1425: The cambion’s ring – Chapter Two, Part One

Title: The cambion’s ring
Author: Awesomenemo
Media: Television
Topic: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
Genre: Supernatural/Adventure
URL: The cambion’s ring
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Eliza

Welcome back, patrons!  I’m TacoMagic and with me again is Eliza.

“Hi!”

In the first, or zeroth according to the fic, chapter of “The cambion’s ring” we got what was essentially a full-regurgitation of the episode “Halloween” only with Xander turning into an eighteenth-century Stuish-douchecanoe, Claude, instead of a soldier.  Other than this change, the episode pretty much proceeds on-rails with Claude just being whiny and obtuse the entire time.  Eventually the episode ends almost exactly like it does on the show, but then we get a tacked-on scene where Claude/Xander… Clander? gets up and goes in search of the thing.

Pretty brief, I know, but there’s not much substance in the fic to recap thus far.

This week, we finally hit the actual first chapter.  It starts with an author’s note, which, so far as they go, is not as bad as I’ve seen them.

AN: sorry about the late review been busy. Anyway now for some Q & A

Wait, review?  Were we supposed to bring some number two pencils with us?

“No, no, this is the review of our exam.  We go over the questions and figure out why we got things wrong.  It’s a way to analyze our failures and learn!”

Wait, what exam?

“You know, the exam we took on Monday.  That one that’s worth half our grades.  You have to remember that, right?”

I didn’t take an exam on Monday!

“Oh, I thought maybe you went to the afternoon exam since your schedule is all messed up right now.  You know there isn’t a make-up on this one, right?”

Nobody ever told me about the test!

“Well, maybe if you would have attended the lectures, you would have known.  How do you expect to graduate if you bomb this class?”

Noooooooooooo!

*Taco sits bolt upright in his chair*

GAH!  Damn, I hate that dream.

“You really need to get more sleep; you keep nodding off like that.  Now pipe down, I wanna see why I got docked a point on number seven.”

Nooooooooooooo!

“Such a ddrama llama.”

Archoan: The cambion I am using is of my own creation, and is based more around the mythos of a human and demon lovechild.

Very loosely based.  Like how most of the lore in Buffy is very loosely based on existing myth.  So, really, why bother mentioning what he’s based on?  You’ve obviously given the whole thing your own slant anyway.  Just say, “Claude is my own Stuish creation.”  Boom, end of sentence.

Chi Vayne: Don’t worry Xander will have most of the control, and some leftovers.

“So instead of creating a ruin of a character, he’s just going to ruin an existing character?  Yay?”

You knew what you were getting into when you agreed.

“What do you mean, ‘agreed?’  You said, ‘Hey, I need help with something in here,’ then locked us in the riffing chamber!”

I meant in more of a sense of agreeing to live in the Library.

“Okay, true enough.”

Chapter the first…

I’d be more forgiving here, but AN here labeled his “prologue” as chapter zero, so maybe just stick with the default chapter numbers and stop trying to be cute, ‘kay?  And knock it off with that ellipsis shit in your chapter headings.

Now at the moment, Claude was completely unhappy.

“Oh, poor baby.  I think he needs some of my happiness therapy!”

And by that you mean …

“The spanking machine!”

After rooting around the boys memories, and taking control when he slept, he finally figured out, he was dead, at least his body.

*Eliza slaps Taco’s hand as he tries to snatch up the commas*

“I’ve been instructed to make sure the extras make it into the spare punctuation box instead of your private reserve.”

Curses!

After finding his old ring on the boy’s dresser, he finally remembered how he was dragged to the furnace, metaphorically speaking.

Author, that’s not how metaphors work.  I’ll give it to you that you have a sort of vague idea of what a metaphor is, but you still have to make it fit what is actually going on.  If the only way we understand that something is a metaphor is through you telling us that it’s a metaphor, then it’s not.

And if you write a proper metaphor that speaks for itself, don’t explain it!

