Life After

Author: Keiliss

Nominator: elfscribe

2011 Award Category: Character Study: General - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Medium Length

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Sexual Content

Summary: Once around the sun: the changing seasons of Glorfindel's first year in Imladris. Originally a MSV 2011 request for Erestor and Glorfindel filling roles not usually associated with them (for example, non-librarian-Erestor or non-warrior-Glorfindel)

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Reviewed by: elfscribe  ✧  Score: 10

Keiliss's stories are true to canon and yet go beyond, feeling like a complete world that exists out there whole somewhere, and I feel pleasure anytime I enter it. Marvelous descriptions, lovely evocative imagery and language. I love her ability to paint a slow, evolving relationship that finally blossoms into true love. This story, like so many of hers is truly, deeply romantic. Even though Erestor is now a captain of warriors in this story, he is still the fascinating sensual creature that is Keiliss's alone. Here also is her Glorfindel, having to slowly relearn who he is after his rebirth. I love the fact that Glorfindel paints and is at heart, a pacifist, and that he needs to relearn how to enjoy touch. Gorgeous descriptions of Erestor:["He was dressed for the season in a sleeveless, forest green tunic and black leggings, his feet bare, his only adornment an armband of silver and jet pushed up to just below his right bicep. Light moved on his hair; it was amongst the darkest Glorfindel had ever seen, ebon with an inner sheen. Somewhere in the pit of his stomach sensation stirred, a shiver of something akin to lust roused, there and then gone."] Very sensual. I love that it is the light in Erestor’s hair that arouses Glorfindel, the painter. The scene in which Erestor is fighting that finally does Glorfindel in, did me in too. Gildor's characterization was also fine. His warm friendship, giving Glorfindel what he needs, being there for him but also wise enough to step away when he senses that Glorfindel has healed enough to find love. Lovely descriptions of the landscape as the seasons change: ["Winter settled in around Imladris, wrapping the valley in rain followed by snow that sat heavy and full on the trees covering the slopes. Winter gave way to early Spring, and as the river ran swift and loud and the trees began to bud, Imladris drowsed in bee-heavy summer heat."] The sex scenes are understated but wow. That final scene with Erestor and Glorfindel was charged and erotic, due in large part to how well she had built up the attraction between them and her fresh use of language. The first line [The rising sun was painting a line of pale light across the ceiling] is so good. It conveys the characterization of Glorfindel as a painter, his struggle to redefine himself and his world, that he is at first merely watching and not involved, that the sun is rising on his new life but it's a thin line still, not yet a full canvas, and so he has some growing and healing to do. What a visually poetic way to illustrate the story’s theme.

Author response: I'll come back to this review on the days (the many days) when the words lie flat on the page and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can't write. Thank you for thinking well enough of Life After to nominate it, I take that and everything you've said here as a very great compliment, coming as it does from such a skilled and experienced writer. At any rate, what I'm trying to say is I'm deeply touched and flattered. Thank you, my dear.

Reviewed by: Russandol  ✧  Score: 10

This is a story to read slowly, to savour watching the relationship from the first look between Erestor and Glorfindel to its blossoming. The pace of the tale helped to give me the impression of having all the time in the world, like the elves within it. Things happen when they are right and not before, and in the meantime I witness in wonderful detail the passing of the seasons in an Imladris that is conjured before my eyes. Maybe because Glorfindel has chosen to be a painter, the story seems shaped out of precise brush strokes, adding a bit here and a bit there until Glorfindel can see the whole picture, as I have done while reading. There is far more to the tale than the romance. As much as I've enjoyed the moments between Glorfindel and Erestor (and I am not sure which one is my favourite, because they all are the right mixture of tenderness and growing sensuality), it is Gildor who becomes the unsung hero in the story. For Glorfindel, the settling into the "life after" and the acceptance of how things have changed are achieved through the discreet support from Gildor until he knows it is no longer needed. No love triangles, no drama, just friendship that made me feel good. I shouldn't finish without a mention of how much I liked Erestor's silky black hair, so real in the descriptions that I could almost touch it. So, so close...

Author response: Ah, you are wonderful with words, even your reviews glow - thank you so much, this left me feeling really good. Smiley. I'm thrilled you thought so well of the story, the pacing and the characters - especially Gildor, who I've only written once before (badly) and who I rather fell in love with by the end.

Reviewed by: Red Lasbelin  ✧  Score: 10

love this story. I love Glorfindel most out of Tolkien's characters and this was a pleasure to read. Keiliss is good with taking a story and giving a twist to what would otherwise be very familiar. When you flip characters' established positions like this, it doesn't work if you don't stay true to who they were originally, while changing things about them. I think she did that. It was a slow blooming, Glorfindel's journey into his new life. Full and bright at the end, but closed at first, only then slowly unfurling. I loved that Gildor stayed, without complaint, no murmuring. He stayed and I think it showed what love there was between the two of them, it's not something he'd have done casually. I think ultimately Erestor was right for Glorfindel, Erestor listened and saw him for who he was now, untinged from the past and loved him. I think they compliment each other, I think Erestor brought out things in him he didn't even realize and they could build a life together with a very different focus than Glorfindel had experienced previously. Gildor recognized the change, saw what was happening and he's very sensitive to paths and understood Glorfindel and his paths split. He stepped out of Glorfindel's life in such a way that could only be loving. No recriminations, no guilt trip, no 'I stayed for nothing'. Through shaky beginnings, nightmares and finally Glorfindel finding who he is now, Gildor did his best by Glorfindel. And - God help me, I think you got me to like Gildor/Glorfindel. A lot, which is never a pairing I would have admitted to liking!

