Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Page 1034

Flames aside, that was the reaction Parson had been expecting. Jackson’s disapproval of Blacksong was only natural.

On the surface, Blacksong was a multinational operation with the expressed purpose of discovering and exploiting weaknesses in Abolish’s territory. Specifically, it was an initiative which would mount a simultaneous offensive against twenty-nine Abolish strongholds spread all across the Eloan continent. It was going to be the largest coordinated assault carried out by the Vanguard in decades.

But that was not the part Jackson had a problem with, Parson knew. Jackson disliked one of Blacksong’s many hidden objectives--albeit the primary one.

That was, to turn the Monster of the East away from Abolish. Or at the very least, away from Dozer.

Parson doubted anyone would ever be able to convince Jackson that this was a viable strategy. The Star of the West and the Monster of the East--these monikers were not coincidental. Even among non-servants, their rivalry was well-known.

Jackson saw Gohvis purely for the monster that he quite literally was, but Parson had seen shades of something else, something that still retained at least some semblance of humanity. He’d seen it thirty years ago, thanks entirely to the massacre of House Elroy, the one from which only two young teenagers and a single reaper survived.

The one Parson had helped orchestrate.

In truth, however, it had not been a plan of his or Overra’s making. Rather, they had simply been following the orders of Air Marshal Artemis.

In all his years, Parson had never known a more ruthless and vengeful member of the Vanguard than Artemis. Save, perhaps, Lamont. But that was another matter. Ultimately, Artemis was the one who decided to exterminate the Elroys, and his motivation for doing so had been a largely primitive combination of fear and hatred. Because, as Artemis discovered, House Elroy was the bloodline which spawned the monster now known as Gohvis.

50 comments:

  1. ...
    Well, that explains a lot.

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  2. Vincent Atd[perspherspley]May 27, 2015 at 4:49 PM

    It was going to be [the] largest coordinated assault perpetrated by the Vanguard in decades.

    Jackson disliked one of Blacksong’s many hidden objectives--albeit the [the] primary one.

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  3. Another Wham Line!

    Actually, I think this would count as a Wham Episode! Holy Shit! That might explain why Eli has been seeing that shadow! Readers were right to question if there was a connection to Gohvis!

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  4. Wouldn't it be ironically just if Parson's machinations caused Gohvis, along with Hector and the various aggrieved Sand/Rainlords, to become members of the Vagrant Lords? Vahgrakaanas.

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  5. Oooooooohhhh....


    Emi, Emi my girl. You're cursed to live in interesting times, or perhaps they follow you like a trail of faceless apostles. Luck, Emi. Good luck.

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  6. I still don't get how that would help anything. If House Elroy had a chance of spawning any more or Ghovis' ilk, it might be justified to arrest them, but I don't think killing his family will help if Parson wants to turn Ghovis to the Vanguard's side, and he seems too smart to do something that destructive just for petty vengeance.

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  7. Is anyone else kind of distressed by the fact that anyone in the Vanguard of high enough rank can apparently hatch devious plans and have them carried out by their underlings, without informing their superiors or any repercussions afterwards? The Vanguard seems just like an assembly of little tyrants who all have their own goals in mind and don't really give a shit about order of command or anything.

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  8. He got Govis to kill his own family... so...

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  9. Vagrant Lords? I can't remember them being called anything foreign.

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  10. It actually makes me appreciate Sanko all the more, even if she was a bit of a bitch 😂

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  11. Comes up in the discussion between the Elroys and Salazar.

    http://thezombieknight.blogspot.com/2014/04/page-638.html

    “Have any of you heard of the Vahgrakaanas?” she asked.



    The word was familiar, but Mariana couldn’t place it. She didn’t need to, though.



    ‘It’s a group of five rogue servants, all of moderate fame,’ said Shenado. ‘And the name. Vahgrakaanas. It means ‘vagrant lords’ in Old Mohssian.’

    The word kind of looks like Afrikaans.

