Counting Sheep – 9.7

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The city had a surreal edge, viewed through the lens of the wyvern formula.  The haze of smoke, the glow of fires both near and distant, the echoing pop of distant gunshots and shells, and the screeches of warbeasts served to disconnect me from the immediate surroundings.  I took it in, and I put pieces together.

They’re setting the city on fire, but not everywhere.  There’s a gap there, where the Crown forces are.  The Crown’s camp was thereabouts, but we’ve been hearing shots from that direction, and the squads the Twins tore apart were running from there to there… they have to have moved further up.

Where are the Twins?  If we run into the Twins now-

I couldn’t think of any good options.  I could have shifted my focus, turned my thoughts to analyzing them, figuring out a set of tactics that might have worked, but I felt like it was a big investment of focus, and there was nothing to guarantee it would be the Twins we ran into.

“Lillian,” I said.

She turned to look at me, her eyes wide.  I saw more of the elemental Lillian I’d seen at the Fishmonger’s, now.

“Twins.  We need a countermeasure.  Think about it.  Jamie, explain the twins.”

“They smelled you,” she said.

The words came across as abrupt.  I was anticipating a certain pacing and pattern to her speech, I’d had years to get used to the measure of time she took to take things in, to wait to see if any of us spoke before adding her opinion.  It didn’t surprise me that she spoke, but it did catch me off guard.

“Enhanced hearing and smell was Sy’s take, yeah,” Jamie said.  “Small, black, recessed eyes that they didn’t seem to rely on.  They interlock with their older sisters to form one complete, adult body-”

“What color are they?”  Abrupt.

“Black,” Jamie said.

“Charcoal black,” I clarified.  “Dull, not glossy.”

“Except for the parts where you see the skin, from the interlock,” Jamie added.

Lillian nodded, taking in the words, even while her thoughts were somewhere else.

“Is that important?” Jamie asked.

“Maybe.  How much did their chests move when they stood still?  Did they stand still?”

“They breathed harder than seemed necessary,” Jamie said.

Had they?  I hadn’t noticed.

Hubris’ ears perked up, his head turning, nose catching Lillian at the knee.  She barely seemed to notice, but I did.

I put my hands out, stopping them, then gestured.

The group of us moved closer to a wall, huddling down.  I drew one of the knives I’d collected from the kitchen in the now-burning house, and tucked it into the top of my boot as I heard the footsteps.

Five people, at least, running.  Disorganized.

Definitely not the Twins.  Probably residents of Lugh, not Crown soldiers.

I gestured come behind my back.

I’d expected Lillian, but Hubris was the one who came.  Almost as good.  He approached steadily as I kept the gesture up, until his shoulder was flush against my side.  I hugged him.

The next part was to act.  It really didn’t take much digging to get to the emotion I wanted.  Breathe harder, as if I was panicking, let emotions well up, my face contorting-

All the while, my hand flew through gestures, letting the other two know what to expect.

The group stepped out from around the corner.  Five civilians, armed with improvised weapons.  It was the one at the tail end of the group who turned his head, looking for trouble, and spotted us.  He yelled out, “Oi!”  The others stopped in their tracks, turning, weapons at the ready.

They looked scared, but they let their guards down as they spotted us: three youths, with the one closest to their group fiercely hugging his dog, clearly upset.

I didn’t turn to look, but I knew that if Lillian’s expression was even remotely the same as it had been the last time I’d looked, she might have looked shell shocked.  Jamie- I didn’t actually know, but two data points would work well enough.

“Shit,” the one at the tail said.  “What are you doing here?”

No response was as good as a non-response in a situation like this.  Let them fill in the gaps.

More footsteps were still approaching.  It didn’t seem to be a threat or a chase, by the reaction of the group in front of us.

No, they were looking to the individuals.

I reached out to put my hand on the wall by Hubris’ head, as if to keep my balance, fingers in a specific position.  The hand was only a foot from my boot with the knife.

Alert, the sign was.  Be ready, the intent was.

I felt Hubris tense under my other arm.

The pairing who followed up the rear of the initial group was composed of one more Lugh civilian, armed with a long-handled axe, and one of Mauer’s soldiers, with a rifle and bayonet.

I watched as he tracked the group’s gaze, and I saw the flicker of recognition.  The recognition was followed by alarm, but I was already pushing out with the arm I had around Hubris’ shoulders, rising to my feet and drawing the knife in the same motion.

