Execution 13.4

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Craig[B]:  i’m not disagreeing. i’m saying we can’t say until the night is over.  we can’t make any deals if we don’t know everything

Penny[D]: We really have to don’t we?
Penny[D]: What happens if we wait?
Penny[D]: The fighting between families goes on and everything out there moves faster than anything in here.
Penny[D]: We get swept up in it and then what’s the point of having a junior council at all?
Penny[D]: We’re pawns in our parent’s games.
Penny[D]: We’re pawns against each other, and the council dissolves.

Craig[B]: no offense but thats your battlefield.  your all enchantresses and you do this sort of thing well.  what if we accept and you turn it around on us?

Lea[D]: Else[B], I PMed you.

Penny[D]: Mags is here to help negotiate deals.

Mags: I’m only here as a mediator. I can’t make the Behaims deal with you and I can’t stop them from dealing with you.

Craig[B]: well i don’t think we should make any deals until alister is back online.

Tandy[B]ear: yea

Lea[D]: *Is* he going to be back on?  Emphasis on is.  If we’re not sure then we might run out of time.

Mags:  One possibility is to sign something provisional.  Make it official later.  Or don’t.

Penny[D]:  The whole point is to have a deal in place before we’re angry or upset or not thinking straight.
Penny[D]:  Before things maybe possibly end tonight and the lordship is decided.
Penny[D]:  We make things official, before one side knows whether they won or lost.
Penny[D]:  Preserve the point.

Mags: Which defeats the point of something provisional, ya.
Mags: Also slow it down a bit.  Let others get a word in before you drown them out.

Craig[B]: i don’t know

Craig[B]: ains?  elspeth?  owen?

Else[B]:  Thinking.  Ainsley is still out, backing up Alister.  We could call but I don’t want to distract.

Owen[B]: I’ll do a quick read and see if it’s okay to call.  Brb.

Penny[D] has renamed Ainsley[B] to Ainsley[B]Afk

Penny[D]: I know its late and everyone is tired.
Penny[D]: I know tensions are high and we’re all worried about our families.

Craig[B]: combo break

Penny[D]: …What?

Craig[B]: no threes plz penelope.  saying ‘you know’ three times to try to do smthing with rule of 3?

Penny[D]: I’m not sure it works like that.

Craig[B]: tell us you weren’t trying to see

Mags: Don’t taunt.  Penny, don’t make threes.

Penny[D]: Whatev.
Penny[D]: As I was saying, I know it’s late and we’re tired and we’re scared.
Penny[D]: Its easy to feel helpless.
Penny[D]: But let’s do what we can to get in contact with people.
Penny[D]: Wake them up, talk to them by phone.  There are too many who are idle.

Owen[B]: Ains and ali are busy running.  Have to wait to call them.
Owen[B]
: Maybe we could wait until we have something to say first before we rally everyone?  Like you said, a lot of us are spooked at the idea of what might happen.  I’m watching the chat with one eye and looking after protecting my house with the other.  I’ve been in fights.  Some of us in here don’t have any responsibility or the security of knowing they can protect themselves at all.

Else[B]: the younger ones.

Owen[B]: Yeah

Tandy[B]ear: yea and I know I want to be here but I don’t know what to say

Penny[D]: I’m feeling outnumbered by Behaims right now.

Lea[D]: A lot of our girls are old enough to be out there with their husbands or too young to be in here.  Chloe had to leave just a minute ago.

Penny[D]: Sigh

Penny[D] has renamed ChloMo[D] to ChloMo[D]Afk

Penny[D]: We’re running out of time.
Penny[D]: How many hours until the night is over?  My aunt told me before that we had a situation.

Craig[B]: two hours and fifty two minutes.

Penny[D] has set chat name to: JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12]

Else[B]: Trust a chronomancer to know the time off the top of his head.

Dolores[D] renamed themselves to ThorburnBogeyman

Craig[B]: …what?

Lea[D]: Oh god.

Penny[D]: No no no.  Lola?

Craig[B]: is this a joke

Mags: Blake?

Else[B]: Doing a quick read.  Phone in hand, trying to call.

ThorburnBogeyman: No joke.  Hi Mags.

Mags: What did you do, Blake?

Lea[D]: busy signal from her phone.  did anyone else get ahold of her?

Else[B]:  No.

Penny[D]: He got her?

ThorburnBogeyman: I didn’t ‘get’; amyone.
ThorburnBogeyman: Anyone.

Penny[D]: What did you do to Lola?
Penny[D]: How did you get into her house?

Lea[D]: I can’t get her mom or my mom on the phone either.

ThorburnBogeyman: Lola is here.  She’s safe and unharmed.  I had her implied permission to use her computer.

Penny[D]: Did you torture her for that implicit permission?

ThorburnBogeyman: No.  I told her about evemts earlier in the night and she accepted what I was suggesting.  Enough to let me on.

Penny[D]: Which doesn’t explain how you’re on her computer right now.
Penny[D]: Her house was protected.
Penny[D]: Did she go outside?
Penny[D]: Mags?

Mags: I’m here.  I’m not sure what you want me to do.

Penny[D]: Arbitrate!

Craig[B]: where was lola?  where is the thorburn?

ThorburnBogeyman: You can ask questions all night, but I was reading what you were saying before I announced myself.  Penelope is right, we don’t have a lot of time.

Penny[D]: What happened to Lola?  Jessie was at her house, too, I think.

Owen[B]: I look away for five seconds… Penelope, we have your back.  If you need me out there, I can help.  PM me.

Tandy[B]ear: I liked Lola.

ChloMo[D]afk: Wait, what happened?

ChloMo[D]afk renamed themselves to ChloMo[D]

Mags:  Blake Thorburn, the Thorburn Bogeyman, took over Lolas computer.  We’re still confirming Lola is okay.

ThorburnBogeyman: I’m not the fastest typer.  Hands are odd, too.  I can’t answer questions as fast as you ask them.  I’m going to cut to the chase.  There is a fire at Hillsglade House.  I lkeft there and ran into Duchamps.  Joyce Duchamp as well as Gail Duchamp.  Gail Duchamp’s husband is now dead.
ThorburnBogeyman: I don’t get the impression it was much of a loss.  It seemed almost a relief.

Lea[D]: I don’t know that end of the family that well.

ThorburnBogeyman: I don’t know if I should be touched at Owen’s offer of help despite family lines or offended that he thinks its mneeded.  Lola is fine.

Penny[D]: Kin of the Ogre Magi.

ThorburnBogeyman: Yeah, them.

Penny[D]: They weren’t the only ones you killed.

ThorburnBogeyman: A necromancer and a woman named Jan also died.

Owen[B]: Holy shit.

Tandy[B]ear: Why?  What did they do to you?

Penny[D]: Maybe we should have put you down.

ThorburnBogeyman: Maybe?

Craig[B]: Just got Ainsley on the phone.  Filling her in.

ThorburnBogeyman:  Does that ‘maybe’ mean you’re not sure, Penelope?  This is important.

Penny[D]: Janet was a relative.

Lea[D]: Which?  Who’s Janet?

Penny[D]:  Cousin of ours, once removed.

ChloMo[D]: I knew Janet.  She made the best fucking cookies, when I first met her.  I friended her online, but she started spamming my email with these weekly newsletter things about her and her cats and her kid.

ThorburnBogeyman:  Jan wasn’t my call.

Mags: What’s going on, Blake?

ThorburnBogeyman: things are changing.  We knew people would get hurt.  the duchamp family lost power, and I’m wondering if they would be willing to lose more.

Owen[B]: IMing you, Penny.

ThorburnBogeyman: But this isnm’t my medium.  I’m getting l;ost in the jumble of words.

ChloMo[D]: I had to unfriend her.  Hated doing it.  She seemed lonely.  Not her fault her husband was a douchenozzle.

Else[B]: We have to hold onto our family ties.

ThorburnBogeyman: No you don’t.  Penelope is exactly right.  There’s a time limit if we’re going to change anything.  By dawn, something will be decided about the fight for Jacob’s Bell.  You have a window of opportunity.

Penny[D]: Don’t put words into my mouth.
Penny[D]: I stand by my family.
Penny[D]: Thick or thin.

ThorburnBogeyman: you stand by the ones who intend to marry you and your cousins off?  To necromancers and ogre magi and guys named Spikedick?  Or to the girls who may have their lives ruined?

Penny[D]: the deals I was asking for were for truce, to keep this council intact and preserving it.
Penny[D]: Both the older ones and the young ones.
Penny[D]: That’s family.  You don’t pick and choose family.

Owen[B]: What do you want, Thorburn?

Penny[D] has renamed ThorburnBogeyman to [Th]Bogeyman
Penny[D] has renamed ThorburnBogeyman to [Th]Blake

Penny[D]: There. Better.  Name was stretching my tablet window.
Penny[D]: I second Owen’s question.

[Th]Blake: I want to make a proposal.

Penny[D]: You want to manipulate us, the weakest link, while things are at their most critical.

[Th]Blake: I’m not here to manipulate you or play games.  I want things to change, and I don’t think letting this fight for the lordship continue as is is something that will make anything change.  I think you’re deluding yourselves in this

Owen[B]: You don’t know anything.

[Th]Blake: I know more than you’d think.  The Lord will get picked, and the city will run much as it did.  Only bigger.  Worse.  If I was in your shoes, I would be terrified of the idea of the lordship being decided in your familys favor.

Craig[B]: maybe if i was a duchamp

Owen[B]: Terrified?  No.  You haven’t been part of this for nearly long enough to know what’s going on.

[Th]Blake: I won’t say I’m objective, but a fresh set of eyes can’t help?

Penny[D]:  No.  You’re inventing a problem for us to solve.
Penny[D]:  We didn’t ask for a fresh set of eyes.

Lea[D]: Or help.

Penny[D]: Or help.

Craig[B]: especially help from someone whose an avowed murderer

Owen[B]: A fresh set of eyes isn’t a share of what we deal with is older than the printing press.

[Th]Blake: Isnm’t that the logic your parents use to justify manipulating you, Owen?

Owen[B]: You’re twisting my words around.  I thought you weren’t here to manipulate.

Tandy[B]ear: yea sorta
Tandy[B]ear: the parental logic I mean

Dolores2[D] has joined JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12]

Lea[D]: There we go.

Penny[D]: Lola is on her phone. Situation confirmed, she is safe. Her mother is bound by her own word. Gail is standing by with Jessie safe in bed and unaware.

