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  • Ganurath

    Calling it now: Elodie is going to snog Barber thinking he’s Tilde.

    • Sanjay Merchant

      Admittedly, I’m not sure Luxuria’s patsies survived, but I really hope they did.

      • Ganurath

        I can’t think of any reason for the butler to survive and the others not to.

        • Ayrin

          The one attacking Luxuria is Barber, only he felt better fighting as Superbia.

          • Ganurath

            The butler is Gula, who survives these shenanigans to be a butt in the Time Trap Hotel.

            Or maybe he doesn’t, and it all already happened in his past as well as ours. Time travel is ridiculous. Especially magic time travel. At least with scientific time travel, you have the illusion of consistency. Unless it’s the stuff the Time Lords use; that show has way too many writers.

            But yeah, the butler’s the fat guy in green, not the well muscled lesbian in purple.

            • Nonesuch

              Unless he was undead during the whole situation where Gluttony abducted people from across time, the butler survived. Likely so did the others; Sin can only exist where there is life. Dead flesh does not sin.

            • JWLM

              The evidence suggests that Superbia is transgender, not lesbian. In that case, he’s other- or pan-sexual, but misgendered.

              • She is a lady who is gay, whether she’s a transwoman or not, she is definitely a she.

                Gonna assume that that ‘he’ is a typo, since I know no-one’s gonna be using incorrect pronouns for trans people (perceived or otherwise) in my comment section, are they?

                • Del

                  Some of us just can’t keep up, in spite of our best effort to be respectful of the author’s wishes.

                  I’m not even sure if the gender pronoun conventions are the same on either side of the Pond.

                  • If someone says they’re a she, they’re a she, that’s it, really. No country divide there, just use whatever pronouns people give you.

                    • Del

                      I wish it were that simple. Some folks urge us to deploy new, genderless pronouns… like shir and ter.

                    • Eh, use whatever someone asks you to use, is my philosophy. They know their own identity better than you can know it, after all.

                      Anyway, this is a multi-layered conversation that isn’t really best suited to this format or site, there are much better resources out there to understand gender identity.
                      Trans or not, Superbia/Tilde is a lady, that’s basically all anyone needs to know.

                    • Sanjay Merchant

                      Plus, I figured that if Tilde identified as male, she’d insist Luxuria call her *Mr.* Superbia. I mean, you don’t get coached into being the human personification of capital-P Pride and then just accept things like being mis-gendered.

                    • This exactly.

                    • JWLM

                      I can go on for a long time about this, but Kate has the nub of it: “ask and respect the preferred pronoun.” If someone prefers _xi_, then please just use _xi_; think of it as an extension of xir name. (Alternatively, xis name. It gets really complicated really fast.)

                    • Columbine

                      I am so happy that ‘they’ is a thing/bigger thing now because from a writing perspective I’ve found using ‘xe’ and some of the other neuter pronouns rather clumsy. Especially useful with aliens/robots/other weirdness that doesn’t necessarily have the same gender spread as humans.

                    • JWLM

                      Cheers for ‘they’ as a preferred pronoun! (Hey, the _New York Times Style Guide_ now prefers it, largely in recognition of non-binary genders! W00t!)

                      Of course, it doesn’t solve everything, particularly grammatical number. Should one write ‘Yes, that one there. They is the one I was talking about.’ or ‘That one there. Yes, they are the one I was talking about.’ ?

                      For my part, I suck it up and use the third-person singular form, even though it feels kind of strange to me. I’m looking forward to seeing how that bit of the language evolves.

                    • Columbine

                      For me it varies writing wise. I’ve had some characters that are both sexes (as distinct from androgynous, fantasy so not-human) and decided to vary their pronouns throughout the text, ie different human characters see them as more male/female and use that language or switch between pronouns. I started doing that before I was aware of non-binary gender as a thing over a decade ago when I started building this thing. Because it seemed like a…natural way people raised in a binary environment with a binary-pronouns language might process that.

                      Personally I rather like ‘it’ but in writing using ‘it’ can come across as impersonal and cold. Dehumanising. Easier to use in speech I think- It’s possible I’ve given this too much thought?

                    • JWLM

                      I avoid it because it’s not just dehumanizing, but also because it refers to non-sapient entities (e.g. cats or trash cans.) But what about a robot who is a sapient trash can? (Hey, work with me for a minute here. Perhaps they’re better able to tell you when you really didn’t want to throw something out?) Are they an it? Wouldn’t they want a say?

                      QuestionableContent’s AIs choose a working gender, even though PintSize and Momo both explain that they really aren’t gendered at all.

