Chapter 23: Repercussions

“Giving battle is as being made to wed one of two ugly sisters– even if you get the prettier of the bargains to be had, it is still a dreadful affair all around.”
– Princess Clothilde of Arans, the Cautious

It was a subtle thing, but when you were looking for it the change was noticeable. There was now a certain weight to the place that’d not been there before, a resistance to power that’d earlier waned. My steps stuttered and Masego moved halfway towards glancing at me in question, though in truth his eyes of glass were merely staring at me through his own head.

“I think the wards were just restored,” I said.

“Possible,” Hierophant acknowledged. “May I?”

I nodded, suppressing a grimace, and the air shivered with the power of his aspect. The Hierophant used his will to Wrest the Night away from me, as he had earlier when we’d trapped the Intercessor, and I gave token resistance before letting him win. We’d found out if worked better if he got control by winning a conflict, even the resistance was largely ceremonial. I didn’t much enjoy the sensation of having my power stripped from me, or of losing for that matter – I’d never been one to enjoy defeat even when the real victory was in throwing the fight. Masego shaped the Night into small pinpricks, gathering dewlike drops of it with a finesse I could not replicate despite my best efforts, and detonated them one after another. He varied the size of the pinpricks according to some eldritch artihmetic, observing the detonations with care, and only when the last had vanished did he slowly nod.

“Someone has activated the emergency wards,” Hierophant told me. “Repairing the true arrays will take time and mage cabals, but these will be enough to prevent further incursions by extradimensional entities.”

“Will it keep them in?” I asked.

“So long as they do not force one of the designated gates, yes,” Masego said. “Though I do not speak in absolutes, as sufficiently powerful fae can brute force their way through such things and demons usually require wards tailored to them.”

“We might have eight demons on the loose, Zeze,” I cursed. “They need to be contained, and quick.”

The tall mage offered me a reassuring smile.

“Don’t worry about them escaping into Creation,” he said. “In nearly all observed cases, they will first devour the entire pocket dimension before trying to move beyond it.”

“And,” I slowly said, just to confirm, “by ‘pocket dimension’, in this case you mean the Arsenal?”

“Yes,” he smiled, visibly pleased by my understanding.

“The Arsenal, where we and a lot of people and priceless artefacts are?” I continued.

“Yes,” Masego agreed once more. “So do not worry, since if the demons do get into Creation we will be long dead – or at least no longer truly aware, as living vectors of demonic infection.”

The whole reassuring thing was a bit of a work in progress with him, I mused, but at least his heart was in the right place.

“Well, that’s certainly something,” I muttered. “Would you mind releasing the Night?”

“Of course,” Hierophant agreed.

Much as he immediately complied when I asked him that, I thought it telling that he always kept the Night until that very moment. Indrani had told me he’d taken the loss of his magic well, and from what I’d seen of him I’d tended to agree, but no one took that harsh a loss without it leaving some scars. No one liked losing power, especially if you’d been skilled at using it, and there had been few mages more skilled than Masego.

“Let’s go,” I said. “The sooner we get to the Knot the better.”

“I still do not know why we are headed there,” Masego reminded me.

He got walking, though, and I got limping. It’d do.

“The Sinister Physician is there,” I said.

I’d made sure of that, assigning him healing duties at the crossroads of the Arsenal before disappearing.

“He has already seen to your wound,” Hierophant pointed out.

My hand almost went to the still-blood mark on my neck where the Fallen Monk’s knife had sunk into my flesh. That’d been a nasty surprise. I wasn’t a fool, I’d suspected that a traitor was going to come after me, but the metaphysical Night tripwires I’d put up on the stairs after the Poet and the Monk went up hadn’t warned me of the coming backstab at all. I’d lost all hold on Night, maybe because of some aspect of the Monk’s, and it’d poured out of me as a sea of blackflame. It’d gone around the Fallen Monk, though I’d felt him try and fail to seize control of it, but still singed him some just by the heat and killed every fae at the bottom of the Belfry besides. That’d been enough to spook him into fleeing, thank the Crows, because if he’d actually stuck around…

I’d had little to no control over the Night for an uncomfortable amount of time after the blow, and I’d come closer than I liked to admit to simply bleeding out. Even when I’d achieved mastery once more, the best I’d been able to do was prevent the cut veins from killing me by freezing blood flow and limp my way to the closest healer, the Sinister Physician. Roland might have been able to help, but with fae still up there and other potential traitors it would have been a risk – easier to feign my own death, and slide the Monk’s knife into the corpse most closely resembling me I had at hand. I’d figured it would warn Archer when she came to try to find me, and I’d been right: she’d grasped my intentions without a word ever being spoken between us.

“Catherine?” Masego gently said.

I shook my head. My thoughts were drifting, as much from the blood loss as the exhaustion.

“I sent him there as a beacon of sorts,” I told Zeze. “He is a healer, in a known and easily accessible position. Any Named from my indirect conflicts with the Intercessor-”

“These affrays,” Hierophant carefully said, as if trying out the word.

“I was trying to protect things, or people, and she was trying to break them,” I agreed. “But if anyone got seriously hurt and they aren’t dead, they’ll be headed to the Knot and the Sinister Physician – because he’s there and visible and obviously helpful.”

“A beacon to gather people,” Masego frowned, eyes swivelling as he thought. “So by heading there now, we will learn what has happened in your ‘affrays’.”

“I have some idea,” I said. “If the cards were truthful, anyway. But it should get me the information quickly and in depth, yeah. There’s also another use.”

He half-turned towards me but said nothing, the invitation silent.

“There’ll be mages and soldiers there,” I said, “as well as Named. If we’re going to contain the demons and the fae before this gets any worse, we’re going to need all of those.”

I was not looking forward to tangling with demons again. Hopefully Hakram wouldn’t be too gravely wounded from whatever it was the Bard had arranged to hurt him, I thought, fingers clenching. A leg lost, an arm or perhaps an eye?  Gods, why was he always the one who ended paying in flesh for our mistakes? The Mirror Knight would have taken up the sword, so if we were lucky he’d cut down parts of the opposition before we got there. If we were unlucky, well… Best be prepared to put down a corrupted Christophe of Pavanie, wielding a sword that’d been made to kill a lesser god. As much as you could ever prepare for something like that, anyway. The grim thoughts stayed with me as we passed through stone hallways nearly indistinguishable from one another, hurrying as much as we could without running outright.

