Other people have written more beautiful meta than I could about Essek’s character arc. But I’ve been thinking about how interesting and smart choosing this path for Essek was from a DM’s perspective.
The M9 are good at making friends but less skilled at making true allies (the opposite of VM tbh but that’s another post.) Hurtling into the frozen north following nothing but a nightmare, they’ve been without either and without direction for some time. Both the PCs and the players desperately needed an NPC who could say “Yes, what you are facing is a huge dangerous problem, and here is exactly what I can do to help.”
Matt could have, conceivably, put any NPC he liked in Eisselcross (Dairon comes to mind.) There are Dynasty and Empire outposts, and unattached opportunists as well.
He chose Essek. And moreover he chose an Essek at his lowest, grappling for survival and a glimpse at redemption. He both, from a meta perspective, gave the group a fairly powerful ally who will explicitly do nearly anything for them and, from a character perspective, a friend whom they will see extra appeal in bringing along (the M9 like redeeming people. save a soul, Cad?)
He’s such a perfect choice for who to put in the M9′s path at this moment. Bravo once again, Matt Mercer. And Essek Thelyss- welcome to the Mighty Nein, indeed :)
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May I ask for some hcs? 👀👉👈
Jon developing extreme anger issues (coz of that grandpa shit) and feeling extremely bad and guilty for it later and Damian helping him through it? :^)
Ooooooooookay, so this might not be quite what you asked for.... I got inspired and things kinda escalated from there. So it's less headcanons and more a one shot. But there are headcanons within the one shot so like... same dif, right? 😬😬😬
I'm down for any other asks in the future (this goes for anyone reading). Can't promise I'll get to them immediately but I'll do my best. 😊😊😊
Anywho, I hope you like it! (Warning: it's kinda long) @cats-and-katanas
Jon had never been good at controling his anger. Even as a child.
For someone like Jon, losing control was deadly for the people around him. For the most part he managed to keep his anger at a dull roar. Something that never really went away but at the very least stayed contained, unable to hurt anyone.
But some days there was no stopping the blinding rage form consuming him. No way to stop the growl that rumbled deep in his chest. To stop his eyes from burning a bright, unforgiving red. No way to stop the rampage that would only end in destruction and heartache.
Or at least, there didn't use to be.
If you had told Jon that Damian Wayne would one day become the key to controlling his anger he would have laughed himself silly. Damian Wayne? Mister "look at me wrong and lose you spleen"? Yeah, right.
But then, that would have been years ago. And Jon didn't do so much laughing these days.
Damian had changed in the years they had been apart. They both had.
Outwardly he was practically a different person. Jon often wondered how his younger self would react to the way Damain looked now, with his long hair and peirced ears. As a kid Jon had always invisioned the two of them growing up to look just like their fathers. And although Jon did look a lot like his own father, Damian look wildly different from his. More like his mother, if Jon were to make a comparison.
He'd changed a lot on the inside, too. He was more patient for one. Less quick to make a snide remark or dismissive comment. He listen more. He didn't interrupt or tell people to shut up as much as he had when they were kids. And he was more open. More willing to express himself without trying to save face.
But weirdly enough it was his hands that Jon noticed the most. Not how they looked (littered with small scars and calluses, fingers long and elegant) but how gentle he could be with them.
Where there had been hard jabs and friendly but harsh punches there were now firm assuring grips and soft caresses.
And something about the way Damian thred his fingers through Jon’s choppy locks had him melting into a puddle of goo in second.
The first time it had happened had been during on of Jon's bad days, when he couldn't keep the anger inside any longer.
He couldn't hear anything but the pounding of his own heart. Couldn't see enythjng besides the red. Then suddenly there were fingers in his hair and a body pressed firmly against his own. A voice whispered reassurances he couldn't distinguish as words but soothed him nonetheless.
Slowly, things came back into focus. The red faded. His hearing returned. And there, with his forehead against Jon’s, was Damian. His bright green eyes starting intently. His nails scratching gently against Jon’s scalp.
"Are you back with me, Corn Cobb?" He asked.
Jon just stared in shock. His chest heaved as he buried his face in Damian’s shoulder and sobbed at what he'd almost done. Guilt gnawing a hole in his gut.
Damian had only laughed breathlessly and wound his arms around Jon’s shoulders. Being sure to keep his fingers in his hair.
"I see you're still a crybaby," he said.
From then on Damian would frequently run his hands through Jon's hair. Usually only when they were alone, but sometimes when Jon was preticularly agitated on a mission Damian would sit him down and gently pet him.
