I somehow donít think Iím going to be able to catch up with all the chapters by the 17th, but I can do my best and I should be caught up by the next posted chapter at least.
I suppose the person they were referring to about never being particularly social was Snape, due to the loss of Lilyís appetite after they had spoken about him. Itís really interesting reading a Marauders story from a Snape lover perspective, as they tend to be from Snape haters, so Lilyís friend take a negative view of him too, whereas youíre making her friends unbiased. Itís a refreshing change to say the least.
The boyís tired faces and the use of Moony let lose what they were up to last night then. I thought they were just up to their usual pranking ways, but Iím guessing they were helping Remus out with his furry little problem.
Iím really liking Celestina, she seems like such a character and Iím currently sitting on the fence as to whether and her Sirius will ever date. She has such an exuberant personality it may phase Sirius and make him run away instead of date her. I liked it when Lily brought up Regulus, as Sirius was really bitter about him. I wonder whether itís purely due to him being a Slytherin and going along with the familyís ideas, or something else.
I really liked that scene with Regulus and Wilkes, because I can view Wilkes in a new light now you said that he is going to be a Death Eater. They both seemed so innocent and care-free it will be interesting to see how theyíre drawn into the darkness. I know the family influence on them is a big factor due to the brief mention from Regulus about agreeing with some of his parentsí views, but I would imagine there would be some of others influences to it as well.
Snapeís and Regulusí relationship is a complicated one. Iím still not entirely sure whether they view one another as theyíre friend or merely someone who they talk to due to having multiple similarities. I think it was the request from Regulus and Snapeís response which is what threw me off. I canít imagine the relationship will grow to be any better if Snape finds out about Regulus talking to Lily, as I would imagine that he would get jealous of it.
The scene with Sirius attacking Snape was really well done, and Lilyís reaction to it was great. Remusí reaction to it fitted with canon too, even though he probably would have stopped it if it wasnít Sirius, he has the reluctance to do wrong by his friends. Then the note at the end was great, I can only imagine that itís Regulus, as it seems like something he would do.
Another fantastic chapter, Amanda :D
-KianaAuthor's Response: Please, feel no rush! The sixteenth chapter won't be up for a while (following my posting the fifteenth chapter on Friday) and I feel bad posting a new chapter when I have reviews waiting for responses on the same story anyway, so take your time catching up :)
I definitely tried to keep people's perceptions of each other balanced here. I think that's one of the advantages of changing up points of view; you get to explore each character's biases in turn and build a more interesting, multifaceted story at the same time. You'll find that the Marauders don't do a lot of pranking in my story. I think it's a bit of a tired plot line, but beyond that, they're in sixth year and they have other things to worry about (as you'll see when you read further).
Oh, it's great that you like Celestine! (Never mind that I keep accidentally switching between Celestine and Celestina, urgh.) People immediately worried she'd turn out to be a Sue because of the hint of a relationship with Sirius, and I really hope she's not. You'll have to see what, if anything, develops between them.
Well, I didn't exactly say Wilkes would be a Death Eater :) Without spoiling you, I can just say that his role in the plot is important for Regulus and he's worth keeping an eye on.
I'm sure I've said this a hundred times, but I love exploring the idea of Snape and Regulus being friends. Their sub-plot is connected to Wilkes's, in a way, and the whole idea of the Slytherins and the budding Death Eaters. You're right that things could quickly get awkward if Regulus gets too close to Lily!
I have so little confidence in my ability to write action scenes, but I'm happy that you liked the little attack there at the end. You'll find out more about the note in the next chapter.
Thanks for another lovely review, dear!
-Amanda Report Review
I really liked how you made Lily have a feeling of inferiority to James and Sirius due to her muggle upbringing. It's great that you put emphasis on that, as I always imagined that it would affect her a lot. I really loved her descriptions of Vernon though, they were really humorous and it already gave me an idea of how youíre going to be portraying him throughout the story.
I really liked your characterisation of Minerva. I think it was the remark about her eyes were sharp yet kind, and that really showed what she was going to be like. I think it was right that she would comment on what was happening outside, partly due to her work with the Order, and partly due to her being rather liberal in terms of knowledge the students know. It reminded me a lot when she was challenging Umbridge in OoP.
So the Marauders are up to something then? You really caught the dynamic of the overall group really well, and if felt that there was an equal balance between them all. I felt the same with Jamesí interaction with Lily, which was really well done. I think both of their responses to Jamesí question were perfect and it showed the evolution of their relationship you would imagine there to be by sixth year. Iím eager to see the developments in that respect.
Even though it was tiny mention, and wasnít even romantically inclined I liked that Lily preferred Regulus to Sirius. I never got the Sirius/Lily ship as it just didnít make sense, but Regulus and Lily always seemed to have more similarities and it was nice to see that you drew upon it here.
I adored the tentative conversation they had on the way up to the kitchens. With most characters you wouldnít be able to pull it off, but I think with Lilyís kindness and Regulusí softer side it really worked well, and it had me awing throughout. You kept the balance of them not really knowing one another, humour and cautiousness perfectly. I really loved that part about a possibly potions genius love child, as it seems like something Slughorn would actually do.
That was a really excellent chapter. Itís so wonderful to be able to read your work as it flows beautifully and the scene changes are seamless, and I canít often say that about peopleís work. If it does take me a while to get back itís due to exams, because if it was my way I would have been caught up a long time ago!
-KianaAuthor's Response: Hello again :)
I'm pleased that you think the characterization is shaping up nicely and particularly that you liked seeing multiple dimensions to Lily here. I've really tried to make her seem as normal as possible, not too introverted but also not a caricature.
Definitely keep an eye on Lily and James. The two of them will continue to grow together and show how much each has changed as the story moves forward. It's great that you can already see changes in each of them from fifth year until now.
Well, Lily knows Regulus a little better than Sirius at this point; she really only knows Sirius through his affiliation with James. As you might imagine, that could change as the years go by. For now, though, yeah, they're just kind of awkwardly getting to know each other and realizing that first impressions (and hearsay) aren't always the most reliable source of information on a potential new friend. I'm glad you think them bonding, so to speak, over Slughorn made some sense.
Thanks for this lovely review, Kiana!
-Amanda Report Review
Another gem! Thanks for posting and keep the chapters coming! I haven't really been able to post any reviews these last few months because I'm travelling, but I love reading this during my travels.Author's Response: Thank you! I'm happy to hear you're still enjoying the story, and I'm always pleased to get your feedback when you get a chance to leave some :) Your timing is great, because chapter fifteen will be posted on Friday. Hope you enjoy it as well!
