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Casting Off

Discussion in 'Completed Fics' started by Virgil134, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    It was about time I got to post my commentary for this. Was supposed to have been last weekend, but IRL has been unkind. Which is why having more Cabot and Berecien is such a godsend.

    I have to say starting the end with the first official mission and it starting with exactly the kind of job one would expect -moving crates, cleaning the deck, "slicing the pie" sort of jobs- is a great way to start and makes everything that happens afterwards on the ship funnier. Of course, genre mandates those first missions never go quite right... :p

    It's good to see the main cast -bt Niilo, but that's only due to relative lack of screentime compared to the others- be a bit more tempered in their expectations without losing their characteristic spark. It's also very good seeing the huge number of puns, call outs, nods and references in the story. My favourite one so far is calling the Imperial ships and staff Imps.

    Of course, one of the high points of the story is seeing Berecien. We got to hear some of his past and see how he reacts to things - to how others think of him, to the expected, to the unexpected (HOOVES!) and to moments where he's supposed to reflect on things. He also got to experience a bit of... eh, poor man's flying, very fun to see. Cabot is not far behind, and it's good to see he still hasn't gotten the ropes on how to avoid second-guessing himself but at least is more aware of things, and more open to question things (at least when Cap. Nugget is not around I guess). And Niilo... well, much as he wants and swears he's going to evolve, I honestly find Sandshrew so much cuter so I'm okay with him spending enough time still not there yet as the episode begins. But hey, he was quite right that he only needed like 10 more Exp points to evolve!

    That leads to some actiony stuff and in general a very well planned ambush and counter scene that had the proper room for our protags to be useful in pretty much the one way that makes sense at high sea: kicking and headbutting enemies off the deck. Certainly the most satisfying moments in the entire story besides Smug Berecien back in ch.2.

    (I still love that one tbw)

    Hmmmm, to quote some of the things I enjoyed and thought worth of note:

    Cap. Nugget will never get old~

    FORESHADOWING

    No, really, it's mostly fun seeing him like this and seeing Berecien rolling this eyes, it feels like it's been going on for quite a while and, knowing of Berecien's personality, I'm almost impressed his reaction is not less subdued sometimes.

    I can almost feel the 1-star Yelp review they'll leave after their visit.

    1.- lol @ the difference in excitement between Berecien and Cabot.
    2.- even more lol @ apparently Niilo having been baiting Berecien for reactions like this.

    Being a Marked in the Fledgingsverse is Suffering™. They need a bit more love, at least from out-of-universe~

    ...Also wondering what has Cabot's culture and learning about Marked Ones been, considering his reaction here and the fact that Marked ones are basically seen everywhere as unwelcome by default - eve by ferals. How if any different does Cabot feel about them?

    HOOVES!

    It was about time someone tackled that little issue. A good call on having that be just a normal task aboard. Berecien will have to start figuring things out soon if he doesn't want to be much of a load onboard for stuff like unloading crates and sorting out or reassembling items.

    [QUOTE}"Everyone starts off with these sort of tasks though."
    [/QUOTE]
    Flash news: protagonists have it worse XD

    DUN DUN DUUUUN

    I swear this was a beautifully arranged part. I paraphrased most of it of course but really when it comes to the characters expressing how they themselves are this little scene did go extra. That introduction part felt like it was missing a bit of more expressive Cabot body language when it was his turn but the rest of the scene with all that was going on made up for it. Also, kudos at setting up interruptions and stuff so that not only was Berecien the last, but also the characters introduced themselves in the order that made more or less the longest background. Helps make the scene much less tiring.

    Speaking of Berecien:

    That was so much worth it. My mental image of Niilo just staring at Berecien as the horse prattles about the precious land back at before-home is something I'd hire a commission for, probably.


    Honestly, with Nagant being Nagant, I'm surprised that was not enough to raise extra safeties, code or not. Even more considering how downhill things go starting from there.


    I'm not sure if Berecien has grown up to trust Cabot that much, if he's just notoriously misreading the opening of the battle, if he's just bluffing for moral support or if all of the above because he sounds that hopeful and... actually that much Cabot-ish while at it.

    YES HE IS

    This is cool! Niilo was right! He's gotta go fast into his evolution!

    Good prize too because that means this story gets us to ejoy both a Sandshrew and a Sandslash. Also kudos because the only other Sandshrew onscreen evolution that I've read in a fanfic went pretty much horribly wrong, but Niilo worked pretty well with the new body he was given and boy he was mentally prepared to make good use of it.

    We already have a short-term goal for Cabot's team in the middle of this mayhem. That's very good for driving the actionness of the following scenes. Going from short-term goal to short-term goal. Should I mention that barring one or two hiccups by Berecien they worked towards those goals pretty well.

    No OSHA compliance in an Empire ship I see. Oh well, it's not always possible to plan usable architecture for every possible morphology, but the story does basically point out two important parts already where Berecien, and others like him, would be fairly unfitting or disadvantaged at the setup of a ship at high sea.

    (I would have expected there was a ramp nearby and those are usable for hooved quadrupeds; that said, the story puts proper stress on this being an emergency situation now and there not being the time to go eg.: to storage below deck to try and unpack or assemble something useful)

    Let it be noted I have my faith in Berecien. That said I would certainly not advise trying such a leap into an enemy ship -and when they know you're coming- specifically. We here in Chile lost a hero because he had to try that kind of stunt.

    So we are about to enter the core of the mayhem. The defining battle. And this is where Cabot starts being flat out awesome. The hard work pays off indeed.

    Cabot 1 - 0 The Pirates. Really, not much tactic neeeded here but definitively knowing when and how to use your opening opportunity. Nothing helps a battle as much as securing your dive into it and while it might not look like much here Cabot gains an important advantage for later.

    Oi.!

    1.- Don't diss Team Cabot.

    2.- Don't (just don't) diss Team Nagant!

    Hard habits die hard :p


    Cabot 1½ - 0 The Pirates. Really, having gained the time to come up with a plan is very important, because that earns you a short term goal and the peace of mind to make sure it can work; a method of sorting your own strategy, in particular when you have to think of how to use your items.

    Cabot 2½ - 0 The Pirates. Say no to bullies!

    Cabot 3½ - 0 The Pirates
    Cabot 4 - 0 The Pirates. Really, he's having a field day. On water but you get my drift.

    Now at least being a Fire-type in a ship can be useful~ Also good to see Berecien having relatively good precision with the Ember attacks, as in most media they are more or less portrayed as better suited for spread and cover fire (heh).

    Cabot 5 - 0 The Pirates. Really this should count as a much higher score...

    ...Fine, let's say it's
    Cabot 6 - 0 The Pirates.

    But yay! Cabot basically won them the day, countering what was sure to be the crippling hit of the fight. Most MVP of the day, let's hope Nagant gets to appreciate that later.

    Oh noes! Niilo is down! :c

    Cabot 6 - 1 The Pirates

    He fought well and took advantage of his evolution, working with his claws and putting more stabbing than ramming pressure on his enemies. But in the end he had to try and bite on something that he could not chew, for the good of the crew. Let us wish him a speedy (heh) recovery!

    OOOH NOW IT'S

    O
    N


    I figured eventually there could be some big screentime for Nagant if the pirate attack was any close to be successful and it seems the build up will pay well! It's one on one and probably with still some bits of support, and the danger countdowns for this battle are almost all turned off or over already.

    This combat could be great and we could see Sibich and Nagant really going at it in the midst of the raid, classic one-on-one standoff right in the middle of the armies style.

    ....Ooooor we could have Cabot be the one in charge of clearing the threat. That works too! After all we have some pretty good Nagant fighting screentime in Fledglings, too!

    Plus, it would probably close this good day for Cabot pretty well. Imagine the letters he'll send to his parents back home!

    Cabot 7 - 1 The Pirates.

    Really, this is like that time in the FIFA World Cup Germany basically dragged and humiliated Brazil and it is so much enjoyable. And most peoplemons had their fair share of contribution in the battle.

    Yeah you guys just write off that loss alright. Go on I'll wait XD

    ...Well, back to a normal day of seafaring adventure but go on I guess

    Yay! Recognition finally! Go on go on!

    Cabot and his team had a time to shine and it was much welcome to close the story on these terms. Life might not be exactly the grand adventure that the Cranidos envisioned ahead but his expectations are not going to go all that unseen, and now he can really close well that letter to send to parents!

    FORESHADOWIIIIIIIIING XD

    But really, a god way of closing the story. Overall a really exciting read that I was really getting annoyed that I could not come to finish that review for sooner, but here it is.

    Congrats on finishing that story
    , a feat not many writers can speak of despite the good ideas and the dedication. A bit biased as well but really congrats on making very good use of Berecien, as we have talked over in IM convos it's inspiring to see what you and SpitefulMurkrow do with the of the character concepts I've spread around for people to use and I'm eager have a good idea strike my head to do something fun with them too as a sort of thank you for giving characters like Berecien a much deserved screentime. Finally, thanks for the ride and it will be fun to see what else you have planned for this team and other various characters in the future.
     
    Virgil134 likes this.
  2. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine Gone. Not coming back.

