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First Sight  by Bodkin 22 Review(s)
JastaElfReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/17/2006
What a superb story! Lucky daw... :-)

You've taken these characters and given them a marvelous life--I laughed out loud to see some of them as Elflings like this, knowing what they will be like when they are older! Just marvelous!

Happy belated birthday, daw... it is not an inconsiderable thing, to be considered loved and worthy of such work as this and Nilmandra's efforts. :-)

Author Reply: Thank you, Jasta! Daw's characters are just so great it's hard not to want to take them out to play! I had a whale of a time here - and I'm thrilled that people liked it. (Not to mention that daw let me play in her world at all!)

Birthday stories are fun, aren't they? It's the first year I've done them - and I have enjoyed it.

You've had me out seeking Dark Leaf since I read your latest story about poor Legolas - and I've enjoyed what I've found, while being thrilled to know what happened a bit later. Excellent story - and I do hope to see more sometime!

moonshine4488Reviewed Chapter: 1 on 8/14/2006
Aw that was great. I like the remark about Lorellin wanting a daughter like Alfirin. I especially love the line: "Today is a jewel on the string of your life – one you will take out and cherish as the years pass" I was wondering if that came from you personally or if it might have been part of another quote. I think that is a statement many people should take into account because of its truthfulness. I would consider it a piece of advice in a way. It really caught my attention.

I really enjoyed this story!

Author Reply: Thank you! Poor Lorellin - dramatic irony there, I fear. She would have loved to see Ithilden's rather awkward courtship and welcomed Alfirin wholeheartedly to her household.

I am pretty sure I made up the 'jewel on the string of your life' line - it bears a similarity to Daw's moments for joy (intentionally, since that's what Lorellin said), but it is not, as far as I know, quoting anything else! It's one of those lines that just sounds right, though. Partly because it is true - we do spend far too much time worrying about what may never happen and overlook those special moments.

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

ziggyReviewed Chapter: 1 on 8/10/2006
ah- brilliant! such joy.I love these characters -you have got them caught perfectltly- I love the way you have done Alfirin - quietly assertive, and Celuwen fighting for Eilian.

Author Reply: Celuwen is definitely on Eilian's side - I think it does him a great deal of good once they finally get married. He needs a staunch supporter. Of course, at this age, it's rather embarrassing! (Especially for Ithilden!)

Alfirin was a sweet elfling - but quite conventional, even at this age. I wonder if she remembered making daisy chains with Ithilden once he was setting her shawl on fire and spilling things over her... Of course, Lorellin wasn't around to remind them.

Thank you, ziggy!

lwarrenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 8/2/2006
*sigh* I love Ithilden - he's so deliciously stiff! LOL Just asking for someone to loosen him up a bit...and his naneth is just the one to do it! This was just a delightful look at the relationship between Ithilden, his mother and his younger brother...and definitely shows how different the two boys are from each other. I LOVED it that Lorellin decided he needed time with some elflings to make his day! *g*

You really captured the kids' personalities, too, Bodkin! Especially Eilian and Celuwen and Gelmir! I loved the bit about the swords and Celuwen insisting she would have one, too! The flower chains that Ithilden made for the other little girls, including Alfirin (awwwww!) were so sweet...I wonder if he will remember this later once they start courting. The race home was fun - loved Calith standing there watching his commander arrive in a less than dignified manner! LOL

But I think the highlight was when Lorellin was telling Ithilden to stop worrying so much and take some time for joy. "Today is a jewel on the string of your life - one you will take out and cherish as the years pass. They come all too seldom, days like these, and often we do not recognize them as we are living them. Do not rush to file it away in a dusty box like some dreary letter." I hope he and Eilian had a wonderful, messy time in their bath later on. *sigh* Lovely, lovely story Bodkin, with some very true words of wisdom scattered throughout. It makes me even sadder that the King and his sons had to do without Lorellin later. Thanks for sharing this wonderful birthday present for daw with all of us!

(And a belated Happy Birthday, Daw!)

Author Reply: Poor Ithilden is so duty driven - and he does lack some of the social skills that come so naturally to Eilian. But, at this time, he has the whole hearted admiration of his little brother who thinks Ithilden is wonderful. Lorellin can appreciate her responsible son, but she doesn't want him drowning in duty to the point where he can't let out the softer side of his character - and doubtless sees playing with Eilian and his friends as an excellent way to liberate Ithilden's inner Wood elf.

Celuwen was such a tomboy - tree-climbing, knife-throwing, running, swimming with the ellyn ... and then the poor girl was struck down by adolescence and the need to be a 'lady'. She outgrew the desire to have a sword - but not, I think, to be in control of her own life.

