There he is: Sylas Fortinghall, Aspen’s dad. He’s a genius, a genius, and a genius; that’s it, that’s literally all there is to recommend him. He’s a psychopath. Not the cool movie kind, either. The ‘antisocial personality disorder,’ serial abuser kind, the ‘incapable of honoring any agreement whatsoever and gets bored easily,’ kind, the ‘exiled from Scotland for practicing heretical magic against the will of his superiors’ kind. He adores Aspen, who always liked him best and was the most like him, and has made sure to teach her all the important life lessons:
- Only worry about you and yours. The rest of the world does, no matter what dumbfuck platitudes they try to feed you.
- Most human relationships are just complex calculus, a string of equations and variables that will, inevitably, no longer be solvable. The key is to get as much from the data as is possible and the make the best use of the relationship you can before the graph snaps in the middle and you have to move on to another set.
- No matter what, you can always come and talk to me. I’ll always be here for you. And I know you’ll always be here for me, too. That’s what family is there for. Anyone you can’t depend on like that isn’t really your family…
Sylas would be mortally offended if someone suggested he doesn’t love his daughter. He’s completely delusional, as many abusive parents are, and has a definition of love incompatible with longterm psychological health. He’s proud that he’s a psychopath. It just means he’s better equipped for this ugly world. It’s the mark of any GOOD magician that they see things for how they really are, and pursue the truth at all costs. A real piece of work, to be sure.
Sylas re-discovered intramundal hypergeometry, a mathematical method of studying, contacting, and transporting entities across dimensional borders. He was a normal summoner before he found the documents from which he reconstructed the science buried under a monolith. It’s a very empirical, scientific form of magic, well-suited to lab conditions and testing. This has earned him a position as a consultant in the Incursive Security Agency, the government agency that monitors (and sometimes neutralizes) the things that cross intramundal borders autonomously. Yes, the ISA knows he’s Like That. No, they haven’t stopped him from seeing Aspen, since he would likely cease being cooperative before they’ve managed to extract everything useful from him.
A quick little write-up on the Intramundal Negation Matrix; AKA, the power Aspen and her older half-sister, Holly, got when Sylas anchored a monster from the Abyss to them. The girls call the substance, or entity, or whatever it actually is, ‘the Hush,’ since Intramundal Negation Matrix is kind of a mouthful. It changed their physical appearances (Holly used to have red hair and they both used to have blue eyes), and has destroyed their ability to, among other things, perform magic and have children. Holly took this significantly worse than Aspen. Of course, she was twenty-one when it happened, and Aspen was only eight.
Holly has long since completely lost her mind and become a danger to herself and others. She’s still at large, dipping in and out of the underground to go on highly destructive rampages, by herself or with other destructive magical entities. Her control over the Hush is far more advanced than Aspen’s. It also doesn’t seem to require as much energy for it to manifest, either. Once again, Holly’s the better sister. At least, that’s how Aspen sees it.
There’s a lot more to their two-part sigil than they realize. Sylas is in no hurry to explain it to them. As Aspen learns more about hypergeometry and learns to read the sigils, she may discover that things are actually much worse than she thinks they are.