12 – 29

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“I think I’ve found a flaw in your plan,” Aspen declared.

“Oh, really.” Ruda looked at her sidelong, not shifting from her position leaning against the spell lab’s wall except to take a long drink from her bottle of beer. “If I asked reeeeeaal nicely, wouldja share it with me?”

“Sure,” Aspen said immediately, folding her arms and looking smug. “You don’t actually know when this Sleeper guy will attack, or even if he will. And you’ve got everybody locked in here to wait for it, which… You guys don’t hunt much, do you?”

At that last pointed question, she half-turned to look around the room. Toby and Shaeine were both sitting against a wall in lotus postures with their eyes closed; Teal lounged next to the drow, apparently asleep. Scorn was pacing furiously back and forth, muttering to herself, while Juniper paced in a much less energetic fashion, wandering aimlessly all over the room at a slow amble. Inspector Fedora sat on the floor against the huge window, almost swallowed by his trench coat, which was rumpled up around him by his position. He was reading, of all things, an Avenist libram, and seemed quite absorbed in it. Only Fross and Gabriel were engaged in apparently goal-directed behavior, having claimed a space a few feet distant from Fross’s model of the mountaintop to work on some enchanting project, surrounded by loose sheets of his spell parchment. Their quiet discussion was the predominant sound in the room.

Ingvar, as usual, stood near Aspen, currently watching her conversation with Ruda. The whole evening, as hours had stretched on, he had simply stood, in apparently perfect calm.

“See, like Ingvar,” Aspen said approvingly, pointing at him. “Hunting requires patience. You gotta be able to just wait for a long time without going stir-crazy. I don’t think most of this group has the knack. Specially that one.” She shifted her finger to point at Scorn.

The Rhaazke ground to a stop with a muted screech of her claws upon the stone floor, turning on her and clenching her fists, tail beginning to lash. “Listen here—”

“Scorn,” Teal said without opening her eyes. “Please don’t. Starting a fight with dryads is pointless.”

“I am not the one starting!” Scorn snapped.

“You wouldn’t be the one to finish it, either,” Fedora commented, turning a page in his libram and not lifting his eyes from it. “That’s not a reflection on your personal power, gorgeous, trust me. Our sort would be well-advised not to fuck around with high-level fairies.”

“We do not share a sort,” she said disdainfully.

“Sure,” he agreed. “You have more magic and muscle in your abs than I’ve got in my entire body, while I, contrariwise, have some basic goddamn social skills. And that dryad would puree either of us if we pissed her off, so let’s refrain, yeah?”

“And this is what I mean,” Aspen said with unmistakable satisfaction. “Everybody’s gonna go nuts cooped up in here like this. Especially if the Sleeper never shows.”

“He will,” Fedora stated, still reading. “The cat’s away. The mouse will play.”

“I don’t know what that guy’s talking about half the time,” Aspen complained to Ingvar.

“You are not missing out,” he replied.

“Have you considered,” Ruda said with deceptive mildness, “that you picking at this is, if anything, going to make it worse?”

The dryad scowled. “It’s not my fault!”

“More academically, then, have you ever considered anything in your life before you just hauled off and did it?”

Scorn laughed, far too loudly for the enclosed space.

“Now you listen,” Aspen began, but Ingvar swiftly interrupted.

“Aspen, stop. She has a point.”

The look the dryad turned on him was almost hurt. “I—but—she’s being rude about it!”

“Yes,” he said calmly, “which is her business, not yours. You’re not responsible for what anyone else does, only what you do.”

“Oh, again with the philosophy,” she huffed.

“I don’t have a lot of interest in philosophy,” he said, “unless it has an immediate practical use. Turning the other cheek for moral reasons is Omnist practice, and no concern of mine. What concerns me is that when you react to other people, you let them control you. A man—a person, in order to exercise any power, must be self-contained and controlled.”

“Huh,” she grunted with poor grace.

“Rudeness aside, she is right,” Ingvar went on. “You are also right. This is a tense environment, and pointing it out will only make it more so. Better to set an example. You’re a hunter of no small skill, Aspen; you could teach these students a great deal about patience.”

