A Learning Experience 17-02

Previous Chapter                     Next Chapter

In my experience, at history (or any) class in a normal high school there were the usual assortment of students: some paying attention because they didn’t want to flunk out, some who that thought they were too cool to pay attention no matter what that risked, others that were legitimately bored out of their minds and made sure everyone knew it, and then there were a few who were actively, almost obsessively interested in the actual presentation.

Considering my primary extracurricular activity at my old school had been the newspaper, whose motto was basically, ‘Yes, we still exist, turn the lights back on!’, I wasn’t super-high on the popularity scale. Which meant that I didn’t have to care about how it looked, so I was used to being one of the latter group, who actually made the clearly unforgivable mistake of asking the teacher questions that encouraged them to discuss the topic more. Yes, I know, there’s a special place in hell waiting for me.

That said, here in Crossroads, things were a little bit different. Not completely, but people did at least tend to openly pay more attention in Bystander History. I wasn’t exactly sure if it was more because Professor Dare was a complete babe, because she was kind of terrifying, or because the fact that she had actually lived through a lot of that history made her take on it even more fascinating than it would have been. Obviously, it was a combination of all three. I just didn’t know exactly what the ratios were.

Even with that in mind, however, there were still usually people who clearly didn’t care that much about what was said in the class. Probably partly because most of the Heretic-born students reacted to the Bystander understanding of what had happened throughout history a lot like adults listening to a little kid telling a long, rambling, convoluted, and semi-incoherent story about their day: initial amusement followed by a mixture of boredom and bewilderment that the polite ones tried to mask.

In a way, it was almost impossible to avoid that kind of reaction when so many classes was basically ‘Here’s what really happened, and here’s what the Bystanders think happened.’ Not always, of course. There were plenty of things that happened in the normal world (and I would probably always think of it as the ‘normal world’) that had nothing to do with Heretics. Even things that I’d initially thought had to be connected to something in the Heretic world, like the Kennedy assassination. But according to Dare when I’d asked her, there was absolutely nothing abnormal about it. But even then, most Heretic students weren’t that interested. Which I could understand. Given the choice between hearing about fighting monsters in another world, or learning about the New Deal, I knew where my preference was.

Today, however… well, today, not only was everyone paying rapt attention, but we had all shown up early. By the time Professor Dare made it into the room, the entire class was already there and waiting.

If she was surprised by that, the woman gave no sign of it. Instead, she sat at her desk and silently wrote in a little notebook until the clock ticked over to two forty. Standing right on the dot as the seconds hand crossed over, she cleared her throat before speaking up. “I suppose that now would be a bad time to inform you all that there has been a change in schedule and that we will now be taking a pop quiz on the implementation and eventual repeal of alcoholic prohibition in the United States.”

Giving a very faint, almost invisible smile at the reaction to that, Professor Dare raised a hand. “Enough. We will discuss what we were supposed to, of course. As promised, today I will talk about my history, and I will answer your questions. If you wish to have some sort of clarification or don’t understand something, feel free to raise your hand. But if your question concerns parts of the story that we haven’t reached yet, well, be patient. As I’ve told each of you, this is not a story I like to repeat.”

Once we’d all nodded and made noises of agreement and understanding, she tilted her head back to look at the ceiling. The room fell silent. No one was whispering, or even writing anything. Everyone simply stared with rapt attention as the woman finally began to speak.

“My father was Ananias Dare, who had been a bricklayer at a church in London. My mother was Eleanor White. In the year fifteen eighty-seven, they and a hundred and thirteen others, including my mother’s father, were sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to form a colony in the New World of the American continent. The initial plan was to check on a group of fifteen settlers on Roanoke island that had been left in order to maintain both an English presence in the area, and Walter Raleigh’s claim to the island. After checking on them, my parents and the others were intended to settle their own colony on Chesapeake Bay. However, they found nothing but a skeleton—the ahh, non-mobile version. That was the only sign of the group of fifteen settlers who had been left behind to safeguard Raleigh’s claim.”

