Twokinds smutfic: A Harder Road [NSFW]

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Twokinds smutfic: A Harder Road [NSFW]

#1 Post by amenon » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:16 pm

So I accidentally another smut.

About 4k words. Not related to any of my other work. Some kind of alternative scenario. Characters appearing: Natani and Keith.

Read it on sofurry (NSFW) (no registration required)

Provided via sofurry link because:
1) They have an age shield you need to click through, honoring an unwritten and unenforced forum rule :P
2) One less place to edit if I need to edit
3) They are, unsurprisingly, better geared for prose than the forum

This was a diversion while I'm working on finishing the Entertaining Possibilities (NSFW) sequels, but after I'm done with that, I'm thinking I might actually continue this. Opinions pro and con are welcome.

Edit: Opinions schmopinions, up to chapter 2 now!
Edit: And quite belatedly, chapter 3 was released all the way back in August 2017.


Twokinds: A Harder Road
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Re: Twokinds smutfic: A Harder Road [NSFW]

#2 Post by amenon » Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:39 pm

Chapter 2 is up, see OP for the link! This came about because I got into a bit of a thing with laruf. To make a short story shorter: even if you've got no interest in my stuff, you should still check out his! Links in the description of my Chapter 2 on sofurry.

And if anybody wants to say something about his stories in this thread, I welcome it! (Plus, we actually ended up bouncing off each other in a pretty neat way, so it's even conceivably on topic for A Harder Road.)
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Re: Twokinds smutfic: A Harder Road [NSFW]

#3 Post by Wobaku » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm

Realise this is old now but I think you'll like some feedback.
I read all three chapters of this and a few of your other fics, including the sad ones. Perhaps i'll read all of that series and post my thoughts over in that thread at some point.

Anyway, it's decent, it's definitely well written, but what largely spoiled it for me is I feel it is rather out of character for both Keith and Natani to be acting the way they do in this fic.
There's been a recurring idea with Natani's development in the comic that the masculine and dominant persona she adopts is more of a result of Zens influence on her/a mask she wears because she thinks women are weak and wants to overcompensate for her perceived weakness - that it isn't the real her, just something she thinks she needs to pretend to be. She never really acted like this around Keith, at least not since he guarded her during her heat, it was something she did around less familiar characters like flora, kat, the slaves, even going so far to threaten Eric when he poked her chest, not really with Keith. At this point in the story she's pretty much completely dropped her overly masculine act, and she is showing a playful and at times even effeminate personality (at least around Keith) for example putting on the girly voice to tease him, which we can assume is her coming out of her shell and is much closer to who she really is deep down. I'm sure she still has a great deal of penis envy, but she doesn't want to ''dominate'' or ''own'' Keith, just be with him as an equal.

I realise this fic is set in some Kind of AU, so the exact scenes and milestones that happened in the comic might not be relevant, but It shouldn't mean that the characters are fundamentally different deep down. Instead in your writing, that is this fic and what I've read of the EP series, has Natani wanting to ''claim'' Keith, which is shown most clearly here, it all feels like some odd hierarchy style of love where Natani is the 1st or ''dom'' and Keith is 2nd to her and the ''sub''. And that is simply not what they have in canon.
As you can probably tell by now, i'm not a fan of using He to describe Natani, I know she prefers it at the moment but she is also steadily becoming more comfortable with her body. I can actually see her still wanting to be thought of as a man when she has her first intimate moment with Keith, which I realise this fic is, but by the end of the comic I think she'll definitely be happy, or at least content with her body and female pronouns. I don't believe for a second that Tom would leave a character who has gone through so much, so wanting.

One last, less important thing about Nat, there's a line from Natani's POV which mentions she didn't overpower Keith, and I think the implication is she could have if she wanted to, but Basitins are far stronger than Keidran, just like keidran have been implied to be physically stronger than humans, that seems to be how the three races are ''balanced'' on Mekkan, the worse they are with magic, the stronger they are to make up for it. Keith was able to push a sword completely through Zens ribcage once, shattered a large stone bridge with a single hit, and took hits from Alaric who was at least as strong as he was. I don't think that Natani could have done all of these things, let alone done them while beaten to hell or shot with a hole in his chest the way Keith was.
Remember Keith has beaten Natani rather handily every time they've fought or sparred, despite her being a trained assassin whereas Keith hasn't received any training since he was a child, Keith also defended himself from Alaric, the master general and the basitin second only to the King is terms of fighting prowess, admittedly Alaric wasn't giving it his all and he was clearly better than Keith, but for Keith to even survive that encounter marks him as a very good fighter indeed. Natani can throw him around and the like because he's smaller and weighs less, but if you think someone being smaller automatically means they are weaker you are sorely mistaken.

Now onto Keith, In the canon comic Keith has shown his ''inner fire'' if you will a few times, punching trace, drawing his sword on red and on guards who wanted to kill Nat in edinmire, he managed to disobey a direct order from a general, something which is supposed to be pretty much impossible for his species of basitin, and even tried to kill himself to spare Natani after he beat her in the inn on the isles. He is a very wilful little rabbit man, but it isn't shown here in your fic at all, instead he is a willing sub to Natani and even wants to publicly flaunt himself as her ''pet''/property. Something the real Keith would never be okay with. Your fic paints him as a bit of an effeminate and wimpish character to be honest, and while yes, he does stammer and blush whenever things get heated between him and Natani I think you've taken it too far, neither Natani or Keith want him to be the bottom in their love life, I realise there is always a bit of give and take in a relationship, and I can totally see Natani having moments where she takes charge and Keith is more than happy to indulge her, but to think their entire relationship follows that dynamic is simply wrong.
Keith is not the kind of person who would be happy to be collared and made into someone else's property, and the fact that you have written exactly that happening here makes me think you have completely misjudged both of these characters.

I also think that Keith has made it very clear he isn't attracted to men in the comic, so his comments/thoughts here about Zen didn't sit too well with me, But like I said i'm aware of what your other fics entail so I don't think there's any convincing you about that! :nora:

All this said, I did enjoy reading this, This ship is more or less the only reason I follow this comic and any content is good stuff, and you're definitely a good writer. The line about Keith's coffee preference really made me smile, and I do hope to see more 1 on 1, Keith x Natani stuff from you in the future.

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Re: Twokinds smutfic: A Harder Road [NSFW]

#4 Post by amenon » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
Realise this is old now but I think you'll like some feedback.
Yes, thank you! It's damnably difficult to get when you don't have a large following.

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
I read all three chapters of this and a few of your other fics, including the sad ones. Perhaps i'll read all of that series and post my thoughts over in that thread at some point.
Thanks for reading! And I don't know what you've read from the other series, but I'm currently doing an edit on it (most relevant for the first three stories, since they're older.) So if you're looking to read any of those stories in particular -- Entertaining Possibilities and the two stories in (Knot) Too Late (Namely: Two of a Kind and Full House), if you let me know I can set you up with my current draft copy. (Which obviously isn't final, but is still an improvement over what's currently published.) [And yes, thread, this goes for anyone planning to read those, until I actually get them done and properly released.]

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
Anyway, it's decent, it's definitely well written, but what largely spoiled it for me is I feel it is rather out of character for both Keith and Natani to be acting the way they do in this fic.
[...], but she doesn't want to ''dominate'' or ''own'' Keith, just be with him as an equal.
Yes, absolutely. AHR is Natani at his most neurotically pretend-masculine (and then some), for reasons that either will or won't bear out as the story unfolds, depending on how good I am. But yes, I picked an outrageous starting point.

I'm happy this stuck in your craw, because ever since release I've been waiting for someone to tell me why AHR is ridiculous, and you finally covered most of it. Obviously the hope is that as I go along, I'll be able to earn it, but how well I do will be up to each reader to decide for themselves.

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
Instead in your writing, that is this fic and what I've read of the EP series, has Natani wanting to ''claim'' Keith, which is shown most clearly here, it all feels like some odd hierarchy style of love where Natani is the 1st or ''dom'' and Keith is 2nd to her and the ''sub''. And that is simply not what they have in canon.
I can see where this criticism is coming from for AHR, but not for EP.

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
As you can probably tell by now, i'm not a fan of using He to describe Natani, I know she prefers it at the moment but she is also steadily becoming more comfortable with her body. I can actually see her still wanting to be thought of as a man when she has her first intimate moment with Keith, which I realise this fic is, but by the end of the comic I think she'll definitely be happy, or at least content with her body and female pronouns. I don't believe for a second that Tom would leave a character who has gone through so much, so wanting.
I think discussion of Natani in general will be much better served in the current comic thread, since we fortuitously just got one that's on point. I'll be replying to that if I haven't yet, but I'll still respond here from the perspective of writing about Natani, and one uniquely interesting thing you said.

On pronouns in my stories, I don't have a narrator, so I'm never as the author making a definitive statement of fact one way or another; the pronouns are simply the pronouns the current POV character would use. That of course leaves the larger question of "Why am I choosing to tell stories where Natani is generally referred to as male", but it mostly just boils down to that -- still in 2018, never mind in 2015 -- being my honest best read of Natani's situation, interpersonals, and arc. And I don't go against my own reads unless I have a pretty compelling reason. That's work, and work needs a purpose.

And on Natani's happiness, to paraphrase the King: Have you ever considered that happiness and being male in a female body do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive?

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
One last, less important thing about Nat, there's a line from Natani's POV which mentions she didn't overpower Keith, and I think the implication is she could have if she wanted to,
Not the intended implication. The part you're referring to reads "It wasn't that Natani had ever overpowered him, though maybe he had." (Ugh, that prose -_-)

The intended meaning of ', though maybe he had' is 'Yes, if we're being literal, then Natani has in fact overpowered Keith, for example on page 460, and honestly the odds are that it's also happened sometimes during their spars, because if it was completely one-sided why would they even be doing it (except to feel each other up, of course), but that has nothing to do with what's happening in this scene.'

And it honestly took me like half a minute to figure out that's what I'd meant, and I wrote it, so I don't exactly blame you for any confusion on this point. Perhaps one day there will be a version of AHR that isn't a shoddy first draft, but this is not that day.

(I do have a somewhat less rosy view of Keith's current fighting ability -- which applies in both canon and AHR -- than you, but I would say that he's likely the best fighter in both of the groups, and could beat Natani if not always then at least the great majority of the time, as long as magic was off-limits.)

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
Now onto Keith, In the canon comic Keith has shown his ''inner fire'' if you will a few times, punching trace, drawing his sword on red and on guards who wanted to kill Nat in edinmire, he managed to disobey a direct order from a general, something which is supposed to be pretty much impossible for his species of basitin, and even tried to kill himself to spare Natani after he beat her in the inn on the isles. He is a very wilful little rabbit man, but it isn't shown here in your fic at all,
Isn't it? In the first chapter of AHR, who gets their way?

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
[...], neither Natani or Keith want him to be the bottom in their love life, I realise there is always a bit of give and take in a relationship, and I can totally see Natani having moments where she takes charge and Keith is more than happy to indulge her, but to think their entire relationship follows that dynamic is simply wrong.
Similarly to the above, far from their entire relationship following that dynamic, I would say that not even the entire first chapter of AHR does.

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
Keith is not the kind of person who would be happy to be collared and made into someone else's property, and the fact that you have written exactly that happening here makes me think you have completely misjudged both of these characters.
I think I establish it reasonably well in the story that the collar was originally essentially a gag gift. It might be helpful to think of it as a jokier version of an engagement ring.


For the record, AHR isn't really a fair treament of Keith any more than it's a fair treatment of Natani. EP is intended to be, though.

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
I also think that Keith has made it very clear he isn't attracted to men in the comic, so his comments/thoughts here about Zen didn't sit too well with me, But like I said i'm aware of what your other fics entail so I don't think there's any convincing you about that! :nora:
How Keith would actually end up resolving the question of "What if Natani was male in body" in the comic, I cannot say, though I hope we'll eventually get to find out because it cuts right to the core of their relationship in a neat way.

