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Mandamon

20190610 - Facets of the Nether Ch 18 - 4164 words - Sub 17

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Hello everyone!
Back to S and WW this week, for more new and exciting things. I'm going for a sense of wonder again, so let me know if that's hitting. Aside from that, do the revelations in the chapter make sense? Is there enough reaction (probably not). As usual, all comments are welcome.

Only three chapters and a short epilogue left in the story! However the word counts are 5400, 5750, and 5870 (including the epilogue). I'd love to submit these as individual chapters, but if that's taking up too much bandwith, I'll figure out the best way to split them up.

Previously: E coaxed S out of his room after a strange chime went off. The maji are interested in S's new house. R got some information from a source, and M wants to restart the Society. R reveals the location of the Coalition's headquarters, but can't get there, and everyone is called to the Assembly, where the Coalition unveils an ancient being. E and R discuss the revelation, S visits the Eff in a private audience, and M continues recruiting. Re manages to meet with the coalition, learns E and I's true species, and confronts E. E trades herself for I and S takes I in.
The rest of the cast gathers at the wall, and meet the Eff. They learn some new things, then the chime stops as something comes through the wall. We go back to E, who discovers the Coalition's headquarters, and meets some new, strange friends. Back to S and Co at the wall, who finally find out what the chime was all about. We drop in on M, who showed the new two-house recruits what's he'd been doing. Meanwhile, S and I go through the wall with WW, and find out what's on the other side. E learns about her species from the others, and fends off an assault. Re observes one of the LC attack the Eff, but discovers a way to create a portal to their base. Meanwhile, S and I explore the new facet with WW, and meet the ruler of that facet. M and co start work on the Device, and E learns more about the L.C.

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On 6/10/2019 at 7:24 AM, Mandamon said:

I'm going for a sense of wonder again, so let me know if that's hitting.

That is hitting me. It was the strong when S was in the crystal, and even stronger when he was describing the house of time, which seemed beautiful and intriguing.

On 6/10/2019 at 7:24 AM, Mandamon said:

Aside from that, do the revelations in the chapter make sense

I think so. I wasn't left with any annoying questions. The urgency about the dissolution created more tension along with Sam wanting to leave. I got some  Yoda and Luke Skywalker vibes here making me think Sam will leave and not get to work with W again. I'm also suspecting Sam's actions in book 1, along with the voids the LC created, were related to the speeding up of the coming dissolution. 

On 6/10/2019 at 7:24 AM, Mandamon said:

Is there enough reaction (probably not)

I'm not sure what the others will think, but I liked most of reactions in here, especially S thinking of W as a bigot. I liked how his anxiety was tied to his reactions and how he was determined to control it. 

Overall, I thought this was a solid chapter. 

Here are some notes I made as I read:

"There is still something wrong with him, and the Ef... could help." This is the one place where I didn't like S's reaction. I am super skeptical of this Ef. I do not trust her one bit and it bothers me how Sam seems to trust her even though she seemed on board with W's eugenics and hadn't gotten the Ari out of their ghetto or internment camps (not sure what you decided to call them).

"Seems a defect like this can be extracted..." to "Sam blinking in shock at the callous use of eugenics." This was a great reaction.

"The only person who can teach me about this house is a prejudice bigot." Another good reaction. It is also showing Sam making a decision to go with W in spite of  this. He is aware of the problematic perspective, but putting his need for information over it. It creates more tension. I also won't feel bad if something happens to W and S is left to figure the time stuff out on his own, like Luke Skywalker. Granted, I was really sad when Yoda died. 

I'm sorry for Star Wars mentions if that isn't  what you're going for. 

 There were two times on p. 6 where you mentioned the nether supplying air or whatever his body needed. This felt a little redundant. 

“This place can teach me about the House of Matter?” he asked.

“I am certain there is information here,”

and 

What about the House of Matter?”

Wor Wobniar settled on her tripod of legs. “That is more difficult. I know there are records here which reference the House of Matter, but they are few and far between. Let us see if we can find them.”