By that point, Professor Dare had lowered her gaze from the ceiling and was slowly looking over us. “For reasons that are still not understood, Simon Fernandez, the commander of the fleet that brought my parents and the others across the ocean refused to allow them back onto the ship after they discovered that the fifteen men were missing. Rather than taking them to the Chesapeake Bay as formerly planned, he demanded that they stay and establish a new colony there, on Roanoke.

“My mother’s father, John White, had been named expedition leader and was now the governor of the new colony. He had been on several previous trips and had been a part of establishing a line of conversation and trade with the local natives, including the tribe from another nearby island, the Croatoans. This time, however, the natives refused to meet with my grandfather when he tried to reestablish contact, and one of the other colonists was killed by a native while he was alone.”

I knew all of this already from what I had looked up on my own. But even then, hearing it from the mouth of someone who had actually been there was far more engaging than reading it on a screen. I glanced around the room briefly to find that everyone else was just as engaged as Dare continued.

“In the midst of all this, in late August, I came along. The first English child born in the new world. But… things were still not going well. The colonists convinced my grandfather to sail back to England to get help. Unfortunately, due to certain events including the outbreak of the Anglo-Spanish War, he was unable to return to the colony for almost three years. When he finally arrived on August eighteenth, fifteen ninety, the exact day of my third birthday, he found the colony deserted. There was no sign of attack. All of the buildings had been dismantled and taken, so we obviously hadn’t left in a rush. The only clue he found was the word Croatoan carved into the post of a fence. Of course, he took that to mean that the colonists had moved to the nearby Croatoan Island. But there was a heavy storm coming in and the men he had arrived with refused to investigate any further before leaving.

“And that,” she announced, “is what is already known about the Roanoke Colony. Now,” Dare added with a soft, kind of sad smile, “I suppose you’d like to know the truth behind that particular mystery.”

When the rest of us quickly confirmed that, she swallowed a little before pushing on. “Of course. Some of this, naturally, I was too young to remember and only learned of second-hand. Mostly when my father spoke of it, or when I managed to eavesdrop on other colonists while they didn’t realize I was listening. But here is the true story of what actually happened.

“Three months after my grandfather’s departure, the local natives had steadily stepped up their attacks. There seemed to be a growing, concerted effort to either drive the colonists away or kill them. At the height of these hostilities, some of the natives abducted and killed a baby boy who had been born shortly after I had. This, obviously, enraged the colonists enough to go on the offensive. They killed that group and several others before one of the natives, who had previously worked with Raleigh and therefore spoke English, finally explained what was going on.”

Again, the professor was quiet for a few seconds, lost in her own memories before she went on. “Between the time that first peaceful contact had been made with the local tribes, and when my parents and the other colonists arrived, one of the native shamans had made a prophesy: that a great evil would use the blood of the first English child born on their soil to destroy the world. Desperate to avoid that, the natives had tried to drive the colonists away. When that failed, they attempted to halt the prophesy by killing the first-born child before the great evil could find them. That was why they killed the boy, they didn’t realize that I was born first.

“Obviously, my parents weren’t going to agree to kill me based on some prophesy from a native tribe. In order to halt hostilities, however, they did agree that the colony should be moved away from those lands. The colonists believed that simply getting away from the superstitious natives would be a good thing, and the tribes themselves thought that it would be harder for the ‘great evil’ to find me.

“So, they took the time to dismantle all of their houses and turned them into rafts before carving the word Croatoan into the fence post. The natives had agreed to explain what happened and where we had gone to my grandfather when he eventually returned, so the word was meant to direct him there. Then they left.”

Slowly walking down one of the aisles between our desks, Professor Dare continued in a soft, thoughtful voice. “We traveled for months before finally settling in a place that my parents believed would be safe, far from the paranoid natives whom they believed were the only real threat. And I grew up there.” She sounded… well, wistful. “I spent my childhood in that valley, surrounded by my family. And they were all my family, the colony. I knew them all, I loved… them all.”

