Reviews for Tea, Incense and the Sea
Lady Amiee chapter 1 . 10/11/2013
Loving the narrative, prosy and yet beautiful writing in this one. You show great skill and I love it. I am not a huge dragon age fan, but reading this ... I think I can get into it. You have a lovely style and the clean writing really puts a great image into my head. Well done!
Slytherinbookworm chapter 1 . 4/2/2011
This looks as a one shot, is it? And will the relationship between Sten and the female Warden evolve into more than just friendship waggles eyebrows, if this fic actually evolves into more than just one chapter?
TwiliPrincess049 chapter 1 . 3/11/2011
Very, very nice characterization with Sten. I think you might have him pinned down, but of course the necessity for character development makes that virtually impossible :D

Cousland's description was great, too-good balance of power. Invokes admiration in readers for her without being a Mary Sue and making them feel some envy and ultimately dislike her, etc.

Hmm...what else...?

It was a very refreshing "plot," with Sten's memories especially, and the way you described his home was perfect and not exactly what I would expect of Qunari culture-the difference being the fact that it quickly made sense to me, and now I won't be able to imagine them any other way. Perfect degree of mystery with his mysterious lady-friend: not leaving us wanting more but not pounding the idea to death.

The description of Asala was beautiful, and I can only assume that you've had firsthand experience at its detail.

The Warden's energy was quite well-done, because the only thing I can think is that she has a far different attitude than Sten. His endurance, I'm willing to bet, surpasses hers. The fact that she is still as spirited as before while he wants only to sit down points to a mental aspect more than a physical one, which just builds both of their characters up even more.

Your swordfighting experience intrigues me~

(Though I suppose there are a number of things you could mean by that ;D)

There are only two things that I see and will willingly nitpick at. (But, believe me, I haven't looked at any of your other work-so I don't know if this was simply from the difficulty of capturing Sten or a habit of yours-and am simply trying to find something to give constructive criticism on)

Your beginning sounds a bit broken-up. The first sentence is great-but then you begin using the word "I" to begin your sentences as well as sprinkled within them. It sounds a little repetitive, and if Sten was speaking Fereldan as a second language-and hadn't mastered its nuances yet-this might make sense. As it is, though, he sounds too foreign.

The second thing I noticed was how Sten seemed to explain himself to the readers-rather blatantly. It wasn't just in his idle thoughts, talking to himself (in a way), but as if he was actually speaking to the reader in a very un-Sten-like way.

For example (and, really, this was the biggest part of it), when you say, "I hope that this will not become another one of the Warden's talking sessions as the Qun teaches that economy of words makes for an enlightened life, but I find myself drawn to speaking with her," it seems as if Sten is trying to explain things that readers wouldn't have gone out of their way to learn, almost like he's talking directly to us-something I can't imagine Sten doing with the same degree of familiarity as he shows in his own thoughts.

Really, that was everything. Understandably, this was published awhile ago-so you probably know all this by now. But if I can help, great. X3
PadawanMage chapter 1 . 3/6/2011
Sten's really not grown on me...maybe because I haven't come close to getting his sword...wherever the Hell it is!

But, I finally did finish the Redcliffe mission with the undead and now know the background.

Maybe Sten's way of life is somewhat 'Samurai' in nature?
Thug-4-Less chapter 1 . 12/5/2010
KG, KG, KG! Hitting that Dragon Age up now and doing it in your usual tsunami-style!

Sten always struck me as a very spiritual character. Probably as intended by Bioware and you really captured his essence well. His insights into your Warden's physical appearance were humorous. You can really tell that you put some of your sword-swingin' knowledge into this one-shot during the moments with the Asala.

Thanks for sharing!
Ronin007 chapter 1 . 11/23/2010
That was by far, the best writing of the few stories I have read. Such a growth in your narrative, the prose is concise and tight and incredibly evocative. The descriptive passages stimulate all the senses with the imagination. Excellent work! Your writing here begins to approach the quality of a number of sci-fi/fantasy authors I deeply admire- Eddings, Anthony, Feist, Moorcock, I'd even venture to say: the Holy Grail of Tolkien. Outstanding work, Alice! Keep it up! :o)
Sathaeri chapter 1 . 11/16/2010
This is wonderful. I always found Sten to be a difficult character to... characterize, for lack of a better word (my brain is kind of burnt out right now o_O) but you have a way with understanding how he is. I especially love the description of the sword; it's very eloquent and mystical, I never would have seen it that way. (To me it was just a sword, ha!) One thing I did notice was a little bit of verb tense discrepancies but it didn't do anything to detract from the story. I like this!
Wolfox6 chapter 1 . 11/16/2010
Beautifully written.

I especially enjoyed the releasing of the sword from the scabbard, and then the inspection.

I hope there will be more.
quirky21 chapter 1 . 11/16/2010
Very interesting. NIcely done, the interaction between PC and Sten. Comfortably smug, I think that sums up Sten in a heartbeat!
Eternal E chapter 1 . 11/16/2010
Excellent characterization of Sten. It was a pleasure to read such finely written story, and so very in character. Bravo

is all I can say, bravo.

You know I read somewhere that Davis Gaider based the Qunari of the Ottomans, but I never saw any of that. Admittingly my knowledge of the Ottoman empire and culture is very limited, so perhaps I shouldn't be making hasty comments(Sten certainly wouldn't approve). But for the first minute I picked him up, and the more I got to know him, he reminded me of the militant South-East Asian nations Japanese Samurai warriors, Mongols perhaps

and the culture, and religion, Qun certainly seemed more Zen Buddhist, or pehaps even Taoist. This was affirmed in many discussions or comments made by Sten, one in particular rises to mind now. Back in the Mage Tower when you encounter Cullen the imprisoned templar, who wails that the demons had broken everyone but him, if you have Sten with you he comments "Be proud, you mastered yourself". Also the heavy emphasis of the meaning of the blade to him, to Qunari warriors in general, was also very Samurai thing to do.