Thrall 01, part 2

Avilla wasn’t the only one collecting her own followers, of course. Cerise was teaching witchcraft to Tina’s childhood friend Beri, and she’d picked up a couple of other novices as well. She’d also more or less taken over Corinna’s band of warrior dryads, and she’d been continuing our experiments with powering up the nature spirits by pouring mana into their land.

“You’re going to love all the benefits you get out of the deal,” she told me. “It’s working just like we thought. I feed magic from my amulet into their land, and it makes them stronger. Then they do their thing, and it makes me stronger too.”

“Their thing?” I asked.

She grinned at me. “You’ll see. Pelagia is going to hold a revel for you, to get things going with her grove. It’s heady stuff, the way they practically worship you when they’re showing their appreciation.”

“I’m not a god,” I pointed out.

“Not yet. This is going to make both of us demigods, though, and I bet we don’t stop there. What are the odds we can get our hands on some of Idun’s apples before this war ends?”

“Speaking of which, I noticed a substantial change in your life force,” Elin put in. “I don’t think you’re as mortal as you were when you left. Do you have any idea what could have caused that?”

“Huh. Interesting. Well, it turns out that Gaea grows magic bananas that work a lot like the golden apples in Asgard.”

“What’s a banana?” Tina asked curiously.

“Wait, you stole some?” Cerise exclaimed. “I want one!”

“A kind of fruit that doesn’t grow in Europe,” I told Tina. “And no, I didn’t steal any. I didn’t even know what they were, until Mara gave me one.”

Everyone looked a bit startled at that.

“She must really like you,” Tina observed.

I shrugged. “She’s kind of a mess. I think she’s interested, but her family problems are as bad as it gets. Her mother’s holding her immortality hostage, the brothers she grew up with are a bunch of rapists, and she’s so desperate for her father’s approval that she’ll happily help him murder everyone in Europe.”

Cerise and Avilla exchanged a speculative look.

“We were wondering if it was something like that,” Avilla said. “But, her own brother?”

“More than one of them,” I corrected. “Gaea set things up so that would happen on purpose. I’m not sure if she’s just a cruel bitch, or if there’s some devious purpose to it all. Either way, Mara’s a long way from being over it.”

“We have to help her,” Tina declared.

“I’d like to,” Avilla agreed. “But I’m not sure it’s wise. There’s not much to be done for people who aren’t right in the head, and she’s very powerful. If she ever has a breakdown, or just has a bad day and lashes out, people could die.”

Elin sighed. “I agree with you, Avilla. She’s a risk, and an added complication to what is already a quite complicated situation. But can we really turn her away, if she comes to us for help? If she has really endured such a horror, and come out of it unbroken, I can’t help but feel sympathy for her.”

“Sounds like we’re moving on to the heavy subjects,” Cerise said. “Good timing, because I’m completely stuffed. How about we take this discussion to the ritual chamber?”

“It has the best wards,” Avilla agreed.

It was also isolated and soundproof, so we’d be able to keep anyone from overhearing us. If there was anywhere we could make plans without being spied on, it was there.

“So, what all do we need to talk about?” I asked once the doors were safely sealed.

“Can you tell us more about how the mission went?” Avilla said. “I didn’t dare ask before, but it should be safe to talk here.”

I shrugged. “I planted the device. If it worked right the andregi won’t have any more sleeping warriors to wake, so they’ll stop getting reinforcements any day now. There were a couple of complications, though.”

I went on to describe Brand’s disastrous raid on the Halls of Slumber, and my own encounter with Mara. Elin still seemed a little miffed about that, but Cerise and Tina were all smiles.

“Do you think we can make an ally of her?” Avilla sked.

“Definitely. She’s pretty attached to her father’s side of the family, so I don’t think she’s going to turn on them. But on a personal level she’s desperate for companionship, and I think we connected. Besides, she’s already asked for my help with something that’s pretty important to her. It seems she’s about to have a little sister, and she’s trying to find some way to keep the poor girl from growing up the way she did.”

That required more explanation, of course. By the time I’d finished the tale Elin had reluctantly come around to lobbying in Mara’s favor.

“This will, however, be quite dangerous,” she observed. “If Gaea is pregnant she will likely avoid battle, and stealing a child from her would not be easy. I don’t know how we could hide the girl for any length of time.”

“Hiding isn’t going to work,” I said. “The only way we survive getting involved in this, is if Gaea dies before Ragnarok is over.”

They all stared at me in shocked silence for a long moment.

“Can you kill a goddess, Daniel?” Tina asked timidly.

“Not by myself,” I admitted. “But I’m sure the Aesir will be doing everything they can to take her down. What we need to do is watch, make preparations, and be ready to strike when the opportunity presents itself. Cerise, Elin, who worships Gaea these days?”

“Mostly just her children,” Cerise said. “Goblins, trolls, hags and ape men.”

“So far as I am aware there are no human cults who honor her,” Elin agreed. “Nor do the elves or dwarves pay her homage. She has rejected all but the most primitive worshippers for ages now.”

“That’s good. The andregi live in Skogheim. What about the rest of those races?”

Cerise stretched out across the collection of pillows and blankets that covered the floor of the ritual chamber, and put her head in Avilla’s lap. “Most of them live here on Midgard, but I think I’ve heard something about goblins in Jotunheim before. Elin?”

The delicate faerie settled herself on a pile of pillows beside me, and frowned in thought. “Yes, I believe you are correct. Hags live in the wilder swamps and woods of Europe, while goblins and trolls inhabit the mountains. Goblin tribes are also found in the mountains of Jotunheim, and possibly the jungles of Skogheim. They’re hardy creatures, and very difficult to eradicate.”

“Is there anything you don’t know?” Tina asked her.

“Many things,” Elin replied.

“If you say so. Here, let me take this down for you while you smart people talk.” Tina started working on Elin’s hair, removing the ornaments that were woven into her hairdo and brushing it out.

“Thank you, dear. Daniel, are you relying on the Julian hypothesis of divine power here? Because I must caution you that no firm link has ever been demonstrated between a god’s power and the number of his worshipers.”

“No, it’s not that simple,” I said. “Gods don’t get their power from worshippers. But I know a little bit about why it’s so hard to kill a god, beyond just the fact that they’re powerful. A church is one of the things that they use to anchor themselves to this plane of existence, and a goddess who doesn’t have one anymore is a lot easier for the other gods to kill.”

