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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:04 pm 
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I'm not crying! You're crying!

Those aren't tears, they're just... extra-shiny spots on my cheeks.

:cry:

And there's something eerily powerful about imagining Margot and Brigitte's spirits now, still in that little chapel, still thinking of Elise, but no longer wishing to be together -- not just now, not just yet. Someday, to be sure. But not yet.

And I'm just saying that if anyone wanted to paint this scene, with Margot and Brigitte looking all blue and transparent like a Jedi ghost, I would not be opposed to the idea.

Ooh; I'd be tempted, if I believed I could do it justice. Meanwhile, birds give me far less trouble than mammals, people are a disaster, and don't even get me started on transparency...


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:58 pm 
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I hope that we one day have a little anthology of stories and microfics all about the LaRoux family. We're well on our way, I think, but we could probably use a few more happy memories from their past.

*nods solemnly*


Thanks for reading, Orcish!

Thank you for sharing!

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 4:06 pm 
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Spoilers for Burning Home, a story I still have to write.
Cycles

I made myself cry again.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 9:21 pm 
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@Cycles: I really like the tone of this piece. It's really interesting to see Sharaka pulled in two directions like this, torn between duty and preference, so to speak, and that underlying theme of catastrophe. I also think that Elphimas's detachment is played well here, and as in Healing Paths, I really like how alien Elphimas is to Sharaka, and their continued companionship is pretty interesting to watch.

Also, Elphimas reminded me of Denner for a minute there. I'm reminded of the opening scene of "Blood Price," where Denner is sitting in his library, surrounded by books he had no further need for, because he had them all memorized. I've always found something strangely appealing in that visual, and the image of Elphimas just sort of reading their book is oddly cute to me for some reason.

Thanks for posting, Huey!


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 2:59 am 
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I also think that Elphimas's detachment is played well here, and as in Healing Paths, I really like how alien Elphimas is to Sharaka, and their continued companionship is pretty interesting to watch.

They're very related to their mana colors and they have completely different backgrounds, so it stands to reason that their initial interactions can have some wrinkles to smooth out. They both can sense the other's goodwill, though, and that's what matters in the end.

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Also, Elphimas reminded me of Denner for a minute there. I'm reminded of the opening scene of "Blood Price," where Denner is sitting in his library, surrounded by books he had no further need for, because he had them all memorized. I've always found something strangely appealing in that visual, and the image of Elphimas just sort of reading their book is oddly cute to me for some reason.

It's definitely an interesting image. To echo Sharaka's words, maybe he doesn't need them, but she cares for them.

Elphimas' memory, while very accurate in many aspects, is not as perfect as Denner's; that said, any technical book in the Azure Vault is definitely there mostly for safekeeping. "Oddly cute" is what I'm aiming for with Elphimas as a character (when he's not stumbling into villains and giving them information), so I must be doing something right :D

Thank you for reading and commenting!

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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 2:26 pm 
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I feel that the closest thing Sharaka could get to a shot at happiness would be running into Morgan. Being able to either hand over her burden, or at least learn how to carry it better, from a willing and trained lorekeeper would mean much, I think. The fact that he can relate to the pressure of being the last keeper of a whole civilisation is just a bonus at that point.

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 7:57 am 
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Aaarrrgh wrote:
I feel that the closest thing Sharaka could get to a shot at happiness would be running into Morgan. Being able to either hand over her burden, or at least learn how to carry it better, from a willing and trained lorekeeper would mean much, I think. The fact that he can relate to the pressure of being the last keeper of a whole civilisation is just a bonus at that point.

I didn't thought about that particular encounter! It's a pretty intriguing idea, though to be honest I'd swap those points. Sharaka tends to underestimate and belittle herself, and knowing another who carries a similar burden would probably do wonders, even if I think they have different definitions of the term "lorekeeper".

Thank you for reading and commenting!

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 10:51 pm 
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So, I don't know if anyone else is as excited for Battlebond as I am, but I'm loving the sports/esports vibe to the whole set, and it made me want to write. Anyway, this is the first installment in what I'm guessing is going to be a Battlebond-inspired serial, and I had a lot of fun with it! :D

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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 1:23 pm 
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@The Scout: I like it! A part of me wants this to be in the ancient past, and the ultimate reveal to be that these are all feeder leagues for the Amphiseum, when, I assure you, the lethality barrier will very much be turned off...

:D

Anyway, as a fan of fantasy gladiatorial narratives, I enjoyed this story both for the melee and for the editorializing and note-taking of Griss. Thanks for posting, and I look forward to the continuing adventures of Alexa Hex.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:18 pm 
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@The Scout: I like it! A part of me wants this to be in the ancient past, and the ultimate reveal to be that these are all feeder leagues for the Amphiseum, when, I assure you, the lethality barrier will very much be turned off...

