We came upon another anomaly as we left this group of tombs. Ten yards out of the circle they formed was another hole, this one not empty. I frowned in puzzlement as Euthsia and I stood on its edge and stared down three heavily decayed human skeletons, broken apart in places and their pieces mingling with each other. It seemed then that my disciple's speculation about the opened tombs was correct.
Euthsia looked up after a moment and glanced around, up at the sky which was now dotted with clouds, then at the empty field around us, its only feature the odd spindly tree, tree stump, or rock. I, however, continued to peer down at the age-old corpses. This time, it was I who was lost in thought.
"Euthsia?" I said after a moment.
"Do you remember when you asked me whether I believe that our objective is a man or a beast?"
"Yes, I do."
I looked up, stretching out again with the Force but still sensing no one else nearby. "I believe that the proper question would be, How much is it man, and how much beast?'"
That random bit of floating text that's broken out early in Part I really could use with being integrated into the main prose so it doesn't disrupt the flow.
Nitpicker's note: square "miles" aren't typically used in IU, especially since you use meters elsewhere. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.
"I had been eager to make every speed" Something of an awkward turn of phrase here. It sort of works, but could be better.
"fresh death piled upon the centuries-past ones" I get the meaning here but it could be phrased better IMO
"Every two or three blows, a cobalt flash banished the night around us for a split second. " What is the flash coming from? If it's from their swords clashing, that's previously been described as white or silver. What's the blue from?
To answer your question in the edit summary, the popular blue associated with cobalt is from the commonly-used cobalt oxide. Oh well. :P
Another units inconsistency with "inches"
Morgent Kelbus seems kind of an idiot to not try and bandage his arm to staunch the bleeding. Is he that Force-reliant or is there another reason for this? This isn't a terribly firm objection, just stretches the reader's willingness to accept him as a character.
He's still a silly man, but I'll let it slide. :P
"Strangely, I felt as deeply cut by his remark about my abilities as by the reference to Euthsia " Not really seeing the reference here until later in the prose. Not a firm objection per se
"blocked from his left, and only just. " Somewhat of another awkward turn of phrase
"almost out of pure chance had I not accepted Master Vinere's offer of assistance, and likewise by pure chance" Do the Jedi believe in chance? Obi-Wan's statement in ANH would seem to belie that.
You just pulled a Brandon. "Interpretation is key." All right, I'll let it slide.
That's all. A lot of these are pretty subjective objections and so I won't contest them too heavily if you can provide explanations. Good read. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 15:39, May 17, 2012 (UTC)
Hrm... Ok, I've addressed bullets 1, 3-5, 8, & 9. Regarding 2 & 6, I mean no disrespect but I don't care about systems of distance measurement in my writing at this time. Regarding 7, I think you mentioned this to me on IRC. The answer is not that Kelbus is overly reliant on the Force (one of the points of the story is that he's mildly haughty and overconfident, but not in that way), it's just that I didn't think of it at the time of writing, and now that you've mentioned it, I'm not sure whether to alter so that he does bandage it (I want to keep the part in the last duel where suspense is built up a bit more when the wound reopens, but would that still happen if it was bandaged? I know nothing about medic stuffs). Regarding 10: I suppose that many Jedi don't believe much in chance, but keep in mind first that this is in the earlier centuries of the Jedi Order's development (so interpretations are going to differ from Jedi to Jedi to greater degrees than in later eras), and second that Kelbus has just been through a physical and mental shitstorm (so he's bound to start questioning things that he otherwise wouldn't). -MPK, Free Man 02:57, May 24, 2012 (UTC)
You have "Human" spelled as "human" most of the time, but at least once as "Human". While it really doesn't matter that much which way you go, you'll need to be consistent.
"A sea of individual agents – The lifeblood and very definition of civilization, I thought." This sentence seems unclear to me. Is "A sea of individual agents" part of his thought? If it is, shouldn't it be in italics? If not, it is an incomplete thought.
