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Reading Reviews for House of Cards
160 Reviews Found

Review #26, by patronus_charm Jack of Clubs

6th November 2014:
Hi Laura, here for the review battle and also because I really need to catch up on this story!

But wah so much drama with the way Pollux and the House Elf are dead! Who on earth is doing this? My current theory is that Bella killed the house elf because that just seems like the type of thing she would do as she can get annoyed really easily, and yeah, itís just a Bella thing to do and itís more a thing resulting from irrational anger than anything else. As for who killed the other two, I have a feeling thatís a separate killer, someone much more measured, controlled even, and they really do have a vendetta which is driving them to do this, so it will be interesting to see if the next few chapters give me any more cools.

As usual, your description and dialogue were really fantastic and helped give the story a mystery/dark feel that helped to keep up the suspense throughout. You just have this ability to focus on really tiny details so it tricks the reader into thinking that itís something vital in discovering whoís behind this plot, again adding to the mystery.

More on the characters though! Alphard was fabulous and I can see exactly why he was blasted off of the family tree with the comment about controlling children as it really did make me chuckle. I also felt quite a bit sorry for poor old Lucius just after Pollux dropped down and he is being crossed off of my suspect list as he genuinely seemed shocked and scared by the death and really wanted to ascertain it wasnít his fault. As usual, Sirius was fab. ♥

I canít wait to read on!


Author's Response: Hi Kiana - so glad to see you back here! :)

Haha, yeah, a double murder! :D With all the theories some people had about the house-elf and stuff, she kinda had to die - plus, it limits the options again, along with Pollux. It's also kinda needless, which I like about some of the things in murder mysteries - not everything is necessary for the plot, or done by the killer ;) Ooh Bella, hm? Bella certainly would, and she's not the type to necessarily need a reason for it... a separate killer... you might be onto something there, though of course I couldn't say ;)

Thank you so much! I love writing the whole traditional creepy-manor-house sort of thing; it's one of those tropes I just adore! Plus, it just suits the Blacks so well, too!

Alphard... I actually really enjoy writing him! He wasn't originally meant to show up, but appear through letters and things, but I'm so glad he got into it now! He's so inflammatory, it's funny. You don't think Lucius has anything to do with it... interesting theory, interesting... though in a house of Blacks wouldn't you be scared if you killed one? :P I'm so happy you still like Sirius, too! :)

Thank you so much for the wonderful review - it was such a lovely thing to get, and I'm so glad you're still enjoying it! :)

Aph xx

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Review #27, by Moony Four of Clubs

5th October 2014:
It seems like whoever has done this did it for the sole reason of destroying the Black family. Because of this, I think the murderer is Barty. The will wasn't changed for beneficial gain, this means that whoever changed it wanted the Blacks to turn on each other. Barty brought up the murder theory and tried to enforce it with Sirius. It could defenitly be someone else like Bellatrixs or Regulus or even someone who hasn't been giving off any clues at all.

Author's Response: Hey there, again! It's so so great to see you back here again - thank you so much for sticking with this, it really means a lot! :)

Ooh, interesting theory! :P It definitely has merit - the events are definitely headed that way, that's for sure... Barty is very suspicious, I have to admit to that at least! Though I can't say whether or not there's anything in it, you understand ;) Yeah, Bellatrix is crazy enough to do it for definite, and Regulus... well, who knows about Regulus? So sweet and young, haha :P

Thank you so much for the review - it was so so lovely to hear from you again. The two reviews were such wonderful things to get - they really were a great surprise to get! :)

Aph xx

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Review #28, by Moony Two of Spades

5th October 2014:
You have a great hook. It's a very interesting idea and I'm curious where you plan to go with it. Your writing skill are really good and there's great imagery. Can't wait to see what happens.

Author's Response: Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

Thank you so much - I really loved writing this, though the beginning of this chapter gave me a LOT of trouble, I have to admit, so I'm so glad you like it! I hope you like how it goes, and hope to see you again! :)

Thank you so much for the lovely review, too - it was such a great surprise to get!

Aph xx

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Review #29, by Veritaserum27 Eight of Clubs

3rd October 2014:
Hi Aph!

I'm here from the common room for the BvB review battle. You have so many wonderful stories to pick from, but I decided to stick with this one because I'm so deep into it.

You have such a beautiful gift for description - I can see why you've been nominated for so many Dobbys! The way you pull the reader into the scene is amazing. I always feel like I'm right there with Sirius, in the dark, dank Black Manor. It is sooo creepy and adds another layer to this mysterious story.

You drop so many subtle and clever clues - but still you've woven this mystery so deep, I can't guess it! - But I'm gonna try! I think the mysterious note is from Barty - he would probably be the only one that Sirius or his father wouldn't recognize the handwriting.

I must admit, I saw the confrontation between Sirius and Regulus coming. Those two just don't seem to be on the same page and it's been obvious since the beginning of the story that Sirius resents his brother.

I did catch one typo here:

It's just that you've never been interesting in sitting in the same room as me, and now you want to be all friendly or whatever -

I think you mean interested instead of interesting.

Another cliffhanger! Why do you do this? Gah, I can't wait to find out what happens!

♥ Beth

Author's Response: Hey Beth! :) No worries - I'm so happy to see you like this story and keep going with it. It means a lot to me because this is still kinda my baby even though it's finished :)

Gah, thank you so much! :) I was so amazed by all the nominations - I don't think I can ever think everyone enough! I love describing the house - it's a bit of a cliche in a horror story, haha, but it's so much fun to do! And so suitable for them, lol.

Ooh, Barty... hm... interesting guess ;) But yeah, it is dependent on who you think Sirius wouldn't recognise their handwriting - and the pool of candidates is perhaps a little wider. I feel I should point out that I said nothing about whether or not Orion recognises the writing ;)

Yeah, I know, it's been a long time coming! I loved writing it, though it was a hard scene to write, particularly the beginning of it. Once it started, it all sort of came quite quickly. But yeah, they really, really don't get on. Poor boys! :(

Ah, yeah, thank you so much for that! I always miss things, hehe, I'm so bad for that - I'll be sure to edit that out when I go through this next, so thank you so much for mentioning it! :)

I'm sorry... it's fun? *hides* :P

Thank you so so much for the lovely review - your reviews are always such great things to get, and I always love them and I'm just so glad you're still enjoying this story! :)

Aph xx

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Review #30, by Veritaserum27 Seven of Hearts

29th August 2014:
Hi Aph!

Sorry this took so long - but I'm here for the review swap.

Aaahhh! How could you do this? That was an incredible cliffhanger - I totally didn't see it coming! I don't mean to work backwards in this review, but WHAT DID THE LETTER SAY?!?!

You are completely brilliant at setting the mood for every single scene. I mean it's just amazing how I feel like I'm right there with Sirius. Your words make me feel his discomfort and pain and every emotion that he is feeling, I'm right there with him.

The contrast between Bella and Narcissa is subtle, but important. Narcissa is controlled and thought out while Bella is passionate and spontaneous. She's "just going to end it" without thought as to how she would carry that out. She is the only one to jump from the table and run to her master, while the others stay back and contemplate their next move. I know Lucius has the dark mark and I would assume some of the other Black family members have it as well, but I'm curious as to why they didn't run off as well. Perhaps they left after Sirius did and he didn't see them.

Barty remains a mystery to me. While Regulus is caring and sensitive, Barty seems to be acting like a sociopath - and Sirius is coming to realize this.

I also really enjoyed seeing the Gryffindor come out in Sirius. There is a murderer amongst them and he just dives right in to the dinner, poisoned or not. It seems that his family gets the best of him most of the time, but these little moments where he can claim a victory over their oppression are important to him.

Thanks so much for review swapping! I can't wait to see what happens next!


Author's Response: Hey there, Beth! Sorry about the long wait for the reply - I'm terrible about this, it's so bad! :/

Ahaha, sorry about that :P So many cliffhangers in this, unfortunately - the curse of writing/reading a murder mystery!

Thank you so much! I love describing the scenes, particularly through Sirius' eyes, it's so much fun to do - he's a great character! :)

Bella and Narcissa... yeah, I love putting them in contrast to each other - the interactions between characters in this are one of the best things in this to write! - and they're definitely incredible different, and so almost opposite in character. Yeah, Bella is very spontaneous and very demanding, in a way which Narcissa is very calm and almost sort of meek in a way. Bella is the only one who goes because, honestly, I always sort of assumed that Voldemort could call individual Death Eaters and smaller groups of them as he wanted through the Mark... so yeah, no one else is meant to have gone ;)

Barty really isn't the most normal kind of child. Really, really not :P But yeah, he's not quite as bad as Sirius sees him - or is he? :P He's so much fun to write, though!

