Sunday, January 22, 2017

What's going on OR Why Enzie should never be allowed to explain things (super people)

[Enzie met Corv in this bit, and the rest of the team in this bit.  If I ever revise this I'll try to make it clear in the text that Enzie is speaking fast and generally being frenetic while delivering this info dump.]

With the introductions over, Enzie wasn't sure exactly what was supposed to happen.

"The reason for this meeting, along with Enzie's presence here, is that Enzie claims my father has sired another child," Corv said to her team.  "I believe you are all aware of the potential ramifications, if that is in fact true."

Everyone turned their attention to Enzie, and Enzie felt uncomfortable under the scrutiny.  "Look, I came to Corv, she was the one who insisted the matter be brought to the lot of you, so it's not like I have a wondrous mission briefing or PowerPoint presentation all prepared.

"Truth is, I don't even know where to start."

"I find that the beginning is often a useful place," Java said.

"Even if it does sometimes make for a longer story," Aster added.

"Ok, let's see, the beginning . . ." Enzie said.  "Right.  So . . . you may have noticed that the world has not, in fact, ended.  Well, not ended as such.  More restructured.  We are not living in a Hellscape with our necks bowed in submission to demons because a new age in which compassion is laid by the wayside and morality reduced to the ideas of proper conduct the powerful impose upon those weaker than themselves.  That whole thing didn't happen.

"It not happening is what started all of this.  You see, there was this whole prophecy thing, and Corv was supposed to bring it about and . . . not so much.  But when people have held onto a belief for as long as Corv's father and his followers have held onto that whole prophecy-thing . . . well, a dose of reality is seldom cause for paradigm shift, and so instead of abandoning the prophecy they hit the books to see what they did wrong, and if there was still time for them to do it right.

"Whether or not there was still time: yes.  Totally.  Plenty of time.  The prophecy places great emphasis on things coming some multiple of a thousand years after a given date, but it's very hazy on what the start date is.  It could arguably come to fulfillment in the late 2030s and still fit, so it'll be a bit before they have to give up on this go round and wait a millennium-ish for the next opening.

"So, seeing that their opening hadn't passed, they attempted to determine what went wrong with Corv so they could make sure they'd get it right on try two."

"So you just used a lot of words to say: after Corv failed to bring about the apocalypse the bad guys tried for a do over?" Java asked.

"That I did; that I did," Enzie said.  "So I'm guessing you know the gist of the prophecy.  Salient points being that Corv's father will have a half demon offspring born to a mortal mother who will be indwelt by his power and will when she reaches the age at which the Emperor Who Never Was was first married, measured in years, rounded down.  Because when I decide how old someone should be before they become Antichrist, I always ask myself, 'How old was Julius Caesar when he was first married, again?'

"Apart from the positively bizarre last requirement, that's pretty straightforward and basically covers it.  There is, however, a lot of boilerplate, a bit of Latin poetry in epic meter, mystical trappings, and a lot of Christianity.  I mean, you wouldn't think that demons would be Christian, but damn do those in the vicinity of the Cursed Dome really, really frame everything they do in terms of, 'Christianity says this, and we hates it.'

"The Christianity is where they found their supposed error with Corv.  See, the subject of the prophecy is supposed to be a sort of mirror Jesus.

"Jesus taught that oppression was kind of a bad thing, she will teach that the oppression is the right an proper way to do things.  Jesus' followers largely ignored his actual teachings and instead re-purposed elements of them as they saw fit, her followers will obey her completely and without hesitation.  Jesus was killed, she will live.  Jesus didn't want to rule the world and certainly didn't take it over, she'll want it and get it.  So on, so forth.

"In modern English translations, commentaries, and exegeses, the actual word 'Antichrist' is sometimes used."

It was around this point that Enzie noticed Icelos had tuned them out and was now playing a 3DS.  Enzie sighed.

"Ever hear of immaculate conception?" they asked.

"It is a Catholic doctrine regarding Mary, daughter of Joachim and Anne," Corv said. "It states that, because of her miraculously immaculate conception, she was the first human being since Adam and Eve, in their prelapsarian states, to be free of Original Sin."

"The idea being that the Incarnated form of God could only be produced from a womb untainted by Original Sin," Java added.

"Yup," Enzie said, "that's the one.  So after going over all of their notes, the followers of Corv's father decided that the problem had not, in fact, been Corv.  Instead they thought they chose the wrong kind of mother to birth their little Antichrist."

"Did the fact that I was raised by principled individuals who taught me common decency and basic morality never occur to them as a possible confounding factor?" Corv asked.

"Yes and no," Enzie said.  "They definitely want to raise the new child themselves and in line with their worldview and teachings, just in case, but for the most part they were of the opinion that it didn't really matter.  Thus it being 'just in case' rather than 'so this time doesn't fail like last time.

"Instead their foucs was all on the immaculate conception.  If Jesus was born to a mother massively less stained by sin than the rest of humanity, then the subject of their prophecy ought to be one who was equally different from ordinary humanity on the sin scale, but in the opposite direction.  Mary was born lacking the great defining sin of humanity, they reasoned, thus the mother of their champion must be born with some great defining sin beyond that of humanity."