Also seem to repeat information. If you are trying to show Sam pushing W to focus on that, make try to make that clearer or show his frustration more. 

On 6/10/2019 at 7:24 AM, Mandamon said:

However the word counts are 5400, 5750, and 5870 (including the epilogue). I'd love to submit these as individual chapters, but if that's taking up too much bandwith, I'll figure out the best way to split them up.

It is totally okay with me if you go over. I want to read and find out how it ends ASAP. Don't make me wait longer by dividing chapter. 

:D

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Overall

Structurally, this was fine. In terms of forward progression and tension though, it seemed all talk and no action, no movement, no tension. I liked the strong start and the journey through the crystal was awesome. Once inside though it was a lot of talking and I think not enough time spent with each new idea and reaction from S. 

I think I would have liked less information, and longer on each information piece, complete with reactions. Still, solid draft!

On 6/10/2019 at 7:24 AM, Mandamon said:

I'm going for a sense of wonder again, so let me know if that's hitting. Aside from that, do the revelations in the chapter make sense? Is there enough reaction (probably not).

Yes to wonder, but not enough? I wanted to be bowled over with this hidden room and I felt just mildly interested. I think more deep discussion, more reaction, as you noted.

The revelations make a sort of sense, but I kept waiting for there to be deeper discussion, and it stayed surface. I think I just need some really deep, thoughtful exchanges to really connect with what is going on.

On 6/10/2019 at 7:24 AM, Mandamon said:

I'd love to submit these as individual chapters, but if that's taking up too much bandwith, I'll figure out the best way to split them up.

I'd be completely fine with it.

 

As I go

- so are house of time people called prophets?

- pg 1: THAT'S RIGHT S! HE IS YOUR BOYFRIEND! (ahem)

- pg 1: this jealousy seems a bit out of nowhere? Like the relationship is shiny and new, yes, but the raging jealousy seems juvenile. However, this could be a very teenage boy response so potentially spot on.

- pg 3: intrigued by the gender-as-role system here. Decent parallels in many Earth societies so curious to see where you go with it

- pg 5: he pressed. There was resistance, then not. I would love more explanation and description here. I want to feel what S is feeling and see what he is seeing

- last paragraph pg 7: pronoun slip?

- second to last paragraph, pg 10: second mention of mentor joining the web--redundancy

 

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Posted (edited)

One thing I forgot to mention was I like how on page 4, S is clear about how he doesn't react well to medications but acknowledges that some people do. I also liked his confidence in his ability to manage it even when W doubted him. 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Posted (edited)

Thanks to @kais and @shatteredsmooth!

21 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I'm not sure what the others will think, but I liked most of reactions in here, especially S thinking of W as a bigot. I liked how his anxiety was tied to his reactions and how he was determined to control it. 

Glad this worked.

21 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I am super skeptical of this Ef. I do not trust her one bit and it bothers me how Sam seems to trust her even though she seemed on board with W's eugenics and hadn't gotten the Ari out of their ghetto or internment camps (not sure what you decided to call them).

Yeah, I'm hoping to adjust this emotional reaction a lot in the rewrite. Not that this Eff isn't sketchy, but I think I'm getting the wrong reaction with the Ari and need to change my phrasing a lot.

21 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I'm sorry for Star Wars mentions if that isn't  what you're going for.

Ha, totally works though! This is very much Hero's Journey stuff with the Aged Mentor.

13 hours ago, kais said:

Once inside though it was a lot of talking and I think not enough time spent with each new idea and reaction from S. 

I think I would have liked less information, and longer on each information piece, complete with reactions. Still, solid draft!

 

13 hours ago, kais said:

Yes to wonder, but not enough? I wanted to be bowled over with this hidden room and I felt just mildly interested. I think more deep discussion, more reaction, as you noted.

The revelations make a sort of sense, but I kept waiting for there to be deeper discussion, and it stayed surface. I think I just need some really deep, thoughtful exchanges to really connect with what is going on.

