Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Once Upon a Twilit Time

Author: Clodia
Nominator: Thundera Tiger
2010 Award Category: Times: First Age and Prior: Mixed Drabbles - Second Place

Story Type: Drabble : Length: True Drabble Series
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Eleven drabbles written for Tolkien_Weekly's Movie Tie-Ins Challenge. Over their long lives, Elves accumulate so many memories. Sometimes everything reminds Erestor of the ages of the stars...


Reviewed by: Wormwood -- Score: 10

One of the things I love most about this series of drabbles is the sense they evoke of the enormous time-span of this twilit, starlit world, and the way Clodia conveys the beauty of that world. Erestor admits that he preferred those days, and one understands why. It is a time of innocence. [They had chased starlight through the glassy waves and dried themselves, salt-glittering and singing, on twilit beaches.] In a hueless world one works hard to add colour of one’s own making - enchanted mirrors that refracts starlight, rich tapestries, bright garments, jewelled sculpted cities, silver fountains. With the returning light come paths, roads, coinage, maps - boundaries to the natural world. To Erestor, who has no need of any of these things, this new mapped world feels a more rigid and less fluid place, and it bewilders him how anyone can lose their way when the stars shine overhead. To me, he becomes an embodiment of an immortal mindset, a mind “framed” for immortality, even if not all elves are like him. The last drabble ends on a slightly sombre note. Both lit and twilit times run their course and there is darkness both at the end and the beginning of the world. What makes Clodia’s writing stand out is her elegant and lyrical language, and the way she uses that language to put her own unique stamp on Tolkien universe. She is a very talented writer, full stop.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 9

I'm struggling with words to describe this drabble series, and the best I can come up with is musical. Except that it isn't. Not really. It's more like the story behind the music. Like the rhythm and the beat that sustains a harper's haunting melodies. There's a mythical sense to it all, too, and even though much of it is being drawn from memories, it still feels like it happened once upon a time in a land far, far away. The connection between Erestor and the twilight is clear, but it's now the stuff of legends. My favorite drabble of this series was probably the one about roads and maps. The contrasting views of Erestor and the dwarves says so much about both groups. There is sheer poetry in the phrase ["a world without paths"], and there's an almost physical ache for the wild, trackless world that contained only stars. The concluding drabble really hit home as Erestor opens his eyes to the Bruinen again. The story of the younger world still feels shrouded in twilight mystery because there is no longer any context for it, and his redirect toward Elrond seems to indicate that he wishes it to stay that way. Beautiful, enchanting, and haunting!

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 7

Clodia's poetic skills come to full fruition in this multi-layered piece that shows Erestor in such depth as I have not seen before. We are shown the working sof a mind that is first and foremost overloaded with memories, more memories than he can cope with, as the haphazard, jumbled arrangement of thoughts seems to imply. How many memories would accumulate over the millennia in an Elf to whom maps, roads, coins, even plain sunlight are modern fripperies? We see Erestor here as someone who is feeling disorientated and almost alienated from his world, a world that has moved away from him and the things her used to care about. He doesn't understand these humans, he doesn't understand these dwarves, he barely understands the younger generation of Elves, these children of Elrond who torment him with questions. It is a precarious state to be in and one is glad to know that he has Melinna who will keep him anchored in the present.

Reviewed by: Kitt Otter -- Score: 7

Beautiful set. Whimsical and light. We get to follow Erestor’s trail of thought – and that is very wide and long indeed! (‘Pathless,’ rather…!) [‘Fishing for starlight in the Esgalduin's shimmering depths.’] – What a lovely picture! This first drabble is my favorite. I can feel Erestor’s distress for the loss of true twilight; my telescope could have gotten more exercise if I bought it before the sun. I love this image of the Falathrim with their pockets jammed with pearls. Funny how they give them away without a blink and the dwarves prize them above the gold and silver in their hoards. And how different dwarves and elves think. Coins, roads and earth-bones! Oh my! Fascinating concept and totally in resonance with Erestor’s carefree heart: what are paths but long corrals? [‘Noldorin Genealogies’.] – My preference as well! Just as fun as the drabbles themselves are their titles and subtitles. Just for example: [Beacon - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End]. ["He heard Maglor's songs about that world's end."] A perfect ending, bringing it back into a circle. We feel like his audience, getting up and stretching… and wishing to have seen that old world too. Another work of brilliance, Clodia!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 7

I loved rereading this for the MEFAs. Each of the eleven drabbles adds to the charm of those going before, painting a world that is long gone, when the world was pathless, when the only illumination was the stars above Ennor's surface or lamps wrought by those who felt them necessary, when gold and silver were used in ornaments and not stamped into disks for purposes of commerce, when Elu Thingol and his court were considered the height of power and civilization.... Clodia's ability to describe so much in so few words, and to maintain the level of nostalgia and remembered glory throughout is fantastic. And her use of various movie titles in the subtitles is most clever and delightful. A series that deserves to be enjoyed. Reminds me of a container of chocolate truffles from all over the world I recently purchased, each satisfying, but particularly enjoyable because each complements the others!

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 4

These beautiful. lyrical drabbles are pure poetry, or maybe music, or even fragments of dreams from a starlit long ago world.I especially enjoyed the glimpses of Arwen's childhood. These drabbles have a lyric,timeless feel that give the reader a sensation of drifting back to a forgotten world of dreams and memories. Just beautiful! Clodia has truly amazing gift with words.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

Eleven exquisite drabbles focussing on Erestor's treasured memories of the time before the first rising of Sun and Moon - the language is particularly beautiful, Clodia wields it like an instrument to convey the poignant, heart-piercing beauty of the times that Erestor remembers with so much love.

Reviewed by: Anna Wing -- Score: 3

Very beautiful. Poetic and moving, while taking thought for worldbuilding and logic. Menegroth's brightness in a world without the Sun and Moon, the invention of currency by the Dwarves (of course), the shift among years and times, all elegantly and economically told. A fine and lovely series of vignettes.