The Untimely Death and Strange Afterlife of Laurel Anne Blaise (Part II)

on January 23, 2012 in Other Tales, TUDaSAoLAB

“Come in, Xylon,” Lorellon Brand said, waving the elf into her office. “Sit down.”

“Why, what’s wrong with the chair?” he asked, looking at it suspiciously.

“Nothing,” she said. “This isn’t the first time I’ve asked you into my office.”

“No,” he said. “But you’ve never asked me to sit down.”

“Well, this time I want to have a conversation,” she said. “When I’m looking for, say, an explanation, I prefer to keep things brief.”

“Fair enough,” he said. He folded himself into the chair. “What did you want to talk about?”

“You,” she said. “Me. Boundaries.”

“I feel like we’ve had this conversation before,” he said.

“I’ve had it,” she said. “I’m not sure you’ve ever really been present for it.”

She opened a desk drawer and pulled out an old, tattered red envelope. She set it on the desk, face down.

“This is what you were looking for when you ‘accidentally’ tipped all the contents out of my handbag,” she said. “That was a really incredible accident, especially considering that you’re an elf. And it was zipped.”

“Surely in all the world there must be at least one clumsy elf,” Xylon said.

“I understand that among elves, a boundary is seen as a challenge,” she said. “That a person sets a boundary with the expectation that attempts will be made to circumvent it, and this is part of the day-to-day dance of negotiation. I also understand that being a natural telepath on top of having elven senses means you’re accustomed to knowing everything that’s going on around you, or thinking that you do.”

“Your understanding overwhelms me,” he said. “You know, I think you just might have some kind of psychic empathy power.”

“The thing I want you to understand is this: I know you don’t mean any harm,” she said. “I know you don’t pry into my life with any goal except to know one more thing today than you knew yesterday, and you don’t have any use in mind for that information than to brag about it. And I know there are worse things a person can do with that kind of information, that there are worse reasons to disregard the lines that someone draws around their life.”

“So you asked me here to tell me that it’s okay that I’m a gossipy little bugger?”

“No, Xylon,” Lorellon said. “I asked you here to tell you it’s not okay. Crossing lines is what you do best. As far as I can tell, it’s a big part of why you work here. For all the things that I can do that you can’t…”

“There aren’t that many things.”

“Don’t kid yourself. For all the things I can do that you can’t, there are things you will do that I won’t,” she said. “But I want you to listen when I say that I’m drawing a bright red line around my life and my business, and if you cross it, you will be burned.”

“Listen, Lorellon… as long as we’re cutting proverbial shit, we both know that we’re both too valuable to let go,” he said. “And we both know that you’ve complained about me before, and it didn’t go anywhere…”

“I’m not talking about another Personnel Resources complaint,” she said.

“What are you talking about, then?”

“Xylon, do you think you’re the only one who has eyes and ears?”

“I don’t follow you,” he said.

“Press me, and you’ll find out.”

“You don’t… you don’t really have anything on me, do you?” he said. “And anyway, there’s nothing for you to have! Anyway, you can’t blame me for being curious when you’re so damnably mysterious about everything.”

“Curiosity is beyond your control. Actions aren’t,” she said. “And you’re still not listening to me, Xylon. I didn’t ask you here to argue about what you did, or what it means. I’m telling you that you have crossed a line, and the next time you do it will be the last time.”

She picked up the envelope, carefully holding the blank side of it towards him, and just as carefully put it on the paper disintgrating plate in the corner of her desk. She waved her hand over it, and it disappeared in a green puff.

“I’ve carried that with me for a long time,” she said. “My reasons for doing so are my own, but I’m sure you can imagine that it was important to me… though I know you can’t feel it, no matter how hard you try. My privacy is the most important thing in the world to me, Xylon. There is nothing I won’t do to protect it.”

“You’ve certainly demonstrated your willingness to put office equipment to its routine use,” he said.

“Xylon, I want you to think long and hard about my particular area of expertise,” she said. “I know you spend at least fifteen minutes of every work day thinking sloppily unguarded thoughts about my past… or rather wondering about it. I know you’re an arrogant little son of a bitch, but I want you to ask yourself honestly if you think you’re the worst I’ve ever had to deal with. And before you think you’re my better or even my equal, I want you to think about how the envelope you knew I carried with me came to not be in my handbag the day you decided to make your move for it.”

