483: Family History

on January 24, 2011 in Uncategorized Chapters

In Which Enemies Are Weighed

“Let’s not linger here,” Steff said to me, putting her fingertips on my shoulder as I gathered up my things at the end of class. I nodded.

Most of the students on campus were done with their classes. The crowds would be flowing back towards the dormitories, and the smart thing to do would be to go with that flow.

Steff was a lot more obviously on alert on our walk back. The bodyguard routine kind of made me a little nervous, coming from her… a lot of adjectives could be hung on Steff to varying degrees, but “business-like” was kind of a new one. Her hands kept sort of brushing the hilts of her twin daggers.

“I really appreciate you watching out for me,” I said, hoping to help her relax even just a little. I appreciated the vigilance, but she was making me nervous… seeing how ready she was for danger was stirring the old feeling in the back of my head that carrying a weapon was just inviting trouble.

I might have grown out of that mindset, but the old clothes were still hanging up in the back of the closet.

“Don’t mention it,” Steff said. “When we get back to the dorm, we’ll talk to the others and figure out what we’re doing this weekend. I might be whore de combat for part of it, but I’m thinking basically a two day pajama party so we can do the whole staying indoors and hanging out without it turning into a fortress mentality, you know?”

“That’s not a bad idea,” I said.

“I just want you to be safe,” she said. “And to feel safe.”

“That’s a new look on you,” I said with a weak smile.

“Eh, danger’s only fun if it’s done from a certain baseline, you know? The sooner we’re in the clear, the sooner I can go back to menacing you in my own understated way.”

“Well, I think this whole thing’s going to be over pretty soon,” I said. “It might be over already.”

“Oh, yeah… the thing with the merms, anyway,” Steff said. “But you do have other enemies to worry about. I mean, what do you suppose Hart knows about Ariadne, that he’d end the class with that?”

I couldn’t begin to imagine what Steff was getting at. Yeah, Ariadne’d had it in for me, but even if she did fit into the broad category of “enemy”, she wasn’t anything like the kind of threat Iona or even Feejee was.

“Well, I don’t think he’s ever liked her,” I said. “Do you remember what he said when we transferred in?”

“Well, yeah, but that was him bagging on her,” Steff said. “This was a warning. It’s like the difference between ‘I’m going to snark on my colleague because I disapprove of her teaching methods’ and ‘Hey, student Mackenzie Blaise… watch out because someone’s out to get you’.”

“Eh, it could be that,” I said. “Or he could be letting all of his classes know on general principle, because of the whole ‘not liking her’ thing.”

“Said principle being never let an opportunity to badmouth a coworker go to waste?” Steff asked.

“I mean the principle that more than one or two students might have had issues with her,” I said. “I can’t tell if you’re defending her or not, the way you’re harping on Hart’s issues with her.”

“Neither, really,” she said. “I just think it’s funny.”

“How so?”

“I mean, I literally think it’s funny,” she said. “Humorous, not odd or suspicious… separately from thinking he was trying to warn you about her and thinking that’s something we should pay attention to, I find it amusing that he rips on her to his students. Anyway, though, I do think he was pointing that at you, and I also think you should be worried about it.”

“Yeah, well… it might be important on some level, but I kind of have more important threats to worry about,” I said.

“Don’t you mean ‘bigger fish to fry’?”

“Maybe, if I were a character in a TV show with a small army of writers coming up with clever things for me to say under pressure,” I said. “But I’m not… and also, I have other issues to worry about.”

“Sorry,” Steff said. “Just seemed like a missed opportunity… and while I’m not going to argue about what the more immediate and pressing problem is, I don’t think you should write Ariadne off. She was pretty much coming apart at the seams there.”

“Yeah, but what’s she actually going to do?” I asked. “I’m not in her class anymore, and I won’t ever have to take any of hers. She doesn’t really have any stick to hit me with.”

“Unless she picks up an actual stick… magic or blessed… and then hits you with it,” Steff said. “That could be a problem.”

“Steff… she’s not going to do that,” I said. My voice sounded more horrified than it should have, but I realized upon hearing it that on some level, I was horrified at the thought. Not because it would be senseless violence or because it would be directed at me… I was actually kind of inured to that. “She’s a professor, a teacher.”

