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Kindred Spirits (3/7) - fanfiction

Back again, gentle readers, and it's so good to see the few of you that remain to say hello. I honestly can't tell you how much it means to me. It's wonderful to know that you're still there and reading and that you care enough to pop in with a comment. Le Muse trembles with joy to be remembered so kindly. Glad you're enjoying our wayward little band of warriors. Folks have been asking for stories about these three for a long time. Webmistress Laura did some reckoning, and she came up with the fact that I started KS before I was finished with Foster Father. That's some SIX years ago! Guess that's why I started calling it my "opus." It's my longest running WIP. So on to part three. And guess who's voice we're about to hear from next? ;)

Faramir, Devon and Gwinthorian join forces for an adventure and court Certain Doom.



Thank you, Kat, for being my constant companion year after year, the one I turn to for calm, sage advice and the bestest beta in all the land. I'm so fortunate in you.

Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended. This story is not meant to violate the rights held by New Line, Tolkien Enterprises, nor any other licensee, nor is any disrespect intended. I don’t own Tolkien’s original characters, however, my OC’s, Gwinthorian, Garrick, Devon and several other Rangers are exclusively my own.

Chapter one is here.

Chapter two is here.



Kindred Spirits(3/7)
by Larrkin


"Have a care, Gwinthorian."

Would I ever again climb high up in a tree without hearing Hal's warning in my head? In our early days together I would sometimes go much too high just because I could and just to test him, to see if he would disapprove. Disapprove he did, without fail and quite thoroughly. Ever the thorough man, my Hal. But after one such incident Halbarad spoke with Aragorn and I found myself spending the next few months fixed to the ground, watching Legolas have the fun of climbing up into the heights of the trees for a look around.

“I warned you.”

"But I was altogether safe!"
I had protested to Hal, feeling that a sound spanking had been discipline enough.

"I am glad to hear it," Halbarad said. "Hence forth you shall be altogether safe on the ground with me."

"For how long?"

"We shall see."

"Will I never again be permitted to climb with Legolas?"

"Gwinthorian. We shall see."


How like my big, tyrannical, beloved Ranger.

But Halbarad was now far away, so I climbed and climbed, eager to find evidence of what I had heard, perhaps a line of smoke from a campfire belonging to whoever had been making those sounds my friends could not hear and therefore doubted were real. Well, what could I expect? They were merely human. They may be full of their exasperating Dúnedain sensibilities and Numenorean insight, but I'd take my finely tuned elvish senses over that nonsense any day.

I had stopped wasting my time being insulted by their doubts. But it was irksome to be so disbelieved. You would think they could at least give me the benefit of the doubt. What happened to a little faith, a little common courtesy? They must know I was trying to protect them! I feared I would be believed only when a pack of wild men came roaring down upon us. Once, maddened by the elusive sounds I kept hearing, I had bolted off in the direction of the footfalls. Dev grabbed me ere I took three steps: "No, Gwin," he hushed. "Don't."

Of course I could have easily broken his hold, but I would never be so cruel as to take Devon's concern for me and throw it in his face. So I shook him off, fired him a glare and fell back into step behind Faramir. Devon really was so annoyingly loveable sometimes with his bouts of protectiveness. Where he had fashioned the idea that I needed protecting was a mystery to me, but I tolerated it with as much grace as I could. I loved Dev and he meant well and his care was adorably big brother-ish. It touched something deep within me. Ai! What I didn't endure for my humans!

At last we reached this grand old oak and I could escape my doubting Rangers and head up into the branches as Legolas and I used to do. Moved by Faramir's repeated mutters of concern from below, I gathered a hand full of nuts and sent him a discreet message then continued on, climbing as high as I dared, stopping along the way to scan the woodlands. Arriving in the topmost branches, I peered about in every direction but saw nothing out of the ordinary. No line of smoke. No glint of weaponry. No flicker of campfire flames nor shiny eyes in the gathering dusk. No enemy. Nothing. And I no longer heard the sounds.

What was going on here? It was eerie. I felt strangely frightened. This made no sense. Had I imagined those footsteps? Impossible. Nay. I had heard what I heard.

I sat down amidst the high branches to reason this out. There had to be an explanation. Perhaps whoever had been moving around had simply continued on. That had to be it. They never knew we were there, so they had traveled through the woods and were now gone. They had prowled at a strange pace, though. One minute I heard them and the next all was silent.

