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Sep 18, 2019 5:18 AM
Soulless Emily in Tragedy Jeanne Sunnyverse
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"He was a lot more with the 'now study these umpteen demonology texts, then practice balancing on a pencil' than with the 'logistics help'."

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"That's unfortunate. A Watcher's duty is to provide support for the Slayer, on the battlefield and off, not only in her training."

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"Well. I very much hope my interactions with this Watcher's Council are less...fraught...than the last one."

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"A hope I entirely share."

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You have no idea how true that is, Emily does not say.

"I'm sure.

Aside from the relevant incompetence, what's your opinion on the practice of the Cruciamentum?"

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"It's a tradition with a very long history. Ideally, it's as much a ceremony and a lesson as it is a test -- it evaluates whether the Slayer has developed the qualities, separate from her powers, that make her a force of protection to humanity greater than she is a liability; but it also teaches her that she is her own first, last, and best tool; and, moreover, marks a transition in her relationship with her Watcher, as she demonstrates that she has the intelligence, maturity, and strength of character to work with him as a peer, rather than as a child under his guidance and protection."

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"Is it usually administered without warning?"

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"Yes. The element of surprise is a way to make it more difficult for the Slayer without actually making it more dangerous; we use those, whenever we can, because the Slayer needs to be able to face very difficult tasks, and it's hard to offer her training at an appropriate level of challenge without actually risking her life or limb. And besides -- it's meant to be a test of the Watcher, as well, whether he has done his job in cultivating and supporting the Slayer, whether he is ready now to accept her as a colleague; if he were permitted to warn her beforehand, he risks being tempted to prepare her for the chosen task specifically, defeating the point of the exercise."

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"You see, even if mine hadn't gone FUBAR, the lesson I was going to learn from being drugged and locked in an empty house with a vampire was never going to be 'aha, now we can have an adult relationship;' it was always going to be 'well now I can never trust you again.'"

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"It sounds like your Watcher had not prepared you well. And that perhaps the correct relationship for you to have with him, as an adult, was in fact a lack of trust."

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"No, see, the problem isn't that I wasn't ready, or that he and I had this problem in particular, the problem is that drugging people and locking them in houses with vampires without their foreknowledge is under virtually any circumstance an inherently untrustworthy thing to do."

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"Surprise tests are a standard part of Slayer training. The Slayer needs to be able to handle unexpected situations, and, as I mentioned, it's a way to increase the difficulty of the challenge posed to her without a proportionate increase in the risk. It seems strange to characterize another such training exercise, after years of precedent, as a violation of trust."

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"There are tests and then there are tests that risk my life while depriving me of powers I didn't know it was possible to deprive me of. Also, surprise tests were not a part of my training, and you'd need to work to convince me that that particular disparity between what he thought was reasonable and what you thought was reasonable was a failure on his part instead of yours."

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"...the Cruciamentum is supervised; if it's riskier than the Slayer's average Thursday, it's not by much, at least when properly administered. The Slayer's job is not a predictable one; a Watcher who trains her only to cope with expected situations is not making her safer. Possibly you find surprise tests unusually objectionable -- certainly Jeanne has never expressed this sentiment to me -- in which case, if your Watcher had used them as a standard teaching instrument, this fact might have been raised during a pop quiz on the types of slime demons, instead of coming up for the first time during a final examination meant to challenge a highly-trained adult Slayer."

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"I spent the next two years killing anything with fangs unsupervised eighteen to twenty hours a day without dying, I think I was competent. Certainly I faced surprise hazards before I turned eighteen; I was Slaying. I had not previously been exposed to surprise hazards by someone I had imagined was on my side.

And, frankly, the fact that she's your daughter suggests that there's a good chance she wouldn't object no matter how unreasonable the tests. If you raised her, she probably got her standards from you rather than from, say, ethics."

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"Why don't I show you to your suite, if you'd like to take advantage of it, and the next time Jeanne is at a reasonable stopping point you can discuss it with her yourself."

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"Alright."

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"This way, then."

 

The rooms are nice, in a creaky, Edwardian sort of way: electrical outlets no, bell pull yes.

"I'll send her your way when she comes by. Is there anything I can get you in the meantime?"

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"...An explanation for why the super old house?"

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"It's not my house, it belongs to the Council. Which is slow to change with the times."

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"It is at that."

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"To survive as long as it has, it's needed to be."

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"You're going to need to explain how adaptability is a trait that hinders survival."

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"Adapt too far, and you've lost what you began with."

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"And if what you began with doesn't fit anymore?"

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