OT: Meanwhile…

on March 27, 2011 in Other Tales


“Mail call!”

The voice seemed to come from right behind her, but she didn’t jump at the sound. Xylon’s little ways had long since ceased to startle her. She knew there was no one in the room with her.

Of course, that was why he did it… those with sensitive minds were accustomed to knowing when someone was about, to feeling the presence and location of other minds in the room with them. The average human, hearing the misdirection in an elven voice, would simply assume that someone had snuck up behind them. A telepath would know it was not the case, and the dissonance was jarring to say the least.

She looked up to see him gliding in through the office door, a stack of oversized and overstuffed envelopes and one slim white letter in his hand.

“Thanks,” she said as he handed her the bundle. She took the thin envelope and set it off to the side, before sorting the rest into two piles. Those bearing a purple or crimson seal she put in one pile, adding the purples to the top and the reds to the bottom. The few remaining ones she shoved to the bottom of another pile.

“Shouldn’t you open that?” he asked her, pointing at the white envelope. “That’s under imperial seal, too.”

“It isn’t work-related, or even urgent,” she said. “I applied for an exit visa. That will just be my rejection letter.”

“Seen enough to recognize them, huh?”

“It’s my third,” she said.

“I think I’d be worried to ask again after the first rejection.”

“It’s not so much an out-and-out rejection as it is a request for more information,” she said. “They want to know why someone with my talents wants to visit the Mother Isles.”

“Rumor has it we’re allies these days,” he said.

“I think they’re afraid I’m going to jump ship,” she said.

“Why are you so keen on going there?”

She gave him a withering look.

“I’m just asking,” he said.

“I’ll let you see my revised application before I send it back in to save you the trouble of sneaking a peek at it,” she said. “Is there some reason you’re doing the mail rounds, or was it just to satisfy your burning curiosity about my personal correspondence?”

“If I were that curious, I would have just opened it. No, milady, I just wanted to give you this,” he said, holding up a piece of scribed paper. “We have a request for information from a CMH at Magisterius University. Who saw that one coming?”

“So how are you going to handle it?”

“Me?” he said. “That’s more your ‘beat’, isn’t it?

He handed her the piece of paper. She glanced at the message, which was a short and simple request for information on the latest techniques for interacting with extraplanar and plane-touched minds.

“Whatever do you mean, Xylon?” she asked.

“Demon minds,” he said. “You practically wrote the book on that.”

“I’ve written two books, actually,” she said. “But the message doesn’t really say anything about that, one way or another.”

“Oh, come on, Lorellon… I know you’ve been watching the news out of Prax, and I don’t mean this monster attack business.”

“They have a demonblood student, yes. But it’s a major school of magic,” she said. “They have students there from out-of-plane. There’s no reason to assume…”

“There’s no reason not to make a reasonable inference,” he said. “It’s a generic request, but any generic enough response will probably just get a follow-up with more information… and if it wasn’t related to a demonic mind, why wouldn’t she come out and say what she’s dealing with? She’s clearly testing the waters… she wouldn’t feel the need to do that for a djinnling or a celestial.”

“Now you can read minds via a-mail, Xy?”

“No, but I have a few centuries’ experience with humans,” he said.

“It seems just as likely to me that she didn’t specify race or nature because it isn’t relevant,” Lorellon said. She handed the sheet back to him. “I have a full case load as it is. You’ll have to give this to someone else.”

“Yeah, I can see you’re busy,” he said, glancing across the documents spread out over her desk. “You snagged a lot of the contract work… if you’re hoping to get in the good graces of the government, you should probably know that making yourself indispensable to our imperial masters is going to make them less likely to let you hop on an airship, not more.”

“There is more than one path up the mountain, as the rock gnomes say,” Lorellon said. “If I’m indispensable enough, I might be able to travel abroad for state functions.”

“I’m fairly certain the government has its own subtle artists.”

“Obviously my plan involves more than one step.”

“You can’t be serious,” Xylon said.

“Do I not feel sincere?” she asked him, and he already knew it was true.

“But your work here… the institute needs you,” he said. “And it pains me to say that about a human, knowing you have maybe a decade or two of work left in you. What are you, fifty? Sixty?”

“I’m thirty-seven,” she said.

“Elves are poor at judging these things,” he said. “Still, you could do so much in the short time you have left!”

“Well, it’ll be a couple of years at least before I can get into the diplomatic service,” she said.

He rolled his eyes and snorted.

“What has anybody ever accomplished in ‘a couple of years’?” he asked.

“Well, I haven’t been here much longer than that and apparently the place would fall apart without me,” she said.

“I wouldn’t go quite that far,” he said. “Listen, you can play coy and shield all you like, but I’ve seen your clippings…”

“I’ve told you about going through my desk when I’m away, Xylon,” she said.

“As if I’d have to wait for that,” he said. “But now, I haven’t been snooping. You’re just not quite quick enough when you close your scrapbook… I know why you want to go to the Isles. You want to talk to that airshipman for your next book. Is it really worth it to throw away everything you’ve done here?”

“I wouldn’t be throwing anything away,” she said. “My work would still exist. It would still benefit people. You could still use my protocols.”

“But it’s a gamble anyway,” he said. “Even if we assume you could get yourself posted to an embassy in the Mother Isles, you’d have official duties… you wouldn’t be free to come and go as you please. Who’s to say you’d get close to this Harris person? Or that he’d want to talk to you, much less let you take a stroll through his mind? Or that your new bosses would even let you publish anything? The life of a telepath in the diplomatic service is an exceptionally bound one. Or it was a hundred years ago, and I can’t imagine things have loosened up much in the meantime.”

“You’re unusually full of helpful advice, Xylon,” she said.

“I haven’t even come to the really helpful part yet.”

“Don’t strain yourself on my account.”

“You’re free to travel within the provinces,” he said.

“Well, that will be all kinds of helpful if we ever annex the Mother Isles,” she said.

“I know you’ve been putting that girl at MU in your scrapbook,” he said. “She’d be better for your book, anyway. She’s of more ‘local’ interest. She’s news now. It would be timelier.”

“I don’t write my books for fame.”

“But you do write them,” he said. “And if it’s going to take you ‘a couple of years’ to have any chance of getting close to Daniel Harris, you might as well take a trip to Prax and gather some material while it’s fresh.”

“Aidan,” she said.

“Excuse me?”

“The ‘Dan’ is short for Aidan, not Daniel,” she said.

“Whatever,” he said. “And don’t flare all irritated at me just because you didn’t think of this.”

“I’m not irritated,” she said.

You shouldn’t lie to a fellow telepath, Xylon said.

“And you shouldn’t try such a transparent trick to get inside my shields,” she said. “I have my reason for being irritated, and my own reasons for not being interested in Prax.”

