Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Stranger Comes -- The Matter of Aravis

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings, though really ought to go with this post.]
[Content note: child abuse]

One day a man came from the south, upon a great horse, who was unlike any man Shasta had seen before. His turban was of clean silk and over it he wore a helmet with a single spike at the center. He wore a shirt of chain mail, a round shield studded with brass hung from his back, a curving scimitar hung at his side, and a lance was in his right hand, while he held the reins with his left.

This was the first time Shasta had seen any instruments of war, and he didn't truly understand what he was seeing. To him the brass studded shield was no different than silver inlaid stirrups: they made the man seem other worldly, strange, and impressive.

His beard was strange to Shasta as well, for it was crimson.

The horse Shasta barely took note of. It was dappled with a flowing mane and tail.

Shasta didn't even notice the man's armlet, but Arsheesh knew by the design inlaid in its gold that this man was a Tarkaan. So great a lord had not visited this scrap of coast in a generation, however any properly educated Calormene subject knew how to respond.

Arsheesh dropped to his knees and bowed so low his beard touched the soil, then hastily gestured to Shasta to kneel as well.

"I require lodging for the night," the man said, and Arsheesh was quick to agree to provide it. To Shasta this was nothing new, he would sleep with the donkey again. The same as he did when a man from the village paid a visit. Arsheesh knew that this was very strange. A Tarkaan almost never traveled alone, had no reason to be in this place, and if he needed lodging would prefer the inn at the village to the south, not the isolated home of some fisherman.

Arsheesh, though, also knew not to ask questions. He rushed into the house to make it presentable, pausing only to order Shasta to care for the horse and its saddle and say, "Please allow this humble servant a moment to tidy my inadequate dwelling."

"Do you know anything of lances, boy?" the man asked Shasta. Shasta simply shook his head.

"The shiny end doesn't touch the ground," the man said, "and don't touch it yourself unless you like bleeding." In truth the lance was not nearly that sharp, made for thrusting instead of slashing, but the man thought that Shasta would be more careful if he believed the metal to be more dangerous than it was.

Indeed, when Shasta took the lance he treated the metal tip as though it would bite him if touched, and carefully moved the weapon into the stable.

When Shasta returned the man had dismounted. He approached Shasta with the horse's reins in his hand, then stopped. He was looking at something on Shasta's neck, or perhaps his shoulder. Shasta was about to look at his shoulder to see if he could understand what the stranger was looking at, when he realized what must have caught the stranger's eyes.

It had been three days ago, and Shasta had done something wrong with cooking dinner. He didn't really know what, but he always seemed to find some way to mess things up. His shame would still be written on his body in purple or brown. He was never good enough for Arsheesh, and now here was this man, someone Arsheesh obviously looked up to, looking at where Arsheesh had made Shasta's failure visible.

Shasta tried to turn to hide the sign of his shame, but the man reached out his free toward Shasta to turn him back. Shasta flinched. He couldn't help it. He hadn't meant to. It just happened. The man's hand had stopped at the flinch, frozen in mid air.

The man pulled his hand back and offered Shasta the horse's reins. "He's well trained," the man said. "He'll give you no trouble."

When Shasta took the horse to the stable, the man walked to join Arsheesh inside the house.

-

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What Shasta Believed -- The Matter of Aravis

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings, though really ought to go with this post.]
[Content note: child abuse]

Shasta believed himself the son of a fisherman.  He believed that sons worked hard for their fathers without reward or praise, never complained, always obeyed, accepted punishment without protest, and loved their fathers without condition.  He believed he was a bad and broken person because he could not love the fisherman, Arsheesh, no matter how hard he tried.  He believed he was worthless because Arsheesh often found fault with him, and beat him frequently.

He believed that he would only ever have one friend, the donkey that pulled Arsheesh's cart, laden with fish, south to the nearest village most afternoons.  He believed there was nothing strange about a fisherman never taking his son to sea or teaching him to fish.  He believed it unremarkable that in all his life he had never heard a word uttered about his mother.

He believed that he had been born in Arsheesh's house and that he would die there, having never gone father from the house than the mile or so away that the southern village lay.  He had only been to the village once or twice, and it made him believe the world a squalid place, for all that he saw there were men in clothes as plain, ragged, and dirty as Arsheesh's own.

Or, at least, he believed that most of the world was squalid or boring.  To the east was the ocean, which meant nothing to him as he was never allowed on Arsheesh's boat.  To the the south lay a village that simply had more men like Arsheesh, to the west was rocky land that was mostly barren, except for the occasional small plant or sprout of grass beside the trickling creek.

But to the north . . . to the north there lay mystery.

The western waste transitioned to grassy land to the north, it was here that Shasta took the donkey for grazing, but he was never allowed to go too far north.  The land gradually rose into a hill, blocking any hint of what lay beyond.

Arsheesh never answered Shasta's questions of what lay to the north, which only made him more curious.  He had been told not to ask, he had been beaten, he had been given platitudes so twisted and incoherent even Shasta knew that Arsheesh wasn't really trying.

The one Shasta remembered best was, "Oh my son, do not allow yourself to be distracted by idle questions.  For, as one of the poets has said, 'Application to business is the root of prosperity, but those who ask questions that do not concern them are steering the ship of folly towards the rock of indulgence.'"  Shasta didn't even know what all of the words meant, but he knew that the opposite of a root was not the steering of a ship.  A branch, perhaps, but not steering.

Shasta believed that Arsheesh was hiding something from him.  He knew that something lay to the north, for once, and one time alone, a traveler had come over the hill.  Seeking shelter for the night, he stayed at Arsheesh's house.  As was always the case when another man stayed at the house, Shasta slept that night with his friend the donkey, but before he did he listened by the doorway to hear what the traveler from the north might say.

The traveler had told stories of people who lived in gleaming palaces who never worked, sat on soft cushions, ate foods that defied belief, commanded armies, fought wars, had thousands of slaves to do all of their work for them, and so much more.

Shasta didn't believe any of these things were real, but he wondered what must lie north of the hill to allow the traveler to even imagine such things.

So it was that when Shasta worked alone during the day, when his indoor work was done, when he had run out of things to say to the donkey, finished with his inside tasks, and set himself to the endless task of repairing and cleaning Arsheesh's nets, that Shasta looked to the north and imagined what great secret might lay over the hill.  He believed that Arsheesh was keeping some great secret from him.

