InBrightestDay

InBrightestDay's (Originals) Review Reply & Discussion Thread

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14 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

The follow up scene at PPD confirms it but honestly Eparlegna comes accross more like a Buffy villain named The Judge than an dangerous evil mastermind.

While I wasn’t referencing the Judge specifically, you’re not that far off.  Eparlegna is highly confident because he was able to overpower just about everyone 75 years earlier (like in the San Francisco footage).  Like the Judge, it hasn’t really sunk in how humanity has advanced, and he is being somewhat arrogant.

When the original version of the review just called him a second rate Buffy villain without naming ‘em I thought Thundercloud must have meant Warren. I mean, I thought The Judge was pretty cool (though not as cool as Buffy was when she shot him with that rocket launcher) – say what you want about Spike, he knew how to get nice presents for Dru.

So why Warren? Well, look at everything in common! They both:

  • Seek domination
  • Don’t like being told what to do
  • Poor attitude to women
  • And they’re fuckin’ rapists
  • While very smart in some areas, deeply stupid/blinkered in others.
  • Got superiority complexes
  • Display bad tempers
  • Have a tendancy to vengeance
  • Once got skinned by an enraged witch (admittedly, that story hasn’t been told for Eparlegna yet. Wasn’t his finest hour. Anyway, it grew back.)
  • Are definitely fucking Andrew off screen Ok, that one isn’t Eparlegna. But the other stuff totally fits.

But seriously folks, if InBrightestDay is working with a second rate villain that’s the fault of the source material in Whore of Heaven. I think the dude comes across as pretty badass and evil in the new story.

Edited by JayDee

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On 2/13/2019 at 3:17 AM, InBrightestDay said:

Thank you!  I always feel so bad when I make stupid mistakes (and you found another one further down), so I’m happy to know you’re still enjoying the story in spite of my screwups.

You know, some day I’m going to put a chapter up and it’s not going to contain a single stupid mistake.  BUT TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY!

So, there are two reasons for Kevin taking normal ammo in that scene.  The first is the out-of-universe reason, namely that those bullets will, at the end of Part Five, be inscribed to be anti-demon rounds, so they needed to be “blank” for that (I suppose you could write over one inscription with another, but that would be a rather messy and difficult process).

The second reason, though, the in-universe reason, is that Kevin wasn’t planning to try to shoot Eparlegna with those bullets, but was instead thinking there might be more cultists inside, so he wanted to be able to shoot them.  And of course I didn’t make that clear, because in spite of my best efforts, I am a mediocre writer.  That mistake will be fixed come morning (with credit to you in the Author’s Note).

Mediocre writer….erhh...you have a bunch of experienced authors here that is giving you a number of reviews that say your writing rocks so please don’t listen too much to your inner critic. Every author make omissions and mistakes that we will regret or rewrite afterwards, that is why professional authors have professions producers. You are far ahead of the pack.

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What I was going for here was that the car is mostly coming down toward her, so its momentum is primarily directed through Luzurial and into the ground.  In addition, the crumpling of the car’s roof absorbs some of the energy.  All in all, she probably slid back about a meter, but not enough that I wanted to really point it out.

There are plenty of possible solutions. Perhaps the ground is so solid that she gets good leverage to stop the momentum, perhaps she is standing enough forward of the others to have space to end the momentum or as you suggest in your answer the car is more dropped on them than thrown.

Even more important I also think think that an actual angel doing heroic save of mortal are entitled to do miraculous things that would not be possible for an ordinary super hero. Allowing Luzurial to do the impressing save here without explaining the details is fair game IMO since the details is obviously not important for the scene, but the reason I commented about it is that is often good to think through the implications of what the hero can do so that you don’t end in a later situations when the reader wonder why she cannot repeat her feat of strength to save the day.

Edited by Thundercloud
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I kind of agree that the concept of the Judge is pretty cool, on the other hand I think Buffy is pretty much on spot when she names him a smurf. :-)

It is actually kind of interesting to consider the similarities in story building with the Judge and Warren. Both are promoted as bad guy of the season but in the end it is just a diversion and they are suddenly removed from the game as the real big bad of the season makes his/her appearance.

I also agree that InBrightestDay is doing great at capturing the essence of JayDees Eparlegna demon.  This discussion makes me think on Battlestar Galatica that builds much on catch phrase that the Cylons have a plan and kept people guessing about what the plan was. After the series finished the show runners admitted they did not have the Cylon plan figured out and just used the notion of the secret plan to give the show a tense setting.

The lesson to learn from this is probably that for a story where the readers/viewers perspective is limited you don’t need to figure out all details of the bad guy to tell the story. Your Eparlegna demon is in some senses in the other camp from the mysterious plan when he acts the perfect meglomanic that does not seem to have a good plan, but where you can still use the had-anticipated-the-heroes-move-and-had-a-trap-planned ploy when it looks like the heroes are about to succeed.

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SinfulWolf

I like how Luzurial is working through her issues. It's solid character building, though I am concerned for what's going to happen inside as she's not at her strongest and she's got major issues with the Invader.

Thank you for your review!  Her big issue at the moment is that what happened to her (well, specific aspects of it) are what Luzurial considers her dark secret.  Kevin’s not stupid, mind you, so he knows by this point that if Luzurial went through something horrible and sex-related involving a demon, then she was probably raped, but there are details that Luzurial considers to be her fault that she doesn’t want him to know about.  Eventually getting to the point where she can talk to him about it is a big step in their relationship.

And no, this first reunion with Eparlegna will not go well.

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Eparlenga though... I mean he can't be at full strength. I have little doubt he'll be defeated only because he's rushing into this so quickly.

He’s always had a very high level of self-confidence.  We see inside his head quite a bit during Whore of Heaven and at no point is he even the slightest bit nervous, so I figured that would carry over here.  To some extent, he’s justified; he can literally burn entire armies, but that kind of ability can go to one’s head.

The speech of his is also me expanding somewhat on his motivation for coming to Earth during the first story.  He simply doesn’t see the value in how Lucifer does things, and he can afford to shit-talk his boss because, hey, it’s not like he’s going to have to answer to him here on Earth.

