igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Chapter two of "In Regret, Always" completed: i.e. typed, heavily tweaked in places in an attempt to make it work better, and proofread for transcription errors (in that order!)

It eventually came out at 5,800 words, which is probably the longest single chapter I've done -- actually longer than several of my existing multi-chapter stories in their entirety. If it hadn't been for the framing structure I'd probably have elected to simply to split it at "an equally brave lie", but I had enough trouble getting in and out of the frame in order to split off the first half of the scene (an extra 3,500 words; just as well I did :-p) In any case, I seem to remember that chapter 3 in the manuscript is going to be even longer... Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

I've been spending an awful lot of time over the past week or so up to my ears in French, but here we are finally with the essential scene in any Phantom retelling: the unmasking scene (combined here with the kidnap, since events are being compressed into a single day...) And an Erik-PoV chapter; the gentleman known to my fandom-blind beta-reader of the time as "Crazy Erik" :-p

It's interesting writing a character who is insane but -- of course -- isn't aware of it...

Chapter 7: Behind the Mask

The great chamber beneath the hillside was dark, lit by only the faintest midnight glow through the viewport from the dust-laden sky high above. The shadows of the gallery stretched away far out of sight, in long shapeless aisles that threw back only a random glint or two in answer to the faint pool of light at Erik’s feet as he moved; at any other time he would have welcomed that refuge, a deep anonymous night in which all men were equal, both marred and unmarred. But he was no longer alone. And she— she was not at home here as he was. He had to see that all was well; that all was ready for her.

His body still ached from the vibrating drone of their long flight, but he would not have sacrificed one hour of it. To have her there, cradled close in the soft black leather of the seat with her white throat thrown back, utterly yielding in the heavy-breathing stupor of her drugged doze... If he had reached out — taken his hand for one moment from the yoke of the little flyer — he could have brushed that wisp of hair that curled behind her ear, or set his gloved wrist against the smooth curve of her cheek that still held the downy bloom of a child. He longed to set loose those tight-bound braids and see her veiled in the sheen of her hair, brushed out like true rain as Newparis would never know it. She had been close enough to touch... and that had been enough.Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

And here's the other half of the Blake/Gan chapter; Blake's scenes weren't really long enough to stand on their own, and Gan's big scene would have made a very long single chapter in contrast. So we have here the combined outsiders' view of some fairly tumultuous events (and I've tried to distinguish the two different viewpoints).

Chapter 6: Broken Trust

Gan felt his mouth go dry. The spectre in black and white held them all, effortlessly, by sheer force of dominion. The voice, when it came, was distorted: a rising inhuman hiss through circuits that shielded and manipulated alike.

“People of Newparis— I have brought you here to make an example. An example that some among you have forgotten. An example to all those in whose talent we trust.”

Long, gloved fingers gestured, and a girl somewhere to the right cried out in one short sharp whimper of surprise. The crowd stirred, parting, as two broad-hewed men in dockyard clothes elbowed through with the chosen one caught up between them.

Gan got one glimpse down at her face, white as ash beneath the pale plait that crowned her head; the whisper of Vargas’ double axe sang ghost-like through his mind and he almost reached out to her, but Blake caught at his sleeve, both of them unsure in that moment if she was to be heroine or sacrifice of the hour. “Gan, wait— we don’t know—”

And then she was past and gone, hastened up to the stage where Dar stood rigid and grim, and Gan had only the memory of blue eyes pale as waxen thread, filled with all-consuming terror of the Ghost.Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I'm still not especially happy about the confrontation with the Phantom in this hypothetical new story: the big idea was supposed to be that the henchmen try to chloroform Gustave instead of Raoul, much to both men's fury, thus rendering the boy conveniently unconscious so that the issue of his paternity can be argued outside his hearing while disposing of the chloroform so that it can't be used on Raoul. Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

I finally got round to doing the picture of 'Rall' and 'Cris' in their crossover "Blake's 7" incarnations that I've been vaguely planning for years -- it started off with the idea of being based on one of my favourite sketches from deviantArt, but once I actually got round to drawing my own version, four years later, the characters took on a look of their own...

(Click to view)

Which means that, for the first time in years and years, there is actually no remaining obstacle (other than the physical separation of computer from Internet) remaining between me and publishing my Grand Crossover Story. A very strange and unaccustomed situation.

