Winter Wonderland 18-03

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A sneezing sound interrupted before I could say anything in response to Senny’s announcement. A familiar sneezing sound, that immediately made my head snap over toward Shiori.

Sure enough, Choo was sticking his head up out of a container on her hip that she had just opened. The little warthog-like Jerkern was looking around with obvious interest, head turning this way and that.

“You brought Choo?” I asked, surprised at the appearance of the little guy. “How?”

Shiori blushed, rubbing a couple fingers over his head. “I couldn’t just leave him alone for three weeks. Even if Avalon visited him, he’d get lonely. So… she talked to Gaia and found out that as long as he’s in one of these containers like they give us for our weapons, he’s technically not on school grounds because of the whole extra-dimensional pocket thing. If it stays closed and he never pops out, the security spells won’t detect him. So I put him in there and it let me take him through the grounds to the portal to go home. I was about to tell you about it, but then Senny talked about her big surprise with bringing us here, and I sort of got distracted.”

After hesitating slightly, I smiled and reached out to rub under the Jekern’s pig-like snout. “I get it. Wouldn’t want to make you think Shiori abandoned you, would we, little guy?”

In response, Choo sneezed sparks of electricity over my hand, then gave it a quick, curious lick.

“I think he’s hungry,” I informed the other girl as the little lightning-warthog continued licking my palm.

Shiori snorted, reaching into her pocket. “He’s always hungry.” Pulling out a raw carrot, she offered it to him. “Here you go, buddy.” Her smile grew as Choo proceeded to start chomping happily at the thing.

While the other girl was busy feeding her pet, I focused on looking around once more. “So this whole place is just, like, one big hiding place for Alters?” I murmured quietly, marveling even more as I looked around at all the little stores again. Everything looked simultaneously incredible and normal. The Alters here may have looked strange to me, but the things they were doing were just ordinary, like they were normal people trying to live their lives. Of course there were things I wouldn’t see in the Bystander world. They were selling magic, I saw one silver-skinned figure literally step through a solid wall before continuing on their way, and those pixies were still flying around. But at the heart of it, when you looked past all the uniqueness, they were just… people, people trying to live.

“It’s more than a hiding place,” Senny replied, watching the same people that I was. Her voice was soft and contemplative. “It’s a home. Like I said, it’s a place they don’t have to worry about being hunted.”

I felt the approach of someone with a gun and plethora of bladed weapons, along with a notepad, radio, and some jingling coins. Turning that way, I found tall (though not nearly as tall as Buddy) humanoid-bird figure with dark blue feathers and a beak. He looked like Falco from Starfox, and he was wearing what looked like a more official security outfit than Buddy. He did not, however, look quite as friendly.

“She’s right,” he spoke up flatly, in a voice that sounded far more gravelly than I would’ve expected it to. And whenever his beak closed far enough while he was talking, there was a sharp clacking noise. “People don’t have to worry about being hunted here. So you endanger that, and I’ll make sure you-”

Then Senny was there, hand on the bird-man’s chest to stop him from stalking closer. “Easy, Quing. You heard the Septs. Felicity and Reathma are allowed to be here. I already told you, I trust them.”

The bird-man, Quing, apparently, stared over her shoulder at the two of us. “Never said they weren’t,” he ground out with obvious annoyance. “Wouldn’t dream of going against the Septs’ decision. Nope.”

He gave us another look that clearly screamed that he wasn’t going to stop watching us before stalking past. As he did, I noticed that he had a pair of wings separate from his arms. They were folded tight against his back, but rustled with annoyance as if he could barely control himself from lashing out.

Once he was far enough away, I looked to Senny. “That man is not happy about us being here, is he?”

“Quing was the most outspoken voice against it,” the vampire explained quietly, her eyes focused on the pixie shop. “He sees himself as responsible for everyone’s safety. Buddy is the physical and visible deterrent, and Quing is the… subtle one, the one who watches threats and points Buddy at them.”

The big troll himself spoke up then, sounding just as pleased and optimistic as before. “Quing is laser. I am missile. Quing point, I blow up.” Grinning happily, he put his hands together before moving them apart like an explosion while mimicking the sound. “Boom. No more of dze bad guys. Buddy System.”

“Like the military,” Shiori put in. “He paints the target like a laser, then you fly in like a missile and… well, you destroy them.” She glanced toward me before adding, “Makes sense. Isn’t he a Lavinsi?”