Before the soldier could bring his weapon around to point it at us or slash at Hubris, the mutt was on him, tearing at one wrist, making it impossible to handle the gun, pulling him toward the ground-

I slammed the knife into the side of his neck, nearly lost my grip on it as I hauled it back and out, and then drove it into his neck again, closer to the front.

He collapsed, Hubris dancing out to keep from being caught under him, teeth going for the gun.

Four grown, armed men stood within two and a half metres of me.  We’d just beheaded the leadership of their group, but the rest remained a threat.

I opened my eyes wider, and I hissed at them.  Showing absolute confidence here was essential.

Behind and to the side of me, I heard Lillian echo the sound, followed by an amused noise.

She’d said she wasn’t drunk on the wyvern formula’s effects, but she was doing a horrible job of selling the argument.

Still, the group retreated rather than advance.

“Don’t-” the soldier on the ground spoke, blood in mouth and throat muddling the word.  He spat, coughed, and then tried to finish the sentence, “hold-”

I plunged the knife into his throat for the third time.

People were so hard to kill, even with stabs to an important area like the throat.

The blood that had splashed up and the moisture from the rain made it hard to get the knife out.  Rather than try and fail, I let my hand slip off as if I’d intended to do it, and straightened.

The group turned, starting to run.

We were back in that direction, we came this way, the Twins would have come this way before losing our trail, with Hubris running that way…

Odds were better than not that the group was running in the direction the Twins had gone, off to our left.  Sixty percent chance, if I had to put a number to it.  Thirty percent they were down the street I and the other Lambs had been walking down, ten percent chance the Twins were back the way we’d come.

I bent down, reaching for the rifle Hubris had secured.  I aimed and fired.

The group of men ducked their heads, stopped, and looked for cover.  Not that there was much point- I’d fired well over their heads.

“That way,” I called out, moving the rifle and bayonet to indicate the road we’d already been traveling down.

“Those particular exorcist rifles have to be reloaded between shots,” Jamie said, quiet enough the people wouldn’t hear.

“Got it,” I murmured.  I bent down, not taking my eyes off of the people peeking around cover, and reached down to pat at the still-dying soldier.  He grasped weakly at my wrist, and I shook him off.

In the corner of my vision, I saw Gordon’s face being framed by a dark pool of blood, rather than the soldier’s mug.  I ignored it, keeping my vision on the possible threats, while continuing to feel around for where the soldier had the ammo stored.

Patiently, Hubris stopped sniffing loudly at the man’s side and used his nose to nudge my hand to the right location.  I dug into the pocket and found ammo.  I reloaded the Exorcist.

“That way!” I said, with more force.  “If you go that way, you’re going to die, and it won’t be because I shot you!”

They were lost, rudderless, and by the small numbers and lack of guns among the group, I was guessing they were a smaller splinter of a larger faction.  They turned, and then ran the way I’d indicated, toward the harbor and the bulk of Mauer’s forces.  It wasn’t a hard sell, even coming from someone who had stabbed their group’s leader.

My vision of how things stood in Lugh was an abstract painting, broad strokes with little detail and a lot of blurred lines and fuzziness where I wasn’t absolutely sure of details.  Every gunshot, particularly the duller booms of exorcists and the bursts of fire from multiple stitched soldiers firing in unison, served as another stroke or dab on the greater picture.

I mentally revised my mental picture of where things stood, moving the Academy forward.  Mauer’s front line was getting torn to shreds, and it was probably somewhat worse than he’d anticipated.  Four nobles came with more than the usual amount of firepower.  Two of those nobles were on the periphery of the front lines, picking off stragglers, scouting groups, and flanking attacks.

The group I’d redirected ran down the street, keeping to cover where cover was available.  I watched them go, giving them a head start, so we wouldn’t be right on their heels if they ran into trouble and wound up cornered.

I relieved the now-dead soldier of the bullets.  My finger touched the ring at my thumb, rotating it around- a little bit of resistance, with the fit being tighter.

“Sorry,” I told him.  I wasn’t sure if I was, but I felt like I had to say something.

Our trio moved at a brisk walk down the same road the group of militia had fled down.

“…and bony pincers instead of arms.  They were attached after the fact,” Jamie was saying.  Right back onto the subject of the Twins.

“That’s interesting.  Were the legs okay?  Flexible?”

