Mini-Interlude 26 – Pace

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The following is a commissioned mini-interlude focusing on the origin of the crazy werewolf-Heretic we know as Pace. 

A little over one year ago.


“Hi, people!”

There was a pause, followed by a muttered curse and the sound of something being fumbled with. Suddenly, light appeared as the lens cap of the camera was removed, and a face popped into view. It was the face of a Hispanic girl in her late teens, with dyed green hair that was cut short on one side and long on the other. She was obviously holding the camera up pointed at herself. Now in sight, the girl waved. “There! Sorry, technical difficulties. The camera’s the technical, and I’m the difficulty.”

Giggling at her own self-depreciating joke, the girl known as Pace for her hyper-activeness (something that inheriting enhanced speed early on had only exacerbated) cleared her throat. “Okay, hiya, people of the Heretical-persuasion. People of Eden’s Garden, People of Crossroads, People of Etcetera. If you’re watching this, it means my plan worked. Or maybe I got caught and this is evidence at my trial. In that case, in lieu of a lawyer, I’d like my side’s closing argument to be Matthew McConaughey’s speech at the end of A Time To Kill. Just throw it up on the big screen. Not cuz I expect it to convince you fascists of anything, but it’s a really good speech and if we’re gonna waste everyone’s time with a sham like that, we might as well be entertained.”

The camera shook a little as she turned it around, showing the massive forest of Eden’s Garden in front of her. “Shh. You wanna know what we’re doing out here? I’m gonna show you what kind of ‘heroes’ our side really is. Because the truth is, sometimes we really suck.”

Again, the camera view spun back around to face the girl. “Actually, I’m gonna turn you off for a second. Cuz everyone knows the worst part of found footage movies is when they’re running around, you can’t see anything, and you just get motion sick. So I’m gonna turn you off. But we’re going that way.” She pointed, turning the camera a little to show a direction off in the forest of enormous trees. “Ten miles. We’re going that way ten miles. Be back in a flash!”

The camera cut out then, screen going black for about five seconds before the view came back. Now the view was clearly taken from up in one of those giant trees, looking down at a small clearing below. In that clearing, two men stood in front of a large cage, with a fur-covered figure huddled inside. The view zoomed in close enough to identify the figure as a werewolf in his half-human, half-wolf form. But unlike most such figures of immense power and strength, this one was so scrawny it looked half-skeletal. The figure had clearly been starved almost to death, with additional burns and other marks to show that the men standing over the cage hadn’t been content with simple starvation as a form of punishment.

“There it is,” Pace’s voice came in a whisper. “Our grand, conquering heroes, saving the world from vicious monsters.” Even as she spoke, one of the men shoved a long silver pole with a sharp end through the cage and jabbed it into the huddled, miserable, broken figure. Just as the yowl of pain came, he triggered a burst of electricity, just to make it worse.

“Stupid bastards,” Pace snarled before adding, “And don’t worry, they can’t hear me up here. Cone of silence. We can hear them, they can’t hear us. We–”

Whatever she had been about to say then was cut off as the second man used his own electrified silver spear to jab the emaciated werewolf hard in the leg while ordering, “Get your ass up! We got more spells to test, see if they keep you mutts where you belong.”

Surprisingly, the scraggly, seemingly almost-dead wolf gave a low chuckle. It sounded… strange, like the wolf wasn’t all there. “Again,” he pleaded. “Do it again. Do it again. Make us dance again. Bring the silver-fire, make it burn, make it sing. The fat lady sings, make us play your tune.”

“The fuck is this mutt’s problem?” one of the men asked the other. “You break him already?”

The second man shrugged. “Been playing with him for a few weeks, Anguis. You just didn’t notice cuz you’ve been having too much fun.”

“Yeah?” The first man, Anguis, tapped his silver spear against the cage. “Well we need a better one then, cuz the last one lasted two months before we had to put ‘im down. They’re boring when they break too fast.” To show his annoyance, the man jabbed his spear at the figure in the cage again.

“See?” Pace’s voice came in what was almost a growl. “This is how we treat them. Does that werewolf look like a threat to anyone? Are we really the good guys if we—hold on, let’s get a better view. These are the guys who–”

As she was speaking, the girl shifted around, trying to slide further down the branch to get a better shot of the pathetic, starved werewolf. Unfortunately, she happened to slide a little too far. There was a yelp, followed by the air spinning around the camera as it and the girl holding it fell rapidly.

She landed hard on the ground with a yelp of pain, the camera bouncing over into a nearby bush, falling onto its side as it continued recording.

Before Pace could stand, the man who wasn’t Anguis had his foot on her throat to hold her there. “The hell is this?!”