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  12. I actually don't like her much. The way she treated the Rainlords wasn't just bitchy, she just went in assuming that they did something wrong, treating them like criminals without any proof (Parson's little file doesn't count).

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  13. ... Afrikaans isn't the only language to double up on vowels, baie dankie. <_< Worse, Diets would often gh (take "Breughel" as an example), but not hg... or, ah instead of er? Nope, sorry: those you might find in loan words. Maybe. :P

    In short: the construction of that word is well shot from a Diets perspective. :/

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  14. Yup. Poor Em... she's inherited the family skeleton, most likely. :/

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  15. Nícolas Sagrillo de AraújoMay 28, 2015 at 4:33 AM

    Also, I just realized that the reason Zeff thinks Abolish annihilated his family was because Gohvis was probably there somehow, trying to protect his family form the Vanguard!

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  16. If anything, Sanko went in there treating both sides as suspicious. And she tried to work with the Rainlords.

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  17. ...Nnnoo, the implication is that the giant crater and the corpses of the Abolish strike force were Gohvis taking revenge.

    In other news, apparently top-tier mutators can develop the ability to create giant craters.

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  18. Seems more like she was treating them as deserters who wouldn't let her resolve her suspicions of them.

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  19. Nicolas Sagrillo de AraujoMay 28, 2015 at 8:27 AM

    A special skill Soul-Something-Skill?

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  20. If someone has accusations leveled against them, and refuses to submit to the proper investigation to clear them if they were false, the most reasonable interpretation is that they are true. Its just bad luck that the feeling that the last time they gave someone from Vanguard an inch they took a mile and that they can't be trusted.
    Of course, considering that she hadn't personally done anything to lose the benefit of the doubt and was acting entirely reasonably, my reaction would have been "ok, but one more condition from us: until that investigation is completed to your satisfaction, you take possession of Overra and we take possession of Parson's frozen head.".

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  21. Is there a cap on how much soul power you can fit into a certain volume of material? If not, one thing I just realized would be useful is to use soul strengthening and materialization to create a monatomic blade capable of cutting through anything, including much higher level but less focused soul defense.

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  22. Just caught up with the story. This is honestly one of the top 10 things I have ever read in my entire life. The characters are all realistic (disregarding powers) and the plot constantly remains an epic ride. Thank you Mr. Frost and keep up the good work

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  23. Welcome, cult-brother. How did you come across TZK? The Lord Author likes to know.

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  24. Nicolas Sagrillo de AraujoMay 28, 2015 at 7:51 PM

    OH PLEASE FROST DO THIS THING!

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  25. Wikipedia redirects the link to Diets to "Names for the Dutch language", so I guess you mean Dutch? Since Afrikaans mostly evolved from Dutch, I wouldn't be all that surprised that they share the quirk of doubling vowels. I'm not really familiar with either language, so I'm sorry for assuming things here.

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  26. Well, if you put it this way, I guess you're right... Still, the way she was introduced, I expected to finally meet a high-ranking Vanguardian who was finally willing and capable to actually try to solve things for once. I guess she did, in a way, but I had hoped for more diplomatic means.

    Seriously, is anyone every trying to solve things without violence? All the superpowers going around, I don't really see them sitting down to discuss things peacefully, ever. They should probably send unpowered people in situations like this. Or just the reapers, they often seem to be more level-headed than their servants anyway.

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  27. My friend, I seriously hope this is your attitude in fiction only.

    If someone has accusations leveled against them, they may choose to help the investigation, or do nothing. As long as they don't hinder the investigation by destroying evidence or something, their actions don't mean anything in either direction.

    They don't have to proof their innocence, and the investigators can't just assume they're guilty until their innocence is proven -- this is totally backwards to the very foundation of how the law works. "Innocent until proven guilty" -- that is, just because there are suspicions and the accused don't feel like playing along doesn't mean they're guilty. Defendants don't have to proof their innocence -- it's the prosecution who has to proof they're guilty.


