|Fiction by Nightwing
But Lord Elrond and the elven healers were smart cookies, very advanced thinkers, and I believe there's a good chance that they figured out how to do this. And for those of you who like seeing Aragorn and Legolas lock lips, this is all you are going to get from me! From this point on, it's just hugs pro re na'ta.
I use the Middle Ages as a sort-of guideline for Middle-earth. It is my understanding that Tolkien himself drew quite a bit for his stories from what is known of the Anglo-Saxon period. The herbs I cite were used a great deal in Medieval times, and the extract from the seedpods of the White Poppy (Papaver somniferum), opium, was definitely one of the drugs in the pharmacopoeia of the surgeons. (True, it was usually imported from the East, as the British variety was less potent… but hey, we have dwarves drinking coffee in The Hobbit! That's not exactly a plant native to England either. Where did they get it, I wonder?)
So, please forgive me if some things seem inappropriate. I am
trying to stay true to Tolkien and write about would or might have
occurred during those times, and I research as much as I can. And
want very much to please my readers while having fun myself.
Ch. 4: Author's Note: Whew! I'm completely exhausted. This chapter was entirely written in one six-hour stint in a bookstore café.Ch. 6: Author's Note: I wrote most of this chapter while running a fever, and things were a tad incoherent in places. Though overall, it may have helped to set the tone.
Reviewer responses: yipes, there were a lot of you! I am delighted, but it is difficult to respond to each person this time. Just as well, for there are a couple of people I do wish to respond to, and these will be lengthier than usual. Bear with me y'all, or feel free to run away now if these subjects are not of interest to you.
First off, I received an email or two stating that no way could Legolas manage a bow with a draw-weight of 100 lbs. Oh yes he can, my little chickadees! It is a massively heavy bow, but here are some facts:
1) Elves are tremendously strong physically. I think Tolkien made that clear. It was not a chance misstep that caused Aragorn to land on his butt some chapters back when Legolas pushed him. The elf could have torn his head off if he had wanted to. (And isn’t the elf-worship fun, when we think of what a magnificent physical specimen Legolas is? Oh yeah!)
2) In 1545, during the reign of Henry the Eighth, one of his great warships sank during a battle with the French. On this ship were yew longbows. Tested by archery experts and scientists, their draw-weights ranged from 100lb to one measuring 185! The skeletons of the archers on the boat were found to be "massively boned", and "exhibiting changes to the shoulder-blades which could be the result of working with heavy bows". This info is from the book Longbow, A Social and Military History by Robert Hardy. In addition, Hardy states: "I know of young archers who can handle weights well over a hundred pounds, as well as those who have trained themselves to shoot, with reliable accuracy, twenty and more arrows in a minute." He also makes it clear that these ancient archers practiced daily. It took very rigorous training to become skilled enough, and strong enough, to handle such big bows. They had to build up their muscles, because shooting in war went on and on with the archers firing away while the boys kept piling sheaves of arrows at their feet, and a heavy bow really makes the arms shake if you don't have the muscles for it.
If you want to talk about speed in shooting, go to the Net and type in the name Lajos Kassai. This guy is a master horseback archer, and can get off three arrows, from the back of a galloping horse, in five seconds. Watch the videos. This is poetry in motion.
So, if mortals can wield these bows an elf certainly can, and the elf will do it better.
Luthien Greenleaf: oh, dear. Since I have no email address so that I can respond to your review privately, I must answer you here. You told me quite emphatically I was VERY wrong about certain facts in this story. I feel compelled to defend myself, so here we go:
Canon: plot and character facts written by Tolkien. Fanon: plot ideas and character experiences written by authors of fan fiction. Book-verse: again, as written by Tolkien. Movie-verse: scenes and situations in the films that may or may not have been based on Tolkien. PJ and Co. fiddled quite a bit with canon in the movies. It is absolutely essential that writers and readers understand what these words mean. When I write, it is with a deep respect for what Tolkien established for Middle-earth and its inhabitants. I am not a Tolkien scholar, but I have read the Hobbit, The Trilogy, and the Silmarillion. I consult the Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien and The Histories of Middle-earth when I need more information for my stories, and I communicate with other writers who are more knowledgeable than I. To the best of my ability, I follow canon while also trying to find room to play.