She swallowed hard as she passed my desk, trailing her hand over it. “But it ended when I was twelve years old. That was when the great evil… whoever or… whatever it was, found us. It sent… monsters into the colony. Monsters I can’t even describe now. The years and my own… childish terror morphed their features. I remember fire, darkness, and a lot of screaming. I remember monsters of all shapes and sizes, including a creature that we now know as an amarok.”

I straightened at that, eyes widening as Professor Dare met my gaze briefly before she went on. “They were everywhere. I saw my mother disemboweled in front me as she tried to run away with me. I saw my father killed where he stood, along with so many others. But they left me alone. They left me alive. My job was to witness it, not to die. The great evil wanted me to see it all, to see what it had done in order to claim me.

“Of course, the colonists tried to fight back. And they succeeded, somewhat. More than thirty of my… my family fought and killed that giant wolf, the amarok. They paid for it with their lives, but they killed it, ripping a hole in the creature that left its blood and internal organs spilling out over half of the colony. And as that… nightmare continued, I tried to hide from the monsters that had torn my mother apart. That fear, that… blinding, unending terror led me to the body of the giant wolf. I hid under its mortal wound, in the pond of blood that kept… falling onto the ground, onto me.”

There were murmurs all around, and Professor Dare gave a short nod to cut them off. “Yes, that is how I became a Heretic. Before my connection to Crossroads, I was an Amarok-Heretic, a wolf-warrior. I was… empowered by the blood of the creature, not to fight in that case, but to run away. I was a twelve-year-old girl who was traumatized by everything I had seen. So I fled. The power of the Amarok let me run faster and longer than any person ever should have been able to. On that first day, I was able to run faster than a horse could, for most of the day while only pausing to eat and drink.

“So that’s what I did. For over a year, I ran to stay away from the evil who had… who was responsible for what happened. I didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t interact. I stayed away from people, because I didn’t want… anything to happen to them. I was just the wild one in the woods, running, always running.”

By that point, Professor Dare had made her way throughout the class and back around to the front where her desk was. “I might have stayed like that forever, except that… someone else found me.”

She turned to face the class, leaning against her desk as her eyes roamed over us. “He was a… natural Heretic, like me. Except his power came from one of the creatures that we now know as vampires. His name was Tiras.”

Wait, that name sounded familia—In mid-thought, a heavy thud interrupted, making me and several others jump. My eyes snapped that way along with the rest of the class, only to find Shiori staring at Professor Dare while the book that she had been holding lay on the floor next to her where it had just fallen.

“Miss Porter?” the professor prompted her with a curious look. “Are you all right?”

Shiori… Tiras… I realized where I had heard the name before. Asenath. Asenath’s father’s name was Tiras. That, coupled with the way Professor Dare had paused before she said the man who encountered her was a natural Heretic, could it mean that he was that Tiras. It would’ve been long before Asenath was born, of course (by almost two hundred years), but other than that… it fit.

“Y-yes.” Shiori’s head bobbed, and she quickly bent down to pick up the book. “Sorry, Pr-professor. Please, um, please go on. You said there was a… a man.”

She and I quickly exchanged looks, and I gave a quick nod to tell her that I had caught it as well. If it was true, if this was the same Tiras… wow. I wondered if Asenath knew about her, even if she didn’t know that it was Professor Dare herself.

“Yes, Tiras,” the blonde teacher confirmed before continuing. “He took me in, convinced me that he was strong enough to protect himself. And that he could also protect me. He… trained me, taught me how to fight instead of simply running away. I learned the art of the sword from Tiras. He honed the wolf’s savagery in me into something more useful. Tiras taught me everything. He was a second father to me, and I spent the next ten years growing up under his tutelage.

“But the attacks didn’t stop. Every now and then, one of the agents of the evil that had been hunting me for so long would catch up with us. We always killed them, but… but during one attack, Tiras was injured. I was twenty-three years old then, and I couldn’t let that go on. I couldn’t stand to see my second father killed too, just because of me. So, once I knew he was going to recover, I… left a note explaining what I was doing, and I went away.” She blinked rapidly a few times, her voice a little hoarse. “I left him.”