“And Iona is a student,” Steff said. “And murderers are people’s brothers and sisters and children and parents. People do shit, Mack. Respectable people. Even people who have friends and relatives who would swear up and down that they’re decent and kind and gentle can do bad shit… and be honest: do you think Ariadne could find a witness to swear to any of those things for her? If I hadn’t heard her heart beating once or twice, I wouldn’t even testify that she has a pulse, much less a shred of warmth.”

“Okay, but I mean, she’s got a lot more to lose,” I said. “Iona’s probably thinking that worst comes to worst she just heads for the waves and never comes back. Ariadne has got a life here and a position in the community.”

“Mack, it’s no use wondering if she hates you enough to do anything that would affect her career when she already did,” Steff said. “If she could control her reaction to you, she wouldn’t have gone off the deep end and taken a ‘sabbatical’ over it. Now she’s back, and a really kind of perceptive guy who works in the same department as her saw fit to tell the class that has you in it that she’s back in town.”

“Or maybe what she already did is as bad as it’s going to get,” I said. “She lost control in class, she didn’t like it, she left to gather herself or whatever and now she’s back. Is that so unlikely? I mean, she’s had hundreds of years to learn patience and self-control.”

“Mack, that’s just another reason to fear her,” Steff said. “If Ariadne’s got her hatred under control? It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t hate you. It just means it’ll be harder to see her coming, and she won’t be doing it in a way that makes her look like a raging dracobitch this time. I mean, Iona’s young and stupid and while it’s a definite risk for any given person she has her eye on that she could kill them before it happens, it’s almost certain that she’d end up completely stabbing herself in the foot… or flipper, or whatever… eventually, if she hasn’t already. Ariadne? I could see her doing that… and doing a lot of damage on the way down, because if you don’t remember she’s a pretty quick spellslinger… but it’s almost worse if she doesn’t.”

“But it’s kind of a massive leap to think that if she did have her anger under control, she’d still want to act on it,” I said. “I’m not saying I’d want to be stuck in a room with her or anything any time soon, but it doesn’t seem like it’s giving her too much credit to believe that she might behave reasonably now that we don’t have to deal with each other three times a week.”

“Mack… do you even know why she had it in for you?” Steff asked. “Specifically, I mean?”

“I figure it’s just anti-demon prejudice and the fact that someone kept distracting me in her class,” I said. “I mean, okay, yes, that doesn’t really explain the depths of her reaction, or why she latched onto me and not you or anyone else who wasn’t giving her their full attention… but, well, you can’t really explain those things.”

“Because they’re irrational,” Steff said. “And that’s why expecting her to be reasonable is a mistake, Mack… if a person could be reasonable about their irrational hatred, they woudn’t have it in the first place. Anyway, I got morbidly curious… which is the best kind of curiosity, even better than the bi kind… and did some digging. Well, not literal digging. That would be more if I were feeling morbidly bi-curious…”

“What exactly did you find out?” I asked.

“Once upon a time, Ariadne was married to a human…”

“We knew that,” I said. “That’s why she has a last name.”

“Right, but that was the beginning of a story,” Steff said. “Hence the ‘once upon a time’. This back when they were kind of new around these parts… he was a ranger who was employed by the Merovian authorities to explore and be an intermediary guy between the ‘roves and the local elves. That’s how Ariadne met him… they fell in love and got married, and when he started to get old they went back into the deep woods and built a cabin so they could spend his last decade or two together in peace.”

“I can’t even imagine planning for something like that,” I said.

“Yeah, well, that’s something you should really ought to keep in mind before you get too attached to Mr. Mason,” Steff said.

“That’ll only be an issue if I actually make it through my freshman year alive,” I said.

“Don’t say that, Mack.”

“What? I’m trying to be darkly humorous,” I said. “I thought you’d like it.”

“I meant ‘freshman’,” Steff said. “This has been a co-ed campus for decades now, there’s no reason to keep using that word… I wasn’t any kind of a man last year, and I’m pretty sure you aren’t, either.”

“Noted,” I said. “So… I’m guessing, since you’re telling me this story, that there’s a demon involved?”

“Possibly,” Steff said. “She thinks so.”

“What do you mean?”

