Rendezvous 30-02

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“So you really didn’t know she existed until New York?” Sands asked a short while later, as she and I sat on the other side of the bridge. The brunette girl was looking past me, over to where her mother was quietly talking to Tabbris. “That must’ve been pretty… surprising.”

I coughed. “You can say that again. But I wouldn’t have gotten away from Charmiene’s trap without her help. I’d be Radueriel’s prisoner as he took me apart. And you guys would all either be dead, or Seosten slaves. Tabbris… she saved all of us from some pretty bad shit.”

Sands coughed. “Technically, you wouldn’t even have gotten that far without her. If she wasn’t possessing you, there wouldn’t have been anything to stop the Seosten from possessing you back when you were first made Avalon’s roommate. Or earlier. You probably would’ve been Charmiene’s puppet from pretty much the beginning, so she could try to kill Avalon that way.”

I grimaced at that reminder, shuddering a little before nodding. “Right, thanks. Like I said, Tabbris has been helping a lot. Probably more than we’ll ever actually be able to quantify. I…” Glancing toward Sands then, I continued, “From what I’ve been able to get out of Tabbris, Sariel was planning on restoring my mother’s memories back before she was taken back during that whole thing that split up Vanessa’s family and left Tristan banished to the Meregan world. When she found out that Mom disappeared, she knew the Seosten would be after me. So I guess she sent your mom to bring Tabbris to me pretty much right before the… the boat thing happened.”

Sands was quiet for a second, watching her mother and Tabbris with an indecisive look. Then she gave a little nod, sounding thoughtful. “Wow. Our family, your family, and Vanessa’s family are pretty connected, aren’t they? I mean, I’m still not sure exactly why Sariel knows Mom–”

“She was supposed to possess her as a child,” I announced quietly. “They wanted Sariel to infiltrate Gaia’s inner circle by installing her as a child so she could go through Crossroads training. But your mom, she um, she sort of stumbled across some bad guys when they killed someone. Bystander bad guys, I mean. They tried to kill her to shut her up, so Sariel had to show herself. She dealt with them, but Larissa got hurt pretty bad. That’s when Haiden, Vanessa and Tristan’s dad, showed up. Sariel convinced him that she wanted to save your mom, so they took her to the hospital. Then they sorta… bonded and ran away from the whole war.”

Listening to all that, Sands bit her lip hard, her brow knitting into a thoughtful frown. “So the only reason Mom wasn’t a Seosten slave that whole time is because Sariel changed her mind and switched sides. And the only reason you’re not a slave is because she had Mom bring that Tabbris girl to you. It sounds like… “ She swallowed. “It sounds like Scout and me wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Sariel. It sounds like… a lot of things would be worse if it wasn’t for her.”

“It would be.” The confirmation came from Larissa herself, as she and Tabbris moved over to where we were. The woman took a moment to embrace Sands tightly once more, closing her eyes briefly as if to focus entirely on the sensation of actually touching her daughter after all the time that they had been apart. She kept hold of her while nodding. “Pretty much everything would be worse if it wasn’t for Sariel. That’s part of why I’ve been trying to help Haiden find her. Though that might be easier now that he can actually remember her, and both of his children.”

She explained what had happened then, that Vanessa had actually managed to get through to her father by projecting herself into his mind in order to pass the message of where to find us.

“Wait, wait,” I interrupted as a thought popped in my head. “She knew exactly where we were going to be? Like, on this ship? And exactly when? How is that possible? We didn’t even know.”

“Uncle Apollo!” Tabbris chirped. She had been clinging to Larissa’s side until they got close enough to us, at which point she slipped over to stand behind me while the woman had been hugging her daughter. “He, um, he sent the message through Vanessa so they could get here.”

“Uncle Apollo,” Sands echoed flatly, eyes widening as she clutched her mom’s arm. “Does that-”

“Yeah.” I nodded. “That makes Sariel Artemis. I know, I had pretty much the same reaction. Apollo’s the one who had that code, the one that you used to send Radueriel away. He told Sariel about it, and she told Tabbris, just in case we ever got into a situation… uh, like that.”

“That was her?” Sands whistled at that. “Wow, that woman really planned ahead, didn’t she?”

“They both did,” I confirmed. “I guess it ran in the… pseudo-family. But speaking of planning ahead, if Apollo showed up to help Vanessa learn how to project herself and just happened to know exactly where we were going to be, does that mean he’s actually… I mean, he was supposed to be the god of prophecy. Is he… does he have some kind of precognitive ability?”

“Or access to someone else who is,” Larissa pointed out mildly. “But we don’t know. Sariel talked a little bit about him, but all I really know is that he was her partner for a long time. They’re not actually related, but they might as well have been. She… she felt really bad that she turned him down when he asked her to leave the Seosten. It was one of her biggest regrets.”

“So he’s been a rogue Seosten for a long time, and now he popped up out of nowhere to help us?” I gave a low whistle, shaking my head. “He’s got pretty good timing, I’ll give him that much.”

Larissa gave me a tight smile at that. “He did a lot more than just give us the timing and location. Apollo provided the spells that let us transport past the Seosten blockade and take this ship out of their range. There’s no way that we could possibly have gotten to you in time without them.”

“Well,” I announced, “sounds like I owe Sariel and Apollo a lot. I’m not sure how fast the Seosten would’ve come after me without Tabbris around, but–”

“You were fourteen,” the girl herself put in.

Blinking at the girl (it was still kind of strange to see her standing in front of me rather than as a silent voice in my head), I asked, “Err, what?”

“You were fourteen,” she repeated then. “When the first Seosten came to try and possess you, I mean.”

Okay, that derailed my thoughts a fair bit. I stared at her, mouth working. “I–they were–huh?”

