212 - In Specter General

Daphne Palin is beautiful the way Wyoming is beautiful. A weathered face, with eyes that can pierce through armor and see into you. Like Wyoming, she’s calm and unassuming, but doesn’t really have room for nonsense. She’s got things to do.

When she opens the front door of her house, and the strange individual there opens with, “I seek the priestess of Palamedes,” that instinct to get things done kicks in, and she shuts the door in their face.

“Who is it?” her mother calls from the living room.

“Some religious nutter!” she calls back, down the hallway.

“Well be polite to them.”

“Whatever ma.”

There’s another knock at the door. She opens it again.

That weirdo is still here. “You are Daphne Palin, priestess of Palamedes.”

Daph clenches at the door. “So what if I am?”

“I am Ghostheart. I seek passage to the netherworld. You can aid me.”

Daph rolls her eyes. “How about aiding yourself off my porch.”

The stranger - Ghostheart - raises their hands in supplication. “We can aid each other!”

Daph squints. “How’d you find me anyway?”

Ghostheart chuckles, and it’s oily and Daph hates the sound immediately. “Your friend, Alice Chan, has a great number of ghosts on her ledger. Far too many for an ordinary high school girl. But not… when you are around. Some of them shared secrets about you both, before I banished them. It wasn’t difficult to discover the rest.”

“'K, good to know, I’ll tell her.” Daph is still trying to be patient, but her grip on the door is leaving splintered wood. “You have one chance to explain yourself in a way that doesn’t make me throw you off our property.”

Ghostheart blurts it out, perhaps understanding their position at last. “Help me reach the netherworld through your power as priestess and I can free you of Palamedes’ shackles.”

Daph pauses.

Ghostheart says nothing. They’ve shot their last bolt, and seem to know it.

“How do I know I could trust you?” she asks.

“Well, you are the one with super-strength,” points out Ghostheart, nodding at the damaged door.

“Good point.”


The absurdity of Ghostheart going to someone’s home to have a mundane (if creepy) conversation has me intrigued. Knowing Summer and Charlotte are also going to get involved just adds to that excitement. :slight_smile:

Daph has received permission from her mother to go backpacking with friends. She didn’t say which friends. But she’s also not in high school anymore, she actually pays some rent, and there’s some degree of adult freedom she expects in return. Thankfully, she gets it.

The cave is outside of Halcyon City limits. When she gets there, Ghostheart is waiting.

Any sign of ambush, other vehicles, anything? Nope. This person is a known supervillain, known to have been brought in by the Menagerie back in the day. Daph is pretty sure she can handle him, if it comes up. Just in case, she has a metal baseball bat stuffed in her rucksack.

Still, there’s something about the cave. It’s not on any map her phone can pull up. It looks regular, less like a cavern and more like a very natural tunnel.

“Well, this isn’t creepy,” she says.

“This is a spectral path to the chthonic realms. It chills the blood of the living, for it reminds them of their eventual and inevitable fate.”

Daph rolls her eyes. “Do you speak regular English or just this spooky Goth dialect?”

Ghostheart clears their throat. “It means it’s a door to the underworld. How do you not know this, priestess?”

“Because I don’t really get along with Palamedes?”

Ghostheart seems taken aback by this. “You were chosen, and yet…? Curious. Well. Do you know the significance of your patron?”

“He’s significantly annoying.” Daph isn’t pulling punches for anyone.

“Palamedes, son of Nauplius, son of Poseidon, the great sea god.” Ghostheart intones the mysteries, while Daph is content to roll her eyes and check her phone. “A clever man. Inventor of writing and games of chance. He outwitted the legendary Odysseus and earned his ire. In revenge, Odysseus schemed to have Palamedes accused of treachery, and he was stoned by his own comrades. Deified as the grandchild of a god, and forgotten by history, he became vengeful and desirous of fame. Now, he seeks out those such as yourself, in a bid to avenge himself upon those long dead. He will attain his aims by rising to legend through your deeds, and thus he spurs you to greatness.”

Daph puts her phone away. “So this nerd outwitted the jock, the jock stuffed him in a locker for 2,000 years, now the dead nerd wants some unwilling girl to do a favor for him? Do I understand this correctly?”

Ghostheart says nothing for long seconds. “Yes, ah. You have the right of it, I suppose.”

