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Written for B2MeM 2010:

The Meneltarma Challenge: Sigmund Freud put forth the theory that our psyche is controlled by the Id, the Ego, and the Super-ego and that our minds are constantly in flux between these three powers. What is your character's greatest goals? What great good do they long to do? How do they deal with their current reality? And what primal urges and forces may be causing temptations for your character? Show a conflict between two or more of these drives and desires.


He was waiting down the hall for me, and fell soundlessly in beside me as I walked back to the townhouse from the Citadel. Not a word was spoken even then- until I went into the library and poured myself a stiff drink. When I offered the decanter to him, he took it-a sign he now considered himself to be off-duty-and poured his own libation.

“Are we drinking a toast to the next Princess of Dol Amroth then?” Andrahar asked, his face expressionless.

“No,” I said curtly and tossed down a larger gulp of the brandy than was wise, particularly given the amount I‘d drunk earlier in the evening. Coughing, I added, “Hethlin refused me.”

That surprised him, I could see. His eyebrows raised the least little bit. “She refused you?”


“Did she say why? Was it your age?”

Recovering from my intemperate inhalation, I fired an eyebrow of my own back at him. “No, Andra, it was not my age! She likes me well, she says, as a friend. I remind her of Faramir, she says, and she still has feelings for him.”

“She sleeps with the Elf lord.”

“That also came up in the conversation. In short, she is confused about her feelings and does not want to marry when she is not certain of her heart.”

“Despite the fact that you are the richest man in Gondor and the most powerful after the King and Steward?”


“There are many women who could instruct their confused hearts to love you regardless, had you but crooked a finger in their direction.”

“That is true. But Hethlin is not such a one.”

I watched as my blood brother sipped his own drink, his brow furrowing as it did when he was thinking some strategy through. It looked as if he might be reconsidering his formed opinion of Hethlin.

“I think better of the girl for that, I will admit,” he said at last and cocked his head, looking up at me. “It is good to know that she can make a firm decision about something.” I sighed in exasperation, and his gaze intensified. “Once we are in Dol Amroth, I can keep her busy enough that she will not trouble you, my lord. You need have no fear of that.”

Which was the opening I needed to discuss the decision I had come to on our silent trek back home.

“I will not be returning to Dol Amroth, Andra. Not just yet. You and Peloren will take the new esquires home and I will remain here for a time. The King has need of me just now and I find myself entirely too tempted by Hethlin.”

“’Tempted‘?” The deep voice was skeptical. “I fail to see the appeal.”

“Well, I failed to see the appeal of that weedy fellow you took up with when you were twenty-eight, but I was too polite to say so at the time!” Andra gave me an affronted glare. I ran my fingers through my hair wearily.

“I burn as if I were a score and five years again, Andra. And I can do nothing about it! Surely I need not tell you about what it is to yearn for what you may not have.” A low blow that, probably instinctive retaliation for the scathing denunciation he had given me after that kiss earlier in the evening, but unworthy of me nonetheless. I had sworn to myself that I would succor him in his grief.

Andrahar went very still for a moment. “No, you needn’t tell me about that.” He set his glass upon the sideboard and swirled into motion, pacing the shelves like an agitated tiger. “But I refuse to believe that there is naught you can do about this, Imri! The good, old houses are still where they were for the most part. Take a woman! Take several until this fever in your blood is gone!”

“I cannot do that,” I said, watching him pace. “What would it look like, to offer Hethlin my heart and hand and name, only to say, ‘Oh well, since you said no, I guess I’ll take this one part of me out for a little walk?’”

“You’d have done just that once upon a time.”

“I will not dishonor her. It took me longer than most to grow up, but I’d like to think I finally achieved it!” More softly, I added, “I half expected you to offer, Andra. There was a time when you would have.” That froze him in his tracks for a moment, then he came slowly back to me, his face grave.

“I would like to think I’ve grown up too. Or grown past at least.”

Or perhaps it is that Boromir was your true love at last, and nothing less will serve…I nodded, laid a hand upon his shoulder and squeezed gently in apology. “It occurs to me that I am being selfish again, thinking of only what would make my life easier with no thought for you. I suppose I could send Liahan and Peloren with the esquires and keep you here with me if you would prefer.”

“I would prefer,” he said bluntly, “but Liahan is not quite ready to become Armsmaster. Close, but not quite there yet. There are things I still need to teach him, and I had intended to do so with this incoming class. So I will do as you bid, Imrahil, though I hope that you will not be too long away.”

“No longer than I must. I miss my home.” And I did, with a yearning almost equal to that I felt for Hethlin. Elves were not the only folk who could feel sea-longing…“But the King needs me here now. He doesn’t know the Council or the nobles as I do. He needs me here and he needs me clear-headed. So Hethlin must go and I must stay.”

“As you command, my lord,” was all Andrahar said, but the total lack of inflection in his voice spoke volumes.

I looked down at him, his head now bent, and laid my cheek atop it. “You grant me grace, brother,” I said softly. He turned beneath me and gave me a harsh squeeze, then put himself at arms’ length and looked up at me again.

“You’re more than a little drunk, and I suspect extremely disappointed. It’s bed for you, Imri.”

“I don’t think I can sleep just yet, Andra.”

“We will see about that.”

I had anticipated laying awake all night, tossing and turning, restless with my desire. But Andra chivvied me out of my clothes and into a nightshirt and into bed. Once I was there, he sat beside me and worked my neck and shoulders and back with strong, educated hands. He had not done such for me in years, not since immediately after Nimrien’s death. My father, whom he had served thusly on many occasions, had referred to him as “the man with the magic hands” and so it seemed to me. The aching in my loins I had felt for most of the evening subsided and a sense of relaxation stole over me. I yawned.

“I don’t deserve you, Andra.”

She doesn’t deserve you! Young fool!” he muttered. I cocked an eye up at him, a little worried. Was he offended that Hethlin had refused what he had long desired? I yawned again and decided that we could discuss that later, if I could find a way to frame it that did not offend.

“Sleep deep, Imri. Sleep in.”

And I did.


After having written this, I discovered I was in conflict with what I had established in Aftermath, where Imrahil says "Andrahar had given me a totally deserved tongue lashing on the way home - How, he had asked, was he supposed to train her as an equal with the other young men, a task that was already difficult enough, without me acting like a love-sick lad in public? Was I unaware that the other esquires thought that the only reason she was being allowed to train with them was because she was the King’s kinswoman? Did she really need the additional burden of being thought my mistress as well?

When I told him that I intended to propose marriage to her, he called me an old, besotted fool, compared Hethlin to Nimrien in ways that were not in Hethlin’s favor, and made some very telling commentary about men of my age lusting over women of her young years. Then he had stalked off to bed, genuinely affronted. I was not winning friends, it seemed, or even keeping the ones I had!"

I like this though, so I'm mulling over changing Aftermath to fit. This is what I get for writing without my continuity person (Denise!) in attendance.


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