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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:56 am 
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Hello, all! Sunday's come around again, and that means that it's time for another Highlighted M:EMory!

This time, we will take a look at "Ghosts," by Barinellos.

"Ghosts" was originally posted on August 22nd, 2014, and was voted into the Archive on January 10th, 2015. It is a microfiction featuring Cara Holis. Cara, as shown in "Dead Men Tell No Tales," deals with ghosts all the time, but it is not spirits that truly haunt her.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:25 am 
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I know Barin is probably sick of hearing this, because I mention it every time Cara's name comes up, but, for reasons probably best left inside my own strange head, whenever I think of Cara, I always picture her as Stevie Nicks. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:17 am 
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I'm usually wont to mention she had strong influences by Olivia Armstrong from FMA when the subject comes up.

So, despite this being a ridiculously short piece, it's still one I find a certain amount of pride in. I use a lot of language in here that one traditionally associates with ghost stories and set up a bit of a bait and switch, trading it out for metaphor and symbolism instead of the literal that would lead one to expect a spiritual encounter.

Cara, as a character, is someone with whom I'd made big plans to use, but sadly, those never manifested, partly because my reach exceeded my grasp. However, I'd like to think I've not squandered her, even if I've not made best use of her potential. Of course, now canon has kind of pushed her out since Kaya showed up.

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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 Apr 17, 2018 4:48 am 
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Barinellos wrote:
I'm usually wont to mention she had strong influences by Olivia Armstrong from FMA when the subject comes up.

Nice! I don't know why, but despite the descriptions of blonde hair when I think of Kara my mind supplies the image on Holy Mantle.

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Of course, now canon has kind of pushed her out since Kaya showed up.

Meh, even if their field of competence is similar I feel like their characterizations are almost diametrically opposed.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:58 pm 
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Greetings! Here, once again, we will take the opportunity to look into the past with this week's Highlighted M:EMories!

Our M:EMory this week is "Artifacts of the Dominia Cabal," by Tevish Szat.

"Artifacts of the Dominia Cabal" was originally posted on June 24th, 2014, and was voted into the Archive on July 6th, 2014. It is a list of some of the most powerful artifacts known to be employed by the once-dominant alliance of planeswalkers who ruled a massive chunk of the multiverse so long ago. Among these mysterious artifacts are the Eye of Foresight, featured in "History's End," the Calling Bell, featured in "The Deluge at Carakera," and of course the Aether Vents, which serve as the ultimate weapon of the multiverse.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:57 am 
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It's a new week, and we have a new deed that must once more be completed.

This week's Highlighted M:EMory teaches us about "No Good Deed," by OrcishLibrarian.

"No Good Deed" was originally posted on February 28th, 2016, and was voted into the Archive on April 17th, 2015. This is the introductory story for Sister Temperance, a devout member of the Sisterhood of Angelic Mercy on an obscure little plane called "Jakkard" (you may not have heard of it). Sister Temperance is on a holy mission to spread the word and the teachings of the Angels to the uncouth, sinful masses of Verkell. She has a strong desire to save the souls of everyone on the plane, one lost soul at the time. It is her mission, her purpose, her good deed. But, as the old saying goes, "No Good Deed..."

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:37 pm 
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Hah, my one story featuring a nice nun! :D

The main thing that I remember about this story is that it was one of my ideas which was kind of stuck in gestation for a long, long time. I don't remember what it was that put the first sort of inkling for Sister Temperance into my head, but I suspect it was just a generalized desire to write more Jakkard stories (which is a sort of background emotion I have that never really goes away) coupled with a guilty sort of feeling that I'd given the Sisters of Angelic Mercy a pretty rough rap up until that point, which then led to the notion that there must have been at least one Sister who was a kind enough sort, which then led to wondering who she might be. I think the first sort of half-scene which came to me was the imagine of Sister Temperance handing out her tracts outside the saloon, and having a drink poured over her head for her troubles, but I don't think I had a clear vision for what came either before or after that. I think I could hear her singing, too -- the crueler the world was to her, the louder she would sing her hymns.