“Well, fine,” Xylon said, getting to his feet. “See if I bring you your mail again.”

“If you stop touching my mail, I’ll consider it a small miracle,” she said. “And Xy, I do want you to remember that: you’re not the worst I’ve dealt with. That’s why if you never stick your nose into my business again, I’ll be able to keep on thinking of you as that slightly annoying work friend. If you do, though…”

She shrugged, and looked meaningfully at the vanisher.

“That only works on paper, though,” Xylon said. “Oh, you’re being metaphorical, aren’t you?”

“Do us both a favor and don’t find out.”

“You know, turning into a hardass and talking about what you dealt with before me isn’t going to make me any less curious…”

“Again, your curiosity is not my problem or responsibility,” she said. “It’s what you do with it. There’s a whole world out there full of things you can be curious about. It doesn’t have to be this one thing.”

“But see, I am curious now I’m curious about what you think you know about me, and what you’d be willing to do with it,” Xylon said. “I’m curious about which one of us is better…”

“If it were you, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Lorellon said.

A lifetime before…

“I told you not to come back,” Laurel Anne said when she found the man sitting in her kitchen once more.

None of the runes she’d spent precious extra coins to have inscribed on the windows and doors had gone off. In her heart, she’d had little faith in their ability to keep him out, but she hadn’t seen the exercise as entirely pointless.

If he had to circumvent security measures that were clearly aimed at him, her thinking had gone, he would not be able to play innocent. When she saw the placid smile on his face when he saw her, she knew she’d been fooling herself. Nothing would stop him from playing innocent.

It just made the pretense all the more galling.

“And I told you I would be back,” he said. “How could you begin to trust me if I didn’t keep my word?”

“Your words have never been more than a distraction from your actions,” she said. “I can trust you to do as you please only. That’s how I knew you would be back regardless. If you want to show me that you’re trustworthy, leave now. Because I’m telling you to, leave and never come back.”

“What’s the use of proving my trustworthiness if I never speak to you again?”

“What’s the use, indeed,” she said.

“Stab me for thinking it’s a valid question.”

“If you only respect boundaries as a means to an end, you don’t actually respect boundaries,” she said.

“But what’s civilization itself, if it’s not the end goal of behaving civilized?” he countered. “You respect people so you’ll be respected in return. You treat people fairly so they’ll be square with you.”

“You’re right,” Laurel Anne said. “I’m treating you horribly. You should have nothing to do with me.”

“What if I came back to tell you that you’re right?”

“I know I’m right,” she said. “You came back when I told you to stay away. Your actions are proof enough, I don’t need you to admit to what you’ve already shown me.”

“Not about that,” he said. “My… purpose. In coming to see you in the first place.”

“I knew you were lying about that.”

“Okay, so I didn’t come to you to see about your little Aidan. I would have maybe dropped his folks a line, but he’s been put where I couldn’t conveniently reach him, anyway. Do you know how hard it is for my kind to catch an airship these days?”

“Again, you’re trying to impress me with your honesty by admitting what I already know.”

“Oh, there’s information in there I know you didn’t have,” he said.

“Yeah, you’re dangling information about Aidan in front of me like bait,” she said. “And I’m not biting. Before you pretended you were only interested in him, now you’re trying to entice me with hints about him… the fact that you’re really interested in Mackenzie is nothing I don’t already know.”

“Nothing you haven’t worked out, you mean,” he said. “And sharp as you are, you can’t tell me it doesn’t mean anything to have it confirmed. Listen, I knew you’d be suspicious. I knew you’d be protective of our daughter, and that’s only right. So I thought I’d make you aware of the problem and leave it entirely up to you if you wanted to avail yourself of the obvious solution.”

“That being you.”

“There are things I can teach her that she’s going to need to know,” he said. “And ways she can learn them that would be a good ways worse.”

“What did I ever do to you, really?” he asked.

“You took my childhood from me,” she said.

