30 comments

  1. And here’s the start of the new arc! I can’t thank all of you enough for sticking around with me as long as you have, and I hope you enjoy this next arc. It promises lots of reunions and… maybe some other things as well. 😀 Like a few answers, for one thing.

    If you’ve got a second, I would very much appreciate a quick click right here to add a vote for this story on Top Web Fiction. I don’t link it enough, but it really is important. So thank you, if you take the time to do that.

    Also, don’t forget about our joke tag contest. It continues until this Friday, and all you have to do is email me at ceruleanscrawling@gmail.com, assigning 3 points to your favorite, 2 points to your second favorite, and 1 point to your third favorite. For those of you who need a reminder of the nominations, here is the list:
    1: ‘Gaia Casually Manipulating The Meregan Teleporter Is Like A Tiger Casually Strolling Into Space-X And Piloting Their Rocket.’
    2: ‘Damn It Flick Turn In Your Protagonist Badge You’re Not Allowed To Actually Communicate With People.’
    3: ‘Whoever Asked If I Would Ever Reuse Joke Tags – There You Are.’
    4: ‘Fear The Power Of Me Finding Out (IE Being Told) How To Use Commas In Tags’
    5: ‘Entirely Too Few Answers’
    6: ‘Something Something Dirty Joke About Harper Looking For Arthur In Avalon’
    7: ‘Avalon/Shiori/Flick Relationship Development Be Damned. Let’s Talk About This Sick And Twisted Love Affair I Have With Cliffhangers.’
    8: ‘Meanwhile – Shiori And A Reluctant Avalon Are Telling Choo A Heavily Rewritten Three Little Pigs Story Involving Ninjas – Lasers – And One Sorry Wolf’
    9: ‘Somewhere Snidley Whiplash Is Looking At Ruthers And Going ‘Maybe Tone Down The Obvious Evil A Bit Dude’
    10: ‘Normal People: “Flick You Can’t Possibly Piss The Seosten Off More Than You Already Have.” Flick: “Hold My Beer.”’
    11: ‘I Swear To God‚ If I Had Forgotten To Tag Tabbris In THIS Chapter Too‚ I Might’ve Cried.’
    12: ‘I’m Pretty Sure At Least Half The Readers Just Went ‘YES WE’LL FINALLY GET SOME GOD DAMN ANSWERS’ So You Know Something Has To Immediately Explode Next Chapter.’

    Tags for this chapter right here are: Calafia, Edward Teach, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Gabriel Ruthers, Gaia Sinclaire, Geta, I Demand Fanfics In Which They Really Did End Up Back In Dinosaur Times., I Feel Like Dare Only Said The Committee Was Worse Because She Has No Idea Who Kushiel Is., Litonya, Sariel, Sophronia Leven, Tabbris, Tristan Moon, Vanessa Moon, Virginia Dare, Writing Vanessa And Tristan Banter Is Just The Best‚ Guys., Wyatt Rendell

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Crossposting preview comments from SB:

    Ok, there’s so much love emanating from Sariel that I’m half expecting her to turn into a magical girl.

    And if you gave her a literal version of that turn emotion into mech suit thing Lincoln joked about Joselyn having I’m pretty sure she’d get Fafnir Mark Sein. She’s currently defined by love, and enduring for the sake of that love, so if she turned that love into a mech she’d get the machine that treats getting stuffed into a black hole as a quick time-out then tags back in.

    Kushiel just got a bit more disgusting. Kind of surprised memory effects worked on Sariel of all people.

    Wyatt is good enough that SARIEL can’t find his tracking spells? Given that he’s taken using to alarms triggered by loss of tracking Jophiel is going to have a problem – if she blocks his tracking effects when she sends Flick to do something, that’ll set off an alarm, if she doesn’t she’s busted.

    Sariel was deeply involved in taking Wyatt and Abigail I see.

    Ooooh, Vanessa has decided Larissa’s AUNT Larissa. Mason/Moon family blob: Canonized.

    Oh god Tabbris’s introduction was ADORABLE. Very quick, but adorable.

    So where did Gaia get such a high end technopath power?

    Holy shit Gaia had Sariel possess her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wyatt is good enough that SARIEL can’t find his tracking spells? Given that he’s taken using to alarms triggered by loss of tracking Jophiel is going to have a problem – if she blocks his tracking effects when she sends Flick to do something, that’ll set off an alarm, if she doesn’t she’s busted.

      Bear in mind that this is Sariel giving Flick cursory once-overs and presumably quick-and -dirty tests, not a thorough examination. We’ve never seen how well Wyatt’s numerous spells would stand up to an in-depth magical look at the people he puts them on.

      Based on Sariel’s “he must be centuries old with great skill” reaction, a number of them will probably stand up pretty well to most thorough tests. But someone with enough experience who isn’t underestimating his skill could potentially find workarounds.

