Chapter 2: The Last Full Measure

on April 8, 2011 in Volume 2: Sophomore Effort
Timeline: , , , , , , , ,

In Which Relationships Take On New Dimensions (And Just Barely Win)

The sky was losing the last of the just-set sun’s glow when Ian was set to arrive. Steff came out with me to meet him at the carriage park. She’d slipped her knife belt on, which made me realize that she hadn’t been wearing it before.

I didn’t expect any trouble. The towers were actually a lot closer to the coach stop on the edge of campus than the dorm complex housing Harlowe Hall was. University rules required students to be armed with an enchanted weapon any time they went outside, though.

I had an exemption. Steff didn’t. Technically mine was because as a half-demon I was a living weapon all by myself. The actual reason I availed myself of it was that I was more likely to hurt myself than anything else… magic weapons were one of the things I was vulnerable to. Eventually I planned on being able to shrink my blank-enchanted staff down to something I could safely and comfortably carry, but I needed a lot more practice at size-altering before I could do something like that multiple times a day every day.

The permanently enchanted staff I was planning would have size changing as a feature, of course. Or even conjuring and abjuring. Possibly both, so I didn’t have to keep track of the tiny staff and I didn’t have to have room to summon it in its full-sized form. Even better if I was able to use it as a wand while it was shrunk…

“What are you thinking about?” Steff asked.

“Enchantment stuff,” I said.

“Again? It’s like school hasn’t even begun yet and you’re already bogged down in homework.”

“I’m compensating for last year, where I waited until halfway through the first semester to start,” I said. “Seriously, though, school never really ended, for me. I just get a little break and then I get right back to it. Also, I’m excited… I’ve got a lot of the preliminary stuff out of the way and now I’m going to be learn the really useful stuff. I want to be ready to put it to use.”

“Ah, underclasspersons,” Steff said. “Was I ever so young?”

“Yes,” I said. “A year ago… and watch who you’re calling an ‘underclassperson’. I may be a sophomore, but at this rate I just might graduate before you.”

“Probably will,” Steff said. “I’m finding myself sliding onto the de facto five year plan. I spent too much of my first two years taking classes that sounded fun and now I’m going to have to haul ass to finish my major. I mean, somehow I’m five semesters into my undergraduate degree and I haven’t managed to find time for any of the required courses on necroethics.”

“I’m surprised they don’t make you take those first,” I said. “Ethics seems like a useful thing to know before they teach you how to animate corpses and drain energy from souls and things.”

“Oh, you don’t need them to do necromancy,” she said. “Just to be a licensed necromancer… and given that I’m not planning on living or working in the Imperium, I really think I should be able to opt out.”

“By the same token, is your degree really going to do any good for you out in the ogre badlands?” I asked. I really wasn’t trying to advocate for her to skip the ethics classes and drop out of school as soon as she knew enough about spirit-binding and zombie-raising to be dangerous, but it seemed so obvious and logical that I couldn’t help blurting it out.

“You’d be surprised,” Steff said. “Ogres are big believers in trophies. You don’t come back from a hunt without something to hang on the wall. That’s why so many ogre lords are keen on signing treaties with the Imperium. They all want the biggest, most impressive one so they can show their underlings and neighbors how important they are.”

“Huh,” I said. I could feel my face twisting into the same expression Marcel had worn when he’d been debating whether he could dismiss Steff’s tale or not.

“I’m not pulling your leg, Mack,” she said. “Honestly. Look at it like this: they’re a scarce resource. The ogres can’t produce fancy bits of paper themselves. That makes them valuable.”

“I suppose,” I said. “But wouldn’t a necromancy license just be one more thing you can show off?”

“Maybe.”

“Anyway, thanks for coming with me. I wouldn’t expect you to do it for Ian.”

“I’m not doing it for Ian,” she said. “Well, I guess in a sense I did it for all of us, because if you got yourself killed wandering around campus at night we’d all lose out… well, I wouldn’t necessarily lose out, especially if I could get you to sign a release form, but I think Amy would be devastated.”

“Thank you for caring,” I said. “But you told me last year that they keep the monsters away during the first week.”