“Hey,” Anguis called. “I know that one, Tin. She’s one of Lost Scar’s cadets. What’s she doing out here?”

“That’s a good question,” Tin replied while staring down at Pace. “Now why don’t you just start–”

Unfortunately for the man called Anguis, he had been distracted by Pace’s abrupt arrival while in the midst of shocking his prisoner yet again. As he’d turned to see what was going on, he had left the silver spear where it was, half in the cage. And in that distracted moment, the werewolf’s hand lashed out to grab it. Somehow, he managed to tear the weapon from the man’s grip, twist it around, and then abruptly gave the thing a hard jab right up through the Heretic’s throat and out the other side.

The man was already falling even as Tin spun that way. He acted too slow, however. The emaciated werewolf caught hold of a gun that was on Anguis’s belt. Tearing it free, he fired three quick shots. They took Tin in the knees, dropping the man with a shout of pain.

While the man was on the ground, the werewolf fired another handful of shots at the door of the cage itself. There was a shower of sparks, and then he was able to shove his way free.

Pace tried to push herself up, but let out a gasp of pain. The fall had taken too much out of her. Her legs were broken, at the very least. And it would take her healing power some time to stitch her back together. Too much time.

She looked up then just in time to see the werewolf shove the spear through the chest of the injured Tin. He pulled the spear back, then shoved it down again, then back and down again. With each thrust, more blood spurted forth. And with each crimson spurt, the werewolf giggled. “Pretty! Do it again! More pretty!”

There was the slightest sound of leaves crackling as Pace shifted slightly, her mouth opening to say something, anything. At the sound, however, the almost-skeletal werewolf twisted to look at her, jerking the spear free of the the dead man.

“O-okay,” Pace started. “I know this is g-gonna be hard to believe, but I was trying to help. I mean I was going to help. I was going to… to try to–”

“Pretty girl,” the werewolf murmured. He came forward, limbs dropping a little to let the spear drag along the ground in one hand while the pistol hung limply from the other. It was like the burst of energy had faded and now he was back to being almost dead. Clearly, the wolf was running on fumes. And yet, something kept him going, something kept driving him forward.

“Pretty girl,” he repeated. “Pretty Heretic girl. Stronger. Not like this one.” He gestured to his own broken body. “Sick. Dying.”

“I–I’m sorry,” Pace spoke hesitantly. “I’m sorry, if I could… if I can do something. If I can help you…”

The broken, deranged, starved werewolf smiled slowly. “The pretty Heretic wants to help?”

“If I can,” she confirmed. “I can’t–I mean I don’t know if there’s anything I can do.”

Abruptly, the werewolf was there. The weapons had fallen to the ground, and he was kneeling over her. The suddenness of his arrival made her jerk backward, almost hitting her head on a nearby rock. As it was, even that bit of movement made her cry out in pain from her not-yet-healed wounds.

“Oh, there is,” the werewolf almost purred. “There very is. This one almost dead. So very almost dead. Too sick. Couldn’t escape. Fun to see tears. Fun to see pain. But too late now. Far too late. Can’t get better. Silver wounds.”

Pace’s mouth opened, but before she could say anything, the werewolf abruptly grabbed her chin with one hand, twisting her head to the side before drawing a single black claw down her cheek.

She yelped, jerking a bit as her hand grabbed for her face. “What–what did you–what–” She knew. She’d had the lessons. She knew what the thing had done to her, but the shock was still setting in.

“Yay!” the half-dead werewolf cheered. “Can let this one go now. Didn’t wanna let it go. Liked the wolfy. Pretty furry wolfy. But now, wolfy-heretic. Even better!” He leaned closer to Pace, speaking in a stage-whisper. “I’m broken. Broken, broken. They call us Lies. Lies cuz we can only hold one at a time. Not like them. Supposed to go in any, leave any, any time. We’re broken. Handicapped. Something wrong when we’re born, so we can only take one. One at a time, and can’t let them go til they die, you see? Handicapped. Take one form, only hold it until they die. Then take another. Can’t leave, can’t jump in and out. Stuck. Pick a form, stuck until it dies. Lies, they call us Lies. English-human word is Lies.”

“I… I don’t know what you’re–” Pace started, only to yelp in surprise as the werewolf abruptly stepped back from her and straightened up. He had the silver spear back, holding it in both hands. And yet, just as the injured girl made to defend herself, the werewolf stabbed the weapon not at her, but up through his own throat.

The body dropped lifelessly to the ground… leaving a second body standing there. This one was a girl. An ethereally beautiful girl who looked to be about fifteen years old, with light brown hair and matching eyes, along with skin that was almost porcelain pale.  

“Happy re-birthday!” the girl announced, before lunging forward.

