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 Post subject: [Story] Writer's Block
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:06 am 
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Good eve once more my friends and stalwart audience, tonight I bring you a tale spun entirely from the opening line. But I hear you say, Isn't that where most stories are spun? and I will say that it is rarely so, though it may seem. It is in this intermission, as I finish a grander tale to be shown soon, that I bring you this piece.

In this Act, I shall present to you, both dinner and a show. We come once more to draw the curtains from the continuing narrative of the life and career of Antony LaMount and the many side characters that make the cast in his story. What awaits, you eagerly ask? Let us lower the lights and see...

Spoiler

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At twilight's end, the shadow's crossed / a new world birthed, the elder lost.
Yet on the morn we wake to find / that mem'ry left so far behind.
To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:24 pm 
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Ooh, what fun! I'll note that Raven's Writer's Block has a better claim to the title, but this is a great way to continue Antony's story.

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Well done, and thank you for sharing!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:32 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:45 am 
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Brentain wrote:
Ooh, what fun! I'll note that Raven's Writer's Block has a better claim to the title, but this is a great way to continue Antony's story.

Hey, I'm open to suggestions, but there's a few titles in our archives that multiple stories just beg for.
Like Homecoming.

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Quote:
Well done, and thank you for sharing!
And thanks much for reading!
Also to you Raven!

Spoiler
Thanks again for reading


Sidenote:
Spoiler

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At twilight's end, the shadow's crossed / a new world birthed, the elder lost.
Yet on the morn we wake to find / that mem'ry left so far behind.
To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:26 am 
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Quote:
Spoiler

Well, ****.

Quote:
Sidenote:
Spoiler

Ha!

I really like this piece, and I second all the good things that have been said. Duchess' first sign of emotion was most offputting, because even understanding what it comes from is mind-twisting. For some reason I feel like the two rivals want Antony on their side because he's a playwright and both have a vague sense that fiction is the way to broadcast their vision of the world, and they may even have some kind of Nested Dolls Raikerian awareness, so Antony's preference would have a bigger moral impact than it should. Dance was the first thing that came to my mind when the dwarf described the couple, it's a great way to refer to the dwarf's real identity while casting a shadow over the meeting; the Duchess is a heartless monster, but she's less likely to shamelessly lie and misdirect for giggles. Also grinned at the jab about the Ravnica cycles :D

Thanks for sharing!

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:17 am 
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Also grinned at the jab about the Ravnica cycles :D

Ha! I didn't even make that connection.

Well played.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:07 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
soooo... success on that earlier note then?

Yes, indeed.

Barinellos wrote:
The dichotomy in the contrast between the two has been a HUGE underlying structure to their characters. They aren't merely rivals, they're nearly polar opposites in every aspect of their character.

Take even the setting, for example, where the Duchess has this Grand Dining Experience and then flaunts her inhumanity in going through the motions, to the public Tavern where the Shifter lets you buy him a drink.

I almost mentioned that. Formal vs. informal, business vs. personal. The parallel structure here does wonders to highlight the differences.

Barinellos wrote:
As a side note, there's a little kernel of language that is REALLY ominous that the Shifter drops in relation to the couple in the bar if you remember the micro piece Dance.
I thought about that, but this doesn't seem to be the same couple. Then again, it doesn't have to be, for the same result.

Barinellos wrote:
Actually, the Duchess thoroughly outlined her intent in Favor for a Favor.

True, but in a way that describes the means, not the goal. This gives us even more information about the kind of tales she wishes to be told, but not about the perception she hopes to create, much less about the end result such a perception would have on the direction of society.

But, of course, I can be nearly blind to theme, so perhaps that's why I can't figure out how it can affect actions.

Barinellos wrote:
What amuses me is that all these stories contain Fisco in them.

:takei: Of all the characters you wouldn't associate with happy endings...

But, now that you mention it, that could well be how the Shifter knows about the War of the Wheel in the first place.

Barinellos wrote:
But honestly, one of the most ominous notes is the implication the Shifter knows where Beryl is.