“I took you from your childhood,” he countered. “A place where you were stifled, where you had no idea what gifts you had or how to use them. You were nothinog more than Martha Blaise’s daughter. Now you’re someone new, someone strong.”

“All thanks to you?”

“Thanks to you,” he said. “I just opened a door for you.”

“And gave me a shove.”

“A small one, maybe,” he said. “A few ones even, here and there. But tell me you’re not better for it. Tell me you’d be happier, living the life your mother wanted for you.”

“I might have found my own door out of that life, eventually,” Laurel Anne said.

“You might have,” he said. “And you might have met a man and you might have had a child, though she wouldn’t be this one. So really, what are you complaining to me about… the fact that you ended up saddled with her?”

“Don’t turn this around,” Laurel Anne said. “I can love Mackenzie and be happy she’s in my life without being happy about how she got here.”

“You know, it seems to me like you’re objecting to what happened on principle, even though in this specific case you don’t have a problem with the results,” he said. “I mean, if you had the chance to undo it all with a wish, what would you do?”

“Word it very carefully,” Laurel Anne said.

“You can hate on me all you want, but you can’t deny that I had a hand in the best things in your life,” he said.

“That doesn’t make what you did right, and doesn’t mean I’m going to let you near my daughter,” Laurel Anne said.

Our daughter, though I meant what I said when I told you I wouldn’t dream of interfering with how you raise her.”

“Except that was your plan all along.”

“To help, not interfere. What do you think I have up my sleeve, lady? What are you afraid that I’ll do, harm my own flesh and blood?”

“Let me tell you the least of what I fear,” she said. “It’s that she grows up like you, that she grows up to be your daughter, a liar and a trickster and a user…”

The man held up his hands.

“Okay, okay, I get the picture,” he said. “Listen, I’ve been alive on this plane for a long time, and to do that I’ve had to learn to think on my feet. This world hates me. This world rejects me. If I engage in a subtle bit of misdirection or manipulation to stay a step or three ahead of the mob… well, that’s better than the alternative, isn’t it?”

“Now you want credit for being a liar,” she said.

“Well, if someone asks me if I’m a demon, I’d rather tell him no than twist his head off,” he said. “Doesn’t that tell you something about my character?”

“That you’d rather avoid trouble,” she said.

“That’s true enough,” he said. “And that’s why I’m not going to press the point with you about dear little Mackenzie. You want me to leave well enough alone, I’ll leave well enough alone.”

“If that were true, you wouldn’t have come back in the first place!” Laurel Anne said.

“Now you’re getting emotional,” he said. “Listen, you have every reason to be upset, but there’s just no point in continuing this conversation right now. I tell you what, I’ll give you a little while to cool down and think it over, and if, in a calmer moment you still feel…”

“Now you’re in charge of judging whether I’m in a fit state of mind to make a decision,” she said. “And you’re trying to make it sound like you’re doing me a favor by ignoring what I’m saying.”

“Seriously, this is just pointless as all get out,” he said, standing up. “Don’t worry about showing me the door, I know my own way out.”

“You said you’d leave it up to me if I wanted your help or not,” she said. “I’m telling you right now, in so many words, I don’t…”

“Laurel Anne, I respect you too much to listen to you in this state,” he said. “I want to hear your honest thoughts on this, in a moment of cool and sober reflection after you’ve had time to think about it.”

“If you come back again, it will be the last time,” she said.

“See, now you’re making threats you know you can’t carry off,” he said.

“I don’t know how to stop you yet,” she said. “But I’ll be ready.”

“If I’m such a bad guy, wouldn’t that just give me incentive to hurry back?”

“So if I see you soon, I guess that’ll clinch it.”

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45 Responses to “The Untimely Death and Strange Afterlife of Laurel Anne Blaise (Part II)”

  1. Burnsidhe says:

    That’s one dead elf walking.

    Current score: 0
  2. Jennifer says:

    Amazing chapter. I am almost afraid to know what is going to happen to Xylon, and I can’t wait until the next installment here!

    Xylon definitely went from pest to … something beyond. But the writing was such that I feel utter certainty Lorellon will do whatever she must to protect herself here.

