Luminosity (Twilight fanfic) Part 2 Discussion Thread

by JenniferRM1 min read25th Oct 2010425 comments

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Fiction (Topic)
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This is Part 2 of the discussion of Alicorn's Twilight fanfic Luminosity

LATE BREAKING EDIT: Part 3 exists now, so new comment threads should be started there rather than here.

In the vein of the Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion threads this is the place to discuss anything relating to Alicorn's Twilight fanfic Luminosity. The fanfic is also archived on Alicorn's own website.

Here is Part 1 of the discussion.  Previous discussion is hidden so deeply within the first Methods of Rationality thread that it's difficult to find even if you already know it exists.

Similar to how Eliezer's fanfic popularizes material from his sequences Alicorn is using the insights from her Luminosity sequence.

The fic is really really good but there is a twist part way through that makes the fic even more worth reading than it already was, but that makes it hard to talk about because to even ask if someone is twist-aware with any specific hints is difficult.  The twist is in the latter half of the story.  If you are certainly not post-twist and want to save the surprise, then you should stop reading here and fall back to Part 1 discussion or to the fic itself.

 

If you think you're pretty sure you are post-twist and are safe to read the rest of this, try reading this rot13'ed hint and see if what you've read matches this high level description of the twist...

Rqjneq unf qvfpbirerq gur frperg gung Vfnoryyn jnf xrrcvat sebz uvz "sbe uvf bja tbbq" bhg bs srne bs Neb ernqvat Rqjneq'f zvaq.  Va gur nsgrezngu, fbzrguvat unf punatrq nobhg gurve eryngvbafuvc gung znl unir pnhfrq lbh gb pel sbe n juvyr, naq juvpu znlor urycf gb rzbgvbanyyl qevir ubzr gur pbzovarq zrffntr bs YJ'f negvpyrf nobhg "fbzrguvat gb cebgrpg" naq "ernfba nf n zrzrgvp vzzhar qvfbeqre" naq gur jnl gurl pna fvzhygnarbhfyl nccyl gb crbcyr jub unir abguvat zber va gur jbeyq guna fbzr fvatyr crefba jub gurl ybir.

If the answer to the hint is obvious, then just to be sure that there is not a double illusion of transparency at work, here is the cutoff point spelled out explicitly:

Gur phgbss cbvag sbe cbfgvat urer vf gung lbh unir ernq hc gb puncgre svsgl svir (va gur snasvpgvba irefvba) be puncgre gjragl rvtug ba Nyvpbea'f jrofvgr jurer Rqjneq jnf cebonoyl vapvarengrq, Vfnoryyn fheivirf na nggrzcgrq vapvarengvba, naq fur unf gb ortha gb jbex bhg jung gb qb jvgu gur jerpxntr bs gur erfg bs ure "rgreany" yvsr.

And now for your regularly scheduled commenting...

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I want to register amusement that "Methods of Rationality" contains a Bella and "Luminosity" contains a Harry.

0MartinB11yCrossover shipping?
0Alicorn11yBut Harry Clearwater is married, and also now he's learned his lesson about dallying with mortals. Gung naq V xvyyrq uvz bss.
0MartinB11yj/k. i still have to read up to the current chapters

Well, with the story over, I've just got to say - I'm massively impressed.

It actually encouraged me to read your sequence(far more than MoR) simply because of how insanely productive you were. Eliezer has an exceptional update schedule, but you're like a machine. Post-singularity.

What surprised me the most was, perhaps, that the story forced me to take sparkly vampires seriously. Previously, I had an instinctive /facepalm reaction to them, whereas now I've got to admit, that a more skilled writer than Meyer can certainly make it work.

All in all, there's only two things left to say: Thumbs Up and I Need My Luminosity Fix Plx!!!111oneoenoe

6Alicorn11yYour enthusiasm is heartening. The sequel, Radiance, will start updating Nov. 8, and I plan to stick to the MWF updates with 4k+ words/chapter.
1Benquo11ySeconded.

I just wanted to say that Chapter 55 made me go from "the luminosity fic is good" to "omg I need to get people to read the luminosity fic!".

One rule for emotionally compelling stories is "make a character you love and then torture them" and Alicorn has done that very very well. At this point I don't know if the story can have any kind of happy ending, but the story has transitioned from one where the default happy ending can pretty much be assumed (because most stories have so much wish fulfillment), to one of the rare stories where implacable reality is described by the author in the way you would expect an implacable reality to work.

And I love the way it is the "rationalist character" who, in retrospect, was sort of "blithely rational" who got hurt. This is a lesson that is meaningful for me, helping me to emotionally internalize the real risks of experimenting with one's life, rather than a lesson that I can imagine is meaningful for normal Harry Potter fanfic readers. When the pack was expanding and things were clearly getting out of control I had a bad feeling and wanted to warn Bella, but I didn't really expect negative outcomes.

Thank you, Alicorn, for writing this.

Ok, I know I'm late to the party, but I feel the need to comment about the Norway chapters. First a minor nitpick: You would not need to learn Norwegian to interact with people working in an international airport, nor indeed with people working on a remote farm in the uplands. (Although it is, of course, courteous to do so.)

Second point: Wolves? In the vicinity of Bergen? Ah... no. Not at all. Norway is not very densely settled by European standards, but come on; it's not the Canadian outback. There are something like 150 wolves in the whole of Scandinavi... (read more)

3wedrifid11yI share your sentiment. I would go as far as to say that I would respect her more had she opted to eat a human by preference. Not that it would be necessary. For crying out loud, eat someone's pet cat. Were I myself a part of Luminosiverse I would, it would seem, look down upon Bella with the same sense of moral superiority that she has for 'carnivores'. I wouldn't go as far as fighting her over it - her threat to worthwhile novelty in the environment is still trivial compared to humanity and she would have at least some usefulness in achieving other worthwhile goals. It also isn't like she has a fundamentally unacceptable overall goals. Just messed up priorities when it comes to sorting between lesser evils.
-2Eugine_Nier11yAre you actually saying that according to your values the life of a sapient human is worth less then the life of an endangered wolf?
2wedrifid11yMy values, transposed into the position of a vampire in Luminosiverse, yes. I would be a predator, choosing among prey of two species that are not my own. There isn't anything magical about humanity and there is real value in maintaining a whole species. Particularly something as awesome as wolves. More so in a universe in which the species has magical significance. As I mentioned, I'd eat someone's pet cat instead. But if it came down to a pure choice between eating wolves to extinction or eating a human then vampire wedrifid would eat a human. Ultimately, if you bite the bullet on "Shut up and Multiply" then it turns out that you have to Shut up and Divide as well. A single human just isn't worth six billion times as much as the wolf species. In Bella's case she isn't doing a whole species worth of damage in one feed (which is, of course, hard to imagine) so the multiplicative factor isn't quite so large. But even so, her choice isn't a good one. Particularly given the ridiculous number of alternatives she had available. Bella also can't be expected to Shut up and Multiply. If she follows in the author's footsteps she does not even implement consequentialism. But Bella's reasons for behaving unethically are not important.
6RolfAndreassen11yIt may be worth pointing out that it is only the Scandinavian wolf population that is endangered, not the species as a whole; there's a lot of wolves in Russia. But still, given that the declared policy of the Norwegian state and, presumably, people (disregarding the dang farmers, who ought to get with the gains-from-specialisation program already and stop trying to farm in subarctic conditions) is that we want to preserve a wolf population, it's rather rude, as well as illegal, for a guest in the country to eat one. Not to mention unrealistic, in that finding a wolf anywhere near a fjord is really quite unlikely. If it came to a choice between a wolf and a human, I would definitely eat the wolf; but that's not the choice Bella faces. Let her find a moose. On another subject, I'm not quite sure about the ecological impact of 'vegetarian' vampires. They are clearly apex predators, and they are pure carnivores. There are not that many moose in any given area, much less killer whales; you would think they'd hunt out the local populations pretty quickly, and someone would notice. I suppose they can eat rabbits and lemmings, which nobody would miss, but if Bella can drain the blood of a killer whale in one sitting (!), how many rabbits does she need in a day? Something is weird about the energy flows in the Luminosiverse.
6Alicorn11yI apologize for the imaginary depredation of endangered species. I just googled "Norwegian wildlife" and picked something. It became a minor conversation topic later so I don't want to edit it out. In fairness, Bella has no reason to know the conservation status of the Scandinavian population of any megafauna, and Edward is trying desperately at that point to get her to eat and knows carnivores to be more appealing than herbivores, so in the (perhaps wildly unlikely) event that he smelled a wolf near a fjord, he would encourage her to eat it and she'd have no reason to reject it because it has few friends.
1wedrifid11yGood point. It has vampires that look 'graceful' while at the same time accelerating at inhuman rates despite near-human mass. Vampires have vulnerabilities to other vampires and to wolves yet resistance to other physical attacks that is in no way proportionate with respect to physics. Yes, it's best just to consider the energy flows 'magic' and leave it that.
1nshepperd11yWait, why should your values change just because you're suddenly immortal? Or is it because of the magical value of wolves in the luminosiverse? This doesn't make sense.
2wedrifid11yImmortality is not the only change. That plays somewhat of a part. Sense? What is this 'sense' and how does it relate to human values? :P
1nshepperd11yI didn't think any change would be enough. Isn't morality subjunctively objective [http://lesswrong.com/lw/sm/the_meaning_of_right/]? What doesn't make sense is that you look like you're saying wedrifid_vampire's values are good according to wedrifid_now's values. If I were expecting to be "turned" I would do everything I can to maintain my current values after the event, because to do otherwise would be against my current values. And my current values say that if it's a human or an endangered wolf, I'd save the human.
3wedrifid11yThat doesn't preclude self reference. (sp. subjectively) Does this apply in the extreme case? That is, species vs individual? If I had a single use switch that could be used to either save the wolf species or save an individual human I'd flick it to 'wolf species'. The only reason I would even consider the other option is because humans lose their grip on perspective when it comes to morality - it is sometimes necessary to signal to them.
2PhilGoetz11yUnless you can provide an objective reason why your values should prefer eating the wolf, I will assume it's because you have a rule saying that you should treat members of your own species specially. Once you become a vampire, the extensional interpretation of this rule changes. It now says that you should treat vampires specially.
-1Eugine_Nier11yI place value on sapience/sentience/self-awareness whatever you want to call it.
1Carinthium11yAlthough I don't, my best guess is that he puts a value on biodiversity.
2wedrifid11yYou don't put any value on biodiversity? As in, if you had the choice of destroying all biodiversity in the world that isn't directly necessary to human survival for benefit to you of one cent you would take it? That is cold.
0shokwave11yI think his values change because he changed from being a human into being a vampire: by many measures of species, vampires are a separate species from humans.
1Eugine_Nier11yYes there is. Humans are sapient. BTW, what do you find so magical about maintaining a whole species?
1wedrifid11yI almost commented on that the first time. It struck me as a red herring. Sapience is not even a universal feature of humanity. There are animals that I have known who are 'possessing of more wisdom and discernment' than the least among the humans I have known. Sapience is not the greatest distinguishing feature of humanity and I seriously doubt that you value humans in proportion to their degree of 'sapience' in practice. I like wolves. I like novelty. No other reason is needed.
2Carinthium11yOut of curiousity, could you give some examples and (ideally highly detailed) evidence? I'm curious to know, particularly how you managed to measure it.
1shokwave11yHaving been a human seems to be a strong argument in favour of unfairly privileging them over other species, even endangered.

Hi, Alicorn, just wanted to say that the ideas from your fanfic and the related sequence have noticeably helped me in real life. I'm not fully implementing them or I wouldn't be spending my Saturday screwing around online, but I definitely feel empowered and optimistic, which is an unfamiliar situation. Applying these patterns of thinking at any time has proven to improve my life and my effectiveness. That is pretty cool for someone addicted to instant gratification.

Luminosity seems very related to mindfulness; it requires intentional control of one's atte... (read more)

2Alicorn11yYou're welcome!
[-][anonymous]11y 6

I'm starting the sequel, and mostly wanted to say thank-you to Alicorn for writing this: I think Radiance has the potential to be even more interesting than Luminosity, mostly because it's almost entirely original. Also, Elspeth is really very likable, which is very important for this story to "work."

I would echo the comments of the reader who wrote earlier that the story seems to lack much in the way of sensory description. Since we're seeing through Elspeth's eyes, I wish we got a lot more of how things look, feel, taste, sound to her. For inst... (read more)

2[anonymous]11yJust wanted to note that Chapter 4 gave me more of the description I'd been missing--I have a better image of Cody now. I also really liked Cody's run-down of the pack dynamics because I'd been thinking that social tensions could get completely insane in a situation like the one Jacob's pack is in. Elspeth's concerns about kidnapping seemed perfectly reasonable to me too. It also seemed "realistic" given the situation and the character that Elspeth couldn't keep her mom's secret, though I'm sure Bella wouldn't be pleased to know it.
0MBlume10yI don't know, I thought that was a pretty strong indication.

I loved the first half of this story. But since Bella became a vampire, I found myself liking it less and less. But it was only with Chapter 55 that I realized why.

Bella went FOOM.

I hate it when that happens.

Maybe Elspeth will take it slower. Something more friendly, a bit more in line with the Collective Expectations of Vampiredom.

Looking forward to the sequel.

4thomblake11yHa! (what? that's just how I laugh)
1Benquo11yI had the same reaction - and I love the crazy spiraling-out-of-control in HPMoR, but it just doesn't feel right in this story. Luminous Bella does need flaws for the story to work, but really shouldn't have the same blind spots as Rationalist Harry. All the same, even though the second half is somewhat less engaging for me, I'm still loving the story, and it's helped me make more sense of the LW Luminosity sequence.
4Alicorn11yWait what? If I did that I made a serious mistake. What blind spots do they share?
5Benquo11yNot all the same blind spots - I exaggerated and I shouldn't have. But in particular, I would expect Bella to have take quite a bit more time to think about the question, will awakening the Quileute really help them? She rightly realizes that the Quileute are in a dangerous and precarious position, but immediately panics and pulls the first lever she can find, instead of thinking for a week or so - or at least a solid hour that the reader sees - about whether that will really make things better. She should have a pretty significant prior expectation that there's going to be some major consequences to Awakening, given what happens in the closest analogue she's experienced, Turning. A newborn vampire is darn hard to restrain - so why should she assume she has a good chance of experimenting on Rachel without being detected? She doesn't really strike me as impatient in this way in the first half of the story. I guess it's plausible that the high stakes spook her into uncharacteristic haste, but really, the fact that Aro could "remember" the Quileute at any time doesn't quite imply a "something must be done/this is something/therefore this must be done" kind of response. Of course, she makes this mistake in her own, distinctive personal style. For example, she does actually bother talking with at least one of the people who would be affected before actually going out there. But two of Harry's most distinctive flaws are Extreme Other-Optimizing and Experimenting Before Thinking, and Bella makes both of these simultaneously by awakening the Quileute.

Actually, it looks to me like that mistake happened because turning shook her out of good habits. She stopped writing journal entries, supposedly because she has perfect memory; but the main benefit of that was consolidating and analyzing thoughts, not preserving them. On top of that, she didn't consult with anyone, because of the mind-reading issue. She thought vampiric super-memory was a substitute for her old cognitive toolkit, but it wasn't, so she ended up doing something very stupid.