“For not wanting to go there,” Xylon said. “You can’t deny your interest when you’re adding clippings to your scrapbook.”

“For not being interested in going there,” she said.

“This isn’t some form of human snobbery, is it?” he said. “Because I’ve been to the interior provinces before, and they’re hardly any more primitive than the coast. Oh, but you’re from the interior, aren’t you?”

“Feel free to assume that.”

“You don’t shield that tightly… and I do have an ear for… among other things… accents,” he said. “But if you’re afraid you’ll never make it out again, or whatever, there isn’t any reason you couldn’t pursue a correspondence. This healer’s query would give you an opening.”

“I don’t think it would be appropriate to try to pursue a patient as a book subject. If the query even relates to her.”

“We’re not healers. She’s not our patient. Why so many excuses?”

“Why so many questions?”

“I’m just trying to do you a good turn,” Xylon said. “Frankly, if you’re not willing to tell me why you’re not willing to visit or contact anyone involved with this girl at MU, then you can’t really blame me for pressing the matter.”

“I can, in fact,” she said. “It should be enough that I’m not willing to.”

“But you haven’t even said that much,” he said. “You just keep throwing up excuses.”

“Fine,” she said. “You want to know? You know how some people… some couples… when they split up for good, they have a custody-sharing agreement?”

“I’m acquainted with the custom.”

“Well, I have the opposite,” she said. “I share non-custody.”

“That sounds like a story worth hearing.”

“Well, it’s not one you’re going to hear,” she said. “All you need to know is that Prax is for all intents and purposes farther away and more off-limits than the Mother Isles. Take the healer’s message and answer it yourself, or give it to someone else. Regardless of who it does or doesn’t involve, there are other people here who can deal with her.”

“Very well,” Xylon said. “I’m sorry if I overstepped my boundaries. I’ll dispense a reply myself.”

“Good. Now if you don’t mind, I have quite a lot of work to do.”

“Of course,” the elf said, and he bowed and swept backwards out of the room, taking the copy of the message back to his own office.

The original was still floating in view in the crystal ball on his desk. He touched the orb and invoked the dictation feature, which he was more comfortable with than the other means of producing writing.

“Begin reply: ‘Thank you for contacting the Dimensional Minds Institute of Palatine. Attached, please find some literature that may be helpful to your case. We have in residence at the Institute a pioneer in the field of infernal and semi-infernal telepathic contact: renowned author, researcher, and subtle artist Lorellon Brand. In the likely event that her specific expertise could help you, I am including contact informaton that will allow you to direct further queries directly to her…”


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162 Responses to “OT: Meanwhile…”

  1. Burnsidhe says:

    Oooh.

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  2. SilverMoon says:

    But, but… ZOMG!

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    • Skin-Walker says:

      MOOOOM !!!!!!!

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      • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

        Not her, that was never stated. you’re assuming, you know what mamma khae does to people who assume. AE is messing with you and you fell for it. 😉

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        • Christy says:

          Oh come on! She’s the right age, the name is obviously a mix of her first and middle names, she’s interested in both the children… She knows that Dan stands for Aidan… And she mentioned ‘non-custody.’ I wonder what she’ll do if she finds out that Mack-Daddy has been breaking that non-custody thing…

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          • sanityoptional says:

            technically not. He hasn’t physically visited her. That’s just how daddy plays.

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  3. Tejor says:

    The plot thickens…Looks like more than just , dragons, demons and insane history teachers are interested in Mack. Quite interesting to see how this plays out.

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    • Tedronai says:

      Don’t forget a grey elf, a ‘sea demon’, and a paladin-in-the-making.

      Current score: 1
      • drudge says:

        “Sea devil”. Devils seem to be a whole different thing from demons. We’ve heard of fiends, devils, and demons so far.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I thought devil was the ancestral name of demons before they got blasted into the infernal plane and sea-devils just evolved differentely.

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      • Tejor says:

        I thought said ‘Sea Demon’ was last seen laying out on the perfectly portioned table before an Elder Grey Dragon and a certain fire-based half demon all but wearing capers and lemon juice?

        Mmmm…Sea Demon with Capers and Lemon Juice…

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        • Lunaroki says:

          One sea devil was. The other may still be interested, if somewhat distracted and distraught by the disappearance of the first.

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        • Rook says:

          Embries is a Greater Silver Dragon.

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  4. erratio says:

    HOLY CRAP this may be the most awesome plot twist ever. Pity she doesn’t know that the non-custody arrangement isn’t being honoured by all parties.

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    • Lunaroki says:

      Non-custody may not necessarily mean non-contact. We don’t really know that particulars of this agreement, so there’s no telling whether the Man might be honoring the letter of the agreement while violating the spirit of it.

      Current score: 2
      • OhPun says:

        Why assume the non-custody agreement is with the Man? It could very will be with her mom (Grandma Blaise) which is why she can visit Aiden in the Mother Isles, but not Mackenzie in Prax.

        Current score: 2
        • Cadnawes says:

          That seemed more likely to me too, though it could go either way.

          If it were. . . then Martha knows her daughter is alive, kept this from Mack, and SOMEHOW Mack is reduced to saying things like “She died. It wasn’t my fault.”

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          • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

            mamapsion sticking that in her kid’s mind to try and keep her kid from having issues(failing)?
            “your mom didn’t leave you she died…it wasn’t your fault”

            Current score: 3
        • OhPun says:

          Also, an “agreement” with the Man? Really? Don’t you think she is smarter than that?

          Current score: 1
          • Lunaroki says:

            Why assume the agreement is with the Man and not Granny Blaise? Read this segment again.

            “Fine,” she said. “You want to know? You know how some people… some couples… when they split up for good, they have a custody-sharing agreement?”

            “I’m acquainted with the custom.”

            “Well, I have the opposite,” she said. “I share non-custody.”

            Sharing non-custody means the two parties in question each are forbidden custody of the child. This would not apply to Granny Blaise because she had custody up until Mack ran off to attend college. The ones who DO NOT and HAVE NOT had custody are Laurel Ann and the Man. That means that the agreement is with the Man, not Granny Blaise.

            Would Martha have kept her daughter’s continued existence from her granddaughter? You betcha! As far as she’s concerned the less Mackenzie knows about her past the better. Besides, her daughter made the foolish decision to have relations with a demon. That is not the sort of example that Granny Blaise would feel ought to be set for her young hellspawned granddaughter. The reckless irresponsible impulses such a child would possess must be suppressed at all cost, not encouraged by an irresponsible mother who believes in personal freedom over righteousness.

