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Reviews For The Embalmer's Apprentice
I think I want a holiday in Andunie, too.
I enjoyed the encounter with some (not quite as aristocratic) Numenorean academics.
Author's Response: You and me both.
Glad you did! I'm trying to introduce more "normal" (for a given value of normal ;)) people...
I especially relished the parts about the Eldarin guests! It made me wonder if there will be Eldarin characters in future chapters.
I really hope Azruhar soon realizes that his hosts genuinely like him and to relax a little :-) He is so lucky to have such well-connected friends. Good thing the Crown Prince is not there too.
Author's Response: I can't be certain, but there might be others. They will probably play only a minor role, just like the embassadors here. Originally, I had planned for AzruhÔr to be sent off to Middle-earth for a while and meet Gil-galad and Elrond, but it no longer looks feasible at this point. So the Elves are not going to feature in any major way. Sorry!
He will, by and by. He does want to trust them, he just needs to let down his guard bit by bit. It would be harder if the Crown Prince were around! He is indeed very lucky.
Some heavy stuff, in here.
I shouldn't have been shocked at the Elendili having been executed, but I was nevertheless.
Azruhar is doing amazingly and his relationship with Earendur is really developing, it seems to me, despite the fears. He's daring to actually say things occasionally rather than just blurting them out by accident.
But the more of this stuff he survives, the more anxious I get about his future. For a moment, I was sad that he didn't have the chance to become a horse-trader-- before remembering that if he had, there would be no story and I wouldn't have met him!
And I wish he could mend fences with Tarik, but just now it doesn't seem realistic, I guess.
Author's Response: Yeah, it wasn't easy to write.
I hope that wasn't too surprising/unbelievable? I needed to illustrate that TÔrik's fears aren't all that unfounded, since the king is being rather mercurial at this point. So I hope it was shocking because of its harshness, rather than because it came entirely out of the blue. >_>
AzruhÔr is growing (more than just sideways ;)). I can't really say all that much since a) I no longer dare to believe that I actually know where the story is going and b) I don't want to spoil you for future chapters (as currently envisioned), but FWIW, we know that AzruhÔr is going to recount the whole tale much later, so he's got to survive long enough to develop senile dementia. Isn't that reassuring! (Well, under the current circumstances, it might be? He's only around 60 now, which is really no age for a N˙menorean.)
Indeed, I would never have written the story of AzruhÔr the Horse-dealer, although that might also have been an interesting one! As always, thank you so much for your thoughts and your support.
The last part of the chapter made me worry for Azruhar and his young family, his enemies are clearly doing intense background investigation on him. I found myself agreeing with Amraphel--I suspect this is all courtesy of the Crown Prince. You know your Crown Prince had me all worried I even checked the list of Kings of Numenor to check if he will assume the throne or not. Silly of me, I know...but still he is quite scary.
Balakhil definitely has sufficient reasons now to be loyal to his new master. There were so many priceless moments here that showcased Azruhar's character and I also enjoyed reading for once, how Amraphel depends on her husband too in her own way.
Thank you for updating this story!
Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much for your reviews! I squeed when I saw that there were three new comments. As always, I'm delighted to hear that you keep enjoying this story, which keeps getting away from me. (I hadn't planned on any princely intervention in the matter of Master Amraz˘r, for instance, but as I continued to turn things over in my head, it made a lot of sense. So Amraphel and you are very likely right.)
Yes, Prince AlcarmaitŰ will in time become Tar-TelemmaitŰ. I'm afraid to find out what else he has in store myself. He is quite scary, and unfortunately very powerful as well. Fortunately, AzruhÔr isn't without friends, nor is he quite as weak and foolish as he believes...
You're exceedingly welcome - thank you for your continuing support!
Balakhil of all people! This is getting more and more interesting with every chapter! Azruhar's noble character seems to shine all the more in the situations you put him in. His wife is such a good sport too. Felt a bit sorry for Balakhil--I hope he will turn out to be a loyal ally(?) or friend to Azruhar. I feel he will play a bigger part someday especially when the Crown Prince becomes the King--but this is me just being a fangirl.
Author's Response: Oh, good! I was beginning to worry that the most recent chapters were a bit boring, so I'm very happy they aren't as tedious to read as they were to write. Balakhil is certainly not happy, although it could definitely have gone worse for him. You might well be right about his role in the future, although as yet I am very much uncertain what that future is going to look like! It'll all work out in the end (I hope)!
As always, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts and feelings!
I read this again just now after enjoying the latest chapter. Couldn't believe I missed posting a review for this one! I liked how it introduced Azruhar's colleagues and their varied background stories--makes me wonder the roles they will play in the future--will they become friend or foe.
Author's Response: A blast from the past! I hope it still makes sense in the light of the more recent chapters. The story keeps on doing what it wants (I should know by now!), and I haven't yet dared to go back to check for continuity errors.
Glad to hear that this chapter makes you curious for these people's future roles. As you know by now, they become quite important pieces of AzruhÔr's life, so they should be (at least vaguely) interesting from the start. :)
It's to be hoped Azruhar won't get into trouble over this.