As for his strength, well, impregnating Luzurial gave him a power boost, and after he carved her wings off he absorbed them too, so that’s some more power.  Finally, he’s got her sword, which as JayDee explained to me (and will come up in Part Seven) gives him yet more power due to what the sword is.  He might not be quite at full power yet, but he’s way stronger than she is at this point.

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Though Hobbs does seem to have a hell of a lot of power in the PPD.

Well, yes and no.  He is fairly high up, but his power does have limits.

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I think my only real criticism is that you of all the cultists those two were the most set up besides Hobbs, and they were schmucked before they could become any kind of real threat.

That’s definitely a fair criticism.  I didn’t want Sabrina and Kenneth to be blank slates, so I gave each of them a little bit of “why he/she’s working for a demon” similar to Shondra and Molly in Whore of Heaven, and even used the same method to do so (Luzurial reading their minds).  However, I did end up mentioning Sabrina earlier on, which probably made her out to be more important than she was.  I mentioned this in the author’s note, but I did consider lengthening the action scene, but then I feared we would have had the Neutral Female problem, only with male characters this time.  I could have had them pursue the characters inside the building, but there’s some other stuff waiting inside for them (Eparlegna’s “Craft Beings of Vice” power), and I didn’t want to get in the way of that.

But yeah, it’s definitely kind of disappointing, and I’m sorry about that.

Edited by InBrightestDay

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I’m not sure if it would have been Neutral Female only because Kevin and Abdul are clearly very out of their depths. However I think this also went to show how strong an Arch Angel can actually be.

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38 minutes ago, Sinfulwolf said:

I’m not sure if it would have been Neutral Female only because Kevin and Abdul are clearly very out of their depths. However I think this also went to show how strong an Arch Angel can actually be.

Funny thing, I actually calculated how strong Luzurial is.  I wanted to have some kind of yardstick so I wasn’t making her too strong, so…

In Whore of Heaven, Luzurial bites through a stone tentacle being used to gag her.  Assuming the magic animating the tentacle didn’t make it any stronger than normal stone (unlikely, but this at least gives us a minimum value), and assuming physical properties similar to granite, then it would have a compressive strength of roughly 200 megapascals or 29,000 psi.  Average human bite force is 162 psi, so assuming all of Luzurial’s strength scales to her bite force, that would make her (at full power) at least 180 times human strength.  Even assuming she’s at like one third of that right now, that’s still 60 times human strength.

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Part Five is up and we have new reviews!

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JayDee

I still kinda feel it’s a shame that there wasn’t room (well, alright there was room but it was too darn crackfic silliness) for the stoner and her id Construct getting high together and listening to music, but maybe that’s a story for another time.

It could be called “Not So Deadly Sin.”

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Also, the virtue wolf fighting the next monster is cool.

Thanks!  To elaborate, the background monster, Grabby Hands there, is Greed.  Luzurial creates incarnate virtues, the same way Eparlegna creates incarnate sins, so I thought that perhaps those virtues might specifically oppose the sins, thus being drawn from the seven Christian virtues.  In this case, the virtue that opposes Greed is Charity, which, theologically speaking, is not so much giving money away as it is acting on love for your fellow human beings.  Dogs are often used as exemplars of selfless love, so I gave charity a canine or lupine form.

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The slightly amended Lailah story is still just as interesting – I just realised I could probably use Lailah myself for the Chastia story if I ever finish it. (since like Chastia she also serves under Luzurial). Would you be alright with me swiping your Jewish folklore ref?

First off, we’re technically working in a shared universe, so as far as the stories go, what’s mine is yours.  Second, I’d be perfectly happy for you to include her.  I don’t know if she’ll ever get to personally show up in one of my stories, so it would be nice to see her...doing well, let’s just say.  I’ve gone back and forth over her mythological role as Angel of Conception, but that wouldn’t matter for your story anyway, given when it takes place.

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“Wait,” Abdul said.  “Are you saying the Archangel Gabriel’s got a girlf—?”

*DING*

Second big laugh. Gotta love that comedy cut-off :)

It’s a cheap joke, I know, but I couldn’t keep from writing it in.

For those not in the know, in Jewish folklore, Lailah and Gabriel actually work together.  According to the lore, there’s a tree in the Garden of Eden called the Tree of Souls, from which new human souls are produced.  The souls fall from the tree into something called the Treasury of Souls, Gabriel draws one out and Lailah bonds the soul to a human embryo and then watches over it until birth, which is why she’s often referred to as the Angel of Conception.

Again, this is folklore, not hard canon; it’s not in Jewish church sermons or anything.  In that sense, it’s kind of like the Celestial Hierarchy.

I keep going back and forth over whether or not to include the conception thing into this story’s universe, but I liked the idea that those two work together, and that they might be attracted to one another, albeit unable to act upon their feelings due a perceived ban on physical intimacy.

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That ability to make spikes shoot out from the ground and impale things could be useful in a fight in the final part if you’re still thinking of things to include.

Thank you for the suggestion! :)

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Calista seems like she has a sensible attitude to me. Never do what the penis worm wants is a good rule of thumb. I remember when you first tossed it at me, I replied “Even separated from the rest of the story like that it’s a great line so I can see why you like it.” and all I can say now is works even better in story! Is there a reason that Calista saw it first up on floor 5, then when it couldn’t reach her it goes down to the Lobby? Is Lust... Calista’s sin? Is Abdul doing some serious satisfying off page?

First off, “There’s no way I’m coming out of this vent!  That’s exactly what the penis worm wants!” is my favorite joke in the entire chapter.  Second, the thought did occur to me that if the thing was attempting to get at Calista in the vent, that it might actually be her personal sin creature, which does make one wonder what her sex life with Abdul is like.

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Charnel Spider is a heck of an image. It’s the kind of bloody gore critter that wouldn’t be out of place in a professionally published horror work. That engagement ring is a nice macabre touch.