Cerise chuckled. “That’s one way to get the job done. Tina, these are serious secrets of the gods here, so don’t ever talk about them outside this room. Alright?”

“My lips are sealed,” the catgirl replied.

“Good. We’d need to make sure her sons die too, and scour Skogheim clean of ape men somehow. I don’t know how we’d pull that off.”

“Neither do I,” I said. “But once again, the Aesir are already working on it. I’m not sure what Brand was really doing there, but I don’t think it was as simple as a botched raid. He had some kind of magic device implanted under his skin, and the more I think about it the more convinced I am that he let himself get captured.”

Elin nodded thoughtfully. “Odin is known as a crafty god. It would be quite in character for him to rely on some form of subterfuge to eliminate the threat of the andregi, or to somehow neutralize Gaea.”

“I don’t think even Odin can just ‘neutralize’ an elder goddess,” Avilla commented. “But that raid has given us a more immediate complication to deal with. Daniel, Prince Caspar seems to be dead. He led most of Kozalin’s best knights through the Dark Portal on that raid, and only a handful of them returned.”

“Oh. So, who’s in charge of the city now?” I asked.

“That’s the problem. Pelagia tells me there’s no one in the city with enough support to take over, and with the king besieged again he’s in no position to enforce a decree. There are four dukes in town, all of about the same standing, and they spent most of the afternoon arguing with each other about what to do next. The Conclave isn’t likely to take orders from any of them, and neither will what’s left of the church.”

“Great. What about the city government?”

“The mayor died in the devourer attack, along with most of the city council. With all the chaos of the earthquake and invasion they haven’t managed to replace them, so for now each guild and district is running itself.”

“I hear there are some rabble-rousers working the refugee shelters too,” Cerise said. “Blaming the nobles for the food shortage, and getting the young men all worked up. I’m not sure who they’re working for, but I bet there’s some kind of uprising coming.”

“The prince was also the one responsible for treating with the faerie,” Elin pointed out. “The Summer Queen won’t deign to meet with a man who isn’t royalty, so without him to carry on the negotiations there’s scant hope of aid from that quarter.”

I sighed. “So what you’re telling me is, Kozalin is about to fall apart?”

They all nodded.

“Perhaps a miracle will occur, and all the city’s factions will come together under a single banner,” Elin said. “But the chances of that are slim. The nobles will not follow a wizard, the wizards will not follow a noble, the commoners are restive and the church serves only the gods. Without a royal to unite the city’s factions, I fear Kozalin will soon descend into chaos.”

81 thoughts on “Thrall 01, part 2

  1. Some interesting info in this one. Worshipers don’t appear to provide power, just anchors. So why the sacrifices? To reinforce belief? To empower specific spells?

    I like that Daniel is taking into account the actions of the Aesir in re: Gaea. I doubt he’ll just rely on them, but he’s on good terms with Brand, so some under-the-table cooperation might be an option.

    Not sure who’s going to end up in charge of Kozalin. Daniel can take over more territory now, and thus absorb more refugees, but he won’t want Aesir-worshiping zealots, and he won’t want to unite the noble factions against him, nor the Conclave. I suppose he could work with the Conclave to establish a “free city” zone and just ignore the nobility (what can they do against him?). I suspect we’re going to see more politicking soon though, as Daniel works to decide which faction, if any, to support.

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    1. Before you discuss how to take over Kozalin, you ought to discuss whether it is worth it. And, related to that, which parts you want.

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    2. Remember Cerise sacrifices her abilities to her god. I believe the sacrifices were for them to borrow the gods power. But its kinda like a 2 way street?

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  2. Is the book going on to be released next year? Is it every month that we are going to get part of a chapter? You haven’t even updated if you are finished is in the process of reviewing your draft.
    If this continues my “thrall in September” prediction is going to be way, way, way off.

    And even if you finish this month, I’m mostly an audiobook man. I will have to wait till next year to purchase it… I will most likely have to buy the ebook, because I can’t wait 3 more months for the audio.

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    1. he said in the update before thrall 1 that he was changing how he is doing his publishing that he would only make chapters available to the general public after it had gone to the editor so to stop massive changes from occurring after people had read the chapters so us getting these updates should mean that it is already finished and is at the editor now.

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      1. That makes sense. I just thought he would have made an announcement “finished, gone to the editor”, or “finished, reviewing second / third draft”. Knowing where he is at in the process of putting the last fullstop in the book, to pressing the publish button on Amazon takes a lot of the edge off of waiting. It gives you a time frame.
        Just publishing parts of chapters without notes or announcements, while greedily accepted, is just a stopgap in the anxiety of waiting. You can only take so much.

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  3. This continues to be interesting; I look forward to the book 🙂

    There are many options regarding what to do:
    *Preparing to abandon Kozalin, making plans to take the best parts along.
    *Go get the nearest relative and have them crowned. There’s still a king, right? Caspar was just a prince.
    *Find out what the rules are for becoming royalty and rules-lawyering the heck out of them.
    *Expand Castle Black, draining/buying resources from Kozalin until what’s left is insignificant.

    I find it mildly annoying that all of the story is written at this point and the actions decided, which is amusing to realize. I’ve been getting used to webnovels where my direct chapter-to-chapter feedback and speculation might well have the author go “ooh, nice idea, gonna steal it”. It’s kind of a nice energy to feel. (Not nice enough to have me shell out $60 per year unless I get a bit richer, but nice even so.)

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      1. Would depend on a) how the fae define royalty and b) whether very much foreignif not to say alien royalty would count for anything in this context with the human factions of a human country. Elin might qualify on the first part – i personally doubt it given what we know about her origin story, but in the absence of WoG there’s a possibility i guess – the second though would almost certainly be a resounding “No!”. Leaving aside for a moment that it would be like say the wrong-side-of-the-bedsheets byblow of some surplus princess from a middle-eastern emirate trying to claim royal authority in Newark nobody outside Daniel’s little island community trusts Elin farther than they can throw her grendel form on a quite personal level, especially the Conclave.

