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My Brother's Keeper  by daw the minstrel 38 Review(s)
Asms2Reviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/16/2016
I thought it was suspicious when Thranduil seemed so uncharacteristically passive about Eilian's issues. He's the kind of father that would just step in and take control. So it totally made sense when the reveal came that Eilian was a secret agent. I figured something was up, but I wasn't entirely sure what the what going on until that moment. And then the scene at the beginning suddenly made sense (when Ithilden was trying to make sure an elf known for gossiping saw Eilian out of sorts before he took him into his office).

Someone in the family should have told Legolas what was going on once they realized how worried he was. And Legolas should totally have stayed with Maltanaur instead of running into the clearing. That could have been bad news! But that did mean we got to see Thranduil in action protecting his kids! :)

Fun read! I love your stories!!

Author Reply: Good point about Thranduil. He'd be staging an intervention and locking Eilian up where he eventually locks up Thorin and company until he was sure Eilian was clean and sober. This story was a ton of run to write and post because chapter by chapter, I could see reviewers getting suspicious, some of them sooner than others. I did try to play fair by putting in hints that something was up such as the gossipy elf in Ithilden's office.

When Legolas is a kid, there's some friction between him and Maltanaur because he's not sure he can trust Maltanaur to take good enough care of Eilian. From an adult point of view, that's preposterous because Maltanaur saved his old buddy Thranduil's son for him time and time again. But Legolas lost his mother and always has a fear somewhere that he'll lose someone else too.

Thank you for these lovely reviews that are brightening my day.

endorearwenReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/17/2013
Ended in tears with this one, Daw! So well written! The final image of Maltanaur and Hiolith was poignant and I found it most touching that you ended with the sentence: "He would stay here as long as he was needed." I don't think there was a better way to demonstrate the humility, mercy, compassion and loyalty that the elves have for one another. Given their lifespan, that is an awesome commitment to make.

I can't say I hardly know where to begin - that would really be a lie! ;-) Favourite scene - the cat! the cat! the cat! Most amusing! Alfirin would naturally want to do everything she could to help the Prince - perfectly sound motivation in my opinion. A little dab here and there - perfectly harmless! ;-) And I could almost feel Ithilden's hand wrapped tightly around my wrist as his breath shortened and his face took on some colour - swoon...

Now, about the rest of the story, very nicely plotted with Eilian! For the longest time I was like Legolas, afraid Eilian was using the dangwath. I really enjoyed the way you wrote about the effect of the shadow sickness on both Elves and Men - very insightful. Although the First and Second born are different in many ways, they also share some common frailties and I think you've done a great job demonstrating that in this story. I just LOVED the way Thranduil handled Turgon! (Oh, he must have enjoyed doing that!) It will be interesting to see if Turgon's character is in any way affected by the event - somehow I doubt it. Turgon is too free a spirit to let something as unimportant as a scolding from the King get him down!

PS - Thanks for throwing poor Ithilden a bone at the end where Alfirin is concerned! Took him long enough to realize she had called him by name... :-)

Author Reply: Ithilden is a dense male and thus does not realize how much a goner Alfirin is. But for two dignified people, this pair is having a hard time. I made myself laugh by having Alfirin's mother offer to "take a look." Actually, I still laugh at that.

When I made up the keepers (Legolas eventually gets one too), I had no idea how much they would grow on me. I think Thranduil owes Maltanaur a lot. Basically, he owes him his second son's maturity and possibly his life.

I had a great time fooling readers with this story. It was interesting to watch people catch on in the reviews, some of the sooner than others, but they all seemed to feel this terrific relief when they knew the truth.

You are coming up on a very old story of mine, then a newer one, then another old one. You'll see the characterizations haven't settle down yet, and the writing is rough. Be kind!

pipinheartReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/2/2005
Nice that Eilian was compliment by his father. But seems Legolas get to be at court, oh, my...
Maltanaur is seeing to a friend who was long forgotten, he is a good friend

Author Reply: I love Maltanaur. I've just been writing about him for my current story. Thranduil chose well when he named Maltanaur to be Eilian's bodyguard.

