The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 22: Alone in the Dark
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 8:16 pm 
DMW, wonderful, as always.



I’m with Mary, the description of his withered hand caressing the heart, ycch, gross (not quite as articulate as Mary, but I think you get the idea) – serious shivers of revulsion – ‘caress’ is so incongruous with his disgusting character.



Powerful images, powerful words come to mind to best describe this update. I’m glad that Willow understands that “love was more than adoration.” I had the sense, when reading this section that Willow finally found Tara, not in spells or books, or in the grave, she found her in her heart – where she’d always been. Further understanding: "Love was more than mere adoration. You couldn't create love with a spell; you had to make it anew every day with your heart".



I am curious. Since you introduced Tara L to the story, you have used “three” to highlight significant themes (who am I, I love you, three small words etc); I was quite surprised when Tara said, “Do you trust me?” It was quite a break. I had to read the sentence twice, at first, I thought it was Amy, and wondered why Amy would ever think Willow would trust her, as I said, curious. Perhaps this is a way to demonstrate a break from the previous cycles of mistrust and misunderstanding?? I wasn't expecting Tara to physically be there with Willow, I had expected a telepathic link - as always, your plot twists pleasantly surprise me (well ok, some surprises weren't so pleaseant lol) .



Though, there’s still a paradox here. Dark magic is ‘bad’” (freeing herself from the last taints of darkness) but without it would Willow have found Tara? The chapter alludes to her beginnings, and they weren’t pretty. She has walked in shadow and in darkness for a lifetime,- but again with the end justifying the means? Just something I was thinking as I read this. Thinking back to the beginning, Willow wasn’t exactly asking nicely for the stone (whose name I have shamefully forgotten and am too lazy to go look up) before she cried “show me soul of Tara Maclay.”



Two questions: 1) Amy and 2) cross bolt? (Master’s toast, the stone has rejected him – but it might like Amy)



Looking forward to more.



Cheers!!

Patches



ETA: Just saw your post - TC really bothered me, I wanted to slap him about the head and shoulders and say "oh for f**k sakes, get over yourself." But, Black Company - I loved those stories, and am sad they went out of print. Now that you tell us, I say "ah ha!" - you keep good company. (the pun was accidental, but I think I'll leave it anyway)



You know I've heard about people like me. But I never made the connection. They walk one road to set them free, And find they've gone the wrong direction. But there's no need for turning back 'cause all roads lead to where I stand. And I believe I'll walk them all No matter what I may have planned

Edited by: Patches at: 2/10/03 7:37:16 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 22: Alone in the Dark
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 9:37 pm 
Is it so wrong to find every part better than the last? I can't help it, this story just gets better and better ... sucking me into the vortex.



Great description of Willow's fight against the Master and the Heart's temptation. I liked how Willow understood that she wouldn't have been strong enough to thwart that future if she gave into the Heart.



And just when I get to an update the day you post, I'm stuck on a cliffhanger. I'm hanging on the edge of my seat yet again.



--celia



---------------------------------

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.



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 Post subject: Re: Influences
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 11:08 pm 


Quote:
In any case, I'm going to be doing magic very differently in my next story.




Next story? Woo hoo!



Oh, yes, I enjoyed the new part of the Dark Rose as well. Was wondering when Tara would show up. Really wondering what she has in mind. I'm sure they'll defeat the Master, but then there's Amy to look forward to.



I also liked the way you got Willow to finally remove her protections. I wasn't really sure how you were going to do that. On the one hand, Tara would not want Willow to be using dark magic, but on the other hand, it was something already in place and it protected Willow, so I didn't really see Tara forcing the issue.



Looking forward to the rest of this chapter!



Yana



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 Post subject: Re: Influences
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 12:53 am 
Wow! And another cliffhanger again!



Finally Willow decided to come out of the darkness and embrace the light!:party

And Tara being there for her!!!

Please hurry with the next update!!!



Stef :p



Willow: Hey, clothes!

Tara: Better not get used to 'em.

Willow: Yes ma'm



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 22: Alone in the Dark
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 3:10 am 
DMW, another amazing update! I love how descriptive your writing is, it truly allowed me to picture Willow's battle with Master JR in my head (really places the reader amongst the action).



You also made the images of what the Heart could offer Willow so palpable (quite chilling) to me, and what struck a chord was Willow thinking, ("With it's help, she could destroy the Master with ease. It would become her heart."). Now taking into context the "power" Willow could wield with the Heart as her instrument, and seeing "mindless adoration" of her friends (especially of Tara) with her thinking, ("Love was more than mere adoration. You couldn't create love with a spell; you had to make it anew every day with your heart. Love was worth fighting for."), I found this quite illuminating. There is no doubt that Willow loves Tara, but by desperately clinging to the past she hasn't be able to truly listen to her heart (the sense that she didn't quite believe there was hope, a future). However, thanks to some help (ie her encounter with the Spectre of Buffy), the "cloud" from her vision has been removed allowing her to truly "see" (ie she hasn't reached the "point of no return", she still has a choice).



