Reviews for Tempus Materia
DezoPenguin chapter 19 . 4/8
Hmm, so Bartido's getting closer to discovering that Gertrude is Margarita. Presuming that she is. We know-or we think we know-that Bonarda is the second devil though the Magistrate is Beelzebub. And then there's what he was doing with the "kid." Sammy jumping to Amy's defense was cute (Think of Alex, Amy! *wink*).

The question is, what was that shell-like charm in Grot's house? Was it meant to spy *on* him, or was it placed *by* him? Could it have something to do with his disappearance? Is Grot Ribon? Or is Ribon Grot's enemy? I keep feeling like I should have the answers to some of these questions at hand, and yet significance eludes me.

(I'm also making a note to add a desert area to the map to the south of Albion. I really need to get out the old colored pencils and draw up a map of my GrimGrimoire fanon world like I used to do in my old college days of AD&D world-building. With my luck, I'll get it finished just about the time Vanillaware releases another game that places GG into a specific setting...)
Gold And Silver Bullet chapter 19 . 3/25
So, don't see too much that really makes me do a 180 in terms of my hypotheses, but let's take a closer look.

I thought the Mayor had been mentioned before, but a quick skim has proved unfruitful in finding any mention of them. I might do a more detailed reading at some point, but otherwise just ignore the victim's identity for the moment- it might not be all that relevant anyway.

Something that's somewhat interesting is that this is potentially the second day in a row that Grot hasn't been home when Bartido came for him. What's he doing? There weren't too many clues in his house, so far as I saw. The main thing I saw of interest is that evidently Grot at least dabbles in Sorcery, although if he were particularly skilled at it I'd imagine him putting up something better for home defense- as I assume that was- than an imp.

We get definitive evidence that one of Cavan or Bonarda is connected to sorcery in some respect. This seems to back up the idea that Cavan is some kind of sorcery-based construction (or even a sorcerer, but that seems slightly less likely), and the fact that he was shaking immediately afterwards is pretty interesting. Of course, we should keep in mind the possibility that Bonarda is actually the sorcerer, or that it's reacting to both of them. That's not something we can immediately rule out.

The problem is, again, how little we actually know about Bonarda, so there isn't too much to go on there. He clearly knows that something is going on, and he evidently hangs around with Cavan, and has a position of some level of authority in the town. Nothing else about him that could be of significance really comes to mind.

We know that "Gertrude" is up to... something. She's writing things on papers- notes of some kind? It's pretty hard to tell without more information. In terms of "Gertrude" being Margarita, regardless of Bartido's opinions from a meta and storytelling standpoint that is clearly what the evidence is pointing toward. And so we would conclude that whatever Ribbon is up to exactly, it was enough to get Margarita's attention. I don't recall any explicit statement regarding what Ribbon is doing- he's an alchemist and apparently his plans required deals with devils, given that that was something Amy had to do for the sake of his work. But aside from that I don't recall many clues.

One thing about this story is that there are simply so many loose ends to tie together and I'm really not sure what links them. In terms of antagonists we have multiple devils running around, the Beast, a mysterious mage that sent various familiars to wander around back in Loop 1 (none of which were sorcery, which seems to make them a distinct party from the Beast/sorcerer), and we have Ribbon who is up to his mysterious shenanigans that may or may not be linked to the other things already on this list. I feels like I'd be able to really pin down everything that is happening if I could figure out the common link between all these things, but I'm not sure what that could be.
DezoPenguin chapter 18 . 3/19
So, Bartido's managed to land himself into trouble, probably just the edge of what will become a Bad End. The magistrate is already possessed, so far as we can tell, and Gertrude (Margarita?) is still blundering through time. (If it is her, I hope that Investigator actually was the first arc, and not one of a number of ongoing ones like in Higurashi, since "go talk to Lillet, who's been through this before" seems like a significant option, and while Lillet hasn't even shown up in the subsequent arcs (of course, Bystander ended before Lillet would even have arrived...), Margarita shouldn't have missed out on that option if she already knew what was going on. Not confiding in Bartido is a more defensible option.)