But however it would actually shake out, I'm pretty sure Keith has done (or tried to do) the mental arithmetic. After all, he's had ample cause because of

1) Natani's continued insistence that he is male (and indeed, Keith seems to have resolved to see him that way, which isn't nothing. He doesn't have the least bit of confusion about Natani's body, so when he says what he says here, I think he has to mean that it was specifically that "I'm a male dammit" Natani he was kissing, not the hot-chick-body Natani. He's separated the two in his mind, much like Natani himself has, and was willing to kiss the guy who keeps insisting that he's a guy. Which is why the guy kisses him back, in style.)

2) The illusion (Speaking of which, I don't think he's entirely unaffected here even before the illusion breaks.)

3) The bodyswap.

Note that this is all specifically about Natani. It would behoove Keith to think through what his feelings mean, and how far he'd be willing to go. And -- mostly because of 1 -- I think he could find his way pretty far. Because it's Natani.

Wobaku wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:03 pm
All this said, I did enjoy reading this, This ship is more or less the only reason I follow this comic and any content is good stuff, and you're definitely a good writer. The line about Keith's coffee preference really made me smile, and I do hope to see more 1 on 1, Keith x Natani stuff from you in the future.
Thank you very much! If and when I continue this, I hope your last impression will be better than your first one.

Thanks again, both for reading and engaging.
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Re: Twokinds smutfic: A Harder Road [NSFW]

#5 Post by Wobaku » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am

As a bit of a foreword I want to apologise for how long winded and rambling my posts might be, as well as my interpretations of your works, which might seem odd or even insulting to you. I have a lot of passion for Keith and Nat, and haven't really found an avenue for in depth discussion before now, they're definitely the best written characters in this comic and I want to thoroughly explore every topic you raised. So thanks for bearing with me, and I'm sorry if I run off on tangents, I've been told I have a tendency to do that.
amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
Yes, thank you! It's damnably difficult to get when you don't have a large following.
I had heard that you were the guy to go to for Keith x Natani stuff, so I think that you have a dedicated following, if not a large one.

amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
Thanks for reading! And I don't know what you've read from the other series, but I'm currently doing an edit on it (most relevant for the first three stories, since they're older.)
I've read EP, Two of a kind, Dead of night and about half of full house, maybe less. But it was quite some time ago I read your first three stories so i'm probably going to get some details wrong, and in need of a refresher, the drafts would be appreciated yes.
amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
Yes, absolutely. AHR is Natani at his most neurotically pretend-masculine (and then some), for reasons that either will or won't bear out as the story unfolds, depending on how good I am. But yes, I picked an outrageous starting point.

I'm happy this stuck in your craw, because ever since release I've been waiting for someone to tell me why AHR is ridiculous, and you finally covered most of it. Obviously the hope is that as I go along, I'll be able to earn it, but how well I do will be up to each reader to decide for themselves.
While that does it make it easier to swallow, I still believe the dominant act Natani puts on simply isn't the real her, and it's just unrealistic to think she would still be clinging to it at the same time as she's willing to make use of her female parts. To elaborate, the way I see it her willingness to get close to Keith (physically) is running parallel to her acceptance of her body/femininity. During the last 24 hours or so in-comic she has admitted her body is female to multiple people, and offered Keith a handful of her bountiful womanliness.
To my mind, you can't have her progressing in one of these areas without the other, but I realise her masculinity is kind of the main theme of AHR so I don't expect you to agree or change it.
And for what it's worth, tom once made a Poll to gauge the communities opinions on where Natani's development should head, and one of the options was that she revert into a ''man'' and pursue women, which further reinforces the idea that for Natani, Progress=Femininity=Relationship with a man, and Regression=Masculinity=No chance of a relationship with a man.
amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
I can see where this criticism is coming from for AHR, but not for EP.
It's definitely more restrained in the EP series, and like I said it's been a while since I read those, and this is a little off topic so I'll just summarise what I can remember and what I can find through ctrl+f on your other fics. (This isn't meant as a full or even accurate critique of your other fics, i'm just trying to explain the thoughts and feelings I had from what I've read of them, and why I got a bit of a dom/sub vibe from them)

Keith is almost never the one who initiates their intimate encounters, if i'm remembering correctly.
Keith is even surprised at one point when Natani actually lets him, quote ''take the lead'' in EP. Also, this gem. ''And what Natani decides, goes.''
In EP Zen and Natani discuss pressuring Keith into cross dressing at one point, and admittedly he had said he might consider it earlier in the fic, but it still felt to me like something they were planning on making him do. I don't know if this whole sequence was just a joke related to the side pics Tom has done where Natani wears a male outfit while Keith wears a female one (and there are quite a lot of those) but Zen and Nat are discussing it seriously so I'm inclined to say this isn't the case.
In full house Zen and Natani joke about Zen ''marking his territory'', that is, his lovers, and then telling Keith he had done so to tease him.
Later in the same fic Keith asks Natani if she has any orders for him, and without any kind of humour Nat just tells him no and keeps talking as if nothing is amiss, the implication I got is that Keith gets ''orders'' from her fairly frequently.

I realise these were all just kind of jokes, but when the same person is the butt of all of these jokes, in addition to never/rarely being the guy who initiates their passion, it really does give the impression that he is the bottom of the pile in their ''pack''. I don't really think it was intentional, but Keith deserves better than that.

There was another moment in Full house which made your versions of Natani and Keith nearly irreconcilable with their canon versions to me, and that's the fight scene between them. Now I don't really care that Natani won that fight, though I disagree with your statement that she had/would grow into a much better fighter than Keith, but their actions and attitudes really bothered me, Keith can barely look Natani in the eye, she sneers at him and lets her anger get the better of her (something which is in character for her at the start of twokinds, or even a few years ago irl, but in my opinion not for her after all this development, not with Keith at least.) Keith gives up, something Keith simply doesn't do, not when Alaric was clearly capable of killing him on the bridge, and not when He was going to stab himself in the heart, as that was to save Natani.
I realise she was enraged at some misogyny/political stuff going on at the time, and their spars don't normally go like this in your au, but still.

Anyway, she seriously hurts him, then once he surrenders Natani gets crystals to heal him with and there's a line implying she's had plenty of practice healing these kinds of injuries on him before. To me this was basically saying she hurts him like this (not to anywhere near this extent though, clearly) on a somewhat regular basis, and he is used to taking the beatings. I think all this together really paints the picture of Keith being the inferior and submissive one in this relationship, and that's not what they have or want in canon.

I hope you don't take this criticism personally, it isn't supposed to be as in depth as my comments on AHR (I might have gotten carried away though...) I just wanted to elaborate on why I got this ''Hierarchy'' vibe to the EP series, which I disliked. (The vibe that is, I did enjoy those fics, though I didn't finish full house.)

amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
On pronouns in my stories, I don't have a narrator, so I'm never as the author making a definitive statement of fact one way or another; the pronouns are simply the pronouns the current POV character would use. That of course leaves the larger question of "Why am I choosing to tell stories where Natani is generally referred to as male", but it mostly just boils down to that -- still in 2018, never mind in 2015 -- being my honest best read of Natani's situation, interpersonals, and arc. And I don't go against my own reads unless I have a pretty compelling reason. That's work, and work needs a purpose.

And on Natani's happiness, to paraphrase the King: Have you ever considered that happiness and being male in a female body do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive?
It does sit better with me in the context of the pronouns Natani would prefer. Still, I am of the opinion that Nat will become more comfortable as a woman as the story goes on, as I said above.

Now, the reason I think that Natani being mentally male would be a bad ending for her, is that the way I see it, as long as her mind is male, she'll yearn for male weaponry, so to say, and I don't like the idea of her always wanting for something that she can't have. She'll still be thinking every day about how badly she wishes she had a different body (kind of like she does here in AHR) and that's a dreadful poison for her to carry around inside herself.
Don't get me wrong, her becoming a housewife or ''girly girl'' like Flora or Kat would be a disastrous ending to her story, but I simply can't see her being happy as long as she thinks she's in the ''wrong body''.
So yeah, I don't think that altered King Addie quote works here, because there's not really anything stopping her from being ''strong'' and female, but there is something stopping her from being happy with a woman's body, at the moment.

amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
Not the intended implication. The part you're referring to reads "It wasn't that Natani had ever overpowered him, though maybe he had." (Ugh, that prose -_-)

The intended meaning of ', though maybe he had' is 'Yes, if we're being literal, then Natani has in fact overpowered Keith, for example on page 460, and honestly the odds are that it's also happened sometimes during their spars, because if it was completely one-sided why would they even be doing it (except to feel each other up, of course), but that has nothing to do with what's happening in this scene.'
Well in that page she had used magic to do that, I was speaking purely physically, and Keith had her beaten very quickly in the fight when it was just a physical contest, though to be fair he got the jump on her.
The way I see it all basitins have impressive strength, even Maddie who is 13 was able to throw Keith a decent distance upwards while he was wearing a full set of armour and sword. Trace himself said here that they (the templar) couldn't hope to defeat the basitins head on - that was the whole reason behind the mana tower - and this was when Trace was at the height of his absurd superpowers and presumably had the entirety of templar and human forces more or less at his disposal.
Now the basitins obviously have zero magic of their own, they definitely number less than humans, and we don't see them possessing any technological advantage over them, so we have to assume it's their physical prowess (and their military competence in general, I suppose) which makes them dangerous. Whether you think this is realistic or not is a different topic entirely, but we have to think of these things in the established confines of the setting.

So to recap, I believe that even though Keith was weaker than, for example that dark-furred guard he fought (who it's likely was one of the better basitin soldiers, given that he had been posted to an area where Keith was, and all the generals wanted to control his movements), he's still impressively strong, and a big part of his shtick is that he's one of the few basitins capable of thinking outside of the box (the others being Alaric and King Adelaide, and he's presumably the only eastern basitin capable of resisting orders.) and that's why he won. It's also the reason I find his current status as ''Ambassador-General'' so intriguing, as his somewhat unique mindset along with his rank might give him the opportunity to change bastin society for the better (and carry on a bit of Alaric's legacy to boot) as they are far too set in their ways at the moment.
IMO the purpose of that fight was to show that his mindset will allow him to beat ''better'' opponents, which happened most obviously against Alaric, and I believe again vs Seraphina. I'm very interested to see how he would handle himself with a magic wielding opponent, like a templar or one of Clovis' agents.

Anyway, I could have worded my initial comment better, I see Keith as only being fractionally stronger than Nat, and I don't believe their bouts are or should be one sided, when I said I thought the implication was that Natani could overpower him in AHR, I thought you meant it would be one sided in her favour.

While we're on the subject, you say in full house that Keith in the current comic is more/better trained than Natani in physical fighting, but Nat is stronger so as they spent more time together the gap would close and Natani would surpass him in their bouts. But I always saw it as the opposite, Keith was trained as a child until he was about 13, then he spent a year with Laura, in which time he certainly wasn't preoccupied with his fighting skills, then became something of a wanderer for the 5ish years before the story begins, now while he definitely had a hard life in these years I can't see him having anything approaching a military level of training/practice.
Natani meanwhile was training pretty much every day to be an assassin for the 7+ years leading up to the comic, depending on how old she was when she joined the assassins. Now Natani did say she focused more on the magical aspect of her training whereas Zen was the physical guy, but we don't know if they meant a 75/25 split or something closer to 60/40 - and the link would have further closed that gap.
Also, Natani's body alone has clearly had a lot of physical work put into it, we've seen other wolf women who look very skinny in comparison to Natani's more recent depictions. So I do believe that Natani has put a lot of effort into her physical training, and that her training was ''better'' or at least more relevant than Keith's, as Keith is acting on things he learned the best part of a decade ago, if not more, whereas Nat's is fresh in her memory.