Thus, by truly "letting go" (removing her "protective shield" both literally and figuratively), she now has the faith to listen to what her heart is telling her (ie the message of let love lead the way). And even though Willow thinks her "sacrifice" is the end of her life, by severing ties to the past her heart is now fully open, allowing herself the freedom to truly live (there is indeed hope, a future, and that she now needs to define herself in the memories/moments yet to be created). With this in mind, I loved Tara saying at the end ("Do you trust me?"). Both have in a sense been ruled by their fears/doubts, which has created a "barrier" from openly communicating with each other. However, now with W&T able to truly "see", I think the lesson each has learned (with the angst they have endured) is that the "key" to overcoming their obstacles is to place trust in each other (that they are stronger together acting as a team than apart, where they can lean on each other for strength/support). Really the end was quite a "cliffhanger", and I so can't wait to see what happens next!



Vicki



Edited by: VampNo12  at: 2/12/03 3:37:48 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Influences
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 9:14 am 
It was so good to see the return of noble Willow, refusing the Heart's offer. Her vision of the possible future was chilling; a lesser person (for this read Amy) would probably have jumped at the opportunity.



This is such a compelling story, I'm really looking forward to more from you. Thanks.

I could paint you in the dark, 'cause I've studied you with hunger like a work of art
Indigo Girls

Edited by: mollyig  at: 2/11/03 8:17:03 am


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 22: Alone in the Dark
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 2:34 pm 
I do love that chapter, that moment when Willow realizes she can let the shroud of her dark magicks go is so powerful and so important. To me, it's not just dark magicks that she's giving up there but the death, the sorrow, the despair that she's worn like her leather all those years.



And that she does it before she knows that Tara is there, before she knows for certain that Tara will be coming back to her...well, it's such an important affirmation for her to make. To decide to live in the light, for herself. I know that she does it partly for Tara (both as a gift, a sacrifice and as a tribute), but she does it on her own. And that is critical because she, like Tara, like anyone, can only be part of a Two when she is fully her own One. If you know what I mean.



Love it.



And yikes, I have a chapter to go read, don't I? :)

"Just call me the computer whisperer."-- Willow



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 Post subject: Re: Influences
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:25 pm 
Excellent!! But yet another cliffhanger??



That's okay, it was worth it. Your vision you gave Willow to allow her to see just what the heart offered was so good. I could just imagine the scene.



And of course, Tara showing up, after Willow had decided to become the sacrifice!!



:whistle Trying to be patient, however you make it next to impossible.

BV





"In front of total strangers won't you kiss me, Flowers for no reason but you miss me - OOH, I wanna be in love"Melissa Etheridge



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 22: Alone in the Dark
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 7:29 pm 
Quote:
Is it so wrong to find every part better than the last?




No, Celia. I'm right there with you.

Amazing update! :clap I love the way you describe the magic fights! I can see them so clear in my mind!

And that last line was... wow! I wasn't expecting it at all! Where did she come from???



Still very, very worried about the rat and the magic bow...



Did you just mention "next story"??? Wooo-hooo!!!! :bounce :bounce :bounce

--------------------------
"She had tasted Willow on her tongue, and she had worn Willow on her skin. There wasn't a shower in the world that could have washed that away." (Terra Firma, by Tulipp)



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 Post subject: Re: Influences
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 5:09 pm 
Hello Kittens-



I love writing W/T fanfiction, all the phases of it. I had several hours this afternoon set aside for working on my next chapter. Then I started on page one of this fic. I'll be leaving soon to pick up my wife at her work place. The rest of the day has disappeared into this haunting piece.



The only thing I regret is waiting for the next chapter.



Thank you very much for a February afternoon well spent.



Jixer



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 Post subject: Chapter 22 replies
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2003 5:50 pm 
Chapter 23, "Together in the Light," will be up tomorrow.



And now, here's some feedback to your feedback. Hmmm ... is that metafeedback?





JustSkipIt: It is the Heart of Corruption; seeing the good in people is not something within its capabilities. I'm glad you liked Willow's big step towards giving up the darkness, but it's worth pointing out she still tried to access the dark magicks earlier in this chapter. There won't be any sudden aging, but Willow will resume aging normally. I'm happy you enjoyed the vocabulary. Coruscation's always been one of my favorite words.



