|Reviews for The Darkness in My Veins|
| Inkfire chapter 13 . 2/28
Oh, goodness, last chapter! I liked the introduction of Orion under his alternate appearance, described right from the beginning—nicely misleading, though I'd scrolled down to get to the review box and thus suspected his identity from my quick glance ;P I enjoyed his distant, dismal judgment of his surroundings—the comment on the whiskey, the shabbiness of the place, but the discretion it provided that he needed most of all, the shops out there in the street. The description of the shops, with names and purposes, was really nice, really gave a feel of the place, dark and rather dubious ;) I didn't know the likes of Moribund's, so I owe you the discovery, quite fitting name indeed! The conversation Orion overheard made me smirk—Tim or Trim, was it now? *tuts* Or rather someone he knew much better… It was pretty interesting to see that kind of murmuring going around, and I smiled at the use of accents again, certainly gives a good feel of the people speaking! Orion's disdain made me smirk as well, if only he knew whom they'd really been referring to…
I liked the fact that Orion knew his sister's steps before he even saw her, and felt exasperated by her coming, although he also welcomed the distraction from overhearing gossip. Speaking French, as usual, and I enjoyed the urgency and annoyance Lucretia showed. Also liked the detail of Orion's voice being rarely used, and always concealed with a foreign accent—as well as his interactions with the bartender, and the way Lucretia dismissed the latter ;)
Goodness, the Acromentula inn was quite something, rather fascinating—thanking both Aleta and yourself for the images :D A bed looking like an Acromentula. Oh dear, hahaha. That hardly makes one want to… well. I enjoyed your description of Lucretia, and Orion noting how much she had changed, now a full-grown woman, more elegant and more forbidding. I loved their dialogue. The beginning was sharp, but also showing Orion's weariness, and Lucretia's discomfort at how obvious it became. I liked the way he explained the need for a new identity, and their discussing politics, with Lucretia noting the changes in society and the atmosphere, and expressing the concern of avoiding bringing their whole world a bit closer to conflict. Orion's disbelief that she would come to disturb him so far only to discuss politics was nicely shown, highlighting that despite his previous comment about his voters, that didn't seem to be his priority at all at the moment. Then the core subject emerged… Once more, Orion seemed so weary and disheartened—and the extent of Lucretia's worry and concern was eventually revealed, with the whole of its reasons. I loved the way you handled the family history there, so neat—tying loose threads with the feud between Pollux and Cassiopeia, and showing closure by the connection with the very first chapter! (Will get back to the feeling of closure.) And Lucretia, learning about all of this and realizing the dire consequences it had had on the family, and imagining it might happen again in their already troubled generation, became quite distressed by the notion and would have taken any necessary preventive steps… Besides, it would have been disastrous for Orion, and now it was the family's very strong hostility to his marriage that came up again and was further justified—beside the consequences on his image, it could make such risks all the more present. I just loved the way hearing his sister's words sparked Orion's protective side, and acted as a trigger to bring into sharper focus feelings he had only been vaguely experiencing before—the conviction he had to come to the aid of his wife and child. His flaring hostility to Lucretia, turning from mere annoyance to actual disgust and anger, was very nicely shown. He was still aware that she meant well, but she was betraying Walburga, and he sided for his wife. Loved the end of the confrontation, both with the sparks of anger flying between the siblings and Orion finding his focus and sense of purpose again :)
Another birth, another midwife at the middle of the Blacks, closure again. The midwife's part was wonderfully handled, with her distress so obvious, a little freaked out by the oddness of the family and the situation, and under heaps and heaps of pressure as she struggled with a difficult birth. Loved the detail of the wind howling, all the details about Walburga's and the baby's condition and how it made every strategy the midwife could think of problematic, and the terrified helper. Orion had visibly frightened the mind out of the woman, that was also very nice :D And the baby's magic started helping along eventually, so much for a Squib! Also loved the midwife going down into the gloomy house, and being scared to death by suddenly hearing Orion's voice. He was so sharp in his speaking to her, and she so nervous and stammering, that was rather striking—and closing that part with the howling wind again was also lovely ;)
I just loved how much Walburga's appearance struck Orion—both with how frail and damaged she was looking, and the air of love and care with which she beheld her baby boy, which he had never seen on her face before. And he also found himself momentarily entranced by the tiny being—the part about the name was lovely, with his slowly repeating it, tasting the name on his tongue. It was great that they shared this moment as parents, immediately and automatically, the entire focus being on Sirius—and only afterwards did Walburga's mind move to her husband himself, and she demanded to know what he was doing there. Loved her sharp, harsh sarcasm and Orion acting appeasing or requesting they talk calmly and civilly—yet her icy glare stopped him cold, such contrast from the way she had looked at Sirius, indeed. Loved his cool lines when she accused him of spying on her and his resigned sigh at the evocation of the elf she had had beheaded out of spite, haha. And it was great that he eventually insisted they tackle the real, core reasons for their marriage, instead of fooling themselves with talk of politics when similar purposes could have been achieved in different, easier ways. And both Orion's reactions to Lucretia's meddling and Walburga's reactions to little Sirius highlighted the point he wanted to make—they both wanted a family, but they had failed to communicate about it, until they were so estranged it became entirely impossible. Orion's answer when Walburga asked why he hadn't taken her life was beautiful—lucid, but openly showing his affection And Walburga's response, both in her cold words and her sharp blinking, was spot-on. And their dialogue closed on the name she had chosen. The brightest star of the constellation. It's perfect. And it's closure, closure to the scene, closing to the whole part—this little boy is a new beginning, despite all the things that were already set in motion; you show the reactions of every Black to the news of his birth… And the last line completes the closure, of course. Wonderful :D
Only little details: you had "midwife’s panicked helper" without a "The", and a missing dot after "Orion stated" (about the beheaded house-elf, lol). Besides it's neat! :D
Oh, goodness. *hugs you*
| Inkfire chapter 12 . 2/25
Very striking chapter, so important for Orion and Walburga… I appreciated your opening with the scission in the family and the obvious importance this had, Orion's dismay at being unable to bring unity again, and the fact that the division was obvious to the public eye, and yet the reasons for it would remain secret. However, this did not hinder the family from holding great political importance in its own way, in the person of Orion. The politics were really fascinating, I love the way you handled those :D Introducing Gambol, with her character and background, showing her success at the election, yet the fact that the pure blood families were not happy with her. I liked the fact that Orion kept them from showing her too strong an opposition, preferring to await the right moment to strike, the time in which she'd be weakened. The meeting in Grimmauld Place itself was wonderfully staged, it was just fascinating to see it unfold! I loved Orion's obvious importance, and the little moment he took when Lestrange asked for him, his pleasure at their all listening for his word, although he was the youngest of the gathering. Quite impressive, indeed. His first sentence was quite dramatic, and so was his appearance as you described, very striking as the Blacks were—and it was great to see that even in a moment of such triumph, he was quite aware that his triumph was not complete and Cygnus was lacking by his side. The interactions and discussions were all very interesting—with the Carrows, for instance, that stood closer to Gambol than the rest for personal reasons, with the financial cooperation that was necessary to gain a place in the coalition, but that several were reluctant to provide because it seemed humiliating to buy a secondary place for people who had been used to holding most of the power. Still Orion managed to convince them. It was also good to show that some mistrusted him and deemed his intentions too ambiguous, regarding Gambol and all of them. I loved the way you staged the understanding between him and Abraxas, the latter intervening at the right moments, measured but providing support, whilst Orion exposed the way he was planning to subtly distract Gambol from her main projects—and indeed, he could count on connections from the Riddle Club to back him up as well. I also liked the way Orion explained his intentions on the Portkey bill, and knew, once Greengrass, as a neutral party, had shown agreement, that he had achieved what he'd been meaning to…
The Walburga-centred part was very intense and quite chilling, just wonderful. I liked the detail of Kreacher being so glad to see her, and how it was returned, and the elf seemed to be the only being who would show her affection upon her return home—and Irma arranged for the elf to come, nice touch there, both providing for her daughter and offering subtle emotional comfort. The description of her was extremely striking, in every sharp detail—the fact that she barely seemed to know how to smile anymore, the ice in her gaze, the features that were elegant and beautiful, but so pale and grim, the austerity in her attire as well. She was like a woman drained of life, turned iron, or ice indeed. Chilling—and her cold insight on that, her wondering about her own appearance, but not even sounding dismayed about it, disbelieving, indeed, but with a cynical sound to her considerations, like things were as they were and it would have been no good wishing they were otherwise, like she was doomed to this.
