Once again, your writing is astonishing. Your prose is -- as lots of people have commented, and rightly so -- absolutely outstanding. Favourite passages include the chapter opening, that vivid image of the rain and the neon lights, the post-war cityscape, and the description of Vurneau, that glorious ruin and treasure trove.
One thing that stood out to me -- that's been less talked about, I think -- is how masterfully you handle conflict. In all of these four scenes you clearly delineate what your characters want, the power dynamic among them, the push and pull. As a result, every scene is taut and compelling, a thrill to read.
While I loved every scene in this chapter -- I love Adelaide, so lonely, practically entombed, and Cygnus, decadent and malleable -- the stand-out scenes for me were Eileen's and Tom's.
I'm fascinated by Eileen as a character. You delineate her psychology so clearly, her fear and desperation with a touch of pettiness. I love how she's both flattered by and fearful of Tom's attention; how romantic and foolish and tragic she is; how she lamely attempts to rebuff him, but isn't strong enough. This line is just excellent: "Of course he could: snake-like and lazy, he watched her with that razor-edged smile, warm and knowing, waiting and waiting as the seconds ticked by for the moment when she gave in." I'm dying to know more about why she fled the magical world, and especially about her history with Tom.
And the scene with Tom at Borgin and Burke's is just so dark and exciting, and also contains some of my favourite lines/images. For instance: ". . .the Tarot cards spotted here and there with blood, their edges dyed red and the Queen of Spades' smile gloating and bloated". And the image of the name, "Vurenau", falling from Tom's lips like a gauntlet on the floor, "[t]he clash of metal on stone as the gauntlet fell, tossed down so casually". Just wonderful! In general, I just love the way you've written Tom. In both these scenes, the characters he's manipulating can tell that he's sinister, dangerous, but he's still able to bend them to his desires by sheer force of personality. The effect is chilling and wonderful.
Amazing work -- where your opening chapter set the stage, this chapter really sets the plot in motion, introducing major characters, relationships, conflicts. We must indeed do this again soon -- I can't wait to see where this goes!
i'm back :D
i think i’m still the most intrigued by adelaide. her whole demeanour, the appearance of…i don’t know, a sort of fragility is just like a mask. because obviously, she’s not fragile, she certainly has some secrets…who knows what kind of a deal, if any (and i think she probably did make it or she will in the future) she made with tom? and obviously, dolohov knows it too. i’m intrigued by their relationship – i can’t pinpoint what they are to each other, mere acquaintances or something more. i’m guessing more because why would just someone you know visit you in quarantine while your husband is deathly sick? and were they talking about lycus’ first wife? idk who else could they have talked about.. :O
the party scene was intriguing, especially when it’s tied to the ending because it seems like the knights of Walpurgis have some deeper meaning than just an early name for the future death eaters – they mean something to tom, and yet, nobody seems to know who or what they are/were. cygnus seems to have started to see through tom but then, tom is perfectly able to manipulate him yet again into doing what tom wants. druella seems to sort of be aware of tom and his personality or maybe she just suspects but she’s either too afraid to act on anything, to do something that might anger tom or she’s fine with it (though judging by the state of her at the end of the chapter i’d think she’s not totally fine…)
jophiel is another interesting character – druella doesn’t quite trust him, even though he’s her little brother, and i just want/need to know what he’s doing???!
eileen fascinates me – idk what jophiel could possibly want from her :O but the appearance of snape will probably make things even more interesting for her, though i’m definitely not looking forward to seeing more of her future abusive husband :I
your descriptions and the style of writing is perfect as always *_* and even though with each new chapter i read, i’m left with more questions (and most of the previous ones not having been answered yet), i don’t mind it – i love the mystery you’re weaving here, it’s wonderful to read :D
Hi Laura! I’m here for our swap, and figured I might as well take a stab at this mighty WIP of yours.
So I know that you’ve heard this countless times before and my commentary isn’t anything new, but your writing style is truly something of beauty. There’s a level of poeticism to it and all of the description feels so purposeful and flows so deliberately from scene to scene and into the moments of dialogue - it creates this perfect mood and builds the backdrop of this fic so well.
I love that you’ve started with this description of Tom coming off the boat, and you never even have to say who he is in this first scene, but the way he speaks and his mannerisms had me pinning it as him almost immediately. (Spoiler alert from after I finished writing this and actually looked at the summary for the first time: I never read summaries before I start for some unknown reason. If I had, I would’ve known this was definitely Tom. But alas, I used context clues instead.) This line especially - “a flash of something amused and malevolent, dangerous, skittering across his face in the second the officer was looking elsewhere.” - just strikes me as particularly fitting for Tom Riddle. Amidst the crystal clear descriptions of the scene that you’ve created here, you get at Tom’s character perfectly - that subtle cruelness twisting around inside his own head while seeming perfectly pleasant on the outside to anyone who may be interacting with him.
And then Eileen… I wonder what has her working in a Muggle funeral home, doing things like arranging flowers and serving tea to clients. And because it’s probably just going to be a thing where I pick out lines from every section that I adore, this one - “the horrible irony of it never failed to escape her: designing funerals for survivors.” - is just so stunningly poignant. And the man who appears at the end… is that Tom, or someone else? I can imagine, with Tom Riddle being as handsome as he is, that it would elicit that reaction from Eileen, but it also makes me wonder what Tom’s doing in a Muggle funeral home. Or is it someone else entirely? The older Snape, perhaps?
Oh wow, I love this introduction to Tom and Cygnus, and I especially love being inside of Tom’s mind through all of this, because damn, he really is so entirely emotionless and power-hungry. The dialogue here is sparse, but perfectly executed - the few words said speak wonders about their relationship, which seems very heavily one-sided in that Cygnus is actually at least somewhat attracted to Tom, whereas Tom very clearly is more interested in what he can get out of Cygnus rather than interested in Cygnus himself (which is truthfully exactly how I imagine any relationship with Tom Riddle would play out).
“of something hot and dark and which whispered of twisting skin and cracking bones, pushing and tugging until screams sunk into the walls of the room, tears curling and drying on cheeks, and a wretched, broken voice begging for mercy, for clemency, stamped on by his own high, glancing laugh.” Laura how are you real this sentence is literally a piece of art on its own, someone put this in a museum.
Is this disease that Lycus is dying of the same one that’s affecting Cygnus? Being quarantined in one’s own house with a dying man has got to be awfully draining and lonely. This little greenhouse room of hers sounds gorgeous though - and it seems as though she and Lycus had a good relationship before he started dying. But I’m oh-so-curious who she’s writing to - is it related to curing her husband, or about something else entirely?
