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Outtake/Guest Story: Wylie and Hylakaros, Part 2

19

March 11, 2013 by Lyn

Written together with Rix-Scaedu; after Part 1 and in timeline with Bonus Story: After the Fight.

Niassa was out monster hunting.  So was Yolanda.  Cody and Lemon were both in their rooms, which left Wylie pacing and miserable.  Pacing a lot, and very miserable.

Hylakaros was in the living room, too.  Wylie wasn’t certain he hadn’t been told to keep an eye on him.  Not that he could leave, but still!

The former Nedetaka was doing some sort of Working with Huamu, not a Word Wylie was any good at.

“Flowers?”  Small talk was better than nothing.

“That’s what they’re supposed to be but some of these are slightly mutant at best.”  Hylakaros was holding his latest effort and regarding it critically.

“Ha.” Wylie flopped down in a chair near Hylakaros.  “How long is it going to take them?” He blurted it out, then picked up a flower-like-thing and looked at it, hoping to cover up his impatience. “I can’t do the hummus word at all.”

“It’s not one of my best ones and I obviously haven’t been paying enough attention to what flowers actually look like beyond a general impression.”  He looked at Wylie.  “It will take as long as it takes.  You and I will know if things go really badly.  If things don’t go quite as badly, us being back here is part of their protection.”

Badly.  Wylie twitched.   “So if things go really badly, does that mean you’re going to start going evil, with no orders to stop you?”

“Define evil?” Hylakaros asked it so mildly, he could have been discussing the weather.  “Steps one and two involve consulting Professor Solomon and arming ourselves from Doug’s collection, after you and possibly I stop throwing up.”

“Throwing… oh.” Wylie twitched again.  “The keeping bond thing.  Yeah. Evil in this case would involve kidnapping Lemon or killing people I care about.”  Evil was easier to think about than the bond thingy.  That was messed up.

“That’s a fair definition.  There are people I don’t think Lemon would willingly leave without and if we lose Luke, Doug and the rest of their group, then a fighting retreat might be on the cards.”

Wylie nodded.  Okay, they were going to talk about the thing happening downstairs. “I don’t want to lose her.  But if we do, I want to hurt whoever ki… hurt her.”

“Fair enough and well said,” Hylakaros nodded approvingly. Approval from him was kind of weird.  “Successful revenge that doesn’t result in mutual annihilation can take a little planning, so don’t go charging off on your own at the first opportunity.”

“Would you?  If Doug got killed?”

“I’ve not been under the collar as long as you plus he and I don’t have the same sort of relationship you and Niassa do.” Hylakaros was clearly considering his answer.  “I do think he would want Lemon and the rest of his cy’ree to be protected and as I want to protect Lemon, that’s a no brainer.”  He gave a short laugh. “But if you go charging off, Lemon would probably want me to rescue you.”

That was worth a laugh. “Yeah.  She probably would.  So… if things go bad. You’ll keep her safe?”

“Yes.  That seems to be my job.”  Hylakaros put down his not-quite-right flower.  “Now what about you?  Does Dr. Mendosa teach combat or do you have lessons with one of the other professors?”

Combat.  He’d been trying to avoid that.  “Professor Akatil is teaching me some getting out of traps. And Dr. Mendosa taught me some combat magic.  But Niassa… well, Doug’s her dad, and Luke’s her Mentor. “I don’t know who I’d ask that it wouldn’t be weird for”

“Dr. Mendosa might ask for you or she might have her own ideas on who would be a good teacher. I hear that both Professor Fridmar and Professor Akinobou teach combat as well.  Lemon doesn’t have classes with either of them so I’ve only seen them in passing.” Sometimes, Wylie forgot Hylakaros’ weird situation – and then things like that reminded him.  But.

“Professor Akinobu?” He felt his ears perking up .  “That might be cool.”

“Ask Dr. Mendosa.  If she thinks it’s a good idea too then there’s a better chance he’ll agree to teach you.”

“That’s a good idea.”  Something to do, even it if wasn’t now, helped.  Wylie leaned back against the couch.  “Thanks.”

“That’s okay.” Hylakaros smiled at Wylie. “If you went charging off to rescue or avenge Niassa without knowing what you were doing, Lemon would probably want me to go after you.  Actually she might want us to go after you.  You can help me keep her safe by getting trained.”

That made sense.  He nodded.   “I can.  I still don’t like waiting, though.”

“The other thing to remember is that if we’re here and not where they are, then Niassa and Doug can’t be made to release us.  While they Keep us, the enemy can’t Keep them.”

