I know I’ve been round this bush and given it a thrashing at least a dozen times already but Nyx is the real villain in the series. I know PCK would argue with me. I mean, she’s the one handing out powers to the good guys and patting them on the ass every time they succeed in breathing. Being as Nyx’s constantly pointing Zoey at Neferet at saying “sic ‘em” and Nefert murders people, they’d say that’s probably enough.
For one, Nyx is the one who enabled Neferet to align herself with darkness by giving her power in the first place. Sure, Neferet’s the one who abuses it and leveraged it to somehow make allies with darkness, that much is true. But why is Nyx handing out powers to people in the first place? Why do the vampires need powers in addition to immunity to disease and nigh immortality?
Until society developed technology like guns and flamethrowers, it’s not like vampires were poorly matched against humans. My guess is they used to take those powers and subjugate humans under a taloned hand with her blessing. This is the same lady who watched Kalona rule and rape the Native Americans, was disappointed by it, but did fuck all to stop it.
PCK will then protest “free will” like it’s a get out of jail free card just before they’re carted off to the gulag with the other surviving harpies who haven’t been stuffed. Ok fine, everyone has free will and Nyx can’t force anyone to act how she wants. But she can tell people things. Like when she appeared in front of all the vampires in the high school she could have just pointed at Neferet and said “she’s a bad guy”. Free will or not, when god says you’re evil, there’s no amount of press conferences that recover from that.
Now someone with a clever streak could explain all that. Like maybe Nyx gives out powers to those she deems as champions because other deities out there do the same. They aren’t as active as they used to be in history but she knows that, say, StepDad is a paladin for his god and has a few gifts of his own. It’s more to ensure her vampires are on a level playing field and, occasionally, someone goes corrupt like Neferet.
Anywho, we start off with Zoey who’s hanging around waiting for Thanatos to have her own press conference.
“Is everything okay, Z?” Stark spoke low next to my ear as my circle group and I gathered near the entrance to the school lobby. Thanatos had asked us to wait for her to finish speaking with the professors and Warriors, and then she’d join us for the press conference.
How the hell did Zoey “gather” near the entrance? Is she a loose bag of wet birds shit that needs to come together like The Blob after exiting a movie theater? That’s what I’m going to picture her as from now on, a scarecrow made of burlap and packed with raven droppings that squawks and can only say ‘Feed me!’ ‘Fuck me!’ and ‘Count Chocula is ironic!’
Zoey tells Butthead that she’s glad she was there as Butthead makes funeral pyres go faster. Then Butthead asks Beavis if she can take the litter box for their shared cat. Beavis says fine, the box stinks anyway. Damien then chides Beavis saying she has to clean the box or the cat won’t use it. Then Zoey notices that Beavis isn’t sad and wasn’t crying at the funeral. How spooky.
Uh, PCK, I don’t know how much grief you’ve dealt with over the years as harpies don’t mourn their food. But not all humans respond to funerals by bawling their eyes out in public. Not crying is just as acceptable for a lot of reasons. Maybe Beavis grieves in private where people can’t see because, contrary to the “twin” bullshit, she’s not like Butthead. Maybe Beavis is still shocked by the whole thing. Or maybe she didn’t really know Dragon all that well and it doesn’t bother her all that much. Doesn’t mean she’s evil.
Also, Stevie is concerned with Rephy being alone as he was sad at the funeral. Zoey says he’s not, he’s talking with Thanatos and Krammy. Something about Krammy teaching him poetry to vent his emotions or something. Which, considering Krammy’s poetry skills, is a mistake unless you want a notebook full of garbage for the sequel to Seven.
The real reson Zoey’s hanging out in front of the school is so she can be there when the local new anchor shows up with their camera operator. He says he’s Adam Paluka(like Palooka?) who is an actual Tulsa local reporter. Was this books series funded by the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce because it feels like someone is rubbing their throbbing genitals while staring at a district map of the panhandle state.
Adam is there to interview the high priestess and, he says, probably some of them. Which must be thrilling for him. Not every day you get to meet the personal messenger of god in the flesh. He gets introduced to everyone then notices Zoey’s “tattoo” is large. He asks if their artist is local and Zoey says sort of, they’re in the “otherworld”. That’s the kind of razor wit I’d cut my wrists with any day, PCK.
Thanatos then shows up and asks him if he has everything and if the gaslights will work for the camera. Because PCK hadn’t reminded us in how many books that the vampires are one malfunctioning burner away from a wing of dead students. He says it’ll be fine which I’m sure it is even though an LED bulb would probably give off just as much light and not waste as much valuable resources for heating.