LKKReviewed Chapter: 7 on 9/28/2004
That was quite a Mirkwood Vice story you created, daw! I am always amazed at the wonderful twists & turns your stories take. You have an outstanding ability to write compelling and believable plots.

In today's atmosphere, it's sometimes hard to feel sympathy for those who become dependent on drugs. And even harder to feel anything other than disgust at those who deal them. Yet, you managed to show us that not everything is as black and white as we would like to believe. I'm glad Hiolith will be getting the help that he needs.

“I would never let any of you suffer if I could help you,” ... Ah, Thranduil. But that's exactly what you did when you refused to inform Legolas about Eilian's situation. I know you thought, rightly so, that Legolas would might accidentally give away the secret. But once you confined the child to his room, it was safe to relieve the young one's fears. At least, you came to realized that later. I guess you can tell, daw, that I agree with Ithilden. Thranduil tends to see Legolas as still a baby.

Speaking of Ithilden ... his early courtship of Alfirin was funny. A welcome comic relief to the tensions in the main plot. The poor boy. I laughed out loud when he realized that Alfirin called him by his name. (Did you ever see the Rankin & Bass Christmas special "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"? If you did, do you remember Rudolph's reaction after Clarice said he was cute? That's how I pictured Ithilden at that moment then. LOL)

I hope you don't mind, but I think in the future, I will wait to read your stories when they are completed like I did this time. Your writing hits my emotion buttons so often. I can't possibly go days and days without knowing how they end. Dang you! ;)


Author Reply: Thank you for the very kind comments on the plot, LKK. This one was kind of fun to do. My biggest problem was making it fit into ME. Nilmandra used to work at a VA hospital and saw addicted vets sometimes, so she was a big help to me in thinking about how this could go.

Thranduil does tend to see Legolas as a baby. I think he's clinging to that partly because his wife is gone. This child is the last child and is a link to her. But it drives Legolas crazy. You're so right. Thranduil should have told him.

Poor Ithilden. I made myself laugh by spilling tea on his lap and then having Alfirin's mother offer to 'take a look.' Could a mother possibly say anything more embarrassing?

Read the stories however works best for you, LKK. I'll always welcome your comments.

tigerlily713Reviewed Chapter: 7 on 9/5/2004
Great story! I am so happy to read about the lives and experiences of your characters! I can't wait to read more of your masterpieces!

Author Reply: Thank you, Lily. This one was fun. I had to really struggle to make drugs fit into ME, but it was an interesting challenge.

emjoReviewed Chapter: 7 on 9/3/2004
Daw, I know I have already reviewed this chapter but I was rereading some of your older stories and I came up with a question and since this is the only way I know of to contact you I thought I would give it a try. I don't know why this interests me so but in your world does Beliond go with Legolas to Ithilien? He has spent his whole life serving Mirkwood, but does he allow Legolas, who he has become so attached to, go establish a new realm on his own. I know you said you might have to write this story some day but I am so curious!

Author Reply: That's a good question, Emjo. It seems to me that a lot of people would have to make decisions about going to Ithilien or staying in Mirkwood. What does Annael do, for instance? I think that Beliond would go with Legolas. Beliond has no family in ME and I think that Legolas is as close as he gets to having one. Besides, he let the kid out of his sight once and look what happened! But I don't really know what will happen until I write the story. Characters have a way of doing things on their own without my permission. :-)

Brenda G.Reviewed Chapter: 7 on 9/3/2004
Kudos and congratulations, Daw. Another superb story. I have no words for how much I love Legolas at this age. Him deciding to take Eilian's protection into his own hands is so typical of any of Thranduil's brave sons, but in one so young! - a mark of courage that will only grow as does this precious elfling into a seasoned warrior of the Woodland Realm.

