Sorry Ziggy I just deleted my first review as there was something I wanted to add.
Oh, Ziggy! So much love. *hearts*
Trying for a little more intelligibility...(Lol, I got logged out when I posted the review; a good thing I copied it first!)
This is a beautiful, tender exploration of Elrohir and Legolas' emotions, Ziggy, and written so gorgeously. You have an instinctive knowledge of showing, and only *tell* to move the plot along. I think this is what makes excellent authors (either published or fanfic) stand out from the crowd. It is as if you enter the souls of the characters and feel them, opening them to your readers. It's much harder than just stating: 'He did this. He went there. He was. He thought...'
Although I think that the more people write the better they get, the best writers, I feel certain, are born knowing how to do this – and they're the ones I read.
The imagery of Legolas and Elrohir's songs is absolutely stunning and gorgeous, and also poignant. Elrohir's tenderness and care now is such a contrast to his anger and lust, and yet it does not seem out-of-character because you write incredibly complex and real people, and know that no-one is simple, especially not these characters who have lived so long and known both pain and joy, grief and fear and rage. Not many people can write Elves the way I envisage them, and they just become Men with long hair. You can write the souls of Elves (or Peredhil) as if you were one, with absolute and delicate empathy that is not afraid to go into the dark-lit caverns of for instance, Elrohir's guilt-ridden and tormented spirit. You can also show us Legolas very different, earthy wild, mischievous and beautiful soul, (his combination of wanton and vulnerable at times is just irresistible) and Elladan's serene blue light. Legolas' groping back through his memories was so deftly, touchingly done.
Elrohir considering that his death would cleanse him made me cry:
The Gift of Men. To die and sleep until the Ending of the World. To forget. To leave it all behind. His thumb stroked over Legolas’ still hand lightly, for once Legolas remembered, he would not want Elrohir...and once Elladan knew everything, he would reject him too. So perhaps he could atone with his own death...perhaps if he could save a few worthier folk, perhaps he could wash himself clean.
I loved the way you used the line Faramir spoke in the book: 'My lord, you called me. I come.' It fits this scene wonderfully, better in fact than the canon. You take canon, but you make it deeper, darker, more sensual and far more complex than Tolkien did.
There are some people who adhere to the view that no-one can write fanfic that outclasses Tolkien's own work, but that's rubbish. He was not particularly good at writing in-depth characters; primarily he was a linguist and an astonishing world-builder, but the best fanfic authors write people and their complexities far better than he, and you are one of those people.
Just an incredible chapter.
I perfectly understand that you cannot churn out a chapter every few days, but those reading your work and appreciating it as it should be appreciated, know that this is an excellent wine and must be savored, not a bottle of fizzy Lambrini. I should hope that your readers are all patient and mature enough to wait while your chapters are written, and sip them with relish when they are posted.
The few fanfic authors I follow with passion all take time to write and post, some take months, but all that means is that I re-read and enjoy what they have already written, and act like a squeeing fangirl when they update. :) A wonderful tale never lets me go. And one thing I have noticed is that the very best authors do not get reviews and support commensurate with their talent. (And when it comes to readers who are also authors, I often get the whiff of jealousy. It only makes me more inclined to review those people who are sometimes rather obviously ignored, to *put my money where my mouth is*.)
It's a fact that people prefer the Lambrini to the Batard-Montrachet, and I don't understand it, but there are always some of us who want to read exactly what you are writing. This is what I look for in fanfic.
This was a great beginning to a beautiful April day. And yes, I would love to read about the Cult of the Dragon, and anything else you post!
Author's Response: Elrohir is really going to have to face up to his crimes now, I htink. He is at the point where he can admit to it without descending into that pit or slough of despond. He wants to atone, desperately, and to be accpeted back, if you like, but he doesnt beleive he can be so the Gift of Men seems so much better. Elladan has spotted that though and will try to persuade him otehrwise- although he doesnt know what Elrohir's actual plan is, he assumes Elrohir will still go to the Halls of waiting if he dies - it will hurt him dreadfully if Elrohor does go through with his plan. Ah, you always say such nice things! Thank you Sian.
In a way, I almost wish this were completed so that I could nominate it for the MEFA's. And I am furious with myself that I did not know about it last year, as I would have given you a ten point review. I'll definitely nominate it when it is completed.
On the other hand, I don't want it to end, (and when it does, I hope you continue with this verse!)
Author's Response: AH, never mind. It's a nice thought but I really thought it would be completed by now. Probably got a about 5 more chapters now that it seems ot be dragging onto the Black Gates- I never intended that to be honest. But I cant see them resolving things before the endof the war now, can you. And I think it will go way beyond the end of THIS story because I am not sure it ends and they lived happily ever after!