Thanks again for this very kind review :)
-Amanda Report Review
Wow, you managed to make the food at the feast sound interesting! I never thought that feat would be achievable so well done for that. I found Regulusí reaction to Dumbledoreís speech really interesting. He seemed to be impasse about it all, and not having an opinion about it, which is exactly how I imagined him to be. It also showed how easily he could have been manipulated into becoming a Death Eater and doing what other people wanted.
I found the story about Cassian interesting too. Iím so used to seeing the effects of war from the other side and never from the side of the purebloods and the ones aligned with Voldemort. I liked that he was cut up about it, as it showed that they were still human at heart, even if their views were a little warped. Ooh is he the Wilkes which is Death Eater in the books?
I really liked his encounter with Slughorn too, it seemed so natural. Regulus seems to be one who would be drawn to those in authority so it didnít feel odd at all that he would have an almost natural affinity with Slughorn. I liked how you didnít make Regulus a genius, and it took him a while to realise what Slughorn was hinting at.
As Iíve been talking about Regulusí characterisation so much already, I may as well devote a paragraph to it. I really like what youíve done with it, as youíve showed how he could have easily ended up in the situation that he did and that he was young, a little naÔve but on the whole a person who just wanted to be please. It made his situation even more tragic yet even more enjoyable to read due to the complexities of it.
Then the way you wove the future Death Eaters into the story was really chilling, and that comment from Rosier was really scary as he appeared to be revelling in the way he caused the pain. I liked how you emphasised on the events outside of the castle in this chapter, as it gave the story a more real and authentic effect.
I loved Regulusí reaction to Snape having a crush on Lily. It was so naÔve and had so many good intentions. He really is an adorable boy the way he was saying how he could understand and didnít join in with the teasing. But the remark about her being a mudblood also showed his upbringing and how some things are instilled at birth.
Another excellent chapter Amanda!
-KianaAuthor's Response: Hah, writing that feast made me very hungry :)
So Wilkes is the Death Eater from the books, but I've messed with his character a bit, so it's not entirely canon-compliant. Mostly I wanted to take a canon name and make him Regulus's friend.
It's so lovely that you're enjoying my Regulus! I feel like he's very relateable, in that he's imperfect and easily swayed at times and yet bright enough to question things that he sees and things that happen to him. I think he's very human and I'm quite proud of him. (Thus, it will be painful for me to drag him down into the dirt with his fellows. Ugh.) I'm glad you liked his interaction with Slughorn; I hope you can see how his death might have really torn Slughorn up upon hearing of it.
Yeah, the Death Eaters have been interesting to write. I'm trying to give them each their own personality like the other "good" characters we know a bit better from canon. Rosier is quite sadistic and frightening and he'll, unfortunately, have some degree of influence over the curious, younger Regulus. Thankfully, he's not the only one...
I think that scene with Snape really illustrates what I've tried to do with Regulus in these early chapters. He doesn't always do or say the right thing because he's been conditioned to be a certain way, and yet there is still a part of him that is innocent and uncorrupted. He doesn't belong body and soul to Voldemort yet. Sadly, he--like other kids his age--is looking for a way to make sense of his adolescence, and he may choose the wrong one.
Thank you for this amazing review! I've really been enjoying getting your commentary on the story so far and can't wait to hear what you think of the next one.
Thanks again, Kiana :)
-Amanda Report Review
I know I should be revising but Iíve missed reading and reviewing your stuff, so I couldnít help but sneak back :P
Ooh I really loved the first few paragraphs, they created such wonderful imagery! I always thought that Lilyís favourite season would be autumn, so I was glad to find that was the case. In those first few paragraphs it seemed as if we learnt so much about her character in such a short of space of time it really amazed me.
I really liked the entrance of the Black family Ė it was so them! Then Lily and Remusí reactions to it fitted both of them perfectly too. Of course Lily would be the indignant one, wanting justice among the world, whereas Remus would be the more thoughtful and reflective ones. I often find people struggle with their characterisation, even some of the best authors I know often donít seem to get it right, but this is definitely one of the best ones Iíve seen so far :D I also like how you provided a logical backstory to their friendship, which is, again, often missing.
Oh yes, I meant to say a while ago but forget, I read your author response to the last review and Iím sure Iíll still love the family even if the entire Black family donít feature a lot in it.
I also really liked Lilyís reaction to Peter, and how she didnít like/dislike/pity him, and just had no strong feeling about him. I often people go to extremes with Lily, but you didnít. Wub all I can say is I love your Lily, as I feel she isnít made out to be perfect, and that she isnít going to end up being a Mary-Sue version which is done a lot. I really should stop reading so many Marauders as I know way too much about the different types of Lilyís :P
Even though this isnít a Jilly centred story, I still like the glimmers of them in the background with James offering her the beans, it was a nice touch and I canít wait for the development of them. And we got a brief glimpse of Lilyís friends, and I canít wait to get to know them better as Celestine does seem like a character.
And we get to see Snape and Lily talk. Though many disagree with me, I really hope that they had that sort of relationship you briefly depicted there. I would like to think that Lily wasnít prepared to throw away an old friendship just like that, and you could really sense how she was conflicted towards him.
I was meant to try and review this constructively as I want to be more helpful when reviewing, but I got too lost in your awesome Lily. Oh well, I can try next time! Another great chapter Amanda, and Iíll be back as soon as schoolwork lets me :D
-KianaAuthor's Response: Hi Kiana :)
Lily will always be dear to my heart. I love exploring the woman she could have been and seeing how she interacts with different kinds of people and learns things about life. It was important to me that she have this sort of warm center, where she still has some measure of innocence and kindness, which is why the popular characterization of her as a spitfire personality really gets under my skin. I could see her being friends with Remus apart from James and Sirius, and not hating Peter just for being a little odd, and getting a bit incensed when she encounters injustice, even something as small as the mistreatment of an employee at the train station.
I wouldn't say the story isn't Jily-centric. I've actually written a lot of interaction between Lily and James, but I won't spoil things any further for you about that. A lot of Lily's character development in this story comes from having to reconcile her feelings about James and Severus. She doesn't want to trust James but also doesn't want to reject him merely on principle when he's clearly grown. Similarly, she doesn't want to take Severus back as a friend too easily, but it's hard for her to resist him when he's clearly trying to win back her loyalty. In fact, 'conflict' is probably the major theme of Lily's character, at least in my rendition of her adolescence.