“Oh… oh.”  That made sense.  That was horrible.  He looked away.  Monsters.

“Feel better about being left behind?”  Hylakaros looked at his flower attempts.  “I might have to buy her some flowers and practice with examples in front of me.”

“Heh.”  Wylie was startled into a laugh. “Those are for her?”

“Yes.  You saw her face that day she first brought me back here; she would really have liked it if someone had given her flowers.”  He shrugs.  “It’s all very well for Luke to say that her power is going to let me into her bed on a regular basis but I’d like it to be about her liking me and not just some arrangement our powers have cooked up together.”

“…Yeah.  Yeah, that makes sense.  Next year…”  It was a silly thought, and a silly sigh, but he sighed anyway.

“She’ll have her babies and I’ll have to protect her from the likes of Calvin and Kendon.  What about you?  Niassa graduates at the end of this school year, doesn’t she?”

“Yeah.” The thought made him squirm.  “So it’ll be me, and looking for someone new.”

“You don’t have to Keep; on the other hand it would keep someone out of Calvin or Kendon’s hands.”  Hylakaros was still looking at his flower attempts as if wondering if they could be salvaged.

“I’m lousy at hummus but I think you need more petals.  Niassa said – next year, I get to protect someone. I’d like that.”  He thought he’d like that a lot.  Being the one protected just seemed wrong.

“All the better if you get combat lessons now then.  I don’t think the petal shape is quite right either, the trouble is I don’t know exactly what it should look like.”

“Yeah. Try a book?”

“One with photos and diagrams,” Hylakaros agreed.

“Yeah.  Good luck.”

The older guy was still staring at his attempts at romance. “I may need it.”

“With her or the flowers?” Wylie ducked away before he could get hit.

“I was thinking with the flowers.  Our powers bind her as much as me.”

“Dude.  Doesn’t mean you won’t need luck.  She’s still a girl.”

 


19 comments »

  1. Kuro_Neko says:

    “You don’t have to Keep; on the other hand it would keep someone out of Calvin or Kendon’s hands.”

    That’s the big sticking point of Addergoole isn’t it. Even if you find Keeping someone by trickery and against their will to be morally reprehensible, others don’t. The system is designed, intentionally or not, so if you want to protect new students virtually the only way is to Keep them. I applaud those few students who want to do it right by explaining as best they can and letting the prospective Kept make a choice, but that’s not going to work most of the time. Most of the new students aren’t going to understand the danger in not accepting the offer until it’s too late.

    • Gudy says:

      Also, there are geasa in place for anyone who’s in second year and up that prevent them from discussing the finer points of what the Frell is going on in the place with the first year students.

      So, dudes are bonding over combat lessons and flower arrangements. I like that. 🙂

      • Kuro_Neko says:

        Yeah, that’s what I meant when I said ‘as best they can’. The geasa doesn’t seem to go so far as to stop “If you agree to be mine I will protect you, but you’ll have to do what I say.” We saw that in Tamora’s case. It just stops explaining that the Laws will actually enforce it (though of course it’s not actually the Laws enforcing it in these cases anyway).

        As a side note, it’d be great if somewhere, in the wiki or elsewhere, the exact nature of the upperclassmen geasa could be explained. So we the readers could understand at which points the upperclassmen are just being dicks and which points they just can’t help it. Though perhaps that ambiguity is something the authors’ want left in.

        • Lyn says:

          http://agyearnine.wikispaces.com/Geas – with quite a bit of help from @Inventrix

          It isn’t so much that I wanted the ambiguity left in – that was the case during TOS, but not so much with Yr 9 – as that I’d never actually written them down.

          • Kuro_Neko says:

            Hmm.. thank you for that.

            The first oath is ostensibly to let the new students get settled in, but is probably really there to allow the upperclassmen a chance to scout the new students and do prep-work without someone jumping the gun and souring the pitch before everyone’s ready.

            The second oath seems to be intended to make sure virtually everyone gets Kept at least once, excepting the odd outlier like Ciara. Presumably that’s to give everyone an object lesson about what it’s like, with the intent to guarantee people will watch their tongues when they graduate and it becomes for real and potentially forever. That said, why not give them a short lecture on the details and give those that can watch their tongues a chance to avoid it? If they can manage it for four years at Addergoole they probably can manage it out in the real world too, and most won’t really believe it until it’s too late anyway. Though I suppose Regine doesn’t want to take that chance, and is either unaware of the emotional and psychological damage this oath is causing or just doesn’t care.