“Yeah, well, we both know those wards don’t work on every kind of monsters, don’t we?” she said. “Anyway, I’ll slip away when Ian gets here so he can get some alone time in before your bed gets too crowded.”

“You make it sound like I’m going to be sleeping with the whole skirmish team.”

“You might not be, but Amy could very well be.”

“Still… it’s surprisingly nice of you to bow out,” I said. “I mean, it’s not like you and I have already…”

“I know,” she said. “But I’ve got someone else I can go back to. Ian doesn’t, and I don’t think he’s as naturally polyamorous as you or I are. He’d probably appreciate a night of having you to himself before he has to start sharing again. Still not doing it for him, though… you benefit from having a happy and secure boyfriend.”

“I don’t think I’m naturally polyamorous.”

“I’d wonder how you managed to fall into it so easily, but I think I just answered my own question,” Steff said. “You’re not naturally polyamorous, you’re just really good at falling.”

“Have I fallen on my face since you got here?” I asked. For once, the laws of cosmic/comic cause-and-effect didn’t provide me with an immediate rebuttal.

“Dunno,” Steff said. “To be honest, Mack, I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to your face.”

I stopped walking. The quick-searing blush that spread over my face and made me want to bury it in my hands might very well have made me stumble if I hadn’t.

“Ah, I missed that,” Steff said. “See, I don’t have to fuck you to have fun with you… and here comes your boy, so I’ll leave you alone.”

Elven speed plus elven senses meant that by the time I registered that I couldn’t see Ian yet, Steff was nowhere to be seen, either. A little ways down the path, the school coach was just pulling up to the curb. I could just see a blob in one of the windows that was probably a face, but in the absence of Steff’s word I wouldn’t have even ventured a guess as to the identity.

Sure enough, though, when the coach stopped and the door opened, Ian stepped out. His brownish-blondish hair was longer and scruffier-looking than I’d ever seen, and he had his lute strapped to his back and a sword… a new and fairly impressive-looking gladius… on his belt. The t-shirt and shorts he was wearing showed off the corded muscles he’d earned grappling as a gladiator in the ring.

All in all, he was very much the picture of a warrior bard.

He saw me and held up a hand to stop me just as I was starting to break into a run. He probably had a point. I was excited to see him, but that seemed like a good way to break my almost unprecedented streak of continuous verticality.

Or maybe he just wanted to come to me.

He turned around and got a duffel bag and a suitcase out of the coach then walked up the path towards me slowly. A couple of girls he’d been sharing the coach with walked past him. Their obvious hurry to get out of the open didn’t stop them from checking him out as they passed. I couldn’t blame them. I kind of wanted to, but I really couldn’t… not when I had two other lovers and Ian, as far as I knew, was monogamous. Before the end of the year I’d agreed that he was free to take other lovers as long as he was honest with them about his relationship status. It had been his idea that he wouldn’t have to tell me unless something was getting serious. I didn’t mind that at all.

If I was honest with myself, I had a harder time with the idea of sharing Ian than I did Amaranth or Steff, who definitely fit the box labeled “naturally polyamorous” better than Ian did. If I was even more honest… well, it turned me on. Even if Ian never took advantage of it… even though I’d never necessarily know if he did… the knowledge that any time he wasn’t with me, he could be with some other girl and I could do nothing about it, I had no say over it… it was hot.

The idea of sharing Ian with other girls made my stomach want to twist itself around and tie itself up in knots. The idea of me being shared by him with Steff and Amaranth? It kind of did the same thing, but a bit lower than my stomach and in a good way. A year ago that sort of thing would have completely scandalized me to admit. Now I understood that it was just how I was. If I tried to repress or deny it, I’d feel all the same things but I’d experience them as shame.

Since Ian had motioned for me to wait, I also waited for him to speak before I said anything. He came right up to me, set his bags down, and just stood there looking down into my eyes. It was getting on full dark by that point. The glow from the enchanted path suffused the air around us, letting me see his face in better lighting than anywhere or any time else. I couldn’t have asked for a better reintroduction. His hazel eyes looked almost amber in that light.

“Hey there,” he said finally. “Did you miss me?”