Thanks for your awesome review!
-Amanda Report Review
This chapter turned out very well! Once again, you've captured the Marauders Era perfectly, bringing its characters to life in a realistic, satisfying way. It's refreshing to have a story like this where it's not all about the romance, but I think I've told you that with the last chapter - this one carries on very nicely from that one, and I liked how you built upon James's confession by having Lily imagine what it must be like for them during the full moons. It was a nice little moment, very subtle, yet effective.
I have to say more about your portrayal of Peter because it's rare that he's given so much of the spotlight. At first, when Ellery was doing all she could to avoid him, I felt sorry for Peter and I have to admit that the first thing that came to mind was "oh here we go again". However, what you did at the end with Peter was amazing because you placed him in an ultimate grey zone - Lily can't tell what he's doing or why, and it could easily go either way. He could be following the Slytherins for information to pass along to his friends or to tattle on them. OR he could be following them out of curiosity, something not too different from Snape's own actions. That promise of power would be tempting for those who lacked a certain kind of confidence, and Peter, through no fault of his own, will always be outshined by his friends. But I like how you leave it open-ended, and how Lily automatically sees the more positive option. It's also great to see how you make Peter sympathetic in that earlier scene with Ellery - she's delicate about it, but the reality of it is clear to everyone there. Poor Peter, so awkward and shy - you remind readers that he's no different from the rest of us. You give him more depth in this chapter than most people bother to in their entire stories, and as sad as Peter's story is, it makes me happy to see it portrayed so well.
Whoa, okay that was a long paragraph. What else can I say about this chapter? There are a lot of little things going on between the characters that were wonderful to observe - you make your characters very real and human, which is what makes this story a pleasure to read. It's fantastic how you sketch them out - it seems effortless, as though they sprouted from the story on their own. You also pay close attention to the wizarding world, particularly in Honeydukes - the addition of the charity work was something entirely original, and I kind of wish I'd thought of it myself. :P
The only problem in the chapter was that you wrote "story" for "store" at some point. Otherwise, this was excellently put together, leaving me wanting more of this story. :DAuthor's Response: Hey Susan!
I think Lily's capacity for caring is a central part of her characterization, and so I couldn't imagine her not being bothered by the knowledge of James and company cooped up with a werewolf several nights a month once she had obtained said knowledge. I imagine worrying being the thing that Lily does when she can't otherwise help, though I'm sure it would drive her batty.
Peter has been so fun to toy with--and I say that in the most respectful way possible! I want people to not quite know what to make of him; one minute he's shunted to the side because he's not as attractive as Sirius or as confident as James, and the next he's devising a scheme that no one would expect of him. I think right now he's just testing the limits of his friendships and starting to really explore that side of him that eventually turns to Voldemort--though whether it will be in the seeking of a kindred spirit or pure desperation is yet unknown.
I'm happy you liked the charity mention! I was trying to think of something fun to do in Honeydukes that would be more than just my characters wandering around looking at candy. It's also great to hear that the characterization is still going strong. I think I've worked the hardest on that in this story, as with most of my pieces.
Oof, I think someone else pointed that out a while back and I forgot to make a note about it. I'll definitely go back and fix it sometime.
Thanks for another fantastic review, Susan :)
-Amanda Report Review
Before anything else, I must tell you: one of the many things I love about this story is how you surprise us in terms of point of view at the beginning of each chapter (and sometimes you even switch ninja-style somewhere in the middle, which I forgot to mention in my previous review).
I'm happy to see Regulus back, for some inexplicable reason. He's a very likeable character so far, though his upbringing is predominant in everything he does. I hope we see him more sneaky afterwards!
Hmm, what an interesting little inclusion about Dark Magic and the Ministry, as most stories tend to push the Ministry to the side as if it didn't exist! I like the way you've reminded us that (for now) the Ministry isn't corrupted, and still fighting against Voldemort.
So, how was your summer, then? Still getting on with your brother?
Haha, way to be blunt about it! I do like that Regulus has friends who dare ask this type of question though, because when we know how the poor guy died, it's nice to hear that he led a (more or less) normal life before that.
Slughorn, though we've seen him in the books and I sort of liked him, suddenly appears more dangerous. I'm assuming you've based this off the idea that he chose students to add them to his 'collection', but this is much creepier than what's suggested in the books. And bingo! I'm not sure how I feel about Slughorn, there's a distinctly slimy side to him that is emphasised by his hunger for promising students and he makes me wary.
Aw, Regulus lying to avoid Sirius discomfort. I know I said this already, but I really like the relationship you've developed between the brothers, despite the family background they carry around.
Your description of the Slytherin common room was gorgeous.
Here we are then. The first meeting with the Death Eaters. 'Training', my big toe! They all seem realistic, from the short glimpse we've had, and Rosier's arrogance makes me want to throw something at him. My favourite aspect of this part, though, was Regulus' questioning attitude of the Dark Lord's actions and motives. Can that already be a hint as to what we find out in DH?
Regulus watching Snape watching Lily was amazingly well-done, and you did the point of view switch again for a moment absolutely flawlessly! Though it's still unsteady and snappy, I like the interaction between the boys. I feel like for now they're seen a little as the outcasts of Slytherin, no?
After a moment of watching her, he recognized her as Lily Evans, the Muggle-born girl that he'd so often seen shouting at Sirius out on the grounds between classes. She was memorable because her yells contained no hint of teasing or flirtation. She seemed to genuinely hate his brother.
I don't know why, but this quote made me smile. Regulus is a bit clueless, isn't he?
Oh, Severus, how I like your reaction! That's the type of thinking that wouldn't have hurt a few months prior though. Regulus, however, well: It was only a word, the right word. As always, you don't make your characters perfect, and this shows that Regulus is still formatted to a certain extent.
And what a lovely ending to the chapter! Your description was beautiful, as was Regulus' need for freedom and empty spaces.
This was another great chapter, I can't wait to read the next one!Author's Response: Hey, hey, don't get too far ahead of me! I wish I had as much time to read as you do -sigh- :)
POV switching has become my new pet writing tool. I'm sort of obsessed with it. You probably noticed some of it in Yellow and The Middle Man and certainly in Diamonds into Coal. Anyway, it's great that you like it, because it's going to continue to happen.
