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Fanfiction ► The Chains That Bind (AU Aqua/Vanitas) - Chapter One



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Theart

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Well, I'm finally doing it: I've decided to finally post one of my fanfics here on KHI. I hadn't intended on ever doing that, much less posting it here before posting it on fanfiction.net, but I told myself that I wouldn't do that until I got to writing Chapter Four at least, and I'm curious to see what you all think.

DISCLAIMERS: I do not own the Kingdom Hearts franchise. It is property of Square-Enix and Disney.

____________________________________________________________________________

~ The Chains That Bind ~

Chapter One

1.

Life is full of surprises; anything can change at any given time or place.

For example: over the course of a single month, Radiant Garden (considered by many to be the pinnacle of technological advancements and also a city of peace) quickly became infected with two strange new breeds of monsters, filling the streets with blood and fear. Despite the Guardians’ attempts to fight back, Radiant Garden was quickly succumbing to the new forces plaguing the city.

The city’s leader, Ansem the Wise, had his most trusted disciples conduct scientific studies of the new threats, though there was little they could do. The monsters were much too dangerous to be able to capture and restrain for thorough investigations, but from what the scientists could observe, they dubbed the two breeds “Heartless” and “Nobody” respectively. The two breeds shared a connection with each other and both grew in unison, feeding off each other.

Within the first four weeks of the monsters’ arrival, it was clear to Ansem that the Guardians would not suffice against the threat. As was protocol throughout the world, Ansem sent out requests for immediate aid from Keyblade Masters close enough to arrive in time to make a difference. Only two such groups were in such range, and the bad blood between the two camps was rather infamous. From the west were Master Eraqus and his pupils, and from the east were Master Xehanort and his single pupil.

No one knew exactly why there was a rift between the two camps, Xehanort and Eraqus had once been the best of friends, but the rift was there just the same. However, Ansem needed the most help he could get and sent out requests for help to both parties.
He could only hope that whoever arrived from both ends could be able to work together to save this beautiful city…

2.

As it would turn out, neither Xehanort nor Eraqus arrived themselves. Instead, both had sent a pupil of theirs to answer the call for aid.

In Master Xehanort’s defense, he was certainly getting rather old and nearing the final years of his life. Plus, the elderly Master’s estranged son, Xehanort the Second, was Ansem the Wise’s most trusted advisor. And while the old man would prefer to die fixing things up with his son, Master Xehanort knew it probably wasn’t going to happen. Not to mention that Master Xehanort had sent out his sole pupil, who had just recently been granted the Mark of Mastery after successfully stopping a threat by the name Kefka Palazzo: Master Vanitas Rizzo.

While Master Eraqus was certainly getting older himself, age was not the reason why he chose to send a pupil in his stead. Rather he wanted his prodigy, newly ranked Master Aqua Bianchi, to begin her career as a Keyblade Master on a high note and show the world why the water maiden was the one to successfully bring down the cruel Seymour Guado and earned her Mark of Mastery for it.

Both young Masters represented the future of the Keyblade Wielders and the world they were sworn to protect. The difference between the two, as well as the rift between their teachers, was their methods of how to protect the world…

3.

“Wow, who is that handsome young devil?”

“I don’t know… do you think he might be moving to Radiant Garden?”

“Don’t get your hopes up. Why would anyone want to move there right now?”

“I know… but can’t a girl dream?”

“… Yeah.”

“Seriously, that black hair and golden eyes… he’s so handsome.”

“Do you think he can hear us?”

“No, of course not. We are whispering after all…”

Master Vanitas Rizzo smirked with pride as he continued listening to the two ladies a row behind him on the opposite side. While the two young ladies were whispering rather quietly, Vanitas could hear them perfectly clear. He was trained to be able to do such, and he couldn’t deny that he enjoyed listening in on such conversations. It was vain of him, certainly, but what the hell; Vanitas enjoyed feeding his ego from time to time.
Not to mention that there wasn’t much else to do on the train at the moment. Vanitas had read and re-read the case file over a dozen times, and didn’t feel the need to read it again just yet. He had it memorized by heart, but he’d probably decide to read it again right before meeting with Ansem the Wise, just to make sure he didn’t miss any details. After all, Vanitas was a pragmatist by nature.

After feeling that he had indulged his ego enough, Vanitas stopped listening in on the two ladies and began thinking about who Master Eraqus would send to Radiant Garden. Vanitas was certain that his twin brother, Ventus Rizzo, wouldn’t be the pupil from Eraqus. After all, Ven hadn’t been granted Mark of Mastery yet.

Taking Ven out of the running left two candidates for his would-be partner (Vanitas felt sick at just the very thought); either Terra Mangini or Aqua Bianchi. Vanitas assumed it would be the latter, as Ms. Bianchi was the only one of Eraqus’s three pupils to been granted Mark of Mastery at this point. However, Vanitas admitted that there was a chance that Eraqus might send Mr. Mangini; according to Ven, Terra was Eraqus’s adopted son. Personal preferences might have resulted in the lesser option being sent to the case.

Either way, it didn’t matter to Vanitas, as he had never met either one of Ven’s friends or even Ven’s master. After all, their teachers weren’t exactly on good terms with one another. The two brothers were able to keep in contact, but that was just about it.

