Execution 13.6

 Last Chapter                                                                        Next Chapter

I’d perched on the edge of a rooftop, and I watched through curtains of falling snow as the Duchamps shifted positions.  The tolling of the bell in the background had returned to normal, or as normal as a ghostly knell could get.

Green Eyes slithered away from me, her tail scraping against my wounded lower back and the back pockets of my jeans, as she approached the roof’s edge.  She gripped the edge, and leaned over, elbows bent at right angles, watching.

Evan, sitting on my shoulder, was a little less dramatic.  But he watched all the same.

Some of the Duchamps saw me, I knew.  They could see the fact that I was looking, and trace it back to me.

But even with the bell going quiet, they were focused on their immediate safety.  They maintained a fighting retreat, abandoning their position by the beach as they headed Northwest.  Given how the beach here sat at the east end of downtown, their direction was toward the city proper.  They were moving quickly, getting protections back in order, and communicating with the others around them.

I saw how the group moved as they came around the edge of the park.  There were groups that had broken into threes – the pyromancer was part of one group, and there were two more groups that were composed entirely of Duchamp women and girls.  As an Other approached, it was set on fire, left to scream and roll around in the snow.  Another approached from a different direction, only to get rooted in place by a trio of Duchamps.  Binding it to the ground.  They gave it a wide berth, casting glances over their shoulders to make sure that the rear group was holding off pursuers.

A portion of the crowd passed them, giving a similar berth to the immobilized Other.  But it only took moments.  They moved on at a quick walk, and the Other fell in step just behind them.

“We’ll have to watch out for that,” I said.  “They’re operating in threes. That group seems to be more offensive, given how the pyromancer is there.  That’s one of the guys we’re after.”

“I see him,” Evan said.

“The other group is binding and capturing.  That’s almost scarier.  Once we’re bound, we’re relying on Evan to break it.  Being hurt is… almost temporary.”

I saw it happen again, and I pointed.  “There.  Can you see what they’re doing to pull that off?”

Green Eyes tilted her head, her temple resting on my forearm, to better follow the line of my arm and finger.

“No.  They’re holding up their tools and saying something,” she said.  She raised her head.

The Duchamp woman nearest the group turned her head.  More than one other Duchamp did the same, until most of the women who weren’t actively retreating were looking in our direction.

“I think they see us,” Evan said.

“Yeah,” I replied.

“They could do something to us, couldn’t they?”

“Be ready,” I said, but I didn’t move.

The Duchamps, in turn, didn’t come after me.

“What are they doing?” Green Eyes asked.

“Maybe they don’t see us after all,” I said.  “They can’t see that well in the dark?”

“Maybe,” Evan said.  “Most of them aren’t looking directly at us.  Sandra is, though.”

“Sandra,” I said.

I could almost make her out in the crowd.  There were an awful lot of women in winter coats and hats with long blonde hair draped behind them.

There were no cars on the street, and the Duchamp contingent made for a crowd.  Like oil and water separating, the men formed one group, the women another.  Not entirely, but noticeable all the same.

I saw some of the men talking.  Muttering, maybe.  It seemed the High Priest was a focal point in the group’s conversation.  The one that they were turning to.

“Wouldn’t mind knowing what they’re talking about,” I said.

“Us.  You.  This,” Evan said.

“Specifically.”

“You killing people,” Evan said.

More specifically,” I said.

“Okay.”

Green Eyes jerked her head around, startling.

“Hi Molly,” I said, without turning.

“Expanding your senses?” Molly asked.

“No,” I said.  “Evan didn’t freak out, and Green Eyes didn’t lunge.  Not many people it could be.”

She approached the edge of the roof, standing just by my right shoulder.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“I’m not sure what I expected,” she said.  “But you promised to go after the Duchamps.”

“I did,” I said.  “I am.”

“I heard you tell the bird-”

“Evan,” Evan said.

“-To save the Duchamps.  The enemy.”

I nodded slowly.

She changed.  I wasn’t looking at her, so I couldn’t see the full extent of it, but I was aware of her altering, to become something a little darker, a little sharper around the edges.  She spoke in her less human voice.  “I’m not wrong?  I thought the enchantresses could be working against me.”

“No,” I said.  “You heard right.”

She was silent.

Green Eyes tensed beside me.  She was more focused on Molly than the Duchamp group that was passing through a downtown without cars, people, or proper light.

“If you want evil, Molly, pure unadulterated slaughter, you’re looking in the wrong place.  That wasn’t the plan.”

“You convinced me to expend power.”

“For good reason,” I said.  “Look.  They’re already talking amongst themselves.  Worrying.  This isn’t about wiping them out.  It’s not about familicide.”

“The hell it isn’t,” Molly said.  “They want familicide.”

“If we’re lucky, they’ll fail,” I said.  “If we’re lucky, we can keep hitting the weak points.  Take out their power base.  The Duchamps depend on their marriages to other families.  If we break those, if we introduce cracks, we can break the family.”

“Cracks.  By going out of your way to save them?”

“Our weapons aren’t numbers,” I said.  “Not blades or guns or bindings or fire.  It’s doubt.

“And fear,” Green Eyes said.  “In the middle of all that, even while you were being shot, you looked like you were standing an inch taller.”

“Fear and doubt, yeah,” I said.  “They aren’t much different.”

I stood straight, testing my back.  It had healed, but not completely.  I couldn’t carry Green Eyes properly until it was better.

“Our enemy in all of this is complacency.  The faith that everything will all work out okay.  We need to shake them,” I said.  “Do the unexpected, hit them where they’re weak.  And these people, the Benevolent, the dabbler brothers, the Pyromancer, and the Spellbinder?  They’re weak points.”

I looked at Evan.

“They’re, as far as I can tell, monsters.

“I know,” Evan said.  “Because you wouldn’t, if they weren’t.”

“Thanks,” I said.

The two groups, of husbands and wives, I noted, hadn’t quite reunited.  Men on one side of the street, women on the other, walking right down the center of the car-less road, where they were free to move as a crowd rather than a line that could be attacked at different points.

I was surprised Sandra wasn’t mending the divide.  I had every expectation she could…

I smiled a little.

Of course.

The men who’d married into the family did too.

Sandra was paralyzed, just a little, by the fact that she was almost perfectly equipped to handle the situation.  They knew what she was capable of.  They were watching for it.  If she tried to manipulate them, she’d lose them.

“You do this, only attacking the husbands, the Duchamps get away scott-free,” Molly said.

“No,” I said.  “I don’t think so.”

I signaled, then made my way down the face of the building.  My hand caught window ledge, then drainpipe, then a roof that hung over the steps.  Being lightweight helped.  The landing was soft in the snow, marked by the crunch through a layer or two of ice.

By the time I crossed the front yard, Green Eyes a few feet behind me, Molly was waiting.  She hadn’t traveled the distance between points A and B.

She was glaring.  It looked pretty intense.

“We’re declawing the cat, Molly,” I said.  “Removing the horns from the bull.”

Evan perched on my shoulder.

“Cats still have teeth.  Bulls still have muscle,” Molly said.

Molly disappeared, joining the shadows and the snowflakes.

“Damn articulate for a ghost,” I muttered.  “What the hell is going on with her?”

“I know, right?” Evan asked.  “Artakulate.  She talks goodish.”

“Goodish,” Green Eyes echoed him.

“No way she’s becoming a god,” I said.  “So fast?  So easily?”

“I know, right?  Crazy.  It’d be like a ghost becoming the best bird ever.”

“Your tail okay, Green?” I asked.

“It’s good.”

“Evan?”

“I’m excellent.”

I nodded.

“You’ve still got holes in you, though.”

“There’ll be some trees along the way,” I said.  “I can grab some fallen branches.”

Evan hopped down, perching on one of the gaping hole in my side.  “You’ve got some broken bones, too.”

“Don’t do that,” I said, sticking my finger under his bird feet to pry him free of his perch.  He hopped from my finger to my shoulder.  “And with luck, we’ll have our hands on some bones soon enough.”

They’d rigged things.  They knew who I was, and they knew I was after them.  With luck, I’d already planted seeds of doubt, and some of them were wondering about the fact that I’d declared that Duchamps had sent me.

Hiding from them was nearly impossible, now that they were watching.  With that in mind, I stayed in plain sight.

They were moving down the street.  Now that I’d caught up, I remained one block over, moving parallel with the group.

As I passed through an intersection, I turned my head, watching them.

Here and there, there were traces of fear.  I could sense it, clarifying me.  All the same, all put together, they weren’t that scared.  Safety in numbers.  They were armed with a half-dozen to a dozen different forms of practice, and they were aware of me.

I needed to create doubt.  To shatter their confidence.  For now, I was content to match their speed.

Green Eyes trailed a bit behind, watching my back.  Evan worked to watch both of us, circling me a few times, when the Duchamps had a better sense of where I was, then looping back to check on Green Eyes when there was enough raw architecture between me and the practitioners to offer an illusion of security.

With each time we came into each other’s view, I noted my opposition.  The pyromancer was in the group.  I’d noted him earlier, and it was a question of keeping tabs on where he was.

Mason Hall-McCullough the Benevolent was there as well.  Spry for an old man, he had white hair that was neatly cut, combed straight back from his face, and he had a trimmed white beard with a pencil mustache.  Prayer beads were hung from his neck, folded over so that they formed two loops.  Each bead was the size of a fist, solid wood, alternating from red to brown, and was engraved with a symbol.  A smiley face, a sun, a four-leaf clover.  He walked with his hands in his pockets, but his jacket was open, and he didn’t seem to be bowing to the cold of the wind, even without a hat on his head.

I reminded myself that he could be a trap.  A name given because he was one of the hardest to touch.

The two brothers were somewhere in the crowd too, but being dabblers, they lacked any discerning marks, and were hard to pick out.  I looked for men who could be brothers, but didn’t see anything.  I didn’t want to ask Evan, because I needed him focused, and I wasn’t sure how easily his gaze could be identified with attention to connections.

The spellbinder, as far as I could tell, wasn’t here.

As next targets went, I kind of liked the Pyromancer.  Career criminal, he’d gotten his wife hooked on drugs.  ‘Ruined her’.

I was already pretty goddamn jealous of anyone who had someone.  Knowing that he’d had it and he’d ruined it?  That he’d perverted it and made it something ugly?  I wasn’t a fan.

I tried not to pay too much attention to him, lest I give something away.

Sandra, I noted, was watching me.  The Troll loped beside her.  Big, with braided white hair clasped in place with heavy workings of iron, and an animal gleam in its eyes.  Sandra moved through the group, meeting the High Priest of Dionysus near the divide between man and woman.  They spoke, but were much too far away to be heard.

The wind picked up a bit.  It barely bothered me now.  The only flesh I had was at my face.  I finished crossing the street.  The back of a laundromat blocked my view of the group.

Only a half block until the next intersection, if it deserved being called that.  Almost an alleyway.

Evan was lingering.  Communicating something to Green Eyes.

I quickened my step as I reached the gap, to minimize how much time they had to draw a bead on me, in a mystical sense, and saw straight down the alley.

Only a moment, only a sliver of the group visible.

Something had changed.

Eyes forward, now, I searched my recollection.  What I’d seen of the group before, what I’d seen after.  Not quite a ‘spot the differences’ puzzle, given how the group had shuffled and some people had walked further ahead or back, but… there was something.

Troll, the thought crossed my mind, an instant before Evan whistled.

I was already moving.  Picking up speed.

It came down from above, and the general sensation of its arrival was akin to a car being thrown from the rooftop.  A crash, the very ground shuddering, and sudden, violent movement, as it rebounded from the landing.

Unlike the allegorical car, Sandra’s troll didn’t come to a stop after hitting ground.  Without a heartbeat’s pause, it came for me.

Faster than it looked.  Enough that I wasn’t absolutely positive that I was going to be able to put distance between us.

There was an eerie kind of grace to her, in the same general sense that I imagined a train going off rails was probably pretty amazing to look at.  Everything about the the movements made sense in the general ‘A leads to B’ sense, and everything about her advance made me pretty damn certain I didn’t want to be near her.

She pulled a water meter off the back of the building in passing without slowing down even a fraction, tearing it free of thick metal pipes and fasteners.  It was one of the bigger meters, nearly as large as a microwave, but with the general aesthetic of a parking meter.

I glanced back again, just in time to see her throw it.  Again, without slowing.  She simply used the forward movement to drop into a four-limbed forward lope, moving like a gorilla might.

I moved a bit to the right, still heading full-bore away from her.  The water meter struck the ground to my left, hard enough that it bit through ice and snow and hit pavement with force enough to spark.

“Dodge!” I heard Evan’s voice, distant behind me.

I did.  Heading left, to where there was more snow and less ice on the ground.