7JenniferRM11yThis kind of insight is why, from a rationality perspective I love the twist in this story. This is so good at showing the causal density [http://pileusblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/the-causal-density-of-human-behavior/] of real human systems and the disasters that can come from falsely concluding that you have a causally correct theory about why you won when you win and why you failed when you fail. How could she have been sure of this? Where would she have needed to direct her rational faculties to pull this hypothesis up out of all the other hypotheses about what went wrong? It seems plausible that what Bella needed might have been some specific insight applied at or before a specific chapter, but the menu of things it might have helped to adjust [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases] is enormous and any particular fix might have had its own negative side effects that we aren't seeing in the story because they weren't applied. For example, one of my own personal heuristics is that I should generally delay any action that has "epistemically irreversible" consequences until I am either (1) forced into the action by external circumstances and the need to "make a bet for survival one way or the other" or (2) I have identified post-change mechanisms that will allow the new situation/framework to identify its own flaws and dismantle itself if it isn't actually for the best. Based on this pet theory and post hoc rationalization about Bella, I might argue that the place where Bella went wrong was in becoming a vampire and accepting apparently permanent modifications to her mind despite not being forced into it by a true emergency or verifying that the post-modification state passes the "self critiquing reversibility" test. As Vaniver pointed out [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2mq/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_discussion_thread/2u4y?c=1] in the previous comment thread, now she appears to be trapped in a Punisher comic book that's almost certain to have an u
3Vaniver11yPossibly, but keep in mind she has evidence that this irreversible transition would make her better at improving. Not wanting to become superior because that might make you overconfident is a pretty self-defeating strategy; though constantly checking plans for signs of overconfidence is a good plan. (That is, if she thought about it beforehand and was more self-aware, she would understand journaling is valuable as more than a memory aid, and keep it up or find a substitute as a vampire. But she'd be able to journal / self-critique way better as a vampire than as a human.)
2JenniferRM11y...is not what I'm talking about. The self-critiquing-reversibility test is designed specifically to prevent apparent self improvements which are not actual self improvements and from which you cannot retreat. If the test is passed then it should give you more room to play and explore because you actually have a safety net in the form of a "bailout option". The test is designed to prevent you from, for example, getting addicted to a purported nootropic that turns out to be more like crystal meth than like caffeine. Avoiding "belief in the value of irrational belief" is another place where the heuristic might be applied. For Bella, thing vampires can't do include turning off their desire for blood, or changing their emotional connection to their mates. These are, in some sense, "permanent utility function tweaks" rather that simple "optimization power upgrades". If Harry had applied the test in the first handful of chapters of MoR, he would have asked McGonagall if it was possible for him to explore the wizarding world but then back out somehow if he decided it was better to be a muggle instead of a wizard after educating himself about the costs and benefits of both states. The best answer from McGonagall (though I don't think she can actually do this, which may be relevant) is "Here, let me take veritaserum... Now... Yes, easily, because memories can be erased with an obliviation spell and returning to a naive state will be basically the same as never having learned about the wizarding world in the first place, but you'll find that the cost benefit analysis is unambiguously positive because of things like X and Y which appeal to you right now. The biggest downsides are P and Q and similar issues which are obviously negligible in the face of X and Y." Absolutely. Resilience and naive optimization are often in conflict. The highest expected value strategy in investing is to put all your money in the single investment that itself has the highest expected value
0Vaniver11yI wanted to comment on this example: the benefits to index funds are more than in variance. Trading costs make it a superior long-term strategy to managed funds / researching your own stock picks (the highest expected value investment will change from moment to moment), and the fact that stock prices are not independent means a well-chosen larger subset of stocks will have higher expected value than a poorly-chosen smaller subset of stocks. To reword that last sentence (and explain what I mean by well-chosen and poorly chosen): if I sort stocks by expected return over the next month and pick the top five, my expected value is worse than or the same as if I also model the effect stock prices have on other stocks, and then pick the set of five stocks whose expected return over the next month is highest, even though I have access to the same set of stocks. That is to say, the EV of a single stock being highest is due to the rudimentary nature of that EV. You can improve the EV without discarding that method of analysis, and without touching on utility concerns (where risk of ruin comes into play in a big way). I agree with you that irreversibility should raise giant red flags and suggest that an EU (or however you want to abbreviate expected utility) calculation is a better choice than an EV calculation, and plans which are reversible significantly decrease the risk of ruin. But I think Bella's overall risk of ruin decreased with the transition to a vampire (and then massively increased with the transition to a revolutionary), and she had good reason to expect that would be the case. That is interesting to think about, though, the optimal way to manage a transition like that- hmm.
6Vaniver11yI think this is the thing that bothers me most about Bella's plan. It's plot-induced stupidity (but I don't blame Alicorn for it, since Meyer came up with Aro's power). If Bella vocalized or wrote down her plan, even once, I find it hard to believe she wouldn't have subconsciously examined its assumptions and been struck by its idiocy. Maybe that benefit is particular to me- I find the moment I try to explain my thoughts to someone, the holes become readily visible in a way they wouldn't be if I just examined them myself- but I imagine many people experience that. If Edward weren't lovestruck (and/or optimistic), he might have warned Bella "look, I trust you, but just in case you're planning to make Aro, the guy we've been talking about, unhappy in any way, he has the experience and the history and the malice necessary to ruin all of our lives. Don't mess with Aro." If Alice weren't blocked by the La Push shapeshifters, then she might have noticed horrible events on the horizon when Bella decides to activate the werewolves. "Bella, is there a reason I suddenly can't envision myself?" Not sure about the future-blocking and the temporal range of Alice's visions, but it seems likely she would note blankness spreading from Bella to everyone and say "hey, Bella, what's going on?" It seems likely, from the way it works in canon at least, that Alice would be able to figure out something horrible is going to happen- she sees Bella jump off a cliff (and doesn't see Jacob catching Bella). Similarly, she might see Bella burning in a pit (but not Leah hunting Bella), but the similarities there are somewhat strained. (Also, sudden thought: what if the "this one" they killed was Alice? Seems tremendously unlikely- Edward is the only one the follow-up statement makes sense for- but isn't contradicted by any evidence so far.)
6Perplexed11yUpvoted for the phrase "plot-induced stupidity". Useful concept. On analysis, I find that a lot of my own stupidity occurs because, if I had thought it out a bit more, my more rational choices would spoil the dramatic narrative that I construct by behaving more intuitively and less rationally.
3CronoDAS11yPlot Induced Stupidity [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PlotInducedStupidity] is a trope.
0Perplexed11yDooohhh! Does that mean I should take back my upvote? But it seemed so right to make a big deal of how cool the phrase was.
2[anonymous]11yIt also makes sense for Irina. She would be dead set on eradicating the very useful new servants of the Volturi, a sufficient reason to kill her. I haven't read the Twilight books but I think that in canon they kill her for wasting their time.
1Giriath11yI'm also fairly sure Irina was the one burned above the pit. Alicorn provided many hints that Edward may still be alive: he is never mentioned after Bella is shredded by the wolves; Bella can find none of his jewellery, in the ashes or anywhere else; Bella's widowed depression is by comparison far from as extreme as Jasper's, Marcus' or even Irina's.
1Alicorn11yHe only had the one ring. This is not to be taken as evidence for Edward's survival. Vampires do not have mate-sensing ESP above and beyond their normal ability to detect the world around them.
0Vaniver11yI was under the impression it was for the more serious offense of bearing false witness, but really, those are just different ways to spin the same thing.
2Benquo11yOoh, good point. Objection withdrawn.
0thomblake11ygood job

If anybody wants to contribute to my story a memory snippet (like the ones that appear in chapter 15 of Radiance), you are hereby invited to do so. Terms:

  • At this point, the memory snippet could be from a vampire or a human, a witch or a non-witch, but no half-vampires and no wolves, and no appropriating characters who have names already either in canon or Luminosity.

  • 1-3 paragraphs, maybe stretch this if you include one-line paragraphs. Should be something at least as interesting and flavorful as the snippets in ch. 15 (this could be staring at the wa

... (read more)

The end of the latest chapter manages to be even bleaker than the one before it.

I'm officially scared now.

6Aharon11yI agree. I didn't expect that it would get that deprressing when Alicorn wrote we might not read the sequel because of our deep hatred for her. It's even more tormenting that she leaves hints that usually in fiction would mean that Edward isn't dead (not directly mentioning the name during the burning scene and the missing ring). I don't think that will happen in this story.

So if I've understood correctly, a large chunk of Volturi just received an involuntary crash course in the Elspeth Method of resisting social manipulation through radical honesty, along with whatever the information was that Aro wanted not to be shared.

Meanwhile, the Volturi just turned a werewolf pack leader into an enemy.

And Aro is out of town.

This has the potential to get messy.

4Alicorn10yAlso several million years' worth of red herrings, mind.
2JGWeissman10yIf they are curious about what Addy was thinking immediately before she escaped, they can locate those memories and learn that there is a secret, which Addy has consciously noticed in the time since she first absorbed Aro's power, which narrows down the search a lot.
0TheOtherDave10yIndeed. Though I would expect memories that connect to things the recipient already has experience with to be more readily accessible than memories that don't... though that still implies herring in ton lots. (Ew.) Also, being introduced to a technique does not entail using it, especially when one's social/emotional habits suggest otherwise. (More's the pity, perhaps.) Most, quite possibly all, of the recipients will treat it as a potentially useful technique for evaluating their own biases, should they ever actually decide to do the hard and uncomfortable work of doing that, which they likely won't. Which means it's entirely plausible that when the dust settles, everyone's allegiances will be precisely what they were before (though the fact that Aro didn't want the information disseminated suggests that this isn't guaranteed). Still and all, though, the period while the dust remains suspended, when loyalties are suddenly unreliable, should be... interesting. Though we may not get to actually read about it, as our viewpoint characters are now elsewhere.
1Giriath10yI'm not sure if you've read Twilight Canon TheOtherDave, but Aro did kill his sister and Marcus' mate Didyme to prevent Marcus from leaving the coven, which was what Didyme had been wanting to do. I seem to remember this being said in Luminosity or Radiance, too, but maybe my memory errs. In any case, Marcus is certain to go apeshit if he learns that particular piece of information. I doubt many are loyal to the catatonic man though, especially if Chelsea has been preventively cutting all his relationships - with the exception Aro's, Caius' and hers -, in case he should ever learn the truth and rebel. She still loses her ability to see what she's doing with her ability though, and that may over time damage relations with all the captives who aren't naturally loyal to them.
0Alicorn10yI've hinted but not confirmed. (But it shouldn't affect your enjoyment of the story too much if you have this knowledge via canon, I hope.)
1Giriath10yNot at all! The thing I enjoy most with suspense stories is trying to figure out what's going to happen next; especially when they aren't finished and regularly update, like yours. If I didn't know this from canon, then I wouldn't have anything to speculate on. This goes for all stories that at all derive from canon in some form. It's also fun to see what characteristics authors keep or change, in most characters. I of course really really like your Bella, even though, in my opinion, she had some trouble balancing her very dangerous ambitions with her sugary-sweet family life, inevitably ending in disaster for both. Although, with the way things were going for the Volturi, it wouldn't have been long until they swooped in and destroyed that family life to put the family witches in their prison. I'm very curious about the state of Aro's witchcraft after recent delves into Adelaide's memory, too. Did he know about the Quileute tribe before Irina went and told them, or did he have that information stored away but not processed yet? I'm guessing it's the latter, since he immediately acted when Irina requested their help. Can you provide some insight into that Alicorn, if not publicly then in a private message? My guess is that he did know, but considering that the Cullen coven believed the gene to be dead (they did, right?), he thought it unimportant at the time. That all changed when Irina proved them very wrong, of course.
1Alicorn10yI think there's enough clues in the text that I can just say outright: yeah, Aro had werewolf-related information stored but not processed before the story began. Irina a) prompted him to process it and b) informed him that it was relevant in the present. No. They believed there were no active werewolves (and they were right until Bella went in and shook hands with everybody), but had no reason to believe that the gene had died out.
[-][anonymous]11y 4

Chapter 13 is so, so, SO creepy. I feel like I need a shower now.

I'm very pleased with myself for being able to so thoroughly creep out so many people by: describing how Elspeth, surrounded by her many perfectly innocent friends, spent her day chatting and reading and buying clothes and attending an eight-year-old's birthday party.

5alethiophile11yI wondered, at first, why Elspeth wasn't testing out her previous relationships by purposefully thinking of her mother or other people and noting her immediate reaction (which seems like the sort of thing she would do, in her right mind). Then I realized under mind control she would no longer think of any of those people as notable enough to wonder about her reaction to. Which is the really, really creepy part.
3Giriath11yYes it is, which is likely why Chelsea is at the mandatory assembly every single day. That way none of them will have time to feel any inclination to investigate their past life. Instead they'll be all too busy living their little village life and thinking they're the good cops when they go out on missions. I imagine they're filled a lot of bullshit about the people they hunt and the Volturi's reasons before and during missions, so it makes any potential windows of re-evaluation created by killing and kidnapping people on demand, be as minor as possible so Chelsea has time to do maintenance before they rebel. Hopefully Elspeth's witchcraft make her the exception to this routine, which we had small evidence of in this chapter. Thinking of herself as free sounded false to Elspeth, because of it. When she has run out of trivial things to blame for the reaction, she'll probably use it to figure out why it makes such a statement feel false. I think this means that my previous hypothesis that she can use it not just to remember her love for Bella (who she thought of really hard in attempt to not forget when being Chelsea'd), but to re-evaluate everything she thought and did in her life, because her witchcraft will tell her what is true, and she won't doubt that. This means that when she finds a window of opportunity to do this without alerting Chelsea, she could command Jacob to round up his pack and everyone else they can get their hands onto, and get the hell out of Dodge. I'm also quite sure she could tell the villagers what is true about them, the Volturi and the world and her experiences of it, to make it much easier and faster for them to fight against the values created in their minds by Chelsea. That may take more time than it would for Chelsea to sound the alarm though, and if that happened she wouldn't get another chance.
1Vaniver11yI don't know if it's because I've internalized the sunk costs fallacy or what, but I find mind control to be way less creepy after it's happened.
2Alicorn11yIt's ongoing. That's why Chelsea is always at the mandatory assemblies.

I have some thoughts on chapter 2 of Radiance. It's very interesting that Jacob's pack has a former 'kept' wolf. He should have a lot of information on the Volturi and the 'kept' packs. It's unfortunately also quite probable that he should know whether Edward was actually killed or not, and since Cody said Elspeth's parents were both killed it's safe to assume Brady either somehow doesn't have any information on that or that Edward really was killed.

I guess we'll also see if Elspeth is Jacob's imprint next chapter. Personally I'd like it if her mate was female.

8wedrifid11yI suppose it doesn't matter too much given that vampires and, I believe, female half vampires are infertile but surely there is scope for one of the luminosity specific romances to be heterosexual. The Gianna match is going to be hard to top in cuteness after all. Come to think of it what I would like to see is a mystically enhanced but non-monogomous relationship. As a hybrid herself Elspeth is a perfect candidate for being in both forms of Twilight's magical codependency. A 'pair' bond with a vampire and an imprinted wolf. Could be fun. Could even allow for some novel applications and extensions of Elespeth's power.
3Alicorn11yGiven the fic's interpretation of what imprinting is for, Jacob's imprinting is in fact proof positive that Elspeth (at least) can have (wolf!) children (at least with him).
3JGWeissman11yWere half vampires in the wolf imprinting mechanism's training data?
3Alicorn11yDoesn't matter. It's magical.
6JGWeissman11yAh, a magical classifier for a magical category [http://lesswrong.com/lw/td/magical_categories/]. ;)
0wedrifid11yThat is good to know. Was it just full vampire females who were infertile? What was it that distinguished male and female hybrids (apart from the obvious!). Something to do with venom?
0Alicorn11yYeah, it's just vampire women who are infertile. In the available set of (six) half-vampires, males are venomous and females are not.
0wedrifid11ySince venom seems to play a significant role in the vampire healing does that give the males an advantage when it comes to regeneration? Or do the females have suitable internal reserves of a relevant nature?
1Alicorn11yMale half-vampires have venom in their mouths, but not throughout their systems like vampires do (half-vampires have blood and heartbeats and stuff). It doesn't play a role in their healing, and so they are not at an advantage relative to female half-vampires. Hybrids do heal super-fast, but this is more like werewolf fast healing (tied in with their fast metabolisms).

The recent chapters are dark. Love it.

That's one way to keep things balanced. Give Bella a new power (minor physical shield and flame retardation) but take away her lover and best friend (incidentally the two most powerful witches she has at her disposal). Oh, and while you're at it have the enemy recruit her greatest brute-force allies to their side. Maybe have her brother in law try to kill her. Perhaps a good way to set up a "rationalists don't always win!" moral. :)

I wonder if Bella may not be able to make use of Jasper. She should have a dec... (read more)

I'm going to re-number the chapters in edits, so I don't advise using current chapter numbers as reference points. There might not even be 25 chapters after I'm done.

0JenniferRM11yThe goal was to use the least contentful method of referencing the part of the story with the twist. Send me an email or a PM and I'll change things however you prefer, at the time you prefer :-)
0Alicorn11yThe twist now occurs in chapter 28 as I've re-numbered them. However, I'm afraid to do the same thing to the instantiation on fanfiction dot net, lest it cost me half my reviews. I'm not sure what the best way to refer to it is.
0Alicorn11yI'm afraid I'm dreadful at keeping spoilers from people. I hate it when it's done to me, so I've never developed the skill at that particular brand of torture. Just keep an eye out for the edits - they won't go live till after Friday - and then adjust it.

Wow. Arbitrary numbers of sub-agents.

I think this officially qualifies as the most awesome superpower ever.

My commendations, by the way, for updating even on Christmas Eve.

Can Chelsea affect imaginary relationships? What I'm getting at is: could she snip the trust that Elspeth has for her internal personification of her magic?

4Alicorn11yIn a sense. If, for example, you believed a chatbot to be a real person and felt a deep friendship for that chatbot, Chelsea could make said friendship evaporate; she works on one person at a time and doesn't need both targets there (which is why she can also work on relationships where only one party is alive). No, this wouldn't work. First, Magic isn't a different person from Elspeth; Magic is a subagent. It would be ridiculously overpowered - even compared to Chelsea's existing powers - if relationships between subagents were vulnerable. That would make it possible for Chelsea to drive people insane by looking at them and wiggling her fingers. Second, Magic isn't just trusted because Elspeth considers her a friend or something. Magic is trusted because that's part of the magic, that when she says true things they are believed.
2TheOtherDave11yMm. I think you may be overgeneralizing here. Sure, having Chelsea be able to edit the relationships among subagents is essentially the ability to perform psychic surgery -- not just drive people insane (which is not an incredibly useful ability, all things considered, though it's handy from time to time), but more generally to edit their personalities. Agreed that that would be overpowered, and that there's no reason to expect it to be true. But Elspeth is a bit of a special case right now. That is, she not only has the usual relationship-among-subagents linkage with Magic, which is immune to tampering, but by virtue of visualizing Magic as a separate body with an autonomous personality she is also forming a social relationships with it analogous to the social attachments we form to other primates, in much the same way that it's easier to develop emotional bonds with someone on the Internet (or with a chatbot) if you interact with them in a VR simulation. I would expect Chelsea to be able to edit away that aspect of their social interaction... that is, to revert Elspeth's state with respect to Magic to what it was when they were first introduced, with whatever sense of social bonding has evolved since then snipped away. Of course, as you say, Elspeth would still trust Magic, just like she did when they first met, because that's Magic's nature. Unrelatedly: is your offer to email people spoilers still open? If so, I'd love to know whether my theory here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2y6/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_part_2_discussion/35n3?c=1] is at all consistent with where you're going. I of course won't divulge anything, etc.
0Alicorn11yThe offer is open. The comment you link contains a lot of content; please PM me more specific questions.

Two Points: 1) Your fanfic made me read the original stuff. Interestingly, for me, somehow the differences felt larger than in Eliezers fanfic, although I do realise that your fic has fewer points of departure than Eliezers. Might be because I hadn't read books from the Potter series in quite som time. A question though: I'm not far into the series, but I thought that at first, you only wanted the protagonist, Bella, to act more rational. However, the original!Bella seems to share luminous!Bellas wish to become a vampire, and, while less organized, advanc... (read more)

3Alicorn11y1) Canon!Edward remains convinced until book 4 that turning Bella will constitute destroying her soul. Canon!Bella's attempts at addressing this are silly (arguing mostly from her belief that Edward must have a soul even though he's a vampire, on the grounds that he is wonderful and wonderful persons have souls). Luminous!Bella attacks this soul-related premise more directly, making the matter of turning a dichotomy between immortal life and Cessation Of Existence. And - while Edward might have otherwise changed his mind after agreeing - she makes the Volturi aware of her existence and interested in her progress significantly earlier than Canon!Bella did, meaning that it comes down to turning her or letting the Volturi punish her and the coven. 2) It's canon. I justify it by her simply not being interested in running the show; she just wants to be an indispensable member of the winning team.
1mjr11yMy guess would be that Chelsea doesn't want to be quite so much a target at the top, preferring the role of a puppet master... (Well, at least in Luminosity, in canon it's probably just not well thought out ;] )

I thought you said things would calm down for a while after chapter 10 Alicorn?! Jasper and Edward sure went brain-fried by their mate connection. I had my eyebrows pretty high when Jasper described his impromptu battle plan, and it seems I was right to be sceptic, cause damn them vampires turn stupid when their mate is in trouble.

