Reviews for The Zenith
Adia chapter 90 . 5/17/2009
I really loved this chapter. I said it in another review, but it needs to be repeated now, that I love reading the BGII story with more depth added. The Underdark scenes in particular are wonderful because you are giving us a deeper (and darker) exploration of what immediately happens to Fritha...and also experiencing the drow 'in colour', so to speak. Particularly, Phaere is fascinating when she isn't just, 'do this', 'run this message' etc.

I should also admit I rather like your Solaufein. I hope he will stick around ;) A wonderful character I'd love to see in fic more often!

This was a wonderful chapter for delving into the relationship between the team, and the mutual frustration. I really felt for Fritha in this chapter, her own frustrations and trying to make do with everything going on and it not being enough for everyone else.

Wonderful work! Can't wait for more :)
Alice chapter 90 . 5/15/2009
I think I love you for bringing new chapters so often, or simply for keeping on writing after all that time. I've started the whole thing (that is, starting from Sunrise) two weeks ago I think, and I just couldn't ever stop myself from reading. That's just too good :D

So now that I've caught up with your updates, I have to wait for new chapters, and I must say I'm CRAVING.

There are too many things I wanted to say about your story, having read the whole thing without a pause, and it's impossible now to order them in my mind and write them here now. So I'll just say the last thing that came to me, in finishing to read your latest chapter :

what happened between Fritha and Solaufein at the end is, not only for what it may imply later (between the two characters, between them and Anomen, for Fritha's evolution, etc), but also because it's quite touching, damn GREAT.

Ah and, forgive my possibly broken english, I'm not an english-speaker to begin with :D (though reading this story DID improved my vocabulary, hehe).
Italian Empress 1985 chapter 88 . 5/14/2009
I went on a visit to Howe Cavern once, which is a large cavern two miles beneath the ground. Me being claustrophobic, mildly, made the ride in the elevator interesting, but when we got to the bottom, I remember expecting something otherworldly . . . but it really wasn’t. There were these kewl glowing fish, bats, strange formations and a lake, the whole works, and it was very neat, but not astounding.

It put me to mind of the Underdark, or at least what the Underdark would look like in real life. So when I saw the description that Fritha gave the first cavern they were in, I understood implicitly.

Their werelights would make them sitting ducks for certain. Infravision would’ve probably been a better minor spell to inact there, but going off of what they said about the heat-map from the duergar, I’m guessing they don’t have that one. Though Aerie, Jaheira and Fritha should have it from birth, it would leave the others in a bit of a jamb.

-”Half their group now blind and relying on the other to lead them safely.”- Ooh, spooky. I’m sure most of us have done this at some point though, if anyone has ever visited one of those haunted fun houses they have around Halloween time. Where you have to feel the wall in order to know where you are going and half expect something to jump out at you at any moment.

That first fight with the drow party was quick, but pretty interesting in that you managed to give everyone a task in the battle without it seeming like you were going out of your way. This is something I have trouble with at times and I can appreciate the talent in others. Good job! :D

-”I have not seen your tone before.”- Instead of ‘your kind’ nice touch, separating him from the surfacers like that.

I laughed out loud at Imoen’s enjoyment of ‘pink’ mushrooms. Still has her color fetish I see. :p

Master Blackenrock’s description of the demon beleaguering his village made me think of Lord of the Rings. ‘A creature of flame and shadow . . .Baelrog!’ ;)

The bath scene reminded me of the far earlier chapters in the story, which seem so long ago now, with Nalia and Fritha taking a bath and being silly. I felt a little melancholy reading it, because it seems that times for play are so few and far between now. However I did smile like a rake (not the garden variety) when Anomen could see the lower part of Fritha’s naked legs. Naughty, naughty, though he seemed pretty decorous about it, I’m sure even her attitude towards him did not desensitize him to the fact that he’s a living healthy male. ;)

I’m also glad to see that Jaheira agrees with me, that what Anomen said was understandable and not so terrible and he should stop feeling so eaten up by guilt over it. So that was a bright spot in the chapter.

