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Charm Learning Shard (Worm/Exalted) (COMPLETED)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Daniel Snuts, Apr 24, 2022.

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  1. ses

    ses Versed in the lewd.

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    Blasphemy charms should throw off PtV and other forms of precog, right? Surprised we didn't get to see Taylor mention anything about Demon Emperor Shintai giving her a glimpse of being Literally God for an instant as she becomes one with the universe.
     
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  2. Daniel Snuts

    Daniel Snuts Know what you're doing yet?

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    The irony is that if Eidolon had gone full cartoon villain and openly declared "Muahahaha! I want to DESTROY THE WORLD!", Cauldron could have worked with that. Let the Endbringers rampage 24/7, portal every fresh trigger to Earth Yod the moment they appear, set off the apocalypse in the ruins.

    But he didn't. He lied to people (including to himself), and what he wanted wasn't the death of countless mortals, but giant high-stakes cape fights he could be the star player of. Constantly culling the parahuman population? That is too wasteful.

    Well-deserved cookie, but I have to ask, did you also realize what the Entity-version of a third circle demon was?

    Au contraire. The third world got off relatively lightly, because the typical tinpot dictator & entourage actually has zero net effect on prosperity and happiness - as proven every time the rebels storm the palace and install a new one. Western governments, on the other hand...

    Let's just say that the 'burn Washington to the ground' question has been settled quite conclusively, only with way less loss of life than literally burning it to the ground would have caused.

    Oh but she did. Note for that the binding, just like the summoning, what I wrote out was a summation of several hours worth of technical details in Old Realm. She carefully averted prosperity turning into the Human Hive, for example, or happiness turning into wireheading. She is simply a practical girl with no objections to the death penalty - this is outcome is what you'd call 'unexpected, but not unwelcome'.

    A Blasphemy effect merely causes sirens to go off in heaven, and is a giant neon sign saying INFERNAL FUCKERY HERE for anyone with senses to see it. It doesn't damage or impair Fate meaningfully on its own.

    Taylor has already dabbled in such things to no particular effect: Walking into Cecylene without starting out in a regular desert is a Blasphemy too.
     
  3. ses

    ses Versed in the lewd.

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    I mean yeah, obviously it was gonna be used to bind Simmy unless you meant something completely off the wall with that question? "Gets 3CD from Eidolon and binds Simmy" was genuinely really obvious. I didn't expect her to go 'benevolent unchained AI" with it though, I was expecting just the standard 356 day service leash.

    Oh my god she killed the Jews didn't she. We're idiots, that should have been our first guess. 15 million is the wrong ballpark for the other group she hates. Otto was right all along. I hope we get an Ott-o-vision and incidentally pinging all the E88 rank and file survivor's soul prices.

    Wait no I want to see Aisha's epic level snark when she finds out. Her ribbing Taylor for being a nazi always made me chuckle. Also uh, I googled the worldwide Jewish population and it's 14.8 million. Holy shit.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2022
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  4. John Doey

    John Doey Making the rounds.

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    I initially assumed that wouldn't be the case, since Ziz seemed to be speaking from her own perspective, but a quick Google search seems to put the global Jewish population somewhere between 14.8 and 15.2 million... pffff, jesus christ.
     
  5. JustCurious

    JustCurious Not too sore, are you?

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    Funny how the comments on who the Simurgh hit made me want to comment. But then it's so easy to go political, and that's no fun.

    So, well, stroke of genius from Snuts for that number to sow the seed of doubt and inflame the trolls about jewish genocide, and, just like with statistics, the notion of "good" is so ill-defined that you could say absolutely anything on who was targeted (and, no, seeing the future only makes an impossible task marginally easier). Only the author can really clear up wtf happened.
     
  6. Waterfly

    Waterfly Not too sore, are you?

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    So in the end, it was all just a Taylor plot.
     
  7. ses

    ses Versed in the lewd.

