488: Monstrous Morals

on February 9, 2011 in Uncategorized Chapters



Kent very conspicuously stepped in front of me at the doors to the administration building. His hand paused for a second before he touched the handle. There were so many wards on the place, constructed with so much attention to power and so little to subtlety, that I could feel the energy crackling around them without even having to try. I couldn’t imagine actually reaching out and touching that kind of power would be any kind of safe.

The protections flared up as Kent’s hand approached them, then they shifted and flexed and the door opened without incident. I had a sense of something old and strong stirring behind them. It was almost like watching a living thing rouse from its slumber, fail to see anything worth getting up for, and then rolling over and going back to sleep.

It was only as I stepped through the door ahead of Kent that I thought to consider whether we were creeping past a sleeping guardian, or stepping right into the maw of a beast.

There were no agents inside the foyer or the main hallway. It was so quiet inside, and the lights were so dim… the place felt hollow. Cavernous.

I had to remind myself that hollow didn’t mean the same thing as empty. If Embries wasn’t there, someone else would be.

“It’s right this way,” he said, indicating the broad, portrait-lined main hall that led to the chancellor’s office.

I wasn’t at all surprised… it only made sense that the vice-chancellor’s office would be there, too. I hadn’t specifically noticed it during my previous visit, but then, I hadn’t been looking for it. That, and I’d taken a different route in that time.

I was a little bit surprised when he suddenly stopped me and pointed to the left. There was a little cubby set into the wall that at first I thought was just an odd setback since it didn’t seem to lead anywhere, but then I realized it was the top of a narrow spiral staircase.

The idea of descending underground might have worried me, but I was already in the belly of the beast… going down might be the only way out. I didn’t thnk escape was possible, at that point… not with the crazy wards around the building. It seemed to me like those might even give a goddess pause, at least for a moment. Khaele was thought to be confused by or at least somewhat unfamiliar with arcane applications of magic

Again Kent made sure that I went first down the stairs. It was funny, it seemed to me like I had a lot more reason to distrust him… well, it wasn’t funny. Nothing about the situation was.

Though, unaccountably, I felt like I was one good shove in the wrong direction away from bursting out laughing.

The stairs let out in a short downstairs corridor without any branches. It was vaguely trumpet-shaped, widening as it went. There were a couple of hard wooden benches against the wall just before the end, where there was a pair of double doors of some very solid-looking dark-stained wood. They looked very old, antique as opposed to the drab and outdated paneling on the walls and the threadbare institutional carpet… they would have fit in much better with the upstairs corridor. There was a gold-colored plaque above them.

It occurred to me that Kent had gone from talking about how tight-lipped he was to not saying anything, and he’d been that way since we entered the building. He was practically holding his breath by this point. I thought he was going to usher me towards the doors ahead of himself once again, but he looked conflicted for a second and then went forward and rapped his knuckles rather gingerly.

“Enter,” the smooth voice of Vice-Chancellor Edmund Embries said. He managed to make it sound like a polite invitation rather than a brusque command. Kent pushed one of the doors inwards and then swept his arm forward. I stepped up to just on the threshold.

It wasn’t specifically my father’s warning about being in a room with Embries that made me hesitant… it was just a very menacing situation. It could have been Mariel or Twyla in the office and I still wouldn’t want to step inside before I knew the score.

The inside of the office had a bunch of furnishings that were only modern in the sense that they had been made during an age of automated mass production, though not necessarily this one. They clashed badly with the wood paneling and sconce-style lights on the walls, giving the impression of a place that was completely out of joint with time.

There was another door on the side of the office, opposite the desk. It might have been a closet, but the crystal doorknob suggested otherwise, unless Mr. Embries had expensive taste in closets.

I thought there was no sign of Embries, until my second look around when I realized that he was sitting behind the desk, his fingers steppled in front of him. He hadn’t just appeared, or at least, I didn’t think he had… he was just so still that I’d missed him.

He still hadn’t moved, hadn’t blinked. His eyes seemed so vibrant, even across the dimly lit room, but I could look right at them and they didn’t flicker in the slightest.

When his mouth finally opened, I almost jumped and screamed in terror.

I didn’t, though… I just jumped.

“And who is this, please?” he said.

“Mackenzie Blaise,” Kent said. “Sir. As you, uh, requested.”

Embries’s head tilted and turned slightly. He stared at me with his cold electric eyes. They reminded me of Celia’s lidless orbs… there were lids there, but they were so resolutely fixed in place that they might have been painted there.

It wasn’t a relief at all when he closed them a moment later, because I still had the sensation of them boring into me. His nostrils gave the slightest flare. I thought I saw his lips part slightly.

“Are you quite certain?” he asked, eyes still closed.

“Quite. Yes. Sir. We’ve had trackers on her since before you requested her,” Kent said, visibly unnerved. His discomfort was even more obvious considering that he’d just blurted that out in front of me. The information wasn’t exactly a surprise, but the fact that he would confirm it in my presence was. “I can verify her identity again…”

“No,” Embries said, his eyes flying open. All at once he seemed a lot more animated. It was like watching a high-end enaction figure with facial articulation coming to life. “I suppose that will be sufficient. Well, this is a slight disappointment… athough it is probably for the best, considering. Arthur, you are dismissed.”

“Yes, sir,” Kent said, backing out of the door. I heard it swinging shut behind me. It was only then that I realized at some point or another I’d started drifting closer to Embries, and was actually still moving slowly closer.

“Miss Mackenzie, you will please stay and you and I will have a little chat,” Embries said as the door clicked closed.

“Ms. Mackenzie,” I said, and I managed to stop my forward progress about four feet away from the desk. “Sir.”

“Oh? Hmm,” he said. “Well, this might be mildly interesting anyway. My most sincere apologies for the rigmarole. The agents of Law naturally tend to believe that any task in which they engage is of the utmost importance, and I have found it’s best to play up that impression. The more of them we can keep busy running around…”

He made a slow circular gesture with his hand.

“You couldn’t just send me an a-mail?” I asked.

“A-mail?”

“Arcane mail,” I said. “Written communication over etheric media.”

“Oh. Like a telegrim?”

“Sure,” I said. It seemed like a bad joke… yeah, I could believe that Embries was old enough to remember telegrims. He wouldn’t even be the only member of the faculty. Not knowing what a-mail was, though? He worked in an office.

“Dealing with such modern complications are among the reasons I like to keep a secretary through the year, when I can,” he said, as though he could pick my thoughts right off of my face. “You don’t have much respect for me, do you?”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m not trying to be disrespectful or anything, I just… well, I really don’t understand why I’m here.”

“Don’t apologize, it makes things more interesting,” he said. “Unpredictable, that is. At least insofar as I’m less certain how all of this is going to end for you. The rest I have worked out.”

“Then what’s going to happen?”

“Well, I thought we’d have a little chat, as I said,” he said. “I am not so fond of chatting that I have any great desire to repeat myself, so let’s try to keep things moving forward, shall we?”

“I’ve had a lot of chats lately,” I said.

“And have you learned anything from them?”

I thought it was a rhetorical question, just a jab, but as he sat there looking at me I realized he was actually asking.

“What… like a moral, or something?” I asked.

“I despise morals,” he said. “One does not learn a moral; they must be inflicted. I meant a lesson. Have you learned any lessons?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Then it seems I might owe you a refund, in my professional capacity,” he said. “You can use it to pay back your scholarships, who will surely be next in line for one. I met your grandmother.”

“I’m sorry,” I blurted out. The segue was so… so not even a segue that I couldn’t think of anything else.

“Your maternal grandmother,” he said. “Martha Blaise.”

“Yeah, uh, I know who you meant,” I said.

“Oh? I see… how very slightly drole,” he said. “I’ve met her twice, in point of fact, though I don’t think she remembered me. I must say, it’s a bit of a blow to my ego to have made so little impression on a person. I doubt she could have recognized me, all things considered, but still… a bit of a blow.”

I didn’t say anything to that. What could I have said? Apologizing again would have made me sound like even more of a smartass, and I gathered he didn’t like having his ego bruised.

“It amuses me that they call themselves white dragons,” he said. “Whites really are the lowest of the low… craftless and venal, scarcely more than beasts. They are utterly incapable of long-term planning, basic manners, or decent conversation. But the humans who set such things down equate the very concept of ‘white’ with purity and virtue, and so the most ignoble of dragons is used as a mascot for some of the more noble of humanity. I would almost like to say that it’s fitting, but I’m afraid I feel humanity is slandered by the comparison.”

“So… does this deal or whatever have anything to do with my grandmother?” I asked.

“Hmm. What? Oh, no… according to Mr. McAvoy’s men, she boarded a regional skiff for Blackwater at Earl P. Osborn Memorial Air Harbor at a quarter past five this evening,” he said. “I suggested they keep an eye on her… more busywork, you know, but I do feel better knowing that she’s gone. The proverbial loose catapult cannot begin to wreak as much havoc as a tightly-lashed one pointed in a direction in which one does not wish for missiles to be hurled.”

“So… why are we talking about her?”

“She’s your relation, and a mutual acquaintance,” Embries said. “I don’t do this very often, I confess, but I’ve gathered that this is how it’s done.”

“How what’s done?”

“Small talk,” he said. “A little conversation before dinner. Don’t make me say the thing about repeating myself ag… oh, drat.” He might have said something stronger, but I was only half paying attention. The bit right before that had made my blood run cold. “Well, to forge ahead: my immediate neighbor to the west has some messy habits that occasionally spill over onto my property,” he said. “For the sake of the peace, I ignore it as much as I can, but when I heard she gave him something to think about I had to go and see her for myself… well, I suppose I see where this is beside the point. Perhaps we should just get right down to it. Miss Mackenzie, are you quite prepared?”

I didn’t know what to say to that, in part because I didn’t know what it was I supposed to be prepared for… and in part because deep down inside, in the small, scrabbling little animal place that only existed in the pit of my stomach and the back of my brain… in the place that responded when Iona or Feejee looked at me with their fathomless black eyes… I was afraid that I did know.

“Well, then,” Embries said, rising to his feet so smoothly that he might as well have levitated, “let’s go in.”

I had no sense of wanting to move toward the crystalline doorknob or of being made to do so… I simply did it. It was warm beneath my hand, and it turned easily and silently. There was another room beyond it, a larger office decorated in the same style as the outer one but with elegant furnishings better suited to their surroundings.

Sitting in one of two high-backed chairs in front of a big black mahogany desk was Iona. She twisted around to look at me as I continued forward into the room.

Finally,” she said.

“Yes,” Mr. Embries said behind me. His voice seemed to be as close in my ear as Steff’s when she whispered. “Indeed.” The door clicked shut with a sound like a portcullis slamming into a stone floor. “Finally.”

Iona let out a big dramatic sigh that suggested she was even less affected by Embries’s aura of whateverness than I was… and I was accumulating some pretty substantial evidence that I wasn’t actually immune.

“You are a very rude young lady,” he said, gliding around me and heading towards the desk. The slightest touch of his hand on my arm in passing had me heading for the other seat, which I folded myself meekly into. “I’m afraid that I don’t know how to relate to your kind… mammals feel an instinctive and primal fear that can shade over to awe. Goblins and other spawn of the crawling chaos tend to experience enmity or revulsion. Reptiles show a sense of profound reverence and respect… but despite a somewhat superficial resemblance to our nearest relatives in the created orders, I find that piscines simply do not ‘get’ dragons.”

I suddenly became aware of the painting on the wall behind him. Iona’s presence had distracted me, and my mind had not registered it properly… the big gleaming whitish shapes spreading out against the sky could have been the sails of the most stereotypical schooner in the most cliched big old important looking painting imaginable.

They weren’t, though.

They were the wings of what was at the very least a greater silver dragon, to judge by its crown of horns.

“What, now?” Iona said.

“Precisely,” Embries said, and he smiled as he had at the press conference. “Now, I was just telling Miss Mackenzie about her grandmother not recognizing me.”

His smile was not a good smile. It was not a kind smile. It was not a reassuring smile. It wasn’t the sort of smile you gave to someone who was likely to survive seeing it. It was the smile of a gourmand addressing a delicacy. I had never been so glad for someone to not be smiling at me in my life.

Iona seemed completely and utterly unconcerned about being on the receiving end of it.

“Are all old people supposed to know each other?” she asked. “I thought that was just a stereotype.”

“The Shifters, on the other hand… they know how to spot when someone’s wearing a skin he wasn’t born in,” Embries continued. “They saw right through me.” He looked at Iona. “They’d see right through you, too. I confess you’ve had me fooled… that’s a general you, as it happens. I had no idea your kind were still extant. I thought you’d departed this world, or were sleeping beneath it.”

Sea devils, the man had said. When I’d asked if he’d meant mermaids, he’d replied, ““If that’s what you call their kind these days.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Iona said.

