444: Strong Arm Tactics

on May 17, 2010 in Book 16

In Which Mackenzie Puts Her Foot Down

Gloria was just a little bit faster in seizing the moment than I was. She might not have known exactly what I’d just done, but she had to be able to see that something had changed. The staff felt awkward in my hands. No, my hands felt awkward on the staff. I was suddenly very aware of its weight. It wasn’t heavy, not to me… but until I’d ripped the enchantment out of it, it had felt more like a part of my arms than something I was holding in them.

She lashed out and I lashed back, shoving up and forward to catch her blade and knock it back. For lack of any better plan, I just kept moving forward. She ended up on her ass, though she scrambled sideways and got herself up on her feet before I figured out what to do next. Hit her, obviously, but I wasn’t really holding the staff in a swingable position.

Even without magic guidance, it really wasn’t that hard to figure out how to put a stick I was holding right in front of me in between myself and a sword blade. Yes, there definitely was something to be said for a staff over a sword when it came to blocking… I just needed to work on striking.

I adjusted my grip a little bit to try to get a little more length for swinging, and then a little more. I didn’t have the room to hold it near the end and swing it like a giant sword, but trying to shove Gloria around or just bop her on the hands with the ends of the staff wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I stopped sliding the staff up when I had one hand right around the center… my only thought was to sort of split the difference, but it felt strangely workable. I had control of the unwieldy weapon, I had enough length to hit with, I still had it in front of me.

It was a bit like holding a sword with a giant hilt.

That insight popped into my head right as Gloria went into another flurry of attacks. It helped. I resisted the urge to hide behind the staff like I’d been doing, and tried to block more actively. I was stronger than Gloria… I should be able to do more than just put something between her blade and me.

I found myself wishing I’d paid more attention to the stickfighting book Callahan had assigned to me. I probably would’ve figured out how to hold the staff sooner, and maybe I’d have a better idea of how to parry than just batting at her weapon.

Hitting her weapon was an effective way of keeping it away from me, but it wasn’t the goal. I had a longer weapon than her and even if I didn’t have the room to swing it, I could still reach out.

The next time Gloria swung her sword at me, I batted it aside from the inside, and then sort of popped the staff forward almost like it was a giant cue stick. It was an awkward shift, but moving my hands on the staff and vice-versa seemed a lot more natural without the defensive spells influencing how I held it. It worked, too. The butt of the staff… or head, or whatever the end that was facing her was called… slammed into her chest and she fell backwards, spinning onto her side and hitting a big guy with a big battleaxe in the legs. He went wobbly, but kept his feet, though he took a whip lash to the cheek from his opponent while he was distracted. He cried out and then charged the whip-wielder.

Gloria was still sorting herself out. My staff was still kind of extended in my grasp, so I swung it down like a hammer. She got the sword up, kind of, but it didn’t do much good. I watched as the staff hit it, I heard and felt it and I didn’t stop swinging. I heard and felt the impact of the staff on Gloria’s head, too… even though there was no apparent wound left behind, the illusionary magic still gave a sickeningly wet crack.

Gloria grunted a little, grabbed her sword, and scuttled back into the gap the axeman had left, where she retook her feet.

Something was very badly wrong. I couldn’t really quantify these things, but I was pretty sure if somebody had clobbered one of my breasts with the end of a quarterstaff with enough force to knock me off my feet, I would have at least said “ow”… and that was to say nothing of the fact that I was pretty sure that I’d cracked her in the head with one of those “definitely fatal” blows Callahan had talked about. How much pain had she just shrugged off?

Had messing around with the nature of its enchantments screwed up my phantasmal weapon? It seemed within the realm of possibility… the thing was at its core just a bundle of spells, and I’d ripped one out. On an impulse, I pulled the staff back up at my own face with just enough force to make me wince and use slightly less force.

It still stung like I’d just hit myself in the forehead with a wooden pole. I could imagine Gloria stoically overcoming something like that, but I’d hit her much harder… was the pain not scaling up right? I didn’t really have time to investigate the intricacies of the situation… Gloria’s sword was flashing forward, right at my stomach. I tried get step back and get my staff in the way, but I wasn’t quick enough: her sword slipped in just to side of my navel right as I batted it away.

The pain was… pain. Bright and burning. The God of Pain was safe on his throne. I not only failed to slay him, I bowed before him… and Gloria took the opportunity to slam the pommel of her sword against my skull. I crumpled forward. I didn’t so much keep hold of my staff as land on top of it. Chalk up another point for having a smooth, blunt weapon…

Gloria’s blade kept slashing downwards. I felt it pass through me once, twice, a third time… every time it spread bright flares of pain through my body. She didn’t stop after three blows, it just became impossible to count. The pain of each non-wound stuck around, adding to the ones that had come before. There was pain and pain and more pain, and it wasn’t stopping. Each time I tried to rise or move, there came a harder, deeper blow somewhere new.

Well, Callahan couldn’t accuse me of not getting into the spirit of the lesson.

Ignoring the pain wasn’t possible. Fighting it didn’t seem like an option… how did you fight something that was everywhere inside you, stronger than you, and getting stronger all the time?

Gloria’s arm would get tired, but what kind of shape would I be in by then?

I slumped over onto my side. It wasn’t intention, but it was sort of an improvement. I wasn’t on top of my staff any more. I could feel it next to my arm… it was an effort to remember what it was that I was feeling, but I clung tight to the thought of my staff. It was hard, but not as hard as I’d thought. The staff wasn’t pain. That made it a happy thought by definition.

I tried to picture where it was, imagining how it would be positioned based on what I thought its angle was. This wasn’t anything like part of a plan… it was just reaching out and holding on. But, as I suppose frequently happens when someone realizes that the thing they’re holding onto is a weapon, a plan sort of presented itself.

I went as still as I could. I jerked pretty badly when the sword went through me, but I was being stabbed a lot less than I had been. I didn’t try to fight the pain, just sort of go with it. It was there. It was real enough for me to feel it. I couldn’t do anything about it. I held onto my impression of the staff. I tried to find some kind of rhythm or pattern in Gloria’s blows, but she wasn’t being the least bit methodical. All I could do was wait until just after she stabbed me and before she stabbed me again.

I grabbed for the staff. My hand hit and slid off, but I had a real piece of luck… the staff didn’t roll away. In fact, it didn’t move at all. I wrenched myself up a bit even as Gloria stabbed me right through the head. My hand closed in on the end of the shaft and I yanked it up off the floor. I heard Gloria crying out in surprise as she fell down again. My vision was red, all bright red, but I focused on that sound and started flailing around towards it. Maybe I couldn’t hurt her, but I could hit her, I could knock her down and push her around. It was easy to tell when I connected, and I just kept pounding, kept hammering away, kept bringing the staff down until I felt it hitting floor instead of her.

My vision had dimmed but I still couldn’t see, and that was when I realized that my eyes were shut. I opened them, and found myself looking at Gloria, who’d backed up against a wall to get out of my swings. She was standing on her feet, looking a little shaky but oddly composed.

If she was hurting any, it didn’t show one bit.

I fixed my grip on the staff, holding it out in front of me so I could strike with it, at her or her sword. The pain was still there… still everywhere. The explosive burst of action had taken the edge off of it somewhat, but it hadn’t gone away. I felt like my whole body was made up of wounds, dozens of cuts and slashes overlaid on top of each other. I wanted to lay down… fall over, really… but that wouldn’t make the pain go away, and would in fact only lead to more.

The only way to mitigate the pain was to keep fighting. The only way to prevent more was to do it well.

Gloria was eyeing me carefully. She had to know that if I could keep hitting her I could keep her at staff length, even if it didn’t do much more than tickle her. If I couldn’t hit her, though… if I screwed up, if I gave her an opening… she’d be on me again. She could go for my guts, or take my legs out from under me, or do any number of other things.

So don’t screw up, I told myself. I remembered my earlier thought. Could I possibly work an enchantment under the circumstances? Probably not on a real weapon, but the phantasmal staff’s magic was quick and responsive. It took nothing more than a thought, a mental twitch, to reach out and touch it, to take hold of it. That mental connection made me feel more confident in holding the physical weapon.

While keeping my eyes locked with Gloria’s… trying not to give away what I was doing with my face… I took stock. The staff’s properties were way different from the knife I was used to working with in class, but there was something in there that felt promising. Something hard and brutal and strangely satisfying, when I wrapped my attention around it. I didn’t know what an armourer would have called this property, but I suppose it could be summed up as “whamminess“.

Yeah… that was something I could use.

I lifted up the staff like I was going to go for an overhead swing. As I did, Gloria lunged in for another abdominal thrust. I threw as much energy as I could into the staff and brought it down around, swinging at her from the side. She went flying into the adjoining wall and bounced off. Her sword flew in a similar but separate path. I had the presence of mind to slam my foot down on its blade while it was still clattering on the ground.

Maybe that was an underhanded move, but she’d stepped on my weapon first. She could try to throw me off of it, but I was a bit stronger than she was.

Gloria got to her feet slowly. I let her stand, because I had her sword and I was interested in seeing how she moved. She was moving slower now, and clutching her arm where the staff had hit it, though she still seemed more shaken than pained by the impacts.

“You…” she said. It sounded like an accusation, or part of one.

I didn’t know how to respond, since she hadn’t given me anything I could refute, so I just kicked her sword back a bit and then stepped on it again, keeping my staff towards her.

“You are cheating,” she said.

“I’m not sure our teacher would agree,” I said. “Or care.”

“Bringing your filthy magic into an honest fight,” she said.

“We’re fighting with magic weapons,” I said. “I could have just as easily brought a staff of whamming in with me.”

“You didn’t, though,” she said.

“And what did you bring?” I asked her. “If you aren’t buffed on something, you’d be feeling a lot worse already.”

“What? Don’t you dare compare…” she said, but whatever I wasn’t supposed to compare was lost as she threw herself at me with an inarticulate shriek.