(Although I do now have to go back and edit the details of the relevant chapter to make it match what's shown in the picture -- my ideas at the time about Federation uniform turned out to be based on a memory of Tarrant's costumes from the final series rather than what anyone in the Federation Space Fleet actually wore!)

And if I'm going to adopt my accustomed habit of posting new chapters here first for a final check-and-edit, it would probably make more sense, before I start, to post the Prologue chapters that are already uploaded to fanfiction.net...


Prologue-1 )Prologue-2 )Prologue-3 )Prologue-4 )Prologue-5 )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)


List of Completed Fics

(in the last year, rather than since the last time I did this in January 2015!) Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Various 'extra bits' that I created in response to readers who wanted to know what was going on behind the scenes; it would be nice to say that these characters are created with a depth and attention to detail that runs deeper than what actually makes it onto the page, but I'm afraid that, like the backstory in the actual text, these are mostly details that 'emerge' as and when it occurs to me to look at them, in other words that I make up as I go along...
Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Written for the Halloween Challenge at the Writers Anonymous forum on FFnet -- or, to be more honest, this is the scene I was planning to write as an in-fandom 'Halloween Special', and which I thought I might be able to shoehorn into the terms of the contest. I'm not really sure it will qualify (and certainly won't win on the stipulated grounds of 'how well the theme is incorporated'), since it's basically nothing to do with October or Halloween but just a retelling of the canonical graveyard scene from Leroux's book -- which, for some inscrutable reason, the author chose to present in the form of an after-the-fact police witness interview, thus stripping the Hammer Horror potential from the distinctly unnerving events actually implied to have taken place!

I have spent a good deal of effort on dithering as to whether I ought to take it up to the end of the chapter by including the last two scenes or not, or simply cut it off for better horror effect with the discovery of Raoul's apparently lifeless body as the finale. I was pretty much certain that the latter was the better course of action, but with the epilogue busy constructing itself in vivid impressions in my head, I made the mistake of deciding to write it out and then to ignore it. Unfortunately I enjoyed inventing Antoine far too much...

So I've more or less decided to enter the whole thing for the contest, which effectively constitutes a genre shift from pure horror to more of a focus on Raoul and Christine's relationship with one another and with her father. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it :-p
Horror/Romance won't do as a category, because there really isn't any bar Raoul's remembered frustration, but I think Horror/Family can be made to fit if we consider the quasi-foster-sibling relationship they have at this point.

This Mask of Death

“...je ne sais point jusqu’où s’en fut mon imagination, ni où elle s’arrêta...”

It was a cloudless night, with the moon riding cold and distant above, and the world was in the grip of a hard frost. Snow had fallen to veil the barren ground, and the ancient granite slabs that kept their sentry-watch across the moor — like so many cairns piled by the hands of giants — wore wind-blown drifts of white between their stacked stones, as if korrigans dwelt within and had stopped up the draughts with handfuls of snow in lieu of heather. But the biting breeze that had sprung up at sunset had long since ebbed to silence, and the high heath lay frozen and unmoving beneath the moon. Only the waves tossed endlessly in the bay far below, hissing with age-old hunger against their pallid fringes of sand.

And in the graveyard at Perros-Guirec, where the hill ran down to the sea, a shadow moved amongst the dead.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Just as I thought I'd reached the bottom of my queue (and might even consider approaching the Double Agents de Chagny) I seem to have been afflicted with another "Love Never Dies" fanfiction idea! So much for my chances of asserting that I had finished with that show, having already rewritten most scenes in it at least once and some more often than I like :-p

Enter Jos Perlman, junior dogsbody for Hammerstein's organisation and would-be gumshoe in search of a missing soprano... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

This has of course been done to death already... but here’s my own ‘repurposing’ of the finale to ‘Love Never Dies’, inspired by some discussion of the latest (Hamburg) production.

This is not a version of the characters I particularly endorse — but it’s one I can see Andrew Lloyd Webber accepting, at a pinch!

(And I still don't care for the present-tense viewpoint, but it's the best I can manage in order to convey a 'script' format in this context. I confidently expect this to be my last foray in that direction.)


Meg’s voice cracks in betrayal.

“Christine — always Christine!”

The tenuous threads of hope — of understanding — that the Phantom’s voice had sent spinning out around her are ripped asunder, and she springs back as if from a closing trap. The gun is levelled between them. It fires.

