Reviews for The Currents of Time
countess z chapter 35 . 11/27
Man Noster totally interrupted an intimate moment with Iseus and J'zargo. Seems like that's starting to become a pattern! Ahaha 'I hope Lenve doesn't tell' too late for that. He doesn't even know that everyone knows ahaha.
That letter also makes Brynjolf look particularly stupid. Poor Bryn!
Where has it ever been said that Khajiit aren't allowed in Nord cities? I remember there were a few even in Stormcloak cities; there was one in Riften and there was one in Windhelm, or, at least right outside the gates of Windhelm. I mean, there's hardly any Khajiit in Skyrim to begin with (which was a damn shame) but I don't remember hearing anything like that, most of the racism is directed towards the Argonians. Unless Iseus was making some kind of joke that flew over my head, ahaha.
It's interesting that most people in Blackreach don't even know what Iseus looks like. I'm wondering if it's more of a tactical decision so the Thalmor aren't entirely certain who they're looking for, or if it's something else.
I like how they're still making fun of Hermaeus Mora's voice. And now I want to hear him say a bunch of Dwemer words. Or... to hear Iseus imitating Hermaues Mora saying a bunch of Dwemer words. I really would like to hear anyone say a bunch of Dwemer words for that matter, because they're really fun to try to pronounce.
countess z chapter 34 . 11/26
Green apples are the best. I would start a peasant revolt if Ancano declared them illegal.
Regardless of his dislike for green apples, it seems Ancano has grown a lot as a character here. Even halfheartedly offering Elevir the pastry was a big step for him. And that was really funny to imagine Elevir getting that powdery sugary stuff all over his Justiciar gloves.
And... Lydia. It's definitely something interesting to note that Iseus left her in Whiterun like the rest of us did in the game and presumably forgot about her with everything else that was going on. Which... obviously made her a very easy target.
The dehumanization of Lydia was enraging and sickening and heartbreaking all at the same time, which obviously was the intent. Even Ancano is disgusted by it because it was so needlessly cruel, so depraved. It didn't serve any purpose like Brynjolf's or Thorald's torture. It was senseless, perverse, sick, and even Ancano can tell the difference.
Just... how completely brainwashed she is, it's frightening. Yes, you've done it all with so much accuracy it's really hitting home. The mental regression, the dissociation, blunted emotions, all things characteristic of that particular kind of long-term abuse.
In the end, Sielar's death was more than fitting, with Ancano making it particularly brutal and senseless in response to making a sentient being into his plaything. I definitely approve of Ancano's decision.
countess z chapter 33 . 11/26
I had to re-read the "man-like eyes" part a few times to understand what you meant. I'm a little slow. XD I think Alensi has a crush on Lenve ehehe. I hope she shows up more because Bosmer are cool, and seeing one of your OCs is like seeing a unicorn (though I understand her creation may also have to do with the unfortunate lack of Bosmer in Skyrim). Is she half-Bosmer, and that is why her appearance is a bit different from the others? Now I'm all interested in Alensi for the few minutes she showed up in.
Also, are there other units that the Dragonborn controls other than the Black Machine? What about ranged units like archers, mages, people who might not necessarily benefit from a full suit of heavy mecha armor? Or are they more the people that he uses as scouts, etc rather than putting them on the frontlines?
Ohgosh Iseus is a tail-chaser I'm still giggling at that.
Thorald going for the dagger instead of the sword, I could tell that was a moment of character development right there. As Iseus said, they weren't fighting the Nordic way, they were fighting the way that would let them win.
The battle... I was honestly a bit disappointed because there was a lot of build up and we didn't really see much of the actual confrontation. I see Ancano's chapter is next, so perhaps there will be a lot more of that from his POV. With all that build up I was hoping for Thorald to have another dirty fight-on-the-riverbank moment!
countess z chapter 32 . 11/26
I think the first thing I expected after learning that Brynjolf had been out cold for a few days was for his first reaction would be of the physiological responses his body would have had, like dehydration and hunger before he went into panicking about the situation.
Also, this may just be me, but how did he immediately come to the conclusion that it was the Thalmor who captured him and he wasn't in Saadia's creepy bondage dungeon or something? Looking back in Bryn's previous chapter I see now there were a few hints, like the Elven dagger and what she said to him, so perhaps Brynjolf had been able to catch on to the subtleties that I didn't.
The interrogation scene was very well done. I was absolutely impressed at the description of the first time he had to feel the sensory coercion, how no pain he had ever felt in his life had prepared him for that, how he had lost track of time and couldn't see or hear anything and he could only feel pain... and that had only been one second. That was impressive, and visceral, and horrifying.
The dialogue during the interrogation scene was also realistic and I could see the stages of Brynjolf breaking down. That was very good.
I think perhaps one of the more horrifying thoughts is that Thorald had to endure a year of this, and he still didn't break. Brynjolf already knew he was going to break even before the torture started, and that was heartbreaking. I think another thing that is going to be sad is that since the torture is completely magical in nature, his body will remain physically unscarred and he would have nothing to prove that he had endured the horrors he did. He would just look like a coward.
countess z chapter 31 . 11/26
Yes, I liked the bit about how if he had been able to see through the magic eye, what he would have seen would have caused him to lose his mind. That was very Lovecraftian . A lot of parts seemed to draw similar inspiration from Lovecraft, like him taking a form that he might be more comfortable with, how unsettling it was to see Hermaeus Mora attempt to emulate being human, and then of course expanding on the theme of forbidden knowledge. I had forgotten how much I appreciated Hermaeus Mora in all of his Eldritch abomination glory, and thank you for making me realize again that he is terrific, even more terrific now in your story. How he dissipated back into that "black mass of tendrils" mmm these are the kind of descriptions I like.