As with so much Shasta believed, he was wrong.  Arsheesh neither knew nor cared what lay over the hill.  The road led south, not north.  The best waters for fishing were almost due east, why he had chosen to live at the creek instead of with others.  He'd never had cause to go north of the hill, and he had no interest in what might lay there.  He did, however, have an interest in keeping Shasta from wandering too far, so when Shasta asked he gave dull non-answers if his mood were pleasant, and beatings when it was not.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Setting the Stage for the Susan Era story -- The Matter of Aravis

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's, but it would more at home in the now-closed comments to this post.]

First you must understand that this was a unique time in the history of the lands.

Yes, it was during the Golden Age when Peter was High King, but that doesn't bring understanding. To understand you must realize that the Golden Age took time to establish and was fragile from beginning to end.

When the White Witch's regime collapsed so too did the combination of magic and border guards that had kept humans out of Narnia while sealing Animals for a century. The beginning of High Queen Susan's reign was a time of chaos. Aslan had left with the victory that signaled the changing of power from Jadis to four children who knew little of Narnia and less of ruling.

In those early days many humans migrated back into Narnia, the land of their ancestors, a rare few were even old enough to call it the land of their birth. Many Animals left, as to them Narnia had been nothing but memories of pain and cold.

Those who traded in captured Narnian livestock, long reputed to be the best in all realms, were no longer limited to the handful who escaped, or were expelled by the queen --already bound--
along with an ice shipment. They took many Animals who had immigrated into Archenland, and for the first time were able to journey into Narnia itself to capture their living wares.

Of course such practices were forbidden in Archenland, but Calormen had always been all the market the Animal traders had ever needed. Exotic Narnian Animals were highly sought after in Calormen, and the prices they would fetch made the need to transport them through Archenland but a pittance.

Once a satellite state of Narnia, Archenland had spent one hundred years in fear that without their patron, isolationist under Jadis, Calormen would simply take them over. Ignoring the trade in Animals, and not taxing the trade in ice, had been a way to keep Calormen content enough to not bother conquering them. That was how they justified it.

When Narnia reopened the Animal trade was firmly entrenched, had well established routes, and ensured a steady flow of Animals from Narnia to Calormen. By boat and over desert many were delivered into bondage. Those Animals who survived in Calormen had learned quickly to be silent, for fear they be executed as abominations born of unnatural magic.

In these times many Horses and Donkeys were taken, and they would come to ally themselves with many girls, boys, other youngsters, and adults as well, to escape Calormen.

It was only once the Kings and Queens of Narnia could again assert their power, and promise protection to Archenland, that the trade began to fail as old laws were once again enforced.

The kings and queens of Narnia made great efforts to protect their lands by forging alliances with neighboring countries, and Archenland once again became Narnia's closest ally. Sometimes, however, diplomacy failed.

When High King Peter was forced to take Narnia's entire army to the north, High Queen Susan and Low King Edmund took unprecedented measures to ensure peace in the south. They traveled with the Crown Prince of Archenland in their company, and indulged Calormen by immediately accepting an invitation to visit its capital that normally would have required months of diplomatic and logistical coordination.

It was a calculated risk, but for a century Calormen had demonstrated, via its stance toward Archenland, that it was content to allow the continued existence of kingdoms that bowed to its whims.

Only Low Queen Lucy remained to actually administer the country of Narnia, for High King Peter was involved in a war to prevent Narnia from being taken by the north, and High Queen Susan and Low King Edmund were engaged in diplomacy to prevent Narnia from being taken by the south.

It was the most volatile moment in Narnia's Golden Age, the memory of Aslan was fading, a war raged, and the vast empire of Calormen loomed like a cornice ready to bring devastation upon everything in its path if perturbed.

Into the center of this stumbled a party that included not just a boy or girl with a Mare, Stallion, or Donkey, but a Mare with a girl, a Stallion with a boy, and a donkey in tow.

It is true that there was no human child who was neither boy nor girl, nor was there a talking Donkey, but most of the characters from most of the stories could be mapped onto one of the five travelers. This alone might have made it into the story the others were subsumed into, but that it was a story from Narnia's Golden Age in which the fate of not just Archenland, but also Narnia, hung in the balance made the story irresistible.

There had been many Brees before, Bree was a common enough name for a mount, and there had been girls called "aravissa" rather than their actual names, but here there was a Bree, a girl actually named Aravis (after one of the girls from an earlier story) the first Shasta and the first Hwin to appear in such an adventure, and the nameless donkey that somehow seemed to stand for all donkeys and Donkeys alike.

When Bree the Liar combined many existing tales into his own, largely fictitious, adventure some years later, it was this story that he stole the most from.


It was at this time that our story began. While it would affect the fates of Narnia, Calomen, and Archenland between, it started by a stream that was little more than a trickle far to the south of any place or person who might be expected to affect the course of any of those three nations.

For it was in this place that a boy named Shasta would learn that everything he had believed was a lie. Normally such a thing would mean little to anyone but the boy, but that was the pebble that started the rockslide.

The Matter of Aravis -- Index

The idea is that the reason for inconsistencies and non-sequiturs in the source text is that many different stories were combined (bashed together) into the existing The Horse and His Boy narrative because of sexism and racism.

Also because Archenland has a truly horrible history when it comes to their treatment of royal twins, and they'd rather pretend it only happened once, and any additional stories are just corruptions of the one, AND ONLY ONE, time the twin thing happened (which happens to be one of the rare times they're not to blame.)

In theory all of my HHB fic can be adapted into this, and I definitely plan to, for instance, include all three versions of "the comportment of a slave" by modifying them so they're conversations between different people at different points in history that represent the changing nature of slavery in Calormen.

At the moment, though, all I've really written post deciding to go through with the idea is the core story that mostly follows along with the book.

-

Things written about the conception of the idea well before I decided to actually run with it.

Susan Era story:

Monday, May 22, 2017

When Shasta asked Corin where Susan was -- The Matter of Aravis

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]

The march was slow as the whole endeavor would be pointless if the cavalry arrived, exhausted, ahead of the, likewise exhausted, infantry, and so Shasta found himself with a lot of time to think about what he'd volunteered for. It had seemed to make sense at the time. Everything, even Aravis' suffering at the claws of a lion they'd foolishly mistaken for Aslan, would be for nothing if Anvard fell.

Sure, they'd started off looking for nothing more than freedom, but they'd become caught up in this larger flow of history and they'd all chosen to deliver Aravis' message to Anvard and warn Queen Susan of the looming danger even though they'd have been safer waiting till the battle was decided and crossing only then.

The message and warning were delivered, but neither would matter much if Anvard fell and the Tisroc were convinced to send more troops to solidify the conflict.

It had seemed to make sense to do everything in his power, including joining this hastily thrown together army, to make sure Anvard survived the assault and the Calmorene troops never had unfettered access to the passage to Narnia and Queen Susan.

