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

This is the chapter I remember having a lot of trouble with when it came to writing up the scene, as I'd imagined the whole thing from an omniscient external perspective, then had to decide whose viewpoint I could possibly use to recount it from: none of the characters are actually on the spot the whole way through. It's a similar problem to the one I would have with my Buquet-story several years later, but in this case I decided to show Erik and Cris eavesdropping through the omnipresent surveillance system rather than telling the story from the viewpoint of any of the actual participants; however, this then raised the question of how I was going to format Erik's little interjections, especially given the extremely limited options accepted by fanfiction.net (bold, italic and underline, basically)!

I think it works...


Chapter 12: A Disinterested Gift

Cris clutched at Erik’s arm, terrified eyes glimpsed through the pale silk of her hair as if through a lying veil of innocence, and he shook her off. She had never been a beauty; with her face blotched and red, she was more ordinary than ever. Just another silly, shallow-minded child, he told himself, trying to staunch the howling tide of pain that swept over him whenever he saw her look at the boy. Whenever he saw her pouring out that sweetness, that compassion, on youthful limbs and a foolish nose... why, it was long enough to provide noses for the both of them, Erik thought savagely. Perhaps he should propose it to her. It was ironic, after all, that one of her lovers should be so gifted and the other so deprived in that department...

“Please—” Desperate hands grasped at him again. “Erik, please — what’s happening to him? Oh, what have you done?”

“You’ll find it’s a question of what you have done,” he flung back, and saw her flinch. There was bitter satisfaction in it, though she still did not understand. But she would. Oh, she would see.

Read more... )

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

Switching between the two sets of characters here leaves rather more of an unresolved cliffhanger at the end of the previous chapter than I'd realised!


Chapter 11: That Far Country

Dar watched the two offworlders in the shadowy light, wondering how much to tell them; how far he must betray his friend and that scarred, unhappy past. They’d given him a wild enough story of alien marvels, of teleport travel and miraculous escapes, and he was not entirely sure he believed it.

But whatever —whoever— they were, they would be new faces to Erik. They would have that moment’s precious advantage... and whatever tales they had heard, they were not in unthinking awe of the Ghost. They had not been terrorised, dominated and manipulated; they had not been moulded like the Organisation into an instrument aimed by Erik’s hand. And they had not seen Buquet’s body, broadcast one morning in all its splayed ragdoll ruin as a warning. As an object lesson, Erik had said blandly, when Dar, who’d had to deal with the Federation and the resulting enquiry, had dared to question the act.

The Ghost hadn’t been content to break Buquet’s neck. He’d broken practically every other bone in his body. Most of them, Dar thought, all too familiar with human debris, after death. Most of them.

Read more... )

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

Well, after all the excitement over the initial chapter of "In Regret, Always", the second chapter got precisely eighteen visitors and one review (so much for "please update soon"). I ought to be grateful for the one loyal reviewer (who has reviewed just about everything — except "Blue Remembered Hills"! — since the start, when she was for some time my only person doing so) but... it would be nice to know whether people inherently object to the plot, or the experimental structure, or just don't find it that interesting :-(

Time to try again with the next update on the next story... I think it does pay to write either longer stories or one-shots in this fandom; people seem to like epics, and one-shots don't require much commitment. At any rate, my one-shots seem to do relatively well. (It couldn't possibly be anything to do with the longueurs of my writing, could it? ;-p)


Chapter 10: Happy Highways Where We Went

Rall dreamed of loving Cris, and woke smiling, with the vivid warmth of that memory almost close enough to touch. He lay quietly on the hard pallet, drowsing, reliving the clumsy, exquisite miracle of each kiss behind closed eyes. The ghost of her mouth under his moved against parted lips; drew away in shy disbelief, and gave itself again with an eagerness that brought a stab of sheer joy now in remembering.

She had wanted him.Read more... )

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

Erik really should have answered his messages...


Chapter 9: On the Move

Someone was knocking at the cabin door. Blake groaned and rolled over to look at the chrono on his wrist. Half an hour late for the morning watch: he’d overslept—

The jolt of realisation sent him upright in the unfamiliar bunk and reaching down for his boots before he was fully awake. His head struck hard against a too-close ceiling that should not have been present. Beneath his feet there was only a lurch into open air.

Not his cabin. Not the Liberator after all.

Read more... )

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

I'm seriously running out of time on posting this one before I disappear, but I can manage to give it a few hours here before the mandatory pre-FFnet reread..

I'd forgotten just how much E/C I'd put into this story in the hopes of attracting the 'mainstream audience' -- at this point, we're practically in classic "Christine is Erik's prisoner and is learning to love and pity him" territory. What with that and "In Regret Always", I seem to have been paying a lot more attention to Christine's relationship with the Phantom recently than I have for a long time!


