Family Day 40-05

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My feet pounded on the concrete floor as I raced around the concourse surrounding the baseball field. Straight ahead of me was a sign pointing toward a door that apparently led to the announcer’s booth.

There was a guy standing there guarding the door with a rifle of some sort. As soon as he saw me, the man snapped around to bring the gun up, but I was already loosing an arrow that took him in the chest. The concussive force blew the man backward. I hadn’t fully charged it, because I didn’t want to kill the poor guy, but it was enough to put him on the ground for a moment. I went right over him, rearing back to kick the door ahead of me off its hinges.

That fell, and I nearly went straight through. But then I took a hint from Vanessa and gave the doorjamb a quick glance. Sure enough, there were spells written on it. I wasn’t good enough yet to know what they were from memory, but I did know that they definitely weren’t anything good.

I also didn’t have time to mess with them. The others were out on that field right then, in a fight for their lives. Or at least for Abigail‘s life. I had to deal with Ammon now.

To that end, I held my staff out and announced, “Teatime, boys.”

That was another code phrase that I had come up with, and ‘my boys’ (Jaq and Gus) immediately reacted by appearing through their little portal and went straight to the end of my staff, leaping off of it to land on the doorjamb where the spell was. The two of them clung to the wall before each began to vibrate quickly. A second later, there was a burst of electricity from the little guys.

That was courtesy of a little help from Columbus over the past week. The cybermice could disable lower to average quality spells with a burst of stored electricity (just like Sands and Scout had shown us at the beginning of the year), or use it to stun people. Either way, it was another tool in my belt, and it had just come in handy.

Hearing the sound of the man picking himself up behind me, I reared back to kick him in the face, knocking him down once more before heading through the broken doorway while my mice hopped back on the staff. Once through, I went straight for the stairs on the other side, taking them several at a time in a rush. The whole way up, I kept my eyes peeled for any more spells. It was clear that Ammon wasn’t yet good enough to keep his spells invisible, but I was still cautious.

More men appeared as I reached the landing halfway up, and I had to fight my way through them in those cramped quarters. They seemed to be under orders to hurt me but not kill me, which kind of put us on equal footing as far as that went, since I didn’t want to kill them either. I had no idea who these guys were or how much they were involved, but I was pretty damn positive that they had been controlled by Ammon into doing this.

Still, I had to get past them. What followed was what was probably only a few seconds’ (but felt like several minutes’) worth of furious fighting up and down that cramped stairwell as I struggled to get through the mounting crowd intent on keeping me there. More and more of them appeared, from both sides. I was penned in as they kept trying to grab me despite how many times I hit them.

Good. I’d been waiting until I was pretty sure that all the people Ammon could send to stop me were right there. With a grim smile as they tried to grab me yet again, I held one hand up. In it formed the largest ball of that nausea-inducing goop that I could manage. Just as the swarm tried to dogpile me, dragging me down with them, I ducked my head and held that ball up while slamming my staff into it to trigger a concussive blast.

Hearing gagging and choking all around me, I quickly repeated the process. Creating another ball in my hand, I triggered the blast from my staff again and coated more of the people all around me in the stuff that made them fall to their knees, throwing up and gagging. It was pretty disgusting actually, but it was also effective. Within a few seconds, enough of the crowd had been reduced to a non-issue that I could hop over them and continue on my way.

Finally reaching the top of the stairs, I found myself in a short hallway with a few doors. Only one was labeled broadcast, so I kicked that door in as well, already snapping, “Ammon!”

There he was. The boy who was my half-brother was standing right on the other side of that doorway, with the wide glass windows overlooking the field behind him. I could see the fighting still going on, Avalon, Vanessa, and Koren struggling to keep the group away from that button. It had clearly been hit a couple more times as more lights had changed, but so far, Abigail was still alive. But I really needed to finish this quickly.

