Lessons 32-03

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From the reaction of the rest of the students, it was clear that this was a story that Athena had told many times before. But none seemed to object to hearing it again, and I saw several glance my way. It was sort of like when you’re watching a movie that you know well and it’s about to get to a really good part, so you look at the person who has never seen it so that you can see their reaction.

“The Seosten,” she continued, “were obviously not the first race to discover Earth. Humans had been interacting with other races for quite some time. But most of the non-Earth species that made their way there did so by accident up to that point. Some arrived through portal or teleportation mishaps or the equivalent, while others stumbled across it with their own starships as they either fled the Seosten/Fomorian conflict or simply explored what was unknown space.

“Either way, Earth, then known as Rysthael or an ancient word meaning Hidden, was just that. It was hidden. The planet was so far away from Seosten and Fomorian space, and so out of the way, that many beings sought it out in order to live apart from that endless conflict. It became a sort of… what you might call a fairy tale, a story about a paradise world free of that violent war.”

Letting her gaze slowly move across the room, the woman took a moment to meet everyone’s gaze, making sure we all understood just what a big deal it was for those people to have a safe haven to flee to that wasn’t part of the intergalactic war. Then she continued. “Unfortunately, this, of course, could not last forever. Rumors of such ‘haven worlds’ had naturally been going around essentially since the very beginning of this eternal conflict. But this one contained details and other evidence that made the Seraphim, leadership of the Seosten, take extra note of it. So, they sent out expeditions to search for it. There were dozens of small scouting vessels whose goal was to find this planet of untouched resources and a strangely Seosten-like species.”

Standing in the center of the room, Athena turned in a circle, her voice softening a little. “It took over thirty Elohim-standard years–” Pausing, she looked back to me. “Elohim is the Seosten home planet. For reasons that are as obvious as they are self-centered, the Seosten have made our world’s cycle into the standard for our space. An Elohim year is roughly eighty percent longer than an Earth year. So thirty Elohim years would have been around fifty-four Earth years.”  

“In any case,” she continued once that was clear, “for those thirty standard years, the scouting ships searched for this mythical paradise that the other species called Rysthael. Then, one vessel found it. Rysthael was located. This was roughly two thousand years ago.” Quickly, she did the mental math for me by helpfully adding, “Just under three thousand five hundred Earth years.

I thought about that for a moment, seeing the Seosten woman (and most of the rest of the class) watching me curiously before I finally put in, “That would be around what we call 1500 B.C?”

Athena nodded. “Somewhere in there, yes. The Seosten scouting vessel came to the planet and found… well, humans. Along with every other species that was there, of course. There were cities full of humans working alongside other species. But there were also places where humans hunted everything that wasn’t human. Or, of course, were hunted by them. But one place in particular stood out to the crew of that Seosten vessel. The land that, at that point, was known as Kemet, or Hwt-Ptah. Hwt-Ptah itself was translated roughly and rather literally by one of Earth’s other peoples into the word Aiguptos. Or–”

“Egypt?” I put in without thinking, then flushed deeply. “I mean, sorry. I don’t know if I should raise my hand or–or what the… yeah. I remember hearing the whole Aiguptos is Egypt thing.”

Athena smiled. “It’s quite all right, of course. Yes. The land then known as Kemet or Aiguptos, what would eventually become Egypt. When the Seosten scouting party investigated, they found that this civilization was comprised of equal parts humans and other intelligent species. They had come together to create one of the most powerful empires on the planet at the time.

“In fact,” she continued, “many of the so-called gods and other mythological creatures that this civilization had been telling stories of for so long were either Bonded humans or powerful non-humans.”

Alters and Heretics, I realized. Which made sense. As far as I knew, Egypt mythology had a lot of different gods and powerful creatures in it.

Mr. Reinswield briefly interjected. “As a point of fact, one of those Bonded eventually became one of the founding members of what those on earth call Eden’s Garden. The one known as Sobek, he acts as the leader of what they call Vigiles.”

Sobek. That was the crocodile god, right? He was one of the Vigiles, like Hisao? I wondered if that had anything to do with how independent they were. Since, as I understood it, they were basically given blanket authority to make their own decisions in the field, as judge, jury, and executioner.

Athena continued. “More interesting to the scouting team, there were many bits of the Egyptian mythology and stories that were clearly based on somewhat corrupted stories of powerful beings from back within the Seosten Empire. Somehow, the non-humans who dwelt there had lived on the planet for so long, generation after generation, that the actual truth of their origin had faded. All they had were stories that they passed on to one another. Stories that became myth, to the point that they didn’t even realize that they were actually worshipping the very same masters that their ancestors had fled from so long before.”

