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My Brother's Keeper  by daw the minstrel 38 Review(s)
SofiaReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/26/2004
Wow. Thranduil was really, really furious. And that was an impressive rescue.
Nothing like a father-son moment. :) Great story. Loved it.

Author Reply: Really, really furious captures the situation exactly! Thranduil was most furious at the men who were selling the herb and were threatening his sons, but was pretty unhappy with Legolas too. And when Legolas told Eilian he was lucky Legolas was there, that just pushed Adar right over the edge.

But Thranduil also was good with each of his sons, and their mutual love was still there. :-)

DuchessReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/26/2004
Fantastic! I was worried there for a second, but see I shouldn't have been. *vbg*

I'm soooo glad Hiolith is getting the help he needs too. *happy sigh*

As usual, you have done an outstanding job and I love it, recommending it be read by my friends. :):):)

Author Reply: Thank you, Duchess. Legolas probably scared the wits out of you like he did out of Thranduil. :-)

Hiolith is an interesting character. I thought he needed to be drawn back into the community, and Maltanaur is a tough, wise old bird who is just the one to support him while the healers help him get off the herb.

If you're recommending it, I'm loving it!

esamenReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/26/2004
I so enjoyed reading every line of this story! So many wonderful moments! Here are a few of my favorites:

"Are you advising me to return to the battle?” Ithilden asked dryly.

Thranduil laughed. “I suppose I am.”

Oh, these two are wonderful together. I've been thinking a lot about Thranduil's and Ithilden's relationship to each other and to the woods. . . .that biological, organic relationship that is not a political, selfish kind of relationship that so many human kings and sons have demonstrated. As I remember some other moments in your stories, Ithilden has no problem providing silent, respectful backup to his father in official situations. Given their special magical relationship with Arda and the woods, I have a feeling that if their roles were suddenly reversed, Thranduil would have no problem playing second fiddle to Ithilden, either, because what each of them does is ultimately in service of the same goal. In some ways they seem almost "equal," although for the time being Thranduil is king and Ithilden is second. I know it's your story and not mine, but you have to admit you must be a pretty good story teller if you've got me thinking this deeply about it!

"I think I will go and look in on Legolas."


“Left the palace?” Thranduil asked incredulously. Turgon nodded. In one lunge, Thranduil crossed the rest of the short distance to the bed, grasped a handful of Turgon’s tunic, and pulled him up onto his knees. “Where did he go?”

Whew. Admirable restraint, Thranduil, although you sure do look scary when you do that.

“Yes,” said a cold voice. “Let him go.” And if Rhon had not been holding him, Legolas’s legs would have given way beneath him when he saw Ithilden standing behind Sirard, with the point of his sword prodding the Man’s back.

Fantastic action writing. You visualized the scene perfectly. Love those deus ex machinas dropping in once in a while. What's a good fic for if not for these heart-stopping moments of glory?

"Thranduil smiled nastily at Rhon. “In that case, I will let you live,” he said, and Legolas saw Rhon sway slightly.

Mmmm, yes, Thranduil, I love it when you do that.

Legolas pulled away from him and grinned. He was safe; Eilian was safe; and Eilian was not taking dangwath. “You are lucky I was here,” he said cockily. And then he jumped and gasped as something hard struck him on the backside.

This had me rolling on the floor. "Cockily" !!!!!!!!!!! "Cockily"!!!!!!! Legolas, are you going to grow up pretty soon?

"Legolas suddenly felt overwhelmingly tired and tears prickled his eyes. “I was afraid for Eilian, and you and Ithilden just kept saying not to worry, and I thought you were not doing anything, so I thought I had to.” To his horror, his voice quavered, and immediately, his father was out of the chair and onto the edge of the bed, drawing him into an embrace."

Awwwww, daw . . . . love conquers all, again.

Do you ever think that this story is kind of like Bonanza, with Dad and Hoss and Adam and Little Joe? Maybe you ought to get an agent.

"Hiolith bit his lip, but Maltanaur saw, rose from his chair, sat on the edge of his bed, and took the now shuddering Hiolith in his arms. He began to rock slightly murmuring soothing words as he had done for his daughter when she was small, as he had done for Eilian when the shadow sickness had finally overwhelmed him, as others had done for him in those moments of his long life when grief had overcome him. This summer day would be long, but he had time. He would stay here as long as he was needed."

