Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 011

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 011

Funnyface was out of move, but Goodminton had popped another sawhorse this turn, and completed popping a brontosword the turn before. She called her new mount "Uggymug," and rode it out of town, with the great lizardly monster flumphing along behind her.

This round trip was not as costly as Wanda feared. Although it took her three turns to reach Hamfurter again, there had been no major action to miss. Chief Tommy wanted to spend several turns mustering forces from other cities, popping new siege towers, and building up a garrison infantry force for the outpost. And other than two vigorous field skirmishes, the enemy had not seen fit to give them any distress.

Ever the thoughtful big brother, Tommy had left her the spoils from those actions just inside the stockade's wall of sharpened logs.

"Lords! Ladies! The war goes ever on and on," said Wanda to a bony wagonload of neatly stacked remains. "And you have rested here too long. Arise." They clattered to their feet, and followed her in faithful formation.

---

Tommy and Fritz knew that uncroaked units had a limit in turns, and guessed that Haffaton might be holding its counterpunch until those units decayed. They were prepared to move out when Wanda got there, but would have to wait for the heavies she'd brought to regain their move.

Goodminton's next logical target was a nearby Level 2 city named Plankton. But patrols and scouts showed that the road all the way to a Level 4 called Kiloton was clear, and that the city's walls were poorly manned. Tommy therefore opted to bypass Plankton and make a try for the enemy's second-largest production center. "We might get our keisters handed back to us, but let's try a gamble while we've still got the Fellows."

Fritz concurred that the risk was a good one. Even if they could not hold the city once it fell, they could certainly raze it and bolster Goodminton's treasury. And Wanda's Fellows did benefit from a powerful combination of bonuses when she and Tommy led them together. Once they got within a city's walls, they had shown that even fairly well-led stacks of defenders fell easily before them. The only real worry was archery, or perhaps another caster, but for that sort of protection they could rely on Clay back home. Probably.

Tommy's mood to gamble included his tactics as well as his strategy. He sent out the new siege towers first, with a minimal escort. This was partly to test the waters for another enemy trap, and partly because the towers had low move and would take three turns to reach their target. They completed the first leg of their journey without incident, but it was not known if they had been scouted.

That evening Wanda and Tommy holed up in the outpost's command center, which had two fairly comfortable leather seats and a nice fireplace. There they drank mulled wine and talked for hours about their father, about Delphie, Clay, and Haffaton's peace offer.

Their speculation about Delphie ran to the absurd. "Would you be able to tell if she were, say, actually a Carnymancer who claims to be a Predictamancer?" Tommy asked, very late into the evening. Wanda snorted, but then had to admit casters can't actually see one another's discipline. The two siblings agreed that whatever she was up to, Delphie's advice should not be taken as reliable.

"I never thought we're really locked in to an ultimate Fate, anyway," said Tommy, frowning. "I mean if we are, then what's the point? We're not even really people, you know? Just...like, trees or something."

Wanda shook her head, and pulled her feet up under the psychedelic fur blanket she had found there. The fire was getting low, and she was tired from many turns' riding. "I don't care," she sighed. "Really, I don't. It's not something we can ever know, I don't think. Not in this life." She gaped her mouth in a huge yawn, "Ahhhh gyust think I know where I belong. I popped with you. My big brother. In the War Room. I didn't pop with..." She took her arm out from under the blanket and flailed her hand around, seeking the right epithet, but came up empty. "Delphie."

"Yeah, Signamancy," said Tommy. He had his chin on his chest, his cloak thrown over himself. "But maybe she's really an evil Signamancer."

"Oh yes, with that make-up, pff," snickered Wanda. She shook her head, smirking. Her pewter tankard's wine had gone cold, but she didn't feel like doing anything about it. Instead, she drained the last of it in four swallows, and set aside the empty. "I'll give her a Sign."

"Or a Foolamancer..."

"How do you know I'm not one of those!" said Wanda, throwing him a sarcastic look. "For that matter, maybe the Titans are all Foolamancers, and we really are all just...trees."

