Emily Kaldwin: Silence is Silver
An Anniversary Gift
'From what I've seen of this world, change comes in two forms.
There's the slow, difficult change, the kind that has to be heaved into motion over the course of years if not decades. And then there's the fast kind, where everything that was comes crashing down in a moment to make room for something new. Something strange.'
"Mother, look! What are they doing on the rooftops?" Emily pointed at the roof of the waterlock, frowning petulantly. She didn't see why her mother never let her go climbing. Corvo could teach her, she was sure of it, and Thomas went up and down from the city to the garden plenty of times and he was always fine—
But then the men on the rooftops vanished, and reappeared right in front of her. And she realised something was very wrong.
"What? Emily, come here!"
She was grabbed, pulled backwards towards her mother, and then Corvo was in front of her with blade whirling into life. He was a storm of dark and loud and sharp, like she'd never seen him before, and the men fighting him had no faces, just masks, and they fluttered around like ghosts. They were untouchable. And one of them appeared behind Corvo, and grabbed Emily's arm and flung her away from her mother. She screamed, but Corvo was suddenly there again, and there was a BANG and that faceless man dropped dead to the floor in front of her. Because of course she was going to be okay, because she had Corvo, and Corvo would always—
And then the world started glowing green, and Corvo was suspended in the air.
A voice rang out— "He's mine! Get the empress!" and a man in a red coat appeared out of nowhere, grabbing Corvo and vanishing.
Just like that, he was gone.
One of faceless people moved in and grabbed Emily's mother by the throat, and Emily didn't know what to do, she wanted to run, wanted to fight—And the sword of the dead man was right in front of her.
She had to help, so she picked it up in both hands, and stumbled forwards, thrusting it outwards at the assassin grabbing her mother.
But they turned, and saw her, and their body parted like mist in front of her.
She saw her mother's shocked face, and then her arms shuddered to a halt as the blade in her hands tore right into—
Emily woke with a strangled gasp.
Her room was silent, but for the ticking of the clock on one wall and the furious pounding of her own heartbeat.
Slowly, she unclasped her hands from their death grip on her luxurious bedsheets, and analysed them.
Not the hands of a child, but those of a grown woman. The left, tattooed with an intricate black mark.
She exhaled, shudderingly.
"That day again, then?" She said, to the empty room.
'My name is Emily Kaldwin.
Fifteen years ago, the assassin Daud assaulted Dunwall Tower, using strange magic the likes of which I'd never seen. In the chaos that followed, I stabbed my own mother, Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. And the Outsider, who watches everything from the Void, took interest.
He emblazoned my hand with his mark, and granted me his powers. At ten years old I broke free of the man who ordered my mother's murder. I made allies of street rats, scientists, sailors and statesmen. I battled guards, zealots, assassins, and witches much like me. And at the end of it all, I was able to reclaim my throne.
I did not kill. And my friends did not die. And when my country learned that I was a witch, they did not turn on me.'
"Good morning, your majesty." Alexi Mayhew, guard captain in Dunwall tower, clasped Emily's hand as she approached. "Sleep well?"
"You know the answer to that already, Alexi." Emily sighed. The sympathy on her captain's face was real, and she squeezed the hand and what comfort it could offer. "Is everyone inside?"
"Most everyone." Alexi turned to the door. They were in the patio outside the throne room, Emily having had to leave her own living quarters before the ceremony so she could enter dramatically at the right time. While she was normally always one for showmanship, today she'd almost had to be pulled from her bed.
"The Royal Protector is awaiting you, all the relevant nobles (those who weren't too afraid to come, that is), captain Ramsey—Oh, but Thomas isn't here." Alexi continued, glancing back. "He's down at the docks. Got a strange message from an arrival asking for you, went to check it out."
"Are you missing your boyfriend?" Emily teased, smirking.
"Hah." Alexi gave her an exasperated look that would have been damn near treasonous on a normal guard or noble. But since Emily had saved her from the Golden Cat many years ago, they'd been close enough for the banter to be commonplace.
"You are an oblivious Empress. Oh, speaking of—" Alexi reached back into her pocket and produced a black iron, intricately marked ring. "Your concubine handed me this on his way out of the city yesterday. You know we can't exactly make replicas if you lose it?"
"Wyman's not my concubine." Emily rolled her eyes, taking the ring back and sliding it onto her right hand. "And the alternative was to lock them in the safe room for the night. That or let Corvo know what we were doing in there."