Nevertheless, such was explanation enough to satisfy me. But I was reluctant to rejoin my Rangers and listen to them ask me if I had seen anything, forcing me to reply that, no, I had not. Nor was I prepared to field more of their indulgent looks. I could just imagine them saying, "See anything, Gwin?" followed by their exchanged glances of forbearance.

Nay, I was happy where I was. And I intended to sit here being happy and watching for anything that might attack my Rangers. The stars began to glitter through the twilight sky and I felt happy. Very happy indeed. Right here. By myself.

A sudden strong evening breeze whooshed up, pushing me back and I grabbed for the nearest branch. "Hold on, Gwin!" Legolas had once scolded when I swayed from the high winds in the treetops. "I do not relish having to go down and tell Halbarad that the winds swept you out of this tree."

I'd laughed. “Legolas, don’t be silly! You would needs tell Halbarad nothing. He would see my body hit the ground ere you scrambled down." When he was impatient with me Legolas could look quite fierce. "Forgive me," I said. "Look. See? I am holding on now. See, Legolas?"

And Legolas, my companion in impropriety, had frowned at me a moment longer, then heaved a sigh of resignation and muttered, "You are incorrigible, sir. How does Halbarad deal with you?"

With a strong spanking arm and an overeager willingness to use it, and Legolas knew it well, for in my first years with the Rangers, and for many years thereafter, Legolas and I were co-conspirators in questionable behavior. Aragorn and Halbarad's spanking arms were kept busy back then. Devon in those days was reasonably well-behaved and thoroughly supervised by his huge Ranger unless . . . well, poor Dev was ever chasing after Aragorn any time our dear captain took it in his head to stray from the path of responsible leadership. Garrick was always waiting at the end of Dev's mis-adventures with Aragorn, though, and then poor Devon's wails became as famous as my own.

But when Aragorn began to strike out for months at a time, leaving the Grey Company in the capable hands of Halbarad, Legolas went with him. Devon and I were orphaned, so to speak, our partners in questionable behavior having flown. So, of course, we formed a bond, Dev and I, a bond that remained strong to this day. I understood him as he understood me. And, Dúnedain nonsense aside, we could anticipate each others feelings in almost any given situation.

So yesterday morning I was bewildered by Devon's loudly voiced objections to Faramir's delightful proposal of a short holiday abroad. True, there could be danger, but with every adventure there was an element of the unknown. That was what made it exciting. The only surety was that we would face some harsh consequences for our actions. Certain doom of the highest order.

One simply had to accept certain doom as a given in such circumstances. Such was ever the case with questionable behavior, despite Faramir's naive dreams of possible leniency. Leniency indeed. I had swallowed a scoff when Faramir had suggested it. Even I sensed that he could not be in earnest. He was but trying anything he could think of to convince an inflexible Devon that all would be well and that upon our safe return we possibly wouldn't run into . . . what were Pippin's words? Ah, yes!

"Look! Aragorn, Legolas, Damrod, Halbarad and Garrick! All of them together in one place! . . . I mean, look at the lot of them, five of them, sitting there like a great wall of supreme authority!"

A great wall of supreme authority. Aye, thank you, Pip. We had not spoken of it or admitted it to each other, but Faramir, Dev and I knew what awaited us at the end of our holiday abroad. We would be returning to that great wall of supreme authority, and it would be a most livid wall indeed. If Devon agreed to go he would be accepting the inevitable. As would I. As would Faramir, despite his attempts at bravado.

But I knew that mere uncomfortable consequences alone would never have stopped Dev from doing something he longed to do, and this wonderful excursion sounded like just what we needed right now. So why was he exploding with disapproval? He gave Faramir such trouble the poor man finally gave up. I could not recall the last time I was so furious with Devon. I stood there, seething. It took every ounce of stoicism I possessed to obey a strangely resigned Faramir and temper my rage. And then, just like that, Dev relented.

Save me from these fickle humans!

But that night, when Devon and I were back in camp, I considered the strange morning and everything that had occurred, and all at once I thought I understood what Devon had felt, or sensed, or realized in the end. I knew why he had undergone such a sudden change of heart. I sought him out at once.

"Faramir was hurting, wasn't he, Dev?"
I said. "He felt lonely and sad, and you relented to ease the pain of his solitude."