            I’m not sure what the point of the third oath is. The students aren’t going to be allowed to graduate without giving the two children and the students manage to settle the second child even after they know about this issue, so why bother? Sure there’s going to be the odd student like Shahin that’ll get suckered into getting pregnant without realizing it, but most of the new female students are going to get Kept and get pregnant that way, with absolutely no say in the matter. which is a both a moral outrage and a felony in most places, but that’s beside the point. Though since both artificial insemination and surrogacy has outright stated to be possible, I’m not sure why Regine is putting children through this. Why not simply require donations of eggs and sperm instead and hire surrogates? It’s not like Regine seems to be lacking in money.

            So the obvious loophole that I can see if you want to be a decent person about it and/or screw over the system, is to trick a new student into a Belonging as usual, at which point the geasa no longer applies, explain everything, then release them. They can then warn everyone else in their cohort and short circuit much of the system. Underclassmen will still get tricked and/or coerced into Belongings, but not to near the level if they didn’t know what they were getting into.

            “children sworn to Addergoole”
            Does that mean there’s an additional oath forcing graduates to send their children to Addergoole? Since it’s been outright stated that many if not most of the females are leaving their children in the care of the village orphanage (and it’s amusing in a sick way that the staff wonder why this is) and thus the children will, like Kyle, grow up knowing all about Addergoole there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to keeping it a secret. The percentage will only increase as time goes on, until in a decade or so, the majority of a new cohort will be coming from the village. In addition, couldn’t a mother sign over the rights to their child to someone else to get around such an oath? Or would the oath itself stop them from doing such a thing?

            Also, the graduation oath seems like it will force any student that chooses to raise their own kids to deny their heritage and live like a human, whether they like it or not, for a good chunk of time after graduating.

            There also doesn’t seem to be any oath forcing the students to come back after they leave for the summer. I know it’s been implied that the staff will hunt them down if they try to skip out. But the magic in this world doesn’t seem to be sufficient to track someone if they’re truly unwilling to be found, to the point of going on the run and off the grid. In addition, there doesn’t seem to be any oath forcing students to keep the Ellehemaei race a secret from the general populace. Considering how bitter some of the students coming out of their Keepings are going to be, and that they’re teenagers, with all the lack of good judgement that implies, at least one of them has to have, or will at some point, consider blowing the whistle rather then be forced to go back or just for revenge against the school. I know that If I had a typical first year at Addergoole I’d do anything not to go back, up to and including possibly suicide. That’s another thing, I know the mind control in the walls prevents that at the school, but nothing seems to be in place to prevent it for the summer break. The recent discussion with Wylie regarding one hundred foot bridges implies that such a plan would be difficult at best to succeed at, but someone truly desiring death will figure out a way to get there and there doesn’t seem to be any contingency in place to stop it. Though short of out and out mind control I’m not sure what could be done. An oath wouldn’t really cover it, not for something so vague. Or if one was designed comprehensively enough to do so, it would stop a person from functioning on a day to day basis. After all, everything one does has a small element of danger to it.

            Thanks again for the details. I really enjoy understanding how the mechanics of such things work.

        • Inventrix says:

          The interface only lets you nest replies so deep (sigh) so this is actually a reply to your reply to Lyn, responding to the Geasa.

          The primary purpose, I think, in the first and third upperclassman oaths is to avoid freaking out the new kids too badly. I mean if you just started going to an already kind of weird school and then found out OH BY THE WAY, YOU HAVE TO HAVE CHILDREN! would you freak out? I sure as hell would have.

          As for making sure everyone gets Kept at least once: yes, that is sort of the idea behind it. A large part of the purpose of the school is to allow students to learn how one can get caught in an unwanted Belonging in a relatively safe and non-permanent situation. (Yes, even with the unforseen Bad Things that happened in the past, it is STILL relatively safe. I don’t know if you read the original story, but Caspian is a good example of who can get you out in the “wild”.)

          And as for catching a new kid, telling them everything, and then letting them go? Well, that would work. Up to a point. “Tempero Intinn”, if you happen to know what those Words do, is really all you need, and there are plenty of ways of mindfucking some new kid who barely knows how to do Workings at all into Belonging to you which are not especially invasive, damaging, or difficult.

          “Does that mean there’s an additional oath forcing graduates to send their children to Addergoole?”

          The school is built on a generational forced-attendance oath, yes. The students don’t need to retake the oath because it’s passed down from their parents, or their parents’ parents, and so on unto the seventh generation of Addergoole parents. This also covers why the students have to come back each year until they graduate, and why their children have to attend.