“I hope you’re happy with yourself,” the boy informed me snippily while crossing his arms. “You just can’t stop cheating, huh? I go through all the trouble of setting up a nice, fun game for everybody, and you have to ruin—”

His words were cut off then, as I slammed into the boy, knocking him back with against the control board. My staff was shoved up against his throat, half-choking him as I demanded, “Call it off! Tell them to stop, Ammon! Tell them to stop right now!”

Fairly unsurprisingly, he didn’t. Instead, he just smiled at me while speaking around the staff. “But we’re all having such a nice time.”

“It’s not a nice time! It’s people’s lives! I know you don’t care about that now, but you used to. You used to understand that. You used to feel things, I know you did. What about Mom? How would she feel about this? You have to stop them!”

And yet, it was clear that he wasn’t going to listen. I didn’t know if knocking him out would end everything, but it was sure is hell a good start. So I focused on applying more pressure with my staff, working to choke him into unconsciousness. All while a part of me said I should just kill him. End it and kill him. But I could knock him out here. I could knock him out and we could solve all this.

Or at least, that was the plan. Unfortunately, Ammon had other ideas. I saw his hand moving, producing some kind of enchanted object. He said a word, and then the world spun around us. A teleportation spell. He’d triggered a teleportation spell.

We didn’t go far. When the spinning faded, I found myself back in the parking lot with Ammon standing a few feet away. And we weren’t alone.

“What—” Koren spun, looking around in confusion. “Flick?! What the hell is going on?!”

“You’re welcome!” Ammon chirped. “We had to bring you with, silly. I didn’t want you to die too when the stadium blows up. See, I can be nice.”

All of the blood drained from my face, and I felt myself grow intensely cold while my heart seemed to stop. “What?”

He was grinning at me, holding up a remote with a button on it. “See,” he crowed, “I was prepared. Three quick pushes of this button and kaboom! No more big sister or mommy.” He nodded to me, then Koren in turn. “And no more stupid, cheating friends. I told you they shouldn’t have come. You should’ve listened.”

His finger went for the button, but Koren was faster in that case. She had already flung one of her Hunga Munga throwing axes. In a flash of steel, a spray of blood, and a scream from the boy himself, the axe sliced right through his wrist, severing the hand that was holding the remote.

Instantly, the other girl used her weapon’s power to teleport herself to it just in time to catch the remote before it could fall.

Ammon, still screaming in disbelief, instantly lashed out. He was clearly a lot stronger than he looked, because his kick took Koren in the side and sent her flying, the remote dropping from her hand.

The boy try to grab it for himself, but I was already there. I couldn’t grab it, but my staff lashed out to smack the remote away, sending it tumbling along the pavement of the parking lot. I held my breath, but as Ammon had said, the button needed to be pressed three times in a rapid succession to trigger the explosives. The remote fell onto its side, skidding to a stop finally.

A hand caught my arm then, Ammon’s strength even with only one remaining hand nearly crushing the bone in it as he turned to fling me bodily into Koren just as she was getting up. We crashed in a heap, quickly disentangling ourselves before rolling apart. Looking up, I saw Ammon reaching for the remote. His hand was already on it. With a cry, I created a portal with one hand while shoving my staff forward through it. A burst of concussive force knocked the boy backward and made him release the remote. I made another quick portal to grab onto it and yanked it back.

I had the remote then, and I immediately started to crush it in my hand. Just as I did so, however, the thing let out a loud warning beep, startling me.

“Go ahead!” Ammon taunted. “If you break it, it sends the signal anyway!” He punctuated this by sticking his tongue out at me, acting as if we were fighting over a television remote and not something that could blow up the entire stadium, killing Avalon, Vanessa, Abigail, and who even knew how many other innocent people.

Even as I was reacting to that, Ammon made a sharp gesture, and the remote flew from my hand, yanked away by an invisible force. Clearly, the boy had been stocking up on more powers than just some enhanced strength while he’d been away.

The detonator flew toward Ammon. But before it could reach him, Koren used one of her axes to teleport beside it, catching the thing in midair. Her reward for that was a blast of water from Ammon that took her in the shoulder with enough force to knock her to the ground as the detonator clattered away from her.