My new calm and analytical style deserted me. I dropped my staff in surprise, though I kept my foot planted on her sword. She grabbed the staff before it hit the ground and tried pummeling me with it, though she too close to use it effectively. I caught hold of it and tried to wrench it away… she let go and it slipped from my hand, sailing into somebody else’s fight.

Unarmed, she punched me in the face, then clawed at me with her fingernails. I felt four burning trails digging into my cheek. She couldn’t actually injure me… in fact, her unaugmented hand and nails would work against me almost exactly the same way the “pain only” mockeries would… but switching from a phantasmal weapon to a flesh-and-blood hand had to be some kind of violation or at least faux pas.

I grabbed her wrist, then her other one when she tried to hit me with that one.

“How about a time out?” I asked. “I’ll give you back your sword if you let me get my staff, and then we’ll go back to trying to hurt each other as much as we can.”

She spat at me, but I barely noticed. Her skin was tingling weirdly underneath my hand… and then it burned. At the same time, I became aware of a wet trickle down my cheek. I let go, stepping back and touching my cheek. I could feel the scratches she’d made, and my fingertips came away red.

“What the hell are you?” I asked, though that was probably not the best figure of speech.


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194 Responses to “444: Strong Arm Tactics”

  1. Dan says:

    Aw, SNAP.

    Divinely blooded, baby!

    Current score: 1
  2. Kaila says:

    Ooh, now who’s cheating? Using divinity? Shrugging off pain?

    Can’t figure out whether Coach will be more or less impressed.

    Current score: 1
    • A Random Pooka says:

      I am pretty sure Callahan’s going to approve. Blood is blood is blood. Other than to maybe be disappointed that they didn’t just kill each other dead, that is.

      Current score: 1
  3. Evil Toast says:

    I thought Gloria was just summoning up a bit of divinity, since she is studying it. I event wondered if our ‘pitchy’ was involved there during her psycho rant. But that last line of ‘What are you’ implies a more racial thing… meh, happily baffled

    Current score: 2
  4. Zathras IX says:

    In which Mackenzie
    And Gloria are involved
    In girl-on-girl slash

    Current score: 4
  5. cnic says:

    Aasamar to her Teifling? Interesting. That is my theory at least. These few chapters have been really interesting. A side story that switched points of view giving us a look at some of the other battles would be interesting.

    Current score: 2
    • Seeker in Excess says:

      Not to nit pick, but Mackenzie isn’t a Tiefling. In D&D, tieflings are humans with the blood of the lower planes–either by relation or by being born on one of said planes–for about a thousand generations. Mackenzie is a half-demon, so she’s more like a cambion, alu-fiend, or what have you.

      Current score: 2
    • LlubNek says:

      I doubt Gloria would be an Aasimar: Mac is pretty oblivious, but she probably would notice divine nature. Whether she’d be attracted as with Amaranth or repelled as with Winny is another matter. Of the women she’s been involved with though (in some capacity at least), we have Amaranth, Barley and Puddy with nymph blood, and a priestess, Dee. Being attracted to nymphs is hardly surprising, but it seems there may be at least some mutual attraction between infernals and divinity.

      On the other hand, Gloria considers Callahan’s references to the “God of Pain” to be blasphemy. She may feel it is her duty to prove her own god’s superiority over pain, and so had herself blessed. The fact that despite her god’s blessing, Mac still kicks her ass, and Mac being part demon, it’s pretty obvious why she’s pissed off.

      Mac saying “What the hell are you?” may either be Mac being stupid and forgetting the blessing she’d just referred to herself, or it may be the author leaking some presentience if Gloria is actually not entirely human. Divinity would probably hurt more and Mac doesn’t seem to mind the scratches all that much, just the fact that Gloria actually managed to scratch her, which suggests not divinity, but some more mundane magic. Gloria may be a magical being, so that her fingernails are “magical weapons”, but not divine.

      Remember that Gloria is from an area where Khersianism is uncommon. Her skin tone reflects the typical shading for humans in that area. At least one of her parents was obviously a local human, though not necessarily pure human, and it would be more likely to meet a more mundane magical being than a Khersian celestial in an area where Khersianism is rare. Since her parents are described as “missionaries” though,, the counter arguments are obvious.

      Anyway, I’ve argued both sides with no answer. I expect we’ll all find out what’s going on soon enough when Erin posts 445.

      Current score: 0
  6. firedragongt says:

    Hmm…Is Gloria cheating like a little bitch by using divine magic here? Augmenting a magical weapon with magic isn’t cheating, it’s the whole purpose of using a magic weapon, but to use deadly force in a fight with rules against it is damn well cheating. Maybe she’s divine blooded, but I somewhat doubt it.

    Current score: 0
    • TheTurnipKing says:

      As far as I can tell, Gloria hasn’t been using deadly force anymore than Mackenzie has. I don’t think either can really be described as “cheating” either by simply using their inherent powers in the fight (though, whether those powers are inherent to Gloria or simply an artifact of her faith is up for debate)

      I tend to agree that being inherently divine doesn’t seem terribly likely. Though if she is, possibly it comes from a deity other than Khersis?

      Current score: 0
      • firedragongt says:

        Allow me to correct what I said. “Potentially lethal force”. That better? I would call it cheating to try clawing your opponent’s eyes out in any honorable fight, but this kind more so, since the rules are “mock weapons only” and “cause pain”. Gloria pretty clearly broke the first rule there.

        Current score: 0
        • firedragongt says:

          I think Callahan is going to be pissed as all hell, looking back.

          “Damn it, you are seriously harshing my metaphor,” she said. “No, there is no sanctity in the classroom and you won’t encounter any divine energy in this class, though you will get the next best thing.”

          She promised Mack that something and her promise has been broken. Callahan doesn’t seem like the type to like it when other people make her lie.

          Current score: 1
          • TheTurnipKing says:

            I do see Gloria getting a kicking from Callahan here… though mostly because she doesn’t seem to be actually receiving much pain herself, which was stated as being the whole point of the lesson.

            Current score: 0
    • A Random Pooka says:

      There is no such thing as cheating in a fight. Which I am sure Callahan will be glad to point out over and over. There’s dying and not dying. Pretty much everything else is irrelevant

      Current score: 0
      • Andy says:

        Are there rules? If yes, then there’s cheating. Seems to me this is a melee weapons class. Therefore, the rule is “Use melee weapons.” Using your bare hands is as much cheating as would be bringing a sword to a non-weapons class, or as would be bringing a crossbow to the melee class.

        Now, in a real fight, you’d be right. But this isn’t a real fight.

        Current score: 0
        • TheTurnipKing says:

          Melee means “hand to hand”, surely?

          Current score: 0
          • Chips says:

            Not exactly. Melee is (generally) taken to mean “fighting with hand-held weapons” and hand-to-hand is “unarmed combat.” But I agree that Callahan’s going to be pissed at Gloria for avoiding pain.

            Current score: 0
            • Dan says:

              Not exactly. Melee means in the mix, the scrum, what have you. Anything that comes to hand works, even if its the knuckles along it. Some video games draw an artificial distinction between melee with weapons and unarmed combat, butthere doesn’t have to be one.

              In accounts of the mideival ‘melee’ format tournament, you of course didn’t have unarmed men messing about in it- that would be dumb, everyone else was armed. But that wouldn’t stop someone from clocking someone with a free hand or whatever if they had the chance. And if they did, it was unlikely anyone would run onto the field and yell at them for hitting somebody with something that wasn’t a stick with pointy bits on. The melee was pretty free form.

              Current score: 0
            • Kevin says:

              hand-to-hand combat includes the use of close range melee weapons such as a combat knife or a baton (maybe even a short sword such as a side sword or a small sword) it does not being “unarmed combat” though kicks and punches are included in the mix

              incidentally the earliest usage of the phrase “hand-to-hand” that I’m aware of is after the rise of gunpowder where it was used for anything that wasn’t a firearm or bow

              Current score: 0
  7. Jennifer says:

    Gloria has magic fingers!

    …or fingernails, anyways. Like Mac’s magic teeth, I guess?

    Current score: 0
    • firedragongt says:

      Except that her skin is giving off divine magic too, would she literally ooze divine magic naturally? I’m thinking she is buffed with it.

      Current score: 1
      • Seeker of Wisdom Left In Back Pocket says:

        I have to agree. Remember the praying she did before she mocked her weapon? Considering Gloria had plenty of warning as to the purpose of the class and knows just how strong Mackenzie is, I’m better Gloria purposefully enhanced herself with some kind of spell to grant pain resistance and, maybe, another one to increase strength.

        That said, Gloria herself is still not even half the fighter she thinks she is. Mack has good instincts, if she’d bother to listen to them, combined with a knowledge of enchantment, the ability to read enchantments placed upon weapons, supernatural strength and damage resistance, and a natural affinity for fire magic in addition to the showings of skill in other elements. In addition, Mackenzie herself simply seems to be smarter than Gloria and has had more than enough time to study Gloria’s fighting style. Oh, and let’s not forget about Daddy or Callahan…

        Though, I am curious about one final thing: What is Mother Khaele’s opinion of Mackenzie? We know the goddess’s opinion of the relationship, but that may be a result of Amaranth’s actions and not Mackenzie’s. And considering the relationship between Amaranth and Mackenzie and Mother Khaele’s protectiveness of nymphs, attacking Mackenzie with any seriousness just might, and this is pure speculation, be asking for a goddess’s wrath.

        Current score: 1
        • Seeker of Wisdom Left In Back Pocket says:

          Betting, I mean.

          Current score: 0
        • Seeker in texts says:

          I’m pretty sure she buffed herself with her prayer before the fight. She practically says so after Mack accuses her of buffing herself and just before she went berserk.
          ‘Don’t you dare compare….’

          Current score: 1
        • Oitur says:

          Mack has great instincts, it’s her compassion that keeps her from being a better fighter. In this story she let up for a moment because she was afraid she’d broken G’s skull, and G clobbered her. I don’t mean to criticize her for showing compassion; but in a fight with someone who hates you, don’t drop your defenses for anything.