    Oh man, I don't know how I missed that this had updated! Or finished, for that matter. D: Anyway, I'm late but I'm here now! Let's get started, shall we?

    Cabot's finally been deployed – and despite all that time in training, he's come through it all with his shining naïveté intact. He's more or less exactly the same kid who blundered his way into enlisting all those months ago, which is both heartening and a little concerning; you kinda hope that the reality of active service doesn't turn out to be too much of a shock for him.

    Or you do going into the chapter, anyway. Because honestly, he's still the same guy at the end of all this, isn't he? It's almost like a sitcom, where character growth can only ever occur within an episode, where everything must be reset for next time so that the farce can play out again. He just … keeps on going, despite everything. And so when he saves the day and holes the pirate ship by headbutting a bomb, you're like okay, I don't know what I thought was going to happen but I am completely unsurprised that this is how things end. It's just so Cabot. This is the same guy who charges into battle with Sibich without more than a second's hesitation, after all.

    Anyway: the centrepiece here is the battle, of course. It's got a great sense of scale to it; the amount of running around, the acrobatics as people hop between ships, the sheer number of pokémon that get mentioned during the course of the fight – it feels huge and chaotic, which seems very appropriate for hand-to-hand combat between several big ships. If I was going to critique any aspect of it, it's the way that time often seems to stand still for our heroes as they stand around and ponder what to do next – like, they'll have a fight, defeat one set of enemies, and then the battle will continue to rage around them while they have a conversation about their next course of action. It takes me as a reader out of the story a bit; I think it would be more convincing if they were having these conversations at the same time as they were running and headbutting and flame charging and all of that good stuff.

    I also think that you're still much too ready to substitute 'the creature/pokémon/cranidos/etc' for people's names or pronouns; I guess you're probably trying to avoid repetition, but honestly it's more jarring – particularly in this kind of action scene, where clarity and force is the most important thing – to kind of talk elaborately around the topic than to just repeat a name. Readers don't even really notice that kind of repetition, most of the time.

    That said, there are also a lot of really cool details here that I like; I don't know how many are unique to Casting Off and how many are from the Fledglings setting, but that doesn't really take away from them for me. Weaponised apricorns are a superb idea, for one, and the way that even the pirates have a uniform is really interesting to me. It's not just that scarf-wearing seems to be deeply ingrained into this world's culture, but that it's something clearly derived from the heavy use of scarves in the games, too. I have to say I also like the very grounded take on wands, and the familiarity with which people grab and use them.

    And we end with the promise of future adventures, too. Lovely. I have, as usual, a stack of typos and stuff to end with:

    Minor thing, but ship names should properly be italicised.

    You make this sound like a new character, rather than the captain; I think it would be more clear to just say it's Nagant.

    That 'how' doesn't need to be in here – you'd say either 'with the way she's focused on that Beheeyem' or 'with how she's focused on that Beheeyem', but here I think the two have collided and fused.

    Quite often you have fewer commas than you need, but here you have more – I'd get rid of the one after 'bit'.

    That semicolon should be a comma.

    The repetition of '-er settlement' is a bit grating here.

    This is really awkwardly phrased – 'a snort and the scrape of a hoof on timber', maybe?

    There's a fair bit of this throughout the chapter, where you put the parts of the sentence in kind of a strange order, and though technically correct, it reads weirdly. I'm probably not explaining this in the correct technical way, or in a way that's easy to understand, so let me just rearrange this one by way of example:

    Or here:

    Which would be:

    I think the issue here is that it breaks up the flow of the sentence – like, instead of learning what Jun assigned them to do immediately as we'd expect, we're confronted with this secondary information, and only after we've got that do we learn that the assignment was doing inventory. It just reads weirdly.

    This is again a very awkward phrasing – why not 'their' for 'the lot's', and why bother specifying that he did it with his eyes? There isn't a lot else he could have scanned them with!

    That should be 'an', not 'a'.

    That hyphen between 'black' and 'scarf' shouldn't be there.

    There should be an 'a' there before 'scaly ball'.

    Aside from being the most Cabot thing ever, that should probably be 'the', rather than 'a' call of duty.

    I think 'on' would make more sense than 'From' here.

    That makes it sound like they're leaping off the jet; 'dove out of the way of a jet of water' or something would make it clearer what you actually mean.

    That's a strange phrasing. Just 'the perpetrator' would read more naturally than 'its Cranidos culprit'; like, we already know who it is, and at this critical juncture there's no need to get too specific at the expense of the flow of the sentence.

    There should be a comma after 'fool' and a 'can' between 'you' and 'overcome'.

    There should be a comma after 'ice' here.

    That should be 'at', not 'to'.

    This isn't quite grammatical – you could say either 'hop for the burning sail', which would still be kind of odd, or 'hop over to the burning sail', which is probably the version that reads best.

    Again, I think there should be a comma here that you've omitted, after 'okay'. 'Okay now' comes across very differently to 'Okay, now', and I think you mean the latter rather than the former.

    This should be 'towards' or something like that, not 'for'.

    There's a 'the' missing here. Or possibly an S, off the end of 'crate'.

    There's a superfluous T on the end of 'send' here.

    I don't think that 'and' should be there.

    You're missing a full stop at the end of this sentence.

    You want 'lay' rather than 'laid' – he's lying himself, not being laid down.

    I guess you could get away without an 'of' between 'plenty' and 'ship', but I'd add one, I think.

    Not sure that 'its' ought to be there.

    That should be 'led', not 'lead'.

    And that's that! Thanks for this cool little story; I've really enjoyed it, despite knowing literally nothing about Fledglings other than that it's a big PMD fic. I look forward to whatever else you post!
     
    Virgil134 likes this.
  3. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    Well! I don't have time right now to read the entire thing, but I read the first chapter, and I plan to read the next two later on. Seeing as this is a completed work, it's good to be able to just follow along and see where it takes me. I have ZERO experience with the main world this story is based on, so that's where my perspective will come from for this.

    Overall, I thought it did well. I can tell that some things were expressed or explained in passing or quickly, but that didn't really matter, because the way the characters behaved was enough for me to catch onto the general tone and feel for the story. Pirates, in particular, seemed to be a common theme. Now! Onto some standout quotes that caught my eye.

    In terms of world-building, this was a really clever use of Dungeon properties to build up an economy. I don't have much more to say on it--I just thought that this gimmick alone was something really interesting to build off of.

    I see this error a lot, and while minor, I may as well point it out. When addressing someone directly, you should have a comma before and after the person being addressed, unless it's the first or last word. So in this case, there should be a comma after "you." Meanwhile, if "Cabot" was at the beginning, it'd be, "Cabot, it was nice talking to you."

    This, and the surrounding exchange, felt too easy after the reaction their parents had initially. I don't think enough was expressed for Cabot's parents to have such a sudden change of heart, especially when there's a very easy counterargument that while "everywhere" is dangerous, some places (like the open sea to a Rock Type) are more dangerous to others, and I feel like that argument wasn't explored or resolved deeply enough. I can tell that a lot was happening in the parents' heads, but it wasn't being written out in its entirety--and that might be warranted, either during that argument, or when Cabot actually talks to them again when they return.
     
    Virgil134 likes this.
  4. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    Hi there! I just want to say congrats on finishing this! You've done a great job at setting out and telling complete story with fleshed-out characters in a neatly-contained little package, and that's no small feat!

    I think the standout for me was definitely the characters. They're all so distinct, with a unique voice and a unique way of looking at the world. I just love how Cabot's attempt to make friends with the mercenaries got totally sidelined by Berecien's backtalk (in fact, I just really love Berecien in general) and I think the rivalry-turned friendship with Niilo was well-paced and just generally fun to read. It was a also great idea having recruits that used to be pirates, and showing how easily that path can lead to the navy (and by extension, how the pirates and the navy really aren't all that different aside from which side of the law they're on.) It's really easy to forget that the entire cast of this fic are technically antagonists in Fledglings. Because they really do pursue noble ideals, even if the organization they're a part of can be ruthless and cruel.

    Just, an overall great job with the characters. And since this is a character study (and not a huge worldbuilding epic like Fledglings) it makes perfect sense to have the characters be the standout.

    I also think you did an excellent job with the action. It constantly felt fresh and lively, and the choreography was easy to read, even with so many characters on screen at once. I know a couple other readers mentioned that some of the training matches felt superfluous, but I actually didn't mind them. You gave them a good feeling of variety, and none of them overstayed their welcome imo. Even the substitute battle. But the one scene that did feel a bit unnecessary was the maze race. I get that it served the purpose of getting to show off Cabot thinking outside the box (and having another character realize there's more to him than meets the eye) but I think that could easily be wrapped into one of the other scenes that also serves another purpose (like all the scenes that advance the rivalry with the mercenaries.)

    I think then, that one weakness of this is that the chapters felt really, really long, and that's partly why it took me so long to read it. Spending 20+ minutes reading a chapter and seeing the scroll bar hardly move is a bit disheartening. xD; In particular, Chapter 2 had a lot of great places it could be split. Especially since, when you think about it, it introduces the subplot of the mercenary rivalry, develops it, and concludes it all in the same chapter. That's practically an arc!