I liked the repeated little references to Abraxas, showing the intense mistrust and dislike she felt for the man. And I just loved the image of Walburga standing there, utterly still and face unmoveable, hearing everything that happened in the room. I also liked how the men seemed surprised to see her at first, but hastened to be pleasant and her playing the agreeable pureblood wife, perfect façade. The dialogue with Orion was perfect… First with probing on his part, his awaiting and hoping for a reaction from her as she opposed him with frigid silence only (the detail of opening the windows to let out the stench…); then Walburga sharply attacking him on the subject of Malfoy. Loved his reactions, the chill in his voice, the impassiveness she so hated, then how collected he sounded as he assured her she was wrong. Then the argument turned so much more personal, as he blamed her for being quite unbearable and she attacked his character in return with such rageful contempt. And he followed her to her chambers, despite her provocations. I loved the way you showed that despite his apparent control, he really was boiling, and how he stated that with all he had achieved (much more than her brothers…), he would not be disrespected in such a way—but Walburga just attacked back, sharp and vicious, utterly humiliating him, then mocking him as he flinched. Loved the fact that she took pride in not being frightened as he stalked closer to her, like another woman might have been. And then they were truly settling accounts, throwing everything they had sacrificed and everything the other had failed to provide them with into each other's face, the tension was truly mind-blowing—as they both utterly lost control, Walburga entirely carried away, shouting her rage at him, and Orion grasping her roughly, his face, for once, expressing such violent rage, entirely mirroring her own. I loved the way Walburga felt unease for the very first time, not at his anger and violence, but his suddenly very soft voice and yet utterly distraught appearance. The loss of control was so clearly conveyed, Orion just lunging at her again, grasping her throat, Walburga's horror and utter panic when it seemed like he was going to strangle her. And her being so convinced that he was going to bite her, then her horror reaching an even higher peak when she realized his true intentions—so striking…
I loved the short Orion insight part at the end—showing the long struggle his life with Walburga had been, the attempts he considered he had made to reach out to her and how unbearable she had been, showing his rage that evening, how he'd been completely crazed and actually wanted to kill her, but how guilty and devastated he now felt over his actions. He was so shaken, and the description of Walburga was stunning as she lay there—her hair like a raven's wings, her cheek, her neck. And given the timeline, we know what he's done, though it might not have been clear otherwise. And he would flee from her, in the horror of what he had done… So striking, again! Leaves one reeling.
Let's see typos as usual: there's "winning over skeptical crowd" (the ending of the first Orion part), "enclose her head like vice" (Walburga stalks off to her room), "you’ll lose it all be sheer lack of brains" and "did I hurt I you?" (the confrontation), "Tell me," with a missing space after the comma (Orion asks what in their wedding didn't live up in her expectations) and "this was all she had had the chance to say" (right before he moves to grab her: it seems to me it should be a simple past tense here, but I could be wrong). Here )
for once and for all
| Inkfire chapter 14 . 2/24
Ohhhh, you're stopping there! :O Had you planned that from the beginning? I didn't expect it, though I understand your reasons, your story is based on the background from the previous generation and building heavily on what is generally underrated… So yeah… Guess I won't get to follow it as you update ;P But there's still Drowning Souls!
| Inkfire chapter 11 . 2/22
Ah, a lovely chapter of Walburga insight! :D I really enjoyed the way you explored her here, and showed the way she came to be the woman we (however briefly) saw in canon. Her growing bitterness and her misery were very strongly conveyed, and the way she became more and more estranged from her family, and ever so lonely.
The story is advancing, indeed—at first I believe this was going to be Bellatrix's birth, turns out it is Narcissa's! I really enjoyed the way you portrayed Walburga striding into her childhood home, very nicely written and the haughty feel was quite strong. Loved her slight dismay that she could not criticize her sister-in-law on how the latter kept her house ;) But to say the least, she didn't need that as it turned out that Druella had just mothered a third girl, indeed. I liked the way Walburga could tell, from the lack of a celebrating crowd already, that the news were not the ones the family might have hoped for, and her expectation and pleasure at the notion, although she faked shock when Druella and Cygnus actually confirmed the child was a girl. I really enjoyed the description of Cygnus; how imposing, the young man has fully grown into a strong figure of the house of Black by now. The evolution was very striking and impressive. But not impressive to Walburga, who still saw her annoying baby brother in him. The dialogue was brilliant, laced with tension—Cygnus coldly answering his sister's taunting, then growing sharper as she was insistent on pushing with the hostilities and rubbing it all in. For all the rift there might have been before between the siblings, you really showed that their confrontation at Cygnus' wedding, and his very harsh words, pushed them past the point of no return. But Cygnus certainly had enough on Walburga to pay her provocations back in kind, and his taunting her about her own marriage hit her right where it hurt. Her pain and rage were very strongly conveyed… I loved the way the infant's cries interrupted them, and of all a sudden Cygnus' weariness appeared through the controlled façade. Walburga's exit, on a last taunt, was great, and her stumbling upon the girls in the corridor perfectly showed the situation in all of its complexity, the two sides of the coin: if Walburga took glee in her brother's dismay, it was partly due to her own frustrations and extreme unhappiness, and she still felt burning jealousy at his having three children and a marriage that was much more of a success than hers. Her desperation was obvious and very moving; no matter how hateful and spiteful she could be to Cygnus, you showed all the humanity of the character in a way that certainly made me feel for her, very nicely done.
I really enjoyed the fact that Walburga had intended to go straight home, but the autumn scenery in her childhood home stopped her, and she decided to take her time before returning to a home where she had nothing to look forward to anyhow. Also really appreciated the way you showed how Pollux had taught her not to bemoan her woes or situation, not to face things passively or show weakness, but to take control instead—yet in a quiet, solitary moment, her thoughts would take over and they were all disheartened and dark. Loved the flashback of her encounter with Irma: first the little details as her mother was just arriving, Walburga's surprise and slight jumpiness under her mother's gaze, her boredom she tried to occupy with reading, the lack of a house-elf and Irma declining drinks—little things that showed Walburga's difficult life situation on the one hand, and Irma being determined to talk things through with her daughter on the other. Loved the picture of Walburga subconsciously mirroring her mother's posture, and their quietly staring at one another. And then they proceeded with the actual talk. I loved the way you showed Irma's astonishment and dismay at the picture of her daughter's marriage she was faced with, and Walburga's confusion about her meaning, her anger at feeling rejected and accused for her situation, once more. The Pollux insight was also great, with Irma explaining his reaction to her daughter and stressing that he has been hurt indeed by this situation, and Walburga's admiration and love for her father, and her unease at the idea that her actions had hurt him. Seeing him through those two women's eyes was very interesting as we've mostly seen him through Cygnus' POV besides. And I was fascinated by Irma's insight on marriage and explanation of her concerns about Walburga's, with her comparing it with her possible union with Bogdan and making her see the difference. It was clear that she could foresee how this marriage might turn out to be a failure, and her assessment was perfectly right. It was so believable that Walburga would be unable to face the truth of this, and lash out at her mother instead of accepting that the latter's insight was correct—and it led her to pushing her mother away, when the latter might have provided support she terribly needed… The distance was growing between her and each one of her family members, and with Orion it became clearer and clearer as they each carried on with their separate lives in the world… To the outside, indeed, the Blacks appeared as strong as ever, but in fact the family was already strongly fractured—and it was also fitting that it was being faced with Cygnus' happiness at becoming a father that made Walburga realize just how unhappy she was herself… I loved the way you portrayed her interactions with Orion becoming more and more conflictual, too. And oh, pain just brings more pain, her own unsatisfaction made her so much more aware of all the little telltale signs of harmony or togetherness in the others' marriages and it all came to feed her bitterness and make her feel that much more alone, alienate her from everyone that surrounded her too. All the spot-on, moving insight. Very nice ending too. Fantastic development in this chapter! Can't wait to see more ) (And I should do soon, too!)
