A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:19 am

The Dalaran Student's Society for the Study and Practise of the Necromantic Arts, Part I

Since Jean-Baptiste lived closest to the graveyard and thus the group's objects of study a, it was only natural that they would hold their meetings at his home. It was just far away enough from the university to be free from prying eyes, but close enough to be easy to reach from campus. It was ideal for the group's purposes.

The first meeting after the fateful graveyard encounter was held in one of Jean-Baptiste's many empty rooms. Jean did not take a lot of space on his own, and for a man of noble origins, he had precious few material possessions. Out of the four rooms, he only took up one and a half. He slept in the smallest room and sometimes used the kitchen to cook – though you wouldn't know it from surveying his stocks, since Jean had a habit of directly preparing what he purchased and lnot leaving anything in stock.

The meeting, therefore, had to be held in one of the two completely empty rooms.  Walking trough these left an eerie impression on the newcomers. What sort of ascetic lived here, to leave two entire rooms unspoiled? Why didn't he rent them to a fellow student to earn some extra gold? Not using a room for yourself, sure – but leaving it entirely unused? That was most unusual. Four gray walls, a ceiling and a floor: that was all there was to the newly appointed meeting room.

Now that they had hung up their dark cloaks at the entrance, Jean-Baptiste could finally get a closer look at who would be his closest comrades in the coming years. First up was Otis. With his whole body now revealed, he looked even taller than he had looked on the graveyard. Otis towered over his peers, being at least two heads taller than Uthalevar, who was in turn a head taller than the tiny Lenny. Otis his skin was a hue of brown that could have either been chocolate or dirt, depending on who was looking at it. His head and chin were cleanly shaved, which worked to accentuate his strong cheekbones and stern, low brow. He wore a simple blue vest and pantaloons to match. Otis never wore wizard's robes.

Uthalevar could not be any different from her human companions. She radiated a beauty that was rarely found even amongst her own kind. Her opal eyes shined just as brightly as Jean-Baptiste remembered them to in the graveyard, only now they were embedded in a perfectly chiseled face, which was in turn draped by long, silvery curls. She wore elegant violet garments that flowed around her as she walked with her light tread, which made even her base movements look like steps in an intricate dance. She looked like some precious songbird, sitting on the highest branch of the tallest tree – impossible to reach, yet entrancing to listen to and look at.

And Lenny...Well, Lenny was Lenny. Under his mantle, Lenny was revealed to be a small, ratty sort of person, with dirty teeth and suspicious looking eyes. His hair was long, but not long enough to justify the sloppy pony-tail in which it was bound. He was either rather poorly shaved, or was desperately trying to grow a wizard's beard while only managing to pile on some fuzz on his upper lip and neck. All in all Lenny, whose last name was revealed to be 'Smalls', appeared to be a little person indeed, both in stature and character.

Jean-Baptiste managed to somehow salvage four wooden chairs from his living room and solemnly put them in a circle, breaking the vast emptiness that had held the room in sway. Lenny slumped down thankfully, instantly comfortable; Otis seemed to prefer standing; Uthalevar graciously declined the chair and summoned an elegant elven divan of her own, and Jean-Baptiste sat down on the edge of his seat, keeping his back as far away form that of the chair as possible. The two remaining chairs just sort of stood there, filling up space.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:12 am

I like this elf. I like this elf a lot!

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:35 am

The Dalaran Student's Society for the Study and Practise of the Necromantic Arts, Part II

Otis stepped forward, taking the center. “I hereby declare the third session of the Dalaran Student Society for the Study of Necromancy , or DSSN for short, to have commenced. Present today is myself: Otis, chairman; Uthalevar Morrowdance, Secretary; Lenny Smalls, treasurer; and mister Jean-Baptiste de Gouille, whose yet to be appointed function will be the first topic of discussion.” Otis delivered this opening without hesitation, almost as if reading from a very detailed cue-card.

“Jean has graciously allowed us to hold our meetings here in his humble lodgings.” said Utha in her embalming voice, “I should think that means he has done more for our little group than most.”

Jean-Baptiste blushed when Uthalevar referred to him in such a colloquial manner. How quickly he had become 'Jean' – he was no longer 'Jean-Baptiste,' but 'Jean' now. He decided he liked it, and felt himself become heavier again.

“He still needs a function,” sniveled Lenny, “just like the rest of us. Right, chief?”

“I concur.” said Otis. “Indeed, mister de Gouille has already provided the space in which we can hold our meetings, for which we are very grateful indeed – this house will serve us well. Since mister de Gouille already holds sovereignty over our meeting space, I suggest we appoint to him the task of quartermaster. If we are to store the DSSN's assets in his house to hide them from the prying eyes of the Kirin Tor, he should be allowed some say in what he wants and doesn't want holed up in his house.”

“Hear, hear!” Lenny said enthusiastically. “And thanks again for letting us crash here and... - you know, thanks for not ratting us out or anything. Real swell of ya.”

Utha let out a mirthful chuckle and looked upon Lenny with tenderness. “Yes, that was quite pleastn of you, Jean. Thank you once again.” As secretary, Uthra was expected to take notes of every meeting, which she did dutifully: she had enchanted a quill to scribble down whatever was said on a long roll of parchment while she lounged, spreading her long body all over the sofa. With snap of her fingers, an ashtray popped into existence and hovered at precisely the right height, allowing Utha to dump the ash from her many cigarettes with ease, and, more important, with grace. She smoked cigarette after cigarette – she never actually asked if she were anyone minded. as nobody in the same room with her would be so stupid as to ask.

“Good.” barked Otis, “If there are no objections, I then hereby appoint Jean-Baptiste de Gouille to be the new quartermaster of the DSSN.”

Utha and Lenny congratulated Jean-Baptiste and he thanked them for it. Otis waited patiently until this little formality was concluded, before he resumed his speech in a more oratory tone.

“As you know, the oppressive Kirin Tor regime that is keeping our fair city in its iron grip has forbidden the research into the magical art of Necromancy. It has been outlawed or many human generations ('And elven generations', added Utha') and it is considered taboo to even speak of it in a derogatory sense, let alone in any serious academic sense.” Otis paused for a moment for added dramatic effect. His audience breathed uneasily as the gravity of these words were allowed to sink in. But this did not make Jean-Baptiste feel disheartened. Rather, he felt himself getting more and more excited. His hand was screwing the lid off the cookie jar...