And Keith has had his strength and resilience shown a few times now, like I mentioned before, and until Natani gets an equally impressive display of hers, I'm going to go on presuming Keith is the more physically capable, even if it is just by merit of being a basitin.
I do agree that an angry Natani would beat a regular Keith however, and she would completely outclass him if she had full access to her magic. (Though, if we are going to bring her magic into the equation, to my mind we also have to bring her&zens tragically bad luck into the equation as well :mrgreen:)
amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
(I do have a somewhat less rosy view of Keith's current fighting ability -- which applies in both canon and AHR -- than you, but I would say that he's likely the best fighter in both of the groups, and could beat Natani if not always then at least the great majority of the time, as long as magic was off-limits.)
Is this because of the Seraphina fight by chance? I read through the discussion threads for some recent pages the other day and stumbled on you&avwolf discussing this. If it is I'll weigh in here. Keith was far from 100% during this encounter, he hadn't gotten a full nights sleep since Natani fell unconscious about a week beforehand, and he was probably in serious mental torment the entire time to boot as a result of losing so much just a few days/weeks ago and facing a very real risk of losing the one person he had left, and chronic stress is one of the worst things for the body.

I also think that Seraphina is a far tougher character than people give her credit for, Landen was her subordinate and seemed to possess, for lack of a better term, super strength, being able to punch through walls with no ill effects and even Maddie, who is comically fast and slippery commented on his speed, it seems reasonable to me that Seraphina would be an even tougher fighter since she outranked him (she resisted Keith's sword strikes entirely, and we've already established he can shatter at least some stone with his sword), and Keith, with help admittedly, still beat her.
He did get hit by her tail smack, but despite the abundance of tails on Mekkan I don't think a person would expect that to be used as a weapon, and it doesn't seem that different from say, a roundhouse kick, which plenty of experienced fighters will still fall victim to irl.
Also, women smacking a man who's just insulted them in the face in something of an anime/manga trope, and we know Tom is a fan of those, just look at the number of times Flora has smacked Trace or Eric throughout the comic, this could just be a similar gag.

Anyway, Keith is shown pretty much effortlessly evading her bolas and ''fireballs'' during their fight, so I don't think you should lower you opinion of Keith's prowess because of this encounter.


amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
Isn't it? In the first chapter of AHR, who gets their way?
Similarly to the above, far from their entire relationship following that dynamic, I would say that not even the entire first chapter of AHR does.
They both ''get their way'' because they both want to be intimate, it's the way that their encounter comes about/what happens during that I took issue with.
''as the last of Keith's defiance flickered out...Keith would let Natani claim him''
This encounter only happens because of Keith wearing the collar and submitting to Natani ''claiming'' him, and the only other time the term claim is used in this chapter it's as part of a statement about her wanting to ''pin him down, and [censored] him in the [censored]''.
The collar is explicitly a stand in for just about the most dominating sex act she could do to him, and Keith says he is okay with this, then the above quote happens almost immediately after. During their encounter, Natani grabs Keith, pushes him around, forces him onto his back, and again domineering language like ''pinned'' is used.

Now when Keith gets his turn in part 1 there's not really anything dominant about Natani's actions, except maybe her refusal to lay down when Keith requests it.
But then in part 2 she is the one who decides they are going off into the woods, manhandles Keith, and at one point nips his neck to tell him to stop moving. And again there is this mention of ''claiming'' him via gay intercourse, and Keith says and thinks that he wants to belong to Nat and enjoys her dominant behaviour.

So yes I believe there is a great aspect of dom/sub to their relationship in this fic, and I didn't mean to imply it would crop up in every one of their encounters, but I did get the impression it was still hanging over their heads even after the end. That said I did enjoy the last chapter more than the others, not just because there was less dominant behaviour from Natani, but because it felt more in character. I especially liked the scene in which Natani has a moment of weakness/shame over her arousal and Keith helps her through it, but my enjoyment of that scene didn't have anything to do with Natani being ''weak'', but in the way the two characters interact - it felt like something that could totally play out in the comic. (Y'know, if Tom did explicit scenes that is)
amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
I think I establish it reasonably well in the story that the collar was originally essentially a gag gift. It might be helpful to think of it as a jokier version of an engagement ring.
Well yes, Natani said she was being cheeky by buying it at first, but it then takes on a far more serious role very quickly, even after re reading that chapter through this lens I can't say I agree. There is this conversation about the collar:
''I really wish I could Make you mine'' "Ever think there might be a way that doesn't involve sticking something in me?" "Like what?" "Like giving me a collar."
And also the ''claiming'' thing I mentioned above, which make me see the collar as a symbol of Natani's dominance/Keith's submission. It might also be a symbol of their love too, but even so I still consider it very OOC.
amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
For the record, AHR isn't really a fair treament of Keith any more than it's a fair treatment of Natani. EP is intended to be, though.
So, something has happened in the past of this AU to make more Natani act more masculine, and Keith more, for lack of a better word, meek. I do hope you continue this series someday, partly because I'm curious what you consider to be a fitting event or series of events to lead to this behaviour, I want to repeat I did enjoy all three chapters.
I laid out earlier why EP made me think that Natani/Zen are wearing the pants in the relationship, but again those only felt like vague undertones.

I have seen it said several times here and at other places that Natani and Keith will have something that's essentially a dom/sub relationship, and one of the main reasons for that was Basitins habit of following orders, which seems absurd to me especially in the context of Keith, and I had wondered if you ascribed to a similar opinion.
amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
How Keith would actually end up resolving the question of "What if Natani was male in body" in the comic, I cannot say, though I hope we'll eventually get to find out because it cuts right to the core of their relationship in a neat way.

But however it would actually shake out, I'm pretty sure Keith has done (or tried to do) the mental arithmetic. After all, he's had ample cause because of

1) Natani's continued insistence that he is male (and indeed, Keith seems to have resolved to see him that way, which isn't nothing. He doesn't have the least bit of confusion about Natani's body, so when he says what he says here, I think he has to mean that it was specifically that "I'm a male dammit" Natani he was kissing, not the hot-chick-body Natani. He's separated the two in his mind, much like Natani himself has, and was willing to kiss the guy who keeps insisting that he's a guy. Which is why the guy kisses him back, in style.)

2) The illusion (Speaking of which, I don't think he's entirely unaffected here even before the illusion breaks.)

3) The bodyswap.

Note that this is all specifically about Natani. It would behoove Keith to think through what his feelings mean, and how far he'd be willing to go. And -- mostly because of 1 -- I think he could find his way pretty far. Because it's Natani.
I believe that Keith would indeed be willing to go the distance if Natani got hold of a male body (not for their first few sexual encounters maybe, but once he was more comfortable with her), because he wants her to be happy. But whether he would enjoy it, or find her attractive like that are very different questions.

As for page 699, I don't think he's attracted to the illusionary male Natani, he isn't checking out her butt or anything, he's just unperturbed until she appears female again, then he gets flustered and begins to blush.
Now the reasons I don't think he is gay or bi are because, he was very annoyed with the idea of his friends thinking he was gay on pages 236 and 282, he was clearly uncomfortable modelling for Alaric, and most importantly, when Natani asked him if he would be attracted to a male her on page 805, Keith says he doesn't know, if he was attracted to the male body he simply would have told her then, they had that level of trust.

This leads me to your points about page 809, one way of viewing this page is that Keith's comment on seeing Natani as a ''guy'' is his explanation for why the kiss was so lacklustre, now i'm not going to imply that he sees her as a ''girl'' after this, as he knows that would be insulting to Natani for him to think that, but to my mind one of the reasons their friendship grew so strong was that Keith never pushed her either way on the gender spectrum - he just viewed Natani as Natani, and let her sort her feelings out on her own. So I can't agree with the idea he views her as two separate Natanis.
Even Natani's thought process is up in the air here IMO - is it the masculine part of herself rejoicing at being acknowledged, or is the feminine part bridling at Keith not recognising her and going about changing that?

This went on a lot longer than I intended, I hope you're not tired of me yet, I have enjoyed your responses to me so far.

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Re: Twokinds smutfic: A Harder Road [NSFW]

#6 Post by amenon » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
As a bit of a foreword I want to apologise for how long winded and rambling my posts might be, as well as my interpretations of your works, which might seem odd or even insulting to you. I have a lot of passion for Keith and Nat, and haven't really found an avenue for in depth discussion before now, they're definitely the best written characters in this comic and I want to thoroughly explore every topic you raised. So thanks for bearing with me, and I'm sorry if I run off on tangents, I've been told I have a tendency to do that.
I respect your passion, and it makes you someone whom I would certainly hope can draw full enjoyment from my stories, so I'm definitely interested in hearing from you.

Speaking of which, have you ever thought of writing your own brand of Twokinds smut? I would be very curious to see what sort of stuff you'd come up with, and I'd be happy to beta read for you. Possibly even edit, depending on the story.

Also, sorry this took a while. We're basically writing essays at this point, and that's not the fastest thing in the world for me to do.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
I had heard that you were the guy to go to for Keith x Natani stuff, so I think that you have a dedicated following, if not a large one.
I've heard before from people who heard from me through other people, where the people spreading the word are, as far as I can figure out, nobody I know or have interacted with. And yes, that really is an excellent sign. Word of mouth is a huge deal.

On the other hand, reliably getting feedback is somewhere beyond that yet, largely because of how much I've written. It's a lot to read, never mind engage with.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
I've read EP, Two of a kind, Dead of night and about half of full house, maybe less. But it was quite some time ago I read your first three stories so i'm probably going to get some details wrong, and in need of a refresher, the drafts would be appreciated yes.
To underline my previous point, that means you've read about one third of the EP series overall, something which I would hope you keep in mind in your evaluation of it. Not that losing readers partway through isn't a large concern in its own right, of course. (Indeed, if you can remember where you stopped in Full House and why, maybe shoot that to me in a PM!)

And for the record, the draft versions of the first three stories are now up on sofurry:
1) Entertaining Possibilities (NSFW)
2) Two of a Kind (NSFW)
3) Full House (NSFW)

They're not exactly final edits or anything, but I have cleared some 200-something edit notes I had from when I did a read through of the older stories to prep for the release of the latter ones. Mostly readability.

Full House has also been split into four parts, to make it somewhat more manageable to tackle, but unfortunately I don't think there's a way to make a clickable in-story index on sofurry. I'll have to decide eventually if I want to break it up into four separate submissions there.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
While that does it make it easier to swallow, I still believe the dominant act Natani puts on simply isn't the real her, and it's just unrealistic to think she would still be clinging to it at the same time as she's willing to make use of her female parts. To elaborate, the way I see it her willingness to get close to Keith (physically) is running parallel to her acceptance of her body/femininity.
I don't think that's really true. I would say that the most significant of all the times Natani has shown Keith affection was after Heart's Desire 2, mainly the bath scene, and it was the most significant precisely because it was so hard. The proof of his love is that he was willing to set aside his own issues and unbend a bit, for Keith's sake.

There is obviously a correlation in that it's now (presumably) much easier for Natani to do these things, though. (Parenthesis because it's not like they had a make-out session the previous night in the comic. But there was that very nice kiss on the docks, out in public for all to see, and that's surely a big deal.)

(And for what it's worth, I'm inclined to agree that AHR is, if perhaps not impossible, quite a profoundly unlikely scenario.)

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
And for what it's worth, tom once made a Poll to gauge the communities opinions on where Natani's development should head, and one of the options was that she revert into a ''man'' and pursue women, which further reinforces the idea that for Natani, Progress=Femininity=Relationship with a man, and Regression=Masculinity=No chance of a relationship with a man.
Alas, I don't put much stock in anything Tom says today, much less how he phrased a poll he ran eight years ago. It's what's on the pages that counts. All the rest is only of interest in the meta-discussion about author intent and storytelling. (Which I do admittedly find an interesting topic in general, but I don't think there's really enough Tom proclamations out there to have a very interesting discussion about most things in TK. And at any rate, that's a discussion about what Tom tried to do, and how well it worked, rather than a discussion about what he actually did.)