Patches: I'm glad the Master's caress of the Heart was disturbing. He loves it and can't let it go even as it's destroying him. He wants its power too badly to really see and understand the harm it's causing him.



I love how you see Willow finding Tara in her heart. That's so right and beautiful.



I used the words "Do you trust me?" as those were the words Willow used when she cast that first spell with Tara L. I wanted to return to that moment of their first joining for their rejoining here.



tiredsoul: It's not at all wrong, and I hope it does keep getting better as that means I learned something while writing this. And I promise you no cliffhangers for tomorrow.



yana: Thanks so much for the enthusiasm. Yes, definitely a next story, and I really need to stop working on my outline of it so I can get the next chapter of this one out!



deixs: Willow's reaching for the light. Almost there.



VampNo12: As always, your words reach right to the heart of the matter. (Sorry for the pun.) You explain it all so well. Willow hasn't listened to her heart since Tara's death so it's been a difficult journey for her to do that again and she's needed some help along the way.



mollyig: You're right, Amy would've jumped at the Heart's offer. Hmmm ... what will they do with the Heart if they can take it from the Master anyway?



Tulipp: Your insight into Willow's sacrifice is wonderful. Having to be a One before you can be a Two is very true, and that is what I wanted to express in this chapter as Tara and Willow herself could never trust her giving up the darkness if she did it just for Tara.



Hey, you've got your Willow "I can eat you with a spoon, Tara" avatar back, and a new sig quote!



barnabasvamp: Thanks. I thought I was being so nice by making this not a cliffhanger as Tara shows up to save Willow in the last line, but I guess I'm evil after all. (-;



sheila wt: I'm glad you liked the magickal combat here; there'll be a bit more of that, but things will be different now that Tara's here.



jixer: After enjoying several of your stories, I'm quite excited to see you here. Thank you, and sorry to keep you from you writing. (-;

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 2/13/03 7:33:45 pm


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 Post subject: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2003 3:56 pm 
Title: The Dark Rose - Chapter 23 (Together in the Light)

Author: Dark Magic Willow

Email: darkmagickwillow@yahoo.com

Rating: R, mostly for violence, no explicit sex

Pairing: W/T

Spoilers: All episodes through the end of season 6 though this story takes place 18-19 years after the end of season 6.

Feedback: Yes! Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Summary: Willow and Tara reunite in the cavern of the Master.

Magic Note: Magic, even dark magic, is not addictive in my universe, so there are no withdrawal symptoms and no dark magic dealers. Here Rack was a dark magic teacher who used his students, not a dealer. However, you can use too much magic and you can be corrupted by the power it gives you.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BtVS. All rights lie with the production company,

writers etc.

Acknowledges: To Amanda and Juli, for always being there.





The Dark Rose

Chapter 23: Together in the Light






A familiar voice from behind startled Willow out of her reverie. "Do you trust me?" Tara asked.



Willow turned to see Tara standing behind her like an angel, serene even in midst of the firestorm. Her vision blurred with tears. After she had lost all hope, this happened. She had so many questions to ask Tara, but she had something more important to do first. Willow took Tara's hands in hers and said, "I love you."



Blue eyes met green for the first time.



Tara's heart swelled as she heard those words and stared into eyes she had only seen in her dreams. "I love you," she returned in a soft voice.



Every last vestige of darkness had fled from Willow's eyes. They were a vivid living green as they looked back at Tara, verdant as leaves in the height of summer, sharing nothing with the cold emerald green of the firestorm that raged around the two of them. Tara found Willow's eyes beautiful, even more so than she remembered from her dreams, and as she looked into them she felt her fears fly away as if they had never been.



Just minutes ago, Tara had been so afraid that she would find Willow too late. Images from her visions had flashed through her head as she ran as fast as she could through the cold, dark tunnels, following her sense of Willow's presence. She had seen the moment where the two of them faced the storm of emerald flame together over as she ran. Willow needed her to make it through the fires of the Heart.



Tara's own heart was still pounding painfully and her side ached from running, but she had arrived just in time. Entering the cavern, she had been confronted with a conflagration of such intensity that the air seared her lungs and it felt as if her skin would blacken from the heat. The crackling of the green flames drowned out any other sounds she might have heard.



Then she saw Willow in the center of it all, looking tiny within her silvery shields as she defied the colossal might of the tempest of emerald flame that raged around her. Tara hadn't hesitated. She had run straight into the firestorm. Willow's shields had opened to her, welcoming her and protecting her as if they were her own, letting her walk through the fiery inferno unscathed.



Willow had looked desperate and determined when Tara had first seen her, but the joy that had appeared on her face as she turned and saw Tara was like the sun emerging from behind a cloud. Tara was still dazzled by the brightness of her joy.