I loved being able to bring out the Gryffindor qualities Sirius has, particularly in a house of so many Slytherins, and so many sly and cunning characters. Yeah, it is definitely a victory for him - and he does enjoy it. It was sort of a battle between him and the family, and the family and the tension, and he definitely won! :D

Thank you so much for the swap - it was so great to do, I really loved it! Thank you so much for the lovely review - it was just so lovely to get! :)

Aph xx

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Review #31, by gigi Joker

16th August 2014:
Interesting take on the illustrious House of Black. Wickedly humorous albeit clichť whodunit plot, but surmounted by an incredibly genius writing style that sucked me in and had to finish this in one read. You know, I almost felt sympathetic towards the (generally one dimensionally evil in canon and other stories) Blacks as their house imploded here.

Author's Response: Gah, thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, murder mysteries are a bit cliche - almost impossible to one totally unique after so many have been done, I think! - but I just had to write this when the idea came to me! I loved writing the Blacks and I'm glad you (almost) felt sorry for them ;)

Thank you so much for the review and thank you so much for reading - I'm so glad you liked it! :)

Aph xx

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Review #32, by aconite Joker

11th August 2014:
This is a really good story! I loved the characterization of the Black family, it's very realistic and believable :) I didn't quite understand who attacked Regulus and why, and why Narcissa wanted to kill her father, though... :)

Author's Response: Thank you so so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :) The mystery surrounding Regulus is meant to still be there, don't worry ;) Oh, gah, thank you so much for pointing that out! I missed explaining that really in the chapter - I'll edit it in now! :)

Thank you for reading and following this and for the review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #33, by Veritaserum27 Six of Diamonds

7th August 2014:
Hello Aph!

I'm here from review tag!

I thought this chapter was one of the best so far! Considering that it doesn't have as much action as some of the others, it was really well written and gives us a chance to see (if we are looking at it just right) some really important things that are going on.

This chapter made me realize just how much this story is a coming of age for Sirius. Throughout the entire novel, he is being forced to grow up, but in this chapter there is some real growth with his character and decisions. He is finally acting like the eldest Black brother that has been expected of him.

Barty is still a very suspicions character, but I think it is too obvious that he is the murderer. And now you've hinted that he and Regulus are more than just friends. I'm wondering if that is the secret that Lucius was referring to. It is Barty Crouch, Junior, after all - he probably is keeping LOTS of secrets - haha!

I did catch one typo:

This time, though, he doesn't look away or stare at the floor - he's serious, for once in his life, and he wants to Regulus to know that as well.

I think you didn't mean to type the "to" in front of "Regulus."

Also, this line was confusing to me:

Narcissa never knows exactly what she's going to say before she's going to say it - every word, every pause, every inflection is planned.

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but should it read "Narcissa always knows..."

I think I just noticed these because the rest of the chapter was done really well.

Great job again - I love stories where the reader has to think through all the details!


Author's Response: Hey Beth! Thanks so much for stopping by again! :)

Gah, thank you so much - I'm so glad you liked it! It is a slower chapter, but I think the exposition was kinda necessary to help a bit with character development and sort of try and rack up the tension a bit more, haha.

I love writing Sirius in this! He's so childish and caught between wanting to be there and not, and it's kinda a tricky situation for him. But yeah, he does grow up a lot over this - kinda has to, in a way - though I'd never really thought of it as a coming of age type story before. Huh. Thanks for sharing that - it's always wonderful when reviewers do that!

Ooh, it could be - and Barty is very suspicious (then, isn't everyone, haha?)... there is definitely a secret, and it may or may not have anything to do with Regulus. Sorry for being no help, lol.

Ooh, thank you so so much for pointing both of those out! I'm so so bad at catching slips like that when they happen - I read every chapter over before posting and put them through an online editing thing, but I miss these things because it's so obvious to my brain that they should be. So thank you for that - I'll change them asap!

Thank you so much for the review - it was so great to get! :)

Aph xx

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Review #34, by UnluckyStar57 King of Hearts

6th August 2014:
Oh look--another review! Just what you wanted, right? :D

No, but seriously, THANK YOU for helping me with the stupid coding thing. As with most of the things I do, it was much more stressful than it should've been. *smirks*

Anyways, here's your review!

YAY! Regulus is NOT dead! But Sirius is super sad about it all. The line "He wants to ask, wants to know what's going on inside the house, whether Reggie... whether his brother's still alive or not, but the words seem to stick in his throat, bunching up as he tries to force them out." made me sad because he's already starting to prepare himself for the dehumanization of Regulus. This is a pair of brothers who aren't as close as they once were--in fact, they're downright awful to each other--but Sirius still has to think in less-general terms when thinking about Regulus' death. Maybe they did love each other after all...

And secrets are still floating through the air as Sirius finds out about Regulus' alive-ness and goes with his father to see his brother. What are Orion and Alphard going off to talk about? Hmmm...

Haha, Bartegulus sees the light once again! Seriously, this is a ship that I never thought of, and it's super interesting! What a weird dynamic they have, especially if Barty was Reg's attacker like Bella seems to think! It is revealed that Sirius may feel some affection for his little bro after all, as he feels the need to punch Barty for being all kissy-kissy with Reg. :)

Alphard... Hmmm... He knows how to spot a closeted Black... Can I take that to mean that he himself is in the closet? He got really defensive about it, and the way he defended Reg makes me believe that he has a few secrets of his own in that area... What's the story there? Where did he get his "experience" from? Will that come to light in the next chapter or so?

The dig at Bella: "Probably shooting spells at passing birds."! I could definitely see her doing that! She's so awful, especially in Sirius' estimation, but her family loyalties are quite clear. She's got a vendetta against Barty and it isn't because he is Reg's boyfriend. Where did she get the notion that Barty attacked Reg? Did she see it? Did Reg say something to that effect?

I wouldn't expect Reg to be kissing Barty if he knew that Barty attacked him, though. But he seems to be clueless about the WHO of the attack. He knows the WHY, though. But HOW does he know the WHY?! Was he present for the conspiracy that started the chain of murders? Did he see something that he wasn't supposed to see? So many questions!

I had to read the scene at the end twice to make sure I got it right. So after Orion leaves, Reg enters the realm of memory. He remembers the figure slipping into his room and he reaches out, expecting Barty. (Is this where Bella got the idea that Barty was the attacker?) And he is frozen, trapped, vulnerable, dying again in the memory just as surely as he would have died in reality.

But Alphard's voice brings him back. And then he screams. BUT WHY?! Why are you torturing Reg so much? Everyone else just died, but Reg keeps going in and out--is Alphard going to kill him?! What's up with that mysterious pink vial? The poison is in there, right?!

I am so confused, but in a good way. As far as your prose goes, it was all very wonderful, very chilling, and very very excellent. I was a little bit unclear about that last part--but only about the exact moment when Reg started remembering. It fits in with the rest of the chapter--sort of stream-of-consciousness-esque writing. It reminds me of Virginia Woolf's writing (and that is a compliment, if you didn't know).

So. Favorite quotes:

"The appearance of his father has jerked him out of his calm, cold-induced trance, and dumped him unceremoniously back in the real, physical world, where he can feel and think and panic, where people can cry and bleed and die."

"It touches, curls around, grasps and twists downwards. The door opens."~About the door handle. It really showed me how far removed Sirius was from the situation. He didn't open the door, his hand did. Sirius is just as messed up in the head as the other Blacks. :)

"Outside in the hallway, there's a series of shouts, a thud, and then the long, slow shatter of the chandelier falling, crashing and splitting into a thousand and one diamond shards."~Such description! I can see it in my mind, and I feel like the characters who aren't even present to watch it fall can see it, too. The chandelier falls, the secret breaks. Incidentally, I need to talk about this: WHO cut down the chandelier, and WHY?! What were they trying to prove? Good distraction from Reg's room? Does that mean that Alphard IS going to kill his nephew?! :O

"For a moment, there's no sound save for the shifting of cloth as Alphard walks. Then, Regulus screams."~Simple, right? NOT. WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON?!

Well, that just about covers it. All the confusion. All the terror. All the insanity. Gosh, this is such a good story. I can't even begin to imagine what the sequel is about! :D

Til next time!


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Review #35, by Veritaserum27 Five of Spades

6th August 2014:
Hello Aph!