Ammon was going for it, but I created another portal, putting my fist through it and into his face to knock the boy back a step with a yelp. It was obvious that we needed to focus on putting Ammon down. Every time we grabbed the remote, it just got taken back away from us. We needed to deal with him directly.

It was a horrible situation to be in. We had no idea what was going on in the stadium. We didn’t know how Avalon and Vanessa were doing, if they were still managing to keep the brainwashed mob away from the imprisoned Abigail, or if they had been overwhelmed. I had no literally no idea if my friend, my girlfriend, and my big sister were even still alive. I had to trust that they were. But if we let Ammon get his hand on that remote again, that wouldn’t matter.

Already recovered from that punch, the boy himself was diving for the detonator right then. But my staff snapped up and I launched the grapple, which caught the boy by the leg and yanked him back as he let out a cry of frustration, bellowing something about cheating. He managed to jerk his way free in mid-air, landing hard before shooting a glare at me.

“Leave my mom alone!” That was Koren, of course. The girl reared back her fist from over fifteen feet away. When she lashed out, a column of concrete from the ground shaped like a larger version of her arm erupted upward and slammed into the boy, knocking him flying. A power that I didn’t know about, apparently. From the look on her face, Koren was surprised that it had worked.

“Slab!” I blurted, trying to gesture that way to demonstrate. “Cover him. Trap him!”

Thankfully, the other girl understood and held both arms up, focusing on one thing a wide slab of concrete to shove over the boy. Unfortunately, it had only just covered him when he suddenly appeared on top of it, passing through it in some kind of intangible state.

Dammit, I was starting to realize just how annoying it was to fight one of us. I had no idea what powers he had, or what might be effective. And he kept pulling out more of them.

Worse, he was going for the detonator again. His hand was almost there when Koren arrived, using her foot to kick the thing out of the way. Denied his toy, Ammon caught the girl’s ankle instead and flung her aside. As she rolled, he held his remaining hand (the other one was still regrowing) up and and launched a bolt of electricity at her.

But I was there, interposing myself and letting the bolt charge my body with the absorption power before sending it right back at him. The returned jolt knocked Ammon off his feet with a squeal that I had to guiltily admit felt pretty good.

But he just wouldn’t stay down. That continued for a bit more, the three of us struggling to find some winning combination that would let us shut the other down. But it just didn’t happen. Koren and I couldn’t make Ammon stay on the ground, and he couldn’t keep his hand on that detonator long enough to actually use it. We kept struggling, kept fighting and bleeding, but none of us could actually win. The best strategy I had right then was just to keep going until Ammon got tired, but he wasn’t showing any sign of that. Koren was, unfortunately. And I was afraid of what would happen when it was down to just Ammon and me. Playing keep away with the other girl to help was already hard enough.

No, we had to finish this. Somehow, someway, we had to finish it. If Koren was getting tired, I had no idea how Avalon and Vanessa were doing. This couldn’t keep going on forever.

Then I had it. And I also felt like an idiot. The answer had been in front of us the whole time, almost literally. “Koren!” I shouted, “Black Knight!”

She looked confused for just a second, then seemed to realize what I meant. With a quick nod, she spun back toward Ammon, who was starting to duck toward the detonator with a gleeful laugh. It was like he still thought this was a game. A game that we were apparently cheating at, but a game nonetheless. It wasn’t serious for him. Even having (temporarily) lost one of his hands (it was already starting to grow back), he was still treating it as a game.

Just as he was about to grab the thing, I was there. Launching myself that way with a blast from my weapon, I dove at the last instant to snatch the detonator in one hand before rolling back to my feet. Spinning to him, I held the detonator out tauntingly. “You want it, come get it.”

He was still a kid. A psychotic and evil kid, but a kid. Which meant he took the bait. With a shout, the boy lunged with his arm outstretched. He’d forgotten to keep an eye on what Koren was doing.

