A note from pwtucker

Thank you Sesharan, Daniel Jaydon, Antiflower, He-Who-Seeks, ZRhulad, skemmotar, and Ciao Limited for the reviews. I really appreciate the time you took to write them up.

There is an emotional mention of rape and murder in this chapter, but neither are depicted.

The hummer was wrecked, so Mancini radioed in and was told he needed to hoof it down to the NYCEM, a distance of about four miles.

“We can make that in an hour if we go carefully,” said Mancini, putting his radio away. “Nothing we’re not used to.”

“Let me guess,” said Serenity. “They want us to come in for more meetings?”

“A debrief, yes. What you saw the Nemesis 2’s doing…” Mancini trailed off, expression bleak.

Serenity laughed, the sound jagged. “It’s three in the morning, I’ve been sober for longer than I can remember, and now we need to go back for more meetings? I’m starting to understand what the real horror of this apocalypse is.”

“Decisions are going to be made,” said Mancini. “You’ll want to be there.”

“Decisions are never made,” said Serenity. “Other than to have more meetings to discuss making future decisions.”

James stepped up beside her. “Hey.”

She turned, stared at him, her expression a mixture of hostile, lost, furious, and devastated. He held her gaze, hand on her shoulder, and just took in what he was seeing.

He’d seen it before.

Far too many times.

Some people deteriorate on the street. It grinds them down. The endless litany of small indignities punctuated by sharp moments of violence or abuse. A gradual erosion of their sense of self, the implosion of their pride, the allure of temptation, of drugs or booze or theft or violence.

James had come to recognize a certain look. Folks would get it just before things got really dark, as if some instinctual part of them realized they were about to lose their bearings forever. Or, at least, that’s how it felt in the moment, because there were no forever’s on the street.

A look that warned that something fundamental about them was about to snap like a slender twig between their fingers. One more push and they’d go over the edge, accept the offered needle, shoplift stupidly, consider walking out into the night without any intention of coming back.

He saw it now in Serenity’s eyes. Her basic humanity had been wounded by what she’d seen. She was close to the edge. Needed to process, to vent, to get that evil out of her system. Dragging her to the NYCEM would be a catastrophe.

“James?” Her voice was somewhere between a plead and a whisper. “Let’s just go to Herman’s, yeah?”

“Yeah,” he said heavily, and her relief was like the rising sun, tears brimming immediately in her eyes as she fought to smile and not cry with relief. “We haven’t checked in on Herman in a few days.”

“That’s right.” She wiped her eyes with the back of her wrist. “We haven’t. Can't forget our friends.”

Mancini stared at him, but the young man’s preternatural maturity and wisdom, earned no doubt in ways James couldn’t fathom in Afghanistan, led him to only nod his head in acceptance. “Let’s get moving, then. We’ll stay together for as long as possible.”

They jogged slowly along the sidewalk. They weren’t the only ones out. Here and there they saw groups or individuals out hunting. More than a few were cautiously aura trawling gremlins, wary of the Nemeses 2’s but determined to level. Others were moving in bands, some armed with machetes, others with baseball bats, a few with pistols.

All had the same hard-bitten look of determination.

Humanity on the rebound.

Mancini led them at a mile-eating jog, slow and steady along the sidewalk, and they’d greet other folks with a wave but rarely stop to talk.

A couple of miles later they reached Washington Ave, which Serenity indicated was where they’d split.

“We’ll be at the NYCEM,” said Mancini. “Keep your phone charged. I’ll text updates, will only call if it’s urgent.”

“I’ll spend an Aeviternum at dawn,” said James. “Probably drop by after that. I’ll need to coordinate with Jessica for the morning’s meet ‘n greet.”

“Sounds good.” Mancini forced a smile. “Enjoy the drinks.”

The fire team said their goodbyes and jogged off.

“Well,” said Serenity brightly. “Looks like we’re off duty. Shall we?”

They jogged south, another twenty minutes of Brooklyn blocks, some looking weirdly normal, untouched by the invasion, others looking more like war zones with crashed cars and shattered windows. Gremlins bounded out of the shadows to assault them, and occasionally they built up a real following, but then they’d simply stop and let the wave burn itself out, the gremlins hissing and spitting and clawing as they ashed six or seven feet away.

James watched them die. Hard to believe he’d been terrified of them once. Had run in abject fear of his first gremlin what felt like a lifetime ago. Hundreds upon hundreds emerged from the shadows to assault them, but neither of them gained a level.

