Author: Aeärwen

Nominator: Nieriel Raina

2010 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Later Age Elves - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: A widow prepares to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of her family.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 7

What a fascinating tale! It appears that many years after the time of Elessar the old tales have begun to fail. But one old woman's memories of the tales told her by her own grandmother prove anything but prophetic as she seeks to ease the plight of her family by seeking her end in the ancient forest that is said to be the realm of the Elven-king, a mystic, almost mythical being thought to be so protective of his own lands that none who entered them would ever return. Her own grandmother's private stories, however, cast the Elven-king in a far more benevolent light. Which will prove true? That her entrance into the forest will ease the plight of her family and hopefully will give her grandchildren the chance to survive the hunger of the coming winter, however, is the one thing she counts upon. A lovely tale of expectations both fulfilled and proven false. And love the image of the Elven-king with the children of mortals given within!

Reviewed by: Windsurfbabe  ✧  Score: 6

The death of one for the good of the many - such could be the description of this excellently-written piece that takes us to the borders of Mirkwood, at the very edge of Thranduil's territory, and into the old superstitions about elves and men. Pratchett once wrote: ["Elves are terrific, they beget terror."] This sentence describes accurately the relationship of the farmers living under the shadow of the first trees of Mirkwood to the Elvenking's realm: terror, wariness, disbelief. Years of hardships and scary tales have drawn Men away from the elves living nearby, and old promises have been forgotten; but the King still remembers the word he gave, as an old, desperate widow will learn in this story. It is a tale of renewed alliances and reborn hopes, of sacrifices and reunions - and of love, for it is what drives people to take the most difficult decisions of all.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 5

I think the author chose her setting well - long after the Ring War and its aftermath have faded from memory, when human beings are well on their way to forgetting the nature of Elves and replacing it with terrifying tales. Avorniel's plight and her determination to do whatever it takes to give her family a chance to live through a lean winter are tragic, as is the brutal calculus that leads her to brave the woods said to be the Elf-king's kingdom. That not all turns out to be as ignorance and superstition and forgetfulness have made it turns what could be a tragedy into hope for the next generation. A sweet resolution, and a relief for all!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 4

An elderly woman worried about her family and the lean time a hard winter will bring upon them decides to make the ultimate sacrifice on their behalf; that the sacrifice turns out to be unneeded, and rescue and hope come from an unexpected source, does not abate the love that prompted her sad decision. For some reason, the story made me think of the Biblical tale of Abraham and Isaac.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 4

I was touched by the legacy Arvoniel left to her grandchildren, those old songs and stories that had passed to her from her own foremothers. Aearwen impressively shows us the conflict between what her reason tells her to be virtuous and what her feelings tell her to dread, indeed, she makes the feeling of dread at the prospect of being torn to pieces very palpable. Arvoniel set out to save her family, and she does in the end, but in a wholly unexpected way.

Reviewed by: Ainu Laire  ✧  Score: 4

I do enjoy your version of Thranduil. Yes, he does like shiny things perhaps a bit too much, but he genuinely seems like a great guy, which is good to see after so many negative portrayals of him. It is interesting to see how elves completely forget how fast the years pass for mortals, he not realizing that the little girl he once knew was long dead. Again a well-written one shot on your part, Aearwen.

Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina  ✧  Score: 3

Aearwen always does a wonderful job of bringing Original Characters to life and in this sequel to Return, she has done that once again. She has also again given us a wonderful glimpse of the Elvenking and his personality. What an interesting and quite believable tale. Very nicely told.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 3

Beautiful story of a woman who tries to help her family. It is sad to see knowledge of Men diminish; I hope that after the encounter with the Elves it will change, at least a little bit. Wonderful ending of story.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

This story had me gripped from the heart rending beginning to the heart-warming ending.I loved the idea of the half remembered stories coming true and the brave grandmother willing to sacrifice herself for her family.Her reward was richly deserved.