She could see in Willow's eyes, so alive and loving now without the inky blackness, that Willow was seeing her at last for who she was and accepted her without reservation. She felt her own heart swell with brightness as she looked into Willow's green eyes, wide with the joy of seeing her. Her flesh felt transparent, the light of her heart shining through unhindered by secrets kept or feelings withheld out of fear. They would talk after this, but her heart was content, knowing the answer to her question at last.



When Willow's green eyes met Tara's blue ones, it felt like she was seeing Tara for the first time. In a way she was. She was seeing Tara as she really was, her vision unclouded by the darkness and fears of the past. Tara was who she was, not simply a reflection of the past, but a person who still shared that past with Willow through some miracle she couldn't explain. Tara's cerulean eyes were as clear as the sky, promising her a future that would be as joyful as her time with Tara in the past had been.



Willow accepted Tara's return as a gift of grace. It was not something she ever could have deserved, but it was a gift that she could accept now and cherish without reservation. She could see in those eyes that Tara was offering her everything. All she could do was to give Tara everything she was in return. It didn't feel like enough, but she would do everything she could to show Tara how much she loved her.



There was magic in the world, and it was more than just spells. It underlay every breath and every thought. Life was a miracle beyond comprehension. Love had overcome time and death to meet her here when she had no hope remaining. Tara embodied that magic. It was there in her eyes and her smile. In every small touch. In every whispered word of devotion.



They embraced, heedless of the inferno surrounding them, and as they kissed, the shimmering shield surrounding them grew effulgent with a brilliant white light. A sea of white energies slowly but surely expanded from the sphere of force, pushing away the gales of emerald fire that surrounded them.



Each time a tongue or flare of flame touched the bright sea, it was simply extinguished. The hurricane of cold flame raged and howled against the growing brightness, but its savage fury could not stop the bright energies that steadily forced the storm back towards its source.



They could feel the power flowing between them, growing stronger as it passed from one witch to the other with each synchronized beat of their hearts. While they hadn't yet had time to talk, they could feel that the barriers between them had fallen. There were no more secrets withheld. There were no more dark magicks blocking the connection between them. The flow of force and magic between them before had been a trickle compared to this unconstrained torrent of feeling and power they shared now. The magic felt effortless as they forced back the corrupt power of the Heart.



They turned as one to look at the growing sea of light, never letting go of each other's hands. The eclat of their magic grew and grew until the icy tempest of emerald might was confined to a small sphere around the Master, who was desperately hurling bolts of green energies to ward off the advance of the white brilliance. His frenzied battling scorched the air with the fiery cold of the Heart's power, but it could not touch the immaculate purity of the white magic that simply accepted the blows without slowing its expansion.



The Master clenched both hands around the Heart, demanding ever more power of it to save himself. The gem's radiance throbbed like the beating of a savage heart, but its master was only capable of channeling a small fraction of its energy.



As he drew more and more power in ever more desperate attempts to ward off his doom, he visibly aged. The weight of corruption stooped him, curving his spine as his vertebrae softened with age. Age and rot gnawed at his bones, twisting his limbs until he could barely move. His remaining eye grew rheumy and his skin became spotted and wrinkled. Even immortal flesh was not immune to the corruption of the Heart.



Patches of skin began falling away, exposing pale bone and rotten tissue underneath, but still he held onto the icy fire of the gem with all his rapidly fading strength as if it would be his salvation. He almost couldn't hold on to the Heart with his gnarled and palsied hands, but with a final shriek of fury he called for the full puissance of the Heart of Corruption.



The Heart answered his call. He screamed silently, his fangs bared in a horrifying grimace, as cold, dead light filled him until it burst forth from his mouth. His flesh became incandescent as the gelid emerald fire consumed him from within. His brightness grew until they could no longer look at him. Then he collapsed into ash, completely consumed by the fires of the Heart.



The great gem fell to the ground by itself, its chain melted away in the final throes of the cataclysm that annihilated its master. It rolled slowly on the floor, its prodigious fury dwindling to mere embers of green inside the stone.



Willow and Tara extended their opposite unclasped hands, each one filled with a brilliant, pure light. Together, they wrapped the Heart in layer after layer of protective spells, forming a cocoon of gossamer magics around it so they could carry it safely home to be removed from this world. The beat of corruption's Heart momentarily stilled, they looked into each other's eyes again and smiled, exhausted but still glowing with the joy of their togetherness.



"How did you find me?" Willow asked when they finally had time for words.



"I followed my heart," Tara said quietly, squeezing Willow's hand for emphasis. She hadn't let go of Willow's hand since she had taken it in hers, and she never wanted to let go of her again.