“Of course you don’t,” he said. “It’s well before your time.”

“My own kind is before my time?” she said.

“Most people’s kinds are,” he said. “Mine? Markedly less so. But as much as it pains me to say it, I didn’t bring either of you here to talk about me.”

“Then you’d better tell me why you did bring me here or let me go,” she said. “I know how human laws work.”

“Yes, yes, I’m sure you’ve seen all about it in the television box,” he said, waving his hand. “Unfortunately for you, I’m afraid we’re quite done with human laws. They have, for the moment, been dispensed with. Or suspended, if you prefer.”

“What?” Iona asked, real concern not so much creeping into her voice as leaping up it to escape as a tiny squeak at the end.

“Oh, my, yes,” Embries said. “You see, it has been decided… with a little counseling from the august personage of myself… that the best way to resolve the matter of the poor dead girl, whatever her name was… is to step outside the laws of the Imperium, which could neither have furnished the bereaved family with an adequate solution nor denied them one without provoking a dangerous domestic situation and/or risking a destructive and expensive war.”

“She was killed by a monster,” Iona said. “I heard it. That’s what the law guys said. She was killed by a monster!”

“Precisely,” Embries said. He had a way of making that one word function as both punctuation and threat. “And so it is in our capacity as monsters that we must deal with it… and deal we shall. As for you…”

His head swiveled abruptly towards me. Up until that point I could almost have believed he’d forgotten I was there, he’d become so focused on Iona… I had almost forgotten that I was there. I’d felt like a detached observer, helplessly watching the horror of Iona’s dawning realization.

“As for you, Miss Mackenzie,” Embries said. “It seems to me that you are not entirely blameless in this. I’m a big believer in letting the punishment fit the crime. Well… no, I’m not actually all that big of a believer in punishment, to be honest. As a general concept, it can go hang itself after denouncing and implicating morals at its trial. But as long as there must be punishments… and they do seem to be rather en vogue right now… why should they not fit their respective crimes? It’s so much neater… so much nicer, in the original sense of that word… when they do. Which, ah, is not to say that the punishments themselves might get a bit… messy.”

His gaze fell back towards Iona then, and I was grateful… so grateful, so pathetically glad to have his eyes off of me when he said it. Let her punishment be messy, I thought… I almost prayed. If I believed there was a god who would hear the prayers of a haf-demon who might be eaten by a dragon then I would have and taken the consequences. Let her punishment be messy, as long as mine isn’t.

“I believe you are both beginning to get the picture where Miss Iona is concerned,” Embries said. “For your part, Miss Mackenzie… well, your crime lies in knowing… knowing and not saying, not doing. What happened was made possible by your inaction. For that? I sentence you to the burden of yet more knowledge.

“You will stay. You will bear witness. You will know what happened here, and you will never… ever… say a word to anybody. If anyone breaches your mind or is privy to your thoughts, they will not be able to see what happens here tonight. You will keep the events so secret that they will be shielded even from someone sharing space in your soul. Do you understand me?

“I’m talking about something quite like a geas… but I am of the wrong persuasion for such bright and brittle faerie magic, and far beyond the cheap imitations your arcanists weave. When I say that these things will happen, Miss Mackenzie, I mean that they will happen, with an emphasis most decidedly on will.”

“I’m getting out of here,” Iona said.

“Oh, no, I’m quite afraid you’re not,” Embries said. He leaned forward over the desk. “And… please, no. Stop trying to shift. You’re much more pleasant this way. All those scales and spiky parts… honestly, it’s like trying to peel an artichoke. Miss Mackenzie, you may stop trying to close your eyes. It won’t do you any good, but it’s irritating to me… if you stop fighting, I’ll allow you to blink normally, and believe me when I say you’ll miss that sorely before too long.”

I hadn’t realized until he said it that I had been trying to squeeze my eyes shut. Despite his invitation, I didn’t stop fighting. The need to move and the inability to do so made the whole thing feel very dream-like. I had a feeling that before it was over, I would welcome that.

“The time has come,” the dragon said. “Miss Iona, you will please lay yourself out on the desk. Miss Mackenzie, be attentive now… we are monstrous folk, and you are about to bear witness to a monstrous thing. I suspect it will probably break you. It might have an altogether more salutatory effect, though, and one way or another, it will certainly change you. It will teach you a lesson, to be sure. There may even be a moral, if only you can find it.”

My eyes seemed fixed to Iona by invisible strings as she got up rather primly and did an obscene, jerky version of a model’s catwalk strut, her scaled legs melting into meaty skin as she did. With a mouth that was locked tightly shut and a face that was horribly placid and calm, she stood at the edge of the desk, turned around to face away from it, and then hopped up backwards. She scooted back as she reclined.

I couldn’t help but notice that Embries’s desk was well long enough to accommodate the entire length of her frame.

“Now if you’re ready, monsters dear,” Embries said, “we can begin to feed.”


Friday: Well… you heard him. What do you think’s going to happen?


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263 Responses to “488: Monstrous Morals”

  1. Hey, everyone!

    First, I’d like to apologize to the donor who commissioned the Memorial Air Harbor for having taken so very long to work it into the story. I always knew how it would first come up, but I didn’t think it would take quite so much real time to get around to the end of this week. If I’d been more on top of the calendar I would have established it in canon some other way. It’ll be in play more in the upcoming volume two.

    Second, to those who don’t follow my blog or Twitter but do at least glance at the comments: these past few weeks have been very productive for me and I’ve got some big things in the works. Be on the lookout for announcements in the future.

    Two big ones: First, on Friday, I’m going to be releasing a preview/test run of an e-book I have coming out in March called The Gift of The Bad Guy.

    There’s a teaser of the first chapter up on my Livejournal, and a sort of informal marketing survey. Please feel free to take it, even if you’re not interested in buying this e-book… I’m interested in learning that, too.

    Second, I’m re-doing my sponsorship/subscriber stuff to offer more specific levels to fit more budgets and to give more benefit to sponsorship… so far it’s just a newsletter that will have more behind-the-scenes stuff and tidbits about projects I’m not ready to discuss on my blog, maybe a chance to vote on certain things or at least give feedback about which of the ideas on my backburner sound worthy of being moved up front. Details are on the new information page I’m setting up.

    If you are already a sponsor at any level, even just a dollar, you don’t have to do anything to have a chance to get the newsletter. You don’t have to re-subscribe. You’ll be getting an opt-in-or-out email later in the month. There’s some elaboration on how existing sponsors will be recognized as we move forward on my Livejournal.

    Also: if you’ve ever thought about setting up a $1 a month payment, or even just sending me a buck or two at random, but didn’t because you figured the transaction fees would eat all the money: I’m now using PayPal’s microtransaction rate, which means I’ll only be losing a dime or less of every dollar you give me. Those dollars add up.

    I feel like from a business perspective I should say something to push the sponsorships while I’m mentioning them, like, “If I get ten new subscribers this week, I’ll”… but honestly, you folks have been awesome and I feel like I’m doing awesome. I am getting so much done. My weekends are going to be bucked up for more than a month with the incentives you blew past in the roommate derby. I don’t have anything to ask for or offer. I’m just letting you know what I’m up to.

    Anyway, that’s it and I hope I’ll be seeing all of you here back on Friday for the conclusion to all this.

    Current score: 0
    • Wow, that’s just a great big wall of text, isn’t it? And did I really go, “First, Second, First, Second?” I feel like I’m counting off a march… no more writing the announcement comment in this box. I have no idea how it’s rambling on until I post it.

      Current score: 0
  2. Alyxe Barron says:

    Heyla

    I… really, really, really find Embries entrancing. Very much the same feeling I have for Jilly-bean. -shiver-

    -r

    Current score: 1
    • carson says:

      Embries made me go tharn in a way that she never has.

      Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        Oh, thank you for reminding me of that word – it definitely fits here.

        Current score: 0
      • SongCoyote says:

        Ooooh, someone else who remembers.

        Marlitharn, u silflay… silflay u!

        Current score: 0
  3. David Ogilvy says:

    Holy shit.

    No, really, holy shit.

    I’m going to be thinking about this chapter continuously until the next one comes out. Probably longer.

    Current score: 2
  4. 'Nym-o-maniac says:

    fuck.

    Current score: 3
  5. Burnsidhe says:

    . . .

    Current score: 0
  6. Null Set says:

    In my head Embries is voiced by Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock.

    Current score: 0
    • BMeph says:

      In my head, he’s voiced by Keith David.

      Current score: 0
      • Erm says:

        I sort of picture him as Julian Richings. As in Death from Supernatural.

        Current score: 1
    • Jechtael says:

      I picture him as a silver-haired, sans-ponytail David Xanatos, but I have yet to find someone who has the voice I imagine him using. I imagine his voice to be very precise, and rather deep, but the kind of natural sort of depth where it is deep DESPITE the playful lilt pervading nearly every sentence. A deeper, much more precise Julian Richings (as mentioned above). RP, deep, precise, the tone of a jungle cat living in a world of mice.

      …Now that I mention jungle cats, I could very much see Embries’ voice in my head being favorably compared to those of George Sanders or Benedict Cumberbatch.

      Long story short, I imagine Embries as the living equivalent of a panty-soaking Jaguar engine.

      Current score: 0
  7. zeel says:

    . . .

    So that was unexpected.

    . . .

    Current score: 0
  8. Fae says:

    He can has Noms now?

    I’m sorry, but this reminds me of my cat. Don’t ask why.

    And yes, my cat IS evil.

    Current score: 1
    • Melithen says:

      My gaming group and I have long held that dragons are feline, rather than reptilian. Really, what’s a dragon with a sheep-snack other than a really big kitty playing with a mousie?

      Current score: 1
      • Kevin says:

        Our group has a blue dragon miniature (the gargantuan one from the old 3.5 iconics series) that we call “Kitty”

        Current score: 0
  9. SilverMoon says:

    At least she won’t have to worry about Iona lurking around waiting for her now.

    Current score: 0
  10. Jennier says:

    …wow. This is genuinely terrifying.

    I sort of wonder if the geas-type dragon-spell will prevent even our intrepid author from detailing the exact events which come next.

    Current score: 1
    • beappleby says:

      Depends on whether we’re privy to her actual memories, or if she’s writing after the fact – and if she is, whether she’s found some way around it after all, or the events didn’t unfold in the way they have been set to unfold…

      Current score: 0
      • Jennifer says:

        Yeah, but it seems like something AE would do. I mean, do you really think we’re going to watch a detailed consumption of Iona? Part of me hopes so, and part of me hopes… not.

        Heck, we could even conceivably just jump to Sophomore year after this. I mean, this pretty much wraps up the bulk of the plot threads for now. Iona is taken care of, Grandma has left, the Man is taking a break from fatherly visits, Mackenzie isn’t as edible as usual and thus won’t be eaten…

        Current score: 0
        • beappleby says:

          We’ve been given a LOT of details on various other occasions…

          Current score: 0
          • bramble says:

            In this case, it might almost be more horrifying not to get the details. To have that palpable gap in what Mack is able to tell us, and know the general idea of what happened, but have to rely on our own imaginations for the specifics.

            Current score: 1
  11. carson says:

    this is not good for my blood pressure.

    drole should probably be droll or have the accent over the o.

    but I’d much prefer you write than to even waste a moment thinking about that. (And where do you stand on split infinitives?)

    Current score: 0
    • I don’t do accent marks, as a general thing.

      There is not and has never been a rule about split infinitives.

      Some misinformed pedants in or around the 19th century (the source of most popular misconceptions about English, like the idea that “they” can only be plural or that if “fewer” can only refer to countable sums than “less” must refer only to uncountable ones) tried to generalize from the fact that you can’t split an infinitive in Latin to a rule that infinitives are unsplittable, but this is ridiculous.

      You don’t split infinitives in Latin and romance languages because they’re single words, but there’s no rule that says you don’t split single words because there doesn’t have to be.

      Current score: 0
  12. Miss Lynx says:

    This is decidedly the scariest chapter I have read in ToMU since the beginning, even though technically nothing horrible has happened… yet.

    Current score: 1
  13. Andy says:

    I like Embries. He seems like a fun guy.

    Current score: 0
    • Jinzo says:

      I’m betting you rather not meet him though 🙂

      Current score: 0
      • Andy says:

        As long as I’m not being eaten and can retain my senses, it could be amusing.

        Current score: 0
        • bramble says:

          So… you’d rather not meet him. Unless you’re secretly a dragon or similarly powerful entity, yourself.

          Current score: 0
        • BMeph says:

          Spoken like someone who discounts having a sense…of sanity.

          “Not that there’s anything wrong with that…”

          Current score: 0
  14. drudge says:

    “For your part, Miss Mackenzie… well, your crime lies in knowing… knowing and not saying, not doing. What happened was made possible by your inaction. For that? I sentence you to the burden of yet more knowledge.”

