brightknightie: A stylized representation of a medieval knight on a horse surrounded by a sun.  Blue. (Bright Knight Logo Transparent)

The story that I wrote for the 2015 [community profile] fkficfest/[livejournal.com profile] fkficfest released very early in the game. (Thanks to [personal profile] lastscorpion for the lightning beta!) I'd love it if you read it! If you do, please consider letting me know what I should learn from this one to make the next more interesting and satisfying.

First, though, please check out all the other stories! There's something to tempt every FK taste.

  On the AO3: "Wake the Morning After
  Length: 14,995 words
  Date: August 2015
  Rating: PG-13
  Characters:  Natalie, Nick, Schanke, Urs, Lacroix, Lili; original characters; "off screen" Serena, Feliks, Enforcers
  Setting: ~2015; divergent reality; branched from canon in the hiatus between the first and second seasons
  Summary: Back in the day, Natalie cured Nick's vampirism; they got married. Two decades later, something has gone terribly wrong.
  Quotation: "Yet Nick had never stopped looking over his shoulder, never stopped expecting an ambush by the existence he’d left behind. Nick had told Natalie about many such dangers — his resentful surviving converts; hunters of vampires; cronies of Nick’s deceased “master,” Lacroix; and, first, foremost and always, the Enforcers, who kept the vampires’ secrets."

Reflections on writing this story, with spoilers )
brightknightie: A blue and white stylized Toronto skyline, circa 1992-1996 (Default)

Back in 2011's [community profile] fandom_stocking/[livejournal.com profile] fandom_stocking game, I ambitiously posted six little stories, one to every stocking that had wished for FK that year. Four of these pieces, I shared on fkfic-l and archived in the usual way. The other two went into a kind of purgatory; each had a unique challenge that I discovered through audience responses, and each I thought I should rewrite, recast, recreate to address its challenge. I never did.

[personal profile] leela_cat once advised me to formally tie off those two, the better to stop thinking of them as eternally to-be-done. I finally did that this weekend, archiving them to the AO3 with only a wash and wax, not a new transmission. I backdated both to Epiphany 2011:

  • "Getting Involved" (1.2K words, PG, Janette and Erica, canon-divergent)
  • "For a Song" (900 words, G, Lacroix and Janette, canon-compliant)

My thanks to the kind people who played Fandom Stocking that year, giving me an opportunity to explore these characters and learn valuable storytelling lessons!

brightknightie: A blue and white stylized Toronto skyline, circa 1992-1996 (Default)
I've previously posted about the nice things that I received in my own Fandom Stocking this year, and about the neat things that I spotted in other people's Fandom Stockings, so tonight I thought I'd point out the items that I stuffed into some Fandom Stockings myself. I didn't create as widely or well as I'd have liked, but I did have fun writing:

  • Highlander: "Lazarus Heart" (Methos/Alexa, 918 words, G) (beta-read by [personal profile] celli!) for [personal profile] beccadg's wish
    I'd never tried Methos/Alexa before, but the attempt turned out surprisingly satisfying for me. I hope that it works as well for readers, and doesn't bog down when I poke around inside Methos's head for a bit in the middle.

  • Forever Knight: "In Pursuit of the Paladin" (Lacroix & Natalie with Nick implied, 991 words, PG) (beta-read by [personal profile] skieswideopen!) for [personal profile] pj1228's wish
    This led me to a new approach to the ever-vexing problem of how to write for fellow FK fans who personally prefer "dark" takes that I can't support, myself. Here, I imagined a "bright" scenario that I'd love, but told it from Lacroix's perspective. It worked better for me than some past, straining attempts to approach "dark" prompts, but I don't know whether it really bridges the problem of sufficient respect for preferences I can't share. Maybe it's better not to try? There are so few of us! Are mismatches better than no matches, or not?

  • A handful of fanfiction "gift certificates" in FK and HL for stories to be posted to the AO3 sometime in 2014
    (Four have been redeemed/accepted so far. Coincidentally, that's the same number I still owe from the last time I tried this — you know who you are. ~grin~)
brightknightie: Nick picking up Joan's cross (Faith)
Today is Memorial Day in the US, the holiday commemorating those who have died while active in the armed forces, serving and protecting the rest of us. It began as "Decoration Day" after the Civil War, in which the "decoration" was of the graves of the war's dead. These days, sometimes, sentiment extends it also to those who have died as first-responders — police, firefighters, paramedics.