Devon listened quietly, then he turned to me and he just stood there, watching me, thoughtful and beautiful and silent, a shadow of melancholy in his shining, liquid eyes, and there was nothing he need say. I nodded. Devon's compassion knew no bounds, one of his many wondrous qualities that made me love him so. That and his delightfully wicked temper.

"Gwin?"

I flinched and grabbed the branch again, startled by the murmured voice from far below me. Ah. Dev this time.

"Gwin, are you planning to stay up there all night?"

This was, of course, a one-way conversation. I would have needed to shout for him to hear me. Still, ignoring Dev felt rather good. I sighed and gazed off, unprepared to be forgiving just yet.

"Gwinthorian, for pity's sake, stop being a stubborn ass and get down here!"

Ignoring Devon was now irresistible. I began gathering a nice big handful of acorns to drop on him, when, in a voice I had to strain to hear, he whispered, "Come down, Gwin. Please. He's trying not to show it, but Faramir is troubled by your absence. He's dozed off now, so I slipped away to speak to you. I know he's longing for us to share our time together tonight. All of us. Gwin, please, don’t . . . don't be angry."

How like Dev. I recalled a murmured conversation I had heard one evening when Halbarad thought I was asleep next to him. He and Garrick were puffing their pipes and watching the fire, Devon sleeping with his head pillowed on his big Ranger's thigh.

Garrick was saying, "Dev all but told this Lossarnachian, Rubian, that he was about to be spanked. He said, 'And, if it proves of any comfort to you, rest assured, I shall not be sitting my saddle comfortably tomorrow.'"

Halbarad had chuckled and puffed and purred a soft, "Mmmm."

"He felt such sympathy for the man he had unjustly wronged that he was willing to humble himself before him and the entire gathered crowd of warriors."

"Aye,"
Halbarad said. "’Tis surprising behavior, but I cannot say I am surprised. That boy has ever possessed a profound degree of compassion."

"Remember what Faramir said yesterday morning?" Dev was now murmuring, gentle and imploring. "You wanted to go without me, just the two of you, and Faramir said he needed me, remember? Well, he not only needs me, Gwin. He needs you."

That did it. My resentment vanished. When Devon pleads it is impossible to bear. I had a sudden vision of Faramir, sitting quietly below, wondering, perhaps, if he had offended me. He had. They both had. But I understood. They were simply human, and were I human I imagine I would have doubted me as well.

So I hurled my handful of acorns to the winds, abandoned my post of isolation, sped down the tree and landed before a grateful looking Devon.

"Thank you, Gwin,” Dev said with his soft grin. “He didn't say so, but, well, Faramir . . . he just, he feels so . . . I-I cannot imagine . . .."

I shook my head, silencing his further attempts to explain all that Faramir wrenched from him. "Shhh, Dev," I said. "I know. I may be no Dúnedain, but I feel it, too, and I do understand."

Dev gave me a warm look, then said, "He has us now, though. He has us both. And, you know, Gwin, I think you and I are most fortunate in that."

I took a moment to enjoy what he had said, the truth of it, then I smiled, gave into impulse and quickly hugged him, because I can do no less when Devon is being so perfectly himself.

"He's stirring," I whispered.

We silently crept back and started digging through our packs for something to eat whilst watching a groggy Faramir snuffle into full awareness.

"Guess I dozed off," Faramir murmured sheepishly. He sat up and rubbed his eyes with his fists. Then he saw me, blinked, grinned and cried, "You're back!"

"I don't know what you mean, Master Sluggard," I said. "I have been right here. You're the one who is back."

Faramir softly kicked my foot, still grinning. "'Master Sluggard?' I vow that's what Halbarad calls you."

"Something like that."

To my surprise, whilst we ate neither of them asked me what I had seen, or failed to see, from my high perch. I wondered if they had agreed to say nothing further about the ghostly sounds. But I was grateful for their restraint.

Faramir had divided the weight of the rations between us, but he now surprised us by pulling from the bottom of his haversack a bottle of exquisite Dorwinian wine. And to think that he had carried it all this way! Sweet boy!

He rose and held the bottle high and with a mischievous smile, announced, "I thieved this from the wine cellars of my brother the Steward. Well, in truth I just walked in and took it. And I propose the first swallow goes to the would-be thief of our company.” Holding the bottle in my direction and said, “Consider this, sir, to be the prize you and Legolas failed to steal from that passing troop of merchant dwarfs those many years ago."