It was a mistake that he paid for immediately, as the other girl took advantage of his stretched out arm to teleport beside him with one of her weapons. The other was already raised and abruptly cleaved down through his limb at the elbow.

Half of his arm suddenly fell to the ground while Ammon himself let out a horrified shriek of disbelief.

“Push the button now, you little bastard,” Koren snapped, even as she lashed out with a kick that took the boy in the chest and knocked him to the ground.

Grabbing the detonator myself, I held it in one hand while announcing, “Okay, now we just—”

Abruptly, Ammon was standing in front of me. Even with no hands, he snarled a hateful, “Bitch.” Then his foot lashed out, catching me in the side and taking my breath away. I dropped the detonator as I was sent to tumbling to the ground.

The detonator was there. It was right at Ammon’s feet. The boy raised his leg, clearly intent on using his foot to trigger the damn thing.

Koren and I were both throwing ourselves that way, my staff raised to blast the boy away from it. Then there was a flash of white, and a familiar voice called, “Koren, Felicity!”

It was Professor Dare. She had arrived, clearly coming to find us without knowing the exact situation. My mouth opened to blurt a warning, but it was too late.

“My name is Ammon, do nothing except what I say! Put a force field around us!” Standing right beside her where she had appeared, my psychotic little brother took instant advantage of the sudden arrival.

There was the slightest delay, then a glowing force field appeared around the two of them as ordered.

“No!” Koren shouted. “Professor Dare, stop! The bombs! He’ll make you set off the bombs! My mom, Avalon, Vanessa, all those people, you have to leave!”

“Don’t do anything except what I say,” Ammon quickly repeated his previous order. “Pick up the detonator.”

Koren shouted, and both of us hit the force field to no avail. I tried creating a portal through it to grab the detonator, but my power wouldn’t go through the damn thing. We kept hitting it uselessly as the blonde woman reached down to take the remote.

No, no, no! This couldn’t go like this. We had him. We almost had him. We could’ve dealt with this. Dammit, dammit, dammit! What could we do? What the hell could we do now?

I was screaming. Koren was screaming. Yet our voices could not drown out Ammon’s.

“Three times,” he ordered. “My name is Ammon. Push the button three times.”

“I’m sorry.” Professor Dare’s voice was a broken whisper, the woman sounding emotionally destroyed, like her soul was shattering into pieces.

And then she turned. In one smooth motion, the woman’s free hand lashed out. Her sword appeared in her grasp, the blade glowing with power. There was a sickening thunk and a spray of blood.

Ammon’s head hit the ground, rolling a bit as his body collapsed. Then there was silence. Utter and total silence, even as Professor Dare’s magenta kill-aura flared up.

It was impossible. Completely impossible. Ammon had given her a direct order, had even told her not to do anything except what he said. She had to do it. There was no way she could have resisted, no way that she could have been immune to it. No way that she could have done what she just did.

No way, unless we were related. Unless she was my… our…

“Grandmother…”

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36 comments

  1. Well, thank God I can finally stop hiding that part. It’s only been three freaking years. You guys have no idea what I suffer for these reveals. 😉 Such as they are.

    I do hope you enjoyed this little chapter, and that you’re looking forward to seeing the… ahhh, fallout of it. Next chapter ends this arc, which will be followed by Patreon snips next Wednesday, then Interlude 40A – A Funeral, the title of which should make more sense to everyone now. After that will be the donator chosen interlude. Then we’ll get into the neeeeeeext arc. 😉

    Thanks again for reading, and tags for this chapter are: About A Thousand Things That Make A Lot More Sense In Hindsight Are Flashing Through Flick’s Mind Right Now., Ammon, Congratulations To All The People Who Figured This Out Ahead Of Time., Felicity Chambers, Flick, Koren Fellows, See‚ Koren‚ It’s Much More Effective When You Aim For The Neck Instead Of The Wrist., Virginia Dare

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  2. Congratulations To All The People Who Figured This Out Ahead Of Time.