    “You were nothinog more than Martha Blaise’s daughter”

    nothing, not nothinog.

    Current score: 1
    • JN says:

      Nothinog being what you end up drinking when the holiday cheer overpowers the eggnog in your glass a bit too much.


      Current score: 1
  3. Zathras IX says:

    Among Elves, boundaries
    Are seen as challenges to
    Be circumvented

    Current score: 3
    • Jennifer says:

      Yes, this explains a lot about both Steff AND Iason.

      Current score: 2
      • Mickey Phoenix says:

        It really does. Honestly, it makes me like Steff better–some of her more borderline-inappropriate interactions with Mack seem to be more the result of a culture clash than of Steff’s personality flaws.

        Doesn’t make them okay ways to act, but it does make me more sympathetic towards Steff, and less upset by her.

        But I still wouldn’t want to interact with elves very much.

        Current score: 1
  4. Orlanth Arkatson says:

    I am actually starting to feel some sympathy for Mac’s father.

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      Don’t. Laurel Anne *learned from experience* not to leave “The Man” any way in. He’s a smooth emotional manipulator.

      Current score: 3
    • Lyssa says:

      Only because he wants you to.

      Current score: 2
      • Oni says:

        To literally be the devil’s advocate, someone wanting you to feel sympathy for them doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t.

        I think that there’s a lot about The Man that we don’t know yet, and that a lot of our perceptions of him are colored through Mack’s WTF-Colored-Glasses ™.

        Current score: 0
    • Eric M. says:

      Not me. I’m just hating him even more.

      Current score: 0
    • Mickey Phoenix says:

      Ugh, really? I can admire his skill at manipulation, and enjoy reading about him as a character, but sympathy?

      He’s a child-raping serial killer.

      I’m going to say that again, because people seem to keep losing track of it. Mack’s father is a child-raping serial killer.

      I don’t have any sympathy for him at all.

      Current score: 5
    • Lara says:

      I don’t understand what about this chapter would make you feel sympathy for him?

      Current score: 0
  5. Da9iel says:

    Possible typo: “…and you don’t have any use in mind for that information than to brag about it.” I just can’t parse this without adding an “other.” Maybe it’s me.

    Current score: 0
  6. Billy Bob says:

    For a very old demon, he really is very bad at getting people to do what he wants. Unless he wanted her to kick him out of the house.

    I mean really, I’m not 1000 years old (or whatever) and still I learned a while ago that telling someone “oh you’re angry and that’s impacting your judgement” only makes them more angry. Another good one is “look, you’re over reacting because it’s that time of month.” Also good, “you’re hungry and it’s making your grumpy, why don’t we eat then talk about it.” Sure, some people have learned to recognize when they are in a bad mood and realize that making decisions then is bad, but even with those self aware-people, pointing it out is still dumb.

    Current score: 0
    • addiejd says:

      You’re assuming that he’s being honest when he says that. Don’t discount the possibility that his motivation, or at least part of his motivation, might be to make her angrier. The angrier someone is the poorer their ability to come up with reasonable counter-arguments. Don’t forget, this is the guy who convinced her to abandon her daughter because it was in her daughter’s best interest. We don’t know yet what the wording was in their joint non-custody arrangement, but if he wants to keep her from breaching it he can’t either; he had to create himself a little loophole. How much do you want to bet that she doesn’t know about his ability to contact Mack in her dreams?

      Current score: 1
      • Krey says:

        Notice he promises not to interfere in RAISING her, hence why he didn’t contact her until she was (at least legally) an adult.

        Martha was probably also a factor.

        Current score: 1
    • Zukira Phaera says:

      the demon in the gnomeworks is that he’s likely using more reverse psychology than a simple single reverse – hoping and betting that because of who he is that she will both over and under-think his motives.

      Current score: 1
  7. Pete Granzeau says:

    This appears:

    “There are things I can teach her that she’s going to need to know,” he said. “And ways she can learn them that would be a good ways worse.”

    “What did I ever do to you, really?” he asked.

    Since the two paragraphs are both things that he said, I think that the “he asked” ought to begin the second paragraph, not end it.