          Current score: 0
          • Chips says:

            A lesson I think Mack has now learned. 😉

            Current score: 0
          • Seeker of Pain Relief says:

            That’s not how I read it – she wasn’t concerned about Gloria at all. She wondered if she was inflicting pain at all or if she failed that, and stupidly tested on herself mid-fight.

            Current score: 1
        • Zukira Phaera says:

          I’ve always wondered if Mother Khaele is paying attention to the point of noticing that Mack is having a good influence on Amy, even if Amy is still having moments that would make a goddess mama facepalm.

          Current score: 0
    • Seeker in Excess says:

      Mackenzie’s fingernails are magic as well. If she grew them out, they’d probably be potent weapons all on their own. On the other hand, she’d probably end up accidentally gouging out things, like maybe her own palm, by accident.

      Current score: 0
      • firedragongt says:

        This raises an interesting question. Does Mack have to use magic fingernail clippers?

        Current score: 0
        • Andy says:

          Maybe she bites her nails.

          Current score: 1
          • Zukira Phaera says:

            Knowing Mack, this would likely be the case. If not biting them then yes she would have to use magical nail clippers, or something magic to trim her nails just like she needs magic scissors to have her hair cut.

            Current score: 1
    • A Random Pooka says:

      I didn’t think Mackenzie’s teeth were magic. I thought her whole self was magic. It isn’t just her teeth like a Redcap in a World of Darkness game.

      She’s made of demon.

      Sounds like Gloria is made of Angel.

      Honestly don’t know how we all missed it with a name like Gloria

      Current score: 0
  8. Christoph says:

    Oh, ok. Half-Angel. That makes sense.
    Or whatever the equivalent of angel is.
    Or would it be a demigod?
    Half-Khersis?
    Or perhaps she’s just another demonblood with a high tolerance to holiness.
    Hm.

    Current score: 0
    • firedragongt says:

      Doesn’t she worship the god of demon slaying? She hates demonbloods with a passion…seems like proper worship in that case would be suicide.

      Current score: 0
      • Christoph says:

        I’m just throwing out ideas here.
        Didn’t exactly think that last one through too much.

        Current score: 0
      • Chips says:

        So many men are homophobic … and some of the really nasty ones have those “evil urges” themselves.

        Current score: 0
        • firedragongt says:

          What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

          Current score: 0
          • Chips says:

            If a homophobic man who is suffering those evil urges went and killed themselves, there would be practically no cases of gays getting beaten nearly to death.

            Can you not see the parallel between a demon-blooded hating demonbloods?

            Current score: 0
            • Dan says:

              Remember the bit where a demonblood tried praying to khersis and got fiery retribution all over her face for it?

              Current score: 0
  9. Seeker of P0wer says:

    I think Callahan has seen enough to believe Mack is taking fighting seriously.
    I previously thought Gloria’s extra long praying was to make her weapon cause excessive amounts of pain but I guess I was wrong. Perhaps it was to give her buffing in order to protect her from Mack’s assault (which was quite painful the last time they sparred). I doubt that Gloria is anything but human and is simply calling on her deity to protect her from, a technically accurate, demonblood assault. Although, the idea that she is an angelblood and thus an “evil” counterpart to Mack is hard to resist.

    Current score: 0
    • Seeker in Excess says:

      Yes, it does sound very tempting. However, we must all remember that Gloria is most likely NOT a half-celestial.

      If she were, then they’re real pussies, because Gloria is getting schooled by a hundred pound, scared little girl. Why? Because said geek can flip over a carriage with one hand. One would think that they’d be near-demon forms of strength.

      Gloria also comes from a family of missionaries, and I think she stated that her mother and father were married and still alive. Knocking up your married mortal follower would be a very dickish thing to do. Which I’m sure wouldn’t even stop most of the immortal things, good or no.

      Current score: 0
      • erratio says:

        “Knocking up your married mortal follower would be a very dickish thing to do.”

        Was this intended as irony? It’s exactly how Jesus is suppojosed to have been conceived, and I’ve never heard a (serious) opinion that Jehovah must be kind of a dick to have done that.

        Current score: 1
        • Seeker of fogoten name says:

          Except said person wasn’t married yet…..

          Either way I’ll be over here rotflmfao

          Current score: 1
        • Kelsi says:

          Er, I thought Mary wasn’t married until after the immaculate conception? Could be wrong. No Bible scholar, me.

          Current score: 0
        • Seeker in Excess says:

          That would be a demi-god. It’s likely that it’d be one of a god’s divine host–since there aren’t any indications that Khersis Dei decided to randomly throw a race of nice people into heaven the same time he was tossing demons into hell.

          Also, Old Testament God was an enormous dick.

          Current score: 0
        • Rey d`Tutto says:

          “and I’ve never heard a (serious) opinion that Jehovah must be … a dick…”

          I have that opinion. You must not have seen this –> http://www.evilbible.com/

          The Old Testament “Fire & Brimstone” Jehova/YHWH condones and ocassionally demanded “…mass-murders, rapes, pillage, plunder, slavery, child abuse and killing, not to mention the killing of unborn children. … ”

          Current score: 0
          • erratio says:

            Ah, but does it list cuckolding a man as a reason for a god to be a dick? I’m not gonna argue that OT God isn’t a dick, but I haven’t seen any serious opinions about how cuckolding Joseph was a dick move.

            And to all the people saying they weren’t married yet: true, but in those days betrothed was pretty much the same thing, just without the sex. I saw some commentary that explained that the reason we know Joseph was an awesome guy is because when he discovered that Mary was pregnant, he decided to divorce her quietly rather than proclaiming that it was because she cheated on him (obviously this was prior to him discovering that she was carrying Jesus).

            Current score: 0
      • Ari says:

        Or it could be seen as a great honour to bear the child of their God? The husband might choose to be happy and honoured rather than angry. I mean, your God gets your wife pregnant and tells you to raise the baby well and as your own and you’ll get even more rewards in any afterlife you go to….my first reaction wouldn’t be anger.
        But this is all speculation since she may not even be half-celestial or anything, never mind her parents involvement.

        Current score: 0
        • Chips says:

          If, of course, you believed your wife when she told you that, “Oh, ~no~! I didn’t have sex with anyone! It must have been God!”

          Current score: 0
          • mari says:

            more likely, assuming she was a virgin.
            “No, my father did not rape me, nor did yours.”

            such was life back then, as your father’s property.

            Current score: 0
      • A Random Pooka says:

        Wait, Mack is not a typical 100 pound scared girl. Getting smacked around by her would not qualify Gloria as a pussy. And Gloria’s doing just as much stabbity-stabbity-slash as Mack is with the smacking. Seems fair and even.

        Current score: 0
        • Seeker in Excess says:

          But it would make half-celestials pussies, since Gloria is getting pushed around quite easily by Mackenzie’s strength, both now and in their previous fight where Mackenzie actually broke Gloria’s arms when she tried to block Mackenzie’s blow.

          Current score: 0
      • TheTurnipKing says:

        It’s like Steff said. You get the disadvantages for free. The advantages, you have to work on.

        I wonder if where she came from had it’s own deity before being converted to Kherstianity? Maybe that deity might be the source of any inherent blessing, even though she doesn’t worship it anymore (and indeed, possibly never had). The celestial heritage might even be generations back.

        Current score: 1
  10. Seeker who isn't bothered to think of a real tag says:

    Did someone just pull godwin’s law on the comment section?

    I hope that gloria has just buffed herself and doesn’t turn out to be an angelblood or anything. That would be too cliché.

    Current score: 0
    • Not anymore. 😛 It didn’t really connect directly with the chapter and don’t really want the comments turning into “Discuss Hitler’s Motives”, so I axed that thread.

      Current score: 1
  11. readstospouse says:

    Interesting. I was just thinking buffed, but her absolute fury at having her advantages compared to mack ‘s does seem to hint to a racial origin. As a clear paladin, from a family of paladins, aasamir or some other slightly holy blooded demihuman does not strike me as a stretch.

    A little bit of holy blood would give her family both edge and incentive in their calling. In roleplaying game terms having a racial bonus that benefits your class is a very common optimization, and in real life it is just considered playing to your strengths.

    Current score: 0
  12. smashy says:

    “What the hell are you?” – anyone else reminded of True Blood?

    Current score: 0
    • Cracked says:

      Actually I was thinking Queen of the Damned when the band member says that to Lestat at the beginning.

      Current score: 0
    • A Random Pooka says:

      I am thinking of the movie Predator

      Current score: 0
    • Chips says:

      “I’m Batman!”

      Current score: 1
  13. moxicity says:

    haha! I see that ms Erin might have started a minimeme within her fandom – I spy 3 people with the “Seeker…” title right now. Nice 🙂

    Current score: 0
    • I count more than that, especially if you go back and catch the ones in the comments on the previous three chapters. The list thus far includes:

      Seeker in Excess
      Seeker of Wisdom Left In Back Pocket
      Seeker After Own Hindquarters, Etc.
      Seeker who isn’t bothered to think of a real tag
      Seeker of The Things that are in Vain
      Seeker of Second Left Foot
      Seeker In Graceful Flailing
      Seeker of Spicy Food
      Seeker of P0wer
      Seeker after ends and beginnings
      Seeker in texts
      Seeker of fogoten name
      Seeker in ni rekeeS
      Seeker of Pain Relief

      And of course mine, Seeker In Coherent. Now that’s a serious meme! ^_^

      Current score: 0
      • Seeker of The Things that are in Vain says:

        Mine even spawned a character for Demon: the Fallen RPG-Group, and was quickly followed by all other players giving themselv *Seeker….* names.
        Success I guess^^

        Current score: 1
      • Krista says:

        Don’t forget Seeker in Knotholes

        Current score: 0
  14. readstospouse says:

    Also when gloria ripped the illusionary pitchfork through her torso to get unpinned that showed a pretty hefty strength and pain tolerance.