Flashback

*Eliza messes with her phone a bit*

What’s up?

“Just getting the calming squad ready for Ghostie.  Brownies, iced coffee, and a Batman pacifier should do the trick.”

Washington DC 1814

Please tell me that AN knows that the eighteenth century is the 1700s and not the 1800s.

“You know I’m not a very good liar.”

“Come on out little brother.” Frederick’s voice rang through the building.

“Ring my beeeeeeeeeeeeell, ring my bell!”

So, tell me, Eliza, what do you think that song’s about?

“It’s about a woman and her husband.  They really like to play the bells after dinner.  I think they’re musicians or something, and strangely excited about bell ringing.  You would think they would have more instruments available, but I guess everyone has a favorite.”

Uh-huh.

“Yeah, like they must really enjoy bells for as much as she sings about them.  The song implies that they ring the bells all night long, so I guess they may even be semi-professional bell-ringers or something.  It’s  kinda crazy.  I like to ring my bell as much as the next girl, but I don’t know that I’d be able to keep up with these two and their all-night bell sessions!  Then again, the song doesn’t really mention whether they’d let others join in on the bell ringing, so I wouldn’t want to presume.”

Close enough!

There was a war going on, and Claude was hiding in a broom closet.

So, this would be Battle of Bladensburg.  It was a major battle that took place in August 1814 during the War of 1812.  This particular battle culminated in the British occupying Washington DC and burning several of the government buildings.  It was a strange occupation that lasted only 26 hours and ended with the British leaving the city after massive storm hit and dumped a big ol’ tornado into the center of DC.

However, an important note here is that the battle happened in Bladensburg, which is about nine miles away from DC.  The actual occupation of DC happened nearly unopposed and the occupying forces mostly just set fire to government buildings then left the next day.  There was no battle inside the city to speak of.  Indeed, the tornado killed more people than anything else during the occupation.

It’s not that he was a coward, far from it, he just didn’t want his older brother to hang him from the ceiling with his entrails.

“So, what, he’s part of Crunchy’s family?”

I’m not sure Crunchy’s family was this functional.

“There are certain advantages to having been hand-reared by humans.”

In that they didn’t try to eat you on a daily basis?

“Among other things, yeah.”

You see he and Frederick weren’t on good terms, of course they never were.

No shit?  I figured being worried about your brother stringing you up with your own intestines would be signs of being on great terms!

“Maybe being a demon changes up what good terms are?”

Mmmm, maybe.

But their relationship went from being hostile, to completely violent.

We get it, stop belaboring the point!

After exorcizing his predecessor and killing one of his brothers, Claude’s father thought it would be a good idea to put a hit out on him.

“Oh my!  Claude’s father exorcised the guy, killed the guy’s brother, and put a hit out on Claude!  Talk about a busy day!”

And an extremely specific one, at that.

Frederick being completely overjoyed to kill his ‘weakling’ little brother.

Seems like he’s more of a wuss than necessarily a weakling.  They aren’t always the same thing.

“If you come out now, I will make sure your death isn’t as painful.” He said it like it was a present.

“Isn’t as painful as what?”

You know, the thing.

Claude knew Frederick would find him, he was the best tracker in the family.

Stahp with the pronouns!

Clop, clop, He could hear the footsteps outside the door.

“The bar must be low if the best tracker in the family wears clogs.”

Clop, clop, they were getting closer.

The clogs?

“Nobody expects assassin clogs.”

That’s … actually true.

Clop, clop, they were outside the door.

Don’t open the door!  It’s clogs!

Clop, clop, they stopped.

“Lies!  Nothing stops assassin clogs!”

Claude could hear his heart beating like a hammer, and anvil.

“Are anvils generally known for making beating noises?”

Typically not on their own.  But I guess if you hit something repeatedly with an anvil, it’d make a pretty pronounced sound.

Frederick must have heard it too, as a clawed hand broke through the door, grabbed his throat and threw him out, some splinters were collected.

