A Strange Thanksgiving 13-01

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“Okay, how? How do you do that?” I demanded while looking sideways toward my companion as the two of us strolled across the grass of the school grounds. There weren’t that many students around, since it was the morning of Thanksgiving break and a lot of people had already headed out to see their families. Still, the ones who were around still were waving and calling out greetings or even jokes.

“How do I do what?” Tristan asked casually while catching a half-full bag of popcorn that someone tossed him while passing. Calling a thanks to them, he tilted his head back to pour some into his mouth.

Taking the bag from him, I poured some into my mouth as well and chewed before answering. “That.” I gestured back the way we’d come, toward the guy that had passed him the bag. “You’ve been here for like… a week and you’re already friends with basically everybody. How do you do that so fast?”

It was true. Even in the short time that he had been around, Tristan had somehow managed to learn pretty much everyone’s name (and no, he didn’t have some perfect memory like Vanessa did. I checked), even some of the people from older years. It seemed like every time I saw him that he wasn’t with his sister, the boy was playing Frisbee with some of the second years, or hanging out on the beach with a bunch of our classmates, or even setting up an after dark barbecue. He was almost constantly active.

Even more than that, he seemed to take an incredible amount of joy just in including everyone. He went out of his way to make sure that everyone had fun. And somehow just seemed to intuitively know when someone should be left alone or when they needed attention. I’d met people that were full of life before, but Tristan was just insane. He was charismatic, gorgeous, and just plain fun to be around.

The boy shrugged easily while taking the bag back to have some more. “I dunno,” he replied. “I just like talking to people, I guess. I mean, when you’re as awesome as I am, you’ve gotta share the wealth.” His words were light, teasing me as he raised an eyebrow, flashing me that perfect, model-worthy grin.

“Besides,” he added then. “Have you seen this place? Of course I’m having fun. Once you get past all the rules and the–” Looking both ways while somehow making it look casual, he lowered his voice. “–fact that a lot of these people would kill me if they knew anything about me, it’s practically paradise.”

In spite of myself, I snorted. “That’s a pretty big asterisk you threw onto that ‘practically’ there. But at least you’re sure adjusting well.” I shook my head slowly. “Though I’m pretty sure your sister would prefer if you spent a little more time studying. And, you know, actually making it to class on time.”

“Yeah, I need to work on that whole schedule thing. Nessa’s gonna find a way to strangle me in my sleep if I’m late again. Totally my bad.” Slipping a pair of sunglasses from his shirt pocket, the blond boy slid them onto his face. “But what can I say? This school’s just got so many cute girls–” He used a finger to tilt the sunglasses down so he could look at me over the top of them. “–Present company most definitely included, it seems like a waste to spend so much time stuck in some stuffy old classroom.”

Flushing a little bit, I coughed. “Don’t forget that whole ‘not drawing more attention’ thing. Since giving certain people an excuse to look too closely at you and your twin could be a bad idea.”

Grimacing at that, Tristan’s head bobbed. “Fair enough. Sorry, it’s just… I’m here! I’m on Earth. Do you have any idea how long I dreamed about this? And, well, I’m not used to the whole class thing. My education was much more… hands on. This whole book studying thing, it’s not really me.” Before I could say anything, he pressed on. “I know, I know. I need to learn, gotta catch up. I get it. You’re right. I’ll do better. Besides, it’s vacation right now! No more school talk. You’re heading out soon, right?”

“Yup,” I nodded. “I would’ve been gone already, but Shiori had some things to do this morning. And since she’s coming to spend time with Senny… well, here I am.” I took back the bag of popcorn again.

Tristan snapped his fingers. “Right, Nessa’s out with her right now. She volunteered to help take care of her little friend out in the jungle while you guys are gone. I guess Shiori wanted to introduce them.”

Raising an eyebrow at that, I coughed. “She told Vanessa about Choo already? Wow, those two must be getting along even better than I thought they were, cuz she’s pretty protective of the feisty little guy.”