Daph unslings her rucksack. She’s not pulling out the baseball bat quite yet, but she’s reaching high levels of irritation and needs to stretch. “And how is that not what you’re doing to me as well?”

“Ah! Well.” Ghostheart rubs their hands together. “That’s easier to answer. I am the warden of the veil. The line between life and death ought not be crossed. I see to that, by any means necessary. As someone whose time has passed, but whose thirst for glory has not, Palamedes is my natural enemy. I want him thwarted. For the moment, that makes us allies.”

“Except you want to use his power to get into this hole in the ground,” points out Daph.

“Well, naturally, your patron thinks he can outwit me as well.” Ghostheart shrugs. “By allowing you to take this step, he hopes you’ll embrace your role more fully. So, yes.”

“For a clever guy, he sounds really fucking dumb.” Daph is increasingly unimpressed, and she wasn’t sure that was even possible.

Ghostheart shrugs again. “The powerful are ever so, are they not?”

Also good point.

Another voice joins the conversation. “The powerful are not the only ones who are overly confident of their own ability. So are the committed, the people who think their own cause cannot be wrong.”

Daph spots two figures coming out of the cave entrance. She recognizes one as the new Magus, Ghost Girl of the Menagerie. The other is her teammate Radiance, with - predictably, god dammit - a butterfly motif going on.

“Ah. Charlotte Palmer.” Daph spots the signs in Ghostheart immediately. The chance in voice and posture. The focus of attention. This dumb fuck is crushing on her. Good lord.

Ghost Girl addresses herself to Daph, ignoring Ghostheart for the moment. “Your companion here has summoned demons and kidnapped the innocent in the name of his schemes. Your presence at this locus of power caught my attention. May I ask what’s going on?”

Daph thinks about how much to explain. On the one hand, she’s inclined to trust the Menagerie, thanks not only to their deeds as a team but to her friendship with Alycia. On the other hand, getting rid of P-man sounds appealing, and she doesn’t necessarily want to throw that chance away yet. She settles for a compromise.

“Ghostface here says they can red-card Palamedes so I can get back to my life,” she says. “They just want passage to uh, Hell I guess, and needed me along to do it.”

Charlotte turns to Ghostheart, who’s clearly a mixture of happy and uncomfortable at the thought of talking to her. “Is this true?”

“Ah, well, yes, that is the arrangement we struck.”

Charlotte smiles sweetly. “Well. You won’t mind if we accompany you then, will you.”

Ghostheart looks from face to face. Daph knows when someone’s been caught in their bullshit, but is going to press on anyway. And that’s how it goes. “Indeed, Ms. Palmer. Your presence would be most welcome. And your companion is…?”

The robot butterfly girl waves and smiles brightly. “Hi! I’m Radiance. I’m kinda interested in the whole soul and afterlife thing so I would love to tag along.”

Charlotte nods. “Very well! Let us proceed, friends.”

She taps her staff on the ground, and the tip of it illuminates with a soft and comforting white light. “Onward!”

Surrounded by three strange comrades, Daph can only sigh, sling her rucksack again, and walk forward and down and down, into the endless depths of the earth.

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Charlotte is ahead, with her glowing staff. Radiance is bringing up the rear, with her glowing everything.

Daphne isn’t walking in front of Ghostheart, even now. But she’s got questions, and they’ve apparently got answers, so at least she can pass the time that way.

“I took the metro bus to the edge of town, then hiked. How’d you get here? Teleport or something?”

“I … er, took a bicycle.”

“A bicycle?”

“I am not the most physically fit individual.”

Daph snorts. “No shit. Being a ghost hunter doesn’t burn much calories, I guess.”

“I was dead for a time. I’m still recovering.”

“Dead, huh? You recovered marvelously.”

The strange supervillain doesn’t reply to that, and Daph doesn’t feel like pressing. Instead she switches topics. “You’ve been pretty closed-mouthed about what you’re doing down here. If you need me to get here, I assume you need me to get back. Means I’ll be tailing you the whole time. Means I’m gonna know, right?”

“Your logic is sound, priestess.”

“Just like keeping secrets, huh?”

“Like life and death, secrets are allotted their own span of time, priestess.”

“Fine. Bike, huh? You own a bike?”

“It was one of those rental bicycles where you supply a credit card.”

“You have a credit card? 'Scuse me but that’s hilarious. Let me guess, an exclusive Mastercard Black Card, black like your soul?”

