Family Reunion 12-07

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Gaia wasn’t in the cafeteria when we got there. Professor Dare was, and before dinner started she informed everyone that there would be an announcement from the headmistress once dinner was over. Which meant that they needed everyone to stay put after they were finished. This was, naturally, met with a chorus of groans that stopped almost immediately. Dare, like most of the staff around here, had a way of seeming to look everyone in the eye at once that made it impossible to anonymously complain.

“Well,” Sands remarked after looking around the room once we had found a table to sit at, “I wonder what’s taking the headmistress so long. I mean, it’s just a…” Trailing off, she glanced around at the other tables once more before lowering her voice. “Just a new student. So what’s taking her so long to just come in here and assign him to a team? It’s not like they could actually say no to a new recruit.”

Avalon shook her head, her voice flat. “It’s not that simple. Not with how paranoid the Committee is right now. They’re–” She paused as though considering the right words before continuing. “–not reacting well to everything that’s happened. Some of them think that Chambers has been attracting too much danger to the school. As soon as they found out that she was one of the ones that found him, they probably started up with the conspiracies.” Looking at me, the beautiful girl added, “They’re idiots.”

“Are they?” I asked with a weak shrug. “I mean sure, I’m not Ruthers’ biggest fan and he’s not mine. But beyond that, they kind of have a point. Bad things do keep happening around me. Ammon came onto the school grounds because of me. He wouldn’t have found out about Koren if it wasn’t for that. It’s not going to take a genius for him or his father to work out why his powers didn’t work on her.”

“Don’t be such an idiot, Chambers,” Avalon snapped. “Should I leave the school just because people have been trying to kill me? Do you want me to leave?” Her voice was as hard as her intense stare.

Flushing a little at that, I shook my head quickly. “No, of course not. Those idiots coming after you isn’t your fault. You shouldn’t have to walk away from everything here just because–” I stopped. “Oh.”

Smirking, Sean reached across the table to poke me with one of the menus until I took it. “Don’t worry, Flick. It may take awhile, but Gaia has a lot of clout. She’ll get enough of the Committee to sign off on letting him stay. Trust me, most of those guys know better than to annoy the baroness too much.”

Before I could say anything to that, Columbus spoke up. “Okay, that’s been bugging me for awhile. What’s this whole ‘baroness’ thing? I mean, is there a king and queen too? What’s she the baroness of?”

I nodded quickly while glancing at the menu. “Me too. I haven’t really heard anyone else be addressed by a similar title like Gaia has.” Using my finger to circle the options for spaghetti with garlic bread and a coke before circling the little ‘finished’ note in the lower right corner. Then I put the menu down.

It vanished a moment later and was replaced by a steaming plate of food that made my mouth water.

“See?” a new voice spoke up as Deveron (and boy was I having very conflicting feelings about him now) tugged a seat out beside Columbus before dropping himself into it. “This is why they need an extra course for Bystander-kin who don’t know enough about Heretic society. They just expect you guys to pick all this stuff up by osmosis or something. Frankly, it’s pretty poor planning on their part.”

He held that for a solid five or six seconds before coughing as a wry smirk crossed his face. “Oh come on, stop glaring. I’m kidding. Yes, you should’ve been told all this stuff by your mentor. But, to be fair, I’m pretty sure Avalon over there has been enjoying playing the role more than she’ll ever admit.”

For her part, my roommate just stared intently at him in silence before taking a bite of her Cobb salad. Deveron managed to hold her gaze only for a few seconds before coughing as he looked away. “Right, I think you see my point. Anyway, there’s no king or queen or anything. That’s what the Committee is for. But under them are the Archdukes. Each Archduke is in charge of the day to day running of the world they’re assigned to. Sort of like the president of a country, while the Committee is the UN. You know, if the UN had any actual power and could veto anything the president said if they felt like it.”

I raised a hand along with both eyebrows. “Yeah, what do you mean by the world they’re assigned to?”

“You know,” he replied, “the whole Explorer thing where they find brand new worlds to expand into?”

Columbus and I looked at one another for a moment. He was the first time speak, his tone as uncertain as I felt. “Well, yeah, sure. But we thought that was just sort of… you know, exploring. Looking around, like… like when we go up to the moon and bring back rocks and soil samples. Little stuff like that.”

Avalon was the one who spoke next. “Of course. But the Bystanders have always talked about colonizing the moon and living there. If they had the technology ready, they would’ve done it a long time ago. Part of the Explorers job is to bring back samples from places that are too dangerous to settle on. But another part of it is to establish beachheads for colonies on other worlds to expand out from.”