Chuckling, Tristan rubbed a hand over his forehead. “Yeah, ever since Nessa found out there was someone else around here in our… situation, she’s been picking poor Shiori’s brain pretty much every night. You should’ve seen her reaction when she found out the headmistress already knew about her.”

Yeah, as it turned out, Gaia had known that Vanessa was another one of the half-Alter students. She hadn’t known exactly what kind of Alter, or about her relationship with Tristan. Apparently, tracing that kind of lineage was harder when the rest of the family had been magically banished to other worlds.

“Speaking of Gaia,” I nudged the boy. “Is the team solution still just temporary?” For the moment, Tristan had been put onto the same team as his sister, and was in his own dorm without a roommate.

Taking the bag of popcorn back from me to empty the last of it into his mouth, Tristan shrugged. “She said we’ll see what opens up next semester. Right now I’m just supposed to be playing catch-up. Which, by the way, are her words, because I would not stick ‘playing’ anywhere near that much work.”

“Baby,” I retorted while elbowing him. He caught my arm and spun me around easily, making me yelp.

Releasing me after winking in a way that made me blush again, the boy balled up the empty popcorn bag and tossed it into the nearest trash can as we passed by. “The point is, it’s sure gonna be lonely around here while you’re off having Thanksgiving. It’ll be so bad, I might even get all my work done.”

Rolling my eyes at, I poked him in the shoulder. “Yeah, sure. You’ll be here all by own lonesome self. You know, along with your long-lost sister and all six dozen of your brand new friends, Mr. Popular.”

He grinned once more. “Well, sure. Believe me, spending time with Nessa is just… amazing. She’s… pretty much just like I remember. At least, I think she is. The whole memory thing is still a little fuzzy.”

Biting my lip, I glanced toward him. “Sorry you guys still don’t get to spend Thanksgiving with your parents. I was hoping Gaia might have a better idea of how to find them by this point. Especially after she found out that Vanessa’s your sister. I thought it might, you know, give her an idea or something.”

“Hey, it’s not her fault,” Tristan replied while giving me a serious look. “And it’s not your fault either. Nick was looking for any kind of information about them for years and couldn’t find them. Of course, all that means is that they weren’t on any of the worlds in the dimensions that we happened to check.”

Snapping my fingers at that, I looked to the boy. “Hey, yeah, I meant to ask you about that. Vanessa was kind of going on about it the other night. What’s that whole ‘dimensional time travel’ thing?”

Chuckling, Tristan stretched his arms up over his head before answering. “Nessa gets it more than I do. Which is weird, since I was the one that was involved in it. But the point is, the way time travel works… or at least the method Nick used for me, is like this. You only get one existence per timeline per dimension, reality, whatever. Only one. So if you’re here at Crossroads right now, you can’t also be in Paris at the same time. You can only exist in one instance in the same dimension at the same time.

“Plus, you can’t go forward in the same dimension either. Because it counts your dead body as existing. Even if you’re buried, gone, and rotted away. It’s just the way the rules work. So if you want to travel in time, you have to either go to a time where you haven’t existed yet, before you were born. Or you travel to a different dimension. You travel to a different reality and you’ve got a fresh slate. You can travel to anywhere in that timeline because there is no existence of you until you actually show up.”

I nodded slowly at that. “And because you were sent away from this reality when you were seven years old, you didn’t have an existing instance in this reality beyond that point. So you could time travel back, for you, to this time. But you couldn’t, say, go back to when your family was broken apart and stop it.”

Swallowing, the boy shook his head. “Nope. And trust me, because I asked, more than once. Never mind the whole paradox thing. It just flat out won’t even let you do it. Apparently just having two of the same person at the same time is enough to wipe every version of you out of existence completely.”

Shuddering at that thought, I looked toward him. “Well, however it happened, I’m glad you managed to get here, Tristan. And tell Vanessa that when I get back from this whole weekend holiday thing, the three of us are going to sit down and talk about… everything. We’ll find your parents, somehow.”

