Reading Reviews for The Mark of Cain
  
18 Reviews Found

Review #1, by MissesWeasley123 The Mark of Cain

22nd September 2013:
Hi again Susan.

I feel like copying and pasting everything I said in the other review, to this one. But even those words and anything else I ramble in this will never be enough to express my feelings towards this piece. So give me a second while I search up more synonyms for "perfect, flawless, beauty, and art."

I think they should just add "Violet Gryffindor" underneath all of that.

Regulus. The poor soul. I simply adored the use of the word "star" in this piece. Throughout it carried and eerie sort of light and was poetic. You kept the darkness intact and whole and again, this was beautiful.

You way with words is something I admire, and now strive for. It's angelic and fascinating the way you depict things. You show in your writing that you don't necessarily need a pairing, stuff doesn't have to do with romance - you can make a piece pure words and it will take the reader's breath away.

Like you did with me.

I don't have any more praise for you, because anything I say will never be enough. Just keep on writing wonderfully like this and yeah. Just keep up the great work!

Author's Response: *blushes* Oh my, how do I respond to this? You're much too kind. Thank you!

That's a good point about Regulus as the star, how he shines in the darkness that surrounds him. Yet he's that distant star that's almost invisible - perhaps like an old star, burning itself up (though that more accurately describes Sirius), or like a very faint star that, one day, just fades away, its absence never noted. In either case, the darkness wins, consuming the pinpricks of light that are never strong enough to fight it off. You've described it much better - I love that image you've created of the eerie light and intact darkness.

When I get the chance to write a non-romance story, I love taking it - there's so much more to write about, in spite of what's popular. It's fantastic to hear that you found this story breathtaking. ^_^

Thank you for another lovely review! It means a lot that you've enjoyed these stories so much.


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Review #2, by TheHouseElf The Mark of Cain

23rd July 2013:
Hey Susan! I've been wanting to read this fic for ages and have finally gotten around to doing so. I love the characterisation of Regulus. His story was briefly touched upon in Deathly Hallows, but in this one shot you paid tribute to the 'lesser' Black brother and really expanded on his emotions. I loved all the references to the tales of 'King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table' and other pieces of literature such as Hamlet. These really helped with Regulus' characterisation as for me it just emphasised how young he still was right before his death, and how he yearned for his own quest and his own glory.

I also liked the comparisons between Regulus and Sirius. Outwardly, their views are very different, Sirius being the rebellious Gryffindor, Regulus the obedient, perfect son. However, in this fic, you showed us how very similar they are, despite their words and their positions.

Your descriptions are glorious and vivid as ever. They flawlessly catapult the reader into Regulus' dark world. You even made the sea, which usually has the connotations of happiness and sunny weather, sound cruel and uninviting.

All in all, this was a masterpiece of a one shot and I truly enjoyed reading it!

Author's Response: This is a lovely surprise! Thank you very much for stopping by to read and review this story - it means even more to hear that you've been looking forward to reading it. :D

It's fantastic to hear that you like this portrayal of Regulus as well as the allusions to Arthurian legend. It seems like the kind of heroic past that Regulus would turn toward, seeking to embody the strength and nobility of the legendary knights. Yet it's something that's out of place in Regulus's world - there's no room for chivalrous knights. Instead, it's a world seeped in the kind of corruption that eventually consumes Arthur and the Round Table, and Regulus can't escape the fate of drowning (now that I think of it, the lake in the cave is a strange inversion of the lake from which Excalibur came - there's a "treasure" in each lake with immense power, and while the lake in legend is inhabited by the Lady of the Lake, the lake in the cave is filled with Inferi.

Wow, I wish I had noticed these things sooner! There are a lot of amazing connections here!

Thank you so much for the compliments - eek! I don't know what to say except to thank you for them. It's just fantastic to hear compliments about the style and descriptions in one of my stories. *hugs*


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Review #3, by patronus_charm The Mark of Cain

5th February 2013:
Hello!

Regulus just seemed wonderful in this to me, as I've always held a soft spot for him ever since I found he was R.A.B. and that he wasn't in fact completely bad. I liked the idea of how even though he tried to get rid of his dark mark, it stayed embedded in him forever.

It seemed as if that meant to me that even though he reformed he would still always be seen as the death eater, not the person he tried to destroy Voldemort's horcrux. I guess you can say the same for Snape as he will probably be still remembered as the one who killed Dumbledore, not for all the good he did. It seems that their goodness is black and white, not the inbetween grey which I would associate for characters like them.

I loved your brief description of Sirius, as the idea of him never being able to get rid of the idea of him being a 'Black', is similar to Snape's and Regulus's problem of never being able to get rid of the fact they were death eaters. I've never really thought about it but maybe JK was trying to challenge prejudice and discrimination, as she did with Remus as well?

You showed Regulus's devotion to the Dark Lord very well, as you could see his bitterness clearly as to when Voldemort revealed that he did not need him, but his elf.

I didn't feel as if the story was unfinished, in fact I thought the ending was one of the best parts of the story. I mean that last line - 'With a final flicker, the light burnt out.' was just great, as it had so many meanings!

I thought this was an excellent one-shot, and your writing never fails to impress me! Kiana!

Author's Response: Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this one-shot! I agree that there's something wonderfully mysterious about Regulus - we know so little about him, which is of course perfect for us fanfiction writers. :D

The image of Regulus scrubbing off the Dark Mark is what sparked this story. Although I wanted to write one about Regulus for a long time, I had no idea where to start until that image hit me. He was so young at the time, and he never had the chance to choose his future - his parents and Voldemort prescribed it all, and that's why I think he began to second-guess his loyalties to Voldemort. He would have been at that age where one questions everything, especially what adults think, and I can imagine that Regulus would feel trapped between his parents' ideals, Voldemort's bloodlust, and his brother's rebellion. It would be enough to tear anyone apart.

The problem with both Regulus and Snape is that they hid their goodness, and thus no one ever knew about it until Harry uncovered the truth. He at least was able to share that history with the world, but I agree with you that many will still think of both as Death Eaters - that if they were on Voldemort's side, they must not have been good people. It's strange, though, when you think of how easily the Malfoys reintegrated into wizarding society after Voldemort's first fall. It goes to show that money will get you anywhere... *shakes head*

It's wonderful to hear that the ending suited the story, and was indeed one of the best parts! Thank you! ^_^


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Review #4, by caoty The Mark of Cain

2nd October 2012:
As it happens, I'm writing a similar one-shot at the moment. My Regulus quite literally drunk the potion about half an hour ago.