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
After some intensive work today (I took it with me on a couple of walks), "Meg Shoots the Phantom" is finished! Not bad going for only a couple of writing sessions -- though the whole manuscript is only about 1500 words by my reckoning :-D
Anyway, I'm quite pleased with it -- the rearrangement of existing events and lyrics is quite clever, the running time is I think consistent with the existing score, and I can picture it actually being performed. As a piece of writing it's something of a stylistic experiment, of course, but I'm not sure how many people are likely even to notice that.

And it has a proper title: "Redemption", which is what the Phantom is notably lacking in the current version of the scene!

It doesn't avoid one of the basic problems with the plot, which is that Christine gets handed over between one man and another without an apparent agency of her own in the matter, and it's sickeningly sentimental about the Phantom (who is portrayed as rather more noble, in my view, than is consistent with his character in the rest of the show), but both of those are the result of my attempt to come up with a version of the ending that is consistent with Andrew Lloyd Webber's apparent intentions for "Love Never Dies" and one that he might theoretically actually implement. I was slightly nervous about giving ALW a guest appearance in the final paragraphs, as it seems a little too much akin to Real Person Fiction and a little presumptuous to shoehorn a reaction onto someone, but there is a certain tradition of that in this fandom. (And at least I was civil about it!)

Hm, I wonder how I'm going to tag a one-word story title for blogging purposes...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Various relevant excerpts from the Hamburg review -- so that I don't have to slog through translating it again -- with a disclaimer that my Russian is extremely rusty, there are chunks omitted, and there may be misunderstandings.

(Incidentally, I have to say that I've always loved the way the Russians spell "Raoul" in Cyrillic with a 'soft sign' ь at the end. I'm not sure it particularly reflects the French pronunciation -- it's more akin to appending a 'y' sound to the last letter -- but there's something very endearing about the convention!)

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I've just spent most of the evening applying my twenty years' rusty Russian to an online article about the Hamburg staging of "Love Never Dies", having been tempted into it from Tumblr on glimpsing the tantalising statement "мне показалось, что она не любит Призрака" (I get the impression that Christine doesn't love the Phantom)
It's wonderful what a bit of motivation can do...


Yet again, independent confirmation that Raoul (whom the reviewer concludes this Christine no longer loves in the romantic sense either) comes across in LND despite the author's intentions as a far more interesting and sympathetic character in his relationship with Christine than the one-note Phantom does, and indeed that Lloyd Webber has in effect written the piece as Raoul's tragedy and not, as he supposes, as that of the Phantom. How did the composer manage to do this without noticing?

The late-coming anemone is now dying as well without ever having reached full growth, the one with the damaged stem has withered, and the others have not only failed to bloom but aren't looking all that vigorous either. I'm afraid that as house-plants (and as a gift) they were a complete and utter failure.
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Yet more stuff archived here for reference so that I don't have to keep searching through unhelpfully-named messages in order to locate my own analysis again...

I don't think that Christine in the musical ever does decide to spend the rest of her life underground in order to save Raoul; I think that her kiss is an attempt to find a third option beyond the two that the Phantom offered ("love me and he lives, refuse and he dies"). In the novel, of course, the threat and the situation are both somewhat different...

But I always assumed that what she is trying to do in the musical is to show the Phantom that "he is not alone" — that his face is not an insurmountable barrier to contact with humanity as he claims to believe. I don't believe that her kiss is supposed to be an acceptance of his bargain or a signal that she will marry him: there are easier and more reliable ways of telling him that! The kiss appears to be a rejection of both choices and an attempt to win his sympathy by demonstrating empathy — it's the classic 'communicate with your kidnapper and force him to see you as a human being so that he will find it harder to kill or torture you' tactic.

She isn't accepting his proposal (which she would have done with words of hatred and resentment); she is showing him that it is possible for someone to display enough pity to bestow a kiss of her own free will and without blackmail even upon someone who looks like him, and therefore that his face does not make him irredeemable.

I always assumed it was obvious...

Erik says "Will you marry me? Yes or No?"
Christine says "You poor thing, have a kiss" -- which is neither Yes nor No, but is greater sweetness and pity than he would have got from the Yes answer.
And the result is that he then shows pity and humanity to her by sparing Raoul, which I imagine is what she hoped for but presumably could not possibly be certain of.

