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WIP A Practical Guide to Evil by Erraticerrata - T - Original Fantasy

Discussion in 'Original Fiction' started by DvorakQ, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. Stealthy

    Stealthy Fourth Year

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    There have been several times since Captain died (Guide was doing fine, up until then) where I wondered if the two chapters a week schedule is what enabled Errata to dawdle his way through Dormer and now up to Diabolist, or if it's just the saving fucking grace of this book.

    We really didn't need a whole eight chapters of prep time between Cat getting back into creation and finally pulling out her sword at Dormer. We sure as hell didn't need another eight between her waking up from the coma and this battle. There was some pretty good stuff in there, sure, but he also spent an entire chapter on Kegan spilling the beans about what fuels the Watch. Plenty of easy room for condensation that would've gone a long way in tightening this bastard of an ending.

    Also really surprised we didn't get an Anaxares interlude to break up the Dormer and Diabolist arcs, like what usually happens. Story certainly could've used one not just for breathing room but also to just tie up some of the messy loose ends of the Free Cities story. Establishing peace, if nothing else. I can't imagine it all has to be put off until the Epilogue.
     
  2. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    It might be, actually. IIRC, Cat still owes that Fae Prince the Crowns of Seven Kings and One or whatever, which is pretty obviously the Free Cities and the Hierarch, which means after having a fun time bleeding her country dry on the Fae and the Diabolist, she'll have the chance to have lots of them die in the South.

    ...You ever wonder if maybe becoming a villain was perhaps unwise? Because at this rate, Cat's gonna have the Callow she wants at the cost of everyone in it.
     
  3. Stealthy

    Stealthy Fourth Year

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    Patreon hit the 3 per week mark. Gonna assume there'll be a buffer period again before it actually catches up, but cheers to that. Unless it causes more pacing issues because of the workload, then fuck that.

    Also, Black's just fucking saluting the death flag right now. Which has been lampshaded so heavily that I don't know if it's actually gonna happen or not, but goddamn Black.
     
  4. Spacegnom

    Spacegnom First Year

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  5. DvorakQ

    DvorakQ Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Hot damn, author's transitioned to the 3 updates a week. Life is gud.
     
  6. Nazgus

    Nazgus Headmaster

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    I'm a little concerned that the updates might drop in quality with three per week to be honest.

    On a separate note... Had anyone else noticed that clicking on the title takes you to the main page, but clicking on 'Home' takes you to a summary page which includes titles and summaries for the first two books?

    Catherine Foundling has a plan.

    She’ll join the Legions of Terror that occupy her homeland and work her way up the ladder until she can effect the kind of changes the former Kingdom of Callow so badly needs. Yet after a night gone from bad to worse she is offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by the right hand of the Empress, the infamous Black Knight: to become his apprentice and learn the business of villainy from one of the most dangerous men in Creation. It’s probably a trap, but when has that ever stopped her? For the sake of the land of her birth, she is more than willing to get her hands dirty. They say the first step on the path to the Tower is the hardest.

    Considering the amount of people already trying to kill her, ‘they’ might have a point.

    The southern half of Callow is in open rebellion against the Empire.

    As she had a hand in starting that fire, it’s only fitting that Catherine’s own legion is being sent into the fray. The Lone Swordsman and his posse of heroes are out for her head on a pike but her most dangerous enemy might just be on the same side: the Heiress has escalated their rivalry to a new level of deadliness. Meanwhile, behind the battlefields, the Empress and the First Prince play a game no one else understands for stakes no one else knows exists. The first large-scale war Calernia has seen in twenty years has forces from all over the continent converging towards Callow, and all of them want a piece of the action.

    It’s time for the Squire to get to work.
     
  7. Stealthy

    Stealthy Fourth Year

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    Liesse IV moving the story along by like half a step is not encouraging. Again, it's not like anything here is bad, but jfc just get on with it already. I'm pretty sure there's a way you can halve the chapter count without losing much.
     
  8. Lamora

    Lamora Definitely Not Batman

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    Boy howdy was this chapter a doozy. Let me start by reposting here what I already commented there:

    Akua’s not dead. The last part:

    My boot touched the stone. I looked up to doors of bronze wide open and began the climb, humming the tune to a song I had never heard.

    -indicates the entire sequence, including Akua getting stabbed, was an illusion. Likely a deadly one, that would have had serious consequences if Catherine actually had ended up kneeling, but an illusion nonetheless.

    Also, as a note – Catherine has used 2 of her 3 aspects now. Pivot is probably going to be her using Take somehow.

    The song that’s being talked about is likely the Girl Who Climbed The Tower, referenced in chapter 49 of book 2. Here’s the section:

    “The first step is hardest, they said to her

    You will have to walk through fire-“

    “It will burn away what you once were,

    And always devour whole a liar,” I finished.

