Medical Leave 15-04

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It seemed to take forever for the doctors to move on. Yeah, it was really only a couple minutes or so. But with the information that I was sitting on, those two minutes felt like several dozen eternities.

I used the time as wisely as I could, quickly checking through the files for what I knew had to be there. Sure enough, now that I knew what to look for, my eyes quickly found the note about a third blood sample that had been taken a year before the first one. It had been taken from a different subject than either of the first two. Three different subjects, three different blood samples, all connected. I knew why they existed, and that realization made me want to tell the doctors in the hall to hurry the hell up and stop blocking Tangle’s room. But I restrained the impulse, since it probably wouldn’t have helped.

I also took the time to type out a text and an e-mail n my phone, just in case anything went wrong. Finally, just after hitting send on the second one, I heard voices and footsteps. Peeking that way, I saw the chatty doctors moving past me, all of them deep in conversation about some kind of miracle fruit.

As soon as they were gone, I slipped back out of the room without ever waking up the elderly guy who was still slumbering away in his bed. Which was good, because on top of everything else that was going on, I really didn’t want to add ‘disturbing the rest of a heavily burned grandfather’ to the list.

Making my way quickly down the hall, I was almost there when Sands and Avalon emerged. Seeing me, the two of them picked up the pace. Avalon was almost as fast on her crutches as she had been without them, and I was briefly distracted by the sight of her motion before managing to snap myself out of it. “What’s going on?” I asked blankly. “What’d you guys find out? Is it really her in there?”

“I found her treatment schedule,” Sands explained, already gesturing for me to keep walking with them. “They’ve got specialists on the way right now, so being here when they show up is a bad idea.”

“And yes,” Avalon added, her voice flat in that way that told me she was doing some pretty heavy thinking. “We attempted every test that Gaia told me about. They all say that the person in the bed is really Giselle Tangle, and that she really is in a coma. She was unresponsive to everything we tried.”

Nodding, I tried to sound as nonchalant as possible. “Well, I just found a whole lot of diddly squat.”

Both of the other girls looked at me briefly. It was code. Using the words ‘diddly squat’ meant that I had found something important. So important, in fact, that I was afraid of anyone overhearing what it was, so I didn’t want to say it until we were sure that it wouldn’t happen. Preferably when we had the use of one of those magic private conversation coins that Deveron had been teaching us to make.

And that fact in and of itself had to tell the two of them just how important what I’d found out was, considering we’d risked talking out loud about running blood tests and such on a comatose professor.

Unfortunately, it also meant getting back to Scout, since she was still the only one who could manage it consistently. I’d made it work a time or two, as had all the others with varying degrees of effectiveness. But Scout was the one who could do it every single time, so we trusted her the most with the spell.

The whole way back down to the cafeteria, I could barely restrain myself from spitting out what I had learned. The words kept almost popping out of me, and I was squirming with each step to the point that it was obvious that both Sands and Avalon had noticed. They kept giving me long, searching looks. Well, Sands did anyway. Avalon mostly just told me to stop acting like an overly excited puppy that needed to use the bathroom. But it was the way she said it. I could tell she was as curious as Sands.

Somehow, despite the secret boiling up inside me, I managed to contain myself and we made it into the cafeteria. The three of us had just managed to get a few drinks and sit down before the others came back, so we made some polite noise about how much better Avalon was feeling. Then the rest of the team moved to get their own drinks while Doctor Therasis went over her muscles a bit with a hand. He asked her questions about what she was doing to exercise them responsibly, and ended up producing a bottle of pills that he told her to take one of every night until it was empty, even if she felt better.

Personally, as competent and trustworthy as the man seemed to be as far as medicine went, I made a note to make sure that Gaia checked them before Avalon took any. At this point, paranoia ruled my life.

Still, we finished out the tour, each minute seeming to take months considering how much I wanted to tell the others about what I had found out. I was pretty sure even the others had figured out that I had something big to talk about, considering the looks that I was getting from Scout, Columbus, and Sean.