“Secrecy,” Otis continued, “is therefore of paramount importance to the survival of the DSSN and the safety of her members. That is why, outside of these walls, our society is known as the Dalaran Student's Society for the Research of  the Transmutation, Transfiguration and Enchantment Traditions of Ancient Magical Civilizations, or DSSRTTETAMC for short.”

“Try saying that three times fast.” snickered Lenny.

“Yes, yes. Very amusing Lenny.” said Otis after it had become apparent nobody was going to use the comedic pause left by Lenny to actually laugh

“Due to the subject having been banned for so long,” continued Otis, “there are no textbooks on it to be found in any official libraries licensed by the Kirin Tor, which include all libraries within the city limits of Dalaran, and likely any other library containing magical literature in associated kingdoms. Furthermore, since practicing and teaching the subject is considered a punishable offense by Violet Law, there are few if any magi at all willing to publicly publicly confess to their magical knowledge and know-how. It is safe to assume that we will be prevented from learning about any subjects having been taking or being taken at the present on the subject matter. If there are others like us, they – much like us – will be forced to practice their arts in secret and will be isolated thusly.”

“What the chief is saying,” said Lenny, “is that we're basically on our own.”

“That is essentially correct.” said Otis.

“I'd say it's just about entirely correct, hon.” added Utha.

“Yes. Essentially.” admitted Otis.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:28 am

The Dalaran Student's Society for the Study and Practise of the Necromantic Arts, Part III

“Even though the oppression of the Kirin Tor regime has been all-but absolute,” Otis continued his orator's voice, “many students and senior magi alike know about Necromancy. They just don't dare speak about it out loud. But they know – as we all know.” Otis looked at Lenny and asked him like a teacher might have: “And what do we know about Necromancy, Smalls?”

“Wha..-” stumbled Lenny, “Why're you asking me for?! You're always asking me!”

“Because you always get it wrong, Lenny.” said Utha, smiling.

“Like Fel I do!” Lenny protested. “And I'll prove it, too.” Lenny turned to Jean-Baptiste, assuming his exposition must be meant for the novice, and began.

“Necromancy, y'see, literally means communing with the dead – the word is derived from the same root as divination, though I don't really see the resemblance. You have to ask Otis about the language stuff. Anyhow, Otis says that they used Necromancy in old cultures in their burial rituals, y'know? Letting grieving sons talk to their recently-died daddies and all. So you're probably thinkin' to yourself right now: 'what's so bad about that?' - well, big-daddy Otis and I have been wondering about the same thing. And Otis is thinkin', maybe there's been some real evil use of this Necromancy too, you know? Like... Imagine if, instead of just callin' the spirit of the dead to have a chat with them, you animate the body, yeah? But, instead of just animating old pops, you animate the whole cemetery. But instead of just the whole cemetery, you animate all the cemeteries, yeah? Imagine having to fight some crazy necromancer commandin' your pappy, grandpappy and so forth into battle!”

“You sure have a lively imagination, Lenny.” Utha said, laughing her mirthful laugh in between drags of her cigarette. She seemed to take great enjoyment in listening to Otis and Lenny talk, for different reasons unique to each boy.

“Yes, very lively indeed.” Otis said dryly, clearly unimpressed. “Yet, you only skimmed the surface of what Necromancy is, preferring instead some flight of your fancy.”

Lenny looked as he wanted to protest, but was promptly interrupted by Otis, who allowed him no quarter.

“Summoning the spirits of the dead into the material world to commune with them is an important cornerstone of the Necromantic arts.” said Otis calmly. “However, there is more. As Lenny eluded to, Necromancers not only deal with summoning spirits, but are also to an extend able to bind these spirits back to their material bodies to animate the once-corpses into returning to some form of life, commonly referred to as undeath. These type of revival is different from, say, a resurrection by way of the Holy Light, which literally brings the dead back to life. Necromancy, rather, does not resurrect the subject back to life, but rather births it in a state that is neither life, nor death; but both: undeath. It is this undeath which is the chief subject of our studies.”

“Ah...eloquent as always. Very nice.” said Utha softly, taking a sip from some cocktail that Jean-Baptiste could not remember being there before. She was drinking it trough a loopy straw.

“That was why you were looking to dig up a corpse?” Jean-Baptiste said, speaking for the first time, even though the meeting was being held in his house. “To try...birth it into undeath?” the words felt strange in Jean-Baptiste's mouth, yet they somehow rolled out as if they had been waiting there for a long time. Like a sigh of relief.

Otis, Utha and Lenny looked at one another with poorly hidden guilt in their eyes. They had never actually heard it spoken out so directly and bluntly like Jean-Baptiste had just put it. Were they nothing but crass grave-robbers? No...They were something more, surely. Otis scraped his throat to herald another speech.

“In essence, yes. We needed a relatively fresh cadaver to experiment upon.”

“But you just said you lacked proper textbooks or teaching.” said Jean-Baptiste, “So what are we actually to do when we get our hands on a body?” Jean-Baptiste, much to his suprise and delight, said we instead if you. He was really part of something now. He was someone.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:33 am

I really liked this. Brilliant exposition. Very Happy

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Skarain on Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:37 pm

This have been a pleasure to follow, and likely continue to be.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:09 am

The Dalaran Student's Society for the Study and Practise of the Necromantic Arts, Part IV

His newfound companions however felt themselves being struck another blow to their already fragile resolve. What were they do do when they actually got their hands on a body? None of them knew any necromantic incantations – and they sure as rain weren't going to learn them from looking at a corpse. Oh, sure, they could probably enchant the body to move about like a puppet, or use the flesh to create a golem – but then the creature would not properly be undead, but it would be just another conjured automaton; a homonculi. It wouldn't be ensouled like a proper undead being would be. They were at a loss.

“You are essentially right -”

“He said it again!” Lenny suddenly blurted it, laughing harshly, “You owe me a silver piece, Utha.” Utha obliged with a murmur and graciously tossed a silver piece to Lenny, who caught it between his grubby fingers.

“Do I even want to know?” Otis said with an undercurrent of molten magma, glaring at Lenny viciously. Lenny shrank back, curling up into a little ball that almost rolled right off the chair.