Regulus's transformation is a central theme in this story, so yes, you'll see his nastier side emerge more as we get in a little deeper. You're right to point out that he's just a normal kid, though, even with the heavy weight of the pressure to join Voldemort continually hanging over his poor little head.
To be honest, I view Slughorn as sort of benign. It bothers me that he seems to choose to ignore the dark leanings occurring in his common room, like joining the Slug Club is really what everyone should be paying attention to. I can't really fault him, though, because I can't imagine anyone trying to deal with that sort of cancer in their house. (Snape, obviously, couldn't do much either, and he knew firsthand it was a terrible choice.)
Rosier will, unfortunately, continue to be an influence in Regulus's life. Let's just say that he becomes like the big brother Regulus might as well not have, for all the worst reasons. In fact, several people will have sway over Regulus, and he'll need to make his own decision about the course of his life. Fortunately, as you mentioned, he's not totally sold on the Death Eater thing right now.
Regulus isn't really an outcast, but Snape definitely is. I think of Regulus as being sort of fascinated with Severus at this point, unable to understand the latter's love for a Muggleborn girl. Their relationship is one of the dearest things for me about this story and you will see it continue to grow and change.
Thanks for yet another thoughtful review :) You're making me ponder this story and relive my choices and that is just what I needed.
-Amanda Report Review
Here with review number two!
I love your take on Lily. She still sounds very innocent, and you sprinkle a lot about her in a few lines: her favourite colour, childhood memories, the way she cares for others and can I say I loved the inclusion of Remus here?
Psh, those haughty Black family members (this sounds like a horrifyingly racist comment, I cringe just typing it).
Oh, Peter. He's seems quite sweet so far, kissing his mother goodbye and being worried around Lily (for some reason this completely sticks to my perception of him). I like Lily's reaction to him too!
Okay. The inclusion of James sort of breaks my heart, because I've become a big fan of James/Lily with Jami's Before They Fall and I don't want to see them apart. However, because this is you and I know I love your writing, I won't say anything until I meet your Severus.
Phew, awkwardness avoided. I'm actually really curious as to how Snape and Lily will work out if James is standing there being adorable. ANYWAY. If I start rambling on this subject again, you have the right to kick me. The friends you've given Lily sound really interesting, I'm curious to find out more about them!
There is one tiny thing that has been nagging at my brain here. Wouldn't Lily have to go to Prefect's Compartment? Nothing big, but I was just wondering if she was a Prefect in this story or not.
AND HELLO AWKWARDNESS AGAIN! Gut instinct tells me I like your Severus, despite him not having had a bath for several days. Poor boy, I do feel sorry for him, although Lily's attitude is entirely justified and I am glad that she's reacting this way.
This was another lovely chapter, I think I'll transit right now onto chapter three &heartsAuthor's Response: Hi Val!
Lily is one of my favorites, partly because I feel like she's one of only a few characters who is really, honestly pure and innocent at heart. Most everyone has a dark side, but I can't find hers. So part of this story was me trying to deepen my characterization of her a bit. You'll see some not-so-nice things come out, even with an overall aura of innocence.
I won't dare compare my James/Lily to Jami's, but let me say that I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. You'll see dashes of Snape/Lily and James/Lily here. I tried my best to play fair, in terms of humanizing James more and demonizing Severus more than usual. Then, just when you think you have them figured out, I'll change it up :) Anyway, stay tuned--the dynamic between James and Severus has been the most interesting and easily the toughest part of this for me, and I hope you find it satisfying.
I suppose Lily would have to at least visit the Prefect's Compartment to be briefed on things. Then again, this would be her second year being a Prefect, so maybe her briefing would be very short. Either way, I didn't include it, so I'll have to glance back to see if it needs to be mentioned or clarified at all. Thanks for that--had not thought about it.
Severus has gotten about the most work of anybody here, as I mentioned. I've tried to make him equal parts despicable and pitiable, depending on the moment you catch him in. Keep me updated on how you feel about him.
Anyway, enough babbling about characterization. Thanks for the review :)
-Amanda Report Review
Throw a party I am finally here!
I am already loving this story purely by the name of the cat! It is a great name though, as it ties in with the whole mythological/astronomy name theme. If I knew there was going to be so much emphasis on the Black family, I would have come sooner as I love them as theyíre all so unique and complex!
I didnít think there was going to be other house elves, but itís fitting. It was rather cute to see Kreacher as the Ďhead elfí, and he seemed to enjoy that position. Iíve always had a soft spot for him too, so I was glad that he was popping up too. And all that focus on Regulus and Sirius! Amanda why didnít you put more pressure on me, Iíve barely read half this story and Iím in love with it.
I liked how you built a really nice bond between Kreacher and Regulus, as it was so lovely to read. It ties in beautifully with canon where Kreacher always seemed to treasure his memory of Regulus so much. It was rather adorable really.
Walburgaís characterisation was perfect. She reminded me so much of her portrait self, and I loved reading her. Well, I love reading anything about the Black family, and I am currently kicking myself for not getting here sooner. I loved how she viewed her sons so differently, the perfect Regulus, and Sirius the fool.
My poor Regulus, under that pressure to join the death eaters already. I feel so bad for him, and heís story so tragic. I find it so odd when thereís a Marauders story which doesnít include him, so Iíll be glad to see a lot of him here, and his relationship with Sirius and Lily.
The one word I can describe this chapter as being is perfect. Iíll try and be back soonish, itís just life is insanely hectic at the moment!
-Kiana :DAuthor's Response: Oh, yay! I'm so pleased to see you :) I have to be up front and say that the story isn't about the Black Family, strictly speaking. Walburga and Orion make multiple appearances, but really the focus is on the relationship between Regulus and Sirius. Hopefully you're still excited to read on :)
Kreacher is really challenging but also really fun to write. I wanted to focus a bit on his special bond with Regulus and spent time bolstering their relationship during the story. Regulus isn't particularly nice to him, but he's a lot more decent and interactive than other family members. I'm happy you enjoyed it!
Hah, that's great. She's another one who is tough to pin down. I think of her as this perversion of Molly Weasley--she doesn't have all the children that Molly does, but she still likes to put on airs and play the part of the perfect wife and mother in her own dingy way. She's not as elegant as, say, Narcissa Malfoy.