"He stole a heart instead," Devon muttered.

Delighted, I stood and tendered Faramir the elegant bow I had polished during my youth in Thranduil's court. "Your servant, sir!"

We laughed and sat and Faramir uncorked the bottle and handed it to me. "To the would-be thief!" Faramir cried. I took a taste, melted, and passed the bottle back to Faramir who passed it to Devon who passed it back to me, all of us taking but a small swig. ‘Twas the only way to fully enjoy potent Dorwinian wine. It was best when sipped and savored. One never gulped. What a vulgar waste that would be.

I reached for the bottle with enthusiasm every time it came my way, the delicious liquid warming a path through my veins, calming me, working its luscious magic. Dorwinian wine did not intoxicate. It made one feel tranquil and soothed and content, and very, verrrry happy. After my anxious afternoon that felt wondrous indeed. Bless Faramir and his brilliant thievery! Sweet, brilliant boy!

I suppose this day had not been so bad after all. Devon and I had twice enjoyed the satisfaction of coercing Faramir to rest before he became impatient with us and refused further stops. True, it was insulting to have been so doubted, but my Rangers were limited in their abilities, so it had been unfair of me to expect them to take me at my word. For just as they had refused to credit my hearing, I had refused to credit their Dúnedain senses. Quite small of me, really. And quite small of them. We were all equally small. Yes, I reckoned, taking another swallow of Dorwinian nectar, we three adventurers were equally small and equally even.

“We three are equally small and equally even!” I announced. Faramir and Devon turned to me with blank stares.

Dev recovered first and cast Faramir a wink. “Gwinthorian has difficulty holding his Dorwinian wine.”

Faramir looked at me and broke into his infectious grin.

I sniffed at Devon. “I vow Legolas told you that.”

“Aye.” Dev chuckled. “He did.”

“Of course he did,” I said. So I explained the quite logical meaning behind my statement regarding our collective smallness and evenness. My companions grudgingly agreed that there flickered a flame of truth in my words.

Then Faramir said, “So why does Legolas claim that you cannot hold your Dorwinian wine?”

I sighed and grinned. “Because he is Legolas, my friends, and he loves to tease me as much as I love to tease him. We have been doing so for a thousand years. However, I am as able to hold my Dorwinian wine as is my roguish Prince of Mirkwood.”

So we all toasted Legolas and drank the next round to the roguish Prince of Mirkwood. And, ahhhh, wouldn't he be envious when I told him what Faramir had shared with Dev and me this night!

"Legolas! It was Dorwinian wine! Wonderful Dorwinian wine Faramir borrowed from the Steward."

"Borrowed? Did Faramir plan to return it?"

"Hardly. We drank the bottle dry."

"Then he did not borrow it, Gwin. He burgled it."

"Ai! Sir! That is rather harsh."


"It is truth, sir. Faramir committed burglary. He burgled that wine. I shall needs discuss this serious infraction with my youngest brother."

"Nay! Legolas! Why so proper? Have you forgotten how you and I once tried to burgle some wine from those dwarves?"

"Aye. Tried and were caught ere we began. But we never should have tried, Gwin, as Halbarad soon helped you realize."

"And Aragorn helped you realize."

"Aye, well, nevertheless, Faramir raided the Steward's finest cellars."

"And bless him, for it was wonderful, Legolas!"

"You are incorrigible, sir. And I wish I had shared in your good fortune."


But, of course, Legolas would never have sanctioned our actions this day. My prince could be pushed only so far, and our current expedition went well beyond his naughty capacity. Legolas could be wonderfully naughty with me in our younger Ranger days, but now he mostly misbehaved on his own. It had been a long time since we had engaged in joint mischief of any kind. In fact, Legolas had recently done something to me he had never done before, turning me over his knee and giving me one of the most scalding spankings I had ever endured, a high distinction considering who was usually spanking me, and all because I had respectfully declined to spend time languishing in the Houses of Healing after having a bit of fun clearing out a disorderly drinking establishment in Minas Tirith.

