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A Creature of Fire  by daw the minstrel 39 Review(s)
Small TriumphsReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/9/2005
Oh, man. I had this gut-wrenching feeling it wouldn't end well, but there was always that slim amount of hope that it would all be okay... So much for that.

First of all, the point of view and perspective of Legolas in this chapter was absolutely amazing and realistic. I loved how his whole perspective of what was going on was a sort of detatched bemusement and overall numbness that made the scene so believable. His stream of consciousness allowed us to see everything unfold in the same confusion and horror as he witnessed it. I am not weeping, Legolas thought dully. Why is that? Great line! I've definately had that feeling where I should be having a certain reaction, I should be feeling this, but am just too numb or distant to do anything more than think it.

It was satisfying to see that you didn't just express the emotion as "Legolas felt this" or "He felt that." You showed us his turmoil and grief and emotion by showing us through his slow actions, numbness, and train of thoughts- something extremely difficult to do (for me, at least.)

Poor Legolas. The poor boy has been through so much in his life! It really makes you wonder just what else has to happen before he finally hits his breaking point. And knowing Legolas, he's probably going to assume the guilt. He's definately gonna need some family love here. At least Sinnarn and Beliond are there with him.

And three cheers for Beliond while we're at it! Good Lord, he must have been having a panic attack throughout this whole thing! I wonder just how frantic he must have been while waiting for Legolas to first answer his calls. And while he feels for Legolas and certainly liked Tuilinn, I bet he just can't help but think how it might've been Legolas dead amoung the rocks. I also loved how he really stepped into the command in place of the grieving and mournful Legolas.

Great chapter! Wonderful!

~Small Triumphs

Author Reply: No, it didn't end well. Sigh. This story is supposed to explain why Legolas is still single at the time of the Quest, and lost love was the best I could do with that.

Usually in a story, I jump to different characters' POVs in different chapters or sections, but in this one, I decided to stick with Legolas, and I've learned a lot from doing it. One of the reasons this chapter is a little short is that I could do that thing about showing his numbed feelings for only so long before I had to stop. It's so tempting to jump away and say, "he felt this," just like you said. But sticking in close with him left me kind of stunned myself too.

Legolas needs to go home, but I'm not sure he's going to see that.

Beliond rocks (no pun intended). He was Legolas's anchor is a drifting sea of detachment.

I'm glad you liked it.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/9/2005
Well, I knew that this chapter would be incredibly sad and it was. You did a really nasty job describing the building falling in around them. As usual, I loved Beliond. Poor elf almost lost it, I think. And I loved the interaction between Legolas and Galelas--he so needed to hear how Eilian and Ithilden value him (I just hope he remembers it later).

But you really did too good of a job capturing Legolas's emotions. The way the world feels distant and all too real at the same time. Wow, that was really hard to read.

He stared at her, and the sounds of stones being moved faded from his consciousness, and his world narrowed to her.... I won't put the whole thing here because its too much of a spoiler but holy cow that was sad!

And this too: And to his surprise, the thought that was uppermost in his mind was, That poor little boy! Geez, Daw. This was a real tearjerker. I don't see how you wrote it. I would have been bawling as I typed.

Hurry with the next chapter!

Author Reply: I'm depressed and I think it's because I spent yesterday and today writing this chapter. Thank goodness for Beliond! He refused to let Legolas drift away. "Answer me!" At least Beliond lets me laugh! I like macabre humor.

Legolas has good reason to know what a motherless little boy feels like.

Well, and on that cheery note, I'll just say thank you for the review.

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/9/2005
Daw, you're the only person I know who can discuss the mating habits of Yemeni spiders and write tear-jerk romantic tragedy at the same time. Although the Yemeni spiders' romances ended somewhat tragically also, if I recall.

OK, first I have to tell you that I scared the dog when I read the line about Sauron's anatomy. Gotta love that Beliond! On second thought, have him bring over the Dorwinion.

Legolas's POV in this chapter was just masterful. The physical and emotional shock broke his perceptions into a kind of series of freeze-frames. He was staggering from one thought to the next, one perception to the next, but in a very fragmented way. It was very powerful. Especially since Galelas was even more confused than he was! The only rational constant seemed to be Beliond. If I'm ever buried under a building, that's the guy I want digging me out!

The heart-to-heart between Legolas and Galelas was great. A very honest exchange. It was a perfect moment for them to open up to each other without being artificially sappy. Galelas has a lot of baggage and he's not going to unload it all in one sitting. It's very sad that he still envies Legolas Eilian's attention years ago. The grudging expression of sympathy was a place to start, though.