“He’s a what?” I blinked, trying to remember if I’d heard that name before. It didn’t sound familiar.

Shiori blushed. “Oh, right, sorry. We learned about them in the Hunter’s track. They’re bird-men with all kinds of vision powers. X-Ray, telescopic, heat, all that stuff. And they’re really, really good at reading body language. A lot of powerful Alters use them as bodyguards because they can tell if someone’s about to attack or even if they’re doing something subtle, like about to use poison. Or even if people are lying. They’re so good at reading body language and facial expressions that a lot of people used to think they were telepathic. Until…” She trailed off, cringing as her expression fell from eager to ashamed. “Until Heretics killed enough of them to figure out what kind of powers they were getting.”

“He is a Lavinsi,” Asenath confirmed. “And Heretics killed most of his family, including his son. That’s why Quing hates them so much. It’s why he doesn’t trust you. I’m sorry, it’s just… the way things are.”

“It shouldn’t be,” I replied flatly while looking after the the way the bird-man had gone. I wondered if he had been a part of Mom’s rebellion. Or would he not have trusted her that much? How different would his life be if Ruthers and his ilk hadn’t erased everyone’s memory? How different would this entire place and everyone in it be if the rebellion had continued, if they hadn’t had their minds wiped?

A heavy hand settled over my shoulder, large enough to practically encircle my entire torso. When I glanced that way, I found Buddy giving me another smile of encouragement. “You are not dze same as dze odzer Heretics. I have seen dzem. Fought dzem. Lost some. Von some. You are not like dzem.”

Taking in a long, deep breath before putting my hand over one of the troll’s fingers to squeeze, I nodded. “I’m trying not to be. Thanks, big guy. Sorry your partner isn’t happy about us being here.”

“Quing will feel better soon,” the big troll assured me while moving his hand. “You vill change mind, not for arguing, but for not doing dze bad sings dzat he sinks you vill do. Dzat is how to change mind.”

Smiling, I gave him a quick pat on the arm. “You’re a smart guy, Buddy. They’re lucky to have you here.” Then I glanced to Asenath. “He mentioned the Septs. Isn’t a Sept like a clan or something?”

“Yes, but not in this case,” Senny replied. “The name Septs comes from the Latin word Septem, or Seven. There’s, you know, seven of them and they’re basically the leadership for this place. Actually, they’re kind of the leadership for a few different places, but this is the biggest one. The rest are all little settlements scattered around here and there. The Septs mediate disputes, pass judgments, establish and interpret the rules, and all the rest of that stuff. They’re the judges and the leaders, and their territory covers… hmm, maybe about a quarter of the United States? A little less. Mostly in the North-West.”

“Does that include Wyoming?” I asked, curious about how this whole thing was set up. “And how do they decide who the Septs are. Is it an inherited title like royalty, or do they fight for it, or… what?”

Senny nodded again. “It covers most of Wyoming, yeah. The edge of their territory is right around the south-eastern area of the state. It comes down around most of Utah, then up through Nevada and cuts through down through most of California. For the most part, they control Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. But there’s obviously disputes. You know, some groups just don’t like following the Septs’ rules, yet they want to live there. It gets violent sometimes.”

She trailed off then, looking away like she was remembering something before shaking it off. “Anyway, like I said, there’s seven of them. As for how they’re chosen, it’s a mixture. Three of the positions are sort-of inherited. Basically, the last person in that position designates a successor. It’s usually one of their relatives, but sometimes it’s a friend or a student. Then the next three are voted in by every ‘member in good-standing’ every ten years. Basically, if you live in this area, follow the rules and aren’t considered an enemy, you get to vote. So three and three, half inherited, half voted on.”

“And the last one?” I asked, even more curious by that point. This was obviously a lot more thought out and civilized than people at Crossroads or even Eden’s Garden would’ve given them credit for.

“Tie-Breaker,” Senny explained. “That’s what the seventh member of the Septs is called, it’s their title. That’s the one that’s earned through battle. One day a year, the Tie-Breaker can be challenged to a fight. If the challenger wins, they become the new Tie-Breaker, the new seventh member of the Septs.”

Shiori whistled low. “And here I thought you guys just sort-of all ran around doing your own thing.”

