Hello darling! I'm here to review. Now, I do love any sort of pseudo-stream of consciousness or just SoC or any sort of manipulation of that particular technique, really, so this was right up my alley!
There are about a thousand and one things I want to say about this piece, so I'll just get to it! The first thing that really struck me was your allegorical usage of the word "Blackness" because it has so many connotations in this story - it symbolizes his ancestry and family name, but also the layers of 'blackness' in reference to darkness itself and to the ink from his Dark Mark, and it furthermore seems to give us this feeling of the 'blackness' of his soul and how it seems to have manifested. By capitalizing "Blackness," you also emphasize the allegory - it really sets up the mood for the rest of the piece. I thought that was a remarkable, yet minute part of your story.
I enjoyed how the fractured mindframe also elicited that feeling of a time warp in the story. Regulus is so completely wrapped up in his fantasies, that as the piece progresses, he is unable to distinguish between his own identity and the identities of others that he has almost internalized and tried/hoped to emulate. You've manipulated the stream of consciousness style very well to suit this particular piece. Through Regulus's thoughts, we see his greatest yearnings, his fears, his resolutions, but most importantly, his imagination. This was a big thing for me. Not only did it emphasize that Regulus is really just a boy who has matured before his time, it also showed that he retained some semblance of what he wants out of life, his hopes and dreams. You've given us the notion of imagination as a life-force and as a source of power for the greater good - despite the glory he seeks, he realizes, through his imagination, that glory comes from doing what is right. He does not fear death because he has lived a thousand, a hundred thousand adventures filled with epic heroes and gallant fights - and all through his imagination. Regulus has utilized one of the most important aspects of the human conscious/subconscious and used it to accept death.
I also really love the contrast between lightness and darkness, in both the literal and metaphorical sense - Regulus's imagination and being as a light, but also his involvement with the Death Eaters as a source of darkness - you've even contrasted Regulus and Sirius's "lights."
I do have one small critique for you. "No, no. Those questions, they did not matter." - These particular sentences toward the end actually jilted me out of your prose. I understand what you were going for in emphasizing that Regulus is beyond such notions and is focusing on his purpose, but it just seemed, wrong. Maybe if you reworded it somehow? Or deleted it altogether? That's just a suggestion, mind you - it was just something that I observed.
Also, I absolutely love your style in this piece and how it's a bit old school, per se. With lines like, "touch not the water for there the dead rest" you really elicit the feel of Regulus's imagination and how he intertwines himself with people and characters of old. I thought the effect was perfect. Now, you asked me if the style works and if it is plausible - I think it's kind of brilliant, honestly. There's something about the subtle metaphors and loose stream of consciousness, along with fractured mindframe/timeframe that really brought the piece onto an entirely new level. You said that this story doesn't feel finished - well, darling, I hate to break it to you, but I think you're crazy on that front. Haha! I really think you've got to give yourself some major credit with this story. I seldom tell someone that they're got a story that is worthy of publication, but this piece deserves a place in a literary magazine. Of course, it's fanfiction, but your natural prose coupled with this style just send it above most everything I've read on this site, even things in literature classes.
I don't have any CC for you, Susan. I really don't. You know that I will be nothing but honest with you - you need to have FAITH in this oneshot. I think it is fabulous. The Biblical allusions, the allegorical inflections, the metaphors, the descriptions, your characterization, it's all impeccable. It is, in all honesty, nothing less than extraordinary.
If you've got any more questions for me or want me to go back and look at specific things, feel free to PM me! I know there's more that I want to say, but it's so overwhelming beautiful, I'm just at a loss!
I /loved/ it.
Author's Response: Thank you for this, Shelby! It's so easy as a writer/artist to fall into a self-hatred mode... though perhaps that's too strong a term - a crushing lack of self-confidence is more accurate. It's frustrating because of the way it holds me back from pushing further - I always worry that people won't like the results, but it means not thinking about what I want out of the story (or out of the writing process as a whole). Thanks for giving me a kick in the right direction, making me feel better about this story!
That term "Blackness" keeps catching readers' eyes! I'm glad that people are responding well to it because it could be problematic, but in the Potterverse, at least, it thankfully has a different connotation. Being a Black means many different things, and I think of all the families in the series, it's the one that is most obsessed with the power of the name, and the name alone. The Malfoy name stops with Lucius, and those of other families feel more... disconnected. But the history and heritage of the Blacks is incredibly detailed as well as complicated - it's the family that ties together so many of the main characters, it's really amazing. Yet for that generation of Sirius, Regulus, and Andromeda, it's a curse to be a Black. Blackness takes on its literal meaning for them, but Regulus isn't as decided as the other two - he wavers between pride of family and acknowledgement of its evil character. It becomes another reason why he becomes fractured, divided between two worlds.
I really like what you've said about the power of imagination. It's not something I consciously put into the story, but it is something I often think about, both as a teacher and student of literature - we always have to take into account the difference between "reality" and the fiction of a story. But Regulus, like so many others, then and now, refuses to face that they are different - his reality is too terrible, so he escapes into fiction, not only because it's a comfort, but also because it makes more sense. The Romanticized knights fought with honour - the Death Eaters don't. They're still the "nobility" of the magical world, but they are the villains. How can anything, much less Regulus, understand the whys and hows of this?
I've changed that sentence, as we discussed on the forums. Thanks for pointing out that break in the flow - it sounds much better now. :D
For some reason, I always imagine that Regulus and his parents would speak very formally. It's a pureblood headcanon of mine (which tends to annoy readers, oh well). It's wonderful to hear that you like it! It does suit Regulus's preferred reading material - a combination of Shakespeare, Spenser, Mallory, and probably also Tennyson - though I used it more to enhance the mood and rhythm of the story.
*blushes* Thank you very much for those fantastic compliments. They've got me gushing and sniffling, so I better close off this response with one last word of thanks. ^_^