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

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

  1. Nazgus

    Nazgus Headmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,076
    Location:
    USA
    New chapter is out: https://practicalguidetoevil.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/chapter-28-archaic/

    Turns out the Wandering Bard was at the Dead King's dad's funeral chatting up the soon to be Dead King.

    My guess is that she edged him past the line of evil saying a little evil was the only way for their country to survive, but he takes it super far and turns everyone undead utterly horrifying his former friend who swears herself to the Gods Above in order to stop something like this from happening again. Except life isn't that simple and she's still stuck as the Wandering Bard trying to atone forever more because all Gods are cunts.
     
  2. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,716
    Fun things always happen when the Bard shows up. It's interesting to see this take on Keter and I'd be interested in seeing if this was before or after the Wandering Bard was made to cycle endlessly--I mean, at this point, that might turn out to be a punishment, which could be neat to see; Black actually wondered if the Bard and Dead King were a matched set once and it looks like he might be right, though the how will be the decisive factor here. I think it'd be hilarious if the Bard and Dead King were actually best friends.

    Either way, she was involved in the rise of the Dead King and that has implications.
     
  3. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    923
    Location:
    That place
    Nazgus I agree. Bard opened the can of worms and has to stay around until it’s closed.
     
  4. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,716
    Um, guys? I just remembered something.

    When I saw this, I sort of took it to mean it was a gift from Triumphant, who the King worked with and supposedly had a crush on. But in light of new information...I can't help but note this scene immediately followed the Hierarch telling the Bard to fuck off.

    Like, guys, I'll say this up front--I have my problems with this series--you can find a short essay on the recent ones a couple posts up. But if Cat goes to Keter to try and break the King out to help her resolve her problems, and the fucking Bard beat her there and is half-way through doing that already, I will laugh and laugh and laugh.
     
  5. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    923
    Location:
    That place
    While I'm glad we're finally starting to see some Bard, I don't want the gem to be an indicator for her. I'm really hoping that whatever is going on with the Dead King is just a cover for him to bring back Triumphant. The gem was the indication that she's ready for phase 1 of their plan. Triumphant riding out of his hell with her new army of horrors to reconquer the continent.
     
  6. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,716
    So after last time, I waited eagerly to hear what happened between the Dead King and the Bard. This time, I continued to wait, because not much happened--except for the obvious 'Let's agree to let Akua out of her cage more often so she can literally work magic for us.' Which, you know, seems like a pretty terrible idea no mater how you slice it. Narratively speaking, they're bringing out and buddying up with the literal murderer of thousands whenever it becomes convenient, with Cat having consulted her for advice literally dozens of times now, having gotten possessed by her once, based her current decisions on her advice, and is now actively using her--which, you know, looks kinda bad. Tactically speaking, they're letting the fucking Diabolist out to play around and meddle with cosmic forces in another land (where she's proven to have power) involving something created by the greatest diabolist to have ever lived, because of the similarities in their works, and for days at a time. Strategically, Cat and Thief have just made the executive decision to enter a contest of backstabbing fuckery with someone from Praes. The most Praesi person from Praes in all the land, no less.

    How is this a good idea? Like, the excuse they use is that once Akua stops being useful, they'll torture her and murder her--but the thing is, using a trapped and imprisoned monster/villain, tormenting and abusing it, and planning to kill it when it stops being useful is one of the most obvious and common (bad) villainous storylines, and this is what I mean about Cat ignoring all the things she'd supposedly learned. This is how countless villains died; the hero unleashed their pet monster and said monster fucked them hard. How is this a good idea by any stretch? And, fuck, it gets worse--when she took hold of Cat, Akua was talking about playing the hero, the Grey Pilgrim has a redemption story going, and Akua's one of the people who knows everything needed to screw Cat over; yeah, Akua's as bizarre a target for redemption as Cat, but she's actually put more effort into it than Cat, low bar though that may be.

