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for What Happens in Broome

6/23/2015 c5 35princesircastic
I decided on a whim to venture back to the DQ section of this site after being away for so long, just to see if there was anything here worth reading - and I must say I'm glad I did, as this was the first one that took my interest, and it was excellent from start to finish.

Since Barda has always been my favourite, I was always disappointed at the lack of fics centering around him, his life, his romance with Lindal, etc - at least in comparison to Lief and Jasmine, so you already scored high marks with me simply for writing out something I've considered experimenting with myself - their developing romance in Broome which came quite out of nowhere in the books, but was thoroughly welcome in my eyes. You earned even more marks with the fantastic quality of writing and the perfect characterisations of all the characters. I can be very picky with what I read based on a number of factors, and you ticked all the boxes here.

But now I shall actually get onto a review of the story itself, otherwise this will be essay worthy and I'm sure you have better things to do than read through my ramblings.
Each chapter was absolutely incredible, to the point where I didn't stop once after I started reading. The flow of the story was perfect throughout - there were no awkward scenes that didn't fit, nothing moved too fast or too slow, and you did a great job of showing everything rather than telling. The detail put into the different cultures (helped by that fantastic book, of which I am also a proud owner) really added to the whole thing, and Barda's responses and mannerisms were so accurate I could picture everything clearly in my head.

The fact you gave Lindal a womanly side was a joy to see. I think too many people can get caught up in the fact she's a warrior and can certainly give Barda a run for his money, but she /is/ still a woman, and I'm glad you included that - and in a way that made it believable, too. Her little breakdown and her plea for Barda to stay with her was not out of character, in my opinion, not at all - for a start, we're not given much of her character in the books, so there's no telling what would or would not be out of character, but she's also a woman in love and fearing for the man she's had such little time with. Plus the added influence of alcohol certainly explains a momentary lapse.

If you do decide to post up a follow-up where they're re-united in Del, you'll have a reader in me, that's for sure. It's so rare to find Barda/Lindal fics that are so well done, and I do hope you'll find it in you to write more in future, too. Reading this has actually given me inspiration to write more myself, though how well that will go, I'm not sure. It's been a while since my work has shown up here, after all. We'll see. I still feel like I'm a bit of an old-timer amongst this fandom, since it's now been ten years since I first picked up the books and therefore way beyond the intended age-range. Heh.
Fantastic work, and a fic I'll happily read again, and again.

(Also - Barda asking the sink for a dance was quite possibly my favourite thing ever)
6/18/2015 c4 2Caellach Tiger Eye
Goodness... I can't believe that after enjoying the first three chapters, it took me so long to finally check on the remaining updates (or letting them become updateS, for that matter.) :(

To think it took so long, and yet... I'm back into it so much, so immersed in the experiences. Positive... It just keeps on making me feel SO positive.

Getting back into this fic, I'm suddenly bombarded - BOMBARDED - with incredible feels of every kind. I enjoy your writing in such a way that I had not quite expected, though it makes me all the gladder I was directed towards it at all. There is something about this very story which feels so very real, just another indicator that it's not just the unexpected length which demonstrates how this story lives and breaths; it's the way that the characters feel like real people, with their emotions completely driving the narrative of what is - in canon - an undescribed few days within the narrative (important days, yes, but still untapped by Ms. Rodda herself).

I laughed, like a madman, when reading the first scene all the way through - if the continuing innuendoes (spilling milk on the floor twice in the day? Huh...) were not enough, then the fact of Jasmine and Lief being caught in the (beginnings of) the act, and their older friends having very different responses (despite being worse than Lindal in that I was even more uncontrollable in my laugher, I felt Barda's pain, I really did - I've done just what he did in certain situations after all ;)) which caused me to grin maniacally. And yet even then, the humour in general had some great insight into their (already established) characters - we got some dialogue between Lief and Lindal I felt indulged to have gotten (because with the focus on the couples it seemed an unlikely conversation to expect); we got Barda and Lindal's utter shamelessness at pillaging the best parts of the chicken for themselves (and I did guess it was your profile-referenced skills at play there, yet it fit right in for Barda too given the context); we had the teasing of Barda's original lack of dancing ability by everyone (himself included) that spoke to the ease between him and Lindal; and of course, Lief and Jasmine in general falling into the fact that now they've done what their friends did, they've no room to judge (while also now seeing just why it feels so GOOD to do it - and that is without any actual detail on it, mostly just on Lief's insecurities with the belt).