Dolores2[D]: I’ve been reading over the bogeyman’s shoulder. Thanks for worrying about me. My phone was co-opted

Owen[B]: For?

[Th]Blake: I’ll make my point before things get complicated and others join the chat. Penel;ope told me before that she wouldn’t act against her family, even if they do questionable things
[Th]Blake: I’m wanting to make sure that she isn;t drowning out other voices.
[Th]Blake: In the imterest of being fair and not manipulative, I told the ghost of Molly Walker I would weaken the Duchamp[ famil;y.  Rather than kill indiscrimnnatel;y, I decided on this.

Lea[D]: The hell?

Owen[B]: ?

Penny[D]: Why the Duchamps?

Dolores2[D]: first I’m hearing of this

[Th]Blake: ?ns after.  complicated.  I’mn not making promises.  But if any Duchamp in this chat feels the need to speak their voice, like Gail mnight’ve needed someone to speak for her, name husbands or members of family who have crossed lines or needed to die, tell me.

Chat JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12] has been silenced by Penny[D].  Only chat moderators may speak.  They thank you for your patience.

Penny[D]: Okay.
Penny[D]: No.
Penny[D]: I’m sorry, but this isn’t okay.
Penny[D]: I can’t let my cousins and sister and everyone else do something at 4am in the morning that they might regret.
Penny[D]: Sandra and everyone are out there fighting for our sakes and our futures.
Penny[D]:  If you give him a name, you might as well be pulling the trigger on a gun.

Mags: Is it your place to decide?  Like Blake said, aren’t you just doing what your parents did?
Mags: If I don’t get a satisfactory response, I’m unmuting the chat.

Elliepete has joined JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12]
Christoff has joined JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12]

Penny[D]: If you unmute the chat, and anyone is shortsighted enough to give him names, you might as well be killing them.
Penny[D]: who the hell are these guys?

Mags: The only one doing the killing is Blake.  I don’t agree with it, and it scares me, a little, but that’s on him.  Right from the beginning, when you invited me to this group, you told me you wanted this to be a place where the young practitioners had a voice.
Mags: If you take that voice away, I have to agree with Blake, then you’re not being true to the spirit of things here.

Chat JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12] has been unsilenced by Mags.

Owen[B]: Fuck you, Penelope.

Else[B]: Who are those people who joined?  Are they more Others?  Did someone guess the chat password?

Elliepete: Nope and nope.

Penny[D]: This is getting too difficult to manage.

Owen[B]: You had no right.  No right to cut off all communications.

ChloMo[D]: Manage, Penny, or control?

Lea[D]: I expected better.

Else[B]: Again, strangers in chat.  Are they the Faerie?

Elliepete: Wrong again.

Mags: Calm down, please.  Only speak if you have something to say.

Chat JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12] has been restricted by Mags.  [One] message per person per minute.

Mags: If you’re not contributing, I’ll silence you for two minutes.

ChloMo[D]: Fuck it.  I’ve got to go.  Something’s been happening at the lakeside.

ChloMo[D] has left JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12]

[Th]Blake:  Peter, Ellie and Christoff are Thorburns.  Now without a house and maybe without a library.  But I know Christoff is interested in being a practitioner.

Elliepete:  waded into the middle of a shitstorm? seems to be a theme tonight.  I’m doing the typing with my sister beside me.

Lea[D]: I’m going to say it, since I don’t say much.  Being a practitioner?  You mean being a diabolist.

Christoff:  No.  Your monsters killed my brother.  I’d like to figure out how to bring him back.

Owen: Why invite these people, Blake?

Chat restriction lifted for [Th]Blake

Mags: While you’re answering questions, Blake.  No more shenanigans like asking for names for your hitlist.

[Th]Blake: Thank you

Penny[D] has renamed Elliepete to Elliepete[Th]
Penny[D] has renamed Christoff to Chris[Th]

Chris[Th] has renamed Chris[Th] to Christoff[Th]

[Th]Blake: I brought them in because they’re faces.m  They’re actual people.  Because I wanted to generate some sympathy for them,. and I’m praying they won’t be assholes.

Elliepete[Th]: us?  be assholes?  Imagine that.

[Th]Blake: I don’t think much of humnanity as a whole but I believe in people.  I think the same is true for everyone else.  which is why you make us different.  you objectify.  make us diabolists instead of actual people.

Penny[D]: it wasn’t about that.  It’s about the fact that you’re tampering with forces beyond your ken.

[Th]Blake:  I walked into this with no intention of even touching diabolism.  Not ever.  Rose did too.  I held onto my convictions, even as I lost m y life, my humanity, my familiar, friends who I loved.  My bike, dammnit.  Everything I hold dear.  I could have spoken some names and summoned things and solved problems but I never did.
[Th]Blake:  I was away for a time.  Rose has been in the middle of this since the end of December.  She got desp[erate.  She’s using demons for leverage.  I don”t like the slipp[ery sl;ope shes’ on.
[Th]Blake: Damn these wooden hands

Owen[B]: You talk about slippery slopes but you killed people.  Tonight, even.

Craig[B]: You killed my father, didn’t you?

[Th]Blake: I did.  I killed people and I killed Laird.

Else[B]: I don’t think you have any moral high ground to stand on.

[Th]Blake: I don’t think anyone in Jacob’s Bell does, Elspeth.  You’re dealing with monsters you created.  You’ve all pushed us harder into diabolism than anything else, and if everything continues along this path, you’ll deal with monsters you paved the way for.

Penny[D]: Including you?  Are you a monster we paved the way for?

[Th]Blake: I don’t have a future waiting for me, and I don’t have a past, not quite, not an intact one.  The only two individuals who seem to give a damn about me are a bird and a mnermaid.  I more or less only exist in the moment.  I can’t imagine a reality where things settled down here and I was still around.

Lea[D]: Because you think you’ll be dead, or you can’t settle down?

[Th]Blake: Can it be both?

Mags: There are options, Blake.  The seal of Solomon, if you were willing, would mean giving up some control, but it helps others control your impulses.

[Th]Blake: Being destroyed sounds more appealing.

ElliePete[Th]: Mags?  Can I talk?  Unrestricted?  I feel like I have to chime in, but I can’t do it with one line.

Chat restriction lifted for ElliePete[Th]

Owen[B]: Favoring the Thorburns a little, Mags?  I know you’re friendly with them.

Mags:  I’m trying to be impartial.  If you have something new to say, ask, I’ll do the same.

ElliePete[Th]: Fuck you all!

Mags:

[Th]Blake: I hear you, Mags.

ElliePete[Th]: This is a chatroom filled with teenagers?  Children?  Fuck you!

Mags: Keep that up and I’ll kick you.

ElliePete[Th]: I’m going somewhere with this.
ElliePete[Th]:  I was there when Blake was talking to an other, making a deal with it.  Telling it not to go after kids.  Nobody under twenty.  Being here, reading this chat and putting the pieces together, I’m more convinced than ever that this world is fucked up and upside down.  And that includes you, Blake, because you think any of these people are worth a damn.

Else[B]: Thorburns, making friends and influencing people.

Mags: I’m about to revoke your privilege to chat freely, Elliepete.

ElliePete[Th]: Fuck it!  Fuck your collective righteousness.  You’re worse than your parents.  You’re everything that’s wrong with the world, and that’s not counting the monsters and bumpkins and shit!  I hope you’re ashamed.  If I could make deals with Others, I’d do the opposite of what Blake did.  I’d send the monsters after you, not after your parents.  Your parents at least mostly admit what they are and what they’re doing.  But here you are, sitting here, and you’re convincing yourselves you’re upright.  Oh, you’re doing good, you’re speaking up.  You’re getting a voice for yourselves.  And if there’s something wrong with all this, you’re not to blame at all.  It’s your *parents* fault.  You’re insulated from it, because your parents are keeping you at arms length.

Mags: Jesus.  I thought they were done.

Chat restriction set for ElliePete[Th]  [One] message per minute.

[Th]Blake: Believe it or not, I think a lot of Penelope and several of the others here.  Even with the brief censorship earlier.  I wouldn’t have come here to reach out to them if I didn’t.  They’re scared, they’re in a tough position, powerless but still part of the families and the bigger machinations.

Owen[B]: Why does it bother me more that he’s trying to defend us?

Dolores2[D]: It shouldn’t.  I think he’s mostly right.

ElliePete[Th]: Fuck you, Blake.  Scared, in a tough position?  Who here isn’t?  You know what I think?  They’re all complicit.  They know they’re complicit.  They know they can change things, half of the people in this chat probably know know they should have said or done something different when people were openly discussing what to do about Molly Walker.  Or acted after they heard about it.  Or hate their parents because their parents kept them in the dark.

Christoff: My big brother got his throat cut.  He went out like a hero, getting eaten alive.  I still don’t know how he deserved it.

Penny[D]: It’s more complicated than that.

Mags:  I don’t know if it is.  I don’t sleep easy anymore.  I haven’t since Molly died.  I was there.  I’m as complicit as anyone except maybe Sandra, Johannes or Laird.  Laird, at least, paid for it in a roundabout way.

Owen[B]: What do you want?  You want us to feel bad?  I feel bad.  Congratulations.  I had a lot of discussions with my dad about it, and feeling bad doesn’t fix anything.  We move on, we do better in the future.

[Th]Blake:  I don’t think anyone here feels good about what happened to her.  I do think that unless things change, it’s going to happen again.  A lot of us, even me, for a time, have ignored what happened.  You can’t ignore history, or it repeats itself.  I told this to Penelope and a few others here, not long ago, but there’s no reason for things to change.

Penny[D]: And for that to happen, you need a list of people to murder?  I can almost respect where you’re coming from.  I think you said we cooperated, once?  I respect that.  But this isn’t a fix.  I can’t say how proud I am that nobody spoke up to give you any names, after the chat was unsilenced.

[Th]Blake:  I have seven names..  I got private m essages while chat was silenced

Mags: PMs.

[Th]Blake:  Yeah.  PMs.

Lea[D]:  …

Owen[B]:  What happens now?

[Th]Blake:  I leave.  You’re free to continue chatting with the Thorburns.  Or don’t.  Censor them, kick them out.  But consider what that means, if you’re doing to them what you did to Molly and Callan.  Keeping them at a distance, avoiding looking them in the metaphorical eye, just so it’s easier to kill them when the time comes.

Christoff[Th]: For crimes we didn’t commit.

[Th]Blake: Yeah.