Adalon isn’t very likable here is she? Gold and silver dragons are commonly snotty, but decent and even keeled for it, opposed to their darker hued cousins. I can’t believe she got the ‘F’ word out of Fritha though. That’s some serious language there young lady. :p

Most of the group’s drow faces here have very unique iris colors, considering the mass majority of dark elves have red eyes. Though I think most writers make any OC drow characters they have sport a prettier eye color than red, so the protagonist/supporting characters can be more attractive. I can hardly talk though, having given both Sarevok and my protagonist eyes that differ from the norm. It did give me a laugh though. ‘Why, you’re all so beautiful!’ I felt like saying. :p Except for Aerie, who it appears has a rather long lasting case of pink-eye. LOL! I’m surprised Imoen isn’t jealous.

Gosh but I can just gorge myself on your location imagery. Ust Natha was particularly wonderful and showcased your immense skills of description quite well.

Yay! Solaufein! I like him and Phaere both quite a bit. Though I should say I like his game-self, and not the poetry spouting sap in the mod. I do not dismiss the talent that went into making that mod, and the idea of taking Solaufein along is a nice one and very tempting, but the end result was less than satisfactory to me. So I’m pleased to see you are giving him an edge that is really there, instead of just a front. I think sometimes other people forget that you can be a jerk and still be ‘the good guy’ Not everyone is a romantic softy hiding behind a brooding exterior. :P

I do have to say that Lloth is not peering at the windows or listening at the doors, so I’m pretty sure Aerie can get away with saying her god’s name. The slaves do it all the time. :p That and there are secret cults of Eilistraee and a few other gods down in the Underdark and Lloth doesn’t strike them down where they stand. Not because she is magnanimous but mostly because she isn’t concerned with insignificant mortals, only the important ones get her attention. (For now, there are some current events that change things a bit, but that is neither here nor there) Mostly it is being caught saying the names of other deities by ‘mortal’ ears that should give someone caution. So maybe that was the reason for Fritha’s warning.

Aerie and Haerdalis at the end reminded me of Jaheira and Khalid when they used to have nice long heartfelt discussions, and it had the same pleasant tinge of a marriage about the conversation. That is until Harry pounced on his lady and then the similarity to Khalid was gone. ;)

A good and long chapter. Just the way I like them. You are very talented at making all the characters, if not sympathetic, understandable. Nice work and now I’m off to read the next chapter! :D
Italian Empress 1985 chapter 87 . 5/14/2009
I’m just starting to get caught up with all these chapters, so bear with me here. :D

I don’t want to make it sound like reviewing your work is a chore though, because I definitely enjoy it and reading Zenith is my reward to myself for finishing that whopper of a chapter I had. ;)

Hammer? So that’d be Hammerfall yes? Yay, it is January in the story. When they get to the 25’th day it’ll be my birthday. :p (Is a huge dork for knowing the Faerunian roll of months.)

I always feel so damn bad for Imoen in these SoA stories and yours is no different. She was such a chipper lass before Irenicus ruined her, but still I can see that little seed of hope in there. Imoen comes across in this chapter as a lost woman, desperately clinging to whatever memories she has and not caring if they may be skewed by what has happened to her. That’s a really great plot weave you have going for her. For instance, her talking to Boo at the beginning had tinges of that Imoen of old and yet it was bit off, as if her heart wasn’t in it. I especially liked how she described the tedium of the asylum . . . until ‘he’ came along. That was particularly effective.

What IS the spelling of Irenicus’ vampire sister though? Because I thought it was Bodhi, but you have written it twice now as Bohdi. This isn’t a criticism, I just really want to know if I’ve had it wrong all this time. In the official novels it is written as Bodhi, as well as on the FRWiki, though I know not everything on THERE is up to par. ;)

The voice in Fritha’s head, I’m still thinking could be Daddy Dearest. Or Fritha could have just gone totally off the bend. It makes me feel like Fritha is imprisoned in an asylum of her own mind, which is indeed very terrible.

-“You get that sword out of my face now, or I will sheath it in your stomach.”- Ahh, if only you could’ve refused the Silver Blade so easily in the game, as I recall there wasn’t any option where you didn’t have to take it.

I’m not sure where you are going with the Fritha/Anomen stuff. Fritha is the very meaning of the word ‘over-reaction.’ Which I ‘think’ is you trying to paint the picture of that darkness inside her eating up everything there is of her heart. She has that quick wit about her, but her jokes are openly cruel and not just towards Anomen, but everyone, where before they were funny and occasionally ill-timed. She is even cruel to Imoen, and Fritha for certain LOVES Imoen. I do think it is good to have both sisters affected by what happened though, instead of having them get over it real quick. I think it might make her a better drow. Gosh, that’s a terrible thing to say isn’t it? :p However going back to your main couple here, I still think that something will happen to snap Fritha out of it eventually, because I do think she was really beginning to fall for Anomen before all this crap happened.