Thank you again.  The ring was actually an attempt at visually indicating that the monster isn’t made of human body parts, but is instead going around carving them off of people and wearing them.  I figured jewelry was a good indicator for that.

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They beat it with science! Finishing it off with the two shots is a very zombieland “make sure” moment. Heh. Gotta have a big bang at the end of the part, but then Calista’s really coming into her own with her established App Theo knowledge for making the right ammunition.

I really wanted everyone in our main group to get at least one really cool or important thing to do, so Abdul gets to apply his Chemistry knowledge with the methane bomb, and while Calista has a supporting role (well, aside from saving Abdul by beaning the Charnel Spider with her phone), it’s a vital one, allowing for those bullets to become useful.

Edited by InBrightestDay

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InvidiaRed

The Pride bit was hilarious.

Not even an archangel could pierce that ego. xD

I’m actually glad people liked the Pride joke.  I wasn’t sure whether to go with it or not.

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Now the lust manifestation was interesting with the sudden prince albert.

:lol:You know, it never occurred to me that Luzurial stabbing it through the head would look like one of those, but I guess that is kind of what happened, isn’t it?

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It really speaks of Kevin's character that he's willing to face the Invader like that. I get the distinct feeling that when the time comes it'll be Eparlegna that blinks.

Well, they’ll both have their turn to blink.  Kevin’s going to discover that he really shouldn’t taunt a demon, but by the end of the next chapter he’ll get a pretty good moment of his own.

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Also, Mad Love for the Charnel Spider. I do love Nightmare Fuel. Hahaha.

Thank you!  I was actually pretty happy when I came up with the idea.  I was trying to think of new sin creatures, but the only deadly sins that readily suggest monsters are Lust, Wrath and Gluttony (the latter two of which will get showings in this story as well).  I wanted to use one of the other ones, and was wracking my brain trying to think of what Envy might be (trying not to go all Fullmetal Alchemist and have it be a shapeshifter) when the “stealing body parts” idea came to me.  The creature’s arthropod form comes from a type of assassin bug that attaches its victims to its exoskeleton as a form of disguise.

Edited by InBrightestDay

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50 minutes ago, InBrightestDay said:

First off, we’re technically working in a shared universe, so as far as the stories go, what’s mine is yours.  Second, I’d be perfectly happy for you to include her.  I don’t know if she’ll ever get to personally show up in one of my stories, so it would be nice to see her...doing well, let’s just say.  I’ve gone back and forth over her mythological role as Angel of Conception, but that wouldn’t matter for your story anyway, given when it takes place. 

Exactly! Ain’t no kids around before the dawn of time. And thanks! If I get it done, I’ll probably stick her right in there for someone for Chastia to be patrolling with.

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First off, “There’s no way I’m coming out of this vent!  That’s exactly what the penis worm wants!” is my favorite joke in the entire chapter.  Second, the thought did occur to me that if the thing was attempting to get at Calista in the vent, that it might actually be her personal sin creature, which does make one wonder what her sex life with Abdul is like.

“Man, don’t ask what we get up to. A gentleman never tells.”

“Right, got you, it’s just we overheard Calista leading a woman’s studies seminar on sexual fulfilment. Luzurial says there were three Succubi at the back. Looking shocked and taking notes.”

 

Edited by JayDee

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SinfulWolf

Good tense chapter, with some good creativity for the Id creatures running amok. The Charnal Spider especially was certainly an interesting aspect of Envy, but I think that should have been implied a bit more in the story itself as I didn't know outside the Author's Notes.

I did actually consider showing the Spider carving parts off of a corpse, but I don’t think that would have made it any clearer.  At the time, I didn’t think it mattered if the audience knew what sin it was during the chase, but I thought they might be curious afterward, hence the Author’s Note.

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Also, the use of metres and kilograms seems a bit strange. While I'm especially used to using metric in distances, it's odd to see American's using it so much. I guess unless they've finally switched over... but it's just a small detail that's stood out to me.

:yes: “They’ve finally switched over” is exactly what I was going for.  Aside from the occasional bit of future tech (nano-sutures at the hospital, the Gungnir asynchronous coilgun, the presence of holograms) the only other thing I changed from the modern day was to assume that the US had finally adopted the metric system.

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Otherwise a pretty solid addition.

Thank you!  This was pretty fun to write, so I’m glad it was enjoyable.

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On 2/20/2019 at 9:36 PM, InBrightestDay said:
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  On 2/20/2019 at 4:37 PM, Sinfulwolf said:

So… all it takes for the US to adopt metric is a demonic invasion. Good to know :P

And honestly, even that might not do it.

Actually the reason the US is so often target for demonic invasions is probably due to not having switch to metric… ;)

Edited by Thundercloud

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7 hours ago, Thundercloud said:

Actually the reason the US is so often target for demonic invasions is probably due to not having switch to metric… ;)

:lol: I should have known!

Well, the last of the reviews for Part Five is in.

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Thundercloud

I would say this a great chapter with lots of cool monsters. It is a good mix of creepy monsters and really fun parts like the Pride scene.

Thank you so much!  I really liked playing around with the different creature designs.  The Charnel Spider might be my favorite, but there are a few more (Wrath, Sloth and Gluttony will be making appearances).

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It is very smart how you use the initial slaughter scene to set the tone of the chapters so that don't need to much into gore to make the rest of chapter scary. The lair with the dead students still impaled by the spike that killed them is a great scene.

Yeah, I tried to pull back a little on the gore, but this is a sequel to Whore of Heaven, so it would be wrong to get rid of it entirely.  The students impaled in their seats, as if attending a lecture, is a reference to WoH, where it’s mentioned that many of Eparlegna’s mutilated victims were left posed in grotesque parodies of life.

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One point that maybe could use improvement is the encounter with the invader where you literally describe Kevin looking at how the invader looks like, but don't really add any visual description. Readers with a good memory might recall the visuals from earlier chapter, but this would be a good point to repeat some visual detail since the character is actually staring at the invader. Actually using this kind suggestion might be tricky since too much description in combat will distrupt the action.