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      2. Royalty, old style, control not only the titles, but the permission to marry. She ‘married’ Daniel outside of the court, and without permission. Even with the ‘marriage,’ he might be lucky to be called ‘Consort.’

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      3. Elin pointed out. “The Summer Queen won’t deign to meet with a man who isn’t royalty, so without him to carry on the negotiations there’s scant hope of aid from that quarter.”

        So, recognizing Daniel – “immortal” or not, as a member of the family, or “royalty” is unlikely

        Loki is destroying the Summer Court in England. If (very iffy) Daniel could save them, he might get ‘ally’ status, but long lived (true immortals?) fae, who have ruled for millennium, who believe that they are divinely chosen to rule (an possibly really were!), are unlikely to extend Daniel high status, or recognize him as ‘family.’

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      4. I dont think it matters he’s from America and are Rolyalty here is based on money and power not blood and he’s got that in spades!

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      5. Wasn’t the question, “Is elin royalty? if hes married to her isn’t he by proxy?”
        And, ‘we’re not in Kansas any more.” He’s not in America.
        It doesn’t matter if they accept him or not – unless he needs their help for some reason. He is the top of the food chain in the Black Citadel. But, elsewhere…?
        Not so much.

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    1. Being a noble is a bad idea..it tied him directly to Odin and the Aesir. Expanding castle black could be a possibility because the main obstacle/Caspar is gone and everyone won’t spare effort to fight him but I wouldn’t risk doing it until the noble offed themselves fighting each other. And as for the new king idea? Not. Worth. It. Caspar’s death is a blessing because now everyone is at each other throat while Daniel can fortify himself and gathered allies without any one heading a counter offense. It basically amnesty for Avilla and a free 3 copy of pot of greed…a great advantage with no downside. Installing a new monarch is bad idea unless, and this is barely justifiable unless, that monarch is a member of his coven. This is, of course, assuming that all the key to power is installed by him without any resistance–a scenario that was basically not crowning but founding of a new kingdom under a paper thin guise of crowning…truth to be told it might payoff…in the next 2 decade but doing that for short-term goal is suicide. And given his power, some of Caspar’s relative will come to him for back-up anyway. Abandoned a well defend fort is stupid when you can make the fort moved.

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      1. No having a leader, and not needing one are two different things. The last line of the sample points it out.
        Realistically, it only matters “if” he decides he needs the city. Last I read, it takes a population of 3 thousand to be stable, and ‘genetic drift’ will still loom large. I don’t think the Citadel has that population.

        Also, the factions make organizing a defense of the city difficult. Right now, the wizards are essentially on Daniel’s side. However, if he tries to take over the city… they will need to be dealt with. And, as he has pointed out several times, “stop underestimating the local wizards.”

        Assuming he wants to keep the city (and his continued efforts in that direction, and work to save it indicate that he does), he is going to have to address the issue.

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  4. DEFENCE OF KOZALIN
    Just a thought for your consideration. Kozalin was described in Vol 2. as a walled city with a wide moat and guarded bridges, but that the moat was frozen. Now this negates one of the primary defensive advantages of the city allowing for multiple, wide-front axis’s for assault and makes the job of the defenders significantly more difficult, especially facing a numerically superior foe. Now Daniel has demonstrated his ability to open the sea-way by de-icing several miles of waterways and docks by using magic heat-stones. Logically if he can do this then surely it would be appropriate to use this proven method to also de-frost the moat!

    This would restore many of the defensive advantages of the city by restricting the viable assault options for the andregi. Also it would help address the constant drain on the city’s defensive manpower by enabling them to concentrate forces as required at the assault points rather than having them spread out over the entire walls coverage. Sure there may be other attack magic that the andregi may possibly utilise, but this basic strategy would immediately address many of the issues currently facing the defenders as described. If Daniel ends up assuming a more significant role in the city’s defense then this option could be written into the plot. It provides a simple and immediate result that could only enhance his stature politically and militarily and reinforce his status in this scenario.

    Secondly, thanks for the tit-bits you’re feeding us regarding the next volume, but could you please, pretty-please, expedite the finishing of the book. I’m dying for the next Fimbulwinter fix!

    Regards Jamie

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    1. The Andregi are supposed to be dead or dieing. For all he knows the next attackers may be poisonous killer birds, wh just fly over the walls. And first he has to decide whether Kozalin can be held at all.

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      1. That has killed the Gaea’s strategic reserve of Andregi warriors. But as explained, for logistic reasons the assault came in waves, with two or three army’s in succession having been defeated already by the defenders, though at a cost. We know Daniel already passed one new army even whilst approaching underground and from the way the attacks have been phased it is quite possible that it and others may still be in transit to assault Kozalin. These forces still have to be defeated and already the garrison has suffered heavy losses which would only further increase. De-icing the moat offers improved chances for the defense to cope with those forces already in transit to attack Kozolin.

        Secondly I did mention already that the Andregi may find some new attack magic, killer poisonous birds, or whatever as you call them. This is expected. But Kozalin still needs to address the problems the existing assaults are causing. Study any historic defence reveals a constant dynamic as attackers and defenders change their methods to meet changing tactical situations. But this dynamic usually occurs after one side or the other has countered an effective existing strategy, which is what the defenders are facing now. An example already exists of this dynamic as the andregi used aerial assault to counter the mortor’s initially, to which Daniel then countered by deploying AA guns.

        Lastly it is also a political as well as military issue. Successful sieges have required a collapse of defenders morale. Anything that reduces casualties like this strategy would be of benefit. Sure they’ll come up with something new, but only if we can deal with what is happening now. It’s simple and helps put a gap between the andregi and an already traumatised populace. Plus it will raise Daniel’s kudos and improve his status as a new leader for the defence.

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    2. Spoiler…..

      I am one of the Patrons, so I have read the coming chapters. Daniel actually does think about melting the ice that is on the moats.

      However, the remaining Nobles rule big chunks of the city. They are scheming and battling to take over, and to succeed the Prince.

      Simply taking over one (or more) of the city’s defenses, without authorization, would put him in the battle for rulership of the city – which he does not want to do. Yet.

      If he asks for permission from one of the nobles in the contest, that is throwing his ‘support’ behind that person, as if he believes ‘they’ are the proper rules, which he also does not want to do.