Willow couldn't help but smile at Tara's response, but then a shadow fell over her face. She wished that she had followed her heart, but she had fled from it only to discover in the depths of the darkness that no amount of running would let you escape from your own heart. Not that she wanted to escape now, but she'd been so afraid before. "Tara, I'm sorry-" she began.



Tara put a gentle finger to Willow's lips, forestalling her apology. She didn't want to lose that joy in Willow's face because of the mistakes of the past. They had both made mistakes in coming to this place in their separate ways, but now they were together, and having learned from the past could finally put it behind them. "I'm sorry too, love," she said. "But let's not make tonight about what we did wrong. We found each other and that's what matters."



Willow instinctively wanted to protest. Her mind had already worked out so many scenarios that were better than what had happened. She had made too many mistakes. Then she looked into the pure love shining forth from Tara's face, and found that the darkness of her worries and self-recrimination could not survive in that light. Tara accepted her, mistakes and all.



"I'll always find you," Willow promised, her smile bright with the joy of that promise fulfilled. Her quest was complete. She had found Tara. Even though she had lost herself in the solitary darkness of her grief for so many long years, she had found Tara once more, and in her Willow had found herself again. Everything had changed, but nothing was lost any longer.



"Ready to go home?" Tara asked, her voice wavering with exhaustion she felt. Her face had a soft glow that hadn't abated, and her eyes shined with openness and trust as she regarded Willow.



"Yes," Willow said simply. But her heart was already home. She was tired though, and this dark cavern wasn't the place to celebrate her reunion with Tara even if its walls were still bright with the purity of their conjoined light. She reached down to pick up the chrysalis of enchantments that held the Heart and smiled up at Tara, "Home sounds perfect."



Hand in hand, they walked out of the darkness together.

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2003 5:16 pm 
Thanks, DMW. I've only come to this thread recently. You portray W/T's connection so vividly, and the action is thrilling.



What a wonderful Valentine's Day present!



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2003 7:20 pm 
DMW:



So many times I've started a response to your story. I've written thoughts on WordPad or scribbled randomly on envelopes and scraps of paper the feelings that your writing has evoked. You get remarkably intelligent feedback though...which can be a bit daunting.:(



If "poetic prose" isn't a too ungainly a contradiction in terms (or just trite) then that's the phrase I'd use to describe your writing.
Quote:
Every last vestige of darkness had fled from Willow's eyes. They were a vivid living green as they looked back at Tara, verdant as leaves in the height of summer.
This is just the most recent of hundreds I could find.



I almost feel guilty - on hearts and flowers day - to bring up something that has worried me from several chapters back:
Quote:
Looking down at her handiwork, Amy smiled. The lengthy process of preparation was finally complete. No shields or protections could save Willow from a spell enclosing her true name. The slightest contact with the bolt would be fatal.



All she had to do was say three small words.
I've been fearful about Amy's crossbow and those last images of the scrying bowl. Maybe with this valentine update I can lay my worries to rest?:pray



TY for a story that has enchanted me through and through...^^^Suse (CLW)



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2003 12:15 am 


I know it's a DMW story when I have to look up word definitions while reading. :)



I like the way Willow has finally gotten her priorities straightened out (telling Tara she loves her right away).



Silly Willow, you'd think she would remember how powerful (from Hush, and probably other times we didn't get to see onscreen) she and Tara could be together. Different Tara now, but the effect is the same.



The destruction of the Master - graphic and disturbing. I like!





Yana



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2003 3:09 am 
Finally they found each other!!! :applause :applause :applause



Do we now get to the *cough* smoochies *cough*?



Stef :p



Willow: Hey, clothes!

Tara: Better not get used to 'em.

Willow: Yes ma'm



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2003 3:29 am 
Hello Kittens-



Cindy Lou Who already has expressed the admiration for your words and the way they sing, sometimes a soaring chorus, sometimes a dirge that wounds the heart. She also touched on the unease the foreshadowing of Amy's greed for power, her hate for Willow and Tara, and those "three small words" brings waiting Kittens.



So I'll just say thanks to Cindy Lou Who and for DMW's wordcraft only BRAVO will do.



Thank you,



Jixer



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2003 3:48 am 
YAY! They are GREEN!!! YES!

Together.. wonderful..

Can we have smootchies now???



Oh, BUT...Amy...Amy's still there and they have no idea...



Insanity

"Nobody messes with my girl!"Tara, Bargaining



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2003 4:29 am 
DMW, simply beautiful! W&T have reached a pivotal moment, where separately they know the "truth", but now they put that knowledge into practice. Thus, by severing ties to the past, (being able to truly "see"), their hearts are fully open (have the faith to listen to the message of let love lead the way). Now there are no more barriers (they can truly communicate), and therefore, can reach their full potential. Or put more simply, W&T finally understand that the "key" is together (in each other they will find the answer), knowing they are stronger together than apart (which was conveyed perfectly with the "power" they generated in defeating the Master). With this in mind, there is indeed hope, (a future), and together they will lead each other to the "light", (not to mention knowing they can lean on each for support, strength).