Though I will say, in the interest of that meta discussion, that it's pretty interesting that the poll ran on the day of this page. But I'm guessing that, rather than to be guided on what to do, he was interested in figuring out what kind of audience reaction to expect, or maybe trying to see if people were reading the story like he intended it to be read.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Keith is almost never the one who initiates their intimate encounters, if i'm remembering correctly.
That isn't really true, but I can see how you'd get the impression based on the overviews of their dynamics.

And of course, the dynamics themselves are a pretty big part of the whole EP series, so they're not exactly constant.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Keith is even surprised at one point when Natani actually lets him, quote ''take the lead'' in EP. Also, this gem. ''And what Natani decides, goes.''
For the decides part, it's Keith admiring Natani's willpower, and in that particular instance it's even in the context of Natani doing what Natani wants with Natani's body.

Not that he doesn't mean it more generally, and not that he isn't being honest, but it just invites some more questions: What sort of things does Natani take charge about, and when he does, what does he decide and why? All of which is variously illustrated throughout. As is people making decisions in general. You don't have to take Keith's word for it.

For the take the lead part, one of the things Natani does tend to take charge about are things involving his body. Having sex is one of these. For reasons that may or may not be intuitively obvious, but are also explored at some length regardless.

I keep saying that, but really, the stories in themselves are the thesis, and are supposed to answer (most of) the questions they raise. And I'd like to think they do. So in a perfect world, we'll both get the best outcome if you read the lot and then come back with your conclusions.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
In EP Zen and Natani discuss pressuring Keith into cross dressing at one point, and admittedly he had said he might consider it earlier in the fic, but it still felt to me like something they were planning on making him do. I don't know if this whole sequence was just a joke related to the side pics Tom has done where Natani wears a male outfit while Keith wears a female one (and there are quite a lot of those) but Zen and Nat are discussing it seriously so I'm inclined to say this isn't the case.
This feels like a willfully obtuse interpretation of something Natani says to Zen primarily to mess with Zen. And even if you went all in on that, it would still be a real stretch to in any way make it imply coercion, given how the initial scene plays.

The original bit is a double reference, to Natani wanting to wear pink, and to Keith (arguably, as far as color-coordination is concerned) wearing it better.

And yeah it's a joke, but it's also the sort of thing Keith would end up thinking about, when he's trying to understand Natani, paralleling the 'what's it like for a guy to kiss a guy' of the bath scene. Nat's body invites the question of female clothes, and presumably it's pretty clear to Keith that Nat's not exactly enthused by the idea. So what would it be like for a guy to cross-dress? Is it icky and why? What would Natani think if he did?

Which brings us to the larger point, which is that if Keith wore a dress, Natani would enjoy the hell out of it, whereas if Natani wore a dress, Keith's reaction would probably be 'Is everything okay?' In a sense, Keith is, of the two of them, the one who might be man enough to put a dress. (Which is another layer; any behaviour of Keith's is also tacit assurance to Natani that it's something that doesn't compromise his guy credentials, or risk Keith thinking any less of him.)

The concept does get explored further later down the line, but he never did end up in a dress on the pages, nor do I think he's got any real personal interest in cross-dressing. There is a backreference to this in FH, though, that does pretty clearly imply that Keith not only ended up in a dress at some point, he fought in one. The specific circumstances of that are left up to the imagination of the reader. (Though it probably involved a heist or something.)

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
In full house Zen and Natani joke about Zen ''marking his territory'', that is, his lovers, and then telling Keith he had done so to tease him.
Natani is suggesting to Zen how to get laid in style (because of Keith/Zen dynamics that get expanded on later.) Zen elects not to, because of the greater context.

There's some irony in that if that scene had ensued, Keith would have probably played it fairly aggressively.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Later in the same fic Keith asks Natani if she has any orders for him, and without any kind of humour Nat just tells him no and keeps talking as if nothing is amiss, the implication I got is that Keith gets ''orders'' from her fairly frequently.
The line is "No change to my orders, then?" Keith is about to set out to do something that the wolves convinced him to try. He's checking to make sure they haven't changed their minds.

He also uses the phrase "Instructed at great length" later to describe the same set of circumstances, but if it isn't immediately obvious that he's being largely ironic, it eventually becomes very clear that their discussion was anything but unilateral.

This reflects a rather core part of Keith's nature; he's very prone to regret. In the EP era, he's grown pretty wise about it, with some help. He's very careful with the people he loves, and trying to lead a life he can look back on with joy.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
I realise these were all just kind of jokes, but when the same person is the butt of all of these jokes, in addition to never/rarely being the guy who initiates their passion, it really does give the impression that he is the bottom of the pile in their ''pack''. I don't really think it was intentional, but Keith deserves better than that.
Not only are you stretching, you're leaving out things like Keith telling Natani "Now lie down! Hands behind your head! [censored] on the ground at all times.", when he gets a little too frisky.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
There was another moment in Full house which made your versions of Natani and Keith nearly irreconcilable with their canon versions to me, and that's the fight scene between them. Now I don't really care that Natani won that fight, though I disagree with your statement that she had/would grow into a much better fighter than Keith,
I'll cover this later since it came up again.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
but their actions and attitudes really bothered me, Keith can barely look Natani in the eye, she sneers at him
Neither of those things is true. I even checked the first edition, just in case. Neither of those things has ever been true.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
and lets her anger get the better of her (something which is in character for her at the start of twokinds, or even a few years ago irl, but in my opinion not for her after all this development, not with Keith at least.)
Agreed. But then, (Knot) Too Late was released in February 2016, two months before the mindscape sequence started. And contrary to popular misconception, I can't actually tell the future.

The canon anchor point for the EP series is during the time that Natani was out, because that's when it was started. It has quite largely remained canon-compatible so far, but Natani's wig out in Full House is an exception. (Strictly speaking it could still maybe play out now, but it's no longer realistic that it could play out that far in the future.)

Another thing that would make stuff play out differently is the recently introduced gatekeys, but that's not a character thing so the repercussions aren't terribly interesting.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Keith gives up, something Keith simply doesn't do, not when Alaric was clearly capable of killing him on the bridge, and not when He was going to stab himself in the heart, as that was to save Natani.
Keith yields, yes, which Natani also notes he never does. But it was the only winning move, for both of them.

Stabbing himself in the heart was in no way save Natani, by the way. (Killing himself just leaves Natani with one less friend on an island of people who want him dead.) He just wanted out. It was a very low point for him.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Anyway, she seriously hurts him, then once he surrenders Natani gets crystals to heal him with and there's a line implying she's had plenty of practice healing these kinds of injuries on him before. To me this was basically saying she hurts him like this (not to anywhere near this extent though, clearly) on a somewhat regular basis, and he is used to taking the beatings.
They train, and sometimes they train hard. Injuries will happen. I'm not personally comfortable with how hard they can go at each other either, but it is what it is.

It's later established that they've both left Zen pretty far behind by that point. He's more interested in rolling around with intent than serious training, which I think shows good and proper judgement. But Keith and Natani have their reasons.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
I hope you don't take this criticism personally, it isn't supposed to be as in depth as my comments on AHR (I might have gotten carried away though...) I just wanted to elaborate on why I got this ''Hierarchy'' vibe to the EP series, which I disliked. (The vibe that is, I did enjoy those fics, though I didn't finish full house.)
I can gather how you got the idea, but the shoe doesn't really fit. Finishing Full House would have probably addressed your concerns.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Well in that page she had used magic to do that, I was speaking purely physically, and Keith had her beaten very quickly in the fight when it was just a physical contest, though to be fair he got the jump on her.
Nat did throw him off, and they had a bit of a fight scene. And I agree that it ends quickly, but it's also armed vs unarmed, so I wouldn't put too much stock into it. (And on the other other hand, I don't think Keith ever seriously intended to kill him, and was largely just venting his frustration. So I don't think it's a good indicator of their relative strengths, for a variety of reasons.)

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Now the basitins obviously have zero magic of their own, they definitely number less than humans, and we don't see them possessing any technological advantage over them, so we have to assume it's their physical prowess (and their military competence in general, I suppose) which makes them dangerous. Whether you think this is realistic or not is a different topic entirely, but we have to think of these things in the established confines of the setting.
Agreed, it's these things (+ the natural magic resistance) that make basitins dangerous.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
So to recap, I believe that even though Keith was weaker than, for example that dark-furred guard he fought (who it's likely was one of the better basitin soldiers, given that he had been posted to an area where Keith was, and all the generals wanted to control his movements),
I doubt the guard was anything special, for a few reasons.

1) If he was just a regular guard unrelated to Keith in specific, then he's someone who, in a meritocracy, is so unimportant that his job is to stand around all day.
2) If he was posted because of Keith, then he was probably posted by Alaric, just like Maddie was. Alaric was able to anticipate that Keith would go for the graveyard, and he would not have wanted to stop Keith from going there, so I doubt he would have deliberately set up a difficult obstacle.
3) If it was Alabaster instead, he's much more likely to underestimate Keith than overestimate him.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
and a big part of his shtick is that he's one of the few basitins capable of thinking outside of the box (the others being Alaric and King Adelaide, and he's presumably the only eastern basitin capable of resisting orders.) and that's why he won. It's also the reason I find his current status as ''Ambassador-General'' so intriguing, as his somewhat unique mindset along with his rank might give him the opportunity to change bastin society for the better (and carry on a bit of Alaric's legacy to boot) as they are far too set in their ways at the moment.
Absolutely. There's actually quite a bit of my thoughts on basitins in the EP series, too.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
IMO the purpose of that fight was to show that his mindset will allow him to beat ''better'' opponents, which happened most obviously against Alaric, and I believe again vs Seraphina. I'm very interested to see how he would handle himself with a magic wielding opponent, like a templar or one of Clovis' agents.
I think the magic wielding part already occurred with Seraphina: "Why.. Are you.. Rabbit-things.. So... hard to burn!?"

Though there is also my theory that basitins are naturally flame-retardant because their fur contains asbestos, and Natani will consequently die of cancer.

Anyway, it does raise some question about why Natani's immobilization spell was so effective. But... well, I would suggest that Keith wasn't exactly fighting it at that point. (He did unambiguously get blasted to the wall, though, and that's not nothing as far as magical effects go.)

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Anyway, I could have worded my initial comment better, I see Keith as only being fractionally stronger than Nat, and I don't believe their bouts are or should be one sided, when I said I thought the implication was that Natani could overpower him in AHR, I thought you meant it would be one sided in her favour.
If it was one-sided for anyone, it would be for Keith.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
While we're on the subject, you say in full house that Keith in the current comic is more/better trained than Natani in physical fighting, but Nat is stronger so as they spent more time together the gap would close and Natani would surpass him in their bouts. But I always saw it as the opposite, Keith was trained as a child until he was about 13, then he spent a year with Laura, in which time he certainly wasn't preoccupied with his fighting skills, then became something of a wanderer for the 5ish years before the story begins, now while he definitely had a hard life in these years I can't see him having anything approaching a military level of training/practice.
Natani meanwhile was training pretty much every day to be an assassin for the 7+ years leading up to the comic, depending on how old she was when she joined the assassins. Now Natani did say she focused more on the magical aspect of her training whereas Zen was the physical guy, but we don't know if they meant a 75/25 split or something closer to 60/40 - and the link would have further closed that gap.
Also, Natani's body alone has clearly had a lot of physical work put into it, we've seen other wolf women who look very skinny in comparison to Natani's more recent depictions. So I do believe that Natani has put a lot of effort into her physical training, and that her training was ''better'' or at least more relevant than Keith's, as Keith is acting on things he learned the best part of a decade ago, if not more, whereas Nat's is fresh in her memory.
This is a pretty multifaceted topic.

1) I don't think either of them is well-trained for physical fighting at the current time. As you note, Keith's training was interrupted (and he was also never particularly well-suited to it as a youth.) Meanwhile, Natani is less physical based, and Keith comments on his fighting style being inferior. (Which I don't think is just snobbishness, because Keith isn't exactly a basitin supremacist, and physical prowess is indeed the basitins' wheelhouse.) And so, I don't think either of them is necessarily anywhere close to their potential.

