“Ahzek Ahriman!” she shouted, “I have that which you seek. I can restore your brethren!’"A stone’s throw away, the Visarch cut at the webway’s exterior with the Sword of Silent Screams, but he could not scratch it. The Yncarne hissed in pain to her flank, trailers of purple mist unwinding from its body as it was dissolved by the aether behind.
"And why should I believe that?” came the sorcerous voice in Yvraine’s head. “You have no power here, in my new domain.” She felt white heat as something loomed behind, the fell gaze of godly eyes burning down upon her with terrible, inhuman focus.
“Open your eyes!” she cried, secretly praying to Ynnead that her desperate gambit would work. She pressed her hands upon the psychocrystal of the webway’s exterior, focused on the armoured Legionaries within, and reversed the cycles of their existence. A dozen of the Thousand Sons Rubric Marines, previously levelling firepower into the Reborn with the emotionless efficiency of automatons, staggered backwards as if struck. They looked at one another, clutched their hearts, and fell back, rallying around Ahriman before taking up the defensive stances of the Emperor’s Legiones Astartes. Yvraine could just make out their words as they frantically sought to make sense of their situation.
“Ahzek? Is that you, brother?”
“Where are the Athenaeans? These are Eldar we face this day!”
“In the name of Magnus, what is going on?”
Ahriman shook his head as if stunned, his wide shoulders shaking uncontrollably with mirth, grief, or a mixture of the two. He brought his cupped hands together once more and yanked Ynnead’s luminaries downward with a shout of pure exultation. A lurch of the stomach, and Yvraine suddenly found herself in the swirling tide of battle once more, the Visarch and the Yncarne quickly taking up positions behind her.
“Do it,” she said to her companions, siphoning the rich reservoir of Eldar life force that flooded the tunnels into a single burst of invigorating energy. In a flash, the Iyandeni giant Soulseeker was there, trailing white flame as his wraithblade carved a chasm through the crystal of the webway’s superstructure with an ear-splitting scream. Stepping to the edge of the fissure, the Yncarne opened its maw impossibly wide. It inhaled so mightily the resurrected Thousand Sons were drawn towards it, stumbling over the edge of the chasm to fall away into the void beneath.
Ahriman screamed in denial, riding his disc after them on a trail of fire.
“The Whispering God gives new life,” said Yvraine as her Reborn surged forward around her for the kill, “just as he takes life away.”
- Gathering Storm Book 2: Fracture of Biel-tan, page 85.
He did not hate her.
No, he could not muster the will to. The Chief Sorcerer of the Thousand Sons, Master of the Rubric, Destroyer of His Legion, looked down at the lifeless, baroque suit of armour in his arms.
Templar culture is harmful in many ways, both to the templars themselves and to those they deal with, primarily mages.
Templars are expected to be emotionless automatons. They aren’t supposed to show fondness or positive emotions toward mages or form friendships with them. Templars and mages do have relationships, but they are elicit and hidden. Suppressing all emotion – with the exception of aggression, anger and violence – isn’t healthy for templars and is downright dangerous for mages.
At the same time, templars don’t receive any mental healthcare. A popular fan-theory is Greenfell Chantry is a rest home for templars, based on the aside about Cullen being sent there in Witch Hunt. However, Cullen himself never discusses any treatment he received. Samson doesn’t receive any help for his greater-than-normal dependence on lyrium and is thrown out of the Order at the first opportunity.
It is possible many templars suffer from mental trauma after facing demons, blood mages and abominations and witnessing failed Harrowings, but the possibility templars may be adversely impacted by this is rarely mentioned. However, Cullen says forgetting such things is believed by many templars to be a positive found in lyrium-induced dementia.
So it shouldn’t be any surprise that templars’ first reaction is violence. In dealing with any threat, perceived threat or disobedience, templars always seem to escalate the situation. Templars’ tools in addressing transgressions great and small seem to be limited to reactive violence or humiliating punishments. They don’t appear to be able – or trained? – to think through problems to reach an alternative solution.
Templars don’t inhabit circles, they occupy them. Templars are hardly seen out of armor or off-duty. They behave like soldiers in enemy territory, despite the power imbalance that overwhelmingly favors them. This is particularly dangerous for mages, because templars are biased against mages. Mages are not only viewed with suspicion, but templars generally treat them as if they have committed a crime. Even the Circles are proactive imprisonment for crimes yet to be – and most likely will never be – committed.