The girl cringed a little, looking horribly guilty as she stammered, “I m-mean, um. I’m… I think they were trying to find out if you knew anything about why your mother disappeared. It was a woman. Not Charmiene. She came while you were sleeping and tried to possess you. When it didn’t work, she kept checking for spells around the room and stuff. I could hear her talking to someone about how your mom must’ve found a way to protect you, and that she had no idea why you weren’t with her in that case.”

My mouth opened and shut a couple times. “I… did… did they try again?”

Tabbris nodded. “A few times. They tried to use some spying spells and stuff like that, but I got rid of them. I… I’m sorry, I had to use your body to do it sometimes, I’m really, really–”

“Hey, hey, it’s okay.” I reached out, taking the girl’s arm to pull her into a hug. “You saved me, partner. Why the hell would I be mad about that?”

Tabbris started to stammer something to that, but Larissa held up a hand. “The others are on their way ba-”

In mid-sentence, the hatch slid open and Roxa stepped inside. “She’s right,” the blonde girl confirmed. “They’re coming back. The way they’re moving, I’d say you’ve got thirty seconds.”

“Right.” Nodding, I turned to hold a hand out to Tabbris, who had moved to get another brief embrace from Larissa. “Hop back in, partner.” I was stressing that word a lot, because I wanted the girl to understand how I saw her, and that I wasn’t just saying it. “Sands may be pretty great about this, but I’m pretty sure we should still keep you secret from the others.”

She did so, catching my hand before disappearing from sight. I felt the by-then familiar sensation of the Seosten girl possessing me and settling back into place. A sensation that, honestly, I was pretty sure Tabbris was purposefully making me feel as a physical indication of her presence. Either way, I was far more comfortable with her there. I may had only been consciously aware of Tabbris for a pretty short time, but being without her still felt wrong. As much as she had worked hard to keep her thoughts and feelings from influencing me too much, the fact was that we had been together for years, and her being gone made me feel incomplete. Hell, by that point, I was already accustomed to having silent conversations with her about everything we were seeing. The past two weeks had been made infinitely easier with her.

Sands was watching me closely. “You… you okay?” she asked, clearly feeling uncomfortable.

I smiled at the other girl, trying to be reassuring. “It’s still me, Sands. It’s just me, like I said before. Tabbris is here, but she’s not actually controlling me or anything. She just… helps, a lot.”

She nodded at that, just as the hatch opened once more, letting Gordon and Isaac step in. The two of them glanced around briefly, the former quietly asking, “Is everything okay up here?”

“Okay?” Sands echoed, grabbing her mother’s arm tightly before holding onto it. “My mom’s here, dude! How could things get any better? I mean, besides if we actually had a way to get back to Earth, or knew how everyone back there was doing, or weren’t being chased by an entire universe-spanning evil empire that wanted to dissect us or turn us into their personal meat puppets. Or–yeah, okay, I guess there are ways it could be a lot better. But this is pretty good!”

“Where’s Jazz?” I asked, blinking at the boys as I realized that she wasn’t coming in after them.

Isaac shrugged, nodding over his shoulder absently. “Still down with the killjoys in the hold.”

Gordon shook his head at his teammate before correcting, “She’ll be here soon, with Jokai. They’re getting everyone settled in down there. We found a room full of blankets and tarps, so they’re setting up some kind of camp.” Pausing, he added, “It’s what they’re accustomed to. And since Jazz can see through walls, she’s helping them look for anything else useful for that. Karees is there to translate.”

I wanted to ask the boy about where he’d gotten the incredibly strong cold immunity or whatever it was that had let him simply tank that ice orb back on the planet. But somehow, now didn’t seem like the right time for it. Instead, I just nodded. “I guess they might as well get comfortable. I mean, what exactly are we gonna do once we actually get to Professor Katarin and Mr. Moon?”

“Get you all home,” Larissa replied flatly. “Your orb wasn’t broken, so it should be possible to reprogram it to send you back. Trust me, Haiden and I have done a lot of research on them over the years. I’m pretty sure we know those things as well as the people who made them.”

“You know we don’t actually have those now, right?” Isaac cut in. “I mean sure, we had them before. But they disappeared as soon as we got sent to this complete ass-end of the universe.”

Larissa nodded. “Yes, Isaac. They would have been left back on Earth. And if I know Gaia at all, she has them. We just need to wait for Vanessa to contact Haiden again, and pass instructions back through her about how to reprogram the orbs to summon all of you guys back to Earth.”

“Wait, no.” Sands turned, her eyes widening at that. “Us? What about you? You’re coming back with us. Mom, you have to come back with us. You have to come back with me, and see Scout. I mean, I know Dad is a–I know what Dad did before, but you… you can’t just stay out here!”

“Oh, baby.” Larissa reached out, pulling her daughter up against her in a tight embrace. I could see tears in her eyes. “I’d never… I…” She breathed out, hugging Sands even closer. “I can’t abandon Haiden, or Sariel. I’d be a slave if it wasn’t for her. Sarah would be dead if it wasn’t for her. She saved Sarah from the Fomorian. She saved me from the Fomorian and from being a Seosten puppet. I can’t just walk away from her now. I can’t just abandon her, or her husband. Haiden’s still looking for her. Whatever’s going on with Sariel, wherever she is… I think it’s bad.”

Mama… I heard Tabbris whisper in my head. She sounded sadder than I had ever heard her. No wonder the two of us were so in sync. We both desperately wanted to save our mothers from completely impossible situations, while they were being held prisoner by sadistic monsters.

Don’t worry, I assured the girl. Like I said, we’ll help your mom. You and me, partners.

