|Reviews for The Parting Glass|
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 30 . 9/15
Something of a transitional chapter obviously, with Jack getting set up for his attempt end the curse of the cowl. (That sounds like a pulp story from the 30s. The Curse Of The Cowl) I see Jack is back to treffs* in bathhouses again. A "changed man", indeed! I appreciate the description. I also like the description of the aurora as "dancing ribbons of colored light". having once seen one this far South, yes, that's exactly what it looks like.
I did like the scene of Jack bribing Brother Jirav, since it was done with a little feel for the niceties. First, show some sincere money, and try to get a feel for what you might actually be able to do for this guy. A lot of writers have problems with doing credible corruption.
So Millona is still apparently single, but I have a feeling Jack needs to get a move on, and apparently he has every intention of doing so. Nice bit of yearning there when he kissed her. I'll be back for the next chapter, and I'm sorry for the abbreviated review, but I've been called in to work extra hours for the hurricane. Duty calls.
* Clandestine meeting. The word originated among World War II German spies.
| Guest chapter 29 . 9/2
A good curse is one where you get what you think you want and find out that you were drastically wrong. The Twilight Zone used to do that a lot. Now Jack would have given body parts for this cowl back in the days when he had nothing and no one, and therefore nothing to lose. Now he's got it, and he's stuck with it. So yeah, this Twilight Zone level of cursed.
[Take a man and hold him in the palm of your hand. Fold him in half. Lengthwise, widthwise, lengthwise again. Snap his spine in two, crush his bones if you have to to. His spirit goes without saying. Ignore how he screams and howls and begs for mercy. And don't worry: you won't kill him. He's very hard to kill.]
I love this whole opening. I do. eye catching and horrific.
The manner of rendering Jack's situation works really well. I like this, for example:
[he days merged into one, until a month had passed and I had done nothing but drink and weep, and shamble after my wife, begging her to see me. To recognise me. Even just to look at me, because how could she see my face, and not remember me a little, if I was the man she claimed to love, the man she had chosen when she could have had her pick of all the eligible noblemen in Cyrodiil?]
So basically Jack got out of a jam at the price if pretty much everything he really cared about. This is a good curse.
[So instead I became a different man, one I liked even less. One who drank the days away, and haunted his own lost life like a spirit, who stalked his wife like a shadow. And at night I'd retreat to my crumbling house to wank myself to joyless orgasms that brought more pain than pleasure, before finally tumbling into drunken fitful sleep.
I became a spectator in my own life.]
So now we're at the bone. I like this because this is a recognizable human curse, and you don't need the One Cowl To Rule Them ALL or the help of The Ncturnal to fall victim to it. People do this to themselves quite on their own, and as with Jack, it's the unexpected consequence of their own actions. You don't need frogs and boils and flies and darkness to have a good curse. You can do it on your own, and people do. I think this is what elevates this chapter. The fact that you have a basically non-magical curse, even if it was inflicted by magic. You don't have to change water into blood, or gin into tequila. You just have to make some bad choices, and no magic is required.
And the baby has been born. This is true sadism.
[It wasn't much. I have broken enough vows in my life to know how easily broken they are.]
["Perhaps..." My voice broke in my throat. "Perhaps he's too weak."
And in a flash her anger was back. She leaned close to me, smelling of salt and the breeze that whipped in off the sea. "And if you believe that then you don't know the count at all. That man would never stop fighting.]
Fantasy works best when it recognizably touches on real life. We have to break our own curses, especially the ones we call down on ourselves. Jack waited entirely too long to begin looking for a way to break this one, but can have these spells of despair...
This is good stuff, all the way around. I lie the way it's set up, and I like the fact that this is a good curse, not just in that it inflicts hell and misery, but it also kind of challenges. It's up to jack to figure out a way to matter again and not just give up. Like I say, fantasy with a recognizable human soul, like it's supposed to be.
