First: I am so glad your wrote this because Ethan, I love him and want more of him. The Hit wizards, did you invent this? Because I’ve never seen anything like this before and I truly think it’s the best Fan Fiction addition ever!! This is gold right here. The way you write death, the way you write about war and torment and torture. You Kris are such an amazing writer. I love fan fiction but you should be writing novels of your own and sitting in gold .
Second: okay so I really enjoy the dynamic of the crew, especially their code names, really great touch! *spoiler* I love how he was concerned about Nox in the beginning and how that was tied together at the ending.
my favourite part of this story above all else is how they chose to agree as a team that Octavia was killed because of “resisting arrest”. Truly this was the best outcome and best way of revenge on her for all the death she had caused.
Kris I cannot stop telling you how great you are 😂 seriously so great. I love your writing!
good job 10/10
hit wizards are actually mentioned in the books (a team of them arrests sirius after peter (supposedly) blows himself up) so i didn't invent the fact that they exist but this particular branch of black ops hit wizards is my invention, yeah! i didn't like the idea of the ministry just sitting around, twiddling their thumbs if/when another threat arose, and waiting for a teenager to save the wizarding world. so the idea of having a group specialised in silently dealing with dangerous dark wizards&witches was something i wanted to include in my universe and explore.
i don't know why, but it seems i have a talent for writing dark stuff. i think it's related to the state of my mind, because i'm often in a pretty dark mood when i write my dark(er) pieces so i guess it's possibly a way of dealing with things.
yes, there was no way they would let octavia get away with things, especially after ragnar/mars died...so killing her and passing it off as needed was the ending i knew right from the very first sentence of this story!
thanks for hte review!
Wow, this was so good Kris! The opening lines were really epic and I was immediately immersed into the setting.
But wait, who’s Jupiter? It might be me completely messing up the names, but that isn’t the guy from the bar right? With Quinn I mean? No, he was definitely called something else… then I realize they all have code-names… you tricksted me ^^
I think you’re exceptionally good at writing action – something I personally struggle with a lot. It’s on point, there’s tension and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! What stood out to me even more was the backstory with Ethan’s mentor – it was beautifully written. I felt particularly drawn to this part of the story – and a lot in this chapter explains the mystique around him, that he isn’t exactly whole anymore. The way this is followed up by him casting that crucio spell and finally slitting a throat was chilling. I’ve always felt drawn to the tragic heroes – I don’t know why, they just keep pulling at me.
“crazy, the lengths one would go for their beliefs,” – I think this line serves as a great parallel to, well, the world and I completely agree, it really is crazy.
Like I said in TAOBN, Ethan’s character is very intriguing to me and I love this insight into his world and into his mind. Next to Quinn and grandad (and Ziggy lol) he’s definitely the character I look forward to the most. Overall, this was an incredibly powerful one-shot, very well written, and I’m so pumped for the next one!
- - Beth
yess! jupiter is logan aka ethan's friend aka the guy from the bar :P code names are something i really wanted to incorporate in this story...especially since a lot of the military people use them while on missions ^_^ (i'm also a huge battlestar galactica fan and they use call signs there so........)
thank you so much for the compliment! i love to read books that involve action and somehow, i think that reading them has made me write them better i think. i find it easy to slip into the mind of someone in the middle of something like battle - i've played a lot of RPG games where you don't have time to think a lot while battling some bad guys and idk, there's no time for much of anything, just 'do this, do that, ow' but obviously in a more..er...poetic way haha. i think that IRL you wouldn't have someone describe in great detail what's going on, of course, there's always description, especially what the characters are feeling but there's always the rush to get things done.
ethan is a fascinating character - i love writing him. he's tragic, in a way, and black ops hit wizards like his group need to be mentally capable of undergoing all that they do. even when it's for the greater good, the psychological toll it takes is huge...so when ragnar/mars dies, ethan is just...broken by it. i mean, he's done all these things, he's been through a lot, but up until now, the horror hadn't hit him quite as hard. and then he...spirals into something that's definitely very dark.
thank you for the lovely review, beth! *_*
Hello! I'm here for the Magical Menagerie and BvY (team black)
The world that comes to mind after readint his is 'visceral'. Everything feels so immediate, so immersive. I felt like I was inside the scene. Which wasn't entirely pleasant? =P But it made for an excellent reading experience.
Your writing style was really smart. The use of short sentences and fragments, as well as short paragraphs, creates a build up of tension because it reads very quickly. Plus, it mimicks the fragmented sort of perception people often have in highly chaotic moments. So much is happening tht there isn't enough time to process. Everything but the essentials falls away. It worked so well in this piece!
I really enjoyed the code names. And your whole conception of this mission and what it's like running black ops as a hit wizard - even the idea of that as a thing - is SUPER interesting and exciting. Would read again!
Ugh that woman's crime is horrific. What a terrible thing to do. I don't know if I'm glad Apollo killed her, but I'm glad she didn't get away.
