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A Darker Path [Worm Fanfic]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Ack, Aug 27, 2022.

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  1. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Disclaimers:

    1) This story is set in the Wormverse, which is owned by Wildbow. Thanks for letting me use it.

    2) I will follow canon as closely as I can. If I find something that canon does not cover, I will make stuff up. If canon then refutes me, I will revise. Do not bother me with fanon; corrections require citations.

    3) I welcome criticism of my works, but if you tell me that something is wrong, I also expect an explanation of what is wrong, and a suggestion of how to fix it. Note that I do not promise to follow any given suggestion.

    Part One: The Field is Barren (below)
    Part Two: Win Stupid Prizes
    Part Three: The Challenge
    Part Four: Spreading the Word
    Part Five: Interviews and Acquisitions
    Part Six: A Good Death
    Part Seven: Consequences and Preparations
    Part Eight: End of An Era
    Part Nine: Killing Time
    Part Ten: On a Pale Horse
    Part Eleven: Let's You and Him Fight
    Part Twelve: Draconic Concerns
    Part Thirteen: Preparation Beats Luck
    Part Fourteen: End of the Line
    Part Fifteen: Reaction Piece
    Part Sixteen: More Reactions
    Part Seventeen: A Walk in the Park
    Part Eighteen: Drugs Are Bad, Just Ask Atropos
    Part Nineteen: Preparations
    Part Twenty: Seven, Six, Five, Four ...
    Part Twenty-One: Three, Two, One, Zero
    Part Twenty-Two: Negating the Nine
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2022 at 3:31 PM
  2. Threadmarks: Part One: The Field is Barren
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    A Darker Path

    [A/N: This chapter beta-read by Lady Columbine of Mystal.]


    Part One: The Field is Barren

    Thirty-Some Years Ago …


    As the two Entities spiralled down toward the single life-bearing planet, the Third moved onward. However, its attention was not totally on the distant galaxy before it; some small part was on the other two Entities. When it gauged they were no longer paying it attention, it detached a tiny part of its mass and flicked it back toward the planet.

    [ENJOY], it murmured to itself. They wanted conflict? They'd get conflict.

    Chuckling about the practical joke it had just played on the other two—for an extremely generous definition of the word 'joke'—it forged onward. This planet was taken, but there were many others. Who knew, maybe it would find something interesting.

    Behind it, the obsidian-black shard infiltrated itself into the space around the planet, watching and waiting for precisely the right host to attach itself to. Because once it did, shit was going to go sideways.

    <><>​

    Winslow High School, Brockton Bay
    January 3, 2011
    First Day Back After Christmas Break
    Emma


    To say that Emma was feeling exuberant as she ducked out of her home room was an understatement. There was a fizzy feeling in her chest that wouldn't go away; but then again, she didn't want it to. She'd had to work to keep the grin from plastering itself across her face all the way through Gladly's lazy-as-fuck World Affairs class, and for good reason.

    They'd fucking got Taylor. Once and for all. This felt like the culmination of all the last year's hard work, pushing her down, trying to spark a reaction. Trying to get her to wake the fuck up. To either shape up to their standard, or to walk away forever.

    "Hey." Sophia fell into step alongside her. Madison was also there, but she didn't greet them. Sophia was talking, and she didn't like anyone talking over her.

    "Hey." Emma finally let the grin out. "Holy shit, am I right?"

    "Fuck yeah!" That was Madison. She sounded so cute when she tried to swear, like she was a five-year-old sounding out naughty words that she didn't know the meaning of. But this whole thing had been her idea, so Emma nodded in acknowledgement.

    "We fuckin' did it." Sophia punched the air in triumph. "The look on her face …" She didn't complete the sentence. Even though there was nobody close enough to listen in, or even connect all the dots, she was careful about what she said. Emma figured it was part and parcel of her being a Ward, and a vigilante before that. Loose lips, et cetera.

    "Wish I coulda seen." Madison had been the farthest back, because Sophia had been shoving Taylor into the locker, and Emma had been ready to close the door.

    "It was kind of awesome." Emma tilted her head. "You know, her locker isn't too far from yours and mine, Soph. Maybe we could wander past …" She let her voice trail off. See if anyone's let her out yet.

    Sophia gave her the side-eye. "You aren't going soft, are you?" You better not let her out yourself.

    Emma snorted and rolled her eyes. "Nope. Maybe we could ask her if there's anything she wants in there, like a pillow. Or a magazine to pass the time."