The fight onboard the ship had a nice frantic pacing to it. I remember that part in the game well, it was like a good ‘ole pirate adventure! Ar! There be sharks in them thar waters! :p That cut scene image was kinda scary though. *shivers* I actually have this scene written for SoA already, and mine . . is a lot longer :p But I like your version better I think.

Something I like a lot, is how you have Anomen ‘look for her’ or ‘search for her’ without saying that ‘her’ is Fritha because we, the reading audience, already know it is Fritha. That took some time to get to that point but I really enjoy that.

The description of the City of Caverns was very nice. You make it sound pretty, which it was if memory serves. Minus that whole pit of rotting half-eaten corpses. I think Jan said it smelled like turnip soup that’d gone sour. :p Lord, I’m going to have to find a way to get these names from the game, since I can’t play it anymore :*(, because those sahaguin have names about as strange as dragons. Ixhilitc-whatever and Senityilli . . . Yeesh!

-“Surfacers were usually little more than meat to the sahaguin; it would be like someone asking Athkatla or the Gate to put all their faith in a talking cow.”- Eww, ick! But true.

That crazy king is really funny! I’d forgotten that. :D

-“We can’t quite remember what he did now, but we are sure he deserved it at the time.”-

-“Everyone will be happy! Well, except for Villynaty!”-

LOL!

The bit of Saguinish at the very end was a nice touch. You got past the whole bit in short order, weeding out the little incidentals but still making it go by fairly quick. So it is off to the Underdark now, and perhaps a version of Solaufein that hopefully does NOT spout a lot of poetry. Yay! Sorry mod lovers. :p
Baldur's Fan chapter 89 . 5/11/2009
Ah, my first week of freedom from school starts with a new chapter! A great way to begin the summer. And thank you for your well wishes Blackcross-Taylor, I think they definitely reached me. _

I loved how Aeire has totally embraced the role of acting like a drow. "The girl had truly taken her words to heart and was swaggering about the city as though she owned the place, Haer’Dalis catering to her every whim as she sneered lecherously at any male who passed." Haha! I bet she is loving that. It's interesting to see how they're all reacting to having to act like drow, and it's nice to see more of their reactions here than we got to in the game. Poor Anomen, with his run in with that woman. I know it's horrible, but I was laughing so hard at that!

Carrying on with the Anomen track, I did feel really bad for him when he commented on seeing the girl he cared about dying before his eyes. It must be so difficult because now he REALLY can't do anything, being in the Underdark and all. And while at the beginning I was not supportive of him at all going after Fritha, from the last few chapters I've gotten the feeling that she did actually like him before her soul got stolen. And if she did like him, then she should end up with him. It would make no sense for me to really want something for a character when they don't want that thing. As long as Fritha gets her happy ending, it'll all be good. Even if you throw in some dramatic/tragic deaths in there (I am a total SUCKER for those) I'll be fine with it because you're such a fantastic writer, I trust that you would be able to handle it well and make it work. Why do I get this feeling like Anomen might be biting the dust at some point? It's so weird but I just have this feeling...

Fritha's current forray into the world of the fighting pits shows that her condition is getting even worse. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether she's acting the way she is to keep in with the Drow tradition or because of the taint.

I don't know why but I was never all that crazy about Solaufein. I mean the guy was neat enough, but I never got the big craze over him. That being said, I am quite enjoying him in this story. It's cool to see things through his eyes, getting his view of the people we already know.

I still HATE Phaere! I know it's not really her fault how she is now, but she always bugged the heck out of me.

I can't finish the review without mentioning Imoen and Valygar! I think that would be a very interesting couple, should you choose to persue it. And even if it's not romantic, the friendship would be really nice too. They're such opposites, but I think they would set each other off well. He's too gloomy, and Imoen would be great trying to just make him smile or something. How could anyone not love Imeon?

Anyways, another fantastic chapter in an amazing story! I can't wait to read more!
Kelenthial chapter 89 . 5/11/2009
I haven't reviewed this story in a long while. I did read it, though. I admit that part of my not commenting was simply laziness and/or lack of time and inspiration but a large part is also the fact that I am not a great fan of how the story's been progressing and I prefer to keep silent rather than complain endlessly xD

First of all... you updated on my birthday! Thank you very much, especially since the last chapter was so far the one I enjoyed the most in the whole story.

