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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. katreus

    katreus First Year

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    Sort of cold calculus, but trading Procer for the near future for the Dead King being eliminated is a trade you make all day every day. Is that villianous? If you die in the service of the Heavens while taking out a great evil, seems pretty heroic.

    I guess that's a little rough on the non-Named who didn't really agree to this but as we've seen, they don't matter that much on the grand chessboard... And Cordelia invited this calculation when she traded a small scale war (with her potentially losing her position as First Prince) with a big scale war (where she put Procer up as collateral instead) by calling a Crusade.

    She intended to do it but didn't realize all the consequences, but I'm not sure arguing ignorance is a winning defense. No trickery or coercion involved in calling the Crusade.

    I'm interested in the parralel between Malicia and Cordelia. Both of them depend on social maneuvering, intrigue, and playing politics as their chosen weapons. Both of them haven't been on the trenches directly against the other side so even if they're intellectually aware, they're not truly understanding what it means to play story warfare, not like Dead King or Bard (and to a much lesser experience extent, Pilgrim, Black, Cat).

    Seems that its dangerous to play the versus game - many probably die before they get anywhere - but if you survive, you have a qualitative edge on those who didn't play it for whatever reason.
     
  2. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

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    This is Saint telling Cordelia how she fucked up. I don't know how you can say that none of her mistakes have to do with name lore when that very thing is spelled out in front of you. Putting aside whether or not you think her ignorance is justified, this explanation fits exactly what happened.

    She saw a Crusade as a political tool; it was a war that all her principalities would be required to fight in, and the pretext for it was acceptable enough for her to kick off the Grand Alliance. This is all good and sensible stuff on her part. But a Crusade isn't just a fancy name to slap on the war. There's a huge narrative weight attached to such a thing. That screwed her plans of a sensible war, because she no longer is in complete control of it. The story's taking over, and the best laid plans of mice and men along with it.

    As to why she's ignorant of such thing, I mean I doubt anything'll convince you but it's because Cordelia isn't Named. She can't tap into narratives like Named do, and few can apply to her as a mundane mortal. If they did, Black and Malicia would've toasted to her demise years ago. Compare this to Black, whose arsenal is almost entirely based on narrative abuse. It's his entire schtick, because he lives in a world where his survival depends on it. Then go back to the mundane Klaus Papenheim, who leaves that stuff to Hanno and the closest he gets to using Named shenanigans is seeing the power of a comic relief hero and deciding to use it as a tactic. That's less genre savviness and more basic observation. End of the day, Proceran wars aren't Named vs Named. They're mortal vs mortal, or mortal vs Named on the occasions that the ratlings spawn a monster or the Dead King bothers to send one of his Revenants, and those battles don't rely on narratives to work. If there's little reason for them to be in the Proceran toolbox, why should I be upset when they aren't used?

    (Not gonna try and explain how the hell the Lycaonese can kill a Named Horn Lord, or how the Gigantes didn't wreck Procer's shit. While, again, they don't require Named shenanigans on Procer's part, there's no answer nonetheless).

    You would have a point, but that's not the trade Saint is talking about. The Conclave botched that entirely by insisting that Callow still be involved. You wanna take out the Dead King? Maximize your chances by closing the front that is literally the lesser of two evils. Instead Saint's going for a "hell no, we don't negotiate with terrorists" and refusing to let the Callowan front die, while Bard seems to care more about taking out Black and Malicia than Neshamah. Plus, Saint would let Procer die regardless of who it took with it. She has a well established chip on her shoulder regarding their ruling class (see: Regicide). And, again, she's self-righteous as fuck and is certain that Good will always win in the end despite Crusades being 0-4 against the Dead King. She's an idiot, but it's in character and as Akua said: the Heavens prefer their pawns powerful yet rather dim.

    ----

    Anyhow, found this on reddit, goes into Procer and how its civil wars/heroes work. Neat stuff.
     
  3. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    I'd also like to note that this isn't Procer at it's prime. Sure they have a lot of troops sitting around, part of the reason for the crusade, but they might not be their best. Twenty years of civil war takes a toll, and the most elite units they had probably got whittled down. Sure their veterans weren't worth much in the Northern campaign, but they also went up against Juniper with little to no officers left. Klaus mostly sent newbies so we don't have a real idea what his veterans can do. Other than his people supposedly being the absolute shit, which is probably true if they're used to dealing with horned lords and other esoteric shit.

