19th Jun 2020, 1:19 AM
Kill your dad

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Kill your dad
Okay.

Deep breath.

You turn to Cici. "Can you make spears? ...Javelins?"

Cici aims away from you, and fires off a spear made of light. It doesn't go much farther than her arrows do. ...Really, it only reaches farther because it's longer, but its actual travel distance appears identical.

"Maybe if you manifested something to launch it," you suggest, "you can get more range! Can you make a ballista?"

Cici blinks. "Plaire, I work in a library. Not a museum! No I don't know how to make a dang ballista. I feel like YOU need to be the one that does the deed, anyway."

It's not something that's occurred to you, but you're willing to hear her out. "...Really?"

Cici nods. She has to sort of nod her entire body, but she still nods. "Your brain, your dad... it's symbolic or whatever! You NEED this. You clearly got a lotta shit you need to work through, this could be a good start!"

You chuckle dryly under your helmet. You nod back. "You know what--that's fair. What are you gonna do? I can't get a clean shot with all that lightning."

...And the wall is approaching quickly. It's getting faster by the second.


Cici thinks about it for a second--


and manifests a shield to hover just in front of her.

You grin. "THAT'S why your range is shit! You're a melee fighter, like a... a holy knight or something."

"Plaire," she says flatly, "I'm an egg."

Uncomfortably close now, you hear the chains firing their electrical blasts at a fresh row of pews--shattering them into smaller chunks to be sucked in and consumed by the nightmare version of your dad. As soon as you hear the surges, Cici shoots skyward and away from you, shield positioned between her and the wall; you pause for her to get the attention of whatever chains aren't still firing at pews, and then you dive out into the middle aisle.

"Come on you old piece of crap!," Cici yells, "I'm black AND gay! I know you gotta hate that!"

As you run out into the open, you're surprised that none of the chains are shooting at you--like... zero. You physically stop, staring down the giant hate filled hole in the oncoming wall, for the moment standing in absolutely no danger whatsoever.

You look back, and realize that all six chains are firing at Cici. Not just firing, but concentrating their blasts, shooting electricity directly at her as frequently as they can manage to charge up. She is, nonetheless, still holding her place in the sky--shield steady, fully formed. They can't touch her. She's fucking invincible.

God damn that is a bad ass egg.

"I'm startin' to feel that drain, Plaire!"

Oh, shit, right.

You hold your hand out, aiming directly at the boss's heart. You're pretty sure you could aim off to the side and have the vacuum suck the fireball in, but there's no point in gambling the mana.

You let loose an enormous green fireball, blasting yourself back down the aisle and landing firmly on your shoulder blades. You skid momentarily across the carpet, the air forced from your lungs. You manage to tilt your head up in time to see the shriveled black heart in the Dad Wall's gaping mouth be consumed and incinerated in a bright emerald blaze.


And then


the sanctuary, and everything in it, disappears in a wave of white light.


For a moment, you wonder if the boss just fucking exploded and took you out with it.


...But after a few seconds, the glow fades.


You are laying on the floor in a long sanctuary. About three fifths of the pews are missing or broken. The stained glass windows still present gross caricatures of you being tortured and murdered in various ways, the carpet is still a nasty, soiled green color, and the air is still oppressive as hell.

But, there is no longer a giant wall threatening to crush and/or rip you into the aether, so at least there's that. All that remains where Father Warden once stood is a bigger than average key sitting on the floor.


"Plaire!," Cici yells, flapping her way over to you. "We did it! We beat the boss!" She lands on the carpet beside you, finally getting to rest. "Man, you really hate your dad, huh?"

You sit up, and take your helmet off. You smile wearily, taking a moment to catch your own breath. "When I was young, I thought everyone was... complicated. You know, like--people are flawed, but everybody's doing their best, right? People who do terrible shit have their own reasons, their own logic, that makes sense to them. ...And I figured Dad was just old fashioned. He grew up in a different time. He's racist, sexist, homophobic prick but that's how he learned and he didn't know better."

You heave a small sigh, staring down the aisle at the large key.


You hesitate, but continue. "I got older, though. Dad got older, and while I tried to teach him, tried to make him realize how god DAMN ignorant he is about EVERYTHING, he only became more entrenched in his beliefs. ...Religious and otherwise. Gay people weren't just gross to him, my dad felt like he had a moral imperative to oppose the gay agenda. He didn't just DISLIKE immigrants, he started eating up all the conspiracies about them invading in caravans and spreading diseases and shit.