"You think Corvo doesn't know everything that happens in these walls?" Alexi snorted.
"He better not. I have to meet his eyes in a few minutes."
They shared a laugh. It was petty talk, but it had improved Emily's previously glum mood a little, so she couldn't complain.
"Alright." She jerked her head at the door. "Announce me. Let's start this madness."
'The following fifteen years contained a much slower sort of change.
In that time, I grew up. Puberty was an utter pain, I can say that much, as was trying to cram my head with everything a proper empress should know. And, yes, the 'empress' thing. Attempting to drag my kneecapped empire back into an age of prosperity after its suffering during the rat plague. By the time I came of age, most of my waking hours were spent ruling. In meetings, writing letters, considering proposals, juggling the desires of the workers, the nobles, the merchants, the Abbey.
The rest of my time I spent desperately trying to push all that from my mind. Sparring, smoking, flitting from boyfriend to girlfriend to boyfriend, taking to the rooftops and running. Singing, most of all, which remained my greatest passion.
In truth, most of the time, I hardly remembered I was a witch at all.'
A woman, dark of skin, dark of hair, dark of clothing and dark of expression, looked up at Dunwall tower. Her boat rocked unpredictably in the waves of the city's busy harbour, and was awash in that harbour's sounds; ships' horns, the shouts of sailors, rumbling engines.
Among all that, it must have been almost impossible to notice the footsteps landing on the deck behind her. But notice them she did.
She turned, and saw a young man looking back at her. He wore the dark red coat of a guard captain, but had left it unbuttoned, and the slacks he had on beneath it were dirty and unprofessional. But his eyes had an inquisitive light to them, and the corners of his mouth curled into a small smirk.
"Can I help you, officer?" She asked.
"Well, that depends." He stuffed his hands into his pockets, glancing around her ship and then back at her. "You alone on this ship, miss...?"
"Foster." She answered. His gaze lingered on her missing eye and missing arm, and her good hand reached across to grip her stump instinctively. "Yes, it's just me. I've paid the docking fee, sir, I can show you the papers if you'd like."
"It's not those papers I'm interested in." The man reached into his coat, and pulled out a pristine letter with a broken seal. "I'm captain Thomas Moray. Miss Foster, would you mind explaining your relationship with Anton Sokolov?"
'Looking back, I wonder if I had grown complacent.
Switched off, like one of Sokolov's devices with its power removed. Because as much as I felt I was constantly struggling, it seemed as though I was simply struggling to stay afloat, rather than pushing through the water to find the shore.
Things started to go wrong. The whales were disappearing, approaching extinction, and rationing the oil they were hunted for put a stranglehold around an economy that desperately needed to grow. My enemies were vanishing, which shouldn't be a bad thing. Only they were being brutally and horribly murdered by someone the papers called 'the Crown Killer'. The world began to suspect that I (or perhaps my father and Royal Protector, Corvo Attano) was butchering my political opponents. Not good for publicity.
But still, though I bit my nails down to stubs during the day, I slept without fear. After all, I was (debatably) the world's most powerful ruler with (objectively) the world's most frightening bodyguards, not to mention being (by process of elimination, mostly) the world's most powerful witch. What was the worst that could happen?
It was as though I had forgotten just how quickly a life could fall apart.'
The doors opened, and Emily Drexel Lela Kaldwin the first strode into the throne room.
She was undeniably beautiful, with high cheekbones, fair skin, piercing eyes and neck-length black hair elegantly braided and tucked back. Her clothing was a blend of practicality and style, a navy blue overcoat and patterned neckerchief over a form fitting (but unrestrictive) black undershirt, trousers and boots. Key to the ensemble was a single black glove over her left hand, concealing the Outsider's mark emblazoned there.
Everybody knew what was beneath it, of course; she doubted there was a corner of the empire that didn't know of the Witch Empress. But it was a tactful message. 'I'm not trying to hide this, but I'm also not going to use it to threaten, coerce, or bewitch you'.
"Loyal citizens." She began, after Alexi had announced her entry. Is it too pompous to start with 'loyal'? Ah, sod it. "Today, we gather to mourn the death of my mother, the late Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. In life she was strong, noble, and above all caring; and I hope that we can strive to follow her example in these trying times."
The crowd's response was muted (probably appropriate) but she didn't wait to analyse it, instead walking quickly towards her father.
"Emily." Corvo Attano looked older and tireder by the day, but his smile as he saw her was always a genuine one.