This is an absolutely brilliant first chapter - you’ve set up these storylines so effectively already, and I’m intrigued to see where they go and how they begin to interconnect as the story proceeds.
i'm here for our swap!
oooh, so we finally see druella :OOO i was quite surprised by the relationship between her and cygnus but honestly, it was wonderful to read. it’s great that they seem to have the sort of marriage where, er, tom, isn’t an issue. druella, while obviously she and cygnus have a good relationship, also seems to enjoy poking at him a bit, especially about his mother. which makes me wonder….how did she die? why the closed casket? i suppose those are important questions….or red herrings? :o
i have no idea how many times i can say this without sounding like a broken record but i love love love love tom. he’s so…deliciously dark. late on purpose, of course – because everything tom does is calculated with a purpose in mind, i love that aspect of him. and the way he doesn’t even flinch when being shrieked at in the middle of a street just goes to show how incredibly cool he is. but when he thinks of his childhood, it becomes obvious how bothered and ashamed (?) he is by it…enough to spur him further on his mission, even though, of course, that’s a small thing in comparison to everything else.
adelaide venturing into knockturn alley is a huge thing, it seems – she hasn’t left the house in god knows how long, she’s been staying by lycus’ side all that time, she’d only been there once before and yet…there she is. out of everyone, she’s the most mysterious character right now – the letters, this trip to knockturn alley :o it’s all so shrouded in mystery…..and then she meets tom :o oooh i wonder what he’s going to do with her…request :o in a weird (and sort of amusing!) way, he’s the perfect person to be asked that question!
little boots?!?!? jophiel?!?!? who are you, mystery guy?!?!? :o is he a rosier? druella and cygnus know him…and she did sort of talk about him in a familiar way :o
There is nothing more frightening than a perfect calm amongst a storm. I've mentioned it in the last review I left with Tom's quiet brand of malicious, but I think it's definitely worth mentioning again here, with Tom among the other ship's passengers. Even when speaking to the officer, he manuvers purposefully and confidently, while the atmosphere you've built around him is nohting short of manevolent. A demoblized soldier without a backstory [at least, as of yet revealed], who is too calm, and he is absolutely terrifying. [Is this Tom? I assume so, as he's orphaned and had a ton of similarities between how I've seen you portray Tom previously. Plus since he's returning from the war in Germany, and if my memory serves me correctly, this is picking up after Antebellum, yes?]
I was really delighted to see your emphasis on death and mutilation even after wars, as [while I do see a lot of coverage on the death toll and horrors actively during the war (and while those things are indeed horrific)] I don't often see coverage on the effects of the war -- how wounds turned limbs gangrenous and had to be amputated, and how (as a result) such ailments as colds or the flu or pneumonia can turn deadly, swiftly. Also, I'm quite intersted in learning how Eileen lost her leg (and more about her in general). I did appreciate her reaction to when the client (who I'm presuming to be Tobias Snape, given the circumstances) arrived, as it does speak a great deal about Eileen's characterization (as well as a bit about the caller's) in a very short space.
The relationship between Tom and Cygnus makes a lot of sense to Tom's character, though is particularly frightening. Especially once Tom lays out the qualities Cygnus holds which makes him a suitable lover (particularly the fact that he's unquestioning, useful, and dying), there's a pretty toxic vibe surrounding the entire relationship. Of course, as I've said, this makes perfect sense given who Tom is. Plus, there's something quite telling with Tom's lack of affection, particularly when he's so unnerved by Cygnus' touch, and yet Cygnus was like a prize to him...something he'd won.
I can't help but feel bad of Aidelaide, who is caring for her sickly, dying husband. It makes perfect sense that she'd hope for some time of cure, something to save him and end the suffering. It must be tremendously difficult to care for your husband, knowing he's suffering, knowing he's dying, and try to carry on while life flies by around you. There's so much going on in this story already, I'm quite excited to see where everything ties in! You've done a brillant job so far, and I'm looking forward to reading more.
Hello, Laura, dear! Here for our swap! :)
OMG, your Tom! OMG, Cygnus! OMG, Walburga! OMG, all of this chapter! It really feels as if everything is building up, as if the tension and suspance is growing more and more and everything's about to explode soon... and I'm not sure I want to be there for the explosion... (actually, yes, I do, because I'm too intrigued by your plot and too fascinated by your stunning writing!)
Your Tom is so perfect... always demanding, always in control, always having everyone around him follow him blindly without any effort at all (or so it seems...) and you can see that so well both in the first scene with Dolohov and in the last with Eileen... and I'm scared by how satisfied he is in that first scene, btw, because when Tom is satisfied, you know something bad is about to happen (well, he's about to build his army, and we all know where that will lead, so...) It was an addiction, this: a need to bend things-people-things until they bend and they break, falling apart in his hands. This sentence! This was incredible and so Tom Riddle and I'm in awe, as usual!
But... that moment of panic, and Cygnus saying he loved him... looks like there is something Tom isn't in control of, after all? Their relationship is so interesting, and once again I wonder how it'll all turn out...
I'm skipping Adelaide's section (act?) this time around, because she's just being useless and I'm kinda annoyed at her... well, I guess I should be glad that she has at least some doubts... but still, I don't like her or feel for her much at the moment... (does it make me heartless? Maybe, but I don't care...)
Instead, I want to talk about the Black siblings... and I have to say, for the first time I'm feeling some sympathy for Walburga? Honestly? She obviously must have loved her mother deeply and not only she lost her (which is heartbreaking in itself) but she knows/suspects that her own brother is behind it and she's supposed to pretend that everything is fine... and it's so horrible... I can't blame her for lashing out like that... on the contrary, it's incredibly brave that she dared speak the ugly truth in front of everyone... I wonder what Pollux and Alphard actually thought... do they know and are just pretending they don't? Or do they truly believe that Walburga has simply gone insane with grief? You can never tell with the Blacks, but at least Alphard is definitely suspicious... but he's also very protective of Cygnus, so I doubt he will ever do anything about it... (but I do wonder... if Orion was into it, too - which I think I remember from last chapter, although I can be remembering wrong - does Walburga know about his involvement? And they marry anyway? Or are they already married? I don't think they are... sorry, I'm talking to myself... too many thoughts...)
And poor Eileen... although I wish she would just rebel and say no... but she's just not that strong and I can't really blame her either... :(
Tom is looking for poison? Why? What exactly is he plotting? The whole scene was so creepy and I want to know what's going on (just for a change...)