Tommy's eyes had been closed for a little while, and his breathing was deep and relaxed, hinting at a snore. After three or four progressively louder breaths, Wanda thought he was probably out. She watched him, studying his black whiskers and for some reason just feeling terribly glad and proud to be his sister.

Suddenly, he opened his eyes a crack and said, matter-of-factly, "I don't feel like a tree."

She emitted an explosive cackle that made his eyes go wide. "What?"

"Nothing," she giggled. "Go to sleep, tree man."

He closed his eyes again, turned sideways in his chair, and pulled his cloak tight. Wanda spread out the multicolored fur blanket to cover as much of herself as possible. It had a perfume to it, a somewhat intoxicating floral odor that she recognized from her own outfit.

"Olive Branch" was the one topic she hadn't talked about with her brother. And as far as she knew, nobody had mentioned it to Father, either.

This blanket was another Sign. "Evil Signamancer?" Hm. Or evil Date-a-Mancer? It was hard to deny she felt headed for something significant. Was it her Fate to meet and to serve this woman? If so, she would fight it, to stay with Goodminton. Or perhaps they could fulfill the Prediction by capturing and turning this Olive woman, and making her their Chief Caster. Wanda didn't much like that idea, either.

Was there such a thing as an "evil Florist?"

"Hey, maybe she's a Retconjuror," mumbled Tommy from the other chair.

"Oh do not even joke about that," said Wanda warningly, wishing she had a pillow or something to throw at him."There is no such thing."

Tommy's only answer was a snore. And Wanda soon wished she had a pillow for its primary purpose.

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
Whispri wrote:
Never mind that she does not, in fact, rule a Side, the people she conquers get to live on as part of her army. What more could they hope for in defeat? It's not as if they've had their personalities altered via Turnamancy.


Then when they die again they get dusted. My pet unsupported theory is that Decrypted is both a significant and a literal term. That the arkenplier's "extension of motion/matter principles to the Life axis" literally decodes croaked units' stats out of the encrypted high score file. Then (taking my speculation into tin-foil hat territory) when they die again and dust, they are really and truly gone, not even written into the high score list like normal units. No heaven/City of Heroes for the Decrypted.

Granted there's no reason for Wanda to know this, and I have no strong position on the main argument here, I just thought I'd share.
Kreistor wrote:
There is a difference between a girl choosing to drink and lower her inhibitions and slipping her a roofie. In your example, the girl knows the effects of alcohol and may be drinking to intentionally get over a mental roadblock.

Jillian didn't choose to be a victim of the Suggestion spell. Very different situation. Jillian didn't choose to lower her roadblocks, they were lowered for her by someone else.

I wasn't arguing the morality of it, just the extent of it. While I'm not an expert of roofies, it is my understanding they debilitate the victim, so I do not think that is an accurate anolog. If it helps, we could change my metaphor to spiking the punch or buying someone a screwdriver and claiming it was orange juice. Still, I am not defending Wanda's actions. The flip side of the coin, however, is that Jillian is still accountable for her actions while under the influence. The changes made by the spell are remarkably small, as Maggie said. Whatever Jillian did, some very great part of her wanted to. To use the alcohol example, suppose someone tricked me into having a couple of drinks and then I started a bar fight. It wouldn't matter that someone had slipped me a couple drinks. The police wouldn't just let me go because I was buzzed without my knowledge. If I started the fight, I would be because I chose to, even if the alcohol lowered my inhibitions or impaired my judgement. Now, I've never been in a bar fight, but it is something that alcohol might be able to get me to do. I doubt there is enough alcohol in the world, however, that could get me to eat babies or something truly monstrous.

As I said at the beginning, this isn't about the morality of the control, it is about the extent of the control. From what we've seen, the amount of influence seems to be on the magnitude of a few beers, at least to my eyes. I, of course, could be wrong.
Kreistor wrote:
http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F064.jpg

Sizemore counters, "Suggestions can make her inclined to do things... lead recklessly, disobey orders. She provides her own reasons for these choices." And two panels later, he calls it rationalization.