I can just see Ithilden sitting in the middle of a gaggle of little ellyth making daisy chains. And with them leaning on him and twiddling his hair as he showed them what to do. (Ithilden ought to have a daughter or two. Maybe in the Blessed Realm.) And he has met his future wife - although neither of them has any idea ... yet.

I love Calith. I think he is one of the few people to get quite close to Ithilden (although their relationship appears to be strictly commander / aide) and one of very few who can tease Ithilden.

Telling Ithilden to stop worrying and expecting perfection of himself won't work - but he will remember his naneth's words, and even if he only indulges in days like this occasionally, it will help feed the gentle, musical, poetical elf under the shell of the troop commander. I'm sure he and Eilian had a splendidly messy bath - and Ithilden even closed his eyes to swamped, toy-strewn floor.

It is sad that Lorellin's death deprived her whole family of their lynch-pin - but they endured, and treasured her words even more because she was no longer there to remind them.

Thank you, Linda. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And Daw should have more birthdays.

DotReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/27/2006
Bodkin, I loved this so much. It’s headed straight to my all-time favourite stories list!

You had me smiling from the start. I love the description of Eilian as an “irrepressible bundle of energy” and the way Calith knew just what Ithilden was thinking. And I’m still grinning delightedly at the thought of him joining in the song! Gosh, I love that elf.

I think if Ithilden gets his lack of subtlety from anyone, it could be Naneth herself. So she brought young Ithilden with her to pick watercress, did she? It seems to have been her one aim in life to make him enjoy himself.

It sounds like the elflings are having a great time. Eilian is adorable as a boisterous, good-hearted show-off! One of my favourite parts is him boasting about Ithilden, ‘He can shoot deer and boar and bears and squirrels and spiders and orcs and trolls and… and...’, and Gwaleniel’s reaction.

And look, it’s Alfirin! She’s completely how I would have imagined her as a child. I choked on my tea at the idea of her frowning at Eilian as though he were “a rather badly behaved puppy”! Isn’t it odd to think about elves’ ages – like, Ithilden is looking at his future wife there! She’s so sweet. I wonder does she remember as an adult making daisy chains with Ithilden. Speaking of which – one of the best images of the whole story is the daisy-chain making, with Ithilden surrounded by small ellyth.

One thing I really like about Lorellin is how she appreciates Eilian just as he is. It’s not just that she recognises herself in him but she sees all his good points and sees how he will brighten the lives of those around him. One of the greatest tragedies of her death is the loss of that unquestioning appreciation of Eilian.

Well, I guess it was too much to ask for Eilian to keep doing as he was instructed for very long! And after a spectacular rescue by the troop commander (I could read that part over and over again) all Eilian wants is for him to do it again because Gelmir didn’t see it properly. You know, I think it might have been a fun afternoon if the ellyn got to throw stones for Ithilden to catch :>)

Trust Celuwen to want to be involved in whatever the boy are doing. Ithilden might be right about Celuwen not having a sword when she’s older – though she’s pretty good with a knife! – but she certainly doesn’t lose her obstinacy. Of course, look who her father is!! And I laughed at how Gelmir and Ithilden seem to have pretty similar ideas about what an elleth should do – except Ithilden has the sense to keep his mouth shut :-)

Ithilden grinned. He could remember hiding from his adar in much the same way. Oh! Oh! Will you write that? Pretty please? Or somebody write it?

What a good sport Ithilden is now that he knows he can’t escape elfling-watch. I love how he stomps off and then sneaks back to grab Eilian. Eilian was probably having the time of his life but no-one counted on his small rescuer not feeling the same way. I can’t believe Celuwen bit him! ROTFL!! And then she charms her way out of it. Almost. Something tells me that in the future she’ll actually have even better luck charming the king than his oldest son :-D

And of course Celuwen nearly beat Eilian and he pushed himself not to let that happen. And Gelmir, always coming third. I’m glad he’s content with that.

‘Well run, my lord.’ Calith is there! *chokes* I bet that just made his day. And really, Ithilden could go directly to the king and Thranduil would probably know exactly what happened: Lorellin.

Within a few moments of reaching the green the disposal of the watercress had been arranged, the elflings gathered and brushed down and the ellyth were disappearing towards their homes, looking as neat and in control as they doubtless had when they set off on their quest. LOL!! Poor Ithilden. Being a troop commander is so much easier!

