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The Set of the Soul  by Nilmandra 20 Review(s)
nancylea57Reviewed Chapter: 2 on 1/8/2009
yes, just one more of the many many ways we protect and love our families.

Author Reply: Thank you for the review, Nancylea

perellethReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/20/2008
I was wondering about this story not so long ago!
What a tense moment when Lathron's heart stopped beating! The tension was palpable all along! Only because it was Dot's birthday present I was sure it had a happy ending, but the tension was wonderfully managed!

Author Reply: Here I am pretending to be Nilmandra, Perelleth.

I'm glad you liked the chapter. I had a good time writing it. Nilmandra told me about the allergy and left me to deal with it!


obsidianjReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/11/2008
Whew! That was tense. Luckily they were all rescued. A wood-elf with an allergy to spider bites. That is quite a combination, and in this time pretty dangerous.

That baby spider was cute in an evil sort of way. Luckily it drowned of it's own inexperience before it could do more damage. Hearing the comments of the spiders racked up the tension.

Author Reply: This is daw pretending to be Nilmandra, Obsidianj.

Nilmandra was devious to give Lathron an allergy. When she told me that, I had to really stop and think what to do with and about it. The baby spider was indeed born to be bad, but I had a good time with him.

Glad you liked the chapter.


elliskaReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/2/2008
I was so happy to see this continued! I hope Nilmandra feels 100% soon and in the meantime thanks to both of you for the continuation. And Holy Cow it was tense! Every bit of it kept me right on edge. I found myself wanting to skip to find the continuation of one thread of the story, but I managed to force myself not to do that. Great job!

Author Reply: Hey, Elliska! I logged out of my own account and into this one. I have a double life. :-)

Glad you thought this was tense. I never can tell. I was afraid I hadn't done the kids justice, especially Emlin, but then Nilmandra said that was the best part, so then I felt good. Whee!


GwynhyffarReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/2/2008
Wow, daw! While I'm sorry that Nilmandra hasn't been well, I'm glad that our heros were finally rescued. If she couldn't do it herself, she couldn't have found a better rescuer than you. Lathron being bitten and near death was awful- as evidenced by Thranduil yelling and Tathiel 'hitting' him. Legolas wondering if Lathron had done something wrong in his venom induced fever and then wondering if Tathiel was going to hit him too was funny and sad at the same time. I loved the spider! Whee! He just wanted to chow on a little elf-flesh. Is that so wrong?? :D

I enjoyed this a lot, thank you both! Thank you Nilmandra for letting the story be finished, and thank you daw for doing it!

Author Reply: Hi, Gwyn. Here I am pretending to be Nilmandra again. :-)

I was a little intimidated when Nilmandra first asked me to finish this story, but once I got into it, I had a terrific time. She'd set a great plot in motion. The baby spider was cute. Born to be bad, but cute!


RedheredhReviewed Chapter: 2 on 2/27/2008
This was a such an great conclusion! Really exciting and enjoyable and entertaining! You guys aught to partner-up more often!

And thanks to Dot for getting older!

Author Reply: Thanks, Redheredh. This was a pleasure to write.

Dot's just so persistent with that getting older stuff. :-)

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 2 on 2/26/2008
The squirrel felt the danger and ran away, and now they know why. Sorry you've been ill, too, Nilmandra--flu and conjunctivitis are running through us here.

Author Reply: The squirrel was lucky. The elves on the other hand were clever and brave. :-)

Sorry to hear you've been ill, Larner.


LiannaReviewed Chapter: 2 on 2/26/2008
This is great.

It had never occurred to me that the reason why Lathron was not a warrior was that there was something wrong with him -- perhaps because one of Thranduil's other sons in this universe, Celebrinduil, also is not a warrior. I just assumed that the king's sons had a choice of professions. But there's no reason why Lathron couldn't have a problem, and it certainly makes for a good (though terrifying) story.

I'm glad, though, that Legolas does not seem to share Lathron's inordinate sensitivity to spider venom. It's obvious from what happens in this story that he has the makings of an excellent warrior.

Author Reply: I didn't know about the allergy either until Nilmandra told me. :-) She's tricksy. And it made for an interesting complication, I thought.

