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Beneath a Gibbous Moon  by Bodkin 58 Review(s)
lwarrenReviewed Chapter: 3 on 6/17/2007
A day "...founded in faith...and built on hope." *sighs* What a night and what a conversation! It is truly said that the darkest hour is just before dawn. It seems the time when resolve and faith and hope are at their lowest ebb and doubts and uncertainties and fear creep in to do their worst.

Such an interesting look at the last hours before a final battle through the eyes of its strongest warriors and leaders. I loved the way you tied these three chapters together through the line of Elros and the house of Oropher - such an interesting connection. But the more emotional impact comes with this last chapter, I think, at least for me. You really did such a good job of bringing out the regrets of Legolas and the doubts Aragorn might have entertained. And at every turn the darkness and evil waited, shown so clearly in the mists and shadows and howls of the wargs and wolves, always prowling and poking at them. *shivers*

But Legolas remains calm (so he can prophesy a dry day, can he? LOL) and Aragorn remains such an inspiring leader (I almost cheered at Legolas pointing out how DIFFERENT Aragorn is from Isildur - how he lacks that 'arrogance of imperial Numenor' - and is, in fact, more a servant-King-to-be! YES! He is not his ancestor, thank God!) Also, cheered at the appearance of the Swordsman - a fitting and encouraging omen for these two as they face the day. Man, I am primed to go watch RotK now - this was such a hopeful story...that seemed to be the common theme from beginning to end. Estel.

Amazing, just amazing, Bodkin.


Author Reply: I never even thought of writing parts 1 and 3 until after I had written 2. But once I had, it just seemed inevitable. Part 3 was easier, in a way - and harder, because there is more written about it that needs to be taken into account. I was fascinated, though, how several of the elements meshed perfectly with what I had already written for the first two parts.

They face almost certain disaster with such courage - and know that they can do no more than their best. The idea of ruler as servant is such an important element of their success, I think. Subjugation of self for a greater good - and a willingness to take on a secondary role that must be played in order for good to prevail. It wouldn't be nearly so effective if Frodo succeeded because Aragorn had won the battle. The heroes need to have surrendered their hope to another ...

Anyway, I'm glad you liked it, Linda.

DeniseReviewed Chapter: 3 on 4/28/2007
What a marvelous ending to an inspired three-parter. You captured Legolas and Aragorn very well here, and the tension, uncertainty, and desperation they must have been feeling. Like another reviewer, I too thought that the initial character seen was Aragorn, but the gradual revelation of Legolas was wholly fitting. (And symmetrical, as the first chapter opens with an elf, the second with a man, and the third with an elf again.)

You very deftly interwove the links between Ages, but I think the one that struck me the most, for some reason, was the presence of Elrond in the background. I kept thinking of how he lost so many that were precious to him, in all three Ages; of how Aragorn was so much the product of his foster father's upbringing; and of Elros' comment in the first chapter about how Elrond "...will find out the fate that is meant for him … in time."

An excellent complement to Tolkien's works! I'm so glad that the initial chapter (#2) led to the additional ones.

Author Reply: Thank you! I find it quite amazing how sometimes things just grow - because chapters 1 and 3 weren't anywhere near my brain when I wrote the second chapter. It was fun trying to show the characters without making it immediately apparent who they were - and I'm glad you liked the symmetry!

The more I think of Elrond, the more amazing it is, in a way, that he remained so strong and 'kind as summer' - because his whole life is one of loss, really. Even if he did occasionally have whole millennia when things seemed settled and safe.

I'm glad you enjoyed this - and am flattered by your words!

The KarenatorReviewed Chapter: 3 on 3/26/2007
‘Better to chance all in the hope of grabbing victory than die by inches?’

I love this line. It really sums up the stakes, doesn't it? If Frodo had failed, the ones who died fighting Sauron would have been the lucky ones. Of course, I imagine everyone who entered the fight did not expect to survive. Not really. There was just a faint hope, I suppose, they would come out on the other end of the war still intact, and more importantly, with victory.

I also liked the examination of the cost of war no matter what the outcome. The elves would fade from Middle-earth, their power, presence and influenced reduced even if they won. For Aragorn, victory meant securing Arwen's hand, but the price for that would wound Elrond deeply. Elrond knew if the Frodo succeeded he would lose Arwen, but the greater good for all outweighed his own personal desires. Aragorn knew this too. I can't help but think Elrond's ability to be sincere in his self-sacrifice made Aragorn feel even worse. Elrond exemplified unconditional love in how he dealt with his daughter and Aragorn. This, I suppose, is just one of those times that with joy comes great pain.