Sorry if this review is a bit of a mess, and sorry if I forgot to mention something (like how much I love your interpretation of Alphard, for instance... I like his character a lot! :P) Anyway, this was brilliant as usual, and we need to swap again soon so I have an excuse to keep reading this incredible story! ;)
Snowball hug, my dear!
Hey Laura! Here for our swap (and this incredible story).
So that first scene... Tom Riddle is so very creepy, oh my goodness. I had a feeling Tom was the one to come into the shop when it was closed--though I had little clue as to why he would or that Eileen Prince was somehow associated with him, but you soon explained that power dynamic. Ugh. Seeing the power he has over Eileen leaves a very bad taste in my mouth, which is only a testament to your excellent writing. Oh, and I feel like I should add that your description in this first scene is breathtaking--but so is that suspense behind Tom Riddle's power of manipulation. It's all so, so good.
The tension between Adelaide and Abraxas is so fierce in this next scene. It's never easy when a family member is dying, and it can be so frustrating trying to spend some quality time with them while at the same time trying to move on with your own life... You create such a complex dynamic between Adelaide (who I assume is the second wife here) and Abraxas. I'm curious to know more about this letter she receives at the beginning and to whom she's writing, but I'd wager that this will be revealed in due course... ;)
Ahhh, we've finally arrived at a very canon moment: Tom Riddle's employment at Borgin and Burke's. Once again, you display his manipulative powers brilliantly. It's so realistic, too--my skin was crawling by the end of it. I'm wondering how many Horcruxes Tom has and what is plans are to build this movement that eventually grows into a war... but right now, I'm going to appreciate his "humble" beginnings as a shop boy... and watch him grow in power...
And once again, that last scene, breath taking... the tension between the cousins, goodness me. And Cygnus is married to Druella aleady! Heavens, this is becoming more and more complicated as the story goes on. The world you're creating is incredibly vivid and interconnected, and I am here for it. I still have so many questions, there's so much suspense, and I am here for all of it! Another amazing chapter!
Hey Laura! Here for our swap :)
So, I absolutely loved this first chapter -- it's so immersive and intriguing!
Your protagonist, Tom Riddle, is instantly compelling. I love the way you introduce him, the contrast between the chaos of the ship and the controlled collectedness of Tom, and the contrast between his neat, youthful exterior and his chilling thoughts: "He felt his lip start to curl; so long being surrounded by ineptitude, by worthless, talentless lives, trapped in the same place for hour after hour -- his patience was frayed, singed." Such a great line! And his interactions with other characters -- with the officer on the docks, with Cygnus -- are so well done. He's a skilled actor and manipulator, but there's a snake lurking behind his eyes, and it comes out in flashes of hidden rage.
Eileen and Adelaide are both intriguing as well, and excellent foils for Tom. Eileen might be my favourite with her morbid, menial job, her (apparent?) submissiveness, and her flashes of self-loathing. I'm intrigued about why she's working at a funeral parlour, who the handsome stranger is, and what if anything is up with her legs. And Adelaide is so tragic, too young to be shut up in that mausoleum of a house with a dying husband.
Finally, it must be said that the writing is excellent -- your images are vivid and novel, and your scenes are richly immersive. Some of my favourite bits: the comparison of the sounds of the ship to the tuning of an orchestra; of the crack of Tom apparating to a nut being broken; of the coiling of Eileen's embarrassment and loathing to that of twins in the womb. This fabulous line: "On the bed, Tom breathed, a long drag of the cigarette on the inhale and a fine, long spill of smoke on the exhale, like white-gray ink into water, before he handed it back." And this other fabulous line: "Sometimes, she thought nothing could be worse than this: having a husband who was dying, always dying, endlessly dying, but who did not seem like he would ever die." I'm not sure I have anything insightful to say here -- your writing is beautiful, but it doesn't draw attention to itself in a way that detracts from the story.
Amazing work, and thanks for the swap! Yes, let's do this again soon :D
LAST POSTED CHAPTER! Iâ€™m Ready to do this but Iâ€™m not ready for this to be the end of what I can read, ack :(( But I should review this chapter before I get ahead of myself, so -!
Okay, so it really shouldnâ€™t be any kind of surprise at this point that I really loved this chapter. I think I have really loved all the chapters so far -- maybe this oneâ€™s a little sweeter because Iâ€™m fully caught up, who knows :P But thereâ€™s this whole mood you have created so evocatively of things coming together, little threads of events being picked up and followed. When Hepzibah Smith introduced her treasures to Tom -- ! Goodness, I got shivers. Because we know whatâ€™s going to happen, but you pull the anticipation out like sticky taffy and itâ€™s just as delicious. Your descriptions of that entire scene are, as always, absolutely gorgeous -- I loved in particular â€œa flutter of coquetryâ€ and Tomâ€™s reaction was SO evocative -- â€œscrub until it was red and raw to the touch, rough and aching and clean again.â€ [ chef kiss ]
Ugh, your descriptions of Adelaideâ€™s grief is so visceral, I feel so bad for her :( Sheâ€™s going through a Lot right now, that much is clear. Youâ€™re tackling the subject so delicately -- he wanted it, he was suffering, maybe this is better, but thereâ€™s still so much grief and pain there, and you capture all of that entire mess of emotions so well, aah. â€œIt rang through her head, the noise, a sunbeam through storm-cloudsâ€ i am SADDENED! What is it with you and putting all your characters through the absolute wringer, Laura?? XD Adelaide, and Eileen as well -- sheâ€™s so nervous, so awkward even as she is trying to treat herself around people who pose no threat to her :( I just want to pick her up and wrap her in bubble wrap, or something. And Tobias :( he was looking for her :(
So many emotions, and Tom is behind so many of them! You really have to take a step back to look at how heâ€™s truly the driving force behind the entire story, but he really is. Heâ€™s so prickly with the three Blacks -- I love the dynamic you have painted between them all, the lazy sniping way they are all kind of casually at each othersâ€™ throats, gosh. I REALLY love the line â€œsloshing wildly like a storm-tossed wine-light sea, gold-white and thinâ€. And â€œthe same kind of crook...which made Cygnus beg and writhe like he was being torturedâ€ is so DELIGHTFULLY terrible, I adore it.
