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Old May 31st, 2022, 05:25 AM
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

Welcome back to Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction on here. Today to mix things up we will be covering some more unranked fictions, so let's continue, yes?


#15: Personal Challenge: TGRF by The Grim Reaper's Friend

Our second still-currently-active author on here, and a good author to boot, and a friend of mine. Which as TGRF already knows technically makes me the Grim Reaper when it comes to judging his work. It's time to take off the boxing gloves.


"Is that a typo I see, Mr. Professional Writer? Looks like it's about 7 o'clock once again!

But then again most of our other commenters on here have expressed desire to have their own work thrashed publicly by me. So perhaps TGRF is one of the lucky ones. And if anything bad happens here at least he'll get a second chance on the next unranked fic of his (coming soon!)

Anyways, the premise of this thread is that anyone can give TGRF a Heroscape unit and a generic word (such as Alastair / Masochist) and he will write a fanfic about it, just for you (and to hone his skills). How easily these stories would come is another idea, as it isn't until page three of the thread that a story even pops up. So since our authors this time are TGRF and EL we'll take a shot every time a story is started but then scrapped. You know what that means

Anyway, only three were ever made, so those are the three we will be looking at today. I've already read two of them, but that was a while ago so it'll be like looking at it with fresh eyes. Let's dive write in, get it lmoa

1: Nerak/Heartbroken

This story opens with a woman named Alerra trying to trudge through the snow and winds only to get blown down:

Quote:
With a cry of frustration, she lost her balance and was knocked over backwards, landing on her face in the snow. Its chill bit into her exposed skin, tightening her muscles and causing her to shiver uncontrollably.
For a moment, she remained still, face-down in snow and ice. Why, Nerak? she thought. Why?
As if losing your balance is his fault.


Anyhow we go into a flashback about how mates are chosen on Grut. Females choose males exclusively based on the male's ability to protect them. Since Nerak gives all other Orcs +1 Defense, he seemed an apt choice. Not to mention Nerak cares about her, even though he acts selfish and pretends not to. We are reminded of this fact very frequently throughout the flashbacks:

Quote:
Whenever she was in pain, he became a different person, living for her alone. Once he realized this, he would return to his selfishness and pretend not to care, but she could not be fooled.
Quote:
She smiled hopefully at Nerak. Nerak did not smile back. Slowly, he reached up and removed her hands from his face. Then, without a word or a change in expression, he turned, and left her.
Alerra sighed as the flap to the hut closed behind him. She knew he loved her. He just would never admit it.
Quote:
Nerak, in his vast selfishness, believed any sign of emotion was a sign of weakness. To care for something was to have a gap in one’s defenses, a place to strike. The raid of Majak had confirmed this to him, and as a result, he had distanced himself from Alerra.

Anyway, since Nerak knows that Love is the Death of Duty, he decides to leave Alerra so that she can never be used against him and he can raid and pillage without worry. That's why Alerra is out in the cold looking for him. However without Snow And Ice Enhanced Movement every hex counts as 2 spaces and as such she is unable to go on and collapses.

We cut to Nerak who is indeed doing pretty well for himself nowadays, having accumulated wealth and armies. But none of it makes him happy without his mate. Luckily for him his scouts bring Alerra in, having found her out in the cold. And he admits to loving her after all this time.

The moral of the story is that it's okay to come out of your shell and love somebody, but only once you have the castle and the money and the armies to defend her this time. Well done, Nerak! The end.


2: Migol/Nemesis

This story opens with a very confusing cold open where there was a cave-in or an explosion or something, I'm not sure. Our PoV, Gador, unpins himself from some rubble and follows Migol Ironwill into the next room, where Gador's sister Milda has been killed by the evil Blackhand organization! This enrages Migol so much that he calls them cowardly drimgalams with a hard m, and he heads out to get revenge.


So apparently everyone somehow knows that an assassin named The Night Wind was the one who killed Milda. Why the killer is the Night Wind on behalf of the Blackhand and not just the Blackhand or just the Night Wind is beyond me. But I guess it adds more to the world so it's okay. Anyway the Night Wind is a super assassin mysterious person so there's not much for Migol to go on:

Quote:
The Night Wind was not easy to track, and not only because no one knew her true name. Everyone was scared stiff of her and refused to talk, even if they knew something. She had never been seen, never been caught, and never, ever been survived by one of her targets.

So Migol is going to find and kill her, with Gador following close behind. He intervenes more than once to attempt to help Migol, but never proves successful. But it's okay that Gador is simply the worst dwarf; he exists solely to be the PoV watching Migol's nemesis story unfold, without giving away the tells that Migol himself would give up were he the PoV. Similar to Dr. Watson always being the PoV so as to not give away Holmes' inner deductions.