Clearing her throat, Professor Dare looked to me briefly before continuing. “I did it to protect him. I didn’t want anyone else to suffer because of me. As much as it hurt, I decided it would hurt more if he was killed by the monsters hunting me.

“Of course, just running around forever wasn’t going to work. Whoever was after me, whatever evil was behind these attacks wasn’t just going to give up. It would just keep sending things to catch me, and they would keep killing everyone who got in their way. The prophesy had said that the great evil would use my blood specifically because I was the first English child born on the soil of Americas. So, I decided the best thing to do was to leave the American continent entirely. Hoping that, well, being on a completely different continent halfway across the world would put a stop to it, I booked passage on a ship and sailed back to England, to the land of my parents. I wanted to feel some connection to them, see where they had come from. And I wanted to say goodbye the way I was never able to before. Maybe even see my grandfather. But when I got there, I… couldn’t do it. The fear that connecting with my grandfather would lead the evil to him was too much. I stayed away, though I did explore my parents’ hometown.

“There, I eventually met the woman you know as Gaia Sinclaire, the headmistress. She recognized what I was and took me under her wing. She introduced me to Hieronymus Bosch, and his machine. Under her recommendation, I became a Crossroads Heretic.

“And the rest, as they say, is history. Any questions?”

Previous Chapter                     Next Chapter

 

Advertisements

25 comments

  1. Well hey there, guys. How was that for a lot of exposition? I hope you didn’t mind getting all that in one go without a lot in the way of action, but I’ve been promising Dare’s backstory for a long time (both in-story and out), and now was the best time to get through it. Next time, we’ll get into Flick’s first tutoring session with Gaia.

    If you guys ARE enjoying this story (and forgive me for a chapter full of little more than Dare talking), throwing in a vote at Top Web Fiction by clicking right here would be super-appreciated. Thank you, like, a million times.

    And the tags for this chapter are: All The Other Students Who Didn’t Get Lines Because Dare Talked Like Forever Jeeze, Come For Dare Backstory – End Up Getting Tiras Backstory Too. That’s Service., Felicity Chambers, Flick, Shiori Porter, Virginia Dare

    Like

  2. !

    So much to speculate on. I suspect this “Great Evil” is new rather than a different name for a villain we’ve already met. Sending living monsters isn’t Fossor’s MO, the Fomorians would have invaded a lot sooner if they were present on earth in the sixteenth century, and if it were the Seosten they would done something once Dare joined up with Crossroads.

    And Tiras made an unexpected appearance! Yay! I wonder if Dare knows that Asenath is his daughter.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “She swallowed hard as she passed my desk, trailing her hand over it. “But it ended when I was twelve years old. That was when the great evil… whoever or… whatever it was, found us. It sent… monsters into the colony. Monsters I can’t even describe now. The years and my own… childish terror morphed their features. I remember fire, darkness, and a lot of screaming. I remember monsters of all shapes and sizes, including a creature that we now know as an amarok.””
    Me: And now I am wondering who and/or what sent the hostile Alters to attack the colony. And an Amarok? Yikes, the colonists were lucky to have killed it at all, even though they died in the process.

    “So, once I knew he was going to recover, I… left a note explaining what I was doing, and I went away.” She blinked rapidly a few times, her voice a little hoarse. “I left him.””
    Me: Rather persistent of this Evil, isn’t it? I also imagine Tiras might want to see Dare again, even though it’s been hundreds of years.

    Anyway, it seems that Dare led quite a trying early life. This was an informative update that generated several new questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me: And now I am wondering who and/or what sent the hostile Alters to attack the colony. And an Amarok? Yikes, the colonists were lucky to have killed it at all, even though they died in the process.

      They really were.

      Me: Rather persistent of this Evil, isn’t it? I also imagine Tiras might want to see Dare again, even though it’s been hundreds of years.

      Wait til Dare and Asenath find out that they’re pseudo-sisters.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. All of the buildings had been taken dismantled, so we obviously hadn’t left in a rush.