This sounds a little contradictory, but I think I see what you're going for. You say there's a lot of talking, but not enough reaction. Then you want deeper discussion and exchanges. So I think I need to stay on each topic a bit longer, and maybe give away some more "secrets" to add tension? I'll ponder on this. I also felt the lack of tension you're talking about and wasn't sure how to fix it.

13 hours ago, kais said:

so are house of time people called prophets?

Yes. There's only (or two) at a time.

13 hours ago, kais said:

- pg 1: THAT'S RIGHT S! HE IS YOUR BOYFRIEND! (ahem)

Heh. This was fun to write after all the buildup.

13 hours ago, kais said:

intrigued by the gender-as-role system here. Decent parallels in many Earth societies so curious to see where you go with it

I need to do some research on this as well. It's sort of half-formed, and depending on how much I write which includes this species.

 

Edited by Mandamon
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12 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

One thing I forgot to mention was I like how on page 4, S is clear about how he doesn't react well to medications but acknowledges that some people do. I also liked his confidence in his ability to manage it even when W doubted him

I actually put this in specifically because of what you said about Seeds! I wanted to make it very clear that medication does work for some people. Glad you caught it, @shatteredsmooth.

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On 10/06/2019 at 0:24 PM, Mandamon said:

I'd love to submit these as individual chapters, but if that's taking up too much bandwith, I'll figure out the best way to split them up.

Personally, I'd rather see these as chapters than save ~500 words on the week and have to parse across chapter breaks.

Comments:

(page 1)

- "thus more notes are required to make changes" - For me, this could be more dramatic. I imagine this is gong to play a part near the end, and I want it to be really hard for S (presumably?) to do whatever he needs to do to save the day (presumably?). So, would it be overstating to say 'thus, vastly more notes are required...'?

- Love 'Prophet' being the name of a time maj. However, "quite valuable" again seems to underplay the value.

- "surge of hot jealousy" - At first, I reacted against this, then I remembered that S is really quite young. Then I remembered that I was not at all sure what age S is. I reckon 15/16? In which case, this phrase is entirely right.

- "hand was no longer stuck in the half-melted shape" - Maybe WRS, but I don't remember much about this at all. Does it need to be played up more? Might there be a line when In tries to grab S with the twisted hand?

(page 2)

- "the last of the distance to the back wall" - suggested to flow.

- "Someone had told him that, many times" - What? What about it? Unclear.

- "hadn’t wanted to use that method in on him" - typo? 'on' sounds better, I think.

- "Not at the moment, he wasn’t couldn't" - I feel that S's thought should respond to the question directly, to improve flow. WW say's 'can you?', hence 'couldn't', imo.

- "Xyr turned" - Isn't this 'Xy' - as in He/She?

- "in shock at the callous use suggestion of eugenics" - It's not actually a use though, it's just a suggestion in this case? Maybe, inference, implication, but WW does not 'use' it on S.

(page 3)

- "There was a gauze of silk-like fabric covering the opening" - Redundant: you're describing the same thing twice, imo.

- "The wall of the Nether loomed very close to the edge" - No need for a comma here. I can't hear a pause.

- "hard enough without any disadvantage" - Awkard. I think 'a' or 'this' would both be better than 'any'. 'any' is vague and non-specific. Either of the alternatives would be more positive, and therefore engaging, keeping the reader in the moment.

- "heat that blossomed in his belly" - I think this is supposed to be anger, but I didn't make that connection. heat in the belly sounds more like indigestion to me. I think it would be easier to understand heat in his face, clenching his hands, something more closely associated with anger. This aside, I like seeing some backbone from S.

- "is a prejudiced bigot" - What? Where the heck does he get this from? Don't understand. Seems like a huge leap. Is he saying WW is prejudiced against people with vertigo? I hardly think that's an obvious and likely prejudice.

- "different angle than the section they came through" - This feels vague to me. Suggest adding '...to get to this facet' or 'to get here'.

(page 4)

- "There must be another corner" - This is very interesting to me. I think it's important and I want more information / clearer description. Is it a right-angled corner? If so, to me it could imply two more facets!! :o 

- "The HoT is through here" - ...or maybe not.

