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The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 62

404 Comments on The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 62

Well, when you put it that way…

Oh, and…

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So! It seems there are some consequences for our Silver Fox should he choose to walk. Are those potential penalties enough to get him back on board? Or will he choose to pay the price of his transgressions?

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  • Jakk Anthony Guzman

    😀

    • stickfigurefairytales

      So close! Congratulations, Jakk.

      • Jakk Anthony Guzman

        Thanks Sticky! 🙂

    • Congrats, Jakk!

      • Jakk Anthony Guzman

        Thanks! 🙂

  • stickfigurefairytales

    “N” is for New Page!

    • Sapfo

      D is for Dramaqueen

    • Nice one, Sticky!

      • stickfigurefairytales

        I was *this* close, but Jakk got the virgin.

        • Yep, but I loved the “N is for New Page!”

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Aw, thanks! 🙂

        • Yeah, first 4 comments were right on top of each other 🙂 I went from no comments in the time it took for me to be able to write to having 2 and then 3 in seconds.
          I might have to try and figure out what one of the new updates on my computer did to it anyway. I can’t get it to auto-jump down to the comments box here anymore. Have to scroll manually while it loads. I lose 5-10secs on that – that’s a lot in hunter time :-p

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Oh no! Good luck undoing it.

  • This is so bad-ass.

  • Sapfo

    Seconed act of this drama of PP and Duncan

  • Yeah, Duncan, you got marked, you sealed the deal, you probably have more to lose than PP….

  • stickfigurefairytales

    Well, she makes a compelling argument, I’ll give her that.

  • Oh I think she just bumped him for Valedictorian of Supervillian U. That was some masterful manipulation.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      But she’s right. He made a deal with a demon, he can’t go back. If he doesn’t keep his side of the bargain Laampros will kill him. So he has to go through it.

      • Hmm. But what if he went to TYP for help? What if he asked for Spooky’s expertise in reversing the bargain? It might be a long shot and they’d have to do some serious hashing out of emotions but I wonder if he’s even thinking about it.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          I still say Duncan should just claim it was Opposites Day when he made the bargain.

          • Steven K.

            He made the deal on her behalf as well, though, so I wonder why there wouldn’t be any consequences for her (other than not getting her rule and immortality).

          • stickfigurefairytales

            I assume that because she doesn’t have the physical mark binding her directly to Laampros, he can’t attack her in the same way he can Duncan.

          • Or track her.

        • Jakk Anthony Guzman

          Didn’t Duncan make the deal with Laampros in part because he was afraid of dying? I don’t think he’s going to risk it.

          • This is true but perhaps he’s having a change of heart. Maybe he’s realizing that eternal youth and life might be worth giving up.

            Or maybe not (Jakk is probably right).

            I can hope, anyway.

          • Klaus

            Not dying. Growing weaker with age.

        • Saxon_Brenton

          That would be the sensible thing to do. I will cheerfully admit that this is what I hope he’ll do. But I’ve got a nasty suspicion that Annihilator has a Pride thing going on, at which point we can start paraphrasing Milton about “better to burn in Hell than serve in Heaven” which would only be made worse if the Priestess successfully plants in Annihilator’s head the idea that even if were to ask for help, Red Hot and the rest of the YP would hate him so much that they’d just pass around the popcorn while watching him die.

      • He doesn’t have to. He always has the choice not to and suffer what ever consequences are do him.

        • Jakk Anthony Guzman

          But is he ready to die, and not try and save the world in the process? I don’t think he would do that. But you never know.

          • All we have is Sircea’s word regarding this plan being the only way. But he might be willing to die. Who knows. I’m not ready to put definitives on these things. 🙂

          • Evoru

            I think it’s always smarter to place your bets with the immortal than it is the teenage boy. Also, look how PRETTY she is! I’d much rather have her face on my currency than some stodgy old dead men, wouldn’t you? 😉

            Vote Sircea, 2016! BECAUSE NO ONE DARES OPPOSE HER.

          • Klaus

            Why settle for the lesser of two evils? Vote Sircea.

          • I think Cthulu still trumps Sircea…

          • Evoru

            Well, so far Sircea is winning in the swimsuit portion of the competition, but I’m told Cthulhu is just DIVINE in a two-piece, so we’ll see.

          • Phyre Storm

            Republicans for Voldemort!

          • At this point, I’m hedging my bets (because I really suck at gambling) and am splitting my bet two ways.

          • David Welbourn

            Of course Sircea’s plan isn”t the only way. As I said on an earlier strip: Walls have two sides.

          • Yes, yes they do.

  • Danny

    There’s always a catch. Also, there’s no guarantee that Kyle would ever forgive Duncan anyway, or even give him a chance to explain, so his best bet might be to stick around to “save the world” through Laampros’ deal.

    • David Welbourn

      I think this is where Commander’s talent would come in handy. Unless Duncan’s bond with Laampros interferes, Commander can probably read Duncan’s mind and find out what he’s really thinking, and if he’s sincere. (I doubt it will be quite that simple, mind you, but it’s a basis for hope.)

      Also.. and this is really a long shot.. I think Laampros knows that Duncan is sweet on Kyle. It’s possible that Laampros might spare Duncan for Kyle’s sake. (Again, doubt things will be that easy. The Big L will at the very least want a consolation prize to take home with him.)

      • Danny

        This is a great point; I had completely forgotten about the fact that Amanda could clear that up for them.

        And that Laampros may spare Duncan for Kyle’s sake is an interesting idea. But I suppose it would depend on how Kyle feels toward Duncan at that point. If he’s still furious, Laampros might offer Duncan to Kyle for Kyle to “do-away-with”, creating a nice little moral dilemma. May a hero give a villain what he deserves (up to death), even though that would taint the hero’s own soul? In other words, what is a hero’s integrity worth? (I don’t think Kyle would ever intentionally kill anyone, but he may be angry enough to not think things through.)

  • What a choice… going to get burned one way or the other… XD Wonder which option Duncan will pick…

  • Saxon_Brenton

    Oh, I don’t know. I *really* doubt if Red Hot would let Annihilator die. I dunno if he’d forgiven him, but Red Hot is too much of a superhero to let anyone die like that.

    [snarky tone] Quite bluntly, the Priestess *thinks* that Red Hot would let the Annihilator die like that, because she thinks everyone else is as bad as she is.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      I don’t think it’s a matter of would Kyle let Duncan die, but rather that he couldn’t do anything to prevent it, since Duncan is magically bound to Laampros.

      • Jakk Anthony Guzman

        I think so too, Sticky.

      • Saxon_Brenton

        The difference between wanting to save Anni and being able to save Anni is a good point. That said, Red Hot is best buds with Spooky Jones, so he can at least plausibly try to save him.

    • EyeDontNo

      Or she presumes that Duncan believes it, making it harder for him to consider other possibilities.

      • Saxon_Brenton

        Considering that the Annihilator seems to be having the guilts at the moment? Oh yeah. He’s probably particularly vulnerable to that sort of talk.

  • CH

    Now he has to practice his explanation speech for when Kyle shows up instead. You know the old saying “it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission” and saving the world might win him points with our little hero.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Saving the world does tend to look good on one’s resume.

  • silibub

    *clasps chest and staggers* Oh, too cruel! Alack, alay!

    Heh, well, when you pull out that kind of trump card, the conversation pretty much shuts down. Are we sure Laampros’s punishment would take effect immediately? Or that burning from the inside out is exactly what it would entail? (I would have thought he’d make Duncan suffer longer.)

    I wonder if Kyle will be instrumental in breaking this contract with Laampros without killing Duncan in the process, or if the deal has to go through. Hopefully there’s some way to rectify this without…unalive-ing him.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      What is he’s only mostly dead?

      • silibub

        That seems suitably gruesome…

      • EyeDontNo

        What does the Lollipop Gang have to say about his death?

      • SofiaT

        Truueeee Loooove… Or to bluff?

  • SofiaT

    Who needs enemies when they have friends like that?

    If that’s the best you can do when it comes to your allies, Duncan… Sorry to tell you this but you’re screwed.

    • silibub

      Yeah, I’m glad he has someone trustworthy to support him in this difficult time of confusion and personal growth.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        HA!

      • That’s an awesome comment!

      • SofiaT

        A friend in need is a friend indeed!

  • Steven K.

    Gee – what a bitch. Sorry. Not a lot more I can think of at the moment.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      You knew that already, Steven. 😀

      • Steven K.

        Sorry – redacted.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          Yes, it is.

          • Steven K.

            Sorry. Her arch-MEAN-ness seems to be bringing out the worst in me. I’m not liking her one bit after that – and I wasn’t what you’d call fond of Duncan after what he did. But she’s just being downright sadistic there.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            A bit, yes. But I kind of like that about her, myself.

          • Steven K.

            I’m getting soft in my old age – turning more into a dude who keeps trying to convince himself that the whole “peace-hope-love” thing is still the way to go to avert our oncoming world crises. The only place for sadism is in a safe/sane/consensual bdsm context.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Oh, I’m definitely opposed to Sircea’s plans from a moral standpoint – but I really like her particular brand of self-interest and sarcasm from a character point of view.

          • Jakk Anthony Guzman

            Good, he deserves it!! I say keep it up Sircea! More, More!!!

        • silibub

          I think that’s the number one thing you don’t get to say to her, even once.

  • Klaus

    I was wondering why she did not bring that up.

  • Jakk Anthony Guzman

    I see him going through with it. As far as he knows no one can help him. And I don’t know if Kyle and Spooky could help him break a contract with a powerful Hell King.

    • Steven K.

      Kyle: “Ummm…..Daaaaaaa-aaaad – I was wondering if you could help me out with something before you invade….”

      • SofiaT

        That sounds as unlike Kyle as it gets…

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Fortunately, Laampros forgot to include a “no take-backs” clause in the contract.

      • Klaus

        Unfortunately Duncan forgot to cross his fingers.

  • Klaus

    There has been a lot of spekulation about who or what Sircea is. Could she be Fandes Oldemor? The Devil’s Great-grandmother is a creature of Danish folklore. Actually I don’t know anything about her. She is the only relative of the devil I know of.

  • silibub

    To be honest — and don’t get me wrong, because I’m very interested in the dynamic between Duncan and Kyle and how the characters parallel each other — I really get the scorn she has for Duncan’s feelings for Kyle. I mean, I’m not sure how she even perceives age anymore, since everyone must seem ridiculously young and inexperienced to her, but the idea of a nearly sixty-year-old man getting this hung up on a teenager would be disturbing to most outside this fictional context. And to Sircea, preoccupied with these high stakes and world-ruling ambitions, the notion of Kyle as a person, or an infatuation with him, having any value in comparison with that must seem laughable. Even if she isn’t at all wounded by Duncan prioritizing Kyle over her, she could still be angry that his values have shifted so dramatically as to place Kyle above everything they’ve worked for.

    In any case, she seems pretty done with him at this point, so if I were in his place I’d be very worried. Duncan’s about to confront something terrible, and now he’s going to do it without an invested ally.

    • Klaus

      I don’t think it is Kyle’s feelings towards him he is worried about. He has met a truly good person, and that rekindled in him the sence of right and wrong that he thought was all gone. Billions of people are going to suffer because of what he is about to do. To prevent something even worse, yes, but there just may be another way.

      • silibub

        Good point, my comment assumes his feelings are romantic because that seems to be what Sircea believes, but at the very least it could be a combination — caring about Kyle, and also being influenced by him enough to reevaluate his sense of morality.

