Chosen One, 70

People Can Only Process So Much New Information All at Once

Ao3 Link

Leo was on top of Ty, their dicks in each other’s mouths. They were thrusting into each other, pushed by the knights who were fucking each of them. Isaac recognized Sir Percival from the banquet, but he didn’t know the swarthy knight fucking Leo.

They’d been at it for a while now, not counting however long they’d been going before Isaac had arrived. He’d just been curious about what they were up to, since he hadn’t seen either of them since the banquet. He hadn’t planned on watching them have sex with two other knights, and normally Isaac wouldn’t watch someone who didn’t know he was doing it, but it wasn’t like he was hurting anyone and being a ghost left Isaac with very little to do.

“You could go anywhere in the world and you went down the street to watch some people fuck?” Seth asked, appearing behind him and sitting, or appearing to sit, on the table that Isaac was also appearing to sit on.

Isaac shrugged. “Sitting in the academy watching Peter and Jacob and everyone else be sad was just making me sad too. I met Ty and Leo a while ago at a party and I kept meaning to come visit them and never did.”

“And there’s nowhere else you’d want to go?”

Isaac sighed. “I want to go see my parents. But I’m nervous about going that far by myself.” He was worried he’d get lost or something.

“Do you want me to take you?” Seth asked, holding out his hand.

Isaac considered it, then took it.

They were sitting on the kitchen table in Isaac’s house now, right in between Isaac’s mother and father, who were eating dinner. They were talking about something, but as usual, Isaac couldn’t hear what they were saying. “Oh,” he said, sliding off the table. He felt himself start to cry. “I missed you guys, God.”

They couldn’t hear him and of course they didn’t react, but Isaac walked around the table anyway, looking closely at them. “They seem okay,” he said. He’d known they were okay, but it was good to see that for himself.

“Yeah, they do,” Seth said, just watching Isaac, who looked down from his parents, to the two brown dogs laying quietly under the table.

He broke into a smile that would have hurt if he’d had a real face. “Hi, Siren,” he said, crouching down and reaching out to touch her, though of course he couldn’t. “Hi there, Monk.”

That neither of them responded to his voice hurt more than anything that had happened since Seth had pulled him out of his body, and it was a sudden hurt that Isaac wasn’t prepared for. “Wh-why am I crying,” Isaac asked, wiping his face. “I don’t even have a body.”

“Your mind is really good at convincing you of things,” Seth told him, crouching beside Isaac. “Just because it doesn’t have a body to order around at the moment isn’t going to stop it trying.”

Isaac nodded. “Th-they always used to jump on me if I sat down with them.”

“I’m sure they still would if your body was here with them.”

Isaac hoped so. But for now he just sniffed, sat beside them. It was comforting, even if they didn’t know he was here. “Sorry, you probably came to tell me something important, not watch me cry because my dogs didn’t say hello.”

“It can wait,” Seth said, putting a hand on Isaac’s back. His mind convinced him he could feel it, and he felt a little better at the contact.

Isaac didn’t look at him. “Are we going to be able to talk after I go back in my body?”

“I don’t know. Probably not.”

“Then it can’t wait, can it?”

“No. I’m sorry.”

“Then don’t say it can.” Isaac tried to smile. “I don’t like liars much.”

“Sorry.” Seth tried to smile back. “I’ll bring us back here after we’re done, okay?”

Isaac nodded. “I’d like that.”

Seth didn’t move or say anything, but they were no longer in Isaac’s house. Instead they were on the steps of a huge building in a stone city Isaac had never seen before. There were some tall cliffs in the background, with waterfalls running down them into a series of rivers. “Where’s this?”

“It’s where you were when I found you, pretty much,” Seth said, looking around at the people everywhere. “The fortress where the knights’ order has their headquarters is built over the ruins of this temple.”

Isaac looked up at the building, which was circular and imposing, a huge domed roof painted in bright colours. The stairs alone were massive. “So we’re in the capital? When?”

“About half a year before what I showed you last time,” Seth said, looking around. “The city was called Thunder’s Falls back then. It’s going to be destroyed soon.”

“Why?” Isaac asked, alarmed.

“Because the gods don’t care about us.” Seth sighed. He pointed out a tall, robed man with pointed eyebrows. “That man there is Derel Haman Va’Rada. He’s a god of wisdom and the moon. People call him the Owl.”

“He’s a god?” Isaac asked, watching him ascend the stairs. “Like Odrick?”