“Guess we’ve graduated to bigger things,” said Serenity.

It was past four when they reached Herman’s. James had quietly wondered if the place would even be open, if Herman would feel enough attachment to the bar to keep it going when the rest of the world was falling apart, but Serenity was confident.

“He lives above the bar. It’s either open, or he’ll open it for us.”

It wasn’t open. The lights were out, the door closed. Serenity frowned, cupped her hands to her mouth, and yelled with brazen disregard for the hour: “Herm! Wake up!”

James flinched.

This was the kind of behavior that got you worked over by the cops.


A light lit up behind the blinds of a ground floor window, and then they rolled up to reveal a bleary-eyed Herman. The old man actually wore a night cap. “Jesus wept, Serenity. You know I need my sleep.”

“Been a hell of a night,” she said, her grin overly wide. “I can’t begin to tell you. Can we score a drink?”

He glowered at her.

Serenity clasped her hands together under her chin and looked up at him. “Please?”

Her voice quavered, and James heard her desperate need.

So did Herman, because he grudgingly relented. “Fine, fine. I’ll be right down. Jesus Christ.”

A moment later the bar door unlocked and Serenity rushed down the steps to hug the old man who protested and shoved her away. “Hey, this ain’t that kind of party. Now look. I’m going back to bed. Keep the front door locked, don’t let anyone else in, and leave the keys on the bar when you go. We clear?”

“Scouts honor,” said Serenity. “Promise.”

Herman looked James up and down. “You look better in real clothes.”

“Feel better, too. Thanks Herman.”

“Bah, it’s the end of the world. Fuck it.” The old wandered off into the back of the joint, unlocked another door, and disappeared upstairs.

“Ours!” Serenity threw her arms open wide and beamed at the dingy bar. “Finally, we have our queendom.”

James slid onto a barstool. “I used to have this funny dream. There’d be a siren, everybody rushing down the street, but only I knew it was a false alarm. I’d walk against the crowd and enter a bar, a big, beautiful joint, a thousand bottles stretching all the way to Heaven. I’d be the only one in there, had it all to myself.”

“Well,” said Serenity, ducking under the bar to pop up on the other side, “that makes this better than a dream ‘cause you got me here. Shots? Whiskey? I make a mean mojito."

“Whiskey,” said James. There weren’t that many bottles left on the shelves, but Serenity poked around and came up with a bottle of Monkey Shoulder. She poured him three fingers, poured herself the same, and slid his glass over.

“What shall we drink to?” Again with the false cheer. “Everything I can think of is nightmare fuel.”

“To good friends,” said James, clinking his glass against hers.

Serenity lifted her glass and kept drinking. Her throat bobbed and when she slammed the glass down it was empty. She uncorked the bottle and refilled it.

“God damn I was needing that.”

James sipped, watched, said nothing.

“And - thank you. For coming with. Fucking Arete’s making it hard for me to not completely forget the bigger picture, like how it was probably a bad idea for you to skip out on the meetings, but fuck, we’re not machines, you know?”

James nodded, sipped.

“I mean, maybe the military’s all desensitized to this shit, but a week ago all I was thinking about was how I was going to earn enough money for a new coat and to keep my drug habit chugging along. Now?” She laughed brokenly, studied her glass. “Now? It’s like, Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Predator all day every day.”

“Good movie.”

“And I like guns, sometimes I even hoped something like gremlins would show up so I could just blast them to pieces, but this?” She raised an eyebrow at James. “This is… it doesn’t stop. And I’m not a machine. Even if I’m faster now, and like a sniper shot, and can leap out of crashing hummers like it’s some slow-motion ballet or Trinity from the Matrix.”

James nodded his agreement, sipped.

“I mean, I know we don’t have time to have a break down, but fuck, how am I supposed to see what… what I saw, and not get a drink?” She tossed her whiskey back, swallowed mightily, refilled her glass with grim deliberation.

“Because you know what I can’t stop thinking about? It’s, like, what if that guy wasn’t dead?” She stared at James, tears filling her eyes. “What if he was paralyzed? He didn’t look wounded. What if… I mean, what if that thing ate him while he was still alive, and he could feel it, sliding inside it, into its…to be…”

She bowed her head and her knuckles whitened around the glass.

“Yeah,” breathed James. “Been trying not to think about it.”