    My first thought upon reading this was “Yes! Thank you, finally!”

    I get the feeling though Mackenzie will probably want a stiff drink or two hundred once this is all over.

    Current score: 1
    • The Dark Master says:

      She did not know that Iona was actually eating people. As soon as she found out, she told someone. Embries is bringing down his ‘justice’. I don’t think this ‘lesson’ is a nice one. “For knowing that this woman eats people and not telling anyone, I will make you watch me eat her and you will be unable to tell anyone.” Is basically what he is saying to her! How is this just punishment?

      Current score: 0
      • drudge says:

        She knew Iona full well could, wanted to, did,, and didn’t take seriously any code that would even mildly inhibit her.

        Thats the sort of situation some form of warning would be much appreciated.

        Current score: 0
        • drudge says:

          Hit reply too soon. On “just punishment”, it really isn’t. But then, Emberies isn’t exactly a just person. I’d hazard he chose this punishment in part because he enjoyed the irony. Given the circumstances however she’s probably gotten a lenient punishment. Nobody who’d actually care knows and she’s gotten no physical harm from it.

          It’s a horrible, horrible thing. However what she did was horrible in a more passive way. People have *died* because of her silence. As in killed, and in a way where their loved ones won’t be able to hear from them in life ever again. Just because she wasn’t the one with her fangs out doesn’t mean she’s washed clean of the death.

          Current score: 0
          • The Dark Master says:

            She was trying to avoid staring a war between two species. Reveal or don’t reveal would have left her with blood on her fangs, so to speak. She may have thought she had been making some progress with them. She was trying to take a third option, the problem was, she DID NOT KNOW that Iona was already killing people. As soon as she learned that somebody had died, she immidiatly told someone. I really don’t think Mack deserves this in any sence of the word. Like I said in another comment, Embries is likely the main now.

            Current score: 0
            • The Dark Master says:

              *main villian

              Current score: 0
            • Sapphite says:

              See, I figured Embries is likely her new boss. A secretary that *doesn’t* ask to be eaten every month would be useful.

              Current score: 0
            • drudge says:

              Feejee and Iona had already killed, just in the ocean, they’d have killed again the moment they got back. The only real difference here is Mackenzie had to watch the results up close.

              Current score: 0
            • Matthias says:

              Not knowing what to do is not at all an excuse for this I’m afraid. Now this would definitely fall under cruel and unusual punishment but such laws are void here. So is the argument that this is disturbing? Absolutely. Is the argument that she doesn’t deserve this? she probably does deserve it. The funny thing about our justice system is almost no one gets what they deserve because what most people deserve is pretty messed up. She made a mistake and she meant no harm. But sometimes intent is irrelevant. This will break her somehow. But she’ll get through it. Can’t say the same for Iona. Also I wouldn’t think Embries is the main villain. I get the feeling that he will be someone who simply exists in the world. She will always shiver at his name but I can’t imagine trying to fight him at any level. I almost think he’ll take an interest in Mack but the more I think about the more likely it is that she is simply another being who is beneath him and except for the connection with her grandmother has little interest her dealings for the rest of her tenure at MU… As long as she keeps her nose clean and I get the feeling she will.

              Current score: 0
            • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

              Very much agreed. Mack was in a difficult position. What, really, could she have done? She could have told the world, but assuming she was believed, all she would have accomplished would be to start a panic over merfolk, causing the death of many mermaids who may never have attacked humans outside of the “feeding” underwater, which, little different from the activities of, say, ogres in their homeland. More than that, many non-merfolk may well have died in the ensuing riots. She could have gone to the authorities, but again even assuming they believed her, and that they didn’t tell the world and start those same riots as in the previous scenario, the activities of those under the sea are somewhat outside of their jurisdiction. She could have tried to talk with Iona and Feejee, and attempted to convince them not to kill anyone, except… oh, wait, no, that’s what she did.

              She had no idea Iona was killing people, and the moment she did know, she found what she believed to be the best way to inform the authorities. Were there better options? Probably. But it’s not like Mack knew what they were.

              She tried her best. She does not in any way deserve this.

              Current score: 0
            • Would it have cause a war, really? The merfolk are hardly the only predators in this world, or even on campus. Ogres are _known_ maneaters, and Viktor doesn’t seem to be in any danger. Hell, he could go out and buy a slave to devour openly, and it would be legal. Of course, the Imperial authorities probably keep watch over known predators, and there’s almost certainly a legal requirement that they make themselves known. Mack probably violated the law when she discovered the “secret” (which I refuse to believe the government didn’t already know) and didn’t inform the administration.

              Current score: 0
      • Jennifer says:

        She DID know that BOTH Feejee and Iona were man eaters – had eaten it before, had eaten it again, and had no remorse in killing humans. She knew the reasoning behind NOT killing people on land, and how very very thin and based on culture it was.

        As for the punishment itself – well, “Few people mistake a noble dragon for a nice one more than once.”

        Current score: 3
      • Keeping this secret is going to be eating her alive, figuratively speaking. A beautiful sort of symmetry if we follow the line of thinking that Embries must believe that she knew and was complacent.

        On the other hand, Embries is basically saying “I’m a monster. I do monstrous things for a reason. She is a monster, what she did is monstrous, but it lacked reason.” By implying he’s going to make her watch him feed he could be presenting a graphic demonstration of this, with an underlying question of “Which sort of monster are you?”

        Or, perhaps he’ll offer her a bite to eat as well.

        Current score: 0
        • DaManRando says:

          First of all…

          HO
          LEE
          FUCK….

          second of all from the way he said “we shall feed” I think forcing Mackenzie to take a bite or two is pretty much in the cards here, and honestly I don’t think she can resist.

          Current score: 0
          • alashara says:

            i dont know about that. Ebries is a greater dragon, which entails arrogance, pride, etc. it also seems to entail responsibility though, since he’s meteing out punishment, trying to keep the peace wth his neighbor, and even acting as a dignitary. it like he considers himself a king(and who could deny it anyway?) and royalty often used plural in reference to themselves such as we and our to show that that they dont represent just themselves put the entirety of their domain.

            Current score: 0
      • Kevin says:

        If anyone didn’t expect Embries to deal in draconian justice it might be wise to look the word up, especially the draco part of it.

        Current score: 0
        • The Dark Master says:

          You mean chaos justice: I am the strongest, therefore my way goes.

          Current score: 0
          • Kevin says:

            That was a play on overly severe rules being called draconian and draconian literally meaning dragon-like

            Current score: 0
  15. Burnsidhe says:

    Oh. “… drole.” should be “… droll.”

    Current score: 0
    • No, but thanks. 🙂

      Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        Huh. I was just about to report that one, too. I googled it when I saw your reply, and it came up as droll, Origin French drôle. I’m assuming it’s the same meaning, just with an anglicized spelling (droll). I don’t know if you meant for it to have the little symbol above it.

        Is this meant to indicate an accent of some kind, or another clue that he’s Very, Very Old, or that you just prefer to spell it “drole” rather than “droll”? Or is it something else… Something more sinister…

        Hehehe…

        Current score: 0
        • He’s using the Kharoline word; I eschew accent marks because they make the text look odd on some devices/platforms.

          Current score: 0
          • beappleby says:

            Ah, that makes sense. Although if it had had the symbol it would look less like a typo!

            Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        I did notice two other minor typos:

        “The proverbial loose catapult cannot begin to wreak the as much havoc as a tightly-lashed one”
        (Has an extra “the” in the middle)

        “my immediate neighbor the west has some messy habits”
        (Should be “TO the west”)

        Current score: 0
  16. The Dark Master says:

    It was Embries, and he is eating the old villan. This was the heavily suggested outcome. Anything not involving Embries would have been a bit of an asspull. The big question is what he wants of Mack, since it seems he does not think she would make a good meal; he was rather disappointed when she came in. Plus he seems to not want to have to deal with opposition. Will Embries be the main villan now, or is he going to be more a neutral force invested in Mack like Callahan?
    .
    I didn’t realize just how strong Embries’ powers of compultion and the defences on the building were, there is no way Dee could get in there without being detected. Can Embries read minds?
    .
    Finnaly, is this the climax? One of those helpless ones where the main character can do nothing but watch in horror?! There is nothing to prove here except that Embries is jerk, you are quite sadistic if you go through with this AE…

    Current score: 0
    • Rin says:

      Honestly, as capable as Dee might be for a frosh, wards so strong that they had Mackenzie thinking they might even give a goddess pause will probably make it quite impossible for her to get in at all, undetected or otherwise.

      Current score: 0
      • Mama Khaele was “thought to be confused by or at least somewhat unfamiliar with arcane applications of magic” but Dee’s spider goddess isn’t pointed out to be.

        Current score: 0
        • bramble says:

          But Dee isn’t her goddess, or even likely to be in communication or communion with her goddess (except in the nebulous, indirect way that she is as a divine caster). Remember, it’s kind of a big deal that Amaranth sometimes gets direct answers from Mother Khaele, and I seem to remember that it’s been established that Khaele is relatively active in her followers’ lives, as deities go.

          Current score: 0
          • Dee might not be her goddess but she was in training to be a house priestess, likely a high priestess. She meditates often, which puts her in a space to be in communion with her deity. While it might not be overly played up in the MUverse the drow goddess does take a strong interest in her female followers. While Dee’s interaction might be lesser than Amy’s with respective goddesses, the result has the potential to be eye-popping if it came down to Dee being endangered though that isn’t an issue atm of course. Now if Dee were to put herself into danger trying to follow up on whats going on with Mack… well, that might open some interesting avenues.

            Current score: 0
  17. Burnsidhe says:

    And what inaction? Mackenzie didn’t have a single reason to believe the mers had done it until the teeth simulation was shown, whereupon she immediately came forward, if anonymously.

    Mack’s going to *need* a mind-healer after this.

    Current score: 0
    • moxicity says:

      Unfortunately yes but also she can’t talk about it and no one can glean it from her mind or soul. So… not very therapeutic if you can’t actually talk or deal with it :S Sounds completely horrible.

      Current score: 0
    • Jinzo says:

      She did know that two Mermaids had the motive, means and were planning to grab a random human underwater and eat them.
      She did try to talk some sense into them, but it was obvious long before Leda’s death that they were not gonna drop the subject and it became a matter of time and opportunity.

      A needless death that could spark racial wars between humans and another race (Merfolk if they found out who really did it, kobolds or some other if they had bad forensics to go after not to mention humans vs everything else (if a Mermaid is TOO crazy humaneaters, what is safe ?)). Happened to humans vs demonkind and humans in this universe are still quite xenophobic.

      Fair ? Perhaps not. But Embriss is dealing with the monsters, monster style and he is beyond mortal morals, law or concerns.

      Question is will Feejee, the other Mermaid, get the point and seriousness of this ? As in will she piece together what happens to Mermaids who snacks on humans in such sloppy ways ? Or perhaps she will blame Mack for it…

      Current score: 0
      • Feejee does seem to have her head on a little better about it. She at least was looking for ways to bend the rules and realizing it seemed iirc that if its not ocean its not a-okay. Iona on the other hand blatently threw out the rules and went for if it is wet, it is on the menu.

        Feejee’s ‘I wanna eat you’ towards Mack in particular is more an offshoot of Mack’s female demon ‘come nom me’ aura than it is Feejee’s desire for human nom noms. To me, Feejee’s had more qualms and concerns about the eating of humans on land than Iona ever did. She seems like she’d have regrets if she happened to have a school friend fall into the water and become food to her out at sea. At least a little bit. Iona on the other hand, I’ve always thought just had this attitude of ‘they’re food, not friends – now go jump in the water I’m hungry’

        Current score: 0
      • Altima says:

        Embries isn’t exactly an unbiased bystander in this. He’s openly stated that he’d actually like to have Callahan off Mackenzie.

        Current score: 0
  18. Denyre says:

    I wonder if something is ggoing to happen to Feejee because of this…

    Current score: 0
  19. Kat says:

    Holy wow.

    Current score: 0
  20. Burnsidhe says:

    Also “… my immediate neighbor the west” should be “my immediate neighbor to the west”

    Current score: 0
  21. drudge says:

    I get the impression it’s not that crime specifically so much as the fact that she basically let two dangerous murderers walk around unhampered, knowing full well the moment they feel so inclined they’ll do it again in a heartbeat. A simple “heads up” would have been greatly appreciated, not to mention rather smart in the way of self preservation.

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      As others already stated – she did not know they were murderers until AFTER THE MURDER. At which point she reported what she knew to an authority. Embries is just being sadistic here.

      Current score: 0
      • zeel says:

        Well I would consider what they did in the ocean to be murder, but in that setting they are governed by there own peoples laws. And thus no crime was committed.