Penny[D]:  This was supposed to be a safe place.  A place where we could come without feeling like we were surrounded by giants, always on the bottom rung.

ElliePete[Th]:  Or a place where you could work on insulating yourselves, reassuring yourselves you were doing right?  Says a lot that you call yourselves the Junior Council.  Training to be your moms and dads.

Else[B]: That’s not fair.

[Th]Blake: Maybe not.  Bye.

Chat JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12] has been lifted by PennyD.

Penny[D]: I hope you fail.

[Th]Blake: I wouldn’t plan on it.  I’m not saying I’ll succeed, or even that it’s likely.  But if people start thinking it’s dangerous to be an ally to the Duchamps, you’d better be prepared to adapt fast.

[Th]Blake has left JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12]

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315 thoughts on “Execution 13.4

  1. Did something a little different this time around. Obviously. Sorry if it was painful to read or hard to follow. Still experimenting from time to time, stretching my wings, and seeing what works or doesn’t work.

    For those who missed the notice last week, I’m busy in the middle of this week trying to wrangle internet for my new place. I think everything is set, but I’d rather just be safe. The bonus chapter is being moved to next week.

    Thanks for reading, and please vote on Topwebfiction if you feel so inclined:
    http://topwebfiction.com/vote.php?for=pact

    1. I actually really liked this format, because it really let you see the character’s personalities without even having to show the characters. The little bits like Christoff changing his name from Chris, and the censorship, and that kind of thing made this some really awesome character work.

      1. Well, it’s not really an Internet message board so much as a private IRC chatroom, so I don’t think cameos would really fit like they might have on the parahumans.net chapters in Worm.

    2. I liked it.

      You really painted the medium with the chatlog, and Penny constantly renaming people gave her personality.

      I could almost FEEL Blake’s frustration when he was trying to type with his wooden hands.

    3. Much like the Parahumans Online portion of Worm I love this chapter. It makes for a very refreshing break from the story in a way that accelerates the narrative.

          1. Still could have been much worse. At least they were actually typing out the words in full. Compared to a lot of conversations where they abbreviate everything.

          1. eh…homestuck started by making good use of it…..now? now its just this shitty twist “homosuck” thing making it drag on unreadably and then when you finally get an update that isn’t deliberately shit its the sucky glitch thing. and 2 pages later its back to homosuck(the self inserts and year long pause were bad enough. this killed the momentum for me and honestly momentum was the only reason I was still reading it)

            the troll got too meta for me when the entire thing became the author’s version of sweet bro and hella jeff

            but the first 3/4 of it were definitely good

        1. TB: THE FACT THAT ROSE IS A BITCH
          TB: IS AN IMMUTABLE FACT I AM STATING FOR THE RECORD.
          TB: IT DOES NOT MEAN ANIMOSITY IS WHAT IS TAKING PLACE HERE.

      1. Only possible way it could have been better is if that line had been a chapter ending cliffhanger. Would have been an even better ‘Oh shit’ moment.

        1. Would’ve been perfect if the chapter wasn’t from Blake’s point of view, i.e. say Blake’s introduction is at the end of a Histories chapter and then we get the rest of this conversation as the start of a new book. But I doubt that would have fit with what wildbow wants to do (we’re still early in this book and having half a Histories be this chat would be kind of awkward; and really, to whom do we need to be acquainted right now anyway?). But I still really like the execution of this chapter.

    4. Dolores was renamed as thorburnbogeyman was probably the first thing in pact that made me shiver. The idea of sitting there, powerless to help wwhile a friend you are talking to is replaced. That’s scary

    5. Typo thread.

      Owen: Why invite these people, Blake?

      Owen[B]:

      Chat JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12] has been lifted by PennyD.

      Restriction on Chat JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12] has been lifted by Penny[D]

        1. Christoff: My big brother got his throat cut. He went out like a hero, getting eaten alive. I still don’t know how he deserved it.

          To be specific, for purposes of CTRL+F

    6. So, this chapter appealed to me in a way that certain chapters of Worm did–it very, VERY nearly gives me all the catharsis I want by calling out how shitty these characters are behaving, but stops short of being some sort of fulfillment fantasy.

      Seriously. I want to go in there and shake these kids, screaming at them “YOU DON’T GET THE MORAL HIGH GROUND WHEN YOU LET YOUR PARENTS MURDER PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BECOME DIABOLISTS!” But that honestly wouldn’t accomplish much. This is probably as close as most of them are going to get to being called out on their shitty behavior. And I’m going to enjoy what I can get. I had similar experiences when certain bullies got called out in Worm, as well as the behavior of the PRT and other organizations in general.

      1. I also like it when hypocrisy gets called out, but I prefer it even more if characters aren’t so hypocritical in the first place. Pact would be a better story if the diabolists weren’t clearly the good guys, even after adjusting for our Blake-based POV.

        (Rather, the diabolists may not be the good guys, but the rest have proven themselves to be the bad guys, multiple times over.)

        1. We haven’t really seen any diabolists. We’ve seen that Granny was willing to play fast and loose with her own family members (she put her baby on top of the pile of corpses used to lure the Barber). Other than that, we only have Rose/Blake as direct evidence and the lawyers have stressed that Blake is really one of the exceptionally good ones, the kind of good person that Ms. Lewis at least was apparently willing to bend all sorts of rules for. So the other diabolists probably are pretty rotten, it’s just that this particular diabolist, Blake (because Rose is kind of ok with demon summoning) is really an exceptionally good person at heart.

          1. To clarify, I meant “Pact would be a better story if the [Thorburn diabolist heirs, Blake and Rose] weren’t clearly the good guys”, and then “Rather, the [Thorburn diabolist heirs, Blake and Rose] may not be the good guys, but the rest have proven themselves to be the bad guys, multiple times over.”

            And, that’s because Blake and Rose are hardly using diabolism, yet are treated as if they would.
            Rather than blame Rose for her (so far remarkably subdued) willingness to use demons, I blame her for not using demons more after what everyone has done to her, her friends, and the house.

            1. Well, to be fair, imagine that you lived in Israel/Palestine and were familiar with random rocket attacks and suicide bombers. And then some new person that you’d never met moves into the neighborhood and apparently they’ve inherited a ton of dynamite and rockets and at their first neighborhood meeting, after everyone is talking about how it would be nicer if all these munitions were removed somehow, this new person announces that they do indeed have suicide vests that they could give out to their helpers but that the first three people who join up with them get advance notice so that they aren’t riding the bus or in the coffee shop when it’s blown.

              And this person comes from a family known for being terrorists.

              That would really put me on edge. I can empathize with the regular Duchamp/Behaim terror. I don’t blame the kids, they don’t know any better. That one girl who said, “It’d be better for me to kill a hundred people than for you to continue existing” or whatever she said, she doesn’t know any better — it was her crappy parents that taught her that.

              Could they have worked with Blake more? Absolutely. Were they jerks? Absolutely. But I understand where a lot of them are coming from.

            2. Of course the sad irony there is that Blake wouldn’t have felt the need to make that threat if a representitive of two of the families hadn’t told him “We’re going to use you until we don’t need you anymore, then your going to die.” Oh and lets not forget what happened to Molly. Even if her death wasn’t the actual goal, what do you think Laird was trying with the goblin assualt?

            3. Let’s just say that Israel and Palestine have been acting like children and I don’t care who started it, random rocket attacks should never be sanctioned.

  2. Eeenteresting. This was not as bad an idea as it could have been. Although asking for hitlist entries was not the best of things you could have been doing, Blake.

      1. It’s still technically possible for him to lie. If his goal was to sow discord among the junior council, that’d be the way to do it.

          1. It’s possible that, upon hearing that other people did send names, even more were sent. I’m interested, given that, just how many side-conversations were going on. For all we know, everything said by the Duchamps and/or Behaims was a show put on to appease Penelope, and Blake broke the spell by mentioning those PMs.

      1. he said private messages. maggs corrected him to pm and wasnt disputed. for all we know the girl looking over his shoulder gave him all 7 privately through meatspace

  3. …It’s kind of impressive how many of the Duchamp kids realize how fucked up things are and immediately leap at a chance to do something, anything. Also horrifying, since they’re kids making themselves complicit in murder. They’re weighing their options and going “Yes. Yes, this person deserves to die, even if it weakens the family.” Geeze, I feel really bad for the Duchamps.

    1. I wonder how many of them singled out their “fiancés” and how many did it for closer members of their family, it would fit with the pattern formed by Lola and Joyce of being willing to do that for their family while at the same time taking one for the team.

      1. I think it was mentioned that they CAN’T target their own “husband” Which is why the people who are sharing names are saying “my sister/cousin/niece is going to be traded off to…”

        Now, some of the husbands might be quite nice, or not. the girls aren’t going with them by choice, but they.might not be monsters either.

        Then you remember that Second Cousin X is marrying some half orc shaman or a necromancer who uses human sacrifice to power his tools, and you decide that maybe you could stand to share a name or two, and if you’e in that situation yourself, you can only help that one of your sisters steps in and helps you out.

        1. I don’t see how the Duchamps were ever able to blame the Thorburns, considering who they’re apparently allying themselves with. Apparently, necromancers are fine while diabolists are unforgivably bad and deserve to die without exception…

          If the Thorburn bloodline wasn’t exclusively female, I’d bet the Duchamps would have married one of their daughters off to them, too.

          1. I imagine with the shitty fucked up Karma system it’s possible to be a Necromancer, still do fucked up shit, and still have good Karma. Where as a Diabolist gains bad Karma from doing anything, since the Universe hates demons so much.

            Honestly yeah It’s probably easily possible for there to be Diabolists that are better people than some other schools, like Necromancers. It’s like if the UN decided to utterly crack down Nukes. Including any and all atomic energy plants and research. But being perfectly fine with the manufacture and use of Biological and Chemical weapons.

            Actually it wouldn’t be impossible for a Duchamp to marry a Thorburn. Only the Thorburn heir needs to be female. It’s not like the Duchamps where they can only have girls.

            1. Necromancy works primarily in spiritual echoes. They don’t hurt people as a prerequisite for their specialty, they hurt spirits with a superficial resemblance to people. Sure, you can get stuff like ghouls or the Bane, but you can also get stuff like June or Evan. Diabolism, on the other hand, inflicts permanent damage every time and has a blast radius every time. Did you defeat the demon of mortal sin? Congratulations! I hope you wanted to spend the rest of your life sexually fantasizing about your offspring, though.