“We were just having a laugh, Otis.” Utha said soothingly, “Don't be so tense. Loosen your shoulders a little.” she turned to Jean-Baptiste. “And Jean...I'm sure that it'll come to us, if we have faith – we are not going to be animating any corpses if we don't have any to work with, at least. So how about it, gentlemen? Shall we get digging?”

The boys obeyed without so much as a murmur, and followed their elven matron into the night. That day they would dig in a grave Jean-Baptiste selected and earned themselves a relatively fresh corpse. Back in the gravedigger's shack, Otis would reveal one of his many hidden skills and embalm the corpse to preserve it neatly. Afterwards, they would look at it a little and cast some superfluous spells without really knowing what they were doing, after which they concluded the first meeting – though it was technically the third – of the DSSN. Many more would follow, in which just as little was accomplished – but to Jean-Baptiste, this didn't matter all that much. He was thankful just to have company. For the first time ever, he experienced the stillness and emptiness a place devoid of other souls could have, each time they adjourned and his friends went their separate ways. The meetings would get more and more informal as the members left their personal belongings lingering in Jean's house like sedimentation left behind by a dried-up river. It would take a stroke of blindluck to break the slur of informality and usher the group into their proper destiny.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:05 am

The Tome of Vinnie G

Several weeks of the DSSN meeting passed, and each respective member would leave their mark on Jean's once empty gravedigger shack by dropping their junk their like excrement.

The biggest of the unused rooms was used as a study-room, a ritual chamber and a meeting place. In the center was a blank slate of blank bricks to be used for spell-circles, which were often drawn with the same chalk used to  fill the dark green school-boards full of notes. The school-boards were, however, almost empty at this moment, and the the circle that was drawn was only used for basic transmutation.

The walls were lined with empty bookshelves that were in sore want of actual books: it was notoriously hard to find proper literature on the subject that was being studied here. Uthalevar had decorated the room with  velvet curtains and  installed gloomy candle for the lighting to create a fitting ambiance. Otis had, much to Uthalevar's dismay, unwittingly dumped his alchemical equipment exactly where it would disturb the harmony of her making the most; that is to say, he put it the position were it would minimize his time spend walking from the alchemy table to the book shelves and the spell-circle.

The group had adjourned to the other previously unused room. This once vast expanse of gray nothingness had been fitted to groomed to serve as the study room's opposite. The cozy room had been given the air of a student's common room, with lots of comfortable chairs, iceboxes full of drinks and plenty of games to entertain the bored mind.

They had adjourned because they had been unsuccessful in decrypting a transfiguration textbook that Lenny swore was actually an encrypted lexicon of necromantic lore. Jean-Baptiste was seated on a simple wooden chair, one of the few pieces of furniture remaining that was actually his and the very same chair he had sat on during that first fateful meeting; Uthalevar lay on her conjured divan; Otis never actually sat down, but preferred to pace back and forth while the rest was relaxing; Lenny just sat wherever.

“Lenny,” Otis said gruffly while pacing towards the target of his inquiry, “where did you say you got this supposed lexicon from again?”

“I swear it was from a legit source, man” said Lenny.

“And pray tell,” said Otis, his imposing figure with its broad shoulders now pacing away from Lenny, while his back still somehow glarde at Lenny. “who might this so-called 'legit' source be?”

Lenny, sensing where this conversation was going, cast his eyes to the ground and twiddled his fingers nervously. He looked like a teenage delinquent being called into the principals' office, which, at this point, did not seem too far from the truth. “It was Vinnie G, Otis. You know Vinnie G.”

“I do know Vinnie G.” said Otis, reaching the apex of his patrol and turning around again,“Which is why I am wondering how you could possibly be stupid enough to deem anything that buffoon would wantonly spout out even remotely credible. He's a goblin-nosed bastard, that one is, who only cares about gold. How much did he have you pay for it?”

“I... -” stumbled Lenny, “I...D-don't -”

“How much, Lenny?”

“Twenty gold pieces.”

“And how much would you pay for this textbook in the actual bookstore, Lenny?”

“I...I don't know?”

“Ten gold pieces, Lenny.” said Otis agitatedly. “Ten gold pieces.” There was a great fury simmering in the bass of his voice. The words he spoke were but the shark's fin to the full breadth of predatory meaning that lurked underneath. “You didn't know, of course, because your 'Vinnie G.' was clever enough to remove the price tag.”

“Oh, come on!” said Lenny, flaring up. “What was I supposed to do, Otis? We barely have any books as it is! This Necromancy stuff is hard to come by, you know! I thought I really had something!”

“Twenty minus ten...I believe that is a profit of ten gold,” said Otis, “and considering this is a second-hand, run-down copy – which decreases its value – I dare say the profit is even higher than that. Fifteen gold, perhaps? Seventeen? I don't know how much this 'regular issue text-book for the beginner's course on transfiguration' goes for on the second-hand market.”

“Otis, darling...I do believe that's quite enough.” said Utha, liberating Lenny form his predicament. “Would you be a dear and light my cigarette for me?”

Utha elegantly spread her legs and arms, leaning on the full length of the divan to hold out her long cigarette holder for Otis to light.

“You're the Evocation expert here,” replied Otis, “light it yourself.”

“Evocation, my – yes!” Utha said with great indignation, “but not of the household variety. I study the art of calling down hailstorms and infernos – I don't waste my time learning servant's magic.”

Lenny sucked in two breaths of air as the room filled with toxic tension. Utha immediately sensed that she had crossed the invisible line between playful mockery and insult, and was quick to add: “I'm sorry, Otis, my dear, I didn't mean to -”

“It's okay, Utha.” said Otis. “You are right. I am a born servant – and I am not ashamed of it. Here.” Otis lit Utha's cigarette with a subtle snap of his fingers. It took his hulking body no effort at all – it looked very natural. Utha took an uneasy drag, resting her guilt-ridden eyes on Otis, who did not return her gaze. At moments like these, Otis proved to be a difficult man to read. Utha finished her cigarette in silence, as Jean-Baptiste and Lenny looked between Otis and Utha feeling quite helpless and unsure of what to say.

Just as Utha was about to say something, somebody banged on the door like a (presumably) human battering ram.


Last edited by Thelos on Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:24 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:28 am

omg! A cliffhanger! So tense!

WHO IS AT THE DOOR??