Needless to say Migol successfully locates the Night Wind, though the notion of him dueling his nemesis complicates. It turns out that Migol and the Night Wind go further back than Milda's death. Unlike some of the other stories here, I won't go into detail further than that. Because this one is pretty good, and I recommend reading it. It has a neat little twist to it and some good theming despite the short length. Though I hafta slash a point due to the TGRF-patented Pointless Epilogue that could just be part of the story. As if someone's gonna read everything and then just say "no, that's good enough for me" and not read the Epilogue. Just press Enter twice and then put it in at the end!


3: Zombie of Morindan/Buoy This one is really good due to the use of the prompt: I would have no clue what to do with a zombie and a buoy. I don't know anything about buoys or what to do with them outside of Batman.


But TGRF got right to work on it and the result is a clever tense little story. It's about an elf named Vermin whose outpost is attacked by zombies, and he escapes by swimming to safety. However, at least one zombie follows him onto the buoy. And the story is a basic perilous attempt to avoid getting eaten on the small shaky footing. It is a clever little idea and uses lots of good flavorful bits of prose. But don't let me sell you on it. Let's see what its readers have to say:

2020 TAF says
Quote:
I finally got around to reading this as well, and thought it was fun. This sentence here:
Quote:
The water was behind him, lapping against his heels in a cruel imitation of fingers clutching at him.
was particularly excellent.

~TAF
And 2019 Tornado also says
Quote:
Bully, bully and buoy, buoy as well.
Great read. Reminds me of a Stephen King short story, The Raft I think it is called.
Well done.
What else is there to say? I suppose it has a lot of blow-by-blow action that can be hard to follow if you let yours eyes blur, but other than that it is crackin'.


I regrettably am going to have to give this one an 8. The Nerak story is okay, kinda meh, but the other two are quite good. Above average, even. Of quality. The latter two might even merit a 9 on their lonesome but this is a package and the first is closer to a 6 I feel. Overall though as real short stories I like them better than the Johnny139 ones.

But I didn't have many jokes to say about the latter two, and the thread is wasteful overall with its prompts, so screw it let's just do the four unfinished prompts right here on-the-spot, no editing allowed. We're preemptively stealing the idea for the Tornado Finishes Every Incomplete Fiction On Here thread (coming soon!)

Spoiler Alert!



#16: The Rise And Fall Of The Pumpkin King by Pumpkin King

It's long. We'll do this one and Having A Marvelous Time together eventually.


#17: Sir Fellswain Voldaren by Elven Lord

Strangely this story is taking us back to Inistrad from Magic: The Gathering again. If I had a nickel for every time a Heroscape fanfic took place there, I'd have two nickels... which isn't a lot but it's weird that it happened twice.

A band of five hunters are out venturing for game, figuring that it's safe enough to do so because it's not werewolf season. I'm pretty sure "werewolf season" is just when it's not a full moon out, but I digress.

Our hero is Vito the horse lord, who accidentally discloses his asshole status to us half a chapter in through some internal narration:

Quote:
My prowess with the bow and the horse are known across Innistrad. The beasts would not dare disturb us.
Quote:
I withdrew my recurve compound bow. I unsheathed a finely crafted arrow (homemade of course)
Quote:
The other men congratulated me with many pats on the back. All of these I accepted with utmost humility, after all it had been a brilliant shot, and such compliments were owed.
Quote:
“Halt!” I shouted, the other three men halted like the good sensible battle hardened men they were. They are a perfect example of survival of the fittest, but as I would soon learn. I am the best example.

Anyway our hero is so awesome that he forgets to post a watch that night, and all the men are butchered by wolves. Fortunately for Vito he is spared and brought to the evil Demon of the Abyss who challenges the horse lord's faith in a truly Shakespeare-esque slow tragic downfall:

Quote:
"Your pride will be my workshop, and your skill in battle will be my voice in Innistrad."
"I will never serve you! I cried My devotion is only to Avacyn!"
The Demon chuckled a little, a horrible sound that held no emotion except spite. "Such devotion is commendable. If I can twist it to my will you would make ever so fine a general."
Now I was interested, "A general? You would give me a promotion?"

While we are told that Vito's given answer was just buttering the Demon up while he secretly drew his bow, it turns out that any answer given to the contract of a Demon is automatically writ and sealed. So his 4D chess play fails and he is truthfully bound to serve his enemies.

The DoA turns Vito into a vampire, and he is Vito the jack ass no longer; he is now Sir Fellswain Voldaren!!!!1

The next chapter opens with Fellswain learning how to fly:

Quote:
I stepped out under the still darkened sky. A few wolves hung around the entrance, but they carefully avoided me. I raced off at a devils pace. I love the feeling of the night air, and the darkness seemed to give me strength. I realize to late the cliff edge in front of me and went careening over.

The end

Jk
+1 Points for that.