2) A bit of a personal read, but I think Natani is misclassed in the comic. Him trying to do anything stealthy is a running gag. His assassination technique leaves a lot to be desired. And meanwhile, he's at his best when things are literally on fire. Basically, I think he's playing to his weaknesses, in a way that's parallel to his struggles with his identity, and he's ultimately much better suited to be something like a battlemage. So you could say I'm anticipating the shift in Natani's perspective to be accompanied with a boost in combat ability, and that's accounted for in EP.

3) Basitins are proportionally very strong, yes. But Keith and Natani still have, in boxing terms, something like 5-7 weight classes between them. Natani lifting Keith looks like this. Keith lifting Natani looks like this. Keith has commented on Natani's freakish wolf strength. Strength in the sense of pure brawn actually isn't mentioned in the Full House scene; Keith notes the differentiating factors between them as speed (slight advantage Keith), technique (slight advantage Keith), and reach (hello, Natani), and that's because it isn't that big of a deal between them; they can both hit plenty hard. I do think Nat would be stronger in pure 'do you even lift' numbers, though. And even even if they lifted the same, Keith wouldn't be winning for example a wrestling match between them. (Unless he won with technique.) He doesn't have the mass for it.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Is this because of the Seraphina fight by chance? I read through the discussion threads for some recent pages the other day and stumbled on you&avwolf discussing this. If it is I'll weigh in here. Keith was far from 100% during this encounter, he hadn't gotten a full nights sleep since Natani fell unconscious about a week beforehand, and he was probably in serious mental torment the entire time to boot as a result of losing so much just a few days/weeks ago and facing a very real risk of losing the one person he had left, and chronic stress is one of the worst things for the body.
The Seraphina fight is what caused me to re-evaluate my previous impression of Keith's combat ability, yeah. I have since come to think that that particular fight was mostly to do with his mental state, but I do still have Keith downgraded from what I thought previously, because in retrospect I felt I'd been overly optimistic. But like I said, still the strongest in the groups.


But speaking of Keith's mental state, yeah, Keith was -- and still is -- in a bad way in the comic. And that's got me pretty concerned, because when is he ever really going to get to relax? He did have that lovely evening with Natani, and a good night's sleep, both of which doubtless helped a lot. But then the following day, he's already had three scares before lunch. And that bit with Red is a good show of how frazzled Keith still is; Red threatens to draw, and Keith puts a sword to his throat. He's on edge.

Keith's had a really, really shitty time ever since they arrived on the island, with only brief respites. It generally doesn't take this lot very long to get thrust into some kind of new disaster, so... when's he gonna have time to unwind?

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
I also think that Seraphina is a far tougher character than people give her credit for, Landen was her subordinate and seemed to possess, for lack of a better term, super strength, being able to punch through walls with no ill effects and even Maddie, who is comically fast and slippery commented on his speed, it seems reasonable to me that Seraphina would be an even tougher fighter since she outranked him (she resisted Keith's sword strikes entirely, and we've already established he can shatter at least some stone with his sword), and Keith, with help admittedly, still beat her.
Yeah, we don't really have a good way to peg Seraphina's strength, but there's narrative implications. They got in that fight in the first place through a series of missteps by Keith. He was trying to help Natani, but ended up endangering him further instead, and would not have been able to avert the danger alone. So it was a very solid fail for him. Every choice he made while Natani was out was a choice he would have regretted bitterly if it hadn't turned out okay in the end due to circumstances outside his control.

Which again, is due to his mental state. I hope he's getting a lot of quality time with Nat at the moment.

(Also, not terribly relevant to the point, but I don't think there's anything suggesting that Seraphina was the leader and the two others were subordinates.)

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
He did get hit by her tail smack, but despite the abundance of tails on Mekkan I don't think a person would expect that to be used as a weapon, and it doesn't seem that different from say, a roundhouse kick, which plenty of experienced fighters will still fall victim to irl.
Also, women smacking a man who's just insulted them in the face in something of an anime/manga trope, and we know Tom is a fan of those, just look at the number of times Flora has smacked Trace or Eric throughout the comic, this could just be a similar gag.
Yeah, it's something like that, but it's still the cherry on top of the 'Keith is not okay' cake.


Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
They both ''get their way'' because they both want to be intimate, it's the way that their encounter comes about/what happens during that I took issue with.
''as the last of Keith's defiance flickered out...Keith would let Natani claim him''
This encounter only happens because of Keith wearing the collar and submitting to Natani ''claiming'' him, and the only other time the term claim is used in this chapter it's as part of a statement about her wanting to ''pin him down, and [censored] him in the [censored]''.
The collar is explicitly a stand in for just about the most dominating sex act she could do to him, and Keith says he is okay with this, then the above quote happens almost immediately after. During their encounter, Natani grabs Keith, pushes him around, forces him onto his back, and again domineering language like ''pinned'' is used.
I'm interpreting wolf culture, without Twokinds' PG-13 filter. And yeah, it's shocking, because it's tonally so wrong. (Which is the rest of the reason AHR is messed up; it's not written like it was Twokinds.)

Note that Keith has qualifiers, though. There are reservations in what he says. But yes, he's willing to get on that rollercoaster, if that's what it takes.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Now when Keith gets his turn in part 1 there's not really anything dominant about Natani's actions, except maybe her refusal to lay down when Keith requests it.
But then in part 2 she is the one who decides they are going off into the woods, manhandles Keith, and at one point nips his neck to tell him to stop moving. And again there is this mention of ''claiming'' him via gay intercourse, and Keith says and thinks that he wants to belong to Nat and enjoys her dominant behaviour.
He certainly doesn't hate it, or the things he's experiencing, yeah.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
So yes I believe there is a great aspect of dom/sub to their relationship in this fic, and I didn't mean to imply it would crop up in every one of their encounters, but I did get the impression it was still hanging over their heads even after the end.
I feel like people who are big into dom/sub would kinda scoff at it, but yeah, there are definitely those sorts of elements in it.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
That said I did enjoy the last chapter more than the others, not just because there was less dominant behaviour from Natani, but because it felt more in character. I especially liked the scene in which Natani has a moment of weakness/shame over her arousal and Keith helps her through it, but my enjoyment of that scene didn't have anything to do with Natani being ''weak'', but in the way the two characters interact - it felt like something that could totally play out in the comic. (Y'know, if Tom did explicit scenes that is)
I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
amenon wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:58 pm
I think I establish it reasonably well in the story that the collar was originally essentially a gag gift. It might be helpful to think of it as a jokier version of an engagement ring.
Well yes, Natani said she was being cheeky by buying it at first, but it then takes on a far more serious role very quickly, even after re reading that chapter through this lens I can't say I agree. There is this conversation about the collar:
''I really wish I could Make you mine'' "Ever think there might be a way that doesn't involve sticking something in me?" "Like what?" "Like giving me a collar."
And also the ''claiming'' thing I mentioned above, which make me see the collar as a symbol of Natani's dominance/Keith's submission. It might also be a symbol of their love too, but even so I still consider it very OOC.
I'm mostly just making the point that it doesn't signify him as a pet or property, both of which are words that you used.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
So, something has happened in the past of this AU to make more Natani act more masculine, and Keith more, for lack of a better word, meek. I do hope you continue this series someday, partly because I'm curious what you consider to be a fitting event or series of events to lead to this behaviour, I want to repeat I did enjoy all three chapters.
You've kinda made me want to write more now, but the stories are tonally so different that I need to finish working on EP first. Switching between them is pretty weird even in the context of discussing them, much less working on them.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
I have seen it said several times here and at other places that Natani and Keith will have something that's essentially a dom/sub relationship, and one of the main reasons for that was Basitins habit of following orders, which seems absurd to me especially in the context of Keith, and I had wondered if you ascribed to a similar opinion.
It's a pretty outlandish idea. I expect hierarchy will always be something of a sore spot for Keith, except to joke about. The last time he took orders, they were to kill Natani. After that experience, I think he is and is always going to remain his own authority.

He did end up as Ambassador because of Alaric's machinations, but the feeling I get is that if there had been a further point of conflict between him and the law or the King, he would have ended up an official exile. Like, if the King hadn't given him permission to go, I'm pretty sure he would have gone anyway. There was no further conflict, so he's still got a place on the island now, but it isn't home, and he doesn't care if he keeps it.

In conclusion, unlikely to be something he'd get off on.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
I believe that Keith would indeed be willing to go the distance if Natani got hold of a male body (not for their first few sexual encounters maybe, but once he was more comfortable with her), because he wants her to be happy. But whether he would enjoy it, or find her attractive like that are very different questions.
I like to be optimistic about these things, on average.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
As for page 699, I don't think he's attracted to the illusionary male Natani, he isn't checking out her butt or anything, he's just unperturbed until she appears female again, then he gets flustered and begins to blush.
Whatever he is in panel 1, it isn't unperturbed. There's a degree of awkwardness there.

And note that when he blushes, he isn't ogling Natani either. (And Nat is facing away anyway.) I think a lot of his reaction is embarrassment for Natani's sake, since he expects it to be a bigger deal than it turns out to be.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Now the reasons I don't think he is gay or bi are because, he was very annoyed with the idea of his friends thinking he was gay on pages 236 and 282, he was clearly uncomfortable modelling for Alaric,
But on the other hand, this could also be closet-case behaviour. This, too, is a pretty strong reaction for someone who's Just Not Into That. Consider also that being gay is pretty clearly not something you're supposed to be in the Twokinds world. It's some degree of taboo.

Natani also struggled with whether a guy can have feelings for a guy. (Because if can't, then those feelings must be feminine, and thus bad; but if can, then -> kiss the hell out of Keith. And he did end up kissing the hell out of Keith, so I think he found his answer, and if Keith truly has been thinking of Natani in masculine terms, then it would follow that he found his answer too.)

Note also that after that, Keith wants to make them official. He isn't expecting to out Natani, so that means he's ready to be publicly gay. Which then happens, and while he looks awkward, he very specifically didn't end the tail touch before getting Maddie's attention.

Goes without saying that I have no reason to doubt Keith's feelings for Laura, and he's been bothered by Flora before, so strictly gay is out. But I don't think bi would be incredibly surprising. And if so, it's not hard to argue that being with Natani could help to open his mind.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
and most importantly, when Natani asked him if he would be attracted to a male her on page 805, Keith says he doesn't know, if he was attracted to the male body he simply would have told her then, they had that level of trust.
This just doesn't work. Natani doesn't ask Keith to pretend he's got a different body, he's asking Keith to pretend he doesn't know, and Keith's answer directly addresses the question. Even if Natani had posed that particular question, I think Keith would have been non-comittal, whatever he felt. As you say below, Keith doesn't push Natani either way on the issue. Or as he says in AHR, "I can't say that you shouldn't be happy in your body any more than I can say that you should be." He would focus on the 'you are you' aspect.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
This leads me to your points about page 809, one way of viewing this page is that Keith's comment on seeing Natani as a ''guy'' is his explanation for why the kiss was so lacklustre, now i'm not going to imply that he sees her as a ''girl'' after this, as he knows that would be insulting to Natani for him to think that, but to my mind one of the reasons their friendship grew so strong was that Keith never pushed her either way on the gender spectrum - he just viewed Natani as Natani, and let her sort her feelings out on her own. So I can't agree with the idea he views her as two separate Natanis.
By separate, I just meant that he doesn't see the body as defining who Natani is, not that he literally thinks in terms of two separate Natani. (And yes, 'Natani' is now the plural of Natani, after what Zen says on the current page :grin:)

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
Even Natani's thought process is up in the air here IMO - is it the masculine part of herself rejoicing at being acknowledged, or is the feminine part bridling at Keith not recognising her and going about changing that?
I didn't believe the feminine interpretation for a second when the page originally ran, and I believe it even less now, because Youngtani wouldn't have bristled at 'one of the guys' either. It's purely a compliment.

