The internal battles here (Legolas's decision to go to Aragorn's rescue rather than Elrohir's in order to fulfill his sworn oath of "following" him, and Elrohir's struggle to free himself enough from the sorcery that keeps him wielding the Morgul blade and wearing the iron crown to save his brother at least) dwarf the external ones, though those are brilliantly done too: we feel the ongoing nightmare of sliding on the entrails of friends and foes alike, and facing the prospect of either being crushed by a troll or disemboweled by an orc as your strength finally starts ebbing away over the course of this long, long day....
And, yes, please feel free to prolong our enjoyment of the suffering as long as you like! :)
Author's Response: What a fabulous review - I am really glad the sensual aspect of it worked - I always try to make it more than waht they see and what happens and I felt that the slaughter, the sheer numbers of orcs etc would make it like this. I am getting really mixed responses to my question (which I had forgotten I'd asked of course!!!) so I'll wait for a few more. But I am writing as we speak so `i hope it won't be too long! Love Ziggy
How do you do it? How can you possibly have such a brilliant imagination as to see and feel the Nazgul attack so vividly from Elrohir’s pov. The whole thing is genius! How can I stand it until the next chapter is posted? Btw, I loved the kiss. It’s about time. And I was touched by what Elrohir thought as the Uruk attacked him. He wished he had not spent his life on self loathing. I hope he keeps his will strong and takes off that crown. Zig you have left me stunned as always. You just get better and better and how can this be possible for someone who writes with an already perfect result?
Much love and thanks, Candy
Author's Response: Hello my dear Candy! Yes- the kiss was the main thing I could see whe I was writing the previous chapter actually. And don't worry, the next chapter is with Anar now and I think I will get it posted by the weekend. You do say nice things. Thank you Ziggy
OK, after having been on the move for quite some time, I have finally arriving on windy Anglesey - twelve hours travelling on planes and trains, taxis and busses, braving near hurricanes and horizontal rain, ignoring a few twats along the way, and the odd stray sheep - am I unhapy? frustrated? did I get bored?
The answer of course, is no, for I had the good fortune of being able to read this chapter through it all, and at the end of the day, now in festive pyjamas with a glass of strange, welsh read wine - may I say what a lovely journey it has been.
Author's Response: Sounds like a jourapy through hell so I am very very glad you enjoyed reading that chpater on the way. A real compliment. Next chapter is already finished and just needs some tweaks. I'm getting through it more quickly now I hope and updates should be more frequent as I actually know where I'm going with it now- first time in ages!! Love ziggy
I should have guessed that you'd get the stinks of battle right, from the orcs to the trolls to the Nazgul themselves.
And the ways in which time on the battlefield can race by, and drag on, and stop dead.
And, of course, how choices made can play out in unexpected ways....
Thank you for putting up the chapter as a special holiday treat!!!
Author's Response: It's a pleasure, ebbingnight. Glad you enjoyed it- and thank you for noticing the smells! I added some of those just in the final edit -I like descriptions to be sensual in its literal sense and the troll wod be smelly, wouldn't they!! You are such an observant reader - it makes it all worthwhile, time is funny - Anar was very ruthless with the editing and wanted ot make sure we got that sense of pace and 'jagged' edge in the chapter. Happy Christmas ebbingnight and thank you for the review Love Ziggy
What are you doing to my poor heart, Ziggy?
That was incredible, an absolute landslide of a chapter. I felt a terrible dread building it me as if I was standing in the path of an unstoppable force. Legolas, so beautiful firing his arrows, and believing that Elrohir was dead...
I felt as if I was actually in the midst of that battle, in all the blood and horror and dust and violence, feeling the emotions of Pippin and Legolas and Elrohir. Battles are hard to write well, but gosh! you took me and plunged me into the midst of it, but it was not simple a wonderfully written and colossal battle, the emotions that the characters feel give it even more depth.
That kiss between Elrohir and Legolas was beautiful; it almost had to be, I would have felt it was missing if, in all that horror and impending doom, you had not written it. Passionate, gorgeous, poignant.