Reflexively, I started to ask what that meant, but the woman was already explaining, “You see, the Egyptians’ primary god was named Amun. In their language, that was a word meaning ‘Hidden One.’”

I sat back suddenly, blinking a few times. Amun. The Egyptian god Amun actually meant ‘hidden one’? Which itself was a veiled reference to the actual hidden ones, the Seosten. Clearly, it was just like Athena had said. Whatever Alters had settled with the ancient Egyptians had told their descendants about the Seosten, which had eventually become the basis for the god they actually worshipped. Wow. Just… wow.

“Seosten procedure at that time,” Athena went on, “was to quietly infiltrate the world to find out what we could. Unfortunately, having an entire religion that was at least partially based on us was unacceptable. So, the Seosten scouting force took measures to alleviate that problem by possessing the ruler, or as they called it, pharaoh at that time. He was a human male known as Amenhotep. The Seosten-Possessed Amenhotep ordered the worship of Amun and his like to be stopped, and established a new god for them to focus on: Aten, the sun deity. This allowed the Seosten to destroy many records that were solely about how to identify Seosten possession, among other important things.”

Biting my lip, I thought back a bit before offering, “But worship of Aten instead of Amun didn’t… um, it didn’t last very long, did it?” Granted, I was going by half-remembered things on a project I’d done a couple years earlier, but still. I was pretty sure his reign as the main Egyptian god had been relatively short.

Athena nodded. “Correct, as it turned out, there was an unknown force that was aware of the Seosten presence in the city. They eliminated Amenhotep, who had taken the name of Akhenaten in honor of Aten, as well as the Seosten possessing him. They then turned his heir, a young boy named Tutankhaten, into a Bonded with the blood of that same Seosten.” She gave me a brief look before explaining, “Bonded is another word for Heretic. Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun, signifying the return of their focus on Amun instead of Aten. In other words, the return of the focus on teaching their people how to identify and defeat the Seosten.”

Tutankhamun or Tutankhaten, I realized, in our day was simply referred to as King Tut. King Tut had been a Heretic. Or rather, I supposed, a Bonded. He had been a Natural Seosten Heretic/Bonded.

“It was the Seosten’s first real encounter with the human method of bonding. Up to that point, they had encountered such things in isolated incidences on the planet, but that was the first time that it was very clearly a human becoming something more by being genetically bonded to another race. It was, obviously, rather surprising that it would work on a Seosten.”

“But who was it?” One of the other students, a furry bunny-like humanoid about four feet tall, asked quickly. “Who turned the human king into a Seosten-Bonded?”

Athena shook her head. “I’m afraid that we still don’t know. But between whoever it was, and the new pharaoh, they managed to fortify their kingdom against Seosten influence, despite the scouting force actually managing to eventually kill Tutankhamun. It didn’t stop the rest of their military from spreading word and spells that could somehow detect and expel Seosten from their hosts.

“So, the Seosten on the planet returned to our space for further instructions. With their information, the plan was made to have another ship go to the planet, a ship with a specially selected crew. Their job would be to locate another civilization on that planet, and use them to create a force that would eliminate the Egyptian problem. That ship was called the Olympus.”

My eyes widened, while Tabbris shifted on my lap, blurting a happy, “Mama was on that ship!”

With a smile, Athena nodded. “Yes, Sariel was my crewmate. The ship was captained by Puriel, while I served as the Chief Tactical Officer. Sariel was one of our infiltration specialists alongside the man who would become Apollo. Essentially, their role on the ship was to discover and research as much as possible about the target species and teach it to the rest of us.”

She trailed off for a few seconds, clearly lost in memory as a somewhat sad smile touched her face. Then Athena shook it off, returning to her story. “But this was no ordinary Seosten ship. The mystery of what force was behind this Egyptian empire, and what exactly humans were and why they could bond with other species so well, was entirely too important to leave to just any ship. Can anyone tell our new friends Felicity and Tabbris here what the Summus Proelium project was?”

That magma-student spoke up in a voice that sounded surprisingly gentle and melodic. “The Seosten Empire always has dozens of special projects running whose intention is to find special ways of challenging or defeating the Fomorians. Superweapon development, essentially. Some are straight-up weapons such as extra powerful ships, missiles, magic spells, and, in some cases, super-soldiers.

“Sommus Proelium was the latter. It was a secret project that was intended to create Seosten who were capable of matching Fomorians on the battlefield. They would be stronger than ordinary Seosten, capable of boosting themselves far beyond what most could, and would even have certain special abilities built right in. Abilities that the Fomorians would be unprepared for.”

