Sharkhunt 23-04

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Please note that there was a commissioned mini-interlude focusing on Lincoln Chambers’s efforts to bypass the Bystander Effect that was posted yesterday. If you haven’t seen that yet, you may wish to click the Previous Chapter button above. 

It was time to head back to Crossroads. There was still a lot I wanted to ask these people who had grown up not just with my mother, but with more members of my family on that side. I had more questions than I could even keep straight in my head. Still, after waking Shiori and Avalon and as we walked back out of the cabin with Gabriel, one in particular stuck in my head.

So, looking toward the man who was guiding us, I started, “You said that they had this system for determining who would be the leader of the clan here, picking from the available heirs. But from what I can tell, Lyell was the leader for a really long time. That journal of his at the school was started in 1362, and from I’ve seen of it, he seemed to be the leader then. Not that it actually mentions the clan or anything, which is kind of… okay, it’s really weird that he doesn’t mention it.”

Gabriel gave a slight snort, head shaking as he glanced over toward me. “I wouldn’t put too much stock in anything you read from any of your ancestors that shows up in that school. It’s most likely been, let’s say ‘edited’ by their people. You think Ruthers would allow any mention of an alternative to their society in that school where impressionable young minds could pick it up?”

“Yeah, there didn’t seem to be too much interesting stuff in it.” Pausing, I amended, “Okay, there was a lot of interesting stuff. I mean it’s from hundreds of years ago. But it seemed… sterilized.”

Beside me, Avalon gave a slight nod. Even being woken up after a nap, she looked gorgeous. Her hair was heavily tousled, but in a way that was like in television shows or movies where they muss up someone’s hair to show that they were sleeping, yet it still ends up being pretty perfect.

“I read some of it,” she announced. “It was obviously doctored. I’m sure some of it is in his own words, but anything that disagreed with or contradicted the party line would’ve been removed.”

I coughed at that. “No wonder he goes on about never trusting Strangers and how evil they are.”

Shiori, who somehow looked more cuddly than ever, spoke up then, her attention on Gabriel. “Flick said you told her that he wrote that part right after everything that happened with Fossor.”

Gabriel nodded. “As I said, Lyell was angry. He wrote things in his anger that he came to change his mind about later. Of course, Crossroads would have removed those parts of the journal.”

“Figures,” I muttered, shaking my head. “Is there any way to get the unedited version? I mean, there must be one around here somewhere, right?” I added a hopeful look toward Gabriel.

“Unfortunately, the best way to see Lyell’s journal unedited,” he replied, “would be to bring it here and have someone take the time to fix it. I doubt even Ruthers would risk losing information permanently that could come in handy later. So he probably used magic to edit the book rather than physically tearing stuff out. Theoretically, it could be undone, if you can get the book here.”

“Gaia could probably do it,” I started, before realizing, “but she would have already if there wasn’t something stopping her. Maybe there’s some kind of alert on the book or something if it’s messed with. So maybe bringing it here is a bad idea, in case it sends up a signal or something.”

Shaking my head at the distraction, I brought the subject back around to why I’d started asking about this stuff in the first place. “But my point was, Lyell was the leader for a really long time. Hundreds of years. So how long ago was this clan… founded, I guess? If it was established at least as far back as the thirteen hundreds, and it’d been around long enough before that they already had a whole system to determine who the clan leader would be, how old is it?”

Smiling a bit at the question, the man remarked, “I wondered how long it’d take you to ask about that. The rest of the clan had something of a wager going on.” He paused then, clearly taking a moment to decide the best way to answer. “What do you think of your mother’s maiden name?”

“Maiden name?” I echoed. “You mean Atherby? I, uhh, dunno. I guess I never really thought about it that much. I tried looking it up to see if Mom had any other family back in middle school, but never really got anywhere. It’s not very common. But other than that…” I shrugged helplessly.

He chuckled. “It’s okay. It’s not really anything you could be expected to just know that easily. But you know you pronounce the name wrong.” He added the last bit with a pointedly raised eyebrow.  

I blinked. “Wrong?” Frowning, I spoke it aloud again, sounding it out uncertainly while giving a look to the other two girls. “Ath-ur-bee. Atherby. Ath-ur-bee. What’s wrong with that?”

“The last part,” he replied patiently. “It wasn’t supposed to be Athur-bee. Look at how it’s spelled.”

“By.” I tilted my head thoughtfully then. “Ather-by? So it’s pronounced the same way it’s spelled.”

“The name of the clan has been deliberately altered over the years,” he explained. “No pun intended. “Mostly to draw less attention. But it was only altered a little bit. Specifically, a single additional R sound was removed from its original place directly following the A.”

