Between: 17.4

Askz!

You speculate on the inconsistencies of the myth and how it may have changed as passed down over time. But consider! What if the myth were true, and unchanged in the telling? To YISUN, time is malleable as narrative. The universe is their story to tell, and a story is their universal Art.

It’s equally possible that it’s White Chain’s telling of Throne’s history that is incorrect, or most likely both. Due to its mythical nature and White Chain’s religious zeal, I’m not trusting that to be quite accurate either.

But looking at it from the Doylist perspective, I get the sense that Abbadon wanted to recreate and play with aspects of myths and oral traditions in these stories, and stories like that changing over time and coming in countless variations is a major element of the genre. So when I’m comparing the story of Aesma with what’s been presented by White Chain and Ciocie in K6BD proper, I’m focused less on the Aesma story being “wrong” and more on it being “different”.

If anything, the inconsistencies make White Chain’s telling of Throne’s history more likely to be inaccurate than it already was, because they show that Abbadon likes to play with this sort of thing.

Slideshow require’s JavaScript. Which neither browsers I primary use can use.

Oh! Noted. Will be more conservative about using them in the future. Unless the images still show up, just not in a slideshow? I know there are ways in HTML to add alternatives for people with JavaScript disabled.

Though I have to say your browsers sound kinda terrible if they can’t do JavaScript at all. It’s kind of a fundamental part of the internet these days, so I think a browser like that would have to have some major redeeming features to be worth using.

Ward is on arc 17 now so I think you officially got “lapped”

Dayum. Nice work, Wildbow!

Do you think it’s just a coincidence that Taylor has three bullies, and there are three Endbringers? Look at the similarities: 1. Emma = pretty lady, obnoxious voice 2. Madison = pours liquid on people 3. Sophia = black, tall. JUST SAYING, where was Madison during the Leviathan attack? You can’t explain that. Wake up sheeple.

Please take a moment to picture Behemoth showing up for track & field at Winslow High.

Thank you.

You seem to be a Smurf expert so maybe you can settle something. When I was young there was a minor “moral panic” in the United States with preachers claiming that Smurfs was part of a conspiracy to convert children to Hinduism. IS IT TRUE?

Of course it wasn’t a conspiracy to convert children to Hinduism.

It’s a conspiracy to prepare children to fuck trees. It’s a long con, with phase A2 dropping in 1971 and phase A3 in 2009, with followup phases currently scheduled for every other December starting from 2021.

Phase A3 was meant to bring it all together, but was kind of a flop. After that, the Cabal of Dendron looked to the long-brewing plan B instead, initiating phase B4 from 2010-2019, which seems to have worked quite well. No date has been given yet for phase B5, but a phase B4.5 was recently announced for 2020.

I await phase B4.5 with a mixture of concern, excitement and treepidation.

Now you know the shocking truth: Worm isn’t a web serial, it’s actually the second-greatest isekai anime of all time. (The greatest of course remains Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)

Where does Homestuck fall on this ranking?

Because media is shared between the worlds, we do not technically know that there is an Earth Bet Justin Bieber. 🤔

…that is a very good point.

We do however know there are two versions of Star Wars (of which both prequel trilogies suck), which to some extent implies two Georges Lucas. George Lucases? Georgeluciiae.

17.2:

Loki-L on January 9, 2013 at 02:21 said:

The plot thickens.

I was somehow under the impression that the armbands used in the fight against Leviathan were a new invention by Armsmaster at that point.

One thing thought that came to me when the portal was revealed, is that the group of friends calls themselves ‘traveller’ the arc is titled ‘migration’ and there is an interdimensional portal close by. I would not be too surprised if it turned out that the travellers were not originally from the main Worm reality.

*************************************

17.3:

wildbow on January 10, 2013 at 00:16 said:

Loki-L was on the mark in the comments of the last chapter, yep (and I swore thoroughly at him/my screen for guessing it).

Thanks for reading, guys.

/returns to typing away until fingertips bleed. 3 of 8 done.
Edit: happily typing away

Loki-L on January 10, 2013 at 01:51 said:

Sorry about that. 🙂

wildbow on January 10, 2013 at 01:56 said:

No worries.