“Precisely.” Giving the magma-student a brief, encouraging smile, Athena nodded. “Yes, that was the goal, in any case. Well, somewhat. The actual goal was to upgrade Seosten soldiers into having many different abilities and strengths. A full Seosten supersoldier, if you will. But reaching that goal required stepping stones. Which meant that the scientists involved needed volunteers to work with.”

Lifting my chin, I guessed, “And you guys were those volunteers?”

Her head bowed slightly before the woman confirmed, “Yes. We came from many different Choirs, all volunteering to be tested and experimented upon in the name of creating that perfect soldier. We were poked, prodded, injected, and went through more surgeries and other procedures than I can possibly count. They modified our DNA in ways that have not been done since Cronus.”

Okay, that was something I definitely wanted to ask about. But it sounded like a long story, so I elected to wait until later and ask privately.

She went on. “In the end, the project was… relatively successful. Each of us was enhanced, some more than others. And we were each given what you would call special abilities. Mine allowed me to process information incredibly quickly, and granted me an extremely limited form of precognition. I refer to it as scattershot precognition. It provides me with instant and complete knowledge of the immediate results of five or six different actions I can take, up to about five seconds away from the action. In other words, when I use it in the middle of combat, it instantly shows me exactly what would happen up to about five seconds in the future. And it does that for five or six different possible actions, giving me instant knowledge of what will happen for the next five seconds along each of those five or six paths. Then I simply choose one and carry it out. To most beings, it would look as though the world freezes every time I use it. It gives me a snapshot of the entire battlefield, along with the details of each of those potential actions. I choose one, and the battle continues. Nothing actually stops, but in that instant, my mind speeds up so much that the millisecond it takes for me to make my choice of what action to follow seems to be quite long to me.”

After explaining that much, the woman chuckled. “But as I said, we were all enhanced in different ways. Sariel was granted unerring accuracy, Puriel controlled many types of energy including the electricity he became known for, and Radueriel was given the ability to… essentially create and fix things. We all came out differently, based on what the scientists did to us.”

One of the other students bounced up in the air then, floating a little before going back to his seat. “Is that why Chayyiel looks so young?”

I had no idea what he was talking about, obviously. But Athena nodded. “Yes. Chayyiel, the Seosten who would eventually play the role of Hestia on Earth,” she added in an aside that was obviously for my benefit, “was perhaps the closest to a perfect success of the program. Ironic, in some ways, as she was not actually one of the volunteers. Chayyiel was, in fact, the daughter of the program’s director.”

To me, the woman explained, “Seosten do not generally raise their children themselves. Instead, they are raised within groups by qualified and trained professionals, and are later chosen by various Choirs based upon their merits. Each Choir may choose to make their choice from the available… stock,” saying the word made her grimace while continuing, “or allow another to take their turn or turns in exchange for one of their youth.”  

I grimaced. “You mean Seosten children are traded back and forth like baseball players.”

She didn’t look like she was sure what that meant, but nodded anyway. “I… imagine you have the right idea. Director Aysien, however, kept his own child, using his political influence to stop anyone from taking her to be raised by others. He put her through the same process as the rest of us, trying to create the ultimate super soldier. And in the end, she was his greatest success. Chayyiel is not only the strongest and fastest of all of us, she also received two incredibly potent abilities. The first allows her to know the weakness of anything she looks at. A building, a person, a ship, an entire army, anything that she focuses on she immediately understands their weakness and how they can be beaten, broken, opened, and so forth. Looking at a simple box, she would know exactly where to tap it to make the box open. Any living being she looks at, she immediately knows where their weak points are, both mentally and physically.

“Additionally, as though that wasn’t enough on its own, every time she faces an opponent, Chayyiel immediately gains every bit of combat skill, knowledge, and expertise they possess. For example, she started out an ordinary child with no particular skill. After spending less than sixty seconds in a room with one of the veterans, she possessed every single one of his combat skills and could perform them perfectly.”

A perfect understanding of anyone or anything’s weaknesses, and the ability to instantly download all the combat skills of anyone she ever met? God damn, the goddess of the hearth was freaking scary.

“Unfortunately,” Athena went on, “as you already noted, Ulstin, the process wasn’t perfect. We were all essentially frozen at the exact physical age that we were when we underwent it. Even more than most Seosten, our aging process was halted. For Chayyiel, this meant that she was frozen at the physical age of a young child.”

“So they turned you all into super soldiers and sent you to Earth?” I asked.

She chuckled, head shaking. “Actually, the project was ended roughly fifty years before the Earth, or Rysthael as we called it, was located. We were all assigned to the ship Olympus, and worked together on many other combat and exploratory missions before then. We were… shipmates, often friends… like family. Puriel was our captain. Those who had become the most powerful from the experiments were bridge and command officers, while others who were less enhanced were ordinary crew. These would eventually become minor gods on Earth.”

