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The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 59

257 Comments on The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 59

On the list of the Top 100 Things Most Men Only Get To Say To The Platinum Priestess Once, “settle down” rates an easy #2.

I’m going to be at YaoiCon 2014 in San Francisco this weekend! I’ll have a bunch of fun The Young Protectors and Artifice merch for sale and I’ll be speaking on a couple panels. This is my first time with a booth at YaoiCon and I’d love to see you! If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by! 😀

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So! It doesn’t look like The Platinum Priestess is actually going to settle down. In fact, she seems ready to give our Silver Fox a bit of a schooling. What does she plan to teach him and how much pain will those lessons involve?

Tune in this Saturday to find out! Hope to see you there! 😀

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  • Tension is sky high.

    • davefragments

      you beat me. I was typing when your post went active.

      • About time. You and Jakk has been pretty fast the last couple of weeks 🙂 It was close.

  • davefragments

    More bickering. This time it might be serious.

  • Poor Delusional Duncan…

  • silibub

    Oh god, here it comes.

  • I think this is the point where the gathered crowd would be chanting: Fight! Fight! Fight!

    • strangeangel24601

      Right before being obliterated by the ensuing fight.

  • silibub

    So, what’s the #1 thing men only get to say to her once?

    • No?

      • strangeangel24601

        Just like that, with the question mark and everything.

    • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

      Something about it being her time of the month?

    • Feverfew_M

      “Calm your tits?”

    • Jason Wexler

      You’re my bitch.

    • Jason Wexler

      You know the more I think on this, the more things I come up with, I’m not sure calm down makes the top 10… some of my additional choices are

      “On your knees and suck it”

      “Is that your face, or did an elephant throw up on you”

      “Looks like someone’s been hitting the twinkies and ding dongs pretty hard”

      “Eh… your sister was better”

      “Bitch, you’re an autumn, all that white and platinum washes you out. And the separated boob thing makes you look 10 times your age”

      “If you’re going to do drag honey, you need some hair and make up tips… oh and tucking is your friend, learn to do it better”

      “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, shelf comma ass backing up”

      “I never thought anyone would make Judge Judy look hot”

      “If you can’t keep your damn pets out of my yard and especially the garbage, I’m going to bbq them and shove them down your thoat”

      “Unless you’re a princess named Leia or Xena, the metal boustier/bra thing doesn’t work”

      “Women are meant to be seen not heard”

      “Has anyone ever told you, you look like Grandma Moses?”

      “Excuse me sir, but your B.O. is nauseating”

      “Clearly someone’s dental is provided by the British National Health Service (circa 1950)”

      “You look like the love child of Godzilla and Megatron”

      “What crawled up your snatch and died”

      “Is it ever not your time of the month?”

      • Jason Wexler

        Adam and Veronica, I don’t actually think she looks like a man, just comming up with things you wouldn’t say to her. I think your art is awesome.

  • davefragments

    Next page or two is going to have one helluva (pun intended) revelation of her motives.

  • Jac

    You’re about to get schooled, child.

  • Actually I was going to say. One of the stupidest things to say to a woman once you’ve made her angry is: Settle down. That’s how bodies end up buried in the back yard.

    • silibub

      *kicks shovel under bed* Ha ha! No idea what you’re talking about!

      • *ignores suspicious metal clang* Need help planting flowers?

        • silibub

          Actually, I’m thinking of building a gazebo. A nice one, with a concrete foundation…

          • I think it would look lovely in that spot. Just don’t build too many gazebos. I think an even dozen is perfect.

          • silibub

            I’m collecting them! They’re all in different styles, see. Not suspicious or weird at all.

          • Ah yes, now I see it. Should this one look like a ship sailing the seas? I like the one that looks like a hot air balloon.

          • silibub

            I like the idea of a ship. We can christen it the Sircibub.

          • Perfect! It should have platinum accents along the rigging.

          • lol….I cannot read/hear the word Gazebo without recalling that one story….”Eric and the Dread Gazebo.”

          • Jen Roberts

            Yesssssssssss

          • I never fail to laugh reading that story…

          • Phyre Storm

            HAHAHAHAHA!!! Me too!

          • zunden

            I believe the Admiral meant, “Would you like help planting flowers around your lovely, cement-foundation gazebo which has not be created for any kind of nefarious purposes or suspicious reasons, in order to make it more pleasant and serene?”

  • Terri Sutton

    I am maintaining my belief that PP is completely naked and that her outfit is merely a glamour/illusion. If it was real it would have fallen off by now.

    • zunden

      Point in your favor: Most conditions of construction that would allow it to stay in place would make it near-impossible to put on.

      Example: It’s made of solid metal. Therefore, like a vest which runs over the shoulders, it stays basically in place because of the shape and exactly where it is because it’s hard to move it around the ribs/breasts/etc due to its rigidity. She can’t possibly have put it on for that exact reason.

      The only other explanation is “She holds it on with magic,” at which point, it might as well be imaginary clothing anyway, because she’s only remaining dressed due to magical influence.

  • Jen Roberts

    To be fair, she kind of has a point. Duncan’s been an active and willing participant in this scheme for a good long while, and this is/seems to be the first time he’s protested. To suddenly say “well even if I wanted to abandon ship, I couldn’t ’cause you wouldn’t let me” is disingenuous and puts the blame on Sircea for his own misgivings.
    Your own actions brought you here, Duncan. And now it looks like your own words are gonna get your ass kicked.

    • silibub

      Yeah, like as much as I think letting a horde of demons into this dimension and most likely setting herself up for some kind of world-dominating coup isn’t, y’know, great, I still completely understand Sircea’s frustration with Duncan in this scene. His change of heart happened very quickly (or at least it seems that way, since he’s never expressed doubt to her before), and it’s coming at the most inconvenient time possible — if she was being honest before, then his ambivalence could put both of their lives at risk, and I know she didn’t sign on for last-minute moral waffling.

      Well-put about the blame shifting! Unless it turns out Sircea has been playing puppet master this entire time, he still has a lot to answer for even if he does turn his focus to saving the world instead of himself.

      • Jen Roberts

        Your post is excellent but I’m hungry so all I can think is “you want some syrup for that waffling, Duncan?” Maybe I should go eat… 🙂

        • silibub

          Haha, yes, go eat!

  • I didn’t know I’d be so into her digging into him.

    Wait, yes, I did, I love scenes like this. Oohh, I love it. I’ve already read through this part again more than twice. One could say I’m getting anxious…

  • Danny

    No matter who started this disagreement, it looks like Sircea is going to finish it. And whether or not Duncan can walk away from this, telling quite possibly the oldest and certainly one of the most powerful people on the planet to “settle down” will NEVER go over well.

    • “Ladies do not start fights, but they can finish them.” – Marie from The Aristocats

      • Danny

        I honestly am not sure if Sircea is a lady or not (in the cultured sense; I am certainly not questioning her gender), but the quote is very true.

        • Steven K.

          “That’s no lady, that’s my …..”

          • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

            …dark lord Cthulhu erupting from her nethers.

          • Maria White

            “OH MY.”

          • Phyre Storm

            Thanks SO much for that mental image.

      • Klaus

        But she did. “A penny for your second thoughts.”

        • Duncan started things by being sulky…she just pushed things a bit…

  • strangeangel24601

    The Priestess in panel two reminds me of Duncan in panel one of this page:
    http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-page-12/

    • Danny

      I did think this sounded rather familiar. Good call!

    • silibub

      My mind went there, too — I’m glad you pulled up the exact page! I think before Duncan had his moral awakening, he and Sircea probably thought very much along the same lines, and maybe the similar speech pattern there is supposed to suggest that.

    • Yes, I mentioned on previous page that Sircea in this scene has similarities to Duncan in the prologue. It’s pretty interesting and somewhat ironic to see.