A trash can hit the ground, and skidded on the ice, contents spraying out in front and around me.

Hardware stuff.  Boxes of paper and plastic containing individual parts, gears, and splinters of wood from crates or pallets.

As nice as it would have been to arm myself or collect something, I couldn’t afford to slow down.  I couldn’t afford to lose my focus, as I risked slipping on one bit of trash or another.

Commercial stuff.  Commercial buildings.

Benefit of being downtown.

I was approaching the next intersection.  I didn’t get tired, but I doubted the troll did either.  My focus was on watching where I stepped, trying to make my movements more efficient as I ran.

I eyed the building at the corner.  A new age store of some kind.  Women’s clothing, visible in the display.  Cheap looking, from the security fence on the exterior windows and door to the sign posted in the window.

Evan passed me, then circled.

I extended a hand, then a finger, and beckoned.

He set down on my finger.

In the moment I wasn’t looking, just as I reached the sidewalk before the intersection in question, a satyr came at me.  A headbutt.

Evan jerked.  I sidestepped.  I narrowly missed being hit.  He grabbed at me, but fingernails failed to catch on my sweatshirt.

I switched course, heading for the Duchamps.

I saw them stop.  I saw implements come out.

Enchantment was all about changing the relationship between A and B.  Influencing it with spirit or general effect.

If I misled as to what ‘B’ was, the basic plan fell apart.

I switched course a second time, heading for the display window.

“Unlock!” I shouted, flinging Evan.  “Then back!”

He found his bearings, and flew past the loose chickenwire fence that had been lowered around the shop window.  I saw the lock pop, the security fence automatically raise.

I’d meant the door, but that worked too.

Enchantment started to settle around me.  One of the teams of three.  Same practice they’d employed earlier.  If the relationship was between me and the ground, well, there wasn’t a lot I could do to get away from ground.

Evan returned just in time.  I caught him out of the air, then gripped him, sweeping him between me and the Duchamps, much as I’d once painted lines of blood to break a connection that was being used to track me.

I heard a sound of annoyance from him.  But the effect fell away.  I wasn’t attached to the ground.

My first thought was that maybe someone was living in the building after all, or the rules weren’t what I thought they were, and it was every building that was barred to passage.

But the glass did break, alongside my momentum.  Either the building used damn thick glass, or someone had influenced things, because hitting the glass was like hitting a brick wall.

In the moment I realized what had happened, my mind flashed to Sandra.

She’d be quick enough with that kind of enchantment, I imagined.

I caught my balance, then started off again, expecting troll hands to close around me any moment.

The troll had stopped, too, and was only just breaking into her loping gallop.  Duchamps were shouting.

Had Sandra ordered a halt, out of suspicion that I’d do what I’d done earlier, leading the Other in a blind charge into the Duchamp front lines?  Communicating something else?

The clothing on the racks caught on the exposed wood of my body.  I used Evan to club my way free.  The moment I rounded a corner, blocking line of sight, the clothing stopped trying to snag me.

The only meager light in the store came from outside, and that light dimmed as the troll’s large frame entered the building through the same window I had.

I headed for the door behind the cash.  Employee entrance.

There was a crash.  The Troll was destroying a clothing rack.

She hefted the remaining section, leaning back as though she were getting ready to throw a javelin.

I dodged right, but the ‘javelin’ wasn’t aimed at me.

It speared the floor, just in front of the employee’s door to the back.

On reaching it, I settled one hand on the thing, and pulled.

It didn’t budge.

I pulled on the door handle, touching it with the hand that still held Evan, and found it only opened about a half-foot.

Could I break it?

Looking back, to check the troll’s proximity to me, I could see past the Troll’s left elbow to make out Sandra, standing out in the street, golden chalice in her hands.

I doubted I could break it.  If I tried anything, it would likely be hampered.

Damn it.

The troll was smarter than she looked, and she had Sandra to back her up.

I turned left, but the Troll moved, ready to block my exit.

I turned right, and the Troll did the same.

If I made a break for it, the troll could cut me off.

Staying put wasn’t an option, either.

I was pretty damn sure I’d lose in a fight.

She was closing the distance.  her braids swayed, like flails, kept in place by locks of metal that could brain someone.

I let go of Evan.

“Did you just tinkerbell me?”

“What?”

“You tinkerbelled me.  Like in the movie-”

“Evan.”

“When they shake and spank the fairy for her fairy dust.  You spanked me!”

“Evan!  Focus on the troll.”

“Okay.  Damn troll.  She’s hunted me before.  Jerk.”

“Well she’s hunting me, and she’s not a weasel anymore.”

“Stoat, I think.  Stoat.  I asked, and she’s a stoat as a-”

“Evan!”

“Familiar.  We should run.”

“No shit.”

“Well, let’s go,” Evan said, clearly nervous with the Troll’s approach.

“Where?”

Away?

“Door’s blocked.”

“Then over-”

“She’ll get-”

The troll was getting closer.

“Up!” Evan said.

I looked up.

Cheap store.  Cheap ceiling.  It was a drop ceiling.  Foam or drywall panels.

I lunged in the Troll’s direction.  She planted her feet, hands ready.

I put one foot on the corner of the counter by the cash register, then twisted, leaping for one of the panels.

I got about halfway on the initial lunge-and-claw-forward movement.  I pulled myself the rest of the way before any troll hands could grab my foot.

The moment I was entirely up and inside the ceiling, the panel beneath me broke.  I tumbled to the ground, on the far side of the wall.

The troll emerged, devastating both door and doorframe, simply striding past.

I scrambled, with Evan’s help, for the emergency exit, past an office and a storage room.  Evan reached the door a moment before I did.  No lock stopped me.

The heavier metal door and exterior gave the troll pause.

I rounded the corner, and headed up the fire escape.

I was halfway up before Sandra’s familiar found me.  The troll leaped, gripping the exterior of the fire escape, but bolts came free of the wall.  She dropped down as the lower section of the fire escape broke away.  I saw her head back in Sandra’s direction.

Glancing at Evan, I gestured.  He flew in a lazy circle around me.

Hopefully breaking connections the Duchamps were trying to form to track me.

I leaped between buildings, enjoying the moment I was in the air, cold wind singing through me.

“You tinkerbell-spanked me,” Evan said, petulantly, ruining the moment.

“I did not spank you,” I said, looking around.  “And I needed to make sure you were clear.”

“Clear?”

“Of harm, for one thing,” I said.

“Right.  Sure.  Except I’m slippery and quick, so nyeh.”

“I know,” I said, stepping closer to the rooftop, glancing down to get a glimpse of the group before backing off.  “But… I think it’s good if you don’t waste that slipperyness.”

The Duchamps were moving again.

Heading in the direction of houses.  Sandra’s place, among others.

Once they got there, this would be doubly hard.  I’d be sieging them.

“If I don’t waste- How come?”

“Because you’re going to deliver death from above, if all this goes right.”

“Death from above?”

“Exactly,” I said.

“I don’t get it.  I don’t hate it, but I don’t get it.”

“It would be easier if the rooftops weren’t so covered in ice,” I said.  “I mean, ice works, but…”

“But?”

“But it’s not very elegant, or it’s too elegant.  I’m not sure,” I said.

I checked around one heating vent, where the exhaust had melted snow, but turned more snow around it into ice.  I traced it with my hand, finding more chunks that had broken away and then joined the frozen crust.

There was a path, leading from it to a nearby door into the building.  There had been foot traffic here, more than a little, maybe even shoveled away, but it had since been buried under a layer of snow.

Someone had broken up the ice.

They’d broken it up with something.

“Evan,” I said.  “Here.”

He unlocked the door.

Pulling it open, I could barely see inside.

But I could make out the shovel and pick, as well as a bag of salt.  A notice board was posted on the wall, with dates and names.  Breaking ice, the shit job for some employee downstairs who’d done something to offend the boss.

A small trash can sat in the corner, filled with food scraps and wrappers from fast food places.  Breakfasts and lunches, enjoyed during breaks from the ice breaking.

Here we were, then.

I pulled the lid and plastic bag of trash clear of the can, then filled the now-empty bucket with packed salt and snow.  I held it upside down to verify it wouldn’t simply fall out, even if the lid came off, then packed it more.

“Whatcha doing?”

“Making something,” I said.  I put the lid back on.

Using the pencil from the notice board, I scrawled a message on the side of the plastic can.

“Whatcha making?”

“A parcel,” I said, doubling down on how thick the lines were, to make them obvious.

“A parcel.  Huh.”

I showed him the message on the side.

“Per request, for treatment of wife,” Evan said.  “Huh?”

“Maybe it’s better to call it a missile,” I said.

“Missile?”

“Come on outside,” I said.  I looked at the pick, but decided against it.  Theft was bad, karma-wise.

Standing on the roof, trying to get a peek of Duchamps, or even better, the men that were moving with the pack, men who couldn’t use enchantment to find me, I heard a scrape.

I wheeled around, expecting to see the troll.

I only saw Green Eyes.

“Leaving me behind?  I can’t move that fast!”

“Sorry,” I said.

“Almost every time.  If I don’t jump into the fray, I get left behind,” she said.  She accepted my offer of a hand to climb over the lip of the roof.

“How’d you find us?”

“I never left the one street.  I saw you go over to one side, then come out the back of the building, then go up the side.  I was worried you’d kept going.

“No,” I said.

I heard another scrape.

“Shit,” I said.  “Wait, did any of them see you?”

“Maybe?”

Evan looked up at me, cocking his head.

“They let you go,” I said.  “So you’d lead them to me.  Evan, circle-”

I heard another scrape.  Something heavier.

“Around,” I said, belatedly.

Something, quite probably the troll, was climbing the side of the building.

Evan did a loop.

“Listen,” I said.  “Same idea as with the big thing you guided to the Duchamps before.  Just keep it on course.  If you can make it slippery, and guide it to the target… do you know the targets?”

“Sorta?”

“The pyromancer,” I said.  I touched the salt, checking it was still packed.

“I know him.”

“Then guide it, delay as long as you can,” I said, “Stay out of sight, catch up with us after.”

“Right!”

I heaved the bucket, over the building, in the direction of the Duchamps.

Tempting as it was to watch, I couldn’t afford to.  I ran, Green Eyes following.

Okay, that was a lie.

On landing, feet sinking into snow, settling on my hands and knees on the snow that had accumulated on the roof, I allowed myself a glance.

The bucket was pale, but not bright.  Not obvious.

Evan had spread his wings, breaking his speed.  He was at the apex point of the bucket’s trajectory, but the bucket had already passed that point.

He lost it.  Or was he distracted?

Neither.  He dove, and veered sharply, passing the bucket, swerving.  Accelerating its descent, adjusting its course.

I heard the impact, the scream.

I felt the fear.

Those two things were very different, in how they affected me.  The scream was a reminder that I was dealing with humans.  That I was dealing with real people with real feelings, who could somehow be grossed out and alarmed.

The fear, that was something else.

I didn’t enjoy the fear, but I did feed off it.

A part of me itched to simply leap from the building, to go after them.

A reckless, bogeyman part, hungry to take advantage of the chaos and confusion.

The troll reached the top of the adjoining building before I’d found my feet.

Green Eyes and I were already moving, leaping down to a building that was only one story tall.  Then to the snow-covered roof of a truck parked in the alleyway.

The fear of the group stayed with me.  I’d alarmed more than a few people, this time.  The alarm persisted, and they were worried.  A whole group, moving away from the rooftop in case I sent any more packages.

Evan joined us.  Without my asking, he circled us, confounding connections.

I pointed, and silently, we reversed directions, hugging the base of the building.

I could sense the fear, and I could sense their general locations.

We circled around back, until we were following them.

I saw a satyr turn back, looking my way.

Evan flapped his wings.

The satyr shook its head, frowning.

His sense of smell had turned his head, most likely, but he wasn’t confident enough about it to raise a voice.

They’d come after me, and I’d still picked off one of their number.

They had started a fight, I was responding in kind.

It wasn’t right, it wasn’t good, and it didn’t qualify as justice, but in a way, it was almost just.  Fitting with the way this world worked.

I didn’t like it, but I disliked it less than fighting the way this world worked and getting my ass kicked for it, losing everything I loved.

But this wasn’t a road that was set in stone.

I’d been looking for a goal, and I had it, meager as it was.  Not a grandiose dream, like being normal again, or riding my bike, or fixing things.

I was going to do what I could to steer things towards a better path, and I was going to try to stay true to myself.  I’d veer one way or another, along the karmic path or against it.

But I was going to be Blake, when all this was said and done.

Even if Blake was less than half a person.

I set my eyes on my next target, and gave the signal to move on.

 Last Chapter                                                                        Next Chapter

Advertisements

229 thoughts on “Execution 13.6

      1. After your Patronage page, I thought you were capitalizing your name. Should we still write it all in lower case? And do you want us to write your name with a * in front? Or “★wildbow”?