“Like Charmiene,” I muttered a bit darkly.

“Yes,” she confirmed, giving me a brief, curious look. “Charmiene would be known as Nemesis on Earth. On our ship, she was a soldier under the command of Abbadon, the one you know as Ares. Or even Paschar, who took the role of Eros or Cupid while serving as head chef on the ship.”

Cupid. Love potions. Yeah, I supposed that made sense. Under my breath, I mumbled, “Trust me, he’s on my list too.”

Again, the woman gave me a look that made it clear that she would be asking me many questions later, before going on. “In any case, we were eventually given the assignment to go and investigate this new planet. We were to find out what exactly was going on with the humans, who this mysterious force spoiling our plans with the Egyptians was, and whether we could use these humans in our war with the Fomorians.

“To that end, once we arrived on the planet, we began to infiltrate another powerful civilization of the time: the so-called Greeks. We found other gods that they had already worshipped, made alterations where needed so that they would fit us better, and took on their identities. It required minimal record and memory alterations, as we did so over the course of more than one generation. Allowing them to worship us as gods, we focused on making the Greeks as powerful as possible. Powerful enough to subjugate the Egyptians and discover who was responsible for teaching them about us, who had turned Tutankhamun into a Seosten-Bonded.

“Unfortunately, we never did discover that. Our Greece was merged with another potent civilization, the one known as Rome. Soon, it became more and more clear that our group was not going to be able to contain the humans for much longer. They were growing entirely too powerful. We had found that they were very good… weapons to have access to. Once we understood the human bonding ability, they became a goldmine of potential soldiers and hosts. Then came the prophecy.”

Afraid that I was going to regret the question, I nonetheless asked, “Prophecy?”

The Seosten woman snorted. “Well, they call it a prophecy. In reality, a figure appeared before the gathered Seraphim, a figure that was from far, far in the future. They told the Seraphim that the humans would destroy us, that they were the work of the Fomorians, and that when the Formorians returned to claim their creations, the humans would be used to kill all Seosten.”

My mouth worked a bit. “But–I don’t–who? Who was the time traveler who told them that?”

Her head shook. “Apparently, the figure died shortly after delivering the message. I don’t know any more than that, unfortunately. This was all part of the information we were given, along with the news that the Seraphim were debating two possibilities. Either we would destroy the planet entirely and end any chance of that future from coming to pass. Or we would use an incredibly powerful spell to block humans off from all other species, so that you could continue to serve as our weapons, only on our own terms.”

“The Bystander Effect,” I muttered, remembering what she had said earlier about that.

She nodded. “What you call the Bystander Effect, yes. It is the Seraphim’s attempt to avoid the future that was relayed to them, while retaining humans as a weapon against our enemies.”

My eyes rolled. “Yeah, because God forbid you guys just say, ‘Hey, wanna team up against these genocidal dickweasels?’ Why do I feel like just working together was never even considered?”

Athena met my gaze, nodding once more. “You know the Seosten too well. But that is precisely what we are trying to change. The Seosten partnering with other species and working together, especially with humans, is the only way that this war against the Fomorians is going to end well.”

She gestured toward Tabbris and me. “That is why you two are so incredibly important. Because with you, we can prove that very theory, that humans and Seosten would fare better working together as partners. And the first step toward that is to rescue all of the Seosten who have been imprisoned and experimented on by Kushiel.”

Tabbris’s voice was quiet. “Like Mama.”

Athena gave a single, grave nod. “Yes, like Sariel. I promise you, we will rescue her, and all of Kushiel’s other prisoners. But you will have to be ready when the time comes.”

“How do we get ready?” I asked, a bit hesitantly.

The Seosten woman smiled slowly. “How? By training, of course.

“Lots and lots of training.”

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51 comments

  1. There we go, guys! The chapter is up, and only a day late! Thank you soooo, soooo much for bearing with me this week while I deal with all this funeral stuff. I hope the chapter was worth the wait, and Friday’s should, should, should be out on time, since I have a few days to slowly work on it here and there before the funeral itself on Saturday.

    Again, thank you so much and tags for this chapter are: Felicity Chambers, Flick, Nimue/Athena, Rovon Reinswield, So The Olympians Were Basically Superpowered Star Trek? Honestly‚ That’s Pretty Much An Entire Webserial All By Itself., Sorry‚ Flick‚ Since The Audience Already Knows About Cronus‚ You’ll Have To Ask About All That Offscreen., Tabbris

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    1. Cerulean, I’m trying to hit next chapter, but the link is missing. I think the navigation is bro….:looks at date of post: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I’ve caught up…

      Amazing story so far. Best bi representation I’ve seen in how Flick realizes her feelings, and I love that you have a system that brings in new and more powerful powers without overshadowing old ones or hurtling over the powers cliff. Wonderful job in balancing and finding ways to let powers oppose each other.

