Lady Moreta: Thanks for the greeting back!
Yeah, I know the thing about formatting - I just forgot, because I write in a .txt editor which doesn't have italics or bold. I correct that when I post, but sometimes I forget.
The names really aren't mine. And Morgana always calls people by their full names, unless specifically told not to. So the plucky little red-haired Brujah is called "Rebecca" when writing from her PoV and not "Becky," and the stripperific Gangrel is called "Nicoletta." Evan isn't mine, he's our ST's. :)
Morgana's more True Neutral than Good, really, as far as alignments go. She has a number of principles she lives by, and those have driven her both to do good at great risk to herself and to do evil because duty demands. Not Lawful Neutral because, well, she's a vampire, she has to break a number of laws just to stay alive. She was like that when she was human, as well. Got her the grudging respect of Camarilla and Sabbat vampires alike, but utter disdain from the one human that knew of her double life...
Instead of just saying that, though, your comment inspired me illustrate - so here's a short story from her initial, mortal life with vampires.
Writing a character with 10th century morals in a Humanity-centered game is asking for trouble
The battle is finally over. I place my gun back in its holster and assess the situation.
We are in trouble.
Karmen, her body torn apart by the creature's claws, barely staggers to her feet. Timothy is down and out cold. Ted stands over him, wounded and surprised. Mind control forced the two Brujah to duel, and Ted unexpectedly came out on top. Mind control. As if necromancy and fleshcraft and illusions were not enough. What *else* can these creatures do? And there are eight more left...
Karmen, healing rapidly, walks up to her Pack priest, kneels to see just how badly hurt he is, and roars in her powerful voice of a powerful, if hurt, Lasombra. "WHO?"
"I did." Ted says sullenly.
The Ductus rises and discharges her machine gun into the other Brujah, and Ted falls, limp and unconscious. She turns to me, eyes flashing in barely-restrained hungry fury.
But she manages to restrain herself.
"Mortal!" Karmen growls, fingers flexing, predatory grin on her face. "Go down the stairs! Find another one of you, or better two! Quickly!"
I nod and step outside the room. No use in taunting the vampires with my living blood now. I need to get them to the city. There's nobody here, anyway. The island where we had fought had been cleansed of humans before we came. I need to get them to the helicopter, If not - they'll eat each other. And me. Merely spill blood, and the two out cold will rise, and there will be a blood bath.
I press the button for the elevator. It rises up slowly, so very slowly, but finally a chime signals its arrival.
Oh Gods, no.
There is a man inside the elevator, lying in a pool of his own blood. Clothed as a janitor. Openly fractured leg. Blood stain on chest. Eyes glazed over with pain. A soft whisper, "H-help... Me... God.. Swe-it Je-esus... Help.."
And the choices I have are crystal-clear.
I forget my promises and duties and try to save him. I take him down the elevator, and to the helicopter which I can't fly and can't land. And the people I am in one boat with will kill each other for their hunger.
I try to take him with us, arguing with a Sabbat pack for his life. While they are allies for now, they are on the edge of Frenzy. I remember Frenzy from the inside. It does not ask whether this insolent insect before you is your ally. An argument will send them over the edge. And then we're both dead. The vampires survive, though: they'll sate the initial hunger on us.
I leave him here to die on his own. Those wounds will be the death of him before long without medical help. But maybe, just maybe it will come soon enough. But without food the vampires Frenzy, and we are all dead regardless.
And I can give him to them. To Karmen, whose bite is not ecstasy, but endless pain.
Well, Morgana? Did you not swear so long ago, back in another life, that if choosing between the lives of your allies and strangers you will choose allies?
Will you now walk away from that oath?
No. But I will not let him feel pain, either.
I draw the dagger Ted gave me to keep. The man is barely conscious. There will be no struggle.
It's decided, Morgana. I place the dagger to his chest.
There is no struggle. I pierce his heart and the man soon stops moving, quietly.
I drag the fresh corpse into the room.
"Here." And step back.
Karmen falls upon him like a vulture, biting into his neck.
And just for a second I hear a shrill scream.
Oh great Gods. Can't I even kill a man right, if it is what I must do?! Can I not grant him mercy?!
I do not look away as she feeds. I have no right to look away.
So: starting with the review debts. I'll be going back in chronological order, so I'll do the most recent stories first.
As always, disclaimer: this is the opinion of someone for whom English is not a first language, and quite subjective. If someone's not interested in the questions on style I ask, you have but to tell me, and I'll shut up and restrict myself to asking questions about the characters and their actions.
Lord Gareth, Steel Song: First emotional response: awesome! One question not related to the writing: who were the PC's? I assume Francis and his group, but you leave just enough doubt for me to have to ask.
More concrete text stuff: I like the way you did the battle - I could see it in my mind, and that's what matters most for me. I like how the scribe is slowly clued in to the half-elf's strength. And I love the ending! I'd like to see more how the relationship between the two developed.
Criticism: none, really. Good snippet for our format.
Amiel, Maleidolon: The pluses: you got Shaira's feelings and actions across well. I liked the feeling of an old warrior, too: you can feel that she's not the youngsters that usually adventure, which is a refreshing break for me, really. You rarely, if ever, repeat words of description.
The minuses: I feel kinda weird here, because I had a hard time getting your style. This does not mean it's bad, you're very much proficient with English - it probably just means that English is a second language for me, so I'll just list the stuff that threw me off-track and let the others comment upon style. I had to look up new words, which is always good, but rather than clearing my confusion, it increased them. Particular examples:
"auburn lens" - that means eyes, right?
"Once hale, her red hair" - once healthy? Strong? It is unhealthy and unkempt now, is that what you meant?
"Dark circles bespoke of the fatigue gripping her then" - you mean the dark circles swimming in one's eyes when one's fatigued, right?
Other stuff that seemed weird: why was Shaira surprised when she understood that her quarry was a Rakshasa? At least, that's the impression the following fragment gives for me:
Why does Shaira first kick in the door and shout her daughter's name and then think of the silence and the other guests? Why cannot she enter the room quietly if nothing is wrong, anyway - I presume that she sleeps in the same room as her daughter? Is she just too nervous and tired to think straight (certainly possible after such an ordeal)?
Like lightning, the naked blade hewed off the creature's head. A face, animalistic yet unnatural with great unblinking eyes stared from a tiger's visage.
It was a rakshasa.
And, uh, feeling like a complete dunce here, but what happened at the end? There were two Rakshasa rather than one, and the second Rakshasa killed everyone? Or did something more sinister happen?
Absolmorph, Burning the man who burnt us: one criticism. I personally can only see the narrator. It's like I'm listening to you telling an RP story, which is not necessarily bad, but not exactly immersive into the world and/or character themselves. If that was the feeling you were going for, you got it, but it doesn't seem to me as if you were. If you're interested in more particular stuff - I'm game to provide.
Bubs the Sorcerer sounds like fun to play, though! Mostly Necromancy and Evocation in the spell lists, right?
Machuchang: for now, I'll just say that I enjoyed your work a lot - I have some work to do now, but I'll get back to you next post. Varen's storyline is probably my favorite, but Abigail's quickly catching up in my personal rating! ;-)