“That’s true,” Juniper agreed, coming over to loop an arm through one of Aspen’s. “I always thought so, back home in the Deep Wild. You’re a lot more collected than most of our sisters.”

“That is the more collected one?” Scorn said skeptically.

“Scorn,” Teal pleaded with a sigh.

“You.” Ruda lifted the hand holding her bottle by its neck, extending one finger to point at Ingvar. “I like you.”

“That’s good to know,” he said noncommittally. She laughed almost as loudly as Scorn, earning a frown from Aspen.

“Yeah!” Gabriel shouted suddenly, jumping upright. He grinned at everyone as they all turned to look at him. “We got it working!”

“Hey, that’s pretty great,” Ruda said. “You got what the fuck working?”

“We’ve solved our communication problem!” Fross reported, whizzing about in an excited circle above them. “Fortunately I had a book in my aura storage with the proper charms described, but we’ve had to adapt it to use the materials on hand, since the proper ones are sorta expensive and there’ll be all manner of trouble if we get into the classroom stocks, so it was real tricky to make it work with just folded spell paper and enchanting ink, and the final product won’t last for very long, but since we only need them to work for tonight it should be fine!”

“I think Ruda’s question stands,” Shaeine said, finally opening her eyes.

“Communication charms!” Gabriel enthused, holding up a square formed of paper folded over multiple times, inked with elaborate patterns which glowed in shifting blue and green. “You just hold it and you can hear the voice of whoever talks to you through it!”

“That solves a lot of problems,” Fedora said, finally looking genuinely interested. “If we can coordinate in the field it’ll overcome our main handicap here.”

“Oh, well, don’t get too excited,” Fross cautioned, suiting the advice herself by slowing to a stationary hover. “Actual two-way communication is orders of magnitude more complex and really can’t be done with these simple materials. I can project through it, cos I’m extremely magical, but you won’t be able to talk back. So I figure, since I’ve gotta run the map model and the fae-arcane field, I can stay here and give directions and you guys can surround the Sleeper!”

“Please understand that I don’t mean to disparage,” Ingvar said carefully, “but organizing a hunt is not as simple a matter as it may appear to one who has never done so. Are you sure you can do this, Fross?”

“Fross is extremely intelligent,” Toby observed quietly. “More to the point… Our group’s actual military strategist is taking a semester off—”

“Which is a goddamn shame,” Ruda interjected, grinning fiendishly, “because I’m really curious what she’d make of Ingvar, here.”

Toby ignored her. “…but Fross has never, in the time I’ve known her, misjudged her capabilities. The safe assumption is that if she says she can do a thing, she can do it.”

“Agreed,” Shaeine added.

“Yeah, that’s pretty well unanimous around here,” Juniper said, grinning. “You can count on Fross.”

“Aww!” Fross chimed bashfully. “I would blush if I had the necessary physiology! But you guys couldn’t see it anyway so I guess that’s maybe kinda pointless.”

“All right, then!” Gabriel said more briskly, sitting back down and tearing another sheet of enchanting paper out of his book, “let’s get to work, Fross ol’ pal. Hopefully we can make enough of these to equip everybody before the Sleeper arrives.”

“Yes! On it!”

“Well, that’s good then,” Aspen muttered. “I guess we’ll just…continue to stand around.”

“Antonio!” Justinian came to meet him at the door when he entered the Archpope’s office, moving as smoothly as always but more quickly than usual. “Splendid. I greatly appreciate you coming on such short notice, and especially at this late hour. Please, stand.”

“Not at all, your Holiness,” Darling said, rising from the kneel he had assumed upon the Archpope’s approach. “I’m always available for necessity—and I figured this must be urgent for you to call at midnight. How can I help?”

“I need to call upon you in your capacity as liaison between the Church and the Imperial government,” Justinian said seriously. He wore a faint frown—very faint, but still more concern by far than he usually displayed in public. “The late hour is specifically relevant—I am counting on your ability to enter the Palace in the middle of the night and find someone of high office willing to speak with you.”