Now it’s time for the pre-interview where they go over shit we know already, again. Vampires burn their dead. There was a fire at the school. Dragon is dead. Though Thanatos covers up Dragon’s death as done by a “bison” having escaped a nearby pen and driven crazy by their smokey herbs. So business as usual then, playing amateur X-Files FBI on the humans.
On to the actual interview where Thanatos explains how she’s not really death, she just has an affinity for it. Unlike the assassin behind her who is a master of it and stabs her through the throat. Also, she reinforces the idea that vampires don’t obey laws by saying Neferet was fired but they don’t have libel and slander laws. Yes, by the United States does and Neferet resides within it. Unless the US is handing out diplomatic immunity or treating the vampire schools as separate nations, she broke the law within the US. Also, let’s not forget the murder she commited on US soil.
Thanatos talks about the undeadlings for a second before mentioning Stark. He responds to the charge that he killed his instructor by explaining his teleporting arrow gift. You remember, the one that he could use to assassinate world leaders on a whim or to wound Neferet at any time if he choose to. So yes, he did kill his instructor but it was an accident. Which still means there should have been an investigation but vampires like to cover shit up. Don’t worry, leaders of the world, Stark promises that because his instructor died, he’ll never make the same mistake again. Next time someone turns up dead with an arrow in their frontal lobe, you can bet it was on purpose.
They tell him about the job fair and the cat charity they’ll be doing. Then Lenobia shows up with her horse, Adam calls it a he and they chide him. He says he doesn’t really care. Then they share a laugh about how they all love Tulsa. Hilarious.
Over to Neferet who’s now going to respond to the goddamned press conference. Is this Citizen Kane or Newsies? Because there’s a lot of competing news stories so far and I think PCK might have forgotten we’re dealing with vampires here. Unless you’re going to commit to the theme, PCK, you should realize you’re not writing the fucking Ides of March here.
Neferet is relishing the sexual abuse she put on the other bellboy. Neferet says he’ll only remember what they did in dark erotic dreams and laughs at humans and psychology. She’s currently evaluating the new bellhop but thinks he’s too young. Also, he has acne and smells like a virgin which makes her think of virginal blood in wine.
She begins to seduce him when he mentions how much prettier she is than the other vampires on TV. Neferet demands to know what he’s talking about. He mentions the Thanatos interview so she tells him to turn on the TV for her. All of her incredible power and bargains with darkness haven’t taught her anything about the remote.
Neferet watches the interview which is mercifully truncated a little and gets pissed off. Then her laptop starts to ring and she sees that it’s the vampire high council. Being a rogue evil vampire priest, she immediately answers it. Naturally they want to know what’s taking her so damn long. She hems and haws for a moment, mumbling about Zoey and Thanatos.
“You will not interrupt me!” Even through the Internet, thousands of miles away, Duantia’s power was palpable. It was only with a supreme effort that Neferet didn’t cringe from the computer screen.
They talk about the magic vision of Neferet murdering Zoey’s mom. Then they ask Neferet how she responds to the charge. Neferet says it wasn’t a murder but a sacrifice. They ask if she’s aligned with darkness. She says that they can summon the white bull and ask it themselves if they dare. They then ask each other for judgement.
Given that they know she’s killed someone as a sacrifice, what do you think their judgement is? A trial in human courts? Life imprisonment on vampire island in Italy? How about at least a fine and Neferet has to write an apology?
Of course not, they decide to “shun” her. From now on, Neferet will be treated as if she’s dead by the council. Then they hang up on her. Further angered by the hang up, Neferet calls Wooly up and says she needs to kill Zoey. She figures she can’t kill Zoey directly because that’ll summon Nyx and Nyx can’t be fought yet. All she has to do is make a better sacrifice to force Aurox to kill Zoey. I mean, it can’t fail twice in a row, can it?
Over to Zoey who’s watching Damien flirt with Adam. Because for all their talk of soul mates, PCK just wants to put Damien right into another relationship. They babble about that for a moment and then they talk about Beavis and how she seems wrong. Well, she did let the evil guy stick his dick in her. Evil is basically and STI so she’s probably got it now too.
Shaylin says that yes, she sees Beavis as changing and now aura looks polluted. They count this as a victory for themselves and say they’re going to go back home and watch Fringe(not a joke). Then Damien asks if a local Tulsa coffee shop, who will not get mention from me, will be open so he can meet someone. Zoey gushes how wonderful it is and how great they’ll be able to go.
Damien then wonders if Jack would be mad. Of course he wouldn’t be. Adam will die well before Jack gets reborn so it’s not technically cheating. Then Beavis says she’s staying behind because she doesn’t like the tunnels. Zoey thinks she’s making a mistake and Beavis says Nyx gave them free will. Zoey says she’s thankful Beavis reminded her of that and that Beavis is making the wrong choice.