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

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 Post subject: Beautiful
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2003 11:59 pm 
DMW,



I just finished reading the last chapter of your beautiful story. Forgive me for taking so long to get back to it, but I kept putting it off - I just didn't want it to end. But the ending is so sweet. It's Saturday night and I had just enough wine.



Thank-you for working so hard on this. This story is a treasure.



-Brent



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 25: Blossoming
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 1:44 am 
*sniff* That was like the sweetest ending.



I wondered if you would clue us into what happened to Xander and Anya and I’m so glad you did. And Buffy had a daughter? Cool. But I nearly choked up on Dawn giving Willow the friendship ring. What can I say? I’m a sap :)



Truly a great story DMV. Through all the darkness, you showed us a light and I enjoyed every word. Thanks for that.



--celia





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

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



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 Post subject: Late Chapter 26 Replies
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 5:51 pm 
I'm sorry that I haven't responded to your feedback sooner. Life has been hectic for me, and world events have distracted us all recently. And it's been hard for me to say goodbye to this story, and there's the irrational thought in my head that I won't have to if I leave an opening for one more reply.



Thanks to everyone for reading and posting. If you are interested in getting a complete copy of the story without comments for printing, I have sent it off for archiving to a couple of sites, or you can email me at darkmagickwillow@yahoo.com and I'll email you a copy.





barnabasvamp: Thanks. I've loved seeing your name after all my chapters.



Cindy Lou Who: If you're pathetic for being sad that it's ending, I've got to be even more so since I'm the author. (-; I'm happy you could learn something from The Dark Rose, as I wrote a lot of my own feelings and thoughts about my mother's death into this story.



Antigone: I've loved all of your comments so much, and this one is no exception. I miss you already. I'm thrilled that the returning to the beginning ending worked so well for you, and you're right about this story taking a lot out of me. But I do have ideas and outlines percolating around in my head and my computer, so there will be another story at some point...



vamp nurd: Thanks, it's been good having you along.



Tulipp: Thanks so much for all your help, encouragement, and friendship while I was writing this story. I really don't know how to express how much I appreciate you. And I love the Aristotle quote; it's got me thinking on my next story.



FlereImsaho: I understand just how you feel, and thanks for posting.



tiredsoul: I'm glad the light came through even in the darkest moments and that I was able to fulfill its promise in the ends. Thanks.

--

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

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 4/13/03 1:57:15 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 26: Sunrise
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2003 6:16 am 
Hey DMW. I'm very sorry that I've been so negligent in giving you feedback for the concluding chapter. I'm bad. Sorry.



You already know that I love the entire story. But you tied everything up so beautifully in this last chapter.



The setting of Willow's birthday at the Bronze was a perfect echo of the canon Tara's party at the end of "Family". It had all the same wonderful resolutions that did with the various individuals meeting, talking, and presenting gifts.



Anya was fantastic what with her admission that now that she didn't deal with death, she'd forgotten that people could be sensitive about such things. It was great to see her happy and I love the kids' names Arsinoe and Ptolemy.



Xander made his appearance here in this chapter and it was good to see him. I find it amazing that here in Pens, X doesn't irk me. I loved his gift to Willow.



Dawn and Hope. "Dawn is coming" (Tara in Restless) foreshadowed all of S5 and the end of the show, but here among Kittens and on Pens there will always be hope. Obviously I liked the choice of Buffy's daughter's name.



The dance scene, the scene under the stars - both are canon but with a nice AU twist.



And that last constellation, "Two Roses Intertwined" - that was lovely.



Thanks DMW.



Ciao, Melissa (resolves to wait patiently for the next DMW fic)











******************



I brought marshmallows!



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 25: Blossoming
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:13 am 
DMW,



First, wow, I can't believe I didn't read this sooner. Actually, I did start...and then got way behind. But, I am so glad I went back and finished this.



Now, at the end, I feel so relieved, and full....and content for our girls. What a wonderful gift you have given the kittens, taking up the shambles of season six and making them into this story.

Quote:


"Dawn isn't a witch. She doesn't do magic. She is magic, incarnate as flesh, and she needs to shed blood to release her power."




Easily the best explaination of what Dawn is that I have ever seen. I was always frustrated that the REAL show didn't do more with this, and I was really happy you brought it back into the story.



Quote:
"You won't," Tara promised, taking both of Willow's hands in her own and looking steadily into her dark eyes. "You don't need dark magic to keep me. You just need to love me." She looked deep into Willow's dark eyes, searching for a hint of the love that she felt for Willow being returned. "I need you to be just mine. I don't want to share you with the past or the magic."




