On The Edge 42-09

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Lying there, basically crippled on the floor as my injured legs refused to cooperate, I could do nothing as Abaddon approached. Not that I would have been able to do much to him even at my peak, but still. This was worse. He took his time, meandering casually across the room before stopping in front of me to look down with a slight shake of his head, almost looking regretful.

Tabs, I started inwardly.

I’m not leaving you alone here, she quickly shot back. So shut up.

Before I could retort to that and plead with her not to stay here, the Olympian spoke in a voice that made it sound like we were just having a chat. “Pretty good job back there, kid. I took a second to watch through, ah, let’s just say someone else’s eyes and I gotta say, impressive.”

From where she was standing by the pedestal that held that book, Kushiel distractedly snapped, “Stop toying with the monkey-child and kill it before something else happens to make that impossible.” She wasn’t looking our way, her attention solely focused on her goal. Yet she also wasn’t reaching for it. Instead, the woman seemed to be taking the time to disable what had to be a lot of security spells that had been placed around that pedestal.

Abaddon, however, glanced that way while musing aloud, “Kill her?” He seemed to consider that before looking back to me, his voice contemplative. “Eh, I don’t know.”

For a moment, Kushiel apparently forgot her current objective (which said something considering how obsessed the Seosten were with it), turning to face the man. Her voice was dark. “Excuse me?” she asked with icy brittleness. “You seemed very much in line with the goal of ending that monkey’s life before, so pray tell, what don’t you know now?”

The big guy shrugged one shoulder, watching me intently rather than looking to the woman. “Saw her fight,” he replied simply, “she’s pretty good. Got good instincts, good drive. Kind of be a damn shame to waste all that just because she’s on the wrong side right now.”  

“Wrong side?” I put in despite myself, a mixture of sarcasm and anger filling my voice as I shifted my weight, grimacing from the pain that hit me then. “Yeah, because I’m so sure that the people who are enslaving every other species in the universe are totally the good guys.”

A slight smile crossed his face. “Didn’t say we were the good guys. Said we were the right guys. There’s a difference.” For a moment, the man looked serious. “We do some awful shit, that’s for sure. But believe you me, it’d be worse without us. Fomorians are the real monsters out there.”

For a moment, I just stared at him in disbelief from my prone position. “I’m sorry,” I put in once I’d managed to find my (incredulous) voice, “are you actually trying to recruit me right now?”

Kushiel, who had turned back to her work of disabling the spells around the pedestal, spoke without looking. “I must agree with the monkey-child, which I will tell you right now annoys me to no end. What precisely do you think you’re doing?”

It was Radueriel who answered, from where he was standing over by the doorway. “Now, Kushiel, there’s no reason to be rude or ungracious in victory. The child did her best for her own side. Given what she faced, falling short in the end was to be expected. Still, she did quite well.” Looking to me, he added, “And in case you’re trying to stall until that headmistress of yours gets here, there’s, ahh, really no point. They won’t be showing up.”

Before I could demand to know what he meant by that, Kushiel actually elaborated for him. “Indeed. It seems that Liesje was slightly more… clever than we gave her credit for. This vault has been shifted into two connected pocket universes. The book itself was also split. One must have both halves, or it is useless. What we believed was the ‘back door’ into this vault was actually the door into the second vault. But it is no matter. We have… other forces gathering the book from the first vault as we speak.”

“The point is,” Radueriel explained, “they’re not coming, because you can’t get from one vault to the other without going through the right door, you see? That door to get to this one.” He gestured to the one we had come through. “And the ahhh, ‘front’ door to get to the other one. Two vaults. Two books. They might as well be a billion light years apart.”

“Look, kid,” Abaddon announced in a voice that rumbled like thunder while I was mentally reeling from that, “it’s like we said, you did pretty good. You even killed Manakel. Still not sure how you pulled that off, but hey, he was trying to kill you at the time, so I get it. Don’t like it, but I get it. None of this was personal.”

“Not… personal?” I managed, staring at him. “You killed Seth. You killed Seth like… less than an hour ago, and you don’t think this was personal? You don’t think it’s personal?” My voice rose at the end, almost turning to a shriek despite myself as I shoved myself up a bit against the pain.

