A Little Bit Of Guidance 3-01

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I was halfway back down the hall before Avalon’s hand caught my arm. She yanked me around and gave me a firm shove up against the nearby wall before planting her other hand on my shoulder to keep me there. Her voice was hard, but quiet. “Where do you think you’re going now, Chambers?”

“To get answers,” I practically spat back at her. For once, I wasn’t in the mood to play. “They knew my mother. My mother went here and they never said a word. They never told me, and I want to know why. I want to know why she quit being a Heretic, why she moved to Wyoming, what they know about why she left, why they pretended they didn’t know anything about her, all of it. I need answers.”

“And you think they’re just going to give them to you now because you’re pissed off?” Avalon shot back, not releasing me. “You run in there and start flinging demands around and the only thing that is going to happen is that they’ll know that you know at least some of it. Best case scenario, they tell you what you want to know, but you still won’t know if they’re telling you everything, so you’ll keep looking anyway. Worst case, they refuse and because they know that you found out something, they’ll start working harder to hide the evidence from you. Things like that picture in there can be hidden if whatever this is about happens to be something they really don’t want you to know about.”

I stared at her, the anger at finding out that something this important had been kept from me still pumping hard through my system. “You… are you trying to say I can’t trust the people here, Avalon?”

“No, I’m not saying that.” The other girl’s voice was emphatic. “I’m saying that people in power tend to think they know what’s best. They decided you not knowing about your mother is what’s best for you. Do you think just throwing out accusations is one hundred percent likely to get past that decision? These are not people who make decisions lightly, Chambers. They obviously think it’s better if you don’t know the truth about your mother, at least not yet. I’m not saying you can’t trust them, fuck. You can trust most of the adults here more than most people in the Bystander world. They’ve been through shit, they know what they’re talking about. But as far as information goes, if you want more, don’t rely on getting it from the same people who decided it was better if you didn’t have it to begin with.”

I breathed out, forcing myself not to snap out a retort, but to actually take the time to think about what she was saying. It was hard. I wanted to start slamming doors and stomping up and down stairs.

Honestly, I knew she was right. Logically, I knew everything she was saying. In any other situation, I’d be the one advising someone else to think before they start blowing up at someone. But this was different. It was about my mother, and quite possibly had something to do with why she had disappeared. It was impossible for me to think clearly when it came to my mom. I just… couldn’t.

Which meant that the best thing I could do was let someone else think clearly for me. In this case, that meant listening to what Avalon said, no matter how much I wanted to storm into the Headmistress’s office to demand answers. She was right, if I wanted to know the truth, I had to be smart about it.

“Right,” I said quietly after another couple of seconds spent reiterating that to myself. “I’m okay now.” The other girl’s doubtful look made me cough. “Not okay, but calm enough. You can let me go, really.”

She did so, releasing her hold before stepping back. Her eyes were wary, clearly ready for me to lose my mind and try to run off again. When I remained still, she relaxed just a little. Well, as much as Avalon ever seemed to relax, anyway. She was still squinting. “So what’s the deal with your mother?”

My mouth opened to spit out my standard response about her abandoning my father and me, but I hesitated and bit it back before settling on a simple, “I thought I knew. Obviously I don’t know anything about my mom. She used to be the town sheriff before taking off with some guy she pulled over when I was a kid. Now… now I’m not sure what the hell I should think. She was here, she used to go here. Then she stopped. She went to have a normal life. Why? And why did she leave it with some loser? Did that have something to do with… with this Heretic stuff, with the fact that she left it? Did she leave it? I don’t even know if that’s possible. Do people just retire from this stuff and have normal, quiet lives?”

“Not usually,” Avalon replied quietly. “Most of the time if someone leaves, it’s a punishment.”

“A punishment?” I echoed, staring at her for a second. “What kind of punishment is that?”

“A bad one,” she snapped back at me. “It’s called Banishment. They send you back through the Heretical Edge. It removes all your memories of this stuff, of the Strangers, magic, your abilities, everything. You go back to being a boring, baseline normal human who could sit right next to one of those monsters and have absolutely no idea what they really are. You go back to being a victim.”

I was quiet for a few moments, collecting myself before asking as calmly as I could, “Do you think that’s what happened to my mother? Do you think she was… banished and that’s how she ended up with my dad?” If that was true, was her disappearance really something mundane, or the result of something coming after her that she would have known about if her memory hadn’t been erased? The very thought that I might have to reconsider everything that I knew about my mother’s disappearance was so thoroughly shattering that I staggered a little, putting a hand out to catch myself against the wall.

