In honor of the Asunder contest entries going up, and because I’m staring at a draft for work and trying to not to hate everything I’ve ever written, tell me:
- What is your favorite fic(s) you’ve ever written? You know, the work you point to and say, “Damn, universe, I really outdid myself that time.”
- What’s your favorite fic(s) of someone else’s?
This isn’t meant to be exhaustive or exclusionary, of course. Just a little brightness and positivity to brighten this Wednesday afternoon.
2. I don’t read much (not because I don’t want to, but because of some serious attention issues), but of course mention must go to Kill Your Emissaries First, by CrassCenturion, as well as pretty much anything by Defira85, MissL0nelyHearts, and MinorEarth.
I always kind of liked Sol, but after reading serindrana’s Solivitus/Genitivi ficlets, I can admit it now: I’m firmly in love with that balding, doofy genius. In fact, I was playing DA2 last night, and one of our houseguests overheard me sighing, “Oh Sol, how I love you,” as I entered the Gallows for the first time.
“Flutie,” he said with no little scorn. “You just love everyone in this game, don’t you?”
“Welcome to my life,” my husband pipes up from the other room.
“You say it like it’s a bad thing,” I said.
“But he’s so—bald,” the houseguest said.
“He’s just too manly for his hair,” I replied, and happily went back to my mooning.
Yesterday’s drabble: Dissension VI: Old Friends
Carver leans against the vhenadhal tree, his fingertips testing its new scars: several gouges here, a scorch mark there. He finds a splash of blood and tries to wipe it off with his skirt, but it is already tacky and smears along the bark like warpaint.
As he wipes, he notices several other white marks along the tree bark, faded wounds perhaps, or maybe just ant tracks, or just natural discolorations formed by a forest tree forced to grow among chokedamp.
He hears her door open, hears her step onto the front stoop. “Carver,” she says, and her voice is softer now, sadder, the way he remembers it, the way he still hears it in the Fade.
These keep making my heart break in the best of ways, Flutie. D: This one especially.
(… but also The tat-less Trank, some of the old timers call him - OH MY GOD. I love you. New headcanon bit.)
Ghyslain and Ninette du Carrac
In case you’d like to see “The First Sacrifice”:
My favorite narrative arc in Dragon Age 2 is the set of quests dealing with Quentin, “The First Sacrifice”, “Prime Suspect” and “All That Remains”. They’re controversial in the fandom, not the least of which because they turn Leandra into a Woman in the Refrigerator; but I can’t lie: I’m drawn to that sickening sense of dread, and how the suspense threads its way through two acts. Leandra’s fate may be inevitable, but it didn’t have to be; and that’s what makes it so heartbreaking.
Emeric, of course, is my favorite NPC in of all Dragon Age, and I’ve already written scads about how much I adore my little conspiracy-addled Cassandra. But “The First Sacrifice” also offers a glimpse at three of the most beautifully broken people in all of Kirkwall (one of whom you never even meet): Ghyslain du Carrac, Ninette du Carrac, and Jethann.
Jethann will get his own essay soon enough, so I won’t get too deep in the weeds on him here. Today, it’s just all Ghyslain and Ninette: Two awful people being awful to each other (which, of course, means I love them to bits).
We don’t see Ghyslain in DA2 for very long, but what we do see of him isn’t particularly pleasant. He’s a little toad of a man who complains more loudly about Ninette’s disobedience than her absence. Talking to him, it’s hard not to think to yourself, “Man, no wonder Ninette spent all her time with whores.”
But of course, this is Dragon Age, so there’s more to the story here than just an unfaithful wife running around on her repulsive husband—much more. Yet, like so many things in Dragon Age 2, teasing out the facts requires the player to read between the lines, like studying an scorch mark to understand the flame, or, maybe more accurately, like analyzing an impact crater to determine the exact weight and shape of the meteor that destroyed a world.
