1736: Brego’s Mistress – Chapter Three, Part OnePosted: April 17, 2017
Title: Brego’s Mistress
Topic: Lord of the Rings
Genre: Drama and Romance
URL: Chapter Three
Critiqued by Angie
I’d like to apologize for last week’s riff. Because it was super super short. So, how better to make it up to you than go through another painful chapter of Brego’s Mistress? I can’t wait, and I know you can’t, so let’s get going.
When summer came, it was unbearably and unseasonably hot. Léofe was miserable.
Because I’m miserable too. Welcome to my world.
Her bed stood beneath an east facing window, and she would wake in a sweat nearly as soon as the sun broke the horizon.
…so, here’s a thought. Maybe you could move your bed? It might be heavy, but hell, after years of taking care of horses it can’t be that hard.
Even the horses were sluggish, and she had to hurry to finish her chores before noon so that she could retreat into the shade of the house for the afternoon.
Gerdhelm is actually making Léofe do chores in the hottest day yet described? I hate Léofe, but this is just animal abuse.
On one such morning she woke later than usual, having been awake most of the night with a laboring mare.
*peers at manuscript* Not sure if bad writing…or bad Léofe. Hmm.
A filly had been born only a few hours earlier, but had not begun to breathe properly. Newly born horses died only seldom; her experience had brought many around to life when they would have died otherwise.
Yeah, it’s just bad writing. Go figure.
There’s always the chance that the mom ate her, though, right? Like. My dog’s birth mom did that with one of her children. *shrug*
But she had not been able to help this time. She had woken her father just before dawn, begging him to dig the grave at once so that she could seek her own bed before the day started.
Wait. You want to get rid of the carcass just so you can go to bed?
I was wrong twice. It’s not bad writing or bad characters. It’s just bad parenting. Which is arguably worse than both.
It seemed that he called for her to wake just as her eyes had closed, the images of the filly’s unmoving body and the pained shrieks of its mother that echoed in her mind keeping her tense and alert.
You knew this horse for two seconds and you’re already this choked up about it? I can’t figure out which is dumber. Caring so much or not caring at all.
I don’t care.
Léofe sat for several minutes on the edge of her bed with her head in her hands, torn between the warm sun on her back and the anguish in her heart.
Wait, so. Are we in past time or present time? For a series dealing with a lot of time skips, Hannah sure doesn’t know how to use it.
Gerdhelm called again, his loud shout echoing in the house. He was not usually so abrasive, so she guessed that they had buyers.
Sure. Gerdhelm is shouting because they had buyers. Fair enough. I, too, would be excited when someone comes along with the intent to give me money in exchange for goods and services. But for Christ’s sake, he ‘isn’t usually that abrasive’? Don’t you own a metric fuck ton of horses that people might want to buy?
She moaned and pulled herself up, and over to the washstand, splashing lukewarm water on her face and wishing dearly it could have been cold. Anything to lessen her misery.
Look, I get it. Léofe is sad that she’s gonna lose Brego. Wanna know why I get it? BECAUSE YOU’VE EXPLAINED IT LIKE NINE TIMES. Does this fic just have amnesia?
The heat, the grief, and now she was likely to lose a friend. This day was not shaping to be a good one.
Cry me a table, Mark. Seriously. If you say how sad you are over and over again, eventually it’ll lose all meaning. This is the fanfic version of Phil Collins. Which isn’t a compliment.
“Léofe!” Her father limped through the doorway, barking out her name as she lingered at the washstand. “Dress nicely now, the prince has come to spend the day with Brego.”
Because…it’s the perfect weather to go out with a horse. Make sure you wear sunscreen!
The prince had returned! Léofe sighed and wondered if now her day was going to be better or worse for it.
If you hadn’t’ve said anything, I would’ve assumed it was gonna be bad. After eating that exposition stew, I’m not sure.
“Why should I dress nicely?” she asked. “You said yourself that he is here for Brego. I doubt he will even look my way.”
It’s a courtesy, dumbass.
“It is a courtesy, goosey.”
…I guess goosey is better than dumbass. But hell, if I call you goosey, you best take it as an insult.
“But my clothing will only get ruined,” she continued to protest. “I have chores.”
Gerdhelm considered her for a moment. “Hurry and finish your chores, then come in and change before the midday meal.”
Yes, Léofe. Go do your chores in the burning sun where you might get heat stroke. I’m such a good parent!
