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Date: 2010-03-23 01:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
Khal! Khal! You must read this story with me!!!!!!

It's ORIGINAL slash fiction, and from what I can tell, it seems like a fucked-up cross of Jaqueline Carey's sexual shit and Carol Berg's "Aleksander and FUCK, what IS that other dude's name? The slave dude, who ends up being trusted confidant and what not" except it's SLASH, and they have to get to the sex at some point! HAVE TO. I mean, from what I can tell, it's still UST, but still! (And shut up, Aleksander and Seyonne--HAH, I REMEMBERED HIS NAME--totally should have been doing it at the end there. For serious.)

It has great reviews from F-list people I trust, as per this conversation, so the writing must be pretty good.

ANYWAY.

I got excited over this and HAD TO SHARE. *g*

Oh. The story is here.

Date: 2010-03-23 03:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
YES! Something new to read! And while I didn't like the Berg books, really, not so much, I will read anything even remotely resembling Carey's sexual world! Yay. *bookmarks for later* I don't have time in the next few days, but I will start reading asap!

I haven't found a lot of original slash fic that I like, since The Administration series blew them all out of the water.

Thanks for sharing, babe!

(Speaking of Carey's books -- I finally just read Naamah's Kiss -- have you read that one? What did you think?)

Date: 2010-03-23 03:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
Yeah, the only part of the Berg books was the two characters. I will put up with a lot of shit if someone gives me something like that. *g* But from what I hear, the plotting and the POLITICS in this new story is fantastic.

WHAT IS THE ADMINISTRATION SERIES?

I really liked Naamah's Kiss, actually. I felt that it returned to the formula that made the series interesting--the crazy-ass world-building, interesting if skeevy characters, the nation in danger from within and without, crazy personal relationships set against politics. I really like the main character, too. She's completely different from Phedre, but just as fleshed-out, and not a whiny bitch like Imriel was. I really liked the Princess and the Dragon, too. *g*

Date: 2010-03-23 04:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
The Administration series -- REALLY long series, several novel length installments, futuristic distopia, original slash (professional torturer meets upper class scientist. Sorta), very very kinky and fucked up. Mind Fuck is the first story and will give you a feel for the rest. Totally awesome.

http://www.mannazone.org/zone/admin/index.html

And yeah, that's how I felt about Naamah's Kiss and I'm really looking forward to the rest. It was fleshed out without being annoying and she was SUCH a nice change from Imriel!

Date: 2010-03-23 04:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
Also, I've been told to wait till chapter 7 to let the characters grow on me, so there's that. So far, the main character is really, really angry, which is understandable considering the circumstance, but everyone is telling me the pay-off is AWESOME. *g*

Date: 2010-03-23 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
Fuck that, I'm now hooked at Chapter 3. *headdesk*

Date: 2010-03-23 10:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
Can't wait to start reading!

Date: 2010-03-23 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
I just, *tears out hair*....just wait till you get to where I'm at. DOES HE KNOW, I ASK YOU?

Date: 2010-03-25 06:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
DUDE YOU NEGLECTED TO MENTION IT IS A WIP!!!

I just stayed up reading because I couldn't stop and now WHAT WHERE IS THE REST OF MY STORY!?! GUH.

Thanks for the rec. Ready to discuss in whatever level of detail you would prefer!!

Date: 2010-03-25 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
AHAHAHAHAH. It SAID WIP. I just didn't think I'd CARE.

Mistake!

I'm reading through the comments, and they're so wildly disparate on the subject: Do you think Laurent knows, and why, and when did he find out?

Let's start there. *g*

Date: 2010-03-25 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
Yeah, I usually skip all those author notes kind of thing and dive right in, so I COMPLETELY missed the WIP-ness of it all. Alas. But something to look forward to now!

I could go either way on Laurent knowing (oh, and I haven't read any of the comments/discussion, so I don't know what the theories are out there) but I am leaning towards he doesn't know. Why:

I was willing to believe in the first couple of chapters that he did in fact know and was being sneaky (he's very sneaky!), but as the story unfolded, I just couldn't believe that he knew and continued to act the way he did.