Avalon’s response was a simple shrug. “Dunno. But there’s other ways to find out the truth that don’t involve tipping off the people who tried to keep that information away from you to begin with.”

In spite of the whole situation, and my tumultuous thoughts, I had to smile. “You offering to help?”

She rolled her eyes at me and pivoted on her heel to start walking away. “Don’t start thinking that we’re suddenly BFF’s now, Chambers. Because we’re not.” Her stride carried her to the end of the hall before she stopped. Pausing there, I saw her shoulders roll a couple of times as if she was gearing herself up for what she was about to say, steadying herself. Finally, she turned just a little to look over her shoulder at me. “But, umm, I know a little bit about the whole family thing. That I… I sort of get. So if you keep it together and try not to be too annoying, I’ll see what I can do about helping you find out about your mom and what happened with her. But I swear on my own mother’s grave, if you piss me off, I will walk away and you can figure it all out on your own. You got it?”

“Uh, yeah.” I nodded and walked down the hall to join her so that we weren’t practically shouting back and forth before raising a hand. “But how are you swearing on your mother’s grave? She’s sort of… still alive, isn’t she? I mean, the Headmistress didn’t die in between classes or something.”

Avalon’s response was a clearly reflexive glare, her expression storming up briefly. Her mouth opened to spit out what was obviously going to be a harsh rebuke about staying the hell out of her business. But she stopped, looked away, and visibly forced herself to calm down before returning her gaze to me. Her voice was still cold, but clearly less than it might have been. “The Headmistress is not my mother.”

I blinked at that. “I—oh. I’m sorry, I thought she was because of your name. And someone else said–”

Avalon interrupted. “She adopted me, but she’s not my real mother. My real mother’s dead and buried.”

Flinching in spite of myself, I told my mouth to shut up. Unfortunately, my mouth was wasn’t paying attention to anything my brain tried to tell it. Instead, I found myself asking, “What about your father?”

“Oh, he’s still alive.” Avalon’s mouth turned up into a dangerous smile. “At least he better be. I’m going to be really fucking pissed off if anyone kills that evil piece of shit before I get a chance to.”

The headmistress was her adopted mother, her real mother was dead, and she loathed her father. My level of confusion kept going up and down so fast I was getting whiplash. “You want to kill your dad?”

“It’s only fair,” she replied flatly, not looking away from my stare. “He tried to kill me first.”

My mouth opened, then shut, and I took a second before managing to respond, “Why would–”

Avalon interrupted before I could continue. “Unless you want me to walk away right now and never give you the time of day again, don’t finish that question. Just shut up and leave it alone.”

I obliged in spite of my curiosity. Instead, I offered a weak little smile that I didn’t fully feel. “So what now?” What I wanted to do, still, was start demanding that every staff member I laid eyes on tell me the truth about my mother. Hell, with the weird way that ages worked around here, there was a fairly good chance that most of the people that were my teachers had actually known my mom.

“Now you keep it together while we go to lunch,” the brunette replied. “You want to have a chance to figure out why your mom went back to being a Plain Jane Mundane? Then act normal.”

“Normal, right.” I started to nod before hesitating. “Wait, normal normal or this place normal? Because I’m starting to think that the two are very different things.”

Clearly unable to deny that, Avalon simply turned to start walking away. “Just shut up and come on.”

My smile returned as I hurried to catch up with the other girl. “So are we friends now?”

Her voice was a flat retort. “No.”

“That’s okay,” I replied, strolling easily alongside her. “I’ll check again in a few minutes.”

******

The two classes that Avalon and I had missed while we were having our chats with the Runners were Trig and Bystander History. That was the class where they taught what the mundane world thought had happened. Apparently they didn’t want to end up in a situation where a Heretic knew the true Stranger-influenced event, but was completely clueless about what the rest of humanity believed.

Lunch had been about half over by the time we got down there, and then it was time for the first of two afternoon classes, and the one I had been the most curious about all day: Stranger Truths 101. It was the class that Professor Pericles had taught before… yeah. I wondered who was filling in for him.

My answer came the second I crossed through the doorway just ahead of Sands and Scout. The figure on the stage at the base of the amphitheater turned as we entered, revealing what I was pretty sure had to be Patient Zero for the epidemic of ditzy blonde cheerleader types in pretty much every movie ever. She looked more like a student than a teacher, especially considering the bright yellow smiley face that adorned her white shirt. It was a smile that was matched by the wearer of the shirt as she positively beamed upon our entrance. “Yay, students!” The girl called excitedly before gesturing with both hands. “Go on, go on. Sit. Everybody sit so we can have some fun and learn stuff, right? Right. Right.”