“And the thing is, this is happening everywhere, right? Wherever there’s one of those symbols? New York, Atlanta, LA, Chicago, Miami, in fucking, like…” She trailed off, trying to think. “In like, Kansas City? Or London, Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney, China, everywhere.” She blinked at him. “This is happening everywhere. People are being fed to Nemesis 2’s right now. This very second. And maybe they’re not dead. Maybe there are, like, a million people this very second screaming in absolute terror as they feel themselves… as they…”

James reached out and put his hand over her own.

“No!” She snatched her hand back. “I mean, I’m OK!” She glared at him, wild eyed. “I mean -”

“You don’t have to be anything.”

“Of course I do.” Her expression began to crumple. “I have to stop being the world’s biggest fuck-up and become, like, a super soldier in less than a week, and super chill about it all, just feeling nothing and shooting demons like I was born for this, like this was my destiny, and I don’t know…” Her eyes were wide, her pupils dilated, her face pale. “I don’t know if I can do this, James.”

That last came out a whisper.

James held her gaze, frowning, listening.

She blinked, focused on him. “I’m not this cool killer lady I’ve been pretending to be. I mean, I tricked myself too there for a while, actually thought to myself: hey, Serenity, you can be the funny chick, joking about shit and letting nothing touch you, but what the fuck? What the actual fuck? I’m so out of my depth it makes me want to scream.”

“We all are.”

You’re not. You’re cool as a fucking cucumber, like you were born to play this role. And I’ve been trying, I’ve been trying so hard, but seeing that man… and, I mean, what’s going to happen next? We’re just getting started. How much worse is it going to get? 85 days till the Pits open, and we’re already at demons covering buildings in human paste?!”

“Yeah.” James stared down at his whiskey. “I hear you.”

“But it doesn’t faze you.” Her tone filled with wonder. “You’re just like an oak tree, solid and with roots that keep you grounded. That used to inspire me, but now it’s infuriating. Why the fuck aren’t you flipping out?”

James frowned, turned his glass around. “I don’t know.”

Her voice turned vicious. “Not good enough. We’ve been through too much shit in too little time for you to not square with me.”

James pursed his lips, nodded. “Maybe it’s because…” He trailed off, trying to put words to his emotions. Dug deep in the way he normally tried to avoid. “Maybe it’s because I lost everything that really mattered to me years ago.” His voice was soft, and Serenity stilled. “In all the ways that mattered, I died when I lost my family. It makes it… easier, I guess, to face these demons as a result.”

“Because you don’t have anything to live for?”

“No, I do. I’ve rediscovered that I care about people. I want to help. I want to kill these demons." He chuckled shakily. "I want all of that pretty badly. But…” Again he trailed off. It felt like trying to choke up a cinder block. He dry swallowed, then took a sip of the whiskey. “I guess I’m not too concerned about myself in this equation. What happens to me. Which makes it easier to face this darkness. I don’t have much to lose.”

The silence drew out. He could feel her staring at him. Felt uncomfortable for even saying that much.

“What happened?” she asked at last. “To your family?”

He’d been asked that question so many times. He felt his shoulders hunch, felt his heart begin to race. Normally this was where he deflected the question or got up and left. But he couldn’t. Not this time. He didn’t know what he and Serenity were becoming. Friends? War companions? Something more? But either he trusted her with his pain, or he didn’t, and that would determine everything that came after.

“A guy broke into our house while I was at work.” A wash of heat flooded through him, and his hands suddenly felt jittery, his chest tight. His throat cramped up, and it took a serious drink from the whiskey to loosen it up. “He killed my daughters, then raped and killed my wife.”

There. He’d said it. His heart had expanded to the size of a drum, was pounding, pounding, and his skin prickled all over. He’d said those words maybe a dozen times over the last seven years, and only twice when not absolutely hammered.

He’d regretted sharing his past every single time.

Serenity didn’t respond immediately. When she did, her tone was bleak. “I’m so sorry, James.”

“Yeah.” He sat up straight, took up the bottle of whiskey and refilled his glass. “Nothing seemed to make sense after that. My boss was great, but there’s only so many times I could not show up to work before he had to let me go. I stopped making mortgage payments, so eventually I was evicted. I don’t remember much of that first year on the street. I just kind of wandered around in a daze. Eventually I came back enough to cash out all my retirement plans and drank that away over the following six months, and then… there was nothing. No ties. Nothing.”

“Your friends? Extended family?”

“They learned to let me go.” An old sadness. Old pains. “I didn’t want their pity or to be saved. I just wanted to be left alone. They figured it out, eventually.”

“Oh James.” Now it was her turn to reach out and put her hand over his.