“Arther-by?” Shiori immediately put in before her eyes widened and she made an adorable squeaking noise. “You mean Arthur, as in ‘founded by Arthur?’ Like, like, Arthur-Arthur?”

Chuckling both at Shiori’s voice and the double-takes that Avalon and I did, Gabriel gestured. “More like, ‘founded by those who were by Arthur. By, in this case, meaning beside. As in–”

“Knights of the Round Table.” Avalon was openly staring at the man (not that she’d ever stopped staring at him). “You’re saying this clan is the descendants of the Knights of the Round Table.”

I was still choking on that particular realization while Gabriel calmly corrected, “Some of them, not all. A few of the knights, after Arthur’s… death, created what you now know as this clan.”  

“Who–what–ah–” I was still openly floundering, trying to dredge the right words up out of my completely locked-up mind. “What knights? I mean who was–I mean who am I–I mean…”

“Who are you related to?” Gabriel smiled faintly. “We don’t know. When the knights created this clan, they cast aside their old names. It was their way of honoring their liege, by letting their old identities be buried along with him. Their leader took the name Arthur-by. Over time, that became Artherby with the e, and eventually Atherby. Finally, it turned to the way you pronounce it.”  

“Knights of the Round Table.” I spoke the words, still unable to believe that they were coming out of my mouth. “My family–my mother’s family–is related to–is… they’re descended from one of… oh.” Swallowing, I swayed a little bit in spite of myself. “I think I need to sit down for a minute.”

“It’s a lot to take in,” Gabriel agreed, his voice as calm as ever. “That’s why I waited until you asked. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with your family’s history.” He paused then before amending, “More of your family’s history, rather. It’s also why Crossroads was so eager to take your mother in, and why they forgave a lot of her earlier, less obvious transgressions. They were obviously hoping that the rest of the remaining Atherby clan would fold into their organization.”

I’d taken in a lot of revelations over the past few months. Enough to the point that I’d thought I was immunized to any more surprises. But somehow, finding out that my family on my mother’s side was related to at least one of the literal Knights of the Round Table was still enough to leave me speechless. My mouth continued to open and shut a few times as I fought to find any words.

In the end, it was Avalon who spoke up before I managed to get my brain working again. “Wait,” she started with a frown. “One of Arthur’s knights is already a member of the Committee.”

“There is?” I blurted, looking that way while wracking my brain for a second. “Who–wait. You mean that Percival guy?” I thought back to what I remembered of the man. He’d been the one with the blonde hair pulled into a ponytail, and the Nirvana tee-shirt. Not exactly the kind of appearance I would’ve expected from one of the legendary Knights of The Round Table.

On the other hand, I also never would’ve expected to find Virginia Dare teaching at my school, or Blackbeard working as one of the society’s leaders. So maybe my expectation of what historical figures would be like should just be quiet and stop making assumptions before I ended up finding out that George Washington was actually a shrunken Meregan or something even more absurd.

Gabriel was already nodding. “Yes,” he replied, “the Percival on the Crossroads Committee is the same man who was known as one of King Arthur’s knights. Obviously, he wasn’t one of the few who split off to create this clan. As for how he actually feels about it… you’d have to ask him.”   

It was a good question. What did Percival think about the fact that my mom and I (not to mention Wyatt, Abigail, and Koren) were descended from at least one of his old comrades in arms?

“I don’t…” My mouth shut as I tried to think. Eventually, the only thing I could say was, “You’re telling me that Arthur was a Heretic?” The words sounded weak even to me.

“All of them were,” he confirmed. “Arthur the most powerful of all. One of the most powerful natural Heretics who ever lived, if the myths are true. Until he was betrayed and murdered.”

“Myths… most powerful Heretic who–” I blinked, looking back over at him. “You said he was a natural Heretic. But what was he a natural Heretic of that made him so powerful?”

Gabriel smiled at the question, clearly expecting it. “According to the clan legend? A dragon.”

For a moment, I just stared, my mouth opening and shutting before dumbly repeating, “A dragon.”

His head bowed in a nod. “That’s what they say. You know the old ‘pulling the sword from the stone’ routine? Actually, it was pulling a tooth from a dragon. According to the Atherby clan legends, Arthur’s village was attacked by a dragon. Arthur tried to fight it, and was… well, almost killed. He was speared in the dragon’s mouth and almost swallowed. But Arthur managed to catch hold of the tooth and rip it out. The dragon spat him out in a rage, and he hit the ground. The blood from when he tore the tooth free mixed with his blood and… well, the rest of history. Or myth.” He shrugged. “The tooth was forged into the blade of Arthur’s weapon, Excalibur.”

