Faerieland: Part 47

A second look gave me a few clues I’d missed when I’d first seen what I’d thought was Adam. “Adam” had the same thin build and overall look, but he seemed taller than normal. It wasn’t by much.

Haley bent down, obviously getting a closer look. “Is she okay?”

Daniel stared at “Adam’s” face briefly. “I think so. There’s no way of knowing how she’ll take this later, but she didn’t kill anybody, or even hurt anyone. She relayed Artaxus’ orders to Hunter and the fae. That’s all. It’s not out of the question that being mind controlled might still traumatize her, but she didn’t do anything particularly terrible under his influence. She was more of a glorified gofer.”

Daniel checked around the room. Hunter and Courtney were the only people still unconscious. “I was going to leave her this way as evidence, but I think what’s in her head will be good enough. She remembers Atraxus telling her what to do. She remembers what she did as Adam, and unfortunately so does everyone else. Leaving her this way risks someone taking revenge.”

Haley raised an eyebrow. “Is that likely?”

Daniel shrugged. “We’ve got more than 600 traumatized people. It’s not impossible that someone might go off the deep end. She’s better off looking like herself.”

“Okay. Is there anything you need from us?”

Daniel shook his head. “You can’t help much, but if you stand next to me, it’ll block people’s view. That’s something.”

Haley and I stood to each other as if we were talking. Daniel closed his eyes, and said, “She’ll wake… Now.”

“Adam” opened “his” eyes, pulling “his” body into a sitting position, and then staring past us into the room.

“It’s over,” Daniel said, his voice even. “Artaxus lost. You don’t have to stay in Adam’s shape.”

Courtney let out a breath, and even as she did, her body changed back to normal-short black hair to shoulder length blonde hair, thin, muscled body to Courtney’s own body—which was fit, but on the curvy end of fit.

More interesting, her clothes changed as she did, swelling and shrinking as her body did. That was new. The last I’d known, she was stuck with whatever clothes she’d been wearing. More to the point, she’d been wearing clothes loose enough to fit whatever form she changed to.

I’d decided that now probably wasn’t the time to ask about it when my sister Rachel walked up.

She grabbed Haley and I, pulling us into a quick hug. “I thought I was leaving you both to die.”

She let go and stepped back. “How is your hand?”

“Perfectly normal,” I said. “Alex said it might feel weak, but it doesn’t so far. What happened to you? I know the dragon hit you, but I’m assuming you got healed.”

She nodded. “Alex healed me. You heard about how I got hurt, right? I was out of phase to everything except for the dragon somehow. He didn’t see me, but he broke my arm and a lot of ribs.”

Turning away from me, Rachel tapped Haley’s arm. “I see that you’re missing a bandage…”

Haley held out her arm, and then let it down. “Alex healed my arm after he was done with Nick’s hand. He said it was partly healed already.” She shrugged. “It might have healed itself in another half hour.”

Nodding, Rachel said, “That would be nice.”

“You know,” I said, “I’d have been tempted to design a robot hand if Alex couldn’t fix it. That might have been cool.”

Rachel began to open her mouth, but didn’t say anything. After a moment, she managed, “Do me a favor, and don’t mention that to Mom, okay?”

I was about to answer when Courtney’s voice cut in. “I was helping him. I can’t believe I was helping him. He could have killed all of you.”

We all turned toward Courtney then. I was about to tell her it wasn’t her fault when I felt Daniel in my head and knew that he wanted to reply. I let him. Rachel and Haley didn’t say anything either.

“You’re not the only one,” Daniel said. “I was ready to fight them if I had to. Izzy did. She might have killed Amy under normal circumstances. It’s not your fault.”

“On the bright side,” I said, “Artaxus lost. So you didn’t do a very good job helping him.”

Courtney blinked, and from her blank expression, I began to wonder if I’d said not only the wrong thing, but the worst possible thing.

Then she laughed, a surprisingly low laugh given her normal range. “Don’t become a doctor, Nick. Your bedside manner is terrible.”

Daniel’s mouth widened ever so slightly. “Can’t say I disagree.”