Nowhere did Tolkien tell us Legolas' age. The elf did make some statements here and there that do indicate he is considerably older than his companions: seeing oaks go from acorn to death, referring to the other members of the Fellowship as "children", etc, but, once again, this does not give us a specific age. I know that Orlando Bloom said Legolas is 2,931 years old. With all due respect to that fine young actor and his movie colleagues, it ain't canon. That number has no basis in Tolkien. Legolas might be 5000 years old. He might be 500 years old. Authors are free to choose. I chose to make him young in this story.
You may be thinking of the Legolas of the First Age who helped to lead the refugees from Gondolin to safety. Here is what is written in the appendix of The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (p. 267), in the bit about Tari-Laisi: "Legolas Greenleaf appears in the tale The Fall of Gondolin; he was an elf of Gondolin, and being night-sighted he led the fugitives from the city over the plain in the dark. A note associated with the tale says that 'he liveth still in Tol Eressea, named by the Eldar there Laiqalasse.'" This note, written by Tolkien and cited by his son Christopher, would indicate that this First-Age Legolas is not our Third Age Legolas, as the first one continues to dwell in Tol Eressea. Lest you still think they might be the same Legolas, I'll point out that the Prince of Mirkwood does not appear to be "night-sighted". He wanted better light for shooting at Helm's Deep.
Arwen's age is given to us: she was born in the year 241 of the Third Age. But nowhere is it stated in Tolkien's writings, as far as I have been able to ascertain, that she is the last elf to have been born. And nowhere is it stated in canon that Legolas is older than Arwen. If this is something that you found in a fanfic story, it is fanon, not canon. Also, Tolkien gave us nothing specific about when the elves stopped giving birth to children. "The Eldar would beget children only in days of happiness and peace if they could" is about all we got from Tolkien in the chapter entitled The Laws and Customs of the Eldar in The History of Middle-earth, Vm X. Some believe this indicates that elves continued to have children until the end of The Watchful Peace in T.A. 2460, which is long after Arwen's birth. This is not definitely established, however I do feel very strongly that your statement that Arwen is the youngest elf in Middle-earth is not supported by canon.
I have a request to make of you, Luthien. Please stop reading this story. Get thee to a bookstore and buy the Trilogy, because I feel quite certain that you have not read it. It dismays me when I think of all the young readers of LOTR fanfic who love the movies (as I do) and leapt into fanfic (as I did), but have never read Tolkien. Fanon becomes canon in their minds. Ai! Ai! Stop, stop, please stop reading my story and read The Lord of the Rings. That goes for all of you who are unfamiliar with the professor's wonderful work. If I lose half of my readers and my reviews dwindle down to nothing I will bow my head and accept it. Come back to me after, Luthien, if you are still of a mind to do so. I'd be happy to see you on the review pages again. And one last thing: please understand that if you inform an author in such strong terms that her facts are VERY wrong, you should be prepared to support your claim with references. Canon references.
Phew! On to daw the minstrel, and a more light-hearted subject: elven sexuality! Yes, "my" Legolas is not a virgin. There is a sweet, innocent, youthful quality about him that I adore, but in my universe he has had lovers. I just choose not to write about them, because I hate those women with a barely contained fury. I don’t want to think about them. They are somewhere off in Mirkwood, and there they shall remain, in his memories only. I have read The Laws and Customs of the Eldar, and (looks heavenward, begging forgiveness from the great Professor), I (deep breath)… disagree. Gulp, scary to say it. But I was so filled with dismay when I read that the elves marry usually about age 50 (apparently without prior sexual experience), have a few kids, and then stop having sex. Not only that, the married couple often separated after the elflings left the nest, thus really ensuring that no more sex took place! Oh, dear… it seems so cold, so dull, and I must say it struck me as out of character for the elves, who elsewhere in Tolkien's writings are full-blooded, passionate, fiery and often very emotional people. They have had moments of greed, violence, and temptation. They sing, they dance and have feasts. They are valiant warriors. I believe such people would also have healthy and active sex lives. So, on this I diverge from Tolkien and many fanfic authors.
