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 [1] Reviewer:obsidianj Date:April 27, 2007 11:48 PM
Oh, this is a great start. It puts me right into the middle of Dol Amroth and the Swan knights. The way you describe the setting seamlessly blends into the story and lets the place come alive. Now I have to go and read Kin Strife again, my memory is a bit hazy... The board is set and I'm eager to see how you will reconcile Andrahar and Peloren.

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 [2] Reviewer:Radbooks Date:April 28, 2007 3:11 AM
Oh, this is a treat. I've always wondered about the relationship between the two men and how they could have become such close friends after such a tough beginning. Thank you for writing this, I'm looking forward to reading more of it.

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 [3] Reviewer:obsidianj Date:May 5, 2007 6:27 PM
I love this chapter. Peloren and Elethil were bound to have a difficult time.

I like the way you portray the 'code of silence' which is a fine line to tread. Bullying in school works along the same lines. Nobody says anything since you don't tell on your peers, and especially young people have a hard time seeing when it goes too far. The masters didn't really help in this case, since they send the message that it is okay to pick on the two. Luckily they figured out what their treatment has caused.

And now enter Andrahar into this already volatile situation... I'm looking forward to the upheaval his arrival will cause. I hope some of the more uppity esquires will be put into their place

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 [4] Reviewer:Denise Date:May 6, 2007 8:48 PM
Ch. 1/2: Very nice opening and setup! I like the respect (mutual, I think) that P & E gained for the infantry. The details about the esquires' living quarters and initiation into the Swan Knights are wonderful. I loved P&E’s decision to sit with the foot at the ceremony, and Adrahil's kind words to Pel. Your characterizations are excellent, down to the smallest details like Peloren's well-thumbed horse book. Elethil's quiet and self-effacing manner has me particularly intrigued (and worried) about how he is going to survive this trial; I'm very glad that the officers recognize this at the end of Ch. 2, especially as he seems to have Peloren less and less to lean on - but I still have this very bad feeling about it.

I think you've done an exceptional job of capturing the difficult irony of the entire situation. Noone really liked or trusted Andrahar; racism is still rampant among the esquires, and to a lesser (?) extent among the officers. It seems P&E's "penance” is not because they broke the Code, but because they got caught breaking the Code, and brought the ugly bigotry (so contrary to the pristine and high ideals the Knights proclaim) into public view. Even among Faldion's crew - is their harassment due to those high ideals, or because they have been forced to confront their own hypocrisy on the matter (and noone likes seeing the blemishes on their own soul)? [Elethil: “Any one of them would have done it if Valyon had asked him.”] Pel's own shying from contemplating that the Knights might be less than the cherished ideal is so telling: [It is not as if Andrahar is so well-beloved, after all, he thought, and wondered how he felt about that. It was a question he had not been able to answer in all the time he had spent reflecting on the affair; perhaps he did not wish to, fearful of what the answer might be...]

Poor P&E are truly trapped between the proverbial rock and a hard place. On one hand, they hunger from some fellow-feeling from their brother esquires. On the other, the only ones even modestly friendly towards them are those who approve of Andrahar's extreme "correction," and contact with them leaves Peloren feeling slimed as well as inciting even more retribution from the other esquires.

I have the feeling that the victim roles that P&E have been filling are near set in stone by now, and I am wondering what, if any, effective mitigation the officers will be able to establish. And adding Andrahar into the mix for the first time… oh, this is going to be interesting…

Um, this is getting more than a bit wordy, so in short: this has your usual lovely level of detail and complexity! Wonderful stuff.

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 [5] Reviewer:Lady Masterblott Date:May 8, 2007 9:37 PM
Rather intriguing.
Very elaborate and consistent characters, and very nicely transmitted ideas on horsemanship (wherever that page was, I'd love to take a look at it...)

Am eagerly awaiting chapter 3.

