Faerieland: Part 25

Samita raised an eyebrow at her question, but didn’t sound at all surprised as she said, “Some of us have good reason to believe that there are fairies in the compound.”

Cindy looked from her to the rest of us. “Like leprechauns or something?”

“Like the Faerie Incursion back in the 60s,” I suggested, hoping that would jog her memory.

“My school barely spent time on the history of anything after World War 2.” She frowned.

I nodded. “Mine didn’t either, but I heard about it.”

She gave a sigh. “I lived in a small town with about a thousand people and even though I didn’t know it, we were part of a cult created to raise the next generation of the Cabal. We didn’t pay much attention to the outside world.”

“Okay. The short version is that the fae invaded under the command of a duke of the Unseelie court.  The Heroes League were involved, but they didn’t turn the tide alone.  The  real hero of the day was this outcast wizard named… Um…”

I struggled to think of the name, but Samita finished the sentence for me.

“Reliquary. He specialized in enchanting items, but particularly in analyzing old enchantments. That’s why he succeeded. He barely knew anything about the fae. He knows more now though. I’m his apprentice. He’s with the other teachers tonight.” Samita said it a quiet voice, one that was just barely audible.

“Fuck,” Amy muttered. “Who did you get when you called them?”

“Gunther,” I said, knowing they were more familiar with that name.

Vaughn started laughing. “The fae are toast. Well, assuming he doesn’t grab you and Rachel and leave.”

Amy took off her helmet. Her eyes went from Vaughn to me, and back to Vaughn. “Really? Why would he do that? I’ve seen him fight and he doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything.”

Before I could caution Vaughn to be careful about how he explained it, Samita said, “Master Reliquary says Gunther’s bound by a contract he made with the original Rocket.”

Amy nodded. “What is he?”

Samita frowned. “The master won’t say, or he doesn’t know. All he ever said was that Gunther was the oldest being he’d ever met, and to stay on his good side.”

“Anyway,” I said, “back in the Faerie incursion, Gunther was one of the most powerful players on our side. After Reliquary disabled some ancient fae artifact, Gunther had free rein, and started dropping the most dangerous fae warriors like flies.”

I didn’t add that wizards and magical creatures couldn’t detect him even when he changed form. It wasn’t as if I didn’t trust Amy and Samita, but they didn’t need to know that.

“Wait,” Sean said, “you own the guy who’s teaching us to fight? And he’s an immortal?”

“Not own,” I said. “He owes my grandfather. This is how he’s paying it off.”

Haley cocked  her head to the side. “It’s a little like you inherited a servant.”

“An extremely dangerous servant,” I said.

Amy shook her head. “I’m with you there. I’m being raised by the court assassin.” She grinned at me. “So what are we doing next? Putting the  hurt on people or waiting here for Nick to be saved?”

“I don’t think he’ll run in here and save me. He’ll probably do whatever seems the most fun.”

Samita bit her lip. “And what does he think is fun?”

I thought about it. “Whatever racks up a high body count? And playing guitar.”

Samita’s eyes widened. “He plays guitar?”

I said, “He gives lessons, but yeah, we should decide what we’re doing next. I hate to suggest this, but now that I’m thinking about it, he might not be as careful about who dies as he ought to be. It might be that we should see if we can solve the problem before he gets here, or at least whatever part of the problem comes from mind controlled people.”

“Can’t you just call someone else?” Vaughn nodded his head in the direction of the servers.

I looked at the servers. I think we all did. At least one of the servers was smoking. I’d taken off my helmet when we started talking. I put it back on. Thermal imaging showed that the servers, the switches, and the router were all hotter than room tempurature–considerably hotter.

I’d been smelling a burnt smell that I associated with damaged electronics, but I’d assumed it was because of the lightning.

Arguably I could be said to be half right about that. Vaughn and Sean had been closest to that end of the room, so they might have been hit by magnetism and lightning.

Vaughn muttered something, and I said, “Well, not anyone outside the building, but maybe we’ll get someone in the building if the wireless network is different from the network the labs use.”

I checked my HUD as everyone checked their phones. Only Haley and Vaughn appeared on the Heroes League network. Sean, Amy, and Samita appeared on the extended network–they used standard protocols my grandfather had been involved in creating.

I checked the connection type for each of them. It showed a direct connection–radio–the kind of connection we used when cell towers or a trusted network weren’t available.

“I hate it when I fuck up,” Vaughn said.

Sean was still staring at the machines.

Amy shook her head, her red hair brushing over her shoulders. “Eathmover’s probably mind controlled either way, right? And I’m sure he’s capable of taking us out even before we see him. Let’s go after Hunter and Adam. Whether they’re controlled or not, I’m sure they’re at the center of all this.”