That’s a very good point, though as you point out actually integrating it is something of a challenge due to pacing.  I’ll see if I can work it in without messing things up.

Well, based on how positive the feedback was here, I think I can safely say I’ll never match this high point.  Seriously, people, I’m pretty sure it’s all downhill from here.  I can only hope that downhill is still entertaining.

Next time, well, just in case you forgot what this is a sequel to...

Edited by InBrightestDay

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11 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

Well, based on how positive the feedback was here, I think I can safely say I’ll never match this high point.  Seriously, people, I’m pretty sure it’s all downhill from here.  I can only hope that downhill is still entertaining.

Next time, well, just in case you forgot what this is a sequel to...

I think one of the appeals with your writing this sequel is that you care so much about the characters. This heroic chapter is certainly setting things up for having the upcoming defeat really mean something for the reader. If you pull it off is of course not given, but I am really looking forward to it.

Edited by Thundercloud

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JayDee

So I’ll tell you, and any other person reading this damn review, this thing: Right towards the end this part made me cry, right around when Luzurial is thinking Kevin can’t stand her anymore, and then finds out that his opinion hasn’t changed at all... and then “please touch me”.

I actually teared up writing “Please touch me.”  I did some research on what rape survivors go through, and something that came up is that often they don’t want to be touched, but that’s not a universal reaction.  I thought it would be pretty emotional if Kevin had read the same thing and was trying to keep a respectful distance, all while what Luzurial really wants is a hug.

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I laughed again at Kevin’s derailed train of thought and physical reaction when Eparlegna goes into the much less human form. It’s a fair reaction it just struck me as amusing for him to go from angry and threatening to ‘oh crap’. You describe him really well, better than any of my descriptions, and he seems truly monstrous.

The eyes were my personal favorite part.  In Whore of Heaven you describe the demon’s eyes somehow radiating both red light and darkness.  It took me a while, but I finally managed to visualize that.  I figured it was kind of like old footage of nuclear bomb tests.  In order to actually see the fireball, the aperture on the camera clamps way down when the explosion happens and darkens everything, so instead of the whole screen going white, we see an orange to red fireball that appears to suck the light out of the entire area.  That became my model for how Eparlegna’s eyes worked.

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Another thing I didn’t quite think of first time, but the way he falls over and lands on his ass is like taking the ancient comedic pratfall trope and using it in a way that would be funny if he wasn’t so scared. It feels like a good way of playing with the trope.

I mean, have you ever tried walking up stairs backwards?  It’s not easy, especially when you’re distracted by fear.

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Kevin didn’t really take Luzurial’s request before going in not to listen to heart did he? Well, he’s only human and curiosity is powerful…

Yeah, he knows he shouldn’t, but in the end he just can’t not ask.

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The offer paragraph is evil, but hot. (other reviews “It’s just evil. JD’s sick.”) Anyway, Kevin’s denial and standing up to the fearsome Eparlegna even after he’s virtually had the shit scared right on out of him is pretty cool

Kevin’s temper is kind of his advantage here.  Eparlegna is terrifying, but as he keeps saying stuff that degrades and insults Luzurial, Kevin’s affection for her prompts anger and it starts to burn through the fear.

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and he’s got that good burn in.

:D There’s just this running thing about Eparlegna and Lucifer.  Their styles just kind of clash…

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The wrath monster’s another great body horror creation. It’s not quite as spinechilling as the spider, (which would be very hard to top) but anger is often more mindless lashing out violence which it really seems to exhibit, while the spider had the more grasping nature. Kevin going on to basically outsmart it into destroying itself seems to work as a pretty good “overcoming rage” device (the whole wrath fight is pretty good, but sorry, I think the spider one edges it.

Oh, I knew even when I was writing it that I was not topping the Charnel Spider for sheer creep factor.  Nonetheless, I’m kind of fond of the Wrath creature.  The fact that it basically kills itself is kind of based on the idea of anger very often being self-destructive.

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Another of your little Luzurial the badass moments,

“Luzurial smiled. Broken she may have been, but she was not helpless yet.”

That line is simultaneously cool and sad to me.  On the one hand, I just like the way it reads, and she just melted aluminum with her bare hands, which is just objectively badass.  On the other hand, it shows that even when she’s enjoying having accomplished something, she still sees herself as broken, as a lesser person after what Eparlegna did to her in the last story.

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I guess I only had Luzurial the badass as an informed ability in Whore of Heaven (with the exception of the odd moment) where you really demonstrate it here and last chapter.

Necessitated by the genre I suppose.  The target audience for Whore of Heaven did not come here to see a badass female action hero...you know...being badass.

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The wires working under Kevin’s skin sound pretty painful, and then the threat of skinning him - I had a ship do something similar to someone in my story Flaying Solo, leading to a reviewer asking ‘Did you feel even a tiny bit gross when writing this??’

I’m curious, did you?  During Flaying Solo, I mean.  I recall you said during Whore of Heaven it was a fairly detached process.

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There’s some nasty little details in there that make it feel very “Whore of Hell” sequel as you point out in your author’s note, with the sounds and the unpleasantness of Eparlegna using the burning sword to torture Luzurial’s stumps.  It’s got to be physically and emotionally painful for both Luzurial and Kevin (and later on Kevin being careful not to touch her stumps was a really nice touch)

Kevin avoiding touching Luzurial’s wing stumps actually pops up a few times in the story.  I never explained his thought process on that, but I figure that he doesn’t know if touching them will cause her physical pain, and figures it will likely remind her of her past trauma, so he tries to avoid doing it.

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and then, yeah, a crowning moment of awesome and funny when Kevin shoots Eparlegna in the testicle, and follows it up with just unloading the rest. Punctuated with bullets for emphasis as TVtropes would tell us :D

That’s actually the Punctuated Pounding trope (minds out of the gutter, people), albeit with bullets instead of fisticuffs.  I actually went back and forth about whether to keep that line or not, but in the end, I realized that it didn’t matter whether or not Kevin should say it, because the fact of the matter is that he would say it.