Secondly... The story is a really good one and the fact that no one is perfect or completely likeable only adds to the quality. That being said I really can't stand Aerie. It's silly, I know, but while I didn't like her in the game you made me positively *despise* her in the story and I always must fight with myself to not skip the part of the story that's centred around her/includes her. It's a major problem as she is one of the main characters and makes it difficult for me personally to enjoy the story. Or large parts of it, at least. Here. I've said it. Now I'll try to make it a one-timer and never ever mention it again least I drown the review section in Aerie hate xD

As you may remember I am not a Fritha/Anomen fan either especially since it seems to me that it is so... forced. I don't doubt Anomen's worth (in your story...) but I don't think he's what Firtha needs. And I feel he's being pushy. And judgemental (which doesn't surprise giving his alignment, but still...). Still, that doesn't bother me as much as Aerie.

Now, I said I liked the last chapter the most from the whole story. So, why. I must say you have a fairly good grip on the drow culture and it is enjoyable to read your rendition of Ust'Natha. I like it how both Firtha and Imoen are not the jolly, perfect goody-two-shoes, unchanged despite Irenicus just having snatched their souls. It's nice to see them being truly affected... And it's even more nice to see their party members not as understanding as they should be. I wonder at the narration you've given us lately, though. Solaufein has clearly become a focalizatonion point in the last few chapters. I wonder whether it's because you want to deepen the somewhat tragic story of him and Phaere adding his POV and personal emotions or is it simply he will join our happy mismatched band? I think that would add a nice spin to the plot, especially since you are so thorough in removing all logical flaws from the story (read: Elhan will throw a fit xD Fritha's party will throw a fit... but they all suffered Viconia in the game so it's not hopeless. They'd suffer Sola too. And I think he doesn't join us in the game simply because he comes too close to the end of Shadows of Amn and they preferred to add all the joinable characters in the beginning. Not to mention you'd have to leave one of your characters in the Underdark since you can have only 5 companions. So, game mechanics. Not relevant in the story) I loved the 'no cleric spells or prayers in Lloth's city' part, btw. That were precisely my thoughts while playing. And I liked how Imoen 'doesn't care' about knowledge or learning new things even though she is a mage and has such high int. Read: she is a lousy mage. And that's perfect. And Valygar... Doubts? Regrets? Oh my. In the game I despised him utterly, more so than Aerie or any other character... But in your story I'm neutral. And that is a major accomplishment on its own ;)
Adia chapter 89 . 5/7/2009
First time reviewing this story, but I've been following it for awhile now. Absolutely loving it! It is really nice to read a detailed story from the BG game, which adds so much and really clearly presents some of the pain from choices that the player - and Fritha here - go through. I actually love that I don't completely like Fritha. Weird thing to say, but it actually endears her more to me than some characters that I've read about and loved more. The difficulty of her decisions makes her so more interesting to read about, and I feel more invested in what happens to her.

Even stranger - I am not a huge fan of Fritha/Anomen. Odd, as I love his character (in the game and in this story). Perhaps it is that I really did feel Fritha's betrayal at what Anomen said, especially after everything they had gone through together.

All that said, I absolutely love the story, and can't wait for the next chapter. Brilliant, wonderful work!
Baldur's Fan chapter 88 . 4/26/2009
Oh, the Underdark at last! It's great to get to such an exciting place (and it's been such an INCREDIBLE ride getting here too!).

It will be interesting how much Fritha's darker side emerges, especially with the whole females in power thing going on with the Drow. She seems increasingly like she won't think twice about using more ruthless methods to get what she wants. What kind of reaction this type of acting will get from the party, now that will be interesting. They can protest all they want with what she does and says, but until they get her soul back I don't see what they can do to change what she's doing. But as always, all these dynamics give an extremely interesting read.

I am so afraid to say this for fear I might ruin the whole thing. I am a Fritha/Anomen shipper. AGH! I said it! Now everyone can blame me if they don't get together in the end. My ships always seem to get sunk somehow. I'm hoping for a happy ending for them. It's just so nice to see a guy caring so much for someone and wanting the best for her. And he's not letting the way Fritha's acting push him entirely away. GO Anomen! Perservere and get your girl!

And I'm glad to see Haer'Dalis and Aeire still going strong. I think they're just an adorable couple, and I'm so happy to see them together after all the upsand downs they've had.