* * *

A few hours later, Daniel and I were back in our room. Everyone had been woken up from Artaxus’ sleep by then, and worse, everyone had been debriefed. We’d answered questions, and signed papers for both local supers, the police, and the FBI.

I was ready to go to bed, but since internet access had been restored, I’d decided to check my email messages on my laptop. I had a lot of them, but most of them were through my Heroes’ League email and addressed to the Rocket.

A few were sent to my personal email. One of them was from Adam. It was only thirty minutes old.

17 thoughts on “Faerieland: Part 47”

  1. I don’t have anything new to report that I didn’t on Thursday. Check my previous post to vote for Legion on Top Web Fiction and see the second ebook’s cover. That’ll only work on that post though…

    Legion’s up to 233 votes and fourth place, the last I checked–which is the highest point total I’ve seen for this serial. Thanks.

    I’m thinking it’s one way to raise awareness of the next book. I’ll be trying others too.

    1. Hmm is this the end of the arc? And I always found it strange there weren’t more votes. I have a completely-random-probably-wrong idea why, and I think it may be because the way you write, and I suppose, the way Nick is, how do you say, calm? There’s definitely action, it’s just sort of… detached? I think a lot of voting comes from fans being pumped up and such. I’m not saying you’re story is boring, no way in hell, just Nick is a bit too soothing haha. I vote whenever I read, from more than one device, so I’m definitely a fan Jim.

      1. I don’t know if you’re right about that or not, but making Nick’s emotions a little more noticeable is one of those things on my list of ways I could improve.

        As for this being the end of the arc… No. I think people will want to see Adam’s email to Nick.Plus there’s one more thing planned after that before the end.

        1. Just one more thing to wrap up? Man, I hope that includes something about why some people weren’t being controlled/put to sleep by Artaxus while everyone else was. It’s been driving me crazy trying to figure out. Like, it couldn’t be just Bloodmaiden’s ward on Nick’s group from the tournament because where were Rod and Tara? I can see Haley getting overlooked because she got imprisoned right after Nick, but how the heck did Sean of all people manage to resist it? If it’s something to do with iron and the Fae, he surely can’t be the only one with an iron affinity in the whole Stapledon program. And ditto Vaughn — he arrived with Samita, who might have had a way to snap him out of it, but they never said anything else about how they got there. Honestly, I spent most of this arc expecting one of them to be a sleeper agent.

          Though answers about Turkmenistan probably make more sense for that one more thing…

          1. This is one of those things that might be clearer reading straight through than it is reading it in 800-1200 word blocks twice a week.

            Here’s what you need to remember:
            1. Almost everyone ate dinner and then was put under lockdown by Earthmover following orders from Artaxus and Adam. Following that they were taken out to the park, given a faerie brewed drink, and made to sleep.
            2. All the people who ended up controlled were around after dinner or at the park or ran into Artaxus somehow.
            3. Amy’s protection isn’t effective against the faerie drink or against looking directly looking in Artaxus’ eyes. It does help resist Artaxus’ voice.

            Thus:
            1. Nick and Haley were nowhere near Artaxus until the end, and protected by Amy later.
            2. Daniel, Camille, Izzy, and Cassie were caught by Artaxus after dinner (as were the Cabal kids), but Artaxus’ control was broken.
            3. Rod, being half-troll, wasn’t affected by the dragon or the faerie drink. Tara was taken out by the drink, and wasn’t near enough to Amy to be protected by her spell because…
            4. Vaughn, Samita, and Amy went down to Amy’s lab to create the Peppershakers of Breaking Enchantment (not their real name) before dinner, missing out on any chance of being controlled because they were behind Amy’s wards while there and then protected by Amy’s spell once out.
            5. Sean left during lockdown because he’s not good at following rules and wanted something that wasn’t in his room. Once out of his room, he encountered fae that could hurt him physically, but couldn’t control his mind–and whose illusions tended to break in the presence of iron. Other people probably could have done the same, but they trusted authority more than he did, and didn’t leave their rooms. Once he ran into Nick and Amy, he was protected from mind control by her. In short, being arrogant enough to believe that rules don’t apply to you occasionally pays off.
            6. Travis and Rachel left to look for Nick and Haley immediately, and thus weren’t at risk of being mind controlled due to being both gone and stealthy.