And do not get me going on the other thing I cannot accept in
Tolkien's writing: how things are in the Halls of Mandos. "The reborn
report that in Mandos there are many elves, but that there is in the
Halls of Waiting little mingling or communing of kind with kind, or of
any fea with another, for the houseless fea is
solitary by nature and turns only towards those with whom it formed
strong bonds of love in life." Oh, I cannot tell you how distressing it
was to read those words! Lonely silent little elf feas
wandering about… sigh… I nearly burst into tears.
Ch. 18 Author's
folks are asking about Malcovan. He has no
real basis in Tolkien. He's just a creepy wizard guy of my own making.
I like creepy wizard guys.
Ch. 23 Author's
do not come after me with
sharp pointy things because Legolas has a crooked nose in this story!
Think of our beloved movie Legolas. Lord knows I admire Orlando Bloom's
beauty immensely, but that boy has obviously smashed his nose at some
time in his life… it's all over the place. And I figure if we can have
an elf with a chopped-off hand (Maedhros), or a completely pathetic
broken down elf (Gwindor), we can have an elf with a slightly crooked
nose. It certainly doesn't hurt his looks… perhaps it even makes him
more appealing, yes?
[Valar note: Pictures of Mr. Bloom's nose have been checked by fans with the help of a fellow fan who does cosmetic surgery on noses, with the comment that it is straight and that his face is exactly right for a person of his build. Apparently it may have been broken at one time; our regards to the repair surgeon. A person has been posting to a lot of different forums with a different comment on each one about some invented small physical deformity of Mr. Bloom's to cause reactions. It is most unkind. I have not checked the actor's nose with a caliper, but merely pass this on to fellow fans. :) If it is or is not off, it looks fine to me.]
Thanks again to Speedy Beta Gonzales, aka Lisette, for working
me in around weddings, birthdays, viruses and a tiny kitten in
perpetual assault mode.
Ch. 36 Author's
After giving it much thought, I have decided that I must take a break from writing this story. Many real life issues are looming this summer that will use up virtually all of my time. Among the items on the agenda: my husband will be having shoulder surgery in two weeks and will be pretty compromised for most of the summer, my child will be out of school, I will be continuing to work full time, and we are going to begin building a new house that we hope will be ready for us to occupy by autumn. The new house will either be built beside our current house, or on the same spot, and so it is likely that we will be forced to vacate, put our belongings into storage and live out of a suitcase in some hotel this summer. The house plans are still up in the air at the moment as we work it out.
And, to be honest, I'm more than a little burned out. To See a World has been consuming a great deal of my energy since it began in August 2003, and I am feeling the strain. The story has also reached a point where I need to slow down and do some serious thinking about where it will go from here. It has snowballed into quite a monster. I don't feel I have the control over it that I once did, and I keep having ideas and dreams and thoughts that must be sorted and filed accordingly. TSAW refuses to stop changing and evolving from what I had originally intended!
During the summer, as time allows, I will be doing work on this story "behind the scenes", with the goal of regaining control of the plot and mapping out what is to come. I need to take another look at the writings of the great Professor as I develop the rest of the tale. I might even get a few chapters under my belt, written at a pace that works for me and without the pressure I put on myself to update regularly. And I just might kick back for a time, drink lemonade and read the new Harry Potter book.
It is my intention to resume posting chapters in September or October, house and sanity permitting. Perhaps by then I will be happily holed up in my new writing room!
My sincerest apologies for any disappointment this might cause. Let me assure you that this story is not being abandoned. I need a break, but I hope that when I return it will be with renewed enthusiasm and energy.
If you have any questions or want a response from me, please leave reviews at Stories of Arda. I will answer.
I thank you for your understanding. Your interest in this story has been nothing short of astonishing, and I am more grateful to you than I can say. Have a great summer, and I'll be back with you in the autumn.