“How high, if I may ask?”

“Ideally, the Emperor himself…though that might be hoping for too much.” The Archpope turned to face the window of his office, concealing his expression for the moment. “What matters most is that we reach out to the Throne as quickly as possible. Something…rather untoward has happened, I’m afraid. There is a risk of hostilities emerging if the matter is left to fester.”

“Your Holiness, what’s going on?” Darling asked tersely, beginning to absorb some of the uncharacteristic tension in Justinian’s shoulders. He had to admire the man’s ability to do that; usually he was far too in charge of himself to be manipulated even so subtly.

“This is difficult.” Justinian shifted again, placing himself in profile from Darling’s view; his frown had deepened. “I trust you will not be offended if I state that there are secrets of the Church which I cannot reveal to you—even now, when I must call upon you for help related to them.”

“Not in the least,” the Bishop said immediately, “I’ve always assumed that was a given. What can you tell me, your Holiness? My ability to access the Palace won’t extend to barging in there in the middle of the night with a vague story.”

“Among my efforts,” the Archpope said slowly, clearly choosing his words with caution, “has been a subtle campaign against an elusive foe, undertaken by specifically skilled and trusted individuals on behalf of the Church, using, among other things, artifacts left behind by the Elder Gods.”

“Dangerous business,” Darling said quietly.

“Indeed so.” Justinian turned to him and nodded. “And to be taken only with the utmost caution and restraint, with every possible safeguard in place, and besides all that, only at what seemed the most urgent need. There has been…an enemy on the move. A most elusive one. My specialists have been conducting a remote campaign to attempt to identify and monitor this being, using the aforementioned artifacts.”

“An enemy?” Darling frowned. “If you don’t know who, your Holiness, what makes you think them an enemy?”

“Understand that I do not, under ordinary circumstances, meddle with the works of the Elders,” Justinian said seriously. “The Church has many such relics in its possession, which my predecessors have collected and contained largely because they universally prove all but impossible to destroy. It is, as you yourself know very well, sound general policy to leave the toys of the Elders strictly alone. So long as they are buried in vaults beneath the Cathedral, under the eyes of the Pantheon themselves, those tools are relatively safe, and contained such that they pose no threat. At least, that had been my assumption until quite recently, when one became unexpectedly active.”

“And…your response to this was to have a specialist…poke at it?” Darling cleared his throat. “Forgive me, but…”

“No, no, you are right,” Justinian said wearily. “I do my best, Antonio, but a man who must handle as many delicate threads as I inevitably outsmarts himself once in a while. I suspect you know a thing or two about that, yourself.”

“Well.” Darling couldn’t help but smile. “Maybe one or two.”

“Yes, the safe thing to do would undoubtedly have been to bury it deeper and invoke the Pantheon’s auspices to ensure it took, this time. I have never been one to brush dangers under the rug, however. That which is out of sight and out of mind is more menacing, not less, because one grants it the element of surprise by not engaging. I sought to learn what was happening, what it meant, and who was responsible. It did become clear, at least, that the device’s sudden activity was due to some manner of…sympathetic principle. Someone, somewhere, had a counterpart to it, and was doing this deliberately. Having learned that, I could hardly afford to ignore it. That is the kind of threat which could come to endanger countless uninvolved innocents, if not the world itself.”

“Clearly, yes,” Darling agreed, nodding emphatically.

“Tonight,” Justinian continued gravely, “and quite recently, in fact, after a pattern of several days of exchanges between my agent and this mysterious figure, the device abruptly destroyed itself. The violence of it was…extreme. My people barely escaped with their lives.”

“And…you wish to warn the Throne?”

“Oh, it is more urgent than that, or it could wait till morning. In the moments before it erupted, the artifact projected an image of the silver gryphon.”

There was a moment of silence.

“In other words,” Darling said slowly, “this whole time, you were playing a very dangerous game of chess with what turned out to be agents of the Empire.”