    Also, while the majority of the scenes felt necessary to the story and the characters, the actual narration sometimes felt a bit padded, which contributes to the length thing. I noticed an overuse of one particular narrative device, and it tends to go something like this:

    Authority figure: "We're going to do X"
    [Description of everyone's confused body language.] [X? What did they mean by X? Why not Y?]
    Side character: "Why X? Why not Y?"
    Authority figure: "Here's why. [Explanation]"

    You really don't need to have the narration and the dialogue ask the exact same question back-to-back, and it tends to bog down a lot of scenes. In fact, there are a couple of instances where I'd argue you don't need either. You usually do a great job of showing the "why?" in the following scene, so there's not always a need for an early explanation (and you can trust your readers to be a bit curious/confused until the explanation crops up.) But if you need to have an explanation (like if one of the characters really is super nosy and needs to know now) stick with the dialogue question, without repeating it in the narration. Or have the characters wonder about it, thus getting the reader to wonder, but save the explanation for when it actually gets shown later.

    But of course, I'm not expecting you to go back and edit the fic or anything! Just something to keep in mind for future writing endeavors. ;)

    Anyway, I think the climactic battle and subsequent victory did a great job of feeling like a proper ending to the fic, and you managed to set the victory up to feel hard-earned and realistic even in spite of the protagonists' inexperience. It would have been easy to make them feel unbelievably skilled in their victory, but they struggle, and they're outclassed, but they pull ahead anyway, and it makes it feel twice as sweet. All-in-all a great way to end off the fic, and send Cabot out into the world, just as idealistic as ever. If only he knew what was in store for the empire. >:3

    ~Chibi~
     
    Venia Silente and Virgil134 like this.
  5. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    chapter 2!

    This "chapter" is as long as four of my chapters combined. I don't really know how to feel about it, but I definitely had to break it up over a few days thanks to how big it was. I thought it was an interesting way to divide up the story; the clear focus was definitely not necessarily the Basic Training in itself, so much as the growth and rivalry against the Dust Devils. I thought it was a good idea to have that sort of focus instead of making it a nebulous sort of "we're training to get stronger" campaign. It gave this part direction.

    Now then! Onto quotes and thoughts they triggered.

    This is a common trend that I see in a lot of the dialogue / narration here and there. Sometimes, it comes off as a bit too forward, or on the nose, or forced, for the sake of conveying information in a novel way. Sometimes, maybe simple narration would do. This exchange -- 'What's special about him; wait, is that the person; you mean the person who did X" is something that comes off as a bit on the forced side.

    I really, really like little tidbits like this, especially given the context of this story being a part of a larger story. Little hints of the greater setting and things like that--I definitely like it when they're just sprinkled in here and there. Not too much, but just enough to remind me that there's a whole world out there that Cabot is getting ready for.

    This was where I realized they would probably be the rivals of this part for sure. The story, in that sense, makes it pretty obvious what direction it's going, but more on why that isn't quite always the case later.

    You are a writer of culture, I see.

    This was the one that had me wondering about the epithets you use quite frequently throughout the narration. This is a bit of a pokemon-exclusive sort of remark, but I always do a bit of a double-take when real-life animals as specific as these are used. Hopping from one style to another--the Rock Type, the dinosaur, the Cranidos, he, Cabot--gives me pause in trying to figure out what titles go to who. At some point, I don't really need a reminder of what Cabot is. He's just Cabot.

    I'm liking Tegu's development. It's not too much telling, yet we're still getting a feel for what sort of 'mon he is, or at least how he presents himself to be, after having once been a pirate.

    I'm not sure if I didn't notice it until now, but there seems to be a sudden shift in the tone/energy level of the narrative style starting around here. The narration felt a bit more neutral beforehand, but now it seems to be getting a bit more into Cabot's head, perhaps getting too excited. I like when the narration takes on the personality of the character it's hanging over the shoulder of, however. But having a '?!' at the end seemed like a jarring shift in the tone's consistency.

    Substitute Battle! I don't know if this is a novel ideal or not, but it's new to me, and it's very clever! I love this sort of battle-sport idea, and it's a great idea for fighting in a slightly more strategic way, when you yourself aren't the one that you have to keep in play.

    So, at the point that I read this sentence, I actually wasn't sure if Cabot was going to win or not. And I thought that was a good thing. Despite the relatively low stakes, I was interested in how this battle was going to play out--not just because that was the entire focus of this arc, but because I genuinely wasn't sure if he was ready or not for the fight. Good job on making me not sure!

    Until here, in which I was pretty much positive that Cabot was going to win. I'll be extra-surprised if this statement ended up being true.

    Same thing about epithets using real life animals, but this time, in actual dialogue! Are "camels" a class of Pokemon, do they actually exist, or--that's the sort of question I always have in my head when I read things like that.

    A bit on the nose, eh? I feel like you could have gone with just the first sentence and "The Cranidos gave a curious tilt of his head." and you would have conveyed just as much information while saying half as much.

    ___

    In any case! This was an interesting installment, and I thought that it was a good idea to tie this arc around Cabot getting stronger via his short rivalry with the mercenaries. I'm curious how this story is going to end, considering its part in a broader context. If part 1 is Cabot joining the Navy, and part 2 is training, I feel like the most fitting climax for Cabot would be to have his first hardship as a part of the fleet in the final act! ...But we will see what you have in store~
     
    Virgil134 likes this.
  6. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    And finally, chapter 3!

    I see what you mean about splitting it into three parts to get the main action separated into these distinct scenes. It makes sense thematically--town life, training, and then the sea. I think I predicted that last time, right? The first hardship at sea? Indeed it was! Seeing as this chapter was nearly 20k words as well, a lot happened, but at the same time, not a lot happened for how many words passed. The battle was exciting, but I think it drew on for a very long time. The most important scenes that stand out to me is Niilo evolving, the clash with Sibich, and the Blast Barrel. Everything else was a bit of a blur to think back about, and I feel like they could have been slimmed down while focusing on just those key events.

    As a whole, the story had a firm three-act structure! As mentioned above. I felt that the ending clash and 'epilogue-like' scenes was a good way to wrap-up this backstory-story, and while it's obvious that this was meant to just be a lead into the bigger story, I thought that it was self-contained enough to be enjoyed even without the outside context. Now then! Onto some standout quotes.

    This confuses me slightly. So it sounds to me like a tactician, coordinator, or some other sort gets to pick where the new recruits go or get stationed. So... Why is a Fire, Rock, and Ground Type being stationed into the ocean, of all places? I'm not sure what the tactical advantage is, particularly if the latter two know something like Earthquake.

    I love it already. The tropes are there for a Captain that wants to be taken seriously, but has a few things that doesn't quite help the case. In hindsight, however, I feel that Nagant does get taken seriously overall, so this was a bit of an odd way to be introduced, in hindsight. Still, worth keeping for the funny value.

    Classic.

    Having finished this, I feel like the way this was thrown at me was an odd detail to include. World-building, certainly--and like that remark about the Tapu egg, I thought that this showed another glimpse into the world at large. Still, I'm not completely sure how this fits within the narrative of this story, and it's one of the things that doesn't quite make it entirely self-contained. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but given that an entire paragraph of exposition was dedicated to this, and it wasn't entirely followed up on later, I felt a bit misled due to the absolute dedication this piece of info was given, unlike the Tapu egg, which was just mentioned in passing.

    This is a legitimate question. But I'm liking how Pokemon anatomy is put into question here for mundane, practical things--I really appreciate when stuff like that is explored!

    Oh! Well then. Aren't you special. That being said, I thought this was introduced at an appropriate time, especially since, even after this was revealed, I don't think I saw Berecien in any particularly different way. I've gotten to know him for long enough that being seen as a noble didn't really change much except a bit of flavor--he's just a normal 'mon, with some big ambitions, obviously.

    At this point I'd be panicking. Maybe two other oddities before, and I'm pretty sure it was an ambush, but at this point, my poor Litwik, you're just waiting for the first blow of Fate to come.

    He was just a few exp. points away after all! I thought the timing of this was really good, and intentional or not, I thought that leaning against the game mechanics (defeating someone) made it for a really well-done evolution trigger.

    I like the use of foreign words here and there--particularly because of it being a navy and all that--but on a practical level, I have no idea what they're saying. Normally when stuff like this happens, there are footnotes at the bottom of the page where the word occurs. Unfortunately in a post like this, such things are all the way in the Author's Notes... thousands of words below. I ultimately just went blind with no idea what the word meant.

    That's using your head!

    If you say your own title one more time, you're going to become a parody of yourself, Cofa.

    I'm a little surprised at how easily they'd retreat. Surely at least a few of them would give some halfhearted strikes on the way out, or something? In such a chaotic battle, you'd think some of the pirates would be fighting autonomously.

    Aaand parody.

    I mean, he's a parody, so it's not too surprising--but if what Tegu says is true, they absolutely had to be incredibly lucky for a bunch of Rookies to do well against a seasoned captain. I hope this is the case, because it'd be hard to believe that they won by skill alone.

