Sacrifice Under Shadow

Author: daw the minstrel

Nominator: Elena Tiriel

2005 Award Category: Genres: Drama (includes Angst): Mirkwood - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Novella

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: n/a

Summary: Legolas joins Mirkwood's most dangerous patrol, learns about a time in the youth of his brother Eilian, and experiences a change in their relationship.

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Reviewed by: Karenator  ✧  Score: 10

I loved in this story how you showed Legolas coming into his own. He's proven himself to Eilian and to the keepers. Not that Beliond will take his eyes of him, but he must feel proud that his charge reacted so proficiently in such horrible circumstances. It was a testament to how shaken Maltanaur was that he was snapping at everyone. Fortunately, he made peace with Legolas by praising him...after he had gotten himself under control. Control came a little harder to Legolas. But who can blame him? He had put his heart and soul into seeing his brother safe. I suppose one doesn't just turn that kind of concern off like a light switch. Like Maltanaur said: "He could not imagine what would separate the sons of Thranduil from one another unless true disaster had befallen them." Knowing what love and devotion there is between these two, Maltanaur's thought was truly a frightening one. And he loves Eilian like his own son. This is another example of how well you do characterizations. Each personality is distinct. I got such a kick out of Beliond expanding Legolas's vocabulary. Well, that's a good thing. When the time comes for Legolas to hang out with mangy rangers, gruff dwarves and rough-riding Rohirrim, he'll be educated. The scene with Eilian and Ithilden in the garden was so well done. Poor Ithilden. He's so strong and competent and for the shadow to be returning must feel like a personal failure to him. He had already seen what horrors the shadow brings and to be faced with it again was just heartbreaking. It was certainly an eye-opener for Eilian. I loved Thranduil at the end. For as tough and solid a ruler as he is, he's such a good adar. While he and Eilian may be at odds from time to time, his love for Eilian is no less strong than it is for his other two sons. I think Eilian needs to know that, too. I imagine he may feel oftentimes that he doesn't live up to his adar's expectations. It's good for them to have these downtimes when both of their defenses are lowered and they can just love each other. Too bad it has to be when Eilian has nearly been killed! They have really had to grope in the dark for each other without Naneth to be their guiding light. Your writing is always strong and your characters so real that the reader feels they each one personally. As always, just a delightful tale.

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 10

In this story, Legolas at last begins to serve in the Southern Patrol, under the command of his brother Eilian. He is a capable warrior; however, that patrol operates near Dol Guldur, and the evil that seeps from there permeates the warriors' environment and their spirits, and must be constantly guarded against. At this time, the harshness of the environment is multiplied because of the Long Winter. Legolas gets to learn a lot about his brother's younger days... but what we do not expect is that Eilian is very seriously injured in battle during a blizzard, and they are separated from the rest of the warriors. Legolas has the responsibility and opportunity to save his brother's life under dire circumstances. And to keep his brother awake, he has him tell stories of his childhood... Good thinking, on the part of both Legolas and Daw! And we also get the earliest glimpse of Maltanaur, trying to keep up with Eilian discreetly, but not entirely successfully. The family that Daw has created for Legolas and Thranduil have always been fascinating to me. They are unique characters and well-drawn. In this story, we see a lot of interaction between Legolas and Eilian, where they are both experienced warriors. Eilian is placed in the unaccustomed position of having to allow Legolas to care for him, instead of caring for Legolas, and he realizes that his little brother is mature and capable. And Legolas gets to learn a lot about his brother as he was when he was young and naïve, when Shadow returned to Mirkwood. They both come to have more insight about the other. This is a fine story, Daw, one of my favorites of yours!

Reviewed by: elliska  ✧  Score: 8

This is another wondereful story. One of the things that strikes me in this one are all the little details--receiving gloves (adar always knows what they need), the difficulties caused by the harsh winter including food shortages and Legolas not being to fond of porridge but being hungrry enough to eat it. And of course Beliond graduates from nana to 'valet' -- I bet no one said that to his face. But Legolas and Eilian in the same patrol and in the south--poor Eilian. That must have just about killed him all by itself. I really enjoyed the flashbacks to Eilian last year as a novice (I think it was--his early adulthood, anyway). That stunt was insane and I loved Legolas's somewhat shocked reaction to the story. And, as I always do, I enjoyed the flashback to Eilian's interaction with Lorellin a well--she deserves a full story. And of course we have the main plot--look what you did to Eilian when Legolas was so freshly there! I liked seeing how well Legolas handled this situation--it showed how ready he was for that patrol. Great story daw!

Reviewed by: Larian Elensar  ✧  Score: 4

This was one of my favorites of your stories, where you showed a younger Eilian and Ithiliden, so we know why Thranduil is sometimes so exasperated with Eilian. (Well, a bit more of why). And Ithilden, I like those moments when he is not the unflappable elf. Like he is when he's with Sinnarn... Oh, and Eilian...what could possibly go wrong? That should be the motto of his house, I'm thinking!

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 4

It goes without saying that this is good - yet another excellent development in the every day story of Mirkwood folk. I love the twofold nature of this one - past and present - and it is great to see Legolas looking after Eilian so skilfully. All the characters - and I mean all - have developed so much life that they work in the absence of any others. I could happily read about any of them.

Reviewed by: jastaelf  ✧  Score: 2

Here I am cutting and pasting again.... There is always just something refreshing and brilliant about this story for me. I have gone back and read, then re-read, this tale many times. And yes, I will say this about many of the stories that have been nominated this year. The characterizations here are brilliant. daw has a great eye for such details, and she uses language so beautifully... there are no dull thunks in my head when I read her works, no "this doesn't ring true", because she takes (in my mind anyway!) a great deal of time and hard work to craft her stories. Elves are proper Elves, Men are proper Men, Hobbitses are Hobbity, Dwarves are Dwarven... and it all comes together as a lovely whole. I could go on forever. There are so many sparkling examples.
But the most riveting part was Legolas and Eilian in the cave, with Eilian's condition making him docile and obedient, and Legolas worrying over that... so lovely and yet so harrowing,
and SO well written... and my thanks for creating a suite of OCs that I love as much as Tolkien's originals, for their own sake as well as for the simple fact that they are true to Tolkien! (grin) Thank you, daw, for this lovely piece of work!