I also think it's weird to read Marauder stories without any focus on Regulus, even in his minor role as Sirius's cold-shouldered brother. I've really had a blast exploring him for this story and trying to really make him human. I suppose I've actually become rather attached.
Thank you for this fabulous review, Kiana! And no worries--I can definitely sympathize :)
-Amanda Report Review
Hey Amanda! I'm here to return your review - I'm sorry it's taken me so long to actually write it.
I think that you did a great job with this chapter! I particularly liked the opening scene in which James watches the Marauder's Map for Lily's dot. Although it's not something I've read him doing before, it's definitely something that I can picture him doing. After all, it's a way to watch over her without getting too close to her and thus annoying her.
I really liked the small details you included in this chapter. As always, your descriptions really made the story come alive for me and your characterization was great. Severus' line about Lily having to love him back was great because not only did it show the ferocity of his emotions for her, it also showed the creepier or more desperate side to them. He cannot accept that she might not return his affections.
Another one of my favourite moments in this chapter was when Lily told Regulus that if he wanted her to make an effort with Severus, then he would have to make the same effort with Sirius. It was such a great turnabout and her reasoning made sense. Of course her condition would act as just that: a condition, one that would allow her to stop her efforts with Severus if Regulus didn't make any changes to his relationship with Sirius. It was clever of her to have a safety like that.
I did have a few questions and comments, though, as I was reading. To begin, who's Celestina, the witch that you mentioned in the beginning? Is she a character that you've mentioned previously that I've just forgotten (sorry if this is the case). If not, it sounded a little weird to have a new name be included out of the blue like that. I would've just described her without using a name.
As well, I noticed a few point-of-view changes from Regulus to Lily during their negotiation scene. I'm not sure if you were intending to change the POV, but I thought I'd point it out, just in case. The changes didn't negatively affect the flow of the story, in any case.
I really did love your characterization in this chapter. I think that you did a great job with Lily and Regulus- their thoughts, their reasoning, their actions... It all fit so well with what we already know of them. However, I was a little surprised by the mention of both Severus and Sirius crying. I would have thought that they'd both try and hide this "weakness" from the others. Crying just seems so vulnerable, an action that I imagine would be especially unwelcome in the Slytherin common room.
All in all, I really enjoyed this chapter and I'm eager to see how this deal between Lily and Regulus will affect the canon we all know and love. Will Sirius and Regulus actually become close as brothers again? Will Severus and Lily repair their friendship? Ah well... There always has to be some questions, in order to keep the readers coming back for more. Great work! :)Author's Response: No, that's fine! It may take me a while to return the next one, due to the fact that my real life has booked up my calendar for the month.
I tried to draw some parallels between James and Severus in this chapter. One thing that I think often plays out in James's favor is that he's this handsome, popular guy. I would bet that if it had been Severus reading the Marauder's Map and staring at Lily's dot, people wouldn't have found it nearly as endearing as they have in the reviews so far. I have to wonder what the reaction would have been if it had been James railing about needing Lily's love and crying in the common room. It's been really interesting for me to toy with both Severus's bad side and James's good side and to switch them up in this story.
I also wanted to step away from the characterization of Lily as this frail flower. She's too smart to just go with this bet idea without having some kind of failsafe in place, and everyone has some kind of selfish side. The conflict between her heart and her mind will come into play more as the bet gets ever more tangled and more gets put on the line.
Celestine was actually introduced back in chapter two along with Lily's other best friend, Ellery. You'll probably remember her if you step back and re-read that :) No worries!
I have tried to play with point-of-view in many of my recent stories, just because I think it's interesting and I like shaking things up, so the changes there were probably deliberate. I will go back and check just to make sure, though. Thanks for pointing them out to me.
The comment you made about crying is helpful. I think it makes slightly more sense with Severus, since he obviously doesn't have good emotion regulation and can sometimes be socially inappropriate when he's upset. I can see why it would be odd for him to break down in front of Regulus, though, since he didn't know him all that well that this point. Sirius, though, even in front of James--I agree that the crying is a little weird for him, too. I'll go back and take a look to see what I can do.
Thanks for this lovely review, Claire :)
-Amanda Report Review
I'm finally here, and I'm so sorry it's taken me so long!
I have said it before, I say it now and I will say it again: your description is absolutely gorgeous. You manage to create such a lively scene in a few sentences, which I love, and your flow is perfect.
Kreacher is immediately antipathic, which completely sticks to the portrayal JK gave us of him (even though afterwards he's more likeable, but anyway). I can see him in my head, being grouchy but with a morbid fascination for the heads on the wall, and, already, a deep veneration for the Blacks even though we've barely seen him.
THIS IS SUCH AN INTERESTING WAY OF COMPARING SIRIUS AND REGULUS. I'm literally sitting here gaping at my screen because of how simple yet original your way of presenting them two is -- the suggestion that their rooms are a transcription of their character is great!
Walburga (that is her name, right?) sounds like such a controlling mother! Just the fact that she wants Regulus to act like a man (because she's given up on Sirius, I suppose?) when he's only a teenager makes me reticent about her already. Knowing you, though, you're going to make me like her eventually, so I won't pronounce myself yet.
AWW. I've become a big fan of well written sibling scenes, so this one made my day. Despite the fact Sirius is (more or less) purposely distancing himself from his family, Regulus still loves him, and you got that across so well without falling into soppy declarations!
Okay, well, actually, I do not like Walburga at all. Maybe things will change, but right now she sounds horrible. Segregating her children is the worst thing she could do, and because of that I'm glaring her way now.
Wait. You did it again: you took a new take on a character! I cannot believe Sirius didn't retort to his father. This portrayal of him as being big-mouthed, but reasonably so, is refreshing compared to other fanfics where Sirius is a big-headed idiot. I don't know if that was done on purpose, but it was great!
Death Eaters already, hmm. Can't wait to see what happens there.
Ok, I don't feel like this review served any purpose, but anyway... This was a great first chapter, and I will be seeing you again soon for chapter 2!
&heartsAuthor's Response: Hi Val!
I had this really sick idea of Kreacher, in his slavish devotion to his family, having admiration for the elves that have truly served the Blacks until death. Maybe he thinks it is an honor to end up on that placard.
I'm afraid I cannot take credit for the room distinction; as I recall, that's straight from canon, or at least the mind of JKR. I'm glad you like watching the two brothers interact and felt like their personalities were interesting and not too over-the-top.