I wanted to find something that summed up one of the majpr struggles in this story. Your vision of Willow, dark and mature with magicks was stunning. You kept true to that Willow, all the way through, and yet she was still our Willow. Still the Willow, I had always known and recognized. You made me feel concerned for her, and very conscious that somewhere inside there was a darkness that might one day take over her soul entirely.



A very realistic potrayal of darkness touching a character and leaving it's mark without delving into the overly dramatic tricks that season six - again in the real Buffy - used. You actually dealt with the issue and it's results. Fantastic job.



I find myself thinking of the balance of Willow in this story. Obviously she had come to a balance with-in the dark magicks...without becoming lost to evil. I wonder what held her soul back from completing that embrace. I have to believe that it was both the memory of Tara, and the love of friends - who she hadn't seen in years. Yet clearly this Willow had fallen into a kind of darkness. Not totally evil. But not good.

More of a neutral force.



As you put it...emotionally she was in "Winter's night."



How wonderful to care about this woman, and see how brillant she had the potential to shine, and then see all of what you promised as a writer come true. To see her wake from the sleep, and rise into the spring.



What fantastic images to describe a deeper truth. A life without love, finding love - her one true love - again.



Quote:
"Yours," Willow promised in a whisper, needing all her courage to look into Tara's eyes to see her reaction.




Your use of these old, wonderful lines made me tear up. I just wanted to tell you that. Such a great scene. First the romance of the classic W/T lines used in a very new way...and then the angst of Tara not believing Willow loves her....the her she is now.



Quote:
A single thought echoed over and over in her mind. Tara was gone. She didn't want Willow any longer.




My thought when reading this was 'poor Willow, she has been through so much, grown so powerful and yet she still has that uncertain little girl inside her.' Again, a wonderful moment of characterization.



Quote:
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.



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




Sniffle. Moved beyond words or my ability to express them. Let me just say...WOW.



Quote:
Winter's night was over at last.



Their love blossomed in the spring.




Perfect. Happy sigh.



I wanted to applaud your resoultion too, of the Tara question - the reincarnated soul and who Willow loves. Old Tara or new or both. Some writers would have skipped over that issue. I think it was a very gusty choice for you NOT to do so. And I love that you (and Tara) called Willow on it. Also, I love that the issue was resolved not only with Willow but with Tara herself. She had to come to her own understanding.



Quote:
"Good," the other Tara said to her with a smile. "It's your turn to shine in the light."




And again...a brillantly simple but powerful and effective description of a bigger idea.



Thank you for writing this story. For drawing myself and others, a new ending to Season 6, and it's aftermath. This story was a rediscovery of our girls that made me love them even more. Again, what a gift!









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 Post subject: Re: Late Chapter 26 Replies
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:24 am 
I read this story after seeing it being mentioned in the feedback to several other stories. I have to say that it deserves all the praise it has received, since it really is a wonderful story.



I am constantly being amazed at both the quality of writing and the inteligence of the feedback that you find here. The stories here are certainly better than most published novels. :bounce



I understand, you should be with the person you l-love


I am




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 Post subject: Re: The Road Goes Ever On
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 9:27 am 
Thanks to all the people who are finding time to read this story and post feedback now that it's complete. It made my day to visit Pens and find new posts on this thread.





Triscuit: Belated feedback is all to the good; it reminds me how much I enjoyed getting and replying to feedback posts so I'll hurry up and write the next story. (-;



I thought you'd like Arsinoe and Ptolemy. It's a pity Alexander's son was Alexander, but that got me reading a bit more about the Diadochi Wars and Arsinoe has always been one of my favorite names. Pity any children I might have though.



mariacomet: Thank you so much. It's great seeing feedback from my favorite fantasy author on Pens. I loved all the quotes you picked and the wonderful comments that went with them, especially your insighful thoughts on Willow. I'm not sure if we ever completely lose our youthful uncertainties; I know that though I have changed a great deal since I was that age, I still share those doubts to some extent.

I wanted to applaud your resoultion too, of the Tara question - the reincarnated soul and who Willow loves. Old Tara or new or both. Some writers would have skipped over that issue. I think it was a very gusty choice for you NOT to do so. And I love that you (and Tara) called Willow on it. Also, I love that the issue was resolved not only with Willow but with Tara herself. She had to come to her own understanding.
Thanks. I initially glossed over the problem of the two Taras in my original outline, focusing on Willow, but it kept nagging at me as I wrote. Both Tara's and Willow's thoughts follow my own as I struggled to understand who Tara is now and what that means to Willow.



Justin: Thank you.



--

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

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 4/13/03 1:56:27 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 25: Blossoming
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2003 5:40 pm 
DMW, I just got around to catching up. It was quite a ride and I think what I found most interesting was Tara m visiting Tara l and explaining how they were just facets on a crystal. It's a perfect way of explaining things. Thank so much for this story.