Seth nodded. “A lot of them are. There’s a summit happening. That woman there is Sheheren Janaj He’Sseri, and that’s her son, Rawen Janaj He’Matke.” The woman was full-figured and wearing a veil over her face, and the man was pale and nervous looking. “They’re both supposedly fire gods. But Rawen’s father was a death god.”

“He clearly takes after his father,” Isaac said. “They don’t look much alike.” Their skin wasn’t even the same colour.

“Yeah,” Seth agreed, pointing at someone else. “That’s Keden Nesek De’Jeren there.” He was short and winged, and Isaac did a double-take. “And…” Seth gestured and the people coming up the steps sped up, then slowed back to normal. He pointed out a slender young man whose skin was almost white. “That’s Lyren Techen Le’Carden.”

“Why are they all here?” Isaac asked, instead of telling Seth that his mind was running over all those names like water. “What’s the summit about?”

“They’re here to kill someone.” Again, Seth didn’t move, but now they were on a battlement, overlooking a plain that was full of soldiers flying different flags. “We were at war, or rather the gods were and they were using us as soldiers. See that flag there with the crab on it?”

Isaac nodded. It was yellow on a red background, just visible in the distance. “Yeah.”

“That’s the army that Aaron and I were in.” Now they were standing amongst ranks of soldiers. Seth was there, sharpening a sword with some other boys. A short way off, Aaron and a girl who looked like his sister were cooking next to a little boy with sharp features. “That’s Aaron’s sister Amy. I was in love with her. And the boy is Klaus. He was sort of Aaron’s protégé. And sort of his stalker.”

“Cute,” Isaac said, smiling. It was clear from the way Klaus looked at Aaron that he worshipped him.

“Yeah,” Seth agreed, and then they were standing in a field with a woman dancing, her skirts flowing out around her. “Sorry for all the bouncing around. There are a lot of people. This is Meryan Gendan Do’Rovva, the Maiden of Spring. She was a really powerful nature goddess. This is Raphael of Westmack,” he said, taking them to another military camp where a boy younger than Klaus was carrying a pot of water under a flag with a bull on it. “And this—and I saved it for near the end in case you felt like freaking out—is Cameron of Obentown.” They were now standing in front of a girl of about ten, practicing fireballs in another camp with a dog on its flag.

Isaac nodded along to show that he was paying attention, frowning when he realized that Seth expected some reaction from him. Why would he react to someone from this long ago? He guessed she had the same name as someone he knew, but lots of people had the same name, that didn’t mean… “Wait, are you trying to tell me this is Cameron, like…Cameron? My Cameron?”

Seth nodded. “Yes. She’s a demon. Not here, but she will be once she’s older. In fact she’s their leader. Raphael is the archangel. And Klaus is…well he used to be both of their leader, but that’s a different story. Of course none of that has happened yet. Sorry, time is confusing.”

No kidding, thought Isaac. “Can we go back to the nice old lady who’s friends with the archmage being a demon?”

“Yeah,” Seth said. “She’s in the academy to keep an eye on you. She’s not going to hurt you, don’t worry.”

“Do you know that for sure?” Isaac asked, voice rising.

“If you’re asking if I know the future, then no,” Seth admitted. “But if she wanted to kill you, then you’d be dead.”


“Look, just trust me on this one? For a few minutes, at least? I’ve got one more person to introduce you to.”

Isaac sighed. “Overwhelming me is not how you teach me things.”

“I’m sorry. But this isn’t something that I can do piecemeal. Here.” Now they were on the road leading to Thunder’s Falls, the sun setting. A man, pale, nondescript, short hair, fairly short of stature, was walking towards the city with a sword in his hand. “This is the last person. His name is Nathen Jerrel De’Kerken. He’s from a small clan of river gods. About forty years before this he went nuts and started killing every god he saw, starting with his family, and any human who got in his way.”

“Charming.” Isaac wasn’t sure what else to say.

“Yeah,” Seth agreed, taking them back to the steps of the temple. “We’d been told that the gods were fighting a war as a result of Nathen’s actions. But they weren’t. They staged a war and then staged a peace summit to draw him to Thunder’s Falls. See that big obelisk?”

It was hard not to. It towered over Thunder’s Falls, easily twice the size of any other building except for the temple. “Yeah.”