      So, as far as has been posted, the moat water is not melted, and no significant city defenses have been added by Daniel.

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      1. It’s an action that had to be considered, particularly if the city itself is to remain a viable resource. The question now is balancing military expediency against the socio-political impact. Unless Daniel can come up with some other magical answer to the defence problems, which I cant immediately see, then it becomes a question of timing if he is to implement this tactic. Since to me it appears simple and with immediate visible impact to the populace, it is almost a case of when and not if he should undertake this act. I’m awaiting with interest how he eventually addresses this conundrum, or what alternative he finds.

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      2. I once heard it said, “In Chicago, even the weather is political,” [Switching Channels – Christy Colleran (Kathleen Turner), with John L. Sullivan IV (Burt Reynolds, R.I.P)]

        So, it is not what he does, but how it is perceived by the “Powers That Be,” or in this case – “Want to Be.”

        Doing it without the permission of the “Powers,” the Dukes, is putting himself forward, or above their authority, which makes it look like he wants to take over, which will probably lead to them all trying to assassinate him.

        Asking one or anther means he acknowledged their right to rule over others, and tangentially ‘supporting’ their run for power.

        Asking them all would be time consuming, and of one denies permission, then what? Ignore them, and thereby make them an enemy? Then he really would have to make sure that they do not ‘win,’ which would further involve him in the power battle.
        If he ‘acquiesces,’ he is acknowledging that one as supreme over the ones that said yes, and again supporting their position over the others. Then, he will get assassins from the other ones.

        And, if they “all” say no, or ask for concessions that he does not want to pay, he cannot melt the moat without ignoring the will of the nobles, and future ruler to be of the city. And, in the future, he will be opposed by whoever wins the power play, either because he supported the other contender, or failed to support them when they were trying to take over.

        Basically, it could be a huge pain.

        That is where it stood as of the most recent chapter. Saying anything else would be ‘spoilery.’

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      1. The thing is to consider the city as a strategic resource. Tactical solutions deal with immediate problems with the defence. Having a viable city state offers greater scope on a long term strategic potential. The college offers multiple mages working on different problems as they occur. The military district offers greater manufacturing potential. even the civilian side offers cope for workforce utilisation. All these strategic potentials are off set by the increased demands inherent with the city defence. If Daniel goes back to purely his citadel then he is strictly limited to those resources and people he has on hand. One successful attack and he could lose much of his gains and has no replacement options, A larger district gives some scope for wider options, and the city yet more. The thing is this is fimbulwinter, a 1000 years plus of ice-age in the making. Daniel must consider the long term and the city offers more scope of strategic survival if (and its a big if) viable.

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  5. Have you considered multiple power stones linked to a spell that shoots fire, clean air, and force straight up? Seems like a Daniel way of locally solving fimblwinter.

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    1. And thus lightning a giant beckon for the personal attention of Odin, Loki, and Gaia to converge on Black Island?

      How things stand now, I think Daniel will be ignored, because it’s just an island that holding out. But if Daniel did something like that, which would also draw other humans from distant plains, all the monsters would rush there. They are in the process of wiping out mankind after all. Can’t be having those Odin loving, fire using, humans living comfortably, now can we?

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    1. Yes. Yes it will. Her crotch game is too good, and she already got Daniel ensnared like the semen demon she is. And Cerise is a degenerate sex fiend. She would forgive anything if you made her orgasm hard and long enough. Mara is getting a full pass. Also she didn’t harm any of the people under Daniel’s protection. You have to realize that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, that surrounds Daniel is a killer. Daniel, Elin, Cerise, Avilla. They all killed.

      Only person who didn’t was probably Tina, and that is only because we haven’t followed her around. Maybe when she rescued Daniel from that pyre she had to knock someone out to drag Daniel away, or when they were escaping to the hover barge she knocked someone out, and they died because of that.

      But fool yourself not, I see Daniel forgiving a lot of shit in your past once you don’t break your word to him, or harm people under his immediate protection. Which is why I am firm in my belief that the dwarves are never getting him to help them. They attacked and killed people under Daniel’s direct protection, and nearly made him break his word to the elves.

      Who did Mara hurt? Priests (who do human sacrifice) that Daniel planned to kill eventually?
      A bunch of peasants not under his protection?(who would have stringed him and his girls up in an instant if the Prince cried witch?)
      Wizards who would kill and steal Daniel’s shit if they thought they could get away with it?(“see steelbinder, I told you the lad would have come around eventually “, what would have happened if he didn’t?)

      Mara didn’t do enough damage to burn the bridge. Although if pissed me off the first time I read the book and saw him let Mara go after all the personal damage she did to him, I guess he knew what he was doing.

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      1. Daniel will forgive damage to himself. This is war and he is a fighter. He himself is not above sneaking in with a weapon of mass destruction. He really gets mad if you go for his noncombatants. His wives while fighting are likely a borderline case.

        While that means that this particular dwarven clan is now firmly an enemy, I have doubts about Daniel extending this to the whole species. He is just not that much into grouping people.

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    2. At this level of power politics no-one is going to have clean hands, look at our own history. I think it was Joseph Stalin that said “one death is a tragedy, one-thousand a statistic.” That is the kind of mind set of players at this level of power.

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      1. It’s funny how you try and use a quote from Stalin to justify Mara’s actions. Reality check man, no one that is actually informed about the specifics of his reign thinks that the atrocities committed by Stalin were justifiable or that he’s anything other than a tyrannical villain.

        Mara’s good in bed and had a shitty childhood, so I get why Daniel is sympathetic and tempted. But lot of people have shitty lives — especially in the story’s universe, where magical monsters and asshole gods exist. It doesn’t justify her joining the side that’s trying to wipe out humanity. And make no mistake, that is exactly what Loki’s side needs to do to kill the Aesir — get rid of their anchors (aka humans that believe in them). He gives her an alternative and asks her to join him and she says “no”. It’s like willfully joining the SS.

        Hell, did everyone forget that SHE was the one who sent Nerfing (or whatever that sea serpent was called) to actually kill him when he was defrosting the river way to the sea? She also just stood there and watched while her brother was laying a divine level smackdown on Daniel. If they didn’t happen to be next to an open pit containing a frigging God-Eating monster, Daniel’s ticket could’ve been punched then and there. Never mind the fact that she basically raped him and forced him to betray his covenant. I know I’m probably in the minority but I really do hope Mara gets Game of Throne’d. It’d add a lot of spice to the series to have a major character actually die, and Mara is the perfect candidate since she’s sympathetic but also committed extremely evil acts.