“Even that would be blessedly simple compared to the reality,” Justinian said seriously. “Such a misunderstanding could be explained. In hindsight, this revelation makes sense of much about the exchanges which had baffled my agents. The enemy’s moves frequently made no sense, and we had ascribed them to the idea that he was as awkward and uncertain in his use of the Elders’ crafts as we. Looking back now, though, it becomes apparent that we were dealing with more than one party, themselves at cross purposes. The original aggressor, and more recently, also the Empire. I suppose it should not surprise me that the Throne has similar treasures hoarded away. It only makes sense that if someone had begun to activate them remotely, it would affect more than the one in my own possession.”

Darling’s eyes widened. “Your Holiness… Do you have any idea how many of these things still exist?”

“None,” Justinian said grimly, “and you have hit upon one of my concerns.”

As always, Darling kept his racing thoughts firmly away from his face. The Emperor, the Hands…the timing. This was a moment to tread with extreme care.

“Coordinating with the Throne would obviously be important in that case, yes,” he mused aloud. “But…with all respect, are you certain this entire thing wasn’t the Empire’s doing?”

“Quite.” Justinian nodded. “I have been wrong about people, of course; individuals are endlessly surprising. Those who possess and managed to maintain great power are often much less so. I understand Sharidan quite well. I know his ambitions, both their shape and their extent, and the reckless menace posed by this agent’s initial activities was not in his character.”

“What activities?” Darling asked, frowning again.

“Before the thing began to obstruct scrying efforts,” Justinian replied, “we found a trail leading to Puna Dara.”

“Surely the Punaji wouldn’t…”

“Agreed. It is also not in their nature to poke the bear, as it were; some past leaders of the Punaji might have been so ambitious, but Rajakhan is not the sort to meddle with dangerous powers to begin with, and definitely would not begin to rouse the kind of trouble in his own territory that our early divinations perceived.”

“What sort of trouble?”

“This is what we must discuss with the Throne,” Justinian said seriously. “To begin with, aside from the need to merge our information, there is also the matter that the Throne might consider the Church responsible for these problems if they are not informed otherwise, and I don’t have to tell you all the risks that could pose.”

“Indeed not.”

“But additionally, Puna Dara is beyond the direct control of Tiraas—and largely outside the influence of the Church. Between their association with Naphthene and a native spiritual practice which focuses on their windshaman, the Punaji generally have little use for gods. If someone intended to probe at both the Church and Empire, or even set them against one another, they could hardly pick a more perfect place from which to strike…and it becomes more ominous still in light of rumors I have begun to hear from Punaji territory. In this matter, Antonio, I hope you may have information to add that I do not.”

“I might have to disappoint you there, your Holiness,” Darling admitted. “The Guild’s presence among the Punaji is pretty slender, as well. Their culture makes Eserites sort of…redundant. Rajakhan is possibly the only world leader who discourages the Guild’s activities in a way that doesn’t provoke the Boss to double down on them. Only the Five Kingdoms do a more thorough job of keeping us out.”

“I am aware of this,” Justiniain said, nodding. “Nonetheless, you may still have information I do not—and of course, I cannot begin to guess what Imperial Intelligence may know. Tell me, Antonio, in any of the whispers you may have heard from Puna Dara, has there been anything about the Rust?”

Even under the circumstances, Ravana enjoyed the atmosphere of the campus after dark. Its peace was rather like that of her private gardens at home in Madouris, one of the few outdoor spaces where she could be free of the pestering attentions of the countless people who demanded a slice of her time. Professor Tellwyrn’s emphatic discouragement of interlopers had finally quelled the upsurge of interest which had begun with Gabriel Arquin’s calling last year, and relatively few of her classmates were knocking about at this hour. For the most part, she had the path to herself.

Especially these days, for obvious reasons. She tightened her grip on her lightcapper for a moment before forcing herself to relax it again. And, then, to relax herself overall. The wind in the trees, the sound of crickets and night birds, even the pleasant warm glow of the fairy lamps; all the details of her surroundings conspired deliberately to be comfortable, even if she generally found the faux-gothic stylings of Tellwyrn’s taste in architecture rather gauche.