      • Evoru

        Much as I think Kyle is adorable, I think Sircea has the right of this…it’s foolish for the Silver Fox to be having second thoughts at this point over someone as small and inconsequential as a teenage boy. She’s lived whole lifetimes, and has surely seen by now that while love often CAUSES wars and carnage, it seldom PREVENTS them. Her plan is the way to go. To try to “find another way” and give up on this plan just ensures the suffering of even more people and wastes valuable time.

        • TheManBehindTheCurtain

          Kyle is not “small and inconsequential as a teenage boy”, he’s a Prince of Hell and that deserves serious consideration.

          Of course, PP doesn’t know about that. I wonder how well she’ll take finding that “small and inconsequential ” tidbit out?

          • Evoru

            I imagine demons have a lot of children. Saying “I’m the son of a Prince of Hell” probably gives people the same sense of “whoop-dee-doo” that announcing you’re the son of Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley does. Who your parents were doesn’t make you special, it’s what you choose to DO with that knowledge that does. So far Kyle hasn’t accomplished anything more significant than a high school cheerleader has.

          • timemonkey

            How does a demon that’s trapped in a completely different dimension have lots of human kids?

          • Evoru

            Presumably the same way Kyle’s dad did.

  • David Welbourn

    Something’s wrong with my browser. I’m trying to slide that last panel out of the way of the panel underneath it, and it won’t let me! I’ll never find out what’s in that glass box at this rate.

    And, yeah, props to Sircea for nicely pointing out that Dunky-poo has already committed himself to Sircea’s plan.

  • Evoru

    Seems a bit convenient that the walls between earth and hell are breaking down, but Sircea just HAPPENS to know how to fix it, and her way just HAPPENS to put her in charge. I’m thinking that as the world became a big place, full of lots of people (and therefore lots more people with super powers), she found it increasingly difficult to maintain control. But with demons let loose…I imagine most of the heroes that stood in her way will die, and it will effectively clear the board for her. She may even have a plan to beat back the legions of hell after a time and come out looking like a hero, effectively making everyone that’s left (and their future descendants) TRULY view her as a savior and someone that DESERVES to rule the world.

  • Mary Klemzak

    I’m kinda glad he’s having second thoughts. Way to go PP for bringing some hard truths! He got himself into this. I kinda feel for him. Is all this wort it? To be young and immortal? What use is it when you outlived everyone you love? Pretty sad really.

  • Sapfo

    Good villians!
    Well PP, was is not good that Kyle wanted the big strong man and not the strong women. That way you did not have to be the one bruning up if anything went the wrong way. Lucky you.

    (If Duncan sacrifices himself for Kyle, then I think I could forgive him, but would this stop anything?)

    Alex you have made Sircea a funny villian. She is seems to be enjoying herself a bit. Poor Duncan, you should not play around with powerfull people like this. Between Sircea and Lamproos. (A new meaning of a rock and a hard place)

  • TwilightDreamer

    man I want to punch PP….rofl! XD well done on her character, she’s a villain and she knows it! XD…heck, she FLAUNTS it!

  • karmakat

    my god, okay she is doing her “job”. but the way she manipulates even him just to be a ‘supposedly goddess’ just piss me off to no end. he used poor kyle, not in much better ways okay, but he didn’t do it with that emotional freaking blackmail.

    all of that to get HER agenda, sure bet the “saving of the world from demons” is faaaaaar from her mind whatever she says.

    god i REALLY want to slap her silly or get a big giant hammer and write “goddess” on it to bang her around with it…

    • Evoru

      I want to write her fan mail and have her sign my tiara.

      • karmakat

        miss “goddess tartare” might receive you after am done tenderizing her lol

  • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

    I would argue that Duncan did not REALLY make a deal with Laampros. Sure, he was preparing to do so, but hesitating–and if you’ll recall, Laampros grabbed him by the arm and branded him with the “contract” before they had agreed upon terms. By any rational standard, this should be enough to void the contract. Hell may admittedly have a different standard, but in that case, why would Laampros bother negotiating at all–why not just zap Duncan with whatever terms he wanted?

    • Klaus

      The terms had been negatioted in advance by Sircea’s intermediares, who- and whatever they may be. Duncan had stated his terms, and Laampros accepted them. I don’t see any loophole there.

      • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

        But Laampros summarily cut off further discussion. For all we know, Duncan may not have finished stating his terms.

        • Jakk Anthony Guzman

          Laampros didn’t cut off any further discussion. Laampros told Duncan “your arm and the bargain will be struck”, or something like that, that’s when Kyle broke his chains and interfered. Once that episode was over, Laampros grabbed him by the arm and completed the bargain.

          • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

            “Your arm,” must be short for “Raise / extend / offer your arm to signal your acceptance.” Only Duncan didn’t raise, extend, or offer his arm–Laampros grabbed it. This destroys the voluntary nature of the agreement.

            On the other hand, you could argue that Duncan had already made a valid offer, analogous to offering someone a contract to sign. And that Laampros, by branding him, was thus accepting an offer already made, before it could be retracted somehow. But in that case, why would Laampros invite Duncan to raise his arm, as if this act itself constituted the decision?

  • Well played, PP, well played.

    She’s having a little too much fun telling Duncan about the lack of a fail-safe switch in the deal he helped make.

    I’ve said it before recently but a lot of the time I see her in action, being all snarky and snarly; being all deadly – and my first thought is ‘Clever Girl’.
    If she ever does Halloween, she should be dressed as the raptor who hunted the hunter.

  • silibub

    (One last thing and then I really have to go to bed!) This might be reaching, but in the penultimate panel Sircea’s gesture reminds me of Duncan in the last panel of this prologue page: http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-page-21/

    A lot of people have noticed similarities between Sircea in this scene and Duncan in the prologue — it makes me wonder if, now that Kyle’s character has been set up as a sort of alternate past/present for Duncan, Sircea’s character foreshadows Duncan’s future if he sticks to the immortality gambit. If on some level she represents his villainy, it’s no wonder she’s coming at him so harshly — old patterns of thinking and behavior are hard to break, and I imagine if Duncan were making these arguments to himself (and maybe he has), he wouldn’t pull his punches, either. There’s a deeper reading here that I can’t do justice to now, but I really like the nuance!

    And on that note, thanks as always for the beautiful page, and goodnight!

    • It’s almost as if Duncan has an angel on one shoulder (Kyle) and a devil on the other (Sircea).

      • David Welbourn

        That would make a fine fan art submission, if anyone would like to try it.

        • This is where I usually grumble: I wish I could draw.

          And it would be an awesome bit of fan art. I second this, someone needs to draw this, stat!

      • Marz

        While this is definitely their roles, they have opposite color schemes! Kyle is half-demon and associated with red, while Sircea dresses in white. Any fan art should keep the original color schemes. Imagine: a red-winged angel and a white devil.

        • SofiaT

          Very well pointed out!

        • Cman65

          mmmmmm an Angle with red hair

        • Cydney Sabin

          If only I could draw…

        • Definitely an interesting concept. I wish I could draw!

    • SofiaT

      Irrelevant but I saw the “prom” fanart you tweeted and wanted to let you know that it’s freaking amazing! 😀

      • silibub

        Thanks, it was ridiculously self-indulgent! I’m glad I did the colors, though, I needed the practice.

        • SofiaT

          It was awesome! And not indulgent at all! If I could draw like that, I’d be indulging often -and I’d give myself Loki feeding me grapes, hehe. >:D

          I tweeted back to you that I’m willing to bribe you (seriously, name your price) so you will draw me with Duncan but my account is set on private so I don’t think you ever got it :0/

          • silibub

            No, I never saw it! I’d draw the bejeezus out of that, if you wouldn’t mind sending me a clearer picture of your face for reference. (My email’s silibub@gmail.com – such consistency.) Just give me a rough idea of the scenario — formal, action-y, whatever, and I’ll do my best!

          • SofiaT

            Are you serious?!? Ok, it’s official, I love you. 😀
            My face is pretty generic (oval-shaped, brown eyes, brown hair) but I’ll send you a photo 🙂

            Feel free to delete the email address out of the comment now, I got it!

          • silibub

            Excellent, this’ll be a fun challenge for me, then!

  • Librarican

    I seem to recall somewhere that Duncan had alluded that if Kyle was straight PP would have done the wooing/seducing. After seeing her in action here, I don’t think she would have pulled it off or would have wanted to. Yes, she can manipulate Duncan, but she’s been working with him for YEARS, and while it’s unclear exactly how long Duncan and Kyle were together, I don’t think she would have been able to convince Duncan of her good intentions as quickly as Duncan played the “I’m really a good guy” card.

    Plus, it’s rather convenient that the death mark is on Duncan because he was the one transported to Laampros. Getting his signature herself would be too close to comfort to the actual action for PP. She sent minions to negotiate and Duncan to get the final signatures. My thought is Duncan could get Spooky to transfer the signature, they stop the invasion, and then PP suffers the consequences of her own actions, possibly loosing her immortality in the process.

    • timemonkey

      Duncan may have assumed, or been told, that were Kyle straight she’d do it herself, doesn”t mean it’s true. Had Kyle been straight she likely would have manipulated a female villain into serving her needs.

  • Terri Sutton

    When trying to become a God/Goddess or trying to reclaim your Godhood, people please remember Rule #1; do not piss off or otherwise alienate your allies until after you have become a god, because doing so before almost guarantees that plans will be foiled by your former allies.

  • Absolutely stunning page. Thank you Alex, Adam and Veronica. You never fail make it exciting.

    It’s interesting that we were all so convinced that Duncan was smarter than this — would never let himself be so obviously betrayed by Sircea and, otherwise, he seemed so. This then makes it seem like she MUST have had a VERY long time to influence him to get him to believe her and go through with this. She made the deal with Laampros and Duncan just did the work. I remember when we all postulated this very betrayal of Duncan by Sircea when Laampros burned the glyphs (or sigils) into Duncan’s forearm back in hell… last night was it? In TYP time?

    Still wondering how many Guppies are swimming in the Glass Fish Tank? @alexwoolfson:disqus ? Or, is that bad boy, one of those expensive saltwater specials? Heeeee.

    Forgive me if one of our champion theorists has already suggested this… but I do wonder if, in addition to an affinity for fire, Kyle picked up another skill from Papa? I wonder if Kyle can remove, alter or transfer that bargain on Duncan’s arm in any way? Now that would be an interesting twist. The boy Duncan betrayed, and has a longing for, is the only one with “a” power that can muck up her deal and leave Sircea twisting in the wind. (Sorry Silibub) Curiouser and curiouser.

    Happy Wednesday all…

    • timemonkey

      To me Duncan’s arrogance made it clear he’d be easy to manipulate him, especially in a field he’s not familiar in.

  • Cman65

    Ha ha big bad Annie is just a minion now. Bet he is not happy about that

  • SofiaT

    There’s something that’s been on my mind ever since we started with this scene, a few pages back, but I haven’t talked about it yet because I’m not sure how to articulate it and still make any sense. So forgive me if it ends up being somewhat chaotic, this is general commentary on a lot of pages and a lot of discussions I’ve read, not anyone or anything specific, so writing it all down is gonna be a bit challenging.

    Please also keep in mind that it’s in no way a judgement -some of the people I like and respect most in this community (@silibub:disqus I’m talking about you) have a soft spot for Sircea, like I -admittedly- have a soft spot for Duncan, and that’s more than fine.

