Looks like this is going to be one of the last Flash! Friday’s. Like, period I guess. So this’ll be one of the last times I scramble incoherently to scribble out something that looks good as of right now that I’m sure I’ll cringe at later.
But hey, it’s still fun!
Speaking of which, have fun~
Guidelines: Must include a dragon and use photo prompt (on page)
Title: In the Dragon’s Shadow
Word Count: 160
The Dragon’s still there, lying atop my city’s skyscrapers like it’s His mound of gold. And also like we’re his food, part of a scurrying platter. History would make it hard to disagree with that.
But I took it upon myself, to continue the fight. Yet I’m no dragon-slayer. I fight against the march of nature blessing the strong and forgetting the weak. My sword is chalk, my armour is darkness, my foe-slaying arrows are memories. My battlefields are the front doors of homes made empty by His hunger, where I inscribe lonely epitaphs.
Tonight, I fight the hardest battle and inscribe the most painful epitaph of my life, through a labyrinth of smoke and ash and back to the house where I sat on the porch all night with someone I had wanted to live my life with since the day I saw her eyes that blazed with heaven’s fire throughout history.
I was thinking the story would almost be like Reign of Fire with the dragons in the modern world. Except, you know, not as cripplingly stupid. Really, the first 20 minutes of that movie was fine. It was everything else that was wrong!
I’m actually doing one of these BEFORE midnight! Which means I might actually get it done and not fall asleep in a lump!
I definitely say that climate has some kind of effect on people’s moods. I mean, ba-dur. It doesn’t have to make any kind of consistent sense, though. Like how some people love hot summer days and I think that just outside of the window is the world slowly being baked to death beneath the unflinching fire of the sun. So to heck with that, time to completely steer myself away from this original point!
So I prefer to think about how weather can affect your thought processes and imaginations. Like how storms for me charge up something deeper and more brutally natural about the world. So, I’m further developing a philosophical trend of thought for a novel/novel pair of mine that involves the trinity of Machine, Sentience, and Nature and Nature certainly isn’t the way we like to think about it on our padded modern world. Nature, as we like to think of it now, can be easily corralled and persuaded to move or be removed so it can fit neatly into our little gardens or groves out behind our homes and other nice stuff like that. When in reality, if nature had its way, it would tear off our faces and wear them as trophies after sucking all the nutrients from our brains, of course. So when I see stuff like thunderstorms and droughts and snowstorms and hurricanes, I can’t help but be reminded just what the ruling of the world’s natural order is:
Humanity likes to think it’s at the top because of its creation of machines that allow it to survive the natural world. And yet, without that assistance, humanity would be consumed in an afternoon by a system that doesn’t care if it lives or die. Nature doesn’t care for art or culture or great legacies because it created all of those things in its earthy, pulsing womb. All that has been created or ever will be created is the product of the natural forces around us that provided all of the atoms and materials and the laws of physics and energy that makes every one of our human creations (from the material to the imaginative and existential). Again, when I see storms blasting bolts of sky-splitting energy or a rainstorm turning a desert into an ocean of flowers (Have you seen those Atacama Desert pictures? That’s what I’m talking about!), it makes me realize just how tiny we humans still are, even with all of our machines. Everything that we make seems to have an edge of disdain for it- disdain for the natural world that seeks to disempower and unmake us at every turn. I suppose that’s something that we humans can be thanked for, the feeling of scorn that drives us to pursue progress at an almost homicidal rate just to ensure that we aren’t subsumed by a force that can crack the freaking sky open with a flick of its finger.
I think I had an ultimate point I was going to try to get at with all of this but now I’m afraid I’ve lost it. Oh well, that’s part of the fun of doing these- the point arises from the process. It also helps that this is usually how I make my little diatribes. I usually just make noise and say things until I realize there was a point there all along that I just wasn’t able to see.
I suppose I could say here that it’s not just weather that affects our moods but our moods affect how weather appears in our eyes- from something to be afraid of or annoyed back to something from which all awe and self-reflection as a person and as a species springs.
