Reviews for The Sun's Despite
Miles Kilo chapter 3 . 4/20
dude its General Tullius of the 7th Imperial Legion of Skyrim
SilverIceRing chapter 5 . 3/12/2014
Hell yeah. After having felt the annoyance of being unable to marry Serana, I've been looking for good stories that involve her. Glad I wasn't disappointed here!

Still, I'm not sure I understood everything about his back story. For example, his father. Did he hang himself? Was he dying at the time he told him everything was OK? Was he possibly subject to an attack by some bandit or similar? Or did he accidentally kill him? Might have to read that part over again if I am to get it fully.

Well, aside from that it was quite enjoyable. Thanks for the fun read!
Alkeni chapter 1 . 1/2/2014
Interesting backstory for him so far.
Haldir639 chapter 5 . 12/31/2013
A bit on the shortish side, but very good none the less.
jazzpha chapter 5 . 12/19/2013
And so, here we are at the end. Bittersweet feeling. Let's do this.

The first two scenes do a great job of wrapping up the mystery of Brandon's past once and for all, in particularly striking and brutally tragic fashion. Methinks you must be a fellow Classicist, what with your love of distinctly Ancient Greek epic/tragic literary devices. And I mean that in the best way possible. The last moment of quiet solidarity between Brandon and Serana before the battle starts was also a nice moment, though.

I assume Brandon's using "Aura Whisper" to pinpoint where the guards are for righteous sneak-attack archery murder? Best Thu'um ever. I smiled at the scene with the two of them and the lock, as well- definitely a nice way to sneak in some levity, both to the scene and to their relationship in general. Nice to see that they have more to go on than just their shared emotional trauma, and that Serana is as good a deadpan prankster as the best of 'em.

Which brings us to the climax, the final throwdown, the big duel. Fight scenes are very tricky to write well, and you absolutely nailed the confrontation between Harkon and Brandon. The slow build-up, which you've shown your skill with many times throughout the story, was key to ratcheting up the tension. Harkon's jabs at Brandon were a great touch, both serving to emphasize both how experienced Harkon is, and how huge of a jerk he also happens to be. The psychological warfare he wages here was both fun to admire from a technical standpoint, and appropriately chilling from an emotional, audience standpoint. Seeing the scales tipped so hard against Brandon physically was also a wise move on your part, since it kept the tension high and the outcome of the fight in genuine doubt.

I was tense throughout the whole thing, honestly. I kept waiting for Azura to bail out Brandon, but I was really happy you didn't go for the in-fight deus-ex-machina bailout. This story is much better than that. The final bit of the fight was intense and satisfyingly visceral, as well. All of the slow-burn tension paid off in spades, and I especially liked the Samurai Champloo-esque way you chose to end the duel. Fitting, I think. Also, the killing blow Brandon landed on Harkon was a fist-pumpingly great moment. That finisher needs to be a killcam, stat!

Seeing Odahviing show up at the end there was also awesome, capping off what was essentially a non-stop payoff of awesome moments to bring the climax of the story home. His dialogue with Brandon was a great little exchange, and appropriately both paternal and fraternal on the part of Odahviing. I love all the surrogate family touches for Brandon you've woven throughout the story, but never in a way that feels hackneyed or gimmicky. Nice work.

Seeing Brandon bleeding out and Serana losing hope was gut-wrenching, and I was about ready to reach through the internet and punch you in the face... until your final seed of foreshadowing finally bore awesome fruit and the dynamic duo of Aranea and Azura saved the day in a way that felt totally organic, believable and not at all easy or cheap. You made Brandon earn his victory, and I can totally get behind that.

Brandon leaving the Dawnguard was a bittersweet moment, but his reunion with Serana was purely sweet and a great way to wrap up the story. Yeah, it left me wanting more, but that's the mark of all good stories in the end. I like to think that Brandon has allies in the Dawnguard if ever again he needs them, and he and Serana are living in tranquil pleasantness in Falkreath, content in each other.

I really loved the small detail at the end there of Brandon shifting his usual half-smile into a full-on smile; great way of signalling the change in his character without being overbearing about it.

All in all, this was an excellent story, amazingly well-told in five chapters, with a clear arc, solid pacing and great, great character development. Respect to you especially for that last one, which is the hardest to pull off. Bravo, and thank you very much for sharing this story with us!

Best,

JP
jazzpha chapter 4 . 12/19/2013
Here we are, at the calm before the storm. I'm afraid these last two reviews might not be quite as long as my first three, since things are pretty- 'streamlined' from here to the end, but a change in pacing's certainly not a bad thing. Just leaves me with less to say.

