Sapphire Aurae

Author: Bejai

Nominator: Marta

2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Elves: Imladris - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Novella

Rating: PG-13  ✧  Reason for Rating: adult themes, erotic content, violence

Summary: There are times when duty must be higher than love. There are responsibilities that, once taken up, cannot be put down. None who ever bore a Ring of Power was unchanged -- nor were those who dared to love even knowing such truths. This is a tale of Elrond, Celebrian, Vilya, Galadriel, Celeborn, Nenya, and the fading years of the Elves.

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Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 10

What can I say about "Sapphire Aurae"? Not enough to give this piece all the points it deserves, that's for sure. this is above and beyond the best piece I have read this year, probably in the fandom all-told. I remember when Marnie first recommended the piece to me, I was skeptical to start a longer piece, but I'm very glad I did. One of my favourite parts is the way she handles Elrond's temptation by the Ring. She gives us a truly dark glimpse of what might have come if Elrond had accepted it, but we know that the Ring really works by magnifying our already-existing character faults. So to make a truly compelling possibility you have to identify some parts of everyone's favourite half-elf that are, um, "less savoury" than what we typically try to ascribe to him. But this is nothing but not compelling. And Celebrian... poor Celebrian, I felt for her so much when she senses the sapphire aurae about Elrond's ring and pulls back from him, running home to talk to her father. That conversation was truly perceptive, and it felt so elven. Celeborn really does understand what she's going through, and that was a nice nod, but I particularly liked the discussion of wedding bands and the "magic" that might be in them. But the thing that absolutely blew me away was the way you progressed Elrond's and Celebrian's relationship. Now I'm no romantic, but I was very, VERY pleased by how you moved from Celebrian needing to see Elrond on the day of her wedding, that urgency (and may I say I still laugh out loud at Galadriel's revelation to her daughter), to the relaxed love where she calms him in council meetings while she works in the garden, or the comfortable way they cuddle by the fire when Gandalf arrives. And that ending was simply... perfect. If you are interested in Rings, read it. The Imladris Elves? Definitely. Or even if you just want a good tell.

Reviewed by: LOTR_lover  ✧  Score: 9

What a great story this is! I appreciate how concise your writing is--you used clear, tight prose and made every word count in this story. I love the relationship you gave Elrond and Celebrian, and the same for the relationship between Galadriel and Celeborn. Elrond is one of my very favorite Elves, and the way you wrote him thrilled me. He was majestic and approachable at the same time. And Celebrian was every bit as wonderful as the elleth he loved. She was strong and feminine as he was strong and masculine. Fine characterizations. The same again for Galadriel and Celeborn. Celeborn has a difficult time of it as the husband of a powerful female--he's simply a cipher in too much fanfiction. You're one of the few writers who write him as strong as he surely must be to hold Galadriel's love. Your Glorfindel is also very well written. His anguish when Elrond asks him to kill him if Sauron wins stands out, as does his sinking to the floor with his head in his hands when Elrond pulls Vilya from his finger and throws it on the nightstand. This whole scene, with its various reactions from the others in the room, is one of the best examples of showing characters' emotions from their actions that I've seen. All in all, this story is one of my all-time favorite pieces of fanfiction.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 9

Stunning. Perhaps the most in-depth exploration of those who stood by the bearers of the Three and everything they endured because of it. Tying Celebrian's capture and torture into her connection to Elrond (and through that, Vilya) was absolutely brilliant. I love the way that the Rings were explained and how their powers worked. And I love the fact that Celeborn and Glorfindel seem to understand the Rings best, even though they're watching through an outside perspective. Characterization worked the same way. The outside perspective on others gave clear, vivid portrayals into some of Tolkien's most ambiguous characters. As the center of the story, Celebrian and Elrond were powerful characters, but also strong personalities were Galadriel, Celeborn, Glorfindel, Elladan, and Elrohir. And the personalities fit. They were all individuals, but they all meshed together to form a family. But perhaps best of all was the theme of duty and how it became the cost of love for both Elrond and Celebrian as well as Celeborn and Galadriel. I really don't think I've ever seen the relationship between spouses and Ring-bearers portrayed so well and so profoundly. Fantastic writing! It filled the cracks that Tolkien left behind.

Reviewed by: daw the minstrel  ✧  Score: 7

This story was beautiful and terrifying. For me, it had the same feel as a Greek tragedy. The people of Athens knew the stories before they went to the theater. They knew what was going to happen to Oedipus but they watched it unfold in pity and fear. That's what I feel for poor Celebrian. And how awful for Elrond to think that it was his stewardship of Vilya that exposed Celebrian to the forces of evil. The agony of everyone involved is described so well through the detail and the dialogue. You make us feel it for ourselves. I am particularly struck by how Celebrian comes across as a strong person, despite what's been done to her. And her love for Elrond comes through so clearly too. Elrond's temptation was deeply realized. How awful to have fought this battle so many times, to think you've won, and to see if come again.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 7

An ending - but not a final one, I hope. Duty keeps Celeborn for now, but he will sail - accompanied by his grandsons and Glorfindel, when the time is right. This is just . . . well, I am lost for words. It is beautiful and satisfying and tragic and philosophically well-thought out and superbly characterised and just generally delicious. I can understand Celebrian's anger and Celeborn's accommodation with the fate that faces him and Galadriel - and see why Celebrian was targeted for attack - and I just love majestic Elrond. I've just spent the whole afternoon rereading the entire thing - just to check out if it was that good all the way through - and it is. There isn't a single bit I would want changed. It is an excellent representation of your talent and a writer and a thoroughly satisfying read. I love it.

Reviewed by: Larian Elensar  ✧  Score: 5

I do like a story that shows the great love Elrond and Celebrian must have had for each other. And this is a great story showing how the rings worked. I read it from, and there were a lot of formatting and typo errors, it looked like. A few minor grammar things too. (Like no punctuation at the end of a line of dialogue). Aside from those things being mildly distracting, it is still a wonderful story--I've read it before, and was looking forward to reading it again, and my expectations were met. And I love the bittersweet ending, but I'm a mush at heart :)

Reviewed by: bridilliel  ✧  Score: 1

This is one of the most powerful pieces of work I've ever had the honor to read. I'm blown away by it's force.