    Not that she really has to be more than human. After all, coming from a family of paladins, asking her god for strength and courage before every battle might be such an ingrained habit she might not consider it cheating any more than unsheathing her weapon would be. Attuning herself to her god may just be a normal part of how she fights, and probably deals with any other issue.

    Current score: 1
    • krt says:

      You mean it showed willpower. She was in a lot of pain after tearing herself off the pitchfork and it showed. But now she acts like she’s on painkillers. Also, she didn’t ask for divine protection the other times she fought with Mack, or at least we weren’t told that she did.

      Current score: 1
  15. Seeker in Graceful Flailing says:

    What a complete BITCH! If it weren’t for magical healing being able to fix pretty much anything without any scarring, then I’d say Gloria would fully deserve it if Mackenzie retaliated in kind by emulating Jonathan Storm. I’m really wondering whether Callahan is watching and whether she’ll intervene or not now that Gloria is causing real damage.

    Current score: 0
    • CK says:

      Callahan does not seem like the type to miss anything going on on a battlefield.

      And what’s the count at now? 48 hours of Daddy free time?

      Current score: 1
    • Seeker in ni rekeeS says:

      I think she might respond rather forcefully to someone thwarting the spirit of the exercise by buffing themselves with a resistance to pain. Rather forcefully indeed.

      Current score: 1
    • Seeker in Excess says:

      This is Callahan we’re talking about. She’s instructed students to break each other’s legs. She’s not going to be concerned with a few little scratches on Mackenzie’s face, especially since magical healing is so easy to come by. Plus she knows Mackenzie’s generally too much of a wimp to over-retaliate and with deadly force.

      On the other hand, she may find Gloria’s suddenly magical nature of interest. And she’ll certainly be upset at Gloria’s pain resistance.

      On a side note, who wants to bet that Mackenzie’s sailing quarter staff hit Jamie?

      Current score: 1
      • Chips says:

        I’d find it hilarious if she came close to hitting Callahan!

        Current score: 0
      • Oni says:

        I’ll take that bet. Fate seems to have decided that whenever one of them can piss off the other one inadvertently, so it will be.

        Current score: 0
  16. Peter says:

    I’m getting so tired of waiting for the cliffhangers to end. It’s a great story, but the format of web fiction pretty much ensures that we get cliff hanger after cliff hanger. Yes, I’m hooked, I like the writing, but holy fuck, I’m tired.

    Current score: 0
    • Estcher says:

      Agree. I feel drained these days. I would rather wait for a month and read one entire chapter.

      Current score: 0
      • Seeker on the Seas of Fate says:

        Personally I love the cliffhangers… I like the idea of getting the words right after they’re written. 🙂 Then again, I don’t think I could stand to wait a month and read a bunch of updates.

        Current score: 0
      • cnic says:

        Really? These are only a few days apart not like waiting a year or more for the next book in a series. Cliffhangers keep me coming back. All the weekly serials at the movie theatre used to end that way. I’d be so excited talking about it with friends. At least our author doesn’t start the chapter with a minor but significant rewrite of the last few seconds including a deus ex machina like the serials did.

        Current score: 1
  17. Durragh says:

    There are two parts of this I see Callahan getting pissed about. 1) if Gloria buffed herself against pain, then thats exactly opposite to Callahan’s lesson, learning to function inspite of pain and injury. 2) by using divinely enhanced nails to claw with, and divine blessings on skin making it another kind of weapon against Mack, she’s violating Callahan’s mocked weapons only rules. I was sorry to see a good fight degenerate down to a hair pulling, clawing cat fight, but when neither one of them is all that skilled, I suppose it was inevitable. VERY good couple of chapters.

    Current score: 1
    • Durragh says:

      on a total side note… anyone else want to see a match up between Callahan and Mercy?

      Current score: 0
      • Rethic says:

        Well I kind of vaguely remember when they worked side by side the person who was in charge of them assumed in the end they would fight. That one would kill the other, and that he didn’t care which. So either it happened already and was a draw or more likely it will happen someday in the future, but probably not in this time period.

        Current score: 1
  18. Seeker of Pain Relief says:

    I’m beginning to wonder exactly why she’s freaking out like that. Gloria lost it somewhere, and I’m wondering what “it” might be…

    Current score: 0
  19. Konso says:

    Wow, not far into the fight and Mack is already up to 3. Daddy Mack might be regretting his promise now 🙂

    Current score: 0
    • Not sure all of those count as such. The first one, sure, she did literally knock Gloria on her ass. The second, not so much. Gloria kind of spun down on her side. She was knocked down, but not on her ass. The third one is harder to tell since Mack had her eyes closed and didn’t see how Gloria landed. Also she didn’t so much knock Gloria down as yank her feet out from under her. So how many of these will count toward Mack’s “Go Away Daddy” days will depend upon how literally The Man applies the letter of the offer he made.

      Current score: 0
      • Rey d`Tutto says:

        I would suggest that he’ll play it closer to the spirit of the Promise, not the letter. Mack is an untamed, flighty bird he is attempting to teach to eat out of his hand. If he Offends her sense of Fair Play, he’d only set himself back. He needs/wants to get her to trust him. Dicking Mack over with the promise is probably not the best option.

        Current score: 0
        • Seeker in Graceful Flailing says:

          I would expect him to ‘agree’ as many times as Mackenzie feels she succeeded, and only actually keep to the bargain as many times as he feels she succeeded.

          Current score: 0
  20. Zergonapal says:

    I think that agreement only counts if she knocks her opponent down three times, not once and pound them into the floor.
    As for Gloria it seems to me that she has (taking the D&D equivalent) buffed herself with Endurance increasing her constitution. Rather not in the spirit of things IMO as the point of the exercise is to find your limit and then push past it. You can’t know yourself if you use buffs and you won’t always have the chance to cast said buffs if an enemy comes upon you unexpectedly.

    Current score: 0
    • TheTurnipKing says:

      I don’t think it’s a general stat buff.. She’s suffused with divine energy from a deity which is opposed to Mack’s demonic heritage. So she takes less damage from Mack (or other demonblood) specifically. Anyone else sticks a mocked knife in her, and she’d probably feel the full pain.

      Current score: 0
  21. Anders says:

    I’m surprised nobody thought about Gloria being used to pain because of auto punishing herself (flagellant). After all, she is a religious extremist, and in a world with easy healing the things she can do to punish herself are much worse with much less consequences.
    In any case, it seems pretty clear that she is not fully human.

    Current score: 0
    • SeeekerOfNetbooks says:

      Remember Gloria had an option to do the whole self-inflicted pain thing instead of fight, and she didn’t seem to hot on it. In fact that being the option got her to rationalize herself into fighting Mack, so I’m really leaning towards no, she doesn’t self-inflict.

      It’s probably also not modernly accepted Church practice, since they were talking about how the last edition of the mutilate-yourself-for-the-love-of-god book was published roughly 400 years ago.

      Current score: 1
      • Mickey Phoenix says:

        I’m fairly sure, given my knowledge of our world’s religious history, that the book in question is more “how to torture other people for the glory of God”. Think the Inquisition.

        That’s why Gloria was so offended by the suggestion. Callahan was explicitly rubbing her nose in some of the more unsavory parts of her religion’s history.

        Current score: 0
    • Seeker in Excess says:

      Except she felt pain just fine when she was fighting Pitchy-Mackenzie (Pitchkenzie?), and the current weapons are designed to a lot meaner.

      Current score: 1
    • Seeker after ends and beginnings says:

      That was actually my thought for her ability to withstand pain. I would have sworn she was a follower of this deity if this was Faerun. http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Loviatar

      Current score: 0
      • Seeker of a good DnD game says:

        Actually as far as Faerun deities go a self-inflicting Gloria would be a follower of Ilmater, Loviatar is the goddess of torture, whereas Ilmater is the god of suffering.

        Also certain followers of Ilmater would self-inflict (as of second edition Forgotten Realms) whereas followers of Loviatar would inflict pain on others

        Current score: 0
  22. scubadude says:

    Whamminess… beautiful.

    Current score: 1
    • Nohbdy says:

      So with you there! Appropriate for Mack, too- nice solid quality, no delicacy required. Just pick up and bash!

      Current score: 1
  23. "Endless Crescendo" says:

    Well Well, I must say I’m quite pleased with Mack’s progress here. She’s doing much better than she had earlier on. She’s also been using her instincts a bit better while also… well, thinking the battle out.

    Ha, I’m definitely going to have to think me up a Seeker name sometime.

    Current score: 0
  24. Oitur says:

    Funny (odd) sentence here:
    “I tried get step back and get my staff in the way,…”

    Current score: 0
  25. H-Bomb says:

    Soooo gooood. I love this chapter!

    Current score: 0
  26. Krey says:

    I’m thinking Gloria is likely slightly divine. As in the (great^x) granddaughter of a demigod, likely by the god that she worships. This explains her and her whole families intense religious fervor, and why she would have divinely magical fingernails and such without actually being all that powerful.

    Current score: 0
    • Seeker of warmth(far from the cold wastes) says:

      Actually, I don’t think Gloria has any divine blood, Mack doesn’t react to her the way she does another divinely blooded character. In point of fact, Mack thinks Gloria is pretty hot. I am surprised she didn’t start getting turned on by the pain Gloria was inflicting. Gloria had to have blessed herself A: its pretty low level; B: it affects damage and adds attack bonus’; and C: it would suffuse her body with divine energy without broadcasting said energy like divine healing does. Ergo, she would be able to take a beating from Mack, and affect her as if she had enchanted her nails.
      As pointed out before, Mack and Gloria went round before, and both of them felt a lot of pain in that fight

      Current score: 0
  27. Dirty Carrie says:

    If family of paladins=likely has divine blood, wouldn’t it be likely that Mack herself would have some divine blood?