                    • Columbine

                      Ancillary Justice’s….I’m not even sure I wanna call this thing an AI….entity? Anyway, the culture that created her didn’t really have a linguistic or cultural concept of gender. They referred to everyone/thing as ‘her’. As a result you go through the book mostly unaware of the genders/sexes of the characters, because the main characters honestly can’t tell. When pressed about it by someone from another culture one of them says something like ‘The only way to tell is to see someone with their clothes off and even that’s not reliable.’

                      I can’t really explain my personal preference for ‘it’, aside from anything else it can make sentences a little confusing. I haven’t told anyone else to use it for me because I’m pretty sure it’d get a worse reaction than just about anything else. *shrugs* Language.

                    • Overkillengine

                      I’ve taken a liking to plural pronouns since ‘they’ are hard for people to abuse as an excuse to be an asshat.

                    • Columbine

                      That is the main advantage ‘they’ has over ‘it’ yes. :P

                • It seems like the previous commenter might have thought Superbia identifies as male? I can’t see why they would have thought she’s misgendered otherwise. (And I can’t see someone who’s talking about people being misgendered purposefully misgendering them at the same time? Must be some kind of misunderstanding somewhere…)

                • JWLM

                  Sorry, Kate, here you’re simply wrong. If he’s trans, then, actually, no, he is a he. If she’s lesbian, then she’s a she.

                  • I deleted this comment here earlier, but I’ve restored it because I think I read it wrong and we’re getting our wires crossed a little- perhaps you thought I was saying that if she was AFAB and a transman she’d still be a she? Please understand that I definitely didn’t mean that, I meant that if she was AMAB and a transwoman then she is still a she. Edited my earlier comment to make that a little clearer.

                    The final word on this is that transwomen are women and transmen are men, with all of the associated pronouns that entails. Superbia is a woman who is extremely comfortable with her identity as a woman, whether she is a transwoman or not.

                    • JWLM

                      I wondered what the problem was here; I hadn’t thought about that possibility.

                      Yes, I was taking Superbia to be an AFAB transman, in which case he is a he. (Or, failing any information about pronominality, perhaps ‘they’.) If she had been an AMAB transwoman, then she would have been a she.

                      At this point, however, you’ve stated that she is a lesbian, and prefers “she”, so “she” she is. (For the vanillas here, though, it’s worth knowing that only about 50% of transfolk are attracted to persons of their originally assigned gender, and about 50% of transfolk are attracted to persons not of their originally assigned gender)

                      Like you say, the easiest way to handle it is “when in doubt, please ask me.”

                    • Okay, phew, glad we’re on the same page again! Sorry to automatically assume the worst, it’s just.. well, internet, and all. She is definitely not a transman, as that would definitely lead to a ‘Mr’ rather than a ‘Ms’ nickname.

                    • Overkillengine

                      It’s nice to see that you have enough self reflection to back up and
                      realize you may have made a mistake instead of doubling down and going
                      full Authoritarian SJWtard. I’ve seen plenty of people on the internet
                      fail to do so.

        • Sanjay Merchant

          I’ve been looking over the end of Piece of Cake and I’m not sure the Butler *is* Mr. Gula. Like the fake Mrs. Sykes, I think it’s just a piece of Gluttony dressed up to better interact with the humans.

          I mean, the Butler doesn’t appear at all after Gluttony is defeated, while Ms. Ashwin makes a point to show us every other named character leaving the hotel, including Mr. Cartwright, who up until then had only appeared in an expository flashback.

          That, plus Ms. Ashwin’s stated distaste for life-extending magic, and that 1834 Butler looks exactly like 1792 Butler….

          • Atros

            Man, this huge long thing about the pronouns, and this entire time I thought Superbia was a dude all along, with no trans or what have you. Not a super observant/attentive reader, so not surprised I missed a point-out that she was, well, she.

      • Sir. Orc

        They’re just asleep, otherwise Lux couldn’t summon the rest of the deadlies

        • Sanjay Merchant

          They were only unconscious at first, but I was wondering if they died when their respective namesakes appeared. (Or shortly thereafter)

          • Wyvern

            I would think they’d be okay until the the Deadlies actually took possession of their bodies — which they didn’t get a chance to, as the ritual was interrupted.

          • Sir. Orc

            They didn’t. Remember when Courage was summoned from Nora, she didn’t die, and when Lux offered his erstwhile companions to the deadlies they said he couldn’t give what wasn’t his, meaning they were alive then. Lust also said that they had “given themselves” over completely, which implies that the offering was possession or control over them, Lust didn’t have to “give” anything because the human hosts had already given everything they could to the sins.

    • If that doesn’t happen, I’m sure someone will make a fanart of it in time for the post-story interstice.

  • Disloyal Subject

    Silly Luxuria. Don’t you know to never let the damn thief out of sight?

  • Dane 72

    Wait, could he just have shapeshifted ito a child and freed himself that way?

    • Of course. But his part of the plan was to distract the Bad Guys.