But on with the review.

Holy literary references, Batman. :P

The Dark Mark being Regulus' mark of Cain is a really interesting viewpoint/analogy/thing. I don't quite characterise him like that myself (sorry, I'm stuck in between-fits-of-writing mode) but it totally makes sense, although I'm not sure how acquainted he would be with Biblical stories.
Thing is with stream-of-consciousness-y writing - at least, in my opinion - is that it's hard to separate the third-person narrative voice from the voice of the character, and so it feels a bit like you're expecting me to believe the not-rebellious son of a pureblood anti-Muggle family is going to reference Shakespeare/the Bible/Muggle mythology and history/etc. I don't know if that made sense or not, or if I'm reading it wrong, so sorry about that.

Apart from that probably-misguided quibble (that's the first time I've ever used that word!) Your Regulus is strangely adorable - he's quite childish with his fantasies and his love for Sirius, and juxtaposed with the darkness of his situation and his more detached thoughts, it's very effective. He seems to be so utterly removed from everything except his situation, which is understandable given its nature I guess, and you've shown that very well.

Speaking of separation: I also very much liked how you've got both Sirius and Voldemort as absences rather than presences - or at least, that's what it felt like to me because we don't see either of them - because it just... I don't know... creates another sort of barrier between Regulus and the rest of the real world. And considering the prompt for this fic, that's a very good thing.

And now I have run out of things to say. Hrm. It didn't feel unfinished to me, and I'm not sure how you could really make a satisfactory-to-you ending... him being dragged underwater by Inferi might've broken the mood a bit.

Anyway. This was unbelievably fantastic. And I'm sorry about this terrible review.

Author's Response: I'm very sorry for not responding to this sooner. It's a fantastic review, one that's left me with a lot to think about, and those are the kind of reviews that I like best. Perhaps I've put it off because I've been savouring it for too long. Well, and because when I had this lovely detailed response written up, I accidentally exited the page and lost it. Now I'm trying to remember what I had written (and it's never as good when one tries to rewrite lost things).

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and review this story! It was exciting to receive a review from you, as your Marauder character studies are among the best I've found on the archive. I've been curious what you'd think of this version of Regulus, which, as you said, is childish and detached. It's not how I think of him normally, but it worked interestingly in the context of this story.

The part of your review that had me thinking the hardest was that regarding the Biblical reference. I have to admit that I didn't think about /how/ Regulus would know of that image - it was one that struck me as of particular interest, so I ran with it. I would have gotten away with it if not for the close narration, the stream-of-consciousness style (which in this story is more like free indirect discourse - it's not a true SOC). I can find an excuse for the Shakespeare, as in my headcanon, Shakespeare and other such individuals are wizards and witches who find success in the Muggle world. (There's really no better way of explaining why the Bronte sisters were so strange.) Plays like "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" seem like appropriate texts for the libraries of purebloods. But the Bible... I can only put it down to an unfortunate inconsistency in the story. It's something I will watch for when I try this style again - when I saw it in your review, I had to facepalm and shake my head in embarrassment that I'd missed something like that in my enthusiasm.

Yes! Your reading of Sirius and Voldemort as absent presences is exactly what I was going for! It is something that JKR makes some use of within the books, particularly with Lily, but I wanted to make Sirius and Voldemort echoes in Regulus's head. They are the most influential figures in his life, followed by his mother, and he hears their voices, knows exactly the kind of things they would say in reaction to the things he does. Regulus strongly desires to connect with them - with anyone in fact - but they betray him. So while his mind keeps going back to their words, they can never be fully present in his world. Regulus cuts himself off from the world that has neglected him, betrayed him, and that will forget him. Only Kreacher is left to care, and no matter how much affection and kindness Regulus shows him, Kreacher is always "just" a house elf.

Thank you again for this review! I'm still failing a little over it, even after two months.


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Review #5, by Jchrissy The Mark of Cain

22nd September 2012:
So, I usually try to pick a story a part so I can tell writer author what I loved about it, why I loved it, (or didn't) and those kinds of things. I can't pick this apart. I can't even begin to, and it's not meant to be. The style you've chosen is completely one that revolves around feeling more than meaning. It matters what it made me feel, what you're descriptions and what you managed to characterize Regulus as through this, what those things did to me. I just wanted to keep reading. I was inside this person who has so many contradicting qualities and I never wanted it to stop, because you've made him (if possible) an even more complicated an amazing character.

I *loved* your comparisons to the Dark Mark and the Mark of Cain. You are such a creative writer, it blows me away.

Regulus isn't good or bad, he's in the grey.†He's nothing but a saint to Kreacher, and nothing but a weak willed coward to Sirius. He's not a hero, but he did an incredibly heroic thing.†He's not a devil, but he signed up for a very hellish crusade. I don't know if this review makes any sense, but your story attacked me with a thousand different feelings. That's the mark of a truly talented writer.

Abstract is my favorite thing, and you managed to give this that feeling while still throwing me in the face of his reality... gah. You're so talented ♥ Oh, and I just want to be in your mind when you come up with these truly astounding pieces of imagery. Pretty please?

Author's Response: Oh my, I'm sorry for having left this response so long! I'd entirely forgotten about it, which is unforgivable. Thank you very much for taking the time to read and review this story - your reviews mean a lot to me (more than my late response implies)!

I really like what you've said about the style revolving around feeling rather than meaning. It makes a lot of sense, though it's not something I purposely wrote into the story. By this point, Regulus is already lost, and so I suppose that there is no meaning left for him. Also based on that, I see Regulus as a kind of Romantic poet, rather like Keats, burning out so quickly and never being recognized until much too late. Regulus is definitely part of the school of sensibility/feeling, though he lacks focus and control. Part of that is his age, but there's something else that I can't put a name to, something wrong with his mind that leads to his fracturing.

This story makes me think too much. :P It's very complicated because Regulus is a complicated character. What you say about him is perfect - he's so grey-area, ambiguous, unknown, like a hole in the story because we only see opposite sides of him (Kreacher's and Sirius's). That confusion becomes central to his characterization in this story - he's always two-sided, inside and out.