Chuckling, Senny shrugged. “For the most part, we do. The ones who don’t live here or in one of the smaller settlements mostly do our own thing. Especially those of us who don’t really stay in one place that often. I move in and out of the Septs’ territory a lot. But there has to be some kind of organization. It can’t all just be complete anarchy, even if there’s some who would actually prefer it that way.”

Shaking her head, she gestured before starting off. “Come on, we’ve been standing here long enough. Let me show you around before we meet the Septs. They’ve been wanting to talk to you for awhile.”

I blinked, glancing toward Shiori before starting to follow. “They want to talk to us? Um. How much do they know? I mean, you called Shiori your sister, so… did you tell them about, you know, me?”

Senny paused before looking over her shoulder. Her face was serious. “Not all of it. I didn’t tell them about your mother or any of that. I figured that was yours to share if you want to. It’s kind of a big deal. But I did tell them that you were different, that you had a connection to a group of Heretics that don’t think that all of us are evil, and that there’s more to it. If you want to tell them the rest, that’s up to you.”

I hesitated, thinking about it. From what Avalon had explained (after learning from Gaia), since I wasn’t actually targeted directly by the original memory spell, I could tell them about my mother and their little rebellion. The mnemosyne magic wouldn’t stop me, because I was just sharing a story rather than a specific memory. I had learned about Mom’s rebellion myself, which meant there was a rather big loophole. If I chose to, I could tell these Septs that there had been a major Heretic-Alter alliance against Crossroads and Eden’s Garden before their memories were erased. But was telling them that the best idea? My instinct said it was, but I didn’t want to jump into it without considering the consequences.

So I thought long and hard about it, while Asenath began to show us around the place they called Wonderland. We started by going into the store where the pixies were flying around, doing their little shows. Most of them immediately flew away, pretty much hiding behind safety screens or completely disappearing from sight. But a few actually fluttered up a bit closer, clearly curious to see Shiori and me, even if they were still obviously nervous and incredibly skittish about the whole situation.

Well, most of them were obviously nervous. One, however, came flying straight up to hover in front of my face. She was a tiny thing, with bright violet wings and dark blue hair. She was wearing what looked like leather armor, and she had a needle-like sword sheathed at her side. When she spoke, her voice was high-pitched and excitable. “Hello!” She waved with both hands. “Hi, I’m Namythiet!”

“Oh, uh, hi.” Leaning back a little to see the winged figure a little more clearly (she was hovering very close), I examined her. All of them were tiny, of course. But somehow, this one looked even smaller. Going by her face and build, my guess was that she was still a young pixie, maybe in her early teens. Assuming pixies had ‘teenagers’ of course. The point was, most of the others I had seen in the store looked like women (albeit incredibly small ones), and this one looked like barely more than a child.

“Namythut, you said your name was?” I asked, hesitantly holding my hand up with a couple fingers out for her to perch on if she wanted to. I wasn’t sure what the etiquette for that sort of thing was, so I hoped it wasn’t rude.

If she was offended, the tiny pixie didn’t show it. She just landed on my fingers before straightening up. Now that I had a close look at her, I estimated her size at about four and a half inches. Meanwhile, the adult pixies that were hovering in the background, watching us with obvious uncertainty, mostly topped out at about six inches or so. It looked like human heights, except with inches instead of feet.

“It’s Namythiet,” the little pixie corrected me. “Nah-Mee-Thee-It. Namythiet. And you’re a Heretic.”

There was a collective gasp from the other pixies, as if they were afraid that having it stated flat out was going to send me into some kind of murderous rage, or like they thought I’d somehow forgotten about being a Heretic, and reminding me would make me suddenly realize I was supposed to kill them.

“Oh, don’t be such big babies,” Namythiet snapped over her shoulder at the rest of the pixies. “Senny says they’re nice, so they’re nice. You think Senny’s stupid or something? She wouldn’t bring bad Heretics here.” Turning back to me, she puffed herself up a bit proudly, hand settling onto the hilt of her little sword. “Besides, if you guys cause any trouble, you’ll have to deal with me and Clubber.”

Shiori piped up from beside me, “Is that Clubber?” She nodded to the sword at the pixie’s hip.

Giggling, Namythiet shook her head. “Nope. That’s Clubber.” She lifted a hand to point off to the side.