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 [6] Reviewer:Nargil Date:May 11, 2007 5:17 PM
I like this, "is he still angry?" "oh yes" I love the way this is developing and the way you are prtraying the answer to one of the biggest questions I ever had.

I feel a bit sorry for Elethil though, he has nothing in the nights which is sad, Pel at least has the horses and the favour of one of the masters.

You write Andra in a very realistic manner though, I can see where he's comming from, this is going to be hard for him. I like the quote about people who get what they want, it's so true.

The way you portray the relationships within the knights is very good, it's true to life in many traditions, some form of hazing has and will probably always be there, and there is a limit as to what the officers can do, their idea to use Andra is very clever.

I'm sorry I didn't review earlier (I managed to miss this *gah*)

looking forwards to seeing how this will develope.


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 [7] Reviewer:Denise Date:May 11, 2007 6:30 PM
Ch. 3: Wonderful reentry by Andrahar; every thought and emotion on his part feels just right for a young man in his position, and with his history; and for his future actions/issues in the Unabeauverse. (His extreme antipathy towards Gildor, for example.)

The characters are once again uniformly well done; I particularly enjoyed Andrahar's reflection on Aragorn's love of storytelling, and how he often foists off parts of the telling onto reluctant participants. Lol! Their fairly easy relationship here makes me wonder what other events might have created their later friction, beyond Aragorn's involvement in Boromir's death.

Other little things: I loved the references to Imrahil's vision in Kin-Strife and to Denethor's proposal in At Sea; loved the Haradric proverb; loved the affection between Aldan/Naleth. Very clever save on Peloren's part with paying for the meal, and I suspect he and Elethil will be even happier to escape to Aldan's tomorrow, after learning of Andrahar's return. Also loved Andrahar and Peloren's first "meeting."

The struggle that Andrahar, Peloren and Elethil (and the other esquires) will have in order to reach some sort of understanding is clearly laid out. It will be a fascinating journey to see how they achieve it. (And between Andra and Elya, if they achieve it, since I don't remember any references to Elethil outside of Kin-Strife?)

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 [8] Reviewer:obsidianj Date:May 13, 2007 10:51 PM
Yay, even Thorongil makes an appearance in this story. I didn't expect that but I love it.

When Andrahar talks about hearing his native tongue again and Thorongil answered:

"It puts all in order again, does it not?" Thorongil said, smiling faintly. "Makes everything familiar, inside and out—suits your thoughts to feeling, and makes the world shine."

That touched me on a personal level. That is so true. Hearing your native tongue again spoken around you makes something click in your brain.

So, now Pel and El and on the other side Andrahar got the task to work out their differences. Not only to tolerate each other, but to work amiably and friendly together. After what happened before that will be a tall order, but we, readers knew that beforehand. I worry for Elethil, he seems to have more trouble, or maybe we just don't hear that much of him, since you focus on Peloren.

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 [9] Reviewer:Lady Masterblott Date:May 19, 2007 6:58 PM
Give my appreciation to Lyllyn (and to yourself) - I haven't ever been on the brink of alcohol poisoning myself, but, having younger brothers, have seen ppl who were...

I can assure you you captured the spirit rather well. Or the remainders of it. ;)

Anyway, I am thoroughly enjoying this story, even though Peloren and Elethil clearly do not - and am eagerly looking forward to the next chapter to see how things will unfold and entangle.


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 [10] Reviewer:Radbooks Date:May 22, 2007 4:11 AM
I wanted to write a quick note to let you know how much I've been enjoying this story. Each chapter has been very well done and I eagerly await the new one.

I am very concerned that Elethil is going to die. I've felt that since chapter two. Peloren has the horses and the older man who is becoming a good friend, but Elethil is drifting a bit and I'm worried for him.

Andra is in a very hard place. Yes, he does need to learn to be a leader, but boy what a hard thing to do at that age. I'm glad Imri is back for him to talk with.

Thanks again for sharing your story with us!

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