B012.2 Born At Sleep

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<We really shouldn’t be laughing about this!> Melody complained during torrents of giggling and laughter. <This is so awful! And we’re awful for laughing about it!>

“Th-then let’s be awful!” Jared squeezed out between bouts of laughter, wiping tears from his eyes; with his beach-blonde hair in disarray, he looked like every girl’s dream prince having a joke, and Melody would never admit it out loud, but if he wasn’t such a jerk, she’d probably take him up on a date. “C’mon, let’s put on the next one!”

Irene seemed to agree with him, or at least her incessant giggling on the floor in front of the couch caused her to spasm and show a thumbs-up by accident.

Harry and Thomas, who were sitting on the side of the couch opposite from Jared, just leaned back, an arm around each other’s shoulders, and enjoyed the show on the huge television in the Junior Heroes’ common living room.

Osore – actually Takahama Goudo – and Aimihime – Aimi for short – were also there, sitting in between Melody and the two boys.

Everyone but Aimi (who was currently curled up on Osore’s lap in the form of a huge red-brown cat) was in casual clothes, sweatpants and shirts, fresh out of the showers after training and a shared lunch. Even Irene had participated, not that working out did her any good. Melody was pretty sure she just did it for the team bonding experience.

Of course, as it turned out, watching these stupid videos was an even better bonding experience. Jared had suggested them, and Irene had agreed wholeheartedly. Aimi did, too, and Goudo usually just went along with things, anyway (Melody had never seen him so much as vary his facial expression and his voice was even less expressive; she never knew how he felt about anything). She and the other two had just gone along, as well.

She had to admit, awful as they were, these ‘Darwin Awards’ were really quite funny – in a morbid, dark humour kind of way. And she’d never even heard of them before! They’d just finished watching the runner-up for last year’s award, and were now getting to the actual winner – Jared had promised that it’d blow them away.

The drumroll started while Irene pulled herself back up onto the couch, face red, and pulled her knees up to hug them, giggling in anticipation.

With the end of the drumroll, the clip began. The video was shaky, amateurish, and there were odd distortions to it; it showed a heap of rubble, mostly concrete and rebar, which shook in irregular intervals, as the light played odd tricks with the image, creating random slowdowns and ghost images.

“Oh no,” Irene whispered, suddenly subdued.

The image moved a bit, slowly, as if the cameraman was slowed down for some reason. Or just afraid, judging by how much it was shaking. As it moved, it became clear that the cameraman was on the upper floor of a building, and at least half the room he’d been in had caved in from whatever had created the mound of rubble it was looking at. There was another impact and a muffled scream from behind the camera as the image shook again, but then it settled down.

<What’s wrong?> Melody asked her, taking a quick look before turning back to the video. Irene was hugging her knees close to her chest and looked miserable all of a sudden.

“I know this one,” she replied, her eyes glued to the screen, even though she clearly didn’t want to see it.

The viewpoint shifted, moving up the heap of rubble it had been pointed at. Bodies came into sight, four men in five times as many pieces, their bodies cut apart cleanly and precisely, as if someone had used a line of silk to dismember them – and the silk had left behind a clingy, incandescent white on the wounds that was eating into their remains. Even in pieces, it was easy to make out that they’d been wearing costumes, and so had probably been heroes – or at least villains who died heroically.

It moved further up, and strands of pure white light came into sight, moving slightly like hair under water, dissolving whatever they came into contact with.

The image moved up, and up, and up, over almost twenty meters of glowing white hair, until it focused on a nude form whose modesty – what little there was – was only preserved by her own hair, which partially concealed her impossibly perfect shape. Her eyes were glowing the same colour as her hair, wide open and featureless, her jaw slack with more light spilling forth from in between her partially open lips. Her arms, tipped by long nails, which glowed the exact same colour as her hair, hung loosely down her side as she slowly, almost ponderously, lowered herself until she was floating barely half a foot over the top of the rubble, the remains of the heroes who’d fought her destroyed by her hair. The random distortions to the recording only became worse as it focused on her.

A caption appeared as the cameraman stopped moving.

Desolation-in-Light; Galveston, Texas, March 3rd, 2011

“Fuck me,” she heard Thomas whisper, his soft voice surprisingly sharp. “Don’t tell me these assholes are gonna show some poor sob that got ‘imself killed tryin’ to fight that thing!” Irene flinched, but didn’t comment.

Jared, however, did. “Don’t worry,” he said “This one deserves it. Wait and see.”