I absolutely love Aragorn's story of how he met Legolas, thinking he was a stable hand. *smiles at the thought*. Pippin is wonderful in this chapter too. I'm glad Gandalf let him stay. Legolas' internal struggle is heartwrenching, of course, but one thing stuck out to me and made my heart leap forward. And that was when Elrohir said 'Legolas . . . beloved.' For some reason those two words give this story all the hope it ever needs that Legolas will come back from this torturous struggle. Excellent once again, Ziggy!
Author's Response: This story seems to have cheered a lot of people so I am gald it worked - we will see it from someone else's pov soon and htat may make you smile. Pippin has the whole of hte next chapter pretty much too and I think his 'voice' works well in these situations. Ah- yes, Elrohir. He let himself beleive, didn't he. But he has to learn to love himself first. And to atone, which he has not yet done. Not quite plain sailing yet. XX
Oh Ziggy! This is one of the most beautiful moving things I have ever read, especially at the end of the chapter when Elrohir gives so tenderly. Of course I love Pip and Gimli too.
Your story of how Legolas and Aragorn met…wonderful and exactly the sort of thing I would expect from your dear Legolas.
Legolas must be very very brave to survive to this point with a strong will!
Zig, there are times when a piece of writing just overwhelms me and this is one of them. How I wish I could give you a gift equal to the one you give to all of us with your exceptional work. If I were to come close I would have to empty my bank account and put a jewel on the hand that wrote this. I would also back a florist’s truck up to your door to try to fill your world with as much joy and color as you give your readers!
Since I can’t d o that, I will do what I can and simply say thank you and I wish a world of happiness and love for you in equal measure to the delight your work has brought me in these moments.
Hearts, your devoted fan, Candy
Author's Response: Hey Candy! Glad that sotry went down well, I was not sure when I wrote it but I felt we really needed reminding of what we were in danger of losing. Oh my. Jooolllss! Sparkly! Sweetie! You are so nice. xx
Showing much of this through Pippin's confused eyes made the chapter all the more tense. I did love the story about Aragorn's first meeting with Legolas; that was just typical of him. But oh dear, what a development! Anxiously awaiting the next.
Author's Response: Oh good- I am glad that worked. We will see it sometime through someone else's eyes too!
Have never been a fan of Elrohir here, but this chapter has changed my mind completely, as I think it may take someone who truly knows what darkness is to bring Legolas out of the Darkness. (And it's clear that he's now prepared to do whatever it takes to do that....)
Elrohir bowed his head even lower and held tightly onto Legolas’ hand, pouring his love, emptying himself into Legolas, drenching the feeble and tender green light with his own hot fire that would fight for him, fight death, fight the Shadow that sought to consume him.
Author's Response: Oh I am SO glad you are turning towards Elrohir- he is really really trying. And he has stopped thse nasty domination fantasies now that he has seen real pain inflicted upon Legolas so there really is hope.
You're such great value, Sian.
Lol. I am drawn to passionate stories, and they deserve passionate responses. :) I am delighted when I find them. I like to support an author as passionately as they write.
Why did everything about Legolas keep returning him to that horror?
But he called Legolas 'beloved,' and Legolas could not hear him.
sometimes, there was a crimson warmth and something had come to him... someone... he knew them... ‘Stay,’ it had said. ‘Trust me’.. and he had not wanted to, had been frightened and it hurt but oh, he had wanted to trust ...’Stay.’ It had said again and there was such pleading, such yearning... that he had... and now it reached out to him again and gave all of itself..all...but it was crimson and he had baulked, for red hurt, it hurt. But this was like something else, like soft light, a crimson warmth and there was a song that wrapped itself about him and kept out those ear-splitting shrieks.
The battle that is going on here, that only Legolas can truly see in heart-rending.
Ah, God, I will totter out of the room completely drained in a moment, after reading that.
This chapter promised to deliver so much, and you delivered more than any-one could have asked for.
Your description of Mirkwood, by the way, is absolutely magical, and I do hope you write something of Legolas there, as you've created something incredible within a paragraph.
Aragorn and Pippin's talk while they were waiting was a gentle prelude to what we were all waiting for with the sound of the horses hooves.
And then. I thought I would scream myself when Legolas began to scream. My hands were at my throat, and I wanted to tear-gas the healers for strapping him down and pushing every-one out of the way.
ut now there was only the One, the Eye that poured its malice into him,
struck again and again, the spear of ice through his heart impaled him, pierced him. The threads of black reached into his body... but his body was burned? And the ear-splitting shrieks got inside his head and were terrifying. The black threads, like ink in water spread into his veins, into his lungs, into his flesh and dug out his heart, his soul so he stood outside his body looking back as he crumpled to the ground... and he looked down at himself in horror...and saw the forest floor through his hands...could not understand. Was this death? Was he dead? But he burned and the Eye drilled into him and his blood boiled and his sinews stretched and flesh melted...
