West of Bathurst, by Kari Maaren

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Monday, August 19, 2013

The fact that not even Casey know what's up with his mom worries me quite a lot.

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Warning:  very long blurb follows.  It may be easier to read in the comments section, in which it won't appear as white text on a black background.

It is once again time to score this week's contest entries.  There weren't many this time around, but we did get entries from Mercenary Pen, Dances With Fish, Erwaro, Quasihumanist, Nobilis, and Emily.  All of them advanced theories as to what Casey's revelation might be (this week, anyway).  They were working on the following scheme:  three points for a correct answer, two points for the most diabolically ingenious answer, and one point for guessing that Casey would squirm out of revealing anything (as long as that turned out to be correct).  The results:

1)  The actual revelation is that Casey doesn't have any idea how old he is because he doesn't, in fact, remember who he is.  The memories he got back last year have now become so confusing and fragmented that he can't be sure that they're real.

2)  No one got this.  However, Erwaro actually came kind of close:

Casey will want, very badly, to remain his old reticent self. He recognizes, however, that things haven’t been working. And so he proposes a bargain. He offers to tell Marie everything, but with two caveats. First, “Everything” covers only what he remembers that is relevant to his relationship with her (not in that sense, you know what I mean), which may not be much. And second, for that information, Marie has to help him get all of his memories back, as well as properly sorted out. And the deal doesn’t include anything he re-learns in that way, though he might (MIGHT) be willing to part with slightly more.

His revelation won’t be everything (duh), but it will hit a few crucial points, including the fact that Casey has been around, in some form or other, for a LONG time, mostly because of supernatural reincarnation abilities that will probably never be fully, or at all, explained. Based on what he can remember, he THINKS that he probably made contact with Marie after the fire, based mainly on her hallucination and the fact that it seems to be the sort of thing he would do. He thinks also that he was lying to her for a long time, though he doesn’t now remember for sure, nor does he remember anything about what he was lying about. I mean, yeah, the whole supernatural reincarnation thing, but there was more to it than that.

In other words, revelations that mostly open up a huge can of worms, and a pact, such as it is, to find out more, with a tacit understanding that when and if they succeed, Casey won’t reveal anything else.

Casey hasn't admitted to extreme age, but he has admitted to not knowing his age, and since he seemed to be a full-grown man rather than a fifteen-year-old boy in Marie's hallucination, there may be some implications of agelessness there.  He has also more or less admitted that he may have been lying to Marie, though accidentally, since he doesn't remember her from ten years ago.  He and Marie haven't made a deal to get his memories back, but they seem to be having a conversation in which they try to puzzle out what's going on, and that's really a first for Casey.  So though Erwaro's answer isn't exactly correct, it's close enough for jazz.  Erwaro has thus earned three points.

3)  The other answers are all quite creative, but two stand out, one for its logic and the other for its insanity.  First, there's Emily's guess:

I think Casey will reveal that he himself, a very long time ago, had a deal with the Devil. In this deal, he has gained immortality (and potentially other powers). What he has not realized is that the powers granted to him did not extend to improving his memory to cope with the centuries and centuries of memories he has accumulated (deals with the Devil often being tricky). To gain help, Casey has endowed Niko with some of his powers in return for Nico’s loyalty. Nico is bound by same of the conditions that bind Casey. Perhaps due to his degenerating memory, at some point after giving powers to Nico, Casey has failed to keep some condition of the deal, and is now damned to torment in Hell. However, he can be temporarily released if he finds someone else willing to make a deal with the Devil.

Of course, being Casey, he will not reveal all of this. He will only admit to having made a deal with the Devil a long time ago and having memory problems.

I agree with Tuxgeo that this is an excellent theory.  It may or may not be true, but it's very clever.

Then there's Nobilis's guess:

Casey will reveal something – but it will be mostly lies.

Sometime these days, he will say to Marie: “No, I am your father.” Which would be possible, as he has been around for a LONG time. And of course Marie’s parents aren’t her real parents – in a story, they never are, even your aunt and uncle aren’t really your aunt and uncle (only if it’s your second and third cousin, once removed, then it might be true and you weren’t exchanged by elves after all).