As the horse --a magnificent creature that treated him well, but not someone he could possibly talk to; even Hwin would only be able to manage the most basic communication with an ordinary horse-- drew him closer and closer to the inevitable death and bloodshed, he was beginning to doubt the wisdom of volunteering.

Maybe it would have been better to leave the fighting to the other volunteers, like the Badgers and Weasels who had as much intelligence as any person paired with the fighting instincts of their wordless brethren.

Shasta was in need of some kind of reassurance or comfort, and his mind returned to Queen Susan. Not as the person they had to warn about Rabadash's assault, but as the woman who had been kind to him in Tashbaan. It wasn't his place to call on the High Queen of Narnia to quell his fears, but maybe she would anyway.

"Where is Queen Susan?" Shasta asked Corin.

Shasta was confused at the reaction his question provoked. A flury of emotions, none of them good, seemed to contort Corin's face. Just for a moment though. Then, composed, he said, "At Cair Paravel."

Why would she have stayed there? She had as much to lose as anyone. Unless--

"She’s not like Lucy, you know," Corin continued, and didn't give Shasta time to say that he didn't know before adding, "who’s as good as a man, or at any rate as good as a boy."

That made no sense. If anyone preparing for battle were given a choice between Shasta, a boy, and Aravis, a girl, they'd chose Aravis. They'd be right to. Shasta would chose Aravis over himself. Obviously girls could be better than boys, so too could they be worse. It depended on the girl and the boy in question.

Shasta had lived most of his life as a common slave with no education. One who hadn't even realized he was a slave until the end. If he could understand this, how could Corin --prince and heir to an entire well off kingdom-- not?

"Queen Susan is more like an ordinary grown-up lady," Corin said as if it meant something.
There was something harsh in his voice, but Shasta couldn't place it. "She doesn’t ride to the wars," after a pause Corin's manner became more pleasant and he said, "though she is an excellent archer.”

The only thing Shasta had learned from that was that Queen Susan was an excellent archer. Still, Shasta thought he'd figured out the answer on his own. Queen Susan was Rabadash's target. If she showed her face on the battlefield she'd be in much greater danger than anyone else. It made sense for her to avoid the battle.

*

* *
*


Shasta is actually wrong here. His reasoning is fine, but he reaches the wrong conclusion none the less. He's missing out on some important facts, you see.

Susan stayed because her state of mind wasn't fit for fighting after Corin's violent outburst toward her (because she turned down Corin's offer of marriage), which was what Ana suggested here and what I ran with on the "why Susan stayed and Corin went" fic.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Birds before Battle -- The Matter of Aravis

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.  As a reminder from last time, Susan stayed at the castle, Shasta was allowed to join without subterfuge, and Corin was allowed to ride with the army when he might otherwise not have been (since he's theoretically under the protection of Narnia) because he needed to be separated from Susan.]

"What draws your eyes, Shasta?" the horned Rabbit to his right asked.

"All the birds."

"They've been told there is a battle coming," the Rabbit said. "Eagles, Hawks and Vultures can't quite converse with their wordless brethren, but they can get the gist across. It's considered polite to let the wordless, those which resemble you, know about potential feasts."

"He means the dead people and horses," Corin said with a strange and disturbing glee.

"Will they feed on . . . us?" Shasta asked.

"If we die," Corin said.

"Only the wordless would," the Rabbit said. "It's generally considered very rude to dine upon one whom, in life, you could have conversed with."

"But . . ." Shasta was having difficulty figuring out how to communicate this. He knew that some animals ate their own kind, but he didn't wish to sound like he was saying those like this Rabbit did. Finally he settled on, "But wordless eat wordless."

"Their ways are their own," the Rabbit said, "and quite unlike our own."

~ - ~

If Al-mi'raj were a species rather than an individual, the horned rabbit would be one of them.  WanderingUndine thought of a jackalope and I can definitely see where that's coming from.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Going Forward

Ok, so, I need money to pay down debts, that hasn't changed.  What if I didn't?  Where would I go from here if I had money and it weren't spoken for, as it were?

I cannot stress enough how much I need new shoes.  Even if the soles don't come off entirely the current shoes are like begging to sprain an ankle before I've even managed to fully recover from the break.  Most of the seams and other connections are busted, the soles are worn straight through at their centers, the whole thing is a mess.

What with changing seasons and so forth the shoes I was looking at are no longer available online, but these look like they'd work.  Way out of my price range, but this is a "what if" post.  I also need inserts because my feet are weird.  As in I was once having ski-boots fitted and they called everyone in the foot section over to look at my weird feet.  It's nothing terribly debilitating, certainly not deformed, but I do need inserts and not the cheap kind.  They run about $50.

Once damage control on my feet is over we get to more interesting stuff.

I seem to have reconnected to my creativity so hopefully that will mean more fiction, original and derivative in the future.  I cannot stress how much I would like that.

I want to return to the deconstructions (I've got three stalled right now) and I'm thinking of just starting them over from the beginning.  In some cases this will mean minor revisions, in others it will mean total rewrites.

I've never talked much about fabrication here, but it's something that I've done in the past and I want to get back into.  Mostly before I've made puzzles of the style pioneered by Erno Rubik and his cube.  (The technical term for the category is "Twisty Puzzle(s)".)  Definitely have a lot on that front that I've been waiting years, and in some cases over a decade, to do.  But there are also other creation things I'd like to branch out to.  The problem: It's even more expensive than the damned shoes.

Alumilite is what I know and use and while they offer small volume options, if you're going to be doing a lot of stuff you want to buy the large sizes and the prices start to be $90 for this, $165 for that, $85 for that other thing, $98 for yet another, $63.25 for thing N, $42.50 for thing N+1, and so forth.


* * *


All of the above means that I'll probably stay in the ankle sprainer shoes coming apart in every conceivable place with the holes worn straight through the bottom and also never return to making shit.

But, on the plus side, moving forward I'll hopefully have new fic and decon posts and stuff.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spear of Athena story in general outline

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]

It's an idea I'd had before that came back to me when on a long walk yesterday (the longest I've done since breaking my ankle), group of women go on an epic quest that's about a myth whose origin is obscure but seems to be vaguely Amazonian (mythological variety) and definitely Hellenic since it's for the spear of Athena.

As is often the case in these stories they have an evil counterpart.

Complications arise because the good group ends up crossing paths with an assumed male person and eventually is forced to let that person travel with them since the alternative is to leave assumed male person to be killed off by evil counterpart group. Assumed male person is treated as a prisoner, though, and leader of quest is very against person's presence.