I really love the fact that despite the main focus of the story, you've also dedicated so much time to the couple who are the main one in the novels, yet the Beta Couple to Barda and Lindal's Alpha Couple in this particular tale. The use of this dichotomy has enabled the growth of not just the main but the SIDE relationship in a continuously organic matter. And in the process you focus so much on how Broome itself is alive, how they rest of the town themselves have their own lives which have been affected by the companions' heroism - besides your culinary knowledge being a boon in general (since using food for world-building is a bizarrely-powerful narrative device), it also gives its own depth to the issue at hand... the bigger one.

Lindal's breakdown is a scene that, even with the obvious justifications (it's a romance-story, she's drunk, etc.) at play, could have blown up in your face and fallen flat. And yet, it did not, because of the rest of the story as a whole but ESPECIALLY this chapter now. The focus on Jasmine's guilt at them stalling for as long as they did in Broome - while the rest of Deltora has people suffering from the other three Sisters - not only pays off for the strength of her and Lief's relationship (and how he loves her for it), or for how the genuine gratitude of the people of Broome makes it all worthwhile... It also comes to pay off when Barda is torn by the decision that is not a decision: he wants to stay and he nows he could, Lief and Jasmine would never try to stop him (no matter their own fears), and it's so tempting; but he also knows that while he's not bound by duty, it's wanting to create a safer and happier world - a world he can share with Lindal and their future children - that drives him on. This is not just Barda being the reliable one as always; this is Barda as the man, with his own desires and love, who knows full well that whatever choice he makes will be the selfish one in some measure - so he knows which one he MUST make. He cannot take the risk that his absence would doom the quest, and prevent him and Lindal from having that life together; they would die together perhaps, but putting aside all the others who might not get to have last happy moments, etc., is the fact that he knows he desires a world where they don't have to fear that. A world where they can HAVE children, and those children can grow up without the tragedies that affected these two 30-40-somethings in their youth, and they can live out their lives into old age in joy and bountiful (heh) love together... Not deprived, but as secure as possible, without the threat looming over them like it has for so long these past decades...

That... THAT is humanity at it's most potent. So flawed, fragile, torn and imperfect... and so very, very beautiful. I could be reminded of that facet of human nature by anyone, and never ever feel deprived, because it fills my heart and my soul with such rightness to know that at our most fallible, we are at our most wonderful - just like Barda in that very scene. And no, that scene is not derivative at all - it is very true, and honest, and original because you put your own heart into it; into understanding these characters you did not create, but evidently love all the same. And I - though I have to go to bed now, priorities and such - cannot wait to read the final part of it all (nor any stories that might or might not follow on).

Gods-SPEED!

(PS: The sink returns, once again! D)
5/7/2015 c5 9PJ Blindclown
So, finally, I review...

I enjoyed how Jasmine took control and basically got them all set for their journey, and of course, I loved seeing it from her perspective.

I also loved that backstory about the dragon's mate, it was a really touching piece of creativity that fitted so well into this story.
Keep it up,
PJ
5/1/2015 c5 30KM2000
Yay, you finished! Congratulations! :D When I think... my own chapters (not to mention multi-chapter stories) are short compared to yours. How do you manage to make them so long?
Anyway, I've known the joy of using words from the novel but from another character's point of view. It certainly helps when you're stuck in a rut and want to write something quickly. I had to use them three times in two chapters, once when writing up Endon's POV of the quest revelation scene in Forests of Silence, again when writing up Endon's POV of his meeting with Fallow (when Lief spies on them as a spirit) and finally during the final battle in Return to Del, when everyone's at the Place of Punishment waiting to die. I love being able to use words from the novel then- it saves me having to type some. :)

I haven't actually read all of this last chapter- I haven't had time yet-but what I've read I've enjoyed. I especially love the ending. It's so fitting, and slightly tearjerking. ;) It's great when an author just nails that memorable, tearjerker ending that always makes me feel really really reflective, elated, happy, sad... basically makes me feel that feeling of finality, but in a good way. Like it feels right somehow. The end of Return to Del made me feel that way, and so does your ending. So thanks for that. :)

