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Seledra05

30 Flamerule 1372

A room and all it's furnishings are meant to be used. The table, the floor, the walls, the bath, the door; they all feel left out if all one uses is the bed. Methrammar had a romantic candlelight dinner and fine elven wine served directly to his chambers last night as we were in no decent condition to leave. When he first greeted me, he apologized for taking me away from my work and said he was exploring options to transfer me to the Rauvinwatch Keep area.

"Methrammar, really. I'm happy where I am. I have a life too, you know." I said as he closed the chamber door behind him.

"I'm sorry, darling. I just - " he kissed me "- miss you so. I get carried away." He undid my cape, smoothed it and hung it up in his closet.

I whirled around to face him. "All right, we know how you feel. Did you consider my feelings? Did you once consider my feelings?"

His face fell. "I...I'm sorry Seledra. I thought you would like to be nearer to me. It would make your journey to visit that much faster and easier for you."

His disappointment was palpable. "Methrammar," I placed my hand on his cheek, "what is this really about?"

He sighed and looked at me, his blue eyes misting. "My half-brother, Tyresia...he and I were very close. But, his missed his elven family and left for Evermeet six months ago. He was my closest friend...my only friend." His eyes were distant for a moment, but they soon locked onto mine again. "You remind me of him, you know. So spirited and carefree. It's why I love to spend as much time with you as possible. With all the pressures and responsibilities in my life, being with you makes my heart lighter."

He kissed me again and my heart began to warm. I whispered, "I'm not so carefree, Methrammar."

He looked at me and cocked his head to the side. "What troubles you, my love?"

I sat and told him about my parents, my early religious conversion, my job. How important it was for me to establish my independence, even though it meant having to take things slower with him. He listened sympathetically and when I was done speaking, he drew me near and held me tightly to him before slipping to his knees and holding his head to my chest.

"My darling girl, I beg your pardon. I have been blind to your suffering as I try to be blinded to my own. Ah, it feels so wonderful to open up to you like this and for you to open up to me. I will respect your desire to slow down." He stood up and grinned mischievously. "Does that mean I have to stop showering you with presents?"

I smiled back and giggled. "Not unless you want to." He came up behind me and slipped something cool around my neck.

"Good. Now look in the mirror, my dear. I hope you like it."

Around my neck was a braided chain of gold with an emerald amulet suspended from it. "It's beautiful."

Methrammar laid his hands on my shoulders and kissed my neck. "It's got a few minor...mmm...enchantments put on it." He began to unhook my dress. "For your protection, of course. Please, wear it always." The last of my garments fell to my feet. "To show that you belong to me. And tomorrow, at the festival, everyone will know that my heart belongs to you as well."

I flipped the amulet over and drew it close enough to my eyes to see that he had initialed the back of it. At least he hadn't branded me with them. Still, it was a beautiful necklace. Mother would even be impressed. "Thank you." I said.

He gestured to his armor and smiled. "You can thank me by helping me to get out of this, love."

***

About an hour or so later, we had a leisurely dinner and I can't say that I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing a nude meal with such a handsome man as Methrammar. I still had to discuss matters about Ralenthra with him, but it would have to wait just a little while longer. Like when we went to bed again.

Soon I was nibbling on his earlobe. "Methrammar...I want to talk to you...about the festival."

He moaned. "Mmm...yes?"

I laid soft kisses on his neck. "Well, I think it would hurt Mayurra's feelings if I told her that I couldn't be seen with her."

"Uh-huh."

I started licking and biting one of his nipples. "She's my best friend, you know." I drew myself up and pressed my breasts to his chest.

"Let me think about it. Later."

I pouted and moved lower, kissing his chest and making my way further down. "No. Now."

He groaned. "Lower."

I raised my head and locked eyes with him. "And you'll give me what I want."

"Yes, woman. I'll give you want you want. Just, please."

The things a girl will do for her friends.

***

Methrammar was asleep. I was swishing the remainder of the elven wine around in my mouth and spitting it out in the privy when a window that had a lovely view of Silverymoon caught my eye. Quickly, I fetched my cape from the closet and wrapped it around me before I stood gazing at my home. I was filled with a longing I couldn't understand as I wondered if this was my destiny; being with Methrammar, my whole life revolving around him. The moon shown brightly above; there would be a full moon at the festival if my calculations are correct. There was another tugging at my heart, as I felt Selune pacing in her stall at the stable below. I wonder...

I got dressed and slipped down to the stable. Luckily, I had clearance to move freely about the Keep, or I would have been in big trouble. When I found Selune, she jumped up and down joyously and covered my hands and face with kisses. I gave her some of my leftovers and settled down with her for the rest of the night, stroking her soft fur until we both fell asleep.