I hope that I do not in any way trivialize the holiday's solemn due by saying that its timing this year, as we gear up [community profile] fkficfest/[livejournal.com profile] fkficfest, connected in my mind with some elements of FK's story. [personal profile] skieswideopen made an observation this weekend that reminded me that, whatever happened later, conquistador Vachon died, a young soldier, on a battlefield far, far from his home. Though gravely wounded, crusader Nick survived his battlefields in body, and yet, as [personal profile] melissatreglia noted a week or so ago, the "deutero-canon" from that venerable Jim Parriot interview is that Nick was a prisoner of war — enduring captivity in the Levant before eventually, somehow, making his way back to France — incomparably changed from Gwyneth's blithe lover into Lacroix's disillusioned prey. Lacroix, of course, as a general (probably "legate," properly) of Roman legions, perpetrated what we today recognize as war crimes.

Of course the late Susan G.'s 1995 FK poem "Old Soldiers," inspired by the Raven scene in "My Boyfriend is a Vampire," came to mind. If you haven't read it yet, don't miss it. (If you don't usually like poetry, try reading it aloud; give it a chance.)
brightknightie: Nick looking up. (Nick)
As you may know, my interpretation of Forever Knight considers the power of hypnotism perhaps the most insidious, corrosive temptation of Nick's vampirism. Unlike his supernaturally enhanced strength, endurance and agelessness, hypnotism requires an active decision each time he uses it. Unlike flying, which is also an active choice, hypnotism is by its nature an assault on another person's free will. Now, often, the storyline unleashes vampiric hypnotism strictly on the dangerous and depraved, or makes hypnotism the only choice to save a life in a certain situation; sometimes, it is employed on a smaller scale, to cause sleep or dull pain; occasionally (as with Tawny Teller in "Unreality TV"), Nick even gets permission before hypnotizing. Other times, however, he succumbs to the temptation to force people to do his bidding against their wills for no good or sufficient reason (as with Schanke washing the Caddy in "Close Call"). Of course this is tragedy. It demeans them and further corrupts him.

Each time the opportunity to use hypnotism arises, Nick should consider whether there is another way to achieve his goal, and, if not, whether his goal is truly worthy of the use of such a power. Naturally, inured by long habit, Nick more often acts first and thinks later, if, on hypnotism, he thinks at all. And that's part of the wonderful story of his Everyman struggle for redemption and whether — "Last Knight" aside — he (and we) may finally achieve tragedy or triumph.

This came to mind in response to an essay by Colbert King in today's Washington Post, which linked to an old (1992) essay in the Acton Institute's Religion and Liberty: "Power Corrupts" by Ben Moreell. Moreell writes:
"When a person gains ... power to force other persons to do his bidding when they do not believe it right to do so[,] it seems inevitable that a moral weakness develops in the person who exercises that power. ... [H]e eventually concludes that power and wisdom are the same thing. And as he possesses power, he must also possess wisdom. ... At this point, he begins to lose his ability to distinguish between what is morally right and what is ... expedient."

Above, I suggest how this recurring temptation harms Nick. Lacroix, though, is surely an even better illustration, from generalship through vampirism, of the effects on its wielder of the power to bend and break others' wills. "As he possesses power, he must also possess wisdom," Lacroix concluded of himself ages past, and never looked back. Nick is still fighting to distinguish between the right and the expedient. Lacroix long since ceased to recognize the distinction, if ever he did. (It's easy to suppose that Janette, as usual, would fall somewhere between, but instead I submit that we have too few instances of her hypnotizing people to place her firmly in comparison... except perhaps to float the hypothesis that she may hypnotize less often than Nick or Lacroix.)

To deny someone the freedom to think and remember as he wills is a horror. Even a slave has his thoughts and memories, surely? Such hypnotism is non-con/dub-con through a fantasy/sci-fi metaphor.

(Each to her own when it comes to squicks, of course! This just happens to be one of mine.)
brightknightie: Trophy declaring "Bright Knight Recommended" (Recommended)

What's Good?  For March, I am bittersweetly pleased to spotlight Diane E.'s "The Last Vampire" (1995, PG-13, ~5K words) in the recommendation-of-the-month project.  After Diane's death last month, I reread all her FK fanfiction.  While she is justly known for her comedy, this, her one drama, is my own favorite of hers.  This Nick goes public with his vampirism under the pretense that he is the last of his kind; he becomes the sole focus of media attention, scientific scrutiny, back taxes...

        The day after his first dinner at Schanke's, the lawsuits started arriving at the precinct. First, from people he'd arrested last week, last month, last year—all suddenly claiming "the vampire" had hypnotized them into confessing to crimes they hadn't committed. Then, every suspect he arrested, even the ones he caught red-handed, filed a police-brutality and wrongful-arrest complaint.