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  2. Well that was an info dump. Looks like Tabbris basically outed herself as Sariel’s daughter, not that that is a bad thing per say. What I’m looking forward to is Tabbris interacting with the other Seosten children.

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  3. It’s telling and kind of terrifying that while all the other Seosten names are remembered by humans as angels or angelic beings, Abbadon was not. And Paschar starting out as a chef is hilarious.

    Anyway, it’s an interesting backstory. I like the way you fit in Egypt’s brush with monotheism and I look forward to meeting/finding out who made Tut a Heretic and who came back from the future. I’d say it’s a safe bet we’ve met the latter person already (pre-travel, obviously).

    Also, I thought King Tut was more recent than that. But a quick google search says yes, he lived in the 1300s BCE.

    I do have to admit that there are parts of the chapter I find a bit wonky, mostly toward the end.

    Also, Chayyiel’s powers are terrifying. Especially the one where she instantly gains all skills. That part honestly seems pretty OP. Although the fact that she’s “only” in the top ten most powerful Seosten ever rather than being the most powerful Seosten ever with those powers is scary.

    It also means there’s a good chance she has an idea about what’s going on with Elisabet and Jophiel.

    I wonder what she sees when she looks at the Seosten Empire.

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    1. I’m gonna be busy for a bit, but I would be interested on whether what you find ‘wonky’ toward the end is just from me being distracted/away from home while getting it up and is something I can fix with edits. Let me know. 🙂

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      1. It’s probably that. I thought about not saying anything about it for that reason.

        I’ll read the chapter more carefully soon so I can get a better grip on what I think.

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    2. The original Bible had Abbadon mentioned in the book of Revelation as the angel of the Abyss and the king of an army of locusts from the Abyss that God unleashes on the wicked. It’s just that modern pop-culture forgets that Abbadon was an angel who worked for God in the apocalypse, just as they do the same with the Four Horsemen.

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      1. The Book of Revelation is from the New Testament, right? Because before that was written, the name Abbadon referred to a place. The Hebrew Bible describes it as a bottomless pit and frequently associated with sheol, meaning the realm of the dead.

        That’s what Wikipedia says, anyway.

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    3. My money’s on either Grandfather or Bastet for turning Tut, mainly because I’m assuming we’ve already met the person and those two, Grandfather in particular, seem potentially powerful enough to do it. No basis for that, just where my mind jumped first.

      Given that we were told Hisao is very old, even by heretic standards, is he actually Sobek?

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      1. Sobek and Hisao are not the same person, no. That came up on SB awhile back. They’re both old figures who were mistaken for gods (and Hisao might actually be older than Sobek), but they are different individuals who ended up with the same job.

        Grandfather and Bastet might have been involved, but turning Tut into a Seosten Bonded would have required another Seosten. I’m wondering who that was.

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      2. It would require a Seosten or the remains of one. And since Grandfather knows basically everything there is know about the absorption ability he could most certainly trigger it with just a blood vial.

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    4. And maybe this is nitpicky, but this line bugs me a little bit:

      Elohim is the Seosten home planet. For reasons that are as obvious as they are self-centered, the Seosten have made our world’s cycle into the standard for our space.

      It seems like such a weird thing to take a shot at. I mean, what else are they going to use for a standard unit of time? Another planet? How would they even pick one for that purpose? I mean, what species/society/culture wouldn’t just keep using their own calendar when the start going into space?

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      1. What you were referring to what she meant by obvious, but she was also referring to the fact that they forced every other species to follow their calendar as well. That was the self-centered part. And for who would use dates not based on their own calendar, look at star dates in Star Trek.

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      2. Star dates are an admittedly massive oversight on my part.

        So they don’t just make them just make subordinate species use theirs for trade and official dating purposes? You’re saying they actually make them do away with their own calenders entirely?

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      3. So they don’t just make them just make subordinate species use theirs for trade and official dating purposes? You’re saying they actually make them do away with their own calenders entirely?

        Any official interaction anywhere in the universe, or even on their own planet depending on the level of oversight, requires Seosten dates. So not do away with entirely, but even in situations where their own calendar is perfectly feasible, they would have to use both so that it’s listed in the Seosten date as well.

        And to be honest it’s mostly just a throwaway line to illustrate a minor bit of the Seosten taking over everything and making their own culture override others. It probably shouldn’t be super over-analyzed. I’m sure everyone has said something like that in real life that kind of seems like reaching or an unreasonable complaint/criticism when it’s put under a microscope.

