446: Making Connections

on May 27, 2010 in Book 16

In Which Amaranth Fills Her Own Gap

It was a shorter walk to the healing center than it had been from the field, which was kind of ironic since I had a lot more to think about. Now that the pain was gone… most of the pain, anyway… I was trying to recall how things had felt with the staff in my hands, sequences of events. I felt like a lot of the things I’d experienced, which had bunched up and blurred together so much at the time, were now kind of unbunching inside my head.

I didn’t think I could have laid an exact sequence of events from start to finish, but more than one distinct chain of moments was kind of coming together for me: what I’d done, what had worked, what hadn’t… what had almost worked, or had worked but could work better. Most of it seemed to fall into those latter categories. I’d fumbled my way through our little bouts without anything like elegance and without a lot of control. It had worked because I was so strong and because Gloria wasn’t as good as she thought she was, as good as she could one day be.

Callahan was a lot more complicated a person than I’d given her credit for, and that wasn’t just taking her heritage or unorthodox views on Khersis into account. Her message for Steff wasn’t that hard to figure out on the surface: she knew about Steff’s transformation and she didn’t care about it. How she knew about it, much less knew that Steff might have feared it would be an issue, was a different story. It seemed like if she’d seen Steff at all before class, she wouldn’t have needed to send a message through me.

Trying to figure out what Callahan knew and how she knew it… and whether or why she cared about it… was probably as fruitless as trying to guess where she’d be going on her “excuse”. There was a weird kind of honesty in admitting right up front that you were lying, but that didn’t make the truth any more clear.

She wanted to make sure I knew how to defend myself against Gloria, but I didn’t get the sense that she was on my side in that nascent conflict… or on Gloria’s. It seemed more like Callahan wanted to make sure there were two sides to the fight.

It was possible that I’d never actually fight Gloria. She might see it as an inevitability, as I was evil and she, in her own mind, was good. But if she waited for the time when she could do it legally, she’d be waiting a long time. In the intervening years, it was just possible her views would broaden and her understanding of her place in the world would become a little more nuanced. That certainly seemed to be within the realm of possibility, for sheltered girls who came to university after a strict religious upbringing… but even if I never found myself defending myself from Gloria for real, the world was full of paladins and would-be monster slayers, people who would have spent their lives preparing to kill something like me.

I could never match that kind of training and dedication. I just couldn’t. For one thing, I was already eighteen years behind. For another… well, that would never be my life. If I spent all my time learning to fight… or all my time fighting… on guard for threats, doing anything in order to stop them from harming me… that didn’t seem like a life worth fighting for. It also seemed like a really short path to the kind of person I didn’t want to be: vicious, deadly, more demon than human.

It seemed absolutely fucking insane to stop and think that Gloria and I were going to class twice a week to prepare for the potential of mortal combat with each other. The world we lived in wasn’t exactly a safe place for anyone, but for most of the humans going to school with us, weapon training was little more than a game. It was fun. It was competitive. It was… recreational. It might come in handy one day, but they had the luxury of thinking it might never be necessary.

Why couldn’t it be like that for Gloria, too? Why did she feel like she had to pit herself against the forces of darkness, even as they might have been dimly embodied in my clumsy, awkward body?

For that matter, why couldn’t it be like that for me? For both of us? Why couldn’t we sit down and just talk about what her life had been like in the Argentus? Or about what her hero was like in real life? Or about boys? Or girls, or whatever… if I was being honest with myself, physical attraction probably had something to do with how much I wanted Gloria to give me a chance. It’s likely I wouldn’t have had a shot with Gloria even if she didn’t see me as a deadly-enemy-in-training, but it hurt to admit that I wouldn’t even get to find out. We couldn’t even be friends.

We didn’t have to be enemies, though. At least, I wouldn’t be an enemy to her. I’d fight if she attacked me, I decided, but I would not seek her out as a sparring partner. I wouldn’t taunt her or provoke her. It had felt good, in the heat of the moment, to get under her skin a little… but getting up in her face all the time, literally or otherwise, would only increase the odds of the inevitable becoming actual.

Also, it would please Amaranth, which wasn’t exactly a terrible bonus in any situation. Amaranth’s approval, even hypothetical, made me feel strangely light… light in heart and head, light of step. It made me feel lit, too, illuminated by sunlight on my skin… or lit from within, with light coursing through me and flowing out from me.