    Meanwhile, Cat and Thief kind of just laugh off the idea of there being any risks to leaving the Grey Pilgrim behind in Callow alone for days/weeks. Because he's 'under house arrest, allowed to speak only with goblins and Prince Amadis'. And not, you know, a guy Cat literally saw seemingly teleport before. And it's not like, as far as Cat guessed during the meeting, the Saint went rogue and could well still be in Callow. Then again, her expectation that heroes will be unable to do anything of value while she's away is supported by evidence from her last battle, so maybe that's why. But still, how does any of this seem like a good idea?

    Goddamn, though, I really just want the Bard and Dead King's Excellent Adventure already.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  7. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    923
    Location:
    That place
    I disagree with you about Akua, solely because I want her to be better. Someone on reddit mentioned that the name of the chapter being the Sixth was for her. Diabolist has become the scribe of the group. Shoring up their weakness in politics and obscure magical knowledge. Though there is a high chance that she betrays Cat at some point. Being part of the mantle of winter will play into it somehow. Cat having increased control over her makes that a bit harder.

    I do agree however that they are underestimating the Pilgrim. He’s going to notice that they’ve been gone and will be up to something. Probably finding out about the observatory and all the nastiness they can accomplish with it. That won’t be in their favor at all.

    Getting to see Masego’s first new aspect is cool too. Witness has some cool implications depending on how he can use it. Hijacking a miracle would be my guess as to a big use of it. Also just made me more excited to find out what his other two are.
     
  8. mmm

    mmm First Year

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    20
    High Score:
    0
    It's hard to pin Akua down but I doubt she'll ever be redeemed. In the eyes of the Woe there's nothing she could do to wipe away her sins and being Evil is too significant a part of who she is. When you think of Akua, a stereotypical villain is the first thing that comes to mind and prone to redemption, they are not.

    Similarly, I'm not sure she'll seriously betray Cat. Ages ago, back in book one (or maybe two?) she had a chapter waxing lyrical about the Age of Wonders and how, when the time was right and the Tyrant mighty enough, the entire empire followed them. It was stupidly idealistic but I think she had this idea in her head that she was the pinnacle of Evil; that all the adversity that was built over the years and the enemies she faced would make her the greatest Tyrant to live.

    I think after being defeated she started to believe Cat can become that ideal. After all, who would make a better Tyrant than the person who killed her? Besides, for all of Cat's attempts to be practical like Black, she's the Age of Wonders manifested into flesh. She's the monarch of Winter and she's about to unleash the Dead King - it doesn't get more old school then that.

    So all the backstabbing to come will be half-hearted ways to sharpen iron with iron rather legitimate attempts. That's my take on it anyway.
     
  9. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,267
    Location:
    Department of Post-Mortem Communications
    High Score:
    2,101
    I am enjoying Akua way more now as a kinda ally than I ever did as an enemy. As an enemy, she was just so obviously wrong about everything and bad and all that, that there really wasn't much to her as an antagonist. She hated this efficiency that Black Knight and co were doing and wanted to bring back the pointlessly evil stuff, so there wasn't ever a situation where one wanted her to win or succeed in any way, shape or form.

    But now, as an ally? Well, now she brings something interesting to the table. Her dynamic with Cat is fun, the torture aspect is efficiently offputting that even though Akua is a horrible person who did horrible things, it's still a shitty thing to do to her. All that added to the fact that the gang needs Akua and Akua herself is immensely enjoying her situation and well, it's just too much fun all around. Even the death pact right now doesn't make me think that that will be the end of that relationship, one way or another.

    I'm with mmm on this in that I don't believe that Akua will actually try to overthrow Cat at this point. i can see her doing her own attempt at some point, maybe do something to get a body or something horrible to help Cat but not to actually backstab her, at least not in a way she herself would see as backstabbing. Cat and the Woes may feel differently, of course-
     
  10. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,716
    Cat didn't defeat Akua at all though? Like, that's one of my main complaints with the end of Book 3--Akua made Cat her fucking bitch, along with all the guys outside. Like, let's be honest, the armies of Callow and all the Woes except maybe Masego were almost superfluous to that fight. Juniper and her forces were managing to hold on and stem the tide in a way that was completely and utterly meaningless, simple because they were fighting a near endless horde of demons; even leaving aside the utter slaughtering they all received, all of them would have died in short order if not for Warlock shutting the Gate, even if he did it in the most dickish way possible. Like, when Juniper comments on her great understanding of Akua:

    I fucking laughed, because Akua made Juniper, her mother, and four other armies line up to take her metaphorical cock while intending to directly engage Cat and Black directly, and fully on-board with fighting to the death.