...And the more I tried to follow his train of thought, the more I tried to understand where he was coming from, the more I tried to actually fucking talk to him about it the more contradictory his logic became and the more he shut me the fuck out. The more I tried to meet him halfway, the more I tried to find a fucking human being under all his N bombs and queer this and faggot that the more he REFUSED. He refused to question his own outlook, he refused to analyze his own inconsistencies--like, if you have absolute faith that God will protect you, why do you carry a fucking gun?! God can cure cancer but he can't stop a burglar?

But mostly, he refused to god damn try.

"Plaire," Dad said, "You can't change me. You can't change other people."



...And that says everything, doesn't it? I wasn't trying to change him, I was asking him to fucking change. I was asking him to think about changing. I was asking him to try to be FUCKING BETTER!"


Your voice echoes off the walls of the sanctuary.


You're starting to break down into tears, but you don't care. Fuck it. You're already here and Cici's still listening. You keep going. "That's what cleared it up for me. That. Him. Villains are complex in fiction. Villains in movies are morally gray, doing bad for good reasons or visa versa. I used to think that pure evil, zero regret one dimensional assholes that just looove being pieces of shit were only fit for cartoons, but my dad...

he fucking proved me wrong. He changed my whole fucking outlook. He's evil and he's comfortable there. He's fucking vile, he's a god damn monster of a motherfucker and he... that's what he wants. That's where he enjoys being. He lives for the hate. He doesn't WANT to find out that, that everyone that's not JUST THE FUCK LIKE HIM are people, too. He WANTS the imaginary enemies, the hordes of mutant trans brown people grown in vats by the liberal media beating down the door in his head so he can wage God's war and be a holy fucking piece of shit hero. He doesn't want to understand, he doesn't want to meet halfway and call it a draw.

He has his opponents and he wants to fucking win.

He doesn't just want gays to become straight, he wants them to suffer. He wants them to be punished. They're the enemy.


I'm his enemy, now, and when he realized that... nothing changed. He offered to get me therapy, in lieu of moving out. Therapy. For being gay. Me, knowing full fucking well what his idea of therapy for THE GAY involves. He didn't even..."

You choke on the words.

The tears.

You curl into a ball. Cici hugs you, as best she can with wings for arms.



"He didn't even think about it.

He was ready to make that pitch. He was in a hurry to fix me, or throw me out on the fucking street. He didn't know I had been saving money. He didn't know I'd scouted out a cheap house, that I was fully prepared to move away and never look back. He thought I'd have nothing else to fall back on. ...He gave me an ultimatum, get tortured until I stop being a faggot or disappear and probably die. He didn't... he didn't even think. It was instant. It was easy. The words just... rolled out of his mouth."

You reach down, and sort of hug Cici back.

"So wait," she says, looking up at you. "He said YOU can't change people, buuut..."

"Yeah," you reply. "Like I said, he was contradictory as fuck. He'd tie himself into knots arguing against his own reasoning. My dad's the fucking... posterboy for cognitive dissonance. Logic didn't get him where he is, and he refuses to let it get him out. Immigrants are both lazy AND stealing all our jobs. Free speech is good, burning a flag is bad. Etcetera, etcetera. He just... he's committed. He's passionate about being a regressive bigot."

You heave a huge sigh, and look down at your helmet.

...And then at Cici.




"You were right," you finally admit. "I did need this."