“Wait a second,” Shiori blurted quickly. Her eyes were wide as she looked back and forth between all of us. “You mean we have Avalon, the island that Arthur was taken to… and a descendant of one of Arthur’s knights, and they’re… you’re, you know…”  She waggled her eyebrows pointedly.

Flushing at her words, I opened my mouth, but Avalon beat me to the punch. “She knew.” When I looked that way, her face was just as pink as mine felt. “Gaia,” she muttered. “She knew exactly what she was doing. As soon as we settled on my–on the name, she said she had the perfect roommate in mind. She was even smiling at the time. She knew exactly what she was doing.”

Well, that was enough to make my face grow even redder. Before I could say anything about it, however, the phone in my pocket buzzed. It was the secure phone, the one that was protected from any kind of surveillance measures by Crossroads. Digging it out, I glanced at the number before answering with a glance to the others. “Seth? Sorry, can I call you back a bit later?”

“You could,” the vampire drawled lazily, “if you’d like to miss your last chance to talk to Fahsteth.”

Shiori’s head was already whipping around, the girl obviously having heard that as I blurted, “Wait what?” Glancing to the others, I added, “What do you mean, last chance to talk to Fahsteth?”

“Just what I said,” Seth replied. “Turns out, your favorite shark merc’s leaving the planet after tonight. And he doesn’t plan on coming back anytime soon. Something about a bunch of powerful people that want him dead. You wanna talk to him at all, it’s gotta be in the next hour or two. And by hour or two,” he added, “I mean every minute that passes makes it more likely that he’ll just decide to cut and run anyway. I threw out a lot of favors to even find out this much. Believe me, you wait too long and he’ll be gone. And like I said, once he leaves, he ain’t coming back.”

“I–hold on.” Hitting the button to mute the phone, I looked to the others. “He says that Fahsteth’s leaving after tonight, in an hour or two at the latest. If we don’t go talk to him now, we won’t be able to before he’s gone for good.” Yeah, considering Gabriel obviously had at least as good of hearing as Shiori did, the only person I was actually giving this news to was Avalon. But still.  

“It’s not… terrible timing,” Shiori pointed out. “I mean, there’s no chance that whoever the Seosten spy is would know about it. We’re not at Crossroads, and everyone else is asleep right now.”

“She’s right,” Avalon agreed with a slight nod. “It was an accident, but this is a good time for it. We still have at least two hours before anyone would actually miss us. Longer if Gaia covers.”

“If you want to go see this Fahsteth,” Gabriel put in then, “I can arrange for transport. And you won’t be going in alone either. Not with that mercenary. He’s too dangerous.”

“We’ll have Seth with us, and anyone he brought,” I pointed out. “But any help you want to add would be good too. As long as we get Fahsteth to talk about what he knows. That’s what matters.”

Avalon nodded. “He’s the closest thing to a real lead we’ve ever had. Whoever the Seosten and their allies are, Fahsteth was working with them at least since I was a little girl. Probably longer. And now that they’re trying to kill him, he might be willing to talk about it.”

“Right.” I bit my lip. “So we get to Fahsteth, we convince him to talk to us… one way or another, and then–”

As I was talking, my phone buzzed again. Thinking it was Seth trying to get my attention, I glanced down, only to see that I had a second call incoming. This one was from Asenath. “Hold on.” Answering it, I started, “Senny, hey. Did you hear about–”

“Hi, Felicity.”

The voice made my heart practically stop. Not because the voice itself was all that surprising. I’d heard it my entire life, after all. No, what was surprising was hearing the voice coming through a phone that the owner of the voice shouldn’t have had the number to, using a phone belonging to someone that he shouldn’t have been able to get it from.

“… Dad?” I managed, once I’d managed to get far enough past my shock to actually speak.

I definitely had everyone else’s attention by that point, as my father replied, “Yeah. Asenath said that it’d be safer to call that phone, that we wouldn’t be… overheard. Is it safe on your end?”

“Is it safe on my–” I started to echo before shaking my head almost violently. “What are you talking about? What–I mean–how did–I–what?”

“I know, baby.” My father’s voice went silent for a moment before he continued. “I know all of it. Well, no, not all of it. But enough.”

“What do you mean you–”

“She’s a vampire,” my father cut me off. “Asenath. She’s a vampire. And you–your mother, Fossor, the Heretics, I know enough. I know what’s been going on. I worked out some of it, and your friends here have been filling me in on the rest. It’s… really… something.”