    And the thing is, if not for Black pulling plot shenanigans out of his ass wherein all of Akua's devils, zombies, mages, and soldiers--along with the fucking Universe, apparently--agreed to forget about Black while he's off screen and not notice what he's doing while he seemingly casually takes down a guy we last saw slaughter an army of Faerie warriors by passively boiling the blood of anyone who came within several hundred feet of him without him even being able to send a remote message, despite the fact that he'd specifically left to hide himself and Black didn't have any access to ways to find him?

    She'd have fucking won. Cat would have probably been beaten by Akua's crucible, because Black thought so to the point of engineering some magical way past it. Cat would have lost the fight with Akua in her throne room and flat-out said so. Cat fought Akua in Winter and got her fucking ass kicked. And then Akua enslaved her for good measure in a way that made Cat shit herself in terror.

    And then, even after Black shenaniganed a way out of that for Cat without consequences, in and of itself, she still needed Thief's help and had to sacrifice her humanity to beat Akua, as nothing but a tool in Black's scheme. Cat then went on to the matter of the Doomsday weapon, wherein she also didn't accomplish anything. That ending was 'Cat doesn't really do anything that matters, the finale.'

    But the idea of Akua being loyal to Cat for defeating her runs face first into the issue that Cat didn't beat her and was, in fact, one-sidedly dominated by her. And, really, that's the issue here; the Woes are treating Akua like she's just the person who killed two hundred thousand people as part of a demon/zombie scheme, and not giving nearly enough concern to the whole 'Totally suplexed us and our armies onto a bed of hot coals' thing. Or even the 'Created the second Greater Breach in history and did so in a way that could be used remotely and repeatedly, making it the most powerful known doomsday weapon on Calernia, which she personally built.'

    TL;DR: Cat, Thief, Juniper, and their crews keep going 'Meh, I can take her' when actually, they totally failed to take her and she inflicted more damage on them as an afterthought then anyone else they ever fought.

    They're also engaging in a contest of backstabbing dickery with a Sahelian, which, you know. Seems unwise.
     
  11. Touzb

    Touzb Squib

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2016
    Messages:
    16
    High Score:
    0
    So when will Cat and Akua become lovers?
     
  12. Koalas

    Koalas First Year Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Halifax
    High Score:
    2024
    After Cat and Vivienne but before Masego and Indrani.
     
  13. mmm

    mmm First Year

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    20
    High Score:
    0
    I think you're conflating what we as the readers know, versus what Akua as a character knows.

    After it was revealed Black was actually Assassin, here's how things looked from her perspective. Her dad was killed right in front of her, Cat played it as if everything went according to the plan, Thief stole the binding and she was swatted away like a fly by a winter monstrosity. Later, she her soul was woven into her nemesis' cloak.

    We know that in reality, things were much closer to a disaster than they seemed, but Akua has no way of knowing how close she was to victory. In fact, from her point of view it looks like a total defeat.
     
  14. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,716
    That still doesn't make sense to have resulted in respect for Cat, because even then, Black did all the actual work and Cat even admitted at the end that, yeah, Cat got her. Even with Black's absurd shenanigans, there's no view on how that fight went that results in Cat being the smart on, in large part because she wasn't.
     
  15. Stealthy

    Stealthy DA Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2014
    Messages:
    164
    -Chapter 68: Coda

    May have almost entirely been Black's plan, but Akua didn't know that. Far as she knows, Black being impersonated by Assassin and what followed was a known contingency. Plus, Cat was her rival. She's always going to see Cat as an equal yet inferior (now superior) player rather than Black's pawn. It would demean Akua if that were the case. Like most Evil cultures, Praesi highborn are all about murderous usurpation, and at the end of the day, Cat's the one who ripped her heart out, stole her soul, and bound her in service. Far as Akua's concerned, that means Cat earned it.
     