Really I loved so much about this part. Between Willow not hesitating by saying those "three little words" ("I love you"), each "seeing" the truth (the love) reflected in each others eyes (made all the more poignant by the "vibrancy" of Willow's green eyes), how vivid and palpable you made W&T being able to truly revel in the strength ("power") of their connection (the beauty, joy of this act), while by the same token making me shudder with how well you captured the destruction of the Master (I could so picture everything in my head), to the last line, ("Hand and Hand, they walked out of the darkness together."), greatly moved me. And that last image really conveyed beautifully the sense of the end of one chapter of their life (letting go of the past, vanquishing their inner-demons), and the beginning of a new path forged together in the "light" (a future).



With this in mind, W&T have endured angst, but they have come out stronger (the sense of lessons learned). However, I have a feeling W&T aren't quite out of the woods with the other "shoe to drop" (in the form of a vengeful Amy). Therefore, I look forward to W&T showing that they indeed have learned from this experience, that together they can (and will) overcome obstacles (ie they are a force to be reckoned with). Can't wait for the next part!



Vicki



Edited by: VampNo12  at: 2/15/03 6:06:33 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2003 5:30 am 
Two updates in one week, nice :) Other nice thing about coming in to reply late is that lotsa people have covered the same things I wanted already, gooood :p



What impressed me most in chapter 22 was Willow rejecting the 'mindless' stuff the Heart promised her. Esp. because younger Willow tended to think she could make things better for people even if those people 'did not see it yet'. I did wonder if she couldn't just accept the gem for a short time to get it away from Master jr. (who is looking rather old these days:) ) and then destroy it somehow, or shield it.



Where did Willow's dark magic go, surely it isn't as simple as 'thinking it away' ? Did the heart suck it all up (it's an amplifier isn't it) ? She didn't exactly choose to give it up either, she had to let go of those (blood magic) spells to release the energy needed for the sacrifice spell (brave decision btw.). The good thing about that is that Amy's plan is based on Willow still having those protection spells in place and Willows eyes are green again :D . The bad thing about it was that Willow hesitated between the moment she decided to do the spell and actually doing it, baaaad timing though understandable.



I don't *want* Willow to sacrafice herself of course, but that kinda left her with less shielding and still vulnerable. Seemed like she didn't even move to try and dodge some attacks ? Speaking of vulnerable, how ever did Tara get to Willow alive, Master jr. being single-minded a lot perhaps ? Does proof a lot of trust in Willow though, running into a fire like that. Once Willow and Tara were together Master jr. was doomed of course, heh.



The image of Master jr.'s throne being corrupted by the heart was nice. Makes you wonder who ever would be able to use that heart and life. Of course in the end the heart consumes Master jr. , amazing that he didn't see that coming himself. I think that would have happened (a little bit slower perhaps but surely) without such a head-on confrontation anyway, just annoy him a little and duck for cover should work with far less risk. As Willow thinks herself: "Her mind had already worked out so many scenarios that were better than what had happened.", which is sooo Willow-like.



Heh, maybe Amy will just get killed in a regular traffic accident while driving to her shop. Wouldn't that be tragic ?? : -->>:



Will is going to have a mayor headeache even from doing light magic I think :( But if that's all then she got off easy, heh.



Grimmy

"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine

Edited by: Grimlock72 at: 2/15/03 10:31:50 am


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2003 9:47 am 
What do I not love about this story? Nothing.



But that passage with the eyes: green and seeing. It's such a huge moment in the story and in Willow's character. I love the way Willow and Tara see one another, in a sense, for the first time, and this new vision is not just accompanied by the shift from dark magic eyes back to green eyes...the ability to see clearly is in fact CREATED by the movement back to green.



This is just so nuanced...that the dark magic was not just something that Willow was holding onto, unable to let go of, but something that in fact created her perspective, her seeing. She is able to see Tara Lucas for the first time because she is seeing her without the black filter. What she is, what she holds on to, determines to an extent what she can see.



I just love that. Years of graduate school theories boiled down to a few sentences. Gotta love Professor DMW. :grin



Oh, and thanks for noticing my new sig! It actually reminded me of a certain computer-literate fanfic writer of my acquaintance who writes a story that just won't quit. :)

"Just call me the computer whisperer."-- Willow



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 Post subject: Chapter 23 Replies
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2003 10:02 am 
Chapter 24, "The Return of Amy Madison," will be posted this week.





