Interlude 31A – Lies

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Please note, there was a full bonus chapter posted on Wednesday to finish off the regular arc. If you haven’t seen that yet, you might want to click the Previous Chapter button above. 

Present Day

The cold, bitter rain came down in sheets as the hour-long torrential downpour continued inexorably onward. The top floor of the parking garage, only a quarter full of scattered vehicles, was almost as much miniature lake as it was asphalt. It was easier to count the small, wet islands than it was to count the puddles, which ranged from just deep enough to soak the bottom of a shoe, all the way up to the nearly knee-deep corner opposite from the ramp.

Through the downpour, six figures stood on the roof of that parking garage, five of them surrounding the last. The five were large, heavily muscled figures of dark green skin and prodigious teeth. They wore enough leather and chains to be seen by humans as a biker gang, though those immune to the so-called Bystander Effect knew them as orcs.

That name by itself was an oversimplification since there were at least a half-dozen different species that were generally thrown into the pool of ‘orc’. All came from different planets, had wildly different original civilizations, religions, cultures, and more, and most hated the simple term ‘orc’. But due to their similar appearances to the untrained eye, most species lumped them all in together under the name of the first that had been encountered, meaning that those who had come after, with the misfortune of looking too similar to the first, had no opportunity to differentiate themselves. They were all seen as orcs, regardless of how varied they were.

The figure these so-called ‘orcs’ were surrounding, meanwhile, was much smaller. The untrained human eye would have seen her as human. But she was far more than that, in many ways. And just as the outside observer would have been mistaken in believing that they were witnessing five human bikers surround a human girl, they would have been equally mistaken in believing that the bikers were the most dangerous figures on that rooftop.

There was no discussion, no debate, threats, or offers of any kind. As the five orcs surrounded the girl, they exchanged glances with one another to assure themselves that they were all ready for what was about to happen. Or at least, that they believed they were. Then they attacked. The one directly in front of the girl drew back his meaty fist before driving it straight for her face, even as the one directly behind whipped his chain up and moved to drop it around her neck. The two to either side moved to grab her arms to immobilize her, and the final one, slightly to the left of the one at her left arm, threw his own punch toward her exposed side.

******

Twenty-One Years Ago

An orange-skinned man with a scraggly white beard trembled and quivered. His arms were raised above his head and attached to chains that hung from the ceiling. “M-Momma,” he begged in a broken voice. “Momma, I can’t. Please, Momma. Please, I can’t do it. Please.”

His whimpers were met with the sharp thrust of a stun prod, and the man arched his back, his entire body spasming as his words were replaced with agonized screams. A dozen burns scattered over his exposed upper torso made it clear that this had been going on for some time.

“Step out of the man, now.” The woman holding the electrified prod was the very definition of regal. She stood just a hair under six feet tall, with long black hair that fell to the middle of her back and was done in a single, tight braid. She wore dark red pants and a black silk shirt, both of which were enchanted to repel blood and other stains for quite obvious reasons. Around her neck was a golden choker, and she also wore an ornate, beautiful diadem with several red and violet gemstones. The diadem, choker, and other objects she wore were all heavily enchanted.

“Momma,” the man begged, his voice cracking pathetically as he hung limply from the chains. “Momma, please. I tried. I s-swear, Momma. I tried. I can’t do it.” Tears flooded his eyes as he gave a violent shudder. “Please, Momma, no hurting. Please, I’ll be g-good, Momma, ple-”

Once again, the desperate pleas turned to horrific screams as the prod was jammed into the man’s stomach. The woman raised her voice just enough to be heard over the cries. “You have not earned the right to call me that any more than you have earned a name. Step out of the man now. You want this to stop? You wish to earn my forgiveness? Then do as all true Seosten can and step out of him. Step out and there will be no more pain. Prove you are my child. Do it.”

She waited for a moment then, stepping back and watching as though she believed that either her words or the threat of more pain would actually be enough encouragement to make the impossible happen. Eyes narrowed and prod held loosely in one hand, she watched expectantly.