:shudder:

Barinellos wrote:
Yeah, something that is just trying to achieve the effect of comfort without really understanding or remembering the underlying reasons for it just adds all SORTS of creepy layers to it.
Naturally, her idiosyncrasies in acting human are just one of my favorite things to write because it just lets me cut loose SO MUCH.
:)

Barinellos wrote:
The Shifter LOVES Venn's work though. He thinks they're **** hilarious.

:face: Of course he does. I'm guessing Venn's aversion is because the Shifter has pointed him at one of the Duchess's worlds before, just to see what would happen.

Barinellos wrote:
Sidenote:
Spoiler

:rimshot:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:30 am 
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Quote:
Spoiler

Well, ****.

yeah, that'll be fun when Orcish gets here. :evil:

Quote:
I really like this piece, and I second all the good things that have been said. Duchess' first sign of emotion was most offputting, because even understanding what it comes from is mind-twisting. For some reason I feel like the two rivals want Antony on their side because he's a playwright and both have a vague sense that fiction is the way to broadcast their vision of the world, and they may even have some kind of Nested Dolls Raikerian awareness, so Antony's preference would have a bigger moral impact than it should. Dance was the first thing that came to my mind when the dwarf described the couple, it's a great way to refer to the dwarf's real identity while casting a shadow over the meeting; the Duchess is a heartless monster, but she's less likely to shamelessly lie and misdirect for giggles. Also grinned at the jab about the Ravnica cycles :D

Thanks for sharing!

And thanks for reading!

Also grinned at the jab about the Ravnica cycles :D

Ha! I didn't even make that connection.

Well played.
It's amusing AND topical!

Brentain wrote:
Barinellos wrote:
As a side note, there's a little kernel of language that is REALLY ominous that the Shifter drops in relation to the couple in the bar if you remember the micro piece Dance.
I thought about that, but this doesn't seem to be the same couple. Then again, it doesn't have to be, for the same result.

Yeah, it's a very soft giveaway, but it's the WHEN his family finds out, not the if, that really sells the character moment. It's amazing how that one word, slotted into context, radically alters so much about the scene.

Quote:
True, but in a way that describes the means, not the goal. This gives us even more information about the kind of tales she wishes to be told, but not about the perception she hopes to create, much less about the end result such a perception would have on the direction of society.

But, of course, I can be nearly blind to theme, so perhaps that's why I can't figure out how it can affect actions.

Well, that giveaway was already dropped in The Inferno, if you consider it in terms of being a cautionary tale. The ideas present are about the burdens of authority and how society canabalizes itself when authority is challenged, while simultaneously humanizing a sympathetic version of authority as the play version of Astria.

Beyond that, it's extrapolation.

Quote:
Barinellos wrote:
The Shifter LOVES Venn's work though. He thinks they're **** hilarious.

:face: Of course he does. I'm guessing Venn's aversion is because the Shifter has pointed him at one of the Duchess's worlds before, just to see what would happen.

There's a bit of un-canon hanging around that every now and then Shifter just shows up to pester Raiker and he's enough of a heavyweight that Raiker puts up with it for a while just to avoid how tough the fallout would be. Venn can probably take him, but it's just not worth the effort.

Also, the Shifter maaaaaay have run up a HUGE tab at all Raiker's favorite drinking spots while wearing his face.

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At twilight's end, the shadow's crossed / a new world birthed, the elder lost.
Yet on the morn we wake to find / that mem'ry left so far behind.
To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:17 am 
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Barinellos wrote:
Also, the Shifter maaaaaay have run up a HUGE tab at all Raiker's favorite drinking spots while wearing his face.

That's SO petty :D

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:11 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
There's a bit of un-canon hanging around that every now and then Shifter just shows up to pester Raiker and he's enough of a heavyweight that Raiker puts up with it for a while just to avoid how tough the fallout would be. Venn can probably take him, but it's just not worth the effort.

Also, the Shifter maaaaaay have run up a HUGE tab at all Raiker's favorite drinking spots while wearing his face.

Yeah, Raiker has a really weird relationship with the Chessmasters, particularly because, as Barinellos says here, it's almost all non-canon stuff. But Aversion, for as short as that piece is, has caused some very wide ripples in the M:EM multiverse. I largely want to keep Raiker out of the Chessmasters' storyline, mostly because I think his character tacks in a slightly different direction, but because Barinellos brought it up, I'll weigh in on my thoughts (very headcanon) about Raiker and the Chessmasters.