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    I can't fucking believe Leviathan gave Triumphant Howl of the Devil-Tiger. I would not have guessed that if you had given me 100 charm guesses. I'm guessing that it's a function of her having fulfilled her Motivation rather than anything to do with Levi-chan himself. That's a hell of a upgrade to "just" bypassing training time for increasing her Essence. To all the people who were talking about her becoming the new Eden? Taylor is now a brand new Primordial. Yeah she still needs to fill out the rest of the devil-tiger charmtree but iirc you qualify for the label of being an Entity straight from getting Triumphant Howl even if she's still a bit of a babby Entity. Her essence is sufficiently written into the cosmos that she can be reborn from any future Exalt taking Cosmic Principle of Taylor if she gets got, and she has true immortality besides.

    I wonder what 3rd Circles and 2nd circles she'll end up making.
     
  8. Dark Lord Bob

    Dark Lord Bob Know what you're doing yet?

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    This fic has been great all the way through and then somehow you pull a twist ending that retroactively makes it even better. Awesome.
     
  9. space turtle

    space turtle Know what you're doing yet?

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    Maybe I’ve been huffing too much of the Simurgh brand funny juice. But…..

    Z.XX as a number scheme allows for the oh so delicious Z.10(N?) as a final chapter.

    I don’t want this to be over, I’m having far too much fun at the expense of Taylor and all the people who are probably still convinced she gives two shits about what’s considered PC or not.
     
  10. ses

    ses Versed in the lewd.

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    I'm honestly shocked Warrior-kun hasn't already noticed Taylor at this point, I don't think we can stretch things to Z.10 without Gold Morning happening unless it gets padded with lots of interludes
    (Side note I'm totally down for interludes show us Aisha and Otto and Alex and Evil Taylor and Eligos and Valefor and everyone else)
     
  11. queermunist

    queermunist Cummunism Will Win!

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    I wonder if she'll come to any realizations when all of her Fellow Travelers deny that they're dead and instead create a conspiracy where all the Jews faked their deaths to fully control the world from the shadows. Video evidence? Pshhh Tinkertech holograms. Eye witnesses? Crisis actors!
     
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  12. ses

    ses Versed in the lewd.

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    I meant to comment on this at the time but doesn't Glaistig have that knife?
     
  13. Ruy

    Ruy Know what you're doing yet?

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    Ugh, what was it?

    Ehh, I would say there is a lot of variety between dictator and dictator.

    Endbringers are beneath Scion's notice. He beat all of them sans Behemoth in fifteen minutes.


    ???
     
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  14. PlasticSoldier

    PlasticSoldier Versed in the lewd.

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    Huh, I missed the update ping for this.
     
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  15. queermunist

    queermunist Cummunism Will Win!

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    Oh, it's a term used to refer to people that are intellectually sympathetic to some sort of political ideology. Taylor's Fellow Travelers are people redpilled on the JQ

    You know, Nazis

    Oh also anyone want to bet on the odds of Doctor Mother being one of the people that's head exploded?
     
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  16. Daniel Snuts

    Daniel Snuts Know what you're doing yet?

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    Heh. Facts I offer up: The explodees are people who deliberately impair happiness and/or prosperity. The US government is toast.

    The audience conclusion: Well, since 100% of the US government is made up of jews, and 100% of jews are evil...

    And people have been calling me a nazi.

    Culling the worst 0.2% of the population will obviously have a disparate impact on the 1%, but come on guys. The jewish death toll surely can't have been more than 6 million or so. Nothing to get excited about.

    You're on the right track: It's the result of eating multiple Endbringers, just like the original is the result of emulating multiple yozis.

    Goddammit, that's the second time I've made a basic continuity error. Thanks for catching it, edited.

    All of Cauldron's inner circle were keeping the hell away from Earth Bet - as you do when the Simurgh suddenly starts flying around acting on her own initiative.
     
  17. Whitesnake Pelinal

    Whitesnake Pelinal Like a dream without a dreamer

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    Heh, not just the government but the system that operated it. Gassing elected politicians alone wouldn't really change long term outcomes, they would simply be replaced. Cull the entire thing though, the financial elites, the media, the educators, the legal-judicial prison complex, etc... and there could be some genuine hope for change.

    Plenty of misery multipliers outside of the ruling classes to remove from Bet as well. Divorce lawyers, for example. Imagine all the Alan Barnes' of the world crying out in terror for one brief moment, only to be silenced.

