I loved this! Of all the ways I was expecting this to end that was definitely not one of them. Amazing job keeping the readers on their toes and concealing your plot twists until just the right moment.
And we're hooked again on this chapter.
Typo "know where the truth "
Typos "too his feet
would fairly easy
are respectable family
to be believe
up at his the sound of his name being "
This chapter could be cut shorter as I felt it was being a lil bit of a drag with not much happening except watching the next person's move.
Very well written first chapter and I love the different layers on intrigue and suspense. I also loved your music choice, its great to listen to it while reading the story. This might be an interesting story to read why so few of the Blacks remained by the time the Second war came about. I'm surprised Sirius is still around at this point and hasn't run away from home yet.
Well this was certainly interesting! You've got murder, you've got intrigue, you've got Sirius Black! All the makings of a very intriguing and devilish plot!
I thought it was great that you have this event that has transpired - the death, I should say - that you don't actually write. There's something so mysterious about the characters alluding to this scene that the reader is not privy to, making me so confused and interested in what actually happened. You do add some detail, such as having them remember what happened, having Druella mention that there was no blood, but I still am so interested since that's not the full story!
I think that's a cool concept as well, having an Agatha Christie type murder mystery with the Blacks. Out of all the wizarding families we know of, they're probably the most interesting ones to use for this scenario since we know so little about them other's than Sirius' obviously jaded testimonies. They aren't good people by any means, but you write them as a tight knit family, somewhat, at least in terms of most of the family (*cough cough* not Bellatrix *cough cough*).
I'm so confused! Who could it be? I could see it being Bellatrix because she doesn't really react. And I know that most of them are probably thinking it's Sirius because he's not exactly the best *Black*, but perhaps they think it's Barty or Lucius seeing as they aren't part of the family? Personally, my money's on Narcissa. I have no clue why, I just think it might be the least obvious contender.
This is a great start to a story, you've really dragged me in and I'm super intrigued! The family aspect adds a whole other element to the traditional murder mystery and I really commend you on going that route!
Great story, great writing, great job in general!
Hi there Aph!
I'm here for the BvB! I feel terrible that I'm taking so long to work through this story - because you have so many amazing and varied stories on your AP and I'm just trying to work through all of them.
I think you are the most flawless writer on this site. Seriously. I don't think I've ever found a typo or grammatical error in any of your stories. The way you craft the scene and lay out details with impecable precision is unparalleled. The way you write mystery and describe passion and bring the reader right into the setting is astounding. And the sheer range of topics is just... you are one of the best writers on this site - and reviewing for you can be a little intimidating.
Okay, perhaps it's time I got down to the actual review.
Erm... I was seriously not expecting this chapter. I figured it would be another basic telling of the story, getting us a little further to solving the mystery, with a few plot points and clues along the way, adding in a dash of Sirius's brooding about his family or his situation.
Another murder?! And Pollux, no less. Hmmm... you're far too deliberate (or at least the killer is) for me to think that Pollux's death was incidental or accidental. I think it was completely intentional and he was the target. But that is pretty much all I can come up with at this point. At every step along the way, you've stumped me - so at this point, I've accepted that I'm just along for the ride and I'll sail this ship to wherever you are taking me :)
I love your characterization of Lucius. Or rather, I love that he spent this entire chapter squirming in discomfort - the git. I rather enjoyed those parts.
Since I can't leave this without making some sort of guess at the whole thing, I think I might just throw Walburga under the bus. She was in possession of the vial of poisin (or alleged poison), and she definitely has the cold nature and feminine wiles to play whatever game she need to play to throw off suspicion. But in all honesty, I have no clue who the killer is.
Thanks again for writing such an intruiging mystery!
Hey! So. Now I’m home with wifi again, which makes these reviews much easier, but when I originally read and reviewed this, I was not even a quarter of the way home and my nieces were not happy to be locked in the car (Both under the age of 8) for the next 10 hours and I was handwriting this review in a notebook. So bear with me (and it). xD
I love your writing. Pretty sure I’ve mentioned that in just about every review I’ve left, but I can’t help it. I love the style of your writing and how dialogue and description are balanced and each chapter has an unique feel to it and how you can change that feel so easily with your word choice. It honestly makes reading so much more enjoyable and I just love it, I really do.
With this chapter, characterization is huge. You’ve given such great voices to Sirius, Barty Crouch, Bellatrix and Regulus. I can tell from the dialogue alone who is speaking and I get a feeling of where trouble could possibly be brewing *Cough*Barty*cough*. I also know each character as an individual that would not easily be confused as another. I like the distinction and I can’t wait to see how it continues as other characters are better introduced and more present.
Also, the relationships between characters you build, and their interactions, specifically with Sirius, Barty and Regulus, is interesting. You have Sirius and Regulus, who are brothers that have to deal with each other, and then Barty and Regulus, who are best friends and hang out all the time, and then Sirius and Barty, who, honestly, don’t have much connections at all, besides Regulus. And that part of the interaction, with Barty and Sirius not really on the same level, adds a dynamic to this story that I’m excited to see developed further. Especially because Barty comes to Sirius with this mystery (Is it even really a mystery? Did something as bad as they say actually happen? Or is Barty being problematic and starting rumours to rile everyone up? Who knows if there’s actually more to this story…) but doesn’t want to bring Regulus into….like, this whole whose guilty thing, if they’re guilty, wanting to keep everyone a suspect but automatically discluding himself and Sirius from that suspect pool…I cannot wait to see where this is going.