If that was all a bit too high-brow of you, here’s a stupid thing I made up recently:
Being killed by Satan should now is called (by me and nobody else ever), “brimstoning.”
I feel like I’m obligated to write something about Thanksgiving this time around. It’s a shame I don’t also feel obligated to submit these darn things on time!
Title: Old, Familiar World
Genre: Historical Fiction
Word Count: 100
When I was a boy, a ship carrying my family, a wolf-eyed father and a mother with dawn in her hair, departed for the sunset horizon. I was to wait until the New World was ‘settled and civilized.’
Thus I watched for the ship from a grassy seaside cliff every day.
Years passed and not even the gout stopped me from climbing the cliff. I came less often after I was wed. And even less after my son was born. I promised to never leave them for new worlds— no family should have to wait like widows on a watch.
For those who are wondering, I didn’t actually have a historical ship in mind when I made this. Just any old early England/Ireland-to New World voyage where everybody died because of the cold/the Yetis/Odin cultists. Not like that narrows it down any.
It’s a two-post day today? How very strange. The moons must be in alignment. And there must be two moons… both are disturbing to consider.
Title: Non-Regional Diction
Prompt: “Write about whatever you’d like, but write using regional slang, your dialect, or in your accent.”
So, Iveardtha we from Cheecago don’t really hear out own aixcent. I, personally, try to undo the most nasally part of the aixcent. At the very least, I don’t pronounce Cheecago as “ChicAHgo.” I think that just kinda sounds stupid. And yet, I really like learning mor’abou other regional differences in language across the US. And elsewhere I s’pose. Fr’instance, we Cheecagoans refer t’eh tennis shoes as “gym shoes.” I guess because we were always using them in gym class back in school. Also, dijuknow that only Illinois people think it’s right to end sentence with, “with?” My friend Alec, hoo’sfrom Michigan, thinks its kinda weird that weecan’ask people if they’d wanna, “come with,” if we’re goin’ somewhere. Instead’ov asking, “do you want to come with me?” Jus’seems wordy to me, honestly.
And I wa’sexperimenting earlier today with m’new microphone. And I think I remember pointing out just how strange my voice sounded sometimes. And I thin’kthat comes from my weirdly gravely voice that’still somehow high-ish pitched. Like I swallowed a cheese grater. Also, there’s one parta’my-mouth that doesn’t really fully open all the way, which makes it’sound like I’m slurring or mumbling more than I usually do.
WordPress seems to think that by having 199 published posts and 1 private one, I’ve actually published 200 posts. Well, it’s wrong. And to prove that its wrong, I’m going to give it something it never expected to see- a Dark Souls Lorequest. As you’ll read in the actual entry, Dark Souls and I have an awkward past, to say the least, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go completely nonsensical with how I try to dig lore out of it!
If anything, it means the exact opposite.
So, this was something that I’ve been wanting to talk about for a long, long time. See, Dark Souls and I have a relatively brief but storied past. I should really just make a blog post on that game to try to explain exactly why I have the mass of confused and tangled feelings that I have for the game but that… well, it would be a huge pain in my rear. Like, a colossal one. It would be much more natural to just record the whole thing vocally and not worry about transcribing down every word. Plus, my friend Alec (who helped to develop this Gwyn’s Wife theory with me) would probably love to contribute too, since he’s of a similar mindset. That mindset being that Dark Souls is… good. Not great, not amazing. Good. Alec didn’t find too much enjoyment out of it and stopped before he completed the game. Meanwhile I found the game, of all things, easy. Easy enough to bore me midway through NG+. So I stopped and now when I play the game, I just do it to wander around and dress up in ridiculous outfits.
And let’s the honest, Shadow of the Colossus is better for that, amirite? Yaimrite.
So, onto the theory!