I'm here for the BvB review battle. It is a good excuse to get caught up on your story. Although I have quite a bit of catching up to do and now you've started the next one!

I really love mysteries, but they are difficult to write and as such, many fanfiction murder mysteries are not very well done. This is definitely the exception. Not only have you managed to create a well thought out murder (or series of murders as it would seem), but the characters all have depth, flaws and possibly motive. I am really enjoying reading this and I can't wait to see what comes next.

Your characterization of Bella I think is my favorite. It would be so easy to make her completely evil and one-dimensional, drawing the reader to believe that she is or isn't the murderer because it is just too obvious. Instead, she has deep-seated emotions, especially regarding Narcissa, but also for her mother and their loss. I've never thought about it before, but Bellatrix obviously wasn't always the psychotic side-kick of Voldemort. She probably always had dark tendencies and was easily romanticized by his power and skill, but I'm sure it was a slow, downward spiral for her. You've painted her in the very beginning of this path.

Regulus, poor, sweet boy. He wants to be a man, but just isn't quite there yet. It was touching to see how the Black family rallied around him, without compromising his pride. As I read more and more of this story, I find myself caring about these characters that have always been so detestable. How could you Aph? I don't want to care about them - haha!

And finally, there is Sirius. Just beneath the surface, he seems to always feel like he just doesn't belong in this family. He seems to struggle with every move - uncertain if he should comfort Regulus, although he clearly wants to. Then when his father tells him to take his brother inside, Sirius seems almost relieved to play this role.

I love your little descriptions. There are just enough to move the story along and emphasize the nature of the dynamics working between the characters. For example "navigating the short staircase" and the "tock-tick" of the clock were beautiful narratives.

Great story!


Author's Response: Hey again Beth! :) Lovely to see you back again! Sorry about starting the next one - I just wanted to put the first chapter up and grab a banner and things before I forgot it. Still got some plotting left to do for it, so you've got time to catch up ;)

Gah, thank you so much! I love murder mysteries too and they're always best when complicated and thought-out so I tried to kinda duplicate that in this, with lots of potential motives and them all being shady characters and everything... it's so much fun to write, tbh! There's a kind of sense as the writer that you could do almost anything and it would be fine :P

Bella... honestly, she's one of my favourite characters to explore, but I have definite head canon about her, haha. I never thought she would be insane from the beginning - it is for her, like you say, more of a corruption thing (though she's still pretty mad in this). I loved showing the loyalty she has, because I think it's often an overlooked thing with her, but it is a huge part of her personality, her fanatical loyalty. So yeah, she's fun!

Ah, Regulus is adorable! :) He's really the baby of the family - and he knows it, as well. I liked writing them sort of protecting him, in my head they all think he's incredibly vulnerable, so that's kinda why. He's like a baby bird, haha. Sorry about that? :) They're not that bad, really? . maybe? :P

Sirius is so much fun to write - he's this wonderfully tortured kid who doesn't really know who he is and where he wants to be, and he's kinda trying to work it out in the context of family. But yeah, he likes being the big brother, even if their relationship is a little mangled...

Thank you so much - I love writing description, so I'm so glad you liked it! :)

Thank you so much for all the compliments, and for the review in general - it's always great to hear from you! :)

Aph xx

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Review #36, by Lululuna King of Hearts

12th July 2014:
Hola! :)

Honestly, these people need to hire some bodyguards or something because clearly this house is not safe and there is one, if not several, traitors in their midst. I'm not sure about the ending: if Alphard attacked Regulus, or if perhaps the potion he gave him just induced nightmares or pain or something which might cause him to scream. It seemed quite carefully worded so could go either way really.

Ah, so frustrating how Regulus couldn't explain what was going on in time! I'm so curious about who is committing all these murders and whether or not they will be brought to justice. Bella's accusation of Barty seems pretty far-fetched especially because Barty doesn't really have much motive to hurt his boyfriend other than being a bit mad.

And Sirius finally realizes about Barty and Reg! I liked how protective he was, just like any older sibling over a younger one, and I'm curious to see whether he'd be accepting of the relationship or not since I don't think he's the greatest fan of Barty. I wonder if perhaps Alphard is also gay which could lead to the distancing from the family - I really don't know how I feel about him since he's quite manipulative but also seems like he has good intentions -he's just as slimy as the rest of the really, but shows it in different ways.

Another suspenseful and exciting chapter! :D

House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hey Jenna! Thanks so much for dropping by! This was such a lovely surprise to get! :)

Haha, yeah, bodyguards would be a seriously good idea for them all! Though I think they'd rather they all died before that happened :P Sorry about that - it is meant to be confusing! Though Alphard didn't actually give Regulus the potion, just went towards him - sorry if that was unclear (I'll look over it again!).

Yeah, poor Regulus! He really does want to say something, and it really is important... he will eventually, don't worry! ;) Barty... depends on what you think of Barty, I guess, haha, but yeah, Bella may or may not be on the right track with that accusation :P

I have to admit, it was quite a difficult scene to write. One of my sisters is bi, which helped a bit, but it was just getting the right tone, you know, which was hard... haha, and yeah, he is more protective than he thinks he is and definitely wants to be - it's a shame because it kinda shows how rough their relationship is. Alphard... ooh, interesting theory ;) He is just as slimy, but his intentions.. well, they're not quite so bad as the rest of them, perhaps! :)

Thank you so so much for the great review - it was so so lovely to get, and such a great surprise! :)

Aph xx

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Review #37, by Lululuna Queen of Diamonds

17th June 2014:
Hi Laura! :) I didn't even know you had a new chapter out - I thought I favourited this story ages ago but didn't, so shall remedy that once I finish this review. :)

It was great to see some familiar faces with the Aurors in this section, and you wrote Moody perfectly. I think the first section also showed so much about the Black family dynamics, what with how despite there being a murderer on the loos, all the Blacks (as represented by Orion) wanted to see the trouble in the family because they don't consider the Aurors "pure" enough. It's so typical and illogical but fits the family perfectly. I also loved the line about gossip being currency and how even the portraits themselves are so involved in the inner workings of the clan. It made me feel almost claustrophobic in a way and see the Black house as a sort of haunted house or entrapped little world, since once you're inside the rules of outside don't apply.

I personally think that Regulus was the one who owled the Ministry about the murder, though it's tough to say! That might explain why he was harmed at the end of the chapter, and I can see him doing that with concern for his family trumping the family duty. Also, I know that because he's going to betray the Dark Lord one day he does have a rebellious side - and oh, he left a note for Voldy in the fake Horcrux just like he sent a note to the Ministry!!! (that was such a stretch but who knows, anything could be a clue :P).

Poor Sirius though. :( Though I know from canon that Regulus probably survives, it's pretty awful and I know that the brothers still care about one another a lot in their stifled, frightened way. I thought Sirius' grief and pain was written so well, especially tying in the house of cards he was making - amazing symbolism for the crumbling of the House of Black and for how fragile and restless Sirius is, as well, by the way.

Hmm, perhaps the conversation Sirius overheard had to do with hurting Regulus instead? I wonder if maybe they found out about Regulus possibly being gay, or if they thought by getting rid of Regulus it would force Sirius to turn back to the side of the family and step up as the Black heir. I'm really grasping at straws right now, but that's the best theory I can come up with for now! :)

Great chapter, Laura! :) I really enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one! :D

Author's Response: Hey Jenna! :) Thanks so much for stopping by! Yeah, haha, new chapters :P With the House Cup on and all, it's easy to miss things, though ;)

Gah, thank you so much - I'm so glad you liked the Aurors! I was so worried about that scene even as I wrote it, haha, because I just had no idea how it would go down so it means so much to hear you say you liked it! I really wanted to have something happen to connect with outside to kinda show the difference because you're absolutely right - it is so different inside. Nothing is the same as outside, or even similar. It's like their own little world, inside a bubble kinda thing... and I just had to include the portraits again :P

Ooh, could be, could be... though who knows? ;) It would be an explanation for that, though, and he does care about his family... haha, yeah the note for Voldy - he does betray Voldy later in order to do what he thinks is the right thing, so maybe that might help in some way? ;)

Yeah, poor Sirius - though poor Regulus, too! Does he? :P Haha, nah, he does survive in canon, but yeah either way it goes, it's pretty traumatic for Sirius. I really wanted to re-emphasise their relation and how these kinds of bonds tighten most when something like that happens, so Sirius is almost pulled back into the fold in that moment. The house of cards... people had been wondering if there would be an actual house of cards for a while, tbh, so I kinda thought about it and where I could put it in and I decided here for the symbolism. It could be interpreted as a bit of a clue, but maybe not... :P

Ooh, that's a really, really interesting theory. You know, you're I think one of only two people to suggest that, like, ever? It's a great one, though - and the conversation could go either way! ;) Possibly an idea to hold onto! :)

Gah, thank you so so much for the wonderful review - yours are always such gems to get, they're amazing, thank you again! :)

Aph xx

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Review #38, by LavenderBlue Seven of Hearts

14th June 2014:
Here with the final requested review!