“I think Frederick just grabbed himself by the throat and threw himself into the closet.  Poor guy, he must have tried to go up against the assassin clogs and they mind-controlled him.”

On the plus side, he’s got some splinters for his collection.

“I should get him out of there for an evening so we can compare collections.”

No.

“Awwww.”

“You always knew I hated hide and seek brother.” Claude looked up shivering, and saw his brother.

“Why does Claude hate hide and seek?  He’s kind of a damp rag, isn’t he?”

He had two pairs horns growing out of his forehead, much like a rams.

Which ‘he’ are we talking about, here?

“More importantly, why does he have horns that are shaped like rams?”

I guess AN thinks that horn-shaped horns are boring.

His lower half was like goat legs eaten by the creatures of the earth

Um, what?  What does that even look like?

“Nothing, really.  You’re supposed to eat everything, including the bones, so he must just be a hovering torso.  But I’m not sure how he would get mind-controlled by the clogs if he can’t wear them.”

Mysterious fic is mysterious.

and his hands had huge claws the same size as his fingers.

Which were …

“About that size.”

Right.

The whites of his eyes turned black, the irises red, and his pupil was slitted like a cat’s. But his face… oh that face… the skin peeled off and his skull had elongated, to that of a skinless goat. His uniform was torn in many places, and his platinum hair moved as though underwater.

It’s strange that after AN spent the entire first… zeroth… whatever chapter refusing to describe anything, all of a sudden this guy is getting described in detail normally reserved for costume porn.  I’m calling it now, Fred here is going to be the Awesome McEvil of this fic.  If it lasts long enough for him to show up in the future.

He was in the form of the Baphomet, the beast of Satan.

Kinda … Baphomet typically isn’t just bone.

“And it usually has very nice breasts.”

Fred is stacked, dude.

He was in his most powerful form, the formam inferni.

The hell is this, a Final Fantasy boss?  What happens when he turns into his true form!?

“His true form is that of assassin clogs.”

The world is doomed.

Also, nice try again on the Latin, but you still missed.  That, at best, says “Hellings the form.”  See, you’re trying to have an accusative noun paired with another noun, which is like writing a sentence and then removing the verbs.  You wanted the dative case of the first declension noun fōrma, which means, since you used the plural form of infernus, you need to use fōrmīs instead of formam.  So the phrase you wanted was fōrmīs Inferni.  That translates to form/shape of the Hells, which is what I think you were going for.

All cambions had a formam inferni, it was as close to their demon parent as they could get.

“Somebody has been watching too much anime.”

Naw, this feels more like somebody playing too much Devil May Cry.

It was also as powerful as their parent, the only drawback being that if they were to stay in the form to long, they would begin to lose their soul, this would leave them as smart as a dog, it would mean loss of sentience.

Thank you random exposition!

“How long is ‘to long,’ anyway?”

Six to seven years.

Now Frederick’s father happened to be extremely powerful, thereby he was able to destroy an army in a couple of minutes in his formam inferni, he was not the best figther though.

The fuck does that even mean?

“Maybe he’s like Fezzik, and only good against groups of people?”

I don’t think Fezzik was destroying entire armies.

“So brother how does it feel being weak for once.”

Which one of them is talking!?

“The brother!”

Thanks.

His eyes wide with insanity.

That … doesn’t actually help me figure out who’s talking, author.

“I mean, with that crucifix mark, keeping your power contained like that, it must be… infuriating.”

“See, told you it was the brother.”

That doesn’t help!

It was.

*Eliza waggles the rolled-up newspaper at Taco*

“Swenia’s edict still stands.”

Understood.

“And to think that I will be taking you back home.”

WHO IS TALKING!?

Claude rolled up his sleeve, revealing a simple tattoo of a cross. Frederick being too distracted by his ego, didn’t notice.

Fred doesn’t notice Claude bearing a tattoo that’s the very topic of their discussion?  Look at that situational awareness!  The best tracker in the family, ladies and gentlemen!