And sweet Bella….haha, her and Sirius are just fascinating. I don’t know if it’s more so because it plays into the Barty creating rumours thing, or if it’s just because Bellatrix honest to goodness terrifies me, or what, but like, that interaction was kind of creepy and I really want to see Bellatrix more in later chapters…like, I’m super curious to see because she’s also kinda acting suspicious, which just may be her or maybe something more…
I did find two nitpicky things that you may want to look at:
“-so if I were him, I’d probably say something like ‘it was just a heart problem which wasn’t caught early enough or a quick fatal heart attack or something.” With this section, you use the apostrophe symbol to quote a saying but don’t close the quoted material. So you either want the apostrophe symbol after enough, with another set before a and after attack, or just get rid of it all together. (Super nitpicking. Sorry!)
“A sigh crashing out of his mouth, Sirius pushes himself too his feet…” Too should be to.
Other than those two little things, this chapter was fantastic! Cannot wait to come back and read another one! This story has me and I so dearly want to read more…
Favourite part was Sirius referring to the cynical voice in his head as Remus! Could not help but laugh at that inner commentary.
(You know, I’ve thought time and time again that maybe I should start my reviews with something more articulate than sounds and one word sentences of shock and amazement but then I read something and go to start a review and my mind is blank except those words and just…writing reviews is not as easy as expected…)
This whole thing…seriously, wow. First, I adore the title. House of Cards? Black family chaos? Brilliant! Also love how all the chapter titles are cards. Like, perfect. I love how you took something so simple and every day and decided to use it and incorporate it like this. It really fascinated me, and the title was one of the many things that drew me in. (Saying that, you have other stories similarly titled in this fashion as well…Knight Takes Queen, I’m pretty sure is the another which I just read…and I love the title thing. It’s brilliant)
Onto the story itself? I love your character introduction. You don’t take the time to slow things down and introduce people. You jump right into the situation, get characters involved and the problem introduced. No messing around. It’s brilliant, even more so that all of your characters are easy to differentiate. So many personalities and mannerisms but you kept them all straight and made the clear to everyone else. I’m excited to see how it works as time goes on…
As for description and imagery and emotion and everything…you did brilliantly in this. I was so drawn in by your writing (as I think I tend to be…) that I was lost in what I was reading. I enjoyed taking the journey, of walking to the study, of being in a locked room and talking with these characters…I have no idea how you’ve managed this style of writing, but you should know I’m quite jealous and need to learn of this type of writing genius…
Some of my favourite description and imagery, by the way? The whole up the staircase and remembering dinner thing. Oh. My. Gosh. I am pretty sure this little paragraph, this section, was my most favourite thing ever. Just…the wording, and description, and the comparisons…they were so flawless and I can honestly say I have not seen death talked about so elegantly. It was amazing.
What else…Oh, I have one minor thing. Could just be me. I don’t sleep much at night because my nieces don’t have quiet indoor voices at 7am…but this part here: “Thick, midnight blue drapes hang either side of huge, arched windows which line the whole of the wall, metal candelabras standing between each one.” –Beginning of this sentence. I think you need the word ‘on’ or something similar between hang and either.
Besides that one thing, this was really entertaining. I love what you have started and I cannot wait to see where you take it! And, as I finish up here, two lines that I adored…
“Who, in this family of wolves, has bathed their hands in the blood of one of their own?”
“…for no one can catch a fictional killer.”
Great job! Hopefully will have time (and wifi) for another soon…
Oooohh! This is quite interesting! I love a good murder mystery and the Blacks are definitely a shady bunch. With the will and Bellatrix's strange reaction and Barty Crouch's conclusion! I must say there are quite a few suspects floating around!
The way you described the scenes and the music towards the end of the first part were all so excellent! It really made for a creepy setting and just imagining the Black House... honestly, I'm quaking already.
Excellent first chapter!
Author's Response: Hi Stefi - thanks so much for stopping by! :)
Thanks! :) Yeah, I'm a huge murder mystery fan too, so this is my kind of attempt to do it some kind of homage, really - and the Blacks are, I think, pretty perfect for murder mysteries and suspense in general. Such a creepy family :P Barty Crouch is so much fun to do, and Bellatrix is just brilliant to write because she's always absolutely contrary to the rest of the cast, haha. So many suspects, yes! :P But then... shady family, what can I say? ;)
The Black manorhouse really is based on the general steretypical Victorian creepy house, haha, so I'm so glad you like it! It was so much fun to describe, though, because I love that kind of thing! :)
Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)
Speechless. Amazing job.
Author's Response: Thank you so so much! :) I'm just so glad you liked it - it was my first murder mystery so I was so nervous about it! Thank you so much for stopping by! :)
Hi there Laura!
