Book 2 – Text Updates 043

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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Oberon » Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:18 pm

GaryThunder wrote:Loyalty has been described as "unknowable" by one of Parson's klogs.
You're right, but many things Parson has stated as absolutes have later been found to be needing the "except through the use of magic" qualifier. Take for example the RCC not having many units capable of dance fighting and see where that got Parson: Suddenly every RCC unit is dance fighting.
MarbitChow wrote:Look, I'm not actually trying to argue in it's [turning units via turnamancy] favor. I'm just honestly curious as to why there seems to be a negative reaction to it. If there's no rational reason for it, and some people just hate the idea of it, that's fine. If some people weigh 'game imbalance' as well as 'narrative impact' when judging things, that's fine. If the reason is "because it's a big stupid-head that is stupid and all of it's friends are stupid", that's fine, too. I'm just trying to understand.
I'm on the fence. The most important unit turned within the story is Duncan, and he, while an interesting character, is in a supporting role. Wanda turned by herself prior to the start of the story, and I'm not hearing a lot of complaints about that, in comparison with turnamancy. I'll wait to see exactly what impact unit turning via turnamancy has on the story before I gripe one way or the other. It's possible at this point that Anson cannot be turned. Vanna gave it a shot before, was confused and seemed to lack confidence in how to proceed, then drained her last juice just thinking about making the attempt. Who is to say that even with full juice that her confusion will be satisfied to the point where she can apply that juice for effect? And perhaps she does turn Anson, what then? If turnamancy did not exist he'd be of no use and would probably be killed, imprisoned indefinitely, or ransomed. Why are any of those possibilities any better or worse for the story than Anson becoming a FAQ unit?
Kingworld *ptui* now, that is an entirely different matter.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Aquillion » Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:05 am

Oberon wrote:Why are any of those possibilities any better or worse for the story than Anson becoming a FAQ unit?
It's not that it's bad for him to become a FAQ unit, it's the way he'd become a FAQ unit. After so much build-up, it would be anticlimactic for him to just get zapped by turnamancy and switched to another side.

Granted, he got magically switched in side through the pliers the first time, but that had its own plot-arc to it and involved his death and rebirth. Turnamancy would just be... boring. None of what he said before would matter, because, at that point he's just a puppet getting yanked between sides.

Having him, say, getting talked into switching sides would be interesting.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Chit Rule Railroad » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:51 am

Atomic wrote:I'm surprised Gobwin Knob would've even let Jillian go back in Book 1; they could've just hired a Turnamancer for a few days, or bought a few scrolls with all the money they saved on the SPW-spell.


I'm sure the idea of Turning Jillian into GK's Chief Warlord did occur to Wanda, and she didn't like the idea for some reason that had nothing to do with strategy.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:48 am

MarbitChow wrote:But you said your objections are story-based, not rule-based or world-based.


And I don't quite see why they appear not to be. A story happens in a world, that operates under some rules. Those rules may allow a character to gain possession of a one-off uber powerful item, which allows them to mind-control others. Like Wanda. And Decryption is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

The rules also seem to allow the ability to control if you have any of some kind of unit. Of which there are several. And the turning can in principle happen any number of times.

As you noticed, in fact turning didn't affect too many people so far. Circumstances conspire to keep that potential loop-hole in check. Or, to pick wargames as an example where story demands interact with world rules. When there's a story, a campaign, characters - usually seduction/control/charm don't work as well on heroes. Dark Archon in Starcraft can mindcontrol anything- but not Heroes for example. Why? Jim Raynor is just some schmuck from Space Western. But the story demands that he can't be turned ... unless it would fit the plot.

MarbitChow wrote:From a purely functional perspective, the effects are about the same.


Not quite- decryption is once in a lifetime event. Because of that, it can be used as a set-up to get a storyline going and not cheapen a character. In principle, there's nothing preventing two Turnamancers to do ping-pong with newly converted characters. This may work as some kind of absurdist humour, but would be rather difficult to pull off as a compelling character piece.

MarbitChow wrote:(Or is it just getting some hate transferred because it enabled Kingworld? :D )


But of course :P

shamelessmerc wrote:Loving the free will debate so much I re-registered after about a year of lurking :-)


Eh wot? We were backing off from free will like it carried the plague or something.

shamelessmerc wrote:First off, it makes a lot of sense that lower level cannon fodder units are easy to turn at whim, in fact using a Turnamancer might not be necessary, just giving them the OPTION rather than executing them as was suggested before.