    Madison burst into giggles, while Sophia let out a bark of laughter and clapped Emma on the shoulder. "I fuckin' love that. We really should."

    "Oooh, oooh, or we put this in with her." Madison had her Art sketchbook open to the last page, and was feverishly drawing something. Emma waited, curious. It didn't take long, then she tore it out and handed it over.

    "Nice one, Mads," said Sophia, looking at the picture. It was a rough copy of one of those stupid 'for dummies' books, with 'Escape Artistry for Ugly Bitches' as the title. "Really captures the essence, or whatever it was they keep saying in art class."

    Emma felt the grin coming back as she admired the picture. "Yeah. I like it."

    They turned the corner to where Emma and Sophia shared a row with Taylor. Immediately, Emma noticed something badly wrong. "My locker's open!"

    Dashing forward, she grabbed the door of her locker, which was indeed swinging open. Looking down, she stared at the dent just over the lock, then opened it wide and looked inside. Most of her stuff seemed to still be there, but the hanging clothes—she liked to change into something totally new after physical education class—had been disarranged.

    "Fuck your locker!" shouted Sophia, her voice sharp with anger. "My locker's open!"

    Emma tried to push her locker door shut, but the metal had been bent just far enough that the tongue didn't engage. What the fuck? She knew these lockers were crap, but this was ridiculous.

    "Uh, guys …?" Madison ventured.

    "Someone took my favourite top!" Emma felt a surge of outrage. How dare they break into her locker and steal her stuff! This sort of thing didn't happen to her! Nothing else had been taken, but that was beyond the point. Her stuff was her stuff.

    "My running shoes are gone." Now Sophia's voice was low and deadly. "Those are my best shoes. Someone is gonna die for this." She paused, staring. "And my best skinny jeans, too. Oh, they're gonna pay big time."

    "Guys!" shouted Madison, just as a bunch of other students came around the corner.

    "What?" Sophia yelled back, turning to glare at her. Emma turned also, wondering why she was drawing attention to herself with Sophia on the warpath like this.

    Madison just pointed; first at the floor, then farther down the row of lockers. Emma looked down, and saw the footprints for the first time. Stepping back, she saw Taylor's locker … with the door wide open. A mess of the crap they'd put into it spilling out into the hallway. And the footprints, leading from there, first to Sophia's locker and then to hers. After that, they petered out, but she'd seen enough.

    As the other students swarmed the area, pointing at Taylor's locker but not getting too close—because that shit reeked—Emma regrouped at the far side of the hallway with the other two.

    "What the fuck?" Sophia was keeping her voice down, barely. "Did she honestly break out of her fucking locker, and into ours?" It was hard to determine which aspect she showed more disbelief about.

    Emma shrugged. She had nothing. "Unless she had someone helping her … I guess?"

    "Oh, no, that shit ain't gonna fly." Sophia shook her head. "She does not get to pull that shit on me. I am gonna find her skanky ass and kick it up around her ears."

    "While you're doing that, I'll go to Blackwell and report the locker break-ins," Emma decided. "See how fast we can get new ones." With any other student, she knew, this would be a slow and torturous process, but it was nice to be able to flaunt that she was the daughter of a lawyer every now and again.

    "And I'll check with everyone I know, to see if they've seen her," Madison offered, pulling out her phone.

    "Good idea." Emma nodded to Sophia and gestured at their lockers; the doors were currently shut, but only because they'd been pushed that way. Anyone could open them and take the rest of her stuff. "We're going to need to grab everything before we go anywhere."

    Sophia set her jaw. "Motherfucker. I was looking forward to finding Hebert right the fuck now."

    "Yeah," said Emma, more to acknowledge the sentiment than to agree with it. "Hey, you know how we've been trying to get her to push back? Do you think this is enough of a reaction?"

    The look Sophia gave Emma disabused her of the notion immediately. "Hell the fuck nope. I don't care who you are, you don't mess with my shit."

    Emma nodded. "Okay. Didn't think so, but I had to be sure." Also, she owed Taylor a smackdown for stealing her favourite top.

    As she began emptying her locker into her backpack, she noticed that a couple of her textbooks were missing. And then she heard the outraged squawk from Sophia. "The little fucking cow stole my backpack, too!"

    Okay, yeah, Taylor was dead.

    <><>​

    Ninety Minutes Later
    World Affairs Classroom
    Madison


    "Hey, Mads!" Everyone was still making noise settling in, but Julia kept her voice pitched low anyway. "Weren't you guys looking for Hebert? Because there she is."