I'm sorry I'm late, but I'm here for our review swap. (I read the chapter and then had to go out to dinner with my family, so I'm just getting to the review now.)
I'm so excited to continue this story - I'm getting to the good part now!
You did such a fantastic job in the scene with Barty and Regulus. Your writing is always so beautiful and descriptive with your setting and character reactions... but here, that extends to the love story you let fall before me with your beautiful words. You captured everything that is sweet and simple and unsure about young, first love. Barty and Regulus are testing themselves, each other and just enjoying being around each other. Until this chapter, I wasn't sure exactly where they were in their relationship because other hints had been dropped mostly from Sirius's POV. You've also kept Barty in character - we never really know what he's thinking or his next move - OR how much he knows or just how insane he really is. The fact that he unnerved Bellatrix (even for just a moment) speaks volumes about him.
Onto the scene with Pollox, Alphard and Orion. Hmmm... I'm wondering about the identical cases in Pollox's desk? I feel like there's more story there. And Alphard just breezing in and out is a bit suspicious as well.
Oh! And I almost forgot! THE HOUSE ELF AND THE YELLOW GRAINS! That seems to be a definite clue. I wonder if the house elf is behind all of this - if not, I think he definitely knows more than we do!
I'm also wondering why Sirius would be willing to show the suspicious vial to his father and uncle? He shouldn't trust anyone - he still seems so eager to please them - and to feel some sort of a bond with Regulus.
Great chapter! I feel like the mystery is really heating up!
ok this was /so/ interesting and curiosity just kept building up as I read more of the chapter. It was so good, and as always, your writing: beautiful. loved it x
Author's Response: Hi there - thanks so much for stopping by! :)
Thank you - I'm so glad you liked it! This was my first shot at something mystery-related so it was a bit of a learning curve, really. I'm so happy you liked my writing in it - writing the classic creepy house for the Blacks was so much fun to do, in particular, and I loved writing the whole thing, really, so it's so great to hear! :)
Thank you so much for the review! :)
I really enjoyed reading this story! I especially liked your characterization here. Everybody seemed very real - characters like Barty, Bellatrix, Walburga and etc. are very tempting to turn into simple, one-dimensional villains, usually as a foil for poor abused Sirius but that really wasn't the case here. Pollux was a strict but compelling head of house, Barty was the sort of creepy kid who would be attracted to an organization like the DE in the first place without losing his sympathetic edge, Bellatrix was cruel but loyal to her ideals, and Orion and Walburga were engaging characters as well. I think that when writing a story like this, with so many characters who could be described as minor at best it can be very difficult to make them all distinct yet true to their canon persona but I really think you rose to the challenge.
I suppose my biggest complaint has to do with the ending, which felt anti-climatic and left a lot of loose ends. I can understand ambiguity for the sake of art, but this felt less like a Rashomon style finish and more like I had accidently missed a few lines. Real life is rarely so clean cut but fiction is an escape and the ending felt somewhat rushed.
While I had some difficulty wrapping my head around Narcissa as an incompetent accidental murderer, I really liked the subversion of common tropes in the story. Ultimately, Bellatrix was left shocked and disgusted by Narcissa's actions. And Sirius is the one surprised to discover Regulus's gay relationship - most fanfics have Regulus running interference on the Sirius/Remus pairing. I was also impressed by your writing style, which was descriptive and interesting without slipping into purple prose.
tl;dr, I had a lot of fun with this story, so thank you. :)
Hey! I finally got the chance to come back to this story to read the final chapter. All I have to say is, Wow.
I don't know why you feel you're 'bad' at things that were involved in this story but to me, this was absolutely brilliant. I loved your writing, your plot, your descriptions and the characterisations. You captured the Black family in a very interesting manner and your portrayal of Sirius was spot on. This final chapter definitely wrapped things up nicely - with the Black family disowning Sirius and Alphard dying. There're still many questions unanswered though and I guess your sequel might tackle them so i will have to check that out some time.
All in all, I felt this was a beautiful story and I had an amazing time reading it. Great job!
Author's Response: Hi there, Aditi! Thank you so much for following this story all the way to the end - it means to much to see people sticking with this! Thank you! :)
Gah, thank you so much! This is the first chaptered story I ever finished - well, the first proper novel/novella I ever finished - so it means a lot to me, so hearing you say that is so lovely! I definitely feel like I've grown with this story and learned things - like how to plot :P - and I'm so glad you liked Sirius! One of the main drives for this story was portraying Sirius in a different light, so I'm glad you liked it! Yeah, I didn't want a 'perfect' conclusion for this, tbh, because it wouldn't feel quite right to me, but I might end up taking another look at it - who knows? But there'll definitely be questions answered in the sequel - I'm planning on it! ;)
Thank you so so much for this review, and for following this - I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)
Hey Laura! I had such a hard time trying to decide what to read as you have so many tempting stories, but I thought it would be best to finish reading House of Cards as I’m so close to the end!