13 thoughts on “Faerieland: Part 25”

  1. And I’m continuing to be at least semi-successful at getting this done earlier than normal. Hopefully this will be the latest it gets from now on.

    In the meantime, some of you might be interested to know that I’m interviewing Marion Harmon for the podcast on Monday evening. He’s the person who writes the “Wearing the Cape” series. I recommend it to you if you’re unaware of it. It’s on Amazon.

    In the meantime, please vote:
    http://topwebfiction.com/vote.php?for=the-legion-of-nothing

  2. So, the comms hardware at this location is fried. If the cable from this room is still OK, and whatever it connects to is working, I’d have thought Nick could patch together some hardware at this end to talk down the naked cable, using the Rocket suit. Particular as he should now have logs of the previously accepted protocols. But, I guess he might not have thought of that…

    Typo(s):

    “Before I could caution Vaughn to be careful about he explained it” – missing word ‘how’?

    “All he ever said was that Gunther was oldest being” – missing ‘the’?

  3. Hello Jim, I very rarely post here, but i thought that this time it was needed.

    The one thing i wanted to say its MOVE ON!!!!!!, 1 battle that barely lasted 2 updates then 5+ updates about them talking about what they are going to do? MOVE ON!!!!, if you need to drop this massive amount of world building/foreshadowing/Info-dump, take a week and put it all in 1 post.

    My goodness I love the series, and i helped with the starter for the books (btw how is that coming along?) but right now is just talk and talk and talk about something that is not important, yeah i love the characters and if we spended all this time building the relationship between haley and rocket, or looking how vaughn is training to be better or any other kind of character development I would not be as bored as i am, but is all this talk for the battle to recover the compound, after they recover the compound most of what was said here will be useless, you may be able to hide a couple of gems here and there, but man I haven’t seen anything worthwhile for us to go with this extremely slow pace.

    Well sorry for the criticism, I know its very easy to criticize and very hard to create, but I really do like this series and expect to continue being entertained by it.

    1. Charles, I appreciate that you wrote the comment, and I’m sure other people feel the same way. On my end, I have to write things out and see them in the context of the whole to understand whether what I had in mind works or not. Thus when I’m done writing, I pretty much have to post or skip an update (which would be a terrible idea).

      For what it’s worth, I was somewhat frustrated that I hadn’t been able to get this as far as I wanted to in this update. On the bright side, in the next one they’re off to find Adam and Hunter. This isn’t likely to result in much talking at all.

      With regards to the Kickstarter: I’m still approving changes from the proofreader. This has taken hours longer than I expected. I’m going to be working on it tonight.

    2. Charles: I probably shouldn’t respond to this again, but there’s another piece of this that I feel that I should add, and that’s a little bit about criticizing writing.

      When you do that, you’ve got a choice. You can say something like, “I feel like this is going too slowly, and I’m not interested what’s going on right now. I feel like the story has stopped.”

      It gets the message across without being particularly confrontational.

      The alternate possibility is you can say something like, “The one thing i wanted to say its MOVE ON!!!!!!, 1 battle that barely lasted 2 updates then 5+ updates about them talking about what they are going to do? MOVE ON!!!!, if you need to drop this massive amount of world building/foreshadowing/Info-dump, take a week and put it all in 1 post.”

      The problem with the second one is that putting something online in all caps is pretty much the same thing as screaming. When put in context of sentences where you appear to be angry, it’s hard to read it any other way.

      It’s worth thinking about because there’s another human being reading those words.

      For what it’s worth your comment was among the first things I read yesterday after waking up, and it was hard to think about anything else for the rest of the morning.

      That’s unfortunate because yesterday wasn’t a good day in a number of different ways. It included a couple minor but still painful disappointments, roughly 11 hours where I was essentially working, and discovering an unanticipated $500+ in medical expenses.

      Not knowing what was to come after work, I spent the morning with your comment rattling around in my head, wondering if I should fix things, shut off comments on the site, or simply stop writing online altogether.

      I didn’t do any of those things obviously. I’ve got too much invested in making this work.

      I know that you didn’t intend to cause me any pain, but that’s not how it worked out. Even though you know me a little through this site, you don’t know the circumstances of my life or what’s going on in the background as I write this.

      That’s why it’s important to choose your words carefully. As I said, there’s a person reading them, and sometimes he’s a bit more fragile than you might expect.

  4. I feel there’s a chance I could be partly to blame for some of the dialogue – to that end, thanks for addressing my random thoughts from last part about internal networks here, Jim, be it accidental or otherwise. And I know that as I’ve read through, I’ve seen pieces here and there that could be tightened or slightly reordered for dramatic effect… this is the “hot off the presses” update we get here, after all.