And -- oh gosh, Iâ€™m so torn about who murdered Mother. Now I am thinking -- Orion? He is certainly acting suspicious -- that line about deserving it, about making it an execution, that seems almost like the kind of self-justification that comes after the deed, no? â€œThe sharp, high splotch of a drunken anger pasting itself over Orion's face, shamed and secretiveâ€ certainly doesnâ€™t help his case -- all thatâ€™s left is a reason, I donâ€™t know why heâ€™d do it. Ugh, it was either Tom and Cygnus together or Orion, and the fact that I am flip-flopping so hard on this only serves to underline your prowess here, so hats off to you XD
This was magnificent, Laura, as always! Gorgeously atmospheric and wonderfully written. I shall, as always, wait with bated breath for your next chapter â¤
Hello again Laura! I am here yet again to yell but further, as you probably expected :P
First things first, really: Oh No, Eileen?! (Insert Come On Eileen Refrain) Sheâ€™s under so much strain, itâ€™s not entirely a surprise that something would snap -- or hanging around Tom is having terribly adverse impacts on her state of mind, both possibilities which seem perfectly legitimate to me. Or possibly the Imperius? Only she seems to feel far too strongly for thatâ€¦ Something is definitely leaking out of her, and Saunders seemed to feel it -- God, I feel like I am just repeating â€œI am nervousâ€ at you but oh GOSH I am nervous DX Sheâ€™s on the way to Doing Something and I am dreadfully afraid of what Something is.
And Tomâ€™s plans are -- finally starting to come to fruition? Maybe? Or at least one of them? :P Heâ€™s definitely juggling a few, but this seems like a rousing success on his part. And Dolohov following him instead of going to Rollin -- ack, but thatâ€™s chilling. Tomâ€™s reaction to Cygnus also gives me pause -- Iâ€™d thought that it was Cygnus who killed his mother, before, but now I am almost suspecting that Tom did it? Or at least that heâ€™s right in some unwanted way -- â€œsomething pinched about the way Cygnus could only breathe in stilted, thudding drawsâ€ is beautiful description and deeply uneasy in my chest. I still think that Cygnus had a hand in it, but -- I am too impressionable, and you are too good at casting doubt on everyone and everything :P
Oh, Adelaide ;-; I am surprised that she had his permission to do this, because somehow I was not expecting that, but it just makes everything sadder. Her devastation comes across so well -- the whole situation is so heartbreaking, but you have just added these perfect little touches that make my chest hurt. The way that she wears her prettiest dress for him! Everything is the last thing! Oh gosh, Iâ€™m so sad. And Jophiel is the one to do the deed -- what? What?? Another link, the web thickens, etc. I am so curious as to what role he plays -- he seems almost ever-present but ever-mysterious at the same time.
This chapter is full of good stuff, thank you Laura ;-; Can't wait to keep on reading!!
HELLO AGAIN, LAURA -- back again for chapter eight! And oh boy is this a Chapter, let me say that :P
Tom is just so -- so everything, holy carp. Just growing and growing in sacriness, really! So the Knights of Walpurgis are an organisation all in their own -- Tomâ€™s indignation and resentment at not being included shine through so well and definitely do not mean good things for them, ack. The way that he pressures Dolohov, the way that he causes a man to turn against his friends -- ! Iâ€™m extremely shook. And the way he flips like a coin is almost as scary -- from pressuring Dolohov one moment to kissing Cygnus the next, utterly changed. You write Tom Riddle is at once totally different from the man we see in the series, who is -- well, heâ€™s not at the height of his power but heâ€™s pretty close to it, and this Tom is someone I can totally buy as someone who becomes that. I donâ€™t know if that makes any sense at all, but -- I love your Tom, is what Iâ€™m saying. And heâ€™s very scary.
Adelaide has so much going on, oh no v_v The tension is building up unbearably, I almost wish that she would just Do The Thing so it would be over -- which, I think, is probably a compliment to you and your very well-done torturously slow pace. I am Anguished DX And then -- to make things even more tangled Dolohov did say that Lycus was one of the Knights of Walpurgis, so I wonder how thatâ€™s going to impact Adelaideâ€™s plan? So many questions, Laura DX
In fact it seems like everyone has a lot going on :P I really, really love how you write the Black family dynamic -- the way they care, but almost tentatively, stepping around it instead of admitting it. They circle around each other so deliciously, itâ€™s very [chef kiss] just very good, in my opinion. The description of Alphardâ€™s hedonistic trip around the world -- â€œtasting tipples and nipplesâ€ -- made me cackle.
But then. But then, of course, Walburga. That smooth well-oiled dynamic between the Black men seems suddenly much more sinister, the way that they all back each other up so easily, and possibly everyone in that room knows the truth, only some know more than others. I didnâ€™t think Iâ€™d ever be feeling sorry for Walburga Black, but -- looks like your writing can do any number of things, because here we are :P The way that she is now, though, she seems like such a loose cannon! My teeth are already a little on edge as to how sheâ€™s going to proceed, what sheâ€™s going to end up doing.
Oh gosh, Tom and Eileen -- ! Whatâ€™s he doing, whatâ€™s he making her do! The hopelessness she feels comes through so clearly, you get me to sympathise so strongly :( She follows him so blindly and I am so terribly intrigued. Are they looking for the poison in Cygnusâ€™s motherâ€™s body? Is this something that Cygnus has kept from Tom?? Oh NO, I am extremely nervous about this, Laura!
So much is happening in this chapter and Iâ€™m so nervous about all of it! I think this review is a little longer than normal because of it, ack. I shall most assuredly be reading on.
You shall get no points for correctly guessing whoâ€™s back :P
And oh nooooo, but weâ€™re starting on another terrible note for poor Eileen ;-; Your descriptions of her and her fear are so gorgeous, so VIVID -- the image of something â€œtranslucent and light, on the back of her neckâ€ is so shivery-gorgeous, as is â€œfrosting over like a garden gnomeâ€ which makes me gently want to cry. Poor Eileen ;-; It does make me wonder why she gave up her magic, though, when she wants it so much now. I hope Tom doesnâ€™t get her into too much trouble (but who am I to hope v_v)
Tomâ€™s really getting around, between Eileen and Cygnus and his family and Borgin -- so heâ€™s stolen the hand, but, but, but. Why. Whatâ€™s he getting at. I donâ€™t trust himmm. Something else I found really interesting was how Eileen saw Tom and Cygnus -- as equals, essentially, the two of them occupying each other instead of Tom being occupied with Cygnus. And she does seem like she would know about that kind of thing -- that she has a basic sort of knowledge about Tom, at least. Itâ€™s so interesting to think about how I started out thinking it was such an uneven relationship and now itâ€™s -- not that, anymore! Interesting
Oh gosh, you write Adelaide so well -- her grief and her desperation comes across so well, and Iâ€™m so nervous as to what sheâ€™s going to try and do. That quiet resolve at the end makes me more nervous that anything that had come before DX Why must you do this to us, Laura DX
So Cygnus did kill his mother?? Oh gosh, what the hell, Laura? :P The more that you reveal to us about the Black family and their dynamics the more I Need to know about them. Iâ€™m happy to see Alphard make an appearance, since here is someone I can like now without feeling bad for what theyâ€™re going to do in the future xD Iâ€™m very curious to see what happens to Orion -- what do these terrible people have in mind, and will it succeed. Important questions! I await the answers impatiently, so expect me back very soon :â€™)
Hey again Laura! Guess who :P
And oh NO, immediately starting off on a bad note here! Is that -- is that Hepzibah Smith? Is that Hepzibah Smith? Laura, Iâ€™m so DX about this entire set up. Oh gosh. Iâ€™m SURE she will find him more satisfactory, argh. His descriptions of what are, uh, essentially vivisection are extremely beautiful, and I donâ€™t know how I feel about that! Iâ€™m going to screech! You have reduced me to this and Iâ€™m angry about it (except for how Iâ€™m really, really not. Hmph).
