1786: Brego’s Mistress – Chapter SixPosted: June 11, 2017
Title: Brego’s Mistress
Topic: Lord of the Rings
Genre: Drama and Romance
URL: Chapter Six
Critiqued by Angie
*mumbling* Something something Brego’s Mistress something something Léofe something something. Let’s read.
It was a grey, drizzly spring morning that Théodred arrived to take Brego away. Léofe was glad for the rain, for it disguised her falling tears as she embraced her closest friend – the best horse that she had ever raised, and gave him a last scratch behind the ears.
Yeah, but…you’re acting like you’ll never see Brego again. Which…you’ve created a pretty close friendship with the prince, I seriously doubt the prince will stop coming around once he takes Brego away.
“Do as the prince says,” she whispered to him. “And if you care to – come back to me.”
Unbeknownst to her, Théodred was watching her closely, with a rather unfamiliar sense of regret.
Ah! Don’t sneak up on me like that! I got jumpscared by a fanfiction! Ahhhhh!
Can you sense my sarcasm? Am I doing this right?
He told himself that there was nothing for it, really, as he had bought Brego quite fairly and that Léofe should be accustomed to saying farewell to her charges by this time.
Bullshit! You know how close Léofe is to Brego! You can’t expect someone to be okay with you taking away their best and only friend. Even after a year of knowing it’s coming!
But the grief on her face turned his stomach. Brego was not taking her anxiety well; he was shifting his weight back and forth, and Théodred’s hold on his reins became tenuous.
There’s something to be said about animal abuse in this, but I can’t quite nail down what.
“I will bring him to visit, if you consent,” he said. But what comfort would that be? he thought in despair. The girl was losing a friend, and he could offer her nothing but to see Brego in the future, to open old wounds and to cause fresh pain.
Exactly! It’s like pouring salt on a fresh wound. I guess it’s fine that the prince is second guessing, but he shouldn’t have thought of that as a solution in the first place.
“I would like that,” Léofe replied, and she seemed almost shy.
But what do I know, I guess.
He mounted briskly, nodding at Gerdhelm, who stood slightly apart, and at Léofe who finally left Brego’s side. “You raise fine horses.” Likely that was cold comfort as well.
Hey, wait a second! Why did we just change perspective during this chapter? What’s going on? What is the meaning of this? Is this fic turning into The Girl?
And yes it took me that long to figure that out. Shut up.
Berating himself for his sensitivity and his awkwardness, Théodred turned Brego away, Erk and Allred falling in behind.
There was silence, and he was left alone with his thoughts. His remorse increased steadily, until a foul mood took hold of him entirely and he scowled at the grass that pounded underneath Brego’s lively hooves. Why was he was so responsive to Léofe’s own feelings? She was little more than a girl. No, she was certainly a woman.
No, she’s, like twelve.
Her clothing was often too small and threadbare; he was left with no doubt of her attributes. And she was far more than an ordinary woman as well, he thought. She was ferocious, and timid, quick-witted, and faltering, rather pretty, and often smelling of manure and covered in dirt.
…I don’t know why you felt it was necessary to mention that Léofe looks and smells like shit. I mean, I’m sure it’s true, but you don’t need to point it out. That’s my job.
If she was truly an ordinary woman, he would not have been consumed with thoughts of her for the past several miles, and Théodred’s frown deepened. He had to banish her from his mind. He had to! There was simply too many other things to worry about, and reminding himself of his cousin’s impending visit, spurred Brego faster towards home.
This cousin we were never told about is coming over to visit? Seems good! Now when are we going to learn about Erk’s pet unicorn?
Éomer ran his hands critically over Brego’s muscles, searching for faults or weak tendons. “There must be something,” he muttered under his breath.
“There is nothing wrong with Brego,” Théodred responded in an amused voice, watching over his ministrations with his arms folded.
Ehh, I don’t know. Unless we’re OOCing Brego into a Mary Sue (which wouldn’t be the weirdest thing I’ve ever read), there’s probably a fault, contrary to what the prince would make you believe.
“He is the best trained stallion I have ever ridden.”
“He might be well trained, but I am sure he has a fault somewhere.”
“I have never found one, and nor has his breeder. You might as well give up now, and we can depart all the sooner.”
Now there’s a sentence that can most likely be disproved.
Like when Brego was all clumsy as a baby?
Why are we talking about this?
Éomer grumbled, and Théodred counted it a victory. The younger man bent over the stall wall, frowning at Firefoot dozing with his nose in the feedbox. “Wake up, you lazy slob!” he said. “We’re going for a ride.”
If you say so, I guess.