It's so sad when Ragnar dies. I could really feel Apollo's emotions there, that gut punch of shock and horror. I'm sad for him that he lost his friend, and that he has tortured someone, and that he has killed. I always want everyone to be safe =P
This was very dark but I enjoyed it a lot. Hope to read more of your work soon!
ayy, thanks so much for the compliment on my writing - and the fact that you felt like you were inside the scene i was describing is a huge compliment *_* i know it's definitely not a nice scene and it's very brutal but...i'm still really glad i managed to write something that has people having vivid images in their mind about what they're reading :P
the short and fragmented sentences kinda happened accidentally. when i started writing it i realised how much more evocative they felt and how in the midst of battle you definitely don't have the time to consider things properly and so on...so it made sense to continue in that style. it's definitely not how i usually write but it was fun to do it here!
thank you for the lovely review!
I'm here to leave you a review for the Magical Menagerie Review Event on the forums and also for the Gryffindor Red vs Gold Review Battle for 2019! So I know that your graphics are incredible, but I've never had the chance to read your writing. I thought I would stop by and give it a read finally.
Wow. This was brutal. You weren't kidding about the violence. This was a blood bath from start to finish. Personally, I generally avoid this type of storyline just because I have way too much attachment to the subject matter. Putting that aside, I think this was well written. The plot was suspenseful and engaging. I really was at the edge of my seat waiting to see if the team would get out whole.
THe descriptions of Ragnar's death were particularly difficult. I really honestly could've done without the image of someone having their arm cursed off in my head. But I suppose that's the reality of war. The description of his body after death was also quite gruesome.
I do like that in the end they went ahead and killed the bad lady. I think it would be a waste of their time to capture her when she can just by her way out. Probably quicker and more just in the long run.
I did think the concept of a black-ops wizard squad was very interesting. I'd be curious to know how you came up with it.
Good job! I see that this is part of a series. Perhaps I'll check out another one of the stories at some point.
yeah, i really wanted to give people the option to skip this story if violence is something they don't like/can't read - it's quite brutal and that's not everyone's cup of tea. thanks for still sticking around and reading it though :P i was partially inspired to write the action scenes by writers like joe abercrombie and mark lawrence who are both really good at writing them but they're also brutal so i guess they influenced me a fair bit while writing this.
i had the ending in mind when i wrote the first line (i did this whole thing in one sitting so there wasn't really any proper planning done) - there was no way for them to let her get away (kind of...when you think about her arguments) with what she's done. i also wanted to show the supposed good guys being not quite good and morally grey.
i actually came up with the concept while i was thinking about how the ministry of magic was quite incompetent during both wizarding wars (and supposedly during grindelwald too) - i mean, they basically twiddled their thumbs, gave voldemort lots of time to gather followers and so on and then waited until a teenager saved the world. so in the future, i'd like to think they'd maybe learn something and have people in place to deal with dark wizards/witches before they could take over the world :P then i thought about how, idk, the USA certainly has black ops missions somewhere...and the story happened :D
thanks for the lovely review!
Kris! Here for the menagerie and because I've always meant to read this fic but haven't!
The dog tags searing the narrator's skin so that every death on a mission they're also assigned to is so interesting -- obviously it's a motivator not to let anyone die on a mission, but is that really something you need an external motivator for? Obviously it's also a mark of remembrance, so that the person doesn't disappear, but it would be just as easy to choose to get a tattoo of the person if you wished -- this is involuntary. And of course Mars saying a prayer for the fallen -- what religion? Is a prayer always religious? Idk why I'm bringing out the big philosophical questions this early in the review, it's only 11pm, but it's been a long day. :P
You make the scene feel so vivid? I can picture it in my head wonderfully. And then they're SURROUNDED and everything goes WRONG -- it's so interesting to me that you've chosen to give them swords. What's the reasoning here? They have wands, is that not sufficient? Is that standard hit wizard stuff or just this unit? I'm keen to find out more, perhaps, in future installations in this series.
Damn, Kris, the rest of this is just a whirlwind bloodbath. When he slits Hawthorne's throat!!! Damn. This is so good but so terrifying.
i actually didn't think about the dog tags burning as a way to motivate people into not letting anyone die - more like a reminder of everyone who died. and it's not actually involuntary because nobody forces these people into being a part of a hit wizard black ops squad :P i didn't want to get into too much detail in this particular fic since it was in the middle of a battle and all but i do have a lot of headcanons about hit wizards and their branches ^_^
mars'/ragnar's particular religion also wasn't something i had properly planned haha, i just wanted to make him religious and contrast that with him being a cold blooded and ruthless killer while also being ethan's/apollo's beloved mentor. but since in my head he's originally from iceland i suppose he'd be lutheran? since that's the prevalent religion in iceland or maybe some sort of norse god worshipping religion/paganism just because i think it would be fun to explore how a wizard might believe in that.
regarding the use of goblin made weaponry along with magic/wands - the reasoning is that it's better to have two weapons instead of one :P and in close combat a knife or a sword might prove easier to use quickly than waving a wand around and saying/thinking a spell. but mostly because two weapons give them a fair bit of advantage because it's definitely not something that a regular witch/wizard would use, even a dark one. in my headcanon, only the black ops squads have this special training with swords/knives, not the regular hit wizards.
thanks for the lovely review!
Sorry I'm late for the swap! Stuff got a bit hectic!
Wasn't sure quite what to review, but this seemed to have gotten a lot of good ratings and reviews, and seemed pretty original. My hunch was correct. Was this up on the old forums? Because it strikes me as familiar.