***

In the morning, one of Methrammar's stewards found me and summoned me back to the tower so we could have breakfast before I was to return to Silverymoon with Selune. He shook his head at me.

"My darling, I had hoped we would finally be able to sleep together and you abandon me...for an animal."

"She's my familiar. You don't make Beau sleep in the stable."

"He's not a wild animal."

"No, he just breathes fire. Besides, I've raised her since she was a pup. She's very well trained."

He still frowned. I sighed and kissed him.

"What's the big deal about sleeping together anyway? Didn't you have fun?"

"Seledra, I can tell that you've never actually slept with any of your lovers. There's something about falling asleep in the arms of someone you love, feeling completely safe...maybe someday you'll understand."

I kissed him again. "I'm sure I will. Tomorrow night, then?"

He smiled, finally. "Yes. Don't be late, love."

He escorted me downstairs where we were met by a stable boy who had Selune with him. The coach was loaded up and after I got inside, Methrammar kissed me one last time before I rode off.

Comments

Oh, this pushes all my buttons

Can I just say I'm starting to think Methrammar is an ass? Seriously, you just don't get between a druid and her animal companion. It's wrong. Possibly even immoral. Oh, and: "To show that you belong to me."? *strangly hands* (<--I actually did this while reading.) Deciding that you'll just have the girl's job transferred without even consulting her? Fuck you, Methrammar.

Lest you think I have nothing but complaints, the fact that you have provoked such an emotional (and essentially personal) response from me is, in fact, a good thing.

One minor grammar note: The things a girl will do for their friends. Should be her; there's no reason to maintain gender neutrality.

Re: Oh, this pushes all my buttons

Visceral reaction is good. I would like to clarify a few things though. Methrammar giving the amulet to Seledra is supposed to be a "going steady" kind of thing, but I was thinking about the way it might be worded and "To show that you belong to me", while it certainly expresses a slightly possessive nature, is not meant to show that Methrammar does not consider Seledra to be his equal. Indeed, he adores her, showers her with gifts whenever he sees her, can't help but tell everyone he knows about her, wants to be nearer to her all the time. A man in his position of power is used to simply be able to do these things and it is enough for some women, just not Seledra.

As this is seen through the eyes of a woman who has had to fight the controlling behavior of her parents her entire adult life, one could understand her mixed feelings about it. "He's handsome, he's charming, he's gifted, he's rich, he's powerful, he comes from a family without peer and he adores me." The match is a practical one and she would not be the first woman in her family to enter in to a loveless marriage if she married Methrammar. Seledra is trying so hard at this point to be a responsible adult, believing that forgoing personal happiness is part of growing up, and going to prison is literally going to turn her life upside down.

Methrammar sees Seledra as his match, someone who loves Silverymoon almost as much as he does. As such, he thinks that if either one of them need to make life changes in order to benefit Silverymoon, then so be it. His official bio says he doesn't worship a specific deity, but serves Silverymoon first and foremost. This is a man so consumed with his work that even his relationships take a backseat to it. Because of his hyper-focus, he's really not accustomed to thinking about anybody else's needs period.

The animal companion thing is a mark of selfishness, that much is true. Mostly, it is a lack of understanding on his part than pure malice that guided his actions. That, and he is hurt that she left him. What he said was true: Seledra has never actually "slept" with any of her lovers. She can't get comfortable. To trust a man that much is more intimate than anything for her. Both this theme and the necklace will come up again.

I will try to make Methrammar a more sympathetic character in the future, but it's tricky, not because he's an asshole at heart, but because it has to feel natural. It has to flow. It will come, but I think it will take time.

Re: Oh, this pushes all my buttons

Of course, you probably know all this. The thing is, I have to tell it through Seledra's eyes and not third person omniscient. Hence the exposition here that I hope to clarify in plot as the characters grow. :)

Re: Oh, this pushes all my buttons

I totally didn't see this; it didn't show up in my inbox. Yes, that is the downside of first-person perspective, and since we only get to read a little bit of it at a time, as it gets written, we have to wait for these things to be revealed.

Re: Oh, this pushes all my buttons

My reaction is as much about me as it is about Methrammar; those really are my particular hot buttons, and they are things that make my blood boil, regardless of what the intentions behind them might be. I can see where in part, his actions and expectations come from his position, and the fact that his position means that most women just fall at his feet and would quite happily give up anything he asked of them; that doesn't stop his behavior from making me angry on Seledra's behalf--and my anger doesn't mean he's a fundamentally unsympathetic character, it simply means that he has flaws. He wouldn't be the first character ever written to start out appearing unsympathetic only to turn out to be a great guy. And perhaps those flaws are points for him to grow from as a character.