Looking at me seriously, Tristan quirked the side of his mouth up into a very slight smile. “Hey, you’ve got a lot to deal with already. The killer thing, that crazy teacher that hates Avalon for some reason, the big bad necromancer, your family… trust me, I’ve waited this long, I can wait a little longer. Take care of what you need to, Flickster. Don’t try to take on too many problems just because they’re there.”

“Hey,” I shrugged, raising both arms. “If I didn’t over-reach, I wouldn’t be me. Besides, we’re going in to visit Tangle in the hospital after Thanksgiving. And I’m pretty sure we’ll get some answers then.”

“Gonna bust some kneecaps until the comatose woman talks?” he teased.

Rolling my eyes again, I snickered. “Sure, you know me. I’m all thug-life.” I made a few fake goofy and exaggerated gang signs with my hands.

“Uh huh.” Tristan arched an eyebrow. “And if you go by the Wuyehn sign language, you also just said that your pink fluffy cabbage sings beautiful show tunes.”

******

After leaving Tristan, I made my way to someone else that I needed to talk to before leaving for the holiday. In this case, it wasn’t hard to find him. He was waiting for me beside the girl’s dorm.

“Deveron,” I greeted the boy… man… whatever, this was confusing. Guy. I greeted the guy.

“Felici–” He stopped, breathing out. “Flick, sorry. Listen, I know you’re probably in a rush, but I–”

Nodding quickly, I interrupted. “It’s okay, I was just going to come find you. I figured we should… you know, talk before I leave. Unless it’s past midnight and you’re gonna turn into an asshole again.”

Snorting, he dropped his head into an accepting nod. “I’ve got that coming and a lot more. I get it.” He cleared his throat then, looking back to me seriously. “But yeah, I’d like to chat. Somewhere private.”

“Well, the beach is pretty busy,” I pointed out. “But we could go up to the roof.” Nodding that way, I added, “After all, it’s not like anyone could listen in if you don’t want them to. Which, by the way, I am practicing.” He had taught us how to use that anti-eavesdropping spell, but it was complicated. Out of our entire team, Scout was the only one of us who had actually gotten it to work properly so far.

“You’ll get it,” he assured me before gesturing toward the roof. “After you.”

So, the two of us headed around the back of the dorm to the ladder before climbing up onto the roof. Once we were there, I waited for Deveron to set up another one of those privacy coins of his before speaking. “He really loves her, you know. My dad, he loves my mom. Even now. As far as he knows, she abandoned him, abandoned both of us. But he still loves her so much it… it really messed him up when she disappeared. I mean, I know you love her too. You guys were married. But so does he.”

His face softened a little and Deveron nodded. “Yeah, I know,” he replied quietly. “Believe me, Flick, it would be a lot easier for me if I could just hate your dad. But… I can’t. Because when it comes down to it, he’s gone through the same thing I have. They took Joselyn away from us. And I just can’t hate anyone that’s felt that. I love your mother. But I’m not gonna pretend that your dad’s love for her isn’t just as valid. I…” he stopped, taking a breath before pushing on. “All I care about right now is saving Joselyn. Whatever happens next, we can work it out. Right now, saving her is what actually matters.”

Meeting his gaze for a few seconds, I finally nodded, managing a slight smile. “Good.” After another moment of hesitation, I shifted awkwardly before asking, “So what’re you doing for Thanksgiving?”

Raising an eyebrow at me, Deveron shrugged. “Staying here, pretty much. They do a pretty cool Thanksgiving meal for anyone that’s here over the holiday. Chef Escalan goes all out. There’s a rumor that someone once even saw the guy crack a smile. I’m not sure if I buy it or not, but here’s hoping.”

Smirking in spite of myself, I admitted, “That’d be something to look forward to. But seriously. I don’t know if Koren’s talked to you yet or not, but we’re doing this thing at her family’s new house later in the evening. Apparently they’re having a big party with lots of people, and we were talking about how having you and Wyatt come by as father and son—only, you know, reversed, would be pretty cool.”