        It was in fact only after the tooth prints were disclosed that she knew the mermaid(s) had committed a crime. And she then told someone, however Embries may not know that, as her lawyer just passes on info and was not so posed to pass on names. Or he may know that and simply have a different view on things. One way or another I think Mackenzie will argue her way out of this.

        Current score: 0
      • drudge says:

        She knew, if nothing else, they were predators with a strong urge to murder. Feejee has made active plans to kill Mackenzie herself. She may have been very stupid about it but the intent was clear that she places no value on sentient life. At the actual party they were discussing how to kill people and not get caught. They outright speculated on how to do it at the party in *front* of mackenzie.

        Not to mention again, you’re thinking way too small here. This isn’t two people, this is an entire civilization. As in thousands at a conservative effort with an event that gave them optimal conditions to go through with it.

        Current score: 0
        • The Dark Master says:

          Mack thought they would eat her, and did take precautions against that, they where poor ones but she did take precautions. She just didn’t realize that other people where in danger. Is being dumb or dense a crime?

          Current score: 0
          • drudge says:

            They only seemed to realize Mackenzie was “half food” once the topic came up and Feejee had long ago begun speculating on how to kill any old student they could lure into a body of water. They never said they’d focus on Mackenzie alone. That’s not being dumb, that’s being willfully ignorant.

            Current score: 0
          • Rin says:

            Although I have zero evidence for that assumption, I suspect that in Embries mind that might actually be the worst crime.

            Current score: 0
  22. “But not on us!” Iona cried,
    Turning a little blue.
    “After such kindness, that would be
    A dismal thing to do!”
    “The night is fine,” the chancellor said.
    “Do you admire the view?

    “It was so kind of you to come!
    And you are very nice!”
    Mackenzie said nothing but
    “Cut us another slice:
    I wish you were not quite so deaf–
    I’ve had to ask you twice!”

    “It seems a shame,” the Chancellor said,
    “To play her such a trick,
    After we’ve brought her out so far,
    And made her trot so quick!”
    Mackenzie said nothing but
    “The butter’s spread too thick!”

    “I weep for you,” the Chancellor said:
    “I deeply sympathize.”
    With sobs and tears he sorted out
    Those of the largest size,
    Holding his pocket-handkerchief
    Before his streaming eyes.

    “O Iona,” said Mackenzie,
    “You’ve had a pleasant run!
    Shall we be trotting home again?’
    But answer came there none–
    And this was scarcely odd, because
    She’d been eaten by a dragon.

    Current score: 1
  23. Neil O. says:

    Well, I didn’t think she was really in trouble, I figured they probably wanted her for bait or something. This however, is not what I expected. That’s what I like about this story, seems predictably unpredictable, but is actually unpredictably unpredictable, if you know what I mean.

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      “…and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly! It’s the honest ones you have to watch out for…”

      Current score: 1
  24. Tomas says:

    Quite likely one of my favourite posts in a long while. (next to the Other Tales).
    I quite like Embries’ Idea of the punishment fitting the crime.
    Before he mentioned the whole “knowledge” thing I had assumed he would let Mackenzie eat her though… which would have fitted too… in a way.

    Current score: 0
  25. Colette says:

    Oh my.
    Iona-wanna-be predator meets Real Predator.
    I do not know how Alexandra Erin will take this but I cannot wait to find out.

    Current score: 0
    • Colette says:

      “I do not know how FAR Alexandra Erin will take this but I cannot wait to find out”
      ah, the lack of an edit key

      Current score: 0
  26. Colette says:

    further, I am curious as to what will happen to FeeJee.

    Current score: 0
  27. Billy Bob says:

    I guess the the neighbor to the west is the dragon that granny dealt with once upon a time.

    IMO, he seemed to like the smell/taste of Mack and was irritated that he’d not get to eat her. Most other predators have all thought Mack would be delicious.

    Current score: 0
    • The Dark Master says:

      Remember though that that sensation of wanting to eat Mack is gone right now, Feejee has pointed that out. Its more likely Embires has talked to Iona about Mack and is disappointed that she isn’t as appitizing as was suggested.

      Current score: 0
      • Colette says:

        ah it has only been a few days since she did that potion then.

        Current score: 0
        • drudge says:

          My timescale may be off, but I think it’s the *same* day.

          Current score: 0
          • The Dark Master says:

            It is, I checked, and the potion is suppose to last for 2 weeks. Even if Mack does have some supernatural resistance to it, I don’t think it would expire this fast.

            Current score: 0
            • Jennifer says:

              And the moral of the story is that unprotected sex can save your life, apparently.

              Current score: 1
      • The Dark Master says:

        I made a mistake, Embries already met Mack and is surprised that now she is less appetizing for some reason that he can’t figure out. He though something was wrong or this was someone posing as her.

        Current score: 0
  28. Billy Bob says:

    Also, eating on your desk is messy and uncivilized.

    Current score: 0
    • drudge says:

      I think that’s more of a special table he has just for eating people. Tools of the trade and all that.

      Current score: 0
  29. Erm says:

    Embries met Martha Blaise *twice*.

    Mh… was Embries’ real name ever mentioned? Otherwise, maybe he was that Greater Red Dragon Martha dueled against?

    Current score: 0
    • drudge says:

      He’s silver, not red. His color is all wrong.

      Current score: 0
    • Altima says:

      Seems to me that the Greater Red is the one who caused trouble to the west of Dragon-Embries’s lands. Martha dueled the dragon, and Embries then went to meet the mortal who gave his rival a black eye.

      When Martha didn’t recognize him in his human form, his ego was bruised.

      Current score: 0
    • Kevin says:

      My guess is the greater red Martha dueled was Embries neighbor to the west.

      Current score: 0
  30. Peter says:

    I wonder if Embries knows that it was Mack who tipped off Lee. Lee said that he’d keep her out of it. It’d be an interesting twist if Embries ends up owing Mack.

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      Well, he knows she knew about Iona. I assumed that was because he found out who had tipped off the authorities.

      Current score: 0
  31. Erm says:

    This is beyond terrifying, and yet somehow I had the feeling this was coming. As in Embries eating Iona.

    Current score: 0
    • FC says:

      Terrifying indeed! I have the feeling from what Embries said at the last that he expects Mac to share the meal with him. Makes me wonder if Iona is a virgin.
      —————————————————-
      “Now if you’re ready, monsters dear,” Embries said, “we can begin to feed.”
      —————————————————-

      Current score: 0
      • Kevin says:

        There is not a single drop of human blood in Iona’s veins so virgin or no Mack gets nothing out of it.

        Current score: 0
        • beappleby says:

          That doesn’t mean she couldn’t eat it, or even enjoy it if she let herself.

          Current score: 0
          • beappleby says:

            To use an analogy, I don’t believe that I get anything out of eating a donut – except that it tastes really wonderful and I thoroughly enjoy eating it.

            Current score: 0
            • Kevin says:

              As enjoyable as that donut is it is not a human virgin.

              Current score: 0
            • beappleby says:

              No, but people keep talking as though the fact that Iona is not a virgin means that Mackenzie would be unable to eat her. That is not the case. It wouldn’t suffice to meet her physical demonic needs, but it would not mean she couldn’t eat it.

              Current score: 0
  32. Ken-Lo-Korai says:

    So it *was* Embries, after all. That’s…a bit of a letdown, actually.

    Current score: 0
  33. Tovan says:

    Anybody else wonder if this is, in fact, a moral “inflicted” on Mack by Embries about giving into a bestial nature?

    Current score: 0
  34. Altima says:

    The question is, will Embries keep Iona all to himself, so to speak, or will he force Mackenzie to partake of this particular dish?

    The emphasis on meaty in the last paragraph implies that perhaps Hungry-Hungry-Mack might be coming out.

    Current score: 0
    • Billy Bob says:

      well most predators do not like to share

      Current score: 0
    • zeel says:

      I don’t think we have ever seen her eat sea food before. . .

      Current score: 0
  35. Ferwe says:

    I rather expected something more formal. Embries sitting down with Leda’s family and having Iona served with a nice parsley garnish and sliced lemons. This way makes it much more clear exactly what Embries is and how he thinks of himself.

    As to the whole “Does Mack deserve this?” I think that’s the wrong question. The right question begins with “How useful will this lesson be to Mack?” (Note how Embries asked her earlier in the chapter what she’d learned.) I think it will be. It might give Mack a few nightmares, but this isn’t our world and I think she can handle it.

    Current score: 0
  36. Eryn says:

    Riveting chapters like this are why I tithe to you monthly!

    Current score: 0
  37. Zergonapal says:

    I think I am in the camp that sees Mack’s punishment as arbitrary and unfair. Yes she knew that Iona and Feejee had predilections for humanoids, but then Mackenzie’s favourite food is humans, if anything she is guilty of being naive thinking Iona wouldn’t act on it.
    She didn’t know anything for sure until the images of the teeth were released and then she took the best action she could under the circumstances.
    I really don’t see what Embries expected Mack to do otherwise, perhaps hunt down Iona and kill her herself? Mack is a long way from taking such direct action like that.

    Current score: 0
    • The Dark Master says:

      After I had some time to think about it, I think that Mack may make this decision take things into her ownn hands to Embries. Since she won’t be able to tell anyone else that he is a human eating monster, it will fall to her to deal with him. This will make her have to stop screwing around when it comes to bettering herself, since the longer she waits to deal with Embries, the more people will die. Callahan might become the mentor in this case, and maybe most of the group is set to train Mack to become a dragon slayer.
      .
      Then I started wonder if Mack Daddy would think of this, is he looking for someone who might become a god slayer? But then why would he need ovaries? Unless he was looking for a god seducer? Is Mack Daddy’s goal to create an infernal divine hybrid?

      Current score: 0
      • Kevin says:

        He needs ovaries to have children, and given what divine power does to those of infernal blood I doubt an infernal divine hybrid is possible.

        Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        The point of the subtitle in the last chapter was that at one point, The Man was asked what he needs to survive. He changed the wording, saying that it’s not enough to survive, he wants to LIVE – and that it’s ovaries that let him do that.

        As in, he’s not eating them, he’s having sex and impregnating women.

        According to Kent, what he requires to SURVIVE is the heart of a virgin every thirteen months.

        Current score: 0
  38. MistyCat says:

    If I believed there was a god who would hear the prayers of a haf>/b>”-demon who might be eaten by a dragon then I would have and taken the consequences.”

    It appears to have become just three-eights of a demon.

    Current score: 0

  39. Amelia says:

    I think that Mack will surprise Embries here.

    I also think this is an unfair “punishment” (for which, frankly read Game or, indeed Dragon sized Snit).

    Mack did know that the mers had eaten people at home, but short of starting a war (or more likely being accused of plotting to set the innocent mermaids up for some heinous murder she had planned) there wasn’t much she could do on that front.

    As for killing anyone at university though: as far as she knew SHE was their intended target not Leda (who was usually swan-shaped when in the fountain so you can’t blame her for missing that).

    The only thing that suggests to me that she might be included in the feeding is Iona’s human form coupled with Honey’s nightmare.

    Current score: 0
  40. Amelia says:

    Of course we could say that something really strange is going to happen here (take a look at ToMu)

    Current score: 0
  41. Amelia says:

    or MoMu even (headslap)

    Current score: 0
    • K-Li says:

      This seems like a lovely idea, but it brings up the main quibble I have with the site design. There are no links I can find to MoMU or any other story she writes. This is, to be frank, tragic, especially when there are several well-established mechanisms for placing them (Other Stories box in the right sidebar with everything else, or an author link for the site with bio and other stories info, or an other stories link in the top bar, where there is plenty of room.)

      Current score: 0
      • There are links to every other story I currently write.

        I consider the site redesign to be a matter of putting my best foot forward towards new audiences. Having links to my languishing and neglected projects in a prominent way wouldn’t be included in that. It’s not a permanent state of affairs, but it is the current one.

        If you already know of and want to re-read something, there is Google.

        Current score: 0
        • beappleby says:

          You might consider a link called “Archives” or “Stories on Hiatus”. I know I just asked you about the same thing recently. It seems really strange that you are making it so hard to find your other work, when for all you know those other stories might be what catches someone’s attention. If nothing else you’re missing out on the money from the ads no one is seeing because they don’t know the stories are there.

          Another website I sometimes visit, of an artist, has several galleries, including one simply titled “Older Work” which, while not always as compelling as her current work, is still interesting to see.

          I just don’t see the point of hiding the other stories, when people are obviously still interested in reading through the archives!

          Current score: 0
  42. Riocaz says:

    You are looking at it from a human standpoint. He isn’t one and his viewpoint is somewhat greater.

    She knew there was a danger to other students. She heard them discuss it. She dismissed it as in her opinion “just talk”.