I can see it would be difficult for Balakhil and that he's desperate. But he's putting an awful lot of pressure on someone who's saved his life.
Author's Response: It is indeed!
Well, both of them have the problem of having neglected to make a plan B. ;) I also wanted to contrast them a little; for all that AzruhÔr thinks very little of himself, he has learned from his youth to adapt and compromise, which is serving him better than he realises. Balakhil's had certainty all his life, so he is feeling quite helpless now that it's been taken away. I don't think he realises how much pressure he's putting onto AzruhÔr, though. Rather, he feels that that guy saved his life, so he's responsible for it. Nor does he understand AzruhÔr's situation at all.
As always, thank you for commenting!
I really rather doubt that is what Earendur meant by his "investment"--although one assumes he will not be displeased if the wood-cutters of Andustar earn a bit extra.
Author's Response: You're right, of course! He doesn't mind this development, but he didn't actually plan on it. I don't think he's that kind of speculative mastermind; he is really more interested in the person than in that person's usefulness. Not a perspective that makes sense to the Crown Prince, though, and not one that AzruhÔr is familiar with, either...
Oh dear! I had a very bad feeling when Azruhar pulled out that pendant while talking with Quentangole and wanted to shout: don't do it! Although it's probably true that the Crown Prince would have got at him another way.
And I was feeling a bit sorry for the Crown Prince, after the preceding revelations, but now the pity has entirely evaporated again!
Author's Response: It was spectacularly stupid, but on the plus side, it was a public occasion. Otherwise, who knows? (I had a couple more unpleasant events planned but they aren't realy feasible anymore after these developments - this story just won't behave! - so in fact, AzruhÔr got lucky. ;))
Well, darn! Here I was trying to make my villain a bit more sympathetic, but the paint's already peeling off again... ;)
Azruhar is definitely a somebody now--I can somehow understand why the Crown Prince views him as a threat--he wants to drive a wedge between Azruhar and Lord Earendur. I hope it does not work! The Crown Prince is getting more and more scary and such an apt observer. Thank you for posting such long, satisfying chapters and the quick succession.
Author's Response: He is certainly a wild card, since he hasn't been taught any of the rules of politics and thus can't well stick to them. And yes, the Crown Prince is very observant and trying to stay on top of the game, of course. Not an easy place for our poor protagonist!
Thank you for your lovely reviews! I don't know whether I'll be able to keep up the fast writing interval, but comments like yours certainly motivate me to try!
Azruhar definitely cannot fade into anonymity anymore, he is right smack in the middle of the action. I think the Crown Prince realizes this--he is quite bitter this Crown Prince! I am a bit scared of him for Azruhar's sake. It is good that Azruhar also has friends in the nobility and hope he is able to find a good embalming solution for the king.
Author's Response: I have made him very bitter, for a variety of reasons (the ones discussed in And˙niŰ among them). It must be annoying (aside from everything else) to wait and wait, and know that previous kings would long since had handed matters on to their sons, while the future Tar-TelemmaitŰ has to wait until his father's death (this is only the second time in history that this happens, so it probably rankles still!), which in itself is probably not something that he is eager for. So that's a dilemma, and yes, it makes him very volatile.
I enjoyed reading about Lord Earendur's reaction to the finding of a Silmaril and the story of the "Good Man" aka Azruhar! In my opinion, Lord Earendur and his family are really fond of him and not merely for practical or "utilitarian"uses. I also read and re-read with pleasure the love story of our main character and his wife--thank you for treating us to such lovely details and at a quick interval too.
Author's Response: You think so? :) Once again, I'm thrilled you're liking the details. Since the writing bug has bitten me again, I've been rather eager to get stuff written (and published) in quick succession before it wears off. It's good to know that the result is nonetheless enjoyable! Thank you for your lovely reviews!
What a "culture shock" for Azruhar! I enjoyed the details of this new location--the city of the Faithful! I also love how you portrayed the ancestors of Aragorn. It also made me think that maybe Azruhar and his family will be more safe here, but I suspect you have bigger things planned for him.
Author's Response: Yes, it's a culture shock in every sense! A very educative one, though.
Yeah, I have to admit that I'm such an unashamed Aragorn (also Elendil and Isildur) fangirl, it's more or less bleeding over to the entire line.
They can't easily relocate, unfortunately! AzruhÔr has his duties in Armenelos, after all, and he's still only alive under condition of working as an embalmer. But I do picture it as a kind of safe haven. Which is precisely why Ar-Pharaz˘n later forces Amandil and his family to relocate to Rˇmenna!
Anyway, I'm very glad you enjoyed the city and the lords and ladies. I feel a bit uncertain about depicting And˙nie in general and the noble family in particular too one-sidedly positive - grim-dark and deconstructive sees to be the fashion of the day - but I just can't help it. So it's nice when others turn out to like that too. :)
Nice to have more details about how Amraphel and Azruhar met! Amraphel may call herself foolish, but she is astoundingly brave.
