Reviews for Flocking Movement: Triad
Guest chapter 5 . 2/15/2014
Jake and Lucy’s friendship is one of the highlights of your series for me, Xazz! There is no sense of competition between them regarding Des. They both need him, and he needs them. Jake is especially special because he’s Lucy’s first friend. Ever. Des doesn’t count because they were a couple, and she had the problem of Proeathan programming to overcome. The Proeathans she knew and Des’ clone certainly weren’t her friends. So Jake is the first friend that Lucy has chosen and made for herself. Jake is great because he has no preconceptions of Lucy Prime. He gets to know Lucy for who she is without worrying about the motivations of the original. Even better, Lucy never knew Jacob. She never knew Malik, like Altair. She only knows him as Jake, and accepts the person he is now with no emotional baggage of who each was separately. Lucy is the first real friend ‘Jake’ has made since he became who he is. Wow. Jake is going to be in an awkward position if Lucy and Des break up. He’s friends with both, what if they can’t handle him staying friends with the other? Like when a couple get divorced and joint friends often take sides and stop being friends with the other one. Although I don’t see Jake ever giving up Lucy, so poor old Des may be out of luck here. In more ways than one. Your whole idea for Flocking Movement is inspired, Xazz. But Jake and synthetic Lucy are my fave OCs of your world. Thank you so much for creating them!
Gray Kingbird chapter 13 . 2/13/2014
The Zealous Servant, chapter 14 review. Well, this party is a bad idea. You’ve been foreshadowing for a while, bb, and I think Spayar should’ve kept Von and Calli away. How can he protect both? Virilia will have all of her children gathered in one spot. Would she kill them to protect her throne? Or most of them, anyway, leaving the youngest alive to inherit perhaps. Well, war makes them strong, as you explained. It stimulates the economy if one can overlook the collateral damage. Still, what an empty legacy for the Le’Acard family to inherit. And with all of the Le’Acards present, all of the nobility, all of the important people in the Alliance, this can’t end well. Spayar is far better informed than most of the nobility and knows how to exploit what resources he has. Your sense of humor shone through, bb, when Spayar couldn’t be bothered dealing with a gay crisis by his prince in the middle of planning a coup. Too funny. Would he use Calli to further Von’s cause if he could? Who would Spayar choose if he had to make a decision between Von and Calli?
The profound effects of birth order on your characters has been significant, bb. Spayar is the first born, with the most expectations upon him, always taking care of everyone Von, his parents, his siblings, his friends, even though he’s only seventeen. Von, fifth born, nowhere near the throne, insignificant, ignored by the firstborn children of the nobility. He’s used to being taken care of, specifically by Spayar. Spayar takes care of his siblings while Von’s are plotting his death and refuse to share themselves or their knowledge with him and give up a competitive advantage. By virtue of being the fifth born child, Von was already at a huge disadvantage in this family. He came late to the game and has been struggling to find his place ever since. This is a cutthroat world, you have created, bb, and I like it. Great chapter, bb.
Gray Kingbird chapter 13 . 2/13/2014
Des is definitely stronger, he’s not letting them push him around anymore. After Clay’s little lesson in parental neglect, I thought Andrew would be less inclined to use his only surviving son. I guess accessing Adam’s memories is more important than Des’ sanity. Alt surprised me here; I didn’t think he’d let Des go into an animus again. Has Des’ clone defected, like Lucy did? He had no more choice in existing than synthetic Lucy. He was forced to relive Des’ life through the Animus. Does he have a shortened lifespan, too? Maybe they figure that’d make the clone more expendable than Des since he doesn’t have much time anyway? And will the clone have a choice in this matter? Des is going to get him to replace him in the animus. What if the clone doesn’t want to get back in that thing either? He already resents Des for being the genuine article while he was just a replacement. I mean, talk about blow to your self-confidence. Alt may not have anything on this guy. At least Lucy has found a purpose for her existence apart from the ones prescribed by the Proeathans. And on a final note, I just realized that while the real Des is part of the flock, he doesn’t have a bird name. I mean, I knew that all along, but he is the Nameless among the Proeathans. Is that why Hawk hsan’t named him after a bird yet? Because the Nameless, or namely Des (tongue in cheek here) hasn’t become who he’s meant to be yet? He can’t be named until he finds out exactly who he is. Triad accomplished that for Jacob/Malik, Lucy is well on her way, Clay accepts who he has become versus who he wanted to be. The ancestors know who and what they are after centuries of self-reflection. But Des is still the mystery that you have yet to reveal. I love how you do that, always keep a mystery that hooks your readers. Sweet. I’ve caught up to the end of Triad. On to One of the Terrible Things. Triad was great, bb. Congrats, bb.
