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Old 06-11-2017, 01:59 AM   #1
Newcomb
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Dragon From Ash by Mortigaunt - M - Skyrim

Title: Dragon From Ash
Author: Mortigaunt
Rating: M
Genre: Adventure/Romance
Status: WIP (last updated May 29th)
Fandom: Elder Scrolls - Skyrim
Pairings: Listed as [Dragonborn/Dovahkiin, Serana, Elisif] but hasn't really gone there in the story yet
Summary:
Quote:
"I may be Dunmer, but I am the Dragonborn, and I will defend your people whether they like it or not." Expands on Skyrim. Features fleshed out characters, content from earlier games and apocrypha, alternate choices and consequences for actions. WARNING: Contains mature content, including sexual themes, violence, and in-depth examinations of lore.
Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11181393/1/Dragon-from-Ash

It's always extremely pleasant to feel like you're the capable hands of a storyteller who just... has their shit together.

This is essentially a novelization of Skyrim with some very specific background / cultural choices, and a main character that's in no way a blank slate.

The author is obviously pretty damn familiar with the Elder Scrolls series, but unlike the traditional mistake of this situation where the story almost takes a backseat to worldbuilding, the story (the characters, really) very much are in the spotlight and showcased.

The Dragonborn here is Velandryn Savani, an original character (I'm assuming?). He's just... expertly written and portrayed. He's fleshed out enough that he feels real, that he has a PoV, that he's extremely believable, but he's not so specific, for lack of a better word, that the reader can't kind of slip into his head and identify with him. He's smart, cunning, and interesting, but believably fallible.

An interesting sidebar is that the author blatantly references The Wheel of Time in the first section -

 

The wind began in the land that was once called Elsweyr, born out of the desert badlands. It raced north, ruffling the fur of the soldiers who patrolled the border with the Empire. Raj'haara had been gazing south, towards the village from which she hailed, as the wind came upon her. She tasted the flavors of home, sun and stone and bright sweet sugar, and then the wind was gone. She turned back to the north with a sigh, and resumed her watch, lest the Empire break their fragile peace.

Sweeping into the heartland of Cyrodiil, the wind rippled the banners over the walls of the Imperial City and pulled at the cloak of Titus Mede as he surveyed his city from high atop the White-Gold Tower. The warm breeze led his mind to wander, but his thoughts soon returned to the many challenges facing his Empire. Rebellion in Skyrim, the entire province of Morrowind beyond his control, and of course the looming threat of the Thalmor and their Aldmeri Dominion. Below, his Empire waited, and Tamriel waited with it. The wind left the old man there, deep in thought.

Ever northward raced the wind, until it left Cyrodiil behind, and entered Pale Pass. Now bitter cold and howling bleak, it wrapped around ancient ruins and took from them the scents of long ages and distant lands across the sea. The wind roared down the northern slopes, and towards a burning town, where it lifted the wings of a great black dragon as it rose into the sky, its first battle in untold ages over too soon. As the dragon roared away to the north, its wings propelled an eddy of the wind downward, where it curled about the mouth of a cave, and the figures who stumbled out. The final gift of this long-traveled breeze was spent on a ragged Dunmer, clothed in rags, in bloodstained boots and a singed cape, with a sword on one hip and a bow slung across his back.

Shielding his eyes from the sudden light, Velandryn Savani, for a brief moment, felt a warm wind upon him. It smelled of ash and ruin, of fire and blood. To be greeted with an ashen wind here, in Skyrim, was something he had not expected


- but just leaves it at that. Clearly, the author is a fan of the series, as the tone and especially the pace of the fic have some clear parallels. There are no overt one to ones, no cameos, no crossovers. It's possible that the author has taken some of the metaphysics of WoT and kind of...woven them in with Elder Scrolls lore, but I'm honestly not familiar enough with the latter to say for sure.

Look, I could go on for quite a while here.

I'd have to reach pretty hard to find anything to complain about.

- 380K words, so there's a ton to sink into (although WoT-style pacing, so it kind of feels like it's just getting going)

- Polished, solid, competent writing

- Characters that jump off the page and feel real

- Identifying with the main character, who's very much an underdog, which is a lot of fun since he's also the Dragonborn

- Everything just... walks the tightrope extremely well. The slow-burn relationship between Serana and Velandryn, to take one example, is just... perfect. Not too fast, not too slow. It keeps you interested. They banter really well. Their relationship actually changes. It's not a liner path to a foregone conclusion, it's a rambling, curvy road.

I mean. I guess if I had to kind of pull out a negative thing, if you're really into the story of Skyrim there's probably some things that could be considered bashing? Like. If you're a big fan of the Nords, then Velandryn probably seems like a twit sometimes. Having no real horse in that race, though, I enjoyed that part of it quite a bit. It's just... fun, to have Velandryn be an outsider in a land of people he considers savages in a lot of ways and see him grow as a person in those interactions.

Anyway.

This is as good as a lot of actual novels. I don't particularly even like the Elder Scrolls but I freaking love this. It's an honest-to-goodness story.

Given the nature of Skyrim's wide-open world, the plot could really go anywhere at this point. And boy do I want to see it do that. If I could pick any story to snap my fingers and see completed, there are only like 2-3 extremely good Harry Potter fics I'd pick above this one, and I'd have to think about it.