Pace jerked back, only to stop short as the other girl simply disappeared inside her. There was a spasm of movement, and a cry from the Heretic student before she fell onto her back.

A few seconds passed like that as the girl jerked and made a few pathetic mewling noises. Then she went completely still. For almost a minute, she laid there, body healing while she simply remained silent and seemingly frozen.

Just as suddenly, she sat up. Her head turned from one side to the other, as though taking in her surroundings. Gradually, she stood, testing her newly healed legs. First one, then the other. She took a few steps, looking down at the corpses at her feet. The bodies of the two Heretics, and the one of the werewolf.

A giggle escaped her. A giggle that suddenly became a laugh, which itself was just as abruptly cut off into an eerie silence.  

Slowly, her head turned. She looked toward the fallen camera with eyes that were no longer Pace as she had been only minutes earlier.

“Oh,” the Seosten Lie announced.

“This is gonna be fun.”

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  1. Hey, guys! Just a quick little mini-interlude for you this morning that I wanted to get banged out, since we’ve had several more commissioned. After this one, we’ve got an interlude of Abgigail and Wyatt discussing Flick. Then we’ll be getting into Lincoln putting together all those clues, working his way through his broken, fragmented memory, and so on. And after those are done, we’ll go into Senny and Twister telling Lincoln the truth about… well… everything!

    Those will come out in addition to normal chapters, so over the next couple of weeks. So I hope you look forward to them, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for the regularly scheduled chapter. 😀

    Tags for this chapter were: Anguis, Calling Their Handicapped Children ‘Lies’ Really Says A Lot About Seosten In General I Think., Honestly – Naming One Of Your Heretics After The Latin Word For Snake Was Just Asking For Him To Turn Out Poorly, Pace, Pace-Human, Tin

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well. I wasn’t expecting that. Pace is being possessed by a Seosten, one with a rather peculiar name. This Seosten also is cracked in more than one way, probably from peer mistreatment caused by her flawed possession abilities. A shame overall, but Pace’s overall fate is still likely to be a grim one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, so let me see if I have this straight (had to reread):

    Lies is a Seosten that, for whatever reason, is incapable of leaving the bodies of her victims alive. She can only leave if she dies. So when the werewolf she was possessing was too close to dying to save, she moved over to Pace, but turned her into a werewolf first because she wanted to be one. Right? Do I have this right?

    Jeez. Is Lies her actual name or just what she calls herself? She seems to actually be a part of the operation… this raises a lot of questions.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. See, this is why it’s hard to write something like this without going overboard on exposition. Which I tried to do a little in the tags to clarify, but yeah. Let’s see…First, the Seosten in general call all Seosten who are born with the handicap that this particular Seosten has ‘Lies.’ Or to be more accurate, they call them by the Seosten word for lies.

      THIS handicapped Seosten in particular has taken the English word for what she’s called in Seosten, Lies, and made it her name. Because she was never really given a real Seosten name.

      Anyway, that handicap, the ones that all Seosten that are called the Seosten word for lies have, makes it so that once they possess someone, they are INCAPABLE of jumping out of them or possessing anyone else until the body that they’re in dies. They’re trapped, basically.

      But yes, pretty much right. The werewolf that the handicapped Seosten was in was weak, injured, starving, etc. So she chose to kill her current host in order to jump into a new one (Pace), but only after turning her into a werewolf first because Lies enjoyed being a werewolf.

      And yeah, the question of where Lies-Pace got the choker, joined up with Lemuel, etc will all be answered in some future Pace-centric interlude. Whenever that happens.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. First, the Seosten in general call all Seosten who are born with the handicap that this particular Seosten has ‘Lies.’ Or to be more accurate, they call them by the Seosten word for lies.

        This will slightly contradict something I said on SB, but now I really hope Flick finds out about this so she can counter her Seosten’s opponent’s inevitable “humans are scum because of the way you treat each other” with the fact that they don’t even bother to name their own children that don’t meet their standards.

        Granted, there are a number of human cultures that are worse, but I’m guessing Flick’s schools had a few special needs students that got and get FAR better treatment than those cultures or the Sesoten.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Also:

        See, this is why it’s hard to write something like this without going overboard on exposition. Which I tried to do a little in the tags to clarify, but yeah.

        I think you did a good job with this. It’s kind of hard to follow, but you don’t need to explain all of it at once. Further exposition can be given later on by Sariel or Charmeine or some other Seosten.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Lies, yeah. I’ll add the tag. She calls herself Lies, plural. In the narration, it was ‘The Seosten Lie’ not as in her ‘name’, but as in the singular version of what people with her handicap are called.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I see two possibilities

      1. Were-creatures don’t count as hybrids. It’s something else, like a curse.

      2: Lie’s “handicap” lets her work around that particular weakness.