I love the codenames here, and the little details you added in like how the dog tags burned when one of the operatives died. It's so dark, but a really striking idea.
The fighting was done wonderfully, and brutally. I could almost see it happening, which is always a good thing.
I love how you've made a group clearly made off Nazis actually do stuff Nazis did (experiments on muggle children like the Nazis did Jewish children). I've always found mysekf frustrated when writers would draw the comparisons, but the groups in question could be apart of any highly bigoted terrorist hate group. They didn't seem like Nazis specifically, and as a historical group that made such a giant and horrifying impact, their name carries a lot of weight. Sometimes I wonder if all the comparisons with lack of actions that show such horrific stuff lend to how, currently, so many people have trouble wrapping their heads around just how evil they were.
I really like how this has taken a darker turn than we see in books with hit wizards. War is dark and horrible and bloody. I enjoy (well, not enjoy, but you know what I mean) accurate reflections. The stakes feel higher. The emotions in the piece feel more raw. It feels real.
Anyway, I loved this piece, and I'm very curious about your chaptered fic now. Maybe I'll pop over and leave some reviews on it throught the event if things match up. Thanks for the swap, and sorry again for being late!
nope, i never posted this story anywhere else so you're probably thinking about a different story if it sounds familiar (though i honestly can't remember if i ever read something about a black ops hit wizard squad :P )
this was actually the first time i ever wrote something action-y so it's definitely nice to know that i managed to describe the fighting in a way that it makes it seem realy (though brutal...but i couldn't have a proper battle without the brutality of war). the emotions were particularly hard to capture, at least i thought so while writing it because we don't really know these characters so i had a bit of trouble in trying to bring them closer to the reader and make the reader feel what ethan/apollo feels.
thanks for the lovely review!
Hey Kris! I'm just going to jump straight into and say that the start to this was so strong. WHAT IS HAPPENING? I'm not even ten lines in and I'm already panicking. The burning when someone in the unit dies? That's just heartbreaking. My stomach is turning.
I love your introductions to everyone in Apollo's unit. It was never an information dump. In fact it was just enough to give me a clear idea of who these people are and what they are like. I also liked how you introduced Apollo's call sign. It was all natural.
I am unashamed to admit that my eyes started to water at Mars' death. How do you invoke so much emotion? It's an amazing skill and I greatly admire it. And of course, it was Ethan. I had my suspicions, but having it confirmed as him just made my stomach plummet. Poor Ethan. I'm glad I read this, it's an amazing accompanying piece to TAOBN. Thanks for the great read!
yeah, i thought that a black ops hit wizard squad may have some sort of thing when one of their own dies...i admit i was partially inspired by the dark mark and the galleons hermione charmed back in OotP. i'm glad you thought that the intro to everyone was clear enough - i was kinda worried about things being confusing - of course, some part of the story had to be confusing in order to evoke the feeling of battle but with the call signs and later real names...it's good to know i managed to properly deal with that :P
ethan...poor ethan, i know. when i wrote this i didn't know i'd get so attached to his character but here we are, three stories (and TAOBN) later and i can't get enough of him haha
thanks for the lovely review!
Hi Kris! So, I read this story right before going to bed last night, which maybe a questionable decision on my part because that could’ve led to some really bizarre dreams, but it didn’t and I’m back here reviewing this in the morning.
First off, I love that this exists within the world of TAOBN, and that it includes little nods to it, like Logan (or Jupiter, here) shagging Quinn, but also that it’s SO totally different.
I love that they have codenames - first of all, because it’s super cool that they’re all calling each other after gods and goddesses, but also because WOW it makes everything so poetic and that much more dramatic when you’re talking about Mars/Ragnar dying.
The imagery in this is absolutely incredible, both in the opening to the story and throughout the battle. I really love all the usage of short, fragmented sentences, because it feels like such a realistic thought process in all of this - no one has time to think in complete sentences when curses are flying all around them, really - and they’re all just so poignant and effective.
“Hacking and slashing. Duelling like never before. Blood everywhere around me. My arms, my body, covered in blood. The world was red and I wanted to bathe in it.” OH MY GOD this is so chilling and I love it.
I also really like that you’ve combined both magical and non-magical fighting here, because a) it makes a lot of sense that you’d utilise both at once when fighting in close quarters like this, and b) because there’s just something about the horror of non-magical fighting (probably the sheer blood and gore of it all) that you can’t really achieve with just magical duelling alone. I really think the mixture of curses and straight-up slitting people’s throats really ups the darkness of the story. Tbh I always forget how much I LOVE reading super dark things like this until I’m reading them, but wow I loved this.
And the repetition of “no mercy” throughout the story just fit so well with all the action going on, and created such a perfect moment to end on. Also, very curious to know who this girl is.