Just... Hermaeus Mora being speechless for a few seconds because of all the things he could have said, Noster chose to make fun of his voice. He was feeling "a little jittery" wow he is much braver than I am. I think it was definitely a good call to have someone as nonchalant about it as Noster be the one to meet Hermaeus Mora, because most people would flip out. Just, the way he wasn't even afraid of him at all... it seemed like he panicked a whole lot more about Iseus potentially finding out that he tampered with his letter!
countess z chapter 30 . 11/24
Oof, the black soul conversation is something that always frightened me in Elder Scrolls games, one of those moral dilemnas with implications that ought to be explored more, especially when they actually know what happens to the soul after the gem is consumed. At least J'zargo comments briefly on how horribly wrong something like that is, to have someone's soul trapped like that for eternity, because IMO even the most horribly evil person doesn't deserve that kind of fate, but it's definitely a conversation that gives me the shivers if it's something Iseus is planning on doing to a mortal soul.
I mean, I never did much enchanting in the games because it bothered me so much, and I'm a cold-hearted assassin!
Poor J'zargo thinks it's a stealth mission with 150 soldiers... such a naiive little Khajiit.
... I really like how you tied the Ebony Warrior into Iseus' story. That guy needed some love. It's interesting to see fragments like this being revealed here, and to see why Iseus actually went to Skyrim in the first place, before he found out he was the Dragonborn.
And OH MY GOSH LENVE TOTALLY INTERRUPTED THEIR SERIOUS EMOTIONAL CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT MOMENT I still love him though, and am really happy that you gave him another cameo.
I'm excited to see the battle with the 14th Unit. Really excited!
countess z chapter 29 . 11/24
Ok, I had forgotten how awesome it was to read your Dragon conversations. This is awesome. Dragons using the Thu'um to debate, I love that, that's great.
Also Paarthurnax trying to explain the concept of empathy to Odahviing is one of the best things I've ever read. Good on you to mention that they don't have a word for that in their language. Good decisions here all around.
"Opposable thumbs?"
"Empathy, Odahviing." Laughed way too hard at that. XD
... When it looks like two dragons understand empathy better than the Thalmor, that is saying a lot. I'm certain it is no coincidence that you placed this chapter after 26. Even if it wasn't, it was an amazing juxtaposition.
countess z chapter 28 . 11/21
... I was certainly a lot more impressed by the machine than Thorald was. You described it very well.
This chapter gave me a lot of feelings about Thorald. I like how you're slowly allowing him to reveal his own thoughts about this, his disillusionment of it all and how dishonorable it really feels. He is used to being the hero and right now it's hard for him to feel very heroic about all of this when the tactics are so sneaky. I feel bad for him. He thought it would be honorable and glorious like the Companions. He is definitely a true Nord, that one and proving to be more complex than he makes himself out to be to others.

I feel you could have given him more of an opportunity to comment on the machine, with his father being a famous blacksmith and all I feel he might have had a more visceral reaction upon seeing this armor being mass-produced like it's nothing, pretty much making Eorlund's skyforged steel look like toys in comparison. I don't know, I guess that was the reasoning behind his "meh" reaction towards the machine and how it got him started on thinking how he wasn't certain that he liked what he was doing in the resistance, but I think it would have been nice to see some kind of explicit comparison or commentary on it simply because of who his father is rather than just the subtle implications.

