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Gifts  by daw the minstrel 27 Review(s)
NilmandraReviewed Chapter: 1 on 2/26/2006
I hadn't realized how much I missed this world until I started to beta this last night! How wonderful to see Alfirin and Ithilden and their families after all this time. I think I particularly enjoyed Calith - I like how he uses his discretion in following orders! Keeps his boss from making decisions he might regret. We do need a keepers and Calith story, you know. :D

Author Reply: I missed this world too. I think maybe another story is in order while I'm recovering from my last bout of revising the monster-that-will-live-on-my-desktop-forever. Calith has turned out to be one of those minor characters who take on a secret life of their own. You know how that is. :-)

thechevinReviewed Chapter: 1 on 2/26/2006
Oh what a wonderful surprise to see an author alert with your name attached I have so missed your writing and being able to fall into your Middle Earth with Ithilden and Eilian and all the others
This was such a sad but lovely tale, Ithilden and Alfirin's bond was made all the stronger when they shared the sorrow Ithilden felt, how fortunate they are to have such love and how devastating it must be to an elf to be parted from someone they are bonded with
Grief is another of those strange things Ithilden could/had to be strong for the warrior but fell apart with the death of the foal.
A truly wonderful treat for a Sunday morning

Author Reply: how devastating it must be to an elf to be parted from someone they are bonded with

I hadn't been thinking about that, but you are so right. When I got around to writing about Thranduil's sons marrying and feeling the bond for the first time and adjusting to it, that's when I really saw how much the bond must have affected them. Having a mate die must be like going blind or something.

Yeah, the foal set off what Ithilden had managed to repress until then. Poor little thing.

DotReviewed Chapter: 1 on 2/26/2006
Can you tremble with happiness?? Because thatís pretty much what Iím doing right now! I couldnít believe it when I saw this here this morning. Thank you so much, daw.

Alfirin is wonderful, the way she knows what to say to smooth ruffled feathers, even when she herself is a little daunted by the kitchen (and the cook). It must be a bit unsettling for her to have everyone waiting until she can announce that sheís expecting the kingís grandchild, though! I love her daydreaming about Ithilden :-)

And yes, itís Ithilden! Weighed down by cares and now thinking he has to protect her too. *sigh* He obviously hasnít learned fully yet how good she will be for him. ďI believe it would be thoughtful of us to let them retire early.Ē Though Iím sure heís figured out some of itÖ

I thoroughly enjoyed the meal scene! Tonduil makes me smile even when heís at the age where he and his father argue - and then the reactions to Alfirinís nursery comment! Iím still chuckling at her father. And Iím glad Ithilden was amused by the whole thing. Even though heís just like his father, not wanting to bring a child into a dangerous world. Which is fair enough, but like his father too, he may be convinced that a child is also a gift and a symbol of hope.

I love seeing the two of them so in love Ė and I think I groaned aloud when Deler appeared. Damn wargs. I can imagine just how Ithilden felt when he heard about Marten (!) and the prospect of danger so close to home. I was glad Thranduil was there to offer Alfirin some support and an explanation, but sheís right Ė Ithilden needs to know heís not on his own any more and he can lean on her as Iím sure heíd expect her to feel she can confide in and look for support from him. Good for her for focusing on that moment where she felt his pain and deciding not to listen to his dismissal or give in when he says he can handle whatever comes his way.

And go Calith!! Ithilden would probably be surprised by how many people can read him. Funny how the messengers all seem to be busy until Ithilden can separate his current distress from other problems. The note did make me laugh, though, because it was just classic Eilian! The little incident with Legolas proves just how on edge Ithilden is. Thank heavens for Alfirin and for apple tart ;-)

And do you know how much I wanted to hug Ithilden during the funeral?? Letís just say lots. Heís very lucky in Alfirin, though. Heís really pushing her and anyone else might be less patient with him. The scene in the stable is heartbreaking. Ithildenís gentleness with the mother about to lose her baby nearly had me in tears. And much as it hurts to see him feel such grief, I was glad that he was finally able to give into it, to open up to his wife and learn that this will strengthen their bond, not simply burden her. This sentence is beautiful : Her love flowed across their bond and wrapped itself around his bruised heart, easing his hurt in the same way he dimly recalled his motherís kiss easing the pain of a scraped knee or a bumped head. Heís received the gift of true love this night. And Iím so happy for both of them that they realise what a true joy it would be to bring a child into the world. These two have so much love to give that for now it doesnít matter what the future may bring. (And Thranduil will be delighted!). God, I love Ithilden!!

I know this review is a little rushed but truly, I am so overwhelmed by your gift to me. You know you didnít have to do this Ė but Iím so thrilled you did :-) Thanks again!

Author Reply: You're entirely welcome, Dot. Happy birthday. You've given me far more than I've ever given you. Nilmandra and I talked about doing these and decided to post them together. We coordinated clicking on the 'publish' button. :-)

It's spring in the Woodland Realm and since Tolkien says most elves are born in the spring, elves who will be getting pregnant that year are doing it right then. This is the first spring after Ithilden's wedding. I'll bet people eyed her every time she walked into their sight. Thank goodness that hasn't occurred to her until now. LOL.