Anyway Fellswain flies to a nearby town. He kills a guy and drinks some blood but learns that living folks feed better since their heart is still working. So he waits for nightfall and sneaks into a young woman's room to feed on her. However halfway through Fellswain decides to take her to make another vampire out of instead. He steals her away and flies off.

He properly converts the young lady, Olivia, into a vampire. Then they both go to a fancy dinner in order to create more vampires. We get some mingling at the party and then it abruptly ends without resolution. What happened? Well I'll tell you:



I think I preferred the original ending. This one gets a generous 5, very much due to that +1 before. It's short, written in a very blunt straightforward way, doesn't feature a likable protagonist, ends abruptly, doesn't indicate where it's going... But still a very fun read! The previous few fics were getting a bit too good for my tastes, I must say. No fun at all.

I do have to say though that this one intrigues me. Most of the posts have been edited, with several "this content has been deleted" posts throughout by EL. Also halfway through the thread Elven Lord says this:

Quote:
I just realized that my old stile wasn't going to work. What was I going to do when they met?
I said, "Die fiend!"
Then I replayed, "Die thane!"

So I'm just doing it from the perspective of the vamp. I like his character better.
Was the entire thing rewritten to change the PoV to Fellswain? Who was the original hero? And how bad did he have to be for Fellswain to be the preferable protagonists? We may never know, save for TGRF who was there. Tell us what really happened in 2011!

~TAF, until next time

TAF was the Storyteller...
in THE ENEMY'S LAST RETREAT

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  #38  
Old May 31st, 2022, 06:34 AM
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

Zombie Buoy was my idea. I guess that is why I am the Fan Fic Prompt Master.
Those who can, write. Those that cannot, prompt.
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  #39  
Old May 31st, 2022, 06:56 AM
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAverageFan View Post



I'll die on this hill it has to be British. 99% of english words are English it has to be.
Actually, less than 25% of English comes from England (and some of that are from regional dialects from Scotland, Wales and Ireland - noted because most non-British stats lump in being British - i.e. from the British Isles -with being English). Greek, Latin and French are the major contributors to the language. With about 7% making up the rest.

And if you consider that Anglo Saxon are actually two Germanic regions but have evolved into meaning the English...it may be that 99% of the words are not even from England.

Just when you thought it was all right, someone made it alright.

Good trades with - Porkins / xraine69 / mac122 (x2) / frylock / Ztimster (x2) and probably others I forgotten to mention...sorry.

Last edited by AMIS; May 31st, 2022 at 07:01 AM. Reason: Did you think TAF was the only drinker here? Must spread rep around again...sorry TAF.
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  #40  
Old May 31st, 2022, 01:37 PM
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He should definitely get that. (#4)
 
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Critique Master
Though I hafta slash a point due to the TGRF-patented Pointless Epilogue that could just be part of the story. As if someone's gonna read everything and then just say "no, that's good enough for me" and not read the Epilogue. Just press Enter twice and then put it in at the end!
Is this really a problem? I've been doing these epilogues in nearly everything I write, practically since I began. Sometimes it's called an epilogue, sometimes there too much of it and it's the last chapter. But it's usually there in some form. I'm curious why no one has mentioned it before, but now suddenly two people mention it nearly back-to-back.

~TGRF.

P.S. Also, if you're going to critique English spellings... I feel like I've got to break it to you that the proper American spelling is 'gray', not 'grey'. Grey is the English spelling. So unless Vydar is British (entirely possible), it would be 'Gray Valkyrie'.

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  #41  
Old May 31st, 2022, 04:53 PM
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

Quote:
Originally Posted by AMIS
Actually, less than 25% of English comes from England (and some of that are from regional dialects from Scotland, Wales and Ireland - noted because most non-British stats lump in being British - i.e. from the British Isles -with being English). Greek, Latin and French are the major contributors to the language. With about 7% making up the rest.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Grim Reaper's Friend
P.S. Also, if you're going to critique English spellings... I feel like I've got to break it to you that the proper American spelling is 'gray', not 'grey'. Grey is the English spelling. So unless Vydar is British (entirely possible), it would be 'Gray Valkyrie'.
Hey, when did this become the "critiquing TAF's critiques" show? I won't stand for this mutiny! I obviously put the grey there... to... make sure you were actually reading! Yes, now I know that you read the whole thing so, thank you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Grim Reaper's Friend
Is this really a problem? I've been doing these epilogues in nearly everything I write, practically since I began. Sometimes it's called an epilogue, sometimes there too much of it and it's the last chapter. But it's usually there in some form. I'm curious why no one has mentioned it before, but now suddenly two people mention it nearly back-to-back.