    My money says Gloria’s a human with a fuck-lot of faith. The lesson that Callahan has trying to teach Mack is that Mack being a demon doesn’t make her invulnerable. She has to learn to fight, even against “normal” people, in this universe, humans. (Don’t even get me started on the logic of humans as baseline and every other race being variations thereof.)

    One of the major themes of this entire story is that people are more than the sum of their genetics. “Holy” behavior does not equal “holy” genetics, and vice versa. And one of the characteristics of divinity is that it can be aquired by arcane objects or people.

    Current score: 0
    • Rey d`Tutto says:

      Also, and this is a Key point -> HOLY is not GOOD <-

      HOLY demands killing Mack oughtright as she is a Half-Demon.
      GOOD, on the other claw, would look at her actions.

      Current score: 0
  28. Seeker in Morphine says:

    Interestingly enough, nobody seems to think Mack did anything wrong by enchanting her mocked weapon to cause non-mocked damage by slamming Gloria into the wall. Not a huge supporter of Gloria here, but being knocked into a solid object with the force it takes to lift herself off the floor is probably already breaking the non-lethal damage rule. I believe the cushioning spell is only in effect on the floor, so although it seems lil miss paladin-to-be already has an advantage in the exercise from the “Don’t you dare compare…” line, the first one to do something completely illegal could be Mack. I’d probably accept her argument that bringing in a staff of whamming would’ve been fine if the walls were adequately prepared, but as there were likely no weapons requiring that particular precaution earlier it could be said that ‘Mack magically altered her weapon to outmaneuver safety precautions and inflict lethal harm.’ Gloria gets off with ‘cheating in violation of the student honor code during a school exercise,’ and a toss-up between fighting and self defense after experiencing involuntary wingless flight.

    Still, I’m waiting to see what response Callahan has. The possibilities are endless ^^;

    Current score: 0
    • Loki says:

      Isn´t the floor magically enchanted against falling damage? I thought Mack noticed that, when she was examining the room. And if the floor is enchanted in that way, i am shure the walls are too. So no harm done.

      Current score: 0
    • Seeker in Excess says:

      As Callahan said before, it’s easy to get magic at MU, and while Mackenzie might be extremely strong, remember that she’s not the only one capable of feats of exceptional strength. Ogres are possibly strong enough to send, say, an elf sailing across the room.

      Not to mention magical augmentations to strength (like Callahan has) and the like.

      If what you said were the case, it would be Callahan’s negligence, really. Mackenzie was just getting into the spirit of the exercise, and she certainly doesn’t need any help to toss Gloria around the room with an unbreakable stick. After all, it’s an enclosed, crowded space.

      Of course, this is all contingent upon Callahan giving a fuck, which I sorta doubt she would. Hell, she could possibly be even giddy over the idea of a death occuring in her class to knock all the slackers in line.

      Current score: 0
      • Chips says:

        Since she hasn’t killed anyone in class yet this year…

        Current score: 0
        • Seeker in Competence says:

          Actually, Callahan did strangle Mack. Mack just didn’t stay dead.

          Current score: 0
          • Chips says:

            That doesn’t count. If Callahan kills someone, they need to stay dead or it ruins her whole semester.

            Current score: 0
    • Rethic says:

      I don’t think Mack thought hitting Gloria in the side with extra whamminess would send her into the wall. In fact this thing narrates her thoughts and nowhere does it say hmm if I do this right I can send her into a wall, lol. (which would be an awesome thought to have I admit) And also I think if the wall doesn’t have cushioning spells that would be Callahan’s negligence as S I Morphine already stated.

      Current score: 0
    • firedragongt says:

      Personally, I doubt Mack needed to add more Wham to the staff to do that in the first place, she just had to actually try. The staff was not made to deal non-lethal damage, and Mack couldn’t really have seen the outcome of her work. Gloria seems to have magically altered herself and then tried to tear Mack’s face off… I think what people are upset about is the intent to break the rules, more than actually breaking them.

      Current score: 0
      • Seeker in Morphine says:

        I suppose this’ll be a response to the four posters above this all rolled up into one. Between Loki and Seeker in Excess I’d be fine with taking the walls to be likewise enchanted. I’d actually forgotten about ogres and the like due to the lack of focus on them in this class. My concept of the class composition is based on the early chapters separating anyone with special experience or beards extending past their navels. Yes, it’d make sense for the whole room to be cushioned for general combat use by a diverse student body. Otherwise, shame on Callahan…

        To Rethic and firedragongt, I think the magic was just to give Mack a bit more of an edge with developing her own combat style and enhancing her natural strengths and abilities. All in all, the point of removing the defensive enchantments in the first place. My concern is how the actions could be interpreted by another person not seeing the world from Mack’s personal point of view. After all, “She went flying into the adjoining wall and bounced off” was the result of Mack learning to use her strength and adjusting her weapon to suit her needs. To Gloria, it could be ‘spawn of evil uses magic to non-lethally send me into a very painful/lethal object,’ falling in with the manipulative and destructive ways of demons from her perspective. If a random student were to describe what they saw, then depending on their bias they could tell a tale to describe the situation I’d mentioned in closing earlier. We know there’s no such intent, and I believe Callahan understands what was going on as well. For the many students who don’t really care about the truth of what’s on Mack’s mind, this could be yet another situation that undoes her efforts at reforming people’s opinions of both her and the other non-human populace. More directly applicable to Mack’s health in the next week or so, I’d hate to see a Khampus Khrusade for Khersis rallied by Gloria to drive out the demonblood based on a similar line of thought. Particularly because we all love seeing Mack try to learn for a change and it’d represent a terrible lack of justice in the world, and partially because I honestly feel the girl’s working hard enough at clearing her plate of issues already.

        With lethal and non-lethal damage aside though, the core response Gloria had to being soundly whammied hasn’t changed. The only way I was able to accept it neutrally would have been to imagine that she felt threatened by our beloved Seeker. Pride is a fine enough reason of course, it’s just that I’d come to absolutely dislike the character in that case and several unpleasant characters in MU have proven that they really just need a chance and a paradigm shift to accept (not agree with) their decisions.

        Current score: 0
    • Someguy says:

      I think you are completely off here Morphine. What I got from that is that Mack enhanced/strengthened an already existing property of the weapon. The “whamminess” I take it is much like a swords cutting ability. Its how the weapon does damage. I suppose on mocked weapons there would be a spell property somewhere in there that says “Pretend to slice” for a sword. So if you were to alter it to “pretend to slice EXTREMELY WELL”…See where I’m going here? That seems to be all Mack did. Gloria is just upset about the rules of the fight suddenly changing. You have to remember she is a beginner as well and Mack taking that step forward has thrown her off balance.

      Personally I think Callahan will be very impressed with Macks attempt to improvise on the field. She was looking for something that shows Mack is really trying and thats what it was. Also notice Mack is not the one crying and flipping out…so I suspect Callahan will be even more impressed that her “seeker in tears” name was off.

      Current score: 0
  29. Anonymouse says:

    Could Gloria have demon blood in her? If demons can burn each other, then it’s quite possible. Mack does have a paladin grandma.

    Current score: 0
    • Jinzo says:

      But the paladin grandma is from the human side of the family.
      And that grandma was a very sucessful and devout paladin long before Mack, problebly quite some time before Macks own mother was born. The reason Mack Daddy got Mack’s mom pregnant is more then likly an act of revenge towards the grandma (or a plain experiment along the line “you can threaten and preform death on halfbloods and possessed people you dont know, how about your own granddaughter? )

      Current score: 0
      • Seeker in the Bramblepatch says:

        In the Q&A a while back, the Man claimed not to have been aware of who Laurel Ann’s mother was. If he was telling the truth, it’s more likely that he chose her because she was a strong potential subtle artist, in the hopes that the talent would be passed down to her offspring.

        Of course, we can’t really trust anything he says.

        Current score: 0
    • Seeker of Wisdom Left In Back Pocket says:

      I am certain this is not the case.

      For one thing, consider Mack’s reaction to other demonbloods. Professor Bohd is the only other one she’s encountered that she’s not wanted to eat, and Mackenzie has been submissive to the professor since they met. Besides, we already know that demonbloods experience intense pain whenever they pray to Khersis (something Mackenzie learned from personal experience).

      I also doubt there’s any divine blood involved. If there is, then Mackenzie being part divine might explain how it is she can be so close to Amaranth (consider that, to date, no full demon has shown being able to get close to the nymph without being in pain and Mackenzie’s father has implied that proximity to Amaranth is dangerous to demons), but at the same time it presents a mountain of other problems and brings up some rather frightening possibilities about just how powerful Mackenzie actually is. It also brings up the possibility that most of Mackenzie’s reaction to holy power is psychological instead of genetic.

      Current score: 0
      • TheTurnipKing says:

        it doesn’t seem to be a monothesic world. Presumably there are many deities, all with their own spheres of influence. Similarly, presumably there are many “evil” deities, or demons too, each their own spheres of influence. “Holy” is just a blanket word meaning “from a God” in this instance. A lot depends on how the God feels about Mackenzie’s demonic heritage.

        Mother Khaele, for example, largely doesn’t seem bothered by it, as a goddess of nature. But then, Mack is half-human, and we don’t know all that much about her demonic heritage. Any pain she feels from Khaele’s divinity is probably from Mother Khaele’s strong connection to the natural, and the parts of Mack that are unnatural in origin.

        Current score: 0
        • Seeker of Wisdom Left In Back Pocket says:

          Merf. Even though I am supposed to limit my postings online to control my argumentative nature, I feel perfectly fine in addressing this.

          Part of the issue I was trying to address is the idea of paladin = divine blood, especially Khersian paladins. As Gloria is a follower of Khersis and Mackenzie is the grandchild of a Khersian paladin, any divine contribution to bloodlines that comes along with paladinhood would also translate down to Mackenzie herself. It would mean, frighteningly enough, that Mackenzie is part demon, part divine, and part human. And given the feeling I have that Mackenzie’s father is well above the power level of a normal demon and Martha Blaise was apparently one of the most powerful paladins in history, it’s safe to assume that Mackenzie herself would have a tendency to have above-normal access to both sources of power. Add in her growing skill in arcane magic and the combat training she is just beginning.