Thus far, there seem to be quite a number of disparate threads to the plotline. Investigator revealed that Magistrate Medoc was possessed by Beelzebub. We know that Master Ribbon is up to sorcerous misdeeds in town. We further know that there's a murderous Beast at work that does not appear to be due to either one of these issues. We also know that Alex is possessed by or actually is a devil, and that *also* does not appear to be the Beast. Getting some of these threads tied together seems to be the major necessary key... (I can't help but think that I need to reread Bystander, as well, to look for some kind of clues that might be hidden there...) I'm interested to see what Bartido will find out next...
Gold And Silver Bullet chapter 18 . 3/18
Very solid story. I want room to speculate about stuff in this review, so I'll keep a general review of the story until a later chapter/after the story is complete.

Okay, speculation time. Firstly, we have our looper Gertrude. The obvious conclusion is that she's Margarita in disguise- She's the only main character we haven't met in Sallah yet, the only other young woman we know of that Bartido would be able to recognize, and is fighting against supporters of the Archmage, like Lillet said it was rumored Margarita was doing in the epilogue. The main question, however, is why she doesn't bother ever telling the others what is going on and getting them to help her. Is there some reason she doesn't think she'll be believed? Or some other reason she needs to keep her identity a secret from everyone?

It IS possible that she told somebody in Loop 3, given that she was fighting alongside with an unknown person. (Lillet? That's the option that makes the most sense- it was a female voice that Amy recognized, but not one that she could identify immediately, like she presumably could if it were Astoria.) But when "Gertrude" meets up with Sammy and Amy next, Lillet(?) is nowhere to be seen. So, if Gertrude did tell her what was going on... what was she doing? Was she killed? I'm not sure there's a great answer to that question at the moment, so let's set it aside.

We can next talk about the identity of the Beast. It's presumably a sorcery-based creature. But Amy states that the damage isn't akin to the damage a Devil would cause, and most of the other kinds of sorcery-based creatures I can think of wouldn't be able to kill somebody, let alone as brutally as Astoria was murdered in Loop 1. There wasn't any fire so it couldn't be a dragon... Which makes me inclined to think this is either some new creature that we haven't seen before, or there is an obvious candidate that I'm just forgetting.

Of course, it's worth noting that though Amy assumes that the creature that did the damage was the Beast, it doesn't HAVE to be. Somebody or something else could have wanted to destroy Astoria's home for their own reasons. But given that the room was also destroyed when Astoria was attacked and killed back in Loop 1, it's very likely it was the Beast's doing, unless that was the work of somebody else too.

I think it's also interesting that although Astoria wasn't murdered in her room this time, somebody still wanted to wreck it. Unless the culprit took her away- which is possible, but I don't see why they would do that in Loop 3 and not Loop 1- that implies that destroying her room was one of the goals in the first place. But then the question becomes: why? Is there something valuable in there that needed to be destroyed? Did the room contain some kind of clue as to the Beast's identity?

The only specific thing we know about the destroyed room is that papers were all over the place, and (presumably) her Grimoires were ripped apart. Was that the goal? The only thing that comes to mind if that's the case is that this was a creature that Astoria summoned, and the Beast ended up betraying her and destroyed the room to make it harder for them to be identified/bound. But that seems oddly intelligent for most types of familiars.

The main clue that I can think of at the moment that seems to point to the Beast's identity is Margarita/Gertrude saying back in Loop 2 that the beast was a "boy". Which implies that it's Cavan- the only boy that we know of in the story. The odd thing if that is true, however, is that Gertrude doesn't bother actually warning either Sammy or Amy about Cavan in the next loop. So either Loop 2 takes place chronologically after Loop 3 (which feels like it'd be a bit of a cheat since I don't think there's been any clues that these aren't in chronological order), Gertrude assumes that she won't be believed, or there is some complication that makes it so that Margarita either can't warn them, or doesn't believe that it will end up helping. Which could be related to Beelzebub wandering around, I suppose?