But finally, we finished up and went through as brief of a question and answer session as we could manage without coming off as too rude or ungrateful. I really didn’t want Therasis to think that he’d done anything wrong, so I made an effort to show as much interest as I possibly could, considering the situation. Besides, the stuff that he was telling us about really was interesting. It just didn’t hold a candle to what had been in that file. So I asked questions and tried my best to listen to the answers.

Then we were heading back to the receiving room to go through the portal. As we stepped inside, I felt Doctor Thersais put a hand on my shoulder, his voice quiet. “Oh, Miss Chambers? Hold on a moment.”

Well this wasn’t surprising. Clearly everything had been going entirely too well. He knew what we did. There were cameras. He was in on everything. The whole hospital was just an elaborate front for a–

“I was wondering if you would mind taking this to my great, great, great, grandson.” The man was holding out a small present in blue wrapping paper. “Rudolph? I believe he is in your grade level.”

… It’s slightly possible that I may have been just a little bit too paranoid at that particular moment.

Coughing, I accepted the package. “Oh, right. Of course, I know Rudolph. Sure, I’ll give it to him.”

“Excellent,” the man gave me a broad smile with a twinkle in his eyes. “I’m afraid I wasn’t able to make it to his birthday party last night. So much work to do. Please give that to him and let him know that I promise I’ll take him out next weekend, just the two of us. I’ve already scheduled the time off.”

Nodding quickly while tucking the package under one arm, I promised the man, “I’ll make sure he gets it, and tell him about next weekend. Did you, um, was there anything else you wanted to say, sir?”

Doctor Therasis shook his head. “No, I believe that was everything. If you have any more questions, or if you’d like to visit again, feel free to come by. We can always use more healing-oriented Heretics.” The man’s smile was a little sad then as he added in a quiet voice, “It’s not exactly the most glamorous of the possible professions to aim for when you leave school, but I assure you, it is quite important.”

“I believe it.” Nodding, I hesitated before looking up at him. “Thank you for the tour, Doctor Therasis.”

His hand squeezed my shoulder reassuringly for a moment. “You’re a good girl, Felicity Chambers. I really hope you get what you want out of school, even if it’s not to be a healer. Good luck to you.”

Thanking the man again, I stepped through the portal along with the others. As the image of the room inside of the Pathmaker building appeared around us, I let out a low whistle. “Holy crap, you guys.”

The rest of the team’s eyes turned to me, and I managed a weak little smile. “Don’t you get it? We’re back. We made it back. You know what that means? We went through a whole trip and nothing bad happened. There was no sudden interruption, no one was abducted, the whole thing went just fine.”

Columbus cleared his throat. “We’re not out of the building yet, don’t jinx it. And do you mean ‘just fine, absolutely nothing interesting happened,’ or ‘just fine, we found exactly what we needed to?’”

“Tell you later,” I got out just before the opposite door opened, revealing one of the security guys from the school. I didn’t know his name, but he had been with Wyatt and Reid Rucker when we had taken that field trip to visit ‘s-Hertogenbosch. From what I could tell, the guy didn’t tend to talk very much.

He kept up that record by looking us all over for about two seconds before grunting a simple, “All good?” When we nodded, the man pivoted back around and made a gesture with two fingers for us to follow. Then he led us out of the Pathmaker building, escorting us onto school grounds once more. When Sands asked where Professor Kohaku was, he gave the incredibly succinct answer of, “Busy.”

“Well,” Sean remarked idly once the man left us out on the school grounds to return to his normal patrol without a single backward glance or another word to us, “isn’t he a regular Chatty Cathy?”

Avalon grunted before pointing to Scout. “We need the coin spell, as fast as you can make it,” she said simply. Then she looked at me, her curiosity obvious. “And then you explain everything you found.”

“Oh, no problem,” I assured the other girl. “This, you guys are definitely going to want to hear.