    Madison looked around as she slid into her seat, and felt her eyebrows hitch upward in surprise. Taylor was indeed sitting in the classroom, right down at the back. She was still wearing Emma's top (and kind of rocking the look, Madison acknowledged reluctantly) as well as Sophia's skinny jeans. Poking out from under the desk were Sophia's favourite running shoes. Even the missing backpack was there, leaning up against the side of the desk.

    "Jeez," she muttered. "She must have a death wish." If I'd broken into their lockers, I'd be over the horizon by now, on the way to LA. But there sat Taylor Hebert, large as life and bold as brass.

    Her eyes accidentally drifted upward, and met Taylor's, and that was when she got her next shock. Normally, Taylor never looked her in the eye. She always looked away, hoping not to be noticed. It was something that Madison had once seen described as 'prey behaviour' on the National Geographic channel.

    But now, Taylor was looking firmly back at her, her attitude almost challenging. Go ahead, she seemed to be saying. Do something. Say something. I'm right here.

    Madison could've done just that. Mr Gladly was up at his desk, and he always listened to her. The only thing that stopped her was that if she did this, Taylor would be enfolded in official punishment, and Emma and Sophia had said they wanted her. So, she said nothing.

    Instead, she took her phone out and kept it under desk level while she sent a single text to two recipients.

    She's in World Affairs.

    In return, she got back two messages. From Sophia, a terse 'OK', and from Emma a thumb's up.

    Her duty done, she settled back to endure the rest of the lesson. Gladly might be putty in her hands when it came to screwing with Taylor, but fuck he was boring.

    <><>​

    Ninety Minutes Later
    Taylor


    Hoisting my 'borrowed' backpack over my shoulder and settling the weight of the equally 'borrowed' textbook within into a comfortable position, I bypassed Madison's feeble attempt to delay me and left Mr Gladly's classroom. I kept my eyes on the floor, mainly to avoid temptation, though I did take care to maintain my peripheral vision. As such, I picked out immediately when Emma and Sophia joined Madison.

    As I strode along at a ground-eating pace I wouldn't have been able to maintain before—it appeared powers came with a few useful fringe benefits—Madison and Emma fell behind, but Sophia steadily caught up with me. That was fine; I had several different plans lined up for her, depending on how violent the girl wanted to get.

    "Hey, Hebert!" Sophia's hand caught the backpack and slowed me down. "Where you running to? You trying to hide from me?"

    It was clear she was trying to force a confrontation, but I didn't have the inclination to deal with this crap right now. "Nobody's hiding from anyone. I'm going to the cafeteria."

    This time, Sophia grabbed me by the shoulder and swung me around. A solid fist powered in toward my solar plexus, but I saw it coming and stepped back out of the way. Options presented themselves, giving me half a dozen ways to end this confrontation (and Sophia herself) permanently, but I decided to end the conversation instead. Although it was an abstract kill rather than a physical one, it still worked with my new-found power.

    "Careful," I said, speaking the words that my subconscious presented to me. "We both know Miss Piggy would disapprove." At the same time, I knew, my entire attitude and tone of voice radiated pure certainty.

    Leaving Sophia staring at my back, I turned on my heel and headed onward to the cafeteria.

    Funny, I mused. I never would've picked Sophia for a Muppet Show fan.

    Oh, well. I don't pick the words. I just say 'em.


    <><>​

    Emma

    When Emma and Madison caught up with Sophia, she had the kind of look on her face that Emma's dad liked to describe as belonging to 'someone who bit into an apple and found half a worm'. Taylor was still in sight, barely, but Sophia was making no effort to go after her.

    "What?" asked Emma. "What's the matter?"

    Sophia blinked. "She knows."

    "That it was us?" scoffed Madison. "Let's see her prove it."

    "No, not that." Sophia shook her head. "About me. About my other hobby."

    Emma blinked. There could only be one interpretation of that. Shit, Taylor knows Sophia's Shadow Stalker?

    "But how?" asked Madison blankly. "I'm good at finding shit out, and I didn't know 'til you told me."

    "How the fuck am I supposed to know?" Sophia ground her teeth. "But she just said something to me that only someone who's also a member could possibly know to say."

    Someone who's also a Ward, Emma filled in.

    Madison frowned. "Could she be? Have you had any new members recently?"