“I swear, if she tells us to give her an R,” Avalon muttered under her breath from beside me while we started for our seats, “I will not be held responsible for what I do to her.”

“Going for a twofer on killing teachers, huh?”

My head snapped around at the sound of the quiet voice, but it had come from somewhere within a group of students that were pushing past us and I couldn’t tell who exactly had said it. None of them were looking our way, and whoever had spoken up didn’t repeat themselves.

For Avalon’s part, she either hadn’t heard or (far more likely) was flat out ignoring the comment. She simply moved to the same seat she’d used the last time we had this class and continued to stare straight down at the stage without acknowledging anyone else’s existence.

“Okay!” On stage, the perky young woman clapped twice. She was literally bouncing with excitement. “First, I wanna say umm… oh well, first I should say that my name is Nevada.”

Vanessa’s hand went up, and when the woman looked to her, she asked hesitantly, “Umm, is that Professor Nevada or umm, Nevada Something Else That We Should Put Professor In Front Of?”

“Ooh! Good question!” The woman’s head bobbed up and down rapidly. “I don’t like titles and I don’t use any other name. So it’s just Nevada. Not Professor Nevada, not Miss Nevada, nothing like that. Just Nevada. Okay? Okay, we’ve got it, we’ve got this. I’m going to be your teacher for this class.”

“You’re kidding, right? Are you old enough to be our teacher?” One of the other girls asked from the other side of the room. “Because you don’t look like you’re old enough to vote, let alone teach. You look like you’re our age.”

“Yeah,” one of the boys added. “We’re trying to learn here. Isn’t this supposed to be an important class? Why would they throw some bimbo at us?”

“Right, right.” Nevada’s head bobbed easily. “See, here’s the thing, making assumptions like that is sort of like, how a lot of people in your position kind of… die. Things aren’t always what they look like. And that’s part of what this class is supposed to teach you. You have to stop making assumptions just based on what you see? This is how I look. Does that mean that I don’t know what I’m talking about or that I can’t teach you anything? Before you decide that, remember that it’s not me that you’re calling incompetent. It’s Headmistress Sinclaire. After all, she’s the one that hired me. So, if you think that, based on a thirty-second once-over of what I look like that you know better than she does, feel free to head on over to her office to tell her so. I’ll even write you a pass to get there if you like.”

The boy who had called her a bimbo mumbled something that wasn’t entirely audible and slumped down some in his seat, clearly embarrassed.

Rather than dwell on it or force the boy to repeat himself, Nevada simply moved on. “In the mean time, until someone wants one of those headmistress passes, let’s continue. As I was saying, first I wanted to say that I’m sorry about what happened to Professor Pericles. I really am. I had him when I went here and… and losing him sucks.” Something in her voice caught a little, and it took the almost-disturbingly young looking teacher a few seconds before she was able to continue. “It just sucks. I want you to know that I’m going to teach you everything I can, but it’s not going to be as good as he could have taught it. I’ll do my best, I really will. But you guys are missing… “ Again, she fell silent, clearly barely holding herself together. “You’re missing out. And if any of you want to talk about him or ask about the kind of classes he used to teach, stop by any time that you’re not supposed to be somewhere else. He was my teacher for a long time and I can tell you… well, a lot of stories.”

Taking in a long breath then before letting it out, Nevada visibly switched gears. That bright, seemingly clueless and overly perky smile returned. “But hey, time for actual learning now, huh? You guys started zombies last time, didn’t you? Perfect. Who remembers the three categories of zombie that you read about?”

I raised my hand about a half second slower than Vanessa, but Nevada focused on me first. “You, umm, umm, hold on. Hold on, I know this. Feeeeeeelicity?”

“Flick,” I informed her. “I mean, you got the name right, but I go by Flick.”

“Flick! Right, go ahead,” she prompted with an eager nod.

Holding up my hand to count off the types, I began. “The first type of zombie is the kind that’s brought back by magic or some Stranger abilities that were used after they died. Those are the slow, clumsy ones. The second type are the ones that are prepared ahead of time, before they die. Sometimes it’s purposeful, and other times it’s some kind of side effect. Either way, they get infected and it stays in them. After they die, they come back as zombies. Those are the fast ones that are better at hunting. The first kind are just mindless drones that shamble toward the nearest food source. The second kind are more like predators. They hunt in packs and work together like… like wolves.”