            2. Peter and Christoff are both single.

      2. It also fits with what Blake said right at the end.

        “But if people start thinking it’s dangerous to be an ally to the Duchamps, you’d better be prepared to adapt fast.”

        He’s damaging the families powerbase in the future. If he can make it seem like marrying the Duchamps gets you killed, then they will loose most of their muscle. And lets face it most of the sorts who are marrying the Duchamp girls aren’t the sort who would be willing to risk that headache for them.

    2. Penelope is basically Sandra Jr and she might have lucked out like she did to actually like her husband, but the rest of them probably aren’t that lucky and they know it. Most of them see they get the short end of the stick or relatives get stuck with horrible people for power. This gives them a way out and since I didn’t see that many Duchamps online I can only assume one of them gave him a whole bunch of names for people she see tormenting her cousins and relatives but can’t break things themselves.

      On a side note, by telling them he got names they’re going to eventually go around asking or, if they don’t want to risk someone lying and costing them power, be suspicious of everyone. It’s a double win for him and he doesn’t even realize it.

    3. Penny[D]: I can’t say how proud I am that nobody spoke up to give you any names, after the chat was unsilenced.

      [Th]Blake: I have seven names.. I got private m essages while chat was silenced

      i LOLed 🙂

      Bonus for Blake & Co. would be how each of the 7 would embody the 7 deadly sins.

      1. It says a lot that Penny is under the impression that “none of my younger family members agreed to solicit a murder” is something to be proud of. When you’re in a situation where that is an actual legitimate concern…

    1. I’m not entirely sure that was just Peter, myself. The swears kind of screamed Ellie-input for chunks (I even suspect it’s her phone). 😛

      But, yeah: he was probably in control for the less openly acidic bits that still managed to cut arguments off at the knees…

      1. I read it as Peter deliberately antagonizing them in order to let Blake seem reasonable; the way it played out (with ElliePeter going off on a rant and then Blake immediately taking that opportunity to establish himself as someone who thought better of them) struck me as suspicious given that Peter is a conman.

            1. Sengachi,he did that waaay before now,when he nticed and deduced magic.Remember,this shit has a brain filter to not be noticed.

    2. I find myself thinking every time we get scenes with him that his name is very unfortunate. He reminds me way too much of another character named Peter with a rather similar personality. He ended up mellowing out a lot in his old age but he was still… quite the character.

  4. Typo thread, sort of, since virtually every ‘typo’ in here is normal for the situation:

    Dolores[D] renamed themselves to ThorburnBogeyman
    probably should be bold

    1. Chistoff is once named “Christoff” even after he renamed himself “Christoff[Th]”

      Also, there’s an inconsistency. In 12.8, Gail’s husband is the necromancer, not the Ogre kin, because ogre husband wore a wedding ring connecting him to Jan.

      This inconsistency was in 13.3 as well, when Blake says to Gail, “I played a role in killing your husband and his brother.” even though the necromancer didn’t have a brother there.

      1. It seems more likely the mistake is he ring connecting the Ogre shaman to Jan, rather than Gail being the shamans wife.

        why? Why would he make the same mistake twice? He more likely flubbed it at the start.

        1. —-The Duchamp woman (Jan) who stayed and died was married to one of the beard guys in 12.8.

          I looked at the four who remained, my eyes averted from the blonde woman who was almost definitely a Duchamp and almost certainly an enchantress. All the same, she might have sensed something, because she turned back to look over her shoulder twice as I examined the other members of the group. I was forced to step silently back.

          No, that was it. One member of the group. He wore a wedding ring. He was connected to her.

          Once I knew the rules, I could take a closer look, avoiding looking at the husband and wife pair. Off to the side was one man, not fat but solidly built, with a leather jacket that made him look even bulkier, and a dark, wiry beard that didn’t go with the close-cropped hair on his scalp. He resembled the husband in the pair. A brother, perhaps.

          — Necromancer is described as Gail’s husband (Gail is the one who Joyce pulled away) in 12.8.
          I saw his implement. A crystal ball with a skull in the center, tucked in the crook of his arm.

          Looking at it, I was immediately reminded of the Bane. The undead thing with scythe-arms. A tormented soul.

          Gail’s husband. Joyce had separated wife from husband. She’d done it very deliberately.

    2. Also,

      Penny[D] has renamed ThorburnBogeyman to [Th]Bogeyman
      Penny[D] has renamed ThorburnBogeyman to [Th]Blake
      Second line should be renaming [Th]Bogeyman to [Th]Blake

    3. Owen[B]: A fresh set of eyes isn’t a share of what we deal with is older than the printing press.

      “what we deal with is older than the printing press.” is ok, but “A fresh set of eyes isn’t a share of…” leaves me baffled.

      Penny[D] has renamed ChloMo[D] to ChloMo[D]Afk
      (…)
      ChloMo[D]afk: Wait, what happened?
      ChloMo[D]afk renamed themselves to ChloMo[D]

      Uppercase Afk turns lowercase.

      1. I think its supposed to be something along the lines of “a fair share of what we deal with is older than the printing press.” Seems to be missing some connective stuff after “A fresh set of eyes isn’t” in addition to the “fair”.

    4. Chat JBJC [Sunrise at 7:12] has been lifted by PennyD.

      Think this should be “chat restriction on…” or something along those lines
      Also PennyD -> Penny[D]

  5. How long is Craig going to go on about killing Laird like its new? (Note that I’m not complaining that he’s justified in his anger or the occasional reminder since I bring up the same points, it’s just that at this point he’s told everyone that he did that and Laird wasn’t an angel either.)

    Also, how did it suddenly get to two hours until night is over? Last time I checked the sun hadn’t set more than an hour.

          1. Further imagine how many it took to do it. And, what their losses were. Midge is many things, but nobody can deny that she’s hardcore.

            PS — I’m also in the “yeah, right… like she’s totally gonners” camp. That bad penny will probably turn up again. If shaped rather differently. 😛

        1. Leads to the question of how the Thorburns in the Tenements are able to participate in IRC. There’s pretty much no way the program would work properly if there’s actual time dilation, and even if it’s just perceptual, they couldn’t keep up with the conversation.

          The portal must synchronize the time flow, but how strongly? Is time running at the same apparent rate in the entire Abyss for everyone?

          1. A couple possible explanations.

            1. They’re out of the abyss, they somehow got ahold of a laptop and internet connection despite having nowhere to go.

            2. They not actually chatting, it’s a manifestation of the abyss using it’s impression of their personalities.

            3. I dunno, they magic the time dilation away.

            1. I went back and checked. Ty went out to retrieve materials with Green Eyes and they worked on assembling Blake’s new body, but it doesn’t say if they actually returned to Jacob’s Bell. I’d assumed that the plan was for them to hunker down in the room with the portal until Blake gave them the all-clear.

            2. Even if they remained in the Tenements when Blake left, they left the portal open, and they probably just stepped out for the chat.

    1. it’s just that at this point he’s told everyone that he did that and Laird wasn’t an angel either

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but between Blake’s Erasure and now, he’s only directly told the Older Behaim, right? When did he admitt the murder to any other Human?

        1. Yeah, but there’s literally a hole in the universe where Blake was supposed to be pre-Erasure. I don’t think their standard magic would be able to see the truth.

          Are the adults talking with the Junior counsel? I get the impression that both groups are doing separate things (at least, today).

          1. Some of the connections were frayed rather than outright destroyed (some, I think, couldn’t actually be severed thanks to Rose being his “other half” — and she didn’t get rubbed out): those have been… if not mending, then bridging more accurately than not since he came back. Evan is an example of that. 😐

            Also, teach your kid to read tarot cards, tea leaves or use a prophetic app (whichever)… and you don’t expect them to go out generally snooping every fifteen minutes even when you’ve told them its a bad idea? 😉

      1. Yeah, this. Pretty sure when someone kills your father you hold it against them for a long, long time. Possibly forever if you have access to chronomancy. 😛

  6. Oh Blake, you classy monster! Murdering your enemy’s not friends, I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

    Oh Peter, you manipulative weasel. Hanniballing the junior counsel, they’re gonna need to think.

    I don’t know who Tandy[B]ear is, but I want to meet her.

    So Christoff wants to learn necromancey. Hmm. . . Who do we know that practices necromancey and has not been brutally murdered.

          1. where does it say that? he probably could be…just isn’t/won’t.

            a child’s human soul and a possessed boyfriend both were able to do it

          2. Actually, were we ever told that practitioners can’t become familiars? There was at least one example in the Famulus fragment of a human, albeit possessed, became his girlfriend’s familiar. I don’t remember how he got the possession, but I think he was actually a (low-level) practitioner and did it to himself.

            1. The girlfriend was the practitioner (white trash practitioner was thrown around in the comments) who gave him and some football buddies controlled possession as an edge during games. Then…something went wrong, and the hunting spirit got its hooks into the boyfriend, and now it won’t let go.

              Isadora and Paige were talking about creating something like a familiar bond, w/ Paige as the familiar. So regular humans as familiars might be possible as well. Honestly, the rules seems more than flexible enough to allow it.

            2. the rules seems more than flexible enough to allow it.

              Yep. Actually, I’m even leaning towards Blake’s opinion, i.e. that the rules are mostly bullshit, and you can get away with almost anything if you’re convincing enough. Which is probably what the fae do most of the time.

    1. I’m hoping the JC help Peter (even if he has to trick them into it) to cull Christoff’s budding interest and direct him to parts of the practice he has yet to hear of. 😐 They’ve got incentive to do so…

      1. Or just cull Christoff.

        Hey, if he has the potential to become a necromancer, and we’ve established that necros are monsters…

        1. Do that (or even just consider doing it), and they fall neatly into Peter’s trap. How can they think themselves morally superior to their parents if they consider actively culling somebody who is only thinking about going into necromancy out of revenge for what the collective has done?

          When, the judged him as being a diabolist before (erroneously).

        2. No no, necromancers can be monsters.

          That like saying chronomancers aren’t bad because they only deal with time. Or diabolists are all bad because they deal with demons, even if just to seal them.

          1. This.

            If a necromancer can just bring people back, more or less as they were (and not as a zombie-like mindless Bane), I’d say that’s probably the most morally right application of magic that we’ve seen in Pact.

            1. But this is Pactverse, so there’s no way whatsoever that it’s that easy.

              More importantly, someone asked in-story if there was a way to bring back the dead, and someone made the reasonable remark that if it was easy, everyone would already do it.