Alright, so pretty much everybody realizes that Solaire is the fabled Firstborn of Gwyn. It’s pretty much a universally-accepted fact amongst the community (although, there are still a few defenders for Andre of Astora). We’re going to be referencing that ‘fact’ throughout this. For those of you unfamiliar, the Firstborn of Gwyn is an enigmatic character who wielded the power of sunlight and was a god of war in Anor Londo. However, “acting foolishly,” (Ring of the Sun’s Firstborn), he was banished and wiped from history. Because his dad is a huge donkey.
Additionally, I’m going to be fusing all of this with another theory of mine— that Dark Sun Gwyndolin’s snakes are signs of corruption by the Primordial Serpent. Hence his connection to Frampt even though, as we see with the Dark Lord ending, the Primordial Serpents are all shown to be raging lunatics and servants of evil. This would also explain why he was so shunned, to some degree. Or just, and again this is my own interpretation here, his dad was just a massive jerk.
So, I propose that Anastasia of Astora is the disgraced wife of Gwyn. Yes, the one underneath Firelink Shrine who can’t say anything.
To start off, it’s shown that gods are indeed born in Dark Soul’s world. Gwyndolin’s robe says, “The power of the moon was strong in Gwyndolin, and thus he was raised as a daughter. (also, what does moon power have to do with being a daughter? Gwynevere has an affinity for sunlight and is a daughter.) In other words, yes, the divine are born rather than simply being omnipresent (it’s debatable if the Lords are even omnipresent. I’m trying my best to not have a meltdown about the infamous Allfather Lloyd right now and it’s barely working!). Oh and Gwynevere was married off to “Flame God Flann (whoever the heck that is),” in accordance with the Ring of the Sun Princess’ item description.
But hey, where IS Anastasia in Anor Londo then? Gwynevere’s cathedral shows Gwyn, herself, and a space where the Firstborn used to be.
OR IS IT? I would like to put forward that the Firstborn actually was not supposed to be in that location on that empty plinth. Instead, I think that Gwyndolin was supposed to be there and all mention of the Firstborn was removed from Anor Londo. For, if the Firstborn was indeed first-born, he would be the elder of both Gwynevere and Gwyndolin. And if we presume that gods aren’t just born mature adults then the statue of Gwnivere in her cathedral wouldn’t have been built until she was a fully-grown adult. Oh and she would preferably have to be an adult because she had an entire freaking cathedral built to herself. So, this may mean that Solaire was exiled from Anor Londo before said cathedral was built. As such, the open plinth was left open for Gwyndolin.
However, as we all know, Gwyndolin was raised away from the public eye. Probably because of the whole ‘snakes’ situation. And his dad was a massive wad. So, the plinth was left open.
A little bit more background information before we go on with the actual theory (presented in a truncated narrative format!) The statues that have puzzled players to no end, those that show a large robed woman holding a child that is, in turn, holding a sword, can only be representing the Firstborn and his mother. Their close proximity to Firelink Shrine, the Undead Parish, and the Warriors of Sunlight Shrine make it pretty clear that, despite this still just being a theory, it makes a tremendous amount of sense. The robed appearance of the mother holding the child is… an interesting one, however. And I think this can be explained in two different ways.
A: Gwynevere got her fashion sense from her mother and chose to wear hooded robes (albeit with significant cleavage enhancements). Meaning, Anastasia always dressed that way and the statues of her holding a baby Solaire were made in honour of the birth of a new god of the Great Lord. Or:
B: The statue was made post-exile of both Anastasia and Solaire by those who remember them. A narrative theme (if there’s any at all in Dark Souls [any narrative, I mean— zing]) in Dark Souls is the deconstruction of legends. Such as making the Lords the easiest damn fights in the whole game and making Seath, the Lord’s trump card in the war against the dragons an utter raving lunatic (which may pr may not be a Moonlight Greatsword stealth pun). So, if somebody constructed the statues after both Anastasia and the Firstborn’s fall from grace, the craftsmen were probably working off of a legend and not concrete fact. Which is a huge roundabout way to say: The statue’s placements make sense relative to Anastasia’s resting place and her traveling clothes.
Traveling clothes, you say? Why yes! By presenting the meat of this theory in a semi-narrative format, I hope to explain such mysteries! So here we go already.