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      2. Thanks for the ‘reality check’, but I think I need to re-emphasise the actual point of the post if read carefully. The Stalin quote is not to ‘justify’ Mara’s actions, nor would I disagree in the slightest with your villainous description of Stalin’s reign. It’s was simply used as an historic example of one extreme of the personal mind-set of power brokers when operating at the highest level of geo-politics. They don’t worry about the cost to the individual otherwise they’d be paralysed by the toll of their actions. The post was simply to highlight the callous disregard for the individual cost of their actions. Even if this is a fantasy setting, any being involved in this level of racial conflict is going to have to display some similar ruthless form of mind-set if they are going to be a realistic character. Daniel has just done the same, killed 8 million Andregi, (two million more individuals than the Nazi’s), and he’s not worried about the individual in this scenario. That’s a realistic mindset for him in the plot situation and this brutally simple response is believable as presented.

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      3. The difference between Daniel’s actions against the Andregi and Mara’s actions against humanity is that Daniel isn’t the aggressor. Mara went and freed Loki and all of the imprisoned evil beings that ended up allying with him thereby kicking off Ragnarok. And they’re worse than merely genocidal, because they aren’t just targeting one race for extermination. They’re condemning pretty much every sapient race that isn’t a part of their faction to extinction.

        If you want to bring in WWII references, your allusion to the Nazis killing Jews is WAY off base when talking about Daniel’s radiation bomb. What Daniel did is basically akin to what the US did against Japan in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A terrible tragedy, yes, but necessary and ACTUALLY JUSTIFIABLE in the circumstances. It’s estimated that 150k people died in Hiroshima and 70k died in Nagasaki. By contrast, they estimated 2 MILLION additional US deaths would’ve resulted from attempting to defeat the Japanese conventionally. Let alone how many more Japanese soldiers and civilians would have died. The WMD they used actually saved lives. And Daniel was similarly doing what he did to SAVE LIVES. He killed 8 Million Andregi to save the population of all of humanity.

        By contrast, Mara, and the rest of Loki’s faction, are waging war just to settle an old grudge they have against a select few individuals, and to hell with how many innocent populations get caught in the crossfire. And according to what Hecate told Daniel, it turns out that EVERY human population in the WORLD might eventually be destroyed as a result of their actions. What Daniel did and what Mara/Loki’s faction is doing is nowhere near comparable. It’s the difference between premeditated murder, and self-defense. Night and Day. It is ridiculous that you’re trying to compare what he did with what the Nazi’s to the Jews.

        That line they tell children about two wrongs not making a right is actually extremely incorrect. The aggressor is virtually always the one at fault. Wrongs used to redress a wrong CAN make a right. After all, it’s wrong to kill and it’s wrong to kidnap people and take away their freedom. And yet that is exactly what our justice system does to people who commit crimes — kill them or lock them away. They use a wrong to redress a wrong.

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      4. I don’t want to get too, too hung up here, but I like Mara better than the Æsir as an ally. The Æsir are legendary as@h0le$, and she is a better ally than they ever could be.

        About Loki’s faction, “They’re condemning pretty much every sapient race that isn’t a part of their faction to extinction.” How is that NOT what the Æsir do? Look at how they started, and nearly finished, a genocidal war against the Olympians.

        And, about Loki’s Faction, we don’t know what his faction is doing – we have virtually no information on them, and especially none about Loki.

        You stated, “The aggressor is virtually always the one at fault.” The Æsir went to war with the Olympians when they complained about Loki’s bad behavior. So, why go to war with the Olympians when Loki ran off with Aphrodite? Odin committed his people to war to defend one of his ‘people’ breaking guest rules against the Olympians? I don’t see how that was necessary. If you look at the legends of Odin, you can see that he is a liar, deal breaker, and sneaky S.O.B. He has never been a stickerl about defending honor or the rules. Like the Trojan War, it sounds like political opportunity, not a justifiable or moral war. So, the Æsir killed as many of the Olympians as they could, and sentenced Aphrodite to be a sex toy eternally, and Loki to eternal torture. Like I said, legendary as@h0le$.

        It looks to me like they knew the prophesy on this world, and if I were to guess, they jumped on the opportunity to carry out Loki’s sentence, BEFORE he got Balder killed (who would be reborn anyway, if you believe legends).

        “Mara went and freed Loki and all of the imprisoned evil beings that ended up allying with him thereby kicking off Ragnarok.” However, and important fact is that, again, we don’t know the actually events. All we do know is that Loki took a different path then was shown in the legends from Earth. However, the fact is that the Æsir sentenced Loki to eternal torture, and gutted or imprisoned his children and hung them over his prison.

        Again, the Æsir are legendary as@h0le$, inspiring vengeance from others… such as, for example, Mara. Again, we don’t know all the facts, but we do know she was raised knowing her father was being tortured on order from the Æsir. Right or wrong, in order to free him from his suffering she apparently believed, as you stated, that it was, “necessary and ACTUALLY JUSTIFIABLE in the circumstances.”

        On top of that, don’t forget Gaia. She is, somewhat, on Loki’s side. However, on her own she is the elder goddess who has spent actual millennia plotting the full extinction of all humankind – actual and complete genocide.

        Mara is willing to help Daniel with information about Gaia, and help him plot against her. A very useful ally, who’s big crime is killing his “not really” allies, and attacking him on order from her ‘masters.’ When given a chance, she stopped. When given a chance, she shielded him from Gaia, and the andregi (who are true monsters).

        Also, on the subject of how, “they condemn… (anyone)… that isn’t part of their faction.” What will happen to Daniel and his wives ‘when’ they find out about his wives, and/or his origin?

        So, knowing that the Æsir are not really his allies, that they will condemn him if he can ever reveal his true self to them, and that they are very likely to betray him eventually anyway, what is the actual, sensible thing for him to do? Who is the best ally for him?

        “Crotch game” or not, Mara is a powerful, sympathetic, and much more natural ally than the Vinlanders, or the Æsir.