    Okay, good--I was going to point out that nobody was acknowledging how this all happened in the first place, but now that it was discussed post-battle, I've no complaints.

    You're just tempting fate at this point~!

    ____

    Well! Overall, it was a good three-act read. A bit slow in the middle, and the final fight dragged on for longer than I would have preferred, but the story as a whole? I'd say it's satisfying. We got to zero in on three characters to get to know, so even with the short time I had to know them, I have an idea on their dynamic and the adventures they could share with one another in the future. If that was the intention of this piece, you absolutely accomplished it.

    Thanks for the read!
     
    Virgil134 likes this.
  7. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    Chapter 1

    I absolutely love your writing style. It has a real, professional feel to it that just runs so smoothly. The opening paragraph pulls you in, and little things such as details in the description or a pokemon's movements really help form a fluid picture.



    I really like the way this is worded.

    This was a nice chapter. The characters are likeable and memorable, and Calbot's parents were believable too. Their reactions to him joining the navy, and his naïve assumption they'd be okay with it was really well done. A nice happy ending to the chapter after their chat with Akka, and woo! The scarves! I do like the scarves in this universe.

    Typos:



    'a shake of...?'



    Missing a second 'do'

    Chapter 2

    Well, Cabot's off to a good start. Getting himself lost and in trouble with who turns out to be their instructor for his first training session! I'm glad he ended up with Berecien in the end.

    Can't say I'm too fond of the mercenaries. I can understand Cabot's intention to befriend them when they look so alone, but it didn't go well at all. Not sure who's at fault here. Berecien or them for the skirmish that will inevitably follow?

    Okay so that skirmish went all kinds of bad. Cabot and his friends went down quickly, but at least they took out one member of their rival's group.

    I like how they're making friends with Melli and Tegu. Tegu's revelation he used to be a pirate was unexpected, and pretty cool!

    I really enjoyed the different training they had to do. The rivalry with the Dune Devils was fun, and it's nice that by the end of it Niilo is willing to make amends. I hope this isn't some false friendship in an attempt to screw over Cabot and Berecean, but who knows?

    I do hope Tegu and Melli don't stray away from our main cast. I'd grown quite fond of them over this chapter. It is nice their old friends had shown up, however.

    Few things I noticed:



    This sentence doesn't read right to me



    'her'?



    Need to remove 'that'

    'saw'



    'off'



    Stray 'the'

    I'm afraid for now I've only read the first two chapters. I'm a bit of a slow reader, but I hope to catch up with the third and final in the near future =) I am enjoying this a lot.
     
    Virgil134 likes this.
  8. Umbramatic

    Umbramatic The Ghost Lord

    Oh, hey, I found an excuse to review this. Again, congrats on finishing.

    First off I'd like to applaud your use of characters. Cabot is an excellent protagonist and all the other characters are memorable and engaging. And I was very glad to see a certain trio here. ;)

    I also like your use of fight scenes and such. Despite a problem I'll mention later on I can generally tell what's going on and they're well-choreographed (as much as choreography can apply to a written medium)

    I do have a couple complaints, one being that your prose can be a bit tense. I sometimes find myself skimming because you sometimes convey a relatively small amount of information with a lot of words. In the action-packed stuff I mentioned earlier this is less of a problem but sometimes slower scenes can drag. Then again,this is probably due to my personal preference of being less wordy.

    Also, you use a lot of alternatives to "said" and it threw me off every time I noticed it. Try to tone that down.

    As a spinoff to Fledglings... I admittedly haven't read that much of Fledglings but from what I have this fits in really well, while being super-accessible to a scrub like me.

    Overall, a short-but sweet and quality fic, and I'm looking forward to more from you in the writing department.
     
    Virgil134 likes this.
  9. Starlight Aurate

    Starlight Aurate Just a fallen star

    Hello, I'm here for your Monthly Mod Madness prize review! I was thinking of reviewing the entire fic, as it's 3 chapters, but because the chapters are so long and I don't want to keep you waiting any longer than I already have I'll go ahead and just do the first chapter. I know it was written a year ago, but hopefully it still applies!

    The main thing I have to say is that I don't really have much to say--much of what I was thinking has already been said by most reviewers. I like your writing style, as it's easy for me to just go with the flow of the story and, in a sense, get lost in it. I haven't read Fledgelings and I've never played a PMD game, but I think this fic stands alone just fine, so I thank you for that. Even though I've only read the first chapter, it's overall a cute premise, and I like the longing for adventure that you portray through Cabot. I'll list a few things that I thought as I read along:

    I really like this scene. Though I've never played a PMD game, the setting you describe here helps me picture what sort of world this is.

    lol I love the post break. It was apparent that his parents would definitely NOT "love hearing about it."

    Shouldn't it have been two days ago? Cabot spent a day at the fair and then disappeared the day after that.

    I agree with Cutlerine on the beginning being a bit dry, and a wall of information that overall felt unnecessary. I wasn't quite able to follow it, and as I read on, I forgot about it and didn't really need it there. A bit of background is good, but you do such a great job integrating the setting and characters into your story that I feel you'd be able to do that just fine.

    Also, I don't know if this is just a PMD thing, but the overall fic has a sort of Redwall feel to me, what with the Pokemon having guilds, trading, and going on adventures. I doubt this will be as dark or gruesome as Redwall is though, lol.

    I won't say too much else on this chapter as the other reviewers have aptly stated my feelings (and it was posted over a year ago lol). But I will add that you do a lovely job of writing your character interactions. I quite like the scenes with Berecien and I like the little bits of foreign language you slip into the fic; it gives it nice flavor. Well done!
     
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  10. Virgil134

    Virgil134 PMD Writer

    Soooo, this took a bit longer than expected due to wanting to finish the trivia first and other stuff getting in the way of that. Whoops. However, I’m finally here with a reply to all the recent reviews. I put them all in spoiler tags to avoid the post becoming too long.

    @Ambyssin:
    I’m glad you thought the start of the chapter worked well. I actually hadn’t noticed the similarities with chapter 2 until I was already halfway into drafting this scene, so I tried to make sure there were some differences to keep it interesting while at the same time giving a clear idea of what Nagant is like.

    Well, it’s a good source of comedy. ^^

    Yeah, exposition was kinda unavoidable. I did consider at first to not put it in there, but it would have just left some readers scratching their heads as to why certain Pokemon have blotches on their heads.

    Never say never o3o

    And I don’t think Katyusha explaining it would have been better, since I feel like it would have bogged down the conversation too much. The ocean clans are part of her backstory, so I wanted to explain it, but at the same time it’s something from Fledglings that doesn’t appear in this story, so I didn’t want to put too much focus on it.

    I think he’d probably feel a mixture of depression and anger, especially if he knew what was really going down at Nagrobek. You know what Pokémon governs that island, and Fledglings’ latest special should have given you a pretty solid idea of what it’s like now.

    Always happy to hear stuff people liked about my writing. ^^

    Interesting how you found the part with Cyanea and Katyusha video game-y, since that wasn’t what I had in mind when writing that part at all. As for the part with the gangplank destruction… well that’s a completely different story. ^^;

    When designing that segment I actually did have certain video game missions in mind, even though I wasn’t trying to mimic a specific video game sequence there. So it’s funny how it reminded you of that. Still, I’m happy to hear both sequences turned out well despite of it.

    Spiteful Murkrow actually told me the same thing while working on this chapter. I decided to write the scene this way anyway, since I wanted Sibich to stay off-screen until the final battle and I felt the chaos justified him not being mentioned or seen in the background.

    Well, hey. When’s the last time Shane defeated a pirate captain and saved a copper shipment? Hm? Hmmm? :p

    One of the perks of being a Fledglings reader. ^^

    Nope! Not at all!

    I’m really happy you enjoyed the story though, and I should be the one thanking you for sharing your thoughts by writing up this lovely review. ^^

    @Venia Silente:
    No worries man! Glad those two helped you destress.

    Well, Sandshrew are very cute. ^^

    Oh, you have no idea :p

    So, like mentioned in the fic, there are no Marked living in Polderfield Town. As a result, the whole concept of Marked Pokémon feels a bit more distant to Cabot than Pokémon who grew up in a small town on a different island. There’s also the fact that Cabot doesn’t really have any attachment to Tapu Fini or any other Protectors for that matter. Even though he knows all about the Marked, their attitude towards Legendaries doesn’t offend him on a personal level like for example someone who grew up in Copperband Village. It’s why Niilo’s reaction was so cold to the idea of the Marked pirates receiving a harsher punishment, since someone who worships Hoopa is obviously gonna be more hostile to Pokémon that root against the existence of that Legendary than someone who recognizes Legendaries as gods but doesn’t particularly worship any.

    Good to hear you enjoyed their interactions so much! Originally I just wanted to use this scene to have the characters interact before the fight while revealing some background info about Cyanea and Katyusha. However, when writing the scene I realized that the best way to do so would be through having the characters introduce themselves to Cyanea and Katyusha, which is how the part about Berecien made it in. Also the paraphrasing was hilarious and made your review all the more enjoyable to read, so thanks for that. XD

    He was actually saying this because despite Cabot clumsily dodging Eric’s attack, he and his buddies were facing the railing with their backs, making it easier for Berecien and the rest to push them overboard.