For a moment, the man went completely still and silent. His eyes drifted closed, his brow furrowed, and there was a somewhat childish display of concentration as the tip of his tongue poked slightly out of his mouth. The frown deepened over the next minute of silence, and new sweat appeared. His trembles and shudders turned violent from the incredible effort that was being put forth, until the man finally jerked upright, gasping for breath while shaking his head frantically. His words were pathetic, shamed sobs. “I can’t! I’m sorry, Momma, I’m so–”

With the click of a button, a blade appeared at the end of the stun prod, and the woman slit the man’s throat with a single, blindingly quick swipe. As blood poured freely down his throat and his head jerked backward, a second figure appeared directly in front of him. This one was much, much smaller. A child. A female child, barely six or possibly seven years old, with light brown hair and brown eyes. She stood there, shivering heavily as tears continued to stream down her face as she babbled apologies. “Momma. Momma, please. I’m sorry, Momma. Please.” With a weak, pathetic hope that had not yet been fully dashed, she raised her arms, desperate for just a little affection from the woman who had birthed her. “I t-tried, I rea-really tried!”

But there was no affection to be had. The woman stood, watching dispassionately before turning on her heel to walk away. “You are no child of mine,” she announced flatly. “I will not be mother to a Lie. Learn to control your power. Stop possessing your host. We’ll try again tomorrow. I have more ideas of what might properly motivate you beyond this handicap. For now, you will stay with the body until the morning.” She tugged open the heavy metal door then. “Perhaps seeing the result of your failure will convince you to make an actual effort next time.”

Standing there, the seven-year old child stared after the woman longingly. “Momma,” she called. “Momma, I love you. I love you, Momma.”

Kushiel, the Seosten once known as Hera on Earth, didn’t bother looking back before she stepped through to the next room and closed the door on her daughter with heavy clang.

******

Present Day

As the orc’s fist swung for her face, and the rest of his companions launched their own attacks, the Seosten Lie smiled. That smile carried through to her current host, the werewolf-Heretic called Pace.

She pivoted to the right abruptly, moving so quickly that her figure was barely visible. Her right hand snapped up to catch the wrist of the orc whose fist had been swinging for her face. With her other hand, the girl caught hold of the chain from the one who had been behind her. A quick yank and twist put that chain around the other orc’s wrist before either realized what happened.

The two orcs who had been on either side of her managed to grab empty air where the girl’s arms had been an instant earlier, while the final figure’s punch toward her side whiffed as well. None realized what had happened for the next second, only that they had missed.

Holding the chain tight around the first orc’s wrist, Lies gave a sharp, vicious yank at both sides of it. The chain was no ordinary metal. It was enchanted, meant to hold against almost anything. Which meant that, strong as her host was (and she was incredibly strong), she couldn’t break it.

Unfortunately for the orc whose wrist it was wrapped around, his bones were not so enchanted. With a howl of pain, his bone was crushed as the chain suddenly tightened dramatically.

The orc who was holding the chain realized what had happened, while the other three simultaneously noticed where their supposed prey had moved to. The first tried to yank back the chain to free it from his companion, while the remaining trio turned to her with identical bellows.

Lies easily yanked the chain from the orc’s grip, stepping behind the one who had it wrapped around his now shattered wrist. With that step, she gave a sharp yank to force his arm behind his back, the motion forcing a pained, gargled scream from the orc’s mouth as his demolished wrist was heavily jostled and wrenched horribly.

Once she was behind him, using the orc’s body to block the others from getting to her, Lies caught his other hand and yanked it back. With a grunt, she wrapped the other part of the unbreakable chain around that wrist as well, before grabbing hold of the middle part that hung between his now-linked hands. One more solid twist and yank crushed the new wrist while simultaneously doing unbelievable damage to the already badly broken one. She yanked both of his hands together that way, wrapped the chain around them a few more times to secure it, then gave him a solid kick in the back that sent him crashing into the arms of the orc that the chain had originally belonged to.

While those two were disentangling themselves, the other three continued to come for her. And Lies welcomed them by reaching behind her back with both hands to grab for the weapons attached to her belt. At first glance, as the girl brought her hands back out in front of herself, she appeared to be holding a pair of metal tonfas or short batons. But a quick push of a button on each proved how wrong that assumption was. From the top of each metal cylinder emerged a long blade. Once fully extended, the blades snapped downward ninety degrees, forming a sickle. Meanwhile, from the bottom of each of the ‘batons’, a long metal chain dropped into view. At the end of the chain was a small, yet heavy metal ball.

