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2/24/2020 c20 51The Warrior Poet
It has been a long time, but it feels nice to step back in to your world again. These characters are like old friends, and although it took some time to feel comfortable around them again (just like any other friend that you haven’t seen in awhile) it wasn’t long before it felt as if no time had passed at all.

“A glowing ring circled the cratered vent at the top of the mountain, illuminating a billowing smog of smoke and ash. Unlike the earlier wisps that had caught and dissipated in the breeze, the boiling cloud pouring from the mountain now defied the elements. It smothered the crest of the mountain and drowned the stars. The snow-covered mantle was a dusty grey where ash had settled. Cooling cinders floated past them like smoking snowflakes. They flitted and fluttered as they drifted through the sky. Falling hesitantly, yet heralding a blizzard to come.”

Lovely paragraph. I appreciate how you take your time with your descriptions, it makes your setting so much more real. I can literally smell the brimstone, feel the super-heated breath of the volcano and the soft touch of the ash.

‘"Someday is a vague term lad." Aboleth lifted his head so his eyes could meet the half-elf's. "As long as somethin' is 'someday', ye can always ignore it or pretend it'll never happen. But when 'someday' becomes today...everythin' changes."’

I love this. Aboleth’s humility and simple wisdom is a lot of what endears him to me as a character.

This was a dark and melancholy chapter, with very little light to break the cloud banks. I can only hope that the sacrifice that was made to protect and deliver the stone will pay off in the end!
12/5/2019 c20 43zanybellecloudo
As always, it is incredibly easy to read your work. Flows effortlessly and smoothly. Even though it was a long while since I read the last chapter, it took me straight back there. The characters all feel familiar and the turn the story took was vivid and felt realistic. Your dark undertones also add that little something extra. I always enjoy reading your work, to me it is the most accomplished piece of fiction online. I hope you continue to write, especially if it's something you enjoy. It helps that you're damn good at it! Thanks for sharing.
3/13/2019 c19 zanybellecloudo
Wow! So good. So good! And we are left on a cliffhanger of dangerous intent. What will happen?! I wonder whether you plan for the elemental stones to be reached and whose hands they will then fall into. Will Faux be captured and (gulp) tortured? Your description of Keswick's decent into madness and vengeance is powerful. He's driven by grief and perhaps shame and loneliness. I'd prefer to see Ankier fighting skilfully but she is playing the long game. Whether her plan will work now they've found them but it's good to have someone on the inside. Looking forward to more chapters soon! I hope! Thanks.
2/18/2019 c18 51The Warrior Poet
“It pulsed with an inner life, drinking the soft, warm light and casting it's own pale blue gleam.”

I really like the taste of this sentence, and can definitely see the craftsmanship in it. If I could construct every one of my sentences like this I would be one happy writer.

I foresee a battle of the elements in the near future, but can’t help but wonder if Ahanna is up to the challenge. Also, I wonder how Faux will react. He already seems overprotective of her but what can he hope to do to preserve her when the magic starts to fly?

There is a lot at stake here, and I fear that this fascinating new culture you have introduced may differ a lot in the way of collateral damage.
2/16/2019 c18 43zanybellecloudo
I have to say I don't see any flaws in this chapter at all. It moves at an imaginative and interesting pace, leading us to the ocean's heart and the power it holds. I always enjoy the descriptiveness as it really sets the scene and this chapter was no exception. The journey was something akin to LOTRs, the volcano was perfectly set in this new land you've formed and the path was certainly well described in it's danger yet rightly well hidden. The end leads to an impending battle and we hope a not too soon end of book two. As I always say, this is a great accomplishment and works to feel proud of creating. It really is impressive and should be continued for yourself more than anyone. Thank you for sharing.
10/15/2018 c17 zanybellecloudo
It is amazing the vivid world your mind can create. It is incredibly detailed and unique. I particularly like the wood upon which this village is built and you describe it almost lovingly. "The wooden walls were painted a rich, crimson and polished to a gleam. They seemed to pulse beneath the sun's light, a gigantic heart beating." Undoubtedly you have spent time thinking upon this place, making it real yet awe-inspiring. Perhaps at times this detail is at the expense of moving along the plot. However, it is somewhat your trademark now and I trust your ability in telling this story and making it great. Whatever you have planned I'm sure it will be worth the wait. ZB.
9/18/2018 c17 51The Warrior Poet
I like that we have something of a reconciliation between Aboleth and Faux here, though I can sense there is still a lot of ground to cover before things become as they were before. Ab was always the the solid, immovable figure keeping the tempest that is Faux grounded -unfortunately, Ab's crisis of faith/identity/etc. has shaken that relationship.