Larissa continued. “She never told me the whole story about her situation, about where or how she was imprisoned. But from what we’ve found out, from what we know, it’s…” She swallowed hard. “I love you, baby. My Sandy-witch. But they need me too. I can’t walk away from that. But I promise, that doesn’t…”  She cringed visibly then. “That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to–”

“Mom.” Sands lifted her chin, her voice hoarse from all the emotions she was clearly feeling. “I know. I’m not… I’m not gonna accuse you of abandoning us or anything. I’m not about to… to scream and throw a fit. You’re right. Sariel’s done a lot for you. And… and for Scout…. Sarah. She’s done a lot for everyone, and now she’s in trouble. She’s in really deep trouble and she can’t help herself. So,” she gave a shrug. “Let’s help her. Let’s go get her back. Together.”

Larissa’s mouth opened, but it was Isaac who spoke up. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. What’re you trying to sign us up for now, exactly? Cuz I think we are about done with our quota of impossible heroics. Have you seen all those now-former slaves in our cargo hold? Big damn heroes time is over. We are clocked out and it’s time for us to get the hell out of this place.”

“Then you can go!” Sands snapped sharply at the boy, her glare making me glad that the girl didn’t actually have laser eyes or anything. “No one said they couldn’t send you back when the time comes. You don’t want to be a part of this, then don’t be a part of it. But shut up about it.”

“Sandy.” Larissa’s voice was gentle as she took her daughter’s hand. “The boy’s right, this shouldn’t be your problem. You already have a lot to deal with, and you’re students. You’re–”

“We’re not just going to walk away,” I put in. “Sands is right, we owe Sariel too much for that. Maybe we won’t be much help compared to you guys, but we can still help, even if it’s just a bit.”

Gordon, who had been quiet through the entire exchange to that point, finally spoke. “Maybe the best thing to do would be to make sure that there is a way back, and then go from that point.”  

“Yeah,” Sands agreed, giving her mother a look, “and also make sure that you have a way back too. Gaia reverse engineered the Meregan portal thing just by waving her hand before. Even if these are different, she’s gotta have a way to use the banish-whosits to pull you back with us.”

Larissa gave her daughter a little smile, reaching out to stroke her hair. “You have grown up so much,” she murmured. “I…” Her eyes blinked rapidly before the woman shook her head. “I’m sorry I missed so much. I just–” Choking a little, she looked away, pulling Sands close to her. “Yes, we’ll talk about it when the time comes, and decide exactly what to do then. You’re not little children anymore, so I won’t treat you like it. But you are my child. I love you, Sandoval.”

“Mommy.” Sands’ voice was a choked whisper, and she grabbed onto her mother again, losing herself in another hug. I had a feeling that was going to happen a lot. And I couldn’t really blame her at all. Hell, if it was my mother, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t let go for days, if not months.

Kissing the top of her daughter’s head reverently, Larissa paused like that for a few seconds before a slight frown knit her brow. Opening her eyes then, she carefully asked, “What did you mean when you said that you know what your dad did before? What exactly do you know?” As she spoke, the woman glanced briefly in my direction, her expression unreadable.

“Uh.” Coughing, I gestured. “Maybe we should go meet up with Jazz and Jokai, huh? This is kind of a private conversation, and we might be able to help down there. The sooner we get everything sorted out, the sooner we can get this show on the road and get out of here.”

Roxa quickly agreed, and we walked out with Isaac and Gordon so that Sands could talk privately with her mother about that situation. I was sure that Larissa would want to talk to me about it too (and meet with Tabbris again). But for the moment, it was best to leave them alone.

“So what’s in these side rooms?” I asked as the four of us walked back down the corridor, glancing at the hatches lining either side. “Did you have a chance to look yet?”

“Mostly crew quarters, the kitchen, some kind of exercise room, that kind of thing,” Gordon explained. “There aren’t enough beds for all of those guys, and apparently if they don’t all get a bed, none of them are willing to take one. When we left, they were trying to convince the elderly to take the beds, but it wasn’t going very well.”

Sighing, I opened my mouth to say something about that. Before I could, however, a voice caught my attention. We came around the corner to find Jazz, Jokai, and Karees. The three of them were sorting through a couple metal crates that they seemed to have pulled out of a nearby room.

“A bird can fly,” Jazz spoke slowly, enunciating carefully.

At first, I thought she was giving some kind of code that I wasn’t familiar with. But then Karees carefully spoke a few words in Latin, which Tabbris translated as meaning the exact same thing. Subsequently, Jazz repeated those words, getting the pronunciation just slightly wrong before Karees corrected her. She said it right the second time, looking toward Jokai as she said the words in Latin, then English, then Latin again.

Jokai, for his part, said it in Latin, then very slowly enunciated, “A… bard… cane… fly.”

Jazz giggled, nodding. “Close, uh, what was… paene? Close. Paene. Bird. Brrrduh. Bird. Can. Caaahhhnuh. Can.”

Jokai was slowly nodding. “A… brrrrduh… canuh… fly. A bird… can… fly.” He put his hands side by side in the shape of wings, flapping his fingers demonstratively.

“You know,” Isaac spoke up then, interrupting them. “You could just learn Latin from a book.”

Jazz gave a guilty start, stepping away from Jokai and Karees before coughing. “I–what’s going on?”

“It’s okay,” I insisted, giving Isaac a dirty look for a moment. “We were just giving Sands and her mom some space and figured we’d see if you needed any more help.”

“Oh, um.” Jazz gestured over her shoulder. “They’re about to send some people up to take the cots and stuff down for the elderly or sick to use. We managed to convince them to do that much, but they still refuse to use the rooms themselves. They just want to stay together in the cargo hold.”

Roxa nodded beside me. “It’s gonna take them a while to stop thinking like slaves.”

