Poll: In To Ride Upon Svadilfari, what pairing(s) would you prefer for Hermione? Vote Now!
Author has written 15 stories for Naruto, Harry Potter, Final Fantasy VII, Inuyasha, and Thor.
--Currently on a break from fanfiction. You, my readers, are a wonderful source of immediate gratification that makes it difficult to spend any of my limited writing time on original fiction. So, for a little while, I'm going to not work or post anything new. For that, I apologize. If you weren't such excellent and faithful reviewers, you wouldn't be such a temptation, but as it is, you test my self-control entirely too much. Until then, Evil.--
Please view the new art for the Hel arc of To Ride Upon Svadilfari.
Against my better judgment but in the interest of at least resting assured that you have some idea of what Harry looks like in his between-form, you can see the concept art for TRuS here. I know its bad and it isn't likely to ever get better, but my medium is words. As of 3/22, there's also a new concept sketch on my Deviant profile--it's under scraps and not gallery. But if you want to see a rendering of Hermione and Harry done by someone with actual talent, check out ice-vixen-x's version.
I'd like to extent a special thanks to the reviewers who have supported To Ride Upon Svadilfari's focus on Hermione's point of view, though this story actually spends more time in the POVs of other characters than in any other story I've written, which has been interesting because I have to be ready to invest myself into a worldview and grasp of the facts that might not agree with the character whose head we inhabited in the previous chapter. I don't read Harry-centric fiction beyond the actual books, but I have seen summaries and reviews of some of the stories that were admittedly less than flattering. I don't mean to imply that there aren't wonderful Harry-centric fics out there, but from what I've seen, the writers sometimes dare to venture where I would fear to tread. Or, at least, to seriously incorporate into the storyline, though I teased it awfully in Five Kingdoms.
If I were to directly substitute Hermione into Harry's usual role in these kind of stories, she would likely end up with Loki, Harry, Balder, and maybe Thor for good measure in a reverse harem that would make very little sense but would be delightful fun to write. Justifying its existence would be a challenge that makes it tempting, but I could probably only manage to do so after a word count worthy of two novels and I still would have no idea how to explain why Thor was there except for a sheepish admission that I couldn't bear to exclude his wonderful hair. Equal opportunity polyamory--if that happens to be a word--and all that. But I could only imagine the public outcry that would cause, even if it would be an excellent excuse to use the word selamlik in a paragraph and give it the same connotation as a seraglio.
An Apology for the Errors
My method for writing fanfiction differs from the method I use for original fiction. While the latter may lay dormant for years before I return and decide the writing is immature and scrap the whole thing while retaining only the original plot and only the bare bones of that. While this might sound familiar to all of you who read Five Kingdoms For the Dead in both the original and the redux, this process is invisible and painless when I don't have readers emotionally invested in the work. All in all, I think this process is usually for the better, but for fanfiction, updating chapter by chapter, I don't have the same luxury.
What you see on the screen as an update is the result of three or four hours of frantic typing, preceded by days or weeks of mulling over the newest plot twists and complications. Any editing that occurs are the errors I catch while working on the chapter. And with that kind of sloppy process, errors and mistakes are going to occur. When you point them out, I try to correct them and I'm always grateful. Sometimes I even have the spare time to go back and spruce up stories or chapters. But this is the process that works for me and that makes writing fanfiction a break from more serious kinds of writing. For me, fanfiction is almost like a freewriting exercise, because fanfiction itself serves as a kind of playground where plots too weak to exist as original fiction can flourish and be explored.
So the mistakes will likely continue and I apologize for that, but while I hope they don't detract from your reading experience too seriously, the editing process involved in producing a flawless masterpiece would detract from my experience.
Thanks for your understanding,
Far better than anything I could have drawn for The Bone Eater is this work by the talented djfox31.
However, while I only fool around, some people with actual artistic talent have made contributions, which you should view and applaud them for:
Sealed-Dynasty recently completed this subtle and wonderful portrait of Sakura. It's rewarding to know I don't have to disappear for months to have artists bring my world to life!
I continue to be spoiled by wonderful artists. Enjoy tenterhooks immensely great versions of Shiho and Jun and Sakura. I think Jun can safely be said to be a fan favorite. He's certainly one of my favorite characters to write.
Go on over and enjoy UzzleCue's wonderful Sakura and Jun!
saltygod's gotten in the on the campaign for a new chapter of First Flower with this work of Sakura and Shiho.
From the Five Kingdoms-verse comes this wonderful work of Sakura from cxxiong523.