    Current score: 0
    • Miss Lynx says:

      I noticed that too, but I thought maybe there was a line missing from Laurel Anne in between them.

      Current score: 1
    • bangle says:

      Or just remove the closing quotation mark from the first paragraph to show that his dialogue continues into the next paragraph.

      Current score: 1
  8. Eris Harmony says:

    “There are things I can teach her that she’s going to need to know,” he said. “And ways she can learn them that would be a good ways worse.”

    From all appearances, he ensured that she did learn them in a manner a good ways worse. I’d like to see him try to sleep with a bucket of holy water next to the bed.

    Current score: 0
  9. Iason says:

    Uh the tension. Love a chapter that you read through in a hurry because you just need to know what happens next…!

    Current score: 0
  10. Month says:

    She sacrificed Mack to get him.


    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      On the contrary. She sacrificed her relationship with Mack to assure as best she could that “The Man” *wouldn’t* touch, talk to, engage with, or otherwise influence Mack.

      I’m sure if she knew that “The Man” broke the spirit of their agreement, she’d find a way to get back in touch.

      Current score: 0
      • Month says:

        Oh right. “I am going to go away, and let her with my Holy Book Thumping mom, who by the way will kill my little girl if she grows too evil in her eyes, so that I can protect her from a man that I know does not keep his word about anything, if it suits him.”

        Plus she kind of knows. Re-read the chapters where the shrink asks for help… and who “didn’t” read the folder.

        She most probably is a decent woman, that loves Mack very much. But she decided that removing the blight of “The Man” was something greater. And thus sacrificed Mack. Not her relationship, but sacrificed the person, the one that Mack could be, and not this messed up ball of a person that is trying to become complete. And that, is why she is an idiot. Don’t dress her pissed off egoism as something noble.

        Current score: 0
        • Burnsidhe says:

          Where did you get the idea that The Man doesn’t keep his word?

          He does. It’s pinning him down on what he’s actually promising that’s nearly impossible. He follows the letter of the agreements he makes, though, not the spirit.

          Yes, it’s okay to be angry about the thought that a mother would leave her child. But calling her an idiot for doing so, when the picture we have is still incomplete? I don’t think so.

          Current score: 0
        • Hindsight bias. You has it.

          Your analysis of Laurel Anne’s actions presupposes that the outcomes of those actions spread out over years would always have been the obvious outcome at the time, that she knew both exactly the methods her mother would use to bring up a half-demon (something that’s never happened before, keep that in mind) and what affects that would have on her daughter. Bear in mind how much you know about Martha’s character is revealed in how she treated Mackenzie. Her upbringing of Laurel Anne was strict, but not on the same level. You couldn’t say “Well, I wouldn’t have left my daughter with someone who would traumatize her and then threaten her with holy water, unlike that idiot.” if you don’t have a previous instance of that sort of behavior that Laurel Anne would have been aware of.

          That kind of fallacy is also evident in your assertion that she “kind of” knows what The Man has been up to in the modern era on the basis that she heard from Teddi. You know, as a semi-omniscient reader of the story, exactly what Teddi’s letter signifies, but Laurel Anne doesn’t.

          Current score: 0
          • Month says:

            Far be it for me to antagonize the goddess of Mu. And yes, there is a “but” coming here.

            I do not have a hindsight bias. If I did, then I would say, as a semi-omniscient reader, that things went relatively well. Mack is alive, she does not trust her father, she has a social circle (of misfits or not, it doesn’t matter) and tries to change into a better person. Yes, she has her problems, but who doesn’t.

            What I mean, what I firmly believe, is that no parent, especially one that loves his/her child, should leave it so drastically. She either faked her death, or used something that Mack did to fake it. The obfuscation was needed to blind The Man I think, but no matter what, she abandoned Mack. Because she believed that killing, or taking out of the picture The Man, was far more important than Mack. Sure, it was a hard decision. I do not presume or think that she did it lightly. But still the fact remains. She abandoned her child. And the “Will kill her if she grows too evil in her eyes” comment, is true. And if she couldn’t see it, she was blind, especially since she knew her mother was a paladin.

            I think she made a big mistake. Ergo, the “idiot” comment.

