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An Update on A Hollow Crown, and Bleach stories, and just fanfiction in general

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Hello, everyone who reads this, love you guys, but I have some bad news fortunately followed by good news. The bad news is that in this form, A Hollow Crown is officially discontinued :(. If you are mad and tempted to shut this window, I advise you hold off until the end of at least the next few paragraphs. I had a ton of fun writing it, and I hope you guys had a ton of fun reading it, but in hindsight I'm beginning to realize that it was written in haste, and subsequently not very well thought through. I'd like to think that I've grown as a writer, but after a recent re-read, my writing itself hasn't gotten better (I was very surprised at this, trust me) but my capacity, I guess, to imagine stories and conflicts has. I read more, and saw more and obviously then had more themes to draw on when I write.

I had a similar experience with my Fairy Tail story, and a re-work of that is up and running, and so far I'm pretty proud of it. So, my first thought was to re-write this story, just making it more concise and clear and maybe changing up some characters like I had with Enchant.

This went very well, at first, until brilliant friend of mine began bashing the Vandenreich, and it eventually spiraled into us thinking of a complete overhaul for Bleach, which for now I'm calling Project Machinations. This overhaul is in the end what I decided to focus on, rather than a re-write of A Hollow Crown for the following reasons 1) I like the idea more, 2) It's much more encompassing, and an overall more immersive story, 3) A lot of the reworked/original characters fit very well into this overhaul, and finally 4) It'll be much better.

The good news is that the overhaul is just stepping out of its infancy, and beginning to walk; characters and concepts are being finalized while the plot points are slowly but surely being meshed out. A couple of sneak peeks are at the end!

So you may be wondering, 'what does this overhaul entail, and why would that be better than A Hollow Crown, which is pretty much already a canon OC Insertion/Overhaul?' Well, when I say overhaul, I really mean it. The story takes place 113 years after the Winter War, and while there is a significant canon presence, the conflicts and characters are almost entirely new to the Bleach universe. I don't want to give stuff away, but the Vandenreich has been completely reworked, as well as the politics of the Soul Society...Hueco Mundo will have to remain a surprise, though. Or not really a surprise, since its in the clipping below but, eh.

And here are some sneak peeks to what I have so far...

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The Dreams of Elsa Chaira

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A kaleidoscope of colors, some she'd never imagined before, spun around and enveloped her vision, giving the illusion that she was moving as one with the light. She had no feeling, or perception other than her sight; the rest of her body seemed lost in the void beyond this realm of spinning luminescence. The light wasn't knitted together perfectly, it seemed.

She couldn't tell how often, as time didn't seem of relevance in this world, but the strands of colored light would part, and she would glimpse snatches of the worlds beyond.

At one glance, outside seemed a rocky chasm, and others and ice filled basin. Other times it was a fantastic feudal city, where people walked about in black robes. The shinigami and their callous justice, the reason for their arrogance. Still others showed it as a desert in eternal twilight where monsters in white masks fought terrible, bloody battles. Her home, the sand and the darkness that were as much a part of her as the red blood.

Each vision was tugging her towards it, pulling her from somewhere around her heart. She found that right above her breasts was a chain, that she seemed to be leading up, out of her view. The tug got stronger, and she realized something was pulling her upwards.

And then she was rushing up far away from the warmth of color, and up into a world of pure black with no distinctions. There were bodies all around her, hung from the same chains. The glowed from within, in a kaleidoscope of pulsing reiryoku. Her eyes followed the chains up. They were connected to the fingertips of huge hand, which would occasionally twitch, and more bodies would jerk up into its dark world. Above that was a white mask, the owner of the hand. Its eyes, one hazel and the other electric blue sense her gaze and she can tell it grins.

"They could not erase me," the voice hisses, the sound coiling around her ribs and shaking her. "They, my arrogant brothers, they the false kings of this world. Who are you?"

Elsa Chaira. That's who the fuck I am. But her words don't come. The sound of this things voice is suppressing her own.

It wheezes out a laugh. "Who are you to speak to me?"

Now she's struggling to break the chain, but she can't move. Her great strength is nowhere to be found. Then she is flying, up to the mask to look it in the eyes. Awful power washes over her, sending shuddering stillness ripping out from her heart to her toes and fingers. It's blue eye flashes, and its voice booms, "WHO ARE YOU?"

