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WIP A Practical Guide to Evil by Erraticerrata - T - Original Fantasy

Discussion in 'Original Fiction' started by DvorakQ, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. Nazgus

    Nazgus Minister of Magic

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    It's not really in her nature to admit defeat like that. As much as I'd enjoy having Akua as the monster on the leash, if you go back and reread one of her interludes, she's someone who will always struggle for control. She'll play her cards, work her way into the best position possible sure. But she doesn't care about being on the winning train unless she's the one driving it.
     
  2. Koalas

    Koalas First Year Prestige DLP Supporter

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    That was before being turned into a +5 Chancellors Cloak. I feel like the act of being turned into a magical item would have some form of impact on the soul. Akua's also clearly been doing some mental gymnastics with regards to her relationship with Cat, if for no other reason then to 'justify' her loss.
     
  3. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    It's one of the rare cases where Akua is both, the hero that Callow needs and the one it deserves. Sad to see it only lasting for such a short time but am looking forward for more.
     
  4. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    I disagree. It’s like the others said about her being bound to the cloak. She’s had to change her entire world view because of being bound to the cloak. In the interlude she thinks of Cat as a kind of lover for her. She’s not gonna try and overthrow her so much as insinuate herself as much as possible into Cats life. She wants to be relied upon to the point where she’s basically the devil on the shoulder. She might not be able to takeover but being the number 1 advisor to who she sees as the next triumphant is the next best thing.
     
  5. Nazgus

    Nazgus Minister of Magic

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    I really don't think she has.

    I even went back and reread it to be sure, but I see nothing in it that doesn't fit within the narrative of her waiting for the best time to strike. I guess you could assume she's legit, but I really don't see why you would.

    On a different note, the new chapter is out.
     
  6. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    Cat's back and I miss Akua already. Never thought I'd say that, but I think disposablehead hit on why--we've kind of reached the point where Cat's tone of narration is 'world-weary'. Not without reason, sure, but I'm getting world-weary from her being so world-weary.

    Though part of that might just be that it doesn't really feel deserved right now? I mean, while her side's two biggest Named were down and the other side had two bigger Named and an extra ten for funsies, and they accomplished not all that much while she was gone. Whereas if it was Cat fighting a side that was missing all it's Named, they'd all be dead.

    Yeah, the losses are bad and all, but your army is still here, somehow. Look at the bright-side.
     
  7. Koalas

    Koalas First Year Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I was curious if Akua was somehow more efficient with Winter then Cat was but no, she's just strictly better at using the power. I'm seeing a lot more Akua mentorship in the future.
     
  8. Nazgus

    Nazgus Minister of Magic

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    Newest chapter felt incredibly short.

    All they did was decide how they're going to refer to each other during the negotiations. That was literally it.

    I'm not alone in feeling like quality has dropped since they went up to 3/week am I? Even copy editing mistakes are slipping through.
     
  9. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

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    Was definitely short. Much more than usual. If the next chapter is super-sized to compensate then I'll be okay with it, since it'd make some structural sense to have this prelude chapter done before accomplishing negotiations in the next one. Assuming that the next chapter actually makes real progress. Like goddamn, I like the Pilgrim and all, but if he fucking derails negotiations and draws this bastard out I will never forgive him. We're nearly 30 chapters in and still in the first stage of the Crusade. Can't say I've disliked any particular part of it (aside from the pacing), but I'm tired of it. I'm past that point. Wrap it up and toss me an Interlude of Black in the Vales or better yet give me the Free Cities. The Tyrant's fun.

    Said it with Book 3, but I dunno if the multi-update schedule is hurting the story or saving it. Having to deal with Kaleidoscope over the course of a month and a half would be fucking excruciating, but maybe the author would tighten the bastard up if that was the case. I figure the chapter-by-chapter progress has mostly slowed down - especially whenever there's downtime in the story - but on a week-by-week basis we're still on an increase.

    Also, story needs more quips. Sure, I get why there's less than in Book 2 thematically and whatnot, but at the end of the day Errata is fucking phenomenal at banter. Write more of it.
     
  10. CareOtters

    CareOtters Supreme Mugwump DLP Supporter

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    'sup d00ds

    ...sorry. I'm better than that.

    Does anyone know a way to download this, ideally to a .epub or .mobi format? I'm totally into the first chapter, but I've recently got in the habit of reading fanfiction offline, and the usual converter I use isn't compatible with Wordpress.

    I'm very engaged so far. I was convinced I wouldn't like it, but it seems to be tightly written and edited to a professional standard, and I've completely changed my opinion already.