He gave an easy nod at that. “Yeah, I did. He was a threat, so I finished it. Just like Manakel was a threat to you.” Reaching up, he pointed at me with two fingers. “Both of you. Yeah. The old man managed to let us know that you’ve got a little friend in there. Still doesn’t make sense. A kid wouldn’t be able to even pose the slightest threat to old Manakel. So what’d you do?”

They knew about Tabbris, I realized. Which made sense, considering how much time Manakel had had to send that message along while he was trying to escape the hospital. Still, I kept my face as expressionless as possible. “Maybe your old war buddy wasn’t as tough as he thought.”

If I hit a nerve, Abaddon didn’t show it. He just gave a small shrug. “Maybe. But like I said, none of this was personal. We’ve got a job to do, a war to win. I think you’d do pretty well if you just let go of all these other… distractions and worked with us instead of against us. You think we go too far? Eh, maybe. But what do you want, a universe with some jackasses like us keeping things in line, or one with the Fomorians killing everyone to remake them in their image? Sometimes you don’t get to pick the good guys, kid. Sometimes you just have to pick the less evil ones. And if it’s down to us or the Fomorians, well, I don’t think it’s much of a question, do you?”

“I think you’re all evil pieces of shit,” I snapped, “and we can do better.”

The whole time, my mind was racing. As was Tabbris’. What the hell were we supposed to do?! Where… where was everyone? Where was anyone? The Seosten were about to take Liesje’s spell, and there was no one here to help! I couldn’t stall anymore, I couldn’t fight anymore. I had no chance, none, against three Olympians at once even if I hadn’t been injured. They were going to take the spell and there was nothing I could do about it. What was I supposed to say? What was I supposed to try? I had nothing. Nothing that would help. I’d thrown everything I had at delaying them this long and it wasn’t enough. It just… wasn’t enough.

As if to make that realization even worse, there was a sound of satisfaction from Kushiel just then. The woman straightened, cracking her neck with a visible smile as she glanced my way. “That’s it. The last of the Aken woman’s spells. Do you feel accomplished for delaying us from our goal for this long, monkey-child? Do you feel as though you’ve achieved something? Because you have not. You’ve done nothing, accomplished nothing. The spell,” she declared while reaching out to grab the book, “is ours. And it will be destroyed. So all this wasted effort, do you still think it was worth it?”

“Every second where you’re still a loser is most definitely worth it,” I shot back. “Hey look, there’s another one. And another, and another. Yup, still a loser.”

Her eyes narrowed, while her hand tightened around the book. “And yet, you are the one who has lost.”

“Have I?” I asked flatly. Then I moved. My hands came off the floor, creating two quick portals in front of myself. One led right in front of Kushiel, while the other led to my staff. Tabbris hit the boost, just as I grabbed the weapon and the book. Even as Kushiel started to yank the book away, I triggered the blast on my staff, sending myself flying backwards and tearing the book from the psycho bitch’s hands. My back hit the far wall, and I slammed the staff down to shove myself to my feet with the book under one arm.

All three Olympians gave me equally unimpressed looks, though Kushiel’s was mixed with obvious annoyance. “Is that all,” she demanded while taking a step my way. “You are not leaving with that book. You have no way out of here, no way to escape. What is the point of this?”

“Well, like I said,” I put in as casually as I could manage while my legs were screaming in pain from putting weight on them, “every second you’re still a loser, yada yada. You know the drill.”

“You ignorant child!” Kushiel snapped, clearly losing it then while the other two Olympians simply stayed out of the way. “You are the one who has lost! You will not leave this vault. You will die. No one is coming to save you. You will die here, right now.” As she spoke, the woman’s hand produced a gold-handled blade, which she brought to her own chest. “Even if I must do it myself.”

“Last chance, kid,” Abaddon casually remarked from where he stood with his arms folded. “I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d like to see what you could do for our side. But you’ve gotta give me a reason to speak up for you.”

“She wants me dead,” I replied while keeping my eyes on Kushiel as the woman held that knife against her own chest. With a single push, she could kill me. With a single push, she could end all of this. But I kept talking anyway. “But not because of this. She wants me dead because she knows. She wants to kill me because she knows, but she wants to make sure. She wants to see her.”

