Stories of Arda Home Page
About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search

A Creature of Fire  by daw the minstrel 26 Review(s)
Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/6/2005
Oh my word, Daw - that was tense!!

I'll start at the beginning. I liked Beliond admitting he didn't know what was happening, but actually letting Legolas do his job. He's come a long way.

Next, I liked this line: 'The bearing of the Dwarf in the lead looked familiar to Legolas, and suddenly he realized that it reminded him of Thranduil’s.' What would Thranduil say to that? Being compared to a dwarf?

Once they get to Dale, the action is amazing. And Galelas gives Legolas a grateful look? Wonders will never cease! I do hope you're not going to kill young Vanduil as well. I like him.

I'm glad that Legolas got to see Tuilinn again, but I can't help thinking of the poor girl carried off by Smaug, who was keeping him 'busy' :(

Good ending - you don't usually do cliff hangers - but I need to know if the next chapter needs a tissue warning!


Author Reply: Tense is good, I think. :-)

Beliond and Legolas have come a long way together. This story is set later than any except "Tangled Web" or "Question of Duty," and they've come to appreciate one another I think.

Presumably no one is daft enought to tell Thranduil that he and Thror were a lot alike. I wouldn't do it!

I'm trying to show a little growth in Galelas, Vanduil, and Sinnarn, who all rise to the occasion, I think, because they were stronger than they knew all along.

Tissue warning? Sigh. I'm afraid I hope so.

Alison HReviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/6/2005

I read this heart-stopping chapter before going to work and I couldn't wait to get home to read it again! The tension throughout was relentless and I loved every minute!

Legolas was in command despite being scared almost out of his wits thinking about Tuillion and he was good for the other elves, I think.He was the leader they needed.

Ahh, the roof caved in! How could you leave it like that, Daw! I will be biting my nails until the next update when, hopefully, a certain other son of Thranduill, may make an appearance--please?

Wonderful story!


Author Reply: I'm extremely glad you thought this was tense! It turns out that was hard to do.

I thought Legolas did very well. He managed to keep his personal concerns under enough control that he could think about helping the soldiers of Dale for instance. He sent the civilians on their way under Sinnarn's care, and he gave Vanduil good advice. Of course, as you say, then the roof fell in.

Another Thranduilion? Hm. Well, they are on the eastern edge of the forest!

DotReviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/6/2005
Um, I think there may be something wrong with SOA because I’m not seeing the whole chapter… I just know you didn’t mean to leave it there…;-)

This is incredible! My pulse is still racing. Legolas must have been just sick with fear. How far are they from the rest of the patrol? I was surprised that there was no suggestion that they should get the rest of them. I do like the way they all immediately, unquestioningly, follow Legolas in the face of such a horrific sight before them.

And those Dwarves! My heart went out to them. I’d never have remembered about Thorin fleeing with his family. I take it he’s one of the Dwarf-children? I vaguely remember something about Balin being there too. I really like Thrór here. I thought it was a great moment when Legolas recognises a certain regal bearing to him and speaks to him with appropriate respect. Thrór’s courtesy in the midst of such a disaster was quite touching too. How unspeakably terrible for them to be experiencing this after being driven from their home by dragons before. Poor Legolas doesn’t seem to be able to think very straight, although he’s still doing a good job as lieutenant. I thought his almost overwhelming fear really came across when he realises that he simply can’t think about anyone else’s loss right now, so great is his worry and apprehension.

I don’t know what to say about the scenes they encountered coming towards Dale and in the town itself. It was all so amazingly, horrible vivid. I don’t think my brain even took in half of it. Apart from the overall sense of destruction and panic, I thought you did such a great job in showing the terror of the people and the dreadful impact of what was happening in the little encounters with some of the people of Dale. The hysterical woman, the distressed man, the older man who wouldn’t let go of his wife’s shawl… It almost felt wrong to be watching such anguish and desperation, but I was glued to it. I can see why Sinnarn was so upset at the sight of the woman’s grief. I must say, I thought the descriptions of the sounds around them were particularly effective. There’s such a sense of chaos to it all.

Poor Vanduil. He seems completely overcome by all this. He’s lucky he has Galelas and even Legolas can step back from his own worries and take a moment to reassure him. He’s not doing too badly, though. But if he survives this – and I couldn’t cope with the thought of Galelas losing him – he’ll need to be sent home on a long leave, I think…

I like Gwigon too. He seems very calm and an experienced soldier. At least someone appears to be thinking clearly. Pity he doesn’t survive. Or I presume he doesn’t. But at least the mother and younger brother are on their way to safety or we’d have no Bard!

Tuilinn! Legolas seemed so sure that he felt her presence that I kept waiting for her to appear. Of course, she has to have a child with her! My heart was in my mouth when Legolas made a dash for her. What a brave, foolish thing to do.

Beliond must be at his wits end trying to deal with a frantic, unpredictable Legolas, who seems to be taking absolutely no notice of him whatsoever. I laughed, slightly hysterically, when Legolas shoved the child into his arms. It was an almost surreal moment to see Beliond’s ada instinct take over.