I love all of your stories. It would be very hard for me to pick a favorite out of the many you have written thus far, and I am so looking forward to tons and tons of new stories and adventures from you about this noble Mirkwood family.

I was surprised to see Legolas get his first "whipping" by his father, but sometimes the rod is warranted. A favored son is disciplined by the father who loves him. At least Legolas knows that he will never lose Thranduil's love. The scenes between this father and this son have been, over the years, particularly tender to behold.

Keep up the good work, and I look with delight to your next offering. Please don't make us wait too long!

Author Reply: Oh my goodness, Brenda. How nice to hear from you again.

I find adolescent Legolas to be very touching. He seems vulnerable to me. He is trying so hard to figure things out and be the person he thinks he needs to be, but he is inexperienced and makes mistakes.

I wouldn't exactly say he got a 'whipping.' Thranduil hit him once, although I thought the sword was hard and had enough bite to bruise. But I can only imagine Adar's frustration as he heard Legolas boast to Eilian that Eilian was lucky he was there, and the sword was in his hand. Legolas won't make that mistake again.

I think though that you're right that Legolas knows he can be 'bad' and be loved anyway. His family will forgive him anything he can imagine doing, including walking off to Mordor.

The KarenatorReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/31/2004
Early this morning, in the predawn darkness, I took my cup of coffee and reread this chapter one more time. (I was up alone, I might add. The ranger had yet to drag her sorry self from the warmth of her bed.) No matter how many times I read this, I still find myself smiling and cringing and waiting in anticipation for the big drug bust...*and* for Thranduil to bust!

Now, I have to say, I loved it when King Micro-manager told Ithilden that he could not control everything. I just love your Thranduil! He really is a good king and a good adar, but Eru love him, he can't see that his son is the spitting image of him. I loved Ithilden's line: “Are you advising me to return to the battle?” Ithilden asked dryly. That's what love is sometimes, I guess. Sweet, stiff Ithilden. You just gotta love him and his sweet, stiff adar. Wasn't there something about a stick being lodged LOL!

Legolas really did get off light. The kid just doesn't get it yet. I read what you replied to the ranger about how the realization of living in a warrior society came to Legolas in such a sad and dangerous way with Turgon's death. It was certainly a hard lesson. I think it was a hard lesson for all the family. Thranduil had over-shelterd Legolas and it came back to bite them all. As a parent, I think I can understand how much Thranduil wanted Legolas to be safe and to remain the last baby for as long as he could manage it. With Lorellin gone, he lacked her influence and balance in raising this last child and he made some mistakes. I can't help but think that Legolas was something like a final link with her, almost like still holding her in his arms, and he so wanted to hold on to that child. You have done such a good job of allowing Thranduil to be a parent with all the flaws and fears that all parents suffer but we rarely care to inspect too closely. We just do the best we can. And I think Thranduil was doing the best he could. Still, I want to join the ranger after Adar tucks the cocky lad into bed. We can tag-team him. I want to side with Thranduil in this. Legolas scares Thranduil almost beyond the circles of Arda when he takes off on his little adventure with Turgon. The urge to stop Legolas just won't go away. :>) Too late, I know.

Like the ranger, I was also very moved by the final scene with Hiolith and Maltanaur. There was so much strength in the simple embrace of a warrior who knew what pain was and wanted to offer some comfort to a fellow warrior. And it took much more strength than Hiolith knew he had to accept it. I liked that we were left with such a feeling of hope for this damaged warrior. He was back in the embrace of his people and the love he had forgotten. Gosh, daw, I'm getting all teary-eyed here. It was such a terrific ending.

This has been a delightful story for me to read. I have spent more time that I probably should admit trying to glean out clues and second guess where you were going in this tale. It was such fun to connect the dots. You wound it up without missing a clue and gave us a satisfying ending.

