By the Light of Roses
Table of Contents
Chapter One: A House amid the Shadows
Chapter Two: To Speak of It
Chapter Three: Falling in Love with Terentaulë
Chapter Four: With a Boot upon My Chest
Chapter Five: Meander and Drift
Chapter Six: In the Darkness of the Trees
Chapter Seven: The Aberrant
Chapter Eight: Trouble
Chapter Nine: The Message
Chapter Ten: Wine and Roses
Chapter Eleven: By the Grace of Eru
Chapter Twelve: Union
Chapter Thirteen: Behind Locked Doors
Chapter Fourteen: In the Space between Words
Chapter Fifteen: By the Light of Roses
Back in the winter of 2005, I did a rather foolish thing in agreeing to write full-length stories for each of my fandom friends as holiday gifts. I ended up writing twenty short stories in less than a month. One story in particular was a request for a rather odd pairing--Fëanor and Arien--from my dear friend Alina. I wrote the story for Alina, using something of a cop-out by having the Fëanor/Arien pairing come about as more of a dream or a fantasy on Fëanor's part. It wasn't a bad story, per se, but very much PWP. Alina knew that I also planned on writing a story for her birthday at the end of June, and at the beginning of January, asked if she could make a request so that I could have plenty of time to think about how I'd make it work.
Alina knew that I was not a slash writer, but I liked slash stories and had toyed with the idea of writing one of my own. We'd chatted back and forth about a novella I wanted to write that gave an honest look at how homosexuality might have been treated in Elven culture. For the now-infamous holiday story spree, I'd written my first slash: a rather sweet Maedhros/Fingon that was neither profound nor graphic. I suppose that Alina saw her chance and made her request: Fëanor/Erestor, her two favorite characters. Only it couldn't be like the Fëanor/Arien story. No dreaming, no imagining, no fantasies. No, they had to do it.
I'll admit that I wasn't wild about the idea at first. How in the world would I get a Third Age character in bed with a character who was not only married but died at the start of the First Age without resorting to utterly ridiculous PWP AU? It was a good thing that Alina gave me almost six months because it took three of them to puzzle out a satisfying way to meet her request. While I was at it, I figured I might as well do a bit of work on my whole "cultural" idea. Next thing I knew, I was writing a story that would be a short novella, "around thirty pages." Alina was delighted. Then I had to change that to "more about seventy."
It ended at exactly one hundred pages.
But it was a surprisingly breezy story to write. At the same time as I was writing it, my little sister Sharon moved to England to marry her girlfriend, who was luckily British. (Luckily because, if she was American, they would not be able to marry.) I was really angry at the time--still am, honestly--at the purported "pro-family" movement in the U.S. that stood against same-sex marriage. "Pro-family"? Our family was broken up because of their narrowmindedness. Sharon and her wife wanted and continue to want to live in the U.S., but their family simply is not good enough for the narrow idea of "family" prescribed by the people--and leaders--of Sharon's own home country.
From that anger and Alina's rather bizarre request, "By the Light of Roses" was born, a story both dark and not for the faint of heart. But despite the fact that I feared at first that it would become one of my throwaway stories, it remains one of my favorites.
It is dedicated, of course, to Alina, for whom it was written, but also to Sharon, who remains one of the bravest people I know.