    Edit: I need to up my google-fu. http://www.omnibuser.com/ for anyone else interested.
     
  11. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    That's so helpful, I'll forgive the d00ds thing. Might give worm 2 a shot now that I can read that on the train.

    As the story, I really enjoyed the Akua chapters and the Cat and Archer conversation, but yeah, glad that the crusade thing seems to be wrapping up for now, barring something "unexpected".
     
  12. Lamora

    Lamora Definitely Not Batman

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    I think Cat is actually going to manage to forge this truce.

    Then Saint is going up and say 'well that's nice, but I'm Heaven's favorite holy roller', cut through the truce and try to take Cat down, over the protestations and reluctant support of the Pilgrim and co., and Cat's going to put her first old legend in the grave. Here's why:

    There was a shit ton of foreshadowing in this chapter near the end. Most notably, while Cat was setting herself up as a 'villain was actually an anti-hero' story (which is pretty true for the whole Woe, let's be honest), she mentioned that the second part of that story is usually 'anti hero and heroes band against common bigger evil'. While the obvious in-story answer is Praes, the meta answer that the reader knows is that Triumphant is almost certainly coming.

    What is less obvious is that the Gods Above and Below almost certainly know the same thing, considering Triumphant has been plonking around all this time in one of the Hells.

    If Cat puts this sort of offer on the table for the Gods Above, I think they grab it with both hands, because they know Triumphant is coming and they badly need the kind of competency that Cat has clearly been demonstrating. Naturally, the Gods Below are going to be making counterplay to ensure that Cat stays on Team Evil, but that makes both teams who are trying to win Cat.

    Meanwhile, Cat already said it earlier - Saint is just Ranger with shiny paint on. And both Saint and Ranger, as far as stories go, are kind of...shitty. The whole reason the Gods put their thumbs on the scale narratively speaking is to solve the wager of Fate, and neither Ranger nor Saint contribute much towards the resolution of that. They're both simply killers - Saint of Good, Ranger of sort of neutrality. If they have any counterpart on the side of Evil, it's Assassin if anyone.

    I think if it's Cat with her 'offer' of future team-up (against Triumphant, though she doesn't know that yet) vs the worth of Saint, I think the Gods Above take their thumbs off the scale.

    And then it's Cat and Evil vs Saint. If Saint wins, she was more useful anyway. If Cat does...then the Gods Above have a team up.

    The second sort of duality going on (of which there are many in this series) is Cat and Pilgrim vs Saint and Akua.

    Cat and Pilgrim represent sort of the intelligent exploration of Good and Evil that has been the strong point since the series started. Meanwhile, Saint and Akua are classic Good and Evil - the good warrior and the evil advisor (of which Cat and Pilgrim are very pointed inversions - evil warrior and good advisor). New vs. Old. The comparison is very stark.

    I think Cat has just gotten through slaying the Classic Evil. There are two ways I think Saint dies. Either Cat kills her and completes her set by slaying Classic Good - or Pilgrim gives Saint up, which was foreshadowed by him cowing even Saint by what he was willing to do to see Good be done.

    This second possible way might be done at Pilgrim's own decision, or Cat might force him into a position (which has also been foreshadowed) where the her new Evil is clearly the right side whereas Saint is blindly following Good without regard for who dies underfoot.

    And if Pilgrim flips, the entire war changes. It's been said the entire Levant country would make him king - at a bare minimum they drop out of the war and refuse to fight him, if not actively joining his side. It was noted very distinctly in Hasenbach's meeting with them that they're only fighting for Good and not Procer, and in fact dislike Procer - if their uncrowned king Chosen switches sides, that's more than a lever, that's an entire goddamn seesaw.
     
  13. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

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    Five man band of heroes leads the charge into the deepest evils of the Crusade. They assume that the worst yet to come will be Ater and the horrors Malicia unleashes from the Tower, but agreed with Lamora that it's the Dead King (and probably his Dread Queen Triumphant) storming out of Keter, and Cat will not be abiding that. Funny how Smart Evil faltering unleashes one of the great Classic Evils. If there's a five man band to handle that, and Cat joins the Grand Alliance as a means to introduce the Liesse Accords, well if nothing else protagonist status means that the Woe can slot up to make that charge. After all, we've yet to see the five come together in a fight this Crusade. That's Significant.

    Question that follows is, what happens to the Heroes? Saint dying here in a failed ambush could take care of her, (And I wonder how many Heroes she takes with her). The Grey Pilgrim can play an appropriate Role without being one of the five. But Hanno? Gotta agree with Pilgrim that he was made for something like this (particularly to defeat Cat. Justifications matter only to the just and all that. Choirs don't forget or forgive). Not sure what happens to the White Knight.
     