After what was probably a long moment of silence, he proved he really did know me by prompting, “Flick, sweetie, you have to breathe.” A pause, then, “Actually, do you still have to breathe? For all I know, you’ve gotten some kind of–”

“How?” I blurted then. “How do you–the Bystander Effect, you can’t be–you can’t remember, you can’t–” Then my eyes widened. “Did Asenath–”  

“I’m not a vampire, no.” There was a chuckle, weak as it was, in my father’s voice. “As for how, I guess we both have a lot to tell each other. But the most important thing is that we’re not home. Those… werewolves–” He paused, as though he couldn’t believe he was actually calling them that. “–the ones that are… upset with you, they came to the house.”

“What?! The werewolves were, but–”

“It’s all right,” he assured me. “We’re fine. One of those–well, we should talk about it in person. That and everything else. Asenath told me you’d be awake, because you… listen, I’m told that if you talk to that headmistress of yours, she can arrange for you to come to where we are. I… we need to talk, Felicity. We need to talk about everything.”

My head was already nodding. “Y-yeah, yeah, I…” I was reeling, trying to cope with the sudden revelation. My father had broken the Bystander Effect? How!? How was he remembering all this? Did it have to do with the werewolves? Did they–did– I had to talk to him. I had to find out what the hell was–

“I can’t.” The words came as an abrupt realization. “I can’t come right now.”

There was a brief pause before my father asked, “What… what do you mean?”

Oh god. The sound of his voice, the idea of actually talking to my dad about everything that had happened, the thought of opening up about Mom, about all of it… and yet…

“I can’t–listen, Dad. God. I wanna talk to you. I swear. I swear I will, as soon as I can. But there’s this… this guy, this guy we have to talk to. It’s important. It’s really, really important, and if we don’t talk to him right now, we won’t get the chance again. It’s life and death, Dad.”

Silence came through the phone for a few seconds. Seconds that seemed to last forever. Finally, my father spoke quietly. “Felicity, I want to tell you something… important, okay?”

Swallowing, I held the phone tightly. “Y-yes.”

“I love you.” His voice was soft. “I know why you lied. I know why you didn’t tell me. I don’t blame you. You are the most important person in the world to me. Always. Forever. I trust you. If you say that you have to do this, I believe you. But promise me that you’re going to be careful. Promise me that you have help. Promise me that you’re… safe.”

My eyes closed. “If you know almost everything,” I replied, “then you know that I haven’t been completely safe in a really long time.” I swallowed then. “But yeah. I’m being careful. This isn’t about… about us. It’s a long story, but one of my teachers was killed. He was murdered. And we have to talk to someone who can tell us what happened. It’s our only chance.”

“I’d ask if you have to be the one who does it,” my father spoke quietly, “but I already know the answer.”

Giving a little involuntary shudder, I managed, “Wh-what about you? You’re safe?”

“Safe enough, with my two bodyguards,” he replied. “Don’t worry about me. We’ll talk, as soon as you’re done with… with what you’re doing, okay?”

“I love you, Dad.” I had to say it. “I’m sorry I couldn’t… I’m sorry.”

“I know.” His voice was as tender as ever. “Sweetie, I know. I understand. Trust me, after what I went through to get past that stupid–I get it. We do have to talk, about everything. But I’m not mad at you, okay? I am not angry with you.”

There were tears in my eyes, and I blinked them away. “I… I’ve gotta go, Dad. I’ve gotta focus. But I’ll talk to you soon. As soon as I can, once it’s done. I promise. I swear.”

“I know you will. I’ll hold you to it.” Dad’s voice was quiet then. “Be careful, Felicity. Please, please be careful.”

“I will. I..” Swallowing, I added one more, “I love you. B-bye.”

Clicking the disconnect for that call, I gave the others one more look before shoring myself up. Taking a deep breath, I hit the button to switch over to the other call. Somehow, when I spoke, I managed to stop my voice from cracking almost entirely.

“S-Seth? Yeah. We’ll be there. Just make sure Fahsteth doesn’t leave.

“Because he’s got a lot to answer for.”

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27 comments

  1. Well, you know it’s gonna be a special chapter when the revelation that Flick is related to one of the Knights of the Round Table isn’t how it ends. *cough* Fun, huh?

    Hope you guys enjoyed that little chapter full of talking, since next time we’ll probably be getting into a bit more action. Because, you know, we can’t have them just pick up Fahsteth and learn everything he knows that easily. 😉

    But that’s for next time! For now, thanks for reading. If you’re enjoying this story, I would really appreciate it if you could drop a vote for it at Top Web Fiction by clicking right here! Thank you very much.