The Knot was a riot of activity when we stumbled in from one of the upper halls, the Sinister Physician having organized what looked like an impressive field infirmary from Arsenal supplies. Half the cots were filled with soldiers, only the most lightly wounded of them kept awake instead of placed under a sleeping spell. Priests and mages were swarming all around but the Sinister Physician himself was seeing to a pair of cots set apart from the rest and from each other. In more ways than one, I thought, since one of the people on the cots was bound by leather straps and had half a tenth of crossbowmen trained on her at all times. That did not bode well. The healers in spell and Light parted for the two of us, offering words I only paid half attention to as we headed towards the Physician and my fear was confirmed.

“Fuck,” I muttered under my breath.

One of those two wounded was Frederic Goethal, the Prince of Brus. The Kingfisher Prince as well, but it was the other princely title that’d be trouble in the coming days.

“Your Majesty,” the Sinister Physician greeted me. “I am glad to see you in good health.”

“As I am glad to be,” I replied. “Would I be correct in assuming the woman tied down is the Red Axe?”

“She is,” Masego said, before the other villain could.

The Physician eyed Hierophant with mild irritation but nodded.

“Her peculiarities mean initial treatment had to be done by priests, naturally,” the Physician told me. “But I have been continuing the work with alchemies, which she does not seem to affect.”

“How bad?” I asked.

“Prince Frederic will have scarring on the side of his neck, but no more than that,” he replied. “Part of it was the Magister’s stabilizing intervention, but there appears to have been another manner of interference. He was struck with his own sword, which seems to have sorcery laid into the steel that made it reluctant – if not incapable – to kill its own wielder. The blow was deep but avoided the jugular.”

I glanced at Masego, who nodded.

“The Bitter Blacksmith, by which I mean not Helmgard but her brother, would be capable of this,” Hierophant said. “He has the Gift, and skill with it.”

Thank the Gods for him, then. I rather liked the Prince of Brus, and that aside his death would have been a political mess of legendary proportion.

“And the Red Axe?” I asked.

“Hovering at the edge of life and death,” the sallow-skinned man frankly said. “She was shot by twenty-three crossbow bolts, including one that pierced her liver and two that went in her lungs. If another had been half an inch to the side, it would have taken her through the heart and she would have died before getting here.”

My eyes moved to the woman in question, prone in her cot. She didn’t look like much, not that people ever did when they’d lost that much blood. Brown hair, tanned skin, muscled arms. Not tall, either, even prone I could tell as much. A lot of trouble for such a small package. When I tore away my gaze, I found the Sinister Physician was studying me closely.

“Despite my best efforts and those of the priests,” the Sinister Physician mildly said, “it is, of course, possible she will die. These things do happen, Your Majesty.”

It was an offer, however indirectly made.

If I were a better woman, I would have refused it outright. Without hesitation. Instead I considered the notion. If the heroine died bedridden, shot by soldiers, I would not need to have her executed and deal with the outrage from Above’s crowd over the matter. It would also nip in the bud the mess that would come from a Named having tried to murder a ruling prince of Procer, and how that was simply not something Cordelia Hasenbach would be able to let go. It’d be murder, of course. Sure, the Physician would be the one carrying out the deed for me, but the order would have been mine. The weight of this would be on my shoulders. But what was one more life, these days, one more splash of blood on the stone? How many had I killed by my hand or by my words?

I was a little late for scruples, wasn’t it?

If it were found out, though, it’s be a disaster. I’d be breaking the Truce and Terms and given my position in that arrangement the very foundation of them would be rocked.  So long as the Sisters were with me, though, I was beyond truthtelling even if the heroes had suspicions. It’s a secret, and the Arsenal is a gathering place of Named. Yet that was not an absolute rule, a certainty. If dark deeds were done cleverly, and cleverly hidden, they could remain secret. I clenched my fingers and unclenched them, looking at the Red Axe once more as the silence grew long. I should have felt pity for her, I thought, or perhaps sympathy – she had been forged in pain, like most Named, and it had led a pitiless ancient to make use of her. Yet I did not. All I could see was the consequences of her actions, all the way down to Keter swallowing this continent whole. There was no place for pity in that vision.

Yet I had made rules, hadn’t I? Rules to govern these conflicts between heroes and villains, between Named and laws. The Truce and Terms had been raised in no small part by my hand, and they had been my design since their inception. They were, in the end, the first step towards the Liesse Accords becoming truth instead of remaining ink. If I broke those rules, if I didn’t have faith in them, then who would? Who should? How could I ask anyone to follow them when I broke them at my own leisure whenever I thought it best? One of the Old Tyrants, Terribilis the Second, had once written that you should never make a law you did not intend to enforce – because allowing it to be broken lessened all other laws.

I would be lessening all I had built if I did this. Even if I got away with it.

“It would be best,” I finally said, “if she made it through.”

“I am sure she will, Your Majesty,” the Sinister Physician said, just as mildly as he had offered her death. “I will return to my duties, if you have no further questions.”

“Please do,” I replied.

I watched him walk away, Hierophant standing at my side.

“Did he just offer to murder the Red Axe?” Zeze leaned in to ask, sounding puzzled.

“Quiet,” I murmured, but nodded.

“He could have made it plainer what it was he was saying,” Masego resentfully muttered.

He wasn’t all that troubled at the notion of the killing, or that I’d seriously considered it, but then for all that his family had made him essentially untouchable Hierophant had spent much of his childhood and adolescence in Praes. People killed themselves over theatre seats, there. Politics saw enough red flow to rival rivers. I realized a moment later that I did still have a question for the Physician, though I supposed asking one of the officers would serve just as well. The villain had mentioned that Nephele’s sorcery had kept the Kingfisher Prince alive long enough for him to be brought to a healer whose metaphorical gourd wasn’t running empty, but I’d never actually learned where she went after that.

A slower, more careful look around told me there was less of a force to muster here than I would have liked. Maybe thirty soldiers, from those a few of mine and more from the Dominion. A dozen priests were seeing to the wounded, with half that in mages – most of them Proceran, by the looks of it, so barely passable as war casters – and it wasn’t like I could strip them from the infirmary without endangering those being seen to. The lightly wounded would survive that, but those who’d lost a limb or worse would be at risk. We’ll all be at risk if demons devour this place, I reminded myself, and none of the soldiers here will do much difference if a Duke of Autumn finds this place.