:D

Anyway, as a fan of fantasy gladiatorial narratives, I enjoyed this story both for the melee and for the editorializing and note-taking of Griss. Thanks for posting, and I look forward to the continuing adventures of Alexa Hex.

Thanks for reading, Raven, and for the very kind words. I had a lot of fun with this. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:54 pm 
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Last edited by RavenoftheBlack on Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:16 am 
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Aww... I can't help but confronting Now vs Then when reading LaRoux flashbacks; it gives a bittersweet feeling to it all, just like a memory of a wonderful summer in a happy year past gone, which is not very good for my heart but works well for the piece. Thank you for sharing!

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:54 pm 
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I usually have a hard time picking favorites, of anything. (My spouse noticed that I seem to have a favorite cuisine before I did.) When it comes to children, though, ours have personalities that make it hard not to have a favorite. I wish I could be like Comte LaRoux here, but in my heart, I know the truth. And I suspect that the kids do, too.

But that analogy is marvelous. And, of course, is all the more heartbreaking given the future of the family. Well done.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:39 pm 
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Aww... I can't help but confronting Now vs Then when reading LaRoux flashbacks; it gives a bittersweet feeling to it all, just like a memory of a wonderful summer in a happy year past gone, which is not very good for my heart but works well for the piece. Thank you for sharing!

Thanks! And yeah, I know exactly what you mean. It can be hard seeing these moments with the Comte, or with Margot, or with Brigitte, knowing the various fates of the members of the Family LaRoux. But hopefully, some of these little, stolen moments can be more sweet than bitter, a little slice of life from a family that really, truly loved each other in (as Orcish once described it) an uncomplicated way.

I hope someday to have a sort of mini-anthology of LaRoux shorts like this. Orcish has a few great ones already, and if anyone else wants to write one, please feel encouraged to do so!

Thanks for reading, Huey!

Brentain wrote:
I usually have a hard time picking favorites, of anything. (My spouse noticed that I seem to have a favorite cuisine before I did.) When it comes to children, though, ours have personalities that make it hard not to have a favorite. I wish I could be like Comte LaRoux here, but in my heart, I know the truth. And I suspect that the kids do, too.

So, which is your favorite LaRoux sister? ;)

I suspect most parents, if they're being honest, would say the same as you. Obviously, that doesn't mean they love one child any more or less than the others, but those are not the same thing. Still, knowing what we know of the Comte, I suspect he is being genuine here. He's got that soul of the poet that I think this question, and the meaning behind it, bothers him somewhat. The thought that any of his daughters might think he prefers one over another affects him, for whatever reason.

Brentain wrote:
But that analogy is marvelous. And, of course, is all the more heartbreaking given the future of the family. Well done.

Thanks! I really liked the heartbeat analogy, although the room analogy is nice too, I think. And like you say, I think it's an unfortunate glimpse into the future, because I think all three of the LaRoux Sisters feel the same way, about one another and about the Comte. And Poor Elise has felt it three times now.

:cry:

But, to feel that kind of loss, I think you had to have had something really incredible, and that's what these little moments are about. Something I hope comes across as incredible, and that is the family LaRoux that Orcish has given us.

:)

Thanks for reading, Brentain!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:47 pm 
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Oof! Right in the feels!

Seriously, though, Raven, this is great! You've written so many wonderful stories for the Comte and his daughters, and this is no exception. They're some of my favorite characters, and it's always a treat to see them again, even with all the foreknowledge that these happy times are doomed not to last.

There are lots of little things that I love, here. I'm particularly fond of when the Comte lies, and says that Margot isn't the Comtess's favorite, which of course Brigitte can see right through. I'm reminded of Brigitte's reminiscence, at the start of "Enough Rope to Hang By," that all mothers profess to love their children equally, but that children -- is as often the case -- know better. And yet, when the Comte says he loves all his daughters, I utterly believe him, and I know that Brigitte -- once she gets her head around the notion -- believes him, too. There's also something genuinely heartbreaking about Brigitte's suggestion that Elise should be the Comte's favorite; Brigitte, I think, understands better than anyone else the pain of Elise's isolation, and she wants to help her, and is willing to give up her own happiness in turn. All three of the LaRoux sisters love each other -- simply, and unconditionally -- but I've always had the sense that Brigitte and Elise share a special bond. They are the outsiders in their own family, and they look to each other for support. That is a link forged from iron, which will never be broken, and, before all is said and done, each will end up saving the other's life. I love that you can see the first inklings of that, even here.