They watched as DiL’s body was briefly surrounded by a multi-coloured haze, before she was surrounded by an aura that glowed somehow warmer than her normal light, the colour more yellow than white. It focused into a lens about the size of her torso, extending a beam – not like an energy blast or anything like that, no, more like a spotlight – out in front of her and into the distance. Then the ‘spotlight’ began to move, even though DiL herself didn’t move an inch, rotating around her as if she was a lighthouse atop a mountain of rubble, angling up and down, always with her as the centre as it moved. Once, it passed over the rubble beneath, touching on parts of it not covered by her hair, and the concrete and metal and wood began to distort, forming bubbles as if the light was hot enough to boil it in moments, even though it didn’t seem to heat up at all – nothing caught fire, and the wood should have. The deadly spotlight passed on.

And then they saw someone enter into the periphery of the recorded image – and so did the cameraman, who focused the image on the new arrival.

It was a guy. Probably in his early twenties, he looked like what Melody imagined when she heard the term ‘doughy guy’. Not fat, or anything, but pale, really pale, with a wild shock of hair on his head and a weird thin beard and moustache. He was wearing an ill-fitting suit and tie, black and red respectively, with a white shirt, and he was running for all he was worth – towards DiL.

Melody looked at Irene again, who seemed even more miserable now – though Melody didn’t know if it was out of sympathy for the man who was clearly about to die, or because of Thomas’ phrasing. She reached out, gently squeezing her friend’s shoulder and Irene responded by tilting her head to rest her cheek on the back of her hand.

The video continued as the man ran around the boiled pieces of rubble – judging by his facial expression, it didn’t smell good, either – dodging strands of lethal hair in a way that was both surprisingly nimble and embarrassingly clumsy at the same time. One time, he actually rolled under the passing spotlight, barely evading having his face boiled off.

The cameraman seemed to have been as entranced by the guy’s actions as they all were, because he followed him on his way, the image mostly steady as the impacts which had shaken the earth had now stopped.

The doughy guy finally reached the top of the heap of rubble, standing on a spot that was untouched by DiL’s hair and the spotlight, and he…

Melody blinked, not sure if she believed what happened next. Fortunately, whoever had edited the video had found it hard to believe, as well, and so the video rewound and showed it again in a close up. She still had trouble believing it.

The doughy guy had dropped down on one knee, holding up a small black box he’d flipped open. A box with an engagement ring inside.


Irene whimpered, and a quick look showed Melody that she’d finally averted her eyes, focusing instead on her own toes.

She herself, though, just had to see what came next, even if she felt sick to her stomach.

The glowing woman didn’t appear to notice the doughy guy just three or four feet from her, even when he started to talk.

He kept on talking until the spotlight moved towards him – he tried to dodge it, but accidentally stepped into some strands of her hair, losing his foot in the process. And then the spotlight passed over him.

With a scream, he tumbled back, his face literally melting off his skull, bubbles forming and bursting so violently they revealed bare bone beneath. His suit cracked, bubbled and fell apart, all at once, and the body beneath was no better off – turning red, then cracked, then bubbling, then bursting off his bones.

He screamed more and tumbled into her hair – and that was that. The video ended with a shot of the Darwin Awards’ logo (a yellow street-sign showing the march of progress, with the homo sapiens sapiens walking off a cliff) spinning.

Everyone save for Osore (who didn’t do laughing, it seemed), Melody and Irene was laughing – until the television blew out.

“Oi, what the fuck!?” Jared shouted.

Perhaps everyone had the same thought Melody did, because everyone turned to look at Irene, who was still curled up on the couch, her face hidden behind her knees and her hair.

<Irene?> she asked, worried, squeezing her friend’s shoulder again – then she flinched back when, for just a moment, a sensation of utter, complete horror gripped her heart – and not just her; she could hear everyone else gasp, their heartbeats quickening as it, too reached them. But then, it was gone as quickly as it had appeared.

Irene flickered and vanished from her seat, suddenly standing a few feet in front of the couch, with her back ramrod straight.

She flickered again, to the door out and back, as if she couldn’t decide whether to leave or not.

“The fuck’s wrong?” Jared asked. “Why’d you have to bust o-“

“I’ll fucking tell you what’s wrong!” Irene shouted, and the lights flickered as she whirled around, her long hair flying wildly – and just barely covering her left eye as she focused on Jared. Melody hoped only she’d seen that it had turned red-and-black, a sure sign that she was losing control again – and there was the almost imperceptible, even to her, sound of that weird song her power generated when it came to the forefront.