I'm really glad to hear that the story was able to evoke strong emotions. It's terrible to admit, but I love being able to do that to readers - it's a great sign of success, of capturing their hearts and imaginations. Thank you very much for the compliments! They had me squeeing the first time I read them, and now they have me doing the same again. ^_^

Haha, you definitely wouldn't want to be in my head when I'm coming up with those kind of things. It's very... strange. It takes a peculiar mind-set to put those phrases together and have them make sense. The greatest challenge can be in keeping a consistent image or metaphor throughout a whole story - sometimes I'm lucky, but at other times, as with this story, it requires constantly going back and revising without ever truly being satisfied.

Thank you again for the fantastic review! :D


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Review #6, by SilentConfession The Mark of Cain

12th September 2012:
Oh Violet! This is absolutely wonderful. I love the feeling of this story and i love the imagery! It was so lovely and so interwoven into the story seamlessly. I felt this story, all the way through. It's a piece of work that sort of speaks to the soul, you know? I think everyone feel that inadequacy sometimes the idea that there are brighter stars out there somewhere. But what i loved about this is that through it, he was able to conquer it, to find a bit more brightness and to let himself shine by giving the ultimate sacrifice. He was able to find that flame in him and fight back eventually. I think that's all you can ever ask of a person. What makes this piece especially sad is that you know that Sirius would never have been willing to do the same. It was a one way street and it was so haunting and beautiful and the same time that Regulus himself recognizes this but still goes through with it.

You should be so proud of this piece because you wield words so beautifully and lead the reader where you want them to go. I loved the ambiguousness of this and the unanswered questions because it seems to point to a bigger story than the one you've just written. I love when authors can do that.

I loved Regulus here. His character just sent shivers down my spine and i just connected to him. His confusion his search for greatness which only led him to disillusion. I loved how you explored that and packed in so much punch as you did so. The idea that he worshipped his brother, the bright flame made this all the more sadder (gah, yes, i just used that word, but i feel a bit incoherent after reading this, so excuse me ;p) because we see these scenes where he's forced into taking the mark, forced beliefs, and then here trying to get rid of the mark. That in itself is a powerful image and evokes a lot of emotions. I especially liked the repetition of the Blackness because there were so many meanings to it for both Regulus and Sirius. I liked how it also portrayed Sirius and that one line characterized Sirius as i've always imagined him, still a Black and can never get away from that, no matter how hard her tries, there is that blackness in him too.

This is just so beautiful and i hope you are incredibly proud of what you've done here because this kind of writing is the writing i want to read in OF. This is the stuff real books should be made of. You're able to pull in to much into this, all these allusions, references and pull them altogether so seamlessly. great job!! Thank you for posting this!
-zayne

Author's Response: Wow, Zayne, thank you so much for this! It's unexpected and long and wonderful - hopefully that's enough of an excuse for my speechlessness. Usually it doesn't take me so long to respond to reviews, but these long ones have left me sighing and wubbing over them. But it's been well over a month, and I have to respond before things get too out of hand. *hides*

I'm still trying to get over your compliments - right from the beginning, I don't know what to say except for a big thank you! It means a lot that you enjoyed the imagery and the feelings this story evoked - I really wanted to write something seeped in imagery. Some would say that I love imagery too much, but there's something wondrous about losing yourself in it while writing, and I just have to get it out of my system. I didn't expect the story to become so emotional a read - it was meant to be an exploration of a divided mind, but the further I delved in that exploration, the more pain I discovered. Regulus is a tragic figure, plunged into something way above his head, and there was never a chance that he could survive. Even if he had been completely loyal to Voldemort, he couldn't have been anything more than cannon fodder. Against older and more powerful witches and wizards, he would have had little, if no chance in battle. I don't know if he quite becomes an object of pity, but it's close.

*blushes* I'm still not satisfied with it, but I don't hate it. That's more than enough. :P Though you're right that there's a lot more to this story - perhaps it's that ambiguousness that bothers me because I have the larger story in my head, but I couldn't include everything in the story. It's up to readers to find their own answers to the questions - I'm sure that many readers have different questions, too. Regulus has a lot of potential in fanfiction because there's so much blank space surrounding him, so much that's unknown. But no story could ever wholly capture him - there's something too elusive about him. Even his own family didn't know him.

This response has been little more than a ramble, sorry about that. Thank you again for this fantastic review. It means a lot to hear from you, and even more to hear that you liked this story so much. It's made me very happy. ^_^


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Review #7, by WeasleyTwins The Mark of Cain

10th September 2012:
Hello darling! I'm here to review. Now, I do love any sort of pseudo-stream of consciousness or just SoC or any sort of manipulation of that particular technique, really, so this was right up my alley!

There are about a thousand and one things I want to say about this piece, so I'll just get to it! The first thing that really struck me was your allegorical usage of the word "Blackness" because it has so many connotations in this story - it symbolizes his ancestry and family name, but also the layers of 'blackness' in reference to darkness itself and to the ink from his Dark Mark, and it furthermore seems to give us this feeling of the 'blackness' of his soul and how it seems to have manifested. By capitalizing "Blackness," you also emphasize the allegory - it really sets up the mood for the rest of the piece. I thought that was a remarkable, yet minute part of your story.

I enjoyed how the fractured mindframe also elicited that feeling of a time warp in the story. Regulus is so completely wrapped up in his fantasies, that as the piece progresses, he is unable to distinguish between his own identity and the identities of others that he has almost internalized and tried/hoped to emulate. You've manipulated the stream of consciousness style very well to suit this particular piece. Through Regulus's thoughts, we see his greatest yearnings, his fears, his resolutions, but most importantly, his imagination. This was a big thing for me. Not only did it emphasize that Regulus is really just a boy who has matured before his time, it also showed that he retained some semblance of what he wants out of life, his hopes and dreams. You've given us the notion of imagination as a life-force and as a source of power for the greater good - despite the glory he seeks, he realizes, through his imagination, that glory comes from doing what is right. He does not fear death because he has lived a thousand, a hundred thousand adventures filled with epic heroes and gallant fights - and all through his imagination. Regulus has utilized one of the most important aspects of the human conscious/subconscious and used it to accept death.

I also really love the contrast between lightness and darkness, in both the literal and metaphorical sense - Regulus's imagination and being as a light, but also his involvement with the Death Eaters as a source of darkness - you've even contrasted Regulus and Sirius's "lights."