    As for Lee keeping her name out of it. He said he would keep her name from the Imperial _authorities_ there has been some implication that Pendragon Assoc belong to Embries (The question of a conflict of interest specifically). He never stated that that information wouldn’t be given to Embries.

    I can’t see anywhere in the last chapter or so that says Kent knows. All they seem to know is that Embries wants here there.

    Current score: 0
  43. Brine says:

    Embries is teaching a lesson here, what it is still isn’t clear and won’t be for a long time.

    Theory:
    Part of the lesson comes out of what has been already hit on, that Mack’s crime is greater, but it’s greater because she has not acted with the impunity and responsibility her power grants, and as a corollary that she has not grown into / fulfilled the power her heritage (in general as a half demon and in specific as THE MAN’s daughter) predicts / grants.

    Supporting evidence:
    Emeries disrespect / disdain of LAW, inclusion of Mack as a fellow monster, and his attitude one power (he respects the white knights but thinks they slander themselves by being white, not silver); that is to say he respects POWER not it’s potential or how it is executed (as supported by his disdain for morals .

    Corrolary / Assumption
    Embries and THE MAN are powers of Deific magnitudes. Embries may not like THE MAN, or Jilly but as proven peers respects them, and his dismantlement in Mack is that she can be similar, but is still (from his lofty vantage) pathetic.

    Current score: 0
  44. Brine says:

    * his disappointment in Mack

    Ugh

    Current score: 0
  45. Ripster says:

    AE – that was genius. You absolutely floored me. Well written, full of suspense – I felt jumpy just reading along. Can hardly WAIT for the next installment. GREAT WORK my lady!

    Current score: 0
  46. Bau says:

    The interesting question is will Mack join in or not.

    Oh, and lest I forget, next time is NOM time.

    Current score: 0
  47. Robert Bates says:

    ok, to help make sure no one is left confused, then, let’s sum it up…
    the ‘neighbor to the west’ is the dragon that Martha fought.
    I’m pretty sure that Mack DID smell ‘appetizing’ to Embries when they first met… but since anything edible probably smells so to him, I really wouldn’t make much note of it.
    Yes, the potion is what is currently making Mack smell different… and why Embries was confused, at first, that this really WAS Mack.

    On to the Punishment, I shall agree with one of the other peeps posting here… He is a Dragon. He flat out stated that such things as ‘human Law’ were basically nonexistant for this event, ergo, claiming that the punishment being administered is unjust because you choose to apply human morals and whatnot to it is rather…. “drole.”

    MY current bit of wonderment, after this chapter, frankly, is just how the character of Embries will end up developing withing the framework of Mack’s life… especially since I tend to keep alot of my own DnD references in mind when reading through this… the only thing about this chapter which did surprise me was that it came up in the first place, I was fully expecting to find that Iona had gotten herself snuffed my a more… ‘normal’ monster hunter, and that Embries was going to come into things via a different route.

    I actually rather like this approach, though… as, basically, Embries is taking care of one ‘poacher’ on his ‘turf’ and warning a potential one of the consequences of being so stupid about it.

    Current score: 0
    • The Dark Master says:

      That does sound about right, good way of putting it. The only thing I would add is that Mack does want to be a monster or have monster morals. A typical human character or hero in this case would swear to destroy or punish the monster that did this. Since Mack won’t be able to say anything, what can she do but do it herself?

      Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      That last line makes sense to me. It’s not about laws at all for Embries – he’s just making sure the other predators know this is HIS territory.

      Current score: 0
  48. barnowl says:

    To the people who think Mackenzie should have outed the mermaids as soon as she knew what they were, um, what would she have said?

    “Iona and Feejee look like regular girls, but they’re actually of a race that likes to eat humans and has eaten lots of humans in the past, so even though they’ve been restraining themselves so far, they should probably be kicked off campus or at least treated with extreme wariness and ostracism!”

    I don’t think she’s quite in a position to say that.

    The real reason for her being here is still unclear.

    Current score: 0
    • barnowl says:

      amendment: I just read Robert Bates’ post above mine and his last sentence nicely addresses my last sentence – great insights Robert!

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      • beappleby says:

        One always has to refresh frequently in these threads…

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    • beappleby says:

      Thank you, by the way, for spelling it out like that! I was trying to figure out how to explain that it wouldn’t have done any good to say anything before the murder anyway!

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  49. Kitsune 9tails says:

    IMHO, this is not about morality on the scale of “it’s wrong to enable others to eat people (in general) by inaction”; Embries is completely cool with that to the point of inflicting it on Mack.

    The lesson here is: do not allow circumstances to force Embries’ involvement unless you are prepared to deal with the consequences.

    Iona has eaten some unknown number of students and other innocents since arriving at MU. This is a matter for the local authorities and not Embries’ concern, so long as Law or whoever keeps knowledge of the feeding habits of merfolk from sparking war. The ‘problem’ is that she ate a powerful princess from the Shift…

    …thus threatening not one but two wars which would have threatened Embries’ lifestyle!

    The Shift royals can pressure the humans into changing how they deal with merfolk and could just threaten war themselves.

    Feejee will possibly be Mack’s problem to deal with, since she at least committed the same ‘crime’ Mack did.

    Dragons in the MUniverse are arrogant and self-centered.

    As for why Embries handled it in this way, one reason could be to make sure that Law itself cannot pull plausible deniability if things go south.

    I think the lesson here from Embries’ point of view, is that Mack should have killed Iona herself before she killed Leda, and never you mind the fact that she couldn’t have known that would happen.

    Results, not intent.

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  50. Robert Bates says:

    Ehh, in the long run, everything is selfish, if you want to argue from that… I think that someone’s earlier comment about dragons being much like cats would be more appropriate, afterall, Embries himself has previously been shown to be rather… lazes faire (however that’s spelled) about a great many things that a ‘human’ in his position wouldn’t be. And, if you’ve never owned a cat of your own, then let me tell you… it may be your pet, etc. etc., but, believe me, the cat is the one who ‘owns’ you!

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  51. Kirine says:

    In a roundabout way, Honey’s dream DID come true. Leda died because of Mack. Mack’s refusal to speak up caused it, though Mack didn’t actually kill her.

    I will say that I don’t see the punishment unjust. In fact, I’d go so far to say that by the same circumstances, Amy could be held responsible as well, seeing how Mack told her everything and all Amy told her was she needed to try to “talk things over with Feejee and Iona.” Amy never once suggested that Mack take action on the info that she had.

    In fact I could see this as being the proverbial nail in the coffin on the relationship between Mack and Amy. Particularly if Mother Khaele steps in and says “I told you so.” That is assuming that Amy actually listened and did what she was asked to.

    Current score: 0
    • Kitsune 9tails says:

      Actually the rest of Honey’s dream may come true if Embries forces Mack to murder Iona.

      Current score: 0
      • A Random Pooka says:

        Is Iona a virgin? And does the flesh specifically need to be human to sate her hunger?

        Current score: 0
        • bramble says:

          Iona’s sexual history is unknown, and yes, Mack specifically needs human blood to survive… but when she gets into a feeding mindset, she isn’t very discriminating. Remember, when in a hungry or pitchy-possessed state, Mack has fantasized about eating Two, who is neither human nor virginal. And Bohd has apparently run into trouble in the past by accidentally starving herself because she couldn’t taste the difference between human and elven hair, and fed for a while on the wrong species.

          Of course, if Embries decided it would be poetic to make Mack kill Iona, whether or not Iona would be appetizing to her wouldn’t make a lot of difference. He’s already shown himself perfectly capable of controlling both of them.

          Current score: 0
        • The blood has to be human. Otherwise its ‘junk food’ filling, but not nourishing. Bohd experienced similar with her hunger, where she wasn’t sure if the hair she was getting was human or not. Her starvation madness took longer to show because she has a lesser degree of demon blood but it happened because she hadn’t been getting human hair all the time. Taking in non human, non virgin blood for Mack is kinda like eating human food – it can be fun and all, but its not filling the need.

          Current score: 0
        • Denyre says:

          I don’t know if the blood needs to be human but I’m pretty sure Leda wasn’t a virgin. If I remember correctly she did rape Steff…

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          • bramble says:

            Yeah, but it’s Iona we’re talking about – specifically, if Mack would get anything out of eating her, as it seems she might be forced to do in the very near future. Leda’s been dead for a week or so now (I think, I may be off on the time frame) and Mack is definitely not in a position to feed on her.

            Current score: 0
          • Denyre says:

            I just re-read my comment and I’ve realized that I mixed Iona with Leda…sorry. Ignore my comment ;^^.

            Current score: 0
        • beappleby says:

          To “sate her hunger” it must be human virgin blood. However, Mackenzie can still eat someone who is neither human nor virgin.

          Current score: 0
  52. barnowl says:

    Not so much a punishment, but a warning to Mack, as Robert Bates said..and in the big picture, Embries is actually doing her a favour.

    Human Mackenzie doesn’t want to get out of control and eat a human, but her demon side which has occasionally managed to get out does want to. Seeing the consequences of indulgence, at least on campus, should help restrain demon Mackenzie. Good human Mackenzie will be traumatized, but probably less than she would be if she herself did actually get out of control and eat someone.

    Current score: 0
    • The Dark Master says:

      Its true, this will help her character, though the lesson is being administered by an entity that is and is being done in a way that cannot be considered as good in any way. Embries is at best neutral; since he is condemning her to know an even greater and more dangerous murderer then Iona ever was, and not being able to warn anyone about it.
      .
      I think that’s the crux of the issue, Embries is worse then Iona. The only thing that he does not cause is chaos, because he effectively hides the evidence of his crimes. He will make sure that anyone who can cause him trouble knows what the consequences will be. Sounds like a giant bully, the new Puddy? I think he will be one of, if not the final foe that Mack must face.

      Current score: 0
      • Ducky says:

        “Final foe?” I don’t see how or why Mackenzie would “face” anyone. This isn’t a game, she’s not a hero, he’s not a dungeon boss. This is her life. He’s an administrator.

        Current score: 0
        • bramble says:

          Yeah, unless Embries himself does something to actively force them into conflict, which seems unlikely, there’s no reason that Mack couldn’t keep out of his way for a few years and then never have to risk encountering him again. If there’s anyone on the faculty or staff that Mack is going to have to “face,” it’d be because the other party forces her hand – if something like that happened, my money would be on Ariadne in the short term, and possibly Callahan in the long term (if Mack manages to survive a couple of years and become halfway competent in combat).

          There’s also the fact that if Embries ever decided that he wanted Mack out of the picture… well, there’s not a lot of chance that she’d be in a position to do anything about it. He’s just shown that he’s perfectly capable of controlling her, he’s not answerable to mortal laws, and he is strong and experienced on scales that Mack doesn’t even register on.

          Current score: 0
          • Marx says:

            there’s an interesting pun… ‘on scales’… heh.

            Other than that, I don’t think I have much to contribute to the discussion at hand, except maybe that this sort of punishment isn’t in any way even remotedly just, no matter the crime. Embries exhibits sociopathic tendencies, and plans on doing something which will very probably traumatize Mack. She’ll gain NOTHING out of it, no lesson, no moral, other than ‘don’t cross Embries’, or more precisely: ‘be scared shitless of Embries, whenever you see him, no matter the occasion’.

            Current score: 0
            • bramble says:

              In terms of surviving her education, “don’t cross Embries” is a very good lesson to learn. He’s making it very clear that he considers her to be a member of the monstrous community, and considers it to be in his best interest to keep the lesser monsters on campus under some degree of control. Mack may prefer to stay out of the limelight, but she’s been doing a pretty poor job of actually avoiding attention. In doing this, Embries has given her a concrete, unpleasant reason not to ever let things get out of her control, in terms of demonic activity from herself or others, but perhaps also in terms of making the wrong kinds of waves politically. She’s gone from worrying about the political or religious authorities deciding she’s too dangerous (which I believe she’s lived with so long that it doesn’t really register anymore) to having to worry about a specific dragon deciding she’s inconvenient and eating her.

              Current score: 0
      • Zergonapal says:

        Though I cannot recall where I read it, I do believe that the dragons of the Muniverse are almost considered forces of nature and are outside the law. In fact anything they do outside of razing towns, going on rampages or eating a VIP is likely tolerated like you would tolerate a flood or cyclone.
        Yeah it kinda sucks for people in the path of a dragon, but you can’t do much about it in the normal course of things.

        Current score: 0
        • fka_luddite says:

          In most early myths, “dragons” are personifications of storms or floods.

          Current score: 0
      • Kaila says:

        Embries isn’t ‘worse’ than anyone. Embries is a dragon.

        Current score: 0
        • drudge says:

          A dragon who is worse than lots of people. He’s a monster, sure, but he’s also a terrible person. The only reason he never faces any actual consequences if everyone in universe being unable to enforce any.