“What are you rambling about?” Kushiel snapped. I had a feeling that she might have just stabbed herself and been done with me for good, but Abaddon put out a hand to catch her arm. He was clearly curious himself, and maybe even serious about wanting to recruit me. Either way, it was a chance, small as it might have been.

I took it, pressing on. “You want me dead, because you know. Or maybe you’re just afraid that you know.” Raising the hand that wasn’t clutching the book, I pointed to my own chest. “You know who’s in here. That little girl that Abaddon mentioned and you just keep conveniently ignoring. You know what she is. And you know what her being with me means. That’s why I keep calling you a loser. Not this book. Her. You know where she came from. That’s why you want me dead, so you can look at her and know once and for all. Because it’s been eating you up this whole time, hasn’t it? Ever since you heard from Manakel what he saw, it’s been right there. You’ve known. You figured it out, even if you didn’t want to. So you want to look at her.”

“Pardon me.” Radueriel spoke up then, raising his cybernetic hand. “Would you mind filling in the rest of the class, or is this rambling distraction going to go on much longer?”

“Sariel,” I announced flatly, after a brief consultation with my partner. “You had her locked up. You tortured her for years. You tried to destroy her. You took everything she had, and she still beat you.”

“Sariel beat nothing!” Kushiel snapped, her voice nearly a shriek. She shoved Abaddon off of her, moving to drive the knife into her own chest to end me.

“Mother!” The shout came from the doorway where Radueriel was. But he wasn’t the one who spoke. It was Theia, of course. She was standing there, staring directly at Kushiel with narrowed eyes. “You will not harm her. You will not harm any of my friends again.”  

Radueriel himself had moved to stop her, but when she did nothing but stand there to talk, he slowed, glancing curiously to the woman in charge.

The anger that Kushiel had shown me was nothing compared to what appeared in her eyes then. Slowly, she turned to look at her own daughter (or her own daughter’s host, anyway) with a look of utter contempt and hatred. It was the kind of look that no mother should ever give their child. “You,” she snarled, that single word pouring forth centuries worth of scorn and malice. “You should not have shown yourself. It was bad enough when you were merely a failure. But a traitor? A traitor? You are not my child. You are an abomination. You are a–”  

“Tabbris!” I shouted out loud, interrupting before the head she-bitch could keep going on her rant. At the word, all of them snapped their gazes my way, even as my partner, my sister, stepped out of me. Her hands took hold of the book with Liesje’s spell, and she gave the trio of Olympians, as well as Theia and Pace, a quick wave. “Mama says hi.”

Then she recalled back to me, with the book. Both disappeared from sight.

Kushiel’s eyes went wild with fury as she lunged at me. “If you think we won’t tear Sariel’s spawn from your corpse to take her and the book, you are sadly mistaken, you–” Her voice devolved to a wordless cry of rage as she closed a hand around my neck. I was hauled off the ground and shoved hard against the wall, flailing a bit as she choked me.

“Mother!” Blurting the word again, Theia crossed half the distance between us. “Let her go! We told you, you will not harm any more of our friends. You will not kill any more of my friends.” Her voice cracked with each word, the overwhelming fear evident. In spite of it, she stood straight, staring hard at the woman who had birthed her.

In turn, I saw that blinding rage in Kushiel’s face redirected that way. She slowly turned her head to glare that way while holding me off the floor with one hand. “You…” The word came in a snarl, before she pulled me off the wall and then shoved me hard against it once more, slamming me in a blow that sent a shock of pain through my back. “I told you never to call me that. That word is not for you to use, you pathetic, filthy abomination of a Lie!” The last word came in a shout that sent spittle flying from her mouth.

The shout from Theia, however, was just as angry. Scared, trembling, but angry. “I am your daughter! Hate it, hate me, but you are my mother! You spent thousands of years wishing for a child. Then you had one. You had one! I am your child. Your flesh is my flesh, your blood is my blood!”

From the corner of my eye, I saw Radueriel start to take a step that way. But Abaddon held a hand out to stop him, giving a slight shake of his head when the man looked to him.