“My soul is burly wood, rosy brown, and dark sea green to astral sight.”

“I did not just hear that sentence come out of a grown-ass human being’s mouth.”

A light comes from up ahead.

“Whatever you’re about to see isn’t physical. You’re not seeing it with your eyes, but your souls.” Ghostheart presses ahead. “Palamedes’ blessing includes such spectral vision, in the land of the dead.”

“I guess robots do have souls,” remarks Radiance from the back, as her own light fades. Daph can hear a complex feeling behind her words, and turns to look.

This is Alycia’s roommate. I’ve never really interacted with her, I guess I just thought of her as … a person? Robot souls, huh?

Radiance catches the glance, and smiles brightly back at Daph.

The party emerges from a tunnel onto a large island, surrounded by a fog-obscured ocean. Other islands are visible in the distance. This one is inhabited and built out, with tents, buildings, and other signs of habitation everywhere.

“What is this?” Daph asks. At this point, she suspects anyone else can give her an acceptable answer.

“Some call it the Orphean Market,” answers Charlotte. “One of the many places a soul can go, after death.”

Daph sees indistinct but humanoid shapes gathered around tents. They seem to be customers, with more distinctly visible people promoting something or other as salespeople.

“The soul is the residual imprint of a conscious mind,” explains Ghostheart. “Its desires are like a ship’s sail, and the astral winds fill it and blow the soul to its desired destination. For some, that is this market or ones like it, where the gods and great powers offer them new destinations - for a price. For others, that is the Elysian fields, or other afterlives. Some souls dissolve, and their memories find new homes. And some remain in the world of the living, to trouble them with unfulfilled desires and impossible demands.”

Charlotte laughs gently. “Some of us, my dear fellow traveler, had no say in the matter.”

“Anything we should be wary of here?” asks Radiance.

Charlotte nods. “Accept no offers and ask no favors. Politely decline everything, even if it’s seemingly innocuous. Something like ‘show me the way home’ is a contract here, and the sellers would do it their way.”

Daph chuckles in Ghostheart’s direction. “Gonna be rough for you to get anything done here, ain’t it.”

The villain seems unimpressed. “I’ve contracted with demons. This matter will be simple enough.”

“Remember that you cannot bind your comrades,” Charlotte says with a smile, but Daph can hear iron in her voice. “If you seek to entangle us in your scheme, you will find that Magus is not merely a title bestowed upon me.”

Ghostheart bows with at least some sincerity. “You have my word, Ms. Palmer. What I do here will be to your benefit as well.”

Whatever that is, thinks Daph. But she follows the others, into the sea of souls.

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Summer knows when to take good advice. Still, she’s curious. As long as she doesn’t interact, it should be safe to explore, right?

The Orphean Market feels like a weird thing. Many world religions teach that an afterlife awaits, and historically newer ones tend to attach a moral judgement to it. You’ll go upstairs if you’re good, downstairs if you’re not, and sometimes you’ll come back if you aren’t ready to keep going. But the idea that you can buy your way into a particular place…? What are you selling?

Your soul, she guesses.


“You have the look of someone with questions,” says a familiar voice.

Summer turns, and sees an older woman, robed in gray, watching her. Something about the face–

“You’re Pneuma,” she says. “Well. A Pneuma, from somewhere.”

“You call me Doctor Infinity,” the woman answers.

Summer wants to ask, talk, act - but the warning not to risk binding oneself returns to her. Infinity anticipates this, and goes on.

“Summer Newman, I offer you knowledge, wholly and completely free of entanglement. You may speak with me on any subject, and I will ask and receive nothing from the arrangement, other than the knowledge you share with me in return.”

This seems safe enough. Summer nods. “Okay. So… er, do you know why we’re here?”

Infinity glances over Summer’s shoulder, back toward the part of the market where her friends are. “You brought Ghostheart. Interesting. And Charlotte. No, I don’t know, unless you want to tell me.”

Summer shakes her head. “I don’t really know either. So, hm. What are you doing here?”

Infinity smiles, but it’s somehow not the same as when Summer sees Aria do it. There’s a weariness there, a light that’s since faded. Now it’s just a quirk of the mouth. “You know that a Newman-type robot has an electromechanical brain, that it operates only so long as there’s power, and that its state is encoded into the physical arrangement of the neurons. When power is restored, your brain instantaneously resumes its normal operation, just as though you’d merely lost some time.”