Yessss.” The word slid out of my throat like a sigh, like his words had been a barbed hook that went right through me and pulled out my reply inch by inch.

“Good,” he said with a smirk. He didn’t say if he’d missed me. His time in the arena had done a lot for his confidence. It showed in this easy stride and his cocky words. He picked up the duffel bag and hitched the strap over his right shoulder. “Take that,” he said, pointing to his suitcase. When I picked it up with my right hand, he said, “Other hand.”

I colored slightly as I transferred it to my left hand. I wasn’t surprised when he took my free hand.

“I’m on the seventh floor,” he said. “You’re on five, right?”

“Yes, Ian,” I said.

“Fifth floor girl, through and through,” he said. “The more things change…”

I smiled.

“At least we have lifts this year,” I said.

“Khersis be praised,” he said. “Well, not literally, obviously. Sorry if that…”

“Idle mentions don’t affect me,” I reminded him. “Technically, taking his name in vain is a sin, not a prayer.”

“How do you know it was in vain? I could have been sincere,” he said.

“You’d have burned my hand.”

“But you’d have held on,” he said, giving it a squeeze.

“If you wanted me to,” I said. “I’d try, anyway.”

“On second thought, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to invoke divine power for kinky sex,” Ian said. “They’d probably have to invent some kind of superdamnation for me.”

“You could always convert to Khaeleanism,” I said. “Amaranth’s mother still hasn’t made up her mind about us, but she doesn’t seem to be opposed on principle.”

“To sex with demonbloods, or divine kinkiness?”

“Take your pick,” I said.

“Oh, I’ll take a good deal more than my pick.”

“What does that even mean?”

“I don’t even know,” he admitted. “Is it doing anything for you?”

“No,” I said.

“Oh.”

“Sorry.”

“Well, if all else fails I can just call you a cunt,” he said, giving my hand another, harder squeeze. It wasn’t a friendly squeeze, any more than it was a friendly word. I could have destroyed every bone in Ian’s hand if I’d returned the favor, but he had some muscles and even if he couldn’t inflict any harm I still felt the pain. The combination of that and the accompanying burst of arousal and pleasure nearly brought me to my knees.

To be specific, it would have brought me to my knees if I hadn’t swooned and fallen over completely.

Ian almost fell over with me… he couldn’t quite catch me but kept hold of my hand and knelt down with me, which I guess saved me from hitting the ground any harder.

“Fuck! Mackenzie!” he said. “Are you okay?”

“You should be careful,” I said. “You ought to know this whole ‘walking’ thing is a work in progress with me.”

He laughed and helped me to my feet.

“I guess I should save it for the bedroom, huh?” he said.

“Don’t hold back on my account.”

Ian and I spent the night together in my room. It was intense, to come together with him like that after months of celibacy and isolation… it was the first time I’d had sex since before the end of my freshman year.

It was also kind of a learning experience for both of us. In particular, we learned that even though the beds in Gilcrease were only a little bit narrower than the ones in Harlowe and Weyland, the lost inches made a lot of difference to the comfort level of multiple people sharing it.

This didn’t get in the way of the sex all that much. Much of what we did together was done standing up… or rather, with Ian standing and me kneeling towards or bent over away from him. The long months of being left on my own had been good for me, but it was good to be in someone else’s hands again, to have someone take charge, take control, take over me…

I let Ian slip the ring of protection on my finger at the beginning of it all. There is of course a whole school of somewhat dated innuendos about men giving women rings in this fashion, but that’s not what it symbolized to me. It wasn’t like a marriage, except maybe in a fairly archaic sense. Ian was claiming me. He was binding me. It was a tiny little bond, but it gave me a tiny little thrill.

With the ring on, we were double-covered against pregnancy… I’d started taking anti-fertility potions the year before to suppress one of the inconvenient side-effects of my demonic nature. It seemed that the scent and taste of fertile female half-demon was highly attractive to predators.

It probably was responsible for the fact that there weren’t any free-breeding populations of demonbloods running around, though… even other half-demons found the taste and scent of us appealing. I didn’t know exactly why this was… there wasn’t a lot of information available on the subject. One book I’d browsed through in the library over the summer had described the frequently violent death of female half-demons at the hands of males as being a matter of dominance and strength, as if we didn’t all have supernatural strength that made the difference between the raw muscle power of a male body and a female one into a drop in the bucket. Other sources had missed out on the fate of female half-demons completely and attributed the lack of half-demon clans or families to the idea that demons are inherently asocial.

