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Discussing: Quel Fara

Quel Fara

*Where is that dratted box of Minas Tears when I need it?*

Tay, this made me weep! The woman who loves her ranger and the faithful friend to whom she entrusts him. This is so well done.

I love this line:

Elves seemed to make everything into a song, as though they were trying to hammer their pain in the forge of their fëas until it became something of beauty, something they could understand.

The voice of the poet/song writer! The image of the refiner's fire, turning pain into something of worth, something precious.

This is just beautiful. Anyone who has ever loved and lost a friend like Lôkhî or Spoo will relate to this.

~Nessime

PS - I believe God has a special place in Heaven for our friends - the one waiting for me is named Nimbus. I lost her on Mother's Day 7 years ago and I still miss her.

PPS - I just realized that Promises is sandwiched again! I think I like that!

PPPS - I got so caught up in the story I forgot - the period/full stop is missing at the end of the first line. That's the only one I noticed, and that only when I went back to read it for the third time. ~N.

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

It was lovely, Tay. And, I could tell that this is something that is very close to your heart. His feelings for his friend come across very well here, and the woman's feelings, too, are so beautifully described. I loved this:
There was never any doubt that Lôkhî was the brother at his back upon the roads, and his wife depended on that protection, even though there were many nights that she would muse aloud that a good provider was supposed to supply a woman with firelight to keep the wolves away, and wonder what strange fate had made her give her heart to a man who put a wolf between themselves and the hearth… and to the wolf as well.

The ending was so poignant, so touching! I was very very moved when he whistled to the wind and there was no answer. That line there means so many things. It will be hard for him to get used to his life alone, and to break the habits and the bond he shared with his friend. And then, when he says 'Quel Fara...' The proper ending for this story. As Nessime said, where's that box of Minas Tears?!

Starlight

P.S. It brought me back to my childhood, when my rabbit ran away. I was only five years old, and I felt that keenly!

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

Ah, this is just the kind of thing I was hoping would come out of this challenge. It's beautiful, powzie. Lots of great lines -- "seemed more wag than dog" is one of my favourites; and I also really like the bits of local colour that you weave into the story -- the attacker's dart, the description of the burial, the fact that his ranger colleague was an Elf and a woman. I'd like to read more about your take on the relationship between the Elves and the Dunedain.

The one thing that left me befuddled was the set-up of the attack. Why would three southern men ambush a ranger, fail to confirm he was dead, and then not loot? If they're of the same cowardly breed that Merry and Pip stared down at the end of RotK, they'd spend their time harrassing easier and more profitable victims rather than risking an encounter with a dunedan and his enormous fighting-dog. If they did, they'd certainly divest him of his gear and food. I wonder if you could fiddle with a few lines to make this more plausible.

Good job, anyhow. Gorgeous language.

Stulti

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

Thanks for reading this, guys. As you know, I have been quite dry. I had to rely heavily on that “secret” arc to get it to flow, but it seemed to be willing to meet me half way once I got going.

I want to make more detailed response, but I am still mulling over some of what I was trying to do, wondering if it is coming through.

Nessime, thanks for catching the missing full stop. Chris beta’s for me using the editing toolbar in Word, and somehow in this story I lost the punctuation in every place where there had been a note. (The note at the end of the first line said, “Uh-0h”). I think I caught the rest, but if you detect missing ones, please point me at them.

I too, believe in the sanctity of all souls, not just human. I have loved many small lives, but Spoo and I shared a bond. Starlight, I am even now distressed to think of you loosing your bunny!

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

Stulti, thanks so much for your input!

I am/was concerned over that very section -it is kind of a place holder at the moment.

I had been wondering if I would be able to write again, and when I got this story to go as far as this, I thought I would slip it into Beta and see if it seemed worth working on. I was concerned that it was not actually about an animal, though it is of course also about an animal (arrgh, typical tay speak.)

If it seems to fit the parameters of the challenge and to be working on other levels, I intend to rework that section. For now I was trying to leave myself a note that what I want to express is that he had been robbed of his companion through sheer willfulness.

the fact that his ranger colleague was an Elf and a woman. I'd like to read more about your take on the relationship between the Elves and the Dunedain.

The ranger here is my long-standing avatar, my oc, the one I keep saying I won’t expose here lest I Mary-Sue myself into a corner. But I do seem to fall back on glimpses of that arc when I need a feeling of old history or (self)realism. I am hoping to be able to use pieces in this way, and get some emotional mileage out of them.

Thanks again, to you all. I will respond better in a day or so when I can be a little more objective myself.
--fileg



 

 

Re: Quel Fara

I was concerned that it was not actually about an animal, though it is of course also about an animal (arrgh, typical tay speak.)

Of course it's about an animal! Gee whiz, Tay! It's all about his feelings for his companion, so I can't see why you'd question it.