Author response: I was always scared to write Gildor, remember? And now he creeps in places ... While I was writing this, I didn't realise the story was as much about him as it was about Glorfindel's journey to life or Erestor's patience, but it very much was. Hard to think what to say to the person who beta'd the story, put up with the wailing, had to read versions over and over... I'm proud of this story, Thank you for all the help and time you put into helping me not mess it up too badly. And thank you for the big review :)

Reviewed by: Levade  ✧  Score: 7

Ever gone looking for something with an "unusual" Glorfindel? You know, not a braggadocious balrog-slaying, swaggering, confident, Gilderoy Lockhart'ish fellow? This is the story for you. This is indeed a different Glorfindel. He doesn't want to fight, or be involved in the guard, though he does lend his expertise and experience eventually. He is reluctant and a bit reclusive, inward-looking, and contemplative of everything around him. This is Glorfindel as he might have been had he never crossed the Ice, and Keiliss does a grand job of exploring those facets. Gildor also plays a role in this, and I found myself really enjoying his interactions. Erestor is also a different variety than you might be used to, but not one of those predictable sorts. I don't think Kei does predictable in characters. This was a stretch for Keiliss, and well-worth reading. A lovely addition to her stories.

Author response: *This is Glorfindel as he might have been had he never crossed the Ice* Oh wow, you nailed it! That's exactly who he's been given the chance to become, Glorfindel before the Crossing and Gondolin and Responsibility. So glad you liked Gildor, he was an experience (also has a mind of his own and is trying to creep into everything I write now) It was a stretch, yes, as you well know. It took me weeks before I could go back and look at it and love what I found. Thank you for a lovely and really thoughtful review. It meant a lot to me.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 6

Probably the most notable thing about this is the languid, unhurried pacing and tone of this piece. Even though the timespan covered in the plot itself is relatively short, the author did a wonderful job of making things seem stretched out. I never once felt that the characters were moving too fast, that they were making a mistake. Glorfindel and Gildor and Erestor were sure of themselves and what had to be done and how to do it. That, more than anything else, made the story that much more believable and likable. I thought the unusual portrayals of Erestor and Glorfindel were charming as well, and they added to the tone of the piece. Glorfindel's discomfiture in his new surroundings was illustrated perfectly throughout, and I loved the sense of absolution he gained from Erestor's companionship; it seemed very right in the the end.

Author response: I wanted the pacing to give a sense of the year unfolding slowly and Glorfindel moving back into life at the same pace, so your review was quite the nicest thing you could say about the story. Thank you so much :) ~Kei

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 5

You really made me fall in love with your way of writing Erestor and Glorfindel all over again. I like the relationship with Gildor very much--warm and generous and comfortable--friends with benefits, who do not fall in love. But Erestor and Glorfindel is a lovely, lovely story. I really enjoyed the slow and gentle pace of their getting to know one another, of Glorfindel realizing his attraction, but not pursuing it. I chuckled when they barely gave themselves a decent interval before actively pursuing the next level when Gildor leaves. And after all of that restraint, unresolved sexual tension, etc., etc., their first time is explosive. Very satisfying and heart-warming story.

Author response: Thank you so much for the kind words. Heh, friends with benefits, yes --- Rather liked writing Gildor... he used to intimidate me till I worked out his back story properly. The love story - I tend to pick up E and G after they got together, and then write them from Erestor's POV, so I was seeing everything from a different angle, a nice if unnerving experience considering how often I've written them.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 4

This is a beautiful, gentle piece. Step by step Glorfindel returns to life. From the first months in Imladris trying to get a grip on reality and life around him, piecing together old acquaintances, love and friends. It takes time. It is a slow journey supported by vivid descriptions of the landscape of Imladris. I like it that Glorfindel has cats and a dog as companions. The developing love between Erestor and Glorfindel is beautifully handled.

Author response: This is such a lovely review, thank you so much. Thanks also for mentioning you liked the fact that Glorfindel had the dog and cats as companions, it seemed very 'right' for who he was becoming and was something I enjoyed picturing.

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 3

Much as I sympathize with Glorfindel's need to take time to find his feet and re-evaluate his priorities, which is very convincingly described, the character I particularly fell in love with in this story is Keiliss's version of Gildor Iinglorion--so vivid he seems to jump off the page (or screen)!

Author response: I'd only written Gildor once before (not very well) and wasn't sure where we were going, but I found if he's left to get on with it, he knows who he is and what he's doing. Some of it surprised me, though I think making a few arbitrary decisions about his background and parentage helped (my thanks to Oshun for proving anything goes in that free for all, lol) Thanks very much for making him the main point of your review, I'm thrilled he came across so strongly.

Reviewed by: Liadan  ✧  Score: 3

Glorfindel has many adjustments to make in his new life not only in Imladris, but also rediscovering who he is. In turn, many Imladris residents have to reassess their preconceived ideas about Glorfindel.

Author response: I love your reviews, you manage to summarize each story so succinctly while giving a clear idea of what it's about. That's a real skill (I am useless at summaries, I whimper when I reach that point on the header) Thank you very much for reading and reviewing Life After.

Reviewed by: Melusine  ✧  Score: 3

How would one react to being re-born after death? Would he be the same or would he find himself, his true self? The author takes us through a year in which Glorfindel begins his new life in Imladris and slowly goes from coping to growing to living. What an adjustment he goes through, and we see it in scenes that show us without overwhelming us. Lovely tale!

Author response: Thanks so much for the review, Mel, it's much appreciated. It's also a rather good summary of a story I battled to summarise - I should have asked you, lol. Anyhow, I'm glad you enjoyed it.