    1. scott-free
      scot-free

      Everything about the the
      extra ‘the’

      I saw the lock pop, the security fence automatically raise.
      I saw the lock pop, the security fence automatically rise.

      slipperyness
      slipperiness

      they were moving down the street.
      They were moving down the street.

    2. they were moving down the street. Missing starting capital letter.

      I heard another scrape.
      I heard another scrape. Something heavier.
      The first sentence is repeated and comes off a bit weird.

    3. Typos:

      • “as they headed Northwest.” -> “northwest”
      • “With each time we came into each other’s view” -> “others’ views”?

      • “didn’t come to a stop after hitting ground” -> “the ground”

      • “Everything about the the movements made sense” -> “about the movements”

      • “A new age store of some kind.” -> “New Age”

      • “Cheap looking” -> “Cheap-looking”

      • “her braids swayed” -> “Her”

      • “She planted her feet, hands ready.” – Do trolls have hands and feet? I figured if she could run on all fours, her extremities might be called differently. “Paws”, maybe. (I’d have to reread how she was described during Sandra’s Histories chapter.)

      • “I was worried you’d kept going.” -> the closing quotation mark of the paragraph is missing

      Other issues:

      • “Troll” isn’t capitalized consistently throughout the whole chapter. Random example: “I turned left, but the Troll moved” vs. “If I made a break for it, the troll could cut me off.”

      • Blake describes the troll as “it” in the first three paragraphs beginning with “It came down from abov”, then changes to “her”. Intentional?

      • “I doubted I could break it. If I tried anything, it would likely be hampered.” – Not sure what Blake wants to break here. The javelin? Sandra’s golden chalice?

      1. Cardinal directions are always capitalized, North, South, etc. Northwest is fine.

        The apostrophe is fine. It’s a possessive apostrophe — they’re entering into the view of the other person.

        Nope, hitting ground is fine, Consider the phrase “going to ground”: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/go_to_ground — same thing.

        This one is correct, there’s a double “the”.

        This one is also correct, it should be New Age, since it’s describing a time period like the Ice Age.

        Cheap looking should not be hyphenated because it isn’t a compound adjective.

        This one’s correct as well, “her” should be capitalized there.

        I think she does have hands. Big giant hands, but hands nonetheless.

        As to what Blake was considering breaking, it was either the javelin or the door, probably the javelin.

        1. Cardinal directions are not capitalized unless they are used to refer to a specific region (and used with the definite article), e.g. “the South,” “the West,” “the Northeast,” “the Midwest,” etc., but “north of the border,” “the southern hemisphere,” “driving east,” etc.

          “Cheap looking” should be hyphenated (“Cheap-looking”) because it is a compound adjective describing the fence, doors, window, and sign. Otherwise the looking itself was cheap, which might be, because we know that Blake can’t see as well as Green Eyes or Evan. But that doesn’t jive well within the context of the rest of the paragraph. It’s a low-end women’s clothing store.

          1. You’re right about Northwest. if it was “to the Northwest” it should be capitalized, but since it was “they headed northwest” it shouldn’t be capitalized.

            “Cheap looking” is an object complement. The sentence can be rewritten as “All of the things were cheap looking, including A, B, and C.”

      2. “I doubted I could break it. If I tried anything, it would likely be hampered.” – Not sure what Blake wants to break here. The javelin? Sandra’s golden chalice?

        The door. Literally two lines above. Gotta work on the short term memory !

        I pulled on the door handle, touching it with the hand that still held Evan, and found it only opened about a half-foot.

        Could I break it?

        Looking back, to check the troll’s proximity to me, I could see past the Troll’s left elbow to make out Sandra, standing out in the street, golden chalice in her hands.

        I doubted I could break it.

    4. The sentence “If I misled as to what ‘B’ was, the basic plan fell apart.” needs an object: either “If I misled them/the Duchamps as to what ‘B’ was” or “If I was misled as to what ‘B’ was”

    5. I heaved the bucket, over the building, in the direction of the Duchamps.

      Tempting as it was to watch, I couldn’t afford to. I ran, Green Eyes following.

      Okay, that was a lie.
      -What was a lie?

    1. A bucket is generally a bit larger than an adult human’s head. He overstuffed it with ice and salt. If I understand thing’s right, the salty ice bucket missile is supposed to break the pyromancer’s skull open, either on impact or against the pavement.

            1. Even if it didn’t kill him, as long as it hit his head I’d say there’d be enough fear. Scalp wounds /bleed/, and something like a heavy bucket, free to acellerate to its heart’s content would tear a nice hole in the scalp. Then comes the fun part of, even if you know they’re supposed to bleed, seeing someone screaming with their face covered in blood and it going into their clothes is all a bit disquieting.

            2. I think the salt itself might have played multiple roles here. As I recall, wasn’t salt used as a way to disrupt connections as well as other magic? To a practitioner of the Duchamps, that may well have been the equivalent of a Stealth Bucket. It dropped out of the sky with no warning, no way to predict that an attack is even forthcoming.

          1. guys dead out of nowhere not blinded. somebody died at my college awhile back getting brained by falling ice and this building sounds taller than that dorm(and the bucket was thrown higher, is almost certainly bigger/heavier, and was both laser targeted and was accelerated beyond terminal velocity on the way down)

      1. Hi, I’m Blake Thorburn, and today we’re going to be taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Now, our first victim of the day will be this fine Pyromancer fellow down there…

      1. The probability of a split skull with a deep concussion and whiplash is actually quite high… which can easily lead to a fatality at the most or a grievous injury at the least. Particularly as Evan will have been aiming. x|

    2. A gallon of water weighs a little over 8 pounds, so assuming that’s a five-gallon bucket and Blake packs the snow in solid then he’s hitting the Pyromancer with a 40lb missile falling rather fast. Salt would help the snow pack in and, in the Pact-verse, probably help keep it from being noticed via magical means.

      I doubt the Pyromancer’s head took it well.

  1. So Blake only has his face left. The rest is wood and bone?

    If Evan keeps going on about his Tinkerbelling, can he grow some glamour?

    I like the troll.I don’t wanna see her die.

    I was going to try to stay true to myself.

    . . .

    But I was going to be Blake, when all this was said and done.

    I find this to be indicative of something bad, considerimnh what Blake’s been doing since his return.

    1. The troll can’t die unless Sandra does. Rules for familiars — remember when Evan had his neck broken by Duncan? “Killing” the troll just costs Sandra power as it recovers.

      1. But wasn’t part of the reason that Evan revived was because in their Familiar vows Blake specifically mentions keeping Evan From death until their work is complete or something like that?

        1. The familiar ritual (almost always) involves swearing to keep the Other from powers that would claim it. For someone like Evan or the Troll, that’d be Death, but theoretically it could be the Abyss for a bogey familiar or a Faerie Queen for a faerie familiar

      2. But the Troll was forcibly bound to become a familiar, those locks on her braids may have something to do with it, if Evan unlocked them…. Heh, Heh, Heh 🙂

        1. It was explicitly mentioned that forced familiar bonds are breakable. On the other hand the troll might have grown to accept it since (it has grown smarter afterwards) and it would need to allow Evan to work on it for a long time without interference which there will be from sandra et al.

          1. It was suggested that Sandra and Hildr have a degree of camaraderie with each other, and I suspect that Trolls are the “respect to the strong type”. So one turning against the other is easier said than done.

            Try again, heretic scum!

    2. Or good. Rose was focused on “being the real one” (she may have changed her mind about that, given what Blake told her about Ross/ Rustle/ Bud/ whichever-male-equivalent-of-“Rose”-they-had). Blake has now decided to just focus on being as much of what he is, given what he has to work with.

      With this, neither of them may be falling into the trap of trying to replace the other, if they end up finding their own niches. 🙂

    3. “But I was going to be Blake, when all this was said and done.

      I find this to be indicative of something bad, considerimnh what Blake’s been doing since his return.”

      Well their is the slight question of who or what is Blake, and thus what does that statement mean.

    4. Either this is Blake resolving to tone down on the bogeyman bullshit and find a better way… or he’s convinced himself that a fear-eating monster that kills people Punisher style is what Blake was.

      Self-delusion ho!

      1. I understood it as Blake affirming that, though he may not be or ever have been a human, he still is a person with name, motive, agency, memories and past experiences. And that he will try to keep a continuity to his life instead of ever going “I’m an X now and Y is what Xs do so there’s nothing wrong with that”.

        I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but me :\

  2. Assuming Blake killed the Pyromancer, that would be his 3rd kill on his murder list. That should give him a buff for the rest of the quest, right?

    1. Also notice that his kills have been Karmicaly Punny:-

      A Scourge killed by a Boogeyman.

      A Valkalla killed by the remnant of an Other in weapon form.

      A “Ice” / “snow” dealer cum Pyromancer delt by a bucket of Ice & Snow; only thing more karmically would be him crippled by a dust explosion in a meth lab.

      1. If the theme continues, this would mean that the Spellbinder would be bound (hung) by a bound Other (Barbed Shain).

        The Benevolent would be a tougher deal, the key to dealing with him would be to somehow get him to touch the Guru Bead of his Implement with his index finger, have Evan peck it to free the spirits in the prayer beads & hope for the best.

        1. son of the family murderer

          “he didn’t do anything” “exactly”

          duchamps blamed him for not stopping it, not that he did it himself

          1. True but accepting is as good as agreeing with it. Plus that makes the ‘hug’ even more appropriate given his relationship with his father, despite knowing what was done…..

            1. “Accepting is as good as agreeing with” – this reasoning is weak coming from someone who until very recently accepted the practices of her family supposedly without agreeing with them.

            2. There’s reasons conflict/blood diamonds shouldn’t be traded. Accepting badly sourced goods gives the supplier a market and tacit approval of how those goods were made.

            3. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with the goods themselves. It’s only a problem if the provider benefits somehow from you using them. Since in this case the provider is suffering from a case of the deads, that isn’t a problem.

              This case might be an exception, though, depending on how aware the weapons are and if they’re suffering.

            4. Btw were you referring directly to me there? Or someone from the story, because I have no idea who/what you’re talking about…

            5. not stopping =/= accepting. sounds like they’re pissed he didn’t murder his father.

              and we don’t know his motivations for keeping the weapons. not sure if there was any kind of way to unbind them or what they are exactly, ect. (blake’s drawing power from evan would look real bad to an outside observer too. we know better but if somebody asked you to kill a diabolist/bogyman that bound a child’s soul to himself… especially now that hes using said child to murder his enemies)

    2. He already got one buff from the necromancer and the ogre brothers. Scourge, valkalla, and pyromancer make a second set of three. If he does the dabblers next, his penultimate execution would be the riskiest, while the final one would give him the weight of three threes.

    1. A wicker-man, a sparrow, and a mermaid enter a bar.

      The wicker-man fixes the bartender with a grim stare.

      “Tell me,” he says. “Would an impartial observer call you a monster?”

      “Fuck you.” says the bartender.

      And now the wicker-man has more bone than before.

  3. I can’t believe I just figured this out. The High Drunk is probably Green Eye’s favorite food. Evil Drunks. That can’t be a good sign for the High Drunk.

  4. Can I just say I really liked the imagery of “There was an eerie kind of grace to her, in the same general sense that I imagined a train going off rails was probably pretty amazing to look at.” This isn’t just a dude being chased by a monster. Blake has a giant mass of uncontrolled momentum barreling towards him

    1. Fun fact. Around the turn of the century people did pay to watch train crashes. These were delebritly set up with two steam locomotives colliding.

      1. Hunh, you’re right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crush,_Texas What I thought was the craziest bit was, after unexpected boiler explosions killed 2-3 people in the crowd and injured many more, the man responsible for it, aptly named Mr. Crush, “was immediately fired from the Katy railroad. In light of a lack of negative publicity, however, he was rehired the next day.”

      1. The dead kid (who is all about freedom from chains) just claimed a guy who is all about selling people invisible hobbles that only feel like momentary slices of freedom…

        Somehow, I can’t feel that bad about it. I know I should, but… Drugs imprison and scar souls about as badly as the Hyena did. 😐

        1. Have you ever done drugs?

          I feel like a lot of the people in the comments of Worm/Pact have never actually experimented with drugs and so, having only the most extreme cases of excess as an example, lack any insight into the positive aspects of drugs.

          1. Whatever the positive aspects of drugs may be, I think we can agree that drug dealers are bad people in general. There are plenty of ways to get weed where it’s legal (Washington and Colorado in North America, Netherlands in Europe) without financing a heavily criminal network. And harder drugs are destructive, noone should be taking them without medical supervision (said supervision will of course try to remove the dependency).