Anyway, I love, love this story. Thank you so much for sharing it!


But, to feel that kind of loss, I think you had to have had something really incredible, and that's what these little moments are about. Something I hope comes across as incredible, and that is the family LaRoux that Orcish has given us.

You know, I talk about serendipity sometimes, and about how the moments I love most in writing are the moments when the characters surprise me, and the sisters LaRoux are very much one of those cases. Brigitte started life as a wafer thin, one-dimensional character, and Elise was basically a walking case of deus ex machina. Margot, of course, is already dead by the time we meet her, as is the Comte, and both exist in "Enough Rope" as little more than a line.

But then something almost miraculous happened -- not just in that story, but even more so after -- all four of them started to grow.

Brigitte, over the course of "Enough Rope," found a determination and courage which I don't think I realized she had in her when I started to write. I know that I cry more than the average bear, but the moment when Elise tells Brigitte, "You are a good Comtess," that moment still makes me choke up. Because, whatever Brigitte's failings may have been to that point -- and her failings are serious and real -- in that moment, what Elise tells her is true. Brigitte is a good Comtess, and, in the end, she does what a good Comtess would do -- she gives herself for something greater. I knew, when I started writing, that Brigitte would help the rebels. But what I didn't know was how much she would grow. She begins the story as an accidental Comtess. She ends it as a woman of bravery, and honor.

Elise, too, kind of seemed to grow before my eyes. It's easy to forget that she's barely even in "Enough Rope," and she originated as a desperate plot device. It wasn't until I was well into writing the story that I stumbled onto the answer of how the rebels would escape -- I think that, in my earliest, hand-wavey outline, they were going to escape across rooftops, or something equally improbable -- and Elise, of course, turned out to be that answer. Her disability, her magic, her love for Brigitte -- they all just sort of clicked into place, like they'd always been there, to the point that it became practically impossible to imagine a time when they had not.

Even then, though, like I said, Elise was still a fairly peripheral character in that story, and it wasn't even clear whether or how she would figure into events going forward. And it was really in conversations then with Raven that the real Elise started to appear. There were these glimpses into her past, and the kind of insight they gave into the magnitude of her loneliness, and her loss, and then, by degree, it was like Elise came alive. She stepped out of the background of her own story, and, finding herself suddenly adrift in a world she didn't know -- a world she had always been sheltered from, a world which she had always feared would try to hurt her, and which did try to hurt her -- she, too, found a kind of courage which I think surprised her as much as anyone, and started to take charge of her own fate. I've come to really love Elise, and so much of that has to do with the character that Raven and his stories helped reveal.

And then the Comte, of course, is entirely Raven's creation. All we know about him from "Enough Rope" is that he was, in Brigitte's memory, "a kind man, a good man, fond of books, and music." That's not exactly much to go on, but Raven somehow managed to take that sketch and fill it in, and, seeing the man that emerges from his stories, it's easy to understand how much the Comte was loved.

Margot, meanwhile, was the simplest in some respects, because, from the beginning, I always knew she was good. She is, to use the phrase I've used before, the marble woman -- smart, beautiful, and kind. The Comtess puts her on a pedestal, to be sure, but it's not an unearned pedestal -- Margot is, to use Brigitte's description, "easy to love," and, even without fully knowing her, it was easy to imagine why. The glimpses we've seen of Margot since then are really just the ideal brought to life, and, in this instance, the woman appears to match up to the marble. Margot really is easy to love, and maybe the most endearing thing about her is that the Comtess's favoritism -- and Margot is the Comtess's favorite, in the strongest possible sense -- never seems to go to Margot's head. Margot is easy to love, but she also gives her love easily, and she loves her sisters as sisters, as simple as that. Margot isn't perfect -- Raven has shown really beautifully, for example, the strain that she hides beneath all that confidence -- but she is good, in the simplest sense of that term, and it's not hard to see what Brigitte means when she says, crying over Margot's tombstone, that "she was the best of us all."

And somehow -- someway -- all of this came out of the aether. It wasn't planned; I didn't plan it. It just happened, because that's who these characters turned out to be.

Serendipity, and surprises. Both are a helluva thing.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:05 pm 
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Oof! Right in the feels!

Yup, that's how they getcha!

To quote Bender Bending Rodriquez, "Emotions are dumb, and should be hated..."

:paranoid:

Seriously, though, Raven, this is great!

Thanks! Glad you liked it, as always.

You've written so many wonderful stories for the Comte and his daughters, and this is no exception. They're some of my favorite characters, and it's always a treat to see them again, even with all the foreknowledge that these happy times are doomed not to last.