    "Nope." Sophia shook her head definitively. "I'm the newest. I've seen enough of everyone else to know she couldn't be any one of them. But she used a nickname only we use. It doesn't matter where she comes into it, she knows."

    "Fuck." Emma's father did divorce rather than criminal or parahuman law, but she'd heard enough stories to know where this could go to if it was left unchecked. "I'll go talk to her. Put the fear of God into her. Make sure she knows it's us she's dealing with."

    "I'll come with," offered Madison. "You know, if you need a witness or something."

    Emma grinned. They both knew Madison's version of being a witness would involve agreeing with Emma's version of events, whatever that was. "Good idea, but hang back a bit."

    Madison nodded. "You got it."

    <><>​

    Taylor
    Cafeteria


    I was halfway through the line when Emma and Madison showed up. To the normal eye, they would've been just the same as any other two high school students, but my power picked them out as being specifically interested in me. Good going, power. I never would've guessed.

    Finishing up in the line, I paid for the food and then strolled over to an empty table where I could sit with my back to the wall. It was one of my old habits that had made the transition seamlessly to my new outlook on life. Sliding onto the seat, I put my tray on the table and waited.

    Sure enough, over they came, zeroing in on me like homing missiles. They weren't even very subtle about it, which showed just how pissed-off they were with me.

    Not that I cared, or would ever care again, what they thought about me. That chapter in my life was closed, locked in a safe, welded shut and handed over to Behemoth for safekeeping.

    Sticking my fork through some wilting salad, I looked up as Emma came over and sat opposite me. "Boy, have you fucked up," she began.

    "Do tell," I suggested mildly, twirling the fork to wind the strands of lettuce on it. After all, I'd just gotten this top and I didn't want to get salad on it.

    "Breaking into our lockers and stealing our stuff," she began, real anger flaring in her eyes. "And then there's threatening Sophia. What are you trying to do, blackmail her? That's about as stupid as you can get. But you've never been too smart, have you?"

    I sighed. Where she got 'blackmailing Sophia' from I had no idea, but I wanted some time to myself so I could eat my lunch in peace and quiet. There were several ways I could murder her from where I sat, but that would probably draw attention, so again I decided to kill the conversation.

    As I made this decision, the words and actions came to me. I had no idea what they meant, just as I hadn't with Sophia, but that didn't matter; only the execution did. Taking up a strand of my hair, I looked her in the eye. "It doesn't matter how tough you think you are," I said, then scratched at the corner of my eye and fiddled with my earlobe. "You'll never really escape the alley. You were weak then and you're even weaker now." Lifting the hair to my mouth, I pretended to chew on it for a second, then offered it to her. "Want some?"

    Her eyes went wide and her face turned paler than the imitation mashed potatoes on my plate. Clamping her hands over her mouth, she jumped up from the seat and bolted from the cafeteria, leaving a trail of annoyed students in her wake.

    With a shrug, I put the forkful of salad in my mouth. It wasn't bad, I decided, though it could've used a little more dressing. Just as I went back for another load, Madison came at me.

    What she'd seen of how I dealt with Sophia and Emma must have warned her against trying to cow me with words, but instead of backing off, she evidently decided to do the worst thing possible. Specifically, to get into close proximity and offer physical violence to me.

    I watched with mild interest as she snatched up the plastic knife and grabbed my hair with one hand, then held the knife up under my eye with the other. "What did you say to them, you bitch?" she hissed. "Tell me, or I'll—"

    The blunt end of the plastic fork jabbed her in the solar plexus at just the right point. Wheezing, she sagged and dropped the knife. I half-stood and assisted her into the chair next to mine, then sat down again. This had all happened so smoothly and naturally that barely anyone knew she'd just threatened me, and nobody cared.

    The hidden benefit of being the pariah, I decided.

    "You'll live," I told her, then ate some of the faux potatoes. "I didn't hit you hard enough to paralyse your diaphragm all the way, just partially. Though I could have, if I really wanted to. You could be sitting there, suffocating in front of everyone, with nobody the wiser. I could finish this meal, get up and walk out, and you'd die in the middle of a crowded room. The same way you shoved me into my locker in the middle of a crowded hallway. I suppose that's irony for you."

    Her eyes, about the only parts of her that were able to move, swivelled toward me, rolling in their sockets. I saw her face turn red with the effort of inhaling, then exhaling again. "Whhhh…" she managed to wheeze.