Anastasia, the Lady of Dawn, was very close to her firstborn child. Creatively named the Firstborn, he was both of his parent’s favourites. However, after the birth of Gwynevere but before the birth of Gwyndolin, an incident now lost to history disgraced the Firstborn. Gwyn made the difficult decision to exile his firstborn son, casting him down into the mortal world. Anastasia was distraught over this decision and her resentment for her husband began to grow.
This was only made worse when her second son, Gwyndolin, was born. Being frail of body and feminine in constitution, Anastasia knew he could never replace her dear Firstborn. The snakes growing from his body was also a bad omen that Anastasia couldn’t ignore. As time passed, she grew more hateful of her child being raised in secret. Eventually, she saw that the snakes were not a simple sign of defect, but of a much darker corruption. She became aware that the opening to the Abyss caused by Manus over in Ooacle was instigated by a Primordial Serpent. Fearing Anor Londo’s corruption and Gwyn’s inaction towards his clearly-doomed child (when he had early banished the Firstborn so easily), Anastasia plotted to reveal her son to the world. This was made all the worse for her when her daughter was married off to the aloof Flame God Flann and Gwyn left, without even a farewell to his wife, to rekindle the First Flame. Her own resentment for Gwyndolin being unable to replace her Firstborn and her hate for her own husband fueled her in no small part in her decision. Indeed, she could almost be seen to act out of spite against the memory of Gwyn.
Anastasia was able to determine that a man fitting the description of her Firstborn had been seen wandering throughout Astora in the mortal world. So, stealing away into the night (figuratively since Anor Londo doesn’t seem to like the nighttime too much), Anastasia donned the robes of a simple cleric and began to search Astora for her beloved child. Her goal was to find the Firstborn first and ensure he was protected when agents of divine vengeance eventually came for her head once she exposed her son to the mortals, an act of the highest blasphemy. Although, it’s interesting to remember that by this point, many of the gods would have fled from Anor Londo and the world was being ravaged by the undead, so it’s a mystery as to who exactly would listen to the incognito Anastasia when she told them about Gwyndolin.
However, Velka and her Blades of the Darkmoon caught wind of her plans before they could be put into effect. Anastasia managed to evade the agents for a time and even escaped to Lordran, where she heard that her son was attempting to fulfill the Undead Prophecy.
As a quick aside: I personally think that Velka is the main guiding force in Dark Souls, appearing as the huge raven that takes you to Lordran, being the narrating voice throughout the game, creating the Prophecy of the Undead to take vengeance on the mad Lords, and placing the doll in your cell for you to retrieve and visit Priscilla with. I might do a shorter Lorequest on that later.
Confronted in what later be called Firelink Shrine, Anastasia was finally corned by the Blades of the Darkmoon. Velka, understanding her need to be in the shadows to orchestra coming events, left the Blades in Gwyndolin’s hands. As such, it was his task, as a show of loyalty and power as the last god in Anor Londo, to punish his mother for her blasphemy. And so, the agents of the Blades of the Darkmoon defeated Anastasia in combat and silenced her godly powers.
To add insult to injury, Anastasia had her divine soul infused with humanity and had her legs slashed. Her white robes were singed black and covered with ash as the Lady of Dawn became the Ash Maiden. Bound beneath the earth and kept close to the spot where her husband sacrificed himself (probably a move by Gwyndolin to reinforce to his mother just how important Gwyn was and how much he tried to save the world, if not himself and his family), Anastasia was doomed to become a guardian of the bonfires that represented the sparks of a much greater fire that her husband burned for and with.
That’s the theory, anyway. Of course, I have no way to prove that any of this happened (like most of what happens in Dark Souls lore- zing) but if Anastasia was traveling under an assumed identity and/or in disguise, it’s possible that history just never chose to remember her on her mortal adventures. Though I can’t really explain why a couple of the statues of her and Solaire, two disgraced gods, would still be standing. I’m just going to mulligan that one, I think. But, there’s also a handful of smaller details that can be gleaned from the story above.