- "an arm's reach away" - I don't believe this. For one, has he ever experienced that? For two, I think he would be curled up in the ball on the ground if it was that loud. That would be unbearable.

- "I can hear what you're doing" - Confused. WW brought them through the wall to the facet. Now they're asking S to take them through the wall. S replies indicating he will use Matter to do it. So, is WW of the HoM too? But S says he should be able to hear other houses, so WW must be using another house, not Matter. Confused. This bit is unclear.

(page 5)

- Still confused. I thought gold and silver were matter and time (or vice-versa). I don't remember. The whole new house thing seems in flux and I can't keep track of it. It's gone from exciting to confusing.

- "passed through like a wet finger through a soap bubble" - Wouldn't the finger burst the bubble?

(page 6)

- "As easy to tell how far away an island was when spotted on a stormy ocean" - Confusing analogy the way it's phrased. I don't understand the comparison being drawn.

- "The colors of all the houses flashed along her path" - More specific please, and more wonder in description, please. All eight(?) houses? What are the colours? I want to see them.

- "There was little sound inside the wall" - We were told before "all was quiet". This seems contradictory.

- "but was probably only a few minutes" - I think a stronger distinct between his perception and reality would help here.

- "supplied everything his body required" - This is repetitious of what you said before about him not need to breathe  and being supplied with O2.

- "fish slipping through the water" - Nice image, nice analogy.

- Repetition of 'around' is disorienting.

(page 7)

- "This is the HoT" - Awesome. It's sooo cool that it is inside the wall and no one else can get in. Nicely done; very different. Surprising yet inevitable, maybe?

- Narrative about the notes etc. and is over wordy, I think, and not easy to read.

- "I will explain more" - Exposition alert. This is a bit too on-the-nose for me. Pin your ears back, I am about the explain a bunch of stuff to you while the reader goes and makes a cup of tea.

- "S followed her" - pronoun typo, methinks. I believe this was not the first one.

- "In would have loved it here" - This is really good relationship building, thinking of the other person first, it's very convincing and really makes me believe S's feelings for In.

(page 8)

- "pass through the column walls" - Could this be simplified to 'columns'? The use of the word 'wall' in describing columns is confusing when you are making a comparison with 'wall walls', if you see what I, mean.

- "pushed a screen of hanging vines back" - Two things: (1) splitting the subject of the sentence (WW's action of pushing) with the object (the vines) makes for awkward reading: compare with 'pushed back a screen of hanging vines'. By 'diluting' the action you lose the clarity and the flow of the sentence, imo. (2) Have you every tried to push vines? I think you would end up pushing a couple of strands, your hand goes through and the bulk of the curtain would remain. Isn't it more likely that WW would pull the vines back like a curtain?

- "between in the centuries between then and now" - repetition of 'between', typo?

- "she gestured" - What, wait? Does WW's sex change from time to time? It's reeeeeeeeeeally confusing. Maybe it's WRS, maybe you told us this before but, if it is that case that their sex changes from minute to minute you're going to have to tell me every second time it happens, otherwise, I am never going to remember. There's too much else going on.

(page 9)

- "passed down from prophet to prophet" - No, confused again. Some time ago (in SoTH) how two house maj had specific names depending on the combination of their houses. Earlier in this chapter, you used 'prophet' as a title, which I think I conflated with that THM designation (and possibly also with Brandon's Mistborn titles for different types of MU). Now I'm confused--perhaps from my own initial misconception--that prophet seems to have a different meaning. It seems like another layer of title in a world with myriad titles and designations and titles. Gets confusing sometimes.

- "there is fabled to be all manner of artifacts there" - grammar kind of muddy here.

- "were once plentiful" - numerous, I would say, not plentiful. I would say plentiful is more commonly used for a substance which cannot be quantified individually. As in 'water was plentiful' > bottles of water were numerous. IMO.