Gray Kingbird chapter 12 . 2/13/2014
Duncan and Desmond. Eugene and Jacob. Malik and Kadar. Federico, Ezio, and Petruchio. Giovanni and Mario. Cain and Abel. Al Mualim and Altair. Giovanni and Ezio. Hawk and Micheal. Andrew and Desmond. Brothers. Fathers and sons. These are all failed relationships. Some ended in murder, some by suicide, and some by choice. All ruined both parties involved. The burden was too much for them to carry. They could not meet the expectations of the others. They were only human. Their greatest flaw; their greatest strength. Love united them and tore them all apart. That is the true tragedy I believe you’ve written here, bb. FM has explored the weaknesses of these characters and their failures. Now the endgame is coming. All of the pain, loss, and loneliness that your characters have suffered has honed their greatest weapon against the Proeathans. Love. You had a purpose, bb. You write nothing extraneously. The tragedies have united them in a bond stronger than death. Stronger than the Proeathans. The Proeathans get by on their fear of death. The flock gets by on their love, tenacity, and humanity, advantages that the Proeathans cannot comprehend. And the flock will win. Flocking Movement, Ages, Legacy, Triad. They have one thing in common. Love unbroken by time and space. They all know what they have to lose. Each other. What won’t they sacrifice for each other? The only thing worth dying for anymore is love. Where will that leave Lucy and Des? Only you know, bb, and will tell us if you choose to. Great chapter, bb.
Gray Kingbird chapter 11 . 2/13/2014
Hey bb, Jake is incredibly perceptive. He sees Cain is desperately lonely, and that Alt hurt him worse than anyone, perhaps even the original Abel. Your line about Alt wanting Jake because he’s his reincarnated boyfriend… I just about fell over laughing along with Alt tumbling on his side. That was screaming hilarious. Your description of Cain’s reaction was priceless; I can almost see his bemused expression as he mulled that one over. Cain says he doesn’t live in the past like Alt, yet he lived in prison for 125 years. All he had was the past and the time to do the deepest introspection on earth when not plotting all the ways he would kill Alt when he eventually found a way out. Has Alt ever wondered if he was wrong to give Ezio, Hawk and Jake immortality? It must fill Alt with rage and doubt to think he was a tool all this time, just as he was for Al Mualim, using him to kill those nine targets to find redemption. Alt strived so hard to never be used again. Yet I think he may have really spent 900 years searching for some sort of redemption, that he thought he'd been granted when he found Malik reborn in Jacob. What a gift it must have seemed like, like Cain felt when he found Alt. Then Alt had to make Jake immortal not to lose him, ruining his redemption. What a Greek tragedy Alt found himself living, which is why I assume Cain spoke briefly to Alt in Greek, to rub it in. Now he must be questioning his entire existence, if he was used to fulfill Proeathan purposes rather than following his own free will. And now Cain has made him doubt his right to be loved by Jake, the one he mangled so badly with the Apple, like Hawk. (Following Cain’s argument, then wouldn’t Ezio be ‘mangled’ in some way because Altair stopped him from dying? Just curious.) Yet didn’t Alt make Cain doubt himself when he walked away, undeserving of Alt’s love and companionship? Then Cain was left to watch over the centuries while Alt gathered a little family of his own, while Cain grew more bitter, following the ‘rules’ of immortality while Alt broke them one after another, the way he had the tenets of the Order, and had everything Cain desired. A family. Love. The injustice of it all finally broke Cain. They broke each other, Cain and Abel. Now they have to fix each other, in a brotherly fashion. Jake can’t do that for them. Great chapter, bb.
Heron chapter 13 . 2/8/2014
Hi bb, Okay, right off the bat your preview blew my mind! What does Desmond mean that this part of Demeter’s base is only for mortal humans to make plans without immortal interference? Why’d he knock? Yes, he’s part of the flock, but like Lucy, Desmond is not immortal. He has every right to be there.
I also love how strong Desmond is coming across here. He refuses to be pushed around anymore. And Desmond is being his usual stubborn self by refusing to do what everyone is asking/telling him to do. I do wonder if the others thought about talking to Cain about this plan to revisit Primordial Adam. He may know something about the Toba Incident and why humanity was on the ascendant afterward. Even if he wasn’t born yet. And how did Desmond’s clone get there? The guy wants Lucy and Desmond dead! He’s too dangerous! Plus, he has no block against the Animus Bleed. The risk is that Altair can’t stop it and they end up with… Primordial Adam on their hands if the clone bled through. Cain would not be a happy camper, I suspect, if that happened.