We're in need of some heroics here or there'll be multiple dead characters next chapter. I think Santiago will decide that only Edward and Elspeth are worth sparing out of this bunch. I doubt Bella will suddenly start owning with... (read more)

3[anonymous]11yYeah, everyone in the car except for David and Elspeth was completely driven by a single emotional imperative (Jasper: Save Alice! Edward: Find Bella! Allirea: Kill Demitri!) and they were all using their knowledge of each other's emotional imperatives to try and manipulate each other. It's kind of a bleak scene, made possible, I think, by Chelsea. I mean, Edward makes a token noise about how Bella wouldn't want Elspeth used as a distraction in battle, but he doesn't feel the need to protect his daughter. If he did, he'd never have agreed to Jasper's plan. And in fact, if the normal bonds of family still held between Jasper and Edward, they each would presumably have been a little slower to risk the other's life so casually. But as it is, Jasper, Edward, and Allirea all feel they have nothing to lose, so of course they're willing to gamble everything on a risky plan.
2Giriath11yChelsea can certainly make people very predictable. If one has a mate, then all they're going to care about after being Chelsea'd is their safety, and they're most probably not going to trust anyone else with protecting them until they've rebuilt their relationships. If one doesn't have a mate, then he or she is going to care about his or her safety and no one else's, and it will probably take them a while to find allies they're able to trust with their life. If you don't trust anyone, it will be very hard to make a sensible plan and stick to it. This makes me wonder if Edward won't just run away from the battle, if he hasn't somehow been incapacitated of course. If there seems to be no way to win or get Elspeth out of there, he would want to find Bella and stop her before she can get there.
1Alicorn11yYou forgot Peter and Charlotte.
1[anonymous]11yI did, you're right. They weren't much of a presence in this chapter.
1Alicorn11yChapter 10 was all the breather you got, sorry ;)

Chapter 7.

I'm going to assume almost the whole chapter isn't meant to be in cursive font and that you made a typo somewhere there. I'm only going to write a few thoughts I had on the chapter. First off, Bella is hella quick to come up with very possible hypotheses on what the Volturi will do, how and why. I really hope she got away this time too, or at least survived. Now, if I understood this correctly (it was really confusing to be honest), then it seems to me that Elspeth is most likely in a cell with a witch who can make those around her ignore hers an... (read more)

2[anonymous]11yI really liked the paragraphs describing "the stranger" -- I thought it was a nifty bit of writing.
2Alicorn11yFixed. Yep. Wouldn't you like to know. That is not a thing that happens.

There's a thread about Luminosity on TV Tropes, and one person had a bundle of questions that I answered there; crossposting here in case anyone's interested.

is it possible for a vampire to become fixated on a 'mate' whose orientation does not allow the attraction to be returned? Or does the mate bond override orientation?

Unspecified in canon; in Luminosity, no, everybody winds up mated to someone of approximately the correct "type" for non-magical attraction.

What about transgendered individuals who have made no modifications to the appeara

... (read more)
1AdeleneDawner11yIn case anyone's wondering, I find this entirely plausible. (I can't speak for any other asexuals, though.)
0Sheaman377310yI don't know of how one would verify what imprinting is for, but you made a number of conclusions and rulings based on the idea that imprinting was indeed for finding the best possible mate. If one of those conclusions were wrong, that would be a piece of evidence that indicates that mating is not, perhaps, what imprinting is "Officially For."

The sequel to Luminosity has begun. Chapter one on my site; on ff.net.

0Perplexed11yCool. Do we discuss Radiance here, or will it get its own thread?
0Alicorn11yI don't have a strong opinion. People other than me have been making the discussion threads for it anyway.
4Perplexed11yWell, my comment compares Luminosity with Radiance, so I'll make it here. I really like the contrast between Bella and Elspeth. Bella is skilled at knowing herself and has the special power of keeping others from knowing things about her. Her tragedy was heightened by the fact that she had kept her actions secret from her family - hence many of them felt betrayed. Elspeth on the other hand has the power of letting other people know her. She is skilled at communicating, and presumably particularly skilled at communicating her feelings. In contrast to her mother, she simply cannot easily get away with lying. I'm looking forward to any lessons that Elspeth (or Alicorn) might present on achieving "radiance" as a piece of instrumental rationality. But I am even more interested in seeing how Elspeth makes use of her radiance to get things done with the assistance of friends and acquaintances in a way that Bella could never have gotten things done by herself, even with vampire superpowers. Two person game theory provides examples in which the ability to conceal information is beneficial to the agent, as well as cases where being trusted not to be hiding anything is just as beneficial. Opacity vs transparency. The thing is, as the number of players in the game increases from 2 up to dozens, the personal characteristic of transparency becomes more and more valuable, and the characteristic of opacity becomes more and more of a liability. Or at least that is my understanding. It is hard to acquire allies when nobody can really trust you. Based on the first chapter, Elspeth seems to be someone I would like. Bella, on the other hand, struck me as someone I could respect. Elspeth is 5 1/2 now and Harry is finally out of Azkaban. I'm psyched!

I really liked this:

"You like solving mysteries?"

"I like the nonexistence of mysteries. Mysteries mean I've missed something," I said shortly.

I don't think it's still necessary to warn about the text color. You can change it by clicking the correct part of the sidebar.

3JenniferRM11yI just copy and pasted from the first discussion thread. Fixed now :-)
[-][anonymous]10y 2

Chapter 23: "lee...ders of the supernatural world" Ha! Yeah, I'm starting to like Jake really a lot.

Aro probably has more reasons to fear what Addy could do with her knowledge of his past actions and future plans than just his killing Didyme. I hope they find Bella soon. It seems like she would be essential in physically harming Renata, unless someone can injure her from outside her shield's effect range.

0wedrifid10yAirstrikes, napalm carpet bombing and nukes. Vampires need to get out of prehistory and cowboy up.
0RobinZ10y...do vampire teeth grow back? If so, how difficult would it be to make a sabot to fire one out of a gun? (If heat would degrade the venom, substitute an air cannon, of course. Or use the tooth as an arrowhead, for that matter.)
2wedrifid10yEven regular vampires can catch arrows in midflight. At least they can if they are protagonists or anything from Giant Mook up. The Twilight kind should have no problem; even if they are facing the other direction they should hear it coming in time. I'm not sure how much better it would work in a gun - that's where the physics gets a bit arbitrary for the sake of narrative appeal.
1Alicorn10yNo.
2wedrifid10yHow about fingernails (or fingertips). That would seem to be a prudent method of disarming prisoners or the guests that are security risks without, well, actually disarming them. Does this kind of vampire require their fangs to drink? Some need to use their fangs as straws to feed, making defanging a particularly brutal form of punishment (admittedly most such varieties can also grow fangs back after a month or two of being delirious with thirst). Most others can just tear an artery, slurp or even just lap it up. I'm guessing the twilight vamps fit into this category.
0Alicorn10yTwilight vampire fangs are not straws, so yeah, they can feed without their teeth.

Spoilers up to Chapter 21

In Chapter 18, Addy sends Elspeth to get magically tortured by Jane, on the theory that Elspeth will be able to send that memory to people as a weapon. It worked, albeit with limited potency. In Chapter 21, when this comes up, Jake, Ilario, and Maggie all agree that this was a particularly evil act.

I'd just like to point out that the morality of this decision is actually rather complicated, and that different ethical frameworks give different answers about whether it's okay or not. While being tortured was certainly bad, Elspeth di... (read more)

3Alicorn10yAddy did not bother to make that estimate. To that extent, her motive may be relevant, mayn't it?
1jimrandomh10yAn approximation of that estimate is encoded in the belief that having more power is better than having less (and in particular, the degree to which that is so). Not necessarily a good estimate, but at least an estimate. And besides, Addy's motive is only relevant to the question of whether she's good or evil (already answered by the fact that she eats people), not to the question of whether her decision was right or wrong.
0TheOtherDave10yNow you've confused me. If you mean "the question of whether her decision was right or wrong" independent of Addy's mental state, then why do you say it depends on "Addy's estimate of the probability that the Jane-lite power proves useful" rather than depending on the usefulness of the Jane-lite power? It seems odd to take Addy's mental state into account with one hand and ignore it with the other.
0[anonymous]10yBut the characters in the story aren't debating whether her decision was or was not possible to justify under a utilitarian framework. They're reacting to the (new-to-them) knowledge that she's evil, and they get that by observing the carelessness with which she coerces a child into experiencing torture. You might think that they should have already known that Addy's evil, but of course Jake has previously been under magical influence leading him to like and make excuses for the Volturi (including Addy), and Maggie is probably not inclined to write a vampire off as evil "just" because they murder people, since she spent a great deal of time doing exactly that herself.

Best. Superpower. Ever.

We already knew her ability to "speak the truth" made her able to build unusually strong alliances. But this is even cooler.

Usually, when someone writes one of these "all is lost, but then by sheer force of awesomeness/will the hero overcomes it" it's pretty implausible, but I totally believe this one!

Also, it makes total sense that some of the Volturi's vampire witches would have a good amount of influence over what happens. Is this the tip of the iceberg; are we going to see more like Addy? It makes sense that if at any point Elspeth wants to change the Volturi status quo, she'd do it cooperatively, not all on her own like Bella.

0alethiophile11yI really want to see what Elspeth can get her power to do. (Is Magic, the pseudo-personal entity, actually running Elspeth's powers? Or is Magic just some kind of personification and Elspeth in control?)

Darn you, cliffhangers!

I want to know what effect Elspeth's other self will have on being Chelsea'd. If her other self can somehow propagate her love for her mother back to her, then that would take out a major chunk of the damage Chelsea can do to her. (Who else does Elspeth have a relationship with that Chelsea can nuke? Several people, Edward and the Denalis mostly; however, they aren't nearly as close to Elspeth. It would put even more of a crimp in her possible future relationship with Edward, though.)

On a side note, Chelsea's power is scary. Not jus... (read more)

4Giriath11yI'm wondering if the other person Elspeth sees when she tries to 'talk' to herself is the manifestation of her witchcraft, which simply wants to tell the truth. If so, she should be able to use that to start doubting the way Chelsea has tweaked her to evaluate other people much quicker than if she were to begin re-evaluating her memories; memories that she may not trust with her new values. She has no reason not to trust her witchcraft however, so if she asks it about herself and what she thought of others before being Chelsea'd, she may recover very quickly. Once she's done this, she may also be able to help the Quileutes recover their original values. If not, then at least she can order Jacob around.
0DSimon11yWow, this turned out to be a stunningly accurate guess. Alicorn, did the above comment influence your writing process at all?
0Alicorn11yNope, Magic being the second subagent was already my plan.
2TheOtherDave11yPerhaps more awful, and perhaps not, depending on how you evaluate these things, is the fact that this sort of cognitive modification happens to people in the real world every day as a result of brain damage of various sorts. Sacks writes fairly poignantly about this.
2[anonymous]11yAgreed. To me Chelsea is the second-most-creepy thing about this series (mate bonds and imprinting being the most creepy, for reasons Alicorn has neatly illustrated).
1[anonymous]11yActually on second thought, Chelsea is number one. She can make a parent forget to care about a lost child. The mate-bond/imprinting thing is something I have to take on faith--it's magic, got it--but I have two sons, and so for me mother-love is the strongest, most all-consuming force I can possibly imagine. If it was stripped from me I would not be me any more. What Chelsea does is terrifying. If I had to choose, I would choose a lifetime of being raped by Demetri over losing my love for my sons. Chelsea is worse.
2DSimon11yIf I were your son, I'd unequivocally tell you to choose the mind-alteration over the endless rape. They're both horrible, but at least under the first circumstance you'd be happy.
2Alicorn11yIt might or might not affect this calculation that Allirea is immortal.
1[anonymous]11yErrrrgh. It probably would.
3Alicorn11yAllirea has children, anyway. There's nothing incompatible about the horrible fates here ;)
1Giriath11yI agree that Chelsea is terrifying in this story. In canon her gift is rarely ever talked about, and the narrator (Bella) never really experiences it in any way. The effects of Chelsea's witchcraft have been felt all through late Luminosity and Radiance though, and it's certainly terrible. I have hope though that those affected can restore much of their previous personality and relationships by way of re-evaluating their memories, and even quicker with help from Elspeth, who is very hard to doubt. If precious friends and lovers have been killed or otherwise lost though, they'll never be the same. The Volturi always had the capability of being horrifying in canon Twilight, but because SM was writing it as a love story they had to take a back seat and be very inactive and stupid when present, despite all their experience.
1[anonymous]11yI'm one of the Luminosity readers who never actually read the Twilight books. So I'm only dimly aware of departures from canon. Were people at least afraid of Chelsea? Did they consider her a major threat?
2Giriath11yWell, sure. They suspected that should the Volturi force them to join, she would start brain-frying them into liking their superiors and want to please them. It was later revealed she would do this to any talented vampires the Volturi wanted that they came across, while breaking their ties to outsiders. But this was mentioned maybe once or twice out all four books. Eleazar and Carmen leave the Volturi unhindered, which isn't really the case in this story. I suspect the choice they were given here was to have severe restrictions on their freedom or be completely altered by Chelsea. I think she may be more powerful in this story, but like I said it wasn't really discussed in canon.
2Alicorn11yIn canon, Bella developed her shield by learning to share it, instead of by adding immunities to it. By the time Chelsea actually appears, nobody we are supposed to care about is left vulnerable. She never does a single thing that we are supposed to find more than vaguely unsettling.
1mjr11yDoes indeed seem like Elspeth put in her love for her mother in deep storage to be retrieved later, with the full force of the truthfulness that she's so good at conveying. That "Forces of the Universe" spiel was a good sell, though; too bad that the alternative is, as you say, quite the monster. And then there's Allirea, whose fate was left unclear as a surprise to no-one. Maybe she'll be there to meet the Cullens and Bella (who might have a bit of an advantage with being able to pay attention to her when others aren't, except whatever Eleazar manages with his "there's someone there" trick). They may be able to get some resistance going on after all. Or, Allirea gets dragged back again, lather, rinse, repeat. Moer.
1alethiophile11yI really liked the disposal of Allirea. Eleazar's interaction with Santiago there was priceless.
1[anonymous]11yAgreed! Poor Allirea, though--she's got to be running out of time before Demetri shows up.
0Lila11yHave you heard of Capgras syndrome? For people who have this (according to Wikipedia), "their conscious ability to recognize faces was intact, but they might have damage to the system that produces the automatic emotional arousal to familiar faces. This might lead to the experience of recognizing someone while feeling something was not "quite right" about them." Possibly similar? But apparently Chelsea doesn't just change how you feel about someone, but how important you think they are?
1Alicorn11yChelsea can destroy relationships. If Chelsea walks up to some person A and goes "snip snip" on A's relationship with some other person B, then A no longer emotionally distinguishes B from any demographically similar person that A has never met or seen who lives far away and isn't related to A's social network. So, for example, no one who Chelsea has "snip snipped" with regards to Natalie considers Natalie more interesting or important than some random baby in sub-Saharan Africa who has died of iodine deficiency. Yes, it is mildly saddening to think of any dead baby, but this dead baby is not special to you; why think about or grieve for this dead baby first? Of course, some kinds of social importance "grow back" immediately. It's a form of social importance just to be physically nearby - you will care more about someone who dies in front of you than about someone who dies on another continent, even if you have the same facts about each case. Someone biologically related to you, or who is a friend of a friend, will "grow back" a little bit too after the snipping - just like you'd care a little bit about a long-lost sibling you just suddenly discovered you had as compared to an unrelated stranger - but with regular maintenance from Chelsea, native consistency effects ("for the last five years, I have seemed to be the person who does not care about relationships of type X") will slow and eventually halt this regrowth.
0Alicorn11yNote that Chelsea does a fair amount of maintenance work.

Chapter 12 redirects to Chapter 1, though it shows up as links on the story page and Chapter 11.

2Alicorn11yAnother reader caught this and I have fixed it. Sorry.
1alethiophile11yNote Chapter 12 can still be viewed through the entire-story page.

You know, it would be highly amusing for Elspeth to, for some plot-convenient reason, have to try to convince a fundamentalist, say, that evolution is true. (Insert similar setup here; it doesn't have to be evolution, that's just the first thing that came to mind.) Does she work equally well trying to convince someone of a position in debate that she honestly believes is true? If so, she could be the ultimate espionage tool, albeit a necessarily oblivious one.

4Alicorn11yHer power does vary in effectiveness depending on how closely she has verified the thing she says (e.g. if at age four she said "My daddy is dead", this would ring true, but not as true as "I'm four", because she believes the first thing secondhand and knows the second thing firsthand). And it's not actually impossible to doubt her even at her maximum truthiness. She conveys that she isn't lying (and isn't a hallucination or otherwise basically untrustworthy), but she doesn't come off as an Omega-creature who is absolutely beyond the possibility of being mistaken.
1[anonymous]11yWe just saw this demonstrated, actually, in Chapter 11. Jasper is able to guess that Elspeth took the wrong meaning from Cody's story.
3TheOtherDave11yIt probably ought not be evolution, unless Elspeth is actually in a position to give an account of human evolution that is consistent with what she knows about vampirism, lycanthropy, or witchcraft. In which case I would totally love to hear it, because I can't think of one.
1wedrifid11yWitchcraft, yes. Lycanthropy, at a stretch. Vampirism... not unless it involves cooevolution on Krypton! :P
3Alicorn11yReally? Now I'm curious. Let's hear it.

The "next" link at the bottom of Chapter 8 of Radiance links to Chapter 8 and not to Chapter 9.

2Alicorn11yFixed, thank you.

Just wanted to comment- I really enjoy how you're portraying Elspeth's lack of experience with making decisions and how she's reacting to it. It's obvious she's been damaged by her parents, but she's reacting maturely. That matureness was somewhat shocking- it's rare that someone is the first person to think that they should grow up- but shocking in a good way. It's hard to show damage instead of just moping, and you're doing a good job of that.

Suspicion (that I hope is incorrect): Oryyn qvq trg xvyyrq guvf gvzr, naq fb Rqjneq naq Ryfcrgu jvyy unir gb fgneg bire jvgubhg Oryyn gb trg ure. Rqjneq, qevira ol eriratr, gnxrf qbja gur Ibyghev, naq nf Tvevngu fhfcrpgf Ryfcrgu orpbzrf n znwbe svther va gur arj tbireazrag.

1alethiophile11yUnlikely. Alice saw Bella, so unless someone is doing a remarkably good job of spoofing her (which is something that has not yet been mentioned as possible) Bella is alive. The only way I can think of, barring some entirely new witch, to spoof Alice that makes any sense is that Adelaide copying Alice can spoof her, in the same way that she can Jasper, and we know that Adelaide was last seen with an entirely useless power (Elspeth's) and has not touched Alice since.

Radiance Ch 8.