They remained thus for a long while, neither speaking, till at last James inhaled deeply and forced the pain away. And to his surprise it wasn’t as devastating as it had always been. It was bad, but it was growing old, or perhaps it was all the horror he’d seen this past week, standing like a misty glass wall between him and his old remorse. He’d seen so much death and horror that his own bereavement felt… familiar. Worn, like an old river stone.

He forced a grim smile at Serenity, who watched him with a complex expression of her own. “So that’s why I think I’ve hung in there so far. All I’ve got left is… I don’t know, like a steady and strong desire to help out while I can. And when my run comes to its end, then…” He shrugged. “Then so be it.”

Serenity nodded, then ducked under the bar and came around to where he sat. He turned to face her, and she hugged him, held him tight, chin on his shoulder.

“Thank you for telling me,” she whispered. “For trusting me. And for as long as you’re around, I’ll be there, too.”

His chest swelled as he heard the promise in her words, and he closed his eyes, held her tight. Gratitude welled up within him. A warm sensation of growing trust, the hope that maybe, just maybe, he’d found a good person at long last with whom he could face the world.

“Thanks,” he said, voice rough. “Let’s face this shit together.”

Serenity pulled back, tears in her eyes, smile broken, lopsided, but real. “Yeah. Let’s.”

A note from pwtucker

Hey everyone, I wanted to take a moment to say a heartfelt thank you.

Two weeks ago I wrote Chapter 1, did a copy edit in Word, and published it without any grand plans or backlog. After Skadi's Saga failed to take off, I thought maybe I just didn't have the chops to write an interesting web novel. 

Your interest in Dawn of the Void has shown me maybe I shouldn't hang up my hat just yet.

So thank you for reading. For giving this story a shot, when I know there are so many other excellent stories out there. I appreciate your time, your comments, and can't tell you how excited I am to keep revealing my take on litrpg apocalypse. 

You guys are the best. 

Support "Dawn of the Void - a LitRPG Apocalypse"

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anon_user ago

TFTC! Just as I was reading chapter 29, chapter 30 came up, must be Providence!

Edit: Wow that reveal is kind of fucked up, you'll maybe want to put a trigger warning somewhere.

    pwtucker ago

    Edit: Trigger warning added. Will be sure to add them in the future when dealing with personal tragedy like this one.

    StormWhiteHd ago

    Yo sidenote, can we get a moment later in the book where James ends up fighting a bad guy, maybe a gang leader, or someone evil, and he finds out that was the guy that broke in, and when he does, James goes scorched earth he'll fire judgement mode on him.

      BloodedBroadAxe ago

      i gotta say, i hope not. its such an unlikely thing to happen it will almost certainly break the suspension of disbelief :/

      pwtucker ago

      I like the cut of your jib.

      baelrath ago

      Honestly, that would do more harm than good. Those things never bring the relief the victims want. Cause depending on the emotional cocktail they've been holding on to all this time, it just leaves them worse off. Hollow. Void.

      If you want to go that route, and have them come out the other side. Then he could save someone else from that fate, or help someone else be there to save someone from that fate. Then he can have that catharsis of, i wasn't there to save them, but i could save someone else. And honestly, even if he had been there, that type of person, he would have just joined his wife or had to watch as he bled out or something equally as messed up.

      Mister Bill ago

      Yeah, don’t have it go all Batman with getting revenge somehow on the one criminal who attacked your family in a city of millions.

      MrAlwaysRight ago

      I agree, the guy would probably be in prison and might've died there.

      Makes we wonder, what happened to prisoners in this story? Did they get an advantage with the gremlins because it was a small room and they're (probably) more used to violence?

      Mister Bill ago

      I’m guessing it’s a total mix and some requested and beat up their gremlin, some did not, and a lot didn’t summon in time. Folks in prison are a big mix which is why it goes minimum, medium, maximum security.

      baelrath ago

      I'm going to ask you stop that train of thought right there... because it opens the door up to other less pleasant ones and this situation is already....

      have we confirmed if there is an age limit on who gets the "Invite"... what about those in comas or various physical or mental disabilities. They either don't press it and instant die from that worse one when time limit reached, or maybe they don't have full capabilities to understand or process that kind of choice and do press it and don't realize what's been summoned....

      What about kids? The elderly?

      ralek ago

      Probably the only way he gets closure is a crafting class becoming good enough to read the past of a corpse or him getting approached again by a mind reading probably mind wandering monitor who can tell him who killed them in exchange for something he'd be hard-pressed to give. I'm just saying it wouldn't break the suspension of disbelief as much as Jess turning out to be an important character or somehow someone managing to get an Uber or multiple steaks in the middle of the apocalypse.