“It happened when she was away,” Steff said. “Who did it or how it happened was never really settled, because there wasn’t much of a body left either way… bones with teethmarks, basically, and they weren’t in great condition because the cabin burned down around them.”

“That sounds like a point for the demon theory,” I said.

“Yeah, it could have been unholy hellfire, or it could have been the fact that cabins are made out of wood and there was no one watching the fire because of all the death,” Steff said. “She believes it was a demon. Her family was never sure, and neither was the ranger corps… which, given that they’re rangers, makes me think they know it was ghouls but didn’t want to argue with a widow… but whatever actually happened, she’s had a major hate-on for demons ever since.”

“Why is she so sure it was a demon?”

“Who knows? Maybe because you can’t blame ghouls,” Steff said. “I mean, you can blame things on ghouls, but it’s hard to nurse real hate against them… I mean, if it was ghouls, he could have died of natural causes and then they broke in, and then the cabin burned down.”

“Or he could have been killed by a demon and ghouls found the leftovers,” I said. “They are opportunistic scavengers. Hell, there are reports of ghouls following wilder demons around, and of the savvier ones training them.”

“Right, but they lived in the sort of area where ghouls spawn naturally,” Steff said. “So there’s no reason you have to add a demon to explain the ghouls.”

“Durkon’s hammer, yeah,” I said, nodding. “Where did you find all of this out? It would have to have been three or four hundred years ago.”

“Eh, I asked around,” Steff said. “It could just be bullshit rumors, but I think it’s probably either the truth or very close to it. I mean, the elves who are going to school now are mostly children of people who were alive when it happened.”

“It’s still kind of old history, even for an elf,” I said, though I remembered Ariadne’s reference to her late husband on the first day of class… she’d referred to it as “current events”. It had been a joking play on the elven perspective of history, but if that relationship had ended in tragedy there could be a lot of pain behind the jest. “I mean, it’s in living memory, obviously, especially for her… and it explains why she’d have an issue with me, but how much of a grudge could she be carrying after so long?”

“She didn’t take his last name until after he died,” Steff said.

“What, she’s supposed to change it back after a hundred years?” I asked. “I don’t think there’s an expiration date on that kind of thing.”

“You know what I think is going on here?” Steff asked. “Deep down inside, you don’t believe it’s unreasonable for people to hate you. Not for the demon thing. You’ll arm yourself against the mermaids, you’ll stand up against Sooni’s… whatever Sooni does next… but if someone hates you for being a demon, inside, you’re agreeing with them. I’ll bet if you’d known that Ariadne wasn’t just being an arbitrary and capricious bitch to you for no real reason at the time, you’d never have managed to stand your ground in class. You’d have folded, because you couldn’t find it in yourself to disagree with her.”

“I don’t think it’s wrong for people to hate or fear demons, no,” I said. “And maybe that sort of complicates my response here. I mean, yes, on some level I suppose I have always assumed that Ariadne had it in for me because of my specific heritage, and no, I can’t really blame her for feeling that way, even if I would rather she didn’t act on it. But is there any reason to think she’d do more than abuse her powers as a teacher, when that’s all she’s done so far?”

“Lately, to you,” Steff said. “The story is that she practically led a lynch mob against another half-demon student a while back… or did lead one, depending on which telling in particular you believe.”

Okay, that was an important piece of news. It could have been exaggerated or twisted through time and repeated tellings, but if there were any truth to it at all then it would be a mistake to write Ariadne off as a threat. She wasn’t exactly charismatic in the sense of being likable or personable, but she had real presence and a way with words.

“Why are you just telling me this now?” I asked. “It seems kind of relevant.”

“Yeah, that’s why I’m telling it to you now,” Steff said. “It’s not like I made a whole big decision not to tell you before… there’s just been thing after thing happening, and Ariadne hasn’t even been on campus that I knew of. Hell, she could have decided to take a year or three off as easily as she did a couple of weeks. Or resign and look for a position somewhere else. Or retire for a human lifetime or two. Her personal history and its implications towards you wasn’t exactly the biggest thing on the table, in other words.”

“It still isn’t,” I said. “Even with the lynch mob thing… and you can’t even say if that’s true for certain… honestly, I mostly feel bad for her.”