Dave: Thanks. It's great to see new readers finding my story and commenting.



Cindy Lou Who: I'm happy that you finally posted. Your feedback is great and I love the term "poetic prose." As for your worries though, I can't say they were unwarranted ... just look at the chapter title for this week.



yana: Sorry about the dictionary usage. (-; Graphic and disturbing was definitely what I was going for with the Master.



deixs: Smoochies? Wasn't that kiss magical enough for you? Hmmm...there might be more smoochies in the future.



jixer: I love your comments about my words singing. Thanks so much.



Insanity: They're finally green, but you're right, it's not over yet.



VampNo12: Thanks. I like how well you explain how everything has changed between them with as they let go of the past. They do have light and hope now as you say, but yes, there is one more test of darkness to pass which will reveal how much they've learned.



Grimmy: It's important that Willow didn't accept the Heart of Corruption even for a moment as not only is it well named but that's precisely the same sort of thing she would have done when she was younger and we saw where that led in the end. She made a choice to make that sacrifice with all that it entailed, including unweaving her protective enchantments, releasing their power into the ground as she did during her first meeting with Giles.



In general, I think it's easier to dodge a bullet than to dodge a magical energy attack especially something like lightning that travels near the speed of light, though I know it seems to happen all the time in movies. The Master would have eventually been consumed by the Heart in its own time, but then Amy would have had the Heart for herself.



Tulipp: I love how deeply you read, seeing that darkness is more than power and temptation but also a whole way of perceiving the world, that affects Willow's whole relationship with Tara up until this point where she lets it all go.

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 2/17/03 9:03:42 am


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2003 11:20 am 
So Willow’s finally paid off all her credit cards, huh?



Kind of seriously, though, the way my frugal Yankee mind sees the light magic/dark magic dichotomy, especially in this story, is the difference between paying cash or bartering versus buying on credit. In the first case, the seller either accepts your offer, takes your payment, and you go home lighter in the wallet but with a big screen TV, or your offer is rejected and you didn’t want that stupid TV anyway! With dark magic, as with buying on credit, it’s not the initial purchase so much as the exorbitant interest rates and the mistaken impression that you can get things without paying for them that will do you in.



So being in the black is really being in the red – you’ve gotta stay green!
Quote:
When Willow’s green eyes met Tara’s blue ones, it felt like she was seeing Tara for the first time. In a way she was. She was seeing Tara as she really was, her vision unclouded by the darkness and fears of the past.
Lovely writing, here as always. Bring on material girl Amy!



For this story, I am in your debt…



SB



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 Post subject: the heart
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2003 4:02 pm 
What degree of sentience does the heart have? Is it responsible for the disappearance of the Old Ones, or is there a form of demon evolution?



I like the foreboding sense of "momentarily stilled". Does Willow foreswearing dark magic protect her from the corruption? Can only dark magic be corrupted?



I really enjoy the way you paint with words. Few other fics I've read use language as powerfully as this one.



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 Post subject: Rock on, DMW!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2003 7:33 pm 
Hey DMW--I just got back into town, driving through a blizzard; I'm sick as a dog and just wanna go home.



Why am I telling you this? Because I had fully intended to check my work mailbox, my e-mail, and catch a couple of updates and then head home, but then I got all involved in your update and simply had to respond.



So many things to love...Here's one of them: I find that one of the most elusive decisions in my own writing is when to expound and when to contract. When do I draw out a scene with considerable elaboration, and when do I simply say how things are? Your first 3-4 paragraphs are a wonderful example of "tell it like it is." Willow and Tara have each, in their own way, been through so much, and you've drawn that journey for us so well. Now, they're finally facing the greatest danger to their lives, after having faced the greatest danger to their love, and it's time for each to say what she needs to say. Thank you for taking us on such a wonderful journey and then giving us such a beautifully simple exchange of love in the first few paragraphs.



In a more philosophical vein, I very much resonate with the underpinning that I see here of letting go of these great feats of control with the (painfully acquired) knowledge that control won't get you where you most want to go. I loved the image during the battle when you describe how the "white magic simply accepted the blows without slowing its expansion." Wonderful--love and white magic don't need to swing wildly in combat; they simply are, and they expand...not in defiance or resistance, but because that is their nature.



And I would be remiss, of course, if I didn't chip in my favorite "Dark Magic Willow's Moment of Pure Horror." As I've mentioned, you describe the grotesque as well as anyone I've seen here on this board (and your use of that to mirror human corruption is fantastic, by the way) and so as much as I'm a big ol' sissy in many ways, I simply can't not be entranced with your portrait. Oh, there were many to choose from, but I gotta go w/ description of the Master with "age and rot gnaw[ing] at his bones." Thank you for this wonderful image which, aided by powerful cold medicine, will no doubt lead to truly evocative dreams tonight.



