475: Fatherly Interest

on December 29, 2010 in Book 17

In Which A Truth Is Offered

The rest of my evening was blessedly uneventful, free of people jumping out at me or extracting promises or trying to catch me alone. I knew the calm couldn’t last… it never lasted, because the essence of life is that things keep happening, but I enjoyed it in a quiet sort of way.

I went to bed alone, not counting Two’s presence several feet above me… though I also enjoyed that in a quiet sort of way. I liked sleeping with Ian or Amaranth, I liked the weight and warmth of their bodies… Amaranth’s soft and yielding, Ian’s steady and firm… but I’d spent years in solitude. I hadn’t exactly been the most social of butterflies even before my demonic nature manifested for the first time. I hadn’t been a lonely child, before that point… but I had frequently been alone, and with no sense that I was missing anything.

Likewise I hadn’t felt like I was missing out on anything during all the time I spent in the company of others, but having a little time to myself in the dark little nest of my bed was intensely relaxing. I could sit there in the warmth and darkness… warmth I encouraged with the tiniest bit of elemental invocation… and feel a bit of the same wonderful floatiness that I got in the baths.

That was two things I’d have to look at if I did give other dorms any kind of serious thought: how easily I could recreate my cocoon, and if they had bathtubs. Ian’s dorm seemed to have the same type of stackable dorm beds as Harlowe did, but I didn’t know if that was true of all of them. I knew that not every dorm had the same facilities available in the bathroom. The newer ones didn’t have tubs, but a lot of them had rows of single stall showers.

Would it be worth trading away baths for a little more privacy in the shower? That would be a tough call to make. On the other hand, if I started using baths to bathe instead of just soaking and unwinding, I could avoid the public showers entirely.

Or maybe I could go further than that in staking out a little bath-time privacy. Ian had brought up suites… I knew the two towers both had pairs of rooms that were joined by a shared bathroom. After my wildly varying experiences with my neighbors in Harlowe, I wouldn’t want to enter into that sort of living situation with random strangers… but if it were Amaranth and me in one room and Two and her friend Hazel or someone in the other, it would probably work out well.

It was something to think about, anyway… as much as I’d whined about the proliferation of decisions to be made, it was fun to think about the possibilities, for both intimacy and privacy. Showers with Amaranth or baths by myself, with a locked door or two between me and anyone like the snickering Leighton twins, or Feejee, or anyone else I wouldn’t care to be naked and vulnerable in front of.

It would take more than thinking, though, because it would take planning and coordination with the others, and that meant actually talking about it. I didn’t know what kind of demand there was for the tower rooms, either. Probably getting four people into two adjoining rooms was a little more difficult than making sure you and three friends all got into the same dorm. Was there a waiting list?

We had time to figure this stuff out, but Professor Bohd had actually had a pretty good point about how quickly things like that could sneak up on you while you were putting off figuring them out until later.

It would have to wait until morning, at least… relaxing under a pile of blankets in the semi-darkness was good for thinking only up to a certain point. Past that point the thoughts came slower, and grew fuzzier and stranger.

I was asleep before I knew it. After I knew it, though, I regretted it, because I could already tell it was going to be one of those dreams. I was still in my bed, but there were no curtains around me. There was no overly precise and regular sound of breathing from the top bunk. Nothing else in the room’s furnishings was odd or out of place, but everything was too sharp and too real, including the man who was sitting on top of my desk.

As annoying as the ridiculous owl-turtle thing had been, I would have much preferred another visit from him over this.

He was distressingly solid-looking, and dressed in a suit of dark burgundy with a slim necktie. I had to admit that he looked kind of snappy in it, but I also thought it looked like something that might have been found in a thrift store. I wondered if it corresponded in any way to his actual appearance in real life. Did he wear suits like that in the waking world? Where did he get them? Did he blend in to human society somehow, and have a job and a house? Or did he scavenge from around the edges of it?

When I thought about it, I realized I couldn’t even be sure that I was seeing his real face. It was probably a mistake to trust his appearance at all.

“You’re getting cagier,” he said, giving a nod of approval that made me feel dirty. “Don’t worry, though. This is me. I want you to know this face. I want you to recognize me… just in case we ever, you know, pass each other on the street.”