  • A tongue lashing on the way. Will it be enough to have Duncan bleed?

    I seem to say this on more than one comic today, but Sircea’s expression in panel 3 is a huge ‘Oh no, you didn’t!’
    He might know her well enough to see through her game or words and not get caught in that trap.. but he still moved right in front of danger >.>

    The claws are sharp and out. Truth can leave the deep cuts.

    • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

      “Your beard looks stupid–like a Quaker version of G.I. Joe.”

  • karmakat

    your smug tongue and smile should be lifted and broken sincerely…

  • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

    Next episode: she boasts of her cruel plan!

  • Steven K.

    I’d say maybe “Don’t get your panties in a twist!” could be #1, except that I don’t think she wears any.

    • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

      Shameless!

    • Feverfew_M

      And the ones of her costume are probably made of steel anyway.

      • john Johnson

        Not steel – platinum.

  • silibub

    Great work on the expressions on this page! I like Duncan’s face in panel 2 — he knows this dirigible’s got a gas leak. And then he goes and lights a match. I hope you like explosions, bucko.

    (I have no idea how dirigibles work.)

    Very interesting that Duncan says “you’d never allow [it],” which strongly implies he would call it off if he thought that were actually an option. I’m trying to determine whether he really is trying to push the blame for this onto Sircea now like she thinks he is, since it doesn’t seem like he was thinking that way earlier in the scene. He was pretty intent on claiming responsibility for making the deal with Laampros and being the one to decide the fate of the world. Perhaps the more Sircea has failed to express the appropriate level of concern (not to mention dismissed and mocked him), the more Duncan has started to consider her at fault — maybe he suspects she’s manipulated him into this plan, or has just decided that her reasons for doing it are too self-centered for his current tastes. At any rate, if he’s angry and/or disillusioned with her and wants to distance himself, shifting the responsibility to her shoulders is one way to do that.

    It would be very dishonest, of course, considering they’ve both been working on this plan for several years, and judging from Sircea’s reactions to his behavior he’s been a willing participant up until now. Deciding “you know what, this plan sucks, and you suck for letting me go along with it this long” just isn’t gonna fly at this point — if indeed that’s what he’s doing. Sircea’s worked up, after all, and she might be jumping to conclusions based on her own insecurities (if she has any — that might not be the best word.) If she’s previously worried that Duncan might attribute this whole plot to her, then in her current temper she’s going to jump on any indication that his thoughts are turning in that direction so she can stomp that notion down.

    And he tells her to settle down, which is something one equal might say to another as an argument escalates, but if she doesn’t truly consider Duncan her equal, then this is going to seem grossly insubordinate to her as well as aggravating. Justifiably aggravating, too, since I don’t think she’s wrong to be angry in the first place given the context. I said it in a reply already, but after pouring years of work into this plan and most likely putting her life at risk alongside Duncan’s in the event they fail, it’s going to be disturbing and insulting for him to change his mind at the last moment. From her perspective, Duncan’s not just having a crisis of conscience, but disrupting the balance of their partnership at a moment when it’s critical that they be able to focus and work together. He’s called her knowledge and her word into doubt and he’s also — ugh — asserting himself. And again, this might be less infuriating for her if it wasn’t nearly demon bonanza time, but of all moments to start questioning everything, this is one of the worst.

    So, no, I don’t think Sircea’s blameless at all; I believe her motives are purely based on self-interest and that she wouldn’t hesitate to get anyone out of the picture who interferes with her goals — including Duncan, even if she genuinely cares about him. But her reactions and anger towards Duncan right now are still perfectly reasonable even if she’s not planning a good thing for good reasons, and even though she’s admittedly not as sympathetic a character as Duncan.

    If it turns out she’s been playing chess master and has manipulated him and this entire situation from the very beginning, that would be one thing — but unless and until that’s revealed as true, then I consider Duncan equally culpable for this incoming clusterfuck. Honestly, I would be disappointed if it turned out he had just been Sircea’s puppet this whole time, since he’s clearly very intelligent and possesses a great deal of personal agency — I think it would detract a lot from his character, and it would take a lot of narrative wrangling for me to believe that he could be so thoroughly manipulated and never question it until now based on what we know about him. I’m more compelled by the idea of Duncan landing on his current path through circumstances and decisions he made independent of Sircea’s influence, and then discovering that he still has the capacity to change and redeem himself, even though that necessarily brings him into conflict with her. (Man, I just really want some backstory for their relationship, because if he’s considered her a true friend up until now and relied on her, only to discover that he has to break away from her to better himself, it will be realistic and emotionally devastating in a way that happens to be my fucking jam. It’s something that happens in a lot of friendships and not just romantic relationships — people sometimes just aren’t good for each other, and need to separate even if it’s painful.)

    This is so unbelievably long and erratic, my bad! I shouldn’t be allowed to comment after like 1 am, because I have no filter and won’t stop. Clearly this has been a thought-provoking page, like most of them throughout this very excellent scene, so thank you as usual to Alex, Adam, and Vero for a fantastic update!

    • Actually this was all nicely put, Silibub!

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      I liked it. If you care to write several more pages I’d be happy to read them too. 🙂

    • Saxon_Brenton

      I agree with pretty much all the points you raised. There are two particular points that are currently preying on my mind.
      Firstly, I don’t think that it’s only just now occurred to Annihilator that Spooky might be useful in patching up the collapsing dimensional walls. Spooky simply has too much of a public profile for that to be plausible. Therefore the Priestess’ snark-laden accusation that Anni’s doubt comes from his desire to get back in good with Red Hot is perfectly valid, and objectively speaking his vassilating is putting at risk what little safety for the world that the two them have worked to salvage.
      By contrast, I can’t decide whether the Priestess is genuinely as upset by this as she seems to be, or whether she is contriving to be angry as part of an assertion of authority. Either Annihilator is cowed, or (providing the mechanics of the ritual allow for it) she simply captures and restrains him for future use.

      • Keneu

        It would be interesting if Sircea decides to capture and use Duncan for the ritual (poetic justice, heh).

        And about contacting Spooky, it seems he and the PP have met. Maybe she was trying to recruit him for the plan?

    • Not erratic at all, silibub. A very interesting and fun to read analysis.

      (And we will get to find out more about the backstory of The Annihilator and The Platinum Priestess. It is part of the master plan. 😉 )

      • silibub

        Yes! I’m really happy to hear that, even if it turns out I’m monstrously wrong and all my words will be fed back to me!

    • stickfigurefairytales

      This is a great analysis! The only point that I’d take issue with is the notion that telling someone to settle down is something one might say in an argument between equals. I could see it being said under some circumstances, but I feel like it’s much more likely to be said by someone with more power than the person they’re saying it to (like a parent to a child). Which is definitely NOT A GOOD IDEA when talking to Sircea.

      • Phyre Storm

        That’s for sure. I get (more) pissed off when people say that to me too. In fact, does “settle down” work on ANYONE?

      • silibub

        Actually I agree with you there — it’s very difficult to say “wow, settle down” without sounding condescending. I think the point I was trying to make (but never actually articulated, whoops) with all my blathering about why it’s reasonable for Sircea to be angry is that telling someone to calm down after you’ve done something to legitimately work them up is a boneheaded move at best, and a jerk move at worst.

        (My guess is that Duncan would usually handle conflict with more finesse, but he’s got a lot on his mind!)

        • stickfigurefairytales

          I agree!

  • I just got this weird inner image..

    Duncan standing in a body suit made up from wax strips, and Sircea is peeling them off one piece at a time – while Duncan winces every time she brutally rips a piece off and it pulls the hairs.