    Should there be a forward slash between taken/dismantled?

    Also, anyone have a link to where we first heard of this Tiras fellow?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Twilit Dreams Circle and commented:
    Exactly how many ways are there to become a Heretic. I mean, I know it should be possible, but from the sound of it you can become a Heretic by the sheer virtue of surviving long enough to bathe in the blood of a supernatural creature. Not to mention this has the makings of a prophecy of some kind that I would expect from the MC of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly how many ways are there to become a Heretic. I mean, I know it should be possible, but from the sound of it you can become a Heretic by the sheer virtue of surviving long enough to bathe in the blood of a supernatural creature.

      lol, ummm, that’s… pretty much exactly the truth that’s been established. You might wanna check out the Fomorian’s explanation during Flick’s encounter with him, in this chapter.

      Remember, Fomorians created humanity SPECIFICALLY to genetically bond with the other races and gain their abilities and strengths by taking their blood into themselves. It’s not enough to just get their blood on them, but Dare was scraped up and cut and bleeding herself as she cowered in that pool of blood, so hers and the amarok mixed together.

      It’s the act of the human getting a Stranger blood INSIDE them and then surviving long enough for it to take hold. People with lower potential could take hours or even a whole day for it to take hold, while people with a high potential have it take hold very quickly such as with Dare. That’s why it doesn’t happen with everyone who gets into a fight with an Alter. They have to get the Alter blood inside them and then survive the experience.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I figured humans had the latent potential because of the Formor thing, it’s just that with all the ceremony and fighting over the apples and light house, it seems far too easy now… relatively speaking. It’s not so much being chosen as being in the right place and right time and not dying.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s not so much being chosen as being in the right place and right time and not dying.

        A big part of that is purposeful. That said, as I mentioned, people’s POTENTIAL can be different. In the case of Natural Heretics, that affects how quickly they become Heretics (and the slower it happens the more likely they’ll die before it kicks in) and how powerful they become, and in the case of Bosch Heretics, it affects how likely they are to gain powerful abilities from what they kill. Lower potential = lower chance of getting high power after a kill.

        I’ve used the analogy of rolling dice before to see how much power they gain after a kill. High potential people get to add bonuses to their roll. And in the case of natural heretics, high potential speeds up how fast they gain power from their bonded Alter. In that case, think of it as high potential giving a boost to experience points gained.

        I figured humans had the latent potential because of the Formor thing, it’s just that with all the ceremony and fighting over the apples and light house, it seems far too easy now… relatively speaking.

        To show the difference and why Natural Heretics aren’t GENERALLY as scary as the Bosch ones, let me quote something I said in the SB thread:

        Before Bosch and Crossroads, Heretics were a rarity. After all, the human has to get Alter blood inside them and then survive the experience. And even then they weren’t exactly world-ending for the other Alters. They were simply humans with the ability to see/remember Alters (many of whom were seen as crazy), the potential to use magic (though most would never actually learn spells or how to properly harness it), and the same abilities as the Alter whose blood they took. They were pretty much about as dangerous as the same Alter they were connected to. You know witches/sorceresses/wizards/etc? Often a natural Heretic who learned to use magic in some way.

        A Reaper/Hangman Heretic was super-dangerous despite being even more rare specifically because they could gain any power of any Alter they killed. But again, they were the rare of the rare.

        And then Bosch comes along and creates a machine that can artificially turn humans into these super rare of the rare Hangman Heretics.

        Think of it this way, you know how Eidolon was the ultra-hero in Worm specifically because he was so adaptable and had a power for everything? Imagine if a tinker created a machine that could turn anyone with a power or the potential to have a power into a mini-Eidolon. And then turned around and created an entire society based around churning out these super-soldiers.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Interlude 16 doesn’t have a link to the next chapter.

    I just finished binging this story over the past couple days, and I really liked it. Here’s some (hopefully constructive) criticisms – keep in mind that these are sent with love, I added this story to my follows and intend to keep up with it and support it.