Go make yourself a drink. You deserve it.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 28 . 8/19
A few random thoughts. I'm tempted to say that grabbing up random magic items with unknown properties to solve your problems may not be the best approach, but here Jack was clearly running out of options and time. I'd hate to see the Fox not make it, but maybe we're about to see a changing of the guard.
Suckering the vampire in the dungeon was a good scene, and I have to say that I really like Vampire Mom (which sounds like a movie title.) she's working out well as a villain.
[Now there was a creepy turn of phrase. "Everything I'd done? What the fuck did I do?"]
It is indeed a creepy turn of phrase, and my favorite line in this chapter. Which is why I think perhaps it speaks for itself. maybe Jack could just reply "Everything I'd done? What the fuck did I do?" That by itself might be stronger in this context. Let the reader just groove on the creepyness, instead of pointing it out. It's not a criticism, exactly, just a thought, because I do like the line, and a gem needs a proper setting to show off it's beauty.
[As he lunged I brought up the knife, thrust it up and into the underside of his jaw. ]
Which has the advantage of giving you something to hold onto those jaws by, and it's violent and gross. Nice. Actually, the scene works pretty well, since Jack has to do some fairly disagreeable stuff to deceive the vampire.
[I closed the window and latched it. "Guess we're not getting out that way either."]
This line marks the beginning of one of your most cinematic scenes, and it really leads to a great end for the chapter. The repartee between jack and Foxy is just priceless, Stick a bucket over their heads indeed. I wanted to see this on the screen. I'll have to give some thought to who would play jack. Not, you understand, that I can set you up with a producer.
So we're going to find out what this cowl does. Something useful, I hope, but I expect that it WILL carry a price. One cowl to rule them all? I expect jack's latest fashion accessory will prove to be a turning point in his checkered career.
Clearly I have no choice but to read the next chapter. But first, some writing of my own to pound out. But this is good work, with action, good dialong, good use of claustrophobic horror, and some well placed humor. Keep at it.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 27 . 8/9
One of the real problems that I have with the current spate of vampire fiction that has become a plague on the land is that the vampires are dark and broody and Gothic, or they're sparkly, or they're too busy being angst ridden to ever be scary. Vampires are monsters and predators. If you're going to be the villain in a horror story then you need to be fucking HORRIBLE. Your vampires are a horror, and in this case, it's a horror that hits close to home. And the scene where we get that reveal is up there in Anthony Perkins is his own mother territory. (Sidebar. Contemporary Gothic can work. See the first Underworld movie) The point is that your vampires now have 30% more horribleness than the leading brand.
So I knew that some kind of awfulness was coming, and when I heard vampires, I thought..Ok, yeah, vampires. But then I got revolting, sadistic, evil, repugnant predatory vampires, and holy shit vampires who practice freelance dentistry. And the Fox has issues with these critters too, and clearly Jack and Foxie now have serious problems. And "Let's put on a show". we're getting into Saw territory here.
I do not often get to do this, so I won't say it's a rare pleasure, but it is a rare thing.
[I usually liked my meat rare, but I poked at it with the warped twines of the tarnished silver fork]
Probably should have been "tines" Mostly it's you who corrects my godawful proofreading.
So without a doubt I must read the next chapter, because Jack truly is in deep kimche now. Good work, and keep trying to sell a horror movie script, because I wanna see it produced.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 26 . 7/26
Well, I knew that Jack and Millona weren't getting an HEA after the wedding, because there were too many chapters left for just fluffy bunnies and happy joy. Having said that, holy shit. The line about the first time they'd had something to bury was gut wrenching. Goddamn, girl, you can be brutal.
I loved how Lucar was softening towards Jack and trying to be supportive while Jack was basically falling apart. The whole scene with Lucar getting his drunk son in law off the roof was great, and yeah, all parents lie to their children. I really did like how Jack and the Count's relationship developed in this chapter.