    It is though something that I’ve repeatedly observed. And that’s that a lot of people here admire Sircea. It’s a feeling that’s projected clearly in many comments and by many people, even the same people who might admit the woman is a heartless bitch in other comments.

    Some admire her badass attitude begrudgingly, some think that while she’s a psycho she’s a cool psycho; sort of like Loki, you can’t help but be fascinated with her… And others want her for President! 😀

    When her age was first revealed, the majority of the comments on that page was a variation of “of course, it’s only natural that she holds the views she does, she’s lived for so long”, excuses were made for an immortal creature who must have watched countless people she cared about die before she hardened her heart; over all there was an overwhelming wave of support and understanding. Again, not judging anyone, and those analyses were pretty good anyway. I’m just curious of the way people seem to instinctively react to her. Especially when compared to the way people reacted when Duncan cast that spell and dragged our red-headed hero (literally) through hell and back.

    On one hand, we have a woman who’s so callous she doesn’t even pretend to care about what happens to human kind -men, women and children alike- as long as she gets what she wants out of it; she’s shown no capacity for even a trace of empathy and doesn’t even blink an eye at the idea of millions of people dying because of something she did. She’s killed, she’s ruled, she’s been worshiped as a goddess and she wants to do it all again.

    On the other hand, we have a self-proclaimed anarchist, who’s selfish but has also shown us glimpses of deep emotion; and his only visible and proven crime so far is that he betrayed and emotionally hurt an innocent person we cared about (I’m not going to count bank robberies here because I don’t think anyone is feeling very sympathetic towards banks anyway).

    So back to our villains: This scary plan of letting demons invade the earth is both their plan, but one is completely blasé about it and the other has second thoughts; and while they both have selfish motivations, for one selfishness is the only real reason and for the other it’s only part of a bigger picture; yet I’m being given the impression of a somewhat general consensus that the former’s actions (even this cat & mouse game she’s playing with Duncan at the moment) are somehow justified or even admired, while the latter’s actions are unforgivable because of what he did to Kyle.

    Is this what makes the difference in how we react to each of them, or is it something else entirely? Is it pure charisma that makes Sircea so fascinating or is Kyle more important to us than the millions of unnamed people threatened with death and suffering if their plan succeeds?
    …And if so, doesn’t that make us guilty of the same thing Sircea is accusing Duncan of, here?

    Or maybe it’s just a case of numbers: after a certain amount of evil, some villains are so beyond human they are no longer judged by the same rules?

    Which actually reminds me of that Eddie Izzard sketch from “Dressed to Kill” http://youtu.be/rMMHUzm22oE?t=1m46s

    “If someone kills someone, they go to prison. You kill 10 people, you go to Texas, they hit you with a brick, that’s what they do. 20 people, you go to a hospital, they look though a small window at you for ever.

    And over that, we can’t deal with it, you know?
    Someone who’s killed 100,000 people, we’re almost going “Well done!! You killed 100,000 people?? You must get up very early in the morning!”

    Is it, to paraphrase Eddie, that we just can’t deal with the reality of Sircea?

    • Cydney Sabin

      I think it’s because we’ve known Kyle for so long that we feel so much angrier about Duncan betraying him. Sircea hasn’t directly done anything, so it’s harder to be angry at her. Duncan was the one who was there, so we instinctively attached our own feelings of anger and betrayal to him. Had Sircea been the one to cast the spell to bring Kyle into Hell, I think that would make all the difference. Sircea would be the one that our darker feelings would be pointed toward. There is the fact that she’s involved in this demon-deal evil plot, but it’s more the fact that she hasn’t hurt us yet, and honestly, I think that makes all the difference.

      • SofiaT

        Right. That’s what I thought, thank you for replying!

    • xLizardx

      I think that it’s the deception/ betrayal factor. In some respects, I believe that people are more likely to admire a villain who has no pretensions about their own moral integrity [or lack thereof]. She’s evil, yes, but she flaunts it, and thus, her evil is “honest”.

      With Duncan, [particularly because of how cleverly the story was crafted in order to keep the audience as well as Kyle guessing, regarding his intentions] there is the sense of a very personal dishonesty. I think our distaste for this partially stems from a preference of direct over indirect malice [everyone has been lied to before, and it’s unpleasant] but also from social conceptions about romance, and honesty within relationships.

      We see relationships as being extremely personal, and often [within fiction at any rate] more important than what are, objectively, much larger concerns: how many action movies have you seen where the hero/ heroine pauses in the midst of a vital mission to save the world, in order to have a make-out session with his/ her love interest? And how many movies have you seen where buildings and cars, presumably full of un-named citizens, get tossed around and blown up like playthings, but the emotions of the main character, and accordingly audience, hinge on the fate of his or her family members?

      Fiction teaches us to value the personal, the emotional, and the individual over even world-wide devastation. Add to this the notion that relationships are somehow sacrosanct – that you should never betray the one you love, that betrayal in love is one of the worst possible things for a person to do – and it’s easy to see why, although objectively Duncan is a less evil character, people might seem to be less sympathetic to him, especially as his “crime” of seducing and betraying Kyle is one that many people can imagine themselves the victim of, whereas not many people have ever been enslaved to an all-powerful immortal-witch-goddess.

      I think also there’s the sexual assault aspect – again, because of the importance we place on relationships, in many respects, I believe that rape is often considered to be a worse crime than murder. Kyle was not exactly raped, but he was persuaded, induced, manipulated, and in that sense, coerced into sexual relations with someone, under entirely false pretences. He was led into sharing both his emotions, and his body, with another person on an entirely fallacious basis. If Duncan had used a threat as opposed to a lie – well actually, he did use a threat to get Kyle to make out with him initially – but if it had been a threat instead of a falsehood to persuade him to sleep with him, then it most certainly would be rape. Is a lie on that scale really so different from a threat?

      I think there’s also something to be said for the scale of Sircea’s crimes making said crimes more distant, more of an abstract concept, as opposed to something immediate and horrific. She is [and this is no disrespect to Alex’s writing, because I think that she’s an excellently crafted character] more of a comic-book character than Duncan – we have yet to see her weaknesses, or any sordid details of her crimes. We have yet to meet her victims, or glimpse a hint of remorse.

      Speaking of remorse, I’m not sure that Duncan’s makes him more sympathetic. Yes, he knew that he was doing something wrong… and yet he did it anyway. What good are positive intentions when your actions utterly contradict them? Of course, it does sound like he was between a rock and a hard-place. Still, there’s something satisfyingly simple about a villain who declares “I am evil and selfish” over one who agonises over his own evil-doing.

      I’m not saying that I dislike him as a character either – again, he’s a great piece of story-telling, and I can’t wait to read what happens next. 🙂

      • I think you are pretty on point with this swell post. For me personally, it was “seeing” Duncan’s long careful and horrifically false betrayal of a very emotionally vulnerable gay boy, one I could clearly remember being. Really couldn’t get more personal and my reaction was fully emotional.

        In context of Sophia’s point and our different perceptions of our two villains, I can imagine for us to feel equal repugnance (and to your point xLizardx about emotional relationships having a huge priority for us re betrayal), we would have had to see Sircea’s long slow manipulation of Duncan. Where she woo’d and weaseled him into such a place that he would betray the boy so cruelly and emotionally trust her enough to enter HIM into a blood bound deal with a devil. Seeing that we MIGHT have been more betrayed by her. I just don’t think WE feel betrayed. She is doing the expected.

        If we had SEEN the betrayal coming so clearly from Duncan, as we watched Kyle slide into danger, I suspect that to Sophia question, our responses to their villainy would be, if not equal, at least less unequal.

        I just know that Sircea has been ‘EVIL’ to me since the last panel on the page she sent them off to their fake date in Hong Kong and (with the most evil expression ever) said, “And really, who could ask for ANYTHING more?”

        http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-ch1-page-21/

        She was Lady Laampros for me from that panel onward and I’ve been waiting to see what it means for the marks to be on Duncan’s arm only ever since their visit to hell.

        Duncan KNEW going in that he had to break this boys heart to go along with Sircea’s scheme and he seemed mostly fine with that until his bitter exit of the warehouse. What can I say… my emotions remain on my sleeve. I feel his actions in ways I just can’t feel hers.

        • xLizardx

          That makes perfect sense – so many people have probably suffered betrayal/ dishonesty in relationships, and then with Kyle, there’s the added aspect [familiar to many of our readers] of having to address the confusions and vulnerability of dealing with his newfound sexuality [both in the respect that being sexual is new to him, and that he identifies as gay].

          It would be extremely difficult to read so much about him, get so close to him, and witness from his perspective Duncan’s carefully crafted seduction, and remain emotionally objective.

          I like your point about Sircea’s manipulation of Duncan, however – whilst we have not witnessed the destruction of his own innocence [if indeed, he was once an innocent] I am now wondering whether this is something Alex will choose to reveal to us in future. Something potentially intriguing to consider, I think 🙂

          I agree that she has seemed evil from the outset, and, from what she’s said, she’s clearly basically psychopathic – devoid of empathy for anyone else.

          In contrast, Duncan, it seems, knew that he was doing something reprehensible, but did it anyway. That in many respects seems more ruthless, more malignant.

          • Very well expressed. You and Sophia prompted a final thought that I hadn’t really broken out before. Regarding the discussed difference between emotional and logical reactions to our character’s choices. I personally respond to fiction much more “emotionally”. Just because. I’m not sure there really is a reason other than taste and personal choice.

            Maybe, it’s that this isn’t even our world. As expressed above, there is a difference to us between our protagonists and the ‘faceless masses’. For me, very personally, ‘faceless masses in fiction’ are even MORE faceless and emotionally distant, since they are in a world that I’ll never see. So, my default mode is the emotional connection to our core characters.

            I expressed my harsh emotional reaction of a year ago to Duncan’s choices… However, I should make it clear that I do find him appealing and still, to this day, have that secret wish that Alex has a mysterious and secret HEA redemption up his sleeve for all of them. (Sircea gets sent to Silibub for retraining. HA)

            Still, that said, nothing ‘logical’ in any of that. Just emotional wishes.

        • SofiaT

          I think we always expected ‘some’ type of villainy from Duncan as we
          rolled up to ‘the date’, but it was the surprise of how emotionally
          vicious the actions he took and used against Kyle were that created the
          extremity of the negative emotional reaction against Duncan from some of
          us readers.

          You are so hitting the nail on the head when you speak of expectations and the significance they have in the way we view things. I distinctly remember when Duncan became my favorite character, and it’s exactly because he managed to exceed my expectations.

          Let me explain:

          On the first chapter I was suspicious of him, as I guess most readers were. Then he lands us on that roof and gives us a hint about his childhood and the anger that shaped his life, and I felt sympathy for him for the first time -like you can identify with Kyle because of past experiences, I can identify with a Duncan who is angry at the world and ready for revenge. I like to think I’m not evil, but I’ve had my dark moments.

          Then, fast forward, he’s in bed with Kyle and promising him the moon and the stars. I will never forget how uneasy these pages made me. I remember people swooning at Duncan’s honeyed words while I felt like there was a drum beating faster and faster, signaling Kyle’s doom. Then we get to the spell and my fears are realized.

          I was holding my breath to see what was gonna happen and part of me feared -not only for Kyle, but for me too, because that scene on the rooftop with the memories of a young Duncan had made me like him against my better judgement- that he will prove himself to be the sneering, condescending villain that Sircea is being right now. If that had happened, the hatred I would have felt for Duncan would have rivaled yours, maybe even surpassed it.