A rendition of Jun from First Flower of Spring that has made me feel more than a bit guilty for neglecting that story. So if you get in the next six months, you'll have brokenmaelstrom to thank.
Fallen Night by Sakura Taichou
Also, a very striking depiction of Sakura in her Five Kingdoms ANBU guise.
Far better than anything I could have drawn for The Bone Eater is this work by the talented djfox31.
And you might have noticed the new and striking cover for Five Kingdoms, credit for which belongs to the talented Vonneguts, who also made the old covers.
See full sized cover here. And there were several others, all wonderful, that you never got to see.
Five Kingdoms of the Darkest Ink by Kason-sama
The First Flower of Spring by Evionth (I want to own her version of Shiho, seriously.)
Because I had to post this excerpt (i.e. self-indulgent free talk) somewhere and I like my readers too well to attach it to the new chapters of Five Kingdoms.
When I write new chapters, I always think it's such a pity that Naruto's such a shounen manga. In terms of its world mythology, it's kind of extremely sketchy. Scratch that. It is extremely sketchy. Beyond the missions and occasional trips to the ramen stand, the reader is left to wonder what life is like for these characters when they aren't experiencing emotional angst. In a format like manga, where you can literally show the reader without ever once saying something outright, really good stories usually have a strong feeling of taking place in a separate world with its own distinct rules, religions, and cultures. But Naruto...doesn't. What do they do for fun in the village? You have wireless headsets, so there has to be television, right? What's the programming like? What about karaoke? Bars exist and hotsprings full of monkeys and organizations that seem synonymous with yakuza, so it gives off the impression that we're in a psuedo-Japan, but there are gaping holes.
There doesn't even seem to be a native religion. The only one we observe is Jashinism, which certainly isn't the one commonly practiced. So I'll apologize in advance to all the Naruto purists who are still hanging on, because throughout this fic I've adopted in part and wholesale Shinto and Buddhism, because occasionally (mostly on evidence of the funeral of the Third, the Buddhist symbol used by the Hyuuga clan in their seal, and the Sage of the Six Paths--which would be the simplified Buddhist view of the six levels of existence that one can be reborn into, the appearance of the Three Imperial Treasures, and about a billion other things) it seems Kishimoto uses the social structure of feudal Japan and adds televisions. Even some of the summons, like Danzo's baku (the long-nosed tapir-looking thing that eats nightmares and is present for all of about seven panels in a fight that had a lot of dramatic-build up and then promptly collapsed under the strain of its own weight), are drawn straight from his native mythology, so I don't feel too guilty. Even about Byakko, who apparently is shaky ground because I implicated it would take more than the power a tailed beast to summon it. As I understand the tailed beasts in cannon-verse, they're only chakra constructs themselves, not an actual demon like the Ten-Tails, who can be created only with the addition of all the tailed beasts and is apparently magnitudes stronger than any of them singularly, even the Kyuubi.
They were created by the Sage of Six Paths, who is a semi-mythic legendary figure, like the Yellow Emperor of China (I'm looking for an example most people would recognize without having to Google and that was the best I could do without creating new controversy), but who is not part of a creation myth. Every culture that I'm aware of has one (many surprising similar), so by virtue of that, I made a decision as an author that there were obviously other beings in existence. For example, the Ten-Tails was not the only demon, just the most powerful. And given the nature of dualism, if demons exist, there must be equal and opposite beings of good. Hence the borrowing of the Shinto pantheon. But what about Byakko? Technically, Byakko is a symbol drawn originally from Chinese astrology (under a different name--I think its Baihu, but I don't have confidence in that), which would seem unrelated at first to the framework Kishimoto created. More within the context would be to transition to the Shitenno, the Four Heavenly Kings (Shinto deities apparently can be thought of as manifestations of bodhisattva once Buddhism was imported), but Komokuten would be both outside the ANBU zodiac theme and probably prompt a lot of, Say what? Who or what is that? And you're here to have fun, not learn about myth systems.
I wanted something that was unique to Sakura, something that could put her on the same level as the boys, but that they could not duplicate. So, therefore, an actual major kami that may or may not listen and whose summoning could occur only at great cost. After all, there had to be some reason the scroll was sealed away in the first place, yes? Think of it like the Fourth's sealing technique.