            But to answer your question, no, I have not done drugs. I don’t think either that drug dealers (or anyone) deserve death penalty. However Blake is more in the position of someone who has to be violent and murderous for the sake of a greater good and would rather direct said violence towards people as objectively bad as possible.

            1. Whatever the positive aspects of drugs may be, I think we can agree that drug dealers are bad people in general.

              Um… no?

              There’s a bit of difference between some ex-hippy growing weed in his basement, some guy who sells medicinal weed second hand to friends, and a hardcore cocaine dealer associated with the Cartels, even though they all technically drug dealers.

              Besides, the nature of crime means that theres no telling whether this pyromancer himself was being exploited by way of addiction at the time and he drew his wife in due to his idiocy. Laying issues purely at the feet of “bad people” is how you get a lovely justice system like America’s.

            2. What Reveen said. I don’t think this guy was just the Grows Weed on the side sort. I won’t say he’s Drug Cartel, murder your whole family either without more evidence. But his wife ended up unresponsive when child services showed up for the kids. That’s not a good sign.

            3. This guy was running some form of cartel dealing rather hard drugs. I rather doubt he was a nice person, although I’m not willing to call him a monster just from what we’ve heard. That is not a designation to use lightly.

            4. “I think we can agree that drug dealers are bad people in general.” – I don’t agree. I personally don’t equate ‘doing something I consider bad’ with being a bad person.

          2. Personally, no. But, I’ve done Psychology and my mother was a Psychiatrist. Drugs can be awesome. But, if you do those fields… you get to see the damage, too.

            That does tend to jade you: functioning addicts are the exception, not the rule. 😦

            1. Are you sure? Doesn’t that depend on the drug? Because I know more functioning ones than non-functioning ones personally.

            2. Come back to me in 15 to 20 years and say that. Short term (up to 5 years) it can be doable to appear functional within society and take drugs on a regular basis. Until a job is lost. Or a relationship tanks. Or a parent/ child dies. Or a period of depression starts up for any other reason. Or the drugs finally finds those faulty gene nodes and switches the inherited schizophrenia to “on” rather than “off” and starts irreparably rewiring the brain. 😛 Then the leaning on the crutch starts and the slope can get very slippery very, very quickly. 😦 (Seen this time and again: both personally and statistically in numerous studies.)

              But long-term functional behaviour? That’s lottery winning territory: people don’t like to think how rare it actually is, as they don’t deal with the statistics. But, hey: it can happen, right? 😛

              No, actually: that’s walking into a Mafia-run casino to deliberately game the system and expecting to walk out upright territory. 😐 You’re dealing with similar people. Those who supply the drugs care even less about the health of the people taking them than the tobacco companies do.

              Ask yourself this, next time: how much genetic manipulation has hemp undergone both recently and over several thousand years? And, how well has any of it been tested on people before being put out there? 😐

            1. Probably depends on the alcohol, but not much anymore, at least in America. French culture, for example, knows not to drink to vomiting. Probably about par with smoking, but I think people use far more of it at a time, less frequently.

              We need a Forum for these tangents.

    1. On one hand, murder is bad.

      On the other hand, I can’t help but mentally compare the pyromancer to the Merchants from Worm.

      1. I find weird how we’ve literally only seen a few lines about this guy coming from a person we don’t know. All we know is that the Duchamp believe/claim that he is a major drug dealer who didn’t take care of his family and lead his wife down a bad path. Maybe the Pyromancer had to make a drug related Oath at some point. Maybe his wife liked to party until something Other rendered her the way she is now. And this goes for the 7 targets in general. Some Duchamp youngsters honestly believe they deserve to die. Nothing more.

        1. Honestly, that’s all that was needed. Blake really has nothing going for him and if he wants some power he apparently has to get people to fear him, or startle them or something. About all he can do is physically smack people upside the head. He promised Molly that he would do something (the choice was that or fight Molly, apparently), and he has tacit permission from in-the-circle family members to go after those specific people, and he’s pandering to us, the spirits, who like a good show, so karma should really help back him in this. That it’s really not morale, well, he’s been doing things that he really doesn’t think are morale for quite a while now in order to stay alive. Personally, I think he’s well on his way to someday to have become The Barber. Or Groot. Who knows. 😉

    2. Evan’s reaction or lack thereof in the face of this killing spree is weirding me out. I think it may be time to address the possibility that familiar=loss of free will.

      1. I suspect that Evan has not had a very good month, what with slowly dying and having to fight in a war. His innocence might have eroded significantly when it comes to killing enemies after what the Duchamps and Behaims have been throwing at the Cabal.

        Granted, even before he was biting chunks out of people’s eyes.

      2. Really? I got the impression he wasn’t exactly pleased with what Blakes doing. It just hasn’t reached the point where his upset overwhelms his trust of Blake.

      3. even died and it worked out pretty awesomely for him right? all the best bird ever did was make the guy dead like him, how bad is a ghost supposed to feel about that really? ;P

        1. but yeah, right now hes going with the “i’m fine killing them for being monsters because you wouldn’t kill them if they weren’t monsters” circle logic and currently seems to be refusing to notice how blake is losing his grip on the bogy stuff.

          not sure i’d jump to loss of free will so much as denial+other stuff(he’d have to confront his killing a guy, lose his friend, ect. being a fairly innocent kid its probably easier to run with the “we’re heroes in a story” thing than do all that, good guys fight/kill baddies all the time in movies/stories/games. maybe that’ll change if he sees one of the monsters helpless and beg for mercy with blake shrugging it off and stabbing them anyway but for now they’re strong and actively fighting back)
          he’ll probably be fine right up until something reaches a breaking point

  5. So does Blake still have his Spirit Birds? Did he lose them when he created his new body? We haven’t seen Blake use any of his faux Practice since the mirror.

    1. yeah, I was wondering if that was why he told even to keep out of his wound. hes described fluttering (like when molly possessed him) and greeneyes mentioned the bird eyes on his cheek but no actual birds and no infusing of things

      1. As I see it, infusing things with the birds was kind of a last hope thing because it takes too much of its power and spread “drainstuff” when he does it. I don’t think he’s going to use much of them from now on unless the situation calls specifically for it.

    1. It’s not clear, but it sounds about like they killed him, based on the fear. Also bear in mind that it looks like Evan didn’t just guide the projectile but also accelerate it. Even if he didn’t, all it takes is a heavy weight from the right angle to snap your neck.

      1. My thought is Evan is pretty much the air of a sniper scope/pinpoint accuracy/helicopter for Blake being the sniper rifle with Green Eyes as a tank.(Modern)

        Another thought; I could see Blake being as a slingshot,Green Eyes as the single ammo to deal a fatal blow that,with Evan’s being a boomerang spinner for Green Eyes can turn out to be a powerful OHKO or a nice hit with the tail and mouth of thrice directed to long range knock back. If the chances arrive, or they don’t really due to rules that work with the karma of those types of hits.

    2. he killed a fire type with ice(on 2nd thought made some of it water in case it was too and/or not enough appropriate)
      also ice and powder are both drug types iirc and he was a dealer

      1. Bullshit. Fire is super effective against Ice, not the other way around.

        Unless you count the salt towards the bucket being an ice/rock type. But then you’d have to include the bucket making it ice/rock/steel. So it balances out.

  6. So the dealer got stoned with ice. Very fitting. Considering that something as small as a flower pot from the scond floor is already possibly lethal, a full bucket thrown by a superhuman strong Blake and guided and accellerated by Evan has probably not only broken his neck, but also crushed him to a bloody pulp. No wonder the fear is radiating so hard.

    Another set of three kills, and he managed to break their connection magic attempts on him three times, if I count right – so their hold on him is slipping, too.

      1. Move along, no “good vs evil” here. It’s ambiguous and questionable, almost like the real world.

        And for the record, in war there is neither blood, nor murder.

          1. Blood,yes,but murder constitutes unlawful killing.As long as the killing is endorsed by the highest authority,or by the higher authority that cares,its not murder.If two equally high authorities fight,the dead of thir fight are not murdered,as long as one side only kills opposing ones.In a situation where the higher authority does not exist or/and cannot enforce law,its not murder.

  7. Well, this was enjoyable.

    Comments:

    1. Who is this “Molly” supposed to be? There are supposed to be souls in Pactverse. If a person dies, their soul disappears. Surely if souls exist, a person can’t be that person without the soul, or souls would be entirely superfluous. So what’s up with Blake (who acted like a normal human until he turned Other), and this “Molly”? Molly died. So her soul should have disappeared, and this can’t be her. She should be an echo, and even if she gets more powerful and turns into a goddess or whatever, she’s not Molly. Molly died. If “Molly” still has Molly’s personality, Molly didn’t “die” for many reasonable definitions of death. Though she was still tortured, and still wants vengeance for that.

    2. “They’re, as far as I can tell, monsters.““I [know]. Because you wouldn’t, if they weren’t.” – Nooo, Evan, you aren’t doing your job as moral anchor if you answer like that!

    3. “We’re declawing the cat, Molly,”“Removing the horns from the bull.” – Was metaphorical language like this okay in Pactverse? I remember Laird talking about “nukes”, but IIRC he went out of his way to explain this was a hypothetical scenario.

    4. It must have symbolic significance that Blake is mending himself with Duchamp bones. I’m just not sure what the significance is. Is it more “desecrating the enemy’s corpses”, or “becoming very slightly Duchamp”?

    5. How can Blake sow doubt in the ranks of the Duchamps? The junior council themselves didn’t even know whether he really spoke the truth. Why believe anything a random enemy says? There is such a thing as knowing your enemy well enough that you essentially “trust” them to take a certain course of action, but the Duchamps really aren’t in that position with respect to Blake. They should assume he’s he’s lying through his teeth (/branches), and ignore everything he says.

    6. I like Sandra’s Troll familiar. Which reminds me: This makes me, once again, curious just what kind of familiar RDT had. Her familiar wasn’t present during Alister’s Histories scene. But was that because her familiar wasn’t demonic and she didn’t want it corrupted, or because it was demonic and she didn’t want it present where it could free other demons?

    7. I loved the scene Evan later described as getting “tinkerbelled”. Awesome.

    8. “The heavier metal door and exterior gave the troll pause.” – Should it really? From Sandra’s Histories chapter, it seemed familiar transformations were really fast. You’d think the troll would just shrink for a moment.

    9. “Death from above?” – Dominic Deegan!

    10. I’ll accept Blake being fast enough to flee from the troll, but Green Eyes is a mermaid. On land, she shouldn’t possibly be fast enough.

    11. Before I looked at the comments, I really didn’t understand what happened to the pyromancer.

      1. Looks like Molly, talks like Molly, commits horrible acts of vengeance (unlike Molly)…in this setting if you act like something convincingly then there’s a decent chance that you’ll become that something, and Molly is acting very much like Molly Walker tortured into violent reprisal.

      2. He doesn’t have to make the Duchamps doubt, he has to make their allies doubt. As far as their allies are concerned, it’s pretty unlikely that this random Other who’s strong enough to kill experienced practitioners can lie, and the Duchamps cannot definitively state that he can (because he hasn’t). His words have weight. And since his words have weight, anyone who the Duchamps talk down will have to wonder if they’ve been enchanted into calming down to prepare them for a backstab of their own…

      1. But where is Molly-ghost’s knowledge of how Molly should act coming from? The original echo should just be the collection of a few traumatic moments, nothing more. The rest of the person is gone when they die.

        If what you’re saying was correct, then resurrection and immortality in Pactverse would be trivial. Just kill others, or yourself, in such a fashion as to leave behind an echo, and then glamour yourself up into believing you are the person who just died. Result: You are exactly that person, minus the soul and the mortal body.

        Concerning your second point: It can’t be simultaneously obvious to the junior council, and Rose & co, that a random Other can lie, and obvious to the Duchamp husbands that he can’t. And how would they know that his words have weight?

        And concerning the doubt: Just like genre savviness dictates that one shouldn’t split the group in a horror movie, so too does it dictate that one shouldn’t listen to the equivalent of a creepy demon whispering temptations into your ear.

        1. “Result: You are exactly that person, minus the soul and the mortal body.” Yeah, I think that’s basically what Voldemort did and it worked for him, so… It seems like you’d earn some seriously bad karma for doing what Voldemort did, though. Perhaps that was part of where the Thorburn bad karma came from, way back in the day? That being said, to leave an echo requires you to have had a really traumatic death and maybe people just don’t really want to go through that. It seems like, if you know it’s going to be traumatic and you’re still willing to go through that to not “die” permanently, it would have to be extra-super traumatic so as to still bring you to that heightened emotional state. Maybe people do try those techniques and maybe it sometimes works for them.

          Would you be wiling to be tortured to death if it meant you could live on as a shadowy insubstantial wraith, a literal ghost of your former self (unless some practitioner constantly fed you power to bring you back up to fighting form)?