Sorry for a shorter review, but, finals are just ahead, as well as term papers, so I need all the time I can get for them!Thank you as always for posting such a wonderful story! I can't wait to read more!

Random Nalia reference for this review: During the events of this chapter, Nalia was likely kicking back and playing hopscotch with some orphan children. Or reading a silly romance novel.

_
Red Headed Stranger chapter 87 . 4/20/2009
Ahh, I was slighlty dreading the darker chapters, just because I knew Fritha would react badly to it, but I am glad that the story is taking the necessary turn into darkness because now we can see how the rest of the group will handle this sudden outburst of the importance of her and Imoen's heritage, whereas before it was just a miniscule fact.

I haven't played the game in a while now, so everything with the ship after Spellhold was a complete surprise for me. I had even wondered whether you were going to skip the Underdark completely, to which I have a love/hate relationship: love because of the new juicy subplots, and hate because of the long and convulted subplots, so I'll just stick with trusting you to handle it with your usual zesty brilliance (I'm not sure why, but I always think of citrus flavors when I say "zesty", but I think it works to a certain degree)

Poor Anomen! I almost wish he would return to his boiling water temperment because this miserable resignation is almost impossible to read about, especially when he is now continually ignored or treated with contempt at the sisters' hands. I was thoroughly annoyed with Imoen's behavior on the ship, but I was abruptly sorry for her when she looked for Fritha's approval and she wasn't there to give it or even care about it. It really accentuates Fritha's self-alienation and, dare I type it, descent into a touch of madness.

All in all, some more bamboozling and excellent writing and just plain storytelling from your fabulous fingers, and your regularity is supremely appreciated to no extent. Keep up your citrusy goodness! It serves you well.

Cheers.
Baldur's Fan chapter 86 . 4/13/2009
And the darkness continues. I'm continuing to like how you're addressing how the darkness is slowly taking over Fritha. It's pretty scary actually, but very well done. I know it's sad, but I'm glad things aren't just perfect between Imoen and Fritha, that they still can fight and all. It makes the story so much more believable. Too bad there wasn't enough time game-wise in the end for them to stick in dialogues that really showed the negative effects of losing your soul. But your story definitely covers it and makes it really interesting. "‘She’s says she wishes she had just died back at the asylum. She says she wishes she was dead.’" Though I wish she wasn't feeling so bad! Fritha must be happy by the end of the story!

Brynnlaw always kinda creeped me out. I'm glad they're leaving. It's probably all the drunken sailors that made it so icky to me. It's a good thing they left before Fritha could get into any more fights - with the way things are now I feel like there would've been A LOT of dead sailors when she was done...

I like that Imoen might be liking Valygar. _ Valygar doesn't get enough love around Baldur's Gate circles. I was always fond of him, I wish they'd given him more to do in the game, so I'm glad you've kept him around. Maybe after everything is over Valygar and Imoen can go on a double date with Fritha and Anomen! That would be cute. Ok, I'll stop with my super girly-ness now.

It really stinks to be Anomen right now. Now he has Imoen on his case now too! He's facing some pretty stiff opposition with her, now Fritha and Minsc who never warmed up to him. I hope he sticks it out long enough for Fritha to get her soul back. Which makes me wonder how the Bodhi-vampirism thing will go now since Fritha doesn't really seem to be feeling much towards him right now. Will it even happen?

I can't wait to read the attack on the ship and your take on the Underdark! Somehow I'd completely forgotten that was coming up, but now I get to be really excited about it!

Great job with this chapter as always! Can't wait to read more!

And Italian Empress, the Nalia references make me laugh too! Hahaha. Back like a billion chapters ago there started to be nothing to really mention, but I figured, why not include her in the review anyways? It's like my own running joke. I guess this can count as my reference for this review. _ I also want to say I really enjoy reading your reviews, because it's clear they're coming from a really knowledgeable person.
Italian Empress 1985 chapter 86 . 4/11/2009
It is never explained whether it is your tainted soul or Bhaal that talks to you in the game, but I’d say it is more Bhaal. Irenicus is off with your soul and the taint is attached to your soul, so what is left? Just your blood and Bhaal’s connection to it. The fact that he’s ‘dead’ means very little, with him being a god. Dead gods are always being reborn and the fact that Bhaal’s grand design is to BE reborn it seems to cater to the fact that there must be some essence of him still alive, no?