“Blood?” Kushiel echoed in disbelief. “Flesh? You… you are a humiliation. I should not have allowed you to take one breath more than the breath you took in the moment I learned you were a Lie!” She was shouting, her rage filling the room. “I was a fool! I believed that my child, my child could learn, that you could beat the handicap that you were born with, that you could be cured. I was wrong. You were a failure at birth and you will remain a failure to your death. Now leave that host so that I may see that that death.”

With those words, Kushiel gave me a hard throw to the side. I hit the ground, sprawling out painfully. But my focus was on the woman herself, who had produced a gleaming silver dagger. Without another word, she hurled that blade across the room. Before I could even think of focusing on a portal, the dagger embedded itself into Pace’s chest, even as both of us (all four, if we counted Theia and Tabbris) screamed.

A girl stood there, form glowing briefly before fading. Pale skin. Dark hair. Theia. The real Theia. She straightened, taking in what had to be the first breath of her own in over a year.

And then she stepped forward, revealing another girl behind her. Pace. Alive. Standing with the bloody dagger in one hand. The wound in her chest… almost nonexistent.

“Your power.” The words that came from Theia just then sounded as though they were occuring to her the moment that she said them. She realized the truth and spoke it in wonder. “It’s your power, Mother.”

As she spoke those words, Kushiel slumped to her knees. Blood thoroughly coated the front of her shirt, while she held both hands against the traumatic wound in her chest, mouth gaping like a fish.

“You killed her,” Theia continued softly, her voice dull with shock. “You killed her. But I am… I am your daughter. I have your power. I… I moved it. I moved the damage. You killed her, just long enough. But I moved it. And you can’t… reflect what’s already been reflected.”

That was it. Theia had inherited her mother’s power to transfer damage. But because Pace had taken lethal damage, even if only for a bare instant before it was transferred, that had allowed Theia to stop possessing her.

Distantly, I noticed Radueriel and Abaddon. Both seemed frozen in confusion and disbelief, incapable of driving themselves to move against what they were witnessing.

From her knees, blood soaking the floor beneath her, Kushiel held her hands tight against the wound in her chest. She lifted her head, speaking a single, trembling word in a voice still full of hate and disgust. “… L… Lie…”

“My name,” her daughter informed her while plucking the dagger from Pace’s hand, “is not Lie.

“It is Aletheia.”

Recognition for that name and what it meant abruptly dawned in Kushiel’s hateful eyes, her mouth opening to spit a denial. But Theia moved first, driving the dagger into her own throat.

Once more, the damage was reflected. And once more, Kushiel was faced with her own power being used against her, as she had used it against so many others over so many centuries. Once more she was faced with a daughter who could hurt her the way that she had hurt her and everyone else for so long.

Once more… and for the last time.

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33 comments

  1. Thanks for reading, guys! One more chapter left in this arc. After that… well, then we’ll see. 😉

    Tags for this chapter are: Abaddon/Ares, Felicity Chambers, Flick, It Turns Out If You’re A Bitch For As Many Centuries As Kushiel Was‚ Karma Cooks Up Something Really Special., Just Imagine The Aneurism That Metatron Is Going To Go Through When He Hears About This., Karma, Kushiel, Pace, Radueriel, Tabbris, Theia

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    1. Cerulean said elsewhere that there’s a concealment spell preventing anyone but the three Olympians from realizing the door is open, but Theia counted as Kushiel to the spell’s detection system, so she could see through it.
      I wonder where everyone else thinks she went. Or maybe they didn’t see her go through it? It’s not like you’d expect her to be the first one up, necessarily.

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  2. Well, this was totally unexpected. Very fulfilling of and ending to that, no, using “bitch” is an insult to females dogs in this case. To that person, that works. The only problem I have with her death is that a Heretic doesn’t get any of her power from the kill. Such a waste, that. After all they’re supposed to kill monsters and Kushiel was very clearly a monster.

    The “can’t reflect what’s already been reflected.” was a nice touch, though I’m thinking it is more likely to be a factor of the power itself, as I refuse to believe that Kushiel never fought someone else who can deflect/reflect damage in a like, if not same, manner as she could. My guess is that because it is the same power it can’t bounce the damage a second time.