And yes, I know Firefoot is an actual character in Lord of the Rings but…as long as this fic keeps throwing weird horse names at me, I’m going to make fun of them.
It was fortunate that Théodred had taken pains to put Brego out with the mares that morning, for while Firefoot was more agitated to have so many females nearby, Brego allowed himself to be led docilely from his stall, and did not give Firefoot a second thought.
Come on, Hannah. You’re not even trying anymore.
Luck was with them.
*BLARING ALARMS BLARE*
The pair rode out into the grey afternoon, the clanks from the horses’ hooves on the causeway echoing thinly. They had already agreed to forgo guards, for it was safe enough near the Deep. They did not want to risk any soldiers that might be spies for the enemy.
Are you really going to trust that the Deep has no spies for the enemy? After all, y’all’re on the eve of one of the biggest wars in the Legendarium.
Hey, can we get to that any time soon?
Théodred’s most trusted men were happy seeing their wives again for the first time in a fortnight, (Erkenbrand especially), and he did not want to bother them.
I know this is when I’m supposed to leave the room….
Once they were far enough away from the stone fort to avoid their voices from echoing, Éomer stood in his stirrups and let out a whoop.
*snorts* Why is it so funny whenever I hear about a person who let out a whoop? Can you be more specific?
“I have not felt this free for months,” he said, laughing. “I have discovered no less than three spies in my eored, and when I am summoned to Edoras there are always two on my trail. This is glorious, cousin.”
No, fic. I wasn’t being serious.
“There are about six in the deep,” Théodred said, relaxing his own shoulders. “And I wish I still had the authority to remove them. Grima has been nothing if not clever.”
Fic! Where are you going? Don’t leave me here!
Seriously, why are we suddenly going into this weird tangent about Grima?
“He is sure to have a weakness somewhere. He is no specimen as faultless as Brego.”
“Nor is he a stallion,” Théodred said before he could stop himself. “Perhaps a castrated nag.” There was only a small moment of silence before they both broke out into chuckles.
I don’t know if that was an insult, but…*confused airhorns*
“Have you seen Greyhame?” Éomer asked, changing the subject abruptly.
“No. I only met him once, as you well know.”
“I was hoping you might have more news, or more hope.”–
Why isn’t it big news that Gandalf died at Balrog’s Bridge? Certainly someone as important as Theodred would get the news that…why are we talking about this?
Théodred felt a frown crease his forehead. “I have the same amount of hope I have always had.”
“Pull yourself from the gutters! Let’s have a race!” Éomer had only to nudge Firefoot once before the stallion took off like an arrow with his rider.
Fic! You’re going too fast, I can’t keep up with you! Fic, for god’s sakes! I don’t care about horse races!
Théodred laughed, as Brego ran after them without waiting for a command. Breathless, they stopped in a small river cove at the foot of the mountains. The horses drank eagerly while Éomer and Théodred washed their faces. “So,” Éomer said as they settled down with a wineskin.
An impressive vocabulary doesn’t justify a weak plot.
Hell, say what you want, at least this fic doesn’t have deteriorating bad grammar like The Girl.
“Tell me of your adventures.”
There was little enough to tell, but Théodred obliged with news of orc movements and what exactly the spies were likely to pass on to Grima. “Two villages have been completely razed,” he said grimly.
“Thankfully they were small, and the survivors easily relocated. I fear for those whose own black horses, frankly; for those are the ones that Saruman targets.”
Something about the sum of its parts, right? But that’s still a really shitty thing to say.
Wait. Black horses? Like Dark Shadow? Oh dear.
“I did not realize the wizard enjoyed riding so,” Éomer said.
“I do not think he does,” Théodred answered. “But rather, he has a twisted use for them.”
Ah, yes. Saruman’s addiction to riding horses. Of course! There’s absolutely nothing more interesting than every canon character’s newfound horse fetish.
“You ought to warn the local breeders.”
Théodred sighed. “I would, if I had any trust in their sense. But the people of the Westfold are exceptionally stubborn.”
“Perhaps you are not using your privilege enough,” his cousin grinned at him. “Order them about! You certainly have enough practice, what with Eowyn and I.”
We can’t help but make an ‘I’m better than the majority of people’ joke, could we?
Théodred nearly laughed. “If you had been in my position, you would have acted the same. When you two devils came to Meduseld, the entire hierarchy of the Riddermark nearly fell around your ears!”
Thanks, Theodred. Now I know who to blame for all of my problems which you obviously don’t care about.
Seriously, why is this the guy we want ruling over us?
“I do not believe it! We were angels, I am sure. Eowyn remains so.”