As far as my favorite moments in writing go, I have two. One kind of moment is the one when I’m typing something out and something just sparks, connects and I get an idea that I never would have had if I weren’t in the midst of putting finger to key or pen to paper. The other is when I offer up a revelation that makes so much sense in retrospect and makes people want to go back and reread the older chapters in a new light/look for the clues that were dropped.

Doing the latter is tricky, though, and as a relative novice in the writing department, I’m still testing the waters one way or another when it comes to figuring out what clues to drop and what to hint at. So I win some (Sophia), I lose some (Dinah being kidnapped, this).

A bit of a letdown on my end, but I don’t fault you. I can only blame myself, learn from it and pray that the ones that remain in the story can make it to the grand reveal without someone guessing/spoiling it.

I’m not sure I agree with Wildbow that someone guessing the twist is necessarily a bad thing. Like, it’s one thing if it’s because you made it obvious, but when something like this happens, it’s because people care about your work enough to think through the clues you’ve planted. While it’s fun to surprise everyone with a good twist, I would personally be happy to see someone correctly theorizing like this.

It’s also a consequence of good foreshadowing and clue planting. If the twist can’t be figured out ahead of time, you’re doing both yourself, your readers and your story a disservice. There’s a careful balance to strike between that and making it obvious, of course, and Wildbow is usually very good at striking that balance.

There’s also the fact that there are a lot of readers. Even wild mass guessing will hit on the truth if enough people are doing it.

In this chapter [17.3], Trickster effortlessly got somebody out of the bird cage.

Whooo, go Trickster! Wait, what are you doing with your ha–

WHAT UP WITH ALL THE DAMN BIRDS

I blame Ys-Voya.

ysvoya

Not sure if this counts as a spoiler or not since I believe Wildbow had already said it in the comments by 16.3, but only information can get through the hole Haywire punched between realities.

Oh, alright! That’s fair enough. I suspect that has to do with the size of it, which has been the biggest mystery about it for a while. It’s probably not that physical objects can’t go through, seeing as I’m pretty sure Alec physically had the Star Wars prequels, but it’s too small for anything much bigger than a DVD.

Unless they somehow wirelessly transmitted the movies through the hole and then burned them onto discs on the Earth-Bet end?

That was another big reveal I’ve been waiting for you to get to. Any more thoughts after your re-read of the chapter?

Right, the 17.3 reread. I, uh, haven’t gotten around to that yet.

I might go do that when I’m done with the asks and get back to you at the end of this post.

I don’t Homestuck (yet) but I really get the impression that the Travelers’ collective origin is super Homestucky in terms of “a big spoopy bird woman from the next reality over (you know, the one with all the weird shit in it that you could have read about on Wikipedia if you were into that kind of thing) decided to physically pick up and steal your house with you and all of your friends in it Because Reasons”.

That… would honestly fit into Homestuck rather well, yeah. 😛

Hell, the whole reason I got spoiled on the Simurgh’s omniscience (and the sheer scope of it as far as long-term planning goes) was because she was compared to something from Homestuck, so even that part fits.

Re: fear – I remember being partway through my first read of Worm and deciding that Wildbow must have been torn between superheros and horror for his first big novel. He eventually decided on superheros, but he still really wanted to do horror, and that sort of bled over…

I mean, who said he couldn’t do both? Most genres aren’t mutually exclusive, and superhero fiction in particular is often inadequately described by that alone.

That said, I wouldn’t say Worm is in the horror genre. It dips into body horror and cosmic horror from time to time, but mostly as a consequence of its unwillingness to pull punches and as set-up for a finale-worthy threat.

I’d describe Worm primarily as a naturalistic take on and deconstruction of superhero fiction, which examines our reality through the lens of a world where superheroes exist but are just as flawed as everyone else. There’s a reason I think of “Parahumans were people, and people were flawed” as one of the “thesis statement” lines of the story.

And now that I write that, I realize why the Travelers would be another set of potential main POV characters for Wildbow. If you’re contrasting the real world with this one, it makes sense to consider the isekai approach and give the characters a similar viewpoint on the world you’re writing about as the reader is going to have. Ultimately, I think it works better with Taylor because there’s a lot what Taylor takes for granted can tell us about how the world works. Her narration, quite simply, is more familiar with and used to the world than the Travelers’ is.