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      5. Re extinction: The Æsir are persecuting worshipers of the greek pantheon, but it’s a conflict isolated to Europe. According to Hecate, Loki’s Fimbulwinter and the Great Beasts unleashed during Raganarok will eventually spill into and destroy the rest of the world. That’s a pretty huge difference. I’m not saying the Æsir aren’t assholes. But they’re not trying to destroy the world — Loki is.

        Daniel obviously can’t ally with the Æsir in the long term because they are enemies of Hecate and he’s Hecate’s champion. But just because he doesn’t ally with the Æsir, doesn’t mean he has to ally with Loki. Loki is worse than the Æsir. Which makes Mara worse than the Æsir because she is on Loki’s side.

        You say we don’t know events. But I am actually IN the process of rereading the books atm. I’m on book 2. It says directly and unambiguously that the Unraveler (i.e. Mara) freed Loki and a number of powerful, evil destructive beings sealed away by Olympians and/or the Æsir. And Loki in turn began the Fimbulwinter and kicked off Raganarok. We get this info from both Hecate AND Narfing (the sea serpent). There are no unknowns here man.

        You keep mentioning what the Æsir did to Loki as if it justifies trying to destroy the world. It doesn’t. Like I said, his beef is with the Norse Pantheon. Not the humans. The human populations they’re killing are a means to hurt the Æsir. But it isn’t the only means. Like Hecate said, they used to use imprisonment or devouring to handle Gods back before they realized they could kill them by destroying their anchors. Instead Loki just says “fuck the world let’s start an ice age, and ally with Gaea who literally wants to kill all the humans — and let’s help her do it as part of the deal.” You talk about what the Æsir did to the Olympians as if that justifies Loki’s actions. Dude. The Æsir took out the Olympians without kicking off an apocalyptic, world-wide, extinction level event. The case of Æsir vs Olympians is a contrast that highlights just how insane and evil Loki is — and by extension Mara for joining their side.

        You’re calling Gaea “somewhat on Loki’s side”? Dude reread the story. Gaea sneaks in and has sex Loki under Sigyn’s nose to produce Mara. She raises Mara in secret, then has Mara free Loki to kick off Ragnarok. And in the most recent book, he gets her pregnant again in hopes of giving her the kind of child she wanted Mara to be. They aren’t “somewhat” allies. They are pretty much as closely allied as you can get. And as part of that alliance, Loki is helping Gaea kill all humans. Note how Hel’s minions (who belong to Loki) was assaulting the Veil Anchor hear Daniel’s fortress alongside the Andregi.

        Mara is on Loki’s side. Loki is going after the Æsir in a way that will also destroy the world. Mara has OP seal/barrier breaking Unraveler abilities, making her a key enemy asset. Ergo, even if Daniel manages to kill Gaea, unless Mara renounces Loki (which she refuses to do), she is still in need of a thorough killing.

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      6. Remember too, that in both the Greek and Norse pantheons, none of the deities were characterised as being omnipotent or all seeing. All the gods displayed traits with readily identifiable human failings, greed, anger, envy, lust etc. These pantheons depicted gods which displayed tremendous power, but also reflected many of the vices and drives present everyday in the societies that produced them. Mara does not represent a nice ‘white-bread’ 20th-century conception of a goddess, and displays similar human vices to those characterised by the rest of the involved pantheons. I wont characterise her as a ‘poor girl trying to get by’, or any similar justification, but she is displaying just as many selfish ‘human’ motivations, as other the other gods and demi-gods in the story. It comes down to the readers perception of her actions and values, but I personally think she’s comparatively mild compared to some of her ‘peers’.

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      7. Ok. I am not saying Loki is NOT a psycho – he is part of the Æsir group, and they are all a$$h0l3$. I am just trying to be factual, and looking at things from different perspectives.

        Note: Loki was the troubleshooter for Odin. According to the legends from Earth, when he wanted Asgard, he promised the giant builders the moon, and a goddess (which he could not in any way deliver) in exchange for building it for him. When the builders almost finish, Odin orders Loki to find a way to break the deal, which he does.

        You wrote, “It says directly and unambiguously that the Unraveler (i.e. Mara) freed Loki and a number of powerful, evil destructive beings sealed away by Olympians and/or the Æsir. And Loki in turn began the Fimbulwinter and kicked off Raganarok. We get this info from both Hecate AND Narfing (the sea serpent). There are no unknowns here man.”
        Nope – reread it. This is what Hecate said – “This war is going to change everything,” she said contemplatively. “Loki was a threat to Odin’s power before his imprisonment, when he only had his family and a few allies to call on. But now Gaea stands with him as well. Together they’ve somehow broken the seals on Tartarus, and released the horrors Zeus left chained there when he defeated the Titans. Many of them will fight for Gaea, and so will her countless children.”

        Note – the words “together they’ve somehow broken the seals on Tartarus.” But, she noted the alliance of Loki WITH Gaea is the big threat. Also, Hecate was NOT there. She did not see it. She noted that Loki was a threat to Odin. She is assuming himself Loki did a lot, not someone acting in his name.
        Gaea is absolutely his ‘nominal’ ally. Just because she had sex with him does not mean she has his best interest at heart. Even Hecate calls her a “venomous bitch” right in the book. So, show me anywhere in the book that says Loki called Gaea to his prison. Show me the deal they cut, to have a daughter. Show me anywhere in the book where we see or hear directly from a witness anything that Loki did.
        Again, he probably did, but that is just not evident from the book. It’s all hearsay and speculation.

        So, Loki went to Olympus, broke guest responsibility, and ran off with Aphrodite – or something like that. The war then started after that.
        We don’t know the story. We heard all that from Cerise, who was not there.

        These are the facts, as I read them from the books.
        Fact: Gaea hates humanity.
        Fact: Gaea snuck in to Loki’s Prison, and cut a deal with him to have a child.
        Fact: Gaea has Mara’s Soul, and treats her badly.
        Fact: Mara freed Loki, broke the seals of Tartarus, infiltrated Kozalin, and worked against it.

        So, here is an idea. And, if there is any actual fact in the books that contradict it, please let me know.