    The site banner (the green swirl at the top with the story name) looks kinda.. amateurish. At least that was my first impression. I’m sure that if you announce the search for a new one, someone might make one for you pro-bono.

    The pacing is really hectic. It’s the same issue that Worm has – never-ending action leads to reader fatigue. Mind you, Heretical Edge comes out much better than Worm in this respect, simply because it’s not nearly so grim-dark, so there’s not as much emotional exhaustion. Also, the fluff you write helps a lot. *Also* also, this might not be a fixable issue – I imagine that the constant action pacing works quite well for an episodic web-serial format and it’s only annoying to binge-readers, in which case it’s a matter of balancing it rather than it being a simple fix.

    The time-travel mechanics don’t lie well with me simply because they’re so abusable. To my current understanding, there’s not much stopping you from going to another (perhaps small, un-inhabited, or somehow cut-off) world for a hundred years to train, research, and such, and returning back to the “present” with your insights and powers in tow.

    The issue with that is that if it’s abusable, it *will be abused* – and yet we don’t know of any Heretics that do actively abuse it, and we don’t know of any reason not to do so (beyond the obvious estrangement and the like, which wouldn’t stop certain people).

    This isn’t a huge problem to me simply because it’s really tough to create time travel mechanics that, when taken to their logical conclusion, don’t lead to one type of absurdity or other. But I do think you should hand-wave or lampshade the whole thing somehow, just for pedants like me.

    (I suspect that this may be the method by which Joselyn became so powerful in which case you were probably going to explain the limitations of this thing *anyway*, but yeah.)

    This is just off the top of my head. I suppose I should’ve written criticisms down as I read instead of after, but oh well.

    Thanks a lot for the story, looking forward to more!

    Like

    1. Also, another thing, but this is even more of a subjective topic – the Heretical Edge characters are all a bit too one-sided in their approach to family. What I mean is that, almost universally, whenever a character finds that they are related to another one, they almost immediately accept and love their new relation. While this is a heartwarming and cool thing to see, in reality I think a decent amount of people would not see purely biological bonds as *that* meaningful.

      It’d be nice if a character or two approached their newfound relations with slightly more skepticism. So far the closest people to that are Avalon and Koren, both of which are still firmly erring on the side of familial love.

      Like I said, this is an even more subjective thing, but I really do think a little bit more variance in this respect would be good for the story. At this point when we learn of yet another lost relation, there’s very little tension as to whether or not they’ll be all warm and fuzzy to each-other sooner or later.

      Of course it’s entirely all-right if you’d rather have your story focus entirely on the warm and fuzzy and heartwarming things, instead.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey! Sorry for the delay here, Christmas stuff got crazy.

      Interlude 16 doesn’t have a link to the next chapter.

      Whoops, thanks for pointing that out!

      I just finished binging this story over the past couple days, and I really liked it. Here’s some (hopefully constructive) criticisms – keep in mind that these are sent with love, I added this story to my follows and intend to keep up with it and support it.

      Hey, no problem with wanting to improve something that you enjoy. No worries.

      The site banner (the green swirl at the top with the story name) looks kinda.. amateurish. At least that was my first impression. I’m sure that if you announce the search for a new one, someone might make one for you pro-bono.

      Well, I AM an amateur, so I can see where you’d get that impression. 😉 And I may do that at some point. I just wanted to have something up other than the plain default design.

      The pacing is really hectic. It’s the same issue that Worm has – never-ending action leads to reader fatigue. Mind you, Heretical Edge comes out much better than Worm in this respect, simply because it’s not nearly so grim-dark, so there’s not as much emotional exhaustion. Also, the fluff you write helps a lot. *Also* also, this might not be a fixable issue – I imagine that the constant action pacing works quite well for an episodic web-serial format and it’s only annoying to binge-readers, in which case it’s a matter of balancing it rather than it being a simple fix.