“But first, I need to get the other phone back from Koren for awhile. There’s something I’m gonna want to check up on, and I’d rather keep it… quiet.”

******

A short time later, we were all sitting out on the grass at the back of the grounds, as far from everyone as possible. It was an added layer of security on top of the privacy spell that Scout had just finished, though she had put it on a rubber ball rather than a metal coin. Apparently, the object didn’t matter.

Then it was done, and with the added assurance of privacy, everyone was looking at me expectantly. I had already texted Asenath with the secret phone and asked her or Twister to call me back as soon as they could.

“Oh, wait,” Columbus interrupted just as I started to explain. “Are we sure that whatever you’re about to say wasn’t—you know, that your memory wasn’t altered somewhere in there? They do love that.”

I coughed. “Trust me, if they were going to change my memory, they wouldn’t make it anywhere near this interesting. And besides,” I waved my regular, non-secret phone at him. “I texted some of the details to Miranda and e-mailed myself. It’s not a perfect system, but I think we’re pretty much as safe as we could possibly be right now.”

No one else interrupted so I was able to finally get on with my explanation. “Valley,” I addressed the other girl, meeting her gaze. “I know why people have been trying to kill you since you were born.”

A frown touched her face then before her head shook. “The attacks only started this year.” After a brief pause, she amended that with a simple, “I mean, besides my father. But that’s… personal, between us.”

“No, it’s not,” I corrected her as gently as possible, knowing this was going to be a lot to take in. “But I’m getting ahead of myself. See, I looked through the files.” I produced the scanner that Sands had given me from my jacket pocket before waving it around. “There’s this part about these blood tests that they did.”

Sean raised an eyebrow at that. “Pretty sure they’ve done a lot of blood tests on Tangle by this point.”

“Not on her,” I corrected him. “They were blood samples that she brought to the hospital for them to test. Three different blood samples that were taken about twenty years ago. Well, one taken nineteen years ago, then another one taken eighteen years ago, and the third one about six months after that.”

Columbus frowned uncertainly, glancing toward the others. “I don’t get it. Why would Tangle take them three different blood samples to test over the course of about a year or so? What was she doing?”

“Okay, this part I kinda need help with,” I admitted. “I asked Vanessa, but I think you should explain it, Sands.” When the other girl looked at me with confusion, I asked, “Could you explain blood vaults?”

“Blood vaults?” she blinked once before shifting her position on the grass. “Uh, sure. They’re just these, well, vaults full of money, weapons, supplies, magic stuff, whatever a family’s got stockpiled away. They can only be accessed by the closest living blood relative of the person who set up the vault. It’s magically enforced and there’s no way to break in. It’s pretty much the most secure place in the world. If you’re not the closest living blood relative, you’re not getting in, period. I mean, unless the person who is allowed in takes you. But other than that, it’s completely impenetrable.”

“What does that have to do with people trying to kill me?” Avalon asked with a squint before adding a belated, “And why do you think they’ve been trying for longer than just this year?”

“The blood tests,” I explained. “The first one was taken a little over a year before you were born, and it had a somewhat decent genetic relation to the sample they tested it against. Then they tested the second sample just a few months before you came along, and it had a much closer connection. Like, second cousins versus grandfather and granddaughter difference between the two. Much, much closer. And then, a few months after you were born, there was that last test. It was almost as close as the second one. Just one more generation removed. I’m positive that the last one was you. And the second one–”

“My mother,” Avalon stated flatly, her eyes flicking away thoughtfully. “My birth mother.”

Bobbing my head up and down, I continued. “The sample they were testing the blood against, according to Vanessa, they’ve got a huge blood vault, one that no one’s been able to get into for… for a really long time. They’ve been looking for the closest blood relative, someone who could open it. I think Tangle was working with whoever that first blood sample is from. They tested it and thought they won the genetic lottery. But they couldn’t get in the vault, so they knew there was someone else.”