Such is the way of all flesh, to quote Samuel Butler or misquote the Bible, whichever you prefer. One way or the other, I too very much like seeing the family LaRoux.t he sweet moments in their lives together are sort of like atonement for the things I tend to do to other characters...

There are lots of little things that I love, here. I'm particularly fond of when the Comte lies, and says that Margot isn't the Comtess's favorite, which of course Brigitte can see right through. I'm reminded of Brigitte's reminiscence, at the start of "Enough Rope to Hang By," that all mothers profess to love their children equally, but that children -- is as often the case -- know better.

This was very much on my mind as I wrote this piece. As I think we've discussed elsewhere, I do not get the sense that either Elise or Brigitte were bitter at Margot regarding her position as the Comtesse's favorite, they were both certainly aware of it. Brigitte's musings in ERtHB (just rolls off the tongue, huh?) certainly establish that.

And yet, when the Comte says he loves all his daughters, I utterly believe him, and I know that Brigitte -- once she gets her head around the notion -- believes him, too.

Me, too! The Comte strikes me as a pretty unconvincing liar.

There's also something genuinely heartbreaking about Brigitte's suggestion that Elise should be the Comte's favorite; Brigitte, I think, understands better than anyone else the pain of Elise's isolation, and she wants to help her, and is willing to give up her own happiness in turn. All three of the LaRoux sisters love each other -- simply, and unconditionally -- but I've always had the sense that Brigitte and Elise share a special bond. They are the outsiders in their own family, and they look to each other for support. That is a link forged from iron, which will never be broken, and, before all is said and done, each will end up saving the other's life. I love that you can see the first inklings of that, even here.

I've always sort of felt the same way. I have this perception (and I don't think we have an answer for this) that Brigitte and Elise are closer in age than Elise and Margot are. That might not actually be true, because Brigitte seems pretty young in "The Sentence," and we know from "Enough Rope" that Elise is 16 when she's exiled, but that was always my thought, and might explain that closeness, as well. But regardless, I love this moment with Brigitte, too, essentially willing to "give up" her chance at being a favorite because she wants Elise to have it. I really like writing for Young Brigitte. It's a lot like writing for Young Beryl, actually.

Anyway, I love, love this story. Thank you so much for sharing it!

Thanks for reading!


But, to feel that kind of loss, I think you had to have had something really incredible, and that's what these little moments are about. Something I hope comes across as incredible, and that is the family LaRoux that Orcish has given us.

You know, I talk about serendipity sometimes, and about how the moments I love most in writing are the moments when the characters surprise me, and the sisters LaRoux are very much one of those cases. Brigitte started life as a wafer thin, one-dimensional character, and Elise was basically a walking case of deus ex machina. Margot, of course, is already dead by the time we meet her, as is the Comte, and both exist in "Enough Rope" as little more than a line.

But then something almost miraculous happened -- not just in that story, but even more so after -- all four of them started to grow.

Brigitte, over the course of "Enough Rope," found a determination and courage which I don't think I realized she had in her when I started to write. I know that I cry more than the average bear, but the moment when Elise tells Brigitte, "You are a good Comtess," that moment still makes me choke up. Because, whatever Brigitte's failings may have been to that point -- and her failings are serious and real -- in that moment, what Elise tells her is true. Brigitte is a good Comtess, and, in the end, she does what a good Comtess would do -- she gives herself for something greater. I knew, when I started writing, that Brigitte would help the rebels. But what I didn't know was how much she would grow. She begins the story as an accidental Comtess. She ends it as a woman of bravery, and honor.

Elise, too, kind of seemed to grow before my eyes. It's easy to forget that she's barely even in "Enough Rope," and she originated as a desperate plot device. It wasn't until I was well into writing the story that I stumbled onto the answer of how the rebels would escape -- I think that, in my earliest, hand-wavey outline, they were going to escape across rooftops, or something equally improbable -- and Elise, of course, turned out to be that answer. Her disability, her magic, her love for Brigitte -- they all just sort of clicked into place, like they'd always been there, to the point that it became practically impossible to imagine a time when they had not.

Even then, though, like I said, Elise was still a fairly peripheral character in that story, and it wasn't even clear whether or how she would figure into events going forward. And it was really in conversations then with Raven that the real Elise started to appear. There were these glimpses into her past, and the kind of insight they gave into the magnitude of her loneliness, and her loss, and then, by degree, it was like Elise came alive. She stepped out of the background of her own story, and, finding herself suddenly adrift in a world she didn't know -- a world she had always been sheltered from, a world which she had always feared would try to hurt her, and which did try to hurt her -- she, too, found a kind of courage which I think surprised her as much as anyone, and started to take charge of her own fate. I've come to really love Elise, and so much of that has to do with the character that Raven and his stories helped reveal.