Léofe had not thought it possible, but the stable loft was even hotter than the house. It must have been the sweaty horses, she decided, who were all lying around, flicking their tails lazily at the flies.
Ah yes. The horses being hot is why you’re being hot. I…okay. I guess that makes enough sense. *slowly turns off brain*
She scooped up the hay with a pitchfork and tossed it down into each stall, many years of practice ensuring that nearly all of the hay landed right in the feedboxes.
The…trough. Feedboxes is not a word. And also, I doubt that even with years of experience, you can get every single piece of hay in the trough.
She paused after finishing with one side of the stable, wiping her sweaty brows and wishing dearly for a blizzard.
You do realize that a blizzard will probably bring more harm than good straight after the hottest day of the year? Warm before the storm, sure. But this is just taking it too far.
A clopping of hooves near the stable door, and her attention was drawn to the prince, who was followed by an unhaltered Brego. “Perhaps your mistress is in here,” the prince murmured to the horse, though not so quietly that she could not hear.
Wait. So the door is closed. Either Léofe closed the door to make the room even hotter, or the door is open and the prince is blind. Either way, it’s bullshit.
“You must beg her for an apple, as I haven’t the foggiest idea where they are kept.”
I should hope not, unless you specifically asked Gerdhelm for where to find the apples. Or if you just spend a lot of time in that house while Léofe’s family is asleep. Prick hole.
“In the cellar,” she called, tucking the pitchfork under her arm as she began to climb down the ladder. “I can fetch one if you would like, sire.”
I’ll poison it and turn into a hag, but I’ll fetch you an apple nonetheless.
He showed only the merest trace of surprise to see her, and at his unexpected scrutiny Léofe was suddenly very aware of how much she was sweating.
You only just realized you were sweating. My God. Also, why in the hell is Léofe suddenly caring about what the prince thinks of her, when two minutes ago she was being defiant in dressing up nicely for him?
She blushed, though she was certain her face was already quite red enough to disguise it, and made a mental note to keep her arms down.
But…why? Most of your sweat is coming from your head, right? Isn’t that the place where sweat comes from? Right? Right?
“I would be most grateful, mistress,” the prince said, inclining his head.
Hey, you read the dictionary I gave you! Good job!
Léofe heaved up the pitchfork onto the other side of the loft (why the attics were not connected, she had no clue), and then blushed again as she realized she had already forgotten to keep her arms down. Dunce! she told herself. Dunce, dunce, dunce!
…maybe you should continue reading that dictionary. Just a bit more. Not that your word choice is bad, but…your word choice is bad.
The door to the cellar was located outside the barn, and she hurried into its cool, dark depths – lingering only for a moment to breathe in the clean air – before she returned to the stable with her apron full of apples.
Did I miss the part where you actually grabbed the apples and put them in your apron? Do you do that by breathing in cold air? I’m sorry, even in a canon with magic, I find that increasingly hard to believe.
“I brought extra,” she said. “I thought you might enjoy one as well, sire, as you have been in the sun with Brego all morning.”
This kid sounds so condescending. I’ve taught her well.
“That is very kind, mistress,” he said, and she was rewarded with a half-smile. She could have sighed happily at the sight of it, but she still felt too miserable.
Now shoo, shoo. I must pretend that I am of a higher importance to you. Shoo, shoo!
The prince picked a pair of apples from her loot, surrendering one to Brego’s eager lips while he bit into the second. Léofe did sigh at that – before the prince came along, Brego had only eaten from her own hands.
…so that’s why you’re sighing and having an emo Sue meltdown? Because he used to eat from the hand? I’m gonna tell you, most mammals eat from the hand when they’re babies. The fact that Brego did it for Léofe isn’t exactly groundbreaking.
She stared for a moment more, at both horse and master, before the master turned to her with a questioning look. “Pray do not let us delay you further,” he said.
Hey, at least he’s pretending to be humble. There’s something to that, right?
“Oh! No, you were not delaying me at all,” she said. “I am only a bit tired. Enjoy your apples!”
God, what a great movie.
She half-ran away, tossing an apple into each stall clumsily, when she would have normally taken the time to talk to each horse. She hid her flushed face as she climbed into the loft, and resumed her work.
Which is, fortunately, where this riff stops. We’re about halfway through the chapter, which is about as good a time as any to sit down, shut up and deal with it. Until next time, remember that Angie loves you! Bye!