Jul. 17th, 2017

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You might not be able to reply on mobile; I surely haven’t figured out how to, though I don’t use the app, just the mobile site, so maybe that’s why. Otherwise there’s a little icon at the bottom of posts that looks like a cartoon speech bubble. Replying to replies only works with Xkit, though, and even that they frequently break on purpose when they update the main site.

I had heard of/ read a couple of the Hellenistic myths of that sort, which is sort of why I thought of it, so I had an inkling there might be some kind of precedent there. I don’t know if I really can do it justice, but it’s got me thinking, which is better than not thinking, I guess. Thanks for the boost; that might be something I ought to research some more! I’d been making a point of not tying anything to any real myths etc., but it sure doesn’t hurt to get some inspiration.

It just. Making her trans makes so much more of the story kind of… have more weight? I don’t know. I should probably reread what I have and mull it over some more.
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I’m rereading this thing I started in 2003. I think this must be… it must be the 2010 draft? Scrivener doesn’t keep a revision history, it’s the only thing about it I don’t like. This is the novel with the heroine I’m considering recasting as a trans woman. I had expected I’d hate the beginning of this, but I don’t. I forgot, though, I had decided to leave it in first person. Which is astonishing to me, but here it is. It’s amazing what you remember and what you don’t. 

Here’s the opening scene, anyway, unedited– it’s the hero of the story’s POV, and it ends before he meets her. Anyway. 

It’s not as awful as I remember, at least. Some of you on here who have known me long enough have probably seen this before and are probably sick of it. 

I’d woken before dawn, again, to a ghost trying to suffocate me, again.

She thought she knew me, that much I had gathered in these three weeks of her daily attempts to murder me. A red-haired young woman who came staggering out of the mossy woods, bleeding badly somewhere in her midsection, she would press her blood-soaked green woollen mantle over my face as she whispered brokenly to me in her dead nation’s dead language. I’d studied the language as a child, as befitted one of noble birth, but I couldn’t puzzle out what she was trying to say, and I always woke in a panic.

It was making me grumpy. I had a job to do, here. It was a stupid job, and a waste of my time, but there was some sort of politics involved. Politics: the bane of my life. Every soldier hates politics. To die for one’s country is noble and well and good; to die because one’s social superiors have aspirations is the worst sort of fate.

Narrowly edging out being annoyed to death by one’s comrades, that is. As awful fates go, boredom is up there, and nervous boredom the worst of all.

“Shut the fuck up, Feliks,” I snapped.

My lieutenant Feliks and patrolman Miksa both stared at me in open-mouthed shock, abandoning their stupid pointless quarrel over road engineering. Neither of them knew a damned thing about it. None of us did. It was stupid to send a patrol of cavalry to do the work of an engineering party: heads, we could split. Logs, not so well. But it was more stupid that said patrol of cavalry was wasting so much energy annoying its captain.

“Captain Martins,” Feliks said, after a long dumb moment, very much abashed. Miksa made no sound whatsoever, a blessed respite. I never, ever snapped. I had spent my life learning to lead men without ever giving them cause to resent me. This was no way to behave and I was already a little ashamed of myself. But I was still more annoyed with them.

I made myself pull in a deep breath and let it out, collecting myself. Ellyng, my beautiful and normally patient horse, who worked harder than any other horse in our hard-working nation, crabwalked unhappily, swinging his rump around as Miksa drew too near. Feliks kneed his horse up to block Ellyng’s swing, ever a consummate horseman, and steadied both horses with a calm word.

“Is something the matter, Marte?” Feliks asked, close enough to me to speak very quietly. I bit off a harsh reply– I’d already said enough– and then caught sight of the seriousness of his face, and considered it, a bit startled.

Was something the matter? I had very good instincts, but the problem was sorting them from the general noise of a truly terrible mood. Feliks and I had been working together for years now, and he knew me well. I looked around, shaking my head in thought.

The sky was white, a wan early-spring midmorning sun hidden behind high clouds, and it lit the woods dimly all in shades of gray. Dark bare branches wept streamers of pale dead moss over the muddy uncertain track. The woods looked mournful and haunted, the dim shadows stirring with the ghosts of those who’d died here, the ghosts who seemed to think they knew me.

The only life in the scene was my cavalry patrol, two dozen of the best of the legendary cavalry of the Letts. They shone like living jewels in this sad gray setting, the flanks of their horses gleaming in luminous bay, sorrel, chestnut or dappled silver, the semiprecious stones braided into the horses’ manes glittering, the bronze and copper insets of their leather armor and the horses’ harnesses bright in the drab white light, and the hoofbeats– and intolerable grumbling– the only sound for miles.

It wasn’t right. There should have been birds.

I took my breath in harshly. “I hear something,” I said. Feliks nodded sharply, and raised his arm in an abrupt gesture. Behind us, the mumbling shambling complaining horsemen suddenly went silent and alert.

“What is it, Captain?” Feliks asked, still very quietly. I stared southward, down the muddy track, as certainty congealed.

“Down there,” I said.

Feliks breathed a word, settling himself in the saddle. A prayer, probably. They all thought that it was my god who told me these things.  Secretly, I thought I just had very good hearing. I never said such things, of course; none but me knew that I’d never really felt the god stirring. It was men who’d left his marks on me, and men who told me what I must do in his name. But obedience and piety had been beaten into me from my first memories, so I did what I was told and kept my doubts to myself.