I do have one small critique for you. "No, no. Those questions, they did not matter." - These particular sentences toward the end actually jilted me out of your prose. I understand what you were going for in emphasizing that Regulus is beyond such notions and is focusing on his purpose, but it just seemed, wrong. Maybe if you reworded it somehow? Or deleted it altogether? That's just a suggestion, mind you - it was just something that I observed.

Also, I absolutely love your style in this piece and how it's a bit old school, per se. With lines like, "touch not the water for there the dead rest" you really elicit the feel of Regulus's imagination and how he intertwines himself with people and characters of old. I thought the effect was perfect. Now, you asked me if the style works and if it is plausible - I think it's kind of brilliant, honestly. There's something about the subtle metaphors and loose stream of consciousness, along with fractured mindframe/timeframe that really brought the piece onto an entirely new level. You said that this story doesn't feel finished - well, darling, I hate to break it to you, but I think you're crazy on that front. Haha! I really think you've got to give yourself some major credit with this story. I seldom tell someone that they're got a story that is worthy of publication, but this piece deserves a place in a literary magazine. Of course, it's fanfiction, but your natural prose coupled with this style just send it above most everything I've read on this site, even things in literature classes.

I don't have any CC for you, Susan. I really don't. You know that I will be nothing but honest with you - you need to have FAITH in this oneshot. I think it is fabulous. The Biblical allusions, the allegorical inflections, the metaphors, the descriptions, your characterization, it's all impeccable. It is, in all honesty, nothing less than extraordinary.

If you've got any more questions for me or want me to go back and look at specific things, feel free to PM me! I know there's more that I want to say, but it's so overwhelming beautiful, I'm just at a loss!

I /loved/ it.

Author's Response: Thank you for this, Shelby! It's so easy as a writer/artist to fall into a self-hatred mode... though perhaps that's too strong a term - a crushing lack of self-confidence is more accurate. It's frustrating because of the way it holds me back from pushing further - I always worry that people won't like the results, but it means not thinking about what I want out of the story (or out of the writing process as a whole). Thanks for giving me a kick in the right direction, making me feel better about this story!

That term "Blackness" keeps catching readers' eyes! I'm glad that people are responding well to it because it could be problematic, but in the Potterverse, at least, it thankfully has a different connotation. Being a Black means many different things, and I think of all the families in the series, it's the one that is most obsessed with the power of the name, and the name alone. The Malfoy name stops with Lucius, and those of other families feel more... disconnected. But the history and heritage of the Blacks is incredibly detailed as well as complicated - it's the family that ties together so many of the main characters, it's really amazing. Yet for that generation of Sirius, Regulus, and Andromeda, it's a curse to be a Black. Blackness takes on its literal meaning for them, but Regulus isn't as decided as the other two - he wavers between pride of family and acknowledgement of its evil character. It becomes another reason why he becomes fractured, divided between two worlds.

I really like what you've said about the power of imagination. It's not something I consciously put into the story, but it is something I often think about, both as a teacher and student of literature - we always have to take into account the difference between "reality" and the fiction of a story. But Regulus, like so many others, then and now, refuses to face that they are different - his reality is too terrible, so he escapes into fiction, not only because it's a comfort, but also because it makes more sense. The Romanticized knights fought with honour - the Death Eaters don't. They're still the "nobility" of the magical world, but they are the villains. How can anything, much less Regulus, understand the whys and hows of this?

I've changed that sentence, as we discussed on the forums. Thanks for pointing out that break in the flow - it sounds much better now. :D

For some reason, I always imagine that Regulus and his parents would speak very formally. It's a pureblood headcanon of mine (which tends to annoy readers, oh well). It's wonderful to hear that you like it! It does suit Regulus's preferred reading material - a combination of Shakespeare, Spenser, Mallory, and probably also Tennyson - though I used it more to enhance the mood and rhythm of the story.

*blushes* Thank you very much for those fantastic compliments. They've got me gushing and sniffling, so I better close off this response with one last word of thanks. ^_^


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Review #8, by marinahill The Mark of Cain

5th September 2012:
Blimey. Your work just gets better and better and the more I read the more impressed I am by the sheer weight of your words. Right from the beginning, everything seems so controlled and perfectly placed. You construct these sentences that pack more punch to them than anything else I've ever read.

I love Regulus as a character, because there are two fascinating sides to him. On the one hand, there's the boy joining the cause to please his parents and whatever values of theirs have been instilled in him, and on the other hand there's the boy who's rebelling against his heritage and his own decisions and trying to fight, knowing probably that he's doomed. I love everything you did here to show the complex nature of his personality and I think I love him even more now.

That first paragraph has to be one of my favourites, ever. It doesn't read like you're trying too hard. It sounds so natural that you should describe the scene like that and it's so accurate and true that it's beautiful. There's something so desperately sad about the way he tries to remove the mark despite knowing deep down that he can't.

A very moving and intelligent piece, Susan. I loved it! ♥

Author's Response: Thank you very much, Marina! Wow, it was incredible to come across this review - I'm still speechless, so forgive me if this response sounds a little stilted in places. To hear these accolades from you means a lot - I can't properly express all the feels this review has given me. ^_^

The two sides of Regulus make a perfect subject for exploration and character study. Much of it depends on whose perspective you take on, whether it be that of Sirius or of Kreacher, which only adds to the fascination of his character. How could someone be two completely different things at the same time? What is it like in such a person's mind? The potential for a powerful story is amazing - there are so many ways one could write Regulus and try to answer those questions. It's fantastic to hear that the portrayal of Regulus in this story turned out so well!

That scene with the mark is very simple, yet tragic in that simplicity, emphasizing his immaturity - he's too young for it, yet they've forced it on him anyway. That's the one thing I've never been able to understand about his story - why did they need him to become a Death Eater so soon? He wasn't even of age yet! I'm glad that this scene is natural and effective - it's very important in setting the tone and framing the story.

Thank you again for reading and reviewing this story! You loved it! That's what matters most to hear. ^_^


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Review #9, by SnitchSnatcher The Mark of Cain

29th August 2012:
This was, in a word, beautiful. Stunning, even. I loved the way it wove in and out of time, disappearing into this fantasy world and then seamlessly rejoining the actual events of the story.

Just wonderful, as is all of your work. With every piece I read, I become a bigger fan. You're phenomenal and I hope you never stop writing.