As far as pointing out details is concerned, those few: "Walburga had by then re-introduced into social circles by a willing Lucretia" (think you forgot a "been"), "as fine as the could have been" and "a lovers kiss". All of these are near the end. Oh, and that is only roughly related to this chapter, but I was wondering about your headcanon on Alphard's life after his departure, whether he really had no relations with his family at all, whether he ever came back to visit—so maybe we can discuss that more by PM :)
| Inkfire chapter 10 . 2/19
Ahh—this is a really wonderful chapter, extremely intriguing as well, raises a lot of questions :D It starts right away with that newspaper article, pretty interesting using the Muggle press to refer to events you will add more about later, and it's a very nice variation of tone. I chortled at the eyewitness, with his accent, his remark about Walburga's looks and his dismay at Kreacher's attire. XDDD It's priceless. (Only thing, the accents are always very entertaining but a newspaper would hardly have had them written down ;P) Besides, the journalist's sarcastic tone was also hilarious, with the reporter handling the witness "carefully" and the comment on not all aliens being green. I just can't :D But then the article got more serious—it was quite believable that there would be several witnesses, and yet their stories would not be the same, people do view things differently and get carried away by their imagination when such events are concerned. And then you mentioned the fear of a poisoning, and made it obvious that the fear of the Germans was still so very there and powerful, four years after the war—one expert implying they might be behind the current events, while another made it obvious that they weren't interested in hallucinations and their weapons had been much deadlier…
I loved your description of the Black house, just stunning, indeed! :D Really beautiful. I liked the way you showed that Druella usually found nature relaxing, but here she could not go out and relish it because elves were bustling everywhere with the preparations. The fact that the flower of her house would be heavily featured was subtle recognition and welcome for her, no wonder she appreciated it. Besides, I really enjoyed the way you depicted her nerves, and her dialogue with Irma was just wonderful: the older woman was so gentle and reassuring, and very perceptive indeed—placating her about the wedding itself, assuring her of Cygnus' love for her, then sharing her own experience… Her assessment of the huge responsibilities shouldered by a woman of the House of Black was spot-on, and I enjoyed the way you handled the more personal parts: she made it obvious to Druella that her situation would make it easier on her, that she was already as good as accepted in the family, that Cygnus would be there for her—and subtly implied that it had been more difficult for herself, but did not go on about that as she meant to reassure the bride-to-be, not share her own history, this wasn't her moment, and besides it would not have helped. And her stressing the importance of children was very fitting—as was her insisting on "little moments"… Indeed, the whole must not have been easy, but Irma Black is a strong woman and holds on to what is precious to her instead of dwelling on what she might wish she'd had. Really, the connection between Irma and Druella was lovely to see, I enjoyed it so very much—still loving your Irma. And then it was Dorea's introduction, as she had only been briefly referred to before—I really enjoyed her character, quite free-spoken indeed, energetic and a little bold, teasing Irma a little but most of all showing her a lot of respect and fondness. I smiled at her pointing out that although Pollux held the authority of the house, Irma had quite a lot of influence on him—and Irma gave no answer on that… I also liked Irma stressing that Druella was as good as the mistress of the house now and Dorea should refer to her, not herself—subtle way of showing her her own importance, again, putting her into the light. And it was nice seeing Druella watch the interaction between Dorea and Irma to assess the family dynamics, knowing Dorea's position as a Potter. Oh, and I liked the bit about Druella's hair too, Dorea's idea seemed lovely ;)
And little did they know, indeed, that much less harmony was reigning in another part of the house. Walburga and Orion already engaged, quite the shock for everyone, many things have obviously happened in Walburga's life that we were entirely unaware of and it's fascinating slowly picking up the pieces. The chaos as Lucretia and Cygnus walked into the study was pretty shocking, with Pollux utterly losing control of himself and having to actually be restrained, Orion on the ground, Walburga looking messy and distressed. The description of her was striking and, indeed, obviously showed that something was very wrong. I liked the discussion about how that marriage represented a political maneuver, and Orion's explaining it would have a great monetary advantage—and if, unlike Pollux, Arcturus did not look his cool, his tone was sharp as blades as he stressed that what they might win in Galleons, they would lose in reputation as such a move would be judged very negatively. I also enjoyed Cygnus' posture regarding the whole thing—his remaining quiet and just listening and observing at first, feeling quite keenly the irony of his own marriage serving as a shield for the media, noting the way Orion and Walburga held themselves—that bit about their being ready to cover each other's backs, as partners, was just fascinating. But then Cygnus' anger just exploded—and goodness, there IS so much tension and restrained fury, so much conflict in the family by now… I'm really, really curious about what exactly happened, Walburga was distraught about the previous events the paper had referred to, and visibly been much endangered by doing Pollux's bidding, yet Cygnus seemed to blame her and felt so much wrath. And Orion defended his fiancé, which almost brought on a duel—and once more, it was Arcturus who had to put things in order and ensure they would not come to unnecessary lengths. I also liked Lucretia intervening and trying to put her diplomatic nature to good use, yet it was useless here. And oh, Orion's pen friend was actually Walburga herself! Indeed, that extra knowledge showed this had been preparing in the shadows for quite a while… The whole scene is just so very striking—it's like it's breaking point in the family, Alphard left already, now it's his sister whose conflict with her father and brother reaches such a dire point, and the marriage also puts tension on the side of Arcturus' children for the first time… Such intensity.
Ah, that's some very believable headcanon about the 12, Grimmauld Place—Sirius inherited it because Orion and Walburga came to live there after that crisis, although it wasn't the main family mansion. Great detail about the place's background and architecture as always, I loved the way you portrayed their entrance, Walburga directing Orion around the place, sounding so absent. The atmosphere was very dark and forbidding, I loved the idea of the charm on the wallpaper meant to draw people in, clever seeing the surroundings. You explained the troll leg! XD and… she preferred not to comment on the shrunken heads. That figures. I liked the fact that Orion told Walburga he would understand if she wished to be alone, but her stating that there was nothing surprising about what had happened—adamant to show strength—and pointing out that they had to get used to living together. Partners, with what seemed like a very businesslike dynamic at that point. I enjoyed how Walburga immediately picked up on what seemed odd in Orion needing to leave so urgently, and the political discussion was fascinating. Wow—did he double-cross Arcturus as well, then? The core idea was his, but as Walburga pointed out, changing his mind about Cygnus without warning didn't seem like him at all—oh, the power plays… Indeed, once the deed is done, Arcturus will have no choice but to go with it. Orion is certainly quite the politician. I really enjoyed the way Walburga appraised him at that point, their watching each other, the slightly suspended moment, his asking her to join his party and moving to touch her hair—before Walburga broke the moment, or let it escape, unwilling to let go at that point and preferring to remain in control and rational. And how business-like they switched back to being, then—I loved the dialogue and how sharp they both were, thinking everything through, assessing the connections they needed and their limits, with both of their insights complementing each other. And we could see that if Orion's roots were the Riddle club, he was also determined to seek allies on the side of the Light, which will prove delicate to handle—doubtlessly he can pull it off, but Walburga's reaction still made him realize he would need to be very careful to carry out his intentions. And we learned of Prince's death, I wonder if it's linked to more backstory you haven't revealed yet, or just a piece of headcanon you're delivering and won't comment any further about. Anyway—Orion's departure and Walburga remaining alone and grimly staring out the window were very beautifully described, I really felt for her, lonely and so jealous of her brother and his bride, uncertain of what the future might hold for her. Wonderful job, dear! :D Only little typos: "Lily was the symbol of her family" I wasn't sure about, shouldn't it be "the lily" or "lilies"? And "who will be happy collaborate" too. That's all :)
| Inkfire chapter 9 . 2/16
Oh, it's so very nice opening the chapter on Cygnus two years later, spending some time with Druella, and playing chess! I love the idea of the two of them playing chess together, her being a much better opponent than he would have thought—good bit about protecting the king—and all that time having gone by. Druella's mysterious smile—elegance and cleverness, a reserved nature and the potential to keep him on his toes—and that moment being an anniversary of sorts, it was all lovely. And then the change regarding Cygnus himself—his position was very different then, for sure. I enjoyed the way you depicted Tom's departure from the school, and Cygnus' insight on his character, much more accurate than anybody else's—how he would never accept what he was offered, but take what he wanted instead. Spot-on. I like the way you showed Cygnus remembering Tom's last evening, his look of nostalgia and how unsettling it seemed to the younger boy—unlike Tom, but Hogwarts was his first and only home after all. It was interesting that it reminded Cygnus of the same kind of scene with Prince, I really enjoyed that scene and dialogue… Cygnus was impatient and awkward and didn't see what the big deal was about leaving, but for Prince, what he was leaving behind meant the world. I liked his melancholy, thoughtful lines and his reference to Alphard. And you showed that Cygnus did understand what Prince had meant, but he honestly didn't care much about the other boy's feelings, due to the latter's involvement in the plan (it hadn't really been his fault, but Cygnus couldn't know that… or care a lot for that matter, he was in Riddle's Club and that was the end of it…). But the comparison gave him some better insight to understand Tom… Pretty interesting.