BUT: Casey is lying, as usually. Marie’s real father is a backward aging pirate living in another universe, which can be reached through a vortex in the couch in the basement (which is why Marie is so attached to that place).

And: Marie’s memories are wrong, that’s why she has so much trouble with them. When crawling through that “tunnel” in the burning house, the real Marie Dumont went through a portal to fairy-tale world, where she now works for Frau Holle as Pechmarie (having grown up in the 20th/21st century, she doesn’t know how to deal with a fairy-tale household). The Marie we know came through the other way, escaping thraldom in Frau Holle’s household. To cover this up, Marie’s memories have been tampered with, resulting in her annual crisis when the real memories try to break through. Even when deciding to confront her memories, Marie couldn’t go further back than the tunnel – for obvious reasons. Casey is, of course, also from fairy-tale world and followed Marie – only time will tell whether he means well or not, but given that he is the fairy-tale devil the probability lies strongly on one side. Quite a number of other WoB characters come also from fairy-tale world, through different portals and with different amount of memories. Barbara, for example, knows that Casey is the devil.

She had me at "exchanged by elves."  Nobilis knows my love of fairy tales well.

Emily and Nobilis have won two points apiece.

4)  The other three guesses are fun too.  Dances With Fish builds on a pre-existing foundation:

I’ll go with my previous theory. Casey’s going to reveal that Marie has been Satan the whole time, but she had traded places with Casey way back in the day. Casey tracked her down and decided to try and trick her at the hospital by pretending that he wanted to trade places with her (possibly actually switching bodies) for a while rather than a regular deal. In fact, once they traded places, she’d be stuck forever since it would really be a switch back.

Then again, the rumors could be true and Casey could really be a Time Lord stuck in some alien child’s fairy tale construction. (This isn’t a serious guess. It would just be awesome.)
http://i39.tinypic.com/fnbfr7.png (This is not part of the contest. I just couldn’t help myself.)

Do click on the link.  You will be amused.

Mercenary Pen's guess is short and sweet and reminiscent of The Neverending Story (the book, not the film):

Casey’s going to reveal that he’s been relentlessly selling his memories in exchange for a better life.

Quasihumanist's guess is shorter and sweeter and reminiscent of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

Casey will vanish in a puff of logic.

Dances With Fish, Mercenary Pen, and Quasihumanist have earned one point each.


Nobilis is still in the lead, albeit by only one point.  Will Erwaro or some other intrepid soul come from behind?  We shall see...


Summer Contest #9

We're nearing the end of the summer.  Two weeks from now, school will be starting again.  This will therefore be our second-last contest; we'll have a grand finale with #10.  I promise sincerely that I won't go by Quidditch rules (i.e., the final contest won't have 150 points up for grabs, thus negating the entire point of the other nine contests).

We'll have another guessing game for this contest, but a less involved one so that busy people can participate.  Everybody gets ONE (multi-part) guess this time.  You may repeat what other people say.  Answers must be posted in the comments section before midnight on Sunday, August 25th.

I've been thinking a bit about the comic that is going to come after West of Bathurst.  I can now reveal that it will be set in the same universe (i.e., its world will be consistent with the WoB world; it doesn't mean that WoB characters will be wandering in and out all the time, but it does mean that Davies College will exist in the world of the new comic, even if it never actually appears in it).  The new comic will be rather more obvious about its not-quite-realistic qualities than WoB is.  If you read it, you'll probably still want to kill me, but for entirely different reasons.

The protagonist is connected in some way to one of the major WoB characters.  Your job is to answer the following questions:

1)  Which character will the new protagonist be connected to?  (1 point)

2)  What kind of connection is it?  (1 point)

3)  Approximately how old will the new protagonist be?  (up to 2 points for reasons I shall not currently disclose)

4)  It is just possible that the new protagonist may have turned up very briefly--twice--in WoB.  If you find and link to at least one of the relevant comics, you will receive 2 points.

Here's the rub:  if anyone gets any of these details right, I will confirm them.  If no one gets a certain detail--or all three details--right, I won't reveal them myself.  So this is an opportunity for you to get a mild teaser for the new strip...but only if someone correctly guesses the relevant information.

Comics copyright Kari Maaren 2006-2013