The two of us looked that way, only to find what looked like the world’s smallest, greenest saber-toothed tiger. The thing was obviously still a kitten, its emerald fur bright against the white cushion it was sitting on. It yawned at us, showing off impressive fangs for its size.

Choo had popped out again, and after making sure it was all right, Shiori carefully took him out of her little container and set him down on the cushion beside Clubber. The Jekern and the tiny saber-toothed tiger proceeded to sniff and investigate one another.

“So you and Clubber protect this place, huh?” I asked Namythiet.

The little pixie bobbed her head rapidly. “Yup! Dozeran’s teaching me how to fight. I’m his apprentice!”

“The tie-breaker,” Asenath explained. “Dozeran’s the current tie-breaker of the Septs.” To Namythiet, she added, “You wanna help me show them around? You spend more time here than I do.”

Perking up, Namythiet hovered up off my finger, hands on her hips. “You mean it? You want me to come with?”

I had to smile at her enthusiasm. “Sure, if you’re not too busy keeping the riffraff out of here.”

“Eh,” she waved a hand dismissively. “They can get along on their own for awhile. Clubber!” Whistling, the little pixie flew that way before landing on the saber-toothed kitten’s back. “Let’s go, boy!”

With that, Clubber hopped to the floor with the pixie on his back and pranced to the doorway, with Choo following along behind. Shiori and I looked at each other, giggling in spite of ourselves before we trailed after them.

“So!” Namythiet called up from her mount once we were all back in the mall proper. “Whattaya wanna see first, huh? What’re you interested in, big-Heretic-people?”

“Yeah,” a strangely familiar voice spoke up from nearby. “I’m kind of interested in that too. What are you interested in… Heretics?”

I turned that way. My Stranger-sense, which had been quiet for awhile after giving me the initial screaming warning about all the Alters around me, kicked in again to inform me that the figure standing a few feet away was, in fact, also not human.

“Septer,” Asenath greeted the figure with obvious surprise. “We didn’t expect to see any of you until I brought them to the meeting hall.” To us, she added, “Septer is the title for any member of the Septs. This is one of the inherited positions. His name is–”

“I know his name,” I retorted flatly. I hadn’t looked away from the man, had barely blinked. “And he knows me.”

Calvin. The man who had been my boss at the theater, the one whose little drug ring I had helped dismantle as one of the last things I’d done before being recruited by Crossroads. The man who had pretty much run or had heavy investments in half the businesses in Laramie Falls before I helped Scott take him down so that he had to sell off almost all his holdings.

My drug-dealing, skeevy old boss was one of the Septs. He was one of the people in charge here. He was an Alter.

Well…. shit.

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29 comments

  1. Well clearly this is going to go well, isn’t it? 😀 Nothing out of the ordinary will happen now. Just smooth sailing ahead.

    And speaking of smooth sailing, we are back up in the top ten of Top Web Fiction! I can’t tell you guys how much I appreciate your votes. Especially since I tend to keep repeating myself. Suffice to say, you’re all awesome, and any time you feel like dropping in more votes there, I owe every one of you more than I can say. 🙂

    Also, we’ve had another quick little mini-interlude commissioned to add to the list. This one is a 500 word blurb to show Avalon interacting with Gaia after her little kiss with Flick. So that should be fun. 😀

    Tags for this chapter are: Buddy System, Calvin, Choo, Clubber, Damn It – You Mean The Calvin Thing Wasn’t A One-Off Thing With No Bearing On The Rest Of The Story? Inconceivable!, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Namythiet, Quing, Shiori Porter, You Guys Have No Idea How Tempted I Was To Name Quing Harvey Instead. And Make Him A Lawyer.

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  2. Gah, hate being right-ish. I knew Calvin was gonna show up again, I just thought he’d be acting as a minion for one of Flick’s preexisting enemies. Calvin as an Alter, THAT caught me out though. Bravo Cerulean! Now I’m wondering how Alters, as a general rule, view Bystander law.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well, I guess Calvin setting off Flick’s Alrer-sense means Scott probably isn’t the Heretic reporting on Flick in Laramie Falls.

    I saw Toot-toot in Namythiet. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh, right. Forgot about stuff like that. I suppose the counterpoint might be that items like that appear to be very rare, but the point stands.