          The bit about denying their heritage is interesting, because due to the nature of the school, its faculty and its students, the extreme prejudice that actual Ellehemaei society has against halfbreeds never really comes up. I am not particularly well-informed about Ellehemaei society (for precisely that reason), but I believe they would be forced to “live like a human” anyway. At least they can go hang out with their cy’ree or friends from back at school, which I think is more than most “wild” halfbreeds get.

          On the matter of suicide, I don’t think there have been many students who have been genuinely suicidal outside of school who didn’t either have extensive therapy or the impulse buried by their Keeper. The very few that I know of either didn’t end up following through or failed the attempt(s).

          I’m curious, though. What do you consider a “typical first year at Addergoole” to consist of? Is it purely the fact of being Kept that you’re objecting to so strongly, or is there more to it?

          • Kuro_Neko says:

            Re: Freakouts and geasa
            Preventing freakouts would possibly be a believable excuse but for at one reason: Hell Night. Hell Night is basically designed from the ground up to freak out the new students. If they truly wanted to prevent the students from freaking out, they would ban Hell Night, and actually explain to students what the hell is going on rather then let them stumble around in the dark ending in most cases by them suddenly being slaves.

            “generational forced-attendance oath”
            From what I understand of how the Laws work, once you Belong to yourself (as apposed to mother/mentor) anything previously done to you or about you no longer applies. How can an oath given by one’s parents still apply to you once you’re an adult? There seems to be a huge number of possible problems that could come from something like that. “I swear that all my descendants will be completely obedient to X as long as they live”: instant never-ending tyranny since they all live forever, and it would eventually mean an army, possibly an entire civilization, of slaves. And that’s just one way for that to go disastrously wrong. I don’t really see how oaths could possibly work that way. Though of course I don’t dictate canon so whatever Lyn says goes.

            Re: typical first year
            No matter how gentle the Keeping, and lets be honest, most of them aren’t that gentle, once released a student is going to be coming down off of a massive case of Stockholm Syndrome, with absolutely no support structure in place, and no way to get any help. They will suddenly have to deal with everything that happened to them under the collar without the bond to buffer them. This will certainly include slavery (no matter how gentle), almost certainly include rape (no matter what it felt like at the time), forced impregnation (giving or receiving, both are just as bad), emotional manipulation and possibly literal thought control, among other things. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are almost guaranteed. Studies have shown that approximately 13% of rape victims attempt suicide. That works out to roughly one suicide out of every eight Kept or two to three a cohort. I was unable to find a suicide rate for former sex slaves but it’s likely to be higher. If you take a step back from the fantastical elements and look at Addergoole as if it was a real school, you can’t but admit that it’s a horrible monstrous place that no child deserves to be sent to. There are, tragically, real schools where real children suffer like many of the Kept in Addergoole do and it damages all of them, outright destroying some of them. I’ve read accounts from survivors of these “schools” and was depressed for days afterwards. If you want to see for yourself, just google ‘survivors of WWASP schools’, just be warned it’s not pretty, to put it lightly. The abuses aren’t the same of course, since the purposes of the schools are different and magic is much more direct, but they’re in much the same vein.

            We ignore or gloss over this sort of thing here because this is a work of entertainment fiction and that sort of brutal realism wouldn’t be entertaining. The closest Adergoole has gotten to this was the period of focus we got on the ‘support cy’ree’ in the year 5 stories, which certainly got uncomfortable for me in places (that’s not a complaint, it was good that it was addressed). The suspension of disbelief is easier if it’s justified somehow, or at least addressed, as it was in the aforementioned period of year 5. That period only really focused on how they deal with it while in school though, not really addressing what happens when they go home.