But they had to defeat Sauron first.

I've never sat out a night before a battle wondering if I would see another sunset or if my friends would be with me if I did. Even with my limited expertise, I thought you caught this moment between friends perfectly. In fact, it's probably more about the human (or elf) experience than it is the event of war. After Aragorn and Legolas had said to one another what they felt, they turned their attention to the troops to offer support, words of comfort, and encouragement. Aragorn was indeed a good leader. Legolas lead in his own way. He supported Aragorn and encouraged Aragorn at that point and that was important in itself.

Another wonderful chapter. I enjoyed it very much. Your stories are always a delight for all the senses.

Thank you so much.

Author Reply: Oh yes! And to know what might happen to you if the enemy that outnumbers your army decides they want to take you alive - it must have made the horrors of the night before battle even worse. At least the ordinary soldiers there only had to fear death.

And then, there can only have been a dozen or so at most who knew the real reason for this suicidal last stand - most of those facing the enemy thought that the battle they faced was the real fight and must by now have been wondering what in Arda their commanders were thinking!

Oh yes - Elrond is a great example of unconditional love - accepting the free choice of those he loved despite knowing how much it could hurt him. And the result is he raised a foster son prepared to sacrifice himself and all his hopes to give Frodo that slim chance of achieving success. And none of Tolkien's confrontations had simple outcomes and happy endings - with joy came pain and with success comes defeat. Elrond's sons, Legolas and Gimli - and Pippin - are presiding over the end of their races and the dominance of men. Victory is better than defeat, but it is not a recipe for eternal happiness.

Oddly (I'm sure you'll be surprised to learn!) I've never sat out the night before battle either. But you don't get to be old without enduring some nights you'd never want to go through again - and the waiting is ... hard. Aragorn and Legolas needed the support of a friend - someone who knew the score - and would stand and fight anyway. And then were prepared to go and show their warriors that they were able to face the day calmly and with courage. It must have been a long night.

Thank you, Karen. I'm glad you enjoyed the additions to the story!

The KarenatorReviewed Chapter: 1 on 3/26/2007
Wow. As always, the imagery is breathtaking. I could smell the salt and marsh, the horrible tang of death and destruction. You also did a marvelous job of capturing Oropher's shifting feelings from anger and despair to glimmers of hope and the possibilities that come with change.

I loved Elros. He was mature for a young fellow, but then, as Oropher noted, he had lived through and had lost much more than most had at this age. Elros had his head screwed on straight. And just as Oropher was willing to take a risk to find his place in Middle-earth, so was Elros. Perhaps they were more alike than either realized at the point, but I think Oropher recognized a bit of kinship even if he saw it as still being loyal to his former king's house. And in the end, Oropher couldn't help but admire the youngster's bravery to face the unknown.

This is gorgeous, just gorgeous. I've got to find some new adjectives, but they're so appropriate.

Thank you, Bodkin.

Author Reply: It must have been such a horrible time - in some ways the aftermath is worse than the ... math itself! For the battles and the emptying of Angband, they must have been so keyed up - and now they're all milling around, not sure what they should do or where they should go, just knowing that nothing will ever be the same again.

And, I reckon, a big part of why Oropher managed to maintain his feeling of offence and indignation for so long! Elros (and Elrond) have learned so much in so short a time that age doesn't really come into it with them - like those child soldiers they sometimes show on television, who have packed a full lifetime of experience into no more than a decade. Childhood and games and all those things that we fight to preserve for our children are long gone. I think Oropher did feel that - didn't want to, maybe, but knew it. He is, though prickly, a very honest elf. Here, at the end of the world they had known - and at the beginning of another - they could recognise that and acknowledge it.

Thank you, Karen! I'm glad you liked it! I had no intention of making it more than one chapter at first - and then it became obvious it was one part of three. It just took a while to get around to writing them.

Peredhil loverReviewed Chapter: 3 on 3/26/2007
It is a testament to the strength of your writing that I even read a story about Legolas, and that not only did I endure him, but I thoroughly enjoyed your portrayal of the elf prince from Mirkwood. So perfectly like a wood elf.

I enjoyed also the relationship you present here between Aragorn and Legolas--quite how I would picture it after the experiences that we know, canonically, they have shared up to this point.

