1445: The cambion’s ring – Chapter Three, Part OnePosted: June 15, 2016
Hey, patrons! We’re finally in the home stretch, here! All we have left is this chapter and a non-chapter after it. Two more weeks. Just two more weeks.
“Aww, but I was having fun.”
Not to worry, I know this one was short so you can stick on for the next project as well. It’s got quite a bit more girth to it, so you’ll get to hang out for a while.
“Yay! More hanging with my bestie!”
Wait, isn’t that Swenia?
“Everyone is my bestie, silly.”
You’re going to give me diabetes, dude. Anyway, recap!
“My turn! Last time in the fic … uh … um. One second.”
*Eliza pulls up last weeks riff on her phone and starts reading*
“Claude cleans Xander’s room. Xander sees the result of the cleaning binge, finally realizes he’s possessed, and goes to get help from the embodiment of British stereotypes. Was that really all that happened!?”
There was also a classic movie marathon that Claude bashed.
“That doesn’t count.”
AN: So sorry for not updating for the week, summer has been busy for me, and I procrastinate a lot… Anyway on with the show!
“Taco, you forgot to do a transition.”
Too late, keep going!
Chapter the Second…
“So Xander you think that you’ve been possessed by a half demon, whom you know almost nothing about?” Giles asked incredulously.
So we’re finally at the part of the story where the implausibility of everything starts to make the canon characters reject the new reality they’re living in.
“It really was only a matter of time before that happened. I mean, look at how it’s formatted:”
“Nobody wants to live in that.”
“That pretty much sums it up.” Xander stated, taking a sip of tea.
Well, look at that, the fic just summarized itself. You know, just in case you’re smarter than us and actually skipped everything up to this moment.
Giles pondered; it was unlikely Xander was possessed, even less likely by a half demon powerful enough, and there were only seven of them at a time, four deceased.
Whoa there, back that train the fuck up. The failure density is so high we have to break apart the sentence just to handle it all!
it was unlikely Xander was possessed
“Why is it unlikely? You live on top of a Hellmouth where vampire and demon attacks are nightly occurrences. Maybe you should just take Xander’s word for this one. Or at least use your magic to figure out if he’s right.”
even less likely by a half demon powerful enough
Powerful enough to… fwa?
and there were only seven of them at a time
“If you’re going to make that kind of claim, you really need to share with the audience how Giles knows this. That’s a very specific piece of information for him to just have without any research. Not to mention that you’re still over a Hellmouth, so even if there are only seven, the chances that one of them will show up to wallow in the evil is pretty high.”
If there are seven of them at a time (your exact words, author), it doesn’t matter how many are dead! There are still seven! Good crap, man, proofread your dreck!
Maybe the boy was just possessed by another lesser spirit, not that that should be overlooked, but it was better than one of the seven.
So now Claude is not only a half-demon, but a special, super-powerful, limited-edition half-demon. Who’s surprised? Anyone? Anyone at all? Bueller?
It would be even better if it was just a lesser demon, all he would need was some chalk and that Latin scripture.
“Please, no. We’ve seen your Latin, Awesomenemo. Honestly, we’ve seen your English, too, so you should practice getting that right before you move on to other languages.”
But it wasn’t the wards around his house would’ve treated him like a vampire, well the breeds that they normally encountered.
*Tilt’s head* The fuck is that even supposed to mean!?
“Buffy, when it isn’t about vampires, is a monster-of-the-week show. There really are no breeds of demon that they encounter on a regular basis. Not to mention that Giles’ magic really isn’t the kind of thing he’d use to put up wards. And wards generally are demon-specific anyway, not the magical equivalent of Off-brand Demon-Away.”
“God, Giles! Did you put excrement in this tea!? It’s foul!” Xander exclaimed in a faint north England accent, spitting the tea onto the carpet.
And now Claude is a tea snob, too. AN, were you trying to make Claude an unlikable ass-bag? If so, you hit the nail on the head.
Giles was about to berate the boy before what, Xander said and in what accent.
I think the author a word. He several, fact.
He looked at him
“Thank you. Very specific.”
and Xander didn’t seem to notice what just happened, and was trying to scrape the taste of tea off his tongue with a napkin.