            So with no knowledge of her mother’s whereabouts, or even whether mom is still alive, yeah, somehow a child would come to the conclusion that “This is my fault. I did something wrong and it made my Mommy go away.” You see this all the time in divorce cases where the children blame themselves for their parents breaking up. This is no different, except that in this case we have the Iron Granny impressing on Mackenzie constantly that she’s inherently evil. Gee, how could anyone possibly get the idea that Mommy’s disappearance from her life was her fault when nobody will tell her where Mommy went or why, or whether she’s even still alive, and the only guardian she has in this life constantly bombards her with messages about how wicked and evil she really is deep down inside? *shrug*

            As to an agreement with the Man… Yeah, I do happen to think she’s smarter than that. Evidently you don’t. I think Laurel Ann knows now that she can’t trust her ex and that’s why she left her daughter in the capable hands of an ex-paladin. And she has obviously been keeping tabs on Mackenzie from afar. Of course it’s been nine years since then. Mackenzie grew up and left home of her own free will, a near-miraculous feat all things considered. If Granny has done her job properly then by now Mack should be fully prepared to handle Daddy’s sneaky end runs around the agreement now that Granny isn’t there to do it for her. Oops! Looks like that didn’t happen! But surely Granny has taken steps to safeguard the child from Daddy’s influence even while she’s far away, right? Wait, you mean she didn’t? My Grandma! What a big mess you’ve made! >,<

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            • Zukira Phaera says:

              I figure a very similar scenario actually, with Granny Blaise perhaps saying “she’s dead to me” after all the shennanigans with the Man, and her running off (or driven away by Martha for Mack’s own good), but all Mack hears is “she’s dead”

              Then there’s the off chance that in order to fool the Man into leaving her alone she ran off in the dead of night, changed her name, let people believe she was dead to change her self identity as much as possible and in a sense her ‘meta self’ which the man might be honing in on much like he does with Mack. She found some better teachers for shielding her mind, and it sounds like via research and application she’s trying to redeem herself in some way or sense for her exposure to the Man.

              Very cool too that she wants to at least get to spend some time with her son, see what sort of man he’s turned out to be. She still keeps tabs on Mack even if she can’t see her, but at least she got to spend time with her during her formative years. I can see where that is a driving need to her now, and probably has been for years and years, to know who her son is. Its a motherly instinct.

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            • beappleby says:

              I like that bit about Mack overhearing her grandmother saying “She’s dead to me.”

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          • Dante says:

            The agreement likely stipulated that the parents had to stay away from Mack. The Man could then interpret the agreement literally as a loophole: he hasn’t physically contacting her, only through dreams, although with magic so prevalent, there would likely be clauses for that. A more plausible alternative would be the non-custody agreement is with the government seeing as dealing with demons is a criminal offense.

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            • The Dark Master says:

              The Man mentions at one point that he could not speak to Mackenzie directly, but he could arrange for them to pass each other in the street. This non-custody agreement maybe?

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        • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

          FOr that matter Why assume the agreement is with the mom?

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          • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

            Meerly one of the many alternate possibilities:

            it isn’t about mack but prax itself.
            Brand is a dragon((reason she can contact extraplainer’s minds without “your head asplode”) and her interest in mack could be an extension of an interest in the man raising a quarter noble blue dragon(multiverse doesn’t have to revolve around the man char ;)). or demonblood minds are simply a hobby to pass the time(with them being rare enough for mack to be in a scrapbook of “talk to if i get the chance” people)… brand is working inside the imperial system only because it presents an amusing challenge, similar to embres running a school behind the scenes)) with an agreement with another dragon not to expand her territory into prax as long as they do the same. Both dragons would be bigger than embres who took advantage of the situation to live there…similar to embres not fighting the greens since they serve as a buffer between him and blackwater

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            • Zukira Phaera says:

              would she be ‘human’ to Xylon though, who refers to her human lifespan in this chapter?

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      • erratio says:

        As AE has said elsewhere, if someone lies to you through omission or by deliberately letting you infer the wrong thing, you would still rightfully be angry at them for lying to you. So it is with the The Man and ‘Lorellon’: the agreement was for non-contact, and if he’s waltzing through her dreams then she should be free to talk to Mackenzie via mirror or a-mail.

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        • Arakano says:

          Yes, indeed. Only… how would “Lorellon” KNOW that The Man has been doing that?

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          • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

            and what exactly would she do about it? psion or not she is far away and having difficulty traveling; and he is a full blooded demon who has been in this plane for a lot longer than most demons are able.
            mack could be taken god knows where with the man dropping off the face of the earth by the time laural ann is in any position to know about it let alone do something.

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      • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

        yeah, seems like the “lawful evil” type. at least if he directly gave his word…

        awhile back it said somewhere it wasn’t true that demons have to keep their word or tell the truth, but some find it amusing enough to do so it became “widely known fact” because they(the ones who thought it was fun) do it almost all the time, keeping to exact letter of it while violating the spirit as many ways as they can, seems like theMan’s type of thing 😛

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    • Yumi says:

      …Oooohhh.
      So I got who this was about when I read this comment. Felt pretty clever.
      While I did rather enjoy it before I understood it, I am also of the opinion that this freaking rocks. Seriously. In fact, I think I like it more for not having understood it at first, because now I’m of the opinion that AE is brilliant.

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    • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

      it probably is being honored…technically. Just because Brand thinks it means noncontact it may not have been actually said that way.

      Current score: 1
  5. Miz*G says:

    O…M….G….
    Please please please tell me this is indeed what it looks like.
    Non-custody agreement = win.

    Current score: 0
  6. Dante says:

    So that’s the mother. Interesting character.

    This should be interesting.

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    • Koan says:

      OK, I know I’m missing something, can someone please explain who she is? I’m drawing a blank.

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      • beappleby says:

        Well, I didn’t catch it until I saw the comments, but it seems that this is Mack’s mother. That would explain her interest in the topic in general, in trying to find Aidan, and the mention of “non-custody” might explain why she can’t visit Mackenzie in Prax.

        Also, Lorellon = Laurel Ann?

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  7. Lesath says:

    WHAT.

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  8. fman0801 says:

    I likes the sneaky elf adminstrative type guy. Sneaky big eared get, gets what he wants one way or the other.

    Oh…
    OOK!

    Reactivate lurkin’ device in mar…

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    • Zukira Phaera says:

      I like him too.

      This could get interesting

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  9. Thalgar says:

    Ooh…VERY nice! Some fascinating new questions open up, now that the big one is (apparently) answered. The particular choice of words “couples…split up for good”, “…share non-custody” Could this imply that Big Daddy agreed to keep away from Aidan if Lorellon agreed to keep away from Mack? I can’t wait to find out the circumstances, or if its something else entirely! Exquisitely tantalizing work, AE!

