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At Hope's Edge  by Cairistiona 12 Review(s)
DreamdeerReviewed Chapter: 15 on 8/7/2009
How vividly this chapter captures the mood of each character, place, and event, from least to greatest! It reminds us that heroism does not aimply mean a string of victories, but often means plunging on into the aftermath of defeat, willing defeat to not become permanent.

If I had to pick a single word to capture Cairistiona's style, it would be "Truth". Everything rings true. Action, setting, characterization, dialogue. This chapter feels especially true.

People who call fantasy escapist have no idea how unflinchingly the best fantasists wrestle with the grim side of life. Cynics can only argue that fantasists like Cairistiona imagine too much courage in answer to the grimness, in chapters like this one, for "realism". I would contend, however, that Cairistiona, Tolkien, and their ilk understand the human spirit most truly. And if one could argue that not everyone lives up to these ideals, then such stories still inspire more real life courage than would otherwise exist.

Author Reply: My goodness, I'm not sure I deserve being put in the same ilk as Tolkien, but I thank you for your kind words. I *do* try my best to show that people can and do show great courage and great fortitude even when all seems to be going against them. I think that is my favorite theme in Tolkien--never giving up, which is tied inseparably to hope. I know how much Tolkien has inspired me to not despair despite challenges (and my own are on a far, far smaller scale!), and I hope as I wield my pen to his characters, my own stories reflect Tolkien's attitude. Thank you again for your thoughtful words. :)

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 15 on 3/15/2009
That's all poor Aragorn needs right now; another chance for the Ringwraiths to play Catch-A-King. Hopefully, the Peredhil will lead the Whack-A-Wraith rematch. And Aragorn will eventually learn to let up on himself a teensy bit. Cracking up from stress and Black Breath residue won't help anyone.

Author Reply: Thank you, Raksha! It sounds as though we have enough names now for an entire arcade. *grin* But the arcade champ in the person of Glorfindel has arrived so maybe the wraith won't be too successful at the Catch-A-King game, eh? We'll hope so, because yes, Aragorn really doesn't have time in his life for a total meltdown, which seems where he's headed. Thanks for continuing to read along, and for your always fun reviews!

Linda HoylandReviewed Chapter: 15 on 3/15/2009
Poor Aragorn to be blamed for what is not his fault,but the whole situation is heartrending.What a cliffhanger! Howver can Aragorn survive another encounter with the Nazgul?I just love this story!

Author Reply: Thank you so much, Linda... I'm glad you're enjoying this wild tale of mine. Yes, I fear another encounter with the Nazgul can't be good for our Ranger. And now he has the sorrows of all the people in Windydale on his shoulders as well. Aragorn's such a strong person, but, well, it remains to be seen how he can come through all this. Thanks again for this and all the reviews you've left. They're very much appreciated.

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 15 on 3/13/2009
A second chance at the Witch-king? Interesting! Get him, Aragorn!

Author Reply: LOL... thank you, Larner! We'll see if he does indeed get him.

ElentarriReviewed Chapter: 15 on 3/13/2009
I love this story. I also love your writing style. Thank you!

Author Reply: Thank you, Elentarri! I'm glad you're enjoying the story and particularly glad you like the style in which it's told. That to me is always gratifying, to know that someone likes my particular "voice" in writing. Thanks again, and hope you continue to enjoy the tale.

EstelcontarReviewed Chapter: 15 on 3/12/2009
That's my Aragorn! No matter how physically and mentally wearied he is, he feels for others' suffering and fear, and so, of course, he feels with them. No wonder he is heart-sick. And even though he is heart-sick, and still under the effect of the black breath, he still does not spare himself. I'm glad the people of Windydale aknowledged this.

And now the Nazgūl and he orcs are back again. I'm soooooooooooooooo glad Elladan, Elrohir, and especially Glorfindel (he knows how to deal with Wiki) are there to reinforce the rangers.

Author Reply: Thank you, Estelcontar! Yes, Aragorn definitely is the true leader--putting others before himself, often to a fault. But he knows he has a lot he can give, usually. Hopefully this time around he won't give more than he can afford, although I'm sure Halbarad is worried about that very thing. And yes, go Glorfindel and the twins! First good news in a long time, them showing up. Thanks again for the review!