It wasn’t raiding season. There wasn’t supposed to be anything on this road. Every year, the city of Saxeus sent out a relatively unguarded foray of engineers to do this thankless, dull, boring task. Sending us instead was supposed to have been some sort of obscure political ploy, which of course I wasn’t privy to; such things were the exclusive provenance of my father and brother and the older captains, and my obedience was as flawless as everything I did– out of love or fear, I never let myself decide. But the jangling of my blood told me there were raiders on this road.

 This was an essential route; it wasn’t the biggest southern road, but it was one of only two connecting our ally city of Saxeus– and its tin mines– with the sprawling and tumultuous Etalan empire to the south. As such it drew a lot of bandits, mostly Caronians, the most incorrigible enemy of the Letts. It was the Caronians who’d slaughtered the Liv tribe here twenty-something years earlier; the Letts and Livs had been close allies, intermingled in blood, and many of my people were still of the opinion that Caronians should all be killed on sight. The fact that they were perpetually in hungry disarray and relieved this by raiding our trade routes and border towns didn’t help matters one bit.

But it was too early for merchants, traders, diplomats, or anything else that would feed hungry bandits. There was no reason for them to be on the road.

And yet I wasn’t at all surprised when we rounded a blind corner, warned into high alert by my jangling nerves, and found bandits on the road. To our right, the ravine’s face rose up, trailing moss, and to our left was a scree slope, clogged with undergrowth and dotted with trees, trailing down to the uneven, spring-swollen stream below. A foreign-looking wagon, boxy and ornate, lay overturned in the road, its draft animal cut from its traces and some of its contents strewn across the wide part of the road. Another blind curve hooked the road just beyond the wagon, and apparently the wagon and its entourage had been surprised and trapped there. From this direction we had a nice long straight view to see the looks of horror on the faces of the astonished brigands, who had been busily stripping the bodies of their victims.

It was quick work to ride them down, quick and messy, and made the quicker and messier because there were apparently no survivors among the little convoy they’d attacked. Everyone standing and moving was easily identified by ragged clothing and panicked flight as a bandit, and their well-chosen ambush site meant that there was almost nowhere for them to scatter and run to that a horse, and efficient warrior, couldn’t follow.

    The shrewd guess I’d made upon first sight of them was confirmed; I spoke passable Caronian, as the language apparently consisted mostly of curse words, and I heard plenty of words I knew as I scythed through the filth with my bright bronze blade. But soon enough the usual, dreadful silence fell, broken only by horrid gurgles and wet crunching noises as my men picked over the bodies to dispatch any lingering sufferers.

    My patrol’s other tracker was working at the other end of the battlefield. I dismounted, getting my bearings, and watched him intent on his work. He was checking the north end– if there had been any survivors, they would likely have fled that way. I was confident in him, and so began to work at my end, looking to see if any brigands had left the road before our arrival.

    It wasn’t long before I spotted fresh tracks, scuffs on the rocks at the edge of the path, disappearing sharply downhill away from the road. A mossy patch yielded distinct tracks: two booted pairs of feet, and one in sandals or shoes, smaller and lighter. Two men and a boy? A short distance down the hill, heavily scuffed with the traces of an ungraceful passage, and there was a sandal, strap broken, caught in a cleft rock. There was blood on the strap, a little– it had been wrenched off the foot, then. The sandal-wearer was certainly being dragged against his will.

    No, hers.

    A certainty rose, an ugly certainty that tasted foul at the back of my throat, and I drew my sword.

   I had seen a lot of warfare in my day. I had seen a lot of things that would come back to me at night in the quiet moments, competing with the ghosts for my attention. The things a couple of thugs would drag a woman off to do to her were the worst of them.

   I was close enough now that I heard her make a breathless, angry noise. There was a thud, something dull connecting with flesh with some force, and a man cursed shrilly in– to my complete non-surprise– Caronian.

    Filth, I thought, gritting my teeth so hard they hurt, and with that I stepped out from behind a tree, sword raised.
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getting into the parts where it’s the heroine and oh, i think she’s always been trans. i don’t have to change much. 

“Stay,” I said, before I could think better of it, before I could begin to calculate the most advantageous course of action. His presence was so comforting, so different in this space— I felt myself to be quite afloat, separated from anything I had ever been or done. My mission was failed, my destination uncertain, and now in the absence of any purpose or job, I was without identity. I had never just been a person— not an object, not a prize, not a thing to be desired or mastered, but just a person— but he was treating me as one, and I didn’t want it to stop.

I had never had much of an eye for male beauty, finding it more useful to pay attention to the ways in which women were beautiful, admiring and emulating them and using beauty to serve me, but I enjoyed watching him.
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Crow gets no respect
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I really like seeing my signs in context! (at Laughing Earth)
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Farmbaby is heartbroken that there isn’t time to go to the real moon in the cardboard rocket ship she made, because it’s time for supper.

I… don’t know how I failed to forsee that the solution to this was going to involve me pretending to be an alien from the moon for the duration of supper… 

Update: have spent morning on Moon, send help
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60 year old historian Martin Bühler (who identified himself to the press, I do not identify activists without consent) appears to ‘photobomb’ a lot of media images of the G20 in Hamburg. In reality he is a long time observer documenting police brutality. In Hamburg he chose to cultivate the most non-activist ‘white bystander in a suit with a bike’ look he could manage and casually walked in front of police. As police slowed down or interrupted attacks and waited for the ‘bystander’ to get out of the way (being caught on camera trashing what look like bystanders is bad press after all), activists had time to regroup or retreat.

oh my god, what a fucking badass

I think my favorite thing is how he has his “nonchalant” pose fixed so it’s the same in every photo. One hand on bike, other hand in pocket, lean slightly, look unconcerned and mildly interested. I love this, and absolutely do not have the cool to do this myself.



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