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    • bramble says:

      I think it might be that it’s more along the lines of both parents should be staying away from Mack – it could be that there’s an actual agreement that the Man is breaking. Or it could be that Lorellon believes that contacting her daughter would be dangerous for one or both of them: either she thinks the Man is still keeping tabs on her, but has lost track of Mack due to the circumstances of her upbringing, or she thinks the Man doesn’t know where she is, but has been keeping tabs on their daughter and would be able to locate Lorellon again if she made contact with Mack.

      Aidan, on the other hand, is far enough removed from the family that she may feel that he’s comparatively safer to approach.

      Current score: 0
    • rethic says:

      I really like this guess! Remember The Man said his son was as good as dead to him or something to that effect. Also because I like The Man and want to believe he’s following his agreements, even tho he may try to find loopholes.

      Current score: 0
      • bramble says:

        Oh, I’m pretty sure he’d be following the letter of any agreement he made. My best guess is that, if there was any formal agreement, he said something along the lines of that he’d stay away from their “child” – which he would then feel free to interpret as “stay away from Mack until she comes of age.”

        And IIRC, Laurel Ann/Lorellon wasn’t ever sure if the Man even knew about Aidan – he didn’t visit during the pregnancy, and she never mentioned the baby to him after he appeared again.

        Current score: 0
        • Rethic says:

          I was referring to the thought that he can’t contact Aidan, and she can’t contact Mack.

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          • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

            probably both supposed to stay away from both

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            • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

              either that or she only made an agreement about mack(which mackdaddy is violating the spirit of but not the letter) because she only knew he knew about her.
              …..
              although we know he knows about both she might not.
              he was at least tracking him from a distance up to the airship accident and aftermath but for some reason lost(or just didn’t gain) interest in him(maybe he even initially had an interest in mack because he had been specifically asked to stay away and wanted to bend that rule:P)

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            • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

              Aiden is a grown man who apparently did something pretty epic to get 3 boons from the unnameable emperor and have casual conversations with a half dragon about jumping between worlds.
              He is likely able to take care of himself(either could handle his father showing up or doesn’t need his “help” depending on the man’s motivations). either too badass to be safe to mess with with his son on the line(benefits vs risk for the man), too grown(or set in his identity of being good) to be influenced, too far away for the man to keep a low profile and contact him, or too well watched(emperor keeping tabs on a demonspawn raising a dragonblood)for a demon to get close.for all we know aiden has warded against him showing up the way granie seemed to have.

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          • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

            He probably only has an interest in female children for some reason, remember the man in the woods fairytale? male child is yours but any girls belong to me.
            The mutual noncustody agreement is probably only Mack. Either the mom knew he didn’t care about aiden or didn’t think he knew.
            That could be why she can dream of visiting aiden but never set foot in the region mack is in.

            Current score: 0
    • erratio says:

      Ooooh I didn’t think of this interpretation. It makes a lot of sense given what The Man’s said in the past (something along the lines of Mack’s brother having an accident and then being dead or worse than dead to him).

      Current score: 0
  10. beappleby says:

    Lorellon = Laurel Ann?

    Current score: 1
    • Erm says:

      Not just that.

      Brand.

      Blaze.

      Current score: 0
      • VXC says:

        She is 37, Mack is what, 18 or 19?

        It’s possible, in a demon-sick way.

        Current score: 0
        • Lunaroki says:

          Mack being 18 or 19 isn’t what’s sick. That just means Laurel Ann would have been Mack’s current age when she had her, which while borderline is still respectable. The thing that’s sick is that Aidan is Mack’s older brother. Anybody know just how old he is?

          Current score: 1
          • Jennifer says:

            I once tried to make a timeline of pre-MU events, just for fun. By my estimations, Laurel Ann started having some “physical contact” with the man when she was around 13, became pregnant with Aidan when she was 15, and had Mackenzie when she was 18. That would make Aidan about 21 or 22.

            Current score: 1
            • Note: Replies to this comment thread left to debate the morality of an adult having sex with a thirteen-year-old will be deleted.

              Current score: 1
            • bramble says:

              Can I point out that setting aside the issue of her age (which I agree puts another heaping layer of Bad And Wrong on the whole situation), I have a hard time seeing the act of seducing an impressionable girl or woman for the purpose of producing half-demon children to be presumably used as pawns in a nefarious plot, and probably putting the mother at quite a bit of risk with the authorities in the process, as either moral or ethical? I kinda feel like that gets lost in these threads. Even if you ignore the pedophilia aspect (which, don’t guys, that’s incredibly creepy), the Man is still a monstrous slimeball who manipulates and exploits others for his own benefit.

              Current score: 0
        • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

          Not the first time we heard about that
          http://www.talesofmu.com/story/other/down-to-the-river-2
          http://www.talesofmu.com/story/other/down-to-the-river-3

          apparently MackDaddy is a demon who feeds on innocence and virgin hearts.(says so in his imp file)
          (Sometimes that hearts thing may be less literal than others(ripped out and eaten still beating vs sexing a fameous Palidin’s just barely starting puberty late middle or early highschool kid) maybe that was just for fun, or it could be another component of his hunger(innocence directly destroyed by being a dirty pedo(his kids both need virgin blood: symbolically eating innocence, could be a watered down version of his need to do it for real(like the discount demonfire, real’s burns can’t be healed by holy magic, halfblood’s just doesn’t heal naturally. maybe specific food needs are hereditary in a similar way?(ex: bhold’s ancestor may eat beauty or something and her fraction of that is a lock of blond hair?)))).

          Older bro Aiden has a(n adopted) kid of his own and sounds like he had time for a pretty epic life(friend with half dragon, boons from emperor, lives on a different continent, worked on airships for years and saved many lives). So he is probably a good amount older, can’t remember how long though but he was born when laural anne was definitely a minor.

          I think it was something like 13-15 or a bit earlier when he gave her the elf romance book and started “teaching” her about “feelings” so 18 at mack’s birth isn’t really that big a deal by comparison.

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          • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

            ah, should have read farther already said 😛

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  11. cnic says:

    Did we already learn what CMH stood for in a previous chapter? I figured it out two paragraphs later but I wasn’t sure if it had been spelled out anywhere.

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    • Luke Licens says:

      Certified Mental Healer, iirc.

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      • cnic says:

        That isn’t what I was asking 🙂 I asked if it was revealed earlier in the story. I did like the acronym though.

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        • Zukira Phaera says:

          it was how Teddi had signed off on an amail to Mack in the past and discussed there – there was no discrediting of the notion that it was Certified Mental Healer, and contextually it makes a lot of sense for that to be what it means. So while AE hasn’t verified that it means what was guessed at in the comments on a previous chapter (at least it wasn’t the last time I read the comments on that chapter) it wasn’t so wrong that AE stepped in to correct the guess, so it would be safe, I think, to consider it as the correct meaning of the acronym.

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  12. bramble says:

    :O

    No really that’s what my face looks like right now. I can’t seem to get it to stop.