CassoReviewed Chapter: 15 on 3/12/2009
There was movement at the station,
For the word had passed around
That the Nazgul from the East (?)
Was come to town..............

Dear Cairistiona,

I think this chapter calls for a reworking of Banjo Paterson's
"Man From Snowy River" (yes i'm an Aussie). I've made a start but have not the time at present to conclude(RL intrudes). Perhaps I'll leave it 'till I read the next chapter. Glorfy better swap bridles so he can sneek up on that baaaaad chap and deliver a suitably crushing blow. I think Aragorn needs an Athelas capsule with a codeine boost, don't you?

A whole week? *groans*

Love your story.

Author Reply: LOL ... I'm absolutely loving these musical reviews! I'll look forward to the longer version. *grin*

Yes, the Nazgul from the East has indeed come to town, much to the town's bad luck. And I like your idea of the athelas capsule with the codeine... I do think that might help Aragorn quite a bit! And yes, alas, a week will probably go by before the next installment. Thank you for hanging in there!

FantasiaReviewed Chapter: 15 on 3/12/2009
I'll say the same as the other, Thanks God that Glorfindel is there, if someone can defect a Nazgul and make him run is him...I don't believe that Aragorn is fit for another battle with the Nazgul, the hurts and the despair are eating him, I fear that is not going to be good for him, good that the twins aare with him too, they are powerful warriors, Ok, I'm ready for next chapter...Do we have to wait a week?...Do not kill Denlad, please...

Author Reply: Thank you, Fantasia! Glad you liked this chapter... yes, unfortunately, you'll have to wait a week. And I'm glad to have such a Denlad fan! I'll let him know he better be *very* careful. I too found it a relief when it was finally time for the cavalry to arrive, even if it is a rather small cavalry. Thanks again for the review!

ElflingimpReviewed Chapter: 15 on 3/12/2009
Holy Cheetos!!!!I have to wait another whole week!!! Your story is the best, I was hoping Aragorn would get healed from the black breath but it appears he will have to wait. Hugs The Imp

Author Reply: Thank you, Elflingimp! Wow, I earned a "holy Cheetos"! That's a first. *grin* I'm glad you liked this, and yes, sorry 'bout the cliffhanger. Well, actually I'm not sorry. *evil grin* Thanks for hanging in there and thanks for the review!

Ainu LaireReviewed Chapter: 15 on 3/12/2009
Oh goody, fun times to be had by all!

So the first town that was attacked knew Aragorn by Strider, so it was just some village- I didn't realize that this one was a village of the Dunedain people. That must make things all the worse for the poor chieftain.

Nice to know that the surviving men didn't commit mutiny against him, though, eh? That would really complicate things.

I am worried about this oncoming attack. Thank goodness they have Glorfindel- he will definitely know what to do, and the Nazgul actually hold some fear of him, IIRC. He can certainly stand up to them.

But seriously, I wonder how badly the Black Breath lays upon the town? Are all the victims of it dead, or are there other survivors who suffer just like Aragorn? I wonder if there is some sort of cure-area-of-effect powder or something. Or a good load of athelas :P

Author Reply: Thank you, Laire....

Yes, these are (or were) Dunedain settlements along the west banks of the Hoarwell River north of the Last Bridge (and total figments of my imagination but they could have existed, in theory). As to the survivors and BB... that would be a story to explore, wouldn't it? Not within the scope of this one, unfortunately, but interesting to think about. And yes, a mutiny would have complicated things a little *too* much! LOL And yes, thank goodness Glorfindel has arrived--you're right in that he's just the Elf they need right now. He has a lot of power over a lot of things, seems like. Still hard to believe they all but left him out of the movies. *scowl* Ah well.

Thanks again for the review!

Author Reply: A "p.s" to your review, because on reflection, I didn't really answer your point about the two villages and the difference between them, as I should have.

I had intended both to be Dunedain settlements... but in the story I first wrote with Bilfen & Kenevir, "No Greater Comfort", Bracken's Ferry was indeed "just some village" because in that tale I was more interested in writing about setting and how it can affect mood and character and events, etc. But then I realized I really liked Bilfen and Kenevir and wanted to bring them into the rest of "my" Dunedain universe, so they entered this tale. But it does create a bit of a continuity glitch between this story and No Greater Comfort that I'll have to address eventually, because Bilfen should indeed know that Aragorn is chieftain.

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