            This is a lot to remember, but it’s all there even if it’s not said in so many words. Honestly, I’m not sure how much of this people would find interesting, and how much would bog down the story. I suspect I’ll have to watch for it while editing.

          2. I have one of those brains that tends to remember certain things, so the only people’s locations that might have needed additional explanation (in my mind) were Rod (mostly because if he was immune, I feel like he might have tried to look for Sam), Sean (granted I feel like there was some explanation back when he was rescued but I don’t recall), and Travis/Rachel (mostly because if not affected they must have had something in mind to have kept away and maintained radio silence). The other thing to bear in mind is the Cabal people had Hunter’s organisms in play, which could have been used on some in cases where magic was ineffective. Though interesting unintentional pun on “sleeper” agent. 🙂

            In terms of the “end of arc” thing, there have been short wrap-up/bridging “arcs” too – also I notice Faerieland is “8” not “8.0”, Jim, does that imply intent to break it up into pieces later? And as to votes, I think it’s a percentage thing… some percent of readers will comment, and some percent of commenters will vote, and some percent of voters will recommend. But that’s a guess, I don’t have enough first-hand data to back it up.

          3. One of these days I should sit down and figure out what the percentage of commenters or voters to readers is. It’s surprisingly low in some ways. I’ve seen people guess that 10% of your readers will comment.

            It seems possible based on Legion’s slow, slow growth in comments and readers. That said, it depends. Some people comment in ways that attract more comments and so I’ve had more comments some years than other years where I’ve had more readers. Also, one in four, in my experience, will vote on TWF.

            That said, it’s hard to tell what the exact number of readers is. Typically a new post will have 300-400 page views on the first day and 1000 over the course of the week. I’ve no idea how many of those are repeat views. Most days I have 300-700 unique viewers, and around 2000 by the end of the week. I don’t know how many of those are reading through the archives, but not returning for the weekly updates. Some people read when things come out. Others read a month or a year of posts at a go, and then don’t come back for a long time.

  2. You know, Adam is turning into quite a super villain. First, he’s following the ‘fallen hero becomes violent vigilante’ path. Then, he’s managed the ‘impossible villainous escape’, now he’s pulling-off the ‘taunt the heroes after they think its all over’ trick. What’s next??? [grin]

  3. Nick should go ahead and work on some prosthetics just in case. And if he works out a viable interface between an artificial limb and the human nervous system that could result in a serious upgrade to the suits control system. I think he currently uses hand controls with a tongue control as backup? A direct connection to the nervous system may well create a much faster interface. Or it could just burn it out and make him a vegetable. And creating a pain/sensations analogue to indicate systems damage/functionality with the ability to pull up more in-depth text reports would certainly simplify things in combat. He could also put a version of the plane’s AI in the suit for his own J.A.R.V.I.S. but that would probably make him to much like Iron Man which you’ve successfully avoided up to this point.

  4. I was directed here by a link from the author of Worm. I am very glad I decided to read Legion of Nothing, however I have just hit the part I hate most, I have read your story and now I am up to date and will have to wait for releases.

    I loved every minute of it.

    I have voted for this on the ‘top web fiction’, now I am going to go and buy your books.

    Rather than create a robot hand, I was thinking that Nick might use the coordinates given to him by Anna and pay her a visit as their technology seemed to be quite a lot more advanced.

    I would have loved for Chris and Nick to put their heads together a bit more as I think they could create some pretty amazing things together. Well, Nick creates amazing things anyway, but yeah.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m glad you’re hear and reading, and hey, at least you finished the day before the next update… You might have had to wait four days (and you will once a week).

      I’ve been consistently grateful to get links from Worm and from Wildbow in places where he didn’t have to mention me.

      I occasionally wonder how many of the people who discover Legion through Worm stay. Legion’s much less dark and a bit more like a “normal” comic book universe.

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