It was embarrassing at times. Being pet like he was one of Damian’s animals. Especially when during one lazy afternoon wrapped around eachother they had discovered that Kryptonians could purr.
That had been a very awkward conversation with his dad.
But thanks to Damian, his anger slowly became easier and easier to handle.
And it wasn't just the head petting. There were many other things Damian did to help with his control.
One of the main ones was teaching Jon how to meditate. Something that Jon had never really considered. It had been a long and frustrating while before Jon had gotten the hang of it. But once he had it had helped tremendously.
Damian also sang to him. Not often, and never in public. But on his bad days when nothing seemed to calm him enough to let him sleep, Damian would manhandle him into bed, lay Jon's head on his chest right above his heart, and sing. The songs weren't in English. They seemed to always be in languages Damian knew Jon didn't understand. But they were always beautiful.
They spared a lot. Jon had been hesitant at first. Not wanting to hurt Damian. But Damian wasn't having any of it. He would goad Jon. Try to make him just angry enough to throw caution to the wind.
Jon had been even angrier after the first fight. Demanding to know if Damian was asking to get killed, setting him off like that.
Damian had been unimpressed, simply stating that he trusted Jon and knew he would never hurt him.
Jon had been floored. Even his own father hesitated when he saw Jon getting angry. And Clark was also Kryptonian.
But nothing soother Jon's anger like listening to Damian’s heartbeat.
After some exparimanting Jon discovered that he could hear Damian’s heartbeat from anywhere on the planet. No matter where he was or how far apart they were, Jon could hear him. This had been both relieving and confusing as Damian was the only heartbeat he could hear from that range. Everyone else's blended together after a certain distance but Damian’s remained loud and clear.
As the years past, Jon grew less reliant of Damian to keep his anger in check. It became easier to calm himself down. But even so, the anger still remained. Probably always would.
Jon supposed that just meant he'd have to hold onto Damain forever too.
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34, 35, and 45 for the otp questions :)
hey morgan!! <3
they're talking about this ask game! (im still taking asks about this ask game so send me some more!!)
34. what do they do when the other is stressed?
hmm.. neither is really, like.. good at de-stressing the other, so they don't really have anything they do for when the other is stressed out.
When L is stressed- he doesn't show it, mostly just shakes or is just more intense than usual. When this happens Light either steers clear of him, or he sits next to him and presses some of his body (arm, shoulder, thigh) to L's so he can have a slight pressure to focus on. or he makes him tea how he likes it instead of making it with half the sugar amount L usually puts in. When Light is stressed- oh boy, you can tell. He'll yell and bitch and blow up over small things. he's a menace when he's stressed if he's in a controlled environment where he doesn't have to be hide his personality. And that's mostly when he's alone with L. Now, L loves a confrontation as we all know, but when Light is stressed he doesn't do anything. he sits either next to or across from him and drinks tea and eats. He lets Light work out his stress by himself. He doesn't really know how to de-stress him and he's tried in the past but that got Light even worse. So he just lets Light stew and steam, but he's always by him. He talks to him like normal, like he's not being a raging bitch and eventually Light calms down.
this got long again!
35. how do they spend time if the other is gone?
lmao they would never admit it but the amount of bored they are when the other is gone. amazing. But they both go about their business like it's any other day, like they dont miss the other. If they're away from each other for a long time then Light will call L on the cell phone that only Light has the number to and they'll talk for hours, Light picking apart his entire day to tell L and L making little comments as he does so. L doesn't talk about his day much but just listens to Light talk because fuck he sure does like to talk doesn't he? they'll stay on the phone until something important calls them away (most times it's sleep- in Light's case) and before they hang up L will tell him 'see you soon'
45. how are birthdays spent?
Ah! cute! but they don't really do much! Light gets L some sweets and gifts him something in bed too (involving L's specific fetish). He'll also give him a few more kisses on the head than he usually does and he'll watch his dumb sitcoms with him. Watari will bring L a cake and Light will eat it with him. For Light's birthday L will gift him a bug encased in resin or a couple if he has trouble deciding and if L finds something worth buying he'll also get him some jacket or tie from an expensive designer, and leave it on the nightstand along with coffee for him to find when he wakes up. They'll go through the day like normal with L trying to share his sweets which Light refuses. They'll play boardgames and card game together which Light keeps suspiciously winning while L smiles after each of his own losses. Watari will bring Light a fancy cake L gave him very specific instructions for so it'll be up to Light's tastes. L will also give something to Light in bed too- idk how nsfw i wanna get with these but. something involving Light's face in a pillow and his hips up high
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