And Tuilinn. It was touching when Legolas felt himself drifting, as if trying to follow her where she had gone. His thoughts of the future that was now lost were heartbreaking. There were some very realistic and poignant moments there, like when Legolas tried to protect her body from the falling stones. Don't take this the wrong way, but this was a deeply satisfying chapter because the emotions were all raw and honest.

Author Reply: I've decided that the stork must bring spider babies because the rest of it is much too icky to be true.

Beliond is the bomb. His nagging was one of two things keeping Legolas from drifting right away, the other being Galelas's need for him. And I didn't think I could write open grief very well, so numbness and disbelief seemed the way to go, especially in these moments right after this unbelievable thing has happened.

I think Legolas and Galelas are inching toward accepting one another.

How could I take your last sentence as anything other than a wonderful compliment? :-)

sayreReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/9/2005
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and go good with ketchup....

Poor Tuillin and poor Legolas. What a way to celebrate a reunion :(

Author Reply: LOL. That's true! Tolkien had a vivid and wicked imagination.

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/9/2005
Oh, God. I knew this was going to be sad :(

Poor Legolas. Poor Tuilinn. And poor Galelas, too. His observation that of course his family would not be there as long as TinŠr was safe was so sad - but so true. He needs to be told - many times - that he is so much better than his brother. He might just believe it.

Beliond must have been beside himself when the house collapsed, beacause it could so easily have been Legolas, not Tuilinn who was killed. But poor Legolas. His dazed incomprehension was tragic. He may be the captain, but he is in no fit state to lead the others just now. I look forward - if that's the right phrase - to what happens next.

Jay :(

Author Reply: Galelas is a lot better than Tinar! And even Legolas will admit that. But it's funny that things that seem obvious to other people, don't always seem obvious to the one involved. I can think of occasions on which I've told colleagues how much I liked their work, for instance, and they are sometimes stunned. But anyone would tell them that if they thought of it!

Legolas is absolutely in no condition to lead. He's in no condition to go anywhere but home. We'll see how that works out!

perellethReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/9/2005
Ob, boy! that was so sad! maybe I'm particularly sad today, but the whole chapter brought tears to my eyes!

Anyway, I'm thankful you've been so "swift and clean" in the telling. It was more than clear with such brief strokes, and perhaps the conciseness helped it feel so absolute and so sad. That's how life -and death- is. But poor, poor Legolas, I had to smile at how he had pictured their life together...

Galelas disorientation was painful too, how he went back to the other dragon incident and the things that were worrying him then and now coming to surface...poor lad, he truly needed someone's support and praise, and if you don't get that at home, you may become a bitter, resentful and sad creature...

I fear Legolas has a long way to wonder you were reluctant to get done with this, writting this down must have been a bit difficult, I'd say...mainly to get rid of the mood...I very much like (and apprecciate) that you never wallow in anguish but manage to convey strong feelings with precise characterizations and settings. I'm learning a lot!

Author Reply: I'm actually a little down from having written this.

Galelas's guard was down, and so was Legolas's. Neither one of them had the energy to devote to anything other than truth, which the just kind of blurted out. Maybe it will help a little.

I'm glad that "strong feelings" came through because I was afraid I was too restrained with Legolas. He was just numb, but he sure wasn't indifferent. And I'm very pleased that you think you're "learning a lot"! That's a huge compliment.

DotReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/9/2005
Oh lord. I admit it Ė I skimmed down through it to see Legolasí reaction. And now Iím having trouble trying to focus on the rest of itÖ! So please forgive any incoherency and attribute it to your ability to play with my emotions ;-)

What a horrific image of the whole place collapsing around him. I found I was struggling a little to breathe myself in reading about the dust and dirt and showering rocks. The sense of confusion throughout the whole chapter was so skilfully written. Iím slightly guilty about it but the person I actually felt most for was Beliond. He must have been frantic at first, not knowing where Legolas was and if he was still alive, and then so worried for Legolas when he heard about Tuilinn.

I was just fascinated by Legolasí train of thought and rather, uh, loose grip on reality. The humour about Beliond and the child learning bad words that would have to be explained to his parents, ďassuming, of course, that the child still had parentsĒ, had an almost surreal quality to it.

I think my own heart stopped right along with Legolasí when he spotted Tuilinnís hand. The next moment was just so very sad. Thereís something very poignant about her looking so peaceful in death, but the part that undid me was the way he suddenly realised that he could no longer feel her presence, that she was gone. Itís an amazing, heart-breaking idea too that some part of him seems to try to seek her, wanting her to come back.

ďI am sorry, Legolas.Ē *sob* Beliond will suffer right along with him, I think.

