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By Every Path Betrayed
A short chapter this week. I considered cramming more in, but it didn’t feel right to jump into the deep vaults, which would have likely run way long. Definitely one of those secondary character kind of chapters, where we only catch up with some of the main characters briefly in the middle.
Liora’s manner in the opening section is interesting, not sure I nailed it. Stoic, and glib, but there are some cracks in the spiteful facade. It’s not covered, but the other two paladins wound up at the precinct looking for her, with no idea she had been taken into custody. Such a creature of punctual habit missing till midnight sent them out looking. I suppose some day going back through I could pad that into the dialogue. Maybe. Eh.
“How did you even find me so quickly?”
“When you didn’t show up, we went looking, didn’t expect when placing a report that you would be in custody.”
Not a lot to say about the second section for now. The simplest explanation finally wins, probably. Bits and pieces keep resetting to an earlier point, the whole world does, and entire years have gone missing to put everything out of position. As Selene notes, whatever the laws, this can’t be kept a secret.
Haven’t heard from Myrn in a bit. He takes the news well. We will hear more about Mayari some day, but it probably won’t be in the main Storm Cycle. She just kind of wanted to come up.
The closing section bares the most comment. Very much me trying to sort through what should happen, and winding up places I’d not entirely intended, but which felt consistent with the direction of things. In the first draft I just opened on the line about traitors, but the chance to catch a glimpse of the evolution of the woman in white, and Zale made more sense.
The healer moves to help instantly, only to feel how deathly out of her depth she is, and immediately retreat from the corruption she feels, afraid that it might spread.
Liora’s power is like mage-iron, but far more destructive. Mage-fire might be the natural extension but is completely contrary in every linguistic sense. She is not a mage, it is not magic, it is more bubbling fury in raw energetic form. It is incredibly destructive, and those caught by the blast have suffered far worse than burns. A corruption of the very genes. Liora has now idea her power does this, she’s never tested it on a living target before, that didn’t have defenses that could withstand the attack.
This leads to the conclusion by our progressively creepier Archshaper, that remaking the flesh as something new is the best solution. Though what to make of her remains unclear. Her acts seem mostly benevolent, her words less so. Certainly there is something concerning lurking under there, and things she definitely does not say.
Eastern Sylvans have always just kind of been there, even more reclusive than the western variety. They bare almost more of a mythological impact on the world so far. Then a shaper made one anew. Eastern sylvans probably do not normally have the cat claws, but Aster is a thoughtful mixer of traits. Understanding how inconvenient claws might be.
I’ve been back and forth for a while about what would happen with Elise. That Liora would wound her in the attempt to grab her has been the intention for a while. First version was a mage-iron sword through the shoulder, but then the natural course of events brought us to her aether-fire. Yes, lets call it that.
Things are mostly on track, but the satellite consequences remain at times unexpected. I’m pretty sure I know all the things that happen in the remainder of the Mordove sequence, but when, is a more interesting question.