And then you went into an actual flashback, nice :) I like the eerie quality of the moment when Tom just knew Cygnus was there, like he had eyes on the back of his head, indeed! I also enjoyed Cygnus' confrontational, defiant tone and Tom's cool responses. The discussion about what it meant, exactly, to be a prisoner, was really fascinating—I loved Tom's considerations, as though he were musing aloud, and Cygnus' disbelief. Indeed there was much more to the notion of being a prisoner than met the eye, much more subtlety, and his evocation of that was quite chilling, such a sense of helplessness it conveyed. Being a prisoner of a system, of one's own way of thinking—fascinating as well. And those considerations certainly made Cygnus uncomfortable. Loved the way Cygnus knew better than to fall for Tom's praise, but he still had to brace himself, never mind his wariness of the other boy, as he couldn't help but to be sensitive to the regard and appreciation he was given… Their dynamic was lovely there again: Cygnus once more resorting to aggressivity as it was his only way to fight the uneasiness Tom caused him and not appear weak in his own eyes, Tom's amusement and his irony about thinking he'd had everybody fooled. And then, after a pause, Tom was musing again about his departure, and that much was heartfelt—he needed to leave his mark on Hogwarts, there was the inheritance of the Chamber, but besides his presence could not remain—no wonder that he would look for relics of the founders and leave a Horcrux there later on, he just had to mark the place, leave a bit of himself, both metaphorically and in the most literal way. And Cygnus' sharp, challenging retort nearly made his anger flare, but then he controlled himself—fitting. And then he just let Cygnus see how utterly in control he was, and how Cygnus was helpless before him and his tactics. And Cygnus knew Tom was right—just like he had him figured out enough to realize what he was doing with his disappearance. I loved how distraught and angry Cygnus got at the implication that he might be more fond of or fascinated by Tom than he cared to admit, same fear that Tom already played on, with all the taunting and double entendre in how "flustered" the latter called him. And Cygnus tried to turn Tom's sarcasm around and against him afterwards, but was helpless to succeed in that, of course. Very good point about how Cygnus really isolated himself and created his own demise instead of having Tom do that for him, we discussed this before, he really worsened his own situation with poor judgment and overreactions. And I really, really enjoyed the foreshadowing about Riddle's return—goodness, I can't wait to see that. :D Rather ominous ending too, lovely!
And even with Riddle gone, his influence and the consequences of his plans continued to unfold—with the situation with Orion… I like the way you showed the latter's evolution under Riddle's influence, and Cygnus' sadness at having lost their connection. And once more, Tom's extreme cleverness did wonders there—if he knew about Cygnus' interactions with Orion, it could only imply that the latter had misstepped, as long as Cygnus wouldn't question their safety methods there was just no other option. The worm was in the fruit—and especially in Cygnus' situation of distress, it just led to open conflict between the cousins so very fast. Even after apologies, the damage couldn't be mended. I was fascinated by the bit about Orion's pen friend—I wonder if this had to do about Walburga's fiancé whom he had meant to look up—and the knowledge about Durmstrang you slipped in, but also, of course, how meaningful it was that Cygnus was not the one Orion would choose to share this with. Besides, I like the way you portrayed Cygnus' situation—neither in nor out of Riddle's club, not really involved but still under Tom's power somehow and forced to compromise and put up and act, still alienated and lonely besides.
And that brought us to the subject of Druella—Druella, who wouldn't just be recruited with a bit of cunning and charm, but was a lot harder work… :D I love that same impression of mystery, the way she would keep her opinion to herself, so very hard to read, but everybody could tell that her quietness hid vast cleverness—and she earned everyone's respect. And a connection between Minerva and Druella, now that is very intriguing! Love the way you handled that—first the irony of Cygnus' consideration about a Victims' club, then the heavy consequences her fall had on her, and the subsequent evolution of her character. She wouldn't be a victim—you showed both that she was utterly devastated by the news that she couldn't play Quidditch anymore, but that as soon as she had a project again (which Dumbledore, then Druella offered her…), she picked herself up and kept going… And indeed, as what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, she was left more adult, more aware. It's good you showed her having some success with her club, and getting to show her talent and be able to reach a good position. I also like your noting that clubs weren't really a Gryffindor thing as they were more individualistic and straightforward, and that Druella had certainly had a second thought, which Cygnus wondered about—pretty good insight, and I was delighted that Cygnus was curious, lucid about Druella having a motive, but mostly just very fond of her. That was so sweet somehow ;)
I enjoyed your mentioning the wars, and how Muggle or magical, human beings always went for destruction even if it had terrible consequences for them, somehow. I love Druella's line about how pointless it was to analyse other people's stupidity, and the way she deduced what Cygnus was pondering about! Simple enough, but she picked up on every little thing. Also loved your noting that she had no classical beauty, but there was something mesmerizing about her, something special that drew Cygnus in—and those eyes Bellatrix would inherit! Lovely. Lovely dialogue as well with Druella listing Cygnus' qualities, not in a flattering kind of way, but fond—and I like her saying, although carefully, that he was a bit like Alphard, and his reaction. And that was some fascinating insight about the Rosier siblings, the scene Cygnus had witnessed, so much tension in the air. I'm wondering what Euan meant with his remark, and he really was so belittling with Druella—so different from the Blacks, indeed, who might have their quarrels but would put up an united front…
I loved Druella's single tear and her refusing to show her emotions, how very secretive she was, and the concern it caused Cygnus—the memory of which made him bitterly regret his awkward comeback. And you also pointed out how Cygnus' attitude could often lead him to hurt people, which Druella wasn't afraid to point out, though she was too proud to comment on her own hurt or accept the apology. The moment of uncertainty with the ring was very moving—and quite the beautiful thing it was, too! But in the end Druella wouldn't let that bad moment trouble her or disturb what they had. The ending dialogue was very sweet :) and the ending lines were a very nice closure for the chapter and the era, indeed, a bit dramatic, great foreshadowing for both the Black family and Tom's return! :)
It was just lovely, overall ) Just picking up on a few typos/details as usual: there are leaving "Cygnus stand on the stairs" (with Prince—shouldn't it be standing?), "Are we having midnight didactics lesson?" (with Tom), "Cygnus felt compelled to look at older boy" (same), "and Cygnus felt really drawn to really spiked Cygnus’ interest" (Druella—sentences mash ftw!), "Former Gryffindor chaser had been devastated", "Bad things happen when when you’re upset" (Rosier confrontation), and "It is often said that love the greatest magic" (ending). "Rosier Château" too, if you want to sound very French you'd say Château Rosier instead of keeping the English form :)
| Hpdwlotr24 chapter 13 . 2/15
This story is brilliant! The characters are great, and I love that they're all canon :) is Tim/Trim Tom? When will the next update be?