Anyway, what I do remember is that I first tried to write that scene while travelling on a train (how very Jakkardian!), and that it fizzled. Sometimes, I can just grab the thinnest of threads and pull, and a story miraculously unravels. (Pun not intended -- it really does feel like a miracle, not something I actually do myself.) But, sometimes, you pull, and all you get is a thread. That time, all I got was the thread. Mainly, I remember getting bogged down in scene-setting. Too much dime western tropey badness, just trying to establish Sister Temperance out on that street, without even managing to get to anything resembling action. So, long story short (too late!), I sort of shelved the whole piece, and stuck it into my drawer of "if it comes, it comes." (Which is a very full drawer.)

Then, if memory serves, however many months later, Raven was pitching me on an idea he had for a completely different story, and something about that pitch just sort of jogged Sister Temperance out of my recollection, and, for whatever reason, I was able to see her clearly for a change. I suddenly pictured her reciting the seven virtues to herself, even as she knew that a terrible thing was going to happen to her, and then, with the last strength she had left, stuffing a tract into the pocket of the man who had just then nearly killed her. And the thing that sort of unlocked for me is that Sister Temperance really is a true believer -- there's no art of artifice to her faith. For as much as she "performs," nothing she does is a "performance" -- she believes every word of it. There is such a thing as gospel truth to her. She takes the injunction to love thy neighbor seriously. This makes her both a better person than pretty much everyone else in Verkell, it also puts her squarely in the crosshairs. And that's when I got the idea that the Supreme Mother might have a bit of an arrangement with the local purveyors of sin, and that Sister Temperance's heartfelt proselytizing might be causing her no end of bother. So the Supreme Mother would want to pack the good Sister off to anywhere else -- to make her virtue someone else's problem -- and then the story kind of unspooled from there.

I still have this vague, as-of-yet-unfinished notion about Sister Temperance, that she may in fact have met an angel. There's something about her fervor that makes me think it may have resulted from a genuine angelic visitation. And, given that we've yet to meet an even halfway nice angel on Jakkard, that raises all sorts of questions for me which I like to think about. What difficult spot could the Sister have possibly gotten herself in, back before she was called Temperance. We have hints that, whatever her previous life may have been like, it was maybe not so virtuous, and that she holds herself to some degree at fault (whether that is an accurate reflection of what happened or not). How would an angel have saved her, so that she saw the light? And how would the angel have perceived it at the time? Was it an actual act of mercy, or was the angel's motive more mercenary than all that, and Sister Temperance simply misinterpreted in.

In a world where the angels no longer speak to the church -- as the Supreme Mother admits, in her moment of angry, honest candor -- is it possible that Sister Temperance is the one person who still hears them?

I don't know the answer to any of those questions, but I think about them all the time. :)

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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 11:03 am 
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Hello again, and here we are for another week of Highlighted M:EMories!

This time, we will be looking at "Paid in Full," by RuwinReborn.

"Paid in Full" was originally posted on June 15th, 2015, and was voted into the Archive on July 12th, 2015. It is a story of debts and receipts, of lovers and liars, of demons and dreams. The story features Fisco Vane as he tries to figure out which of the skeletons in his closet has come back to haunt him, and which of his personal demons has resurfaced from the vaults of his memory to torment him. This story also features Aloise and Beryl, as the former's friendship with and the latter's debt to Fisco drags them along with him as dreams become nightmares, and nightmares become something far, far worse.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 6:50 pm 
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Hmm... This one.

Almost three years ago with this one. I'm trying to remember what else I was doing with myself at the time, but I'm drawing a blank. Ah, whatever, I'll get into the meat of it.

More than any story I've ever written, more work went into Paid In Full than just about anything else. I constantly had to check interactions in the War of the Wheel, Friends and Killers, Stars and Smoke, The Fire, Climb Every Mountain, Rest for the Wicked... The list goes on. With two of the three protagonists featuring in a staggering number of previous works, I don't think I really understood how much of my work I had cut out for me when I started this piece. In a lot of ways, Paid in Full is the culmination of everything I wanted Fisco to be. Thinking back, I sort of regret not just letting him alone, trapped in his vault. I sort of regret sending him home. I'm not really sure which ending he deserves - the one I gave him, or the one I didn't.