Irene didn’t seem to notice, or mind, because she thrust a finger at Jared, who flinched back from her. “This isn’t funny! Where do you get off laughing about what she does!?” She whirled around to look at Harry and Thomas, both of whom had gone pale. “And you!” she shouted, pointing at Thomas, who looked both confused and frightened. “She’s not a thing! You of all people should know better than to call her a thing!”

Her hand dropped, and she shivered for a moment, her other hand reaching across her torso to grip her forearm. Then she turned away and stomped towards the exit.

Melody was just about to hurry after her when she whirled about and looked at the lot of them, eyes wide – though fortunately back to their usual colour. “And fucking stop fucking calling her DiL! She’s got a name, so fucking use that!” she screamed at them before she simply flickered and reappeared in the same spot, only facing away from them – and she stomped towards the door.

She really ought to run after Irene, to catch up to her and console her – but all she could think of at that moment was She has a name? She’d never even considered that Desolation-in-Light, the White Calamity, would have anything like a normal name – yet that was what Irene meant, surely. I wonder what she’s called? And who gave her the name? Probably Miss Whitaker, right?

Irene almost reached the door when it opened, and three men stepped inside.

Melody blinked as she recognised Mister Widard, Mister Patrid and Director Ryan walking in side-by-side. All three were wearing suits, though their styles were quite telling of the differences between the three men commonly considered to be the leaders of New Lennston’s United Heroes Division, now that Rounds was stationed on the Iron Wall (Amazon was a great field leader, but as far as Melody could tell, she had little to nothing to do with the political side of business).

Patrid was, as always, immaculately dressed in pure white – white silk suit, white silk shirt, white silk tie, white leather shoes. The only thing that wasn’t white about him were his bright blue eyes, his healthy skin and his bright blonde, slicked-back hair and neatly trimmed goatee. His perfect white teeth showed thanks to a boyish grin he had as he walked into the room. He looked ready to go to a high-class party or dance, visit the White House for dinner or make a deal for one’s soul. Possibly all three at once. And he still had that ever-present aura that only Melody seemed to pick up on, that presence which made her uneasy, slightly nauseated. She couldn’t bring herself to like the man, even though he’d been nothing but courteous and even supportive so far – it was hard enough to even tolerate his presence.

Mister Widard was wearing a much cheaper grey suit with a simple white shirt and a striped blue tie. As always, he was slightly dishevelled, his black-brown hair a mess accentuated by his five-o’clock shadow, his eyes made huge by a really unflattering pair of glasses he was balancing on his nose, and he even now, he had a communicator in his left ear, with a directed microphone extended halfway to his mouth (one of Melody’s patents, actually). Much unlike Patrid, Jason was just plain endearing. He was like a chronically overworked but nice and warm favourite uncle. She felt awful about all the trouble he’d been in lately, since she’d helped capture his niece the teenage supervillain, and she wished she could just walk up to him and give him a hug; but she didn’t feel that she knew him well enough for that.

Director Ryan made a contrast to both of the other men. He was heavily built, both muscular and fat at the same time, his body at least three times as wide as Widard’s stick-thin physique; and he was short, too, not exceptionally so, but short enough to look like a dwarf next to Patrid, who was at least six foot ten, if not eleven. His hair was red, which made them a brunette-blonde-redhead trio, cropped short and his round face was as smooth as Melody’s own. His suit was brown and functional, not as immaculate as Patrid’s but far more well-kept than Widard’s. Melody used to respect him, but her opinion of the man had taken a nosedive since he’d tried to get her to stay away from Irene – even if she understood that he thought he was doing the right thing.

There was one thing that was out of place between the three men – Melody had never seen them share a mood. Usually, Patrid was chipper, in good spirits, with a wide grin plastered on his too-perfect face; Widard always looked slightly confused and slightly exhausted, not to mention wary; and Director Ryan tended to have a very stern, to-the-point mood and facial expression.

Not today. All three looked quite pleased with themselves – though only for a moment, once they saw Irene walk up and past them.

Widard and Ryan turned to look at her, and Melody lost sight of their facial expressions, but Patrid surprised her – he made a dance-like step, almost a pirouette, and put a hand on Irene’s shoulder – and she stopped and turned, looking at him.

The other two men continued on their way towards the junior heroes, while Patrid talked quietly to Irene.