I don't know whether many people had allergies in the ancient world, though some scholar someplace probably has a sense of this. I tried to look it up because I wanted to know what word to use. "Allergy" sounded modern and turned out to be 20th century in origin, as far as I could tell. The Greeks knew about asthma. That word in used in the Iliad, which surprised me. But allergy? I have no idea. Anyway, it was interesting to write about.

Glad you liked it, Lianna.


Elena TirielReviewed Chapter: 2 on 2/25/2008
Woohoo! a collaboration between two of my favorite authors... what a treat!

The first chapter starts out so light and sweet and beautiful, but the awareness of menace keeps growing and growing in an ominous way... we are so relieved when Lathron and TinŠnia come to the rescue... but then to have Lathron injured! And Legolas is so courageous to return to his brother's side to protect him.... already signs of what he would be like as an adult.

And then they get rescued again -- but we fear for the lives of those bitten by the spiders.

And that's just the first chapter! (At that point, I assumed that Emlin and TinŠnia had fled to safety.... silly me!)

Lathron was still as a wax doll.

This is so chilling! Lathron is my favorite of Nilmandra's great OCs (hmmmm... Lathron, Eilian... do I detect a pattern?), and I almost choked when I read that!

Tathiel is the one who rescued and raised Legolas, right? (Sorry, it's been ages....) So what a wrench it must have been to see Legolas brought in, but realize that, as the most experienced healer there, she needed to attend to Lathron, who was most seriously ill. Triage cannot be fun for the people doing it... and then realizing that her daughter was still in danger.... What a strong character to keep her cool in such circumstances!

But TinŠnia and Emlin acquitted themselves well, too. These are three very strong female OCs, and I think you portrayed them well, Daw. (I bet Nilmandra was pleased!)

Realization dawned. For Emlin's sake, she smothered a cry. The feeling of wrongness that had been nagging at her was not caused by the spiders.

The part about Lathron's vision, and how TinŠnia told him to take care of himself so he would be there for her (when she was in danger and must have wanted to grasp at his "contact") was compelling.... and so full of love on both sides!

An ink-dark shape swung toward him, ripe with the stench of joy in destruction.

*Shudders* I think one of the things that makes Tolkien's spiders so creepy, besides their size (which is quite bad enough, thankyouverymuch), is that they speak. And you make creepy use of that. (Though I smiled at the "Uh-oh")

Anyway, this whole story was very effective... I couldn't stop reading it! Sorry for jumping around in this review, I was just going to say "Well done!" but kept being compelled to mention favorite parts... and I'm sure there were ones I missed, anyway....

Well done, Nilmandra and Daw!

- Barbara

Author Reply: Hi, ET! This is daw, pretending to be Nilmandra. Whee!

Tathiel is indeed the one who rescued and raised Legolas. Seeing him injured and fouled with webbing must have about stopped her heart. Except of course, other bad things were going on at the same time--Lathron in deep trouble, Emlin missing. It's a great situation for writers!

One of the things I've always admired about Tathiel is that she's very strong and heroic in "May the Valar Protect Them," but her heroism comes while doing something traditionally feminine, caring for children. It's such an unusual situation. Often, we make our female characters heroic by having them be warriors or whatever. And don't get me wrong: I love Tinania and Emlin with her rock. But there's something about the whole Tathiel and the kids thing that just struck me as brilliant.

I also liked the part in "Valar" where Lathron has visions. That just fascinated me, so this was fun to write about here.

Glad you liked it.


DotReviewed Chapter: 2 on 2/25/2008
Guys, your kindness is overwhelming. I really thought I was seeing things when the story alert for this popped up in my inbox!

What a tense start! You reeled me straight back in to the story. Not to mention the fact that I could feel my chest tightening just reading about Lathronís struggle to breathe.

I couldnít decide who to feel sorrier for Ė Thranduil or Tathiel. Poor Thranduil, to have two of his sons bitten. And Tathiel is in a tough position trying to stay calm when she knows it doesnít look good for Lathron Ė and then to discover that Emlin is missing! Ack. It was a very effective moment, though, when no-one realises at first who sheís asking about her daughter. I love how Bregolas acts immediately.

His sensitivity to spider venom. No! Well, that makes things a bit more... complicated. No doubt Camnesta will be kicking himself that he didnít mention it but it probably just never occurred to him.

It stopped. That was a real fall-off-the-seat moment!