The oppressive drowsiness hit suddenly, as she had expected. Immediately following came the stab of blinding agony in her temples—also expected, but she had not been able to test the potion before taking it (obviously), and Ravana was not accustomed to physical pain. She was unable to repress a shriek, barely catching herself before taking a tumble which would have damaged her personal dignity—or worse, her lightcapper.

A moment later, though, it faded, and she straightened, a predatory smile stretching across her features.

Mages were so obsessed with magic, they always tried to counter it with more magic. A noblewoman knew to play to her own strengths, to find mundane solutions to the threats posed by even the most capable wizards and warlocks. Even if, in this case, the solution had been provided through the auspices of expensive (and extremely illegal) alchemy, it was still a basically mundane one: a person simply could not fall asleep while in severe pain.

“Predictable,” Ravana said aloud, raising her lightcapper and turning to face the Sleeper.

“Contact!” Fross shouted, shooting toward the ceiling and chiming loudly. “We’ve got him! South lawn, the path outside the music building roughly equidistant between the gazebo and the Wells!”

Ingvar had already thrown open the door of the spell lab and strode out, Aspen right on his heels. There came a disorganized rush as the sophomores, Scorn, and Fedora followed, but the Huntsman moved with swift purpose and total calm. In seconds he had strode the length of the hall and out the side door, raising his longbow as soon as he had a view of the sky.

The arrow he nocked wasn’t exactly identical to the one which he had made with his own shaman in Tiraas; he had had to improvise, lacking the shaman’s expertise and rank in Shaath’s faith. Thanks to the help of the fairies, though, its blessings and charms should be correct. Ingvar angled his bow to aim straight skyward, drew, and released.

The arrow burst into light as it soared aloft. For a moment he experienced uncertainty; would it work? But it continued, shooting straight skyward, as it was meant to. The shaft climbed far higher than the power of his draw could have propelled it, till even with its glow it had vanished from visibility with sheer distance.

Only for seconds, though. When it erupted, it was with a surge of clouds that spread out over the mountaintop as rapidly as a cup of ink poured into a bucket of water. With it came the low howl of wind, swirls of snow, and the sharp cold of the upper Stalrange, unheard of on the prairie.

The very light shifted, taking on a pale bluish tinge. The blessing of Shaath lay over Last Rock, and across the very dimensions, blocking all shadow-jumping.

“That is a bit more ostentatious than I was expecting,” Gabriel remarked from behind him. “People might notice this, guys.”

“It works, though,” said Juniper, turning to him. “Right?”

He hesitated, listening, then nodded. “Yes! Vestrel confirms. We’ve got the Sleeper pinned down!”

“Magically, at least,” said Ingvar. “The easy part. Now…we hunt.”

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43 thoughts on “12 – 29

  1. Holy shit, a chapter. They do still happen.

    I’m doing progressively better; the tooth at this point only hurts when antagonized, which I am learning not to do. This week, I have cleverly taken my mind off the discomfort by bashing the hell out of my knee and clocking myself on the skull.

    So I’ve just finished a re-read of the whole story, which took a few months because I don’t have a whole lot of free time for reading these days, and also it’s amazing to me how huge this story has grown. By and large, I like it; almost three years in, I’m more aware of the flaws in the early parts in particular. Most recently, I’ve observed that I am extremely happy with Book 11; I think it was one of the stronger parts of the whole story. However, I’m a lot less happy with Book 12 so far. It suffers from the flaws TGAB tends to have at its worst: it’s rambling, unfocused, and awkwardly paced. I must try to redeem this, going forward.

    And now, my headache and I are going to bed. Safe travels, and see you Friday.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Perhaps a couple ibuprofen? They not only help with the pain but they’ll reduce swelling, which is likely what’s causing the pain in the first place.

      Good luck!