| Inkfire chapter 8 . 2/12
Here comes your review! :) I like the way you opened your chapter with Cygnus' sensations, how lost and in pain he was feeling, poor thing. I grinned at Tom's sarcastic line to him, and also liked his rush of glee at the notion that he had managed to hurt Tom—although he really hadn't and it was all a trick. I liked the way you showed Cygnus perceiving some magical action on the edge of his vision, but not really knowing what it might be, so your reader would only figure it out by the end, at the same time as he did ) I really enjoyed everything related to Pollux—Cygnus' sudden dread at his father's appearance and his terror of his reaction, and Pollux taking the excuse of making his son drink so he could smoothly practise some diagnosis charms over him. Tom's explanation sounded very responsible-prefect, indeed, quiet and unwilling to bring anybody trouble, yet honest—and he had Letitia reveal Cygnus' drinking instead of him, as the contrary wouldn't be fitting of the tone and attitude he was taking, this way he got to look perfectly innocent and good, willing to protect the younger student as well, while the message he wanted was still delivered. And Letitia looked so sweet and harmless, too. Maybe she sounded a little bit too prepared—knowing Tom's exact words, although she had stated she had only heard their conversation by mistake and her testimony hadn't been long thought-of, thinking of suggesting they check her memories—but they bought it, so it's all good. Ah, Tom, you perfect, sneaky thing :D
I just LOVE Pollux's sharpness and powerful, imposing presence, once more—just like when he came after Alphard's disappearance… He just shut Letitia up and kept interrupting Dippet like the other man was nothing at all, which he was, compared to his own authority. He was calm and controlled, but lethally sharp in his statements and demanding thorough investigations—demanding is the only fitting word, indeed, and he did make it clear that there was something off to that story and he would have it cleared up, nothing would stand in his way. No wonder Tom was concerned about that and used Cygnus as his only means to hinder Pollux's search for the truth!
I also love Cygnus' timid way of calling for his father, and Pollux's response—the perfect mix between slightly kind and unforgiving, as he did tell his son to take care of himself and not fret, but made it clear that he would still be punished for his behaviour. Love how lost Cygnus felt for a minute, then his realizing that something really was off with his father. The dialogue in French, along with its pauses and Cygnus' reactions, were all pretty well done. And I love how stricken Cygnus was that he wouldn't be allowed to go home for the holidays, more so than by all the rest. Lovely insight!
I like Tom taunting Cygnus, but the latter paying him no mind, noticing Minerva instead (love the cat detail!), and then suddenly figuring out what the magic he had perceived had been, and therefore what it all meant… (Love the detail about perceiving magic as well, btw.) For once Cygnus showed his brains instead of panicking, and his deductions had me impressed. he had his moment there, sounding completely in control for the first time, with the "I'm impressed" at the end, just for show. And Tom's plan was indeed two birds with one stone, the events of the match all falling into place. I got the impression that Tom might just be a little bit impressed, too—from his thoughtful pause, then his changing to the subject of Pollux and how Cygnus ought to keep him from investigating. Not like "wow, what a clever little bunny", lol, but he acknowledged that Cygnus was bright enough to have figured out what was going on, and smoothly thought out his next move—which he must already have foreseen starting when Pollux was there, but he could adapt his tactics according to Cygnus' attitude… He was still the better player, but he could adapt his game to the clumsy but intelligent opponent he was facing. And manipulating him by using his family, making him believe that Alphard might just have been guilty of Myrtle's death, was indeed the best way. He really did manage to slip the doubt into the boy's mind, confidently stating his arguments, not trying to convince Cygnus too much, but letting him see the possibility and all the consequences. Besides, all details had been taken care of in advance by Tom, all he had left to do was make sure Cygnus would stop his father investigating. I enjoyed seeing Cygnus raise all of those questions, and acknowledge that Tom's intelligence and thoroughness was quite admirable, everything fell into place. I also liked his thinking in passing that it was almost like Tom was playing with Dumbledore too ;) And Tom's invitation at the end was just perfectly brought! Beautiful last lines, and very meaningful, with the beautiful but cold scenery, the snow isolating the castle, how deceiving beauty can be. I really can't wait to see how the situation between Cygnus and Tom will turn out :D And I only spotted one tiny typo—"Malfoy family had a natural affinity for mind magic", there should be a "the". I really enjoyed this chapter :D And I won't lie, reviewing shorter bits at a time like this is lighter work, haha. Love! :D
| Ink Stained Quill chapter 13 . 2/9
I'm just going to say it again. This was beautiful. Thank you for choosing me as your beta-reader! :D That twisted/destructive/powerful love between Orion and Walburga is just amazing... I'm still in awe
| mistressinwaiting chapter 13 . 2/9
I loved this chapter. Don't get me wrong, I love your whole story but this chapter was just heart-pulling for me. It was beautiful.
| Tarpeia chapter 13 . 2/9
This is a wonderful chapter, a worthy and imposing conclusion to the arch about this generation.
The first part is a well of meticulously researched and skilfully expressed descriptions and knowledge: the Knockturn Alley, the way the wizarding world is inter-connected, the changes in the atmosphere of the wizarding society and the subtle shifts in the politics that are likely to ensue. "Charos Moribund" is indeed a hilarious name, and I love the way you designed the "Acromantula's Lair." It is no coincidence that "Tim" felt relatively at ease working in this dark street... Great idea to have him mentioned by those anonymous wizards! Your skill at changing the language levels according to the characters in question is amazing.
Lucretia is a mysterious character: clever, perceptive, and devoted. But she is a Dark witch despite the odds and her marriage, your scene makes it perfectly clear. I cannot help feeling intimidated by her presence, and uneasy at her reaction to Sirius's birth.
If your last chapter showed Orion's emotions at their most destructive and vulnerable point, this chapter shows their depth at the opposite extreme: the love he no longer tries to deny, the fierce determination to protect his wife no matter what it takes, the will to respect her, as if to make up for all the suffering she had to endure. Orion has flaws, but it is impossible not to feel for him, to dislike his deep humanity.
The scene where he and Walburga reflect on Sirius's name is the most tender moment one could imagine. I love Walburga's reaction at Orion's declaration: proud, intransigent, but far from indifferent. She has suffered so much, and the feeling of happiness and liberation the birth and the reconciliation with her husband bring her is as overwhelming for the reader as it is for her.
It was an ingenious idea to echo the birthing scene of the first chapter in order to conclude this arch - the moment of pain and dread that accompanies the birth seems somehow necessary to lead to the dawn in the couple's hearts.
But it's the last paragraph I like most: it's grand, poetic and extraordinary. I can feel all the family members' sentiments... except Pollux's. What exactly is he thinking?