          Now, on the other hand, it is perfectly possible that Mackenzie simply was so worked up she didn’t notice the divine energy at first. There’s far more accounts than I care to recall about people suffering crippling to fatal injuries in combat and continuing to fight without realization of just how bad a shape they’re currently in. And I think it’s safe to conclude that Mackenzie has a far higher pain tolerance than even most demons.

          I do, though, wonder if the psychological effect of how Martha Blaise introduced Mackenzie to the concept of holy water is part of Mackenzie’s reaction to holy energy. If it is, then quite possibly it might be a case that Amaranth’s holy magic doesn’t actually harm her, but hurts because Mackenzie herself believes it must hurt. On the other hand, given the reactions and comments of other demons when in relation to Amaranth’s mere physical presense, I do not believe that it is purely psychological and I’m betting that it’s a specific reaction demons have to any holy energy as a result of what was done to them by Khersis (bringing forth another reason to call him Lord Dickh).

          Current score: 0
          • TheTurnipKing says:

            I think the point I was making that the only distinction between a deity and a demon (or divine and demonic) is the one placed there by the beholder. Good and Evil could very well be effectively identical sources of extraplanar energy.

            Current score: 0
      • Drudge says:

        Worth Noting that Lulu II isn’t in the best mental state, what with being raped several times, having her family slaughtered in front of her, not to mention being degraded and pained in a temple for most of her life.

        Two sane infernals seem to be able to interact just fine. It’s just Mercy’s influence, or extreme starvation, that causes this sort of thing. And really we’d have the same sort of action and reactions if the same happened to us.

        Current score: 0
        • Zukira Phaera says:

          Treat a child as a beast and you will raise a man* who is a beast.

          *or woman.

          Current score: 0
    • Seeker in Excess says:

      There’s most likely no chance of Gloria having demon blood in her. Remember, divine energy is anathema to demons, and Gloria has been shown throwing it around with ease. Remember, when Mackenzie prays, Lord Dickh burns her tongue for it. Gloria prays, goes to church, wields a (most likely) blessed weapon, and even used divinity against Mackenzie at one time.

      Also, Mackenzie holding Gloria’s arm was burning her, but not at first. It wasn’t an instant burn, but something that gradually happened, which means it’s doubtful it’s a spell or residual prayer energy.

      Current score: 0
  30. David says:

    I want a staff of Whamminess.

    Current score: 0
    • Seeker in Ducks says:

      I second David’s sentiment. I also really, REALLY love this arc. I’m a nerd and a martial artist, and these might be the chapters that I can use to convince my martial arts friends to read this :D.

      Current score: 0
  31. Seeker in Sneakers says:

    Yay for Mack getting something approaching a clue 🙂
    I’m loving this scene so far. Staff of Whamminess 🙂

    Current score: 0
    • Wysteria says:

      Myself, I have a question for all the D&D nerds out there: what is Mack enhancing here? It seems like it could be +1 to damage, or +1 to bashing damage depending on how the system breaks down. Is that about right? +1 force?

      Current score: 0
      • Oleewood says:

        I’d go with an effect here…something like: ”You can slide or push your opponent 5 feet”

        Current score: 0
      • Seeker In Sane says:

        I think she may have brought fourth a combination of “Impact” and “Knockback/down”.
        Impact being the same as “Keen” but for bludgeoning weapons.

        Current score: 0
      • KrataLightblade says:

        She’s giving a Staff the same general powers as a Ring of the Ram, I’d say.

        In fact, there were staves in the Baldur’s Gate games that basically did exactly that.

        Current score: 0
      • WorBlux says:

        Probably and extra die of crushing damage, or you more of your dice rolls are considered critical hits.

        Current score: 0
  32. Seeker in whining says:

    Has anyone considered that Callahan wouldn’t have a problem with Gloria buffing herself against pain, because it’s just a smart application of “Keep going despite pain?”

    Actually, maybe not, the way she shot down Mack’s earlier comments about being indestructible… ^^;

    Regardless, this chapter was brilliant. I always like it when Mackenzie breaks a little bit more out of her normal habits. Probably my favourite characterization of her in a while.

    Current score: 0
    • TheTurnipKing says:

      No, it’s avoiding pain The point of the class is to take the pain and keep going (as you can see by the alternative Callahan suggests – “use tortuture implements officially sanctioned by your religion on yourself and describe the pain). In this case, Gloria isn’t even feeling the pain, which is counter to the point of the lesson.

      In a real fight, what Gloria is doing is smart. This isn’t a real fight.

      Current score: 0
  33. The Devourer Of Worlds says:

    “Want more.”
    It’s a shame Mack isn’t more aggressive.
    But i suppose we’ll have to wait for that to come.

    Current score: 0
  34. Aaroc says:

    Gloria’s doing it wrong. It’s supposed to be bubble-hearth, not bubble-attack. Silly Pally.

    Current score: 0
    • Seeker in Playing too much WoW says:

      I know right?

      Current score: 0
  35. Sev says:

    The part that really throws me is that no matter how strong Gloria might be if she is a regular human or mortal of any kind she should not be able to cause physical damage to Mac. Just pain. Since she clearly broke skin and caused some sort of damage it makes me think there is more to her than super strength or a prayer.

    Current score: 0
    • Konso says:

      No, I think you’re wrong there. Mack can be damaged by any enchanted weapon or divinity of sufficient strength. She’s bitten her own lip before so body parts can hold enough energy to break her skin (naturally or enchanted), it stands to reason that Gloria’s fingernails could at this point be infused with enough divine energy to harm Mack, given the overwhelming power of Gloria’s faith and whatever spell / prayer she said beforehand.

      Current score: 0
      • Seeker in Excess says:

        A magical weapon is required to break Mackenzie’s skin. Mackenzie’s teeth and fingernails are actually magical, which is why she can hurt herself. Natural strength, regardless of race, wouldn’t injure Mackenzie (though she could be hurt if, say, she were slammed into the enchanted sidewalks, for example).

        If you look back when she and Sooni were having a tussel, the only point Mackenzie became worried was when Sooni enchanted her claws.

        So, yes, Gloria being able to damage Mackenzie is the result of magic, most likely either divine or racial, though there’s always the chance it’s arcane or subtle arts.

        Current score: 0
  36. Marx says:

    Ages ago, there was that discussion about whether Gloria has some divine ancestry… no, not necessarily through a god, but probably rather because of some Angel, Deva or whatev else. Well, this incident certainly doesn’t disprove that.

    All in all, a very enjoyable read, this story. Thank you, Lexy. I really like seeing Mack grow a metaphorical pair of balls. And act like a rational, THINKING human being, and not like the inexperienced, know-it-all, prejudiced brat most people are at that age.

    Also, while the idea of “Seeker In (…)” usernames might be awesome at first, that joke’s seriously overdone by now. Stop it, guys 😛

    (I apologize for my seemingly awkward english… it’s almost 8 AM here, I haven’t slept yet, and I live in Germany, with far too few chances to talk proper english with someone besides on the internet. Good night and all that.)

    Current score: 0
  37. Seeker of LoopHoles says:

    Ok firstly I have posted before under the name BpsDraco (I think). I just couldn’t resist especialy in light of the rest of my post.

    As to the subject of buffs Vs. divine blood, it is my understanding that gloria’s rage about “Dont compare my…!” springs from a possible seperation between magical modifications or augmentations and the “devine gifts” bestowed upon those who worship.
    Even if that is not the case then the devinity of a creatures blood need not mean that they are related to a god or angel, merely that they or an ancestor of theirs was a native of a devine (or at least higher) plane of existance. The distinctions may be small but still significant.
    On other race related subjects, the terms ‘Demon’ and ‘Celestial’ were used in D&D for many years (although I believe that the closest fit for ‘half demon’ was a half fiend). it is only recently (4th ed) that races such as Tieflings were created. For those still readin’ my post though the timing really only matters because of the system that AE seems to have used or been inspired by when she started writing Tales of MU.

    Now that I have the boring stuff out of the way let me just say that I still love the story AE and in perticular the last couple of chapters (aka whichever one I am currently reading or just read lol.)

    Hope I didnt just kill the postulating mood and I seriously just love the other refresh monkeys and post people out there.

    Current score: 0
    • Actually, tieflings existed before 4th Edition, just not as a core race and without the unified origin. It was anyone who had distant infernal ancestry, not a “race” descended from humans tainted by infernal dealings.

      I personally wouldn’t call Mackenzie a tiefling, because in either configuration they’re a specific concept created for D&D. While children of devil/demons are not original, “Tiefling” is an invented pseudo-German word, not something from mythology.

      Current score: 0
    • Seeker in Excess says:

      AE is correct. Demons, devils, and the like have been around since probably first edition D&D, and they were certainly around in AD&D. Of course, at that point, the game was being campaigned against by the Bored Housewives of America (TM) in that it was an implement for devil worshipping, killing, and so on.

      So in AD&D, TSR cunningly changed the names of demons to Tanar’ri and the names of devils to Baatezu. Tieflings were around at this point as well, as I have had several old style Planescape campaigns, which even included several tables to randomly determine tiefling features (funnily enough, you could actually have a tiefling that appeared to be a vampire).

      Once third edition rolled around, WotC was able to reshuffle the cosmology, turning all Tanar’ri into demons (but not all demons into Tanar’ri), all Baatezu into devils, give a somewhat larger role to Yugoloths, and so on. They also released Tieflings as a non-standard player race.

      Then there’s fourth edition, where Tieflings aren’t that bad at being paladins…

      Current score: 0
      • Seeker of Wisdom Left In Back Pocket says:

        Though, to be honest, succubi are even better at it. Remember the succubus paladin from the DnD website a few years back? I know it always made my group leery of smiting attractive women with bat wings after the first encounter with her.