Author's Response: Wow! Thank you! I don't know what to say, this is an amazing compliment, and it has me floored. ^_^

It means a lot that you think this story is beautiful, and I'm very pleased to hear that the two "sides" of the story wove together that well. It was easy to get them confused as I wrote, but I suppose that was the point of this style, making even me question the nature of "reality".


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Review #10, by SiriuslyPeeved The Mark of Cain

26th August 2012:
Regulus is nearly a blank slate in canon and I love how you have developed him in this story -- Kreacher as well. Regulus is just so young-- though when I think about it he's the same age as Harry in the final battle.

The literary allusions are all well used and make sense to me as a framework and an insight into Regulus's character. Regulus's need for a hero, to be part of an epic story, is just heartbreaking in this piece.

The only suggestion I have grammar-wise is that you might want to take another look at the passive voice in the first third or so, and see whether you can trim back on its use. I think I see what you are after, in trying to establish a background for Regulus -- maybe I pick on passive voice too much, but it does remove some of the immediacy for me as a reader.

Loved this, it made me very emotional! Excellent work, thank you for requesting :)

Author's Response: Thank you for being able to come by! I really appreciate your feedback - it led me to go through the story with careful attention to the verbs, and removing many of the "had"s made a difference to the flow. By using them, I thought I could better distinguish between past and present in the narrative, but it didn't end up working - that kind of past tense is too clunky, especially when overused. This story might have worked better in the present tense, now that I think of it, but for now, I think I've got it right where it's supposed to be. :)

It's wonderful to hear that you liked Regulus's development in this story. You've got it in a nutshell that that the allusions frame his character - he lives through their stories because he sees himself as inadequate, only to discover (sadly too late) that he's just as much a hero as they.

Regulus may be the same age as Harry, but he's slightly less mature, the main difference between them being their upbringing. However terrible the Blacks may have been, they seem to have spoiled Regulus - if we believe what we heard in the books - and that figures into his more childish ways of thinking.

Thanks again for reading and reviewing! ^_^


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Review #11, by MajiKat The Mark of Cain

25th August 2012:
Ah susan how i have missed your work! I adore the allusions you have scattered throughout this and it makes me wonder how I never looked upo Regulus' story as that of Cain. You are so very clever, you know that right?

I love how you concentrated on Regulus' feelings for sirius and how that adoration was the turning point for him, at least that is how i read it anyway.

There isnt too much more i can say - mainly because you rock, and also because im not used to typing on the ipad yet, lol. Just know that i loved it and also expect lots more reviews as i try to catch up. Having a device i can take with me about the house and use while holding the baby means i can return to the world of fanfic!

Kate xx

Author's Response: Kate! *huggleglomps* It's fantastic to hear from you, and it's awesome that you've come to check out my new story! I hope that you've been well - it's exciting that you'll be making a return to fanfiction! ^_^

Clever? Haha, delusional is more like it - random things come to mind, and I just write about them, crazy as they sound to others. :P I can't even remember where I got the idea to use Cain and Abel, even the connection to "A Tale of Two Cities" came later - it must have been from something I'd read - but I'm glad that you like the allusion! Biblical allusions are tricky, especially when I only know the stories in a vague sort of way. It so strangely fits Sirius and Regulus, though - the two brothers, so different in manner, each fated to terrible ends.

You're right to see the adoration as the turning point - though Regulus had been seriously questioning his loyalties long before that, particularly after Kreacher's return from the first quest, but it was the final straw, so to speak. Once that order came, Regulus knew he couldn't go on pretending.

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this story! I gasped and did a little internal dance when I saw your name - I've missed seeing you around!


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Review #12, by academica The Mark of Cain

11th August 2012:
This is beautiful, Susan ♥

Whoa. The image of Regulus trying to rid himself of the Dark Mark is so powerful. I've pondered it before, though more in terms of Severus, and I can imagine it repeating through the years, one regretful new initiate after another. I love the part where he takes the blood from that arm, though. It has this feeling of triumph to it, like he's literally attacking his Master, clawing his way out of the pit he dropped into no matter what the cost is. I feel sort of like it's a tribute to all the other souls who got into something bigger than they intended. I also liked your little jab at Voldemort, where Regulus would not force his servant to do his work.

I love the historical and literary allusions, particularly the concluding reference to Hamlet in the Danish winter and the theme of King Arthur. I can imagine young Regulus playing at emulating these heroes, wanting to be bigger than himself. It's interesting that only in death did he accomplish this, having always lived as the lesser of two stars. Oh, and Cain! Another interesting idea - I think of him more as Abel, the one his parents were proud of, and so I like how you twisted things around.

Speaking of the brothers, the way you portrayed the relationship between Sirius and Regulus was fantastic. I think it really shone here, especially when you mentioned Regulus standing outside Sirius's room and wanting to say goodbye. That broke my heart, honestly! I love how you talked about the "Blackness," too - did I pick up a bit of a double meaning there? What I'm seeing is the literal idea of Sirius trying to throw off his lineage, but I also see Regulus trying to escape the "blackness" or darkness of his life as a Death Eater.

I don't know what you're seeing as unfinished, but I really love this as is, and I'm glad I got to read it.

Amanda :)

Author's Response: Finally reached your review! Whoo! Sorry about the wait on the response - I've been looking forward to doing this one for a while. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review this story! It always means a lot to hear your opinion. ^_^

You're the first reviewer to mention Regulus's arm and his desire to clean the mark off of it. For me, it was a very strong image, but I was worried that his taking the blood from his arm like that would be too much for HPFF's rating system, so I played down that scene as much as I could. I'm glad that its significance was still noticeable. The Dark Mark is what Regulus comes to see as his brand of Cain, the thing that marks him as the evil brother, and he will do anything to get it off. I was struck in the later books of the series by the pain associated with the Mark, how Voldemort used it as a tool of torture for his own followers, and I couldn't imagine what a 17 year old, bred in wealth, would do with such a mark. The only thing that came to mind was that teenagers want to be free from parental oppression, from any kind of thing that chains them down - Sirius does this, and thus I find a way for Regulus to do the same. When he visually destroys the Dark Mark, he can believe that he's found that freedom - you're very right to see it as a triumph.