I think that early on, he might have suspected, because yeah, the whole thing was clearly a set up and he is clever enough (he's very clever!) to get the insult. But I think he logic-ed himself out of believing it. Because, seriously!

He is perfectly willing to believe that those "barbarians" would do something like this to one of their own, but when Damon didn't conform to his expectations, he had to rearrange his thinking. Um, I don't know if that's clear -- what I mean is, while Laurent himself is probably more than capable of pretending, hiding who he is (which we see in the later chapters and his glee with disguises and trouble-making), he is still colored by his prejudice and lack of hands-on (heh) experience with any of the (shit, blanking on name/spelling of country) Alekiosians? Grr, know that's not right. He doesn't know enough about them beyond his own country's prejudices/think them capable of the level of subtlety that D is exhibiting to hide himself.

I think that's why he's so obnoxious at first -- it's immediate, tangible revenge with a lot of political gain (hence the flogging). But when D doesn't react the way a prince SHOULD, L begins to give up his suspicions. This continues to be confirmed with the whole life-saving and gradual building of, if not quite trust, something akin to it.

I also think that while there's a super strong argument FOR him knowing, the author seems (to me) to be setting up a very classic betrayal story.
How much worse (or better, depending on your perspective) is it going to be when they are FINALLY trusting each other, when they have hooked up at least once (because, c'mon) and THEN he finds out.

ESPECIALLY if they are still on the border, or better yet, out of the country entirely! Then you are going to have the trapped, wanting to rely on each other, perhaps even having to for getting-out-alive purposes, genuinely liking each other, but now with added dose of reeling-betrayal (tm).

I also think that L is much less suspicious of D and who he might be once they are out in the field. (And yes, I do also see how this could make him MORE suspicious, but I choose my version!). D is clearly well trained, with military background. He has admitted to fighting at (?) Malas and he has admitted to having some kind of relationship with Margaret (which wouldn't be out of the question if he were some kind of ranked military).

Argh, I could probably keep talking about this for quite a while, but I have to go prep my handouts for a meeting. That's my thinky two cents -- what do YOU think?!

Part 1

Date: 2010-03-25 06:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
Bwhahah! I have the exact opposite view. Which, actually, doesn't surprise me at all. *g*

...I may have spent way too much time thinking about this. *headdesk*

You spent the first few chapters thinking Laurent knew; I spent them thinking that he didn't. Mainly because, like you, I thought Laurent's earlier cruelty was just a part of his character, a part of his general antipathy for Akielosians, and Damen was just an easy source to lay on that "immediate, tangible revenge," as you call it. I agree with you in that Laurent has a LOT of prejudice built up against Damen's people.

(In fact, my certainty that Laurent didn't know solidified when we actually discovered why Laurent hated Akielosians--and Damianos in particular. There is NO WAY, I thought, that Laurent's rage would have allowed for Damianos to survive.)

A couple of things changed my mind:

1. Laurent's reaction to Damen asking for better treatment of the other Akielosian slaves. On a political side, yes, Laurent wanted to be rid of them for the possibility of them being spies, and also as a way to piss off the Regent. But considering how much Laurent seems to HATE Akielosians, he shouldn't have gotten rid of his "spy" problem that way. He should have done something cruel to them, either in keeping them there or in "disposing" of them. He didn't.

A. First of all, this showed me that Laurent is capable of shelving his personal hatreds in order to faciliate his political needs. Even if we're not going to say that Laurent helped the slaves out of compassion--and that early on, I wasn't willing to allow for that--he still chose to get rid of an easy way to hurt DAMEN, for one, and an easy way to hurt OTHER Akielosians, for the other, in order to get rid of possible Akielosian spies. So here, I see Laurent as someone able to prioritize his goals over his feelings.

B. But Laurent's treatment of the other Akeilosian slaves went further--Erasmus considered Laurent to be kind. I find this interesting in that Erasmus is the only other Akielosian we've seen Laurent interact with. Granted, Erasmus is not the most reliable person to determine what constitutes good treatment--but hell, if Laurent had treated Erasmus anything like the way he treated Damen, not even Erasmus could think that behavior "kind". And again, the WAY Laurent "disposed" of the other slaves, was, well, it was really fucking nice of him to give them to the Patrans.