    2. ouh, lots of things happening here… the archpope doing archpope things, namely weaseling out of the mess he made by throwing something else under the bus, curious to see how that one pans out – especially with Darling in the middle of it all. Big fan of the interactions on campus too, have Fross and Gabe just invented throwaway cellphones?
      Great chapter, absolutely worth the wait 😉


    3. Honestly, a bit of editing would be all it takes to get this book back up to snuff, I think. I feel like you mostly have the right parts of the story together, you may just need to rearrange them a little bit to get it reading better. I don’t know how far along into the story we are for this book, but if it is a similar size to Book 11 then we would be entering the third act now. Which makes a lot of sense given the events of the story so far.

      Justinian’s little cyberwar backfired and now we get to see the damage control. The first and second year students have the Sleeper problem well in hand, or at the very least are dealing with it. Between Walker and Milanda the issue with the Hands should be getting dealt with. And Tellwyrn is being forced into character development.

      Four basic plot lines going at once, several of which provided a ton of backstory and worldbuilding, doesn’t seem too unreasonable. I really do think that if you had broken up the bits with Milanda finding out about the Infinite Order with a few other scenes the whole story would be about on par with Book 11. And given the personal things you have been dealing with lately the way this book has been structured makes perfect sense. The fact that you managed to actually keep writing in the face of so many crises is frankly absurd.

      I get wanting to keep being better at what you do, but you still have plenty to be proud of with this entire story. Try not to forget that.


  2. Epic arrow!

    So we have two groups with two plans both trying to capture the Sleeper. I can definitely see them bungling this up if they misidentify the Sleeper or if their methods somehow cancel out.


  3. Justinian is so smooth, his story would turn his latest failure around and might even gain him the favour of the Empire. More importantly though, it’s going to warn the Hands that someone is using the computers down there.

    I like how Aspen listens to Ingvar and is slowly getting a grip on interacting with other people.

    Ravana was not part of the plan but I hope we’ll see more of her involvement than just finding her asleep and the only clue being a blurry photo.


    1. Darling knows things were kooky with the Hands doesn’t he? He can probably put 2 and 2 together, so this could backfire, excepting more he knows that he knows that he knows etc.


      1. They’re still using optics right? Using a wide-angle lens on a small-sensor camera (plus the smallest aperture available) and everything will always be in focus. You hardly even need to calculate the hyperfocal distance!

        Unless of course the camera is moving quickly… Let’s hope they thought to spring for image stabilization spells also


    1. I think the students might be able to catch the Sleeper… but once they have them in custody, it will require Tellwyrn to determine what to do next.

      Anyway, it’s a lesson she needed to learn … although I suspect she already was aware of it subconciously… and that will be useful beyond the current crisis.


  4. I hope that Ravana`s group will not clash with the traditional one thus allowing the sleeper to escape.
    I used to read Marvel comics in the past and am tired of guys that know each other for years fighting or getting in each other`s way when in a kind of mission.
    In the latter comics that I read it was not happening anymore, but about 25 years ago it was common to the extent of giving Marvel a bad name.
    These guys have been receiving training in what is basically covert and/or militia operations. They will not make amateurish blunders. I hope.


    1. So you expect everyone to look at Ravana and say, “Oh look, it’s the mastermind of masterminds, the one who’s totally ok with breaking the rules and doing illegal stuff as long as it advances her aims, and she’s right where our net says the evil person is, and she’s being cagey and trying to hide something when we try to ask questions, naturally she isn’t secretly the evil person.”

      Seriously? Because I’d have a hard time believing that.


      1. It can’t be Ravana because she’s a freshman. She wasn’t at the university when Elilial bestowed the knowledge upon some students.


      2. “She wasn’t at the university when Elilial bestowed the knowledge upon some students.” We know that. Tellwyrn knows that. But does the group of students know that? I honestly don’t remember, do they?


  5. Seems like a typical Ravana solution. Though calling it both mundane and highly illegal seems a bit contradictory. I also hope the two groups efforts don’t clash with each other, that does get rather annoying.