“The legs moved,” Jamie said.  “They were fast.”

“But the feet.  How was the mobility in the feet?”

“Feet were straight out, almost one solid piece from knee to the end of the foot, maybe fifteen degrees of movement at the knee and at the ankle, with toes giving them traction.”

“Did the toes wiggle?  Or did they look like metal, or bone, or-”

“I didn’t see.  Puddles, and I wasn’t focused on the feet when there weren’t puddles.”

“I’m getting this mental picture, but I’m not sure if my imagination is running away with me,” Lillian said.  Her voice was breathy, like she hadn’t taken in a full proper lungful of air before leaping into the thought.  She took in a partial breath, then cut it off to say, “It’s really hard to tell if I’m imagining it or understanding it.”

“What are you thinking?” I asked.

“I’m imagining a problem with oxygen.  The integration would take time to get right, they’ve got very contained physiologies with very dense bone, blood flow is low, redirected, or they went with another means of oxygen absorption altogether.  It would take time to get right, and it could go wrong easily, with catastrophic consequences.  The extremities nearly withered away, and in the case of the arms, weren’t salvageable or weren’t salvageable enough.  Chop them off, give them weapons.  Legs with the thicker bones were salvaged, and or they rely on strength and flexibility in the hip over the legs.”

“Okay,” I said.  “How can we use that?”

“That they made it work at all is incredible.  They can probably take any bullet that isn’t from an exorcist, with minimal damage.  No vital areas, fast, strong, with big bursts of energy.  When they plug into their sisters, they borrow blood flow.”

Lillian,” I said, voice sharper.  “How can we use that?”

“Um,” she said.  Then she was lost in her little world again.

I glanced at Jamie.

“You were just as bad at the start,” Jamie said.  “The books said so.”

“Hm?  What?” Lillian asked, focusing on us again.

“Nevermind,” Jamie said.  “Focus on your thing.  You’re doing a good job.”

She lowered her head, pulling her bag around so it was in front of her, and began digging through it.  She spent a minute doing it.  It felt disorganized, the way she moved stuff aside, then had to move it the other way to search a different corner.

“Do you have a silver bullet for us?” I asked, gently, so as not to disturb her too much.

“No,” she said.  “Just a bullet, and I have to put it together.  And I have one idea, but I don’t have the things for it.”

“Okay,” I said.  “A bullet is good.  And you think this thing will work?”

“No,” she said.  She looked up, and met my eyes with her own.  Elemental Lillian had a look on her face like I’d just said something crazy.  “Your aim sucks.


Seeing this Lillian at work, I was struck by a thought.  Evette.  She’d never had a first incarnation, nor a second.  The idea had been floated, but it had been Ashton we got in the end.

The idea had been to have Evette as the group’s problem solver.  A floating element, not for combat, but for the background.  To equip us against threats, and to devise very specific solutions.  Of all of the Lambs, she would have had access to Academy knowledge.  The rest of us would have been forbidden.

I didn’t know what Evette would have looked like in the end, or what her personality would have been, but I imagined she would have existed with the Academy maintaining a tighter, firmer hold on her.  Having her with us would likely have meant an adult chaperone at all times, to rein her in and watch over her.

In darker moments, and today was a darker moment, I allowed myself to muse on the fact that her project had been allowed to fail.  That they had decided it was too much trouble, that the Lambs couldn’t have access to that knowledge.  Easier to give us a conventional medic and not worry about losing control.  Two now, if I counted Duncan.

We’d lost Gordon, and yet I felt like he was still with us, in Hubris, and in spirit.  As for Jamie, I’d always seen in the corner of my eye, in the movement of curtains and tricks of the light, and he was with us in a very concrete way.

Evette, well, we’d lost her before we’d even started.  I had the sense that she was with us, lending a hand, all of the key traits and points now manifesting through a possessed Lillian.  I could very well picturing her acting like Lillian was now.  Eccentric, no holds barred, plainspoken, and needing careful watching-over.

It made for a shifting of mental gears, but I suddenly felt a lot more comfortable with Lillian acting as different as she was.  I could almost see it as a game, to test how I might work with her.

Lillian was so focused on digging through her bag that she was losing track of where she was walking.  Jamie had to slow down to avoid being cut off by her.

I reached out and grabbed her upper arm, aiming to steer her.  Like lightning, sudden and startling, she whipped her head around to look at me.