I’d moved on to considering which officer to approach, as the ranking one here seemed to be a Levantine captain but my natural leaning was to rustle up a few Army sergeants and get my people forming up, when the first question I would have asked answered itself. The Repentant Magister emerged from one of the side halls, escorted by a good forty soldiers – two full lines from the Army of Callow – and the Blade of Mercy. Her eyes found mine and I nodded a greeting, watching as she thanked the ranking lieutenant with courtesy and headed straight towards me. Us, I was reminded when Masego shuffled silently at my side.

“She is on the very edge of burning out,” Hierophant told me. “And nearly out of trinkets.”

I nodded in acknowledgement, then pitch my voice low.

“If you wrested her sorcery form her grasp,” I quietly asked, “would she still be at risk of that when you used it?

“I am uncertain,” he admitted after a moment. “The nature of the Night and your own prodigious affinity for it make you a poor subject to use as the base of a theory.”

“You haven’t experimented with the aspect?” I said, genuinely surprised.

He’d been the one who pushed me hardest to experiment with the limits of my mantle, when I’d been Sovereign of Moonless Nights.

“Not in a manner that would physically cripple or kill anyone should I misstep,” Masego chided me. “There is much that can still be studied before only these mysteries remain.”

Fair enough, I mused. The Repentant Magister was upon us, so the conversation ended, and though in other circumstances I would have been less than pleased to see the Blade of Mercy at her heels today I was even glad to see him.

“Your Majesty,” Nephele greeted me, offering a bow. “Lord Hierophant.”

“Nephele,” Masego replied.

“Lady Eliade,” I replied. “Blade of Mercy.”

The boy hesitated but received an almost admonishing glance from the sorceress.

“Queen Catherine,” the hero said, curtly bowing as well.

He did not greet Masego, not that Zeze cared in the slightest. By the fade of the glare behind his eyecloth, he was actually looking elsewhere while pretending to be paying attention.

“I understand I have you to thank for saving the life of the Kingfisher Prince, Lady Eliade,” I said.

“I cannot claim to have saved him, only delayed until salvation came by other hands,” the Repentant Magister replied. “But I receive your sentiment gratefully regardless.”

“It’s true, then,” the Blade of Mercy said. “It was you who sent Prince Frederic to protect the Red Axe.”

He was speaking somewhat rudely, but I could live with a little rudeness. Now was not the time to have a fit over manners.

“The Red Axe was used to sunder the Truce and Terms by a foe that kills through plots, the ancient creature known as the Wandering Bard,” I replied. “I have been trying to warn people of her for years, but there has been… opposition from your side of the fence to having her declared an enemy. We are all paying the price for that dithering today.”

There was no way the Grey Pilgrim would be able to keep fighting my push to have the Bard declared a foreign and hostile entity, one it would be treason to deal with, after the events of the last night and day. That didn’t mean I wouldn’t have him pay a tithe of blood and pride over this, though, or darken the Intercessor’s name as thoroughly as I could with anyone who’d listen.

“Then your reputation was attainted without reason, and I offer apology for it,” the Blade of Mercy stiffly said. “It was believed that you were attempting to use this affair to make the Chosen into your vassals, using the deeds of the Red Axe as a pretext to extend your influence.”

It wasn’t like he’d suddenly come to believe I was a good woman or ally, I thought as I studied him, but rather that he was perfectly willing to believe that there was another Evil out there who had been using the Red Axe for their own nefarious plot. Rubies to piglets he was already thinking of the Bard as villain in his head.

“It takes character to own to a mistake,” I replied, offering a nod and nothing more. “But if I may dispense with idle talk, there is a peril we need to address. I’ve reason to believe that there are demons loose in the Arsenal.”

“Gods be good,” Nephele hoarsely whispered. “Demons, plural?”

I nodded, appreciating her grasp of the gravity of the situation. Not that I’d expected otherwise of her. Coming from Stygia – and from the Magisterium at that, whose ranks boasted the finest diabolists of the Free Cities – she should have a decent idea of how nasty even a single demon could get.

“Where?” the Blade of Mercy sharply said.

“Near the Severity,” I said. “There might be as many as eight.”

“The wards will not contain them forever, even if they were unleashed inside them, which we do not know for certain,” Hierophant warned, having resumed interest in the conversation. “The anchors are on the inside, as the pattern was primarily designed to resist assault from the outside. Eventually they will corrupt or destroy the anchors, and the wards will collapse.”

“We need to contain them before it gets to that,” I bluntly said. “Blade, are you capable of destroying their kind?”

Not all heroes could, I had learned, but the boy used Light and lots of it. The odds were good he was one of those with the ability.

“Yes,” the Blade of Mercy said. “In principle. I have never encountered one before.”

Gods, but I had the strangest headache. Was I forgetting something? No matter.

“Then we will do what we can to set up those kills,” I said. “My priority is containment, so that we can gather numbers and Named to deal with this more safely, but none can be allowed to run wild.”

“You’ll be needing wards for that,” Nephele seriously said. “And while in other circumstances I might be able to provide-”

“You are close to overdrawing,” Hierophant interrupted. “We are aware. I have trained none of the mage around us here, which means none should be capable of the required work, but Catherine –”

“I’ll conscript half so you can borrow their power,” I agreed.

Or at least however many of the six weren’t close to burning out themselves. The priests would have been able to see to most wounds, so it shouldn’t be the case, but mages in an infirmary did a lot more than healing spells – the way so many of the gravely wounded men were spelled to sleep made that plain enough.

“I will choose them myself,” Hierophant said.

“Use my name if you have to,” I shrugged. “Lady Eliade, if you’d accompany him?”

Couldn’t hurt to have a gentler touch along when gathering a few mandated volunteers.

“It would be my pleasure,” the heroine replied with a smile.

Good, then she got my meaning by sending her along. I cast a look at the Blade of Mercy, noticing his hesitant look. He wanted to stick by the Repentant Magister’s side but couldn’t think of a reason why he should. Gods, how old was he? He couldn’t be older than twenty. It was easy to hate the sneer and the accusations, too easy to forget that I was actually looking at a kid.

“With me,” I said. “We’re going to procure a few soldiers.”

The boy jerkily nodded, falling in at my side.