Melody missed the first few words they spoke, before she focused her hearing on them.

“… can tell me if anything’s wrong,” Patrid said softly. “I’m here for you.”

“I know, and I’m grateful, but this…” Irene whispered back. “It’s nothing. Just… my own issues.”

“You’re a horrible liar, lil’ one,” he replied affectionately. “I promised your mom that I’d keep an eye out for you – so don’t shut me out.”

Miss Whitaker asked him to watch out for Irene? she thought, confused, while her teammates stood up and tried to look more prim and proper than they currently were to their bosses. I wonder how they know each other?

Irene sighed, but didn’t reply.

“Now, I need you to calm yourself down and join us,” he continued whispering while Director Ryan and Widard took up position in front of the big screen (the director looked none too pleased at it being broken), “there’s some important stuff to talk about.”

After a few moments, Irene nodded and pulled her pill bottle out, downing a small handful of pills. She relaxed almost immediately, and the nearly subsonic siren’s song vanished, too. Melody felt herself relax, glad that her friend wouldn’t have an episode that’d just scare the rest of the team away from her any more.

Within moments, Irene was sitting next to her again – closer now, close enough for Melody to put an arm around her shoulders and hug her – and even Aimi had shifted into a form more appropriate for conversation, though the lack of clothes to wear forced her to improvise. In this case, she had shifted into a humanoid cat – not a cat girl, no, she was quite clearly a cat – with the same colour and pattern to her fur as before, now sitting next to Osore, who’d been the only one not to react to the entire scene up until now.

Patrid joined the other two adults, and the director spoke up.

“Good afternoon, everyone,” he said, sounding almost as pleased as he looked. “I have good news!”

Hopefully good enough to make up for this scene, Melody thought glumly as she felt Irene press a little closer to her.

“In light of all the successes we’ve had lately,” the director continued, “Our very successful fight against the Rabid Eight and the Spiteborn, as well as the fight against Hastur and her monsters…”

Melody heard Aimi’s heart skip a beat at the mention of Hastur and the people she’d affected – she didn’t know the full story, but she’d found out that Aimi had apparently gone through her own little horror show during that dark episode of New Lennston’s history.

“Well, we have reason to celebrate, especially since the Black Panthers and the Morning’s Children both have been routed entirely, save for one or two stragglers,” Ryan continued, as Melody thought over the implications of that.

While organised crime was always a problem, and supervillains working for organised crime even more so, they tended to be more… subdued. More interested in heists and subtle actions; more than three fourth of all public cape-and-cowl battles took place between heroes and gang members, or between rival gangs; with two of the oldest and most powerful gangs gone, New Lennston was now at least safer than New York or Chicago, and worlds ahead of the West Coast Triad.

“And so, the mayor has decided to hold a celebration with you children as the guests of honour!” he finished.

For a moment, no one said anything; then, Goudo had to ruin it.

“Shouldn’t Brennus and his girls be the guests of honour?” he asked in that infuriatingly monotone voice of his. “They contributed more to all of that than anyone else here, not counting the Rabid Eight thing.”

Patrid covered his mouth with his hand, though everyone could tell he was laughing behind it; Widard seemed to miss the comment, as he was busy doing something on a tablet he’d pulled out of his jacket’s pocket; but the director’s face fell immediately.

“We’re not going to acknowledge teenage delinquents,” he said firmly, throwing Goudo a warning look – after all, the boy had been a delinquent himself (he’d never really done anything to qualify as a villain, really). “Even if their contributions were… impressive, they are criminals.”

The meaning was clear – the spotlight had to be on the legal heroes – though Melody really didn’t agree with that. They’d risked their lives as much as any of them had, and Brennus had been instrumental in taking down both the Spiteborn and Hastur; Hecate had been no slouch, either. The only one who hadn’t really done much was Tyche, whose role in that group she still couldn’t guess at.

Patrid stepped forward and pulled the conversation back on track. “Anyway, aside from such concerns, here’s the important parts: there’ll be a gala on Monday – I know, it’s rather short notice, but at least you’ll be excused from school for that day and the next! Everyone will have to get a dress or a suit if you don’t have one already, and you should all practice some dancing… speaking of which, who here has any experience dancing? Other than Irene, of course.”

Melody gave Irene a curious look – he’d asked about experience, not skill, which her power could readily supply. Irene had never told her about dancing before, though.

Irene smiled at her. My parents are rather old-school, she spoke into her mind. Of course I had to learn how to dance properly.