“Ma’am?” a man said, just in front of me, and something in the way he said it made me think it must have been the second or third time. I snapped out of my daze and realized that there was a campus guardsman in front of me. The look on his face was friendly but concerned… there was a deeper worry hiding inside his eyes. Well, the guards all had to know who I was. “Are you okay?” he asked when he saw he had my attentin.

“What? Yeah,” I said. He was staring at my face, and I dropped my gaze before realizing what he was looking at. I reached up and touched the scratches on my face.

“Were you attacked?” he asked. “Did something attack you?”

“No,” I said. “Weapon class. I was on my way to the healing center.”

“Healing center’s that way,” he said, pointing back over my shoulder. I’d followed the path right past it.

“Oh!” I said, my cheeks coloring. I should have been paying attention to where I’d been going, but even in a distracted state I’d been to the healing center often enough to know the way.

“It’s okay,” he said. “You sure you’re alright?”

“I’m fine, thank you,” I said, and it popped into my head that the guard didn’t have any idea who I was. I was just another student… a young human woman with a little blood on my face. His instincts towards me were protective. Had he not ever got the memo about me?

“Well, you sure look like you’re doing okay,” he said. “You have a good day, and be careful.”

“Thank you,” I said, and I meant it. I felt really good… this guy was doing his job the way it was supposed to work. I was a student, he looked out for my safety, and he was friendly about it. I felt like I should say something else, add some other conversational pleasantry, but years of keeping my mouth tightly shut while my grandmother interacted with the grown-ups who greeted her politely had put several layers of protective varnish on my natural shyness. “Have a good day, too,” I managed. It sounded blunt, more peremptory than I’d meant it, but he just smiled and gave me a nod, and we each headed on our ways.

I realized that I’d felt… at the risk of sounding racist… human for the first time in a long time. I didn’t mean that in the sense that there was something uniquely or even especially human about being polite and pleasant. But before I turned, that had been my world, the world I’d expected to grow into… a world of smiles and nods and kind words.

How are you doing? Oh, I’m fine. How are you? Quite well, thank you for asking.

The voice in my head was my mother’s… I could remember her moving her way through the aisles of the grocer’s, or going from stall to stall at the outdoor markets, or waiting in line at the bank. People greeted her and she responded. It seemed as natural as breathing to her. She’d been kind to everyone she spoke to, in my memory. My grandmother had been unfailingly polite. It was only when I thought to compare the two that I could really see how strong the difference was. I wondered how my mother had come by it? It was possible that my grandmother had been kinder in her youth.
“Ma’am? Ma’am, it’s just there… you went past it!” the guard called. I managed to turn slowly on the spot instead of whirling around and tripping myself up. My cheeks were burning, but one look at the guy’s kind of fatherly face made me realize that he wasn’t looking at me like I was some kind of idiot. He was still just looking out for me. A phrase popped into my head… something one said in situations like this.

“Thanks!” I said. “I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached.”

“I don’t think they could help you with that,” he said, laughing. I kept my thoughts corralled as I walked right up to the Gygax Memorial Healing Arts Center.

My good mood persisted even when facing the newly-bolstered bureaucracy that governed the distribution of healing magic. I didn’t know the woman behind the counter, but I did my best to be clear about my needs and tried to sound pleasant while I did it. The fact that I was smiling when I walked in seemed to help somehow. I saw a really brief scowl when she figured out who I was and why I couldn’t take divine healing. I didn’t get the sense that she was a divine healer herself. She stayed polite in her dealing with me, though, so I stayed as nice as I could.

I felt like my efforts were rewarded when I came out freshly healed and saw Amaranth leading Ian, Steff, and Two towards me… and Two’s friend Hazel, I realized on a second glance. Or as the first glance lingered. Amaranth was as breathtakingly beautiful as ever… if not more. Cold and gray as it was, she might as well have been walking naked beneath a blazing summer sun, the way the feeble rays of light lit up her golden hair and made her skin glow.

“Hey, baby!” she called out, breaking into a run. I started to do the same, then thought better of it… running with a quarterstaff in hand did not seem like a great idea. If I hit myself with, it would hurt… that, and the magic of the paths meant that I was no better protected than a full human if I fell hard on one.