My mouth opened and shut. “I… never mind, I probably shouldn’t say what I want to say right now.”

Deveron shook his head, plopping a menu of his own down before it was replaced with a salad identical to the one that Avalon was eating. “Don’t worry about it.” From his pocket, he produced a coin, which he flipped onto the table. “Anyone listening in right now is just hearing a mundane conversation about school work. As long as no one comes close enough to touch any of us, it’s safe.”

Blinking at the coin, I managed a weak smile in spite of myself. “You’re showing us how to make those, mentor.” After eyeing him pointedly for a moment, I continued my previous thought. “But seriously, you’re saying that we’re actually… invading and conquering other worlds? We’re the alien invaders? You know, guys, it was already getting pretty hard to see us as the good guys, but with this?”

“It’s… it’s not supposed to be like that,” Sands said weakly. “It’s supposed to be a… a defensive measure, to stop dangerous locations from being able to invade us with forces that the Heretics can’t hold back. We’re protecting people. I mean…” She trailed off, clearly trying to come to terms with the difference between knowing about the invasions when she thought all Strangers were evil, and now.

“The British Empire didn’t see themselves as the bad guys either,” Sean pointed out mildly while eating his own spaghetti. “It’s not really that different. Just make the whole ‘new world’ thing a lot more literal.

Shaking my head, I waved a hand dismissively. “Okay, we’ll unpack that whole thing later. What about this whole Archduke thing. Each world the Heretics expand into has an Archduke in charge of it?”

“Garden calls them something else,” Avalon put in mildly. “Each tribe has their own name and way of doing it. Usually it’s centered around whoever is the most powerful person in the colonization team.”

Sean was nodding. “Sure, the Archdukes are in charge. Except for here on Earth. The Committee handles things here. But under the Archdukes they have barons and baronesses. We don’t have an Archduke here on Earth, but we do have barons and baronesses that are assigned to each section of the world. You know, like there’s a different baron in charge of each of the different states in the US.”

Columbus frowned at that. “So Gaia’s supposed to be in charge of some other area? What’s she the baroness of, and why is she here at the school instead of there? She can’t really do both, can she?”

Scout leaned over to whisper something to her sister, who nodded. Her voice was obviously pained. “Scout says that you can when the place you were in charge of doesn’t really exist anymore.”

“I’m sorry, what?” I demanded as my eyes widened. “What do you mean, the place she was in charge of doesn’t exist anymore?” Columbus looked just as confused, even with the goggles covering his eyes.

There were more glances from the others to each other before Deveron spoke. “In the 1800’s, before Gaia became a teacher here, she was the baroness in charge of the state just south of Mississippi.”

Blinking once at that, I asked slowly, “You mean Florida?”

“West of Florida,” Sands explained. “Kind of connected up against parts of it and then the bottom of Alabama and Mississippi, in that gulf area.”

Columbus was already shaking his head before I could respond. “There’s no state there, guys. I may have gotten a C plus in geography, but even I know that much. There’s nothing but water there.”

“Nothing but water now,” Deveron murmured. As we stared at him, he continued. “There used to be a state in that spot. It was called Desoto. As in Hernando de Soto, the conquistador that was the leader of the first real European expedition down in that area. First European to cross the Mississippi river.”

My mouth opened and shut a few times. “You’re saying this… this Desoto was a state, as in an actual land mass that existed there and now it’s just gone? What the hell happened? And why don’t we–” I stopped short, sighing as my head dropped a little. “Let me guess, they used another memory spell.”

“It was around the time of the Spanish-American war, right before the turn of the century,” Deveron explained. “There was a… an invasion by really bad Strangers. Yeah, I know, but trust me. Joselyn and I both looked into it. These were the real deal. It was a full scale hostile invasion, one that Heretics couldn’t turn back. At least, not in time to stop it from spilling out into the Bystander world too much to cover up. I don’t know what the Bystanders at the time thought it was, but there were literally thousands dead in just a few days. It was a massacre. You were lucky if you were killed. The ones who were taken prisoner… well, let’s just say they were experimented on. These things, these Strangers, the Heretics called them Fomorians, after the old Irish myths. The Fomorians were really into biological experimentation. The stuff they did to the humans they found… it was bad. Stuff you don’t wanna hear about over dinner. Jos and I found a lot of good Strangers, but the Fomorians weren’t one of them.”