        Odin has a problem with Olympians, or sees an advantage, and so he sends in his trouble fixer to get them riled up. Loki does job as ordered, and steals away Aphrodite. For his trouble, Odin publicly has him imprisoned, and tortured. He likes this, it’s better for him, as it avoid Baldur being killed, and still gets Loki imprisoned.
        Gaea wants to destroy humanity. She knows Loki. She sneaks into his prison and offers to have his child, to free him. Loki does not trust her, and alters her ‘child’s essence’ to be what he needs to get free, not whatever she wanted. She then steals Mara’s Soul. She raises Mara, in cruelty. She sends her slave-child to free Loki, but that is not enough to kill humans. She orders her slave-child to free the monsters of Tartarus. She pushes the Giant-Kin of Loki to start the Fimbulwinter.
        Working on his own agenda, Loki sends Mara to Kozalin to bring down the Æsir Anchors.

        I can see Loki being focused on taking down the Æsir, and not being in control for the world-ending problems. That could very well be all Gaea.

        Mara is doing what she is ordered to do as a literal child-slave-soldier, and acting based on what she knows – which is what Gaea has literally bred her to be, and how the Vinlanders treat her (ie: badly).

        So, like I said before, having her as an ally is whole heaps better than having the Æsir. I’ve seen the upcoming sneak peek chapters, and they deserve to be taken down. And, Gaea really, really, deserves to be taken down from all we’ve seen of her.

        Daniel does not need to join Loki’s side to have Mara as an ally. Everything I see an reads makes her out to be a better ally than the Æsir group, which is what I said before.

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      8. Heh, just had two additional thoughts… nay inspirations!

        If you were to replace the phrase – Loki did ‘x with “forces loyal to… (no strike that)… working for…. (nope, can’t exactly claim that)…. “forces apparently working for Loki did ‘x,’” everything would still work out the same.
        “Forces apparently working for Loki started the Fimbulwinter.”
        From the stories, Loki is tricky, not uber-powerful. Even Hecate stated directly, that she did not think that he could turn back Fimbulwinter. How is he personally able to put the whole freaking world in a deep-freeze. Why would he want a frozen world?
        However, his kin, the ice giants, they would have the power, and would love it! They might not even have consulted with Loki, just seen that he is free, and shouted – “Loki is free, that is the sign to start the Fimbulwinter.”

        And, everyone would attribute it to Loki!
        And, so on.

        But, that is a trivial side issue. This is the big one…

        Assuming that Loki is as an evil bag of rotting d*cks as Gaea, Daniel would be a fool to turn away Mara, as he would be ignoring Gaea’s & Loki’s Epic Sized Blunders. Mistakes so big, they are on the list!

        “I will not have a daughter. She would be as beautiful as she was evil, but one look at the hero’s rugged countenance and she’d betray her own father.”

        “I will neither repress my Beautiful but Wicked Daughter… No one wants disgruntled offspring suddenly “seeing the light” and turning Good simply because mother dearest gave them an unhappy childhood.”

        Those are #19 and #33 on the Evil Overlord List of mistakes NOT to make! With those two a-holes having made those mistakes, Daniel should definitely take advantage!

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    3. Han-Christians…I will assume your user name is inspired by Fate/GO greatest 1 star (it a good taste as GO players).

      You know very well Mara is basically Chaotic Neutral and given that Daniel is desperate for ally. From Daniel’s perspective what she killed is about thousand pawns and key supporter on Aesir’s side (the church). The pawn that will turn against him eventually since keeping the Coven secret was only a temp. measure from the start no one will shed tears if they die. Hell the attack on the church and the conclave basically remove their threat level against him by several fold…hell heshould be thanking her.

      But here is a thing offing Gaia is not possible with killing supporter…Aesir still fail to kill the last supporter of Hecate even when and they managed to hack away both Zues and Hades who is her main allies. Gaia’s worshipers was even better defend than any defensive net Hecate’s can provide for her final lifeline and most of them are not even on midguard…nope. If I am Odin my plan is to remove from equation or contain her while I dealt with Loki…then after offing Loki find a way to chip away Gaia’s power for the next centuries or so.

      Dan taking out Gaia in a conventional manner is impossible in logistic and time limit sense.

      Nope the only way to win this fight was to steal or disable her Divinity. Find a way to cut her from her power source or May be transferred to Mara then whale on her…but it will be long research with heavy prices to pay

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      1. While Mara has killed many people directly. I was mainly talking about the possibly hundreds of thousands that are dead because of Ragnarok. Which was caused by her releasing her father. They speak about her willingness to kill half of europe for her father in this chapter, when in fact she already has. Possibly, she was unaware of his plans but I doubt it.

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    4. Was it in fact thousands, or was it hundreds killed?

      Point of fact, she is an ‘agent’ for Gaia, is both bound to her, and hates her. Turning her to his side is a good move. It saved his life, and gave him some good intel, with the possibility of more assistance to come in the future.

      She does in fact hate Asgardians, but then again, so does Daniel. He has killed his fair share of them – in Lanrest, when the Baron betrayed him. So, forgiving her, or just overlooking her attack, and betrayal would be sensible – as long as the wizards don’t find out. They will not be as accommodating.

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    5. I agree, Mara killed lots of Humans doing the invasion of the undead Plus the other attacks on the city. Plus you got to look at her breaking any bond with the coven at anytime she wants. I can’t see her being part of it.

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      1. well you know how Cerise is. If it gets her a chance to sleep with Mara she might just bypass logic just for the chance….. maybe say she is a follower like a mistress then at least she wouldnt be breaking her coven vows. Hell she still wanted her even after she tried to kill Daniel, trying make an excuse for her. She didnt try THAT HARD to kill you (just take away your amulet and try to shred you to pieces)

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  6. He should really just create a protection that isolates the damn island from everyone, and expand expand expand, even as he collects more refugees creates more farms and saves more races.
    Really he is in the ideal possision to create an empire, i pitty that he doesn’t claim the area of Portugal and Spain, a little help from hecate to raise, mountains all over the coast, whit only four gates, put a lot of his power amulets and create a ward that doesn’t let the gods look inside and stops the weather even as he repairs the ley lines in his new territory and he would be golden.

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      1. As opposed to conveying over contested land hundreds of people, three groves, other magical creatures and loads of equipment?