My scent wasn’t completely irresistible. It wasn’t even something that everyone with predatory tendencies noticed right away. But once someone got a taste, it seemed to linger in their minds… and even if it can be resisted, not everyone when faced with something so appetizing would choose to resist. Given that the school admitted students from some of the more “monstrous” races of the world, damping my scent seemed like a necessary safety measure.

That aside, it was very freeing to know that I couldn’t get pregnant. I’d managed to get past a lot of the negative shame aspects associated with sex, but the fear of getting knocked up was a big thing. Okay, there were options there, but I wasn’t sure I’d spent enough time living the life of an enlightened liberal college student to overcome nine years of my grandmother’s influence in that area.

After a couple hours I was pretty sure that Ian hadn’t found another girl while he was away for the summer. If he’d had another outlet during those months and was still so happy to see me, I didn’t have any reason to feel jealous. We didn’t actually, you know, fuck for several hours in a row. Ian had learned quite a bit from Amaranth and… though neither of them would be likely to admit it… Steff over the course of the previous year. Our sex wasn’t just sex. It was him being… Him, and me being His.

Steff had called Ian my security and she was right, and never did I feel more secure than when he put me very firmly in my place and kept me there.

He could make me crawl, he could make me beg. He could slap me around. He could absolutely cut loose on me without any chance of injury or leaving a mark, without any fear of condemnation or recrimination. I needed what he gave me. It didn’t even particularly matter what it was. The fact that he gave and I took was all that mattered.

When he was done, we were both absolutely spent. It was a good thing, too… exhaustion made sleeping together in the narrow bed a little easier.

“Maybe you can, you know, de-bunk the beds and put them side by side?” Ian suggested the next morning, after waking up with a crick in his neck and an arm that was still lost somewhere in slumberland. “You’d lose some usable floor space, but you’d double your usable mattress space.”

“These beds don’t come apart,” I said. “It’s one piece.”

“Oh, that sucks,” he said. “And that means I’m stuck sleeping in a bunk bed in my own room, too. It’s bad enough that I have to get used to sharing a room with another guy again without us almost literally sleeping on top of each other.”

“Sleep over here, then,” I said.

“I’ll still be sleeping in a bunk bed.”

“Yes, but you won’t be sharing a room with a guy,” I said.

“That will get crowded really fast,” he said.

“There’s always going to be an empty bunk,” I said. “I mean, I can sleep just fine with Amaranth actually-literally right on top of me so there’s no reason we’d ever use the top bunk.”

“Sleeping in the same room as you and Amaranth but in a different bed is supposed to be a good thing?”

“Well, you’ll have quick and easy access,” I said. “I guess we’ll just have to use the floor when we want to all get… intricate… with one another.”

“Have you noticed? There isn’t as much floor in here as there was in Harlowe.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“I mean, we did okay, but that’s with only two of us.”

The rooms in Gilcrease were oddly shaped, being narrow at the front up by the door and wider at the back. The door to the bathroom was on the lefthand side of my room as you came in. The bathroom was just big enough to have a sink and toilet along one wall and a bathtub along the other. The bathroom took up a big chunk of what would have been the front of the two rooms it connected. The bunk bed was set back in the little alcove that resulted from this. It could be moved, but there wasn’t really any better place to put it.

The alcove and the fact that there were shelves and cabinets build into the walls meant there really was more space than it looked like there was, but it was a bit like living in a cramped hallway. Harlowe’s blocky institutional style meant there was enough space for people to sit in a circle. Even if we could fit a whole group of people in the Gilcrease rooms, it wouldn’t feel as sociable.

“We’re going to have to find a new place to hang out, aren’t we?” Ian said.

“I hate to say it, but yeah, I think so,” I said. “I mean, I like the room. It’s cozy. But it’s not exactly a party space.”

“You know what I heard the guys in one suite did last year? Stretched a portable hole across the wall between their rooms. Back where the beds are, I mean. They turned their beds sideways so they had this big shared space.”