Also. I think we should start the shipping speculation. So much tension between these ruffians.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:01 am

Zatara

Otis, Uthalevar and Jean-Baptiste all bolted up in fright, ready to cloak any evidence of forbidden magics (what little there was, anyway) with invisibility charms like they had practiced a dozen time (at Otis' insistence), but Lenny stood up calmly and strut to the door in a merry hop Jean-Baptiste had never seen before.

“Lenny, what in the -” was all Otis could blurt out before Lenny disappeared into the hall to open the door. Lenny welcomed the intruder with words that were too muffled to be understood, but clearly sounded rather enthusiastic. The reply he was treated to rivaled if not surpassed him in enthusiasm, and was most definitely a girl's voice.

The girl followed a beaming Lenny trough the door into the living room while giving him a peck on the cheek, immediately setting the saccharine tone of the relationship these two had with eachother. She was almost as short as Lenny and seemed to match him quite well in posture and gesture. She wore the same simple violet robes many of her peers wore, and her shoes and hair were all what fashion might consider 'safe'. She wore them however with a certain kind of simple charm that couldn't easily be faked, and might make the most ordinary set of close look like something out of a fashion catalog. Every mass-produced item needs a model – she was the model. She didn't wear any jewelry or make-up, as her freckled face was pretty enough with its folksy charm without any fancy conditioners. She didn't really resemble any animal at all, besides maybe the human that she actually was – noticing this, Jean suddenly  ealised that he had developed a habit of comparing people to animals. Otis was a strong-jawed shark mixed with a big brown bear; Uthalevar was a rare and precious songbird; Lenny was a snide rat and his father had been a bloated whale. But what animal did he resemble? Did he resemble any animal at all?

Lenny's girlfriend reminded him of strawberries. Or oranges. He couldn't tell for sure.

“Lenny,” barked Otis with barely restrained anger, “you better have a good explenation for this.”

“Come now, Otis m'dear,” said Utha with her embalming voice, entreating Otis to stay calm,“let us not be inhospitable to our guest.”

“Thank you, Utha,” said Lenny to Utha, “seems like not everyone here has lost their manners – this is Zatara. My -”

“Girlfriend.” said Otis as an accusation, “You brought your girlfriend.”

“It's all right, Otis!” chirped Zatara with the same enthusiasm she had spoken with at the door. “Lennypoo has been telling me all about your club, and I think it's real swell. Big-O here is totally right about the opressive Kirin Tor Regime – and he never told me how pretty Uthalevar was! If he had sooner, I would have come earlier to check out my competition.”

Uthalevar rose a little from her sofa to inspect the strawberry-girl more closely. She smiled and curtsied.

“Don't be silly, Zatty,” said Lenny to Zatara, “we've only been dating for a four days.”

“Yes, and you should have told me about this place on the first!” Zatara said, full of enthusiasm. “This is soooo cooool!

“Enough!” snarled Otis, “Will you get this woman out of here, already?! Honestly. Bringing your girlfriend – Utha, have you prepared the memory charm like we discussed?”

“Ho, ho, wait a minute here, pal” Lenny said, backed by Zatara saying: “Ain't nobody here messin' with my head ! Who do you think you are?” The three bickered with hot heads for a few seconds, and just before Jean-Baptiste figured he should interfere, Uthalevar did in his stead.

“Calm down now, children.” Uthalevar said motherly, “Remember, Otis, m'dear – five is better than four. It is a more magical number. Let her stay, if she wants to.”

“Four plus one isn't.” said Otis, his fury already petering out now that the subject was being brought back to something technical.

“Isn't four-plus-one the same as five?” asked Lenny.

“No, it isn't.” said Uthalevar.

“It is in arithmetics” tried Lenny again.

“But not in magic.” concluded Otis. Zatara, feeling conscious of being the cause of some disturbance amongst friends, reluctantly puffed her cheeks and began working towards a compromise.

“Well, if ya want me out of your hair that much,” she said snidely, emphasizing the hair, “I just swung my to pick up my darlin' Lennypoo, anyhow.”

“Pick up Lenny?” Otis repeated in disbelief, “What ever for?”

“Happy hour at the Upside-down Bar baby!” Lenny hooted, “All cocktails are a silver only. Can you believe that shit? We're going to get absolutely -”

“Just go already.” snapped Otis, “I don't want to hear about your time-wasting frivolities. If you want to go, go, but don't waste my time. We're still in session – Uthalevar, Jean-Baptiste and I-”

Actually, Otis, m'dear” Utha mused softly as she glided to Lenny's free side, “I believe I shall come with.”

“Woo yeah!” Zatara hooted, “Par-tay!”

“Fine, fine...fine” growled Otis,  obviously finding it far from fine by any common definition of the word 'fine',  “Go then, Jean and I-”

“O come on, Otis.” sighed Uthalevar, “Let it go. It'll be good for you – good for you both – to get out there and unwind a little. We have been going at it for weeks now, not achieving much – and everyone is getting frustrated. You are just venting your frustration on poor old Lenny and his girlfriend, who did nothing to deserve it.”

“Yeah!” said Lenny,”You tell 'em, Uth!”

“Hush now, darling.” said Uthalevar to Lenny. Much to Zatara's amusement,t this shut up Lenny instantly and completely. This dog seemed to have already been trained by some other master. “You gotta teach me that trick” Zatara said, snickering. “Later, love. But for now...” Uthalevar walked up to Oti and layed a tender hand on his tense arm. “Let's go out.”


Last edited by Thelos on Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:49 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:22 am

Zatara!
Spoiler:

This is now a cross-universe fanfic!!11

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:21 am

Spoiler:
Initially I was going to name the following chapters "The Tome of Vinnie G. I t/m IV", but I decided against that. Particularily when posted larger chapters such as these and the previous one, I find it more fun to make up individual sub-chapter titles. So, instead of the same title repeated four times, you can now expect to see different chapter titles for each entry. In my final version, I will have actual chapters which wil be considerably longer than a single update here. These little sub-chapter titles will be a little bonus for this particular format. Think of it as the Dickensian way of doing chapters and chapter titles.

The Upside-Down Bar

Uthalevar would not be argued with, and before he fully understood what was going on, Jean-Baptiste was standing next to a grumpy Otis that did not allow himself to be dragged into a bar without a fight. But when even the normally reserved Jean-Baptiste followed Uthalevar's dancing robes inside, Otis had no choice but to yield, as any good general would when the battle looked hopeless.