  16. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,716
    Akua flat-out did see Cat as being Black's pawn and that fact being demeaning. Like, for this view to work, Cat would have needed to have any authority at all over Black and Assassin, and at the end of the chapter, she admits that, yeah, she got spanked for bypassing Akua's test, it wasn't just as planned.

    Also, not sure how any of what you said translates into expecting loyalty. Like, they went over this in Middle-Eight; murder, treachery, and usurpation is almost literally the Praesi religion--if being overcome translated into prolonged loyalty, literally the entirety of Praesi history wouldn't have happened. The first Tyrant was a Dread Empress who united the people of Praes under her rule to drive out what remained of the fallen Miezan empire, and the second Dread Emperor stabbed her in the back the first chance he had. Hell, I'll quote two of Akua's biggest examinations of this:

    So yeah.

    Like, I'm somewhat baffled that people seem to view Akua as the type of person who believes in long-term loyalty. Akua literally views long-term loyalty as a sin and betrayal and murder as a form of worship. Even if she did, for whatever reason, view Cat as the one who beat her, that means nothing to the Praesi--if it did, most of that country's problems wouldn't exist.
     
  17. Nazgus

    Nazgus Headmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,076
    Location:
    USA
    So the next one is out.

    Turns out not only is the Wandering Bard older than the Dead King (though not by too many lifetimes it seems), but they're both older than the concept of Names. What the hell was the Gods Below's countermove to WB if not the Dead King?
     
  18. katreus

    katreus First Year

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Messages:
    32
    I thought the most interesting part was where the to be Dead King suggested that the WB did work for BOTH sides. He asked her which side she was working for, and when he thought it was tedious that she was doing the work of those above, she said that he didn't need the nudge or help of those Below.
     
  19. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,716
    Obligatory complaint that I still have no idea what Masego can or cannot do at any given time, but that's an old complaint. Made worse by the fact that it's implied he'll just be able to rip out knowledge from the Bard and Dead King and give it to himself and Cat, but still an old complaint.

    More interestingly, we get to see the Bard and Dead King interact! Neatest tidbit is also the first--the implication that the Bard isn't just bound by the Gods Above, but simply the Gods, though all her words imply she favors the ones Above. The Bard's honestly just here to talk, though, because the Dead King did this all too well and there are risks to taking chances like this with odds that bad, as the Bard learned with the Giants.

    That's the next neat tidbit--this is a Bard that's still learning, in a world that's still got a lot to learn and to teach. That's why she's here, in fact--to learn from the Dead King. She wants to know how the Gods Below make people like the Dead King, like Kairos, in the right place with the right tools, but seemingly without any intervention, so she can craft her own. Because, hell, by all accounts, the Dead King is about to pull the biggest trick in Calernian history while self-taught, in a world where most don't even know what magic is.

    The Bard also mentions the Garden, and the implication is that this is Arcadia, and about the Fae (or maybe the Elves)--that they're glorious stuck, immortal but in a constant cycle. The Bard says this is a natural result of immortality, but the King disagrees; the Gods gave them that fate out of fear, because endless time means an endless amount of room to grow. The Bard mentions that Villains are immortal, but the King has a good answer; Below's immortality is a false thing, because we're told early on that most villains die as young as most heroes. They cause so much destruction and chaos, they die from it in short order. All this may play into why the Dead King himself can't leave Keter.

    Also interesting is Bard's line here:

    There's a story there and I want it.

    As for their parting words, they're top notch, and it really was great seeing these two together, even barely knowing one of them.
     
  20. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    923
    Location:
    That place
    You hit all the points I was going to. Bard is neutral but leans to good and the King of the Dead is scary. I’m interested in Bards history though, finding just what debt made her into the bard. I also like the title that the Dead King give some her, because she really is just an interloper. Inserts herself into problems and tries to swing em her way.

    I have doubts about the Dead King being the final big bad though. If Masego can really pull knowledge from his head he might figure out some counter. That would be a cool ending for the fourth book. Making the fifth book all about the true big bad. General Catastrophe.