This is part of templars’ us versus them worldview. The best example of this is the meeting between the grand clerics and the Inquisitor in Val Royeaux. When a templar strikes Mother Hevara, Ser Barris attempts to go to her aid, but is told she isn’t worthy of his attention. Then Envy-as-Lucius gives a speech on templar exceptionality that is well-received by those templars in attendance – with the exception of Ser Barris – and is an insight into the mistrust and derision with which templars view those who are not part of the Order.
Notable exceptions are Evangeline and Greagoir, although Evangeline comes to a more measured response through the course of Asunder. She is fighting a mage in her first in-world appearance, but Asunder is really about her struggling with what she thinks the Order should be and what it actually is – although it takes her falling for a mage and therefore seeing them as people get to that point.
Greagoir is progressive for a templar. He considers magic to be both a gift and a curse. He values the lives of civilian above those of mages, but also of templars. He argues against Annulling the Circle, but will agree to it, if pressed. Greagoir also accepts the practices of Harrowing and Tranquility.
This is because templars are trained to follow orders without question. It is openly acknowledged an obedient templar is preferred over a devout one. Templars are expected to obey orders without question – the crux of Evangeline’s dilemma in Asunder is whether to follow orders or to do what is right. Templars are not expected to think for themselves; they are weapons.
The combination of possible untreated mental trauma, othering of mages and those who aren’t templars and failure to question or engage in critical thought creates an organization both dangerous to those to whom it is supposed to protect and to its members.
this ridiculous narrative being spun of “Blake and Yang’s relationship will be forever damaged because Blake hurt Yang” is just
it’s completely forgoing basic narrative reading comprehension and common sense
Blake ran because she’s an abuse survivor, and her abuser just showed up and destroyed every sense of safety and normalcy she had built up and she fell back on an old survival instinct and ran away in a panic - she cannot be expected to be rational in that circumstance, expecting her to leave a note or wait to talk things out is asking her to be what she’s not (namely some kind of emotionless automaton that robotically carries out the ‘best’ course of action). she’s a flawed person, she makes mistakes, that’s not a bad thing
Adam permanently harmed Yang, and Blake, thanks to that abuse, understandably blames herself for it (especially because Adam goes for the abuse tactic right at the end by putting it all on her) - she sees herself as the reason Yang nearly died and will never be able to live the same way again, and she ran away so those she cares about won’t be hurt because of her, because she felt she had to
this is all fully understandable given Blake’s situation, and there’s one very important factor that some of you seem to be missing, and it’s this - none of this is Blake’s fault. this is all entirely on Adam, his manipulation, his abuse and his actions that resulted in this situation
and Blake has spent the last few volumes wrestling with her demons and making strides to overcome what she sees as her greatest flaw - she’s developed as a character, and now she’s back with her team, stating she’s going to make a concerted effort to stay
onto Yang - yes, Yang has a history of being abandoned by everyone she loves, and yes, Blake leaving hurt her incredibly deeply, not just because she was abandoned again, but, as per her conversation with Weiss in 5x08, because Blake was one of the only people Yang was willing to let herself be vulnerable around - she wanted to be there for Blake after the traumatic events at Beacon, and she is open about the fact that she feels she needed Blake there for support too
Yang was incredibly hurt by what happened, and when you’re in the center of that, it makes it difficult to see the other side of things, which is exactly the reason Weiss is there in that scene in 5x08, to coach Yang through seeing things from Blake’s point of view based on what she knows the two went through (which doesn’t specifically get into the stuff with Adam, and neither Yang nor Weiss know about his abuse), and help Yang stop hiding behind the anger she puts up to mask the hurt she’s feeling
Yang was trying so hard to convince herself she didn’t care about Blake anymore, because it’d be easier if she didn’t, but it’s obvious how much she still does
and on top of that, Blake’s done the one thing no one else has ever done for Yang - she’s come back to the team and chosen to stay. that is a profound departure from anything Yang has ever experienced, and that’s going to mean a lot to her