“Yup!” Nevada’s smile was bright. “And the third kind?”

“The third kind of zombie is a dead body that’s possessed by a specific type of Stranger called a Revenant. They inhabit the corpse. As long as they’re in it, they’re pretty much impossible to kill. They’re immune to pain, they ignore almost all damage, and most magic effects just bounce off them. But the bodies they’re in don’t last very long. They can only possess it for a couple hours before it disintegrates, and when they’re not in someone else’s body, they’re vulnerable.”

“Perfect, yes. Revenant-Zombies are an absolute pain in the ass.” Nevada rolled her eyes thoroughly. “Luckily, they’re really rare. And the ones that are left don’t tend to make a lot of waves because we’ve gotten really good at tracking them until they’re vulnerable and then hitting them before they find a new body. They stay quiet and out of the way.”

After shuffling a few papers on the nearby desk, she looked up to address us again. “Soooo, we’ll come back to zombies in a little bit. I want to show you guys what kind of side effects can lead to the second category, and how you can identify them before trouble starts. But first, I’d like to switch tracks just a little to a different kind of undead creature. Specifically, vampires.”

As she launched into that lesson, I looked away and tried to put aside all the thoughts about my mom that kept trying to crowd their way into my head. Had she sat in this classroom? What did she think about the vampire thing? What had her weapon been? Did she like her team? Was her roommate nice?

But more than any other question, one stood out and would not be ignored no matter how much I tried.

Why had she stopped being a Heretic? Did she really do something so bad that they wiped her memory and kicked her out? And if she did, was that related to why she had disappeared?

For the first time in my life, as far back as I could remember, I actually wanted to know more about my mother.

I just hoped that what I found didn’t make me hate her even more than I already did.

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20 comments

  1. “For the first time in my life, as far back as I could remember, I actually wanted to know more about my mother.”

    So do I Flick, so do I. Starting with her name. I would really like to know her name so I can finally start calling her something other than Flick and Ammon’s mom or the sheriff.

    “I just hoped that what I found didn’t make me hate her even more than I already did.”

    My guess? Flick’s going to find out that her mother had thoughts and opinions that she agrees with, but used methods that she can’t condone. Or something like that. Whatever the deal is, it won’t be something that instantly lets Flick forgive her. It will be something that makes Flick angry, but also something thay she will understand, agree with on some level, so she can’t just go back to hating her.

    Also, I’m betting that Nevada knew the lady, given that she defaulted to calling Flick Felicity like the Runner in the last chapter did.

    I now have a theory that Sheriff Chambers is/was of the opinion that Heretics should stop hiding what they know and reveal the truth of the world to the Bystanders, if only because of the parallels I’m seeing to Margaret LeFey. Whatever Flick’s mom really believed, I’m convinced that she was some kind of reformist.

    Avalon continues to be awesome and earn my sympathy/respect while still being a bit of a bitch. I’m wondering if her mother was as bad as her father. Oh, and I was thinking thay Sinclaire had adopted her. That just made sense.

    Are we going to see Nevada’s lecture on vampires? I’m hoping to see the disconnect between what the Heretics think they are in comparison tonwhatbthe Akharu are actually like.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “So do I Flick, so do I. Starting with her name. I would really like to know her name so I can finally start calling her something other than Flick and Ammon’s mom or the sheriff.”

      I promise to get her name out there as soon as possible. .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Once again, Avalon makes Flick keep a level head. She’s a very good not-friend to have, apparently.

    And oh, boy, but the new information! Apparently, the Heretical Edge is reversible, and is a part of being banished. Though, you have to wonder how that works on someone who’s been around far longer than they look.

    Also, Avalon is adopted, her birth mother is dead, and her father tried to kill her. Lovely. Also, unsurprisingly, Koren (the girl who told Flick that Avalon is the headmistress’ daughter) is not a particularly reliable source of information. (by the way, she isn’t tagged in the first chapter we meet her in, 1-06)

    And then we have Nevada. She’s … interesting. I’m really not sure what to think of her. I mean, given Heretics can live hundreds of years, and can have weird powers either from their magic or Stranger abilities, she could be just barely out of school, or have been one of Pericles’ first students. Either way, she’s certainly not the ditz she appears to be. I think I like her, even if I also find her disturbingly reminiscent of Bonesaw.