No matter which pupil Eraqus sent, Vanitas just knew they were going to be a pain to work with. Having decided on that, Vanitas decided to look at the case file yet again and began reading…

4.

Not unlike Vanitas on his train, Master Aqua Bianchi and her attractive looks was the topic of discussion for two young men seated nearby. However, while Aqua could listen to the two men go on about her looks, Aqua wasn’t interested in listening and instead was re-reading the case file for the hundredth time. The situation she was about to go into was certainly dangerous, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to memorize the details.

The scientists speculated that the two breeds, the Heartless and the Nobodies, were the split incarnations of humans who had lost their heart; the Heartless being the Heart overtaken by Darkness and the Nobodies being the empty Body and Soul left behind by the Heart. Because of this nature, the scientists believed that the two breeds fed off one another, both benefitting from the lives they claimed.

Aqua sighed, ran her fingers through her blue hair in frustration and thought to herself, ‘This isn’t going to be easy…

And she knew that was only an understatement. There was still her would-be partner to add into the equation; Master Vanitas Rizzo, the twin brother of her friend Ven. Aqua had never met Ven’s brother before, but he was Master Xehanort’s sole pupil. From what little Master Eraqus ever said about his former friend, Aqua knew that Master Xehanort had a curious mind about the Darkness and had been rumored to use it in combat. If such were the case, then it’d only be natural to assume that Vanitas was also familiar with the Darkness and would utilize it in combat.

Aqua felt a small pang of guilt inside for judging someone she didn’t even know personally, especially since the person was the twin brother of her close friend Ven. But at the same time, Aqua had been trained to believe that Light was absolute. Darkness was an evil and one that needed to be done away with in the future. Master Eraqus had firmly cemented this notion into Aqua’s mind over the years that she had been his pupil. And having come face-to-face with evils in the past, most recently Seymour Guado, Aqua agreed with her mentor’s belief.

Aqua sighed to herself and pushed the worries away from her mind. She was an adult now, at age nineteen, and she needed to behave like one. Judging Master Vanitas Rizzo before having even met him was a childish and immature thing for her to do. Whatever she would end up thinking of her friend’s twin brother would be because of his actual personality and what she would see with her own eyes.

And with that, the water maiden continued reading the case file again…

5.

Ansem the Wise sat in his study, a nervous excitement filling his bones. Both of the Keyblade Masters were scheduled to finally arrive at Radiant Garden today, and just in time. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that there was still time to salvage the city from the monsters infecting it like a disease. And these two Keyblade Masters would be the cure. That much, Ansem the Wise felt confident in.

Ansem suddenly heard a chuckle by the door. He looked over to see his most trusted pupil, Xehanort the Second standing there with a warm smile before he said, “Sir, you look like a little boy on Christmas Day.”

Ansem chuckled in kind, before replying, “Well, I suppose it’s for good reason. Help is finally on the way and just in time. The Guardians can’t hold out much longer. These two Keyblade Masters are both highly regarded and accomplished people, and should be of great use to saving this city.”

“Indeed… I must admit that I’m curious in meeting my father’s pupil, young Master Rizzo. He’s certainly accomplished a great deal as of late… did you hear about the incident in Figaro?” asked Xehanort.

“Why yes, I did indeed hear about that. It’s incredible that a young man of the age of eighteen was able to take down Kefka Palazzo singlehandedly. Your father certainly must be quite the teacher. You impressed me greatly when we first met all those years ago, before I even took you in as my own pupil,” Ansem reflected as he stroked his blonde beard in thought.

“My father certainly does have a brilliant mind about him, I must admit. Still… even the most brilliant of men can make incredibly foolish mistakes,” Xehanort replied with a somber tone in his voice, running his fingers through his long silver hair.

Ansem rose from his desk and approached Xehanort, patting him on the shoulder with a smile as he said, “There’s still time, my apprentice. You could always reconcile with your father one of these days.”

Before Xehanort could reply, a voice said from behind the two, “Sir, the Keyblade Masters will be arriving soon. We should be going now to welcome them both to the city and escort them to the castle.”

The two men turned to see Braig, another one of Ansem’s disciples, standing in the hallway by the door with a grin on his face. Ansem nodded and replied, “Then let us be off. The two Keyblade Masters deserve a warm welcome, after all.”

With that, Ansem walked past Braig and down the hallway. Braig and Xehanort walked not far behind him, both curious to see what the two visitors would be like.

Braig smirked a bit as he suddenly asked, “So did I ruin a moment or something?”

Xehanort glared, “Whatever do you mean, Braig?”

Braig gestured his hands, “Oh not much. It just looked to me like you and the boss man were talking about the Old Coot again.”

“It’s none of your concern,” Xehanort flatly replied.

Braig feigned a hurt expression as he replied, “As if! I’m only worried about my amigo is all.”

Xehanort chose not to reply and within a few minutes, the two reunited with Ansem and several of their peers and with that, entered the carriage to meet the two guests.

6.

After the train had arrived at the station in Radiant Garden, the first thing Vanitas had done was find the nearest telephone booth and called his brother Ven. The lazy bum that was his twin brother didn’t pick up the phone until the fourth time Vanitas tried calling him, depleting him of more money than necessary.