    Especially the chest and butt hairs are going to hurt, just like stabs… and I like that *feels a little vindictive*
    … Hey! I’m tired, my brain does this to me 😉

    Now my brain just has to come up with a suitable image for something done to Sircea. That’s harder because she doesn’t have the same dilemma from hurting Kyle.

    • LL

      Same thing with her, except slowly removing the obviously painted-on chestplate instead of wax strips.

      • john Johnson

        Since I’m not sure it’s been established she’s REALLY* human, I was thinking it might actually be part of her.

        * Maybe she was cursed into human form? Maybe she’s Laampros’ wife?

      • El Chupacabre

        Actually, I think considering we can’t see how the chestplate comes together under her cowl, that design has a lot of potential to work in actual metal.

    • don’t you dare ruining his gorgeous chest!

      • That’s the major punishment for him!

    • Phyre Storm

      Heh. That would actually be an improvement, at least in my opinion.

  • LL

    Anyone else notice the improvement in the art from the prologue to now? It’s always been phenomenal, obviously, but I think it’s even better now.

    • Saxon_Brenton

      I would agree with that assessment.

    • El Chupacabre

      Yeah, you’re right. I just did some paging back and forth. It was so gorgeous to begin with, but now the transition from hair to skin, the eyes, the shading on the faces, and the expressions are all so much smoother.

  • TwilightDreamer

    O.O…..uh oh…..*backs away*…..I don’t like the way she said that….is this about to get REALLY ugly for Duncan or something?

  • was Adam playing ESO lately? I recognize that “calm down” gesture in panel 3!

  • Frin

    Ouch…wrong thing to say Anni. Wrong and bad and prepare for your swift and brutal verbal punishment.

  • Keys2tkingdom

    … … … Well, there goes the neighborhood.

  • fujoshifanatic

    o_0 I think those minions are going to get a little extra time on their break…

  • AseretZone

    Oh dear…he’s angered the Mistress, bad, bad S&M puppy.

  • HermeticallySealed

    I think Sircea isn’t as stable as she thinks herself to be.

    • Mathew Cole

      There is that to consider too, isn’t there?

      Regardless, patronising someone who can probably atomize you with a thought is….less than brilliant.

  • Platinum Palpatine: “Oh, no, my old friend. It is YOU who are mistaken… about a great… many… things.”

    • Dennis Grace

      “What the hell is an Aluminum Falcon?”

  • Dennis Grace

    Seriously, Duncan? “Settle down”? Brilliant. Maybe next you could suggest it’s the wrong time of the month to be having this discussion. Surely THAT will convince her of your sincere desire to take her feminine emotional fragility into consideration.

    • Phyre Storm

      Yeah, for such a talented manipulator, that was really stupid.

  • Cydney Sabin

    Ohmigawd. She sounds like my mother…

  • Pikinanou

    *Pulls out lawn chair and a big bag of popcorn… inside an anti-nuclear shelter* I’m ready, bring on the DRAMA 😀

  • Kiri

    Duncan’s talking to women skills are clearly not a part of his super-powers. While I appreciate him calling PP on her first game, he’s pretty much walked into a ‘he’s about to get his face rubbed in it’ situation.
    Me gets out some popcorn with pikinanou and adds some parmesan for cheesy goodness. 😀

  • Wayne Lunkwitz

    I have known several women who choose “drama” over any other vehicle to show emotion PP is no different…..except…..she will not resort to tears before fire.

    • espa

      Oh man, could you imagine the Platinum Princess crying? Honestly, I think she might just die first!

    • flame821

      I find it curious that men refer to passive aggressive maneuvers as ‘drama’. She was originally pointing out his destructive behavior without directly challenging him, then pointing out that he was being ridiculous to question everything ‘now’ and not when decisions were originally made or when the plan was put into action. He waits until the midnight hour to let doubt destroy his focus which could mean the end of them all.

      Is she being pleasant about it? No, she’s not, but it’s not her duty to sugar coat things to make it easier for him. I’ll give her credit for owning her decisions instead of trying to pawn off the blame on someone else. She knows people are going to suffer, including innocent children but she knows the alternative is even worse. She’s going into this with open eyes and Duncan should be as well. He’s had months if not years to arrive at his decision.

      • Mathew Cole

        Ah, well – that’s love for you. It’s easy (relatively speaking) to plot out the seduction and using of an innocent to get your way, knowing abstractly that you’ll hurt them but not really caring.

        But when your mind is filled with the sight of those baby blues, tearing up in betrayal….it gets a lot harder.

        Doesn’t it, Duncan?

  • Jeffrey Jacobson

    Love the artwork. Especially of her face. Nicely done.

  • BurstThrough

    Good to know he agrees with me!!!lol
    She started on the offensive throwing a bunch of punches(using Kyle) and when he rose to her level of agression(don’t you dare disrespect me!) she dodged then tried to use guilt against him while trying to seem free of fault so that it’d be ALL on him,but with a beaultiful calmness he told her to cut the bull#$¨% of those mind games(CRITICAL DAMAGE!!).
    Now she’s nearly down just aimlessly trying to hit him(continuing the rant like this wasn’t a game) he just needs to tell her to get back to work(doesn’t she have anything magical to do?) and not to meddle in what isn’t of her business.
    Oh dude….
    Never tell an angry inconsequential person to settle(even calm would be considered less offensive…) down it’ll be the end of you(a man is more likely to use physical violence upon losing an argument, while a woman aims to bring frustration in retaliation, and that’s not good in this situation with so much magic and a literal deal with a devil…).
    And she uses hypocrisy attack(cause this fight wouldn’t have started in the first place if she minded her own business keeping her mind games away so who’s delusional?) wonder how the Annihilator will deal with that one…
    He better finish her by with the next attack…

  • John

    PP’s face in the penultimate panel is a face I’ve only ever seen a women wear. Somehow, it really captures that femine attribute of being both and angry AND confused. (I’ve only ever seen men manage one)

    • flame821

      Indignant. That is a look of a person who has just been pushed over the line and has had enough of this $hit. I would not want to be in Anni’s place right now.

      • John

        Hmm, yeah. There are a number of words to describe expressions I’ve never seen. Indignant is one (males only). I’ve NEVER seen ‘rictus’ or ‘sated’ though.

  • stickfigurefairytales

    I bet the flying ninja pigs are all gathered at the opposite corner of the mysterious box, trying to get as far from the imminent fight as they can.

    • Terri Sutton

      Are the flying ninja pigs; Teenage Flying Ninja Pigs!?

      • stickfigurefairytales

        You know, they just might be.

  • David Welbourn

    The second panel reminded me of a bit of business in an early Omaha the Cat Dancer comic:

    J: “Did big bad Joanie get poor little Chuck all drunk and force him to have fun? Shame, shame! Chuck, we’re all adults. Nobody forced anybody to do anything.”

    C: “Oh, sure!”

    J: “Look, if you don’t want to drink, don’t drink! If you don’t want to f***, don’t f***! Or is that too tough for you?”

    C: “I give up! Okay, okay! It’s just that…”

    J: “…that you don’t want to accept any responsibility. I know.”

  • Ikaru Sentinal-K’Valshar

    So…what would number 1 on that list be? “Hey, Babe!”?

    • espa

      Catcall. Whistling at her is probably number one. And then, shortly thereafter, “settle down.” 😛

  • Airboy Obsessed

    YES! I’m definitely going to have to swing by and see you then! YaoiCon, WOOO!

    • Yay! Be sure to remind me you’re Airboy Obsessed on here. 😀

  • Kate G

    Hm, if “Settle down” is #2, I wonder what is #1? “Powerless old woman?” “Granny?” “Pompous old windbag with delusions of grandeur?” “GRANDMA.”

    COME ON ALEX, THROW US A BONE!!!!!