And there has to be some reason why everybody in the cast happens to have converged in Sallah at the same time. Looking at their reasons independently though, I'm not sure I see much of a common link. Hiram and Opalnaria happened to be visiting some nearby ruins at the time, and just stopped by. Bartido came by in order to warn his cousin that somebody has found him out. Margarita came in order to hunt down followers of the Archmage (presumably), and Lillet arrived because she was chosen to investigate the murders around Sallah- something that I'm not sure was really possible to predict would occur. (Though there is a line in Loop 3 that implies that in that loop she had come to visit her family and just happened to be around when the crimes occurred). So, if it IS a follower of the Archmage, it'd be possible to draw Baritdo and Margarita to Sallah, but the others seem to be basically coincidence/happenstance. But it still seems like something that is too perfect to be a coincidence. Hm.

Bonarda clearly knows SOMETHING about what's going on. The only other time I recall us seeing him was when the Magistrate confronted Lillet back in Chapter 3, and he obediently left the room right before the Magistrate transformed. Could he be connected to Beelzebub in some way? The whole pipe thing is weird, and seems to imply that he has some kind of special/supernatural ability.

Cavan is also strange. He seems to be really ignorant of the world around him to a degree that is bizarre if he's actually a ten-year-old boy. And he definitely has a creepy, inhuman quality to him, both of which make me wonder if he isn't an artificial creation. I'm not sure there's much other evidence of that though. We DO know that Ribbon had experimented on him in the past- could that be connected to why he is the way he is? Did that give him some supernatural abilities, perhaps?

The main other thing I find curious is the odd blue and green that everybody sees right before they die. Given that in all three cases the type of death was different, I admit to not being sure what it could be. Could it be connected to the time travel in some way? But that doesn't really seem to make much sense because not only does it occur in three wholly different time periods (though that doesn't really matter if this is a radically different time travel method), but occurred due to three different events. Unless the time travel is some kind of spell that Gertrude is consciously doing. But although that makes sense for Loop 3, Gertrude wasn't in Lillet or Hiram's sight when they died. The only possibility that I can think of is that when Getrude meets them, she casts this spell on them. But then... what does the spell DO? It clearly doesn't protect them. Does it trigger the time loop somehow? Strange.

Finally, there's the weird thoughts at the end of every arc. They don't seem to really mesh with what the narrator of the arc would be thinking at the time. They look closer to things that Margarita might be thinking, but "The next sunrise, will it be my last?" Doesn't really seem to make much sense. But if it's somebody else's thoughts... who could it be? It sounds like somebody who understands that they're in a timeloop, but doesn't sound like the words of the culprit. So... I don't have any good candidates.

Heh, I've done a lot of thinking but I feel like I have just more questions than when I started, rather than many actual answers. I can't wait for the next chapter!
DezoPenguin chapter 17 . 3/18, we have a hint dropped about the magistrate's possession, and now we know that Bartido's message to Grot isn't just about family but espionage activities. (I wonder-does that imply that Grot's mother, Bartido's aunt, is herself involved in intelligence work? After all, in the time period in question, it was the upper crust who filled out the ranks of the high officials in various intelligence positions. Did Bartido therefore go into the family business when he went to spy on the Silver Star Tower?

...Thanks to Grot, I now have an odd mental image of Bartido starring in a gender-flipped version of "The Frog Prince," though!
DezoPenguin chapter 16 . 3/11
Ohhh, so the customer was Gertrude (presumably Margarita, as seen in the last chapter) rather than Opalneria. So Bartido recognized her because of body language and other unconscious mannerisms, even while she was in (possibly magical) disguise. Well, this will be fun; I've always enjoyed watching sparks fly between the two.

And Bartido's cousin wasn't Alexander OR Ribbon, so there, I was zero for two in guesses! (Unless Grot *is* Ribbon and Bartido just thinks of him by his real name...probably not, though; Grot's dialogue is too entertaining for Ribbon, who seems to have have taken the full Evil Wizard archetype without modification.)