Okay, so: the first two scenes were nice, with the first flashback illustrating Brandon's joining of the legion and filling in his backstory almost fully. I really like how you've carefully parceled out his past, rather than just laying it all out on the table at once. Lets us focus on specific details at context-appropriate times, and keeps things interesting. Brandon's fun moment with the Dawnguard and tender moment with Serana were a nice break from the persistent feeling of dread that's been hanging over the story as of late, in keeping with the idea of this being the calm before the storm hits in full next chapter... even if it did end on something of a melancholy note. Damn it, Brandon, don't you realize you're the hero here? You'll be fine. Relax!

Anyway, moving on: The next scene was, once more, a nice look at the events of the story through the eyes of a couple of tertiary characters, helping to liven up the proceedings a bit, give more of a concrete feel to the size of the Dawnguard host, and subtly foreshadow that Aaron and Lucien will likely be showing up again 'ere the story ends.

The next two scenes were a nice way to break up the pacing with a bit of action, and to give Isran a moment to shine within his interaction with Brandon. Which he needed, just to balance the scales a bit. Also, Isran's interaction with the Vigilants in 'Day Thirteen' accomplished a similar goal, which was a great character moment to see for him. I know I'm jumping ahead a bit, but it was thematically relevant here, so hey.
Back on track: I loved the little vignette about Brandon and the dogs, and the night-raid by the vampires was very well done- tense and scary. Glad to see Aaron fight to live another day, though!

The 'Eighth Day' was another very nice Serana and Brandon moment, and contains one of my favorite small details in the whole story: the fact that Serana was "shocked" by the tenderness in Brandon's voice when he spoke of home, which implies so, so much in just one word. Mainly, though, it implies that Serana isn't used to hearing that kind of tenderness from Brandon, if indeed she ever has before, which speaks wonderfully tragic volumes about poor Brandon's life circumstances. That even around someone with whom he shares a special, intimate bond, he can't bring himself to be *that* vulnerable- which harkens back to the scene where he had to cry alone near the beginning of the story- that's powerful stuff. Very, very well done, to imply all of that with just a word. Stuff like that is why I love reading good writing!

The last scene with Aranea made me smile for a few reasons: First, because it was nice and heartwarming to see that Brandon was able to rebuild some semblance of a family for himself, however... unorthodox it might be. But second, and more personally, I really enjoyed seeing Aranea lecture Brandon on the finer nuances of the Dunmer language. As someone getting an MFA in Translation Studies at the moment, reading something about linguistic complexity and nuance in a Skyrim story just made me smile. So thanks for that!

Well, looks like I wound up writing quite a bit, anyway. Oh well. Kudos for another solid chapter, and onward to the end!

JP
jazzpha chapter 3 . 12/19/2013
Wow. Wow. This chapter made me think and feel many things, in sequence and all at once in points. First and foremost, this chapter made me really sad I never got a chance to play Morrowind. *However*, that being said, you managed to pull off quite the feat here- which is to say, you got a total neophyte like me completely and totally engrossed in a piece of mythology that I had no prior investment in, nostalgic or otherwise. So that in and of itself is an accomplishment you should be proud of, for sure. Because especially when dealing with mythology this complex, that's not an easy thing to do.

And that's not even addressing the quality of the writing itself. As a huge Classics nerd, I don't use this adjective lightly, but when I do, it's merited: this chapter was straight-up Homeric. Everything about it, from the ruminations of the doomed monarch, to the tragic parting between husband and wife (made even more tragic in hindsight, ugh), to the arming scene (awesome callback to the formula of ancient epic there), it was all a thoroughly compelling read. I could feel the battles, and also the more human elements from the characters that really grounded the whole thing in believable, sympathetic tragedy. Nerevar really shined here, and I felt awful as he was pushed closer and closer to his inevitable, tragic downfall. But you really expertly mined his death for pathos without making it mawkishly sentimental or overbearing, which is a kind of finesse that, as I've said before, is really hard to pull off, and even harder to make seem seamless. So once more, kudos for that. Azura's final denouncement of the Tribunal hit me right in the heart. Beautifully done, you magnificent bastard. Ugh, that's a good kind of hurt.

Brandon's scene with Azura was great, and also continued the Homeric/Virgilian tone. Brandon definitely channeled Hector the better parts of Aeneas with his pleas to Azura, and I liked that you chose to end the chapter on a note of optimism looking forward after so much tragedy.

Once again, great work. Now onto the next chapter!

JP
jazzpha chapter 2 . 12/19/2013
Not gonna lie, this is probably one of my favorite chapters in the whole story, for several reasons. It might even be my favorite, but I might also contradict myself upon further in this re-read. We'll see.

Anyway. On to what makes this chapter so fantastic. The main reason is because of the way we really get to see Brandon's character become truly multi-faceted here. And considering how easy it would be the make the Dragonborn a one-dimensional character, I really appreciate the level of care you've put into complicating and humanizing him- in this chapter, especially.

