Prompt 1. Seduction.
Voltaire said that it's not enough to conquer: one must learn to seduce. Write a story or poem or create artwork where seduction plays a central role.
A Seduction Written In Stone.
~ The hall lay in muted silver, silent, and the statues of the sons of Finwë stood blind-eyed and proud on their plinths. Nolofinwë had glanced at his brother Arafinwë's, at himself, and now stopped before Fëanáro's. It had been carved before Nolofinwë was born, and the subject had been young, yet their father had shaped the future man. The fire of his name blazed in every marble sinew and sweep of flesh. How long had it taken Finwë to form and polish that great cloud of nightblack hair, the face, with all its arrant pride, the curve of high cheekbone and the sensuous mouth tinted red? Faceted diamonds were set them in the eye-sockets, the only gem save the Silmarilli that could hope to capture the perilous light of Fëanáro's living eyes. The jewels gathered the numinous fall of Telperion, and flamed.
Nolofinwë gazed at the lush, arrogant mouth that he had seen curl with the most blinding of smiles. But not at him, never at him. And he told himself he was grateful for that. Better for his half-brother to be indifferent to him, for Nolofinwë to know beyond any doubt or hope the barrier that existed between them, that there was no way past it. His offense, Arafinwë's offense, was to be born of another woman than Miriel, to have drawn some of Finwë's love away from his eldest son, or that was what they murmured in Tirion. It was not a fault that Nolofinwë could rectify, and one that Fëanáro, it seemed, could not forgive.
“Fëanáro,” Arafinwë had said not long ago at feast. “demands love and fealty, believing it his due, and does nought to earn it. He will never have it from me.”
Nolofinwë returned something noncommittal in response, knowing his eyes gave no hint of his treacherous and frightening thought: He could demand love from me with my blessing.
And his brother erred. Fëanáro did love his father and his seven sons with such passion that it was a wonder they could sustain the weight of it.
Turning quickly away, Nolofinwë climbed the curve of shallow stairs to the galley which ran above the hall. Only when he stood above the statues did he pause again, look down at the grouping which mocked reality.
The only safety for me lies in distance from him.
Because there were some truths that could not be acknowledged, that even the secret heart must flee from.
Fëanáro walked into the hall as silent as a cat. He might have come from his bed, shirt loose at his throat, hair unbraided, cloaking him in massy jet. The silvery light poured over him, seeking for flaws and finding none in his merciless beauty.
Nolofinwë's breath hung motionless in his throat. He had not seen Fëanáro for what seemed like a long time, and each time he did, the sheer force of him was as a blow. When he came to a halt before the statues, Nolofinwë moved back into the shadow of a pillar. He ought to walk away now, but Fëanáro would notice any movement, and it would feel too much like a flustered retreat.
And he did not see Fëanáro often enough to waste this opportunity.
Fëanáro, he realized, was looking at his likeness. For a long moment he did not move, and Nolofinwë wondered what he was thinking, then he stepped up onto the wide plinth, bringing himself level. He lifted his hands, set them on the marble shoulders, and Nolofinwë thought for a heartbeat that he meant to push the statue over. He did not. With those slim, shapely fingers, he began a slow exploration of the image. He traced the arms, the frozen-stone pour of the hair and Nolofinwë's scalp prickled, his heart enlarging to slam against his ribcage. When Fëanáro cupped his face, he felt radiant heat blossom in his cheeks. A fingertip drew a line down his neck, his breast, to his groin, and he leaned back against the cool solidity of the pillar, its marble no harder than he had become under his breeches.
Yes. Under Fëanáro's touch, the stone warmed. The merest flick of imagination and this was Nolofinwë, his stern reserve crumbling to reveal all his jewel-bright glory.
And Nolofinwë knew it, had always known it. It was his defiance of the taboo attraction between them that glazed him to that famous haughty elegance, and stamped itself into his voice. He was steel and silk and near-perfect control, save when their eyes met.
The Eldar married young, got children, and then desire faded. This knowledge was passed down as law from Taniquetil. Fëanáro had seen the death of desire in his father's marriage to Indis, in his own, and his half-brothers were rarely in the company of their wives, save on high feast days. Yet Fëanáro knew beyond even the faintest trace of doubt that this creeping miasma of apathy was wrong, that it bled out from Ilmarin like mist and the Eldar breathed the lies until they believed it. But he did not. His blood burned.
It burned for Nolofinwë.
They say I have no love for him.
He smiled, fingertips caressing the marble mouth. Let them say it. It would serve his purpose, and be infinitely amusing.
Leaning forward, he pressed his lips to the statue's.