      MrAlwaysRight ago

      Honestly, I fear that it is exactly as you described @baelrath.

      I think that everyone who was unable to start the "hunt" with their Nemesis 1 died instantly (we don't actually know how that happens right? Is it like a heart attack or something?). I also fear that children and elderly constituted the largest amount of victims.

      It's a real shitty thing to think about, but the way this novel has been going, it seems to be correct...

    Mister Bill ago

    Why a trigger warning? This is a frigging grimdark story with people getting eaten and dying by the score and it’s mentioned in a single sentence. Also, it has been alluded to (something horrible happening to his family) this whole time.

      Chalkietigger ago

      A lot of people can have traumatic incidents with incidents like rape or the murder of a family member. Everyone handles everything differently. If someone who has been a victim or knows a victim of rape or a violent assault reads this without a warning, it can be terrible for them.

      Imagine the memory one of the darkest parts of your life was dredged up without warning whilst you read something. You certainly wouldn't be in a good mood.

      Yes, there are warnings for traumatizing content, sexual content and gore. Someone could be completely fine with gore, but still get deeply wounded emotionally by any mention of rape, or maybe the specific situation might bare similarities with something they or a loved one have experienced. Traumatizing content is a very broad warning and the sexual content warning could just warn about normal sexy times.

      Trigger warnings are a very simple way of making sure someone can at least prepare themselves for something dark. They can be done in an opening note with a spoiler with ease.

      It doesn't matter if its a "grimdark with people getting eaten and dying by the score". It doesn't matter if it was "mentioned in a single sentence". As long as there is even a chance someone could have their day ruined by having an awful memory brought to the surface, a trigger warning is beneficial.

      anon_user ago

      Low effort and high return, it helps people and costs nothing.

      pwtucker ago

      Absolutely. I'm new to RR and not sure how much the blanket tags are meant to convey. I'll post a trigger warning at the top now.

      anon_user ago

      Thank you, it's appreciated =)

      pwtucker ago

      Trigger warning posted. Let me know if you think it's sufficient.

      Mister Bill ago

      @chalk I know why people do them. I’m asking why one would be needed here. It’s a grimdark horror story. If one has PTSD (which is what “triggers” are actually a part of) then one should stay away from stories that are super dark. Or be ready to read something that triggers the PTSD.


      Also, basically no book before the last couple years AFAIK had anything of the sort yet only now is it requested. That doesn’t make much sense to me, especially when a higher percentage of people in the past went through things that caused PTS and PTSD.

      pwtucker ago

      I think my position will be what @anon_user said: low effort, high return. If a trigger warning helps some folks enjoy my work better, and doesn't take much effort on my part, and I hope doesn't detract from other folks' reading experiences, then it's just easier and more considerate to post them.

      Chalkietigger ago

      A little nitpicky suggestion, maybe put it in the opening authors note since that just looks a little nicer. It also makes it a bit more noticeable and separate from the writing.

      Another little tip is to maybe include one at the start of every chapter, even if it just says "It shouldn't have anything incredibly bad in it". This allows readers who don't need a trigger warning to read every chapter and not have that little tiny spoiler of "Oh, a trigger warning on this specific chapter, that means this specific chapter has something bad in it, oh no."

      Other than my little nitpicking bit, its a definitely good. It isn't like the blanket tags don't usually do the job. They are just very general and don't indicate that a specific trauma of someone's has appeared.

      It is definitely a sufficient trigger warning, I'm just a very picky person lol.

      pwtucker ago

      Thanks for the feedback, I've moved it to the header, and will consider adding one to each chapter moving forward.

      Chalkietigger ago

      Mister Bill

      For the first paragraph, just because they have PTSD doesn't mean they can't enjoy other dark types of fantasy. Not all traumas are linked at all. If someone got PTSD midway through their life and had to totally lose their love of grimdark fantasy or whatever, it would probably be terrible. Trigger warnings just make the whole genre more approachable for everyone.

      As for the second paragraph. Just because they are only now requested doesn't mean they couldn't have been beneficial in the past. In modern times, people are more open about their traumas and they receive more help. As a result of openness, there is a bigger push to be inclusive of these people. Trigger warnings are just one example of this inclusivity.