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      2. He has in a certain sense: Intrepid and the flight ring. If they can beat him in an extraordinary fortress, they will beat him in a backup, too. In a world where enemies can hear the grass grow, literally, Daniel will not maintain a secret secondary base.
        If he needs to flee, he will have to remain mobile and his chances are not good.

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      3. Not a new base “in the north,’ but a base outside of the Aesir’s Area of Influence.
        A nice island in the Mediterranean, or something like that. I am sure that Hecate would like that idea, so that all his eggs are NOT in one basket.

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  7. Really he should have just claimed Portugal and spain zone and along whit Hecate a lot of power amulets, raise a damn ward,mountains to close the coast, and wards to denie the gods the ability to spy on him along whit the ability to stop the weather, after all Hecate can alter the damn amullet to give even more power than what he is using, if he really wants to go all out, he could go the pentagon way create five giant mountains sacrifice them all to an element , put a giant power stone inside itch, connect them all to the one in the middle, raise walls connecting the mountains, and expand expand, as the wards protect him from the attencion of the gods,and the weather.
    Another thing he could do was raise damn golems connect to him

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    1. An area that large wouldn’t be defensible in this situation. He doesn’t have the manpower to patrol a border that large, and mountains don’t block the children of Gaia. His best bet is a small defensible island like what he has. He can expand it, but just conquering an area would leave him open to raids and lower his response time. Plus he would also have to fight the lands true owners, which could be hundreds or even thousands of minor nobles. Every little village could have its own lord, meaning he would have to conquer each individually since news can’t travel quickly during Fimbulwinter. Plus he doesn’t even have the ability to do some of the stuff your suggesting. He would need to spend years researching to learn stuff if it is even possible, which defeats the purpose of doing it for protection from the war thats already happening.

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    2. Dude you might be overestimating his power and underestimating the gods.
      he ate mentioned that at the scale the gods worked the amulet he made for her was just a minor divine artefact. Maybe he could manage what you describe if given enough time but actions on this scale would not be done in just a few hours and would attract the attention of every divine force in Europe and North Africa africa

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  8. It takes you longer to pump out books, but they are really worth the wait.

    This already has my interest and I’m positive it will be another book that immediately grabs people into your world.

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  9. Gogo Daniel – gives us the book already.

    Well after you took your time to get it right 🙂

    Waiting impatiently. And if you can, a rough publication date would be nice to get really hyped up beforehand.

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  10. If melting the moat isn’t feasible, he could always craft something like his Earth Talisman and set it to grow into a razor-wire bramble surrounding the city. Not a perfect defense, but it would be an added hassle to land-based invading forces, especially if it grows-back after being cut through.

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    1. Or he could just deploy more and/or better artillery, which has the added benefit of serving primarily him, not some city likely to starve to death in the near future anyway.

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      1. Well, artillery is good when you can target the enemy…. the moat stops them from sneaking in too easily, and stealth killing the people. Stops their cavalry from charging the walls too.

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    1. From the author’s patron page – “The full novel should be available in November, or possibly early December depending on how long it takes to get the cover art and audiobook recordings lined up.”

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  11. So far I could only think of two scenarios where he could beat Gaia.

    Destroying the anchor is logistically impossible. He had the resource but the time and the number are dead set against him.

    This leaves only two way severed the connection between the anchor and Gaia. If the anchor is the river source and Gaia is a town this damming the river… something that he might pull off given his power set and the easiest method.

    The second one is to nuke the town very existence conceptually. I know you are going to say she can come back but let me explain. This method was to cheat the very rule and condition for immortallity and force mortality on her. Anyone who know about Fate/GO Babylonia knew what I am talking about…and how freaking hard this is.

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  12. I’m wondering if there’s any female descendants of royalty floating around?

    While I can see everyone else in this society overlooking these female descendants (except maybe as marriage tokens). I can see Daniel looking at them as potential rulers and backing one of them.

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    1. Oh yes! Nice idea!
      However, one thing I haven’t liked is when harems stories get too crowded, and that might do it.
      He has his coven, and the nymph groves all vying for his attention as it is.
      But, nice idea – assuming there are any of that area’s royal blood left.

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      1. which he has turned down all but his coven. According to the what we read in the books it seems even tina seems to prefer Cerise and avilla’s attention more than daniel. The only one who seems to favor daniel is elin and thats probably cause she is not really into group sex yet, but she did make a remark that there should be someone(elin) that is focused more on him, since Cerise and Avilla seem to like their alone time or as a pair. He really isnt into casual sex thats probably why he turns down the wolf ladies and nymphs and dryads. that and hygiene, sloppy sixths

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  13. Well done all, i have really missed the old blog! that thing was HUGE! two things to consider: 1) I think that he could use the demon summoner to summon a God eater like Biter and set a trap for Gaea and her sons, she would probably send the sons in first then she could show up in a Finale. 2) I would love to see the Black Island be expanded downward. imagine going down a few thousand feet, then doing one solid block of reinforced stone about a mile long and a quarter mile wide and 500 or 1000 feet deep setup with a continuous cathedral ceiling like some of the immense caves we see here. put a hundred feet of top quality soil and use it for the crops and livestock. it could also house thousands and be self contained with their water, air and sunlight spells. With it being underground, DB could even use it as part of the trap, allow the enemy to bore in but direct it enroute to trapped areas. he could even ward it against detection if he wanted to avoid all that. I cannot wait for this to be published! Let me know if you need an experienced proofreader/editing done.

    thanks bud!
    JD

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  14. One other thing that would be fun as hell and funny as hell too.. Imagine if he used the island building power stone to setup a wall outside the moat like a quarter mile outside the walls of Kozalin and only bring it up to just under the snow so it is not visible but it does encircle the entire city. Then he could go and setup banishment spells on the existing city walls. Get them to gather the wizards and nobility that is left and propose a new wall while they are all in visible range of the existing walls. then have hims just banish the existing walls and immediately raise the new walls higher and thicker than they were before while just using the tool. LOL, i think it would be hilarious 🙂 oh, i wasn’t asking if I could upgrade the wall, i was just letting you know it was done. 🙂

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  15. Heya buds, i was just on amazon and noticed that my reviews werent there for the series. i just went back in and reposted new reviews. Lets all make sure we all do reviews to make sure EWB gets the best exposure we can!!

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