Aw, Eileen is so down on herself v_v Poor girl. And -- I mean, I would be glad about Tobias cheering her up just a little, except for the fact that I know how that goes and I feel like I canâ€™t be glad about this! I want her to get away and restart her life somewhere else ;-; Surely she could make another go of it v_v
I feel like I have so many Oh Noes for this chapter, good lord. Adelaide definitely doesnâ€™t...seem like sheâ€™s in a good place right now! In fact I would venture so far as to say she seems like she is in a downright terrible place, emotionally and mentally! Her plan with regards to Lycus is not going to end well, I can see it ;-;
And, well -- I canâ€™t say I know exactly what is happening in Cygnusâ€™s section but I really cannot think it means any good, either. Jophiel seems so dangerous, such a loose cannon because I absolutely have no clue what he wants, from Cygnus or from Eileen. All I know is Cygnus has likely poisoned his mother (?) and Blacks donâ€™t owe favours, both of which seem like very foreboding things to know!
Even when you are keeping me confused you are keeping me reeled right into the story, absolutely fascinated with whatâ€™s happening and whatâ€™s going to happen. Iâ€™m sure you know by now to expect me back very presently :P
Iâ€™m back again to bother you, hello Laura :D
I am SO CONCERNED for Eileen here, good lord. So her hiding is so very hidden as to hide her magic even from herself! That seems like an extreme, and yet with the letter -- it seems like a sensible extreme to go to! Which is horrible! The way that she thinks feels so indicative of something that sheâ€™s gone through -- how knocking on the door makes her jump, how sheâ€™s always wrong. Your descriptions of the flowers are so gorgeous, and that only makes the impact of the letter worse, argh ;-; I donâ€™t know whether this is a threat from someone else for talking to Tom or a threat from Tom not to talk to anyone else, but either way I am HIGHLY unhappy and wish to thwap the sender on the nose.
The conversation between Tom and Rollin was so foreboding, good lord. And the poor rabbit! Why, Laura, why. That rabbit never did anything to you. Tomâ€™s control over other people is so noticeable even in small conversations like this, and I canâ€™t help but wonder whether heâ€™s the serial killer. HE SEEMS THE TYPE, IS ALL, but his later attempts to dig up information seem to refute that. Unless, possibly, he is trying to get a gauge on how much people know about him? Everything is so twisted and my brain is spitting out possibilities like rain xD His possessiveness over Cygnus is also very interesting to me -- perhaps he can care, in his own way. He certainly seems touchy enough about it :P
And oh, Adelaide. Oh no, Adelaide. Her plan seems -- well, from what I can gather she wants to kill Lycus and then bring him back to life, which seems -- I try not to judge, but that seems unwise, on her part! Seems like a slightly foolish thing to do, I will say! I am dreadfully afraid that sheâ€™s writing to Tom, which seems even worse! Oh no, Adelaide DX
Things are ramping up! You are spooling tension liberally all through this story and I am breathlessly excited to see where things go from here.
Hey hey again! I shall have to think of new ways to greet you soon :P Itâ€™s only chapter 4 and my brain is running out of steam, it just wants to Yell. And who am I to disagree ?
I loooooved Adelaideâ€™s section in this chapter, sdgksdgjksd. Sheâ€™s holding a lot inside her, thatâ€™s for sure -- I really enjoyed the bitterness of her reflections, the way she tamps down so ruthlessly on the almost-resentment that comes when her husband doesnâ€™t ask after her but a little bit just leaks through anyway. And her conversation with Antonin is amazing! Theyâ€™re dancing around each other so carefully, I am SO into this. Little coded words and barbed remarks are just. Yes. Iâ€™m very very here for this :â€™)
And ack, you capture the atmosphere of the whole party so perfectly, as well -- Cygnus watching Tom command the room, Tom slowly wrapping everyone at the party around his finger. The toast to the Knights of Walpurgis was so chilling -- that brief moment of almost-realisation, of almost thinking about what theyâ€™re doing, and then the raucous cheer. And Tom has gotten what he wanted: heâ€™s their king. Itâ€™s very quietly scary, that much I will say, and thatâ€™s even without the sinister little undertones youâ€™ve got in the final section about who the Knights of Walpurgis might have been, historically or mythologically. If Tom is so interested in them -- Iâ€™m with Druella, they canâ€™t have been much good :(
Oh nooo, Tobias Snape makes an appearance v_v Eileen thinks that everything has gone wrong but yet more will be wrong as she gets to know him and Iâ€™m sad about it. I am curious as to what exactly has already gone wrong, though - something about this section and the next tells me that Jophiel doesnâ€™t exactly have Eileenâ€™s best interests at heart, hm =/ Iâ€™m so curious to see what heâ€™s up to, to see how his story is going to intersect with Druellaâ€™s -- and by extension, I suppose, with Cygnus and possibly Tom, too. This is what I mean when I say that you are so good at intertwining stories, aaahhh.
This chapter just ramps up the intrigue, ack. I look forward to reading the next ones!!
OH GOSH, LAURA, this chapter is SO -- [screeches]
Ack, I have to take a moment and calm down so that I donâ€™t just spill all my thoughts right here and shove them at you, but -- this chapter is such a masterwork in slowly bringing together once-disparate pieces of a puzzle, slowly pulling your characters from the edge of the web to reveal that they are all connected or growing connected to each other in strange and perfect ways. The plot thickens!