      In fact, note carefully – he didn’t need to shapeshift to shed the cuffs at all – he was able to pick the lock whenever he wanted.

      • solkan

        He didn’t pick it. He was given the key in the Dec 22 page (panel 4).
        Between yesterday and today, it looks like he was avoiding opening the lock on the cuff while anyone was looking.

        I think the point is that it wouldn’t have made much difference to be locked up as a different person.

        • Right you are! Good eye

        • That’s right. I remember now (and i just discovered that that page and the next two, were missing from my collection).

          Superbia likes to win fairly.

          • Nonesuch

            That, and the real woman cares for Elodie, who was treated with discourtesy by Luxuria and gave her the nod.

            Those two would be happy to mess Luxuria over.

            • JWLM

              More than that, Pride was the one who gave him the key in the first place.

        • Phil

          ah, I missed that key entirely the first time round!

    • Disloyal Subject

      Looks like he unlocked it with the key Tilde gave him, THEN shifted. Perhaps the manacles prevent use of the Liar’s Heart.

      • Dufarge

        No, because he was initially locked up and shapeshifted as Isabelle, before Luxuria flirted him back into his own shape.

    • GristleMcNerd

      Eh, you do that, next thing you know some Klingon jail warden thinks you’re the starship captain he’s out to kill and vaporizes you.

      • Nonesuch

        Excellent reference. ^_^

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Now I wonder if it actually gives the strenght of the form.

    • Iituem

      It does appear to be a true shapeshift, yes.

  • Iituem

    A bit late, but just realised with the talk of witches who the lady at Chomolunga was, and why she could tell Voss was emotionally ‘full’. *facepalm*

  • AJ

    I’m really amused that M. Not-superbia is the person Barber thought of as a strong, sturdy sort of person.

    That’s not going to go to their head at all.

    • Del

      Henry has wrestled with this one before. He knows what this body can do.

    • Also, if you think about it, Henry is SHORT. Superbia is TALL. That helps quite a bit when it comes to wrestling.

    • Euodiachloris

      I’m not in the least bit surprised. Henry got a taste of what tangling with her is like. xD

  • Haven

    Isabelle is a Meddling Mage.

    It all makes sense now.

    • Is that similar to a Meddling Monk?

      • Euodiachloris

        Close, but rather less sanctimonious pomposity and with a lot more fireballs. ;)

  • Sanjay Merchant

    Everyone seems to think Henry chose to change into Tilde for her strength, but I have a feeling it might have just as much if not more to do with her reach. She is very tall.

    • John

      Good point. She is also fairly quick, which is not a description I would associate with the butler.

      • MoeLane

        She really is the most logical choice for a combat upgrade: taller, stronger, and almost as fast as Barber is. There’s a reason why she was such a good candidate for Pride.

        • Euodiachloris

          You’re also forgetting she’s rather kind to the eyes — in Luxuria’s case, that’s something to think about. Guy’s rather too soft on those he can… well, be himself around easily. ;P

  • Steve R. Hastings

    I suggest that, in the last panel, it should be better to use the word “made” rather than “make”. By the way, I have been enjoying this whole flashback sequence very much!

    • John

      I would use the word made rather than the word make when telling a story about what I did in the past, which is what Henry is actually doing. On the other hand, I am not sure Henry is that fussy with his grammar.

      • Ars Linguistica

        Using the present tense to help form a more vivid description of past events is a rhetorical device that dates back thousands of years (so replying to a 5-day old comment about it doesn’t seem so late in comparison):

  • Christopher J Stanley

    The look on Sloth’s face in Panel 2…

    “Is this supposed to happen, or am I just being slow again?”

  • Saibot

    Not quite sure what is meant by “it requires you bind the oldest spirit last”. Is the implication that lust is the oldest of the seven?

    If so, I’m not sure I follow that leap of logic, since envy and wrath are demonstrated in Genesis 4 when Cain slays Able. For that matter, an argument could be made that Adam & Eve were motivated to eat the fruit by Greed. And prior to both of those, chronologically, Lucifer’s fall was due to his imense pride.

    • Sanjay Merchant

      I think it just means that this specific incarnation of Lust was summoned least recently (ie 400 years ago, compared to a few minutes for the others).

      • Saibot

        OIC. That’s makes sense, then.

    • Saibot

      I’m thinking within a Victorian framework, informed by Christian tradition, btw.

  • Nonesuch

    Delicious, DELICIOUS irony! :D Barber -is- using Lust’s power against its source AND turning the strength of its dupe against it in one fell swoop! :D

    • rhapsha

      I’d say the really delicious part is that Lust just got done taunting Henry about him trying to use his own magic to trick him. Yet he doesn’t take the necklace, and whoops, in what I assume is less than 20 minutes real time, he’s being thwarted by his own magic.