Great, now your tongue tastes like wood-pulp instead of herbs. Good jerb.
“Did you just say excrement? In a English accent?” Giles asked, his worry growing.
“With Xander cast as the the comic relief in the early seasons, it’s more likely Giles would be angry with Xander for mocking him rather than worried.”
Characterization is hard.
“What? No! I just spoke the way I normally do!” Xander said normally.
*Taco and Eliza look at the alarm*
*You got me, I have no idea if that counts*
“No, Xander. I heard you.” Giles pushed his glasses up on his nose. “You are not talking normally.”
*Rubs his forehead* We get it, Xander used an accent. Everyone knows why, even Giles at this point, so nothing is added by having this conversation. Can we please just get on with it?
“So what! I can talk however I want!” Xander was slipping into the accent again.
“Xander if you don’t start telling the truth I will have to do something, you and I would not enjoy!” Giles was starting to raise his voice.
“What part of ‘I’m possessed by a half-demon’ is Giles not understanding here?”
This reaction makes more sense if the fic would have gone with the more likely scenario of Giles being insulted by the perception that Xander was mocking him. In this case, it feels like Giles’ hissy fit is coming right the fuck out of nowhere.
“Ha! Like you would do anything! It was a mistake coming here I’m leaving, yah wanker!” Xander stood up and started towards the door.
“That accent is not very well written.”
The fic is not very well written.
“At least it’s consistent.”
It was then Giles realized this wasn’t Xander, or at least not all of him.
“How much brandy were you putting in that tea, Giles? Usually you’re a lot quicker on the uptake.”
He had to be stupided down so as to make the plot unfold at a more glacial pace.
“I’m not sure that was such a good idea from a standpoint of maintaining momentum and tension.”
The fic is not very well written.
And with that Giles snuck up behind him
“With what now?”
You know, That! It’s like the The Thing.
and put his right arm around Xander’s neck, Giles put his left hand firmly on the back of Xander’s head, while his right hand firmly gripped the elbow of the arm around the boy’s neck.
Now that’s the most awkward and over-elaborate way I’ve ever seen somebody attempt to describe a sleeper hold. Not to mention that particular configuration is physically impossible since, as described, Giles has his right arm around the boy’s neck with the left hand firmly placed on the back of Xander’s head and the right hand grabbing the right elbow for some reason. Try that at home on a friend and see how it works out for you.
“Isn’t Xander supposed to be super-humanly strong, now?”
I guess we’re about to find out how situational his strength is.
As he did this he pulled back, and brought Xander off balance, with his knee digging into the small of the boy’s back.
“With as awkward a grip as you have on the boy’s head, that sounds like a great recipe to take both of you down and break your own arm in the process.”
While he did all off this he squeezed his arm.
“Why is Giles squeezing his own arm?”
I guess he got a little frisky in the heat of the moment.
“I’ll send a text to the Perversion Fellowship to let them know it’s turning into that sort of fic.”
Don’t you da- they’re calling themselves the Perversion Fellowship?
“I think it’s a place-holder until they can think of something more scandalous.”
Xander was in a choke hold, and close to unconsciousness.
Verdict is: super-strength is is one-hundred-percent situational.
“So, if he knocks Xander out like that, does that mean Claude immediately takes control?”
Probably. In any event, it’s a stupidly huge leap for Giles to go from complete disbelief to choking Xander out because… wait, why is he choking Xander out, again?
“He insulted Giles’ tea.”
When he finally stopped struggling Giles checked Xander’s neck for a pulse. He was alive, good. Giles didn’t know what he would do if the boy died.
“Hide the body, flee to Mexico, and spend the rest of his life as Señor Del Bosque. Eventually he is able to make amends for his sordid past by becoming the pillar of the community. But this is all turned upside-down by the arrival of a new naive and attractive maidservant, Elizabeth. As she discovers clues pointing to his dark past, he has to come to grips with the crime he did and put the demons of his past to rest so that he can learn to love again.”
Please don’t pitch your new fanfiction ideas in my riffs.
Wait, isn’t that basically the same plot setup as Jane Eyre?