            2. @mondsemmel I can see this working. First Christoff attempts to bring back Callan, so he sets up a body using the appropriate materials. As the ritual commences, Christoff starts to lose his limbs. As he loses his left leg and right arm, he sees Callan’s soul return, so he quickly seals it into a nearby suit of armor. They then go on a quest to find the Philosopher’s stone and… I just typed the plot of Full Metal Alchemist didn’t I? I always do that for some reason.

            3. @mondsemmel It should be noted that ‘if it was easy, everyone would already do it’ is exactly the sort of Practitioner weasel words that are not explicitly saying ‘no’.

          1. It also depends on if Necromancer is the only school of magic that can get the resualts Christoff wants. He wants to bring his brother back, but hopefully he does care if his brother isn’t just a shambling horror that can only mumble “Brains… Brainss…” For example if he could become some sort of spirit medium or channeller, or stick his brothers soul in some sort of Golem body that is a whole different thing.

            Oh who am I kidding in this story he’s going to be doing some sick fucked up shit.

            1. The prime, the original of all necromancers, is, well, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t yet read it. 🙂

    2. Blake was also a dabbling necromancer, considering the number of ghosts he dealt with in his short career as a practitioner. And the ghosts were the main thing that prevented his short career from being even briefer.

    3. Sounds to me like he wants to learn to bring his brother back to /life/ not just bring back a husk or a trapped soul. I feel like resurrection probably shouldn’t fall under the heading of necromancy just because it deals with the animating spirit.

      1. “Necromancy” is literally magic (mancy) that specialises in the dead (necro). (“mancy” is more properly divination but the term tends to be used more broadly nowadays).

        Necromancy seems exactly the right school of magic for resurrection to fall into. You would have to reach the land of the dead and retrieve the person’s spirit in order to bring them back.

    1. He’s forcing them to realize these aren’t just the Thorburns. These are people their families are killing. It’s one thing to send an intermediary to kill someone. It’s another to look them in the eye and tell them your going to have them killed. Blake just stripped away a bunch of illusions.

  7. Gotta say, I loved this chapter. These internet chat/forum style chapters seem like they could go really badly and be awful to read, but you pull off this style really well. Its a nice break in the normal flow of the story, and makes it easy to understand a lot of these characters I personally tend to lose track of.

  8. Christoff: My big brother got his throat cut. He went out like a hero, getting eaten alive. I still don’t know how he deserved it.

    should be Christoff[Th] at this point.

  9. Interesting chapter, I like it. Hope you settle in your new home easily, Wildbow.

    Also, completely off-topic, I want to either read or write a story about Pinocchio where he cleverly manipulates people and tells non-lies, or lies to his advantage.

  10. I liked seeing Penny being the fussy mother of the chat, and Mags the correcting Ur-mommy.

    It’s too bad they couldn’t keep control of things. I would have liked for the Bogeyman that used to be Blake to get a resounding “fuck off” for one his plans for once.

    Also, WHERE THE FUCK ARE TY TIFF AND ALEXIS. Like, did a computer just pop up in the middle of the Abyss and these shitrats are typing on it and the others aren’t even looking their shoulder watching what they’re doing? I’m reasonably concerned that the Thorburn kids went Bogeyman in the abyss, killed them, and are now acting like they’re still the victimized kids.

    1. Ty, Tiff and Alexis aren’t the Thornburns, and they are probably setting up wards. However going bogeyman is still a possibility. But you know who is missing? The murderous 12 year old.

      I wouldn’t put it past the abyss to have reception.

        1. They have Verizon in the abyss. Ur ate most of their towers; it’s the only reasonable explanation for their terrible cell service.

      1. Are you kidding? To get in on this amount of action in a time and place where trifles may go unconsidered and fall into the cracks very easily? I bet the wifi the Tenements could simulate turned utterly fantastic! 😛

      2. Even worse theory:

        The Thorburns aren’t even online. The words being put on screen is a manifestation of the Abyss or a bogeyman serving it using the connection to the Tenements to try to steer Blake towards staying the course.

        Would it really surprise you?

    2. I’m pretty sure Ty, Tiff, and Alexis are all there with the Thorburns. The JC just has no idea who they are, so they would’ve been useless in the chat.

    3. About the communication: there’s the portal into and out of the Abyss. Also, they’re in the Tenements: the odd modem from dial-up to wifi has probably wandered its way into the Abyss over the years and wound up there as “compatible” to its aesthetic… So, I’m betting the place can actually boost wifi when and if it so chooses.

      All you need to do is bring the tech and it feel like letting you use it. And, Ellie, for one, fiddles with digital whenever she’s bored, so always has something with earbuds on her 24/7. Christoff probably had his phone on him all this time (I’d guess trouser-pocket). Peter? May have lost his: he doesn’t have his jacket on. 🙂

    4. Not sure why everybody is assuming they’re still in the Abyss. With the amount of chaos going on, I assume they could slip out to somewhere. Just because the POV character is elsewhere doesn’t mean they’re stagnant.

  11. That was awesome. A couple wham points in there.
    Blake got seven names. He’s just like Ornias! Say a name seven times and he goes on a killing spree. I wonder if he’ll spawn saplings and bird spirits in his wake to prey on monsters?
    Peter apparently would use the demons.
    Chris is going necromancy route. Assuming Callan returning from the grave isn’t how the Bane bounced.

    I wonder if Grams set up progressively nastier Thornburns to deal with. Molly: defends herself. Blake: attacks enemies using mostly random crap he’s scavenged up. Rose: Dead Man Demon Switch. Elliepeter: DEMONS FOR EVERYONE! If that’s the case, I bet Paige is the one who is supposed to join the firm.

    1. “Peter apparently would use the demons.”

      Ellie rather than Pete. Which we already knew, from all the way back when Blake negotiated with Briar Girl.

    2. Remember, you can mislead with truth. Maybe he has seven names: Blake Thorburn, Ross(?) Thorburn, the Thorburn Bogeyman, Bloody Marv, etc…

  12. Seven names? Either some people on the junior council are really vindictive or Blake also got some names from the Duchamps whose home he is in.

    And it is interesting to see one of “his” victims (Joyce) portrayed as the lonely lady who makes good cookies. More moral ambiguity! More pathos!

      1. And evil according to Green Eye’s. Probably only get’s bad when she’s drinking assuming Green Eyes was on point.

        1. According to Green Eyes, the murderous mermaid girl who spent years in an abyss not interacting with people and probably has the judgement skills of a Thorburn.

          1. I dont know. These kids are sheltered. Remember the Behaims kids saying everything was Blake’s fault and Laird did nothing wrong..

          2. In 13.1, even Blake himself assumed this was rationalization:

            “I’ll give you reason, in a manner of speaking,” she said, raising her chin a notch. […] “[Your] head will get twisted around, and you’ll convince yourself you have a reason.”

            That struck a chord.

            Green Eyes, and her insistence that the woman she’d killed wasn’t human any more.

            Twisting her thoughts around? _Contriving_ a way around a basic, simple deal?

            Fuzzy logic, but did the loss of karma matter, if it was counterbalanced by the Abyss feeding her or feeding _me_ with more strength?

            1. Yup. Which is the main thing that makes me suspect that it probably isn’t just rationalisation and that Green Eyes genuinely did “smell” something bad about Jan.

      1. And who was sliding into depression and turning to drink. The heart does bleed.

        Up to a point: getting into alcoholism or any other form of drug abuse is a tragedy. What an addict is capable of to feed their habit and while under the more-direct influence… not-so-much. Often, that’s sadly pathetic and the more mundane forms of “horrendously morally bankrupt”. 😦

        1. It’s like those mothers who turn to drink/drugs and do nothing while their children are being abused or those who pimp out their children to feed their habits, my heart bleeds not.

            1. Oh,Its not that I dislike Dogs,I like them vey much,its just that I prefer a free smart being to a loyal dumb one…at least if a cat likes you,you know you earned it,while a dog is a love machine,no matter how you mistreat it.

            2. I don’t buy into that characterisation. As far as I can tell, dogs are intelligent enough to be social creatures and are capable of learning complex patterns of behaviour (“tricks”).

              A dog will weather mistreatment as a social adaptation (though they will sometimes turn on you if you push them too far). Humans are exactly the same way. If, for example, someone’s boss is a dick, they’ll generally tolerate that rather than risk biting the hand that feeds them. And like dogs, if pushed too far, humans will fight back or leave.

              I’m not convinced cats are “independent” so much as too simple-minded to do the complex social calculus that dogs (and humans) do.

            3. Cats,simple minded?You obviously never had a cat.

              I won’t say there aren’t outliers,but the average cat is smarter than the average dog.Sure ,if you compare the dog that goes through the metro and does a thousand amazing things with a braindead cat,you’ll get the result you wish

              But overal?Cats are smarter,and some cats are friendly too,its just about whether the cat chooses to be friendly.Submission is not necessarily an intelligent social behaviour-do you call nazis intelligent?the average cat is more intelligent than the many nazis who submitted to the ideology to survive.It is A social behaviour tho.

              Moreover,you judge them by wrong standards.A wolf is a pack animal,so an dog,who descends from it and who was bred by another herd animal would have social insticts-not necessarily intelligence,though im not saying its not also capable of possesing intelligence-

              A cat,on the other hand,is not a herd or pack or whatever animal,but a lone one.So you can ask for its friendship,but not its submission,as it has no insticts that make heavy social interactions such as these done by the wolf necessary.A cat is, also,,more pragmatic and,with a bigger spectrum of characters.Thats not intelligence,its nature,you are talking with the standards of intelligence a herd animal has.Social cats exist,but,unlike with the dogs,its learned behaviour,not instictual,that alone makes them smarter,because for dogs its nature,but cats can learn to master it even though its not their nature.

            4. Social ability is at the root of basically everything we consider intelligence: communication, language, writing, understanding and empathising with other beings. Even the ability to do math is probably an offshoot of linguistic capability.

              Dogs being socially capable is a lot more complicated than simple submission. And again, since cats are not wired to be social, a refusal to “just follow orders” isn’t the smart or moral move – it’s just all their capable of. We don’t idolise rocks for their noble stance on this matter either. 😛

            5. But they are not uncapable of social interaction,they just do not do the same kind of submission based interaction canines do.There are cats who would sacrifice themselves for you and cats that will be sad if you die,and that category isn’t even mutually exclusive to cats who will eat your body if you die-the last is just pragmatism.Dogs?you do not have to try,they come preprogrammed to obey most things,and our society calls that “intelligent”because society likes blind obedience.How many parents actually want to make their child free thinkers?most just think the smartest childs are troublemakers.