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

Only 50 cents



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 25: Blossoming
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2003 7:22 am 
Thanks, xita. I wanted to complete the story of Tara Lucas as herself with that scene, so I'm happy it worked for you.

--

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



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 12:26 am 
New to the archive. You can leave feedback! :)


I had a Boddingtons and now I can see again! - The Beast



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 25: Blossoming
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 2:31 pm 
Well what a joy it was to start reading this story yesterday. I really enjoyed it, from the dark moments and angst to the star gazing and tenderness. What a wonderful journey. Anyway I thought it was wonderful and I shall certainly look for your name next to more stories on the pens and maybe catch them before they are completed.



Cheese. It's milk that you chew.



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 25: Blossoming
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 6:20 am 
Thanks so much, Puff. Wow, you read it all in one sitting. Even I haven't done that yet, though I did reread all but the last two chapters before writing them.

--

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



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 8:03 am 
I just found this story a couple days ago. It wasn't long after I had begun reading when I realized I would soon have to make a choice. Be responsible, spend 8 hours a day getting my work done and just read this story slowly, a little at a time, in between work and home life.



OR - I could screw work and just read! I, of course, made the correct choice. I read the story. It still took me a few days, because I had to get some work done, but work definitely took a back seat.



I loved this story from beginning to end. I must confess, I am glad I discovered it after you had completed it. It was hard enough to have to wait a few hours to read the resolution to some of your cliffhangers. I can't imagine if I had had to wait several days or weeks.



I could go on and on, but I really do have to get caught up on my work.



I just wanted to say thank you!!! Thank you for writing this and sharing it with all of us. I loved the story, and I really hope you're working on something new.



deb



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 25: Blossoming
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 9:46 am 
Thank you so much for a fantastic story - a top quality read that quickly pulled me in from all other activities.[][]I shamefully confess to having dipped in to this story once before when it was on Pens and dismissed it (without completing the first chapter) as a 'fantasy world/Dungeons and Dragons' story that could not possibly relate to my Willow. Stupid me. Glad I stumbled in to it again, because by the close of that first chaper I was intrigued. You write the characters of both Willow and Tara convincingly. Their dialogue and actions always rang true. I bow at your feet whilst scampering off to find more of your work (hmm, quite a difficult manouvre).

"Gosh,look at THOSE!" (Dopplegangland)



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 25: Blossoming
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 9:14 am 
DMW, I swore to reply, and here I am. First of all, I just loved the whole story. I spent the last 3 hours or so rereading it to make some good feedback. Here are some things that touched me or made me think:



-I loved all the flashbacks in this fic. The way you used them was really wise. Spirit reminds me of a mixture of Faith and Buffy. Maybe she reminds me of Faith because of the dark hair. Dunno.



-I loved Willow's shyness and insecurity when she faced Tara opposed to her strength when she faced anyone else.



-The fact that Tara wanted to keep Willow hers in the begining really touched me, because we can see that their minds are in synch.



-The simple sentence: "Do you trust me?" really hit the bull's eye. It's all about trust, the trust to rebuild the connection that had been severed.



-Tara's inner thoughts about the redhead and finally believing that the redhead in her dreams are Willow.



- I loved the use of the same sentences used in the fic and the actual show.



-Loved the telepathy between them and Willow telling her that it's better to talk about thngs than read minds.



-I ADORE the first date and the first kiss. :drool



-Giles telling Tara about Willow made me cry my eyes out, something I did a lot in this fic.



-The whole "Who am I?" thoughts kicked ass. Tara is finding herself and Willow needs her to find her, the true her.



-In Chapter 14, I just cried, beautifully written. I cried, no I sobbed like a baby.



-Willow keeping her promise was great, you can really see that she wants to rebuild the relationship all the way, giving it strong bases.



-Dawn being wise about the spell and telling Tara that she'd be there for her. Great stuff.



-Loved the heartwrenching Tough Love redux. It really hit a soft spot.



-Great B/W scene. Not the fight, even thought that kicked major ass, but the forgiveness given by Buffy.



- They'll always find each other. :love



-The final goodbyes were great. Willow letting go of the old Tara to give herself entirely to the new one meant a lot. She's more than ready to face her future.



-Loved the TM/TL "dream".



-Also adored the "Family" redux.



The ending kicked ass, also all the pieces in between. I just loved it. :grin That's all I can say for now.:clap

---------



"See? I've mastered this tact crap." Anya in Tears Of The Goddess by Lisa



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 9:23 am 
It's wonderful to see people are still reading my story after its completion.



Culzean: Thanks. I'm glad you made the right choice.



doofus68uk: I'm happy you came back and liked the story. I'll confess to being a bit leary of the fantasy genre myself with the endless array of LotR clones and huge cases of D&D books, but there's also some great stuff out there that has both originality and great characters.