And then everything gets completely overwhelming. And just as I think 'This must be the time that the Ring goes into the fires of Orodruin,'
I need a drink, Ziggy.
Also, what an amazing early Christmas present. (And now I am so hyped I won't be able to sleep!)
Just stupendous stuff.
Author's Response: I admit I felt very mean leaving the cliffhanger but it was getting so long and I have not completely decided how hte next bit pans out... Elrohir will just not always do as I want him to- I think we have talked about this before!! I am in 'talks' with him, negotiations if you like. I had to give them that kiss- just to get Legolas completely confused!!! And you are right, it's needed for balance and to keep us on track that this is love story. Thank you for the double reviews and have a great day today. Love Ziggy
Sorry it took me a while to get to this. It was Thanksgiving here in the states when it posted and things have been rather hectic.
Anyways, wow zig, I don't even know how to tell you how much I liked this chapter. One of your best by far. YOU are the only author I have ever read that uses quotes from the books in such a way that I feel like I've never read it before. Usually I see that and skip over it because it seems so repetitious, but you know how to work it in with your own story and make it seem new.
Everything in this chapter was wonderful, from Eomer wanting to protect Legolas to the Mouth of Sauron, from Elrohir at the gate to Elladan rescuing him. And that line Elro uses about his brother being his light and there has to be light to cast shadow. Absolutely gorgeous. At the end when Elladan rides to Elrohir, one of the best scenes by far. Elladan is so valiant here and I just love that. I think you could possibly have your next story with him as your main character. I'd love to see him on a more personal level, know his strengths and weaknesses, just know his story. Great great chapter!
Author's Response: Funnily enough we don't have Thanksgiving over here :) I worked really hard on this chapter so it is really really gratifying to hear you say it was the best so far. I felt it was right and recently some of the chapters have been squeezed out probably a bit too soon- just pressure of work. But I intend to go back and rework it as soon as I'm finished- and post it on Esteliel's new site. I'll move stuff over there when I'm done. I just felt Elladan fans need a bit of love too - and both of them came out of this well. Legolas' turn next chapter, which is shaping up nicely. Of course its the final battle scene so it wil lbe long but I really want to get that sense of the intensity of the battle - I htink Tolkien really skipped over it actually with Pippin getting knocked out.
Ziggy, I think that perhaps the reviews are slower in coming because it's really, really hard to come up with anything to say that's worthy of this chapter!
So I'll just go with the snippet that I think best expresses how much deeper and darker your version of the confrontation with The Mouth of Sauron is than Tolkien's: the moment in which Legolas regains his memories and realizes what he believes the Shadow wants (though not, thankfully, we know by now, what Elrohir himself truly wants... but it was a choice, not a given, throughout this story.)
Yôzáira. The Gift of Longing. He was the Nazguls' promise, the reward for Elrohir if he delivered the Ring, the lure into darkness. He was Elrohir's downfall.
And the Nazgul's repeated dives at them both, physically appalling as they may appear to the observer are far less chilling than the unseen mental assaults being made at the same time....
Yes, if all fanfiction were like this, as Sian said, I would never be able to take my eyes off the screen!!!
Author's Response: Well... I'm a bit speechless to be honest, ebbingnight. That's a fabulously nice thing to say. Thank you. I'd better live up to it in the next chapter then... x
Well, well - and here I was thinking this would be the last chapter!! There are always more than you think there are going to be!!
Great writiing, as usual - I really look forward to seeing how you are going to end this, the task seems almost - impossible!
Author's Response: Funnily enough so did I.. for ages, but I felt it needed to be given time to play out - so I am currently working on the battle scene and then, well, if I am really honest, I am not exactly sure how it plays out yet... it can go one of two ways...and hten hopefully I have time to catch up on reading YOUR story as I have fallen so behind.
Ziggy, I truly am inadequate to review this and the previous chapter. But I will try. I have said from the beginning you are far better than Tolkien. This is one more proof. I could not stop reading once I started.