“Yeah, well, you’ve never had an elf for an enemy before,” Steff said.

“Elves aren’t especially known for their vindictiveness,” I said.

“Of course not,” Steff said. “We leave that kind of reputation to the uglier, shorter lived races. But there’s a saying that having an elf for an enemy is the only thing worse than having one for a friend. And that’s an elven saying, Mack. We know what we’re talking about.”

“How bad do you think it’s going to get?”

“Let me put it this way,” Steff said. “Iona’s the more immediate threat, but I’m not sure that she’s the bigger one.”

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77 Responses to “483: Family History”

  1. Jane says:

    “Maybe, if I were a character in a TV show with a small army of writers coming up with clever things for me to say under pressure,” I said. “But I’m not…
    love it!

    Current score: 2
  2. Kouros says:

    Durkon’s Hammer? This universe’s verion of Occam’s Razor I’m guessing. Also yay for OOTS reference <3

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    • Frelance says:

      It’s come up before 🙂


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      • Rey d`Tutto says:

        It’s the specific, world-building details like ‘Durkon’s hammer’ that help cast the tone of ToMu.

        May your pen never run dry.

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      • A Random Pooka says:

        I remember seeing a reference to Durkon before too, but it still makes me giggle every time I see one or another reference in the same vein.

        Also, shouldn’t it be “If worse comes to worst” up towards the beginning? Implying that things have moved from medium levels of suck to full on suck at maximum capacity? Or am I misremembering the phrase?

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        • beappleby says:

          It may be incorrect, but “worst to worst” is how I’ve always heard it.

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          • JS says:

            Actually, you only likely perceived it as “worst to worst”, it’s the kind of received pronunciation that produces “nother” from “an other”. And just because you always heard it that way is no reason to continue using it that way once you know it’s incorrect.

            I was going to say something about it but I have learned over time that AE’s worldbuilding means that Mack often says things that are wrong even though she thinks of herself as incredibly intelligent.

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            • Sorry to say, “worst comes to worst” is the original and correct saying. “Worse comes to worst” is the erroneously received pronunciation that comes from people trying to make sense of an archaic construction that makes no sense.

              It does not refer to a deteriorating situation (as the phrase “from bad to worse” does), but rather it means the worst of the worst.

              Current score: 2
  3. drudge says:

    Doesn’t Mackenzie already have a certain mentally imbalanced elven enemy?

    Oh god, Mackenzie dealing with two Mercy’s. That would be absolutely crazy.

    Elves in general aren’t striking me as “Making better friends” so much as “People you want to keep in front of you at all times.”

    Current score: 1
    • Zergonapal says:

      Except the Mercy is not enemies with Mack, she just wants Mack’s ovaries and this is only because she is conveniently nearby. Then there is the fact that Mercy is so far above Mack’s league as to seem almost godlike that the idea the two could be enemies is laughable.

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      • drudge says:

        Ok, “a person who wants mack in a situation that would either kill her or condemn her to a fate worse than death”. Thats …exactly what an enemy would want.

        Mercy doesn’t want Mack just for ovaries, she found another bunch, most of which died in the first day.

        Are we seriously going to argue over the specification?

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        • CB says:

          [Ok, “a person who wants mack in a situation that would either kill her or condemn her to a fate worse than death”. Thats …exactly what an enemy would want.]

          The thing is, Mercy isn’t trying to make Mackenzie miserable so much as simply do what’s in her own interest. An enemy would be in it strictly to see her suffer–Mercy doesn’t care whether she suffers or not. All she wants are “puppies”

          While I wouldn’t exactly classify Mercy as an enemy, I would regard her as bad news.

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          • Arakano says:

            I disagree with your definition of enemy. For example, in a war, one country may be in it entirely out of selfish interests, and not out of any hate or even dislike for the enemy side. Doesn’t change the fact that both are ENEMIES.

            Really, if someone wants to harm me, I do not give a bloody pixie-wing if they want to harm me out of hate our out of calculated self-interest – because you see, for me the result will be the same, and judging who is an enemy and who’s not is kinda more based on your own perspective than on that of the potential enemy in question.

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    • Wysteria says:

      Drudge, I think Mercy counts as a mentally unbalanced elven friend. She gives Mackenzie gifts and wants to take care of her and give her a family and… I can’t keep a straight face. Oh well.