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      4. I do think I’m overreacting a bit.

        I mean, I do think the situation you just described isn’t especially unusual, it seems like a pretty standard bit of imperialism. Which is bad, obviously. But I don’t see it as cruelty so much as a basic bit of soothing over some of the logistical bookkeeping.

        But you’re right. I’m making a much bigger deal out of it than I should be. I’ll drop it.

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  4. Seriously? Technically this might be called an info-dump, but I just love it. Especially the part about Echnaton and Tutankhamen. ^^ The whole “egypt was an Alter/Heretic nation” thing is just great and finally these weird half human, half animal hybrid gods start to make some sense! xD Sooooooo much spin-off potential… 😀 *hint hint*

    Also, would it be possible for Grandfather to be the one who bonded young Tut to that Seosten?

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  5. OK, I’d like to ask how you envision something like Chayyiel’s ability working? No matter how infallible the Seosten memory, they’re organic, so there’s an upper limit to potential data-storage buried in there somewhere. Meaning Chayyiel would essentially be like the magical nucleus of an ever-growing “cloud” of data, skills etc?

    Her thought-processing speed would’ve needed upgrading as well, simply to avoid her own ability eventually crippling her. (Imagine needing to find the blue-with-yellow-stripes Phillips-head screwdriver in a galaxy-sized toolbox)

    Just being purely honest, that’s the first ability-set I haven’t been able to just go “Eh, it’s magic ::depresses the Suspend Disbelief Button::”

    Either ability would be big enough to be the Seosten’s Ultimate, but together…

    Otherwise I found Athena’s story and thus the chapter, quite engrossing.

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    1. Seosten already have weird magical shit where they keep thinking while changing phase/going intangible/transmuted to energy/whatever when they possess someone and their body disappears into the possessee, remember? And that trick can go recursive, remember?

      Chayyiel probably just has an organic HDD and dedicated subprocessor unit phased into her the same way.

      Alternately, mind-body duality is a thing, neurology is a BS induced pile of garbage, and your premises are wrong. There’s evidence for that too, seeing as Jazz can turn into gas and keep thinking and blowing Roxa’s head off only disrupts her train of thought because it hurts like hell.

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  6. >“Either way, Earth, then known as Rysthael or an ancient word meaning Hidden, was just that. It was hidden. The planet was so far away from Seosten and Fomorian space, and so out of the way, that many beings sought it out in order to live apart from that endless conflict. It became a sort of… what you might call a fairy tale, a story about a paradise world free of that violent war.”

    This description brought to my mind shades of the Wonderland concept current day Alters try (and unfortunately more often fail) to make work.

    >The Seosten-Possessed Amenhotep ordered the worship of Amun and his like to be stopped, and established a new god for them to focus on: Aten, the sun deity. This allowed the Seosten to destroy many records that were solely about how to identify Seosten possession, among other important things.”

    I’m conflicted on this. It’s the smart/reasonable thing to do if one is looking to make themselves more hidden, but at the same time that course of action will go on to cause a lot of grief/complications for humans and Alike over the next few millennia.

    >Lifting my chin, I guessed, “And you guys were those volunteers?”
    Her head bowed slightly before the woman confirmed, “Yes. We came from many different Choirs, all volunteering to be tested and experimented upon in the name of creating that perfect soldier. We were poked, prodded, injected, and went through more surgeries and other procedures than I can possibly count. They modified our DNA in ways that have not been done since Cronus.”

    Huh. I am reminded a bit of the procedures Halsey put the Spartan candidates through in Halo. Amusingly though, the Seosten here actually have a bit of a moral high ground (for once) compared to the UNSC’s methods.

    >“Additionally, as though that wasn’t enough on its own, every time she faces an opponent, Chayyiel immediately gains every bit of combat skill, knowledge, and expertise they possess. For example, she started out an ordinary child with no particular skill. After spending less than sixty seconds in a room with one of the veterans, she possessed every single one of his combat skills and could perform them perfectly.”
    A perfect understanding of anyone or anything’s weaknesses, and the ability to instantly download all the combat skills of anyone she ever met? God damn, the goddess of the hearth was freaking scary.


    And here I thought Solaroid Exalts were bullshit. I wonder what would happen were she facing opponents at once? Would she be able to copy each one simultaneously? *Ebon Dragon vibes Intensify*

    >The Seosten woman smiled slowly. “How? By training, of course.
    “Lots and lots of training.”

    Is it wrong that after this I imagine Athena start to menacingly laugh like DBZ Abridged Mr. Popo?

    Thank you for the upodate Cerulean. Though exposition-y, I liked learning about how Egyptian and Greek history/society was meddled with by the Seosten and other sources.