This was such a great, chilling read - fantastic job with this. :)
hey taylor :)
i wanted to tie in this to TAOBN but without making it hard to understand for people who haven't read it, so i'm definitely glad it worked :D and it absolutely had to be totally different - while ethan is cool and all that, his story (and job) deals with really dark stuff and i wanted to make his voice/thoughts (lol him i guess??) entirely and obviously different to quinn and everything that happens in TAOBN. because he's an adult, he kills people for a living and he basically leads something of a double life...we haven't actually dwelled in his mind too much because, as you said, there's no time to think about things when you're fighting/duelling...but i think it's obvious enough that he's a bit, well, dark :P
the codenames were inspired by battlestar galactica - i loved how in the series they used them during a battle, but out of it they were almost always using their real names, and the symbolic of distinguishing between the people they have to be in battle and the people that they are out of it was something i thought would work really well in this setting, especially when mars/ragnar dies and we see ethan's perspective shift and he goes kinda rogue.
thank you for the lovely review!
yeah, i tried really hard to both describe the violence (in a way that didn't make people sick but also showed just how brutal things are) and to make the readers feel for this person/ethan who is doing these awful things but not without reason, and mostly out of love (later, when mars/ragnar dies).
i'm glad you liked it :) thanks for the lovely review!
Hey there! I’m here for Team Silver!
Wow. Wow this was amazing. Like seriously amazing. I was hooked from the first sentence. I mean it was super dark, but I loved that about this. It was unapologetically brutal, and such a riveting read. The imagery was so vivid that I could clearly see the bloodbath in my head, feel the fear and anxiety when they first got there, the absolute blind rage and thirst for revenge with Mars was killed. What an absolutely stunning piece of work here.
I’m really intrigued by this idea of neo-Death Eaters. Such a unique concept, but something I’m sure that could end up being very plausible in the Wizarding World years after Voldemort’s downfall. I mean, we see it in real life with the neo-Nazis. But these people appear to be way more brutal than the actual Death Eaters were, and that is certainly saying something.
This is part of a series of oneshots, correct? Already I’m invested in this, and can not wait to read the other ones, and dive more deeply into this world you’ve created. My heart was legit racing through this entire piece. Fantastic job with this! And thank you for sharing!! I’ll absolutely be back for more of your gorgeous writing.
hey meg :)
aaah i'm so glad you liked this! honestly, i don't think i'm that great at description so it's nice to know i managed to convey the bloodbath well (lol maybe i'm only good at describing horrible things......... :P )
well, i think there's bound to be something else in the future after voldy (just like he came after grindelwald)...but this time the ministry isn't just sitting there and twiddling their thumbs, waiting for another dark wizard or witch to gain so much power - insteas they have hit wizards specialised in dealing quietly and deadly with threats...
thanks for the lovely review!
I'm here to spread some christmas cheer!
I think the first thing to say about this is WOW. I can't get over how powerful and intense this one-shot is. I can't believe it's only just under 2k because I feel so much longer, it's really impressive how fleshed out the characters are in this piece. I feel like I know them yet not that much information is really revealed. I think the idea of hit wizard black ops is really unique too.
I think you really have some amazing imagery especially in the beginning which really helps set the mood for the piece. It's so wonderful how you manged to use that description of the violence, it really packs an emotional punch. I would find writing action like this really hard but you nailed it. I feel like there is a lot going on in this piece yet everything still felt very clear like the piece had a great flow to it.
The characters are really interesting. Ethan as the narrator is just feel like a real person (very intense one though!) because in real life, there isn't a big divide between good and evil like there is in fiction. His experiences have obviously shaped the person he is. The grief and pain he has is insane. He just feels like you've really got inside his brain that you've just planned him so well. the backstory, it's just very well fleshed out. I thought 1st person was a great choice too.
Well done on this piece, it's powerful and raw. you're very good storyteller!
- Abbi xo
hey abbi :)
i actually haven't really written any action or action scenes before this story but...i do read a lot of books which are action--y and i guess they influenced my own writing. i'm very happy at the response i've received for this story and the fact that i managed to convey the feel and the emotional impact of ragnar's death on ethan.
i really love reading about morally grey characters (because that's the reality) so i wanted to try my hand at writing someone like that...
thanks for the lovely review!
I saw that this story had been featured and figured it was a good place to start. I'm not sure I've read any of your work before, and I'm sorry for that! Your writing is stunning.
I love the style of this piece. I'm not sure if this is your typical style or if you wrote it this way to match the tone, but either way, I am hooked! The short, staccato lines add a lot of tension and create a fast pace that had me hanging on the edge of my seat. BEAUTIFUL descriptions--really painted a picture. And the violence was gruesome but not over-the-top.
I am really impressed by how quickly you had me feeling connected to these characters. In less than 2,000 words, I was mourning when Mars and Ragnar died--I could feel the bonds between these characters, who work together and risk their lives for each other. I can imagine that would create much stronger relationships than a typical job environment.
I need to read your novel sometime. If it's anything like this, I know I'll enjoy it. :) Happy Holidays!
hey gina :)
i actually did try to match the way i wrote this to the tone and theme of the story - it's not the way i always write but i do always try to differentiate my writing according to the content. i'm glad you thought this was good ^_^
yeah, saving each others lives and fighting together definitely makes for much closer work relationships and i reallly wanted to show that (especially since i wrote this for the vocational challenge)
TAOBN isn't really like this - i mean ethan and jupiter/logan are characters from TAOBN but the mc is ethan's little sister and she's still at hogwarts so she only gets glimpses of the happenings related to ethan's job (and her grandfather who gets mentioned in my.other oneshots)
thanks for the lovely review!
ghasgjlgk hello i am deceased yet again. find me in the papers, cause of death: your beautiful, beautiful writing.