    Also, I thought of the idea of “temporary killing” to help with SPS. With even Bystander medical knowledge it’s easy enough to stop someone’s heart long enough and then restart it. I’d think with Heretic knowledge it’d be even easier. Maybe there is some sort of “tag” that knows the death isn’t “real” but, eigh, that’s getting a little too hokey with it.
    I can understand why all the people working on this never tried it though, because there is always the chance you won’t be able to revive someone and when your plan -starts- with “first we kill you” most people want to think of a better plan. At least for one half, the other half wanted a proper solution to SPS, at least on a one person basis, not just a way of getting the one stuck out of the host. Since they didn’t care about the hosts and all.

    So now we just have to wait to see what Abaddon and Radueriel do now. With Aletheia and Pace here I have to assume others will be following shortly, but I don’t think that’ll matter too much.
    Flick is still not in any fighting shape, and while Aletheia can reflect damage I’m sure at least Radueriel has thought of a way around that. He seems like the sort of plan for people betraying him.
    They, as Abaddon said, still have a job to do. Losing another of their own doesn’t change that…

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    1. People have brought up temporarily stopping the heart before, but I’m not so sure it would work. It’s debatable whether that actually counts as dead. Although a dagger to Pace’s chest, and presumably through the heart, counted as “dead” enough, so maybe a magically-stopped heart would count as dead as well.

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  3. >A slight smile crossed his face. “Didn’t say we were the good guys. Said we were the right guys. There’s a difference.” For a moment, the man looked serious. “We do some awful shit, that’s for sure. But believe you me, it’d be worse without us. Fomorians are the real monsters out there.”

    Yes, Ares, the Fomorians are worse than you. For now. Your race’s desperation as you find yourselves on the losing end of war against them is steadily leading you towards becoming akin to the Fomorians in terms of (lack of) positive virtues. Just look at the psychobitch you’re hanging around with, for example.

    >“Your power.” The words that came from Theia just then sounded as though they were occuring to her the moment that she said them. She realized the truth and spoke it in wonder. “It’s your power, Mother.”
    As she spoke those words, Kushiel slumped to her knees. Blood thoroughly coated the front of her shirt, while she held both hands against the traumatic wound in her chest, mouth gaping like a fish.
    “You killed her,” Theia continued softly, her voice dull with shock. “You killed her. But I am… I am your daughter. I have your power. I… I moved it. I moved the damage. You killed her, just long enough. But I moved it. And you can’t… reflect what’s already been reflected.”

    The timing of these events is very close to have worked out without Pace being perma-dead, but whew, is this a good way to cap off a day.

    >But Theia moved first, driving the dagger into her own throat.
    Once more, the damage was reflected. And once more, Kushiel was faced with her own power being used against her, as she had used it against so many others over so many centuries. Once more she was faced with a daughter who could hurt her the way that she had hurt her and everyone else for so long.
    Once more… and for the last time.

    I hope you enjoy Hell, Kushiel, because that’s the only place you’re heading to now.
    There is a curious and satisfying bookends in that it was the daughter she tortured and cursed for so long that was the one to End her.

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  4. I take it everyone ELSE is now realizing why Chayyiel abandoned the other Olympians long, long ago. To whit: As Cerulean said, you can’t go around inflicting your sadism upon the Universe, without the Universe *eventually* pushing back. The Olympians are going to continue falling like dominoes, in ever more ironic fashions, because that’s just happens.

    Though I gotta say, I loved Kushiel’s “Kill the monkey-child, before something else happens to make that impossible” line. It shows that some of them, at least, are capable of learning.

    I bet everyone thinks Abbadon will escape the Olympian Curse, just because he wasn’t a psychotic monster for ten breaths. Nope, not how it works. He runs about murdering anyone whose form he wants to collect. He’s an upgraded Yaunt’Jaa (Predator alien). Collecting trophies and disinterested in anything resembling a sane moral code.

    The old “I can commit Grade Nine Evil indefinitely, because I’m helping to stop a Grade Ten Evil” defense doesn’t hold water, and will never hold water. Good on Flick, for telling a nigh-unstoppable killing machine “We can do better” and spitting defiance in his face over Seth.

    No, Abbadon, Flick/Sariel ganking Manakel wasn’t the same as you killing Seth. Manakel had come to someone else’s planet, and started mass-murdering people, for convenience’s sake. As Chayyiel said, he was a rabid dog. Whatever he might once have been.