Considering the cut of the clientele I tossed out of The Watchman that day I thought the Steward should have given me a commendation of some kind. I would never have ended up with a slight bump on the head in the first place had Aragorn not startled me by bellowing my name and breaking my concentration long enough for some lout to whap me from behind with a tankard. Most unsporting of that lout. I understood later that he had landed in the stockade. It had been for his own protection. Halbarad was returning the next day.

I had faced Hal with such a sore bottom that he had been forced to wait a day before spanking me. He had been grateful to Legolas for taking my unruly self in hand, as I had been reported to be a bit difficult in the Houses of Healing, but I knew that, in part, my Ranger was also a touch put out with Legolas for so thoroughly spanking me that Hal had to wait a day before he could take his turn.

"Legolas already spanked me for this, Hal!" I cried when the next day came and Halbarad advanced upon me with his predatory look.

"Nay, Gwinling," he purred. "As Legolas explained to you, he spanked you for your performance in the Houses of Healing. I shall now attend to you for your performance at The Watchman."

Every other day that week I was well attended to. I gave up performing. For a while.

"Whither away, Gwin?" Faramir called in a playful voice. "For surely you're not here with us."

I opened my eyes. Two smirking Rangers sat watching me. "I am present," I murmured, and since they evidently knew where my mind had been wandering I decided to be forthright. "I was thinking of Legolas and imagining how envious he will be when I tell him of how we enjoyed this wondrous wine. And I was recalling my visit to The Watchman."

Faramir, who had been at the scene that day, released a most undignified sputter and said, "Faith, Gwin! Of all things to recall!"

Dev's snicker was just as undignified. "I've heard you bellowing from many a spanking over the years, Gwin, but your wails from the tanning Halbarad gave you after the Watchman ranks amongst your finest efforts."

"Why, thank you." I grinned, flattered. "But Legolas deserves the credit for that. I was still smarting from his ill-treatment of me in the Houses of Healing. And I wouldn't talk about 'finest efforts' if I were you, Dev."

"Fair enough," Devon declared.

"I've endured the same 'ill-treatment' from Legolas," Faramir said, "and I wouldn't want to face Damrod, or anyone else after that, even with a day's rest in between."

"I don't ever wish to receive an elvish spanking," Devon said, "and I don't imagine I'll have to. Garrick is very . . . proprietary."

"I wouldn't speak too soon, Dev," Faramir said. "I once told my brother that I never intended to experience an elvish spanking and the next thing I knew, I was." He shook his head. "Never again."

"You hope," I said.

Faramir raised a brow at me and said, "As do you, Gwin."

"Halbarad would never allow another to spank me if he was there."

"You hope," Faramir said, and we all shared another chuckle.

The evening was mild. We did not miss the light of a campfire as we could see one another well, the large rising moon shining down full and bright through the gaps in the tree limbs. So we shared the wine and laughed quietly and told tales. Faramir wanted to hear some of the Grey Company's adventures, so Devon became storyteller. At times he deferred to me, insisting I narrated better than he did. I thought it untrue. I told a few tales, but Devon had been with the Grey Company longer than I had so he knew more stories.

Suddenly Faramir said to Dev, "I heard that you once killed two trolls using only your bow. Is that true?"

Devon shifted about. "Aye, well, I didn't do it alone. And --" He flashed Faramir a wry smile. "I also used arrows."

Faramir laughed and lightly punched Dev's arm. "Bow and arrows then. Tell me."

I dared not look at Dev or think about the outcome of this story. Faramir was too astute. Perhaps he could actually slip into my thoughts and find a detailed version of the post-troll consequences Dev had told me about long ago, of how he had been spanked in full view of the company and how Aragorn was taken out to the watch point the next night by an overly eager Legolas, concluding with the ghastly fact that Dev and Aragorn had then endured one of those vile 'every other day for a week' sentences.

"But you slew both trolls," I'd said when Devon had finished telling me his tale. "You did it."

"Yes."

"You succeeded."

"Yes."

"And still you were spa --"

"Gwin."
Dev sighed. "What do they always tell us?"

I thought, then grimaced. "'You endangered yourself needlessly.'"

"And?"

"'And there is nothing more to say.'"


He nodded slowly. "'And there is nothing more to say.'"

Dev squirmed again and tried to ease Faramir away from his curiosity. "There isn't much to tell," he muttered. "More wine?"

"Thank you, no," Faramir said, now intrigued. "Not much to tell? You slay two trolls and claim there's not much to tell? Dev, you are being modest."