THAT OPENING SCENE, THOUGH. Gorgeous prose! Mystery! Intrigue! Who was it that went into the study? And what did he burn? It gives me a sense of unease since we so often see the story though the eyes of Sirius. Is it Sirius who burns this mystery document?! And if so, WHY?!?! I like to think it has something to do with money. It always has something to do with money...

I'd like to take a moment here to just point out some fantastic wordcrafting in this chapter, like "gathered together in some semblance of safety they all maintain they don't need" and "he wonders, in those spaces between self-loathing and boredom, if there's something wrong with him. It wouldn't surprise him if there was." It's lines like these that lend extra richness and strength to your already strong narrative.

It's fascinating to see how differently Sirius behaves around Bella than he does around Narcissa. I love the line "he spent half his life trying to impress her and the other half trying to annoy her." I can totally see that being the case. Bellatrix may be psychotic, but she also strikes me as the sort of person you would secretly want to impress, especially if you're a family member like Sirius.

Omg, Bellatrix's "one day" line. UGHH. The foreshadowing! MY HEART. D:

I think you do an excellent job of showing glimmers of younger Bellatrix's instability. Even here, during her conversation with Sirius, Bella betrays a short temper and flashes of madness. And of course Bella WOULD use the thought of Regulus in danger to coerce Sirius into helping her. Very solid work here at painting a Bella that's both dynamic and fitting with JKR's portrayal of her in the books.

Yeah, how is anyone in the Black family ever going to eat again? With that much paranoia running rampant, I wouldn't even trust a breath mint to not be poisoned. o.o Sirius would totally be the first one to take a bite. He's a Gryffindor after all. YEAH. And it's so in character for his father to be vaguely amused by the whole thing, despite the gravity of the situation.

MYSTERIOUS LETTER. What does it say?! What does it mean?! Fantastic cliffhanger! You've left me wanting more.

I think you crafted some excellent character development over these past three chapters. Plot has tended to be a little on the slow side action-wise, but I think that you make up for it by injecting a lot of telling conversations and character insight. And as for the air of mystery...oooh yeahhh. You are certainly doing an excellent job of keeping up the suspense!

Great, great work, Aph! Again, I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read more of this work. Life may be busy, but I hope to return to this story some time soon. After all, you've left me hanging, and I wanna know who the murderer is!

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for dropping by! :)

Gah, thank you so much! I really liked that bit - it was one of the more fun scenes to write - I'd known I wanted to do it for a while, which helped :P You know I can't answer questions, though, haha - though it's definiely not Sirius going in there :P And money is probably a good bet, since everything being to do with money is pretty true, after all ;)

Thank you so much! I really like writing Sirius' pov, for the random little bits of sort of self-deprecating/faintly nasty humour you can add into it, which are always so much fun to write.

Oh yeah, Sirius' relationship with Bellatrix is very different to his relationship with Narcissa - and I really loved getting the chance to explore that in this too. Especially because I imagine a young Sirius, wanting to be brave and strong and everything, would have looked up to Bella a lot, since she was that much older to be impressive but not an adult, if that makes sense. And yeah, the fact that she's family, probably only makes it that much worse and more of a drive, you know? But thank you so much for picking up on that! ;)

Haha, carefully-placed foreshadowing :P I couldn't resist it, truly... :P

Thank you so much! I've always loved writing Bella, strangely enough, and I've always thought that most of her madness would probably come from Azkaban, given how insane most of the former Azkaban prisoners we meet are (including Sirius, ofc), but I imagine her being somewhat unstable when she's younger - like it wouldn't take too much to push her over. So yeah, lots of sharp flashes of temper and changes of mood and so on. And yeah, Bella really does know how to get to Sirius - disadvantage of being family :P

Haha, poisoned breath mints! :P I love it - maybe I should use that in a future mystery? And Sirius is both a teenage boy and a Gryffindor, so eating food is sort of what he does, even if it means risking his own neck :P Though the paranoia around him I imagine would be very stifling - and Orion is just amused by most things, apart from those he's not amused by, ofc :P

Ah, I can't tell you! :( But yes, mysterious letter... to be fair, though, with this one, you will find out about that soon enough ;)

Gah, thank you so so much - I'm just so glad you enjoy this and so so grateful for the series of lovely reviews you've left me during this. They've been absolutely amazing to get, honestly - so thank you so much for that! :)

Aph xx

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Review #39, by LavenderBlue Six of Diamonds

14th June 2014:
Oh my WORD. I think that in my last review I said it'd take me a couple days to get to chapters 6 and 7. And now it's been a MONTH. So sorry for the delay. Things descended into madness here, but all is well now and I'm eager to read on!

Hurray! Sirius/Regulus development. I really love how much you've been delving into their relationship. I've always thought of the Sirius/Regulus story as a melancholy one, but I've never given much in-depth thought to what their interactions might have looked like until this story. I think you do an excellent job of showing Sirius' struggle to balance his guilt over not being a better brother with the stark fact that being close to Regulus might be an impossibility. Their relationship is, after all, a two-way street.

Sirius' concerted effort to reach out to Regulus is simultaneously sweet and heartbreaking. Heartbreaking, more than anything, because we know their future as a reader. It seems like Sirius' is trying to revive the heartbeat of something that is already fatally wounded.

Omg. Barty and Regulus. Omg, Lucius knows Barty's little secret. Omg, Narcissa is out of sorts and secretive. The plot thickens! I just LOVE how you continue to paint a macabre scene, seamlessly drawing in the other characters with their own vested interests and scandals. I think I've said it before, but your writing reminds me of Agatha Christie in the best possible way. :)

Which leads into my thoughts about plotting & the general aura of mystery. I think you've done a great job in this chapter. The plot doesn't lag, even though not much action occurs, which is primarily due to the intrigue of character development. You continue to keep all characters, even Sirius, enigmatic. I'm still on the edge of my seat, doing guesswork and formulating theories, all of which seem too stupid or ill-formed to mention yet, but the point is that I'm theorizing, and that's just what you want your reader to do when reading a mystery!

I love the exchange between Narcissa and Sirius about killers in the family. Though love seems like the wrong word? Haha. It's important that you bring that fact up since, in the midst of this murder mystery, it's been an unspoken thought until now that there are already confirmed killers amidst them.

Just a wee bit of a typo I caught. Toward the end of the chapter, at Narcissa's line that beings "And as if that's not enough," be sure to end the dialogue tag with a comma, not a period, since Narcissa is continuing a thought, not starting a new one, with "there's that Crouch boy."

Wonderful work in this chapter! I'm still very intrigued and excited to read on through chapter 7.

Author's Response: Hey there! :) Thanks so much for stopping by again - and don't worry about how long it took; I completely understand that sometimes real life takes over! ;)

I'm so glad you like the Sirius/Regulus stuff - I really, really love diving into sibling relationships, and their relationship, to me, is one of the most fascinating ones. It's definitely a very sad story, though. Yeah I wanted to show in this that there isn't a single bad guy in their relationship, or one person who can take all the blame, but I think it's something Sirius is only just starting to realise, and even then, not always.

Yeah, I think the foreknowledge always makes things worse :( It's so bad for both of them, because when you consider what happens to them, they don't even get a chance to try and work things out after the war - it just ends for them. So sad!

Hehe, Barty and Regulus, yes! :P One of my little-loved pairings. I can't help but adore them! :D Lucius knows a secret - question is what is it? ;) And yeah, Narcissa's acting weird - that's one of the good things about Narcissa, it's easy to do that kind of thing with her. Gah, thank you so much - it's amazing to hear that, and I'm so glad you like the characters - I love writing group scenes with them, they're so much fun to do, so it's great to hear you enjoy them too! :)

I'm so happy you think the plot is going well - I know it's something I really struggle with so I'm trying to improve on it. It's actually pretty hard to keep everything inside the characters, while still leaving hints and things - I never know how subtle is too subtle, you know? :P It's such a thin line... aww, no, I'm sure they're not stupid or ill-informed - have a go anyway! I love all theories, however far-fetched you think they are ;)

Haha, I know what you mean, don't worry about it! ;) I really wanted to mention it, since, as you say, it is kinda pertinent to a murder mystery if some of the suspects have killed before. Plus, I wanted to connect to the war in the outside world, too, so that had to go in as a little nod to it :)

Ooh, thank you so much for that! I always miss something every chapter, it seems - thank you for pointing it out! I'll edit that asap! :)

Thank you so so much for the lovely review - I'm just so glad to see you're enjoying this! :)

Aph xx

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Review #40, by Veritaserum27 Four of Clubs

6th June 2014:

I thought I would read another chapter for the BvB review battle.