Experiments should've been performed to make sure Elspeth can carry out plans without remembering why, because Allirea believes it's very difficult and she should be assumed to know better (by both of them), and it's very important for this to work. Instead, Elspeth just "tries hard", and Allirea expects that to work, while it's apparently something that Saeed can perform only "because he has years' worth of experience being punished by Demetri every time he ignores this sort of intention". As I see it, they are both holdi... (read more)

2Alicorn11yAllirea doesn't have much riding on the plan. The Volturi can't kill her without permanently alienating Demetri, who they need, and he's the only person on staff she can't hide from. If things go pear-shaped, she just fades and tries something else. They also can't kill Elspeth if they have any interest in being able to use Jacob. It doesn't, which Elspeth knows (the relevant feature of the lies is how they affect her power, not Allirea's directly).
2Vladimir_Nesov11yThat an error has relatively small cost (though don't forget opportunity cost), is no argument for making the error, when it could be just not made. It costs nothing to not make the error, so the costs of consequences of making the error are not relevant, as there is no tradeoff. Edit: Also, the cost is not small for Elspeth, so this argument I disagree with doesn't even address one of the two idiot balls. It wasn't obvious that she can reliably feel the effect of lies on her power, and that there is a reliable dependence of efficiency of hiding-into-unimportance on Elspeth's perception of her power. The direct measurement is Allirea's sense of efficiency of hiding, and it's accessible to experiment, so it obviously should be tested (unless both of my questions in the first statement of this paragraph receive negative answers, which I can't see how can be done for the second one without testing).
2Alicorn11yWhen Allirea fades someone else, Allirea herself is not affected by this. The test of how effectively Elspeth is hidden is how people other than Allirea react to her. Saeed lets her out of the cell, which constitutes excellent evidence that she can fade well enough to get the job done.
2Vladimir_Nesov11yYes, this tells that changing lies work. This doesn't address the question of efficacy of muttering the same lie. Also, that "I'm 51, I'm 52, ..." works is indirect evidence that constant lies work as well, and proof-of-concept of how figuring out an efficient low-creativity algorithm can indeed bear fruit. She noticed that Elspeth "announces her presence" loudly, which is a perception on the same scale.
2Vaniver11yYes, but Allirea seems to effect people other than herself. And so if she hides Elspeth to everyone but Allirea, her perception of how "loud" Elspeth is won't change.
1Lila11yAllirea wouldn't be sensing how well her fading works on Elspeth. She would just be sensing how well Elspeth's "counter-fading" power is working. And it seems like she can sense that.
1Lila11yElspeth doesn't need to feel the effect of lies, she can just remember what worked better and what worked worse when she lied to people in the past, based on the reactions of those people. I agree that it would have been wiser for Elspeth to take some time to confirm that she could carry out plans (of varying complexities) while faded and thus not remembering the reasoning behind her actions. But hey, she's 5. Probably a lot more brain power than a human child, but brain power doesn't necessarily equal sense. She can have the idiot ball for awhile. Hmm, I suppose it's also possible that Allirea didn't really give her the option to think things over and be cautious. She told her the plan and then they did it, and once Elspeth was faded she couldn't think about that stuff. So maybe it's all on Allirea? Well, but speed of thinking actually is one of those things that would come with brain power, so if Elspeth was going to think of it at all, she probably could have thought of it in the time she had. Allirea could have been more conscientious about confirming Elspeth's ability to hold up her end of the deal. Then again, if they found that Elspeth couldn't do it, maybe there's no alternative. Perhaps it's this or nothing. Experimenting wouldn't allow them to alter the plan to make up for Elspeth's inability, because there just isn't any other possible plan. So, it might be reasonable to just go for it, and if it doesn't work, oh well, not that big a deal, in Allirea's mind. Possibly Elspeth, if she thought she couldn't carry out the plan, would have preferred not to do anything at all, for fear of harsher repercussions from the Volturi. But maybe not, if she is confident that they want to use Jacob and that that will limit how harshly they treat her. Yeah, it's all maybes with me. :)

Chapter 6.

Oh boy! So let me try crystal-balling: Bella either kills or turns Pera or is stopped before she can do fatal harm or bite. It's also possible Elspeth could suck out her venom should Pera be bit, I guess. Brady is sure to attempt steam-rolling Bella in any scenario, but Jacob should be able to halt that attempt quickly. Even if he can't or won't, Bella is very unlikely to die considering they'd have to be chill with dismembering her and then continuously lighting her on fire, all the while ignoring Elspeth fighting for her mother; something Jaco... (read more)

1Perplexed11yI believe that the traditional way to do this is to tear her limb from limb. And then keep the limbs and stuff separated. Well, that presents us with both a TV Trope [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrainInAJar] and a LessWrong Trope [http://yudkowsky.net/singularity/aibox]. Interesting, but I'm getting a little tired of all the mayhem. I mean I'm all in favor of Lois McMaster Bujold's idea of how you create plots in character driven fiction - "You ask yourself 'What is the worst possible thing I could do to these people?' and then you do it." But the worst possible thing you can do to vampires and five and a half year old half-vampires is just not comparable to the worst possible thing you can do to Captain Cordelia Naismith. She escaped with just a few broken bones and the loss of her government job.
1Alicorn11ySorry. I expect there to be less mayhem starting around chapter 10. At least for a breather.
-1[anonymous]11yFirst prediction that came to my head: Volturi learned about Elspeth and Bella from Cody and sent some sort of magical impersonator to ambush the pack. But that would require two different powers -- first reading Cody's mind to learn Bella's appearance and then doing the impersonation. So it's Del who's the ambusher. Which also makes sense strategically, because instead of having to take out Pera before getting ripped to shreds, she just has to touch her, get the hell out of there and hide the reinforcements waiting nearby (but well beyond the range of Pera's feeble senses). Or maybe unhide Pera and then kidnap her -- the wolves could be dealt with later. Or, for extra nightmare fuel value, be left forever trapped in the hiding place. Normally, when reading fiction, I come up with optimistic predictions. This story must radiate some sort of aura of doom.
5Alicorn11yYAY!
0wnoise11yAnd now my image of you has been altered to be ever so slightly more like GIR.
0Alicorn11y*googles, watches a 2-minute video of clips of the character* ...Yeah, I get like that sometimes.
1Giriath11yI briefly considered the possibility of this Bella being a Volturi impersonator too, but I didn't delve into that hypothesis as much as the others - probably because I don't really like how the Volturi has all these original characters with awesome gifts. It definitely makes sense to send Del if they have an agent with a gift capable of impersonation though. It would be another great move by the Volturi, even though this situation and the one in La Push more or less fell in their laps, and they just proceeded to do the obvious with what they had. Playing on Cody's loneliness was a smart move though, if that is what they did. I think I'll be disappointed if your hypothesis turns out to be true. I think the only thing that even slightly speaks against it is that Bella's/Del's eyes turned black when Pera hid her. I don't know if Del would react that way, but Bella certainly would if Pera is her singer. I can't wait for tomorrow's update!
0Alicorn11yThey don't have that many original witches. (Although I did have to make up Corin and Afton's powers because they weren't specified in canon.)
0Vladimir_Nesov11yThis would be significantly more awesome than the singer hypothesis, but suddenly jumping on Pera instead of safely approaching and touching her is stupid in that scenario.

I'm in the market for a second beta reader for the fic. [EDIT: I have found one, but I don't object to acquiring a greater number if someone else finds the prospect appealing.] Job description:

  • Be on an IM client a lot (bonus points if you keep different hours from the beta I already have)

  • Receive pastes of drafts of Radiance sections as I write them (in raw HTML)

  • Listen to me hammer out future plot details (including those which will actually come to fruition and therefore constitute spoilers)

  • Be discreet about any fic contents or information that I

... (read more)
1Alicorn10yI still have too many "dead hours" when I want someone to write at and all my existing betas are offline or busy. Anybody interested in betaing? (I'm curious about why not, if not and it's not an obvious reason like disliking spoilers or IM or Radiance.)

Up to Radiance, Chapter 4:

"Imprint face?"

"You'll see it when you see a wolf and his imprint together. It's pretty distinctive. It's this look they get in their eyes, really focused and intense and tender. Says, you are the center of the universe and I worship the ground you walk on and your wish is my command and I will defend you with my life. It'd be corny if they weren't so sincere about it...

Did anyone else think "oxytocin!" when they read this? :-)

...

I'm trying to imagine what to expect when the two "werewolf chromoso... (read more)

Should I read Luminosity if I disliked Twilight? Does it matter why I dislike Twilight? Can I read it if I never finish Twilight?

(I tried reading Twilight this week. Got halfway through it. The writing style is very workmanlike - good at describing the surroundings, and just enough other important details to move quickly from point A to point B in the plot. Descriptions of Edward are limited to monotonous repetitions of "perfect" and "beautiful", and descriptions of Bella are absent. None of the dialogue is clever. All the boys f... (read more)

5Alicorn11yMaybe. Yes. If you hated the vampires, don't read Luminosity. If you hated the writing, read Luminosity. If you hated the supporting cast, don't read Luminosity. If you hated the protagonist, read Luminosity. Yes. You can also read it if you never started Twilight.
0MartinB11yWhat? That sounds odd.
2Alicorn11yThe protagonist's character is the point of divergence for the fic; I substantially change her personality and voice.
0MartinB11yI think one could say the same for MoR, but it would sound wrong. I read MoR because I like HP and because it contains LW material. Reading a fanfic because I hate the protagonist sounds like he/she is about to get tortured. I guess what was meant is: 'if the personality of the main character kept you from enjoying the book, do not worry - it has been improved'.
4Alicorn11yOh, that too. But I'm writing it, so that should go without saying, I hope.
0Perplexed11yLrnu, ohg jr unq orra ubcvat sbe cflpubybtvpny gbegher, abg qvfzrzorezrag.
2Alicorn11yThere's some of both.
1wedrifid11yThere is a thought. I wonder if anyone has written a Merlin fanfic in which the protagonist gets tortured then moves on to focus on Morganna. Preferably with one of her assassination attempts being a success.
0MartinB11yI identify a story with its protagonist. But there are also stories where the main guy is not supposed to be liked. (If that does not work you get the trope of misaimed fanbase) A twilight fic for haters could show the real world consequences of whatever Bella does in the books. But i would guess that someone who hates the books just does not read any more of it. Which is reasonable.
2PhilGoetz11yI'm going to guess that it's because Bella's actions in Twilight are sometimes frustratingly illogical, and that Alicorn remedies this. (Though illogical isn't really the right word - my problem with Bella is more that she has no direction, no goals; if not for Edward, what would she ever do?) But I don't know how she's going to make Edward and a rational Bella stay together. Seems like it would make for a short story. "He's a distant, socially-reclusive vampire who says he's dangerous and bad for me? Okay. Next!" (I'm afraid I'm on Team Jacob. Please don't tell anyone. I'll lose my guy card.)
2Alicorn11yThat's what I originally thought [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2ab/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/29md?c=1&context=1#29md] . But closely reading Midnight Sun gave me the material to faithfully render Edward, while changing enough as a direct consequence of Bella's revised personality that her choosing him wasn't insane. (Or at least I think I've managed that.)
3wedrifid11yYes, there is something to be said for having a sexy super-powerful immortal who is totally whipped. I don't think anyone could be called insane for considering that somewhat appealing.
3Cyan11yI'm told that Bella's heart is basically a separate character, as it's forever obtruding into the narrative with its pounding, racing, throbbing, etc.
3wedrifid11y... I'm pretty sure she got over that eventually. ;)
0h-H11yI've sometimes read romance novels, more a function of my reading appetite at the time, plus no books remained in the house except those, I've also read a couple of -video-game stories, including some vampire ones to be relevant for your example, I agree that they have mildly interesting twists, enough for guilt pleasure level. I can't put a name to it, but it doesn't require such a leap to see the relation between reading things like tvtropes [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage] and then to an extent Twilight? on that note, what do you read for fiction generally?
[-][anonymous]10y 1

Yay, new chapter!

Yay, Gianna and Maggie have a baby! It's kind of funny how cute those two are together, given that Maggie started off fairly horrifying. "Converting" Maggie might be Bella's greatest success (of course, she was helped a lot by the mate bond with Gianna).

I'm having to remind myself that Addy is still just as creepy and evil as she was when she was sending Elspeth to report for torture. Having her on "our" side is admittedly really useful.

0[anonymous]10yThinking about this more, though, I wonder if and when Elspeth is going to share with Jake the truth about her sessions with Addy. There's no longer a compelling need to keep that secret, and despite the work that Chelsea may have put in getting Jake to feel friendly towards Addy, I imagine his reaction to learning exactly what Elspeth was hiding all that time would be...poor. I'm also a little confused about the pack dynamics. I understand that Elspeth is Jake's top priority, but shouldn't he be concerned about his pack too? It seems like now that he's out of the car he might want to "check in" with them.
1Alicorn10yWithin a pack, telepathy is involuntary. It is currently inconvenient for the Volturi to find Jacob, Elspeth, and Addy (since Demetri is away tracking down Allirea and has his phone off, and Alice can't see them). If Jake phases, and accidentally thinks of the fact that he's in Wexford, Ireland, and he still has packmates who haven't already been moved to Rachel or Becky's packs, then the Volturi will get a report on the group's location.
0[anonymous]10yAha--gotcha!
0[anonymous]10yI really enjoyed watching that conversation play out in Chapter 21 -- and my respect for Jake has notched up. I think it's impressive that he was able to control his wolfy protective instincts in order to keep a valuable (if evil) ally. He seems very sensible, actually (more so than Edward!). Elspeth is lucky to have him on her side--even though I also empathize with her (pre-Chelsea) assessment of the bond as a burden. I also thought the line "I really don't think this is the time," Addy said coolly, eyeing the door on her side was very funny.

Chapter 19.

Interesting.

Since it took Elspeth a day to recover, how long would it take the vampires of the guard? Half the time? Less? I've never seen a hard number for how much more mentally able a vampire is than a half-vampire.

If Addy can be convinced to join a full rebellion against the Volturi, she could be quite a powerful asset. For one thing, she can copy Chelsea and break the enforced bonds; that would certainly cause enough havoc for a while, especially if Chelsea herself can be incapacitated beforehand. For that matter, how is Chelsea at self-... (read more)

1Alicorn10yIn terms of raw processing power, vampires are about twice as fast/capacious as half-vampires. There are a couple of not-quite-qualitative differences (e.g. native architecture to handle seeing ultraviolet) that give them an extra boost beyond that in this sort of thing. Chelsea's not a primary combatant by any stretch of the imagination, but she is very old and a key member of an organization that some people really don't like. She is better than the average vampire at combat. Right. Jake, as an alpha, has full unrestricted telepathy with any member of his own pack while both he and said member are in wolf form. He can also talk (only voluntary messages, no accidental letting slip of other thoughts) to his sisters when he and either of them are in wolf form. Pack membership isn't the same sort of thing that Chelsea does. She could make Jake's wolves more willing to voluntarily change packs, but not force it without their agreement.
0shokwave10yThe power can snip immediately, but takes time to artificially grow relationships. I guess this would mean that they would both snip each other's relationships immediately, and then try to grow the desired side's relationship - if they can affect themselves, they would remain relationshipless for as long as they were near each other (constantly snipping the artificial ones growing in them, constantly having the natural ones growing in them snipped). If they can't, it would be a race to grow the right relationships the fastest.
0wedrifid10yI find one practical way to win such races is to stab the opponent in the eye with a white hot poker. Is that an option here, given that they are apparently near each other? Witchcraft powers that require both time and proximity to work seem to be vulnerable to the general witch defense [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g] strategy.
0shokwave10yInterestingly, I would think not. Addy and Chelsea would not normally stab random vampires, so the moment they cut each others' relationships they would lose the option of stabbing each other. Either party would never let the other's animosity grow to the point where they consider violence.
0wedrifid10yNeither impulsive homicidal tendencies nor a threatened emotional bond is required to prompt a decisive witch slaying in this situation. A vampire wedrifid, for example, would slay the rival in less than the ghost of his lost heartbeat. If you know there is a witch that can eliminate emotional bonds within range and you currently do not have a particularly good reason to trust them then you kill them. You don't feel anything. Just slay because it is the smart thing to do. It is not clear that either Addy or Chelsea are this practical or rational. This is just what they should do.
0shokwave10yBoth Addy and Chelsea have extremely good reasons not to kill witches; Addy can copy their power, and Chelsea can convince them to use their power for her own purposes. I suspect this would be enough to lock them in a stalemate. The battle between rebels and Volturi would look interesting - in the midst of wolves and vampires duking it out, you have two vampires who aren't on anyone's side, and who don't care to be on anyone's side.
0wedrifid10yYes, the slaying should be limited to witches you are particularly vulnerable to. You can't get much more vulnerable than being exposed to people who can instantly make huge changes to your value system against your will. Not if they are sane. You don't give people free reign to hack with your values.
-1Vladimir_Nesov10yWhy shouldn't you feel anything, or not be moved by undesirability of murder? (These are two separate concerns.)
3Alicorn10yThese are vampires we're talking about. Non-vegetarian ones.
2Vladimir_Nesov10yThey have all the usual emotions regarding other vampires, even if the balance is different. Besides, moral considerations can move you where emotions disagree, and it's "should" we are talking about, not "is". What should you do, not what you'll actually do. What should you feel, not what you'll actually feel. For example, non-vegetarian vampires very likely shouldn't kill people for food.
0wedrifid10yExactly. And as well as having different emotional responses to murder the line between self defense and murder is altered beyond recognition too. The interpersonal boundaries we have are adapted for human capabilities and to a significant extent by the power structures of our particular culture. Interpersonal boundaries in a culture where people can drastically mess with your mind based on proximity would be quite different.
0wedrifid10yOh, you can if you want to. But you don't need to and certainly cannot rely on emotions to be protecting you from threats the way they usually do. Don't misuse that 'murder' word. I wouldn't walk into another man's house carrying a gun and call it 'attempted murder' if he tried to take me out. Walking into range with values destroying capabilities without some sort of alliance or truce is a far more hostile act. Expect death.
-1Vladimir_Nesov10yDon't mind the words, we are discussing something more important than that. The consequence of a person becoming dead has the same moral value in each case, some situations might just have that on the preferable side of the calculation. That it's a correct decision doesn't diminish the moral value of the pattern. (If the implicit inference [http://lesswrong.com/lw/ng/words_as_hidden_inferences/] you were seeing in the word "murder" is that it has a morally negative aspect, then I endorse this particular inference, being right doesn't make it better. If the inference is that one should be punished by society for this act, then it's not an inference I explicitly endorse in this context, and one that's not relevant to the discussed situation.)
0wedrifid10yIf we are talking about the loss of having to kill the vampire witch rather than moral negative of murder then I can see your point. Vampire!Wedrifid would prefer to keep them alive. Unfortunately wedvamp does not yet have the power to protect his enemies from themselves as well as protect everything else he values from his enemies. This is a matter of values and mathematics. Everything that wedvamp holds dear is at stake (so to speak) and in clear and present danger. His values are vulnerable to instant unwilling modification and the witch has signaled her hostile intent by walking within range without arrangements in place. This is not a time to play Ghandi. And I'm not sure even Ghandi would be willing to stand by as his mind was altered to make him unthinkingly loyal to a group of ruthlessly evil bloodsucking fiends. No, this isn't a time to signal a naive morality to idealistic lesswrong members. It is a time to shut up, multiply [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Shut_up_and_multiply] and protect [http://lesswrong.com/lw/nb/something_to_protect/]. This Wedrifid is a vampire, he has what it takes [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewQwZroEuec].
1Alicorn10yThe way this convention works would have you write it vampire!wedrifid. It's descriptor!character.
1wedrifid10yFixed. (With a tinge of reluctance. The convention is suboptimal. That's how I would code something in Java, not Ruby. :P)
0shokwave10yIt was invented/adopted by early fanfiction writers. Just be thankful it's not "wedrifid-who-is-a-vampire".
-1Vladimir_Nesov10ySince I'm not arguing about whether the decision is correct, rather that the disutility of having a person killed doesn't diminish from the decision to kill them being correct, it's confusing why the thrust of your replies is on correctness of the decision, dismemberment of arguments for its incorrectness, even the ones clearly not advanced by anyone, and glorification of the decision's correctness. This can't help but leak connotationally into the inference that the value of person's life is getting diminished in this context (and I do keep wondering whether you're evil!). The explicit disclaimer doesn't have much detail to resolve this ambiguity, it only states a sign:
0wedrifid10yI have made my position clear and given the morality interrogation more of an answer than necessary. My only response to your objection, whatever it is, is to emphasize the key point once again: You can call vampire!Wedrifid whatever names you like, evil, whatever. Just don't get in his way with the yabbering about the moral value of the enemy. The moral value has been considered. It will be very sad to lose them. Maybe he'd cry later if he was into that sort of thing. But he's done the multiplication and there was a factor of a heck of a lot more than 2 to spare. It would be a shame if someone interfered and wedvamp had to shed another tear for them once he was done with business.
2Alicorn10yVampires are physically incapable of crying.
0wedrifid10yThat's ok. So am I. Believe me, I've tried. :)

I really like the way the last few chapters have been writen - it's as if they've been writen by a different person (a snipped person). It's amazing how chilling an idyllic account can be.