Kusarigama. The original Pace, her current host, had used the much less dangerous (and thus less fun) weapon of a couple knives that were capable of copying the physical properties of any material added to them, as well as creating various gels that could accomplish different effects. Some were explosive or acidic, while others could actually heal those they were used on.

Stabbing someone to heal them was inherently hilarious, of course. But Lies had wanted something with a bit more bang, something a bit more fun than ‘knives’. Thus, these kusarigama.

With a quick, practiced flick, the girl sent the chains out. Each wrapped around one of the wrists of two of the incoming trio of orcs, the weighted balls at the end allowing them to lock tight. Her thumbs brushed over the indented button in each handle, even as she brought both of her arms together, criss crossed over one another so that the two men were yanked together by their trapped arms, subsequently blocking the third man who had been coming up the middle.

At the simple, light button-touch, a wave of incredible cold ran down the chain of one of the weapons, freezing the trapped arm of that orc solid. At the same time, a wave of intense heat ran down the chain of the other to set that orc’s arm ablaze. The frozen arm was instantly shattered, before the heat from the flames turned it and the rain that continued to fall into a wave of steam that blinded all three of the orcs.

******

Twenty Years Ago

“Mama, don’t make me. Please, Mama. Please, I’ll do good. I’ll try harder. I promise. Please, Mama. Please.” Tears blinded the now-eight-year old Seosten child as she held tightly to her mother’s arm, pleading desperately. “Please, Mama. She was nice to me. She was my friend. She’s my friend, Mama. Please. Please, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Mama, I’ll be good. I’ll try harder!”

Staring unmoved at her daughter, Kushiel gave a slight headshake before pointing to a red-skinned female child only a couple years older than the other girl. The older girl was unconscious. “You will possess her, Lie, and then you will be motivated to stop possessing her. If she is truly your friend. Because you know what will happen if you do not.”

“Mama!” A new wave of tears sprang forth as the unnamed handicapped Seosten grabbed hold of the red-skinned girl’s hand. “Please! Please, Mama! Please, please. She played with me! She was nice to me. I don’t wanna hurt her, Mama. Please, please.” By the end, her words were almost indecipherable as she sobbed uncontrollably.

“Yes,” Kushiel agreed. “And why do you think I allowed her to spend this past year with you, hmm? She is close to you because I allowed it. I allowed you to have this past year together so that you would be properly motivated now. I gave you a year with this dear friend. Now you will pay me back by proving that you are not a complete failure. You will not humiliate our name.”

“I wo-won’t do it!” the child declared, head shaking frantically. “I w-won’t, I won’t possess her! I won’t hurt her. Sh-she-she’s my friend! Please, Mama, don’t make me hurt her. Please, please, please! I’m s-sorry. I’m sorry, I’m really trying! I swear! I’m trying, but don’t make me hurt her, p-please, Mama. Please.”

Straightening to her full height, Kushiel glared down at the child. “You will possess her,” she ordered, “or I will have her eaten alive by the Tiyanak. Do you understand? I am giving you the chance to save her life. Don’t you want to save her life? If you don’t, I can simply have her taken to the Tiyanak now.

“If you care about your friend, you should try to save her.”

******

As the trio of orcs reeled and screamed, Lies threw herself that way. Three quick, vicious strikes from the bladed scythe end of her weapons opened their throats and left them lying on the ground, slowly dying and incapable of fighting back anymore.

By that point, the remaining two had finished pulling away from each other. They both turned, just in time for Lies to catch her weapons by the end of the chain and swing them outward. The chains snapped taut just as the scythe blades each embedded themselves in the middle of the orc duo’s foreheads. Their eyes crossed and then they collapsed to the ground.

As her blades came free, Lies yanked them back before triggering the change that shifted her kusarigama into their pistol forms. Extending them toward two of the three dying orcs whose throats had been cut, she fired. One of their heads froze solid before popping, while the other was melted into a bubbling pile of flesh.