The birds are a metaphor. A metaphor for birds. The birds are a metaphor for birds. Birds.

Birds. Birds birds birds? B-b-b-birds, birds, birds, b-birds birds birds.

It’s probably just a coincidence that the box of Cauldron vials ended up with the group of adolescent humans that came from another universe. Don’t worry about it.

Naturally. No sneaky long-term plans from the omniscient entity who appears to be behind the isekaiifications at all.

How are you leaning, Team Krouse or Team Cody?

Closer to Krouse, but Cody’s problems with Krouse are largely justified. Krouse can be an asshole in some ways, mostly without meaning to be, and he does dismiss Cody easily.

Cody needs to chill a bit, since this is a bad time to voice these concerns, but he’s also under the effects of the song of insanity. Everyone needs to chill a bit, and that’s only going to get worse.

Lets talk a bit about the choice of protagonist for this Interlude. Its fitting that we get Krouse after you know that he is, but for me it could be just about anyone else in the group, we have gotten semi-equal shares of interaction between them and our main cast. BUT KROUSE is the one with the best comparable theme with Taylor. Of natural manipulation. Whats your opinion on this common thread? Btw, congrats on reaching the 50% mark in wordcount of Worm at 836.308 words somewhere in 17.4!!!

Oooh, I’m officially halfway! Thank you! 😀

Comparable themes are fun, especially through the differences. I think the big difference here is one of accident vs rationalization — Krouse manipulates people without realizing it, becoming a sinister presence and gaining a reputation as a manipulative jerk unintentionally. He’s just trying to get through social stuff as best he can, which accidentally involves manipulative wording.

Taylor, meanwhile, is more aware of how her words work in the moment, and while she doesn’t exactly like manipulating people either (unlike Tattletale), a defining part of her character is her ability to rationalize whatever she feels she has to do. So if she feels she needs to manipulate people, she will, and because of her skill at seeing the larger picture and which smaller parts need to move to get her way (a skill she shares with the Simurgh, incidentally), she’s good at it.

I think the reason the fast food restaurant had no lights on was said in 17.2: “The electricity died, the great circle going dim. They’d cut the city’s power.”

Oh right, forgot about that.

Both here & back in the Alexandria interlude you were expecting natural triggers & didn’t seem to consider the possibility of Cauldron involvement until it was made pretty obvious. Do you think you have a cognitive blind spot or bias in favor of natural triggers?

I’ve actually speculated on the Travelers having Cauldron powers for a while now, but I wasn’t seeing how that would mesh with what I was seeing in front of me with the Simurgh and all that. That’s part of why I was rather happy when I realized the laboratory was from Cauldron’s world.

The big question now is whether the “monsters” are too, suggesting the laboratory came through the same portal. Egesa in particular speaks against that a little, given that he seems to speak a language that was long dead by the time Cauldron started nabbing people. Maybe he’s from a fourth world, though? Nothing’s suggesting Cauldron’s only nabbing test subjects from Earth-Bet, or dropping all the failures there.

Anyway, it’s entirely possible there is some bias towards natural triggers in my head, but I don’t think that’s what was going on here.


Fanartz!

tvi82daq9uf31.png

By christoefour

Endbringer trio! I’m liking the heads-on perspective and vaguely cartoonish but badass style here. This style feels like something I might see in one of the animations in Act 5 of Homestuck.

tumblr_pzy4xwl7kB1x6xy7mo1_1280.png

[meme]
Taylor: I control lobsters

(Sent in by meme, though I don’t know if they made it.)

PLEASE DO THEN

Seriously, I’ve waited so long for Taylor to actually make use of her ability to control aquatic arthropods.

tumblr_pzy536j7191x6xy7mo1_1280.png

Hah!

Clearly this is an alternate timeline, though, since in the game, that shopkeeper actually does try to help the boy out. An alternate timeline where Charlotte tries to chase the Harpies away but they run into the A/V classroom she just came out of because they want to be on TV.

tumblr_q05lgcGerl1x6xy7mo1_1280.png

By CPericardium, who asked Sharks to add:

crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl

Ahaha! It’s Jirector Jemily Piggot’s ultimate nemesis: Jawler!