“Still possible given that we have no actual frame of reference.”

I shudder to think of how bad the rest of them must be.

“I mean you were one of the most powerful of us, then you went and ‘repented’.” He said that mockingly.

I still don’t know who’s talking!  Yes, yes, we can, by deductive reasoning, figure out who is likely speaking any given line based on the context, but at least use a few attributions to establish the talking pattern before bashing us in the face with pronouns!

Claude saw a fire near him.

“The SQDF was right on target with that fire, and just in time, too!”

“But we fixed that didn’t we. The screams were… pleasurable.” When Claude could he would tear that smirk off.

BAAAAAAA!?

“I don’t think that one counts.  If anything, Claude is on our side on this one.”

That makes me feel dirty.

He was right beside the fire.

So, what’s Claude’s plan here?  Light himself on fire?

“A plan with no drawbacks!”

“And the girl, what was her name? Ahh yes I remember, Elizabeth Right?

It’s neat how one missing comma really changed the meaning of that second sentence.

“Either that, or the question mark wasn’t the correct way to end it.”

Ahh the fun ambiguities caused by poor punctuation.

I also remember her screams, how she begged you to save her, how she-” Claude couldn’t take anymore he shoved hid tattooed arm into the fire, burning it away, and unleashing his formam inferni.

“It seems rather inconvenient that you have to burn off your arm every time you want to unleash your super transformation.”

Certainly would have been a much more compelling downside than the bullshit thing about a lack of soul turning you into a dog.

“I’m not sure that’s what it actually was.”

Meh, pretty sure I was close enough.

His body transformed, he let out a hellish roar. Frederick paled, then he scowled.

“How does a skull pale?”

I think our author forgot that he gave Freddie a skull for a head.

“You must have loved that mortal whore. Well you’ll see her again, when I swallow your soul!”

Still lacks the dramatic punch of: ‘I Garland, will knock you all down!’

“Poor guy was born about two centuries too early for that one.  Back then, mustache twirling wasn’t nearly the art it is now.”

With that he charged Claude, who with his rage answered with a kick to the chest, sending him flying through the wall.

Look, I realize I’m not the best person with punctuation mechanics, but crap, dude, you need to take a remedial English class and figure this comma thing out.  It’s getting to the point where Eliza is embarrassed on your behalf.

“I really am, too!”

So, if not for yourself, do it for the poor unfortunate raptors you’re hurting with your grammar.

Frederick crawled out of the crater, before throwing a pillar at Claude.

The hell kind of architecture do we have going on in this building!?  Is this a movie set or something?

Just before it hit Claude knocked it out of the way with a backhanded swing and began walking forward.   Frederick threw another pillar, another back hand. He then threw a fireball, which Claude caught and absorbed, Claude was closing the distance.

“Then guy A did the thing, and then guy B did the other thing!  Then guy B did a thing that guy A blocked, then guy A did a totally different thing!”

It’s like we’re right there watching.

Frederick sensing defeat, decided to use something he was supposed to give to father, the real reason he came to Washington.

The thing that didn’t exist until the author thought of it just now.

“AHA!  A thing!”

You’ve been hanging out with me too much.

A large red gem.

Okay?  Does Claude have a weakness to rubies or some kind of aversion to the color red that we should have been told about before now?

He shoved it into his stomach activating it’s power, the power of a hell mouth, despite it being miles away he still felt the power surge through him, turning his skin sin black, and making his blood veins glow a magma red.

So I guess the author decided this fight wasn’t epically anime enough.  Now there’s a special gem that completely changes how Hellmouths work that can also just be jammed right into yourself to unleash a new super-power form.

Sweet crap, AN, maybe you should have just written a Devil May Cry fic and have been done with it.

“Now let’s fight.”

Who said that!?

Frederick charged, Claude charged, they leapt at each other, they mid-air grappled.

“Yes!  Guy A and guy B did the thing at the same time!”