Melody giggled involuntarily, though no one seemed to notice as the team was rapidly split down the middle. Melody, Irene and (surprisingly) Aimi knew how to dance – though Melody felt that she was probably quite rusty by now, as she hadn’t practiced since she’d manifested. Harry, Thomas, Goudo and Jared all had little to no idea about dancing, though.

“Ah well,” Patrid said with his usual grin. “Looks like a little practice is in order, then! After all, it’d be horrible for our image if our juniors couldn’t even dance on the celebration of their own heroic deeds!” He clapped his hands. “In the interest of getting you ready, I guess I’ll have to train the lot of you personally, over the next few days. That includes you three, just in case,” he added with a wink at the three people who actually knew dancing.

Everyone but Irene and the other two adults groaned, but before anyone could say anything more, Widard suddenly looked up from his tablet.

“Someone turn on the television,” he said. “HeroView channel, quickly!”

Everyone looked confused for a moment, but the junior heroes were so used to following his commands that they moved nonetheless – Aimi was the first to get the remote and she pushed the on-button.

Nothing happened.

“Ah, bugger,” Jared said, looking sullenly at Irene. “Our big girl here blew out the tellie throwing a hissy fit.”

I will slap you once the adults are out of the way, Melody thought resolutely, though fortunately, Irene didn’t lash out at him, nor did she seem to react to his jab at all.

Widard sighed and took the remote from Aimi. Pressing a few buttons, the wall-mounted screen flipped over, revealing a second screen behind it.

“We have a replacement television?” Harry asked in surprise, the first time he’d talked today, as far as Melody remembered – he’d been mostly content to let Thomas speak.

“Of course,” Widard said. “With all the powers that tend to gather in here, it’s not too rare that something breaks; so we have replacements for most major pieces of equipment. That’s not an excuse for you to go around breaking them, though!” he quickly added.

They all nodded, while he turned on the television and switched onto HeroView, the major channel on metahuman matters in the Western Hemisphere.

It was showing an abandoned apartment building in a rather dirty neighbourhood – the captions identified it as Paris, France, and it appeared to be live, too.

“What’s going on, Jason?” Patrid asked as he sauntered over to sit on the couch next to Irene, who shifted around to put her legs across his thighs, leaning even more fully into Melody at the same time.

“The Blackguard has been tracked down, it seems,” Jason said as he and Ryan joined the others on the couch. “Looks like there’s a whole bunch of aspiring new Chevaliers getting ready to wrest the cross and fleur-de-lys from him.”

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45 thoughts on “B012.2 Born At Sleep

    • A word of warning, though – I am currently in my exam phase, and I have four exams over the next two weeks; so I can’t promise a swift delivery. The chapter will most likely be up no sooner than next sunday, if not with more delay. I’m afraid the exams have to come first.

  1. Ooooooh this is going to be good. I wish I’d managed to write even a draft of the fanfiction I’d tought of writing about the legacy of Chevalier. Oh well, I guess depending on how the battle goes I might still be able too and I will have even more info to base a story on. Well technically I still have a bit of time to write something… maybe I’ll manage to produce something if I have a deadline?

    Good luck for your exams Tieshaunn! Don’t worry about making us wait a bit, we can take it.

  2. DiL has a name! I’d wondered about that, actually. Could she be Bree, or whoever else was mentioned back in Macian’s journal? The singing one? I’d never actually considered what Irene might think about her sister. It makes sense that she’d be a fair bit more empathetic than most. I’m not sure what was up with her “you of all people” to Thomas. Probably because he’s been hanging out with Gloomy, if I had to guess.

    While I’m at it, I actually have no idea how to pronounce “DiL”. Are people saying it phonetically (dil rhymes with pill)? Or maybe saying the letters D.I.L.? That’s what I’m imagining.

    The whole proposal thing was actually pretty amusing, if you ignore Irene’s reaction.

    The only other question I have is kinda pedantic (sorry), but… I’m assuming this is still Friday, right? So why are they hanging out at their HQ for lunch? Do the UJH get to skip class for the purposes of hero-ing? Or is this just me not understanding the American schooling system?

    Thanks for the chapter, by the way. I enjoyed it!!