Glancing to Avalon, I added a little more quietly. “Your mother. I don’t think her dying in the hospital was an accident. I think they meant for both of you to die, to clear the way for whoever that first sample belonged to to become the closest living relative and get access to the vault.”

“But I didn’t die,” Avalon’s voice was even more monotone by that point, her eyes focused somewhere else. “I survived. For years.”

Nodding, I hesitated. “I don’t know what made them back off. Maybe they didn’t want to kill a little kid after you were born, or maybe they were pushing your father to do it and that’s why he was such a… piece of shit to you. I don’t know. But—hold on. Perfect timing.”

The secret phone was buzzing, and I clicked the answer button before holding it up to my ear. “Hey, it’s Flick. Twister? Yeah, I figured Senny’d be asleep. Thanks. I just have one question. In your, umm, line of work, have you ever heard of a shark-toothed guy named Fahsteth?” I paused, listening to her answer. “Right, thanks. That’s what I thought.”

Thanking her again, I disconnected. “Remember how my mom said to check on why Fahsteth was there? Yeah, according to Twister, he’s a mercenary, a hired gun. He’s not just some random spree attacker, he goes places because he’s paid to. And I think he was paid to kill you that night, Avalon, and make it look like a random accident.”

“Why?” Columbus asked the question everyone else was clearly thinking.

“Because Gaia was on her way,” I pointed out. “Remember, she said she was planning on talking to Avalon already. So these guys panicked and hired Fahsteth to kill her before Gaia spent too much time with her and maybe figured out this blood connection. I don’t know, exactly. We’ll have to ask the headmistress exactly how that went down. But I’m pretty sure that’s what they were doing.”

Sands straightened then. “Wait, this is the year that Eden’s Garden starts teaching about magic, isn’t it? You said that before. There was a whole thing about that, like they teach you how to fight before, but this is the year they start magic lessons.” When Avalon nodded, her eyes widened as she got the same connection I had. “That’s why they had to get you out of there. Because when they teach magic, they’ll start teaching blood magic too. That involves taking your blood and testing it. And when they did that…”

“They would have figured out about her blood relation,” I finished. “That’s why they panicked and had to have you kicked out of Garden. And it’s why they’ve been trying so openly to have you either killed off since then, or just driven out of this school too. That’s why they’ve been trying to make everyone else turn against you, to pressure Gaia into taking you out of the school without revealing why they don’t want you here.”

“But why are they going so psycho about this?” Columbus pressed. “What’s in this blood vault that’s so important? Whose blood were they testing all those samples against.”

“I had to ask Vanessa if she knew the name,” I explained. “Let’s just say, she did.” Taking a breath, I looked to Sean and the twins. “Liesje Aken.”

The reaction was instantaneous. Sands jolted upright, Sean cursed under his breath, and even Scout’s eyes widened.

“Holy shit, dude,” Sean muttered again, looking from me to Avalon.

“What?” Columbus demanded. “Who the hell was Liesje Aken?”

“It’s not so much who she was,” I informed him while the others were still staring open-mouthed. “It’s about who her father was. See, Liesje Aken used her father’s real, birth surname. Probably to hold onto some kind of privacy or something. The man was born Jheronimus van Aken.

“But we know him better as Heironymus Bosch.”

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27 comments

  1. Whelp, I did promise you guys some answers, didn’t I? Hopefully this bit lives up to some of the mystery surrounding the obsessive attacks on Avalon that I’ve been putting out there, while leaving you wanting more. Such as who exactly is behind the attacks themselves, and who that first blood sample belongs to. 😉

    Anyway, I do hope you guys enjoyed that. Sometime in the couple days, we’ll get our first bonus mini-interlude that was commissioned. And, as stated before, mini-interludes and regular donations are still getting the bonus where I automatically double any amount given. Pay for a 1000 word minilude, get a 2000 word minilude. Donate 10 dollars toward a regular bonus chapter, it gets put on the books as a 20 dollar donation. And so on. I’ll keep that going until the Friday update, just to give everyone a chance to take advantage if they would like to.