That time, his smile was genuine. It looked a lot different from his fake smirk. Warmer. I could kind of see why my mother migh’ve fallen for him. “I’d like that. I’ll uhh, talk to Koren and Wyatt, but yeah.”

“Good, good. It’s uh, it’s Koren’s family and her house, so work out the details with her. I just thought you should… get a chance to meet them and all that. And since Thanksgiving is supposed to be about family, you deserve to…” Trailing off, I breathed out long and low. “This whole thing is confusing.”

“You think that’s confusing,” Deveron retorted. “Try having a son that looks like he’s twice your age.”

“Don’t forget about the part where he threatened to have you arrested if you fucked up again,” I reminded him.

Chuckling, he looked thoughtful. “Yeah…. is it weird that I was actually really proud of him right then?”

“Nope.” I shook my head. “He was doing his job. You know, standing up to a lazy, incompetent,smug–”

“Yeah,” Deveron agreed.

“–dismissive, condescending, rude–” I continued.

“Yup, got it.”

“–chauvinistic, arrogant, pompous…”

*******

“So I guess that’s it,” I announced an hour later while standing in my dorm room. My eyes were on Avalon as I tugged my bag of clothes and other things up onto one shoulder. “I’m gonna meet Shiori and Professor Dare down by the Pathmaker and then we’ll head out.”

Standing there by my bed, arms folded over her stomach, Avalon just watched me. “Uh huh.”

“Which, I guess means that I’ll see you on Monday,” I added, feeling more than a little awkward. It was Wednesday morning. I was just going away for a few days. Less than a week. And yet, I felt like I should say something more to her.

The other girl just nodded. “Unless you decide you’ve had enough of this place and stay home to stick with that whole reporter like your dad thing.”

“I’m pretty sure I–” Blinking once, I tilted my head. “You listened to me. You know I wanted to be a reporter. You know my dad’s a reporter. You did pay attention.”

Now Avalon looked awkward. “You’re not exactly subtle about it, Chambers. I can’t just go selectively deaf and forget how to–”

“I’m gonna miss you too,” I interrupted, blurting it out with a happy (dorky) little smile. “I know it makes you uncomfortable to say it, so you don’t have to. It’s okay. I’m gonna miss you, Valley. And I hope you have a really good Thanksgiving, because… because you deserve it. All these people think you’re this unfeeling ice queen, but you’re not. You’re really not. You’re brilliant and beautiful and strong and… and pretty much the best roommate I could have. You push me to be better every single day and I couldn’t dream of a roommate… of a friend better than that. So when I say I’m gonna miss you, I’m not just saying it to be polite. I will really, really miss you.”

Coughing a little after the brief silence that followed, I moved to open the door. “And I know how awkward that’s gonna make you feel, so I’ll just leave now and you don’t have to–”

She was there, right in front of me. Even as I jumped a little at how fast the girl had moved, she… embraced me. Avalon hugged me tight. That went on for a few long, rather wonderful seconds. She felt… warm and soft.

“I’ll miss you too, Chambers,” she said in a soft, barely audible voice while still holding onto me. And then I felt it. Her lips very gently brushed my cheek. She… she kissed my cheek.

Even as I was still realizing what had happened, it was over. Avalon gave me a little push to get me out of the room. Her own face was pink. Her mouth opened, and I swear she was going to say something else. Then the girl stopped herself, looking… shy before she quickly shut the door in my face.

And for a solid minute, I just stood there, staring at the door while holding my fingers against my cheek.

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29 comments

  1. Welcome to the start of the new arc! A holiday arc, even! So that should be fun. I’ve got some… interesting things planned. Hopefully you guys’ll enjoy reading about this little event. 😀

    If you have been enjoying the story and would like to help get us up there on Top Web Fiction, please do feel free to click here. Every vote truly does help spread the word and get the story noticed.

    Oh, and also do check out the very well updated TV Tropes page, the list of known Strangers upkept by BBBence1111 that can be found here and the list of various characters and the abilities/powers that they have displayed that is upkept by Squornshellous Beta and can be found here!