-

They locate the sanctuary in which the spear is located, each member of the group tries to take up the spear but can't.

This seems impossible since destiny was on their side and their quest was definitely foretold to bring the spear's chosen warrior to it.

Evil counterpart group announces their presence by saying that the the quest did, since clearly one of them is chosen and without the good group to follow they'd never have located the spear.

Cue low tech battle. These are people racing --as though the fate of the universe depended on it-- to find a Mycenaean era spear that is assumed to be magic. They're fighting with spears, swords, and knives. Mostly swords since it's easier to get fencing lessons than spear fighting lessons.

Assumed male person manages to get rope binding hands together cut, but the one who does that is immediately forced into a fight and none of the other good people will disobey their leader to arm assumed male person.

Dodging bladed weapons while completely unarmed and unarmored is a short term solution at best, and assumed male person gets backed up against a wall next to the spear no one could budge. In a moment of desperation, assumed male person grabs the magic spear to use its shaft to block an incoming sword blow.

Everything stops.

Quest group leader: That's impossible! You have to be a woman to wield the spear!
Assumed Male Person: Who says I'm not?
*Assumed Male Person says some ancient Greek words (introduced earlier in the story) agreeing to contract the spear offered by allowing itself to be lifted*
*Assumed Male Person gets a makeover including sensible, if Mycenaean era, armor, secondary weapons, skill that ought to require years of training, and results like she'd been on HRT for a year*

Battle is quickly won.

All of primary quest group is accepting except now-deposed leader who insists this is some sort of sacrilegious blasphemy.

Quest Group Member: So, I've felt like there was this thing between us for a while now but didn't say anything because I found you woefully unattractive.
Assumed Male Person: That's interesting, because I've felt like there was this thing between us for a while now but didn't say anything because I found you woefully unattracted.
Quest Group Member: I'm attracted now.
Assumed Male Person: So, you want to go out on Friday?
Quest Group Member: Friday I'm busy, how's Saturday?
Assumed Male Person: Saturday's good.

Spear of Athena is presumably used to do good and noble things.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Why Susan Stayed And Corin Went -- The Matter of Aravis

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[Shasta was sent for after his message arrived, so he's at Cair Paravel while the army is mustered and it's determined who will go where.]
[The first scene is set at the end of a scene proposed by Ana: Corin--who is characterized as selfish, violent, and determined to get his way in all things--requests an audience alone with Susan, who grants it as she thinks of him fondly as a child. He puts himself forward as a suitor, explaining that if she marries him she won't need to be afraid of Rabadash anymore. Susan rebuffs him, laughing at the jest; Corin, in a fit of rage, attempts to harm her.]

Corin, glaring up from the floor in a rage, shouted at Susan, "I'm trying to save you, you stupid--"

"You are testing my ability to be gentle," Susan said with such force Corin was stunned into silence. "I've beaten you once, if you don't get out, now, and never attempt anything like this again, you'll see what happens when I stop being Susan the Gentle of Narnia and start being Susan the Pissed Off of Moðrheim,"

* * *

"I'm too . . . distracted by what happened to be of use in battle," Susan said.

"I would be too," Edmund said.

"So you'll just stay here," Lucy said. "We can do without our best archer given that we'll still have our second and third best. Though I do wish I'd convinced Peter to leave the rest of the top ten here as well."

"That can't be helped now," Susan said. "We have to work with what we have."

"When our new army leaves Cair Paravel," Edmund said, "Rabadash might again try to abduct you in a sneak attack. If we want to save our allies we can only afford to leave a handful of guards."

"I'll survive," Susan said. "The question is what to do with Corin."

Edmund nods. "We don't have time to deal with him and his actions right now."

"We take him with us," Lucy said. "With the regular army in the north, we're taking any volunteer who can fight anyway. He meets that description."

"And he'll jump at the chance to go because he'll see the battle as entertainment," Edmund said.

"Exactly," Lucy said.

"If he accepts that he's lost me," Susan said to Lucy, "he may set his sights on you."

"I'll be surrounded by soldiers, in my own tent with my own chosen guards, and not taking social visits, what with the emergency and all," Lucy said simply.

"There is one problem," Edmund said, "if he falls in battle, how do we explain to King Lune that we got his only son killed?"

"We'll stick him at the back," Lucy said, "and if that doesn't protect him, well accidents do happen in wartime."

"Lune may never forgive us," Susan said, "but he can't afford to alienate Narnia so soon after an attack from Calormen. Besides which, we've no intention of letting him die, and if the worst does happen, even Lune will agree that it would have been cruel of us to prevent Corin from defending his own home when we allowed others who were significantly less qualified join the battle."

"It can't be said to be unfair to let him join the fight," Lucy said. "Consider the messenger, if someone with such obvious similarities, but far less training, is eligible then Corin must be. Fairness dictates that."

"About the messenger," Susan said, "what will we do with him when this is all over?"

"He and his companions were instrumental in warning both Archenland of the impending attack and us of Rabadash's true motives," Edmund said, not because the others didn't know, but because he wanted it at the front of their minds.

"Without his warning," Susan added, "Rabadash's attempt to abduct me may well have succeeded."

"Justice dictates he be rewarded," Edmund said. "Archenland may have use for a body double for their prince, a position in which he would be well taken care of. If Lune does not offer appropriate compensation to the messenger, though, I have already arranged for he and his four* companions to be well taken care of here in Narnia."

"In case we don't survive to give such orders after the battle?" Lucy asked.

"Yes."

"With any luck, the other four should be here by the time you all return alive," Susan said. "I'll make sure they're given every comfort until decisions can be made. I understand it was the girl's message that allowed Archenland to prepare in the face of the attack, if anything she's more of a hero than the messenger who came to us."

"With all of that settled, I must return to the matter at hand," Lucy said. "The Ravens, Crows, Magpies, and Jackdaws have delivered our call, the volunteers are arriving, and I'll need to work on forming them into a serviceable army."

"That I can help with," Susan said.

"I'll look to our provisions," Edmund said.

-

* They didn't abandon the fucking donkey. I cannot stress this enough. A donkey may not words-think like a human or Animal, but that's no reason to abandon it. The donkey came with them.

-

Assuming I mashed up the Norse correctly Moðrheim translates to "(the) Home of Wrath".

For those who didn't follow the narrative of Lewis' actual book, Aravis (not Shasta/Cor) was the one who learned about the attack on Anvard.  So it was her message even if he delivered it the last tiny leg of the journey.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Intro to the Susan Era Story - The Matter of Aravis

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]

By now you know that many tales have been combined to form the story "The Horse and His Boy" commonly told around campfires. I hope you begin to understand why.