“If I could trust you enough to believe that, I wouldn’t be wondering about your face in the first place,” I said.

“If it’s that important to you, I can arrange to show myself to you,” he said. “When you’re awake, I mean. Not up close, mind you… that wouldn’t be safe for either one of us. Just a glimpse, to let you know I’m on the up-and-up.”

“I’m so not interested in that,” I said.

I saw too much of him when I was asleep. After his rather indistinct appearance in the last dream he’d featured in, I had been hoping he was on his way out. I remembered I’d resolved to find out how to keep him out for good, whether it took mental healing or more exposure to Amaranth’s divine power or what. Faced with him, Ian’s plan on learning mental defense from Dee made a lot more sense.

“So, I’m guessing the thing that happened last night knocked down whatever barriers were in my head or opened up the passages you’d followed before,” I said.

“That’s a good thought,” he said.

“Does that mean that you don’t know but think it sounds plausible, or that you do know but don’t want to give me any information about the ins and outs of mental invasion?” I asked.

“It means that I like that you’re thinking about it,” he said. “You need to think more and react less. Except for the times when it’s the other way around. Your problem isn’t that you don’t think, or that you overthink… it’s that you think about the wrong things. There are only so many hours in the day and only so many thoughts can fit inside a head. Anyway, I told you that I’d teach you how to keep me out if you wanted me to.”

“On the subject of mental intrusion… I noticed you didn’t show up for the party,” I said. “Feeling uncharacteristically shy?”

“Uncharacteristic nothing… I like to keep a low profile,” he said. “I’m much better dealing with people one-on-one than I am dealing with crowds. There’s a lesson for you there. I know you’re all about finding your place and fitting in and all, but a group of people is only a few emotional degrees away from a mob, and mobs are the enemies of any god-fearing monster. And few monsters fears the gods like we do.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t think I’m going to be able to arrange my college life so that I’m only with people one at a time,” I said. “That’s a bit harder to manage when you live in the real world.”

“Don’t I know it… don’t you be thinking that your daddy doesn’t have a life outside of you, little girl,” he said. “I’m a busy, busy man… got lots of irons in the fire, and vice-versa. You’re lucky I can find the time to come tuck you in as often as I do. But my point is that if you want to make friends with people, try spending time with them one on one. Get to know who they are when no one else is around, and let them form their own impression of you without anybody else to sway them. There could be three people who would all give you a fair shake if they each met you by themselves, but when you run into them together they just end up upholding each other’s fears and prejudices, or trying to impress each other by sniping at the easy target.”

“What is this, excerpts from Hell’s special edition of How To Win Friends And Charm Persons?” I asked.

“Hell’s got nothing to do with it… I’ve had to learn the hard way how to get along with people in this world, because if I get beaten here I get beaten back to there,” he said. “And I don’t want that. There are those who are content to carve out their own little petty kingdoms down below, but me, I always remember that this is the world we came from, and I like to think of it as home. Besides, if I get myself banished from this plane, how am I going to keep an eye on my precious daughter?”

“You survived at least nine years without doing that… possibly longer,” I said.

“Survived? Survival is for suckers,” he said. “Fish sucking scum off the bottom of a pond survive. Those poor dumb things that Mercy woman calls ‘half-demons’ are surviving. During our long years apart since your mother died, you just barely managed to do more than survive. Don’t you want more than that? Don’t you need it? Don’t you feel the hunger deep down in your bones for it?”

“Any time I feel hunger deep inside me, something’s wrong,” I said. “Am I your only child?”

“As far as I’m concerned, yes,” he said.

“Does that mean you don’t know about any others or you don’t care about them?” I asked.

“One of these days you’re going to learn not to bother with questions like that,” he said. “When I answer a question, I give the answer that I mean, and I stand by it without elaboration.”

“It’s amazing the way you manage to make being an evasive asshole into some sort of virtue of honesty.”

“I know,” he said. “Sometimes I even impress myself. On the subject of impressiveness, that was quite a showing, the other day… you really turned things around with your fighting class.”

“Believe me, it wasn’t for you,” I said.

“Of course it wasn’t,” he said. “I wouldn’t have had you do it for me. It was for you, and there ain’t a single thing wrong with that, as your little friend pointed out.”