          So when we saw him have a human moment (http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-ch2-page-30 ), when the “mwa ha ha” I feared never came, my relief was so great, I pledged my eternal loyalty to him.

          Had I not seen his betrayal coming and had I not feared the worst, I don’t think I’d be able to forgive him so easily. As it stands, the empathy I have for Duncan equals the empathy I have for Kyle. I don’t need to see Sircea’s manipulations to make her the enemy, in my mind she’s been the enemy ever since I decided that Duncan wasn’t.

          • Thanks for this thoughtful reply. As all good posts, it makes me want to ponder more… and that requires coffee (death, death, death, muffin?) So more later.

            Great discussion!

          • SofiaT

            I’m sure The Admiral is baking a batch (both muffins and coffee, as it happens)

          • Pardon the tardiness of this reply to this generous sharing of your reading process.

            What is not surprising, but very interesting to me is that it is almost the literal opposite of my own.

            I have no way of telling how much of my response is fueled by the fact that I haven’t read comics in years. I left them in my teens for prose.

            Alex’s subject matter and style drew me back. So, honestly, I react to Alex’s work much more like prose. Thus I didn’t have any of your fears regarding Duncan’s possible ‘villain’ behaviors. This is interesting to me because I hadn’t previously thought about it at all.

            Since I was told he was a villain, re the discussion of his youth etc… my ONLY thought was, “I wonder if he’s being honest or lying.” I remember seeing some of his ‘evil’ expressions (mostly when Kyle wasn’t looking) and thinking… ohhhh that’s an evil expression. Okay something bad is coming. But that was it. I cruised right by most of him as being pretty much what I expected.

            It was totally the emotional NATURE of his villainous act that caught me by total surprise and triggered me. I thought he’d be bad, but not in that way.

            After that point, his speechifying in the warehouse… the very point that you, “pledged my eternal loyalty to him.” I had already sent him to my personal villain hell. So I have to go and re-read any of that section to even remember WHAT Duncan pontificated about, let alone judge it as honest or meaningful. I had really judged him as harshly as possible by then.

            So, what is fascinating and what this wonderful conversation illuminates is that even line for line it seems we may have been reading opposite lines, and caring about opposite motives, and paying attention to opposite things.

            Now due to this illuminating conversation, I suspect many of us have been doing the same with Duncan… and… SIRCEA also. Focusing on very different things.

            My current question about Kyle is re betrayals of trust… especially how when one is young and impressionable (a bit like American Gothic clip) can affect your behavior for years… I understand that Kyle is fictional and may heal fictionally fast, but if trust is going to be required to save Duncan at this point (?) it may be interesting if that very faculty has been damaged beyond repair by Duncan. Irony is a tough MF.

            All that said, thank you for sharing your reading process, it was fascinating as it made me look at my own.

      • SofiaT

        Thanks for replying, Lizard! Haven’t seen you around much lately, it’s good to see you again 🙂

        Your post verifies what I thought: it’s still the same plan, but when Sircea points out it’s the only way to save the world, we see her point because she didn’t personally hurt anyone we know. Millions of people be damned, because those millions have nothing to do with us, their faceless and distant. (Eddie is right, as usual! Did anyone watch that video, btw? If you haven’t, please do, it’s hilarious.)

        Duncan has at least partly an altruistic reason in mind for doing what he’s doing but because he’s hurt one person that we know, we’re ready to crucify him.

        This means that our way of thinking, is the exact way of thinking that makes Sircea curl her lip at Duncan: We want the world saved, but we want it done with minimal sacrifice from our heroes, and one boy’s emotional well-being matters more to us than countless others’ lives.

        There’s nothing wrong with that and I’ve done the same countless times in books and movies where I’ve come to care for the protagonists and want to see them make it out of it alive and well, the world be damned.

        In this case, my view is completely different though.
        I think this is not the only way to save the earth, as Duncan comes to realise (or at least doubt) now and as many readers suspect. There have to be more ways for that to happen, but Sircea has conveniently left them out because they wouldn’t give her what she wanted. That makes her the real mastermind behind this plan and not only the reason millions of people will get hurt if it succeeds, but also the real instigator behind Kyle’s pain too.

        She’s also not ready to make any sacrifices, from what we’ve seen so far. Conveniently, it’s Duncan that carries Laampros’ mark and will be punished if they fail. But above all, she didn’t have to sacrifice someone she had come to care about, and a possible happy future -for however long it lasted-, like Duncan did. (Look what I did there. Between an eternal punishment by a King of Hell and losing the opportunity for a relationship with Kyle, I rate the second as more important…)

        I’m very suspicious, and in this case bitter too, of a person who is willing to have everyone else sacrificed except herself, not even on some level.

        Anyway. This is indeed a great piece of story-telling and I find that not only analyzing the comic is very satisfying, but analyzing the readers’ reactions to it is equally satisfying. For both, it comes down to “logic vs heart” and it’s interesting to see how many different logical processes and emotional reactions the same pages incite to each reader! 🙂

        • xLizardx

          Thanks! I have been keeping up to date with the comic, I’ve just been lurking [been quite busy recently as I’m in a new band]. 🙂

          I haven’t watched the video yet, Eddie Izzard is awesome though, so I shall do so now.

          I like your analysis of our reactions, not sparing yourself – I think that the idea of genocide being almost too large an atrocity for us to process goes the same for positive emotions as well: it’s difficult to care as much as ought to be proportionate, about millions, or even hundreds of people. We have to break it down into a manageable concept – focussing on the wellbeing of just a few – probably because otherwise we’d be insanely over-subscribed, emotionally [not to mention probably have a mental breakdown over large-scale tragedies].

          How have you been, anyhoo, and what have you been up to? 🙂

          • SofiaT

            It’s also fun seeing logical justifications placed on emotional reactions. I try to ifentify my emotional reactions and not try to excuse them logically.
            For example, I recognise that -valid reasons aside- my bitterness towards Sircea is in part illogical, caused by my possesive (and protective) feelings towards Duncan. And those same protective feelings come from a hunch that he is so much more than he gives himself credit for. Granted, it’s not a complete blind faith, he’s shown us glimpses of that capacity, but it’s nothing terribly secure to go by either.

            Anyhoo, I’m good! Spring has sprung on my part of the world, days are getting longer and Christmas (which means my trip back home) is coming closer. 🙂

            I missed my bus to work this morning but I just made it to the office and I’m only 10 mins late, so the day ahead looks good indeed 😀

      • So many great, smart responses to Sofia’s question! Awesome.

        And your discussion of how betrayal is perceived as the ultimate evil makes me think of how Dante organized the geography of Hell…

    • Saxon_Brenton

      FWIW, I tend to be overly analytical about a lot of things, and for the case at hand that certainly involves examining the motivations of the YP characters. The relevant phrase would be “I can understand why they did that, even if I don’t approve” – which admittedly may sometimes involve a fine line between comprehending and identifying with. Sometimes that may slip a bit, but even then while I may be impressed by the Priestess’ determination and success in overcoming obstacles, I still don’t necessarily approve.

      Your points about empathy for others is well made, and in a broader context of reading fictional characters becomes vitally important. In some – but not all – fantastic literature (fantasy, science fiction and superhero) there’s at least the potential for characters getting into other character’s headspaces and perhaps work constructively on where acceptable points of give-and-take are. For all of his character flaws the Annihilator has at least the start of that, which to my mind makes him a worthy hero/anti-hero. By contrast the Platinum Priestess may understand the mindset of others, but if so has no real empathy for them and will probably only be using that knowledge as a way to manipulate and outwit them.

      • SofiaT

        I’m totally with you.

        I discussed this with @silibub:disqus a couple of pages ago, so I don’t want to repeat myself, but motives and the endgame do matter. There’s something to be said about the road to hell being paved by good intentions, but I’d rather have someone at least having some good intentions and not completely selfish reasons, than someone paving the road to hell just for the sake of it and personal gain.

        I think the line between a likeable villain (read: with some moral principles and empathy, which is why to me Sircea is not likeable in the slightest) and an antihero is a thin one. Up until recently, I wasn’t sure if “antihero” was the right description for Duncan. He called himself an anarchist-which is very different from “villain”- but anarchism is all about free will of the individual and not coercing others, yet wasn’t what he did to Kyle a type of coercion? Just because he thought of himself as a richer, stronger type of Robin Hood, didn’t mean he was one.
        Now that we see more of his inner struggle and we see the part Sircea has played in all of this, “antihero” seems the right word to use, partly because I also see the chance for him to go against her in the future, joining forces with the real heroes.

        There’s also something else: In the second chapter, when they got back from hell, one of the reasons I liked Duncan was that he owned his actions. You could see there was an internal battle going on (another reason to like him) but in the end he was “f*ck this, I did it, I’ll own it, even if I don’t like it”. With that in mind, I should be annoyed he seems to be putting the blame on Sircea now, and I should lose some of my respect for him. But I’m not and haven’t, because this isn’t just an effort from him to shift the blame (as Sircea claims), it’s simply the late realization that, oh shit. I may have been played.

        And, smart as he is, I don’t think he’s realized that fully yet either. I think it’s just a doubt in the corner of his mind that is just now forming and I can’t wait for the true “oh, shit” moment to come.

    • Codeless Emerald

      Personally I think she´s a terrible person, but a well written compelling character. So is Duncan, but well written female villains are rarer, and therefore more noteworthy.

      • SofiaT

        That’s a very good point.

    • timemonkey

      I’ve been hoping they kill each other so I’ve pretty much been judging them the same.

    • AliceVenturi

      To address your question, I think that, yes, normal humans can’t easily encompass the vast pit of egocentricity, sociopathy, and possible insanity that is Sircea. The length of her life and the number of her deeds are such that, when viewed as a fairly undifferentiated mass, we simply can’t focus on it all. Too many people. Too much time. Granted, 6,000 years is not exactly Deep Time, but it does make it difficult to grasp all the events and perceive them as a whole. I’m sure that she’s done good things as well as evil (or, at least, selfish) things, but how can we grok the overall thrust of her life, when there are so many things she’s done? It’s difficult to expand one’s mind enough to weigh it all.

      Duncan’s betrayal of Kyle, on the other hand, involved 2 people. Most of us have had a lot of practice in grasping the interactions of 2 people. Most of us have suffered egregious enough betrayals to make it easy for us to empathize with Kyle and make moral judgments about Duncan. It’s a small enough relationship to easily grasp, assuming one is capable of any empathy.at all.

      So, what are we left with, really? Speaking for none but myself, I think we can judge both Sircea and Duncan by what their life experiences have made them in the here-and-now. By their fruits we shall know them, and all that. (Heh.)

      Duncan betrayed Kyle in the most intimately heinous manner possible. He did it in order to accomplish what he perceived to be a greater good. He thought, at the time, that the end was thoroughly justified by the means. Maybe it was. I’m still thinking that one through. But as utilitarian arguments go, the betrayal of one person in order to save (some of) the human race is a pretty good deal. Well, if you’re in that portion of people who actually get saved. It’s nasty, and I wouldn’t ever ever ever want to be in the situation where I had make a like choice. And if I ever had that misfortune, I’m not certain that I could make myself go through with it. I might throw myself under a bus, just to escape having to make the choice of betraying someone I loved or letting the entire human race go literally to hell. But Duncan was strong enough (or thought he was, at the time) to go through with it. Is he evil? Well, all we really know about him is that he sucks at interpersonal relationships.

      As of this current section of the story, he’s regretting letting bad things happen to Kyle, oh, and all those other people not so fortunate as to reside in the western hemisphere. This seems a fairly normal reaction to his situation to me. Remorse may redeem him.