As for Eparlegna’s mean-spirited “imagine her going back to Heaven looking like this,” bit, that’s a direct callback to your story, where, while anally raping Luzurial, he asks her to imagine standing before God and telling Him what she “let” Eparlegna do to her.  It’s just another little bit of his sadism, shaming her for something that’s not her fault.

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When Eparlegna bursts out in his whole badass draconic form it’s great imagery. He’s not just on the screen in the lecture theatre, but he’s right there and he’s on the move. Things look bad for people, even with a little respite.

Fun fact, before I actually sent you the first draft, in my very first concept for the chapter, he was actually going to chase the group out of the building and they’d have to escape by driving into a tunnel.  It would even have had a funny little moment with Chloe Liu talking to other PPD agents (“You lost it?  How did you lose an eighteen meter dragon!?”), but I also realized that it would have started the endgame too early, and wouldn’t have allowed the breather that Part Seven provides.

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So, yeah, the ending. The ending is great. It’s got some real emotion and it’s pretty heartbreaking to see Luzurial thinking that he doesn’t want to touch her, but then it’s so sweet when she looks in his mind and it’s so human – there’s the lust but even more powerful the totally non-objectified enjoyment he takes in her company, the good things he feels about her, with the three comparisons, Again it just feels like brilliant writing.  And, then, yeah, she looks again and sees he genuinely doesn’t feel less of her and the tears come again. It’s a very emotional section.

And, well, she knows exactly and truly how he feels for her and then “Please touch me,” Wow.

The car scene was originally planned to be from Kevin’s point of view, and then I realized how much better it would work from Luzurial’s, specifically if I implemented the mind reading ability as a way for her to see the truth.  It’s definitely a big step in their developing relationship, since he’s now seen her at her lowest point and, unlike what past experience has taught her to (wrongly) expect, it doesn’t change his opinion of her at all.  It’s where the terminology changes a bit too, and Kevin picks up the designation of “her special mortal.”

Edited by InBrightestDay

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InvidiaRed

It is accurate. There is that stark contrast. You

feel dirty, despoiled. How could anyone ever touch you again. Ad nauseum. It takes a long while, but it eventually sinks in

You aren't responsible for the cruel actions of others. That they want you to feel worthless.

I don’t know if I said this last time, and I know it’s been years and all, but for whatever this is worth, I am so sorry for what you went through.  No one deserves that.

I am glad that I managed to be somewhat accurate with Luzurial’s reaction, though, and that is exactly what Eparlegna wants: for her to feel worthless.  It’s one of the reasons I wrote the car scene the way I did.  It’s actually a reflection of, or an answer to, the dialogue just before the final rape in Whore of Heaven; I even mirrored some of the wordplay deliberately.  In that scene, Eparlegna tells her that she is a whore and he is her master, and that a whore is all she has ever been and all she will ever be.  Here, well, Kevin gets to tell her what she needs to hear, and what he knows is true: that she is not a whore; that she is something beautiful and amazing, and that nothing Eparlegna does to her can ever take that away.

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Anywho, You did wrath superbly.

Thanks!  I’m not entirely sure where the idea for the Wrath construct came from.  I just suddenly had the idea for an eyeless, skinned polar bear-type thing.  Of course, I also threw in a Megatherium-style body for the giant claws and the tail.

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Also, loved the necromorph referance even if the series died with a whisper.

It seemed appropriate.  The Charnel Spider is wearing human body parts rather than being made of them, but it certainly has the look of a Necromorph.

As for the series, I personally enjoyed Dead Space 3, though definitely more as an action game than as a horror one.  I definitely understand why a lot of people didn’t like it, though.

Edited by InBrightestDay

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3 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

I don’t know if I said this last time, and I know it’s been years and all, but for whatever this is worth, I am so sorry for what you went through.  No one deserves that.

I am glad that I managed to be somewhat accurate with Luzurial’s reaction, though, and that is exactly what Eparlegna wants: for her to feel worthless.  It’s one of the reasons I wrote the car scene the way I did.  It’s actually a reflection of, or an answer to, the dialogue just before the final rape in Whore of Heaven; I even mirrored some of the wordplay deliberately.  In that scene, Eparlegna tells her that she is a whore and he is her master, and that a whore is all she has ever been and all she will ever be.  Here, well, Kevin gets to tell her what she needs to hear, and what he knows is true: that she is not a whore; that she is something beautiful and amazing, and that nothing Eparlegna does to her can ever take that away.

Thanks!  I’m not entirely sure where the idea for the Wrath construct came from.  I just suddenly had the idea for an eyeless, skinned polar bear-type thing.  Of course, I also threw in a Megatherium-style body for the giant claws and the tail.

It seemed appropriate.  The Charnel Spider is wearing human body parts rather than being made of them, but it certainly has the look of a Necromorph.

As for the series, I personally enjoyed Dead Space 3, though definitely more as an action game than as a horror one.  I definitely understand why a lot of people didn’t like it, though.

The road back starts when you realize what your mind is telling you and what everyone else telling you are so different that they cannot be reconciled. Kevin in a sense sees her in a manner similar to that of her creator. Its really a profound moment when she sees what she had allowed herself to forget. That a human of all things helped plant her feet on the road back. 

An interesting note on Wrath. Eparlegna is saying without meaning to is that Kevin is scared. Because at the root of lashing out is panic and anxiety and primal fear. A potent flammable cocktail so easy to set a flame.

Well to be fair. Dead Space 3 had nowhere else it could go. Brethern moons harvesting earth and all. It wasn’t like it there would be some last second rescue. Issac got tentacled in the end. lol.

 

 

 

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On 2/23/2019 at 9:36 AM, JayDee said:

Everything I’ve read up until the end of part 8 in draft form is AWESOME. So I think he pulls the next parts off, but I guess I’m biased :)

See? SEE? I fucking stand by that. Part 6 is great!

12 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

I actually teared up writing “Please touch me.”  I did some research on what rape survivors go through, and something that came up is that often they don’t want to be touched, but that’s not a universal reaction.  I thought it would be pretty emotional if Kevin had read the same thing and was trying to keep a respectful distance, all while what Luzurial really wants is a hug.