Poor Sirius, I felt as worried as he did, in fact, I already had Regulus written off as dead, so finding out he was alive and talking was certainly a relief. Hmm, hmm, hmm, Orion. I’m not quite sure what to think of him. He did go to some quite desperate measures to track down his son, but then I always imagine being a child of the Black family means that you are under constant supervision, but it just has an odd feeling about it. That and the way he wanted to talk to Alphard. I think I’m with Sirius on this one and that there is something quite odd about all of this.
So, Sirius finally knows about Regulus and Barty then? I’m glad that he does as I imagine that given that he is quite the outsider of the family he’ll be supportive and understand that his brother is just the same and be there for them. Besides, they do make quite an adorable couple with the way Barty was caring after Regulus and making sure he was okay you could never be against it. Those were some interesting comments about Alphard and him being gay does seem to make sense in my mind as it would mean there was an additional reason for why he was ostracised by the family. I do hope it works out with them though, as I imagine they are very much against this sort of thing.
Ooh so that was interesting with Bella and his mother. Firstly, poor Sirius again, as it was quite clear that Regulus was his favourite because as soon as he mentioned that he had been to see Regulus and that was why he was late she immediately softened inside. Ooh, ooh, ooh, about Crouch though. I don’t know whether to believe it though because if it was true, why wasn’t he thrown out straight away? Unless this murder intrigue has gotten too intense and once you’re in the known you can never leave no matter what you do…
Okay, so much drama where do I start? I did have an inkling that was possible the reason for why Regulus was attacked so that does make sense that he knew something then. But whether it’s Orion or Alphard is the question… I know it’s made out to be Alphard, and it seems to be most obvious, but Orion was so suspicious when Regulus told him his theory and then earlier with Sirius. Maybe he used Polyjuice potion and pretended to be Alphard?
Hmm, hmm, hmm, the mystery continues!
Author's Response: Hey there, Kiana! Thanks so much for stopping by - and for continuing on with this story! :)
Sorry about that :P I really liked getting to use the outside of the house again, and also having a bit more Orion/Sirius interaction, since there hasn't been heaps of it so far. Orion... well, there is certainly a reason why he tracked Sirius down outside - though I can't say if it's as dark and mysterious as you think it is or not ;) The conversation with Alphard, though - yeah, I haven't had that much off-screen stuff yet, so I liked putting that in, plus more of Orion and Alphard antagonising each other :P Though you might (or not) be onto something with that ;)
Finally Sirius knows! :D Poor kid, I couldn't let him go the entire thing without realising what was actually going on. I don't really see the Blacks as a family who are inclined to have hordes of guests round on a family holiday-type thing, so Sirius kinda needed an explanation :P Yeah, I always think of Sirius as a supportive brother - even if only because it doesn't effect him really and he doesn't like hearing people talk trash about his baby brother :P Alphard... it's a theory, and I have to admit, it's a theory I do like very much ;) And Regulus and Barty - I'm so glad you like them as a ship! They're one of those pairings I just adore :)
Yeah, Regulus is very definitely his mother's favourite and it's really pretty unfair on Sirius, especially since she makes it very obvious. Not a great situation to be in. Crouch, Crouch... I suppose the question is, whether or not you believe Bellatrix? :P And timing is crucial with these things - maybe she didn't know until recently ;) Or something like that anyway, haha.
Ooh, theories! I do love theories! :D Regulus knowing something is definitely a very plausible theory (he's so sweet, who would want to attack him otherwise?) though obviously I can't say yes or no... Orion or Alphard... that's an interesting pair of top suspects - you really think Orion would try to kill his own son? Poor Orion... :P But Polyjuice Potion is very possible - it hasn't come up in the story so far, after all.
Don't worry, you're very close to the end now ;)
Thank you so much for the lovely review - and thank you again for following this story so far! :)
The introduction of aurors was change an interestng change of pace here. The whole was different when Moody and Kingsley walked in. I also like Kreacher's introduction into the story. He's every bit as onery as we see later but happier with his masters. I love the way the James and by extension Sirius hero-worship Moody. The aurors must be a rather inspiring for younger people who want to fight against dark wizards. the disdain that meets Moody and Kingsley is really well done. The family is polite but not welcoming - great blend of reactions.
The conversation between Alphard and Walburga just blew my mind. I never thought I'd hear her defend him in any way. And I like that you're not making Alphard as much on Sirius' side as I thought he'd be. I laughed at Sirius' thoughts on Kreacher's cookies - having him think on his stomach is such a teenager thing.
No! What did you do to Regulus?!?! Part of me knows he can't be dead (unless this is AU) but gah, Sirius' emotions about it are devastating. You would never think this to be the same man who is later so indifferent about his brother's death. Everything is so dramatic!!
Author's Response: Hey Rose! :) Thank you so much for dropping by!
I'm so glad you liked the aurors coming in - I wasn't sure how they'd fit in, being so different, but it kinda needed to happen, I think, given the way the body count was rising :P Yeah, it's one of those things which has just always made sense to me - James and Sirius thinking Moody was amazing. He is the kind of person who inspires both fear and admiration, though not in this house ;) And Kreacher was so much fun to write! :P
You know, it always surprises me a bit how people are so certain that's the conversation. No names mentioned, after all :P But no, Alphard isn't quite as on Sirius' side as people normally assume he is, I guess - I really wanted to make him much more of a grey figure than is often assumed. And cookies are an essential part of life, what can I say? :P So much a teenager thing, though...