I see that Azruhar has hopes of the amber--even though he sees himself it didn't do the caterpillar all that much good. (And I picked up on that bit about the sand-castles--and the contrast to embalming.)
Considering how idyllic most of this was--the end of the chapter shows the limits of this idyll up quite sharply.
Author's Response: I rewrote this chapter about three times (seriously, I never produced so many cut scenes in my life! I hope I can use them at some later point!), so I'm glad you liked the background detail about those two - I dithered a lot on whether to leave that in or cut it out. Yes, she is quite brave, though presumably, she only really showed it after the events related here, when she found out just how different her new lifestyle was to what she was used to and what she had expected.
Well, AzruhÔr only has to keep the dead from rotting. In that respect, the caterpillar's a winner. (Oh good! I figured I couldn't have a trip to And˙nie without touching upon this issue...)
Can't have the characters get too comfortable, though! So yes, the idyll must come to an end, and AzruhÔr has yet another obligation to worry about.
Thank you for your comment, as always!
They got to Andunie!!
I'm enjoying this outing. I hope the rest of it goes as well. And I'd like to see that ceiling!
Author's Response: Yes! They had to, eventually!
I'm enjoying it way too much, too. I'm afraid there's a lot of Britanny in And˙niŰ... except for the ceiling! I certainly wish I could see that in real life as well! I can't even hope to manage a painting of it (though I might try at some point). But a girl can dream...
As always, thank you for commenting!
In this occassion, Master Tarik must be thanking the Valar for meeting Azruhar and his wife! Amraphel is as much an interesting character as her husband and they complement one another very well. Looking forward for when they arrive at their hosts's mansion/palace.
Author's Response: I think he'd turn to Eru directly (it's what the Unfinished Tales suggest to me), but yes, he is certainly lucky - and grateful - to have met them. I'm very glad that you like Amraphel, who is pretty much the driving force in their relationship. Yes, they're supposed to complement each other; neither could achieve as much without the other.
Thank you for your lovely comments! I hope you continue to enjoy this story. I'm finally finding the inspiration to work on it again!
Lord Earendur is a very interesting character same as his two sons. I am so happy that Azruhar has such friends in high places.
Author's Response: Azruhar is currently more daunted than happy about the prospect! But indeed, he should be very glad. His network of friends is expanding!
Another ally, this time a nobleman! Things are getting more interesting,especially intrigued about the place where the nobleman lives! The Faithful, and ancestors of Isildur and Aragorn!
Author's Response: Yes! It's going to be so much fun to explore And˙nie. At the same time, I'm terrified of the prospect! Eh well, it will get written eventually. I'm afraid it'll be helplessly biased towards the Faithful, too. I love Elendil and Isildur and Aragorn a lot, so that's bound to carry over onto their direct ancestors. (You'll have noticed. ;))
Enjoyed this Copper Hoods chapter immensely. Azruhar is clearly a Lord, at least in his neighbors's eyes.
Author's Response: Oh, yes. To them, anyone who can employ so many people is a lord. And again, that puts him into a dangerous position...
I am glad that Azruhar found a decent ally in Quentangole, his tip to Azruhar about getting receipts in a language he can understand may be useful in the future. Amraphel's such a staunch and steady support to her husband too and I really appreciate her good sense.
Author's Response: Azruhar is very lucky to be surrounded by these people, isn't he? Of course, the story would be neither fun to tell nor to read, otherwise...
The Crown Prince's behavior is clearly some sort of perverse vote of confidence for Azruhar. Felt sorry for him since he had to pay so much for doing such a decent thing. At least a few of the council members seem to be decent enough.
Author's Response: I figured Tar-Telemmaite had to show his love of silver early on. As you've observed, his decisions aren't approved by the entire council...
Clearly, Azruhar is no longer a nobody. Enjoyed this chapter very much.
Author's Response: Indeed! Now he finds himself in the unpleasant position of becoming a - somewhat notorious - player in the city's games, without having any real power to protect himself...
I found myself worrying for Azruhar if/when the King dies and what the Crown Prince will do to him.
Author's Response: Yes, that's a real concern, isn't it? There are a couple of scenarios and I'm not yet entirely sure which one to choose. Fortunately, we haven't reached that point yet, and it'll take a while (probably years, knowing my writing rhythm)... and I'm not GRRM!
I think the King sees something special about Azruhar and I hope he is able to do something for the King. Azruhar seems to be a goodluck charm to Master Tarik as well. I read from the 1st chapter again and still enjoyed it.
Author's Response: He does - or, at any rate, he is happy to have found such an eager and willing embalmer. Azruhar changes a lot of little things, without really knowing it...
Thank you very much!
I do hope the Lords of Andunie are not plotting--because after all we know that Telemmaite did succeed his father, so if they are, they are going to fail...
Author's Response: Yes, that would indeed be most unfortunate. (But I have no mind for intrigue, anyway.)
However, considering that the House of And˙nie safely made it to the very end of N˙menor with no loss of fortune, rank or reputation, they cannot at any point in history have plotted very hard (or acted on their plotting, at any rate). ;)