Yes, the twisting around! Once again, it's like you've looked into my head to find what went on behind the scenes of this story. Regulus sees himself as Cain, but in body and manner, he actually is Abel, the softer more eager-to-please brother. And in a cruel way, it is Sirius who becomes Cain in this story - Regulus dies for him, because of him. The difference is that Sirius has no active role in his brother's death. It was an interesting dynamic to play around with throughout the story, showing how Regulus's guilt and pain had twisted his thoughts and dreams. He saw himself as something he was not. Though I think he becomes like his heroes before his death - when he decides to get revenge for Kreacher's sake, that's when I see him as finally taking on the heroic role. However, with his death, he becomes more closely aligned with Hamlet and King Arthur, perhaps the most fallible of the heroes Regulus worships - the ones who made the most mistakes and who died for them. Regulus makes the mistake that he has to be the one to die - he cannot talk to Sirius, he doesn't allow Kreacher to help him, he just walks into the face of death. He makes the mistake of giving up. It's a waste, a tragic waste.

Haha, there is a double meaning in the "blackness", meaning both the literal name as well as the reputation associated with it. One sees how Sirius tries and tries to get away from it, but he's always a Black - there's always that strange dark haughtiness clinging to him, as much as he despises it, coming out in ways that he often doesn't notice (like his treatment of Kreacher). As much as they try, the two brothers cannot escape their genes and their upbringing (I've actually read some strange things in Victorian psychology which claim that a person is composed of all their ancestors, and that no matter what they do, they cannot fully escape their family history - it makes sense in terms of hereditary disease, but it's interesting to see how it applies to mental health).

Thank you so much for this review! It's wonderful that you've enjoyed the story and that you've caught many of the main themes I wanted to work through in this look at Regulus. :D


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Review #13, by Roots in Water The Mark of Cain

8th August 2012:
It's Roots in Water here with your review to thank you for reviewing the podcasts!

I really liked this story, especially since it was centered around Regulus. I've always liked him as a minor character and there aren't too many stories written about him. And I loved your summary- it does a beautiful job of summarizing Regulus' life. Second to Sirius before he left, unable to truly live up to his parents' hopes and dreams after he left. And the disaster that became of his joining the Death Eaters...

Regulus' fascination with the knights and tales of glory of the past was very interesting and I liked how you weaved it into the story. His disappointment when his first opportunity for a quest (a quest!) was taken away from him was very real. As well, I liked how he based many of his decisions off of the morals of his beloved tales. He could justify his crying because even his heroes cried.

I also liked how you weaved his story through one moment of his life- his death. It was a little confusing at times, to try and figure out what he was remembering and what was currently happening, but I really liked the off sense it gave the story, as though Regulus wasn't quite sane.

I really liked this line: "The Dark Lord would never see that immortality could only exist in death". There was a definite sense of beauty in this idea, as well as truthfulness.

As well, I really liked the way in which you described Sirius- it did a great job of capturing him in only a few words.

All in all, I really liked this one-shot and I'm glad that I chose to read it! You did such a great job with the characterization of Regulus!

Author's Response: Thank you very much for reviewing this! It's lovely of you all to volunteer reviews - I'm thankful for the time you've taken to write up such an excellent one, too! :D

It's great to find another fan of Regulus - I don't know why more people don't write about him, though he does appear from time to time in fanfiction (there was even a short time when Regulus/OC became popular). It's not so much that one can do a lot with his character, but the things he did in his short life are the stuff of great fiction, particularly great tragedy. What were his motives? What did he think about his brother, the Death Eaters, the war? What was it like for him to grow up with all of those things going on around him? I wish I could write more about him.

You're not the first person to mention that moment of disappointment, and it's wonderful that it sounded realistic. It's that significant moment between childhood and adulthood, and although I didn't intend for that moment to be the turning point of the story, that's what it ended up being - that moment when Regulus's world begins to crumble around him, and he's forced to step back and reconsider everything he thought to be true, only to discover that it was a lie. But it's reality that betrays him, not the dreams, and that's why he wraps himself within them - at the end, they are his only protection, something for him to believe in. That's a lot more depth than I ever thought I could get from this story, and I'm amazed at how all the pieces came together like that. :)

I'll stop rambling and thank you again for taking the time to read and review! It means a lot that you enjoyed this story, confusing as it is, and that you think highly of its portrayal of Regulus. :D


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Review #14, by forsakenphoenix The Mark of Cain

7th August 2012:
So, Regulus is sort of a secret love of mine and when I saw that you had a new story up about him, I had to jump on it the first opportunity I had. To be honest, I haven't read much fanfiction about him so I can't compare to other characterizations, but I have to admit that yours might be my favorite. There's something so beautiful and tragic about the way you've portrayed him - how desperate he was to be like the knights in his favorite stories, his search for glory and fighting for a noble cause, only to sort of realize how disillusioned he's been. That switch in his mind, when he realizes that he's not exactly cut out for the glory and sacrifice Voldemort expected of his followers, I think you did a fabulous job writing that. I especially love the line where Regulus realizes that those with tainted blood that they're trying to purge have more freedom than he does and he's envious of that. It was a nice little observation.

I felt so much for your Regulus. I was with him in the excitement of his first "quest" and then with the disappointment when all Voldemort wants is Kreacher. Then, oh my gosh, when Voldemort wants him to kill Sirius to prove his loyalty and you keep referring back to Cain - that was just so powerful. I love all the references you've intertwined here - it works really well.

It makes me sad that Regulus felt that he was always on the cusp of burning out. I always felt it was said that the brightest stars burn out the fastest and yet Regulus has always paled in the shadow of Sirius's light. This little bit about Sirius too made my heart swell: the brother, the dog-star that rode high in the heavens, defying the darkness with all the arrogance of a Black and all the courage of a Gryffindor. Such a beautiful and simple way to describe Sirius. Perfect.

Then the scenes leading up to the cave and the locket, again with all the references to kings and knights, and Regulus going into this knowing what he's doing and why he's doing it, just like the knights in his stories. I find it interesting how you mention that he walks in with his wand held carelessly in his hand. I just remember how his wand was like his sword and I guess that line really drove home for me how determined he was to go into this, knowing that he would lose his life. I forget sometimes how young he is and even right up until the end, he just seems so mature for his age but he's still so young. There's so much he gave up and the fact that he basically gave his life up for Sirius...my heart! He's just so perfect and lovely in this fic.