      Like

  3. That “then” from Deveron has me worried about what precisely he means by it. Was it strictly in terms of needing to hide Sariel or Tabbris? Or is he going to have a low opinion of the willing possession concept once they get a chance to talk it over? He and Dare (understandably) don’t seem to be fans at the moment.

    Writing Vanessa And Tristan Banter Is Just The Best‚ Guys.
    It’s fun to read too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suspect it’s the second. Not having someone not take well to the willing possession/partnership concept would mean passing up some excellent narrative options, and Deveron is one of the more plausible and interesting choices.

      Plausible because he’s been aware of Seosten possession antics for a long time, and seriously screwed over by them, so he’s liable to have a well established grudge with Seosten in general. Interesting because Flick cares about him a lot while he’s highly invested in protecting her. If he thinks he needs to split up Flick and Tabbris things get complicated.

      Columbus is the obvious other choice for rejecting the symbiosis, but it feels too obvious, plus Tabbris will have a lot of points with him for helping Flick take out Charmeine.

      There’s pretty solid reasons for the remaining team members to have no issues:
      Avalon: WoG that Tabbris reminds Valley of her younger self, plus Tabbris has been protecting Flick.
      Scout: More than smart enough to instantly figure out Tabbris is totally harmless unless you’re Flick’s enemy. Larissa put Tabbris there, and Tabbris’s mom saved her that night on the boat. Scout is far more likely to volunteer to hide Tabbris if they need to spoof a possession detector on Flick than to reject Best Fallen Angel.
      Sean: On one hand, he was stuck rooming with Charmeine. There’s trauma there. Buuut Tabbris was key to ending that sitch, and Sean HATES people who think they have immunity: Pushback. Tabbris very thoroughly disabused the Earth side Imperial Seosten of that notion.

      So assuming someone on the team has issues with Flick and Tabbris sharing a body it’s probably Deveron.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with everything you say here. To add to it:

        Avalon (& Miranda and Koren) have a little experience with human/Seosten partnerships already, and their problems with the situation all seem to be from Theia’s many psychotic, evil prior actions rather than the actual concept of symbiotic possession. Since it will be clear that Flick is still in charge, I can’t see them having a problem with Tabbris. On another obvious note, Abigail is going to be far more worried about Tabbris being a child soldier than about Flick being possessed, and Seller will likely follow her lead.

        Assuming the speculation about Sariel having something to do with Ruthers kidnapping the twins is correct, Deveron’s going to justifiably hate her, even if he is reasonable enough to also appreciate a lot of things she’s done as well. That’s an enormous, personal reason for him to have an issue with Seosten. He’s reasonable enough that I can’t see him ever having a problem with Tabbris, but he could totally object to the possession.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. “Well,” Gabriel Ruthers started, as he, Litonya, Teach, Geta, Sophronia, and Calafia stepped into view from the portal.

    “What do we have here?”

    I feel like this is literally what a bully would say and I cant wait for the reunions!

    Thx for the chappie!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. > I Demand Fanfics In Which They Really Did End Up Back In Dinosaur Times.

    When the roar died down and it stopped feeling like the entirety of the world was shaking itself apart, I became dimly aware of Tabbris huddling behind me. Probably too stunned to jump in like usual. Honestly, we were all too stunned to do much of anything.

    “Welp.” Except, apparently, Tristan. “I take it back. Flickster, you get the first one. Yanno, show us how it’s done.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Flick would probably just possess the dinosaur.

      “You know,” Tristan complained, “When I said to show us how it’s done, I didn’t mean for you to use powers that we don’t have yet.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Tristan does in fact have possession ever since he killed some Seosten off-screen during the fight in the lab. He got it along with the rest of the Seosten powers, like recall. But he hasn’t shown the possession on-screen yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. As Prince Pondincherry said, the twins do have their possession powers. Killing Seosten back at the lab allowed them to gain their full Seosten power set. Hybrids who kill an Alter of their own non-human side get everything.

        Like

      1. I figured someone had to try to meet the demands of our scrawling overlord as quickly as possible. Even if it’s a bit small. 🙂

        Like

  6. I Feel Like Dare Only Said The Committee Was Worse Because She Has No Idea Who Kushiel Is.

    This tag, I just can’t help but imagine a slow transition to horrified disgust when the news finally breaks or at the group’s silence at the question of why so many of the female Seosten are pregnant.

    At least the Commitee would only kill the Seosten.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, the Committee is *immediately* worse — if the Seosten showed up, Our Heroes could fight them openly as Strangers, and any Heretic attracted by the ruckus would help them. Even the compromised members of the Committee would have to, in order to keep their covers intact.

      If, OTOH, the Seosten-Compromised sub-committee of the Committee shows up solo, they can probably curbstomp everyone present and disappear them to some safe storage spot until Kushiel comes to collect them.