But I digress. I'll talk about Fisco more in a second. First, I wanna talk about Aloise.

Compared to her co-stars, Aloise hasn't done a lot of literary walking. Appearing alongside Beryl in several of her stories, meeting Fisco in Stars and Smoke... Her only standalone, The Hermit's Burden (still one of my favorites that I've written), is just an examination of her character and foregoes interaction with other planeswalkers to focus on that. When held up against Beryl and Fisco, she just hasn't been in a great many stories. Which is too bad, really. I like Aloise. I think I might like Aloise too much. I think I maybe should have let her fail a little more than she did, here. Thinking back, she has too many of the right answers at the right time. Too keen an insight. While I think that says a lot about who I wanted her to be, I'm not sure it's true to how she really is. In fairness, I haven't really gotten to explore her analytical side. I got a little into it with The Hermit's Burden, but she's got a stubborn Blue streak that she'll never be able to shake... I think she needs another of her own stories. I think I might have just the one for her. We'll see.

At this point, you can't really talk about Aloise without talking about Beryl, and I'm not sure I'd have it any other way. I was surprised how important Beryl became to moving this story forward, and then keeping it moving forward. While originally I wanted the emphasis to remain on Fisco, a full 2/3rds of the story basically has nothing to do with him at all. Ironic, considering that the working title on my google docs for this piece was "This is the one where Fisco dies" for a long time. Beryl shines through this piece as my favorite character in it. I ended up improvising the beach scene, and the scene with Lys, as I was writing, because I liked the story being split into three sections of three each with their own focus on a different character. (Although, Aloise's first section focuses on Fisco, her second on Diana, and her third on Beryl, but that's sort of who she is, I suppose - never worried about herself.) Beryl's staggering strength in the face of adversity, as well as her trembling reluctance to risk her life for someone like Fisco, is pretty core to how I view Beryl. At times as I tried to get into her head, I found myself hearing her think "If Fisco deserves saving, than maybe I do too... But do I really?"

When they learn someone has finally come to put Fisco down, she thinks "It's what he deserves. Aloise is a good person, she shouldn't be in danger. We shouldn't be in danger because of him. For him. He brought this on himself."

Aloise, as always, serves as her reminder. "What's been done doesn't matter. What he's done - what you've done - doesn't matter. We help people in trouble. Simple as that."

Maybe it really isn't so simple, and I'm not sure Beryl's convinced. But Aloise is, and I think Beryl's willing to have a little faith.

Fisco's a bad person. Not really sure there's any other way to put that. Extortion, blackmail, murder, robbery, theft... He's done it all. He doesn't even really feel bad about it. As he walks through the corpse of the city he killed, and looks down at the bodies of people he's abandoned, he mostly feels disgust and resentment. What are they to him, he wonders? Why can't they take care of themselves? Why should he have to do anything about it? He doesn't get really angry until Xeran starts opening those old wounds left behind by his family. Old, old, old wounds. Fisco is who he is. In the end, it all comes back to bite him. If I knew him in real life, I'd probably be glad to see it happen. There was a price to pay, and he paid it. Says so in the title.

And yet, here I am feeling bad for him. He never had the best intentions. He never lent himself to a sympathetic cause without fleecing them first. He was all edges and shadows, all gruff and bluster, all smoke and stench. And here I am, feeling bad for him, because he's sad? Like it gives him the right or something. I still don't know how I tricked myself into doing that, or if it was even a trick at all. But, here we are.

Well, that's all my musing about this piece. I'm about out of stream of consciousness. Thanks for featuring it. I read this again recently, and did so again just now. Like usual, I love it, but it's got me scratching my damn head.

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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 2:30 am 
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In fairness, I haven't really gotten to explore [Aloise's] analytical side. I got a little into it with The Hermit's Burden, but she's got a stubborn Blue streak that she'll never be able to shake... I think she needs another of her own stories. I think I might have just the one for her. We'll see.

*sits up in anticipation*

Thinking back, I sort of regret not just letting him alone, trapped in his vault. I sort of regret sending him home. I'm not really sure which ending he deserves - the one I gave him, or the one I didn't.