    Handling such a large action scene wasn’t easy and took a lot of time, so hurray!

    Yeah, it’s hard to design effective ships that also fully accommodate every Pokémon unfortunately, especially since they come in so many different forms. But at least there’s creative ways around it as you saw in the chapter.

    Heh, really enjoyed that little score thing you did. I’m glad you enjoyed the action until the very end though. Cabot will definitely have plenty of stuff to write home about after this. Julia will probably also be very concerned upon reading what dangers her child has gotten into on his first day :p

    They’ll need some time to recover from this blow, that’s for sure :p

    Thank you so much! It was a lot of work, but I’m proud I managed to finish Casting Off in the end. As for what the future holds in store for Cabot and his friends, all I can do is refer to Fledglings where you can read how things will go for them.

    @Cutlerine:
    You know what they say: better late than never. ^^

    Well, Casting Off is a small story set during a relatively short timespan, so it only makes sense that he’s not gonna change too much. Especially since it only covered Basic Training and his first mission :p

    That said, if seeing how the reality of active service affects him later down the line, I’d suggest giving Fledglings a read. I know it’s long fic, but in the later chapters you’ll see that Cabot will have a tough choice to make between doing what feels right or doing what is required by the navy. Plus, if you enjoyed Casting Off everything else that happens along the way is bound to entertain you as well.

    Good to hear you thought I handled the battle well! It’s a very long scene and took quite some time to write considering all the action that’s going on. As for your critique, I don’t think time is standing still for them at all. Often when they talk an attack zips by to remind the reader of the ongoing chaos, like right after Niilo evolved or when the reinforcements arrived at the copper ship. The only quiet moment I can think of was right after Marcus was defeated, but that was intentional since I described how the pirates had been largely cleared from the Vasilek’s deck. I also feel like it would be less convincing for them to have these talks while battling. At that point you’re more focused on defeating your opponent and I would personally find it more jarring to read them having their talks in the middle of the action when they should be focussing on their opponents instead.

    Heh, happy you liked those things. They are indeed from Fledglings, though funnily enough, weaponized apricorns were one of the first worldbuilding elements I came up with when I started working with Spiteful Murkrow on Fledglings.

    I’m glad you found the ending satisfying. As for the minor things you pointed out, I’ll only reply to some of them since there are quite a lot in your review. Though you can safely assume that anything I didn’t reply to is stuff that I went back and edited based on your suggestions.

    I’ll keep it in mind for the future.

    I’m not sure if I agree in this case, but I’ll be careful to keep things clearer in the future.

    First part of your comment made me smile for some reason. :p

    That said, I actually do prefer “a” here. I can’t really explain why, but I like the way it sounds more.

    This is another instance where I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree. I personally do feel like the current phrasing reads quite natural and think the extra clarify of who hit Sibich from behind is more than welcome.

    I’m happy you enjoyed the ride! Your reviews were always helpful and enjoyable to read. Although I won’t be posting any stories until 2019, all I can do for now is to repeat my recommendation to give Fledglings a read. Since my next fic wouldn’t have Cabot as a main character, reading Fledglings is the only way to see how Cabot’s journey continues.

    @Namohysip:
    Hey, thanks again for checking out my fic and reading it until the end. I really appreciate it and definitely can’t wait to start with your fic now this is all posted!

    Heh, thanks. The concept actually originates from Fledglings and I figured it would work quite well here.

    I’ve heard this from other people as well and I’ve recently tried my best to keep that in mind while writing, but seems like I still occasionally slip up from time to time, especially in my early writing (chapter 1 was written over a year ago). Anyway, thanks for pointing it out, I added a comma there.

    So, this is interesting, since there’s been other people who felt I showed too much and think the scene where Cabot’s parents talked with Akka should have been cut entirely. You’re the first person who thinks I should have shown more instead. Anyway, I personally do feel like enough of it was shown, since otherwise the argument would have just dragged on. You’re right that some places are more dangerous than others, but you also gotta remember that Cabot genuinely wanted to travel, and in an ocean punk setting the sea is kinda unavoidable if you want to do that, whether you’re a Rock-Type or not.

    The ‘Dune Devils’, but I’m glad you liked the direction I took this chapter in. I knew in advance that I wanted Cabot and Berecien to befriend Niilo this chapter, and what better way is there than a good old rivalry? Made it feel different from how Cabot befriended Berecien while also giving a chance to show off some of the different trials of Basic Training in an entertaining fashion.

    Seems like this is where we agree to disagree. Coil is quite famous, so I felt like this was a very natural reaction that also showed that he was famous to the reader. I purposely avoided putting it in the narration here, since that would be telling and not showing, which in my opinion would have made for a worse scene.

    Why thank you, good sir.

    I’m really happy to hear that! He’s probably one of my favorite side characters. ^^

    That’s alright. I personally do like it since I feel like it adds more flavor to the narration. At least it’s just the '?!' that bothers you and you still like it when the narration is written from a character’s perspective, so that’s good!

    Glad I could keep you in suspense. :p Or at least, up until Chalco opened her mouth


    Not exactly. Basically a part of the group just gets assigned to the seas (which is the vast majority of recruits), while a few get stationed to the navy base in Haipheh. As I’ve hinted a few times throughout the story, the Empire is low on funds and doesn’t have the means for someone to go over each recruit individually and assess where he or she could be best stationed based on species. Besides, this is an ocean punk setting. If the liveable world is a giant sea with some islands in it, you don’t have the luxury to make arguments like “Well, this Pokemon is a Rock-Type, so it’s best to keep him away from the water”.

    The purpose of it was to give context to the Marked that are part of Sibich’s crew. The Shadow Brigade originally debuted in Fledglings, where the amount of Marked on the crew actually became a subplot during one of the episodes. Since I wanted to use the Shadow Brigade here, it meant the Marked had to appear too, despite them not being all that important to the plot. So, I felt like this was the best way to do it, since it explained what Marked are without spending too much time explaining.

    Sounds like I did my job right then. ^^

    It’s because they were already in the process of falling back with what they managed to loot, and then the toughest Pokémon on their crew suddenly got knocked out. Pirates tend to be very opportunistic fighters and at the end of the day, they don’t have the same source of morale to fall back on when things go south as someone fighting for a home. So if they see a crewmate that’s much stronger than them getting beaten around, most would care more about cutting their losses to loot another day than making any valiant heroics if they can help it, since a brave pirate who stands his ground and gets captured going down swinging at best can look forward to a long stint of menial ‘Community Service’, with the range of alternative fates only going downhill from there.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the ride! This fic was indeed intended to primarily focus on those three characters and how Cabot’s adventure begun, so I’m happy to hear that I succeeded in making that entertaining. It’s a shame you thought that the battle dragged on for too long, but at least you liked the action itself, so that’s good. I know you said you were interested in reading Fledglings later down the line, and if you do, I hope you’ll enjoy seeing how things continue for Cabot, Berecien, and Niilo!

    @Chibi Pika:
    Thank you! It certainly wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I managed to finish it. ^^

    Reading this just made me smile. The characters are always the aspect I care most about when it comes to fan fiction, so hearing from multiple people that my characters are great and that I handled them well just really makes my day. Thanks!

    I’m glad you liked all the battles this story had, I’m very satisfied with how they turned out myself. As for the maze race, one of the main reasons for that scene was to bond more with Tegu, which I don’t think could have been worked into another scene.

    I’ll be honest, I don’t really recognize this structure in my writing. There’s certain elements of it that I recognize in two scenes of chapter 2, but even they don’t have this entire structure, and those elements (Like Trixie for example explaining that a ring-out exercise simulates fighting on a ship) are quite necessary to this scene in my opinion. But I’ll keep it in mind for the future.

    Good to hear the ending was satisfying! And yeah, at this point Cabot has no idea yet in how crazy of an adventure he’ll end up in :p

    Thanks for the review. I appreciated it.

    @DeliriousAbsol:
    Why, thank you! As someone whose native language isn’t English, it’s really nice to hear a compliment like that. I’m glad you liked the opening paragraph as well. It seems to be either a hit or miss depending on who you ask, but I’m happy to hear it’s a hit for you. ^^

    Reading this part of your review made me just as happy. I care a lot about the characters, so hearing they’re are likable and memorable really does me well. And yes, the Cradle has a lot of fancy scarves. :p

    Fixed!

    Well, the mercenaries are quite cocky so I can understand why. As for who’s fault it is, probably both. The mercenaries were already acting antagonistic, but then Berecien just threw fuel on the fire, creating their rivalry.

    I’m glad you like Tegu and Melli, I’m personally quite fond of them myself.

    Good to hear you enjoyed the chapter. As for your two concerns, I really don’t think you have to worry about it. ;)

    I went back and made some edits regarding these issues as well. Thanks for pointing them out.

    I’ll be sure to look forward to your next review then. ^^

    @Umbramatic:
    Thanks! I enjoyed your feedback on Discord, so I really appreciate it that you decided to give Casting Off a review as well. Especially for your first review for MMM. ^^

    I’ll definitely take this compliment as well. Seems like the characters are one of the most well received things of this fic.