But I have to say that this whole chapter was angst and misery of a high order. You ahd to feel bad for these characters, and you had to admire them (Millona especially) for the way they kept going, and kept trying for a child. And you just have repeated attempts that end in tears, and I was also staring to wonder about longer term political consequences. There have to be people scheming in the background with no heir apparent. That may or may not figure down the road.
More immediately, there's the vampire problem that has reared its ugly head at a really bad time for all concerned. We'll see how this plays out, and how Millona is going to react to jack haring off on this new mission/quest/situation. I can see lot of potential bad complications here, and there's probably some I haven't seen.
I'm giving this chapter two thumbs up, because I think this is outstanding work. Some really good character development, and the most emotionally searing moments you've had to date. Go have a martini, light up a cigar, or whatever it is you do when you know you've done real good.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 25 . 7/8
Of necessity a brief review this time. (I've got a WIP and I'm ass deep in behind) Obviously something of a bridge chapter here because this still doesn't look like HEA, but Jack and Millona are still HFN, and Millona's going to be a Mom. But judging from that rather ominous last sentence the happiness is temporary, and a storm is coming.
Best line: ["Would you at least have had a bath afterwards?"]
Not a lot happening, but some nice scenes, including the swimming, and Millona asking about Jack's past, and the Count seeming to arm to Jack a bit. It's a good chapter, but maybe it's not a bridge chapter as much as it is a clock chapter, and the clock might just be wired to a bomb. Tick. Tick. Tick.
| Absolute Elsewhere chapter 24 . 6/26
I noticed before I began this chapter that it was longer than the last several. having read it, I can see that there is in fact an excellent reason why this is so. Because Jack has gone through so much to win Millona (And the reader has gone along with him), we are owed a suitable payoff. You have written the reader an IOU for a wedding for Jack and Millona. So the question is, therefore, did you pay off on your IOU?
And the answer is yes.
To begin with, I did very much enjoy the scene of Jack asking the Count for Millona's hand. A nice comic touch here, and this ["Ah. So it took you four days to come to me. Apparently the exact location still managed to elude you. I'm sure I could arrange for Voric here to draw you a rudimentary map should you need assistance?"] is lovely. I do think you manage to set up Count Umbranox as someone to legitimately fear, so Jack's nervousness has some basis in reality. AT some level, I don't think Millona would have agreed to marry him if she really thought that Dad was going to gut her love like a trout, but even so, he should be afraid that Dad just might. (I wonder too, if Millona doesn't realize the advantage of having men suitably terrified of her father)
The whole deal with the steward is priceless. The command to "Get out" made me think of the Amityville Horror. "GET. OUT." Best to listen to the voice of doom.
[A few of the patrons glanced up as I dripped my way down the stairs.]
There were several moments in this fic when I stopped and said "Damn, that's a good turn of phrase." This was just one of them.
["I think you've tracked some horse-shit in with you, my friend."]
And this was another.
I enjoyed Jack's trip back to Anvil and down Memory Lane. Buying a cider for the guy tailing him was pretty cool. And thoughtful, in it's own way. And yes, I do like the way jack deals with Rory. it shows actual good sense. Dealing with Rory was one of this chapter's better moments. This too, is part of paying off the IOU. The wedding has to include all of the pre-wedding stuff.
[No mercy for pirates, brigands, mutineers or eardrums.]
["Lost her already, have you?! Now there's an excellent start to a marriage! I wish to all the gods I'd had the foresight to lose my wife on our wedding day!"]
I like even more!
So the fic clearly isn't over, but a major event has clearly occurred. We'll see how things go from here. But I think this chapter had an excellent CMQ (Cool Moments Quotient) This chapter had some very good dialogue, and it delivers on some promises. We got to see jack and Millona married in proper style. So well done. I usually reward myself with a martini when I feel I've done well with my writing. I'll leave the choice of treat/reward/cookie up to you.
Go have a cookie, you've earned it.
| 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.