This is just. I can’t even begin to articulate how brilliant and heartbreaking this is, and how wonderful of an analysis.
Have all my sads, Drabble McDrabblepuss. A sequel of sorts to this.
The first time he came to the alienage afterward, she wouldn’t open the door.
“Go away, Carver,” she shouted through the mealy planks. “I don’t wish to speak to you.”
“Merrill—“ He placed one gauntlet on the door, and winced at the shriek it made, the scrape of metal on metal. “Please.”
Carver flushed. He noticed Nyssa at her stall, pretending not to stare at the flaming sword on his breastplate, and his cheeks burned even hotter. “Fine,” he shouted back. “I just thought you, of all people, might understand.”
“Well, I don’t,” came the bitter reply. He could hear her choke back a sob and shove away from the door. Then, silence.
Carver leaned his forehead against the jamb and held it there a moment. Slowly, his hand fell from the door. He sighed and turned to leave.
“Morning, Carver,” Nyssa called, not looking at him. “Or should I call you Ser now?”
He jabbed his palms against his eyes and held them there for a brief moment. “Morning, Nyssa. Just Carver, if you please.”
Eventually, he looked over to her and found Nyssa smiling wanly, hesitantly. Silently, she produced a vhenadahl fruit from under her stall and held it out to him. He reached for his coin purse, only to remember too late that his armor didn’t have any pockets.
She shook her head. “On me,” she said.
Carver scowled. “I can’t take advantage.”
“Consider it your first bribe.” She smirked.
He sighed heavily and took the fruit. “Thanks, Nyssa. I’ll pay you next time.”
“Of course you will,” she said softly.
He nodded and left without another word, metal squealing the entire way up the long dusty staircase back up to Lowtown. When he got to the top of the stairs, he cursed loudly, and kicked the adobe wall with one shining steel sabaton. The impact reverberated up his toes, rattling his legs, his spine, even into his heart.
… I had somehow never thought about what it’d be like with him as templar-with-mobility.
(Because this needs to be said, and heard, even though I only have 7 followers.)
I’m a lurker on a lot of the DA2 sites, including many of the higher profile tumblrs. In fact, that’s the whole reason I have a tumblr account, all of my pinned tabs were making Chrome crash. I don’t often get the chance to read my way down my dash during the day, so I often end up clicking my way through someone’s blog to find the start of the more in-depth conversations. I got the biggest kick out of reading the media criticism posts; courses dealing with those issues were my favourite when I was at university. Naturally B-mommy’s blog is one of my favourites. I have not always agreed with her, and sometimes I find the aggressive way she confronts certain things to be off-putting. However, I have the deepest respect for her courage in calling out prejudiced or bigoted behaviour. A lot of the anger directed towards her was from people who would bitch and moan that it was only a game, or just fandom, and that she was being too sensitive or reactionary. It does matter, and what happened to her last week is proof of that. It is uncomfortable, and awkward, but this is not an incident that should be just swept under the rug and forgotten about.
I took an Anthropology course about three years ago that was about popular culture and internet use. The tl:dr of the entire course’s analysis of internet use was that when people present themselves online they feel like they are free to express who they really are, but that personal expression is still shaped by the norms of their native culture, and that it was similar to how societal norms are expressed in other forms of popular media in that culture. That internalized normative constraint is the reason that early utopian dreams of cyberspace have not and will never be realized. Because not all of the things people consider to be natural and right are truly moral or ethical, when we interact online we don’t just carry over the good things about our culture and ourselves as individuals, we carry over the bad as well. So while people aren’t as free as they think they are online, online self-expression is usually genuine in ways it isn’t offline.