The final orc, lying there choking on his own blood, twitched and gurgled a little bit as Lies moved to stand over him, pointing both pistols down at his face.

“Hi!” she announced cheerfully before dropping to one knee beside him. “Could you do me a favor?”

The orc started to gurgle a pained, desperate response before the girl suddenly dropped her pistol and drove her hand down against his chest. Her fingernails had elongated into werewolf claws, puncturing his body as the orc gave a choked scream.

“Don’t interrupt,” Lies chastised. “It’s rude. Now, I need you to do me a favor. You go back to Manakel and tell him to leave me alone. I’m not bothering him, I’m not interfering with his shit. I just want to be left alone. Maybe he doesn’t want my help anymore, but if he keeps sending fuckups like you after me, he and I are gonna have a problem. So you tell him that.”

Rising to her feet, she started to turn away before abruptly stopping. Her shoulders shook a little, and she giggled audibly. “Oh,” the girl announced, openly snickering. “I forgot. He’s got that whole necromancer thing going on, doesn’t he? Lord of the Underworld and all that. So, technically, he doesn’t need you to be alive to give him the message.”

The orc’s gurgling suddenly turned frantic and desperate, before it was silenced completely by a single shot from the girl’s heat-based pistol.

Whistling the tune from The Flintstones, Lies started to walk away through the downpouring rain.

He’s not going to listen. He’s going to keep sending more and more powerful people after you. After us. He can’t have you out here. You’re a loose end. He’s already been sending more and more of these guys. He wants you dead.

Pausing on her way off the roof of the parking garage, Lies slowly tilted her head. Or rather, Pace’s head. “Hmm? Is that my little Jiminy Cricket trying to offer advice? No sulking and crying over the poor dead orcs?”

They were trying to kill us, came the response. You defended yourself. But Manakel is going to keep sending people after you. We can’t beat all of them.

“Oh, but we can make them work for it, can’t we? Make them earn their pay, yes. We don’t have to be easy for them. Don’t have to roll over and play dead like good little puppies.” Lies snickered aloud at her own imagery. “I can kill them over and over again. Make him waste as much as possible. It’ll be fun to play that game until it’s over.”

We can do more than that, Pace insisted. We can actually accomplish something.

The girl was completely silent for a few seconds. Slowly, Lies made her host’s head turn to look back to the sky, closing her eyes and letting the rain fall over her face before opening her mouth to catch some of it. Finally, her eyes opened, and she gave a little smile.

“We?”

********

Twenty Years Ago

The body of the red-skinned girl lay on the floor, broken and empty, sightless eyes staring up at the ceiling. A jeweled knife had been embedded deep in her chest.

Beside her knelt the eight-year old Seosten child. Her hands were soaked in the blood that covered the nearby ground, and her shoulders shook. “I’m sorry,” she cried, shuddering heavily as she stared at the dead girl that had been her friend for the past year. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I tried. I tried to st-stop. I tried. I promise. Please. Please. I’m sorry.”

“Perhaps this will serve as a reminder for next time,” Kushiel coldly informed her daughter. “Think of this as motivation.” She paused then, frowning. “Clean yourself up, then come downstairs. It’s time to meet your new friend.”

With that, she pivoted on one heel before striding to the door, passing through and closing it without another word.

For a minute afterward, the Seosten girl just knelt there, staring at her dead friend, the girl who had spent the past year being nice to her. She thought of the games they had played, the stories they had told, the secrets they had shared. She thought of how desperately she had tried to stop possessing the girl, how much her friend had pleaded with her to try. And, at the end, how the girl had forgiven her. She thought of the feel of the knife plunging into her friend’s chest. She thought of her failure. Her total and complete failure.

And she thought of her next friend. The next one that she would spend time with before being forced to possess them. The next one that she would fail to save.

And the one after that.

And the one after that.

She cried for them. Cried for her friend, and for the ones she had yet to meet. Her tears fell freely as her shoulders shook with desperate, terrible loneliness. Staring down at the dead body, the eight-year old child sobbed. And as she sobbed, alone in every possible way, something within the girl broke. Something within her snapped.