Summer nods. Of course she knows this, but it’s polite to let someone establish groundwork to get to an important point.

“Well. Your friend put me in stasis somehow. So my soul came here, while my body was effectively dead. Sometimes I get glimpses.” Infinity pauses, for a delicate question. “Is… Is someone… trying to bring me back…?”

Summer nods again. She’s not sure how much to reveal here, but…? “Leo is studying dimensional science. He’s doing what he can.”

The older Pneuma blinks, and Summer realizes she’s doing her best not to cry. “Well! Until that happens, here I am. A soul. Do you know what that is?”

Summer shakes her head. If she got an answer to this, the whole trip might be worth it.

“Some people say we have both minds and souls. If so, where does the thinking happen? What steers the body, all that stuff?”

Infinity goes on, not looking at Summer. She’s doing the thing that Summer recognizes from herself and her sister, when they want to talk about an academic subject. They turn inward, mentally writing a presentation before delivering it.

“A key truth about the human mind is that it’s capable of apprehending its own mortality, but to do so would cause terror. We call this ‘mortality salience’. The specifics of terror management theory are debated, but the truth is still there: we can’t imagine our own ends.”

“The soul, on the other hand, is that which has already seen the end, in a sense. But as an artifact of mortality, our minds can’t perceive it any more than they can perceive the inevitable end of life. So while we have souls, and many people recognize intuitively that we do, our minds are strictly unable to experience having them.”

“The soul itself, meanwhile, serves as something like a lifeboat for memories. If the connectome of the brain is the DNA for making a person’s mind, the soul could be compared to the cell membrane. The soul becomes something like a psychic virus, able to inject its payload into a compatible host. In so doing, the mind lives again.”

This is a lot to take in, but Summer thinks she gets it. “So… I could be a ghost, if someone shut me off. And if you’re freed from stasis, you’ll come back to life?”

Infinity nods. “My memories as a soul would be reincorporated back into my living brain, like a Heart Factory merge. Leo didn’t invent the merge technology, after all. He just copied the process brains already use to process trauma.”

“So you can have new experiences as a soul?”

“You can incorporate new memories, as experiences permeate that membrane. Places like this effectively are a hive mind for souls, a place to plug in and have the brain state change for awhile. Otherwise you’re not conscious, you’re just a memory package.”

“Like how virii aren’t really alive, they just have a RNA or DNA payload.”

“Precisely. But a soul doesn’t come with its own senses, ability to affect its environment, or much of anything. As shells go, a Newman would find it extremely lacking.”

Summer gets this part too. “so what about ghosts in the mortal world?”

“As far as I know, they’re connecting to ambient psychic energy. A classical ghost’s abilities can all be explained through research into telepathy, psychokinesis, and related powers.”

Another voice interjects. “Not always, my dear.”

Summer turns to see Charlotte approaching. Infinity inclines her head in a greeting.

Charlotte turns to her teammate. “I see you’ve found a familiar face.”

Summer grins. “I was learning about ghosts.”

“So am I, my dear, every day of my afterlife. Come. Our companions are ready.”

Charlotte escorts Summer away. Doctor Infinity’s eyes follow them.

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Daph watches Radiance and Charlotte return. Menagerie business? Or just a curious teammate being brought to heel by a wiser one? Who knows.

She’s been following Ghostheart around the market. The villain hasn’t made a false move - as far as Daph knows, anyway - and has spoken to nobody yet. They seemed to recognize something on the trip, and confirm this when Charlotte comes back.

“Ms. Palmer. I’ve found the individual I must deal with, but to satisfy your concerns I’ve foregone contact until you could observe. Shall we?”

The quartet approach a robed and veiled figure, holding a glowing orb in one withered hand.

Ghostheart pulls their sleeve up, revealing a chilling green aura where their arm should be. At first Daph wonders if she’d just missed this detail before. Or, perhaps, is it something that can only be seen when the person chooses to reveal it?

More importantly, there is a symbol, looking for all the world like a cattle brand burned into spectral flesh.

“Speak your wish, halfblood,” commands the figure with the orb.

“I was marked, but I did not consent to any bargain,” says Ghostheart.

“What is it to me?”

“Ereshkigal’s good name is at risk, if it is said that the Orphean Market now compels souls to servitude.”

The figure looks from behind their veils, glancing from face to face. “And you would perhaps say this, in the presence of the Magus and a priestess?”