        Now, I bet a little issue like that, where species alignments are pretty much coded into the rules, is at the core of the questions as to whether or not Gloria could have demonic ancestry.

        Current score: 0
  38. Marx says:

    Another comment on the whole Gloria debate:

    I can’t really see her “buffing” herself for martial arts class, that just wouldn’t be her wannabe-paladin style. I am rather convinced that she has a few droplets of divine blood which grant her some additional capacity to endure pain (or even shrug it off), just like Mack’s demonic heritage grants her “Immunity to non-enchanted weapons”. Else the part about prolonged physical contact between Mack and Gloria leading to pain for Mack wouldn’t make sense, in regards to what actually happened. Residual energy from a prayer wouldn’t, in my opinion, really take its time before starting to hurt, also Gloria doesn’t have symbols of faith inscribed on her skin.Ok, I admit, it may make perfect sense to me while you guys don’t see what I’m leading up to.
    But think it through – first, during the fight, gloria takes a few painful hits, and shrugs them off. Then, after the fight is actually over, she attacks Mack with her fingernails, spits in her face (very unladylike behaviour, if you ask me), and Mack grips her arms. After a few second, the feeling of growing warmth beneath Mack’s hands turns into burning pain for Mack.

    I don’t see how Gloria could have enchanted her whole body for these different effects, and I don’t think a simple potion could do this. Maybe if the potion was divine in nature, but… divine potions? I don’t really think those exist at MU. A prayer requires verbal components, even if its just a murmur, and shrieks don’t usually count as such (so no insta-prayer while being held). If it’s residual energy from her previous prayer (she did a quick one at the beginning of the duel, right? can’t remember…), I wonder why the intensity of its effect on Mack should increase after a few seconds – wouldn’t residual energy stay at the same level no matter who’s exposed to it, if not even decrease? Sooo… all of this leads me to believe that Gloria has divine ancestry.
    That, or some order of paladins has already initiated her into their ranks…. naaaah, I wouldn’t think they’re THAT desperate for new squires.

    So, can anyone think of more alternative explanations?

    Current score: 0
    • Konso says:

      I read that section as Mack starting to notice the pain more and more (like adrenaline dropping or shock wearing off slowly), rather than the pressure increasing. The rhythm of the fight and the way it was written felt more along those lines to me, but I could be wrong. Just an alternative explanation 🙂 The only other way I can see it going is like an acid burn, the longer it stays on your skin the more it burns, even if the quantity doesn’t increase, btw lab partners who are not careful suck.

      Current score: 0
    • Erianaiel says:

      Re: Marx
      So, can anyone think of more alternative explanations?

      Blessed soap 🙂
      (Also, as far as I remember it is not the ‘amount’ of energy but a property of the object hitting Mackenzie that can make it harm her. If it is ordinary it will cause pain but no harm. If it is magical it will cause damage in addition of the pain. This is different from being burned by divine powers (like blessings and the direct attention, however tiny a fraction, of a divine being). For a weapon to harm Mackenzie it must be enchanted (magic) or divinely blessed (which at least negates her infernal nature, and possibly also makes it magical in and of itself). For something to burn her on touch it must be blessed, or perhaps really really cold since she is also vulnerable to cold. Gloria does not need to be divine herself as long as she can pray for divine blessings on her belongings),

      Eri

      Eri

      Current score: 0
    • Seeker of Holy Hand-grenades says:

      It’s possible that Gloria has a morning prayer routine that buffs her (whether she means it or not). It would explain what would seem to be an innate holiness to the girl.

      Also, the concept of being divinely descended (along the lines of an Aasimar) wouldn’t explain the ability to break Mack’s skin. A descendant of a divine being’s innate divinity would probably be too diluted by mortal blood to have the same kind of effect on a half-demon.

      Current score: 0
    • Stewed Hamm says:

      Mack was down for who knows how long when Gloria was repeatedly stabbing her. As Mack was concentrating solely on her staff at that point, Gloria could have done pretty much anything underhanded that she could think of… and if she really hates Mack – which I wouldn’t put past her by now – I can see her slipping a quiet prayer for additional ways to hurt Mack. Seeing as the point of the class is to experience pain, I don’t even think Callahan would have a problem with it. Not to mention that divine enhancement is integral to how a paladin fights, so it may or may not break whatever “rules” to the exercise exist in Callahan’s mind.

      Personally, I’m hoping that it’s some sort of prayer buff, rather than a half-angel thing. Although, if she is divine-blooded, I can see her hate of Mack leading her to an unexpected (and very big) fall.

      Current score: 0
  39. seeker of virginities lost says:

    i somehow want her to be some kind of angelblood, but we’ll just have to wait and see what lexy is up to.
    and i couldn’t resist getting a seeker name -ooh, i’d love to be in callahan’s class! it sounds like my kind of fun.

    Current score: 0
  40. KrataLightblade says:

    I simply cannot wait to see what The Man has to say about this one.

    Current score: 0
  41. Seeker of The Things that are in Vain says:

    Callahan will be furious:
    Gloria is clearly denying to give the God of Pain his tribute,
    and at the end even brings real Injuries (not mocked ones) into the mix.

    But Macs case looks like this: She noticed that she had to attack,
    and modified her weapon accordingly, and did go over to attack Gloria.
    She even did *slay* the god pay admitting that she is in pain… and then fighting on nevertheless.

    A cheater against the student that finally found her way unto the battlefield…
    I know who Callahan is gonna rip appart in the near future.

    Current score: 0
  42. Seeker of Justice says:

    I doubt Callahan will be too upset. After Mack got Gloria’s weapon away from her, Gloria chose to continue the fight and inflict pain the only way she could.
    On the other had, pain resistence buffs might be against what this lesson was about. If Gloria is already being protected by her faith, though, they might be out of her control.

    Current score: 0
    • Bobby says:

      I think Mack did offer Gloria to pick her sword and fight again, but she chose not to.

      Current score: 0
  43. Seeker in Butter and Bacon Bits says:

    Fingers crossed for some Callahan-on-Gloria butt-whooping action next update…

    Current score: 0
  44. Woe says:

    I can think of two “WTF is Gloria?” theories that haven’t been mentioned yet.

    1) She walks the path of the Paladin, D&D style. In most versions of D&D, Paladins have all kinds of passive effects and cast-at-will powers, often including but not limited to Smite Evil, Aura of Good and Protection from Evil, any of which could attack Mack.

    This does beg a question of Mack’s Paladin Granny: if Granny had Protection from Evil or Aura of Good on her all the time, how could baby Mack have survived in her presence? Either Granny never touched the kid, or Mack just hasn’t mentioned it, or (personal favorite) Granny actually gave up Paladin-hood, and all the benefits, to raise her infernal granddaughter.

    2) Gloria may walk the Path of the Paradigm. Paradigm creatures are not part of official DnD, far as I know, but the gist is an animal or person who so throughly embodies or resembles an object of worship that they manifest associated traits. Kinda like Jesus.

    So is Gloria becoming the Khersis Messiah? Champion? Avatar?

    Has she literally taken a level in Bad-ass?

    Current score: 0
    • Chips says:

      Granny never gave up being a Paladin … remember she’s in town as such…

      Current score: 0
  45. AzazelBishop says:

    No one has stopped to think that the effect that burned Mack’s hands was Divine Furry.
    Gloria got real pissed off at the fact that a foul Demon was touching her, a righteous holy paladin and using unholy magics in a holy and righteous fight.
    Now as you can see in that case she would have been granted a Divine Aura and even had her body enchanted with magics just by her will and faith.
    Now to the point of Mack changing the magics in her staff i see no problem in that at all as Callahan even said

    “Even the most faithful rarely get to have the kind of power that can obliterate you on the spot,” Callahan said. “If she does, there’s not much point in worrying about it. What she’s more likely to do is put you in a world of pain. So even if she’s swinging an illusionary weapon and not tossing faith at you, this exercise will help. Better would be if you had someone you could mostly trust not to kill you who could channel divine energy at you for funsies sometime. That, and remembering that you’ve got energy to throw around, too.”

    “I can’t exactly toss a flame bolt at her head in melee class,” I said.

    “Could you actually do it outside of melee class?” Callahan said. “The fact that she’ll never see you practicing it or learn how to defend against it in a safe-ish environment is part of your edge. If you don’t know how to throw fire, I’d think about learning. There’s an elemental teacher who’d probably help you…”

    “I think I’m in her class,” I said.

    “Good,” Callahan said. “A lot more people than her are going to try to kill you, and some of them will be smarter than her. No more than one of them will be me, though, and that’s about as good as you can possibly hope for in this life.” so Mack using her ability to weave magic on the fly is a bonus and even Callahan should be impressed at that as it’s very hard to do.

    this of course is just my two cents

    Current score: 0
    • Chips says:

      I like your points.

      But I have to say I LOL’d at the apparent typo of “Divine Furry” … picturing Gloria hanging out with Sooni and the neko girls…

      Current score: 0
    • Brenda says:

      Did you mean “Divine Furry” or “Divine Fury”?

      Current score: 0
  46. Seeker in Competence says:

    I was just thinking about how nice it would be with a new chapter in the shower this morning and here it is =)

    My wild mass speculation: Winnie is the only one in the story with divine blood.
    It’s been stated before in the story that divine magic was like normal magic, just channeled from the divine planes instead of from within. And you don’t need verbal or somatic components for spell casting either. What we think of as spells seem to be more mnemonic techniques for how you channel the energy.
    So Gloria could just be imbuing herself with divine energy to be able to hurt Mack, and the prayer before the fight was a buff to withstand pain. But there is a lot of foreshadowing in the “What the hell are you?” bit… Hmm… Maybe the guess of some celestial non-Khersian ancestry is right after all.

    Current score: 0
  47. Seeker in Coherent says:

    I found myself wishing I’d paid more attention to the stickfighting book Callahan had assigned to me.