      Sircea, on the other hand, has a history of making sure that all the bad things happen to someone else. It may just be personal experience, but I’ve never trusted anyone whose face falls so effortlessly into a cynical sneer. Which, we must admit, her face does with appalling regularity. (And, yes, I’ve known a number of people who reflected aspects of Sircea. I suspect most of us have. The world is full of Sirceas writ small.) She’s shown herself to be manipulative, narcissistic, and egocentric to the point of sociopathy. She has no remorse for anything that’s been done thus far.

      I can’t even admire Sircea for being a “bad-ass” because I don’t think she is, exactly. She’s actually rather petty and remarkably banal. Most genuine evil is. One or two books have been written about that. Being a bad-ass is a choice, and I don’t think Sircea has chosen any such thing. I think she’s maybe the opposite of a bad-ass. No, “wuss” is not the opposite of bad-ass. Instead of choosing, it’s all been reflexive. She reacts to anything that she perceives to impinge on her autonomy without thinking. Threats to her autonomy are perceived by her as being threats to her very being, I think. She’s been mostly reactive in this story. She is reacting to the threat of deteriorating world-walls because it’s a threat to HER, not because it’s a threat to everyone else. I suspect that, in her heart-of-hearts, she doesn’t acknowledge that there IS anyone else. But this reflexive reaction is not anything like bass-assdom. It would explain her current childish reaction to Duncan’s remorse, though. If she doesn’t turn out to be a (or even the) major antagonist in the story, I’ll be surprised. It would be a sad end to such a long career, but it’s not like she hasn’t worked hard for it; being evil may be banal, but it’s damned hard work!

      • SofiaT

        This is a very insightful comment. I’ll have to re-read it when I get home from work tonight and get back to you, because it deserves to be properly processed first, and not secretly and hurriedly replied to from my desk 🙂

      • SofiaT

        You articulated feelings that I’ve had for a while. Some I’ve expressed myself in other occasions and others I’d never bothered to put in any order in my head, so you saved me the trouble there. 🙂

        So, needless to say, I share the sentiments in most of your post. But I must say -just to play devil’s advocate- that I had never thought of being a bad-ass as an intentional choice you have to make; on the opposite, I thought that you don’t ask for it, but circumstances turn you into one. In my mind it’s always been a combination of thick skin, skill, and couldn’t-care-less attitude… all of which Sircea possesses. Especially the “couldn’t care less” part. In that sense, Sircea is a badass. Not to mention that, you know, she fought dragons!

        Of course none of that covers for the fact that, as you so eloquently put it, she’s “manipulative, narcissistic, and egocentric to the point of sociopathy”.

        What I’m not so sure about, is if indeed she’s reacting in a childish manner here. If anything, her speech seems very clever to me and probably prepared in advance. She’s pushing all of Duncan’s buttons, playing on his doubts and taking advantage of what he considers a “weakness”: his human emotions. We already know how Duncan feels about being weak… Personally, I think she’s bluffing. She may not be marked, but I doubt this whole plan is without its risks for her too. And if she’s risking anything, it must be because she’s desperate.

    • Evoru

      On the surface, it would seem that it’s easier to like (admire, respect, be in awe of…take your pic) Sircea because, unlike Duncan, she did not commit her evil in such an intimate manner, and upon the body of an innocent like Kyle. If that’s what anyone is thinking, kindly go back and reread some pages…it’s clearly stated that if Kyle had been into girls, Sircea would have been the one seducing him.

      I can only speak for myself, but what I admire about Sircea is the strength of her convictions, survival mentality, and her dedication (even if it is only to herself). Sircea took a long, hard look at the way things were going to play out, thought about it rationally, and committed to her course. Duncan presumably did the same, but he waivers. He commits evil, then regrets it, and will presumably commit evil again (and regret it again).

      Sircea does not hide who or what she is. She accepts it, embraces it, and moves on. Duncan has evidently not made that peace with himself. In a way, you can trust Sircea more than you can trust Duncan. You can trust that Sircea will always look out for herself, and as long as you approach any interaction with her while understanding this, you will not be disappointed.

      Once a person falters, once they begin to doubt THEMSELVES…where exactly do you think you sit with them? You will never know. No one can ever trust Duncan, because given that he is considering making such a huge, irrational (yes, it IS irrational, because Kyle is just a teenage boy that he barely knows in any real sense of the word), unalterable decision to cast away a solid plan for the CHANCE of love…where else might he falter? How else might he let you down?

      Give me Sircea. Give me inner strength, and determination, and drive, and a sound footing upon which to build my own plans for survival.

      • SofiaT

        I don’t consider Duncan to be evil, or even what he did to be evil. It was hurtful and dangerous but “evil” is a complicated label I don’t think matches him.

        However, I agree that Duncan is less trustworthy than Sircea in some ways. You can trust Sircea to always look after numero uno but Duncan has a moral code: a moral code that is not conventional nor revealed to us. We don’t know what his hard limits are, only that he has some. And that makes him very hard to predict.

        Thanks for your thoughtful reply, it gave me a few more things to ponder on. 🙂

      • I love the question Sofia asked here, the way she asked it and all the cool responses. I don’t have time to engage the way I’d like to right now with all of them. But your response, Evoru, reminded me about one of my favorite scenes from American Gothic.

        http://vimeo.com/71005850

        Half is nowhere.

        • SofiaT

          That was a great scene. I don’t like what it says about Duncan, but it’s a great scene 😀

          Will have to watch the movie now.

          • It’s a TV series (I believe it’s on Netflix) that had tons and tons of potential, but was canceled in the first season and they had to rush to tie it all up. (Which at least they did; it had an ending.)

            There are a ton of great scenes and great characters in it with lots of fun moments. Unfortunately, my memory of it was a much better experience than the rewatch. Those fun scenes and moments are still there, but overall, it’s very rough around the edges (particularly when it tries to be a PG horror show). But if you go in with low expectations, there are indeed rewards. 🙂

          • SofiaT

            Campy horror tv series?
            Better I keep the good impression this scene gave me then and not ruin it by watching it all. 🙂

          • I was sad at the shows demise. I think (as illustrated in this clip) it was too thoughtful for a wide audience.

            It’s why things moved toward American Horror Story. Simpler and less thoughtful for the masses.

            That clip is so moving, because it really speaks to how vulnerable children are. A smart diabolical adult can shape a world view, no matter how good… no matter how evil.

            Speaks to gay and how hard those early years are to overcome.

            Speaks to Duncan in a profound way. I agree with Sophia concern for Duncan. I shiver to think of Duncan in that type of context at that age. (I don’t know this to be true). If Sircea had him at an early enough age, what couldn’t a 6,000 year old ex-goddess do to form and manipulate the ultimate super villain… one who could do what he ‘had to’ with Kyle.

            It’s soberingly profound to think about.

    • Well I think everyone offered very compelling answers to your query. And I can see my thoughts in most of them. So I’ll sit back and read everyones answers and upvote them. 🙂

      • It must be so exhausting to be The Admiral. All that up-voting and muffin baking… lordy… I’m exhausted just imagining it all. 🙂

        • Of course it’s exhausting! I’m the Admiral. 😛

      • SofiaT

        I was hoping of getting this kind of response. When it’s people’s thinking you want to interpret, the automatic reflex is for those people to get defensive. Which is why I tried to make it clear that my comment wasn’t judging anyone, just trying to understand the thought processes behind the different alliances and preferences. But I see some honest and thoughtful answers, not a knee-jerk reaction, so I’m very happy with that.

        For the most part, my thoughts on the matter were confirmed by a lot of those replies, but elements I hadn’t considered before were also added, so this is turning out to be a very good discussion. I hope more varied POVs will be added to it later.

        I am surprised nobody is commenting on the comedic genius that is Eddie Izzard though. :0/

        • Eddie Izzard is a genius. I love his comedy. And I think he hit the nail on the head.

          But yes some interesting takes that I hadn’t thought of too.

        • Please be assured, your post was genius for encouraging fascinating thinking from all corners. The kind of post we all hope for. Thank you for that. It was much appreciated.

          However, Mr. Izzard was genius, as usual. That particular clip made my day. Thank you kindly.

          • SofiaT

            “Death, death, death, death -lunch. Death, death, death… afternoon tea”.

            He’s so British.

    • Nate

      I don’t admire her, I just find her snark entertaining. She just oozes sarcasm.

    • flame821

      I think it might be something other than admiration in the way we usually think of the term. You do have to respect her tenacity and strategic mind, even while despising her for her complete and utter apathy and manipulation of others. And I do think something gets broken (or maybe goes missing completely) when people find out they are immortal.

      Think of all the stories we’ve read, how humans who either become immortal or beings who were created to be immortal, tend to see the ‘big picture’ rather than focus on individual lives. A dozen kids being shot at the mall isn’t such a big deal when you compare it to villages full of children being raped and slaughtered day after day, decade upon decade. When you see the same cycles repeating over and over I think you have to become numb or you’ll go insane. After a while you might try to ‘fix’ things and heaven only knows what lengths a person will go to in order to do that. Ruling the world, mass extermination, regulated population growth, draconian punishments for minor infractions of your code of conduct. Eventually you either succeed or you give up and ignore it all.

      Eddie Izzard is spot on when he brought up humanity’s inability to process things after a certain level. Think of a billion, you have an abstract idea of how big that number is, but could you literally picture 1,000,000,000 balloons, or does it become a rather fuzzy ‘a feckin lot’ after the first couple of thousand? It’s the same way with anything on a grand scale. We scale it down to something we can imagine. We use our experience, education, and empathy to relate to it but after a certain point it all becomes an abstract blur, and I think that happens as a way to protect ourselves. To prevent ourselves from feeling insignificant and helpless, to stop from becoming hopeless against overwhelming odds.

    • Nirgal

      Everybody loves bitches, as long as they have a pedigree.

    • This is a great discussion you’ve started, Sofia. I’ve really enjoyed reading all the responses. Very thought provoking.

      Oh, and Eddie was just fantastic. Loved the video.

      • SofiaT

        Thanks, Gryph! That was the goal -and I was happy to see thst people’s responses didn’t disappoint. 🙂

        I love Eddie Izzard. He’s coming to Sydney next month, hosting a comedy show at the Opera House, and I’m frantically trying to find $125 in my budget to get a ticket.

    • Kate G

      Frankly, and I’ll make myself clear, I think they both are horrible “people” (if Sircea can be labeled a “person” as she’s far exceeded a natural human lifespan. FAR.) Evil? That depends on your point of view. I’m sure in the past she was viewed as wonderful and generous and in other lifetimes a terrible scourge on society.

      Sircea is, in my view, a terribly interesting character. She’s not human–her lifespan has quite exceeded that–but she’s not immortal like a goddess. Her powers resemble that of many goddesses that were considered “good” in their time, but in today’s eyes are seen as “crooked” or “bad” because some people just have a hard time understanding why anyone would worship such a god/goddess. She’s got some SKEWED motives for sure and let’s face it, she plays with Duncan like a cat playing with its dinner which is rather frightening sometimes. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet, she’s interesting.

      We all love to think Duncan is the worse culprit because he’s male. He all but raped our boy hero to secure a way to bring Hell on Earth. We must avenge our Boy Hero! Grab our pick axes, torches and what have ye and break down the castle door….