Ghostheart doesn’t waver. “I cannot say else, unless I know who branded me thus.”

The figure raises its orb. There is a flash of something that obscures vision, but isn’t light - a darklight - and the five find themselves standing inside what must be a library. The shelves are niches carved in the stone walls, and they are filled mostly with inscribed tablets and scrolls.

“I give you leave to search, and to leave whence you came,” advises the figure. With that said, it takes its ease on a throne at one end of the room.

Ghostheart nods to the others, showing them the symbol again, and they split up to start searching.

Daph finds herself assisting Charlotte Palmer, carrying some of the heavier stone tablets to a workbench for inspection.

“So, like, where are we?”

“The city of the underworld,” replies Charlotte. “One of the oldest afterlives. Mesopotamian. There are prehuman afterlives, but this is one of the first places you’ll find recognizably human souls.”

“So who is this Erish Kogal person?”

“Goddess of the underworld. Spouse of Nergal, ruler of the City of Seven Gates. We’re in a library inside that city, if I am not mistaken.”

Daph carefully positions another tablet for inspection. “So basically Ghostheart’s gonna talk mad shit about the market to some big names, like you and me, unless they get help finding out whoever did that brand?”

“That seems to be the arrangement.” Charlotte pulls out a pair of spectacles for easier reading of the tablet.

“You got that much pull down here? 'Cause I don’t.”

Charlotte’s smile is charming, but Daph can see the doubt it covers. “I hope we don’t have to find that out, darling.”

Radiance’s voice comes from across the room. “Found it!”

Daph can’t help herself. She puts a finger to her lips and makes a “keep it down” gesture with her other hand. It is a library, after all.

Ghostheart is paler than usual when they inspect the tablet Radiance is holding.

“It is not one of the psychopomps after all,” they whisper.

Charlotte has a peek, and draws back. “Finally drew a bargain you couldn’t honor, I see.”

“No! No. I swear to you, this is not my doing.”

Daph holds up her hands. “Yo. Occult newbie here. Whassa problem?”

Charlotte points to the tablet. “This seal is a binding placed on Ghostheart, not by a member of the underworld, but by a demon. Paimon, a King of Hell.”

Radiance blinks. “Paimon? The little fairy from Genshin Impact?”

Charlotte pauses a moment to muster her civility. “No. No. This is a far more serious matter.” She returns to Daph. “This is a sort of infernal spirit, supremely powerful, who can be conjured for knowledge of the arts and sciences. All of the goetic demons hold secrets that could unmake the world, and the danger is that they’re relatively easy to conjure.”

Charlotte now turns her eyes to Ghostheart. “Explain your connection to this being.”

The mysterious occultist glances down at their arm, and says nothing, even under Charlotte’s increasingly intense glare. Finally they’ve had enough. “The binding compels me to silence.”

“That’s not very helpful,” says Radiance with a frown.

“You’re heroes,” smirks Ghostheart.

Daph isn’t impressed. “Hey, you pale piece of shit. That’s all we get? What about our deal? You’re gonna help me with Palamedes.”

Ghostheart glances at their branded arm, then at Daph. “If a forced bond can be broken with a demon, it can be with a god. To confront Palamedes, follow the soul of the butterfly.”

They incant something before anyone can speak further, and disappear.

Charlotte scowls. “They must be returned to custody before they can work any further mischief. I trust the both of you can find your own way out.” She, too, vanishes.

The veiled figure approaches Radiance and Daph.

Radiance shrugs at Daph, then turns to their host. “So um, neither of us have a library card. Um, do we need to put the reading materials back, or…?”

The orb glows, and the world goes dark.

Radiance and Daph find themselves outside Halcyon City limits, near the entrance to the cave. According to their phones, perhaps four minutes have passed.

The robot hero transforms herself into a human-looking girl. She smiles and offers a hand. “Summer Newman.”

Daph takes and shakes. “Daphne Palin. Mutual friends with Alycia Chin, huh?”

“Friend and roommate. I know she’d like you to visit any time you want - when she’s home, that is.”

Daph nods, and glances around the landscape. “What are we gonna do about this mess?”

Summer taps her chin with a finger. “It felt like Ghostheart wanted out of whatever deal they’d gotten into. I think they brought us along so we’d know as much as they do, so we could help them.”