~TGRF.
It felt odd here for such a short story. Look, I gotta poke fun at you somewhere

(Don't worry about it, stick with your signatures if you like 'em, like how I'll never stop using parenthetical statements or unironic uses of "..." as dialogue no matter how many people point it out as "technically inappropriate")

~TAF

TAF was the Storyteller...
in THE ENEMY'S LAST RETREAT

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  #42  
Old May 31st, 2022, 05:05 PM
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The Grim Reaper's Friend The Grim Reaper's Friend is offline
He should definitely get that. (#4)
 
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tornado View Post
Zombie Buoy was my idea. I guess that is why I am the Fan Fic Prompt Master.
Those who can, write. Those that cannot, prompt.
Well the origin of that title was from the competition, where you made a prompt to write about a C3V unit. Pulled in a ton of people from C3V, resulting in the highest turnout ever for a prompt. But I won't deny that zombie/buoy instantly conjured up an image in my mind of the tale I wanted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAverageFan View Post
Was the entire thing rewritten to change the PoV to Fellswain? Who was the original hero? And how bad did he have to be for Fellswain to be the preferable protagonists? We may never know, save for TGRF who was there. Tell us what really happened in 2011!
I know as little as you, unfortunately. While I posted once, I don't recall actually reading the story.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TAF
Strangely this story is taking us back to Inistrad from Magic: The Gathering again. If I had a nickel for every time a Heroscape fanfic took place there, I'd have two nickels... which isn't a lot but it's weird that it happened twice.
OB, EL, and myself all wrote about Innistrad when it first came out. The setting does inspire story ideas. I never wrote a fan fiction, but there was a contest entry I believe centered on the world. So that is why there are two Innistrad fics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TAF
It's about an elf named Vermin
C'mon man; 'Vermin'? Seriously?
Quote:
Originally Posted by TAF
I regrettably am going to have to give this one an 8. The Nerak story is okay, kinda meh, but the other two are quite good. Above average, even. Of quality. The latter two might even merit a 9 on their lonesome but this is a package and the first is closer to a 6 I feel. Overall though as real short stories I like them better than the Johnny139 ones.
Regrettably going to give an 8? Why do I feel like this is turning into a rating competition, where we routinely downgrade each other's work?

Interestingly, I'd say Migol was the least spectacular entry, and Nerak and Zombie being the top ones. Migol definitely had the most problems, and Nerak and Zombie felt cohesive and driven while writing.

I'd say if you wanted to rate stories in compilations individually go for it - it would yield a more accurate rating. It would also allow people to rate if they've only read one or two stories.

I did read your... interpretations of the remaining prompts, but all I really have to say is that you legitimately gave me an idea for how to do Viper/Rambo. But I've said that before.

~TGRF, who is admittedly stuck on Dilmir, so he might try out Viper/Rambo anyway...

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  #43  
Old May 31st, 2022, 05:19 PM
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Grim Reaper's Friend
I did read your... interpretations of the remaining prompts, but all I really have to say is that you legitimately gave me an idea for how to do Viper/Rambo. But I've said that before.

~TGRF, who is admittedly stuck on Dilmir, so he might try out Viper/Rambo anyway...
Well if it stumps you again you can always try Alastair/Masochist. As far as I'm aware the thread is still open.

As for individual ratings for the work on there: 6, 8, 9 in order.

~TAF

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  #44  
Old May 31st, 2022, 06:21 PM
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He should definitely get that. (#4)
 
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAverageFan View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Grim Reaper's Friend
I did read your... interpretations of the remaining prompts, but all I really have to say is that you legitimately gave me an idea for how to do Viper/Rambo. But I've said that before.

~TGRF, who is admittedly stuck on Dilmir, so he might try out Viper/Rambo anyway...
Well if it stumps you again you can always try Alastair/Masochist. As far as I'm aware the thread is still open.

As for individual ratings for the work on there: 6, 8, 9 in order.

~TAF
I'm going to change your rating to that. It averages out to a 7.67 instead of 8, but it will be easier for you to add to the rating if I ever do go back to it.

~TGRF.

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  #45  
Old May 31st, 2022, 06:34 PM
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He should definitely get that. (#4)
 
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

@Tornado On that note, since you're the only other active person here who's posted in my personal challenge, I'd welcome any ratings you might have for the individual stories. If you can recall them.

~TGRF, who would have posted in his own thread, but didn't want to resurrect it without an actual story.

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  #46  
Old May 31st, 2022, 06:39 PM
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

Sure. Sometime when I am on my laptop.
Remind in a bit if I forget.
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Old June 9th, 2022, 01:50 AM
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The Back-to-Back Episode

Hello again and welcome back to our show. I know it's been some time since our last update but I might've gotten a bit too inebriated last time and as such it took awhile to get a passport back home. Also my new medication prohibits the use of alcohol so this will be a sober episode.

Anyways this time we are covering the exact same two authors as last time, only in reverse order. Will the ratings be the same? Let's find out.