Confusion, then recognition, and then a smile and a flush of the cheeks.

Now I was the one that was confused.

“Thank you,” she said, with a hair more emphasis than was needed.

I nodded once.

No response was as good as a non-response in a situation like this.

I could feel the muscles of her arm move as she emptied a bottle into a jar that already had fluid inside, then screwed on the cap.  She shook the bottle, a thumb over the lid.

She handed it to me.  I had to let go of her arm to take it.

“What is it?”

“Stink.  It’s going to wipe out our ability to smell anything when the time comes, and Hubris will hate it, but if they use their noses like you think, it’ll hurt them more.”

I tested the weight of the jar of urine-colored fluid, then extended the rifle past Lillian’s front, to Jamie.

“I’m shooting?” he asked.

“They might be quick and durable,” I said, “But if we can throw them for a loop with this, you might get a chance to land a shot.”

“You saw how fast they are.  By the time we see them, it might be too late.”

“Yeah,” I said.  “This is good, Lil.  Good line of thinking.”

“Hm?” She looked up from her bag.


“Do you know what I should do?” she asked, eyes going back to the bag.  “Take the stuff I use most, and just stick it on the outside of a coat.  Jars, needles, tools.”

“That wouldn’t be very discreet,” I pointed out.

She looked up, processed that, then nodded, eyes going back to the bag.

“Students take wyvern on the regular, don’t they?” I asked.

“Some,” Lillian said.  “The Academy lies.  They say the stuff will kill you if you overdo it, so most only take a small amount.”

“Anything kills you if you take too much,” Jamie said.  “Even water.”

Lillian smiled at that.  “Yeah.  You know what I mean.”

“How much more than the usual dose did you take?” I asked.

“I took a safe amount,” she said.

“How much more?”

“Ten times more than them.  The same amount you took when you first started,” she said.  “Before tolerances.”

“Right,” I said.

The little things were adding up.  Looking for clues, piecing together a mental image of how the city was doing, anticipating the Twins, the Crown army, and Mauer, keeping an eye on Hubris in case a twitch of the ear indicated something noteworthy, and now that I had the jar tucked under one arm, my other arm was once again steering a preoccupied Lillian.  I could focus on more things at once, and my thoughts were clearer and more effective, but I still had a limit and I was approaching it.  Actually trying to figure out what I was really wanting to ask her about with the formula and carrying on a conversation would detract from more important matters.

I told myself I’d think on it at a future date, and I knew I’d forget before I did.

Her posture was weird – I had a grip on her upper arm, but she was pinning my hand in place between her arm and her side, her elbow pressed against the side of her stomach.  That was distracting too, both in the sense that I wanted to piece together what she was doing and the thought process at work, and the fact that the knuckles of my hand were grazing certain aspects of her anatomy.

She liked me.  I’d known that was the case, in an analytical way, but Lillian had always been reactive, passive, shy, and indirect about her feelings.  I could put all of the pieces together, and still, I could invent reasons it was just an act.  She was the type who needed someone close to them.  She was at that age, and propinquity made her think she liked me.  Hormones and the fact that she saw my face as often as she did.

To actually have her show interest in this bizarre, minor way was both rewarding and very very distracting.

“Sy,” Jamie said.

Case in point.  There was a situation.

A body, a recent death.  The corpse had been demolished, pieces of skull scattered across road, with massive puncture wounds I could have thrust a hand into.

“The twins,” Jamie said.

“Oh no,” Lillian said.  Strange to hear her speak when I expected Lillian to be horrified into silence.

“Came from the east,” I said.  “Sudden attack, only one dead?”

“Could be tired,” Jamie said.  He looked to Lillian.

“They probably are.  If they plug into their sisters for the sake of borrowing blood flow and re-oxygenating, then they-”

“Or it’s bait,” I said, cutting her off only because I suspected she would ramble.  I wheeled around, eyes scanning nearby buildings and surfaces.  I held the jar higher.  “They smelled us on the people we sent running, now they’re hunting us, and a body lying in our path slows us down, buys a chance to get in position and pounce.”

I spun around again, now facing what had been our rear.

“I have another idea,” Lillian said.

“Is it one we can put into effect right now?” I asked her.

“No.  I’d need a lab, I think.”

“Then keep it in mind, but let’s focus on what we need to focus on.  I think we’re surrounded.”