- "any maj who belonged" - This seems weird to me. So if you're HoM, you are also automatically HoT? There seems to be no basis for that. The corollary might be that no maj of any other house can also be either an HoT or an HoM. It's rather inelegant if I'm honest. I feel like it undermines the wondrous diversity of the symphony and the maj.

- "I can teach you" - Confused by the punctuation here. Is WW saying they can teach S of the HoT and the HoM?

(page 10)

- "the inside of the Spire" - This could be more elegant. 'interior'?

- "They went up into the gloom of the ceiling" - I thought this was S and WW moving. Specificity would help here 'The shelves stretched up into the gloom...'

(page 11)

- "I can feel the time in this place" - age? years? 'time' as used here sounds to me more like, it's 11:15.

(page 12)

- "A pool where any outcome may or may not happen" - missing word. Sentence sounds off without something in here, imo.

- "Perhaps an effect of the dual Houses" - I struggle to put this beside the fact that it was implied that all HoM are HoT. So is it not that case that all HoT are HoM? Confused, still.

- "I know there are records here which reference the HoM" - sounds repetitive of what was said earlier. We know this already.

(page 13)

- I like the feeling of portent, and the reveal of the implication that S may not have come to the N by accident.

(page 14)

- "much faster than any of us anticipated" - typo, I think.

Overall 

There's a lot of exposition here. There are good emotion notes, and there is a lot of good information, but I just think there is a bit too much walking and talking. I would be trying to cut this chapter down at a word level. I think you very easily could take 10-15% off the words out without losing any of the information.

I would like to feel the tension higher throughout the chapter, maybe inject S's sense of time slipping away at the start of the chapter, then it can run through the whole chapter instead of just being raised in the last couple of pages.

I like the S is taking a bit more ownership of events, very good. I love that he has a fancy gee-gaw, like a sonic-screwdriver-ring-thing!!

There is some logic off in relation to the way the relationship ship between HoT and HoM is described, I think. I do really like the HoT though, how it is situation and the set up within it. Even still, I probably can be dialled up a little more. There doesn't seem to be much special about the building itself. Crunchy old stone temple seems a bit low-hanging fruit.

It's a good chapter, I just think it has the potential to pop way more than it does at the moment.

Good first draft.

<R>

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1 hour ago, Robinski said:

"thus more notes are required to make changes" - For me, this could be more dramatic. I imagine this is gong to play a part near the end, and I want it to be really hard for S (presumably?) to do whatever he needs to do to save the day (presumably?).

Good point. I can pump this up.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

"hand was no longer stuck in the half-melted shape" - Maybe WRS, but I don't remember much about this at all.

Yep. This got dropped while I was writing. I'm going back and adding more references.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

"surge of hot jealousy" - At first, I reacted against this, then I remembered that S is really quite young. Then I remembered that I was not at all sure what age S is. I reckon 15/16? In which case, this phrase is entirely right.

He's about 18, but yeah.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

"There must be another corner" - This is very interesting to me. I think it's important and I want more information / clearer description. Is it a right-angled corner? If so, to me it could imply two more facets!! :o 

very good assumption!

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Still confused. I thought gold and silver were matter and time (or vice-versa). I don't remember. The whole new house thing seems in flux and I can't keep track of it. It's gone from exciting to confusing.

I'll try to clear up these references.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

"she gestured" - What, wait? Does WW's sex change from time to time? It's reeeeeeeeeeally confusing.

No, just me missing things. WW was originally "she" and I changed the pronouns, so there's some typos hanging around.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Now I'm confused--perhaps from my own initial misconception--that prophet seems to have a different meaning. It seems like another layer of title in a world with myriad titles and designations and titles. Gets confusing sometimes.

"Prophet" is the title for the (singular) member of the HoT. I'll try to make it consistent.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

I would like to feel the tension higher throughout the chapter, maybe inject S's sense of time slipping away at the start of the chapter, then it can run through the whole chapter instead of just being raised in the last couple of pages.

Yep, I definitely agree. I have some ideas about upping the tension.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

There doesn't seem to be much special about the building itself. Crunchy old stone temple seems a bit low-hanging fruit.

I have an idea about this as well!

