hope you’re prepared to wait a very long time.”

He threaded his fingers through hers. “Forever, if necessary.”