“That’s got to be against residence hall rules,” I said. “Which means Two would never go for it. And I’m not sure I would, either… we’d gain space but lose privacy. Plus, a portable hole that big wouldn’t be cheap.”

“Is that your way of saying you didn’t learn how to make one over summer vacation?”

“No,” I said. “And I’m not likely to. Messing about with extraplanar stuff takes really specialized knowledge. I could make something bigger on the inside, but its insides would still be inside it. If I were to extend the depth of the alcove, we’d have a bigger alcove but it wouldn’t connect through to Two and Dee’s room. The outside wall would still be in the same place, on the outside.”

“Well, that’s even better. Could you do that?”

“No,” I said. “With a lot of practice and study I could make the inside of a cabinet bigger, but the room… it would take more energy than I have to make any change you’d notice, and it wouldn’t last.”

“Oh,” Ian said. “Well, it was a thought.”

“I don’t think it’ll be so bad here once we get settled in. Amaranth is supposed to be bringing carpet and stuff. She was on the mirror with me all week, having me measure and re-measure things. She didn’t trust my measurement spells… she made me get a tape measure.”

“In fairness to her, you did just learn how to do that.”

“Yeah, but I aced that class,” I said.

The one credit hour workshop DIV 117, Measuring With Magic, had been one of the high points of my summer. It was probably a good thing that I’d been on my own when I took it, because I would have no doubt annoyed my friends if I hadn’t got over my habit of compulsively measuring and weighing everything around me just for fun. It turned out I’d had a knack for that sort of thing without knowing it… one of the first bits of magic I’d ever learned how to do was detecting magic and reading enchantments. As it happened, picking up the physical properties of objects was really similar. It was a useful skill to have, because I didn’t really have a head for things like sizes and distances. An enchanter who wanted to be more than one small part of an assembly line needed to either have enough money to pay for an assembly line or to be something of a crafter.

“What time is Amaranth getting in, anyway?” Ian asked.

“Elevenish,” I said.

“Is she coming in on the school coach or are we meeting her in Enwich, or what?”

“Her overland coach stops here, actually,” I said.

“Oh. So, you want me to come down with you to meet her, or do you want to go alone?”

“She wants me to wait here for her,” I said.

“Seriously?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Why?”

“She likes the idea of me waiting for her,” I said. “She says it’ll be like coming home to me.”

“Oh. That’s sweet, I guess,” Ian said.

I thought it was sweet, too, but it appealed to me on other levels as well… like when Ian had bade me to wait for him to come to me. Amaranth called me her toy. That appealed to me more than the imagery of being a slave, especially living in a nation where slavery was still a fact of life. The idea of being a pet had kind of been ruined for me by an elven slaver who actually kept half-demons as pets and wanted me for her kennels. A toy? Being a toy was something I could handle, and one wouldn’t expect a toy to come running (and stumbling) to meet one’s coach.

I found myself thinking that it was a shame that none of the cabinets were big enough for me to sit or lay in. Not that it would have been terribly comfortable, but… well, I was something of a claustrophile, and the idea of being put away by Amaranth was like a less exciting and more comforting version of the feeling of being put in my place by Ian.

I’d spent almost four months on my own, with only occasional mirror conversations or a-mails from Amaranth, the woman that I loved and called my Owner. At some point in the last year my mind had started capitalizing that word. It just felt right. Ian could make me his with little more than a word or glance. Steff could take me any time she wanted. Amaranth just Owned me.

Effortlessly.

Completely.

Steff, Ian, and Amaranth shared me, but Amaranth had been my first lover and I felt the most deeply attached to her. I’d kept in touch with her the most during the summer, but by the same token she’d been the one I’d longed for the most often and the most deeply.

Now, she was coming back… coming home to me.

As far as ways to start a school year went, I couldn’t think of a much better one.


Soon: Amaranth! And there will be some important announcements with Monday’s chapter, all of them good.