just MMM i won't lie i love ethan (and the whole hit wizard thing) and this just.... i can't put gifs here but MWAH. incredible. amazing. beautiful. the sentences are just so beautifully crafted and wow it gives such an insight into what's going on inside ethan's head throughout this entire oneshot
"My friend. My brother." MMMMMM I'm weak
the codenames? SHOWSTOPPING. i love them so much, the contrast of using Ragnar's name over his codename just.... the angst is tangible.
all in all, 100/5, completely divine, if i was capable of crying i would have
aw, your reviews are always wonderful to read, they make me all warm and fuzzy on the inside!
i was quite worried while i wrote this about whether i'd be able to convey the emotions well, so i'm definitely glad i managed to portray the emotions and thoughts and all the angst well.
thank you for the lovely review!!
This was terrific, starbuck, Deliciously violent, without making it just violent. It had the bittersweet story of Apollo (Ethan) and Nox (?) fleshed out. You felt his pain at his friend's death. Even in that anguish, he was still able to perform his job. They all did. That's what soldiers have to do, and they're wizarding soldiers of the finest order.
Do I agree with how they ended it? It was the only logical choice given the outcome if they hadn't. A little 'oops' and justice was served.
thanks, juls, for this lovely review, i'm really glad you liked the story!
the girl at the end isn't actually nox, but i can see how you can read it in such a way and i don't think it detracts from the story even if i didn't intend it - i'm always glad when people can get something from the story that even i didn't realise! :D
i love reading morally gray characters and their stories and the way this ended was something i knew had to happen when i started writing it.
thanks again for the review!
Oh, God, you made me cry, evil author. It's not even 2K, and you made me cry over OCs.It's so short, and yet you manage to make the reader feel like they now the character so intimately, as you imply so much, particularly chronicling the relationship between Mars/Ragnar and Apollo/Ethan (You can almost feel his heart shatter) until the current mission, which is an interesting setup in of itself.
The whole idea of "black ops" Aurors is a fascinating one that's never really referenced in canon with the possible exception of the Order, and another dark wizard after Voldemort (Especially one less...obvious) is interesting, and you reveal just enough I want to know more. The entire setup is pretty tight, and the mirroring of muggle military protocol is cool (Especially with the Roman gods serving as code names).
Also, your writing is incredibly haunting here. The switch between aliases and true names, the repeating phrases - especially "saddest eyes" and "No Mercy" - is simply incredible with everything it implies by the final time is used, everything that is left unsaid. It reads like a tragic myth, almost (Pun with Roman gode code names intended), and the grief that ensues is simply awful (Also, friends in that squad for the win with simply"We'll say she resisted arrest". Still crying, but a win none the less).
Overall, it's a great, if sad, oneshot, and I adored it!
For House Cup 2018-2019 Opener
i made myself cry while i was writing this and i'm not usually a crying-type-person so i know how you feel.
and even though i'm, er, sorry you cried, i'm also glad i managed to cause the reader to feel the emotions ethan/apollo felt when ragnar/mars died.
omg yes, black ops and actually having a wizarding-type-army-or-something-similar (in my story they're actually hit wizards) is something i imagine could happen in the future after voldy if the ministry realises that they should have some way of fighting back if another dark wizard (or even just a normal gang-type criminal) rises up, instead of being in denial and relying on a select few people (the aurors) and a resistance group (the order) and a couple of brave teenagers to save the world :P
the code names (call signs) were inspired by the show battlestar galactica - i'm a huge fan and liked how they used call signs in combat and real names out of it. it was kind of symbolic.
thanks for all the compliments - i literally wrote this in one sitting and couldn't believe how easy it was. i guess i was in that kind of mood and listening to iron maiden on repeat while writing helped too with the feel of the story. i'm glad you liked it!
Hey! I saw that you posted about review swaps, and even if you aren't up for another one, I wanted to read something of yours anyway because I never have, so here's a review even if you don't have time for a swap :) I'm typing this on my phone though so sorry if autocorrect does anything silly haha
So, damn, this was really powerful. I liked the way you introduced everything in the first section, how until like halfway through we don't know who these people are or what they are doing or why, just the immediate details of this mission. Which makes sense, bc that s what they would be thinking at a time like this - only about what is necessary and happening right now. No time for emotions. It really sets the tone of the story so effectively, and sets up the second half.
Your use of detail is so impresskve too, and it makes the action play out so vividly. Which brings me to the point with marss death, Ethan has so many emotions about it but it still isn't the time to process them or even feel those emotions at all, and he channels it into rage. And then becomes almost no better than the people he is fighting against, in terms of how war is conducted. Fighting for a different cause, but just as viciously.
Part of me wonders how the wizarding world turned into this, like how did Octavia end up in power? But ultimately that backstory is not needed to tell the story you told. And, in a way, the glossing over of octavias rise to power kind of hints at how there will always be people like her, like Voldemort before her and Grindelwald before that. Power is a cycle and there are always wars about it. And after her, there will some day be another taking power for a different reason.