“You didn’t ‘have me’ do anything,” I said. “I did it on my own initiative, for my own reasons.”

“Said reasons being all the other people who wanted you to do it,” he said. “Everyone but me. I really admire the way you’re learning to stand on everybody’s own two feet with no help from your father. But in all seriousness… you did good, little lady, and I intend to reward your performance just like I promised.”

“I’m not interested in your reward,” I said. “Or your promises.”

“They’re yours, all the same,” he said. “You can turn your nose up at my offer now, but the day might come when you’re glad it’s on the table. Now, if I’m sorting out your memories of the fight correctly, it seems as though you had three falls… does that sound right to you?”

“I wasn’t actually counting,” I said.

“We’ll call it three, then,” he said. “It’s a good number, for boons or wishes. That’s three times… three separate occasions… where you can tell me to take a hike and a hike I will take. Three days you can tell your old man to give you some space and he’ll listen. How does that sound?”

“Like a good start on the rest of my life,” I said.

“Listen, you don’t have to do anything more, you’ve already earned these days and there are no terms and conditions, or blackout days,” he said. “So why despise the offer?”

“Because it’s a trap,” I said. “If I tell you to leave me alone and you do, then you can turn around and point to that any time in the future that I doubt or distrust you… point to the fact that you kept your word. But it won’t mean that I can count on you to leave when it matters, or to do what you say you’ll do if it goes against your interests. I could tell you to leave and get comfortable when you do, and then save the last one for the time I really need it… and that’ll be the time you break your word.”

“Well, if you know all that, then where’s the trap in it?” he asked. “It seems to me that you’re just too smart to be taken in by the likes of me, and so long as we both know it, why not enjoy what I’m giving you? You don’t have to put so much faith in me that you rely on this little deal to save your skin in the future… if you honestly think I have any designs on your skin… just enough to take advantage of my generosity.”

“Deals have two parties,” I said. “I didn’t agree to this. You just threw it forward and now you’re insisting that ‘we’ stick to it even though I had nothing to do with it. And that right there is one reason not to trust it… or you. You’re not listening to me when I say I’m not interested. You’re already demonstrating how little you care about me and my wishes.”

“So I’m supposed to prove that I’m trustworthy and that I care about your wishes by going back on my word when I said I would obey your wishes?” he said. “You’re not making a whole lot of sense, I’m afraid.”

“There will never come a day when I want you to leave me alone for twenty-four hours,” I said. “Because the only thing I want from you is to leave me alone forever.”

“You want that now,” he said. “But if I honor that one wish of yours, then if you ever want… or need… something else from me in the future, I’ll be stuck and you’ll be out of luck. Isn’t it better to have me checking in like this, every once in a while? I’m not taking up any space in your life. I’m not eating up time when you could be working on homework or having fun with your friends.”

“Before you came along, I was having some pretty interesting dreams,” I said. “They weren’t always fun, but that doesn’t mean I’m not missing out on anything when you come along. If you’d tried this on me at the start of the year it might have worked… but I’ve come a little bit too far to buy the idea that you’re inflicting your presence on me against my will as a favor to me, no matter how hard you try to sell it.”

“I know, and I couldn’t be prouder,” he said. “Listen, you had a point back there a minute ago about the nature of deals… so, okay. You don’t want me to leave…”

“I do want you to leave,” I said.

“…what do you want as a reward?” he asked. “I could answer three questions for you, or send you three gifts, or take care of three problems you’re having…”

“I don’t want you ‘taking care’ of anything,” I said.

“Relax, little lady… you don’t have to worry about me doing anything too unfortunate on your behalf,” he said. “I care a lot about you, but I’m not going to risk my ability to keep looking out for you by sticking my neck out with a lot of conspicuous violence.”

“Thank heaven for small favors,” I said. “But I do want you to leave. Seriously. If you’re not willing to do that just because you know you’re not welcome here, though, I’m not going to trust you to do it because you say I have three… magic bean vouchers, or whatever… that you’re giving me as part of a unilateral ‘deal’.”

“How about questions?” he said. “You like asking questions. An inquisitive mind should be encouraged. Ask me three questions, and I’ll answer them truthfully.”

“I’ve been asking questions,” I said. “You could have answered them honestly at any time.”