Once more Eomer’s unrequited passion for Legolas is heartbreaking, and I can see Legolas as almost tiring of it.
The black gate, the mouth, it’s tempting and taunting, all so masterfully written as to make me hold my breath while reading.
When I write I have trouble explaining and balancing the emotion and thought of two characters and you manage to make the horses heroes to us also.
Yes this chapter was for Elrohir and Elladan fans. Trust me, I am that! I love the hints of feeling between Imrahil and Elladan even in the middle of this horrible contest. Elladan is absolutely stunning in his courage and strength.
Ziggy, really it all comes down to this. This chapter was flawless, brilliant, and unforgettable. What beautiful artistry. What a gift you have. I’ve said this before, but I wish there was something I could give you that would show my appreciation for what you do, and who you are. But all I can do is thank you. This is one of those stories I will read over again several times. And it stays with a person. I find myself thinking of your characters and wondering about them as if they were real people I know. Btw, I love your twins with a passion. They are both magnificent.
Thanks again Ziggy,
Author's Response: I like your idea of Legoals almost tiring of Eomer - as at some point he should probably. After all he did finish it cleanly and Eomer is still puppy-dog eyes after him.But I like Eomer and they were good together werent they?And as I have said to Ebbingnight, and Alpha Ori, I am not QUITE sure yet which way it goes...I have to let them reveal it to me rather than drive them down a path. They'll only rebel later and do something uncontrolled. It's enough that you review as that's all the reward I want. Thank you for being so absolutley postive, encouraging and consistent. x
Posted in the Pit. XD Posted here to duplicate :)
Ziggy, this was like a compression, like reading under a louring cloud filled with dark heat. I could feel Legolas' confusion and pain, and the shadow of the Gate flung metaphorically and physically over the armies of the West. This scene with Elrohir and Gandalf and the Mouth is an example of what fanfiction should be about. You rewrote it and made it darker, more personal, more passionate, more dramatic than the original -- and simply much better. What a stunning example of transformative work. If every-one wrote like you I would be reading twenty hours a day. This was a clash of powers on a very deep level, the Mouth and Elrohir, Gandalf, Elladan against the weight of the past, against Sauron, against grief and guilt and temptation. Sometimes I read things with a feeling of weight on my chest and breathless, and I could *feel* each moment of this, each character and their emotions, and because I am a lover of wonderfully written drama and all the jagged edges of pathos and sorrow, I found it an incredible experience, Well done!
Author's Response: I love the way you call it the Pit- Curiouswombat calls it The Pit of Voles! Not sure waht voles have ever done though!Reading your reviews is much like reading your stories - beautiful imagery and poetic. I took my time over it and htat makes a difference- often I am just unable to give it the time it needs, which is why I want ot redraft to give Faerie a really definitive and polished version of it.
I knew the Nazgul imprinted these thoughts upon Elrohir's mind, but I did not think it actually happened. You have me spinning for an answer and praying that this is only a false vision imprinted upon Legolas' mind. I know it is a trap that the Wraiths are setting up and I think Legolas is part of the bait if not all of it. I'm hoping that is all this is. As many times as I hated how Elrohir treated Legolas, I never thought he had it in him to actually harm Legolas in such a devistating way and I still refuse to believe it.
Again, the way it all unfolded in this chapter was beautiful. I love how no matter what happens or how confusing things seem, Gimli is a constant earthly anchor. How appropriate that it is a Dwarf, bound to stone as they are. Oh, please don't make us wait too long. I know that everyone who reads this will be anxious to know the outcome.
Author's Response: Dont worry- Elrohir has not actually done any of this but it was his fantasy, if you remember, back on the SeaSong and so the Nazgul have shown him what they offered Elrohir. Oh- I have already writtent he next chapter and you will like that I think... I am tweaking it t make sur there are no glitches- I found some in htis and have corrected them on ffnet but not here yet! Legolas is going ot have a hard time of it in the battle ahead so be prepared!! xx
Ah, Legolas! Walking from one waking nightmare before the Black Gates into that other nightmare of memory! But nightmares are dreams, not necessarily the reality--- at least we can hope that Legolas is seeing only what the Nazgul want him to see. But he's no longer a ghost, and, fortunately, Gimli is still there to ground him in what reality there may be.