Barinellos said in the quoted passage above that he thinks "Venn can probably take him." I personally see it going in the other direction. I think that both Chessmasters have Raiker outclassed in terms of power level. Raiker is powerful, to be sure. Dude can alter reality, after all, and we've seen or heard of him doing some top tier, full-scale villainy. So I'm not saying Raiker can't win when it comes down to Faustian fisticuffs. It might well depend on the circumstances. If The Shifter doesn't see it coming, Raiker might be able to get him into a bad situation, but The Shifter just feels more powerful to me in general.

Having said that, the way I've always thought of Raiker in regards to the Chessmasters is this: I think both players view him as a wild card. I do not think either The Shifter or (especially) The Duchess is in any way afraid of Raiker in and of himself. However, I suspect that both fear him (assuming either being is truly capable of "fear." Maybe "concerned about" is more accurate) in relation to the other. In other words, The Duchess probably won't have a problem throwing her weight around against Raiker, but I can see her staying her hand just a bit, within reason, out of concern that he joins the game on The Shifter's side. The Shifter will piss off Raiker from time to time, but even he will back off before he drives Raiker to work with The Duchess.

Basically, I view Raiker as someone who COULD be a player in that game, but doesn't want to be, and neither of them want him to be. If Raiker joins the game, I think he winds up dead, but the one he joins against might well lose in the process.

Assuming, of course, that either one CAN lose the game. Sometimes I wonder if either The Duchess or The Shifter really wants to win. I think they just like playing.

Having said all that, I will say that I have a character in the Archive who is more powerful than Raiker Venn, and in other circumstances, could give the Chessmasters a run for their money...

:plot:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:21 am 
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Yeah, Raiker has a really weird relationship with the Chessmasters, particularly because, as Barinellos says here, it's almost all non-canon stuff. But Aversion, for as short as that piece is, has caused some very wide ripples in the M:EM multiverse. I largely want to keep Raiker out of the Chessmasters' storyline.

Yeah, it's much more a Ships in the night situation.

Quote:
Barinellos said in the quoted passage above that he thinks "Venn can probably take him." I personally see it going in the other direction. I think that both Chessmasters have Raiker outclassed in terms of power level. Raiker is powerful, to be sure. Dude can alter reality, after all, and we've seen or heard of him doing some top tier, full-scale villainy. So I'm not saying Raiker can't win when it comes down to Faustian fisticuffs. It might well depend on the circumstances. If The Shifter doesn't see it coming, Raiker might be able to get him into a bad situation, but The Shifter just feels more powerful to me in general.

The Shifter has a lot of tricks up his sleeve, but in terms of pure magical might, he doesn't have much in the way of direct battle spells. When the gloves come off, he's a total brute. His greatest strength is just how much of a damage sponge he is and the kind of really savage strength and utter brutality. We saw how bad he roughed up Beryl without so much as blinking, so against a battlemage, he is likely going to splatter them.
But he's not purely immune to arcane forces, the likes of which the Duchess especially deals in.

Of the two, she's WAY more of a threat. Her spellwork is the really terrifying stuff.
Fisco, after all, wanted nothing to do with her in a fight.

Quote:
Assuming, of course, that either one CAN lose the game. Sometimes I wonder if either The Duchess or The Shifter really wants to win. I think they just like playing.

Playing is the Game's only point. Though for radically different reasons.
I think the Duchess basically lives for it, these days, while the Shifter would be sowing anarchy regardless.
One of them plays to live, the other lives to play.

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At twilight's end, the shadow's crossed / a new world birthed, the elder lost.
Yet on the morn we wake to find / that mem'ry left so far behind.
To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:29 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
There are a few little cues that constantly follow him, one I wholly owe to Orcish from waaaaaay back when. I like to think he has his own leitmotif as well.

