Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Morning Song

Author: Erulisse
Nominator: Elleth
2011 Award Category: Drabble: Elves - Second Place

Story Type: Drabble : Length: True Drabble
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Disturbing Imagery/Themes
Summary: 100 word count answering the prompt On its final day, a woman awakens to face her fate in the doomed city of Ost-in-Edhil. A response to the prompt "comb" in Tolkien Weekly Challenge.


Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 9

Erulisse's drabbles stand out for several reasons. One of them is the strong visual component and her artistic use of imagery, which definitely appeals to me as reader who tends to visualize a lot while engaging with a story. In [Morning Song], already full of clear (if not always lovely, but that is a fault of the story's subject, not the author) images, the author adds another dimension by ramping up the contrast between dark and light - sunrise as a token of (as it turns out, false) hope, and the ransacked city of Eregion that is about to fall -, a juxtaposition of past and present, and her unnamed female character's composure as the elf draws strength and inspiration from memory for an unavoidable end. A very plausible drabble, all-in-all, that takes a look beyond the high and mighty protagonists that are named in the legendarium, to one of the 'common' people who often disappear in fanfic, and adds further depth by hinting at some backstory. As a writer who is working on a number of OC-based stories, this is the other strong appeal of the ficlet for me. Not bad for a one-shot of hundred words, is it? I think not, and enjoyed this drabble a lot.

-- Wow, what else can I say...you are so very kind. I loved writing this story because the imagery just came to me. My OFC is one of my loves and I hope to be able to tell her story in depth one day when my own writing skills are up to it. I really appreciate your thoughtful review. - Erulisse (one L)

Reviewed by: ziggy -- Score: 7

This is another superb example of a Drabble used to full effect. In those few words, a whole tale is told and some complex ideas unravelled, or ravelled perhaps - the lover with his blue eyes, the valour which he showed her, the pride his memory evokes as she 'dresses' for her fate almost. That is the basics of what happens-but beneath all this is the complexity of women's role in warfare and in Tolkien's world; her dressing is written in a way that is akin to a warrior putting on his armour for battle. She can only make sure she is presented well-but there is pride in that-she is not going to simply neglect her dress because they are besieged. The transition from morning-dressing her hair, to evening when all is in ruins is made more poignant actually by the domesticity of the comb, by her defiance being shown in this simple act. A really complex idea actually that brings to mind the role of women in these situations, the powerlessness too perhaps, and the loss she has endured.

-- My thoughts are overwhelmed by your very kind words. I had hoped that Morning Song would resonate on some level, and it appears to have done so, at least to you. I am so very grateful that you allowed me to know that. Thank you - two very small and simple words that really convey so much. - Erulisse (one L)

Reviewed by: KyMahalei -- Score: 5

Erulisse has become a very skilled drabble writer. Evidence of her mastery is showcased here. I particularly like the way that the sobering tone of the piece is counterpointed by the use of the comb, a vestige of the life that has been shattered. This drabble is obviously a slice of much larger story. its boundaries are pushed even further with the use of the blue-eyed lover. As I see it there are three stories that reside here; the battle, the lover, and the events that are yet to transpire. the double meaning of the title did not escape me either. This story was truly a mourning song.

-- Thank you so much for your kind words, Ky. You read so much of what I had wanted to convey in this small drabble, perhaps I was writing it just for you :-) In any case, you made my heart sing. - Erulisse (one L)

Reviewed by: cairistiona -- Score: 4

This is haunting in its very brevity, echoing the sorrowful call of the stones, "Fair they wrought us, But they are gone." Just as Tolkien conveyed a huge amount of emotion with just a few words, so too does this drabble. A beautiful and poignant use of the prompt, and you've wrung every possible emotion from each word. This is a perfect example of how drabbles should be written, in my estimation. Well done.

-- You are extremely kind, Caristiona. I adore writing drabbles, but this one was very early in my writing experience and it was a new media for me. That the words worked so well for you pleases me a great deal.

Reviewed by: elfscribe -- Score: 4

This ficlet contains a chilling and effective contrast between the first sentence showing the dawning of a beautiful day [“with soft tones in the clouds”] and the horror of the next line that graphically depicts the desecration of Ost-in-Edhil. Then, the point of view character with a small, mundane action, that of picking up a comb and fixing her hair, shows her madness, despair, and courage all at once. Marvelously evocative.

-- Your kind words made me shiver and I truly am without words to express my gratitude at your review of this story. Morning Song is one of my favorite drabbles, in spite of its implied disastrous future events. Thank you is entirely inadequate, but all I can say. - Erulisse (one L)

Reviewed by: Himring -- Score: 4

This, I suspect, is Erulisse's original female character Helyanwe (Eilian) facing her death during Sauron's invasion of Eregion and remembering the loss of her beloved Glorfindel during the Fall of Gondolin. It doesn't matter, though, if I am wrong. What counts is this brief glimpse of the courage of a woman who expects to die and is determined to die with the dignity she owes to herself and those who loved her. So, on the fateful morning, she takes time to fix her hair. A strong response to the challenge that prompted it.

-- Spot on, my dear Himring. Helyanwe is indeed the person thinking about her past as she faces her very short future. I so appreciated your words and have appreciated your support over the past few months since I've been writing. Thank you so very much for the review! - Erulisse (one L)

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 3

Dear Erulisse, I liked this drabble, especially the first sentence in which the beauty of nature contrasts so cruelly with the gruesome scene wrought by men. The comb is a powerful symbol here, representing the desire to bring order to things and also evoking images of mythological women like the Lorelei. Well done indeed.

-- Thank you so much, Virtuella. Your kind words just made my day. I loved writing "Morning Song" and I am delighted that you found it worthy of a review. - Erulisse (one L)

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 3

I love the emotion and strength of character shown in the unnamed heroine. In so few words, Erulisse has managed to portray this person's integrity and power, all through one simple action. It's a beautiful, moving scene, well worth reading and re-reading.

-- Wow, you truly flatter me and I am so very grateful for your positive words. This particular character, my primary OFC, is very dear to my heart. That this small story of one day in her life hit your heart fills me with joy. Thank you. - Erulisse (one L)

Reviewed by: Keiliss -- Score: 3

The contrast between the hope of morning and the despair of invasion and death are strongly drawn in this drabble. I liked the idea of the central character combing her hair, making ready for death, trying to hold onto calm. It has an almost Spartan feel to it, and a very strong image.

-- It is so hard to be negative when dawn breaks and the skies lighten. Yet, I could only wish for the courage in the face of death that my character shows here. Thank you for your very kind and thoughtful review. - Erulisse (one L)

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 2

There is something to be said for meeting one's doom with dignity, and this drabble portrays that. Succinct and well written.

-- Thank you for your kind review of "Morning Song". Your description of the storyline was spot-on and your spending your valuable time to review my piece was very much appreciated. - Erulisse (one L)

Reviewed by: curiouswombat -- Score: 2

This is a beautifully atmospheric drabble. It shows such a good use of words; we find ourselves drawn into this tragedy so that we understand it on a personal level.

-- Thank you so much for your kind words on Morning Song. I'm quite sure that terror was not far back in her mind, yet she tried her best to push it back and meet her death with dignity and the same courage as her much loved spouse had met death such a long time and several cities ago. I appreciate your taking the time to review one of my works. - Erulisse (one L)