Also: I’ve edited the Spring Fundraiser post a bit to try to make it more concise as some folks were confused… and I apparently didn’t mention in the main body of the post how long it’ll be running, but it is in fact open through the whole month of April. I’ll be streamlining the post a little more tomorrow. But yes, it is still running, there is still plenty of time for any of the choices to win, and I’ve added some lovely incentives based on reader suggestions.


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47 Responses to “Chapter 2: The Last Full Measure”

  1. Calia says:

    Mmmm. As much as I enjoy MackxAmy and MackxSteff, MackxIan is still my favorite to read about. Mostly because it gives me wonderful, wonderful ideas 🙂
    Still trying to get my boyfriend to read MU…

    Current score: 1
    • A+ first comment for the chapter. Five stars, would write again.

      Current score: 3
    • Lysaea says:

      I think MackxSteff would have to be *my* fave, but they’re all so good ^_^

      Have to say AE, with the pace shuffling and such of the past couple chapters I was worried that something terrible was going to happen to my favorite book series. You made it work, though! This chapter specifically feels more like a “back to normal” as far as interactions go (at least to me). I look forward to more occasional tidbits of what we “missed” (the measuring class) as well as the enthrallment of whatever storyline is to come. ^_^

      Current score: 0
      • Calia says:

        Oh yeah, all three are great, and AE described it well in this chapter- it’s the differences between “make”, “take”, and “own”. On the surface, they all sound so similar… but each one feels so different. Just another testament to the skill with which AE wields her keyboard 🙂

        Current score: 2
    • Null Set says:

      I was taken out of the moment in this chapter because I remembered Steff’s “Lord High Dongmaster” comment and couldn’t stop cracking up.

      Current score: 3
    • I know I’m in the extreme minority, but I always thought MackxFiji was the hottest.

      What? I like biting @_@ I’m not ashamed =P

      MackxIan is probably my second favorite, although we’ve yet to really get a taste of MackxNewSteff, so that could be extra hawtsome as well… (unsubtle hint).

      Current score: 2
  2. tigr says:

    Hrrrh, I know I shouldn’t, and just get ready and go to labs, but I enjoy reading too much ^^

    Typo: “Steff came out with me meet him at the carriage park.” missing a ‘to’.

    (Also, I think there might still be a couple of unfixed typos I left for the previous chapter…)

    Current score: 0
    • There are a lot of unfixed typos in the previous chapter as my arm was non-functional on Wednesday. I really do appreciate error fixes, but please let me fix them in my own time.

      Current score: 0
      • tigr says:

        Yes, of course! I’m very sorry if I made you feel rushed or anything otherwisely unpleasant. Please, take all the time you need to be feeling well!! (In the end, that is the most important thing of them all.) I simply wasn’t sure if it slipped your attention, and was wondering whether to give you a reminder or not.

        What would be a good / better way to deal with such things in the future ? (I really enjoy proofreading and pointing out mistakes; it’s just a lot less fun if it feels like wasted labour…)

        One idea: I seem to remember you having had a special “typo” thread; it may not be entirely practical but you could ask people to report typos ONLY there, and then you could delete posts as you fix the typos reported there-in, which would let you keep track of mistakes fixed?

        Current score: 0
  3. readaholic says:

    Aww. 🙂 So cute, this chapter. 🙂 And lol at the thought of Mackenzie geeking out measuring stuff.

    Current score: 1
  4. anne says:

    The towers were actually a lot closer to the coach stop on the edge of campus than the dorm complex that Harlowe Hall was part of was.

    This is an awkward read the way you have worded it though it is technically correct.

    I suggest that you re word it some way.

    Perhaps thus: The towers were a lot closer to the coach stop on the edge of campus than the dorm complex that Harlowe Hall was.

    Current score: 0
    • Your suggestion isn’t even technically correct, which makes it more awkward. Harlowe is not a dorm complex. The “was part of” contains meaningful information and can’t just be chopped out of the sentence to avoid the moderate weirdness of having two “was”es in the same sentence.

      Current score: 0
      • Null Set says:

        How about “The towers were actually a lot closer to the coach stop on the edge of campus than Harlowe Hall’s dorm complex was.”?

        Current score: 0
        • beappleby says:

          I was thinking “The towers were actually a lot closer to the coach stop on the edge of campus thanHarlowe Hall was.”