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      • A Random Pooka says:

        I would call Mercy a collector trying to add to her collection for sure. Not an enemy.

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        • beappleby says:

          I think by that definition she would be the enemy of someone who DOES NOT WANT TO BE COLLECTED.

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  4. Mikka says:

    Very much in love! I wonder if this teacher is the reason the last half demon student freaked out?

    And just so you know, AE, I stayed up an extra hour late just to read your update… again… I can’t get enough of you =)

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    • drudge says:

      At least the last one, if not more. There’ve been close to 30 students with noticeable amounts of demon blood since MU, and you really only need one hand to count the ones that lived through all four years.

      Granted, from the dietary requirements we know from character questions and such, Mackenzie got off very, very easily compared to most given the two we know from other half’s are “human livers” and “human eyes”, so it’s possible they just snapped when they couldn’t get a fix.

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      • hoppy says:

        I’d like add that at one time it was probably open season on half demons, some of those could have been plain killed for their ancestry.

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      • There’ve been close to 30 students with noticeable amounts of demon blood since MU, and you really only need one hand to count the ones that lived through all four years.

        [Citation needed.]

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        • Oni says:

          >_< Now you're making me want to go back and check a line I only vaguely remember. Something fairly early about a certain number of half- or quarter-demons that have attended the school and the rather bad survival rate of them.

          Not 30, though. In fact, I don't think there's been mention of any other current students with noticeable demonic ancestry?

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          • drudge says:

            I distinctly recall there being a mention. I remember there being somewhere between 20 and 40 of them and at least 75% of them dying horribly before graduation.

            I am however, sure as hell not going back to check. The only characters I remember are Mackenzie, Steff, and some random people we never see again. Combined with a lack of exact lines that isn’t much to go on.

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            • 'Nym-o-maniac says:



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            • The number of survivors-to-graduation can be counted on one hand, but given the fact that there were five of them to begin with that’s unremarkable. The only one who didn’t make it to graduation is the one alluded to in this chapter.

              I am however, sure as hell not going back to check. The only characters I remember are Mackenzie, Steff, and some random people we never see again. Combined with a lack of exact lines that isn’t much to go on.

              This is why your comments bug me so much. You don’t know. You know you don’t know. And yet you come here and make these incredibly ignorant, unsupported assertions.

              I don’t blame you for not knowing every little detail of the story. How hard it is to keep track of everything that’s been said and everything that’s happened is a big part of why I’m doing the volume shift. I’ve spent over half an hour tracking down and confirming and then rewriting a contradiction in the chapter I wrote for today. So I sympathize.

              But I don’t sympathize… or understand… how you can sit here and say things with such an air of confidence and authority when you admit you’re really not paying attention or retaining the story as a whole.

              Please. Stop. Commenting.

              Current score: 5
  5. Burnsidhe says:

    “I might be whore de combat for part of it, ”

    Now that’s a perfect Steff play on “hors de combat.”

    Current score: 1
  6. Matthias says:

    does anyone remember which update the confrontation between Ariadne and Mackenzie was in? I would like to reread it.

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  7. Marx says:

    OH gods would I love to smack Mack left and right now… for all her experiences she already made at MU, and all her recent personal growth, she can still be really ignorant in situations where I didn’t think it possible.

    And yes, I fear the reason for that is just as Steff said…

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  8. morten g says:

    Hey this is Friday right? Isn’t this the day that Granny Blaise is supposed to go back to Blackwater?

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  9. Calia says:

    As stubborn as Mack is being here about not wanting to believe Ariadne would be a real threat to her, I kind of understand. No one wants to believe that someone who is in (relatively) good standing with the community, in a place of authority, and is supposed to help and nurture students would ever do something to harm said students, no matter what.
    Even Mack, who has often seen some of the worst in people, is still disinclined to believe the worst of them.

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  10. Zathras IX says:

    Having an Elf for
    An enemy is worse than
    Having an Elf friend

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    • Jechtael says:

      Elven enemy:
      Having one is barely worse
      Than an Elven friend.

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  11. beappleby says:

    Typo alert:

    “It’s not like I made a whole big decision not tell you before…” needs a “to” in there somewhere!