    Oh, and so I did get to learn about zombies! Hooray! I like what you did with them, it really makes sense. What makes far less sense is why vampires are classified as undead. I mean, from the interlude, we know about vampires (or, at least, some types of them). They’re cursed, and I think technically the ex-human ones “die” before becoming vampires, but they can also give birth, and their children are not automatically vampires, so I’d call them no more undead than someone who’s had their heart restarted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “What makes far less sense is why vampires are classified as undead. I mean, from the interlude, we know about vampires (or, at least, some types of them). They’re cursed, and I think technically the ex-human ones “die” before becoming vampires, but they can also give birth, and their children are not automatically vampires, so I’d call them no more undead than someone who’s had their heart restarted.”

      Disconnect between the facts and what the Heretics believe. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wait … so the Heretics are teaching them what mythical creatures are actually like, rather than in the stories, but they’re still making some of the assumptions as the legends?

        That’s hilarious.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, fan theory time! The person that Flick’s mother pulled over was a member of Eden’s Garden and gave her back her lost memories. Then she decided to leave with him for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Or maybe the guy she pulled over was a Stranger who sensed that she had latent magic (banishment may have stripped her powers, but she still had the potential for magic) and decided she’d make good breeding material. If he has powers similar to Ammun’s then she may have been compelled to leave with him.

      Hell, it’s possible (though much less likely) that he was hunting for her, having learned of a banished (and thus vulnerable) Heretic.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I stared at her, the anger at finding out that something this important had been kept from me still pumping hard through my system. “You… are you trying to say I can’t trust the people here, Avalon?”

    “No, I’m not saying that.” The other girl’s voice was emphatic. “I’m saying that people in power tend to think they know what’s best.
    Me: But you sort of are saying that imo, Avalon.

    “Going for a twofer on killing teachers, huh?”

    My head snapped around at the sound of the quiet voice, but it had come from somewhere within a group of students that were pushing past us and I couldn’t tell who exactly had said it. None of them were looking our way, and whoever had spoken up didn’t repeat themselves.
    Me: Oh? Hm, seems like someone’s spreading slander.

    Before you decide that, remember that it’s not me that you’re calling incompetent. It’s Headmistress Sinclaire. After all, she’s the one that hired me. So, if you think that, based on a thirty-second once-over of what I look like that you know better than she does, feel free to head on over to her office to tell her so. I’ll even write you a pass to get there if you like.”

    The boy who had called her a bimbo mumbled something that wasn’t entirely audible and slumped down some in his seat, clearly embarrassed.
    Me, Ouch, that student just got verbally wrecked. Clearly, there’s more than first appears to this new instructor.

    For the first time in my life, as far back as I could remember, I actually wanted to know more about my mother.

    I just hoped that what I found didn’t make me hate her even more than I already did.
    Me: Do keep those hopes up, Flick. Who knows, what you may find/learn may even cause you to hate her less!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, Flick is certainly bursting with questions after finding out that her mother had been a Heretic, wondering what really happened with her leaving & whether she actually knows anything at all about her mother. She’s so worked up about it that she’s about to go off half-cocked and start demanding answers from the Runners & the faculty when Avalon steps in & calms her down by pointing out how counterproductive trying to demand answers from the same people who are most likely for burying the information about her mother (who must of been a figure of some notoriety.) Looks like Avalon can be the level-headed one and keep Flick from doing something rash.

    Once she’s calmed down a bit, Flick is naturally curious as to why a Heretic would walk away from things to live a normal life, assuming that’s even possible. Avalon has a bit of an answer that give Flick some more questions- turns out a Heretic voluntarily retiring like that is a very unusual thing, and usually, when a Heretic leaves that life, it’s because they’re being kicked out in a punishment known as Banishment, which involves running the Heretical Edge in reverse so it strips away the Knowledge & other things that make someone a Heretic, turning them back into a normal person, who is then set up somewhere in the mundane world. Flick, not having had the benefit of OOC knowledge from the commentary, starts wondering whether her mother did something to get herself Banished (which would also explain a lot of the odd reactions she’s getting from the faculty), and whether that had anything to do with why she left with that man, and the idea that she’s going to have to reevaluate something that’s had such a massive effect on her shakes her up. Wonder just what answers Flick will eventually find, and whether they’ll change Flick’s opinion of her mother for better or worse…

    The conversation segues to Avalon’s mother- turns out that the Headmistress isn’t her biological mother, but rather adopted her (turns out that the school gossip isn’t the most reliable source of information.) Avalon’s birth mother is dead, killed by her father, who is a very bad man & tried to kill Avalon as well, and Avalon wants to someday kill her father in revenge. Oh, and the whole thing is a rather sensitive topic for her.