    Tags for this chapter are: Avalon Sinclaire, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Gabriel Prosser, Lincoln Chambers, Seth, Shiori Porter, Wait Til Flick Remembers That Her Paternal Grandfather’s Name Is Arthur. That Makes It Even More Weird., You Guys Have No Idea How Long I’ve Been Waiting To Make That Avalon/Atherby/Flick Connection Thing Clear Like Holy Cow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Flushing at her words, I opened my mouth, but Avalon beat me to the punch. “She knew.” When I looked that way, her face was just as pink as mine felt. “Gaia,” she muttered. “She knew exactly what she was doing. As soon as we settled on my–on the name, she said she had the perfect roommate in mind. She was even smiling at the time. She knew exactly what she was doing.”
      Hahahahahahahahah

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Genuinely wasn’t expecting the King Arthur connection. I’d considered it in the past, but dismissed it because I thought the Atherby Clan was too old for him. Then again, the late-fifth/early-sixth century is a tiny bit further away from Lyell’s journal entry than 2017 is. Guess I was just wrong.

    Bottom line: the Clan was founded by surviving knights of the Round Table, who all took the name Atherby but presumably weren’t all related at the time (though I expect their descendants have intermarried enough for it to all be one family before Lyell “outlived” them). Plus, Gabriel did specifically refer to the founder a few chapters ago.

    As for the rest, I’m still super worried about how this is all going to work out timing-wise. I still can’t shake the feeling that Flick and her girlfriends won’t get back to the Island until after Committee attention has noticed them leaving.

    Also wondering if Gabriel will just invite Lincoln, Asenath, and Twister to stay with the Clan after this. At the very least, he should get around to restoring Senny and Twister’s memories. I’m wondering why he hasn’t already, actually.

    I can’t wait for the rest of the arc. Finally seeing Fahsteth is going to be interesting, to say the least. Plus, we might get to see some other Clan members in action now.

    I’d be a lot more annoyed about having to wait until Friday if I didn’t know about the next mini-interlude coming up.

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  3. “I’d taken in a lot of revelations over the past few months. Enough to the point that I’d thought I was immunized to any more surprises. But somehow, finding out that my family on my mother’s side was related to at least one of the literal Knights of the Round Table was still enough to leave me speechless. My mouth continued to open and shut a few times as I fought to find any words. ”
    Me: It’s a lot to take in, yeah. Not only immediately related to the leader of a rebellion that shook Heretic society, but descended from a retainer to Arthur. Wow.

    “He’d been the one with the blonde hair pulled into a ponytail, and the Nirvana tee-shirt. Not exactly the kind of appearance I would’ve expected from one of the legendary Knights of The Round Table. ”
    Me: Things can change over a time period of close to 1000 years, Flick.

    Re: Flick’s questioning of how Lincoln got around the Bystander effect-
    Well, that’s quite the tale to tell. and she’s going to be pushed off-balance I think when she is told about how a Committee member made that possible.

    ““S-Seth? Yeah. We’ll be there. Just make sure Fahsteth doesn’t leave.

    “Because he’s got a lot to answer for.” ”
    Me: Perhaps he does, but I think Flick may not get as much from him as she would want.

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  4. well… at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some hardliners are related to a Robespierre or another guy alike… (Cromwel, inquisition guys, hell, the king Phillipe 4 le Bel or the pope Boniface 8, both who condamned the knights Templars)

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  5. “Some of them, not all. A few of the knights, after Arthur’s… death, created what you now know as this clan.”

    That’s an interesting pause you have there Gabriel.

    Glad to see that finding out Lincoln knows didn’t drag out very long at all. I was a little afraid there’d be ongoing impediments to them tallking to each other that would make it last ages.

    Cool chapter overall. Really looking forward to the conversation with the merc.

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  6. Then my eyes widened. “Did Asenath–”

    Why is she jumping to Asenath? Why not Twister? Actually, why hasn’t Twister given him some blood already (or Scott) to make him a natural heretic?

    Anyway, I’m a bit unhappy with that chapter. It makes me feel a bit like I’m reading a “Lord Harry James Potter-Gryffindor-Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff-Slytherin, owner of Hogwarts”-style fanfiction, and also suggests to me the (perhaps unintended) implication that you just have to have noble (or special) heritage to be able to do something significant.

    That said, I’m looking forward to Fahsteth and the “a bit more action” before.

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    1. Anyway, I’m a bit unhappy with that chapter. It makes me feel a bit like I’m reading a “Lord Harry James Potter-Gryffindor-Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff-Slytherin, owner of Hogwarts”-style fanfiction, and also suggests to me the (perhaps unintended) implication that you just have to have noble (or special) heritage to be able to do something significant.

