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In the High King's Secret Service  by Fiondil 391 Review(s)
MikoNoNyteReviewed Chapter: 44 on 6/23/2014
This piece was touching in oh so many ways!

First off, Valandur! Okay, NOW I see what you mean about him being as old as everyone else. And it's the same "Spy Master" who was in the Elf Redux pieces. Gotcha!

I like him. He's like "regular folks": hard working, not born or living with a silver spoon in his mouth, just a plain, ordinary "joe". It says wonderful things about him as a person that he had the strength to go through all that with the Great Journey, then working and aiming at a goal, finally achieving it and not get his head up his back-side.

The different factions, the Kings using him, the instant hate of Feanor really wrung the sadness outta me. Poor Val doing his level best and it just doesn't seem, to him or anyone else, to be enough. Yet the Valar have faith in him, especially Manwe, and that speaks volumes.

I admit to biting my nails during the kangaroo court; that there is injustice in the world is a given, but when kings foment the injustice out of jealousy!?!?! I cannot help but think, in this case, that death was probably a good thing for Finwe. Maybe he learned some life-lessons in death since he obviously didn't learn them while life.

And before I forget, I really enjoyed the look at the different villages and farms. We don't often think about such things unless we live on a farm, how the elves would have lived and worked in such places. And the language shift! At first I thought, 'why are they speaking such antiquated 'english' but then you mentioned the Quenya language shift and my brain caught up with you. *laughs* So often I see people commenting on forums about how certain books are so difficult to understand because they are "in Old English". What they really mean is that they are too lazy to bother to learn the older word forms, while the language is more than likely Middle English not Anglo-Saxon. *laughs again*.

I think the best part, for me, one that did not cause me to fear for this guy's elvish life, was the speech at the Academy. His opening remarks had me laughing out loud and I think his means of getting their sleepy attention was awesome and certainly eye-opening for those academics who perhaps thought that the "country bumpkins" are as 'ignorant' as they sound, when in fact they are not. Well played!

One other thought: the minstrels! How little we think today about what they did, but as a once avid Ren-Faire and Highland Games attendee I can tell you, they make or break a society or at least village life. LOL Once upon a time I played a small lap harp and my favourite pieces were the old Robin Hood broadsides. I learned each and every one of them. So thinking that a minstrel could take the gauge of a society, or temper it's beliefs is no small leap. They also told some really funny stories back then.

I've come to like your Valandur and will now have to rethink his actions in the Academy pieces (yes, finally getting to #2).

Author Reply: Hi MikoNoNyte. It does sometimes help to read things in order. *grin* At any rate, I loved writing this story, not only because it allowed me to explore an earlier time in Elven history that Tolkien doesn't really touch upon and see something of their culture that is normally not shown elsewhere, but also it gave me the opportunity, through Valandur, to indulge in my love of sociolinguistics. I'm glad you enjoyed the story and have come to like Valandur. He, along with Vorondur, is one of my favorite OCs. Thanks for taking the time to read this and to leave me a comment. I very much appreciate it.

Clouded LeopardReviewed Chapter: 14 on 12/31/2013
I enjoy reading your stories and find I like reading them more than once. The way you describe Aqualonde, the canals, the people of Olwe's city and how they handle emergencies and how they live is remarkable.

Upon reading this chapter I noticed something in one of the paragraphs that I kept reading over and over again that struck me as odd. The section is of Lindarion and Falmaron taking Valandur on a tour of the city. Here is the excerpt of that particular section:

"We are showing our friend the city," he explained to her even as Falmaron was helping Lindarion into the boat, then nimbly climbing in while the two guards joined them. Lindarion was the last in.

Should not the section read, ...he explained to her even as Falmaron was helping Valandur into the boat, then nimbly climbing in while the two guards joined them. Lindarion was the last in.

Falmaron was helping Valandur into the boat, not his brother. Sorry, I just kept seeing something off in that little sentence in the paragraph and it drove me nuts when I kept looking at it. I thought you should know. Cannot wait to see your next story coming up: Elf Acadamy 3. Thanks for all your stories. I keep reading them over and over again.

Author Reply: Great to hear from you again, Clouded Leopard. You are so correct. I can't believe we all missed that. Thanks so much. I've made the correction. I'm glad you've enjoyed this story. The description of Alqualond is taken partly from Tolkien's description and my own experience of visiting a water village in China, once only accessible by boat.

Anyway, Elf Academy 3 is up and running. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks for your review.

ArasindaReviewed Chapter: 44 on 12/17/2013
Dear Fiondil,

I too am sad that this adventure into Aman is ended. Your ability to keep to canon truly intrigues and pleases me with each story. Valandur and Findis do belong together, and for me, romance was a plenty. Thank you for the enjoyable characters and stories in Tolkien's world. Now, I'll have to wait like everyone else for Elf Academy 3, but I've reread them all already. They are lots of fun, and I love having a bit of Heaven on Earth.