          1. Remaining as a ghost of my former self doesn’t sound particularly worthwhile, but the whole point was that apparently, that’s not necessarily the outcome. The potential, optimistic outcome is temporary traumatic pain in exchange for immortality. And that certainly sounds worthwhile.

            Of course, things in Pactverse won’t be that simple. So, again: What’s up with Molly? Why did it work for her?

            1. Molly is just Molly enough to be called Molly, but she’s running entirely on negativity and her personality has been severely warped. It’s the standard power in exchange for loss of sanity deal, which seems to have worked because she was fed power by Maggie (she of the destiny of blood and fire) and Blake (a bogeyman) which gave her enough power to act on her own. Then she set off the conflict. At this point I’m pretty sure that she’s using the conflict to further define herself as well.

              So, basically: immortality, yes. Likely to turn you into a caricature of who you once were? Also yes.

            2. The obvious reason is continuity of consciousness: if the result doesn’t have your soul, it’s not you but a copy of you. That’s functionally identical to it being you as far as everyone but you is concerned. You’re still dead, so “your” immortality only benefits other people. It probably also costs something. I would not be surprised if in this particular instance Corvidae is handling the bill.

            3. Well, the continuity of consciousness question isn’t exactly settled in the real world, where there don’t seem to be souls. As someone else mentioned ironically in this thread, maybe getting knocked out and losing consciousness kills “you” and replaces you with a perfect copy.

              Others have mentioned that this might even be what happens when we fall asleep…

            4. Oh, there are plenty of routes to immortality in the Pactverse. You could, perhaps, gain the patronage of a god of longevity, you could practice in body-snatching, walk the trials of the boogeyman and seal your soul to the Abyss. You could have a Valkyrie specializing in prophetic and oracular infusion, so your soul has agency in the world. You could become the patriarch of a chronomancy circle being fed with years off your underlings life, or commit yourself to the service of others in return for those years. You could glamour yourself into an image of eternal youth. You could give up your death and with it a piece of yourself, over and over until there’s nothing left. You could drain the power of a hateful town to turn yourself into a small god of suffering.
              Immortality is cheap, in the Pactverse.
              But your humanity is irreplaceable.
              After all, look at the number of immortal Others.

            5. Couple of possibilities:

              1) Molly still has her soul. Barbatorem was mentioned as being able to separate people from their ties to the Great Beyond – if Molly had forgotten exposure to Barbie similar to Blake/Rose/Ross’s, she might literally be incapable of moving on.

              2) Molly doesn’t have her soul, but Wraiths get ‘completed’ by the process of becoming Wraiths. Maybe her echo was strong enough, due to the intensity of her torment at death, to contain more ‘fringe’ information from her personality, resulting in a vengeful spirit capable of forming complex plans and reacting appropriately to external stimuli. Maybe the universe ‘fills in’ the Wraith with the missing bits when it goes from Ghost to Wraith, similar to glamour and other things seen in the Pactverse. In this case Molly is actually just a Molly-shaped imprint in the universe, and said imprint includes an imprint of her brain patterns. It’s about as much immortality as cloning yourself is – there’s something like you running around after you die, but you’re still dead.

            6. Molly is:
              1) Molly’s Echo and maybe soul if she didn’t pass on properly. Goblins CAN cause that. As can the Barber. As can Practitioners. As can particularly stubborn people.
              2) Maggie fed into the Echo bit by bit in the form of blood.
              3) Whatever Blake did to cause Molly to freak out like this. I’m thinking Blake leaked something into Molly, maybe part of his humanity/soul. Maybe something to do with him being a facet of the Abyss. Maybe some of Ur or Pauz.
              4) The negative energy of Jacob’s Bell.
              5) Whatever feedback loop/self-improvement/experiences the conglomeration of Molly/Maggie/Whatever-Blake-Did.

              In the end she is a Molly shaped Blob composed of an Echo, Maggie blood, Blake leakage and negativity. She may have Molly’s original soul or she may have picked up a soul somehow else. (Maybe Molly’s blood and the Blake leakage was enough for a soul. They aren’t exactly difficult to make. Heck lots of people make them by accident! )

            7. with how “similar” molly is to wraith molly….probably got better luck throwing yourself into the drains.

        2. We are forgetting that Mags poured immense power into the echo everyday in terms of blood. In pact blood has a lot of power. The echo would have been just a ghost if not for the amount of power fed to it. Lets not forget she was a practitioner, Rules for souls of innocent and practitioner are very different. Practitioners become less human and more other every time they lose power, what’s to say Molly didn’t visit abyss on death and was called back by Mags as a form of pseudo summoning by her blood.

          In Pactverse no practitioner ever dies they just dissolve/fade away.

        3. I strongly suspect that when Blake accidentally infused Molly with power he also infused her with some of his memories. She’s probably not so much an accurate copy of Molly as she is an embodiment of Blake’s perception of Molly…

        4. continuity of consciousness. maybe you look the same to your friends but the other you is still dead.

          like the movie ‘the prestige’ original you is the man in the box. sucks for him, even if other you gets to maybe be a god it doesn’t help the one who died any. its not so bad for plan z but i wouldn’t make it plan a.

      1. No, her familiar took on the mortal form of a cat, just like Cranaus and Hylas.

        My question was what it was before that, or what it could have turned into. And why it wasn’t present in any of RDT’s Histories chapters, but only during Blake’s memories.

        1. You don’t think he was actually a cat? Did someone say that the cat was more than a cat?

          Hmm, hunh. You think there’s a possibility that granny’s familiar/cat was incorporated in the Ross->Blake/Rose personas? That’s interesting, I don’t think we can rule that out at this point, given that we know that Blake’s memories up to the night when he first met Rose are fallible and can’t really be trusted.

          1. “You don’t think he was actually a cat? Did someone say that the cat was more than a cat?”

            Somehow, RDT doesn’t strike me as a crazy cat lady. More importantly, the story has stressed over and over again that your choice of implement, familiar and demesne defines you and should not be taken lightly. Who would waste one of their three power sources on taking on a pet?

            And how would a cat even participate in the familiar ritual?


            Concerning RDT’s familiar as part of Blake’s personality: I thought of that before we knew Blake’s memories were actually real but incomplete, and thought that this might explain the so-very-weird “With all due respect” line of the very first chapter. Now, that seems less likely, and in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if RDT’s missing familiar in the Histories chapters was just an oversight in the writing.

            In fact, every single practitioner in the story should have a familiar, and yet they don’t seem to. I can’t think of a clever explanation of why that should be the case, which makes a less clever reason more plausible, like an oversight.

            1. I harken back to the “familiar as arranged marriage” comparison. A familiar is a source of power, yeah, but it’s a bargain and it lasts until you die barring exceptional circumstances. Something like that you want to get right, otherwise you’re stuck with one of the profoundly unhappy relationships like we saw in the second gathered pages, and there’s always the chance (as with the Valkyrie Lord) that the perfect match will come along, some Other that fits you and where there’s mutual respect. So you wait, maybe try to hunt down the best one possible. You keep your options open.

            2. Well, when Blake fought Letita, the thinking was more along the lines that Duchamp practitioners all got their implements and familiars assigned and/or provided to them. So while the fit may not have been perfect, you’d certainly expect e.g. all Duchamp enchantresses with a few years of experience in the practice to have familiars.

              And they’re enchantresses; they should be able to do better than those worst-case familiar scenarios. (Though one would also have expected them to do better than setting up marriages that ended up with the wives enchanted, addicted, or dead. Well, maybe the exception proves the rule?)

            3. With the Duchamps specifically I am assuming that they’re leaving space free to use the familiar-stealing power that they were established to have way back in arc 2, which needs them to not have their own familiar so that they can steal the connection.

        2. About Duchamps being assigned familiars… they also get assigned husbands (if they’re lucky, from a pool they can kind of choose from) in binding contracts which, thanks to being practitioners, become more than standard marriage vows. 😛

          And, you find it weird that some get that, others get to choose at least their familiar (as if to compensate for not being choosing their husband in any way)… and still others are told to keep themselves open “just in case”?

        1. Puss-in-boots. Oh how much it hurt, when Granny would call out for her pussy, we wanted to laugh so much, but of course we couldn’t.

      1. He’s targeting husbands, claiming to work on behalf of Duchamp relatives/wives. He now did it three times, always ignoring Duchamp women that are nearby, and even protecting them against becoming collateral damage. If I were in an arranged marriage with a Duchamp, and not 100% sure I’ve been treating her absolutely right, I’D become nervous, too. And since Duchamps are specializing in relation magics, I’d be very on my toes for the slightest sign of manipulation of the “things are ok, don’t worry” category. This was already fully in action even before they tried to hunt Blake down.

      After he sucessfully executed another husband (in the middle of a Duchamp group), with a targeted attack, claiming again to have acted on Duchamp business, I’d expect things getting quite verbal, pretty soon.

      1. A Troll is a force of mountains/nature. I’m not too sure if they have a problem with worked iron/metal in general, much like goblins, depending on lore.

      2. The troll went after Blake, the leader. It pretty much ignored everything else. She was never targeted, at all.

      1. You’re right; Blake’s success makes his words believable when they shouldn’t have been believed before. But not that much more – maybe he can lie and acts on one level of meta above them, i.e. the Thorburn Bogeyman actually works for Rose but wants the Duchamps to think it’s infighting.

        But more importantly, I have a huge comment awaiting moderation that concerns how completely impossible Blake’s victory here was. Blake should be dead multiple times over after essentially confronting an army by himself, not leaving with one more kill.

        Good point concerning the iron. I thought the problem was the size difference, but if it’s the material, you’re right.

        1. Blake didn’t really confront an army by himself. There were Others who were described as also following/tagging alongside the Duchamps. The Duchamps couldn’t all turn to focus on him without turning their backs on the other Others. Blake was on the same street as them for less than a minute, and he again evaded them by acting like a PC and not like an NPC, when he ducked into the store. The other Others are NPC’s, they act in predictable ways, they attack in predictable ways. Blake is like PvP, what he’s doing is just crazy unscripted stuff that the staid dyed-in-the-wool no-real-fighting-experience practitioners are having trouble keeping up with. The Duchamps are awesome at PvE (in an MMORPG sense), but Blake is PvP — it’s a whole ‘nother ball of yarn.

          1. Also, with few exceptions, bogeymen act alone. The Romans were some of the first to show just how good trained warriors are as a group as opposed to being trained individual fighters. Blake is acting as a tank and a decent hitter against most body types, Evan is acting as scouting and disengagement / distraction, and Green Eyes is a vicious hand-to-fin fighter against humanoids. And they work together. Even no-face and pizza boy were only a two-person team.

          2. No no no. The NPC explanation is story logic; in real life, no monster with remaining sanity or personality would act in predictable ways just to complete the pattern.

            And for all that Blake supposedly has tons of fighting experience, why should the others have less? Blake fought lots in less than two subjective months; even if the other practitioners fought 20x less per month, they’ve spent more than 30x the time as practitioners.

            Blake shouldn’t get to play the “I’m more experienced card” here. And the “I’m a PC” card only works in stories that have one protagonist; in real life, a substantial number of people consider themselves PCs in the stories of their own lives.

            1. By two weeks in, Blake explicitly had more combat experience than most practitioners. Most practitioners do not actually fight at all, since there is no real need to.

              Also, wrt the “no monster would act in predictable ways just to complete the pattern” you may recall the twins that [i]committed suicide[/i] to complete the pattern.

            2. “But more importantly, I have a huge comment awaiting moderation that concerns how completely impossible Blake’s victory here was. Blake should be dead multiple times over after essentially confronting an army by himself, not leaving with one more kill.”

              Blake isn’t confronting the army by himself. Look at it this way. Blake is Leopard, sneaking into a camp and picking off his prey. At the same time a huge pack of wolves is attacking the camp. They can’t focus enterly on the Leopard, or the wolves will be able to rush them. If you notice the response has escalated. I mean this time they did send Hildr and a Satyr after him. If the Troll had gotten her hands on him Blake would be little broken bits of wood right now.

              And yes Blake is more experienced. He’s been doing this non-stop for two weeks under life or death conditions, and at a disadvantage almost the whole time. I suspect very few of his foes have had more than one life or struggle over the years. That does count.

            3. I think you might be missing the point there. Blake is a PC compared to most Others not most practitioners. Look at Conquest, Pauz, the Hyena, the Synchronicity twins etc. Others are generally constrained by their very nature. Conquest has to try and conquer. Pauz has to try and corrupt. etc.

              Fighting Others, if not necessarily easy is, at least fairly predictable. Conquest will try to conquer you and you can fight him using symbols of freedom. Fae will be elegant and misleading so be crude and direct, etc.

