|Reviews for The Parting Glass|
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 23 . 6/8
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this. I thought we might get jack's journey back, or some complicated whatever leading up to his meeting with Millona. Instead, we get Jack drunk and up on the roof, and it just gets better from there.
[And at the apex of the roof, silhouetted against Masser, one of the stable cats arched its back, bottlebrush tail fluffed up and eyes glaring at me with the message: You utter fuckwit.]
Because cats don't climb up on the roof drunk. I like this line.
The whole Jack waking up hung over scene is great.
[She sat on the edge of the bed, and lowered her voice, conspiratorially. "Just a suspicion, but I think you might have been mistaken about that."]
Good one. And to heartless wench as well. I like the dialog here all around. And yes, hangovers do lurk like monsters.
The more I think about it, the more I like the way this chapter just got right to the point. jack waking up drunk, and the telling of the truth has to begin. Because it had to eventually, and there was no reason for any further delay, so I think this was handled well.
One additional note. Jack's take on thieving - that it's a vial part of the economy, and merchants do it too, is a nice little piece of self justification.
So i'm curious to see how it plays out from here. We'll see what fate has in store for Jack and Millona. I still don't see an HEA in prospect right away, if ever. Jack has too much of a talent for screwing up. But I'll tune in for the next chapter to see what happens.
Good work, and thanks for keeping at it.
| AughraOfEarth chapter 20 . 6/7
Getting back after many weeks of RL, and this continues to flow along, with a nice balance of action and reflection, and lots of vivid imagery.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 22 . 5/27
[You will never find the students or wizards outside in the air, for they are squatting in their dark dungeons poring over profane texts and making crabbed scribbles on scrolls.']
I would say to the (fictional) author of this not to beat around the bush, just tell us how you really feel about this place. I've seen travel guides that were a lot less honest than this probably is.
Be that as it may, we have a chapter with lots of drunken regrets, and Jack vowing to do what he should probably have done long ago, but maybe when he was sober. But before that we have the whole reveal about Brey and Elise, and it turns out that Jack isn't the only one with major regrets. It's awfully good of Jack to keep Brey's secret, but then Jack's got secrets of his own. I like how the scene plays out, after coming out of left field.
[Those sorts of nights always ended that way, the ones that didn't end with me waking in a bed that wasn't mine, anyway. ]
I like this
[And you are faking it, Brey. Your accent wasn't this strong even when we was in Bravil. I've heard rice farmers who've barely set foot out of the delta with accents that ain't as strong as yours. You're faking it as much as I am]
Not everyone appreciates that people with an accent can lay it on a little heavier when they want to give a certain (sometimes misleading) impression of themselves. I've done it a time or two myself.
["You ever see kids playing and think 'that should have been us. Why'd we never get that?'"]
Nice sense of regret in that sentence.
I'd be curious if Brey ever tracks down the kids to zombies necromancer. That could be a fic in itself.
["We all deserve better than you," Brey reminded me, his voice still shaky. "Unfortunately some of us are stuck with what we've got."]
Having thought about it, I give this the nod for best line of the chapter. I was going to give it to jack talking about drinking until even his name was a distant memory, but I've changed my mind.
So a strong chapter, and some significant developments. We'll see what happens when jack makes it back to Anvil. At the moment he may actually have made a better choice drunk than he did when he was sober, but there's no guarantee of it turning out well. So I guess we see what we see.
Thanks for keeping at it, and i'll see you next chapter
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 21 . 5/12
I like the aquatic break in a lot. For some reason, found myself thinking of a fantasy version of Sea Hunt. The scene with Jack trying to get the lock open while he still had some air worked really well. I was wondering for a moment if his potion really was running out, or if he was having an attack of nerves (And who could blame him), or if he'd hit a pocket of low dissolved oxygen. The point is that working under water with limited air - you did give that a nice pucker factor. Or maybe it's just that I have a horror of drowning...
And that wraith! Well, I was hoping for more horror, and here it is. And I'm wondering just how many secrets The Fox keeps.
So yeah, crossing the Brotherhood may in fact be a bad idea.
[When the Fox had gone I paced and agonised while the Altmer watched me, her expression strained. She looked different now, no longer the heart-stopping beauty I remembered from my boyhood. Pretty enough, and I still would have (although, since beauty never had been all that high on my list of requirements for a bed partner, that didn't mean much), but it was mainly due to paint and artifice, and to the exotic glamour that clung to her because of her race. The hollows beneath her eyes were a little too deep, her cheeks a little too gaunt, even for an elf. And I had no way of knowing whether she really had been as beautiful as I remembered, or if my memories were mistaken.]