Author Reply: Hello, Arasinda. Thank you for your lovely review. I am so glad you enjoyed this story of Valandur and Findis and I appreciate you letting me know. I am glad you are looking forward to reading Elf Academy 3. Hopefully, it will not disappoint.

obsidianjReviewed Chapter: 44 on 12/13/2013
What? This is it? I didn't know where the story would go from here, but I was a bit surprised to see it end. Although, it is a good point to end, since there are no pressing questions, I want answered at this point. Finwe's reaction was to be expected. Would have liked to have seen it, but maybe my imagination is even better.

Now going back to re-read EA...

Author Reply: Hi obsidianj. I know lots of readers were surprised that the story ended as it has, but I felt that writing about the next 115 odd years (in solar time) was counterproductive. I'm sure both Val and Findis had many adventures along the way but the important points of the story had been reached: he was now Ingw's spymaster and he was betrothed to Findis and how all that happened has been revealed. Nothing more, from a writer's point-of-view need be said, except to wrap things up in the Epilogue. And I always like to leave certain things to my readers' imagination. It's probably far more powerful than anything I could write. *grin* Thanks for all your reviews. I great enjoyed reading them and appreciate them very much. Enjoy your re-read of EA.

obsidianjReviewed Chapter: 43 on 12/11/2013
Wow! That was a surprise. Valandur had an auspicious audience for his speech. Two kings and family and then the appearance of Findis and Aule and the rest of the Valar. I like it that Findis and Valandur are betrothed, but I don't think Finwe will like it. His resentment will be even bigger with the Valar forcing his hand. It will take a long time for him to accept Valandur (or maybe never...). I don't quite remember how the story goes on.

Author Reply: I very much doubt Finw will be happy but Indis will be thrilled, which will just make Finw madder, as we will see in the next chapter. As for how the story goes on, at the time of the Darkening, Valandur and Findis were residing in Vanyamar and did not have much contact with the family in Tirion. And then, of course, Finw died and Fanor left, so there was no reconciliation. So it goes. Thanks for reviewing. It's much appreciated.

obsidianjReviewed Chapter: 42 on 12/11/2013
I love Val's opening in his speech. That would wake up anyone who felt drowsy after listening to speeches where obviously a lot of people were bored ;-). Val obviously always had the support of his family, which I think was very important to get him where he is. Otherwise he might have given up.
That fight between the sisters was something that had to happen. I think they were lucky that it was in Val's presence as a calming influence or it might have gotten out of hand.

Author Reply: Hi obsidian. Yes, Val knows how to grab an audience's attention. And he is a calming force, so it was a good thing the confrontation between the sister took place in his presence or who knows what might have happened. Thanks for reviewing. It's appreciated.

galathilReviewed Chapter: 44 on 12/11/2013
Hi Fiondil another wonderful story Completed.Hope we can go back and visit one day, to see how they are all doing. Any way Christmas is nearly upon us yet again. (now there is a scary thought)Hope you and your family and friends a wonderful Christmas.I can't wait for Elf Academy 3.It will be nice to catch up, with what everyone has being getting up to. LOL Galathil

Author Reply: Hi galathil. I'm glad you enjoyed this story. If you want to see how everyone is doing later on, you'll need to re-read "In Darkeness Bound" and the "Elf, Interrupted" series. And hopefully "Elf Academy 3" will be an enjoyable read as well. Thanks for your reviews. They're much appreciated. Have a wonderful Christmas yourself.

GoldenRemembranceReviewed Chapter: 44 on 12/9/2013
Do you think it would be any easier for Elrond to learn Valarin than for an Elf? Racial memory and all that makes me wonder.

Author Reply: I assume you mean because of his Maiarin blood, GoldenRemembrance. It's an interesting question to which I have no answer. I suspect that Valarin is just too difficult for any incarnate to learn fluidly. Even Valandur could not claim that. Thanks for raising the question though.

bookwormReviewed Chapter: 44 on 12/8/2013
D'aaaaawwwwww. I am, as always, sad that one tale is coming to an end (though it was a lovely ending) and highly anticipating the next! *goes to re-read EA2*

Author Reply: Thanks, bookworm. I'm glad you enjoyed this story and am looking forward to the next. Thanks for all your reviews. They've been much appreciated.

SunnyReviewed Chapter: 44 on 12/8/2013
I loved your story, and I'm sad to see it end, despite the way you introduced the romance element and then just dropped it. (Yes, you did, Fiondil. See why I suspect Romance cooties?)
It is clear that the splitting up of Amanian society is well on its way here, and it looks as it the roots of it lie with Fanro and his hatred of all things Vanyarin. And the Noldorin blindness to - and disdain for - all things not pertaining to their own tribe clearly extends to anything others might have accomplished, like Val's actually learning Valarin (or at least as much of the language as an Elda might be capable of learning)
At least Val's career is blooming, and now he is going to be off to an entirely new adventure with Findis. ;-)

Author Reply: Well, you're entitled to your opinion about the romance element, Sunny, but I'm glad you enjoyed the story anyway. And I think it reasonable to assume that the seeds of darkness were sown long before Melkor was released. The things that happened later didn't happen overnight and unfortunately Fanor was at the heart of it all. Anyway, thanks for all your reviews. They were greatly appreciated.

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