[Valar note: this is where
the story switches from one locale to another with a different set of
characters, requiring more in-depth planning.]
Ch. 37 Author's
Hello, hello! Much to my surprise, and perhaps yours as well, here is an update. Unfortunately, the horrid old house in which I reside is still standing, but the chapter is done, beta'd by the amazing one-handed, energizer-bunnied, newly auntified Lisette (who is having a most adventurous summer. Ah, to be young again…), so I thought I should waste no more time in getting it out to you all. Many thanks for your patience. It is much appreciated.
Another author's note: it has come to my attention that ef-ef-dot-net has warned some authors against writing reviewer responses. I have searched and have not been able to find any reference regarding this policy, and yet I do know that some stories have been threatened with removal or have in fact been removed from the site for this reason. This is very distressing news to me, as I love responding to my reviewers personally. I want to acknowledge you guys individually for all your feedback and encouragement, because your reviews really stoke the fires. You keep this puppy rolling, not me.
But I fear breaking any rules and having something catastrophic occur as a result. I'm not quite sure what I will do, but for this chapter at least, I will not post reviewer responses. My advice is to review this tale on Stories of Arda. It is a very nice site, easy to use, and it encourages communication between the writer and the readers. I will respond to reviews on that site.
When is the next update, you ask? I cannot say for certain, but probably some time in September, unless we actually do start killing this house. Until then!
[Valar note: On this site,
the author's email address is available at the top of this page. Erase
the words NOSPAM at the beginning of the address.]
Ch. 38 Author's
It was my sincere desire to keep this story moving at a good pace, but unfortunately real life has other ideas. My child is unwell, and she requires my full attention at this time. Until I hear her laugh again, I cannot write another word. Thank you for understanding.
Ch. 39 Author's
As always, my deepest appreciation goes to Lisette for her beta work on this chapter.
Hello! I am delighted to be giving you a new chapter at last. Tis the season for giving after all, and this is the least I can do for all you good people after I received so many thoughtful and concerned well wishes regarding my daughter. She is better, though the battle continues. She suffers from an anxiety disorder, and her behavior had become very frightening toward the end of summer. She is under the care of professionals now, and her ability to enjoy life is much improved. But it is a sad and distressing thing to see so much worry and fear in a little girl who is only eight years old.
Her needs will continue to come first, but I hope to be able at
this point to reclaim a bit of my life for my own again and return some
of my attention to this, my favorite hobby! The holiday season will
dominate the ensuing weeks however, and so I will only say that the
next chapter will be along some time after the New Year. Until then,
happy holidays and my thanks to you all.
Ch. 40 Author's
I know some of you were expecting Aragorn in this chapter. I do apologize, but it just isn’t quite time for him yet. You see, it's about mid-morning of the third day since Legolas was abducted. Say he got nabbed on a Sunday night. Monday at dawn he was brought to the city and held all day. Monday night/Tuesday morning he was taken to Lord Cadean's room, where he was found at dawn Tuesday. Then he was held for 24 hours in his current cell. So now it's Wednesday mid-morning.
Aragorn is going to wake up tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Don't be mad at him, he's been sick! I do not believe in the super hero slogging his way through fire and agony to get to his friend no matter his state. He is human, he had been severely hurt, and he collapsed. Real stuff, and he needed time to recover.
So hang on a bit longer for Aragorn please. On Thursday night we will have a coughing, angry ranger hopping on one foot down the hill toward the city. Well, actually I expect he'll have a horse…
Another note: I have had some concerns throughout the writing of this story that it is difficult for readers to believe that Legolas' blindness has not been noticed. That is why I keep mentioning that he turns his face away from people, closes his eyes when someone stands directly in front of him, and that he has been seen mostly in darkness or in flaring torchlight, which can be shadowy and confusing. I've been worried that it's been a bit too unbelievable though.