I don't know that I'll make you like Walburga. I don't really like her much myself, or Orion. Maybe you'll start to see them through Regulus's eyes, though, given that we only really get Sirius's perspective in canon. I wanted to show that there is clear favoritism for Regulus, but not in such a way that Sirius is being outright abused--more like ignored. I think "given up on him" is a good way of putting it.
Thank you for yet another fantastic review! I'll be back to The Calendar Girls quick as I can!
-Amanda Report Review
Again another beautifully written chapter that was just a pleasure for me to read. I must say that I really am enjoying your story.
First of all I love how you described Vernon with his pea lining up and taking off of shoes as I can defiantly see him being a person like that. Really suits his character. Well Done!
I thought you might wont to know that you write lamp chop which I am presuming meant lamb chop since you where describing what Lily was eating. Though that's the only grammar error I picked up!
I loved that fact that Slughorn chose to have the gathering in the trophy room as it certainly does fit with his pride as I wouldn't put something like that past him. So setting it there was a very clever idea indeed. Though having Peeve's trash it was a wonderful idea as everybody loves a good old bit of Peeve's in a story! Overall I think the atmosphere of the party was set out just right for the occasion.
As for the Lily/Regulus interaction I though how you did it was prefect. I can defiantly see them being rather polite to each other as they where because of who they are. Even though they didn't really know each other I though you played them out together well despite the two different status's.
All in all another good chapter, feel free to re-request anytime!
~Hallows!Author's Response: Hey, thanks for stopping by!
Haha, glad you like Vernon. He and Petunia don't come up a lot, but I do like imagining what Lily would have thought of her sister's choice of a husband. I can imagine her finding his continual search for normalcy and perfection quite annoying.
Well, I didn't go back and check, but I'm pretty sure I did not mean to say 'lamp chop,' LOL. Thanks for pointing that out; I'll have to go back and edit the chapter at some point.
I'm happy to hear that you found the party interesting and enjoyed the contrast between Slughorn's efforts at propriety and Peeve's attitude of destruction. It's also good that you felt the interaction between Lily and Regulus was realistic and reflected each of their personalities. That's very reassuring for me.
Thanks for another lovely review :)
-Amanda Report Review
Oh this was a great and exciting chapter. I wish i could have seen a bit more of what led sirius to go torment snape and how it all began but it was enjoyable as it was. There was one mistake that i noticed but since im reading and reviewing on my nook i cant copy and paste it for you but i believe its when regulus is talking to wilkes during potions. I thought lily was great here and i agree with your decision to have her as a prefect. She was absolutely perfect when it came to the fight, stepping in and giving detention to both boys even though james didnt really do anything. I was also glad to see that she didnt give snape detention it was kinda sweet and gave me hope for their friendship. Im excited to see whatelse you have in store for your story and im really looking forward to the next chapter. Ill be back to review more soon.
~slytherinchica08~Author's Response: Thanks! The ending of the chapter was really mostly from Lily's perspective, but it would be interesting to see it through Sirius and James's eyes and see the lead-up to the big showdown. I think another reviewer has brought up a mistake in that section, so I'll go back and check it again.
I'm happy that you liked my Lily! She's one of my favorite characters and I always want to do her justice. Thanks again for your lovely review, and I hope to see you again soon!
-Amanda Report Review
You're doing a great job of showing just how creepy Snape's fixation with Lily was. Like in canon when we know he stole the picture of the Potters from Grimauld Place and tore Jamer and Harry out of it. I remember reading that and thinking he's one step away from stealing some of her old underwear and sniffing it in a closet. Snape might have thought he loved Lily but really he just wanted to control her.Author's Response: Thanks! I'm actually a big fan of the Snape/Lily ship, and I wanted to really challenge myself to make him as despicable as possible without losing that little element of pity we get from The Prince's Tale, just because I usually write him more sympathetically by default. It's good to hear that the creepiness is coming through, and I hope you'll experience some mixed feelings about my Severus if you read on.
Thanks for your great review :)
-Amanda Report Review
What's fantastic about this story, and this chapter more specifically, is how you've represented the Marauder era and its characters. They sound and act natural, each dealing with his or her own conflicts, be they internal or external. You take care to make each character human, rather than caricatures, and you also take the time to give each character the spotlight, even for a moment. I've never seen someone fit so many characters' perspectives into one chapter so smoothly and effectively. You've provided a fantastic snapshot of the Marauder-era characters at Hogwarts, and if anyone asked me what the era was about, I'd be tempted to point to this chapter as the perfect example.
By including so many characters, you show what's most important to this story - the relationships between them. The whole story is based on failed relationships and the desire to repair them, but you also show how new relationships build from the ashes of the old. I liked the interaction between Lily and James in this chapter, how it came unexpectedly and showed both characters in a positive light. James is mature here, and it makes sense because of what happened with Remus - this hasn't struck me before, but perhaps that event, rescuing his enemy/rival, either forced him to make the right (rather than easy) choice or it brought out the best in him... maybe it's a combination of both.
The one aspect of that segment of the chapter I'm less sure about is the way that James reveals his secret to Lily. Does he think he can trust Lily to that extent? Although she makes a very good point that no one would believe her (though Dumbledore would - he knows to believe most things, no matter how crazy they sound), I still think it's a rash decision on James's part. It's bad enough that Remus's secret is out - you'd think that James would be too worried about that to add yet another reveal, one that places all four of the Marauders into trouble. Have we seen enough of James by this point for him to realistically place so much trust in Lily? I'd like to see more narration in that part of the dialogue so that I can better understand James's side of things. Why does he want to assure Lily that Remus doesn't go alone? Why doesn't he try harder to cover up the Marauders' secret?
That's the only thing I could see potentially needing work in this chapter. Otherwise, it was a joy to read, right from the beginning with Peter - and I can't squee enough over his presence in this story. You've done a fantastic job with his character, giving him an interesting manipulative quality, a cleverness that is not ever attributed to him in other stories. It's also interesting that he uses his powers on James - the foreshadowing there is excellent, and details like that work together make this a quality story. Amazing work! :DAuthor's Response: I think I just try to replicate the sorts of conversation styles I hear in everyday life in my writing. I often see stories where people seem to really overreact and that natural feeling isn't there, so I work extra hard on mine. It's also great to hear that you like the different perspectives; my favorite stories are the ones that wrap up different points of view into one narrative, and I felt like it would be boring to just stick with Lily and Regulus when I have so many interesting characters to explore. Who knows who I'll start with next?