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  4. ““He is a Lavinsi,” Asenath confirmed. “And Heretics killed most of his family, including his son. That’s why Quing hates them so much. It’s why he doesn’t trust you. I’m sorry, it’s just… the way things are.””
    Me: Oh. That would be a valid cause for his loathing, wouldn’t it?

    Interested to see how Namythiet impacts the next few updates.

    My drug-dealing, skeevy old boss was one of the Septs. He was one of the people in charge here. He was an Alter.””
    Me: Hm. I wasn’t expecting him to show up again. Not sure how to feel, but given that Flick caused him a notable level of hardship I expect relations to be frosty at best, more likely is open hostility towards her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember that Flick was unable to tell anyone about her siblings until they went to another world. Yet she said she could tell the Septs about the rebellion.

    Can you explain that. I vaguely remember something about two memory spells, but no details about how they could be circumvented.

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  6. Sure thing. Here’s Avalon explaining it in 12-02, with help from Flick. 🙂

    It was Avalon who answered. “Gaia explained it to me earlier. There are two spells. First, there’s the one that erased the memory of Joselyn from everyone that was involved, and stops the ones who were shielded by the spell from talking about her. Anyone who finds out the truth from some other source, or just figures it out based on other evidence, can share what they know. It’s like… a person censored by the spell would be someone who had personal knowledge and was trying to share an actual memory. The spell won’t let them. But someone like Chambers who just happened to figure it out isn’t sharing an actual memory of the specific censored person. She’s just telling a story, so it gets past the spell.”

    “Let me guess,” I put in. “The other spell is the one that stops us from sharing what we found on those papers in the security room. Specifically, the bit about Mom having other children. Which, I guess means Koren is immune to it for… some reason? Wait, is it because we’re related or something?”

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  7. Is it wrong that, on my first read through, the biggest issue I have is that Quing has a notepad, but not a pen or pencil?

    Was not expecting Calvin to show up AT ALL. Providing it is Calvin, that is, and not a shapeshifter/illusionist etc. If it is him though, then why did he let Flick in? If it’s really him, then either he doesn’t hold a grudge, wants to settle things some other way (than violence) or is going to attack her, which can not possibly end well, since it’d annoy Asenaeth (to put it mildly) at the least and would likely trigger one of Wyatt’s contingencies.

    In short, WHY CAN’T IT BE FRIDAY ALREADY?!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. From comments on the SB discussion thread it was kind of both- Calvin feeds off of psychic energy given off by people who are stoned, if he knows & can touch them, which was why, despite having a lot of business interests, he spent so much time with low-level drug dealing. Incidentally, from that same SB comment, that was why he was in the middle of nowhere Wyoming- his father, who was a Septer, knew of that, and didn’t approve, so he more or less exiled him to someplace out of the way where Calvin’s deplorable habits wouldn’t be a problem, but then the father died shortly after he got busted, and he inherited the old man’s position.

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  8. Since Herbie made an appearance in the previous update, we get to see Choo come along for the ride here, and he even made a friend with Clubber. And interesting that Gaia, through Avalon, told Shiori how to get around the rules & security measures with him, because if he’s in one of the pocket dimensions the sheathes Heretic weapons or bags of holding use, he’s not technically on the island.

    If Quing could ever get over hating Heretics on general principles due to what happened to his family, sounds like he & Wyatt would have a lot in common.

    Namythiet sounds like she could be a lot of fun- hopefully we’ll be seeing more of her.

    And then at the end, things just got a whole lot more awkward & complicated, as one of the people who’s in charge of Wonderland is none other than Flick’s former boss, whom she got arrested for dealing drugs- Flick’s reaction when she recognized him is probably right on the money.

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    1. Did you notice that anyone who makes a bag big enough for a person (and we’ve seen that several times now) would be able to sneak in anyone/anything to wherever they want on the island before the person pops out?

      You could even throw your bag over the line that shields the tower — nothing will happen because nobody is crawling over the line, then after 2 minutes, somebody pops out of the bag and walks in the tower.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, in theory, assuming that the bag or other container has an opening that’s large enough, but isn’t of a type or weight when loaded like that to raise suspicion, and there isn’t some issue with the enchantments involved that would cause issues when trying to stow people like that (don’t know if you follow Cerulean’s Worm fics at all, but funnily enough, something similar [albeit created by other methods] could become relevant over there in a storyline.)