“So you made it to Radiant Garden safe and sound, Van?” asked a cheerful voice from the telephone.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m there. And don’t call me Van, you idiot,” Vanitas shot back with an irritated tone in his voice. “So who did your master send to Radiant Garden?”

“Oh, Master sent Aqua there. I’m glad that the two of you will finally be able to meet! I’ve been wanting one of them to meet you. Terra wanted to go on the mission too, but the Master said he wasn’t quite ready for it yet,” explained Ven.

“From what I’ve heard of Terra, he wouldn’t be ready. Figured it would be Aqua,” Vanitas mused. “You talk to Mom or Dad recently?”

“Actually I have! They’re doing fine. Sora just turned five a month ago.”

In addition to his twin brother Ventus, Vanitas also had a little brother named Sora, who was still living with their parents. Vanitas had only met him four times in Sora’s whole life. Training under Master Xehanort required Vanitas to be out in the wilder parts of the world, so Vanitas hadn’t had much chance to see his family often.

Vanitas groaned with irritation, “Great. I forgot to get him a present… I’ll find him a present while I’m in Radiant Garden and have it mailed home.”

“That sounds fine to me. Listen… I know you’ve been taught very differently than my friends and I, but I’d appreciate it if you treat Aqua nicely. She’s a good friend and from the looks of it, this mission you both are going to be working on will be really dangerous. Can you keep an eye out for her?”

Vanitas glared at the phone in his hand, before replying, “Ven, this friend of yours is a Keyblade Master. She should be able to take care of herself just fine. I’m not a babysitter you know.”

“I know that. Aqua’s more talented than me and Terra combined! It’s just that both of you are important to me, so I’d appreciate it if you two took care of each other,” Ven replied.

Vanitas sighed before answering, “Whatever. I have to go now. The officials here are waiting for me.”

Vanitas hung up the phone before Ven could reply and with that, stepped out of the telephone booth, picking up his single suitcase as he did so. As Vanitas walked around the station, he looked for whoever would be waiting for him. Presumably, the welcoming crew would have a big sign with his and Aqua’s names on it, blatantly revealing their arrival. Vanitas glared at the thought; if the two breeds of monsters appeared out of nowhere in this specific city alone, that meant there was almost certainly a person behind it all. And while that person probably already knew of the arrival of two Keyblade Masters, it certainly wouldn’t help showing the news in a large crowd.

Within a few minutes, Vanitas did in fact see a sign with his and Aqua’s name on it in the distance. Thankfully it made no reference to titles such as “Masters” or “Keybearers”, so to the common public it was just another sign in the station. ‘At least these people aren’t total idiots,’ Vanitas thought with a hint of relief in his mind.

As Vanitas walked towards the welcoming crew, he suddenly saw her. Maybe it was the blue hair, maybe it was the confident composure she had, but Vanitas knew this woman was Master Aqua Bianchi.

And much to his displeasure, Vanitas couldn’t stop the thought that this lady was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen from entering his mind. After a moment, Vanitas managed to push the thought away from his mind and approached the group. He was there on a mission damn it, and he wasn’t about to allow himself to get distracted by a woman’s insanely good looks. Especially since this woman was going to be his partner on the case.

That wasn’t to say Vanitas wasn’t interested in women or going around for a bed romp. In fact, he’d bedded a handful of women in the past few missions he had been on. He just preferred to do so after the mission was said and done.

After all, Vanitas was a pragmatist by nature…

7.

Aqua was also able to immediately recognize who Vanitas was when she saw him. He certainly bore a strong resemblance to his twin brother Ven, especially in the face, but there were also some clear differences just by looking at him. Unlike Ven’s spiky but short blonde hair, Vanitas had a mane of spiky black hair. While Ven had cerulean blue eyes, Vanitas had amber-gold eyes. While Ven had a very happy and friendly way about him, Aqua could tell just by looking at Vanitas that he was a much more pessimistic and non-sociable person than his twin.

While Ventus seemed to be an example of Light, Vanitas appeared to be Darkness Incarnate.

Vanitas was wearing a black pea coat, with a buttoned up red shirt and black pants. Aqua couldn’t stop herself from thinking that the young man looked quite sharp and handsome. ‘Not only that, but he definitely has a great amount of self-confidence about him,’ Aqua noted to herself, a blush coming about her cheeks. ‘Get a hold of yourself, Aqua. You’re on a mission, not a date.

Ironically enough, despite her undeniable beauty and kind spirit, Aqua had never once been on a date before in her whole life. After all, she had spent many years up in the Western Mountains with Master Eraqus, Terra and Ven, training to become the best Keyblade Master she could be. Romance was not particularly common under such situations.

Shrugging the thoughts of attraction aside, Aqua approached the welcoming crew. In the center stood Ansem the Wise, a tall middle-aged man with blonde hair and a matching blonde beard. He wore a kind and inviting smile as he shook hands with Vanitas and then Aqua, “I trust that both of you had a comfortable trip here?”

Both Keyblade Masters nodded their heads affirmative, to which Ansem replied, “Good. I’m terribly sorry that your presence here is needed, but we cannot last much longer without any sort of aid.”