Washi: Thanks so much for taking the effort to reread and post feedback. That means a lot, and your selection of scenes is great. I'm especially glad you liked the parallels between the Willow of old and the new Tara.

--

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



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 Post subject: Finally Finished!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 6:21 am 
I can only apologise for my tardiness in finishing this fic and responding to it. I did start reading it a while back, but today I went for it and read it all the way through in one sitting, heh.



Chapter 5



This is the first time they cast a spell together, and, because of that, it's an important point in the fic, I think. Especially because of their reactions to it, individually and collectively. I like how you paint Tara as the novice here, with her experience of magic directly in opposition to Willow's. And I'm still liking the dark Willow you've got here, weighed by responsibility and almost tortured by her connection with Tara, that is confusing and painful, even though Tara is alive and well.



I did notice, in an earlier chapter, that you said Willow hadn't been overly bothered by Buffy's death until now. To me, this is a great bit of characterisation, showing us just how lonely and empty Willow has become. And I think, given what we know about her from the show, that there's always been the possibility for Willow to give into her own insecurity and allow herself to become set apart from the rest of the world. This is an accentuated version of that, and it's working for me in this fic.



Quote:
Residual magic sang in her veins, reminding her of how magic was supposed to feel. It didn't have the sudden feeling of raging force that dark magic had, but it had a warmth and a light that made it infinitely better. Dark magic felt great when she was casting, but she felt so cold afterwards.




And you're already making the stance of how magic should be used clear to us here. I love how you contrast the notion of warmth and cold, dark and light. And that Willow understands and responds to the idea of working through a strong connection.



I love the introduction of Amy, as well. I think it's going to be an important contrast between "darkness" and "evil" here. Intriguing stuff. :)



Chapter 6



Quote:
Willow gave Tara a cheerful little wave that seemed surreal coming from the black cloaked figure. Willow's slender appearance and cheerful attitude made her look for a moment like an ordinary girl waiting for a friend.




Ah, I love this. You've created such a dark, lonely figure in Willow from the beginning of this fic, and yet, already we're starting to see the effect that Tara is having on her here. This is such a classic "old Willow" pose, and it integrates aspects of her former personality into the woman she is now. I love this; it makes me long for Willow to regain her old self. :)



I love the reworking of that important little conversation from Hush. And I also love that Willow recognises this; it increases the poignancy of the relationship that's forming here. The whole notion of getting a second chance is a theme that's appeared in so many post-Season 6 fics, and it's beautifully formed here and so very hurtful, in a way. I'm feeling wistful for things that might have happened, and for the things that might still.



Chapter 7



Quote:
They had a second chance at life and

love and this time Willow promised herself, she was going to do everything right.




And again we see traces of the old Willow; the need she has in her to do things right, and fix old problems. That's probably one of her greatest qualities, and probably also one of her greatest failings. It's so wonderful here how you contrast her use of magick to keep herself from the nightmares, and the nightmares themselves, with the person she used to be, still wanting and needing to make things right again.



The communication between them here, whilst they're on top of the crypt is both heartwarming and distressing. Heartwarming because being in one another's thoughts is probably the closest they're getting at this point, and it's incredibly intimate as well. But it's distressing because of the legacy of intrusion into Tara's mind that has happened in her "other" life; particularly at the hands of Willow. It's a really poignant moment (which you seem to be adept at creating, damn you, heh) that's almost bittersweet in its comfort.



Quote:
The Hellmouth shone like a dark moon to her black eyes as she drew from the

endless streams of dark magicks that escaped from it even in its currently

closed condition. Green and silvery rivulets of light magicks glowed softly

to her eyes as well, but few of those streams flowed through the cemetery and

those that did were weak indeed compared to the many torrents of darkness that

screamed with destructive power.




Ooh, I love this description. It's so frightening, and perfect, and shiny. You know? It's like a whole new way of seeing magick, especially with that first sentence linking everything Willow's doing here to the darkest entity of all. Fabulous stuff.



Quote:
She hated them and knew that her hatred was righteous.




I love that you use the word "righteous" here, particularly as you're connecting Willow's magick use to something more primal; her need to protect Tara. And although that comes from the "good" inside her, I think that you still create a sense of a zealot who is bound by their own power and the rush of using that, being able to rationalise that use and the implementation of it.



You also introduce more succinctly here the idea of there being "two" Willows. I love that duality. And I also love how Tara sees that duality.



Chapter 8



Quote:
Her nights were wonderful. First she'd patrol with Spirit, then she would make

her excuses and go to find Willow or Willow would find her once she left the

company of the vampire slayer. They could always find each other.