'I am Legolas Thranduillion.’ he whispered. He no longer believed it, but it was all he had left. He could not escape. He was here forever. And the liquid fire, molten lines ran around him, caging him again, and it started all over again, although it had never really stopped.
This was absolutely horrific. I could feel it; it's just unbearable, and Elrohir's shame and contrition, and trying so hard to call Legolas back...
‘I am...Legolas... Thranduillion,’ he whispered as though it was all he had. And Elrohir felt a growing worry build in his chest. Legolas did not look away or show disgust or any other emotion... and that was it.
Oh Lord, talk about turning the screw! *Sobs*.
Author's Response: You're such great value, Sian. I live for your reviews.xx
Ziggy, I've been reading from the start and had to stop by and tell you. You are absolutely awesome. Cannot wait for more.
Author's Response: Thank you Lisse! Working on it as we speak- as I said toyour other nice review- good to have you back dear!
The idea of fireflies as the carriers of the warrior's soul is an ancient one, but I've never seen it used so beautifully, nor the concept that it might actually be reversed. So appropriate to the Tawarwaith as well!
If your decision is to take us straight to the Houses of Healing, of course there's one person whose help might be of real use: if they can make it there before it's too late.
Author's Response: I didn't know that! That's wonderful- thank you for telling me. It makes sense of course. And yes, you are right about who might help of course. Let's hope he gets there in time:))
I am looking forward to it. So much has happened in these last few chapters that I feel emotionally drained myself, Iggy. That is what happens when authors torment characters I love.
of course, there are a few of you who owe me some nice candy now please in the shape of updates of you OWN fics!! XX
You are kind. I did update A Light In The East, last Sunday. Chapters 21 & 22. But maybe you saw it?
Take care, and happy and inspirational writing!
Author's Response: Argh! No ! Dont htink I did - Got to get candy... argh.xxxxx (Argh MUST be the name of Nazgul, doncha think?!)
We all want Legolas back as he should be, with his generous sensuality and joie de vivre, because Middle-earth would be a poorer place without him. Legolas suffered agonies, I wonder if it will leave a mark on his soul? :(
And Elrohir needs to *thinks of a phrasing* -- apologize vehemently.
I hope it is going well. I know these intense chapters can be pretty draining!
Author's Response: Thanks Sian- your words encourage me enormously as always. I wil ltake the advice of readers (and writers) hereand get cracking on the next chapter then. It will be a little while as not much s written but I have time this weekend I hope! So look out for the next two weeks - I wil try not to kee everyone waitig too long... of course, there are a few of you who owe me some nice candy now please in the shape of updates of you OWn fics!! XX
Mmmm, what works ... Elrohir's continuing desperation as he's trying to gather up the whisps and fraying threads of Legolas; the ghost desperately trying to coax the dwarf out of the mists that have swallowed him up; Elladan's desperate desire to murder his brother (whether intended or not, the use of Elladan's feelings to reflect the reader's feelings was extremely well done); Gandalf's telling Gimli Legolas needs him to be tender and caring (be still my heart!) and Gimli perfectly executing that command; Elladan breaking the enchantment and throwing away the ring; the resurfacing of the Song - on all levels.
What didn't work -- hmmmmm ... gee, I can't think of a thing in this chapter that didn't work. :)
What worked phenomenally for me -- Legolas' ghost breaking apart into fireflies. And the binding of them back into his physical body. I had goose bumps. What a wonderfully imagined way of making him whole again - if still very broken. Just exquisite.
I vote for the Houses of Healing for the next chapter.
Author's Response: In that case, we off. I have started writing it but it will take some time as those last two chapters were pretty intense t write and really one chapter split into two. Glad the firelfiles worked- Gimli just doesnt see things in teh the elves and Gandalf do so he has not seen the ghost -just catches glimpses so the firelfies is his way of exlaiing t himself what he sees. OK- so its back to Minas Tirith at full gallop! Thak you as always for your generous words, Tanis. Love Ziggy
First of all, wonderful chapter. Ellladan's fighting over the will of the ring is so natural to the story. I'm really enjoying the flipped roles between brothers. And what can I say about my dear sweet Gimli. Such tenderness. There is no other I could see those fireflies flocking to. Secondly, I think you could touch on the ride back at the beginning of the next chapter and it would be fine. Unless you had more ideas for the Nazgul chasing them as they rode to the city, I don't think you need to make a whole chapter out of it. But then, maybe we're all just a little anxious to see Legolas back to his old self again. He's so fragile right now we are worried for him. You know I don't care which way you go. I will read anything you write and know it will be wonderful, exciting and leaving me on the edge of my seat.