Daph rolls her eyes. “Imma help them into an early grave if I see that schmuck again.”

Summer laughs. “I’m sure Charlotte will beat you to it.”

Daph starts looking around. “They said they left a bike around here. Let’s ride back to town and get something to eat, and let’s talk about this. One butterfly hero to another.”


Vyortovia’s New University has been busy. Already students have begun making progress on their assignments, which aim to advance human knowledge in a variety of areas. A mixture of heroes, geniuses, ambitious young people, and even some veterans of Halcyon, they pursue their team’s goals.

Members of Rook Industries are here, of course. They all wear the uniform, and make no effort to hide their affiliation. To the public, Rook is a valuable member of the Halcyon corporate community. That incident with the robots was regrettable, but of course was traced to supervillain activity, as such things always are. Rook has since shown its true colors as a philanthropist, for example in attempting to open hospitals.

Rook students here at New University are no different. They contribute to their teams, making suggestions, doing the work, putting in the hours. And whenever someone shows particular promise, their Rook teammate takes them aside, and offers them a folder full of information. Ways Rook could help advance their own goals, their own careers. Fields of study that are happening inside the corporate tower. Areas that even Vyortovia hasn’t thought about. Sounds interesting, yeah? Call or text this phone number for more information.

The folders have a strange logo on them. None of the students recognize it, but hey, corporate branding is super weird, right? Nobody understands marketing. It’s just a symbol.


That’s it for this story, though obviously more strange things are in store for our heroes - and villains.

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I would stop saying each story is my favorite story yet, but that would require you to stop writing better stories each time. :wink:

So many interesting trails of clues and hints at future stories in this one. How is Paimon and Rook intertwined? What is Doctor Infinity’s time in the underworld going to mean for her when/if she is reactivated? Does that ending mean more Ghost Girl/Ghostheart shenanigans in the future? So excited to see what comes next.

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Added your questions to the upcoming stories queue :+1:

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In case anyone isn’t familiar (I don’t know what the situation is in CO), here’s more details about renting bikes:

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Again, HA!

Because chit-chatting with Doctor Infinity in an afterlife where any request, command, or offer is as trap sounds perfectly safe. What could go wrong?

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Yeah, we’ve had those kind of systems here in Denver, mostly downtown.

So fine stuff here with an interesting collection of characters I’d have not thought of combining. A few thoughts:

Daph feels a bit more hardbitten than I remember, though at the same time she feels a bit like an observer here. There was an intriguing bit about her playing things a bit close to the vest – GH being clearly a bad one, but also potentially having that knowledge she wants.

That deserved some sort of grumble about oracular vagueness – or even a comparison to how Palamedes himself speaks.

I don’t recall how much I had actually sketched out Palamedes in earlier installments. This one draws just fine from Homeric myth and the like. Of course, GH isn’t necessarily a reliable narrator, either. Of course, neither is P.

Charlotte felt like she was laying the southern patrician a bit much. Maybe because of GH being there. Maybe (much of) the setting in the underworld. Maybe the position is beginning to change her a bit.

The interview with Dr Infinity was maybe a little anticlimactic, unless it was setting up something down the line – “Oh, you didn’t notice when you said something that represented a deal, but my soul – now that I am back in my body – remembers …” but I do love Radiance wanting to know more about robot souls and her slightly askew approach to it.

Overall, good stuff!

I don’t recall much characterization at all, so I filled in gaps with stuff that’d generate neat story beats. A historical shoutout (the stuff attributed to the human Palamedes is all authentic), a human motivation (revenge!), and a plot hook (undo your ordination the way I sever this demonic pact).

Daph is passive because right now she’s learning what the deal is, the way Summer does. Daph has more sense than Summer and doesn’t talk to the people in the Underworld, at least. Charlotte, meanwhile, has kind of put on a Southern Magus persona for the reasons you give. If there’s anything I’ve learned from the strong Southern women I’ve met, they have a certain way around them when someone needs to be in charge and nobody else can be trusted to do it.

Infinity might be a familiar face but she’s still a villain at this point. Everyone should remember that, even if Summer doesn’t.

I think there was both her description of interaction and, at some point, I think Alycia had a chat with him as well. Mostly an Omnipotent God Dick Who Knows Better Than You Do (Which He Might But He Doesn’t Have To Be A Dick About It) So Now Go And Do What He Says type. I have no objection to a more human framing. :slight_smile: