Triggers: ableism, bullying
Last time on Homestuck: Vriska was put into a position where she could bully Tavros but was stopped by Kanaya. Free to fly, Tavros has managed to make friends with his monsters and is making headway on solving puzzles and learning the lore of his land. Vriska thinks this all is boring. She tries to get Tavros to cheat by heading straight for the boss battle. Tavros thinks that he’s probably just going to get killed, and I pretty much agree with him. But Vriska threatens to make him if he doesn’t, so he goes. She led him to the second portal, which goes to her planet: the Land of Maps and Treasure, where she is the Thief of Light.
Tavros crashlanded into her house, lying helpless on the floor. Vriska mocks him and his Pupa Pan love by splashing him with fairy glitter dust to make him fly. She doesn’t know a lot about Pupa Pan, but she knows that he needs happy thoughts in order to fly. So she gives him happy thoughts by kissing him — and then mind-controlling him into wanting to kiss her back? And then she is kind of done. What. Kanaya checks back just in time to see her crush kissing a boy so that she can cry.
We halt this turn of events to explain troll romance, which is great, because nothing makes sense. Here’s the graph. Troll romance is best described in quadrants, like the suits in a deck of cards: hearts are the flushed quadrant, diamonds are the pale quadrant, spades are the caliginous quadrant, and clubs are the ashen quadrant. Red romance is hearts and diamonds and consists mostly of positive feelings. Black romance is spades and clubs and consists mostly of negative feelings. Concupiscent relationships are hearts and spades and become sexual. Conciliatory relationships are diamonds and clubs and stay platonic.
A flushed relationship is called a matespritship and is the closest thing to human romance. A caliginous relationship is called a kismesis and is more like an arch-rivalry. These concupiscent relationships are vital to troll life because if adult trolls can’t provide genetic material for the expansion of the species, they get rapidly killed. An ashen relationship is more like two archnemeses with a third person to mediate between them. This person is called an auspistice. This is necessary because kismesissitude is a naturally exclusive relationship, and it keeps other relationships ashen. It’s very easy to switch from matesprit to kismesis and vice versa. A pale relationship is called a moirallegence: essentially, platonic soulmates. They balance and complement each other. It’s like best friends with a strong side of emotional mediation.
…Yeah, no, I still understand nothing, but I figure it will make itself make more sense as we keep going. The troll couple who may be literally made for each other are caligulasAquarium (CA) and cuttlefishCuttler (CC). CA introduces himself by summoning a giant whale and killing it with purple magic. His name is Eridan Ampora. CC introduces herself by capturing Eridan’s whale and feeding it to a squirming pile of tentacles deep on the ocean floor. Her name is Feferi Peixes. Eridan lives in an old abandoned ship. He’s a sea-dweller, a member of a troll caste that rules over all the others. His hobbies include: planning to kill all land-dwellers, collecting doomsday devices for said plans, military history, legendary conquerors, and very fake magic.
Feferi is also a sea-dweller and is the only one to share blood with a legendary deep sea monster who is the emissary to the horrorterrors Rose met earlier on Derse. She’s the heir to the throne of Alternia. She would have a lot of big plans for her reign, but since the horrorterrors have warned her of Alternia’s destruction, those plans have been put on hold. The highlight of these plans is changing the meaning of culling from killing to caring for the weak and infirm. She’s been practicing by developing a Wildlife Adoption Facility in her palace, even if most of the animals she cares for don’t really need it. I’d vote for her.
Feferi and Eridan are moirails — platonic best friends who help each other manage their emotions. Eridan has no problem talking to Feferi about his plans for world domination, and Feferi has no problem telling him that they aren’t better than anybody. Feferi thinks that he purposefully undermines most of his plots to destroy all land-dwellers because he doesn’t actually want to go through with it. They talk romance, a bit, and Eridan logs off in a huff. He’s keeping his flushed feelings for Feferi from her just as she’s keeping her flushed feelings from him.
Vriska and Eridan, back in the day, used to team up as pirates in extreme role-playing to gather food for Vriska’s lusus and loot for him. Feferi joined them, but more out of necessity than desire. Her lusus needed to be fed regularly in order to keep her calm, because if she’s not calm then she’d start talking, and if she started talking, then the psychic waves would start killing everybody on Alternia and then the galaxy. Yikes.
Later, Feferi enters the Land of Dew and Glass as the Witch of Life. Given that everyone on their planet is dead anyway, she decides to stop being Eridan’s moirail because she’s exhausted from trying to help him manage his emotions. Eridan asks her if she’s interested in red romance, and she’s just so tired that she can’t even engage with that, the darling. The breakup is mostly amicable, if painful. I guess I can see how troll romance could function. Feferi’s mostly excited because she’s finally free from a lot of the responsibilities that had held her down.
Remember that mind honey Aradia made Sollux trip into? That, uh, turned out to be eventually fatal. Feferi brings him back to life with a kiss, though, and I did not know that was a thing, but apparently it is. Sollux wakes up in Derse wear. Karkat has been watching and freaking out because that’s what he does. Spades Slick from Intermission 1 has been watching Karkat watch Sollux because this is the kind of time loop this webcomic works with. Hussie in troll cosplay has been watching Spades Slick watch Karkat watch Sollux because the never-ending loops of recursion are just about inevitable here. And then a stick figure audience proxy is watching Hussie watch Spades Slick watch Karkat watch Sollux because we just hadn’t gone meta enough. No meta is too meta.
The audience proxy is like, okay, back to the story now, but then Hussie’s self-insert goes on a rant about how he’s stuck in an attic with a scary wolf head and goes on another power trip about how he controls the narrative. We get to enjoy the troll romance exposition one more time, because the first time wasn’t enough, before Hussie explodes in maniacal laughter, and uh — here’s the thing: Homestuck was a huge phenomenon. It was intense. This guy did an incredible number of updates under the pressure of a ton of fan interest. I’m not saying that this is necessarily the best way to handle that, but I feel like I kinda get it. Providing consistent creative content is hard work, especially with a bunch of people watching you.
We do, eventually, get back to the narrative. Let’s give the man a bit of a break.