  • awhorl

    Just watch out that Luxuria doesn’t make a grab for the necklace, which is SO CLOSE to his fingertips!

  • JM

    please please please give us a spinoff comic with Elodie and Tilde oh please oh please

    • Jeff Eppenbach

      Well, one of them, at least.

    • JWLM

      Oh, that would be awesome. Sort of “Darken in the Widdershins ‘verse.”

  • The problem with grabbing Mr Luxuria by the neck is that I suspect his head is detachable.

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      That woud make the next page pretty hilarous.

      • I’ll be disappointed if the story ends without the classic “with ‘is ‘ead tucked underneath ‘is arm” moment.

  • Chris the Blue

    Smug people getting beat up is one of my favourite things in the world. Please and thank you.

    Also, it took me a while Barber turned himself into Superbia. When I read the textbox, I thought she suddenly became part of the Barber Family Reunion or something!

    • Sanjay Merchant

      I can totally see Tilde inserting herself into a someone else’s family reunion and expecting everyone to just go with it. :-D

      • Darkoneko Hellsing

        Superbia was their grand-dad all along !

  • Siva Smith

    Ms. Ashwin: regarding transgendered people, please find and read a webcomic entitled “Wildflowers,” which follows the story of a transgendered teenager. In Ms. Superbia’s case, she is your character so you you’re right – but generally, one would use the gender-termof the gender a person identifies with, whether they are trangender or (and I learned this prefix from commenting on that webcomic) cis-gendered. Thank you!

    • That’s exactly what I’ve been saying, sorry if that read unclearly!

  • Siva Smith

    For some reason, I try to edit a comment and odd things happen. I’m glad it disappeared; I appeared to have misread our artist’s comment!

  • Columbine

    YES!!!! YES!!!! SUPERBIA FORM FOR WIN!!!! *ahem*…..I’ll just go lie down now.

  • =Tamar

    He makes himself useful by making himself stronger, taller, and faster.

  • CorvusCornix

    I find it so odd. As far as I know, we have not seen a single instance of magic being used *professionally* by a highly capable witch or wizard. Sid is a half trained flunky; Lei, Rosie, and Isabelle each taught themselves and not to a level of mastery. Ben is the only character who completed formal training, and apparently he’s not at all talented. I suppose Councilwoman Fairbairns and Grandpa Cunningham might be exceptions to this rule? But I can’t think of any others. I just wonder if this was necessary to keep the characters on some sort of level playing field, or if it’s a coincidence, or what. I hope we get to see some really advanced magic before the story’s through :)

    • Wizardblizzard

      I’ve recently been trying to write Star Trek fanfiction, and I’ve been finding that a thoroughly competent character is actually far more difficult to make likeable or interesting. An enthusiastic bungler like Sid, somebody under a jinx like… um, Sid again, a determinedly ignorant savage like Mal, a guy with no talent, no job and no patience, like Ben – you already have some story right there. But someone who by definition is supposed to be up to the job, where are you? Achhhh, deliver us from Starfleet captains.

      So I think that may be part of what’s happening here – main characters who are out of their depth in one way or another are more fun, and then, yes, level playing field, you can’t then upstage your main characters by bringing in loads of proper, skilled wizards with no major personality defects, or they’d get left behind.

      That said, Isabelle’s an exception. (And hence much kudos to Kate for making her as great a character as any of them!) I don’t think Isabelle taught herself, I think her mother taught her, and I think she IS “up to a level of mastery”. The impression I get is that Isabelle actually is equal to a fully qualified University-trained wizard, at the very least; she’s just, at this point in the story anyway, having a hard time getting the academic establishment to admit that. (Ah, of course, THAT’s Isabelle’s problem.) I think what we’ve just been watching is a rare example of “really advanced magic”.

      In fact, Isabelle seems to be ahead of the University graduates on some things. For instance, Ben doesn’t appear to know as much as she does about what a witch is. Or if he does, he’s remarkably slow on the uptake. (If it was Sid there’d be an obvious explanation, but Ben owes his Third to lack of lateral thinking, not lack of paying attention in lectures; if it HAD been part of the course, it seems likely it would have occurred to Ben by now. …If not, he’s REALLY going to kick himself when it does.)

      • Ah, this is a really nice and thoughtful post! Quite right, flaws and conflict drive story. Izzy’s the most accomplished wizard we’ve met thusfar, but if she were both talented and fully qualified, that’s one less flaw for her to prove herself better than.

        Also that’s why Sisko is my favourite captain, he pushes things into a moral grey area just to get the job done, and even *he* isn’t sure if it’s the right thing to do or not.

      • CorvusCornix

        Thank you for the thoughtful response and insight :)

  • Danni

    Is using Luxuria’s pendant’s power to accost Luxuria the best idea, though? (Geez, I haven’t touched fb in so long I forgot this was my icon. A halloween costume.)

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