But the truth of what happened on that mountain is certainly enough to break anyone's heart.
Author's Response: Exactly... and as I have said toothers, Elrohir fantasized about this, imagined it and did not actually do anyhting...much the same as his standing back and watching before...but he did still imagine it. Oh, I htink the next two or three chapters are going to get you all wound up on Elrohir's behalf! And poor Eomer. And Legolas...what a mess! But not far to go...
I never feel I have written quite as powerfully as you respond and I think it is your own lovely passion for elves and the fire in them that makes you read it like this.
No way, Ziggy. I've spent all my teen and adult life hunting for those elusive stories that burn the soul. And most don't. This one chapter carries more sheer elan and force and passion than the whole of Lord of the Rings, which is written very 'safely' when one considers the subject matter. But this is how it should have been. Now, if Tolkien had just been able to graft your passion onto his world-building skills, I would never have felt the need to read (or write) Tolkien fanfic. But then, he would have had to write slash too, and I suppose that is wishing too much d;-)
Author's Response: Yes- a step too far I think! And if YOU didnt write, well maybe I wouldnt write like I do either, I learn by reading, and I have learned great things from you and your impeccable imagery..
Wow, Ziggy. Bloody hell.
(I reviewed on FF.net, but I prefer to review somewhere where an author can reply if they want.)
Although I am literally trembling by the end of this chapter, you made another bad week just fade into the mists. This is what I need, a story that completely rips me out of myself, and everything in this chapter did. There is so much raw power and pathos in this that it's like a fist in my face and has laid me out, really -- and not in an overdone way, but by pulling me in and sparing me nothing -- just as Legolas was spared nothing.
Author's Response: You are just sooo lovely, Sian! I never feel I have written quite as powerfully as you respond and I think it is your own lovely passion for elves and the fire in them that makes you read it like this. Love ,Ziggy
Zig, I can definitely see how confident Elrohir is in Legolas’ love. And it is a welcome and most beautiful change from the usual self loathing and self doubt Elro usually suffers from. One of the main points of the story is Elrohir’s healing and it is so good to see.
Author's Response: Yes you are right of course and we'll have to see how he copes now as he confronts the Mouth...and as you know, things don't always go smoothly and we've still got seven Nazgul left to deal with!!
It seems L8 has spoken for me in her review! I mean we talk about every chapter and are in agreement about your work. I do have to add that the Nazgul as living gargoyles is so imaginative and spooky. I read this oh so perfect chapter on Halloween for the first time and it was so appropriate to the evening.
I hope you do not mind my saying, I found a bit of humor in the fact that Eomer and Elrohir nearly fell into hand to hand combat over Legolas under the threat of death in an impending battle with Darkness. It just goes to show what males think with. Hehehe!
The humor aside, my heart still breaks for Eomer.
I am so pleased about your hints and flirtations between Elladan and Imrahil. Imrahil seems so gallant and courageous. I love the fact he thought so quickly to offer every hope of success to the soldiers by keeping their provisions. This is exactly the kind of love interest Elladan deserves, one with a good heart and piercing elvish eyes. Squeals of delight from slash fangurl!
This was a perfect chapter. But perfection is what your writing is!
Thank you beautiful Zig! Looking forward to more.
Author's Response: Thank you my dear Candy!! Love the fact that you seem so pleased by Imrahil's developing crush and Elladan's blissful ignorance! That is for you and L8. And I am delighted you thought it so humourous that Eomer and Elrohir almost come to blows- it IS very adolescent and I hope too that Elrohir comes acorss as very confident in Legolas' feelings for him. I have two chapters pretty much finished but lovely Anar is snowed under so it will be a little time before she gets to it. Much love
Hey Ziggy! First of all, I had to giggle at Gimli and Pippin with that little part about the hawk and the bat. Reminds me of that “Who’s on first?” skit. I can see Gimli has little patience for Hobbits, least of all Pip. And then Gimli goes after Legolas about tucking in his hair. He’s such a papa bear sometimes isn’t he?
