Clouds Will Clear

Author: Elleth

Nominator: grey_gazania

2011 Award Category: Second Age and Early Third Age: General - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Violence

Summary: After the defeat of Sauron in the Last Alliance, Elrond struggles to pick up the pieces. For B2MeM 2011, Day Eight: Write a story or poem or create a piece of artwork reflecting identification with or connection to one's land, country or culture.

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Reviewed by: Lyra  ✧  Score: 8

I had not expected that the bit in the summary about "picking up the pieces" was meant quite so literally! But it makes perfect sense. Of course Elrond would, once the battle had ended, try to gather the physical remains of Gil-Galad as well as his possessions just as much as he would later gather part of the remaining Elves. Elrond's musings about Gil-Galad's forebears, who died in similar ways, and eventually to Fëanor, who after all also went in a blaze of fire, add a stark and chilling background to the gloomy aftermath of Sauron's defeat. Even though the battle is won, there have been bitter losses, and it will probably take some time until the realisation of victory truly dawns. But as the title suggests, the clouds eventually clear and Gil-Galad's ruined banner of stars revived by the starry night sky. In the end, hope prevails. Written in Elleth's usual atmospheric and evocative style, this is an excellent look at Elrond's first thoughts and deeds after the Battle of the Last Alliance.

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213  ✧  Score: 6

The particular scene that Elleth visits, the aftermath of the desperate fight among Gil-galad, Elendil, and Sauron, is a pivotal moment in the history of Middle-earth, and one in particular that fascinates me. Elleth's treatment by use narration by the shaken herald of Gil-galad, namely Elrond, works beautifully here in a stark, dread and ashen landscape. He has witnessed his leige lord as he was consumed by heat and flame: [But his king lay dead, and Elrond knew that Gil-galad's final moments had been tainted with the certainty of failure. Even as flames devoured the king, Elrond had seen the grey eyes widen. I cannot breathe. We have failed. I will follow my father's footsteps even to the end.] It's heartwrenching, and Elleth shows us the burden that Elrond now bears. The solemn theme of ashes is used to good effect here, from the remains of Gil-galad and Sauron to those of Fëanor. Elrond scoops up Gil-galad's ashes and begins an elegy, not a lament. The final paragraph is wonderful and replete with soaring symbolism.

Reviewed by: grey_gazania  ✧  Score: 5

Allow me to once again wax lyrical about Elleth's lush and sumptuous descriptions! Mordor’s barren, ashy waste is vividly drawn, and Elrond is wonderfully in-character in immediate aftermath of Sauron’s (temporary) defeat and Gil-galad’s death. This story is a beautiful, touching, and sad exploration of Elrond’s connection to his king, his homeland, and his own history, and it ends on the perfect note of bittersweet hope. I hope Elleth considers writing more in this vein; I, for one, would certainly read it with eagerness!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

A beautifully written piece that touches on the sorrow of death in battle and the inevitable chore of picking up the pieces - the details are poignant, nothing being left of the legendary High King but ashes, a jewel from his crown, and bits of armor. The question of the future of Elrond and his people, is raised by implication - will they have anything other than scattered pieces of a dead king's legacy left to sustain them after so pyrrhic a victory? A spare, powerful ficlet that offers hope, but no guarantees.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

The strength of this story lies in the descriptions, which were impressively done. You did a fine job of portraying the aftermath of a particularly cruel battle, and how Elrond was left literally to pick up the pieces. His grief at the death of his liege-lord was tempered with hope for the future. Well done.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 3

This ficlet paints a very vivid picture of the aftermath of the death of Gil-Galad. Nothing is left, but ashes and some debris. I like the contrast between the darkness of Mordor and the ray of hope in the form of the stars finally shining through.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 2

Beautiful, touching ficlet depicting Elrond's thoughts about Gil Galad. It is easy to feel Elrond's love and respect for his king. Well done.

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 2

A careful, subtle account of the aftermath of the fall of Gil-Galad, both realistic and poetic in its attention to detail. Very visual.