Also, the background is yellow, for surprise, rather than pink for 'feminine thought alert'.

Wobaku wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:35 am
This went on a lot longer than I intended, I hope you're not tired of me yet, I have enjoyed your responses to me so far.
This has slain me; I am slain. No regrets, though. But if we keep this going, I'm going to reserve at least a week for my next reply. I left a lot out, too, since I originally intended to go heavy into my canon Keith/Nat read.
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Re: Twokinds smutfic: A Harder Road [NSFW]

#7 Post by Technic[Bot] » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:33 am

Holy wall of text Batman!
And trust me I have seen quite a few in my life. Yet this is something impressive

Sorry I couldn't resist...

In any case in order to add something to my comment so it is more than simple flood.
I will have to agree. You Mr amenon are the leading authority on Nat/Keith here at the forums.
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Re: Twokinds smutfic: A Harder Road [NSFW]

#8 Post by Wobaku » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:12 pm

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
I don't think that's really true. I would say that the most significant of all the times Natani has shown Keith affection was after Heart's Desire 2, mainly the bath scene, and it was the most significant precisely because it was so hard. The proof of his love is that he was willing to set aside his own issues and unbend a bit, for Keith's sake.
While I do agree with the sentiment that her admission was hard, and that's what made it meaningful, I still think Natani's acceptance of her body enabling her to have a relationship is decently supported, at the very least from a storytelling point of view. For example, the last time Natani had a good opportunity to admit her feelings for Keith before the heart's desire spell was here where she viciously buries it for being ''feminine''.
In the interim between that moment and her eventual admission, she's met Adelaide and started to consider that women and weakness don't have to go hand in hand. Now don't get me wrong, the stuff she goes through with Keith in the interim (and the fact that Laura is now gone) is the bigger part of her admitting to having feelings, but I think her meeting with Adelaide and coming to terms with her body in general still played a part, i'm not sure if she would have admitted her feelings to Keith without the meeting with the king, because she still would have considered those feelings feminine and weak.

The larger point though was that I don't feel Natani would be sticking to such dominant and rough treatment of Keith so often while also being willing to explore their bodies.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
Alas, I don't put much stock in anything Tom says today, much less how he phrased a poll he ran eight years ago.
Though I will say, in the interest of that meta discussion, that it's pretty interesting that the poll ran on the day of this page. But I'm guessing that, rather than to be guided on what to do, he was interested in figuring out what kind of audience reaction to expect, or maybe trying to see if people were reading the story like he intended it to be read.
Yeah author intent was purely what I was getting at with this poll stuff. I didn't expect to sway anyone with it, I just wanted to highlight Tom's use of ''revert'' in reference to her being male.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
(And for what it's worth, I'm inclined to agree that AHR is, if perhaps not impossible, quite a profoundly unlikely scenario.)
I would lean heavily towards impossible, I just don't believe there's any way you could believably alter Keith's story to result in him actively enjoying being submissive to another person, or likewise have Natani so desperately need to dominate Keith in order to be with him.
Since you've told me now that you don't actually view Natani x Keith as a dom/sub kind of relationship I have wondered why you decided to write a fic based around that scenario, given that it goes against their real characterisations so much.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
For the decides part, it's Keith admiring Natani's willpower, and in that particular instance it's even in the context of Natani doing what Natani wants with Natani's body.

Not that he doesn't mean it more generally, and not that he isn't being honest, but it just invites some more questions: What sort of things does Natani take charge about, and when he does, what does he decide and why? All of which is variously illustrated throughout. As is people making decisions in general. You don't have to take Keith's word for it.

For the take the lead part, one of the things Natani does tend to take charge about are things involving his body. Having sex is one of these. For reasons that may or may not be intuitively obvious, but are also explored at some length regardless.

I keep saying that, but really, the stories in themselves are the thesis, and are supposed to answer (most of) the questions they raise. And I'd like to think they do. So in a perfect world, we'll both get the best outcome if you read the lot and then come back with your conclusions.
I would argue it reads much more like a general statement than something specific to that encounter, and Natani ends up taking over during that scene anyway. And the way it's worded makes it sound like a) Natani is the decision maker in the relationship and Keith follows along (which isn't a bad thing, I just don't think it's who they are) and b) if there is any kind of disagreement between them Keith defers to her, and that makes them unequal.

Also, why does he need to admire Natani's willpower, unless you feel Keith has less of it than she does?

I'll admit I still haven't read all of the EP series, so if you're going with the headcanon that future Natani still won't be fully comfortable with her body, or with sex in general unless she leads, then her taking charge with sex becomes easier to accept, though like I've said I don't think it will fit in canon, nor does either one of them ''leading'' in general.
I should say that I actually do see Natani being the one who decides when they first have sex and what they do the first few times, though not in a dominating way in the slightest, for obvious reasons. (And as for Keith himself, it's not because he doesn't have the spine to push for it, but because he doesn't want to risk hurting Natani by steering towards something she hasn't really shown herself being open to)
But EP seems to be set in a time where they've already been together for a couple of years, give or take, and I simply don't think she'd still require that level of ''control'' by that point and would be receptive if Keith was often initiating instead.

I also think that sex being mostly/entirely something that just happens to Keith rather than something he can initiate would feel very emasculating to him, which may or may not be something you've already considered, and sure that's a sacrifice he'd be willing to make for Nat if he needed to, but I don't think that's what they will have, and that it isn't a good enough ending for Keith.
That in itself is a rather interesting, if grim, topic. Just how much discomfort is canon Keith willing to endure for the sake of Natani's ''condition''? What are the psychological effects that someone who's already gone through so much, having his first sexual encounters being submission going to be, and how far would he let himself be pushed if Natani did try something similar to the dominance thing she does here in AHR before Keith said enough, not I think she would actually want that, but we'll come to that later.

Before I move on though, you say that the ''What Natani decides, goes.'' Line does indeed apply more generally to their relationship. So i'm forced to ask, do you view Natani as the decision maker of the relationship, rather than a more equal pairing, with Keith as the follower and dare I say it, submissive one?
This feels like a willfully obtuse interpretation of something Natani says to Zen primarily to mess with Zen. And even if you went all in on that, it would still be a real stretch to in any way make it imply coercion, given how the initial scene plays.

The original bit is a double reference, to Natani wanting to wear pink, and to Keith (arguably, as far as color-coordination is concerned) wearing it better.

And yeah it's a joke, but it's also the sort of thing Keith would end up thinking about, when he's trying to understand Natani, paralleling the 'what's it like for a guy to kiss a guy' of the bath scene. Nat's body invites the question of female clothes, and presumably it's pretty clear to Keith that Nat's not exactly enthused by the idea. So what would it be like for a guy to cross-dress? Is it icky and why? What would Natani think if he did?

Which brings us to the larger point, which is that if Keith wore a dress, Natani would enjoy the hell out of it, whereas if Natani wore a dress, Keith's reaction would probably be 'Is everything okay?' In a sense, Keith is, of the two of them, the one who might be man enough to put a dress. (Which is another layer; any behaviour of Keith's is also tacit assurance to Natani that it's something that doesn't compromise his guy credentials, or risk Keith thinking any less of him.)

The concept does get explored further later down the line, but he never did end up in a dress on the pages, nor do I think he's got any real personal interest in cross-dressing. There is a backreference to this in FH, though, that does pretty clearly imply that Keith not only ended up in a dress at some point, he fought in one. The specific circumstances of that are left up to the imagination of the reader. (Though it probably involved a heist or something.)
The actual wording used is ''You could probably get him to wear a dress if you tried'' which is about as close to ''You could probably make him wear a dress if you tried'' as I care for it to be. It shows an awareness that both Keith needs to be convinced to do this, and a suggestion that Zen be the one to do it, it's framed as something that will be done for Zen's enjoyment, and it's even used as a stand in for Keith being magically turned into a woman for crying out loud, it's hard not to view it as emasculating to say the least. And perhaps more importantly, it's something Keith said to Natani alone, and she repeats it to Zen apparently without any thought for whether it was something Keith would want shared or not.

Viewing it as coercion vs not coercion might be missing the point, but I get the feeling that at this point in their relationship anything Keith and Natani actively wanted to ''indulge'' in the sack would have been done by now already, and having another party try to convince one of them to do something sexual for that parties enjoyment can't really have positive connotations. Gonna link back to this in a minute.
Or another way of viewing it, if Keith likes the idea of a new kink immediately, then great, but if he needs to be convinced to try out a fetish, they probably shouldn't be trying to convince him. It's a respect thing, and I feel that both Zen&Nat discussing Keith crossdressing behind his back, and Natani's reflecting of the initial question onto Keith are quite disrespectful to him.

You know I'm kind of torn on whether or not I like these scenes, even though I'd usually strongly dislike seeing male characters cross dressing in any form, since on the one hand it's a fan work poking fun at things drawn by the original creator in a playful way, which I'm normally all for, but on the other I see cross dressing as something Keith really wouldn't want a part in, and apparently neither do you, and I feel these kind of jokes probably shouldn't come at the cost of their real characterisations.

And yeah he would ask himself these kind of things, being with Natani, and while we're definitely not gonna get a clear answer in the comic as to whether he'd be willing to wear a dress or not, in my opinion it's a safe bet he'd file it under ''things I won't be doing'' and that if someone tried to suggest it to him it would be something he'd absolutely put his foot down about, especially if that someone has a personality like Zen of all people.
In fact like you say later he's a somewhat violent person on occasion, and I feel if anyone but Natani was to push Keith to do something ''girly'' they'd probably end up with a black eye, though that's quite a tangent so i'll leave it.

I'm not convinced Natani would enjoy seeing Keith cross dressing to be honest. At any rate, we actually saw Natani imagine herself in a dress in that page you linked, and she was not just excited but downright delighted at the idea of it, before burying it for being unmanly, and I think it's safe to say she was at least slightly tempted by Kat's lingerie as well.

Linking back to both the positive connotations thing and the above paragraph, you don't seem to be thinking about whether the person wearing women's clothes would enjoy it themselves or not, just the reactions of others, we have an example of Natani having literal fantasies about wearing pink dresses (pre mindscape, even) whereas Keith has shown no interest in girly things in the comic, and even in the dumb noncanon side sketches where Keith is put in girls clothes he is hating it more often than not.

You raised a good point about Keith's behaviour reassuring Natani that said behaviour isn't unmanly (though In my opinion cross-dressing is actually pretty damn unmanly unless the man in question has a woman's body) but again you seem to be thinking of this only in terms of Natani - Natani is masculine yes, but why should portraying that be conjoined to Keith being portrayed as unmasculine or submissive?

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
Natani is suggesting to Zen how to get laid in style (because of Keith/Zen dynamics that get expanded on later.) Zen elects not to, because of the greater context.

There's some irony in that if that scene had ensued, Keith would have probably played it fairly aggressively.
How to get laid in style, by asserting his dominance over Keith and challenging him to prove him wrong. Fairly harmless on it's own, but when it's added to the other moments it just contributes to the ''Zen&Nat outrank Keith'' pile. Keith playing the hypothetical ensuing scene aggressively is a moot point because it would only come about as a result of a somewhat demeaning act from Zen.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
The line is "No change to my orders, then?" Keith is about to set out to do something that the wolves convinced him to try. He's checking to make sure they haven't changed their minds.