I think I'm starting to ramble now bc I'm sleepy hah but I just wanted to say that ireally enjoyed this story, it gave me a lot to think about, and you are a talented writer, I'm so glad I stopped by your page. Great work <3
i'm almost always up for more review swaps so no worries! :D
i'm actually amazed at the response i've gotten for this story - i've never written anything action-y before but this just pretty much wrote itself, idk how i even did it or got the idea, but ethan is a character from my other story and i realised i wanted to explore the hit wizards (because we know next to nothing about them and i kinda imagined them in this story like black ops people/navy SEALS etc) and how in the future the ministry might actually set up stuff in a way that doesn't result in a powerful and/or rich wizard/witch taking over half the wizarding world while they just twiddle their thumbs :p
and yes, ethan totally loosing his composure and transforming into someone we're not quite sure we should root for is something i always wanted to explore and write. morally gray characters are some of my favourite ones to read about and even though they're much harder for the readers to sympathise with than the standard 'hero' it just meant it's more a challenge to write it.
all this was done in secret, as was much of octavia's work (because to the rest of the wizarding world she was a respected member of the community) i imagined that like in the real world, in the wizarding world there would always be people who would try to do things like voldy or grindelwald...magic just means it's a lot easier for powerful witches and wizards to do what they want and take power. so i set up the story in a way that shows how, after both of the wizarding wars, the ministry finally has a response for those sort of criminals, instead of relying on teenagers to save the world :P
thank for this amazing review, i'm glad you liked the story!
Hi Kristina! I'm here with your review from the Staff Review Thread on the forums. Sorry for the delay in getting to it!
First of all, I want to start off by just saying, "Wow." Honestly, wow. Your writing is beautiful, and you've done a great job capturing the emotions and mood of this story. It was so intense, and I honestly felt like I was fighting alongside this squad. Great job.
The characters' call-signs are clear and distinct, and I didn't get confused! I did wish I knew them all a little better though. Want to write a novel about everybody here so I can read it? ;)
I felt so devastated for our narrator when his mentor was killed. There was such a moment of just...stillness. Then the realization. Then all hell breaks loose. And I thought that was amazing.
The only part that I was "confused" by came towards the end, when Nox essentially okays Octavia's execution. Somehow Nox didn't seem like the type to give that order/allow that to happen, when they were told to arrest Octavia and bring her into custody.
This story really shapes a nightmare of a world, and I would read more of it any day. You did so well shaping the background of this conflict without ever having to spell out the whole past. And while it left me wanting more, it didn't leave me confused or unsure.
Overall, really well done! Let me know if you ever write more in this world!
hey emily!! :D
i actually had an idea about doing a series of one shots about ethan/apollo...especially since i wanted to tell another story that involved quidditch politics and assassination attempts that's marginally touched upon in The Art of Being Nonchalant (Or Not) (ethan is a character from that story)...but it'll have to wait because omg the HC finale ate up all my time and i wasn't able to properly plot, so it's a definite possibility for the future!
when i wrote about ragnar/mars dying i actually cried a little bit. and i'm not usually the crying type so i'm glad i managed to portray those emotions in the story well.
oooh, nox is a really interesting character (obviously in my head because we don't learn a lot about her here except that she killed a lot of people and isn't at all touched by all the carnage), so her okaying the execution was something i knew was going to happen when i started the story. i absolutely love morally gray characters and the ones who you can't figure out properly so nox, who at first seems like a leader following the orders (and rules about needing octavia alive) she got and then coldly ordering murder and making us realise that the "good" guys aren't all that good is something i really wanted to do/show.
i never expected such great feedback on this story and it makes me really happy to hear that it leaves you wanting more!
thank you for the lovely review!
Wow, this was... intense... :/
Anyway... hi, Kris! I'm here for our swap! Sorry if I'm a little bit late...
Erm... I'm a bit at a loss for words, I will be sincere... I mean, I think what you did here was magistral, really. You write action so, so well, I could picture everything in mind so perfectly. But I'm a bit shocked by all the carnage, I guess... No mercy, indeed... I definitely could never be a Hit Wizard...
Ragnar's death was so impactful. I didn't ignore it. This was such a clever line, the contrast it created with the repetition of the opposite you had through the story. Like, he could sustain all the physical pain and all the triggering images but he couldn't ignore his mentor falling. And the memories after that, how they'd saved each other's lives and had been ready to die for each other so many times. I understood the sacrifice now. Another impactful sentence.
I see now what you meant about Logan and why you feel for him. I can't even begin to imagine what it means to lose a family member that way... :( And it's really horrifying what that woman did... it's horrible...
That said, the whole no mercy concept, the killing in cold blood... I can't imagine doing that, especially not as a recognized profession? But yeah, I sort of understand the circumstances and the idea of paople turning into targets... I just don't like it...
Just a note. I know it's silly to mention and you can just tell me to bug off, but I'm a fan of Greek/Roman mythology, so... Mars is the god of war, not of death... that would be Pluto... that said, Mars is a much more fitting nickname for Ragnar, and I honestly loved your nickname choice.