The Velka-themed miracle called Vow of Silence is used to disable all magic casting in an area. Not only would that declaw a divine being by removing their ability to use miracles and the like but the word “silence” alongside Anastasia’s muteness is worth nothing. Interesting, even after having her voice restored, she says, “…Forgive me…I am impure, my tongue never intended for restoration…Please, if you have any heart…Leave me be…I wish not to speak…” Not like I can blame her, with the huge crow standing near her at all times.
1.5. Interesting though, Anastasia remarks that she wishes to, “die human,” and be free of the curse of the undead. I take this to mean that she wants to die without turning hollow so she can be closer to her beloved Firstborn after death since he too is just a mere human now.
After Anastasia’s soul is returned to her from Lautrec and the first Lord Soul is deposited into Firelink Altar, she instantly kindles the Firelink Shrine bonfire to maximum strength. Since (as far as I know) bonfires are indeed tiny First Flames, given that they revert the time stream back to normal and allow you to channel souls to empower yourself, Anastasia’s power over them in conjunction with a Lord Soul makes sense. Given that she’s Gwyn’s wife, she has a connection the Lord Souls, even if she isn’t a Lord herself. By returning a familiar power to a familiar location (the place where her husband descended down into the Kiln), Anastasia’s power would have also increased.
Anastasia’s soul makes mention of her imprisonment, “Was the Ash Maiden locked in this dark prison for some transgression, or by her own will?” I think the former is true. She was crippled so she couldn’t leave her cave but also crippled so she couldn’t bring havoc to the world and exposing her son as a snake-wearing bastard. Her attempt to find her disgraced now-mortal son also probably gets tallied against her. Her robes also make mention of her maiming: “Perhaps its former wearer (referring to Anastasia’s death at the hands of Lautrec) was maimed to prevent escape?”
I can’t entirely place this idea of mine, but I think it’s worth nothing that Lautrec takes Anastasia’s sole to Anor Londo, inside of Gwynevere’s cathedral.
Anastasia being known as “from Astora” shows a connection with Solaire’s own relationship with the place. It provides evidence for them both spending lots of time there before eventually moving on to Lordran.
The crow’s (thus, Velka’s) constant vigil over the Shrine shows that even now Anastasia is being watched. Her muteness at the game’s beginning is so she could not spread her blasphemy to your ears. Additionally, she still barely even talks once given the ability to again. That’s because mama Velka’s watching! Then again, you can just kill Gwyndolin and his stupid snakes anyway, regardless if you hear it from Anastasia or not. Anarchy wins again.
Interestingly, if Anastasia is better off dead for the good for everybody, I always thought that Gwyndolin’s Darkmoon bounty on Lautrec could be a hint that he still cares for his mother. Or he’s just really into his job and doesn’t care who needs avenging. OR he just wants her to live out eternity while being miserable.
Here’s another funny note. Lord’s Blade Ciaran expresses disdain for humans, saying, “Hmph, you humans… Always taking what you please. Then, I shall do the same,” if you choose to attack her while she mourns over Artorias’ grave. Which is totally metal, by the way. And her armour is totally worth it. Anyway, it shows that there is a feeling of distaste amongst the more godly folk of Lordran. A theory was kicked around a while back citing that people like Ornstein and Artorias are so much larger than the player character because they’re A: Not human and B: In a state of being that gives them much more power than a human. In other words, even the servants of the divine are notably separate from humans. Now, if we look at Oswald and what he says about humanity, namely, “Tis only human to commit a sin *freakish laughter,” we see that humanity not only has a reputation for weakness but also for sin.
My, how fitting for a disgraced god! Condemned into a human form like her dearest son and meant to bear a soul of “swarms of humanity” in her chest.
I think that’s all I got for this theory. If I remember anything else later, I’ll add it as a footnote at the bottom. For right now, though, I’ll just let this almost-totally groundless and baseless theory based off of a botched text conversation between Alec and I (where I accidentally insinuated that Anastasia was Gwyn’s wife and we realized it might not be that insane after all [we were probably wrong in thinking that, though]) stew on the internet for a bit.