#18: Soul of Calradia: In Valhalla's Wake by Elven Lord

Okay so this is another one I've read before; in fact I'm the main commenter on the thread. But that was a long time ago so I've forgotten a great deal of the Caladria story, other than that it features a large number of characters and has little to do with Valhalla despite being in the name. Also we're going to be mistyping Calradia as Caladria for the duration of this blog because that's what my brain has always autocorrected the pronunciation to when reading and it sounds better to me.

Now as I said this hasn't got much to do with Heroscape and has a rather expansive world. To get this across I'm going to read to you the opening bit, which is of course Entry #26 of the Journal of Emperor Ragmon III:

Quote:
In the five hundredth year of the second age, on the day of the summer equinox, my father, Emperor Gundar, was slain by the dragon Childebrand. It now falls to me, Emperor Ragmon III, to bid my people survive a while longer in the face of the mighty dragon clan that oppresses the lands of Calradia.
My fore-fathers once held all the lands of Calradia, from the sands of the Sarranid people in the East, to the shores of the Nordic people in the North, as far as Praven in the West and Yalen in the South. One by one they have all fallen until only Dhirim, the City on the Rock, and a few scattered towns and lords stand against him. I have assembled them all here, every man, woman, and boy able to bear arms is here for one last offensive.
I know it is futile, our weapons cannot pierce his armored hide, the gods abandoned us long ago, and my people despair. I would rather my people fought one last desperate battle than abide here in the ruins of a once proud civilization until the dragon comes to devour their children, burn their homes, and force them into his slave armies. I offer up one last prayer, and gird myself for war.
Following so far? Good. There are a lot of terms and nouns and concepts in this story, not all of which go anywhere, so for convenience I will have a glossary below:

Spoiler Alert!


Okay, so now that you won't be confused by my summary, let's continue:

So in the Ragmon III journals we learn of a battle against Childebrand, and a warning not to kill his son Anstrullius. But the Emperor accidentally kills both dragons and as such there's no dragons to keep the Aetherlinks open and because of that Caladria has no Aether energy and is up a creek. Thus begins our story proper.

Our protagonist is Amal, prince of Swadia, trying to rescue his hot step-sister who is stuck in the Rybielet castle again. He is also trying to find a way to kill the dragon Al Shaita Hariiq which is why he was poring over the opening journals. Why the killing method listed in them for Childebrand is insufficient for Amal, I'm not sure.

Anyway the first half of the story involves the raid on the castle. It goes pretty well with two exceptions: 1) Amal stops his men from stealing and drinking some wine during the raid which makes him a less likable and relatable protagonist, and 2) his sister Astrid kinda got turned into a Rechet. Amal cages her until a cure can be found and this plot point is dropped from the story. And also Cyprien was there, for, uh, some reason.

The raid itself is pretty neat and fast-paced, and importantly small-scale for a story with so vast a world. Our few main characters Amal, Mathel, and Sir Rolf are also relatively likable and witty. There's a few good quips throughout:

Quote:
Mathel snorted, “Wife? Not yet, mind you.”
Amal grinned, “How could I forget? Are all shield maidens as prickly as you?”
“Give in to your impatience and you will find out.”
Amal laughed aloud in spite of himself, “I am an honorable man, Lady Mathel.”
“Mmhmm, just be mindful that your jokes don’t carry you away.”
Quote:
“Rolf?”
“Of the magical creatures that dominated Calradia before the ancient emperors I know nothing. I’ve seen a dryad but once, and Northumbraul Forest, where most of them live now, is little more than a thumb print on a map.”
“Thank you for establishing how little you know Rolf."
Quote:
"I am the keeper of the Southern Aetherlink.”
“Aetherlink?”
Mercianus sighed, “I often wonder how it was that man conquered all of Calradia and still manages to know so little,"
Afterwards Amal meets the fairy Ka-Rowen (kind of out of nowhere) and from there speaks to her master Mercanium Corvor about the nature of the aetherlinks and how they're activating again. Magic has been returning to Caladria, with portals to different planes opening up. Amal himself may be from one of these planes...


Anyway after this the story goes off the fecking rails and shifts to a completely different story about Warden Voldaren and the monk Columbanus. Those of you who remember my last episode two years ago might notice that Voldaren is the same surname of our lovable vampire protagonist from EL's last story.


Voldaren steals the aether of a fox but is then attacked by the monk, robbed of its aether, and then is put on trial by the council of Nothuumn to either return the aether or keep it for himself. As an addict he wishes to use the aether to heal himself but in the midst of the decision he suffers a mental breakdown and realizes that he is no desperate beast clawing at any living creature for their aether, he is no Warden Voldaren, he is Thane! eldest son of Slink! So he heals the fox and collapses, never to be seen again.



Back with Amal he leaves the conquered castle to report back to his father. Along the way he and his men run into a scene in a village where a man is attacking a pregnant girl for being pregnant without being married. Turns out that not only is the girl the man's own daughter, but he is the father of her child, because her mother died and she kinda looks like her mom so... This is the last thing that happens in the story, by the way


I don't see what the big deal is here. Just have him marry the daughter then she won't be unmarried anymore! Problemo solvo!