            Current score: 0
            • Hindsight bias isn’t just saying, “Oh, it happened this way so it must have always been going to happen this way.” It’s looking at how things turned out and constructing a chain of reasoning that leads to it, because the human brain, it likes patterns and it likes the idea that things make sense.

              You know her mother was a paladin, and your idea about what that even means is heavily informed by what you’ve been able to observe about Martha Blaise’s behavior towards Mackenzie.

              Look at what you’re saying: And the “Will kill her if she grows too evil in her eyes” comment, is true. And if she couldn’t see it, she was blind, especially since she knew her mother was a paladin.

              Frankly I think this is an insult to the character because it makes her actions the result not of anything about her in particular but about one known fact about her. Martha Blaise didn’t do anything she did because she’s a paladin. She did it because she’s Martha Fucking Blaise, which is also why she became a paladin.

              Put other paladins of Khersis in her shoes… maybe some of them would have killed Mackenzie on the spot, maybe some would have refused to take her in because of the conflict between strongly held tenets regarding things like compassion and things like DEMONSPAWN, maybe some of them would have seen her as an innocent and protected her innocence as well as her life. And some of them would have done something like what Martha did. How likely is it that a given paladin would have opted for any given option? WE DO NOT KNOW. Speaking not as an author but an interpreter, we don’t have a clue what the average paladin would do because we don’t have an example of an average paladin. We have exactly one example of a particular paladin, and based on that example, you’re comfortable enough to look at the course of action she chose and declare, “WELL OF COURSE THAT WOULD HAPPEN SHE’S A PALADIN!”

              Hindsight bias, pure and simple… and supported by completely circular reasoning. This one paladin did this one thing and therefore it’s what paladins do, which is why she did it.

              Where you and I know how Martha did treat Mackenzie, Laurel Anne’s experience of her mother at the was that she’s her mother. Harsh and old-fashioned in a “cover up out-of-wedlock pregnancy” ways, and religious, and capable of dealing with demons, but also her mother. She’s never seen her threaten anyone with destruction. She’s never seen her strap on her armor of righteousness and do direct battle with the forces of evil, much less the forces of Not Quite Good Enough For Her Liking.

              Is that enough reason to make leaving Mackenzie in her care a great decision in and of itself? No. Obviously not. Laurel Anne didn’t want to be in her mother’s care a minute longer herself. I’m going to say no more about that because I suppose it would technically count as a spoiler to anyone who hasn’t figured out why she left Mackenzie with Martha, but suffice to say there is a reason and it would probably be pretty obvious if you set aside your personal theory about her motivations in separating herself from Mackenzie.

              Current score: 0
            • Lyssa says:

              I just wanted to say that I enjoy reading your responses to the theories and opinions of your readers. It’s nice to have some insight into your deliberations. Especially for something like this.

              However, I really wish you wouldn’t use capslock. It’s not really cruise control for cool, you know. You’re cooler without it. 😛

              I think the other thing that Month isn’t taking into consideration are Laurel Anne’s other options. There really weren’t many.

              Current score: 0
            • Month says:

              Let us remove then the Paladinhood. Let us take into consideration the fact that Martha Blaise, the woman, was a staunch believer of the word of Khersis. She was one to fight for her belief, one that tried to enforce her beliefs, and one that defended her faith against threats real and perceived. She is a highly moral (right or wrong, is not for me to judge) woman, one that tried, the wrong way at least as far as Laurel Anne is concerned, to instill said morality to her offspring’s. She considers daemonkind as a scourge on earth and that it must be destroyed. She HAS fought against daemons, or so it is implied, she knows the enemy and a lot of its tricks.

              Now you have a half-daemon. If it was any other child she would have killed Mack in an instant. She is not possessed, Mack was born like that. It is her nature, it is she, being a half-daemon. And to this woman, Laurel Anne leaves her child. Yes, she is the only one capable of raising her, due to her knowledge. Yes, she could not know that her mother would be THAT hard with Mack, or better, she couldn’t believe that her mother would be like that.