“And now I will,” he said. “Here, just by way of demonstration, you asked me about other children. The truth is this: I had a son before you. He was on an airship when the artifact that powered it blew up in his face. It was magic, and he… well… he never recovered.”

“I bet you were broken up about that,” I said. “Look, just leave. You said I could tell you to leave and you would, three times. Leave. When you show up again I’ll tell you to leave again, and when you show up again after that I’ll tell you to leave again, and if you show up again after that… then I’m going to the diabolism department, the Universal Temple, the IBF, and anyone else I think who’ll listen and who might be interested in trapping, banishing, or destroying you.”

“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have answers?” he asked.

“I’d rather have solitude,” I said. “I’d rather know that when I close my eyes I’m not going to see anything creepier than the bottom of Sooni’s shoe.”

He threw back his head and laughed.

“Well, now… I guess your mind is made up,” he said. “I tell you what, I can tell when I’m not wanted…”

“The fact that I’m sitting here telling you that is kind of a big hint, isn’t it?” I said.

“So, I’ll go, and I’ll deduct one telling from your bank,” he said. “That leaves you with two. I won’t be back tomorrow. I won’t be back next week. I’ll let you sit a while, give you some space to figure things out… and by and by, I’ll stop back in and see how you’re doing. If you still don’t want to talk to me then, you know what to do.”

“Every second you sit here talking at me instead of leaving is another reason not to trust you,” I said.

“Listen, I said I was going to go and I’m going to go,” he said. “But there’s just one thing I really need to tell you… something you need to know.”

“You’re really not impressing me with your incredible word-keeping abilities right now,” I said.

“This is important,” he said. “It’s the whole reason I dropped by.”

“You said you’d go.”

“I’m willing to completely lose any trust or goodwill I might ever get from you to tell you this,” he said. “Doesn’t that give you some sense of how important it is?”

“It gives me a sense of how important your word is,” I said. “But since we’ve pretty much established that you’re going to leave or stay entirely based on what you want, let’s just drop the fiction that I have any control over whether or not you tell me this one super important thing.”

“You know the vice-chancellor? The one they call Embries?”

“Yes, I know ‘the one they call Embries’,” I said. “If the message is that he’s not what he seems, or that he has some kind of mind control aura, or whatever… well, you can save your breath.”

“No, that’s not it,” he said. “But I’m glad you’re paying attention to him, because he’s worth paying attention to… just not so much that he starts paying attention to you. I’ve got a feeling you might not be able to avoid that, though, so I wanted to give you some advice. Don’t be alone with him if you can help it, don’t spend much time in his presence, don’t let on that you don’t think the sun shines out of his backside, and above all else, don’t let him see that you know what he is.”

“I don’t know what he is,” I said.

“Well, that’s a start,” he said.

“What do you mean, you don’t think I’ll be able to avoid him?”

“His attention,” the man said. “It’s not a good thing to have, but I think you just might be stuck with it.”


“Because you’re interesting,” he said. “In a couple of different ways, but one in particular that makes any room with ‘Mr. Embries’ a very bad place for you to be. This wouldn’t be an issue, if you weren’t all mixed up with those sea devils.”

“You mean the mermaids?”

“If that’s what you call their kind these days,” he said. “The point is they’re going down, and if you’re not careful they’ll drag you down with them.”

“So am I supposed to stay away from the mermaids or from the vice-chancellor?”

“Girl, if we started making a list of everyone you’d be better off avoiding, we’d be here all night.”

“I do plan on being here all night,” I said. “But on the subject of people I don’t want to be around…”

“Hey, I can take a hint,” he said. “Pleasant dreams.”

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59 Responses to “475: Fatherly Interest”

  1. Peter says:

    Nice chapter

    ““I know,” he said. “Sometimes I even impress myself. On the subject of impressiveness, that was quite a showing, the other day… you really”

    incomplete sentence?

    Current score: 1
  2. drudge says:

    I just love how he mentions Aiden, but uses no names and lies through his teeth. The moment you read that it becomes *painfully* clear he wants …something, and only one of something at a time in any place.

    I don’t doubt he’s a busy man. The question is what he’s busy WITH.

    Also, Sea Devils. It feels wierdly RIGHT, over Mermaids. Seperate from demons, denotes a horrific nature, keeps the environment clear.

    Current score: 3
    • sanityoptional says:

      “He never recovered”

      That doesn’t necessarily mean he died. Daddy-o could just be talking about his eye.

      Well construed honesty is better than a straight-out lie any day.

      Current score: 4
  3. Tamina says:

    I love that she manages to articulate what a deal should be and why he’s full of shit.She’s always had such an analytical mind, but she’s always let herself get steamrollered then rationalised it afterwards. Now she’s thinking *during* the conversation – great character development.

    Current score: 7
  4. Malarky says:

    Minor edit:
    “t means that I like that you’re thinking about it,” he said.

    should be “It means…

    Good chapter, I like the more rapid updates 🙂

    Current score: 0
    • Lunaroki says:

      Typo Report:

      The other two typos I noticed have already been mentioned so I guess I’ll just throw out this last rather minor one:

      “It give me a sense of how important your word is,” I said.

      Should be “gives”.

      Current score: 0
  5. moxicity says:

    Great update! Really glad you’re doing well with your writing strategies – we can have more updates and more quality as well, and you can have a more structured and peaceful time working (at least I hope structure and peace are something you like and are enjoying more of currently).

    Current score: 0
  6. Kevin says:

    I’d bet good money that the Man telling Mack to avoid and watch out for Embries will make her more interested in finding out what he is.

    Current score: 3
  7. Rina says:

    I always love it when He pops up. Poor Mack, she needs to keep away from him, but at the same time he could help her so much with understanding her demon half better so she could control it better. He doesn’t seem all that bad, at least he’s not attacking other students in any noticeable way, and he does give her good advice hidden among all his dismantling.

    Thanks for the update!

    Current score: 0
  8. beappleby says:

    This bit right here:

    “Deals have two parties,” I said. “I didn’t agree to this. You just threw it forward and now you’re insisting that ‘we’ stick to it even though I had nothing to do with it. And that right there is one reason not to trust it… or you. You’re not listening to me when I say I’m not interested…”

    This is EXACTLY what Puddy does. Interesting, ain’t it?

    Current score: 5
    • seeker of seekers - where'd they go? :^( says:

      And Sooni…

      Current score: 4
  9. Ky says:

    Hey, two stories close together! <3 Happy times, nice relaxation on my work break too 🙂

    Current score: 0
  10. Miss Lynx says:

    Dear old dad is so entertaining – and always manages to sound so reasonable, which of course makes me wonder exactly what he’s up to.

    Current score: 0
  11. Zathras IX says:

    Mackenzie’s Father
    Who damned sure ain’t in Heaven
    What the Hell’s your name?

    Current score: 5
  12. Burnsidhe says:

    What bugs me is that Mack apparently still isn’t paying attention; she’d better take something from this visit that she needs to do soon, and that something is to start learning how to shield her mind.

    Very interesting subtext in the advice about Embries. ‘Demons’ apparently don’t get along at all well with Dragons.

    Current score: 0
    • drudge says:

      I think it’s more Mack Daddy being bitter than anything. A visit or two ago he went on about how if a demon kills a human, it’s a heinous and unforgivable act. If a dragon kills for the exact same reason it’s labeled “natural causes” and they pretend it didn’t happen. Note that while HE has to conduct his business slinking around, Emberis gets an office to work out of and an unending supply of Secretaries with no idea whats going on to eat.

      Current score: 2
    • Greenwood Goat says:

      The creation myths and founding legends conflict in various places, but all of them place dragons and demons on opposing sides. The dragons were incomers unleashed on the world from above and the demons were natives who got displaced.

      Current score: 2
    • seeker of seekers - where'd they go? :^( says:

      “…in particular that makes any room with ‘Mr. Embries’ a very bad place for you to be. This wouldn’t be an issue, if you weren’t all mixed up with those sea devils.”

      I think it specifically refers to the tastiness of some (all?) female demons. Demons probably have some resentment of Dragons walking around freely eating humans, and given cushy jobs to boot.

      Dragons? They probably couldn’t care less about Demons, unless there’s a specific exception. They are DRAGONS.

      “In the beginning, there were dragons.

      And it was good.”