This is important because what happened to B-mommy wasn’t about really about the DA fanweek prompts: it was about challenging internalized notions about patriarchy and hetero-normativity, and some people were not happy being confronted with that challenge, because it forced them to question their place in the world, and that made them feel threatened. This is important because atleast one person felt compelled to go on the attack at the suggestion that a trans character could be celebrated for being compelling and interesting, instead of denigrated as a freak of nature, and that women (even straight women) are sincerely interested in something other than men, and the interests of the patriarchy. This is important because the abuse leveled at her was enough to make her stop posting, and atleast one person out there feels good about making her shut up. Congratulations Greyface, you’re a vicious, hateful, immoral asshole! You knew what you were putting out there was not acceptable, otherwise you would have had the balls to post your asks under your username and let everyone know where the shit was flowing from.
This is important because it is a civil rights issue.
Disagreeing with someone is never an excuse for forcing someone to question or reveal sensitive information regarding their mental health or for accusing them of being psychotic. That is abusive behaviour, and it is that kind of thing B-mommy was trying to put an end to with the criticism posted on her blog. Uttering a death threat, even a veiled passive aggressive one, because you don’t agree with what somebody says is never okay. That is abusive behaviour, even if the person uttering that threat never intended to follow through on it, because it implies that that person believes it’s okay to say or do whatever is necessary to protect the status quo, including an action that is illegal in many places. If you are a person who feels like their privilege and power is being threatened by someone’s academically critical opinion in regards to a political/social issue it is not okay to become abusive in response to that perceived threat. That abuse is the reason we all need to be critical thinkers when observing things in our lives. That abuse perpetuates the inequalities in our societies in the most brutal and immediate way, and acts as cover for the more insidious and subtle ways privilege is maintained at the expense of others. It needs to be stopped, otherwise other people will learn that acting that way is okay, and it’s not.
Somewhere along the line the Greyface(s) vomiting over B-mommy were taught that even though the rules said they weren’t supposed to be assholes, they were special and could get away with treating others as sub-human. They also learned that the people running about spouting “PC bullshit” will take away their special-ness by making everyone follow the rules and be nice to eachother. Last week they learned that they could force one of their more vocal critics to shut up by attacking and threatening her, and that there were others out there who were members of their special group who would cheer them on. They learned they had the power to take away someone’s voice.
It would be truly terrible if the lasting legacy of what happened is B-mommy’s continued silence, because that gives her abusers more power, and they will count this as a victory, and do what they did to her to someone else. I don’t really expect the Broodmother blog to be revived, if I were in B-mommy’s shoes I don’t think I could go back to it. But I hope that doesn’t stop her from continuing to be a BAMF both offline and on, or from participating in the fandom, or from being a vocal critic of problems in media. Because she said a lot of things that needed to be said and said again and again until everyone recognizes that putting others down for being different is not okay. I hope she comes back to tumblr, and creates another awesome blog, and that I find it. I hope that what happened to her doesn’t scare other people into silence, because if we stay silent, the assholes win.
Reblogging for this hilarious gif xD
OH LOOK, IT’S MASSIVE META RANT TIME.
Alright y’all, I cannot agree with this proposition enough. I have a lot of feelings right now and they’re emerging in rant-form, so you’ll have to bear with me.
Sebastian is, it is fair to say, by no means one of the most beloved characters in this fandom. In fact, he attracts a fair amount of vitriol, largely from people who are massive Anders fans (which I totally admit to being) and also from people who say that he’s a bigoted religious nut — which is too silly of an assumption for me to bother proving it’s not true. Other people who’ve actually thought it through (and flutiebear’s commentary about him is excellent) dislike him because he’s boring or lacks perspective or is up to his eyeballs in privilege. I was definitely guilty of this in my first playthrough. I was like, RELIGIOUS DOUCHEFACE ALL UP IN MY BIOWARE, GAH.
BUT YOU GUYS. Sebastian is a really interesting, really sad character. I’ll tell you why after the cut.
Yes. Yes, all of this. The three years between Act 1 and Act 2 have always fascinated me - that he journeyed, that he tried, and that it didn’t work. And the rest - some of it I’d never even thought of, but yes.