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  7. “So The Olympians Were Basically Superpowered Star Trek? Honestly‚ That’s Pretty Much An Entire Webserial All By Itself.”

    That was a webserial. It was actually a webcomic, with pictures. I don’t remember what its name was, though.

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  8. “Sorry‚ Flick‚ Since The Audience Already Knows About Cronus‚ You’ll Have To Ask About All That Offscreen.”
    Um… can I get a summary about what has been revealed from Cronus? I either forgot or it was discussed in the SB thread, which I don’t frequent.

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    1. Cronus was the the story about how the Seosten became able to posess people and why they are almost incapable of reproduction.
      Short version: Brilliant scientist (named Caelus) has a sick son (named Cron), he bio-engineers a new body for him (named Cronus) and bio-engineers his son to be able to merge with said new body. The whole things SEEMS to work a first, but then the son accidentally merges with the father, too. To be able to undo this, Cronus/Caelus made a virus that changed their people, so that they could absorb them too, in order to amass enough brainpower to fix this shit. So they absorbed more scientists. And then normal people. All these conciousnesses within this new body are subsequently driven mad, the virus he used to assimilate people got out and infected the whole population, therefore giving them a weaker version of the assimilation power: Possession. Unwanted side effect: Unborn children get accidentally absorbed by their mothers 90% of the time. So the Seosten managed to drive Cronos off and alter themselves again to slow down their aging process, to counteract their low birth rate.

      The whole story can be found here: https://ceruleanscrawling.wordpress.com/2017/08/27/mini-interlude-37-larissa-and-sariel-continued/

      I hope this was helpful.^^

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It occurs to me that the childbirth/possession problem is easily solved by having someone possess the mother. Then the child can’t possess the mother and end up absorbed by the far stronger personality.

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      2. That’s actually a really good idea. It would have to be a parent, sibling, or other child, though, considering that Seosten can’t usually possess each other, and it would require constant possession for the entire period of the pregnancy, just to be safe. But I think it could work.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Except for the problem where as a blood relative they have the Chronus effect. It’s not just that the baby possesses the mother it’s that the baby can’t stop possessing the mother. If a Seosten can possess another Seosten they start absorbing each other.
        Possession by a non-Seosten works but Seosten possession has someone dying as an inherent aspect.

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  9. Sooo many questions about Chayyiel. How does her power work? How close do they need to be? Where is she now?

    Did the Seosten ever figure out that she was a spy?

    … Yeah, I know it’s not said. But let’s be real for a minute here- Apollo was in charge of the myths. We already know about Hera (Does it need to be said) Hephaestus (A cripple ffs) and Athena (and how she was portrayed positively).

    So either there’s a really weird inconsistency, he took pity on the kid, or she’s some variety of spy/rebel. Didn’t she show up on the Seosten planet, too? After checking: yes, she did. So a passive/nonpolitical battle maniac who it would be unrealistic to think you can fool, regardless of how good you are- she’s as good or better, always.

    She’s either sitting back to watch the fireworks, or working as an infiltrator at the highest level

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    1. Well first off the kid part probably was a large part of it given that Chayyiel was probably at minimum fifty years younger than the next youngest. And the larger the age gap the harder it would be for her to shake the “youngest” association even with her being the “in case of emergency break glass” option.
      Secondly Chayyiel was the last defender. If all else failed she was the last line of defense, that’s not something you want to give away.
      Lastly, are you on the Discord? We just recently had a conversation about Chayyiel from this update and basically she sees her former crew mates as family. And that led to some interesting speculation as to Chayyiel’s role in events.

      Like

      1. I don’t really understand by not wanting to “give away” your last line of defence or really what you were trying to get at in general. I *have* discord, but I didn’t know there was one for HE.

        My main point was that
        A) either of her powers could realistically instantly tell her about Jophiel/Elisabet
        B) Apollo was sort of a jerk when it came to mythologies of people he didn’t like
        C) She’s in a high position in Seosten government
        D) The way the fight with Arthur’s been portrayed, it might not have had anything to do directly with the BsE
        E) There’s no way she hasn’t seen at least some of the conspiracy, but the Seosten remain at least partially unaware in general

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      2. Allow me to rephrase – there is some speculation that Chayyiel is covering for former crew mates of hers. She grew up on the Olympus, and wasn’t raised in a normal Seosten grouping. All signs so far point to the Olympians being her incredibly dysfunctional family. Specifically because the likelihood of her not knowing about Jophiel and Elisabet is so tremendously low. And given that Athena found out about Kushiel at the same time Sariel was transferred there’s a non zero chance that Chayyiel might have let the information slip – to the Aelaestium leader who would be willing and capable of eventually breaking out a deserter.