Aqua replied, “That’s why we do what we do, sir. As Keyblade Masters, it is our duty to protect the innocent and maintain order and justice throughout the land.”

Vanitas rolled his eyes, as he thought to himself, ‘Perfect. She’s a total girl scout.’ Deciding not to let anyone catch on with his disdain, Vanitas said, “I think it’d be best if we all get to the castle. These sorts of things shouldn’t be discussed out in public. The wrong set of ears may pick up a thing or two.”

Aqua nodded in agreement, “It would probably be a lot safer to talk about this in private, sir.”

Ansem looked at the two, next at his disciples, who all nodded in agreement, and then finally replied, “As you wish. Come follow me to the carriage and we’ll take you to the castle immediately.”

With that, Ansem and the others headed on outside the station to the carriage waiting for them. Aqua was at the front with Ansem, while Vanitas was in the back of the group next to Xehanort the Second. Vanitas looked at the man next to him; Xehanort certainly did bear a resemblance to his elderly master, especially when Vanitas mentally compared him to an old photograph of his Master from when he was a younger man that he had seen once. Suddenly, Xehanort the Second said, “So you’re my father’s apprentice.”

Not sure where this was going, Vanitas replied, “Yes, I am. He’s been training me since I was five years old.”

“Thirteen years under the old man’s teachings… well I certainly don’t envy you. How is he doing nowadays?” asked Xehanort.

Vanitas hesitated for a moment, before answering, “He’s doing as fine as ever.”

“I see,” And with that, Xehanort moved forwards, towards the front with Ansem and Aqua. Vanitas remained in the back, curious as to what was going on in the mind of his mentor’s son.

Was it that the younger Xehanort simply wanted to reconcile with his elderly father before it was too late? Vanitas assumed as much, but he couldn’t deny that there was something odd about the group he was with. Vanitas looked over Ansem’s disciples, examining each and every one of them, before zeroing in on one in particular near the front. The man had short slick black hair, combed back, and had a worn red bandana on his neck. Vanitas glared a bit at the man. Whatever his game was, this man was going to be unpredictable.

What an odd lot you’ve surrounded yourself in, Ansem the Wise,’ Vanitas thought to himself. ‘What an odd lot, indeed.’

Author's Notes: As the thread title states, this is an alternate universe story. Vanitas isn't a villain, but rather an anti-hero.

So thoughts thus far? :D Reviews are love. <3

Your Pal,
Theart
 

Nyangoro

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Alright, first, I'll talk about things that I noticed while reading:

1) Try not to use parenthesis in your writing. In narratives, there is always a way to note auxiliary information without its use. The problem is that parenthesis tends to break the flow of what your reading. It makes the information within feel like an addendum than an actual part of the piece.

2) Be careful with redundancy. The most obvious type of this is when you repeat something in the same sentence, such as when you used "such" twice when referencing the available masters. A common type is when you use and adjective or adverb when what it modifies already implies the same thing. An example of this would be a "brief glimpse." Glimpse already implies brevity, so brief becomes unnecessary (note that his is a general example, not an example from the text).

3) Don't draw out sentences with a lot of wordiness. Though I can understand the desire to not use short and choppy sentences, the reverse doesn't look much better. The key thing to consider when forming sentences is how can you put as much relevant information as possible in the most succinct way. It also helps to rely on the intelligence of the reader, who can read into things just as well as the characters in the story can. So, you don't need to spell everything out for them.

4) The style of your narration (at least at the beginning) seems to be that of a person with full knowledge of the events recounting the story. As such, I don't think you need to use a lot of approximation modifiers. Words such as probably, rather, etc. don't need to be used in a situation where the narrator should know (or at least enough that the approximations become useless in light of the story's events).

5) While your dialog isn't all that bad (a bit stiff at times, but certainly passable), you'll want to look out for exposition. Exposition, while necessary at times, can become a problem if it is used too much, or used in unnatural ways. Exposition is, basically, writing that gives information to the reader in a very straightforward manner. As I said, sometimes this is necessary, but other times it comes across as a crutch for when you "tell" a reader instead of "showing" them. In dialog, it is most obvious when a conversation (or particular string of conversation) feels forced as a means of providing the reader with information (especially background information). In your text, the discussion regarding Vanitas' accomplishments fits the problem.

6) I notice a problem with the PoVs in the seventh "section." In it, you start out in Aqua's PoV, relating her feelings about Vanitas and the situation in general. Then, you switch to Vanitas' PoV in the latter half. This is a big no-no in the world of literature. Switching PoVs is fine, but you have to designate a break in the scene before you can do that. The only time you can "switch" between PoVs without ending the scene first is when using the Third-Person Omniscient style of narration. Since that isn't what you are using (I don't even think that is what you are using in the first couple "sections" either), you can't suddenly switch between PoVs.

Now, as for the plot itself. Well, there isn't much to go on right now, but there is some nice setup. I would have preferred it if you had used a hook to get readers' attention, because there really isn't much to grab a person's interest aside from those who are already familiar with the series in question. Granted, I imagine that the target audience is fans of the series, so it's really up to you.