How even the great storytellers of old could be moved by prejudice to claim that there was only ever one great maiden who rode a talking Mare on an epic quest that changed the very course of history, how the kingdom of Archenland worked to suppress knowledge of its nigh unbelievably long history of grievously mistreating twins of the royal house, how every mount named "Bree" became a warhorse in retelling even if he were a simple donkey in reality, how after a time any runaway would take up one of the famous names Aravis, Hwin, Shasta, or Bree out of belief that it would bless their journey.

You've heard the tale of the one who left Calormen an Aravis and arrived in the Narnian sphere of influence a Shasta. You also know of some "boys" who became Aravisses.

You know of the king who was deposed when the child he meant to kill rescued the long imprisoned mother that had saved nir, allowing child and mother to lay bare the attempted filicide before all of Anvard while Narnians and Calmorenes were in attendance. You know of a future king callously sold into slavery by his own father simply because he seemed to be female at birth.

But through all of this you must have wondered where the core of the campfire story had come from. Why was it set when it was set? Why did it involve Susan, the High Queen of the Golden Age, who was said to be so gentle that even in battle she made each death she caused painless?

Let us now tell that story, and tell it faithfully.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monthly Financial Post

I'll make it through the month.  I'm not in immediate danger of losing my home or some such.

That . . . kind of gets rid of most of what I usually talk about in a monthly financial post.

That said, I did want to bring up some things related to, you know, walking again.  My shoes are falling apart.  I very much doubt that's helping the recovery of my left foot (though I can walk at full speed again.)

I want to get good shoes that will last me years, I also need to get inserts without which the very process of walking in shoes damages the back of my foot (ankle height, but I'm not sure that part is really considered ankle) profusely.  The ones I have are old and damaged to the point that, while they prevent the worst damage, they actually cause problems in other areas.

Good shoes plus special inserts would be round about $150.

Unfortunately I'm more focused right now on the fact that I had to make use of deferred interest things a bunch starting about six months ago, most of it deferred for six months.  This is always the problem of kicking things down the road: eventually you catch up to the place you kicked it.

By June first I need $85.09 to avoid retroactively applied interest.  I am, strangely, not on the hook for anything from July, but come August things get bad, September is worse, October is more in the ballpark of catastrophic for reasons that date back even further (one year deferred.)

If not for all of these things, I'd be trying to pay off a $1,484.86 debt because it's where I'm being charged the most real-time interest, but that's sure as fuck not going to be happening right now.

-

So that's the general financial state of things.  The world isn't ending right now, the future is bleak, and I'd really like to be able to buy decent shoes.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Matter of Aravis -- Conception

It started, I think, almost a year and a half ago.  I certainly don't remember any inkling of this idea before Ana Mardoll said in a post:
It's not that The Horse and His Boy could have been a better story with another author; it's that there's like four better stories in here and all of them would have required Lewis to let go of his virulent sexism and racism in order to get within throwing distance of any of them.
The underlining is something I added to draw attention to the key part of what set off the line of thinking.

Certainly that comment from Ana is what led to me writing:
I would like to put forth the possibility that they're all how it really happened and the problems of the work we have result from the fact that it combines the disparate narratives of various Women and their Horse allies from various points in Narnian (world, not country, who the hell names their country the same word as the word for the whole word?) history because a certain racist and sexist person couldn't believe that more than one brown Girl could possibly have had adventures of note with Talking Horses.

Or indeed that more than one brown girl could have had adventures of note period.

If we could disentangle the various narratives we might be able to piece together the many adventures of Mares and Girls that were had in those lands, with at least one of the Girls being named Aravis.
I never stopped thinking along those lines.  Closer to a year ago, I wrote:
I would like to revive my idea that this is an amalgamation of several stories because our dear narrator couldn't cope with how many female heroes on talking horses there were in wardrobe-world history, much less female people of note.

At least one of them was named Aravis, others might have had similar names, and by the time of the Rillian story we see such shades of in this bizarre forced together text it was just a case of:

Runaway Girl on a talking horse who doesn't want to reveal her real name: I'm Aravis.
Person who knows the stories of old: Oh, ha, ha. And I suppose that's Hwin you're riding.
Runaway Girl on a talking horse: However did you know?
What is the Rillian story?  Go and read Ana's post that started this all.

Anyway, the reason that I bring all of that up now is because I've finally gotten something that takes that interpretation into account written, and I wanted to let people know where it was coming from first.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The time has come again for me to beg you to nominate you for meaningless awards related to Kim Possible fan fiction

One must remember that everything went to shit in August at which point I was already in the midst of a creative dry spell, while that didn't occupy all of my time until the final weeks, it did stress me the fuck out from the start, which didn't help with the whole creativity thing I try to do.

However, at some point last year I did get some shit done.  Including some Kim Possible stuff.

Specifically I got this done:
Any story that was updated in 2016 is eligible for awards.  How much of it is eligible depends on common sense.

If a category is about the whole story, then decisions should take the whole story, even parts written before 2016, into account.

If a category is about only part of a story (one character, one relationship, one line, so forth, so on) then a) that part of the story had better have appeared in the written-in-2016 section(s) of the work and b) only that part of the story should be taken into account (but still do include any pre-2016 portions of that part of the story.)

Also, I'm not eligible for these categories as there's a rule to prevent the same author from winning the same category two years in a row:

  • 1) Best KP Style Name
  • 15) Best Drama Story

That's my general non-specific pick-your-own-favorites version of my self promotion.  I'll be more "Here's what I think should be nominated" in the moment, but first let me get to the actual mechanics of the nomination process.

The way you nominate, and I can't nominate myself which is why I do this begging of you, is basically to copy the category list (can be found at bottom of this post, under the really big break) into something that can edit text, put in zero, one, or two nominations per category, and then emailing the resulting filled out list to:
sharper1988 [at] aim [dot] com.


For those looking for other authors to nominate, meet the self promotion thread at fanfiction.net.

What follows are:

  • After the first break: my own recommendations of my work to nominate, though some might be stretches (looking at you best comedy)
  • After the second break: those recommendations put into a complete but otherwise blank form
  • After the third break (the big one): a completely blank form

Obviously I'd like you to send an email with any of those nominations you think worthy to the address listed above.