  4. Well you’ve done it again Cerulean, you’ve made me feel terrible for a character that I previously hated. It turns out that Actual!Pace is a good person and I can see her getting along with Flick really well; from the bit we’ve seen they seem like similar people. I wonder if Pace has a more extensive video collection than just the one we see her filming during this interlude.

    I have to admit that now I’m hoping that when they hit the werewolf pack someone manages to grab the choker from Pace mid fight, equips it and realizes that Pace is possessed so that she can be saved. Unfortunately, I don’t think I would give great odds on that :(. I wonder if Posser’s anti-possession spell can kick out Seosten with Lies particular disability out of the body?


  5. 1: a snake shedding it’s dead skin is the origin of this derogatory slang for handicaped seosten, is my guess
    2: did they know it was a seosten they were torturing and if so, experimenting on it?
    3: saw the pace = seosten coming but at the time, I dismissed the fact that the original owner may not be a jerk… damn


  6. Eh, a Consequentalist (in this case) PoV leaves me with a tinge of regret for Pace-that-Was, but otherwise leaves my previous PoV unchanged. The “real” Pace had no reason to believe Lie was well, lying about their handicap. That being the case, she likely gave up some time ago, and retreated from the horror of her situation into the dubious “protection” of a madness separate and distinct from Lie’s insanity.

    For our brave Heroine’s sake, I hope she never discovers the truth. If killing a pro-Rape, misogynistic psychopath like Doxer in self-defense was incredibly painful for Flick, being thrust into the situation of having to kill an adolescent girl who was once so much like herself would be devastating. The “there but for the grace of Fate go I” facet of the truth would be ::shudders:: Better for everyone involved that Flick continues to see the rabid wolf and not its innocent and shattered victim.

    Heck, if the real Pace had/has any lucidity left at all, she would almost certainly agree. I have this bleak intuition, as cold as the Winter Wind of an Arctic Midnight that, even if against my every hunch Lie COULD be ejected from Pace via Prosser’s Ritual without killing her, the ordeal of the ejection would rob the real Pace of anything worthwhile she might be clinging to in her deepest heart of hearts.

    I doff my proverbial cap to you, Cerulean. Lie just managed to gallop up to be neck and neck with the other Chief Monsters We Love to Hate in HE. Every healthy Seosten that approves of allowing their crippled misborns being loosed on the Universe just earned twice what they had coming. At least.

    What happened to the real Pace is Shakespearean in tragic scope. SMH and ::shudders::….Beautifully dark writing. Evokes the most chilling memories from the movie “Fallen” for one, with a horrific twist all your own.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Is it just me or did Anguis die really easily for a heretic? Distracted for a moment and a half-dead werewolf managed to grab a spear off him, turn it around, and one-shot him through the throat. I can’t see that working on any of the heretics we’re seeing as good guys. Protagonist glow?


    1. I don’t think so. It’s basically the same way Doxer (throat shot from Flick) or the Heretic from Asenath’s second interlude (decapitation) were killed. If one of the protagonists took a hit to the throat like that it would kill them. Their peridle healing factors aren’t on the same level as Wolverine or Deadpool’s. One good fatal shot that does more damage than the power can heal quickly enough is fatal.

      Sure, the protagonists almost certainly won’t take shots like that, but Anguis’ death wasn’t too much of an outlier. I doubt it would have happened if the werewolf Lie was possessing hadn’t been as close to death as he was.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I dunno. I’m not a huge fan of the mini-interlude system. It reveals secrets we wouldn’t have learned if the mini-interlude hadn’t been commissioned (e.g., Columbus being the one possessed, Pace being possessed by an insane Seosten, Flick’s time travelling, etc). And in all of these cases I feel like I would have rather learned these things as Flick learned them, not before.

    I feel like the dramatic irony removes some of the tension. The mini-interlude should be a thing where we get to see a point-of-view that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen, or a little extra scene or something. That’s why was also bothered by the one showing Flick and Avalon’s first kiss; it seemed like a pretty damn important scene, not something we could have gone without if someone hadn’t commissioned it.


    1. Columbus being possessed was revealed in Interlude 20A, not an MI.

      Also, Cerulean works MIs into the plans when possible. The first kiss would have been in a chapter proper if not for the MI, it just wouldn’t have gotten as much attention.


    2. Oh yeah, as was already said, everything plot/story relevant/important that is shown in a commissioned interlude would have been seen elsewhere in the main chapters if it wasn’t commissioned that way.

      People commission chapters and, based around their requests, I decide if there’s anything plot relevant that I want to reveal within them. I don’t want commissioned interludes to feel like they don’t matter, which is specifically why there is sometimes important information in them.


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