Nearby, Isaac grinned at Jazz. “Hey, I bet you and Gordon here can really sympathize with this whole ‘free the slaves’ movement, huh?”

The other girl and Gordon exchanged looks before Jazz replied in a flat, purposefully obtuse voice, “Well, sure, being on a team with you is pretty hard sometimes, but we soldier on.”

Before Isaac could say anything else, I quickly changed the subject. “If we’re ever gonna get to that rendezvous, we should probably let Jokai get the ship going.” I silently asked Tabbris to translate what I’d just said for the chameleon-man himself.

He agreed, and I started walking back to the bridge with him while the others helped get the bedding and other supplies taken down to the cargo hold. We talked a little bit on the way there, mostly about his friends from this ship who had been murdered by the Seosten who blamed them for his own orders. After a bit of back-and-forth, I realized that the piece of shit in question had actually been the Seosten who was killed by Sands back when she saved me from his ambush.

Good. I was glad that we could be certain that he was dead. And from his reaction when I told him, Jokai was pretty happy about it as well.

So happy, in fact, that as we stepped onto the bridge to find Sands and her mother there, he immediately moved to tearfully thank her. A thoroughly embarrassed Sands (once his words were translated) just mumbled about how she had just been trying to help me. Jokai kept insisting that he wanted to do something in return for her, and Sands finally asked him to show her what he did to fly the ship.

Once I had translated that with a little help from Tabbris, Jokai gave an immediate agreement before quickly ushering her over to the main controls so he could get started.

Isaac spoke up then, his eyes on Larissa. “Hey, what’s stopping any of those Seosten creeps from just teleporting onto this ship the same way you did?”

“First,” the woman replied, “I knew exactly where the ship was at the time, precise coordinates. And second, most ships are warded against people teleporting directly onto it. This one’s not because, well, it’s just a mining ship. But the one that Haiden and I… liberated, for example. We put so many wards on that thing that even we can’t get on it with the shields up. We’ll just have to teach you guys how to ward this ship the same way, to be safe.”

“Speaking of spells,” I put in then, “Since our Alter friends down in the cargo bay are all together, and we have a couple days, we can teach them the anti-possession spell. I–” Realizing something, I spun to look at Larissa. “Err, do you use that spell, the one that Gabriel Prosser taught us that drives out a Seosten if they’re possessing the person it’s used on?”

The woman’s response was a little smile. “Well, not exactly. You see, during our last… encounter with the Fomorian back on Earth, Sariel managed to do something that makes me look and feel like I’m possessed, even though I’m not.”

She went on to explain about what she and Haiden had apparently taken to calling the ‘dibs spell’, which essentially did exactly what she had just said, made her register as being possessed whenever anyone tried to possess her. Even better, between the two of them they had managed to find a way to duplicate that effect onto first Haiden, then Professor Katarin. The initial effect was still centered between Larissa and Sariel, but Haiden and Katarin copied the effect to render themselves immune to being possessed as well.

When she finished, I had to stare at her along with everyone else, all of us shocked. “Um. Does that mean…”

“We’ll teach it to you, and to the others,” she confirmed. “Better to have redundancies and teach everyone as many different ‘screw the Seosten’ spells as we can.”

Well, that was going to be… super-fucking useful. Nodding rapidly and eagerly to that, I spoke up. “Good, great. Awesome. Sounds like something to get extra credit on.”

Larissa started to move with her daughter then, only to pause and look back at me. “Felicity,” she started carefully, “I do have one question. These people keep going on about how you can do what the Seosten do to them, how you can possess the Seosten and control them. How is that possible? Even the younger Seosten have a pretty good defense against that. You would’ve had to absorb the powers of… of dozens of them to even have a shot at it.”

“Dozens,” I replied hesitantly, giving the woman an awkward shrug. “Or maybe just one really, really, really old one?” When she continued to stare at me, I coughed. “Yeah…

“Maybe I should start from the beginning.”

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27 comments

  1. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a great time last night, and that a few of you are even sober/non-hungover enough to actually read this update when it comes out! Oh, and we also have a quick bit of fanart from Coshiua of one of the Menmeran (the bodybuilder frogs). It’s on the art page, and you can also see it right here!

    Thank all of you so much for reading, and your tags for today are: Felicity Chambers, Flick, Gordon Kuhn, Isaac Acosta, Jokai, Karees, Larissa Mason, Other Possible Benefit Of Using A Book To Learn Latin – It’s Harder To Pick Up Jokai And Use Him To Smack Isaac In The Face., Roxa Pittman, Sands, Strangers Aren’t All Evil – Her Father’s A Dick – Her Mother’s Alive – Flick’s Possessed – Sands Is Getting A Doctorate In Just Rolling With Shit., Tabbris

    Liked by 2 people

  2. And for one question answered, another few are raised. The Seosten sent a woman to possess Flick when she was fourteen, but who was she? Another Olympian? A Younger Seosten? A much calmer one that Charmeine, judging by the lack of a tantrum after the possession attempt failed. And was it only to gather information or a real attempt at infiltration? Probably both.

    I’m not actually expecting answers to these, by the way. I suspect we’ll meet this Seosten woman eventually.

    But, you know, if you want to answer any of them, I can’t stop you. 🙂

    In other news, Isaac’s act is coming apart. He hasn’t openly done anything evil besides being an asshole, but his diminishing ability to play nice probably means he’s going to indulge himself soon.

    And I can’t wait for Flick to ask Gordon about his Ice powers. I’m pretty curious about what he thinks of Flick at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also, there’s the question of why didn’t they send Flick to Radueriel when they first found her immunity, but instead tried to place (monitoring?) spells on her. Isn’t a Seosten immunity enough to get serious right off the bat?