    Holy crud.

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  13. Lyssa says:

    Bricks were shat. Exciting.

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  14. Altima says:

    Mackenzie’s mother strikes me as the sort who would abandon her. Not after Aidan and all the crap she had to put up with her own mother.

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  15. Marx says:

    Wasn’t it revealed in one of the earlier chapters that Mack’s mother is, in fact, presumed dead?

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    • Lunaroki says:

      Presumed, yes, at least by Mack. Remember, however, that Mack told the scarecrow in the Labyrinth that she didn’t know what happened to her mother. Add to that the fact that Mack has been known to presume wrong about any number of issues and the fact that the Man once told Mack that her mother IS the sharpest woman he KNOWS and this little revelation isn’t quite so unexpected, except in so far as I for one wasn’t expecting it quite yet.

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  16. rosalie says:

    i had the feeling she was still alive. both children were told that their mom died and neither child knew about the other. i thought it was fishy. just how f-ed up IS this family? also, poor mack! seriously. she is traumatized about how she is at fault for killing her mom (essentially though i don’t kno the details) and now she could find out that all of that was a lie? wat a mind fuck. on the other hand, at least her most precious person in childhood is alive. at least there’s hope that one day she could be in that person’s arms again, both smiling.

    i feel like all this crap was grandma blaize’s doing. but why wud laurel go for dan and not mack if she had to strike the same deal for both kids?

    maybe dan’s less in the spotlight?

    meh. who knows if Lorellon Brand is really Laurel Anne Blaize. *wink*

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    • Calia says:

      [quote]she is traumatized about how she is at fault for killing her mom[/quote]

      “It’s not my fault”.

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      • Calia says:

        Crap, wrong quote tags 😐

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      • bramble says:

        A lot of us kind of have the impression that if Mack actually believed that it wasn’t her fault, she wouldn’t feel the need to say it every single time the subject came up. She’s highly defensive about something that hardly anyone seems to want to accuse her of – although that might have been different back in Blackwater.

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        • The Dark Master says:

          It is possible the responce was conditioned by an outside force.

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          • bramble says:

            It is. It’s possible that this “outside force” being as mundane as Martha saying or implying that it’s Mack’s fault that her mother isn’t around anymore, or the community at large assuming that half-demon kid + missing mother = murder. Even if Mack knew exactly what happened to her mother – which clearly she doesn’t, as she mistakenly believes her to be dead – that kind of treatment could certainly give a kid a complex.

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            • beappleby says:

              Someone above posited that Mack may have overheard Grandma saying “She’s dead to me,” and misunderstood…

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            • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

              scarecrow and man both imply she does know but supressed it(or is somehow blocked)

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        • Lunaroki says:

          There’s nothing mysterious about Mack’s denial of any culpability in her mother’s “death”. She denies because she doesn’t want to believe it, doesn’t want it to be true. Deep down though she’s very afraid that it IS true and she can’t quite convince herself that it isn’t. Just because someone is in denial about something doesn’t necessarily indicate that it’s true though. It’s only necessary for someone to desperately FEAR that what they are denying is true to lock them in a cycle of denial. Reality may or may not align with what one fears.

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          • Calia says:

            @Lunaroki and bramble-
            Yeah, I agree that she may subconsciously believe it was her fault, but the way rosalie worded it made it sound like it actually WAS Mackenzie’s fault. Which it’s (probably) not, because I doubt Iron Granny would lie about that- and it seems to me that Granny would be the only place Mack would get “it’s not your fault” from. The townspeople would be likely to blame it on littleKenzie, and because Granny wants “the best” for the demonspawn despite herself, she’d tell the truth. So, because Granny (probably) told her over and over again when littleKenzie came home crying because people called her a mom-killer, Mack is now conditioned to say “It wasn’t my fault”, despite what she may believe.

            Of course, this is all speculation on my part, but it seems more likely to me than other possibilities especially given the current information.

            I guess this was a really long way of saying “someone can know something is true without really believing it.” Sort of like a homophobic friend I had in high school- he KNEW, intellectually, that there was nothing wrong with being gay, but he still couldn’t shake the irrational feeling that it was unnatural. Mack may know it wasn’t her fault, but that won’t stop her from subconsciously worrying it was.

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          • arsenic says:

            Good logic. ::thumbsup::

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      • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

        maybe the mom put that there? not on purpose of course, but a mental nudge to a young mind before leaving that “your mother is dead” so mack doesn’t think she just abandoned her when her nature showed(while avoiding talking about the father)?
        with a ps of “it wasn’t your fault” since as a potentially quite dangerous halfdemon that worry would come up when she wasn’t told any details down the road

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  17. Amelia says:

    All Mack knows is “It wasn’t my fault”
    Looks like the reason she doesn’t know why her mother died is that she didn’t.

    Looking at it now it almost sounds the sort of thing a mother would tell a child when she had to leave her (much like the standard “It’s not your fault” children of divorced parents get) I wonder if she was actually told her mother was dead or if she just supressed what happened? (and what did happen? did Daddy come calling?)

    Incidentally I wonder if Lorellon is a pseudonym or if translatin Pax names to something more pronouncable is a common habit among elves.

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    • Durragh says:

      there could also be some (more) bad parenting from good old grandma, if Laurel changed her name and moved away, grandmother may have told Mack she was dead. although it sounds more like they may actually think she is dead (grandma included), i wouldn’t put it past granny blaise to lie to Mack about it. whoever said paladins can’t lie never met a paladin 🙂

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      • Jennifer says:

        I think it’s important to note that, based on the readings, Mackenzie does seem genuinely convinced that it isn’t her fault. And that it’s all she knows. And she doesn’t notice the logical gap that she doesn’t know anything more. This all along indicates a more… subtle force causing this.

        I always suspected that Mackenzie did something which killed her mother incedentelly when she “turned” and that Laurel Ann tried to protect her child from guilt in the best way she knew how before she died. But this theory is now gone with the wind…

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        • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

          [quote]”I think it’s important to note that, based on the readings, Mackenzie does seem genuinely convinced that it isn’t her fault. And that it’s all she knows. And she doesn’t notice the logical gap that she doesn’t know anything more. This all along indicates a more… subtle force causing this.

          I always suspected that Mackenzie did something which killed her mother incedentelly when she “turned” and that Laurel Ann tried to protect her child from guilt in the best way she knew how before she died. But this theory is now gone with the wind…”
          [/quote]

          not necessarily gone, just slightly tweaked.

          I get the feeling that the mother may have implanted that thought. How else does she know to explain a deal with the father to keep him away from her causing her to have to leave?

          You’re not being abandoned… I’m just going away and never coming back. It isn’t your fault or anything you did.

          que memory cap, covered by implanted info “your mother is dead. it wasn’t your fault”

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      • Kevin says:

        I once played a paladin that was so bad at lying he literally could not lie, got the party in so much trouble that I’m surprised the character didn’t die in the most common cause of death to paladins. Friendly Fire.