A brilliant chapter. Bravo!
| Inkfire chapter 7 . 2/7
So, this chapter! I love your opening with the description of the Slytherin common room, very beautiful and evocative—yet this pleasant, safe place didn't have the same feel at all for Orion at this very specific moment… And quite the frightening and stressful occurrence it was. I enjoyed the way you portrayed Orion's interactions with the different members of the club, the variety of reactions, and the way he handled Dolohov's retort, answering back in style with his very own brand of mockery. Points for Orion, indeed, he handled that quite well—and you also showed that he kept his reactions in control, of course, concealing both his nerves and his sense of triumph at this point, it wouldn't do to reveal too much at all. And Tom joining in to mock Dolohov really made some impression, as he was so obviously the leader and center of the group, the one whose opinion and decisions mattered. But Tom would only allow Orion that quick moment of victory before the younger boy had to face him headon—and you very well portrayed the tension and apprehension, the ominousness of Tom sitting there in the shadows, staring at him, assessing him, and impossible to read in return. I really appreciated how blunt Orion was, understanding that it would have been foolish and dangerous to hide anything from Tom, stating he wanted to be part of their influence and learn from them. And Tom's reaction was perfect—accepting that, but pushing Orion, letting him know that he would be used in return and taunting him to find out just how much he was willing to give. The confrontation was striking, tension in the air, Orion trying his best to play the part, making a show of the distance he claimed to have with his cousins—but aware that he was slipping, that he couldn't beat Tom at his own game, or pretend to fool him… That he couldn't even keep up his façade as well as he should have, indeed. And a one-to-one confrontation, dear, how ominous! :D
Oh, the mooncalf bit to open Cygnus' part is nice :D And goodness, Cygnus was apparently getting a bit paranoid. Studying outside to avoid Tom? If Tom wanted to corner him, he was going to do so anyway… I'm not sure about the rationality he claims to have. Teenage ;) Really, his absence might have been drawing even more attention than his presence would have. And I wonder if you meant to convey a certain light snarkiness in your evocation of that or if I'm just reading that because I'm entertained by Cygnus' overreaction ;) Anyway. Now, Cygnus' assessment of Tom was sound sense, I really enjoyed that part (I also enjoyed the rest! I'm mocking the character, but not in a "you shouldn't have made him do that" way, more like "you're showing how he reacts all wrong and brings trouble on himself and I like it"). He had the right of it, absolutely, he was just wrong in his subsequent strategy and drew all of Tom's attention to himself instead of staying well out of his path like he'd planned to from the beginning. I'm also very curious as to how his and Orion's strategy might turn out. It might be sensible (not being a vulnerability for each other by being openly close), but then again not communicating at all and having Orion walk into the lion's den (and probably mess up there) while Cygnus was playing Look At Me I'm Not There probably wasn't a very effective strategy… Can't wait to see consequences, indeed. (As you can see, I'm commenting as I read thus far, no idea how the chapter turns out…)
And the confrontation with Minerva! I love how edgy she seemed and how she took her frustration out on him right away, Alphard's sibling, indeed. The impact that being called a hypocrite had on her was very adeptly handled, with the consequences that her closeness with Tom had on her—the Ravenclaws, ah, I'm seeing Laveda's hand! Poor Minerva, her tension really made me feel for her. Also loved that she admitted she had acted wrongly to Cygnus and apologized, and his reaction was spot-on. Same for her reaction to Cygnus telling her to stay away from the dungeons—advice or threats, from the Black brothers, she did always struggle to tell the difference and she hated their trying to keep her out of trouble's way. Their dialogue was so brisk and sharp, with obvious aggressivity—and Minerva heard something Cygnus hadn't said? Now, that's intriguing. Love how the tension just kept mounting and mounting—Dolohov walking in on them with his delightful taunts to Minerva, making her lose face more and more, and then it was Tom who arrived, and although he actually said close to nothing in that scene, his presence was so striking: so terrible for Minerva, and equally menacing to Cygnus who just scuttled off—failing at being inconspicuous again, and quite remarkably at that!
And Cygnus' paranoia kept getting worse and worse, indeed—in a way Tom tormented him much more efficiently by doing nothing at all and just letting him simmer in his bitter juice, haha. Poor boy. He was just so anxious and helpless, and left with so many questions, wondering if he wasn't getting it all wrong, wondering why Tom was acting that way… Orion's report was just fascinating from start to finish, all the insight: Tom's personality (loved the emphasis on his control freak side, and Orion picking up on the concealed inferiority complex!), the tensions that may arise without Alphard to smooth things over, the part about the Dolohovs, the fact that Tom did remain a master of manipulation and that shouldn't be overlooked. Loved Orion pointing out that he thought Cygnus was being paranoid, but still being willing to stand by him once he'd made his point—and of course Cygnus wouldn't really want to listen. I was really intrigued by the shift in Orion's behaviour that Cygnus picked up on—ah, really, it wasn't such a good idea to have Orion in the snake's den… Tom's influence on him was subtle, but very much there—and yet he still believed he was staying true to Cygnus, and he had indeed taken many risks and great commitment for him, so Cygnus really couldn't say anything! And so Tom gains a subtle influence on Cygnus' one friend and ally… *cackles* I love it. I was also very interested in Orion suggesting that Cygnus approached Druella and Prince, and the latter's discomfort—sensible assessment of Prince and why he couldn't be relied on… Very nice psychology for all characters, assessing connections, where they stood regarding Tom and fellow housemates/family members with their very own positions.
Oh, Minerva's Memory Charm, of course! *facepalm* With everything that'd been going on in the fic, I'd somehow forgotten about that part. It's so full. But the consequences are fascinating, and indeed, déjà vu—here come my parallels between Cygnus and Alphard, and then she was reminded of Tom, and came to face him in person… Indeed, plenty of triggers for her mind. I really enjoyed the politics on the Memory Charm, quite fascinating. And I love Orion's knee-jerk reaction of telling Cygnus not to fall for poor little Minerva like Alphard had, or get in trouble for her—but the other boy was just feeling bad for her, and had every reason to, things really could get dangerous for her. Very interested in what's going to happen during the Quidditch match—the business with Tom wasn't enough, Dolohov had to turn against her too—and the part ending revealing that Tom had indeed been listening in on the boys was very ominous again :D
A broken piece of a two-way mirror! Genius. Indeed, the simplest means can be the very best. Just loved the insight Tom had gathered in the orphanage, the effects of loneliness and how he despised that and considered those people weak and pitiful. But he knew the Blacks were different, and made his plans accordingly. (And it did mean that Cygnus’ paranoid feeling of being watched was very much accurate.) I love his approaching Prince to beat them at their own game, and the interaction was really nice. Love the potion information, very well thought-out as always, and Prince's characterization as well—his passion for his favourite subject, his quick mind, his awkward personality and wariness towards Tom. And more manipulation regarding Prince's dynamic with Orion, making sure he thought the boy wouldn't be harmed, so that he wouldn't be suspicious about the other task that was requested of him. Oh, Tom, Tom, you perfect snake you.