Chapter 8: The Land of Lost Content

The third time Cris woke from the nightmare, it was dawn, and light was flooding across her face.

She curled up shivering, attempting to stifle the whimpers. Every time it was the same. She woke... only to exchange the dreamed horror for one that was real. She was trapped here, trapped in a tomb— with a monster who loved her.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 finally got one fanfiction.net review on chapter 3 after I basically begged one of the story followers from an earlier chapter to tell me what she thought of it... which basically amounted to "I don't know anything about the characters, but nice landscape" :-(

hide moaning )


Chapter 4: To See it Shining Plain

The viewport lay high in the city, up on the third level, and looked north-west, towards the mountains. Towards Angel Six: that memory came unbidden and uncomfortable, and Cris thrust it back down. If only her Angel could see Rall for himself— could know how shy and protective he was towards her, how utterly different from the jaded black-uniformed betrayer the Angel had surely been picturing when he’d spoken so harshly to forbid her his company. She had not wanted to hurt her beloved teacher; she’d tried hard to keep Rall at a distance. But surely her Angel, so wise, so gentle, could not have asked her to make her dearest friend this unhappy?

Rall had taken a few paces to one side, and stood now gazing out over the land almost as he had done when they were children— when they had painted the imagined distance with plants and animals out of old tales of her father’s, and dreamed of far countries beyond the horizon and worlds beyond the stars. Only... the young man’s hands were locked together tightly behind his back when once they would have reached out eagerly for hers, and three stiff paces separated them both. And she knew that it was her own actions that had set this new constraint between them.

Read more... )

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

And... back to the "Blake's 7" perspective. Reposting the story cynically in one section or the other of fanfiction.net according to which set of characters are being featured (as opposed to using the official 'crossover' section, which very few people bother to check for new entries) at least gives me a chance to gauge readership in the two separate fandoms. Unsurprisingly, it's considerably larger on the 'Phantom' side. (Unfortunately, I forgot to change the fandom back when initially posting chapter 2, so any alerts that went out to my 'followers' will have listed the story as a "Blake's 7" one and thus of no interest to them...)

'Considerably', of course, is a relative term. A grand total of thirty-four people actually went so far as to glance at chapter 2, but one of them was so excited as to 'follow' the story (which I hope means she'll recognise the update when I post this chapter into the other fandom) :-p)


Chapter 3: Down and Safe

Blake was asleep when the call came.

They’d all been on edge for far too long — in the case of Avon, himself and Jenna, more or less constantly since they’d first boarded the Liberator — and Avon for one was starting to look exhausted, all the squared angles of his face drawn sharper and more uncompromising than ever. No doubt he’d barely rested all this time for fear that the rest of them might somehow double-cross him or work out a way to put the ship to profit at his expense. No doubt, Blake considered wearily, Avon himself could have come up with two or three ways of doing just that. He wondered if all geniuses were paranoid, or if it was close proximity to computers that had soured Avon on humanity at large... or more personal reasons, perhaps.

Well, he wasn’t about to pry; he needed Avon’s cooperation, and it was hard enough to get that out of him anyway. Any attempt to restore the man to the human race would have to wait until later. Much later.

Read more... )

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

Chapter 2: Best of Friends

Most of the cadets — and ex-cadets — of the Borda had been billeted in an upper-level Administration building on the edge of Zone 1. The city was used to dealing with a periodic influx of Federation personnel, but rarely on this scale; the barracks reserved for Space Command had not been laid out in proportion to the cadet-ship’s capacity. The overflow arrivals, few of them able to believe their luck, had found themselves accommodated on a level of civilian comfort usually reserved for the staff of visiting members of the High Council.

The fact that they were obliged to share rooms two or three together was scarcely worthy of note to youngsters who were used to living on board in groups of five or six to a mess, but it did require a certain amount of tact where visitors were concerned. Especially those of the female variety.

Not that it looked as if he was ever likely to be the one privileged with that particular social dilemma, Rall reflected with a degree of bitterness, gathering up the few possessions he was likely to want for the day and preparing to vacate their shared room for his companion’s benefit. Read more... )

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

Here goes!

(Memo to self: I still need to proof-read the last chapter against the manuscript and fix E.E.'s "globed head and hands" passage...) Done :-D


Blue Remembered Hills

Chapter 1: Outsiders

Olag Gan had never dreamed, in all his born days, that one day he would stand on the flight deck of a starship. But then many things had changed in the long months since he’d killed an armed man with his bare hands; since he’d brought down the Federation trooper who’d left the woman he loved crumpled and lifeless on the street.