Sorry - I'm so sorry! *hides* Hmm... maybe, maybe not ;) I'm so glad you like Sirius' reaction, though - it was a surprisingly hard scene to write because I have two little sisters myself, so thinking about the emotions involved in something like that was harder than I'd thought it would be, strangely. But yeah, it's a weird contrast to later - I kinda forgot about that scene, tbh, which might be partially why :P
Thank you so much for the lovely review! I'm so so glad you're still enjoying this! :)
Narcissa? Really of all people? Gah I can't believe it!!
Well, I'm glad the mystery has been unraveled now. I am still a bit confused by it all - Narcissa wanted to poison her mother with the overdose of the medicine, killed her father instead. And then her mother realised it and killed herself. After that Narcissa knew that Orion suspected her so she tried to kill him and ended up killing Pollux. But in all this, I didn't understand why Narcissa wanted to kill her mother in the first place? (Would really appreciate if you could answer this in the author's response).
I hope I understood all that right anyway. And then who attacked Regulus? That mystery is still unsolved and I wonder if we'll know in the next chapter or if it's going to remain unsolved.
This chapter was definitely very interesting, albeit a little confusing - if that was not your aim then I'd suggest smoothing it over to make everything a little bit clearer - as this is the chapter that solves (most of) the mystery.
Everyone's reactions were very nicely done and the ending was also intriguing and spot on. I am also wondering about the whole Alphard thing - why did he send Sirius that letter?
All in all, another great chapter. Trust you to solve the mystery and still leave the reader's mind buzzing with questions xP
I think this was great though and I'm looking forward to seeing how you tie up everything in the final chapter!
Author's Response: Hey there, Aditi! :) Thank you so much for following this story all the way to the end - it means so much to me! :)
Hehe... no one ever suspected Narcissa! I have to admit, that makes me a little bit proud :P
Yeah, it's a bit unclear - I didn't want it be blindingly obvious, but I'll go back and look at it anyway ;) Basically, Narcissa meant to give her mother the poison as a medication - it's not poisonous in small doses - but she got it wrong, put too much and in her father's food. Her mother knows and blames herself, and then everything spirals from there with Narcissa (and Lucius, in on it too) trying to cover everything up :) Orion suspected because he was aware of the medication Druella was taking, but hadn't worked out anything further until later on in the story. Hope that clears some of it up for you!
Regulus... yeah, I purposefully wanted to leave that bit unsolved - I tried to put in hitns people might pick up on, which hint at who the attacker could be, but I'm not sure I made them strong enough... again, I might go back and edit in.
Umm... hm... this may be spoiling things for you a little bit (I dunno), but it's linked to Regulus ;) And not just in that his name was on the paper :P
Haha, yeah, sorry about that! I wrote this really quickly - this one and the epilogue - so sorry if they're a bit rushed/unclear. I'm hoping to have some time in late spring/early summer to edit them through and smooth things over a bit, so hopefully things will be made clearer! :)
Thank you so much for following this through, and thank you so much for the review - it was so lovely to get! :)
Okay what just happened? Is Alphard the murderer? But how could he be? And why? And oh merlin I hope Regulus is not going to be attacked again! This is all getting stranger and crazier. I really want to find out everything already xP
The chapter was as usual well-written and very interesting. I loved the way you described Sirius in the beginning - his pain was tangible and I could feel it and the descriptions painted a certain imagery that was beautiful in a way.
Ah so there is something going on between Regulus and Barty. I pretty much knew it but now Sirius has found out - and so has Alphard. I loved the way that entire interaction played out. Sirius' reactions were very well done.
And Bellatrix suspects Crouch ah. I don't think Crouch could attack Regulus - no way. I wonder whether the others would believe her - and what they're doing now about it all.
The ending scene was also very intriguing. We got to see inside Regulus' head and it was quite nicely written. I absolutely love your descriptions. They're the strongest point in this story apart from the wonderfully gripping plot.
All in all, another brilliant chapter and I'm itching to read more and find out just exactly what is going on here.
Author's Response: Hey there, Aditi! Thank you so much for coming back again! :)
Haha, sorry about that! :P Poor, poor Regulus... he does get a pretty bad lot in this story, unfortunately... but, don't worry, everything will come out sooner or later ;)
Thank you! :) I'm so glad you liked Sirius and that beginning scene - it was actually surprisingly hard to write, mostly I think because I have two younger sisters, so it was a really strange thing to have to write.
Yeah, it all comes out now :P I think most people had guessed it, though, haha. I really wanted from the beginning to write Sirius' discovery, so I'm so glad you liked it! :)
Bellatrix... well, she suspects something, but I guess the question is why would she suspect :P But yeah, probably unlikely... we'll see, we'll see ;)
I'm so glad you liked the end scene - it was the first time I actually wrote inside Regulus' head, and it was so much fun to do! Thank you so much - I do love writing descriptions, so I'm so happy you like them! :)
Thank you so much for the review - it was so lovely to get! :)
OH DEAR ME, NOT REGULUS PLEASE NOT REGULUS.