I'm also not a huge fan of using superlatives with regards to romantic interests. I mean, I understand the reason behind the "love at first sight" device, but I'm just not a huge fan of it, at least not when the romance aspect of it seems to play a big role in the story. Again, that's just my personal opinion, as there definitely isn't anything wrong with using the device so long as you handle it well as the story progresses.

So, yeah, I can't say a whole lot about the quality of the plot from the first chapter. You've got a decent enough setup (albeit it bit fast paced), and really it just depends on where you take it from here.

I do have a couple questions though:

First, what exactly is the purpose of the numbers? Is that just how you separate scenes?

Second, do you read a lot of fantasy novels? Because using "bed" as a verb sounds very Old-English/Fantasy-esque.

EDIT: Holy crap, this post turned out bigger than I expected it to `3`
 

Theart

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3) Don't draw out sentences with a lot of wordiness. Though I can understand the desire to not use short and choppy sentences, the reverse doesn't look much better. The key thing to consider when forming sentences is how can you put as much relevant information as possible in the most succinct way. It also helps to rely on the intelligence of the reader, who can read into things just as well as the characters in the story can. So, you don't need to spell everything out for them.

xD This is something I've been struggling with since Day 1. I'll definitely aim to improve on this aspect and try to find a beta to help me get into the habit of fixing this issue. ^_^

4) The style of your narration (at least at the beginning) seems to be that of a person with full knowledge of the events recounting the story. As such, I don't think you need to use a lot of approximation modifiers. Words such as probably, rather, etc. don't need to be used in a situation where the narrator should know (or at least enough that the approximations become useless in light of the story's events).

Well, I've had the plot in my head for over a year and the trouble I had back in 2010 were those first few paragraphs (not the ones here in this version, but my previous attempts at writing the story). I admit I'm not fond of having to start off in an admittedly odd narration style, but it was the only way I seemed to be able to write those first few articles.

I think I might have been subconsciously influenced by the opening page of Chapter One of Rurouni Kenshin, which simply shows some panels of Kenshin in the War and states some background info and then kicks straight into the action. Lord knows much of an impact that manga series has had on me already. xD

5) While your dialog isn't all that bad (a bit stiff at times, but certainly passable), you'll want to look out for exposition. Exposition, while necessary at times, can become a problem if it is used too much, or used in unnatural ways. Exposition is, basically, writing that gives information to the reader in a very straightforward manner. As I said, sometimes this is necessary, but other times it comes across as a crutch for when you "tell" a reader instead of "showing" them. In dialog, it is most obvious when a conversation (or particular string of conversation) feels forced as a means of providing the reader with information (especially background information). In your text, the discussion regarding Vanitas' accomplishments fits the problem.

Duly noted. ^_^

6) I notice a problem with the PoVs in the seventh "section." In it, you start out in Aqua's PoV, relating her feelings about Vanitas and the situation in general. Then, you switch to Vanitas' PoV in the latter half. This is a big no-no in the world of literature. Switching PoVs is fine, but you have to designate a break in the scene before you can do that. The only time you can "switch" between PoVs without ending the scene first is when using the Third-Person Omniscient style of narration. Since that isn't what you are using (I don't even think that is what you are using in the first couple "sections" either), you can't suddenly switch between PoVs.

Understood. I'll try to be more aware of that. That's definitely something I'll need to look out for in the future.

Now, as for the plot itself. Well, there isn't much to go on right now, but there is some nice setup. I would have preferred it if you had used a hook to get readers' attention, because there really isn't much to grab a person's interest aside from those who are already familiar with the series in question. Granted, I imagine that the target audience is fans of the series, so it's really up to you.

Thank you! :D The first, second and possibly third chapters are admittedly build-up, but the plot should be swung into full action by Chapter Four, or possibly Three.

I'm also not a huge fan of using superlatives with regards to romantic interests. I mean, I understand the reason behind the "love at first sight" device, but I'm just not a huge fan of it, at least not when the romance aspect of it seems to play a big role in the story. Again, that's just my personal opinion, as there definitely isn't anything wrong with using the device so long as you handle it well as the story progresses.

I'm not at all a fan of "love at first sight" either. I am however a fan of "lust at first sight". This is what I utilized between Vanitas and Aqua. On a physical level, the two are definitely attracted to one another now. However their personality differences, as well as the differences in their morals that were passed on from their respective masters, will cause friction between the two of them pretty quickly. It will be learning how to move past such differences that develop their feelings into love. ;D

First, what exactly is the purpose of the numbers? Is that just how you separate scenes?

Yeah, it's how I separate scenes. It's something I picked up from reading too many Stephen King novels. ;3;
Plus, to me, it's easier to keep track of the events in the chapter that way~ ;D

Second, do you read a lot of fantasy novels? Because using "bed" as a verb sounds very Old-English/Fantasy-esque.

I read some fantasy, but it's not something I read more than anything else. "bedded" just seemed to fit for me. C:
 

Sign

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I already spoke to you in PMs about this, but just one more little thing I'd like to add. Say in this paragraph for example:

Aqua felt a small pang of guilt inside for judging someone she didn’t even know personally, especially since the person was the twin brother of her close friend Ven. But at the same time, Aqua had been trained to believe that Light was absolute. Darkness was an evil and one that needed to be done away with in the future. Master Eraqus had firmly cemented this notion into Aqua’s mind over the years that she had been his pupil. And having come face-to-face with evils in the past, most recently Seymour Guado, Aqua agreed with her mentor’s belief.