"Sleep well?" She asked.
"You know the answer to that already." He turned, and walked with her up the room. "No matter how much time passes..."
"The same nightmare, every year." Emily finished. They approached Jessamine's portrait, the one painted posthumously by Sokolov. "I constantly wish I could just...speak to her. Ask her for advice."
"You think your mother had all the answers?" Corvo chuckled. "Jessamine took the throne when she wasn't much older than you were. She was always worrying, and always stubborn, just like you. And she learned, and improved. You will too."
"Hm." Emily leaned down, placing a rose before the portrait before continuing towards her throne.
"Or I could just have all my political opponents killed." She pointed out, casually.
"Don't." Corvo growled, annoyed.
"What? It's apparently working. The whale oil bill went through without a hitch with Ichabod dead."
"I'm working on the Crown Killer." Corvo grit out. He didn't sound amused. "You've seen the Ichabod crime scene. Where did you learn to joke about things like that..."
"Not sure. It was probably the massive childhood trauma." Emily took her seat on the throne, Corvo positioning himself at her side. She sighed again.
Now for hours upon hours of commiserations, snide remarks, scheming, manoeuvring, and people trying to use the event to push one agenda or another. Herself included.
Grief should be a private affair. But not for an Empress, it seems...
She leaned back into her throne, and prepared for the worst day of her year.
"Your majesty, before we begin in earnest." Captain Ramsay said, from her side. "We have a surprise visit from the Duke of Serkonos..."
'This is the story of how a woman stole my throne, imprisoned my father, killed my friend, ripped away my magic, and tore out my tongue.
Her name is Delilah. She's a bitch. And her plan would have gone perfectly, were it not for two very important things.
Firstly, both her and I left a strange man with black eyes rather disgruntled.
And secondly, my father taught me to go for the balls.'
[Extract from Emily Kaldwin's personal diary, 20th day month of Earth, 1852]
"I present the lost sister of Jessamine Kaldwin! Your rightful Empress, Delilah Kaldwin!"
The throne room collapsed into a quiet sort of chaos at the statement. All the nobles began muttering, the guards shifted in place, Corvo whispered "What?" with some urgency. The mechanical soldiers lining the path were the only things to remain completely stationary.
Emily leaned forwards in her throne, and raised an eyebrow.
The woman who stepped out of the palanquin was beautiful as well, though in an older, more refined way. Her clothing was midnight black and elegant, but it had the side effect of making her look unhealthily pale.
"Hello there, my dear niece." She said, approaching the throne with a sway in her step. "I'm home~"
"Hey there Delilah." Emily tilted her head. "...How did you get that thing in here?"
Delilah paused, frowning. "I'm sorry?"
"There is one lift up to this part of the castle." Emily pointed out, crossing her legs. "Did that palanquin even fit? Wait, even more importantly, how did you get the machines up here?"
There was a pause. Delilah looked entirely thrown off, and one of the red-coated Serkonan guards mumbled something under her breath.
"What was that?" Emily leaned sideways to look at her. "What's your name, sweetie?"
"Bella." The woman said, a little louder.
"Bella, how'd you get the palanquin up here?"
"We had to pull out the poles so it would fit." Bella said, trying to look anywhere but at the two Kaldwins. "The machines had to go in alone, separately. It took us about eight goes to bring everything up."
"Hah!" Emily grinned. "You know, if you wanted to dramatically reveal yourself, you could have just worn a veil. I've got a collection upstairs, if you want one?"
"How quaint." Delilah smiled, jumping in to regain control of the situation. "But I think I'll be taking more than just your wardrobe, my dear niece—"
"Wait." Corvo held up a hand, and took a step forwards. "Delilah? Delilah Copperspoon?"
At that word, her expression soured considerably. "My name." She bit out. "Is Kaldwin. And I am somewhat annoyed it took you so long to recognise me."
"Hmph. My bad." Corvo shrugged. "I was picturing the tree."
"Pen pal?" Emily leaned in and asked, quietly.
"Of a sort." He whispered back. "Dangerous."
"Hm." Emily turned to the man in white who had introduced the now irate Delilah. "Luca, right? Thank you for the mechanical soldiers, and the, uh, relative. Was there anything else, or should we begin the ceremony?"
"You—" Duke Abele was giving her flabbergasted look. "Are you mad? This is a coup!"