Gah I can't believe Regulus has been targeted this time. I just hope he is alright and does not die.
This was another great chapter though. I loved the introduction of the Aurors here and the way the entire family stood together against them. I wonder who sent the letter to the Ministry though.
The conversation between Alphard and Walburga was also interesting. They're obviously talking about Sirius, maybe they suspect him of the murders, and Sirius' reaction to that is very touching and believable.
All in all, this was another superb chapter and the mystery continues to thicken. I feel like the climax is slowly building up now. Things just keep getting more and more intriguing.
Author's Response: Hey there, Aditi! :) Thank you so so much for all the reviews - they've been wonderful to get! :)
I'M SO SORRY. TRULY. HONESTLY. I'M SO SO SORRY ABOUT THIS. Of all people, Regulus didn't deserve it - he's such a sweetie :P As for his survival, I can't answer that ;)
I wasn't sure about including the Aurors and hte letter to the Ministry line, so I'm so glad you liked it! Yeah, the entire family is very good at grouping together when needed.
Ooh, yeah, the conversation is interesting. It does mean something... though, are you sure they're talking about Sirius? Reallly, reallly sure? :P But yeah, he doesn't react well to it at all - it's not a nice thing to hear people saying about you!
Yeah, this is the beginning of the end, so to speak. The last three chapters are really the ending entire, starting from here. Hopefully you'll keep enjoyingt them! :)
Thank you so much for the great review - I loved it! :)
Oh dear Merlin. What is this? Two bombshells in one chapter! Pollux is dead and so is the house elf. What really is going on. Who is the killer?! Now, for some reason, my suspicion keeps going to Walburga. Or to Orion. But I feel like it is definitely not Lucius, Regulus, Bellatrix or Barty.
This just keeps getting crazier and crazier and way so mysterious. I am really intrigued to know what happens next. And of course to hear how the house elf died.
As usual, brilliant chapter with amazing narrative and dialogue and turn of events. Can't wait to read more!
Author's Response: Hi there, Aditi! It's so great to see you back again - it was such a lovely surprise to get! :)
Haha, yeah, sorry about dropping those two on top of you :P It's just that it had been a while since the body count went up, so I raised it by two... or something like that. ;) Ooh, Walburga and Orion are definitely both incredibly suspicious characters, I have to admit.
Really, though - not Lucius? Or Barty? Interesting... :)
Yeah, it's a pretty crazy story; I'm so glad you're enjoying it! And that you think the mystery is still there - as for the house-elf, you'll found out about that soon enough ;)
Thank you so so much for the lovely review, I'm so glad you're still enjoying it! :)
Ooh this gets more and more interesting. I'm curious to know what is in the vial. I feel like it definitely has some significance since it was hidden in such a manner. Trust Sirius of all people to stumble upon it.
I also enjoyed the interaction between Barty and Regulus here. It was great to see the two being carefree for once, enjoying each other's company, playing around and stuff. It was sweet and brought a smile to my face. Bellatrix's arrival was interesting as well and her conversation with Crouch was interesting. I loved the dynamics in the scene - the characterisations of Regulus, Barty and Bellatrix are all brilliant and strong and compliment each other well in the context.
Pollux and Orion's scene was also very intriguing. I'm a little confused with the whole Will business but I suppose it will come to light soon, especially since Alphard's arrival has stirred the matter. I do enjoy their portrayals as well and the way you wrote their dialogue.
All in all, another great chapter and the mystery just continues to get thicker. I'm glad I'm able to find time to read this story!
Author's Response: Hi again, Aditi! So glad to see you back again! :)
Ooh, yeah, the vial is super important! It's definitely a big clue - and of course Sirius had to find it :P
I'm so glad you liked that scene! I was so nervous when I wrote it, because it's completely different in character to all the rest of the story, in a way, but it was a scene I wanted to include, and I liked writing it :) Bellatrix... well, it was getting too fluffy, lol, so who better than Bella to break it up? :P I really wanted to have a Bella/Barty interaction at some point, so I just had to include it in there, too. I'm so glad you liked it - and the characters themselves! :)
The will business is important, though it's not necessarily a major clue, tbh. It is still important, though... sorry it's a bit confusing, though - I didn't mean for it to be too confusing... I might go back and take another look at that bit :)
Thank you so so much for the lovely review - it was such a great surprise to get! :)
Hey again! I had some free time and decided to pick up reading xD
So, Bellatrix has finally started to show her insanity properly, lol. I assume the implication was of Barty and Regulus being a gay couple which must have been very amusing to Bellatrix and not so amusing to the rest of the family. This does me make think whether the two really are a couple or not, and I think they are. Interesting indeed.
