Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Touch of a Vanished Hand

Author: elfscribe
Nominator: Russandol
2010 Award Category: Times: Second and Early Third Age: Fall of Numenor - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Rating teen due to mild swearing, coping with death, angst
Summary: When Elendil and his group of Númenóreans wash up on Lindon's shores, Elrond's past comes back to haunt him.

Reviewed by: Russandol -- Score: 10

The choice of Elros has been the matter of numerous stories, but I can't recall a more poignant account of what Elrond must have felt. The rage and disappointment, the initial sense of betrayal when he learnt of his brother's decision to be sundered from him, they are perfect, as is the echo of those feelings over the many years of his later ages in Middle-earth. Also, I had never paused to think in too much detail what his first encounter what Elendil may have evoked, or even about the consequences of a huge tidal wave upon the shores of Lindon, bringing destruction and a lesser, but no less painful tragedy to that of Numenor. This story deals exquisitely with the first reunion of Elrond with Elros' descendants, hinting of the great love once shared by the brothers. It is not a simple "you are my brother's kin, therefore welcome" but a far more realistic situation where suspicion, regret and anger at what Elrond once lost are blended together until, finally, he has no choice but to acknowledge that, despite his initial mistrust, Elendil is an honest, worthy man. I love the way feelings seem to jump out of the page, the tension between the two characters, the way I can so easily relate to Elrond's fury at comparing the end of Numenor to its beginning, to Elros' dreams and ambitions. And, of course, I liked the implied rekindling of love... Beautiful story, elfscribe!

Reviewed by: Spiced Wine -- Score: 10

I have not long discovered Elfscribe's remarkable talent, and I absolutely love this fic. It focuses on characters that I do not tend to read much about (not for any particular reason, in this case, no disclaimer needed *wink*) and a time that I have so far read nothing whatsoever about, (so possibly this is why, I have not come across this particular topic in fanfiction, so far) that is the landing of Elendil's ships on the shores of Middle-earth. Her descriptions of the devastation caused by the sinking of Númenor is so real as to make it seem as if I am reading of a recent natural disaster such as the Asian Tsunami. The Elves of Lindon are justly appalled, and the landing of Elendil and his people is not exactly propitious. Yet the story here is as poignant as the title. I have often wondered why Elros would choose mortality and to sever himself from his twin brother. I have to say that save for using it as a plot-point to give the Númenoreans' some Elf-blood, I cannot see any reason for Elros' choice, thus perhaps I turn away from him in disbelief that mirrors Elrond's in this story. I am glad, in the end, that Elrond can feel that 'touch of a vanished hand' reaching from so long ago in the past, but I still feel that it is unspeakably tragic.

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 10

This is absolutely a fabulous story which more than lives up to your usual standards. The tsunami following Númenor was something that had occurred to me, but I have never had the imagination to follow up on it—the destruction, the stench, the seeming overkill in the collateral destruction of life and land. I have to say that Elrond's response to it is perfect. I adored the characterization overall—Elrond is more than he otherwise would be in his natural and human response--far more sympathetic than a oh-so-wise and patient acceptance on his part could ever be. I absolutely love Gildor's nervous reaction to Elrond's reasonable anger at the fearsome demi-gods who assisted in this massive catastrophe. The story flows beautifully. The tone and description within a work based upon a great epic, fantasy type of tale is what makes the green sun of the impossible world feel real and concrete. In the case of fanfiction, it is a delight when an author addresses something in the original that raises questions for a reader. What would happen on the shores of Middle-earth when an island the size of Númenor simply disappears beneath the waves? Massive global repercussions. And, faced with that, how would those noble and venerable characters react? As usual your professional and grasp of good story-telling is impressive. You are perfect as usual, hitting this one right out of the ballpark. The sign of a good writer is not the occasional flash of brilliance or insight but consistency! Congratulations on another terrific story!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 10