Quote:
When they learn someone has finally come to put Fisco down, [Beryl] thinks "It's what he deserves. Aloise is a good person, she shouldn't be in danger. We shouldn't be in danger because of him. For him. He brought this on himself."

Aloise, as always, serves as her reminder. "What's been done doesn't matter. What he's done - what you've done - doesn't matter. We help people in trouble. Simple as that."

Maybe it really isn't so simple, and I'm not sure Beryl's convinced. But Aloise is, and I think Beryl's willing to have a little faith.

Quote:
And yet, here I am feeling bad for [Fisco]. He never had the best intentions. He never lent himself to a sympathetic cause without fleecing them first. He was all edges and shadows, all gruff and bluster, all smoke and stench. And here I am, feeling bad for him, because he's sad? Like it gives him the right or something. I still don't know how I tricked myself into doing that, or if it was even a trick at all. But, here we are.

I'm playing an outrageous amount of Mass Effect lately, and the Aloise/Fisco contrast reminds me of the Paragon/Renegade one. Fisco feels more ruthless than evil; he believes in instant retribution, and in getting paid in full and in advance whenever possible; Aloise believes in everyone to make the right choice when it matters, and if they don't, they'll do better the next time.

In this sense, Paid In Full has an Aloise ending, and a successful one at that, because Fisco will do better this time. If this had a Fisco ending, him and Diana would have been crushed under his vault, crowning a ruthless character with a mercyless ending.

Fisco has embraced a pragmatic and cut-throat way of living because he saw no other way to remain at the top, to have the control he craves, but he always had some kind of fundamental decency to him, at least when we follow him. He's inordinately harsh with his punishments, and while not every victim of his had it coming, they all knew they were doing something dangerous. He's cruel with the innocent, but in his mind he's teaching them how to get stronger. He's painted himself in a corner, but that armor of business and dread is heavy on him and it shows. And he has a good side to him, albeit it rarely sees the light of day and often has to get dragged there kicking and screaming. Reducing him to a word (good or bad) is a great disservice, and that's one of the traits of a great character, or a real human being.

In the end, all we have is a choice. What weights more in a heart, the darkness or the light? Is it more important to get punished for your sins or to allow your good side to grow? Blood Price tells us that in the grand scheme of things Fisco's second chance has brought good to the Multiverse to some extent, and no evil so far. Is it wrong to base ethics on results? Should ethics have a place in this discussion?

I love the character of Fisco Vane and as you say, Paid In Full is the culmination of all his life to that point. And it's telling that he spends most of the piece gasping for air, and his relationship with everyone else is what determines his fate in the end.

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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 3:21 pm 
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I believe that no person who is capable of thought and feeling is ever truly beyond redemption. I guess I'm a bit like Aloise in that way. But for someone like Fisco, redemption comes at a price. Really, this is the only way he could ever find redemption, by first losing everything else he was hiding behind. Or maybe he could have eventually redeemed himself anyway. After all, his actions both in WotW and in the beginning of this story show that he had the capacity to care, he just fights it at every turn. Perhaps Aloise and Beryl could eventually have softened him enough to change his ways, but that would be a much longer story.

Also, I have always wondered what the deal is with the Liar. Is Fisco correct to think they never met before? If so, where does that memory in the swamp come from? Also, I cannot decide which half of a Xeran-possessed Liar I would rather have in control...

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 11:33 pm 
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Almost three years ago with this one. I'm trying to remember what else I was doing with myself at the time, but I'm drawing a blank. Ah, whatever, I'll get into the meat of it.

Oh my God, has it really been that long? That makes me feel so old.

Excuse me for a second, would you?

*screams into a pillow*

Sorry about that. Where was I?

In all seriousness, though, when I saw that 2015 next to this story, I really did do a double-take. It does not feel like three years ago. It feels like yesterday. The emotions in this piece are still that real for me. They're still that fresh.