1Giriath11yYes. Like I said below it's been enough to make me wait for a while until there's enough updates that I can read straight through to happier times. If I don't then I feel queasy or enraged for quite a while after I've read the days chapter, and those are emotions I'd rather not have for very long. It's great writing Alicorn, but these recent chapters invoke these strong emotions in me and I'm currently unable to effectively mute them after I've read a chapter, so I won't be ranting here for a while. Maybe I'll save up enough content to have an extra huge rant, later on. ;)

Chapter 11:

Is Allirea + Eleazar thing canon? It sure doesn't seem to follow from what we've seen before, unless Eleazar lied to Bella.

2Alicorn11yAlthough Nahuel has sisters in canon, their details are made up, including Allirea'a power and therefore how Allirea interacts with Demetri, Eleazar, et al. Note that Eleazar did get a reading off Bella, albeit a brief and incomplete one.
3Jonii11yYes, but that incomplete-one means that his power can't override powers others have. Even if he could, after paying attention to Allirea, understand her power, it doesn't follow from what we know of his powers up to now that he could pay attention to her any more than any other person there. Even some sort of power-detection field would fail to reveal other than "There's is vampire that diverts attention paid to it in that general direction", if we assume it overrides her ability, which would make Eleazar severely handicapped in a fight anyway. Yeah, and I wanted to say that you're treating the characters you create in an awful and cruel way. Stop that. They should be happy at least once in a while :p
4Alicorn11yOh yes it does. Everything Bella blocks, she blocks completely, unconsciously, whether or not she knows there's anything to block, one hundred percent of the time - except Eleazar. In Allirea's case, she seems to Eleazar like the least important person there, and would probably compare unfavorably with a squirrel if one should uncharacteristically wander by. But he can notice her, can remember that she is present, and can take actions dependent on that knowledge. And one of the things he can remember about her is what she does, which gives him enough reason to mistrust this evaluation of her that he can clobber her in a fight. (Vampire v. half-vampire = no contest, just no contest, unless the half-vampire is Allirea and her power is in full effect against the vampire, even if the vampire is not very good at fighting.) Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Fictional Characters, are we now? Sorry, I don't write that way. Happy endings aren't off the menu, necessarily, but happy middles are not my bag.
0Aharon11yThen please at least don't drop happy endings of the menu. It might be a bit of escapism, but I like fiction because happy endings are more likely than in the real world. Also, the almost happy short reunion was pulled of very well in my opinion. Elspeth couldn't have pulled it off alone, and the way you introduced Allirea didn't feel forced or unrealistic. Well done!
4Giriath11yI love Allirea! I think she's my new favorite character in the story. I think she's kind of the pessimistic, unwilling comedic relief. It always brightens the mood when she suddenly pops up and everyone goes "Oh right, Allirea exists!", and it's fun because she's right there and may even be touching them. Another fun scenario is if her witchcraft doesn't work on Bella and whenever Bella would talk about Allirea no one would know what she was talking about unless Allirea chooses to show herself, or Bella learns to shield people. I wonder why Bella's shield doesn't negate the effects of Pera's witchcraft. It has been explained what it can do, but the characters seem not to know how it works. Does it transport those hidden to another dimension where beings of their race and its subspecies (vampire, werewolf etcetera - all beings originating from humans) aren't present, but other races (plant life, other kinds of animals e.t.c.) and non-living objects are? Or does Pera release some energy onto the things she uses her witchcraft on that makes it impossible to detect with your senses, or like Allirea unnoticeable even though your senses can register it? I think the latter hypothesis is more likely, and so I believe Bella should be able to learn to be unaffected by it. If I'm right, then I'm puzzled as to why she was affected by it in the first place.
2Alicorn11yYay! Apparently I didn't prevent people from liking her by having her first onscreen action be murder! Bella isn't immune to just every power that happens to come along. There are plenty of powers that will affect her normally, mostly those that have nothing to do with affecting or investigating her mind. Pera's power does something close to the "alternate dimension" thing, but it's not illusion (if it were, they wouldn't have that problem where stuff can exist in the same place at the same time as long as one thing's hidden and one's not), doesn't rely on attention like Allirea's power does, and basically is not the correct class of power for Bella to be immune to.
7TheOtherDave11yWell, if you don't want your audience to be appalled by something, it really helps when your sympathetic viewpoint character isn't appalled by it either. I think Allirea's murderous introduction might be the most distilled example of that principle I've ever encountered, though.
3Alicorn11yI wanted my audience mildly appalled. In order to make sense of Allirea's motivations I had to introduce her as an imprisoned rape victim terrorized and controlled by the-guy-to-whom-she-is-mate, but she's not a harmless fluffy bunny and I didn't want anyone thinking of her like one.
1TheOtherDave11y(nods) If it helps, I'm appalled by many of the characters in this series. It was extremely distracting at first, but by now I've more or less become accustomed to the "Well, yes, (s)he's a serial killer, which is, you know, tacky , but what are you gonna do?" cultural norm. It's amazing what you can get used to, really. "Stalker" might be a good shorthand term for this. Though, admittedly, a culture that assumes that of course you will live with your stalker and let them hug you and pet you and call you George has a... well, a different understanding of the concept than I do. (Ref "appalled," above.)
3Alicorn11y*giggle* I hope it's not too much of a spoiler to say that Allirea's dislike of nicknames is... relevant.
1TheOtherDave11yI don't care about spoilers, and I try not to think too much about the details of Allirea's history with whatsisname. I'd be disgusted if I hadn't (as above) more or less turned that filter off when reading this fic. I cannot actually decide whether the matter-of-fact acceptance of serial murder is more or less disturbing to me than the matter-of-fact acceptance of forced prostitution. I suppose the fact that the latter is mostly restricted to the official Bad Guys (TM) helps a little. These really are awful people.
1Giriath11yThat's mostly because the Volturi are so terrifying in your story. Vampires and half-vampires who eat people without any sadistic enjoyment of their victims death and pain, I can tolerate when the Volturi exists. When they don't and some other evil organization hasn't taken their place, I still see vampires who feed like that to be an issue of suggestion and coercion. I'd try to have intelligent debates with them on why they shouldn't kill humans, or at least try to stick to criminals, and offer to help them do that if they're willing. The natural order of things on Earth is that all things die or are destroyed and recreated in some other form, after all. Without extensive research on the effects to society and the ecosystem of Earth if a large part of humanity were to be turned immortal (in age), I certainly wouldn't recommend trying it. Anyway, Allirea hasn't shown any sadistic tendencies yet, except perhaps for what she might to do a defenceless Demitri, but that's all deserved. She's been taught to kill humans and to think herself as part of a higher race, it's not something she chose to do really. If she decides to stick with that belief after considerable evidence to the contrary I still won't say she's evil, unless she starts finding it enjoyable to terrorize people she now knows she may not have a right to do whatever she wishes with. Besides, I love all her quirks! Aro and the Volturi however know all about morals but don't care a squat about anything that doesn't benefit them. I can imagine the Volturi of canon doing all this, but since it's a love story at heart SM didn't really write much about them and their deeds. If Alicorn's story is an accurate portrayal of how the Volturi act under pressure, then I fear the happily-ever-after of canon was simply a prelude to slaughter of naive characters. Demitri would likely check when the rebellion broke up, and then they would storm in and kill the Cullen's, Bella being their main target.
2Alicorn11yYeah, this was more or less how I felt about it too. The Volturi were temporarily outmaneuvered and might have to wait a bit before getting what they want.
0wedrifid11yWhat? Canon has a 'happily-ever-after' in which the Volturi are not completely to the last man, woman and fiend? Crazy!
0Strange710yIt helps that she wasn't properly onscreen until the murder was over, and that the victim was more of a dazed redshirt than a fully-developed character.

Ch 9.

I wonder what a full conversation between Elspeth and Elspeth!Adelaide would look like. Indeed, what would a touch-conversation look like?

Chapter 9.

Heh. So Alice is alive too. The big question here, then, is the durability of Chelsea's influence on the witches. Will going back to Bella/Jasper and living with them as usual eventually reform the relationship bonds in question? It would be very odd if not; it would imply that Chelsea's power will permanently affect the vampire's ability to form an evaluation of the target in question, regardless of future experiences, and that's a bit more of a durable effect than is usual in this fic. If that is true, does Chelsea's power have a time limit?

Al... (read more)

2Alicorn11yChelsea changes the attitudes people have towards others. These revised attitudes are as durable as they would be if they'd formed naturally, once Chelsea is no longer touching them up on a regular basis. So, if she's completely destroyed an existing relationship, the participants in that relationship have to start from scratch, as it were. There is no guarantee that what they build from scratch will resemble what Chelsea destroyed.
2Giriath11yHow do you quote or make HTML in general in these comments? I've looked around in the FAQ but wasn't able to find out how. Chelsea was/is working on the imprints too, presumably so that they won't want to leave and ask their respective wolf to take them away or attack the Volturi. Now this was a very sad chapter in my opinion, even though we learned Alice was alive (which I had previously had privately confirmed by Alicorn, so no surprise there for me) and she reunited with Jasper. The effects of Chelsea's witchcraft really hurts. It's much more interesting in this story than canon, where it's barely spoken about but hinted that it isn't all that powerful - at least that's the way I saw it. Maybe that's just because the main characters never had to be subjected to the effects of her power in canon though, and consequently we didn't get an opportunity to witness it and the reactions of the characters. It's very sad that these characters who used to love Elspeth now see her as little more than a hindrance to getting to their mates as fast and safe as possible. It's possible that will change when they are reunited with their mates and given time, and the situation with Bella won't be as bad as Elspeth makes it out to be just because she suddenly loves her second-most. She does need to grow up and work on her relationship with Jacob whenever that time comes, but first she needs to grow out of her sheltered self who relies entirely on her 'mama'. I really really want Bella to learn to expand her shield to others. It's possible that just doing that once will erase any lasting witchcraft effects such as Chelsea's, especially since witchcraft are relative to how their owners believe they work in this story, and Bella is a master of getting her mind to do what she wants it to. If the Cullen's (with considerable help from others) manage to defeat the Volturi and create a new vampire 'government', then I can totally see Elspeth as the radiant public figure who everyone is
1Vaniver11yWhen you reply, there is a "help" link in the bottom right, to the right of the "Cancel" button.

Chapter 8.

Surprise! Well, not actually surprise, given the usual dramatic cue of Bella never having found his jewelry in the ashes. Presumably, the vampire they burned there was Irina, who would have caused problems for the Volturi if they seemed to be in the way of not killing the wolves.

So in the future: Edward still has the mate bond to Bella, presumably, because it's stated somewhere (I think) that Chelsea is not powerful enough to harm that. Is Chelsea+Chelsea!Del enough? I somehow doubt it. In that case, if Edward can see Bella, then they will immed... (read more)