“That is something which I do not believe,” Théodred said, tossing the empty wineskin at Éomer, who let it fall to the ground. “She is a menace. Father used to complain about her tempers, until he…” His voice trailed off, and Éomer’s smile faltered.–
I guess when we’re talking about anything other than horses, everyone in this fic gets all mopey and depressed. And goffik.
“Anyway,” he continued abruptly. “I am thankful that she lives in Edoras rather than Helm’s Deep.”
I love when fics are super fucking vague about who we’re talking about. I assume it’s Léofe, but we were talking about Brego for a bit, then Grima, then Gandalf, then Saruman. Keep stuffing your fic, Hannah.
“Aunt Alfrida would straighten her out quick. Perhaps I will send her your way,” Éomer’s lazy grin was back in place.
It’s kind of a dick thing to say, yeah.
I mean he’s right, it’s logical, but logic and fanfiction don’t mesh well together.
The cheerful turn of their conversation made the sun seem brighter, and the birds’ trills more melodious.
If child abuse is what this fic considers ‘cheerful’, I’m going to hate observing what it considers dark and depressing.
Too rarely had the cousins had such a chance to relax, especially together – and this was a moment to be treasured. Théodred felt a strange ache somewhere in his chest, and for an odd reason Léofe’s freckled face came to his memory.
Oh my Christ. You’re thirty years older than her! Stop it! This is almost as weird as the hookup between Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones!
“What will you do after the war, when our land is safe once more?” he asked, rummaging through the stones that littered the riverbank.
“Sleep! Eat aught besides waybread and goat jerky. Perhaps I will learn to mix paints.”
Okay, Hannah. That was like, three different ideas.
Also, is aught really the word you want to use there?
“You misunderstood me.” Théodred said, tossing a smooth rock into the water with a plunk. “What exactly will you do with your life once you are no longer committed to ridding the country of orcs?”
Certainly not starving themselves by eating au…aught but waybread and goat jerky.
Éomer’s mouth was drawn in a thin line. “You speak optimistically, cousin.”
“I speak in the same manner Greyhame spoke to me,” Théodred said. “I wish to know your thoughts.”
*canned laughter* Don’t you just love when people avoid the question they’ve been asked?
“I find that when I consider the course of my future, I am often quickly reminded of the current horror of my life,” Éomer said.
“Tell me know; we are safe enough.”
Éomer gave a heavy sigh. “I wish to marry, Théodred. I wish for a wife to share my life and love, and with whom we might have ten children and a home full of fillies and colts.”
Théodred smiled at this image. “In other words, you wish to set up as a horse breeder?”
Wow. Now everyone wants to hook up with Léofe. Why did Satan have to make her so beautiful?
“Perhaps, perhaps not,” Éomer said, leaning back against a tree and lacing his fingers behind his head. “I would be content as a farmer if it meant that I could have familial happiness.”
Boy, didn’t everyone want to fuck Eomer back in 2002.
“A fair compromise,” Théodred agreed. “But would you remain your title?”
“In all likelihood, yes,” Éomer said. “But I do not wish it. I have been embroiled in these raids and scrapes for too long. I would willingly pass the title to one younger, and with more energy.”
There’s a Prince and the Pauper joke to be made here. But I’m not gonna be the one to make it.
Théodred raised his eyebrows. “I would never have thought you would tire of war, Éomer! It was always your fondest dream to do as your father did.”
The funny thing about dreams? Is that sometimes they change. In fact, they oftentimes change. They usually change.
“That dream has been fulfilled,” Éomer said quietly. “Now I wish for my mother’s dream as well; a simple home and peaceful life. Now I beg to keep the remainder of my secrets. What will you do?”
Were you not listening to Theodred’s plans to starve himself? That’s a pretty big part of what’s been happening.
Again, Théodred was overwhelmed with thoughts of Léofe. Éomer’s description of a home and children was awfully tempting; thinking of the homeliness of Gerdhelm’s farm only made his heart hurt worse.
“I shall be king someday, I suppose,” he said. “I will remain marshal until Father passes, and I will take his place.”
“That seems a dull life indeed,” Éomer said, grinning. “Do you wish for nothing else?”
Théodred shrugged. “When I consider it, I distract myself from what takes precedence right now. Though…”–
And here’s the bit where Theodred professes his forced love for Léofe because the plot said to.
God, Hannah. Your fic is just so insufferable.
Éomer straightened up, fixing Théodred with a curious glance. “Do finish that thought, cousin. Unless you are deliberately keeping a secret?”
“No!” Théodred scowled, though a hot itch grew on his neck. Éomer was still looking at him expectantly, and feeling a surge of desire to confide, he relented. “There is a woman – a girl, really. But I cannot stop thinking of her!”