Oh, how my heart went out to Legolas as he tries to pull himself away from Tuilinn and focus his mind so that he can help Galelas. For a second I was a bit confused too as to what Galelas was talking about!! Itís kind of sad that he still remembers, and in such a bitter way, how Eilian reacted when Legolas was injured all those years ago. At least it helped bring Legolasí thoughts away from Tuilinn. I was glad to see that in his frustration he reacted to Galelasí petulance and bitterness with the truth, rather than arguing or brushing him off. Maybe he should have told Galelas that he thought ďhe was a thousand times better than TinŠrĒ, but Galelas is probably most reassured by what Ithilden, and especially Eilian, think. Heís just witnessed too how Legolasí world is not always the easy, protected one he seems to think it is.

I genuinely still have tears in my eyes reading the part where Legolas allows himself to imagine what life would have been like with Tuilinn. I thought the saddest part was when he pictures Thranduil kissing her brow and welcoming her into their family and home, because thatís exactly what would have happened. Itís such a Thranduil gesture that I can easily imagine it myself.

Thereís Fyndil! Poor guy. Of course, he must be heartbroken too. But sometimes the closer we are to pain, the harder it is for us to express it. And Legolas is still far too stunned and incapable of dealing with whatís happened. You know, in some ways Iím glad for Beliond that there are so many practicalities to be taken care of Ė looking after Legolas for now can be a matter of caring for his injuries and getting him out of there. Thereíll be time for feelings of helplessness later. But heís so wonderfully gentle and even when he speaks roughly we all, including a dazed Legolas, know that itís masking his genuine care for his charge.

ďAnd suddenly, tears were washing the grit from his eyes and a shuddering sob shook him. And to his surprise, the thought that was uppermost in his mind was, That poor little boy!Ē I guess thatís what it takes sometimes, for something else, even something like the image of a small child with no parents and the one who had tried to save him now gone, to allow us to release emotions and free us from the numbness that comes with overwhelming pain and grief.

*sigh* Iíve probably missed half of this. Iím feeling rather dazed myself Ė Iíll have to come back and read it again! Itís a truly great job, daw. And youíre so good to us for posting this so quickly. Would it be too much to ask for more soon?! Iím just dying to see what happens nextÖ :-)

Author Reply: It's interesting that several reviewers have focused on Beliond so far. For most of the chapter, he's not even visible, but he still serves as Legolas's anchor to reality, because, as you say, Legolas's grip is loosened by grief. And grief is kind of hard to write. I think all very strong emotion is. I didn't want Legolas sobbing all over the place, but I obviously didn't want him indifferent either. So it just seemed to me that he'd be numb at first. And maybe tempted to try to go after Tuilinn, assuming that's possible. Elven death stuff is confusing but they do seem to be able to die of grief.

I'm also trying to show a little change in Galelas, Sinnarn, and Vanduil, so it's all a lot to juggle. It would all be so much easier if I could just say, "Look here, readers! This is what he feels!" but showing that is a lot harder.

LOTRFaithReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/9/2005
Oh my gosh... I was nearly bawling all over my keyboard... Poor Legolas. To have found his love and then lost her...

I am glad though that Galelas and Legolas have started to come to a reconciliation. (sp?) Sigh... Poor Legolas...

Author Reply: Poor Legolas, indeed. This story is my explanation of why Legolas is still single at the time of the Quest. I'm offering the theory that he had a lost love.

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/9/2005
Boy, is it fortunate that Beliond was so insistent - and that Galelas was hurt and needed help, because I think young Legolas was on the point of drifting away from us there for a moment. It's probably also a good thing that his bond with Tuilinn was not yet any deeper - or his attempt to find her might well have led him to Mandos's Halls.

It's good to see that crisis and shock and despair enabled Legolas to say some things to Galelas that, if he remembers them, might well serve to improve their relationship. And, unfortunately, seeing Legolas heart-broken by Tuilinn's death will prove to Galelas that being a golden boy doesn't save him from pain.

And thank goodness for Beliond. He may be cranky, but he's just what you need when your world has ended.

Author Reply: Boy, am I relieved! Your first paragraph caught exactly what I was trying to do. Legolas was anchored by Beliond's nagging and Galelas's need, because he was really lost.

The germ of the idea for this story came from Jasta Elf, who sent me a review saying that she'd like to see a story in which Galelas and Legolas are in some sort of trouble and have to depend on one another. They're supposed to be inching toward one another. They can't move far because that's not realistic, but they can unbend just a little.

Yeah, this is a real three-cheers-for-Beliond kind of moment.

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