A metaphorical poker night with the dads

Dark times ahead for the P+FD universe. As of this morning, Chirikai has run off to find his mother, Asuka is still captured, and the hiwau loves Kouji. Something has to happen to brighten this unhappy.

Yeah, burning someone alive will probably kill their illness. 
Obviously the cure to this sad spell is to have a couple chapters detailing the adventures of an abusive absentee demon dad and his new buddy, an epidemic god. Good times will surely ensue.

But in seriousness, I've been working on the newest chapters, as well as the next couple, for some time.

Chirikai's father and Mogasa take center stage for these two latest chapters in order to establish their relationship as both quasi-dads (thus the primary title: "The Fatherhoods") and forces of destruction. If destroying a city, with the intention to destroy a continent, via epidemic doesn't cement your status as the villain, there must be some serious bizarre sympathy/hotness* going on.

But then again, readers are strange. And I've got my weird obsession with Chirikai's dad.*

However, I cannot throw them under the metaphorical carriage completely. They engage in some strange dad bonding, although neither voice it directly, and Chirikai's dad kind'a, sort'a doesn't encourage killing someone.

It's all dark. Mogasa and Retan Shitunpe are hard to write together because they're both taciturn. I couldn't crack a single joke. Unless you count this, which I don't:

Lavender is uber masculine. 

I also wrote the majority of their dialogue at, like, 3AM. I'm always for putting a time-stamp on quality.

Anyway, I knew I'd be writing Mogasa-Retan Shitunpe for some time, as well as the introduction of the big epidemic. I dreaded it until yesterday, mostly because I had no idea who the side character there should be, if any, and what props would be useful. This scene was a note, a box to check, but while I knew where it ended, I didn't know where it began and how it exactly was supposed to play out. Mogasa needs to effectively start the epidemic. Retan Shitunpe needs to coach him. They end up on the way to the capital of Gekkōkuni.

That's one of the worst things to have in an outline, although not as bad as "SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS HERE," which had the dubious honor of appearing in my Mabel's City outline.

Often when I've got very simple plot-related beats, like 'Mogasa needs to get from point A to B,' I know I've got to sit down and determine the subtext. What's the emotional core in the scene? It can't just be about a battle. It can't just be about an epidemic.

Which brought up a lot of brainstorming questions... How does Mogasa kill people? He's a new god—how does he feel about his immortality amidst death? What happens to him when his illness kills? Can he feel it?

Mogasa is inspired by smallpox, on steroids. Or maybe without steroids. Smallpox with no immune system. "Mogasa" was the word the ancient and classical Japanese used to describe smallpox. It meant "funeral pox."

This meant that I had to try and describe a virus in spiritual terms and give Mogasa's character and job the features of a virus. There was something about giving voice to a virus that results in a lot of questions... What does it feel like for a part of yourself to die, even when its physically separate?

Mogasa voices that he fears himself changing as the epidemic spreads as he—his viral children—form and die over and over again. He's repeatedly living through the death of himself. In a warped way, he fears losing his sense of fatherhood.

I imagine Chirikai's father as understanding him, but that will depend on the reader. Actually, all of this will depend on the reader. And frankly, I think I've bitten off more than I can chew with these latest entries...

... even though it all still hurt and horrified me a little.

Oh, what the hell. I don't count. I know where it's all going.