    If anything, Abbadon is WORSE than Kushiel, Manakel and Charmeine, because his brains haven’t been quite as cooked by his emotional damage. He SHOULD be able to see what Chayyiel sees, but no, he’s JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS! ::spits::

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    1. Thats not how Abbadon’s power works. He possess someone, and then he can turn into them whenever he wants. He does not have to kill anyone to collect their form, and if anything it’s more convenient for him to leave them alive so that if that form of his gets killed, he can go back and possess them again.

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    2. My personal prediction is that Abaddon, Radueriel, and others like them will end up a part of a reformed Seosten Empire just because it will need some manpower and there won’t be enough truly blameless Seosten to fill in the ranks for centuries. They’ll still be evil, but they’ll effectively have “community service” as their punishment. I say those two specifically because they seem reasonable enough to go along with the new order of things if, say, Chayyiel takes over. (Whereas Kushiel would have revolted outright or continued to commit atrocities in private.)

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  5. That was a satisfying end for Kushiel as finally no one will have to put up with her shit anymore! Though it isn’t really time to celebrate as there are two more hostile Olympians here… I do worry about what happened to Athena given Ares/Abbadon is here….

    Well that was an intense binge, I probably shouldn’t have read all of this over the last week but I did…. Kudos for the emotional roller coaster so far. Flick is in deep but she really has grown just not enough to face off against These guys…. Considering that most (i.e. not Kushiel) of the olympians seem to have once been decent people, for a elitist species of body snatchers, I wonder in each case what exactly led many of them to snap, was it the Formorians, high expectations of their people, relationship drama etc… or more likely all of the above.

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    1. I don’t know if “Theia-and-Pace working every sock off to keep tabs on Kushiel for all the reasons” is a contrived plot device/ deus ex machina. Because they made it crystal clear that if a chance came up for a face off, they wanted in. Hard. Bad. And all guns blazing.

      We got hard, bad and all emotional phasers set to Biggest Effing Distraction Ever.

      I’m waiting for Abbadon to come out with “nothing personal” about how Kushiel bit the dust. Because, yeah, right. Not a single person is even there specifically because of a host of abusive actions taken by Olympians at all, no. Heck, each of those kids wouldn’t have been born and fucked over without your meddling in the lives of them, those they love and those of their ancestors, including Pace. You prick.

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      1. I think he was referring to how Theia’s method of killing Kushiel also happened to free her from Pace without killing her as seeming convienent, not the fact that Theia showed up to kill Kushiel.

        Was there a time when it was stated in-universe that Kushiel’s (and thus Theia’s) power also lets her displace damage dealt to other people instead of to her?

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      2. Kushiel has used it before — you know, in the lab before getting back to Earth. And, if you think about it, so has Theia (she’s used cutting herself and pain as more than a self-harm distraction, I’m sure of it). What they didn’t try was what just happened: reflecting a lethal strike to get Theia out of hosts without using torture as a warm-up, first — when she’s really, really motivated to kill the person going lethal on her.

        Because Theia learned long ago the price of accidentally doing damage to her mother (it’s taken her months to undo how many decades of learned helplessness on top of PTSD?), and often didn’t want to kill whoever else would die along with her host if she fully reflected what they were forced to use against her back on them.

        Without knowing it, Kushiel both taught her daughter how to use this… But, also traumatised her into never using it on full blast.

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      3. Kushiel has used it before — you know, in the lab before getting back to Earth.

        Can you point me to a specific chapter or scene? Because while i remember Kushiel displacing damage dealt to herself onto targets, I don’t remember her displacing damage done to people other than herself on to targets. Because that’s what Theia did, she displaced damage done to Pace on to Kushiel, not damage done to herself.

        And I freely admit that I didn’t read those chapters super carefully, so I could have easily missed an example of it.

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      4. Granted, I don’t think it’s unprecedented for Olympian abilities to extend to hosts, but the way this solved Theia’s other big problem of permanent possession just like that at the same time is what seems overly convienant to me personally (not sure what the guy you first replied to thinks) not Kushiel’s death.