“How old are you, Antoine of Lange?” I asked.

The boy offered me a mulish look.

“Nineteen,” he still said. “There is no need to use my personal name, Blade will suffice.”

A lie, I decided, or at least an exaggeration. He must be younger; it was a rare thing for that lie to be spoken the other way around.

“I was seventeen, the first time I fought a demon,” I quietly said. “I’d fought devils before, and Named of some power, so I figured I knew what I was in for.”

That, at last, got his undivided attention. His eyes were wide and went still.

“The fight itself was a terror,” I said, “like few things before or since, but it was the aftermath that scraped me raw. The demon laid seeds of corruption within some of my soldiers. Brave men and women, who’d done nothing but their duty.”

“What happened to them?” the Blade of Mercy softly asked.

“We killed all those who’d been corrupted,” I said. “As gently as we could, but they were no less dead for it.”

The boy swallowed.

“Why are you telling me this?” Antoine asked.

“The Mirror Knight is your friend, as I heard it,” I said. “So I’m telling you now when you can still prepare yourself. He might be lost, Blade of Mercy. Corruption spares no one, and all it takes is a drop.”

“He is strong,” the boy insisted.

“Then pray they’ve not made something warped of him,” I said. “Else that strength will be turned against us.”

I left him to think on that, limping my way to the two lines that’d been Nephele’s earlier escort. One of regulars I noted, and one that was a mix: on tenth of crossbows, another of heavies. The senior lieutenant was an orc, who introduced himself proudly as I approached.

“Lieutenant Inger, ma’am, it’s an honour.”

Herself, then. My mistake.

“Lieutenant,” I replied, nodding amiably. “I’ve a task for you and your soldiers.”

“I am at your pleasure,” she replied, fangs bared eagerly.

“Before I forget, though,” I said. “Where were you escorting Lady Eliade?”

“She meant to head towards the Chancel, so that the wards might be fixed,” the lieutenant told me. “Yet she sensed them being established again on the way, so we turned back.”

I hummed in approval. A good call by Nephele on both parts: a good use of her expertise and exhausted state, then a decisive cut of her losses when her effort proved unnecessary. From the corner of my eye I saw the Blade of Mercy coming closer, though the boy remained far enough he wasn’t exactly standing with me so much as in my extended vicinity.

“This will be for volunteers only,” I told Lieutenant Inger. “If you’d allow me to address your men?”

“You’ll find no dragging feet among us, Warlord,” the orc assured me. “But to have you address them would be a privilege.”

Masego and the Magister looked nearly done, two mages already following them, so I didn’t have long if I didn’t want to start wasting time in a situation where it was precious. But I owed my soldiers, given what I was about to ask of them, what honesty I could offer. Lieutenant Inger barked out an order and my legionaries fell into ranks crisply, offering hearty salutes as I limped up in front of them. Rows of expectant, eager faces waiting for some stirring speech I could not offer. I’d not do them the insult of cloaking this with the appearance of glory where there was none to be found.

“I’ll be brief,” I told them, “and blunt. Chaos has the run of this place, and it will get worse from here: demons were loosed and we don’t know how many or how contained they are.”

That sobered them right quick, though not as much as it should have. I have won too many unexpected victories, I thought. It was the foundation of my reign, this ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but it had grown into a legend I was not always the equal to. There was no clever plan that would keep demons from melting them like wax, no surprising turnabout to reveal at the last moment. I could see in their eyes that they believed there was one, that the Black Queen would come through once more no matter the enemy, and it tasted like ash in my mouth.

“I’ll be heading out with Lord Masego and the two heroes you’ve been escorting, as well as three mages,” I told them. “We mean to contain this madness until sufficient strength can be assembled to destroy it outright.”

In other circumstances I’d settle for a binding and a very deep hole, but if we had the might to outright annihilate a few demons I’d take the opportunity without complain.

“There will be fae and Named, some of them might be corrupted already,” I said. “Not knowing the face and nature of our enemies, there can be no guarantees that our methods will be able to contain them. And so I ask you all to come with us, into the dark”

There was a roar of approval, and blades were smacked against shields, but I raised a hand to quell it. I would take them with me, because they would be useful – needed – but I would not let them pretend this was some sort of glorious adventure.

“I will take only volunteers,” I said, and my hand rose once more to end the clamour of volunteering about to erupt, “but let me be perfectly clear about what I am asking of you. None of you can kill a demon. Swords and arrows cannot do it. What I am asking you is to stand between the mages and the horrors, to buy them the precious time that will make the difference.”

I’d asked silence of them, and silence they gave me.

“Even those of you who survive,” I said, “will likely be lessened in some way. That is the ugly truth of fighting demons, that there cannot ever be a real victory. There is no cowardice in avoiding this fight: I would, if I could.”

I met their gazes, breathing out.

“But I cannot, and so I ask for volunteers,” I simply said.

I could see the fear in them now and I knew I’d put it there. For a moment I wondered if I had been too candid but regretted the thought almost instantly. I could and had spent the lives of my men, those who had sworn oaths to me, but I’d not do it while lying to their faces. There were some who called me a soldier queen, and deep down I knew there was truth to the sobriquet.

If I was queen of anything at all, it was the likes of these soldiers before me.

“You’ll go, won’t you?” Lieutenant Inger asked, gravelly voice cutting sharp across the silence.

“I will,” I said.

“You always go,” the orc said, eyes hard, hands clenched. “And so we follow. I volunteer.”

And so they went, one after the other, even after my every warning.

Forty soldiers, and I was left to wonder at how sometimes pride could feel like grieving.

164 thoughts on “Chapter 23: Repercussions

    1. By the way, what happened to those three Demons back from Liesse? We never really got any explanation either way. Also the Demon of Corruption was just kinda gone too, even though Masego was supposed to have it. And now Maddened Keeper has another Demon of Corruption inside of it. Coincidence?

      Liked by 4 people

      1. It was implied that he shaped Demon of Corruption into Demon-shaped prison for other three, given how Demons don’t affect each other or anything already affected by another Demon, but hat also implies that there is somewhere a dimensional prison with four Demons inside, of which Masego has the keys, and nobody mentioned it all this time.

        Well, nobody mentioned anything all this time, and given how we know Narrator is Unreliable, that doesn’t bode well.