The hug that followed when she reached me was pretty epic, as hugs go… the staff should have got in the way of it, but Amaranth got it out of my hand and away wherever she puts her stuff before that could happen. Ian followed it up with a kiss on my cheek as I was returning a hello from Two. He blushed right after, like he’d just realized what he’d done. It was just a tiny touch of red in his cheeks, but I had to admit that if I looked anything like that when I blushed then I could understand why people made such a big deal out of it.

“You just look… pretty… today,” he said. He went to stick his hands in his pockets, and missed.

“As opposed to every other day,” Steff said, giggling.

“No, Ian’s right,” Two said. “You do look pretty today, Mack.”

“It’s the smile that does it,” Hazel added. “Your face isn’t half-bad, all things considered, but the half that’s not bad is hidden under a kind of absent scowl, half the time.”

“Yes,” Two said, nodding. “So smiling makes you three-quarters prettier.”

“Thank you for the mathematical analysis,” I said. I turned back towards Amaranth. “What are you all doing here?” I asked. “Not that I’m not, you know…”

“…glad to see me?” Amaranth finished. “Believe me, baby, you don’t need to convince me of that. Why wouldn‘t I come here, when you were… ” She stopped, frowning. The obvious ending to that sentence was “hurt”, but she didn’t have any way of knowing what had happened to me. “Well,” she said. “I guess it just made sense to check here, since I knew you were going to be going all-out in your fighting class today.”

I nodded. I couldn’t argue with that.. .well, I could have pretty easily, since it was very flimsy, but I didn’t want to at the moment. I’d seen Amaranth making up the missing details of what must have happened when my pitchfork had used her to remove itself from the campus. I didn’t know if it was a trait of hers or a general property of minds to abhor gaps like that, but I thought the topic would be one that needed to be broached gently and in private if I didn’t want to just make her entrench completely.

I somehow doubted that the same force was responsible this time… I couldn’t think of a reason for the pitchfork to send my girlfriend to check up on me at the healing center. If someone was playing protector… well, sending someone who couldn’t heal me to meet me at a place where I could get arcane healing seemed like a weird misstep for someone who was subtle enough to implant a suggestion.

It seemed likely to me she’d just had a hunch, if “just” applied… it must have been a strong one for her to lead the whole group over without questioning it, and without wondering to herself how she knew.

There were other, more immediate things that needed talking about, but publicly and privately. I needed to talk to Lee about the mermaid teeth, but I wanted Amaranth’s help for that and I didn’t want to bring it up in front of Two and Hazel. I didn’t know if Ian would appreciate being in on that conversation or not… as much as he disliked me keeping secrets, I had a feeling that he wouldn’t.

Then there was the other thing.

“Oh, Callahan’s class is canceled on Thursday,” I told Steff. “She seems to be okay with your… change in status. She didn’t even mark you absent today.”

“Yeah, I know,” Steff said. “I went over to her office and talked to her before class.”

“What? Then why did she tell me…”

“She was telling you not to worry,” Steff said.

“She couldn’t just tell me that?”

“Wouldn’t be like her,” Steff said.

“I really thought she…”

“Her attraction to me… and she is attracted to me, no matter what she says… was never based on what I did for her as a ’man’,” Steff said. “Mack, hon, she runs the glad program, for fuck’s sake.”

“But she’s straight,” I said. “If she didn’t see you as a guy…”

“She saw me as a victim,” Steff said. “Who fought back in interesting ways. Honey, Jilly’s a straight woman, but when it comes to sadism she’s pretty much ambisextrous. When I looked like a ’faggot’, she hit me with that. What happened is going to change some of the specifics, but she knows it’s the same person underneath.”

I bit back the urge to say something about how much Callahan cared about the person underneath… Callahan was definitely deeper than she looked, and she saw pretty deeply, too.

“So… dinner?” Ian said.

“Why don’t you all go ahead?” Amaranth suggested. “Mack and I really need to make a reflection.” She gave me a look like she had more to say and couldn’t stand holding it in, which was probably exactly the case.

“Yeah, okay,” Ian said. “Are you guys coming along later?”

“Depends on how long this takes,” Amaranth said. “You don’t have to wait for us.”

“Don’t forget you have to eat,” Two said.

“She won’t,” Amaranth said. “We’ll get something later if we have to.”

“Okay,” Two said. “Goodbye, Amaranth. Goodbye, Mack.”

“Bye,” we told her, and she headed away with Steff, Ian, and Two.