"One cannot be born morally stained," Aster said.

"That depends on whose worldview you subscribe to," Enzie said.  "Here on earth being born already tainted by sin is a lynch-pin of a great many religious sects."

"If they subscribed to the doctrine of original sin," Corv said, "then they would naturally believe that it was a singular sin.  In their minds it would be the only sin so great as to be inherited from the parent at the inception of life."

Enzie shrugged.

"It therefore follows that it would be impossible to find there equal and opposite Mary," Corv said.

"Think harder," Enzie said.  "If you're not smart enough and knowledgeable enough to get this on your first try, I'm going to conclude that coming to you was a waste of time."

Map made a groan of protest.  Java looked angry.  Aster looked confused.  Corv looked like she was indeed thinking harder.

"There are some reminders that might help you on your way," Enzie said.  "Well, two.  First, on the day they ate the fruit~that~probably~wasn't~an~apple they did not --in fact-- surely die, but there is a part of the Bible that does have an 'all fall down' story.

"Second, let me reiterate the point about Christian demons.  Well, anti-Christian, same foundation, opposite beliefs.  They wouldn't do anything so heathen as, say, involve the daughters of Loki."

Enzie thought about their own words for a bit.  They produced interesting ideas.  From the offhand comment came a world of imagined possibility.  Enzie said, "Which is kind of too bad because if they did the daughters of Loki would beat them without any of us having to get involved, set the organization back centuries if not millennia, and do it all in a way that was simultaneously agonizing and hilarious.

"I'd get popcorn."

"Have you quite finished amusing yourself?" Corv asked.

"Probably," Enzie said.  "You have an answer?"

"Not only do I have an answer, I am also fully capable of showing my work," Corv said.  "I could have arrived at the answer without your heavy-handed hinting."

"Well tell us," Icelos said, though his attention was still on the 3DS.

"I did not need to be told that my father's followers would not look to things outside of their dualistic worldview," Corv said. "That leaves them with very few options for a mother, namely angels, demons, humans, and combinations thereof.

"The only direct mention of the mother in the prophecy is the note that she is to be mortal.  That means that she must be at least partially human.  That said, if she is to be set apart from humanity via exceptionally maculate conception, she can't be fully human.  Even the most terrible things humans do to other humans don't result in condemnation on the level of Original Sin," Corv turned to Aster, "which, for the record, I do not believe exists."

"As my father is a full demon and the child is to be half, the mother cannot have any demonic heritage.  This leaves a human angel crossbreed as the only possibility. Since it is the mother's conception that is supposed to be stained by sin, she would have to be a first generation member of the nephilim."

"Yup," Enzie said.  "Told you that if you'd thought about it you'd see it wasn't impossible in their mindset.  Rainbows and all."

There was silence for a bit.

Aster broke it by asking, "What you said, what does it mean?"

"My half-sister is a quarter angel," Corv said to her.

"My half-niece," Enzie said.

That got everyone's attention.

"It's not like it's the same half," Enzie said.

"Assuming any of this is true," Java said in a long suffering kind of way, "how did you find out?"

"Right.  So.  My dad: asshole," Enzie said.  "I've been looking for him --on the side of course; I've gotta make money for food and such-- for positively ages.  Trouble is, he's got some kind of a magical filter thingy that makes it hard to track where he's been, what he's done, who he's done, and how many half-relatives I have out there.

"Best I can figure, not long after Antichrist 1.0 over there," Enzie gestured to Corv, "failed to work out her dad's followers started looking for nephilim in likewise magical ways that started to break down his filter, and presumably any similar filters a bit.  This was a while ago, though.  Traces might have been easier to pick up on, but they still weren't enough for me to follow."

"How long ago was this?" Corv asked.

"I'm not sure precisely," Enzie said.  "I only realized the change took place in retrospect; that made it hard to pinpoint.  Still, easy to make an educated guess.  As soon as you beat your father his followers would have hit the books.  It'd take a year or two, maybe even close to three, for him to recover enough to be able to even attempt impregnating anyone."

"Which would indicate that our family member should be five to seven years old," Corv said.

Enzie nodded.  "Something went wrong for the cult a little less than six months ago.  I know now that they lost the child and they think the mother is responsible, but at the time all I knew was that something blew a hole in the obfuscating magic keeping me from getting leads on any of my family members, but only for two of them.

"I can't find where they are, whatever they're using to stay hidden from the Cursed Dome et alia is keeping them hidden from me too, but I have been able to track down some of the places they've been.  It's what's allowed me to put all of this together.

"Once I found out you were their previous attempt at prophecy fulfillment, I came to you," Enzie said to Corv.

"Which is how we all got to be here," Enzie said to everyone.  "Now, why was there a robotic pangolin on a rampage?"


  1. Just checking out to let you know that I'm around and reading it, so you know you're not writing into the void.