Devon wasn't being modest, but he had been careful thus far to avoid telling any tale wherein Aragorn was spanked. Certain stories always ended with certain doom for Devon and Aragorn. True, Halbarad had told the warg story to Faramir, Merry, Pippin and me in the Houses of Healing, but the story Halbarad told us had taken place over sixty years ago when Aragorn was a youth, and although I could tell that my Hal was remembering the time in full detail, he actually told very few of those details to his captive audience.

Faramir was surely unaware that Aragorn was, to this day, disciplined by both Legolas and Halbarad and Dev could not betray that trust. But if the stubborn set to Faramir's jaw was any indication he was determined to hear this tale. So poor Dev, seeing there was nothing else to do, nodded and obliged our unrelenting captain by sharing what had become known amongst the Grey Company as The Troll Incident. I sipped the wine throughout, nervously awaiting the finale, knowing that Devon would never compromise Aragorn. And when he got to the end Dev impressed me by finishing the tale with such a thumping good fib that he near had even me believing his falsehood.

Faramir studied him wide-eyed. "And you suffered no consequences?"

"None whatsoever!" Dev lied with scandalous ease.

Faramir stared at him. “No certain doom?”

"After such a triumph?” Devon grinned perfectly innocent. “Two trolls slain? As I told you, my friend, there was a celebration!"

Faramir leaned back and gazed off, one leg bent, an arm resting on his knee. I watched him ponder the story, which was, of course, glaringly flawed. For if Devon was in danger of being spanked for running off to slay two trolls, it stood to reason that Aragorn would be guilty as well, and subject, therefore, to some form of discipline. Faramir was brilliant. It would take him no time to work out the truth of things. I passed the wine to Dev, risking a glance at him. His features carefully schooled, Devon gave me a mild grin and a blank look. He downed rather a large gulp of wine, and I vow I heard him fire an order into my mind: “Shield your thoughts, you daft elf!”

Finally, Faramir looked up at the moon and muttered, "Well, then. Perhaps there is hope for us after all. We might very well be forgiven."

"What?" Devon snorted. "And after you tried to tell us we would be forgiven."

"Well, I couldn’t be certain, but we might’ve been," Faramir said. "And we have precedent. If Dev escaped certain doom by a job well done mayhap we can do the same. Arriving safely back in Minas Tirith is perhaps less impressive than killing two trolls, but 'tis nonetheless a worthy achievement."

Devon groaned quietly and muttered a string of nasty elvish exclamations, making Faramir chuckle.

I heaved a sigh and watched Dev hand the bottle to Faramir. "Alas, mellyn nin," I said, "as I told you yesterday, best we face it. We are well and truly --" And I, too, supplied a nasty elvish word. Just one word. But a big one. Devon barked a surprised laugh and Faramir choked on his swallow of wine and they both flashed me a look of wicked approval.

"Now we would hear some of your tales, Captain Faramir," I quickly said, ere he asked for another story that might threaten Aragorn's privacy. Dev's thin 'we were forgiven' fib would work but once.

"Yes!" Devon sputtered. "Gwin and I have talked enough. Entertain your brothers of the Grey Company, Captain Sir."

Wincing a playful frown at Dev, Captain Sir entertained us first with his own knowledge of filthy elvish, making both of us chuckle, and then he began. Ahh, Faramir's words spilled over us like the sweet, mellow moonlight. He had claimed to articulate better on his feet, but when he had been drinking Dorwinian wine he articulated better sitting down. I failed to imagine how he could have articulated more eloquently. Dev and I were spellbound. Faramir wrapped us in images as he had yesterday when describing Henneth Annûn.

I had been transported when he spoke of that place, journeying off in my mind until the wild cry, "You can't be thinking of doing this!" woke me to the surprising sight of Devon in high dudgeon. Because he is so fair Devon’s cheeks become an amazing shade of red when he's in high dudgeon. I was baffled. Faramir had been telling us a lovely story about a lovely place and Devon had seemingly gone apoplectic. Had I missed something?

Now Faramir pulled us along different pathways and soon we were off adventuring with his Ithilien Rangers. At one point, however, he paused to yawn, and I glanced up, noticing how high the moon had risen. Devon caught Faramir's yawn, but I fought the urge. Earlier in the day I had volunteered to stay alert all night, on guard, listening, letting my human Rangers sleep. They protested, saying I needed to rest, too, and that we would take the watch in shifts. But I had insisted. Being elfkind, I was the best choice.