              Many practitioners never get into a magical fight in their lives. And those who have experience in magical combat tend to have experience fighting Others.

              Blake is like nothing they’ve ever fought before. He’s essentially an Other with the mind of a practitioner. He’s unpredictable. He does things like shoving scourges into the Abyss, using spirits to break connections and sniping pyromancers from a distance with buckets.

              Fighting him is like fighting another practitioner, only one with superhuman healing and stamina, a magical weapon utilising a spirit of escape and a lethal mermaid.

              Even then, they’d probably still get Blake if
              they werent already busy trying to deal with the horde of Others trying to kill them. But they are. Blake’s the commando using guerrilla tactics while they’re already in the middle of a conventional firefight.

    1. In Traditional African beliefs… a person can be split into a number of things. All important. You get the body; the name/ identity (which comes with memories and personality traits); the fire/ spirit/ spark (can mean the energy of a person, as distinct from their body: their stamina, health, luck, fate and resistance to diseases of the body, mind and the supernatural — depending on the clan and tribal traditions, this can be divided into two or more sections) and the soul (that which gets reincarnated and learns from what happens in your life history and can be eradicated and fall ill — but, otherwise does not a sausage and doesn’t interact with the identity much).

      Now… this kind of thing isn’t just restricted to African beliefs. Many shamanistic cultures draw a distinction between a spirit, and identity and a soul. How important each bit is in being “a being”… can vary. Let alone how each leaves a psychic impression. 😐

      So, that an identity can be something on its own? Isn’t at all odd. To me, at least (as I grew up with “enna” as a concept: think ba and ka — ennas are “the identity” and can become things that bump in the night upon death).

      1. I fear my suspension of disbelief really fails me here. I don’t believe in souls, and the notion of a soul doesn’t even make much conceptual sense to me, so imagining that after you take away a person’s body, you’re still left with stuff to distribute just seems so weird. And nobody I’ve ever talked to both thought they had a soul and that it was unimportant.

        I also can’t suspend my disbelief when it comes to sci-fi stories, because I study physics, and (to give an example) every FTL plot device instantly screams “nonsense” to me.

        Meanwhile, I have no problem with suspending my disbelief when it comes to magic or monsters in fantasy stories…

        Well, I didn’t say my position was remotely consistent!

        1. There are very few true-FTL stories. Virtually all seemingly-FTL stories involve some sort of tesseract, folding space, extra dimensional hyperspace, etc. They aren’t going faster than light, they’re using some alternate method of going around it to go faster than light. Besides, not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine, right? In every age, people have been pretty sure that they knew the truth. Consider Bohr’s model of the atom. And now we’re all just constructive interference of infinitely long vibrating superstrings. I’m just saying that just because we know the rules now, and that we have a very good experimental basis for those rules, doesn’t mean that our understanding of what those rules are might not change over time as we collectively learn more.

          As to the soul, “And there are more things in heaven and earth, [mondsemmel], than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

          1. As to the soul, “And there are more things in heaven and earth, [mondsemmel], than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

            You’re right, such as the idea that if you’re knocked unconscious or die and are resuscitated, you weren’t actually brought back to life. You’re replaced with a whole new person with the same memories.

            Sweet dreams 🙂

        2. Hey, I didn’t say I believed any of it! I just grew up not thinking of “the soul/ spirit” as being the only “supernatural” part of “human” as a lot of modern Judeo-Christian do. 🙂

          Heck, most of our Religious Studies was devoted to how backward and stupid traditional beliefs were… and how awesome Baptists are, so believe everything I now tell you about God and how you should be chained to the kitchen sink and hopeless at Maths. 😛

          1. Oh, I didn’t mean to imply anything about you; I was just talking about my own inconsistent position.

            I can imagine a world where you have a proper immortal soul, and losing it to e.g. a Dementor’s Kiss turns you into a vegetable. Losing it in other ways might also make you permanently comatose. And I can imagine a world with magic, if our beliefs about the natural laws of the universe turned out to be wrong or incomplete. I’m just saying, I can’t even imagine e.g. a world in which a soul exists and is worth caring about, even though it doesn’t really do anything.

            1. Gold doesn’t technically do anything, but it’s highly valued. Sometimes things are valued because of their scarcity. “But there are billions of people”. Given the Seal of Solomon, it seems as though you’d basically have to be the magical equivalent of an adult to sign away your soul, just like a youth can’t normally engage in a legally binding contract. That’s going to drastically limit the number of people who could sell/lose their soul. Then, if demons eat the soul or otherwise feed off the soul until it basically becomes nothing, as C. S. Lewis postulated in The Screwtape Letters, it doesn’t matter how many souls demons could get or have already gotten, it still just doesn’t fill the bottomless hunger they have — they always want more.

            2. If you haven’t read Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Mondsemmel, you should; you seem like the kind of person who would appreciate it.

            3. I can tell, mainly because your last couple of comments seem to have an unsaid “but logically” in them. It’s the type of reasoning that makes me think Atomic Robo is a bad scientist. For example, if souls exist, and can be detected, then that in and of itself is reason to care about them, if only for science nerds. You do seem humble enough to not be overly obnoxious about it, though, which is much appreciated.

            4. From your description you seem to be assuming that, because a soul (hypothetically) doesn’t do anything obvious in the immediate material world, that it doesn’t do anything, period.

              Perhaps the simplest counterexample is something similar to the Christian model where the soul contains a ‘backup’ of a person on the spiritual plane so that your experience and personality can continue on after death.

              If your soul were damaged or destroyed you would have no way to know until you died.

    2. Re: 1
      How do you know that Molly’s soul left?

      Even if it has, it is fairly clear that strong magic and intense emotions can leave echoes of a person. And the echoes may overlap, e.g. have the same memories, drives, etc. The stories Ra (qntm.org) and HPMOR have sort of the same mechanism in different forms. And echoes can add other spirits / powers and grow, but will grow away from the original templates. Or they can be folded back together (the angel “feeding” Blake) and what doesn’t overlap is additive. Since you take physics, maybe you took some set theory: The real point here is the overlap: echoes are subsets of the larger set, with the only restriction that elements of the subset must come from the larger set. “Adding” subsets results in overlaps being ignored.

      And the whole soul business in this story is so loosely defined that its abilities and limitations are unclear. Frankly, it feels like a soul in this system is just a near-perfect echo.

      IRL, I don’t think souls is real.

      Re: 2, 6, 7, 9, 11
      Agreed.

      Re: 3
      Blake’s ability to lie is still unknown – he says he doesn’t think he can, but he has fewer bindings than most Others or practitioners. Even if not, so many practitioners have been seen maintaining the letter of the law on the prohibition against lying while screwing the spirit that it must not be a serious karma hit.

      Re: 4
      Sounds like a possible avenue of attack – easier to affect him if you know a connection you can use.

      Re: 5
      Most Others have difficulty lying. If Blake says he is doing payback for mistreatment of Duchamp wives, then their first reaction will be to believe him. Some people know he used to be a practitioner, who also can’t lie without consequences. Only the smarter ones will realize that his limits have been broken and never reinstated so he might be able to lie.

      Re: 8
      The histories chapter shows Sandra feeding power into the troll for the transformation. She would have trouble doing that at a distance and is trying to conserve power.

      Re: 10
      I agree but there are multiple reasons to target Blake as the highest / only priority. The connection readers and prognosticators probably realize that Green Eyes will go away (specific revenge at most) if Blake is taken out. As far as everyone is concerned, the main problem is the Thorburns, and that includes their bogeyman. Realistically, the slasher-fic way Blake keeps bouncing back and killing in unexpected ways makes him priority one, and they don’t dare lose track of him. And one reason was in the text – Green Eyes will find Blake or vice versa, so they can track him by using her. So, while I agree, there are multiple reasons to target Blake.

    3. Regarding 3, I don’t think it’s been definitively proven one way or the other that Blake can or can’t lie. I seem to remember him realizing he could while in the abyss the first time, but since them he’s been acting like he can’t? Time for a reread!

    4. 1) It’s quite possible something happened before Molly’s death that let her come back like this. Or maybe it’s a copy, but Molly still did die. Think of it this way: imagine this “Molly” was made before Molly died. There would then be two Mollys, until the original was killed off and left only the copy. If this Molly lacks the original’s soul, that is basically what we’ve got except with a time delay. The distinction between that and true resurrection is very important to Molly-prime

      5) Probably because the husbands already sensed that the Duchamps didn’t like them very much.

      10) Green Eyes has turned out to be incredibly fast on land. She apparently slithers like a snake (remember, her torso is also scaled), can lunge/jump by compressing her tail, and is really strong.

    5. Rose’s familiar was a cat. It died the moment she did.

      …actually, this gives a whole new dimension to the “don’t pick a dog as a familiar” advice.

  8. Things are going incredibly well for Blake in this arc. But by the word “incredibly”, I actually mean that I can’t believe it, and that it doesn’t really make sense in the context of the story. Which brings me to a piece of criticism of this war:

    Criticism: The balance of power in this arc (and particularly this chapter) of (protagonist) Others vs. (hostile) Practitioners makes no sense. Let me count the ways:

    Familiars:

    1. Blake’s group is outnumbered a lot. Here, it’s Blake plus Evan plus Green Eyes versus several dozen practitioners. But it should be far worse than that, because unless all the practitioners are insane, every single one of them should also have a familiar, i.e. a full-fleged Other. The outcome of this chapter implies Protagonist Others > Hostile Practitioners + Hostile Others, which is insane.
    2. Every practitioner here seems to have an implement, and for good reason. They should have familiars for much the same reason. I’ll accept that Sandra’s familiar is exceptional because she went to exceptional lengths to obtain it; and that Jeremy’s satyr troupe is his familiar equivalent; but I can’t imagine any other experienced practitioner being insane enough to forego this obvious source of power. What would change if they all had (average) familiars? They’d have a myriad Other powers at their disposal; familiars take on animal forms, and lots of those would include birds (just like Blake’s familiar), because birds are useful (again, just like Blake’s familiar). Joanna’s familiar took on a bird form; maybe all faeries do. So there would be birds in the sky, and birds of prey, and Evan would have been dead or useless in the whole arc.

    3. To elaborate further on this point: Why are the practitioners putting themselves in danger at all? Familiars are literally immortal. Why put yourself in danger if you can just have your familiars fight for you?! (Now that I think about it, I think I’d expect practitioner wars in Pactverse to look like Pokemon battles. And I’m only half joking about this.)

    4. More on Evan: Alexis’ divination implied something bad would happen if the Thorburn Cabal took on familiars. Why has nothing bad happened to Evan yet?

    Long-range attacks:

    1. Being outnumbered is bad enough, but Blake stayed in line of sight with a huge force, and nothing happened to him. Worse, he was somehow able to pinpoint snipe a target. Surely if he managed to do that, he should, in turn, look like a hedgehog by now due to all the missiles and other ranged attacks the practitioner group should have sent in his direction.
  9. I’ll grant that Duchamp enchantresses may only be able to do long-range manipulation, but their husbands are no monolithic group. The sheer variety of their powers should by default include numerous long-range powers (and possibly even fire-based long-range attacks). We haven’t seen as much long-range powers in Pact as we did in Worm (some capes who could have torn Blake apart for his stunt: Jack Slash, Ballistic, Skitter, etc), but we have seen some. Off the top of my head, the Astrologer could have sniped Blake, and so could the witch hunters. Andy’s rocket launcher comes to mind…

  10. It was established that practitioners don’t like firearms due to bad karma. But if the ridiculous alternative is that a melee-based Other like Blake can snipe someone among a group of practitioners, and then escape unscathed, then this is just plain insufficient as an excuse, and practitioners should just use firearms anyway.

  11. A more general point on protagonists winning while they’re outnumbered:

    1. The Duchamp group is not acting like it consists of several dozen intelligent characters. Fine – that’s too much to ask for in any story. But the group isn’t even acting like a single intelligent character. To provide a brief aside: Eliezer Yudkowsky, of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality fame, is currently writing a minibook on How To Write Intelligent Characters because it’s NaNoWriMo. You can find it here: http://yudkowsky.tumblr.com/writing
  12. But the Duchamps aren’t behaving as if they’re the protagonists of their own stories (i.e., intelligently). Blake is badly outnumbered (just like during the whole story), and so he should lose badly (just like during the whole story). That he doesn’t instantly die makes his enemies appear weak (just like during the whole story). That’s always been my biggest criticism of Pact – Worm’s escalation of conflicts worked so well because Taylor was rarely the target, and so things could go to hell around her and escalate to insane degrees without it making her enemies appear stupid.