        However, not sure if it would work on the tower defenses, because presumably the people at Crossroads over the centuries have considered the possibility of someone throwing inanimate objects that would be a real problem, like a bomb or a spy device at the tower and done something to guard against that.

        Similarly, it’s likely that some Heretic or Stranger, over the centuries, has tried to use that bag of holding trick to smuggle someone in or out of a secure area, and if the folks of Crossroads are aware of such an attempt, or thought about it as a theoretical possibility, and aren’t complete idiots, they’d have come up with some sort of defense or alarm to guard against that, assuming that it’s possible to do so with the magic and gadgetry at their disposal.

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      2. You could even throw your bag over the line that shields the tower — nothing will happen because nobody is crawling over the line, then after 2 minutes, somebody pops out of the bag and walks in the tower.

        Not quite true. There’s more protection than just the single line, and it takes more than just getting past it to avoid all of them. Once they pop out of said container, they’d be subject to all such defenses. For one thing, it doesn’t matter how far past the line you are when it detects you. You could be one step past the line or clear inside the building. It’ll still go off as soon as you’re detected.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So never leave the bag. Put on your drywall stilts: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/0e/14/0e/0e140e9bb0e2f777f2bc2b31b9d2fecc.jpg (available at every Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.), use pincers to reach out of the bag, and the spells will only detect additional nonsentient equipment.

        People have probably tried things like this before, but if they had something in place to detect that, then the Alter pig would have been caught.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. As soon as you stick things out of the bag, it’s no longer sealed and thus you can be detected. 😉 It’s not as simple as sticking stilts and grabber arms out of the bag, because, again, doing so would break the seal and they’d detect you. The pig thing works because she seals it while on the school grounds.

        So basically, you can’t interact in the regular world while you’re sealed up in the pocket dimension. You can’t see what’s going on, can’t hear what’s going on, etc etc. There’s not exactly a wi-fi signal to use cameras or whatnot, and using magic through dimensions is a major endeavor. And even if you were powerful enough to use magic that way, the defenses would detect your magic in use.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Two additional thoughts ocurred to me when I read this chapter:

    1. The fact that the Septers want to meet Flick makes her a political figure in her own right, rather than simply a politically important individual.

    2. Flick now has an enemy that she made on her own, without inheriting the animosity from her mother, one of her ancestors, or through association with Avalon, or simply by being a Heretic.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think it’s safe to say that even if Pace hadn’t been involved in the attack on Avalon that Flick and the rest of their team + Deveron’s telepathic guidance helped repel, Pace would’ve been Flick’s enemy in her own right after Flick killed her sadistic Werewolf buddy Lemuel. So, I guess Pace still counts as an inherited enemy via Avalon, but one Flick would’ve gained eventually even if Flick had left Avalon to her fate.

    As to being a political figure: In the sense that Flick’s personal ideology differs from “mainstream” Heretics one could call that political, but since Flick’s ability to influence wider Heretic society is extremely minimal at this juncture I’m not sure I’d agree that Flick is a political figure in the traditional sense of the word. (Unless she pulls the pin on the Atherby-Legacy info grenade, that is)

    Otherwise I get the sense that either a) There are Septers curious about these non-zealot Heretics in training, who are wondering if they’re facing an isolated occurrence or a sign of things to come, or b) The Sept might well have its own memory-protections, in which case you’re absolutely right about Flick, Hendy.

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    1. I meant “political figure” in the sense that she could be responsible for establishing contact between an Alter government and an influential dissident like Gaia.

      Putting that aside, do you have some kind of moral code against using reply buttons?

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      1. Honestly, I didn’t notice I was doing anything unusual. I sign in through FB, so whether I click the Reply button first or just type in the “Leave a Reply” box I end up with the same result. (Typing in the Leave a Reply Box). Hitting the Reply button beneath this last comment of yours dropped me into the same window as if I hadn’t hit it (At least that’s how appears from my end.) Since I didn’t notice any difference, I just kept typing in the box. This time I hit the reply button, then typed. Let me know if it made a difference and, if so, in what way? I apologize if I breached some point of Netiquette. If so, it was done in ignorance.

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      2. If you’re trying to reply to someone specific, replying to their comment directly alerts them that someone just replied. Making a general post gives no indication that it has anything to do with a conversation you’re trying to have.

        Liked by 1 person

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