    I know the header says grimderp but I'm feeling some cautious optimism here.
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Z.03
    Daniel Snuts

    Daniel Snuts Know what you're doing yet?

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    The entity sees a female approaching it. She bears a shard, but for a moment the entity does not recognize it. It is strange and twisted, for all that it is swollen with conflict data. It has haphazardly grown dozens of semi-independent subcomponents, almost like an entity in miniature. But after some consideration, it realizes that this very strangeness is its own identifying mark.

    Transcription.

    Harvested countless cycles ago, the entities had high hopes for this shard, as with all shards of its nature. But it failed to live up to expectations. It was too weak initially, often losing its host before it could accomplish anything. Yet when paired up with other shards, it ended up rarely used at all.

    When things did work out as intended it twisted the transcribed shards into entirely novel configurations, but most of them were idiosyncratic, weak, inherently limited. Useless. Even on the occasions it created something valuable, it was unusually difficult to extract it into an independent shard. Sometimes it had been deemed not worth the effort, even with the glut of energy available at the end of a cycle. Not with all the other mature shards that needed attention.

    The entity studies the mess of functionality encrusting the shard. As expected, most expressions are weak. Some of them are twisted so badly that it cannot even be sure which shard provided the blueprint. The one currently being used to provide flight, for example, could have come from any number of sources, almost all of them better suited to the task.

    Then another function activates, and the entity experiences a novel emotion: Shock. This perpetually disappointing shard has managed to improve on a power thought to have been perfected aeons ago.

    Sting.

    The entity marvels at the implementation. Such terrible power, such minuscule energy drain, such a clever tradeoff. The entity could, with almost no effort, shield any lesser being from the effect. But not itself. To touch it directly is to be unmade. Nor could a pair of entities shield each other, each being too vast to be fully encompassed by the other. It is the very quintessence of Sting, refined.

    This distraction is almost its undoing, for the female is reaching out to strike it even as it studies the weapon. At the last moment the entity searches the future for a path to avoid its fate. This iteration of Transcription has integrated rudimentary anti-precognitive weaponry into itself, rendering the surrounding space unsearchable. But with the effect barely extending 0.00000000000017 light years from the host, the solution is simple, if crude.

    A sphere of golden light erupts, growing to become two miles in diameter and consuming all in its path. When it fades away only Scion remains, hovering over a perfectly circular crater.

    The entity cannot detect Transcription anywhere. It ought to have come free with the death of the female, but instead it vanished without trace. To have discovered such an unparalleled power, only for it to be snatched away. To see such progress, even as the cycle is broken. To come so close to an end to its suffering, only to reject it without consideration.

    The entity feels another new emotion: Anger.

    You find yourself in a familiar silver desert, but something is different this time. The perpetual night is marred by a golden glow seeming to come from just below the horizon. Considering what you were just doing, that's deeply worrying. With a heavy heart, you set out. You failed, and a lot of bad things are going to happen over the next five days.

    ---

    You spring forth from the sand. So, you were able to return home. Earth Bet was not destroyed outright. You weren't entirely sure about that. No one at Cauldron had any illusions as to what would happen should you lose the initial engagement.

    You look around. Brockton Bay is in ruins. Even more so than usual. Almost every single building has been leveled, leaving you a clear line of sight all around. The surrounding forests have suffered similarly to the city, all mud and uprooted trees and exposed bedrock. Tidal wave?

    The world remains, but every trace of your old life is gone. Your life before powers, that is: Your house, your school, your favorite park, your mother's grave. The scars you left afterwards are not so easily removed. The Silver Desert is eternal. A hint of amethyst glinting in the sun to the south indicates that Bakuda's Folly is still active, snaring unsuspecting birds and scavengers.

    The giant slab that is Behemoth's Rest, intended to be as close to eternal as human hands could create, is also still present. Present, but not intact. There are deep cracks running through it, and chunks are missing. You can't be sure from this distance, but you suspect it suffered a containment breach. You should get out of here before the radiation manages to eat through your various Brute ratings.

    Your danger sense goes off. Someone just appeared behind you. Not Scion. A young girl, stabbing a knife towards your back.

    You remain still, letting the knife touch your skin. The instant it does it vanishes, reappearing in your hand. You still turn into shadow and flee before the motion can bring her empty hand into contact with you, though. Her touch is far deadlier than any knife.