The roof fell in?? And is Galelas still outside?? Are Sinnarn and Nithron safe down by the river? Where’s Fyndil? Aargh. How can you leave it there?!!

Author Reply: Where’s Fyndil?

Oh crap. I forgot Fyndil. I'm sure Fyndil is around and will turn up any minute now. I have things under control. Yes, I do.

This patrol was at the eastern edge of their territory, so a couple of days away from the rest of the Northern Border Patrol. At this point, they're probably closer to the Eastern Border Patrol and the eastern edge of the woods in general. Hm. Who's there who might come running at the sign of danger, I wonder?

When I started writing this story, I looked up what Tolkien has to say about the arrival of Smaug and it's pretty much all told by Thorin in the early part of The Hobbit, so that's why I remembered about the Dwarves fleeing. It must indeed have been a terrible moment for them.

I know it's sick but I'm glad you thought the scenes at Dale were horrible. I didn't want to underplay how terrible the descent of a huge, fire-breathing dragon must have been. And I was interested in the reactions of not only Legolas, but also Galelas, Vanduil, and Sinnarn, who each has something to demonstrate here, I think.

I don't think Gwigon survives. Tolkien never says how many sons Girion has, but he refers to the "eldest" (the one whose armor was bought by the emeralds of Girion) so I assume there's more than one, and so far as I can see, only one survived.

I'm afraid Beliond's day is about to go further downhill.

NilmandraReviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/6/2005
Well, this is one of those times when I am extremely glad to only read and write about Middle-earth, and not live in it. Dragons roasting a town and carrying off maidens is a very unpleasant thought.

I do like how calm Gwigon was - he came across as a tried and true soldier, one doing all he can despite the hopelessness of it, thinking rationally and with pirorities intact about how to save their people.

I do like the image of Beliond crooning and jiggling the child.

Author Reply: Thorin Oakenshield's description of the scene sounded pretty grim to me too. I figure Gwigon is the "eldest son" whose armor was paid for with the emeralds of Girion, and I also figure he didn't survive Smaug's arrival. So far as I can see, only Girion's wife and younger son escaped down the river.

Beliond has a child of his own and went into ada mode automatically. It's like riding a bike!

thechevinReviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/6/2005
Oh but this was so terrifying I found I could not bear to read it but couldn't stop either I was so caught up in the horror of the attack and Legolas' worry.
You have managed to make the whole terrifying thing so real the panic and pain
tremendous writing and then just when I am thinking things could not get worse you leave us with our hearts in our mouths yet again!

Author Reply: So I guess it was tense? Good! I worked at that. I kept trying to imagine what it would be like to be in a town that was being fire bombed. The trouble is when you're writing it and rewriting it, after a while it just looks flat so it's hard to tell. But readers seem to think it was scary so my work is done! :-)

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/6/2005
Can you feel all the pulses racing as your readers rush through this chapter? It's wonderful - and is a perfect counterpoint to the serenity of some of the earlier part of the tale.

Legolas would have raced to Dale on his own, regardless - so it's just as well that he is the lieutenant and his duty also leads him to find out what has happened on the mountain.

And to meet Dwarves - that would have been hard enough, considering his last experience with the race and dragons, but to realise that, with Vanduil exchanged for Amdir, he was with warriors who were there then must have been chilling. I love it that he can recognise authority at a glance - and that he and Thror are both wary enough to keep some of the party back.

'For a second, Legolas looked after him, seeing not a member of an untrustworthy race, but someone who had lost nearly everything he had.' Good -I'm glad he had that moment of vision: hopefully it will come back to him later. (And maybe it contributes to Sinnarn's interest in dwarves. Until after the Event with 13 of the little blighters, which might well have soured him on the race.)

I love the song of the bells echoing in the town, warning of danger, the steam, the fires - it's so dramatic to see and smell and feel and hear. Appeals to all the senses in just the right proportions.

Vanduil has a tendency to freeze at inconvenient moments - which I hope he will overcome QUICKLY - or the fate of the curled-up hedgehog in the headlights of a car might well be his.

And the maiden! Not only horrifying in itself, but raising a very real fear in Legolas's mind. (How do you think dragons react if they discover they are not maidens? Do you think he spits them out?)

Gwigon shouldn't dismiss the half dozen Wood Elves too quickly - he is, after all, facing one of the few (if not only) people in Middle Earth who has actually killed a dragon. The desolation of Dale is frightening - knowing how few survive and seeing how helpless they are against Smaug.

'his nephew’s distressed face as Sinnarn put out a hand to try to soothe the hysterical woman' Has Sinnarn just developed a mission to protect the weak and defend the defenceless? His determined light-heartedness and frivolous behaviour has been almost because he refused to see what he could do against the forces that the Wood Elves face. But this kind of traumatic event makes it essential to take a stand of some sort, and I can see it changing him.

And Tuilinn - she would come running down the street with a maiden-hungry dragon in the air and a child in her arms. Just as Legolas would leap to the rescue and tuck her into as much shelter as they can find. But the roof? Oh dear. It doesn't look good. Although I'm sure she has plenty of other opportunities to get herself into trouble.