I wonder, though, about Bartido's "possibly a matter of life and death." Now, that may just be Bartido's own life if he returns home empty-handed, but in the middle of a magical mystery involving devils and (probably) time-looping, maybe not...we'll just have to see!
DezoPenguin chapter 15 . 3/10
So! It looks like my guess for the last chapter's review was wrong, and "Traveler" doesn't refer to time travel but to physical travel, the fact that Bartido is, well, a traveler stopping at Sallah on the way. Amazing how many different paths are converging at this remove village, almost as if someone is pulling strings...

I couldn't help but grin at the Bartido's encounter with the young woman on the inn stairs, since it's very likely that's Opalneria (see: Bystander arc), which makes the thought about Hiram doubly an in-joke. She's certainly Hiram's type, after all!

Meanwhile, Bartido has a cousin here in town. I wonder who that person will prove to be? No doubt it's someone we've already met, Alex perhaps? (I hope it's not Ribbon!)

I like Sazerac! In just a few quick quips, he's established as the kind of long-suffering servant-sidekick that someone like Bartido (who tends to be footloose and fancy-free, on the move and without a lot of personal confidants, being separated from close friends by his work and from intimate romances by his player-like character) needs. Hopefully future chapters will show more of his interactions with Bartido.
DezoPenguin chapter 14 . 4/1/2014
Aha! Answers! ANSWERS!

So, I was right in eliminating the narrators-so-far as being the looping character (though we're still waiting to see if the "loop" is itself being done through time travel), and the next arc's title, "Traveler," suggests that that arc will finally give us some perspective on that character, perhaps including the nature of the time travel and how they pulled it off. We've seen two possibilities suggested in the original game, and of course there's always the possibility for more.

I'd like to note the subtlety of the title of this arc. Amy is held as a prisoner, with choices basically forced upon her by her emotional state in three separate ways: first, by Ribbon's direct threats against her family; secondly, by her desire to see her family safe after Ribbon is killed; and thirdly, by her feelings for Alex that keep her in town when sanity would suggest she get out of the way of warring magicians and devils.

The "I'm not sure how he got that in his head" line about Alex's belief that Amy had been arrested makes me wonder if there's someone else deliberately inciting such beliefs, leading him down the primrose path, as it were. There are definitely still many questions left to be answered, such as what is the nature of the Beast (it's not the devil in Alex, after all), what's getting certain people killed, how Beelzebub got into Medoc (I have a feeling that this might be the ultimate disaster that Margarita wants to stop-that she did what was needed to loop time to prevent that thing from getting loose on the world with its full power), and how most of the original cast has ended up in Sallah for all this chaos.

At this point, my primary suspect is Astoria, who occupies a central position in the various arcs: she's a skilled magician, she's the one who summoned Lillet to Sallah (assuming, again, that getting Lillet there is part of The Plan, whatever The Plan might be), she's connected to Amy and Sammy from the "inside," as it were, in a trusted position, all of which suggest that she'd have the freedom to act and access to knowledge. But I'm sure that we'll see in the end where this all leads...Hopefully, RL will allow for the next arc to move along faster!
DezoPenguin chapter 13 . 3/31/2014
Oh, boy, so the devil, or at least a devil, is on the loose, and a pretty powerful one too, if it's standing up to post-game Margarita and at least one other person. (If the other person is Lillet, then we can confirm the devil is Beelzebub; probably it was not Astoria or Amy would have recognized the voice) He suggests that there are more devils in town as well, which may or may not be a lie, but there's still the question of the Beast to address. And Gertrude/Margarita got out of the cells during Amy and Sammy's absence from town...

I wonder what the Beast could be-if it's a new kind of monster, or if there are just clues that I might be missing? Massive damage was inflicted, but apparently neither the use of claws (which would rule out a Chimera, which was otherwise my first thought, though Amy might know of those as well) nor fire...The mention of how a tail might have been used suggests that the place was wrecked my massive blunt force trauma, like giant fists or clubs...