"Yes, obviously." Emily sighed, and stood. "Thank you for that, really. Because this is the most interesting thing that's happened to me all month, at least."
He stared, slack-jawed.
"And it means I have an excuse to skip the rest of this fiasco and mourn properly," she continued, stretching her arms, "and it just might be big enough news to stop people annoying me over the Crown Killer business. Which is almost worth the inevitable mess that will come of picking the next Duke of Serkonos after throwing you in jail for treason."
"My, oh, my." Delilah clapped her hands, once. "You have grown bold in my absence."
"No. Bold is disrespecting me in my own tower, on the anniversary of my mother's death, knowing full well what I am." Emily's gaze strayed to the automatons beside her. "I hope you weren't relying on those things to save you. Corvo?"
"Ready." Her father nodded, drawing his sword.
"Then let's get started. Anyone who doesn't want anything to do with this, park your rears on the ground and put your arms behind your head."
People started moving at her words. The soldiers (hers and Luca's) drew their own weapons, as the automatons clunked into a ready position and the nobles started panicking and throwing themselves to the floor.
Emily stood still, and cleared her throat. What shall I pick...Let's go for an old classic.
"What shall we do with a drunken whaler, what shall we do with a drunken whaler..."
Her voice echoed through the hall, and the pressure of the air seemed to intensify. People started screaming. That was expected. She'd learned how to focus the intent behind her Void Singing, and it was that meaning (rather than a general, overbearing 'submit') that pounded into the heads of the people around her. The nobles shivered in place, her guards let out battle cries as they moved to her defence, and Luca and his men all clutched their foreheads in pain.
Delilah raised an unimpressed eyebrow.
It was about what Emily had expected.
So, she's magical. She thought, as Corvo ran towards the clockwork robots and captain Ramsey put a hand on her shoulder and pulled her backwards. Exciting. So, find out her gimmicks, rely on the mark to protect me from the worst of her effects, and—
A fist smashed into Emily's throat.
She gagged, her song cutting out immediately as pain flared and she crashed back onto her throne.
She reached for her pistol, but Mortimer Ramsey grabbed her face and slammed the back of her head into her own throne, putting stars in her eyes and ruining what was left of her focus.
She heard a shout, her father's, and was helpless to stop herself being grabbed by the lapels and flung to the ground. The sounds of chaos increased in volume and intensity, something cool pressed against the back of her head, Ramsey's voice called out "Stand down, Attano! Or she dies!"
Then, a further throb of pain, this time coming from the back of her left hand. The world went grey, and every movement felt like she was pushing through syrup.
She shook her head, and grinned.
Corvo had activated his time-stop ability.
During the interregnum, when she had been on the run, Corvo had been caught by the assassin Daud, also marked by the Outsider, and worked under him for a time while trying to find her. As a part of that, he had linked himself to Daud's power and gained some (most) of his abilities. With Daud missing after their confrontation, that connection had been severed. So now, Corvo got his power from her.
Emily rolled sluggishly to the side and kicked the pistol out of a frozen Ramsey's hand, as Corvo dealt lethal blows to four of the Duke's guards and charged for Delilah.
Delilah was also moving through the frozen time, making Emily fear the worst, but she was nowhere near fast enough to stop Corvo reaching her and burying his sword in her gut.
Time snapped back to normal.
Corpses collapsed to the floor, Ramsey stumbled to the side, Delilah…looked up at Corvo with an annoyed expression.
"That was rude." She said, sternly, making Corvo's eyes widen. "Rude boys get put in time-out."
Her arm lashed out and struck Corvo in the chest, knocking him backwards. But he didn't just stumble, or fall. Swirls of magical energy surrounded him, and some kind of hard, stony substance spread from the point of contact, flowing over his skin and anchoring him to the ground.
As Emily watched, Corvo stumbled away, drew his pistol, snarled…and was turned completely to stone, his weapon pointing unfired at Delilah's face.
Emily's expression hardened.
Alone, then. Alright.
She yanked the glove off her left hand and stretched it out at Ramsey, drawing her pistol with her right.
A blue tendril shot from her arm, grabbing Ramsey about the face, and she yanked him down, slamming his head into the ground and stunning him. With her other hand, she didn't even hesitate, firing the pistol at Delilah's head.
The bullet went through her cheek, sending her head rocking sideways, and Emily didn't wait to see if that worked, tossing the pistol and grappling closer even as she drew a dagger from a holster under her overcoat.