"... I thanked the official, who then asked me if there was anything else he could do to help." The following paragraph starts with the man giving Kelbus something else, not asking him if he needs anything. I could be wrong, but it seemed slightly confusing.
"In truth, the universe is only partly composed of the crude matter upon which we place so much value." The tense switch here seemed to interrupt the flow of the paragraph.
Otherwise I really enjoyed it. Honestly, I would be the first to say that I'm not as accomplished at reviewing fan fiction as you, Ataru, or the other archivists, so feel free to try and explain why I might be wrong about one of my objections. Savage1138 17:18, February 21, 2012 (UTC)
I have (I'm pretty sure, anyway) taken care of all of those thingies. -MPK, Free Man 23:45, March 4, 2012 (UTC)
I've read this story twice now and liked it more with each review. I'm sure MPK will address whatever minor objections come up. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 04:54, February 21, 2012 (UTC)
Archivist Review from Atarumaster88
Beast of Rutan is the latest in the highly-acclaimed work of author MPK, and like his other stories, focuses heavily on the struggle between good and evil. In accordance with his normal style, MPK only uses a small repertoire of characters to portray the conflict waged between the moral opposites. This story is decidedly not for the faint of heart, and I would definitely not recommend reading it alone at night in a dark room. It's creepy and draws heavily from the horror genre. The author does an excellent job of placing the reader inside the story, making every action, every atrocity, every spoiler seem very visceral. Beast of Rutan is a dark and twisted journey into the hellish depths of the psyche of corruption set in an equally grisly and disturbing physical scenario, and it is very well-written.
The reader is ultimately left with the same question as Morgent Keblus is: why? That's both frustrating and thought-provoking. I won't attempt to dissect the author's reasons for leaving that question unanswered, but I'm sure that that was a conscious and deliberate choice on his part. Suffice to say that it works. MPK's writing is so consistently good that it's hard to say if this one was better than some of his others. I've read this story three times now and the number of legitimately objectionable things I could find on it could probably be placed on one hand. The prose generally flows very well, with few technical errors, and the description/narration/characterization is as good as any you'll find on this wiki. Beast of Rutan is a very good piece of work, and while it's certainly not for the squeamish, I'd recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind their Star Wars splashed with some blood…er, horror. 4.5/5 technical, 4.5/5 narrative. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 15:53, May 17, 2012 (UTC)
Imma givin' reviews now, then I'll go eat cookies.
Firstoval: SPOILAZ! If you haven't read the story yet, then read it. No, seriously, read it. READ IT NAO. Then you can read this. kthxlol.
Okies: Firstly, I'll get nitpicking, mostly because I've been told it's better to start with your weakest point and work to your strongest point, and any nitpicks I can give would be of minor importance. Therefore, I shall begin with the nitpick of least imporance. Is "Vinere" pronounced veneer? It it supposed to sound like a word? Was that some symbolism I missed because I tend to miss symbolism? Is Euthsia human? If the tombs are supposed to be shelter, why would Dargas have more than one tomb open at one spot? I mean I would understand if he was storing things in the others he wasn't sleeping in or using one as a kitchen or something, but Kelbus doesn't come across anything in the tombs and its made clear that Dargas thinks a Lecter Special tastes better grilled in the outside air. Adds a little somthin' somethin'. And what's with all the holes outside that aren't filled with bones? How did Kelbus not figure out that old suspicious dude was suspicious? I figured out he was the villain right away. I know he was hung up over Euthias, but, still. Old dude was really suspicious. And what was the whole point behind the duel at the end of Act II? It did nothing but fill space until they could not fight, expositionize, then fight again. Kinda seemed like filler to me. Meh.