I do like how you're introducing the old tendrils of their former relationship here. Using those phrases that we recognise helps us to adjust to this newness that they've found. And I think that Tara's beginning to stop thinking too much about Willow, and is starting to give herself over to the emotion of the relationship. It's very subtle, but also very ingrained in their perception of what's happening. Lovely.



And as for your cliffhanger... :eyebrow That's all I'm going to say. You're a very mean person. ;)



Chapter 8b



I like your Slayer in this update. Mainly because she seems to be more "business-like" than Buffy ever was. And she faces her impending death with a confidence that I think we only ever really saw in Kendra, to be honest. Having her detached in such a way was fitting, as it threw the emotional connection wholly onto the relationship between Willow and Tara. And that was wonderful; despite Tara's misgivings about Willow's use of dark magick, and even though she sees for the first time Willow's dark empty eyes, the emotion was palpable.



Chapter 9



I think it's really important here that Willow stops herself using magick to get her own way. It's a good lesson for her to learn, and right and fitting that she learns it in a moment when she probably wants to use magick the most.



The retrospective account of Willow's experience with the CoW is interesting. She kills them; although they're trying to kill her, she still takes human lives. I'm wondering now how she's going to explain (is she is) that to Tara, and also how she's going to reconcile that with her life path as it's being laid out in front of her right now.



Quote:
She knew that she had to see Tara in the light. If they were going to have a

relationship, it couldn't be limited to the shadows of the dark places she'd

haunted all these years. Ready or not, she had to venture into the world of

ordinary life.




I love this acceptance here. And I love how you're painting Tara as being a figure of light in Willow's dark life as is. I think that buys into all the old contrasts that we saw established in the show, but here you've done it with a style that lends itself perfectly to the burgeoning and deepening relationship between the girls. First date, maybe?



Chapter 10



This is a great chapter. I've been wondering how long it would be before Giles and Willow had some kind of interaction, whether retrospectively or otherwise. I always really liked the notion that they were bonded in some way, not just by their history but also by their knowledge and intellectual capacity. What you've done here is bring out that opposition that occurred in early Season 6. Giles retains his position of authority and fear for his charge, whilst at the same time wondering what path Willow is following now she's back in Sunnydale.



I love Giles; I love his stern nature that belies his huge heart and capacity to care so much about the world and the people in it, notwithstanding his own charge and, by default, Tara. I'm also fascinated by the fact that what you've done here is to put him and Willow in direct opposition with one another, which can only lead to emotional explosions later on. And yet, it's very sad that the closeness they all shared is broken; I'm hoping not irreparably.



Chapter 11



The title of this chapter is appropriate, considering that you begin with a look back to the history of Willow's character.



Quote:
It was like waking early for Christmas. She'd always celebrated Christmas with Xander and later Buffy even though her parents had disapproved.




I've noticed that with each step Willow takes back from the point of extreme darkness, towards Tara's "light", she's remembering more and more about her experiences in Sunnydale with the Scoobies. I love how subtle these inferences are, to remind us that nobody is entirely past saving, or that there's always a way back from the darkness. That's touching and sad and hopeful, all at the same time.



I love the conversation with Spike, that idea of losing a soul and losing a heart, and it all being the same. If that's true then, is it right to assume that the soul is responsible for what the heart exudes or feels? I've always wondered if the heart is, in fact, a vestibule for the soul, keeping and retaining the experiences that the soul gives it. That always troubled me when I pondered if vampires could, in fact, love. Dru summed it up when she said that they could, in their own way. But what I like most about this conversation is that Spike is a broken man, unable to deal with the vast range of feelings that his soul inspires. That notion of "falling", and going deeper into the blackness is a recurring theme in this fic, and it's also the fall that Willow is attempting to stop, in some way, too.



The idea of "choosing" seems so fitting in a fic that's set in a world where the "Chosen One" fights the powers of darkness. There's a good contrast between choosing and being chosen here, that both Willow and Tara feel acutely. Your flashback to the scenes from New Moon Rising only accentuate the importance of this date, and the inherent lack of choice that Willow really has. Here she's throwing away rationality and allowing her heart to make a decision that her mind might perhaps linger and want to ponder in more detail. I love that repetition of the notion of choosing; it seems so right just here, especially in light of the fact that Tara's dreams are giving her a past she doesn't recognise, but accepts.



Giles' own perception is somewhat flawed by his concern about Willow's dark magicks. However, having said that, I'm intrigued as to the choices he will have to make. And you bring in the idea of redemption here as well. In my opinion, the only person who might have possibly redeemed Willow in a right and fitting manner would have been Tara; through love, of course.



Chapter 12



Oh, I love the beginning of this chapter. Just as you're starting to open Willow up to her old self emotionally, we're seeing these traces apparent in her behaviour as well. When she's considering the clothes and trying on everything that's heaped on her bed, it's reminiscent of a mental babble, and it's just so wonderfully tragic to read, in a way.



