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A Creature of Fire  by daw the minstrel 34 Review(s)
esamenReviewed Chapter: 9 on 4/22/2005
Hello daw and congratulations on a fabulous chapter. This one is so deep that I've read it three times now. Different things jump out on different readings . . . Sinnarn's character showing up as he is given responsibility; Nithron giving Beliond the long slow stare; Beliond giving a stare of his own to Eilian; Eilian and Beliond cooking up their plan together while our grieving-hero-in-denial tries to convince himself that he can just bounce right back:

"Eilian and Beliond sat talking quietly together, and Legolas hoped Eilian was telling Beliond to leave him alone. He had no wish to listen to Beliondís nagging for the three days it would take them to get Tuilinn home.

While the others ate, he caught up his pack, walked to the stream and eased his left arm out of the sling long enough to splash water on his face and then struggle out of his filthy tunic and put on a clean one from his pack. There were bruises all along his arms where he had thrown them up to protect his head, but they seemed too trivial to worry about. I can do this, he thought and then "

Really well crafted. There's a lot going on . . . grief, loss, unspoken messages, people growing up under pressure and people under pressure clinging to what maturity they've got. And Eilian is wonderful. What an awesome leader . . . instinctively showing up when he's needed, and taking care of his people with his own special touch that makes everyone feel safer around him. Are you sure that you still like Legolas best? Eilian grows more admirable in every new fic of yours. Come to think of it, Ithilden does too. Oh well. It's a happy dilema. This fanfic universe is populated with my very favorite men -- except for my own real-life men and my own AU men, of course :-)

Thanks for a great read and happy typing always.

Author Reply: Thank you, Esamen. You're a very rewarding reader because you catch exactly what I'm trying to do with all these characters. I've had to struggle a bit to try to do it too because it's all through Legolas's eyes and he's pretty absorbed in his own grief right now. One of the things I've been thinking about as I wrote this was the power of POV. My OCs have come alive for me when I've written from their POV because of the way it forces me to make sense of them. But then, you know that from your own writing. :-)

lwarrenReviewed Chapter: 9 on 4/19/2005
You continue to hit the mark with Legolas' reactions (at least with me, daw!) This was another difficult chapter to read, but just underscores the depth of Legolas' love for Tuilinn (even tho' they hadn't had much time together). Fyndil said it best..."She spoke of you. She glowed with what she felt for you."

At the beginning he's still in that numb, stumbling stage...just putting one foot in front of the other, but not really seeing anything except Tuilinn's body. Then he surfaces a little, but is so miserable and exhausted. Grief is absolutely so exhausting - I think it wrings you from the inside out! Legolas is watching everything from a distance - Sinnarn cooking, Beliond tending to his shoulder.

But I love Beliond's calling him son - I think it registered with Legolas, too. Here was someone who knew what he was experiencing. Then Eilian shows up, thank goodness, and you captured his shocked realization just perfectly, daw. And his total support for his little brother. Such a good big brother - and you could tell he and Beliond were cooking something up about the trip home.

But I suppose the thing that really registered was the way Legolas tried to resume his duties as head of the patrol in an effort to restore some sense of normalcy to the situation. Two days after Charles died, I went back up to school to make sure my lesson plans and stuff were in order...I was totally useless...I couldn't put two thoughts together...a good friend directed things (my own "Beliond" I suppose), but you know I just had to do it! Go figure!

The trip to Tuilinn's village had a nightmarish quality to it, and when that door opened and her mother broke down almost instantly...and the last line about Legolas' control finally giving way...terribly sad! Such powerful emotional writing.


Author Reply: Legolas is indeed staggering along trying to claim that he's just fine while everyone else in the patrol is taking care of things and letting him grieve. And he is totally exhausted. His grief is absorbing him completely. He needed Eilian and Beliond. They took care of him and let him do what he needed to do and then planned to see that he got home where he belonged. Thank goodness for family and friends and even sympathetic co-workers!

caz-bazReviewed Chapter: 9 on 4/18/2005
I'm really embarrassed, when I finished reading this I looked down at the floor and there was a big wet patch. I was trying to hold it all together but when I got to the part where Legolas dreams of Tuilinn I couldn't hold it in any longer, your writing just puts it so beautifully and is so addictive. I'm so glad I was on my own when I read this - note to self read Daws stories on your own at 11 at night in future as to save yourself from future embarrassement.

I think Legolas really needed Eilian as he's one of the only people Legolas truly opens up too. Beliond would listen and be comforting but I think Legolas would find it hard to open up to him as Beliond himself cant truly open up to anyone.


Author Reply: Thatís a very insightful remark about Beliond, I think. He has a different relationship to Legolas than Eilian does, one thatís more closed off, probably because of the difference in their ages. I think that should change a little though. Iíll work on it!