Hah, it's funny -- when I was reading this piece, I was actually feeling pretty chuffed with myself for being able to guess who the dwarf was, based on his unusual eye color and his little tic with drumming his fingers. It's usually my role around here to be the last person to figure something out -- it feels weird to be ahead of the curve for a change! :D

Anyway, I am woefully late in offering my felicitations, but suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this piece -- thanks so much for sharing, Barin! This point has been made plenty already, but I'll just join my voice to the chorus of people who are fascinated by the strange, stinted unreality of Antony's dinner with The Duchess. I particularly love the observation that she has all the food placed in front of her, but never actually eats any of it. She almost reminds me of an ancient actress, going through the motions of a role which she once understood, but who has forgotten the lines over the years. You get the sense that there are certain things she knows at an abstract level which she is expected to do in order to blend in, but she doesn't really grasp the essentials of them -- and, I suspect, no one who gets close enough to see the cracks in the mask feels much motivated to attempt to offer her pointers on her performance. It's interesting when Antony sort of checks her manners, almost in spite of himself -- he blurts it out in a moment of impulse, and she processes the feedback almost more like a machine learning exercise than a person who has been reprimanded for a social faux pas. I also love the moment when she tilts her head in a way which just isn't quite natural. She sort of exists in the uncanny valley, and I love seeing Antony's reactions to it.

As for her counterpart's sudden arrival on the scene, and the sort of feelers he extends out to Antony, well, as has been remarked already, one can only assume that this doesn't bode well for any of the parties involved. Now that Antony's wallowing in a state of fairly acute disatisfaction and self-pity, it will be interesting to see what effect that has on his judgment. In my own experience, that particular mindset tends to provide fertile ground for making decisions which one is later compelled to regret.

Also, I miss Vena. That has no relevance to anything whatsoever, but I have to send her my regards. :)


Basically, I view Raiker as someone who COULD be a player in that game, but doesn't want to be, and neither of them want him to be. If Raiker joins the game, I think he winds up dead, but the one he joins against might well lose in the process.

I mean, once you get up into this particular power tier, I feel like it all becomes so dependent on specific circumstances, and all general bets are off. On an even playing field, with perfect information, it might be possible to draw fine distinctions about who would have an advantage over who. But, if you were any of these people -- or any of the comparable M:EM characters, say -- that strikes me as a fight you would never get into. Why would you ever decide to take on one of the few people in the multiverse who represented a mortal thread to you, and to play them for keeps? And, if circumstances forced you into an action like that, wouldn't you do every last thing within your power to make it an unfair fight, commenced without warning, at the time and place of your choosing? You're not looking for a stand-up contest. You're trying to get a knockout blow in before the other side realizes they're in the ring. After all, you'd be crazy to want to go fifteen rounds with Mike Tyson. But, as Buster Douglas showed, all it takes is one good punch that the other guy doesn't see coming.

So, if it ever really came to blows within a group like this, I sort of feel like the outcome would be difficult to predict. It would depend to much on the specific event. To steal a phrase which a professor friend of mine always used to describe the Brazilian legal system: "It's like a knife fight in a dark room -- anyone can win."


Having said all that, I will say that I have a character in the Archive who is more powerful than Raiker Venn, and in other circumstances, could give the Chessmasters a run for their money...

Hrm...


Barinellos wrote:
There's a bit of un-canon hanging around that every now and then Shifter just shows up to pester Raiker and he's enough of a heavyweight that Raiker puts up with it for a while just to avoid how tough the fallout would be. Venn can probably take him, but it's just not worth the effort.

Also, the Shifter maaaaaay have run up a HUGE tab at all Raiker's favorite drinking spots while wearing his face.

OK, this made me laugh inordinately much. :D


Barinellos wrote:
Quote:
But honestly, one of the most ominous notes is the implication the Shifter knows where Beryl is.

Well, ****.

yeah, that'll be fun when Orcish gets here. :evil:

See, I just imagine Aloise getting a very stern look on her face, and crossing her arms. :D

All kidding aside, though, if any of Beryl's antagonists out there are thinking that they want to take a second run at her, my honest advice to them would be to not procrastinate for too long. Because, while I don't claim to have a clear picture of the specifics, the sense I get with every fiber of my being is that there is something frighteningly powerful within Beryl which, even now, she is only haltingly aware of, and doesn't really understand how to unlock. But Aloise, I know, holds the key, and, if she and Beryl ever find a way to tap into the reserves that Beryl has deep down inside -- which *both* of them have deep down inside, for that matter -- then they will become a pair of people who I very much would not want to run afoul of...

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