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WIP Agent of Cauldron by Zeitchen - M - Worm

Discussion in 'Worm' started by Jarik, Oct 26, 2015.

  1. Jarik

    Jarik Chief Warlock

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    Title: Agent of Cauldron
    Author: Zeitchen
    Rating: M
    Genre: Action/Drama
    Status: Work In Progress
    Fandom: Worm
    Words: ? (SB)
    Summary: ? (can't find an official one)
    Link: SpaceBattles

    Recommended earlier on in the Worm thread.

    Agent of Cauldron is about an OC character who triggers with Contessa's power, and it leads to her killing Eidolon (not knowing who he was). It follows her story as a newly recruited Cauldron member, as she is slowly exposed to all the international and interdimensional power plays the shadowy organisation is involved in.

    While the 'main' plot is about this OC character, the real selling point for me is the wealth of interludes and interactions with the boogeymen, power brokers and warlords that control Bet. It explores completely different aspects, locations and characters (both OC and canon) in the Worm verse that barely get touched on in canon, and are usually ignored (or poorly characterized) in the fandom. Everything from a Leviathan-ravaged Japan, a chaotic Middle East, a warlord controlled Africa, a crumbling Russia, and even US civilian politics.

    It suddenly makes everything in Brockton Bay seem so small and insignificant. Fighting over gang territory in a city when these people are owning nations. Taylor's indignation over the Triumvirate not raising a finger to stop the E88 and ABB seems almost naive when you look at everything else that's happening in the world.

    It's also about seeing the human side to all these characters. Watching an adorably younger Contessa and Doctor Mother as they very intentionally begin to throw away their humanity. Seeing how Alexandria interacts with her teammates beneath the mask she shows everyone else. Or even reading about the cape version of Saddam Hussein, and coming out of it absolutely loving her (Mira has got to be one of my favourite characters ever - she totally needs her own fic).

    I'd say there's two main issues with it. Firstly, the main character as a concept doesn't really hold up to all the side characters. Her triggering with Contessa's power feels a bit cheesy, and the rest of the Cauldron members seem just a bit too friendly with the new girl.

    Secondly, the plot lacks structure. At the moment, it's basically driven off being introduced to new and interesting OC characters or seeing flashback interludes of the Cauldron members in the past. There's not much of a story beneath that. It's short on words, so not sure what will happen as it starts to get longer.

    Even so, I'll still give it a 4.5/5 as it stands. It's a very refreshing, distinctive and well written Worm fic.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2015
  2. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    Second this. Just read it today and holy shit, I am loving this.

    It feels the most Worm out of any Worm fic I have read. The focus on all these characters is great, all of them are interesting and nearly all of them are horrible people but they they show you these flickers of humanity, personality and character and suddenly, you care for them. Mira stole the fucking show and I love her so much, even though she is one of the worst persons in Worm and that's saying a lot.

    Seeing past events of Contessa and Alexandria, showing their doubts or how they handle what they do is so rewarding, especially when you also see their other sides, the sides their enemies or co-workers see.

    Then the new characters, the feel true and interesting, like they belong in Worm. Cauldron doing what it does, pulling its strings in so many places, deeply laced with all these tragedies and atrocities, both small and large in scale, is just fucking heartbreaking.

    And then there is the fact that what they do is all in a very utilitarian pursuit of preserving human life in such an abstract scale, it's pretty much horrifying and fascinating at the same time.

    So, yeah, what Jarik said. The main character is interesting, and her conversations with Contessa and Alexandria are a sight to behold but the interludes are usually more interesting, to see the world fleshed out and the tragedies unfold.

    5/5 so far.
     
  3. Rayndeon

    Rayndeon Professor

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    This very recently just updated. I can't really add more than Jarik and Nemrut had stated regarding the positives of this fic. It really does show how minor Brockton Bay is in the grand scheme of things, when the protagonist is now asked to supervise three entire Earths as of this latest update.

    The relationship between Contessa and Aasiyah is entertaining, as Contessa appears to have a sense of humor (or is that just part of another Path?) and the two clash, even as Contessa is building herself into a mentor for the protagonist. And the Contessa interlude just now is very interesting, for a look into Contessa's head and just how... disconnected she can be at times.

    And oh man, Mira. Sympathetic in some dimensions while an unrepentant monster all the same. It's really hard to pull off a compelling villain that readers don't want to see immediately offed (this was one of the problems with Coil in Worm proper) and the author does a good job pulling off Mira here. She's definitely a monster, but she's a monster you want to keep reading about.
     
  4. Jarik

    Jarik Chief Warlock

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    Contessa is usually portrayed as this cold, calculating mastermind in most fanfics. That's certainly what she looks like from outside too in canon.

    But I love the way Agent of Cauldron almost makes her a passive observer who just sort of floats around, barely aware and just letting her power run on autopilot with no idea what she's even doing. And how the other members of Cauldron almost treat her as if she were a Cape like Dinah - more a prophet type than an actual personality to interact with.
     
  5. Rayndeon

    Rayndeon Professor

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    Updated again, Jarik, Nemrut.

    This is the end of Arc 3, so Arc 4 will be released, although updates are going to be sporadic since the author is apparently moving to another country.

    Anyway, I really liked this chapter if only for Alexandria. The bit with Sonia is in ways a counterpoint to Alexandria: if you read the beginning of Alexandria's interlude, Sonia is pretty much what Alexandria was through and through.

    And Alexandria's interaction with Rattenfänger here has a fair bit of foreshadowing: we can starkly see the idealistic, young Alexandria shining through there and the contrast to how she is now after 24 years of working with Cauldron, dealing with Endbringers, failure after failure with their experiments, the loss of Hero... it's taken its toll on her.
     
  6. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    I love these time jumps, where we see how the Cauldron people have been when they were younger, at the beginning of all of this and how the years have changed them so fundamentally.

    It's a pity this story seems to be flying under the radar for so many people.
     
  7. Rayndeon

    Rayndeon Professor

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    Updated, @Jarik, @Nemrut.

    A very short "chapter" (less than 500 words!), but this appears to be more of a setup for the current arc, where apparently shit is going down and just about every player that matters is paying attention. While we didn't receive much in the way of action or explanation here, I'm excited to see where Zeitchen plans on taking this arc, given how well they've done in characterizing Cauldron elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
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