    I was one of them! I think I was actually the first one to call it, too. So yay me. But enough bragging.

    About A Thousand Things That Make A Lot More Sense In Hindsight Are Flashing Through Flick’s Mind Right Now.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing this in the next chapter. I want to know if there’s anything I (and anyone else) missed.

    So. It seems clear to me that Dare would really rather have not done that if she could have helped it. It looks like she wanted to see if Ammon could be helped back to a more normal, not super-brainwashed state, if only for her daughter’s sake… but yeah. So combined with risking the breaking of the Fomorian spell, the danger her granddaughters are in again, and so on and so forth, Dare’s not having a good day. And it could still get a whole lot worse since we still have the Committee’s reaction to get to, not to mention the very real possibility that Fossor could show up with Joselyn in tow to try to take Koren and kill Abigail (and everyone else not named Flick.)

    Of course, now there’s the big question of whether or not Ammon inherited Scott’s pooka respawn power when he caused his death, and whether or not respawning like that would let him pop up without the modifications Fossor made to his mind.

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  3. people I am in could

    That’s an, interesting, typo you’ve got there. Voice to text?

    (the other one was still regrowing)
    (it was already starting to grow back)

    This gets mentioned twice. I know Flick is in the middle of combat right now but would she mention it to herself twice in a row?

    Damnit. I mean, I’m fine that the kid died but I’d rather it had anyone else other than one of the adults to do it. Sure Flick would have been nice but Koren or one of the others would have been better than Dare. Just feels kinda cheap when an adult shows up to do it.

    Though I do have to wounder why Dare killed him if she could choose not to follow his orders, maybe it’s a “by generation” thing and she couldn’t totally ignore the orders because she wasn’t parent or sibling. We may never know how that power works, I don’t think the source of it is likely to tell.

    I’m wondering if daddy dear has a mean of getting his son back. With his chosen bit of magic I’m sure he’s put some thought into it. And I do wounder how resurrection works in combination with Heretic power gain. If the same Heretic kills the same person over and over because they just, keep, coming, back would they get a chance for a new power every time or what? Eigh.

    Kinda want to know what the “game” was supposed to be and just, what, Ammon wouldn’t consider cheating. Beside anything that he himself does, because of course when he does it, it’s not cheating.

    And, really, the two girls should have gone for the kill on him from the start. I can understand why they didn’t, but they really should have. A game of keep-away is not the best thing to do with a bomb trigger. Even if they had gone full Black Knight on him he could still roll his torso back and forth over the button.

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    1. Dare being Flick’s grandmother means she’s Joshua Atherby’s wife (well, widow now). The one who sacrificed her identity to maintain the spell keeping the Fomorians off of earth. Every single individual who learns about her identity as Joshua’s wife, Joselyn’s mother, Flick and her siblings’ grandmother, and Koren’s great-grandmother weakens the spell more, potentially letting the Fomorians back to earth.

      So basically, Dare had a chance between killing Ammon and revealing her identity to Flick and Koren, or disabling Ammon which would reveal that she’s related to him and potentially let Fossor find out who she is, which would be bad for both what it could do to the spell and what he could do with the information.

      From Mini-Interlude 12:

      He sighed. “Both of them sacrificed themselves in a way. The magic they were doing, it required two kinds of sacrifice. One literal, one metaphorical. Joshua sacrificed his life literally. His wife sacrificed hers metaphorically. She sacrificed her identity as Joshua’s wife and her connection to that family. It was erased from everyone’s memory. Even I don’t know who she was. Every bit of her as connected to the Atherby line was erased, both physical and mental. When I think of her now, it’s just a black spot where her face and name should be.”

      Abigail’s eyes were wide. “That’s—what—that’s vile. Can’t it be… undone?”

      “If it was,” the man replied softly, “It would weaken the spell keeping the Fomorians away. There has to be a living component of the spell for it to stay as strong as it is. That’s part of the whole point of there being two sides of the sacrifice that banished them.”