I like this passage. Sometimes we do in fact wonder if things were as good as we remember.
So yeah, good work, and I'm tuning in for the next chapter
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 20 . 5/3
So it's not surprising that Jack would be suffering from PZSD. (Post Zombie Stress Disorder) Still and all, there's some problems here that Jack needs to resolve. He's not who he wants to be, so he lies about who he is, but now that it's someone he cares about it's different, but he's lied to her too, and mzybe she's not as in the dark as he thinks.
I may be reading entirely too much into this, but there's a part of me that would happily smack Jack upside the head and point out that even if she's mad hot there's no excuse for being this blind.
"The horses from the castle would be too recognizable" indeed. A thief can be recognizable too, and if she asks him if he just happens to know how to pick a lock it might actually be possible that he has been recognized as such. Earth to Jack: Just because she's got two X chromosomes doesn't make her blind, and it doesn't mean she's not smart enough to get on to you.
Another point here, Jack. You were certain that Big Daddy Umbranox would have you thrown from the highest battlement or whatever, and here you are getting a healing spell. even confronted with tangible evidence that things are better than he thought he persists in jumping to worst possible conclusion. C'mon, Jack. A guy who has survived zombies and beatings ought to have developed a bit more optimism.
The fight with the bandits was quite good, and Millona did something tactically smart. If you're outnumbered, and you can't get away, get someplace where they can't surround you. And somewhere along the line, she learned to shoot a bow. She's smarter and maybe a bit more badass than you think.
The head butt in the middle of the fight was a good move from a storytelling perspective. It's very cinematic, and in a real fight, you really do need to do the unexpected. (Fireball in a damp cave is cinematic too. This wasa good fight.)
So good chapter. I'll get to the next one after I finish this upcoming five days at work
| hentaigoblin chapter 25 . 4/25
I can't even begin to say how much I love this story. It's all so interesting, and I find myself checking over and over for updates. Well done on weaving such an engaging story! I love the progression of Corvus' life so far, but knowing that he has to live under the shadow of the fox at the end is quite bitter (in a good way, might I add.) can't wait to see where you take this next, please keep writing man!
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 19 . 4/20
To begin with, the quote at the opening made my whole day.
For some reason, I have this sick desire to do a Weird Al Yankovic and compose a song called "Zombie Love", and set it either to the tune of either Muskrat Love or Jungle Love. You have a knack for horror, and this whole scene rocks. I love it IloveitIloveitIloveitIloveit. You need to get a gig writing horror movies.
So we have good horror and we have Jack, as usual, rejecting good advice. The horror was completely unexpected. Jack being an ass, however... Someone's going to have to beat him pretty hard or something. Oh, wait, that's been done. Well, maybe something can be figured out by someone.
Still, I gotta hand it to the guy. His hands might have been messed up, but still knew what to do. You can't keep a good man down...
An excellent chapter, and I want to see where Jack goes next, and I don't just mean geographically.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 18 . 4/1
Tow quick points here about this chapter.
First, I like scene of Jack trying to get himself arrested. It's got something of a Monty Python quality to it. For that matter, so does the jail cell.
Second, don't be that guy talking shit in a bar full of mages unless you can back it up.
For some reason I had a flashback to Clint Eastwood in A Fistful Of Dollars. "I think you should apologize to my mule..." Except it here it's more like "I think you should apologize to the zombie" And I have to say that what Kalthar had done was suitably pervy and disgusting in good kind of way. Not, you understand, that approve of necromancy or necrophilia, but it just works to establish that yeah, he's pervy and disgusting.
And Jack's in trouble again. Big freaking surprise.
I like this, and it seems to be setting something up for the next installment. Which I will get to. I should be reading these faster, but real life...
Good chapter, and thanks for posting.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 17 . 3/18
[To rule a city like Anvil back then was to get your hands bloody, and he'd done that all right: by the time he was finished he'd been steeped right up to his elbows in gore (which is, in my humble opinion, the true origin of the name of that fine establishment, The Count's Arms). But even when he'd finished stamping out the insurrections, he still wasn't done. A count who ruled remotely from the safe haven of his castle wouldn't have lasted a day in Anvil, and he'd understood that. Understood it and passed that message down through the Umbranox line.]
Some actual political wisdom here, which I usually don;t see in fantasy fiction. Get the bloodshed out of the way early, make the point, and then don't think you can rule securely from inside a fortress. Machiavelli warned about this.
[This world is filled with stories, laid out for any man to see if he'd only take the time to stop and read them.]
Hoo boy, I like this line a lot.
[A drunken sailor can usually be relied on to get drunker.]