This Uncle Alphard character is also quite interesting. If I remember correctly, he got blasted off the Black family tree as well, and that is visible with the way you've portrayed him here - he definitely is different from the rest of the Blacks and doesn't seem to be very popular in the family. No wonder Sirius kinda likes him. But then, he could be the murderer too - he is not someone who is staying with them 24/7 but there could be ways by which he has done the murders, and he's around now... so we never know. But my suspicion is not really strong on him.
Coming to the initial bit of the chapter, I'm relieved Narcissa is alright. It would have been horrid if she had died and Sirius of all people had been blamed. I also find the way you slip in little details is very nice - like Remus' voice telling Sirius that she could have died and Sirius searching for some kind of 'stain' on the stairs. They really add color and emotion to the story.
All in all, this was another brilliantly written chapter and I can't wait to see who is the next victim and find out who the killer is and see the mystery unravel. It's going great so far and I'm completely hooked.
Author's Response: Hey there, Aditi! :) I'm so stoked you came back - it was such a lovely surprise!
Haha, yeah, finally the lid comes off of Bellatrix's crazy :P Bellatrix has a strange sense of humour, so yeah, the idea of that is hilarious to her - who knows why - but the rest of the family really can't take it as anything other than serious. They don't really have a great sense of humour collectively :P
Uncle Alphard... I have to be honest, he was one of the most fun characters to write in ths. Yeah, he got blasted off the tree, and left all his money to Sirius when he died. He's not like them totally, but he's more like them than he lets on ;) But yeah, he's really unpopular with the family - I kinda wanted a character to sort of bridge the gap between Sirius and the rest or to be a sort of buffer, if you like. So, Alphard... mm... he could be, he could be. It could be possible... who knows? ;)
I'm really glad you liked that scene! I thought about killing her, or making her injury more serious, but in the end I decided not to - it didn't seem necessary for the story, tbh. I can never resist putting in little cameo mentions of the rest of the marauders, either :P
THank you so so much, I'm so glad you're still enjoying this - and thank you so much for the review! :)
Hey again! It's been ages since I read this story so I'm glad I got a chance to stop by from review tag!
This story just keeps getting more and more interesting. I do hope poor Narcissa is alright - it looks like an accident on Sirius' part but it could also be a murder staged to look like an accident and to frame Sirius.
But coming back to the beginning of the chapter, it was also intriguing how the letter said one word 'Regulus'. It could mean two things: Regulus is the killer (I find that highly unlikely) or Regulus is the next target (but in that case why was Narcissa injured).
I also find it interesting that Sirius went to his parents and grandfather with the letter. It shows that despite how much he considers himself aloof from his family, he still harbours some amount of respect/love for them and considers them adults and goes to them for 'advice'. The adults' reaction didn't surprise me though - it looks like they are not considering all this a 'killing'. However, it was good that Orion paid some heed to Sirius and decided to consider the letter.
And then the interaction between Regulus and Sirius, oh my. The boys do have fiery tempers don't they? They care for each other but at the same time are at odds with each other and just fail to express their love for the other. It is kinda sad. The shouting match between the two was definitely an engaging read and I kinda had a feeling it was headed towards a bad 'climax'. Behold - the accident happens. I am also curious to see what Barty's role here is - he seems to be observing everything from the sidelines but it very well could mean he's 'calculating' and could be the killer. Unless it's someone altogether new whom we haven't even met in the story yet.
Gah this just keeps getting better and better and I'm glad I got back to the story. I'm excited to read more now and adding this to my favourites so I can come back to it when I have the time.
Great job as usual!!
Author's Response: Hey there, Aditi! :) It's so great to see you back here again - thank you so much for coming by!
Mm... you'll see next chapter if Narcissa's better or not, obviously I can't say anything now ;) And it is hard to say - accident or planned? :P
Ooh, good theories - I like both of them equally. The letter is definitely important, and definitely trying to tell him something - though either of your theories could fit it.
Yeah, I wanted to show that Sirius is still aware he's a child, and he still is sort of part of the family, even if he's on the very edge of it. He's sort of lingering there, about to fall off :P It's probably more respect than love, though ;) Orion, hm. well, that might lead to something, who knows? But yes, Orion isn't going to dismiss it, though why is up to you ;)
Oh yes! I'm so glad you liked that scene as it was one of my favourites to write, even if it was really hard to do. They definitely both have explosive tempers when riled up, and they really just can't get along. It's kinda sad, tbh, because they should do, and maybe they could do, but for some reason they can't. Barty... no one knows what he's up to. Even I don't know what he's up to :P But observing and calculating are probably pretty close to the mark ;)
Thank you so so much for the review and the favourite - I'm so glad to see you're still enjoying this story, and thank you again for dropping by! :)
Hi there Aph!
I'm so, so sorry that I've taken this long to get to my half of our swap. I hope this review at least makes up for it :)
Your ability to spin this mystery is amazing to me. I still have absolutely NO idea who the killer is! I mean, everyone I think of, seems to have an alibi or not the right motive. And yet, I have the distinct feeling that you are leaving little clues all along and at the end of this, I'm gonna be like "Holy cow! I saw that, but I didn't realize it!" I mean, Bellatrix seems the obvious choice to me, because she is so crazy, but her goal is to follow the Dark Lord and build up the pure blood population, so I can't see why she would kill anyone who would help to further her cause... Hmmm - I guess I'll just have to keep reading!