    @Stealthy that was interesting and makes me wonder if Named can just lose their names entirely after serving their purpose. Like Lake Guy kills the villain and the lake is forever safe then he is no longer named, or if monster killing guy gets the monster does he lose his powers. I think it gives a good hint that Thief may not transition, as bad as that is. Still hoping she becomes Spy or something like that.
     
  4. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    Except no? See, this is part of the ongoing trend in Guide where it likes to pretend that major plot points have been properly established and set up and such not when, uh, they haven't been? It's easy to say that a Crusade isn't just a big, politically driven war or that it's beyond mere mortal politics and that once the Crusade is declared, it's a fight to the death, Good vs. Evil, in a Caaaaaaaage Match!

    Only that's just flat-out not the case. See, there have been nine Crusades before this one and, uh, all were political and focused, and all of them ended pretty much with the Good guys going 'This is too expensive' and going home. Like, it's flat-out discussed in-story; once Crusades get too expensive, they get called off. But for a refresher:

    1) The First Crusade was against Triumphant and is the only one at all like anyone has described, except not really even then, because two other countries came in from abroad to deal with her. But it was, to an extent, all-out Good vs. Evil, in the sense that it was everyone and their mother against Triumphant and maybe the Dead King.

    2) Two and Three were vs. Praes. Just Praes, thirty years after it was crushed and divided into the Crusader Kingdoms. They fought against Terribilis and lost--and Terribilis crushed them, sure, but he didn't attack anyone afterwards or anything, on either occasion. He threw everyone out and got back to work on Praes.

    3) Four through Nine were against the Dead King, and only the Dead King, who crushed them and threw them out, but didn't, like, invade or anything.

    There was no vast war of Good and Evil in any of these cases except the first--there was an attempted invasion, a rebuff, and the war ended. The story is using Cordelia's supposed lack of understanding regarding namelore--though how any one could understand something the story just pulls out of it's ass as the mood takes it, God knows--to justify things going out of her control, but none of this shit happened in rounds two through nine, and only arguably happened in one. By and large, no, a Crusade is absolutely just a fancy name to slap on a war in Calernia.

    Also, again, the narrative in this story is a fucking joke except when it's helpful to Black or Cat. The notion that the story is dragging this Crusade along is laughable, especially when literally every hero in this story is working around the clock to amount to nothing. Don't even try with that shit.

    On the subject of things that are kind of ridiculous, though--your argument regarding Cordelia's ignorance is just kind of silly. Not only because you go into how Procer doesn't have Named and namelore shenanigans and then just try to brush aside literally every part of how that doesn't make sense. You said 'While, again, they don't require Named shenanigans on Procer's part, there's no answer nonetheless', but that's horseshit. until literally this war, Procer didn't have mages as part of it's military. It only used priests as healers. It's soldiery are mocked, currently and historically by everyone who speaks of them. And you're trying to say that they wouldn't need Named shenanigans to win against people who could turn half a country into a lake on one end and the fucking ratlings and Dead King on the other? Please. By virtue of it's goddamn existence, Procer would need to have some answer for the utter ridiculousness surrounding it and the fact that the story doesn't bother giving it anything remains absurd.

    But, even putting that aside, you're honestly trying to assert that there would be no narratives involving the First Prince of Procer that Cordelia would have to contend with? Mortals very clearly are not shielded from narrative fuckery, at least when narrative fuckery decides it means anything.

    Your entire argument relies on literally everything involved being utter nonsense. Which, you know, I'm not necessarily willing to disagree with, but it's still nonsense. The story seems determined to make narrative assertions it doesn't support, where in how it's treating this Crusade vs. the nine others it told us about, how it treats Procer despite the shit it keeps adding to it's history, or how it treats heroic shenanigans despite never portraying them.

    TL;DR: The explanation absolutely does not fit what happened--nothing about this situation does.

    I'm not sure how one can assert this is in character compared to our only other example, from the Battle of the Camps--particularly for her and the Pilgrim at the same time, but I'm still more annoyed at the story trying to argue heroic intervention after the poor comedy that's been every showing in the series except, honestly, Will's.
     