  • Larkle

    To be honest, I think that the Platinum Priestess is right about Duncan. He doesn’t get a pass for whining about second thoughts. He’s just trying to remove himself from any responsibility. If you know what you’re doing is kind of evil, you should at least take responsibility for it.

    • Mathew Cole

      He has been doing that, as I understand. She’s being…unsympathetic, and if she’s right, not without cause.

      After all, if this really -is- the only way to prevent the permanent refurbishment of Earth into a suburb of Hell….

      • Larkle

        For the greater good, yes, it may or may not be justifiable. I just sympathize more with Sircea here than with Duncan. He’s being a weasel.

  • Adam Irving

    Yup, settling back to see what #1 is with relish. And hoping that #1 isn’t “relish.”

  • Richard Grant Muir

    *grabs popcorn*

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      *shares her soda and cracker jacks* man I don’t care if I ever come back.

  • AeeDee

    Uh oh, the words you never say to someone unless you -want- to tick them off: “settle down”.

    • fusrohdahskryim

      Calm down dear is another

  • flame821

    That expression in the last panel, she almost looks as if she could eat him alive.

  • bronakopdin

    Oh my Gosh…. seems she can be a real Drama Queen even in her age, huh?
    Calling herself an “old witch” when Duncan never phrased it…

    Well OK, from her POV it seems like Duncan is not fully supporting their thing anymore so one can understand her rage…

    Anni on the other hand seems to still regret the whole thing and just wants to get it over with.

    Now I just hope she won’t intrude his mind or sth >_>’

  • fusrohdahskryim

    Reading the comments irritated me when a woman has a go its Drama when a man does it its a argument, its basically demeaning the female point of view down to just drama, he is trying to remove himself from responsibility, she is pissed that he is lumping all the suffering on her and also the whole women going to tears to manipulate you men arent freaking saints honestly the comments are alot of sexist bollocks.

    • Alt+F7

      I’m not sure it’s a gender thing, I think seeing the villain duo, who were oh so close and oh so smarmy in earlier chapters, arguing *is* dramatic. This is the first time we’ve seen them even openly disagree with one another, and it has the potential to lay bare a lot of the dynamics of their relationship and reveal the exact nature of this partnership.

  • ah man, I feel bad for her! She feels betrayed and rejected. Too bad she doesn’t really seem like the hugging type…

  • Lindsey Amethyst Hampton

    Personally, I think she’s taking a calculated risk that everything they’re working for is worth more than his upset feelings, but I don’t think this is a bluff. I think she’d let him go if he was really determined to go.

    I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

  • december

    Alex, I apologise for a rather off-topic post here. I’d like to ask people for some advice, and this being a very right kind of community for that sort of advice, really want to ask for it here. Please do remove the comment if it’s not appropriate.

    So my question is, when you’ve got someone who’s got those very dated, misinformed views on gender and sexuality, but someone who’s more or less willing to talk – where do you begin with them? I really believe that so many of our social ills come specifically from the wide-spread ignorance about what gender and sexuality are and what they should be. I want to make a difference one person at a time, but where do I even begin talking with them?

    Situation as follows. My elderly babysitter confided that her friend’s son turned out to be (gasp!) gay, and oh gosh oh dear the friend is understandably gutted, where did she go wrong, why did he choose to be so perverse etc. You know, the full package.

    By the way I live in a country that’s recently legalized same-sex marriages, you can have same-sex adoptions, we have social ads about safe man-on-man sex, you name it. And yet, this kind of talk.

    I tried softly explaining that sexual identity is not a choice and is not conditioned by upbringing, and that actually one sexual identity is not better than another, we’re all just people and it shouldn’t matter. She looked mildly surprised, and quite firmly disagreed with me. She thinks it’s just lack of morals and self-discipline.

    So, yeah, anyone could please suggest anything? She’s very elderly, there’s decades of this conservative baggage in there.

    Thank you

    • tlh-in-tlh

      I’m really, really sorry to say this, but I’m afraid she’s not going to
      get it as a whole. It sounds like she does have so much baggage that
      she’d have to dump a LOT, and not many of us can do that. She might possibly be able to “get it” for the individual she knows, once (IF) she realizes that he’s the same person she’s always known. I believe the best that can be done is to let her see healthy, loving relationships. She might be able to make an exception in her mind for them, but probably only after it’s sunk in for a while. To her, this is a big shock.

      Good Luck!
      Sincerely,
      T. H.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      All you can do is try and reason with her, but sometimes it is very difficult to impossible to change the views of an elderly person.

      Sometimes not all the evidence, or reasoning that you provide will convince someone that old. They keep coming back to the same thing: “Well, it’s wrong!”.

      She grew up in another era and her views might have solidified into stone. Not every elderly person is the same, of course. Which is why all you can do is try your best.

    • Danny

      Perhaps it might be helpful to ask questions instead of giving answers. Questioning them, always gently and respectfully, why they believe what they believe might be beneficial.

      Another useful argument to consider is this: If a person was able to choose their sexual orientation and gender, why would he or she choose to be homosexual and/or non-cis-gender when that would make his or her life much harder and he or she would have to face so much opposition? In a small way, that would be like being born right-handed and deciding that you would rather be left-handed. It just doesn’t make logical sense.

      • Jakk Anthony Guzman

        All good suggestions, Danny. But prejudice and bigotry are not based on logic, only feelings. When faced with logic the person might resort to: “The bible says…or It’s just wrong…or I feel that…” All based on feelings.

        And the older the person the more likely that they are going to feel that it’s wrong because that’s the way they were raised, and they have believed that all of their lives.

        • Danny

          I know that what you say is true, Jakk, but sometimes just getting someone to think about the “why” of their beliefs, or to see the issue at hand from another perspective, is a huge step. Even if it is only for a moment, it’s something, at least.
          And, quite frankly, even younger people today do not necessarily have a lot of plasticity in their set of beliefs; they have merely been raised in a more accepting environment. The sentiment is getting better, I think, but the beliefs are cemented the same way.

    • Ian Rocha

      As someone in a similar situation (with my mother), I can say that I agree with most of Danny’s advice. One of the keys is to get her to examine her ‘why’ for believing what she does, the argument of why someone would choose something that would make their life so difficult. If her friend’s son was in a straight relation at any previous point and it’s brought up as a defense, point out that it’s more likely he was afraid of what her and her friend would think of him, and point out cases where less caring individually cut off gay people.

      You don’t neccesarily have to get her to a point where she approves of it, just to a point where she can understand and accept the difference between what she and another person might believe. Scientific studies on sexuality being inherent are good to bring up, such as one where it was found that a certain section of the brain, related to fight or flight and mating instinct was found to be similar to a straight woman’s in a gay man and vice-a-verse-a. Another interesting note is that a gay man’s riing finger tends to be longer than his index, whereas a straight man’s tends to be even length. From there, if she’s a christian, just point out that God made everyone and has a plan for everything and that she can be confident that he can see where this will all go farther than she can.

      Hope this whole discussion has helped you out!

      • Phyre Storm

        Eeuugh, bigots. I don’t have any brilliant advice, but I’m really sorry you three have to deal with that crap. I’m lucky–my parents don’t care that I’m bi. I don’t think most of the extended family even knows, and since I’ve chosen a man to marry and I only see them every few years, they probably never will.

    • joshsusser

      Good advice so far. I’ll add that there is a big disconnect between what many of us mean by the concepts of gayness and choice and what others understand them to mean. Former Senator Larry Craig is a perfect example – after being caught cruising for gay sex in an airport bathroom, he vehemently denied being gay. And I believe he was sincere in that – he just has a wonky idea about what being gay means. People like him think that their “perverse” sexual attraction is something everyone experiences and chooses not to give in to. To them, being gay isn’t about sexuality – it’s a moral choice that everyone has to make, so only people of weak morals give in and choose to be gay. To them, being a gay man means you want to be a woman, or live to corrupt youth, or just hate Jesus. Those with strong moral convictions turn their back on Laampros and ignore those base urges. Once I understood this, my whole way of relating to homophobes changed – I now see them as the victims of indoctrination and misinformation, missing out on lives of real happiness for the sake of conforming to some medieval notion of morality that requires them to reject their true selves. So sad.