“Heh…. heh… “ She went completely still, utterly unmoving to the point of being unnatural. “Heh…”

Slowly, the girl’s shoulders began to shake once more. But not from tears. Neither were the sounds she made those of a crying child any longer. Kneeling there in the blood of her friend, the lost, broken child did the only thing she could. She giggled. And then she laughed. Soon, her laughter echoed off the walls of the room.

She laughed because she could not cry any longer. She laughed because there was no alternative. She laughed because she was alone. Because no one cared about the lost, broken Seosten child.

She laughed because when all was said and done, laughter and tears were often not very different at all. Because tears were for those who had hope that their lives would be better, hope that their pain was temporary.

And laughter was for those who had none.

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32 comments

  1. Aaaaand that right there is the first interlude for this arc, and a little introduction to what kind of fucked up monster Flick and company need to rescue Sariel from. Basically, not a very nice person. At all.

    Anyway, thanks for reading, guys! I’ll get the voting for the donator-chosen interlude sent out as soon as I can, and then we’ll have that on Monday, followed by a couple of commissioned interludes focusing on Lincoln and Joselyn in the middle of the week, and then the start of the next arc on Friday! Hope to see you all there for it. 😉

    Tags for this chapter are: Kushiel, Lies, Pace, Pace And Lies Actually Teaming Up To Take Out Everyone Who Fucks With Them Is Suddenly A Storyline I Could Get Behind., Well‚ Kushiel/Hera Is Definitely Getting Crossed Off Of My Mother Of The Year Nomination List.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well that was one of the best chapters of anything I’ve ever not wanted to read. Because wow, that hit right in the feels. I can’t wait to see what Lies and Pace end up doing. It would be sort of hilarious if they eventually end up working with the heroes, with Roxa as a minder to try to help Pace keep Lies from killing anyone who doesn’t deserve it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I really hope that someone points out to Kushiel that, as one of the people who actually reproduced, said kid being a “Lie” is way more her and Puriel’s fault than the kid’s. Preferably when she’s not in a position to offer much in the way of rebuttal. And humuliated. And about to die.

    Actually, I kind of hope she lives long enough for Grandfather to do it. And also after she learns Sariel’s hybrids are growing into the full Seoaten power set

    And man, this war with the Fomorians has really fucked the Seosten up, hasn’t it? I somehow doubt stuff like this would have flown with them back before they spent uncounted thousands of years in a constant state of conflict. Anything “defective,” with that being through disability or dissent or something else, gets thrown away or dealt with because being at war for so long has conditioned them to think that way.

    At least that’s my read on it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I really hope that someone points out to Kushiel that, as one of the people who actually reproduced, said kid being a “Lie” is way more her and Puriel’s fault than the kid’s. Preferably when she’s not in a position to offer much in the way of rebuttal. And humuliated. And about to die.

      She would kind of deserve that, yes.

      And man, this war with the Fomorians has really fucked the Seosten up, hasn’t it? I somehow doubt stuff like this would have flown with them back before they spent uncounted thousands of years in a constant state of conflict. Anything “defective,” with that being through disability or dissent or something else, gets thrown away or dealt with because being at war for so long has conditioned them to think that way.

      Indeed.

      Like

  3. Not sure why Lie didn’t just commit suicide with the dagger at that point, to prevent any more “friends” from being murdered the same way (and from having to go through befriending people she knows are going to die because of her). And, hell, it’d be an act of spite against her mother, too.

    As for Kushiel, it seems like her reaction to Lie’s disability was rather…odd. I mean, surely she could just keep the disability secret and ensure that Lie is placed in a roll where she isn’t expected to possess anyone at all, ever?

    Also, typo:
    “Hi!” She announced cheerfully before

    The ‘s’ in “She” should be lowercase.

    Like

    1. Not sure why Lie didn’t just commit suicide with the dagger at that point, to prevent any more “friends” from being murdered the same way (and from having to go through befriending people she knows are going to die because of her). And, hell, it’d be an act of spite against her mother, too.

      Mostly because she’s like eight years old and she mentally broke down to being crazy before the idea of just killing herself would have occurred to her.