And something for the recovering sufferer in each of us. Nice job wrapping up all those loose ends with Eilian, Ithilden/Alfirin, and Hiolith. I'd review every scene but this email is already too long! I guess you get the point . . . fantastic story and I loved every line!

Hugs and congrats,

Author Reply: I think you're right on about Thranduil and Ithilden. They are quite a lot alike in most ways, and particularly in their devotion to the realm. Also, I think the Ithilden has managed to establish himself as an adult in Thranduil's eyes and, even more importantly, in his own. He's able to separate himself from his father in a way that Thranduil actually approves of, as opposed to Eilian's more rebellious behavior.

I'll bet that once Turgon recovered, he thought of this as a wonderfully exciting experience. Not that he'd want to encounter Thranduil all the time, of course. That would cramp his style. Now I like scary Thranduil myself. I just don't want it aimed at me.

Legolas will grow up eventually, but he's the equivalent of 14, and my experience with 14 year old boys says that they can be inappropriately (and stupidly) cocky. I think it was that comment that pushed Thranduil over the edge.

Hiolith was an interesting character for me. He needed to be brought back into the community, I thought.

DotReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/26/2004
What a fantastic chapter. I loved every second of it. Thranduil is just amazing.

“Are you humoring me?” LOL. He sounds utterly appalled. I'm guessing Thranduil likes a good, tough chess match and does NOT appreciate anyone going easy on him. And you know, for some reason the image of these two playing chess together really tickled me... I wonder who usually wins?

Now, what courtier was brave enough to include Thranduil in gossip about his son?! I bet whoever it was won't be doing that again in a hurry. I thought Thranduil's 'advice' to his son was just right for Ithilden. He'd probably find it harder than Eilian or Legolas would to recover from embarrassing himself but he definitely wouldn't run away just because something is difficult.

Oh how I cringed when Thranduil decided to visit Legolas. I can't believe he grabbed Turgon by the tunic! I'd be petrified! I suspect that it will make little difference to Turgon, though. Besides, it actually isn't his fault at all this time. He'd have gone away if the guards hadn't allowed him in and Legolas is the one who disobeyed Thranduil. Not that Thranduil will care how involved Turgon is - involved at all is likely to be enough to have another black mark against him in the king's book. Oh, and that poor guard...

I'm so glad Thranduil decided that he and Ithilden would go and find Legolas. It wouldn't have been half as interesting if he had allowed Ithilden to organise a patrol. I had to laugh at Turgon trying to leave - did he really think he could just go home now?!

Poor Legolas seems to have only completely grasped how dangerous the situation is when Maltanaur tells him he needs to be free to use his weapon. I like the way he completely relies on Eilian's performance rather than anything Maltanaur says to know whether or not he's been told the truth of the situation. I thought it was a nice touch that it's only Eilian's scorn for his family that truly makes Legolas see that he's acting. How very convincing he is too. "I’ve seen the king’s son. He has a stick shoved permanently up his arse.” Oh, daw, that's hilarious. The funniest thing is that Eilian and Legolas both realise immediately that it's Ithilden he's talking about.

I don't know whether to think that Legolas was brave or stupid. But whichever, there's no doubt that he loves his brother. I know Maltanaur couldn't really do much because of their positions but I get the impression that Legolas hasn't exactly decided to fully trust him yet.

"...he saw Ithilden standing behind Sirard, with the point of his sword prodding the Man’s back." Guess he heard that "stick up his arse" comment, then...

I like that Thranduil attempts to be as fair as he can with Bierd. Bierd seems to genuinely understand that some people need this herb to ease their suffering. When he explains that “Not everyone can do as the healers ask" it seems to have helped Thranduil see how hard it is for Hiolith and what it must have cost him to agree to participate in Eilian's plan. I'm so glad he won't lock him up. Not that I ever actually thought he would;-)

Thranduil whacked Legolas in the backside! I know that Thranduil was frustrated, angry and frightened but it still made me laugh... If Legolas had any sense he wouldn't have acted so cockily but then, I guess relief will do that to a person.