I'm gonna give this a 7, maybe deserving of a 6. Save for being unfinished and with a few typos, it's quite well written with several good instances of prose. Our characters are interesting and likable enough, between the charismatic roguish Amal and the tortured outlawish Warden Voldaren. Its biggest problem to me is what feels like massively oversized worldbuilding (probably because of the intended size of the finished narrative), as well as being a story that ended without me really being able to tell where it was going. Something about Amal really being from Valhalla probably, a redemption arc for Warden maybe, magic returning to Caladria maybe... But who could tell really? There were only two chapters left to do in Book 1 as well. Shame. I recommend checking it out if any of this has sounded interesting to you.

Also I've never played Mount & Blade so any references to it will be completely lost on me. You'll all have to take a shot for me for every such reference, should you be in the know. Moving on.



#19: TGRF's Tales of Valhalla by The Grim Reaper's Friend

Back to TGRF, and this is TGRF's second story on here to feature his own username in the title. You're not Tom Clancy, you know! I would certainly never do such a thing in my own work you get the joke moving on

Anyhow much like The Book Of TheAverageFan and Lazy_Orang's Short Stories this is just a collection of TGRF's Competition entries. But not all of them. Just the best ones? I guess I'll be the judge of that.

Once again we'll review each individually. Because it's what TGRF wants I'll also be including a rating for each of the five stories, though my final rating of the entire package will be listed at the end like the other ones and that's the one that'll be entered into the overall ratings in the OP.

Darkness:
Prompt:
Spoiler Alert!


This story opens with Raelin consoling Jandar who is upset that his armies don't have the bravery or loyalty to strike at Utgar and end the war for good:

Quote:
"My men have deserted me because they are too afraid to do their lord’s will.” Jandar was silent for a moment, his hand slowly forming a fist upon the wood of his desk. “If I had but twenty men with the courage to crush Utgar!” thundered Jandar, sweeping a pile of papers to the floor in an angry swipe. His head fell back down upon his desk, his form shaking.


well this is an unexpected alliance

Anyway, things aren't as bad as Jandar is saying—you see he has clearly been afflicted by some sort of despair ray (the doomsday weapon in the prompt probably) and it is severely affecting his judgement. Forced to conspire behind his back, Kelda, Raelin, and Drake try to figure out what to do. Kelda suggests one final desperate move: to summon the mighty Vagmor. Who is that you ask?


Well, as great as one shirtless muscle-man taking down the entirety of Utgar's armies and doomsday weapon would be, it turns out that Vagmor is actually some kind of strange godlike shadowy entity. Very risky to use him. He tells Kelda that he'll take care of everything, but that she can't leave the castle until the work is done.

This upsets the maniacal Jandar, Steward of Gondor, who chews Kelda out in a very "Dumbledore asked calmly" manner. When Drake intervenes he is banished. He willingly leaves, despite Kelda's warnings about Vagmor's warnings. But when Raelin asks him to stay Jandar appears and threatens her. This leads to Drake and big J having a fight. In fact, the whole fortress falls into infighting as Jandar's madness seems to spread.

Meanwhile Vagmor (quite suddenly going from mysterious entity to protagonist) ventures into Utgar's ruined territory and encounters his nemesis: the entity making up this plague. They actually have an interesting dynamic as weird godlike beings in opposition to each other, and Vagmor manages to find a way to catch the smoke in his bare hands and end it for good. But I won't get into the details further in case you wanna read this one.

Overall I think TGRF's own notes say it all:

Quote:
Notes: This is likely the best entry I have written for the fan fic competition.
It's a 9, shaky only in a few typos and a strange need to cut back and forth between Vagmor and the battle at Jandar's keep frequently. Take a shot every time it feels like we cut prematurely to the other POV.

It is a neat idea, with an interesting and unusual character in Vagmor and an interesting and unusual antagonist. I've always liked cursed or shadowy or inhuman entities fighting for good and Vagmor certainly fit into that notch. Also crazy Jandar was fun. And also this might be the only story on this entire thread to pass the bechdel test, for whatever that's worth.


Einar's Battle:
Prompt:
Spoiler Alert!


This story opens with the narrator pontificating about not taking things for granted, including being alone in one's thoughts:

Quote:
Take the mind, for example. In all my years, it never dawned on me just how fortunate I was to have my mind all to myself, to be the only one who could hear my thoughts. Well, I lost that. I lost the freedom of my mind. Only now that it is gone do I realize what I had.
Social media will do that to you. Ba-dum-tiss.

Anyway he's having a rough time of it because Valkrill has found a way to invade his thoughts and now exists as part of his consciousness. So now Einar can't think straight, make proper war plans, or have private time and it's driving him crazy.