  14. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    The Red Vales interlude was great. Grem is a scary bastard. Taking out tens of thousands of Crusaders with good tactics and a huge swinging dick. Given a whole year I can only guess at what nastiness they have waiting with the other four positions. The current one being the best spot though means they probably have a few more horrors waiting in the wings there. General Catastrophe is also now my favorite background character. I need to know how they got a Dragon to lead one of their armies, though I think it might have been mentioned as the negotiations that took place where he wanted to eat Captain when she was Cursed. No matter how I think we all support our Scaly General and his plans of burning them all alive. I don't care who, just that they burn.
    --- Post automerged ---
    Another great interlude. Black's plan was amazing and this line “Blown up a rather expensive horse,” the Black Knight said. “With the dark and wicked spell of wick and cheap matches. My coffers aren’t what they used to be. Tremble, White Knight, for my power is truly boundless within reasonable limits.” killed me. I'm super hyped to see the Warlock and Witch fight, especially if we keep getting it from Wekeska's perspective. The explanations of what the magic is doing and the theories behind it is like crack for me. Watching the Legions stomp their way through a piece of the Crusader's host is going to be like icing on the cake. Can't wait to see how the Gods Above pull some bullshit out of their ass so Black and have another solution for them. Also I really want the abomination to be Assassin, but I don't think it is. If only because I want to see what it's been up to while everyone else has their fun.
     
  15. Lamora

    Lamora Definitely Not Batman

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    It's not Assassin. Black mentions Nefarious in the fight with the White Knight, which is a callback to Book 3 Chapter 2, where Malicia mentions that Emperor Nefarious invented 'flesh simulacrums with a sliver of personality', which is what she used to attend the Callow council meeting.

    The White Knight got played by thinking Black would literally ever consent to an actual one-on-one fight with him. Black couldn't refuse the Knight-on-Knight challenge, so he just showed up inside a flesh dummy as a technicality, since the Heavens' granted intuition/prophetic powers of 'providence' are incredibly long-reaching, but not discerning, so they can't tell the difference.

    No, Black and Warlock held back from fighting specifically so Witch and White would have to commit first, which they did, and are now getting fucked through the nose for it.

    The worst part of Black unexpectedly being in the northern valley isn't the surprise Legions he has repositioned there. The worst part is that the northern valley is where White sent all the other heroes. Specifically, the ones without any narrative to protect them like the Witch and White (with the exception of Champion, who might have a scrap of one what with wearing Captain's literal hide as a cloak, and not necessarily in her favor). And, worst of all worst things, since Black deliberately has only been acting in an advisory capacity, this is the first part of Black's plan. Black and his legions are about run a train on the northern crusader forces and all their heroes.

    White and Witch have no good options. They both leave to help the north? Warlock smashes half the southern crusaders with no Named to protect them. Just White leaves? Huge death flag for the Witch, with 'let's split up' or 'hold him off till I get back' in play. Witch leaves? Warlock spanks the shit out of White (who has next to nothing to counter an extreme long range opponent like Warlock) and Black still decimates the north most likely and leaves when Witch shows, since White wasn't built for Warlock and Witch wasn't built for Black - none of the four likely die, but the Empire still most likely leaves with the upper hand.

    Also, did anyone catch the Miyazaki references with Witch of the Woods? Stone mask, wolf mother, knife?

    [​IMG]


    As a point of amusement, when I first read the latest chapter, I actually thought it was Assassin too - which got me to thinking, given the admiring words about exploding livestock, is that it would be really funny if Assassin is Catherine's only fan in the Calamities, with Captain gone.

    I mean, Warlock actively hated and wanted to kill her for a while and still thinks she should die even having mellowed out, Malicia was wary and is probably planning on eliminating her now, Ranger was ready to kill her on a moment's notice without a fuck to give and basically was mostly annoyed that raising Catherine was getting in the way of getting back together with Black. Eudokia's a pseudo Calamity and had to be ordered not to kill her. Captain was likely fond, but also likely 100% percent willing to kill her if Black said so.

    So that makes Black (who hardly counts as her mentor), Captain by extension, and no one else. Assassin being a huge fan would be funny, and not even out of place - he raised her in Black's place for unknown amounts of time, they both die all the time and kill their enemies in funny ways.
     
  16. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    So I said this elsewhere, but I'll say it here as well, even if it goes against the grain.