  5. Legacy

    Legacy Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    Well that happened. Is it terrible that I know Idrani's first words to Hakram are going to be cripple puns?
     
  6. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

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    Meanwhile Masego's are gonna be complaining about the subpar prosthetic and how Hakram should've just waited until he got back.
     
  7. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    So Hakram's a pretty cool guy, who kills the enemies of Callow and doesn't afraid of anything.

    All jokes aside, I actually do find this train of conversation interesting, because I think it's necessary on both side. I actually like Hakram a great deal, but perhaps inevitably as the Adjutant, he does tend to just become the guy who goes off and does all the stuff that Cat can't handle, and we just sort of see him when he gets back--we know what drives him is his loyalty to Cat, but often times, his loyalty to Cat is the only thing that seems to.

    I enjoyed Thief's side as well, though honestly, I think she's the weaker side here, because while her doubts are interesting and overdue, she comes off as really wishy-washy about a bunch of things she doesn't actually do anything about--though the fact that that, in and of itself, is something she bemoans is at least interesting. She's not wrong when she says that she can come off as a living artifact; going back to Book 3, it struck me how often the Woe would get in a fight where they were losing because X had Y magical doohicky, Thief would appear out of nowhere to steal said magical doohicky, and then Thief would disappear for the remainder of the fight. The fact that, thus far, Akua has been more useful both off and on the battlefield should hurt like fucking hell, so it was nice to see some of that.

    Lastly, I like the length Hakram goes to establish trust, because we did have a point where the trend was that Cat would take aside X person, ask them what they wanted, and promise it if they followed her, and everyone but that Ogre just kind of did so. Not that promising people what they want the most is a bad way to win loyalty, it's just that it's had a slightly one-and-done feeling to it lately, wherein Cat makes that promise and then everything around her spontaneously combusts, but no one has any doubts or questions. In this case, no, Thief had deep-seated concerns and Hakram went to great lengths to assuage them, which I thought was very well done.

    Good chapter over all.
     
  8. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

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    Thief couldn't tap into her aspect while this was happening. There's no way for Hakram to shut it down, or even some unprecedented narrative shenanigans to trap her. I've been thinking and this really isn't sounding like a transition. It can still come about, especially if Hakram succeeded here, but she wasn't on the path to a transition, but something worse. I still think that naming a Thief the Regent was an inadvertent mistake on Cat's part and is fueling a story where a Thief would retire, but it's despondence that's really killing her.

    Named are supposedly born out of a certainty, a drive and purpose, and more than once this story's mentioned the concept of a "crystallized moment". Cat's moment is Black handing her the knife. Masego's is when Warlock released/destroyed the shard of Arcadia Masego grew up in and he "saw the world end". For Thief, it's when she found out that the Praesi killed her mother for treason then made her family pay for it. Her purpose was righting that wrong and making the Praesi pay the fine ten times over. Callowan vengeance, applied morally. In the reddit comment, Errata said that if Hanno gave up on his sense of justice, or William gave up on Callow, it would kill them inside. Thief has given up and feels she has no role in avenging Callow.

    A transition, especially with a non-transitory Name, would require her to evolve that purpose, get a new moment, or something of the sort. I think back to Captain, and how she transitioned from Cursed. Cursed doesn't strike me as an inherently transitory Name like Squire or Apprentice. Something has to change at her core for her to become the Captain, and that's when she killed the small g god. She stopped thinking of herself as just the monster. Right before using Obey for the first time, she thought back to when she first met Black and he said "you're not a monster at all". She fully internalized a new purpose: standing at Black's side and living by his will, not the Beast's. A change in her core purpose and identity that drove herself to a new Name.

    I'm rampantly speculating and extrapolating here, and anything of this sort comes with a lot of author fiat so it might happen anyway, but if Thief would evolve from her Name into something new she'd need a big-ass change in purpose to do so. I don't think that's happening, as I don't see her abandoning her ideals re: Callow. She hasn't lost that sense of vengeance, it's only become more vicious. And her Role isn't shifting that much either. She hasn't stopped being a Thief and I don't know what new Name would apply. Spy is unconvincing and nothing in the comments is any better (not that that's anything new. The Auditor? Really? Dumbest idea since Cat transitioning to the Green Knight). I guess maybe she could become Thief of ____, but eh. Plus I think that sort of specificity is mostly for meta-reasons and Errata needing to expand the pool of Names.