Delilah (still not dead), snapped her head back around to face Emily, and raised an arm. Emily's knife, rather than landing in Delilah's throat, stabbed right through the palm of her hand.
Delilah glared at her. Emily's gunshot had torn a hole in one cheek and completely blown the other out, leaving a disturbing view of the insides of the woman's mouth. But even before Emily's eyes, the wound began to knit itself back together.
"How vicious." Delilah said. "Look what you've done to me."
"Seems like an improvement." Emily replied, swinging her other fist in to punch her in the face.
Practically immortal. We've dealt with this before with Granny Rags. It's fine, if bothersome. I just need to disengage, find what's keeping her this way, undo it, and—
Delilah caught the fist. And Emily's hand burned.
She screamed, gutturally, as her entire hand suddenly felt like it had been dipped in molten iron. Delilah's grip was unrelenting, magic seeming to leech out of Emily's hand and into her own.
Emily collapsed to her knees, gasping for air, and Delilah relinquished her arm with a flick of the wrist. Only then did the witch bother to pull the dagger out of her palm and draw the sword back out of her midriff.
Emily stared down at her throbbing palm in gradually rising horror. The Outsider's mark wasn't there. Attempting to flex her hand resulted in more pain…and no powers.
I…may have miscalculated slightly.
A hand reached down and grasped her by the chin, pulling her face up to meet Delilah's eyes. Emily couldn't help but notice that the sounds of battle and chaos from throughout the room had dwindled to almost nothing.
"It's always amusing, isn't it? When two people go into a confrontation certain of their own victory, but only one can win." Delilah mused, looking at Emily. "Someone is going to end up very embarrassed. Got anything else clever to say?"
Emily didn't. So she spat in Delilah's face.
The witch flinched as the spittle landed between her eye and nose. Reached up and wiped it away. Then glared. "You ungrateful little whore."
"Whore?" Emily chuckled, between gasps of air. "I'm not the one who gave themselves to Luca Abele for a chance at the throne—"
Delilah's hand clamped itself over Emily's mouth.
"You know what?" She uttered. "I think you've had quite enough use out of that tongue of yours."
Emily's eyes widened, as the fear that had been slowly building ever since Corvo had been frozen finally gave way to true panic. She tried to recall if she had other weapons, realised she didn't, lashed out ineffectually at Delilah's arm—
And then, something entered her mouth. She started writhing, beating her fists on Delilah's sternum, as whatever it was filled her mouth and turned sharp—
After another second, Emily passed out.
"…sey! What's going on down—Oh, no. Emily! Emily, are you okay? Talk to me—Hng!"
"Thank you, Captain Mayhew, but I believe your services are no longer needed."
Emily's eyes slowly fluttered open. Her vision was blurry, her head hurt, her left hand and her mouth hurt.
She was being supported by something gripping her right wrist, but the grip cut out suddenly, and she dropped to the floor with a groan.
Or, she tried to groan. No noise came out.
"Hm? Oh, you're awake." Ramsey's voice. But Ramsey was…bad. Something had…what had happened?
"Honestly, I'm surprised you're still breathing after what Delilah did to you. Guess being a freak runs in the family, huh? Well, whatever gets me my old position back."
Something rolled Emily over onto her back. She squinted upwards, making out Ramsey's face as he crouched down over her.
"Well, damn, she did do a number on you." The officer muttered. "You look…heh. You look furious. Suppose I can't blame you for that. Only for what you did to me and my family."
It was the only thought that could solidify in Emily's brain. Ramsey was a traitor. He had betrayed her, and he had gotten Corvo trapped in stone (but he wasn't dead, Corvo couldn't be dead), and he had…wait, what had…
She looked to the side, and gasped.
Alexi was lying there, slumped against a wall. Mayhew's sword was buried in her breast, and she was taking desperate, shuddering breaths, staring at Emily in horror.
Alexi was dying.
But Alexi had a weapon.
Emily lunged for the blade, but Ramsey's foot came down to stomp on her shoulder, trapping her.
"Feisty, aren't you?" He snapped, leaning down and backhanding her across the face. "Let's see how long that lasts. I don't know why Delilah wanted you alive, but I can only assume you'll wish you were dead by the time she's done with you."
Emily grit her teeth (something was wrong with her mouth, but she couldn't tell what) and glared up at him.
He had the size advantage, the strength advantage, and the positional one. She had no weapons, no support, and no magic. It was exactly the situation that Corvo had spent hours upon hours teaching her not to get into. What was it he'd said to do, when there was absolutely no other option?