    As for her being entirely reasonable -- I mostly agree to this. At least she acknowledges that Parson's actions where outside of lawfulness and he needed to be punished. Still, during the whole confrontation, she refused to listen to the Rainlords and wouldn't let them explain things; just assuming she already had all the answers.

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  28. Reminds me of Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife. The eponymous knife has a tip so tiny and sharp that it can cut through subatomic particles and open portals to other worlds.

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  29. Deserters... well, that's true I guess. If any dersertion for whatever reason is punishable by death, the reasons really don't matter much.

    As for the suspicion part, I said something about that in my answer to Steve below. TL;DR is basically that it's not their duty to proof their innocence. They are not required to cooperate in an investigation, they just aren't allowed to hinder it.

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  30. No, I meant Diets: like Middle English, but for southern dialects of both Low and High versions of what have become a number of modern "Dutch-derived languages". Duuts or Duits? Northern "Middle Dutches". :) The Netherlands has been complex for a long time. ;)

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  31. Well, deserters isn't quite the right word. Forcible, acrimonious resignations with a huge severance under suspicious circumstances.

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  32. I was thinking if there is a limit it would just be impossible to cram more than a certain percentage of your current power per unit volume into something, not that anything interesting would happen if you tried. Such a thing might be possible, though.

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  33. She didn't refuse to let them explain. She had just heard both sides of the story, and now she needed to investigate for herself to find out who was lying. Unfortunately, the Rainlords obviously had issues about trusting Vanguard generals in their turf, which were entirely reasonable but seemed from Sanko's perspective like they were refusing investigation because they actually did have something to hide.

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  34. Frankly, Sanko understood the situation exactly as well as she would have after wasting everyone's time on a briefing. She had heard their side of the story, which they didn't yet have anything to add to.

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  35. My guess is some kind of biological fuel-air explosive. He creates an organ that can spray flammable gas and uses his regen to keep it stocked.

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  36. I wonder if maybe there is a genetic component to powers now. I had long assumed that they were purely personality-based since every character's power fits them so well, but between being descended from the greatest mutator ever and having a personality that adaptation doesn't really fit with, I'm starting to rethink.
    Also, I just want to make my long-term prediction now, I think Ghovis is eventually going to get killed in a Death Equals Redemption situation. I expect he is going to take someone badass with him, and he is going to save at least one Elroy's life, probably Emiliana's.

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  37. It might not be that the current Elroys are descended from Ghovis, while still being relatives (brothers and sisters happen). Maybe something about the rare family knack with ice also links to the rarer mutation thing they've maybe got? In which case, it'll not just be Elroys, but other Rainlords thanks to bloodline mixing: the Sandlords also have bloodline rarities crop up, come to think...

    Wonder if those have hidden sides, too?

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  38. So... Artemis practically ordered an ethical cleansing on the off-chance that someone in the family might get the same power and potential as Gohvis - nevermind whatever they would use it for? Nevermind that said family had produced dozens of loyal fighters? That's not ruthless or vengeful, that's just insane. It makes him not the most dangerous or frightening character in this story, but definitely the one character I suddenly want to see dying most painfully.
    Preferably through the hands of a certain girl...

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  39. That could be. I was going to say that FAEs probably can't penetrate the ground enough to make a crater, but if the complex had a basement and he did it there it's plausible.

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  40. That's ethnic cleansing. And it sounds to me like he's already been killed in the intervening years.

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  41. Nicolas Sagrillo de AraujoMay 29, 2015 at 9:30 AM

    Not to mention Gohvis could soul strengthen it to some insane levels.

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  42. I shouldn't write comments at 4am... thank you.

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  43. My friend suggested it. He found it on some kind of forum page.

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  44. I don't remember which reaper it was, but one of them did explain a while back that abilities are purely genetic.


    I like your prediction. Judging by current involvement in this mess, the one he takes with him might be Parson (next page makes this even more likely).