      Mister Bill ago

      @chalk now you request a header for every chapter? That will likely be spoiler-y? Dang. Like I said, much simpler if one has PTSD to either avoid grimdark horror or be ready to read unsettling things.


      Which addresses your other reply. I did not say people with trauma in their past can’t read whatever they want. Please refrain from putting words in my mouth.

      The past did many things better and not catering to everyone is one, IMO, especially if the trauma in their life is so fresh as to be triggered by a single mention in a horror story that was like pulling teeth out of the MC.

      Inclusivity has no limiting principle, as shown by your request to now mark every chapter. Not long after someone will probably ask for a header that details the amount of trauma in it. And then exactly how little there is in the ones where it’s stated there’s nothing going on. Etc. Especially as all sorts of things trigger different groups.

      Mister Bill ago

      It can be nice to want to cater to different groups but there’s no end to it, Mr. Author Man. Just FYI.


      Do what you like but the requests will only increase.

      Chalkietigger ago

      My request for one in every chapter was simply because the author of another fiction I read does something similar. It won't be spoilery or whatever. If anything it's the opposite.

      I never put words in your mouth, I was just saying that they shouldn't have to avoid every single story of a genre.

      "Inclusivity has no limiting principle, as shown by your request to now mark every chapter." is an incredibly exaggerative way of taking what I said. I wasn't saying to mark every chapter or whatever for inclusivity purposes, I was saying to do it simply because it makes it less obvious for those that don't need the trigger warnings which chapters are gonna be heavy hitting.

      All my suggestions were inspired by the author Thundamoo. Thundamoo added a trigger warning label after people who read a certain chapter of one of their fiction's realized it'd gone a bit off the deep end of traumatizing content. Following from that chapter, every chapter got a similar warning. This seems to work very well for Thundamoo, and thus I thought it'd be a good recommendation for what another author could do.

      I apologize for coming across as the sort to be given an inch, only to take a mile. I was just meaning to give any idea I could to the author whilst trying my best to not come across as demanding or what have you. It appears I apparently failed.

      anon_user ago

      I've been one of the person asking for a trigger warning but I think only a high level warning for typical triggers is required. Then, people will have to use their own judgement but at least they're informed, I'd just like to avoid springing some heavy stuff at people unawares but that's all. That's the maximum I'm willing to ask from an author that is already kindly putting their work out there for free. At the same time, I think it's reasonable to at least ask but that would also be the author prerogative to say "this is traumatizing content as advertised on the story's page". I'm also very appreciative of the time the author is spending reading the comments and willingness to engage.

      Chalkietigger ago

      Yeah, anon_user, my suggestion wasn't trying to get alot from the author. My goal wasn't to have all the trigger warnings actually be filled with information about the triggers or anything like that. The suggestion was just to try and avoid the "oh, so they put a trigger warning on this chapter, now I know this chapter is gonna have some stuff go down" by putting one on every chapter. And again, I wasn't fully asking the author to do this.

      I was just making sure the possibility is known, as they themselves said they were new to royal road. Also thought the suggestion might be good since the author has made it clear that they want to at least do a little to try and make the fiction more inclusive as well as mentioning that they "hope doesn't detract from other folks' reading experiences". The suggestion was simply to just avoid detraction from peoples reading experiences.


      BTW I know you weren't arguing against me, I just sometimes suck at explaining myself and only just thought of this way of explaining why I gave my suggestion. I also thought this might be necessary to mention.

      anon_user ago

      It's no biggie honestly, don't worry about it =)

      Mute Reader ago

      I couldn't agree more, really, I mean it's a LitRPG Apocalypse, like an Apocalypse themed story where you already have dead casualties up to and easily exceeding the millions.

      Why is a single mention of rape and murder that much worse..

      Chalkietigger ago

      I can see your point Mute Reader, but I'd like to point out that these deaths are in a purely fantastical manner. No realism is put into any of the deaths of these people, so its easier to just ignore it. The whole rape and murder thing can and does happen in real life. And thus, people can have very real traumas related to this.

      Another argument is this. A family member dies from a disease and you are very sad about it. In the news, you hear about people dying in an accident, but it doesn't make you feel too much worse. Then, on social media you see someone talk about someone they love dying of the disease that killed your family member. That is more likely to put a damper on your mood since it hits closer to home.

      In general terms, a single mention of rape and murder isn't necessarily much worse. However, in specific cases where readers or their loved ones could have experienced similar experiences, it is going to be a lot worse.