    Humor > humour (British preferred)
    Destroyed ber her > by
    Center > centre (another appease the Queen thing)
    Mustache > moustache (UK English)
    Homo sapiens sapiens > repated word
    Where do you get off laughing > Maybe it’s just me being silly, but this didn’t really make sense to me.
    At, Harry and Thomas > extra space before Thomas
    I wonder what she’s called.. > if this is her thought, it should probably be in italics
    curteous > courteous
    gray > grey (non-American spelling)
    disheveled > dishevelled
    physice >physique
    turned too look > to
    hissie-fit > hissy fit

    • The quote from Macians journal:

      “Who is Rei? She sings a lullaby no one hears. -> connected the Sleeper?

      Who is Bree? Someone cries her name, but she can’t hear it. The crying person sounds so sad, I cried when I heard her voice (I’m not prone to crying).”

      Rei sounds kinda like Irene, or a nickname that Macian misheard or maybe he didn’t fully catch Gloomy’s name. Rei seems to fit better for her, and Bree for DiL.

      On a totally different note, why change the spelling of some words to the British versions if the story’s set in America and it’s Americans talking? It seems kinda unnecessary.

      • I asked Tieshaunn about spelling once, in a monkey chapter, and he said something along the lines of preferring to use British spellings, because that’s how he learnt English.

        I’d not considered that Irene might be one of the two names. Huh. I’m totally jumping on that theory bandwagon.

        And I really want to know how Macian got that information. Seems like some top-level secret stuff. I’m guessing it comes at least partially from his manifestation.

      • Yeah, we know that he was compiling info from other’s manifestations about the five points of light, and that he escaped the Savage Six at some point. My guess is that in the years Macian was roaming around (might be less than years, but at least long enough to hide Eudocia and dig the base, assuming he did the latter), Macian did some serious investigating into others manifestations. The whole journal seems like it’s full of the prophecies seen during manifestations (even if they aren’t about the five points of light thing) or maybe something Ember said at one point.

    • Rei is the other one. ‘ She sings a lullaby no one hears’. Sounds appropriate. Though considering the old fashioned nature of LL and TD, Bree seems more likely.

      Man, going back to the chapter brings up a lot of old questions. I think I may have to make a booklet of notes Tieshaunn. I feel like a detective pulling up strings on a board to put things together.

      On a side note, Journeyman suddenly reminds me of a character called Messenger, once Ecto. Similar personality, same powerset, though Journeyman is certainly the more mature of the two.

      ….Okay, I’ve been flicking over Macian’s notes. Calling it now, the Blackguard lives for something more. ‘The Defender, another era’s fallen idol, given a second chance.’ It also matches ‘The Shepherd.’ ‘A broken star that sought redemption.’ What do people think?

      The visions are always of five people. I wonder if they’re limited to five of a greater whole, seeing five OTHERS that doesn’t include themselves, or even if the details might overlap. Hmmm. Prisca seems likely to be the Dreamer. Unless it’s the Sleeper, whoever that is, but how she expresses her powers… it kinda fits. Unless it’s Lady Light, she is certainly the more luminescent of the set.

      The Maker seems likely to be Basil/Macian. The Shaper is probably Ember. The Lover still confuses me, as does The Emissary and The Orphan.

      …And what in the world could the gadget that Journeyman inspired in Macian be?

      • Personally I figure that Jman inspired the instant BBQ machine. Which is a perfecrly valid use of the world’s most powerful Gadgeteers’s power.

        For for 5 stars, I like the theory that everyone’s seeing the same 5 people from different perspectives. As the possibilities shift over time, so do the visions. Or everyone’s seeing the same thing, more or less, but from a different angle, due to their own biases. Either way, I figure that their are only 5 points of light.

        From the visions, I figure that the Maker is Basil, that feels pretty locked down now. I’d also guess that the Lover is Gloom Glimmer. Love seems to be a pretty big part of her character arc, and she’s definitely got the whole ‘primordial’ thing down with a power that is fundamentally power. I can see Ember as the Shaper. “Unbound from anything but imagination” could describe his powers (imaging the second world, their ridiculous versatlity) and in the Vraa arc Terry sees a Gentle Sun that belongs to Ember. I could also see him overlapping onto the Emmisary, maybe? Driven to ‘save’ the world, but no idea how to do it? Unless he’s the orphan. I’m thinking that the Defender is the same as the Shepard based soley off of the similar ideas of “fallen” and “dead”.