    Hurray, more praise! :p

    Hrm, that’s not supposed to be a thing. I’ll definitely keep that in mind and try extra hard to prevent this from being the case in my next fic. Thanks for pointing that out.

    That’s good to hear, since I really wanted Casting Off to be able to stand on its own. Though you should fix not having read much of Fledglings. :p (Though judging by that Fledglings review at the end of September, you’re off to a good start, heh)

    Again, thank you! I won’t be writing my next fic until at least 2019, but I think it will definitely be worth the wait.

    @Starlight Aurate:
    Hey there, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate the review and I hope the first chapter was interesting enough that the length of the other two won’t scare you off. ^^;

    Heh, I appreciate the compliments. It doesn’t matter to me if other reviewers have already said some of the things you’ve said. It’s just as helpful and means just as much to me. ^^

    I’m glad to hear that! And yeah, Cabot misjudged that situation quite a bit. :p

    … Right. Not sure how I messed that one up, but I went back and made an edit.

    The opening paragraph got some mixed reviews. While some think it pulls you in and establishes the setting quite nicely, others feel the same way you do. I’m happy you think I did a great job at integrating the setting and characters though, and it’s something I’ll keep in mind for when I write the opening of my next fic.

    I can’t say I have heard of this “Redwall” before, but guilds (or equivalents) and adventuring are two important aspects of the PMD games, so they’re common elements of PMD fics. And you’re right, this fic is definitely not dark and gruesome. :p

    Thank you for the kind words! It really means a lot to me, regardless of whether or not others have said similar things. As for the foreign words, it’s actually a neat concept that originates from Fledglings, so all credit goes to Spiteful Murkrow for that one.
     
    Ambyssin likes this.
  11. Virgil134

    Virgil134 PMD Writer

    Like promised, here’s some fun trivia about Casting Off in the form of a Q&A session. Not only did a look behind the scenes seem like a great way to celebrate that the story is finished, but also the fact that the story has over 2.5k views. With only three chapters, I think that’s quite impressive and I’m grateful for all the support. A few of the answers should be familiar to you Fledglings readers, but hopefully that won’t make it any less interesting. Finally, my friend Spiteful Murkrow commissioned artwork of Cabot for my birthday last month, which you can check out here.

    How did Casting Off come to be?

    So, like I mentioned in the preamble of the first chapter, this story came to be after I wanted to flesh out Cabot’s background and realized Fledglings didn’t have the room for it. What I hadn’t mentioned was that I was originally planning on making Casting Off a one-shot. It would have been about Cabot’s first mission in the navy, which in the end became the story’s third chapter. The reason chapter 1 and 2 were created was because I realized that by jumping straight to Cabot’s first mission it would be hard to properly introduce the setting to readers who hadn’t read Fledglings before. It also would have left some details about Cabot’s backstory on the table, like how his hometown was like and what made him join the navy, or how he became friends with Berecien and Niilo. As a result, I decided to make Casting Off a three-part mini fic, with the first two chapters focusing on those things, while the third chapter would feature my original idea.

    How did you come up with Cabot?

    I originally came up with Cabot when working with Spiteful Murkrow on Fledglings. When we needed characters for the Imperial faction, one of the character concepts I came up with was that of a “thrill seeker”. After I developed that concept a bit further, I eventually got a cheery, optimistic, yet naive character who joined the navy out of desire to go on adventure. I settled on Cranidos as a species after looking through the national dex, since it’s a species I’m quite fond of and it hadn’t appeared yet in Fledglings. He was named after John and Sebastian Cabot, both real life explorers who were born in Venice. Given Cabot's personality and his origins from Giotto, the name seemed like a fitting match. During his creation, I considered several beta names for Cabot, like Alenquer, Nehsi, and humorously enough what also became his dad’s name over a year later, Galton.

    How did you come up with Berecien and Niilo?

    Berecien’s original character concept was created by Venia Silente. He appeared as a nameless Rapidash in Playfield, a one-shot about him racing an Arcanine called Eltenios (who also was nameless at the time) during the summer solstice. Although Venia Silente came up with some extra details regarding Berecien over time (like his name), his concept remained rather bare bones. So upon adapting the character, Spiteful Murkrow and I considered various options on how to expand on that concept and create our own version of him. One option that was considered was to make him a pirate so he could be an old friend of Fledglings’ version of Eltenios, but that was quickly put aside when we realized the role of an Imperial noble in the navy would fit him more. This role would create a contrast between the two as well as create the right conditions for a rivalry, which seemed like a more fitting nod to Playfield. To maintain a connection between the two characters, Nagrobek was chosen as the island Berecien’s family used to own since it’s where Fledglings’ version of Eltenios is from. Since Nagrobek is not an Imperial island in the present day, it gave me the idea that one of Berecien’s main reasons for joining the navy was to get the island back from the Company.

    Niilo is just like Cabot one of the Imperial characters I developed with Spiteful Murkrow for Fledglings, specifically that of a mercenary who's mainly in it for the money. His name is a Finnish version of Nick or Nicholas, which was chosen for two reasons: the first being for irony value as Nicholas means "victory for the people", which is a far cry from some of his money-centric motivations. The second reason is a matter of playing to type, as Nick is the name of the actor who plays Lance Hunter, a cynical mercenary character from Agents of SHIELD, whose premise influenced Niilo's character. During his creation, other names for Niilo were considered, which included Lance and Keihäs. Although he originally debuted as a Sandslash in Fledglings, the decision was made to introduce him here as a Sandshrew so he had more of a chance to develop throughout Casting Off despite the story’s short length. Part of the reason why Niilo debuted initially as a rival was because it seemed like a good way to differentiate how Cabot befriended him from how Cabot befriended Berecien. In addition to that, I felt it would make good use of his mercenary background, since there’s bound to be some competition if two groups go through something like Basic Training together.

    How did you come up with Polderfield Town?

    Before I came up with Polderfield Town, I had already settled on that Cabot would be from Giotto. Since I wanted Cabot’s hometown to be something original that wouldn’t appear in Fledglings, I created a fringe town on Giotto, considering I knew there would be no room to explore any fringe settlements in that story. Because any fringe towns would the result of the population on the island expanding, the town would have been build more recently than most other settlements in the Cradle. This gave way to some unique features, like most Pokémon not speaking a foreign language, them having a more distant relation with the island’s Protector, and no Marked inhabitants.

    As for the name, it’s a word salad you simply get by combining the words “polder” and “field”. The reason for this is because Giotto was always envisioned as an island with Venetian culture and Dutch geography. As such, the town would be build around polders and fields. This is also why the windmills around town are build in an Italian fashion, kinda like the ones in this picture.

    How did you come up with Cabot’s parents?

    Galton was made the owner of a box buster shop as a reference to the Rampardos from PMD Gates to Infinity. He is named after Peter Galton, a paleontologist who did a notable study on pachycephalosaurs, the real life dinosaurs Rampardos are based on.

    Julia was always envisioned as a responsible, yet sometimes overprotective mother. She is similarly named after a paleontologist, with her name coming from Julia Sankey, who was one of three researchers who did a study on the domes of pachycephalosaurs.

    Why is Basic Training inside a Mystery Dungeon?

    The meta reason behind this decision was that it simply made the most out of the setting. In a world where Mystery Dungeons are plentiful, it seemed logical to use one to train naval recruits. This is especially the case for side paths of Mystery Dungeons, since these were used in the PMD games solely to level up your characters before progressing with the story.

    There’s also an in-story related reason for this, namely that it allows the navy to save resources on having to constantly repair obstacle courses that accidently get torn up or set on fire by cadets. Another reason is that Mystery Dungeons train Pokemon to deal with unpredictable circumstances in tight quarters, which is a skill of utmost importance when dealing with actions aboard a cramped ship.

    How did you come up with Tegu and Melli?

    During the creation of chapter 2 I knew that I wanted Cabot and Berecien to team up with a duo of former pirates, because it would show that the navy consists of all kinds of Pokémon, including ones that have a very different background than them. The reason I decided to make the two a Salandit and a Combee was because both Pokémon are species where only the females can evolve. It seemed interesting to me to have a duo of these two Pokémon where one would be female and capable of evolving, while the other would be male and incapable of doing so. I wanted this contrast to reflect in their personalities as well, which is why Tegu has a personality you’d expect from a pirate while Melli doesn’t. Tegu’s name comes from a number of lizard species from the Teiidae family, whereas Melli’s name comes from Apis mellifera, which is the latin name for the European honey bee. While they were referred to by their species when chapter 2 was still being drafted, once I started thinking of a name for them I settled on "Tegu" and "Melli" very quickly, and as such there are no unused beta names for them.

    How did you come up with Trixie?

    Trixie was always envisioned as your typical drill sergeant. Since I did want to divert from the stereotype a little bit, I decided to make her female. She’s named after a one time character from Johnny Bravo who is also a drill sergeant and has a similar shtick as our favorite Granbull. Speaking of which, the reason I choose Granbull is because it’s an intimidating looking Pokémon and a Fairy-Type, which is fitting since "Trixie" sounds similar to "pixie".