      Not in the least. Err, not to say that I don’t understand why you’d get that impression, but rather, that’s not the intention. Nor is it, in my opinion, actually that way. Hopefully, you’ll allow me the following rambling explanation. 🙂

      Basically, a couple things. First of all, everything Flick has accomplished is by her own merit. Shiori didn’t listen to her back way back when they finally talked about Shiori’s issues because of her mother, her mother’s family, or anyone else. She listened to her because of Flick. There Meregan themselves started listening to her because she was Joselyn’s daughter, yes, but they came to respect her because of her own actions AND they personally had no idea of her ancient family history.

      Saving Roxa’s life/talking her through the change? Nothing to do with ancient family history. Killing the werewolf that tried to kill her (EITHER time that happened)? Nothing to do with ancient family history. Killing Truman Hyde? Nothing to do with ancient family history. Killing Doxer? Nothing to do with ancient family history.

      What I’m saying is, pretty much nothing that she’s actually accomplished has been because of ancient family history. She has been handed nothing aside from the protection/guidance we’ve already seen. There’s no vault full of money to let her buy away every problem, she hasn’t been handed a super weapon that can do anything, she isn’t suddenly going to be led into a vault full of disabled and helpless Alters of every kind and told to kill all of them to easily ramp up her power to absurd levels. She isn’t suddenly going to be handed a bunch of titles that let her overrule the entire committee. Her ancient family connections are interesting, but politically as far as Crossroads authority is concerned, mean next to nothing.

      And second of all, we already knew that Flick had some kind of special family. Her connection to her MOTHER is much more immediate, of course. But beyond that, we’ve known for quite awhile by this point that the Atherby clan had to be important themselves. They’ve been independent Heretics for quite awhile, were big/important/resourceful/powerful enough to help repel the Fomorian invasion, their current clan leader at the time and his wife were the key parts of ‘permanently’ banishing the entire Fomorian race from the planet, etc.

      The point is, we already knew they were important. All we needed to know was where that importance originated from, what STARTED the clan and where they come from. And honestly, ‘they were just some people that became Heretics’, while surprising, IMO would have been a waste of potential mythology/history.

      Plus, how could I resist the whole Avalon/Arthur thing?

      In summary: We already knew the clan was important/powerful, this is just the explanation of where that importance originated from. And pretty much nothing Flick has done or accomplished up to this point has been affected by who her ancient ancestors were. It explains a bit of why Joselyn had a whole clan of powerful people ready to help her jumpstart a rebellion. But we already knew those people existed. This was, again, just the explanation of where they came from.

      And again: no vault full of money or toys, no titles, no political power, nothing like that.

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      1. Killing Doxer? Nothing to do with ancient family history.

        Me: slight correction; Killing Doxer had nothing to do with _Flick’s_ ancient family history. It did have some connections to _Avalon’s_ ancient family history. 8)

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      2. To be entirely fair…”no titles, no political power”
        She is the heir of the clan, and several times she has gotten meetings or attention due to her mother.(It would not be unfair to say the entire plot is basically “I am important because of my family)
        – Bad guy wants her because of family.
        – Comittee is against because of family.
        -Winter mall people agreed to the meet due to family.
        -Several of her close friends are drawn to the plot because of family. (blood vault, Immune to brat)
        – She is recieving training because of her mother.
        -She is heir to the clan.

        I love the story, but my one complaint is it feels like NOTHING is happening at random.Everyone we meet is immediately invested into the story Every spell is a Chekhov’s gun.

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      3. That’s rather the point of Chekov’s Gun isn’t it? That if things aren’t relevant to the overall plot somehow that our time as readers is being wasted?

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      4. I see where Todor’s coming from, although I don’t agree nearly as much as I did before reading the message I’m replying to. I remember you saying a couple of times near the beginning of the story that Flick is intended to be a completely ordinary person. She’s not “the chosen one,” as I remember you putting it. And that’s still technically true, but the fact that she was secretly an heir to an ancient clan descended from the Knights of the Round Table conflicts with that idea. Yes, she still grew up in a largely normal environment, but that kind of heritage does seem to fly in the face of her apparent normalcy.

        The fact that you’ve said that Flick “comes from good stock” at least twice now does undercut your point a bit, although my own point is similarity undercut by the fact that the most recent use of that phrase was referring to her dad’s side of the family instead of her mom’s.

        (as a side note, I’ve been conditioned to think of “clans” as eastern, so I still wonder why it’s “The Atherby Clan” instead of “The House of Atherby,” but that’s a nitpick)

        Reading your message here dealt with a lot of those feelings, as does the fact that it’s not Arthur himself the Atherbys are descended from (I really hope Flick’s KotRT ancestor is one of the lesser known Knights, like how Geta is one of the lesser known Roman (co-)Emperors).