The more time I spend with James, the more I like him--and yes, you did just hear me say that! I have tried to make his maturing process seem realistic and gradual, such that he doesn't transform overnight into the man Lily needs him to be before she'll say 'yes.' Obviously he still has moments of immaturity, given that he's a seventeen-year-old kid, but I do think he's making a change. Unfortunately, Severus is doing the opposite--he keeps turning further and further from Lily the more he tries to impress her and draw her back in.
You make a very good point about James. I think I got so caught up in making him earn her respect that I didn't attend enough to his need to feel like he can fully trust her in return, especially since she's a Prefect and all. I think I need to do some work to figure him out, and it would only be realistic for him to potentially regret letting her know later on. Maybe it'll come in the form of an edit for that chapter, or maybe it's something I can work into future chapters. Either way, it's very good feedback, and I appreciate you pointing it out.
I'm fairly proud of my Peter :) I wanted him to be included and to be just as competent as his friends--well, mostly. I'm glad you can start to see him disintegrating a little bit from the tough moral fiber that makes up the other Marauders. His presence will become more important as the story goes on, so please keep your eyes peeled!
Thanks again, Susan, for this fab review :) I'll be back to visit Black Sands again very soon!
-Amanda Report Review
Once again a very nice chapter that I really enjoyed reading. I must admit I've always been slightly found of Regulus's character and so it's nice to see him played out so beautifully in your story. Once again the characterization of him is wonderful as I can really believe that is what Regulus could have been like since there isn't overly much stated about him in the books.
Also how you portrayed the relationship between Severus and Regulus was rather clever as. It suits the kind of people that they are and so fits in well with the story. The way you have played out Severus is brilliant too as I could imagine him studying of sorts while absent minded watching Lily Evans from afar. It makes me feel a little sorry for the poor guy.
Anyway feel free to re-request any time!
~Hallows!Author's Response: Hello, and thanks for another great review!
I'm glad you are enjoying getting to know Regulus. We don't know much about him, and that's half the fun for me in using him as a main character here. Don't be afraid to point out anything you feel doesn't fit in future chapters :)
The friendship between Severus and Regulus is an important part of my head canon, so I'm happy to hear that you think it's clever. Their brotherhood, of sorts, will continue to grow. It's great that you like the way I've portrayed Severus, too, and that you feel some pity for him. I've tried to jump back and forth between that sense of sympathy and a real creepiness in the story so far, and I hope you'll get some of the other flavor in coming chapters.
Thanks again for your lovely review :)
-Amanda Report Review
I must say this is quite the interesting chapter as it is played out beautifully. I am quite intrigued to find out just what happened between James and Lily with the polyjuice potion, so from that perspective you have me wanting to read on more. It's clever how you have just given the reader a few little things like the fact something happened and there was polyjuice potion involved as it add a nice sense of mystery to the story.
You characterization of Lily is wonderful and really does capture what we know of Lily and then has been built upon it to make her your own Lily which I think is brilliant! I also love how you have played her closer to Remus as I've always seen the two of them getting along as friends. Also the how you have played the rest of the marauders is just how I imagine they might be so a big thumbs up there.
Feel free to re-request anytime!
~Hallows!Author's Response: Hi, thanks for another lovely review :)
I'm glad you were interested! I'm afraid the Polyjuice comment might have led you astray a bit. I wasn't alluding to an actual incident. It was just an off-hand comment about how James and Lily were interacting civilly, which surprised Celestine and Ellery after their conflict last year with Snape's Worst Memory. Sorry if that's a bit of a disappointment!
It's great to hear that you like my Lily. She's definitely near and dear to my heart and I probably put a lot of myself into her at times. I always felt like her being close to Remus was part of my head canon, so it's good that you enjoyed watching them interact. I'm pleased also that you like the Marauders, though it would have been nice to hear a little more about what specifically you enjoyed :)
-Amanda Report Review
I must say this is an absolute brilliant chapter and story, I don't see why people wouldn't want to read it. Though maybe I love it so much as I love the marauder's era. I think this is a nice introductory chapter as while nothing too big happens it set out the timeline and the start of the story setting you up for what is to happen.
I really like who you've displayed the relationships between the different family members of the house of Black as you can really tell where the dysfunction in the family is and what caused it. I also must say that you descriptive style especially at the beginning is an absolute pleasure to read and flows ever so nicely that the chapter was over before I knew it. I would have happily read on for hours.
Keep up the good work!
~Hallows!Author's Response: Thanks, Hallows, and thanks for coming by!
That's good to hear :) I wanted to try to build the plot up slowly in this story, in response to critique I've gotten on earlier work that my pacing is a little too fast at times. So I made a point to really introduce Regulus and his characterization, and then Lily's will come up in the next chapter. Hopefully, by the time they meet and the plot really gets going, the reader feels that he or she really knows them.
It's great that the dysfunction works here, too. I stayed away from the typical portrayal of the Blacks screaming at and outright abusing one another and tried to go for more of a subtle tension between Sirius and the others, with poor Regulus caught in the middle. I'm happy the flow works well, too.
I hope you don't mind if I come back and re-request when you have an empty slot. Your feedback was really kind and helpful for this chapter, so again, thank you for the wonderful review!
-Amanda Report Review
Requested review time!
Ooh! So this chapter (or at least what I've read of it so far) seems to be from James Potter's point of view! Exciting! I'm looking forward to seeing the drama from another perspective. In the chapters so far, James has come across as pretty mellow, so I'm pretty pumped to see how you flesh him out.
I love your description of the Map! I think it's really clever that you've left quite a bit of it still "blank" and I can see quite the interesting subplot developing! I'd love it if how the Map was completed was included in the story. It probably has nothing to do with the plot, but I really want to know now! Perhaps just as an interesting footnote?
You know, I think my James-centric bias is showing, because if Severus was partaking in the creepy ritual of watching a dot on a page, I'd be completely freaked out, but since it's James, it's almost... endearing, in a way. His feelings for Lily are quite palpable. I think, in their own ways, both James and Severus are equally creepy in their affections for Lily, and kudos on you for showing this similarity.
I think Regulus' budding altruistic nature has quite an interesting avenue of expression. He barely even knows Lily, and doesn't seem especially close to Severus, but he still wants to rebuild their friendship, even though Lily's a muggleborn and Severus is weird. It's an interesting aspect of his personality, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it manifests and grows. Considering that it seems to be part of the plot, I have high hopes!