This was fabulous. I love how fluid yet abstract your writing is. I thought that everything flowed really well and I didn't find it confusing at all. Lovely, lovely piece. Honestly, you continue to blow me away with every piece of yours I read. You're such a fantastic writer and I'm so envious of your talent and how well you seem to grasp every character you write. You are undoubtedly one of the best writers on this site and I'm so glad I have the opportunity to read your writing.

Author's Response: So I finally come to responding to this review - many apologies for the wait. It means so much to receive a review from you that it makes it easier for me to think over a really good response (and even with the extra time, they still never turn out that well) that will match up with the quality of your review. Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! I always mean to write more Marauder-era stories, but they only pop out once in a while. Yet each time, I really enjoy writing them - there's something about those characters that still grabs me like it did at the beginning, and like it consistently has for you.

Regulus is one of those wonderful additions JKR made to the series, a minor character who has a great impact on the plot. Regulus's plans may not have wholly succeeded, but he did more against Voldemort than anyone else before Harry - it's an extraordinary thing that both are so similar, of much the same age with a strong sense of what's right. I've been fascinated by Regulus for a while, but this is the first story where I had to chance to explore his mind and motives (even if in a rather strange way).

Though I didn't mean it to, the story ended up being about entering into adulthood with the discovery that it isn't as glorious as it seemed to be. He's been led to believe that great things will come of being a Death Eater and making his family proud, but the reality shakes Regulus to his core - he doesn't even need to be a "good person" (whatever that means) to see that Voldemort is just plain wrong. The Regulus in this story reminds me of those characters who get made fun of for taking fiction too seriously, but instead of satirizing that mindset, I showed how tragic it can be. Regulus isn't the one at fault for believing that his stories are true - it's Voldemort and the Death Eaters for polluting the world and taking away the potential for those stories to be true. There can't be any knights in shining armour in that world because it is a world without honour. At that line you mentioned, where he looks at the Muggles, he sees them as still being in an innocent state - of course, he's overlooking the fact that their world is little better, but compared to his, it's heaven.

I'm glad that you liked that line about Sirius. ^_^ It was one I was particularly pleased with - I don't even know where it came from, but it defined Sirius in a way that more words, more complex descriptions, wouldn't. I think it was inspired by your writing - that wouldn't surprise me one bit. :P

That word - carelessly - appeared accidentally, but once it was there on the page, I couldn't delete it. It somehow fit, as though at that point, Regulus knows that he's going to die, knows that he's got nothing to lose - he's already won simply by entering the cave and invading Voldemort's secret, protected space. I like what you've said about him being mature for his age - I've thought much the same thing, even from JKR's snippets of information about him. He was even younger than the Marauders when he became a Death Eater, and if Sirius was insanely talented, surely Regulus, even with just a fraction of that talent, would be a special person - someone of note. What no one else really figured on was Regulus's heart - whether or not he was really asked to kill Sirius, he still breaks into the cave in revenge for Kreacher's torture. He cares more about a house elf than he does for himself - it's amazing, but it's also painful to imagine the waste, all the things he could have done had there been no war.

The last paragraph has me flailing and teary-eyed. I really don't know how to respond to it except to say thank you. It's indescribably fantastic to receive such compliments from you - your writing has been an inspiration for as long as I've been on HPFF, and to hear that you're envious of my talent is just plain awesome. *hugs* Thank you! This is a true asdfghjkl review. ^_^


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Review #15, by Cleopatraa The Mark of Cain

3rd August 2012:
I admit it was a bit abstract ( which I have no problem with seeing I love abstract) but I really liked it. I admit Iím a huge minor character fan and Regulus fan. I always felt he was so unappreciated after people found out what he had actually done .That takes a lot of courage. Your writing was so fluent and it was in my opinion not a piece with great moments but just a GREAT piece overall. Iíve read some other pieces of you and I just have to say you are a brilliant writer, who puts so much life in each piece, each character, each line you write ( if that doesnít make sense just ignore it). Anyway you are a fantastic writer and this was a fantastic piece. If only I had just one percent of your talent, thatís how great I find you!

Author's Response: Thank you! :D It's wonderful to hear from you again, and so soon!

This story is so abstract that I was confused when writing it, but I can't express how happy I am to hear that the writing was fluent and the story as a whole turned out so well. I wanted every part of this story to count - every word and line had to add to the story - so yes, what you've said makes perfect sense. You've expressed just what I hoped would happen with this story.

*blushes* Your reviews are very kind. Thank you for your support. It means a lot to hear it. ^_^


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Review #16, by AccioGuitar The Mark of Cain

1st August 2012:
Wow. This is an incredible work of art.
Loved it. Chills.

Author's Response: Thank you very much! It means a lot to hear that. ^_^

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Review #17, by TenthWeasley The Mark of Cain

1st August 2012:
Well, it appears I'll be answering my review thread a bit out of order! I should have realized that there was a chance you'd swing by, but I couldn't resist jumping upon this story anyway, once I saw you'd posted. And now I have an even more solid excuse to review this, so it all works out in my favor, really.

First off -- and you knew this was coming! -- I want to just sort of wrap myself in your writing and live in it for a while. Your stories, the ones I've read, make me feel like hardly anyone else's writing here has achieved. It's very hard, and a bit lame, to explain, but where other people might have me reading a bit passively, your writing sends small, warm feelings up my arms and into my chest, and I ache where your characters ache, smile where your characters smile. I don't know why, and I don't pretend to know why, unless it's just because you're a FANTASTIC writer. Because you are, and I know that. :) But that's just weird-sounding, so I will end that thought there.

I've seen more and more Regulus emerging around the archives lately, and that makes me so happy. I've always thought he was a character with a lot more potential than people gave him. And I adore your impersonation of him -- probably the most canon I've yet seen. You got into his mind so well, and really made me see things about him I hadn't yet, which I'm a sucker for. One of the best things was his attitude towards the Death Eaters: The veil pulled off, being able to see them for what they truly stood for. He really was so brave, and so young. I admire him tremendously.