Druella and Cygnusâ€™s relationship was unexpectedly very nice -- Iâ€™m glad that they have something that works for them. Or rather, I suppose Iâ€™m glad that they have an understanding and that they seem to get along well -- I donâ€™t know whether I can responsibly be glad for their arrangement because it does rather leave Cygnus vulnerable to the not-so-tender mercies of Tom :P
Ohh, more of Tomâ€™s plans (or more elements of his one, large plan) are coming to light. Youâ€™ve really gotten his scumminess down so well, ha, I love how much plain contempt he has for these people who think theyâ€™re his friends. And the way he talks to Adelaide -- oh gosh, theyâ€™ve finally met and I donâ€™t think this means very good things for poor Adelaide. Sheâ€™s already in a bad place, I canâ€™t imagine how much opportunity Tom sees in her -- and as he himself points out earlier, heâ€™s a man who has conquered death. Iâ€™m really looking forward to seeing where this particular relationship goes [eyes emoji]
Aww, Eileen just wants to live her life in peace and now here she has two guys coming in and messing her life up. At least theyâ€™re both handsome? :P I love the little seeds youâ€™ve planted at the beginning of this chapter and the end of the last one mentioning a Little Boots -- I got this delightful little thrill when he gave his name, like Ah, Yes, Iâ€™ve Been Waiting For You!
As I guess you have already gathered, I am extremely a fan of this chapter -- I canâ€™t wait to see where all of this is going. Your writing, as always, is amazingly evocative and all-around wonderful, and I am happily along for this ride.
Hey hey Laura! Back again, because I couldnâ€™t keep away xD
Goshhh, Tomâ€™s really in his element in this story, isnâ€™t he? I donâ€™t know what heâ€™s planning at all, besides the immortality that we know from the books, but heâ€™s definitely got something brewing in his brain and I Need to know what it is. Heâ€™s so terrifyingly capable as he carries it all out, as well -- poor Eileen just canâ€™t seem to refuse him, and that job interview canâ€™t have lasted more than a few minutes.
Not to mention his relationship with Cygnus, again! Which probably deserves a whole paragraph on its own, so thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m giving it -- youâ€™ve just shown so effectively how powerful Tom is in the relationship, the way that he toys with Cygnus. And I know that Cygnus says he and his brother grew apart in Hogwarts, but you (or I, at least) canâ€™t help but think that Tom is probably at least somewhat to blame for that, with those little comments he made about Orion -- he doesnâ€™t understand, he means nothing. Heâ€™s isolating Cygnus from his family so effectively, ack. Your Tom is shiver-inducing for sure (and not entirely in the fun way) (maybe a little bit in the fun way; Cygnus certainly seems to think so).
But I canâ€™t ignore the ladies in this chapter! Iâ€™ve already mentioned that Iâ€™m concerned for Eileen, but she does at least seem to know what Tomâ€™s doing, so Iâ€™m really interested to see their dynamic going forward! And Adelaide is...still hard to get a read on 8D I certainly get that sense of fatigue from her, that old retreading of the same argument a million times, but I canâ€™t quite rule out Abraxasâ€™s genuine-seeming concern for his father, how convinced he is that Adelaide is up to something. Whatever the case, I canâ€™t wait to see how all these stories unfold and intersect, so onto the next chapter!
Laura! I have been meaning to drop by your AP for AGES now, and so Iâ€™m finally here -- and what better way to reintroduce myself than by reviewing the long WIP hanging out at the top of the page? Never let it be said that I make things easy for myself :P
Argh, you know how much I love your description and that has absolutely not changed, let me tell you. Gosh, but you introduce all your characters -- them, their world, their emotions -- so well and so vividly it seems as though I could be there. Emotions coiling in Eileenâ€™s stomach like twins in the womb is [ scream ] :â€™) And your descriptions feel so wry, sometimes! I love the images of â€œmiserable sunlightâ€ and â€œhelpfully dyingâ€ in particular, gosh.
Youâ€™ve written just enough of each character to feel like a proper introduction into their various lives and situations but not nearly enough to satisfy! I really enjoyed seeing Eileen making a small sort of life for herself in a place that deals in death, and the relationship between Cygnus and Tom was so vivid and makes me feel so sorry for Cygnus because Tom is just so in control itâ€™s not even funny -- and of course, youâ€™ve captured Tom perfectly, his careful preciseness and the way he never lets himself go. And all this is not to mention the fact that Iâ€™m already exceedingly nervous for Adelaide Macmillan and why she thinks she needs a letter of insurance, eek.
Itâ€™s definitely a good thing youâ€™ve got a multitude of chapters up :P Three (?) intersecting storylines seems like an ambitious undertaking, and Iâ€™d certainly be scared to try it, but if anyone could do it I have faith itâ€™d be you :â€™) I canâ€™t wait to see how these characters interact and play with each other. I am SO keen to read on!
Laura! Here for our swap! I've had my eye on this story for a while, so I am thrilled to have a reason to be held accountable in reading and reviewing this FANTASTICALLY written story!
This is such an incredible opening chapter, introducing your characters with such depth and description. Your description is truly wonderful. How do you do it? Seriously. You have this way of painting the scene without it being spoon fed to the reader. You weave together images that all of a sudden come together into one, cohesive scene. You also have your characters interact with their surroundings--which only adds to the beautifully written description. Hats off to you, Laura!
Plotwise, I am so intrigued. A funeral parlor and then a dying husband--two interesting predicaments for what I assume will be your main female characters. And then Tom Riddle... wow. I've heard wonderful things about how you write Tom Riddle (even got to read about it during the House Cup opener, if you remember), but I am absoltuely floored. He is amazingly complex, and the way he thinks about things is chilling: being surrounded by his fellow travelers (talentless--so harsh, but so accurate to his character) and then with Cygnus (a foothold--well, I suppose so, and it's interesting that Cygnus is Bellatrix's father, so I wonder what happens there. It's so thorny and twisted, and I'm here for that!).
This is such a great chapter. I will continue reading it (though if you want to help me out, feel free to request in my review thread and/or pose more swaps with me and/or nag me until I'm caught up--whichever is easiest for you, lol). Thanks for the swap and I will be back sooooooon for more of your writing!