"Nonsense, Gwin," Devon had rumbled. "Sorry to insult your elvish superiority, but you sleep as much as any lowly human in the company. And don't roll your eyes at me. You know you do. I've watched you at night, around the fire, when Halbarad and Garrick are smoking together. You're not sitting there wide awake. You're curled up against your lieutenant, fast asleep."

I rose above the insult to my elvish superiority, saying, "But I do not need to sleep, Dev. I choose to sleep. That is the difference. If I want to I can stay awake for days. Even if I drift into an elvish trance my eyes will be open and my senses on full alert. Ask Legolas. He will tell you the same thing. He sleeps like a human, too, though he does not need to do so. 'Tis a matter of choice."

Devon had glanced at Faramir, Faramir had shrugged, then nodded and I was elected for the watch.

Captain Sir now turned drowsy eyes my way. "Gwinthorian," he murmured. "Will you sing for us?" He looked so happy, gazing at me with a sweet, lazy grin. I smiled and nodded. But before I began Devon rose somewhat clumsily.

"Wait but a moment, Gwin," he said, and he began wrapping his cloak around his body. "I won't last if you start singing. You know what happens to me if I'm sleepy when you begin a ballad." He turned to Faramir, who had also risen and was following Dev's example. "I fight to stay awake because I don't want to miss Gwin's singing. But I cannot help myself." Turning to me, he said, "No offense, mellon nin."

"None taken," I replied, familiar with Dev’s habits.

So my two suddenly sluggish humans stretched out, pillowed their heads on their knapsacks and turned to me with ready gazes. By the time I reached the middle of my second long ballad they were both asleep. They had eased further down and now lay curled up on their sides, Faramir behind Devon in a shielding manner. It was an endearing sight.

I stood, stretched, snatched up the bottle with what little wine remained and sat down beside them again, listening to their slow, even breathing, watching them innocently sleeping. Unable to resist, I ran my fingers lightly through Faramir's impossibly soft hair, smiling when his curls wrapped around my fingers, then I reached over and smoothed my palm down Dev's more familiar thick locks. Settling back, I widened my hearing, searching for the farthest sounds I could detect, but I heard only what I had been hearing all evening, the natural murmur of the forest at night. All was as it should be.

I took one of the last few sips of wine and began to relax, Devon's words echoing back to me: "You're not sitting up wide awake, you're curled up against your lieutenant, fast asleep."

My lieutenant. Halbarad. He never left my thoughts. He eternally lived within my mind and heart. Now I thought of him sleeping alone in our tent and a guilty sadness overwhelmed me. Of course, 'twas likely our tent was empty and Halbarad was out with a posse of outraged warriors searching for me and my two reprobate conspirators. Was Hal sitting with the others around a campfire somewhere, puffing his pipe and planning to visit upon my bottom the most profound certain doom known to man and elf? I suddenly wished I was lost in blissful unawareness with my two reprobate conspirators.

All was quiet. The moon was high and glorious. I swallowed the last of the Dorwinian wine. Then I wrapped my cloak around me and curled up behind Faramir.

Onward to Chapter four.

Comments

(Anonymous)

I have been reading your writing for years and it touches me deeply. It times when I felt completely misunderstood I could turn to your writing to help put my exactly yearning and feelings into such eloquent words. I cannot thank you enough. A new story from you was one of the best Christmas presents I could have received. I relate so much to Gwin and I just can’t say enough good about all of these characters.

(Anonymous)

Things I loved

Things I loved about this chapter:
-Gwin’s little proud and proprietary ‘my humans’: just awwwww
-All the references to your other works dotted around: Gwin’s perspective on the Watchman incident is hilarious ; Gwin finally getting to drink some thieved Dorwinion after all that time; the dramatic irony of Dev’s certainty that he won’t get an elvish spanking given ‘A Fresh Truth’ (not sure how that works chronologically but I’m rolling with it as it’s fun); and just that little beautiful phrase ‘wondrous indeed’ which will now make me shiver in whatever context I encounter it. Fabulously intertextual, this was.
-Just our boys spending an evening together and bonding and Gwin being the kind-hearted soul he really is underneath all that sass and coming down as soon as Dev implies that Faramir’s feeling rejected.
-‘a great wall of supreme authority’- now there’s an image! I’d be terrified! For some reason I pictured them sitting atop an actual wall, which makes it even more imposing! Also lovely to get a little teasing taste of our favourite cheeky Took.
-just the general overall Larrkin epicness of the writing