Now Xander didn’t know what happened. One moment he was sipping tea that Giles graciously gave him. The next he was being a complete prideful, well… ass.
… Wait, what?
The fic is actually acknowledging that Claude was acting like a tool! Could it be? Is the miracle real? Are we genuinely supposed to hate Claude!?
“I feel giddy. This might be the first time we’ve seen a Stu built specifically as somebody the audience is supposed to dislike.”
Shame that he’s still a glaring Gary Stu.
The way he acted, the things he said… That wasn’t him but he felt like it was his decisions. Like when you dream, how you think you’re in control, but when you wake up you realise you weren’t, your subconscious was.
That’s actually a fair comparison. A little wordy and misspelled, but it’s apropos, at least.
“Could it be, is the author showing improvement?”
It’s possible. Mechanically this thing is still a mess, but at the conceptual level, this chapter is far less bad than the preceding ones. Still too early to call, though, could just be a lucky passage.
And when Xander woke, it was after Giles knocked him out.
“As opposed to before Giles knocked him out.”
As I said, lucky passages happen.
While he was unconscious Xander had a lot to reflect on.
AN, that’s not how unconsciousness works.
For one his actions, another his voice, and let’s not forget the personality change.
Yes, let’s not forget it!
Keep your narrative voice in check!
After he was done reflecting he opened his eyes, which he didn’t know where closed, and paid attention to his surroundings.
“So was he unconscious or not?”
You know, sorta.
In front of him was a long, grey, pebble road with a hedge on both edges. It split a great, green field, where it seemed more grayed then green, like it was faded.
“It was luck, wasn’t it?”
Seems that way. Even by the standards of this fic, that was a horrible description.
A few feet from him, on the right part of the field, was a giant oak tree, easily the same size as a house.
Sweet crap, that’s a huge tree!
“Or a small house.”
He didn’t see any farther than that, due to the overwhelming fog.
“I think it’s more underwhelming fog.”
My optimism didn’t get high enough to be underwhelmed.
It wasn’t humid, the air was actually quite dry.
“Not only is the narrative vague, but the actual setting is vague because it contradicts itself. That’s an exceptional level of vague right there.”
Xander took a deep breathe through his nose. It smelled like… Smoke?
What is it with this author and not knowing the difference between water vapor and smoke!? They look, act, smell, and feel nothing alike! It’s like not being able to tell the difference between vegetable oil and water even after seeing it and taking a drink.
It didn’t smell that bad, more like a room heavily smoked in, then burning food.
“Not that bad? I’d be gagging!”
Ahead of him he heard a marvelous sound. Singing. It was coming from the tree.
“Yay! I love music trees!”
I don’t think that’s actually a thing.
He advanced towards it, then noticed that around the tree was filled with colour.
Betcha that color is blue.
The bark was a deep shade of brown. the leaves a green, and not the grayed green of the field.
“That’s unusual for an oak tree?”
Only if you’ve never seen a tree before.
Speaking of the field, the grass around it was a green like the leaves, and flowers of all colours where around it. All in all he would rather be there than the gloomy road.
We get it, the colors on and around the tree are more vibrant, can we move on please?
When he got closer he saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, sitting on a low branch.
“A portentous dream with a supernaturally beautiful woman in it. That sounds somewhat familiar.”
She wore nothing but vines and leaves that shaped themselves, into something like a corset. She was brushing her hair a she sang an entrancing song.
The heck is a dryad doing in his dream?
“At least it’s something different. Usually it’s a spirit or somebody’s mother.”
She stopped brushing her auburn hair and look at Xander, blinking her Emerald green eyes.
What is it with authors and gemstone eyes? What the hell is wrong with more normal colors!?
She gestured with her finger to get closer. Xander obliged. Now he was right at the edge of the road staring up at the beauty before him.
“She’s going to eat his brains.”
That would certainly make this a different sort of prophetic dream.
The woman smiled, “Why don’t you get in this tree with me?”
*Porno music blares over the intercom system*
“They got my text.”
“Okay…” Xander stated dumbly, reaching towards the nearest branch. He was about to touch it, when a booming voice spoke “SNAP OUT OF IT!”
Kind of a bossy tree.
“Music trees are rather high-strung.”