        Are we sure time problems of the novel are really just EE being bad with timelines and not, say, Demon of Time? What a terrifying thought. Also a get put of jail free card, but that is unlikely.

        Liked by 19 people

        1. haihappen

          A demon of Absence would make everyone forget it exists, together with whatever or whoever it extends its influence to.
          But the Prison (capitalized for emphasis) is likely a pocket dimension that contains 4 demons that are perpetually preventing each other from escaping because they want to escape itself, like the crabs in a bucket.

          Liked by 13 people

          1. Not each other, they are enveloped in corruption from one Demon Masego has control over.

            It’s nothing definitive, mind you, I am just curious. It is plausible that Keeper is former Heroin who took Absence inside and then stole more Demons using power of “nothing to see here”. Possibly with Bard’s guidance/interference.

            Liked by 8 people

          2. Thorium

            I am pretty sure that prison eventually broke and Masego ended up dumping the last 3(?) demons into the middle of the battlefield, resulting in a whole lot of death. Gonna have to go back and reread Second Liesse to be sure though.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Caerulea

              If I recall correctly, the demons were ‘summoned’ which meant that they were brought to creation conditionally, with the spell that brought them in being the condition. Masago, after bring them into the pocket dimension, used the binding spell to attack the mages with corruption, and then dismissed the demons back to hell.

              Liked by 5 people

                1. Sylfa

                  He used the ichor of corruption he had in his skin, but did he ever actually use the demon egg there? I can’t recall what happened to it precisely other than it was confirmed gone at some point.


        2. NerfContessa

          That….. Would be horrible.
          What a thought.

          And cat and orks continue to go together like goblinfire and goats, or steak and salad, or Whisky and anything.


        1. Keeper is Callowan, it is not impossible she stole Cat’s demons somehow and then Absented them later. We know less than nothing about her after all, and there is damning lack of mentioning of those Demons Masego had, one of which, mind you, Corrupted him.

          Liked by 5 people

        1. Dsylexic Wofl

          I mean, lets be honest here, im already crying this chapter, and by the wsy things are going Adjutant isnt only in the splash zone, Hakram is pacient zero, the Keeper was almost GLUED to him.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. IDKWhoitis

      The Demon of Absence, it causes people to forget its existence. In all likelyhood, the Keeper had it, so now its out and about (probably the One of the Seven and One)

      Liked by 9 people

    2. shikkarasu

      She’s forgetting the Maddened Keeper. Bard outright said that Cat would not be able to remember her. It’s also why she forgot about The Moon and thought there were only 21 Major Arcana.

      Maddened Keeper has a Demon of Absence and uses it to Keep a low profile.

      Liked by 5 people

    3. moongazer13

      There was a demon of Absence back towards the start of Book 4 that Catherine warned the Crusaders was bound to a hell egg. There were 14 heroes at the start of the incursion and 12 after they “dealt” with the Hell egg and Cat started getting the headaches. Plus, when we first meet the Keeper in chapter 14 it states “and had even turned herself into a living seal on a Hell Egg from Triumphant’s days.”

      Liked by 6 people

  1. Really hope nobody tries to make a vote reminder out of that last line. Any other line in the chapter, fine by me, especially if it’s amusing, but the mere thought of twisting the ending to be about voting has me very strongly sympathizing with the side which argues that it defiles the story.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Originally it was implied they lost two Heroes in the ordeal, although it’s just that suddenly there was always only twelve Heroes instead of fourteen, but now I wonder if one of those lost wasn’t Maddened Keeper.

    Liked by 12 people

  3. Alex

    Cat’s “strangest headache” – a reference to the Hell Egg with the absence demon the heroes killed offscreen near Harrow in book 4?

    They went from referencing 14 heroes to 12 and Cat had headaches when that change occurred.

    Liked by 18 people

    1. ruduen

      That sounds likely. I think the Blade was in the group which took out the first demon, so the headache might come from processing the comment of, “I have never encountered one before.” It’s entirely possible that he did encounter it as part of the band that took it out offscreen, but that entire encounter was wiped out.

      For those who want the references: From

      “‘Wasn’t able to get all the Names,’ Thief said. ‘But I do have a number for you: there’s fourteen of them.'”

      Compared to later on, from

      “‘It’s just twelve heroes,’ Archer shrugged. ‘Nothing to worry about. Worse comes to worse, I shoot a few in the eye and run away.’

      Strange, it hadn’t occurred to me before now that the muster of heroes on the other side was essentially a tenth and two officers. I had been tired, and there’d been a few days a while back where I’d had vicious headaches. Must have been the lack of sleep having unforeseen consequences. “

      Liked by 20 people

    1. Unless he went the way of Traitorous and underwent plastic surgery for the kicks, given how Magister’s trade is illusions and dispelling them, and that she was shot to almost death by crossbows, it’s a safe bet she really is Red Axe.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Cicero

        Yeah, I think that the truth is simpler. The Red Axe is the third traitor in the Arsenal. The Bard offered her a chance to get back at the Named that raped her, who was otherwise protected by the Truce and Terms – thus making her susceptible to supporting a plan that broke those.

        She didn’t want to kill the Kingfisher Prince, but when it looked like he might keep the Truce and Terms alive, she decided she had to strike at him.

        Liked by 8 people

        1. Miles

          I think it’s even simpler than that. She heard him say he was working for her, assumed this meant she was in for a fate worse than death, and attacked him to try to escape.


              1. What mistake? Pronouns? Inger is an orc though, another species, and good chances it’s first time Fred met one. He met goblins, but it’s not given about orcs.

                I thought about the same, and it was my personal explanation for my assumptions.

                Liked by 4 people

          1. Two characters are confirmed transgender – Basilia the helikean general and Simon the house of light spymaster – and one confirmed non-binary (Raphael-who-flirted-with-Cat) (you might see it as transgender or not, I’ve no horse in this race).


      1. Point Point

        Might be, might not. Whether or not, she clearly looks like a man (at least in uniform) and sounds like a woman.

        I wouldn’t say it’s a strong indication that she’s trans, but it does seem like an unusual detail to mention twice in such an indirect manner.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Shveiran

        Probably? Possibly for sure, but even now it is far easier to just meet someone with an unfortunate face than to meet someone who has gone through the full process of changing gender.

        We know it is possible (with House of Light rituals, and likely with mage ones as well) but isn’t it more likely that Inger has been served both bravery and ugliness at birth? For every Aqua there is a Quasimodo, and thus is balance restored to the Average Look.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. Possibly, fair.