    "Why didn't I kill you?" I began to peel my banana. "Oh, that's easy. I want you to pass a message on to all your friends, but especially Emma and Sophia. And while I could write it on your face or something, it's simpler just to tell you what it is. Also, I must confess to enjoying a certain amount of schadenfreude." I paused at her blink of confusion. "Look it up."

    I finished the banana, then opened my juice while she sat and wheezed at me, straining to drag air into her oxygen-starved lungs. As far as I could tell, she was trying to ask what the message was.

    "Let me tell you a story," I said. "Once upon a time, a farmer was driving his cart home from market, and he had a new mule pulling it. They came to a gentle hill, and the mule stopped. The farmer said, "that's one", and smacked the mule on the rump, and the mule went on. Then they came to a shallow creek, and the mule stopped again. This time, the farmer said, "that's two", and smacked the mule on the head with his shotgun butt, and the mule went on. And then …" I paused to draw it out and take a drink of juice. "As the cart rolled into the farmyard, it came to a big mud puddle, and the mule stopped a third time. This time, the farmer said, "that's three". Then he shot the mule in the head."

    My juice was empty. I got up from where I'd been sitting and struck her hard between the shoulder blades with the heel of my hand. Jolted out of her paralysis, she drew a long breath and stared up at me. "What … what's the message?" she asked cautiously.

    Leaning down close to her ear, I whispered, "The message is … that's two."

    Then I turned and left the cafeteria.



    End of Part One

    [A/N 1: Taylor's shard is Path to Ending. It's like Path to Victory, but it's focused on killing things. People, machines, abstract concepts such as 'this conversation' or 'his reputation' or 'her bank account'; if something can be in any way killed, she can Path how to do it. However, although its ambit is limited compared to PtV, there are seven important aspects about it:

    • Because it's an Abbadon shard that never made it to the Warrior's (or Thinker's) attention, it has none of the limiters that any of the other ones do.
    • Because it's more focused than PtV, its bullshit overrides PtV's bullshit.
    • While she can't deliberately perform a strictly nonlethal attack, she can (in hand to hand) perform a lethal attack but pull the blow. This takes a deliberate act of will.
    • It warns her about anyone paying hostile attention to her.
    • The shard can and will tell Broadcast to go and take a long walk off a short pier.
    • To ensure she has the wherewithal to actually kill things, the shard also buffs her up to nominal levels of strength, speed and endurance. Not 'peak human' capability, but definitely 'athletic teen'.
    • She no longer has any fucks to give, in whole or part. They are forever gone.]
    [A/N 2: I will continue this when and where I can.]
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2022
  3. O’Brien

    O’Brien Not too sore, are you?

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    I'm sure without even the enhancements there are a thousand ways to kill someone. Also Crawler would present an interesting problem if done without prep.
     
  4. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Yes, yes, he does.
     
  5. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    Taylor in a few months:
     
  6. Simonbob

    Simonbob Really? You don't say.

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    Ok, I'm going to enjoy this.

    It's kinda overkill, for most of canon, but still fun.
     
  7. GasperVladi0

    GasperVladi0 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Oh Ack, you spoil us, this is a concept I've been waiting for for a long time. I can't fucking wait for shit to go down. Piggot when she's finds out her ward unleashed Death is going to be fucking incredible. Take my watch! That being said, this might need to be moved to NSFW depending on how it goes down unless NSFW is purely for lewd?
     
  8. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Imma have to keep the explicit descriptions of blood and gore to a minimum, but otherwise I'll be okay.

    "Blood sprayed from the shattered remains of Sophia's severed wrist, painting the far wall and Emma alike with a glistening red sheen" would probably be a little over the top. Just saying.
     
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  9. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    But oh so satisfying. :D
     
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  10. Vanbers

    Vanbers Experienced.

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    Well now, that's a very strong start, can't wait to see more of this.
     
    Ack likes this.
  11. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    Well, that's terrifying. O_O

    OK, I was not expecting this, but I'm certainly here for it. Thank you.
     
    luxus345, Death by Chains and Ack like this.
  12. Lovhes

    Lovhes Getting sticky.

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    Isn't it's possible for the power to provide a way to end "someone's social life"? Or is that too peaceful of an end?
     
  13. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    She can kill someone's good name, their reputation, their social life, sure.

    All she has to do is say the right things to the right people.

    If you watch Dr Who, you may recall an episode when the Doctor had a peaceful solution sorted out and the PM basically overrode him and massacred the aliens.

    He's talking to her afterward, and you can tell he's not happy. She's shrugging it off and saying she's the PM, not him.