I admit I wasn't originally interested in this story, but I got into it quickly after reading the third chapter. I'm kind of sad that it's finished now, for some reason- it probably has something to do with the lovely bittersweet ending. I would have kept track of your updates better, except I was too busy with university studies and I think I forgot to favorite/follow this fic because I never got any update alerts for it. Oh, well... I have ended up loving your story, and it's helped me like Lindal/Barda better and understand how they could have gone from sniping at each other to wedding vows. Actually, I never cared for Barda much at all until I started reading this fic and seeing posts on the forum about him. Not that I didn't like him- I just thought he was a tad uninteresting compared to Doom, Jasmine, Sharn, etc. Now I think he's kind of growing on me. ;)

So, thanks for writing this whopper of a story, because I did end up enjoying it, happily enough.

And congratulations on finally finishing! :D *throws confetti*
3/30/2015 c4 9PJ Blindclown
This was brilliant, particularly the first scene, you know how much I love Lief and Jasmine. I wonder what they're going to get up to on that hill? Will we find out in the next chapter? I hope so!

I also loved Lindal's breakdown, because it seems quite believable that she would deal with it in that way. I can't imagine she'd just let him go, especially since they spent the week "cleaning the house".
I don't really know what else I can say, only maybe you could just end it up at the next chapter, and then reunite them later...
PJ
3/8/2015 c3 30KM2000
Okay, it's been over a month and I just noticed this latest chapter. I've been looking forward to it so much and I've only just remembered to check for an update... I don't know what got into me. :)

Anyway, this chapter was amazing! I loved the big revelation about Doom/Jarred being Barda's cousin, and found Lindal's reaction to it so funny. And I admit that I almost cried when Barda was telling the story of how Jarred came to be Endon's companion and told of how Prandine ordered Min never to reveal her relationship with Jarred because he wanted Jarred to feel alone and friendless... :'( It made me hate Prandine even more. Poor Jarred! What on earth did he do that made Prandine be so hateful toward him so much?

The only thing I had a small problem with was the spelling of 'sixteen' as '16' in the story. It's a big personal pet peeve of mine, because 1) It always just looks so bad (in my opinion) and 2) It smacks of laziness and just makes the story look less good than it really is. I've seen it happen in wikis too and it just makes me cringe to see it. What's wrong with writing the numbers in actual words instead of digits?

Sorry, that's my rant over. :D

I do love your latest chapter and can't wait for the next one. Though I think this will be my favorite chapter in the fic. I love reading about dangerous secrets and anything that includes Jarred, Endon, Sharn and Anna and their dark and troubled past, and I was squeeing all throughout this chapter at every mention of Doom and finally getting to read about Barda's big family secret.

Well done! :)
2/23/2015 c3 2Caellach Tiger Eye
Ah, crud... I am so, SO sorry for the delay! I really did want to finish this chapter a long while ago, but I kept getting distracted - too many other fics in other fandoms, too little time! Sorry... Thankfully, I was well-refreshed upon simply reading the one chapter - all the important aspects came back to me, and I'm now ready again.

OK... I was told, by PJ, that there would be a lot of innuendo in this fic. As in, a LOT. And... while I didn't exactly read into it every few paragraphs like she was making it sound - save for the analogy of "dancing", of course - I did come up with a few of my own. Fascinatingly, she had to point out one to me - Lief's Freudian Slip about how "hard - I mean difficult - it can get" - which despite being a MAN I didn't notice... That said, I was fascinated by the last bit of his frustrated complaint - that it is "exhausting". ;D Brilliant - absolutely brilliant!

As for the sink at the end... I wonder if it occured to Barda that it could be "danced" upon. *cackles maniacally* I suppose that is a tretch, but... I dunno, my mind has strangely become very DIRTY these past few years; I guess that I needed to read SOMETHING into that recurrent joke; especially since Barda mockingly asking it to dance was GOLD by that point, turning his own faux pas unto himself.