    How did you come up with the Vasilek and its crew?

    The Vasilek’s crew was originally created for Fledglings as the main group representing the Empire, and was tasked to capture the protagonist of that story. The Vasilek itself is named after the Russian name for a cornflower, which is a symbol of nobility. Additionally it is the name of a Soviet mobile artillery piece, which seemed fitting considering the captain’s species.

    Speaking of which, Nagant was created as one of the main antagonists of Fledglings. Since one of the villains is a Samurott working for the Company, Nagant was created as a foil to the ignoble swordsmon as an antagonist themed around guns. This was why it was ultimately decided to make her a Clawitzer, and the source of her name: the iconic Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle. The premise for her name had actually stuck around for quite a long while, as the only other beta name that was considered for her was “Mosina”, a common nickname for the aforementioned rifle among Russian soldiers.

    Jun’s character premise was something I always envisioned as a very 'by-the-book' first mate that would serve as a contrast to Nagant's hot-tempered streak and her tendency to play fast and loose with rules and procedure. The decision to make the first mate a Beedrill came from the ability of many insects, including bees and wasps, to see polarized light, which aids navigation by tracking the position of the sun even in conditions that would obscure its rays. The fact that as a flying Pokémon Jun could cover the skies while Nagant handled the waters below helped to reinforce that decision. Jun's name is a Korean name with the meaning of 'army', which seemed fitting given the martial nature of his character. During development 'Jeong' was also considered as a name for the character, but didn't make the cut since it didn't roll off the tongue as well.

    Cyanea and Katyusha were both originally created for Fledglings as a villainous diver duo for an episode that was mostly set underwater. I decided to make the two female to change things up from all the male villains the story had seen so far. Cyanea was always seen as a bit of a showboat, while Katyusha was more of a slacker archetype. Cyanea is named after a genus of jellyfish, while Katyusha is named after a Soviet rocket launcher.

    How did you come up with Sibich?

    Sibich was originally created for Fledglings as a member of the pirate council. He owes his name to a treacherous advisor from Germanic mythology, which was chosen to accentuate his intended role as a "manipulator" character. His personality was always imagined to carry the same rough characteristics as Ghetsis from Pokémon Black and White, which is why he was made a Cofagrigus due to it being the Pokémon Ghetsis always opens with.
     
  12. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    Hey, there! I'm here for our review exchange. Do let me know if there's anything I can expand on or if you have any questions. I left some specific suggestions here and there, but they're just that - suggestions - so, yeah, no pressure, because ultimately it's your story. Still, I hope the feedback helps in some way for editing this project or in a future project!

    I'm gonna have a section for each of your main characters, as requested, and I'll go chapter by chapter like I did in the review I did for HoC that you alluded to. O:

    CHAPTER 1

    This is a fantastic opening! Normally, I'd say setting descriptions aren't the most interesting openings, but I think that in fanfiction, those kinds of openings have an edge, especially when they're described so uniquely as they are here.

    You maintain this strong sense of setting throughout the entire fic, really. For example, humans don't even play a direct role in your fic, but their historical significance in the world your characters live in, as well as other details, is mentioned just enough for me as the reader to vividly imagine your take on the PMD setting. The story doesn't feel restricted or narrowed by its actual plot events and comes off realistically as a result. Plus, it's always neat seeing authors combine different aspects of the Pokémon fandom.

    Lol, that's certainly an aspect of the PMD games that don't quite hold up in fanfiction without a lot of suspension of disbelief. I'd personally be content with an explanation of a Pokémon's psychic abilities in any fic, but I like here that there's mysterious legends being spread about the concept.

    A signature to prove completion of work feels very... humanlike, considering that I'm sure some Pokémon don't have the anatomy necessary to write. That's not really a complaint, though. Rather, I think it's another nice detail that emphasizes Pokémon sentience in a PMD setting and adds more depth to a guild's organization as a whole.

    Since Pokémon apparently seem to be born as natural fighters... I can totally see Pokémon families entering military factions across generations. I'm kind of glad you didn't go the route of Berecian abandoning the military or his familial duties; it's nice to see, well, what actually happens if someone who doesn't care about carrying on the family tradition stays anyway? Berecien doesn't seem to enjoy the job, or at least, not on the level that Cabot does. Berecien seems placated most of the time, but the type to go with the flow while complaining about it at the same time, lol.

    I guess Cabot's the one instead who follows the cliché of abandoning his familial duties for his dreams, lol, but it's handled nicely, and Cabot's super cute about it no matter what angle I look at it from. His excitement and desire for adventure shows through clearly, without it being overly sappy, and the pacing regarding his parents' initial disapproval is spot on. Farfetch'd, as a minor character, acts as a nice voice of reason for Cabot's parents without blatantly telling them what to do. Really, Cabot's parents seemed to know what their reaction should've been from the start, and they just needed a reminder of it before making things right. Cabot wanting to apologize and being open to reconsidering joining the navy is another nice touch of characterization, although what I love about him most is his determination to reach his dreams no matter what obstacles he has to face.

    Hmm, I'm a little confused here. Why would Cabot have had to travel far to Sara's place if she'd be here? He could've saved a lot of time just waiting to see her within a closer vicinity, although I suppose Cabot's energetic self probably didn't care. :p

    I like Cabot's realistic thought process and expectations for his life here. Yeah, there's going to be lots of disappointments along the way, but at every point in this fic, Cabot doesn't simply shrug them off or sulk. He tries to find solutions or makes the best of things, always keeping a positive mindset.

    Besides the image of a Cranidos scratching its chin in contemplation being cute, I also like that Cabot isn't excessively reckless. He's definitely impatient, and he's definitely taking a risk on taking on the navy without a guarantee it's what will give him the adventure he wants, but if there were concrete proof that joining the navy was guaranteed death or whatever, I don't think he'd have gone.

    Cabot's naivety shows through not just in the scene where he signs up for the navy, but also here. I can't imagine Cabot's defied his parents often, or done a lot of things that they didn't like. He seems like a good egg, and it seems his parents have always been aware of his desire for adventure, but that they were thrown off by the navy specifically. It's a realistic reaction from them, I think. It reminds me of when teenagers drop out of school, or graduate, then immediately sign up for the service... I've not heard many stories where parents approved of this or encouraged it, personally.

    Still, there's clear proof that Cabot's aware of why he should be worried about joining the navy. I'd have been interested to hear more about Berecien's adventures aboard the navy, since his presence in the navy due to family tradition is mostly brought up as side commentary which other characters bounce off of in conversation. There's not much detail about whether or not Berecien himself got messed up when in the navy, although you do a good job at portraying Berecien's opinionated self about everything, which balances things out if you didn't particularly have a place to insert more details.

    It would have been nice to hear more about this situation, too. How did Cabot react when this happened, assuming he was old enough to understand the event and its consequences? Did it factor into his decision to join the navy at all? Even just providing more insight into why it changed Cabot's parents' mind about letting him join the navy would be beneficial, I think.

    It's hard to comment on this without knowing exactly what stage of maturity Cabot's at. He appears to be, like, the equivalent of a pre-teen to me? Maybe? At any rate, the dynamic of Cabot's parents trying to protect him yet respect their son's life decisions was a treat to read.

    Aw, this was a cute gift idea. :3

    CHAPTER 2

    Oh man, Delibird as a Pokémon choice here was perfect. Cabot trying to stick to Berecien for comfort is cute, too. You get the subtle impression that he's a little insecure about having headed off to the navy after all and that he prefers a support system to roughing it alone, which I think works better than outright stating it like it was for his adventurous spirit.

    While it's unclear what causes the shifting of the dungeons... I like that you incorporate some areas shifting and not others. My memory of the games is hazy at best, though, so sorry if I'm commenting on a game mechanic lol. Either way, you describe it in a way that doesn't break suspension of disbelief.

    In the end, I'm unsure of what Cabot thinks of other 'mon besides the fact that some are his friends and some aren't. He doesn't seem to judge anybody - not Berecien, not Niilo, not Tegu, or anybody... Well, "judge" has a negative connotation to it, but I just mean that Cabot doesn't seem to have much of an opinion on anyone. I'm not sure if that's intentional or not; it sounds like a surefire way to get to be friends with someone who's going to screw him over bad, especially if he doesn't run from someone who is super dangerous.

    You do a good job showing Berecien's disdain here and in a lot of other places. His dialogue is probably the most distinct out of any other characters'.

    I guess poor Cabot's in for a rude awakening as to how the real world works... I kinda wanted him to stand up to Berecien, who seems to cause more trouble for Cabot than Cabot wants, but he never does. Maybe he was afraid of losing Berecien as a friend? Or maybe he just doesn't like to confront others? It's hard to tell. Maybe he just liked the training opportunities the rivalry offered to him, lol.

    Heh, Trixie's a great name for a Granbull, and I'm happy to see another Granbull in a fic. :p She's definitely kind of a rude and ruthless boss, but I guess in the navy that's to be expected. Her training recruits questioning her every order and calling her regimens pointless is frustrating. To me as the reader, though, I can see how the training regimens would work in an actual situation. xD You gotta focus on the building blocks before you tackle the real thing, after all.