      Current score: 3
      • beappleby says:

        Also, we already know Mr. Embries has a particular appetite for young women…

        Current score: 3
        • tjhairball says:

          Yeah. This seems like it’s simply *very practical* advice. Embries can get away with eating you as long as it isn’t in outright public view; you are exceptionally tasty; so don’t tempt him.

          Current score: 2
      • drudge says:

        He has that effect on ALL people he deals with.

        Of course the auras of “You want me to eat you” and “I want you to eat me” probably won’t end well though.

        Current score: 1
        • Burnsidhe says:

          Mack either isn’t affected or is very highly resistant to the draconic fascination aura. Go back a few stories and look at the scene in the classroom with the press conference; Mack is the only one who didn’t react when everyone else was enthralled.

          Current score: 1
          • Which in and of itself is dangerous for her. The minute Embries notices he can’t thrall her, and there would be a potential ‘witness’ not a one in a stupor who would forget what they had seen she’d become an inconvenience that would have to be dealt with – most likely in a toothsome manner if she did witness something.

            Current score: 3
  13. Bee says:

    “And now I will,” he said. “Here, just by way of demonstration, you asked me about other children. The truth is this: I had a son before you. He was on an airship when the artifact that powered it blew up in his face. It was magic, and he… well… he never recovered.”

    The way he worded this, one might naturally assume that he’s claiming Aiden died from this incident. However, he is in fact telling the truth; Aiden never recovered because he had no injuries to recover from.

    Current score: 0
    • bramble says:

      It’s more than that – Aiden chose not to recover, remember? The one real physical injury he sustained – a cut to his face from a piece of the magical artifact – he chose not to have magically treated, instead allowing it to heal naturally and, as a result, scar.

      Current score: 2
      • Jack V says:

        Oh, thank you, I’d forgotten those stories.

        In fact, I’m really relieved to remember that another half-demon-blood _was_ living fairly normally — I recently had a moment of horror that despite Mackenzie’s grandmother being horrible, maybe that WAS all that let Mackenzie grow to adulthood without giving in to her hunger. I’m really glad it wasn’t.

        And I’m interested to see that the demon is playing the “literal truth” game. (I do NOT consider that “not lying”.) I wonder if he has a bigger reason for doing that, or just sticks to it by habit to increase the chance he can con people into believing him?

        If I had to guess, I’d guess that the demon has a _bit_ of a desire to see Mack embrace her demon side for its own sake, but primarily hopes to get use out of her long term (either in a specific way, or just in having a mortal partially friendly disposed to him).

        Current score: 0
  14. An amazing exchange… Mack has really grown up- she’s wiser, sharper, and more confident. And her poppa’s just as devious as ever.

    Great stuff!

    Current score: 0
  15. Kaila says:

    So far, the Man has told the truth – from his unique perspective. Aiden never recovered, and by the sounds of things, got so…normal…that as far as his dad is concerned – he’s a lost cause.

    I really enjoyed this. The Man truly is a magnificent bastard – and he’s had a long time to perfect the art. He’s intelligent, erudite, has absolutely no moral compass to speak of(obviously), and is very clever at presenting the ‘values’ that most people hold dear. He’d be an excellent conversationalist.

    I’d say where Mack’s Mum went wrong was in perhaps thinking that her conversations, and other *ahem* activities, with him were without consequences to other people.

    Current score: 3
    • Gruhl says:

      Demons are expert liars, very good at hiding their nature. Thats a hypothesis. The Man seems to be totally lacking a moral compass. Is the Man bad at hiding his nature, or is he simply hiding his moral compass?

      Food for thought, nothing else.

      Current score: 1
      • Kevin says:

        For some reason I read “Is the Man bad at hiding his nature…” as “Is the Man bad at hiding his food…”

        Current score: 0
    • Greenwood Goat says:

      “Daemoni, etiam vera dicenti, non est credendum.” (The Devil must not be believed, even when he tells the truth.) – St. Thomas Aquinas

      Current score: 3
  16. Kaila says:

    Incidentally, I was listening to Garbage’s #1 Crush while reading – made excellent background. Positively demonic.