The soothing way He prickles around Fritha’s senses like a very dark Gorion, is something I’m familiar with in my own writing, so maybe that is what makes me suspect that it is Bhaal and not the Taint that is playing with Fritha’s feelings, keeping her at the edge of madness. Without her soul there to protect her she is more vulnerable to His crooning than she would have been otherwise.

At any rate, enough of that, I have the ability to go off on a tangent quite frequently and I’m sure we don’t want that.

So Imoen fancies Valygar does she? That is interesting considering she is A) a Bhaalspawn and B) a mage/thief. Still she is as emotionally stilted as Fritha, though not quite as bad. It is as if Bhaal made a choice and Fritha is his favorite daughter of the pair.

It is clear that Fritha does still love (or at least has ‘feelings’ for) Anomen but can’t connect with him because of all this nonsense and it is also clear that she had an over-reaction to what he said. With Imoen, also soul-less, being the only one that seems as ‘happy’ with the whole thing as Fritha acts, and Jaheira the most stoic of the group hating Irenicus for the misery he is causing and being understanding with Anomen . . . It paints a very sad picture, but I do see some light at the end of the tunnel, or might I say a light at the end of the Underdark, hmm ;)

That damn Saemon, someone needs to kill him. If Fritha ‘accidentally’ threw him overboard I wouldn’t mind in the least, though I imagine it’d have a bad effect on what’s left of her inner goodness. I have a feeling of what is coming, not that everything you’ve done is verbatim from the game but enough of it is game-based that I think what happens next will be as well. Yet again I’ll find myself damning Havarian. He’s that person you love to hate.

I like how you continue the theme of Fritha making these false assumptions. Before it was that Anomen would leave her once they retrieved Imoen. Nope, that didn’t happen. Now it is that MOST of her companions will leave her when they get back to Athkatla . . . I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but that’s not going to happen either.

Though very far off from now I imagine they MIGHT make it back to Athkatla and then I wonder what will happen when a certain vampire takes a certain love interest into her brood and a certain protagonist has to bring that certain love interest back to life . . . Not saying that happens, of course, but you know. ;)

Good chapter yet again and I look forward to more. By the way, if I don’t get a chance to e-mail you sooner, thanks so much for that information you got for me. It was much appreciated and I put it to good use.

And Baldur’s Fan, I have to laugh at you (in a good way that is) and how you frequently manage to fit Nalia into your reviews. :p
Baldur's Fan chapter 85 . 4/8/2009
I know I've been terrible at reviewing lately, and I'm very sorry. School's kicking my ass, but I just wanted to jump in real quickly to say that I am still blown away by this story! So much is developing, and in very exciting ways too! I'm so happy Imoen is relatively alright, I hope she and Fritha don't have any really big arguments, though it would be understandable given the stress they're under.

I liked the shoutout to your first story in the Irenicus soul stealing scene. It was a nice change from what was in the game.

Anomen, Anomen, Anomen. Right when I really start to like you, you call Fritha a monster? That's not cool! Especially when she needs you now! You blew it big time! I'm sure it'll be alright eventually, but you're in the dog house right now my friend.

Fritha is by far the best main char I've ever read. She just has so much depth, so much to her, it's incredible. Her darker side coming out is scary, but it's such a good read! And it makes SENSE! It's not just out of nowhere, but it's totally in fitting with what's happened. That's a big part of why you are so successful in your storytelling. Poor Fritha though, is she ever going to catch a break? Please say yes! She needs to crash at Nalia's castle or something, they all do! They need a break! Though I don't think they'll be getting one anytime soon...Speaking of break, I hope you might continue writing into Throne of Bhall. I know you'd have many eager readers if you decided to!

THere's so much more for me to comment on, I wish I had the time for it. I'm going to try really hard to review the previous chapters I've missed, I have the one to start on bookmarked, and I will jump at the first opportunity to review.

Eagerly awaiting the next chapter! Oh, and major credit for you, as it looks like you posted a lot rather quickly. We're very spoiled._ Thank you again for your great work!
AutumnFire28 chapter 85 . 4/3/2009
Omg. That was a great two chapters, Blackcross-Taylor. You know you're reading a good story when you feel a big knot in your stomach after a cliffhanger. Or, when you're actually really worried about fictional characters. You've done such an unbelievable job of making these characters come to life that I almost have to remind myself that they're not real.