First comes the hurt, then comes the comfort. It really fuckin’ works. 

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The eyes were my personal favorite part.  In Whore of Heaven you describe the demon’s eyes somehow radiating both red light and darkness.  It took me a while, but I finally managed to visualize that.  I figured it was kind of like old footage of nuclear bomb tests.  In order to actually see the fireball, the aperture on the camera clamps way down when the explosion happens and darkens everything, so instead of the whole screen going white, we see an orange to red fireball that appears to suck the light out of the entire area.  That became my model for how Eparlegna’s eyes worked.

And it’s a great damn image you have here. Taking a kind a half-assed Whore of Heaven concept and really making it work!

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Necessitated by the genre I suppose.  The target audience for Whore of Heaven did not come here to see a badass female action hero...you know...being badass.

I probably still have had more in to set the scene. I mean, I dunno her most badass moment is probably taking so many lashes before she starts screaming. Here and in the last part, she comes across as a proper badass.

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I’m curious, did you?  During Flaying Solo, I mean.  I recall you said during Whore of Heaven it was a fairly detached process.

I don’t really remember, but it’s a story about an X-Wing pilot being tortured and killed by a haunted spaceship. There’s wires getting into eyesockets. It’s just grimdark edginess really, but I was doing my best to write something Deathstalker would enjoy… I may even have succeeded. Was a long time ago. Unfortunately the review in question asking if I felt gross was back before I responded to ‘em on the forums so I can’t look back at what I thought at the time.

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Kevin avoiding touching Luzurial’s wing stumps actually pops up a few times in the story.  I never explained his thought process on that, but I figure that he doesn’t know if touching them will cause her physical pain, and figures it will likely remind her of her past trauma, so he tries to avoid doing it.

He’s a nice dude!

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That’s actually the Punctuated Pounding trope (minds out of the gutter, people), albeit with bullets instead of fisticuffs.  I actually went back and forth about whether to keep that line or not, but in the end, I realized that it didn’t matter whether or not Kevin should say it, because the fact of the matter is that he would say it.

Oh, yeah. I sometimes forget some of the tropes. There’s a trope for that too, I expect. Cheerfully corrected! I’m glad it stayed in, I think it worked!

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As for Eparlegna’s mean-spirited “imagine her going back to Heaven looking like this,” bit, that’s a direct callback to your story, where, while anally raping Luzurial, he asks her to imagine standing before God and telling Him what she “let” Eparlegna do to her.  It’s just another little bit of his sadism, shaming her for something that’s not her fault.

This kind of “What a total bastardry” at least will make it even more satisfying when they do beat his ass.

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The car scene was originally planned to be from Kevin’s point of view, and then I realized how much better it would work from Luzurial’s, specifically if I implemented the mind reading ability as a way for her to see the truth.  It’s definitely a big step in their developing relationship, since he’s now seen her at her lowest point and, unlike what past experience has taught her to (wrongly) expect, it doesn’t change his opinion of her at all.  It’s where the terminology changes a bit too, and Kevin picks up the designation of “her special mortal.”

He put himself between Eparlegna and her. He’s special alright :p I kid! I kid! I’ve said it’s a great ending already and I stick by it.

Fucking awesome!

Edited by JayDee

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Thundercloud

Chapter 6 does really deliver with a good mix of action, nasty taunts and nonconsensual sex. One taunt that I was expecting, but found missing, was the demon promisihing to use her own offspring to make her pregnant again. Maybe you are saving that for a future chapter.

:huh: Uh...yes!  Yes, that was the plan all along!  It was totally me saving it for a future chapter, and not a good idea I’m going to steal now and put into a future chapter!  Just kidding; I’ll definitely give you credit for that.

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The ending was very nice and give a very good reason why you can take the story in a direction where you focus on building character relations.

Obviously, Kevin and Luzurial are the story’s Official Couple, and I wanted that to feel like the relationship had actually developed over time.  Part Six here is one place where that definitely comes to the fore.  They’ll be spending a few days at the motel in the next chapter, and as one might expect, things will progress further.

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Speaking about monsters I think I actually was more impressed by the sin creature in this chapter. The spider had a real creepy description, but the way the heroes deal with it was a bit MacGywer style if you get what I mean. The way the hero defeat the sin creature in this chapter is very classical, but it is also a quite clever way to use the defining feature of the sin creature against itself. I found this encounter more rewarding.

Thanks!  Abdul and Calista definitely did some MacGyvering to defeat the Charnel Spider, and I was worried that Kevin just baiting the Wrath creature into killing itself would be kind of an anticlimax, but as you said, it does take into account that since the creature is all mindless rage, it should be fairly easy to trick.

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A final thought...them taking the elevator when hunted by the demon. Either the elevator design has improved in incredible ways or they are very brave. As I write this I get the mental image of the demon snapping the wire of the elevator in triumph and future style safety system of the elevator taking them down safely as computer inform them that the wire has malfunctioned but they do not need to worry since designer promise the elevator is safe in all conditions.

:D I hadn’t thought of that specifically, but there was definitely supposed to be some comedy to the elevator bit, what with everyone but Luzurial pushing the Down button and the doors just refusing to close.  And yeah, it would have been really funny if Eparlegna had managed to get into the shaft and cut the cable...only to discover that things have changed a little in the last three quarters of a century.

Edited by InBrightestDay

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pippychick

Oh, this is really wonderful! I have to admit you've quite drawn me in. Kevin is just lovely, and I already adore him, including all those little bits and pieces we're finding out about him.

Thank you! :)  I suppose now is as good a time as any to bring up some of the names of the characters.  Not everyone’s name means something of course, but some of them do.

Kevin is derived (eventually) from the old Irish name Cóemgein, which starts with the Gaelic word cóem, which means “kind” or “gentle”.  He has some issues, including the odd flash of anger, but he’s very gentle with Luzurial.