And also, Lief not understanding why Jasmine drinks the wine... drinking it NOT because it tastes good, but because it FEELS good...? And Lief as a man not understanding that, which Barda has to explain as an "I suppose that is why it's done"? Do you have ANY idea what you're doing to me?! Obviously, the fact that the woman was the one DRINKING the wine, and Lief not getting it... could be an odd innuendo for something else, no? D

And ALSO, also... this was a really, REALLY bad one, but I found the fact that Lief was offended by Jasmine picking such a cheap wine to drown her frustrations and hurt to be... suspect. It seemed like Jasmine was hiring herself (or rather, BOTH of them) a cheap prostitute, and Lief was offended that she couldn't at the least use a BETTER one, because it makes him feel cheated on with one that isn't even worth it for either the taste nor the time... Lest we forget, also, the phallic nature of the wine bottle's shape...

... Um. Ahem... That's about it for now. I'll, um - I'll get onto the more serious material, here... :%*

Anyway... I have to say that I continue to enjoy the way you write Barda and Lindal's chemistry; something we only have second-hand knowledge of in the books, yet feels so right. The fact of how these two seem to appreciate each other really shoots out and stands on its own: the first scene from Barda's POV has him mentioning to Lief just how women are so mysterious because men are predictable, and how he was offended by this as a youth but now just accepts it because it's the truth, and he actually appreciates it; then later, we have Lindal and her friend Kate discussing him and men in general, and Lindal realises that in many ways despite his conduct, Barda IS in many ways a typical man... and realising that it just adds to him as a person and makes her love him more. It's a really nice insight into how their minds are not in synch, and yet they resonate without even realising it; they appreciate the things which they are different on, just as they appreciate the ways they can relate to each other more straight-forwardly. Definitely a fundamental thing to a healthy relationship, especially when these faults are not going to be detrimental or UN-healthy - Barda is loyal and considerate despite being "boorish", and Lindal is very much respectful of his differences to her (not just gender values - both inherent and ingrained culturally - but also on his views). The discussion about Doom is a fascinating look at this - they can freely discuss their issues with him and how he affected them, yet they know when to stop and move onto something different...

Speaking of which, the backstory you invented really fascinated me - while also making sense, canon or no. Given how little we know of Jarred's past and family (besides his immediate family and friendship with Endon), it makes sense that we have some mysteries to wonder about. And considering how Min is so important to all three men in her own way... yes, I can buy it. It also adds quite a fascinating angle to his relationships with all of them - building a more genuine bond with Endon and Sharn over the years (one not broken even by the revelation of who they truly were), a sort of uncomfortable understanding with Doom, and the kids... It makes why he's so protective of Lief initially a rather curious bonus, especially when you add in Jasmine who he bonds with BEFORE knowing she is his actual biological relative... And it adds to it. Not to mention, the fact that Barda is so considerate of how much these people are dealing with WITHOUT the reveal, and how he's able to tell Lindal who will carry this for him... of course this shows even better how well they hold themselves up together; just like a truly important bond SHOULD work!

(NB: For the record, while I guess Lindal isn't strictly MEANT to be precise about it and is more "wow, this is both messed-up and complicated... Well, I'm quite sure that the actual relation would be "first cousin once removed", in this case. Jasmine and Lief's kids, meanwhile, would be Barda's first-cousins-TWICE-removed; and so on... A second cousin would be Jasmine's relationship to Barda's own children; Barda's grandchildren, meanwhile, would be second cousins-once-removed to Anna/Jarred/Endon, and also TWICE removed to Jasmine herself; Anna/Jarred/Endon would have kids who are third cousins to Barda's grandbabies, too, and so on. I understand why it would be frustrating, though - it's a generational thing, and it took me some time (and reading "A Song of Ice and Fire", and related REAL historical material) to understand it better.) ;)

Regarding Lief and Jasmine, I like the way you handled them. The discussion about women in general - and how hard to understand they seem to be for men - aside, it's also good to see these two explaining how these things work for them. Lief helps Barda to understand why the duplicity hurt them - they needed him as an example and he's going counter to what they've been taught about morality. But the frankness he gives to Lief - about the physical aspect as well as the relationship's emotional attributes - was really refreshing, especially given that in a way he WAS their father-figure during the journey and knows them so well... It was a nice way to expand on basically ALL the bonds in its own way (even if Jasmine was drunk and not here much this chapter), and it gave me the FEELS big time - thank you so much. )

The last scene was also a wonderful way to wrap up the day for them, and bring it all together for the moment (though of course there is still more). The self-reflections, the gift Barda got her, the awareness of how their time together is coming to a close and they might, just MIGHT never have it again in three days time... Wow. And I must reserve a sympathetic flinch for Doran - his fate turned out much worse that they could have imagined, and knowing that makes it rough to think about how Del thought he was a loon, and how those who appreciate him in Broome (despite their wariness of dragons in general, while he was fascinated by them) have no idea and think he's in the afterlife watching over them when really... *winces*

All-in-all, I continue to be impressed by how well this story has been woven together - all the more so because you did originally intend it just as a one-shot, yet it grew in the telling without EVER ringing false. For someone working in another writer's personal sandbox, that is NOT an easy feat...