              I never insulted Martha, because she is a Paladin. In most cases Paladins are paragons of faith, men and women that inspire and protect. How they react depends mainly on the deity they serve. And Khersis doesn’t sound big on the whole mercy thing. If I do insult Martha is because she is a bigoted hypocrite, that thinks her way is the only way (a hubris that quite frankly I appear to possess here).

              Indeed Laurel Anne had the odds stacked against her. Her choices were few. And there is only one, just one choice that will make me retract my comment and apologize to her. And that choice isn’t really flattering for Martha Blaise.
              Not Flattering indeed…

              PS: I write Mack and not Mackenzie cause I am lazy 😀

              Current score: 0
            • siberian says:

              as much as this type of pointless argument probably bugs the crap out of you (i know it would me!) i have to say, i kind of like reading it. i usually just skim over whatever the other side says, i like reading your responses. Not only are they usually well thought out, but i like the extra “outside the story” insights you get, and the also the behind the scenes peeks at the writing process. i was never sure it was Laural’s intent to leave Mack with Martha, and i was trying to stay as open about it as possible because i’d rather let you stear the story, then get dissapointed when it didn’t go where i thought it should. since we haven’t been given Laural’s account of that time, her intent could have been for the often mentioned but seldom involved sister to raise Mack, but things went awry in some way. i would have to thing that in planning your own fake death (and here again we assume it was planned and not something that happened and she managed to survive, but everyoen thought otherwise) i have to think a large number of variable could go wrong, and be outside your control. anyway, love the story, and enjoying the more relaxed pace of the sophmore year much more then i thought i would. thank you!

              Current score: 0
  11. N'ville says:

    OK, OK, OK, where exactly are we in relation to time?
    I gather the conversation between the man and Laurel took place some time since, and at a guess while Mack was still being looked after by Gran.

    On the other hand, Lorellon brand, is actually Laurel Anne Blaise, in the here and now.
    No doubt more will be revealed as AE. continues the story in future instalments.

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      The flashback most likely took place before Laurel Anne disappeared from Mack’s life.

      Current score: 0
  12. wocket says:

    “YOUR little Aidan” vs “OUR daughter”


    Current score: 1
    • Month says:

      Aidan is useless to him. Too good a person.

      Current score: 1
      • fka_luddite says:

        There have been hints that the reason Aiden is “useless” to the man is because Aidan is male.

        Current score: 2
  13. Erm says:

    > “No, Xylon,” Laurel Anne said.

    Is this the first time it became official, or did I miss it before?

    Current score: 0
    • N'ville says:

      In actual fact I missed that, so when I posted yesterday, I was working under an assumption. So, is it a Freudian slip of the pen, or keyboard from AE, or was it deliberate??

      Current score: 0
    • Author_Unknown says:

      there’s… uh… the title… <_<

      Current score: 0
      • Lyssa says:

        Yeah, I think it’s been official for a while now, anyway. Maybe not.

        I do think it’d be nice to use her “new” name when the scene is taking place in modern time, though. Just as an additional way to delineate.

        Current score: 0
  14. pedestrian says:

    “The enemy of my enemy is probably still my enemy.”

    Stalin dying of old age in his own bed was the consequence of Western leaders failure to understand the corrected maxim.

    Current score: 0
  15. Cadnawes says:

    We don’t really get to see inside the man’s head and get to know the inner him, and we don’t need to in order to know he is effing horrible.

    I don’t go in for racial alignments. Look at Feejee. She wants to eat her friends but I think she’s basically a good person. So this guy is not evil because he’s a demon, he’s evil because he is.

    No? Well, here’s the evidence as I see it, spoiler free to this point:
    Started working on a seduction when the target was five.
    Abandoned her with child, twice.
    Won’t take no for an answer (the surest sign of a bully there is)
    Resorts to the “calm down, be rational, and agree with me!” School of argument.
    Resorts to threatening children to manipulate their mother.
    Mindreading aagainst the other’s will.
    Drugging his daughter (and incidentally everyone else in the bathroom)
    Stealing his daughter’s stuff.
    Mind controlling Amaranth (probably) to do that theft.

    So everybody on the “surely he’s not all bad!” Bandwagon: REALLY?!

    Current score: 5