          Current score: 0
  53. Ky says:

    Interesting! Very very curious what sort of mental implications this is going to have for Mackenzie…

    Current score: 0
  54. LJA says:

    AAAAAA! Embries is so creeeeepy! *shudder* You did a great job of writing him so utterly inhumanly that I am having a very mammal response to him even though the dude doesn’t even exist. 🙂 I’m almost afraid to read the next chapter.

    Current score: 0
  55. Fylas says:

    what? no no no no NO NO NO STOP Q_Q anybody somebody crash into the scene! mother khael or daddy macky whoever just don’t force her to see something like that (or worse make me visualize it T_T)

    Have mercy!….err..the word not the person? ^^’

    Current score: 0
    • Dashel Illioni says:

      Hey, maybe Mac should participate. Really hope it kick starts her into something a little more focussed instead of the consistently whining, wussified and generally arrogant prima donna we have had to put up with.

      Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        If you’ve been reading this long expecting the main character to just CHANGE, you’re reading the wrong story. What’s that definition of insanity again?

        Current score: 0
        • Dashel Illioni says:

          Nope, never expected the main character to just change, but do expect to see something in her character move forward and that has yet to happen in any meaningful way.

          As to the definition of insanity, Mac definitely fits that quite nicely. I would also add willfully ignorant, immensely childish, and mentally deficient.

          Personally, Embries should put Mac into a vat of slowly freezing water while he eats Iona one small morsel at a time then enjoy Mac as a giant Mac-cycle for desert.l

          Current score: 0
          • Doomstalker says:

            Change takes time. If their schools start at approximately the same time as ours and Veil is equivalent to Halloween. Then she has been at school for maybe a month and a half. She has had an incredible amount of character growth in that time frame.

            Current score: 0
          • bramble says:

            Oh, yes, Mack is totally the same timid, unwashed kid who showed up at MU, who thought that female genitals were inherently unclean, that penile-vaginal penetration was the only “real” sex (with a side of “anything else is perverted and wrong”), that the only valid religion was the one that caused her the most pain, and that all jocks were out to get her. True, a lot of that’s changed because of her friends’ influence, and she hasn’t entirely shaken off all of that, but that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t moved forward in the what, two months? that she’s been at college.

            You, on the other hand, seem to be reading with the expectation that she’ll at some point instantly recover from the nine years of emotional and mental abuse which left her damaged in a plethora of ways that we’ve seen and probably at least a few that we haven’t yet. She’s getting better, and growing up, but that doesn’t happen all at once.

            Current score: 0
  56. Dashel Illioni says:

    Embries and the rest are only monsters from a certain point of view. From their view, they are completely correct in what they are doing.

    Might not make it exactly right, but it is entertaining.

    Current score: 0
    • bramble says:

      Well, Embries has made it pretty clear that he embraces the label of “monster.”

      He still thinks that he’s “completely correct” in what he’s doing, but I don’t think it’s quite right to treat “correct” and “monster” as antonyms here.

      Current score: 0
    • Gorgonopsid says:

      A whether the cat thinks itself a monster or not is irrelevant to the mouse.

      Current score: 0
  57. Steven S. says:

    My compliments — I am a lover of dragons who are truly alien and, well, in some way *draconic*, and in this one you’ve nailed precisely that feeling.

    Embries is a magnificent character, and I thank you for him.

    (Also – minor note: it’s droll, not drole.)

    Current score: 0
    • Calia says:

      Unless it actually is drole.

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    • There’s an English word that’s spelled “droll”. It’s not the word I’m using.

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    • Dragoness says:

      I had kind of assumed it was some intentional “olde English” type spelling to add flavor and hint to his age (using outdated terms/spellings because he was around when hey were new). That was my initial impression, at least.

      Or does “drole” mean something genuinely different than “droll”? Google was unhelpful in a brief search…

      Current score: 0
      • They have the same definition, but in this case “drole” means something more.

        Current score: 0
        • beappleby says:

          If there’s an additional definition, I couldn’t find it – unless you mean that it was indicating his accent. Could you clarify, please? I’m curious now!

          It’s almost like when you taught everyone about “just deserts”…

          Current score: 0
      • Burnsidhe says:

        Having looked it up:
        Droll: humorous, whimsical, odd.
        Drole (french): Peculiar, odd.
        Drole (middle dutch): Imp, impish.

        Current score: 1
        • beappleby says:

          Naturally someone posted the definition just as I was posting to ask about the definition.

          Thank you!

          Current score: 0
        • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

          >Drole (middle dutch): Imp, impish.

          … you know, Embries didn’t really strike me as the punny type, yet…

          Current score: 0
  58. TheTurnipKing says:

    > “The Shifters, on the other hand… they know how to spot > when someone’s wearing a skin he wasn’t born in,” Embries > continued. “They saw right through me.” He looked at
    > Iona. “They’d see right through you, too.”

    Does that mean Leda would have known what Iona was?

    Current score: 0
    • That she’s a shapeshifter, yes. She even knew what Feejee and Iona’s true forms looked like. It doesn’t mean she understood their nature or knew she was seeing something secret and significant.

      Current score: 1
  59. TheTurnipKing says:

    This is interesting: Theres an opening here, I think. Quite possiby one Embries himself has left, which might even make it a trap.

    Mack is being punished here for her passivity, so by acting to save Iona in some fashion, she could prove that she has learned a lesson.

    (Lore would suggest that the traditional approach to defeating a Dragon you can possibly defeat in combat would be a riddle contest.)

    The thing is, Embries clearly doesn’t have his entire hand on the table here. It seems he already has some kind of agreement with the Shifters – this could just as easily be an attempt to goad Mack into doing something stupid with the goal of eating them both. (Sea-Devil and Demon? Like sweet and sour? 😀 ) I don’t think we know about about Embries motivations to say for sure either way what game he’s playing here.

    Current score: 0
  60. rumrunner says:

    That thunderous sound you hear is me hammering my F5 on your homepage.

    Current score: 0
  61. Dave says:

    Typo: ‘he seemed a lot animated.’
    Did you mean to write ‘he seemed a lot more animated.’?

    Demon-mack already HAS eaten a human (part of one anyway), which human-Mackintosh is fully aware of and has coped with (so far). I wonder if Embries knows that – and if it will make what is (presumably*) to come easier or even more traumatic for Mackenzie.

    * We presume to guess when AE is taking us next, but she is good at confounding our presumptions 🙂

    Current score: 0
    • Sarah says:

      She’s eaten an already-dead human that she never met. I’m not sure how much that will affect her having to eat — and possibly kill — someone she actually knows.

      Current score: 0
      • bramble says:

        She’s also had a few bites of someone she did know – remember Rocky? – and that certainly left her a little more screwed up in the head than she normally is.

        Current score: 0
  62. Dave says:

    Whoops – s/when/where/
    Please can we have the Preview button back again?

    Current score: 0
  63. ylistra says:

    That’s some kind of mind-rape ability – being able to consciously take over someones movement, down to stopping involuntary blinking. I wonder if he can stop someone’s heart, just by asking nicely.

    Current score: 0
    • Kevin says:

      In some fiction that kind of mind control (more often vampiric mind control) would be referred to as “rolling”

      Current score: 0
  64. Schulze says:

    The only thing more creepy than Embries is me actually being aroused by this. Fuck.

    Current score: 0
  65. barnowl says:

    Before she leaves, I hope Mackenzie thinks to pick up an application form for the vacant position of Embries’ receptionist for Amaranth.

    Current score: 0
    • fka_luddite says:

      We don;t know that the position is currently vacant. Given Embrie’s necessary involvement in resolving Leda’s death, it probably isn’t.

      Current score: 0
      • ShadowKat says:

        there was a short story a while back that was all about Embries. yes, he ate his assistant and the position needs filling.

        Current score: 0
        • fka_luddite says:

          from the OT: Silver Tongued Charmer, posted February 2009

          “And… will I be joining you for dinner, Mr. Embries?” she asked him after taking down his order.

          “Oh, no. You won’t be doing that for a while,” he said. “And then, only if you really want it.”

          ie: by the end of the Tale, he intends to eat her but hasn’t yet. The time since that story has been short enough that we don’t know for certain if the position is open.

          Current score: 1
  66. Brine says:

    I wonder how this trama will affect Mack; after all “It wasn’t Mack’s fault.”

    Current score: 0
  67. Yumi says:

    “I met your grandmother.”

    “I’m sorry,” I blurted out.

    I laughed kind of hard at this part, which was good because the rest of it was distinctly unlaughable. I do hope this scene gets interrupted.

    Current score: 1
  68. Ken-Lo-Korai says:

    “It wasn’t my fault.”

    *Really?*

    Well,since Mackenzie seems so enamoured of that phrase (and the attitude it embodies), then perhaps she should try telling Embries that.

    Current score: 0
  69. readaholic says:

    Wow. Part of me is coiled up in a tiny ball, whimpering, another part of me wonders how Embries would react to a laser pointer, and ALL of me thinks that was awesome! I think the “monsters dear” is a reference to the Shifters, who will now feast with Embries.

    Oh, and fun combat hypothetical – Yoda vs Embries.

    Current score: 0
    • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

      And now I will never again be able to think of Embries without a mental image of him on all fours, hunched like a cat, ready to pounce on a laser dot.

      Current score: 0
    • The Watcher says:

      I believe that the “monsters dear” is a allusion to Lewis Carrol’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter” where the reference is to the oysters that the W&C have just taken on “a pleasant walk, a pleasant talk” and upon whom they are about to feast. A delightfully appropriate reference.

      Current score: 0
  70. ConstantlyPuzzled says:

    So I’m a little confused. How is Mack at fault here? Isn’t Feejee kind of an example of the ‘sea-devils’ not eating people? I mean, she doesn’t quite have the spine to do it, and really, anyone could be a murderer. Going out of your way to ‘warn’ people that mermaids are ‘monsters’ seems kind of hypocritical here.

    As for after the murder, if Embries is actually as powerful as he seems, then he should know that Mack DID say something, as she went through her lawyer. If he’s missing that point, then I’m a little underwhelmed with his power.

    Honestly, seems morel ike a way to just get at her with no real reason. Guess even dragons have flawed logic.

    Current score: 0
    • The Dark Master says:

      The point is that it isn’t human justice, its Embries’ justice. Read the chapter title again. This isn’t a fair court, who did what doesn’t really matter, the monster is doing what it wants because it has the power to do so.
      .
      Basically, Embries is an asshole.

      Current score: 0
      • Kirine says:

        I don’t see Embries as doing this “just because he can.”

        I see him doing it for what he thinks are moral reasons. A) He is sending a VERY clear message to Feejee. Because at this point in time, I’m fairly certain Feejee knew what happened or at the very least, figured it out, and knows that Iona has “disappeared”. B) He’s being very direct with his message to Mack (ie this is what happens if you decide to go all demonic on my campus.)

        He is trying to enforce justice while avoiding a scandal. Imagine how difficult it would be if Iona was left alive and more people turned up dead. The school already has one lawsuit against it. More deaths, would eventually equal more lawsuits.

        Current score: 0
    • Kirine says:

      Embries knows that Mack knew something PRIOR to the murder happening, and the fact that Mack made the choice to not say anything. Had she gone to Embries prior to the murder, then Embries could have stepped in and prevented it.

      As far as Feejee goes, she’s not the poster child for not eating people. She’s done it before, and said she enjoyed it. She was just a bit more coy about her plans for Mack than Iona, who was extremely forward about her intentions on eating Mack

      Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        Mack also knew that Viktor ate human flesh back in his homeland. Is that any different?

        Current score: 0
        • drudge says:

          That was also known. It is also known he seems to tear the arms off people that piss him off. Viktor however is a complete asshole, note how he’s not exactly Mackenzie’s best friend and the only one that struck me as having any real connection on a personal level to him is Steff, who is also an asshole.

          But I digress, he’s a terrible excuse for a sentient being, but there’s no secret about it. He does it legally and openly, so there’s not much that can be done. Given he’s the prince of a small kingdom, any sort of operation wouldn’t be wise without causing incident.

          Current score: 0
        • Gordon says:

          Yes.

          Viktor won’t be chowing down on students. We know that Iona has and would have continued to do so.

          Besides, I believe it’s commonly accepted that ogres will eat you if you do something stupid like trespass into their territory.

          No one even seems to suspect that maybe all those people “lost” at sea are actually being eaten.

          Current score: 0
          • beappleby says:

            My point is, Mackenzie knew of two nonhuman students who admit to eating human flesh while in their homelands. That was the extent of her knowledge, until she found out about the teethmarks.

            Current score: 0
            • drudge says:

              Except your point is wrong. When they told Mackenzie they knew they also made it clear they’d kill students if they thought they could get away with it.