I thought it was really touching that Thranduil allows Legolas to lie down and covers him with the blankets. Thranduil seems to have taken it for granted that Legolas would realise that he would never ignore his sons if he thought they were in trouble, but obviously this is why Legolas was so shocked and upset by his and Ithilden's behaviour. I thought both Thranduil and Legolas did a fairly good job of explaining how they saw the situation. I take it that Thranduil isn't about to suddenly start telling Legolas "things like Annael’s adar tells him.” He clearly wants to keep this son sheltered a little longer even when it's increasingly obvious that he can't. I suppose though that I have to allow for the fact that he's feeling his way a little with this son as a single parent. I'm still grinning at how satisfied the two of them are that Thranduil frightened Turgon.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see Eilian in such good spirits. At least he finally has a chance to allow himself to recover. How lovely that Thranduil sent his breakfast to his room! “I had thought I might go and visit a friend.” I love the way Thranduil presumes it's a 'she'. I'm trying to place this story in your timeline. Is Celuwen not gone to the settlement? If she's around she wasn't very supportive. Of course, Eilian has many other 'friends' too. "Ithilden is making sure the truth is spread as widely as possible, but I think it best that everyone has a chance to see you walking with me while I look approving." I just love how aware Thranduil is of himself. He never ceases to amaze me either. God, it's just so wonderful to think that he does this for his son when he knows his reputation has taken a bit of a battering. Or reinforcing, depending on what people thought of Eilian in the first place, I suppose.

“Think nothing of it, Ithilden.” Yes! Yes! We have progress! Bet she was embarrassed when she realised what she said, though... Is this before 'See the Stars'? Because isn't Ithilden still afraid she likes Penntalion in that? Crikey, if Thranduil is frustrated at this stage of their relationship, he must be cracking up by the time they become betrothed.

The ending was perfect. Maltanaur really seems to regret allowing Hiolith get to this stage. And what strength of character Hiolith has. I hope he gets well - I'm so glad he has the selfless Maltanaur by his side. Clearly more people than Eilian are lucky to have him.

I'm really looking forward to re-reading this story all in one go. It was very cleverly written and I enjoyed it all the way. :-)

Author Reply: I think Thranduil would be insulted if he thought someone was going easy on him in a chess match, duel, whatever. Actually, which one of them wins most often is a good question. I'm wondering if maybe Thranduil's impatience does him in sometimes. It must have been a shock to him the first time Ithilden beat him though.

Ithilden is a pretty determined, self-confident guy so this situation is very disturbing to him. He's used to being in control. This story is set before "See the Stars," which is why I had to keep the romance uncertain, because in that story, as you say, he still thinks she might like Penntalion. Fitting things into my own time line is hard sometimes because I wind up boxing myself in.

Once Turgon recovered, he probably thought this was the most interesting thing that has happened in a long time. I doubt if he'd want to trade parents with Legolas, but then he had probably already concluded that. And the very thought would make Thranduil moan.

Legolas did focus on Eilian. It's Eilian he trusts, not Maltanaur. With a rather wishful thinking kind of reasoning, he's decided this is all Maltanaur's fault, after all. And I'm afraid neither Eilian nor Legolas had any trouble recognizing the description of Ithilden. They are both ticked that an outsider use it, but they recognized it!

I think Legolas's cockiness was the last straw for Thranduil. He hears that comment and he just sees red. But then, he does try to grope to some sort of understanding with Legolas once they get home. He has this perceptive, sensitive kid who needs to understand why things are the way they are. This is not Ithilden, and it's not Eilian. I think he misses naneth.

Celuwen has gone to the settlement. Eilian is just passing time until she comes to her senses and decides to bond with him. Seeing other maidens is sure to make that happen faster! I think Thranduil was probably cringing at the damage to Eilian's reputation all the way along and planning to do repairs as soon as he could.

Maltanaur is wonderful.

NilmandraReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/26/2004
I think I missed the last chapter :( This has been one of the hardest stories for me to review, because I always worried I would give something away!

This was a hard story to make believable, but the end result is wonderful and it was an entertaining read. Hiolith turned out as a well intentioned but in way over his head and in need of help elf, and I really liked Maltanaur. The same guy who would throw himself in front of an arrow for Eilian, will squash Legolas into the dirt if the kid endangered Eilian, and holds Hiolith in his arms as the elf goes through a planned withdrawal. What a great character.

Sorry to Ithilden and Alrifin for being the comic relief, but everyone must serve a purpose in a story :D.

Author Reply: I really, really valued your help on this one. Making this believable in ME was a struggle and I so much appreciate your helping me think that through. I also valued your experience in working with veterans with drug problems. Like Hiolith, I was in way over my head on that one.