          I did do a double take before I could see that it wasn’t technically a typo.

          Current score: 0
      • fka_luddite says:

        While I don’t really feel that a change is needed, my thought for re-wording is “… than the dorm complex that included Harlowe was.”

        NB: my leaving out “Hall” is intentional.

        Current score: 0
        • fka_luddite says:

          When I posted, I thought this topic had been completed. Just read through the next “topic” which includes almost the samr wording I suggested by Stormcaller.

          Current score: 0
    • anne says:

      GRR… The towers were a lot closer to the coach stop on the edge of campus than the dorm complex with Harlowe Hall in it was… Maybe… I noticed I left out something in my reword the first time… 😛

      Current score: 0
      • Okay, that’s a better attempt. I’m not convinced it requires a change but I’ll be thinking about it when I enter corrections later today.

        Current score: 0
        • Stormcaller says:

          The towers were actually a lot closer to the coach stop on the edge of campus than the dorm complex in which Harlowe Hall was located.

          -or-

          The towers were actually a lot closer to the coach stop on the edge of campus than the dorm complex which included Harlowe Hall.

          ?

          Current score: 0
  5. Nony Mouz says:

    Loving the way Book 2 is going!

    ‘Nother quick typo: “The combination of that and the accompany burst of arousal and pleasure nearly brought me to my knees.”

    “accompany” should be “accompanying”

    Current score: 0
  6. Shwaggy says:

    I really enjoy Mack geeking out about her magic…it’s exactly what I’d be doing. I especially like her plans for the staff. Can’t wait to see what she actually ends up dong with it!

    Current score: 1
  7. Sarah says:

    I love the subtitle of this chapter.

    Current score: 0
  8. Just a note to everyone: I’m doing some technical rejiggering of stuff on the back end of the site today. It would have been done in the middle of the week, between updates, but I had an arm injury that stopped me from mousing. I’m trying to keep disruption to a minimum but you may see things disappearing and/or appearing, and there is a small chance of the site being rendered very briefly inoperable.

    Current score: 0
  9. Lunaroki says:

    Typo Report

    “No,” I said.

    “Oh.”

    “Sorry.”

    “It’s okay,” I said.

    This reads awkwardly. The paragraph change between “Oh.” and “Sorry.” makes it sound like the speaker is changing, but with the paragraphs before and after both belonging to Mack it seems both central paragraphs are Ian’s. Is there any reason those are split up like that?

    “I guess we’ll just have to use the floor when we want to all get… intricate… with one another other.”

    That last “other” doesn’t belong after “another”. Sounds like you tried to switch from “each other” to “one another” and wound up leaving “other” as an artifact.

    “Oh. So, you want me to come down with you to meet here, or do you want to go alone?”

    “here” should be “her”.

    Also, I tend to post mostly these typo reports and I don’t want you to think that’s all I care about. AE, I LOVE your stories! I always have ever since I first discovered them. I don’t think I say it often enough but your stories are truly inspired, and inspiring, work. I may have mentioned before that I’m a bit of a writer myself, probably just a little more so than Mack is. Your stories not only entertain but also provide me with new insights into how to write better stories. I’m loving the start of the new year thus far. Keep up the great work! ^_^

    P.S. Also trying to convince my girlfriend to try reading you. I think a lot of what you write would be right up her alley if she’d give it a chance.

    Current score: 0
  10. Lyssa says:

    Very cute reunion. I really like the pace of this chapter and greatly appreciate you getting it up so early (just after midnight when it was due sometime today is awesome!)

    So thanks!

    Edit: Also, I love the new editing tool! Wonderful!

    Current score: 0
  11. Not that girl, the other one says:

    To balance out the typo reports – AE you continue to do wonderful work. I went back and read the first few chapters from the first volume and wow Mackenzie has come so far! And is yet still very much herself (clumsy, stubborn, geeky, etc.)

    I’m loving these super-long chapters to help us get back into the story. I’m sure you won’t keep them up (I’d be in awe if you did), but they’re great for addressing all the little details us veterans need to be reacquainted with and new readers should know for context.

    Edit: Duuuude, edit feature FTW!
    Double edit to answer a question that wasn’t aimed at me: yes it worked.