              Current score: 0
    • Hoeppner says:

      I’m pretty sure going to her lawyer is not the kind of action Embries would count.

      he probably expects all predators of humanity to be above the law in their own ways, and take action against others that threaten their predation. Embries does not have any reason to discount here as a predator.

      Current score: 0
      • drudge says:

        Yes, but it’d be action that’d work against *him*. I don’t think he wants any sort of rules to apply to him.

        Current score: 0
        • bramble says:

          Of course not – beyond the rules that he imposes on himself, which appear to include “don’t rock the boat, especially in ways that will result in humans in general calling for your head.” He’s not bound by mortal laws, but that doesn’t mean that mortals can’t become a bother if he allows them to feel threatened by his actions, and he seems willing to hold the other maneaters on campus to that same rule.

          By involving Lee, Mack brought the whole “Iona eats people” situation to the attention of a human, who then passed that information on to other humans. Each new person who finds out about this is a new risk of someone going to the media or something, unbalancing a delicate political situation and possibly drawing public attention to the issue of other human-eating entities on campus, which could only go badly for Mack and might also reflect poorly on Embries.

          If he doesn’t want rules to work against him, it’s because at this point, they really don’t. Embries doesn’t want to give people any reason to decide that the rules suddenly should apply to him.

          Current score: 0
          • drudge says:

            Of course, emberies didn’t know either, so there’s no reason for him to be against telling in that situation.

            Current score: 0
            • bramble says:

              What? No. What Embries doesn’t know can hurt him. In fact, if he didn’t know about Iona’s hunting activities (and based on the way that he’s acting here, I don’t think he did), he was probably pretty annoyed to have to find out about it from the human authorities, because that means that the situation had already passed the point where he could control the dissemination of information.

              Really, I think that what he’s getting at here is that if Mack couldn’t act quickly, quietly, and decisively, she should have gone to someone who could – a.k.a. Embries himself.

              Current score: 0
    • Arancaytar says:

      This is what I thought the first time I read the chapter, but he’s not talking about what happened after the murders. He says that the murder was made possible by her inaction.

      Nor is her talking about what Feejee and Iona do back at home, because as a predator himself I suspect he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about humans in general.

      He’s referring to Mack’s knowledge of Feejee’s and Iona’s plans to eat MU students (ie. people under his responsibility) specifically. They talked about it in detail, so Mack knew that they were dangerous.

      (Partly that, and partly he’s an asshole, obviously.)

      Current score: 0
  71. Sephira says:

    As a fan of Lewis Carroll, I went a little bit “Squee!” at that last line. Great, great post.

    Current score: 0
  72. Frozenflames says:

    I just started reading this from the beginning 2 weeks ago and I must say I’m oh so very addicted I love your plotline and characterization though some characters irratate me it’s because they are so realistic like there is always the crazy rainbow friend (Steff), the blonde who wants to over come the sterotype of there apperance and be seen as something more (Amy), the annoying classmate who thinks they know it all even though they sound stupid instead of smart (keri), the pushover who shows a spine every once in a while (Mack), and the person who is holier than thou (Dee), the person who follows the rules all the time (Two), the for lack of a better term southern sweetheart who knows how to love and hurt with the same hands sweet as a summer day but with a temper as hot as the sun(hazel). Well umm I just really love the story keep writting

    Current score: 0
  73. Kadee says:

    Re: drôle. In old French (17thC) (and also colloquial), “un drôle” is a kid, usually mischievious, a rascal. In modern French “drôle” is funny but more in the sense of strange, bizarre, odd.

    “un drôle de type” is a strange person, a bizarre person.

    “un drôle de guerre” is a phony war. “un drôle de paix” is a false peace.

    “un drôle de. . .” can also mean incredible (un drôle de temps = incredible weather, un drôle d’orage = an incredible storm, un drôle de chaleur = incredible heatwave etc. Il a un drôle de culot = He’s got incredible nerve.”

    In Irish, drole means “dull, boring, “shite”.

    Current score: 0
    • Kevin says:

      I took the drole in the story to mean “dull, and boring”

      Current score: 0
  74. Colette says:

    “Morals are inflicted” to quote the Dragon
    What better, if horrific, way to teach Mack the perils and consequences of her actions or lack thereof.
    Embries; very much a Law unto Himself.

    Current score: 0
  75. Dante says:

    I wish we could know a bit more about certain aspects of the world, like in this case, about the hierarchy of the dragons. Dragon’s, and especially their hierarchy, keeps coming up as an important cultural detail (likely because of their “aura of awe”) but while I know that greaters are greater than lessers, I’d like some more specific information, such as how many types of dragons are there, how rigid is (or isn’t) their hierarchy, their sizes, etc. Their origin isn’t immediately important because the cultures would likely be influenced by far more recent events, mortal memories being exactly that.

    I love how many ways we are provided with new facts. The variety makes the mind fully engage. I especially enjoy when they are provided so deftly that we have to stop and make several consecutive inferences to fully understand. But sometimes I’m left (like now) with a desire for more details which may not be alluded to since they aren’t immediately relevant to the story. This is important when used in moderation, keeping the story on track, but I’d like to have somewhere I could look things up for more details.

    Current score: 0
  76. S. Rune Emerson says:

    *jaw drops*

    Oh. My. Gods!

    *applauds wildly* AWESOME! Perfect solution! I love Embries, Alexandra! You are fantastic- I can’t wait till the next chapter!

    Current score: 0
  77. Peter says:

    I must keep forgetting to hit submit… anyway, I think it’d be interesting if Embries didn’t know that it was Mack that tipped of Lee. Lee did say that he’d be able to keep Mack completely out of it. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I can’t help but wonder why Embries thinks that Mack should do more than she did.

    I’d love it if Embries didn’t know, – it could end up with Embries owing Mack, for forcing her to witness the punishment.

    Current score: 0
  78. Peter says:

    “You can use it to pay back your scholarships, who will surely be next in line for one.”

    Can anyone tell me who the “who” in this sentence refers to?

    Current score: 0
    • bramble says:

      It’s a little awkward in the phrasing, but I think “who” refers to the scholarships.

      Thus, I interpreted the line as, “You can use it to pay back your scholarships, [the scholarships] will surely be next in line for [a refund].”

      Current score: 0
  79. Chips says:

    All I could picture while reading this was the sound of Robert Englund doing “Freddy Kreuger” voice.

    Awful, in the old sense of the word. Awsome, even. I don’t think Mack Daddy could pull off half that much… finality of menace.

    Current score: 0
  80. Kalistri says:

    Hey, I caught up with the latest posts not too long ago, around when I started subscribing. Just wanna say that I like what you’re doing here on several levels, though I’m also a bit disturbed by what you’re doing here on other levels :p. Mostly I think that Tales of MU is awesome.

    I actually found this story because I’ve been reading a lot of urban fantasy and/or paranormal romance, and was getting sick of all the novels that seem to follow the herd. I started thinking, maybe the reason so many writers seem to copy others isn’t because writers with both imagination and skill at writing are rare, but because publishers with the courage to publish imaginative writers are rare. The obvious test to this theory seemed to be a search for stories written on the web, so I looked up web novel reviews and found this story right off the bat.

    As the first piece of evidence that this is true, Tales of MU is pretty damn good. I don’t love everything about it, but I can see that that’s probably just due to my personal taste, and I think some aspects of the story are sheer genius (if you need some ego stroking at some point AE, ask me what I’m referring to :p). So keep up the good work. I just hope it’s not the last bit of proof for my theory as well as the first. (I especially hope that I don’t find a whole lot of MU-mimicry when I start looking elsewhere.)

    Current score: 0
    • Rey d`Tutto says:

      Like any creative work, Fiction follows Sturgeon’s Law – 90% of any collection is Crap.
      ToMu is well within the top, non-Crap 10% (possibly the top 5%, but that’s just my opinion). As I have been reading Sci-Fi since Age 5, when my father purchased both the Foundation series and Dune(first book only) for me to read over winter break, I have been “picky” about the reading matter I invest time and/or money in.
      Soon, my economic woes will be less, and AE will be getting a more concrete version of my profound appreciation for the World of Mu and the story of Mack.

      Current score: 0
      • Kalistri says:

        My basic point is that I’m thinking maybe with paper and print we might not even be getting the full 10%, or that possibly that figure would be higher if there wasn’t a select group of people making guesstimates about what people [i]might[/i] like. It’s also worth noting that the this 10% of which you speak could be 10% of a much larger number if you add stories on the internet into the figures.

        I wish I could be “picky”. I read a hell of a lot, so the kind of stories I’m looking for simply aren’t pervasive enough for me to read them exclusively.

        Current score: 0
    • Hey, I’m really glad to read this comment… I actually write quite often on this kind of subject, and I think you’re pretty much right. There’s also a bit of a vicious cycle going on there where the stuff they feel comfortable publishing is taught as “correct”… I don’t want to cast all traditionally published writers/editors in the same boat as there are people in every industry who manage to punch the clock without drinking the Kool-Aid, but I find that the people with the lowest opinion of my work’s quality on things like structural grounds are the people who most obviously have training and/or experience related to the industry of the traditional writer/publisher model.

      If you’re looking for more weblit, one thing to keep in mind especially if you’re comparing it to trad published stuff is that you can stumble across the slush pile cast-offs as well as the best-sellers. Some people think this is why self-published writers will never succeed (LOL, as they say dans la belle internet)… no one wants to wade through the crap to try to find the good stuff. They claim that editors and publishers act as a filter for quality… and they do, to some extent, but they also filter for other things, as you’ve noticed.

      And the internet is not actually unfiltered. You can’t just look at the internet as a whole and try to pick out one story website out of nine million and hope it’s good… you have to hear about or find a site first, and the quality stuff is the stuff that gets linked most, talked up the most, and found the most. Quality stuff finds an audience. It doesn’t matter how many crappy MS paint comics there are out there, they’ll never “drown out” the ones made by dedicated and talented artists.

      As a starting point for more weblit, I’d suggest the Web Fiction Guide, http://www.webfictionguide.com … it could use some better tools for comparing and categorizing stories, in my opinion, but since you’re not just looking for more of the same that might not be an issue.

      Current score: 1
      • Kalistri says:

        I actually remember thinking that the structural style of ToMU is really interesting exactly because of how it contrasts with paper and print media. It seems like it was created with the web in mind, rather than being made to fit in a book, but then posted on the web. Book-sized stories have their advantages, but I think it’s a little silly to complain about how something isn’t like everything else — you can always go back to everything else later if you want.

        Reading print books lately I pretty much feel like I’m wading through crap to get to the good stuff anyway, so running into slush doesn’t seem like a big deal. Also, I’m pretty good with finding what I want on the internet. Considering ToMU was the first webnovel I found, I don’t think it’ll be too difficult to find the “best sellers” as you put it. That site you linked is actually one of two or three sites I looked at which pointed me your way.

        The points you’re making here are basically bolstering the hopes I had when I started looking. I’m actually a bit excited when I think about the possibilities for this medium. I’d guess that more writers will try it as they become aware that it’s possible to make a living like this, and I think people who write the kind of thing I’m looking for will also be more likely to publish in this medium, though I could be wrong.

        But I guess what I’m really looking forward to is seeing what kind of effect this will have on literature overall. Because there’s a second part to my theory: the only reason unimaginative, neo-plaguaristic books get into the bestseller lists is because people’s choices are limited by what’s actually available in their preferred genre.

        I remember reading an article a while ago about how people who read fantasy like to read Tolkien-esque fantasy… they don’t actually want new, more imaginative books. (This was before pnr/uf became huge.) I remember thinking… really? How do you know that when most of the stuff that isn’t like that is outside the fantasy genre altogether? Maybe people would change their mind if only they could see what they were missing?

        So here’s my possibly-too-optimistic dream: publishing companies realise that popular webnovels are a sure thing, because some people don’t like to read entire books on the computer screen, and people who read webnovels on the screen are just as likely to download pirate copies anyway.

        But, you know… that would be logical.

        Current score: 0
  81. Sarah says:

    Amazing chapter. I am also squeeing at seeing my Air Harbor appear 🙂

    Current score: 0
    • I’m glad. Thank you for helping me out when I had my tooth trouble last spring, and sorry that it took so long to get ’round to this point.

      Current score: 0
  82. Hasufin says:

    You know, I can’t quite shake the feeling that the most important line is this one:

    “They’d see right through you, too. I confess you’ve had me fooled… that’s a general you, as it happens. I had no idea your kind were still extant. I thought you’d departed this world, or were sleeping beneath it.”