      But….did Duncan do the ultimate evil or will Sircea? Frankly, some of the most evil people in real life are female, not male. That’s why Sircea is interesting. Duncan….I’m starting to care less about him. He’s a side story in this winding story of twisted evil. I want to know more about Sircea. She started out as a side story, but now….oooh, now, she’s shaping up to be a Deadly Woman. *insert Deadly Women theme*

    • silibub

      This is such a fantastic comment and discussion — I’m bummed I wasn’t around for the initial wave of replies. And I wouldn’t figure you for judgmental anyway, but I think you did a really marvelous job of phrasing this neutrally, so extra props for that! This is why you’re one of my most liked and respected people here as well! (And that Eddie Izzard sketch? I might actually love you now.)

      Everyone has offered wonderful insights and covered pretty much everything I could want to say (and more eloquently than I could have managed, so phew.) I agree that Sircea probably seems less heinous than Duncan at the moment because her villainy lacks that personal touch, especially for those of us who live in the Americas anyway and wouldn’t theoretically be demon chow. I think what makes her easier to “admire,” or at least accept, is that she’s so alien compared to Duncan, whose misdeeds hit far closer to home. Since it’s natural that readers would identify with Kyle, we’ve been sort of secondhand-betrayed by Duncan, and therefore it feels intensely personal. So it’s easier to judge him more harshly for his role in this plot even though it looks more and more like Sircea is the actual mastermind, because her actions haven’t impacted us emotionally — yet.

      I’m thinking as the story progresses and we see her in action, the general mood toward her will sour, especially if she’s pitted directly against members of Kyle’s team and threatens to, or actually does, hurt one or more of them. And if it turns out there are other, non-world-sacrificing ways of rebuilding the walls that Sircea has been concealing this whole time for her own sake, suddenly her position won’t seem so rational anymore.

      I think the endgame discussion we had really is the clincher. Because if it seemed like Sircea actually cared about rebuilding the walls for the sake of the greater good, and not just benefiting herself, then her position might be acceptable in the sense that it’s a horrifically difficult decision and she’s the only being in this comic detached enough to make it. I don’t know if that would make her a good character, exactly, but she would be solidly in neutral territory. But since she’s actually damning billions just so she can rule like she used to, there’s no redeeming quality to her motives.

      “Then silibub,” you might ask in a tone of infinite weariness, “why are you so obsessed with her?” To which I would say, how convenient that you would hypothetically pose that question, since that’s something I’ve been mentally untangling lately! But I have organization to do before I delve into that mental cesspit, and this comment is long enough as it is.)

      Thanks again for the brilliant comment and conversation starter! ♥

      • SofiaT

        It was our discussion the other day that prompted me to post. When you commented that we seem to have the same take on Sircea but completely different reactions, I was forced to sit down and think -actually think- why I feel the way I feel about her. So I thought I’d make others go through the same process 😛

        I had already be wondering what it is about her that fascinates people so much, especially when I was so determined not to like her, so that was the push I needed to finally ask.

        Actually placing the question was tricky, and I’m not sure I really managed to come out as completely neutral (after all my alliances have been already stated many times) but it was a genuine question and not a critique. People were cool about it and indulged me, so it ended up being a good discussion, as I hoped it would be.

        You can’t have a good discussion of one ;D

      • SofiaT

        Btw, did you see the link Alex posted below, of that scene from American Gothic? It was amazing and I’ve been thinking about it a lot ever since.

        What that guy said about half being nothing, and having to take it all the way, didn’t it sound like something Sircea would say? It reminded me of her reassurance to Duncan that the definition of “evil” is nothing but propaganda.

        The scary part, is that it makes sense. And Sircea makes sense too. The most dangerous evil is not the kind that repulses you but the kind that manages to convince you that day is night and night is day. The word “devil” is the Anglicized version of the Greek word “diavolos” = “he who twists things around”. Sircea’s argument seems logical and it’s very easy to hook you in. A fine piece of sophistry.

        To go back to that scene and the argument there, being “half” way is considered to be the real bad place to be, because you haven’t committed to a course. But I was thinking… that’s where most people are. Normal people are not saints but they’re not egotistic maniacs either. Being “half” isn’t nothing, it’s everything. We all have the capacity to do good and the capacity to do bad and, depending on the circumstances, sometimes we act on our good impulses and sometimes on our bad impulses. Duncan is like that, only he has superpowers; which means both his capacity for good and his capacity to do wrong increases exponentially. Sircea, on the other hand, has really taken it all the way and maybe that’s also why she feels so alien, as you said?

        • Steven K.

          AMERICAN GOTHIC? I wish I would have caught that comment/link – that was one of my FAVORITE shows, and I was so upset that it was cut so short – it was really well written, acted, had lots of interesting ideas, etc. (and THAT was the show the tv powers decide to do away with?) – and hardly anyone I mention it to even knows what I’m talking about.

    • Steven K.

      “the former’s actions (even this cat & mouse game she’s playing with
      Duncan at the moment) are somehow justified or even admired, while the
      latter’s actions are unforgivable because of what he did to Kyle”
      I, for one, DON’T feel that way, but rather more toward the opposite. I absolutely hate what Duncan did to Kyle, but I dislike Sircea after all this even more – and while I HOPE that what Duncan did or is doing is somehow forgivable due to higher motives (though the way he did it might not be), we can’t really, as your excellent analysis seems to say, assign higher motives to Sircea, even if they save “the walls”, because it is still for her own sake and purposes (and she doesn’t really care about anyone else, except as worshipers), while Duncan seems to still have some concern or care for the rest of humankind.

  • Pikinanou

    That moment when you realize you made a deal with the Devil… and I’m not talking about Laampros, here. I like where this is going, though, it looks promising for what will happen next.
    Cue TYP team appearing to disrupt their fight?

    • Klaus

      Ah, but Laampros did make a deal with the devil (with Duncan as messenger boy.)

  • Frater Gymnos

    Prophetic?

  • Sapfo

    Hi there all of you. I am just testing out disques. it seems to giving me trouble on other pages and I just want to check it out. here also.

  • Saxon_Brenton

    [Disqus just ate this post, but fortunately I believe in copy’n’pasting. Apologies if there’s any duplication]

    Huh. And while we’re busy discussing the fairness or otherwise of the
    Priestess’ smackdown of the Annihilator, this page also has another
    instance of the Priestess saying that if the Annihilator wants to leave
    he can do so, which runs contrary to the Annihilator’s previous statement that she needs him to complete the ceremony.

    So, repeat question: is she bluffing him to coerce him into staying, or has
    she secretly got a way of proceeding without him, or (really unlikely
    in my opinion) is she really prepared to let the whole plan come to a halt simply to spite him?

    • Sapfo

      Thank you for your copy´n´past. It is not fun when you have to redo a whole comment.

      As for your question. I think she have to really on him. I think it was no other way. But then, what do I know.

      *kicks a box marked “Alex secret notes” under the bed*

      It´s not like I know of any hot Spooky scene to come….<.<`

      • But you do know there will be hot Spooky scenes… 😉

        • Sapfo

          Oh Alex, you know you can confide to me, I will not tell a soul. And if you have any papers that you need sorted, I am pretty good at that also.
          🙂

        • purplefoxglove

          I love you, too 🙂

        • Heh… I’m not hanging around here for no reason. YAYYY for hot Spooky scenes (of a sexually flexible nature, right?).

          *chris remains glued to his laptop wondering if its Tuesday night yet. LOL.*

    • timemonkey

      She’s already stated she can accomplish her goals with or without him, the way they’ve planned is just easier.

      • Dave Nguyen

        Yeah, but with these types, you always have to consider whether or not they’re telling the truth.

        • timemonkey

          He should have taken that into consideration before he started this bullshit.

        • Klaus

          Is she really that old?Was she ever a goddess? Are the walls really going to collapse? Spooky says that they are weakening, but that is not the same. And he too may have been deceived. Can she really evict the demons when the walls are repaired? Does she intend to? Is Laampros really one of the less beastly demons? Once you start doubting, it has no end.

      • flame821

        And don’t forget, she won’t be the one paying the price, Duncan will be. So if Duncan has a change of heart SHE can walk away and find another pawn to take his place. He won’t have that option.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      Well if we believe anything Sircea says, she says in the previous page that she will rise to power if the walls come down, but that it will take longer.

      She may not be able to force him to complete the deal by force, maybe he has to do it of his own free will. So maybe that is why she’s trying to coerce him into doing it.

      I think she’s also very angry with him for choosing a teenager over the Great Goddess Sircea, and probably would let him die to spite him.

    • purplefoxglove

      The way I understood it, if Duncan doesn’t cooperate, there will be no deal with Laampros, and the walls will be torn down sooner or later.

      Being as powerful as she is, Sircea will survive that, battle the demons that swarm the earth (all of it without the deal), emerge victorious (but with far more losses on our side), and then rebuild. It’s going to be harder, more people will die, more damage will be made, but Sircea will prevail.

      Sircea seems to expect that, once they let Laampros and his minions in, the level of arcane power will rise, probably either because demons contain a lot of arcane power or because opening a portal will allow energy from hell to pour in. This could mean that with the walls completely down, she’s be even more powerful than when the deal is completed.

      Either way, Sircea thinks she will win and rebuild a human society with her at the very top. She has chosen the way that is easier for her and, in the end, will keep human losses to a relative minimum…or at least that’s what she claims. So having Duncan play along will make things easier, but if he doesn’t, well, she’ll just lean back and watch as Duncan gets his demonic punishment and then take the harder way. Totally worth seeing him suffer for doubting her.

      So no, I don’t think she’s bluffing. She either expects him to pull through because she simply knows he’s not going to risk Laampros’ wrath, or she does think it’s worth it. He doubted and insulted her, after all.

  • Jakk Anthony Guzman

    I’m sure the first thing that Sircea noticed about Duncan was his invulnerability to fire, that would come handy if you intend to send someone to hell.

    I wonder how young Duncan was when he met Sircea. If he was, she may have been instrumental in making him a super-villain perhaps to keep him isolated from society and more dependent on her. He would be under her “spell”, so to speak.

    • Klaus

      Am I the only one who is reminded of A Song of Ice and Fire here?

      But Duncan was burned by Kyle’s fire. though this may only work in Hell, for all we know. Laampros says that Hell weakens Duncan.

      • flame821

        But if Kyle is a child of Hell wouldn’t that mean his talent isn’t just controlling fire, but controlling Hellfire? And I thought that Hell makes the evil more powerful and weakens the good…makes me wonder about Duncan’s parentage right now. Maybe there is a lot more to him than we’ve been led to believe.

      • Steven K.

        Then there is:

        “Some say the world will end in fire,
        Some say in ice.
        From what I’ve tasted of desire,
        I hold with those who favor fire.
        But if it had to perish twice,
        I think I know enough of hate
        To say that for destruction, ice,
        Is also great,
        And would suffice.”
        (Frost)

  • Ooooooh, BURN!

    … In a manner of speaking.

  • AliceVenturi

    So, I was thinking. We’ve got literal hell due to swallow up everything but the western hemisphere. That raises certain theological questions. For instance, if most of the human race are residing literally in hell, what happens when people die? If they were bad enough in their lifetimes to get booted into hell, what happens when Hell is on earth? Can people die, once Hell descends (ascends?) upon them? Just thought I’d throw that out there.

    • SofiaT

      Are those hell realms the same as the theological ones though?
      Maybe the idea of a “hell” we go to as punishment after we die, in this universe is just the product of tales from people who’ve glimpsed those realms.

      Maybe there is no God or life after death.

  • I like her. Villains are more fun if they’re fleshed out, boned out, and aged to sharpness.