Xander winced at the sound, losing his focus on the song and closing his eyes. When they opened the beauty was gone. Replaced by a hag, that looked as though she was missing the front of her face, teeth sharp like a thousand needles, claws dried with decade’s old blood, skin gray and cracked like ash, Green loving eyes replaced by bottomless pits. And her song, it changed to a shriek like a thousand dyeing creatures.
“Told you she was going to try to eat him.”
Well, I’ll be damned.
Dang, I was hoping it hadn’t noticed.
*Living Stone breaks through the wall. He’s still covered in glitter*
*Eliza pulls out her paint cannon and fires a thick jet of pink paint at Living Stone*
Living Stone want free bath.
Crunchy has a rock cleaning service on Sublevel 57b. You can pick up a voucher from the Darkwraith running the reception desk in the lobby.
“Aww, but he looks gorgeous!”
*Living stone busts through one of the other walls as he leaves*
Seriously, guy, we have giant doors! How do you think the T-Rex moves around!?
Xander understandably backed onto the road falling over.
The tree was replaced by a giant structure made of rotting wood, lined with bones, and with hanging bodies, some partially eaten by crows.
Well, even if it’s a bit overwrought, at least we’re getting descriptions of things. The formlessness of this void is abating a bit.
“Shame we don’t know what the structure is.”
You know, a structurey kind of structure.
Others nailed to the trunk, by bones of their fellows.
That is not how sentences work.
And still others in an even more gruesome manner.
“The formlessness is making a comeback”
Dude, you’re not Lovecraft, you can’t get away with not describing things.
Xander threw up onto the road. When he looked up he saw the flowers where changed to a sea of bones, from the creatures leftovers.
“It’s not nice to stereotype demons like that. Just because everything is bones doesn’t mean that it was necessarily the demon eating people. They could even be artificial bones. She’s sitting there admiring her decor and you come in and are all judgmental. For shame, Xander.”
The monster was clawing towards him, but always staying on the branch, never letting go.
Xander after a moment stood up, and brushed himself off. “Guess you can’t get on the road, huh?”
“And now you’re taunting her!? Xander, you’re better than this.”
No he isn’t!
“Okay, well, maybe he isn’t, but it’s still not nice.”
The creature replied with a loader screech.
“I really don’t think that’s what he meant.”
“Well I better get going, nice meeting you.” And with that Xander started down the road again. After a few minutes, he looked back to see how far he had come. There was a brick wall erected right where the road was.
Spooky dream is spooky!
“And filled with word padding.”
Xander was confused, why was there a brick wall there. Was it so he couldn’t go back? Probably. Should go near it? Not really. Was he going to anyway? He sure was!
Use. Consistent. Narrative. Voice!
Xander walked towards the wall, and stared at it.
“So now we’re reading about Xander staring at a wall.”
Amazingly, it’s no more uninteresting than the rest of the fic.
On the wall was strange drawings, and writing. Like a diagram, or a plan.
“Literature or art.”
Soup or salad.
When he got closer to inspect it he put his hand on the wall for support.
Is it honestly that hard to inspect a wall without leaning on it? What part of this situation makes it seem okay to lean on the creepy wall?
And as he leaned in the bricks it touched fell away, and slowly expanded till only the bare sides and top were left.
“It? The bricks the wall touched? Does that mean all the bricks since they are the wall?”
You got me, I have no idea what just happened.
He looked through the newly made hole, He saw himself on a bed, sleeping and heard some voices coming from somewhere in the feed he didn’t see.
“Now what’s going on!?”
I dunno. I can only assume the “feed” is some kind of surveillance system or something.
“So, what, like Xander just got teleported to the island from Lost?”
Makes as much sense as anything else right now.
What the voices were saying he couldn’t make out, and as he leaned closer, he didn’t notice the feeling of the ground giving way till it was too late, and he fell into the… portal, video… thing.
It’s pretty bad when the narrative doesn’t even know what the hell is going on or what anything is.
“At least the narrator is in good company.”
He screamed the entire time.
And with that, the first half of the chapter breaks. We’re also going to break at that super-tense cliffhanger.
“Awww, but I want to know what happens.”