yes - this has damaged the strong, close dynamic the two shared at Beacon. but if it were to stay permanently damaged? that it would never be as strong as it was, and that’s it, the story of their partnership is done? that wouldn’t be a good thing, that would make them a tragedy (not to mention ignoring all the obvious indicators building to reconciliation between the two because of the abovementioned factors - the two are growing as characters, Blake is getting to a point where she’ll be able to forgive herself for what she did and recognise that Adam is the source of this conflict, not her. and Yang, thanks to Weiss coaching her through it, is more receptive to seeing things from Blake’s point of view, and when she gets the full story, why wouldn’t she forgive Blake? hell, it’s no coincidence that in the same volume we have Blake state she sees Yang as the embodiment of strength that we get her father delivering the message “there is strength in forgiveness” - while that is obviously directly referring to Blake forgiving and accepting Ilia, from a narrative viewpoint it’s an interesting phrasing to use, as it draws direct connections to Blake associating Yang with strength)
the idea that Yang will never trust Blake again because Blake ran away, so she’s always going to be afraid that Blake will run away again, just flies in the face of all that development, both what we’ve already had and the inevitable development in future
this is clearly set up in the story as something they will overcome and grow from, becoming closer in the process, supported by the sheer amount of focus put on their dynamic. never repairing their relationship and drifting apart, or just never being as close again, with their ‘closest, most important non-familial relationships’ ending up being with other characters that they’ve had fewer and/or less positive/meaningful interactions with, just wouldn’t make any sense
“You just gotta connect with them more!” Patton said brightly. “Then they’ll love you as much as we do! Just give them something to latch onto, something to feel. You sound like you’re reading from a textbook sometimes, and it’s really smart, and I know you know so much, but it’s not really…relatable, you know? You have to make them care about it, too.”
Logan’s stomach twisted, a slow coil of sickness curling through his belly. How had they gotten onto this ridiculous topic again, anyway? “I don’t see what that has to do with it,” he said (somewhat stiffly, he feared). “My arguments are sound, I do my best for Thomas and the rest of you, I put in as much effort as anyone, and more than some…”
“Of course you do, Logan,” Patton agreed. “And I know that, and I know you care a whole great big bunch about us, too, and about everyone watching. I know you don’t mean to…”
“Mean to what?” Logan interrupted acidly, the sickness growing, bile rising in the back of his throat. “To come off as an emotionless automaton? A robot incapable of caring about either Thomas or the things that are important to him?”
“No, no, that’s not what I…”
“Logically it shouldn’t matter if I do,” Logan went on, talking over Patton’s feeble protests. “Logically I should have just as much a place at the table as the rest of you. Logically it follows that at least one of us should not be ruled by emotion, and that that should be seen as strength, not a weakness of my character.”
“I don’t think it…”
“Logically, it shouldn’t…I shouldn’t care,” Logan went on, fingernails digging into his palm as he tried to distract himself from the nausea still rising in him with pain.
“Yeah?” Virgil’s harsh, sardonic voice came from behind him. “Then why do you?”
“Oh thank goodness, Verge, kiddo, do you think you can…”
Logan closed his eyes, briefly, running a hand back through his hair. Fuck. Patton he might, possibly, have been able to put off. But Virgil–Virgil who knew all too well the signs of anxiety, of dread, of panic and fear and worry and worthlessness–Virgil would recognize too easily what lay behind his words. Patton he might be able to fool, but Virgil…Virgil would see right through him.
“No,” Logan forced himself to say, sharply. “He can’t.”
Erik stared at the young sense offender. How could he know? How could he possibly know Erik had skipped not one, not two, but three doses? Erik took a deep, calming breath. He didn’t know, he was just trying to divert the interrogation.
“Of course not. If I skipped my dose I’d experience feelings and feelings threaten everything we have built. I’m a Grammaton Cleric, I’m sworn to protect Libria.”
The young man smiled, shockingly bright in the grey room. Everything about him was shockingly bright. His blue eyes. His red mouth. The contrast of his dark hair with his pale skin. The warmth of his voice.
“And what have we built? A world without love, without passion, without art, without laughter, without tears, without pleasure, without pain, without everything that makes us human.”
“Prozium has helped us to build a world of peace and order, free from death and violence and hatred.”
The offender laughed and shook his head.
“Free from death and violence? I think not. What about the raids on the Nethers? What about the people the police and the Clerics kill for daring to feel? What about the sense offenders you, Cleric Lehnsherr, deliver for judgement and burning alive?”