This outfit suits him.

crawl crawl


Rereading 17.3

Emotions ramped up, inhibitions lowered, flashbacks to old traumas.

Flashbacks to old traumas. I forgot about that part of Jess’ explanation. I would’ve been a fair bit more concerned about the flashbacks in 17.4 if I hadn’t.

Oddly enough, though, I wouldn’t describe either flashback as a trauma? Especially not the first one. But maybe Krouse would disagree, or maybe it’s an effect that ramps up, rapidly moving on from good memories to bad ones.

Or maybe it’s whatever the Simurgh wants you to be reminded of. Given her other powers, psychically forcing you to relive specific memories at her leisure is plausible.

“So that’s why they’re scared?  They think any guy with superpowers that loses his mind is too big a danger?  And the army guys are there in case we turn into a rabid, panicked mob?”  Krouse asked.

“…Yeah,” Jess replied.

Krouse hadn’t missed the delay before she’d spoken.  It had only been a fraction of a second, but it had been there.

Being on Earth-Bet, natural trigger events and the consequences of mixing the song of insanity with the unpredictability of a newly triggered parahuman would be another factor that Krouse wasn’t used to applying.

Another thing is they might have thought the area was completely cleared out of civilians, which raised questions about the Travelers’ true nature.

He looked away to find something that could serve as an improvised pitcher for the water, and his eyes caught on something.

He returned his eyes to the cage.  He’d been scared, earlier, had felt genuine fear for Noelle’s well being, for his own.  But this was something else entirely.  What he was experiencing now wasn’t fear, but despair.  He backed away, thinking hard.  Too many things weren’t making sense, but this threatened to bring everything into a kind of clarity he didn’t want.

This, of course, is the big thing that makes more sense at the end.

He hissed, “This thing with the Simurgh, the singing, it’s not even half the problem here, is it?  We’re far more fucked than that.”

He noticed the way she averted her eyes.

“You know, don’t you?  You figured it out, too?  The way you’ve been acting.”

“When did you find out?”

“When I was in the kitchen.”

I suppose Jess figured it out the obvious way, because she has a better idea about Earth-Bet than the rest of them: The Simurgh wasn’t supposed to be in their universe.

“Right,” Jess said, looking at Krouse, “That makes sense.  We should watch our words, in case we make others unnecessarily upset.”

Krouse gave her a long look.  “Fine.”

They were talking about more than just hurt feelings here. Jess was asking Krouse to keep quiet about the transfer (which he had already decided to anyway; see the bird-killing and deposing of the newspaper). That much I should have been able to tell the first time around.

“It’s nothing,” Jess said.  “Not important right now.  How’s your leg, Luke?”

Jess was to some extent right. As huge as the problem is, they have more immediately pressing concerns than which universe they’re in.

“We’re not safe here,” Luke said.

“We’re not safe anywhere,” Marissa said.

Marissa has no idea just how right she is.

He didn’t know what was up with that.  That was one detail Jess hadn’t shared.  The soldiers didn’t fit with the scenario she’d described.  Maybe the people who’d failed to evacuate would go crazy, become dangerous.  But even a good fence would serve to stop that.  There could be other measures, like tear gas or tasers.  But guns?  Or blowing up a superhero?

No.  There was more to that story.

Hm. By this point, Krouse is starting to adjust to being on Earth-Bet, but he might not actually know about trigger events. They’re not common knowledge even on Earth-Bet — Taylor, who had lived in the world for over fifteen years and spent many of those being interested enough in capes to do a fair bit of research, didn’t know about them until months after her own.

there were a thousand times the number of parahumans,

Oh, right. I forgot about this already.

But does that mean natural trigger events happen on Earth-Aleph too, or that it’s one of the worlds Cauldron has been dumping into? Are all the parahumans on Earth-Aleph Case 53s and Cauldron customers?


At the time of writing, it’s #ThankYouPatrons Day, so I’d just like to take a moment to say, well, thank you to everyone who supports me over on Patreon!

Whether you’re supporting me with one dollar per chapter or thirty, I appreciate the heck out of all of you, and I hope to continue making content that’s worthy of your support. 🙂

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