The Weight of What We Owe

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The Weight of What We Owe is a story written and illustrated by Iron Eater. It originally ran in Issue 79 at


Some holiday reminiscince is interrupted by uninvited guests, and the results are transformative for all involved.

S2b2warning.png Content Warning: Violence, Gore, Body Horror

The author wishes to note that this story contains some sensitive material, including depictions of extremely graphic violence, injury, gore, and death; elements of body horror; and generally being extremely weird, as the author is wont to pen.


The Weight of What We Owe is inspired, in varying degrees, by the PC (and, technically, cross-platform) video games Warframe and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The source material, such as it is, is not related by franchise, publisher, or even genre.

Related Links[edit]

While the title of this work is derived from a working song about far-future generational debt, the inspiration for it came from somewhere else altogether.

Author's Notes[edit]

Sometimes you get an idea that's so ludicrous you get invested in making it happen, no matter how difficult it turns out to be. That's what happened here.

Going into precise details would take a long time, spoil a lot of game plot, and probably still not explain things enough for someone unfamiliar with either inspirational work; it's safe to assume that both games I drew from are very weird, and said weirdness made them much easier to combine than one might expect. I have referred to the narrator as "Dagoth Ordis" before; the reader is invited to extrapolate from this what they like.

The nameless "tools" are a slightly reskinned version of Kagrenac's Tools, Sunder and Keening (Wraithguard did not show up for rehearsals and so was cut from the final production). The "devil's brew," on the other hand, is modeled after the kuva resource from Warframe.

I was first introduced to the Young Scrolls song linked above by a dancing animation freebie I picked up on a different game I play. Listening to it on loop planted the seeds in my mind, and I had my title from a very early point. Naturally, after this point I ended up getting horribly busy when not dealing with a lack of inspiration, requiring over a week's worth of extension. The editors are, as always, patient and forgiving in the name of stories getting done. Writing over 10,000 words in the space of a week definitely gives a piece a certain energy if nothing else.

Another reason I chose a relatively high-concept theme is that every December I literally write a novella about the avatar of a blood god. I enjoy writing about clerics of all stripes, but it felt appropriate to shoot for a less direct take. Thank goodness every issue is a Yes, And issue now or I have no idea how on earth I'd have handled the gender-roulette habits of the leads, particularly since the narrator is a sentient architectural feature on a planetary scale!

The tense and pronoun shifts were done to see if I could make it work. I think I did but I screwed up a lot in the process.

My darling spouse cheerfully noted that I was "writing [my] October story in June," and he's not exactly wrong here.

The aforementioned spouse also made a "full life consequences" joke at one point when I shared some of my progress with him. Now a version of that joke is folded neatly into the prose. John Freeman's legacy lives on.