Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Tales of Older Days

Author: Clodia
Nominator: Ignoble Bard
2011 Award Category: Adventure: General - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Medium Length
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Disturbing Imagery/Themes,Violence
Summary: Dwarves, Elves and dragon cubs, oh my! It’s 2430 T.A. and a hapless urchin is fleeing through the midnight streets of Bree... A lighthearted adventure also featuring Erestor, alewives, barrow-wights, Morgoth, Tom Bombadil, Old Man Willow, Goldberry, Earendil and Elwing, the Valar, a stunningly gowned lady villain and a big Machine. Second place (incomplete) MEFA 2010 - now complete!


Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 10

Dear Clodia, I am so delighted to find this nominated in its completed form - I thought WIPs could not get nominated again, but that seems to have changed, which pleases me greatly. I very thoroughly enjoyed this bizarre story and only wished it would have been longer, but, well, there's room for a sequel, I suppose. It is a great story in general, but even more so if one considers its genesis. I only half followed the forum thread where the ideas were tossed about, and I've got to hand it to you for having woven all that into a coherent tale which, in spite of its crazy mix of elements comes across as very convincing. I have many favourite bits in this story, like the role of Mili, the visit at Tom Bombadil's house, the rages of Lady Inez and, of course, the ever charming urchin Gogol, but what I enjoyed most of all was the tone of the story, that whimsical, slightly understated irony. All the way through I could picture you smirking as you wrote this, and it makes for a very pleasurable reading experience. I am glad you wrote this and I hope you will write a sequel, if only to let us know how our favourite elf lady regains a sane hair colour. I know you are busy, but you also know we love you and we are saying please, pretty please with a cherry on top...

Reviewed by: Werdrachin -- Score: 10

Tales of Older Days by Clodia contains everything a really good story needs: a sophisticated, fascinating villain, interesting, resourceful heroes, well-elaborated sidekicks - and a cute pet, ensuring unlimited possibilities for comical situations and entanglements. Neatly embedded in the world of Middle-earth, the story unfolds with so much tension and dynamics, it leaves the reader breathless. There is humour and serious adventures in perfect balance. The author´s love for details and her talent to forge common experiences and acute observations of peoples' behaviour into little gems of words is impressive. It´s easy to visualize everything as it happens, like seeing a film instead of reading. The dialogs are witty or gripping (or both) and ring true. The elven heroine Melinna and her partner Erestor dance through situations full of danger elegantly and seemingly effortless, feeding each other lines like a well attuned team should. The urchin and little Sugar are so cute and so lovingly painted, they easily win the readers heart. With every passage, this tale just keeps getting more and more delightful to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

-- Thank you so much, as always! Every comment you leave me makes me a happier person.

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 10

I read the first chapter of this story last year when it was up for review as a WIP, but with so many stories to review, I left off there. I am so glad to come back to it now, as a completed work. This story takes place some six hundred years before the War of the Ring, in a Bree that is no longer a thriving trade town at the juncture of three kingdoms, but not yet the insular village that Frodo discovered. Outside of Erestor (husband to Melinna) the characters are all original, although Gogollescent Ferny must surely be a relative of Bill Ferny (if not a direct ancestor), and I can't help fancying some kinship between Mili the Dwarf and the Fili and Kili of [Hobbit] fame. Interesting, then, that their expected roles should be inverted, since Gogol, however bratty, is essentially one of the good guys, while Mili, however chivalrous, is a decided Person of Hench. His boss, the Lady Inez, is a delight of a villain in that swaggering way not typically seen in Middle-earth. Although she is somewhat of a mystery in the final analysis, the clues that we get are tantalizing, from her Númenórean name to her Medusa-like golden hair, to an apparent connection with the Barrow Wights. A crony of the Witch King, perhaps? Somehow I just can't picture her as a servant. Then there's Sugar. Who can forget Aññolë? And who can create characters like these and not be prepared to serve up a sequel? Fortunately, the way the story leaves off, it looks like a prime set-up for further such [Tales]. Fists clenched and puppy-eyed, I hope, I hope, I hope...

-- Thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed this enough to leave such a kind review! I had great fun writing it and I do have definite ideas (if not *quite* a plan - yet) for a sequel, it's just a matter of finding the time...

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard -- Score: 10

This story has the most amazingly awesome, fully realized, exquisitely evil villain in the history of fanfiction in Inez. I do hope her so-called evil, but actually perfectly rational and necessary, schemes come to fruition. Why she’s really the best original fanfiction character I can recall reading about in the longest time… Oh, wait, there are other characters in this story too I guess. There’s the obnoxious, thieving urchin who almost gets her just desserts on the barrow downs (and the barrow-wights would have gotten her too if not for that meddling Erestor). There’s that fine upstanding citizen Kat Ferny who long-sufferingly provides for said urchin. There’s Mili the militant dwarf who is a pretty good minion when he’s not screwing something up. And then there’s Melinna. What to say about Melinna… she’s okay I guess. ;-) Clodia has a real talent for combining humor, suspense, action, even horror with equal ease and aplomb. I reviewed this story as a WIP last year and the ending was better than I could have hoped for. The part where Melinna is thrown into the void is an incredible piece of writing that still gives me a warm glow to read. This story deserves all the kudos and reviews it can possibly garner. I stand in awe of Clodia’s abilities as a writer, though she is modest about them. There are no bad recommendations when it comes to her stories but this one has an undeniable personal appeal. PS: I still want that dragon!

-- YOU are the most awesome non-villain and thank you so much! Once I've done half a dozen other things, I must see if I can't raise you an Elder God. You might have to team up with those pesky Elves, their pet urchin and the dragonet to put it back in its pond, mind you. Oh, how your hair will hate that!

Reviewed by: Himring -- Score: 8

It is a romp and what a romp! And it has got Clodia's well-established, familiar characters Erestor and Melinna in it, which is a recommendation in itself. There are all sorts of shades of humour represented here, from slapstick to wry irony, from light-hearted and frothy to black-as-black. Crazily, but nevertheless surprisingly coherently plotted, the story appears to have started as a joke among insiders, and I suspect there are references here anyone who is not acquainted with Gogolescent is bound to miss. But that still leaves plenty to enjoy in this fantastic story set in Bree and featuring Tom Bombadil and Goldberry and a number of dwarves as well as a few rather less canonical, but extremely colourful characters. Clodia's bits of screwball dialogue are a pleasure to read. There is also a somewhat unexpected (but by no means unmotivated) excursion into the West, impressively weird on its own terms.(During this, we are rather sharply reminded that Melinna's air of amused and superior detachment hasn't prevented her from forming a highly emotional attachment to Doriath.)

-- Thanks so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed this rather, aha, crazy fic enough to leave such a kind review. I had great fun writing it, but as you correctly note, it started very much as an inside joke, so I'm never quite sure how it reads outside that context.

Reviewed by: Fiondil -- Score: 6

Ah, Erestor and Melinna. They are a pair, aren’t they? It’s a delight to see Erestor married instead of in a slash relationship and Melinna is certainly his equal. This is a delightful tale that reminds me very much of “Buffy” with the bad-goddess Gloria. Lady Inez certainly acts like her and her inner thoughts are hysterical and so typical of bad-demon goddesses the world over. Erestor and Melinna are their usual cool selves and Gogollescent Ferny (wherever did you get that name!?) is a treat. Add in a dragonet and you have a great recipe for mischief and mayhem. I do hope that Melinna is able to find a suitable dye though, or she’s going to be one unhappy Elf. This is a definitely a fun read and bound to give you a chuckle or two. And maybe there’s a sequel? I sure hope so.

-- Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a generous review! I had a great deal of fun writing this whole story, so it's wonderful to hear you enjoyed it. I do have ideas for a sequel - finding the time will be a different matter, unfortunately...