Your writing style is beautiful and very lyrical and draws me in. The whole series was excellent and this ending was very appropriate.

peredhil lover

Author Reply: Awww. There's nothing wrong with Legolas. It's Leggy that's the problem. Or Legorlie. The Wood-elf from Mirkwood is a great character. And it just had to be him! Three different generations of two families at critical moments in the history of Middle-earth - different viewpoints, different experiences, but similar in courage and in putting the future of Arda before their own wishes.

I think that, although not knowing each other well before the Fellowship, Legolas and Aragorn share enough of a background that they would understand each other better than they might have expected - and friendships form pretty quickly under conditions like those they have shared.

Thank you, Peredhil lover. I'm flattered - and very pleased that you liked the series. (Even if it did feature Legolas!)

French PonyReviewed Chapter: 3 on 3/25/2007
Okay. I'm more confident that I have the right chapter this time. But stop me if you've heard this one before . . .

This is a nice complement to the other stories in this little series. It seems as though the House of Oropher is forever fated to have to sit and philosophize and comfort the House of Elros. Fortunately, they do it so well, with just enough detachment that they don't drive themselves completely crazy. Through all that he's seen and done on this quest, Legolas is still a bounding optimist at heart, and that seems to be just what Aragorn needs right now as they await the battle that will decide the fate of the world. No pressure, of course.

Author Reply: Well. The House of Oropher comforts the House of Elros once an age. It's not too arduous a responsibility! They can cope.

I think, maybe, being an elf, Legolas has a bit of a longer perspective on things - and he has seen plenty of the creeping dark and does know that primroses still flower in the woods even when you least expect it. And they are boosting each other really - while the understanding they share is helping them face the following day phlegmatically. A battle to save the world - with the real power to win it being in the hands (on the hand?) of someone who isn't even there. Knowing, of course, that they really don't want to survive defeat.

No pressure at all.

Thank you, FP.

RedheredhReviewed Chapter: 3 on 3/25/2007
- their last stand.
- nothing else mattered.
... this mad quest.
Our last hope...
...all that any of us can do.
...we make an end.

This was an excellent end piece to your triptych of three generations of two houses with one goal.

... lead to a better tomorrow.

Author Reply: It was a bold move - one inviting failure, and yet the equivalent of sacrificing your knight to draw your opponent's king into a trap. This was trickier to write, in a way. So much more written on it, for one thing. And a movie. But two very courageous people willing to offer all they had and might have - amongst an army of several thousand other very brave people.

And it did lead to a better tomorrow! Much, I think, to the surprise of everybody there before the Black Gate - apart, perhaps, from Mithrandir.

Thank you, Redheredh.

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 3 on 3/25/2007
Oh, indeed--built on Hope--Harthad and Estel; three plus one to see the end made.

Oh, so beautiful a picture, Bodkin, and a fitting end to this trilogy.

Author Reply: Hope is such a recurring theme throughout - and it becomes even more obvious when you look at such widely separated events. Hope, honour, self-sacrifice, doing things just because they're right - all those sterling qualities that seem so much a part of Tolkien's world.

As soon as the idea occurred that the first part was one of three, this one just had to be written!

Thank you, Larner.

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 3 on 3/25/2007
A haunting glimpse of the last generation to battle Sauron, and the third of that Elven line - dark and brooding hours, with unflagging determination, and flashes of hope.

Excellent story, all three chapters of it.

Author Reply: A dreadful time. I think they would welcome the dawn - action being better than brooding over the unknown. But they support each other, these two, with a real understanding of what the other is facing - and, of course, they both know that the real battle is being fought under the shadow of the mountain.

Thank you, Raksha. I'm glad you liked it. And I'm glad that inspiration impelled me to add the First and Third Age sections to the series!

daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 3 on 3/24/2007
I liked this a lot, Bodkin. From Legolas's fears and regrets, through Aragorn's anxieties, to the steadiness they evoke in one another--it read beautifully and brought the characters to life.

Author Reply: Thank you, daw. The night before battle - such an horrific time. Time to look back and regret what you haven't done, as well as linger over the highlights. Aragorn and Legolas, too, knew the real reason for being there - and the total unlikelihood that any of them would survive the battle. While Aragorn could be more open with Legolas anyway - an elf, a king's son, a companion and a friend - and they could bolster each other's resolution. I'm glad you liked it.

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