And, with a masochistic twist, I think it was fabulous that he died in part for Sirius. Oh, that makes my heart ache, but in the best way possible. (My stomach's knotting up right now, actually. Gahhh. ♥) He ties into every single one of your allusions perfectly -- Galahad, Cain, Hamlet. I'm kicking myself for not seeing it before! Perfect. And through it all, he's still a boy, too, and you've made that so clear and easy to understand. It's like in this line:

Too used to the smoky city air, he could not grasp the meaning of the ocean -- That's so beautiful. And more than beauty, it's truth (spot the poetic allusion in that sentence); he is, as I said, young, and not yet of the world, and he dies before he really can be.

What you've written here -- I'm really struggling to put it into words. It's the real Regulus, Regulus the Black and Regulus the tragic hero. He's not bitter or cynical or to be pitied; he is, just as all your characters are. They're manifestations of humans into an imaginary world, and I hope you know how incredible that is!

... And I just forget you asked me if this made sense. Now that you've requested, you've obligated me to comment on it. :D I had absolutely no trouble understanding this story -- it was fantastic, as I have come to expect from you. And I think it ended at the absolute perfect place, too. I feel like offering you suggestions would be a waste of my words, and kind of an insult to you, anyway. :D

Your style. Your words. I have loads of admiration for you, as a writer and as a person. ♥ This was so, so good, Susan! I absolutely cannot wait for a chance to read/soak up more of your writing, and thank you so much for giving me double to opportunity to read this by requesting!

Author's Response: Haha, leave it to me to post a request for a story you're already reviewing. :P It makes me feel better, though, to hear that you were already reading it. Low confidence is my persistent curse, so it meant a lot that you were interested in reading this story.

Oh my gosh, you can't know how amazing that compliment makes me feel - it's what I've always wanted to do with my writing, to make people /feel/, preferably the same way that I've felt when writing. My stories are very much based in a powerful emotion (blame Wordsworth) that gets translated into words and images - I write better when I'm feeling something strong, even an emotion opposing the atmosphere of the story works. It's so much easier to create worlds and lives when in a state of excitement, though I don't know how or why, especially when the characters are people so different from myself. I'm so happy to hear that it's working, that all of that emotion is coming through the story and affecting the readers. I love reading stories that make me feel something, and I equally love being able to do the same for others.

With Regulus, I was able to get right into the head of a boy who dreamed too much, someone who needed to escape - he was trapped by everything, even his dreams. His story was one of the saddest I've written because he never had anyone except for Kreacher - he had everything, but no one but Kreacher ever noticed him as an autonomous person. Regulus lacks identity, and that's such a strange thing to write. He's never fully formed, and so he adopts the identity of others - the Black Prince, Hamlet, King Arthur - all men of honour and virtue, though flawed too, tragically human in their failures. He doesn't care about being noticed or gaining fame - he ends up being the opposite of Voldemort and quite a lot like Harry, though unlike Harry, he is never given that opportunity to escape his prison, except in death.

That moment of disillusion was very sad to write, yet I like how you see it - as his moment of greatness, when he shows himself as truly talented and brave. He's able to hide his feelings from Voldemort, probably due to his mother's insistence on dissembling and appearances, and he goes forth on a real quest to destroy Voldemort. It's extraordinary! At that moment, he becomes his heroes - perhaps that's also his moment of freedom, when he transcends the dark world of his heritage without any selfish motive. I never thought of this portrayal of him being particularly canon, but I'm glad that it is - I really wish JKR had written more about him because he's a very important character in the history of the horcruxes and the Death Eaters, yet it's impossible for anyone to know more about him. Kreacher tells all he can - the rest of the story died with Regulus.

Oh yay! I worried it was going too far to make Sirius the driving force behind Regulus's decision. His worship for his older brother is something I've seen in stories, and I've agreed with that idea, probably more because of my own love for Sirius, but it does seem reasonable. Sirius does the unthinkable by rebelling, and there's nothing to say that Regulus didn't look with envy upon that act - it could not have been pleasant living beneath the thumb of Mrs. Black, then Voldemort, not when he was in full view of his brother's successes. Their relationship is complicated - either could be Cain or Abel.

I was hoping someone would take note of that line! It hit me and I thought it was strange, but I liked it because it suited the Victorian image of London I currently have in my head - many children never know what the ocean was like, and it's frightening in its vastness, both in length and depth. It's not like a city street at all.

*blushes* It would not be a waste to offer suggestions. I'm always hungry for them because I'm incapable of being satisfied with my own work. But hearing these compliments from you is nothing short of glorious. Thank you so much!


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Review #18, by Wistful The Mark of Cain

1st August 2012:
A brilliant one-shot, Violet!
I really like a good Regulus but there really aren't too many I honestly like.

First thing I though when I read this was: Amazing writing. Second reaction? What in Merlin's beard is she talking about?
After I finished reading, I got a grasp of it though xD

Really, I just loved the way you write this. You really expressed what Regulus was thinking and soon and feeling in an original way that was just so poetic and well-written.

He didn't seem particularly sad about. Just remorseful and accepting. I'm glad how you write Kreacher into this as that house elf really did love his master, in my opinion. Everything transited smoothly, your wording was just great.

You aimed for abstract. You got abstract.
I don't really get what some of your references are, bubI usually get what it symbolizes in the big picture.

It does seem sort of incomplete though. Can't put my hand on what. On the over hand, your spelling and grammar was almost flawless.

Amazing, Violet.
Just amazing.

---Wisty

Author's Response: Ooh, first review! :D Thank you very much for stopping by - I appreciate that you took the time to read and review this story. It's wonderful that you liked it so much!

Haha, it is a strange one. I let my brain do what it wanted, drifted through Regulus's childhood dreams into his place among the Death Eaters, a place that doesn't suit him very well - he's too much of a dreamer, which means, of course, that when his illusions are shattered, he becomes dangerously disturbed. I've wanted to write another abstract story for a few months, and it's an interesting experience, even if it gives the reader a lot more work. Yes, I tend to include an insane number of references, but it's not necessary to know them - like you said, the general gist of things is more than enough to understand the action. :)

The part of this story that surprised me the most when writing was how accepting of the end Regulus was. He didn't care about himself - he didn't even have much of a personal identity, thanks to his bringing up. He cared instead for others - Sirius, Kreacher - and he lived through them, to a large degree.

I agree that something seems missing at the end. I tried a few different ways of ending it, but none of them seem to have the right feeling, and I still can't figure out what it is that's not there. This isn't the first time this has happened with a one-shot - more than likely, I rushed to finish it and didn't wait for the right ending to come along. Hopefully it'll hit me soon. :)


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