    In Top Web Fiction news, you guys are keeping us up there, so thanks! You can renew your vote (or do it for the first time) by clicking right here!

    Tags for today’s chapter are: Avalon Sinclaire, Columbus Porter, Donald Therasis, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Nope! There’s No Way They Made It Back With No Problems. It’s A Magic Simulation And They’re All Prisoners!, Sands, Scout, Sean Gerardo, Twister, Well Clearly Nothing Of Any Importance Happened In This Chapter.

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  2. Ok, so Avalon is being targeted so some distant relative so he can get at the ultimate inheritance. Yep. Not a good reason, as I thought. Fuck these guys. I hope they live just long enough to see Avalon get access to this vault before they go down.

    I’d like to take a second to appreciate the irony of Avalon being the descendant of the practically worshiped “inventor” of the Heretical Edge in light of all the shit both camps of Heretics put her through. Any chance you could tell us how closely Avalon and Liesje are related?

    I suppose this means I was wrong about Tangle being a patsy, I seriously doubt the mole was thoughtful enough to put those blood tests in a comatose woman’s folder just to set her up. i’m also surprised those blood tests are on record, why didn’t any of the people who handled it or preformed the initial test not see Liesje Aken’s name on it?

    And I liked the scene with Therasis. Great-great-great grandpa to Rudolph? Nice. I bet there’s a story behind that because the dude probably has a lot of great-great-great-grandchildren at this point.

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    1. I hope they live just long enough to see Avalon get access to this vault before they go down.

      Avalon is basically going to be like, “Yeah, I could shut this down right now by claiming my inheritance and doing away with all this. But at best they’d just disappear. So to hell with that. Let them keep thinking I don’t know so that they keep trying to come after me and expose themselves.”

      Any chance you could tell us how closely Avalon and Liesje are related?

      Soon, hopefully. 😉

      i’m also surprised those blood tests are on record, why didn’t any of the people who handled it or preformed the initial test not see Liesje Aken’s name on it?

      The few who looked at the whole file/performed it did. But with Tangle first unwilling to explain where the blood samples came from and then in a coma, nothing came of it. Especially since finding an heir like that would be a huge deal, so there was benefit to keeping it quiet until the actual person could be located.

      Flick specifically got that file because she *specifically* said: ‘All records related to Tangle, Giselle.’ Most people involved would be looking at her coma-related records, not files from twenty years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Avalon is basically going to be like, “Yeah, I could shut this down right now by claiming my inheritance and doing away with all this. But at best they’d just disappear. So to hell with that. Let them keep thinking I don’t know so that they keep trying to come after me and expose themselves.”

        On one hand, that sounds like she’s already planning good, and I want to see it.

        On another hand, my immediate instinct is to say that she’s being reckless and taking a big risk by not shutting them out immediately. After all, these people have already turned one major group of Heretics against her. They’re probably planning out a way to do it again. *eyes Malcolm nervously.*

        But back on the first hand, sending them into hiding would likely convince them to take shots further down the line. And there are other considerations beyond Tangle and the mole. Namely, the Seosten. Somehow I doubt they would want to let Bosch’s descendents continue to be Heretics when the Edge could potentially expose that he was their puppet to someone related to him. So in all likelihood, Avalon would probably be targeted by them if her relation to their old puppet got out before she could have any kids.

        What was Avalon’s vision anyway?

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  3. “Well this wasn’t surprising. Clearly everything had been going entirely too well. He knew what we did. There were cameras. He was in on everything. The whole hospital was just an elaborate front for a–

    “I was wondering if you would mind taking this to my great, great, great, grandson.” The man was holding out a small present in blue wrapping paper. “Rudolph? I believe he is in your grade level.”

    … It’s slightly possible that I may have been just a little bit too paranoid at that particular moment.”
    Me: Heh. You have led an interesting and perilous year so far Flick, but not everyone is out to get you.