      • december

        Yes, that’s exactly it! Her position is essentially that all men are potentially gay because apparently “gay sex is more enjoyable for men” (presuming gay sex is equated to anal sex?). And yeah, once a guy tries anal sex with another guy, he’s a goner and shall never return to the land of straight love.

        Obviously this absolutely does not take into account that plenty of people realise they are gay way before they’ve had sex with anyone at all. Or that someone can have a straight relationship after a same-sex relationship, and happily alternate between the two. or even combine. Let alone that being gay is not just about the sex, people, like, I dunno, FALL IN LOVE.

        Of course logically it does not make sense. But like you guys say it’s not about logic. eventually she said, fine, I don’t really care what they do in the bedroom, but they shouldn’t be allowed to adopt. I say why not? Well because a child needs a mother, a man can’t raise a child without a woman. Ok, so what about single fathers then? Should they have the kids taken away and given to women instead? And then should lesbian couples be allowed to adopt since they’ve got more than enough motherhood to go around? It’s just so frustrating that people can’t see that their arguments entirely defeat themselves… 🙁

    • Keneu

      The same thing happened to me some months ago. My aunt and uncle were talking about homosexuality and calling it a “disease”. I tried to convince them that it is not and that it’s something you don’t choose, but it’s not negative at all . They just listened and then dismissed everything I said. I didn’t know what else to say to convince them (and even if I did, they wouldn’t listen anyways).

      I try to be understanding because they are quite old and I think if I were born on a different age and raised with a different set of values I’d probably have similar views, but this kind of narrow minded people make me uncomfortable. I don’t think they’d change their opinion easily, to be honest.

      I also live in a (traditionally Catholic) country where same-sex marriages and adoptions by same-sex couples were approved a decade ago, but there’s still a long way to go. Gay people are tolerated -if ignoring them and not caring can be called tolerance- but they aren’t still completely accepted. Of course, there’s a sector of society that is against gay people having any rights, or they want them to have rights but consider them second-class citizens (the latter, for example, were against gay marriage being called “marriage” because “that is only between a man and a woman, so their unions should be called something else entirely”.) ¬¬

  • SofiaT

    So, I’ve been reading “The Beautiful Ashes”, the latest book (first in her new series) of one of my favorite urban fantasy authors, Jeaniene Frost.
    I’m right at the part where, after going to a demon realm to free her sister who had been held captive there, the heroine learns (by an angel who shows up to announce it in an almost bored tone) that “the gateways are opening” and all the humans that were kept in the various demon realms as slaves now have a way out. Except, that’s not good news really as the gates opening (he continues to explain in that same bored tone) means the walls between the worlds have started to crumble and as the protagonist correctly guesses “if the walls crumble until nothing separates the demon realms from ours, it’ll be hell on earth in no time at all”.

    Needless to say, when I read that part I thought “ah, that sounds familiar”.
    And my next two thoughts were 1) regardless of what Sircea or Laampros has in mind and how many things can go wrong with this plan, I can see how creating a controlled gateway instead of allowing the walls to fall, would seem like the only viable option to Duncan. In the book I’ve been reading, even the Archons (another word for angels) are completely blasé about the idea of millions of people dying, as long as the book’s protagonist can get her hands on the weapons that will help tip the balance towards their side, in the war with the demons. They’re also fine with letting an innocent young boy suffer in a demon realm for years, if that means he gets to be used for their purposes. Again, those are the good guys. If “the good guys” (but still immortal creatures with a view of humanity completely different that the one we have, lets not forget) can be all “meh” about stuff like that, can you blame Duncan or even Sircea (as much as I dislike her) for doing the same? In the supernatural chess-board, it’s only the endgame that matters, not the pawns that are being sacrificed in the meantime. With that logic, I can see why Sircea is exasperated with Duncan and this very human moment he’s having.
    Although, I don’t know why she’s surprised… or is she surprised? Maybe she has been waiting for this moment to come for some time now, and this speech has been prepared in advance, carefully planned to make Duncan first angry, then make him go on the defensive and in the end make him feel foolish for having what is after all a very normal (and expected) reaction.

    The second thought that came to my mind (and I’m surprised I’d never thought of this before) was this: 2) is Spooky the only human to have ever found himself in a demon realm? Or are more people still there, trapped, without Spooky’s magical abilities, badass attitude and iron will to help them escape? And if they are, what happens to them once the gate allowing access to earth opens?

    • silibub

      Ooh, that’s a great question about other people that might be trapped in hell — I hadn’t thought about that, either! Spooky believes people can be “sent” there, and clearly it’s possible to cross over into that dimension without dying first, but I wonder if it’s more typical for “souls” or whatever to be sent to hell as opposed to living people. (If the afterlife is even a thing in this universe — I got the impression that Duncan for one doesn’t think so, since some of what he was saying to Kyle suggests he believes death = oblivion.) If a living person does wind up in hell, do they survive there indefinitely while demons like Laampros feed off them, or do they have a normal lifespan? Lots to consider.

      I think I’ll have to check out that series — it sounds fascinating! And based on what you were saying about even “good” supernatural beings having a blase attitude toward human suffering because their method of thinking is so long-term, do you think it’s fair/appropriate to judge Sircea by human moral standards? Or could living for so long have made her effectively inhuman in her thought processes and perspectives, even if she started her life as an ordinary person? I’m really interested in your personal take on her, since so far it seems like we have a similar reading of her character but very different reactions to her, and I think that’s weirdly awesome.

      • SofiaT

        It’s hard to explain my intense dislike for Sircea, because it’s a mixture of things, and in big part largely instinctive and not necessarily logical. I must admit that some of it has to do with me feeling irrationally possessive when it comes to Duncan: he can be with Kyle, but thinking of him with anyone but our redhead hero (even in a non-romantic/sexual capacity) makes my mouth frown like I just tasted sour grapes. In other words: these two are too close for my comfort, even when they fight like an old married couple (maybe even because of that).

        Another think, is that I need someone to target my animosity towards. This is a superhero comic after all, and I need a good villain to hate. I have already decided that Duncan is not that villain (he’s way too honorable -in his own way- and complex for that), so this leaves me with Sircea and Laampros as my only other options; and Laampros fills me more with dread than animosity, plus it seems a bit silly hating someone whose very nature is evil. It’s not like he had a choice in the matter.

        Which brings me to my third and biggest reason for making Sircea the one that makes me narrow my eyes and shake my fist: intentions and the matter of choice. From our three antagonists so far, Duncan seems to have made the wrong choice but were his intentions all bad? And Laampros has all the bad intentions in the world, but did he ever really have a choice? Sircea on the other hand, has made her choice and has shown with every word she’s uttered so far that her intentions are largely selfish. No matter how she tries to dress it up, she couldn’t care less about the faith of the world if that means she gets whatever it is she wants out of it. That makes her, to me, the most hated of the three.