I would retire if I were him and hand the reigns over to another to command the Einar army, but Einar decides to stick with it, arguing with Valkrill that evil never wins in the end. Valkrill calls this silly, saying that in real life evil always prevails.

Quote:
No, monster. You are pure evil. If you had ever taken the time to read a good book – which I know you have not – you would know that evil is always conquered in the end.
This isn’t a book, Einar. It’s the end of Valhalla. You see, in real life, evil does prevail. Surely you’ve learned, after all you’ve seen, that evil is far more powerful than good? If it were not so, how could there be a war in the first place?

Uh, so Valkrill is interrupted by the Alliance's attack group coming in to kill him. He battles them until it's just him and Deadeye Dan (who they say is following Vydar for some reason). Dan manages to hit Valkrill and this frees Einar up to try to cast a spell to sever the connection for good. this text is here in advance to see if TGRF complains that it's obviously his OC Dan take your bets everyone

But he hesitates because he knows Valkrill has a drow in his court disguised as a guard (which, uh... well maybe it's a spell disguising him) waiting to strike should Einar free himself. But the Valkyrie goes for it anyway. This of course results in the drow assassin killing Kiova in retribution, despite Einar's efforts. Oops.

Valkrill isn't even repelled from Einar's thoughts, gloating about how evil does win in the end. Einar rebukes these claims with a solid No, you. Valkrill does not reply, which makes sense to Einar but not to me.

Quote:
You will fail, Valkrill. You will always fail, in the end.
For a long time, no reply came. And then I realized that Valkrill was gone. Fully, completely, without a trace, he was gone. I realized I was right. He had failed, as he was destined to.
What happened to the evil Valkyrie I have no idea. He just vanished. What could have happened to him?



Maybe Deadeye Dan rolled a 20. Or maybe the spell to exorcise him just took a long time, like, to take effect? 5 this one is weird and doesn't dwell on the prompt premise very long and the theme is weird with good triumphing over evil... because. Because it sounds about right, I suppose. Has a good ring to it.

Take a shot every time TGRF forgot to add the Comic Sans font to Valkrill's thoughts in Einar's POV. Next.


The Rise of the Valkyrie:
Prompt:
Spoiler Alert!


This story is about Jandar and Concan fighting against the Minions of Utgar during a battle. They fight valiantly, ending with Jandar throwing himself into battle against a bunch of Minions in order to save a young girl. It works but he gets beat up by them a whole bunch:

Quote:
One of the invaders rammed into me so hard I was sure my wings broke against the wall I slammed into. I then received a kick to the face, my legs, and my stomach, serving to throw me into an all around feeling of intense pain.
All that pain was forgotten as an axe came down on my arm, slicing it open. By some miracle, it missed the bone, but it still served to drive everything else from my mind. I was kicked aside like a piece of rubble, but I didn’t roll far enough. I could hear the invaders laughing as they rained more blows down upon me.

Later on a couple months into the war proper we see more of Jandar fighting. How he survived the previous encounter I'm not sure, but now he's hardcore and hardened from the warfare, going all John Wick on Minions all by himself. He cuts 'em up and thinks about how his brother Concan refuses to help him out of protest of his extreme violence. This makes him a loose canon now, cutting Minions to ribbons. This ain't your dad's Heroscape fic, man!

Anyway Jandar fights his way into Concan's keep, where Utgar is there to pressgang Concan into joining his forces. Jandar kills his men and then battles Utgar. He defeats him but decides to let him live because no don't do it if you kill him you'll become like him or something like that let him go killing isn't the way this planet-spanning war totally won't get even worse in time as more and more armies get summoned in

You still could've captured him. We end with these notes:

Quote:
“Yes, brother. Not for vengeance, but for an end to vengeance. Not for glory, but for peace. Not for spoils, but for true gain. Let us end this together, as we should. Let us rise above this war, and strike it down.”
I nodded. I was suddenly aware that I was oddly at peace. I felt, somehow, that I had at last done the right thing. I had let Utgar go, and I didn’t regret it.
“Kelda will heal you,” I said. “But then let us rise together. This will be the Rise of the Valkyrie.”
So yes: this truly has been a Rise of the Valkyrie. 6 it has a lot of cool action and a darker Jandar which is an interesting idea. His idea to spare Utgar before the war even starts kind of makes him the real villain in all of this though. Check it out take a shot every time "red-skinned" is mentioned when describing the Utgarians. Perhaps the real Rise of the Valkyrie were the friends we made along the way.


A Breath of Wind:
Prompt:
Spoiler Alert!


Nargshir from the Quest goes into the Ticalla and runs into Aquilla wolves. He takes one of them as a hostage and uses that to escape the encounter alive.

5, perfectly fine. Not a lot of development or plot, and it's about as long-winded as one of Tornado's average posts. I have nothing to say about it. Take a shot every time the Varkanaans' swords are described as Massive.