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        • Zukira Phaera says:

          Incapable of omission also?

          Potential ways Granny Blaise could have ‘lied’ to Mack about her mother without actually lying:

          “She’s dead” (omit ‘to me’)- shunning

          “She’s passed over” (omit clarification of “the regional border”) – which could be related to Lorellon not wanting to go back to the interior.

          “She’s gone” (Mack may have learned this meant dead at a young age if someone never comes back or isn’t elaborated on with a location of where the person has gone) If her mother went into hiding and Martha knew that, knowing what Mack’s daddy is she may have kept the location to herself if she even knows it and not telling Mack for fear that her daddy might get the information is an omission at work again, Mack assumes she’s dead. Martha may have told her it is not Mack’s fault she’s gone, Mack extrapolated it is not her fault her mother is dead.

          Martha was/is an excellent demon hunter and the best hunters know how to think like their prey. The Man is a master of lies of omission, so it stands to reason that Martha potentially is adept at doing so also.

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          • Arakano says:

            Sorry, but saying “She’s dead” and silently adding “to me” is not ‘lying by omission’ – it’s simply lying. Dead/alive are pretty simple, binary terms. If someone lives, and I know it, and I say he/she is dead, I am lying.

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          • Laurie says:

            Wasn’t there a back story about Martha exorcising a demon out of a little boy, where someone asked why she is raising her half-demon granddaughter and she replies with something along the lines of, “I cannot bear to see my sinful daughter die again”? That implies that she actually believed her daughter was dead, doesn’t it?

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          • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

            that feels way too directly lieing for any paladin, let alone the extreme conservative one mack leaned her sense of truth from. Probably more of

            “I wanna go home, where is mommy? when is she coming back? I miss her”

            “she is gone, never coming back. [kid crying] …It wasn’t your fault”

            this being the true enough answer without introducing the gray option of a deal with a devil to protect a child from her mother’s mistake. Mack’s blood isn’t the child’s fault it was the mother’s and so was her mother having to go away to protect her from the father as a natural continuation of that.

            After all she can’t lie but the kid can’t learn the exact truth either. Gray is a very dangerous moral concept for something inherently evil to have. A slippery slope of gray areas leading down to total black morality and the nearly inevitable psychotic rampage and getting put down.
            All evil must be repressed for a long quiet life without killing anybody under her grandmother’s guidence/restraining.

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            • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

              only a reply to the first part:
              “ncapable of omission also?

              Potential ways Granny Blaise could have ‘lied’ to Mack about her mother without actually lying:

              “She’s dead” (omit ‘to me’)- shunning

              “She’s passed over” (omit clarification of “the regional border”) – which could be related to Lorellon not wanting to go back to the interior.”

              the following bit I agree with.

              ” “She’s gone” (Mack may have learned this meant dead at a young age if someone never comes back or isn’t elaborated on with a location of where the person has gone) If her mother went into hiding and Martha knew that, knowing what Mack’s daddy is she may have kept the location to herself if she even knows it and not telling Mack for fear that her daddy might get the information is an omission at work again, Mack assumes she’s dead. Martha may have told her it is not Mack’s fault she’s gone, Mack extrapolated it is not her fault her mother is dead.

              Martha was/is an excellent demon hunter and the best hunters know how to think like their prey. The Man is a master of lies of omission, so it stands to reason that Martha potentially is adept at doing so also.”

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            • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

              either that or something psionicaly implanted. I prefer that explanation because this bit of info would otherwise poke holes in your theory.

              Mack knows more about what happened to her mother than she knows, both the scarcrow and the man know this. But it is blocked. Either she repressed it or it was erased. She doesn’t seem aware of the gap, she only knows “she is dead it wasn’t my fault”

              Mack blocking it out entirely would have worked if her mother was dead, or had somehow appeared to have died. If she had actually had reason to believe she was responsible for her mother’s death.

              That and Mack got to her grandmother somehow, presumably she was brought there before the mother left
              I feel like the mother was worried about mack not understanding why she had to leave(or that she would understand and think it was her fault since in a way it was because of her) and so never explained it, instead as a psion capable of touching demon minds(presumably picked up when the man taught her to use her gift(to get revenge on fellow students,[see down by the river]) rather than suppress it) blocked mack’s memory of being abandoned and replaced it with “your mother is dead.” and “it wasn’t your fault”

              although it was likely reinforced over the years with Grannie’s incomplete and purposely ambiguous truth on the subject when/if asked the way you said:

              ““She’s gone” (Mack may have learned this meant dead at a young age if someone never comes back or isn’t elaborated on with a location of where the person has gone to) If her mother went into hiding and Martha knew that, knowing what Mack’s daddy is she may have kept the location to herself if she even knows it and not telling Mack for fear that her daddy might get the information is an omission at work again, Mack assumes she’s dead. Martha may have told her it is not Mack’s fault she’s gone, Mack extrapolated it is not her fault her mother is dead.”

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          • drudge says:

            This is an exact copy pasted quote from the OT “Devil Children”.

            “If I could exorcise the taint from her, I would,” the old woman muttered. “But there is only one way to remove a blood taint… and though the Dark Herald may drag me down for my selfishness, I cannot see my wicked daughter die a second time. Come. Enough of wasting time with foolishness.”

            So Martha watched Laurel Anne die a first time. Seems like she’s either lying and changing the subject, or else she thinks her daughter is dead.

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            • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

              Remember she was telling that to others not thinking it.

              Since Laural Anne probably also wanted to disappear entirely from the daughter’s life(clean break with both the children believing her dead) as well as from the man in her exile keeping it from the neighbors(whom a demon could extract info from more easily than the (albeit aging)paladin, or more mundanely who may talk and eventually have news of the mother’s not being dead reach the young mack)

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      • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

        don’t get the impression she’d have lied about that. If anything that’d be where she got “its not your fault”

        First of all, Paladin. Hard core paladin. Maybe paladins can lie but she wouldn’t. Would probably stretch it to a lie of omission(ie, never mentioning being a paladin(although that may also be her having some less than fuzzy bunny feelings about whatever she and her imperial controlled paladin order did in the shift before she retired more than her having any reason to keep it from Mack(her feelings of government interfering with anything religious and what we’ve seen of law would back that up, as well as her initially not telling the imps she was a paladin when she showed up to disprove mack’s involvement in the swan killing and producing the badge only with “great reluctance”))) but not an outright falsehood.(if she knew of the agreement(likely as the mother would have had to have left mack with her)her not saying otherwise could have lead mack to assume her mother was dead and grannie never corrected it(If anything this is where Mack’s automatic reply to a question of her mother including “it wasn’t my fault”. An unwillingness to answer directly may have resulted in the only truthful reply that would be acceptable. (“where is mommy? when is she coming back?” “…never …It wasn’t your fault”)))

        2nd of all, while a lot of what Grannie Blaise said turned out not to be true she obviously believes it is.