And you too are making this up :)

MarbitChow wrote:But the objections that were raised are from a storytelling point of view. Brainwashing is just as effective at 'turning' someone in our reality. It just takes longer, but then it takes longer to make bacon in our reality, too - it doesn't just pop.


Imagine a memoir written by a former cult member. It might go like this: "so a friend told me to come to one of this guy's talks, said he knew about the meaning of it all. I was a skeptic, but then he came into the room, sprinkled magic pixie dust, and I was a believer. Until the day the SWAT kicked in the gates of the commune and I was locked in a mental hospital. There, a nurse came into the room and sprinkled magic pixie dust, and so here I am sane again telling you this story. The End."

May I rest my case now?

Oberon wrote:It's possible at this point that Anson cannot be turned. Vanna gave it a shot before, was confused and seemed to lack confidence in how to proceed, then drained her last juice just thinking about making the attempt.


Are you sure on that? I thought that it's the same turn. Meaning, Jillian had Vanna cast that spell then since it was the Jetstone and allies turn, captured Ansom and headed for Progrock. The turn has not yet ended. My guess is that Vanna said she could try- meaning at some point in the future. Nitpick, though.

Aquillion wrote:
Oberon wrote:Why are any of those possibilities any better or worse for the story than Anson becoming a FAQ unit?
It's not that it's bad for him to become a FAQ unit, it's the way he'd become a FAQ unit. After so much build-up, it would be anticlimactic for him to just get zapped by turnamancy and switched to another side.

Granted, he got magically switched in side through the pliers the first time, but that had its own plot-arc to it and involved his death and rebirth. Turnamancy would just be... boring. None of what he said before would matter, because, at that point he's just a puppet getting yanked between sides.

Having him, say, getting talked into switching sides would be interesting.


That's pretty much what I'm getting at, but more concisely.

Look guys, it's not just the destination, the journey matters too. Unless you move in conservative fields like electrostatic or gravitational :ugeek: .
The whole point of this is lost if you keep it a secret.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby MarbitChow » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:54 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote:Imagine a memoir written by a former cult member. It might go like this: "so a friend told me to come to one of this guy's talks, said he knew about the meaning of it all. I was a skeptic, but then he came into the room, sprinkled magic pixie dust, and I was a believer. Until the day the SWAT kicked in the gates of the commune and I was locked in a mental hospital. There, a nurse came into the room and sprinkled magic pixie dust, and so here I am sane again telling you this story. The End." May I rest my case now?


Absolutely. I understand your objection. Now imagine the above story, told by a competent author, where you had a view inside the mind of a character as they undergo this transformation.
The Dollhouse TV series and Charles Stross' Glasshouse, for example, both feature scenarios where people's brains can be reprogrammed at the drop of a hat (your magic pixie dust scenario), and personally I found both to be very entertaining.
I don't believe that the existence of such technology automatically leads to a poor story unless it's in the hands of a poor storyteller, in part due to the above examples. You appear to disagree, and I can respect that opinion.

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Aquillion wrote:It's not that it's bad for him to become a FAQ unit, it's the way he'd become a FAQ unit. After so much build-up, it would be anticlimactic for him to just get zapped by turnamancy and switched to another side.

Granted, he got magically switched in side through the pliers the first time, but that had its own plot-arc to it and involved his death and rebirth. Turnamancy would just be... boring. None of what he said before would matter, because, at that point he's just a puppet getting yanked between sides.

Having him, say, getting talked into switching sides would be interesting.


That's pretty much what I'm getting at, but more concisely.
Look guys, it's not just the destination, the journey matters too. Unless you move in conservative fields like electrostatic or gravitational :ugeek: .


I completely agree. I also think the above example (Ansom getting ping-ponged between two sides) could be fascinating, if it involved, say, Ansom slowly going insane from trying to reconcile the conflicting beliefs he keeps being forced to accept. Each flip makes him more and more confused... the world makes less and less sense... he starts being unable to tell friend from foe... and SNAP! psychotic killing spree.
The existence of Turnamancy in a story can easily lead to a poor quality story in the hands a of bad author. Personally, I'm leaning towards giving Rob the benefit of the doubt and saying he's not a bad author. :D
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Musrum » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:22 pm

Aquillion wrote:
Oberon wrote:Having him, say, getting talked into switching sides would be interesting.