Lol! Stew indeed. Well played, bb. Please take your time to enjoy your other writings and art, and take time to enjoy your own life. Your readers understand that you have many different priorities in your life that need attention. I appreciate this marvellous gift you have shared with us, bb, and wish you only the best. Should you wish to share more, that is entirely your choice. Your readers will always be here. Be happy, bb!
Heron chapter 12 . 2/8/2014
Your final chapter has beautifully wrapped up Triad and revealed the truth of story, bb, with a brilliant twist at the ending that Duncan is the hero of this piece, rather than Lucy, Jake, or Clay. If Duncan hadn’t lived, and died, then Triad would not exist. Clay would never have been sacrificed, resurrected, and sort of immortal. Lucy would never have been created as a lure for Lucy, and revealed as the greatest gift to humanity since Primordial Eve herself. Jake would never have been found by Desmond and joined the flock and become immortal if Desmond hadn’t rebelled as Duncan taught him and run away. Triad is largely Duncan’s legacy to the world, though only Clay knows the truth. Andrew SHOULD be proud of his first born. Even though he seems to be incapable of loving anyone but himself. Duncan’s legacy is living on. He is a hero twenty years after his death. And all of the Proeathan's lofty plans may crumble if Desmond has anything to say about it, making Duncan’s life count. Triad was sensational, bb. bb, I thank you on behalf of all your readers and myself, for the time and effort you have put into Triad, a most memorable story in the Flocking Movement saga. I know everyone appreciates what you have created here. You are truly gifted. Be happy, bb!
Heron chapter 12 . 2/8/2014
Clay’s role is intriguing throughout FM. He empathizes so much with Duncan. They both committed suicide, but Duncan was sacrificed on the altars of too many giants. The Proeathans, the Assassins, Andrew, even the ancestors are not blameless. But Duncan is beyond their help now. It is Desmond who needs their help and protection to rise and become who he must, almost like a phoenix from the ashes of his old life. Andrew represents that life. This moral lesson that Clay has delivered is significant in some way you have not yet revealed, bb. Either to validate Duncan’s brief life or help Desmond’s future, as Duncan hoped. What struck me here was Clay’s dispassion over Duncan’s desperation on the tape. He could easily be where Duncan is now. Dead. Instead, he’s alive again, although so much of his life isn’t his own. He tells the stories of the dead, he gives a voice to the voiceless. He provides a moral compass to those who are empty or in denial. He protects those who are vulnerable, and he knows who needs to be shattered and who needs to be hugged and protected. Desmond.
Heron chapter 12 . 2/8/2014
If Desmond ever hears those tapes, it would shatter him to realize what a burden he’d been to the big brother he adored. That Duncan chose to die rather than stay with Desmond. Duncan’s death was as much a plea for help, for him and for Desmond, as it was a way to escape. He simply couldn’t see there were other options. Such as running away, like Desmond did. Clay is right to hide this tape from him. He already wants to kill an entire race of people based on making a mistake that could have been avoided had Duncan simply survived. Desmond has not made peace with Duncan’s death yet, any more than he’s resolved his issues with Andrew. The father who never was.
It is ironic that Andrew never heard Duncan when he was alive. Only in death can he finally hear his older son’s voice. Duncan didn’t want to fight. And he was too young to raise his brother. He was still a child himself; he was supposed to have parents raising HIM and loving HIM. Not be raising their child. Not be blamed for Altair’s departure from the Farm. Not be alone and lost. Duncan had no place in his family; or he felt; on earth. It was beyond difficult to read his distress and hopelessness, his sad desperation that he hoped his death would be good for Desmond. That was a huge mistake, believing that his brother and family would be better off with Duncan dead. Desmond still hasn’t found his place in the world since his big brother chose to leave him. Andrew ruined both boys’ lives; his love had too many conditions attached for them to win it and a father they deserved. He’s old and tired now, and his guilt may finally do him in. I like how strong you've made Clay in FM, bb, and how you turned Andrew’s request for an interview into a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past. Though whether that is Duncan or Clay is open to interpretation. An argument could even be made for Altair or Desmond. Hmm...