    She's undergoing an evolution in purpose and identity, not a change. What broader effect it has, I don't know, but she wasn't on the path to a transition before Hakram sliced off his hand. Transitioning is the straightforward payoff, but I don't think it fits. She'd have to become something else and she just... isn't. This is character development and Thief fully embracing villainy. At most, this reboots her Aspects.
     
  9. fontisian

    fontisian DA Member

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    Just to make a note of it, Vivienne wasn't just unable to tap into her aspects during the conversation. She wasn't the Thief at all, as shown by the narration only calling her "the thief" for the entire chapter. If the name is already gone, it's hard to see her regaining it just off of Hakram's gesture, as it had little to do with actual thievery.
     
  10. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    New chapter's up and it was...good, but really just the aftermath of last time. Which, you know, last time deserves to have an aftermath, so that's far, but we kind of brush over the whole hand-loss thing and focus back on pretty much the same conversation; long story short, Callow's a shithole* and trends have proven that things will get worse before they get better--and worse, in this case, means potentially Dead King worse. Thief has realized that it's really hard to be the lesser evil when you planned to let the Dead King out and are now working on letting the drow out, which doesn't sit well with her, but for us, that's mostly old stuff.

    Otherwise, it's an okay filler chapter.

    *Kind of? Something that bothered me about the chapter before last; our first recent look at some of the normal people in Callow kind of bothered me, because one of the centerpieces of that chapter was a Callowan refuge, and uuuuuh, what's going on, bro? Seriously, that guy was a dispossessed peasant with a family, namely a husband and a son, who had to leave behind probably the majority of their worldly possessions with little to no chance of ever getting them back, traveled from the murdered corpse of the Liessan area to Laure in what for normal people is a difficult journey of weeks or months, had to set up a new life for himself in a city that recently had all of it's leadership fucking murdered and was on the verge of rioting, in the midst of a major religious conflict, with Praesi invaders to the East and Crusaders to the West, in a Kingdom that was stated to have lost most of it's farmers and to be on the verge of famine--and not only was he generally upbeat, but he was literally giving away food for free to someone that, as far as he knew, was just some Orc in the army. Like, if he knew this was Hakram, I could absolutely see it, but that son of a bitch literally just gave two of his product away to what he thought was some random Legionnaire. And the chapter itself comments on the fees that have to be paid to the Guilds and the fact that there's no affordable places to rent in the city outside the shitty neighborhoods.

    How the fuck is that guy not only upbeat but just giving shit away? Again, he is literally a refugee and, like most of Callow, should be focused on trying to survive the Winter at this point besides. Fuck, he's from goddamn Liesse--if he had a family back where he came from, most of them probably got turned into zombies, and now he's stuck raising a child in a place he himself notes is really expensive! He makes casual conversation about whether the Guilds will start enforcing permits again soon like that's not his fucking livelihood and talks about his husband joining the Legions like it'll be a relief to get more money and not like most of Cat's soldiers don't just fucking die. His situation is not good.

    But this is another problem where the story tells us something that it never seems willing to show--namely, there being any meaningful affect on Callow. We keep being told about how utterly terribly everything has gone to shit and that's even with the story ignoring a lot of the obvious reasons that they should be going to shit, but everyone is still devoted, positive, and looking upbeat.

    And I've gotta say--I'm willing to bet it's pretty rare for refugees escaping wartorn areas at the cost of all they owned and being left to raise a child basically alone with no guarantee, or even much likelihood, that they'll ever see any members of their family again, including their husbands, and who are dealing with high rent prices and taxes to be upbeat or give food away even in America, much less a medieval shit-hole. I feel like it gives the wrong impression of your country's status when the reaction that poor dispossessed refugee single dads have to finding themselves with extra food is to give it away. One would expect the possession of food at that point to be a concern in and of itself.

    TL;DR: Callow is going to shit. Like, in a general sense. When you aren't looking, because if you judge it by when you are, Cat must be doing a flat-out miraculous job.
     
  11. Imraefi

    Imraefi Third Year

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    YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    The Heavens finally saw fit to smash Black. In "Narrative" terms, I imagine this means that the Gods Below let go of their interest in his "practical" Evil to place more weight on the classic conflict to come. It also sets up a nice revenge story for Catherine when she comes back.