        Plus, Flick may not have been handed a bunch of titles, money, and power; but she did just meet a group of people with a certain degree of loyalty to “the heir,” (even if most of them are more loyal to Joselyn than the Atherby Clan) and the possibility that there’s an Atherby Blood Vault has been teased in the comments (although you’ve never been the one to bring that possibility up without someone else talking about it first).

        At the end of the day, you’re right. Essentially everything Flick has accomplished has been due to her own actions rather than her blood. It’s just that, to some people, all this stuff about her ancient ancestors feels unnecessary. Cool, yes, but unnecessary. My personal opinion has wavered back and forth ever since we found out about “The Atherby Clan” as a whole, but I generally think it’s cool. Honestly, that bit of speculation about where the institution of knighthood comes from on SB made it stop bugging me a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Replying to @Anonymous:

        -Winter mall people agreed to the meet due to family.

        No they didn’t. They agreed to meet with her because Asenath brought her to their attention. The Septs didn’t know anything about Joselyn until Flick chose to tell them,

        – She is recieving training because of her mother.

        Eh… I can see why you’re saying that, but if Gaia’s primary reason for training Flick is for her own protection more than anything else. Which, to be fair, is indirectly because of her mother, but I’d bet that Gaia would extend that kind of protection to any student in that much trouble, regardless of the source.

        Also, the extra lessons with Avalon are on the two of them’s own initiative, and they agreed to start before they knew there was anything weird with Flick’s mom.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Me: slight correction; Killing Doxer had nothing to do with _Flick’s_ ancient family history. It did have some connections to _Avalon’s_ ancient family history. 8)

        lol… okay yeah, I’ll give you that one.

        She is the heir of the clan, and several times she has gotten meetings or attention due to her mother.(It would not be unfair to say the entire plot is basically “I am important because of my family)

        An heir, there are three others. And while the summary would be technically accurate if boiled down to that level of simplicity, I think it’s somewhat unfair to do so. Particularly since a major portion of that ‘importance’ means she’s suffering/losing things, not gaining them. She lost her mother for at least a decade because of it, she’s in danger of being killed/used/enslaved by multiple different factions/people because of it, etc.

        Basically, my general point is that unlike the specific Harry Potter stories that were being referred to above, she’s not being handed a bunch of political titles and power. For every benefit to her family history, there’s a definite negative. I was specifically saying that she’s not suddenly going to be able to wave her family name around and overrule the Committee, not gonna suddenly come across a vault with so much money in it that she can buy and sell Crossroads several times over, etc etc. THAT is what I was referring to, not that nothing in her family history has ever gained her anything.

        I love the story, but my one complaint is it feels like NOTHING is happening at random.Everyone we meet is immediately invested into the story Every spell is a Chekhov’s gun.

        As Bart said, if things aren’t somehow relevant to the plot at some point, it’s kind of wasting your time to make you read them. And I would disagree that EVERYONE you meet is immediately invested into the main plot. The people Flick regularly interacts with, sure. But again, doing otherwise would be wasting your time.

        And another part of that is that there are SEVERAL ‘main’ plots going on, each with different people invested in them.

        I remember you saying a couple of times near the beginning of the story that Flick is intended to be a completely ordinary person. She’s not “the chosen one,” as I remember you putting it. And that’s still technically true, but the fact that she was secretly an heir to an ancient clan descended from the Knights of the Round Table conflicts with that idea. Yes, she still grew up in a largely normal environment, but that kind of heritage does seem to fly in the face of her apparent normalcy.

        THIS is absolutely true, and a contradiction I’ll openly cop to. It’s just a matter of me gradually changing my mind on how things were going to go. That’s just something that happens when you don’t have the entire million word story plotted out in advance. Hopefully the story is still good enough and enjoyable regardless.

        The fact that you’ve said that Flick “comes from good stock” at least twice now does undercut your point a bit, although my own point is similarity undercut by the fact that the most recent use of that phrase was referring to her dad’s side of the family instead of her mom’s.

        That’s just me complimenting her parents, really.

        (I really hope Flick’s KotRT ancestor is one of the lesser known Knights, like how Geta is one of the lesser known Roman (co-)Emperors).

        I would say that’s likely.

        At the end of the day, you’re right. Essentially everything Flick has accomplished has been due to her own actions rather than her blood. It’s just that, to some people, all this stuff about her ancient ancestors feels unnecessary. Cool, yes, but unnecessary.

        Indeed, and I can understand that. It’s why I was stating above the bit about how the point of this was to show where the Atherby clan came from. It’s also why I waited THIS far into the story to reveal it, rather than doing so toward the beginning or much sooner. Because I wanted what happened to be on Flick’s own merit/actions.