Abdul is kind of a cheat, in that it’s a Pakistani name derived from the Arabic words Abd al, which just mean “servant of the”, but I was kind of going for a reference to the Arabic name Abd Allah, or “servant of God”.  Sirki is a Pakistani name referring to a leather worker, which means it’s kind of the equivalent of “Tanner” or something.

Chloe is an English name meaning “green shoot” in Greek.  ‘Cause, you know...she’s new.  Liu is a Chinese surname meaning “kill” or “destroy”, which sounds pretty bad, but it fits her role on what is basically a preternatural SWAT team.

Luzurial, according to JayDee, is derived from the Spanish luz, meaning light, as well as a deliberately misspelled version of the Archangel Uriel’s name.  It’s good that it’s misspelled, since Uriel translates from the Hebrew as “light of God” (or possibly “God is my light”), so Luzuriel would be kind of redundant.

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The healing is to be expected, and yet you've managed to make this all seem real. Of course she will heal, but the answer she gave when Kevin first asked her name is exactly what one would expect. I only wonder if her mind will heal more quickly. I mean, obviously if she was human she'd have gone completely insane, so there is hope for that kind of psychological recovery.

Well, she’s far more resilient than a human would be, and she’s definitely doing amazingly well considering what she’s been through, but there will be issues, which will become rather obvious in Part Three.

I should note that she’s healing far more slowly than she used to.  I tried to base as much of The Woman in the Statue as possible on what we saw in Whore of Heaven, and one of the things I noticed was that Luzurial’s healing, along things like her durability and strength, are affected by her mental and emotional state.  There’s a baseline, of course (she doesn’t just stop healing at any point), but given her trauma, what would in the past have healed in less than a minute instead takes hours.  Obviously, as she gets better, that will accelerate.

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And to have this preternatural FBI division thing going off in the background is genius.

That also owes its genesis to Whore of Heaven, where it’s mentioned that humanity went forth with new knowledge of and defenses against, but also new dealings with, the forces of Hell, so I figured some criminals might attempt to make deals with demons, and a branch of law enforcement would arise to deal with that.

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Tell you what, though - I wouldn't want to be one of those people who walked past her every day, when she was suffering, and all along she'd only ended up there because she tried to save the people of the city. That's some guilt trip.

There’s actually a deleted scene (as in I literally wrote it and then deleted it because I didn’t think it was necessary) in Part Eight where Luzurial is part of a briefing and a National Guard soldier pulls a “And where were you for the last seventy five years?” at which point Chloe tells him exactly where Luzurial was for the last 75 years.  Cue guilt trip.

Chloe: Listen, Major Dumbass…

Major: It’s “Dumas.”

Chloe: Not right now it isn’t.

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Thank you so much for sharing your work with us. :)

:blush: Well thank you so much for the review!  I basically wrote this to help me feel better after reading Whore of Heaven all those years ago (JayDee can tell you all about it, but I tend to call this story “my little therapy project”), and I had no idea how it would go over here, so thank you for the support!

Edited by InBrightestDay

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20 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

:huh: Uh...yes!  Yes, that was the plan all along!  It was totally me saving it for a future chapter, and not a good idea I’m going to steal now and put into a future chapter!  Just kidding; I’ll definitely give you credit for that.

No need to give explicit credit for that beyond this forum post, but I appreciate the gesture.

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pippychick

Well, as you can imagine, I love this idea of applied theology, and the coming together of different religiions to defeat the demon.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Applied Theology is basically Defense Against the Dark Arts for a non-Harry Potter setting.  The idea of all the different faiths coming together is me being kind of an optimist.  I know it’s just as likely we’d start infighting (and I’m sure there was some of that in the setting), but I’d like to think that if an actual legitimately-from-Hell demon was rampaging across America, that everyone would be like “Ok, that’s the bad guy; we should all work together.”

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I was even happier when the bullets didn't harm Luzurial

Well, she got a little banged up from the hypersonic Gungnir round, but nothing too severe by her standards.  I actually figured it was kind of important that bullets without proper inscriptions shouldn’t work.  After all, if bullets work on extradimensional beings, then the Army really shouldn’t have had too much trouble with Eparlegna back in 2007.

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and she seems quite taken with humanity.

That was something I kind of inferred from Whore of Heaven.  She came to Earth to help, after all, even after orders came down from the top (like, the very top) that she wasn’t supposed to.  One could interpret this as sheer arrogance, and some level of Pride is certainly present, but the way she stops to help survivors in LA, the way she hesitates to free herself because it would harm the caged women, even though their souls would be safe...all of that suggested to me that her main motivation for trying to intervene was that she cares very deeply about humans, and doesn’t want to see any unnecessary suffering.

So, for The Woman in the Statue, I assumed that she is very, very closely bonded to her mortal charges, and really does love this world she was assigned to protect.

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I wonder if the reward for her bravery means she's going to get to dally on Earth for a while and indulge her curiosity.

If I were simply writing a Warm Fuzzies piece, that would probably happen...but of course I’m writing a story with action and monsters and whatnot, so she’s not going to have a lot of time to do that.

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I didn't say in my earlier review for Part One, but when the female cop turned up, I was quite suspicious and uneasy, having seen in JayDee's story how the worst in people can be manifested. I rather think there are enemies, even if we don't know who they are yet. It remains to be seen who they are, and whether they are truly dark souls, or if they're just unwilling to accept Luzurial as an ally/protector/friend.

Lilia Martinez is actually a good cop, and she’ll pop up again for a cameo in Part Eight, but there are bad cops, and you’ll run into a few in the next two chapters.

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A little bit of concrit here, but I keep getting thrown out of the story a bit when you mention the height of characters in centimetres. Only my opinion, but since we know Luzurial is tall, unless it's important to the story in some way to express everyone's exact height, I'd ditch it.

Funny thing: I wasn’t even doing that consciously.  Looking back on it, I realized that I gave height measurements for all our main characters (Luzurial, Kevin, Abdul, Calista and Chloe) just as part of their description.  The good news is that that tapers off as we get farther into the story.  There’s one more character in Part Four who gets height measurements in cm.  After that, things, generally monsters, do get sizes, but it’s rounded to the nearest half a meter (i.e. “approaching two and a half meters tall”, etc.) or whole meter.