Oh, right, that was it.
She brought her leg up, and kicked as hard as she could between Ramsey's legs.
His eyes almost popped out of his head. He grunted, brought both hands down to his crotch, and she lunged upwards, throwing herself at him and wrapping her arms around his head. He fell backwards, swearing, and she fell on top of him, bearing him down and cracking the back of his skull against the marble floor.
He was still moving, so she did it again, pulling his head up and slamming it back down against the floor. Then she did it again. And again. And again. And again.
She wasn't sure exactly how long had passed before she stopped. Only that the floor was now red, and Ramsey was staring listlessly up at the ceiling. He wasn't breathing.
That was about the moment where Emily realised exactly what had just happened. She scrambled off him, crawling backwards on her rear, her fingers leaving trails of blood along the tiles.
I…I killed him. But I don't kill people. That's not…I find other ways, I don't…
She twisted, and looked at Alexi. How the Captain was even still alive, she had no idea; blood trickled from her mouth, and gushed from the wound in her chest. Emily crawled over to her, grabbing hold of her shoulders.
"Alexi, stay with me Alexi, you're okay." is what she wanted to say. But the words wouldn't come out. Why wouldn't they come out?
"Emily…" Alexi reached up, weakly, touching a hand to her face. "It's okay. Find…Thomas…Corvo…Sokolov…use the, ngh, safe room…you, have to…live…"
The hand fell, and Alexi's head lolled onto its side.
Alexi? No. No, no no no, this shouldn't be happening, I'm supposed to be strong enough to stop this happening—
Emily shook her friend by the shoulders, crying, trying to say her friend's name and still finding herself unable to.
But Alexi was dead.
Slowly, Emily stumbled to her feet. Then ran towards the secret door to her safe room, the shouts of guards echoing behind her.
Thomas panted, boots clacking loudly on the rooftop tiles.
Dunwall tower was up ahead, and from the gunshots that he'd heard, he needed to be there two bloody hours ago. After what he'd learned from 'Meagan Foster', he'd been antsy enough to get back to Emily's side. But after two of the guards he'd encountered at the docks had tried to murder him, he'd been even more desperate to get himself up there Right This Instant.
How long's it been since I actually had to sneak into Dunwall Tower? Fifteen years now? Outsider's Eyes…
He vaulted a pipe, ran up a wall, grabbed the sill, and hauled himself up, getting his feet under him and pushing further—
Only to slide to a stop, his eyes widening.
"Emily!" He gasped.
Emily Kaldwin looked…well, she looked like shit. Her eyes were sunken, unfocused, clothes ruffled and in some places stained a dark red. Her lips were black, and oddly scarred, and she looked about ready to collapse at any moment. Glancing up above her, he saw that she'd probably left through the rooftop entrance of her safe room. That was good, because she had escaped, but bad, because it meant that whatever had happened had forced her to flee, alone.
"Emily, talk to me." He ran up, grabbing her by the shoulders. "Are you alright? What happened? Where's Corvo?"
Emily opened her mouth—
"Oh, fuck!" Thomas jerked backwards. He couldn't help it. What he saw in Emily's mouth was a ruined set of teeth, some missing, some chipped, some bent at odd angles…and that was it.
Emily didn't have a tongue.
It probably wasn't the best reaction. At his response, she gave a shaky gasp, tears welling up in her eyes.
Then those same eyes rolled back in her head, and she collapsed.
Thomas caught her before she hit the roof tiles, swearing again.
This is not how I thought this day would go…
But his job was the same as it had been in the interregnum. He hauled Emily up over his shoulder, then started running back towards the docks.
Hey everyone, welcome to the new fic. And welcome back to anyone who's been waiting for this for two and a half years, lmao.
I hope this chapter's done a decent job of summarising the AU we find ourselves in. More info will be revealed as it becomes relevant in later chapters, but let me know if you'd like an actual summary at the end of a chapter or something, I'll see what I can do. More importantly, I hope I've done a good job of laying out the tone of the fic going forwards. Intense, absolutely, but there's still going to be more than a few jokes in it. I simply cannot help myself.
Nothing else to say, besides the fact that this is going to be updating every saturday for at least ten weeks, which is how big of a backlog I've built up. After that, there might be a hiatus, but it won't be anything on the scale of what kind of breaks the first fic had. I'm better now, I promise.
See y'all next week!