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Mender's Tale

rhombus · 109 · 13086

rhombus

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Chapter 34: The Sheer Cliffs (part 1)

The days of relative tranquility have finally come to an end as the pack arrives at the Sheer Cliff Bluffs, a massive vista that overlooks the jungles of the East and the battles that are yet to come.  All the while, the healers prepare for the coming storm.

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Thanks for the reviews, everyone! :)

Anagnos: Thank you very much for the review. :) In many ways the last chapter was both an exercise in contrasts and also an attempt to show where everyone is right now in terms of their perspectives. Even though the play of the children had to collide with the harsh realities of their kinds, it pales in comparison to the harsh realities that the battle pack is now being faced with. That being said, however, Littlefoot and Mender are each doing their best to fulfill the common good as they see it. Though in such times what is the right action can be hard to determine. This struggle to remain good while at the same time doing horrible things to fulfill the common good is one that will continue to manifest as this story continues on.

Sovereign: Thank you for the insightful review. In many ways the previous chapter had, as one of its major objectives, the showcasing of how some characters have never changed inside, even if they have changed a lot on the outside. Seeker is a prime example of this. He still is the emphatic and caring dinosaur that we knew in the films, but his life is utterly different and thus he must also act different. Though in another universe he may have become a leader of longnecks and lead through consensus, as a fastbiter he must lead through inspiration, dedication, and strength. In many ways Mender has seen the side of Seeker that was a throwback to his Littlefoot days, but now he is seeing the other side. Though her doubts are somewhat soothed by the end it was still a harsh dose of reality to her. In many ways the eggs represent hope for what may come in the future, but they also represent a reminder of what they all are fighting for. By the time all is said and done they might need that reminder more than ever.


Go ahead and check out my fanfictions, The Seven Hunters, Songs of the Hunters, and Menders Tale.


Anagnos

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Truth be told, at first I was expecting you to release the chapter in its entirety, but 25k chapter is a pretty large portion to say the least, so you’ve likely made the right decision by splitting them into two separate chapters. Many people (including me) don’t have a fondness for cliffhangers in stories, but they do have their uses as well. In this case, it gives the reader a chance to take a breather before everything goes to hell as battles usually do, so that they’re not overloaded with all the events when it is time for the action to begin. What you’ve done is cause the reader to be on the edge of their seat at the end of the chapter.

Indeed, the first half of the chapter mainly focused on how things are proceeding in all parts of the world, while giving us a hint of what we can expect to happen later. The schemers in the valley are putting their plans in motion, the fastbiter children are left busy to their own devices while the hidden runners are gearing up for a fight. Later the chapter begins to take a more serious and darker tone, the latter mostly with the unexpected murder of one of the valley’s domeheads. Time will tell how each side of the conflict will react to this development, but as we’ve seen already, the damage is already felt and treachery is lurking right around the corner.

We already know about Mender’s prominent reputation as one of the best healers in the Mysterious Beyond, but her brief encounter with Penol in the past was rather surprising. The word of her prowess has spread far and wide, but here we actually see how her career has helped many people and the weight it carries. Most of these people owe something to Mender, and even if she might not be the one to demand repayment for her help, they might feel inspired to help any way they can in the upcoming conflict. While their relationship was only now hinted, Penol would very likely feel responsible should anything befall the healer.

Penol’s plan right now seems to be exactly that: do as much good as she possibly can, all the while trying to avoid unnecessary deaths from either side. Whereas others have chosen their side, Penol is still in the middle and her exact loyalties are left ambiguous. While she may sympathize with Wrok and his pack, she obviously doesn’t desire for a bloodshed when she could find another way to resolve the conflict as peacefully as possible. This act speaks a lot about her overall character, and shows that she’s much more complex than initially believed.



''Let your heart guide you. It whispers so listen carefully.''  :MomCompassion


rhombus

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Chapter 34b: The Sheer Cliffs (part 2)

And now for the conclusion of chapter 34... enjoy!   :MoEvil


Go ahead and check out my fanfictions, The Seven Hunters, Songs of the Hunters, and Menders Tale.