“A manageable degree of suffering is necessary if the People of Libria are to be protected from those who flout the laws that serve us all.”
Xavier threw his hands in the air, forgetting he was cuffed to the table. The chains rattled and arrested his gesture halfway.
“But we too are the People of Libra and the law does not serve us. As for a "manageable degree of suffering”, who are you, an emotionless automaton, to pronounce on pain?“
Pain. Magda in the furnace. Nina looking at him with dead eyes.
He grabbed Xavier by the throat and dragged him part way across the table.
"I’m the Tetragrammaton and I can have you taken from this room and incinerated. Now, give me the names and locations of every single member of your resistance cell or you’ll burn.”
Up close he could see the many shades of blue that made up the sense offender’s eyes. He smelt his shampoo; mint. He saw the drop of sweat beading at Xavier’s hairline, then rolling down his forehead to glisten on his eyebrow. He felt his breath hot against his cheek, the heat of his skin under his hands, the blood beating in his throat, the life that pulsed in him so strongly.
“Aren’t you afraid?” whispered Erik.
“Yes,” gasped Xavier, struggling to breath with Erik’s long fingers clamped around his neck, “of course I’m afraid, I’m human.”
Erik loosened his grasp a fraction.
“Then tell me what I want to know.”
Xavier shook his head. A strand of dark hair brushed Erik’s cheek.
“I’ll burn anyway, whether I tell you or not.”
Erik shook him.
“Tell me. I can get death commuted to imprisonment if you cooperate.”
“Imprisonment and regular doses of Prozium. I’d rather burn.”
Erik didn’t understand what was happening to him. It was like being hot and cold at the same time. His stomach churned and his pulse hammered in his head. He was losing control of his breathing. His senses felt heightened; Xavier’s skin was like silk under his fingers, the two freckles on his overlarge nose glowed like fragments of amber and his sweat smelt sharp with fear.
“I don’t want you to burn,” hissed Erik.
Xavier stared at him, blue eyes wide, first with incomprehension, then with growing understanding.
Erik let go of him and leapt back. Xavier sprawled across the table. Erik hauling him about had made the cuffs bite into his thin wrists. A trickle of blood tainted that white skin. Erik wanted to put his mouth to Xavier’s wrist and lick the blood from his torn flesh and kiss the wound he’d made. Someone made a sobbing noise. It wasn’t Xavier. He was quite still and quiet, just gazing at Erik with those impossible eyes.
Erik slammed out of the interrogation room. He wanted to run. He wanted to scream. He wanted to fall on the floor at Charles’ feet and weep and beg forgiveness. He did none of those things. Instead, coolly and calmly, on the outside at least, he reported to Shaw’s office.
favorite thing about them X6 is one of the hardest companions to impress, imo, and so I really enjoy when you eventually win him over and he grudgingly admits that he was wrong about you. It feels like getting praise from a particularly scary teacher.
least favorite thing about them This is a running theme with every one of these I’ve answered, but yeah, his character development basically falls off a cliff the moment you reach max affinity with him. I wish there was a quest line after the Institute is destroyed where you can show him that the Commonwealth is not entirely populated by irredeemable scum and is, in fact, worth saving.
favorite line “Oh shit! I love it.” But also basically any time he swears or laughs? It’s because he’s normally so deadpan, getting a curse or a chuckle out of him feels like an epic victory.
brOTP Based entirely on the amount of sass they give each other when you swap them out, I want him to be besties with Curie. He could train her in firearms and hand-to-hand combat once she gets her synth body, and I think he would grow to respect her intelligence and tenacity. (I also imagine he has a certain base-level of respect for scientists, since his whole life has been defending and helping scientists??). I also think Curie’s boundless, infectious fascination with the world could help X6 learn to see the Commonwealth in a more positive light and show him that real science can’t happen in a sealed container.