This story is so enthralling. I am so curious as to how all of it is going to play out. You are building and building to a very exciting climax.

There are so many characters with ulterior motives, it is really hard to guess who is trying to play whom. First, there is the mystery of the will. I think Pollux was trying to get Orion to take action and destroy it himself - and deal with the witnesses, that way he can claim innocence. At least, that is my guess.

I definitely think Regulus is up to something. He asked to go flying, but wasn't mentioned again. Perhaps he went to meet someone, OR perhaps he pushed his aunt off the roof.

Why would Barty go to the papers? Especially if he wanted to solve the murder on his own. He definitely has another agenda.

The scene in the drawing room made me groan in frustration for Sirius. That must be the exact LAST thing a teenage boy wants to do on a summer afternoon - sit in a stuffy room with three older witches and watch them read and sew. How awful!

And why has Narcissa been visiting her parents so frequently? Hmm.

Great job on another intriguing chapter.


Author's Response: Hi again, Beth! Thank you so much for coming back - it's so great to see you're enjoying the story! :)

Yeah, haha, there are a lot of sneaky characters! Barty, Orion, Pollux, Regulus, Bella... but it's fun because it's so twisted and it means I can play around with them so much :P Ooh, the will... mmm... maybe, maybe ;) The will is going to be important, though, so remember it ;)

Regulus is up to something - I can confirm that, haha. You're definitely onto something with your suspicions, though I can't say which one is more likely... both are good, though! :)

Ooh, Barty... Barty has an agenda, yes. Sorry - I honestly can't say more without giving things away! :P

Haha, I know! It's the last thing I'd want to do, as well, tbh! Plus, Sirius is pretty restless anyway...

Oh, you only find that out right at the end, haha, sorry about that! But there is a reason! :)

Thank you so much for the wonderful review - and for stopping by again! :)

Aph xx

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Review #41, by Veritaserum27 Three of Hearts

6th June 2014:

I'm here for the BvB review battle.

I went back to re-read chapter one because your story is so intricate that I wanted to make sure I was on the right page coming into this chapter.

I feel like Barty is a real sneaky fellow. He is tyring to recruit Sirius, but I'm not sure why, since he is Regulus's best freind. I have a feeling that he is trying to trip people up and distract them from his real agenda.

I really liked the part where Sirius trips on the stairs. We see how he is really still a boy in many respects and struggling with his identity. He seems to like being a Gryffindor, but still wants to be part of the black family.

You got Bella's character spot on. She is crazy and heartless - a bad combination. I really liked how you described her as not ever getting the proper balance of sugar and spice. Very clever.

Lots of questions about peoples actions here.

Where is Orion? He told Pollux he was checking on the boys, but is nowhere to be found.

Why did Regulus lie to Sirius about the healers coming? Perhaps he saw someone else enter the house and thought it was the healers, or maybe he was just lying.

Why did Pollux want the healers to come so quickly and why wouldn't he let Sirius see Cygnus? Is he hiding something?

What is Bella hiding behind the locked door?

I ponder as I head off to the next chapter.


Author's Response: Hi Beth! Thanks so much for stopping by - and I'm so sorry for the late response (I'm so bad at review responses! I'm trying to get better...)! :)

Barty is really creepy, haha, but it's just too much fun to write! :) But yeah, he may be trying to distract people from his agenda, or he may just be winding people up - who knows? ;)

Sirius... since he's only sixteen, I kinda wanted to try and get that mix between thinking you're an adult, but not actually being one, and kinda try and get at what happens when you're put in a situation you can't really handle. I'm so glad you like him, though - I know the way I wrote him here is different to other Siriuses (Siriusii?) out there!

Haha, thank you so much! :) Bella is an amazing character to write - there's so much freedom with her!

Ooh, I'm glad you have questions :P Though, honestly, I can't really answer any of them - though Orion isn't checking on the boys because there's been a time jump since the first chapter, so that's why ;) Sorry if it wasn't clear! As for the rest... I really can't say anything, sorry! :)

Thank you so much for the lovely review - I'm so glad you're enjoying it! :)

Aph xx

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Review #42, by toomanycurls Ten of Spades

1st June 2014:
Hi Aph!

Thanks for doing a review swap with me. :D

I love the connection between Barty and Regulus - it's hard to tell who is more enamored with the other when they're together. In preivous chapters, it seemed that Barty was quite enamored with Regulus but here the concern and desire to impress feels quite mutual.

Bellatrix's appearance in this chapter is brilliant. I can imagine this exposure to Barty here influenced their quest to go out and torture the Longbottoms. She comes across with an amount of dangerous seduction that few other characters in HP could do.

Every scene with Pollux and Orion seem to wend deeper into strange family connections. I was surprised that Orion was so outspoken towards Pollux here. I did love this line: ďYou would risk everything on something as whimsical as hope?Ē

Of course they'd have some demented children's stories as heirlooms. bleck. Ah! I'm dying to know what is in the vial.

Congrats on your diadem for this story - it is very much deserved!!!


Author's Response: Hey Rose! :) So great to see you stopping by - I really must remember to go back and get to True Romance, as well! ;)

Thanks - I'm so glad you liked that little bit! It was an odd section to write, if only because the tone and general feel felt so out of place in the rest of it, haha, so I was a bit unsure about it. I did try to make it seem natural and less one-sided than it maybe has done before, so I'm glad some of that seemed to come through!

Gah, thank you so much! :) Honestly, she's one of my favourite characters to write, lol. There's just so much you can do with her that you can't with other characters and I love that. Ooh, maybe - I didn't really think about that, tbh, but yeah the exposure will certainly have helped with the whole eventual-Death-Eater thing!

Ah, I'm so happy that came through! I really like playing up the family-oriented element, coz it's so fun to include and allows for things to be a little more personal and a little more spiteful, you know? Haha, Orion is one of the characters I've grown to love, oddly enough - and he is a bit more like Sirius than is obvious ;)

Yeah, haha, weird freaky children's stories in the library... :P Ooh, the vial - yeah the vial is important. Really important ;) but I can't tell you anything about it (obviously! :P)!

Thank you so so much for the review! I really enjoyed swapping with you (as always!) and thanks so much again for the congrats on the Diadem! I was so happy to see this do so well - it's kinda become something I'm actually kinda proud of :)

Aph xx

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Review #43, by teh tarik Four of Clubs

31st May 2014:
Hey Aph! Oh goodness, I'm so sorry for being so late with the review exchange! :( I'd quite forgot about it, until you left me your lovely review. Eep, apologies again!

It's been a long while since I last read this story, and I'm so, so glad I had the chance to come back! I had to reread the first couple of chapters to get myself back into the swing of the plot, and just like the first time I read them, I was once again arrested and intrigued by all the tension and mystery and the brilliant atmosphere you've evoked here. I don't think I've come across a murder mystery on HPFF which is so careful and so detailed as this fic, and it really does make it such a gripping read. And all your characters! Goodness, so many of them are so shady; too many of them seem to be hiding things, even if they're just feelings of resentment. And I love that you switch focus between POVs, because the entire narrative is like a puzzle, pieces that the reader has to put together, voices that whisper different things and also show just how conflicted some of the characters are. My favourites have to be your portrayals of Sirius, Bella, Barty, and Pollux, and even Regulus. These seem to be the most 'active' of characters; they're the strongest and the most striking, and definitely one of the most complex. Another thing I really love about the whole thing is that it's also a domestic drama of sorts; there's lots of family issues. Family drama/murder mystery is an amazing combination, by the way!

As for this chapter, whenever Pollux and Orion make mention of the mysterious will, I'm always reading very closely, and re-reading certain passages to make sure I don't miss anything. I'm not very familiar with wills and things like those, but I love that you've brought this up in your story. Could Pollux have read the will wrongly? Or has it been magically tampered somehow so that it seems to be changing by itself, if that's even possible? And gah, I'm just so intrigued to find out just how these changes could potentially rip the family apart.