That fact makes me think that Laurent's treatment of Damen is UNIQUE to Damen. Damen is special. Granted, it might be because Damen was "a soldier" and was present at Malas, of course, but in any case, it shows that Laurent doesn't hate HATE the other Akielosians to the point where he wants to see them suffer, or at the very least, that Laurent is completely indifferent to the other Aklielosians at court.

This raises the question of why does Laurent hate Damen in particular? Is it because Damen was "a soldier" and Laurent merely hates him in a general "hate everyone involved at Malas" sense, or was it because Laurent recognizes Damen as Daimanos and thus the hatred is personal?



Part 2

Date: 2010-03-25 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
2. A couple of things made me think it was personal:

A. The first thing that made me think it was personal refers to point 1A above. Because while having Damen raped and leaving him to rot when Laurent was to leave court were completely acceptable options in punishing Damen, flogging him WAS NOT. Flogging Damen was expressely forbidden by the Regent. At first, I was just willing to say that Laurent did things to piss off the Regent all the time--but no. He never does it OPENLY. He never even allows the courtiers to express openly treasonous thoughts, even after he's stripped of lands and titles. Laurent flogging Damen was STUPID--it was open disobedience, which put Laurent exactly where he did not want to be, in a place where he was expecting punishment that politically hurt him badly, that he'd been working hard to avoid. And Laurent is not stupid. Laurent does not let his feelings get in the way of his political goals.

Except for right there, he did.

In fact, he was so stupid there that not only did he act disobediently, he focused all of his political savy ON that disobedience. He specifically waited until the Regent was away. It wasn't a quick mistake born of passion, it was a deliberately planned idioticy.

Which makes me think: Laurent couldn't help himself. It wasn't enough to humiliate Damen, he wanted Damen's BLOOD.

Which makes me think: It was personal.

I mean, the fact that Laurent went to stare into Damen's eyes when Damen was being flogged: Personal. Being SO ANGRY about being saved by Damen, to the point where he wants him to rot: Personal.

Even so, I was willing to be unsure about Laurent knowing or not. But then:

3. What you said about Laurent getting the joke/insult of Damen's very name. Yes, there is NO WAY that Laurent would have missed that--fuck, the Ambassador didn't, and I think we can both safely say that Laurent would have caught on to that faster than the Ambassador, if only for his own personal interest in the matter.
So that means the set-up, as you call it, the "possibility" of Damen being Damianos was there in Laurent's mind.

You think Laurent logic-ed himself out of it. (I think that Laurent accepted it, and that's what caused the above stupidity, the absolute inability to control himself in such a very detrimental way.) The reason you gave for Laurent out-logicing himself: That Laurent does not think Damen to be "capable of the level of subtlety that D is exhibiting to hide himself." I completely disagree with BOTH parts of that statment. Let's look at that through Laurent's eyes rather than Damen's:

a. Yes, Damen thinks himself suble, but god, he really isn't.
He can't even shut himself up--a soldier would not speak that way to a Prince or a Regent. Ever. Damen even recognizes that fact himself and can't bring himself to do anything about it. He tries to bargain with royalty. He takes command without thinking about it. He gives a Prince advice without thinking about it--he reprimands Laurent without thinking of it. He is WAY too prideful.

I just...you say Damen isn't acting in the way a Prince should? WHEN? I think the problem that Laurent is having with Damen is JUST THE OPPOSITE--that Damen is acting just like Auguste, who in Laurent's mind is the EPITOME of a prince. I think this is even WHY Laurent is falling in love with Damen.

(This is completely ignoring Damen's other absolute inabilities to hide himself: He almost gave himself away to a PATRAN, for god's sake. A Patran, who is not anywhere as savy as a Rabatian. Torveld was like a BABY compared to Laurent's conniving mind. Damen did not even have a REASON ready to give out for looking like a member of the Akeilos royal family. Just, dude, I want to pet Damen and call him an IDIOT.)

