Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Page 570

It might’ve been a surprise to see the rocks still standing after all the combat that had taken place around them, but Hector didn’t spare it any thought as he climbed to his feet again. His sunken-in chest was regenerating, crushed lungs in the midst of reforming.

Harper flashed closer but stopped not long after exiting the cage. His head turned to the side, glazed eyes looking away from Hector.

That was bad.

A spiked ball materialized in Hector’s hand, and he tried to shout and get Harper's attention, but his lungs couldn’t hold breath just yet. So he just threw it with full force.

Harper vanished just before the ball reached him. In a blink, he reappeared next to Hector, already with a hand around the young man’s throat, fingers digging through the iron coating and into Hector’s flesh.

The spikes came out, skewering Harper’s hand and forearm. Hector was briefly free, until Harper’s other arm connected with the side of his helm. Again, the armor shattered, and Hector went flying, toppling across hard stone with a broken neck.

He struggled to stand back up this time, his body not wanting to listen to him. Vital nerves below his brain stem needed time to repair. He could barely move, but he could at least see Harper. He knew that a single beam of light through his skull could’ve already ended this fight. And yet it hadn’t.

Hector felt his lungs working again. “You’re still holding back,” he said.

The words didn’t seem to register. Harper just looked away again.

“No! Focus on me!”

If Harper leapt away now, there would be no catching him. There would be no saving anyone. More innocent lives destroyed. More failure.

Hector understood these things. And he refused to let them happen.

Defeating Harper, that was impossible. But delaying him? Surely, that could be done. If this stupid body would just move. Always breaking when he needed it most. If he couldn’t move, he couldn’t materialize anything. Except, perhaps, coating himself. In spikes.

That would have to do.


  1. You know.....I'm really not sure why everybody has to move to use their ability at all. Especially Hector and Roman, why the hell should moving matter? Why should he need an arm to create a shockwave? Why should Harper need to point to create a light beam? Why do they need anything other than intent and concentration? The moving, by any logic I can detect, is just reflex. There's no reason but the arbitrary and the instinctive to think their ability is actually formed by their body, it's all mental. Hector creates things far away from his body, it's not coming from his hands. Roman creates inverted shockwaves that originate away from him. It's all just a psychological crutch - or that's how it seems.

  2. Of course, such psychology can be quite deeply ingrained, to the point that it can be very difficult to do it properly otherwise - I could easily see even Harper having trouble with it. But I would expect the really old Servants to have mastered doing things without moving.

  3. You are correct. There are still many ways for them to become more proficient.

  4. That's honestly one of your strongest points - you've designed the power structure of your world in great detail and solidly supported by internal logic. This allows you to innovate very easily within the framework, describe and anticipate the results of new powers and effects and situations, detail tactics, and most of all, realistically and effectively depict long term progression. Which is good, because this story is in many ways a Shounen (anime term), if you follow me. Lots of solid character mixed in, but a huge part of it is the big battles and watching our protagonist grow and grow and learn to kick more and more butt. And such a power structure to support the long term growth is the crucial ingredient all the sloppier shounen lack, and even some of the mainstream ones. You know exactly what Hector can and cannot do when, even if you've never thought about it before, because of your framework.

    I did the same with my own fantasy universe really. Perhaps to a somewhat lesser degree, but for the same reason, to gain similar advantages. Such a solid framework goes a very long way.

  5. I hope Hector doesn't go through another emergence. It's been too soon since the last one.

    But damn, you gotta give the boy--man--his respect. Quite durable as well as determined

  6. Sanderson's First Law: the more your audience understands your magic system, the more situations you can credibly use it to get your heroes out of without it seeming like cheating.

  7. Exactly. It's easy to assume more details just boxes you in, but its the opposite. It's a framework you can manipulate.

  8. Oh man, *in old timey announcer voice* What crazy ass plan will Hector come up with THIS time???
    Tune in next update to find out!

  9. Sebastian KnightJuly 13, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    Except, perhaps, coating himself. In spikes.

    ... EPIC.