I'm sorry I didn't answer sooner. It's been a busy week.
I am so glad I found this story. You do such a good job of portraying a younger Denethor - the seeds of the man he will become are there and I enjoy how you handle the character.
:) It has been both a joy and a challenge to "find" Denethor and let him speak with a true voice. It is easy to caricature him - either as a malicious villain or as clueless oaf - so the question was how to allow him his very real and sometimes disturbing flaws along with powerful blind spots, yet have him remain a rounded character.
I also like your interesting take on his relationship with Finduilas - they are unusual people living an unusual life and you show that well.
I *loathe* the typical fandom story which has Finduilas as some kind of abused or neglected woman who leads a fundamentally unhappy life. It is so stereotyped. It also doesn't really provide a reason for Denethor to love her. A doormat is not interesting to be around. Her world may be circumscribed compared to Denethor's, but here is a person who is a force to be reckoned with. She's a cross between Caterina Sforza and Isabel Archer, and a woman capable of capturing and holding Denethor's desire.
I also love how the many secondary characters enrich the plot (which is so complicated and interesting that I am really impressed by that alone).
Well, um, yeah, and there will be more of them. ;-) The side plots are more than half the fun. It does get somewhat Dickensian.
I look forward to more.
If my writing continues, I should have another chapter next weekend. Thanks for the comments!