        In the book I was reading (I just finished it and I’m already hungry for more), the angels can be pretty irritating, what with their blasé attitude, not too mention frustrating with all that knowledge they have and refuse to share because reasons. At best, their actions seem to be indifferent towards humans and at worst, cruel. But as the heroine says at some point, they do care -it just doesn’t seem like that from our (humans’) side of the fence, because we mortals tend to focus on the short-term, as that’s the only view we have and are unable to see the big picture. Those “good guys” cannot only see the big picture but also far into the future, the various paths every action leads to. They may allow something bad to happen because something good can come out of it; and that’s what Sircea is saying here too, except her words seem more like platitudes than any sincere worry for the fate of the world. Angels on the other hand, have their reasons for doing what they’re doing, and while it may not be immediately obvious, in the end, those reasons are for the greater good of human kind. And that’s what separates them from demons: their endgame is different, even if the means they use are not always so dissimilar. So, I guess what I’m saying is the end does justify the means.

        If I believed that Sircea’s endgame had in mind anyone other than just herself, I’d be willing to give her a lot of leeway. But I suspect it doesn’t. Inhuman thought processes are not necessarily bad, just different, but combine them with selfishness and the combination is a damning one.

        • silibub

          Ah, thanks so much — this is a great analysis and really interesting to read! I get possessive of my favorites, too, not always from the standpoint of hating to see them with an “unapproved” character, but definitely in the sense that I don’t want to see them insulted or brought low (so I’m probably setting myself up for major discomfort here, oops). Sircea and Duncan have been up in each other’s space this scene, what with the pet names and random touching, and since hers has an added layer of manipulation behind it I’m not surprised she sets your teeth on edge.

          You’ve hit on one of the really challenging things about this comic (and in Artifice to an extent) in that it lacks an unambiguous villain. The backgrounds and motivations of all the characters are rather complex, which I love, but it does make it difficult to stake out a clear enemy to root against, and given the genre we’re working with here, it can be disconcerting. And in this case, even if you land on Sircea as the best candidate for antagonist (and I think your reasons are very good), her success and Duncan’s well being seem so inextricably linked that willing her to fail also feels like willing pain on Duncan.

          I think it’s interesting how we differ in our reactions to Laampros, and I remember this from a previous comment of yours — that you don’t blame him for his evilness because it’s simply part of his state of being, and even sympathize with him a bit because he has no choice in what he is. Whereas I look at a character like that and see no opportunity for redemption, and therefore feel comfortable writing him off. It seems like he would lack even the capacity to wish he were different, since he’s a spiritual entity that likely doesn’t even see his nature as “evil.” Nevertheless, he presents an unchanging malevolent force that threatens the humans we’re obviously going to sympathize with, so personally I think he’s a more villainous figure than Sircea — a big fiery parasite that would gladly feed on humanity for all eternity for his pleasure. That it would never occur to him to choose differently is awful to me.

          Sircea, despite her selfishness, hasn’t quite crossed the moral event horizon from my perspective, although it’s possible we’ll learn things about her past that’ll push her over. Right now, because I find her anger at Duncan in this scene reasonable, I can’t get that annoyed by her behavior toward him — although I imagine this is also due to personal bias, since I like her character and think it’s entertaining when she’s a bit mean. As for her motivations, I’m in complete agreement with you. I think if she hit upon a method for regaining her full power and immortality that didn’t involve all this saving-the-world effort, she would have used it without remorse. If she has qualms about Earth being reabsorbed into the hell dimension, it’s probably because it poses a personal threat or inconvenience to her, not that she especially cares about anyone else’s suffering.

          Duncan’s motivations are partially selfish, too, but I can at least believe that he cares about the fate of the world and isn’t just paying lip service to the idea. I think he wants to break out of the villainous mold by saving humanity, and although you could argue that there’s an element of selfishness to that — salvaging his reputation — it’s at least tied up in altruism. But if I’ve been judging him rather harshly these past few pages, it’s because I dislike the whiff of hypocrisy that comes with him condemning Sircea for wanting perks, since Duncan has been after those, too. Although I believe his focus for the plan has shifted since being with Kyle, his original intentions, and the ones motivating him throughout the years it took to implement this scheme, were self-interested like Sircea’s. He’s not quite out of that deep morally-grey area she’s lounging in, although at least he’s up and moving in that direction. So I really can’t disagree with your assessment! The big difference between them now that Duncan’s conscience has stirred is their end goal, wherein it’s important to Duncan to see the walls repaired, and Sircea’s just like, “Yeah, yeah, but immortality right?”

          I’m still not sure whether I can feel sorry for her or not, because we don’t know her history. I want to, but it depends on what her life has been like, how much of her current attitude is the result of long-established defense mechanisms against grief and pain, and whether she’s still capable of forming a sincere bond with someone (and then feeling rejected when that person “chooses” someone else over her). If it turns out that she’s beyond connecting with the idea of normal human suffering anymore, but recognizes and even regrets it, I think that would actually be kind of tragic. If she’s absolutely set in her decisions and just gleefully disregards other’s pain now, then wow, yikes. A lot of my future judgment of her character will depend on her origins and the reasons behind the choices she’s made — we just don’t know what those are, yet. And I know I’m not being entirely rational or objective because I’d like her to have the same moral complexity as Duncan, only occurring much earlier in the comic’s timeline, and with some critical choices to come in the near future. Time will tell.

          Thanks again for writing all that out in one comment, it’s given me a lot to think about! I think it’s so cool that the range of morality across this cast of characters lets readers get pretty philosophical about their motivations and how we should go about judging them.

          • SofiaT

            You raise some very good points. So thanks for taking the time -and risking serious injury!- to write your very thoughtful comment too, it was really fun reading it. 🙂

            You’re right when you say that wishing Sircea to fail is like wishing for Duncan to fail too, considering they’re like two peas in a pod. It really is a tricky situation, what with the world being at stake and the certainty that our young heroes -and Kyle especially- will be the ones to save it, which means that at some point this “brilliant” plan will fail somehow. Or will go a bit too well… But there’s a question to consider and that is, are really the lives of Sircea and Duncan that much intertwined? Is their past so strong, or is the deal Duncan made with Laampros binding them together till the end? The dialogue on this and the previous page shows that the option to walk out is still there (hard as it may be and dire consequences as it may have for the one who chooses this option). Whatever the source and strength of their relationship, they’re still individuals with a will of their own, which means their paths don’t have to always run together. Alex seems to like to give his protagonists, heroes and villains, plenty of choices, every step of the way. Almost every page in this comic is a cliffhanger, with the outcome of the next page relying not on luck or outside forces, but the choices the players make. Will Spooky smile or walk away in disgust? Will Paul support or fight? Will Amanda intervene or remain silent? Will Duncan betray? Everything that happens, is because of choices, small or big, someone has to make -and these choices are presented over and over, giving the opportunity for further character development and growth. I think that as the plot unravels, more and more choices will have to be made by both Duncan and Sircea, and that makes the possibility of them having to go against each other at some point, a very real one. So how things end up for them is truly up to themselves and nobody else. Here’s to hoping they won’t disappoint… :0/

            About Laampros, don’t get me wrong. I’m not wishing for his salvation or anything, and I really wouldn’t want it, even if it was a possibility. He’s like Voldemort, the moment he’s defeated I’ll do a happy dance! But, just like Voldemort was incapable of love because he was conceived with the help of a potion that imitated and manipulated love, Laampros is incapable of being anything other than evil because he’s the literal incarnation of it. Unlike the other protagonists here, he’s lacking a real choice. I do think that’s a bit sad but not so sad that I won’t enjoy his demise. In my mind, he’s like a shark, albeit a malevolent one (I apologise to all sharks for comparing them to Laampros, I know that’s not really fair to them). But my reaction to him is the same: if you’re in the middle of the ocean and a shark comes after you, do you hate him? Or do you shit your pants? Hate is a waste of emotion on a creature that just does what is in its nature to do, especially one as terrifying as Laampros. He is so far removed from being a human that I too have written him off, but that means I can’t even hate him for it. I just want him dead.