Again, Willow's understanding of dark and light is evident in her love for Tara. She knows what she wants, and also what she might need, but the love she has for Tara is so great that she's willing to sacrifice that calming darkness to bring Tara into the light. I love that whole image, right there, because it shows you have a deep understanding of how the characters are presented, not only to us, but also to one another.



And then, the date. Just heartbreakingly wonderful. As touching as it was, I think the most impressive thing was the glimmer of green in Willow's eyes. Redemption through love, indeed.



















"Cheese falls apart. It crumbles apart so much. You can't ever put it back the way it was. I'm sorry, it's just...you know, it takes time to eat Cheshire cheese. You can't just go for coffee and crackers and expect cheesey goodness..." ~ Cheesetropy



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 Post subject: Finally Finished Part 2
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 8:13 am 
Chapter 13



Quote:
His words would be the only shield he had, but he loved Tara like a daughter and he couldn't let her walk into the darkness blindly.




Ah, Giles, hiding behind his words once more. He's a man who's been brought down to his most basic function; that of a words man. And yet, he's prepared to use them in any way he can in order to protect Tara. Again, you're interpreting Willow as wholly dark, which is interesting because we've seen that that's not all that she is.



Quote:
Willow had made mistakes, but she hadn't deserved all the tragedies that befell her. No one did.




Good God; that's just so very true. Sigh.



And Tara's discovery of her legacy; that was painful. Everything that she now accepts is thrown into relief by the discovery of her former identity, or is it her true identity? I love how she seeks out Willow to ask her what's real; she might have stayed and talked it over with Giles, he is, after all, the theory guy, but no, instead she wants Willow. For comfort? For answers? Her question at the end of the chapter throws up so many different responses, and I think it was very clever of you to end the chapter there, instead of attempt an answer that might not have been as satisfactory as the yawning silence you have instead.



Chapter 14



I tried to find some quotes for this chapter, but realised that I would have ended up quoting all of it if I'd done that, heh. I think what is truly amazing about this chapter is that you bring together that tentative love and just expose it to the world at large. In the daylight; without the darkness, and you totally convince me that the new Tara could indeed love this broken Willow.



The repeated phrase that Tara gives to Willow; that of not leaving her is just so very welcome here. It's what Willow needs to persuade her to "come into the light", so to speak.



Honestly, I'm kind of left speechless by the overwhelming connection in this chapter. For me, it sums up the strength of their relationship, and consolidates all the good things that are simply summed up by Willow and Tara.



Chapter 15a



Quote:
Tara was her sun and she was a lonely comet that had shone gloriously in her reflected light but which was now receding ever further away from the source of its splendor.




That's a beautiful image; in light of the fact that you're constantly drawing us back to the notion of contrasting shades. You use the word "splendor" in a way that gives emphasis and grace to Tara, in a manner that I think is fitting and very, very touching.



Ahhh...interesting. That whole notion of alternate realities, and the idea that Willow would die for Tara, and vice versa. As if we needed any more proof that these two are soulmates, and yet here you are throwing insecurity into the mix, with Willow's inability to trust Tara. It's a complex web you're weaving here, fascinating and heartbreaking.



Chapter 15b



The heightened tension between Willow and Giles here is wonderful. After all that's happened, you're adept at reminding us that Willow does have a deep darkness inside her. Perhaps Giles is the only person to truly recognise that darkness. And his concern for Tara only makes his treatment of Willow all the more hurtful, I think. I barely recognise the man to whom Willow used to be close, but I am impressed by the inherent traces of "old" Giles that we're seeing here, and his positive actions in order to stave off the impending doom that he sees in Willow's demeanour.



Quote:
She had to find something in her shared past with Willow that wasn't all blood and dark magic.




Oh wow; it's such a shame that Tara is finding nothing else but this, so far. How hard must it be for her to find something positive in her past life, when she's being constantly warned off Willow. I think the not knowing is actually more intriguing than Tara finding out and having to deal with the truth of her past. And also, to have her suspect that all of her relationship with Willow exists in blood and dark magic is painful for us as readers, because we know it's not true. I like what you're doing here with that, especially in terms of perverting and diverting what we know as fact.



Chapter 16



Tara's forays into the past are really reaffirming in terms of placing her relationship with Willow, not just for her character in this fic, but also with the readers, I think. Recalling the softer times of the past, and the overwhelming love that existed is placed at a perfect point in this fic. Just when we need something solid to hang onto, you take us back into all those moments where we were safe and felt warm, basking in their love. I think for Tara, in this fic, it's good that she sees this. Hopefully it will encourage her to direct herself forward with more confidence and belief.