    Another exciting Pokémon to see in a fic - a Combee! Or... should I say three Combee? I just don't really get the impression that they're separate minds in one body from the way they talk and act.

    Berecien's a competitive one, ain't he? :p Or at least seems to want to protect his honor. I think it might have been nice to know or see if his competitiveness, or sense of honor, was a result of his family life or a personal trait of his.

    This dialogue is amusing, heh. In general, your dialogue feels realistic enough. Berecien's probably the most distinct, like I said, with the others blending in together just slightly, and me being able to tell them apart is a matter of knowing what they'd say rather than they way they say it, if that makes sense.

    Good ol' Cabot, trying to see the best in everybody. :p But, yeah, Tegu's schtick being an ex-pirate is interesting. You can clearly tell the stigma around pirates without even needing Tegu to do anything suspicious. In the honorable navy versus the non-honorable pirate life, in a group of 'mon that seem pretty quick to jump the gun, I'm not surprised Tegu seems to have made some enemes.

    I liked Niilo a lot more once he became a main character. :p I was kinda surprised he became a main character at all, to be honest. I thought Tegu and Melli would stick around in a bigger capacity than they did. I thought the shift worked to emphasize the friendship theme Cabot's got going on.

    I lol'd. I do remember thinking at the start about how, huh, yeah, a male Salandit's an interesting choice, so I'm glad you capitalized on that little tidbit. xD It's a nice parallel to Niilo's own desire and actual ability to evolve, too.

    This scene's fine overall, it just took a different turn that I expected. They mentioned talking strategy, then went off topic, then never actually talked strategy at all. It's fine if that happened off-screen, so to speak, but the wording was misleading.

    I was glad to see Cabot acknowledge the hardships in his adventures so far. Like I said before, he seems pretty naive and not wanting to dwell on those things, which is fine as long as he's not totally ignoring them... from a character strength point of view, anyway. It makes the difference between his mindset being a strength versus a flaw, basically.

    Hmm, it sounds like Trixie's group just wants to head straight into battling in real shiplike settings with, perhaps, real enemies... :p

    While I liked the small shift in character cast here and thought it worked well with the friendship themes, the actual transition itself could've used some work, I thought. At the end of this scene, I get the stark impression that Cabot and Berecien believe Tegu and Melli just dumped them as friends completely. It comes off as melodramatic, when in reality Tegu and Melli wanted to go greet some 'mon they recognized, as I'd expect anyone to naturally do in a situation like that. I think the scene would benefit from them worrying instead about Tegu and Melli maybe hanging out with them less, or being less interested in them versus their old friends, if that is indeed the kind of angle you were going for.

    I liked seeing Niilo come around and be a good sport by the end of things. His dialogue is particularly sweet here, and though I half-expected Berecien to turn his nose at Niilo anyway, it's sweet that they take the compliment with no complaints. :3

    This is definitely a sweet ending to the chapter, it just feels kind of abrupt as well. I don't think it would take much to make it feel less rushed, either - just another small paragraph or two, really.

    CHAPTER 3

    Here, I was hardcore hoping that Niilo evolved just to spite Cabot and Berecien. :V Also, I wonder how Niilo knew he was going to evolve soon? Or was he really just boasting the idea?

    I love Captain Nugget in Fledglings, I love her here. That is all.

    I suppose this is a good time to point out that the theme of adventuring hasn't been mentioned in a long while up to this point. The friendship theme kind of overshadowed it, and I'm not sure how to feel about the structure yet. Chapter 1 focuses heavily on adventure, chapter 2 focuses heavily on friendship, and chapter 3 focuses on a mix of the two. There's some incorporation of friendship in chapter 1, and adventure in chapter 2, so I feel like it works overall, but I also kind of feel like there was a missed opportunity with the rivalry and training battles? All that seemed to come of it was recruiting Niilo to Cabot and Berecien's side, plus some physical training. I feel like some more worldbuilding or a better look into what being in the navy would look like in the future for Cabot and co. would've helped to round things out more.

    Heh, yeah, now that Tegu mentions it, Berecien's kind of got that nobility cliché personality. It's probably a good thing that it didn't come across that way to me while reading. Mostly he just seems opinionated and wants the respect he thinks he's due just as an honorable 'mon.

    Lol, I like the Gummi comparison.

    This feels like a strange transition, kind of. I can totally buy Cabot being proud of his Salandit friend, but I don't buy that it ties in to his personal sense of adventure. I would personally suggest having him daydream of fighting and winning a similar battle himself.

    I guess you gotta get your hands dirty sometimes in the navy. :V In hindsight, I'm kind of surprised Berecien didn't seem skeptical of Tegu before now, given his... judgmental self.

    Lol, poor Cabot and co. I do like that the ending didn't jump immediately to grand assignments from Nagant, or grand praise, but that they still moved up a little bit and got some recognition. It feels more in line with Nagant's personality and, ultimately, feels more realistic.

    And... that's all I have for quotes! Overall, this was a fun read with solid pacing across all three parts. Also, I love the chapter title art. Probably the only question I didn't take note of anywhere is that... did Cabot not have friends at home that he was attached to before he left for the navy? It seemed like his parents were his only real connection.

    Before I go, though, characters! ...I naturally weaved in most of my character comments with my quotes, because that's what I tend to focus on most in a story, oops. I'll try not to repeat myself too much.

    CABOT

    Cabot, the hero of this story, so to speak, is definitely reminiscent of how I remember him from Fledglings. I remember him being genuinely kind toward Pleo, and even though he was technically on the antagonist's side (last I read, anyway). I always got the sense that he has a soft heart and was just kind of where he was because he got swept up in it. My memory's a little fuzzy since it's been a while, though. Either way, Cabot's character is distinctly shown throughout the entire story. He's kind, cherishes friendship, cherishes adventure, and is hardheaded not just literally, but figuratively in that he fights for what he wants without having to charge through at everyone else's expense. I'd argue that he's kind of a pushover, despite all of his strong desires, since Berecien sweeps him up in a perpetual rivalry without so much as consulting him about it. And it's clear that Cabot had some reservations about it. Still, he found the positives in having a rivalry, namely training and becoming stronger, which would, in turn, contribute to his desire for adventure. He understands - although he's still a bit impatient - how he's on the bottom rung of the ladder and how he has to do the "lesser" tasks before getting to the top. I think he understands that it'll be more rewarding that way when he does finally get to the top. If adventure were so easily in reach, after all, would he want it, or would he want something else grand instead?

    Overall, he's nuanced, and he's written consistently and distinctly. The family history and interactions were a nice touch in chapter 1 to help Cabot himself feel like a real character coming from a real place. I can't say I think he went through any significant character development, though. The only thing I can pinpoint is that he might've cherished friendship over adventure by the end of the story, when in the beginning, his preferences seemed to be the opposite (given by the apparent lack of friendships he was leaving behind).

    BERECIEN

    Berecien's quite the opinionated one. :V He's feisty and doesn't at all hide what he's thinking of feeling. Plus, he tends to run headfirst into trouble without thinking it through first (i.e., the rivalry). I get he's a proud one, too, but I'm not really sure where that comes from. I think I mentioned it earlier in my review, but I can't tell exactly what his family situation is that brought him to the navy besides it being tradition. Berecien doesn't strike me as the type to just go with the flow, or tradition, just because it exists. I don't think he'd have accepted joining the navy without a fight with his family or whatever... unless he wanted to join genuinely, but I didn't get that vibe from him at all.

    Overall, his dialogue's probably the most distinct out of any other character's. His pride shines through nicely and (mostly) believably, and I think he's a good main/supporting character that helps Cabot discover the adventure he was looking for, even if it meant getting him in a little bit of trouble with the raivalry, lol. I think I would've enjoyed seeing Berecien have more of a role, though; I could easily see him giving Trixie a hard time about things instead of the random, one-off characters.

    NIILO

    Niilo, I'd say, goes through the most character development out of the three main characters. He starts off as a hardheaded rival for Cabot and Berecien, bragging and challenging them to a fight any chance he got just because he viewed his group as superior. It might have been nice to learn more about this group of his, and/or have his group give him a hard time after he befriended Cabot and Berecien, because as it stands, it's kind of like that part of his time in the navy completely disappeared and meant nothing. Still, the transition into a friend to Cabot and Berecien, as well as someone who evolves and can fight in the chapter 3 raid, is nicely written. The evolution schtick in general was a nice touch, heh. I found it pretty endearing, and I found myself actually rooting for him to evolve after all, even with Cabot and Berecien raising their eyebrows and doubting him. Or maybe that's why I rooted for him? Who knows. :p I'm just happy Cabot and Berecien accepted him into their friends group and that Niilo had the guts to apologize like he did.

    *

    Now, I... think that's it? Haha. This took longer to read and review than I'd hoped, but, well, you know life gets in the way, and thanks for understanding! I'm happy you reached out for a review exchange and that I got a chance to read this great fic, and again, let me know if I can expand on anything or if you have questions. :)
     
    Venia Silente and Virgil134 like this.

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