Avalon took over speaking then. “Gaia was in charge of that area. She saved as many as she could. She ignored Crossroads rules and had Heretics reveal themselves to Bystanders. They wouldn’t remember afterwards anyway, so she had them use Heretic powers and technology to evacuate the state. Then…”

She trailed off, and Deveron took up the story once more. “She had the state destroyed. She made sure the whole place was annihilated just to make sure all of the Fomorians were killed and their incursion point, the spot where more of them could come through from their homeland, was gone forever.”

I sank a little in my seat, feeling overwhelmed. “They… had to destroy an entire state just to stop an invading force of monsters? And then… then they erased the state from the minds of Bystanders because… because losing an entire state like that, especially back then, would be impossible to explain. I mean, they could have said it was some kind of massive geological disaster or something, but…”

“It was easier to just erase it,” Sands spoke under her breath, looking away. “It was a massive failure for Crossroads. And for Heretics in general, I guess. A lot of people died. But more would’ve if Gaia didn’t do what she did. She made the impossible choice. She basically cut off a limb to save the rest of the body. But a lot of Heretics didn’t like it. They thought we should’ve stayed to fight to the end.”

“It would’ve been the end if she didn’t do what she did,” Deveron put in. “The Fomorians were just getting stronger. They were pulling in more and more of their armies from the other side, and it was all the Heretics could to to keep them confined to that one state. The line was going to fall any day at that point. So Gaia did the only thing she could. She made the impossible choice and destroyed the state.”

Columbus was the first one to find his voice after that. “How… how did she go from that to teaching?”

Sands shifted uncomfortably in her seat before answering. “It was the right thing to do, but like I said, a lot of Heretics didn’t like it. Gaia was pretty unpopular for awhile. No one wanted her around. The person who did, the one who gave her a job and a place to live, was the Headmaster here at the time.”

“Ruthers,” I realized abruptly. “Ruthers was the headmaster here back then, wasn’t he?”

Though his face still contorted a little in obvious dislike, Deveron nodded. “He may be a piece of shit, but he believes in doing everything to help humanity. Some people disagreed with Gaia’s choice of revealing Heretic technology and magic to Bystanders, even if it was temporary. But Ruthers thought it was the right thing to do. So he gave Gaia a job teaching here. Eventually, people got over it and realized that Gaia did the right thing after all. The Heretics she worked with on the ground during the fighting itself got into power and replaced some of the old, stubborn fools who hated her for it.”

“Anyway,” Sands added with a slight shrug, “that’s why she has that title. She’s the baroness of the lost state, the woman who destroyed the place she was in charge of in order to save the rest of humanity.”

I realized something then, starting a little. “That’s why she was so against the idea of open war through the rebellion. That’s why she’s been trying so hard to do things quietly. Because she doesn’t want to risk putting the Heretics in a position where another group of invaders could do even more damage. She’s afraid that that kind of open warfare is going to end with losing a lot more than just a single state.”

Before we could do more than look at each other after that, the woman in question arrived. Gaia made her way through the room while people’s eyes turned that way. By the time she arrived at the front, everyone’s attention was on her. The headmistress paused, glancing around the room before smiling faintly. “Good evening,” she spoke in a calm, quiet voice that still somehow easily reached us. It sounded and felt like she was right beside the table rather than clear on the other side of the room.

Gaia waited while everyone murmured their own greetings before continuing. Most people clearly just wanted to get out of there and back to whatever they were doing or had planned. Still, they listened fairly politely.

“Thank you all for being gracious enough to wait here until I could get back. I do appreciate that you have limited free time, and that this is eating somewhat into your weekend.” Gaia smiled a little bit then. “I promise that this will not take long. But as each of our new students at the start of the year are given their chance to be the center of attention, I thought it only fair that our newest student be afforded the same opportunity for the spotlight.”

That caused a few whispered discussions here and there, before the headmistress lifted her hand toward the nearby door, gesturing for the boy to come in. “While I’m sure everyone is well aware that Crossroads is not normally a place that has mid-semester transfers, there are specific exceptions. I would like to introduce you all to–”

“Tristan!” the voice came from across the room, and my attention snapped that way along with everyone else’s. Hell, even Gaia looked surprised to hear the sudden shout.

It was Vanessa. The blonde girl was standing up, plate of half-eaten food forgotten as she stared that way with her mouth wide open.