    I do hope that we read the death instead of having it cut to black like that.
     
  12. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    Yeah that was a long time coming, but I didn't see it ending like that. If he does die that still leaves the army waiting around in Procer. They'll probably be put down after taking some more with them. I don't see Black surviving this, especially because I don't think he's the Black Knight any more. He was called Amadeus of the Green Stretch when he was the lone survivor and when he prepared for the face down.
     
  13. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    While this was perhaps a bit long in the coming and perhaps a bit anti-climactic, it was very well done and the latter part may even have been intentional. After the last interlude with Black, I, and probably everyone else, predicted that Cordelia's General What'shisface had fuck all chance of opposing Black, and we were right, but it turns out that the line from the Extra Chapter regarding the Pilgrim skinning cats was not without merit, though since Saint apparently sent that message something like two or three months ago, I do wonder what took him so long.

    Still, at risk of being predictable in a bunch of different ways, I really liked this chapter, but not just for the obvious reasons. I liked the talk between Ranker and Black, about what they'd built and lost and what would be waiting for them after the war. I liked the lore about the Sixty Years War, which I'll be adding to my mental timeline. I liked Black's reminder that underestimating Malicia has historically ended poorly for people. About the new replacing the old, from the perspective of the old, and the drive to stick to their beliefs.

    I liked Gauthier's tale, though I predict not remembering his name by tomorrow. It's a nice insight into the men on the ground in Procer and a nice insight into a man facing a tough choice; we saw fear, bravery, ignorance, and determination in a way that felt real and emotional in a way that much of the recent chapters on the Woe haven't quite managed to stick. It's a small scene, but a good one.

    And, yes, I liked the ending. Black had, of course, seen through the plan of General What'shisface, and the attack on Iserre was just a trap. He'd actually been aiming for a place called Saudant, or more specifically it's ships, because with Ashur and Nicea being essentially the only countries on Calernia with Navies, being on the water gives him not only great maneuverability and speed, but an advantage in warfare, because it lets him strike basically wherever he chooses.

    The Pilgrim saw it coming and laid a trap that Black didn't--and the reason for that is a good one, actually; it's because while Black has incredibly in-depth knowledge of Heroes, it's of a very specific breed of hero, and the Pilgrim is from a place that's been repeatedly noted to defy the norm. I'm not sure if it was planned or ironic, but Black seems to have a running weakness for Levant. The Unconquered Champion was the one who locked him away in a pocket dimension, Levantine jargon spelled Captain's defeat, and now, third time's the charm, a Levantine hero might be spelling his end.

    Long story short, the Pilgrim did something that quite legitimately has probably never appeared in a Callowan story; he planted a disease in Saudant days before the Legion even arrived. The Dead King had stated that the Choir of Mercy is where you need to watch out for subtlety and he wasn't wrong; the Grey Pilgrim sent Black's whole fleet on a one way trip before they even touched the water. And in the process, we find out more about the Pilgrim and about his Choir--about what Mercy can mean. It's quite simple, in fact; it's the alleviation of suffering.

    Damn, son. And we come full circle with a surprising similarity between old and new.

    He goes on to talk about the choices made by heroes and villains and the variations therein, in what might be the best paragraphs of this chapter, including how it spoke of the abilities of heroes. And with the Angel's help he crafts the disease with a fitting cost; he feels the pain of each and every person who died from it, thousands in all. And then, atop of a fleet of dead ships, they corner Black.

    It's a great set up for a great scene. I'm not sure, narratively, if this makes the most since for the place of his death--though, to be fair, I think the best time for it was probably last book, all told--and I'm generally leery of writing off a main character before seeing the body, but I could be happy with his death here if it is. A part of me half expects Ranger to show up, or Scribe to somehow do something, or I don't even know what, but I think this would be a good place for him to die, as a turning point in all this.

    Even if he doesn't, however, I'd be relatively happy, because this is the first time we've seen a hero this effective in a while--if, admittedly, to the point where I really have to wonder what he was doing during the Northern Crusade, to say nothing of the months he spent in Callow. I feel like, knowing what he can do now, there were a fair number of times when he could have wiped out Callow's armies with a fair bit of ease.