Heron chapter 12 . 2/8/2014
Hi bb, I know there is another chapter, but that is a preview, so this was essentially the end of Triad. It was an extraordinary interlude from Desmond’s story, yet Desmond’s presence has remained strong throughout, even when absent. So much of the flock’s lives revolve around their youngest. As does any family’s life around its children. Triad has examined the lives and motivations of Lucy, Jake, and Clay, three of the younger, though certainly not lesser, members of the flock. And now you outdid yourself, bb, with this submission. Duncan Miles. The honorary member of the flock who never was, their lost bird. I wonder what name Hawk would have given him. Perhaps a mythical bird that was so rare and beautiful that it couldn’t possibly be of this world?
Duncan’s legacy has been painful throughout FM. He symbolizes so many failures and so much blame on the part of so many people. Perhaps Duncan’s death is the stem of Desmond’s rage. In Pluto’s temple at the end of The Seventeenth Pluto indicated Duncan’s death was manufactured by the Proeathans because they foresaw he would not choose to awaken them, unlike Desmond, so they needed Desmond to be the great chosen one. The Apples revealed Altair’s future hero to be one who was a killer, an Assassin, because Desmond would be able to do that. When Duncan refused to kill, Altair realized that was not the person he’d seen in the Apple and so rejected Duncan in that moment, rather than taking both boys away to raise in safety and peace. That doomed Duncan and Desmond to Andrew and Kaley’s neglect. That the Proeathans manufactured the events surrounding Duncan’s death is what I suspect is at the heart of Desmond’s rage, even more than being tricked into destroying humanity. He worshipped his big brother, the only one who loved him and took care of him. The big brother who wasn’t strong enough to endure this world.
Heron chapter 11 . 2/7/2014
Cain’s pain at being abandoned, at being forced out of Altair’s life like a child being excluded from a game, at being imprisoned for 10,000 deaths was upsetting. Cain thinks he knows what he wants now, a synthetic of his own, like Lucy (who will not be impressed when this little truth comes out), but is that just a substitute, a surrogate to give his feelings and love to that Altair struggles to return? Altair runs; he has ever since Solomon’s Temple in the 12th century when he left Kadar and, he thought, Malik, to die. He struggles to return love. He abandoned Duncan and Desmond as children even though they idolized them. He’s watched everyone leave him. Perhaps Altair thinks he’s not worthy enough to be loved? Maybe that’s why he made himself an immortal family? They could never die on him. He couldn’t let Jacob die and lose Malik again. Cain loved him too much, accepting his deepest flaws without question, and that would be scary. That someone could love you that unconditionally. Well. Altair runs from love like he runs from the truth. Which is why Cain explaining the unmitigated truth, that it is Altair’s faulty decisions that have landed the world where it is that may just have shattered all of Altair’s self-confidence. Cain must really be Abel’s brother, because these two balance each other well. Altair unbalances the world with his decisions, while Cain brings it all back into balance. Only true brothers could devastate each other as much as these two have done.
Well, bb, I’ll end this review there, and review the next one asap. I hope you’re enjoying your other stories and art and work is going well for you! Be happy, bb!
Heron chapter 11 . 2/7/2014
Well, I must tell you, bb, this was one of my top three Altair chapters that you’ve written for FM, and he barely spoke a word and it wasn’t even from his pov! One of my unqualified favorite lines in this chapter was when Pluto announced that Altair had his hands full with being captured by Cain. The blasé tone you used to deliver that line, bb, left me roaring with laughter. They’re all so nonplussed, that it was too much for me! Your humour is so subtle that it leaves me breathless with laughter sometimes, bb! You’ve set it up so beautifully how there are three people who love Altair more than anything in this world: Jake, Cain, and Desmond. They love him and need him so much. For different reasons, but he has the power to destroy those three people in very different ways, if he chooses. They’ve all opened themselves up to Altair in unique ways, and Altair almost can’t handle that kind of love (perhaps four of them would be correct if I were to count Jacob and Malik separately).
Cain is so proprietary towards Altair, like he has first rights to kidnap (and I’d really love to know when the last time was that someone was able to kidnap Altair ibn La’Had! That must’ve shaken his confidence right there alone!) or kill his little brother, like Jake has no say in how Cain treats his partner. Are they the Original Brothers? I don’t know, but you make if fun to speculate about, bb! Jake’s bravery in being willing to face someone he fears to protect Altair was so sweet. Altair forced to be a spectator as he watched two people he loves and fears (that includes Jake to a certain extent because of Malik’s presence) is endearing. Not to mention painful. To have Cain finally shut Altair up and force him to listen to how this apocalypse is Altair’s fault mostly, while it is Desmond taking the rap for the Fall of Humanity, much as Eve once did. Hmm. He and Lucy have almost switched places with Adam and Eve, in that he was the saintly man who was led astray by the weak, stupid woman (or so history has stupidly claimed) while Lucy is now the loved angel amongst the mortals. That was a brilliant gender bending twist on one of the most important and debated themes in history, bb!