I've never seen the final lair scene as Christine's choice to stay with Erik -- it never even occurred to me that anyone would make that assumption until a fan mentioned it as a casual belief a few months back. Erik says "Make your choice", but Christine *refuses* to play that game. She *doesn't* choose: if she wanted to say Yes she would say it with tears and loathing, as she does at the start of the scene. If she wanted to say No she would hurl it at him.

What wise, clear-sighted Christine does is to evade the question altogether: her response is neither to accept the trap or to give her tormentor an excuse to take his revenge. Erik says "Yes or No?" Christine says "Oh, you poor thing -- here, have a kiss."

And it works. By showing him that he is part of humanity, she gets him to see her as someone whose happiness he cares about, and not as a possession.

It's the classic kidnap gambit, really: instil empathy in your captors and get them to see you as a person. It's ideal. Under the impossible circumstances it's *brilliant* -- and it's very Christine. She forgives her enemies, and in so doing she wins freedom by her own resourcefulness.

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Archived for my reference, so I don't have to go looking all this stuff up again...

Interestingly, 'tu' does get used in Leroux -- Christine and Raoul are both very well-brought-up, but they occasionally slip when yelling at/to each other: "tais-toi donc, Raoul!" "Eh bien, dis, maintenant!" "Christine, aie pitié! Je vais mourir dans la forêt... loin de toi!" "Raoul! souffres-tu?" "va donc, Christine, ma femme adorée!"

Erik calls Christine 'tu' contemptuously from the moment she unmasks him, having been very respectful before (but on isolated occasions 'the Voice' declares "Va maintenant, Christine Daaé, tu peux apporter aux hommes un 'peu de la musique du ciel'!" and "Ton âme est bien belle, mon enfant, et je te remercie"): Christine mostly calls him 'vous', but in the final moments she descends into yelling at him: "me jures-tu, monster, me jures-tu sur ton infernal amour..?"

Erik and the daroga call each other 'tu' throughout. Christine addresses Maman Valérius as 'vous', but seeks and delivers comfort with 'tu': "Tu sais, la Voix est partie!" "Ne le crois pas, bonne maman, ne le crois pas..." Maman Valérius calls Christine 'tu' and Raoul 'vous' (though she addresses him as "monsieur Raoul" rather than "M. le Vicomte"). Philippe calls his little brother "tu"; Raoul calls the Comte 'vous'. The directors appear to call each other 'tu', somewhat unexpectedly.
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

Chapter 8: The Master and Marguerite

“She chose Raoul.” Every time it burst out of him with the same circling incomprehension. “The petulant sot, the fool: why, he was the last of us to know! He would have yielded her to me, yielded to the better man... Beauty, youth, wealth— he has none left, and still she cleaves to him. Ten long years, and still she cannot see what an empty vessel she has married — why, Christine? Why?”

Perhaps she loves him. But Meg knew better than to say that. She had known the Vicomte young and oblivious, known all that careless hope turned sick with self-loathing, and seen constancy beneath both.

Last night she had wanted him to take Christine away. She had not cared, much, if it meant Christine’s happiness or not. She thought now that perhaps it would.

“Why?” It was the same hopeless cry, and she drew breath sharply without thinking.

“It was her choice.” She had not meant to speak; but it was no longer the Master of the Aerie at her side but a man broken on his own wheel, and if she could tear him from it she would. “You said yourself that the other would have yielded her to you if she chose it — perhaps what you see as weakness is the value she sees in him. Perhaps in the end he was ready to honour her choice — to place her happiness above his own.”

Easier to accept, maybe, than the other truth Meg had heard half-formed beneath that halting, partial account... that Christine de Chagny as wife and mother had granted only pity in the face of every overture from her lover of one night save when he unleashed the dark power of his music, and in the end had found strength through anger to break free even from that.

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

I've been going backwards and forwards on whether Meg Giry is actually 'in love with' the Phantom or not (especially since I'm using the original London production canon here, after which we were assured that her interest is purely professional, though this frankly isn't what it looks like at all...) In the end I've largely left this part of the story in its state of confusion, since if there is one thing for certain in canon it is that the Phantom is not in love with Meg.

I never really thought much about the consistency of Meg's backstory before starting this chapter (not least because I was proceeding on the initial assumption that this dialogue would be seen from the Phantom's point of view!), so I've leaned quite heavily on [livejournal.com profile] aceofgallifrey's analysis, though I haven't swallowed this lock, stock and barrel because it's based on hyper-interpretation of the 2004 movie version in which Meg's role is considerably embroidered...