    Current score: 1
  17. erianaiel says:

    Mackenzie’s father gave away one big hint about his long term goals. He mentioned that other demons might be content to carve out a kingdom in whatever plane they have been banished to, but he wanted to (return to) this world. Since he can not directly show himself, let alone rule, anything he needs somebody to do it for him. Which is where Mackenzie comes in.
    He may, or may not, have been lying about losing interest in Aiden, but if not then the fact that Aiden is not acting very demonic anymore and seems having learned to control it would be the cause. Mackenzie must seem much easier to manipulate than her brother, having suppressed her dual nature all her life instead of having come to grips with it. Her father has seen her lose control on several occasions and almost kill somebody at least twice. She has no mental defences and he is pushing her to become a fighter which would suit a purpose like founding a ruling dynasty (or a force that can challenge the rule of the gods and the banishment of the demons).

    Current score: 0
    • Chips says:

      One minor quibble — Mack Daddy wants to ~stay in~ the world Mack inhabits.

      He talks about banishment meaning he gets sent back down there, and arranging for Mack to see him on the street.

      Current score: 0
    • Sahsa says:

      An alternate take on his possible reasons for involving himself in Mack’s life, but not Aiden’s, is that Mack was raised by her mother for half her life, unlike Aiden who was given up for adoption at birth. Not that I’m saying he doesn’t have ulterior motives and/or nefarious plans for her, that’s entirely possible, but it may be the case that she reminds him of her mother.

      Current score: 2
  18. Billy Bob says:

    To me Mack came off as a bitchy teenager in this issue. She just assumes she knows everything and that there is nothing she’d possibly need from her parents. In fact, I don’t think she treats her mom or father all that differently.

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      Seriously? Have you even been reading this? Do you know who/what her father is?

      And where have we seen her “treat” her mom in any way? We’ve only seen them together in one flashback when Mack was a very small child.

      Current score: 1
      • drudge says:

        Even given what he is …I gotta agree here. Sitting there and trying not to deal with her problems has only made them get worse in the worst possible ways. Our Sea Devil friends and Mercy have six innocent deaths between them(ignoring Mercy’s enchanters), the Latter has someone to build an army with and ISN’T LOSING INTEREST IN HER. Ignoring her grandmothers letters got said grandmother to come in person. Prof Einhorn seems to be getting more frantic about her given her dreams.

        Khersis knows what Gloria is thinking, or what Viktor is going to do now that he doesn’t have to be preoccupied with threadening Dee with dismemberment. Or any of the dozen things we probably forgot about.

        Honestly there are few ways her situation could get worse that wouldn’t already if she tried to do anything.

        Current score: 0
        • beappleby says:

          I’m not saying she shouldn’t do something, but letting her father get the upper hand would be Bad. Calling him out on his twisting words is not “acting like a bitchy teenager”, it is justifiable defensiveness. It even shows that she has become more aware of the need to defend herself, even if she’s not there yet. Good thing she had that confrontation with Puddy first – it was good practice.

          Current score: 3
          • drudge says:

            No doubt he needs to be called out. The issue is that things are very complex here. She’s going to have to deal with him unless she starts learning to hit things harder and faster, which is what he wants anyway. Neither she or we know what his plan is, so there’s not really anything she could do that’d keep her alive and cause him to NOT feel pride and keep bothering her.

            Current score: 1
  19. Chips says:

    I love Mack Daddy’s kind of evil.

    Suave, charming, urbane. Very much like Hannibal Lecter.

    Current score: 2
  20. Burnsidhe says:

    That’s partly Mack just reacting against anything that might force her or lead her to become more ‘demonic’ and partly, well, Mack’s right. Her father is a demon who does have plans for Mack and does want to shape her into a tool for his agenda.

    The fact he’s being relatively honest and open towards Mack doesn’t change his essential nature.

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      And another point I forgot to make: Mack’s father is correct in that Mack is going to have to learn to fight and defend herself on multiple levels, if she’s going to survive once she gets out of the relatively protected college environment.

      Current score: 0
  21. Mikka says:

    Squee! I love Mack Daddy, that kind of villain has always been my favorite, the sort you love to hate! I wish he’d show up more, even if Mack would hate me for saying it XD

    Current score: 0
  22. readaholic says:

    Ooh, what a twisty devilish demon Mack’s father is.