As it turns out, the name “Upside-down Bar” was to be taken literally. Some gravity charm allowed there to be one bar on the ground floor and another one upside-down on the ceiling. The gimmick here was that the floor and ceiling would argue which was which – and indeed they both turned out to be both, as the whole bar would flip every thirty minutes or so, like some massive hourglass, in which the grains of sands were the bar's patrons.

Buffoonery and shenanigans in such a place, were, of course, inevitable and even encouraged by the personnel. The spilling of drinks took on a whole new meaning, as when a drink was thrust upwards with enough force, it would pass the apex and tumble down on an unexpected victim like a colorful wad of pigeon poop. Adventurous types could order a drink from the bar above them, in which case they had to carefully aim their glass so that the stream of alcohol would connect with their glass without any spills.; all spills  being on the clients, of course.

Lenny and Zatara were taking a popular shot called 'Baleful Polymorph', which would transform the drinker into some random animal. This was a clever way to sell shots, as one would both keep buying new ones for the excitement of finding out what kind of animals they would transform into next, and because it was the only way to rid yourself of the form you were currently changed into, should you be dissatisfied with it. At one point, Jean-Baptiste saw a squirrel having an animated discussion about politics with a sparrow and a hare. The hare seemed to be winning.

Jean's sentiments hadn't exactly been groomed to be able to endure such specific madness, so he and Otis quickly adjourned to an escape pod of sorts: a spherical terrace that had lounging chairs on every inch of its wall, all the way around and up. Jean felt a little like a worker bee in his hive, surrounded on all sides by little bees lathering their honey everywhere. The buzzing certainly helped sustain this image.

At Uthalevar's continued insistence, Jean and Otis had been bullied into taking  a single shot of Baleful Polymorph with the rest of the group. As if the whole situation wasn't absurd enough, poor out-of-place Jean-Baptiste and the serious Otis found themselves having a conversation not between two men, but rather between a shark and a spider. Thankfully, Otis somehow managed to miraculously breathe air with his gills and speak trough his many rows of teeth just as clearly as he normally would. He didn't look right sitting in a chair, though – and that had nothing to do with the fact that he looked like a shark. He was constantly shifting his weight, unable to relax in the lounging chair, always looking like he was ready to bolt at the first sign of danger. More prey than predator; his body language was at odds with his actual body.

“You and I are much alike, Jean-Baptiste” said Otis, “We don't care about frivolities such as these. It's...Wasteful. Look at all the magic that is being flung around here – it must costs huge reserves of mana just to keep all of these gravity charms functioning. Mana, used to send wizard's, who could be doing something more useful with their Light-given gifts, into a drunken stupor. Mana that could have been used to conjure food for the starving. It sickens me.”

Jean-Baptiste listened to Otis rant in devout silence. He didn't really know if he and Otis were much alike. In fact, he didn't think they were very much alike at all – they were very different and not just because Otis just now happened to look like a shark and he like a spider. No, their difference lied elsewhere. Otis was strong, powerful, present – his mere appearance taking up more space than his body; whereas Jean... Jean seemed to take away space. He took up negative space. Jean-Baptiste didn't know why he was thinking these things instead of paying better attention to Otis – but he could not help himself. Thoughts are more often found than fabricated.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:02 am

Dialogue the Escapde Pod

“This city is full of buffoons that waste its precious mana and other resources,” Otis continued. “It's enough to drive any sane man insane. I don't approve of it, and don't think I will start approving of it after having studied magic for as long as some of these patrons here have. I am not some wide-eyed idealistic doe that will inevitably fall into the fold once my chest has been decorated with fancy medals. No. This is stupid, and I will always be calling it for what it is: stupid, and we are wasting our time here.”

At that moment a group of swaggering students in snazzy-looking robes stumbled upon Otis and Jean and seemed to recognize the former's voice (unable to, of course, recognize his face, on account of him being a shark.)

“Eeeeey, Otis! That's a good look for you man!” laughed one of them as they moved in to commandeer Jean and Otis' escape pod.

“Get lost, Carl.” snarled Otis, “Can't you see that we are trying to have a conversation here?”

“Yeah, man, that's cool, man” said another. “Let's have ourselves some quality conversation, ey? Man, Otis; we were always wondering at what kind of bars you hung out, man, but it seems we've finally caught you – funny though. We come around here all the time, but ths the first time we've seen your sorry mug here.”

“This is the first time I am here, Jonathan.” said Otis, pronouncing 'Jonathan' with a mouth full of marbles.

“Well, in any case,” said Carl, grinning from ear to ear, “we finally know where teacher's pet goes out to get smashed, ey?”

Unsurprisingly, the group seemed to exclusively focus on Otis and ignored Jean-Baptiste completely. Jean was almost surprised nobody tried to sit down on his seat, him being a spider and all.

“I do not get smashed, Carl.”

“But you're a shark. You can't be a shark-”

“Yes. I am a shark. Now get lost before I bite your throats open.”

“Sheesh!” said Carl, “No reason to get so uppity-tight, mister  valedictorian. Who are you trying to fool, anyway?”

“What do you mean?” said Otis, his rage very nearly reaching the boiling point.

“Don't think we don't see you in class, man.” added Jonathan. “You always look like shit in class. Especially on Mondays. Who are you trying to fool, man? We know you're hungover just about every morning. It was a real mystery, y'see, until today; since nobody actually ever sees you drink.”

“Well, until now.” decided Carl, “it ain't a mystery no more: ain't that right, boys?”

“Get lost.” Otis said, “Now.”. Otis snarled that 'now' with such a shark-like ferocity that the group jumped up in fright and darted off without saying anything else. A man transformed to look like a shark might not be very scary when one knows what he truly is underneath; but a shark who usually looks like a man and whose true form is revealed to be a shark, is all the more frightening.

“I'm never hungover,” said Otis to Jean in a bitter apology as soon as the invaders left. “since I never drink. Frivolities – wasteful frivolities. All of it.”

Otis looked at Jean-Baptiste and inserted a question in his eyes that he himself would like to answer. “Yes, I know what you are thinking,” said Otis without Jean-Baptiste having said  or thought much of anything “if you truly don't drink, then how come you do look so worn out in the mornings?”

Jean-Baptiste confirmed this, even though he wasn't really thinking it all.