I saw what Stulti did too, only I got so caught up in his feelings over his friend's death that I totally forgot that point. But I have confidence that you'll figure out how to explain the ambush.

The rest of it most definitely works!

The ranger here is my long-standing avatar, my oc, the one I keep saying I won’t expose here lest I Mary-Sue myself into a corner.

I think you can let her out now. An OC is not automatically a Mary-Sue, and I think you're skillful enough with your writing to let us see her real worth.

~Nessime

PS - Why don't you send that old negative muse to keep Wilberforce company for awhile? ~N.

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

It's all about his feelings for his companion, so I can't see why you'd question it.

Well... It is all about his companion, but which one? Did anyone else notice the brushing of fingers in the pups fur and the exchange of glances between the two women?

Maybe I noticed, because I know Tay and her OC so well. But when I read the story, I thought she had outed an elf.

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

Did anyone else notice the brushing of fingers in the pups fur and the exchange of glances between the two women?

Oh, I noticed that okay. I think there could be a couple of different interpretations of that exchange, depending on the reader.

Not knowing Tay and her OC as well as you do I wasn't making any assumptions.

And a little mystery can be a good thing in a story, yes?

~Nessime


 

 

Re: Quel Fara

Actually, for me it is not so much a specific love story, man, elf or dog. It is a story about love and bonding (and the willingness to do so) between species with different life-spans - which is why I needed to use my elven ranger and not just give him a mortal female partner to test his new wife.

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

The little glimpse you've given us of your elven ranger has definitely piqued my interest. I hope you'll let us get to know her better.

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

Hi Tay!

Firstly, thanks for writing this--nice little vignette, and I am a sucker for bittersweet. This is a compact story that manages pull in a number of personal details that point towards a larger canvas without being bludgeoning, which is something I think is important. It creates a sense of depth that otherwise might need much more space.

Anyhow, my comments are mostly technical, rather than being comments on the theme, which is, a farewell of old friends and companions.

He woke on the cold ground, cold himself; cold everywhere, even where his head lay cradled against the shoulder of his companion.

This was a very nice bit of foreshadowing, very subtle. I looked at that askance the first time, and wondered why that detail of his head being cold against his companion struck me. Then I read the next bits and understood immediately why it hit me the way it did. Well done!

Sitting up carefully, head still ringing, he saw the ruffled fur, the imprint of his own cheek, the long limbs stretched out as though at full gallop. Smiling, he reached to rumple the crooked ear that had never learned to stand, marring Lôkhî’s beauty to his breeder, bringing him at last into the life of a ranger on the trail – two rangers on the trail, he corrected himself, still stroking the ear.

Still cute--nice wake up, seems like just another day on the road and on the job, but then...

It was about then he realized the big grey hound, the wolf in his fold, was more than asleep. He lay back down and buried his face in the fur where his cheek had been cradled, and wept. "How will I ever comfort Nâlo," he sobbed, wishing they were home with her, fire in the hearth, latch on the door, smells of bread and mulled wine, safe and warm, safe and home. How will she ever comfort me, he thought.


This is where I have my first bit of trouble. So there's been a fight. He got hit hard enough to be knocked out, yet he wakes up smiling and doesn't feel a thing. If it was a hard enough blow to make him forget, I'd think he would feel it waking up. I once flopped down on my apartment couch, and onto one of those pillows with a music box in them. Smacked myself good and hard, though no where near hard enough to knock myself out. My head hurt for hours, and I had a tender spot the next morning that had NOT appreciated my pillow at all.

I can see what you're aiming for--that moment of shock, of realization that this isn't just slumber, but an ending. The juxtaposition of the sleepers, and one waking up while the other won't is very poignant: it could easily have been the other way around. I just think that the context of the specific fight you describe doesn't set you up well for this.

He and the dog had been partners for years now, and he did not doubt that they would easily overcome them.

Grammatical comment: He and the dog *had* been partners... and he *had* not doubted that they would easily overcome [the ruffians/Southrons]. All in the pluperfect, and that goes for all flashback sequences that are, for lack of a better word, "reported" as opposed to experienced in that moment.

Also, the "them" that I've replaced in brackets is somewhat ambiguous. You want to make it clear whether the Ranger expects to be overcome (and so is bracing for a last stand) or whether he expects to be the victor in this one by virtue of his long partnership with Lokhi. I think you mean the latter, but someone could infer the former.

His hand searched the big chest now until he felt the dart, and he pulled it free and snapped it mercilessly in his hands as though he could still gain some satisfaction over their attackers. Then he wept again.

This goes along with my comments above about how the fight fits into the overall storyline. If the Ranger was knocked out, and his dog was shot to death, then either the dog got the guy in the trees as well as those on the ground *after* being shot, or for some inexplicable reason, the Southrons, who "wanted nothing but their lives" left the Ranger breathing once they killed the dog. I think you need to have the pair take down *all* their enemies, or else cut them down to common thieves who will take a purse and run without necessarily killing their victims. If the latter, then that needs to be acknowledged as puzzling, surprising, unusual--I don't think Rangers expect to get up again if they go down in an outnumbered fight.

