Flash! Friday: “In the Dragon’s Shadow”

 

BEGIN TRANSMISSION.

 

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.

“A beautiful girl lived here,” I write.

 

 

THE OTHERS

 


 

 

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!

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 

Advertisements

Daily Prompt 10: “Non-Regional Diction”

 

BEGIN TRANSMISSION.

 

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.

 

Have fun~

 


 

 

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.

Som’than-tawork on, I guess.

 

 

THE OTHERS

 


 

 

Pingback:

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/non-regional-diction/">Non-Regional Diction</a>

 

I would have gone on further but even those one-and-a-half paragraphs took me about half an hour to do. Which is just too long to dwell on one post!

 

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 

Lorequest: Dark Souls Part 1- “Gwyn’s Wife”

 

BEGIN TRANSMISSION.

 

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.

 

Have fun~

 


 

 

Anor Londo, the aloof city of the gods that looms high above Lordran proper. It's where our sad little story starts.

Anor Londo, the aloof city of the gods that looms high above Lordran proper. It’s where our sad little story starts. 1.

 

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.

Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight (plus faithful knights) looking raggedy and awful, as per usual. 2.

Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight (plus faithful knights) looking raggedy and awful, as per usual. 2.

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.

Gwyndolin, lonely Darkmoon god of Anor Londo. Notice the -freaking snakes- 2.

Gwyndolin, lonely Darkmoon god of Anor Londo. Notice the -freaking snakes- 2.

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.

Said open plinth, devoid of its original occupant. 1.

Said open plinth, devoid of its original occupant. 1.

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.

Either:

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:

A giant, glowing Gwynevere showing her fashion sense and enormous tracts of land- such as it is to be divine and gifted like that. 2.

A giant, glowing Gwynevere showing her fashion sense and enormous tracts of land- such as it is to be divine and gifted like that. 2.

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.

What I interpret the Firstborn to actually have once looked like. Or a rough approximation. At least he's wearing -shoes- unlike his stupid dad and brother. 1.

What I interpret the Firstborn to actually have once looked like. Or a rough approximation. At least he’s wearing -shoes- unlike his stupid dad and brother. 1.

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.

Anastasia in her traveling disguise at Firelink shrine, her final destination in her search for the Firstborn. 1.

Anastasia in her traveling disguise at Firelink shrine, her final destination in her search for the Firstborn. Her choice of clothing here could reflect her earlier life, as she’s seen wearing robes in her statues. It all depends on how you interpret the above conundrum regarding her clothing choice and its relation to Gwynevere. 1.

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.

Anyway~

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.

Anastasia, again in her traveling clothes, about to defend herself against the agents of the Darkmoon. 1.

Anastasia, again in her traveling clothes, about to defend herself against the agents of the Darkmoon (I know it’s chaos magic she’s casting but I had to think of something!). 1.

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.

Anastasia locked inside of her cell beneath the bonfire of Firelink shrine. Her Dingy outfit just a soiled version of the Maiden outfit which is worn as, "part of [the traveling maiden's] formal attire, regardless of rank," (Maiden Set description) making it the ideal traveling attire for Anastasia. 1.

Anastasia locked inside of her cell beneath the bonfire of Firelink shrine. Her Dingy outfit just a soiled version of the Maiden outfit which is worn as, “part of [the traveling maiden’s] formal attire, regardless of rank,” (Maiden Set description) making it the ideal traveling attire for Anastasia. 1.

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.

 

  1. 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.
An agent of Velka casting the Vow of Silence miracle which cancels out magic in an area. 1.

An agent of the Darkmoon casting the Vow of Silence miracle which cancels out magic in an area. 1.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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?”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
The enormous crow that hangs out around Firelink Shrine is, according to the infallible wisdom of ME, is a representation of Velka's watch over Anastasia. 1.

The enormous crow that hangs out around Firelink Shrine is, according to the infallible wisdom of ME, is a representation of Velka’s watch over Anastasia. 1.

 

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!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 

 


 

 

  1. Pictures courtesy of ME. Since I got my game capture up and running for an afternoon.
  2. Pictures from the Dark Souls wiki. The best one.

 

 

Lorequest: Shadow of the Colossus Part 8- “Barba”

 

BEGIN TRANSMISSION.

 

Yes, I’m back, slinking into my favoured fortress of Lorequest. Late, as per usual. But these walls are mine and I will defend them with mass conjecture to the best of my ability!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 


 

 

Barba, Colossus #6, otherwise known as the Slumbering Gravekeeper- the god of protecting the dead and entombed underground. 1.

Barba, Colossus #6, otherwise known as the Slumbering Gravekeeper- the god of protecting the dead and entombed underground. 1.

 

So we finally come back to Shadow of the Colossus, do we? Well good, I was tired of lying to myself and saying I didn’t have time for this anyway. But to be honest, we’re going from Avion, my favourite Colossus, to Barba, my least favourite. So you can understand my hesitation.

 

Dormin has this to say about Barba:

Thy next foe is…

A giant lurks underneath the temple…
It lusts for destruction…
But a fool, it is not.

 

This one’s actually pretty interesting. Not very helpful at all to poor little Wander but still interesting nevertheless. We’ll get to that later!

Barba showing his bony ribcage-like outcroppings and his dappled skin. 1.

Barba showing his bony ribcage-like outcroppings and his dappled skin. 1.

