Echoes of Beljoxa by myrabeth
Chapter: Distant Travelers

07/24/2015 07:42 pm
Nice pacing, you're not overdoing events at all and the surprises you slip in are lovely little mysteries.  Best tale around!
Even when the emotional baggage and/or lack of action make Echoes feel static, it never is. We're always moving. 200,000+ words in, the roller coaster ride continues. I'm glad you're still on board! Thanks!

07/24/2015 05:54 pm
These last two chapters have been so depressing.  Buffy seems to be getting worse in her alcoholism even though she supposedly has some sort of hope.    And Willow.  Boy is she egotistical!  The world does not revolve around her.  Sheesh.  
Every arc in Echoes is a journey, from Buffy's drinking to Willow's relationship with Tara. We're still traveling.

07/24/2015 01:09 pm
Every night I save you... 

But who's gonna save Buffy? 

I can't believe you're makin me feel sorry for Angel! 

I am impressed by your continued insight into Willow.  I really do hope that things can work out for W&T, but not at the expense of Tara's self respect or agency.
Buffy's going to have to save herself, one way or another.

The best thing about this version of Tara that's evolved over the course of Echoes is that she stands up for what matters to her... Even if that means standing up to Willow.

07/24/2015 10:55 am
I've really enjoyed the chapters since Spike's death-but-he'll-get-better. I caught Whistler's present tense--not that it matters, since probably three-quarters of your readers did; but it's a nice point, and perfectly understandable that your Buffy didn't. Her quiet, intense desperation, sublimated violence, and whiskey-based chattiness are entirely memorable. I can't help recalling Auden's Stop All the Clocks, Cut Off the Phone as an instance of mood, especially the last verse. It's very different from the usual extroverted Buffy response to Spike's death in various fanfictions, but I think, more accurate. She's not the kind to emote visibly at such a time. For what it's worth, and IMO, I think you caught just how she would respond, by withdrawing emotionally from others and finding ways to dull the pain. This is the I'm-back-from-death arc but with the added sharpness of knowing it's the most important person in the world to her who's gone. It's no longer all about her, and having opened up, the pain is multiplied. Excellent job.

Great encounters between Tara and Willow, between all and Buffy. The emotions really sweep along the story, and the absence of any apparent plot push only highlights the directionless hell Buffy is lodged in. What can I add? Very nicely done, again. I'm extremely curious how you will handle Spike's return, and Buffy's emotional response to that. Staying tuned, etc.
The chapters after Spike's death feel almost like a different story to me. The mission, the mood, and the characater dynamic make such an abrupt shift after the tower, you end up feeling his absence in every scene. Something is missing. Something isn't right. Somehow, it isn't the familiar Echoes world we know.

That wasn't exactly intentional. The dynamics changed naturally with the removal of a major character. And the impact on of the loss on another major character pushed it even further. I didn't have to try to make you feel the loss, be constantly reminded of it, scene to scene. The characters did that for me.

I didn't spend a lot of time trying to figure out how Buffy would take his death. I followed my instincts, continued my theme of letting the characters drive, and what I ended up with felt right for her. She's angry, but usually keeps it quiet. She's drinking. She's not crying. She's a woman on a mission, but it's a long shot mission, and the reality of it is constantly nipping at her heels. For the last of these, it puts you back in season seven, in a way, specifically during "the worst Christmas ever" when Spike was being held prisoner. A battle she thinks she's probably going to lose, getting Spike back as the goal, and proving to someone (in this case, it's mostly herself) she's tough enough to get the job done.