The air felt liquid. Through it Nolofinwë watched, eyes heavy-lidded, as Fëanáro lips touched his. Insensate marble, yet he felt it. He closed his eyes against the richness of the kiss that broke him and remade him, smashed the defenses he had thrown up against his desire, left his soul naked and burning...
...in the fire.
Where he had ever wanted to be, despite denial following denial down the gold and silver years. He plunged into the kiss with a feral growl in his throat, his hands sank through hair, locked on steely muscle.
Sin. The oldest sin.
He thrust against Fëanáro, who jerked him closer, and they rode against one another like mating animals. Nolofinwë wanted more, but he thought if he broke that inflammatory contact for one instant he would die of the loss.
But I want his skin on mine...
His fingers slipped metal buttons even as Fëanáro's loosed his, and their shafts rose, thickly engorged with blood. A groan dragged from his lips as Fëanáro wrapped his hand about both, and drew on them – and Nolofinwë's mind whitened to blankness. He clasped his own hand over his half-brother's and stared into his eyes for a moment, their breath mingling, coming more and more harshly, then he slid a hand behind Fëanáro's head and pulled him into another kiss. He was ravenous, and it was matched; there was no gentleness in the joining of their mouths, only the madness of long starvation.
It was not his voice, that deep purr in his mind. They came apart, gasping in the blue silence, locked gazes drinking from one another as Fëanáro's hand moved slowly, then faster. He watched tension flash over his half-brother's face as the pleasure built, crested, held for a moment, and then, then...
Fëanáro's arm swept him close, so that his cry of release was muffled in shining hair, in firm flesh, and Fëanáro groaned into his neck.
Nolofinwë's legs trembled. The words breathed into his ear filled an emptiness that had been there so long he did not remember when it formed, only that it had grown to a hollow unassuagable hunger that nothing could sate. Until now.
“Thou wert born to be mine.”
Fëanáro drew back his head and kissed him again, fire-bright, loving, and Nolofinwë closed his eyes again to hold that look, to claim it, to believe in it.
Silence flowed back like idle water. It was quiet, save for his heavy, anguished breathing, and there was no heated flesh against his, no scent of rosewood and musk. He blinked. His breeches were undone, his hand sticky with spilled seed, and Fëanáro stood in the hall below, contemplating Nolofinwë's carven image above him on its plinth. His face was fierce, lovely, unaware.
Very slowly, Nolofinwë backed further into the gallery's shadows, fastening his breeches, his belt. He felt like a youth caught pleasuring himself. Was that what he had done? stood here and slipped into waking dream, a dream that had torn the long denial from his soul and left it exposed.
Now there was nowhere to hide even from himself. Least of all from himself. The ache, the frustrated desire, the longing, had a name now.
Who was at best indifferent to him, was his half-brother, and who must never know this black secret.
Nolofinwë pushed back his hair and straightened his clothes, thankful that at this hour, when many rested, the hall was deserted save for they two. He took a breath, another, angry when they caught in his chest, and walked along the gallery, down the steps, to pass his half-brother, because he had to, because he would not slink off into the shadows, and because the look in those lucent eyes would help to kill the unholy lust that even now rose again, imperative and feral in his blood.
And he would not run from that which he feared. The face of the man Finwë had carved was not that of a craven.
Fëanáro did not acknowledge his presence as Nolofinwë crossed the hall. Not until he came abreast did the arrogant head turn with, Nolofinwë decided, calculated insult. Fëanáro had known quite well who approached, and did not choose to trouble himself with courtesies. Nolofinwë met his eyes, made himself hold that brilliant regard, and drove all his resolve into their matched stare, while shame and ah! need! burned like a furnace within him.
It was too late to say anything. He should have spoken before, a cool greeting; they were publicly polite to one another for their father's sake, but it was very seldom Nolofinwë found himself alone with his half-brother, and now politesse was an insult to what he had dreamed, the desire that had finally demanded he recognize it. The love.
He stopped. Pale air ran between them, and the tiny dust motes burst into stars of purest fire.
Is this what love feels like? This impossible, dreadful joy?
“I have been looking for thee.”
The voice jarred. It was over-loud, an intrusion; it had no place here, no right to break the arc of fire. Nolofinwë spun toward it with fury in his heart. Arafinwë stood staring at him with a strange expression on his face.
“Here am I.” His own words came with practiced calm. He beat back the rage, the guilt, the hunger, forced it under a smooth facade as he walked to his brother, and felt Fëanáro's eyes on his back like a brand.
When they had gone, Fëanáro allowed the smile to come.
A dream? No, my Nolofinwë, an awakening. Tomorrow I will call to thee, and thou shalt come. Some things, and he smoothed his fingers down the beautiful curve of the statue's cheek, are written in fire, in fate, and in stone.