      Of course, the possibility of Fossor grabbing his ghost or doing something to get his hands the information still exists, but Dare’s history of fighting Fossor indicates that she would probably be aware of that possibility. That she chose to disable Ammon instead of killing him is evidence that it’s not a serious concern. Especially since she clearly didn’t actually want to kill Ammon.

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      1. Her concern for Fossor interrogating Ammon to find it out was misplaced. Fossor very much does not want the seal being broken, so when Joselyn saw her mother sacrificing her marriage in her second Edge vision, he ordered her not to tell him anything about it.

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      2. Well, the fact that Fossor doesn’t want to know doesn’t necessarily mean he wouldn’t find out by accident. If Ammon told him there’s another person who’s immune, especially Dare who he has a history with and would know is older than Joselyn, he would probably put two and two together without really meaning to.

        And even if he didn’t, every single individual that knows the truth risks the spell breaking and two people finding out is less of a risk than three.

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    2. Thanks, fixed the typo. And Dare chose to kill him because if she didn’t, he would have figured out that she’s related to him, which would have had a chance of destroying the spell keeping the Fomorians out. Especially if it got to Fossor.

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    3. Also, Ammon killed a pooka like Twister. An alter that literally has the power to respawn after dying. So with his own power absorption, there’s a pretty good chance that he’s about to respawn himself in an amnesiac state like Scott did back in arc 19 or Twister did a few years ago.

      Hopefully whatever Fossor did to brainwash him will be undone by that respawn too, assuming Ammon did in fact gain the power. He might stay dead too, although I doubt it.

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  4. Has it been stated that killing a Pooka can give that power? does the Pooka lose the power if its absorbed or is it actually more of a copy granted of the power

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    1. Here’s what Ceruelan said on the matter at one point, I think when people were asking why Heretics don’t farm pooka for that power:

      In addition to that, it takes *at least* several years for the resurrection power to recover enough to have any chance of being passed on/acquired in that way.

      In RPG game terms, it has a low chance of being acquired in the first place. Say, roll two d20’s and hit both nat 20 to get it. Otherwise you’re getting something else, a lesser power like reflexes or senses or even the animal shapeshifting. The more recently it was used, the harder it is to get it. If best case scenario is roll two d20 and hit natural 20 with both, keep adding on more D20’s the more recent it was. Same day, roll 20 d20’s and hit natural 20 with all of them at the same time.

      I don’t care how good of a friend you are, you’re not going to sit there letting yourself be killed over and over again until your buddy hits 20 natural 20’s on the same throw.

      But the real question here is… did Ammon hit two 20’s?

      March 8, 2017 – Cerulean

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      1. Regarding Ammon makeing a return can’t help but think….

        Son of a necromancer…Check
        Returning evil guy troupe… Check
        Posible in story way for it to happen… Check
        Ability to add more to the story narrative…. Check

        Yeah I would be more supprissed if he isn’t back in some shape or form.

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    1. Though i do still wonder if powers in general are “stolen” by heretics or duplicated, only time it would matter is with anti death abilities like this….

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      1. Duplicated.

        Anti-death abilities don’t stop Reaper power copying. And Reaper power copying doesn’t stop them either.

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  5. Three people who know and who also know not to share the info… All of them family (yes, Tabris counts as her granddaughter, too, with this info — even without it, too).

    Hmmm. They can construct a believable relationship for the outside world: Dare is their teacher, after all. And, has been fishing them out of dangerous situations all year.

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    1. Tabbris doesn’t know. Remember, she’s not here right now. And Cerulean said somewhere else that the spell is good enough that the information can’t just be read out of someone’s mind by a possessor, so it’s safe from Tabbris that way.

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      1. She will know, though. The minute she and Flick are back together, there’s no way she won’t know, because these two aren’t a simple case of random possession. And, because this is the kind of thing these two routinely share.