It was interesting watching "Enough Rope" take shape. As I think I've maybe said elsewhere, it's probably the longest writing project - both in terms of length and time - that I've been involved with that I didn't actually write anything for. And so, while I knew some of the broad strokes of where the story was going and what was going to happen, it was really like watching Elise and, to a greater extend, Brigitte, evolve as it went.

I hope Orcish doesn't mind me spilling a behind-the-scenes secret, but when he mentioned the "real Elise" starting to emerge, it reminded me of this story. When Orcish sent me the scene from "Enough Rope" wherein Aurelie and Henri have their confrontation with Brigitte and Elise, I thought I detected just a hint of something between Elise and Henri, a vague sense of attraction between the two. This was not part of the original plan. When I mentioned this sense to Orcish, his response was something like "Hrm. You know, I think you're right." This might have been Orcish playing coy, but I like to think it's another of those things in a story that isn't planned, or even necessarily noticed by the author, but makes so much sense when you see it.

And then the Comte, of course, is entirely Raven's creation. All we know about him from "Enough Rope" is that he was, in Brigitte's memory, "a kind man, a good man, fond of books, and music." That's not exactly much to go on, but Raven somehow managed to take that sketch and fill it in, and, seeing the man that emerges from his stories, it's easy to understand how much the Comte was loved.

LIES! LIES! Don't listen to that man, err, Orc. While it is true that I was the first one to put the Comte into a story as a living character, the Comte was very much Orcish's creation, and the line he quoted about him, as well as the depth of love that Brigitte clearly had for him, gave me a great deal to work with. I admit I'm very proud of the way the Comte worked out in "Little White Lies," his debut story, that story would have been thoroughly impossible without Orcish laying the necessary groundwork.

Margot, meanwhile, was the simplest in some respects, because, from the beginning, I always knew she was good. She is, to use the phrase I've used before, the marble woman -- smart, beautiful, and kind. The Comtess puts her on a pedestal, to be sure, but it's not an unearned pedestal -- Margot is, to use Brigitte's description, "easy to love," and, even without fully knowing her, it was easy to imagine why. The glimpses we've seen of Margot since then are really just the ideal brought to life, and, in this instance, the woman appears to match up to the marble. Margot really is easy to love, and maybe the most endearing thing about her is that the Comtess's favoritism -- and Margot is the Comtess's favorite, in the strongest possible sense -- never seems to go to Margot's head. Margot is easy to love, but she also gives her love easily, and she loves her sisters as sisters, as simple as that. Margot isn't perfect -- Raven has shown really beautifully, for example, the strain that she hides beneath all that confidence -- but she is good, in the simplest sense of that term, and it's not hard to see what Brigitte means when she says, crying over Margot's tombstone, that "she was the best of us all."

I reread "A Crack in the Pillar" recently, and, much like with Robert LaRoux, Orcish gave me some very fertile ground to work with with Margot.

We've been talking a fair amount about AUs lately with the High School thread, and I would love to see an AU where Margot is not killed that fateful night. It might prove very interesting.

And somehow -- someway -- all of this came out of the aether. It wasn't planned; I didn't plan it. It just happened, because that's who these characters turned out to be.

Serendipity, and surprises. Both are a helluva thing.

Yeah, it's crazy, alright. Anyway, Orcish, thanks for reading, and thanks for creating such great characters and letting me use them more or less with impunity!

Yay, impunity!

:D


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:47 pm 
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So, as a rule, I don't write stories using canon characters, in no small part because I can't keep their histories straight half of time. And, when I do occasionally write stories in which canon characters appear, I tend not to post them here, since I never intend them to be Archive fodder.

But I've done a couple recently, and I figured, you know what? Why not? If nothing else, they may be fun to read.

So here's a quick export from my Folder of Dubious Quality!

Plea Deal

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:49 am 
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That's great! I admit I'm not caught up with the Ravnica story, but I love Vraska and her characterization is pretty spot on, I think. Thanks for sharing!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:40 pm 
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Having served on a jury, I'm very, very glad that our proceedings aren't like that. (Not that ours doesn't have its problems, but at least there's hope.) I don't think I've gotten that worked up by a story since Enough Rope to Hang By. I'm not exactly sure I'd root for Vraska here, but Ceilia is amazing.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:39 am 
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@Huey & @Brentain, thank you for the very kind words!

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"And remember, I'm pullin' for ya, 'cause we're all in this together." - Red Green


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