    I thought this chapter was meh. Half of it was essentially random magic/story technobabble.

    This is one of those times where I feel like maybe I would appreciate a trick or accept it more if I understood it. This happens basically any time mages in this story start to do anything of note, because I have no idea what any of them are capable of--Masego is the poster child of this trick, since he can pimpslap three demons with a fake sun when the mood takes him, but can't resolve all his problems that way and I just have no idea what he can or can't do at any given time--but it's especially an issue when it comes to the narrative; frankly, Cat's final victory in Book 2 seemed cool at the time...but it was built on a realization she didn't hold to before or since*, founded on Angelic stupidity**, and capped by Will not just decapitating her while she was standing still at the end***. Black using this trick before, in Liesse, was another big stickler, and I couldn't understand how it worked then any more than I understand how it works now. Hanno noted in this chapter the consequences of shirking a dual in the eyes of the Gods Above and Below and Black totally just did that and seemingly got away with it scot-free. And monologued about it, afterwards, which is supposed to be how villains die.****

    And he said Hanno would never understand what he was doing which, you know, makes me empathize with Hanno even more, because what? He explains that Providence, you see, is a force, not an intelligence, which is news to me. Hanno was led by fate to Black because Black's mind was there, which was considered the greater part of him, and this worked, without the Gods being upset, because...?

    I have no idea. And this is kind of the issue I have whenever Black and Cat get too into direct narrative fuckery like this--it seems to work because...the story likes them better, I guess?

    Hopefully this isn't over, because this is the second time Black's done this trick to get away with huge things he shouldn't narratively--first scoring a free win against Akua and now casually shrugging off this whole mess and going on to seemingly dominate an army in battle--and it's sort of making the narrative seem like progressively more of a joke. Hell, I thought Creation didn't like repeat performances? And where's the angelic fuckery now? The guys up north swore it off, but not these guys. Fuck, if we're getting this silly with the narrative, I hope the Bard shows up at least.

    So far, the huge impending threat of the Crusade that has be built up as such a dire threat is still seemingly toothless. The attack up North had twelve heroes and they accomplished basically nothing, and the South is seemingly also going to accomplish nothing, and it's like...this is the whole point of this story, though? Like, the entire reason the bad guys had to use practical evil was supposed to be because the deck was so stacked against them, but literally the only times the heroes have won, it was off-screen. Bard made Captain evaporate off-screen. Pilgrim knocked out Cat off-screen. But that doesn't make them feel like a real threat.

    Last chapter, Black bragged about Cat facing down two of the biggest Named heroes on the continent, but it's really hard for that to seem impressive, when Cat won easily, even after literally taking a nap for a day. Juniper was left to face off with 40000 soldiers and 11 Heroes (one was dead at the time), one of whom can cut reality and the other of whom can catch a fake star, and I'm supposed to accept that Juniper's fought them to a draw, if with losses? They had literally one Named on their side at the time.

    You know what would have happened to the Crusaders if all their Named took a nap for a day and Cat was still around? That army would be fucking broken.

    *Justifications only matter to the justice sounds really cool and all--but half this story is Cat justifying shit. This story literally began with her justifying shit.

    **She got brought back to life because she couldn't win and die--if you ignore a million stories where the heroes die. This is especially bad because the Angel of Contrition apparently couldn't think of such a story when, guess what? Their reward for the Lone Swordsman was going to be death.

    ***Cat wakes up to find Will stuck a sword through her. It didn't matter much, because she was a zombie. Will know she was a Zombie, though, so why does he keep stabbing her, instead of decapitating her? One of Will's Aspects was literally Swing.

    ****And yes, the Bard also did this. And the Bard had two unknown Aspects and a story-weaving name to back it up, and even then, I thought it was kind of bullshit, because she had to sit down and explain how the hell it worked, using Levantine language trivia and story details we couldn't have possibly known, and background shenanigans we don't understand.
     
  17. Xarlor

    Xarlor Second Year

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    The thing with repeated performances was stated for as second pattern of three between Cat and Akua. Since the Black Knight didn't use this trick against Hanno yet there is no repetition. And the win in Liesse was not completly free, assassin still died there and we do not know what that means or what the consequences are.

    To the attack up north and the heroes, you are forgetting one thing. Cat isn't just a villian, though without a Name I am unsure if and how that counts. She is The Black Queen the last titled entity of winter. It was stated before Liesse that she had as much power as a prince or princess and with fully claiming here mantle she is propably even stronger now. It was also stated that the queen of Summer could kill Cats whole army on her own and even if Cat is not on that level yet she is propably close. So the heroes managed to stop Cat from killing the whole army up north and killed hundreds or thousand of her army, when she took that nap. The question I have to that battle is how could they burn down the crusader camp the second time.