He also uses the phrase "Instructed at great length" later to describe the same set of circumstances, but if it isn't immediately obvious that he's being largely ironic, it eventually becomes very clear that their discussion was anything but unilateral.
I'll get back to you, probably in the EP thread proper when i'm done with that series. But this is just the issue, so far it seems to me like your version of Natani would be okay with giving Keith real orders, and canon Natani wouldn't.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
Not only are you stretching, you're leaving out things like Keith telling Natani "Now lie down! Hands behind your head! [censored] on the ground at all times.", when he gets a little too frisky.
I acknowledged that it was restrained and that I didn't think it was intentional, but one Keith dominant moment (and that's ignoring the context of the scene) doesn't balance out three or four submissive moments. Maybe my interpretation of these things really is poor, but if the story is giving an impression that wasn't intentional then there might be an issue with it.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
Neither of those things is true. I even checked the first edition, just in case. Neither of those things has ever been true.
Yeah, I had misremembered. I think the eye contact thing might have been me misremembering him ogling Natani as she stretched and warmed up, even. But still, he is dreading the encounter (in an ''I am gonna get hurt'' kind of way) and even described as a punching bag, and Natani doesn't seem to be thinking about his well-being in the slightest during the fight, if she was really outclassing him as much as you describe she should be well aware of how easily she can cause him serious damage by now and realise when she is going too far. The insinuation she didn't trust herself not to blast him with a spell point blank or whatever was really grating as well, Natani may be very hot headed but she thinks enough of Keith not to do that to him, especially this far in the future.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
Agreed. But then, (Knot) Too Late was released in February 2016, two months before the mindscape sequence started. And contrary to popular misconception, I can't actually tell the future.

The canon anchor point for the EP series is during the time that Natani was out, because that's when it was started. It has quite largely remained canon-compatible so far, but Natani's wig out in Full House is an exception. (Strictly speaking it could still maybe play out now, but it's no longer realistic that it could play out that far in the future.)

Another thing that would make stuff play out differently is the recently introduced gatekeys, but that's not a character thing so the repercussions aren't terribly interesting.
I was aware it was written pre mindscape when I first read it, I still felt it was out of character for ~2013 Natani, let alone 2016 Nat.
I think viewing the mindscape as the source of her compassion/restraint in this case is a pretty bad read, anyway I would argue it was always apparent she would grow to be gentler/more caring as their relationship deepened. Examples include her worry and care for Keith when she finds him on the bridge after Alaric, and again after the Laura illusion. Hell, even just after summoning the Laura illusion, where she is visibly crying at the thought of losing him.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the gatekeys, PM me again if you feel it's too off topic for here though.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
Keith yields, yes, which Natani also notes he never does. But it was the only winning move, for both of them.

Stabbing himself in the heart was in no way save Natani, by the way. (Killing himself just leaves Natani with one less friend on an island of people who want him dead.) He just wanted out. It was a very low point for him.
It still feels like a moment where he is breaking character, and engineering a scenario to make him act out of character doesn't make it much easier to accept.
Surrendering seems to have been the only way to end the fight without offending EP-Natani, yeah, but he could also have simply told her enough was enough without submitting to her, and perhaps even told her she was being childish and letting her emotions get the better of her. Though I admit that last bit would probably lead to a domestic. (I'm being sarcastic, if it's not apparent)

''Save Natani'' was probably the wrong phrase, but he seemed to have only seen two options there, killing himself and killing Nat, and he chose the harder one, my point was he wasn't just choosing the easy way out, and he says so himself.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
They train, and sometimes they train hard. Injuries will happen. I'm not personally comfortable with how hard they can go at each other either, but it is what it is.

It's later established that they've both left Zen pretty far behind by that point. He's more interested in rolling around with intent than serious training, which I think shows good and proper judgement. But Keith and Natani have their reasons.

I can gather how you got the idea, but the shoe doesn't really fit. Finishing Full House would have probably addressed your concerns.
There is quite a jump from a black eye to ''Broken ribs and a bruised everything'', and even if you don't buy the restraint thing I mentioned above, let me repeat one of your points, if their bouts were as one sided as you describe in Full house, why are they even bothering?

Anyway, the characters own interactions might be less important than the overall writing choices here, you chose to have a scene which establishes very clearly that Natani>Keith physically, just like you chose to write a story where she collars Keith and makes him her sub, it isn't much of a stretch to see a common theme of ''Natani first'' in your works. I honestly do hope the rest of the the EP series do abate my opinions on the earlier parts, but it will take some doing, i'll let you know if it succeeds or not.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
Nat did throw him off, and they had a bit of a fight scene. And I agree that it ends quickly, but it's also armed vs unarmed, so I wouldn't put too much stock into it. (And on the other other hand, I don't think Keith ever seriously intended to kill him, and was largely just venting his frustration. So I don't think it's a good indicator of their relative strengths, for a variety of reasons.)
If there was anyone who was giving it their all in this encounter, it wasn't Keith. And the knife gave him an advantage sure, but if we assume Zen and Natani spent only one year between losing their parents and joining the assassins, she has been trained for seven years at this point, she should be capable of fighting around it.

She did throw him off yes, and I acknowledged he's smaller and lighter than her in my first post, Natani will be able to throw him around and the like in ways he'll probably never be able to do to her, but that doesn't mean he's just blanket weaker than her. Conversely, if we assume Natani actually is using her full strength here, this fight has an example of Keith overpowering and pinning her down, albeit briefly. Gonna revisit this later and discuss my thought on their skill and strength all at once.


amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
Agreed, it's these things (+ the natural magic resistance) that make basitins dangerous.
Yeah this is the thing, Natani being stronger than Keith would mean Wolf Keidran in general are stronger than Basitins, which to me doesn't make sense with the Templars statements on them being too dangerous to go to war with - they're willing to fight Wolves, but not Basitins, now if the Basitins were physically weaker, in addition to being unable to use magic, they'd be nearly completely inferior to Wolves when viewed as an opposing force, so the Templar would have no reason to fear them over the Wolves. Unless of course there are just a lot more Basitins than Wolves, or maybe their ports and towns are incredibly well defended, but I don't feel that's the case.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
I doubt the guard was anything special, for a few reasons.

1) If he was just a regular guard unrelated to Keith in specific, then he's someone who, in a meritocracy, is so unimportant that his job is to stand around all day.
2) If he was posted because of Keith, then he was probably posted by Alaric, just like Maddie was. Alaric was able to anticipate that Keith would go for the graveyard, and he would not have wanted to stop Keith from going there, so I doubt he would have deliberately set up a difficult obstacle.
3) If it was Alabaster instead, he's much more likely to underestimate Keith than overestimate him.
I don't think we know enough about Basitin culture to make statements like 1), seemingly all Basitin children join the military, and presumably a lot of them remain there. They don't have a war on at the moment, so even good soldiers likely have little to do besides guard duty. Alternatively, if a lot of them actually leave the military when they grow up, it stands to reason only the better soldiers would remain, which feeds into my point.
2) Is a good point, but an unlikely alternative is that Alaric may have actually wanted to test him, and the guard had been briefed on Keith and knew who he was and not to let him into the graveyard, so who posted him there and gave him his orders?
as for 3) if the guard was posted by Alabaster, underestimating Keith is exactly what he did.


amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
I think the magic wielding part already occurred with Seraphina: "Why.. Are you.. Rabbit-things.. So... hard to burn!?"

Though there is also my theory that basitins are naturally flame-retardant because their fur contains asbestos, and Natani will consequently die of cancer.

Anyway, it does raise some question about why Natani's immobilization spell was so effective. But... well, I would suggest that Keith wasn't exactly fighting it at that point. (He did unambiguously get blasted to the wall, though, and that's not nothing as far as magical effects go.)
Despite her obviously magical nature, I wouldn't class Seraphina as any kind of mage, she was just more like a brute who could generate fire, when I said I was interested to see Keith vs a magician, I was thinking more along of the lines of Keith's reactions to control spells and other smart uses of magic, not bland ''mage hurts enemy'' magic like fireballs.

Like I said over PM, the asbestos comment gave me a good laugh, but I don't feel she was actually commenting on how hard it was for Keith's fur to catch fire, just how well he was evading and parrying her fireballs, though we didn't get a good view of their fight.

We don't know too much about how magic works in Twokinds to read into this last point I feel, Natani might have blasted Keith with everything she had while casting that spell, which seems an appropriate reaction given what he was trying to do, I do seem to remember she commented on being low on reserves later that night.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
This is a pretty multifaceted topic.

1) I don't think either of them is well-trained for physical fighting at the current time. As you note, Keith's training was interrupted (and he was also never particularly well-suited to it as a youth.) Meanwhile, Natani is less physical based, and Keith comments on his fighting style being inferior. (Which I don't think is just snobbishness, because Keith isn't exactly a basitin supremacist, and physical prowess is indeed the basitins' wheelhouse.) And so, I don't think either of them is necessarily anywhere close to their potential.

2) A bit of a personal read, but I think Natani is misclassed in the comic. Him trying to do anything stealthy is a running gag. His assassination technique leaves a lot to be desired. And meanwhile, he's at his best when things are literally on fire. Basically, I think he's playing to his weaknesses, in a way that's parallel to his struggles with his identity, and he's ultimately much better suited to be something like a battlemage. So you could say I'm anticipating the shift in Natani's perspective to be accompanied with a boost in combat ability, and that's accounted for in EP.

3) Basitins are proportionally very strong, yes. But Keith and Natani still have, in boxing terms, something like 5-7 weight classes between them. Natani lifting Keith looks like this. Keith lifting Natani looks like this. Keith has commented on Natani's freakish wolf strength. Strength in the sense of pure brawn actually isn't mentioned in the Full House scene; Keith notes the differentiating factors between them as speed (slight advantage Keith), technique (slight advantage Keith), and reach (hello, Natani), and that's because it isn't that big of a deal between them; they can both hit plenty hard. I do think Nat would be stronger in pure 'do you even lift' numbers, though. And even even if they lifted the same, Keith wouldn't be winning for example a wrestling match between them. (Unless he won with technique.) He doesn't have the mass for it.
To start with, I want to say I do agree Natani's forte will probably be magic, fans seem to underestimate her skill at magic a lot from what I've seen, after all she did accidentally create a spell that seemingly guarantees the death of whoever it's cast on, given enough time. But I don't see how this change in Natani's thinking will translate to fighting ability, especially given that she wasn't using magic at all in that Full house fight.
I considered perhaps you meant she fights rather aggressively at the moment and a shift to a more controlled defensive style might benefit her, but she was already fighting Keith defensively in the inn fight and she lost that very quickly, and like I said above I feel she was giving at least as much to that fight as Keith was.

For 1) I agree that they're both probably pretty far from their potentials in terms of skill, but I feel it's worth pointing out that Natani seems to be about as strong (that is, as physically muscular) as she can realistically get, whereas Keith is toned, sure, but still kind of skinny, he was depicted as even skinnier just a few years ago, honestly i'm surprised Tom chooses to draw him as muscular as he does now, given he seems to have spent the last few years more or less homeless and presumably without a good amount of food. So it seems to me he could actually stand to get physically stronger as time goes on, and Natani can't, not that I think he particularly wants to.

For both 1) and 2) in relation to Natani, this is just more fuel for my points, she went through all the years of Training she did, and she still ended up being pretty damn incompetent, and it seems foolish to me to assume she'll get such an upgrade to her abilities by training herself/training with Keith, when a literal academy for assassins couldn't make her competent. She just doesn't seem to have the mindset for it, and Keith does.
You could argue her physical lack of skill is the fault of the schools teaching being shoddy (which seems a decent read given how easily Zen was dealt with by Red and Sythe, of all people, and he's supposedly the better of the two) and not Natani's fault, but that still leaves the idea she'd be able to teach herself better than they could as a little ludicrous. The gap will definitely shorten between Keith and Nat as time goes on, but surpassing him is something I don't see as being on the table, more on this below.

3) If we take Tom's charts and the like as canon, then Keith currently weighs less than 60 kilos, whereas Natani must be 95kg at the lowest, so yeah things like grapples and holds are presumably completely out of the question for him to use against her - if people were betting on them fighting and didn't know much about Basitins, then Natani winning would seem like such a no-brainer it would be funny. And that's part of my point, he has all these apparent disadvantages and he still beats her. Natani is strong because of her size, Keith is strong despite it.