But I like this line better. This gets the prize for best ine of the chapter I think. It's actually quotable.
I like the first meeting with Millona a lot, and I have a feeling that she might have seen more of what Jack was up to than he thinks. (The "like a common thief" line later.)
So Min has upped his drinking. And if you get enough alcohol into him, he has a mouth control problem, but that comes standard issue with drunks. Well, the guy was never going to be a saint, was he? Hope he gets it together, because I still like him, although he's not the main focus of the story.
["Do me one favour, though. Apologise to Maenlorn as well."
He shot me a startled look. "Why? What'd I do?"
"Well, for one thing you called him a Bosmer cunt and then you threatened to slit his throat."
"Oh." He grimaced. "Whoops."]
OK, this made me laugh.
I enjoyed the scene on the beach, even if I don't know what a mudcrab is. (I gather they're big enough to be a problem, but a tasty problem if you can take one down.) I'll also say that I enjoyed the scene at dinner with Big Daddy Count a lot. Yeah, Daddy's probably had his eyes on Jack, and Jack is probably on some fairly thin ice here. Because a guy who can rule over a pirate haven with an iron fist can probably deal pretty harshly with suitors that don't come up to his standards.
I'm also wondering about the dude with the haunted manor problem. Jack has reason to not want to tangle with any more zombies or anything else that's dead, which makes me think he might just have to.
Really good chapter here, one of your best, with a hook in the last sentence. That's the way to do it. Leave 'em with something that makes 'em want to come back and read the next chapter. And I will.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 16 . 3/2
The say a man's reach should exceed his grasp, and Jack is definitely reaching for something here. we'll see if he can grasp it.
[When I found myself in a copse of trees, staring out to where the Shrine of Sanguine awaited me, it felt inevitable. As if every road had been leading me back here. A strange feeling twisted in my chest: a mingled sensation of shame and fear and excitement that made my mouth dry and my cock hard.]
I like this opening. Something or other compelling is leading Jack on, and this is a good opening line to lead the reader on.
["Ah yes. I did wonder what that smell was. I thought perhaps a wine barrel had burst again."]
Nice bit of dialog, this. And not everyone knows you can blow up a vat of wine during the fermentation process. Points for dialog and for knowledge of wine making.
And I had a feeling that we had not seen the last of Calvus as Jack clearly transitions to a man of substance and acquires more formal education than he had at the start of the story.
So Jack is expanding his repertoire of skills to include forgery. Good to see him working to better himself. This whole passage with Calvus and jack learning a whole new skill set does bring home just how far he's come.
[He watched as I drew the bottle closer, topped up my glass, shook his head when I made to top up his. My grip tightened around the neck of the bottle with something like relief. And as I drank, he said nothing, only watched me, his eyes sad.]
I like the parting scene between Jack and Calvus.
The best part of the chapter is the whole scene with Min learning his mother is dying. A fellow like Min couldn't possibly have happy normal family background, but this business about the Thalmor is interesting, and I'd like to know more about them. And clearly Min has some complicated and vexed relationships with his relatives. He's been my favorite character overall, I think. And this:
["Exactly. If my love life was the Red Ring Road I'd be halfway to Hammerfell by now."]
You stage a good faux pas. That's not easy to do.
A good chapter that sets Jack further on his journey, gives him some new skills, and introduces some backstory on Min that I'd like to know more about.
Good work, and I'll get on to the next chapter as soon as I get a little further along with my current WIP, which shouldn't take too long.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 15 . 2/15
I was just sitting here thinking to myself that I envy your ability to do romance since I was up all night one evening last week grappling with a scene where a couple of characters are flirting, and knowing that if it went beyond that, I was going to compare the result to what you write, and wish I could do as well. But enough about my problems, let's talk about Chapter 15.
There were a couple of things going on here that I liked. One was jack not being able to grasp the obvious because he's being affected a bit magically. It's not easy to deal with discontinuities in reality. But this...
[Shivering, I sat up, and the bare feet I set on the rug were those of a child, wriggling toes reddened by cold. I was a skinny little thing again, dressed only in a cotton nightshirt, teeth chattering as I padded to the window, the leaded glass rimed with ice. I knelt on the window seat and wiped at the glass with numbed fingers.
The singing stopped.
The voice was inside me and behind me and around me all at once. I glanced over my shoulder, saw a woman standing in the doorway.
Don't look, Jack.
"That's not really my name," I whispered.
It's as good as any. It'll do. And then, when I turned back to the window, she spoke again, her voice taut with desperation, with fear. You don't want to see.