What I would suggest, therefore, is something like the following: they had the fight. They won, but it was a good fight, very tough. They went to sleep, the Ranger wakes up, finds the dog dead, and realizes that his faithful companion was just getting too old to deal with this sort of thing any more. Or maybe the dog was injured in some way, as you say, and he just died in his sleep despite his master's care. I think that lets you juxtapose the lovely wake-up scene with the painful shock that Lokhi is dead. You could even wring more angst out of it by having the Ranger remember that the dog seemed to be better after being treated, and curling up with his master to go to sleep.

One other detail: there's no mention of other bodies. If there were some enemy corpses about, I think they'd get just a token mention so that we don't wonder what happened to them. No need to dwell on it, but just so that we get a better sense of the surroundings.

They say a man’s life will flash in front of his eyes if he fears he is dying, but no one had told him that the dog’s life would do so; their days together unfurled backwards in his mind, clear and strong and bright, like the woven pictures in the chieftain's hall.

Such a little thing, but do you think a colon might be the more appropriate punctuation between "dog's life would do so" and "their days together"?

more wag than dog

This is my favorite description in the story. Perfect description: I can see that wiggly little puppy in my mind.

A final note: do you have a name for your Ranger? I'm not saying you need one--I had to go back and check to realize that in fact he hadn't been named. That can be tough to pull off, but it works here. I'm just curious.

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

Nessime: The little glimpse you've given us of your elven ranger has definitely piqued my interest. I hope you'll let us get to know her better.

Well, I keep saying I won’t use her at all, but it seems like you will know all about her soon!!


Dwim, thanks so very much for spending so much time looking at this.

I wrote it in a single burst the other night when I was in such a writing funk, and I posted it in a very unfinished state. What I was hoping to find out was if there is enough story in the story to make it worth working on. I am currently feeling like there might be – thanks to excellent and encouraging feedback.

Now that I have managed to get myself this far, I feel bad that I posted it with the action needed to drive the story in such an un-thought-out state. But as I mentioned in the thread on violence in the list, this is the part I don’t feel like I have any grasp of – so instead of focusing on being embarrassed, I am instead unbearably delighted to have suggestions on how to address the problems.

I will be pushing this around for the next few days, trying to make it work as a whole, and get some kind of a handle on the fight situation -- but I can at least fix the grammar right away!

I never did use a name for the ranger – or his partner. I was (as usual) focused on the unseen to the detriment of the seen. I was still thinking of him in terms of his relationship to my female ranger – I wanted her to be in that place that humans sometimes get to with animals – don’t give them a name, you will only get attached!! (though truthfully, “Ranger” is her most fervent term of endearment.) But, now that this has become his story instead of hers, he should probably have one!!




 

 

Re: Quel Fara

Tip on fight scenes: have the end known to you, lay out all the ingredients (environment, enemies, their arms, their motives, skills, ditto for protagonists), then walk backwards.

So they win. What does that mean? If the opponents are as bent on killing as you say these are, that means Our Heroes (tm) had to have killed or fatally wounded all of their enemies in order to survive the night. With only two good guys, you probably don't want to have the odds be greater than two to one, especially with that archer in the trees.

Then you work out other sorts of details. Could they have realistically avoided being hurt, even if only in a non-life threatening manner? Probably not, if he didn't see the archer until too late. So now you have to deal with injury to man or beast or both, how to kill the guy in the tree (death by dog when he comes down or by knife throw), and in what order these things will happen. Then you deal with aftermath.

This works best for short fight scenes, but even for longer ones, you should know who's left standing and how it ends. Then you build up to it, if you can't walk backwards.

Re: naming your Ranger, I don't think it needs to happen in this fic. It's a neat little reversal of expectation, and I think it works to keep him anonymous. He's a Ranger; he's one of many who might have no one but a dog to keep him company most days and nights. It works. If you reveal his name, either do it in a story where it's really needed, or find a way to make that significant somehow, I'd say.

That's been my experience with the two unnamed characters I've written so fa. In "Giving Gifts," I didn't give Nharadh's father a name--he doesn't need one. He is defined in Nharadh's eyes as his father--that is his most important identifier. In "Not in Our Stars," I needed a protagonist who was nameless essentially by choice til the very end--that was hard, being a fairly long one-shot fic.

But think of "the Vengeance" in "Tale of Two Cities" or the little drummer boy of Christmas carol fame or even the girl in the red dress in Spielberg's movie, "Schindler's List": those characters don't need names--it'd be less effective if they had them. I think that for this story, it's more effective to leave your Ranger nameless.