3Giriath11yEdward is probably completely indifferent to Elspeth right now, but as you said she simply needs to show him that Bella is alive and that she really wants Elspeth to be alive and well. She shouldn't have to show him this through visualization with her witchcraft; he can read her mind and she can talk with absolute sincerity. If he snaps out of it quick enough, he'll probably recognize the threat of Adelaide and either kill, incapacitate or keep her busy while Elspeth and Allirea flee. The revelation that the Volturi can keep prisoners and make use of their witchcraft like this begs the question of who they have actually killed; is Alice alive perhaps? I'm not sure Elspeth would have time to recognize her in the pandemonium of the prisoners escape, and with all the potential witchcraft present (one could seemingly turn invisible), there's no telling how someone could help her escape unnoticed. Her witchcraft is very powerful so the Volturi would be interested in keeping her, but then again Jasper claims to have felt her die. She may have been considered too powerful and uncooperative to let live. I think it's one of the Volturi's most stupid mistakes to have such a large collection of unwilling and vengeful witches in one place - and right in their base of operations, no less. Any enemy with knowledge of this and the capability of penetrating the castle and freeing the prisoners will have successfully detonated a bomb of witchcraft on them, and it's possible they're made more pliable by having almost all of their relationships wiped out, so it shouldn't be hard to persuade them to join a rebel army. On a last note I must say that this story has the most interesting take on 'gifts' -or witchcraft as it's called in this story- of all supernatural Twilight stories I've read. None so far have been ridiculously powerful and they all have limits and counters. Best of all they can be explained and make sense within the Twilight universe. I'd often wondered how it was tha
2shokwave11yI don't know about too powerful in the absolute sense, but I do know that her power would definitely let her escape. She could effectively brute-force a plan to escape by thinking about plans to escape. The cost to test a plan's chance of success is effectively nil for her - given enough time (minutes?) she could have a foolproof escape plan. Plus, once she's escaped and now opposed to the Volturi, she could set up traps for Demetri and other hunters - traps that are basically guaranteed to work.
2Alicorn11yRemember that there are lots of people running around who completely blank out Alice's visions.
3alethiophile11yAlice can probably still do a fairly good job of avoiding hunting parties, by deliberately and constantly forecasting on herself (and anyone else she wants to protect) and making some radical change if she sees herself (or other person) going blank for reasons not understood (such as if that person is hanging out around wolves/half-vampires anyway). It would be a security risk to do so, given that a blank Volturi hunting party would not make any different signature than a blank, friendly wolf or half-vampire. I understand that in canon, Bella is able to shield others as well as herself. Would an Alice being so shielded be able to see wolves/half-vampires? That would be a convenient solution, so probably not.
1Alicorn11yNo. This would almost certainly have been mentioned in canon if it were possible, so it's not.
2Giriath11yYes. And should Alice be alive and out and about to the Volturi's knowledge, then they would probably try to send at least one of these people with every hunting group, to prevent any forewarning visions. I wonder if Alice's visions can't be affected the same as Bella's shield though. If she started believing she should be able to see the half-kinds in her visions would she? - any comments on that Alicorn?
1Alicorn11yNo public comments, no.
0Sheaman377310ySomething just occurred to me. In canon, one of the reasons it was speculated that Alice's visions blanked on half-vamps and werewolves was that she had never been one--she used to be a human, even if she can't remember it, and she was a vampire, but she has never been either of the other two. But at this point, Elspeth is running around with plenty of memories of at least two half-vamps (including herself) and at least one wolf (as Edward stated that he could read Aro reading Rachel in ch 55 of Luminosity[1]. It's also possible that Aro's touch-telepathy would work through the involuntary telepathy of the wolves to read all of them at once, but that's not highly relevant at this exact moment). She also has the ability to share those memories. It could be that if Elspeth shares those memories with Alice, Alice will then be able remove those blank spots from her visions, as having years of memories, years of experiences, from these kinds of being that she never has been is enough to overcome that obstacle. Or it could be that despite how much she would remember being a werewolf, she still never actually was a werewolf, any more than she ever was a male, and the blanks would be unaffected. Or it could be that her power works on some other basis completely, and this whole line of inquiry is a dead end, if an interesting one. [1] I may be mistaken here, as ch 31 of Radiance confirms that Elspeth has Allirea's memories, meaning that Addy read Aro who had read Allirea in the past 5 and a half years, but that might have been before the wolves were captured, which was, I believe, around five years ago...My grasp on the timeline may well be in error here, but I am curious. Er, wait, when Elspeth blasted Demetri, she hit him with "the last five and a half years of Allirea's life." So...Allirea had been w/ the Volturi for five and a half years the last time Addy read Aro, which was...May 26 (ch 21 & 30). So Aro almost certainly has memories of werewolves, thus Adddy di
2Alicorn10yHere are the broad strokes. (Let me know if you want the dates of other events.) January 17, 2005: Luminosity opens. October 2005: Assorted hell breaks loose (partial list in order: Irina finds out who killed Laurent and tips off the Volturi; the Volturi descend upon the wolves; Jacob summons Bella; the Volturi send Demetri looking for Nahuel's sisters; he finds them and helps himself to Allirea). November 4, 2005: With Allirea in tow, the Volturi nab Alice. April 4, 2006: Bella encounters Jasper. May 10, 2006: Bella finds Elspeth. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- May 20, 2011: Radiance opens. May 26, 2011: Last date of Addy touching Aro. Aro was reasonably up-to-date (within a month or two) on the Volturi and Volturi guard at this time, including Allirea. He doesn't keep quite so up-to-date, temporally speaking, on the wolves, but as of this date he has read all the then-in-village alphas and imprints (as they came in, to determine how to cover up their disappearance to the wider world), and about half of the village wolves who were activated when first brought in. May 27, 2011: Elspeth and Jacob's pack are captured in New York. May 28, 2011: Elspeth and Allirea jailbreak. May 30, 2011: Elspeth & co. arrive in Denali. IT'S A TRAP! Some hours afterward, Bella shows up, encounters Allirea and Eleazar, and gets the former out of there. June 8, 2011: Elspeth is first recruited as assistant brainwasher. July 1, 2011: The events of "Weaver" take place. July 3, 2011: Demetri starts looking for Allirea. July 4, 2011 (no pun intended): Addy is sentenced to death and memory-blasts the Volturi compound and escapes with Elspeth and Jacob. July 8, 2011: Elspeth's current party arrives in Alaska.
0Sheaman377310yThank you, this is very helpful. (edit: Erm, out of curiosity, when was Addy picked up by the Volturi? Please and thanks.) So Elspeth certainly has several sets of memories from werewolves, on top of the half-vamp memories she has from Allirea and herself, at least. It's possible for the theory to be tested in-universe, then, dependent on getting Alice back on their side. That's a shame, because it's fairly hilarious.
1[anonymous]11yIt's definitely a risk, but it's also a huge power boost for them. Keeping them in the base seems logical to me (they should be under the heaviest possible guard and the closest possible supervision). Really enjoyed the cliffhanger ending to this chapter.
4Schlega11yThere's no reason for them to reassemble all of the witches at the same time. It would still be stupid even if the room was full of guards. Having only a single point of failure preventing 16 powerful enemies from waking up in a room with only 2 defenders, plus any invisible enemies that might have been brought in, is the Biggest Ball of Idiot in Minnesota. They knew Allirea hated Demitri, could turn invisible and could wake the witches just by touching Del. Yes, that would let Del get a sneak attack, but that would only last until she touched one of the other witches, or one of them touched her. Allirea only needed Elspeth because she couldn't rely on Chelsied vampires to cooperate with her plan to kill Demetri.
3Alicorn11yThere actually is a reason, although it's one of convenience more than absolute necessity. To keep vampires alive while normally maintaining them in fragments, they need to be fed pretty often, and on a tight schedule if they want any safety margin. They can't just be kept in small immobile chunks indefinitely. It's quite a production to handle the healing-and-feeding phase (Alec or Alec!Adelaide needs to be available, you need to fill up whoever feeds them so their food doesn't get stolen by inadequately fed guards, you need to have extra food on hand for the witches themselves, etc.). Heidi has to make a bunch of trips for extra food. She has to range farther than usual to get it so there won't be too many concentrated disappearances all at once in the near environs of Volterra. This all takes a while. Someone else could take on some of the hunting duties, but except for Heidi!Adelaide, nobody is quite as well-equipped to unobtrusively bring in an entire delicious tour group all at the same time, and Adelaide usually has other people to copy and other tasks to accomplish. Every extra guard they put in the room is somebody they have to saturate with even more blood so they can handle being there. The best candidate for the idiot ball action here is that they didn't time the capturing of Jacob's pack for when the witches had already just been fed and were in harmless bits and pieces.
3Vladimir_Nesov11yIf you amputate all the limbs, is that a problem for continued survival (assuming potential preservation of limbs is not relevant for Voltury)? Why do you need to attach limbs when feeding? Why must they be kept unconscious, if without limbs they can just be fixed in place, with no way of escaping? This won't necessarily be enough for the few abilities that could allow escape or sabotage even without moving, but that doesn't apply to, say, Edward, and without limbs the situation is strictly better in any case, while removing the limbs supposedly costs nothing.
2Alicorn11yThey could move a little even without their limbs. If kept conscious and intact, they could talk to each other and coordinate, re-forming any relationships sufficient to escape with the creative use of their powers even over Chelsea's attempts to sever them. Edward in particular wouldn't be much of a danger this way, obviously, but they're adopting a consistent strategy for the entire group.
5wedrifid11yNow you've gone and put all sorts of images of comical vampires into my mind. Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left. Just a flesh wound. What are you going to do, bleed on me? I'm invincible! Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!
3Vladimir_Nesov11yThat it's not in itself a complete solution, is not an argument about the security value of this precaution. They can't escape on their own if their limbs are destroyed or (say) stored on another continent. What of it, they should be kept in cells in any case. Or kept in solitary cells. "Consistency" (simplicity, rather) is a poor argument for picking a bad strategy, making a possible disaster worse. If only 5 extra-witchy vampires escape, it's better than if all 16 vampires escape. It also expends more resources of maintenance. As you wrote:
0[anonymous]11yIf it can work for the Judge [http://buffy.wikia.com/wiki/The_Judge] it can work for Twilight's glass canon vampires.
2shokwave11yWhat about some sort of iron maiden approach: a steel block with the vampire contained inside, one hole to their mouth to feed them, one hole near the leg or back or something so that Del could reach through and copy their power? This gives the Volturi the advantage of portability: it wouldn't be easy to lug a hundred tons of steel around, but forklifts could allow relocation and such, or the transport of several vampires that Del needs to swap between on-site. If there's a way of designing a cell so that a vampire can't use their teeth on it (as Elspeth appeared to have encountered) it should be doubly possible when the head is restrained. You get to feed the captives less often, there's no need for special precautions around them, a prison-break from outside is definitely going to fail unless they bring serious cutting machinery (blowtorches, obviously, are right out). It's also much, much crueler.
2Alicorn11yA vampire could just dig out of Elspeth's cell. Elspeth is not a vampire, and cannot do that. The cell is specifically for half-vampires. ...Like a vampire?
3wedrifid11yLike a vampire without his teeth, jaw, hands or feet? Constraining vampires is basically a trivial task given time to prepare. Their magic just isn't all that impressive compared to engineering. The confining-is-implausible rule is going to be one that is best supported by narrative decree (or idiot balls) than any real coherence with the physics.
2Alicorn11yThe "serious cutting machinery" phrase was in a sentence about a prison break from outside.
1wedrifid11yAhh, thankyou. In that case the question of whether comrades could be easily liberated from prisons is basically too trivial to even contemplate. Even without their physical capabilities the intellectual ability of vampires makes such things simple. With absurdly fast processing speed and a flawless memory a would be liberator could walk in with overwhelming and specialised technology. This leads my speculation to a barely related tangent: If a vampire has something important that they want to achieve and is rational then timeframes of beyond a couple of years would be out of the question. They would obviously dedicate a small amount of time to a quick read of wikipedia and the references provided for any topics that seem important. A coven made up of individuals of slightly above average intelligence (any of the big players) that had something to protect [http://lesswrong.com/lw/nb/something_to_protect/] would create an FAI in short order. That isn't an idiot ball that an author could be expected to avoid. The only options would be to throw in extreme time constraints or artificially handicap vampire's learning ability in some areas to below human level in a way that isn't apparent in either canon or Twilight.
1Vladimir_Nesov11yVampires can learn lots of stuff without error, but it doesn't necessarily follow that they are inhumanly smart or rational as well.
3wedrifid11yI never suggested they were and nor does my observation require it. They do have ridiculously inhuman processing speed and memory. Inhuman intelligence beyond that is in no way required. It would only be if the vampires were outright inferior thinkers to humans in other ways (that are not in evidence in the books) that those traits would not default to rapid pace FAI development if desired. Bella, for example, would be sufficient. She has more than enough rationality and does not seem particularly unintelligent. She has access to peers of sufficient intelligence too - even if some of them seem to be getting dead. She also has access to the rest of the world. Including an awful lot of intelligent rational humans who would jump at the opportunity to become immortal, have few qualms about the stigma around 'vampire' and already have an interest in creating FAIs. It's a trivial task unless the author introduces an idiot ball or some artificial weakness of the kind that is often used to thwart the protagonists (and powerful allies) in the early parts of fantasy stories.
1Vladimir_Nesov11yI agree, with two modifications: (1) rationality of the "taking ideas seriously" kind is critical, without it one can spend any amount of time without getting anywhere, and (2) FAI is not a likely outcome, random AGI could come out of this easily as well, given that you are only assuming fast processing speed and not necessarily self-reinforcing rationality, i.e. essentially future ems.
1wedrifid11yI concur with both. I add the caveat that the 'taking ideas seriously' rational vampire would clearly be best served by vamping willing FAI researchers. That could be expected to raise p(FAI | GAI) up to well above real world values. I say above just because it eliminates some significant contributors towards error (memory failure, fatigue, time pressure and cognitive decline from aging).
0DSimon11yIf the policy is to introduce LW-related conclusions to Luminosity on the grounds of plausibility in the real world, then there's an easy fix to keep the plot constrained: Luminosity takes place in a vampire!ancestor-simulation, and if it approaches GAI (which might figure out how to hack the simulation and then cause trouble for the parent universe) then it is shut down and reset with different random seeds so something else happens.
2wedrifid11yOr a saw fashioned from the harvested teeth of disposable newborns! Actually biting through a few tons of steel myself seems rather undignified. :)
0Pavitra11yCouldn't they just get one of the imprints to do it?
0Alicorn11yTheir hold on the residents of the wolf village is partially dependent on an "out of sight, out of mind" approach to their knowledge of the vampires' eating habits.
2Alicorn11yThey don't usually know this. She's usually too inconsequential for them to remember.
0Schlega11yIgnoring a witch who makes multiple escape attempts, can make herself and others unnoticeable and is invisible to Alice does not strike me as an argument against the presence of an idiot ball. I have a tendency to only speak up when I have something to complain about, so just to be clear, I do like this story. It seems perfectly believable that the Volteri set up this system hundreds of years ago when they only had one or two uncooperative witches, then never bothered to reevaluate it as the operation scaled up. From a story-telling perspective, neither Bella nor Elspeth are HJPEV, so it would be inappropriate to make Aro into Quirrelmort unless you really hate Bella and want her to lose. On the other hand, believable idiocy is still idiocy. If Aro WAS Quirrelmort, he would have experimentally determined how much of a vampire could be destroyed without killing it and whether they could be crippled by cutting open their joints and pouring venom into the wound. If the answers turned out to be "none" and "no," he could still have at least one other vampire in the room to attach the head of a witch immediately before feeding it and decapitate it immediately after it finishes.
2Alicorn11yThey would be idiots if they willfully ignored her. They aren't. Her power is to be ignored. Occasions when she chooses not to be ignored are rare, and they can't get rid of her without ruining the effectiveness of an important witch of theirs. (Do they wish they'd kept James, now, so they could kill Allirea and Demetri and replace the latter with a less effective tracker with a more convenient (dead) mate? Yes, yes they do, but they didn't.) Adelaide did not work for the Volturi hundreds of years ago, and so they had no reason to keep witches in the basement in bits.
0Schlega11yBella knew about Allirea's power and apparently remembered long enough to tell Elspeth about it. I thought the Volteri would remember things that Demetri told them about his mate, even if they couldn't notice her.
3wedrifid11yKeyword being Bella. She's badass like that. :)
2Lila11yDemetri is also immune to Allirea's power. Due to the magic bond he never sees her as unimportant.
1Schlega11yOK, I obviously have not been doing a good job of thinking through the examples I'm using. I'll concede this point.
2Alicorn11yNot at all. Chelsea doesn't alter memory or even personality, just adjusts how people evaluate other (non-mate, non-imprint) people as important or un-. Chelsea-plus-chelsea!Adelaide are faster and stronger, but the same basic rules apply (no snipping mate or imprint bonds, no creating new relationships without any foundation).

New chapter (7).

Will you stop ending on cliff-hangers already!

Speculation: The stranger is Pera, turned; Elspeth has been somehow kept unconscious (maybe Alec, or just repeated blows to the head) for the three days required, and Pera's power evolved enough to make Elspeth not recognize her. It's a bit of a stretch. Maybe instead the stranger is just another Volturi witch? I don't think any of the so-far-named ones have had powers that let you do that. It's a bit annoying to keep having these new powerful witches introduced just in time for their powers to be used.

Props for the writing on Elspeth's reactions to the stranger. I did a few double-takes there, wondering if I had missed something.

Will you stop ending on cliff-hangers already!

No :P But I will keep updating on schedule so you don't have to wait forever for each cliffhanger to be resolved (...and immediately replaced).

Note: If anybody shares my love of spoilers, aversion to surprises, and hatred of the itch of not knowing what's next, you can contact me privately with questions and I will actually answer them, if you agree not to independently spread the information.

I don't think any of the so-far-named ones have had powers that let you do that.

The character and power have been named before, but one could be forgiven for forgetting them. (Pun intended.)

5cousin_it11yWow. This is so awesome. I've never seen an author offer to do this before.
1alethiophile11yAnd that is the great frustration. Don't get me wrong. It's a great story, and I thank you for writing it. Would it be too spoilerish for you to point me in the direction of the reference? (Am I correct in assuming that once I saw it I would recognize it? I don't feel like rereading all of Luminosity and Radiance at this time.)
2Alicorn11ySee chapter 21 of (condensed) Luminosity, and chapter 1 of Radiance. I don't know enough about your skill at catching stuff to know if you will catch it.
1alethiophile11yThanks for the reply. The only common thread I can see between Luminosity 21 and Radiance 1 is Joham, and I can't see any mention of his power. Maybe I'm just missing it.
1Giriath11yIt seems you are. Nahuel's eldest sister is mentioned to have witchcraft that diverts notice from herself by becoming uninteresting, so the stranger is probably her. Again I wonder how the Volturi captured her. Jasper said the Volturi had one of Nahuel's sisters with them to block Alice's vision of the attack, so either that was her or they searched for Joham and captured some or all of the sisters. If the eldest sister has been in Volturi possession for over five years, then maybe she recently did something that got her sent to the cells, or she got captured recently and isn't willing to cooperate. As old as she is, she probably has a pretty good grasp on her witchcraft, so if it's possible then she should be able to escape by herself, if not then perhaps Elsepth can help her. It will be interesting to see what kind of personality you have going for her. In canon I think it's said that Joham has made them think of themselves as goddesses, although that belief may have been stunted by their capture and - I presume, Joham's death. I read the first chapter of Radiance again and I assume the only reference to the stranger is that Alicorn provides names for Nahuel's sisters for the first time: Allirea, Noemi and Iseul.

Am I the only one who, having not actually read Twilight, thought that the character of Eleazar was a shoutout to Eliezer?

1Alicorn11yBefore I introduced the (canon) character Eleazar, I actually posted a comment [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2mq/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_discussion_thread/2mfp?c=1] stating that he was canon to forestall exactly this reaction.
0wedrifid11yEven aside from that it is hard to imagine that a witchcraft talent of deep insight into the abilities of others as something that would fit with an Eliezer shoutout.

Glad to see Luminosity continuing on (the quite insanely productive) schedule.

Speaking of insane, Pera is quite a munchkin, but yeah, wouldn't have much of a resistance anymore without something like her what with the shitstorm that was the end of episode one, ergo not much of a story.

Sounds like they should try hiding stuff overlapped with other stuff. I mean, sure, it could have explosive consequences, but hey, nothing too funny happens when it comes to interaction with the displaced air, so it's probably not too dangerous. And if it's dangerous only to... (read more)

5Alicorn11yShe seemed like just about the minimum entity I could postulate and still have Jacob's pack running around as they were.
0shokwave11yVery clever! The minimum entity powerful enough to somewhat hide Jacob's pack; also the minimum entity powerful enough to draw the Volturi's interest more than their ire. In retrospect, the experience with Alice ought to have taught us that Volturi like to collect witches if at all possible. And the phrase "if at all possible", for a vampire council with probably-infinite patience, stretches over years.
0shokwave11yI was surprised that lighting trees on fire would trump her ability: it suggests to me that the Volturi ought to try explosives instead of (comparatively) slow forest fires. Some sort of napalm wall?
2nshepperd11yThat doesn't sound too discreet. I suspect the Volturi think humans might notice if they started bombing the forest with napalm. And hiding the vampire world from humans is the main reason the Volturi exist (or why they claim to, anyway).
2TheOtherDave11yHiding knowledge of the existence of the vampire world, yes. Hiding knowledge of any activity performed by vampires, no. Widespread awareness that someone bombed a forest with napalm ought be of no more concern than widespread awareness that someone blew up the World Trade Center. As long as nobody figures out who actually did it or why, the Volturi are fine. That being said, the only way the Volturi make any sense to me at all is if they have a thousand-year-plan for world domination and don't want to be rushed. And if I assume that level of conservatism, it's not unreasonable that they only exert enough force to keep everyone in hiding, but not enough to actually wipe out the rebels.
0shokwave11yA forest fire's a forest fire: I guess napalm is out, but enough accelerants to catch the wolves off-guard could be plausibly covered up.
1wedrifid11yI say it's insane not to be a munchkin! :)

I wish this sequel had long phase where things just flow peacefully. First chapter was fun, but I fear that things are gonna get messy after that sort ending.

2Jonii11yRead chapter 2. Oh dear.
0shokwave11yAnd chapter 3. Talk about messy.

Is the Chapter 57 that's up now the official ending?

3Alicorn11yYes, but there will be a sequel. The first chapter of the sequel will go up on Monday, November 8, and update on the same schedule that Book One did.

Would someone be so kind as to message me what this apparent 'twist' is? I don't remember much as far back as chapter 25 and can't think of anything in particular that would be required by that circumstance that would make me overwhelmed with awe, hint or no hint. (And if spoilers were good enough for Shakespeare's prologue's then they are good enough for me!)

0Alicorn11yIt's in chapter 55 (according to the current chapter scheme), not in or near 25.
1wedrifid11yAhh, now that makes sense. I think. Kinda. I'm still kind of hope someone sends me a message with a blatant spoiler so I can see if I guessed right!

http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/3jt/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_discussion_thread_3/

Please use this thread going forward. (I think continuing old discussions here is fine, though.)

I don't have a child and I'm only really close with one family member, but if I had the opportunity to destroy an organization that kills hundreds of thousand of people and probably will kill a whole lot more if left unchecked, then I'd probably do my best no matter how many family members I lose, or I myself die. While fighting them I'd also be doing my best to make sure the system that will replace them will help people instead of kill them.