Onto the review of this latest chapter: Well, up until recently I would say that Anomen and Fritha's relationship seemed to be evolving into something more serious. I loved the scene on the ship, when Fritha was showing Anomen how to play her instrument. It was one of those moments that made you say "Aw". And it was fabulous to see Anomen's infamous temper being appropriately directed toward Bohdi in the dungeon. The fact that you left the specifics of the insults to the imagination made it all the better...and made me laugh quite a bit! Calling Fritha a monster though...ugh. I remember playing the video game and being completely shocked when that little bit of dialogue popped up. Although it made me disgusted to read it, I DO like the way that you presented it, in that he said it after he'd been seriously mauled. That gives SOME hope of reconciliation between the two, because if he'd said it in ANY other circumstance, he'd deserve to be left in the dungeon to rot.

On another note, I'm so sad and worried for Fritha and Imoen. The game never really detailed the specific side-effects to losing one's soul, aside from the special abilities that the PC developed. Therefore, I really do not know what to expect...there are no pre-defined boundaries to follow in terms of Fritha (and Imoen's) character development due to the loss of their souls. It seems that they both continue to possess emotions, as evidenced from the sobbing and bits of laughter. But the transfer seems to have robbed them of most of their compassion and ability to emotionally connect with others. Because Fritha contains more of Bhaal's essence, the toll seems to be especially great on her. I have a bad feeling that the voice that she's hearing inside of her head is actually a part of Bhaal. THE Bhaal. Because her soul held the darkness of the taint in check, now that she's lost it, it seems that she can easily turn evil and psychotic. I really, REALLY hope she can overcome it, because in the real world, someone who is devoid of compassion, empathy and the absence of emotional connections is usually seen on the evening news. Don't make Fritha a serial killer, Blackcross-Taylor! For the love of God, don't do it! Ahem. Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to the next chapter. And Anomen had BETTER do something seriously heroic and selfless to make up for his thoughtless comment!
Italian Empress 1985 chapter 85 . 4/3/2009
We don’t get enough of Irenicus and Bodhi, I’m going to say that straight off the bat, we don’t really see their side of the story, but just the pair from Fritha’s point of view. But I can tell that in your story they are more a side dressing and Bhaal’s influence is more the real villain. So it isn’t really a complaint because I see why it is the way it is. That becomes prevalent towards the end of the chapter mostly.

You seemed to have avoided most of the ‘maze’ and the puzzles but it isn’t necessary for the story to progress. In the game it was just something fun for your group to do that also produced more loot. Though at the end I had a bunch of mithril discs that I didn’t have a use for.

It was interesting that Fritha didn’t have the Candlekeep dream when she was in the container but instead one of her first sweetheart. However Bhaal still got his claws into her at the end.

Imoen was about as I expected, harsh but trying to be like her old self as the chapter progressed. It always makes me sad when the PC and Imoen don’t get to have a nice reunion because of Irenicus. It was nice to see Imoen asking Fritha about Anomen though, that was cute. Though subtle, the brief scene with Aerie/Imoen was also nice because it hints at how uncomfortable the group members, that haven’t met Imoen before, are going to be now that she is back. As well as Imoen herself trying to fit in, and also having her own dangerous nature about her now that Bhaal has reared his ugly head.

I started writing the Spellhold scene in my own story and I remember listening to the Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams and here as I was reading your story I heard it in my head again. Weird yeah? Maybe ‘I’ should be put in Spellhold. :p “Some of them want to abuse you, some of them want to be abused.” Strange indeed.

This chapter seemed to move along at a brusque pace and I felt like it was more of a setup for future chapters. Well, obviously. :p Here I am, Captain Obvious.

I felt badly for Anomen who is so desperate to just take back his words, and I really don’t believe he meant them badly. It was more his reaction from, ya know, having his bloody arm almost ripped off! But I also feel incredibly bad for Fritha who is unwisely foregoing her friends and their love for her when she needs them the most, but I can see why she would.

And why didn’t they kill Havarian? Oh right, that whole ‘evil’ thing. *sigh* Too bad he didn’t show up when Fritha was still the Slayer. This isn’t going to go well . . . But the ships means . . .well the Drow are coming sooner or later and I’m SUPER psyched about that!

Woot!

Good chapter, and I look forward to that next. :)
Italian Empress 1985 chapter 84 . 3/27/2009
“Aran was not overly pleased with their news, lamenting how many more secrets they could have discovered from Reed had they been given the opportunity.”