So, to cut it short, this was a great one-shot and you wrote it brilliantly. Thank you so much for the swap. :)
i totally get what you mean about all the killing and it being a profession - i imagine hit wizards as something like black ops of the wizarding world, dealing with everything/everyone that's too problematic to deal with in public. with the wizarding justice system being as flawed as it is in the HP books, this seemed like something that might be feasible in canon. so their public image is of an elite group of wizards&witches who deal with violent criminals but in truth they're much more (and with magic it seems much easier to commit crimes, especially ones involving muggles who are almost defenseless...so besides voldemort i find it easy to imagine people committing various other crimes, not necessarily on such a large scale (and especially if their ultimate goal isn't to rule over the world so they keep their activities secret)) - so having a group who is tasked with fighting against them seems like something that would be possible.
aaah, i know mars is a god of war :D :D, but when i named ragnar i actually did want him more war-like (which automatically implies death, too...and when i started writing this i didn't plan for him to die :O ). the main idea behind their call signs isn't that they fit them in some descriptive way (because apollo, jupiter and nox definitely don't have any real connection, so only ragnar ended up with something that really fit him - this was unintentional at first because i literally sat down and wrote this without any prior planning), just that they're thematically linked, even if two are roman and two greek gods - just something that makes their hit wizard personas different to their real personas ;D
i really wanted to touch upon the fact that in (covert) war there's no good guys. i mean, there is but the good guys are also bad, everything is grey, there's no morality or black&white thinking. and i wanted to show what people are capable of, both psychopaths who experiment on children and what we think are the good guys up until the point the good guys break apart from something and do things we wouldn't expect them to.
thank you for the lovely review!
Wow. Just wow. I think I've finally found an author on here who write my genrre. Superb, Kris. You've captured the essense of a dark story without losing any of the technicalities required when writing a good piece, which I think is a marvel.
I loved how you gave such a brief intro to the entire team and the situation. In stories such as this you can't really spend a lot of time to divuldge context but you've done is nicely here. You've also given a clear picture of the horror (The children being tortured and burnt) without making it gory.
You write in short sentences which is really good as it makes everything clear. There was one instance though where I felt you could have combined two sentences.
Another experiment. Gone wrong.
This was the only instance to be honest. Everything else is perfect.
Please PLEASE DO KEEP WRITING THESE KINDS OF STORIES. When you do, please do PM me and I'll come read. Please please please tell me :D
So far you were only my favourite artist. Now you're my favourite author too <3
ayy, thank you for this wonderful review! it means a lot to know people like my story :D
if i ever write anything similar, i'll be sure to let you know! :))
Hi, this is for the review swap.
yes, conveying how you feel during a fight that seems to go very bad for you from the very beginning was one big challenge i faced while writing this. i think i rewrote the fight scenes a couple of times until they felt right to me - i'm glad i managed to do it!
i'm sorry i managed to confuse you :/ :/ (but thank you for the constructive crit!!) you know, when you're writing something and you know what you're writing, sometimes you don't think that the readers might not get the same idea from it - it's why, when i introduced the characters at the beginning with their greek gods names, i wrote the sentence about Mars' call sign (code name) being fitting (Mars being a god of war) but it didn't occur to me that people might be confused by what a call sign actually is - i might put an explanation in chapter notes :)
octavia definitely didn't count on hit wizards not doing the right thing (at least in legal terms :P) but when your sister is dead (for jupiter/logan) or your closest friend/mentor (for apollo/ethan) just died because of her, being moral when dealing with the person responsible isn't high on your list of priorities.
thank you for the lovely review!
I love the way you established the dangerous suspense and anticipation at the beginning of this. It felt so tangible and terrifying. I can't imagine how horrific that must be -- to be under attack, knowing your people are dying and there is absolutely nothing that you can do about it. You can practically feel the narrator's anxiety, albeit highly determined.
Stilting and shortening the sentences made for some amazing action in this -- great job. I'm pretty nit-picky when it comes to action-scenes but I really appreciated this one. I think it was also assisted by the level of anticipation you established leading up to the scene -- a perfect crescendo into the climax. From being surrounded and the enemy closing in, to the squad's magnificent skill during their black ops mission, to their harrowing mantra of 'No Mercy' -- I was deeply enthralled.
So, when Nox was one-on-five and Mars was surrounded, my heart nearly stopped. The pure suspense being suppressed for a flashback was a brilliant move on your part -- and incorporated my absolute favorite trope: the death of the mentor. Combining this trope with the stress of what was happening around him in the form of a flashback created some really intense emotions and I absolutely love the feeling it established.
And what this did to Ethan was particularly noteworthy. The sheer rage, the bloodlust, the vengeance born from the flashback transformed an already interesting character into a machine.
The following scene was heart-breaking, thinking about what the children had to endure for a ridiculous set of beliefs. And the antagonist of this, Octavia, was displayed just as I would imagine any villain to be portrayed -- self-important and completely unaffected by the tragedies she caused. Experimenting on children is horrific. In a large way, I was pleased that they didn't leave her fate up to a flawed legal system and took matters into their own hands. This person didn't deserve Azkaban -- she deserved worse.
Ragnar's death was, at least, not in vain.