“So what’s up?” I asked Amaranth. She bit her lip, looking after the retreating forms of our friends. Steff would still be in earshot, thanks to her elven father. “Why don’t you want Steff to hear this?”

I didn’t press it when she didn’t answer immediately. She would have just shushed me, and as impatient as I was to find out what Amaranth wanted to tell me, I felt certain that holding it in was even harder on her.

“Because the whole point of it depends on no one else knowing,” Amaranth said, more than a minute later. “I’ve figured out how we can make sure the imperials know about the teeth without involving you at all.”

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83 Responses to “446: Making Connections”

  1. Janthro says:

    Can’t wait to see what Amaranth’s idea is.

    Current score: 0
    • A Random Pooka says:

      And how badly it’s going to turn out!

      The best laid plans of Nymphs and Demonbloods …

      Current score: 0
  2. Blondegoth says:

    “the Gygax Memorial Healing Arts Center.”

    Current score: 0
    • Kevin says:

      I kind of wondered if that was always there. Also wonder if its an in world Gygax, or the late Ernest Gary Gygax who died in 2008… three days before my birthday (which was when i found out about it, worst birthday ever). Alas we miss thee Lord Gygax master of dungeons, ruler of dragons, and creator of the dreaded Temple of Elemental Evil.

      For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m referring to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Gygax

      Current score: 0
      • BStorm says:

        Unless I’m mistaken, the Healing Arts center is named specifically in honor and remembrance of the greatly missed Gary Gygax.

        Current score: 1
      • Ducky says:

        “…campus buildings are generally named after people who have been very important in inspiring MU (cf. the Gygax Memorial Healing Center)” -from when AE did an auction for the Bardic Arts building’s name to raise money for s00j

        I’m pretty sure the name’s first appearance was shortly after Mr. Gygax died, as well.

        Current score: 1
  3. Tychomonger says:

    Oh no, she’s scheming again…

    Current score: 0
  4. Jennifer says:

    Oh no… is Amaranth going to try to be smart again??? They should REALLY just talk to Lee…

    Current score: 0
  5. Computer Mad Scientist says:

    Oy. This is going to end horribly, isn’t it?

    Current score: 0
  6. Zathras IX says:

    Why can’t we be friends?
    And, if not, could we just
    Not be enemies?

    Current score: 1
  7. Pyre says:

    Been a looooooong time since I commented. Is it just me, or is Mack taking a huge step forward in this chapter? Post-battle clarity, perhaps?

    Current score: 1
    • Maurice says:

      Too many steps forward, she went right past the door to enlightenment! Seems to me she’s overthinking things (situation normal then…) – as far as I can see, her thought processes at the start of the chapter seem to be, “I don’t want to have to fight Gloria, and even if I did there are people who are much better than her. Guess I’d better not bother with trying to get better.”

      A step forward, maybe, but two steps back if she really is thinking what I think she’s thinking.

      Current score: 1
      • Oitur says:

        Right past the door to the healing center, anyway…and then too many steps back!

        Current score: 0
  8. rien says:

    I’m betting she wants to let herself get attacked.

    Current score: 0
    • Tier Hon says:

      Oh, you mean Amy, not Mack. I had a “huh?” moment there.

      Current score: 0
    • Oni says:

      I’d give that decent odds. Lesser odds that she wants to try and provoke the mermaids directly.

      Amy, you have read too many gumshoe novels. Please, *please* just got back to bed. With whomever or whatever you want, but please don’t try to actually use whatever plot you have in mind.


      Current score: 0
  9. Janell says:

    I’m with you. I’m assuming she’s going to try and get eaten, and have someone walk in on it. Or at least bitten.

    Amaranth really pisses me off, sometimes.

    Current score: 0
  10. BpsDraco says:

    This feels wierd, mostly because my spelling is usually worse than yours is AE but you have a typo at the bottom of the 13th paragraph.

    “Are you okay?” he asked once he saw he had my attentin.

    Attentin should be changed to attention. (or at least the proper spelling if I somehow managed to mess it up too.) =) lol.

    Current score: 1
  11. ceres says:

    With rien. My money is on her trying to get herself eaten.

    Current score: 0
    • tjhairball says:

      Well, let’s hope Mack decided to boost her wisdom score this level, shall we?

      Current score: 0
      • Malkar says:

        I think she has a couple levels to go for that sience she just got her +1 BAB. 😛

        Current score: 0
        • Wysteria says:

          In all seriousness, this chapter does read like she leveled up – more sense, fewer critical fumbles. Am I just reading too much into that?