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      5. To me, Theia’s problem… A: isn’t perfectly solved given the need to kill something. B: is still a big thing for every other SPS Seosten whom she will advocate for, and C: was ‘solved’ by using her mother’s own power when said mother spent her entire life trying to fix it in increasingly evil ways when the actual solution was right there the whole time.

        You can call it ‘narratively convenient’, but that isn’t always a BAD THING. Just like using tropes isn’t inherently a bad thing. I honestly think the story would be so much worse if Kushiel didn’t die here and Theia didn’t separate from Pace. This is a WIN in that case, a win that’s been built up for quite awhile. Sometimes you just need moments like this. Or… well, I do. Others may and are free to disagree, which is absolutely fine.

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      6. If you mean when she redirected the damage done to Pace, that was while she was possessing her. And we have absolutely seen an Olympian use their power from within a host before: Sariel used her perfect aim while fighting the thugs when Larissa was a child. I think there’s other cases, but it’s hard to remember and this is a long story.

        That said, I see no reason why they wouldn’t be able to use their Olympian powers while within a host. It would seem kind of… odd if they couldn’t.

        And it’s the big climactic time of the story, I don’t see how revealing an inherited power like that in that way is a bad thing. It’s how stories work. You build up the problem and the solution is something that might not have been exactly seen ahead of time, but was definitely ABLE to be guessed. And given the number of people guessing that Theia would inherited one of her parents powers, I would say this fits. It was absolutely foreshadowed given how much weight was put on finding a way to separate them AND how much Kushiel’s power was explained and set up far ahead of time. I honestly don’t see how this is a problem.

        Basically, while everyone is absolutely free to have any opinion, I don’t *see* the problem. It was foreshadowed, the problem and solution were both set up well ahead of time, doing so in that moment made narrative sense and ‘end of a storyline’ sense… I’m not seeing how there’s something wrong here.

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      7. *shrugs*
        The whole thing fell flat to me. All I can do is look at it and try to understand why. I wasn’t really planning on it, but I guess if you’re making a discussion out of it.
        Part of it was how abrupt it all felt, Theia’s kinda just there all of the sudden. I guess the way it cut short Flick throwing Sariel getting Tabbris away in Kushiel’s face bugged me a little. And them being separated like that felt too manufactured a “win” to take satisfaction in for me. Which is then amplified by the fact that I’m not really a fan of this arc to begin with and this is just one last extra thing I’m not fond of before the story eventually moves on.
        I also still don’t understand how it worked. Did Pace legitimately die but then get brought back? Is bringing people dead for a second or less back to life just something Kushiel’s power can do? Or was it only that Pace’s body was about to die and released Theia at the last second?

        I honestly think the story would be so much worse if Kushiel didn’t die here

        I can’t argue with that, although my reasons for thinking so probably don’t match up with yours. But I’m still surprised because it looked like she was being set up to show up with Sariel’s last kid or a confrontation with a Face-turning Puriel (and Spark).

        and Theia didn’t separate from Pace.

        But this disappoints me a little because seeing them deal with that dynamic was one of the things I found interesting about either of them. I was confidant they would be separated eventually, but I figured it would take a while. And I was looking forward to seeing them find ways to leverage a permanent possession like that, how it helped them deal with this upcoming Eden’s Garden thing you’ve hinted at, etc.

        I don’t see how revealing an inherited power like that in that way is a bad thing.

        That’s probably because Theia inheriting Kushiel’s power is not my problem and I never said it was.

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      8. Oh yeah, well, sorry you feel that way. I am still quite proud of this arc and enjoy it. That’s totally up to you though. For a couple things:

        “Part of it was how abrupt it all felt, Theia’s kinda just there all of the sudden. ”

        Theia was well established as being in the hallway just outside. Part of this is the problem of seeing things only from Flick’s POV, but she woke up before the others through a combination of werewolf healing and the fact that Theia, inside of Pace, could wake her up and get her moving. And they escaped the confinement because Theia can shut off Pace’s pain as they contort/damage their body enough to make it out. But yeah, her being ‘just there all of a sudden’ is from Flick’s POV. If it was a third person narration, we’d split attention back and forth between Flick inside and the slow minutes where Theia and Pace extricated themselves, with the tension lying on whether they’d get in there soon enough to help.