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      1. They were probably planning to lure her mom or other rebellious elements out and find how the immunity was placed from them.

        I don’t think they started planning to send Flick to Radueriel until it became clear that nobody Flick is involved with actually knows why she can’t be possessed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hendy is right. They wanted to find out more about Joselyn/lure her out, or whoever was rendering her immune to their efforts, be that her mother, Prosser, Apollo, or some other party. Plus, as with other situations, they kind of weren’t totally honest and forthcoming about their problems in their reports.

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    2. And for one question answered, another few are raised. The Seosten sent a woman to possess Flick when she was fourteen, but who was she? Another Olympian? A Younger Seosten? A much calmer one that Charmeine, judging by the lack of a tantrum after the possession attempt failed. And was it only to gather information or a real attempt at infiltration? Probably both.

      All very good questions.

      In other news, Isaac’s act is coming apart. He hasn’t openly done anything evil besides being an asshole, but his diminishing ability to play nice probably means he’s going to indulge himself soon.

      Indeed. My intention was to portray him as increasingly needing to act like an asshole because of the strain of restraining his murderous urges. A druggie not getting his fix, essentially.

      Oh, and was it the same Seosten for each attempt, or just this woman?

      Errr… isn’t that the same option? It reads like, “Was it this woman, or was it this woman?” The answer is yes. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Indeed. That was supposed to be “was it the same Seosten for each attempt, or were different agents sent?”

        Although the answer to that seems to be that it was the same woman each time.

        I am looking forward to find out out who this woman was. My guess is that it was either a non-Olympian, Athena, or one of the lesser known Olympian gods like Hebe.

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  3. Huh, the Seosten tried multiple times, eh? Not really surprising. I share Hendy question’s regarding the possession attempts.

    >I may had only been consciously aware of Tabbris for a pretty short time, but being without her still felt wrong. As much as she had worked hard to keep her thoughts and feelings from influencing me too much, the fact was that we had been together for years, and her being gone made me feel incomplete.

    Hm. Symbiosis isn’t all upside, after a period of time.

    >Whatever’s going on with Sariel, wherever she is… I think it’s bad.
    You don’t know the half of it, Larissa. You really don’t. 😦

    >How is that possible? Even the younger Seosten have a pretty good defense against that. You would’ve had to absorb the powers of… of dozens of them to even have a shot at it.”
    “Dozens,” I replied hesitantly, giving the woman an awkward shrug. “Or maybe just one really, really, really old one?” When she continued to stare at me, I coughed. “Yeah…
    “Maybe I should start from the beginning.”

    Yesssss. Time to see Larissa’s incredulity that Flick and co. managed to gank a 3 millennia old supercommando.

    Nice update!

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    1. Hm. Symbiosis isn’t all upside, after a period of time.

      Yeah, after so many years, Flick by herself doesn’t feel right.

      You don’t know the half of it, Larissa. You really don’t. 😦

      Really… it’s just not a good situation at all.

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  4. So now I’m left wondering why “Feels like they’ve already been possessed” is a thing, but the Seosten that tried to possess Flick don’t know why they can’t possess her.

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    1. The spell works by duplicating the field produced by a possessing Seosten that stops additional possession, but the field itself isn’t automatically detectable.

      Larissa’s describing the mechanics of the effect, not what someone stopped by it learns.

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    2. As Alex said, the meaning was that it creates the effect as if they’re already possessed, but the Seosten themselves don’t KNOW that. Basically, the Seosten ‘knew’ that Flick wasn’t possessed, so they dismissed that as a possibility for why they couldn’t possess her. They failed Occam’s Razor, essentially.

      Larissa was saying what the overall effect was, not what Seosten automatically know.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So, as some questions are answered, more arise, as it appears that Flick and company are probably going to have some more adventures in Seosten space, seeing if they can’t do something about Sariel, instead of heading straight home. Plus, both Flick & the Masons really do owe Sariel a lot, don’t they?

    “You were fourteen,” she repeated then. “When the first Seosten came to try and possess you, I mean.”

    Tabbris nodded. “A few times. They tried to use some spying spells and stuff like that, but I got rid of them. I… I’m sorry, I had to use your body to do it sometimes, I’m really, really–”

    So, the Seosten have been trying to get their hooks into Flick for quite some time before Charmeine blew her stack, though wonder why none of them figured out that the stall said ‘occupied’ before bouncing, or are the Seosten simply incapable of recognizing when someone’s already being possessed by one of their fellows?

    I felt the by-then familiar sensation of the Seosten girl possessing me and settling back into place. A sensation that, honestly, I was pretty sure Tabbris was purposefully making me feel as a physical indication of her presence. Either way, I was far more comfortable with her there. I may had only been consciously aware of Tabbris for a pretty short time, but being without her still felt wrong.

    Interesting- there are some long-term effects to possession, if Flick doesn’t quite feel right without Tabbris hitching a ride

    Whatever’s going on with Sariel, wherever she is… I think it’s bad. “

    Bad doesn’t begin to describe what’s going on with Sariel

    “Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. What’re you trying to sign us up for now, exactly? Cuz I think we are about done with our quota of impossible heroics. Have you seen all those now-former slaves in our cargo hold? Big damn heroes time is over. We are clocked out and it’s time for us to get the hell out of this place.”

    “Then you can go!” Sands snapped sharply at the boy, her glare making me glad that the girl didn’t actually have laser eyes or anything.

    Well, Issac’s continuing to be his usual, charming self, though with an observation like that from Flick, wonder just how long it’ll be before Sands kills something that gives her the ability to shoot laser beams from her eyes as a power-up?

    “What did you mean when you said that you know what your dad did before? What exactly do you know?” As she spoke, the woman glanced briefly in my direction, her expression unreadable.