            Which brings us back to Sircea and the question of what she is: is she or ever was human?
            I don’t dismiss the possibility that by knowing a bit more of her background, I could come to -begrudgingly- like her. After all, I was pretty skeptical about Duncan on the first chapter and it wasn’t until the second chapter that the smooth bastard won me over. I recognize the darkness in Duncan because I too know what it’s like to have had a difficult childhood and to always carry so much anger in you, anger that won’t go away. I can relate and sympathize with that. But there is a certain ratio of troubled past/callousness that needs to remain balanced for that to happen. And Sircea has shown such a complete lack of empathy so far that -unless it’s all just talk for Duncan’s sake- she would have to have a very troubled past for me to even consider she’s somewhat excusable of her actions/words.

            Another point you raise, is Duncan being hypocritical. Is he, a bit? Yes. All this he could have thought of sooner. But, that’s what my first comment was about (even if I digressed, and started talking about angels). I understand why he’s acting the way he is, even having remorse for something he’d do exactly the same way again if given the chance: it’s human nature. Duncan fancies himself strong and smart, and the “smart” choice here is what they’re planning on doing. Hard decisions had to be taken and he was strong enough to take them (his thoughts, not mine). In his mind, he was the only one capable of saving the world because he was the only one willing to sacrifice part of it to do it; I’m sure in his mind that made him a damn hero… until he met a real hero and realized that, um, he’s not? A real hero wouldn’t grab the chance to reward himself with immortality and a nice continent for his cleverness having risked his life, he’d fight to save the world even when tied down in a hell realm and facing a demon king.

            Bottom line is, Duncan has been lying, but he’s been lying to himself. He convinced himself that emotion is weakness and it’s a weakness he’s rid himself of. He’s been a hypocrite all this time, a hypocrite to himself and now this is the rare moment of painful truth: even if he wishes it differently, he is still a human and no human in their right mind would do this without second thoughts and feelings of remorse. I spoke off hubris and nemesis on the previous chapter, and this is his hubris catching up with him; he thought he was above emotions, that he had somehow “evolved” beyond this human weakness, that he could strategize with the cool detachment of a more powerful and neutral being -and his punishment is to realise that he’s not and can’t. Although I’m not sure he’s completely grasped it yet. I think more epiphanies lie in his future. Poor Duncan.

            …And now my wrist hurts! It’s also 10.30am and I haven’t even had breakfast yet, better get to it! 🙂

          • silibub

            Beautifully said about the ubiquity of choice in this comic — it’s artful how the medium itself highlights the numerous opportunities characters have to make meaningful decisions. It all adds up over time.

            I didn’t mean to suggest that Duncan and Sircea’s lives are going to be tied together from here on out should the plan succeed, just that the nature of Duncan’s contract with Laampros means he’ll be in mortal danger if he walks away, so at this stage self-preservation is naturally going to make him feel trapped in this course of action with her. The reality is that he could split away at any time, though, with various consequences depending on the timing, and so could she.

            Duncan’s really a fascinating character, trying to be more than he is and transcend human “weakness” as he sees it. It makes me sorry to think of what he must have been through to want to cut himself off like that, or maybe he’s trying to emulate Sircea’s example because hell, she seems pretty smug and content. I think things will progress to a critical moment before the true enormity of what he’s attempting to do, and his inadequate detachment from others’ suffering to make it possible, will really hit him. He might try to back out at the last second after all and it will be down to Kyle to intervene and save him from Laampros.

            I don’t know about a troubled past, but if the walls between dimensions were built in Sircea’s lifetime then it’s fair to say she’s seen and experienced some shit, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she has a very negative view of humanity overall after watching generations of people cyclically destroy each other in the course of their brief lives even after they were protected from direct exposure to hell. An ever-growing sense of detachment leading to callousness then possibly to full-blown misanthropy over time — it could be the reason she seems to stomach all this so easily. If you think people aren’t really worth saving, you don’t mind sacrificing billions of them in pursuit of what you consider a loftier goal. Not that any of that makes this excusable, but intellectually speaking I would get it, you know.

            Losing my train of thought, so — I hope you had a nice breakfast! Ice that wrist!

          • SofiaT

            I’ve always been a tea person but lately I like to have hazelnut lattes in the morning. And by that I mean hot milk with a spoonful of stevia and some hazelnut instant coffee thrown in for flavor. That and a bread roll with raspberry conserve were my breakfast in bed; holding the bread roll on one hand and typing with the other was tricky, not to mention sticky!

            I can’t argue with anything from your comment (especially the part about Duncan being a fascinating character, hehe). 😛

            I’m looking forward to finding everyone’s back-story, Duncan’s of course I’m most curious about but Sircea will have an interesting one too, I’m certain. Six thousand years can’t have all been boring! 😀

          • silibub

            I love hazelnut lattes! My coffee runs take up a section in my budget because I have a place near me that makes the best ones. I admire your roll-balancing/typing dexterity.

            Sometimes I picture us backstory-mongers like lions stalking the story in the distance, waiting for a tidbit to break off from the herd. If there’s ever an exposition dump I might have an aneurysm.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Now I am trying to imagine what the nature documentary equivalent of something getting Jossed would be.

          • silibub

            A bunch of people yelling in slo-mo.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            [Richard Attenborough voice] And so the mighty predators seem to have cornered a young headcanon – but wait! What’s this? Newly revealed canon shows that the delicious headcanon is in fact…nonexistent! The fans have been pursuing illusory prey!

          • silibub

            LOL, that’s so perfect!!

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Hee hee, thanks! 😀

          • SofiaT

            I have a thing for origin stories. I have quite a few different ones for Superman in my library, and we’re talking about the guy whose tale is pretty basic and well-known already: alien, destroyed planet, comes to earth, becomes a hero. How many variations of that can you possibly get? The answer: many! And I’m interested in them all! >:D

          • And here’s another superb analysis! Boy, y’all have such great takes about what’s going on. Really gratifying for me to read.

            (And you’re right about my love of choices. I’d much rather have character choices move the plot forward rather than destiny or misunderstanding or whathaveyou any day. As a reader, I find that a lot more satisfying. 🙂 )

          • But so worth it. Another very fun and thoughtful analysis for me to read. Nice. 🙂

  • Klaus

    Maybe it is the wrong time of month for this kind of talk? Maybe, if they waste time bickering now, they will have to wait for the next full moon to activate the key?

  • Jose O. Gonzalez Lopez

    What does she mean by “lifted”? Uh-oh I think some made the witch, I mean bitch mad.

    • davefragments

      I think it means that her boot is going to be shoved up his butt.

      • Jose O. Gonzalez Lopez

        But he might like a boot in the ass

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      I was wondering about that.

      Does she mean “lifted” as in all the stuff she has been telling him, or is she planning on unloading an ton of stuff on him?

      • Phyre Storm

        Or does she mean physically lifted and then dropped from a great height? Because that’s what I’d want to do to anyone who told me to “settle down” when I was mad.

        Seriously, Duncan, what the FUCK.

        • Klaus

          Fog dropped from whatever height would not hit very hard.

      • Jose O. Gonzalez Lopez

        I think she might brainwash him

  • stickfigurefairytales

    Is anybody here for camping yet?

    • I am sort of. Keeping an eye on people at yaoicon on twitter….Gryphon and Starr made an Alex sandwich.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Oooh, I’m jealous of them getting to be there!

        • me too….me too

          • stickfigurefairytales

            How has your day been?

          • Been a tad headachey all day, and a bit tired. My younger sister is in town for her friend’s wedding and she stopped by this afternoon with the nephew. ^_^ He was a little ball of energy running all over the house. ^_^ I think he liked me this time around. ^_^

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Aw, cute about your nephew! I’m sorry that you’re not feeling great, though. I hope tonight’s page won’t be too late so you can get a good night’s rest.