Otis bend forward, his huge shark's snout nearly touching Jean-Baptiste's mandibles. It was obvious he was about unveil to tell a great secret to Jean-Baptiste, who had never had any secrets revealed to him before. He felt a little anxious over the prospect of becoming a trustee, and felt himself getting heavier.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Amaryl on Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:39 am

I feel cheated

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:37 am

Spoiler:
My apologies for the lack of update lack Wednesday. I'll play catch-up and post two updates today to make up for it.

Moonlit Conjuring Adventures

“It's not that I look worn out from going out all nights wasting my money and energy on drinking, Jean. But then again – I can't imagine you ever thought that I did. You are cleverer than that. Better than that. So...I will tell you why I look so worn out in the morning. You will be, besides Uthalevar, the only person on campus to know this.”

Jean-Baptiste knew that this was the point were he was supposed to speculate on Otis' terrible secret. He may, for example, have suspected the hulking mass of a man to be fighting in illegal dueling rings to earn some extra gold. Or he might have suspected him of having a secret lover he spend every nights with. But the truth was that Jean-Baptiste could only think of this: that he was supposed to think of something. Otis was Otis, and he could not imagine what he would be like when Jean-Baptiste didn't happen to be looking at him. Was he even there when Jean didn't see him? Was anyone?

“...I would ask you not tell anyone, but I already know that you won't – I can trust you.” said Otis more to himself than to Jean-Baptiste. Jean got the impression that Otis always talked to himself more often than he did to others. Jean just happened to be here to listen to him think.

“I travel back home to the countryside to illegally conjure food, Jean.” said Otis proudly. It was clear: with that statement, just now, Otis had morally obliterated everyone in this room and most students in the city. They were wasting their time and resources on frivolities, while he was out feeding the hungry – he had won the moral game and put himself on a pedestal. All of his complaints and his grudges suddenly fell into place; the statement being the missing link that tied all the pieces together. Of course, he wasn't sitting on his pedestal right now, since his 'friends' just now rudely knocked him off – but Jean-Baptiste began to understand that Otis spilling his noble secret to him was his way to climb back on top of the pedestal. Whether he realized it or not, he was using Jean is a kitchen-stool.

“Are you surprised, Jean?” Otis asked smugly.

He couldn't honestly say that he was, but Jean answered in the affirmative anyway, again considering it the proper thing to do.

“It's true. On many evenings I teleport to the poorer farms or the big cities to feed the beggars and the dispossessed. If you're anything like me – which I know you are – you'll probably be wondering why by the Light's name this would be illegal. After all, aren't I using my education and arcane resources to do good? Well...I am, and I am not. You see, conjuring food to feed the hungry might solve some panging stomaches from starving – but is it in any way a long-term solution for famine? No. The nutritional value of conjured food is much lower than that of actual, honestly raised and prepared food – and if people were to grow dependent on it, their bodies would surely peter out for want of proper sustenance.”

Otis sighed ruefully and somehow managed to grab hold of a glass of water with his right fin to pour some refreshment down his massive maw. He continued in the same sombre tone.

“Then there is the long-term economical damage one might inflict with bootleg conjured food. Imagine if whole previously hungry populations switched to eating conjured food on a large scale – putting aside the aforementioned problem - where would this leave the farmers that depend on selling their harvests for their livelihood? Where does this leave the millers and bakers? The whole system would become collapse, leading, paradoxically, to more famine by getting rid of famine.. That, my friend, is why conjuring rogue food without a permit is strictly illegal. And...I actually find myself agreeing with this ban. It is a sound law – without it, wide-eyed idealists such as myself might actually inflict great damage on a large scale while only patching a few wounds of society on the smaller scale. Why, then, if I agree with this law, do I still go ahead with my moonlit conjuring adventures?”

Otis looked at Jean-Baptiste, waiting for his answer. When it wouldn't come, Otis leaned back and sighed again.

“It's simple. We have all these marvelous, powers, Jean...I would like to ask another question. When given all this power...how could you not try to help those without?”'

Jean-Baptiste aimed his many spider-eyes on the ground. He had never given this much thought before. Was he really wasting his time and mana on frivolities, like all these drunken patrons here? Since he wasn't exactly comfortable in a place like this, similar to Otis – shouldn't he go out into the night, also like Otis, to help those in need with his gifts? It never occurred to him that this was even a possibility, let alone a duty; a natural duty, in Otis' case. Jean-Baptiste was not stung by the pang of guilt most people feel when confronted by someone who is more charitable than they: rather, he was stung by a deep-rooted doubt. Why did he not have this same instinct of charity Otis had? How could he not try to help those without power? Once again, Jean-Baptiste was made to feel he was missing something, and felt himself become heavier.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:46 am

The Breaktrough

While the two men were busy pondering these high moral questions, Zatara had sneaked up and taken a seat at their table. Otis seemed to have lost the strength to shoo her away after having delivered such a passionate oration, so it was up to Jean-Baptiste to awkwardly deal with the newcomer.

“Are you having fun?” Jean-Baptiste asked shyly.

“What? Fun?” Zatara said distantly, almost as if she were the one being disturbed, instead of it being the other way around. “Yeah, yeah. Sure. Tons – listen fellas. About the book.”

This reminder of how deeply Zatara had penetrated into the DSSN's vault of secrets was enough to rile Otis from his reflective stupor. His tiny shark eyes flared up with indignation as he gave the strawberry woman an honest glare.

“Oh, Lenny-poo told you about that, too? I should have known that good-for-nothing-”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah” interrupted Zatara, “Safe it for later, chum – have you Nimrods actually tried decoding the book? Because I've been looking at it more closely -”

“What kind of idiots do you take us for,woman?!” snarled Otis as he stood up to tower over the petite woman. “How dare you! Who exactly do you think you are! Of course we've been trying to decode it – we've wasted two good sessions trying to crack that bloody fake! We've tried everything!”

“Are you sure about that, numb-nuts?” Zatara said teasingly as she waved the book around. “Because by the looks of it, you haven't tried the most basic of techniques – if you would have, you'd have noticed something right away. It's sort of in-your-face, really.”

Otis scoffed, not believing for one second in this miraculous breakthrough the newcomer so casually presented. “Humor me.”

“All right then, tough guy, I will” said Zatara confidently. She searched trough her purse of holding and produced a second copy of 'regular issue text-book for the beginner's course on transfiguration' and opened both books on the table. The boys bend over it at Zatara's beckoning. Despite Otis' struggles, she had seized control of the conversation – the temptation of a possible breakthrough was great enough to overwhelm even Otis' skepticism.