    Regardless, if this is where the heroes actually start trying, I'm down for that, even if it's been a long time coming. Hope to see more like this follow, honestly.
     
  14. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

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    So it's late, and my "thought to word" may not be clear enough, but I think this is pretty straightforward. There will be no death scene in the next chapter. We just got it.

    Because what is there to show? The 5 Man Band of Heroes (aka, the only ones who have ever mattered in the Crusade) have assembled for the first time to end him. His army was slaughtered to a man, and they found him alone without a speck of power to his Name. Oh, and it was finally time to bring out one of the big guns. They succeeded. And even if Black wasn't completely impotent right now, he's just not strong enough to win this fight. Cat's not in a position to save his ass with a portal, Warlock is on the other side of the continent, Ranger is probably still in Refuge, and there's no way he's an Assassin Decoy or simulacrum this time.

    His death is a given, and he's too weak to have a real blaze of glory. This is it. So again, what is there to show?

    - Book 2: Chapter 34

    This quote came to mind. Sure, Black got a more dignified death than a peasant with a sword, but all along we've been asking "why is Black doing this?" He was a Black Knight spending Name power like no tomorrow and leading the Legions of Terror to pillage the defenseless heartlands of a Good Nation with no exit strategy; and during a Crusade no less. A Crusade where he wasn't even the main focus, and ergo didn't need to appear in the climax. With the Dead King entering, Black was first act fodder at its finest. That he would succeed at first was a given, but he was doing nothing to avoid the grisly end that came with it. This is basic ass shit... and he just ran into it.

    The Bard fucked him up good. People kept saying "she broke the machine", but that was never true and misunderstood the situation. I can't remember if I ever mentioned it here, but I always saw it as overclocking him. He was still Black. He was still functioning, but Bard knew his Name and where he came from. Malicia said that Black cannot imagine a world where he cannot win this war, that it's the foundation of his Name (his crystallized moment was looking at Nefarious fleeing from the Fields of Streges and feeling nothing but disgust). Bard's final words to him after Captain's death were "this one feels like a sin", an obvious play on "One sin, one grace". He lost, she rubbed it in, and to compensate he needed to get his win. He couldn't even consider Malicia's plan with the Hellgate Machine, because of course he would win the war. He had to. And so, he embarked on this Proceran campaign still acting like he always has, but unable to dodge the sword he hung above his neck because he could no longer envision a world where it fell on him. He was Amadeus of the Green Stretch. Black Knight. He had fought and won against worse odds, and so of course he'd manage here. Black thought his greatest talent was clarity of sight. But as the Pilgrim noted, he died out of arrogance, because Bard swapped one for the other without anybody having a clue.

    And so, the Black Knight died after carving up the Proceran countryside, because he was tired, surrounded, and he chose his ground poorly.
     
  15. chrnno

    chrnno High Inquisitor

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    A while ago, not here maybe, I brought up the notion Black intended to die in Procer considering the narrative he picked and resorting to Aspects he never did, much less to such crippling extent, and was just trying to do as best as he could in the process. Given his words at the end there I think that was confirmed.
     
  16. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros.

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    Well damn Black is for sure dead.

    I liked the dichotomy this chapter between the average Joe and Grey Pilgrim, both put in a position where they could do the right thing or the arithmetically expedient thing - and choosing differently. Serves as a nice foil.
     
  17. Lamora

    Lamora Definitely Not Batman

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    You can tell it was a great chapter because Black could either die (very appropriate setup, strongest heroes on the continent) or survive (6-8 days of his army dying, all that time in the hands of the deadliest man alive) and I’d be happy with either outcome at this point.

    I have to admit, I have held on to hope that Cat will eventually get her hands on the title of Black Knight, if only to see what she will do with it. She already kicked pretty much the entire continent in the pants, and that was just with a weaker, transitory Name. What could she do with the Name of Evil’s own champion?
     
  18. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    Fuck, we're back with the drow.