Frederick empowered by the hell mouth, overpowered Claude, smashing him into the ground.

I really want to root for Freddy here, but he’s just too … Awesome McEvil-y.  I’m gonna go with the heat-death of the universe again.

Claude stood up flexing his arms, and wings.

Oh, right, I’d kinda forgotten that he’d transformed into his Super Saiyan Hellings the form.

“Isn’t it weird how Freddie got way more description than Claude got?”

Yeah, usually it’s the Stu who gets the word vomit.

Frederick wanting him dead generated his power into his fist, which began to generate a dark aura, sprinted towards him and punched Claude through the stomach putting a hole there.

“I think one of the two guys just did a dramatic thing!”

Why is it every fic I’ve done in the last two years has kept lowering the bar for extremely uninteresting action scenes!?

Claude was in so much pain he reverted back to his mortal form, and eyes wide slumped forward.

If anyone is wondering what seeing Claude’s death scene adds to the fic, well, we’re right there with you.

“I think it’s added about fifteen hundred words.”

Sounds about right.

Frederick sneered as he pulled his arm from his brother’s chest, and watched Claude’s lifeless body topple to the floor.

“Claude keeps his chest hidden in his stomach?”

I’m sure nobody would think to look there for it.

Pulling the gem from his chest, and reverting back to human form said “Now, dinner is served.”

That’s not even pronoun abuse this time, it’s just … bad.   What the hell kind of grammar is that?

“Why is he going to eat the gem?   He just pulled it out of himself, if he wanted to eat it, he should have just left it in.”

Positioning Claude’s head, so that he was staring directly into his eyes, Frederick opened his mouth, moved it over Claude’s eye and- had a hand clasp around his throat, like an iron collar, and squeezed.

You have any idea what’s going on in this sentence?

“I was going to ask you.”

Let’s just pretend they’re making out or something.

Frederick desperately clawed at the hand of Claude, who stared at him with unblinking eyes.

*ALARM BLARES*

“Whee!  Time to try out the new glitter pod missiles!”

*ALARM SUDDENLY CUTS OUT*

“Awwwwww.”

And with one final squeeze, broke Frederick’s neck.

Worry not, patrons!  Eliza and I will spare no effort in our search for the rest of that sentence!

“Don’t lie to the audience, Taco, it’s not nice.”

See, this is why you’re such an awful liar.

Now it was Frederick’s turn to slump, dead.

What do you mean his turn!?  He’s the first one to die in this scene!

“Still counts as his turn, even if he goes first.”

You win this round.

Claude knew he was going to die, and before the fire consumed him whispered one word.

“Rosebud.”

Did you and Herr have a movie night, by any chance?

“Mayyyyybe.”

“I’m coming…”

terror

“That’s two words, not one.”

Of all the things to focus on.

“What?”

Never mind.

That night the white house burned.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of this scene.

And at this point, the flashback ends, and so too, does this week’s riff end.  Join us next week as we finish off chapter two!

“I have a crazy idea!  Let’s go ring some bells!”

Uhhh, I think you need to go have a talk with Swenia about a few things.

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37 Comments on “1425: The cambion’s ring – Chapter Two, Part One”

  1. AdmiralSakai says:

    “If you come out now, I will make sure your death isn’t as painful.” He said it like it was a present.

    “Isn’t as painful as what?”

    You know, the thing.

    Isn’t as painful as the ‘fic?

  2. GhostCat says:

    Flashback

    :eye-twitch:

    *Eliza messes with her phone a bit*

    What’s up?

    “Just getting the calming squad ready for Ghostie. Brownies, iced coffee, and a Batman nookie should do the trick.”

    I’M GETTIN’ BATMAN NOOKIE! Ooh, and brownies!

    • TacoMagic says:

      You may want to curb the excitement a tad. Apparently calling pacifiers “nookies” is a Midwest thing or something.

      • GhostCat says:

        Dammit. I still get the brownies, right?