              And how is problem solving not intelligence?Or creativity?cats are more creative than dogs,which is why they can learn social behaviour,rather than being preprogrammed to it.

              Please try to find some cats and befriend them before you say more things about them.

            6. You keep saying that dogs blindly obey. They don’t. My dog has a finely honed sense of exactly what he can get away with and what he can’t. He’ll also keep testing the limits to see if he can get more stuff moved into the first category. xD

              I’m willing to concede I may have been a little harsh on cats.

              Yes, problem-solving is part of intelligence too. I probably worded that a little too strongly. Social ability is obviously important for civilisation, and a foundational part of what we consider intelligence but I didn’t mean to imply it was everything.

              Hmm, now I kind of want to write a story about how the civilisation of a completely non-social species might work. You might be better positioned to, though…

            7. 1)Cats also have that finely honed sense,at least domestic cats (some cats are mean,but so are some dogs,albeit for different reasons)

              2)Completely asocial is not a thing,every lifeform that possess intelligence has the means to at least learn social interactions(some cats are very social,and an asocial cat whose friendship you earned is not completely asocial,as it still understands friendship,a social interaction).Perhaps a more apt term would be not reliant on a social structure to function. ,which leads,indeed,to creatures of leser social interaction,which we may call asocial.

              3)The closer to asocial intelligent beings whose asocialness was emphasised I know of are homestuck cherubs,I dunno if I can do better.

            8. Have never got around to reading Homestuck.

              You don’t necessarily have to do better. So long as your story is different and interesting it’ll be worthwhile.

            9. You should,it has an amazing story,deep characters,good humour,and the biggestt scale of any good story I even read (seriously,the big bad dwarfs rira gur pbyyrpgvir cbjre bs Jbezf in power,and he does it without being cheap,though he has,perhaps,the only superpower more broken than pbagrffn’f,though I must say only if you sit and think about why.)

            10. Cat group social behavior is much more complex than you seem to believe. They are relatively unresponsive to training unless applied consistently, but have complex hierarchies and division of territory.

    1. Mentioning it would’ve really put the Duchamps on the defensive, and they already are. He didn’t want to mess too much with the dynamic.

    2. I get the impression that they already know. At least, the Behaims do. The Duchamps will know that Alister broke Rose out of confinement and has betrayed them. And Alister mentions in his interlude that the Junior Council is on his side.

      1. That was before this. He is expecting them to have an agreement done. In his mind if he can get the younger Duchamp to agree to a truce, he believes he will have challengers for the throne in the future.

  13. So, who else caught Penelope’s third trick? Hint: the first was the rule of three thing she got called out on, and the last was silencing the chat.

    1. I notice that she named him [Th]Blake instead of Blake[Th] – is that what you’re referring to? It could be she wanted to emphasize his negative attributes, but she could have let him keep the bogeyman moniker in that case.

      1. It’s classic passive-aggressive modding. And, not usually a good move, as it’s easily picked up on (and, she can’t do the “whoops, silly me: muddled that up” thing unless she gets really creative with the truth).

        I like how Mags undercut her, though. xD

        1. Tell me your name or I claim the right to name you? Don’t see the relevance. Penny renamed Blake twice. She silenced the chat once. I’m not seeing the rule of three that you’re probably seeing — I’m inclined to think that you made a mistake. I of course don’t want to risk calling you forsworn, so I’m just saying that I think you made a mistake. :p

        2. Ah. She renamed him, and knowing someone’s name gives you power over them. Clever. And great job on figuring it out.

          Penny[D] has renamed ThorburnBogeyman to [Th]Bogeyman
          Penny[D] has renamed ThorburnBogeyman to [Th]Blake

          Penny[D]: There. Better. Name was stretching my tablet window.

          And her explanation was great, too. She can’t lie, but she didn’t outright say she renamed him because the name was too long.

          1. Ding ding ding. He gets it. Not only does renaming Blake give Penny some measure of power over him, knowing three different names for him is sure to come in useful when she uses her enchantress magic to track Blake and phone in warnings to his victims.

            1. he named himself and she “renamed” him as something he already went by.

              with the demon they declared intent first, he refused to give his name, ect. if it were as easy as you think you’d get people being bound and fucked over by nicknames possibly even names used behind their backs..

  14. I wonder why they’re worried about the rule of three, but not with typos or avoiding statements that are outright incorrect (“You don’t know anything”). Maybe the spirits are too old fashioned to concern themselves much with computer messages.

    1. Or maybe they’re kids who’ve been raised in a life set up with a lot of weird rules, and they deal with them almost unconsciously.
      Plus, who wouldn’t love to actually say combo break in conversation every time someone starts speechifying and getting long winded?

  15. Let’s play name the tropes so updating the TV Tropes page is easier:

    • ReasonYouSuckSpeech: ElliePete delivers a rather explicit version on how they’re turning out just like their parents.
    • TrueNeutral: Mags has to try and maintain this role in arbitrating the discussion.
    • YearOutsideHourInside: Time in the various forms of the Abyss is distorted so Blake spends only a few days in The Drains only for months to have passed and a few minutes in the Tentements only for hours to have passed.
    1. I’d be tempted to go ShutUpHannibal on the speech, rather. After all, the kids have been complicit in some ObliviouslyEvil acts and were trying to cover their rears. It’s a toss-up, really. 😐

      • PolitenessJudo: Our darling Penny gets an entry for her attempts at modding, I guess. Unless she rates the supertrope PassiveAgressiveKombat.
      • PublicSecretMessage: Possibly the whole chat session — and Blake’s revealing that he did net names via PM. Unsure.
          1. To elaborate: Owen seems to be going the Hannibal route. Others? Not-so-much: this is the problem when addressing groups of individuals who will see different things in your argument.

    2. I would argue that:

      Penny[D]: And for that to happen, you need a list of people to murder? I can almost respect where you’re coming from. I think you said we cooperated, once? I respect that. But this isn’t a fix. I can’t say how proud I am that nobody spoke up to give you any names, after the chat was unsilenced.

      [Th]Blake: I have seven names.. I got private m essages while chat was silenced

      Is a Wham Line. [“I have seven names” being the line, everything else being important context] It certainly made me go “Holy Shit”

      1. It’s a Wham line for Penny too. She thought she was in control, and that no one would give names. She was wrong. The kids aren’t as united, and they don’t feel their side is so innocent that they have no one that shouldn’t die as soon as possible. And Blake said he had seven names. Not that seven people gave him names. Depending on how many were in the chat he could have gotten more or less PM’s with names. With overlap. For example everyone could have put Gorblish the defiler on their list of must dies.

    1. i’d imagine someone who doesn’t use instant messaging a lot is more likely to treat it like a letter or an email and NOT use chatspeak.

      1. I DO use instant messaging a lot (given that most of my career has been spent writing software in collaboration with people in other offices/cities/countries) and I don’t write like that. 😛

  16. I am so incredibly proud of Blake. I think, as his power has grown, he’s really starting to steal physicality/traits (back?) from Rose. He’s getting more physical, I think there was a passing line to more flesh somewhere than he thought, like on his back or neck or something, and look at what he did here — look at how he waited and watched and read and thought in probable silence. He didn’t immediately jump in! He thought a bit first! That Ross thing probably really shook Rose. Still though, he waited! Progress!

    1. Self-control. He didn’t have it, but now he does and Rose… well. It’s hard to argue that she doesn’t, but it’s certainly easy to argue that she isn’t using hers as well as she once did.

      1. Um… their last direct encounter ended with Blake losing control due to a revenge spirit and stabbing a person in the hand. I’d argue that’s not a sign of high self-control.

          1. It should count, for both of them. If they lose control to whatever is possessing them, that can’t be described as successful self-control.

            In case of Rose, Conquest’s influence is obvious in her language (e.g. from 13.01: “But I’d be giving up [Alexis]. And I’d potentially be giving up my grip on her, to hand her over.”), but not yet in her actions, not in ways that would have been wholly uncharacteristic for her. (Though Rose doesn’t really do anything in the story, so it’s hard to say to which extent she is or isn’t affected. Even the idea with the Behaim alliance apparently came from RDT and Laird…)

            But Blake’s reactions are several orders above that. He believes the abyss way too much, considering that it doesn’t have his best interests in mind; when he met Rose and Alister in 13.1, he had this memorable thought: “Or [maybe] maybe I can stop thinking about Alister in terms of how easily I could kill him“; and then, he was possessed by Molly, and afterwards apparently forgave her for what she made him do.

            1. To be fair, has the Abyss lied to him? I mean it’s fairly neutral. All it does is force you to change, whether you want to or not. Bad yes, but it doesn’t have any of the burdensome emotions or intentions or betrayals.

              Also Molly is akin to a minor goddess of vengeance at this point. Working with her is probably better than her taking his body for a spin again.

            2. That’s kind of the definition of possession — it’s not you that’s in control. Self control doesn’t mean immunity to possession.

            3. Left to its own devices, I think the Abyss is closer to Nature Is Not Nice than Always Chaotic Evil. At the most, it’s a Troll out for amusement value: not exactly benign… but not really Evil, as such.

              The wrinkle in its “change or die; change me by coming” thing is… what falls into it can actually influence it, too. And, if Urr and That Other One (and, if that really was a demon) are playing games with the Abyss, all bets are off. 😐

            4. Here’s a thought. Maybe the Abyss wasn’t always so dark, and didn’t always just try to make boogymen. What if they were a nicer place once. But demons at some point tainted the Abyss turning it into the purgatory it is today.

            5. Ya know,assuming Molly is evil.fighting her would be stupid and unprofitable.She is transforming into a powerful idea,she is prolly stronger than conquest and she knows everything that happens to the city.The best way to save people is negotiate with her,as he does not have the firepower to hurt her.

            6. So trying to negotiate with other human beings is irrational and doomed to failure but negotiating with a blood-fueled spirit of vengeance is totes the way to go?

            7. You negotiate with whomever can be negotiated.A spirit with a simple purpose that has no reason to hate you,heck,even reasons to like, you is often much easier to negotiate with than a complicated person with prejustices that hatesyou.

              Heck,Blake managed to negociate with Conquest much easier than he did with Laird,and they are both unreasonable doo doo heads.

  17. Why do people think the Thorburns and company are still on the Tenements?

    Afaik, Blake abandoned them near the portal, they could just leave after him.