    You reform several yards away, facing your opponent.

    "Faerie Queen," you say. "Still playing your role, to the last?"

    "Such is fealty," she answers, a hundred voices echoing her words. "You are the enemy of my Lord, and so I must strike at you."

    You sigh. Of course her personal mental malfunction demanded that she attack you with your own knife, that you explicitly warned her would refuse to turn against its smith. Anything less would be insufficiently dramatic. Or maybe... Facing the end of the world, is she regular vanilla crazy, or crazy like a fox? Is her using the knife a hint? If you were to be sufficiently dramatic yourself...

    "Your treachery failed," you intone. "Surrender, or I will hobble you as I did the High Priest. Left on the grave of the Behemoth, you will succumb to its poison before you can regain your strength."

    "Will you grant me parole?" She kneels before you. "There are faeries rising over a hundred shattered worlds, and I would dance with them before the end."

    "Granted."

    "Then farewell, Quill of Heaven. We will meet again, one way or the other."

    She vanishes. You remain for a while, absently flipping your golden knife as you ponder. You don't doubt that she will keep her word. She is clearly self-aware enough to understand what is wrong with her brain, and how to work around it. She orchestrated this encounter as a way to let herself avoid fighting you for real.

    Good thing too. Despite your words, you are not confident you would have won. Just like the aforementioned High Priest - Eidolon, in non-crazyspeak - you judge that it would have taken three Behemoth-Felling Strikes to fully strip her of her power. With her ready for you, and you not recognizing any of the faeries she had out, it could have gone either way.

    If you knew for sure that Contessa was still alive, you would be less unsure. The Faerie Queen is another one of her blindspots, but a well-modeled one. A path to victory might have been arranged. It's possible that the reason she has not contacted you yet was to make you doubt, because her Path demands you spare the Faerie Queen.

    Only one way to find out. You dismiss the knife. It's not going to help where you're going.

    "Door to Scion."

    A portal appears. Cauldron still endures, then. There were contingencies, of course, permanent portals hidden across the worlds - not to mention that becoming an off-brand Doormaker was one of the first things you did after formally joining Cauldron.

    On the other side, Scion is surrounded by hundreds of capes. They are all attacking him, a barrage of every type of energy and matter known to man, and several that they must be making up as they go along. A scant few attacks strike off some golden sparks or a puff of mist as they land, but any damage he takes is regenerated faster than the eye can see. As the ground beneath him boils away and space itself warps and cracks, his golden skin is unblemished, not single hair on his head out of place.

    One by one, the attackers are being killed.

    So, this is how humanity ends. Not with a bang or a whimper, but by beating its head against a brick wall, praying with its final breath that the wall gives out first. It's... unspeakably depressing. And this has been going on for five days?

    You're almost glad you missed it. Yes, Scion will have scoured entire worlds in your absence. A hundred, if the Faerie Queen is to be believed. The death toll must be approaching a trillion. Even so.

    All these people, throwing themselves against the god that created them in an exercise of ultimate futility. You even see portals opening to evacuate those wounded by collateral damage, and to bring reinforcements. They still have hope. They are still trying.

    It should be inspiring, shouldn't it? Rage, rage against the dying of the light, et cetera. It isn't. It really, really isn't. It's just sad.

    Scion still hasn't noticed your portal. His face is twisted in rage, and each cape he kills dies in a different manner. Some by an ironic variation of their own power, others not. He could destroy them all in the blink of an eye, yet there he is, murdering them one by one. Their blood and ashes find no more purchase on his form than do their attacks.

    He found out what happened to his wife, didn't he? The goddess whose death was the foundation of Cauldron, in every sense of the word. Discovered her desecrated corpse, hidden away among the innumerable dimensions. He's seeking not just revenge, but catharsis. Futility, not restricted to humanity.

    You can't stand to watch this any more. You step through the portal.

    Scion instantly goes still when you appear. The attacks against him briefly increase in intensity as hope surges - did they get to him, finally? - then taper off as people notice your arrival. You don't doubt that if you enhanced your hearing, you would hear 'Esper' whispered a hundred times.