I can't help but think that Sammy was right, though, and that Amy should have seized the chance to get out of town while the getting was good. I doubt the next chapter will end well for them, and I can only hope that this is a time-loop scenario to wipe out the impending Bad End! (Unless, of course, one of them is actually responsible in some way...)
DezoPenguin chapter 12 . 3/30/2014
So! Sallah is apparently right outside Lillet's home village! That's interesting... I wonder why she didn't mention it in "Investigator."

Meanwhile, we now have absolute confirmation that the story involves alternate worlds, time loops, or some other form of "alternate" scenario (from dreams to "Lotus Eater Machine" situations to stories being told by various people). In "Investigator," Lillet arrived after Sammy and Amy were dead, but now in "Prisoner," she arrives while they're still alive. The question becomes, whose loop is it? In GrimGrimoire we have Lillet, in Higurashi: When They Cry there's Rika and Hanyuu...but in this story, it's not apparently obvious. I think, though, that we can rule out any of the "perspective" characters, thus far, Lillet, Hiram, and Amy, because none of them have shown any awareness of or perception of the existence of the loops, and a time loop in which *nobody* knows it's a loop is meaningless (though the looping character may well be an outsider, watching people take different paths each time through-I don't necessarily rule that out).

Meanwhile, in this arc, apparently a new farmhand at the Blans' was an agent of the Archmage's. He may or may not be the one who would attack Amy's family, but for the moment that seems likely. Given the presence of a significant organization in the environs of Sallah, I'm now starting to wonder if the summoning of Beelzebub was carried out by them, in some plan to follow up on their master's defeat. If so, does that mean that Medoc is one of them (I reference his "I am Rupert Medoc! I am a god!" howl in Investigator 3, which implies that his possession by Beelzebub is more of a shared-venture type of thing, where he deliberately or at least willingly let the devil into him for the sake of power.)?

I'm further wondering, now, if it can be truly called coincidence that *so many* of the original GrimGrimoire cast have found their way to Sallah at just this time? Five in total (Lillet, Hiram, Opalneria, Bartido, and Margarita) have already made their appearance. Since Amoretta was deliberately left at home, this is starting to look less like a series of coincidences and more like someone's (probably evil) plan. But whose? The remnants would certainly seek revenge on those who defeated the Archmage, primarily Lillet, but they're dropping like flies (although again, see Beelzebub).

Maybe the last two days of the Prisoner arc will bring some answers, but I have a feeling that what I'm going to come up with is just more questions...
DezoPenguin chapter 11 . 3/29/2014
Now that the Prisoner arc is finished, it's long past time I started to catch up properly on my reviews (and really, where are everyone ELSE's reviews? This may be a small fandom, but this is one of a very limited number of fics featuring a proper plot, rather than being a one-shot, vignette, or omake!). It having been a while since I last visited Sallah, I began by rereading the previous two chapters in this arc, and the first thing that I noticed was that I'd overlooked something in my previous review: when Deacon Brandy tells Amy that the Church doesn't customarily hear confession any more, although the Rite still exists, is that a reference to the Anglican church (something that I've used myself as the "baseline" for the Church in the GG setting, and that you've been a part of discussions about on Exiled)?

Anyway, on to the present chapter:

Ah, Pabst Ribbon. Now the name makes sense. And he's holding Amy hostage to his whims by threatening the lives of her family. And...

...Wow, that was definitely Margarita!

(By the way, this battle was definitely described better than Lillet's back in Chapter 2.)

Okay, so Ribbon decided to stage an attack on whomever it was that was staying at the inn. Having identified them as someone who was at the Tower when Calvaros was defeated, I can only assume he means either Bartido or Hiram. I'm going to go with the former, because Bartido is a single target, and Pabst would have to be an idiot to think he was capable of defeating Opalneria and Hiram together, even with Amy in tow. Only Margarita was hanging around and cut him off before he got the chance to even begin what plan he happened to have (and he definitely did have a plan, or else he wouldn't have mandated that she use Sorcery-although Bartido is primarily an alchemist, so that again suggests that Bartido was the target).