* * *

2) Best Original Character (include the story/series and author they're from):
          - Leela Place Possible (Place) from Being more than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

3) Best Minor Character (include the story/series and author they're from):
          - Joss Possible from Being more than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

6) Best AU Story (include the author they're from):
          - Life After by chris the cynic

11) Best Comedy Story (include the author):
          - Life After: Terminology by chris the cynic
          - Life After: Dancing by chris the cynic

13) Best Friendship Story (include the author and it might be good to indicate the people involved to give context for voters later on):
          - Being more than a Simulacrum (Place and Joss) by chris the cynic

14) Best Action/Adventure Story (include the author):
          - Bent, not Broken by chris the cynic

16) Best Unlikely/Unique Story (include the author):
          - Life After by chris the cynic

18) Best Novel-Sized Story (include the author):
          - Being more than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

24) Best Single Line (say what story it appears in and who the author is, and please provide some context on this line to help people understand why it's cool):
          - "The dogs were big, the dogs were scary, the dogs were fast, but they were incapable of changing direction as quickly as a human being who could reach out, grab onto something, and pivot around it as if they hated their shoulder with a fiery passion and were just begging it to become dislocated." from Life After (Part I, Chapter 3) by chris the cynic

28) Best Story Overall (say who the author is):
          - Forgotten Seeds by chris the cynic

29) Best Writer:
          - chris the cynic

* * *

1) Best KP Style Name (include the story/series and author they're from):
          -

2) Best Original Character (include the story/series and author they're from):
          - Leela Place Possible (Place) from Being more than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

3) Best Minor Character (include the story/series and author they're from):
          - Joss Possible from Being more than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

4) Best Villain (include the story/series and author they're from):
          -

5) Best Songfic (include who the author is):
          -

6) Best AU Story (include the author they're from):
          - Life After by chris the cynic

7) Best Crossover/Fusion (include mention of what is getting crossed over or fused and who the author is):
          -

8) Best Alternate Pairing (include the story/series it shows in and the author):
          -

9) Best KiGo Story (include the author):
          -

10) Best Kim/Ron Story (include the author):
          -

11) Best Comedy Story (include the author):
          - Life After: Terminology by chris the cynic
          - Life After: Dancing by chris the cynic

12) Best Romance Story (include the author and it might be good to indicate who is focused on romantically to give context for voters later on):
          -

13) Best Friendship Story (include the author and it might be good to indicate the people involved to give context for voters later on):
          - Being more than a Simulacrum (Place and Joss) by chris the cynic

14) Best Action/Adventure Story (include the author):
          - Bent, not Broken by chris the cynic

15) Best Drama Story (include the author):
          -

16) Best Unlikely/Unique Story (include the author):
          - Life After by chris the cynic

17) Best One-Shot Overall (include the author):
          -

18) Best Novel-Sized Story (include the author):
          - Being more than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

19) Best Short Story (include the author):
          -

20) Best Series Overall (include the author):
          -

21) Best Writing Team (clarify who the members are as well as providing their combined nickname):
          -

22) Best Young Author:
          -

23) Best New Author:
          -

24) Best Single Line (say what story it appears in and who the author is, and please provide some context on this line to help people understand why it's cool):
          - "The dogs were big, the dogs were scary, the dogs were fast, but they were incapable of changing direction as quickly as a human being who could reach out, grab onto something, and pivot around it as if they hated their shoulder with a fiery passion and were just begging it to become dislocated." from Life After (Part I, Chapter 3) by chris the cynic

25) Best Reviewer (and tell us why you like them, whether it's number of reviews, insightful reviews, funny reviews, or something else):
          -

26) CPNeb Kimmunity Award (who, and try to say why just in case people aren't familiar with them):
          -

27) Kimmunity Achievement Award (Who? Doesn't need to have necessarily published in 2016):
          -

28) Best Story Overall (say who the author is):
          - Forgotten Seeds by chris the cynic

29) Best Writer:
          - chris the cynic

*
* *
* * *
* *
*

1) Best KP Style Name (include the story/series and author they're from):
          -

2) Best Original Character (include the story/series and author they're from):
          -

3) Best Minor Character (include the story/series and author they're from):
          -

4) Best Villain (include the story/series and author they're from):
          -

5) Best Songfic (include who the author is):
          -

6) Best AU Story (include the author they're from):
          -

7) Best Crossover/Fusion (include mention of what is getting crossed over or fused and who the author is):
          -

8) Best Alternate Pairing (include the story/series it shows in and the author):
          -

9) Best KiGo Story (include the author):
          -

10) Best Kim/Ron Story (include the author):
          -

11) Best Comedy Story (include the author):
          -

12) Best Romance Story (include the author and it might be good to indicate who is focused on romantically to give context for voters later on):
          -

13) Best Friendship Story (include the author and it might be good to indicate the people involved to give context for voters later on):
          -

14) Best Action/Adventure Story (include the author):
          -

15) Best Drama Story (include the author):
          -

16) Best Unlikely/Unique Story (include the author):
          -

17) Best One-Shot Overall (include the author):
          -

18) Best Novel-Sized Story (include the author):
          -

19) Best Short Story (include the author):
          -

20) Best Series Overall (include the author):
          -

21) Best Writing Team (clarify who the members are as well as providing their combined nickname):
          -

22) Best Young Author:
          -

23) Best New Author:
          -

24) Best Single Line (say what story it appears in and who the author is, and please provide some context on this line to help people understand why it's cool):
          -

25) Best Reviewer (and tell us why you like them, whether it's number of reviews, insightful reviews, funny reviews, or something else):
          -

26) CPNeb Kimmunity Award (who, and try to say why just in case people aren't familiar with them):
          -

27) Kimmunity Achievement Award (Who? Doesn't need to have necessarily published in 2016):
          -

28) Best Story Overall (say who the author is):
          -

29) Best Writer:
          -

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

And then my computer languished for three days

So, malware got passed my security and promptly did what I always figured malware should do (for a value of "should" that comes from the perspective of the malware maker, not common decency or such) but have never previously seen malware do.  It put the kibosh on anything that could possibly get rid of it.

I mean, if the shit actually makes it where it's going then it bypassed the current security, so the current security is unprepared for it or the user gave it permission to ignore the current security pretty much by definition.  In either case the logical thing to do would be to take steps to keep it safe from the current security and prevent the installation or running of any different security programs.

That's where whoever made it was smart.

Where they were annoyingly unsubtle was in completely fucking over any attempt to run the internet by making the fact that there was malware installed completely unmissable.  If they'd limited it to those self embedding link-ads it might have been a while before I knew it was there because lots of pages do have links and links generally look like links, if they'd limited it to quietly stealing my information while giving no overt indications of existence I might not have noticed until the next time I tried to install computer security software which could have been a long time indeed.

Anyway: unmissable.

So I knew not to do important shit with the computer until it was dealt with, which because of the anti-anti-malware stuff took a while.