Funny that you should choose the ''Wolf lifting'' sketch as an argument here, given that the whole theme of that picture is that Keith is stronger than people give him credit for, even Natani. And again when Natani is picking up Keith, she's lifting somewhere around 60% of her body weight, for Keith it's more like 160% of his, minimum, also people can push a lot less weight above their heads than they can ''pick up'' to their chest the way Natani does, not that he isn't struggling.

And actually Full house does mention Natani was winning through ''Overwhelming strength'' and given that she picks him up with one hand and punches him hard enough to break his ribs and damage the wall behind him, it would be apparent your version of her was much stronger than him even if that first line didn't exist. You also seem to be underestimating Keith's toughness (as in, resilience) as well as his strength, he was taking hits from Alaric that cracked the bridge beneath him (admittedly a pretty anime-esque and unrealistic thing, but it is canon nonetheless) and still remained strong enough to shatter said bridge himself, even after more damage. So like I said before i'm gonna go on believing Keith is the slightly stronger one of the two, partly because all the physical stuff we've seen from Keith before, like fighting with an arrow wound and defeating Alaric become kind of irrelevant if he is weaker than her.

Another thing I'd challenge you to think about is this, if Natani is both stronger than Keith and has the potential to become a better fighter, then Keith becomes essentially worthless compared to her in any combat situation, magic resistance is beaten by the ability to use magic every time and she would now be better suited than him to every close quarters situation. His only worth to the group is now as a polyglot and an ambassador/politician, which he really doesn't want to be.

I also wouldn't read too much into that freakish wolf strength statement, it's entirely possible Keith was being silly and even if he wasn't, strength is relative, and he proves he's too weakened even to stand on his own just a few seconds later.
Another point I made you seem to be overlooking is that Keith has actually beaten ''better'' fighters before, like with Alaric and that one guard, and I feel it's a disservice to the character to just be writing him off as the loser in his bouts with Natani because you think she is/she would be better on paper.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
The Seraphina fight is what caused me to re-evaluate my previous impression of Keith's combat ability, yeah. I have since come to think that that particular fight was mostly to do with his mental state, but I do still have Keith downgraded from what I thought previously, because in retrospect I felt I'd been overly optimistic. But like I said, still the strongest in the groups.


But speaking of Keith's mental state, yeah, Keith was -- and still is -- in a bad way in the comic. And that's got me pretty concerned, because when is he ever really going to get to relax? He did have that lovely evening with Natani, and a good night's sleep, both of which doubtless helped a lot. But then the following day, he's already had three scares before lunch. And that bit with Red is a good show of how frazzled Keith still is; Red threatens to draw, and Keith puts a sword to his throat. He's on edge.

Keith's had a really, really shitty time ever since they arrived on the island, with only brief respites. It generally doesn't take this lot very long to get thrust into some kind of new disaster, so... when's he gonna have time to unwind?
What about Zen (with all limbs intact) then? You seem to think Natani and Keith are rather close in combat ability already, and Natani says Zen is considerably more skilled than she is, he's also bigger than she is, hence even more of a reach and strength advantage over Keith.

Is it bad that I feel Keith was actually pretty justified in pulling his sword on Red? Keith already knew he an edgy bully, and very racist to non Humans. He saw Red was going to draw his weapon, and Keith just beat him to punch.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
I'm interpreting wolf culture, without Twokinds' PG-13 filter. And yeah, it's shocking, because it's tonally so wrong. (Which is the rest of the reason AHR is messed up; it's not written like it was Twokinds.)

Note that Keith has qualifiers, though. There are reservations in what he says. But yes, he's willing to get on that rollercoaster, if that's what it takes.
The bad parts of ''Wolf culture'' are pretty much personified in Clovis, and Natani has made it abundantly clear what she thinks of him. Even if you buy that her particular upbringing was just as sexist and domineering as Clovis' (which I feel is very unlikely given how laid back Zen is about women) then this rough and disrespectful treatment of Keith is just not who Natani is. I don't think there is a single page which implies she gets enjoyment out of dominating people, let alone Keith, or even wants to do it. Tom would have portrayed it by now if she did, he has no problem committing boner jokes and impalement to his pages. And for what it's worth Natani is practically an outcast from wolf society at the moment, I don't think she's bothered with fitting in with people who are like Clovis' lackeys, nor do I see her sharing their opinions on relationships in the slightest.

If the intention was for the story to give off a shocking tone then, like with the collar being 'jokey' i'm afraid you've failed. The only tone that's apparent in AHR is a bit of a sad one when it comes to the status of Keith and Natani's relationship, and her unhappiness and insecurities about her body.

AHR's Keith has his reservations, mostly about committing to becoming her sub (this one is done with very quickly, bear in mind) and with Natani's rough treatment of him, but not really with being submissive to her in general. In fact he is enjoying her dominance over him, and that's out of character.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
He certainly doesn't hate it, or the things he's experiencing, yeah.
Well that is where we differ on Keith, I don't think he would ever get enjoyment from being dominated by another person, no matter what set of scenarios he goes through.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
I feel like people who are big into dom/sub would kinda scoff at it, but yeah, there are definitely those sorts of elements in it.

I'm mostly just making the point that it doesn't signify him as a pet or property, both of which are words that you used.
I don't think the fact other people take dom/sub further that Keith and Natani do here is at all relevant, it's still being done and is a part of their relationship in this fic. I would also argue the dom/sub dynamic is pretty much the defining part of this fic, not just an element.

I feel the dom/sub stuff is a lot more severe than you seem to be giving it credit for, which I don't think you should overlook either, but that point was more about Keith's mentality about the whole dynamic than anything else, and yes he is a willing sub to Natani, and yes gets a thrill from thinking about showing off this aspect of their relationship (and his collar) to Trace and Flora, before deciding it was too new to flaunt.
I put pet and property in airmarks which means you probably shouldn't read into it too much, but let's not pretend a collar doesn't have some pretty heavy connotations for where a relationship built around domination is heading. If the events of AHR are the entry level of Keith and Natani's ''fetish'' then where is it heading down the road?

In your first response post to me you seemed to be saying that the dom/sub aspect wasn't that prevalent and that Keith and Natani weren't acting too out of character, and now you seem to be arguing just that it isn't that severe and there isn't a problem with their relationship here, so are you accepting that you have pretty drastically changed their characters to make room for this submission thing?

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
In conclusion, unlikely to be something he'd get off on.
I'm glad you agree.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
Whatever he is in panel 1, it isn't unperturbed. There's a degree of awkwardness there.

And note that when he blushes, he isn't ogling Natani either. (And Nat is facing away anyway.) I think a lot of his reaction is embarrassment for Natani's sake, since he expects it to be a bigger deal than it turns out to be.
Oh it's definitely a fairly awkward situation, even if Natani herself doesn't seem to think so, but my point was if he did find ''male'' Natani attractive he would probably have been blushing and acting as awkwardly as he does after she changes back to female, and not just continued looking at her.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
But on the other hand, this could also be closet-case behaviour. This, too, is a pretty strong reaction for someone who's Just Not Into That. Consider also that being gay is pretty clearly not something you're supposed to be in the Twokinds world. It's some degree of taboo.

Natani also struggled with whether a guy can have feelings for a guy. (Because if can't, then those feelings must be feminine, and thus bad; but if can, then -> kiss the hell out of Keith. And he did end up kissing the hell out of Keith, so I think he found his answer, and if Keith truly has been thinking of Natani in masculine terms, then it would follow that he found his answer too.)

Note also that after that, Keith wants to make them official. He isn't expecting to out Natani, so that means he's ready to be publicly gay. Which then happens, and while he looks awkward, he very specifically didn't end the tail touch before getting Maddie's attention.

Goes without saying that I have no reason to doubt Keith's feelings for Laura, and he's been bothered by Flora before, so strictly gay is out. But I don't think bi would be incredibly surprising. And if so, it's not hard to argue that being with Natani could help to open his mind.
For the Alaric bathing scene, I've always considered the logic of ''he denied being gay, so he must be gay!'' to be kind of childish. At any rate, if we assume that feet are actually sexual to Basitins, (which i'm not convinced is a certain thing especially given that Alaric says he used that particular move on Keith when they were kids) then realise there are only two parts of their bodies that Keith and Alaric are electing to keep covered here: their feet and their genitals, what Alaric did is basically the equivalent of touching the inside of Keith's hip out of nowhere, except he was also using an erogenous zone to touch him. I think Keith's reaction was justified, even if we ignore how prudish and inexperienced Keith is, and how prudish Basitins are in general.

Also not really relevant but I don't think Alaric being gay is an open and shut case either, he might have just really enjoyed pushing people out of their comfort zone, easily done in Basitin society, and he did appear to have at least one female statue in that stone carving room of his.

As for Natani's feelings, I think it's a bad read to jump to the conclusions that her feelings for Keith are ''masculine''. During the earlier chapters of twokinds she is dismissive of all her feminine feelings and reacts very angrily whenever they crop up, a very unhealthy and self destructive attitude, and a lot of her development has been about accepting both the feminine and masculine parts of herself, Youngtani herself urges her to do this and I think this example is another extension of that, Natani even addresses that she doesn't know if her feelings are okay or not in the washroom, something she wouldn't need to say if she thought they were completely masculine. I also think accepting that her feelings may be in part feminine makes her relationship with Keith that much more poignant, because as you said, admitting her feelings was something that is hard for her and takes her out of her comfort zone.

Keith has probably been viewing her as a man, sure, but he says himself that he feels the reason his first kiss to her was lacklustre was precisely because he has been viewing her as a man, and I don't think he's going to be dishonest with himself about this. Even if he does think of Natani as being 100% mentally male, you'd be hard pressed to ever categorise a man's (physical) attraction to the opposite sex as ''gay''.
And no, Keith was not asking to go public with their relationship there, he just wanted to know where they stood. I wouldn't put much stock into him not trying to hide the relationship from the others, they don't mean as much to him as Natani, and I doubt he really cares too much what they think about him at this point.

I would be surprised by him being outed as legitimately bi, I think his character already leans very heavily towards exclusively straight, but I think we'll never get a straight answer and it's been left unsaid so that people can interpret him as bi if they want to, nothing more.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
This just doesn't work. Natani doesn't ask Keith to pretend he's got a different body, he's asking Keith to pretend he doesn't know, and Keith's answer directly addresses the question. Even if Natani had posed that particular question, I think Keith would have been non-comittal, whatever he felt. As you say below, Keith doesn't push Natani either way on the issue. Or as he says in AHR, "I can't say that you shouldn't be happy in your body any more than I can say that you should be." He would focus on the 'you are you' aspect.
I think it works fine, she is asking him if he didn't know that she had a female body, meaning that he still thought she had a mans body, and Keith's answer, while non committal, implies it would probably be a lot less likely. His answer also implies that he finds the idea of men kissing men pretty damn out of the ordinary, and I don't feel there is anything to suggest he's lying to himself or to Natani.


amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
I didn't believe the feminine interpretation for a second when the page originally ran, and I believe it even less now, because Youngtani wouldn't have bristled at 'one of the guys' either. It's purely a compliment.

Also, the background is yellow, for surprise, rather than pink for 'feminine thought alert'.
Decent points, and it's not terribly relevant but Natani does seem to legitimately enjoy people (or at least Keith) finding her body attractive and it's a bit of personal and unlikely read, but I feel Keith's statement that he viewed her as a guy may have stripped her of that feeling of attractiveness for a minute. I don't feel it had much to do with her kissing him though, though maybe it had something to with her offer in the mansion bedroom - to reassert that Keith did still find her hot.

I don't put too much stock in the background colours, but if I did i'd point out that Natani's eventual kiss with Keith in the washroom features a very feminine colour, and Natani is even framed with long flowing hair like you'd typically expect to see from a woman in that kind of imagery.

amenon wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:13 pm
This has slain me; I am slain. No regrets, though. But if we keep this going, I'm going to reserve at least a week for my next reply.
Well i'm with you there, it will probably be some time before I reply again as well.

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