Oh, Minerva! The Minerva part made me feel for her so much, poor girl—with the nightmare, and how very shaken she was. The dream was very intensely and beautifully described, quite chilling. Loved the way you depicted Minerva's nerves due to the importance of the match, not dwelling on it for too long, but strongly making the point all the same. ("She was shaking." You didn't need much more.) And everything seemed a bit unreal around her, the blurry crowd, the noise hitting her almost physically. Things don't change, Gryffindors accuse Slytherins of choosing big beasts instead of talented players. Very nice commentary and narration of the match too, but I was reminded sooo much of the Slytherin/Gryffindor match in PoA. Er… yeah, lots and lots of parallels. Anyway, Minerva's POV and perceptions were pretty nicely handled, the impact with Rosier and the moment when Dolohov all but pushed her off the broom especially. And then she fell into the Slytherins' trap, oh dear…
I liked Cygnus' distaste for the way the game had unfolded, and his finding himself caught among his celebrating housemates, but not really wanting to be there—and suspecting there was an underlying motive beneath the game's brutality, but not really knowing what it was all about… Cygnus' loneliness was really moving, with his wishing he could just spend time with Orion, and noticing all the people flocking about Tom, and his drinking alone, the wine going to his head at once, the poor young thing. The dialogue with Druella was really enjoyable, I loved your portrayal of her, quick and witty, and the way Cygnus tried to get rid of her at first,
| UlrikeJVG chapter 12 . 1/30
wow, this was powerful. i honestly have to say, your story is one of the best ones i've read so far. i really love how the characters have been developed and the way you pictured the bitter relationship between orion and walburga. your imagination astounds me. XD
| Inkfire chapter 6 . 1/29
Ah, a very Tom-centric chapter! :D And of course, of course—it's that summer, such a key moment in the boy's evolution! I really liked your opening the chapter with the bit in French—is it a quote or just something poetic-sounding and fitting of your chapter?—and the introduction in Mary's POV. Very beautiful descriptions at the beginning, and I really appreciated getting the girl's perspective, the contrast was very strong with Tom's view of her, with such sharp contempt. Here we saw the human girl with her perspective on life, her dreams; her enjoying the simple beauty of the night, finding something romantic to the dusk—a sensitive soul; her unhappiness with her unpleasant employers and the drunkards at the pub she also worked in, yet her knowing that there were worse things in the world, and still hoping for something more, beyond that rather low and grim everyday life. On the contrary, Tom saw the common-looking Muggle girl with her naivety and lowly accent, she was an inferior being to him—whereas she was quite entranced with him from the moment he walked in…
I like the way you handled Tom's obsessive search for his origins, his checking whether he couldn't be related to those important families he knew of, and his disgust at the idea that he could be related to Muggles instead, knowing his history with the people from the orphanage. And of course, you showed how very thorough his research was, the evolution of his name throughout the ages, the two leads, one of them proved to be the right one, although at first it hardly looked more promising than his first disappointment. I like the way you showed Tom's disgust at the look of the pub and the drunken Muggles, and, like I mentioned, his quick, disdainful assessment of Mary. You also showed he reacted so fast and could adapt in a heartbeat, even to a slight blunder of his: his charm being a bit too strong and throwing Mary off offered just the right occasion to rush to her and make first contact, looking, of course, so very sweet, pleasant and charming, the cringe he couldn't help when she showed ignorance regarding the Blitz was used to make up a dramatic story that would make her feel bad for him. Every opportunity was seized and put to good use, so very Tom. Another example when you pointed out that he'd made sure no one but Mary would be able to see him, but this time he didn't have to bother himself as the girl just assumed the other man was drunk and couldn't imagine there might be something off with her charming companion. And once more, all along, his inner voice was so sharp and callous with her, the other Muggles, the whole place, "stinking stable" indeed—well, I do suppose he was quite right! Besides, Mary's frustration with the place was very clearly conveyed, with her disgust and anger as she spat the word "dull", and he played innocent and said it seemed peaceful and nice, when in fact it looked miserable and lowly to him, lol. And then Tom got lucky as she mentioned the Riddles, and at first he tried to get the acquaintance further, flattering her, asking her name and making one up for himself—but dismissing her with disgust and a quick Memory Charm as he realized that she would just go on about the war and not bring him much more information, and he was just tired of dealing with the girl. I like the dramatic way he had of handling that part, looking all sombre, talking about the war, leaning in… and then… off go the memories. And he was off like a shadow. Callous, effective Tom :D
Oh, I like the way you handled the Morfin part—having Tom focus on his father entirely, makes sense as we know he despised the weakness that had led his mother to die, and didn't believe her to be a witch. So he stumbled across the Gaunts purely by chance, thanks to that random encounter with the grass snake, and quickly figured things out from there. Well, there is one change from canon here—if my memory doesn't fail me, Dumbledore's account to Harry mentioned that Tom found no trace of his father anywhere, and only then decided to look for his mother's family, found the Gaunts, and then, learned about the Riddles by chance. However, it's only Dumbledore's story, he could have the details slightly wrong and your interpretation certainly makes sense. Personally, I buy it without trouble )
Anyway—the dialogue with the grass snake was nicely handled, and I like the way you portrayed Tom's anticipation, the sudden surge of hope, leading him to believe that his father might not be a Muggle after all. But that glee was only very short-lived, as the Gaunts' house and its surroundings left him absolutely appalled and disgusted—with very vivid descriptions that strongly conveyed that. How very repulsive the inside looked, and Morfin too. I also liked the way you used the book's dialogue very faithfully, of course, and yet Tom's thought processes commented and paced the scene and made it seem new and hold your reader's attention without trouble. And he quickly drew the right conclusions—the man couldn't be his father, but it had to be his grandfather, and, as that proved inexact as well, his uncle. And he noticed the ring too—but then, Morfin mentioned his father and Tom realized he could get valuable information out of him. Precious little though, as Morfin was just ranting and roaring—still, he was useful in another way as Tom swiftly took control over him, and found that his mere presence would make a lovely cover story to keep his own magical deeds from being traced to him. (He did practise magic before in the pub, though…) Once more, you showed how much beings like Mary and Morfin disgusted him—and he was quick to act, swift with his curses, having potions on him, using a compulsion charm to make his uncle drink. So very effective again…
Indeed, detail about the architecture, you thorough thing, you :) And Tom senior's reaction to his son's appearance was quite powerfully depicted, he was so stricken, like it was a ghost standing before him. (Good detail about Tom noting the striking likeness and that it was good no one at the village had seen or would remember him, too.) I like the fact that he harshly told him to leave as soon as he'd pulled himself together, but his mother reacted differently, very shocked too, but she told him it would have arrived sooner or later. The father sounded so shaken, and strongly afraid of wizards, too. Tom's reaction was insightfully handled—the small, shameful in his opinion, hope he'd kept about his family having had reasons to reject him, but his seeing at once that it was not the case and finding his hatred for Muggles all the stronger, they were all the same. Such ice in his voice when he addressed them, such control.
The grandfather was the man of the house and the one to have the final word on his entering or not, made sense according to the time—and it was fitting that he should tell Tom not to touch a thing, too ;P I also liked the way you stressed that it was the first time that anyone had ever looked at Tom with hatred, and it came from his own *father* too—and for a minute he was puzzled that they would invite him to their dining room, yet quickly realized that they wished to keep his presence a secret. Loved Tom's quick assessment of the room, and then the irony of his agreeing with Mary to deem the Riddles quite rude. The dialogue was so very intense—Tom's lines dripping with irony and bitterness, the rage as his father told him about how Merope had ruined his life, the grandfather taking a gun to protect his family, and yet he had no idea what he was really dealing with, of course. The feeling of danger and fear was so powerful when Tom cursed his grandfather, then his father—Mary's fear, that incensed him even more than his father's rejection… There was something very dramatic in the way Tom made the family sit down, having made sure nobody could hear or interrupt them, and started his speech once he had his audience—and all the interruptions were spot-on: Mary wept and showed some remorse, but it soon became obvious her conscience had troubled her because her sense of morals was disturbed, not because she cared in any way for Merope or the boy, and how shaken she was by his reading it all from her mind; the father's outburst following Tom's thread led to the Cruciatus… Chilling! I like the fact that Morfin's wand seemed to recognize and accept Tom, interesting. And that led him to thinking about how exactly he should proceed too, being careful to avoid any trace of suspicious injuries, any magic that would have been beyond his uncle. His amusement at the notion of being a criminal, and the contrast between that and the way he would once have imagined his reunion with his family, was chilling as well. I loved Tom's taunting his grandmother and his reactions to her begging, how shaken she looked at his expression too, as if the devil she so feared were standing right before her as he contemplated gruesome, cruel ways of killing them all. And oh dear, his grandfather died under the Cruciatus! That's an incredible idea, so striking—even he was shocked by his very first murder occurring… And I love the very precise and matter-of-fact concern of the abrupt death preventing the problem of bruises, bit of scientific interest thrown in there ;) How clinical Tom was, knowing so precisely how to handle him to cause maximum pain and no traces. Love Tom pretending that he had been planning for his grandfather's death to occur this way, and coolly asking his grandmother if she wished to be next, stating her wish would come true—so perfectly cruel. Her reactions were spot-on and heart-wrenching despite the woman's obvious flaws, her automatic, broken weeping, her resorting to prayer until he grew more and more furious and tossed the killing blow just to shut her up. Love the way the memory of when he was four abruptly resurfaced at that point, apparently random but very meaningful, and the mentioning of Billy and his always
| Inkfire chapter 5 . 1/18
Review it is, then! :) And we start with the bit of a suspenseful part, then a flashback, that's interesting. More French! :) No mistakes there, don't worry—unless you're interested in me going into the details of French dialogue punctuation/typography? :D Proofreading courses ftw… Anyway, no mistakes/grammar problems, all fine, and the Blacks speaking French when discussing secretive matters, yayness. I enjoyed your portrayal of Cygnus in that scene: stopping very suddenly as he heard the voices, warily creeping closer, careful not to get caught, noting all the details he could so he might understand the situation to the best of his ability. You stated that very clearly, "listen and memorize", stressing that it was not mere curiosity, but his future decisions would be influenced by the things he was currently hearing. Pollux threw something, that was quite striking—and you also showed Cygnus' irritation and restlessness quite well. I liked the fact that he forced himself to calm down by counting to ten—well used to keeping himself in control, that boy, he wouldn't just let his emotions run free—and, of course, the memories taking over that he couldn't help… and also for plot reasons! :)
Lovely description of Dippet's office! It was quite beautiful, and I loved the detail of the flying books. We are accustomed to the office as Dumbledore's, with his personal touch, but Dippet as a Headmaster should have a personal touch to it as well. Nice detail about the sight of the Sorting Hat reminding Cygnus sharply of his own Sorting and the unpleasant experience it had been, how much he would have hated to end up in Ravenclaw, even personally and independently of the worry of his family's reaction. (Although the family's influence probably played too, of course.)