Anagnos

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Finally, the time for battle is upon us. While Mender and her healer friends are preparing to face the carnage from the sidelines to save as many lives as they can, in the meantime the rest of the pack is off to clash with the incoming barrage of bloodthirsty hidden runners in the middle of it all. In these kind of situations, feeling afraid is only natural, but one must not forget their commitment to the cause. Orchid here is a prime example of this; while he is naturally terrified, you can still see that he’s grown considerably since the last time.

Youthful enthusiasm certainly is a big obstacle to pass and since some, if not most, of the young biters in the battle pack are feeling overly confident, sooner rather than later it will come back to bite them in the ass for being careless. The way they seem to view this battle as some sort of a game speaks of their youth and overall inexperience and even if Littlefoot and his pack are trying to guide them to victory, it is easier said than done. And this kind of arrogance does indeed cost them quite dearly when they so severely underestimated the hidden runner’s ability to counter their preferred tactic, ending up costing them several fighters on the frontlines.

The way the hidden runners utilized the spiketails to work in their favor is quite ingenious. Instead of putting themselves in harm’s way right at the start, they allowed the onlookers to take that blow for them, softening the enemy force before they go in for the killing blow. Any capable battle commander would know that if your enemy is afraid of you, you have the upper hand and this plan has worked to disorganize the opponent, even if for a while. Even in the midst of battle, various characters are expressing their emotions in a rather… profound and amusing way. For the most part, Taunt has taken this task upon himself with Verant and even Orchid in the background. I wonder if this sort of a thing has happened in real battles around the world throughout human history.

Orchid’s feelings about the battle are none too surprising if you are at least bit informed of his character. Those who have served as healers during combat engagements know that while the fighting may have ended on the battlefield hours before, the struggle against time is still underway with those that have been injured. In this scenario, the person must make quick, but decisive decisions if they mean to keep as many as they can alive. The risk group are those that are critically wounded, but even then all of them cannot be saved. They cannot afford to waste precious resources on those that are deemed a lost cause and even if that sounds cruel, it is the nature of war.

The ending of the chapter certainly raises further questions in regards to what is going to happen in the following chapters, but as of right now, Chronos’ plan to liberate his mate is successful. The hidden runners will not take this recent event lightly and will no doubt attempt to pursue Logos. However, due to the plan the rainbowfaces so cleverly crafted, it is looking unlikely they’ll be able to catch up to her in time, so at least Logos is out of harm’s way. I fear what this act of defiance will cost Chronos, for it surely will not be overlooked.

I will say this about the chapter, the battle scenes were paced equally and well, but jumping from perspective to perspective like this was confusing at times. I liked to see each side given time in the spotlight and even if the majority of the attention was on Seeker and his pack, most of us are likely pleased to see them being the good guys in all this. But I’d like to point out one thing: in war there are no good guys. All of them, despite their goals, are just as bad in the grand scheme of things. I will be looking forward to the next chapter to see how things develop from here. :)



''Let your heart guide you. It whispers so listen carefully.''  :MomCompassion


rhombus

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Chapter 35: Aftershocks

The pack comes to terms with the aftermath of the battle, which has resulted in both victory and loss.  Meanwhile, other developments further complicate the situation, as the valley begins to fully realize the nature of the plot against them.  All the while, the arrival of three new faces threatens to change Mender's perspective completely.

And now for the review responses:

Sovereign: Thank you for the detailed review. Indeed, with the previous chapter the stakes are certainly increading. There are few things messier than a war with multiple participants, each with different motivations and desired objectives. It is against this backdrop that Orchid is having a trial by fire and learning his worth (and limitations) as a healer. His journey in many ways matches the brutal trial that the fastbiters are going through right now.

Chronos, on the other hand, now has an idea of what Questor has in mind for him. Further, as he does not know what has befallen his mate, he has every motivation to play along, at least for now. This adds another complication to the already complex playing field of intrigue.

Anagnos: Thank you very much for the detailed and in-depth review. Several of the threads in the last chapter will be built upon in the chapters to come as the fastbiter pack (and their enemies) adapt to the changing situation around them. With regards to the changing perspectives, I certainly see your point on that, and I understand how it can be confusing at times. Though if we didn't do that there quite simply wouldn't be multiple perspectives of the same events or will keep an eye on that in the future, however, and try to make such shifts in perspective to be as intuiative as possible.