    He smiled, and it was sharp as a knife.

    “They will learn to fear you, Catherine. I hope I live long enough to see it.”

    A shiver went through me as he rose to his feet. He knew the song. Gods Below, he knew the song. Two years that question of where I knew it from had plagued me.

    Sounds pretty poignant for Catherine right now. She just took one step, and now she’s about to have what she once was burned away.

    I think we hit the big confrontation once and for all next week, boys. Also, my absolute entire ass that Robber doesn't already have a Name - it might even be Robber, just expressed very subtly like Black foreshadowed so many chapters ago.
     
  9. Stealthy

    Stealthy Fourth Year

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    Alright boys, place your bets, will Black kick the bucket next chapter?

    I'm saying no. Even though he's been fucking saluting the Death Flag recently, Black definitely doesn't want to die yet and he's smart enough to know the potential tragedies lying ahead. My bet is that he uses Destroy on the Bindings to free Cat, and once Akua loses that trump card she can't use it mid-fight again. Story Rules probably dictate that she won't be able to successfully Bind Cat again until she actually beats her. Plus, with Black filling his Name's traditional Role for once (at least the mentor part), he should have the raw power to do it.

    Other elements still in play: Call (presumably to summon the foreshadowed Monster), Thief (maybe?), Akua's dad, and Take. Akua's dad seems pretty relevant to me. He's like the one thing left in the world that Diabolist loves, ergo an obvious weakness to exploit.
     
  10. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    Worth noting is that Akua's soul still remains in parts unknown and her Father hasn't been mentioned in awhile now, so the exact feasibility of killing her at this time remains unknown.
     
  11. Dresden11

    Dresden11 Second Year

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    I think leaving Akua alive for another book is a very bad idea. She has been one of the main antagonists since the very first book, and she has really overstayed her welcome by this point. I can't see her not dying. Her living to plot another day would smack of bad writing to me. Plus her death would be one of the first blows in the Civil War about to occur... what was it called again? The unjust or the unfriendly or something along those lines War. It was referenced in the openings a time to two. I assume its the war against the Nobility
     
  12. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Seventh Year

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    You are thinking of the Uncivil Wars.
     
  13. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    Well that was a ride. Assassin continues to be the most terrifying of the Calamities. One hundreds times, and one hundred times again explains it perfectly. Black playing questions with Akua was hilarious. Also gave hints to some of the future threats they will have to deal with.
    I'm really interested in what Kat will transition to. Winter Knight is my favorite pick no matter how basic it is, but there is also an equal chance she will be a queen of some sort instead of a knight. Hopefully it's something that will make sense and come from left field.
     
  14. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Chief Warlock

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    She's the last monster of Winter... She'll fully embrace her title as The Abominable Snowman.

    But yeah, it was a good chapter, and a good way of starting the end of the arc.
     
  15. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Seventh Year

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    So, something I only caught when the comments on the chapter pointed it out.

    Remember the Monster - one of the challenges of invading a villain's fortress. The "Some entity, usually difficult to handle, would be leashed somewhere in the lair to be used as a way to beat down an enemy too powerful for the villain themselves to handle."

    Catherine just assumed the roll of that monster (even eating the 'Call' that was meant to summon it) and the monster just broke its leash.
     
  16. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    I'm gonna have to go against the trend, it seems--I didn't really like this chapter. I thought the previous chapter was one of the strongest in a while and a major cliffhanger with sprawling implications, but this one left me feeling nothing--the previous chapter was a deviation, a break from form, and a surprise, but this chapter returned back to everything being according to keikaku. That's not bad, necessarily, but for the finale of the book it seems like the protagonists are going to win not because they overcame great odds and obstacles but rather because they're much stronger and/or smarter than the opposition and there was really nothing to worry about to begin with. The pivot Cat chose was nice, but on the whole this was a bit...disappointing, I guess? It subverted all my expectations, but I'm not certain if it was in a good way.

    Part of that, I think, is just because of Black. Seeing Assassin was cool and all, but I didn't really like Black's role in all this; Black moving the plot and doing meaningful things is fine, but the issue is that he sort of did everything here. He got Cat through the trial, he got Akua to spill the beans, he helped break Cat's bonds, shifted the entire story so as to avoid the losses and defeats implied last chapter, and got them both through this scot-free, because, um, keikaku. Despite a whole bunch of pretty legitimate questions and question marks surrounding all of that.