Chapter 7: Notes from Underground

Meg Giry had been the one on her way up out of the chorus, before any of this had ever started. She had been the one people noticed: the bright one, the quick one, the girl with the spark that said Look at me. She’d been the one who’d been featured in the minor rôles — serving-maids and confidantes, pageboys and peasant dancers, tiny parts all of them, but she’d been there on the programme with her name in print, she’d been there on the stage with her clear voice and her vivid grace and she’d made an impression.

She’d been the one with initiative and ambition, the one who was going places: her mother’s daughter. And it hadn’t been fair, because dreamy, quiet Christine Daaé had talent of her own that no-one ever saw. Christine could have done just as well as Meg if anyone had given her the chance. But if it had been left up to Christine, no-one would ever have looked twice.

So when Carlotta, the diva of those days, had let loose her temperament one time too many and stormed off the stage before the start of the production, Meg had followed the impulse of a moment — as so often in her life — and spoken up on her friend’s behalf: “Christine Daaé could do it, sir.” She’d known Christine was good; she’d heard her practising for her new teacher. She hadn’t had the faintest idea Christine was that good...

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

Let's face it, "Beneath a Moonless Sky" is not what happens when you put two complete sexual novices together without a knowledge of the basic mechanics. And the sheer amount of stamina implied would only be likely in the absence of actual culmination...

Credit goes to [livejournal.com profile] butterflydrming for this particular aspect of the plot, though I've written it here as angst-ridden drama rather than comedy.

Chapter 2: Fathers and Sons

He’d taken insane bets before. Bets that she could neither understand nor forgive; bets that no amount of desperation or bravado could condone, that no man with a wife and child had any right to risk. He’d taken them, sometimes, because she’d begged him not to — just as he’d drunk himself into sottish fury in some schoolboy fling of defiance against his own conscience and all nagging wives.

But this bet... hurt.

Hurt all the more because she’d let herself believe in all those promises, those kisses — it was as if he’d known just how much of a fool she was, just what she wanted to hear, and gambled on that: on the idea that he had only to whistle, and she’d come fawning back to heel like some dog left by the wayside at her master’s whim.

And he’d been right. That was what hurt the most; tears, sudden, unwanted, blurred across her eyes. No wonder he’d shrunk from telling her. No doubt they’d laughed together, he and that other — and of that betrayal, she would not even think — at just how easy it was to win a woman’s heart. A moment of kindness, a few words of flattery, a tender kiss or a sweep of melody, and they could toss her back and forth between them in some jeu de paume, and stake her future on the outcome as if she were just one more sop for a man’s wounded pride.

How dared they? How dared they? And... how could she ever trust in her marriage again?

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

I've based this on the original cast recording and -- so far as I could establish it -- on the costuming and staging of the London production. (Christine is not wearing the 'peacock dress' for her stage performance, for example, but a skimpy modern-style evening gown!)

As will become obvious, this story does not take place in the same continuity as either of my other LND plots set in this universe, The Choices of Raoul de Chagny or To Ease Your Troubled Mind...

All the Rules Rearranged

Chapter 1: What is to be Done?

Her dressing-room at Phantasma held no clock. But the call-boys had been past, the dancers had flocked outside in their bright chattering gaggle, and soon it would be her turn.

She’d come so far to sing this song; so far, in so many ways. The past she’d thought forgotten had opened its guilt from the grave — its guilt and its allure both — and that old storm of tears had closed weeping and raging over her once again. Somehow she’d held herself together through it all with a strength learned from womanhood and ten years of marriage. Only a few more minutes now, and it would be over. One last aria to pay their debts — and repay a debt that was all her own — and she and her son would be gone from this place, leaving the tormented past to rest at last in peace.

She and her son and Raoul, and their baggage with them. Safe on familiar shores, in the life that she had so painstakingly pieced together for Gustave’s sake out of the ashes of their young dreams...

One song, Christine had told herself throughout the hours of waiting. Just this one song left, this one thing she needed to do, and then they would be done with America and all it stood for. Time itself had narrowed down to these few minutes ahead of her, and the music she had rehearsed over and over again.

And then Raoul... had changed everything. For a second time.

Read more... )


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