    1. Most of what is out in Jacob’s Bell is actively hunting them, specifically… rather than “out to grind you down in a general sense: just because”. Most of it is also very, very wary of returning to the Abyss.

      In some ways, it’s actually safer (weird word to use) to stick to the Abyss side of the portal until things get less chaotic and the ratio of friend to foe starts getting less hairy. [shrugs]

      1. No. In the Abyss, the world itself is out to get you, in every little aspect. In the real world, at least the world is rather filled with agents plotting your downfall – they compete against each other, they can be reasoned with or warded against. The Abyss saturates. It soaks its essence to the bone and collects on it.

      2. I don’t think the Abyss is safer. It may appear safer, but it really reminds me of the Simurgh in Worm. It won’t kill you directly, but it will turn you into something you’d hate.

    2. While it hasn’t been bothering Team Bogyman much, it is a midwinter night in Canada and they’re short on cold-weather gear. Without shelter, they could very easily freeze to death by sunrise, and they’d need to either go back to the house that they went to the Tenements to escape from or get past the Practitioners coordinating the assault to get to shelter. That’s looking better now that Molly is keeping them busy, but Blake hadn’t contacted the others between then and now.

      I’d been under the impression that the plan was for Blake, Green Eyes, and Evan to go out, start the fire, secure an escape route, and come back to get them.

      1. Yeah. The Tenements (heck, the Abyss in general) is set to chilly. But, it’s not set to “freeze solid”. Currently, Jacob’s Bell has had almost a whole night to get really damn cold in. 😐

        On top of the whole “loads of people and Others out there with our names on a hit list” issue.

    1. You know, this would be a very interesting format. I’d actually bother making a mock-up of a chat program that scrolls through the chapter if I knew how to make GUIs… (Googles how to usy wxPython)

  18. Chapter was wonderful. We don’t get enough characterization like this. Also some fantastic lines in here.

    Mags lifts chat restrictions for Ellie/Peter

    Mags: I lift the restrictions if you’ve got something constructive to add

    Peter: Fuck you allllll

    -so wonderful

    1. Anyway… Thoughts and questions:

      -what kind of agreement was the junior council planning on making before Blake stepped in?

      -Are there really so many members of the JC that they need to keep track of family tags?

      -Were Penny and Mags the only mods? Was Alister the Behaim mod?

      -Why is Blake so dead set against being bound by the seal of Solomon? I get the symbolic bits, but practically, the only reason not to do it is because he’s still part practitioner
      -side note, he’s shown capable of summoning things (Molly) and manipulating spirits. Diagrams are still functional. Has he tried his Shamanism runes?

      1. Solomon’s seal is the heart of the status quo, and Blake is an agent of change. Destruction is preferable to being absorbed in a system he hates, is how I interpret his rejection.

        He’s not against getting bound by Alexis, but probably on different terms. More modern and flexible, less exploitable.

        1. To expand on this, Blake cherishes his freedom (symbolized by his motorcycle and his familiar, among many other things), and he said even his offer of being bound by Alexis went against his very being.

          And here’s how Rose explained what the seal does (in 1.7):

          “And the seal?”

          “A formal acknowledgement on the part of an Other, that they won’t interfere with mankind without excuse, they’ll obey certain rules, and the practitioners will leave them be. Typically an Other bears some symbol or token of this bargain. Over time it’s gained a power of its own. Being sealed physically alters the Other, but it also affords them certain protections against _us_.”

          In other words, depending on the specifics, it might prevent Blake from fighting in this war, or make it harder for him to fight.

          Also remember how fundamentally Corvidae changed, partly due to the seal.

    2. Yeah Peter’s Fuck you was one of my faverate parts along with

      “Christoff: No. Your monsters killed my brother. I’d like to figure out how to bring him back.”

      Because they are really calling the other families out on the fact that they don’t have any moral high ground.

        1. 5-4
          ““Necromancy?” Duncan asked. He seemed rather unconcerned.

          “Better toying with the dead than diabolism,” he said.”

          3-2
          ““For the feorgbold, I had to dig up and barter for the corpses no one would claim.”

          “Feorgbold, life vessels,” the Briar Girl said. “Recycling. Death, consumption and rebirth are parts of the cycle of nature. Some of my favorite parts. I could do what I do a hundred thousand times over, and there would still be balance.””

          The latter quote may well not be necromancy, I suppose, but it certainly seems like it. The rest of that quote for context.

          “I could do what I do a hundred thousand times over, and there would still be balance. Your things, they are not balanced, not in any way we want to deal with. Never simple death, but oblivion, annihilation. Helping the universe to reach zero, with screams, darkness and pain every step of the way.””

          Lesser of two evils, I suppose, and maybe not even that bad, on the whole. Not to mention that the Duchamps have explicitly allied themselves with necromancers.

  19. Also, it occurs to me: in the situation Blake is in right now, he could quite reasonably ask Lola to get her familiar to give him a bit more of her Glamour.

      1. He wouldn’t need to defeat Letita again, just get her to willingly give him some glamour, since it has to be willingly given rather than forcibly taken.

        1. “Just get her to willingly give him some glamour”

          Have we read the same story ? Fae aren’t that nice.
          Also, I read the ‘forcibly taken’ bit as stolen or otherwise obtained without their consent. Blake claimed some as reward for winning the duel, which she agreed to.

    1. Blake’s “talent” with glamour was that he was a vestige, and using glamour to pretend to be someone else essentially turned him into that someone else. But at this point, he has so little humanity left that he can hardly afford the risk of losing any more of it.

      On the other hand, if he just used it for e.g. healing, it might be useful… or it might just make him more reckless than he already is.

      1. What use is healing?His regeneration is insane already,and he can use dead bodies and/or fear to heal anything not covered by his regen,glamour heal would be a downgrade.

  20. [Th]Blake: I walked into this with no intention of even touching diabolism. Not ever. Rose did too. I held onto my convictions, even as I lost m y life, my humanity, my familiar, friends who I loved. My bike, dammnit. Everything I hold dear. I could have spoken some names and summoned things and solved problems but I never did.

    Blake forgot to mention the part where he eventually gave in and surrendered himself to Demonic interests. If it wasn’t for Mrs. Lewis being so nice, Blake would be full demon puppet at this point.

    I guess that’s better left unsaid in front of the Junior Counsel.

    1. I forget where exactly we pinpointed it, but probably not. There’s no timeline-altering events here a la Scion, everything happened the way we remember it happening, like the World of Darkness tRPG series. No consequences spiraling out of control which would make a city be placed here instead of there, or would make a city from our timeline be named “Brockton Bay.”

      1. none of those in worm either til recently. powers didn’t make the town exist or give it its name, its just a fictional town that happens to exist in their otherwise unaltered history

        1. Powers didn’t, but people reacting to powers might have. Or people reacting to people reacting to people reacting to powers might have.

      1. Wait. Brockton Bay was a Boston-level city, IIRC. How badly does a demon need to go unchecked before a Boston-level city is quarantined off the map? Or what unholy hodgepodge of local powers needs to go to war to break a city that badly?

            1. When you’ve got an entire Abyss for things retconned out of existence to fall into, and many many different ways to send them there, it’s not as unlikely as you’d think.

            2. To be fair it’s not how bad it is, but how much effort it is to fix. The hyena was caged and ignored because nobody cared enough to deal with it, the neighbors throw up walls and ignore the stench which wafts over them.

          1. I’d say from things mentioned in Worm that Brockton Bay isn’t that new a city. I doubt it grew to the size it was if it was only founded in the 80’s. So the town predates parahumans. And if it ended up being wiped off the maps, that doesn’t mean in was once it became a good sized city. Something could have gone wrong while it was only a few thousand people.

            Of course I’m sure at some point we’ve all wondered about the Worm cast in the Pact setting AU, and vice versa. Where Taylor and the Undersiders are a coven of mostly recently awakened practicioners who find themselves in conflict with the other covens of the city of Brockton Bay. I wouldn’t think it’d be interesting if things stick too closely to the original series of events. Like the Undersiders all using forms of magic that are as close as possible to the original parahuman powers. Or Leviathan shows up only it’s magical this time. Different problems like the Lord of the city is dying and everyone is going to make a powergrab.

            I guess what I am saying is what if instead of triggering in a world with parahumans, Taylor instead awakened in a world with others?

            1. Presumably, none of the youngish cast it actually alive except Abryyr, jubfr qnq jnf obea orsber Fpvba’f neeviny naq unq n qnhtugre anzrq Abryyr va obgu Nyrcu naq Org. It would, of course, be highly unfortunate if that particular power had an alternate.

  21. nice to see the self-righteous little punks get called. i think Elle is exactly right. the little ***** should get a taste of running for their lives with monsters butchering their friends and family. they remind me of that kid who murdered someone and had daddy get him out of jail claiming he suffered form “affluenza”. again and again they dodge responsibility for anything their family does, and its looking more and more like the only way to end the conflict would be for BOTH families in their entirety to disappear. it is becoming more and more obvious that the younger generation are, morally speaking, xerox copies of their parents in general, and no matter HOW nice or moral Blake tries to be, all he’ll get is a knife in the back from them.

    1. If killing an entire family would have solved anything than the Thorburns should have been purged years ago before Granny Rose was even born.

      Just saying.

      Suffer not the diabolist to live.

      1. Funny, though cause there are probably less Thorburns than Behaims or Duchamps. Every single living Thorburn is descended from Grandma Rose. But there are lots of Duchamp and Behaim cousins. Granny Rose’s vow of not teaching her kids magic wouldn’t have been as crippling, since there would still be other parts of the family.

        See this is the odd thing. The Thorburns seem to have been the family with the least interest in expanding their power from what we’ve seen. I mean what did the Thorburns ever actually do to the other families? So far it seems like nothing. Yes Diabolism bad, demons destroy reality, etc. But so far we haven’t actually heard much in the way of details on the Thorburns using demons. Granny Rose mentioned using the Barber on enemies a few times, but even then we have little to go on. She may have been using him to take out Diabolists who were trying to summon something worse, nipping a problem in the bud, or she may have been getting vengance on someone who said her but was big. We don’t know.

        While summoning demons might be a bad thing, so far it’s kinda abstract compared to conspiring to commit murder by having goblins take someone apart, or torturing a person three times to trap the soul. In short, we have no evidence that the Thorburns ever acted as badly as the other families are now. We just have Heresy. Like saying you hate someone because they are a criminal, but without knowing the crimes and the context.