      MrAlwaysRight ago

      @Mister Bill: You're overthinking it. It's the first time in 30 chapters someone felt the need to ask for a trigger warning. It is indeed a low effort, high return investment for the author to add these warnings sporadically, whenever they feel it is needed.

      And yes, perhaps people should expect disturbing things to pop up in a grimdark story, but I feel this way is best. And it's not like the author has to do this every other chapter so we won't get spoiled.

      Mister Bill ago

      @the other Mr a dude literally just asked for a spoiler on every chapter for if it contains gruesome content or not.

      Rabids ago

      Just don't open the spoiler tag? There. Problem solved, you're welcome👍🏼😀

      Mister Bill ago

      Just don’t ask for special treatment when authors have enough on their plates and this is all free to us and if people read grimdark they should be prepared for it to be both grim and dark.

      Mute Reader ago

      @Chalkietigger I'm going to pretend I didn't see how you might be insinuating that feeling detached to death tolls simply because they are not related to us is right

      Rabids ago

      @Mister Bill In this case though, it is you arguing against the author. They already said it didn't cost them anything and they were happy to do it.

      @Mute Reader I'm going to pretend I didn't see how you might be insinuating stealing candy from poor kids is a nice weekend activity. Nice, that was easy, since you didn't insinuate anything like that. You might want to read @Chalkietriggers comment again?

      Mister Bill ago

      @rabids or, you know, I was replying to you. And it does cost the author time as well as a lot of effort if he tries to add warnings for every chapter and every way someone could be “triggered”.

      Chalkietigger ago

      @Mute Reader Death is often shown to us but if we don't have any real experience with anything similar to the cause of death, the best we can sympathize is by comparing the losses to our own.

      If the death reminds us of a death of a loved one it can hurt much more. In my example, I said that, if your mother had died of an illness, it would hit much harder if someone talked about their experience with losing a loved one to that same illness.

      What I was saying, was that personal experiences hit harder than ones unrelated to you. Both make you sad, but hearing about incidents that remind you of a sad personal experience will definitely hit harder. It's why people donate to cancer causes after losing a family member to cancer. It's why people donate to Alzheimer's research charities when a family member gets Alzheimer's.

      Sympathy tends to be a lot stronger than empathy.

      What I didn't say at all was "that feeling detached to death tolls simply because they are not related to us is right". Saying I was insinuating that is like trying to say "Hope you have a nice day today" insinuates I hope you don't have a nice day tomorrow. I can hardly find any connection between what I said and what you seemed to infer.

      I do find it kind of rude that you just assumed I was possibly saying that, but part of the blame could be put on me due to my own failures in explaining my point. I hope this explanation is enough, cause if it isn't, I guess imma just have to blame you for misinterpreting what I said.

      Chalkietigger ago

      @Mister Bill

      Imma try and say this as short as I can, which I suck at, as can be seen by my overly large paragraph style comments. I just intend to clear up any misconceptions about my suggestion.

      I'll just say, my suggestion wasn't intended towards doing a full detailed description of all the possible triggers available. My suggestion was intended for little content warnings essentially, some just being blank if necessary.

      And it was just that, a suggestion. An idea shared with the intention of allowing the author to come up with their own ideas.

      And it isn't like other authors don't do what I suggested. My suggestion was quite literally inspired by another authors fiction. Apologies for underestimating the effort of writing a couple extra sentences quickly saying "Oh we got the usual stuff with a little bit of [insert whatever is being warned about here]" .

      Mister Bill ago

      @chalk I made no claims about other authors not doing so nor did I say that you alone wanted the world, but plenty of others do. Also “a few other people do this” is a terrible argument to make for something you want universal, haha.

      Mute Reader ago

      @Chalk I apologize if my words have offended you, perhaps you are right and my personal experiences are what drives me to disagree with you, maybe I've been hypocritical.

      It's just infuriating how much people don't seem to care about a lot happening to rest of the world simply because it's happening halfway across the country, continent or the world. Heck even if it's happening a block away, people just don't seem to care.

      So once again I apologize, but let's address the horse in the room, anyone who has some kind of trauma that the next person besides them will or can consider GRIMDARK when put in writing should just leave the Genre alone and maybe focus on other less intense Genres or something.

      Cause spoiling the chapter for the rest of an author's readers because of a few is really not the way to go, cause a lot of the surprise and emotion that not knowing what happens in a chapter before reading it just isn't there anymore, and some readers really do not appreciate that.

      Rabids ago

      @mr bill: I assume the writer is a grown person and can choose how he/she uses their time. If it was me, I wouldn't mind using 30 sec's extra to be considerate.