      • TacoMagic says:

        Of course. Though you may want to have Syl taste one first, just in case Eliza has been experimenting in the kitchen again.

        • GhostCat says:

          She’s been oddly reluctant to try any of the Library’s baked goods. The woman will drink Pine Sol through a crazy straw, but finds a couple of bone fragments in a Danish and suddenly she’s “picky”.

      • BatJamags says:

        Apparently calling pacifiers “nookies” is a Midwest thing or something.

        I’m technically from the midwest (and by that I mean that I lived in a suburb of Chicago five years ago, so I guess I don’t count) and I’ve never heard of that term.

        Like I said though, I don’t really count as a midwesterner, so maybe I’m just ignorant.

      • TacoMagic says:

        After some searching, it appears that the correct spelling is actually “Nuki,” and it’s derived from the Gerber pacifier band Nuk.

        https://www.nuk-usa.com/pacifiers/

        Still not sure how widespread the usage of Nuki is, but at least now I know how to spell it.

        And there’s also apparently a psychedelic Gummibär video about the Nuki. I lost my ability to even after seeing that.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        Yeah, my mom always referred to them as “nuk”s or “nook”s.

        Which is somehow even worse.

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    I also remember her screams, how she begged you to save her, how she-” Claude couldn’t take anymore he shoved hid tattooed arm into the fire, burning it away, and unleashing his formam inferni.

    Ok, either that is an extremely hot fire, or cambions are made of paper and soap bubbles.

  4. GhostCat says:

    His uniform was torn in many places, and his platinum hair moved as though underwater.

    Dude is going to get all the tangles.

  5. Addicted Reader says:

    Given the pronoun abuse, I was seriously confused about who got grabbed by the assassin-clog hand and who was being described.

  6. GhostCat says:

    turning his skin sin black, and making his blood veins glow a magma red.

    Does he have veins for things other than blood? What color did those turn?

  7. BatJamags says:

    So, this would be Battle of Bladensburg. It was a major battle that took place in August 1814 during the War of 1812. This particular battle culminated in the British occupying Washington DC and burning several of the government buildings. It was a strange occupation that lasted only 26 hours and ended with the British leaving the city after massive storm hit and dumped a big ol’ tornado into the center of DC.

    However, an important note here is that the battle happened in Bladensburg, which is about nine miles away from DC. The actual occupation of DC happened nearly unopposed and the occupying forces mostly just set fire to government buildings then left the next day. There was no battle inside the city to speak of. Indeed, the tornado killed more people than anything else during the occupation.

    But the fact that the author even knew the battle happened would imply that he…

    No, no, that’s impossible. He couldn’t have. Could he…?

    Our author may have actually… Done just a little bit of research!

  8. BatJamags says:

    “Isn’t as painful as what?”

    THE COMFY CHAIR!

  9. BatJamags says:

    The clogs?

    “Nobody expects assassin clogs.”

    That’s … actually true.

    Don’t be ridiculous, assassin clogs don’t exis

  10. BatJamags says:

    “You must have loved that mortal whore. Well you’ll see her again, when I swallow your soul!”

    *Snerk*

    OMNOMNOMNOMNOM! Tasty!

  11. BatJamags says:

    Just before it hit Claude knocked it out of the way with a backhanded swing and began walking forward. Frederick threw another pillar, another back hand. He then threw a fireball, which Claude caught and absorbed, Claude was closing the distance.

    Y’know, pillars usually serve a purpose. Shouldn’t the building be falling on their heads right now?

  12. BatJamags says:

    “Rosebud.”

    Did you and Herr have a movie night, by any chance?

    “Mayyyyybe.”

    So you watched Citizen Kane without me? :-(

  13. BatJamags says:

    Y’know, I never thought I’d see the day when I’d read a story about a half-demon trying not to be evil and to get away from their family, and not be able to think of a sufficiently witty Teen Titans reference.

  14. BatJamags says:

    “I’m coming…”

    Oh, so he’s ringing his bell?


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