Sunday, April 20, 2014

Page 638

“Many of the reapers joining us have been in isolation for ages,” said Salazar. “They’ve never chosen a side, because they’ve never needed to. Most of them originally died long before it was common practice for governments to record any meaningful details about the lives that their citizens lived. And as floating, imaginary beings, it’s easy to live beneath everyone’s radar, so a lot of the time, the only thing we have to go on is word-of-mouth: what reapers tell us about each other. And that’s not much.”

It’s a simple matter for Abolish to sneak agents in as one of these “unknown” reapers,’ said Armengél.

“The Vanguard may be larger than ever, but it is definitely not stronger,” said Salazar. “It’s disorganized, and corruption has taken full advantage of that.”

Zeff’s gaze hardened. “Corruption? That is a bold accusation, General Salazar.”

“No, it isn’t,” Salazar said flatly. “The Vanguard has always had its share of eccentrics and troublemakers. I’m sure you’ve met plenty of them. They’re valuable assets, but they thrive in chaos. And they make it worse.”

Mariana found herself in agreement there, at least.

Armengél hovered behind his partner, nodding deeply. ‘Ideally, we would slow down the recruiting process in order to give ourselves time to adjust, but saying that now is like telling a dog to chew its food more.

At the ensuing discomforted silence, Salazar’s expression lightened again. She grabbed a rice cake from the tray beside her and took a bite. “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.

“That’s right,” said Salazar. “They’re still small and comparatively weak, but they’re capitalizing on the times and gathering clout right now. A lot of people suspect that they’re trying to become a fourth major player, equal to the Vanguard, Abolish, and Sai-hee.”

Five deserters, is what I’ve heard,’ said Axiolis. ‘From both the Vanguard and Abolish, supposedly. Not sure I believe that, though.’

“It’s true,” said Salazar. “But they won’t be five for much longer. Because I will be the sixth.”


  1. last lines "' but they won't be* five for much longer." is that what you ment?

  2. Cue dramatic music.

  3. Missing words:
    "the only thing we have [to] go on is word-of-mouth"
    "Have any [of] you heard of the Vahgrakaanas?"

  4. YOU'RE A WIZARD, ANKOU. My eyes looked at those sentences and lied to my brain so hard that I think they may be spies for someone else's brain.

    Fixed now, thank you.

  5. You know this little experiment where you have to count Fs in a text and basically no one gets it on first try because our brain interprets text in chunks and not as individual letters? (See here for example: ) And also the text where all the letters in a word are mixed up and it's still readable?

    Same thing with typos. Your brain knows what's supposed to be there and just interpolates. The funny thing is that it only works in languages you speak really, really well. As a non-native speaker, you read more carefully because you lack the ability to just look and know what it means. You have to read and understand every word, and you naturally stumble when a sentence is weird. You've learned the language in a specific way and when a text deviates from that (due to error or difference in style), you notice.

    Or maybe that's just me, who knows.

  6. Yeah, I'm familiar with that. There are all sorts of factors that work against you. If you let yourself get sucked into the text too much, your brain starts filling in the gaps. But if you don't get sucked in enough, then you could end up missing logical errors in the text, instead. AND SO ON. IT'S JUST GREAT.

  7. Well, our brains are flawed, so there's little reason to fret about little things like typos.

  8. Yes, but you see... I'm very petty. :)

  9. Oh...the simple answer. Humans will be humans, reapers were once human and have those traits, and put enough humans into an organization too big to regulate itself properly and you get corruption. Vanguard was always small enough before that the old, big people at the top could keep things running a certain way. Now they can't.

    Simple in a GOOD way, mind you. With plenty of potential for individual examples to be satisfyingly difficult and complex.

  10. And...the five lords? Aren't these Roman's old buddies? Huh boy. This is getting interesting.

  11. And we know how much Mr. Frost loves his shades of evil gray....

  12. Oh shit!!! Then what the fuck is she doing there?!

  13. You'll want to slow down about now Blaed :D. I mean, if you want to let Frost maintain some lead. It's still a slow spot now, it'll get a lot harder to stop before long.

  14. Yeah, I was actually thinking the same. I kinda blew through the last volume or two. So I might take a couple days off.

  15. Hey, here's a way the Vanguard could deal with the newbie influx: have all reaper recruits who've never had a servant spend ~3 years doing superhero stuff like Hector did on friendly turf. Set up a call center using a few low-level servants with experienced reapers to get them oriented and answer questions that previously servantless reapers couldn't answer, and possibly a service by which these servants can arrange sparring sessions.

    This has benefits everywhere you turn. The superhero stuff gets done. The task, which gets servants active but doesn't really threaten them, gives them a chance to experiment with and get used to their powers. After this "boot camp" is completed, they come in already understanding their bond and nicely aged. And this would seriously weed out Abolish spies; the Dozers probably wouldn't be willing to "waste" their valuable time, it's beyond the attention span of most Morgunovs, and if they do stick with it they might start experiencing "good feels good" and defect anyway.

  16. Ended up taking a month or so, but I have returned and am rereading some of my favorite chapters up to where I left off

  17. whoa, dude you just blew my mind, i didn't even think of that. ooooo this opens up so many wonderfully evil/gray possibilities