‘Today is a jewel on the string of your life – one you will take out and cherish as the years pass. They come all too seldom, days like these, and often we do not recognise them as we are living them. Do not rush to file it away in a dusty box like some dreary letter.’ Oh, I love that. It’s so true. And it’s something Ithilden needs to hear. So often Lorellin seems like she’s just meddling (and I want to yell at her for not realising that Ithilden doesn’t have to be happy in exactly the same way she is) but she genuinely wants him to be content. And even when things get darker, he can remember her telling him to take and appreciate moments of joy when they come.

I was glad to see him decide that this day of fun isn’t over yet!

I really enjoyed this story. It’s priceless. And yes, there’s a hint of sadness at the thought of all they will lose but oh, what good times they had. You do such a wonderful job in creating the noisy fun of the elflings. I loved seeing Eilian at this age – and all his playmates too that we know as adults. It must have been a good time before the peace ended when there were so many elflings bringing life and joy to the forest. And I got such a kick out of Ithilden trying to organise them all and being met with suspicion before they all warmed to him and he found himself dragged into their own incomprehensible world where he had a marvellous time despite himself! He learned a lot more, I think, than how difficult it is to look after children. And he gave his mother, her friends, Calith, various warriors and your readers a good laugh too :-)

Author Reply: Ithilden is lovely. He would (of course) think he knew better than his mother what was a wise thing to do ... (and he is sadly proved to have a point in the future) ... but he is loving and kind and perfect material for elflings to push around! He can manage warriors, but in the hands of ellyth, he's putty.

I think at this age Eilian's admiration for his big brother would be total. Not until he starts to cross Ithilden's bossy side will Eilian begin to resent his brother's power over him. And who could not respond to a wide-eyed Eilian thinking you're marvellous?

I suspect Alfirin would remember the daisy chains - she would certainly be reminded of them by a whole lot of the attendant nanas, anyway. And Ithilden in the middle of a gaggle of ellyth is a very appealing picture!

Lorellin does appreciate Eilian - and she has a much better idea of how to guide him than his father and brother. Gentle herding rather than instruction, I think. And he didn't even realise she was guiding him. Doesn't work so well with Ithilden - he needs the logical explanations. Although he got plenty of gentle shoving too.

An afternoon of catching stones while diving in the water - dripping wet, shirtless Ithilden? Well, Eilian would have been happy. Dot, too, I think!

And Celuwen clearly was never a girly girl like Alfirin. She wanted to climb trees and throw knives and build water wheels. She might have given up on swords, but Solith's little elleth was never going to give anyone respect just because of who he was. Gelmir, on the other hand, has a warrior father and I think gives Ithilden the respect due to the troop commander even when he's just being Eilian's brother.

An Ithilden elfling story? Maybe, one day!

Ithilden can play! He knows how. He just isn't very good at abandoning himself to it. And Celuwen doesn't realise just how boisterous brothers can get when playing when she comes to Eilian's rescue. Ithilden will know to treat her cautiously in the future, though.

Gelmir is probably already resigned to being third in that group - although he will get promoted when Celuwen is dragged away by young ladyhood and forced to abandon the pleasures of being one of the boys.

Calith is fun. The closest Ithilden has to a best friend, sadly. And one of the few people who can tease him, because he does it totally straight-faced.

And Ithilden has learnt an important lessons - naneths and elflings are dangerous. And far more in control than you realise! I don't think Lorellin necessarily wants Ithilden to be happy in exactly the same way she is - but she is afraid that he is shutting the office door on the more pleasurable side of life and letting his responsible side overwhelm the gentle, music-loving, kind-hearted elf he is. That he will one day wake up and realise that he has allowed himself to be pushed out of shape - or maybe that he will just become a shadow of the elf he could be and never realise it. She knows he has duties he cannot refuse to bear, but wants him to have a life outside them.

I'm glad you enjoyed this, Dot. There were a lot of elflings of Eilian's age around - far more than I've got here, I think. (Research skills limited here!) And seeing Ithilden immersed in their fun and mud and general mayhem was so enjoyable. He did learn a bit of added respect for the skills of mothers (always a good thing!) and just basked in some uncomplicated activities. And learned to beware of cute little ellyth. Thank you, Dot.

NoorReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/26/2006
Fabulous story - you wrote beautifully about Daw's characters. I could picture the chaos caused by the elflings and Ithilden amongst the chaos. Well done!


Author Reply: Thank you. Poor Ithilden doesn't relate well to chaos - he is inclined to believe that matters should go according to his instructions. But spending time with Eilian and his friends will give him a bit of insight into the rearing of elflings and prepare him for Sinnarn.

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

NoorReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/26/2006
Great interlude with Daw's characters. They really do come across as younger versions of Daw's characters!