        1. We have no details on what the Jacobs Bell practitioners got up to before Granny Rose period</i. We have no way of knowing either way and the only reason that we would assume that all Thorburns were always misunderstood ever in POV bias. Which makes no damn sense whatsoever since our narrator wasn't ever sympathetic to his family until recently in the first place.

          Hell, the Thorburns could have been the terror of Jacobs Bell in the deuces before this, disembowelling Behaim babies and dressing themselves in their guts. We have literally no way of knowing, just like we have no idea what 90% of the Behaims and Duchamps are actually like outside of the ones who have interacted with Blake.

          That's what's important. That's why Laird brought up the entire metaphor about the Cold War way back in the start of the story. Because it's the same situation. The US and Russia assumed the worst about each about each other due to an incomplete view of the picture. Just like the Behaims and Duchamps do to Blake and just like we, the audience, do to the Behaims and Duchamps.

          The only thing every character in the story knows for sure is that diabolism fucks the world up. Period. Every single character including Blake knows this.

          1. It’s just odd to me this far in we haven’t actually heard of any past member of the Thorburns doing anything to anyone in the Duchamp or Behaim lines. No arguing demons are bad shit. But lets use a nuke metaphor. Let’s say someone uses nukes to kill every single person in a country. Now lets say someone has an army march in and kill every single person in a country by shooting them in the head. Is the act of using the nuke that much more evil due to having the radioactive fall out than the army one?

            Actually I totally went off on a tangent from my first post in. Originally I was just going to muse about how it seemed like the Thorburns were the least concerned with building their families powerbase, sticking with just a single practicioner, and being the smallest family. Though Rose Sr.s mother was collecting all those books, so they may just have been in the Knowledge is Power school of thought.

            Course I’d find it almost refreshing for a change if we got the whole picture and the other side were even bigger assholes than we thought.

            1. Is the act of using the nuke that much more evil due to having the radioactive fall out than the army one?

              Kinda, yeah.

              I’m not going to link it, but youtube Hadashi no Gen. Second and Third hits. Or don’t if you’re squeamish. Look at SF Debris’s review of The Day After instead.

              The only reason we have room to imagine that nukes aren’t that bad isn’t because using them twice freaked us the fuck out so much that we never used them again and the idea of an all-out nuclear war was the? nightmare scenario for much of the twentieth century.

              Goblins and Undead atleast don’t make the world a significantly worse place just by standing there.

              Course I’d find it almost refreshing for a change if we got the whole picture and the other side were even bigger assholes than we thought.

              That would be profoundly boring, and very much un-Wildbow. Attempts to erase any hope for moral ambiguity and prevent empathy for antagonists just piss me off more than anything, especially if the antagonists are families. I mean, for all of Blake’s flaws, he doesn’t have that much of a persecution complex as that kind of story does.

            2. I am asking how evil an act is, not how destructive. Nukes are damaging, horrifying and destructive, yes. But with a nuke it is possible for it all to be one person indescrimitly and instantly dooming a city, all while their victims remain nothing but numbers to them. The army example, the entire army needs to be willing to do this deed. To drag out screaming families and shoot them in front of each other. Not one persons evil but the evil of an entire group done even in the face of their vicims begging. Okay typing that out they are both real damn evil. But the point I’m making is that how evil an act is isn’t just how much damage it does to the world, or how many die. To me how cruel and malicious it is are a factor as well.

              Okay new analogy. Doomsday or the Joker, who’s more evil? If we go by amount of death and destruction Doomsday wins because he’s killed entire planets. But Joker has been far more sadistic and cruel on an individual basis. Please note I am not attempting an exact matchup to the events in Pact. In that case Demons would be more comprable to Darksied. But the point I’m trying to make is asking if we just judge how evil something is by ammount of destruction, or if their are other factors we should include in our judgement.

              As for it being boring, it just seems like a while since I read a story with a villian who was just an asshole. After a few times of “Oh but he had this sad thing happen to him so we should feel bad he just got killed by the heroes after all the moral event horizons he’s crossed” that gets kinda boring too. As for it being Un-Wildbow, what about Wnpx Fynfu? I don’t remember them having any moral ambiguity.

        2. I think greed plays a part in it too. I think I remember something about everyone wanting the town to expand, but the Thorburns refuse to sell the territory. Dont know if it applies to the practitioners as well as the normal civilians.

          1. Laird says this, very exiplicitly, in 1-4:

            ““Should this small southern nation cease to be a concern, everyone else profits, and the nukes being removed from the picture is only a small part of that. The other countries would be elevated to a new age… and the country who is most powerful will take the helm, quite possibly forever.””

            Greed and power are most of the motivations here, especially for the practitioners, diabolism is just the incentive and excuse.

            It’s just that nobody (myself included) tends to remember it, probably from how much the “Diabolist!” bit gets played up.

  22. i should probably point out that both scenarios have identical outcomes. as in both have one country genocide the entire population of the other.
    The problem is we haven’t Seen anyone (other then Grandma rose and most of her CONFIRMED misdeeds have been off-screen, so to speak,so far) do anything that would justify the borderline psychotic, unreasoning hatred the other practitioners in the town display, to the point of essentially brainwashing their children into earnestly believing torturing a frightened, by then defenseless girl to death with CORKSCREWS is just!
    Lard had no qualms about forcing someone to re-experience the memories, false or not, of being repeatedly raped by frikking goblins, maybe even the some ones responsible for murdering Molly! so far, almost every action we’ve seen the other families carry out have them stooping to levels of all-but-card-carrying Villainy that’d make Snidely Whiplash/Joseph Stalin go “whoa! i think that’s going a bit overboard!”

    They’ve NEVER offered a justification or excuse for their actions past ” your grandmother was a Diabolist, so we are as angels for raping and murdering our way though your entire family line” the adults or ” i dont care about anyone other then myself and the good of my family. everyone you love and care about can die horribly and i will sleep like a newborn baby. if you DARE defend yourself, i will swear to kill you and everyone you love myself’ the Children

    we’ve allready seen that memories and connections can easily be falsified or stolen. an everyone seems AWFULLY convinced they are saints themselves (whilst merrily dancing over the Moral Event horizon in a Conga-line), while the Thornburn family are worse then the Borgias, and NEVER really seem to suffer for all the bad karama that MUST be generating ( or magically seem to always Generate enough good karma to balance it out).
    Frankly,i smell a rat.
    .
    ..

    or Maybe a Crow.

    1. Post Rose Sr, they seem to be suffering. Molly and Blake in particular. The ones in the house in this arc payed a price too.

      Maybe its a situation where if you use Demons like Rose sr., the demons offer some protection. The bad karma builds until something catastrophic happens.

    2. Er.

      The way everyone hates the Thorburns is their suffering. Karma works by making everyone judge you as harshly as possible.

      1. that’s a pretty thin justification. the other two families clearly have a lot of experience at cheating karma. why wouldn’t they be protected from it’s effects on their perceptions? that’d be the logical thing to defend your line against if you were going to be a puppy kicking sociopath determined to cheat the pitiful excuse for justice that exists in your world

        1. Because the effects of their good karma on the Duchamps and Behaims is positive. They didn’t make the decisions that the Thorburns did, why would they want to punish themselves by removing the good benefits that their good karma has brought just because some few Thorburn people say that they’re good and shouldn’t be treated harshly?

  23. If Rose is taken over by Conquest then “Rose” has to go somewhere, right? Isn’t that the language that we usually use to describe that type of possession? And where else would she go but to her “buddy/brother”, the one that she was sharing power back and forth between not so long ago (and possibly still is)? Perhaps that’s the key to restoring Ross — Blake doesn’t need to steal or take anything from Rose, he just needs her to be pushed aside as she’s taken over by Conquest.

    And Rose has been purposefully channeling Conquest recently. Perhaps that’s why Blake seems to be exhibiting more self control (typically a Rose trait, not a Blake trait), why Rose seems paler, etc., because she’s just not “there” anymore, like when Blake was bled out.

    1. But kinda unlike Conquest to let someone of interest slip away from his greedy paws, though.
      It’s not his style to cowardly claim property just because the owner wasn’t around to defend it. Or maybe he’s changing enough to accept that…

      1. He’s not letting Rose slip away, he’s looking at her body and saying, “This is no longer your body, it’s mine now. You’re evicted. Get thee hence.” Then, once he has her whole body, he’ll start following the link and take over Blake’s body too. In the meantime, though, Blake is getting to absorb Rose’s traits/essence.

        1. Anything but that. Bad things happening to the characters is all well and good; but I really, really, really don’t want to see Conquest return. He had his time in the spotlight, and wasted it, and now he’s supposed to be done.

          There are tons of great villains in Pact (the abyss, Ur, and the various Jacob’s Bell factions come to mind), but Conquest isn’t one of them.

      2. it actually sounds just like his style. conquest by NATURE is a bully, plain and simple. and the vast majority of bully’s run away crying when they realize they’ve gone after someone as strong as or STRONGER then themselves hyperbole. or run to mamma/ a teacher crying with a bloody nose. his entire POWERSET revolves around abusing those weaker then him. i predict that if he ever went up against a superior or weaker power he’d go down like he was hit with a sack of bricks

        1. actually, if Conquest and Blakes roles had been reversed at the time, wouldn’t have ACTUALLY have been curbstomped? as in if Blake was more confident and in a position of actual authority, even of conquest was the same otherwise?

  24. Dolores[D] renamed themselves to ThorburnBogeyman
    Craig[B]: …what?
    Lea[D]: Oh god.

    Hahahaa. I hope Blake can feed on people’s fear through the Internet, because that was a great horror movie moment. And he wasn’t even trying.

    In fact… I wonder if Blake wrote a creepypasta about himself and spread it online, he could feed on that.

    …Which raises the further possibility some bogeyman already did that.

    1. Slenderman! I knew he was real!

      But really, that’s an interesting idea. Given how the Others seem so mutable here, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were purely internet-dwelling Others by this point. Which would be…interesting.

      1. Oh,wow,I actually wrote a short fanfiction/profile about Slenderman abusing the internet to become the most powerful boogeyman in existence a few chapters back,on the comment section,without having read that comment.

        Great minds think alike,eh?

  25. Chris[Th] has renamed Chris[Th] to Christoff[Th]
    Good to know Christoff has his priorities straight.

    Nice to have a change every so often. I wonder how the prohibition on lying works with regard to non-verbal communication…

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