Ah, Pollux! Intimidating indeed, I could feel his charisma quite powerfully through your discussion, he was very imposing—and the way he handled Dippet! His very first line was so directly harsh, and then his sarcasm was even more terrible, if possible, clearly implying that he was in a position to kick Dippet from office… And Dippet's desperation in response was also clearly shown, I felt bad for the poor man, Pollux Black is certainly no man anyone would want to get on the bad side of. And then there was Walburga's interruption, reminding Cygnus of the previous night. I liked his comments about his sister's excellent acting, that fooled everybody but Druella, as she was always so very sensible. ;) The interaction between Pollux and Walburga was quite fascinating, the intensity all the more visible as Cygnus was watching them so intently: the pride that was so visible on Pollux's features and in his words, which he didn't attempt to conceal under an expressionless façade—indeed, he just stated it outright. Cygnus was quite right to consider it unfair and feel bitter, there was no reason she had earned such praise… But despite how partial he was for his eldest child, Pollux was still his ruthless self and would not allow her to show weakness, I really enjoyed the way you showed that his actions, the drying her tears, might have been considered as a considerate gesture from the outside, but his children knew better and saw the warning there. Then Dippet had the bad idea of intervening—to be fair, he probably had no choice, he couldn't just stand there and watch the Blacks interacting all day, hoping Pollux would just forget about him! Still, that encounter ended as harshly as it had begun. Love the way Pollux just strode out regally, not even allowing Dippet to answer to his bluntly stating he would have him removed from the school.
Beautiful descriptions of the Black house, and meaningful ones too—as you said, the manor's appearance spoke both of exquisite tastes and of coldness. I loved the way Walburga urged Cygnus to get up fast after he had stumbled, with obvious alarm—once more, shows of weakness were not to be tolerated, although Pollux just sneered at them for it. Then the confrontation between father and son was quite intense as well, with the backhanding when Cygnus dared to give a rather sharp response to his father's inquiry, the detail of the ring cutting his flesh, the tension in the whole exchange, Pollux openly telling his son he wouldn't hesitate to brutally take the information from his mind if he did not willingly give it. Nice idea about the two types of Legilimency. Pollux's breath smelled of alcohol, that was quite meaningful as well… And I liked the way Cygnus panicked under the threat—he is so young after all, and the prospect of the pain to come had him paralyzed. He truly didn't know, but had to think quickly to come up with some information that might help his father. I also appreciated the insight about Cygnus never quite daring to look his father in the eye, fearing to face the contempt he would see there, although he wouldn't entirely look away either as that meant losing face. And I wondered if Pollux had a quick go at the passive kind of Legilimency, which would mean he wasn't so eager to hurt his son if it wasn't necessary, or whether he just insisted for Cygnus to look him in the eye both to read, if without magic, whether the boy was being honest with him, and as a confrontation of sorts, showing his authority… Anyway, the end of the encounter was also very nice—Pollux's sharp jab about looking like an Inferius, Cygnus' bewilderment at their hosting a luncheon in such a context, his thinking bitterly that everything was always about Walburga. All the details in their interactions were very interesting )
The scene with Irma was really great, I enjoyed seeing you explore their dynamic and Irma's love for her child—all of her children. After Pollux's harsher scene it was refreshing somehow, I understand why Cygnus would automatically seek her presence in his frustrated state. I enjoyed the way you depicted Irma setting all the details so everything would be perfect on the following day, at the beginning, things arranged à l'anglaise and everything had to be flawless. And Cygnus almost left when he saw her so busy, but she saw him and called after him :) Oh, the little signs of affection, refreshing indeed—her obvious look of pride and joy, reminding of the one Pollux had given Walburga, Cygnus being comfortable enough to admit, if quietly, that he had missed her, and know that she would not respond negatively or think him weak at all, her watching out for him, instructing him to avoid antagonizing his father at the worst moments and healing his face. It was all so very sweet, although it was also dignified and befitting the Blacks. Quite lovely. I also really appreciated Cygnus' gaze on his mother, his concern at her looking tired and a bit older, and how disturbing it felt for him, as weakness was not something he could associate with her at all, as he had always relied on her strength, her support. That is also quite meaningful, that her strength would not signify pressure, a figure to live up to and that would tolerate no faltering on his part, but it was a protective kind of strength. I loved the way the boy awkwardly tried to comfort his mother by explaining that Alphard had had to leave and it had nothing to do with the family. Irma's lines about her children being so different and equally precious was beautiful. And I also loved her telling Cygnus about the circumstances of his birth, the loss of his uncle, so that he would not believe he was the one responsible for his father's behaviour, the one being rejected. Very thoughtful and moving on her part. And it was also good insight regarding Pollux to point out that he feared, more than anything, to lose a family member in the same way again, and it came to justify his very harsh reaction to the situation with Alphard. And both Pollux and Irma knew their children, knew that Cygnus would be more likely to know something than Walburga, given the dynamics between the three… I also loved the matter-of-fact way Irma had of stating the danger Alphard was in, indeed—caring, looking out for her children, but always in control and able to put up a façade and go on with the tasks she had to handle, currently preparing for the following day, as it was necessary that she should handle that… The politics regarding Walburga's suitor were also interesting, with the evocation of the man's background, Cygnus' concern about the age difference and Irma just sighing in response. I love the way you handled all that.
Goodness, more stunning descriptions of the house, they really did their very best to impress their host—I loved the picture of them looking all wonderful, and yet so very tense on the inside (and you showed that tension was quite obvious, even to an outsider…). Your headcanon about what it meant to give a house-elf to a child was very well thought-out and meaningful, made perfect sense! I love it when people come up with clever bits of wizarding culture/pureblood traditions like that. And it was meaningful that it came at such a moment for Walburga, indeed—her relief at not being told off, and joy for the gift and its implications (she almost hugged Pollux!), was quickly tarnished by the announcement that she was to marry and go live in Norway. The confrontation between father and daughter was cleverly handled, you showed that Walburga was horrified and wanted to rebel, she had no intention of just submitting at first, but still it was clear she could scream and struggle all she might, it would not change anything to her father's plans for her. I also enjoyed the affection she showed the tiny elf, calls back to Kreacher's passionate loyalty for her :) The heavy tension that followed the outburst, and that hovered over the whole family, was also well portrayed. But indeed the following day offered quite a shift in mood. I loved your portrayal of Melania—for the little I'd written her before, I hadn't given her Macmillan ancestry that much thought at all, but I think it's ver