    Also it is important to remember that the Hellhound did not face 40k professional soldiers. Most of them are levies and mercenaries, while she had the advantages in siege, munitions and so on. And she only fought them for one hour on the left side of the lake, while mainly retreating on the right and still lost thousands. Also was it just my impression or were all the heroes except sos and the grey pilgrim totally new?
     
  18. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

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    Re: Book 2, Angel wasn't stupid. It tried to pull a story where it won, it just didn't work. Also, a million stories where the hero wins but dies/sacrifices themselves only applies when dealing with a hero. Lone Swordsman? Hero. He gets sacrificed as the price for summoning the angel. Cat? Not a hero. Villains don't really do heroic sacrifices.

    Cat was the Squire at the time, and there's not a whole lot of squire-centric story tropes out there, but one that she did have available was how she's not just the Squire, but the orphaned "heir" to Callow to boot, and William left a magical sword in a stone. This is the "Cat becomes Queen of Callow" story starting, and tbh I'm surprised this event wasn't referenced in Book 3, but so be it. Cat gets the resurrection because she won and she can't win and become Queen while being dead.

    Given that the Angel couldn't ignore/get out of the consequences of Cat pulling out Excalibur, it tried to turn that story to its own benefit by pulling on the threads of a redemption story. Okay Foundling, you can be resurrected and the Queen, but you have to be our Queen. Same thing that Bard, Black, Cat, and most recently the Pilgrim have done. Recognize stories and twist them to get what you want. It just didn't work. Cat refused to repent because she can't stop herself from ever mouthing off - even to an angel - and as a Named she has the fortitude to withstand an angel's gaze so long as she has the willpower for it. And Cat's got plenty of fucking willpower. Hashmallim took its swing and missed.

    It takes the wind out of the sails for Pilgrim's stab at a redemption arc (because if a goddamn angel couldn't pull it off how can he?), but overall pretty good of an ending for that book.

    No, Assassin's decoy died. Don't expect any further consequences. Repetition also doesn't apply just to patterns of three. Black burned the simulacrum trick here (well, I guess he could use it again, but Hanno will see through it), and in return Hanno can't Summon him again. It just so happens that Black's trick here and in Liesse are different, though similar. Perhaps an Assassin decoy could've still worked against Providence, since last time it wasn't against Hanno (or even a hero), but who knows.

    Nah. Ryuugi's got a decent point that Juniper got away with that win a bit easier than she deserved. The heroes not named Saint or Pilgrim may as well have been ignored, new or not. I guess having so many dilutes their impact? Eh. Was cool in sequence, and the shape of it all still fits... but there's like eight or nine heroes unaccounted for in that battle that probably could've done more than was ever suggested. If I remember right, the conceit of the strategy was something of a bluff and some psychological warfare. Start with Robber burning down their camp, ending the battle on one column using a river, engines + knights to scatter the cavalry (albeit with losses), and Archer to pin down the Saint. With Pilgrim unable to act offensively (he can only rescue), that meant Malanza had one column against the fortified Army of Callow, which she couldn't win... except she still had a bunch of Heroes to throw in with that. Losing her nerve in spite of that is eh. A great plan, and a lucky break that Juniper got in Malanza's head like that... but eh. Even if they're minor in the grander scheme of things, they still count.

    That said, any pronunciations about the battle in the Vales is too early. Yeah, Angels and shit haven't been busted out yet. We're not even halfway through. The big leaguers only just made their first move, while angelic intervention reads more endgamey.
     
  19. Xarlor

    Xarlor Second Year

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    I am pretty sure that was actually Assassins real body that died. Assassin himself stated: “A hundred times before,” Assassin said in that voice was not a voice. “A hundred times more.”
    Combined with the fact that he was killed multiple times in the Fourfold Crossing he has likely a way to consistantly survive his own death. How and why that works we do not know. So we cannot say what the consequnences of that were. Was Assasisin incapitated for a day or a month who knows, maybe it even was for free, but we cannot know that so far.
     
  20. katreus

    katreus First Year

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    Oh we know for sure that too many heroes makes every hero weaker. Hanno comments on it.

    Funny enough, Saint and Grey Pilgrim on their own would probably have been stronger.

    Also, technically this is a different trick than Liesse. Liesse was Assassin pretending to be Black. This one was Malicias trick - puppeting a body.