Surely Elmer has enough strength to tell Theodred that a forty year old dating a twelve year old is bullshit, especially in modern day.
That doesn’t speak for Edgar Allan Poe.
“That is love, I am sure!” Éomer said, chuckling. “And now you must tell me who she is.”
Well, I guess Eomer isn’t the slightest bit blindsided by the fact that his cousin wants to court a preteen.
“Very well. She comes from a family of horse breeders near Isenburg. Er..she is rather short I suppose. I am quite poor at describing women, I think,” he said ruefully. “Her hair is the color of a peach; she is freckled everywhere from what I have seen- “
She’s also usually covered in dirt and usually smells like manure, but that’s not important right now.
“And how much have you seen, exactly?”
“Not that much, dolt!” Théodred snapped. “This is my woman you are speaking about, and grown or not – I can still whip you!”
Rather than frightening Éomer into a more deferring mood, his words had rather the opposite effect – and Éomer began to laugh. “Your woman, Théodred?”
He grimaced at his own blunder. “I did not mean – “
Oh dear. Thus the misogyny begins.
“I am sure you did not. But truth must prevail, as my mother used to say. Even when one tries to hide it.”
This fic has a really big issue with throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.
“Aunt Theodwyn could have hid her wisdom a bit more, I think,” Théodred said. “But we digress.”
“Quite correct; we were speaking of yourwoman. What is she called?”
Ah! Aha! I knew I could find bad grammar in this fic! I fucking knew it!
“Her name is Léofe,” Théodred said, and when he spoke it he felt a warm glow in his chest, though tempered at once by a longing and a sadness. “And I do not quite think – that is, I feel as though I am living – well, it is not right. Any time which Léofe and I might have together would be borrowed. It would have been simpler if we had not met until everything was right once more. My father, Saruman, the orcs – everything. If there is even the slightest hope of victory!”
Heh. See, for a second there, it seemed like you were saying that your father is an orc named Saruman. Which would make this fic infinitely more interesting.
“Uncle will be well again,” Éomer said quietly. “I believe it; you must too.”
Theoden? He’s fine. He’s dying, but he’s fine.
“Yes, yes,” Théodred said. He was feeling cross from both the teasing and the dark mood which always threatened when he thought of his father. “You must tell no one, cousin. If Grima comes to know of her and seeks her life, I shall willingly pay the price for treason after I smite off his head!”
If you want me to believe that Grima wants Léofe as well, you’re crazier than Ebony. He’s not a mass murderer. He’s the Wormtail of Brego’s Mistress.
“If you often speak of her in such a manner, you will have revealed the secret yourself,” Éomer laughed. “But I sweat to tell no one, apart from Eowyn. It will give her something to hold over your head, which you certainly need. Or is Aunt Alfrida aware?”
Remember what I said about this fic not having deteriorating grammar?
I think I jinxed it.
“I have told her nothing. If she has caught wind of the situation, it is Erkenbrand’s doing. He and Allred are the only men in the Deep who have met her, which I arranged purposefully. They are adept at keeping mum.”
Fine. You expect me to believe no one from your town have met Léofe? I guess I’ll take your word for it. It just seems fake, that’s all I’m saying.
“My, my,” Éomer said, sticking a blade of grass between his lips. “You have become over-protective, secretive, and irritable. It certainly seems like love to me!”
How many words for ‘ew’ are there?
“It is not love,” Théodred protested, though it felt like a rather patent denial. “I do admire her; I am attracted to her and I miss her terribly, but love? I should think it would take more than a few hours’ of conversation combined to grow such affection.”
You…you’ve known her for a few years. I’m not saying it’s okay, but your argument is pretty invalid.
“Perhaps, perhaps not,” Éomer said. “But either way, I think I know exactly what will be keeping you awake for the next several nights. Now let us discuss what is truly important: Brego is a fine, showy horse – “
At this he nodded to where the bay was ruffling his nose through a patch of grass. “But he is no match for Firefoot!”
The ensuing scuffle was reminiscent of their younger days, and it did much for each to forget their own troubles. And in the race to the Hornburg, Théodred was quite pleased to win. The only shadow was Léofe’s face; for when he rubbed down Brego that evening he could only think of how many times she must have done that same thing herself, probably singing as she tried to keep her beautiful hair from falling in her face and Brego from eating it.
Everything had a rather bitter taste after that.
Thank God this chapter is finally over. I’ve been dragging my feet through this entire review. And we’re only a fourth of the way through the fic. Yay.
Until next time, don’t do anything I would do. Have a pleasant week!