Also, much as you know, as the author, that he sees her as an equal, he is not entirely treating her as one. That aspect of his feelings for Seledra has not yet been revealed in the story. And of course, it's easy to say "go jump in a lake, you asshole, I don't belong to anybody" when you're only reading it, not the one being courted by a wealthy and powerful individual.

I did not mean to imply that the animal companion thing was malicious in any way, I totally read more it as simple thoughtlessness on his part; I just think that he should be more understanding of the bond between druid and animal companion, and maybe that's something he simply has to learn. But I can also acknowledge that for her part, Seledra could be a little more understanding of his feelings at being abandoned in the middle of the night.

On a side note, I would like to see a little more of Seledra's internal conflict. We saw a little of it at the wedding, where she talks about what a good match it is, how lucky she is, and so on, but we haven't yet really seen her struggle with wanting to do the "right" thing and that thing perhaps not being what she really wants. There's a little bit of rebellion against his more controlling behavior, but that's not quite the same thing--when he tells her to stay away from Ralenthra at the festival, her reaction is "no, she's my friend, he can't tell me to do that," not "well, she's my friend, and I don't think it's right, but yeah, I have to think of his reputation as well as mine, and gee, Ralenthra didn't seem too upset about it when I told her, so maybe just this once." I know that Seledra is conflicted mostly because you've told me she is, not because her being conflicted has played out in the story. Perhaps that's only because that struggle isn't fully formed yet, since she does still seem a little swept off her feet that this wealthy and powerful man wants her, but I would like to see a little more of that "well, maybe it's time to suck it up and do the practical thing, even if it means giving up stuff I want" in her thought process.

And if I'm a little too verbose, it's only because I'm lately getting a little overly excited about contact with the "outside world." My life revolves around what I have to fetch for my stepfather next.
I've had this same conversation with her. Make Methrammar too much of an ass and the reader begins to question what's wrong with the narrator. She assures me that she'll be working to make sure the pendulum doesn't swing too far in that direction.

Also:

"At least he hadn't branded me with them."

Ha.

And for the requisite nitpicky English major stuff:

"I was filled with a longing I couldn't understand as I wondered if this was my destiny, being with Methrammar, my whole life revolving around him."

I would replace the comma after destiny with a colon, making the sentence's structure that much clearer.
Actually, so far I think it's realistic (there really are men out there like Methrammar, after all). Seledra still barely knows him, and she's just starting to find out where he sits as far as his attitudes towards relationships and gender roles. It's reasonable at this point in a new relationship for Seledra to think "Oh, maybe once we establish our relationship, he'll get better." Even smart women sometimes think this way.

On the other hand, as Sabrina develops the relationship further, she now either needs to temper Methrammar's "I'm in charge here, and you're just my arm candy, so behave" attitude, or she needs to have Seledra showing some doubt about what she's getting herself into. Maybe both. Seledra's strong-willed, and she's already reacting to what she doesn't like. I'm looking forward to what she does with it.

As for the comma vs. colon, the comma doesn't bother me, but a colon would make it clearer.
Before reading the other's comments, I had largely the same response to Methrammar. "Okay: mediocre lovemaking...tries to mark her as his own...implicitly asks her to choose between him and her friend...tries to come between her and her animal familiar...yeah, I give this relationship about three months."

I don't like Methrammar at this point, and I'm not going to like Seledra if she doesn't stand up for herself. And it seems out of character for the person Kronk has fought beside (or will fight beside, in this context).

I like the notion you have for 'Ledra: that she's conflicted and struggling with growing into adulthood, and doesn't know how to proceed. It will cast an interesting light on her game adventures. But that doesn't come off here--what I get here is someone perilously close to being a doormat.

I agree that a sharper inner dialogue would help us understand Seledra's true feelings. I also propose that maybe Methrammar has to grow up, too. Watching that happen would make the story interesting.

In fact, as Vaudy pointed out, his hurt feelings at being left alone could be a vector for that. If he came off as genuinely hurt--if we saw a glimpse of the lonely person inside the officious pompous ass presented here--I would look forward to seeing this relationship grow.

As it stands, though, I kind of want to see him gone.

And now for something completely positive: I love the poetry of the opening paragraph, focusing on the room to distract the reader from what's going on. Your best bit of prose yet.
His disappointment was palpable. "Methrammar," I placed my hand on his cheek, "what is this really about?"

I think this part would be stronger if you added in something (in narrative, not dialogue) that Seledra could tell this was part of a larger issue; it seems it would flow better into the half-brother thing that way. Other than that, I like the changes. Because Seledra challenges him, he has a chance to give his side of the story, so it mitigates the seeming asshole-ness of his actions when shown without that context.

Requisite grammar nazi-ism:

his missed his elven family

He missed

Also, that sentence Danny mentioned before: I wondered if this was my destiny; being with Methrammar, my whole life revolving around him

That's a semicolon you changed it to, there, not a colon.