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  45. I'm not sure she actually heard their side of the story. If she did, surely she would have been aware that the Rainlords intended to leave the Vanguard.

    I agree though, questioning Parson and questioning the Rainlords are definitely the first things that needed to happen. Just not at the same time. Bringing both sides into close proximity to each other was almost certainly going to end in a fight.

    I have no idea whose orders she was following, but I assume she was supposed to solve this situation. The outcome couldn't have been much worse -- they won't get a proper investigation, the Rainlords defected completely and oppose the Vanguard now -- with proper diplomacy, things could have turned out a lot better for everyone involved (except Parson -- he was probably riling up Zeff on purpose and meant for a fight to happen).

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  46. Its one thing to demand a lawyer when accused of a crime (and yes, only an idiot or someone who doesn't understand the American legal system would ever fail to demand a lawyer), and it is quite another to demand a summary conviction of another party and then refuse to hand over the evidence you claim to have of their misdeeds, especially when their word has more credibility and they were perfectly willing to turn over their own evidence of alibi. Even more so when said accused party aren't the only group you demand restitutions from, and the judge is another. The problem is that, as I said, they weren't willing to trust another high-ranking Vanguard leader with free reign in their territory given the previous track record of Vanguard leaders doing stuff without supervision.

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  47. I got a strong sense of that particular reaper (I think it was one of the Elroy children) not knowing as much as he thought he did about the subject. Its probably one of those controversial issues that has more attention than information, and that often tends to lead to scientists getting opinionated without much more of a clue than the rest of us. I bet that if they were in a different part of the world or even just hung out with different people, he would have been as sure of the opposite.
    Also, as I said a while ago, pretty much every character who had enough screen time and characterization to tell had at least a few bits of symbolism either in general or for the culture. For examples,
    Hector: material most heavily associated with constructive and reconstructive projects, fitting with a character who was so easily molded first into the broken being we see at the start and then later into the brave hero that he has become with Garovel's help. Also, he can use it to become as much a literal knight in shining armor as he already was figuratively.
    Roman: a dynamic, energetic power matches with his natural upbeat personality. Before his death, he seemed to enjoy shaking things up in a figurative sense, now he can do it literally as well. Also, the fact that his power let him fly from a very young age (as a servant) fits well with his love of freedom.
    Dimas: His sullen, quiet personality fits with power over what is often though of less as a force and more of a fact of life. It also requires huge amounts of mass to shift slightly, just like Dimas require incredible stimulus to show any emotion.
    Stoker: Hydrogen is, chemically speaking, often easy to ignore. It is easily forced into bonds, and in organic chemistry is is simply taken for granted to the point that it is rare to even see them noted except by the lack of any bonds. Stoker is the same way, being forced into service and spoken for with the assumption that he would follow, supported by the fact that he never objected even when he disapproved.

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  48. This is very, very well put. :)


    I agree to the first part as well, the reaper in question did seem way too sure of this. In part because basically everyone in the comments agreed that powers coincide a little too well with personalities to be "just" genetic. (Though genetics play a part in personality as well.)

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  49. I'm not sure they even had actual evidence of Parson's wrongdoing, mostly because it hinges on the question of their own innocence. Parson only did something wrong (incarcerating them for too long, having them attacked) if the Elroys turn out to be innocent. In that case, he was obviously using excessive force for no gain. However, if everything Parson said was true -- Gema betrayed the Vanguard and the Elroys probably know her wherabouts -- the incarceration would technically still be illegal, but his higher-ups would probably not bother to punish him for it since he managed to prevent worse things.


    Now, the problem is that the Rainlords apparently didn't expect to be questioned at all -- to them, the situation was so damn obvious that surely anyone would take their side. If I remember correctly, Sanko was called in by them to deal with the problem if a rogue Vanguard wing. There was no question in their mind about who was at fault there. I guess they weren't even prepared for an investigation.

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