Brenda G.Reviewed Chapter: 9 on 4/17/2005
Wow...that was one great chapter. Wow.

There is not anything I can think of to add to or take from this last chapter to make it any more perfect than it was.

Legolas is definitely cut from the same cloth of his Adar. Tough indeed. Still, I was very relieved to see Eiian make his most timely appearance. Nothing like having the brother who dotes on you most nearby when you need a strong shoulder to lean on. Beliond's would have done as well, but family makes all the difference during difficult times like this. Lorellin's appearnce was also very apt, I thought. And Beliond is right, Legolas will see Tuilinn again. But now how to face Tuilinn's parents? How to tell them what Legolas himself can barely grapple with? Her mother's reaction would no doubt mirror most in the same or similar set of circumstances. There can be no doubt to Tuilinn's mother at least that Legolas was much more than just the bearer of bad tidings by the snap of his control when faced with the enormity of Tuilinn's loss. Sometimes our grief is so much the more amplified by the bereavement of others, and the thin veneer of control Legolas has achieved was just waiting to be punched through. The wail of Tuilinn's mother was the straw that definitely broke this camel's back. Our poor, sad Greenleaf. It may be a long time before Legolas will be himself again, but then, that is as it should be in matters of heartbreak.

Enthralling stuff, Daw. You are certainly a master at story-telling. Looking forward to the next chapter. I know it will be a tough one to write, but you will do it for us adoring fans, won't you?


Author Reply: I was very relieved when Eilian turned up. He's the only person here who could get Legolas to open up a little, although, of course, first he had get over his shock at what's been going on. Little Brother has been keeping a secret from him! Beliond is as caring, but probably less able to get Legolas to talk about his feelings.

I've been wondering whether Legolas knows for sure that he'll see Tuilinn again. I think that depends on whether he's sure he plans to sail. We know he does eventually, but does he know that at this point? I'm not sure he does. Still the possibility is there and that has to be comforting.

I've also been thinking about whether Tuilinn would have talked about Legolas and I think she would. He thought she had left without a word, but she thought he would follow. That probably means she was more hopeful about seeing him than he was about seeing her. Ack! This is all hard to sort through.

moonshine44Reviewed Chapter: 9 on 4/17/2005
Hey Daw! FF.N isn`t showing chapter 9 for some reason, so I`m reviewing here.
This chapter was very well written. I was glad to see that even though there was so much emtion, it wasn`t overdone. It also seemed to have kept a good pace with the story.
Loved this chapter, and until the next, bye!

Author Reply: makes me so crazy! It shows me chapter 9, so I don't know what it's doing to you. Grrrr.

Anyway, I'm glad you liked the chapter. I found it hard to balance between going overboard and not showing enough feeling so I'm glad you think that worked.

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 9 on 4/17/2005
I've gotten to the point that I can't judge it at all. I was worried that this chapter was both sappy and boring.

Geez, no. The first draft of my review actually said something about how amazed I was that you could convey this much grief and shock without being sappy. Then I reminded myself that you shouldn't give praise using a negative!
I'm also busy scribbling notes. On a couple of things. First lesson is to not avoid the POV of the character who's most directly affected emotionally. The second is how to show what he's experiencing without having him sit there and explain, "I felt this and then I felt that." Thanks, professor!

Author Reply: Will you send me the notes when you're done? :-)

Thank you for the reassurance. I'm just finding this story harder than usual, which is probably a good sign, a sign that I'm doing something a little different for me.

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 9 on 4/17/2005
Sheesh, Daw, no wonder you have writer's block now. I'm exhausted. Actually I read this last night and knew I was too exhausted to coherently review, and I try to only leave incoherent reviews for Karen :-).

I know using Legolas's POV has been draining for you to write, but wow. This is amazingly powerful and realistic. Legolas is still mostly numb from shock, still missing on a couple of cylinders (I loved this line: "He seemed to have forgotten how to say anything that mattered,") but he's struggling so hard to reassert himself. It was really sweet how he kept reminding himself he was in charge even as Beliond is running around giving the troops their orders. This was another great line: "I should be doing that, Legolas thought. He leaned his head against the tree. I will get up and do it soon." The comfort he got from the tree was lovely. He seemed to be able to accept the tree's comfort more easily than that offered by his comrades.

I liked how Beliond was running along beside Legolas in the beginning, just waiting for him to falter, and the instant he did, took charge. It was touching when Beliond told him they would see their loved ones again. All the troops seem to want to help Legolas (well, except for maybe Galelas, but at least he's being civil), but I was never so happy as when Eilian came striding out of the woods.