The opening immediately draws us into this tale, as Elrond surveys the grotesque flotsam Numenor's drowning has brought to his own shores. For him, in a way, this is a second loss that invokes the death of his brother many years before: Elros, who chose mortality and died, and whose kingdom has now foundered many generations later. Elros' descendants, survivors of Numenor represented by Elendil, seek the aid of the Eldar in their distress, but Elrond resents these Men. Though they call themselves the Faithful, he still blames them and even feels they have somehow colluded in their own misfortune, and in the destruction of everything for which his brother lived, and died. More than that, though, in his anger with Elendil we can see how Elrond still resents Elros for leaving him: leaving for an Edain wife, for a distant island, and for a different Fate. How Elrond comes to a reconciliation with Elendil, and with his dead brother, is the stuff of this excellent story. Though these were not emotions and grievances I had expected from Elrond, elfscribe made me believe in them, and in her Elrond, utterly. Elements I particularly enjoyed include a shared journey through rescued artifacts and the memories they inspire (an experience we can all relate to), a vision of drowned Numenor and of Elros' statue (wonderful and eerie), and the recurring detail of a half-drowned bird that you must read the story to appreciate: it is poignant but it also makes for a wonderfully well-timed gag. Also, for those who enjoy maritime swearing, there is a hilarious oath invoking Ossë that I do not care to repeat here. Not because I wouldn't ENJOY repeating it, but because it's much more entertaining left to others to discover. Read and enjoy!

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard -- Score: 10

I find it hard to warm up to Elrond in most fanfiction. He comes off as either too harsh or too wimpy for my taste. But Elfscribe has done an amazing characterization of him here that hits all the right notes and brings him to life in a way that is as fascinating as it is believable. In addition to the characterizations, this story is unique, telling of the events following the sinking of Numenor. I had never considered what devastation the sinking may have caused, a huge tidal wave that flattens everything in its path and washes up the ships trying to escape their island’s demise. I love the details of this story, the wounded bird which Elrond offers succor, the look of Elendil’s eyes, so like those of Elrond's lost brother, the keepsakes of that lost brother which were saved by Elendil, and their effect on Elrond - so many wonderful moments to savor here. But, of course, the moment that tops them all is a look into the past that is heartwarming and heartbreaking by turns as Elrond confronts the shadows of love and loss. The finale is truly beautiful and transcends sorrow, leaving the reader feeling inspired and uplifted. This is a story I was privileged to beta, and which I had hoped to nominate, though someone else beat me to it. *grin* However, I still have the option to recommend it, and I do so most highly.

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213 -- Score: 10

Elfscribe's writing is consistently so elegant, even when describing the putrefying detritus washed up on the shores of Lindon after a massive tidal wave has struck Middle-earth, a tidal wave generated by the destruction of Númenor. In the beginning of this tale, the reader finds Elrond and Gildor making their way to Forlond harbor. Gil-galad has sent as scouts to ferret out the identity and intentions of mortal refuges who have been washed upon the shores. Elrond discovers that their leader -- Elendil -- is in fact his long-dead brother's descendant, Elros, and through a series of sharply worded questions and retorts, Elrond and Elendil come to blows but not serious injury. This Elrond is not composed, measured kind-as-summer Elrond, but a much testier fellow. As Elfscribe digs deeper into Elrond's long memories, the reader can see the source of that anger and grief. But Elfscribe shows us the tentative reconciliation which grows as Elendil shows Elrond the treasures that he has brought from Númenor-that-was. In addition to the canonical artifacts (palantiri etc.), Elendil has brought far more personal and poignant belongings of Elros. But it is through a palantir that Elrond sees a ghost, as it were, or perhaps an illusion of Faerie, in a last bittersweet exchange with Elros in this satisfying and heartbreaking story. A gorgeous tale, 'Scribe. Very nicely done.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

On the arrival of Elendil on the shores of Lindon, Elrond arrives to assess the damage known by those who lived along the oceanside and so is in a position to greet his lost brother's progeny in Elendil and his folk, newly returned to Middle Earth. The meeting is not initially pleasant, for the sight of one so close in resemblance to Elros is painful for him to see. There is but the hint of slash in this, for which I'm grateful. The author treads the barrier well, and love the image of Elrond warming the stricken lark against his chest beneath his Elven armor, and its reawakening mirroring the acceptance he knows for these descendants of his brother, personalized in his acceptance of Elendil himself.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

Elfscribe picks an interesting way to have Elrond, long bereft of his mortal brother, reconcile himself to Elros' choice. Here, Elrond is initially suspicious of the Numenorean refugees washed up on northern shores; and tension works well and makes the story's end all the more bittersweet. Good use of the palantir. Elfscribe has a good grasp of the cultural differences and historical tensions between Elrond and his king and the Faithful of Numenor.

Reviewed by: Jael -- Score: 3

This story is beautifully crafted, as one would expect from a writer of Elfscribe's caliber. The destruction caused by the tsunomi was moving. My other favorite parts were the metaphor of the skylark and the glimpse of sunken Numenor, which was definitely creepy and haunting. Nicely done!