In the Wind from the Sea
2011 Award Category: Romance: General
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen ✧ Reason for Rating: Sexual Content
Summary: Twenty years after the Ring War, intense Sea-longing can still descend on Legolas without warning; can love of his land, his people, his friends and his beloved draw him back? One of the "Ithilien Tales" story arc, sequels to "Amid the Powers and Chances of the World" featuring Legolas and his mortal OFC beloved, Rowanna. (NB: the "Adult" rating's for another tale in the sequence, this is Teen)
Reviewed by: curiouswombat ✧ Score: 10
I have loved Azalais' deeply satisfying series of tales about Legolas and Rowanna since I settled, one wet afternoon, to read what had then been written of the original 'Amidst the Powers and Chances of the World'. This vignette is as beautifully crafted as was that parent story - the intricately detailed Wood Elf culture, the sights and sounds of Ithilien (and the sea...) from both the point of view of the elves and the human Rowanna, all weave together to form a rich tapestry. And this small corner of the tapestry will well stand alone as a picture of Legolas trying to deal with the sea-longing whilst those who love him, both Rowanna and his own people, try to help him withstand it. Faramir, Elboron, the visiting Rohir - all have full and distinct personalities (as do the different elves, of course) even though these personalities are sometimes drawn with but a few strokes of the pen - or possibly a few taps of the keyboard! The relationship between elf and woman, so often badly written that many people simply avoid all such stories, is here one of equals; two strong, and very different personalities, who have tried in the past to avoid this relationship - but were sucked into it almost against their wills. Rowanna is no simpering young woman, but a skilled horse-breeder with her own life to live - and this is what makes the whole series work. Here she is called from negotiations concerning the breeding stock of the Princedom of Ithilien by one of Legolas' elves, as Legolas is deeply caught up by the sea-longing - so deeply they fear for his sanity, or his life. The relationship that has grown between Rowanna and the very different, almost fey, wood elves - as well as with their leader - is both well portrayed and believable. I would say, even if you have not read the original long story, that it would be a very good use of your time to read this short story for its own value - and if it makes you want to go and read the original, to see where this relationship came from, then put aside a good long time and expect to become immersed.
Author response: Thank you, so much, for such a lovely detailed review - and for sneaking in another plug for Powers and Chances as well! I'm glad you enjoy the various characters and that in the short space of this story the Wood-Elves' culture, Dor Ararych and Ithilien (all of which are much more worked out in my head than I went into here!) come across. And thanks again too for the beta help with it :-)
Reviewed by: Altariel ✧ Score: 4
It's fitting that this story - in which Legolas almost succumbs to the sea-longing, but is drawn back by the arrival and presence of his mortal lover, Rowanna - should be so rich in physical and material detail. Az brings Fourth Age Ithilien to life; her characters and the setting are vividly, lovingly imagined. I'd strongly encourage people to read this vignette, and the longer, deeply satisfying story from which it emerged.
Author response: I really wanted the sensual aspect of this story to come through strongly, so I'm very pleased that worked for you. My head spent all too much time in Fourth Age Ithilien this year, albeit a few leagues north of yours... ;-)
Reviewed by: Wtiger ✧ Score: 3
Sea longing is such a powerful ailment and I believe you have captured it quite well. The love between Rowanna and Legolas must be strong indeed to combat its power. These characters are so real and strong. I really enjoyed your treatment of both Legolas and the OC.
Author response: Thank you! I'm glad you appreciate the characters. If you want to read more about them and how the two of them originally came to be together, do give my longer story, Amid the Powers and Chances of the World (which you can read at either Henneth Annun Story Archive or Tolkien Fan Fiction, and is also nominated for this year's MEFAs) a go...
Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel ✧ Score: 3
Azalais's Rowanna is one of the few OCs who can stand against scrutiny from all sides. She is strong in any story, as her personality is fully developed and quite believable. It's always a pleasure to read about her, as well as her continued relationship with Legolas, past the main arc of their story.
Author response: I'm delighted you find Rowanna such a convincing OC - that was very much one of my aims when I first started writing her. And I'm very pleased that after reading Amid the Powers... you carried on to some of the later Powersverse fic!