Maltanaur knows you are eyeing Eilian with less than honorable intentions, so you just remember him tossing Legolas into the dirt and planting a knee between his shoulder blades!

Reviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/26/2004
“No,” Thranduil cut him off. “There is no time. We will have to make do with you and me, my guards and this fool.”

That is a hilarious line! I can just see Thranduil absolutely loosing his mind! And he actually swatted Legolas. I can definitely see that. Love all the conversations in this chapter. They are all perfect. Great story!

Author Reply: Thank you!

I tried to imagine myself as a parent whose 14 year old son had snuck off into the night to 'help' an undercover vice cop. The very thought made me faint! Thranduil was at his wits end and then Legolas tells Eilian that he is lucky Legolas was there. That did it for Adar!

jebbReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/26/2004
A wonderful end to a wonderful story only one complaint!
It ended too soon for my liking.
Thranduil was magnificent and showed himself once again to be a marvellous father to all his sons
Good advice, praise and a little judicious chastisement as Eilian so rightly says 'Adar you never cease to amaze me'
I do hope we will see another story soon although I know you are now back at work
many thanks for a great tale so brilliantly told

Author Reply: I have no attention span, Judy! I had to end it!

Thranduil really does his best with three very different sons, but he misses their mother every day. I suspect he worries most about Eilian, but Legolas certainly drove him over the edge in this one.

Thank you for your kind words. I really do get excited every time a review arrives. I am completely pathetic on the topic!

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/26/2004
I'm sorry to see this end, but what a satisfying ending! Thank you, Daw. I'm glad to see Hiolith finally being cared for properly - knowing how you recently spring-cleaned extraneous OCs, I half-thought he may die heroically saving Eilian or Legolas. I liked the closing scene with Maltanaur, and would love to have read when Maltanaur comforted Eilian when the shadow hit him.

On the whole, Thanduil wasn't as mad as I thought - but I loved it when he found Turgon in Legolas's room! And he slapped Legolas on the backside, too! I go with the theory that elves would never use physical punishment on their children, but am not in the least surprised that he did this time. I would too.

Great story, Daw. (And BTW, I know exactly how a review makes you feel!)


Author Reply: I can't seem to stop myself from spawning OCs. Hiolith was just interesting to me once I got going on him. I could imagine all this backstory for him that I didn't have space to use and that no one else would probably care as much about anyway. And Maltanaur too is growing on me as a character. *I* would like to read about him comforting Eilian!

I think Thranduil took a lot of his anger out on the Men. Eilian once told Legolas that Thranduil could be pushed to hit him if he was concerned about his safety and could think of no other means to stop him from doing something. I think Legolas just pushed too hard here and then actually boasted to Eilian that he was lucky Legolas was there. That was the last straw for Adar!

mistry89Reviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/26/2004
This was such a wonderfully "full" story, naughty elflings, young love, plots, Shadow, Thranduil the Unexpected .... and the laugh I let out when he smacked Legolas with his sword! Two cats (having a nice post-prandial wash) were startled enough to leave ...

I particularly like it when there is a hint of former (or a precursor) or latter behaviour, and in this story, Bierd's concern for the young one suggests another possible explanation for Legolas's apparent ease (well, less than a son of Thranduil might demonstrate!) in accepting travelling with such a motely crew on the quest.

Thank you very much (and I'm off to read Nilmandra's Thranduil the less than accomplished lover story - thanks for the rec!)

Author Reply: I love a reader who really does laugh out loud!

One of the things I like about writing these pre-quest tales is that we know what Legolas's future will be, even though none of the characters knows. So we can see Legolas moving toward that future, which might not be the one his family would choose for him, even though they have to be proud of him for choosing it. The values they teach him lead him to go where they don't want him to go, and I love the poignancy of that.

Nilmandra also wrote a lovely, sexy Thranduil story called "Eilian's Begetting Day." It's here on SoA too.

Rose SaredReviewed Chapter: 7 on 8/26/2004
You left me with tears in my eyes in sympathy for that poor sad Hiolith. Lovely story, thanks so much for the entertainment!

Author Reply: Thank you, Rose. In writing this, I was interested in the concept of community and we all owe to one another. I think that's a question that comes up for Legolas when he decided to go on the quest rather than return home, so I was interested in the attitude toward it that one might see in the Wood-elves.

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