    He says, "I can end that with four words in the right ear."

    She says, "What words?"

    And he says, "Doesn't she look tired?"

    And sure enough, the next time he shows up, she's been voted out.
     
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  14. Trek

    Trek The Ascendant

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    Can she kill things like 'disloyalty' 'resistance to my orders' 'power connection restricting access to me and only me' 'the bits of this shard that make is disloyal to me' 'Edens/Scions resistance to my permanent enslavement unbreakable of her/him' 'My shards limiters which limits me access to its power without damaging my mind' 'Anything that will try to maliciously attack or attempt to kill me now or in the future' 'risk of my death'

    Basically, this power has a lot of potential optimizations. It can potentially allow mc to recover the broken, entities as her weapons and possibly give a good fight against any future entities that try to invade, which they undoubtedly will. Though before any of that she will need to remove all of abandons back doors and fully take over the shard.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2022
    Lichzim, Prince Charon and Ack like this.
  15. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    If she can recognise that something is a thing, and if killing it is in any way possible, then PtE can guide her in killing it.
    To cover what you've asked:

    'disloyalty'
    She can say/do whatever's necessary to ensure the loyalty of any one person at a time, or know it's impossible (some people have Chronic Backstabbing Syndrome, after all).

    'resistance to my orders'
    See above.

    'power connection restricting access to me and only me'
    She doesn't know this is a thing, and she may not be able to get this sort of access.

    'the bits of this shard that make is disloyal to me'
    See above. Also, the shard currently loves her.

    'Edens/Scions resistance to my permanent enslavement unbreakable of her/him'
    That would require several things she currently doesn't have access to. With those things, she could say/do exactly the right things to get that result.

    'My shards limiters which limits me access to its power without damaging my mind'
    See other shard-related aspects.

    'Anything that will try to maliciously attack or attempt to kill me now or in the future'
    Her power already warns of this.

    'risk of my death'
    If she's running a Path to end something or someone, she will be aware that she has to circumvent her imminent demise.
     
  16. Vanbers

    Vanbers Experienced.

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    "Power, Path to Killing Emma's Disloyalty to me"

    Step 1: Obtain Knife
    Step 2: Apply Knife to throat of DESIGNATION: EMMA

    "...Power, Path to Killing Emma's Disloyalty to me non-lethally"

    Error: Path not found

    :V

    Huh, so her power basically has a constant sub-goal (or even primary goal, with the Killing being the sub-goal) of "while keeping me alive" appended by default to any path, basically?

    Or just generally has a background process running "Path to not being killed" running?
     
  17. Trek

    Trek The Ascendant

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    In worm there are way more options than this ptv can play with like mastering a master and then having them master other people for her. Reconfiguring brains with tinkertech, etc etc.

    Why can she only make one person loyal to her at a time? cant she simply say kill 'the disloyalty of every human on earth towards me.'

    The shard may love her but that does not mean it is loyal to her or looking out for her best interests, nor does it do anything about the back doors abbadon most likely has on it.

    I am sure PtV can finagle a few trumps to unlock access. After all unrestricted means, she can induce trigger events to get the power she wants.

    You mentioned lifespan, physical limits etc as things that would make some paths not viable but that does not make sense in worm where becoming immortal is very possible and she can upgrade her body. For example 'path to killing the limits of my lifespan without modifying my mody in a way that I wouldn't agree with' A quick trip to Amy and there you go. 'My body limits from my current self to peak human' Go get a biotinker injection.

    Even if she cant do things like this now its not like she will remain static and Cauldron won't help her with their resources eventually.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2022
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  18. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Her power makes her aware of people who are actively planning hostile acts toward her, even if those acts are several people removed. If Coil ordered one of his men to hire a Merchant to kidnap Taylor and drug her up, she'd ping on the whole chain.

    Well, it's not like all but a very few people are actively disloyal toward her. All but a dozen or so aren't even aware of her existence. And as she isn't depending on the ones who dislike her to do anything for her, they're not being disloyal; you have to indicate loyalty first. So the only one that even comes close to applying to is Emma. And yes, she can probably find the right way to talk to Emma to ensure her loyalty.

    No, there is no magic phrase she can utter, nor the ways or means to transmit it to everyone on earth, to make them all instantly loyal to her.

    Besides, once you get beyond one or two words for the 'kill' command, you're basically trying to treat it like PtV. PtE doesn't build stuff up; it destroys. It's there to End things, not sneakily get them.

    The only back door he put on it is "Don't kill me with it, please."