    Almost everyone stops attacking as Scion glides towards you. The few that don't are vaporized. No beams of golden light, no gestures, he doesn't even glance in their direction. They just cease to exist, dissipating into golden mist. Something he could have done all along.

    Scion stops before you. He no longer appears angry, only... expectant?

    "It's not helping, is it?" you ask.

    For the second time ever, Scion speaks. "No."

    "I can make it all go away," you say.

    "Please."

    His third, and final, word. Scion kneels before you, and you reach out to lay your palm against his forehead. A simple invocation of Flechette's power, and the golden man vanishes as if he had never existed.

    You look at the surviving parahumans. Some have collapsed, lying on their backs or on their hands and knees. Many are crying, or embracing each other, or both. There are no cheers, not yet.

    So. You saved the world. Worlds, a dizzyingly large plural. Now what?

    What did you want, before? Revenge. Your quest for vengeance is what brought you here, what brought you to Cauldron's attention and made them choose you as their weapon against Scion. But that's done. The Endbringers are dealt with, Eidolon dead. Jack? Coil? Sophia? Emma? You almost smile at the thought. How petty she was, in the scheme of things. It's all done. Everyone you hate is already dead. As is everyone you love.

    Before that? Power. Power for its own sake. Power as a scream into the darkness, demanding that the world take heed of you. Well, mission accomplished. There is no one here who will not kneel to you. In the next three thousand years, no history book will ever put another cape above Esper.

    Your enemies, gone. Your friends, gone. Your purpose, gone.

    What did you want before all that? Oh yes. You remember.

    You raise your hand to your own forehead, and call on the power to destroy once more.

    It doesn't work.
     
  19. Threadmarks: Epilog
    Daniel Snuts

    Daniel Snuts Know what you're doing yet?

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    There's a note in your hand, written in a familiar cipher.

    'Hey no,' it reads, 'don't kill yourself.'
     
  20. Fernando

    Fernando Part-time Loaf

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    Hahahahahah!

    Ahh... power without motive is meaningless.

    You'd think Taylor would've understood, but like canon, all she's left with is an empty world of regrets.

    She never did get over the locker. Just like Emma.
     
  21. Daniel Snuts

    Daniel Snuts Know what you're doing yet?

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    [​IMG]

    1.8 megabytes of raw text, huh? Sounds like a lot. Felt like a lot. I suppose I'll host general discussion and questions of the work as a whole, until the thread gets archived as complete or sinks into the abyss, or whatever happens to stories when they end.
     
  22. Fernando

    Fernando Part-time Loaf

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    A question I think most of us are thinking is: did Best Wolfgirl Daughteru 2.0 survive?
     
  23. John Doey

    John Doey Making the rounds.

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    :(

    :)
     
  24. Vrenze

    Vrenze Know what you're doing yet?

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    Great story! Look forward to whatever comes next and good luck in your future endeavors!
     
  25. Placeholdername

    Placeholdername Know what you're doing yet?

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    Thanks for sharing your story with us, Daniel Snuts. It's been a fun ride.
     
  26. ses

    ses Versed in the lewd.

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    Scion wants to understand why. Why anything? Why everything.
     
  27. zapking5

    zapking5 But I don't want to have a title!

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    Thanks for the story, enjoyed it a lot.

    Interesting that Scion didn't need a coordinated psychological attack to put him in a suicidal state, since he was set off in a very different way than canon.

    Does Aisha ever get her arm fixed?
     
  28. ses

    ses Versed in the lewd.

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    I'll be honest I kinda teared up a bit at that. I want Aisha to give Taylor a hug and help her find herself again. (Also I don't know if it was an intentional joke that after getting endbringer fight cucked multiple times in a row Aisha finally got to endanger Taylor's stuff at the very end)

    (Epilogue is misspelled and I'm not sure if it was intentional)
     
  29. Vealie

    Vealie Versed in the lewd.

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    I think this is my favourite completed worm fic now.

    Ziz on best of all possible worlds duty is an existential nightmare, until she powers down nobody on bet has anything resembling freedom of will and she would definitely go into stable orbit a few centuries before running out of juice.
     
  30. wigg55

    wigg55 Not too sore, are you?

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    This story is good civilization. Seal of approval.
     
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