            Of the eleven 9th Kept we’re following (I think it’s eleven, I might be missing someone), four are going to have serious emotional and psychological problems: Lee, Ahouva, Akaterina, Ceinwen (maybe. we don’t really see enough of what happens to her behind closed doors. At the least she belongs here or in the next group); three more are likely to have at least minor issues: Gar, Wes, Aeowyn; and four are likely to be ok: Tamora, Bel, Kyle, Speedy. Of the four that are likely to be ok: Speedy would be on the serious issues list if his personality didn’t perfectly compliment his Keeper’s and even then, it’s not healthy for a sub to go so far under; Porter seems to be treating Bel so well she doesn’t even know she’s Kept (according to Lee anyway, we haven’t checked in with Porter and Bel in a while) which has to be so extremely rare as to be unique; and Tamora and Kyle walked into it with eyes more or less open such that their Keepings are more to the spirit of how Belonging is supposed to work, rather then the forced slavery it usually is in Addergoole. That’s seven, really eight (since Speedy’s case is special and not really healthy anyway) out of eleven Kept that are going to have some sort of issues. Not good odds for graduating with a healthy and well adjusted mental landscape, especially since this is just one year of four (though admittedly the odds of landing in a bad situation go down considerably after the first year). Especially with Mendosa being useless for any kind of help (since you have to be able to trust your therapist to get any benefit from them, and anyone who needed such help would never trust a therapist that’s obviously complicit in the very abuse they’re suffering). There’s also the whole bond thing such that help is of minimal usefulness until the collar is off, at which point they’re headed home for the summer and two months of self-destruction before Mendosa would be able to do anything even if she could.

            Of course arguments can be made that the bond or the mind control in the walls buffer the emotional trauma, or that they’re not exactly human and have more resilient or flexible minds, or probably a bunch of other reasoning’s. That’s exactly why I’d like to see it addressed.

            Just to be clear. Neither this nor any previous posts are meant to be complaints. This is a spectacularly written work of fiction and I enjoy it very much.

        • Inventrix says:

          re: your latest response

          I would genuinely love to discuss this with you in further detail, but I’m starting to think this is not the best medium for such a discussion. 😛

          If you’d like, shoot me an email and I’ll reply with a proper response. Same username, domain is at rusted phoenix point net with no spaces. If you have trouble with the email, let me know.

          • Kuro_Neko says:

            Thanks. Email sent. Let me know if it doesn’t arrive.

          • Wysteria says:

            I call foul, if you talk by email I can’t read it. T.T

          • Wysteria says:

            While we’re chatting about this, favorite nonfictional example (for a value of favorite) of boarding school hazing rituals that match Addergoole’s and tying into my personal headcanon that someone in staff went to a school practicing this and thought it was a great idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fagging

          • Kuro_Neko says:

            Can’t nest any deeper.

            @Wysteria:

            If we’re linking, check out this (be warned, it’s not pleasant reading):

            http://www.reddit.com/r/troubledteens/comments/hk0xy/a_gay_teen_describes_her_experience_at_a_utah/

            Fagging might be pretty bad, but teens aren’t known for organization or long-term planning, so the abuse would be haphazard. At WWASP schools the abuse is institutionalized, it’s carefully planned and regimented to do as much damage as possible. Of course the planners don’t see it as damage, rather as ‘correction’, but it works out the same in the end.

            If you want to be included in on the email conversation just post your email and Inventrix and I will CC you in on it.

          • Wysteria says:

            Oh, it sounds quite relevant! The old-style boarding school example just seems pertinent because elven teachers probably had children or siblings or even attended that sort of school themselves. Given that some of these adults are more than five centuries old, we’re really lucky they don’t believe in using corporal punishment. They get one of my ‘old people just suck about some stuff’ exemptions from modern social theory.

  2. Lyn says:

    @Kuro_Neko:
    Speedy would be on the serious issues list if his personality didn’t perfectly compliment his Keeper’s and even then, it’s not healthy for a sub to go so far under

    In this specific case, Gregori would not be having that relationship with Speed if Speed did not have that personality. I know they haven’t had much face-time to see that yet, and Speed isn’t inside his Keeper’s head to know that.

    I’d throw Pania and Quintus into the “happy-Kept going-to-be-okay” pool, too. Possibly Khep, as well.

    • Kuro_Neko says:

      Thanks for the reply.

      Regarding Gregori and Speedy. I seem to remember a line stating that Gregori’s Kept are required to attend weekly sessions with Mendosa, which seems to imply he’s been pretty rough on previous Kept. Maybe I’m misremembering or misunderstanding that line?

      But Gregori and Speedy’s relationship is an interesting dynamic. It seems that Speedy’s enthusiasm for, and even encouragement of, even the most extreme forms of Kept control is actually forcing Gregori to impose limits on himself, in a way that would have been unlikely to have happened with a normal Kept. Previous Kept almost assuredly hated the kind of treatment that Speedy is loving, and thus would have fought and been generally miserable, giving Gregori some form of external meter-stick to judge his actions. But Speedy would probably agree to anything with a smile on, and Gregori is coming to realize that this isn’t necessarily a good thing. That seems to be helping him to grow into a better person. At least that’s my take on it, you might have a completely different motivation for the characters and of course yours is the final say.