But yeah. I really like Thorald. He was basically a quest object in the game, and I didn't care about him. Now I care about him, because you've fleshed him out and given him feelings and doubts and hopes and strong convictions and I love it.
countess z chapter 27 . 11/21
It's kinda awesome to see a guy who has absolutely nothing to do with magic being visited by the Psijic Order. Those guys are cool. I'm glad you put them in your story. Noster's just like, come on, I just want to go back to bed and pretend this never happened. It's great. I also like the idea of them getting involved in the Dragonborn's affairs. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where this is going, especially if it involves Hermaeus Mora.
Your vivid description of Quaranir's outfit was great, with Noster commenting on it, and Quaranir secretly pleased with himself. Now I've a silly thought in my head of him taking a painfully long time trying on all sorts of things to make sure he has the best attire every time he has to go out to visit the ordinary rabble. How nice of him too, not only to fix his eye but magically enhance it as well! Noster's got a lot in store for him and I'm a lot more interested in seeing how his story plays out than I was at the beginning.
countess z chapter 26 . 11/20
Wow. There are a lot of things I could say about this chapter. The pacing, the build-up, Ancano's vulnerability showing, the fascinating civility of a conversation between a Thalmor and a worshiper of Talos, how a simple priestess was able to smash holes into his flawed worldview, and just... the end. That was incredible. I honestly have nothing else to say because this is the best example of your writing that I have seen thus far. I am completely speechless.
countess z chapter 25 . 11/20
The song was awesome! It seriously read like something out of Tolkien. And totally better than a lot of the lyrics in the bard songs in Skyrim and ESO... though I am imagining the male bard voice in ESO singing it, so that's great!
I liked the "temple of Dibella" line. And Brynjolf feeling special that he made her laugh made me feel extremely protective of him and gahhh because I had this horrible feeling of dread for what was going to happen next. My reaction was quite visceral because your build-up made me care a lot about what was going to happen to Brynjolf. I know he's gotten himself out of worse straits, so hopefully he'll be fine!
countess z chapter 24 . 11/19
When J'zargo did alchemy with the enchanted gear on... the description made it sound like he was on drugs. XD
I feel like Iseus totally knew that Noster opened the letter too. Poor guy is probably going to have some emotional turmoil over that for a bit.
... I'm still hoping the 'N' is Neloth.
Again, I always appreciate the emphasis on alchemy, and how much of a gamebreaker it can be. And the crimson Nirnroot!
It is interesting to hear their conversations, but again it's getting harder to trust Iseus, especially after hearing him lie so casually about the letter, so that kinda changes some of my feelings about the relationship between him and J'zargo. Also I don't know about them, but - I - would certainly get stir-crazy being alone with someone for so long without ever being able to go outside.
countess z chapter 23 . 11/18
I mean, yeah, that's a sizeable army. Wow. This is some really large-scale stuff you're working with, and that's honestly rather impressive because I imagine it is difficult to hammer out the details of keeping handles on such a complex operation like that. The food thing, yeah, I don't find it entirely believable that they'd be able to grow food for eight thousand people there, especially with no natural light or feasible/reliable irrigation methods and most of them ought to be completely clueless about how to use that kind of machinery or have intimate knowledge on Dwemer horticulture and how to grow the crops they were able to under those conditions. With that alone I'd say bringing fresh water in for everyone would be a struggle as well, especially if they have to use so much of it for the crops. I hope you are able to explain this through someone who doesn't seem as disinterested in the matter as Noster, because the fact that they actually have a surplus of food is incredibly surprising to me.
Noster panicking the entire time while opening the letter was great, though. And who is this mysterious N person? I hope it's Neloth!
countess z chapter 22 . 11/18

... Ok. I'll stop being obnoxious. Anyways, I love how Ancano actually comments on how illogical it is for the leader to be the one to lead in front of his troops. Of course for all intents and purposes any onlooker would consider keeping a "safe distance" from the battle reeks of cowardice, but Ancano makes a good point! Still it's a good way to kinda emphasize again the way the Thalmor view war, with a calculated focus on efficiency rather than factoring things like increased morale from watching the general fight alongside his troops into the equation.
Also, having Ancano wrestle with his own personal beliefs was great and I'm glad you put this in here. It adds a lot more dimension to his character to see that. His dream... I'm not sure if having Savos there was out of some lingering feelings of guilt, or if it was just fear that his past offenses would eventually catch up with him, but I liked it regardless. Added even more complexity to his character. And that he had a hangover afterwards... and the poor guard! Ancano is never going to want to sleep in a tent again after all he has to go through.
countess z chapter 21 . 11/17
Already the first line made me laugh out loud. This looks very promising.
Also, I may have already touched on this before, but it's really cool that you even get the days of the week proper (or at least, I assume you do. I'm honestly too lazy to actually confirm but it seems legit!) and everything. I can appreciate the effort properly now because I'm currently wrestling with a cohesive timeline in my own story. It helps the reader keep track of the chronology too when you have so many different POVs.
Aww, even though poor Thorald found his discarded armor, he still had to ditch it again.
It's great to see the organized operation Iseus has set up here. Must be awesome to see the Dwemer ruins being used for something other then... well, lying abandoned or as an occasional hangout for unsavory folks.
I really like what you've done with Thorald's voice. He's not really portrayed in a stereotypical big-dumb-Nord sort of way; he's just blunt and matter-of-fact and takes things as they come. You're able to make that distinction, which can be difficult when writing characters like him. His response to Blackreach has so far been the most visceral, as I can definitely imagine that alien place being so different from anything he had seen before.
And Malborn -cough- I mean, Lenve! I liked his little test and Thorald's reaction to it. Oh gosh and Thorald's "Please don't cut me" line was priceless! I like how he has a larger role here, and his dynamic with Thorald is great. They'd make a good team. Their banter is golden too. "You'll see." "Would you stop saying that?" "Absolutely not."

But yeah, this was great. Definitely one of my favorites. I know I say that a lot, but this chapter was excellent.
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