And dammit, you go and give us these images of how hard Willow tried to get Tara back that are just chilling and hard to read. How deep she went into the darkness, and you know, reading that, it just struck me that Willow would never find Tara in that darkness, because Tara is a figure of the light. I suppose, in a way, it just makes these visions all the more painful.



Now, I hope you'll excuse me but I'm going to skip ahead because I already posted feedback for a bit and don't want to appear like I'm repeating myself. Although hey, why change the habits of a lifetime now, eh? Heh.



Chapter 20



Hmm. You know, I was actually jealous on Tara's behalf when she was reading Willow's journal. You've succeeded in doing something here that I've not experienced before, and that's making me want this new Tara to be with Willow more than the old Tara, if that makes sense. I know that essentially it's the same person, but there's still a feeling of newness about her that's perfect.



Oh I love the argument here. It's so appropriate. Especially as it brings up memories of Tough Love, only here you have Tara leaving in anger. I love that turnaround. And you know, I'm totally with Tara. I was kind of on the brink of wanting her to slap some sense into Willow. Or make Willow run after her, or do something, you know? :)



The importance of those three little words takes on a whole new meaning here when looking at the notion of love. It's interesting how you portray Willow as being in love with this new Tara, and yet she can't bring herself to say it, as though by declaring her love she'll betray the past. And yet, Tara is her past. Intriguing.



Chapter 21



Quote:
As Willow reached upwards again, it struck her that she was holding onto too much. Despair from Tara's death. The guilt for what she had done afterwards. The fear of losing Tara again.




At last! It's always marvellous to see someone as logically brainy as Willow having an epiphany like this. I think Buffy's spectre acts as a catalyst here, in showing Willow that the past is a hook that has kept her wriggling in sorrow for far too long.



The fact that she finally makes peace with Buffy, and allows Buffy to make peace with her as well, bringing in the notion of forgiveness, is a long time coming. Nineteen years, in fact. I see this as implementing another change in mood in the fic; encouraging Willow to move forward with hope. And I think that's something that's been sorely missing from her life thus far.



Chapter 22



Quote:
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.




Oh boy, is it ever. This is a wonderfully touching and emotional experience you're taking us on here. To see Willow realising that the essence of love is something that you can't control, and allowing herself to feel that is, in a way, opening up her heart to love once again. And how wonderfully you work these images of her friends into this idea, bringing together all the different ideas of love, and all the different interpretations of love into one true knowledge. Fantastic.



Chapter 23



Quote:
Blue eyes met green for the first time




Ah, the moment we've all been waiting for since their first kiss, and the glimmer of green appeared. The fact that it's a stand alone sentence and paragraph just emphasises even more what a great moment this is.



Quote:
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.




And I think that here, you're defining and redefining the true essence of the magic that Willow and Tara practised together. In their togetherness, the magic comes from a combined love. It reminds me of the beginning of Seeing Red, and how great that feeling must have been for the both of them. Elements of that live in every moment they spend together, and here, you're just bringing out that almost "storybook" quality that they have with one another. I love it. Thank you. It's just perfectly explored.



There's also the idea of a transforming power of love, which I think you symbolise wonderfully in the change of Willow's eyes. It's a physical representation of how love can change a person in the world, and also change the world around them, too. Love, here, is a healing process for Willow, in terms of aiding her in that grief and darkness to which she succumbed gladly. If she was hiding away from the world, then her black eyes were a shield to prevent Tara from seeing her honestly again. You take that idea of the eyes being windows to the soul and restore it, enhance it, and give it back to us with an element of beauty that feels so right at this point in the story.



Chapter 24



Quote:
enclosed in a sphere of crystal made effulgent by roiling clouds




Hee, you said effulgent. ;)



Chapter 25



The imagery in this chapter is rich with symbolism, the grave scene and the mirror scene standing out as moments of giving and receiving; love continuing to heal and mend the hearts of those who allow it to do so. It's a wonderful compliment to your style that you don't take us directly into the action, but let us teeter around the edges and view it all from a distance.



The spring metaphor makes me think of T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland", mainly because I think, for Willow, the last 19 years have been a wasteland of her own making. Just like Eliot tended to blame humanity for tearing down the sacred nature of its own mythology, I think that Willow has blamed herself for removing all the light and goodness in her life; even her respect for magicks has fallen by the wayside in light of her desire to bring Tara back. If the search for the Holy Grail is, as Eliot tends to hint at, the one true path to enlightenment, then it would seem here that Willow's quest for love, and finding, accepting and keeping that love, is her own way of achieving that Holy Grail.



Your final chapter is simply perfect in terms of tying up loose ends. I love how you bring the remaining Scoobies together, plus the legacy that they're leaving behind them in the shape of their children. The title of this chapter is wonderful; consolidating everything that you've included as a theme throughout; the light, the newness, the new day, the future. It's all perfectly encapsulated in that familiarity of the Bronze, and the reworking of those scenes between Willow and Tara that we know so well.