Gods-SPEED!

* PJ also taught me that one - I didn't know how to make an "embarrassed" emoticon, so she told me what's used for it... yeah.
2/5/2015 c2 Caellach Tiger Eye
This came a bit later than I'd originally intended... sorry for the delay.

Let me start off by commending you on the tasteful way you've been incorporating humour, as a whole, into this story. I mean, you seem to have a true talent for making it come across in a very natural and realistic way - a part of interaction and everyday life which reads true to how people might actually interact based on these circumstances. The sink running joke feels like the sort of thing many people would do, that light-hearted teasing (and points for the hilarity - and ingenuity - of how Barda and Lindal segue into a believable discussion that simply deepened their dynamic and chemistry); the overall feel just comes off as very true to me. The pancakes scene is also wonderful for the levity it creates - an atmosphere of balance later because they cancel each other out without invalidating themselves (so not too much humour, not too much drama).

The use of anime characteristics also deserves some credit too, because you strike the right balance in using some of those sillier traits yet never go over-the-top with them (not that you can with Lindal since we've not seen her, but with Lief and Jasmine it only adds to their dynamic); I'm not a fan of the anime honestly, it comes off as an overtly light adaptation with much of the deeper themes being lost and muddled, and I simply can't watch it without cringing. Whatever your opinion of it in general though (and even if it's different to mine), I can't help commending you for taking the good traits of the anime and making them work with your story - while the characters are a bit different from the books as a result, it's not in a bad way as it still resonates with their canon overall (and it fits with the story, more importantly). Giving you a unique flavour to the overall story, and adding to the overall balance since it contrasts... effectively with the heavier themes of the chapter (and the story in general, but mostly for this part here), it helps set it apart from canon somewhat but in a good way (and the characterisations of Lief and Jasmine almost feel like your OWN unique canon, albeit not utterly - they just are, I guess).

I'm also impressed with your potent take on Lindal's unexplored backstory - it really feels like something Rodda might have written, but it's still YOURS just the same. It really does an impressive job of informing Lindal's character overall, showing both how she's such a bright person and yet also emphasising the more serious side to her and the grief she carries (though we don't see it); losing your friends like that would change anyone, and it makes sense that such an experience would inform her interactions in canon (including the famed first meeting). It ties quite nicely into her backstory with Doom, with how Dain was able to infiltrate them so effectively and how Doom let his guard down (making him ever more wary...:(), and even the tragedy of the guilt she felt for her mother's death. I was surprised at just how strongly you made me feel this story, how real it became...

The story somewhat slows in pace here, but effectively so - if the first chapter covered 5 out of 10 days, it did so more because the parts we didn't see weren't necessary to be shown; a good balance of showing with telling, as you gave us some information about their bonding yet spent the onscreen time developing it by showing it. This continues here as well: we get onscreen the interactions necessary, which includes the story about Lindal's past (being SHOWN via being TOLD, so we envision it so well) and her and Barda's interactions with the younger couple; it creates the contrast in maturity and shows how differently (yet in many ways, similarly) that the two pairings handle things/interact as a whole...

This one seems a bit messy I think, and I ran my mouth some but... I think I managed to make an effective enough point in what I wished to say. Let me know if anything needs clarification or if you'd like more critique in certain areas that I might have blundered on (I promise to do my best!)

Take care and good luck.

Gods-SPEED!
1/31/2015 c1 Caellach Tiger Eye
It seems that, along with most all of this fandom, I have been remiss in not finding and reading this story sooner... Not that DQ is a fandom I frequent too often, but sometimes there are gems like this that even my snobbishly specified tastes find themselves bending towards. And with much of the modern fandom constructed haphazardly of anime fans (man of whom have little appreciation for the depth and richness of the original books), people like you deserve all the attention they get.