        What has me completely baffled is the correlation between “Suns” and the points of light. Actually, all of the astronomical imagery has me a little confused. My best guess/ understanding goes somehting like:

        Everyone has a world, which is also a star and bright stars are metahumans. Really bright stars are special metahumans, or powerful metahumans, or weird things like the Sleeper. Sometimes really bright stars are called suns. The number of suns doesn’t seem constant. Heretic saw 5 suns in his manifestaion, a, Ember saw 2 (and presumably was in a third) with his ‘sight’. Terry saw 3 suns

        Heretic saw 5 suns in his manifestaion (lone, sleeping, black , gentle (unborn), blazing). Ember, using his ‘sight’ saw the sun around his world, DiL as a Sun, and a sleeping sun. Seperatley he mentioned a “Blazing Sun” at the centre of MAcian’s world, but he seemed to count that seperatley from the 2 he saw outside his own. Hecate apparently saw 3 suns and black sun (as well as 5 points of light). Tyche is a bit vauger, “5 stars” and suns. Terry saw 3 suns – DiL, Sleeping, Ember and was possibly looking at another.

        So are the Suns the points of light (which are probably stars)? Personally I’m guessing not. Too ominous, and the number of suns is in flux, while the points of light seem to remain pretty constant.

        On a completely different note, who is “Jared”. That name hasn’t been in the story before. I’m hesitantly guessing it’s Outstep’s real name, maybe. Hasn’t that been said before?

      • I’ve been of the mind for a long time that DIL+Gloom Glimmer are likely important in the visions, but nothing has ever quite fit right. You do make a good point about love being a big part of GG’s character arc, but I don’t know whether we can use that information as a sufficient base.

        Yeah, pretty sure Jared is Outstep. He’s the only one that fits, and every other member of the team was mentioned.

        I’d forgotten that Terry saw that stuff, I’ll have to go back and reread it… one sec. …Okay, I couldn’t quite find that one bit, but I DID spot something else. The being Terry encountered mentioned that there was another who got to ‘choose’. Or rather, she asked about the last person who got the choice. ‘I can’t tell you his name. But he was broken, just like you, and lost. And he felt so very, very alone.’ That could be another point to look in to…

      • I’m not sure if there are five points of light, or not. At first, I thought as you did, that it was the same five people, seen from different perspectives. Then I started thinking, “What if there are only five ‘slots’, but more people? Exactly which five get chosen then determines which future happens.”

        Obviously, this is all WMG on my part, but it seems like an interesting variant.

    • homo sapiens sapiens is the term for the modern subspecies of homo sapiens to which we belong^^

      thank you for pointing out all the typos!

      wordpress keeps randomly dismissing italics and bolding, as usual

  3. Eeesh, this is going to be messy. This guy’s power is insane… and very lethal. The only reason he isn’t an S+ like the Devil’s Bride is because the powers he absorbs run out.

    I’m still not sure why these chapters are called as such yet. I think more might need to unravel first…

    On a side note, just caught what the title of the sidestory at the end of ‘Call of the Sleeper’ is. That is… severely worrying. Unless it is, perhaps, a reference to Kraquok, or perhaps Weisswald. I don’t know many other people capable of pulling that off…

  4. What nationality is Jared? Because he says “Oi, what the fuck!?” and ‘Oi’ is generally not something Americans (or people raised in the US) say…

    Also, I’m starting to suspect that Patrid is secretally a hero. Maybe even a Shining Guardian or something. Almost every account of him is described as him being off putting, he’s got Adonis level looks, he didn’t freak out over some stuff earlier (like when Melody called the Dark for a ride), and now apparently he has a connection to Lady Light.

    • Speaking of Patrid, in his first appearance, he is described as a low level Adonis, maybe 0-level. Later he is mentioned to have God-tier Physique. So I think it’s established that Patrid is a meta.

      Considering that UH knew he was participating in the Kansas DiL attack, I have to wonder to what extent him being a hero would even be a secret. The junior heroes and the readers might not know, but I’ll bet most of the older UH members are in on it.

      I wonder if he’s Quetzecoutle? The only description I recall for him is “terrifying”. Maybe that power on it’s lowest setting is what causes pretty much everyone but Irene to be creeped out by him.

      • We also know that Quetzalcoatl is one of the strongest weather manipulators on the planet, and that he rarely (if ever) leaves South America –the Canary in the Birdcage interlude. My guess was that Patrid is Severance. We only know that Severance’s one of the original members of the Shining Guardians and he has some kind of weird power (Kraquok briefly mentioned it to Wyrm about it in the Wyrm interlude back in like 1924 or something).

  5. Such mixed thoughts on what the UJH were up to.

    On the one hand, they were laughing at video recordings of people dying. That’s kind of screwed up. Mind you, I could see myself doing so, too, but it’s the sort of thing that I wouldn’t let other people see.