I think the end process took three separate antivirus programs, which it was hard to verify were real and not just what the malware wanted me to do what with it hijacking the fucking internet.

First I had to get a special stripped-down just-for-this-purpose thing that the malware wouldn't notice was an anti-malware thing because that was the only such thing that could be installed and run at that stage.

That, by the way, is what took the longest damned time to verify was bona fide.  Part of making it slip under the malware's radar was ripping out the things usually used to certifiably demonstrate "yes, this is really anti-malware, not malware disguised as anti-malware."

And the internet wasn't working right, and kept on getting hijacked and redirected and . . . it was god damned hard to make sure that wouldn't make things worse.

That only did enough work to let likewise stripped down to slip under the radar, but not as stripped down as the previous thing because the previous thing opened up additional possibilities, software be installed and run.

Which in turn made more things possible so at that point I had enough freedom to install any damn security I felt like.  And then I had to scan the full computer.

And then I had to realize that certain programs were internally borked to the point of needing to be reinstalled, and the fact things were still wrong wasn't actually an indication that there was independent malware still on the system but instead because they'd been borked.

That last bit took me way too long to realize, and involved trying multiple full system scans with a menagerie of programs before I did.  Full system scans take for-fucking-ever.

Honestly it was probably less than 48 hours, but it started one day, went through the next day, and was resolved the day after that (today), which was enough for people to say Jesus was dead for three days, so I figure it counts as three days of computer fucked-up-ness.

So for those days my computer has been sitting doing nothing but staring at its figurative navel going, "Is that an infection?  Can I think these thoughts?  How can I think these thoughts?  Why am I thinking those thoughts that I don't want to think?"

Thus: languishing.

So, yeah, that happened.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

I'm free -- (followed rambling update and recap and such)

So, pizza existed and thus I am no longer a hostage.  I am home.  Woo!

There are still some things to be officially closed, there's a lot of paperwork to do, and some of the stuff that was resolved was in that, "We're not going to go to trial on account of you being clearly and unmistakably innocent, but if you get arrested any time in the next six months we'll totally bring this up again in hopes that by then you will have lost the proof that you're innocent," way that District Attorneys do.

That said, the things that required me to put my entire life on hold, not live in my own house, and so forth if I didn't want my sister's family to be torn apart, are over.  I can return to my life, assuming I remember what that consists of.  The great stress is over, so hopefully I can be creative again, so on, so forth.

It took eight months, two weeks, and one day.

~ ~ ~

There are lasting damages, and I don't just mean trauma to my sister's whole family and the fact my four year old nephew is terrified of police now.  The neighbors tried to trick the police into shooting my sister (through her six month developed fetus, for fuck's sake) during fence repair and expansion.

I have previously said that it was a rose bush, I was wrong.  All of this started over cutting a single branch off of a lilac bush that had been illegally planted on my families land (years ago) after the neighbors illegally cut down the trees my grandfather had planted at the property boundary.  It's difficult to say, but I think they were trying to move the property boundary some 15 feet in their favor.

It's called usucapion.  The idea that if you use something for long enough, and no one disputes it, it becomes yours.  The idea is in fact about property boundaries.  You don't want to have to tear down all the walls and rebuild them three steps to the left just because someone found a 500 year old map proving that your triple great grandparents were slightly wrong about where they built stuff.

The thing is, it was always subject to abuse which is why Justinian (yes, we're talking Eastern Roman Empire, Vandals and Ostrogoths here) reformed that shit.

Anyway, my sister wasn't trying to make waves, so the fence in question was being erected well onto our property.  It required removing a solitary lilac branch from one of the illegal plants.

That's when the neighbors went apoplectic.  Interestingly, in spite of going off and giving justifiable cause for a combative response, according to the witness statement he filled out, the paterfamilias of the family thought my sister responded to him quite calmly.  It was only after he took (and copied) a boundary survey he had only ever been given permission to measure that he felt . . . well, the various conflicting accounts get a bit distorted at that point.

It is definitely the case that after taking the boundary survey, which wasn't just a boundary survey, by the way --more value than a mere boundary survey-- but for our purposes the fact that it was a bona fide boundary survey is what matters, went into his house, closed the door, and gave no indications he'd return things got heated.  It did, after all, appear that he was stealing the boundary survey.  It's not as if he said, "Instead of bringing a ruler out here, I'd like to bring it in there," and got a response of, "Well well taking it out of our sight and camping out with it is in no way implied by measuring, but sure, you can do that."

The various statements the neighbors gave to the police indicate that he never actually measured it.  He copied it which is probably eventually going to mean hostilities between himself and my aunt.  She was the one who paid for the survey, non-boundary parts included, and she has very strict rules about what is allowed to be done with it.  Mostly she wants to be paid before anyone is allowed to get a copy.  Her stance is that she paid for it to be done, and if anyone else is going to benefit from her investment she wants compensation.

If said paterfamilias had asked if he could make a copy he likely would have been told about my aunt's stance and thus avoided the almost inevitable showdown.  He's got time though, my aunt's taking a break from all this right now, so her wrath will not descend upon the neighbors for at least a few months.

As a frequent recipient of her wrath myself, I don't envy the guy.  This is the woman who made her eldest daughter homeless in winter in fucking Maine and justified it as tough love.  She's scary.

But, anyway, a single lilac branch.

* * *

That got off track, didn't it?

This started on August 20th of last year during fence repair and expansion.

For a while we tried to keep that up in spite of the omnipresent threat of the neighbors trying to have us killed.  Also worries about what might happen if they decided to indulge in their hobby of lobbing things (golf balls, baseballs, hockey pucks, apples, I'm pretty sure there was one softball which kind of surprised me since I don't think they play it, so forth) through the glass greenhouse while we were on the shrapnel side of the equation.

And we know for a fact that they were trespassing onto the property by going through the woods so we couldn't see them coming, at the time.

But four hours after the August 20th incident was over and statements were being given to police (as in, if the police record keeping is to be believed, four hours to the minute after the first written statement, but I personally think they were rounding), after my sister had inquired about how to lodge an excessive force complaint, the first officer on scene (the one who put a gun, then taser, to my sister's pregnant belly) decided to call DHHS and say that he had just realized my then three-year-old nephew had been unsafe more than four hours prior when the whole thing went down.

Just so everyone is clear, according to his own written statement, the stuff he told them wasn't true.

Unfortunately we can't line up what he said to DHHS with what he said in his incident report because DHHS usually only paraphrases him in the documents they have shared.  There are a couple of direct quotations, but it's mostly paraphrase.

That's not important right now.  Various things happened when DHHS got involved.