    Current score: 0
  23. squidsinger says:

    Where have I heard that story before? About someone working on the airship and it blew up and… I know I’ve heard that before but I can’t remember the reference. (Sadly, Tales of MU is the only A.E. story I follow, so if it’s a reference to SHN or More Tales I probably won’t know it, but I feel like I’ve heard that story /here/ before. Does anyone have the link?)

    Current score: 0
  24. Erm says:

    > Got lots of irons in the fire, and vice versa.

    Lots of fires in the… iron?

    Current score: 1
  25. Erm says:

    > or take care of three problems you’re having

    I can guess what kind of problems he means, and how he might “take care” of them.

    Current score: 0
  26. Magnit says:

    She really needs to take a chill pill in dealing with Dad. Granted I can understand her being angry that he wasn’t there ‘n all, but srsly, she’s gotta be less of a dick to him :

    Current score: 0
  27. Jennifer says:

    Huh. I just reread this after a while and noticed the man says: “During our long years apart since your mother died…”

    So, if Lorellon is indeed Laurel Anne – which seems likely – then the Man actually said something that OUTRIGHT wasn’t so, word games regardless.

    Not sure if this is the first time or not, just the first one that I’ve CAUGHT.

    Current score: 1
  28. Adam Barnes says:

    Wow Mack, Bitch much?

    Current score: 0
    • Mickey Phoenix says:

      You know, I’m noticing a disturbing, if regrettably predictable, trend here. The voices calling Mack out for, in one term or another, “being a bitch”, are as far as I can see exclusively male. News flash, gentlemen: establishing and enforcing boundaries against dangerous, predatory people is not “bitchy”. It’s a survival trait, a virtue, and a sign of vitally important inner strength. I have two daughters, a wife, and a fiancee, and I would applaud any of them for standing up to a bully in this way. May every woman in our world be this kind of so-called “bitch”, strong and confident and brave enough to take a stand against bullies and abusers and make it stick.

      And, to the men I’m addressing here, the ones who think Mack should be “nicer” or “more respectful” or what-have-you… Well, we’ve seen time and again, in the real world, where that leads. And while I’m loath to invoke the pseudo-Godwin’s-Law effect of the word, there’s a reason they call it “rape culture”. In the real world, women don’t get raped for being ” uppity” a fraction as often as they get raped because they are in the habit of being “polite” about their boundaries being ignored, and are afraid of being called a “bitch” or a “tease” if they make a fuss.

      We maybe can’t change the whole world, or even our own habits and assumptions, overnight. But one thing we can do is speak up in praise of women with strong boundaries, and against the disempowering labeling as “bitchy” of any woman opposing what a man happens to want of her.

      Current score: 2
  29. pedestrian says:

    The popular name for Orcas, used to be Killer Whales and before that sailors called the Sea Wolves. Of course that was before SeaWorld and cute little Orca plush toys.

    The first time I saw that film of the Orca assaulting a Great White Shark, I was so impressed I jumped to feet and yelled “Mammals Rule! In your face sharks!”

    screw you, my wife laughed.

    Current score: 2
    • Mickey Phoenix says:

      Pedestrian–the more I read of your comments, the more I wish we were friends in real life. If you’re ever in the Seattle area, it would be my pleasure to treat you to a meal and/or a drink, and attempt to rectify that flaw in reality.

      Thank you for adding a consistently positive, thoughtful, quirky, and entertaining note to my internet.

      Current score: 1
  30. Cedjuct MacMan says:

    The problem with demons is that they don’t care if someone doesn’t trust them. They care about making suggestions that make them more relevant to people so that making a decision about trust is not required and it just happens. Any demon influence requires constant vigilance to keep out for infernals live to detriment the lives of other people for their benefit.

    This is why Ms. Blaise is only an inconvenience to everyone she is around to remain alive when she is at her most unconsciously infernal. She is with her nymph overcoming her infernal issues with life and becoming less of an inconvenience.

    Current score: 1
  31. AB says:

    The more her old man shows up, the more I’m glad I dont have one of these in my head… Seriously, I like mental sparring and information way too much, I couldn’t resist…

    Great character, really.

    Current score: 0
  32. Lara says:

    I really love the interactions between Mackenzie and The Man.

    Current score: 0