      If it’s a mix of the “regulars” and “compromised” members of the Committee (as appears to have actually happened), things get mixed — the “regulars” would probably prevent the others from disappearing Gaia&co, but Sariel and the Seosten prisoners would be, at minimum, locked up for further study, and Flick and the twins would be taken into custody for in-depth examination and debriefing (which would probably reveal Far Too Much). And Gaia doesn’t yet have what she needs to unmask the compromised Committee members, and *certainly* doesn’t have the firepower to take on several of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m really happy that this story takes the time to explicitly go through the emotions the characters are feeling after big events like the reunion last normal chapter. Honestly, the actual reunion bored me a little, and a lot of stories would have stopped there and left us to fill in the blanks for ourselves. But here we get little things like Sariel’s wonder at Tristan just being there and doing things. It’s great.

    Sariel could have done a possession stack with Flick and Tabbris too, but of course there was so little time and it’s so weird for Seosten to be able to possess each other that nobody thought of it. And this way we got to have Gaia extending trust to Sariel, which is great. Also, now Sariel is in Gaia’s head, which should be really helpful as they try to talk their way out of this one.

    So it seems we have even numbers of sympathetic and antagonistic Committee members. Not that that matters overly much here, but it is interesting. I still wonder how much Geta and Teach know about the Seosten Empire. It wouldn’t surprise me if soldiers and military equipment like the ones here had been on Earth when the Seosten were more open, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if neither counselor recognized them.

    The Committee is actually much worse than Kushiel in this situation. If Kushiel’s forces showed up, the four powerful Heretics, Sariel, and the kids could just kill them all. The Committee is far too strong for that and must be handled with subterfuge and diplomacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Personally I’m quite glad that Sariel isn’t in any of the kids heads, Tabbris especially as the youngest. We know from Tabbris that overwhelming emotion can leak and bleed over from the Seosten to the host.

      Sariel is messing up being reassuring in some cases while not sharing head space with anyone. And she hasn’t gotten to her time with Manakel or Charmeine yet either. With her in Gaia’s head I really doubt that the headmistress isn’t getting some of the turmoil from across the possession link.

      Possible yes, but oh my I really doubt that Sariel possessing Tabbris would be a good thing until she can actually clamp down to prevent leaks.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That is an extremely good point. Along with my “tactical value” argument, I’m now convinced that Sariel possessing Gaia is absolutely the best possible move in this situation.

        The funny thing is that if they somehow came to blows here (which definitely isn’t going to happen), the good guys would absolutely win. The three good counselors are quite strong, and Sariel-possessed Gaia is likely nearly on the Committee’s level.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. wasn’t it said that only lies and heretics with the powr can posses seosten? i thought that was what scared the seosten into hating lies… so flick couldve stacked into sariel but sariel can’t stack into flick cuz tabbris is there already

      Like

  8. “I learned to recognize an implanted vision of being rescued after the first few times that Kushiel used that trick. That’s when she switched to telling me that you were dead. Of course, sometimes she still wanted to try it, so she’d erase my memory of that, and see how long she could keep the ruse going. Or just erase my memory of the capture entirely and give me a few hours with my family before snatching it away all over again.”

    Now if you’d write an actual interlude about this and describe it in visceral detail, we’d be hitting Wildbow-Levels of cruelty and despair. Seriously, Cerulean, what is WRONG with you?! D:
    Are the cliffhangers not enough suffering for your audience? T_T

    On the other hand: “Dibs on taming the first dinosaur.”
    Tristan deserves a fist bump for this. And I’d read fanfics about it as well. >D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, at least I just referred to it in the past tense rather than writing out an entire scene of Sariel believing that she was reuniting with her family, only to have it cruelly snatched away and revealed to be Kushiel fucking with her.

      Not that I wouldn’t do that, mind. I just haven’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. >“Vanessa, I love you,” Tristan started, “but there are definitely no giant cars out there.”

    Rolling her eyes, the blonde girl reiterated, “Not giant cars. Carnegiea gigantea. You know, saguaro cactus?

    Could’ve just used the common name from the get go, Vanessa… :V. Almost no one outside of certain circles uses the scientific name.

    >”Temporarily,” she replied. “It never lasts very long. But for that brief time…” The woman trailed off for a moment, looking away before shuddering. That haunted look came back to her eyes, and I thought of what that must have been like for her to go through, apparently repeatedly.

    A true pity she’s not dead already. At least everyone may get another shot at it relatively soon.

    >Meeting her gaze, I replied, “He’s my half-brother. And he’s been doing this for about thirty to forty years, I think. Give or take a little bit.”

    Boy, it was fun surprising an ancient and powerful Seosten who used to portray a literal god. She stared at me for a moment, mouth opening and shutting briefly, before speaking again. “Zedekiah,” the woman announced. “You say Wyatt. But you mean Zedekiah.”

    Heh, the millenia old infiltrator is flatfooted by the prowess of someone a mere fraction her age.

    > And in that second, an Olympian-level Seosten was possessing Gaia Sinclaire,
    UNLIMITED POWAHHHHH!.jpg
    :V
    Great update Cerulean.

    Like

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