    Black doing stuff to help is great, but if you read the last four chapters in a row, the two before this one flat-out didn't need to happen because Black rigged everything beforehand and the one before that he dealt with on his own, much like he dealt with this one on his own. I'm fine with him doing a lot to help or being the key to winning or being someone Cat relies on, but thus far, I'm mostly wondering why Cat's even here for this. Apparently just so Black can impart his wisdom and resolve everything...somehow? Because apparently the advice he gave and backed up by being kidnapped to enforce a story concept worked just fine when he wasn't kidnapped at all, he was able to locate Akua's father somewhere in the midst of everything going to hell without drawing any attention despite all the magic involved and covering the fortress, as well as the demons and guards, and he was able to both predict and undo everything Cat and Akua did remotely, on top of getting everything he wanted, without any difficulty. Also, completely subdue a guy without difficulty who we previously saw cast a spell that boiled the blood of anyone who came anywhere near him, without moving or saying a word. Like, yeah, that was a thing that happened; he just let an army of fairies die on his defenses. But whatever, I guess.

    Like, yeah, Black's a badass--except generally speaking, in my eyes, badasses are defined by the difficulties they face and overcome. But reading about Black in situations like this makes it seem less like he's the weak but extremely knowledgeable and skilled mentor figure who knows how to play with in setting tropes and more like he's just fucking magic.
     
  17. Stealthy

    Stealthy Fourth Year

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    My one complaint is that we've seen this before. Cat delving into Winter and becoming more of a monster to do what needs to be done.

    I get that a big part of what errata's been doing in this book is push Cat into full villainy, and that's definitely an important part of Cat's arc (and props to him for not letting her just sit on a high horse in the world of anti-villains), but the execution left much to be desired. The whole Kilian issue was definitely part of this. There was her thesis statement on Evil right before the battle here. Bits and pieces of how she's getting angrier and more ruthless, particularly with Winter mixing into everything. While that's all necessary to build a good arc, and this was badass, this is exactly the same as what happened in Dormer. In a moment of desperation, Cat attacks her hypocrisy and accepts the full power and horror of Winter to become villain she is meant to be. The repetition undercuts it entirely.

    Otherwise I'm actually pretty satisfied. Solid ending to the Diabolist. The Assassin Decoy was a great idea on Black's part to avoid the ten thousand Mentor Death stories awaiting him.
     
  18. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    Honestly I think this was more of a test from Black than a threat from Diabolost. Sure Akua has been built up as an enemy to Cat, but we are constantly reminded of bigger threats. Ranger could have put down Diabolist in an afternoon. Warlock could have went Red Skies on the city. Black with Captain would have smashed through that city if they weren't off doing actual Delta Force shit overthrowing governments. I'm legit surprised Akua made it as long as she did. Her mother's position is the only reason they hadn't acted earlier. Otherwise they would have made her a member or killed her in an alley like all the other new names. She didn't even recognize that Assassin was Black. Diabolist is a magical name backing someone who everyone admits is a skilled mage and she didn't realize who was actually next to her. Assassin could have strolled through on the way to deal with a real threat and she wouldn't notice. Shit he probably could have had breakfast with her, watched her die, and then calmly walked out while everyone freaks out.

    Black's plan makes perfect sense in the long run. Callow has been a training ground for his apprentice. Did he expect all of the fallout that came from the rebellion? Probably not, but Black and the Empress had a hand on it at all times. Cat dealing with this opened them up to deal with bigger problems. She did a great job of it too. Beat the rebellion, got some sweet Fae powers and a quick travel, and had most of Callow settled. Diabolist is the only one she stumbled on. If the Calamities hadn't joined up then that would have been a loss. Diabolist had more aces than Cat. Instead Black stepped in and used the dead mentor story to try and transition Cat. We don't know if she got a new name but she got a power up. Sure he sacrificed tons of troops to get there, but for him it was worth it. And if she failed then Assassin would have killed Akua and maybe Cat depending on how strong the bind is. Great use of a story while staying out of harms way. Basically all of the things Cat has been learning to do, but better.
     
  19. Nazgus

    Nazgus Headmaster

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    See I don't love that though. Black being the guy always in full control starts to get old, and this was a good moment (imo) for the Empress' plans to nearly go catastrophically wrong because she underestimated Diabolist. That moment when I thought Cat had really fucked up was one of the most satisfying moments in the series, because as she admitted, she's been stumbling from victory to nearly pyrrhic victory without staring defeat in the face in full, and the only way for characters to truly grow is by making mistakes and being defeated.

    Having Black manage to salvage it would've been fine. Having it all be according to plan? Not so much.
     
  20. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    Black isn't in full control, but it's the closet thing. He looked at the story behind what was happening. Mentor goes into situation and is killed, while their apprentice kills the killer and takes their shit. Classic Obi-Wan. Black sees his death as a problem and figures ways out. Sure he could not engage and let her handle it with someone else. Cat and Warlock knocking on the door would be fun. These other strategies don't come with a chance of a new name though. So is option is be there, or not be there. Thank god for whatever Assassin is that allowed him to be there. The rest is just making sure that Cat does her part and doesn't die again. If she did manage to screw it up and force Assassin into killing her then it's a true loss. Almost every other result is good.