          That said, the “full process of changing gender” is just changing your name and (most of the time) manner of clothing and telling everyone, it seems, in the guideverse.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. thearpox23

            I absolutely despise it when modern norms, schisms, and politics, move on to the turf of ancient fantasy story tropes. The language becomes loaded, old and accepted terms become replaced by new ones for no reason, and comments like to get heated over semantics.

            I have no idea where you’re drawing your conclusions from, Liliet, but sometimes it feels like you’re score-keeping, eager to jump to your preferred conclusion whenever the story hints to lean that way. With Inger, say, she could just be wearing a helmet and heavy armor for all we know. No information one way or another, but at least it being Haunted Magician in disguise is funny as a thought.


              1. thearpox23

                And props to Erra where props are due, he tends to avoid immersion breaking anachronisms. I was referring to the lit sphere in general, and the comments section in particular. You cannot tell there weren’t some strange arguments here in the past, including over lexicon.

                My point is that you, Liliet, seem to be drawn to these subjects of gender/representation/et cetera, (I think it was you that drew attention to Malicia’s skin color during the fallout with Black?) and I cannot fathom why. It just seems like an odd thing to focus on in a fantasy setting.

                PS: If I read you wrong, or you want to keep this private or move to PMs, I’ll respect that.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. It wasn’t me, but I agreed with the person who did.

                  I don’t focus on these things in a fantasy setting, I focus on them IRL, where you and I are, where Guide exists as a work of fiction that we, real world humans, read, and another real world human wrote it. These subjects matter to me. And sure, I go to fiction to escape the world where things are shitty… and to me, THIS is a necessary part of things NOT being shitty.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. thearpox23

                    Fair enough.

                    I somewhat forgot with all the corruption, attention-seeking, and author harassment mobs going on that some people just want these subjects as a part of their escapism. You do you, and I hope that IRL wherever you are gets better.

                    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kingfisher Stan

    I think the fog in her head might be Archer and Adjutant, as she mentioned checking up on Hakram and the other Named used in affrays earlier on BUT she forgot the moment she stepped foot into the infirmary. All I’m saying is if either Indrani Hakram is dead I’m serving hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indrani’s with Roland elsewhere, and Cat knows the wards got restored which would be Roland’s work. She’s thoroughly not an urgent priority, and also nowhere near the demons as far as we know.


  5. superkeaton

    I’m wondering if Cat’s headache is as “simple” as demonic influence leaking through the wards, but knowing dear EE it’s something I’ve overlooked in a prior chapter.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Jworks

      I think it’s caused by her forgetting Hakram, who is such a part of her that not acknowledging him is hurting Cat. I’m pretty sure one type of demon has the ability to unmake things so completely that their isn’t even a memory of them… really hope im wrong, but that would be a really cool way to kill of a character. Kill them so utterly that they are not even thought of again.

      Liked by 12 people

      1. Ninestrings

        It’s definitely possible. It seems pointless that he got all carved up the previous chapter though if that’s the case.

        If so though let’s pour one out for ol’ whatshisname.

        Liked by 6 people

      2. General Chaos

        It is implied that Blade of Mercy fought an Absence Demon before the Battle of the Camps. There was a Hell Egg containing an Absence Demon in Harrow, Cat informs the Grey Pilgrim about this and the 14 heroes the Crusaders brought north were retconned into 12. Cat gets a similar headache when talking about this after the event as well.

        Liked by 17 people

    2. Jwirks

      I think it’s caused by her forgetting Hakram, who is such a part of her that not acknowledging him is hurting Cat. I’m pretty sure one type of demon has the ability to unmake things so completely that their isn’t even a memory of them… really hope im wrong, but that would be a really cool way to kill of a character. Kill them so utterly that they are not even thought of again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To be fair, it appears that Absence is more focused on erasing information than actual people, considering its influence can be wielded defensively (see: DK’s Revenants and Maddened Keeper)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agent J

        Cat had vicious headaches when two heroes she’s literally never met went Absent. It doesn’t take Haks’ death to cause this. And this headache is far too mild to foreshadow the first death in the Woe. Hakram’s fine, carved up like a Swiss ham, but fine.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. Yeah good for you. The closest my nation got to representation are Drow. Who have pretty much nothing in common aside from living in the north in the ruin of the formerly glorious empire they kinda fucked up on their own and everything is shitty.

      Heh, it is Eastern Europe to a T.

      Liked by 13 people

  6. Alright, so I’m really hoping that headache was Cat not-remembering the absence demon from the missing chapter and not Cat not-remembering Hakram.

    Also, if the fates have aligned enough for Cat to come into her new Name, now would be the perfect time for a fresh Aspect to form, because this expedition is going to need all the miracles (light, dark, and any in between) it can get.

    Liked by 13 people

  7. Smr

    I’m dissapointed. Kairos would have known to say that Mirror knight couldn’t possibly have survived uncorrupted. Also something about this being a last stand without him.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No, this kind of thing is a double-edged sword. Between causing things to happen by saying them and causing things to NOT happen by saying them, If Cat said it while hoping it would undo it, dramatic irony might just nudge it in the BAD direction =x

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Hagtan

        Wait, it doesn’t? I understand they’re a violation of reality and the groves of fate, but do we have actual examples of Plot in motion getting upended by one? Also, what about Triumphant bullying them into her story?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. mamm0nn

          Demons seem to be an absolute, more physics than beings. Where angels might be Providence kinda somehow, these guys are entropy or the void itself. There is no cure for corruption, not even Story-bound. There is no way to retrieve that which is Absent, not even by a Named.

          A scientist like Masego or someone specifically made for demons like the Keeper can manipulate and control it, even for prolonged times, and Story aids the Named in fighting demons, but from everything we’ve seen thus far demons in their essence aren’t controlled by Story and their effects are absolutes. What’s done is permanent and Story alone won’t carry against them.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Juff

    Typo Thread:

    out if worked > out it worked
    even the resistance > even if the resistance
    Zeze,” > Zeze.”
    “Yes,” he > “Yes.” He
    still-blood > still-bloody
    blood flow and limp > the blood flow and limping
    I had at hand > I’d had at hand
    people,” Masego > people.” Masego
    it’s be a > it’d be a
    do much difference (either do much, or make much of a difference)
    then pitch my > then pitched my
    none of the mage > none of the mages
    to,” I shrugged. > to.” I shrugged.
    I figured I > I’d figured I
    the dark” (missing fullstop)

    Liked by 4 people

  9. If the worse Adjutant is a victim of is absense then he has hope, since that one continent was forgotten and then remembered we know that ones effects are at least finite somehow, all the others not so much, although i suppose a demon of Order could alter things in a weird way that actually helps (remember people demons aren’t strictly speaking evil) but just how lucky would he need to be?….or maybe all those lost body parts and being somewhat of a cosmic chew toy were preparation for this to actually be the time he gets lucky?