    I like Steff in this one. I like her being on the defensive alert, and I like her idea about the two-day pajama party. I bet there will be *pizza*!

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    • Kevin says:

      Pizza already failed but they haven’t done hot wings yet (preferably boneless considering Mack’s tendency to not notice the bones anyway)

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      • beappleby says:

        They’ve had a successful pizza party, haven’t they? The first one was when Barley went off on her, but they had one in the lounge later.

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      • drudge says:

        Mackenzie notices bones. Thats the bad part, given she likes the way they *crunch* between her teeth. She thought the bones were the ‘best part’ of the wing.

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        • Arakano says:

          Is it gross that I kinda would like to have such strong teeth/jaws to try that out? *blushes*

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  12. seeker of seekers says:


    Oh, Mack notices the bones, it’s just that it’s the repressed subconcious demon part that notices. Notices and relishes.

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  13. 'Nym-o-maniac says:

    Am I the only one who saw “cabin in the deep woods” and immediately thought “was it anywhere near Blackwater?” Perhaps it’s just because of the last OT, but…

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    • Laurie says:

      No, you definitely are not. That was my first thought too.If that is the case, it’s so very ironic. . .

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    • I found it interesting as well, especially the reference to his having been employed by the Merovian authorities as well, that hints at the OT being relevant also. This all left me wondering a couple of things.

      *could the countess in the OT be Ariadne’s daughter?

      *could Mack daddy pass himself off as sidhe because of his affinity for the forest.

      –If so, could Mack daddy be alot closer than we think, perhaps loitering in the forest near the school and have encountered Jaime?

      *could sidhe and demons be related in the ToMu world?

      Interesting things to mull over, but also a stretch of the imagination.

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      • Kevin says:

        Sidhe and demons being related I somewhat doubt, however I would not be surprised if they could interbreed.

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        • beappleby says:

          It seems that pretty much everything can interbreed in this world.

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          • CB says:

            Except maybe horses and nymphs. We’ll ask Amaranth about that in a few hundred years.

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    • Arakano says:

      Did I miss an OT? 😮

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      • Kevin says:

        The OT mentioned is I believe the one right before this chapter, judging by the countess in the “Man in the Woods” story. However I personally doubt the countess being Ariadne’s daughter as it would be very difficult for the daughter of an elf and a woodsman (ranger) to reach the higher social status of countess.

        Current score: 0
  14. Speaking of mentally unbalanced elves, among other things, are we ever going to see Jamie & Co around again? I mean, I realize there’s plenty going on with the main cast right now, I’m not complaining, just curious.

    Current score: 1
    • drudge says:

      If Mackenzie’s story needs a timeskip Jamie’s would need a full on reboot. Keep in mind he’s still in his second or third week right now.

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      • Jaime’s would be fairly easy to catch up potentially.

        Jamie snaps somewhat because he was the last to see the Iolana.

        Violet picks up on the ‘guilt’ and he’s been getting some mental healing for a few days perhaps and nursing his ankle as well, or been investigated after his a-mail to his teachers revealing he was the last person to see Iolana when they got back to campus and about the little trip to the other plane in the wagon and the name me so I go away sprite and the bottle and all that.

        Which, point to ponder. What happened to “Fay” after Iolana was killed. Did she try to defend her? Is she free now because the person she was latched onto is dead? Did Iolana rebind her before the incident?

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        • I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at here… Iolana’s not dead.

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          • so many I names, I’ve gotten them mixed up in a painkiller haze.

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            • Ah, you mixed up Iona and Iolana? That’s kind of understandable… I regret choosing Iolana’s name a little bit. I’m not a visual thinker so, it never occurred to me that they look so close when the “Io” is pronounced differently in them.

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            • yeah, when I’m in a painkiller haze the two pretty much end up looking identical. The ‘la’ went out of the name for me. I shouldn’t try reading when I’m fogged.

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          • Kevin says:

            Glad to hear it I’ve been trying to find a reference to Iolana dying ever since I saw that comment.

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  15. Chips says:

    I wonder if Mack Daddy is why Iona’s missing…

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    • Fan says:

      Na The fish creature was reading peoples minds remember. It would have found Iona’s guilt and the royalty took her off to be punished… quietly

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      • Lunaroki says:

        Or perhaps Iona has been hiding out somewhere outside Harlowe, laying low until the heat’s off. Only Miss Erin really knows of course, so the rest of us will just have to wait and see.