For his part, Tristan looked just as confused as everyone else. Then something seemed to click in his head, and his eyes widened. “Va…. nessa?” he managed, sounded completely shocked. That only lasted for a few seconds, however, before he abandoned his spot beside the headmistress. Sprinting that way, the boy literally leapt up and over one of the tables, clearing it completely before landing on the other side, near the table where Vanessa was practically tripping over herself to get around it. The two of them met in a tight embrace, completely ignoring the fact that everyone was staring at them.

“What—what just happened?” Sands demanded, eyes wide.

My mouth opened and shut. “I… I think Tristan just found his sister.”

The second realization struck me an instant later. “… which means Vanessa isn’t fully human. She’s half-Seosten just like he is.”

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25 comments

  1. Well, it’s a pretty rare day when Gaia is surprised but the readers aren’t, isn’t it? 😀

    I hope you guys enjoyed that chapter. I sure enjoyed writing it and finally answering a few world-building type questions. I mentioned the bit about the missing state in reply to someone on one of the discussion threads a long time ago, and now everyone finally knows what I was referring to. See? It may take awhile, but answers to those questions ARE indeed coming. Why, before long (in the heat death of the universe-timeline), you’ll find out exactly who killed Pericles! Actually, I can promise that you’ll absolutely find that out before the end of the school year. After all… well, I won’t say anything more than that. 😉

    If you enjoyed this chapter and would like to help more people find this story, feel free to vote on Top Web Fiction by clicking here.

    And for those of you on mobile who like to read and keep up with the tags on each chapter, they are: A Few Actual Freaking Answers Believe It Or Not, Avalon Sinclaire, Columbus Porter, Comparing The Crossroads Attitude Toward Strangers To The European Explorers Mentality Makes A Disturbing Amount Of Sense., Deveron Adams, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Gaia Sinclaire, Sands, Scout, Sean Gerardo, Tristan Moon, Vanessa Moon

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  2. Ah, the Fomor. The bastards are making trouble everwhere. Incidentally, a combination of being reminded of them and Finn Balor’s entrance into the WWE has made me really want to look up more on Irish myths. Everything I’ve heard about them sounds badass.

    I can’t react to Gaia’s history just yet. More thoughts later. Although the discussion on colonization has reminded me that my wish from the early chapters for Crossroads to be the “bad guys” had come true in my view. Yes, I know it’s not that simple and I shouldn’t pigeonhole them all because plenty of good ones exist. But the overall organization swings closer to the bad guy end of the morality scale for me.

    And Tristan and Vanessa reuniting was great. That’s the first time Tristan has remembered Vanessa since he got sent away, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heh, I like that Avalon used basic logic to short circuit Flick’s thoughts re: her culpability regarding the incidents.

    “But, to be fair, I’m pretty sure Avalon over there has been enjoying playing the role more than she’ll ever admit.”

    For her part, my roommate just stared intently at him in silence before taking a bite of her Cobb salad. Deveron managed to hold her gaze only for a few seconds before coughing as he looked away. ”
    Me: That silent gaze speaks volumes. Unfortunately for Deveron, it’s likely myriad variations of “I want you to suffer.”

    ““But seriously, you’re saying that we’re actually… invading and conquering other worlds? We’re the alien invaders? You know, guys, it was already getting pretty hard to see us as the good guys, but with this?””
    Me: It is quite the dilemma, isn’t it? Re: the Comparison to the British Empire- I doubt Crossroads has a cool them/phrase like “Rule Brittania, Brittania rules the waves” though.

    “then the bottom of Alabama and Mississippi, in that gulf area.”

    Columbus was already shaking his head before I could respond. “There’s no state there, guys. I may have gotten a C plus in geography, but even I know that much. There’s nothing but water there.”

    “Nothing but water now,” Deveron murmured. As we stared at him, he continued. “There used to be a state in that spot. It was called Desoto. As in Hernando de Soto, the conquistador that was the leader of the first real European expedition down in that area. First European to cross the Mississippi river.””
    Me: Wait, what?

    “They thought we should’ve stayed to fight to the end.””
    Me: I can understand their dislike of the effective nuclear option, but this? Pure stupidity.

    “The second realization struck me an instant later. “… which means Vanessa isn’t fully human. She’s half-Seosten just like he is.””
    Me: Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Either A) someone eavesdropping just learned that the group there knows about Seostens, or B) they heard the group discussing normal schoolwork while our heroine’s body language just indicated that she was talking about anything but ordinary schoolwork.

    Either way, someone heard something interesting.