“Can you even be surrounded by two people?” Jamie asked.

“When they’re the Twins?  Yeah.” I asked.  My eyes scanned the surroundings.  Wood piles, a shed, the eaves of a rooftop.  The shadows played tricks with my eyes.  Lillian’s comment about imagination playing tricks with the mind was an accurate one.  I was seeing the shadows pull themselves into configurations resembling skulls, bones, and praying-mantis like spikes at the end of their forelimbs.

I’d done the tests for Hayle that involved drawing the perfect, clean white rectangle in my mind’s eye.  The trick for focusing my senses was similar.  I had to sort the visual information, look for the flow of things.  The way buildings were constructed had a sense to them.  The things that littered the ground were the same.  There was a reasoning at play.

Once I had that mental image, I could see more distinctly.  My brain was rapidly catching up with what I was trying to see, the bits of visual noise and dancing shadow fewer and farther between.  I could recognize the spots in my vision for what they were.

Within an attic window that overlooked the streets, I saw the younger Twins.  They were interlocked in their own way, both at a small window, one practically hanging off of the other so it could occupy the narrow space, dark skull faces surrounded by darkness, peering through.

Could they see after all, or were they simply there because it positioned them well to attack?  They were thirty metres out, across the street and two houses down, and if they wanted to attack, they could charge through the glass, run, and hit us within a few seconds.  If they wanted to be subtle about it, I was sure even their limited limbs could open the window, allowing them to slip out and close the distance while we meandered on, unaware, or focused on the body.

My heart was pounding.

I gestured for silence, and indicated the direction of the Twins.

The Twins in the window didn’t move.

Slowly, surely, Jamie raised the rifle to his shoulder, aiming.

In the blink of an eye, the Twins in the window were gone.  They hadn’t exited through the window- they were moving through the home.  That put them on the street level, and it gave us zero idea of which direction they would come from.

“Run!” I shouted, grabbing Lillian’s arm, hauling her with me.  Have to get to a better position.

We ran, boots clunking on a road dusted with a mix of snow and ash.  We made our way further down the road, to find the remainder of the group I’d sent down the road.  Citizens of Lugh, not ill-intentioned, who didn’t deserve to die, torn to shreds by the nobles.

Thirty percent chance, I thought.  But from the direction Jamie had said they’d attacked from, the sixty-percent route wouldn’t have been much safer – they would’ve been to the left of the four Twins, rather than the right.

Twins the younger behind us and to our right, Twins the elder ahead of us and to the left, with a contingent of armed men.

The stink bomb only served to incapacitate for a short while, at best, and maybe bought us a chance to shoot one.

It wasn’t enough.

I was already going to be violating my promise to Gordon.  A fight was inevitable, it was going to be ugly, and it wasn’t going to favor the Lambs in that ugliness.

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75 thoughts on “Counting Sheep – 9.7

  1. Typo thread!

    “When they’re the Twins? Yeah.” I asked.
    – Guessing it should be “said” or something instead of “asked”

  2. I’m beginning to wonder if Wyvern is the only concoction Sy’s been injected with. Considering it’s common enough that many people are using it, I don’t understand what using Sy as a lab rat could accomplish. I suppose it makes sense as a study of the long-term effects of sustained heavy dosage, but that sounds like a job that could be better accomplished by heavily dosing some random jailed punk and keeping him under observation for a few years, not testing it on a member of one of their operations teams. Either there is something notably different about Sy, or the Lambs are just lower tier on the academy’s hierarchy than I thought. I do remember Hayle saying something about his lab being underfunded and overlooked, so maybe I’ve just been overestimating how much the Lambs matter in the grand scheme of things. I suppose they really are just test subjects that happen to be useful.

    • Pretty sure Sy was some random punk before they put wyvern in him and tortured him into amnesia. He mentioned it when he bought up those kids and their parents. Maybe they did add other stuff, but it seems like wyvern PLUS the testing they did to make him use it in specific ways was the whole point. They trained him for years and years to reallocate his points to specific stats through the games and exercises. The wyvern made him malleable and then the training was the experimental part. That’s what makes him important as an experiment.

    • Sy’s normal dose is 50 times what the normal student takes (Lillian took 20% which was 10x standard student dosage). That’s a pretty huge difference, and I suspect he takes it more often.

      That said, the lambs aren’t a superweapon individually, but collectively. They shore up each other’s weak points and work very well as a team.