  13. Instead, this chapter is a classic result of the TV trope Conservation of Ninjutsu: “In any martial arts fight, there is only a finite amount of ninjutsu available to each side in a given encounter. As a result, one Ninja is a deadly threat, but an army of them are cannon fodder”. In other words, Blake wins here because he’s outnumbered, which makes no sense. (To commenters who want to explain this away, I ask this: Would you have expected this outcome before this chapter? I certainly didn’t. I’d have expected Blake to get squished in this situation, and have seen nothing to indicate why he shouldn’t have been squished.)

  14. To conclude:

    Basically, while I enjoy the action in this chapter, it makes no sense to me in terms of power of balance. If Pactverse Others are so much stronger even when outnumbered by practitioners, then I don’t see how humanity can be considered to be “winning”, as Johannes explained it. And if Others in general aren’t as amzing, and it’s just Blake, then I don’t understand why Blake in particular is supposed to be so exceptional.

    Sure, Blake has the protagonist bonus, but he’s also made from wood and therefore easily flammable; he’s just gotten a new body and yet didn’t need to get used to it at all (despite beginning his life as an Other in the mirrorverse!); and in general, he’s been an Other for less than a month (in terms of subjective time, probably less than a week). If this logic applied equally to all Others, older ones like Padraic and Isadora should stomp everything around them, and practitioners would be suitably scared of them.

    1. You are neglecting the point that the Duchamps are doing a [i]fighting retreat[/i] against Molly’s horde of Others, which was emphasized all this chapter and last. So long as Blake is staying just at the edge of sight, he’s basically taunting them, tempting them to overextend and attack so that they will be exposed to whichever Others are lurking around waiting for them to make a mistake. They’re not going to attack him and potentially divide their attention fatally, not unless he moves to attack them first-especially when he’s stated that he’s not necessarily hostile to all of them, in the face of all the Others that [i]are[/i] hostile. Note how in this chapter he didn’t hit back until Sandra sent her troll after him.

      Also, people [i]are[/i] scared of Isadora and to a lesser extent Padraic. You may remember how Isadora sat in Blake’s apartment surrounded by people she’d hurt or attacked and was totally calm. That’s confidence born from the knowledge that she can take everyone in the room.

      1. Well, we’ve gotten no explanation of why the entire Jacob’s Bell coalition was incapable of banishing Molly when she first became a problem, so I assumed there was none. It still makes no sense to me that enchantresses, in particular, should have problems against her.

        PS: You can put things into italics via the syntax “underscore text underscore”, or HTML, I guess.

        1. The explanation that we got was that the Duchamps used her by redirecting her chaotic aura against the house rather than it being town-wide. Then she broke that when Blake was about to shake with Alister, and the new explanation was that everyone still wants to deal with their enemies and thinks that they can use Molly to do so, or doesn’t consider her a big enough problem that they can afford to overextend and leave themselves vulnerable in dealing with her. Now that she’s actually focusing on one family instead of being controlled or rampaging indiscriminately, I bet the Duchamps will move her up on the priority list-but first they have to get to their demesnes and plan. She’s already broken one of their enchantments, they won’t want to give her another opportunity to build up to a rule of three victory over them in their chosen field.

          Molly is basically their murder victim come back to exact retribution. She laid out her terms in the witch hunter interlude, and they were refused. I bet she gets a whole lot of power behind her for that.

        2. It has been mentioned again and again in the story, by multiple characters even, that Molly is weirdly powerful and that even with her extra sources it doesn’t make completely sense. She doesn’t behave like a ghost or a wraith, she is incredibly mobile and wide reaching and she can be negotiated with, within limits.
          I am pretty sure Wildbow has something major planned here and I also have confidence in him that a sudden single arc where Blake kicks ass and takes names so overwhelmingly is very deliberate and will be tied in to the story in an intelligent way. Just wait and see.

          1. I’m sure you’re right. It’ll turn out that every life he takes sucks that many years from the end of his friend’s lives, so after he’s done they all only have a week to live or something terrible like that. :p

    2. Also, sending the familiar to fight for you is not a good idea if you’re not confident of it being able to achieve a lone victory. Even barring any nasty tricks they can pull on you with such an intimate connection, your opponent can just indefinitely drain you of power by killing your familiar over and over again.

      1. Um… but Evan, a familiar whose entire experience as a bird encompasses only around two months, has been fighting for the entire story, and this has worked just fine. And he should be a weak familiar, because Blake couldn’t feed him much power, and other Others would have had far more life experience and power. Penelope’s familiar comes to mind: “Do not presume that we’re equal, child.”

        So why can’t they do what Evan does? Or conversely, if what Evan does is a bad idea, why the hell is he still “alive”?

        And there are plenty of ways of eradicating your opponents in Pactverse; murdering their familiar over and over isn’t the only one of them. Putting a dagger at their throat and making them swear an oath could be standard procedure, but somehow isn’t. (The whole Thorburn conflict could have been avoided if Laird had forced Blake to swear an appropriate oath…) The standard explanation for why common-sense overpowered stuff isn’t done in Pactverse is “because of karma”, so I’ll just go ahead and claim that no, you simply can’t do that to your opponent’s familiar.

        1. Evan is fighting alongside Blake, which incidentally is a bad idea because in fact Blake seeking out conflict got him beaten by a demon. I thought you were proposing to send familiars out alone.

          Also, how is putting a dagger to their throat and forcing them to swear an oath not standard procedure? Blake’s done it repeatedly. The reason Laird didn’t do it was because he had a Mysterious Agenda.

          1. Re: Standard procedure: If you can force oaths on your enemies, as in Pactverse, the logical consequence is a monopoly of power by the first person to gain enough. Just like capitalism without any restraints would result in one person dictating all terms and accumulating all resources. In Pactverse, any initial power asymmetry between individuals would allow the strongest to bind others to their will, ultimately resulting in one supreme being served by slaves.

            Basically, it should be an almost trivial way towards godhood, and yet the most this has been used for is the Seal of Solomon.

            Now, I’m sure this would result in bad karma, but the effects of karma aren’t that strong, as evidenced by the fact that Blake managed to survive seven lifetimes of bad karma for a month. By the point you’ve sworn a few dozen practitioners to your will, would it really still matter that you had enormously bad karma?

            1. Three problems:

              1. I don’t think you can normally force a practitioner to swear an oath. If you demand too restrictive an oath they’ll just tell you to go to hell even if you have a knife to their throat. The only practitoner we’ve seen forced into an absolute obedience oath was Fell’s grandad, who was forsworn. That’s probably one of the nebulous protections that forsworn people forfeit.
              2. Practitioners are slippery. Even Fell’s family found a way to screw over Conquest.
              3. Once you’ve sworn a few dozen practitioners to your will, a few thousand practitioners will be very concerned. Also likely to be concerned: Angels, all of.
            2. Now I’m pretty sure trying to pull something like that on that scale will put on the hit list of all sorts of Angels,gods,etc.

            3. Ah, the good old “Assuming a magician of sufficient competence…” argument. I’ve never really liked that one. It seems to assume a perfect and infallible individual who is not acted against by superior force and has no weakness to be exploited.

            4. @Glassware: Surely the argument becomes more plausible given what we know happened in Worm, namely (rot13) Gnlybe sbepvat rirelbar gb jbex gbtrgure ivn zvaq pbageby?
              That scenario is exactly what I’d expect to happen in Pactverse, except it would never end.

            5. That was something of a special case. Fur pbhyq nhgbzngvpnyyl zvaq-pbageby nalbar naljurer naq jnf bzavfpvrag. Gur vafgnag fur tbg Qbbeznxre, fur orpnzr noyr gb orng gur pbzovarq zvtug bs rirelbar rkprcg Tynfgvt Hynvar, Qentba, gur Raqoevatref, naq Fpvba.

              To replicate that in the Pactverse, the hypothetical practitioner don’t just need to be stronger than anyone else, he needs to be stronger than everyone else put together. Because at some point everyone else is going to figure out what’s up, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll be kind enough to stand around and be enslaved.

              Granted, the Seal Of Solomon did happen, but the other side didn’t consist of everyone else in the entire world. At the very least, pretty much all the practitioners would be pro-seal.

          2. You made me think of something interesting… We assumed Blake fell into the abyss because Ur sent him there, right? But if Blake has been a bogeyman all along, isn’t that where bogeymen go when they for? Or is this something everyone’s already considered?

            1. Blake wasn’t always a boogeyman. He started off a vestige, or whatever the hell you call it when a vestige exists as a human. It was the Abyss that changed him into a boogeyman.

              I’m honestly unsure about if that’s where all boogeymen go when they aren’t in the mortal world. My initial understanding of it was that the Abyss was but one other world, but the more that the story goes on, the more it seems to be a primary alternative.

          3. No, everyone has an option. That includes death. They’re being told they can make an Oath or die. That’s technically not forcing them, they’re making a decision in the pactverse and the spirits judge it that way. It’s coercion, but not forcing them against their will because they can say no.

        2. Penelope’s familiar was also doing a lot of presuming when it came to Evan. Not all Others come with a built-in power reader. 😐 Practitioners and familiars are fallible can both become complacent when it comes to making assumptions about those they come up against.

          People assumed Molly was a simple ghost to start with. Easy to deal with. Then she became a wraith. Well, that’s a bit tougher, but can be dealt with, later. But… she changed so fast, she caught everybody on the hop. 😐

          They were so caught up in the ambush on the Thorburns, defending themselves from each other and having to shore up against random variables… they let things slide that they, with hindsight, shouldn’t have.

          Even the Beheims with their tendency for cleromancy have to be careful: they need to interpret what they see. Get it wrong, and they set up for the wrong confrontation. 😐

        3. Well, repeatedly killing your opponent’s familiar requires you to hold onto it somehow, which I imagine is tricky. Actually, it might snap back to the practitioner’s location if killed, which would still leave the risk that they just lock it up and go kick your face in.

          Also, they can’t do what Evan does because they’re different kinds of Others; Evan’s powerset is dedicated to surviving and escaping, so he’s much harder to restrain or kill than most familiars of his power level.

        4. Evan is a familiar with a unique ability that basically screws over the Duchamps. He breaks connections and enables escape. Not much in a fight being a sparrow and all, but utility is top-class. He’s like a mini-Gatekeeper.

    3. First block:

      1) You’re badly miscounting. It’s Blake, Green Eyes, Evan, and swarms of crazed Others against the Duchamp Coven.
      2) They are engaged, and some of the less well-connected ones went rogue.
      3) Sending a familiar in isn’t without risk, and solo familars are more likely to lose. That said, Practitioners do like to sit back and let summoned Others do their fighting for them. The Practitioners here were planning to sit well behind the lines and direct the fight. I think normally they hold their familiars in reserve to fight off attackers and bounces.
      4) The Duchamps have their hands full at the moment, and Evan’s escape powers extend to enchantments.

      Long range attacks: Again, Team Blake isn’t the only problem they’ve got, and he’s not a particularly easy target. Visibility is poor for people not named Green Eyes and Evan is disrupting connections.

      Intelligence: Look, sometimes the reason people don’t take a specific course of action is not because they’re stupid but because their opponents have closed it to them. If they focused their fire on Blake, they could take him out, but Blake got Molly to send a ton of Others after them for precisely that reason.

      As for this working before this chapter, I expected it would work out much like it has, with Blake staying back and hitting targets of opportunity.

    4. “The outcome of this chapter implies Protagonist Others > Hostile Practitioners + Hostile Others, which is insane.”
      No, this is the equation:
      (Protagonist Others + Hostile Others) > some Hostile Practitioners that nobody (including karma) really liked

    5. To be fair, I think most practitioners are pretty damned scared of Isadora at least, and the only one who dealt with Padraic on screen literally had her identity stolen. But good points otherwise.

    6. I’ll try tackling your problems Mondesemmel.

      1- No the Duchamps are outnumbered. Remember in addition to Blake infiltrating and striking they are being zerg rushed by all the others Molly’s bell is sicking on them. Meanwhile Blake is waging a guirrila campaign against them. Numbers aren’t helping them here because they are fighting on multiple fronts.

      2- Familers aren’t all the same thing. Not everyone has something that’s good for direct combat. The Pyromancer might have had something like a spirit that he used to shield himself from being burned. And Look at the Behaims. They don’t use their familiars like Pokemon, sending them out to do battle for them. Or they are using them to shore up defenses from all the Others that Molly is sending after them. As for Evan, he’s an exception. Most familiars the animal form is a disguise, and when they need to actually do something they don’t do it in that form, but in their true form. I doubt Letita tries to fight while in the form of a chikadee. But Evan is different. He has to be in bird mode to affect anything.

      3- See the above about differing ways familiars are used. Although the Pokemon idea does make sense, they sort of did try that. And then Molly’s bell started sending them back at them. Oops.

      4- Because Blake wasn’t a part of the Cabal at the time of that divination. At least I don’t think he was. And he’d already taken (and lost) Evan as a familiar.