Well, that was not part of the bargain now was it? So there :P Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Aran. What happened to the ‘gifts’ he gives the party in the game? Like the enchanted necklace and what not? Not that it is dreadfully important.

Anomen was unknowingly savvy to spring the ‘why’d you behead the vampire?’ question on Fritha. Sometimes springing something on someone is one of the few ways to get them to be honest about it. I do have to say that I did like the knight already knowing his lady’s motives, but that it was a question of why she did not confide the plan to ‘him’. Furthering that I also liked how Fritha told Valygar instead because she knew Valygar would not just take her side because he is in love with her, unlike Anomen. Always classy stuff here.

I was googling the net the other day and I saw that Arabellaesque had recommended your fic as a good Anomen/PC romance. Aw. I don’t know if she ever reads these reviews, but that was sweet of her.

“I am your weakness.” Said Fritha to Anomen.

Indeed, but I look forward to seeing them both realize it isn’t doomed to failure, or at least that is what I’m hoping for.

I always enjoy some time spent amongst the crew on the ship, as that was something missing from the game. I realize the game wanted to hurry you along to the island, but one night to go about and speak with your companions and the crew wouldn’t have hurt. This was nice. The tale of the thrice broken nose was equally amusing and I’m glad you actually ‘told’ it instead of referred to it because it was very entertaining and the language was nice without being overly cockney.

“The dull sea a rich molten red as the dusk drew in.”

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.

Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.

Why I remember that, I’m not for knowing. ;)

“Anomen and Fritha were seated under the foremast, her between his knees with his cloak about them both and bathed in the golden light of the lantern above as she showed him how to play her lute. Her fingers over his as she showed him different chords. Anomen’s head over her shoulder as Fritha quietly explained some technique, the man looking perhaps less than focused on the lesson as he leaned closer his eyes seemingly drawn to the earlobe that was now just inches from his lips. Fritha brought her distracted pupil round with a slap to the leg. The nearby sailors were laughing gruffly, but Anomen just laughed along with them, briefly tightening his arms about the girl and planting a firm kiss at her temple, Fritha giggling, as well.”

Aw! How sweet! I agree with Aerie and Harry, I too like happy endings and I get all wistful and nostalgic thinking back on how Anomen and Fritha didn’t get along, and now look at them. It is lovely!

“She would be with him and perhaps that would make it all worth it.”

Yay, Fritha is starting to change her mind! Oh but for the difficult days ahead of them, I hope they keep this accord and it helps with the darkness that is coming.

“‘It’s going to have to be Minsc’s favorite: a frontal assault.”

I think that was unintentionally funny, because I gave a bark of laughter when I read that; picturing the giant Minsc charging in without thought, lol! :D I liked the simple set up for the cat house, as some stories go a little too in depth with what goes on there and really, I think we all know what happens in a brothel, or we have a pretty good idea, and the damsel they rescued had a ‘very’ familiar name ;) Though spelled a bit differently. I know that must be the game’s doing but it made me smile anyway. I also like how it was made clear that to someone who had always had that life, it wasn’t so unbearable. It seems awful to nobler and gentler souls but it is the way it is.

Spellhold was scary wasn’t it? Like a big haunted house. At least I thought so. That feeling was increased by your description of them walking down the halls, hearing frightful moans with people throwing themselves at them from the cells on occasion. Sort of like walking through a Halloween fun house.

“I trust you have good reason for-‘ he cut himself off, his face suddenly bearing a smile as he welcomed them inside.”

Yeah, I’ll just bet, you bastard! But Yay! We finally get to the big bad villain of the story! Honestly? I’m surprised the ‘man’ could even ‘pretend’ to smile, but I’d say that on a stolen face is the only way he can.

“Irenicus did nothing more than click his fingers; the seductive pull of oblivion was impossible to resist. ‘There is no battle, no heroics, only sleep.’”

God! He gives me the cold gruesomes! Bodhi is the more sadistic of the siblings but she at least has some emotion, Jon is so blasé about it all. He is a chilling sociopath to be sure. I looked up the mental state in a few different dictionaries and our Jon possesses nearly EVERY likelihood of behavior in there for sociopathic tendencies.

Good chapter and it ended on a cliffhanger as I had a feeling it might, fitting since Spellhold itself hangs off a cliff. :P I look forward to more, and yet I have a sense of dread. Wonder why? ;)

Great stuff as always. :D
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