    The tags for today’s lovely chapter, for those of you on mobile, happen to be: Avalon Sinclaire, Deveron Adams, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Might Wanna Sit Down Deveron – She’s Hit The Thesaurus Before Meeting With You Just To Prepare., Still A Better Love Story Than Twilight. No Not Flick And Anyone. I mean Tristan And The Popcorn Bag., Tristan Moon

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ooooooo, and Avalon makes the first move! I wasn’t expecting that. I mean, I suppose Tristan technically made the first move with that flirting early in the chapter but damn, Avalon was adorable.

    And it’s good that Deveron and Flick had that talk, brief as it was. I still feel like they should get more in depth, but I’m not exactly in a position to cast stones on that front, so whatever.

    Is Columbus not coming to Thanksgiving at Flick’s? I kind of assumed he would be going too.

    Also,

    And because you were sent away from this reality when you were five years old, you didn’t have an existing instance in this reality beyond that point.

    Weren’t Vanessa and Tristan seven when Tristan and their parents were banished?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is Columbus not coming to Thanksgiving at Flick’s? I kind of assumed he would be going too.

      He’ll probably be there for the meal, but he’s not spending the holiday there like Shiori is.

      Weren’t Vanessa and Tristan seven when Tristan and their parents were banished?

      Sorry, yes, seven. Thank you for the catch. I was going off memory and… well, failed.

      Like

  3. ““Yeah, I need to work on that whole schedule thing. Nessa’s gonna find a way to strangle me in my sleep if I’m late again. Totally my bad.” Slipping a pair of sunglasses from his shirt pocket, the blond boy slid them onto his face. “But what can I say? This school’s just got so many cute girls–” He used a finger to tilt the sunglasses down so he could look at me over the top of them. “–Present company most definitely included, it seems like a waste to spend so much time stuck in some stuffy old classroom.”

    Flushing a little bit, I coughed. “Don’t forget that whole ‘not drawing more attention’ thing. Since giving certain people an excuse to look too closely at you and your twin could be a bad idea.”

    Me: Hm. Tristan’s overdoing it on the charm I think. Understandable I suppose, since he’s been away from normal civilization for a while.

    “I nodded slowly at that. “And because you were sent away from this reality when you were seven years old, you didn’t have an existing instance in this reality beyond that point. So you could time travel back, for you, to this time. But you couldn’t, say, go back to when your family was broken apart and stop it.””
    Me: After a bit of consideration, I suppose this makes sense. It’s a bit arbitrary, but still consistent.

    “Swallowing, the boy shook his head. “Nope. And trust me, because I asked, more than once. Never mind the whole paradox thing. It just flat out won’t even let you do it. Apparently just having two of the same person at the same time is enough to wipe every version of you out of existence completely.””
    Me: Interesting and disturbing at the same time. Sounds like a “localized” result of Don’t Cross The Streams.

    “Rolling my eyes again, I snickered. “Sure, you know me. I’m all thug-life.” I made a few fake goofy and exaggerated gang signs with my hands.

    “Uh huh.” Tristan arched an eyebrow. “And if you go by the Wuyehn sign language, you also just said that your pink fluffy cabbage sings beautiful show tunes.”

    Me: *insert notsureifserious.gif here* Fascinating if true though, heh.

    “Smirking in spite of myself, I admitted, “That’d be something to look forward to. But seriously. I don’t know if Koren’s talked to you yet or not, but we’re doing this thing at her family’s new house later in the evening. Apparently they’re having a big party with lots of people, and we were talking about how having you and Wyatt come by as father and son—only, you know, reversed, would be pretty cool.””
    Me: Flick and the others can’t know what we do about the…inconsistencies about Koren’s family from the Stranger/Alter activity we saw in her Interlude, but I’m worried something’s going to happen.

    ““I’ll miss you too, Chambers,” she said in a soft, barely audible voice while still holding onto me. And then I felt it. Her lips very gently brushed my cheek. She… she kissed my cheek.