I don't think it's completely necessary to mention her name so often if she's the only female character currently involved. Using 'she' or just other ways to refer to her without having to repeat her name would work just as well.

Love the story and I'm very interested to see where you're headed <3
 

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Well I'm interested to see what happens next but there was something that...irked me I guess. I guess it was the instant attraction Vanitas and Aqua had. From the way you describe them in your alternate universe Aqua is a no-nonsense Master while Vanitas is a pessimistic egocentric-ish character. I would think as the reader at first sight these two would not think much of each other. The attraction would take time I guess is what I'm trying to say. Like because of their personality differences even physical attraction may seem dull until they actually get a good look at each other, instead of briefly starring at each at the train station. That's just me anyway. It's your story and I'm not much of a writer myself so I look forward to see what happens next ^-^
 

Theart

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Well I'm interested to see what happens next but there was something that...irked me I guess. I guess it was the instant attraction Vanitas and Aqua had. From the way you describe them in your alternate universe Aqua is a no-nonsense Master while Vanitas is a pessimistic egocentric-ish character. I would think as the reader at first sight these two would not think much of each other. The attraction would take time I guess is what I'm trying to say. Like because of their personality differences even physical attraction may seem dull until they actually get a good look at each other, instead of briefly starring at each at the train station. That's just me anyway. It's your story and I'm not much of a writer myself so I look forward to see what happens next ^-^

Seeing as how this is the second time someone has mentioned this, I'll probably go back and revise that. After all, I'm always aiming to improve. Thank you for mentioning this to me; the way you worded this made a bit more sense to me than Nevermore's "love at first sight" comment (though I can see what you both mean now).

That said, aside from that, anything in particular that you enjoyed from this? ^_^
 

Youniquee

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Things that I liked:

-The way you portrayed Vanitas
- You tied in canon things from the game into the AU. (Not much AUs do this lol)
- Despite everything, the plot has interested me. I wonder how Aqua and Vanitas' relationship will develop. I'm also interested in the action scenes to come.

Things that could be improved -

-I kind of felt like I got infodumped in the beginning, like somehow a back story that should be included later. Because of it, the chapter didn't really hook me. I think your better off starting at scene 3. That's more of a hook, I guess.

-I agree with the attraction thing, I think it happened way too soon. If you want to portray lust at first sight, it should maybe be a bit more subtle rather than right out stating they are attracted to each other.

-I'm slightly wondering why this can't just be from one POV...I think it might work better. Like if for one chapter, it was only in Vanitas' POV or Aqua's? Might be more interesting because we get to only see 1 POV which makes the reader look forward to knowing how Aqua views Vanitas and so. It also adds a bit more mystery if you get what I mean.

-
In addition to his twin brother Ventus, Vanitas also had a little brother named Sora, who was still living with their parents. Vanitas had only met him four times in Sora’s whole life. Training under Master Xehanort required Vanitas to be out in the wilder parts of the world, so Vanitas hadn’t had much chance to see his family often.
Did I really need to know this? By him kind of forgetting Sora's birthday does show that he probably doesn't see them much.

- In scene 3, where the girls are kinda describing Vanitas, I think it's uneeded because when we get to Aqua's Pov, we get to know how he looks like so I felt like you were just repeating it.

After all, Vanitas was a pragmatist by nature…
Ellipsis isn't needed...it's like the narrator is trailing off somehow. And this OmniPov, right? So I don't think it really suits this type of Pov, unless it's in dialogue.

-I think the way the scenes are separated make me feel like I'm reading a list of scenes...and it's kind odd. lol I know it's because of your own personal use and organisation but as a reader, I think it's weird lol

That's my 2 pennies on it. Nevermore already gave you though advice ;o I hope I wasn't too harsh and that you consider some of my suggestions. ^o^ Good luck!

-Youniquee
 

Theart

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Things that I liked:

-The way you portrayed Vanitas
- You tied in canon things from the game into the AU. (Not much AUs do this lol)
- Despite everything, the plot has interested me. I wonder how Aqua and Vanitas' relationship will develop. I'm also interested in the action scenes to come.

Thank you~ :D

Ironically enough, one thing I keep getting afraid about is the possibility of not getting Vanitas down right. So I'm glad you think I'm portraying the right way.

And you're right about the AU; not many AUs bring in details from the canon series. That's part of why I wanted to write this in the first place; it's a story that's Kingdom Hearts and yet at the same time, it isn't Kingdom Hearts.

And I'm definitely glad you're excited for the plot. :D

Things that could be improved -

-I kind of felt like I got infodumped in the beginning, like somehow a back story that should be included later. Because of it, the chapter didn't really hook me. I think your better off starting at scene 3. That's more of a hook, I guess.

See my response to Nevermore on this. ^^;;

-I agree with the attraction thing, I think it happened way too soon. If you want to portray lust at first sight, it should maybe be a bit more subtle rather than right out stating they are attracted to each other.