“It’s the focus of the spell circle that’s meant to kill Nathen. Even though he wasn’t a very powerful god, suddenly he was indestructible. Anyone who fought him died. The gods came up with this plan to kill him. In case you’re interested, the academy’s main tower stands where that obelisk used to.”

Isaac swallowed. “That’s kind of ominous.”

“A little.” Nathen was coming up the steps to the temple now. “Once Nathen was in the temple, all the armies were given orders to attack. We started fighting each other, we just assumed the summit was a failure. It wasn’t. It was never meant to create peace, at least not for us.” It was night now, and the obelisk was glowing. Isaac could hear the sounds of fighting.

“I’m not going to make you watch what happened,” Seth said. “It would just upset you. But the point of the spell was to use all the power and energy and life of all the humans in the city and turn it into a weapon to kill Nathen once and for all with. Remember Rawen, whose father was a death god?” They were standing in a dark chamber now, and Rawen was in the centre of a dizzying circle, the lines of which ran up his arms and across his chest. He was crying. “It was his idea. Once the spell was activated, Nathen went even more nuts, and he started attacking everyone—he escaped the initial circle and started slaughtering humans in the city, and gods too. It was all the rest of us could do to escape. Amy died.” Seth swallowed. “Well, three million other people died too. And a few hundred gods in the end. But Nathen died.”

It had taken all that just to kill one person? Isaac felt like throwing up. “Fuck.” He didn’t know what else to say. His mind had convinced him he was crying again.

“Yeah.” Seth sighed, and they were on the steps of the temple again, this time cracked and stained with blood, the city half rubble. “This is why Aaron and I did what we did. Three million humans were used as bait, and as a power source, and nothing else. That’s all the gods saw us as. We couldn’t do it anymore.”

Isaac sat down on the steps. “Okay. How much of this is going to be on the test?” he asked, shaking his head. He couldn’t hear anymore.

“Sorry, I know it’s a lot.” Seth sat beside him, hand on his back. “I brought you here less for the history and more for the people I pointed out at the start. This was the last time they were all in the same place as far as I know, so it was easier this way. All of those people are still alive, and all of them want the Web brought back to what it was like in my time.”

Isaac looked up at him. “All of them?”

“Yes. Well, no. I don’t think Nathen does. He didn’t die properly; he gets reincarnated every so often, but I don’t think he cares about the Web. But the others all do, and they’ll use him as their excuse.” Seth took a breath. “If you don’t remember them all that’s fine, but remember Derel. He’s the one pulling the strings behind your friend the Sorcerer King.”

“He…” Isaac blinked. “Sam’s working for him.”

“Yeah. Derel’s the one of the bunch who actively wants you dead. The others don’t really care about you specifically, though like I said, Cameron’s watching you. The only other one you really have to worry about is Klaus.”

“Why?” Isaac asked, remembering the little boy. He’d been cute. A few years older and he’d be Isaac’s type. Now Seth was probably going to tell him Klaus had done something hideous.

“Remember those guys who tried to kill you on your way to the academy?” Seth asked. “He sent them. He also summoned the wraiths that attacked you right before you got here. He’s also behind the whole mix-up with you and Nicholas.”

“You mean…”

“I mean he made Nicholas look like the chosen one to confuse everyone, yeah,” Seth said. “Nicholas doesn’t know about it, don’t worry—he’s not working for Klaus or anything, at least not intentionally. The point is you need to watch out for Klaus too.”

“How the hell am I supposed to do that?” Isaac asked, feeling like crying again. He couldn’t do this. “How am I supposed to watch out for gods and demons and monsters? I’m just a person, Seth.”

Seth pulled him into a half-hug. “I know. Don’t worry too much about Klaus as long as Cameron is around. They hate each other, so she’s definitely going to stop whatever he tries to do. Most of these people hate each other—they’re more interested in fighting each other than you. Even Derel’s about to have his hands full if Sam and his friends can get their shit together and start fighting him like they want to.”

The idea that Sam might be trying to fight off the person controlling him confused Isaac. Did that mean Sam wasn’t evil after all? “Okay,” Isaac said, taking an unnecessary breath. “You have to stop telling me things now. I need to think about all this.”

“Yeah,” Seth said, and Thunder’s Falls disappeared and they were back in Isaac’s kitchen. His parents were cleaning up now, the dogs behind them in hopes of getting scraps. “I can leave you be for a while.”

“No,” Isaac said, grabbing his arm. It was a fiction, he knew that. But it made him feel better to touch someone. “Stay here? You must be even more tired of being alone than I am.”