I absolutely love that drawing room scene! I think you've captured the interactions between Narcissa, Bella, Sirius and Walburga perfectly. I find it so, so difficult to write scenes with more than two or three characters, and you've done an amazing job here, especially in conveying how some of these characters don't typically get along with others, i.e. Sirius. And yet during such difficult times like this, characters change, soften slightly toward each other, or maybe they go the other way and start viewing each other with suspicion and hostility. I love how different Sirius is; he's not full-on rebelling against his family, and I love that he does seem to show genuine concern toward Regulus, despite the sense that the brothers have drifted too far apart for things to ever be normal between them.

Druella's scene...gosh! That was incredibly unsettling, tragic and completely unexpected. You wouldn't expect a second death, especially a suicide, so soon after the first death. I'm kinda wondering if maybe it isn't a suicide? Maybe someone pushed her, or more likely, maybe she was under the Imperius curse? It's impossible to tell at this point, but I must say you have a great way of keeping your readers hooked! That's some cliffhanger!

I'll definitely be coming round to review your next chapter soon! This was such an amazing read, and it feels great to get back to this story - the premise is so original, and of course, your writing and your talent in establishing atmosphere with your lovely prose just makes everything so much better!


Author's Response: Hey teh - thanks so much for stopping by! :) And no worries about it - I forget things all the time! ;)

Gah, thank you so so much! I'm always so amazed and so happy when people say they like this so much because really this is the first time I've ever attempted a murder mystery, and the first time I've ever done something which really has a detailed/particular kind of plot, so it was a lot of firsts for me, in that sense. I've got to admit, I love writing the Black family - I just do. There's something so wonderful about them as a group, and something which just fascinates me about them, even though we never hear too much about them in canon. It is very much a family-centric thing, mostly because I always feel there aren't enough non-romantic-centric things in fiction in general, and fic in particular, so this kinda moves away from that (despite some of the later side-plots :P). The switching povs wasn't exactly a conscious choice, but it made sense for certain scenes to be differently, otherwise it would have been a lot more difficult to write! :P

The drawing room scene... omigosh, I actually really liked writing that one, even if it was annoyingly hard to work out what all of them should be doing, so they were all different in some way, haha. Sirius in this always came easily for me, and I always had an idea of the others, which helps, I think, when writing bigger scenes - knowing mannerisms and reactions and things people would give, and yeah, there's definitely more than a few changes in feeling, and buried feelings resurfacing when things go wrong, whether they're feelings of hurt or kindness. Sirius's characterisation has always been my headcanon for him - I've never believed that he just shook of all family ties like that, you know, so I liked drawing it out a bit more in here, especially towards Regulus and his father and grandfather - members we don't hear about much, as opposed to his mother.

Oooh, I can't say, sorry :P Though those are all very good theories - I especially like the last one ;) But yeah, it was a really fun scene to write, with the kind of unstable element in it and a certain amount of ambiguity as to what actually happened. And yeah, I wanted another cliffhanger coz I'm evil like that. Or something :P

Gah, thank you so so much - I really am just so glad that you enjoy it and it means so much to get such amazing compliments from a writer as good as you! :) Thank you!

Aph xx

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Review #44, by LavenderBlue Five of Spades

13th May 2014:
Hello! I'm so glad that you re-requested, because I've been itching to read more of this story but have been beating back other obligations to get to it. I'm really eager to read more. :)

Omg. Omg, she DID jump. Of course she jumped, but when I left off in Chap 3 I had this fanciful notion that Druella would somehow survive. D: As tragic as another loss of life amongst the Blacks is, though, it does an excellent job of propelling the plot and the character development.

I think it says quite a lot about Sirius that, as tense as his relationship is with the rest of the family, he experiences dread at the thought of losing them entirely with no chance to make amends. And as for the death itself, it only heightens the sinister and macabre tone you've already set. It reminds me quite a bit of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None." I have the paranoid sense that any member of the family could be picked off next. o.o

"We could all do with a stiff drink or two." Wow, Pollux. What a very Black-esque way of dealing with tragedy.

I love the turn, however subtle, that Sirius and Regulus' relationship takes in this chapter. Despite the tension there has been between them, it's clear that Sirius genuinely cares about his brother's well-being. "It makes the part inside him which winces with every Bludger sent Regulus' way in school Quidditch matches and which let him crawl into his bed when they were younger and Reg had a nightmare twinge with that small stream of guilt which tells him he should have done better." Beautiful. I loved that passage. So well done.

At the same time, that affection is tempered by Sirius' dormant jealousy of his father's affections toward Regulus and of Regulus' attempt to keep his pride around his older brother. I think you've struck a great balance here between affection and resentment.

This line, too, was a gem: "whichever one of them Regulus inherited it from, it's a Black trait nonetheless." Haha. Oh, the glories of the inbred Black family and their cousin marriages. :]

Dude. Where WAS Crouch? Noble stock, indeed. I don't trust that kid as far as I can throw him, and that's not far. -suspicious eyes- Though I don't have any well-formed theory yet, I must say that you've done a great job of continuing to cast suspicion on all multiple parties--Lucius and Crouch Jr. in particular, this chapter. Not only does this keep the plot fresh and interesting, but I have a feeling those red herrings are all going to pan out in the end.

Here is the one theory I do have, and it may be entirely off base, but I think that the house elves know more about what's going on than anyone is giving them credit for. o.- They're the eyes and ears of the household, after all, and I can't help but feel that you've continued to weave them into the story for a reason beyond plot mechanics. But again, that might be totally wrong! :) What's so delicious about this story, though, is that your plot opens the door for plenty of speculation and theorizing--just like a good mystery ought to do.

I thought pacing was excellent in this chapter. You had a huge dramatic incident to center the action around, but you went the extra mile by fleshing it out with emotional development (Sirius/Regulus interaction) and ongoing mysterious behavior. Bellatrix's paranoia in particular continues to reinforce the on-edge ambiance.

Character development continues to go well, though because this was a more action-heavy sequence, I didn't see a ton of growth--and that's perfectly fine, considering this is just one chapter out of several. I will say that I'm beginning to have some difficulty differentiating between Pollux and Orion. I'll continue to keep an eye out for their differences/similarities in the upcoming two chapters.

As to nitty gritties... The narrative contains the sentence "As one, you all glance up at the top of the house," and I wondered if the "you all" is a typo, meant to be "they"? It seemed like an accidental shift from third to second person.

This was, as always, a very enjoyable read. My next reviews may be a few days' in coming, but rest assured I intend to write the next two soon! Fantastic work!

Author's Response: Hey there! Thank you so much for stopping by again - and it was no trouble to re-request; I always love your reviews, they're so lovely and so helpful, so of course I had to pop back ;)

Did she jump? :P But she definitely fell, yeah. I always planned for her to die, and I loved the idea of having a kind of cliche swan-dive from the house, so I just had to give it to her - she seemed the character it fit best.

I'm so glad you liked Sirius - I think that, given how young he is, and how unlikely it is that he's experienced much death before this point, it's something which will affect him a lot. There are certain family members he'd be less upset about, of course, but I think there's a big difference between disliking someone and wishing them dead, you know? So that's kinda what I wanted to bring into this with Sirius :)

Yeah, it's a pretty cold sort of way to deal with things, but then he's a pretty cold sort of guy :P

Thank you! :) I really wanted to get something of their relationship in because for Sirius it's a pretty important one, I think. And yeah, he does still care about him - tbh, I think Sirius cares about Regulus pretty much forever, though it's easier for him to blame Regulus rather than himself, you know? So yeah, sibling bonding-type thing! :P

I really wanted to try and show that they're very different people; their personalities are ones which tend towards clashng, and they're both driven by pride and jealousy for various people who affect each other, so it's not really a great relationship. There's a lot of bitterness in it too.

You know, funny story about that line: I was going to say that it was a Black trait inherited from their father, and then I realised well, Black traits from their mother too :P Oh so very inbred, haha.