It's kind of like how I see today's society. We're almost all taught that success is to earn money; and that money ... (read more)

You know, this model of reality is really not true-- but before you cut me off as one of the great majority that does as it's taught, I'd like to point out that I disagree for reasons unlike those that you probably encounter most of the time. I don't think that reality is better than what you claim, and I'm not going to say that you're nuts. Unfortunately, I think that reality is worse than what you just said. Please take the time to read my post and hear me out, because I feel that this is important.

There is no conspiracy. There is no system, or at least not one that we can control. There is no one group that controls all world events. It's just people all the way down. And people are irrational, weak-minded, hypocritical, obsessed with status, and prone to making the same mistakes over and over again.

Conspiracy theories are actually optimistic, not pessimistic. If your model of the world were true, it would be easier to solve the world's problems than it actually is. All we would need to do is take out the guys at the top-- the corrupt corporate dictators who control the law, the industry, and the world economy-- and either tear down the system or take the helm and steer it towar... (read more)

5Alicorn10yThis comment appeals to my aesthetics in a way I did not previously predict I could be appealed to. I think it should be tidied up a bit to make more sense out of context, and recorded as a speech in ringing tones and put on Youtube.
4TheOtherDave10yYes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And also: yes. I suspect this is why they are popular: a belief in a coherent enemy is emotionally satisfying compared to a belief in a pervasive flaw.
-1Giriath10yWell, the pervasive flaws in how our societies work creates competition, which will inevitably make people conspire against each other. Conspiracy theories are optimistic in that they often single out a single organization as the bad guys, when really what is needed to improve our lives and ensure our race survives as long as possible is drastic universal change in human culture.
3RobinZ10yRelated short story [http://crisper.livejournal.com/199081.html].
2katydee10yI love it.
-1Giriath10yI'm aware of what you say. I'm sorry if I didn't convey that in my previous comment. We won't solve the problem by simply removing those who are most greedy (they are there, of course, and always have been) from their positions of power, because we too, are greedy. Like you say, humanity has to become more aware and rational, and learn to cooperate, because we all live in symbiosis with each other and everything else in the universe(s). There are still those with a lot of power who for some reason fight against this for monetary gain though. But in the end, they rely on other people to keep their system(s) in place. If people start being rational and think about what they're being told to do, and how society functions, then they'll soon find themselves with much less power, no matter how much money they have. I will certainly study human rationality, but I will also study what technology can do for our future, in projects like 'The Venus Project' [http://www.thevenusproject.com/index.php]. If I find these things promising and useful, I'll spread the knowledge of them to the best of my ability.

Chapter 22.

Addy has run off without consultation after taking Siobhan's power. That could be bad. I'm having visions of a supervillain Addy running around.

Siobhan has asked the crucial question. They now have a really dandy weapon against the Volturi, can they inject it into the collective knowledge at the right time. This, of course, assumes that no Volturi come across the knowledge beforehand, in which case the effect is not likely to be as drastic, but still interesting.

Did Marcus himself receive the memory dump? If so, I recall reading that he spent m... (read more)

[-][anonymous]10y 0

Chapter 22 -- Addy, Addy, Addy. What's she playing at? I suppose it's not completely impossible that she was somehow pulling off an extremely subtle bluff when she said (while she had Elspeth's power) "ask me whatever you like about my current loyalties or future intentions and you'll have answers that I think will be satisfactory," but I think it a lot more likely that she simply changed her mind as soon as she got herself Siobhan's "I WIN" power. She saw a better path toward her goals, whatever those are.

If I were her--with the goal o... (read more)

0TheOtherDave10y(nods) If I were part of a group that Addy immediately fled the instant that she gained supertactical ability, I would take that as evidence that things are going to get very bad, very fast and we should probably start making plans to flee, ourselves.
2Alicorn10yBear in mind that Addy has Siobhan's power, but so does Siobhan.
2[anonymous]10yI'm not actually clear on whether Siobhan has committed to help, or is just exploring possibilities. I think this is a case where, not having read the canon, I don't understand Siobhan's motivations as well as somebody who was more familiar with the source material might.
3Alicorn10ySiobhan's motivations are not explored in any depth in canon. The entire Irish coven are basically extras, although it's technically possible to credit the happy ending of Breaking Dawn entirely to Siobhan if one wants to read it that way.
0TheOtherDave10y(nods) True. Though Siobhan's behavior here has convinced me that her ability is deductive rather than precognitive in nature -- or, at least, that it depends on knowledge of salient facts about a situation. And it's likely that Addy knows salient things about the Volturi that Siobhan doesn't, and also likely that Siobhan knows salient things about her group that Addy doesn't, so it's not too surprising that they disagree about the next move. Under those circumstances, having step one be "find out everything salient that Addy knows," which seems to be what Siobhan is doing, makes a lot of sense. To say this differently: Addy and Siobhan are demonstrating an unusually good approximation to a corollary to Aumann's agreement theorem: two perfectly rational actors with a persistent disagreement must have saliently different priors. (Their shared power being as close an approximation to a perfect rationalist as one is likely to find.) It would be interesting to see that pursued explicitly. That is, given that Siobhan's talent gives a different answer when applied to her priors than it does when applied to Addy's, one could infer things about Addy's salient knowledge based on the differences between those answers, in much the same way that Elspeth infers facts about people from the way she wants to talk to them. And given that Elspeth has a lot of Addy's knowledge (though doesn't necessarily access it the same way Addy does), Siobhan working out in this way the classes of things-Addy-knows that are most relevant to the situation can prompt Elspeth to remember the specific things-Addy-knows in those classes, allowing Siobhan to model Addy's priors more closely. (And therefore more narrowly identify the remaining salient differences: lather, rinse, repeat.) Neat!
1Alicorn10yThe fact that Siobhan and Addy aren't doing the same thing reflects more the fact that they have very different goals. Addy, for instance, has no interest in controlling Ireland, and Siobhan doesn't particularly care if a steady stream of interesting witches enter her life and let her play with their powers.
0TheOtherDave10y(nods) Makes sense.

So next chapter we're on the hunt for Siobhan. I hope she's not a witch, but rather very good at planning. Or if she does have a gift, it's sensible and not all too powerful. I wonder what Bella is doing. Maybe she's doing some planning of her own.

2Alicorn10ySorry, I'm sticking to canon, and canon has an asterisk next to her name in the character list at the end of Breaking Dawn.
1TheOtherDave10yIt's a universe with at least one full-fledged precognitive, and one in which two witches can share the same basic talent but have different suites of related "helper" abilities that control their expression (e.g., Aro's ability to file and compress memories). It ought not be surprising to find a witch with a precognitive talent expressed as a knack for picking the right plan. I'm fond of that notion for the same reasons that I enjoy Elspeth's ability to learn about a target by analyzing the things she is inclined to say to that target... it allows for some entertaining thought experiments.If Siobhan is wearing a piece of cheese on her head, then it's likely that Siobhan wearing cheese on her head is the thing to do: what does that imply about the situation? I'm reminded of the princess in Her Majesty's Wizard. All that said, if that is the deal with Siobhan, and she hasn't long since chosen to go to ground somewhere where our heroes won't find her, that implies certain things about the likely future that ought to cheer our heroes up. Belief in precognition is one heck of a morale boost, under the right circumstances.
2nshepperd10yI'm reminded of a novel I read in which at one point the protagonist — having the ability to see the future as it could happen — manages to extract information from people by just "counterfactually" asking them questions and seeing what their responses would be. Prescience let them interrogate random people without even moving. That sort of precognition really does have the potential to be ridiculously overpowered. As its fine-controllability increases it becomes like having a bayesian superintelligence in your head, except it's not just superintelligent, it's (close enough to) omniscient as well. You could become one hell of an optimization process.
0TheOtherDave10yI vaguely recall something along those lines in one of Peter Hamilton's Greg Mandel novels... Quantum Murder, I think... the precognitive reports to her telepath partner that in none of the futures where he read the minds of anyone in that building does it turn out that they lied about what happened, and they go on to the next thing without ever entering the building. I've had an idle desire for a long time to write a story with a precog where it turns out that in the most likely future she gets whammied by an illusionist following a detailed script, such that all of her long-range precognitive visions have been scripted by the enemy all along.
0Oscar_Cunningham10yWell she has the potential to be vastly overpowered. [http://twilightsaga.wikia.com/wiki/Siobhan]
0shokwave10y"Hell of a planner" plus a throwaway memory of hers suggested Alice to me; it isn't likely but the payoff for betting on Alice is surely more than 4:1?
1Alicorn10yAlice has been Chelseaed and lives in Volterra now. Also, she is very ill-equipped for making plans that involve Elspeth and Jacob.

I really enjoyed this chapter. Having an insight into Addy's mind was very welcome.

Will we be seeing more of it, or are we going back to our regularly scheduled Elspeth now that she is conscious? Though I guess Elspeth would also now have that insight into Addy, though it might take her a while to find/realise it... but so will much of the Volturi... interesting.

1Alicorn10yI have lots of opportunity to drop in other perspectives; this is just the first one that I've inserted "in sequence" (e.g. you get it at the point when it happened chronologically). I'm not yet sure whether it will serve my storytelling needs to do more chronological switches to Addy's perspective, but it's unlikely that you'll be without Addy's narration at all for the remaining story, even if she's always narrating from the past here on out.

Chapter 18: And then the world went dark and silent and airless, as though I'd ceased to have a body, and I was completely alone with my thoughts.

Coup de tête? The magic takes control? Magic go FOOM?

1Alicorn10yGuys, it's totally Alec, how much more obvious can I make that without Elspeth finding time to call his name to mind immediately after being plunged into sensory deprivation?
1Giriath10yPublic spoilers! :O I hope he's not there on behalf of Aro deeming Elspeth too dangerous. I have no idea why he'd do something like rebel though, but then we haven't exactly gotten any information on what goes on in the background. I guess it's also possible Addy developed the necessary heuristic to counteract Chelsea and spread it to Alec who for some reason doesn't want work for the Volturi and is for some reason now subduing Elspeth? This is the most exciting we've had in a while. I just hope next chapter gives us at least a sliver of hope that things aren't going to continue to go so well for the Volturi.

Chapter 18.

Wait, what? Has she just been hit by Alec or Alec!Del? That's all I can think of. Why?

4[anonymous]10yMostly posting just because feedback is what motivates most fic writers to continue. I'm also eager to get the resolution to the cliffhanger (I had to go look up what Alec's power was, since I've never read the books--it does sound like that's what just happened to Elspeth). I also wanted to praise a little snippet of text: "Jane's room was decorated mostly in warm colors. She had carpet that matched her eyes, a lot of knicknacks made of gold, a cherry wood wardrobe, and pale orange upholstery on her sofa set. This made her slight figure, dressed in the black cloak of the Volturi, stand out like a blot of ink against the bright background." That's lovely, and it's exactly the kind of sensory description that helps me, as a reader, feel more realistically grounded in Elspeth's experience. I would be delighted if we got a sentence or two about how things look every time Elspeth went into a room, new or not -- I don't remember at this point what the assembly hall is supposed to look like (I guess I'm picturing it sort of like a high school cafeteria) or how Jacob's room is set up (pictures on the wall? rugs? Do they keep it tidy or messy?). These rooms might have been described the first time they appeared, but after several chapters I need some reinforcement from the text to be able to picture them clearly.
0Alicorn10yThank you!
3shokwave10yI'd like to provide a data point in a different direction from siduri - I too liked that section, but I liked it because it turned a solely sensory description into character development as well. Jane's inkblot presence didn't serve to highlight the description of the room, the room's description highlighted Jane's character. Elspeth later wonders why Jane even exists; Jane is like an ink blot on Elspeth's view of the world. That is an excellent description that fleshes out Jane in my mind. I don't like descriptions of places and people for their own sake. Describing the assembly hall or Jacob's room is only desirable (for me as a reader of your work, not in general) if it tells us something important about Chelsea or Jacob, or pushes the plot forwards.
2Vaniver10yI put moderate probability that that's Adelaide sending her back her memories all at once, and that's how Elspeth perceives it.
2Alicorn10yThat would be telling.
1grautry10yMaybe she's just exhausted and that's how it manifests itself?
0jimrandomh10yPerhaps she's receiving the memory of having been hit by Alec. That's the sort of thing Addie would probably test.
2Giriath10yThe only causes for her reaction at the end of chapter I can come up with are as follows. 1: She's been hit by Alec, and probably Addy has too. 2: Addy is sending all her memories to Elspeth, making her completely disoriented and "alone" with Addy's thoughts, that she interprets as her own. 3: Addy is sending her a memory of being hit by Alec, not all her memories. * 1 probably means there's a rebellion for some reason. Or, more likely; Aro has found out about Addy's sessions with Elspeth and deemed them too dangerous to continue. Alec is there to separate them and perhaps kill Elspeth to eliminate the risk of her spreading a heuristic allowing people to neutralize the effects of Chelsea's witchcraft very effectively. * 2 means we get to see whether Addy really is voluntarily working for the Volturi, or if she was tempted by their powers and later enslaved by Chelsea like everyone else. If she is, then she should have been able to use Magic to neutralize the effects like Elspeth does, but maybe she isn't able to make that decision herself but would turn sides if Elspeth sends her the same heuristic she would her friends. * 3 probably means Addy is testing if a memory of Alec's power is sufficient enough to keep a person subdued. If it is, then she may decide Elspeth's witchcraft can't develop any further and finally deem her uninteresting and not useful. I hope it's something close to my second guess, so Elspeth can finally get on with freeing people from this horrible situation. And later the Volturi can hopefully get what's been a long time coming. Especially Aro, Chelsea and Addy, if she's a voluntary participant.

Is it just my imagination, or is the chapter for this Friday missing?

1Alicorn10yIt is still Friday. I am not technically late yet. Be patient. Edit: Updated. Still on schedule!
[-][anonymous]10y 0

I particularly enjoyed this last chapter--Chelsea remains terrifying, and Addy is pretty scary too--and I'm now joining other readers in speculating about Addy's motives in all this. Maybe she (and Aro) have read enough of Chelsea's memories to know they should mistrust her, even as her power continues to work on them?

5JenniferRM10yChapter 17, I'm really liking it too. When Elspeth was captured and basically "changed into a new character" with a few finger wiggles, I was horrified (and wondering what these stories had to do with rationality any more) but as "Magic" is fleshed out I'm seeing a lot of interesting resonance between Elspeth's power and social complexities that can come up for people who are compulsively honest in ways that might damage their relationships sometimes. Chelsea works as a sort of a personification of a whole suite of cognitive biases documented in Influence [http://www.amazon.com/Influence-Psychology-Persuasion-Robert-Cialdini/dp/0688128165] . Reading with that as a subtext ramps up the scariness and interestingness in some ways, but it also almost gives me sympathy for Chelsea. Most of the biases in "Influence" are intelligible as honestly useful heuristics for organizing a small cohesive group that shares wisdom and resources. What kind of healthy emotional life could Chelsea possibly have had, given the world her power puts literally "at her fingertips"? She doesn't just have the ability to manipulate, but to detect people's attitudes toward her in a way that is tied into her emotional reward centers. She's probably an emotional wirehead, with the parts of her brain that were intended for primate social bonding having been hijacked by a much simpler stimulus-reward behavior-loop instead, and then reinforced for two millennia while excluding other more complicated ways of getting positive emotional feedback that involve actually positive social coordination. Tragedy! Also, opportunity: I think Elspeth may be the first person on the planet (other than Bella, but Bella has never been around to interact with Chelsea) who could possibly teach Chelsea what "those parts" of her brain are "actually for", and neither is likely to do that because Chelsea is working at cross-purposes to both of them.

These past few chapters have been excellent. Now I'm curious about how effective a weaponized version of Elspeth's power would be against Bella. Does it penetrate Bella's shield, or does Bella need to consciously allow it through?

1Alicorn11yBella is not now and has never been immune to Elspeth's power in any form.
0nshepperd11yIs this because Elspeth and Bella have special relations, or is it just because Elspeth's power naturally trumps Bella's? For example, would Elspeth!Adelaide be effective against Bella?
0shokwave11yMy guess would be it's because Bella never thought her shield should block Elspeth's power. IIRC Jasper's power affected Bella, and then when she thought about how her power should interact with Jasper, it suddenly started working.
0Alicorn11yAnswering this question would constitute a minor spoiler.
0grautry11yAssuming that the answer is the same as in Twilight Canon, here's why this works(if you have not read the books and do not want to spoil yourself, do not decipher, obviously): Va Gjvyvtug Pnaba, Ryfcrgu(be engure, Erarfzrr be jungrire gur cbxrzba vf pnyyrq) cbffrff na 'vairefr' cbjre gb ure cneragf. Vr. juvyr Rqjneq pna ernq zvaqf, fur pna fraq gubhtugf. Naq juvyr Oryyn vf fuvryqrq, fur pna crargengr fuvryqf.
0Alicorn11yThis is only speculation in canon. I may or may not have chosen that interpretation :)
[-][anonymous]11y 0

Two Points: 1) Your fanfic made me read the original stuff. Interestingly, for me, somehow the differences felt larger than in Eliezers fanfic, although I do realise that your fic has fewer points of departure than Eliezers. Might be because I hadn't read books from the Potter series in quite som time. A question though: I'm not far into the series, but I thought that at first, you only wanted the protagonist, Bella, to act more rational. However, the original!Bella seems to share luminous!Bellas wish to become a vampire, and, while less organized, advanc... (read more)

[-][anonymous]11y 0

Two Points: 1) Your fanfic made me read the original stuff. Interestingly, for me, somehow the differences felt larger than in Eliezers fanfic, although I do realise that your fic has fewer points of departure than Eliezers. Might be because I hadn't read books from the Potter series in quite som time. A question though: I'm not far into the series, but I thought that at first, you only wanted the protagonist, Bella, to act more rational. However, the original!Bella seems to share luminous!Bellas wish to become a vampire, and, while less organized, advanc... (read more)

And here I was thinking that perchance Addy also wants immunity from Chelsea to be able to do some major restructuring, but seems unlikelier now - or at least, not any particularly good kind thereof ;] Brady, spooky.

Seems like it could help if Elspeth's ventures were to become rather ... uninteresting. Would be nice to know what's going on elsewhere, but having a static first person perspective does have some narrative limits. Anyway, hope the outside will touch on the inside at some point again.