    About time she had this realization. Now I wonder if she will follow through after class. Mackenzie focused on fighting training should be interesting, if not a bit scary.

    Current score: 0
  48. Bobby says:

    one question was in my mind, if mack had brought staff of whaminess, could gloria know what will it do, or on another hand, can anyone know what the opponent’s weapon is supposed to do by mere sight, when even mack didn’t know the full properties of the staff and came to know that it is obstructing her effort on trying. Another thing whether she put the spell afterwards or if it were orginally on the staff, the qualities would still be mocked causing same pain. Mocking them only means they don’t do physical damage or injury while what Gloria did was pure physical damage. Also she did so in hate rather than trying to learn.

    Current score: 0
  49. BpsDraco says:

    I like the blessed soap theory but I think this one might fit better.

    Gloria, a student of divinity, develops a spell or blessing that ‘auto heals’ or effectivly utters a small prayr of healing upon taking damage. The present but dormant energy creates a tingly sensation when Mack touches her and then either contact with her or a response to previous damage causes it to activate resulting in the flare up. It might also explain why she was able to scratch Mack’s face.

    Well what do you guys think?
    (Also sorry for any mis-spellings its midnightish.)

    Current score: 0
  50. renshan says:

    Gloria has the most devinely polished nails! Use Angelpaint for that lasting sparkle.

    Current score: 0
    • Chips says:

      Now I have visions of early morning sunday preachers offering blessings via make-up … “Blessed Foundation! You can’t build a temple on uneven ground! Holy Hairspray!” …

      Current score: 0
  51. Roadbug says:

    The only thing I have to say aside from “I like it”, there is one thing I must disagree with. The staff is not primarily a defensive weapon. It is equally useful for both offense and defense. It takes quite a bit of skill to use a staff, but it is the easiest weapon to either make or aquire. It isn’t perfect but it is very useful for more than just a weapon. It can also be used as a tent pole or other such things. Tie a knife to the end and it becomes a spear. Tie an axe head and it’s another weapon entirely.

    The staff as a weapon is very useful as a tool for other things. As a weapon, in the hands of a master, it is an extremely dangerous weapon of both offense and defense.. The main thing with the staff over a sword is that you have more of a choice between disabling or killing an opponent. With a sword or other bladed weapon, it’s a lot harder to disable an opponent than killing since.

    Current score: 0
    • Seeker in the Bramblepatch says:

      Well, to be fair, the only mention I can find of “staves are for defense durrhurr” was back in the previous chapter, and was specifically referring to the feasibility of enchanting weapons, not the weapons’ mundane utility. Clearly, the staff is seen as a legitimate weapon, or Mack wouldn’t be allowed to use one for class (think of what Callahan’s reaction would be if someone showed up and declared that they were going to be using, say, an enchanted folding chair or a spork as their primary weapon). It’s just that for some reason, the sword has a stronger symbolic connection to the idea of attacking, while the staff has a stronger symbolic connection to the idea of defending, which may have little to do with the capabilities of the mundane weapons and a lot to do with popular opinion of the weapons. When asked to name an offensive mele weapon, most people would probably say “sword” before they say “staff.”

      Current score: 0
      • XIII says:

        Her first question would be,
        Can you Kill with it?
        And her next,
        Can you kill with it Well?

        If both end up to be Yes, Callahan wouldn’t give a flying sexual act as to what it actually was. Could be a rubber duckie for all she cares LOL.

        Combat pragmatist that she seems to be, she’d only care for the ‘results’ and an understanding of ‘HOW’ working with and around your chosen weapon would work.

        Or at least thats how I see it.

        Wouldn’t be surprised if Callahan her-self’s killed something with a spork before. LOL

        Also question for the Author, if an item without a primary attribute for ‘killyness’ were to be used as a weapon, would it gain a greater ‘killyness’ factor for enchantments to grip if use in that capacity over and over again?

        Current score: 0
        • Seeker in the Bramblepatch says:

          Hm. Maybe it would have been more to the point to say “think of what Callahan’s reaction would be if Mack showed up and declared that she was going to be using, say, an enchanted folding chair or a spork as her primary weapon” – you’re probably right, if you could convince Callahan that you genuinely wanted to learn to use a particular improvised weapon, she’d probably say go for it. In fact, she might be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt if you showed up with your Spork of Eye-gouging on the first day of class and otherwise didn’t act like too much of a smart ass. Mack, however, already had all sorts of black marks against her by the time she switched to the staff. I don’t think Callahan would have let it fly if she’d chosen something that wasn’t considered an appropriate weapon.

          Current score: 0
          • XIII says:

            Nay, you’re right. MACK trying to do it would get smacked down 12 ways from sunday. Someone with an actual interest or aptitude for it would probably become Callahans new pet project, much to their dismay.

            Personally id go with the ‘Spoon of Eviceration’ ~nods~

            But why a spoon Sire?
            Its Blunt you twit it’ll hurt more!
            (Wuv Monty Python)

            Current score: 0
            • TheTurnipKing says:

              I thought that was Robin Hood Prince of Thieves?

              Current score: 0
          • miao says:

            If Mack had shown up with a Clue by Four (magic — divination), Coach would have been fine with it, I’m sure. All it needed to be was Useful. A staff happens to play to Mack’s strength. So would any number of improvised weapons.

            Mack should not be using umbrellas or fans — not her style.

            Current score: 0
          • XIII (Seeker Under Covers) says:

            Nay, you’re right. MACK trying to do it would get smacked down 12 ways from Sunday. Someone with an actual interest or aptitude for it would probably become Callahan’s new pet project, much to their dismay.

            Personally I’d go with the ‘Spoon of Evisceration’ ~nods~

            But why a spoon Sire?
            Its Blunt you twit it’ll hurt more!
            (Wuv Monty Python)

            Current score: 0
  52. DisGuyz says:

    I wanted to say that, while I understand how important character development chapters are, I’ve really enjoyed the last few updates. Mack’s interior monologue to the background of intense combat has been one of my favorite combinations you’ve employed.

    Also, as a student of kendo, I have to agree with Roadbug. The staff is an extremely versatile weapon and wouldn’t label it as “defensive”. It’s definitely an equally effective offensive weapon. I still remember in foam core weapon training, juking and then using a full spin with full extension of the staff (my opponent was using long and short blades) and knocking them out (even through their helmet). My opponent never even came close to touching me.

    Current score: 0
  53. cnic says:

    I am problably one of the few people that love the inner conflict chapters that so many people call slow but I have been loving the action. Originally I had thought she might have divine blood but after having seen several comments and reread a few things I think she is just that destined for paladinhood. I’m thinking she is a flagellant or wears a salice or something equivalent and the reason she didn’t want to do it was because doing it for class would have been some form of sacrelidge.

    Current score: 0
  54. Lakanna says:

    The staff Mack has been using was specifically enchanted with defensive magics. By my understanding, a staff could just as easily be enchanted with the “whamminess” (I would call it “impact”) enhanced. The fact that a staff is a good defensive weapon as well as a potent offensive one would mean that its capable of being enchanted many different ways: accuracy, impact, defense, whatever properties are inherent in a staff. I imagine most weapons could take multiple offensive, defensive, or weapon-specific enchants, the staff just happened to have defensive enchantments on it.

    Current score: 0
  55. Chips says:

    I can now see a parody post of this … “Staff of WHAM!” whose effects include summoning a rock band from Earth in the 1980s…

    Current score: 0
    • Beebo says:

      I am reminded of the anime series BASTARD! where all the incantations of spells were all the names of metal bands. The most badass of the dark wizards could cast the nuclear spell, “MEGADETH”

      Current score: 0
  56. Seeker in Coherent says:

    Gloria’s parents are missionaries. Right. Just like Amaranth’s mother is a naturalist.

    Current score: 0
  57. Seeker of warmth(far from the cold wastes) says:

    Yeah, i am sticking with the “Bless” spell theory. As for why Mack’s Gram didn’t hurt her, who says she didn’t. Mack was scared of her when she came to school, Grandma may have been like Winny, and her divine affinities just annoyed Mack most of the time. Again, Winny has always annoyed Mack, but she thought Gloria was hot, ergo, no divine blood, just divine talents.
    Callahan will be upset about Gloria buffing herself, as she didn’t seem to be hurting as much as last time Mack beat her ass(almost literally) into the ground. I also think Callahan wants Mack able to fight, so when Jilly does have to take her down(as implied) its a fun fight that takes at least a few minutes.

    Current score: 0
  58. False Prophet says:

    http://www.poprockbands.com/wham/band/prw.html

    Wham was a ‘pop-rock’ band in the 80’s. The lead was a teen hearth throb that turned out to be more into men. I’m sure he broke a lot of hearts.

    Current score: 0
  59. seeker of text says:

    “Friday: You don’t think it would really be that simple, do you?” prophetic?

    we’ll be here 🙂
    love your stuff AE

    Current score: 0
    • Wysteria says:

      Ditto on the love and adding some love for the new comment moderation. Things are just cozier in the comments section these days.

      Current score: 0
    • moofable says:

      It’ll be up soon, I hope. Probably sometime around zero dark thirty.

      Current score: 0
  60. Krista says:

    Can please has update?

    Current score: 0
  61. Szlembarski says:

    My husband and I sit together and read each chapter as you post them, We cant wait for the next. Well done.

    Current score: 0
  62. Iiiiiinteresting. Gloria must have asked for a blessing on herself… which makes complete sense in a world where blessings are tangible. Of course, knowing AE, it won’t be quite that simple…

    Current score: 0
  63. Ursus says:

    though she too close to use it effectively -> though she was too close to use it effectively

    Current score: 0
  64. Khalex says:

    ” Knocking up your married mortal follower would be a very dickish thing to do.”
    -Seeker in Excess

    What about your engaged mortal follower? Ever hear the story of a young pregnant girl named Mary?

    Current score: 0
  65. Lara says:

    “a staff of whamming” made me chuckle muchly.

    Current score: 0