Anyway, I really just have one thing I wanted to say about this story, and, specifically, about Beryl in it. Because, in a very real way, what happens to Beryl in this story marks the defining inflection point in her life. In the past, there's a Beryl defined by pain, and loss. In the future, there's a Beryl who can be whole and happy, who can love and be loved. And the pivot point between those two Beryls -- Beryl, the Heart-Scarred; and Beryl who can be the person she's supposed to be -- is Aloise. It's Aloise, and it's three short words:

"I love you."

I knew that, at some point, Beryl was going to say those words. But I didn't know how it would happen, or when, or what would happen when she did. And, in the end, I didn't have to answer those questions, because Ruwin answered them for me. And the answers he wrote were just wonderful. They made me cry the first time I read them. They make me cry when I read them now.

I remember the special thrill of knowing they were coming. I remember the excitement of finally seeing them on the page. I remember the wave of happiness they unlocked inside me. It was like going to your best friend's wedding. I don't know how else to describe it. Seeing Beryl and Aloise together -- seeing the possibilities that suddenly existed for them -- and just feeling so whole, and so happy. I mean, I basically spent the next month writing nothing but smooch fic. Apparently I had a lot of those bottled up inside, wanting to get out. What Ruwin wrote in this story basically had the effect of turning the key in a lock on this reservoir of happiness, and I sort of don't have the right words to explain how special that was, or how important it still is to me.

Because it is important to me. It is special. Beryl is important. Beryl is special. And, in this story, Ruwin gave her a path to the happiness that I always knew she deserved, even when she maybe didn't believe that herself.

So, in addition to all the wonderful things that Ruwin did in this story, that's one particular piece of it which will always mean the world to me, and I am immeasurably grateful to him for it.


I think she needs another of her own stories. I think I might have just the one for her. We'll see.

:)

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 11:17 am 
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Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Highlighted M:EMory.

This week, we will be reM:EMbering "The Cruel Finale," by RavenoftheBlack.

"The Cruel Finale" was originally posted on October 4th, 2013, and was voted into the Archive on March 18th, 2014. The story features the Dual-Walkers, Syl and Chardis, who had made their debut earlier that year in "Planes of the Dual-Walkers." Set in the past just around the time of the Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria, "The Cruel Finale" tells the story of the final games at the Amphiseum, an interplanar arena of gladiatorial glory and gore. This story also introduced the characters of Penelophine and Tharandias the Sage Marshal, both of whom, along with the Dual-Walkers themselves, would reappear in The War of the Wheel.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 5:33 pm 
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Ah, yes, "The Cruel Finale." This is one of the first things I posted to NGA, just shortly after the White Blight hit the other place. At the time, I was in the process of setting everything up for The War of the Wheel, although I'm not sure anyone knew that yet. Barinellos might have been aware that I was setting up a novel-length story, but I can't remember the exact timeline for when I first mentioned it to him.

When I started laying the groundwork for WotW, I decided on a basic color-driven theme for the main characters. Daneera was , Denner was , Lukas was , and Antine was . I needed a mono- character to fill out the cycle, making five. Fisco was two colored, at , so I decided that I wanted one more two-colored character, a , and a three-colored character, which I opted for . I had just written "The Fallen Pharaoh," about a month and a half earlier, and had established Kahr, introduced him to Lukas, and sent both of them off to Arbagoth, thus partially setting the stage for The Great Forest Fire. But I still needed those last two characters.

And thus, I created Morgezka Shanak and Penelophine the Siren. See, Morgezka was always meant to be what she is, a mono- 'walker who had a pre-existing hatred for the Dual-Walkers. But Penelophine changed quite a bit. My original idea for the character that became Penelophine was a 'walker who used to pal around with the Dual-Walkers but had a falling out. That more or less stayed the same, but the character became what she is now because I needed a focus for this story, a more or less sympathetic character that we the audience can see the horribleness unfold through. So she became a Siren and lost most of the in her personality, and became an object of obsession for Chardis.

Oh, but there was even more groundwork being laid in this story! Because it was not just our heroic team that needed filling out, but the villainous one, as well! This story also created Tharandias, the Sage Marshall, who ends up joining the Dual-Walkers, begrudgingly, in the novel. Also there at these last games is Baracon, the original holder of the Kahvan Saber and eventual mentor to Nithka, who is similarly pressed into the Dual-Walker's service. The very brief conversation that the Dual-Walkers have with these two characters was meant in the story to sort of highlight the Dual-Walkers' wickedness, while at the same time to be a moment people could revisit after having read WotW and suddenly make a ton of sense.