Part 3

Date: 2010-03-25 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com


b. Rather than Laurent dismissing Damen as incapable of duplicity, at the beginning, he COMPLETELY expects it. What is his first comment on that matter? That all Akeilosians are conniving: That Auguste went for a peace-talk and returned with his own sword in his back. In every conversation afterward, Laurent expects Damen to be lying to him: About his motives for helping the Akeilosian slaves, about his working with the Regent, even with Damen LEAVING him near the end, even when they're very obviously close to friends. Laurent is always looking for the deeper game which isn't there.

In fact, I think Laurent is only now realizing that Damen really is straightforward. I mean, when Damen asks if Laurent just doesn't prefer the company of women--Laurent is suprised by the simple explanation, and then rueful in realizing that it is, of course, how Damen thinks. It's a complete 180 for him.

c. Forget Damen's behavior for a second--Laurent's behavior is ALL WRONG for dealing with the "set-up" Damen represents:

Where is Laurent's curiousity? This detail-oriented motherfucker doesn't even bother to learn Damen's real name, or history, or rank--that we know of. He never, once, not even for a second, asks Damen how he knows the things he knows. He never, ever, looks shocked at each bump in rank that Damen gives himself: The solider to the random captian, the random captian to someone highly ranked enough to be intimate with Margaret. He never looks shocked at Damen's literacy, his complete knowledge of the lay of the land of completely foreign nations, his ability to speak many languages--his ability to speak flawless, almost unaccented Rabatian, for fuck's sake--I mean, SERIOUSLY. All these things point to someone highly ranked or positioned--Laurent would at least know OF all the Akeilosian highly ranked military members and/or peerage, who they were, what became of them, who was jockying against who. If Laurent didn't already know who Damen was, he would be figuring out who he HAS. But he's not doing any of that.

Because Laurent already knows who Damen is.

In fact, the only question Laurent has for Damen comes down to: "Why did your brother betray you?" Because, THAT, at least, is completely boggling to Laurent's Auguste-adoring mind.

3. A couple of other random things:

A. That conversation about Margaret. It is TOTALLY one of those moments that Damen is confusing his roles, in what he should know as a Prince verses what he should know as highly ranked military. And so is Laurent--dude is so focused on his "sharing and caring" moment that he doesn't realize he's doing it, too. That conversation doesn't make the LEAST bit of sense without Laurent knowing who Damen is. Think about it: You find out that the highly ranked solider was left for the current king of the nation? You do NOT say, "It wouldn't have mattered if you were royalty--because if I wanted to be a kingmaker, I too would choose the weaker man." I MEAN, WUT? LOL.

Damen's too caught up--and so is the reader--in thinking, "Laurent likes me! He really likes me!" to notice that, um, the "weaker man" part of that equation only matters if Damen had the chance to be king in the first place!

Dude. Read more Snape fanfiction. That was a rookie mistake.

*pokes you and runs*


Part 4 OH MY GOD

Date: 2010-03-25 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
B. Bwhahaha. I don't even think this story reads as a classic betrayal story--I think if that was the story being told, the fic would be from Laurent's perspective, not Damen's. You know, the POV of the person being betrayed, not the betrayer who isn't actually betraying anyone. You only write the betrayer's POV if it's cool to do it, if there is something you want to show...oh, WAIT. WAIT.

YOU HAVE AWOKEN A MONSTER, HERE, and this is just me rambling, but if it were ME writing the story, it would be like:

There IS a betrayal story being told, but it is the story of Damen's betrayal--by his half-brother, by his beloved Margaret, by his new lover Laurent (who has seemingly been using him for his own ends the entire time, just like everyone else)--AND OOH THE SYMMETRY!!!!!

I think the final plot-climax will be Damen knowing that Laurent knows (Damen: AND HAS BEEN USING ME, WAH!!! HE MAYBE NEVER TRUSTED OR LOVED ME, BUT NEEDED ME AS A POLITICAL PAWN!!!!) in a moment of great peril to them both, and the emotional climax will be him deciding to trust Laurent ANYWAY, "knowing" he's about to get burned and doing it anyway, all out of love.

(AHAHA. And right there, I would have the hardest time not shitting in everyone's face and turning the story into in tragedy. I'm a bad author that way.)

Because yes!