But then I met someone in a theology class I was taking a few weeks ago. There was a group of about six of us sitting round a table, and one of my fellow students was an older man named Peter. I did notice something peculiar about him, in the way he moved his head, and in the way his hands floated when he spoke. There was an odd blackness to his eyes, but he turned them to me whenever he addressed me during our class discussion, and at those times I swear he was looking directly into my eyes with his own. But at the end of class I spotted the white cane tucked under his chair. Peter was blind, his vision taken from him entirely some years ago by diabetes.
After that first night, I paid more attention to Peter than I did to my class work! I seated myself in different places so I could take him in from every possible angle. Good thing he was blind, or no doubt he would have been made uneasy by my staring at him!
And folks, I could not see the blindness. When he was up and walking, yes. But when we were seated and discussing, not really. His eyes shifted normally and appeared to rest perfectly on mine when he spoke to me. They even appeared to be animated and alive, if you know what I mean. They had light, though it was somehow different, muted by the funny blackness. I was never able to get a very close look at his eyes, but I am thinking that perhaps his pupils did not shrink. They probably stayed wide open all the time.
It was fascinating to see, and it made me feel much better about Legolas' ability to deceive people thus far. If Peter could fool me when I was aware of his blindness, the elf should be able to fool people who are not. I'm going with it.
See you next update!
Oh, and my daughter is doing very well. Thanks again for your
Ch. 43 Author's
Here is a new chapter at last. I thank you for your patience in waiting for updates, and I especially want to acknowledge those readers who have been with me since the beginning. To See A World is nearing its third birthday (good lord!), and your persistence in staying with this monster and reviewing regularly instead of vanishing into the shadows is very much appreciated.
The slow pace of chapter updates is probably quite permanent –
real life makes many demands on me – but I promise you that new
installments will continue to come. This story will not be abandoned,
but I do sincerely hope that it will not come close to celebrating its
fourth birthday, and you are probably hoping the same. I think we'd all
Ch. 46 Author's
I will work on this story when I can. It will not be abandoned. Even if I only manage to spit out two chapters a year, TSAW will be finished.
...if any of you have enjoyed the sock stealing antics of the cat Tithlam, please send your love to the real cat that inspired the fictional one. On June 9, Maji died after a long illness. I held my sweet calico girl as the vet put her down. She had been a lifelong sock thief, amongst other endearing behaviors – morning conversations and "car rides" in shoeboxes come to mind - and her love of socks prompted me to give that trait to Tithlam. Maji was a wonderful friend, a real little lady, and I miss her.
Many thanks to Lisette for beta reading this chapter.
Ch. 47 Author's Note:
Many thanks to Lisette, who got this beta'd and back to me just in time for the holiday. Sorry about the long delay between updates. I'll try to do better. Happy Thanksgiving!
Ch. 48 Author's Note:
Gads, did my muse flee. There are too many reasons for the long silence, and I shan't bore you with them. I feel like I have forgotten how to write. I really had to wrestle this puppy to the ground, so please forgive me if this chapter is "off". I'm a bit wobbly, but it's time to get back to it.
Oh, this story has been nominated for a MEFA award. Wow! I am stunned and honored. Thank you, Lethe.
Ch. 49 Author's Note:
Hello, it’s me. I hope that some of you are still out there. I apologize for my long disappearance. I am sorrier than I can say. I have missed you, and this story, terribly. I discovered that I was married to Sauron, and it was nearly the end of me. But it is over now. I have been healing, gathering up the shards of my shattered self-esteem, and I have made the unbreakable vow: never again will I permit any man to trample me underfoot, or make me wrong for who I am and what I love.
Ch. 50 Author's Note:
Thank you all so very much for the lovely reviews and encouragement. They mean more than you know. Team Orlando.
Ch. 51 Author's Note:
Happy New Year! I'm sorry about the long wait time for this new update. I moved, and other real life issues kept my attention elsewhere. Thank you for your patience. A few of you have asked about my first story, The Healer. I believe that it is long gone. The site it was posted on is no more, and I'm not finding it anywhere else on the web. Nor did I save a copy that I could send out to folks. Perhaps it's for the best.
Ch. 52 Author's Note:
My apologies for the long delay in updating. This chapter just did…not…want…to…come…out.