I'm sorry you missed the ranger's dramatic reading at GSP, too. But, IMO, the TSA employees kept opening those nifty sliding doors when there was no one wishing to exit, because they wanted to hear what was going to happen next! However, it's altogether possible that our pictures have already gone out over the wires. "Be on the lookout for two squeeing females speaking an incomprehensible language about an angry king." Just think, someone is working over time tonight trying to find out what dangwath is.

This last chapter just added to the enjoyment of a beyond-my-wildest-dreams wonderful weekend. All that was missing was Nilmandra. We'll get her there next time. Thanks, daw!


Author Reply: Oh that is SUCH a good point about Thranduil and Ithilden being alike! I'm laughing as I think about it. I suppose that's why they get along though -- they think quite a bit alike.

I think that as long as Thranduil could think of Legolas as a child, he could hold off a tiny bit of Lorellin's loss. They were still in the stage where Elven couple have children, which has to have been a closer one than those when Tolkien says they had other things to do and sometimes lived apart. And as long as the child is there, it must feel like she is around somewhere. I'm not expressing this very coherently (it's the pre-dawn darkness here too!). I guess I'm saying I think you're right. :-)

Hiolith was a minor character in this story, but he was an important one. I think other people (Eilian, Maltanaur, Thranduil) learned something about themselves and what they should have been doing from seeing Hiolith struggling. He was a warrior who had served the realm and he deserved respect and help when he needed it.

As for the weekend, I can't remember when I've had such a good time. I felt as if I was with friends I had known forever. :-)

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/31/2004
You and SWMBO are such gratifying readers!

And you are such an inspiring professor! [runs off to complete homework assignment]

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/31/2004
I guess She Who Must Be Obeyed and I already told you how much the TSA employees at GSP enjoyed our dramatic reading of this chapter; although my partner in crime and I should probably be more circumspect in the future when squeeing glee at Thranduil's impending wrath while sitting within view of Homeland Security officials....

I really love Eilian as an undercover cop. This could be a spin-off series - Mirkwood Vice. Please? Only with more shower scenes?

The cocky elfling got off easy, I thought. And I don't mean Turgon. Legolas is a smart kid with a heart of gold, but he's living in a warrior society that relies on military discipline for its survival. He's got to learn to obey orders even when he doesn't understand the reasons for them or he'll end up endangering his entire patrol every time he thinks he knows more than his commander. He also still seems awfully smug at the idea of Turgon being in trouble, but if I'm not mistaken, the heinous plot in question was hatched not by our favorite scapegoat but by one diminutive Thranduilion. The swat on the rump did not seem to inspire the proper spirit of contrition here. In fact, come to think of it, if Thranduil is finished tucking the lad in, the ranger would like a word with him!

The closing scene with Maltanaur and Hiolith was beautifully poignant and heartwarming. It is good to know that Hiolith will be looked after by his fellow warriors again. I think this really was a wake-up call for Eilian, and maybe for Maltanaur as well. Eilian probably never fully realized before how blessed he is by the love of his family and the friendship and support of his comrades. I don't think he considered before that there were those less fortunate than himself, who faced the same shadow he did, but alone.

Thanks for the story and for the inspiration, Daw.

Author Reply: You and SWMBO are such gratifying readers! I wish I'd been there to hear the reading.

If I write about the year after Eilian and Celuwen married, then it's highly likely there will be some nakedness somewhere. They're newlyweds, after all!

You're right about Legolas. I think he doesn't really settle down until after Turgon is killed in "Prodigal Sons." At that point, Ithilden tells him exactly what you said here, finishing by saying Legolas is going to have to prove himself capable of serving as a warrior. And Thranduil takes a look at the son he has been sheltering, notices that he's about old enough to be novice, and calls his training to a halt for six months so Legolas can think about what he really wants to do. Turgon's death and the reaction of these two finally sobered him.

That's a good insight about Eilian, I think. Given his temperament, he's lucky he had firm parenting.

Thank you for all the wonderful talk about writing this past weekend. I had an absolutely fantastic time.

PS I see you're working on your reviewing. :-)

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