And if you're still hung up on the point, of course Naruto could do it, please remember that you're reading close third-person P.O.V., which means that you are not reading the be-all, end-all, Word of God decision of an omniscient narrator. You are in the mind of Sakura, a girl who is about to sacrifice herself in order to destroy both Obito and Amanozako. Of course she wants to feel that the act is special, that it matters. Would you like your last thoughts to be, Oh, if only Naruto was here. Then I could stand back and watch as he performs miracles and saves us all. If you're looking for that kind of Sakura, I'll refer you to canon. Five Kingdoms is meant to have a heavy psychological aspect. I try very hard to represent the unique mindset, values, and morals of each character in their P.O.V. (sometimes, like in First Flower, I'll even make an effort to adjust diction so that it's more obvious who we're seeing from the eyes of), but the limitation of this is that you can only experience the story as they do.
Alright, a word on the fights that occur in my version of the Naruto-verse; you'll see it quite heavily in The Tale of the Hime chapter of FKFTD and chapter 7 of First Flower, but upon many an occasion I use my own vision of violence rather than the epic, episode-after-episode length battles that occur in the anime and manga. Which I find all well and good, but upon occasion I sometimes want my characters to kill like ninja, not pit gladiators. Short, brutal, and swift are the keywords for it, though a few people have called it abrupt. To me, it's a kind of compliment, because violence on that scale should always be sort of shocking, not a forgone conclusion. It reinforces the transience of a life defined by violence and that some days, these people of impossible strength die not with some kind of glorious fanfare, but in some hidden, forgotten corner of the world. But that's my opinion. Feel free to PM if you wish to argue or discuss. I'm an English major at heart--I will always enjoy looking at the other side of the coin and nothing makes my heart flutter like intelligent debate.
And if anyone wants to do fanart for any of my stories, you are welcome to it. I would, however, like you to send me a link. After all, what fun would it be if I couldn't look at it?
You know how in manga the author sometimes takes advantage of extra space to ramble on about themselves, which the translators don't even usually bother with? This is that space.
What does Evil-sama like? Happy endings that don't feel contrived. And when my chronic second-lead syndrome is happily surprised by the fact that very, very rarely, the good guy wins.
What does Evil-sama dislike? When an author creates a capable, intelligent heroine and then proceeds to pair her with someone whose redeeming character points I'm blind to. My most frustrating example of this was the Harry Potter series, where I couldn't understand why Ron--who spent the better part of the series endangering Hermione's sense of self-confidence and self-worth--ended up married to her. I'd have rather her marry someone we didn't even meet in the novels, for I like her very much. Besides, in what sense is a man reliable if he abandons you in the middle of a war? My other pet grievance, which finds most of its fodder in the Naruto series, is when a formerly weak and blatantly 2-D character like Sakura seems about to undergo some major character development, only to find my hopes cruelly dashed. And, yes, before you tell me she did train under Tsunade-sama, I'd like to point out that relegating a female character to the role of healer is the oldest trick in the book for keeping her in the party but out of the way of the action. Real doctors are intelligent people whom I respect very much, field medics more so, but in the Naruto-verse they are far underutilized and seem an excuse to shunt Sakura to the side. And I've seen many people in fics cite the Hippocratic Oath as the reason she doesn't use her medical know-how offensively (mostly as part of a set-up to have her heal the enemy of her choice and fall madly in love with him), but that always leaves me a bit baffled. We'll skip the part where I sometimes try to imagine how and when the philosophy of Greek wriggled into a psuedo-Japan that's still under the feudal system and has never heard of Westerners except in one non-canon movie and delve right into the pragmatic assessment of their profession. They are ninja. Their primary roles are as spies and assassins. In either of these roles, is there room for setting aside a skillset that you've spent the better part of your life training to acquire? The answer to that, for me, is a resounding "no."
All right, about my personal preferences for pairings:
My other definite favorite is Naruto/Hinata, because they really deserve to be together.
Final Fantasy VII:
Yuffie and Vincent are my favorite characters, along with Sephiroth.
Five Kingdoms for the Dead: Complete.
The First Flower of Spring: In Progress.
Fallen Night: In Progress. And, be warned, it is a crack!fic. Which, if you've read beyond the first chapter, you'll figure out quickly.
Memorium for the Rain: Paused while I scramble to keep up with five actively updating stories. However, if you review it enough, I might be tempted to take a look.
Colors of Hate: Complete (oneshot)
Truth and Change: Complete (oneshot)
The Bone Eater: In Progress.
Where the West Wind Blows: In Progress.
Final Fantasy VII
Genesis Rising: Hiatus.
Cold Gaze: Farmed Out.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to PM me, though I can't promise my response will be prompt. I'm usually busy with real life, but I'll try to get back to you.