That scene is just as corrupted by Suggestion as anything else. The Suggestion is making her rationalize her willing participation in the activities, using a rationalization. Jillian, being under the influence of a spell that helped her participate in something she may not have done without the spell, is forced by the spell to find a reason to continue to enjoy the thought of participating.

Jillian is not an unbiased observer of her spell-addled self, and so is not a valid witness to what she would otherwise have chosen to do.


All this does is say that my evidence is not 100% fool proof. Which is fine; I have never been trying to claim a certainty on my interpretation of this, just the level of most probable situation. I've stated several times that there are facts that would disprove my interpretation, if they emerge. However, you seem to be confused into thinking that my evidence being weakened constitutes evidence of your own. You have yet to provide any that Jillian was influenced by the suggestion spell for that encounter. You have conjecture, and a reasonable case that we can't 100% trust the evidence we have to be definitive. But that is all I see. Given that, we have to go with the interpretation that actually has some evidence supporting it. Sure, we keep our eyes open for something new; but until the something new shows up, we have to stick with the best explanation for all the facts.

Just to humor me, is there a single piece of evidence you could have appear in the comic, aside from word of god, that would make you abandon your interpretation?

Kreistor wrote:
There is a difference between a girl choosing to drink and lower her inhibitions and slipping her a roofie. In your example, the girl knows the effects of alcohol and may be drinking to intentionally get over a mental roadblock.

Jillian didn't choose to be a victim of the Suggestion spell. Very different situation. Jillian didn't choose to lower her roadblocks, they were lowered for her by someone else.


Aside from the massive difference between a roofie and what Wanda did in terms of potency... This single instance is part of a long term relationship between two people where one controlling the other is a standard part of their relationship (which I have been told is the core of what the appeal for most BDSM is). We don't know how far Jillian has given consent for Wanda to be dominating in session. We know she was pissed at what the suggestion spell did out of session; but she has not once given an indication that she sees the spell being cast on her as being drugged for the sex. I mean hell, she was hanging from a dungeon wall as a POW, a circumstance that it appears she routinely tried to create (given how often she is captured). Compare that level of control to the suggestion spell; I would say hanging from the prison wall is about 10-15x the bigger consent issue.

But all indications are that Jillian was voluntarily putting herself in that position. So the fact that she doesn't consider the suggestion spell a problem (for the session, not the out of session effects)? not hard to believe. Especially when there is 0 evidence to the contrary, outside of conjecture on how that evidence could still emerge.
Quote:
So the fact that she doesn't consider the suggestion spell a problem (for the session, not the out of session effects)? not hard to believe.


I believe you mean 'notion', not 'fact'. It is not in evidence.
Balerion wrote:
But all indications are that Jillian was voluntarily putting herself in that position.


I don't see any evidence of that at all, because we never see Jillian not under the influence of the spell choosing to place herself in a torture chamber.
gameboy1234 wrote:
Rcam wrote:
Interesting that Casters can't see others' disciplines, but Parson can. Book 1 Page 108


I think that's maybe a continuity mistake by Rob. Or perhaps a good illusion spell will fool a warlord into seeing the wrong stats, even for his own units, and therefore they're really in doubt of Delphie's discipline.

Or they're just being mean-spirited and facetious. Neither of them like Delphi very much so they're half-expecting her to be deceptive anyway.
Kreistor wrote:


I don't see any evidence of that at all, because we never see Jillian not under the influence of the spell choosing to place herself in a torture chamber.


This is where the suggestion spell is cast. Do i have to go and drag out all the references to her getting captured over and over again too? They happened chronologically before that spell. Given she was being captured often enough to make people suspect she was a traitor, it sounds like more than just fortunes of war. Since I am going to assume Jillian did not reach level 9 by being incompetent, getting captured over and over would be aberrant behavior for her (as rarely is the other side going to bother keeping you alive). Getting herself captured intentionally is the explanation that best first with her being good enough to survive as a barbarian for as long as she has. Any explanation based on her simply being reckless in general leaves her dead turns and turns ago. So yes. We have evidence.
Kreistor wrote:
I don't see any evidence of that at all, because we never see Jillian not under the influence of the spell choosing to place herself in a torture chamber.