Eilian was so great. First, all Captain in Charge, and then instantly the caring brother once it got through to him that Legolas was personally affected. Legolas just needed to be held, and I'm glad Eilian was there to do it.

Legolas considered telling Eilian that he did not need to be tended like an elfling but decided he did not want to. Good call, Legolas. But I also liked how Eilian seemed to recognize the next morning that Legolas needed to re-asset himself and not be coddled until he was ready. It must have been very hard for Eilian to leave him, but he seems to finally have come to grips with the fact that his baby brother is all grown up and has to deal with things in his own way. Beliond is not quiet so convinced, of course...

The end of the chapter was very sad. I can't imagine a worse duty, even if he didn't know the girl. I think this is the worst of all possible situations. If he hadn't known the girl, he could have at least held up for her parents. If he had actually been betrothed and had met them before, they would at least understand why he's falling to pieces. But as it is, they're going through the worst moment of their lives and they'll be just as shocked and confused as Eilian was by Legolas's emotional reaction. Wow. I hope Beliond is still in take-charge mode.

Author Reply: That thing about getting up to do it soon is how I cope with a lot of what I'm supposed to be doing! I should be doing laundry right now. Soon! (Do I hear someone laughing?)

I was extremely glad when Eilian showed up too. Just having him on the page in front of me made me feel better, like there was someone there who would take care of Legolas's emotional needs as well as see to his safety. It took him a while to realize how big a deal this was for Legolas, but he never faltered. I love the guy!

Eilian could see that Legolas really did need to take Tuilinn's body home. He could sympathize with that. He understood, probably because he would do the same thing if it were Celuwen.

I've spent the afternoon trying to write about Tuilinn's parents and at the moment they're too absorbed in their own grief and shock to see anything else. But that moment will come.

I'm glad you liked this, Meckinock. I've gotten to the point that I can't judge it at all. I was worried that this chapter was both sappy and boring.

Small TriumphsReviewed Chapter: 9 on 4/17/2005
What a wonderfully beautiful chapter, Daw!

Poor Legolas is trying so hard not to break down. He really needs to realize that even though he may be the patrol's lieutenent, he doesn't have to be strong all the time. He's trying to avoid his grief through his duty, but I doubt Beliond will allow for this to go on for long, even if Legolas is mistakenly convinced he is "in control" here. Poor boy just wants everything to be back the way its supposed to and go back to his patrol as though nothing has changed. :( I suppose that just makes it all the more tragic. Perhaps another reason why he is hesitant to go back home is because he knows he will not have anything to distract his grief.

And here comes Eilian! That elf never fails to impress, does he? I loved the way he treated Galelas, and even Vanduil! He always has been great with younger elves. He and Celuwen really need a kid! I can't imagine Eilian having to deal with an elfling as reckless as he was, though. Let's hope if it does happen, their child takes after their mother.

I'm so glad big brother showed up, and Legolas really needed him. He was the only one to really get the "brat" to open up, even if it was only partially. But what a surprise for Eilian! To learn that little brother not only had found love, but that she has died and left him traumatized. That's a little much to take in all at once.

What Legolas really needs is to allow the comfort those who care about him are offering. One part that really got to me was as they were preparing to depart, Eilian hugged him, but Legolas pulled away! He's so busy trying to control his grief that he's shutting out those he needs most. I really can't see him returning to his patrol right now, and definitely can't see Beliond allow that to happen! Beliond can only humor Legolas' "control" for so long, but there's no way Beliond is gonna drag his butt anywhere but home.

Can't wait for your next chapter!

~Small Triumphs

Author Reply: You really have Legolas nailed! He's trying to pretend that everything will go back to normal, including his pain level I suppose. And you can't possibly have been happier to see Eilian arrive than I was. I've missed writing about him. For Legolas, he's a safe and comforting presence, and as you say, he's the only one with whom Legolas was willing to show what he was feeling openly.

Beliond and Eilian are managing things between them, I think, and letting Legolas do what he needs to do. Then they'll see that he gets some help, I think.

Eilian and Celuwen do need a kid. A little girl, I think. One who looks like Grandma Lorellin would have everyone wrapped around her little finger. :-)

The KarenatorReviewed Chapter: 9 on 4/17/2005
Oh my. What a sad chapter. The excitement of the actual attack has died down and now Legolas and his companions are left to deal with the aftermath. Legolas is functioning, and he's beginning to take his place again among his patrol, but he's still moving like he's in a bad dream. His grief is tangible.

Vanduil's suggestion that Legolas rest seemed to sort of snap him back to the present. Everything was out of kilter. At this point, we see Legolas slowly begin to start to sort through the fog. Duty begins to call him back. I really liked this. When someone has such a shock, the duty of the day often seems to be the only thing that grounds them. Putting one foot in front of the other.