Second point: Things I loved, and things I could have loved. Okay, things I loved: The whole of Part I. The atmosphere was thick and tense and I could easily visualize and understand what was going on. It felt so lonely and creepy, in that way that is just that little bit off, but you don't know why. Or maybe it was just the movie version I was playing in my head that was that way, but I'm pretty sure it was your writing. It all felt so...how do I describe it...? Grey. It felt grey. Not depressing grey, but lonely, off-putting grey. Like no color could abide there. Oh wait, red could. This is a very red story, too. Unless the Rutanians bleed purple or something, I dunno. I could hear the lonely wind, the emptiness, the deadness. I normally read stories while some music is playing on my iTunes, but I had to shut it off and read it in silence. It needed the silence. I LOVED IT SOOOOO MUCH!!! <squee>
Something else I loved? The in-body flashback. It was unsettling, feeling and thinking and doing things that not only are not your own, but yet are so inhuman (ohimsorry was that xenist? I meant so....inspecies. >.>). As if it's you doing it, but aren't really, but then again...you are. Kinda. Wuz disturbing. I liek.
I also liked Kelbus and Euthsia. I figured Euthsia would die, but I didn't want him to. So yeah, empathy's important and I felt it. I also genuinely didn't want Kelbus to succumb to the dark side at the end.
Things I could have loved more...well...I thought Part II was just not as good as Part I. Kelbas seemed to have the idiot ball when first meeting the old man, and, (this is just a personal preference thing) I don't like play-by-play fight scenes in books. Maybe it's cuz I'm lysdexic, I dunno, but I'm always confused by them and lose track of where people are or what's going on. I'm not saying your writing's bad, it's just a personal preference thing. Mostly I just skim them and read the first couple words of paragraphs and just keep track of who's injured or any inner monologues and stuff like that. Just me, don't feel you have to fix it or anything. So yeah, Part II was a little boring for me, and, of course, I did the same for the fight scene in Part III, but thankfully the fight scene was shorter and I got it pretty good. Don't feel bad over it, I just have to give an honest review, and I can't do that without mentioning it. It's my problem, not yours. I'm sure you write play-by-play fight scenes great, I just don't read play-by-play fight scenes.
Next: Things I'm glad didn't happen! From all indications, it looked like it was going towards the "Jedi gives in to madness, kills bad guy, takes his place" thing. I'm glad Kelbus didn't become the new beast. If he were, there would need to be a lot more buildup for it to make sense, and as there wasn't, I'm glad he didn't. Thank you for not going for the cheap twist. I also liked that the ending wasn't just "And Kelbus and his friends laughed then ended on a freeze frame high-five" ending, either. All that said, I wished there was more of an impact this had on Kelbus, and a hint of how it would change him in the future. You can't gaze into the void and return the same, look too long into the madness and it looks back at you and all. I know he wasn't the same at the end, but still, a little mental scarring or something. I'm glad you did the stuff you did do, though, with the ending. I just felt it could have been a bit more.
Lastly: What I got out of it. I loved the question posed by this story, or at least the question it posed to me. A story can speak in different ways to different people at different points in their lives n' all. What I got out of it was the...well, Joker said it best "You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!" To me, The Beast of Rutan' was about...was about that niggling madness we all have, that untamed part of the id, that wonders "...What if? I wonder...what does it feel like to...? What if I killed him? It'd be so easy, so quick. What if I decided to let go? What if I decided to give in? What if I...?" What if I? The part of us that we like to ignore, the one that pops up in our mind when we least expect it, and the one we quench just as fast. The little voice we wished didn't exist and hate ourselves for having. What if I? The little question that, if answered, would only bother to take a split second, at the cost of the rest of our lives, whether literally or physically. A second's indulgence at the cost of our soul. What if I? The beast within us all, so small, so quiet, yet so unkillable. What if I...?
I could do it tonight. End all my chances at a happy life. It wouldn't take much. It wouldn't take but a second. I literally, really could. And so could you. In one night, I could hurt so very many people. People I know, people I don't. And that would be the end. Maybe not literally, but in a much, much worse way. It doesn't take much, and either we would look back on it with regret, or have everyone else look back on it and say that was where the madness started. But that's not where would have started, would it? It started way back when, when we first asked ourselves "What if?" then silenced it. Inside, I think we all have a little madness. The only difference is that some people choose to listen to it.