  • Wayne Lunkwitz

    She is just plain cold! However, shaming him into doing her bidding just might work!

  • Nate

    Question… does she know about Kyle’s parentage? I think not. And that, then and there, may be her undoing….

    • James Wade

      I was wondering that myself.

    • Quinten Rogers

      I think she does why else would they use him like they did.

      • Nate

        Maybe the spell she used only requires “the flames of passion” or something like that. Actual demonic heritage (which, from the sounds of it, is uncommon) may not have been a requirement.

        • SofiaT

          I think this page http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-ch1-page-20/ hints to that they suspected Kyle had demonic blood in him. And whatever it was that Sircea took from him while changing his outfit, was enough for her to make certain.

          Whether they knew/suspected who specifically was Kyle’s father or not, is yet to be seen. Even if they weren’t aware of it before, we still don’t know if Duncan overheard or not what Laampros told Kyle. And if he did overhear it, if he transferred that bit of information to Sircea or kept it to himself.

          A lot of unknown variables…

          • Jac

            Unrelated: Wow, her outfit was quite different back then. Not as detailed.

  • Larkle

    To continue from last page. ‘I have options. You do not. Stop pissing me off.’

  • All heart isn’t she?

  • Keys2tkingdom

    Wait.

    Wait a second.

    Would that actually work? Would asking Kyle to rescind (or out right change) the terms of the agreement actually work?

    • Saxon_Brenton

      [big grin] We have absolutely no idea. We pump out a lot of speculation around here. If we produce enough random weird crap then sooner or later maybe we’ll get guess what Alex is intending. Maybe 🙂

      But on a more serious note, we don’t know enough about the metaphysics of this story universe. I mean, it took a while before we had confirmation that the Commander’s line about magic users being crazy, and we still don’t know why either the Priestess or Spooky seem to be the exceptions to that rule. Maybe it’s a plausible idea, maybe it’s just grasping at straws. Heck, if we want to go looking around for precedents, there’d be more than enough evidence in fairie tales for Red Hot to save Annihilator with Love’s True Kiss. Of course, getting Kyle to overcome his mad-on about being betrayed first would be the tricky part…

      • SofiaT

        Duncan bats his eyelashes and starts singing:
        “I’ve been dreaaaaaming of a true love’s kiss and a prince I’m hoping comes with thiiiiiis…”

        Kyle stares at Duncan.
        He stares him some more.
        Keeps staring.
        “No.”

    • Jac

      Huhhhhhhhh!

  • kamishiro

    Did she really manipulate Duncan? I see a lot of comments saying but is it really all there is…?

    Like she said ” Oh, i see! Is that what you’re telling yourself now? That the old mean witch is making you to do this?! ”

    For me, he knew what he was getting into and did it anyway, it was his choice and now he is having the consequences.
    Blaming Sircea for his own choices is a no-no.
    But yes, she is a bitch, but Duncan knew her long enough/spent time enough to know that and the he was one who agreed to the plan anyway and executed it.

  • WarGoddess

    Duncan, ’tis better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. You don’t need to worry. either Kyle will come to see the good you have done for the world or he won’t. Either way, you’ll have saved his cute little tushy from a worse fate. That, and if you don’t do what you’ve agreed on, Laampurru-kun will wear your skin as a cocktail dress for his Vegas shows. 😀

  • Jac

    *mic drop*

  • D. Garrett

    im not entirely convinced sircea is a villain at all. if what she has said is the truth than she is saving humankind. granted the loss of life that will occur is inconceivable, but she appears to be taking the option that will guarantee mankinds survival. i think the ends justify the means in this situation. and duncan also did what was required for the good of mankind. i dont fault them for ensuring benefits for themselves and duncans offspring. its only human nature to look out for oneself and ones own too. i just wish duncan had brought jones up earlier so that maybe they could have trained him to rebuild the walls and maybe create a more favorable option for mankind.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      She said it herself in the previous page, “I have time and again ruled your kind with a harsh and terrible might”. She wants to rule and be a goddess once more, that’s what’s driving her.

      Yes, she wants to save part of humanity so that she can continue to rule and be worshiped. It’s not fun being an all-powerful immortal all alone in a world with no one to rule over.

      Sircea is only looking out for number one. Can you really trust what someone like that says? If there are other options that don’t lead to getting her what she wants she’s not going to tell you about them.

      I don’t trust her anymore than I trust Laampros, to me they are both the same. They are both evil, devious, and power hungry. Beings like that are basically self-centered and don’t give a shit about anything but themselves.

      • Jac

        Agreed. That’s partly why I like watching her so much. Not someone I’d want to meet, but very compelling for me.

      • D. Garrett

        u make good points. so her primary motivation is selfish. i am unsure as to whether any of what she says is true or not. the info about the walls was told to duncan, someone presumable in her trust, but i wouldnt put her as being past the possibility of betraying him. if what she says is true though, even though she is looking out for herself first, i prefer she does what she does for the overall survival mankind. instead of earth being hell perpetually, it will be for a period of time only and then mankind with recover. she may be evil and hard as a goddess/ruler, but i dont think she would be as bad as literal hell. my question is if they had considered jones when he returned from hell could they have made a plan that would save more of humankind? or prevented the apocalypse altogether? or like u say there could be other options she knows of but isnt willing to reveal or take because they dont serve he interests. i agree i dont trust her either, but i dont know that everything she has said is a lie. only time and more pages will answer that.

  • Thanatopia

    I would say “BURN” but…

    Also, Sircea is pretty good at the whole “Breaking Speech” thing. Then again, she IS very old and as such probably knows enough about guilt to know how many would-be allies it’s ruined; no wonder she’s having none of it! Not everyone can be an Neitzchean Superwoman, after all.

  • SofiaT

    Irrelevant question for Alex: I was re-reading Tough and I noticed on the cover of the second chapter that the boy on the poster on the wall looks remarkably like Jeff from Artifice.

    Coincidence or a cheeky wink to the readers?

    • A cheeky wink from Winona, actually. I gave it the thumbs up, but it was her idea. 🙂

      • SofiaT

        Ah, I was wondering which one of you came up with that. 🙂

  • Jac

    Sircea reminds me of someone….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXHvR5RRm6M

    • Jac

      Now I can’t picture imagine her without that voice. 😀

  • justkeepondriving

    Yes, when you put it that way… There’s frostbite in that tone Sircea!…

  • Amberella

    Damn PP knows how to lay down the tough love

  • chaz

    omigods i love this woman

  • Hello Campers! *chirp chirp* Campers?

    • SofiaT

      Oui?

      • It seemed so lonely here, but I’m not alone so this is good

        • SofiaT

          🙂

          I’m reading.

          • Always a good thing. I need to get the second Kate Daniels book. I just started reading The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff all the while rereading The Enchantment Emporium.

          • SofiaT

            Haven’t read either.

            Except for the Kate Daniel books. I’ve inhaled those in the past and just re-reading the first one now.

          • Mr. Dangerfield turned me onto those two books; they’re part of series.

            I wasn’t sure at first because the world was a little slow to build in Enchantment Emporium, but once into the book, into the world, I’ve been enjoying it and the The Wild Ways very much. A bit cooky, but actually really interesting. At least to me. With a somewhat unique family dynamic.

    • I’m here! I just finally caught up with everything after not being on the computer until 4:30/5 pm. -_- Only took 5/5.5 hours to catch up on everything. ^_^

      • Yay for being caught up!

        • I had a lot of e-mails. ^_^ Someone did commenting on lots of EMR pages. ^_^ Lots of tweets to go through, lost of tumlr-ing ^_^

          • Wish I could get caught up. Going to spend part of the weekend doing just that.

      • Doki hasn’t changed her avatar on Disqus?

        • Well I was testing it out on twitter, I wasn’t sure if I was going to use it on Disqus or not. Would people realize it is supposed to look like Deimos?

          • I think they would if they read SF.

          • Sapfo

            I do!

    • Saxon_Brenton

      [Appears in a puff of smoke] You called?

      • SofiaT

        Do you grant 3 wishes or is that extra?

        • Saxon_Brenton

          Er… I wasn’t thinking genies. I was thinking more along the lines of “Speak the name of the nerds, and they’ll appear.” 🙂

          • A “build it and they will come” moment?

          • Saxon_Brenton

            “Speak the name of the Devil, and he’ll appear.” actually.

          • SofiaT

            That hits a bit too close to home, considering…

          • Saxon_Brenton

            I blame the current discussion between Duncan and Sircea for why I’ve got devils on the mind…

          • Ha! Yes. Speak of the Campers and they shall congregate!

      • Why yes yes I did! How is everyone this evening?

        • Saxon_Brenton

          Just fine. I’m going to do some baking while waiting, but Alex’s message makes the Saturday morning all the nicer.

          • SofiaT

            Baking?
            I’m always on the lookout for good ideas.

          • Saxon_Brenton

            Despite my sweet tooth and consequent weight problem, I find it useful to keep in practice making the treats that I remember my late mother making when I was a kid. Today I’m planning on making some tartlet cases using a slightly different biscuit pastry receipe to what I normally use.

          • SofiaT

            I don’t have a sweet tooth, all my teeth are sweet! 😀
            I’m lucky I don’t weigh 100kg with how much I like chocolate.

            Speaking of which, I have a weird craving for chocolate mousse at the moment. My mom’s chocolate mousse, with dark chocolate and a dash of cognac in it.

          • I was baking earlier. 🙂 A bit of egg bread.

    • silibub

      *busts through swinging doors like a cowboy* Howdy.

      • *tips hat* Evenin’, Tex!

        • silibub

          *spins pistols* How’s it going?

          • *thinks of spitting into a spittoon, but realizes I don’t chew tobacco* Going good. I always like this part of the evening when everything is done and I don’t have to move. 🙂

          • silibub

            *runs out of cowboy actions because I’m a terrible excuse for an American* Me, too — I ran around a lot today, so it’s nice to just hang around.

          • *Apparently I’m terrible too* Yep, it’s nice to put my feet up.

          • Sapfo

            *Big stupied smile*
            Then I don´t have to worry, you know, being the best human on earth and all that never does anything wrong.

            (will not talk about stupied swed politic >_<)

          • 😀 Ha!

            It’s always safest not to talk of politics. 😐 I’ve learned that with my brother.

          • Sapfo

            I know, and it is even worse in here now.

            Now back to Sweden being the best country in the world. *OUCH!* AJ!
            Stop that AJ, it is not nice to throw muffin XD

          • I think that you’re hitting yourself with muffins. *looks at muffin pile that hasn’t changed*

          • Sapfo

            Can you throw some muffin my way. I am having guest today and have nothing to offer them.

          • *pulls back catapult and tosses muffins.*

          • Sapfo

            Thank you AJ! But next time, please don´t aim for the tomatoo plant 😉

    • Sapfo

      Hello AJ!
      Have you goten any words from Mr. Dangerfield?

      • Not since this morning. I was complaining about a character in a book.. And he wanted a fritter.

        • Sapfo

          If he does not tell you what it is. Then I will show you later.

          • Ooooh! Okay. I’ll bug him about it a whole bunch.

          • Sapfo

            He might not have goten it yet. so keep the naging to next week then.

          • Will do!

            So how are you today?

          • Sapfo

            School began yesterday 🙂
            I got cramps >_<
            I got a nice little note from Hamlet ^_^
            I am making a blueberry XD
            They where showing of sextoys as school XXDDD

            So more good then bad I think

          • Sounds like it. A blueberry?