0Giriath11yI like that this story is based on rationality and strategy and not my-awesome-control-the-world-witchcraft-is-better-than-yours one uppance, but - after reading the horrible actions of the Volturi from a first person perspective - if, say, Bella suddenly developed the ability to erase all effects of witchcraft on the mind, past and present, in a very large EMP-.like attack - making possible the destruction of the Volturi by the overwhelming mass of unwilling manpower they've recruited - , my first reaction would be to cheer. As it is, I find the likelihood of that or something similar happening very slim. I wouldn't like such an anticlimax after my first initial reaction to the just demise of the Volturi, either. The Volturi are however looking more and more insurmountable to me, both from outside attack and anything Elspeth can currently do; key word being currently, as her witchcraft may develop in a surprisingly useful way neither she or Adelaide anticipated; Adelaide did say it had much potential for further development, and may even trump Aro's success in that regard. I'd like to see Bella again, but with all the witches recaptured (with the exception of the teleporter) and all of them except Edward working for the Volturi, I don't see what she can do with those remaining of the Cullen family and a few of their known acquaintances, if they are even allied to her still. Maybe she'll act out of desperation and somehow manage to drop a really big bomb on the Volturi complex, with the hope that it kills as many enemies as possible, while sparing her family and allies. ;)
6TheOtherDave11yIf I were the Volturi, and had complete knowledge of everything the readers know (or even everything Adelaide knows) I would be very concerned about the fact that a supernaturally effective communicator who was also an Alpha's imprint was working on a way to subvert the influence of my primary mechanism for ensuring the loyalty of a mass of other witches and werewolves. That is, I don't think it would be at all implausible for Elspeth to work out a heuristic for neutralizing Chelsea's ability -- not by supernaturally negating it, but by developing her self-awareness via the exercise of explicitly formalizing the interactions among her cognitive subagents; by prioritizing what she knows about her values over what she experiences about them (or, to use Alicorn's terminology: by choosing to endorse the parts of her psyche that align with her pre-Chelsea values and repudiate the parts that don't) and consequently behaving in ways consistent with what she believes to be most importantly true of her, rather than consistent with how she feels). And if Elspeth does develop a heuristic for doing that, she can communicate that heuristic to others very effectively. That's what she does, after all: she is a supernaturally powerful outbound communicator. And, well, if she communicates that heuristic to the newly Chelseaed witches effectively enough, then some of them may well manage to do the same thing. And if she does the same to Jake, he is pretty much immediately on her side, and presumably a sizable chunk of wolves go along with him (especially since the wolves' telepathic network will propagate her heuristic like a virus through Windows). And the Volturi suddenly have a collection of powerful enemies right in their midst, and for every "turned" vampire there are another half dozen who haven't turned but they can't necessarily trust. Their power structure doesn't collapse, but it certainly gets wounded, which can easily give Elspeth, Jake, and whoever ends up turned a c
0Giriath11yYes, this is probably (and hopefully) what will happen if there's to be an escape for Elspeth and potential vampires and wolves. I wonder how much Aro knows about Adelaide's interactions with Elspeth. Her judgement on the risk Elspeth poses may be clouded by her interest in developing the usefulness of a witch's power, but I doubt Aro has enough interest in that or enough tolerance for Adelaide to permit this huge risk. I think it's very unlikely that with all his wisdom and experience he wouldn't realize the risk, if he knew what Adelaide currently knows of Elspeth. If he did, he would probably order her and Jacob killed, immediately. So I think it's safe to assume Adelaide hasn't shared her information on Elspeth with him since she learned of her ability to start behaving like she did before Chelsea affected her relationships, at will. If I remember correctly, we haven't learned much of Adelaide's life before she joined the Volturi, and so we can't know for sure how much of her behavior is caused by the effect Chelsea may have had on her. Perhaps she isn't loyal to the Volturi by her original values, and now that Chelsea may be concentrating more on Elspeth and the newly seeded witches, those are starting to come through, allowing her to refrain from reporting to Aro. I imagine Aro would be worried enough to take action if he knew of Chelsea's continuously failed attempts to keep Elspeth's values of her relationships in check, too. Maybe she's too busy being afraid of what he may do if there's reason to believe her witchcraft isn't as infallible as previously believed, to consider whether Elspeth can pass the ability onto others or not. Just recently they learned of Bella, who she can't affect at all, and now Elspeth is, to Chelsea's knowledge, seemingly somehow able to restore much of her previous values, despite increased maintenance. She's probably scared out of wits of being deemed dispensable, irrational though it is, as neither Bella or Elspeth has any mea
1TheOtherDave11yWell, even if I'm right, it's not clear that Aro is likely to believe it. It is quite an inferential jump from "can talk to herself" to "can undo the effects of Chelsea's magic," after all, and we are not always aware of the implications of what we know. Unrelatedly, but for example: it occurred to me the other day that if someone had told me a few months ago that we would soon be receiving the first confirmed signals from a technological artifact outside the solar system, I would not have believed them, despite that fact being trivially derivable as the highest-probability outcome of things I knew about.
0Vaniver11yIsn't that how the Volturi are winning? They are using strategy, of course, but the captive witch archive (probably their main tactical innovation) is only a good plan because of Adelaide. The loyalty of their army is only because of Chelsea.
0Giriath11yIt's true that without certain witches like Adelaide and especially Chelsea, the Volturi would have nowhere near the same amount of power and control they have now. Their witchcraft isn't so powerful that they got where they are simply because they exist though; they've been using them intelligently, and creating situations in which they can be used most effectively, by other means. There hasn't yet been, in my opinion, any I-WIN witchcraft that enables a witch to fight with anyone and everyone without caution, or making them unable or unwilling to fight. They've all had flaws and counters, and the Volturi are winning because they've been doing a good job of covering those for a very long time. They've been simultaneously killing off opposition and potential threats - by destroying the people responsible for it, or capturing them and making use of their talents - and painting themselves as good, necessary vampires. All this make Adelaide and Chelsea's witchcraft more powerful, as both are more useful the more people the Volturi surround themselves with. They seem to me to never be overly overconfident; they're always trying to be conscious of their own weaknesses and try to cover them as fast and effectively as possible, while also trying to be as informed of potential threats as possible, so they may use their weaknesses to eliminate the threat they pose as fast and effectively as possible. That's very rational behavior in a conflict, in my opinion. I also think it's a very healthy mindset to have in everyday life, because not all threats to your well-being and over all happiness with life has to be an armed person directly threatening yours or your beloveds' lives; often it's someone in a position of power who either intently or obliviously negatively affects you and others everyday lives through laws, economy, educational systems, judicial systems, health systems etcetera. Sadly today's societies have little to no insight to this problem, beyond those who sit
0Nornagest10yBeware of overgeneralizing from results like this one. I've seen a lot of similar surveys, and none of them have distinguished explicitly between "infinite" and "unbounded for practical purposes"; however, people outside of mathy fields tend to conflate the two. I'd read the Swedish result not as describing an actual infinity but as rejection of Singularitarianism and the more extreme Malthusian doomsday scenarios, which strikes me as a fairly reasonable standpoint.
0Vaniver11yThis is true, and suggests to me we're using different standards. You're happy there's no one so strong they can win with their mind shut off; I'm unhappy that Bella entered a fight that she shouldn't be able to win. It's not so much a question of the Volturi out-strategizing Bella so much as it is her throwing herself against a wall. Yes, the Volturi needed some strategy to build the wall, but there's not much on Bella's part.

I really hope all these horrible Volturi characters suffer immensely soon. I've said it before but for every one of these chapters it deserves to be said again: most wicked Volturi EVER!

I'm not sure I want to follow the story every update right now. I get easily upset when things are going downhill in a story, and so it's easier to read if I know things will eventually turn for the better or at least reach a conclusion. I think I'll wait a few updates and then read up on what's happened. This control the Volturi has is especially upsetting now when we have evidence of what our own governments have been doing, unbeknownst to us, and that not much is being done about it even though it's in the open now.

[-][anonymous]11y 0

Chapter 11

Just ran across this comic strip. Relevance is borderline (see last panel), but I thought I'd share anyways. :)

The sequel's off to a great start! You might want to post a notification that Radiance exists (or its first chapter) at the end of Luminosity on fanfiction.net, so that people who subscribed to new chapter notifications there will see it.

0Alicorn11yPosting chapters that don't contain story content is not allowed on ff.net, and no one will get an alert if I merely modify the existing last chapter.
1jimrandomh11yIs there a rule against duplication? You could post the first chapter of Radiance as an extra chapter at the end of Luminosity, with a note and a link to the rest of it.
0Alicorn11yUnique stories are supposed to appear in only one place (and no links in stories; the site eats them). I'm not sure if that applies to "teaser" chapters of sequels, but I did announce Radiance in advance, so hopefully people interested in it will know to look.
3shokwave11yIf you modify the end of Luminosity to mention the sequel is available, then post a new blank chapter to Luminosity, then delete that blank chapter... you haven't broken the rules (or at least, nobody is going to notice that you broke the rules), people still get the notification, and the modification to mention the sequel gets noticed.
0Alicorn11yTried this, but I'm not sure if the alert will go out for a chapter I deleted immediately. Somebody signed up for the alerts please let me know.
0arundelo11yI did get an alert for Chapter 58 (nonexistent by the time I followed the link). Did you put a mention of Radiance in the FF copy of Chapter 57 [http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6137139/57/]? I don't see it there (maybe a caching issue). More importantly (I think), I got an alert for "[FF New Story] Twilight: Radiance, by Alicorn24 [http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6460146/1/]" yesterday. Edit: I realized that this is because I have an author alert for you, and the problem you're trying to solve is notifying people who have a story alert for Luminosity. By the way, though I'm signed up for the fanfiction.net alerts, I'm following your recommendation to read the story at http://luminous.elcenia.com/ [http://luminous.elcenia.com/].
1Alicorn11yNo, I didn't edit chapter 57. The problem is that I can't directly edit an existing chapter: I'd have to upload a new document, edit that, and replace the chapter with it. But since I re-did the chapter numbering, I don't have the content that was 57 in its own file anymore. As with every other deficiency of the ff.net version, it's just too annoying to fix.
0shokwave11yWell, unless they can see the future, they couldn't have known you were going to delete it before you did :P. If there is some delay baked in, and it cares about whether the chapter is still there, all it takes is a little experimentation (or data-gathering on how long it takes to get an alert from when the chapter is posted) to find the length of time you need to leave it up for. That said, I am unfortunately not signed up for the alerts, so I can't confirm for you whether it worked.

A minor nitpick/question:

In what is currently chapter 12, tricks, the eyesight of Vampires was established (being able to read very tiny handwriting from across a baseball field). I imagine that to be about as visible as Jasper's scars, which are described in chapter 28 as unobtrusive, faintly raised crescents to human sight.

So what's up there? Why does Bella have to get closer to see these scars?

Or am I just drastically overestimating the size of the clearing "Tricks" takes place in (Standard Baseball field is about 300 feet long)?

4Alicorn11yBella can see Jasper's scars (and other identifying features) from quite a long way away. She can see his eye color from an even longer way away. Exact distances are irrelevant; relative distance is all it takes to make it work.
1alethiophile11yIs the ratio of visual-acuity-to-movement-speed among vampires higher or lower than humans? That is, assuming average vampires and average humans, is the time to cross the distance across which you can positively identify someone about the same? (To put it another way, when Bella identifies Jasper, does she have a better or worse chance to escape than if a human saw another human who they wish to run away from?)
1Alicorn11yThe limiting factors in human chases (losing the person, getting tired, giving up) don't apply here, so all that matters is that Jasper is faster than Bella.

I figured out who the stranger is, but I won't spoil it :P

3Giriath11yMost likely she's Nahuel's eldest sister: Allirea, Noemi or Iseul. Alicorn hasn't yet written which one of them is the eldest.
2Alicorn11yThat's their age order.
1Giriath11yI thought it might be, but I couldn't be sure without asking you.
2wnoise11yC'mon, at least rot13 it.
1Alicorn11yIf you are really curious and really want to know what's actually going on, you can ask me and I'll answer. (If you just want to know someone else's speculation then I can't help you.)

I'm liking Luminosity! I'm even tempted to read Twilight to find out what's different.

Not a big criticism, but I have to say something regarding the passage where Bella hunts a wolf.

Some current animal populations in Washington State:

Far more ethical to hunt a human.

2Alicorn11yBella hunts a wolf in Norway, not in Washington State.
1PhilGoetz11yI'm not as much concerned with Bella's ethics in a fictional world, as I am with correcting the impression many people in the real world have that predators are common. This wrong impression kills predators. I met a hunter in New York State in the early 1990s, near Corning, who encountered the first wolf pack seen in the state in maybe 50 years, and immediately shot one of them, because "they kill too many deer". He wasn't making it up. He showed me a photo.
0Vaniver11yWhich is still a problem [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2y6/luminosity_twilight_fanfic_part_2_discussion/2xyy?c=1] .
1WrongBot11yI'm assuming you're joking, but the idea of assigning ethical value based on scarcity still makes me cry.
1PhilGoetz11y"Ethical value"? The ethics here are within Bella's mind, not within the wolf's. The ethical dilemma is that to realize the value of her continue life, she needs to destroy other things of value. The ethical problem is to minimize the value she destroys. And the fact that value depends on scarcity is a fundamental economic principle. It's a value calculation. Don't confuse things by inventing a new category of "ethical value".
7WrongBot11yYes. No. You're claiming that Bella should place a higher value on members of scarce species than on members of more common species. But she could instead assign value to other entities based on their intelligence, or in inverse proportion to their tastiness, or by any other standard. Economics doesn't have anything normative to say about ethics.
3Vaniver11yBut the descriptive part of economics definitely pairs up with ethic's normative statements. It seems like if wolves are more valued by others than deer, the statement "destroy as little of what other people value as you can" needs to have an answer of the economic question "how much do other people value my options?" to function properly. I disagree with PhilGoetz that wolves are valuable due solely to their scarcity- I think that some things, like smallpox or mosquitoes, should be endangered or extinct - but I think it's pretty trivial to put together the argument that killing a wolf for pleasure is much, much more wrong than killing a deer for pleasure.
-2PhilGoetz11yNot completely fundamental, but derived very quickly from the fundamentals, hundreds of years ago. Value depends on scarcity. If you don't agree with this, I'm not going to continue this conversation. Economics is the study of value decisions, and so is ethics.
5WrongBot11yWe're talking past each other by using differing definitions of "value". Economic value is affected by scarcity (and other factors). But I have been talking about ethical value--the thing that classical utilitarians talk about when they say that happiness is valuable. A classical utilitarian doesn't care about whether wolves are common or scarce; they care about how the relative scarcity of wolves makes people feel. Put another way, I've been talking about terminal values, which are not in any way fungible. I think you've been talking about instrumental values, which are. Is that at all right?
6Perplexed11yExcellent reply. Upvoted. But there several problems with the position you are staking out. One is your over-the-top claim that it is more ethical to hunt a human. Agreed, the wolf has more value as a carrier of biodiversity, but that is not the only kind of value to be considered. A second is your acceptance of "scarcity" as the word for the characteristic making the wolf valuable. As if the value arises by the same process as does the value in a rare coin. Supply and demand. No, actually the wolf is valuable as a carrier of information. Killing one of only a handful of wolves probably extinguishes several dozen alleles from the species gene pool and greatly increases the risk that the entire species will be extinguished. At least in Washington State. And therein lies your third mistake. If you had been quoting wildlife populations in the entire Pacific Northwest, including B.C., then they might mean something. But the last wolf in Washington state has almost no biodiversity value if there are still plenty of wolves in Idaho or in Canada. Conducting a wildlife census based on human political boundaries makes no sense at all.
0Eugine_Nier11yI think you're confusing things by conflating ethical value and economic value. Edit: Also, even assuming you want to equate ethical and economic value, a human still has more value since he can create things of value much better then a wolf.
2wedrifid11yI reversed my vote when I saw the edit. While the conflation point is undeniable the 'can create value' is not especially relevant to Phil's discussion of scarcity and changed my impression of the comment to 'just throw soldiers for the Rah Humans side'. It is by no means assured that the eaten human from the margin would have created more value than is lost by damaging a hypothetical endangered animal. In fact, someone who particularly values biodiversity the net value that would have been created by the human is almost certainly negative.
0Eugine_Nier11ySince we're equating ethical value and economic value here, there's a simple way to test this: how much could you get paid to save the human vs. the wolf. Given that this is Norway and not some third world country, the human presumably has a decent amount of money he'd be willing to pay to save his life, not to mention his family and friends and the potential to take out a loan against future earnings. As for the wolf, you might be able to get something out of an animal-lover but not nearly as much as from the human. Except PhilGoetz is trying to use this argument to justify valuing biodiversity.
0wedrifid11yI'm not. That's why I said I agree with your pre-edit point. (Indirectly relevant: I am equating ethical value with personal utility which is something not everyone does.)
0Eugine_Nier11yMy point was that even if we grant PhilGoetz's equation of ethical and economic value, it still doesn't imply what he wants it to.
-1PhilGoetz11yI think you're confusing things by postulating the existence of two different kinds of values. If you had two kinds of values, how would you ever make a decision? I think you're supposing that when I say "value", I mean dollars. I didn't say that.
-1wedrifid11yData point: I maintain both concepts and yet don't feel confused.
-1Eugine_Nier11yYou use economic principals to justify assigning value to biodiversity when you said "the fact that value depends on scarcity is a fundamental economic principle." I think the most reasonable interpretation of that sentence is: more me biodiversity/scarcity is an instrumental value and my terminal values are based on economic/market value. If this is incorrect could you explain what you meant, since the only other explanation I can think of is that it was a flimsy attempt to rationalize your valuing biodiversity.
2PhilGoetz11yValue is value. You can't have two separate types of value if you're going to make a decision. You can't say, "I'm going to use economic value for economic decisions, and ethical value for ethical decisions", because decisions don't break down nicely for you into those categories. Economic value and ethical value need to be merged. And the result will look more like economic value, because economic value is well-studied and quantified, while the main point of the category "ethical value" is to be vague and slippery, so that people can avoid actually getting answers about ethics.
2Eugine_Nier11yEconomic value, a.k.a., market value, is how much something would be worth on the market. Ethical value is my personal utility function.
0wedrifid11yNot only that, it makes me inclined to assert that I be designated part of the smallest conceivable category that is plausible while also lumping everyone else into groups as general as I can get away with. I'm a special unique butterfly, leave me alone!
0PhilGoetz11yThe fact that you can make a wrong conclusion from a position, by using bad reasoning, is not an argument against that position.
0[anonymous]11yWhile technically correct the parent does not apply to the context. The grandparent follows reasonably from the great grandparent. Edit: This does not, incidentally, suggest that it is never appropriate to value scarcity or the individuals critical to the survival of a species, etc. Perhaps a point that you are trying to emphasise.
0shokwave11yWhich leads to the reductio ad absurdum "You're unique, just like everyone else."