-----
What's New on FKFic-L?  February saw one story: "Diamonds...and a Girl's Best Friend" (1 post, 6KB) by [livejournal.com profile] greerwatson.  In March so far, one story has appeared, and [livejournal.com profile] lisamcdavid has posted an invitation for FKFic-L War proposals.

brightknightie: Trophy declaring "Bright Knight Recommended" (Recommended)

What's Good?  February's recommendation-of-the-month is Susan G.'s "Lost and Found" (1999, PG, ~5K words), written for the charity fanzine A Taste of Forever and never posted to fkfic-l.  I was delighted to discover that she had placed it on her site!  This post-series story grants Nick and Natalie a human future together, but sprouts a new tragedy from the roots of Nick's original vampiric sin.

        "There's always hope. There has to be hope. You're a lot less pig-headed than I am--at least, your mother thinks you are. Maybe it won't take you eight hundred years to find your answer. Be smart. Have hope. Survive," added Nick, the last in a harsh whisper, placing his hand on his son's shoulder. "And remember that we'll always be there for you. We'll always love you."
        Richie's head turned, his expression doubtful--the weight of guilt in his eyes for the deeds of the past year adding instantly to the burden on Nick's soul.
        "We'll always love you," repeated Nick.

-----
What's New on FKFic-L?  January saw four stories by two authors on the email list.  February so far has seen none.  list with links )

brightknightie: A stylized representation of a medieval knight on a horse surrounded by a sun.  Blue. (Bright Knight Logo Transparent)

This is the [livejournal.com profile] fandom_stocking story that I wrote for [personal profile] skieswideopen this year.  She wrote that she likes “outsider POVs,” “slice of life” and “bittersweet endings” (and, of course, Forever Knight).  I'm pretty satisfied with it.  I think it's different, and that it achieves an appropriate structure.

My thanks to [personal profile] celli for her supportive beta-reading and perceptive suggestion!

  Available: My Fansite | The AO3
  Length: 1,996 words
  Date: Fandom Stocking 01/07/12, FKFic-L 01/18/12
  Rating: PG
  Characters:  OFC, Janette, Nick, Lacroix
  Summary: In 1275 Troyes, Janette's laundress discerns the hidden nature of her household.
  Quotation: "She had learned just what combination of wood ashes and caustic soda salvaged a gentleman's tunic soaked in blood, precisely how much fine Spanish hard soap rescued a lady's choicest linen spattered with blood, and the secret technique of restoring furs stiffened by blood."

brightknightie: Schanke reading Emily's novel (Reads)
This year's Yuletide scored two Forever Knight stories. Unusually for me — eternally behind on my fanfic reading — I jumped my own queue, downloaded the AO3 mobi files to my Kindle, and have read them while they're still anonymous. I enjoyed both in very different ways.

My remarks below contain spoilers! The ratings and warnings/tags in these reviews are mine as a reader, not those of the authors. Finally, please understand that, writing here in my own journal about [currently] anonymous stories, these are indeed actual, old-fashioned reviews, not comments nor recommendations. That is, they frankly consider both good and bad elements as I have fun musing and analyzing. (If you prefer to avoid negative opinions, please skip this post!)

"The Cross" (PG, Gen, ~1K words)
Characters: Lacroix, OMC
Warnings/Tags: Historical, Early Middle Ages, Vampire Violence, Mob Violence, Murder
Review )

"A Dark and Stormy Night" (PG, Gen, ~9K words)
Characters: Nick, Tracy, Barbara, Natalie, Sydney
Warnings/Tags: Weather, Hurricane, Flooding, Policework, Homicide, Alcoholism, Family, Flashbacks, Historical, 1950s
Review )
brightknightie: Trophy declaring "Bright Knight Recommended" (Recommended)

What's Good?  With Halloween approaching, I am tickled to get to spotlight the appropriately frightening "Drowning" (2010, R, ~1K) by [archiveofourown.org profile] gryphonrhi in the recommendation-of-the-month project.  This chilling drama of villain-on-villain violence — mind the rating — characterizes Lacroix with resonant canonicity and ruthlessly celebrates the conundrum of Lacroix as Nick's antithesis and ally.

     A man whose collarbone is broken on each side does not easily draw a gun, which relieved me of one attacker. As for the other, it takes very little pressure for a vampire to break fingers, mortal or otherwise. I simply closed my hand around his on the gun and listened to his attempt to scream while inhaling.

-----
What's New on FKFic-L?  September saw three stories by one author, all from the [livejournal.com profile] fkcommentfic game.  October so far has seen two stories, also by that author.  list with links )

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brightknightie: A blue and white stylized Toronto skyline, circa 1992-1996 (Default)
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