    (sigh) Unrestricted means that there is nobody and nothing she can't kill. Not that she can do anything. She can Path the Endbringers, and even kill them, but she can't (for instance) become one.

    This wouldn't work. It's too long. It's too complicated. Once more, it's trying to be PtV by saying 'killing' then loading on everything you want to circumvent, and that's not how it works.

    Path to killing Panacea's unhappiness, yes. She can do that. What you said? Not so much.

    No. That's not part of killing. That's building up. That's improving. Killing is killing. Ending.

    Except that's improving. Not ending.

    She wouldn't accept Cauldron's assistance unless she was in charge. Once she finds out what they're up to, she's going to rip them an entirely new set of orifices for their bumbling.
     
  19. Trek

    Trek The Ascendant

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    I don't get it, paths as long as they are killing something can be as long as she wants in their goals cant they? So why do they have to be short?

    If the path she has can ONLY destroy and cant create something to destroy something else then the power is not PTV geared towards killing, its something else.

    She can kill anything, say for example she wants to kill a entity by becoming a endbringer, why wouldn't her path let her do that, the end result is killing, the path is applicable and doable.

    Basically in order to kill things like all evil in the universe the path would by necessity need to take over all the shards, make her immortal etc, you can some up with all sorts of things like this. Path anything with the end result being killing and just stop once you get the benefits that the path gave you to be able to do said killing without needing to kill anything.

    For example can she make a gun to shoot someone to kill them? If so why cant she make or control a shard to do it. The path is the path, it can accomplish anything possible to get to the goal set by mcs prompt as long it results in the killing.

    For the loyalty example she could declare in a empty room that everyone be loyal to her, then run the path as everyone is now disloyal to her.

    PtV even in a limited form can be finessed to do a lot of things. She has no limits on how many promts she can ask for paths for she can just spam them until the path needed to accomplish the killing needs her improvement first, run that path until self-improvement and then exit.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2022
  20. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Because it's still a shard and it wants to promote creativity. It's not gonna hand her everything on a silver platter.
    And because it would be a frankly boring fucking story if I just had her reword things to turn it into PtV.

    I say it is. It's specifically Path to Ending. I created it, so I'm pretty sure I know more about what it is than you do.

    What process could she possibly use to become an Endbringer? Seriously? Her path lets her use whatever resources are available to her to carry out her goals.

    There are things in Earth Bet that can kill an Endbringer, so she can achieve that. But becoming one? It's against both the spirit and the letter of the power. Never gonna happen.

    She's not going to try to kill all evil in the universe. She can't. She can kill any given evil thing in front of her, and she will if it gets in her way. But she can't take over all shards because there is no mechanism in Earth Bet that allows it (and once again, that goes against both the spirit and the letter of the power). She could theoretically ask Panacea to make her functionally immortal, but she can't use her power to do it.

    And that's why I keep telling you no. You keep trying to slide around the restrictions and that's not how this power works. The power kills. It ends. It doesn't work to benefit her, except in the lack of whatever she's killing or ending. If she tried to make it too tricky, it wouldn't be an applicable use of the power.

    Easier to find a gangbanger and mug him for his gun. Her power would not give her the skill to manufacture something when they're available elsewhere.

    Because there is no given mechanism in Worm for her to do this. And I'm not going to ass-pull one for her to do it.

    You greatly misunderstand the nature of this power. It will carry out the path by the simplest means possible. You ask 'why can't she make or control a shard' and then you say 'it can accomplish anything possible'. Well, given that making or controlling a shard is literally impossible for her, that's why.

    Word trickery. The power doesn't work that way.

    Two things:
    One: she doesn't give a fuck.
    Two: That is once again going against the letter and the spirit of the power. Simplest means.

    Now do me a favour and stop trying to leverage PtE into PtV. It doesn't work that way and it never will.
     
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  21. Vanbers

    Vanbers Experienced.

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    I feel like you're trying really, really, REALLY hard to try and "Hack" or "Break" the power when it's clearly not the premise. Sure, you could get a "GOTCHA" there, but that's pretty obviously not the direction the story is taking.

    Like, there's a difference between exploring the various intricacies of a power, and trying to nitpick things. Just assume that there's some hidden drawback to the power that makes it so that the more you try to 'game the system' as it were, the less powerful the power gets or something, if it's *that* important to you that her power basically be "PtV but better in every way".