I love the kind of romantic undertones to this chapter. Legolas is so smitten with Elrohir and Ro seems not smitten but more accepting of Legi’s little nuances. There’s a look, a held gaze, a brush of an arm or a whispering breath and I feel the heat and the anticipation between them. And the same with Elladan and Imrahil, though very subtle, I think something might be brewing between those two and if so, good choice. It is evident also in the way Elladan speaks to Elrohir, more lighthearted as someone who has just felt his heartstrings pulled on. You know, like everything is suddenly right with the world and old feuds can be forgotten because something new and wonderful has replaced the bad.
This whole chapter is a mixture of tension and worry met by strength. Someone is always easing a worried mind, like Elrohir as he belittles the Nazgul. Wonderful speech by the way. And the Rohirrim striking their armored chests with their swords . . . so powerful. Candy and I both loved that part. We also want to tell Elrohir to stop, that he’s crazy to provoke the Ring Wraiths like that. What is he thinking? LOL
I know this is still the calm before the storm and wonder what you’re thinking having Elrohir ride to the gate. The suspense is building nicely and I cannot wait to see where this will lead.
Author's Response: Ah, my dear Candy and Mo- you noticed! Imrahil and Elladan is for you, (amongst others). I iwll follow that up after this is finished. I love your points about Legola sbeing so smitten and Elrohir less so but accepting- spot on! He IS more mature but in many ways less experirienced than Legoals in love- Legoals is comeplely rules by his heart...well, not just his heart! As you say, calm before the storm, because the Nazgul are really bent on revenge.
They MUST burn brighter - be more intense
Yours certainly do, oh so brightly. I also absolutely love the differences between Legolas and the Sons of Elrond.
There are so few stories where Elves are truly Elvish, the way I have always envisaged them, and that makes so many stories just fall flat; the Elves might as well be Men with long wigs.
But it's not just that of course. I read avidly, not to have a giggle, definitely not ever to read a formulaic romance, which is easy to write and 'coffee-table' reading, (I don't 'light-read, except for Pratchett, who is also extremely astute and clever) but but to be completely absorbed, smitten, impressed, spellbound, and have my soul shaken. I demand so much of stories; they have to be 'the perfect storm' for me to read and continue to read and love them. No wonder when I find such stories I am all over them.
My gosh -- when I first saw this story in this site, I read a couple of reviews and thought 'I don't want to read a 'Fellowship' story.' There are so many about, though most are GIME's, that I could imagine how any-one could make it interesting. But because Ebbingnight loved it, I decided to read, and this should be canon; (It should also be a spectacular incredible film or series.) It knocks Tolkien into a cocked hat, which is why I laugh loudly when I see people saying, 'No-one can better the Master.'
I am so glad there will be another chapter soon, and when this story ends, I will re-read it often, but don't stop writing. You are not only a superb writer with a richness of characters and imagery which is so very rare, but you write passionately about passionate characters, which is about as common as a blue moon. You have an amazing 'verse here, please keep writing.
Watch this space. I will aim to post next weekend and the chapters are almost written now.
*does happy dance*
It's lovely to know roughly when to expect this, even though I am well aware that I have no idea what to expect! Most of the time I feel as if my own reactions to this were pretty much those of a hobbit surrounded by heroes in this world of yours....
Author's Response: Oh I LOVE that line - a hobbit surrounded by heroes!! Well I would be a hobbit no matter how much I'd like to be an elf xx Having said that, I am re-writing bits of that chapter right now...realsied there was something else I could do to heighten the tension. I can never leave well alone!!
OMG! How long has this been posted? I wasted my Sunday morning on rubish when I could have been reading this! Better late than never. Thanks Zig.
Author's Response: Lisse- you ALWAYS make me smile! Hope you enjoyed it and the next one will be out soon.x