“Look, it's deathly simple, really – have you tried comparing the two texts? The standard and Vinnie G's Tome? Well?”

“Of course we have,” barked Otis, “that's the first thing you look for.”

“And did you look look, or did you just cast a searching charm?” asked Zatara with a hint of triumph in her voice.

“Well, a searching charm, of course” said Otis hesitantly, no doubt sensing the reveal that was oncoming.

“And you didn't think to use your own Light-given eyes!” said Zatara in mock indignation.

“We did, you stupid woman – and there was nothing there! No variations!” Otis snarled.

“There are – you just haven't watched closely enough. Look.” Zatara took a marker and underlined two words on the first page – in the introduction, the inspiring phrase 'There is no school of magic more powerful than transmutation' the word 'than' was misspelled as 'then' in Vinnie G's version. It wasn't much – but it was undoubtedly something.

“Must be a printing error” muttered Otis, “or a spelling error that was removed in a later edition.”

“Nope!” chirped Zatara triumphant, “They're the same edition! I checked. And this isn't the only spelling error, either.” Zatara looked up from the book and looked at the boys with greater gravity. “Look, I know you guys don't trust me yet – and I can't blame ya, especially since 'oll dimwitted Lennypoo recruited me – but I think I can do this. I can decode this.”

“You don't even know for sure that there is a code.” said Otis, no longer believing in what he said himself and speaking in a vain attempt to salvage his wounded pride, “It might just...You know. It doesn't have to mean anything. You're probably just seeing patterns where there aren't any.”

“Well, if that's the case,” chirped Zatara, “I guess you won't be missing it, anyway, if I take it home to decode, right?”

Otis was many things, but he was not unreasonable – and Zatara's cool logic was too strong for his pride to disarm. He obliged, agreeing to give Zatara a shot at decoding the book, a task that she dedicated herself to with extreme zeal. It would take her some time to find all the spelling errors and even longer to make sense of them – but she was sure she'd get there in the end, even though Otis would remain skeptical on the surface.

As for the evening in the Upside-Down Bar, it ended without much of a bang – it sort of petered out. Zatara pecked her sweet Lennypoo on the cheek and bolted off home to start decoding, Lenny himself stayed at the bar all night to keep getting 'hammered', while Otis and Jean-Baptiste left shortly after Zatara did, each having a lot to think about during the walk home. As for Uthalevar, nobody had seen her after she had joined the initial shot and transformed into a colorful bird with brilliant feathers. She might have flown anywhere.

Jean-Baptiste felt very thankful and privileged to discover that, even after having tasted the temptations of the outside world, the members of the DSSN returned to his in the little gravedigger's shack.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:02 am

Spoiler:

I'll just quickly nab this joke so that no one else needs to fill oblidged to make it.
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The Circle of Life

Something had changed in Otis, and Jean-Baptiste was the only one who knew. To everyone else in the group, he was the same stoic and stern bully, barking orders like a drill-sergeant. But ever since he had shown Jean-Baptiste a peek into his heart, he seemed eager to reveal all of it to him. Apparently, Jean-Baptiste possessed some indefinable quality that made him a great listener. Otis kept creating opportunities to be alone with Jean-Baptiste with the exempt purpose of allowing his protégé one glimpse after another into his self-proclaimed reclusive being. For an alleged introvert, he sure loved talkin about himself.

One such opportunity was created when Otis invited Jean-Baptiste to join him early in the morning for a few laps in the Dalaran swimming globe. On the way there he kept complaining about how having a swimming globe rather than a simple swimming pool was a frivolous waste of mana; but once there he dived in with the glee reserved for the fresh-water water shark forced to live on land that he was (though he no longer looked like one.)  Jean-Baptiste carefully stayed on the surface, keeping his head out of the water and doing simple backstrokes. Jean found it a most curious sensation to be swimming with the ground directly above him, upside down on the bottom of the globe. In contrast to Jean-Baptiste's careful strokes, Otis pierces the globe regularly, swimming from one extreme to the other, only sometimes coming up to breathe and throwing up big splashes when he did.

It was after they had dried themselves and started making their way towards Jean-Baptiste gravedigger's shack for the meeting that Otis created his opportunity.

“I suppose you are wondering now,” said Otis after the obligatory smalltalk, “why a person such as I, so involved in charity and negatively disposed against any frivolous uses of mana – such as our globe here,which by all common sense should be a pool - would be investing himself in a magic deemed 'dark' by the Kirin Tor regime.”

Jean-Baptiste admitted he was curious about this – the way in which Otis formulated his query left open no other reasonable options. Admitting that you were not wondering such a thing, after having heard such a thorough analysis, would make you look like a proper dummy.

“Do you remember what we talked about in the upside-down bar, a week or so ago?” Otis asked. Jean-Baptiste admitted that he did, only for Otis to carefully recap his lecture anyway, more to himself than to Jean-Baptiste. Otis was the kind of speaker that prepared his lectures beforehand and could not tell them out of order.

“So, in conclusion,” said Otis, “famine is a problem that cannot be solved by magically conjuring food. Are you following me so far?”

Jean-Baptiste was.

“So, this is a problem in which there is a need that cannot be satisfied” Otis recapped. “In a scenario such as this, in which we are unable to solve the problem from the supply side, or, the producing and providing of food, how do you suppose we can solve it?”

The answer lied in the question, and Jean-Baptiste dutifully answered that the answer must then lie with the demand.

“Correct!” said teacher, “if we cannot gather the appropriate amount of food to fill our hungry stomachs, we must somehow shrink our stomachs.”

“Tell me, Jean,” Otis continued in a different tone, “what does humanity add to this world as a species?”

Jean was puzzled by this question and appeared unable to answer. Otis had anticipated this, however, and had already calculated the duration of the pause to the exact second.

“Let me approach it from another direction.” said Otis after the calculated pause.

“Are you familiar with the concept of the circle of life?” asked Otis, and, without waiting for an answer, continued thusly: “The circle of life, roughly speaking, is that each natural being leaves behind for others to consume equal to what he himself consumed in life. Nature's design is a harmony, and all things are ultimately balanced out. The grass does not grow where it is not supposed to, because the herbivores feed on it – the herbivores, in turn, don't grow into big enough numbers to wholly consume the grass, because the predators are there to feed on them. And even those on top of the food chain leave behind droppings for the land to feed on and ultimately their own bodies for the maggots to feast on.”