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      1. Gaia knew that already. Remember, she had Nevada recruited as a student specifically to use her Djinn powers to alter the Edge so that it would accept half-human students. That’s how Nevada became a student originally to begin with, years ago, before she was brought back as a teacher to replace Pericles.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He did, directly. But Gaia was part of it. If you check out the last part of Nevada’s interlude again, the part that takes place in the present day, you’ll see. 🙂

        Plus, at one point Deveron says: “Let’s just say we have an in with the headmistress. She’ll make it happen. If you want it to.”

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  5. Wow! The reunion between Vanessa and Tristan was sweet. 🙂

    I never knew Gaia could be so pragmatic.

    Looks like Flick has some issues with Deveron that she needs to deal with. I thought that she would accept Deveron right away, like she did with Wyatt and Koren. Does she need more time?

    Thanks for updating. 🙂

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  6. Some interesting things going on here.

    Nice to see Avalon using some logic to get Flick to stop blaming herself for the recent incidents at the school & wondering if her presence endangers the other students.

    Some interesting worldbuilding going on. First of all, we learn why Gaia’s a Baroness- in Crossroads-aligned Heretic society, Baron/Baroness is the title held by a provincial governor, and Gaia had been the Heretical governor of that missing state that used to be next to Florida.

    And what happened to that state is a stark reminder that a lot of Strangers are bad, right after several chapters of touching upon the ‘not all Strangers are evil’ things, as this state was attacked & being overrun by a particularly nasty type of Nocen, who were slaughtering lots of people, and borrowing a page from Bonesaw’s book when it came to handling the prisoners they took. To prevent this from turning into an unstoppable invasion of Earth, Gaia resorted to some extreme measures, evacuating the remaining population & destroying the state & the portal site in a way that revealed Heretical powers to the Bystander population. To cover up the reveal & the destruction of a state, the Heretics of the time used a memory spell to hide all of it, leaving Gaia a governor without a promise, and unpopular with a lot of Heretics who were more annoyed about the reveal than anything else.

    Though interesting that Ruthers of all people would be the one to give Gaia a job at Crossroads- wonder if he felt sympathetic to someone who took a lot of heat for making a hard choice (even if hers turned out a lot better than his did,) thought of it as a way to sideline a controversial figure from the power structure, or thought that someone willing to make a call like that would be a likely convert to his point of view. (Though if the final possibility turned out to be the case, imagine that he’s rather disappointed.)

    And the way that the off-world colonization efforts that the Explorers support, can be compared to the European empires doesn’t say anything that positive about what the Crossroads & Garden Heretics do, as well as another reason for Flick & company to wonder if they’re really the good guys in this. With a lot of the Heretical dirty laundry that’s popped up, wonder if saying that the Heretical-Stranger conflict, is, at best, varying shades of gray versus black would be an appropriate way to describe things.

    Plus wonder what everyone’s going to make of what just happened when Gaia introduced the mysterious new transfer student, only for them to recognize each other & Vanessa to jump up & embrace him in front of everyone. If Vanessa’s (edited) backstory of being the survivor of a Heretic attack that caused the rest of her family to disappear isn’t at least somewhat known, things could get really awkward.

    “Don’t worry about it.” From his pocket, he produced a coin, which he flipped onto the table. “Anyone listening in right now is just hearing a mundane conversation about school work. As long as no one comes close enough to touch any of us, it’s safe.”

    Blinking at the coin, I managed a weak smile in spite of myself. “You’re showing us how to make those, mentor.”

    That’d be a handy device to have, and yeah, I’d want one of those too. *wonders how to go about asking Flick if they could make a few extras for us readers…*

    My mouth opened and shut. “I… I think Tristan just found his sister.”

    The second realization struck me an instant later. “… which means Vanessa isn’t fully human. She’s half-Seosten just like he is.”

    Interesting revelation & conclusion to have, though really hope that coin’s still working, because if anyone overheard that, well, things would certainly be hitting the fan….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “And what happened to that state is a stark reminder that a lot of Strangers are bad”

      Or are they? Were they merely responding in kind to an invasion into their world? Did Ruthless give Gaia the job to divert her attention into leading her own army into that world somehow and discovering the truth?

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      1. In the incredibly hypothetical change that you’re right, how would you explain the Bonesaw-esque treatment of prisoners? Because that’s crossing over so many lines it’s not even funny. And a response of, “oh these strangers are invading us from Earth (remember, Heretics are basically strangers), let’s go to Earth and kill everyone there (except those they capture and subject to a fate worse than death) in retaliation. So even in the BEST case scenario that you’re proposing, they’re still the villains.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh right. You also seem to be forgetting that even Deveron and Joselyn, two alter sympathizers, viewed them as evil. And Deveron claims they did their research.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “Because that’s crossing over so many lines it’s not even funny.”