      You’re very correct. In some ways, I wrote myself into a bit of a corner with so much happening right around Thanksgiving. Stuff just had to keep coming and we spent months of writing on just a few weeks of time. Now we’re through that bump and the timeline of events should hopefully even out a little bit.
      You are right, however, about how easy it is to throw constant action to maintain reader’s interest from update to update. But hopefully we’ve had enough of that for now and people can enjoy more world-building and such that’s going on this arc.
      And thank you for mentioning the fluff. I do think it helps ease the constant frantic pace a little bit, so I’m glad when people commission things like that. That and it’s great fun to write.

      The time-travel mechanics don’t lie well with me simply because they’re so abusable. To my current understanding, there’s not much stopping you from going to another (perhaps small, un-inhabited, or somehow cut-off) world for a hundred years to train, research, and such, and returning back to the “present” with your insights and powers in tow.

      My immediate response to that is that… well, yeah, you could do that. If you knew how to do it and had enough power and resources to make it happen. Remember, Nicholas Petan is not a typical Heretic, he’s been around for a long time and has the resources of essentially a Star Trek-like spaceship with an army of Alter followers to draw on their power. Using the time travel thing is not like… running down to the store for a quart of milk. It’s not something Crossroads is going to teach.

      So yeah, given everything falling into the proper alignment, someone could abuse it. But there are easier ways to get more powerful. Like… just killing things. Essentially in the time it would take a guy to gain enough power, knowledge, etc to do their time travel thing, someone else could’ve spent that time just plain getting more powerful. And by the time they have everything you need to go off and spend 100 years in another dimension before time traveling back, they generally use that power and those resources on something more productive.

      Think of it in JRPG terms. Essentially you have to be level 50 before you can time travel. So you grind everything for days and days in the starting area focused toward becoming level 50 and taking the time travel ability. Then you spend all those points and get your time travel thing, spend 100 years somewhere else in order to gain a few more levels, then time travel back to just after you left. You’re 100 years older than you were and you’ve gained some power, but this is also what you’ve devoted so much of your build toward.

      Basically, what I’m saying is that it’s very rare and very limited. Not that what you’re proposing is impossible or anything, it’s just that a very specific and rare set of circumstances need to align to make it work.

      I don’t like time-travel holes like that either, which is why I specifically set up the rule that you can’t time travel back to a time that you’ve already lived through. Not only that, but if you somehow violate the normal rules and travel to a time before your own birth, you’re basically a ghost unable to affect anything. So no going back in time to kill Hitler.

      This isn’t a huge problem to me simply because it’s really tough to create time travel mechanics that, when taken to their logical conclusion, don’t lead to one type of absurdity or other. But I do think you should hand-wave or lampshade the whole thing somehow, just for pedants like me.

      Oh I’m sure it’ll come up again. After all, we still have to deal with Flick’s eventual jump.

      Thanks a lot for the story, looking forward to more!

      Glad you’re enjoying it!

      Also, another thing, but this is even more of a subjective topic – the Heretical Edge characters are all a bit too one-sided in their approach to family. What I mean is that, almost universally, whenever a character finds that they are related to another one, they almost immediately accept and love their new relation. While this is a heartwarming and cool thing to see, in reality I think a decent amount of people would not see purely biological bonds as *that* meaningful.

      It’d be nice if a character or two approached their newfound relations with slightly more skepticism. So far the closest people to that are Avalon and Koren, both of which are still firmly erring on the side of familial love.

      Like I said, this is an even more subjective thing, but I really do think a little bit more variance in this respect would be good for the story. At this point when we learn of yet another lost relation, there’s very little tension as to whether or not they’ll be all warm and fuzzy to each-other sooner or later.

      Of course it’s entirely all-right if you’d rather have your story focus entirely on the warm and fuzzy and heartwarming things, instead.

      Sorry, I decided to throw the response together into this into this reply.

      Anyway, it’s a fair point. I think everyone’s responses thus far have… made logical sense, and been fun to write that way. And part of it is that I don’t want to write the stereotypical bit of, for example, Abigail rejecting her blood relatives because she’s the mundane one with the established professional career. I mean, I could paint by numbers with her acting like a career woman who doesn’t have to listen to any of this magical hogwash no matter how obvious it is that it’s real, declaring that her child isn’t going to learn how to fight and that they’re going back home to call the police and yada yada. But I wanted to make her reaction be better than that.