      As for Kushiel, it seems like her reaction to Lie’s disability was rather…odd. I mean, surely she could just keep the disability secret and ensure that Lie is placed in a roll where she isn’t expected to possess anyone at all, ever?

      Not really. Someone would have found out, since they’re all expected to serve in the military and receive that kind of training. Plus, as the daughter of one of the Olympians, she’d have a lot of eyes on her.

      Also, typo:
      “Hi!” She announced cheerfully before

      The ‘s’ in “She” should be lowercase.

      Thanks! I’ll fix that right away.

      Like

  4. And here I thought Apollo was exaggerating when writing the mythology. He might not heave even done her justice. Witch is pretty amazing considering Hera is one of the worst people in Greek mythology.
    on that line of thought, Apollo must have had at least okay relations with Manakel. Seeing as how in Greek mythology Hades is actually one of the nicer gods. (Manakel is Hades right?)

    Like

  5. >The woman stood, watching dispassionately before turning on her heel to walk away. “You are no child of mine,” she announced flatly. “I will not be mother to a Lie.

    Bitch.

    >“I wo-won’t do it!” the child declared, head shaking frantically. “I w-won’t, I won’t possess her! I won’t hurt her. Sh-she-she’s my friend! Please, Mama, don’t make me hurt her. Please, please, please! I’m s-sorry. I’m sorry, I’m really trying! I swear! I’m trying, but don’t make me hurt her, p-please, Mama. Please.”
    Straightening to her full height, Kushiel glared down at the child. “You will possess her,” she ordered, “or I will have her eaten alive by the Tiyanak. Do you understand? I am giving you the chance to save her life. Don’t you want to save her life? If you don’t, I can simply have her taken to the Tiyanak now.


    Y’know, up till this point, I was fine with her being killed. But now? I’m starting to think that would be too kind of me. Truly, she is a monster.

    >She cried for them. Cried for her friend, and for the ones she had yet to meet. Her tears fell freely as her shoulders shook with desperate, terrible loneliness. Staring down at the dead body, the eight-year old child sobbed. And as she sobbed, alone in every possible way, something within the girl broke. Something within her snapped.
    “Heh…. heh… “ She went completely still, utterly unmoving to the point of being unnatural. “Heh…”

    If she wouldn’t murder me for it, I’d be giving her a hug and not letting go right now. JFC. 😦

    Liked by 3 people

  6. So… Something happened after the scene where Lies/Pace and Isaac meet Manakel to discuss some delicious food and plot. Manakel still had a job for Pace then, but now she seems to be on the run.

    I’m curious what happened to change that. Manakel said that she was alive only because the Ring of Anuk-Ite was destroyed rather than stolen. Perhaps she ran when they found out the truth, but I’d wager something else happened.

    Also, what is Manakel’s end game with these assassins? He should know Lies is out of their league.

    Like

    1. Lies is a disabled Seosten. Manakel should realize that the assassins are out of their league and only feeding Pace power, except Manakel is a Seosten. And they have an earned reputation towards being arrogant bastards who shoot themselves in the foot.
      Or basically Manakel might have an end game, but it’s quite possible that he really does believe that the assassins could kill Pace.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So. That happened. I don’t really have anything to say on Kushiel being a psychotic bitch from hell who insults all mothers everywhere by being one other that to ask where Grey Boy is now that we have a target who deserves him.

    We can do more than that, Pace insisted. We can actually accomplish something.

    “We?”

    Sweet Gabriel, Pace is talking Lies into defecting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The dumbest part of this is that everything we see indicates that Lies would be horrifyingly dangerous with a willing partner. And before she snapped Lies was nice enough that finding her a host she could outright partner with to kill Fomorians would not be that hard. I mean, just arrange for her to meet and befriend a kid of a species with a high growth rate and cap, or one of the ten or eleven year olds they kidnap from EG and let her do her thing, then put them on the front after some level grinding.

    She was close enough with the red-skinned girl Kushiel killed that her friend forgave Lies right at the end, even as she was being killed by Lies’s mother for Lies’s disability. She could have convinced an EG kid to go Elizabet and team up against the species of super-Bonesaws.