        Really there’s a good chance that Hestia was the goddess of the hearth because Apollo liked her. To put in perspective the Hearth was what kept people alive in the winter. Hestia would have an offering at the beginning and end of meals and got the first offering at sacrifices in households. Fires at official locations were not allowed to go out and hearth fires in homes had to be ritually extinguished.

        Basically Apollo wasn’t insulting her in the least. He was just keeping the surprise super weapon a secret.

        Chayyiel is a Seosten after all and grew up with some of the best liars to gain that ability via literal omnosis.
        The reasons she’s in the Seraphim is because she promised to kill Puriel if he tried to give orders to her again after he buried Arthur under an army during their last duel. She needed to be higher up than him for an excuse for why she wasn’t punished.
        Or in short the reason I was pointing you to the discord because we were saying basically the exact same things

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    2. And one of the Seosten kids knew Chayyiel’s age. Very odd.

      Is she running a multi-layer game?

      I’m going to lol so hard if Chayyiel turns out to be the rough Seosten equivalent to Califia or something.

      Jophiel’s got a lock on Seosten Gaia with the number of layers of her plan and sheer ruthlessness.

      Like

    3. I’m pretty sure that Apollo making Hepheastus lame in myth had less to do with mocking him and more to do with the fact that Radueriel is actually missing limbs. One of his arms (and I think a leg too) is prosthetic.

      Like

  10. I’m kinda confused by how this history is supposed to have gone now. Are the Sea Peoples and the Late Bronze Age collapse related to the Seosten? Acheamenid Persia? Alexander?

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    1. I asked about the Bronze Age collapse awhile ago, thinking it was a partial result of early castings of the Bystander Effect, and essentially got a yes. The Persian Empire I also asked about, and it’s pretty much the same, only with the addition of magic. Their invasions of Greece didn’t specifically have to do with the Seosten.

      No word on Alexander, but I suspect he was backed by the Seosten to some degree.

      Though I think it would be hilarious if he started off on his own and they only started backing him after he succeeded beyond what they thought he was capable of.

      Like

      1. Consider this: Alexander started to display the title of “Son of Zeus” after he conquered Egypt and went to Siwa, an Oasis with an oracle devoted to Zeus. It is quite possible the Seosten backed him after he had proven himself capable. Or, you know, maybe they just jumped on the opportunity and possessed him. Alexander DID display some odd character changes in his “later” years (as far as you can speak about “later years” with someone who died in his early thirties) which are usually attributed to heavy drinking and beginning megalomania.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. To the extent they actually happened, I suspect it’s a yes.

      Remember, RL history is at best loosely related to what really happened on HE earth before the bystander effect kicked in.

      Like

  11. So I just binge read through your entire backlog and I gotta say I’m really loving this story. Given the premise and the descriptions of the main characters I was given, I was honestly expecting….. much worse. Shame there’s no more chapters for me to blitz through :p

    Also, to put on my tinfoil hat for a second,Just gonna be a shame when everyone realizes Scout is dead allready and puppeted by Fossor. Which,due to dramatic tension, is either revealed before Larissa gets back for anguish of the last time she saw her daughter being her getting abandoned, or afterwards the meet up, where it’s especially a gut punch because she never actually got to see her daughter again just the mecromancers meat puppet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome to the cliff we often hang from! We’re glad to have you.

      Gotta say, that’s one theory I did not expect to see. You caught me by surprise. And it would make sense for Fossor to want to have someone as close to Flick as possible. However, I have counterpoints for you.

      – We’ve been inside Scout’s head in a number of interludes at this point. Her being a zombie would have come up in one of them.

      – Fossor appears to not know about Koren, Abigail, and Wyatt. If Scout was his puppet, he would.

      – When would he have had the chance to zombify Scout?

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      1. Those are all good points, and the only one I have a response for is that don’t fossor’s puppets maintain sentience and such after they die?

        The rest I have zero answers for, but I was just thinking about what would be the biggest “oh shit” moment possible.
        And returning from a space odyssey to reunite your happy family, having it torn apart cuz the kids know dad big secret, then reuniting via the power of love(idk) then scout just collapsing like a puppet with its strings cut sort of occurred to me and I felt like passing it on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well don’t ever hesitate to pass on theories and speculation. That’s a ton of the fun.

        Now as I understand it, Fossor’s ghosts maintain limited sapience, but they’re faded, as if they’re in a constant daze. Which is also why their skills deteriorate a little bit, as seen when Fahsteth pointed out that the zombie bartender wasn’t as good at making a drink or when Fossor’s sister could see something off about that little zombie animal.

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