    Speaking of the severity MK did cut their vessel and maybe them in half so some may be already destroyed or damaged?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And adjutant, and on another note, something i forgot is that i hope that little speech (including Inger’s retort) was hear by a lot of people, maybe it will even get into the BoM skull to start thinking and really see her character, i can dream right?

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Tubes

    It is a little strange. Usually if it’s a case of gender identity there’s some kind of context clue, and while orcs trend towards the androgynous for their species compared to humans I feel like it’s been made pretty clear in the past that that’s only a mistake people who haven’t spent any significant amount of time around them make. There’s no set up for some kind of “she’s got a mustache” joke either. Given all the chapters she’s in involve glamour or absence demon fuckery I’d be willing to believe something is up there.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Ok, this is the end of the Arsenal, no doubt about it. Because we all know what eight Demons casually released signify.

    Bard’s done playing nice, and that is just the first step of her “hard way”.


      1. I kinda see it as her taking of kids gloves. First step is getting rid of Arsenal by exploding not one but A-bombs in a middle “just to be sure”. I did say it was a first step. Or to be more precise, her contingency in case she lost.


          1. But convenient that it’s happening after she lost, eh? If it was intended as a final “fuck you” from Bard, it would be unnecessarily petty, and I don’t think she is that kind of person.


              1. She sounds like a can of Evil long in preparation, also the best way of containing those Demons, ironically, is to turn Arsenal into a giant prison. Demons are not Pokemons, to get this many, you need a helpful nudge.

                Liked by 6 people

        1. Konstantin von Karstein

          For me, it sounded more like she would set other plans in action. And the Maddened Keeper was slain (and the demons let loose) during the card game between Bard and Cat, before the former knew she had lost.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Nahh, too many wards slowing the infection, like even when they get out of thsoe guarding the severity every section is kind of warded and there are other project, secrets, weapons etc, and the sheer weight of named guaranties there are mroe than 1 hero capable of slaying demons, and there are sure more coming like WK.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Except there are eight Demons. Who notoriously cannot be contained in a sense of the word. Eight, my man. Half the Arsenal would be corrupted and they would probably have to evacuate another, as a best case scenario.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Shveiran

          So it is an overwhelming threat that cannot possibly be defeated of contained, dropped right in front of a gaggle of Named who have no place working together.

          Those Demons could be eighty and not stand a chance.

          Liked by 6 people

          1. That… Is actually a good point. But also there is something Cat said. There is no true victory against Demons. Even against Corruption they executed like a tenth of those fighting after.

            Liked by 6 people

          2. Demon's Advocate

            This is not actually the case. Demons are not of Creation and do not follow its rules. They’re especially dangerous because heroic stories do not work on them at all. Providence can’t really interact with them.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The Narrative won’t give Demons any penalties, sure.
              But it can still give Named some bonuses when they’re fighting Demons.

              Of course, you’re not going to get as much of a relative boost, and you can’t just ride the Story to automatic victory the way a lot of Heroes (and Named in general) are/were used to …

              The Narrative can give Named more of a chance than if they didn’t have a supporting Story … but they still have to put full effort in and carry through to take advantage of the opportunity(ies) they’re given.

              It’s … a bit like the difference between Custer’s Last Stand, the Alamo, and the Bellau(sp?) Woods*.
              Custer went in stupid (relying purely on the Story), the defenders of the Alamo just didn’t have enough to win/last long enough to be relieved, and the Marines gritted it out and survived long enough for reinforcements to relieve them.
              *I think that’s the battle I’m thinking of … I’m pretty sure my point is sufficiently clear, even if it’s not.

              What qualifies as a Victory Condition gets more flexible when Demons are in play.

              Liked by 3 people

          3. Konstantin von Karstein

            The problem is that it was explicitly said that demons are not subjected to Providence, because they warp Creation itself. So it’s theoretically possible that everyone in the Arsenal is sentenced to death (even if practically speaking it’s not)

            Liked by 2 people

  12. This is not hopeful.

    On the other hand, Mirror Knight did grab the sword and was in a last stand in defense of exhausted/downed allies (Hakram and Vagrant Spear) type of situation.
    So … I’m thinking he probably could have bought them time to escape if they could or pull a Boromir and keep trying to defend them throughout excessively mortal injuries.
    But I suspect that the sword won’t survive his loss or be useable by anyone else in the event he survives. And fighting the demons might leave the sword broken or out of power or something.

    Hmm. Anybody think that recovering all the pieces of Willy’s angel feather sword is doable? It might be able to kill the Dead King too, if restored.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. She broke it and scattered the various pieces into rivers in Callow, so as to make finding the pieces and restoring it impractical to the point of borderline impossible and not worth the effort in any sort of reasonable timeframe, certainly not without somebody noticing.

        So yeah, it sure wouldn’t be easy, and restoring the angel feather sword would almost certainly carry risks of its own.
        On the other hand, it’s got to be safer than the angel corpse, probably less hazardous to the wielder than Severance, and presumably not part of any of Bard’s current plots. And it’d probably work on the Dead King.

        The question at hand is simple enough – is the effort required to find the pieces in order to restore it with the investment given the other needs of the war?
        Before now, it probably wasn’t … but now? It might be, depending on what the permanent damage and other consequences of Bard’s attack on the Arsenal are, mostly those related to Mirror Knight and Severance.
        It might not be, too. But it’s probably still worth somebody thinking about, even if it’s only to realize that it’s not practical.


          1. Optimistically, if restored, it may be a weapon capable of inflicting actual damage on the Dead King, allowing the wielder to harm, if not necessarily kill the Dead King.

            Remember, what it cut stayed cut. Hakram got his dead hand because his original fleshy living hand could not be reattached after the angel feather cut it off.