    Oh. Wait. The Seosten, in a wonderful display of self-sabotage, have decided that making optimal front-line use of their possession power is treason. Working with as opposed to enslaving hosts is right out, no matter how much more effective a Seosten is when their host is an ally. So they can’t let someone who would default to Jophiel mode partnership out and about, no matter how much Fomorian ass Lies and a befriended Edge heretic partner would kick together.

    There is a slight part of me that wants Kushiel to survive for long enough for Pace to convince Lies to defect, just she goes from hearing about Lies embarrassing her by being active to hearing about Lies humiliating her by teaming up with Pace on the other side.

    Like

    1. Also, as a reminder, the reason the seosten started messing with human affairs in the first place is because they were given a prophecy that humanity will be their downfall (I don’t remember the exact wording) and instead of, you know, doing the smart thing and just wiping out all of humanity when they could they decided to use them as weapons against the fomorians because IRONY! What with human being the fomorians best creation and all.

      This is not going to cause a self fulfilling prophecy at all when it comes to light. Nope, sure isn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We don’t have the exact wording. But we do know that Sariel thinks it’s bullshit and that the Seraphim are lying about it.

        Given that, I’m liable to think the prophecy says humanity will destroy the Seraphim or the Seosten Empire, not the Seosten as a species.

        Like

    1. Not possible. Manakel’s not remotely powerful enough to do that.

      Not sure if it’s been made explicit here yet, but over on SB Cerulean has stated that trying to possess someone much more powerful than you will at best do jack and shit. At worst get you mind crushed or absorbed. And while Manakel’s powerful, Fossor earned that One Man Extinction Level Event nickname.

      On the other hand, it’s been speculated that Manakel might be Fossor’s necromantic puppet given that Fossor implied he had one when talking to Fastheth and it would fit Fossor’s sick sense of humor.

      Like

  9. This doesn’t have anything to do with the chapter, but I had a shower-thought (or rather, a daily-commute-thought). It’s a second reason why Crossroads and Eden’s Garden would encourage heretics to have polygamous relationships. It could be a protection against Hang-Fever.

    I seem to recall that the strength of the kill-reaction is dependent on the power gap between the heretic and what s/he kills. The result is that killing would have diminishing returns. That means that addicts would have to constantly hunt down tougher Alters, until the only way for them to get their fix is to start killing other heretics.

    Sex, however, shouldn’t have such diminishing returns. So as long as heretics are occupied with relationships, they should have a decent substitute for killing. This could mean bad things for Flick, given that she’s separated from both her girlfriends, and getting a lot of killing in…

    Like

    1. The addiction effect doesn’t trigger just from killing. It’s from killing without working for it.

      Punching above your weight class is perfectly safe, racking up huge body counts is safe, things like Issac’s Jekern farm drive people crazy.

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      1. That… would explain why the students all get thrown into a room to kill Peridles the ‘hard way’ for their first powerup, as opposed to setting up something more efficient, slaughterhouse style.

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  10. well, manakel = Hades, check…
    Hera… of course it had to be her that mindfu..ed Lie…
    btw… since a lie can’t stop possession, what would happen if it possessed a powerfull Seosten, who then couldn’t expell it? Sure, it would probably not take control anytime soon, but… even powerfull Seostens may need to sleep at one time…
    that’s maybe another reason for the “full fledged seostens” to hate those “failures”…

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    1. Per Cerulean on SB, it depends on the relative strength.

      Possessee is stronger, possessing Lie-type eventually gets absorbed, killing them.

      Possessor is stronger, they take over the possessee’s body and destroy/absorb their mind.

      Lies trying to possess a high end Seosten ends in Lies dead.

      I’m also not sure if the possessee being asleep is enough to enable a possessor who would normally be completely locked out to do anything.

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      1. The question of what happens after is also interesting as we don’t know what the effects of surviving an attempt were. A hint towards remnants of the absorbs personality remaining as absorbed fetuses don’t leave such. But if say personal power is retained by the survivor things get interesting with near equals as whoever wins basically doubles their power.

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  11. Ugh, Kushiel is even more of a disgusting piece of work then I had previously thought, doing that to her own daughter to try and force Lies to overcome her disability. And if she’s willing to that to her own daughter, what she might do to those who are considered ‘renegades and traitors’ is not a pleasant thing to think about. Guess Athena was probably pretty close to the mark when she described the facility Sariel’s being held in as a ‘torture lab.’