    Even as I was still realizing what had happened, it was over. Avalon gave me a little push to get me out of the room. Her own face was pink. Her mouth opened, and I swear she was going to say something else. Then the girl stopped herself, looking… shy before she quickly shut the door in my face.”
    Me: That was somewhat unexpected (yet d’aww inducing). I wonder, how will this development affect their future interactions with each other, or the rest of the cast? Hm.

    Nice update.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me: After a bit of consideration, I suppose this makes sense. It’s a bit arbitrary, but still consistent.

      Yeah, I needed to explain why they don’t use it all the time to solve everything in a consistent way. You know… that doesn’t eventually result in a sequel play/story where they violate every established rule of time travel and fuck up everything by having Flick’s child go back and turn the world into an Age of Apocalypse rip-off.

      Me: Interesting and disturbing at the same time. Sounds like a “localized” result of Don’t Cross The Streams.

      Pretty much.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, Tristan certainly seems to be adjusting to at least the social aspect of life at Crossroads very well, making lots of friends & flirting with the girls. (Though he seems to not be taking the academic side as seriously as he should, which understandably annoys his sister.) Wonder if instead of super-memory, he got some sort of super-charisma from the Seosten side of his heritage?

    The aside on how time-travel works here, with the restrictions that you can safely either go back to a time before one ever existed, or into an alternate dimension, and that if one tries to go to a time where one already exists (even if dead,) both versions cease to exist, was informative. Wonder if there are any bad guys who exploit that to dispose of ‘inconvenient’ people, or conversely, if that could be used to eliminate a particular bad guy or two?

    And after Thanksgiving, Flick & company are going to try & see if they can’t get some answers from Tangle, so maybe we’ll find out some more about the traitors and/or moles in Crossroads & the Garden who’ve caused all that trouble for Avalon & probably killed Pericles in the next arc.

    Interesting little chat on the roof between Deveron & Flick. Deveron does seem notably chill about the whole pending love triangle thing that will likely break loose if they can free Joselyn when they finally deal with Fossor for once & for all, though given the comments regarding how they deal with intimate relationships, a lot of Heretics probably would be rather more relaxed about such things.

    However, given the title of this arc, why do I get the feeling it’d be a really good thing if Deveron & Wyatt can do the familial role reversal act & join Koren & Flick at Thanksgiving, especially considering how someone swapped out Koren’s father for someone else. And this does seem like a good place to mention that we he haven’t found out just how things turned out with the Hiding Man situation yet.

    Oh, and seeing Flick give her vocabulary a real work-out with Deveron was good for a chuckle.

    And that was a cute moment where Flick & Avalon said their goodbyes before Flick left for the break. Plus Avalon finally made a move- things are certainly going to get even more interesting.

    Yeah, as it turned out, Gaia had known that Vanessa was another one of the half-Alter students.

    Somehow, I’m not surprised that Gaia would have known that. Though it does make one wonder just how many other people know of at least some half-Alters in the Heretical community, but are sitting on that knowledge for whatever reason?

    “Uh huh.” Tristan arched an eyebrow. “And if you go by the Wuyehn sign language, you also just said that your pink fluffy cabbage sings beautiful show tunes.”

    *snerk* Though with something as outlandish as the singing cabbage, have to wonder if Tristan’s making that up just to be funny….

    Her own face was pink. Her mouth opened, and I swear she was going to say something else. Then the girl stopped herself, looking… shy before she quickly shut the door in my face.

    And for a solid minute, I just stood there, staring at the door while holding my fingers against my cheek.

    Hmm, looks like that little goodbye had quite the effect on both of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonder if instead of super-memory, he got some sort of super-charisma from the Seosten side of his heritage?

      Tristan’s hybrid bonus is his physicality. Vanessa’s interlude reveals that he was a near-Olympic level gymnast at the age of seven. This never came up during the Meregan situation, but was kind of hinted at in his confrontation with Deveron, and how he leaped over a table to reach Vanessa when he recognized her at his introduction to the Academy.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Wonder if instead of super-memory, he got some sort of super-charisma from the Seosten side of his heritage?