Stylistically, Laurent is acting as Damen's anti-brother/former-lover--and for the "moral of the story" Laurent's eventual choice to be loyal to Damen in return is the final piece that tells the reader, "Yes, it is okay to be loyal, to trust, to love unreservedly," and he will be acting as the counter to all of Damen's former betrayals, as Damen's reward and justification for not being a conniving bastard himself.

OH MY GOD, I TOTALLY THINK THAT'S IT.

(...and yeah, if it was MY story, I totally would make Laurent be an unrelieved ass at the end, to make the message all be like, "NO DAMEN! No matter what you do, no matter how good you are, no matter how much you love--YOU ARE SCREWED! MWAHAHAHAH!!!!" But as a reader, I like the other tale better. *g*)

*is all excited*

I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HOW DAMEN AND LAURENT ARE GOING TO ARRANGE THEIR KINGDOMS AT THE END. I JUST...HOW. I LOOK ENTIRELY TO LAURENT TO MAKE THAT EVEN POSSIBLE.

C. And now that you've read the entire damned thing so far, and we've seen Laurent's character expressed in full--how he deals with people, does Laurent's beginning cruelty seem in character to you if he doesn't know who Damen is? The fact that Laurent GOT DRUNK the first time he saw Damen--Laurent, who drinks nothing but water? I just...if Laurent doesn't know, I WILL DIE. *g*

Here are my next questions for you:

Do you think Laurent was sexually molested by the Regent? (I think yes.)

And how much do you think the REGENT knows about who Damen is? (I am conflicted.)

Re: Part 4 OH MY GOD

Date: 2010-03-26 06:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
Oh okay, I have time before I pass out for very short answers:

Yes, Laurent was definitely molested by the Regent.

Re: Part 4 OH MY GOD

Date: 2010-03-30 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
Haha, okay. I finally am looking back over this and I am willing to be convinced. As you are just THAT much more engaged in this story than I am. *g*

Also, I think I want to read YOUR ending for the story now, too. As well as the fanfic you are plotting!

Date: 2010-03-26 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
Or, conversely, I may have to put down the Kool-Aid and back. away. slowly. *g*

Date: 2010-03-26 06:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
Ahahaha, that's a fair assessment. Sorry not to respond earlier -- I've got all your stuff queued up in my inbox, but I got slammed at work and then I had a date. I'm swamped again til tomorrow night, so until then, I definitely recommend backing away slowly :)

Date: 2010-03-30 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
*hands the Kool-Aid back*

Sorry for not digging into a debate with you over this, but dude, when I got your four messages in my inbox and they were getting progressively more intense, I felt really overwhelmed and kinda flatted.

It's different having this kind of conversation with you online -- normally there's pizza and lots of handwaving!

Date: 2010-03-30 02:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
Eeeep. Whoops! I didn't mean to get intense, I was just all excited--and yes, there was totally handwaving and other types of flailing happily. *g*

Date: 2010-03-30 02:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
It's all good, and I KNEW you were excited. *g*

Just caught me at a bad space mentally and I didn't want to feel like I was arguing with YOU too!

Date: 2010-03-30 02:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
Oh yeah, I'm cool over here, too. I know how that goes--sometimes a debate, even a friendly one, is just BALLS. *g*

Date: 2010-03-30 02:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
*glomps*


Oh! Are you still going to be in Miami in early June? I just found out when I have to go to Atlanta, and if work is going to fly me to the East Coast for a week anyway, I'd love to tack on a weekend before/after and come see you. Would that work?

Date: 2010-03-30 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
YES! COME VISIT ME! *g*

Date: 2010-03-30 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
YES! Okay. I have to be in Atlanta June 7-10. I'll see if I can get it sorted out to fly to you on Thursday night after the conference and spend Fri-Sun with you. SAVE THE DATE!

Date: 2010-03-30 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
AWESOME! *g*

Date: 2010-03-23 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
Also? I am twelve. *headdesk*

Date: 2010-03-23 03:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalanasa.livejournal.com
Hee! You've been twelve since I met you, but I still love you dearly.

Date: 2010-03-23 04:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maraceles.livejournal.com
*headdesk headdesk headdesk*

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