    • Sy started as an experiment to determine how much Wyvern is too much, and was only repurposed as a Lamb afterwards. They were going to just give him more and more Wyvern until it killed him, and document the process, but after Evette and Ashton were canned, the Lambs were down a problem solver and a social manipulator. Sy was a good enough fit.

    • Sy wasn’t originally a Lamb, but another, lesser project that happened to have similar outcomes. They just kind of fitted him into the Lambs when they realised he could be used to shore up gaps in their collective.

    • To be fair, they were listed amongst the ‘super weapons’. The Lambs as a collective play in the same league as the Brechwell Beast or Dog & Catcher. Or the Machinist.
      They are designed to be effective at whatever they do. They aren’t designed to solve everything by themselves and the academy does probably not rely (too much) on them. I guess super weapons are the Twig-Verse equivalent to smartphone generations. There’s a new one every year with some new stuff the fanboys get all excited about (“It BREATHES parasites! ZOMG, so ORIGINAL!!!1!!!11!!one11! ! [Not the smartphone, though. I hope.]) while everybody else doesn’t see the appeal (“Yeah, it pretty much kills us. Like the one before. And the one before that.”).
      If one generation gets fucked up for any reason, the guys responsible get fired (sometimes literally) and the company starts anew.
      So yeah. The Lambs (and Sy) aren’t that special from the academy’s point of view. That said, Hayle DID get funds over several years. There was even enough wiggle room for Mary and a second Ashton attempt. I guess an experiment on the longterm effects of their #1 learning drug combined with high dosage experiments might be interesting enough, given the fact that Genevieve Fray was a thing. If Sy turned out too much like her, the academy might ditch the Wyvern thingy altogether. If he turns out okay, they might stop bending the truth about how much Wyvern at a time is safe or even make it mandatory for all students. Remember, this is a universe where consumer protection and testing for meds isn’t required. It’s more like “open beta pharmaceuticals” where the consumers spot the bugs for the company.

    • Something missing about your suggested experiment is that it yields no results in situ. What’s the purpose of giving a life-sentence inmate a drug to make their brain super plastic? How does that help the Academy further its goals of creating better and smarter experiments and professors? How does it further the Crown’s goals? Whatever skills an inmate will develop will have no use in battle, or in a social environment (inmates don’t get to speak all that much), or in learning and innovating (like heck they are going to give classified research to an inmate).

      • Also, bear in mind, the nobles have effectively subjugated the Academy, but are also dependent on the Academy in order to love. Allowing accademy students (or professors) to have a minor hit of wyvern now and then makes may allow them to more effectively serve the nobles. Similarly, allowing Sy, an expendable child soldier who isn’t allowed to know Academy stuf, and also has a limited shelf life, to supercharge his brain on Wyvern might also serve their purposes. However, allowing members of the Academy proper to use Wyvern to the extent that Sy does risks destabilizing the status quo (in fact, the current business with the revolution is only happening because a former Academy student, Frey, did exactly this). It is therefore in the nobles interest to enforce a strict no tolerance policy on heavy wyvern use within the Academy, even if they overlook light use.

    • Wyvern is *not* the only thing being injected into Sy, iirc, he’s poisoned on the regular to make him immune to the stuff (and also poisonous).

      • That’s just the Wyvern. It’s a very potent toxin all on its own.
        Kind of makes you wonder how they came up with the idea of injecting it into people’s brains.
        Maybe some undergrads were told to clean up the poison cupboard, but weren’t allowed to just pour the useless stuff down the drain, so they decided to mix it all together and shoot it.

        • Reminds me of how warfarin was discovered to be a useful anticoagulant for humans. Maybe something similar happened with Wyvern or its precursor.

        • “Hey, we want to make people learn faster. What effects learning? Oh, it’s connections in the brains… Is there a way we can make connections break and form faster? Triggering a healing response you say? But how… What about poisons? This works pretty well, as does this. So lets put that together, and that, and that, and do tiny doses. Now, let’s increase the dose to see how big a dose is a bad dose. Ok, we’ve made Sy, he can join that project, the… lambs?”

        • Sy has said that most poisons, plagues, and parasites wouldn’t want anything to do with him. That implies that he’s getting more than just the wyvern, because one brain injection (even if it is a large one) wouldn’t make his entire body a hostile environment to that wide a variety of stuff.