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19th Jun 2020, 1:42 AM
19th Jun 2020, 1:47 AM
Snervalton
+1, go back to the mac & cheese-water barrels and recharge.
19th Jun 2020, 1:52 AM
We only did fire one fireball since the last drink, so we may not need it immediately.
19th Jun 2020, 7:38 AM
Cici needs a recharge too and we need to figure out how she is going to drink that god awful mess cause the alternative isn't much better from a . . .alternative point of view(see Portal In Time's comment)
19th Jun 2020, 1:53 AM
Xylas_Incarnum
really should get some flasks to carry the mana potion wine with... possibly with some droppers but can't say for certain, Plaire drunk deep from the barrel rather than a more modest finger/handful test.
19th Jun 2020, 2:08 AM
Portal In Time
Let's dunk Cici in there like a freshly-baptized baby
19th Jun 2020, 3:00 AM
Hari_Seldon
+1 mana check maybe Plaire drinks Cici dunks just be careful not to overdose
19th Jun 2020, 1:49 AM
Snervalton
Check out the big key in the middle of the room then go back and recharge mana in the barrel room then do the rushing-river side-game that we unlocked.
19th Jun 2020, 1:51 AM
Just relax for a least a minute to get her head straight.
19th Jun 2020, 3:43 PM
+1 take it easy for a short while but keep an ear open for those bony "right to know" assholes. Most dungeon crawlers don't clear the small mobs when the boss is down.
19th Jun 2020, 1:51 AM
Take a deep breath. Look at the Alcazar around you and shout: "This is my house now! And I won't be having any of this take me down!"
Oh, and take that big key and see if it unlocks the door at the end of the boss room.
19th Jun 2020, 2:58 AM
Hari_Seldon
+1 especially the part about using the big key
19th Jun 2020, 4:50 AM
YetAnother
Yeah, put your foot down and point out that this is your house, your dream and YOUR LIFE, and nobody's gonna take it without a fight! Loudly.
19th Jun 2020, 1:54 AM
Cici is not just a good egg. She's the *best* egg. Hug that egg back. Hugs for the hug goddess!

Then, let's check on our stamina and mana and such, and go get the Bigger-Than-Average Key. Then we can try to figure out what it unlocks! :D Because this was a huge victory and we deserve *phat loot.* Or at least progress! Progress is good.

We could also consider going back to drink some more mana juice, and even possibly triggering the poison vents in order to kill the Mimic and take its loot.
19th Jun 2020, 1:55 AM
Macheman7
Breathe. Breathe, Plaire. Just... Breathe.
You're okay.
Take a breather, check over your stuff to make sure you didn't lose anything, and when you're ready...
You have a big ass key.
Plaire, what do you do with a big ass key?
You know what to do.
19th Jun 2020, 1:58 AM
Portal In Time
Besides the obligatory "Drink your potion, get the key", I wanted to say that this was a really good update. You're doing excellent work. You're a good author, MM.
19th Jun 2020, 2:23 AM
Anotherdamntimeclone
+1 to that, your stories are amazing.
19th Jun 2020, 2:56 AM
A big ol' +1 from me too!
19th Jun 2020, 8:15 AM
19th Jun 2020, 8:40 AM
+1 from TerraNovac!
19th Jun 2020, 8:59 AM
Limrix
You're the best, Matt!
19th Jun 2020, 3:00 PM
19th Jun 2020, 3:37 AM
Lunar Waffles
+1 to relax bit, mana check, big key get, mimic slaughter (maybe with fireball), and checking what the key unlocks.
19th Jun 2020, 6:43 AM
I picked a perfect soundtrack for this battle - https://youtu.be/hHqXhA9eXWs
19th Jun 2020, 8:02 AM
How about we get that key, get mana, and then use the heart room to save... Would suck to have to fight dad twice.
19th Jun 2020, 9:56 AM
19th Jun 2020, 8:06 AM
BJBlack
You know, as of that last update, I was thinking that Dad seemed like a caricature of a real character. Completely one-dimensional, his only trait is hatred of the other. Had to expect a twist at that point, but no.

Ironic. "Dad" hates the other, and paints them as having no positive traits whatsoever. Any justification they offer for their actions is nothing but flimflam to distract from their agenda of pure evil. But Player hates her Dad, and paints him as having no positive traits whatsoever. Any justification he offers is nothing but flimflam to distract from his true agenda of pure evil.

Best case scenario, this apple doesn't fall that far from the tree, in some respects. Worst case, Player is indulging in some serious projection, and doesn't even realize it.
19th Jun 2020, 8:46 AM
Maybe, but at least she freaking TRIED, unlike her asshole old man. But yeah, the root of all here anger issues might be something she inherited from her Dad. Though he's also the root of why she's fucked up every which way mentally too, it seems. A shit family like hers can do that to you. Good thing she has good friends now to help unknot all that.
19th Jun 2020, 8:49 AM
Conclusion: The truth is just as evil as an absolute lie.
19th Jun 2020, 9:14 AM
pkrankow
This is a huge psychological hurdle. Plair declaring that he caused hurt is one step. Plair becoming a distorted mirror, giving in to hatred and evil, even just focused on one individual instead of being her own self is a risk in becoming a well adjusted human.