OTP X6/Sole Survivor. Honestly, he’s just so loyal to the Sole Survivor once they win his trust that I can’t see him being with anyone else, especially if the Institute is destroyed. Strong case of FUCK EVERYONE ELSE I RESPECT YOU.
nOTP X6/Nick Valentine just doesn’t work for me, please it take it away.
random headcanon If the Institute is destroyed, X6 becomes a ferociously loyal bodyguard to synth!Shaun, like the Sole Survivor never needs to worry about him when they’re out collecting desk fans or whatever because they know X6 would torch half the Commonwealth to the ground before letting anyone harm a hair on his head. He starts accompanying Shaun to school but the other kids aren’t intimidated by him the way adults are. They all think he’s the most badass person ever and hang on to his every word, and he grows protective of them over time until the Sanctuary Schoolhouse is basically the safest place in the Commonwealth because a terrifying ex-Courser will rip your head off if you so much as look sideways at one of his kids. Bonus: Curie is the teacher, friendship intensifies.
unpopular opinion I’m… not sure I have one? I guess I generally object to the idea that X6 has no personality or sense of humour. The whole point of synths is that the Institute failed. They failed to create a race of emotionless automatons indistinguishable from humans except for their lack of free will. X6 is the proof of that. He’s an elite courser, loyal to the Institute, lived his entire life there, flawless track record, blah blah blah, and yet he still forms attachments and opinions, he’s still capable of being frustrated or impressed or amused. That’s a personality! He’s everything the perfect synth is supposed to be, but he’s still an individual and his individuality only becomes more pronounced as he spends time with the Sole Survivor. He’s honestly the best argument for “synths are human” that the game has, because he’s not a discarded experiment like Nick or Danse, he’s the pinnacle of Institute success and he’s still undeniably a thinking, feeling person.
I can’t fucking stand the line “Jon didn’t win it back, he lost the Battle of the Bastards. The Knights of the Vale won the battle, and they rode North for me.” I cannot fucking stand that. Like good god, shut the fuck up D&D. You wrote the fucking script, you made Sansa conveniently forget to tell Jon, “hey, there’s a whole army in the South who can help us, let me send them a raven and get them up here”. You assholes took the Starks that GRRM created, who were always loyal and true to family from the beginning and tirelessly fighting to meet each other again, you took them and made them into shallow parodies of themselves and people are actually fucking falling for it, I can’t believe this. Sansa is a power-hungry bitch, Arya has completely forgotten her struggle to find her family and return home, Bran is an emotionless automaton who doesn’t care about anyone, and Jon has given up all semblance of integrity and Northern Independence and become yet another love-puppet for the Dragon Queen over the course of a few episodes. It’s probably the worst writing I’ve ever seen for a TV show and I can’t wait for it to tank completely tbh
Despite her pragmatic nature, Katniss Everdeen is ultimately a compassionate person capable of love and caring for more people than just her sister–traits that develop over the entire series. She is not just a emotionless automaton reacting to her environment.
Okay, technically not during a game but I thought of this site anyway. Recently, I was watching the classic Star Trek episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" Kirk was guarded by an android shaped like a pretty girl, and his response made me picture it as a D&D game.
I want to seduce the guard.
She's a construct! She's inexorably bound to the will of her creator
but I rolled a 20…
… (sighs) fine. You seduce the emotionless automaton.
If I see one more post talking about Genos like he’s a robot, I am gonna TEAR MY HAIR OUT. How many times do we gotta say he is a fucken CYBORG, he’s still a HUMAN BEING okay, he still thinks and feels, he’s not some emotionless fucking AUTOMATON for fatherfucking sake GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
I wish I was a robot An emotionless automaton Feelings regulated by a well programmed motherboard Like the kind you find at Echo Park Time Travel Mart. I wish there was a hibernation setting I could press when shit goes down When there’s miles of computations to work through And coffee’s not enough. If I was a robot I could press pause And resume joy when there’s no more mess to mop up No more waiting for ships to come in Or lotto tickets to pay off. If I was a robot I would just shut that whole part down, Finish about a million todo list items, Going to screensaver every 48 hours or so To keep from burning out Sort out all the messiness With the detached air of a heartless killer Then come back to Earth for the payoff, Conveniently ready to feel again.
But I am just a person who calls herself a reauxbot Who is really quite human, Who plays at cucumberdom But who can’t quite break her habit Of total nuclear meltdown With its Boston Molasses Massacre pervasive messiness. I am just a lady Who breaks under straws And weeps enthusiastically over cold cups of tea And empty sides of beds And tumbles awkwardly by the ankle After a spooked runaway horse of a heart Like in those old westerns, But with a lot more blood.
(special thanks to Bucky Sinister for the poetic inspiration…)