    ““It’s not so much who she was,” I informed him while the others were still staring open-mouthed. “It’s about who her father was. See, Liesje Aken used her father’s real, birth surname. Probably to hold onto some kind of privacy or something. The man was born Jheronimus van Aken.

    “But we know him better as Heironymus Bosch.””
    Me: Who is he again? There are so many characters I’m losing track of who’s who.
    *Looks at Hendy’s comment*
    Oh, I see. Very interesting.

    Anyway, an attempted inheritance heist against Avalon eh? The people trying to kill her and keep her uneducated about her lineage must believe there’s some choice items in that blood vault to carry out such an extended plot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, that “present” will actually turn out to be a magical spying device so that the evil doctor can find out what Flick knows.

      Meanwhile, “all of them deep in conversation about some kind of miracle fruit” will end up being a critical plot point, and even “someone’s badly burned grandfather” will turn out to be Heironymous Bosch in disguise.

      With this story, it’s safest to just assume that everything is a Chekhov’s device of some sort or another.

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    2. Me: Heh. You have led an interesting and perilous year so far Flick, but not everyone is out to get you.

      Can’t really blame the paranoia though. 😉

      Anyway, an attempted inheritance heist against Avalon eh? The people trying to kill her and keep her uneducated about her lineage must believe there’s some choice items in that blood vault to carry out such an extended plot.

      No kidding.

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  4. Typo thread

    “No, it’s not,” I corrected her as gently as possible, knowing this was going to be a lot. “But I’m getting ahead of myself. See, I looked through the files.” I produced the scanner that Sands had given me from my jacket pocket before waving it around. “There’s this part about these blood tests that they did.”

    “knowing this was going to be a lot.”

    A lot what? A lot to take in?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, that was quite the reveal about who Avalon really is, being the great (x?)-grandaughter of none other than Bosch himself, which would make her some sort of Heretic royalty. And that explains why there’s a conspiracy out to kill her- some more distant relative of hers wants to eliminate her so they can get the inheritance that’s currently rightfully hers.

    Oh, and what an interesting inheritance it’ll be, since it’s none other than the material legacy of Bosch & his descendants locked away in a secure vault that only the closest living relative of its creator (in this case, Avalon) can open. Wonder what it is- treasure? Magical artifacts of great power? Some secret that’d rock the Heretical world to its core (such as, say, a manifesto indisputably from Heironymus Bosch that’d basically prove Joselyn & her rebels right or expose the Seosten manipulation.) Though, suppose that having it contain the widget that’d allow Flick to free Joselyn or defeat Fossor, or one that’d solve the Seosten or Formorian problem would be too much to ask for.

    Whatever it is, it’s got to be something impressive enough to get a number of influential Heretics to join with whomever’s trying to murder their relative for her inheritance.

    Though the recent spate of attacks on Avalon in an attempt to kill her or drive her out of the Heretical community to make her an easier target would be explained by blood magic (which also controls the opening of the vaults) would soon be taught, and the testing/instruction would reveal who Avalon is & have her given her inheritance making it too hard to move openly against her (as well as Fahsteth being hired to carry out a hit on her because they thought Gaia was about to figure something out,) it does raise some questions about some of the other things that happened to her. For example, was her ending up with an asshole like Reggie Owens arranged for in the hopes that he’d kill her & her death would look like just another tragic case of death by abuse in the Bystander world? And what about the guy she killed in self-defense while fighting off his rape attempt- was he drugged or otherwise mind-controlled into attacking Avalon like that in the hopes he’d kill her, or the incident would otherwise result in her leaving the Garden?

    Though with all that, finding out that the Tangle in the hospital is really Tangle & she’s a significant figure in the conspiracy to kill Avalon seems like small potatoes.

    Wonder if the old man with the burns is going to turn out to be someone of significance.