        Current score: 0
    • nobody says:

      i’m betting word got to Embries, myself, and that he decided to make nice with Leda’s parents on MU’s behalf by personally taking care of her murderer. with back-channel confirmation that the deed had been done, good ol’ boys’ club style, nice and quietly.

      Current score: 0
  16. Lunaroki says:

    Typo Report:

    I don’t think you should write Ariadne off.She was pretty much coming apart at the seams there.”

    Needs a space between the two sentences.

    Current score: 0
  17. Well! By the pricking of Mack’s thumbs, something wicked this way….well, returns.

    Oh, dear, bad thought: what if Adriadne and Mercy team up? :< Might need Mack Daddy's help then, little fresher~

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      If Ariadne met Mercy and found out about Mercy’s little “hobby” of breeding demon-blooded, I’m sure that our relatively inoffensive Mack would be safe for a while as Ariadne tried to figure out how to bring Mercy down.

      Current score: 0
      • Oni says:

        Eventually, Mercy’s talent for “making things die in various (horrible) ways” might win out over Ariadne’s “centuries-spanning personal memory for (lopsided) facts and pleasure in having other people listen to her talk”.

        Ariadne’s an elf, yes. She’s also a history teacher, a profession not universally known for it’s ability to take down nigh-immortal black-ops assassins in a position of power with the (*legally legitimate*!) seedy underbelly of the realm.

        Just saying.

        Current score: 0
        • Burnsidhe says:

          And what I’m saying is that Ariadne would focus her obsession on Mercy, or perhaps more specifically, Mercy’s pets.
          I would agree that she’s not likely to succeed very well, just that it would get her attention off of Mack for a while.

          Current score: 1
    • drudge says:

      I think them going against each other would be more likley. One wants her dead, the other alive. Pitting two deadly and ancient enemies against each other would give Mackenzie a bit of breathing room, if only temporarily.

      Of course, Mercy would then probably feel like Mack owes her something…

      Current score: 0
  18. Speight says:

    Just as I thought that things were starting to wrap themselves up to some extent, we have what looks to be a big fat new plot thread (would that be a plot rope?)…

    Typo: ‘“That sounds like a point for the demon theory,” I aid.’ seems to be missing an ‘s’.

    Current score: 0
  19. Readaholic says:

    Now that’s all very interesting. Given that Embries was hired specifically to prevent the lynch mob scenario happening again, and his preference for eating humanoid females, it seems clear that if Ariadne goes off the deep end and uses her elvish magical voice stuff to incite another mob, Embries gets to eat her. And Ariadne knows it.

    Also, given her statements previously to the Chancellor, it seems to indicate that Ariadne sets out to deliberately murder any demonbloods on campus, probably using humans as her proxies. Charming.

    Current score: 0
  20. Burnsidhe says:

    I like the idea of details and plot threads that dangle. Not everything gets resolved in real life, and if you’re writing a story about a character’s “Real Life”, it doesn’t make sense to me to have all these plot threads get neatly wrapped up.

    In a play, where everything is tightly scripted, it makes sense not to put extraneous details in or draw the audience’s attention to an object that is ultimately insignificant.

    In a story like this, which is a milieu story focusing mostly on one character, the “Chekov’s Gun” guideline just does not work.

    Current score: 0
  21. Sindyr says:

    Keep up the good work, AE! We enjoyed the updates as usual. 😀 Thank you for sharing your time and talent for our entertainment.

    Current score: 0
  22. Kaila says:

    ‘The sooner we’re in the clear, the sooner I can go back to menacing you in my own understated way.’

    Love. Steff may be a creepy bugger, but well worth it in the entertainment dept.

    Current score: 0
  23. Erm says:

    “Durkon’s hammer, yeah,”

    An OotS reference there? 😀

    Current score: 1
  24. Arancaytar says:

    the sort of area where ghouls spawn naturally

    “spawn” makes me think they’re not just corpses that spontaneously reanimate, but somehow just… appear. Like random mobs in Minecraft or something. A strange idea…

    Current score: 0