Thankfully I at least knew that Emlin was with TinŠnia. But wow, daw. Iíve seen you write gripping scenes plenty of times but the atmosphere and tension in this whole part is incredible. The whole forest seemed to be close to panic and, well, you can imagine how uncomfortable I was with the thought of that blasted spider overhead. Iím cringing even now. TinŠnia is amazing Ė you can really feel the conflict in her as she wants to just get rid of the spider if she can and yet wants nothing more than to protect Emlin from any further danger. Sheís absolutely that brave and tender soul that we all know but with more confidence now. I think I moaned out loud when she realises that Lathron is in such trouble in the midst of all this. Speaking of bravery, Emlin really shines here. Sheís just an elfling but thereís some strength in her. Not surprising, I suppose, knowing who her parents are!

What had been here, hidden somewhere, were the eggs. Now they were hatching. Oh God. Thatís just incredibly disgusting. Way to traumatise me!

Poor Legolas. Thank heavens for Ada, who tries to reassure him even while his other son lies in such danger. But I thought that spurt of guilt was very realistic.

And then, just incase I was getting complacent, we have Lathron struggling to communicate and then nearly losing himself again as he tries to reach his wife. Iím worn out!! Fascinating glimpse of how his visions work, though. And I love, love, love that TinŠnia can reach back and reassure him through their bond.

"Whee!" the spider said. My reaction at that point is unrepeatable in polite company ;-) Though the uh-oh made me laugh! And sigh in utter relief.

Iím still so impressed by Emlin. Sheís just so willing to do whatís necessary. Even when she doesnít want to leave TinŠnia alone.

"Breathe, Lathron," his father ordered, so he did. That made me smile. Yay for formidable fathers and obedient sons.

He wished he could smile. And that brought tears to my eyes.

The scene between Lathron and TinŠnia is very touching. He just adores her. And what a lovely insight into his character when she asks him about his visions. And not just his character but his motherís and his fatherís too. Iím glad he had his mother when he needed her most and I thought he showed a very deep appreciation of Thranduil when he says Adar was good about valuing the strength in each of us, even when he did not understand. As bad as it sounds, Iím glad in a way that they discovered his sensitivity to spider venom before he was destined to a job that heíd do wholeheartedly but that would never be his true place.

Legolas seems to be doing much better! Thankfully. And Emlinís back in her rightful place at his side. "I will be a healer and a warrior." Heh. Something tells me that whatever she chooses, Mirkwood will be lucky to have her.

Itís interesting to watch Legolas try to understand Lathron. I think theyíre very alike in their humility, even though all Legolas realises yet is that he had to act as he did because otherwise his brother would have been left alone. You can really see how having Bregolas and Lathron as his two role models could make him into Legolas of the Fellowship.

And that troublesome squirrel is back! He started this whole thing!

"I could be safe in more places if I had a sword." LOL!!! Nice one, Legolas. And a very fitting ending :-)

I canít possibly thank you both enough for this. I love this series and it made me so happy to see more of this story yesterday. Nilmandra, thank you for your generosity with this Ė and for giving me more Lathron! Ė and I sincerely hope things improve for you. And daw, you did an amazing job with the chapter. You should be very proud of yourself. Thank you for another wonderful gift. Iím so lucky in my friends.

Author Reply: I had a wonderful time writing this, Dot. I got hooked into writing about Lathron and Tinania, and was afraid I hadn't done justice to the kids, especially Emlin. But then Nilmandra beta read and said the Tinania/Emlin parts were the best in the chapter. So go figure. I can never tell!

As I was writing, I thought about how much you hate spiders and sat back for a moment. Then (I'm sorry) I laughed. I hope reading this didn't send you into too much trauma. C'mon. The baby spider was cute! Born to be bad, but cute. Whee!

One of the parts of "May the Valar Protect Them" that I liked the best was the portrayal of Lathron as visionary and not quite in sync with Thranduil. Well, you know how I like father/son conflict. So this story was a chance to play with that part of his personality.

Nilmandra was very generous to let me do this. I would have been sad if I to give one of my stories to someone else to write, and I kept asking her if she was sure she didn't mind. But she said go ahead, and I had a terrific week doing it. I woke up every morning glad to have it ahead of me.

I think many of us feel lucky in our online friends. I know I do. In your case, you're reaping what you sowed with your generous reviews and interesting conversation.

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