          • is it odd that when he farted and said “I fart” that I thought it was the cutest?

            ….at least until I smelled it…..dang was it a stinky one!

          • I’m liking this not for the head ache but for the nephew liking you!

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Same.

          • SofiaT

            (me three)

        • I think we all are!

    • SofiaT

      I’m around 🙂

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Hi Sofia!

        • SofiaT

          Hi Sticki! What’s new?

          • stickfigurefairytales

            I had…kind of a tough day. A girl I went to school with from third grade through high school died last week, and my mom and I went to the visiting hours at the funeral home today. It was so sad. She was only 30.

          • *hugs*

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Thank you, lovely.

          • SofiaT

            Shit. That’s hard. *hugs*

            A guy I went to school with was murdered back in 2010. A couple of months ago was his birthday and my subconscious must have remembered it because the previous night I dreamt of him and that he was still alive.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Thank you. *hugs back* Losing people is terrible, isn’t it?

          • SofiaT

            It is.

            I hadn’t seen him in years, so we weren’t close, but he was a great guy and I have many childhood memories of him. It’s weird knowing that someone you grew up with, someone your own age, is no longer around.

            Makes you think of your own mortality.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Yeah. That was kind of the situation with me today as well. I hadn’t seen her in years and we weren’t close friends to begin with, but I liked her and thought she was a really cool person, and I had a lot of memories of her as a classmate. I feel so horrible for her mother (her father passed away a few years ago).

          • SofiaT

            Parents should never see their children go. Even if you have a huge family to support you, the loss of a child is a burden no one should have to face.

            In my line of work, that’s a situation I encounter all the time, unfortunately. :0/

    • In and out. As usual. 🙂

    • silibub

      Hey, Sticky. Hope you’re taking it easy today.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Hi silibub! Thank you, I am. Today has been a day to hug all of my loved ones tightly.

    • Saxon_Brenton

      I’ve just gotten back from Saturday morning shopping, am making myself a cuppa, and have no gaming this afternoon.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Welcome, Saxon!

    • Terri Sutton

      Just got here. Honestly I forgot what day it was, so very nice surprise.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Glad to have you here, Terri!

  • davefragments

    I’ll come back in about an hour and camp out. Today was a hard day of (blech) housework. I have a philosophical question about toasters when I get back.

    • silibub

      Quite the cliffhanger — see you in a bit!

      • SofiaT

        And after the discussion we had earlier, I think I’ll move my camping site to the living room, where I can lay on the couch with the laptop on me, keeping an eye on the page, while watching Man of Steel on dvd.

        Hehe.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          Nice!

          • SofiaT

            I love Saturday mornings 😀

  • Derkins

    I love her head piece. And I love the way the last line is written. She’s just a wonderful character. Every page she reminds me of a different villainess. This time it’s Maleficent (I haven’t seen the movie. I just mean from the story). such drama, poise, power, and mystery going on. and such agency. every time she speaks you want to hold your breath waiting for the shoe to drop. It’s how an immortal priestess *should* be written. ^.^

  • Finally I get to stop moving. I can just sit here and camp! Yay me!

    • SofiaT

      I’m lounging on my couch.
      And Lois is out with her camera, spying on Clark 🙂

      • Watching Warm Bodies.

        • SofiaT

          Ohhhh, I like that movie!

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Me too!

          • It’s very sweet. 🙂

          • SofiaT

            Although I never liked Romeo & Juliet, I liked all the (not so subtle) hints in Warm Bodies that’s who they’re supposed to be. His name is R…something and her best friend and confidante wants to be a Nurse… There’s even a balcony scene. 😛

            A better love story than the original, if you ask me.

          • Never realized that. Huh, fascinating.

          • SofiaT

            I only realised it myself the second time I watched it.
            Then it hit me and I facepalm’d, it was so obvious!

          • This is my second time, but it’s been awhile so it’s kinda like the first time.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Yay!

    • silibub

      I think I’m all meta’d out (until the next page, anyway), so I’m just zoning out with Animal Crossing.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        You meted out all the meta that could be met!

      • Yes, next page! Right I’m sitting on the couch watching a movie, laptop on the lap

        • silibub

          Laptop on your lap, as god intended

          • Exactly so!

          • Saxon_Brenton

            I dunno. I’m sure there are a lot of puss-cats who think that laps were created specifically for their use.

  • davefragments

    OK, the deep philosophical question about toasters guaranteed to answer the great question of the universe:
    Why do all MY toasters have two settings:
    a) warm — like stick the bread under you armpit warn because it ain’t going to toast beyond that?
    and
    b) Coal blackness
    Is it my lot in life to have to stare at the toast and manually toast it?

    • silibub

      It’s possible you’re actually in hell and this is your ironic punishment. Look around you — is there a guy rolling a rock up a hill for roughly the billionth time?

      • davefragments

        Well, as we all know – – Sisyphus walks down the hill a happy man.

        • silibub

          So try to muster up some happiness each time you push down on the toaster lever?

    • SofiaT

      I believe Hugh Jackman tried to answer that question in “Kate & Leopold”,

      • davefragments

        I’ll have to check that out.

      • Such a sweet movie, and Hugh just looks dashing.

    • Terri Sutton

      Holy shit! I think an alien toaster has invaded my kitchen because it has three settings; Warm bread, very blonde, blacker-than-my-soul.

  • Camping time.
    Knowing Alex is at YaoiCon, I set my alarm clock an hour later today. It felt all wrong seeing it go off at 5.20 😉

    • Morning Danish sweet! Have you seen Gryphon and Starr’s tweets?

      • Not for the last 4 hours. I’m gonna catch up now. I saw the one with Alex.

    • Sapfo

      Trying to follow all the tweets from yesterday about the con 😀

  • Sapfo

    Me camping to.
    And oh all the beautiful photos from beautiful people having fun at the con ^_^

    • Morning Sapfo sweet….I am not sure if I am going to stay, I have been abnormally tired all day.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Yeah, I think I might have to bow out early myself too.

      • Sapfo

        Maybe sleep will do you good then. Sleep well!

  • Back from the Con and had an amazing time meeting so many of you! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear how much you’ve been enjoying The Young Protectors and also how many friends you’ve met through our awesome community here!

    This next page is a bit of a doozy and Vero is having some Internet trouble at the moment, so I’m thinking I might post up the pencils for now until that gets sorted out. Should have something up soonish. 🙂

    • Yay!

    • It’s been so fun following some of it on twitter. Next best things is to see friends have fun since I couldn’t be there myself.

    • I might be able to stay up a few more minutes.

      Do we need to have a chat with Vero’s internet?

    • silibub

      Thanks, Alex! I’m glad you’re having a good time at the con! I really appreciate it when you post up penciled pages for us, it’s almost like getting a double upload.

    • Sapfo

      The con seems to be great. Saw a photo of some good looking fellow, looked just like you. 😉

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Okay, I’m gonna try to stay up to see the penciled page.

    • silibub

      (And a doozy, you say? That either bodes very well or very badly…)

  • Reading the book I won in an online draft competition. Finally arrived by mail so I’ve spent some great hours reading short stories ( the feeling of love for a book geek)

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Awesome!

      • I had one of those ‘My precious’ moments, opening the package.

        • Sanbai

          Hahahha! I felt that way when I ordered my PSVita. *drags the Vita over to stroke it gently*

  • silibub
  • Klaus

    I said nothing about HER time of the month. I said that it is possible that the spell works only when the moon is full.

    I don’t see Duncan as unreasonable at all. He did not try to put the blame on PP. It is only natural that now, when they are about to do the deed, the doubts that he has supressed surface.

  • Ree

    I do not understand the hate PP is getting. She’s literally amazing.

    • Minia

      Yes I love her 😀
      PS: Oh no, it’s a zombie!!