~Jen, a thoroughly satisfied and grateful reader

(Anonymous)

Guest

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! ANOTHER update???!!! The chocolate offerings must have worked!
Okay, some things I loved about this chapter:

1) The way we see inside Gwin’s mind (it’s so nice to get to know him better and understand how he thinks)

2) How you kept adding in snippets of your old stories (I love getting to hear more about them)!

3) How gentle the three “brothers” are with each other (awwwwww)!!!!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not stop updating!!!
I love your stories in ways I can’t explain.

Thanks so much, Larrkin!

PS: Le Muse, if you keep this up, there will be a mountain of chocolate waiting for you!!! :)

(Anonymous)

Oh man oh man Larrk this was stunning. I love the insight into Gwin‘s perspective and the intertextual references to other stories. This is really really great work and I do truly hope you continue to update.

Much love for you and your writings and the hope that Le Muse doesn’t leave us anytime soon!

(Anonymous)

Praises for you

I’ve been trying to hold off commenting until I got to the final completed chapter, so I could do an all encompassing review, but alas, I could not contain myself. This piece is so completely and utterly charming. I think I enjoy it so much because it showcases a completely different aspect of love. The more fraternal, ride-or-die best friends kind of love, and it’s relatable and recognizable and you write it so well. And, despite their, well, unconventional methods, I think our three adventurers are doing more good than harm with their little adventure, helping each other heal some long existing hurts. I’m so excited for the next chapter!

Ps: “he stole a heart instead.” Oh that one got me. It was simply too cute for words. I believe I have commented before about being a hopeless romantic, so my heart just melted. Gwin certainly is a favorite of mine and, abrasive exterior he may have, he truly is quite the sensitive little darling underneath it all.

Your stories bring such joy. This is the best holiday surprise ever. I find so much comfort in reading your work and I read over and over. You are a true talent!! I love Gwinthorian so dearly and relate to his character more than you know!! Thank you!!

(Anonymous)

Ahhhhh, I’m so happy!!! Gwin is my all time favorite!! I love finally getting to hear about the wrap up after the Watchman incident! I especially love getting to know Gwin and Dev’s relationship more! Your stories always make an icky day into a marvelous one. Thank you so much!!
This chapter is just as wonderful as the previous ones. Storytelling writhin s story can be tricky, yet you always manage to pull it off brilliantly. I truly live getting more chapters from the point of views of these three.

One question, seeing as how this story was started six years ago, I’m assuming that it was written before “A Fresh Truth.” Here Devin says that he never plans to be spanked by an elf, but he was spanked by Legolas in that story. Is this something that just slipped by due to how long ago it was written, or does this take place in the timeline before “A Fresh Truth?”

This is such an enjoyable story so far. I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us.

~geebaby757

Edited at 2019-01-16 11:04 am (UTC)

(Anonymous)

Yay! I can't begin to decribe how happy i am to see the shiny "new story" letters scrawled atop the nest! I love reading your stories. They just draw a person in. Seeing the different sides of the same tale is facinating. And the look into the private thoughts/feelings of my favorite characters is breathtakingly adorable and facinating. I find myself sympathizin a suprising amount with Faramir here. I'm so glad that you continue writing and that Le Muse keeps giving you more to work with eventually. I wait with bated breath for the rest of the tale. Definately looking forward to the reuinion with the "Wall of Supreme Authority." The imagery that invoked was intimidatingly epic. Here's me plying Le Muse with mountains of chocolates, sweets and baked goodies in hopes of keeping her cooperation! Your're amazing Larrkin thank you!

(Anonymous)

A terrible pun

What a great update! While I was showing the latest chapter to my friend (we are both fans), she started breaking out in giggles. I asked her what was wrong and the following conversation took place;

“What’s so funny?”

“Hal wouldn’t let Gwin climb trees.”

“....oookaaay?”

“Don’t you get it?”

“No”

“Hes not allowed to climb. He’s grounded. Halbarad literally grounded him.”

It was so silly I figured it would give you a smile :)

Re: A terrible pun

:D
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