    “Uh.” Coughing, I gestured. “Maybe we should go meet up with Jazz and Jokai, huh? This is kind of a private conversation, and we might be able to help down there.

    Oh, so Larissa doesn’t yet know about what Liam did vis a vis the rebellion, but is about to find out from Sands- would really like to see how she’d react to what her daughter has to say about her husband- perhaps that could end up on the list of interludes if someone wants to throw some money at it?

    We put so many wards on that thing that even we can’t get on it with the shields up. We’ll just have to teach you guys how to ward this ship the same way, to be safe.”

    Wards that prevent teleportation and keep Seosten out? Sound like quite the useful thing to know, and once Flick & company get back to Crossroads, imagine that Wyatt’s going to be planting those all over the place

    You see, during our last… encounter with the Fomorian back on Earth, Sariel managed to do something that makes me look and feel like I’m possessed, even though I’m not.”

    She went on to explain about what she and Haiden had apparently taken to calling the ‘dibs spell’, which essentially did exactly what she had just said, made her register as being possessed whenever anyone tried to possess her.

    Ooh, another useful trick Larissa picked up along the way thanks to Sariel- how to fake the whatever it is that prevents another Seosten from double-parking in someone who’s currently being possessed- something else that’s going to be spreading rapidly in Flick’s group once they get back.

    how you can possess the Seosten and control them. How is that possible? Even the younger Seosten have a pretty good defense against that. You would’ve had to absorb the powers of… of dozens of them to even have a shot at it.”

    “Dozens,” I replied hesitantly, giving the woman an awkward shrug. “Or maybe just one really, really, really old one?” When she continued to stare at me, I coughed. “Yeah…

    “Maybe I should start from the beginning.”

    Suppose that would be one of the big questions that Larissa has- just how did Flick manage to do something that the Seosten themselves can’t do, and imagine that her reaction to hearing that not only did Flick’s team manage to take out a top-tier Seosten operative, but it was Flick herself that landed the finishing blow and got a souped-up version of the Seosten’s possession power will be interesting to say the least.

    Other Possible Benefit Of Using A Book To Learn Latin – It’s Harder To Pick Up Jokai And Use Him To Smack Isaac In The Face

    LOL- though Issac really does need to be smacked in the face, doubt that Jokai would appreciate being used as a bludgeon to accomplish that goal, as laudable as it may be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m about 99% certain that Sariel told Larissa what Liam did. Though that may be something that was only revealed in WoG.

      This is probably when Flick and co find out just how much Charmeine was holding back. Larissa should have a rough idea how powerful Sariel is, and even if she doesn’t there’s no way Haiden doesn’t. And since Charmeine and Sariel are rough peers powerwise Larissa and Haiden both should know that the only way Flick and co could take out Charmeine is if Charmeine was holding back and fucking up.

      Also I keep forgetting how much WoG we have that hasn’t shown in the text – for instance the dibs spell was already revealed over on SB.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Plus, both Flick & the Masons really do owe Sariel a lot, don’t they?

      Ayup, they really do.

      So, the Seosten have been trying to get their hooks into Flick for quite some time before Charmeine blew her stack, though wonder why none of them figured out that the stall said ‘occupied’ before bouncing, or are the Seosten simply incapable of recognizing when someone’s already being possessed by one of their fellows?

      As I stated above, they failed their Occam's Razor check by dismissing the simple answer because they 'knew' she wasn't actually possessed.

      Bad doesn’t begin to describe what’s going on with Sariel

      It really doesn’t, no.

      Oh, so Larissa doesn’t yet know about what Liam did vis a vis the rebellion, but is about to find out from Sands- would really like to see how she’d react to what her daughter has to say about her husband- perhaps that could end up on the list of interludes if someone wants to throw some money at it?

      She does know, she found out from Sariel. She’s just surprised that Sands knows.

      Like

    3. I dunno: Jerkass translates quite readily into numerous other languages, not just Latin. After enough time in Isaac’s charming presence, I’d give serious thought to consenting to being used as a girder. 😛

      Like

  6. >“From what I’ve been able to get out of Tabbris, Sariel was planning on restoring my mother’s memories back before she was taken back during that whole thing that split up Vanessa’s family and left Tristan banished to the Meregan world. When she found out that Mom disappeared, she knew the Seosten would be after me. So I guess she sent your mom to bring Tabbris to me pretty much right before the… the boat thing happened.”

    Honestly it is interesting to note what Sariel told Tabbris and set up for her. It makes me wonder just how honest she was to Larissa as to breaking the binding to the shard on her. There’s prepared for difficulties, and then there’s how prepared she left Tabbris. This might be down to what is looking to be habitual preparedness of both Apollo and Sariel but if so things must have been awful for this to be made into a habit.

    Though given how Sariel being under a luck curse is a legitimate topic of discussion maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

    >“She was supposed to possess her as a child,” I announced quietly. “They wanted Sariel to infiltrate Gaia’s inner circle by installing her as a child so she could go through Crossroads training. But your mom, she um, she sort of stumbled across some bad guys when they killed someone. Bystander bad guys, I mean. They tried to kill her to shut her up, so Sariel had to show herself. She dealt with them, but Larissa got hurt pretty bad. That’s when Haiden, Vanessa and Tristan’s dad, showed up. Sariel convinced him that she wanted to save your mom, so they took her to the hospital. Then they sorta… bonded and ran away from the whole war.”

    Alright, this is three telephone messages in between Sariel to Tabbris, Tabbris to Flick and now Flick to Sands. So if things are going to be passed on incorrectly now would be around when those difficulties would start sprouting. Instead of intentional mistakes such as Sariel not informing Tabbris that Sariel convinced Haiden by cutting to the chases of his threat assessment by trying to kill herself, we may have unintended mistakes cutting in now. And for that matter there’s no supposed about it, Sariel did possess Larissa as a child, she just never got to the infiltrating Gaia’s inner circle.