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Elsa Chaira woke, with her eyes burning with tears and her body slick with sweat. She threw of her blanket, and spat a long string of curses. She rubbed her temples, and absentmindedly tried to tame her mane of blonde hair. She blinked, and felt around her for her her water sac and drained it in two gulps. Hollows usually don't dream, but she did. This wasn't the first time she'd had this kind of dream, but it was the first time it was that real. It was the first time, in a long time that she'd cried and it unnerved her.

"I could use a walk," she murmured to herself. But she just sat there, staring at the sandstone walls for a few minutes, until the room became much too small. Elsa stood, and toweled off the sweat. She pulled on her pants, and wrapped up her bust but decided to skip her jacket. Quietly, she left her room, and closed the door behind her. She glanced down the hall, and saw that the door to Starrk and Lilynette's room was slightly ajar. A detour, it seemed was necessary.

She followed the stairs up to the roof, temporarily forgetting about her walk. There, sitting in the moonlight as per habit, was Coyote Starrk. Elsa strode over and sat down next to him. She followed his gaze; the small city they were in spread out in front of them, all oblong and rounded square buildings of sandstone and golden glowing reiryoku lanterns.

"It's nice here," Elsa said softly, "I wouldn't mind staying here for a while."

"I wouldn't either, but I hear some warlords are coming up from the south," Starrk responds through a yawn, but Elsa can tell its fake; his eyes are sharp, and he's worried. If warlords are coming from the south, that means it won't be long until Acoat Emyr himself is sweeping through this region.

"I had a dream again."

He was silent. Listening.

"It was more like a nightmare, really, some cheeky bastard in a mask had me chained up, and..." She trailed off, because remembering that helpless feeling tied a knot in her tongue. She wants to say more but the words don't come.

"I used to have dreams, too," he said, unexpectedly placing a hand on her shoulder. "They were bad at the time, but they'll pass."

She shook her head. She wanted them past now, but she knew Starrk's advice was good. After a long moment of silence, he stretched out and laid back with his head turned to the crescent moon. Elsa mirrored him. She closed her eyes, trying to shake that strange ache from her extremities.

"We'll leave by new moon."

Elsa smirked, "Are you sure? I think everyone wants to be somewhere for the Luna Festival." She almost laughed, "Rique finally has sonnet he's ready to perform in front of a crowd."

"He'll chicken out five minutes beforehand," Starrk says after a moment, and Elsa can hear a small smile. It fades into his next sentence, "I've got a bad feeling."

"About what?"

"I dunno," he said with a frown, "Everything. I think we should get going as soon as possible. If everyone wants to stay for the festival fine, but we're leaving right after."

If it were anyone else, Elsa might have scoffed or laughed. Elsa knew she was strong, much stronger than almost anyone, but Stark was even stronger than her. She may provide the currency for their little group, but all of them looked to Starrk for leadership and protection. And most of the time, the lazy bastard would tell them to leave him alone, because he was napping. But when no one was around, he worried about all of them. They were his family, after all.

"Bad stuff has happened to us before, Starrk," she said. This time it was her turn to comfort him, "Nothing has taken us down yet, you know why?"

"Because the pack is strongest together," he said with a half grin. Suddenly Elsa was laughing, and even Starrk gave a chuckle. He raised his fist, and she bumped hers against his.

Together they all but shouted, "To the pack!"

. . .

Yup :). The character you just caught a glimpse of was Elsa Chaira, an arrancar, bounty hunter and all around cheeky bastard (note: she has a penchant for the word bastard). She's one of three main character of the Machinations storylines (an arrancar, a shinigami and a quincy, just to let you know) and as you can surmise, her quests will take her through the tumultuous kingdom of Hueco Mundo, which has changed dramatically in the past 113 years. So, um, who is Acoat Emyr? Warlords? Starrk and Lilynette are alive? What the fuck, isn't Hueco Mundo just a bunch of hollows killing each other? Some, uh, questions for thought, if I may.

If you have any further questions or concerns about anything feel free to pm me, and we can chat. I'd be happy to share more of what I have, all you have to do is ask! Once again, I'm sorry that I'm discontinuing the story, but I'm really not sorry because it's getting a replacement that will make you and me and everyone much happier, and we all want to be happy. So, until further developments arise, I'll catch you later.

-SA (I think I've changed my pen name since I've written this last...)

Also, this period spacing style is soooo much sexier than the ff . net lines, just saying.