    And is my wondering if not everything is as it seems with Doctor Therasis, Rudolph, and/or the present just me being paranoid, or is it going to be something popping up later?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ok. She wasn’t paranoid enough. Why would the doctor pick her to take a toy? Why not take it himself? Because he could tell something was up and the toy is a listening/recording device.

    Anyway, I’m still not seeing the connection. It’s rather tenuous a revealed link to indicate that the blood sample is Avalon’s, just that the blood samples were taken near her birthday. Just because they teach blood magic, who would they be testing her blood against? Can this blood vault be opened from any location? Surely there were other people in the world born near when Avalon was.

    Typo:
    to clear the way for them to whoever that first sample belonged to to become the closest living relative and get access to the vault.”

    Either change to:
    to clear the way for them to make whoever that first sample belonged to the closest living relative and get access to the vault.”

    Or put a comma after “them to” and after “belonged to” like:
    to clear the way for them to, whoever that first sample belonged to, to become the closest living relative and get access to the vault.”

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    1. Ok. She wasn’t paranoid enough. Why would the doctor pick her to take a toy? Why not take it himself? Because he could tell something was up and the toy is a listening/recording device.

      lol, to be completely fair, he told her why: because he was too busy and wasn’t able to get off duty until next weekend to visit Rudolph. And she was heading back that way immediately. It’s just like “While you’re going to be literally going to the exact same building, would you mind…”

      Remember, by this point, the guy has to have a LOT of descendants if Rudolph is a ‘great, great, great, grandson.’ It’s reasonable that he could be too busy to get off work for that, it’s not like it’s his direct son.

      And even if it was a listening device, it wouldn’t work through the anti-eavesdropping spell.

      Anyway, I’m still not seeing the connection. It’s rather tenuous a revealed link to indicate that the blood sample is Avalon’s, just that the blood samples were taken near her birthday.

      They know that people, including Tangle, are OBSESSED with killing Avalon in a way that didn’t make sense. They see a blood sample taken from one person a year before Avalon’s birth. They see another one taken closer to her mother’s death, and then ANOTHER different one taken shortly after Avalon’s birth. They know that all three were tested against Liesje Aken.

      So basically, at that point they know there were three different blood tests, the last one taken shortly after Avalon’s birth. They know that the difference between the second and third blood tests was a parent and their child. They know that those people are obsessed with killing Avalon. And they know that the same people have been trying to get access to a DNA-locked vault that is only accessed by the closest living relative.

      At that point, it’s really not that huge of a leap to get to ‘Avalon is the other blood test.’ Why else would they be targeting her so obsessively rather than, you know, targeting someone else? Why else would they have gone all out to get her kicked out of Eden’s Garden right before they started teaching magic which would have led to testing her blood? Why else would Fahsteth, the mercenary, randomly show up that night just as Gaia was going to visit the young Avalon/Hannah?

      It’s everything put together, not just the existence of blood samples. It’s the way it all fits.

      Just because they teach blood magic, who would they be testing her blood against?

      Eden’s Garden does have the ability to test for genetic connections if they see a reason to. As soon as they did regular, mundane tests as part of teaching her magic, they’d notice that she has a blood relation to an old Heretic family, and dig deeper.

      Can this blood vault be opened from any location? Surely there were other people in the world born near when Avalon was.

      I’m sorry, I’m genuinely not sure what this is asking. No, it can’t be opened from anywhere, but I’m not… umm, really not sure of where you were going with it?

      And if your point in the last bit there was that other people could be their target… yeah, they could be. But they weren’t. We already KNOW that they’re after Avalon specifically. the question wasn’t ‘who are they after?’ it was ‘WHY are they after Avalon?’ This is the answer to why, they already know the who. Do you think that if Tangle and her allies had some kind of conspiracy going on about finding the lost heir to the founder of their entire civilization, that they’d ALSO have some *other* conspiracy, completely unrelated, that had to do with being completely obsessed with killing Avalon?