Thanks as always @Robinski! Your comments will help me target the specific sections that need work. I'm going to have to make the second draft of this adhere a lot more to my original concept, which I think got dumbed-down when it went on paper (or electrons).

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3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

He's about 18, but yeah.

Fair enough, I can remember being 18 (vaguely).

3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

very good assumption!

:o:o:o:o:o:o

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

second draft of this adhere a lot more to my original concept, which I think got dumbed-down when it went on paper (or electrons).

Sounds cool. 

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Overall, I really enjoyed the look at the HoT, that was cool and wondrous. The rest sort of dragged for me. I'm not entirely sure what revelations I'm supposed to be noticing here. Is it just the link between time and matter? That's neat, but since I only learned about the existence both of them a couple chapters ago, I don't really have much invested in why this is a big deal. 

 

As I go: 

"He hadn’t even touched it since coming" -- Didn't he? I thought he did, in the bit where he's having an attack in the great hall, but i'm not quite recalling...

"blinking in shock at the callous use of eugenics" -- he reacts to this and not to the queen's speeches? He clearly knows eugenics when he sees it, even with his messed up memory. So I am confused. 

"built into the species" -- Please be careful with this! There are some really gross race essentialism stereotypes built into the common popular idea of a multispecies society that are starting to show up here, and I am noticing them more and more in this book, with its larger focus on the nonhuman characters. Make sure your nonhumans are not just stand-ins for their entire species and that the individual's faults or proficiencies are not attributed to their membership in the species. 

"prejudiced bigot" -- I'm not really getting that from WW. Condescending, sure, supercilious maybe. But is WW's attitude any different from R's? The LC's? Those snake-people pretty much uniformly to some degree or another? This has pretty much been the Book of Species-First Attitudes and Walking to Meetings this entire time and S is only now having some issues with the stuff he's hearing/witnessing? I guess I'm not understanding why R's views are acceptable enough to make him a POV, why I apparently need to understand why the LC believe the way they do (given the amount of time spent explaining their motivations), why I'm just supposed to accept that being Ari means at some level thinking every other species is weak or useless, that the queen is doing a good thing brutally controlling her own people based on thousand-year-old stereotypes and race essentialism, but I'm supposed to write off WW based on a couple lines of dialogue? How are these things different? Why is WW bad, but the others acceptable? WW is the only one who's showing negative attitudes towards S, I guess...

I kind of feel like this Diss stuff is coming out of nowhere. The first part of the book was all about the LC -- where they are, how to get to them, what are they doing, why are they making that play in the senate -- and now we've dropped that almost entirely to focus on the Diss. The LC are only relevant now to the extent that they're messing around with In and E and if they're not the point of the novel, I'm feeling like why did so much attention get lavished on them? 

 

On 6/14/2019 at 6:13 AM, Robinski said:

Redundant: you're describing the same thing twice, imo.

Fabric nerd alert! Gauze is a weave, silk is a fiber! You can have cotton gauze, polyester gauze, silk gauze, whatever gauze. Anyone who's familiar with fibers and weaves could probably tell from a distance, too. Do I think S has enough specialized knowledge to tell the difference? Not really, but I appreciate the added detail from a reading perspective, so I'll give it to him. ;) Once you know what to look for, nothing quite looks like silk except silk. 

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8 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Fabric nerd alert! Gauze is a weave, silk is a fiber!

I sit corrected :) 

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13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

he reacts to this and not to the queen's speeches?

Hopefully after editing the previous chapters, this will be more even.

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

"built into the species" -- Please be careful with this!

I think this is worded poorly. I'll try to tidy this up.

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

"prejudiced bigot" -- I'm not really getting that from WW.

Yeah, I think it's not consistent with the other reaction S has had. I'll have to smooth these chapters over to make sure they're consistent in reaction.

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I kind of feel like this Diss stuff is coming out of nowhere. The first part of the book was all about the LC

The Diss has largely been contained to M's sections. Hopefully things will come together at the end, so let me know if I followed through.

Thanks @industrialistDragon!

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