This story ALSO established the Vedalken Grimoire, whose tome eventually leads Denner Fabellian to Arbagoth and Penelophine. It ALSO established the Ruk Gang, which apparently became a thing. I'm a little sad none of the other incidental planeswalkers in this story, like the giant Burkgrin Zin or the naturalist Naked Needa, never got spin-offs, but I think I'm right in saying that this story had more 'walkers in one place at one time than any story in our Archive at the time of its writing.

As for the story itself, what can I say? It's cruel. I mean, everything the Dual-Walkers do in this story just drips with needless cruelty. They completely destroy multiple lives just because they were miffed at being upstaged, and because they could.

Also, while it's largely unnecessary, I have to say that the opening line of this story is one of my favorite opening lines I've written: "Doom was dancing on the doorstep of Dominaria." That whole first paragraph is basically only there to say "About four hundred years ago," but I just love it. Good alliteration, right there.

Anyway, I hope people liked this story, despite its horribleness. At least in terms of my stories, this is a very significant event.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 9:07 pm 
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One of the things that always impressed me so much about this story is that, even while you can sense how things are going to end -- not the details, sure, but you know where this is headed -- that doesn't make the ending feel like an anticlimax. Instead, there's just this sense of mounting tension that builds, very much in the style of a Greek tragedy, as you watch the players move towards their predestined ends, and know that no amount of foreknowledge on your part can prevent what will happen.

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 12:02 pm 
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Greetings, all! Highlighted M:EMories proudly brings to you the next installment and the next story to be highlighted!

This week, we will be reM:EMbering "The Hunter," by Tevish Szat.

"The Hunter" was originally posted on June 14th, 2015, and voted into the Archive on June 28th, 2015. The story takes place on Aralheim, the setting of several of Tevish Szat's contemporaneous stories such as "Rangridsaga," "Riddles and Rime," and "Fade to Grey." It tells the story of Ivar Hjalmarsson, the titular hunter, as he plies his trade, attempts to court his love, and deals with a mysterious woman in the woods with equally mysterious portents regarding Ivar and his fate, and, by extension, the fate of Aralheim.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 2:02 pm 
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Sunday is here, and the time has come to reM:EMber!

This week, we will be highlighting: "Ariva, the City of Wonders," by Trolljuju.

"Ariva, the City of Wonders" was posted on the old boards in the early days of the M:EM, and was voted into the Archive on April 20, 2011. This story, told in the form of a fable with the framing devise of an old man telling a story to some children. The story introduces the character of Raleris, the Lorekeeper, who has been featured in several stories since then. It also introduces the story of Vasilias, although the lich is not specifically named in the story. This is one of the earliest stories in our Archive, featuring some of the first characters created for the project.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 4:17 pm 
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I enjoy an occasional storytime tone. In this case, it's even more interesting as a contrast with the very dark tone of The Dead City.

A list of people with unignited sparks sounded potentially dangerous in the wrong hands, until I realized how hard it would be to track them down. It also sounds impossible to keep up to date, which makes this more likely to be his list of potential apprentices.


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 5:17 pm 
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Brentain wrote:
A list of people with unignited sparks sounded potentially dangerous in the wrong hands, until I realized how hard it would be to track them down. It also sounds impossible to keep up to date, which makes this more likely to be his list of potential apprentices.

I hadn't reread this story in a long time, but when rereading it for the M:EMories, this was the thing that jumped out at me, as well. It would be very interesting to know if that young Ikassian girl's spark ever did ignite, or even how old she is "now."

It also, on an oddly tangential thought, made me think about how much Raleris would have loved to get his hands on the Tome o' Planeswalkers that Amah's got.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 8:56 pm 
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It also, on an oddly tangential thought, made me think about how much Raleris would have loved to get his hands on the Tome o' Planeswalkers that Amah's got.

"I would give my eyeteeth for it! If I hadn't already lost them to a bit of overly-hard cheese..."

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