I've actually decided to go back and revise those parts, so I'll be sure to let you know when that's done. ;)

-I'm slightly wondering why this can't just be from one POV...I think it might work better. Like if for one chapter, it was only in Vanitas' POV or Aqua's? Might be more interesting because we get to only see 1 POV which makes the reader look forward to knowing how Aqua views Vanitas and so. It also adds a bit more mystery if you get what I mean.

Nope. 1st Person POV is not my strong point and not at all how I want to go about this story. I see your point, but it just wouldn't work for me to write it like that.

- In scene 3, where the girls are kinda describing Vanitas, I think it's uneeded because when we get to Aqua's Pov, we get to know how he looks like so I felt like you were just repeating it.

The point of opening up with the girls was to introduce Vanitas what I felt was the best way to do so: with a smirk on his face.

Ellipsis isn't needed...it's like the narrator is trailing off somehow. And this OmniPov, right? So I don't think it really suits this type of Pov, unless it's in dialogue.

I tend to trail off when I talk in real life, so that might be where it came from.

And again, I'm sorry, but I'm not changing the POV for this story.

-I think the way the scenes are separated make me feel like I'm reading a list of scenes...and it's kind odd. lol I know it's because of your own personal use and organisation but as a reader, I think it's weird lol

In a way, that's exactly what a story is: a list of scenes. It may seem weird to you, but it's one of my quirks. I picked it up after reading some Stephen King novels (he does the same thing), and began applying it to my writing and it actually helped me quite a bit. Prior to that, whenever I transitioned from one scene to another, it felt really off and bumpy to me. With the numbers, I've smoothed it out a bit (IMO at least, comparing my more recent works to things I wrote in the past).

Plus, I personally think it makes for a cleaner transition from when POVs are being switched from say, Vanitas on his train to Aqua on hers and then to Ansem in his study. ^_^

That's my 2 pennies on it. Nevermore already gave you though advice ;o I hope I wasn't too harsh and that you consider some of my suggestions. ^o^ Good luck!

-Youniquee

Well, I certainly appreciate you taking the time to critique my work and actually being thorough about it. I may not agree with some of what you said, but I appreciate it just the same. ^_^
 

chasespicer056

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Great job so far! It's definitely one of the better AU fics I've read.

The concept seems imaginitive and fresh.

I'm curious to see how Vanitas will be portrayed in later chapters. Right now it seems fine, but considering how he was in BBS, he should be at least follow the principle of "the ends justify the means" if nothing else.

Aqua was characterized very well, as was Braig.
 

Theart

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Great job so far! It's definitely one of the better AU fics I've read.

Why thank you! :D

The concept seems imaginitive and fresh.
Well, considering most people hardly ever attempt to do an AU story that IS similar to the regular series, this doesn't surprise me. ;D It's familiar but different.

I'm curious to see how Vanitas will be portrayed in later chapters. Right now it seems fine, but considering how he was in BBS, he should be at least follow the principle of "the ends justify the means" if nothing else.
As I said in another post, I'm revising some parts of this chapter, one of them being when he first sees Aqua. He's got a bit of an ego, but he generally focuses on being pragmatic with his work, so he only indulges in his ego sparingly. That said, the new revised stuff with him shows more of a cynical side to Vanitas.

And trust me; you'll definitely see "the ends justify the means" from him soon enough *chuckles at the thought of one scene in particular* <3

Aqua was characterized very well, as was Braig.
Thank you! :D I'm glad that you think I've got Aqua down (she's not too particularly difficult for me to write), and I'm especially glad to see that you think I did good with Braig. He and Vanitas are a bit tricky for me. ^^;;
 
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For example: over the course of a single month, Radiant Garden (considered by many to be the pinnacle of technological advancements and also a city of peace) quickly became infected with two strange new breeds of monsters, filling the streets with blood and fear. Despite the Guardians’ attempts to fight back, Radiant Garden was quickly succumbing to the new forces plaguing the city.

Don't say this in such a theoretical way. The event happened and understand that your opening line is going to lead into an event such as described, so there is no need to say "For example". Omit that and just continue with "Over the course..."

Also, like Nevermore said, parenthesis are a big no-no. If this is information you want us to know, use a comma or mention it in another sentence that would make the information useful.

Like everybody else said, maybe you should start from your third part. The first two seem like something that could be explained later on.

Also, the first two parts should be showing me the events, not telling. This is key in all forms of writing. Telling me these things happened does nothing to evoke an emotional response from your audience. You need something to grab them and if that first paragraph isn't interesting, I'm not going to spend my time reading it. (Wow, I sound like my AP teachers from HS)

Since you are going with an Italian theme, maybe make "amigo" into "amico". Braig doesn't seem like the Spanish speaking type, amico.

After all, Vanitas was a pragmatist by nature…

You should have waited a few more parts to use this line again. I get what you were trying to do, but it didn't create that effect at all. It just felt like a simple repeat of a phrase.

Explain why Vanitas is curious about Braig. It just seems like he took notice of him randomly.