Go ahead and check out my fanfictions, The Seven Hunters, Songs of the Hunters, and Menders Tale.


Anagnos

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It certainly has been a while since the last update. Although none of that is the fault of you, for this year has surely taken its toll on all of us and we all have certain things that must take priority over writing. That said, I'm glad to be able to read the next installment of Mender's Tale. I apologize if the review took this long to arrive. I was going to post it yesterday, but I got hit by a sudden influx of fatigue during the late hours of the day. To compensate for that, I thought I'd make this review as long and detailed as possible. :P

The young Castor certainly did not take his friend's early demise lightly, and because of that, he has now started to actively move against his former allies. I really appreciate that the threehorn grasped which was the right decision in the end, but part of me can't help but feel it wasn't enough of a reason for him to defect to the other side. Naturally, now that his friend has died in the hands of those he considered to be his allies, I can see him being ready to change his allegiances.

Meanwhile, Wrok is proving himself to be quite sneaky opponent to ward off. Even after being betrayed by Questor and taking the blame for something he wasn't involved in, you can't help but admire his devotion to the cause his pack has engaged in. I have to admit as much, that his goals certainly sound more noble than that of his adversaries. At this point I'm hard-pressed to not be rooting for him. In fact, I find myself allured of him more and more as the story progresses. However, something tells me that this won't be a war where he will rise victorious. At the same time on the other side of the conflict, we see Dravos scheming. Whatever his end goal might be, he's certainly proving to be quite the elusive character.

I feel like this chapter follows a trend of having side characters prove themselves to the cause they're willing to serve, as we have yet another individual eager to please, Cloud. His usefulness to the valley by catching the dissidents hiding among the populace is already starting to flourish. Although, I fear for the flyer's life now that he's in the midst of it all. Were something to go wrong, he'd be one of the first, if not the first, to perish. I'd hate to see him depart so early, now that I'm starting to like his character. Mender becoming a mother is something I did not expect to see, but it's certainly a welcome transition. I can't be the only one to think that she'd make a wonderful mother to her own children some day.

Alas, Questor's plans are moving along and even if Chronos were to resist, I don't think he'd last very long. Questor might be a brute, but he doesn't strike me as someone that doesn't utilize every resource in their possession. Simply put, he is a true villain in this story. I'll be looking forward to in which direction the story will go from here. I'm positive that we'll see some pretty interesting stuff along the way. :)



''Let your heart guide you. It whispers so listen carefully.''  :MomCompassion


Taunt

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Wow, my alter-ego is really getting slow in his old age.  It is about time to update this.  I can't wait to find out if this is the story I eventually get eaten in!


rhombus

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Chapter 36: On The Rivers Edge

In the murkiness of the conflict, certainties can turn into mysteries and destinations can turn into diversions. Now, at the river's edge, each side plans its next maneuvers.  However this latest obstacle provides both opportunities and dangers...

Thank you for the review, Anagnos! There is no need to apologize for the delay in reviewing the last chapter. This is especially true after our recurring delays in posting chapters. Historian and I are just glad to see that people are still reading and enjoying this story. :) We are certainly seeing numerous characters be pushed into uncomfortable directions with the growing struggle, with Cloud now moving into the realm of espionage, Castor moving into the role of atoner and double-agent, and White Eye reconsidering the costs that the battle has exacted upon him. All the while we see that everyone is dong what they think is right, but in the murkiness of this conflict their certainties are fading.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the latest chapter.  :)


Go ahead and check out my fanfictions, The Seven Hunters, Songs of the Hunters, and Menders Tale.


rhombus

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Chapter 37: The Crossing Begins

The long-awaited crossing of the river into enemy territory begins. At the same time both rainbowfaces struggle with their own respective challenges. As Chronos debates on how to escape from his predicament, Logos struggles to stay one step ahead of Questor's assassins. All the while, the plots of the hidden runners finally burst forth once more into open combat.


Go ahead and check out my fanfictions, The Seven Hunters, Songs of the Hunters, and Menders Tale.