Hey there! Thank you so much for stopping by! And omg thank you so so much about the compliments - it means so much to hear coming from you <3
Ahhhh thank you so much - I'm so glad you liked it! I'm always nervous about writing the openings to stories - it's hard to find something which feels right but also isn't too slow, yk - and I tend to go automatically to description rather than to anything else, which can feel a bit same-y :P Honestly, description is just something I'm used to writing and find comes fairly naturally to me? I don't really know otherwise... I did read a lot of poetry and old fiction, which tends to be longer and more descriptive in general. I love using scenery - landscapes and places - it's so much fun to write and much easier for me to do than most things :P So yea, I'm just stoked you liked it, because the way I write isn't for everyone.
Ahhhhh so plot is probably my biggest weakness, haha, so with this I really, really wanted to make sure the plot was solid and tied together and made sense, yk? So it was important to me to kick start it early on - and make sure that everyone got their own plotline. Adelaide and Eileen are two characters I've enjoyed writing a lot more than I thought I would - and their storylines definitely develop as it goes on, weaving in with the rest of it. Tom... Tom is disturbingly easy to write at times? :P No, he's so fun to write because he's so different to almost any other character: he sees people almost as things, like chess pieces on a board he just moves around or toys he just gets bored with and throws away when he's done. He's so focused and so clever but almost naive about things - and it's a fun combination to write. Cygnus/Tom isn't something I originally planned for this story, but when I wrote that first scene with them - mostly testing the waters, thinking I'd just delete it and change it if I didn't like it - it just worked too well and I liked it too much :P
Thank you so so much for the swap and the review and everything lovely you said about this story - it's so so great to hear and such a lovely thing to get! Thank you!
Hi, Laura! Here for our swap! Sorry if I'm a bit late...
I need to start from the end because... Alphard! :D I'm so excited to see him entering the cast... :P And I'm liking him already, he seems funny and easygoing (just as I like to imagine him) and it's refreshing to see that he and Cygnus have a loving relationship! (Looks like the same can't be said of Walburga... and I'm not particularly surprised... although, I would be interested in seeing your take on her, too...)
Oh, Merlin! When Alphard said those things to Tom... he doesn't know who he's dealing with, does he? I loved the way you wrote Tom's reaction. Really, your Tom is incredible and perfect and I don't know how you are so great at writing him... (well, you are great at writing in general, but we've gone over this so many times already...)
Back to the start... Eileen... the poor girl is in deep trouble, is she not? I feel so bad for her, she seems so uncertain and scared all the time... I was a bit shocked when she addressed Tom as "My lord", I didn't realize she was into it that much already... I didn't realize Tom had already that kind of control on people in general, actually... but I probably should have.
He didn't smile, didn't frown, but there was an edge in the way he sat, purposefully draped into the chair, hands splayed at the ends of the armrests, loose and relaxed and the tell-tale sign of the lie.
She knew what it meant, this kind of languid emotionless; she had seen it before.
Tom Riddle was furious.
This paragraph! This is once again so perfect Tom Riddle! And the way he got angry when she "implied" that he needed her help... so, so good! I'm wondering what exactly he wants from her, though... breaking into a grave? Whose grave? And what does she need the dead hand for? Once again, so typical Tom for stealing from Borgin, btw... the way he just stayed there while Borgin searched for it... I bet Borgin would be so incredibly frustrated, ahahah. I wonder if he does have any suspect... but probably not...
Adelaide... whatever you are planning to do, reconsider it! It's not good, it can't lead to anything good, and you know it! But I doubt she's going to listen, is she? I feel bad for her, but also... I dislike her a little... and I'm worried about her and her plans... but also, I'm so curious to know what's going to happen now...
As usual, I have so many questions and I can't wait for some answers.., we'll need to swap again, so I can uncover more of these mysteries (I had no idea I'd fallen so behind with this?)
Thank you so much for the swap, it was lovely, as usual!
so eileen purposely vanished after she finished hogwarts into the muggle world – i find that so strange because obviously, she doesn't have any real issue with using magic…so i'm definitely curious as to why exactly she wanted to disappear. and she knows tom from her hogwarts days – she's both afraid of him (why? i sit just his unnerving presence…or something else? it seems as if something might've happened in the past that would cause her to be afraid) and at the same time she seems to…like him? in a weird way, i guess :o i mean, she wants to look good in fron of him (but she fails as that) and all, so it makes me think she likes him but i might be wrong. i also think it’s wild how tom knew snape’s mother (in what way though?) that it gives a whole new level of intrigue as to how snape was so enamoured with the dark arts and how he followed voldemort. eileen was never able to fight him? why did she need to :o
adelaide is a very intriguing character – who is she writing all these letters to? how does abraxas even know what she does? (do the house elves tell him?) his worry about lycus is touching – i wouldn’t have expected it, i’m not sure why, but he does seem to care about him (not so much about adelaide but really…she could’ve written – does she have a good reason not to?).
i adore tom…you just have a way with writing him – i don’t even know what to say. the way he strolls into borgin and burke’s and just doesn’t even blink twice before basically telling burke he’s going to work for him was a great scene. for some reason i found it even creepier and more ominous than when he visited eileen and we saw that from her POV and how flustered and/or afraid she felt.
i almost managed to forget that cygnus is the eventual father of Bellatrix, andromeda and narcissa and actually has a wife because he’s so entwined with tom – i’m not sure if i’d call it love but on cyguns’ part it definitely seems like infatuation that the whole thing makes it hard to think of him being with anyone else besides tom. he’s definitely another fascinating character – he seems like…idk, something out of a dorian gray novel (i’m not sure where i got that but eh).
your writing is beautiful, as always, and i can’t get enough of it *_*
I’m here for our review swap! I know it’s been a little bit since I’ve been to your AP and I was excited to see what new treasures you’ve written! This story immediately caught my eye because of the characters listed and the summary. I was furthered joyed to see that it had 9 chapters posted!
The start of this was such a tease. I got just enough of each character to know vaguely what was going on and who they were, but I still very much want more. I suppose I’ll just have to keep reading.
I think my favorite section was Tom’s. I feel like you wrote him so brilliantly. The manipulative way he uses his relationship with Cygnus is so perfect. He is a narcissist through and through and you illustrated that flawlessly. It’s sadder still because I think deep down Cygnus knows that Tom has no true affection for him, but he still feels compelled to want him.
Ooh. I’m really curious about Eileen Prince. I love the idea of her working in a muggle funeral parlor and I’m so curious to see how she develops as a character. I hope we’ll get to learn more about what drove her away from the magic world.
And Adelaide seems very strong and determined. I don’t quite know what’s going on with her yet, but I’m glad she’s got that letter as insurance just in case.