The use of centimeters is due to me having the US using the metric system by this point, because it’s THE FUTURE!!! (there should be an echo on that).

Actually, that’s how you know I’m writing fantasy: not the archangel character, the demonic invasion or the magic, no, the most unrealistic part of the setting is that the US switched to metric. :P

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Also, you have a typo here: Gibbs, you’re target’s a blonde

SONOFABITCH!

*five minutes later*

Fixed!  Thank you for pointing that out.

Edited by InBrightestDay

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SinfulWolf

That certainly must have been difficult to write

It was toward the end.  I really don’t like doing rape stuff; I’m more into the “give your partner as many orgasms as you can and then cuddle until you fall asleep” kind of sex.  However, in the case of Eparlegna, this is just kind of what the character does, and I figured he’d use the opportunity both to hurt Luzurial some more (because it’s fun) and to hurt Kevin by making him watch (because he annoyed Eparlegna).

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I think the danger though of introducing so many different forms and creatures is that you slow down the action to show what it is. And this chapter should be very fast paced considering all the chases.

Yeah, it’s tricky finding the right balance.  On the one hand, I’m an extremely visual person, so I tend to really paint a picture of the monster.  On the other hand, as you said, describing the monster means stalling the action for a bit.

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And those chases were quite well done. Lots of destruction and fear and some good scrambling milimetre escapes.

Thank you! :)  I rather enjoyed writing the Wrath creature chase; I almost felt like I was writing a Jurassic Park scene or something.

Oh, and I didn’t mention this before, but the hissing shriek the Wrath construct makes is actually a videogame sound.  If you’ve ever played Gears of War, it’s that noise Berserkers make when they charge you.

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The other thing I'm concerned about this story now, is that this is going to turn into another "woman heals from her brutal rape because of a man". Especially for something as seemingly powerful as an arch angel, the story seems getting primed to place her in that "soft weak female" box that needs the protection, help, love, and affirmation of a man.

Well...yes and no.  You might want to get a drink or something, as this may take a while.

So this is an issue I walked into with eyes open.  I've known about it for quite a while now.  Heck, JayDee even made a joke about it in the very first post of their Originals review reply thread.

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the Angel story is thousands of words (and earned me a brilliant email asking if I was against God, and if not could the seminary-attending-yet-porn-story-reading emailer do a follow up where the angel was saved by twu luv. I said go for it...

Granted, my actual degree is in Biology (and I wasn’t asking whether they were “against God” but rather whether Whore of Heaven was intended as an anti-religion piece; I didn’t want to write anything that would contradict the original story’s themes/message), but the point remains.

I never intended for Luzurial to come across as a weak character, merely vulnerable in a specific area.  She's a combat veteran with superhuman strength and durability, as well as the experience of a military career that stretches back fourteen billion years.  However, she is vulnerable specifically when it comes to the issue of sexuality.  In Whore of Heaven, it's established that angels are required to be celibate (or at least they think they're required to be celibate), so while she clearly knows what sex is, Luzurial has a degree of naivete on the subject that I always found deeply sympathetic.  Over the course of the story, she is attacked and shamed repeatedly, specifically using sex (and her body's involuntary reactions to it) as a weapon against her.

By the time we meet her in The Woman in the Statue, she's also spent 75 years inside of the coating, during which time, when she can form coherent thoughts through her pain, all she's really been able to think about is everything she did wrong, second guessing every single decision she made that led her to where she is now.

Given all of this, by the time she's freed, Luzurial's self-esteem is pretty badly damaged.  I have no doubt she could heal on her own, but it always helps to have a support system.  Kevin, in spite of his one actiony moment here in Part Six, is not really capable of helping in battle, so the only thing he can offer her is to be that support system.  This is particularly important concerning what I mentioned back when I was responding to your review of Part Four, namely, that Luzurial has elements of her experience that she considers her Dark Secret.

In this case, the Dark Secret is the multiple orgasms she experienced during the sexual assault back in Whore of Heaven.  Now, she hasn't actually done anything wrong (arousal and orgasm are involuntary physical reactions), but due to the perceived ban on angels ever knowing physical pleasure, she considers this a sort of shame.  Some of my research also indicated that sometimes rape survivors feel ashamed, especially if they cooperated with the rapist in any way, which Luzurial eventually did.

Taking all of this into consideration, I felt like on this one issue, it would help to have someone else, someone she trusts by now, actually able to tell her that she is not at fault for this, because I'm not sure it's something she would realize on her own for quite a long time.

Of course, the fact remains that ultimately Kevin is a male character helping a female character feel better, and that was never far from my mind.  As JayDee can attest, I was quite nervous when I sent them the draft for Part Seven, specifically over this issue.  In Part Seven, I tried (though I won't guarantee that I succeeded) to mitigate it by giving Luzurial intiative.  When Luzurial tells Kevin about what was done to her 75 years earlier, it's when she decides to.  When their relationship turns physical (I figure everyone knew that was going to happen), it's her idea.

In hindsight, I suppose I could have dodged this bullet rather neatly by making Kevin into Kelly and having this be an F/F story instead of an M/F story, but ultimately het stuff is just what I write (maybe just because it's my own sexual orientation), and I only just thought of this option now, after having posted two thirds of the story.

So, like I said, yes and no.  Yes, this is a story about a female character who's been hurt, and a male character who wants to help her heal, and since it is to some extent a romance love is part of that.  However, I am endeavoring not to make the female character look weak (she's definitely not had the last of her badass action hero moments, and in Part Nine Kevin even gets to be kind of a Damsel in Distress).  Everyone is vulnerable from time to time (I'm very much counting myself here) and I don't think it says anything bad about you if you lean on someone else, or as Kevin puts it in Part Seven "Just because you're a total badass doesn't mean you're not allowed to cry."

Hopefully that made some level of sense.  I know it was kind of rambly. :blush:

Edited by InBrightestDay
Fixing a typo.

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