Author Reply: Thank you. Daw's characters are just such fun to play with - they are so distinct and individual that they just need a situation to start them all behaving like themselves. This was great fun to write. I'm glad you liked it.

perellethReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/24/2006
LOLOL! I'm sorry I'm so late in reviewing this! but it was hilarious and so sweet at the same time! I realy like Ithilden, and seeing things from his pov was a double treat! Now the troop commander had an interseting afternoon!

His htoughts about duty and enjoying life as he rode to the river, and remembered what his mother said about chains were very telling. The breaking of the peace must have been a transforming time to this Elf, who already was an overdutiful person in times of peace... The whole episode is hilarious, the troop commander dripping water and refusing to strip before so many ladies ( ROTFL!) and Eilian just asking him to play the trick again! But of course I loved the part when Celuwen bites him! That was priceless! as was his dignified limping! I was owling at that point.

Wonderful as usual Bodkin. I could almost picture the elves by the river enjoying their peaceful afternoon!

Author Reply: Thank you, perelleth. The troop commander has decided that commanding troops is a great deal simpler. They just say, 'Yes, my lord,' and get on with it.

Lorellin must have been very sad to see what the end of the peace was doing to Ithilden - she wanted to lighten his burden as much as she could and to her the woods and elflings and love were the sort of things he needed to counter the duty. She tried to offer them - but you know what kids are like! He was sure he knew better. Exposing him to Eilian and his friends was probably the best she could do to give her firstborn a less structured life!

I like to think that Eilian the little elfling admired his big brother whole-heartedly, too - and thought he could do anything. And the admiration of the young is strangely heartening! Celuwen, of course, was already watching out for Eilian - even if he didn't need help!

I'm glad you enjoyed it - it was a delight playing in daw's world.

The KarenatorReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/23/2006
I sat down to reread this last night--quickly--so I could leave you a note, but I got so caught up again in the story, I puttered about too long to get the review done.

It's such a delightful tale, full of all the fun things the woods have to offer, like mud and elflings and stodgy commanders who really do have a spark of playfulness, but rarely let it ignite. Ithilden was such a hoot. Talk about a fish out of water. But he rose to the occasion and turned out to be a good shepherd. I bet Alfirin remembered this afternoon and brought it up when she wanted to soften up the old boy. Lorellin got her wish for a daughter like Alfirin, but sadly, she was not present when it happened. I bet there was some major smiling in the Halls of Waiting if she knew. I loved seeing all the characters we know as adults splashing about as elflings.

As always, the language was gorgeous and the descriptions outstanding. A wonderful tale, Bodkin, and a terrific gift to us all.

Author Reply: Ithilden is such a sweet elf. Duty-driven and trying to be a support to everyone, but his occasional awkwardness makes him very endearing. And his love of his family. He likes to be in control - but he's a softie when it comes to his naneth (and ellyth in general, I suspect).

I suppose elven ages must have made big age gaps quite likely - unless they got married soon after reaching their majority, like Annael and Beliniel. I'm sure Alfirin would have remembered - this was probably a pearl on the string of her life, too, although less obviously so.

Lorellin wanting a daughter like Alfirin - the irony of that was like sucking lemons - but I'm sure that one day, in the Blessed Realm, she and Alfirin will be able to enjoy each other's company.

Thank you, Karen. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/22/2006
Still catching up...Bodkin this was a delightful story from begining to end and I loved seeing Ithilden and little Elian and his friends in it. But I have to say, I think I will print it and read it often because I think I need the lesson as much as Ithilden:

‘Today is a jewel on the string of your life – one you will take out and cherish as the years pass. They come all too seldom, days like these, and often we do not recognise them as we are living them. Do not rush to file it away in a dusty box like some dreary letter.’

I know I am taking light reading much more seriously than you intended, but it struck home so strongly after the last week. And I am not doing anything nearly as important as Ithilden. Great story.

And I just can't help but comment on this before I click "post:"

‘There was absolutely no chance whatsoever that he was going to seek any attention for a wound delivered by a small elleth while in his care.'

Hehehe! This was a great story!

Happy Birthday Daw!

Author Reply: Thank you, elliska. I did enjoy playing with Ithilden and Eilian and all of Daw's delightful characters. Lorellin seems to have been keen on telling her family to take a break to smell the forest and enjoy small things along their duty-driven paths - and it is true. You are usually so much on top of what is happening that you don't realise the good bits until afterwards. (Especially true with little kids - where you can get so wound up with clean clothes and table manners that you miss the really important stuff.)

Poor Ithilden - he does make a good foil. And then, wet and shirtless ... Oh yes, I do like Daw's characters! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Daw should have more birthdays to give us excuses to play with them all.

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