Reviewed by: curiouswombat -- Score: 6

Any story by Clodia that features Erestor and Melinna is bound to be a good read - and this is no exception. There are, clearly, a number of 'in jokes' which I can see are such - yet despite not being one of the relevant insiders I enjoyed every word of this rollicking good read. For, after all, what is there not to enjoy in a tale that stars not only Erestor and Melinna but also (in no particular order) an urchin member of the Ferney clan, a dragon's egg on the point of hatching, a sinister female with seriously unnerving hair, hench-dwarves, Tom Bombadil, Goldberry and even a mysterious machine? In case the author forgot to include one, I will conclude this review with a beverages warning. Seriously. Do not go anywhere this tale, on any form of electronic equipment, which any sort of liquid in either hand or mouth. You have been warned!

-- Aha, thank you so much! I had so much fun writing this lengthy in-joke, even though it took SO long to finish it, so I'm so glad you enjoyed it enough to leave such a generous review!

Reviewed by: crowdaughter -- Score: 6

This story has been one of my favorites while it was still in the stage of a WIP, and I love it as well now it has been finished. The hilarious tale of two Elves, an Urchin and a Dragon in an encounter with what appears to be a Numenorian Lady with strange hair and a following of Dwarves is completely astonishing and seems happily ignorant of any canon, but still a delight to read; yet Clodia would not be Clodia if the tale would not manage to fit into the known Tolkien-universe canon-wise surprisingly well, and there are those sudden parts of the story that grip the readers guts, because they refer to much darker elements of Tolkien's cosmos (like Maglor's fate and Morgoth' place of banishment). All this mixed up with Clodia's dry humor is a guaranteed delight to read, and a very enjoyable tale indeed. What can I say? I want a Sequel! Greatly done indeed. Chapeau!

-- Thanks so much again! I'm still sorry I couldn't get the Distressed Damsel into this - but then, if I find time for more Tales in the new year... we'll see. It's so kind of you to leave such a generous review, anyway!

Reviewed by: StarSpray -- Score: 6

This rollicking adventure of an urchin (with the most awesome name that was ever given to an urchin) from Bree who gets caught up with Elves, a newly-hatched dragon, hench-Dwarves, and a villainess with the most interesting hair is absolutely brilliant. Clodia waves delightfully dry humor into quite serious circumstances with masterful skill, and all of the characters - from the familiar Erestor and Melinna and Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, to Kat the alewife and Mili the Dwarf, to the narrator - are given distinct personalities that play off each other just wonderfully. I hope a sequel is in store, because I desperately want to know what is going to happen to the dragon and Gogollescent, and what else Inez and her hair will get up to. And, of course, whether Melinna will be able to fix her hair.

-- Thank you so much for such a generous review, Star! I'm very glad you enjoyed this story and I have definite ideas for a sequel - if only I can find the time to write it...

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 5

A substantial adventure with Clodia's original character Melinna and her husband Erestor; late-ish Third Age but hundreds of years before the Ring War. There are dwarves, a mysterious and very nasty lady; a scary encounter with the Biggest Bad of Arda; and two new OC characters I hope Clodia will write again - a Ferny child with a sad history and a propensity for mischief, and a very cute baby dragon. And of course, there's Tom Bombadil; and very well-written he is too, sometimes a bit scary underneath all that cheer. A rousing tour of Northern Middle-earth, with a fascinating detour to Elsewhere, and Mandos too...Very enjoyable and begging for a sequel.

-- Thank you for taking the time to write such a kind review, Raksha! It's lovely to hear you enjoyed this rather odd story. I do have definite ideas for a sequel - but when (or whether) I'll find time to write it...

Reviewed by: Erulisse -- Score: 3

Any story featuring Erestor and Clodia's delightful Melinna is one I want to read and this was no exception. With the usual amazingly deft interplay between the characters, villians with an infernal machine, and the insertion of dwarves into the mix...well, I'll just say that Clodia has another winner here. Read it and laugh!

-- Thanks so much for a lovely review, Erulisse! It's always great to know you enjoy something I've written.

Reviewed by: Liadan -- Score: 2

This is a interesting story that starts in Bree. But when traveling Elves arrive and meet a street urchin, things change very quickly -- and in the most unexpected ways.

-- Thank you for reviewing!