And how very devious of Lily! I like how she's already thought of a way out. More than Regulus' altruism, I'm looking forward to seeing how Lily's show of selfishness (or is self-preservation a better word?) is going to pan out.
I really like the dynamics of the deal. The reasons for each character striking the deal in the first place are switched if you think about their "usual" personalities, and I can't wait to see where it'll lead!
I'll talk about Regulus' personality first. I like where you're taking him as a character. Six chapters in, and you can see the way he is. Along with the reader, he too is confused about his actions. He sees a lot of himself in Severus, and whilst he doesn't want to be his friend exactly, this bond is compelling him to do things for him. I'd like to see where this element of his personality will lead him. Will it come to play when he officially becomes a Death Eater? Will it become more important when he finally decides to try and thwart Voldemort and destroy his Horcrux? One thing I would like to see more of in Regulus is his intelligence. He must've been somewhat capable of complex thought to have figured out that Voldemort had Horcruxes, and what exactly a Horcrux was. I mean, Voldemort gave Lucius Malfoy one, and I don't think Lucius quite figured out what on earth it really was. Regulus is part of Slug Club, but the membership is a rather dubious measure of intelligence, in my opinion.
And OMG! I actually laughed when Regulus mused about why he thinks he's never had a girlfriend! He was just so adorable in that moment!
Concerning the interaction between the Marauders, I think you've shown a different side of their relationship. I've rarely read any fanfics where the bond between the boys is so inherently strong. Like, I know they were close and everything, but you've actually shown that through their actions and their words. James knows how each of his friends will react, down to the fact that Remus will come check on him like a mother hen the minute he steps into the dormitory. I especially enjoyed reading the conversation between Sirius and James. Sirius, so far, has been quite arrogant and emotionally distant, but he goes to James to talk about serious stuff. It showed a more vulnerable side to him that I really hope you explore and develop further. And it also showed a softer side to James, who was being a really good friend.
I'm really excited now to see where Regulus and Sirius' relationship will go now!Author's Response: Hello again, thanks for coming by :)
James was a real challenge--being a Snily fan, I just don't like the guy very much, and so I decided to make him likeable to me and hope that he would also be likeable for other readers. I'm glad you like the perspective shake-up. It won't be the last time; changing perspective is one of my favorite little tricks.
I'm working on some parts now that are fairly Marauder-centric, so I'll have to try to find a way to fit the completion of the Map in there. I'm happy you like how it's still being fleshed out at this point. I also LOVE the comment you made about the differences between Severus's and James's behavior. They probably see one another as being quite creepy, and yet they have a lot in common when it comes to Lily. That issue of the dot-watching being creepy or romantic was on my mind the whole time I wrote this section.
Yeah, Regulus just doesn't have that evil core that I think you really need to succeed as a Death Eater. He can't help but feel something when he sees others around him in pain, which clearly comes out in canon with the way he reacts to Kreacher's "duty" in the cave. He never fails to fascinate me as a character.
In the same vein, I often fall into the trap of making Lily this sweet, well-meaning character, and I wanted to introduce some conflict here, just a touch of selfishness. She still sees the benefit in helping Sirius and Regulus reconcile, because I think she can see the similarity between their falling out and the one she's experiencing with her own sister, but for right now she just wants a reason not to have to re-open her old wounds with Snape. I'm glad you like how she's playing out; her conflict will be a central theme.
You make a good suggestion about Regulus's intelligence, and how him figuring out the Horcrux suggests that he was smarter than the average Death Eater. I'll have to think about ways that I can work that in later on. I will note that he's not a bad student; like a true Slytherin, though, one thing he sees in Snape is a way to get out of doing his work (e.g., with the Potions scene and the book).
I do like my Marauders. It was important to me to show that Peter isn't just an afterthought; he's really part of the group here, which will make his eventual split from them all the more painful for everyone involved. I think James does know his friends quite well, perhaps the best out of all four, which is maybe why his loss was so painful for Remus and Sirius. As for Sirius, yeah, I wanted to show that he's not as tough and carefree as he seems at times; many stories have him confiding in a girl, but I figured it would be more realistic for him to turn to his honorary brother, James. I will make another note to add in more Sirius in future chapters.
Thank you for yet another fabulous, comprehensive review! I'll be back to re-request when I see a free slot :)
-Amanda Report Review
Woops, I accidentally posted my review for this chapter onto the other chapter...oh well, can I still say that you're an amazing author!?Author's Response: Haha, that's okay!
Thank you--you can definitely say that if you want :)
Nikki, let me just say again how much I've loved reading and responding to your reviews this morning, and I hope you'll return when I get a new chapter posted next month. I'd love to get more feedback from you on this story and any of my others that catch your fancy.
Thank you, so very much, once again :D
-Amanda Report Review
I am sooo excited for the next chapter! I know I kinda suck at reviewing, but I just had to tell you how much I am enjoying this story. I wish I could write more detailed reviews like everyone else, but hey, at least I reviewed? :P I am in love with how you portrayed all of the marauders, and I am so incredibly excited to see what happens next!Author's Response: No, seriously, your reviews have been the best part of my day so far. Short, sweet reviews mean just as much to me as longer ones, so please, don't feel like I don't appreciate them! You're right--what matters is that you reviewed.
I'm happy you like my Marauders. I tried to make them interesting, likeable, and again--not the usual cliche, at least somewhat. I'm glad you're excited to move on!
Thanks for another fantastic review :)
-Amanda Report Review
Aw, Severus and Lily at the end was adorable!! :D Loved this chapter, as usual!Author's Response: That's good to hear :) Thank you!
-Amanda Report Review
Eek! These chapters a just getting better and better, aren't they??? Awesome job!Author's Response: I hope so! Thanks again :)
-Amanda Report Review
I absolutely LOVED this chapter! I love the drama between Lily and Regulus! (Lol, they don't but of course I do. :P)Author's Response: Haha, no, they don't, but I'm glad it's interesting. This one is one of my favorites.
Thanks for another fabulous review!
-Amanda Report Review
As usual, this was awesome! I must say this has turned out to be one of my most favorite stories on the archives! I will defiantly check out your other stories soon! :DAuthor's Response: You're awesome for saying that, and I certainly hope you do! It's been great hearing from you today!
Thanks for your lovely review :)
-Amanda Report Review
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