This including my older nephew's father finally admitting he was the father and dropping the whole "I think god did it to her, like he did with Mary" routine he had been doing for three and a half years at that point as part of his, "I will only ever pay zero dollars and zero cents in child support," ploy.

When going through papers an official report on the child support stood out to me because instead of saying "none" or something to that effect, it broke the nothing he had paid down by month.  Just so you know which part of zero was in this month as opposed to that month.  That's probably why what he paid will likely never be a simple "nothing" in my mind.  It's monthly installments of $0.00 and you can look up each month to see what the $0.00 paid in that month looked like.

For a time DHHS considered awarding full custody to that guy, who had no home in which to keep a child and repeatedly un-potty-trained the kid because it was easier to stick him in diapers and walk him around town until he shit himself, then keep walking, than it would have been to let the child use bathrooms (which were, in fact, available in the places he was walking.)

As things eventually worked toward their ends the full custody to Mr. un-potty-trainer was dropped (but he does have partial custody now) and DHHS forced my sister from her home via the threat of taking away her child for good.

Then they claimed she was currently married to someone she'd never married, which for a while seemed impossible to disprove because while there is such a thing as a divorce certificate there is no such thing as a "never married in the first place" certificate.  They also altered her recorded address which still manages to cause lasting trouble.

Their reasoning was that any time you sleep in a place other than your house (a couch in a friend's house, a mattress or bed in relative's house, a desk in a Calculus C class) that place automatically becomes your legal address and doesn't stop becoming your legal address ever.

Why your address doesn't revert back to your actual home when you return there and sleep in your own bed has never been adequately explained.

But, for a time, she wasn't sleeping in her own home and instead had to crash in our parents' homes.  Given the location of the one she spent the most time in, it was impossible to do real farm work of any kind.

At this point I want you to think back.  What started all this?  A solitary lilac branch being trimmed as part of fence repair and expansion.

Focus on fence repair.

Do you know what happens to farm animals if fence repair is stopped?  They go wherever the fuck they damn well please.

Oh, sure, you can hold off on necessary repairs for a little bit, but for that long?

My sister was forced to get rid of all of the animals except the chickens.  Even Bones.

I talked about lasting harm.  That's thing one.

For almost three quarters of a year there has been no farm work done, the livestock is all gone save chickens.  Free-range fox-ready chickens.  (There are five at the moment.)

No livestock.  No plants.  No livelihood.

My sister is beyond broke because of all of this.


* * *

Other problems include relationships.  Some may never mend.

Even for the ones that do, it's been a lot of time under incredible stress.  The fractures that causes don't go away overnight.

The four year old may be afraid of cops, the man who raised him with my sister, father of his brother, is afraid of the entire state of Maine.  My sister's home is her boyfriends trauma.  That's a god damned mess.


* * *

Random note about cops.

When my sister was telling part of the story to someone the person said, "Fuck cops" it turned out there were a lot of cops behind him.  Estimates place it at around a dozen.

This awkward situation was defused when the cops, Portland cops, were told that the discussion was about Cape Elizabeth.  Portland cops gave nods and sounds of understanding.

* * *

It could be argued that this means my sister should leave Cape.

We were there first.  My mother was a child when my grandfather built that house, greenhouse, and so forth.  I grew up on that farm at least as much as my house because my parents both worked and someone had to watch us kids, the horrible neighbors weren't there yet (their house was actually owned by a good friend), neither were the bad cops in the department (not sure about the town.)

They're neophytes, and it might be arrogant, it might be narcissistic or stupid, but fucking asshole newcomers won't drive us from our land.  Our home.  I can say "our" because my sister feels the same way.  She's not going to let some random new-on-the-scene jerks who have twisted ideas about what Cape Elizabeth means to them drive her from her home.  We may only have three generations at the farm, but that's the immigrant side of my family.  That side of my family only has four generations in America (the United States, the continents, the hemisphere, whatever you want to define it as, only four generations here on that side.)

The possibility still remains that my aunt can drive my sister from the farm, turn it into a housing development, and finally make the transition from "tippity top of the middle class" to "actually fucking rich" (the very, very bottom of rich, but actually fucking in the category none the less.)

My aunt has the potential to do that because she owns half of every molecule of the property.  As for any others, my generation of the Witham family (Witham-Rose family I guess, since my sister dropped her last name and upgraded her middle to her new last) will no more be driven from our homes than we will be driven from America.  Fuck the neighbors, fuck bad cops, fuck Trump; but we will not be moved.

My house and the farm are the homes my sister and I grew up with.  She's as attached to home as I am.

When we were children we had serious conversations about which of us would go on to live in our house, and which would live at the farm, because the idea of either stopping being ours was unthinkable.  None of those conversations ever reached a conclusion, and they didn't matter anyway.  It just sort of happened that I ended up with the house in South Portland and she ended up with the Farm in Cape Elizabeth.

I don't know if she remembers those conversations, I barely do, but it's always been a given that we'd do everything we could to keep home.  The fact home was two places didn't change that.

* * *

I broke my ankle in the very first steps of cleaning my home.  Cleaning being a necessary prerequisite to repairing and maintaining.

Now that I have free time again, I think I'll get back on that.  While my ankle had me out of commission I got the news that will actually allow me to really make a difference: my mother and father have both renounced all property that remains in my house.  I can keep it, move it, or trash it as I see fit.

It's going to take a long time, but this place will again become a place where people, not just me, can live.  More than that, a place where thriving is possible.


* * *

So that's where we are.  The horror has passed, but there's a lot of work to do.  Now that work can start being done.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Help me I am a hostage and they demand pizza

Or at least that's what I have been asked to post.

Anyway, I'm officially, unofficially, and in all other ways broke.

Good things have happened, but in light of the new developments I'm staying away from home longer than planned which fucking sucks, that's the hostage bit.

Specifically I'm staying until the good things that have happened become official.

Anyway, pizza.

My sister wanted to celebrate by getting something "hot" to eat with the example being pizza.  Note the fact that I am completely broke.

The example of Pizza was reiterated repeatedly.

When my sister was double checking that we really have to wait until tomorrow for the good things that happened to become official she referred to me needing to be here (lest the family be legally forced to break up) as holding me hostage, and noted that I don't like being held hostage.  (This is true.)

And that's when the pizza became a demand of my captors.

So, I am being held hostage and my captors demand pizza.

If you send enough money for pizza to my paypal account (donate button in upper right hand corner or using my email address, cpw [at] maine [dot] rr [dot] com, with the send money feature in your own paypal account) I can use my debit card to buy pizza.

Thus: Help me!  I am a hostage, and they demand pizza.