It's fun to show how these two restrained people are so passionate for one another, touching when they can, hurrying to their bedroom. Then life gets in the way. Sigh.

But they give one another the gift of their love and their trust, and all of life will be sweeter for that.

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 2/26/2006
This is lovely, Daw - lucky Dot!

I really liked seeing your characters again - I've missed them. Ithilden is still Ithilden, so stiff and unyielding, and so unforgiving of himself. Of course he needs to let go sometimes, and confide in Alfirin.

This was a rather sad tale - first Marten, and then the foal :( I'm glad that Ithilden and Alfirin finally made the right decision (but then, that all comes to a sad end eventually!)

Am I right in thinking that Calith deliberately couldn't find a messenger? :)


Author Reply: Yup, that's exactly what Calith did. He was giving his boss a little time to cool down and think things through. Bless him.

I felt terrible about the foal. Jasta gave me some references and the descriptions of the poor little things were just terrible.

The fact that Ithilden and Alfirin did this brave thing and brought a child into the world only to lose him eventually is pretty awful, but must have happened all too often in ME. At least we know he was happy eventually in Valinor.

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 1 on 2/26/2006
Poor Ithilden. He has been on his own so long, supporting such responsibility - and he is not able to take anything casually. His mother must have shaken her head over him so many times. Alfirin is so good for him. Not just because she loves him and wants to support him through his trials, but because she is the type of elleth she is - he needs to look after her, even though she will gently train him into revealing his heart to her so that she can support him through his griefs.

And Sinnarn is such an offering of hope. I'm going to get all upset again!

I loved everyone in the neighbourhood of Alfirin watching her with intense interest in the hope that she was carrying Ithilden's child. The broodiness about both of them must have been ringing from the rafters!

And Calith. The administration of the troops was fall into chaos if it weren't for him! He knows just when to offer passive resistance to Ithilden's demands and give him time to rethink - and Ithilden takes it from him. (Unknowingly, at least!) Adorable.

The way Alfirin placated Legolas with apple pie was great, too. He's just at the age when waving food in front of his nose offers enough distraction. And it's not as if he's not accustomed to getting snapped at by Ithilden and his adar. She is such an asset to the family.

Gorgeous story. Loved it. I could witter on, but I'll stop now. Happy birthday, Dot.

Author Reply: he needs to look after her

That's a good point. He does need to look after her. That's satisfying for him. But their bond also allows him to grow a little and be a happer person.

I got to thinking that since Tolkien says most elf babies are born in the spring, and pregnancy lasts a year, most elf babies are also conceived in the spring. The bushes must be full of happy couples!

Calith has seen Ithilden upset before and knows how he reacts. Ithilden may think he's taking everything in stride, but he's the only one who does.

Not to worry about Sinnarn. I have it on good authority that he lives happily ever after in Valinor. :-)

White WolfReviewed Chapter: 1 on 2/26/2006
Welcome back! I was overjoyed to see your name on a new story. I've missed them.

I love Ithilden and Alfirin together. There is such a deep love and passion between them. They are so good for each other.

I really felt bad about Marten. It was also sad about the little foal. It just shows that there doesn't have to be an enemy to have to face death.

I wonder how much trouble Eilian will get into this time.

Author Reply: Ithilden and Alfirin are more conventional than Eilian and Celuwen, but their love is just as passionate.

Eilian is going to get in less trouble than he might have otherwise. Calith delayed things long enough for Ithilden to cool down and come to his senses. He'll send a sharply worded message and let it go at that. In the timeline of my overall stories, Eilian comes home badly wounded soon anyway.

GwynhyffarReviewed Chapter: 1 on 2/25/2006

I love seeing Alfirin show Ithilden that he isn't alone anymore. After a couple hundred years I think it makes sense that it would be difficult for him to learn to share his grief. Of course, added to that is the fact that he is who he is and thinks he is protecting her when in reality he's keeping part of himself from her.

"Begetting a child so soon would be unwise, and neither she nor Ithilden was given to such poorly thought out behavior."

That kind of sums them up, doesn't it. It made me smile because that's exactly how I envision both of them. They are very sensible and always think things through very carefully. Things seem to generally be black or white for them. There is a right way to do things and that is how they do them.

Ithilden's interaction with Calith is great. Calith is smarter than he lets on sometimes and Ithilden probably doesn't always appreciate or realize it. I think in this case it definitely worked out for the best.

Ithilden crying toward the end was rough. I don't think he's ever done that before! It's hard to imagine, really. I'm glad Alfirin was there, and even more glad because now we have the behind the scenes look at Sinnarn's begetting.

hmmm.. I am sure there's some kind of omen here.

Author Reply: Thank you, Gwyn.

He thinks he is protecting her when in reality he's keeping part of himself from her.

That's the situation exactly. And he feels that's sensible and rational, but his bond with her helps him grow and take some chances that will make him a happier person.

I'm glad what Calith was doing came through! He's dragging his feet a little. Everyone else knows Ithilden is suffering. Only he thinks he's taking it in stride.

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