    Yeah, much fun as we've been having not being there, we're back in the Everdark, still in pursuit of this dumb plot. We start off with a meeting Cat has with one of the Mighty, and things are going questionably from the start:

    It's honestly hard to tell what the worst part of this bucket of stupid is--trusting Akua with the desperate and ambitious or planning for a harvest to explicitly build up the drow? God knows. Meanwhile, while subtle, there's similar foreshadowing of other bad decisions, if expected ones:

    But in case it needs to be spelled out:

    Anyway, it comes to violence and Cat utterly wrecks the guys she fights, like she wrecked all the guys she fought while we followed better plotlines. She's been exploring Winter, which could be really interesting, but Cat kind of immediately makes it dull with a major revelation:

    Hey guys, remember back when using the Winter Mantle had consequences? No? That's because it never had consequences. It really is just a straight power up. Yeah. And to make this all even more pointless, the people she gives Winter casually decimate all the drow in their way, just to hammer in that being here is pointless.

    Anyway, Cat is one-sidedly killing everyone in her way and putting their corpses up for auction to help build her army, which is fine, just...dull. If there's one upside, it's that it appears things are moving quicker now that she's dispensed with giving a shit or acting like the drow matter to her in a personal sense, which hopefully means we'll escape this hole before too long and move on to literally anything else.
     
  19. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    So as problematic as the whole drow arc has been, I actually liked this chapter.

    Some interesting bits. Cat's willing to bestow titles on other drow of sufficient worth, rather than just Ivah. Doing so lets her draw on more power without going fae-crazy (like she did during her raid of the Crusader camp), as she can shunt it onto those she titles rather than just the soulbound Akua. Kinda mitigates the biggest cost of her powerup, which violates a recurring theme of the series. I wonder how long until Hierophant makes her a ward-breaking tool. Anyway, the whole "oath to fae" thing is being used en masse, and the auction setup is damn good. She further binds the loyalty of her army, with those going to the greatest lengths getting the most power either by Night or by bestowal. Letting Akua run it has the obvious risk, but we leaped off that cliff a while ago.

    She gave Ivah the rank of Lord, which as I recall is the lowest rank of fae nobility. While certain titled fae can be more powerful than their rank, any other drow she gives noble titles to will be equal to Ivah's title, rather than giving him some sort of superiority to them with a rank of Count or something. She's smart there. Ivah will be the first among equals, but no more. A contingency against her newest treacherous lieutenant.

    This plan was bad to begin with - and still is - but is becoming less bad as she goes... kinda. It's not really making it a good plan as much as she's added upsides and made some semblance of a method to address some of the downsides. Doesn't really justify it, as the things that are making this plan more worthwhile (binding drow with fae magic, actually using titles now that she's found acceptable* targets, and of course the dwarf deal) were things she didn't plan on going in.

    The whole "the drow will get massive powerups by absorbing the Night of crusaders, undead, and Praesi" issue still hasn't been addressed, which is a problem because it's the scariest damn part of this endeavor. Perhaps killing the Sve will end the Night and that risk, but that significantly depowers her troops and - again - isn't something she's planned for. Seriously, Cat, you should've noped out the second you heard about that. And she still hasn't addressed what'll happen with the drow when the war's over. So yeah, still a bad idea, but she's locked in now and has managed to drop it a point or two on the stupid scale.

    *Acceptable from Cat's perspective, that is. As said earlier, power coming at a cost is a recurring theme of this series, and Cat's always been more concerned with the cost going all the way back to her Name. Cat knows the cost of the fae mantle, and doesn't want to inflict that on the people she cares about. She basically says as much to Larat. But she's found people she doesn't really give a shit about, and has a good reason to use it.
     
  20. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    960
    Location:
    That place
    I think this is a strong step forward for Cat. The Drow will never be entirely loyal on their own so having them take oaths backer by Winter is smart. We don’t know the terms of them yet , but I doubt they’re short term. Cat went down to get an army of fodder and she found it. While Callow is building it’s forces, it’s important that they survive what’s coming. She still needs farmers and citizens for the country to run effectively. Building up a nice foreign force makes that possible and gives her options for after the conflict.

    I saw one interesting theory on Reddit that she’d give Ivah and the Fae territory in the mountains between Callow and Procter. Lord of Silent Steps would go well in the actual Steps. They’d get a new mountainous home and depending on the structure of oaths Cat has a border force that’ll maul her enemies. Saves the army of Callow from taking mass casualties at least.

    Honestly I’m interested to see how many of these Drow lords she’ll bring back with her. Also how they stack up against regular forces. Drow would probably be great mage hunters and even a counter to lower Heroes depending on their power.