        And hell, it’s also why I made the reveal up in the middle of the chapter rather than as a cliffhanger/sudden reveal at the end. Revealing it, then IMMEDIATELY MOVING ON to the already-established plot without lingering on it was absolutely purposeful, and meant to show that it’s not going to suddenly change things or take over.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Particularly since a major portion of that ‘importance’ means she’s suffering/losing things, not gaining them. She lost her mother for at least a decade because of it, she’s in danger of being killed/used/enslaved by multiple different factions/people because of it, etc.

        And hell, it’s also why I made the reveal up in the middle of the chapter rather than as a cliffhanger/sudden reveal at the end. Revealing it, then IMMEDIATELY MOVING ON to the already-established plot without lingering on it was absolutely purposeful, and meant to show that it’s not going to suddenly change things or take over.

        And these details more or less banish my remaining reservations.

        To be absolutely clear: I like this revelation about the Atherby family. I think it’s a cool backstory. I just don’t want it to take over the overall plot (though I understand it probably has something to do with Fossor’s obsession with Joselyn and Felicity). You have now made it clear that you don’t intend to, and I appreciate that.

        THIS is absolutely true, and a contradiction I’ll openly cop to. It’s just a matter of me gradually changing my mind on how things were going to go. That’s just something that happens when you don’t have the entire million word story plotted out in advance. Hopefully the story is still good enough and enjoyable regardless.

        I really respect your willingness to own up to that. And yes, I do still enjoy the story. I think part of me will still wish that Flick and Joselyn’s family history really was more mundane, but that is purely a matter of personal preference. Another part of me thinks this whole thing is awesome.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You don’t NEED special or noble heritage to do great things, but growing up with the shining examples of your ancestors held up as things of pride and deep meaning to the parents/adult family members you love does tend to give one a certain impetus to want to be one of those shining examples. How many young women wouldn’t ADORE to have their fathers think of their personal accomplishments with the same respect as the heroes he worshipped when he was young. Same deal other way around with young men making their mothers proud.

    Plus, there’s such a thing as a “Tradition of Service.” In our culture one of the places you see it are the Irish families, where Great Grandpa was a beat cop, Grandpa was a cop, their dad was a detective and poof…next generation are cops (or prosecutors). The show Blue Bloods (minus the whole police comm. thing) isn’t all that untrue a representation of one of the many Irish Cop Families you find up and down the East Coast in clusters, and scattered more thinly throughout the rest of the country.

    If you grow up with part of your parental instruction in what constitutes Right and Wrong consisting of having the concept that you have an obligation to fight the good fight, and leave the world a better place than you found it…Then yes, it’s not shocking you end up with offspring that want to right the wrongs of their generation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I sincerely TRY not to double-post here, but…Cerulean is being WAY cooler about all that than I would be Todor. You, sir/ma’am are REACHING. Cerulean’s defense was eloquent and articulate, which I won’t try to replicate. I’ll just say this: As much as it grates against the sensibilities of the allegedly egalitarian Western Civilizations, here’s a recurring truth:

    Exceptional people. People of talent, commitment and drive. People with conviction and principles (ESPECIALLY when said convictions/principles align with each other) are like birds of a feather. They often flock together.

    Color me utterly not-surprised that some of the ORIGINAL champions of Good and Right decided to leave a legacy dedicated to the cause they had fought so long for, in the wake of their leader’s….death. The rest is just the momentum of a micro-culture whose members share values.

    My preemptive apologies Cerulean. You in no way need anyone to leap to your defense, and Todor’s certainly entitled to his/her opinion. Yet as someone who adores HE, I couldn’t just stay silent.

    (I TRIED, I SWEAR)

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  9. Fosser was behind the werewolf attacks. He’s going to follow where they take him for safety, then later he’ll make a preemptive attack there to divert support from Flick for when he goes after her.

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  10. Wow, damn. I’ve gotta say… I know it’s not Cerulean’s style at all, but I still can’t help but be concerned about all the death flags Lincoln is waving at the end of this chapter. The big “I love you.” on a phone call, the “we need to have a big important emotional life-changing talk” thing, the fact that Felicity can’t go see him now, the specific assurance that he’s safe…

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  11. Before I forget, I just want to say that I love the way Lincoln’s character has been handled in these recent events. He’s been absolutely fantastic, and there are a bunch of moments that have pushed him up my favorites list. That “you still need to breathe… wait, do you?” moment here, the bit where he discounted Joselyn being a vampire because she had his baby and then wondered if vampires could do that, basically every moment of him thinking about his daughter, the way he stumbled over talking about Flick not being mad at her mom anymore, his desperate questioning of Calafia… I could just keep going on and on.

    I can’t wait for his next mini-interlude.

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