This hit all of my checkmarks for what I expect out of an action story. You did a wonderful job with it.
omg hi hey hi :D
so i'm a little lost for words??? because all this wonderful feedback from you means a lot :O
honestly, i don't remember the last time (if ever???) i wrote an action scene or even mystery so i'm really glad i managed to build up the suspense and then the actual fight scene turned out well.
ethan is a complex character - i was afraid people would think he's a psychopath after reading this :I but due to his own family/parents being absent a lot (we don't see that here but we do in The Art of Being Nonchalant) ragnar was something like family to him/an older brother (kind of) who was willing to sacrifice his own life for him. and when he dies, ethan, who's been ignoring all these people dying around him and the pain and the uncertainty of living through the night, just snaps. and well, does what he does best, i guess :o i'm glad i managed to make him symphatetic enough that people felt for him :)
i like morally ambiguous characters - which nox especially is in this story (i hope i managed to convey her unusual personality with how calm and blank she was the whole time). and leaving octavia to the legal system just wasn't an option after ragnar's death. i think that even if nox didn't suggest what she did, ethan would've probably killed octavia. jupiter most likely would've joined him. and nox would've still covered everything up for them even if it wasn't her idea.
thank you so much for reviewing - i'm happy you liked the story! :D
Hi there! I'm here for our swap! :)
First, I'd like to applaud you for your opening to this fic. The first few lines sucked me right in! Your descriptive language helped build the suspense and fuel the mystery, and I couldn't wait to keep reading to see what would happen next (and find out who 'her' refered to).
I loved your use of code names. It added to the realism of the fic. Maybe realism is the wrong word, given this is about magic and all, but hopefully you know what I mean. :p
Your repeated use of the phrase "I ignored it" was well done. Silly as it sounds, I'm a sucker for subtle repetition that's used effectively, and I loved how you used it as a tool of forshadowing. It hinted that, eventually, there was going to be something our protagonist couldn't ignore, and I was waiting with bated breath to see what his breaking point would be.
I don't mean this in a dark, twisted way, but I really like the idea of these warriors using things like swords, knives, etc. It makes the fighting more personal, in a sense, and I like that they don't rely solely on magic.
Mars's death was crushing and perfectly executed. And Apollo's reflection/reaction to it... gah!! So powerful.
This was a super well-written one-shot, and you should be very proud! Thanks for the swap! :)
aw, thank you, i'm glad i managed to build up the suspense :D honestly, i was so worried about this fic and how it will turn out - it's not a genre i've ever written before so i'm thrilled you think i managed to do it well.
i totally understand what you mean about the code names/call signs giving a bit of 'realism', it is something military uses so it made sense for me to try and use it in the fic.
oh the 'i ignored it' phrase actually started out accidentally - i used it, like, two times? i think anyway, before i came to mars' death scene and then i remembered using the phrase and how i could do the 'i didn't ignore it' now and it would fit perfectly so i went back and rewrote some paragraphs and added a couple more lines where the phrase could be used to give it more repetition and to kind of announce the breaking point. glad it worked out well!
dean thomas rushing into battle of hogwarts without a wand (and neville - when he killed nagini with gryffindor's sword) was what inspired me to think about how silly only magical fights could get if you're hit with something fairly simple and easy to cast like the expelliarmus spell and you're left without a wand in the middle of a duel. we know that goblin- made weaponry can be imbued with magic so it made sense that at least hit wizards would be trained in a fighting style that used both magic and 'muggle style' fighting (but not really muggle since in my mind goblin-made weapons could penetrate a magical shield or at least weaken it and then after a couple of hits penetrate it (i don't know if you've ever played RPG computer games but it's where i got the inspiration for this - in them you can cas a magical shield and it gets hurt for a while instead of you, but when its strength hits zero you're left without a shield).
thank you for the lovely review!
Ahh it's not fair! I want moooooore!
Okay, straight off the bat, I was hooked. You set the scene so well, the description and the mystery surrounding who these people were and what they were doing just demanded to be read!
I love the idea of a Magical Hit-Squad. The little touches you added, from the burnign dog-tags (Almost remanisant of the dark marks and DA coins?) to the symbolic code names, just worked to make it seem like this would be a thing.
You set up their mission so well, the plan and then all of a sudden we switch and the flow becomes to much more chaotic and emotional. The death of the POV's mentor is done brilliantly, we get to see the switch from Operative to a real person.
The more information that we got the more I was invested and then we get to the girl at the very end... Was she important? Who was she? I have so many questions!
Aything dramatic with this level of Gothic Horror thrown in is brilliant and it's very well written! I loved it!
hey deni :D
aaah, i'm really glad you thought this was mysterious enough to have to keep reading! it makes my day to read this.
yes, i kind of combined the dog tags soldiers (and i imagine hit wizards being something like soldiers....or ninjas! :P) usually wear with magic and what we see in the wizarding world as things that were used to bond different groups. i also wanted them to leave the mark as a reminder of fallen friends, it came naturally for some reason :o
and the call signs (code names) were something i saw as a great way to show the transition of the main character, Apollo/Ethan Jones (he also appears in my other fic, The Art of Being Nonchalant (Or Not) - he's the MCs brother in it), from the hit wizard to a person who just saw someone they love die. call signs are used in military aviation and even though hit wizards obviously aren't just fliers, it seemed fitting (i'm also a huge battlestar galactica fan and loved how they used call signs during a fight, but real names out of the fight).
the girl at the end is the same girl he briefly thinks about at the beginning of this whole thing. she's another hit wizard and his lover. but of course there's more to the story. who betrayed them?! that's the important question :D
i'm glad you liked this! i was unsure of it as i wrote it in one sitting and i've never written anything this dark before.
thank you for the lovely review!