    This latest revelation about the depths Kushiel is willing to sink to is certainly prompting my inner ITG, so I’ll just leave it at saying that hope that she gets what’s coming to her when Athena & Haiden carry out that raid to free the prisoners.

    Oh, and the real Pace is still rattling around in there, and just might have started getting Lies to start listening to her ideas on what to do, since Manakel quite obviously doesn’t want them back, so this could lead to some interesting places, especially if Miranda, Abigail, and Seller manage to track them down.

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  12. Kushiel, the Seosten once known as Hera on Earth, didn’t bother looking back before she stepped through to the next room and closed the door on her daughter with heavy clang.

    I had really hoped that Lies would have been born from some no-name seosten woman but, nope, of course she’s one of Kushiel’s personal children. We can add “Really bad mother” to her list of crimes, somewhere really far below “Is running a rape dungeon slash baby factory.”

    Just the whole fight scene

    You do fight screens really well, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen a one on one fight beyond the Joselyn-Ruthers fight and the Dare-Fossor one, and I’d not really call the latter one a ‘fight’. And we’ve also never really seen any sort of fight where the sides are evenly matched (not counting the Jos-Rithers one) and it is unsure who the winner will be. It is to the point now where you can count on which ever side has the least amount of people on it winning so any sort of tension is kinda lost.

    In the fight against Isaac they probably would have been able to win even if their win condition wasn’t just tagging him. He’d likely have stopped to gloat or something because Isaac, but even so he was doing a really good job of holding his own against superior numbers.

    I do understand that with how few Heretics there are one of them has to be able to take on a whole bunch of Strangers (Nocen) at once but you’d think the Strangers would learn that as well.

    What I’m saying here is that while I do like the fight scenes I for one would not be sad to see a bit of a break from them for a couple of chapters.

    Also, Joselyn does not have entry on the cast page. Whoops.

    The whole second scene with Kushiel

    She’s a genetic engineer right? She must have found a way to remove both her heart and her body heat. Because damn she’s a straight up stone-cold heartless bitch.
    Also you’d think she’d know better in that you can’t just “will” yourself out of a genetic disability. I’m not even sure what she’s trying to accomplish here other than psychological torture, since it doesn’t seem like she is trying any sorts of treatment or medicine or spells or anything other than “Try harder to make it stop.” motivation which is not very scientific or prone to repeatable results.

    The end of the fight sequence

    What, no heretic kill aura and pleasure rush? I don’t seem to remember an Garden version of it happening (I think all of Avalon’s kills have been off screen, though I’m just likely forgetting a case of us seeing it happen) but I’m sure there would be something for each kill, even if it was a weak hit.

    She laughed because when all was said and done, laughter and tears were often not very different at all. Because tears were for those who had hope that their lives would be better, hope that their pain was temporary.

    And laughter was for those who had none.

    I wounder how Kushiel reacted to seeing how her not-daughter started acting after this. My guess is she gave up on “trying” to “fix” her since it was obvious she was now too broken to be of any real use. Though why she didn’t just kill the child I don’t know, it’s obvious she doesn’t really care about her at all. I guess it would have been too much of a waste of a seosten life, even if that life is not mentally intact. Maybe she was going to wait for Lie to be older and see if a Lie would breed only other Lies or not knowing what I know about her.

    I can understand why Lies didn’t think to use the knife to kill herself but I’m really curious if she ever tried to possess Kushiel or not. I’m rather sure the older woman would have some means to prevent that from happening, especially since she has to know that’s the ‘other half’ of the whole Lie thing, but the question still remains on if the poor girl ever even tried.

    Welp. Not much more to say here other than the fact I’m saddened Hades is such a dick. He was really the only decent one out of the “big names” bunch in the mythology

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    1. Kushiel is NOT a genetic engineer and does not have any sort of specialization in biology per WoG on the Spacebattles thread.

      Also from the SB thread: With that big a power gap, Lies would be unable to take control, AND would be absorbed. It would be a very ugly suicide.

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