          • Sapfo

            I’ve done crocheted strawberries, so now I wanted to make a blueberry. It is a gift.

          • I saw a pattern for an apple. I’m not certain I’m up for patterns yet unless they have pictures I can decipher easily. 😀

            Although if I could find one for a toad that wouldn’t be a bad thing. I want to put hair on it’s head.

          • Sapfo

            It is easy once you get over the magic ring.

          • Stupid magic ring. I thought I had it down, but I can’t always get it to tighten all the way. I lost a whole square because of that stupid ring.

            I need to get some stitch markers. Or something. Well I also want more yarn.

            Oh! Do you know a nice easy, but pretty pattern for an afgan/throw?

          • Sapfo

            I have a easy vid, but it is in Swedish. But that´s the way I do the MR

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFHW2roAgng

          • Watching now! So far I’m getting it exactly. I’ll see how the tightening works.

          • Sapfo

            I have tryed many diffrent ways, but this is the one I use now adays. Much easyer then the others.

          • I’ll give it a try for sure! I should get some yarn needles too

          • Sapfo

            Oh dear! Most of my things are free-hand.

          • I may have to resort to something like that down the road.

            Reading patterns has been like reading music for me. Just blobs on the screen. I need pictures. Videos have helped some, but sometimes I find myself yelling at the video to slow down and go back.

  • Magic 8-ball suggests an early update tonight……..

    • Saxon_Brenton

      Okay. Thank you.

    • SofiaT

      Cool. I wonder if Duncan will manage to get a word in.
      Sircea sure likes to talk!

      • I was just thinking the same thing. What will he say? What will he do?

      • silibub

        LOL, seriously, he’s gotten maybe three sentences out over the past several updates. Maybe she’s angling for a monologuing trophy.

        • SofiaT

          I had given Duncan the award back on ch.2, but she is a likely contender.

          • silibub

            There, she doesn’t want to be outdone. I’d like to see him stand up for himself, though, although he’s been flagellating himself so much since returning from hell that he might just take it.

          • SofiaT

            I don’t know if he’ll stand up for himself or agree with her. She’s pushing all his buttons, he must be feeling like an idiot right about now.

          • silibub

            He might agree with the essence of what she’s saying but still be able to call her out on her manipulative way of doing it. Might be a small case of pot meets kettle in that instance, though.

          • SofiaT

            It takes one to know one!

            I still have the gut feeling that Duncan doesn’t like lying much. It’s a necessary tool he’ll use sparingly because it’s beneath him -he has other ways to get on top.

            For Sircea, lying her way through situations must be like a second nature.

          • silibub

            Oh, that’s interesting — I can see why you’d have that impression, since it seems like deceiving Kyle really left a sour taste in his mouth, but I wonder if he’s always disliked lying to people (even if “the ends justify the means”), or if it was lying to Kyle in particular that felt wrong to him. I’ve had the sense that he’s fine with lies of omission, but tends not to fabricate things outright unless he absolutely has to (such as initially denying he set the apartment fire). Or was that what you were saying anyway?

            I can’t say I disagree about Sircea, though. And I’m sure “omitting” alternate options for saving the world won’t fly with Duncan in any case!

          • SofiaT

            No, what I mean is that he doesn’t strike me as the type of person who lies much. I think he likes using other means (strength, charm, intelligence) to get what he wants because that gives him more of a thrill, lying is cheap. Maybe it doesn’t sit well with his moral code either; who knows?

            I got that impression from the previous chapters, where his words were always rather ambiguous and he avoided outright lying whenever he could. Even before casting the spell he told Kyle “do you trust that right now all I want is for you to be happy?” -and it was the truth.

            I think Sircea is lying when she says she doesn’t need him. But we’ll see…

          • silibub

            Gotcha, good points! And probably correct — he seems like he might enjoy being able to manipulate someone without plainly deceiving them, a sort of intellectual challenge. I guess it wasn’t so fun with Kyle, though.

          • SofiaT

            He probably won’t admit it but I think he confined more of his truth to Kyle than he initially planned.

          • Exactly! I was thinking the same thing.

      • I wonder if that’s what inspired Duncan’s monologue with Kyle.. he had the time and place to do it xD

        • SofiaT

          “That witch never lets me get a word in sideways, by god I’ll speak my mind now that I can!”

    • Thanks, Alex!

    • Sapfo

      One word, or more like seven, from our tour guide, and all we kids in the backseat are quiet.

  • Good evening, all. Checking in for camping.

    Thanks to Doki for alerting me to the Magic 8-ball!

  • Checking in also, although painting zombie walk things so distracted ;p

    • Tomorrow, right? How are preparations going?

      • Just about done my mask with having to glue it once dry, contacts soaking, costume pieces ready. Should be good 😉

    • Post pics and have lots of fun tomorrow!

    • Sapfo

      Blueberry is almost done ^_^
      So do blueberrys have metal arms or not? I don´t remember 😉

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Awesome! Hope you have a great time!

  • Well, for better or worse, it is done.

    • Sapfo

      what is done dear?

      • Changed it.

        • Sapfo

          Aaah! Have to reload the page.
          But why is Deimos here in this comic? Where did Doki go?

          • Deimos has appeared! It’s a crossover.

          • Sapfo

            Well then I know how this comic is going to end.
            Deimos creaps up behind Lamproos and does his knife thing. Then it is all over.
            The end!

          • That is so so perfect, Sapfo!!!

    • *Gryph has spent the last 5-10 mins looking at Deimos pics then looking at Doki’s avi*

      I really hope you get to cosplay Deimos, Doki. I think you would be splendid.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Ooh, looking good!

      • There you are! Did you get my message?

        • stickfigurefairytales

          I did, thank you!! 🙂

  • Any moment now…Danish?

    • DANISH!!

    • You rang? 😉

    • Sapfo

      What is wrong with you people?! Now I will never get the V today. D,:

      • You never know… I still have that annoying issue with having to manually scroll down on the new page while it loads. It makes me slower. Oki, ‘only’ 5-10 secs slower but that’s a LOT in Hunter Time -_-

        • Sapfo

          Oh no, that´s so bad <..>

          ;P

  • Camping.. had to wait for my internet to come back after a service update. Typical it often happens on a camp night >.>

    • Morning Danish!

    • Yes, these things happen at the most inappropriate times.

    • Sapfo

      Morning, do you have any sugar for me to eat? Pain!

      • *Looks sideways at the chocolate cake*… Maaaaybe.

        • SofiaT

          Chocolate cake? With ganache?!? 😀

          • With the most delicious coconut/cocoa creme on top.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Mmm!

          • SofiaT

            Meh. I don’t really like coconut.
            I can have it on Anzac biscuits and can tolerate it on Lamingtons but other than that, it doesn’t really tempt me much.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            My mom hates coconut, which makes it a good choice if I don’t want her to be tempted by something I’ve got around.

          • SofiaT

            Ha!

            My kid sister and cousin are already planning my birthday party, for when I go home for Christmas. I’ve told my mom that I want her mille-feuille instead of a cake this year. Only problem is, everybody loves it and it will go too quickly.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Maybe you can keep it in a container with some kind of trick lock?

          • SofiaT

            The good thing about being the kid that lives on the other side of the world and only visits once a year -if that- is that I can ask her to make mille-feuille’s for me every day while I’m there and she’ll do it without complaining >:D

            I’m not above using my evil powers for yummy desserts.

          • Me neither, but this one is delicious.

        • Sapfo

          Chocolate cake! You need to send it my way now! O_O

          • You can have a piece.. this is my first cake, or chocolate for that matter in 2-3 weeks *guards cake*

          • Sapfo

            Oh look a new page!

            *Sneaks of with the cake so we can have some alone time*

          • Sapfo…tricky!

          • Sapfo

            Strawberrys and chocolate. What will I not do for them?

          • And another V!

          • Sapfo

            some V´s are more catch and release 😉
            But yes, I do need a V right now. It´s been some time since the last one

          • SofiaT

            HEY! You almost tricked me there!

          • Yeah, like that would work. That just cost you your piece for trying that evil trick ;-p

          • Sapfo

            *Licks the cake*
            Not even that bit?

      • I had a very nice princess cake for a co-workers birthday today. Wasn’t too sweet. Just lovely.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          Ooh, that sounds good!

        • I like cake with the “whippy” icing or Cream Cheese icing they have on carrot and red velvet cakes.

          • Yummy!

          • stickfigurefairytales

            I agree – those are good. I also like the frosting on German Chocolate cakes, with the coconut mixed in.

        • Sapfo

          Even better then.

        • The bakery’s name is Copenhagen 🙂

          I was hoping to take leftovers home but the birthday girl took it.

  • davefragments

    I almost forgot. However, I can’t stay up late because a “clock repairman” is coming tomorrow very early. He’s going to fix the broken ding dong.
    on the clock, on the clock!

  • This is really annoying…my right arm is hurting all of a sudden.

    • Not good. Pulled muscle?

      • Not sure, but it is my whole arm, but maybe centered in my upper arm and shoulder?

        • Funny that happened to my boss yesterday. He said it was mostly in the muscle of his shoulder and it was really hurting bad and affecting his whole arm.

          Apply some ice?

          • But if I leave to get ice, the page might update…

          • This is likely true! Hopefully Alex will update soon. You can get ice and I can go to sleep.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      That’s not fun. 🙁

  • Super tired all of a sudden. Been a long week. Glad Alex is updating early. If I didn’t have laundry in the dryer now, I might have to go to bed.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      At least it’s in the dryer and not the washing machine – less time before it’ll be all done.

      • Yes, yes, but it’s a little too early for bed. Oh well. We’ll see how long I can stay awake.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          Eh, go to bed early if you need to. Rest is important!

          • Maybe after I fold the laundry. Good advice, Sticky!

  • Btw.. I found out earlier what can make you move REALLY fast, even when you’re halfway dozing off…

    Watching Animal Planet, only light on comes from the tv, and commercials come on where several snippets show, and one looks like a spider hanging/crawling down – but then the scene change and the spider is STILL there >.>
    Then you realize that a spider is on the way down from the ceeling in a web line about two feet in front of you.

    You move FAST! I got a flashlight turned on, grabbed a paperback book and dumped in on the spider when it hit the floor. Damn thing didn’t get hurt at all and ran when i lifted the book. Had to whack it three times D:

    • stickfigurefairytales

      AAAAAH!

    • CREEPY!

    • I almost walked into a black widow the other morning. My dogs insisted on going out at 4 in the AM. As I was coming back in the thing and it was big (okay not Australia big, but it was big) and it was dropping down right in front of the door. I’m not certain how I saw it, but I jumped back so fast. Total instinct type of thing.

      Grabbed the near by shove and smushed it good, but dayam, that was scary.

      • SofiaT

        *pats back* Try living in Australia.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          No, thank you.

        • I think I agree with Sticki… That was bad enough. I don’t need to have one the size of my head drop down. 😐

      • Eeeeeh!!! I hate when you’re about to walk into a spider, and then it was a black widow for you. I’m so happy we don’t have those here.

        • Yeah, took a bit for the creepies to leave me.

  • Sapfo

    A LS is going on, but it is not Ono or Hamlet, so only music for me 😉
    Camping commands me.

    • Manda?

      • Sapfo

        Yes Manda. Good music, and sexy lady with snake.

  • silibub
  • zunden

    …..She has a way with words, I think.

  • I have to say, that while her delivery is atrocious, I do find her rational and sensible…within the context of the overall situation that she is projecting.