Yeah, having decrypted immune to turnamacy, but not turning will certainly confirm the direction this is going.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Keybounce » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:31 pm

Angband wrote:
CelebrenIthil wrote:
Finwe wrote:It seems to me that if Jillian really wants to know whether or not Ansom is a real person and not just a talking golem, she should hire dollamancer Alant Uring to run one of his tests.


Badum-pssh! :mrgreen:


Great joke, but only one nitpick: Alant Uring would clearly have been a mathamancer.

No, not really. As I understand, Alan Turning wasn't so much a mathematician so much as someone who had a different thinking process. He looked for loopholes.

Like we saw in a recent text update, he's the sort of person that would spend time thinking about normally occurring things.

Do thinkamancers think about thinking?

And let's not even go into the preposterous hoops Asimov jumped through to reconcile the Robot novels to Foundation. I suspect the fans put him up to it, or he ran out of ideas

I actually thought it was his publisher/editor that insisted.

I didn't like that trilogy, but I did like the zero'th law.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Oberon » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:17 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Oberon wrote:It's possible at this point that Anson cannot be turned. Vanna gave it a shot before, was confused and seemed to lack confidence in how to proceed, then drained her last juice just thinking about making the attempt.
Are you sure on that? I thought that it's the same turn. Meaning, Jillian had Vanna cast that spell then since it was the Jetstone and allies turn, captured Ansom and headed for Progrock. The turn has not yet ended. My guess is that Vanna said she could try- meaning at some point in the future. Nitpick, though.
This update, first three panels, read that way to me. Am I sure? No. But that's the way I read it at the time, and again upon review.
Aquillion wrote:
Oberon wrote:Why are any of those possibilities any better or worse for the story than Anson becoming a FAQ unit?
It's not that it's bad for him to become a FAQ unit, it's the way he'd become a FAQ unit. After so much build-up, it would be anticlimactic for him to just get zapped by turnamancy and switched to another side.

Granted, he got magically switched in side through the pliers the first time, but that had its own plot-arc to it and involved his death and rebirth. Turnamancy would just be... boring. None of what he said before would matter, because, at that point he's just a puppet getting yanked between sides.
I agree with your conclusion, but I'm not sure I see the issue with it that you have. As you've pointed out, we've already had plenty of time to discuss every tiny detail of Ansom's becomming "popped again" and his utter change in loyalty and world view. Why would another be such a horrible thing? It would serve the portion of the plot which deals with the existence and ramifications of free will on Erf nicely.
Aquillion wrote:Having him, say, getting talked into switching sides would be interesting.
Having the fanatical follower of the new religion of toolism change sides due to a pep talk would be interesting? Would this be in the same way that the suggestion on Jillian was dispelled by a pep talk from an archon, who didn't need to spend any juice or exert any effort? I think we've had just about enough of that! At least, I have.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Morgaln » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:04 pm

Oberon wrote:
Aquillion wrote:
Oberon wrote:Why are any of those possibilities any better or worse for the story than Anson becoming a FAQ unit?
It's not that it's bad for him to become a FAQ unit, it's the way he'd become a FAQ unit. After so much build-up, it would be anticlimactic for him to just get zapped by turnamancy and switched to another side.

Granted, he got magically switched in side through the pliers the first time, but that had its own plot-arc to it and involved his death and rebirth. Turnamancy would just be... boring. None of what he said before would matter, because, at that point he's just a puppet getting yanked between sides.
I agree with your conclusion, but I'm not sure I see the issue with it that you have. As you've pointed out, we've already had plenty of time to discuss every tiny detail of Ansom's becomming "popped again" and his utter change in loyalty and world view. Why would another be such a horrible thing? It would serve the portion of the plot which deals with the existence and ramifications of free will on Erf nicely.