My joints stiff and swollen, I fumbled at the catch and swung the window open. Outside the world lay in devastation. Long decayed, blackened ruins of houses sprawled beneath a seething gray sky. No sun, no moons, only the freezing silence and a stench like rotting meat that turned my mouth sour.
Tears froze on my cheeks. I trembled not only with cold but with terror now. "What happened?"
Nothing happened. This is what is. What has always been.
"I'm dreaming. This isn't real."
You may well be dreaming. But that doesn't make this not real. This is what is. Come away from the window, Jack. He'll see you.]
...works very well. The chapter has a nice dreamlike quality to it when you need to use that. Looking down at the village for example, or the subtle shift of a pronoun here or there.
I will be interesting to see Jack's reaction comes the day he takes the Red Pill and sees the Matrix or what have you.
There's a nice kind of casual and intimate feeling to the closing scene.
| AughraOfEarth chapter 19 . 2/13
A gruelling enough chapter, but vivid, useful, and interesting as always. Continuing to read and enjoy...
| AughraOfEarth chapter 18 . 2/12
Developments, developments...which continue to be entertaining, especially as I have no clue where the plot is going at the moment. As should be the case!
| AughraOfEarth chapter 17 . 2/12
Very attractive development of the romance between Jack and Millona, under the displeased view of her father. The 1st person narration continues to work well as a device permitting the sharing of background information with the reader as needed.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 14 . 2/2
And here I am at long last with a very belated review. We will dispense with the reading from the Book Of Excuses and get down to it.
In the field of concrit, I'm going to pick on the fight scene again,
[stamped down on his foot and spun, shifting my grip on the ebony blade to raise it for the killing blow–]
You can use a sword to cut or thrust, but your grip shouldn't have to change between one and the other. He probably shouldn't need to change his grip, and if he does, I'd expect him to die as a result. You have to be fast. Obviously, the intent here is that he's not fast enough, but he really shouldn't have to shift his grip. As for raising it - well. he could raise it to cut for the killing blow, but he could also thrust for the killing blow, and it would be faster. There's different ways to sort that out, but he shoudn't have to change his grip.
[It was hard to tell how much of the rivalry between the two cities was light-hearted, and how much genuine resentment still lingered in people's hearts.]
Light hearted sounds like a football rivalry. I might rephrase this. People can remember old scores and enmities long after they're settled. They might no longer be serious enough to ever lead to trouble, but they never really become light hearted. Maybe there's very few people left who still take it seriously, but maybe there's still some. I'm not sure offhand what I'd do with this, but it doesn't feel right.
[a sweet tangy taste that belied how strongly alcoholic it was.]
Yeppers. Sweet drinks will sneak up on you, which is one reason why I tend to avoid them. Nive bit of observational detail.
["I have a friend who escaped slavery," I said, leaning on the balustrade. She hesitated, then matched my posture. Her arm pressed briefly against my own, until she shifted her position. "He's a Khajiit. He was born in Morrowind, and his mother worked the fields for House Dres."
"And he escaped?"
I nodded. "He intends to return, and he's not alone. From what I hear, the abolitionist movement is growing, gathering strength every day. And if the Empire puts more pressure on the Great Houses to abolish slavery..."
"You think they ever would?"
I shrugged. "I think with an embargo in place on trade, they could be persuaded to at least consider it. And I expect Hlaalu and Redoran might be willing to agree purely to get one over on House Dres. Of course House Telvanni are another matter, but then they always are."
"For such a young man you seem to know a remarkably in-depth knowledge of the situation in Morrowind." She gave me a strange, curious glance. The corners of her mouth had turned down but her eyes were creased at the corners. "If I didn't know better I might think this a masked ball."
"Since you seem to be wearing a mask and playing a role."]
I felt my fandom blindness keenly during this chapter. In this scene Jack seems rash, which is a guess in character, but talking politics with the nobility in a strange city carries a bit of risk. i actually like the scene, so that's not a criticism. Jack manages to give her the impression that he's not who he appears to be, and he does it in a way that feels about right for him. I learned a bit about the society, including the fact that the age of consent laws look a bit different. I think the whole party scene works, although it's clearly a leadup to something else. Speaking of which...
[Only the Fox sprawled on the bed, her hands clutching at her belly like she was trying to keep her insides from spilling out.]
Well, that was unexpected. We'll have to see what this is about.
I like the chapter. The problems I had were the result of my fandom blindness. I did like the bit about what they were compensating for when they built the White Gold Tower...
Good work, and I'll be back for the next chapter. I'm sorry this took so long, but real life threw me or a few loops along the way. I have feeling that jack is about be up to his armpits in serious trouble.