    1. I don’t see how “mundane” and “illegal” are contradictory. Mundane simply means non-magical, and illegal means you’ll get in trouble if you’re caught with it on your person. The Empire probably has no issue with restricting or regulating non-magical substances, or outright banning them.


      1. Mundane doesn’t necessarily mean non-magical, it just means ordinary or common. Something classified as illegal would most likely make it uncommon, if only because it’s restricted by the authorities.

        Regardless, I’m curious how her solution slipped by Rafe. It’s pretty obvious he’s not to concerned about anything illegal, and he is supposed to be one of the worlds leading alchemists. As far we know, Ravana doesn’t have any special talent in alchemy. How did he get beat by an amateur?


  6. Back from dentist, emergency visit. Dunno if it’s some kind of anasthesia interaction or just the pain/fatigue, but I’m seriously messed up. Exhausted, dizzy, my limbs feel like lead. All I could manage to do was stagger home and collapse in bed, and sleeping for two hours didn’t help much.

    Chapter when I can.


  7. This is kinda serious. I’m pretty sure it’s a reaction to the anesthesia, though I’ve never had one before. It’s finally starting to abate a bit, now that I’ve had some food and begun sipping on a caffeinated beverage. Scary stuff, though; I’ve mentioned this week that I do not like things which mess with my head.

    Chapter’s going to be late. My typing fingers are impaired and my creative brain totally non-functional. Both improving, as I said, but slowly. If I can’t straighten up enough to do the work tonight, I’ll have time tomorrow. Sorry about the delay. If it’s not one goddamn thing around here it’s another.


    1. Pain really takes a lot out of a person. It’s probably a combination of whatever pain drove you to make an emergency dental visit, then one of two things.

      1. They put you out completely at the dentist. In this case, it’s normal to be groggy, etc., for a while after — it’s why they generally don’t recommend (or won’t let) you drive home alone.

      2. They didn’t put you out completely. In this case, there’s going to be more pain. Even if they completely numb the area, there’s vibration on surrounding nerves, bone conduction of the sound, the smell of the drilling, it’s really hard to get your brain to acknowledge that there’s no pain (even when there isn’t really any pain). And that’s going to take even more out of you, plus the residual effect of the anesthesia.

      tl;dr if you have an emergency dental visit, your day is probably going to be mostly shot as far as high-level creative work is concerrned.


    2. Remember, do what’s best not for this Thursday, but what’s best for ALL the Thursdays to come! Id go out on aimb here and guess that total page visits may be down, but not unique visitors? I really can’t imagine you losing readers at this point, unless it’s something on their end (moving to Siberia, etc)


      1. Readership is fickle. A lack if content updates will always cost visits.

        The majority of readers will not read comments, have any idea what’s going on or care for anything but their story fix.


      2. They will be missed, but they will also generally come back if the story isn’t dead. Worst-case, they’d probably swap to periodic check-ins and only read any of a book if the book is complete. {I am assuming here that they like the story, because i can’t imagine that anyone who doesn’t getting to book 12, and if they don’t get that far, content release rate is… irrelevant.}

        I mean, I’ve put stuff down for lack of updates, but I’ve always checked back in later to see how the story progressed.


  8. I’m up, and writing. It’s slow going; I’m pretty depressed right now, and still in some pain besides. Very minor pain in comparison, though, just lingering soreness. Most importantly, whatever the hell that was last night went away. Only remaining symptoms that seem like they could be drug-induced like that is how much I’ve slept, which is also symptomatic of depressive episodes like I’m having. So, probably not a big problem.

    I’m working. Chapter soon as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t rush it too much. As much as your work is amazing and I look forward to every chapter, you really need to make sure you aren’t in terrible condition. Health first.


  9. It’s too late to say this since there are still 5 volume I’ve not read but sooner or later you’ll have to expand on how arcane magic and enchanting (etc..) works. Fross and Gabriel and many other characters, as things become more difficult will resort to more powerful and complex magical feats and we cannot truly appreciate it since we know basically nothing about how it works. You explained the basis of Light wielding and It would be very useful and interesting if you did the same for other schools and branches of magic.


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