    In my opinion, the character makeup is an interesting double-edged sword. If it was all Heroes League people, they wouldn’t need to talk about Gunther – but then again, we’ve already seen the Heroes League deal with stuff in prior Arcs. We haven’t seen this particular group. That’s what makes it interesting – but it can also trip up the pacing. They have natural questions. Maybe in future some of it could be distilled down to “I gave Cindy the highlights of the fairy invasion, Samita reminding me about Reliquary” but as those pieces are still being painted in (their usefulness unknown to us in the bigger context), the danger is missing or assuming something regarding the audience which (in the worst case) could cause a deus ex machina. Again, this is in my opinion, maybe Jim thinks totally differently.

    Random typo: tempurature
    Random Amy: Her “Who did you get when you called them?” seems to be directed at Samita, not Nick, and later I’m not quite sure what she means by “I’m being raised by the court assassin.”… if she means Lee, that’s more “trained” (though maybe that’s more Samita… “educated”?), and if it’s her actual history, it’s an inaccurate tense.

    Random fascination: Ooh, so Samita’s main teacher/mentor is a powerful Wizard? Who was an outcast? I can maybe see why she was tasked with Amy (herself something of an outcast), and why she’s taking it so seriously (though she takes most things seriously). I’d also forgotten about the guitar thing. That was funny.

  5. “Before I could caution Vaughn to be careful about he explained it”

    I think there’s a word missing in there, probably a “how”.

  6. Jim: Some people seem to confuse literary speed with real time updates. Ignore them. You pace your stories well.

    Charles: Jim’s updates are fairly small, you can’t just have an action scene in every third or fourth update when they are only @1000 words each. Not and have a story as opposed to one long fight scene.

    Small, regular updates *feel* like they are slow. However, if you compare Jim’s update word count to web fiction writers that get action into every episode of their work, you will generally find that on a word count basis, Jim has as much action as they do. One update from Wildbow in Worm, Pact, or Twig is roughly equivalent to ten of Jim’s updates in word count. Jim very rarely goes anywhere near that long without some sort of action.

    Wildbow’s a bit of an exception though. 10k word updates are just undoable for most of us. However, I would say that Jim probably does manage to get some action in every 5k words or so, which is a more typical post size for action-every-update web fiction writers.

    So, Charles, calm down, please.

    And, Jim, I hope life settles back down for you. Sounds like a bunch of stress recently.

  7. I don’t feel I can judge the pacing on a web fiction except by reading maybe a chapter at a time. This means that I have to read the archive, and the current chapter, the current post, isn’t something I can judge. As far as I can tell your pacing is excellent, Jim. You are certainly delivering action, and background, character interaction and combat, in ways that work well for me.

    Hope things work-out well, for you.

  8. Jim there is a reason why I choose to phrase my answer like that, I do not have any kind of issue with your writting, I think its right there on the top and that you are able to compete with any professional writter on the market, frankly I prefer your writting to that of wildblow or any of the other guys who have a webserial, (I think drew hayes its also at that same level but hey different stories different styles).

    The reason Why i choose that way of answering is because the story its frustrating me at an emotional level, and with frustration and other kind of heavy emotional distress you raise your voice and obviously say things in a certain way, I tried to keep my answer respectful while at the same time showing my frustration.

    Do I think the story has stopped, No, not at all, even the little info about samita could come and be useful if she joins the new heroes league (we are learning her abilities, and her past, and her mentor and other useful stuff), I was thinking yesterday (for me its Wednesday morning) that i needed to post yesterday and explain, when i logged in today and saw your post i knew I needed to explain.

    I do hope your life gets better, bad stuff happens and sometimes well murphy, all the bad stuff happen at the same time. I do apologize if you thought I was angry, (if i were angry the entire paragraph would have been in capitals).

    Well anyways love your series and want to continue reading, get better take care of your health, if you need to take a rest, please take it.

  9. Let me try to be more clear just in case:

    I do apologize for my words to you, there was not any intention to cause you any pain or discourage you from the amazing story you are telling us.

  10. Jim, I really like the character development here. I swear I could visualize Sean staring at the server rack with a thought bubble over his head saying “Did I screw up?” Which for Sean is a milestone of development since he’s spent the past ~10 years charging through life without consequences for his actions. Now he’s seeing complications caused by using his power indiscriminately. It helps that Vaughn’s standing right there openly admitting his own error.

    On a different note, I hope things improve for you. Take your time to get the books and other stuff done right, although I am eagerly looking forward to the looks of confusion on my non-nerd friends when they see my Rocket t-shirt 🙂

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