Vanna had done some good work to turn him, but the dungeon didn't much interest Jillian. Vanna didn't really know how to play right.

Or they just might croak her. Which would leave her...At Ansom's side, and under Wanda's delicate control. Her heart pounded in her chest like it was trying to break its way out. Titans disband. She really didn't know which one she was here for any more.
This is after Jillian has broken free of the suggestion spell. The first implies that the dungeon would interest her if she had someone who "knew how to play right," like Wanda. The second one shows that there is a part of her that very much wants to be "under Wanda's delicate control." Even's Jillian's reactions to Wanda is, "You went too far," not "How dare you do that to me."

Balerion wrote:
This is where the suggestion spell is cast. Do i have to go and drag out all the references to her getting captured over and over again too? They happened chronologically before that spell. Given she was being captured often enough to make people suspect she was a traitor, it sounds like more than just fortunes of war. Since I am going to assume Jillian did not reach level 9 by being incompetent, getting captured over and over would be aberrant behavior for her (as rarely is the other side going to bother keeping you alive). Getting herself captured intentionally is the explanation that best first with her being good enough to survive as a barbarian for as long as she has. Any explanation based on her simply being reckless in general leaves her dead turns and turns ago. So yes. We have evidence.

To play devil's advocate, we don't know that is the suggestion spell being cast. A few strip later, we see Jillian start crying as the realization of her actions hit her. The way I have always interpretted that scene is that the "very hard way" involved a spell much stronger than the suggestion spell, that only lasted until dawn. When the spell expired, the realization of the magnitude of her betray hit Jillian, causing her to weep. If that wasn't the suggestion spell, it is reasonable to believe that the suggestion spell was cast a far back as Orgchart. Also, there were other factors in her captures. Gobwin Knob had the table which gave them unparalleled intelligence. This allowed them to know the instant she was vulnerable. Wanda's possessive attitube probably also contributed. While I personally agree with you, there are other interpretations.
Mrtyuh wrote:
Vanna had done some good work to turn him, but the dungeon didn't much interest Jillian. Vanna didn't really know how to play right.


This does not say anything about Wanda, only about Jillian. That Jillian has a masochistic streak is not under discussion: it is whether Wanda enjoys torture.

Quote:
This is after Jillian has broken free of the suggestion spell. The first implies that the dungeon would interest her if she had someone who "knew how to play right," like Wanda. The second one shows that there is a part of her that very much wants to be "under Wanda's delicate control." Even's Jillian's reactions to Wanda is, "You went too far," not "How dare you do that to me."


No, that is not what that text says, in context. In context, she is trying to figure out if she can kill one of Wanda or Ansom in order to avoid the Fate of belonging to GK. or if her love for both prevents her from killing either and dooming her future to enslavement.
Kreistor wrote:
This does not say anything about Wanda, only about Jillian. That Jillian has a masochistic streak is not under discussion: it is whether Wanda enjoys torture.


Kreistor wrote:
I don't see any evidence of that at all, because we never see Jillian not under the influence of the spell choosing to place herself in a torture chamber.

I apologize if I misunderstood your point. I was commenting about Jillian's willingness to place herself in a torture chamber while not under the influence of the suggestion spell. As I posted, that quote indicates she would, if she had someone who knew "how to play right."

Kreistor wrote:
No, that is not what that text says, in context. In context, she is trying to figure out if she can kill one of Wanda or Ansom in order to avoid the Fate of belonging to GK. or if her love for both prevents her from killing either and dooming her future to enslavement.

I think this is one of those agree to disagree instances. To me, it seems obvious that Jillian isn't sure why she is there. Most of the update is about how she is lonely. The reason she came was to croak Wanda, but she admits she wasn't being completely honest with herself. The thought of being Wanda's puppet is appealing to her; it makes her heart flutter. She then says she isn't sure the why she really came. A very big part of her wants to be Wanda's plaything, which would mean she wouldn't be lonely anymore. While we know that part did not win out, but it was still there. As I said, it seems obvious to me, although I'll admit I may be mistaken. Still, I disagree with your interpretation of that update.