I do have a quick question about Bella. In the very beginning of this chapter, Sirius is sitting in a room, waiting for news about Narcissa - and no one will look at him.
Bella’s glaring at him, gaze darting away each time he tries to meet her eyes, and Regulus shoots him sly, calculating little looks every now and then,
Then, at the end of that scene the door opens and Bella reports that Cissy is fine - so it would seem that she was inside the room with Bella. Maybe I just read it wrong, but I wasn't sure about that.
Your characterization of Sirius is so complex - I love it. He is caught between being a boy and a man, caught between his Gryffindor pride and his Slytherin roots, and caught between hearing the reasonable voices of his best friends and the inane ramblings of his family members.
Uncle Alphard makes an appearance. I'm relieved for Sirius, because he really likes his uncle and seems to find solace in his presence - but I'm still trying to figure out this mystery - and I can't overlook Alphard's timing here.
Oh no! And he outed Regulus and Barty! I'm wondering if Sirius already knew about them, based on his reaction to taming Barty. I'm also curious as to how the pure blood family will respond to this information. Clearly Bellatrix is, erm... amused by it, but I'm not sure that Sirus and Regulus's other relatives will be so open minded.
Great chapter - and fabulous story! I can't wait to find out how this ends!
I've missed reading this. I'm so excited to see there's another story (along these lines) that you're working on.
I was surprised by Sirius' hesitance to give his parents the vial of potion. He is acutely aware of the accusation that could come his way at finding the potion. I feel that he would have been more forthcoming if he weren't such a low man on the totem pole. It's also interesting to see Sirius without a jaunty ego - his self awareness of an inadequacy in potions shows a very grounded Sirius. That could be due to his rather unfavorable position at home. This is the first time Walburga shows anything close to kindness to Sirius. I mean, she's sharp about getting his clothes messy but that came through as a general maternal reaction rather than her usual "I rue the day you were born" depiction. Part of me is suspicious of her because of this slightly nicer version of her.
Loved the dynamic in drawing room. Alphard might be my favorite member of the Black family with his sideways comments to Orion and reference to Sirius being a blood traitor (though I'm not sure he meant it as a mean comment like Sirius thought). One thing that struck me in this scene and with Sirius' reactions throughout is that if he had this kind of treatment throughout growing up (the inclusion and sense of belonging) would he have been less inclined to leave and more forgiving of the pureblood mentality. I felt a slight conflict in Sirius at being treated as an equal among the men in his family. After feeling conflicted by Alphard's words, it just felt like such a confusing moment for him.
Okay, Pollux's death was really well done. Whoever did it took such a risk with that many people in the room who were presumably not the target. it must have felt like such a weird and confusing time for family members to drop like flies. My guess is that Pollux died because he knew who killed Cygnus. What took me by surprise was the house elf's death.
I really love how you weave information in and out of this, presenting new facts as the plot needs them and always with such a feel of dramatic tension.
Author's Response: Hey Rose! :) So glad to see you back here - and yeah, I couldn't resist doing another mystery - they're so much fun to write, and I think doing this one has helped me learn more about doing them, than simply reading them could give me, you know?
Yeah, he's very aware that he's not exactly the favoured child in this situation, and that with everything going on, it might well look suspicious. Love the metaphor about the totem pole - I've never heard that expresison before, but I love it! :) I really like writing a more sombre Sirius - I'm not very good at humour, tbh, and I think it would be kinda out of place here? Plus, he's a home, and I wanted a different dynamic for it, than he'd have at school. Walburga is especially suspicious, I have to admit :P Yeah, it's less 'I wish I'd drowned you' or something, and more like he's a constant disappointment. I dunno, I just never quite believed that the hatred was constant - it takes quite a lot for a parent to hate their child, so that's kinda why she's not quite so hars. But yes, it's definitely weird :P
Really? Wow! :P Alphard is one of those characters I love writing, and also because he's so false. Don't believe anything he says (and that might be a clue. Or not :P) ;) Writing his dialogue and reactions is so much fun, and including him in scenes is always great. Yeah, I do think with Sirius it didn't help that he was kinda excluded after his sorting, and that they kinda pulled away from him as well as the opposite. He might well have stayed if it had been different... yeah, I kinda wanted it to be the kinda moment when he feels that maybe he's made it, but he's not really sure if it's real, you know - like any minute he's going to discover it's a joke. Of course, it just makes it more heartbreaking that it's not long before he leaves, too ;)
I'm so glad you liked it - it was an okay scene to write, but I had to do a lot of research for it to get it right :P And yeah, it was a huge risk to take, with the wine/cups/whatever you think it was. The wrong person might easily have died... ooh, that's a good theory. That's a really good theory, actually! Hang onto that one ;) The house-elf... yeah, I kinda thought it had to happen, really, tbh. Poor Wipsy, though :( She didn't deserve it.
Thank you so so much for the great review - I'm so amazed people are still reading this, haha, so long after it's finished! So thank you! :)