        She believes Mack is inherently evil, that the only hope is for her to repress everything and live a quiet life as long as possible. She believes that Nymphs are pagan mockeries of the human form, she believes that the neutral gods are evil(black and white world of a paladin. if it isn’t good it must be pretending not to be completely evil(no grays, there is white vs everything else), similar to Gloria’s initial characterization. probably the reason she won’t tell Mack about a mother’s deal with a demon to protect her and partially her mistake, a concept of gray is a dangerous thing for something naturally inclined twords evil to have, slippery slope and all that. greater good for mack to be allowed to think she died)

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  18. riocaz says:

    The important word there being “presumed”.

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  19. bubble says:

    I wonder if the non-custody agreement is related to the other story involving Mack Daddy where he seems to arrange taking ‘ownership’ of any female children while the mother was free to keep any boys.

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    • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

      probably.
      Aiden didn’t need protection from his interference since he didn’t care about him, mack on the other hand…

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      • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

        which would be why the mother could hope to one day meet her son and be unable to email mack.

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  20. Durragh says:

    wow. just wow.
    Mack Daddy might be honoring the letter of the agreement, just not the spirit, he hasn’t had any physical contact, just mental.

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  21. Sapphite says:

    It was interesting before it was revealed who it was… after…

    *stunned silence*

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  22. Potatohead says:

    Holy crap.

    That is all.

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  23. Zathras IX says:

    Cunning Linguistics:
    Xylon is Greco-Elven
    And it means “Forest”

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  24. Jani says:

    Ok, i was going to make a wild guess that Brand was Mackenzies mother, but as so many others decided to do so, i’ll separate myself from the horde and make the totally wild, and utterly unverified guess that, Lorellon Brand is, in fact, of no relation whatsoever to Mackenzie.

    But is, in fact, an animated, and polymorphed, tube of L’Oreal skincream (or the MU equivelant).

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  25. Denyre says:

    After reading this post, reading the comments, and then rereading the post, I’m inclined to agree with the general consensus that this is Mack’s mother.

    I’m not so clear on this share of non-custody thing though. Is it supposed to mean if Lorellon stays away than The Man has to, too?

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    • Denyre says:

      Also it seems to me that The Man just needs to keep Mack alive until her mom dies off and then she’s up for grabs…

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      • ylistra says:

        Magical contracts don’t have to expire when the signed parties do. It could very well have long term enforcement via divine retribution.

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        • bramble says:

          Or, as I said above, it could be less that Lorellon and the Man sat down at some point and said “I’ll stay away from her if you do,” (which honestly, I don’t know why the Man would agree to; it seems to me that he has comparatively little to gain from such an arrangement) and more that Lorellon believes that as long as she stays away from Mack, the Man won’t be able to use one of them to find the other.

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          • Abeo says:

            Though with the media attention Mackenzie has apparently been getting lately….

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            • bramble says:

              Yeah, that kind of makes it unlikely that Lorellon believes she’s protecting Mack. It’s still possible that she’s protecting herself – if the Man hasn’t contacted her since she went into hiding (or possibly before), she may not be sure whether he knows where she is, but believe that he has to have located Mack by now and that if she contacts their daughter, he’ll find her, too.

              I mean, I certainly wouldn’t want to face the Man after leaving his (potentially very useful to him) daughter to be raised by an abusive ex-paladin for nine years.

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            • Arakano says:

              To be sure, though, we have no idea how powerful a psyon/telepath/whatever-exactly Lorellon is by now. 😉 Not saying I think she is a match for an old and experienced demon, but still.

              And seriously? How could The Man NOT gain from an agreement that would see Mack not raised by her mother? Imagine how Mack would have turned out if she had been raised by a loving, intelligent mother who was well aware of what she is and of who is out to corrupt her, and thus would instruct and educate her accordingly…

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            • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

              probably more like Aiden. As it is the Man has a chance for an in with her since she grew up so repressed and has no idea how to use her abilities 😛

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      • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

        not necessarily. The agreement still holds, contracts don’t die with one of the people. he seems the lawful evil type. otherwise it wouldn’t be respected in the first place, brand couldn’t stop him from seeing the child with force, certainly not from a distance by the time she got to prax mack could be taken elsewhere easily.

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  26. Justme says:

    If this is Mack’s mother, then the folk tale about the farmer girl who married the prince could explain why mom can contact the brother and not Mack. In the tale, the woman gets to keep the son as heir for her prince/king husband, but the man in the woods gets to keep the child if it was a daughter.

    Just a thought.

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  27. Morten says:

    Dealing with demons is illegal. Laurel Ann may have had to go underground when her daughter turned (in fact from Mackenzie’s description it sounds a bit like she was laying low).

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    • bramble says:

      Oh yeah, hadn’t thought of that. Good point.

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    • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

      probably not. She didn’t know until the child turned. The empire couldn’t hold that against her.
      The Law agent(his name escapes me for the moment, he took her to meet the dragon) even told her as much since paraphrase: it would be way too easy for demons to fuck with people if that were the case.

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  28. Skin-Walker says:

    “Frack-Me” if I’m wrong…..was there not two births before Mack’s ??

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  29. Elqalic says:

    We know that Mack’s mom was gifted in the subtle arts department. It could be that Mack’s insistence that “it wasn’t [her] fault” is an implanted suggestion from her mom before she left.

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    • Arakano says:

      Interesting idea!

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      • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

        feels like one.

        How else would Mack not know? SHe had to have gotten to grannie somehow, when the mother was presumed dead it sounded something like: house burns down, mother and demonhunter Martha quickly arrives to find fireproof 9 yearold unharmed and mother dead.

        but with Laural alive and leaving as part of an agreement to keep the Man away it sounds likely she was dropped off with Martha. Traumatic yes, but not something that would be so totally blocked naturally.
        Laural probably didnt think Mack would understand and covered it with the implanted “mother is dead, wasn’t your fault”

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  30. Bee says:

    Mind status: blown.
    Brick status: shat.

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  31. Kevin says:

    Well after reading through all current comments I have determined I will laugh my ass off when it turns out that the non-custody agreement has to do with Embries and has nothing at all to do with Mack who would have kept Ms. Brand away from Blackwater.

    As a further note given how painful it would be to pass a brick through your bowels I am rather glad I did not do so.

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    • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

      That would be awesome on AE’s part. Red herring FTW lol

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    • Zukira Phaera says:

      that would be epic.