        Possible explanations:

        1) Different ethics/value system
        A) Like the Maasai, they place a high value on being able to withstand ritual pain while remaining stoic — anyone who screams/cries is not a “real man” (circumcision in the case of the Maasai) and either is a sub level human (i.e. a woman) or not really one of the tribe, and is to be shunned.
        B) They have a symbiotic relationship with each other/another/something else entirely and they kept trying variations of these rituals to try to make it work (much like if every human of necessity had an AI in their head, then we went to a planet of seemingly intelligent pigs who couldn’t handle the AI, our culture could cause us to see them as “other”
        C) They mistook the so-called “Stranger Effect” as proof that humans are stupider than dirt and don’t deserve to live — imagine sheep that literally cannot perceive the hungry wolf in front of them, such stupidity drags down the overall intelligence of the universe. That there are some humans who can perceive them is interesting, but a few oddball Heretic cases (like those few gorillas who understand some sign language) do not make up for the obvious truth that most people are too stupid to live.
        D) They do not understand the value that we place in individuality. Like Ender Wiggins bugs, they didn’t think we’d take it so personally if they only broke a few of us (i.e. enough to completely clear out a space for them to live without us being near where they’re living)

        2) Revenge. Maybe we did a similar thing to their world first (well, not us, obviously, but some human). Perhaps blood calls for blood in retaliation, to be settled. Perhaps we have a higher population and they demand a matching (higher in number) percentage undergo the tests/trials so that our loss is fair. Did we dissect one of them in their world?
        A) Because we were cruel. This is the obvious one here.
        B) Because we didn’t know better. Maybe we thought one or more were dead, that we’d stumbled upon a graveyard, aliens with no discernable signs of life. But instead they were gestating, or waiting for some seasonal event and in some sort of stasis at the time, the way a seed can wait. We dissected them and everyone else telepathically heard their cries of pain and anguish that us untelepathic people couldn’t hear. Then they found the dissected remains that we tossed out, and came to do the same to us.

        There are many potential reasons why an alien race would seemingly show up and start hideously dissecting people.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m willing to trust Deveron’s version of events here. He and Joselyn would have looked for any reasonable motive or justification the Fomor could have had. If they, the people who no-sold four years of indoctrination and then made the search for and protection of good, innocent, and peaceful Alters their life’s work, looked at the situation and decided the Fomor were the clear cut bad guys, I believe them.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I bet Prosser is a Seosten, which is why his people can recognize them.

    And I bet possession is a lifetime thing. That’s why Seostens do such crazy evil things — either they win, or the host gets executed and they can move on. Either way they win.

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  8. I’m struggling to remember what specific things the Seosten have done beyond creating the Edge and the Bystander Effect (both of which seem morally ambiguous due to lack of context). Is there only one faction of Seosten? all evil? what have they done that we know is evil? I’m forgetting evidence, I’m sure…Sure, mental/spiritual/neural/whatever parasite isn’t a great CV, but I’m missing too much info…may have to start from the beginning again.

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    1. That’s all we know of them. We’ve been told that they’re evil, that they’re behind bad things, but we have no first hand evidence of anything. Everything else is supposition.

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    2. Most of what we know about them comes from Vanessa’s interlude.

      1. They have some kind of prophecy that claims a force from earth will one day destroy them. To this end, they make an active effort to “guide” humanity.
      — Sariel, Vanessa and Tristan’s mother, believes that this prophecy is a lie told by the “Seraphim” to control the “Choir.” This implies some level of class conflict between the two groups.

      2. They sent one of their own to drag Sariel away from her family even though she all she was doing was living peacefully. The fact that Tristan was stuck on the Meregan homeworld indicates that she would have been similarly trapped on wherever they were taking her.

      3. They are not universally evil. The very first one we meet is Sariel, who abandoned them in order to get married to a Heretic. On the other hand, the guy they sent, Puriel, was incredibly racist, calling humans savages, Sariel’s husband filthy, and their children “a lie.” Given that Sariel was the renegade and Puriel the loyal agent, it can be safely assumed that the latter’s views are more common among their race.

      And that’s all we definitively know about them. Petan claims that they created the Bystander Effect, and Prosser’s group claims they possessed Bosch to creat the Heretical Edge and Crossroads. Neither claim has been explicitly confirmed in-universe, but Cerulean has confirmed that both are true. He’s also said that they are responsible for both positive and negative events in human history.

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