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Chapter 8: Page 24

So there!


… And what about YOUR debt Utos? You lied to “once man” to get him here. If you hadn’t, that “first dip into the inkwell” would not have happened.

You want to get rid of Astria? Complete the quest ASAP. Stop playing politics!

The problem is, Astria’s involvement means ruined and destroyed lives, period. Whether they are destroyed in response to Utos’s actions or something else are irrelevant.

She’s evil, very nearly evil incarnate, and only obeys rules that exist on the same level as the laws of physics.

Personally, I really don’t like depictions of Heaven where mortals are locked into a mindless “bliss” (except, perhaps, as ultimately temporary therapy to heal the ills of mortal life), but this is a setting where God doesn’t maintain harmony between the angels, so it looks like everyone at the angelic level means well but lacks a source of infallible wisdom. So conflicting agendas can cause any number of problems.

Thanks for the comment :D Astria as evil incarnate is a little strong for me but I know the future so you’ll see what happened there later on.

You’re free to read Mrs. H’s bliss anyway you wish. Remember you are seeing only the tiniest slice of heaven and a spot that was specifically built for this encounter. Whether or not Gabriel did it or Richard’s mind did it is a matter for metaphysical debate. Heaven is huge and the story doesn’t get into how it ‘works.’

Are you sure Astria is simply “evil incarnate”?

As I wrote in the introduction to a bit of storytelling I do, no creature ever has but a single nature, and wickedness can sometimes accomplish good…

What I do… Well, amongst many other interests I’m a filksinger, and I have a few spoken-word pieces in my repertoire. Most of what I perform was written by others, but occasionally something of my own is worth keeping.

I’m confused. How does Astria killing people help Rich? It has something to do with that talk about the gate they arrived at crumbling with the rage of the Leviathan. But all that was so long ago, I don’t remember anything about a gate or a Leviathan. My max webcomic memory span is about 60 days, anything before that is lost.

It isn’t as clear as it could be in the comic — I had to ask what was going on in that panel — but Astria staged the massacre at the hospital (how many dead?) in order to get the group of just-born souls under her control. She then had them dive into the Lethe (which, we’ve previously been told, will convert a soul back into Lethe-water) at just the right point to form an alternate stream, thus diverting the boat and rescuing the boys. So, yes, they directly owe their rather immediate survival to Astria’s killing.

Gate/Leviathan: Back at the top of the Towers.

If you need further clarification, someone can probably be persuaded to point to the right pages.

It’s good to see Rich being forced to deal with the fact that (a) it isn’t all about him and (b) actions have consequences. Ignoring those two facts is what launched this whole story.

It’s starting feel like time for another cliffhanger “meanwhile, back on earth…”, especially since we’ve just been reminded that there’s some unfinished business there.

RE: Richard’s “goat feet”: are they getting ‘goatier’? I watched the two toes pop out just before they got the boat, but he wasn’t up on the toes until a page or two ago (or not so that I could tell).

Yep; I’m presuming that this occurred as part of the whole shapechange sequence — not quite successfully returning to the previous shape, and instead drifting another step closer to Astria’s demon form. It isn’t clear whether anyone else has noticed… or if they simply haven’t been surprised, or considered it significant given everything else in play.

As far as mirror goes… Well, that would be one classic resolution to this kind of story, but I suspect that Dan’s got something more complicated in mind.

“A thousand-armed demon has something up many sleeves.”
– Lord Jowls, in _The_Fourth_Tower_Of_Inverness_

AND ANOTHER THING: Would Richard ‘discover’ Catherine by finding a mirror, and disappointingly complete his quest?

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