Because I felt like it, I decided to reply to some of Solus' comments and confuzzlements. When I can be arsed to, I'll get around to addressing/fixing the stuffs Ataru mentioned above.
Regarding Master Vinere's name: When I wrote it, in my head I pronounced it as "vin-ear", but the difference between that and anything else is equal to the difference between Core-uh-sahnt and Core-OO-scant (which is to say, it makes no difference at all). And no, it has no intended symbolism.
Regarding whether Euthsia is human: Yeah, he is. Did I really forget to mention that? I'm so imbearassed.
Regarding the extra open tombs: The idea when I wrote it was that Dargas just keeps opening new ones and roams around them cuz he's bored. I'm not sure if I remembered to actually properly indicate that or not.
Related, and regarding the extra holes: The idea when I wrote it was that Dargas just digs more holes than he needs in the present so he can use more in the future. I mean, he has a lot of time on his hands.
Regarding the old man's obvious evilness: Yeah, he was suspicious, and I didn't try to hide it. The idea is that Dargas (because he would like to screw with the Jedi) was using Force persuasion to (essentially) make Kelbus stupid and assume that he was innocent. It's implied when, as soon as the "old man" leaves, Kelbus immediately comes up with a list of how many blatantly ominous things he missed ("I should have been able to sense the old man long before we met. He had seemed to materialize directly behind me. [...] I had not given a second thought to it at the time. I should have been alarmed immediately."), and confirmed later on when they talk in Part III: "'And when we spoke earlier, I suspect that there is a reason why I never suspected that the killer was you.' His grin widened. [...] 'Very good, Jedi Knight Kelbus. I spent many of my years as a Jedi perfecting the art of illusions and tricks of the mind. Only one who was as familiar with such skills as I would be able to see through them[...]"). Basically, Kelbus was carrying the Idiot Ball, but because Dargas literally gave it to him. Ultimately, the question that I meant the reader to be asking was not "Is this guy evil", but rather "Exactly what role is he playing in this" (i.e, Kelbus speculates that maybe he's just a minion of the real murderer, or something).
Regarding the first duel being filler: I'm not sure what to say about this. "When I wrote it", it made the most sense that Kelbus would fight Dargus twice, once before finding out what he is, and then once after. I dunno.
Regarding how you don't like play-by-play fight scenes: It's sort of amusing to me that you bring this up, because I actually rather hate writing them.
Regarding the dodging of the cheap twist: Yeah, no problem. I never planned on ending it like that because it'd be way too much like Burning Bright, and I wanted a slightly happier ending for this one.
Regarding not much impact story had on Kelbus: I understand your meaning here, but I puzzle at how I could have improved it in this regard without extending the story. He kills Dargas, gets rescued off-screen, we read his journal entry very shortly after, and that's the end of the story. We'd see plenty of the scarring if, say, there was another scene where he's actually doing things, but as it stands I'm not sure how else I'd show it.
Thanks for reading and reviewing. -MPK, Free Man 14:08, May 21, 2012 (UTC)
Just as a clarification: The nitpicks I found were so minor that I don't expect you to fix them. They aren't worth the effort, and, besides, I already voted for your story. I'm not going to be a snob and not vote for it because...I dunno, a measurement was off. <coughcoughloveyouAtaru<3<3...Ididn'tmeanitdon'thateme>
Okay. I didn't know if it was supposed to mean something or just a coincidence. :)
No big deal, man. I understand, I have that problem. I just know my chars so well sometimes I forget other people don't know them.
You probably did mention it, I just must have missed it.
Tru, dat. Makes sense. I'll buy it.
Oh, okay. I get it. Sorry I missed it. ^-^; Makes sense that way.
Eh, its not enough to turn me off - it's just not that big a deal to get all that worked up about. Not worth the effort to fix and all. ;)
lol. What a coinky-dink.
Hm. Now that you say it like that, I guess there isn't much you can change about the format. You literally would have to write in a scene before or after the journal piece examining his character briefly. As it is gotten across well enough in what's there, it don't matter if it don't change. :)