Thing is, if turnamancy could just change loyalty and world view suddenly like the pliers can, then why would people regard the decrypted as abominations? It would just look like turnamancy to them, or perhaps like a linked turnamancy/croakamancy effect, and not as horrible, world-altering as they have made it out to be. There needs to be a big difference between how turnamancy works and how the pliers affect people for that to make sense.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby MarbitChow » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:16 pm

Morgaln wrote:Thing is, if turnamancy could just change loyalty and world view suddenly like the pliers can, then why would people regard the decrypted as abominations? It would just look like turnamancy to them, or perhaps like a linked turnamancy/croakamancy effect, and not as horrible, world-altering as they have made it out to be. There needs to be a big difference between how turnamancy works and how the pliers affect people for that to make sense.

Keep in mind that most Erfworlders have no idea what goes on in the heads of the decrypted.
They know it's like uncroaking, and they know that uncroaking artificially animates the body.
Decryption could be an especially evil form of animation that draws upon the knowledge that the person used to be.
I don't think it's just the change of loyalties.
It's the possibility that the person they knew is just "not there" anymore, and some "thing" that looks and acts like him is there in his place.
That, to me, is the source of the horror against the decrypted.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Oberon » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:32 pm

MarbitChow wrote:It's the possibility that the person they knew is just "not there" anymore, and some "thing" that looks and acts like him is there in his place.
That, to me, is the source of the horror against the decrypted.
This seems to be both spot on and oddly inconsistent. The decrypted have a world view that they didn't have when they were the sons and daughters and siblings and friends of the people horrified by their change. But... Turnamancy appears to do the same thing, and yet Vanna isn't called a witch, demoness, etc. Why is this inconsistency present? The only consistency that I can see is that the RCC also seemed ot hate the decrypted. Ansom said Wanda had turned his former troops into abominations, for example. But there is a world of difference between the shambling, decaying body of your former friend/sibling/offspring which clearly has no initiative of its own, and the decrypted.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Atomic » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:35 pm

reignofevil wrote:Unless you recall that turning leaves the person alive, just mentally changed.
What's the difference between alive and mentally changed, and (re)popped and mentally changed? Same memories, same stats, same...everything. Loyalty is the only 'stat' that changes. But, because of the change in Loyalty, everything connected to it -- such as world views/ideology, change.

I'm really starting to wonder about Loyalty/Duty... I'm gonna start a new topic for that, hold on.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Chit Rule Railroad » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:20 pm

Oberon wrote:Vanna isn't called a witch, demoness, etc.


I don't think we know yet how people feel about Turnamancers. The only non-Unaroyal people that we know have interacted with her are Slately and Faqians. The only comment that has been made about her was Jillian's disappointment that she wasn't like Wanda - as if she expected her to be like Wanda.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby GaryThunder » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:32 pm

I think it's the uncanny valley at work, in a weird way. People see the Decrypted, and they look pretty much identical to regular units, except for that ridiculous livery. But, most of Erfworld (presumably) thinks, they're not regular units. They're zombies, or man-golems, or some flavor of abominations. The fact that Decrypted remain so close to their original status, both physically and mentally, and yet perceived as monsters creeps people out worse than if they were decaying and mindless.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:48 am

MarbitChow wrote:I don't believe that the existence of such technology automatically leads to a poor story unless it's in the hands of a poor storyteller, in part due to the above examples. You appear to disagree, and I can respect that opinion.


My opinion is more like Turnamancy is a dangerous beast that an author must keep under lock and key, and only sparingly take it out for a stroll in the park. If ever. It has been used sparingly in Erfworld, but hey, the less the better.

Oberon wrote:This update, first three panels, read that way to me. Am I sure? No. But that's the way I read it at the time, and again upon review.


Aaah, totally forgot about that. Ok, nothing to see here folks, move al-


EDIT: oops, Vanna didn't turn the prisoners yet. Ah, that makes sense. Ok, all clear.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Althernai » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:14 am

Atomic wrote:First and foremost, I think we've got different ideas by what Jillian meant when she was talking about Vanna in the dungeon. My impression was that Vanna didn't use torture and, through extension, didn't know how to "play right" by Jillian's standards.

That's possible. That sentence is not enough to go by; I suspect we'll find out later.