          Current score: 0
  12. Melissa says:

    That certainly seemed to be within the realm of possibility, for sheltered girls who came to university after a strict religious upbringing…


    Good stuff, AE.

    Current score: 0
    • Brenda says:

      For all of Mack’s obliviousness with this kind of thing, it really seemed to me like she was intending this irony in her narration.

      Current score: 0
  13. Silvertongue says:

    Love Mack this chapter. Amaranth… She hasn’t done anything yet, but I just get this feeling it will be neither good nor smart.

    Current score: 0
  14. Calia says:

    “Okay,” Two said. “Goodbye, Amaranth. Goodbye, Mack.”
    “Bye,” we told her, and she headed away with Steff, Ian, and Two.

    I believe that should be “Steff, Ian, and _Hazel_.”
    I have a feeling I’m going to /facepalm upon finding out Amaranth’s idea 😐

    Current score: 0
    • David says:

      lol, that can easily be dismissed by the common trend of people failing to notice shire gnomes. It’s been mentioned dozens of times, those halflings just don’t get noticed that often by the ‘big’ people.

      Current score: 0
      • Bramble says:

        True, but as it stands now, Two is walking away with Steff, Ian, and… herself. Gnomes just get overlooked, they don’t get mentally overwritten with someone who’s already there.

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

        True, but I doubt Two is going to leave with herself. Well, she is, but… you know what I mean.

        Current score: 0
  15. Not her, the other girl says:

    “Thanks!” I said. “I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached.”

    Aw, I’m so proud of Mack. I’m also amused by the reactions to Amaranth “trying to be smart again”, hehehe.

    Current score: 0
  16. reads to spouse says:

    Loved the nice guard turning her day smile side up. I know cops must spend a lot more time trying to be helpful than trying to be jerks, but a few bad experiences sure makes it seem the other way around.

    I don’t think she’s regressing or giving up on combat class. Just making the point that she’s not going to distort her life much outside of class to try and become some vigilante badass. Most people protect themselves by avoiding those who mean them harm and staying on the good side of law. Ounce of prevention…

    And for typo correction, I think it is helpful. I would certainly rather she focused on pouring out the awesome story and let the bored masses online spend their free time proofreading for her.

    Current score: 1
    • Rey d`Tutto says:

      I agre with you on the feeling that Mack has enough motivation to try to gain at least basic proficiency with staff type weapons, but she refuses to recreate herself as a “Warrior Supreme” in a vain attempt to live a longer life, as that would change who she is. –> It also seemed like a really short path to the kind of person I didn’t want to be: vicious, deadly, more demon than human. <–

      Current score: 0
  17. N. says:

    The posts are there to remind her to fix them when she can. It is annoying when the same error gets reported multiple times, but that happens when comments don’t show up immediately upon submission.

    Current score: 0
  18. Wysteria says:

    Also, our lovely authoress has commented that she prefers the comments to paying a proofreader.

    Current score: 0
  19. Don says:

    Man, am I the only one who was more sad for Mack in this piece than any other time? She has to think nostalgically about basic human courtesy and warm interactions. Abuse doesn’t have to be abusive.

    Current score: 0
    • Arakano says:

      A very good observation, actually. Damn. And here this chapter had me all cheerful, but you are right. Poor Mack.

      Still, loved the chapter.

      Current score: 0
      • Wysteria says:

        Compared to what she could be like, Mack is actually kinda impressive – she’s come very far since starting school, and might even get therapy! That would be neat. *crosses fingers for Teddi*

        Current score: 0
  20. Durragh says:

    i can’t decide if i like bumbling clueless Mack or thinking trying Mack better, either way, another great chapter

    i’m with the majority, i’m betting Amy plans on serving herself up on a platter.

    loving Callahan more and more too!

    Current score: 0
  21. zeek says:

    You know, I’m really hoping that it’s a good idea Amy has, like a diagram in a book or something of mermaids teeth, or maybe a mermaid skull. Just to disappoint the naysayers 😛

    Current score: 0
    • Computer Mad Scientist says:

      That would be pretty funny, actually. I think most of us are just assuming it’ll be a bad idea because she said that she has it in a place where ominous things usually go.