But Galelas! The lad is performing well. He's protecting Vanduil and defending Eilian's little brother - and almost looking at Legolas approvingly as the king's youngest shows that he's not such a bad leader. But Beliond (and Nithron) must be having kittens. This was not what Ithilden or Thranduil had in mind when they tucked the two youngest away in the Northern patrol.

I hope you don't have too much on at work at the moment - this is not a story that will be better stretched over a long period. More. Soon. Please.

Author Reply: It took me a while to realize that every single Elf in that patrol except Vanduil was present in my previous story when the dragon flamed the dwarf family. For one thing, I somehow thought I'd never had Legolas and Galelas serve together before. Having them run into Thror was something I hesitated about because I thought it might seem unlikely but Thorin Oakenshield (one of the children, along with Balin) says that his father and grandfather escaped from the mountain and then they all left together. It was just too cool to pass up the chance. I took most of the details of the attack from Thorin's description actually. He talks about how the river rose in steam and the bells sounded the alarm.

I laughed when I read your question about what the dragon does if he's mistaken in his choice of "maiden." Who knows?

And I also dithered around about the Desolation of Smaug. He apparently blasted all the trees on the mountain and around the town. So one thing I wondered about was how close the woods came to Dale before he arrived. Fonstad's Atlas of Middle-earth shows a gap that I assume is based on the map that appeared in The Hobbit, but what was that area like before Smaug's arrival?

In the face of true danger, Galelas, Vanduil, and Sinnarn are all doing well with their individual struggles.

I'm glad you liked this, Bodkin. As it happens, I have to teach tonight and tomorrow is busy too, but I can start the next chapter on Friday.

esamenReviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/5/2005
Oh, I was so happy to see that you had updated! And what a fantastic ride this chapter takes us on! Wow, woman, you can write. Every word is perfectly placed. The action, description -- everything is just amazing. I can't stop praising every little detail -- Thror, the dragon, the bowshots, Legolas's tenuous mental bond with Tuillin, everything.

I'm sure that everyone else is hollering in frustration at the nerve-wracking ending! But I am laughing my head off, because in my own story I'm stopped at a cliffhanger moment as well. In fact, some walls come down on my own characters in my story. It was just too funny to read such a similar scene in yours. I will email you my new chapter tomorrow and you'll see what I mean. The chapter's only halfway written, but this section ends on a cliffhanger, and it is only fair to make you read it after what you have done to all of us.

Oh, please post the next chapter soon, and I hope that Legolas comes in for lots of heroic, sacrificial action and heartfelt h/c before the story is over. Have I ever said that before? Just reminding you. :-P Happy typing!

Author Reply: Maybe we're in some sort of psychic connection! I can't imagine the circumstances in which walls would collapse on your characters.

Anyway, I'm glad you found it exciting. I struggled along trying to remind myself that I wasn't just describing what happened (although that turned out to be tricky enough because it's hard to imagine such a scene) but what it meant to people.

And Legolas is always heroic. :-)

Frodo3791Reviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/5/2005
I probably should be used to this with you, but... ah! The cliffhangers! They hurt! This was a very exciting chapter, and you definitly left it in the midst of an excitement. Just when I got over my surprise that Tuilinn was still alive, rocks fall down on her... and everybody else! I can't wait for you to continue!

Author Reply: I knew it was a cliffhanger, but it felt to me like I'd been writing a long time and that was as good a place to leave it as any. :-)

I'm glad you thought it was exciting. I was a little worried it would be flat. I have to teach tonight, and then tomorrow I have to drive from Ames to Waterloo after work, but I'll start the next chapter on Friday.

ElemmíreReviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/5/2005
Aghhhhh! You do know how to write a cliffhanger! This is a great story, I hope we get the next chapter soon!


Author Reply: Thank you! :-)

The next chapter will probably be along soon. I can't stand to leave them there either.

VanyalindieReviewed Chapter: 7 on 4/5/2005
Arrghh! Nooo! Dont stop yet!
Oh gosh, daw! How can you do this! In my anxiousness I sent off a review before I had typed anything into it! lol Im a long-time lurker-reader of yours, and I simply had to leave a review (quick and short) for you this time. The sense of urgency in this chapter is very evident and well-paced in my opinion. I thought it a little odd that Legolas would meet Thror, but it gave a nice twist to things, I think I like it. lol I also like how you've described the victims'reactions and fear, Legolas especially. I feel terribly sorry for him and I am right along with him searching for Tuilinn right now lol. Now, I simply wish that you'd hurry up and resolve this before I go mad! :D

Great chapter,

~vanya (VG)

Author Reply: Oh my. Thank you. I'm so glad it felt urgent.

I did hesitate a little about Thror. But in The Hobbit, Thorin Oakenshield, who was a child when this happened, describes running off with his father and grandfather. So if the Elves came as Smaug was on the rampage, then they would have been in the same area at the same time. And in the end, I couldn't resist. :-)

As you probably know, I'm an unnaturally fast updater, so I'll get the next chapter along soon, I hope.

Thank you for letting me know you're enjoying this.

First Page | Previous Page | Next Page | Last Page

Return to Chapter List