Especially since we get very little in the way of stories featuring Barda, and even less featuring Lindal - that pairing was strangely very satisfying even in the original books, despite limited on-page exposure. Which makes it all the sadder that it, of course, gets little focus in stories - an understandable thing yet a tragic one. But a tale like this is showing just why it works, just HOW it works... you bring the characters to life very deeply, as individuals just as much as with their coupling. You show how they interact so positively with each other and how strong the chemistry is right from the get-go; you take a pairing that needs to develop within a matter of days, and make it work. Even with canon behind it, not everyone would be as successful in doing that as you are, and it just shows that you have a good feel for the story you're trying to tell, for the characters you've temporarily adopted. It doesn't hurt that you have, albeit indirectly and subtly, done your part in keeping Broome itself alive - the setting is neatly tied into Lindal and her development as a person, and through her it ties into Barda as he interacts with her and, steadily, into their blossoming relationship as they quickly fall in love, and as he finally hits the revelation of this fact.

I love the title. It's nothing special, just a very clever phrase, but... well, there is just something highly tasteful about it. It's more original than most of the cliched and repetitive styled ones most writers here use, and it seems to simply capture the tone you are going for - your own unique take on telling a story within the DQ setting. Your voice stands out in the way you don't waste words; despite even a single chapter being quite prosaic, you make it all count when many would either tell us more than necessary or use brevity. Everything has its unique benefits, and it's good to see that you have this one down pat - we could use more of it in general, not simply here in DQ. The blend is... impressive. Rare, and perhaps all the more effective for it because it's a rarity we could use more of.

I will have to continue reading and seeing how this story develops further. If your pacing has been as effective as it is now, I can only imagine how it flows through the remainder of this story.

Gods-SPEED!
1/29/2015 c3 Annie Bogoni
Aaw, I didn't know you had the nationalities shown in the stats, you uncovered me too quickly. No fun. XD I don't have an account but now I felt compelled to review. I hope there are other Brazilians reading this though.
First, I would like to thank you for writing about Barda and Lindal, because they're my favorites and there isn't enough of them out there. Second, I can totally see this happening and it just fills me with joy, specially about Barda getting a bit looser with his feelings. The story itself is just wonderful.
Keep up the great work! :)
1/29/2015 c3 9PJ Blindclown
Another brilliant one from you!

Oh, that conversation between Lief and Barda lived up to my expectations and more... And all those innuendos... "Cleaning the house," indeed!
I don't know that there's really much more I can say, apart from the fact that Barda and Doom being related does kind of make sense. I mean, there was only a certain number of servants and noblefolk in the palace when it was shut out to the people for good, so there would've had to have been some inbreeding going on.
Keep it up,
PJ
1/8/2015 c2 PJ Blindclown
I had a lot of fun reading this, and even spotted the anime and three doors references. I never really thought to look back on Lindal's history, but now, you've given me reason to do so.
You've done well with both the couples here, they were cute, but also believable. This was almost certainly worth the wait, but now, I'm anxious for the next chapter! :)
Keep it Up,
PJ
12/2/2014 c1 PJ Blindclown
Haha, yeah, it did. :) It was also rather, educational? I think that's the right word here. I agree that Barda and Lindal did indeed have something going on when they spent all that time in Broome, and I think we were thinking along the same lines. After all, as you point out many times in this story, Lief and Jasmine are still quite young, and so compared to Barda and Lindal, they'd still be very awkward about... Things, whereas Barda and Lindal got over most of the awkward teenage fumbling and whatnot long ago. BTW, what exactly were Lief and Jasmine doing on that couch? Will we find out next chapter? And what was the one dance that Jasmine knew?
Just on Lief and Jasmine, I think they don't act so much like teenagers in the books because back then, there really were no such things as teenagers. You were a child, then an adult, and that was it. I also think though that they both had to grow up pretty fast, with Lief being a street kid and Jasmine having her parents taken away so young.

Another question. Aren't flagons like, dirty great jug things? I can deffenetly picture Barda and Lindal drinking ale out of flagons, but generally, I don't think it's really a done thing. But this is your story, and you can do what you want.
I can't wait to see what happens next!
PJ

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