Why nine? Why does Tricia need nine deaths and not thirteen or seven or a nice round ten? I already had three on-screen deaths and implied that Tricia had been busy before. By placing the total she needs at nine, which is three squared, I didn't need to figure out that many more murders. Yes, that means there's one more coming, and I figured out who, roughly, the lucky character would be and started setting it up. I'm sure that the character has a neon sign now, with the words "Dead Meat Walking" flashing, but I won't name this person just yet.
The conversation between Brenna and McCoy probably rehashes details. Brenna did get some more information about what's going on, though, including the number of related deaths. McCoy got a lot more screen time in the story than I expected when I first introduced him. If I had known he'd become a supporting character, I might have put more thought into his name. McCoy isn't counting the murder in Sacramento; her death is outside the killer's usual haunt and is being treated as a copycat. Just as Tricia, and only Tricia, planned.
Joni isn't that much help, which a few comments to the commentary have noted. I should have figured out the rules that affect Joni before I started, and worked out what she knows. The base idea is that Joni's there to train Brenna, but that has loopholes big enough for the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man to walk through. Joni is also trying to make up for lost time; she spent more time with Grace preparing the younger Halliday girl to receive the Soul Blade. They've managed to make up somewhat, though, especially compared to an earlier version of them:
"Were you as terminally shy as me? Did you ever get rejected after throwing yourself at someone? Did you?"Brenna in the above is sixteen, not the mid-twenties she is in The Soul Blade. One of the two women would have tried to mend bridges in the ten years or so between the incarnations. Again, the problem with updating a character for a new story - there's history that keeps cropping up even when it's not relevant.
"I had my own problems."
"I'm not you! I won't ever be you! Can't you understand that?"
"I know you're not me, Brenna."
"Then why can't you let me be me? Why can't you accept me as I am?"
"Bren, I always loved you. I was always proud of you, no matter what you did. I just didn't know how to talk to you. You were more like your Aunt Lucy* than either your father or myself."
"That's why you spent all your time with Grace? You could have tried."
"I didn't want to drive you away, Brenna. I made a lot of mistakes with you when you were young. Your stutter, for one. I shouldn't have pushed you about that. You stopped talking to me, and I don't blame you."
"I took extra language courses just to get rid of the stutter, and you never noticed. I drew to express myself, and you were never around for the school art shows."
"I noticed, Bren. I never wanted to miss those shows. The Soul Blade has a price, though. I never wanted the Blade either, but I couldn't ignore the threats around. My mother did the same thing."
This wraps up half a year of commentary on The Soul Blade. There is still more story to come.
Friday, Brenna in the right place and the right time, in The Soul Blade Chapter 27.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, Nancy Drew.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, a short break as I prepare for the next analysis.
* Aunt Lucy became Aunt Dawn in the years in between.