      One of the biggest problems at Addergoole is teenagers need boundaries, and there are virtually none here. ‘You and your Kept have to show up to class on time’ is pretty much the only rule. This causes what might otherwise be decent kids to descend into near Lord of the Flies levels. Giving your average teenager complete control over another teenager, usually an attractive member of the opposite sex, with no boundaries and no supervision and expecting it to go well is stupidity of the highest order. Some, as Gregori seems to be doing, (eventually) develop their own boundaries, but others descend into barbarism, only barely held in check by their more decent schoolmates and the rather spotty supervision of the staff. After nearly ten years the staff finally seem to be understanding this is a problem, though they haven’t come close to doing anything effective about it, and Kai’s Council is helping (much more then the staff), as we saw with the recent bit with Kendon. Things certainly seem to have gotten better since year 5 but there’s still miles of room for improvement.

      As to Pania (completely forgot about her, so many characters to keep track of): I just re-read the three chapters that have her as a focus, and while she might be ok in the end, much in the way Ahouva or Ceinwin might be, the ok end might just not balance out the rough beginning and middle. Granted her rough beginning and middle aren’t a patch on Ceinwin’s or especially Ahouva’s but I still think they’ll take their toll. I would honestly put her in the minor issues group, maybe in some intermediate group between that one and the serious issues group. Once she’s released I don’t really see any future between her and Efrosin beyond, at best, friends, and even that depends alot on how his accumulated treatment hits her once the bond is gone.

      As to Quintus (forgot him too): I just re-read the few bits we get to see of him with his Keeper and yeah I’ll give you that one. He seems like he’ll be perfectly ok.

      Kheper: I think he’s similar to Pania. I think he’ll be more ok with it in the end then she will, and much more likely to stay friends with his Keeper, possibly even more then friends. But there will definitely be at least some minor issues. In this case it’s not really Cynara’s fault, except insomuch as she collared him against his will, but that Kheper just can’t accept being controlled to that level (almost assuredly due to his mother), even if Cynara doesn’t really exert that control very often.

      • Wysteria says:

        On the suicidal thing: I agree that in a normal school, a lot more kids would be suicidal, especially away from the mind control that eases them through discovering they’re a different species & have wings in a controlled fashion.

        But, and I know this is only supported in canon by implication, but from me bothering Lyn for details I think I have it right, part of the geas to go to the school and make your kids go to the school is that you can’t harm your children or yourself before you have completed the geas requirements. Post-/graduation/ suicides, now, I think that falls under ‘Regine hires seers to keep an eye on problems for her program, so that she can spot-mindbend people who would commit suicide the day before.’ People like Pelletier and Shahin. I don’t know how much she cares about her test subjects after they’ve finished their turn in the breeding mill, though… something to request for a bonus story?

        • Kuro_Neko says:

          I’m not really worried so much about post-graduation. By the time a student gets that far, at least some of the emotional rawness would have worn off and they’d have alittle distance to develop perspective. Obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone, especially not someone like Callista who was Kept in horrible conditions for her whole school term (though Callista herself seems to have her kids to keep her going). And I’m not saying that there wouldn’t be emotional and psychological damage they’d need to deal with. But the fact that they were free and never had to set foot in that school or see any of the staff or students ever again should be enough to keep most from doing something drastic. The periods of time I think would be the most risky, would be the couple of weeks immediately after being released from the bond, and the week or two immediately preceding going back to the school (dependent on whether they’re still stuck in a victim mindset or have flipped into a ‘now it’s my turn to be the predator’ mindset). The thing I always think of when considering this, is that bonus in-character Q&A we got from Shiva about what it was like to be released from the bond. From her description, her personality was shattered and she had to re-build it virtually from scratch. Shiva is a strong girl, not everyone is going to be strong enough to do that without help. And without that as a possibility in one’s mind, death is going to look like the only way out.

          I don’t really think Regine cares enough about her students post-graduation to put anything in place to help them, if she even realizes there is a need.

          • Gudy says:

            Regine probably doesn’t, no. But I remember one story in TOS, where two of the teachers (Fridmar and VanderLinden, I think) visited some particularly atrocious former students and put the fear of God into them regarding any Keepings they were doing then, or in the future.

  3. Lyn says:

    @gudy, et al: Yes. Starting in Year Five and continuing forward, it is school practice to visit all students at least once a year – trouble students get more visits.

    See also A Visit From School – a short story about the same.

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