    Embries, a Greater Silver Dragon, was not aware of what mermaids are. That is, he knew of mermaids, and he knew of the things which The Man referred to as Sea-Devils, but had not realized they were one and the same. This is, of course, understandable. Dragons seem to be a touch territorial, and Embries’ domain is landlocked; there’s no reason he should pay attention to mermaids, and it’s perfectly possible, even likely, that he hasn’t seen the ocean since at least the formation of the Imperial Republic. And as a vice-chancellor, he is busy and isn’t likely to give personal attention to each student.

    Mackenzie, though… she knew. She didn’t realize the import of what she knew, but she knew. She knew that the mermaids weren’t wearing their true forms, and she knew that they were – to use a rather clinical term – anthrophages. In point of fact, Mackenzie was in the unique position on the entire campus of being able to identify the killer. Even Embries lacked that information – until Mackenzie told her lawyer, who set in motion the chain of events which have led to Mackenzie, and Iona, being in the literal Dragon’s lair.

    Another interpretation that occurs to me is that by Embries’ view, the “human” thing for Mack to have done would have been to go directly to the authorities when she realized that Leda had been killed by a mermaid. Mackezie, of course did not do that and instead involved him, making it a “monster” affair. Thus, he is having her see directly what a “monster” does about it. Saying “Come, sit at the table. We are all monsters here, and this is what monsters do.”

    But any interpretation of Embries action must be seen with the understanding that he is a DRAGON, and a Greater Dragon at that. For all his age and knowledge, there are I’m sure crucial aspects of mortal life which he surely does not understand. He is not accustomed to being denied. He likely does not properly understand punishment, or social position, and considers laws and morals to just be silly things that mortals indulge in.
    Which is rather reminiscent of what The Man said, which in that context rather indicates why The Man seemed so resentful of how demons are “hostem humani generis”, but dragons are revered, when it seems that dragons and demons aren’t terribly different at all.

    Current score: 1
  83. xMech says:

    I’ve been quietly reading/lurking for some time now, and this is the first time I have been truly blown out of the water and driven to comment. I’ve enjoyed the story thus far, but this was exceptional. Embries went from an interesting take on a draconic character to a full-blown, holy-shitstorm, dragon… the kind that you would thank for eating your face in the middle of the night, and hope that it leaves at that while simultaneously offering it any other tidbits of your body it might enjoy. So much awesome. Thank you, Alexandra!

    Current score: 0
  84. Zathras IX says:

    If Iona’s in
    The frying pan (sushi tray?)
    Mack is in the fire

    Current score: 0
  85. Dani says:

    > “we can begin to feed.”

    Ominous choice of pronoun.

    Though maybe it’s justified because Embries is an editor and/or royalty and or a wyrm.

    Current score: 0
  86. MaraGratia says:

    After reading all these comments, am surprised that no one has asked my biggest question.

    Why did Embries seem uncertain, even disappointed, with Mackenzie being the person for whom he sent?


    It wasn’t a relief at all when he closed them a moment later, because I still had the sensation of them boring into me. His nostrils gave the slightest flare. I thought I saw his lips part slightly.

    “Are you quite certain?” he asked, eyes still closed.

    “Quite. Yes. Sir. We’ve had trackers on her since before you requested her,” Kent said, visibly unnerved. His discomfort was even more obvious considering that he’d just blurted that out in front of me. The information wasn’t exactly a surprise, but the fact that he would confirm it in my presence was. “I can verify her identity again…”

    “No,” Embries said, his eyes flying open. All at once he seemed a lot more animated. It was like watching a high-end enaction figure with facial articulation coming to life. “I suppose that will be sufficient. Well, this is a slight disappointment… although it is probably for the best, considering. Arthur, you are dismissed.”

    What does it mean? Why is he disappointed? What was he expecting or hoping for?

    As for the eating of Iona… for the Sea Devil herself (love that idea, BTW), it is poetic justice. She knew she was a predator, and that everyone else was food. As such, she also needs to be aware of the predators higher on the food train.

    I am somewhat troubled by Embries saying that Mack is guilty of having knowledge and not using it. What, exactly, was she supposed to do when she learned that mermaids eat humans?

    Speaking to those who say he would have had her go to him: Why would she go to Embries? Until recently, she did not even know he existed, and had no idea what he was.

    I will agree that she ought to have done something, but I personally cannot think what she should have done. Call the police and tell them that you know that mermaids are man-eaters, it is almost religious to them, and that at least one of them is likely to be hunting on land?

    Sorry, but that sounds crazy, and there is no way that Mack would want to get the attention of anyone in power, with good reason.

    Another person might have gone to a priest, and in a way, she did in going to Amy, but Mack really can’t do that, and Amy is way to young and naive to offer sound advice on anything that deals with truths she does not wish to see.

    AE – love this chapter, and am drooling for more!

    Finally, the word nice was used in an older sense, here is what I found:

    nice (naɪs) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]

    — adj
    1. pleasant or commendable: a nice day
    2. kind or friendly: a nice gesture of help
    3. good or satisfactory: they made a nice job of it
    4. subtle, delicate, or discriminating: a nice point in the argument
    5. precise; skilful: a nice fit
    6. rare fastidious; respectable: he was not too nice about his methods
    7. obsolete
    a. foolish or ignorant
    b. delicate
    c. shy; modest
    d. wanton
    8. nice and pleasingly: it’s nice and cool

    [C13 (originally: foolish): from Old French nice simple, silly, from Latin nescius ignorant, from nescīre to be ignorant; see nescience

    Current score: 0
    • Embries was unsure about Mack’s identity due to the change in her scent. The changes in her body chemistry threw him off just as it had thrown off Feejee and Celia. For Embries, scent may well be more of a marker for recognizing individuals than sight is.

      Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      Precise, skillful, accurate is most likely the meaning used here.

      Current score: 0
    • Maesenko says:

      Just would like to point out that the usage and accuracy of the term “nice” has been brought up before, by Mackenzie and others as well.

      Current score: 0
  87. Nick says:

    It’s also been noted that half demon women smell WAY more appetizing than regular human women to predators. Even Mack noticed this when she was around the another. It’s possible Embries was bemoaning the loss of this scent serving as a meal enhancer. It’s probably for the best because while eating Mack was not intended in the plan, and might have been difficult for him to resist were she still smelling.

    He’s a very interesting character on top of his natural predilections making him a favorite of kinksters into ‘vore. It looks like I was correct when earlier I noted that dragons will most likely be behind the times in relation to the advances and power of humanity. Even with his tight connection with human civilization, he’s quite behind.

    Still, he’s not ignoring humans, which is very wise. If the power gained through magical advancements has put military destructive power in this world on par with the military power we have in the real world… hiding or cooperating are the only two ways something we want dead, isn’t. Which includes dragons, demons and quite possibly a number of other races. As individuals, Embries probably has trouble relating to humans at all. But he understands the power, amorality, skill at killing, etc of humanity as a collective, and views it as a fellow monster very high on the food chain. He knows what the score is among BIG monsters.

    Now he’s about to make Mack watch what happens when little monsters like Iona run afoul of BIG monsters, like himself. Iona said she understood what she was doing, but she did not realize how small she was, or the scale of the game she was playing. Mack is also a small monster, one with a choice to be part of, and protected by, being a member of the BIG monster that is humanity. Small monsters do not very often live to be BIG monsters. There is probably only one in this story, but she does have the most impressive resume among big monsters… she did slat GODS before the spooks caught up with her.

    Current score: 0
  88. Belial666 says:

    From what I understant of Embries’ position;

    @Iona;
    1) Live by the sword -> die by the sword.
    2) If you do something that threatens society then you threaten all within and that is NOT allowed. Laws and morals are nothing more than tools used by some to ensure society’s survival. If society can be served without those tools as in cases when murder supports its function or at least does not disrupt it then it’s fine.
    3) Might makes right. To an extend we all do as we can. That’s why it is smart to make sure you can do more than others in a given course of action before you decide on it.

    @Mack;
    1) People are responsible for their choices, not action or inaction. If you act without choice you are not responsible. If you do not act by choice then you are responsible.
    2) People have responsibility to society more than they have to other people or themselves. Choosing something harmful for society to protect yourself or others is NOT allowed.
    3)You are alive or you are stupid. So try not to be stupid and learn from your experiences, evolve. Lessons are paramount to continued existence.

    Yes, both punishments are just and appropriate – especially Mack’s. In ancient Athens a citizen lost their rights if they did not actually use them in active participation to the common affairs. Education was mandatory if you wanted to retain such rights. So passivity and stupidity were NOT allowed.

    Current score: 0
  89. Gorgonopsid says:

    Heh, this chapter reminds me of the old Shadowrun truism: Never deal with a dragon.

    Current score: 0
  90. Stonefoot says:

    We’ve had a lot of discussion about justice, morality, and Embries as good, bad, or whatever. I would like to give an example of why I think most of this is meaningless:

    A little girl goes to the pet store and uses part of her allowance to buy a cute little mouse. She takes it home… and drops in into the cage her snake lives in. It runs around squeaking in terror until the snake catches it and swallows it whole, as the girl watches, smiling. Then she picks up the snake and plays with it, carefully, since she loves it and would never do anything to hurt it.

    Now ask yourself: “Who here is good, who is bad? Are these actions moral or immoral, which ones are which… and why?”

    Also, I think Embries understands mortals very well, just as we have carefully studied and understand the social interactions of a tribe of baboons. And, like a human watching cats, sometimes he will see mortals do something that he finds completely incomprehensible.

    And, finally, he will attribute as much moral importance to mortal actions as we do to those of baboons or cats.

    Current score: 0
    • Stonefoot says:

      Now that I’ve posted it, I think I should have said “humanoids” rather than “mortals”. Some (elves, nymphs…) don’t die unless they are deliberately killed, and I think Embries would group all of them together. I suspect there’s nothing other than himself on campus that he would not put in the humanoid group (unless you count the “ridiculous owl-turtle thing” or the “eyeless fish-beast”). Considering some of the world origin “myth”s earlier, I wonder if he would include Khaele in the humanoid category.

      Current score: 0
    • drudge says:

      “Who here is good, who is bad? Are these actions moral or immoral, which ones are which… and why?”

      If you’ve honestly never seen the full force of that argument, you’re far more lucky than I. That sort of thing can get argued around for *weeks* at a time.

      Current score: 0
  91. When I first read the first paragraph, I though Iona was in the chair *behind* the desk, and my brain literally fogged up for several minutes. I had to reread it four times before I realized I was mistaken.

    Mmm, lunch.

    I do hope Feejee and Mack get to keep playing; I’m not into vore, but I do find biting ever so much fun. The urge to clamp down on my lovers is sometimes nearly paralyzing. Unfortunately none of them are invulnerable, so I must deny myself.

    Er… sorry, that was probably TMI.

    Current score: 0
  92. Alan says:

    Typo – don’t think anyone has noticed this one yet –

    “didn’t thnk escape was possible”

    Current score: 0
  93. Helen Rees says:

    typo alert – as well as ‘thnk’ – salutatory means ‘relating to an opening speech or greeting’ – salutary means ‘promoting or conducive to some beneficial outcome’.

    h.

    Current score: 0
  94. Evil Bastard says:

    This chapter was a perfect example of the agreement that was reached with Embries. To quote Jilly “Anyway, my understanding is that you were put in this position to be the university’s ace in the hole in order to prevent the campus from being laid to waste again…”. The University was razed twice according to Professor Ariadne. The last time was possibly due to the actions of a Demon breed.

    Embries was placed here to deal with those that might damage students or property in ways that would cost the empire.

    Making Mack watch, was a brilliant statement on his part.

    Alexandra the way you are able to remember all and continue such a large weave is breathtaking.

    Current score: 0
  95. 2nt9 says:

    Censorship is overrated and for petty humans, lets now delight ourselves in the primordially sensual consumption of the offender ^_-

    Current score: 0
  96. Arancaytar says:

    I got the Walrus & Carpenter reference back then, but only caught the Alice in Wonderland bit just now.

    There may even be a moral, if only you can find it.

    (Paraphrasing the Queen.)

    Current score: 0
  97. Mickey Phoenix says:

    Khersis fucking Dei, AE. You are…amazing. Horrifying. Brilliant. Twisted in all of the right ways.

    For most of that, I was expecting Mack to be required to partake. But. “I sentence you to more knowledge.” *shudders*

    I think Embries underestimates Mack, and the effect that an abusive childhood has on being able to tolerate the intolerable. But I cannot imagine Mack coming out of this experience willing to keep silent in a similar situation in the future.

    I am trembling as I write this. Literally, physically trembling from the emotional intensity of reading that update.

    I keep remembering all of the nasty and skeptical comments over the past few months, from people saying “you’d better have one hell of a wrap-up for this set of plot lines, AE”, with the strong subtext that they were sure you didn’t.

    May I just say: you sure as hell showed them.

    Awestruck and amazed,

    Mickey.

    Current score: 0
  98. Lara says:

    *involuntary high-pitched keening noise*

    Current score: 0