We start off seeing him in his element, conversing with the Lord of Eagles (which was a very nice, Tolkien-esque touch), where he's confident and speaks with calm, but not overbearing, authority and self-confidence. So we get the sense that he's someone who's seen a bunch of things that have given him all kinds of experience- both good and bad- as Amandir himself comments on. His interaction with Agmaer is something similar (also, nice callback to chapter 1): we see Brandon back in the authoritative role he held with the Legion, but also withdrawn, taciturn, and scarred- ultimately, a very vulnerable hero, which is a rare sight in stories like this. But this is a nice piece of characterization for two reasons: first that it adds depth to Brandon's character, and second that it throws the following scenes into much sharper relief as a result.

To wit, the wonderful scene that follows in the council room with the Dawnguard. Here we see Brandon as DOVAHKIIN, writ large, and as (as future chapters will bear out) the Champion of Azura. This is the warrior who fought and slew Alduin, asserting his dominance over Isran- but then you follow it up beautifully by allowing Brandon to also be the world-weary, out-of-his-depth young adult that he is, and that's what I love most about your characterization of him. He's both world-savior *and* battle-weary, tired orphan, and he never becomes completely divorced from either side. That makes for an incredibly believable and sympathetic character, so kudos to you for that, big time. Well done!

The ending was both heartwarming and a nice, subtle piece of chilling foreshadowing, both of which I enjoyed. Again, the multifaceted nature of Brandon was here in fine form, and his interactions with Serana were as realistic as they were lovely and well-written. Kudos to you once more!

Very much looking forward to what comes next.

JP
jazzpha chapter 1 . 12/19/2013
Here we are, at long last- the first of my reviews for this story. I really, really enjoyed and admired what you did with the opening chapter here. I can only imagine how much easier it might have been to jump right into the action, and how tempting it was to try starting the story off with a 'bang', but I love your decision to go with quieter moments and character development here. Slow buildup of both the characters and the stakes makes for a more rewarding story overall, and you certainly didn't disappoint here on that score.

Let's start with scene one. I'll include both the opening flashback and the first Dawnguard scene, since they kind of run together. It was a good call on your part to open with this flashback, in order to give the scene later on with Brandon and Gunmar some additional grounding. Poor Janek; at least you were avenged, and went out like a champion. I like that you gave a 'minor' character a moment in the sun here, however brief. It was a nice touch. The short POV switch to the dragon was also neat, as well.

The Dawnguard scene was well-paced, and smart for one reason in particular: giving us insight into Brandon's character not as he himself describes it, which can sound jarring if not done in moderation, but as he is seen by the people he fights/serves/lives with. It was also refreshing to see a range of opinions on our boy Dovahkiin, as well, rather than just blind loyalty and thorough trust/admiration. The scene made me impatient to want to go start the Dawnguard questline in Skyrim, but I'm going to wait for a few more levels at least (still only 18, or thereabouts).

The next two scenes were also quality: Brandon's conversation with Serana was very realistic in its brevity, the implication you weaved into the silent moments, and Brandon's attitude towards being reminded of his past sins (which are very nicely foreshadowed, as well). Despite the terseness of the talk, though, we still get the sense that these two are close. So well done with the balance there; it can be tricky to pull off and you did it well!

Brandon's scene with Gunmar was very well done as well (I'm starting to sound like a broken record, I know, but let it never be said I don't give praise where it is due). You avoided a potentially pace-destroying info-dump of exposition by letting Brandon tell his story over a bottle of brandy, to Gunmar alone, which establishes multiple character points at once: that this is someone Brandon trusts (at least somewhat), that his military past is one he's not boastful about, and that he needs to be somewhat drunk before he even wants to revisit those memories. Your writing was also very cinematic here, and reminded me of the opening scene in 'Gladiator'. Excellent work combining character moments and action/background here.

Which leads us to the final scene, which was a nightmare (I assume) that was as heartbreaking as it was horrifying. The tranquil opening only served to amplify the dread that we know is lurking around the corner, and when that hammer finally drops, it drops hard. But you still keep it vague enough to have a tint of intriguing mystery there, so nicely done on that score.

And the last moment gave me chills, and I'm not just saying that because it's really cold out.

All in all, this was an exemplary introduction to an awesome story. Looking very much forward to re-reading and reviewing the other chapters. Kudos!

JP
CrazyLunitic chapter 5 . 6/29/2013
great story. I really hope you continue it.
YezManTheAmateur chapter 5 . 6/28/2013
This was... possibly the best fanfic i've ever read !
Ordaiken chapter 5 . 5/21/2013
Yay! It went fast and I wish there was more! Is there going to be more?
Ordaiken chapter 3 . 5/21/2013
WOW! This chapter was so unexpected, and enthralling. It adds a great amount of detail and backstory. I really like it!
Madgormley chapter 4 . 4/11/2013
very good chapter looking forward to next update
SignumMortis chapter 4 . 4/1/2013
This is too good. This work of fiction is better than ninety nine percent of all the authors in this site.

Everything's great, please finish it until the end.
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