      Current score: 0
  22. Lunaroki says:

    Speaking of typos, here’s an odd one:

    There were other, more immediate things that needed talking about, but publicly and privately.

    That last bit “but publicly and privately” doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Maybe it should be “but privately, not publicly”?

    Current score: 0
    • Arakano says:

      Or maybe it should be “both publicly and privately”? 😉

      Current score: 0
  23. Elxir says:

    Another wonderful chapter, AE! I am loving the character development for Mack the last few chapters. As for Amy’s plan… I think she may actually have an intelligent course of action planned out, such as simply leaving an imprint of the Mermaid’s teeth in the hands of an Imperial Officer (such as a Clay indentation, not in their hand literally, lol.)

    Elxir Breauer, at your service…

    Current score: 0
  24. waukeegan says:

    New reader, here… gorged myself on the archives over the past few days. Wonderful stuff.

    Not understanding all the Amaranth hate, though.

    Current score: 1
    • Rey d`Tutto says:

      it’s not Hate. We love Amaranth. She is normally a good influence on and for Mack.
      Occasionally,However, when she tries to be clever, she causes more problems than Mack could by trying hard.

      She is a Nymph, With a Direct line to Divinity, and a fair amount of Intelligence. (Mostly) Level headed and kind, packaged in a beautiful body, and wanting to and helping to unkink sexual frustrations wherever she goes. Unfortunately, she has acted like Wisdom was her dump stat from time to time.

      Current score: 1
  25. fka_luddite says:

    I think that for some (many ?) “Let’s hate Amy,” is simply an ingrained tradition.

    Current score: 0
    • Wysteria says:

      I agree – many were very fond of Amy near chapter 20, but then she was absolutely impossible to deal with for ~2 years. She seems to have been getting a bit better lately, I think?

      Current score: 1
      • Jennifer says:

        I like Amaranth – but as Two has pointed out, she’s smartest when she’s NOT trying to be clever. When she IS trying to be smart, she mucks things up. Many many examples of this.

        Current score: 1
        • firedragongt says:

          Many of us expect the next chapter will be another such example.

          Current score: 0
          • Durragh says:

            actually, i kind of think its a good idea. the mermaids aren’t going to volunteer bite marks, they’d be hard to compel since the maids have to shift form to leave the kind the imps would be after, and Amy would enjoy it, so it isn’t really that bad an idea, all around, although if she dies completely and re-forms in her field, then i guess it would be a waste, she’d need to let them nibble, and then get out of there.

            Current score: 0
      • waukeegan says:

        I just don’t really understand how her flaws are so much more grating than other characters’, I guess… but then, I have something of a weak spot for the bungled-good-intentions types.

        Taking nothing away from the plot or story overall, your characters are what really get my heart a-drooling, AE.

        Current score: 0
        • firedragongt says:

          And I find people that refuse to admit that they have things to learn still to be about the most annoying people ever. Amaranth refuses to see that she isn’t the smartest in the group, and so tries to force her “smart ideas” on all the others. Usually, her “smart ideas” are the worst ideas she has. The ones where she isn’t *trying* to be smart are usually good. Things like the divine energy show were actually good ideas, and that was her trying to be nice and sweet, not smart. She tries to do “smart” things like getting herself eaten and then doesn’t notice that it might upset people to know that the person they love is being torn to pieces.

          Current score: 1
    • Oitur says:

      Can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t _hate_ Amy. I’m annoyed and frustrated with her (as much as I can get with a fictional person!) and it’s probably worse since I really liked her at first. Back when it still seemed like she was very smart and insightful. Now more and more she seems like a person without the experience to really use her intellect.

      Current score: 0
      • firedragongt says:

        I agree completely. I also think she tends to refuse to actually see that she has things to learn, which makes her even more infuriating, since if she would just LEARN, she’d actually BE as smart as she seemed at first!

        Current score: 0
  26. Zane_Unstable says:

    first time post for me,
    first off id like to say this, thank you.
    having MU to read has somewhat kept me sane over the past 30 days.
    im in US navy and havnet been able to leave my ship in about as long, so something to distract from reality is very welcome.
    im very much looking forward to new chapters,
    mack’s recent character development has been a welcome change. And im very interested to see what you are going to do with the “father” hook you have going right now.
    I do tend to agree, that amy’s influence and opinions can sometimes be detrimental to mack, but its an interesting dynamic.
    a thouroughly enjoyable read thusfar. please keep it up.