If there is any power above, below, or otherwise maintaining hatred is not Plair's job. Forgive, but don't forget. Let it go because holding grudges are hard... but letting someone back in is not really necessary. Live her own life. Move on despite the evil, leaving the evil behind.

I bet there are other incarnations of her dad to face later...
20th Jun 2020, 12:36 PM
...I think I'm missing something here. What do you mean by "doesn't fall that far from the tree"? I don't think there's much of a comparison between the two of them. Plaire's view of him may or may not be skewed, but it's a view developed over years of interactions, attempts to find a middle ground, and at least _some_ kind of critical analysis. I'd be very surprised if Plaire's dad ever spent a single minute trying to find common ground with one of the "niggers, faggots and wetbacks". And Plaire started out from a position of wanting to love her father.

Plaire does, as you put it, paint him as having no positive traits whatsoever, but she spent time and effort trying and failing to find those positive traits. She may have missed some, depending on what traits one defines as "positive"; based on what we know of his character, I can even guess a few, such as "hard worker" and "provides for his family" and "not an alcoholic" and "not a wifebeater" and so on. But those are all the positive traits of the mask, and Plaire hates what's underneath. Hers is, at the least, a very well-informed hatred.
20th Jun 2020, 11:10 PM
BJBlack
What I mean by "doesn't fall that far from the tree" is, he taught her (unintentionally) to see her enemies like this, by seeing his enemies that way.

Children take after their parents, often in abstract fashion rather than in concrete duplication.

Sure, there are a lot of differences between the two; I'm not trying to say the old straight pro-capitalist male is identical to the young gay anti-capitalist female. But there are similarities as well, and she seems completely blind to them.

This blindness makes me wonder if there are other aspects of her past life that she can't see, and hence, can't narrate to the audience reliably.
21st Jun 2020, 3:22 AM
I see where you're coming from, but I think that it's too early to say whether this is how she thinks. I mean, this is the most detail we've heard about any aspect of her past in Addersville. It's pretty clear that she doesn't have many particularly good feelings about anyone back there, but it's not established that she has the same sort of antipathy for them that she has for dear old dad. I guess we'll see as time goes on; after all, there's still a whole lot more castle to get through.
19th Jun 2020, 8:56 AM
pkrankow
Key, mana check, get a drink of the cheese colored potion if we need...

Decision time - up or down?

I bet this is a tower of some type and we are starting in the middle. There are challenges both ways.
19th Jun 2020, 8:57 AM
Limrix
Getting some Seventh Horcrux Dolores Umbridge vibes from Dadwall.
“No, of course not,” I said. “That would be silly. However, everyone here hates you because you’re an awful person. I tried to fix that, but, upon consultation with my companions, I have come to the baffling conclusion that you just don’t care. ‘Everyone’ luckily includes Albus Dumbledore, who signed off on my apprenticeship.”

The boss key probably opens the giant door in front of us, though if that leads outside that might just be bad? I guess we can open it slowly, and close it if we see Sky God.

Next steps: Praise the sun Hug our wonderful egg tank, double check the room for stuff, get Cici some potion (and figure out how to do so), have Plaire drink like the tiniest sip of bamana juice to avoid mana overdose, go sit in the heart room bed, shoot fireballs into the mimic room if we have a reliable source of mana refill, ensure mimic is dead, take mimic loot, refill mana again (slowly), try doing different things with our powers like giant explosion and napalm spray, becoming invisible, dashing, and drag a pew over to the sewers as a boat? Cici can probably grab onto our fightball pads as a good harness if we need to fly.
19th Jun 2020, 1:17 PM
Snervalton
I would try using an empty barrel to float in the sewers side-game, but yeah, +1 to trying that next. Maybe test to see if Cici can keep up with our chosen flotation device because it would be good to have her to rescue us if our attempt goes sideways.
19th Jun 2020, 10:04 PM
Limrix
Even if she can't fly fast enough, she can just sit in the boat too.
19th Jun 2020, 1:18 PM
Snervalton
And +1 to calling the mana-refilling juice bamana potion from now on!
20th Jun 2020, 2:12 AM
+1 to unironically praising the sun. \[T]/
19th Jun 2020, 12:02 PM
I think that in future runs, we should consider getting Afu's real name. That dude might give her some real cool shit.
21st Jun 2020, 12:45 AM
Evil Wall destroyed. Resolve to deal with matters in reality gained. Now is that key to the door or the key to the vent chest?