What a great V-Day gift, DMW. Thanks!



Mary

Edited by: AntigoneUnbound at: 2/17/03 6:36:35 pm


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 Post subject: Re: the heart
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2003 8:25 pm 
The Master's downfall... kinda gross :) Does this mean that Amy can't get the Heart now?



No cliffhanger is good. Me happy. I tried to pick my favorite line out of this but I was stumped. Too many good ones so I'll settle for the favorite part:
Quote:
Every last vestige of darkness had fled from Willow's eyes. They were a vivid living green as they looked back at Tara, verdant as leaves in the height of summer, sharing nothing with the cold emerald green of the firestorm that raged around the two of them. Tara found Willow's eyes beautiful, even more so than she remembered from her dreams, and as she looked into them she felt her fears fly away as if they had never been.


Awesome. I love the way you described this.



--celia

---------------------------------

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.



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 Post subject: Re: Rock on, DMW!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2003 10:47 pm 
Hey DMW,



Since I’ve been embroiled in my own version of hell on earth, it’s been difficult for me to tear myself away and address things that really matter, like saying how much I love reading your story.



As someone accustomed to running off at the mouth, I’m at a loss for words here. You’ve run so many gut wrenching emotions through us, that here, in the penultimate moment of truth, I find it difficult to express how deeply moving this scene is.



There are so many images floating around in my head, but for me, in my reading of this story, this encapsulates the sum of Willow’s journey, “I'll always find you," Willow promised, her smile bright with the joy of that promise fulfilled. Her quest was complete. She had found Tara. Even though she had lost herself in the solitary darkness of her grief for so many long years, she had found Tara once more, and in her Willow had found herself again. Everything had changed, but nothing was lost any longer.”



But, they’re not quite out of the woods yet are they. There are a few loose ends to tie up, and a few more challenges to face. Willow has found the light, but I wonder if the darkness will not always be a part of her, though it no longer is what defines her.



Can’t wait for the show down with Amy, and um, unless it’s because I’ve pulled two all nighters this week and can’t sting two cogent thoughts together and have completely misread something here, to find out why Willow picked up “the chrysalis of enchantments that held the Heart,” instead of leaving it there and burying it under several tons of rock.



Cheers!!

Patches



You know I've heard about people like me. But I never made the connection. They walk one road to set them free, And find they've gone the wrong direction. But there's no need for turning back 'cause all roads lead to where I stand. And I believe I'll walk them all No matter what I may have planned



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 Post subject: Re: Rock on, DMW!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2003 6:18 pm 
Thanks as always for the beautiful feedback. I just got my chapter from beta, but I've had a bad day and I'm not up to fixing it tonight. I'll try to get chapter 24 out by the end of the weekend, and I'll have feedback replies before then, okay?



--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."



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 Post subject: Re: the heart
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2003 6:21 pm 
DMW,

I came into this story late and have read the whole thing over the past few days. The quality of your writing and the incredible depth and realism you have brought to all of the characters has blown me away. I have enjoyed it thoroughly and only regret that I missed so much of the discussion along the way.

Looking forward to the rest of the story.

xo,

Bronwyn



p.s. Hi Patches!











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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 23: Together in the Light
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2003 7:24 pm 
I've got a few small changes to make to chapter 24 and should have it out for you tomorrow.



SB: As always, I love your wonderfully strange yet oddly appropriate images. I can definitely see it: dark magic as credit, light magic as cash. And Amy as the material girl...



mous: Thanks. No one knows why the Old Ones left, but the Heart may have had a role in whatever happened. There's really no protection from direct contact with Heart, but the chrysalis of enchantments they wove around it will protect them from that.



AntigoneUnbound: Thanks so much for posting after all that. I hope that you didn't have any dreams about age and rot gnawing at your bones under the influence of the cold medicine.



The control vs. letting go theme is very much one I wrestle with in myself. Like Willow, I want to control everything and it's very hard to let go even when I know that it's absolutely the right thing to do. I partially wrote this story to sink that knowledge into my subconscious which doesn't accept that idea at all.



tiredsoul: No, the Heart's still alive and well, though it is secure in Willow's hands for the moment.



Patches: You're right that there will always be a shadow of her former darkness lingering over Willow if only in the form of her memories. She has accepted this though and gone on to find a future without that darkness. As you say, it no longer defines her. We all have our regrets, but sometimes we can find a future that's wonderful even though the road there wasn't always clear.



Burying the Heart would be a temporary measure. Someone would find it another day. It's been lost and found more than once in the past.



bronwyn: Thanks. Much better late than never. It's always great to see new readers.

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."



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