      But I understand your meaning. Variety helps, and if nothing else, being awkward and not really enjoying having new family doesn’t really equal rejecting EVERYTHING.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m really glad you liked my criticisms! I was worried you might take them too personally – I know it can be tough to have something you worked hard on and put much of yourself into criticized.

        Regarding the time travel stuff, you’re right – the barrier of entry largely solves my issue with it. I wanted to mention that this whole tactic is perfect for Felicity, what with her one-year time limit and access to Nicholas Petan – but then, we already know that she’ll use time travel for this purpose anyway, so that’s settled alright.

        As for the family stuff, I really like the way you’ve written Abigail. She’s far more interesting the way she is, and I like her more the more we learn about her character. The stereotypical manufactured family drama puts me off as well – I meant something more moderate.

        Personally, if I found out I was adopted, I wouldn’t really care much either way. It’s not that I’d shun my biological family, it’s just that it would mostly be a matter of mild curiosity (“Oh, hey, so *that’s* where I got my nose from. Huh.”). That’s why the happy-go-lucky way everyone approaches it in Heretical Edge jumped out at me. It is, of course, perfectly alright if you’d rather not write that – the way your characters react is genuinely enjoyable and heartwarming.

        Once again, thanks for your hard work! And merry Christmas 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Point to make about people being warm/positive towards extended relations they discover in the Heretic portion of the world. If someone has to deal with an immortal-until-slain lifespan (think Tolkien Elves), many people would experience significant reluctance to bond deeply with someone who *doesn’t* have such a long lifespan. Conversely, upon discovering say..a great-granddaughter who *also* now possesses the same immortal-until-slain lifespan as *yourself* I believe many people would view it as an “emotionally safer” opportunity to open up and connect. With such long life-spans quibbles like distance between birth-ages for the two parties would (I believe for many) be swallowed up by the reality that eternity is long and COLD without people to care for longer than a few decades before they die on you.

    Seller’s reaction to Flick struck me as very organic. It wasn’t all hugs and kisses, but there was a…hmm, call it a predisposition towards *potential* emotional warmth. Probably enhanced by the fact Seller is now old and wise enough to know that even when much of the world is willing to knife you for pocket change, family who will stand with you is a worthwhile thing to guard and cherish down through the centuries.

    Else why BOTHER staying alive for so long if you’re only going to be surrounded by “mayflies” and people who don’t REALLY care about you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I forgot all about Seller, actually! I did really like his somewhat reserved reaction to his descendants for the contrast alone.

      About the lifespan thing, you’re right – I didn’t find it odd at all when Asenath took so much to Shiori, for instance. It’s still slightly odd to me when it’s apparently universal among bystander-kin that *haven’t* internalized their long lifespans at all.

      Like

    2. “Else why BOTHER staying alive for so long if you’re only going to be surrounded by “mayflies” and people who don’t REALLY care about you?” Fosser might have an answer to that one…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. How could the colonists actually see, let alone kill, the creatures attacking them despite the bystander effect?

    Do heretics (prof. Dire) regain memories of alters they met before their becoming heretic (namely, the creatures that attacked the colony)? I thought not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question!

      If they’re being directly attacked like that, the Bystander Effect makes them forget afterward/remember it as being something explainable. It doesn’t generally blind them to the immediate effects of what’s happening.

      Basically, someone being attacked by a werewolf would have all the terror of realizing what it was. Then if they survive, within a few seconds that memory would fade/be replaced by the memory of being attacked by, say, a wild dog.

      Do heretics (prof. Dire) regain memories of alters they met before their becoming heretic (namely, the creatures that attacked the colony)? I thought not.

      Because she became a Heretic during the same fight/encounter, the Bystander Effect never had a chance to kick in afterward to erase her memory.

      Hope that helps!

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s