          • But it wasn’t just one, it was tens, maybe hundreds, over the years. It, or its derivates, probably built up in his organism. And that stuff is nasty yo.

          • My point is, we don’t know. Also, Sy hasn’t been getting the injections for his entire life; probably for no longer than 5-6 years. It’s more likely that he was also getting other toxins to see how the wyvern formula interacts with those.

  3. It amazes me how well everyone works together here in the comments section. All the obscure details pieced together to make the whole clearer. Its like we are banding together against the darkness that wildbow is sure to reveal

  4. I like how the name meanings of the labs describe what they actually are. I just found it rather Interesting. Although it falls apart with Ashton and Helen, to some degree Evette. Unless there is an irony in her name or shes alive somewhere. Then again the meaning of Jamies name didn’t make sense till not all that long ago.

    Gordon: spacious fort
    Jamie: Supplanter
    Sylvester: wooded or wild
    Lillian: innocence, purity, beauty
    Evette: Living one
    Mary: Wished-for child, rebellion, bitter
    Ashton: ash tree town

  5. Goddamn window, I start thinking everything’s going to be hickory, but you just pull out the rug from under me. And I just keep coming back for more.

    On a side note, I doubt Lilian is Evette, rather, this whole incident will make the Academy reconsider Evettes project for reactivation when Lilian manages to Fuck everyone’s shit up.

  6. I wonder if the Academy planned for Lillian to do this. I mean, why would they give her Wyvern to carry around?

    The first hit is always free…

      • I thought they didn’t give the Lambs access before, though, what with all the fuss about appointments. Did something specifically change?

        • They got a really long assignment? So long that Sy’s Wyvern blood content floored and he needed a top up. I guess the higher ups predicted that might happen.

  7. >I bent down, not taking my eyes off of the people peeking around cover, and reached down to pat at the still-dying soldier.

    >She looked up, and met my eyes with her own.

    >I wheeled around, eyes scanning nearby buildings and surfaces.

    >“When they’re the Twins? Yeah.” I asked. My eyes scanned the surroundings.

    >The shadows played tricks with my eyes.

    English is not my native language and it feels like I really suck at – so what I say might be false alarm – but maybe in some of thoses cases Sy’s ‘eyes’ should be lowerder to ‘eye’? He has one less eye now thanks to a Baron’s sword and doctors?

  8. Everyone is making connections between Evette and Lillian on the poison juice, and noticing Sylvester getting better at subduing bigger people whatnot, as well as Jamie and how he’s been acting strange recently….
    But I’m WAY more concerned about something that surprised the actual hell out of me since I read it. I’m honestly confused why I’m the only one surprised by this.

    I’m not too great at keeping a mental timetable of these things, but it’s been YEARS since we first met Maurer, way back in the era before fray.
    Like, literal years.
    Sylvester not only just took a hit of his mind altering substance that destroys his brain and ruins his long term memory, but he’s also lost two of his closest friends since then, one of which within the past hour. He’s only being functional by focusing entirely on the task at hand and ignoring everything else.

    So riddle me this Batman:
    HOW in the ACTUAL HELL did he remember Duncan?!?!?!

    No, seriously. Fucking HOW??? I barely remembered he even existed, let alone his name. He remembered both clearly enough to recall just after thinking about having an adult watch over them, even though he hasn’t been seen since the Reverend.

    The implications are many. Is he getting better at remembering? This would cause a massive level up as his memory is one of his greatest flaws. Is Duncan important to him? That could have been the spy that released avis way back when. Obviously not by himself, but Sy’s prey instincts would’ve noticed he is worth paying attention to and remembering if he was a spy.
    Or maybe Duncan is an experiment as well. Or maybe he never existed at all….

    • I’m actually surprised about this too, to the point where I’d almost call it a plot hole. Back in 8.2, Sy couldn’t remember his name, and had to be reminded by Lillian and Jamie. Barring the voyage to Lugh, the action’s been pretty non-stop since then. I don’t buy that Sy would’ve made a point of retaining Duncan’s name amidst all that, when he forgot it completely during the prelude to Arc 8 which was probably relatively peaceful.

  9. Now I really want to see these last two chapters through the eyes of Lil. “This is your brain on Wyvern”, so to say, sounds very interesting. I really wonder what was going through her mind while she was distracting Sy, or even taking the drug. Sy is just too accustomed to it for us to get the full account.

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