    Additionally, that guy who won the Darwin Award really did deserve it. At first, I thought the winner was going to be someone who simply tried to film DiL. That guy, though, really, really had it coming.

    Finally, there’s this thing called tact. It and Jared clearly parted ways a while ago. He knew what the video was. He was sensitive to Irene being DiL’s sister. And he thought that this would be a good idea? Honestly.

    Irene did a fairly good job on her temper, though. The way it was written, I had a brief moment of the laughing heroes looking like monsters from her perspective. Somehow, I’m sure that her power gave her a few suggestions for ways she could paint the walls red.

      • This is going to sound terrible, but I think Irene hasn’t got Jared properly frightened of her. It’s natural, but not admirable, for some people to be mean to whoever won’t push back. It’s a social dominance thing. Jared isn’t afraid of what will happen if he makes Irene lose control.

        How else can you explain him thinking, “Hey! The next video is our teammate’s psychotic older sister murdering someone stupid enough to love her. This’ll be great! We’ll all share a laugh.”

        If Jared was properly aware of how bad an idea it is to look for berserk button of the most powerful person in the room, he wouldn’t have done it. Even if he really hated Irene, that wouldn’t overcome his self-preservation instincts.

        Then again, it might be more interesting (or disturbing) if Jared actually can’t understand why Irene doesn’t find it as funny as everyone else. Or if he’d started warming up to Irene to the extent that he forgot she was DiL’s sister.

      • On a subconcious level, even children think some thoughts along these lines. They just don’t conciously realise why it’s okay to be mean to one person, but not another.

        I might be drawing a bit too much from myself, though. At about 12 or 13 (7th grade) I had a life changing epiphany that followed a similar line of logic about needing to control my impulses.

  6. Sorry for the double-post, but I don’t want to compress too many topics into one comment chain.

    Prediction about that gala: something’s going to ge horribly wrong, and team BGHT is going to pull a Big Damn Heroes moment. Ordinarily, I’d think it a bit… contrived. But they have Tyche’s luck. And somehow, I think she’d like to rub their noses in it after being excluded. To break expectations a bit, it could instead be caused by Dalia’s mom somehow managing to go.

    On a different note, I propose we call Brennus and Co. “Team Bright”. I’m pulling a page from how team names were created in RWBY, in case it wasn’t obvious. I suppose that “bought” works better than “bright” for BGHT, but that doesn’t sound very heroic. Though it might be accurate, soon, since finances may just force Brennus to sell out…

    • My guess is that dude from the Strange Fish arc, the one who could shift attention… Caliban will show up at the gala. That, or the Six attack New Lennston. Remember they were rolling dice to see where to go next, and NL was definitely on the list.

      • NL was on the list, twice. Assuming that they are equal (and that Atrocity doesn’t cheat), that means there’s a one in three chance.

  7. Good update but I honestly don’t remember these people names. Need a codex or character list. So the person who kills the black chevalier becomes the new one? Doesn’t seem that great a system to me. Just voted for you.

    • Chevalier isn’t an institution, it’s a legacy. When there is nobody with the title anybody can try to be THE Chevalier, but they don’t out of respect, unless they can uphold the ideals.
      Then there was the Blackguard, he became the Chevalier the regular way and then turned to villainy. Since it’s impossible for anybody else to have it, question of principle. And since he’s such a threat to society taking him down is a Chevalier worthy deed. Ence why anybody who take him down would be worthy of the title. Or at the very least more worthy than the current one, who dishonor the title.

      • If the current Chevalier was a Hero the title wouldn’t be contested, and anybody willing to take the legacy of Chevalier would have to wait until the death of the current Chevalier, but killing him wouldn’t count, because it would be villainous and you wouldn’t be able to receive the legacy if you where a villain. The Blackguard received the legacy the normal way, as a Hero and then turned to villainy, thus dishonoring the title.

    • I won’t repeat what AceOfSpade has already said, but do feel that a cast page would be useful. Or least something that records all the different characters that have appeared so far.

      Then again, such a thing would take up more of Tieshaunn’s already limited time.

  8. Flicking through some old stuff.. who’s Franklin? He was mentioned way back in B004.4 (and in no other chapter, as far as I can tell) as a junior hero who would likely have trouble accepting Irene. Sounds a lot like Jared… except for the obvious. Continuity error, or am I missing something?

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