Light Up The Darkness:
Prompt:
Spoiler Alert!


We open with these questions:

Quote:
What is despair but something to be fought?
What is doubt but something to hold fast against?
What is darkness but something to be lit up?
And what is a man but a miserable little pile of secrets? But enough talk, have at you!!

This story stars some guy named Ber stuck at a remote bunker in Aquilla's lands. Hey, wait a minute, I've read this one before. Well, if this is the extended edition then we'll see what might've changed. Anyhow, he might be in the middle of nowhere, but Ber is at least bunking with a girl he seems to like name Ali. I keep trying to match or rearrange their names to see what the pun might be, but I don't think there is one.

Despite the remoteness of the base making it seem like it might be safe, that night the bunker is attacked by a large army of Marro Drones. Ali and Ber and the rest of the troops (including Brave Arrow and some Mohicans as the only recognizable official Aquilla units) rush out to defend, defeating the overall purpose of a bunker. Naturally they are fought back inside.

Needless to say things don't go so well. Our hero is brave but he is a pretty lackluster mage, and soon everyone is either killed or has to effectively play dead. RIP Brave Arrow. Even in Valhalla the native Americans can't catch a break.

Fortunately both Ber and Ali survived the initial attack, but the Marro might come back so they hide in the sealed bunker and wait to either die or be rescued. Ali doesn't take it so well, though Ber sees the silver lining of such terrible bloodshed:

Quote:
I put my arm around Ali, trying to convey some sort of nonexistent reassurance. I felt her press closer to me. A moment later I realized she was crying. Silently, but she was crying. I had never seen – or felt – her cry before. Her body was shaking silently with each sob, her breathing coming in short uncontrolled bursts.

I wasn’t ready for that. Ali was the one who kept me going. I was always despairing, reflecting on how long we’d be here, wishing I was closer to the action. Now that we’d seen some action, she was falling apart. She was huddling close to me for comfort. Me!

Uh, anyways they talk for a bit about their fathers for some reason, both of which are back in Aquilla's captial city. Turns out the opening bit about What is X but Y thing was something Ber's father used to say. He reflects on this as the Marro come back to finish the job, deciding to light up the darkness himself with some mage magic.

But it doesn't work and they all die. The end. That was exciting.


A generous 7 it kinda goes by too fast to get all that attached. I'm like "Oh these seem like nice people, oh they're dead". Not that you can't get sad emotion across effectively in as little as six words, but... eh... The last line kind of attempts to end on a more bittersweet hopeful note but, like... it doesn't work. I don't even know what species Ber and Ali were. Just take two shots for this one. For absent friends.

I am gonna give these a 7 overall. As a package they are on the high-end quality of Fine, with the exception of the first one which had some more interesting elements to me. And not just because that was far and away the longest one: it could've been cut down quite easily. But overall they're coming up short compared to the Personal Challenge ones.


That's all for now as this post has gone on way long enough. I will see you next time, as we come close to finishing our quest to rank every single thing on here. Only four left by my count! But until then...

~TAF

TAF was the Storyteller...
in THE ENEMY'S LAST RETREAT


Last edited by TheAverageFan; June 24th, 2022 at 05:22 PM.
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Old June 10th, 2022, 02:53 PM
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He should definitely get that. (#4)
 
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Re: Drunkenly Reviewing Every Low-Rated & Unranked Fiction h

I haven't been on to defend myself due to a bout of flu. But I'm back now (mostly), so let the disclaimers flow!

First off, your review of Soul of Calradia actually got me fairly interested in it. Something about huge fantasy worlds with original species/magic/plots/what-have-you really gets me. I'm glad EL finally got a 7 with this one, he definitely deserves it.

I do need to say that the Einar's Battle entry was playing off of the events of the The Quest for Valhalla. It was never stated in the fiction, but the Dan fighting Valkrill was the Dan from the Quest, not Deadeye Dan. Hence the Vydar alignment. Valkrill went silent at the end due to how that battle plays out. Admittedly, reading this now makes it way easier to miss that connection than it was when it was written, and without that it does seem kind of weird and disjointed.

Honestly I'm pretty surprised at the 5 for A Breath of Wind. It wasn't anything spectacular, but from what I remember, I thought it had some good imagery and prose. Definitely one of my better entries. But then again, different stories speak to different readers.

Light up the Darkness feeling rushed is probably due to the incredibly restrictive word limit which came with the prompt. I'm pretty sure this is the entry which made me decide to create the thread in the first place. Like I said when I posted the story, I did learn a lot about editing, but it's entirely possible that too much was cut from the story.

The stories balance out to a pretty bleak 6.4, my lowest rating yet. This is getting rough.

If I make that Venoc/Rambo story I expect a high rating from you, TAF, preferably with a glowing review attached.

~TGRF.

Go to my website to read my fan fiction!

Writing Status: Forming Plot...
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