Seth hesitated a second, but stayed. “Sure. Maybe you could introduce me to the other dogs?”

“Okay,” Isaac said. He could do that. It was easier than focusing on all the gods and monsters that wanted him dead. “Yeah, come outside and I’ll show you them all.”

So that was what they did. Isaac needed some time before he was ready to even start thinking through everything Seth had told him, and showing off his dogs filled that time nicely until he was ready to think again.

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6 thoughts on “Chosen One, 70

  1. So that’s why Rawen is a devil figure. He’s the one who came up with the plan to kill God.

    This timeline confuses me on one point, though. At what point was Nathen treated as the One True God by the angels and demons to be? Before or after he went crazy? If after, why are they apparently fighting against him here? If before, what was so special about him?

    I continue to be highly skeptical of Seth understanding half as much as he thinks he does. I’m guessing that he’s flat out wrong about at least one of the things he told Isaac in this chapter, and has severely misjudged the relative importance of several people he’s introduced.


    1. Yep, that’s why! For all his talk these days about how he’s misunderstood, he did spearhead the whole plan to kill Nathen back in the day.

      Nathen being treated as the One True God by the angels and them happens about a hundred and some years after this. Roughly seventy years after this Klaus becomes the first demon, followed by Cameron and Raphael, and then all the others we know today, none of whom were alive during the events we saw in this chapter. Not quite a hundred years after this, humans start worshipping Nathen as a god because some distorted stories about him make their way into the public consciousness during the ensuing war with the gods, and the angels and demons end up picking up on that. So it was after he went crazy, but far enough after that a lot of people forgot how crazy–it doesn’t come up in this chapter, but Klaus and Cameron both met Nathen during the destruction of Thunder’s Falls, but Raphael didn’t, so nobody who is currently an angel has ever actually encountered their God in person.

      I think it’s very fair to be wary of Seth’s information. Just because he can see everything doesn’t mean he understands everything, so it’s very possible that at least some of what he told Isaac is incorrect–and that’s assuming he’s trustworthy at all. He could also be lying or leaving out important info. 🙂 There are definitely some of those people he introduced whose relative importance is not what he claimed it was, and there are important players in this larger game who he didn’t introduce to Isaac either! So yeah, be skeptical, I’d say. 🙂



      1. Among other things, he seems to have completely discounted the possibility of anyone other than Isaac being a/the chosen one, or that being the chosen one could mean anything other than using magic like people did before the Web was broken. Which, I’m guessing, is because everything that ever mattered to him personally was intimately tied up with the Web and what it’s become, rather than having any kind of objective insight into the matter.


        1. That’s definitely a good point. Seth isn’t, and can’t be, looking at any of this objectively. Like anyone else, he’s got motivations and things that matter to him personally and he’s decided that that’s the most important issue in the world. You’re right that he has a very narrow focus on the Web and on what Isaac represents vis. the Web. And he doesn’t seem to have considered the possibility that Isaac isn’t really who he’s looking for.

          He’s definitely not all knowing, that’s for sure.


  2. > He was short and winged, and Isaac did a double-take.

    This is a really interesting sentence, because while one might interpret it as Isaac double-taking about the wings, it would be just as valid if Isaac actually saw something else that caused a double-take. For instance, something that might be relevant later but is obscured by sneaky narration.

    In any event, Derel is the voice? That’s fascinating; it seems like something Seth would be right about, but the voice has an air of cruelty to it (when dealing with the ghost boy in the swamp, especially) that didn’t come across in our main introduction to Derel. I suppose being a dead god doesn’t do wonders for the temperament. Also I had at one point assumed that the betrayer was the voice, because of “living in the skin of the dead,” but that doesn’t make sense if Derel is the voice. But that was a while ago, I’m working on a new theory now anyway.


    1. You’re very right about that! And as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I’m very much the kind of writer who would hide something like that in sneaky narration, haha.

      Seth definitely has no reason to lie about this–why would he want to deceive Isaac about the true identity of someone Isaac has never met–but you’re right that Derel’s behaviour in Jesse’s one-shot versus the shadow’s behaviour at various points, especially in the swamp, is very incongruous. But a lot of time has passed and you’re right, being dead really does a number on the personality.

      That’s a super interesting theory! I wouldn’t totally throw it out the window just yet, though yes, it does seem unlikely at this point. Maybe the new theory will hit closer! 😀



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