Hehe, creepy Crouch is creepy :P He's so wonderful to write, though, always vanishing off places and never around when something happens, always smiling and so cheerful about people dying... he's one of my favourites to write, I have to admit! Who knows about red herrings? ;) But yeah, there's quite a few twists and turns in this story, though I'm saying nothing about red herrings :P

Ooh, maybe, maybe. Would I be cruel enough to put them in regardless and have them jump around for no reason, and not use their unique magical abilities and jobs? ... probably, tbh, which doesn't help much :P Still, I like it as a theory - it's a pretty neat theory ;)

Thank you so much! I'm always so terrified about pacing - I know I write a lot of description and tend towards far less action than I perhaps should have in a chapter, so I'm so glad you hear you think it's okay! :)

Yeah, there's not that much in this chapter - I find I can't quite fit everything in one chapter sometimes without it getting really, really long and drawn-out, which is difficult for the reader. Pollux and Orion... I may look back over them at the beginning - thank you for mentioning that! - but they both grow later on, so hopefully you begin to see differences soon ;)

Oh my gosh, yes, thank you so much for pointing that out! I always miss typos and mistakes like that! I'll change it asap! :)

Thank you so so much for the wonderful review - it was so helpful - and take your time with the next two, RL can be cruel :)

Aph xx

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Review #45, by patronus_charm Ten of Spades

2nd May 2014:
Hey Laura!

Wah, Barty and Regulus as a ship! How did I never think of this before as it just works so well? The beginning section of the chapter with them laughing and talking together was so cute and I was shipping them so much, and you wrote them so well. Ok, I had been seeing signs of it throughout, but this was the first chapter where it was really evident and I really wanted to kill Bellatrix for coming in and ruining it. Speaking of her, there was some fantastic characterisation with her, and I really thought she was going to have a go at them for being together but it was something possibly more sinister knowing her. Iím not really sure what to make of it, whether itís a sign of her being the murderer or thinking that Crouch is, hmmÖ

Hmm, so Pollux has a willÖ I always find that my suspicions almost naturally lie with the people who hold it because they are obviously either trying to hide it because it doesnít suit them or trying to prove itís there so they can claim their share on the inheritance. If itís the former, then I would be inclined to think that Pollux isnít the murderer but if itís the latter, who knows. Either way, Iíll be remembering this :P

I think Sirius is the character I always look forward to best because you show this fresh, new portrayal of him and it always draws me in no matter what heís doing. You really took care of your descriptions in this section too with the way you described the seals in his hands, and the wax too, and it was so vivid and great and I just loved it! I canít help but wonder what he found. The will which was meant to be lost in the fire perhaps? Or perhaps a note from the murderer? Either way itís very exciting!

A fab chapter!


Author's Response: Hey Kiana! Thanks so much for stopping by - and I'm so sorry this response is so late! *hides* :)

Yay! Another convert! :P Haha, it's one of those ships I saw ages ago somewhere on the internet (as with everything, lol) and just kinda loved from the beginning. SO yeah, I couldn't resist including them in this... haha, it was a strange scene, tbh, completely caught me by surprise when I wrote it - so yeah, Bella comes in and ruins it all :P Ooh, there is a kind of reason for that, but I couldn't possibly say :P Ooh, good guesses... it could be either of them... they're both very suspicious ;)

Pollux has a will or Pollux has the will? It's important! :P Nah, the people with it are always suspicious it's true... I can't say which one it is, and why he's got it, but there is something to it and yeah you should definitely remember it! It might come up again soon ;)

Sirius! Wah, I'm so glad you like my Sirius! I know he's different to most versions of him, so I'm always so happy when people say they like him here. He's definitely found something important, and it's really definitely worth remembering for later - but I can't say what it is. A clue, for sure, though! :P

Gah, thank you so much for the wonderful review - I'm pretty sure my response was terrible, so sorry about that :P - and thank you so much for keeping reading this! :)

Aph xx

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Review #46, by adluvshp Seven of Hearts

2nd May 2014:
Hey! Here for your (almost a month late) requested review from the forums! I am terribly sorry about the delay, it has been crazy busy!

This keeps getting more and more interesting. I loved the segment in the beginning - it made me so curious to know who this person was and what parchment they burnt. Was it the will? Gah you wrote it wonderfully.

I also enjoyed the interaction between Bella and Sirius. I like the way she is characterised and the manner in which she talked to Sirius. It's interesting she is set on finding the killer, and Sirius is going to help!

The dinner table moment was the best of all though. It was amusing how no one would eat and finally Sirius broke the silence lol. I also liked his characterisation, the way he was almost jealous of Crouch for not caring about what others say and how he wanted to do the same. Very interesting!

I am especially intrigued now to what the letter said which Sirius found that it evoked such a reaction. The mystery just keeps getting better and better and I'm super excited to keep reading. I hope to be able to come back for more soon!

Over all, I loved the chapter. It was smooth, plot is developing awesomely (though I'd like to see another murder happen sometime soon - yes I am weird haha), characterisations are great, and grammar was pretty okay. Good job!!


Author's Response: Hey there! No worries about delays - I completely understand! Hope everything's okay in RL! :)

Omigosh, I'm so glad you liked it! It was a surprisingly hard scene to write without giving anything away... I kept thinking things would be clues and all :P It could be the will... theoretically... or it could not be :P

I actually really like writing Bella and Sirius interaction, haha. There's something so charged about it all... and yeah, Bella isn't happy about this whole killing thing.. it's her job! :P

Gah, I'm so so glad you liked that one as that was the bit I was the most worried about! :) Yeah, it would have to be Sirius - the rest of them are all too paranoid! I kinda liked making that comparison between them - because for me it sort of highlighted their differences, I think.

Ooh, the letter... you'll find out soon, don't worry! I'm not going to torment you over that one! :P

Gah, thank you so so much for the lovely review and I'm so glad you're still enjoying the story! (There may be another murder or two... who knows? :P)

Aph xx

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Review #47, by Red_headed_juliet Queen of Diamonds

25th April 2014:
I still have no idea who it is! I feel like there's just one more piece of vital information I need, though the house elf being dead is certainly a clue.

This is a really great story, I love it.

Hopefully there will be more soon!

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for stopping by! :) It's so great to see you come back! :D

Ooh, haha, yeah, there is definitely one large piece of information which will kick everything into place - hopefully it'll all make sense to you when we get there!

I'm so happy you're still enjoying it, though! :)

Unfortunately, the next update will be after my exams - so late May time - sorry! :(

Thank you so much for the lovely review!

Aph xx

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Review #48, by UnluckyStar57 Queen of Diamonds

21st April 2014:
No. Why would you do this?

Pollux, Mipsy, and now Regulus?!?!?! Just. WHY.

There aren't even any answers right now--or if there are, I'm way too dumb to see them. Who killed Pollux? Who killed Mipsy? Why is Regulus bleeding on the bed? And where in the world is frickin' Barty Crouch?!?! (See, I'm reduced to mild expletives because of my confusion.)

So. Let's go back to the beginning.

Well, send in the Aurors!! I loved seeing Shacklebolt and Moody pre-Harry Potter era. I wonder--does Moody have the magic eye in this time? I guess not, or you would've mentioned it. They've come to investigate, but the Black family won't take any of their nonsense! It was really interesting to view the two Aurors from a Black perspective--in this case, they were just getting in the way of all the drama that was happening, and none of the Blacks particularly liked that. (Except for Sirius, who is basically a Potter.) Who could've sent that owl to the Ministry? Was there a clue in an earlier chapter? Gosh, before I review the very last chapter of this story, I'll have to go back and read all of the previous chapters so that I can perhaps make a prediction that would make some sense!

Ugh, Alphard. His name is mud to me now. Blech. The more I hear about him, the less I like him. First he's all like, "Oh, that was fun, you guys," and then he's bashing Sirius, his favorite nephew. Is no one safe from the black hearts of the Blacks? Apparently not.

Haha, all of the Kreacher mentions kind of cracked me up. He was thinking about how the Aurors were not fit to enter the House of Black, and he makes good cookies! If it's true that everyone has a redeeming quality, cookies are Kreacher's. :)

Last scene! Lastscenelastscenelastscene!!! Oh my goodness. I read it twice, and the only thing that I can find wrong with it is that I was under the impression that Sirius slapped Alphard's hand, but when he shut the door, Sirius noticed that his cheek was bruised. Did I miss something? Sorry if I did. :)

I love how Sirius is building a house of cards on his bed. It really applies to the title of the story. ;) And you know what? I bet it fell down when he ran to Regulus' room. (Ironies. Delicious!)

Ooh, another thing wrong with this section: Regulus. And it's not anything that YOU did wrong... Oh yeah, except for WHAT YOU DID TO HIM. Can I be mad at you for this? Is that okay? I'm sure that Sirius is mad at you, and oh look! He loved his brother after all! But he's not going to be able to tell him that because they'll be in two separate states of existence soon! >:'''( I am sad and also mad. Arrgggh, it's so conflicting, because you wrote it so well-there's nothing that I can find wrong with your writing (there never is!)-and yet, WHY REGULUS?!