As always, your description is breath taking. You have such a way with words that you really paint complete images. I can always imagine the scenes in great detail, which makes your stories all the more enjoyable. Seriously, could you write a tutorial on how to write description and post it on the forums?
Beautiful start! I’ll certainly be back to read more soon.
Hi, Laura! I'm here for our swap.
Always, always, always I find myself in awe of the lush, descriptive, evocative, beautiful style of your writing. It isn't enough to say that the way you cast a scene is fabulous. The very way that you use language is so unique and expressive. You create this amazing feel for the reader that is more than just the product of the words you've chosen. It's a matter of style and structure and... I just run out of words to describe it. Amazing talent.
I'm accustomed to your pitch-perfect Tom Riddle from Antebellum, so it was no surprise to find him elegantly captured here. I love the exacting manner in which he carries himself and the way that he chooses every action and every word, no matter how small, for maximum impact. This is a man who is capable of anything. This is the man who would become Lord Voldemort. His standards are such that nothing less than absolute power and control would ever suffice.
Next we find Eileen Prince, eking out her lowly existence after leaving her family behind. It wasn't a long scene, but the way she's subjugated to her obnoxious boss already feels like you're setting the stage for how she winds up married to the alcoholic, abusive Tobias Snape. Poor dear spent her entire life trying to get away from something, whether it was her family or her subsistence life on her own. I see that she's using magic, but not openly. And I'm left to wonder whether that was Tobias arriving at the end of her scene.
I know there are many who would find Tom's relationship with Cygnus surprising. Not necessarily the fact that it's a same-sex relationship, but more the fact that Tom is essentially bartering that relationship for Cygnus's patronage. Honestly, I don't find anything surprising about it. The longer you read, the more it's apparent that Tom is in complete control of the situation. He toys with Cygnus's emotions, casually but precisely. He's constantly giving up just enough to keep Cygnus enthralled while withholding the ultimate prize of his undivided affection. It's masterful, both in how Tom is playing it and in how you're writing it.
Adelaide is a little more of a mystery, at least in this first chapter. The others all have a known place in the wider tale of Harry Potter's magical world. Adelaide is something new and original. It's impossible to know how she and her dying husband will fit in. Will she wind up in the funeral parlor where Eileen works? That would seem a logical way to bring disparate threads of the story together, but I suppose we will see. For now, she seems to willingly suffer her gilded prison and play the role of the devoted widow-to-be.
As I was reading, I noticed a couple of things that might be typos:
"Eileen!" she heard her boss shouting, gruff and raw as it always was, as she finished up sniping the last of the flower stems -- snipping the last of the flower stems?
It spoke of want and jealous, of a control he had handed to Tom on a silver platter, willingly and wantonly. -- jealousy?
Otherwise, as I keep saying, splendid writing. Nice job! Looking forward to our next swap!
I'm here for our swap!
I read this chapter when you first posted so it's interesting to come back to it. Your description has always been amazing, there is no doubt about that. I really love the way that you use your description though, it's not just there as interesting or 'pretty' padding but you use every single word to create your narrative.
I thought the first scene was perfect at setting the scene for the stranger's arrival. I loved the contrast that you created between the craziness of the docks and the stillness of the man. I think it is really effective to build the mystery around the character. I love a lot of questions and my interest is really peak very early on in the story. It's a really good hook into the main body of the story.
I've taken an liking to Eileen. I found something about her very endearing in this scene. It is hard to know currently how everything fits into the plot but I think this chapter introduces characters very well. You paint your characters in such an vivid light and they all seem to get their own introduction which doesn't feel rushed. there is chance to appreciate them in their own right. It doesn't feel cluttered as a first chapter. it's neat little scenes but everything has a great flow to it. I'm looking forward to see more Eileen and finding out more about her personal situation. You always leave me wanting to know more.
I thought the scene between Tom and Cygnus was insane. All your description is completely exquisite but my favourite within this chapter is your description of their smoking. It just added so much mood into the scene. I thought you did just a wonderful job with the dialogue, there wasn't much but it was all really important. You've captured Tom's personality perfectly here. He is cruel and cold but enigmatic - his relationship with Cygnus is packed with tension. There is so much sub-context between the two. I'm interested to know why Tom needs him.
I'm in awe of how you managed to much some of the worse things seems so beautiful, reading your writing is like a masterclass in description. It's all so very beautiful no matter the subject. I remember you saying that Adelaide was your first major OC. From her introduction, she's going to be an amazing character because you've given her such a complex thought process that she already seems like such a layered character from just this short scene. I'm sure her development is going to be interesting.
such a wonderful meaty and vivid opening chapter!
- Abbi xo
well, let's just say that from merely reading a summary for this story it got me inspired to make a banner for it so i absolutely had to start reading it :D (i'm also just going to randomly throw in that you're basically perfect at writing summaries! and thinking up titles! and everything!)
okay so the chapter titles are roman emperors - i have to know the symbolism behind it?
i'm sure you get this a lot but your descriptions are AMAZING AND WONDERFUL and you should totally get published :o i mean, if you wanted to of course. but did i mention your writing is beautiful? i could gush about how good it is in this entire review :o
i love your description of tom - it's perfectly dark, his thoughts about the worthless lives around him spot on as is his whole characterisation. the little flicker of danger that quickly disappears and the (fake) politeness and charm just reminds me so much of the tom we saw in half blood prince. i'm always amazed at people who manage to write canon characters so well and not go OOC with them, it's truly impressive, especially with such complex people like tom riddle/voldy or snape or dumbles. and then when he's irritated with Cygnus for laughing at him - that's just the true tom riddle in those thoughts and i loved reading him (is that weird? loving to read about a psychopath's/sociopath's thoughts? but you write him so well....i can't help myself haha). and Cygnus is slowly dying? but i adore the way you write about how tom is using him, playing the long game, enduring the irritation that cygnus might cause him, all for his own purpose. and how he enjoys the control he has over cygnus - it's amazing how many things you manage to tell and imply in just a couple of sentences of them together.
eileen prince living a muggle life and working in a funeral home has me intrigued! why did she leave the wizarding world? obviously she still uses magic so it's only a matter of where she's working and living :o
adelaide is certainly a devoted wife - being quarantined with her husband and caring for him must be difficult. i had a hard time even reading about her surroundings and the way she took care of lycus. and who is she writing to?
okay so this first chapter has me asking all sorts of questions and also just staring in amazement at what i just read. i don't know how you do it, but your writing is exceptional. i'm really interested to see how these three characters - tom, eileen and adelaide come together in the story, to see their connections. i'm definitely coming back to read more!