        Tabby is rather nifty herself when it comes to memory retrieval and dream sequences. She’s been trained in it since before she could sing Incy Wincy Spider by memory Mama. So getting a mind-wipe of Flick passed her once she spots the edges of mental manipulation is not standard masquerade stuff.

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      2. Tabbris is good, but this memory spell is Seosten work (also WoG), and they’re REALLY good. Remember, Tabbris-in-Flick couldn’t read the information on whom Manakel was possessing out of Isaac’s mind. That’s when we learned that information spells can be stronger when they’re more focused. The spell about Dare is just about her, so it can be extremely strong.

        Also, there’s been speculation that Sariel was involved in the spell on Dare. There’s no much evidence for this, but if it’s true, there’s no way Tabbris can beat her mom’s work.

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    2. Yep I agree with you.
      Besides why would it only be the kids that have created protections against Ammon? I would have expected after his first visit to the school every staff member would have been given some sort of protective device.

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      1. That’s a really good point. You’d think Nevada would have developed something to give the other teachers, at least.

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  6. I’ve been waiting for him to die for a while. He’s clearly and undeniably been shown to have a) no remorse, b) no compassion, and he has utterly and completely ruined the lives of a great deal of people that we know of.

    What was their end game there? Trap him somehow? Take him back to Crossroads? They had no viable solution to stopping him other than killing him.

    Of course I’m willing to bet that even knowing that Fosser is a necromancer that they won’t completely obliterate his body and soul and that Fosser will bring him back to some semblance of life.

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    1. What was their end game there? Trap him somehow? Take him back to Crossroads? They had no viable solution to stopping him other than killing him.

      Chances are they were hoping for two things.

      The first, biggest, and most immediate reason to take Ammon alive was likely to pump him for information in the hopes of finding Fossor’s base and possibly rescuing Joselyn, on top of whatever else they could have learned about Fossor.

      The second, more remote possibility was that Dare was hoping to fix Ammon. There’s a bunch of evidence (and recent WoG confirmation) that Ammon’s utter lack of emotions like sadness, guilt, or compassion is unnatural, something that Fossor forced on him rather than his natural mental state (Joselyn has explicitly said both to Flick andnin her private thoughts that he used to be a sweet-natured boy before Fossor did something to make him… Ammon).

      From Dare’s perspective her grandson was effectively a rabid dog, and she may have been hoping to find a way to reverse what Fossor did rather than kill him. Or at least have someone else kill him instead.

      As for his return, apart from the possibility of Fossor zombifying Ammon, he also killed a pooka and has the Reaper-Heretic absorption power from Denuvus. So he may simply respawn like Scott did.

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      1. Fosser can raise people as basically the same as before, just utterly beholden to his will. If Ammon came back through Fosser I think it would be more of a resurrection than a zombification.

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      2. Whether it’s resurrection or zombification, I think that it’s what Fossor intends to do with Ammon and will do if Ammon didn’t get the pooka respawn power.

        That said, true resurrection, according to WoG, is impossible. Fossor’s dead servants that aren’t quite themselves anymore (his private chefs, Escalan at Crossroads, what sister would have been back when he was Mera if his father hadn’t stopped him, and Ammon if that’s what happens to him) are still defined as zombies within this universe

        Technically in real life too, because the “bound servant” version of zombification that still retains some sense of self is actually a lot closer to the origins of zombies in folklore than the mindlessly shambling version popularized by the film industry.

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      3. In this universe? I think it’s more that the longer the soul is gone the weaker the zombie is than anything else. Rigor mortis may be part of it, but that probably isn’t that hard to overcome with magic if you know how.

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  7. Why didn’t Koren immediately take his head off? Why didn’t Felicity fight with her staff in bladed mode? There’s:
    A. A psycho mind-controller that cannot be reasoned with.
    B. A huge chance that hundreds of people will die.
    Even for goody-two-shoes heroes, the absence of immediate lethal escalation is too far out of character.
    On the other hand, why does Ammon keep trying to push the button? He can just crush it. Though with his fixation on the “game” it isn’t out of character.