Also, why isn't Barty in this? Did he leave in the last chapter and silly old me forgot about it? If not, he'd better show up and do some explaining!! Right now, all signs point to him as the murderer, but you know what? I'm not buying that. There HAS to be someone else, because you, clever Aphoride, have probably been leading me on a wild goose chase all along, haven't you? Well, I must say that I want to think it's Barty, but I can't let myself do that in good faith. As for who it MIGHT be... I don't even know.

One quote that I especially liked: "There's a tension in the air as the Orion closes the door with a soft click; thick and heavy, it presses down on Sirius' shoulders, making his tongue feel like lead in his mouth and his heart beat loudly in his chest."

Can I just geek out about the way you write things?! Seriously, you're brilliant at juxtaposing action with internal emotion, and this quote just proves it. I love the way the closing of the door and the tension in the room affected Sirius--I could almost feel it myself! So that sentence is masterfully crafted, indeed!

However, now that I'm inspecting it with more scrutiny: Do you see that "the" in between "as" and "Orion"? Yeah, the first time I read it, I didn't either. However, I don't think that you intended for that spare article to be in the phrase "as the Orion closes the door." That's the only correction that I'd recommend for this chapter.

OH MY GOODNESS, WE'RE ON QUEENS. IS THIS ALMOST THE END?!?! WILL NEXT TIME BE THE LAST CHAPTER?! No, wait--you still have to do Aces. Please say that you're going to do Aces. I've grown too attached to this story for it to end in just one more chapter!!! D:

Please update soon! I really want to know what happens--will they solve the mystery? Will anyone else die?! I need answers!


Author's Response: Hey there, Mallory! Thanks so much for dropping by - and I'm so so sorry about how long it's taken me to respond to this. All your reviews are so amazing, and I'm so bad at review responses because I can never think of what to say apart from 'thank you thank you thank you, I love you' :P

I'm really really sorry about that! I know, it's totally unfair - and like, half the action is happening right at the end, haha, but I'm sorry! I love Regulus, really I do, but it had to happen! :(

There will be answers, though, I promise - eventually :P

Ah, I'm so happy you liked the Aurors! I wasn't sure if they'd really fit in to the whole story theme - but I kinda wanted them to show how closed off the whole family are, like some kind of secret society type thing, and just sort of give them something to rally around, in a way. Ooh, no, I kinda assumed he didn't - it's only the very beginning of the first war against Voldemort, so I imagined he gets it later on, maybe in a fight against Bellatrix or something, I dunno :P Yeah, the owl to the Ministry isn't something which is particularly clear - I'll be really amazed if you work it out! But I'm so glad you thought the Aurors worked - I was so nervous about that whole scene! :)

Alphard... well, I can't say I'm sorry to hear you don't like him, since I really didn't want him to be likeable, haha :P Though your comment about him bashing Sirius was... interesting. Curious you thought Sirius... ;)

Kreacher! After the house-elf died, I just had to put him in. He's a vile little thing, but unexpectedly funny, too - I loved making him sort of the voice of all the unspoken Black thoughts, haha. Like they're all thinking it, but he's the only one who says it ;P

Last scene! :D Got to be honest, that one was so hard to write - so I'm so glad you like it! Ooh, yeah, sorry about that, it's not very clear - Alphard pulls Sirius out of the room and Sirius sort of fights him to try and get back in ;)

Haha, someone mentioned in a review before that they thought it would be neat to see actual cards in it, so I couldn't resist putting them in there!

Regulus, gah, I knew everyone loved him! :P Nah, he's adorable - but yeah, I know, it's horrible! Poor Reggie... :( I loved writing Sirius' reaction, though it was hard to get it right - however he feels on the surface, and thinks he feels, isn't really the truth of it all. He just likes to think he doesn't care about his brother :P But, ahem, yeah, poor them... :P

Barty, Barty, Barty... he's a very suspicious boy, I have to admit that. He will show up, I promise you - and very soon! Next chapter, for certain! But yeah, he's not here for a reason, and that will be explained! Yeah, Barty is one of those characters who's almost too suspicious to actually suspect, though whether or not that means it is him or not is up to you ;)

Gah, thank you so much! I have this habit of personifying things and making them do human-esque things like that, so I'm glad you like it! This chapter was difficult to write - sort of, well, most of it really - so I'm so glad you like it, because I was really nervous about it.

Ooh, yeah, I see it now! Thank you so much for pointing it out - I'm so bad at spotting those kinds of things! I'll edit it out as soon as possible! Thank you so much for mentioning it!

I KNOW, I'M SO SAD! IT'S SO EXCITING AND NERVOUS AND TERRIFYING! Yeah, Aces are all up as well - I just had to do an epilogue; couldn't leave it hanging just like that!

Thank you so so much for the lovely review - I'm so so grateful for it, it was such a lovely thing to get! :) And again, I'm so sorry for the incredibly late response!

Aph xx

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Review #49, by Infinityx Queen of Diamonds

16th April 2014:

Okay, I've shed my tears for now. *sniffles*

It was obviously not Sirius who sent the letter to the auror, although Alphard and Walburga seem to think it was him. Poor Sirius. It's so clear that he just wants to be loved by his family. :(

I love the scene with the aurors, with the entire family against them. It was wonderful to see how they were sticking together and putting up a common front against the accusations. Which leads me to believe that it was someone outside the family who betrayed them..Barty?

No matter how many times they fight, or how many times they tell each other that they hate each other and wouldn't mind if the other died, the brothers have such love for each other. They just don't know how to express it. Sirius' desperation and anguish was so powerfully portrayed, and if anyone else from the family thinks that he would try to kill his own brother, then they are just plain stupid. I really hope Reg is alright. :'(

Update soon, please! I'm so hooked onto this story and I can't wait to see what happens next!


Huffleclaw - Ravenpuff Eggstravaganza


It's okay - I kinda almost didn't want to write it, because, you know, it's Regulus and it just seemed wrong... but eh :P

Do they? :P Writing that conversation was so fun, but so hard... but yes, poor Sirius! Everyone seems to be so suspicious of him, but not want him around and it's pretty tough! :(

I've wanted to write a family-united scene in this since the beginning of it, tbh, so writing this was so fun... I was practically cackling at my desk, haha. Ooh, nice idea ;) Barty's dad is, after all, the Head of the Aurors...

YES. Exactly! :) They're brothers. And no matter how much they argue, or how much they dislike each other at a particular point in time, they're still brothers and it still means something. I'm so glad you liked that scene as it was honestly one of the hardest scenes to write in the whole thing, because I wanted it to be right, you know? No, no one will suspect him, don't worry about that! ;)

Gah, sorry for the lack of updates! Exams got in the way - hopefully one will be up soon! I've got so many things to post, but this is second in the queue, so soon! :)

Thank you so so much for this review and all of the others - I've honestly never been randomly review-bombed before and it was such a wonderful thing to get! I was so excited and it totally made my day, so thank you for that! :)

Aph xx

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Review #50, by Infinityx Jack of Clubs

16th April 2014:
WHAT IS HAPPENING? :o POLLUX AND THE HOUSE ELF, BOTH DEAD. Wow. I kind of expected that someone would die when I read that description about the brandy being poured out, and Sirius drank it as well! Thankfully, it was just a couple of sips.

But the house elf. Dear Merlin, why? Hmm.. could it be that the house elf was made to help murder all those people? Maybe the elf sealed up the bottle again after the poison was poured into it. And then maybe it couldn't handle the guilt so killed itself? Okay, it's kind of far fetched but I can't think of anything else.

Orion refuses the brandy.. could it be that he knew it was poisoned? This so puzzling! I have no idea how everything is going to fit together! Anyway, moving onward to the next chapter.


Huffleclaw - Ravenpuff Eggstravaganza

Author's Response: Hi again Erin! :) Ooh yeah - double whammy in this one! Yeah, when drinks get poured out, it's likely something's going to happen, I guess :P I almost had Sirius keel over, tbh, but I changed my mind at the last minute ;) But yes, he's fine... for now!

House-elf... it's a really, really good theory! The house-elf could have helped easily enough - and it could have killed itself or been killed so as not to blab if asked... who knows? ;) But still, it's a really great theory - I love it!

Orion is very suspicious... I did try to leave clues as to why he didn't drink the brandy, but maybe they weren't quite as obvious as I thought... never mind! It's not all that important anyway :P

Thank you so much for the great review, again! :)

Aph xx

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