Author's Response: I'm glad that is working- and I thought of you while I was writing Gimli - I have something I might post here-it's unbetad and unplished but just a fw thoughts thrown together. I dont really want to write the Nazgul chasing the to be honest- I sort of feel they are done with now for a bit, but you may be wright about having a bit- I htought I would use recollection and gradual recovery to flashback. So you get a sense of dislocation as you read. It will take a bit of time as work is mayhem!
"He stood and the stars crowned his head" What few words will do when you are in controle of them Zig. I read about one half of this chapter but had to stop in the middle to say I loved this. What an image it gives
I am in awe! You are wonderful.
Author's Response: (Blush) Nice of you to say so - but Anarithilen is really important in this, she has made me so much better than I was. But I liked that image too so thank you for picking it out.
Of course it all works, and very well too! Very intense, of course, still very dark, but with a ray of hope or two. I like the idea of Legolas' spirit being akin to fireflies, for he has just that glow about him. I think you could safely skip on to the Houses; I'm sure there will still be plenty of anxiety to keep us all on our seat edges even then. :) Wonderful chapter!
Author's Response: Thank you for your advice- that feels right to me too. I have made a start but will feel more confident with your encouragemtn on this. Thank you.
This and the previous chapter work just wonderfully. They all do!
This is beautiful and serious and heart-wrenching in so many ways: Gimli, the thoughts of both Elladan and Elrohir, powerful, intense and sobering, and this part was the kind that makes me laugh and cry together!
He held out his hand again and they clustered around him, as if they would cloak him in their warmth. He remembered he was supposed to think of Legolas and to his surprise the fireflies fluttered delightedly and seemed to glow more brightly.
Very beautiful, all of it, and with great sobering power and sadness.
I do want to know what happens to Legolas, as he should not be like this. *Cries.* I would like you to write of that next, but it's your story, and I am following, and loving it!
Author's Response: Yes- I think this is right too- I'm glad so many people feel its time to move on because I need Legolas back as he SHOULD be! I am having withdrawal symptons!! Getting on with it right now.
I definitely agree with Siân that this chapter does allow you to choose your own sensations of nightmare. Even if I were in fact peeking through my fingers and covering my ears, I think I still would have been able to smell my way through this scene: my own sense of the Nazguls'oily miasma here was more like the stench of hundreds of dead fish on a rocky beach during a dense sea fog, when you're not sure quite whether the tide is coming in or going out, and then you realize that the fish aren't dead at all, and are coming closer. (And I think of the Nazgul possessing bat-like sonar senses, but I'm sure that's not canon!)
Author's Response: Oh my goodness! That is horrible- wish I had htought of it! Actaully now I htink of it i think I must have been trying to get that sort of petrol smell at the back of your thraot when you pass a dead animal- you know death has its own stink...Anyway. Thank you for your reassurance- I do appreciate it. Writing the next chapter as we speak. Love Ziggy
someone has said they couldn't feel or smell it - and I am disappointed because I thought the smell of rotting meat, that salty smell was quite good.
That surprises me frankly. Reading it, made it feel like being submerged in one of those horrible dreams where the sense of fear lingers all day, and I think you have enough comments from people who did feel it to disregard it, but I know that one such comment has the effect of almost negating all the others, which is wrong. :( The whole chapter socked me in the face, it was incredibly atmospheric. This is the kind of work I would want to read, if reading of such an encounter, and I think evoking an atmosphere of dread and the *paranormal*, so to speak, is incredibly difficult. I've read writers famed for their horror who don't do it for me, but this did!
Author's Response: Ah, thank you. That makes me feel better- you are right that one negative can wipe out all the postives.I think she is trying to be helpful and I just wanted ot check to see if she was right. I get too wrapped up in it sometimes and usaully Anar puts me right but even she can miss a trick very occasionally. Well - onwards ever upawrds- nearly there now and will be relieved to get my flirty saucy Legoals back -I think he has his eye on Imrahil!
Another heart-pounding chapter. I don't know how you do it but you do it every time. Such a rare moment for Elladan who is always so calm it seems. It's obvious the affect the ring is having on him. The roles were opposite for the brothers this time, Elladan being full of rage and Elrohir the apologetic one. Great stuff. Can't wait for more.
Author's Response: Yes, you are right- they do reverse. And Elladan is going to feel dreadful but I have written the next chapter already so I mustn't give it away! Elladan just lost it, didnt he- hope that came across OK because I was a bit unsure about whether it was too sudden and inexplicable. I'll update Rohan's Gold too today I think. Love Ziggy