    Current score: 0
    • Ladyinahat says:

      Thank you for serving! And welcome to MU’s world of guess and guess and still be wrong. hehe AE is a wonderful writer and I am sure you will be as happy as the rest of us in watching and waiting with bated breath to see where she takes us next in her wonderful world of magic!

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  27. Eugene the Unicorn says:

    This kinda jumped out at me:

    “‘Okay,’ Two said. ‘Goodbye, Amaranth. Goodbye, Mack.’

    ‘Bye,’ we told her, and she headed away with Steff, Ian, and Two. ”

    Did you mean Hazel here? Because it seems like it would be pretty hard for Two to walk off with herself. Just sayin’. =)

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  28. This can’t possibly end well.

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  29. A note to everyone: I’ve only appointed one moderator for comments here. If you have any doubts as to whether or not that’s you, best not to risk it.

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  30. Helen Rees says:

    in world of teeny, picky typo, we have:

    I couldn’t argue with that.. .well,

    swap over ‘ ‘ & last ‘.’, methinks, and then it will be obsessive-compulsive safe.


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  31. Granite says:

    Yay, I caught up. Now to head over to Moar. 🙂

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    • Potatohead says:

      wait, has Moar Tales been updating too?

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      • cnic says:

        Actually wait a second, I just realized with the new page format, how do you see any of the other stories like MoreMu and Starharbor?

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        • Oni says:

          I figured it was deliberate, so as to not be showing off works in hiatus.

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        • MoreMu was easy, just substituting more for www in the url – from there the links can be found. I keep the last story that I read bookmarked since sometimes I can’t ready for weeks at a time, that way I don’t lose my place.

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  32. Ursus says:

    attentin -> attention

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  33. cnic says:

    After rereading this chapter I saw something that just gave me a huge smile. The bit about Mack being treated as human reminded me of the first time I “passed” and was treated like everyone else. Warm fuzzies are a good thing and I get the feeling she hasn’t didn’t have a lot of those since her mother passed.

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  34. Oh I don’t know, sounds interesting to me.

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  35. Andrea says:

    “Okay,” Two said. “Goodbye, Amaranth. Goodbye, Mack.”
    “Bye,” we told her, and she headed away with Steff, Ian, and Two.

    Should that say “..with Steff, Ian, and **Hazel**.”?

    “If I hit myself with *, it would hurt…”

    I think there’s a missing word at the *.

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    • LlubNek says:

      * works… though you rarely see wildcards and file globbing in creative writing.

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  36. Dan says:

    Is it tuesday yet?

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  37. Roadbug says:

    When is the next chapter coming out? =:)

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  38. Potatohead says:

    It’s trapped in limbo apparently, waiting for AE’s muse to stop being uncooperative – something about the characterizations not feeling ‘right’.

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  39. Hmmm.

    This might be good – Amaranth’s idea – but…aw, hell, we all know that Mack’s gonna worry about it even if it is good. She’s just…well, she’s just like that. And a good thing, too – someone needs to err on the side of caution, methinks.

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  40. W6BXQ, John says:

    AE, I lost the links to your other stories and now can’t find them. Can you help me?

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  41. W6BXQ, John says:

    AE, never mind, I found them. I enjoy reading you stories. Thank you for them.

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  42. Stonefoot says:

    “Thanks!… I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached.” to the guard, and “Thank you for the mathematical analysis” to Two. Mack really is getting a lot better at interacting with people.
    As for Amaranth, she can be annoying, but she is, after all, divine. Learning you can be wrong has to be really hard for someone like her. Anyway, if she doesn’t learn from her own mistakes, Mack can learn from them. Someone said (I don’t recall who): “You have to learn from other people’s mistakes. You won’t live long enough to make all of them yourself.”
    Also – reading MU is never a mistake! (Well, maybe reading on your phone while driving wouldn’t be the best idea….)

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  43. pedestrian says:

    Our Mack should be putting Ian to some other use then the horizontal mambo. Practicing her staff fighting techniques and exercises with him would be smart. In addition to her lessons with Dee.

    And to mix it up,TWO and Hazel are doing bludgeon class. It would teach smart fighting to Mackenzie if she had to face two smaller, faster, meaner opponents then she is used to. Mack could use padding on the quarterstaff to prevent too much damage to a pair of opponents. It would also help TWO and Hazel learn to fight someone bigger and much stronger.

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