    Current score: 1
  12. zeel says:

    Great chapter!

    EDIT: Nice feature. It breaks the design a little bit, but it was much needed.

    Current score: 0
  13. OhPun says:

    So, is Mackenzie going to use her new skill to measure her friends? Will we get to learn Ian’s erection size or a comparison of Amaranth’s and Steff’s breast sizes? Will someone use that skill on her (or someone she knows), because I doubt Ian’s ex-dorm mates are too mature for something like that.

    Editting FTW! Also I love the countdown feature.

    Current score: 0
  14. The Dark Master says:

    I really like the flow you’ve got going on in the new stories so far, less dwelling on details, and it shows how Mackenzie is avoiding overthinking things herself. Interesting to see that Mackenzie is still on the anti-fertility potions; it seems that her body has adjusted to them, so she still has most of her libido but doesn’t seem to have the aura of temptation. Of course, its possible that I’ve gotten that completly wrong, but often times the real answer can be more interesting.
    .
    Also, of course Steff doesn’t want to take the ethics classes; we’ve seen her dreams…

    Current score: 0
  15. zeel says:

    I have taken it upon myself to keep the timeline up-to-date-ish. I have made a distinction from Freshamn to Sophomore year. And I added chapter 496, 1, and 2. I still need to add the rest of the volume one chapters, and there are more blank chapter pages than I want to think about. But I’ll keep Sophomore year up to date as long as I can.

    Anyone want to help fill out blank chapter pages? (The links that are red are to blank pages)

    Current score: 0
  16. Meeks says:

    She’d slipped her knife belt on, which made me realize that she hadn’t been wearing it before.

    whups ^_^;

    Ian’s always been a bit too ‘normal’ for me to connect with like I do with some of the other characters, but I do love reading his dialogues with Mackenzie, so it’s nice to see him back 🙂

    Current score: 0
    • That wasn’t a criticism, just my way of “canonizing” your picture.

      Current score: 0
      • Meeks says:

        Thanks! I did know she usually wears a knife belt…for some reason the gown just cancelled it out 😛

        Current score: 0
      • Lyssa says:

        I thought that’s what it was! I’m excited to hear that was true. ^_^

        Current score: 0
    • drudge says:

      For some reason I connect with him the best, despite being almost nothing like him. I mean I can relate to the others, but for some reason he just plain *clicks* with me.

      Current score: 0
  17. anna says:

    corrections:

    “Yeah, well, we both know those wards don’t work on every kind of monsters”

    ‘monsters’ should be ‘monster’

    “Oh. So, you want me to come down with you to meet here”

    ‘here’ should be ‘her’

    Current score: 0
  18. Zathras IX says:

    In which Mackenzie
    Owns up to being Owned and
    Not just being Pwned

    Current score: 1
  19. HiEv says:

    Jeez. This section makes it seem that it was pretty lucky Mack got on the potion before she met Embries and all of his “maiden devouringness”. One wonders if he could have kept himself from eating her otherwise. Her dad’s comments regarding avoiding Embries seem to suggest that he probably would have had her for dessert if she hadn’t been taking it.

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      It was lucky. Go back and reread Embries’ reaction on meeting Mackenzie face to face that first time. Note his disappointment.

      Current score: 2
  20. Bilbo says:

    Not to be prurient… but I can’t recall any sex scenes Mack/Steff since Steff got the “upgrades”.

    Still saving that one?

    Current score: 0
  21. Tinq says:

    The writing, the characters, and the sense that Mack owns herself much more now makes what I’ve read so far (granted, a small sampling but whatcha gonna do?) very B:tVS Season 3. That’s a good thing.

    Current score: 0
  22. zeel says:

    Reading back though, I just noticed that this chapter and last are long.

    Current score: 0
  23. Jechtael says:

    I love the imagery of Mack geeking out and measuring everything. It sounds like something I’d do (and I’ve probably done that specific bit of geekery quite a few times, when I got longer metal tape measures than my sewing tape measures).

    Current score: 0
    • zeel says:

      I once had a sound based range finding gizmo. I measured everything with it. If I could use magic? I would be soo anoying…

      Current score: 1