I was also under the impression that Parson is actively fighting against the mindset that two dozen infantry units are merely "dwagon fodder"...the whole, 'don't send somebody to fight a battle I'm not willing to fight myself'-spiel seems to give the impression Parson cares about individual units/people. A fact made veeeery clear throughout Book 1 when Parson was shaken up about the deaths of those he knew. And if Parson cares, why shouldn't we?

I think he cares about Wanda, Jack and maybe some of the warlords if he has interacted with them. I don't think he was thinking about some random purple dwagon or hobgobwin and the reader is certainly not given enough incentive to care.

Assuming Bogroll was a Level 1 Twoll (if we're to assume he was always a Garrison unit, then that isn't too difficult a bet), are you saying that Bogroll would've been able to resist turning because he was more fleshed out/developed than Wrigley?

I doubt it. When I say "personality", I don't mean how well developed they are, but how much they act on their own and what convictions they hold. Bogroll would not be difficult to convert.

Whoa whoa whoa, hold your horses... The ability to communicate, via Thinkagram, with a unit? That means nothing when you've got Vanna-The-Turnamancer on payroll.

It's not just a Thinkagram. Parson describes it as "a rush for them when it happened.". Here is what it looks like from an archon's perspective:

Since yesterday, communications through the Arkendish were blacked out, which always put everyone in a bad mood. Hilary missed Charlie more than she ever could have said. It meant so much to know she could call him any time (though of course, she only did so on business). Being cut off, even for a turn, left her with an ache in her chest.
...
But then, the warmth. The well-being. There was a jagged gap in the front of her smile, but she did smile.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Smoker » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:38 am

Are loyalty spells Turnamancy or Thinkamancy? Remember that turned units have low loyalty, and require furthar spells to lock them into their new side (there was no distinction made between voluntary and involuntary turning when this was said. (IIRC))

So to me, Turnamancy is an imperfect school of magic. If Vanna does slam a whole turns juice into Ansom and gets him to turn, there would be constant tension regarding the if and when he breaks out of it.

And we have a fantastic setting with Ossomer and Ansom, both on the opposite sides of people they love/d, and both facing a situation in which they could easily turn. I think from a story POV, that ONE of them will turn. Either one will be good.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby GaryThunder » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:28 pm

I think he cares about Wanda, Jack and maybe some of the warlords if he has interacted with them. I don't think he was thinking about some random purple dwagon or hobgobwin and the reader is certainly not given enough incentive to care.


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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby atalex » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:06 pm

Smoker wrote:Are loyalty spells Turnamancy or Thinkamancy? Remember that turned units have low loyalty, and require furthar spells to lock them into their new side (there was no distinction made between voluntary and involuntary turning when this was said. (IIRC))

So to me, Turnamancy is an imperfect school of magic. If Vanna does slam a whole turns juice into Ansom and gets him to turn, there would be constant tension regarding the if and when he breaks out of it.

And we have a fantastic setting with Ossomer and Ansom, both on the opposite sides of people they love/d, and both facing a situation in which they could easily turn. I think from a story POV, that ONE of them will turn. Either one will be good.


Yes, the fact that a turned unit can still have low loyalty suggests that Mass Turnamancy may not be the game-breaker some folks fear. Perhaps when Jillian speaks of turning all these units, she's not talking about mind-raping them into loving her but simply changing the person to whom they have Duty (and who has the power and discretion to disband them at will) from Stanley to herself. All of these units have a Duty to Stanley and likely an instinctive Loyalty to Stanley because they popped to his side, but none of them have ever met Stanley, so if their Duty (by which I simply mean command and disbanding rights) is transferred to Jillian, aren't most of them likely to develop a Loyalty to her? Imagine a third-stringer sitting on the bench with the New York Yankees who rarely gets to play and who then gets traded to the Boston Red Sox. He might have a strong innate loyalty to the Yankees despite not being an important player and thus by upset by the trade. He might find that he loves the Red Sox environment and is happy to be where he is appreciated. And he might just be a free agent who is happy wherever he gets to play so long as somebody is paying his salary.

At the end of the day, the vast majority of Erfworlders are popped as slaves, live as slaves and will die as slaves. Why should any of them care about who the slaveholder is or be particularly upset over getting sold to a new and possibly better master?
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Goshen » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:57 pm

My sense of the dramatic tells me that the moment Ansom turns, he will crumble to dust. His last words to Jillian will be "I love you..."
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