Thank you so much for this fic. Again; I'm sorry it took me so long to provide feedback, but it's been a great afternoon spent reading it. :)











"Cheese falls apart. It crumbles apart so much. You can't ever put it back the way it was. I'm sorry, it's just...you know, it takes time to eat Cheshire cheese. You can't just go for coffee and crackers and expect cheesey goodness..." ~ Cheesetropy



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Finished!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 6:27 pm 
Ruth, thanks so much for the wonderful feedback, belated or not. I hope you don't mind the belated nature of my own response to your feedback. You see so much, so well, sometimes better than I saw things myself. I especially loved what you said with your comparisons to Eliot and Willow's long quest.



--

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



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Finished!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 11:13 am 
hey dmw!

i found your story today, and actually wanted to read one or two chaps, but nooooo! you had to write it so brilliantly, that i spent the last 5 hours reading it, and damn it was so worth it! :bow



honestly, i was so engrossed and intrigued by it! and i wish i had the words for telling it properly, but maybe it helps if i say, that i had only one smoke that time, which was when i started it. i was oblivious to everything else!



thank you!



We'll fling the bunnies at her- evil bunny projectiles. After I run her over and you strangle her and Bre chops her up. It's brilliant!" Lisa of Nine - Milestones



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 Post subject: ...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 8:52 am 
I absolutely loved this story! It was truly masterful.



You didn't skip over any issues of Tara's death, dealing with them rationally (or irrationally, depending on the characters involved). You managed to incorporate all of the major characters and explain their situations without making any of them outstandingly overblown, and had a decent amount of small parters that added wonderfully to the story.



And, just as a really random note, I loved the detail you put into Willow's dark eyes. Not the 'disapears when she breaks older, lasting spells' (though I'm not saying it wasn't a good touch), but you also added a bit in terms of the physical rammifications of having pupils dilated beyond what should be physically possible (the seeing in the dark bit).



Luverly :D [/rant]

I’ve never purposely gone out to take somebody out. Well, maybe, in elementary school I once did try to trip somebody. –Amber Benson


I'm an idiot. Ask me how.



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 Post subject: Re: Finally Finished!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2004 5:21 pm 
efrena, thanks for the post. It feels great to hear that it sucked you in like that.



MellindraX, thanks. It's good to hear that people are still reading this one.

--

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



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 Post subject: Great fic
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 10:20 am 
What can I say? I totally loved this fic. Expecially the last chapter was amazing. I loved the way you put the lines of the show in your fic, reversing the roles. Thanks for sharing this wonderful fic :) :applause



-- Be yourself. Be in love. We are. - t.A.T.u. --



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 Post subject: ...
PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:50 am 
Once again I am speechless. I am so glad I deceided to take on the reccomended reading as well. Yours was so origional and I agree they could have done a lot more with season 6. Well you know besides kill.



:peace



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:00 am 
This story was too great. great job. :peace


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 Post subject: Re: FIC: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:45 pm 
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First off...I must admit I was in the same situation that Culzean was in. Do I read more of the story? Or read the Odyssey for class? Many times that question came up, only once did I take a short break from this story to read the Odyssey.


I loved the dark Willow you showed in this story. Her dedication to her promise was heartbreaking when you saw how much she had hidden her self away. I was skeptical about how this 'new' Tara would be. I am glad though that Tara was able to help Willow find her true self again and that we know Willow & Tara will always be together. If Tara's came back once, we can imagine that they will continuously be finding each other over and over again.

I really like the way you've written the other main characters especially the grown up Dawn and the more house-broken Anya. And as much as its sad to hear Buffy died, I'm glad she wasn't taken down by the typical fate of a Slayer.

I think my favourite part of this story was when Tara's blue eyes finally met Willow's green eyes.

Unfortunately, now that I have finished reading this, I really do need to read the Odyssey. I can put it off no longer. Keep up the good work!

Jen

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 Post subject: Re: FIC: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:22 am 
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omg what an amazing story! I could not stop reading. You wrote all the charachters beautifully and spot on. Willow was truely written so well. The story and background info where both amazing. I did have to get used to the fact that this was a different tara,but other than that amazing! The rest has already been said by everyone. Great work.

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 Post subject: Re: FIC: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:44 pm 
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Wow, awesome story, love your descriptions of the world of "darkness" that Willow confront to bring Tara back, (i love dark stories, even without happy ending) all the incredible action, the angst and the moments of pure love and eventually joy are so wonderfully interweave that i could not stop reading it until the end (yay for weekends), so thanks for the wonderfull story and good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: FIC: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:06 pm 
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Still one of the best I've ever read

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Brittany: If it were, Santana and I would be dating.


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