Glad I could help. Have fun with the editing!

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

Hello,

Yes, I know this is *rather* late but though I read it back when it first went up every time I tried to get around to doing feedback something happened.

I liked the original version with more of the fight - and didn't pick up the problems with it until it was pointed out here - but I think removing it solves the problems and doesn't really weaken the story. It isn't about the fight after all but about types of love. I think it works very well there.

I know this comes from your personal arc btw but I hope we get to meet these three again later on sometime. Even though it is a short story and each gets only a small amount of word-space enough comes through to make each live as characters,.

I love this bit - even though there were many nights that she would muse aloud that a good provider was supposed to supply a woman with firelight to keep the wolves away, and wonder what strange fate had made her give her heart to a man who put a wolf between themselves and the hearth… and to the wolf as well.
as it is just the sort of dry humour you get in families.

As other people have mentioned this - Elves seemed to make everything into a song, as though they were trying to hammer their pain in the forge of their fëas until it became something of beauty, something they could understand. is an incredible line. It's a whole nuzgul in itself, as well as being beautiful.

I love this - , wishing they were home with her, fire on the hearth, latch on the door, smells of bread and mulled wine, safe and warm, safe and home. because it both breaks my heart and transports me there. I'd say it makes a picture for me but it is more than a picture - smell, sound etc are there too.

Cheers,

Avon

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

Thanks Avon!

I do keep playing with this in odd moments, because the great advice I got about how to write the fight is something I hope to be able to use in later stories. But in the case of this one, the more I tried, the more the story tried to be about the fight and as you say - that isn't what I meant it to be about. The only part of the fight I feel is important here is that the ranger somehow knows the dog leaped in front of him (types of love) - and so that's all I kept.

You will see more of my OFC. Despite my determination not to write about her, I have years of working with her personality, and now she keeps showing me places where she thinks she can pop her head in without her name attached. And maybe more rangers down the line when I feel more secure about writing them "out loud."

You have picked out all my favorite bits, Yay! I hope that means the language was strong, not that I used a baseball bat to point them out!


Elves seemed to make everything into a song, as though they were trying to hammer their pain in the forge of their fëas until it became something of beauty, something they could understand. is an incredible line. It's a whole nuzgul in itself, as well as being beautiful.

I think this comes from knowing her so long. It is why I am finding I do want to be able to talk about her story. After all, she has a lot of space in her life-span, and I can *try* to keep her romantic entanglements at home. Except for Lokhi - I thought that might be safe to show. Not too many people get accused of writing a MarySue so their OFC can love their partner's dog! And yeah, it is that line that I wrote for.


I love this - , wishing they were home with her, fire on the hearth, latch on the door, smells of bread and mulled wine, safe and warm, safe and home. because it both breaks my heart and transports me there. I'd say it makes a picture for me but it is more than a picture - smell, sound etc are there too.

Starlight has also mentioned that there seems to be a lots of "scent" in my stories. I get a burst, tastes and smell and all - much more often than I get just a "photo." In real life as well - I think time-travel is associated with the sense of smell - a familiar aroma can transport me faster than anything else!

I am glad you like this, because it references in part your ranger-wife waiting in Coming Home. Roll on, Anduin!

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

I am glad you like this, because it references in part your ranger-wife waiting in Coming Home. Roll on, Anduin!

I saw that! I just wasn't going to mention it as it seemed coincidental. The first time I read it I got as far as the grey dog and laughed because of the reflection.

Avon

PS: Definitely agree - smells are so important. I smell everything so birthdays, Christmas, caravans (we used to holiday in them when I was small), Easter - they all have their own smells, which can transport you there. Christmas, for example, smells of floor polish, mangoes, gardenias, radiata pine, fresh mown grass and rubbery-plastic; as well as the more obvious food smells. ;-)

 

 

Re: Quel Fara

LOL! Actually, the big grey "wolf" is an homage to my small grey "fox"

But I was struck when you wrote Coming Home by how familiar it seemed to the place I had been spending the last thirty or fourty years! And I certainly had a picture of your ranger woman and her hearth in mind when I wrote Nalo.

The aroma-therapy carries through my arc everywhere. North has a "heart-brother" brave enough to give her the private nickname "Nutmeg" when he has to ride behind her after losing his horse, and the smell of her hair in his face makes him think about Yule when he was a kid.


I am delighted and amused to read about Christmas smelling of Mangoes! How exotic! One of my favorite smells is the air before snow.

And every time I open one of my Action figures, I press them right to my face. Jim says I may be the only woman he knows who thinks that vinyl smell is erotic! We recently had to buy a new car. I know lots of people love the new car smell, but when we got in, I said to Jim, "Oh! It smells just like Aragorn!" He knew I meant the 12" Applause figure of Aragorn -- but collapsed laughing at the look on the face of our car salesman!

 

 

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