      If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Again, they already knew that the obsession was focused on Avalon. This shows the WHY of that obsession. If the blood sample wasn’t Avalon’s, they’d be obsessed with someone else.

      Thanks for giving me a chance to get all that down in one place, anyway. 🙂

      to clear the way for them to whoever that first sample belonged to to become the closest living relative and get access to the vault.”

      Either change to:
      to clear the way for them to make whoever that first sample belonged to the closest living relative and get access to the vault.”

      Or put a comma after “them to” and after “belonged to” like:
      to clear the way for them to, whoever that first sample belonged to, to become the closest living relative and get access to the vault.”

      Thanks, I fixed it as: I think they meant for both of you to die, to clear the way for whoever that first sample belonged to to become the closest living relative and get access to the vault.”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I also took the time to type out a text and an e-mail n my phone, just in case anything went wrong.

    typo, just after ‘e-mail’ you are missing the first half of ‘on’

    Like

  8. Turns out the vault only contains admittedly very expensive, self-made porn and tasteless, overly overt political satire that could have got him hanged. Granted, very weird porn and acutely disturbing satire you’d need deep personal knowledge of Latin, Diets and the various politically important people, as well as the memes and tropes of the time period to have a hope of understanding (because Bosch), but… still. 😛

    Though, I’m guessing a few people kicking about could still be badly stung by the satire. And, maybe an ill-advised gig or two as a no-longer-starving model. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So Avalon is related to Heretical Jesus? Interesting.

    (…actually, that makes me wonder, was Jesus actually a Heretic in HE’s universe? Or someone possessed by the Seosten, since the whole angel thing and a big part of Judeo-Christian religions are the angels).

    Like

    1. Historical speaking, there was nothong significant about Jesus’s death when it actually happened. Christianity didn’t really take root for another few decades, and it took centuries for it to become a powerful social and political force.

      So while the Seosten almost certainly co-opted the Christian faith when/before/after it started to dominate Roman poilitics, they probably had no involvement with the actual crucifixion because there was nothing to indicate it would be anything other than an inconsequential execution at the time.

      Then again, while Jesus was definitely a heretic, the possibility that he was a Heretic is an interesting one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was more referring to Jesus’ miracles.

        Given we know, in the Heretical Edge universe, that people would surely, *surely* be able to do the things he’s documented as having done, it’s not beyond the realm of probability that he was, in fact, one of those people.

        Which begins the question, then, that I asked.

        Especially since the Seosten are a) immortal and b) very clearly interested in manipulating human history, I don’t think it’s impossible that they could have *planned* for the rise of Christianity. We’ve seen that they address *one another* with the names of Biblical angels, which implies that’s what they actually call themselves.

        There are just too many connections for me not to wonder about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I just realized something I probably should have noticed a long time ago:

    All Heretics created by the Edge are part Hangman

    This is why they’re rewarded for killing, might explain part of how they gain abilities, and possibly explains the extended

    It feels so obvious now, but I didn’t realize what all the implications of that revelation were at the time

    It also occurs to me that the whole “your weapon is a part of you” is *not* metaphorical in the slightest, which would explain the desperation to get Hunga Munga back and potentially open up ways around the censor spell

    I’ve been wrong about many things so far, but this feels right

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My bad, didn’t realize this was so long ago. Maybe they haven’t said that yet. I’ll try to ignore your comments so that I don’t spoil anything upcoming. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s been mentioned before. The first confirmation that Crossroads and Eden’s Garden Heretics are part-Reaper came in arc 7, I want to say 7-02 or 7-03.

        But there’s a lot of story and a lot od exposition at this point, and kinigget’s been binge-reading, so it’s an understandable miss at this point.

        The suggestion of the weapons being part of the Heretics though… that’s new.

        Like

      3. S’alright, I’m aware of the revelation, just working out what all it actually *means* over time

        That and Nevada mentioning in her internal monologue that only Heretics and “Reapers of Death” set off her warning sense was a pretty big hint

        Like

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