Everyone, even the King, seems deferential to the Seer. Her luxuriant dwelling is evidence of this, and serves as a nice way of show without telling. Your descriptions of the city are excellent as always, and my mental picture of the city is now very vibrant thanks to your attention to detail. I am very curious to see what the Seer knows, or thinks she knows, and how this will influence the fate of the party. Lots of things to be curious about here.
6/17/2018 c14 43zanybellecloudo
Oh, the description of the island: "The Empty Islands. The Sea of Spirits. Harbour of Fire." really made it stand out and vivid. The idea that they are going to what largely is a volcanic inhospitable place they'd struggle to reach just shows how difficult and dangerous this quest is. Yet, they're just at the start. Where next, I dread to think. And most importantly, will they all make it out alive? As I have said, this story is like a cleverly woven tapestry. It's difficult to describe how much it's changed from a lone assassin silently watching his unaware target in a dimly lit room. That character is still there, but now he has a purpose. He always killed those who were corrupt and cruel, now he's facing his biggest evil. He can't defeat it alone, but he'll not stop until the job is finished. Whatever the cost. His nature hasn't changed. It also explains why he's less inclined to 'fall in love' as it previously made him want to give up this dangerous world for Lydia. Yet, without him the fate of the world is doomed. A brilliant angle and brilliant storytelling. It has heart, action and adventure all hanging off a lone assassin and his crew. If that doesn't excite readers nothing will. Yours patiently, ZB.
6/17/2018 c16 zanybellecloudo
Now we must wait to find out what this 'Seer' has to say! I'm glad Ahanna's story arch was picked back up because I wondered what happened after chapter 14. I does feel like the pace of the story is now building up to something important and with Ankier it may come to heads soon. It's definitely a big story with lots of elements and arch's that can take time to build and get right before they're even ready to write. I know with my own that just because you know what's going to happen next doesn't mean it's easily told. Very much hope you persevere and continue to have faith in your abilities and story. It has showcased your talent and creativity, building on a world that is worthy of any bookshop shelf. Keep going! I'll undoubtedly be waiting impatiently for the next installments. Thanks for keeping this story going, ZB.
6/17/2018 c15 zanybellecloudo
I'm glad for the note at the end of this chapter as I read both 14 and 15 together and there seemed a story break from the two. It feels like a new adventure on this island. I liked the two new characters and their interactions as you describe them well but leave enough for them to remain a mystery. I'm glad you keep writing this book as it's only getting better with each chapter. Your only limit is your imagination (and time! Haha). I appreciate this story can take the reader in any direction and I've learnt to stop second guessing you. You really are a master of surprise and twists so I look forward to finding out how this story finishes. I'm sure it'll be amazing. Thanks. ZB.
6/17/2018 c13 zanybellecloudo
An interesting development, I thought her powers would come forth sometime soon. Can't wait to find out more about them. The self doubt Faux is feeling provides deeper insight into his emotions and actually shows he is vulnerable which makes him relatable as a character. It's important to show their flaws and you do it well. It was nice to see the guys bonding again too.
6/7/2018 c12 zanybellecloudo
Uh oh, an enchanter of water! It's never smooth sailing with this gang, I was hoping they'd just sail off into the sunset and relax. Haha. Another sharp and on point chapter, moving seamlessly from scene to scene while developing this new romance I failed to see coming. Oh, I also liked the reference to 'Darkness Within' in the last chapter as I think that element of the story is key to this book. I'm intrigued to see what happens next. Great storytelling as always. ZB.
6/7/2018 c11 zanybellecloudo
Interesting developments with Faux and his feelings for Ahanna, I didn't really expect as I thought she was growing closer to Aboleth at one point. A great flowing chapter overall, felt very natural and I liked the humour particularly, really made me laugh. I feel like your chapters are getting shorter and sharper, I don't know how you do it but you seem to get better and better with every chapter. Truly, I am enjoying this story and its still my favourite on this site. You've created something impressive in this little fantasy world and should feel very proud of what you have achieved. Thanks for continuing to share your work with us, ZB.
6/6/2018 c10 zanybellecloudo
Oh my gosh! I have a new favourite chapter! I did not expect Ankier was going to feature in this story, especially given the spin-off you wrote for her recently. What a plot twist. I like her addition, of course, and the way you brought the story back to the stones and Keswick and Uhdros. Genius. I feel like I can see where things are heading. It looks like Ankier and Faux are going to meet once again, but lets hope they're on the same side this time. Great chapter. Brilliant writing. No faults.
6/6/2018 c9 zanybellecloudo
I'm glad the gang is back together! For a moment I thought they'd be split and we'd have another Faux and Aboleth adventure on the road. This chapter was probably one of my favourite so far. I liked the honest conversation between the two old friends about Lydia and seeing Faux's emotions come to light. It felt important for the story's development. I knew they'd be a secret tunnel or teleport type thingy and they'd escape - that's magic for you. Love it. Another well written piece. ZB.
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