            The Dead King is, after all, believed to be highly resistant to attacks that don’t reach certain thresholds.
            The Angel feather would likely constitute a weapon that would bypass much of his resistance.

            I’m not going to call it equal to Severance in its efficacy against the Dead King at this point … but it would probably be effective enough in the right hands, and would presumably enable the wielder to assist in taking down the Dead King for good.

            That is, even if the restored angel feather sword isn’t necessarily enough to kill the Dead King by itself, it can almost certainly be used to help set the Dead King up for whatever the lethal blow actually is.


              1. “They’d need to actually face the Dead King with it” is something that also applies to Severance too.
                And, I’d wager that any sort of ritual or magical strike would need relatively close proximity to the Dead King as well, at least for the final stages. Which gets uncomfortably close to “they’d need to actually face off against the Dead King”.

                Or pretty much any of their hopes to finish the Dead King off.
                Also, quite possibly the objective of destroying his foothold on Creation, and blocking and guarding the gate to the Serenity. One suspects that he is likely to have objections to such an action.


                  1. mamm0nn

                    Cordelia: Ah, Cat. I’ve decided to ignore your advice and dredge up the angel corpse after all.

                    *Holds up a rediculously massive broadsword*

                    Cordelia: Remember when you were having problems with a single feather? Well, this is the whole wing.

                    Liked by 2 people

                  2. What?

                    Are you trying to say that Severance would not need to be in close proximity to the Dead King in order to hurt him?
                    Or that Severance would allow the wielder to “find a way” to get close enough to the Dead King?
                    Or that the only reason Severance could hurt the Dead King is because Story?

                    And even if it could have done something in the nature of the former two … (a) they weren’t finished with it, and (b) it’s been, at best, distorted by Mirror Knight’s use of it through Bard’s meddling … and it’s unclear as to what extent Severance has been altered or how. Point is, it’s no longer free of Bard’s meddling, which has unknown consequences.
                    As for the latter, no, it’s not dependent on Story/Narrative weight to hurt the Dead King.

                    The angel feather sword would not need any special Narrative weight itself. I’m pretty sure that its innate magical and metaphysical properties would suffice to allow it to harm the Dead King if the wielder uses it appropriately.

                    Cat is trying to minimize the reliance on Narrative.

                    And I’m pretty sure that no matter what “solution” to the problem of the Dead King is employed, getting into close proximity with him will be required.

                    I’m not arguing that a restored angel feather sword would solve all problems. I am suggesting that it would probably be useful against the Dead King, if restoring it were thought to be doable in a reasonable timetable and reasonably practical in terms of the resource investment. Which, admittedly, is a pretty big set of “ifs”, but in light of the unknown consequences of Bard’s attack on the Arsenal, with respect to Severance and the ability to continue utilizing the Arsenal to develop weapons for use against the Dead King … restoring the angel feather sword is something they might well want to put on the table for a feasibility review.
                    Hell, they might want to track down some of the pieces to get insight into how one goes about turning angelbits into useable weapons – using the Judgment corpse is a terrible idea, but chopping it up for useable parts to turn into gear might be safer, if probably more blasphemous.


                    1. > Or that Severance would allow the wielder to “find a way” to get close enough to the Dead King?


                      And Bard isn’t a demon of corruption. As long as Christophe survives today, Severance should be fine.

                      And yeah my point is it’d be like a decade long quest or something to restore that shit. VERY not practical.

                      Also an angel corpse is not actually a corpse consisting of bits. The last one was a chapel, remember? That feather was freely given.


                    2. @Lilliet the angel feather sword on it’s own might not have had the narrative weight to let it’s wielder find their way to the dead king, but assembled as a desperate stop-gap replacement for the original weapon it just might. I mean yeah, a tool made from the corpse of the hero most insanely dedicated to destroying Evil in all it’s forms has more weight than the weapon of some dead scrub from five books ago, but at the same time, the angel sword would have some weight from the Chekhov’s Gun-ness of it, and probably more from needing to be reforged (the reforged sword always plays a big part in the narrative, after all) so that but of extra desperation would help the narrative along pretty nicely.

                      Just imagine how it might play out: with Severance and the Arsenal destroyed in a Pyrrhic victory over the eight demons, the Dead King’s trickery and new tactics begin taking the lead over the Grand Alliance’s research, wearing away at the main front until it is on the verge of breaking. A band of five is assembled and sent to Callow to fetch the shards of the blade as the battered armies fight a desperate holding action, but a band of Revenants slips through the Alliance lines to hunt them down. Eventually, all contact with the team goes dark, and the surviving Alliance forces prepare for a series of dramatic last stands in their few remaining fortresses, cut off from each other and surrounded. When all hope seems lost, the Dead King himself appears at the place where Cat and Hanno fight side by side to keep the dead back just a little bit longer, bringing with him the force needed for the final blow. Then, just when all hope is lost, a portal opens, the band strides through with the angel sword held high, and strikes at the old monster, forcing him to retreat…

                      OK, that’s probably not exactly how it would go, and I can’t actually see DK showing up to his enemies’ last stand when they’ll probably die either way, but if you want narrative weight, that would have quite a bit


  13. Daniel E

    I wonder if Night can doing anything against Absence (the effect, not the entity itself). Admittedly that would be a serious Deus Ex Machina, especially when Light seems incapable of stopping it, but the Night has become grab-bag of tricks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terion

      Night seems to offer the most protection of anything in the story so far, outside of being affected by a different demonic effect, which is only a protection in a technical sense. Catherine seems to be the only one who gets headaches and seems to realise that she might be forgetting something. Nobody else seems to be aware of the demon of Absence in any way.


  14. Terion

    Does anyone have a method of protection against demons of Absence?
    I had completely forgotten about the whole side-plot with the 14 to 12 heroes and the Absence hell egg.


  15. mamm0nn

    “It was easy to hate the sneer and the accusations, too easy to forget that I was actually looking at a kid of about 20.”

    Cat’s like… 23 or something?

    70-year old man: Goddamn 65 year old kids, thinking they’re wise adults. Bunch of dumbasses.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “Yes,” Masego agreed once more. “So do not worry, since if the demons do get into Creation we will be long dead – or at least no longer truly aware, as living vectors of demonic infection.”

    Definitely a Good New, Bad News kind of day.


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