Description. Exposition. You need both. To a fan, we already know what everybody looks like, but to others they might not. You did well to describe their hair color, eyes, and clothes, but it all felt a bit choppy. Don't describe them like grocery store novels "Her blue hair contoured her heart shaped face perfectly. Eyes like lavender flowers captivated me. Her clothes hugged her natural curves like they were painted on her...blahblahblah" but at least give them a tiny bit more description.

Again, no elipses unless they are in a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-limited person POV.

Why describe Sora? Unless he is going to have a bit of relevance in the story, I wouldn't put the energy into giving so much detail. Just say it in one sentence. :3

And that is all I have for now unless you want me to repeat everything everybody else said.

-remembered this part after posting-

I love the potential, Mr. Theart! When you told me about it months ago, I loved the idea of it. :D KEEP GOING~
 
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Theart

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Since you are going with an Italian theme, maybe make "amigo" into "amico". Braig doesn't seem like the Spanish speaking type, amico.

Not exactly an Italian theme. I just chose Italian last names because I felt they would fit in the best with the characters with Latin names.

You should have waited a few more parts to use this line again. I get what you were trying to do, but it didn't create that effect at all. It just felt like a simple repeat of a phrase.

Good point. ^_^

Explain why Vanitas is curious about Braig. It just seems like he took notice of him randomly.

Will definitely revise that.

Description. Exposition. You need both. To a fan, we already know what everybody looks like, but to others they might not. You did well to describe their hair color, eyes, and clothes, but it all felt a bit choppy. Don't describe them like grocery store novels "Her blue hair contoured her heart shaped face perfectly. Eyes like lavender flowers captivated me. Her clothes hugged her natural curves like they were painted on her...blahblahblah" but at least give them a tiny bit more description.

Good point.

Again, no elipses unless they are in a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-limited person POV.

Not to sound like an idiot (which I probably am), but I'm not entirely familiar with that. Examples of what the "elipse" is and where I'm using them in this chapter? That way I'll know not to use them from here on out~

Why describe Sora? Unless he is going to have a bit of relevance in the story, I wouldn't put the energy into giving so much detail. Just say it in one sentence. :3

You'll see... C:

I love the potential, Mr. Theart! When you told me about it months ago, I loved the idea of it. :D KEEP GOING~

Well, while the concept and most of the plot details remain the same, there's still some new ideas on here, so I'll definitely keep going. ^_^
 

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"..." is an ellipse. It denotes hesitation, trailing off thought, or a loss of thought. Omniscient narrator wouldn't need to use them.

Ah. Well I suggest using Italian if you use more words from other languages. If you are using Italian names, your need to match that if you are going to start using words in other languages. It throws the readers off seeing all of these Italian names and then you get Spanish thrown in. At least it does me because I can understand Spanish and I'm studying Italian.
 

Theart

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"..." is an ellipse. It denotes hesitation, trailing off thought, or a loss of thought. Omniscient narrator wouldn't need to use them.

Oh, I see. ^_^

Ah. Well I suggest using Italian if you use more words from other languages. If you are using Italian names, your need to match that if you are going to start using words in other languages. It throws the readers off seeing all of these Italian names and then you get Spanish thrown in. At least it does me because I can understand Spanish and I'm studying Italian.

I understand what you mean, but I'm not changing that. ^^;;
 

Oracle Spockanort

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*elipsis Lol I spelled the singular wrong. This is what I get for typing in my sleep.

Sir, I'm not often insistent on things, but this is one thing I am certain: You want your story to be as uniform as possible. You are trying to match the Latin names with Italian names, and you also have Japanese names in there when it comes to Sora. Little nuances like language, while they won't be noticed in a normal read, will subconsciously tie things together to the readers. Instead of a character saying "Madame" have them say "Signora". Again, I know you aren't going for an Italian feel, but you have already given them all Italian last names.

I know I'm being silly about this, but just think about it.
 

Theart

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*elipsis Lol I spelled the singular wrong. This is what I get for typing in my sleep.

Sir, I'm not often insistent on things, but this is one thing I am certain: You want your story to be as uniform as possible. You are trying to match the Latin names with Italian names, and you also have Japanese names in there when it comes to Sora. Little nuances like language, while they won't be noticed in a normal read, will subconsciously tie things together to the readers. Instead of a character saying "Madame" have them say "Signora". Again, I know you aren't going for an Italian feel, but you have already given them all Italian last names.

I know I'm being silly about this, but just think about it.

Sora has an Italian last name too; he IS Vanitas and Ventus' younger brother, so his last name is Rizzo too.

I get your point. But I'm insistent on this too; I've seen 'amigo' used as a slang term for friend (and yes I know it's Spanish for 'friend'). That's why I used it for Braig. 'amigo' is much more commonplace than 'amico'.

I -really- hate to be so firm on this, but I have to be here. Sorry Ethnic. :c
 
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AxelYoYo

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I. Love. It.
Been a while since I read a good Vanitas/Aqua fanfic! <3 I seriously do love it. Your writing style is really nice.
 

Theart

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I. Love. It.
Been a while since I read a good Vanitas/Aqua fanfic! <3 I seriously do love it. Your writing style is really nice.

:D Thank you!

I need to get back to work on this thing soon. I love the story and I love the pairing. :3 <3
 
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