    And no mention of the court case searching which makes me wonder. Sariel not being there and the close eyes on Larissa means that the Seosten did not anyone close by to possibly manipulate those events.

    >They tried to kill her to shut her up, so Sariel had to show herself. She dealt with them, but Larissa got hurt pretty bad.

    Unless Flick means that Sariel had to reveal her presence by boosting Larissa this is not what happened. Sariel only came out of Larissa because Larissa nearly got killed not because of the attempt to kill Larissa. Just something I wanted to point out what with the 99/100 times statistics given on the Spacebattles thread that Larissa wouldn’t have been hurt if not for bad luck.

    So Flick minght not have realized that Apollo and Sariel operating as Olympians means that they were comparable to Charmeine.

    >Listening to all that, Sands bit her lip hard, her brow knitting into a thoughtful frown. “So the only reason Mom wasn’t a Seosten slave that whole time is because Sariel changed her mind and switched sides. And the only reason you’re not a slave is because she had Mom bring that Tabbris girl to you. It sounds like… “ She swallowed. “It sounds like Scout and me wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for this Sariel. It sounds like… a lot of things would be worse if it wasn’t for her.”

    Really going to be something when Sands and Sariel talk. On one hand a few millennia of regrets, on the other it’s not like Sariel changing course didn’t have an effect on lives.

    >“Uncle Apollo,” Sands echoed flatly, eyes widening as she clutched her mom’s arm. “Does that-”
    “Yeah.” I nodded. “That makes Sariel Artemis. I know, I had pretty much the same reaction. Apollo’s the one who had that code, the one that you used to send Radueriel away. He told Sariel about it, and she told Tabbris, just in case we ever got into a situation… uh, like that.”
    “That was her?” Sands whistled at that. “Wow, that woman really planned ahead, didn’t she?”
    “They both did,” I confirmed. “I guess it ran in the… pseudo-family.

    It’s very amusing just how quickly everyone realizes that Sariel was Artemis by her association with Apollo. And really if things aren’t terrible it’s going to be fun when Sariel finds out that the rest of the family has adopted Apollo. Though given that adoption isn’t a concept in Seosten society I wonder if there was miscommunication there with Sariel not seeing Apollo as a brother if he had discovered the non legal concept. Especially given the Choir setup of the Seosten and that adoption existed as a legal entity only.

    And yeah, pseudo-family, that is going to be something to have explained. Especially if the preparedness is actually down to surviving the Fomorian war front, in which case that might be an Olympian trait.

    In general Seosten and family do not mean what a normal person would think.

    >The girl cringed a little, looking horribly guilty as she stammered, “I m-mean, um. I’m… I think they were trying to find out if you knew anything about why your mother disappeared. It was a woman. Not Charmiene. She came while you were sleeping and tried to possess you. When it didn’t work, she kept checking for spells around the room and stuff. I could hear her talking to someone about how your mom must’ve found a way to protect you, and that she had no idea why you weren’t with her in that case.”

    My first reaction is Jophiel, especially since she would be talking to Elisabet. Which would be affecting their views on the topic when it came up in meetings with the Committee. On the other hand, Tabbris didn’t know who the Seosten was. And if Jophiel possessing Elisabet was known by Sariel, (and given that there’s a limited amount of Seosten that operate on Earth and the fact that Elisabet is a major coup for the infiltration forces I can’t think of a plausible reason for Sariel to not know given the lack of information security with Charmeine’s host) I cannot imagine that Tabbris wouldn’t be told about the Seosten possessing a Committee member.

    >“Hey, hey, it’s okay.” I reached out, taking the girl’s arm to pull her into a hug. “You saved me, partner. Why the hell would I be mad about that?”
    Tabbris started to stammer something to that, but Larissa held up a hand. “The others are on their ba-”

    Flick really needs to ask this question again.

    >“Where’s Jazz?” I asked, blinking at the boys as I realized that she wasn’t coming in after them.
    Isaac shrugged, nodding over his shoulder absently. “Still down with the killjoys in the hold.”

    If Isaac goes nuts Jazz is my bet as to who is going to put him down from sheer proximity to the freed slaves.

    >Gordon, who had been quiet through the entire exchange to that point, finally spoke. “Maybe the best thing to do would be to make sure that there is a way back, and then go from that point.”

    Interesting to look at what Gordon heard before this.

    >
    I wanted to ask the boy about where he’d gotten the incredibly strong cold immunity or whatever it was that had let him simply tank that ice orb back on the planet. But somehow, now didn’t seem like the right time for it. Instead, I just nodded. “I guess they might as well get comfortable. I mean, what exactly are we gonna do once we actually get to Professor Katarin and Mr. Moon?”
    “Get you all home,” Larissa replied flatly. “Your orb wasn’t broken, so it should be possible to reprogram it to send you back. Trust me, Haiden and I have done a lot of research on them over the years. I’m pretty sure we know those things as well as the people who made them.”

    Moon is going to catch his attention given the fact that Tristan made a splash when he came by, and I have a feeling the cover story for the family has spread because Tristan is in the middle of the social scene at Crossroads. Throw in Haiden, and the fact that Katarin’s first name is Ulysses, and Gordon can track the conversation really well.

    >Larissa nodded. “Yes, Isaac. They would have been left back on Earth. And if I know Gaia at all, she has them. We just need to wait for Vanessa to contact Haiden again, and pass instructions back through her about how to reprogram the orbs to summon all of you guys back to Earth.”

    Throw in the reveal that Vanessa was able to contact Haiden, and that they expect her to be able to do so again.