        That said, I don’t see the issue with reinforcements that have been well-established to be right outside showing up in the middle of an ongoing conversation.

        But I do sympathize with ‘it cut short Flick throwing Sariel getting Tabbris away in Kushiel’s face’. I don’t AGREE, but I sympathize. I have a different take on it. In my view, getting hit from both sides with Theia being right there denouncing and calling her out, and Tabbris being revealed work TOGETHER, not against each other. Her own daughter being a ‘Lie’ and Sariel’s daughter surviving/escaping and apparently being the one fucking them over for so long… and the two of them working together… they go *with each other* as assaults on Kushiel. Assaults that explain her completely losing her mind and going to kill Pace. To me, all of that worked perfectly together.

        “I also still don’t understand how it worked. Did Pace legitimately die but then get brought back? Is bringing people dead for a second or less back to life just something Kushiel’s power can do? Or was it only that Pace’s body was about to die and released Theia at the last second?”

        The body takes the damage for a split second before 90% of it is negated (and 100% copied over to the targets). In that split second, Theia was freed from Pace before the damage was insta-healed. It’s specifically a quirk of ‘the Dimension of Awesome’ powers.

        “I can’t argue with that, although my reasons for thinking so probably don’t match up with yours. But I’m still surprised because it looked like she was being set up to show up with Sariel’s last kid or a confrontation with a Face-turning Puriel (and Spark)”

        That’s a storyline for later. Kushiel’s effects and history can still be felt without her being present.

        “But this disappoints me a little because seeing them deal with that dynamic was one of the things I found interesting about either of them. I was confidant they would be separated eventually, but I figured it would take a while. And I was looking forward to seeing them find ways to leverage a permanent possession like that, how it helped them deal with this upcoming Eden’s Garden thing you’ve hinted at, etc.”

        As noted elsewhere, this being the climax of this ‘book’, we need wins/changes/development/board shake-ups, etc. This is all of those at once. Especially as we have introduced several other Lies already, particularly recently, and to me, Theia having the power to escape a host makes potential storylines involving those other Lies and how they might react to that much MORE interesting, not less. We have other Lies who can’t escape a host to keep that up, this makes Theia more unique and gives her her own storyline.

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      9. I see no reason why they wouldn’t be able to use their Olympian powers while within a host.

        Well, “perfect aim” immediately makes sense as a power you can use while within a host. It’s a Thinker power. “Reflection of damage dealt to me” could very reasonably be limited to your own body. As far as I know, Kushiel can’t reflect damage dealt to somebody standing next to her, and while possession is close enough to “your own body” that it totally makes sense for it to work that way, it’s definitely not the first assumption.

        The body takes the damage for a split second before 90% of it is negated (and 100% copied over to the targets). In that split second, Theia was freed from Pace before the damage was insta-healed. It’s specifically a quirk of ‘the Dimension of Awesome’ powers.

        My biggest (only?) complaint about this chapter is that this part was never actually in the story anywhere.

        You build up the problem and the solution is something that might not have been exactly seen ahead of time, but was definitely ABLE to be guessed. And given the number of people guessing that Theia would inherited one of her parents powers, I would say this fits. It was absolutely foreshadowed given how much weight was put on finding a way to separate them AND how much Kushiel’s power was explained and set up far ahead of time.

        Kushiel’s power decreasing damage to her as well as reflecting the damage to somebody else wasn’t explicitly clear until last chapter, so it wasn’t exactly set up far ahead of time. And the fact that the damage is immediately healed rather than just negated entirely wasn’t in the story until it saves Pace’s life in this chapter, and isn’t really clear without author’s notes.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Cerulean, great story so far, i’m really enjoying it.

    I yust wanted to ask if Flick can’t recall to Miranda in this situation because the vault is in a pocket dimension, or is there some spell stopping her from doing that, because it seems she doesn’t even try to use that power, even after she has the book in her hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks! And the reason she can’t recall to Miranda is that first she ‘possessed’ (passed right through) all three Olympians to get into the vault ahead of them. That would have made Kushiel (the last one she passed through) her recall point. Except she possessed that Seosten inside the vault during the fight and knocked him unconscious, making HIM her recall point. Good thought, though.

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