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YMMV / An Ember in the Ashes

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  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Cook being Laia’s mother alive the whole time would have been a good twist if the foreshadowing wasn’t so blatant with Cook getting choked up every time she discussed her life as Mirra.
  • Complete Monster: Commandant Keris Veturia of Blackcliff military academy is infamous for her cruelty and inhumanity. Using a cold-blooded exterior to mask her raging insanity, the Commandant delights in committing torture and murder for the flimsiest of reasons. Introduced as she is whipping a boy to death for deserting, a not-uncommon situation, she keeps a wall of her office completely covered with dozens of wanted posters from those she's captured and had killed, a grim "paper cemetery" that serves as a trophies of the lives she's taken. The Commandant treats her slaves horribly, disfiguring them within the first few weeks of service, torturing them or their loved ones for the slightest mistakes, and has a track record of driving them to suicide with her abuse. After the Commandant caught one member of the resistance, she killed everyone the woman loved, savaged her face, forced her to swallow hot coals, then enslaved her as her cook. When Cook tried to assassinate her with poisoned food, the Commandant responded by driving a hot poker through the eye of a five-year-old slave that Cook saw as a surrogate daughter. Conspiring with the Nightbringer, the Commandant places a psychopathic rapist on the throne as her puppet, whom she plans on killing and usurping, manipulates the local Scholar resistance into killing the old emperor, then uses their rebellion as an excuse to commit genocide on the Scholars. The only moment of compassion she's ever admitted to was when Elias was born, and a fleeting moment of maternal instinct caused her to abandon him with a tribal woman instead of killing him as she planned. She almost immediately regretted this and turned around to murder him, only to find the tribe was already gone. She's regretted that single moment of compassion ever since and has worked to undo her mistake by repeatedly trying to kill her son in the present day. The Commandant is defined as someone who's forged herself into a monster by tirelessly working to weed out any goodness within her in pursuit of absolute power.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
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    • Any scene that involves Commandant Keris Veturia is likely to be this; she's just an utterly terrifying character in general. See the Complete Monster entry above for details.
    • Blackcliff Academy. An incredibly harsh military academy where recruits are put through years upon years of Training from Hell with the sole purpose of turning them into ruthless killing machines.
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