    >“Oh, baby.” Larissa reached out, pulling her daughter up against her in a tight embrace. I could see tears in her eyes. “I’d never… I…” She breathed out, hugging Sands even closer. “I can’t abandon Haiden, or Sariel. I’d be a slave if it wasn’t for her. Sarah would be dead if it wasn’t for her. She saved Sarah from the Fomorian. She saved me from the Fomorian and from being a Seosten puppet. I can’t just walk away from her now. I can’t just abandon her, or her husband. Haiden’s still looking for her. Whatever’s going on with Sariel, wherever she is… I think it’s bad. “

    So Isaac can probably figure out what Sariel is just from the naming scheme of Seosten names, or just from recognizing the -iel from classical angel names. He may also know who Sariel is depending on whether he was warned to not use the memory changer around Vanessa, or Charmeine and Manakel talking if Sariel ever came up.

    Gordon probably doesn’t have the information just yet to figure out Seosten, because while Raduriel shares the -iel that a lot of Seosten have, the other example he has is Charmeine. Meanwhile he’s probably going to be sharing this information with Jazz if no one else does as the fact that some of their class mates won’t be taking the option to go home is probably something to talk about in advance.

    >The woman’s response was a little smile. “Well, not exactly. You see, during our last… encounter with the Fomorian back on Earth, Sariel managed to do something that makes me look and feel like I’m possessed, even though I’m not.”
    She went on to explain about what she and Haiden had apparently taken to calling the ‘dibs spell’, which essentially did exactly what she had just said, made her register as being possessed whenever anyone tried to possess her. Even better, between the two of them they had managed to find a way to duplicate that effect onto first Haiden, then Professor Katarin. The initial effect was still centered between Larissa and Sariel, but Haiden and Katarin copied the effect to render themselves immune to being possessed as well.

    Alright, so if Gordon realizes the reason for why the adults are calling it a ‘dibs’ spell since calling dibs is basically claiming it as yours – it get’s really obvious that Sariel has the ability to possess. Now that can be down to being a Seosten heretic or a Seosten. Since he’s a hybrid he also knows that Vanessa and Tristan do not discount the possibility of that being the latter.

    He has enough information that he can possibly figure out that Sariel isn’t human. The one thing he doesn’t really have is the knowledge that Seosten as a whole aren’t born evil. Which given the representation depicted is something that I wouldn’t fault him for not realizing.

    >Larissa continued. “She never told me the whole story about her situation, about where or how she was imprisoned. But from what we’ve found out, from what we know, it’s…” She swallowed hard. “I love you, baby. My Sandy-witch. But they need me too. I can’t walk away from that. But I promise, that doesn’t…” She cringed visibly then. “That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to–”

    Oh no, oh no no. Specifically, Larissa is saying this as if Sariel didn’t tell her awful things. Given that she had to hide Tabbris, she knows about the baby factory. That’s bad enough. Larissa isn’t saying, anything that amounts to “what Sariel did tell me”, but information that she and Haiden found. So what else is happening.

    >Kissing the top of her daughter’s head reverently, Larissa paused like that for a few seconds before a slight frown knit her brow. Opening her eyes then, she carefully asked, “What did you mean when you said that you know what your dad did before? What exactly do you know?” As she spoke, the woman glanced briefly in my direction, her expression unreadable.

    I think I have a new entry on my Interlude wish list.

    >“We’ll teach it to you, and to the others,” she confirmed. “Better to have redundancies and teach everyone as many different ‘screw the Seosten’ spells as we can.”

    Honestly I do wonder how long it will take Apollo to realize that the Seosten would like actually like that specific spell for a very specific definition of screw. And just how much that they would agree with that line.

    >“Dozens,” I replied hesitantly, giving the woman an awkward shrug. “Or maybe just one really, really, really old one?” When she continued to stare at me, I coughed. “Yeah…

    You know, I really wonder if the Olympians, or at least Charmeine/Apollo/Sariel/Probably Jophiel’s age group actually are seen as old Seosten rather than very lucky Seosten. The difference between a youthful looking General, Colonel and a field promoted officer basically. Because if Charmeine would only be considered old by Seosten (comparatively to the usual age of death) due to the war, it puts a desperate pall on the Seosten side. Just the difference in a war movie between an old soldier being actually old, and an old soldier being much too young to be considered old.

    Like

  7. Well, I now have a theory on how Avalon is immune to possession. I mean, we know that it was something that she inherited from Bosch’s daughter, but I have an idea for the mechanism.

    The Lighthouse gives humans some aspects of a Reaper. Namely, the power absorption, but not the memory absorption. To do this, it requires a trapped, still-living Reaper bound inside it. Bosch’s daughter probably used that as her starting point.

    So I suspect that in the blood-vault, we will see a similar device. Instead of a Reaper head, it will be a Seosten; probably a Lies. That Lies will be possessing some immortal creature (heretic?) that has been rendered permanently helpless. From there, the machinery probably duplicates the Dibs spell down the bloodline.

    Now, being the vindictive sort that I am, I have an idea for an “improved” version of the Dibs spell. Instead of being able to copy the “possessed” trait onto someone else, the improved version copies the “hybrid” trait onto a normal human. The result being that it painfully kills any Seosten who tries to posses the protected person.

    I call this version the Bugzapper spell. I’m sure Wyatt would approve. It could even cause some juicy drama if Wyatt tries to put it on Flick. After all, when she refuses, it will look like she’s been possessed…

    Like

  8. Hi, follow up question, does the spell that copies the possessed effect onto people make them immune to possession, or could they still be possessed if the Seosten tried to anyway. Is it just police tape, or is it a barbed wire fence is what i’m asking, basically.

    Liked by 1 person

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