Oh and as a sidenote, Seath didn’t make Priscilla by having sex (consensual or otherwise) with Gwynevere. Because that theory reeks of grimderp and 2edgy4me ballyhoo.
Untilwe meet again, Questers!
I feel like I should do at least one more section on Dark Souls but, like Majora’s Mask, I really don’t have much to say beyond what I already have. Everything else is either pretty well-known (Solaire being the Firstborn) or something I’ve already kind of talked about (Velka’s involvement in the story). So we’ll see. You know what I really need to do, though? Update the freaking Lorequest page so its at least somewhat relevant!
But that takes woooooork.
Good luck, you brave writer (and gamer) folk!
Pictures courtesy of ME. Since I got my game capture up and running for an afternoon.
I got nothing. Not even two thought-nickles to rub together.
Title: The Power of Touch
Prompt: “Textures are everywhere: The rough edges of a stone wall. The smooth innocence of a baby’s cheek. The sense of touch brings back memories for us. What texture is particularly evocative to you?”
So, I’m gonna be a rascally little scamp and totally avoid the question.
I’m going to come right out, in some semblance of answering the question anyway, and say that I think that marble, the stone kind, has a very pleasing texture to me. But never in the way that I think it will. To try to explain and sound less insane as a result, whenever I see a marble statue or floor, it always looks and feels, in my mind, smoother than it actually is. I expect it to be the apex of smoothness and the slickest thing since the Fonz. Hey, that’s not registered as a typo- that’s pop culture for you (D’oh, on the other hand, is still seen as a typo).
In other words, what I think I’m going to feel is not what it really feels like. Isn’t that a little bit odd? I mean, to have your brain just manufacture a better feeling of a stone you maybe see once every couple of days and in very small quantities compared to everything else you could possibly touch? I can’t imagine it’s a very survival/evolutionary-based trait.
Oh, and here’s a bizarre side-note: I sometimes have the urge to bite into really smooth surfaces, such as marble and smooth wood. Seriously, it’s true! As a kid I used to try to sink my teeth into the smoothest parts of my bedpost. The teeth marks are still there. I’m looking at them right now! I was a strange kid but no less strange as an adult a physically-larger child.
The feeling extends to wanting to sink my nails or various sharp objects into such surfaces.
I mean, isn’t that just kinda freaking weird? Like, to really put it to paper like this makes it sound even more out of its mind. Not like I mind, this since this stuff really turns heads. Quick, now that everyone’s looking at how much of a freak you are, insert some kind of deep philosophical and humanitarian message into the post!
Later, child, later.
For now, I’m tired and frayed at the edges like paper passed through a tumble drier. I think most people call this phenomenon, ‘Thursday.’ I call it a rallying cry, waking me up to realize that I don’t belong in this nine-to-five, two-day-weekend, world. It’s burdensome enough just living with this council of idiot geniuses (or is it genius idiots?) stuck inside of my head, so all of their stupidly brilliant (or brilliantly stupid) words reflect off the unflinching walls and, with each echo, they gain momentum like a hail of reaping arrows falling down upon the heads of marching knights at Agincourt.
It might just be the enormous ocean of stress on my shoulders right now (I’m not even in school right now but I swear I’m taking finals right now) but I really couldn’t come up with anything for this week. So I’ll just borrow a title from an old poem of mine and then try to come up with something with little-to-no prior planning.
We’ll see how that goes.
Title: Ruination of Imagination
Genre: (Almost) Nonfiction
Word Count: 100
I end up over at the open grave. It’s unmarked but I’m already familiar with it— it belongs to someone I knew very well.
A skeleton lays inside, as if it died waiting. I hoist its skull up to the sun and indeed, “Alas! I knew ye well!”
The detritus of my dear better half is scattered before me, wrapped up like a casserole in paper. Somehow, my head is almost completely empty at the draining sight. It must be that, with his departure, I only try to create noise, if only to avoid silence.