      He’s just naturally outgoing. As has been said by Hendy already, his big gift was natural athleticism.

      And after Thanksgiving, Flick & company are going to try & see if they can’t get some answers from Tangle, so maybe we’ll find out some more about the traitors and/or moles in Crossroads & the Garden who’ve caused all that trouble for Avalon & probably killed Pericles in the next arc.

      Here’s hoping!

      However, given the title of this arc, why do I get the feeling it’d be a really good thing if Deveron & Wyatt can do the familial role reversal act & join Koren & Flick at Thanksgiving, especially considering how someone swapped out Koren’s father for someone else. And this does seem like a good place to mention that we he haven’t found out just how things turned out with the Hiding Man situation yet.

      😉

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  5. I wonder why Avalon is so shy. Unlike Flick, she has liked girls in the past. If I recall right, she admitted that without any shyness about it. Unlike Flick, she apparently only has one current romantic interest. So it is a bit odd, and there has to be something of a story there. If I recall right, Avalon’s prior romantic interest died somehow…maybe that was her first and only?

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    1. As I understand her, Avalon has a lot of difficultly with her emotions in general. She’s not a very open person at the best of times and usually keeps people at arm’s length. Furthermore, there’s never been any hint that she was in a relationship with anybody before. When she said that she “likes girls” she wasn’t referring to a relationship, she was just saying that she’s a lesbian and not attracted to guys. There’s a difference between coming to terms with your sexuality and your emotions, and Avalon’s mini-interlude made it very clear that she’s having a hard time admitting her feelings for Flick even to herself.

      It’s possible that she’s had relationships with others in the past, but I think it’s been made pretty clear that Seller and Salten (the winged deer she helped raise) were the only ones she was really close to at Eden’s Garden.

      Plus, you know, her last sexual experience was when Torv tried to rape her, so it makes sense that she’d hesitate to let herself be vulnerable with someone else.

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    2. I wonder why Avalon is so shy. Unlike Flick, she has liked girls in the past. If I recall right, she admitted that without any shyness about it. Unlike Flick, she apparently only has one current romantic interest. So it is a bit odd, and there has to be something of a story there. If I recall right, Avalon’s prior romantic interest died somehow…maybe that was her first and only?

      Hendy is correct. Knowing she likes girls and actually being intimate/vulnerable with someone are two different things. She’s not very emotionally open after everything that happened in her childhood and to drive her away from Garden.

      Plus there’s that whole Torv thing. Avalon moving too fast would be out of character.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. If you time travel into the past and die then all versions of you are erased from the multiversity 0_0 (since your corpse in the past makes its way into the present via normal progression of time and then there’s two of you)

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    1. This is how you know that if you in the past and in a fish you don’t die in that fight. Because if you did you’d have erased yourself from esistance.
      This is the basis of Ben Franklin being a superhero in the Web comic .

      Though that protection only covers the various ways in which your body or its constitute atoms are left around. You might still lose the fight by being forcefully shifted to another dimension.
      One with no oxygen, or maybe too much oxygen, or nothing but fire or any other thing that is deadly even to a Heratic. So best not to rely too much on the “I can’t die in the past because I made it into the past in the first place.” protection idea.

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      1. The real issue there is that the moment you decide to time travel back you either pop out of existence (because time travel would lead to you dying in the past) or you gain “plot armor”. Furthermore, the probabilities of these events are related to your actual skills (i.e. very weak people going into dangerous times will have a near 100% chance of the pop out of existence option while really strong people would almost definitely get–but not need–the plot armor)

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  7. You can only exist in one instance in the same dimension at the same time.

    This clearly only applies to time travel, since Miranda can make copies of herself. Then again we only see the end result of that power, for all we know she could be pulling slightly different versions of herself from parallel worlds. More likely the ‘copies’ don’t count because of some technically, such as them not being the “real” her.