      @Mute reader: If you don't know how spoiler tags work I can recommend googling it. You can learn a lot on google👍🏼 (hint: you don't HAVE to click it)

      Chalkietigger ago

      @Mister Bill

      I don't really want it universal. I said it as a suggestion, something the author could do if they wanted it. Sure, it'd be handy to have it universal or whatever but it's up to the author what they do, something I understood when I said they could do it, not that they should.

      Chalkietigger ago

      @Mute Reader

      I wasn't really completely offended, I just found it a bit rude, but thanks for the apology.

      Trigger warnings, like the one on this chapter, are usually done in a spoiler. This requires the reader to click on it to see what it says. This does not spoil the fiction, other than saying that there might be a trigger in this chapter.

      My suggestion of doing it on every chapter was to avoid this issue of spoilers by making it a common thing to see. That makes it so that the chapters that require the trigger warning are not obvious, keeping the element of surprise and emotion.

      In my opinion, people should be allowed to read whatever they wish regardless of the genre, obviously as long as its legal to do so or whatever.

      A persons struggles should be made to affect them as little as possible. This is why we have wheelchair ramps. This is why shops allow guide dogs in. If someone with some traumatic memory is forced to stop reading a genre, their struggles are preventing them from doing something they enjoy. I hope you can completely understand when I say, being made to stop enjoying something is not good.

      Trigger warnings are to people with trauma what wheelchair ramps are to people in wheelchairs. Only difference is that one provides accessibility to a form of media whilst the other provides accessibility to a building.

      lenkite ago

      Yep, Imagine a [Nemesis-2] slowly chomping 👹 you from the bottom-up, taking its time while its saliva 🩸 coagulates you and keeps you alive! 😱 Your toes go first, then your heels, then your ankles , then your calves, then your knees and thighs 🦵🏽 , then your family jewels and your joy-stick 🪄. Your innards 🪱 , your chest and finally your delicious heart 💔.

      The N-2 salivates with each little pound of flesh, while you scream and scream and scream until your throat tears and your eyeballs 👁 pop out 🍾.

      Definitely needs [🔫 Trigger Warning ⚠️].

      lenkite ago

      Fine now. Was just thinking that poor guy was lucky 🍀 being chomped [Head First]. Only half-a-second for your soul to go to Styx.

elderfurst ago

A nice character building chapter! The action has been great, but these are the chapters that really get you attached the story imo

K5P26 ago

A quick binge, and not one seen with bright tinted glasses. I love reading stories like this, where you can feel the tension and the emotion from the characters. And I guess James was lost but then he found himself when the world needed every help it could possibly get. It's beautiful, mesmerising and tragic. Thank you for the chapter.

Ps. I can totally see James pulling off a self sacrifice move at the end of this novel just like every classic apocalypse story, like how Bruce Willis declared Jihad on an asteroid.

Galedeep ago

This and the Saga are both great, but Skadi's Saga is a fantastic new thing, riffing on LitRPG in a different way, whereas this feels more like familiar ground, just done very, very well.

I'm a fan of both, but I can definitely see why they attract different audiences, and this has a wider appear to folks looking for things they already know they like.

Sesharan ago

Hey, I’m just gonna go cry a little now. You’ve written something beautiful, and heartbreaking, and human, and nothing shows it better than this chapter right here.

Thank you.

Tom English ago

You mentioned Miami and that gives me an idea.
I'm sure an alligator can eat a Nemesis 1. Does the alligator get the points then? Can an alligator or lion or whatever lvl?


sildet ago

Still loving this! I can’t help but think these guys are too cavalier about using their Aeviternum. It can bring you from the brink of death and costs a full level of points (which have slowed down considerably), and they’re talking about using them like coffee?!

Lesserman ago

Man, great chapter. Not as fun as the shoot'n'chop'em up ones but definitely one that has the weight to ground this story. Helps understand both James and Serenity and humanize them.

One editing suggestion. You are using past tense in your story and I think it might be better to have it remain that way

So edit suggestion:

Some people deteriorated on the street. It griounds them down

    pwtucker ago

    Thanks! I tripped over that present tense shift myself, but in the moment it felt right, sort of present in James's thoughts. I'll go back and reconsider.

      Pablo Diablo ago

      I think a tense shift is acceptable in this case - you aren't talking about concrete events that happened in the past. You're talking about the general state of the world; that people didn't just deteriorate in the streets at one point in the past, but that it is the ongoing way of things.

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