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    1. An argument could be made that it’s better not to go lethal with Ammon because then he might stop treating it as a game, stop playing, and just crush the remote. Maybe even telekinetically. But I don’t think that entered Flick and Koren’s thought process at all. I think for them, it was just “this is a child” and they had trouble bringing themselves to try to kill him.

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      1. Besides, it’s harder to reach the neck – people instinctively protect their vital organs, even if it means taking very dangerous injuries to their arms. There are those who have bled out from defensive injuries to their arms from a knife without ever taking a hit to the chest or other vitals.

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    2. As Prince Pondincherry said, they were both raised as normal human Bystanders up until less than a year ago, so they hesitate from killing what looks like a normal human child… who happens to be related to them… particularly when they know his actions aren’t his fault. He was screwed up by Fossor, so they would have preferred to take him alive if possible.

      But mostly it’s the whole ‘he’s a little kid, don’t go for the kill shot immediately.’ Especially as they believed they could contain him, and were making decent progress at it.

      Not to mention being unsure what would actually kill him, given he survived a knife to the chest from Asenath before. And if they miss an attempt to kill him (even if they did push past the reflexive hesitation) and he reacts by ‘not playing anymore’ and destroys the detonator instead… yeah, that’s bad. Basically, if they can disable him, they could decide from there how best to do things from there.

      And while I really do understand the thoughts (I do, honest), I truly think that both of them going straight for trying to kill what amounts to a child who has been mentally damaged to be the way he is would be far more out of character. But I will say that’s probably a personal choice sort of thing, and I understand your opinion.

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    3. >Even for goody-two-shoes heroes, the absence of immediate lethal escalation is too far out of character.

      Like has been said, they are holding on to their humanity. Making the go-to tactic “Kill the threat immediately” for *everything* is eerily reminiscent of those veteran Heretics we have seen who are mostly kill-crazed meat robots.

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      1. I don’t think they’re hesitance on killing Ammon is an entirely conscious effort so much as an instinctive limit. Not so much that they’re trying to hold on to their humanity and more that they can’t overcome “don’t kill the young” mental block just yet.

        Among the other reasons to avoid killing Ammon if possible (not fully responsible for his actions, causing Joselyn pain, hoping to interrogate him to find Joselyn, etc.)

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  8. >I had the remote then, and I immediately started to crush it in my hand. Just as I did so, however, the thing let out a loud warning beep, startling me.
    “Go ahead!” Ammon taunted. “If you break it, it sends the signal anyway!”

    I’ll admit, having a Fail-Deadly is a smart way to prevent your (“cheating”) sister or her friends from just completely negating your explosives “presents”.

    >Her reward for that was a blast of water from Ammon that took her in the shoulder with enough force to knock her to the ground as the detonator clattered away from her.

    Koren is very lucky Ammon didn’t or otherwise couldn’t make a water *jet* instead of a blast, else she’d be worse off than him after that.

    >Then I had it. And I also felt like an idiot. The answer had been in front of us the whole time, almost literally. “Koren!” I shouted, “Black Knight!”

    …*squints* I see.

    >“I’m sorry.” Professor Dare’s voice was a broken whisper, the woman sounding emotionally destroyed, like her soul was shattering into pieces.
    And then she turned. In one smooth motion, the woman’s free hand lashed out. Her sword appeared in her grasp, the blade glowing with power. There was a sickening thunk and a spray of blood.

    …This was a surprise in more than one way. The fake-out itself, and the nature of what that means.

    >No way, unless we were related. Unless she was my… our…
    “Grandmother…”

    So, the speculation turned out to be true. Hm. Props to those who spent all that time piecing together the small clues. Dare being Flick’s grandmother is yet another line in the convoluted web that is Flick’s family tree, though, and I’m not 100 percent pleased about this. Oh well. =/ At least he is neutralized, and Dare showed not a moment too soon, since Flick and Koren were about to fail.

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