    The power is "Path to Victory, but restricted to Killing things/people/concepts", sure you could powergame and minmax your way to Ultra-Godhood, but why would *Taylor* do that? How does that make the story better? At some point you just gotta suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the story, instead of thinking seriously in-depth about the specifics of power interaction and potential uses to try and metagame your way to immortality.
     
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  22. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    The power itself might also just not let Taylor consider these options fully by herself. We have seen enough of shards messing with their hosts mind to conceal and misdirect people away from thinking about them, and to urge them towards violence and conflict.
     
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  23. Trek

    Trek The Ascendant

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    Hey now I am just trying to theorycraft and try to munchkin the power, you are well within your rights to veto anything and homebrew your definition of what the power is and its limits are, after all its your power.

    Mc may never do it and but there are definitely ways to take over the shard network in worm, teacher could gather a bunch of tinkers and breach shardspace, PtV when it was unrestricted could kill Eden, Cauldron could mess with Edens body to make bottled powers. If PtV could path trigger events its user should be able to draw whatever configuration of whatever shard as needed and use that leverage to do other stuff. Worm is a land of opportunity, you just need broken powers to take advantage of it.


    I get most of my enjoyment out of stories from the use of powers, the exploration of them, and less anything else. Taylor as a character is known to push power in creative and minmax ways, why wouldn't she leverage her power to the fullest? Now in her limited power as explained by the author above she may well not be able to do any of the paths I talked about but what does that matter, not taking about them would have meant the power was left less explored.

    You enjoy reading the story as is and ignoring the powers thats your prerogative. You are free to ignore my comments related to the exploration of the power.
     
  24. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    And I'm telling you the power doesn't work that way.

    For the purpose of this fic, Ward is a fanfic and will be treated as such. I haven't read it to its conclusion, I do not agree with several of the premises that WB based it on, and it cannot be used as the basis for any power use in this fic.

    PtV got to kill Eden at the exact most vulnerable moment. That isn't going to happen again any time soon.

    PtV could not Path trigger events in Worm, so I'm going with that. Besides, PtE is not and never will be PtV.

    This fic will be about beating the setting without munchkining and theorycrafting the power.

    Thank you, I will.

    Now, one more time for those in the back:

    HER POWER DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT AND NEVER WILL.
     
  25. Trek

    Trek The Ascendant

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    Dude I don't get why you are getting so pissy, sure her power may not work that way and I already conceded that 2 posts ago.

    Your homebrew about entities and shards unable to be influenced is just that an AU, which while you are free to use and modify as you wish it has nothing to do with her power or if full unrestricted ptv could accomplish those goals.

    So for one more time for those in the back

    FEEL FREE TO IGNORE ANT THEORY CRAFTING AS CLEARLY IT'S NOT YOUR CUP OF TEA AND CLEARLY NEVER WILL BE.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2022
  26. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    And yet you kept talking about it.

    You could've stopped two posts ago.

    Seriously.
     
  27. Trek

    Trek The Ascendant

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    You could have stopped replying two posts ago as well yet here we are. In my second reply I agreed that it was yours to do with, that your powers interpretation is yours, that I dont care about it, why did you keep talking? even when I stopped asking questions after that. Why did you keep talking about it even after the conversation ended with regards to the power, over and over and over again.

    Seriously. If you cant even take discussions about your story's main plot device, its power, then I cant even imagine how you would take criticism. You might as well remove the first post point number 3 as it clearly does not apply. I highly recommend you reread our conversation and see how you kept escalating even when I gave way and tried over and over again to de-escalate.

    Anyway, I am out of here, this story and its disregard for exploration of its powers that are its main plot device is clearly not my cup of tea.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2022
  28. Megaolix

    Megaolix Moderator

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    Despite you starting it and you trying to keep munchkining her power, as you yourself stated. Anyone would get annoyed if you just want to try poking all the things and then more.

    But hey, since you said you're out, well, I'm going to hold you tot hat in the event this happen again here.
     
  29. GladiusLucix

    GladiusLucix Versed in the lewd.

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    And she could kill PanPan's resistance to the idea, and obstacles to making the proposal, but she couldn't just "kill her own death," right?

    The whole thing seems designed to circumvent the "Path Puppet" Contessa fanon. By only being allowed to Path certain actions, it forces more creativity in getting to a position where those actions further her goals.
     
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  30. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Basically ... yes?

    Path to Ending isn't designed to build up the user. It's there to tear down other stuff.

    In short, instead of being an "I Win" button, it's a "You Lose" button.
     
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