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  32. Calia says:

    Your last point makes sense, but I’d like to point something out. IIRC, Mack turned when she was nine- nine years is a lot of time for humans. It’s nowhere near unlikely that someone could turn their situation around in nine years if they have a marketable skill- you make it sound like, without the government, she would have had little chance to build some sort of career, simple because there’s not enough time in between. Graduate students go from being destitute to surviving all the time 🙂

    Also, dunno if you’ve read many of AE’s blogs about writing or the links she’s posted on the subject, but I’d assume that, much like the real world, just because you’ve published a couple of books doesn’t mean you’re “prospering”.

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    • OhPun says:

      I agree that publishing does not equal prosperity, particularly if the books are highly technical with a limited audience. Maybe she would be better off writing fiction on the web and asking for user contributions.

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      • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

        Yeah.
        I bet AE sleeps on a big dragon’s horde of coins by now 😛

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        • OhPun says:

          If she does, that could certainly account for some of her sleep issues. IMHO, sleeping on the big pile of coins or actually rolling in the money is uncomfortable. Not as enjoyable as it sounds. I prefer spending some of it on a comfortable bed and having the big piles nearby where I can see them.

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          • Zukira Phaera says:

            with novelty coin shaped pillows perhaps?

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  33. Deyadon says:

    Has anyone else stopped to think that the non-custody agreement is informal between her and Mack… The main reason she would be able to meet with Aidan is that he never actually met her. Mack grew up with her on the other hand and would recognize her…It would be pretty traumatic to have your “dead” mother show up to chat out of the blue.

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  34. katrina says:

    Perhaps the shared non-custody is not an agreement between Man and Mom, nor between Mom and Grandma. Rather, it is a condition imposed on both parties by Grandma, and enforced by Grandma.

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    • Thalgar says:

      I like that idea…perhaps Paladins have dispensation to impose agreements on the demons if it is for a “greater good”.

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    • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

      Badass enough.

      At least one demon was scared of her(exorcism) and the man never appeared at all when Mack was under her care.

      And I can see her banishing her daughter thinking that being raised by somebody who had sex with a demon making it far more likely for the halfdemon to go apeshit sooner than under the exclusive care of an exorcist.

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  35. The Dark Master says:

    I think the biggest question right now would be, why did Lauri Anne (LA) Blaze decide that she needed to leave her daughter to Martha. Remember that this single act is the main cause of how screwed up Mackenzie was when she first arrived at MU.
    .
    I’m going to mix guesses and story facts for a bit to come up with a possible explanation. FACT: LA lives with Mackenzie for 9 years, they are not well off, but are happy together. FACT: At age 9, this falls apart and Mackenzie goes to live with Martha; I think this is the same time that Mackenzie turns. GUESS: Until this exact moment, LA had no idea that The Man was a demon; realizing the implications that her daughter was a half-demon would have meant trouble. GUESS: The Man showed up a short time latter and a confrontation occurred that resulted in this non-custody.
    .
    If these are true, then there is a lot of room for discussion on what options where available to LA and why she made the decisions she did, based on how things turned out.

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    • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

      Not many who’d be willing to take the child that she could trust not to use a demonblood for some nasty purpose for their own gain. Certainly couldn’t trust the empire.
      And LA’s mom is one of the only options badass enough to deal with the Man if he chose to break their agreement who wouldn’t kill the child outright on principal.

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  36. Arakano says:

    Laurel Ann Blaze… Lorellon Brand… age fits… subtle artist… really? If this was meant to be a red hering, it would have been done more subtly. We are talking AE here, she is a DAMN GOOD WRITER (*brownie points gathering commences*), so I think she wanted to give rather strong evidence for this being, indeed, Ma. Which, IMO, she did.

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    • beappleby says:

      Except that because we ARE talking AE here, I am beginning to be suspicious… I would like to believe this is Mack’s mother, but I will NOT be surprised if it turns out to be something else!

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      • Maaaaaan, comments need a like button.

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        • The Dark Master says:

          Maybe there should be two tags for you, an “Author Approves” tag, and a “Author is so close to banning you from site” tag. Heheheh, never mind.

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          • I don’t see how anyone can be surprised at being banned. WordPress doesn’t make banning easy (without going to a registration-based system), so I always ask people to stop commenting voluntarily a bunch of times before I do anything.

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            • The Dark Master says:

              This was suppose to be silly, but I guess there is an argument that that the tags would streamlines the process.

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        • The Dark Master says:

          Oh ya, if this isn’t Lauri Anne, you would have been doing donation fraud… sorry to be the one pointing this out.

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          • <SPOILER WARNING>I promise you, it’s not Lauri Anne.</SPOILER WARNING>

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            • The Dark Master says:

              I got the name wrong didn’t I? Let’s see, yep, its Laurel Anne. I can never remember names unless I read them over and over.

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            • Jani says:

              Ok, i was right, she’s not Macks Mom (i think, wasn’t Mackenzies mom named Laurel Anne, not Lauri (wich is a finnish boys name btw), can’t remember, and too lazy to check).

              Now any change to get any information about my “She’s an animated bottle of L’Oreal skin cream” theory? :p

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            • Christy says:

              If this is Mack’s mom, upon reading a chapter that has Mom, Aidan, and Mackenzie meet and seeing the result, I will forget my qualms about donating to a story with sex scenes and will donate a good amount of money to this story.

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            • Christy says:

              I made that comment without knowing there was more to this story that I hadn’t read. I retract that promise until I finish reading all that there is to read.

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            • Christy says:

              Basically, I probably won’t donate unless I finish reading and want to give you an incentive to do something…

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      • beappleby says:

        I want to clarify this to add: if it IS Mack’s mother, or related to Mack’s mother in some way, it is definitely Not Going To Be That Simple…

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    • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

      I vote for her fucking with us. Brand is a dragonblood and the custody is of Prax. 😉

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  37. slaxor says:

    I’ve got my own theory about the non-custody agreement.

    I think the purpose of it was to keep Macks father away while she grew up, and the price was that Laurel had to stay away too. I mean, he’s a devious, manipulative demon. I don’t think there’s much that would have balanced out ANY degree of contact with him. And who else would have suggested this agreement? Granny Blaise? She doesn’t really seem like the type. Her first instinct was probably to kill Mack.

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    • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

      or more likely keep her as bait and kill the father

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  38. readaholic says:

    Om nom nom nom nom.

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  39. Annabanana says:

    It’s taken a week or two, but I am making very steady headway through this story.
    The riddling and commentary here is just precious. “But Brand is Dutch for Blaze,” which I am sure they followed with “Which is like Blaise,” and then…yeah.

    I really believed quite strongly up to this point that Laurel Ann was dead.

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  40. Lara says:

    Ohhhh myyyy gooooood.
    This chapter is so freaking interesting, but it made me REALLY sad, too.

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