Heron chapter 11 . 2/7/2014
And what about Hawk? Previously, I thought it was just his emotions ensnared by that Apple, bb. What has really happened to Hawk? Why is he called the ‘Empty Man?’ I never fully appreciated the meaning you may have attached to that phrase before, bb. Did that Apple take more than his emotions? Did it take his soul, the way it did for all of the other dead sensitive Proeathan slaves? When Altair found him, Micheal was dying. But would it only have been his body? Was the rest of him consumed by that Apple? Altair’s intervention kept Hawk’s body alive and immortal, his mind and free will intact, yet he is drawn back to that Apple. Because his soul is trapped in there? Would finding a way to free it return it to Hawk’s immortal body, or set it free to rejoin Sarah in Heaven or whatever new life she may be reincarnated to live? It broke my heart when you wrote Hawk was scared, bb. He probably doesn’t know what he wants, either. To keep his soul in the Apple, get it back, or set it free without him and continue being empty for eternity. It is a lot messy when one doesn’t have to worry about emotions. Or consciences. That is why Hawk needs Clay; he’s right. Also, doesn’t this place Hawk at increased risk of falling under Proeathan influence? If his soul is already trapped in the Apple, that would already put him, at least in part, under Proeathan control, wouldn’t it? They can see things through those Apples, too, so they couldn’t they use it to partially see what Hawk is doing with the flock? Or I could be completely off course with my speculations to this point. If so, at least it was entertaining!
Heron chapter 11 . 2/7/2014
The true purpose of the Apples horrified me, bb. They were used to imprison the consciousness, or soul, of humans with the sixth sense in order to subjugate the population. And before that, those same people were coerced into helping enslave their fellow human beings. Five of the six strongest humans with the sixth sense living on the planet are gathered in Demeter’s base. Altair, Ezio, Hawk, Clay, and Cain. Only Desmond remains unaccounted for. If the Eden returns and the five of them are compelled to obey Proeathan will, they have a lot of humans to deliver into Proeathan hands, none of whom would resist their overseers. This is a disaster waiting to happen! Maybe they should separate, so if some fall under the influence, then the others may yet break it? The Proeathans would absolutely love to get the flock under their power and influence. But I suspect they can’t control Desmond any longer. Or ever again. For all that Clay is furious at Desmond for allowing Atlantis to rise. I think Clay would rather have killed Desmond himself and end any possibility of Atlantis rising. For all that he loves Desmond, he’d choose the world first, I think, over their youngest. I don’t think Altair, Ezio, and Hawk would choose similarly. I love all of the potential strife you’ve set up within the flock. Hawk is right, though, that they have to wait for Desmond to explain himself. When he’s ready, the AIs warned many chapters ago.
Heron chapter 11 . 2/7/2014
Hi bb, Thanks for being so patient, bb! I’ve just been kind of decompressing these last couple days. The exam I wrote makes all the difference about whether or not I’m able to practice my chosen career, so I was too wound up to give you a decent review, and I won’t know the results for two months, but I will strive to do my best for you here!
Atlantis has risen. It’s done. The dreaded future they were fighting has happened, and now none of them know what to do. Only Desmond could’ve raised Atlantis. The question is why he did it. He swore to kill all of the Proeathans, so why would he help them? Unless raising Atlantis wasn’t to help them. All of the Proeathans will be drawn back to their precious jewel, Atlantis, to live and be together once again now that they’ve all but wiped out all human resistance on Earth. They’ll be gathered together in one easy to find location, easy for Desmond, at least, I think. Concentrated in one geographic area. A vulnerable target, perhaps, for someone who can unleash the forces of hell itself upon them? Such as when Atlantis sank all those thousands of years ago? Only this time, the Proeathans may not find it so easy to escape and save themselves. But is Desmond really able to do the Proeathans what they did to humanity? They are… I’d say inhuman, but that’s already a given. That’s your point: they’re not human. They lack compassion even as they seem to lack a soul. Desmond has both. I don’t know if he really has it in him to obliterate an entire race of people, every man, woman, and child the way they did to humans. That is the ultimate abomination and could Desmond live with himself after such a thing? Or would he let himself die with this ultimate act genocide? That is for you to decide, bb. I trust you to surprise me no matter what my conjecture is.
Please see the next box for part two of this review.
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