There were weeks he preferred not to remember. Weeks of bright light and antiseptic and pain, as his helpless body had been passed from prison cell to test lab as involuntary subject, along with other specimens selected for their strength. Weeks that had left him with a shaved patch on his skull and a dead place in his mind where that act of retaliation had once lain: a metal spider sent its filaments into his brain, locking those impulses now and forever.

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...

BLUE REMEMBERED HILLS

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

Drawings

5 April 2017 10:55 pm
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
In the last week, I've actually been doing some art :-)

Here are some daffodils that were busy growing outside (not a real painting, but a pencil sketch 'coloured in' with watercolours)


And here is Major Thania from the B7 episode "Trial", copied from the Sevencyclopedia as part of my push towards finally getting "Blue Remembered Hills" published -- sadly she is not going to feature in the story, but I thought I might pinch her smart uniform as a basis for my Rall's clothing; I really can't see the officer cadets running round in baggy Federation troopers' overalls, somehow.

(from http://igenlode.deviantart.com/art/Federation-Costume-673134567)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
"Blue Remembered Hills" is finished!

The grand "Blake's 7"/"Phantom of the Opera" crossover project that I started in response to a forum challenge ("least likely crossovers") back in December 2013 is finally typed up and -- barring some proofreading on the final two-and-half-thousand words -- completely computerised. The challenge is long since over, the forum itself is now defunct, and I did wonder with increasing urgency whether the computer itself would survive long enough to see the end of the story... but it's done. The final few months went considerably quicker once I'd given up on trying to get the chapters properly beta-read, alas, but I think the improvement in quality achieved thereby was probably not worth the enormous delay caused by lack of communication at the other end and massive procrastination on my part when it came to tackling edits.Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I've now rough-typed two more chapters for "Blue Remembered Hills" (Ch18 and 19) (Edit: these ones from the 12th of March 2014!) and dared for the first time to look ahead in the manuscript and work out how many chapters I have left to go -- it looks as if after all this time there are only three chapters left :-D

I've got chapter length issues, though: Ch19, the pivotal one, is under two thousand words, and the surrounding three are at least twice that size, while the final two scenes constitute another very short chapter. The penultimate chapter has two scenes in it and might be splittable, but the second scene of that would be pretty short as a chapter on its own, and really can't stand together with the epilogue material following; there's a significant time/distance jump.

And Ch19 will just have to stay short, I think. It's probably explosive enough on its own. All those long chapters are going to be a real pain to proofread... (it takes the computer about twenty minutes just to read them out :-p)

Current word-count: 65,000, more or less. I estimate around another 10,000 in the remaining material.
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
I've technically finished the climactic chapters of "Blue Remembered Hills", with everyone now whisked off to the Liberator. I'm thinking maybe two more chapters to go, one from Jenna or Blake's point of view explaining why Cris and Rall don't join the crew despite Blake's invitation, and one from Dar and/or Carla's point of view showing the aftermath on Newparis: I think Cris probably sends Dar a message via Carla, since she doesn't know if he's survived and if so whether he is still at his old address or not.

However, I'm not terribly happy with the chapter just completed. I'm not even sure if it's sufficiently clear what's going on, and of course Gan is very much an outsider to all the violent emotions and activity centred around the Ghost, so it's harder to know if the impact is getting across to the audience. Probably not :-(
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Apparently spending five days working on a totally different version of the characters in a totally different continuity (and planet, and century...) hasn't damaged my inspiration for the original story at all :-)

Finally (after what, four months?) I've successfully reached the scene where the heroine declaims that there are no 'blue remembered hills' (something like 'Peter Pan' and fairies, only in reverse!) and rescues herself and her lover in the process. Theoretically speaking this is the peak of tension towards which the entire plot has been mounting; now all I have to do is to succeed in writing the equally pivotal scenes following in order to achieve the Ghost's Redemption, and work out exactly what I'm going to do about my vague plans for an epilogue. I was thinking of doing a Carla chapter to book-end the first one, but maybe a flashback for Dar to a final conversation after the others have left would be a better nod to canon. (Or, of course, both.)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
I've been working steadily since the start of December on an idea for a Phantom of the Opera/Blake's 7 crossover and have at least 20,000 words done to date, though as usual I'm not sure if it's going to be satisfactory until I've finished it. There are definitely some good bits, so it's a matter of whether the rest of the story justifies those... and if I can get good bits at the climax, which is what I'm currently approaching at dead slow speed!

I'm attempting to use the Leroux characters, although I'm not sure I'm doing a particularly close job of it; which means that Raoul is jealous and cries, Christine is naive but determined, and Erik is pathetic, insane and very dangerous... I'm also attempting to write Erik's point of view for the first time, which really ought to be easier for me but isn't.

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