Fyndil's comments were welcome and they were painful. I could see the visions of what might have been flitting through Legolas's mind again. One of the good things to come out of this exchange was that Legolas got some answers as to why Tuilinn was where she was. And her behavior was so typical for her...caring for a child. That's reassuring and frustrating at the same time. I knew Legolas was going to feel guilty about where she was in the building since he was the one who shoved her to the corner, thinking she would be safe. I was also glad to see that he quickly tried to put his feelings about this into place, recalling Ithilden's words. Still, the weight of second guessing oneself in a situation like this is tough to shake.

Beliond's kindness speaks highly of his affection for his charge. Even if he's a bit too overprotective, you can't fault the guy for wanting to see Legolas protected from any further harm. He means well. And he understands. Legolas needs someone to take over for a while to let him get back on his feet.

Eilian showed up at the right time. I was as relieved as Legolas to see his older brother walk into camp. Even though Eilian was shocked to hear about Tuilinn, he quickly saw that this was no childish crush on Legolas's part and responded well. And poor Legolas heard as Beliond unwittingly summed up the destruction of his life and the life of the people of Erebor and Dale into two sentences. What Beliond said was accurate, but sure didn't convey the depth of loss being suffered. But Eilian is pretty astute and immediately saw that this had had personal repercussions for his little brother, he just wasn't quite sure what they were at that time.

ďSo it is just as Grandfather has always said: You do have a talent for finding any trouble within a hundred leagues.Ē

Sinnarn's got Uncle Eilian's number. But I'm sure that he was glad to see Eilian since his presence is reassuring and he's better equipped to aid Legolas. I like the dream part where Legolas saw Tuilinn and then the second person who leaned over Legolas wasn't her and I got the feeling that Lorellin was trying to offer her son comfort. Lorellin?

As hard as it was for me to see Legolas not go home, he did the right thing. And it spoke highly of Eilian that he allowed Legolas to be an adult and make his own decision. But when Legolas took Tuilinn home, and saw Tuilinn's mother, oh was too much for him. We all sunk into the depths of despair with him.

Such a wonderful chapter, daw. It was packed with emotion and it was a clear study of your characters. Everyone had to show how they would react under such stress. You did this beautifully.

I hate to say I loved it, because everyone was so raw and hurt and I felt bad for them, but I loved it.


Author Reply: I'm glad you think this worked, Karen, because I'm finding it hard to write. Legolas is not fun as a POV character right now, and he's also kind of out of it, so I have to struggle to convey what everyone else is doing. Also I wasn't really sure how well Legolas would be able to function. I didn't want to get him on his feet too soon. And now Nilmandra has convinced me I have to write about him and Tuilinn's parents, which I had not intended to do. I'm beating my head on the desk here!

Legolas was lucky to have Beliond and Eilian to see to things. Beliond takes over and makes sure the patrol is managed and offers what sympathy he can. Mostly he shows it by taking care, I think, while Eilian is actually able to get Legolas to talk a little about his feelings. I was very glad to be able to write about Eilian again.

And yeah I did intend it to be Lorellin in that second dream. Legolas sees her there even though he can't consciously remember her. I think the two losses are blending in his head. I have such poor judgment about this stuff that I thought that might be too sappy and asked Nilmandra if I should cut it. I also asked if the chapter was boring, and she said not, and readers are confirming her verdict.

thechevinReviewed Chapter: 9 on 4/17/2005
I really do not know what to say about this chapter I am so overwhelmed by the sadness of it all
The horror of loss, all that future promise torn away and still the son of Thranduil battles on, duty is very well ingrained in him and perhaps that is just as well since it helps him focus his mind on something tangible
Thank goodness for Eilian he gives support and love in equal measure and the sort of comfort that Legolas must be desperate for even though he will not admit it.
Also Beliond who is rock steady and determined Legolas may say he is in charge but I wouldn't put money on where he goes next
That is of course if Adar doesn't come to him once he hears the story from Eilian
This story is truly heartwrending, wonderfully powerful and poignant writing that brings the reader into the maelstrom of emotions that Legolas is battling presently
thank you

Author Reply: I'm having a hard time writing this because I'm looking through Legolas's eyes and it's really sad! Clinging to duty is helping him cope just now, but he can't keep on with this. For one thing, I don't think it's safe to send him back on duty. I don't think he's concentrating well enough.

Beliond and Eilian were invaluable here, and they're the ones calling the shots really. The patrol must be very grateful for their presence too.

I've just been talking to my beta about how much I should show of what happens with Tuilinn's parents. I'm afraid I have to do some of it and that will NOT be fun.

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