    And see that certain elements of Avalon’s past have made it into the rumor mill, leading to some of the students starting to give her crap.

    Nevada certainly seems like an interesting character, and that was a pretty good verbal smackdown she laid on that fool who thought she was too much of a bimbo to be teaching a class.

    And then we get to learn about zombies. Turns out there’s 3 basic kinds- corpses that have been reanimated by magic or Stranger abilities, which are the slow, clumsy, mindless ones; those who were somehow prepared/infected while they were still came alive & came back to life as fast pack hunters; and then the most dangerous kind, which have been corpses that have been possessed by a particular type of Stranger known as a Revenant, which are damn near indestructible while animating a corpse, but fortunately, the corpse only lasts for a few hours before it comes apart, and are vulnerable when in their incorporeal form. Though Revenants are rare because Heretics have gotten good at hunting them while incorporeal & those left have largely learned to stay out of the way, why do I get the feeling that Flick’s going to run into one before this is over.

    Though would like to see just what Nevada has to say about vampires, because it’d be interesting to compare what the Heretics believe them to be to what we saw of them in that last interlude.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hum, knowing about Banishment now makes me question if Ammon’s version of mind control would work on a Heretic or not. I guess we need to wait and find out if Flick’s mom (who’s name I can’t remember for the life of me) was Banished or not.
    Or for when Flick and Ammon meet face to face and he introduces himself… .

    Why do I get the feeling that Nevada’s Heretic weapon is some sort of tricked out chainsaw and she maybe at one point had a disembodied head as a side kick for a while? And why do I want a lollipop now?

    Something I just thought of; is being a Heretic solely genetic or can just any Bystander be shown The Heretical Edge and come out as a Heretic? The Edge shows you something Stranger related that happened to an ancestor, so that points towards it being genetic, but as we saw by Flick’s vision it didn’t necessarily have to be someone who was already a Heretic when they had that Stranger interaction. That’s assuming Co Ward (that’s what I’m going to call her ancestor, even after we get his real name) was just a Bystander at that point of time, which is a bit ambiguous. But the odds of TWO Heretic’s being in that cage… . (Also, I’ll admit I have read the TV Tropes page before coming into the story so I know of another plot point about the scene in question that we get told later which, when it gets revealed, may or may not answer this question.)

    Also, I thought of this before but forgot to comment about it. Does Eden’s Garden have their own version of The Heretical Edge? They need something to open the eyes of their non-Stranger students after all. Maybe they have a Stranger teacher that has some kind of power that reveals other Strangers, that’d be a neat thing but also iffy in all sorts of ways.
    Without knowing how the Edge works we’ve no way of knowing if it’s a singular point of light or if the lighthouse is just a window to the location of the light and EG has their own way of accessing the same light or if they use a different light or what. Until we get an interlude from EG or Flick has some interaction with a current EG student these questions will not have many answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Why do I get the feeling that Nevada’s Heretic weapon is some sort of tricked out chainsaw and she maybe at one point had a disembodied head as a side kick for a while? And why do I want a lollipop now?”

    I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a chainsaw weapon.

    “Something I just thought of; is being a Heretic solely genetic or can just any Bystander be shown The Heretical Edge and come out as a Heretic? The Edge shows you something Stranger related that happened to an ancestor, so that points towards it being genetic, but as we saw by Flick’s vision it didn’t necessarily have to be someone who was already a Heretic when they had that Stranger interaction.”

    Trust me, exactly how the Edge works, what is required, how the visions are chosen, etc are all important subjects for later.

    “Also, I thought of this before but forgot to comment about it. Does Eden’s Garden have their own version of The Heretical Edge? They need something to open the eyes of their non-Stranger students after all. Maybe they have a Stranger teacher that has some kind of power that reveals other Strangers, that’d be a neat thing but also iffy in all sorts of ways.”

    You know this by now since you’re caught up when I’m writing this, but for anyone else reading this and wondering, that’s revealed in Interlude 3.

    Like

  8. Nevada’s little speech shutting down the hecklers made me like her immediately.

    And there’s another sign of that practicality, making the students take mundane history so they’re not ignorant about normal society.

    I also liked Avalon’s speech about the adults keeping secrets and how it doesn’t mean they’re untrustworthy. I wonder if that’s how she really feels or something that came as a result of indoctrination in Eden’s Garden.

    Like

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