“Are you following me so far?” asked Otis.

Jean-Baptiste was.

“Then, Jean-Baptiste, let me ask my previous question again.” said Otis triumphantly, “What does humanity add to this world as a species? Or: where do we fit in the circle of life?”

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:36 am

And so, Otis' true evils are slowly unveiled.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:33 am

Locusts in the Park

At this point in the conversation, the duo was nearing a crossroads. Both roads would ultimately lead to Jean-Baptiste's little gravedigger's shack; one path taking them directly to it and the other taking them trough the park in a long detour. Jean-Baptiste was already ready to take the short route out of habit, when Otis decidedly marched onwards to take the detour. For one moment, Jean-Baptiste considered that Otis might simply have mistaken in the route, thinking this the shorter way; but, giving it some more thought, he realized Otis knew very well he was taking the longer route, and did so with a predetermined design, as always. Jean-Baptiste would be stuck listening to Otis' philosophize for at least a walk in the park longer.

“I've often heard it said that humanity is on top of the food chain.” said Jean-Baptiste while the two entered onto the longer road.

“You've been told wrong.” said Otis bluntly, “Humanity isn't on top of the food chain. We're not even part of it. You see. humanity, amongst all the creatures that walk this great wide world, is the only species that has shaken loose the chains of unwitting causation and transcended their natural limitations. Humans do not abide to the natural law that binds all other species together in a perfect harmony – mankind consumes more than it leaves behind for other creatures to consume. Mankind manipulates the land and drains it of its nourishment en mass to stockpile supplies; a lot of which either are left to whither or go to a tiny minority of the higher classes and nobility, who consume far more than is natural for their species, leaving those at the bottom of this man-made pyramid of evil to starve. Why, Jean? Why do humans do this? How is this possible? What makes us different from other species that stay true to their place in the circle?”

“What about elves and dwarves?” Jean-Baptiste said much to Otis' chagrin. He did not like to be asked the obvious questions – not unless it was part of his own rhetoric.

“Obviously dwarves and elves and gnome as well are the same as humans in this. I am just using 'human' as a blanket term – would you prefer perhaps the more accurate 'humanoid'?” Otis said snidely.

Otis didn't seem to have noticed that the two had entered the park, or at least, didn't show any significant changes in demeanor show that he had. But Jean-Baptiste, who had never actually been here before, started having difficulties keeping his attention to Otis' narration due to the many beautiful distractions that charmed his eyes. Like anything else in the Violet City, this particular park was amplified in all sorts of way by magic. As it so happens, the sunflowers were just now putting on a performance, swaying to the beat of a a magical unmanned drum and singing their merry songs. They were human-sized, their leafs augmented to remind the onlooker of arms, giving the plants the appearance of people. Not far from the swinging sunflowers was a little river running in an confounding möbius strip, enchanting the eyes as well as boggling the mind. These two were just samples of the many wonders that awaited the careful spectator who just so happened to wander trough the park. Otis, however, was too wrapped up in his oration to bother with any distractions. He didn't even comment on how wasteful and frivolous it all was. He continued on, unperturbed by the beauty around him.

“The difference between the humanoid races and the natural races – natural as defined by partaking in the harmony of the world; the circle of life – is reason. Humanoids, for whatever design or coincidence unknowable to us, have been given the power of reasoning. This incredible power has allowed us to chart the stars, master the land and manipulate whole species of animals into cattle to serve our designs. It is this very intellect that has allowed us to become the locusts that we are today, draining the land dry and tramping the circle of life underfoot.”

The irony of Otis making this point in such lush surroundings was not lost on Jean-Baptiste.

“But herein also lies the answer, Jean-Baptiste. What we have destroyed, we can heal – what we have wronged, we can right – by turning that very same curse of intellect into a blessing.”

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Amaryl on Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:26 am

Feedback:


Thelos, my man, I really dig your ability to set a scene, to create an environment, it feels real somehow, it feels alive and independent. Which is great. The idea of the polymorph drinks the spider talking etc, great stuff.

But what prevents me from actually getting into this story, and i mean, really into it, is that the characters seem ill-defined. I'd call them stocky, but the mannerisms, and speechism simply feel acted, instead of actually there. I'm not exactly why; my best guess is that it comes from Telling and not showing.

The best most explanatory example I could find showing the best developed characters is this one:

Thelos wrote:said Otis proudly. It was clear: with that statement, just now, Otis had morally obliterated everyone in this room and most students in the city. They were wasting their time and resources on frivolities, while he was out feeding the hungry – he had won the moral game and put himself on a pedestal. All of his complaints and his grudges suddenly fell into place; the statement being the missing link that tied all the pieces together. Of course, he wasn't sitting on his pedestal right now, since his 'friends' just now rudely knocked him off  – but Jean-Baptiste began to understand that Otis spilling his noble secret to him was his way to climb back on top of the pedestal. Whether he realized it or not, he was using Jean is a kitchen-stool.
The red example is just clearly an example of telling. how does Otis say something proudly?
The purple part however, is what completely pulled me out of this section of the story. Mainly: Wait what? Since When does JP narrate something like that? I am listening to JP's narration of the Otis comment here right? Yet it feels like this should be Otis' voice, or even Ublabala. The prose is good, but it doesn't seem like JP from the past installments.
I could obviously be wrong, but that's how it feels, how it comes across.


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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:26 pm

Spoiler:
Thank you for the feedback as always.

I will respond to the confusion about whether you are hearing the narrator's voice or JBs: In a 'Living Ghost', the focal character is Jean-Baptiste, which means the narrator exclusively knows and sees things that are available to this particular character. It's basicly like a first person novel written in the third person. It's a stylistic choice I made because I am not yet comfortable writing in the first person like I am in the third person.

Perhaps instead of using Erlebte Rede (I think that's 'free indirect speech', but I'm not sure) I should more clearly state that the narrator is describing Jean-Baptiste's thoughts. That is something I can work on to make it more consistent and less confusing.

Thelos

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Amaryl on Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:22 pm

Spoiler:
No, you don't need to clarify, that's basically what I assumed, hence, why that passage feels wierd to me, as it doesn't feel like JP, from previous passages

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

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