    Now I want to see an Alter that very blatantly breaks this rule, popping in and out of the time stream alongside itself with no signs of paradox. Especially when you kill the one that you know if the “past” version while the “future” version escapes.
    There’s a D&D monster than can go back in time six seconds (one “round”) and assist itself in combat. I thought it was called a “Time Twin” but searches for that come up blank and other search are not bringing it up. My Google-fu is weak today.

    A good prep update, and it was cute to see Avalon finally doing something about her feelings for Flick. Maybe soon she’ll admit she has them, other than feelings of annoyance that is. Both to herself and to Flick.
    Small steps though, small steps.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This clearly only applies to time travel, since Miranda can make copies of herself. Then again we only see the end result of that power, for all we know she could be pulling slightly different versions of herself from parallel worlds. More likely the ‘copies’ don’t count because of some technically, such as them not being the “real” her.

      Yeah, copies are different from the original person. Miranda’s thing is basically making clones/twins and that’s totally different from time traveling into the same instance.

      There’s a D&D monster than can go back in time six seconds (one “round”) and assist itself in combat. I thought it was called a “Time Twin” but searches for that come up blank and other search are not bringing it up. My Google-fu is weak today.

      Hmm, yeah I can’t find it either, sadly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Because it was bugging me I went and dug out my old table-top books.
        It is from Sword & Sorcery, not Dungeons & Dragons, is located in the “Creature Collection II: Dark Menagerie” and is named “Tempus Twin”. So I was kind right it being called “Time Twin”, just didn’t have half of the language right.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Because it was bugging me I went and dug out my old table-top books.
        It is from Sword & Sorcery, not Dungeons & Dragons, is located in the “Creature Collection II: Dark Menagerie” and is named “Tempus Twin”. So I was kind right it being called “Time Twin”, just didn’t have half of the language right.

        Ahhhh no wonder it wasn’t showing up in the D&D stuff. Good to know.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. But what if Lincoln ends up getting an expanded life span too? What happens then?

      I mean, I’m reasonably confident that Joselyn is going to end up choosing Deveron in the end, but I’m just as confidant that Lincoln is going to end up partaking in some Akharu blood at some point. So I don’t the resolution of this particular love triangle will be simple.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Excuse me for a moment.

    *steps outside*

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    *steps back in, coughs*

    Now, where was I? Ah yes. So Tristan’s making lots of friends… is his Charisma score really that high, or has he picked up (wait, is he actually a proper Heretic?) a power that subconsciously enhances that? Either way, he looks like a great person for Flick and co (including him) to use as a way to introduce the whole “Alter, not Stranger” thing at a much later date.

    And Deveron got rekt again. Flick really isn’t holding back, is she? XD

    And then Avalon. God I love how much she’s not even trying any more. It’s so cute. She’s so cute. Her and Flick are so cute. Everything’s cute. HELP ME I AM A SIX FOOT TWO MAN WITH A BEARD THAT LOOKS LIKE I STEPPED OUT OF A CAVE FOUR THOUSAND YEARS AGO HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME INTO THIS TWITCHING BALL OF SAPPY FLUFF. (Please never stop)

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  9. Meregan culture must be surprisingly similar to American/Heretic culture for Tristan to be doing so well. Enthusiam’s good but it only gets you so far, a lot of the cues and appropriate reactions are culturally specific. Natural athleticism and so good looks are more general, true.

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  10. I have no idea who to ship with Flick. At the moment it’s between Avalon and Tristan. Also @Cerulean, is there something that makes the crossover from bystander to heretic that changes people so they’re more likely to be gay, or swing in that direction? I feel like a lot of the characters show gay dispositions. The ones I recall are Deveron’s roomie, Avalon, Shiori, Wyatt, Flick, Sean’s uncle and his Alter bf. Did I miss anyone? Hah, they felt like more in my head. Wonder why. Now that I think about it, considering the overall cast size, these few 7 means this is probably not over-representation… hmm, I got it, it’s because 4 of them are pretty main characters, so it feels like a much more central theme.

    I kinda ended up writing a stream-of-consciousness thing here, woops, sorry. I wrote too much to erase without feeling sad. They’re my word-babies!

    Liked by 1 person

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