5/5
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Old 06-11-2017, 02:44 AM   #2
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This story is an easy 5/5, the story and characters are amazing and always fun to read, and the author does an amazing job of breathing life into them and fleshing things out from the games. Honestly the only problem that I've had so far in the entire story is that it's painfully obvious that the author has a huge nostalgiaboner for Morrowind, because goddam do they love themselves some Dunmer, which is especially jarring considering their canon situation.
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Old 06-11-2017, 02:47 AM   #3
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It's probably my favorite story at the moment. Which is shocking since I've never been a fan of OC's and they've usually made me close fics immediately.

5/5
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Old 06-11-2017, 03:42 AM   #4
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I believe that the original review has taken the words from my mouth and laid it all down with extra flair. I too am not particularly interested in the Elder Scrolls and yet I'm very interested in this story.

5/5
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Old 06-11-2017, 05:57 AM   #5
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Not just the best Elder Scrolls fic I've ever read, easily one of my favourite fics of all time.

I feel like I can't accurately describe how good this is but @Newcomb did a pretty firm job.

The characterisations are what carries this fic. They're so deep and we'll defined that you feel like you're there listening in on real people which is something really rare in fiction.

Some say the pacing is slow but he's actually achieved quite a lot... just a little out of order.

WouldTakeAnArrowInTheKnee/5
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Old 06-11-2017, 07:37 AM   #6
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Easy 5/5, best TES fic by far.

The characters have incredible life to them. Can be long-winded though. I skipped some of the non-MC focused chapters later in the fic.
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:15 AM   #7
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Pretty much the 'Game of Champions' of the Elder Scrolls fandom, in that it makes everything else look awful in comparison. Definitely one of the best fan fics I've read in years, and as a huge TES fan that makes me very happy. Very interested to see the author's take on the Thu'um (I imagine it will be much more powerful like it is in the lore) once Velandryn finally makes it to High Hrothgar.

Only bad bit about this fic is that it draws attention to how shallow Skyrim (don't get me wrong it's pretty much my favourite game of all time) can be. A while back after reading this fic I made a Dunmer character all ready to go about playing in a similar fashion to the fic - but well, it definitely makes Skyrim feel very sterile in comparison.

5/5, best thing written since the Lusty Argonian Maid.
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:40 AM   #8
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This is without question one of the best written fics I've ever read. The depth it adds to the canon characters and settings is amazing, and Velandryn is a very compelling lead. I'm no expert on the lore of TES (I'm barely an amateur, tbh), so that side of things is particularly fascinating, and might go some way to explaining why I enjoyed Lydia's trip to Morrowind so much - it was like reading original fantasy to me, and it was still excellent.

Definite 5/5.
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Old 06-11-2017, 11:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Shinysavage View Post
This is without question one of the best written fics I've ever read. The depth it adds to the canon characters and settings is amazing, and Velandryn is a very compelling lead. I'm no expert on the lore of TES (I'm barely an amateur, tbh), so that side of things is particularly fascinating, and might go some way to explaining why I enjoyed Lydia's trip to Morrowind so much - it was like reading original fantasy to me, and it was still excellent.

Definite 5/5.
I completely agree, Lydia's trip to Morrowind was something I thought I'd skin as I had little interest in it but once again it was really very compelling.
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Old 06-11-2017, 04:34 PM   #10
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as a "novelization" the worry of canon rehash is always present, but sometimes that's a good thing.

how much would someone who hasn't heard of skyrim at all outside of internet memes but has a passable interest in fantasy be able to follow along? asking for... a friend.
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Old 06-11-2017, 04:59 PM   #11
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Probably pretty well, I think? As has been said above, the lore of the Elder Scrolls universe is not something I'm a real expert on, but the sequences that have focused on that, or on other areas of the setting that I'm not familiar with, have been easy enough to follow and enjoy, so I imagine the same probably goes for the main storyline.
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Old 06-11-2017, 06:55 PM   #12
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I agree with all of these 5/5 grades. This is a spectacular read and the update from a few weeks ago was a great surprise. I've truly enjoyed the loresturbation, but I can't help but feel relieved that we're getting closer to
 
The Greybeards plus another dragon fight. And them being in Bromjunaar makes me wonder if we'll see the Dragon Priest Shrine
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:11 AM   #13
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Easy 5/5. The author has his shit together, there is very obviously an over arching plot with crazy world building. It's honestly so refreshing to read something so unique and original.
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:51 AM   #14
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Best Skyrim fic I've read in years. Definitely 5/5.
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:05 AM   #15
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Would I need to play Skyrim before reading this?
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:19 AM   #16
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Would I need to play Skyrim before reading this?
I have basically 0 experience with Skyrim (or Elder Scrolls in general) and I'm enjoying this quite a lot so far. Maybe I'm not getting everything, but the author's good about having the lore come up in organic ways or explaining what the difference is with canon in his author's notes.
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:21 PM   #17
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I think a passing familiarity with TES and Skyrim in particular helps, because it can kind of... ground you? Like, you can see certain things coming, you're never going to be overwhelmed by the story, etc.

But it's written well enough that it's more like a bonus if you do have that knowledge and not something you'd miss without it, I think.

It helps that the main character is an absolute neophyte when it comes to Skyrim - you learn with him, so to speak.
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:43 PM   #18
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Hands down one of my favourite stories, period. I've been following this for months and each update is the highlight of my day. Easily rates a 5/5 and I'd recommend this to anyone who has even a passing interest in Skyrim or Morrowind.
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