Amy obviously believes that Pabst has the ability to carry out his threat against her family after death. Margarita, just as obviously, believes that it's a pack of lies. The question therefore becomes, which one of them is right? Is Amy just afraid, after having been cowed by Ribbon for so long? Or instead does she know something-something specific that he told her, just in case she got ambitious and tried to end the threat by killing him?

Further questions include: whose familiars protected Sammy from the Beast? And who, or what, is the Beast anyway? There are too many threads interwoven here for everything to have a clear answer...
antlan87 chapter 12 . 4/17/2013
Hmm, been awhile since I checked up on this story. After reading the current arc, had to go back and read the previous ones to confirm that there was some sort of time-loop or alternate universe/time-line thing going on, rather then really bad DC style continuity. Interested in how this arc ends.
DezoPenguin chapter 10 . 3/2/2013
Ahh, so Master Ribbon takes his name from the classic beer (hm, I have a vague memory of that coming up before...and I have the feeling that I really ought to reread the earlier arcs simply because it'll help me track on the things that are the same, the things that are changing, and something of what the root causes might be)! In the same category of "noticing small side notes," there's the note that Alexander says that confession wasn't done much any more, suggesting that you're following the same association between the in-story Church and the Anglican branch of Christianity that I use...

Gertrude is clearly meant to call to mind certain aspects of Margarita (the spectacles, the drab colors), particularly with the discussion of the remnant hunter (the "Remnant Revnant," eh? I like that, though perhaps it should be "Rev'nant" to indicate the missing letter in the poetical spelling...). If it is her, though, it's clear she's using a disguise (the "large nose" reference, so we'll see)...if so, it would be an odd coincidence (or perhaps NOT a coincidence) bringing together Lillet, Hiram, Opalneria, Bartido, and Margarita all in the same village at the same time...

Meanwhile, I feel very sorry for Amy. Absolutely nothing seems to be going right in her life. Though it remains to be seen how much of that is due to her own sense of being trapped and how much due to actually being so (for example, could Astoria help her against Ribbon if she asked?). The point of her failing romance suggests that perhaps she does have some trouble speaking up clearly when necessary.

In any case, please do keep the chapters coming!
DezoPenguin chapter 9 . 2/5/2013
Glad to see the return of this fic! Hmmm, so one of Calvaros's ex-minions is involved, and he's got some kind of influence over Amy (presumably via extortion). He may or may not be responsible for the Beast, or for the devils seen in the Investigator arc, but more pieces seem to be taking shape. I wonder if the "Tempus" in the title refers to whatever Ribbon (odd name; any significance?) is doing; given how Calvaros is dead and being chewed on in Hell, playing with time might be the only way to get him back if that's what Ribbon is up to (Amy's line "the man who served a dead man" instead of "the man who HAD served a dead man" implies that Ribbon is *still* serving the Archmage...).

Looking forward to seeing how this next arc plays out!
DezoPenguin chapter 8 . 6/22/2011
And so another arc comes to an end, leaving us with more questions than before. This one ended completely differently than the "Investigator" arc...indeed, Lillet did not even appear to be in this arc at all! Which raises all kinds of questions-will the cast be thinned out with each succeeding arc? In this arc did she even get involved in the story (much as how Rika notes that in some unseen arcs of Higurashi Keiichi never moved back to Hinamizawa...)? Clearly, it's not *her* who's moving through time or alternate worlds or whatever the specific mechanism is in this story...but then again, that leaves the question of who *is*?

Interesting that the devil here looked somewhat like Bartido's associate (reflecting Grimlet's possession of Gammel), so that raises the question...are there two devils in Sallah? Competing evil interests a la Calvaros/Grimlet? Or is there a specific hierarchy? Or is there only one devil, but who can possess different victims in different timelines (not unlike some of those Ravenloft adventures in which the villain can be cast as different guises, depending on the DM's desire or random chance)? Many, many questions...

Nor let us forget Gertrude and her line about the Beast being a little boy. Obviously, we're supposed to think of Cavan here...but what's "obvious" in a story this twisty isn't obvious at all.

Looking forward to the next arc!
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