      The long range stuff-
      Since they don’t usually carry guns, then they won’t have guns in the first place. Admitidly it could solve problems, but since they don’t want the bad karma… Also how effective would guns even be on an other like Blake? He’s been getting huge holes punched in him for a while now and it isn’t even slowing him down. And any good sniper doesn’t stay where he was when there is a chance of his targets shooting back. They take advantage of the confusion while the targets are figuring out what just happened to get away. By the time the pail hit Blake was already out of there. He didn’t stick around to wave at them.

      As for the Duchamps and their allies fighting stupidly, it’s not like they are soldiers. Normally you don’t get this kind of open violence and direct conflict. No matter how intellegent, stick someone in a hectic, unfamilar situation, and they can do stupid things. Put a rocket scientist in a firefight with a veteran soldier who barely earned his GED and see who panics and does something stupid.

      The Duchamp’s night was supposed to go like this. Send in witch hunters to disable Thorburns and Rose’s cabal. Wait until night. Send in all the others to kill them. Sit around comfortably. Instead all the attack others are now coming after them, the witch hunters are missing, the Behaims and Johannes aren’t helping anymore, and the group that normally avoids direct combat are in a warzone.

      1. All of this, basically.

        Whatever tentative alliance they had to try and kill off the Thorburns is long gone, meaning that they’re on their own now. They’re own strategy backfired and no one is helping them because they’re being targeted. The Duchamps have been in Jacob’s Bell the longest, so getting rid of them is the best choice of action for everyone.

        No matter how you look at it, the only ones who have taken a major loss tonight are the Duchamps. All Johannes lost were a few guests that went on their own discretion and Djinn using their favors for the day. The Behaims lost a bogeyman or two only and the power used to get the Timeless Armor running. The Thorburns lost their base and library, assuming that the Lawyers can’t snap their fingers and fix the problem, but they didn’t kill any of Rose’s allies (Minus Callan) and by luring her family they’re partially responsible for alerting them to the magical world and Callan’s death (thus killing the Necormancer was just), and the Behaims are allying with Rose on top of that.

        Duchamps? Their Bane, gone, Fairy Twins, gone, Pyromancer, gone, Valkalha, gone, Scourge, gone, Lola’s family, neutral, Molly turning their forces on them with a concentrated strike means it’s safe to assume more than a few died then, Blake is causing discord on the inside and knocking out various players, Sandra can’t exercise control over them or it will appear negatively. From the moment she had her ex smote the house and Blake turned it to a standstill to which they had to enforce a deal, they’ve lost.

        1. Also, we must not forget that labels have power.

          The moment Blake began to think and call the ‘karmic questionable’ (Evil is such a harsh and imprecise word in pactworld) practicioners ‘monsters’, the spirit might start lumping all of them together for the purpose of evaluating Blake’s deeds.

          If you start adding the number of others he had slain – (and during the melee in the Thorburn manison, he killed enough to paint the house red in blood and gore), there are a lot of three’s lining up to bolster him in combat.

          Him going after “karmic questionable” targets only, and sparing bystanders also gives him karma points.

          After all, the whole power thing is basically spirits watching ‘pay-tv’, and paying you in power by giving you attention – while karma is how much your character is liked by the audience.

          In fact, he’s giving the spirits a new version of the old Roman-style “kill the criminal” gladiator games, and they are buying it, hard.

          It’s a spirit-based version of youtube – the more they like your program – “Blake killing people you don’t like” – the more followers you get. This gives you more income – power “to spend”, which means your program gets better – commence circle

          Most of Pact tends to run in circles – do something – get better at doing it, do it more – become a one-trick pony. That’s why most others are pretty predictable and easy to deal with once you know what they are. Blake is actively trying to come up with alternative plans as often as possible, evading to fall in a self-perpetuating routine.

          1. Addendum:

            Blake has almost always fought in scenarios where the odds were massively against him – against the Behaims in Jacob’s bell, then in toronto against the hyena and her pack, Pauz and his pack, the shepherd and his pack, Ur, the behaims in the station, the doll attack, the attack on the mansion, the attack on the duchamp/behaim practicioners, etc.

            Going by Pactverse rule, he is now much more likely to succeed when all odds are stacked against him.

            And coincidentally (or not), he seems to be faring worse when there are fewer opponents to deal with.

    7. A small note: EY does seem quite sharp and all that, and I’ll admit that I started reading Worm via his link in author’s notes, but HPMoR is a hot mess as narratives go and I’d be wary of taking writing advice from him.

      1. He’s staying clear of providing basic writing advice, though. His writing advice in that link is only on how to write intelligent characters, and he has plenty of experience with that, while most authors everywhere make a huge mess of that aspect.

    8. “More on Evan: Alexis’ divination implied something bad would happen if the Thorburn Cabal took on familiars. Why has nothing bad happened to Evan yet?”
      Evan’s not a familiar. And the bad thing happening definitely sounds like Corvidae. He takes something when summoned. Something important and powerful. Evan being a particularly bad target to take would be Blake flipping out.

      “If this logic applied equally to all Others, older ones like Padraic and Isadora should stomp everything around them, and practitioners would be suitably scared of them.”
      Their creatures from the Abyss so that’s who we should be comparing them with. Midge, Papergirl(?) and Chain man. Chain man was planning on harvesting multiple practitioners. Midge held off a bunch of others while maimed. Papergirl looked set to kill a roomful of practitioners. It seems like if you have clawed up from the Abyss your pretty tough.

      And they have a bunch of advantages that their compatriots don’t have. Green Eye’s seems to have retained her humanity and with it her ability to plot. Blake knows all the rules AND he got out of the Abyss by beating the guardian instead of dealing with it. Evan escapes the Hyena in its own domain. These guys are top picks.

      Finally the Duchumps are running from a horde of deadly Others and have their own Others as back up. They tried to use them. Blake isn’t really out numbered. He is ONE problem they are dealing with out of many.

      In better circumstances the Duchamp army could sweep them up. But right now they are retreating. They can’t exactly stop to look.

      1. Also, Green Eyes is just plain tough, even for a bogeyman. It’s probably because of the Abyss rule of gaining power by eating. She’s always hungry and she hung out by a waterway in the Drains, leaving her in a pretty good position to scavenge the dead.

      2. I’m not sold on the Corvidae explanation. Remember, Corvidae doesn’t magically appear and mess things up; he extracts a (hidden) cost from his summoners. Alexis & co didn’t exactly want to summon him (even though they don’t know this specific fact); they had no other choice but to do it because they lacked firepower.

        Three practitioners with implement and familiar each would have had a better chance during the assault on the house, to the point that they might not have summoned Corvidae. And to be honest, considering they were all but certain to die, they should have taken the risk of losing an implement or familiar to Corvidae or whatever, anyway.

        If the familiar/implement got turned against its owner, on the other hand…

  15. Theory: The Blake/Rose duo is or was in fact a trio Blake/Rose/Molly

    There has been reference to the fact that it is weird that Molly was first when there is no reason for that to happen that anyone can think.

    This along with a brief mention of ‘tools’ being used on Molly that was implied to have might have been the Barber demon.

    Next take into account the inconsistent memories of Rose and Blake on who was chosen first. Blake remembers being second and Rose remembers being first.

    Last take into account the mention that the barber can re-split vestiges as many times as necessary to twist them into destruction.

    With these in mind A have two theories:

    1) Molly was the original of Blake/Rose and when the barber killed her he created Blake/Rose and the imprint/ghost of Molly and one of the reasons she is so powerful and weird is she is both dead and not dead as Blake/Rose is still alive.

    2) In this Molly isn’t the original but part of a first generation split Molly/Person X. After Molly is killed Person X is split into Blake/Rose (Or maybe Molly is split and Person X is either dead or comes around later in the story).

    Either also would kind of explain why she had such a powerful reaction to Blakes presence and became so much more aware, especially after he sad he would keep his promise to help her (Maybe he accidentally gave her some of her essence or soul back when he did this).

    Thoughts? Is it crazy or genius or completely stupid?

    1. It’s come up before. The problem as I see it is that Molly has different parents. I don’t think the Barber could have managed that.

    2. two problems with that. First, rose does not remember being first chosen.
      in the second chapter, blake asks rose what she remembers to check facts and see what’s going on, and she says that the last thing she remembers was being home because her parents were pissed that she wasn’t chosen first but molly was.

      Second problem- the original person of blake and rose was a guy. A guy that ran away, lived in Toronto, owned a motorcycle, and called RDT a rancid cunt (with all due respect). That much is clear. Also, someone was living in the thorburn house before blake/rose got there, and that someone had lots of female stuff, the razor, the clothes, and suitcase and all that jazz. When the universe tries to mend itself after demon-madness, it doesn’t create new items, and invent entire realities.
      So, it stands to reason that the person who lived in the house for those months before blake was a female, and blake/rose were originally a male.

      Now, that’s not saying that the split didn’t make molly then and there when RDT died, but there’s still one thing that’s off- blake and rose don’t remember each other. That doesn’t sound like much, but you have to remember that EVERYONE remembers molly, but no one remembered rose (until blake the human died) except rose herself, and rose didn’t remember blake at all. It doesn’t make sense that reality/barber’s influence did two completely different things. Why would the first split make an entire new person in a different family than them being siblings one moment, with blake remembering being friends with molly and all, and the next time make two separate sets of memories that can’t exist in the same time (the intent was for blake to die, and everyone’s memories of rose would come back, but it’s not clear if everyone would remember blake afterwards or not).

      however… your second theory doesn’t have nearly as many holes. For example, if Ross (or whatever the name of the origin of blake/rose is called) was split and molly was the first “rose” but instead of dying like he was supposed to, he killed molly first, then ross was split again and made Rose. This would mean that neither rose nor blake have the “soul” and “heart”, as molly died.

      1. Also, there are Molly’s own immediate family to consider. Sure, a fake set of memories could have been conjured up for everybody concerned, but…

        I don’t think so: the interconnections don’t come across the same way the Rose-Blake blank spots do (even before Urr). With Callan and Christoph, you can kind of see where Molly actually fits in their whole Walker Siblings Trio. 😦

      1. A couple minutes of Googling turned up a fictional herb named moly as well as Caltha palustria, which has “molly-blob” as a local informal name.

  16. You know what I just realized. The reason old objects and artifacts could bind bogeymen so well is because you use opposites to bind something that isn’t weak and Bogeymen are rather new Others, which is why Solomon’s Seal doesn’t fly with them.

    1. As I recall, “Boogeyman” is a catchall term for a (relatively) unique Other with a penchant for violence. It was brought up when Rose first discussed summoning Bloody Mary, I believe.

      Accordingly, I don’t think that boogeymen are particularly new. The One-Eye in the Hyena’s forest and the faceless flesh-molder didn’t seem particularly new, though I suppose I could have been misremembering there.

        1. From 6.7:
          “I guess, if you had to stick a label on this one, I’d say ‘Bogeyman’. Which seems to be a convenient practitioner label for ‘loner Other with a penchant for terror or murder’.”

          Was there further clarification later on?

          Incidentally, I apparently need to switch my spelling to ‘bogeyman’ for this story, though that looks like BO-gii to me, rather than the buh-gii that it sounds like phonetically, at least in my area.

          1. That’s interesting — you pronounce it buggy-man, like the wheeled conveyance that a horse would pull in the days of the Wild West? What area is that, out of curiosity? I pronounce bogey like a bogey in golf.

            1. I live in Southern California, yo. The only “boogey” or “buggy”-like word that you might hear out here is with a board, on your chest in the surf and that’s actually “boogie board” or boogie like “boogie down, it’s a dance fight!”. Well, then there’s actually the aforementioned “bogey” in golf, and also the bogey in movies like this famous one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvFc0EPRSI4

              Anyway, there are 13 distinct Southern California accents, but the three most famous homegrown accents are “Valley Girl”, “Surfer Dude” (which has sort of morphed into the modern “bro speak” or language of the bro’s), and “Hollywood Standard” which is the “English spoken trippingly from the tongue” accentless-American dialect that most actors have learned to use. There are so many people who want to be involved with Hollywood or want to be an actor in Southern California or who wants to be taken seriously as a business person learns to speak Hollywood Standard instead of one of the other 12 accents.

  17. If they had a sniper this would be way easier considering you can just drop rocks on peoples heads to kill them. You would think that would be an obvious connection but apparently not yet again more uncertainty about the abilities of people, just what this story needed more of.

    1. You do understand they were under heavy attack,right?and that a bullet would do nothing to Blake,litle to Green Eyes and would never hit Evan?

      And good luck,there is so much chaos and fighting,the sniper would not find Blake and co easily,and,even if he was a magical sniper,ghe would be pressured to assist the head on fighting,rather than targetting the commando.

Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s