Barba, otherwise known as Belua Maximus is the sixth Colossus that Wander will encounter in the Forbidden Lands. He, by my investigation, was a god of the dead and guarded over them in their eternal slumber. He’s the third of the five “humanoid” Colossi and represents the next stage in the craftsmen’s attempts to create a more realistically humanoid statue. Barba is also the second and final Colossus concerned predominately with death, as he presides over a large underground catacomb and sports many ghastly and boney appendages like Phaedra, the other Colossus of the dead.

Barba’s appearance makes it fairly obvious that he’s a god of the dead. His exposed spine and even what appears to be ribs near the armour on his waist are evidence of that (and are quite similar to the other god of the dead, Phaedra). What else is interesting through is that Barba is not only sporting a tremendous beard but also dappled skin. His skin, when combined with the long beard, actually makes me think of liver-spots and thus, old age. And what’s more ancient than death itself? Not a whole lot. So Barba’s not only a wizened old caretaker of the dead and their resting places but he also represents the timeless force that all those that live must eventually fall to. He doesn’t carry a weapon, either, being the only humanoid Colossus to not have one (Malus’ exploding-lightning magic counts as its launched from his hands. Also, that big lighthouse totally has huge claws. Just saying.). This may have been a design modification by the Shamans so Barba didn’t totally wreck up the place or it may have just been that, as a god, Barba embodied death so much that a weapon was unnecessary. Barba is a representation of death and entropy as a force, a largely unfelt passage of time slowly sapping life away from bones and body while leaving its marks on skin and the beards of old men.

In other words, Barba has quite a wizened and respectable air about him, perhaps feeding into his reputation great intelligence. Like Hades with a huge beard and made out of stone that can totally beat the crap out of you. Not to say that Hades couldn’t beat the ever-loving snot out of you. Barba will just be much more direct about it.

And I can respect that. Even if I’m not the biggest fan of his actual battle.

So let’s finally get to unpacking what Dormin said about the big bearded oaf.

A giant lurks underneath the temple. Well, it’s fairly obvious that Barba is a giant, so that’s clear as it stands. But what isn’t is that Dormin says that he’s “underneath the temple,” implying that the actual temple is not where he actually is. But the rest of Barba’s building is just one big path down to the crypts he’s guarding. So that must mean that the actual temple is somewhere above him and where you can’t get to. In other words, unlike most other Colossi which directly guard their places of worship and veneration, Barba is guarding the place underneath it. But, given that he’s a god of the dead, perhaps presiding over where the living tread is a bit out of his job description.

The entrance to Barba's arena. This may be his actual temple that he waits underneath. And yet, most temples have some kind of altar or location of worship. This one simply has a hall that leads right to Barba's catacombs. 1.

The entrance to Barba’s arena. This may be his actual temple that he waits underneath. And yet, most temples have some kind of altar or location of worship. This one simply has a hall that leads right to Barba’s catacombs. 1.

So, if where Barba is waiting isn’t his temple, what’s all that down by him?

I first want to look at the structure at the far end of the room which I’ll just call the scaenae frons from now on. For those who don’t have much of an interest in Greek and Roman history, a scaenae frons is 3D backdrop used in (predominately) Roman plays. They’re actually quite beautiful being constructed like facades of buildings to give the appearance of a real structure. They were also sometimes carved into rock walls to serve as a natural stopper to the structures. The structure at the end of Barba’s arena not only has the appearance of a scaenae frons in that it looks like the façade of a structure jutting out from a wall of rock, but it even hosts Romanesque Doric columns like said scaenae fronses (What do you know? “Fronses” is the correct way to pluralize “frons”).

A real-life in Bosra, Syria. Not the pillars and the illusion of a real structure being constructed. 2.

A real-life in Bosra, Syria. Not the pillars and the illusion of a real structure being constructed. 2.

SO since scaenae fronses were used in Ancient Rome as backdrop to plays… well, what if the people of the Forbidden Lands used that structure as a backdrop to perform plays about the life of a dead person or of some kind of celebration of the dead? Seems possible. Probable? Eh. Possible? Yeah, why not.

A view of the catacombs right from right above Barba's container. The Frons is in the far back with its many pillars. 1.

A view of the catacombs right from right above Barba’s container. The Frons is in the far back with its many pillars. 1.

Day of the Dead celebration in the Forbidden Lands? Makes sense to me! I had mentioned in the Colossus page, I mentioned that since the dead play such a huge role in the plot and in the Forbidden Land’s culture (Phaedra and Barba themselves are good examples of that), there may very well be some kinds of celebrations held in the dead’s honour down there in Barba’s tomb with Barba himself looming from the other side of the room. I have no idea how people would get down to the “theatre area” and the scaenae frons since it’s just a big ladder all the way down with no steps.

Well, I mean, somehow Dark Souls is lauded as having one of the best game worlds in recent memory and IT is totally illogically built with thin walkways and impossible terrain for work animals and construction materials.

That doesn’t prove my point so much as take a pot-shot at Dark Souls. Which I still consider a win. But anyway.

So I think that idea of the structure at the end of the tomb being a scaenae frons holds water, personally. Now, what those walls and urns in Barba’s arena is a bit easier to explain. The urns are likely burial urns containing the ashes or bones or the deceased and the walls seem to have gates or windows made up of metal bars installed in them that stop Wander from walking straight through them. I wager those were added later. Symbolically speaking, I see these walls as “gates” that the dead have passed through on their way to the afterlife. More materially, I see those walls as ways for people attending the plays and celebrations at the far end of the room to reflect on the lives and deaths of those buried there. The ways through the walls were probably sealed off one Barba was in order to keep intruders from defiling the scaenae frons.

That may also be why Barba doesn’t just smack the structure when Wander is hiding in it unlike how Argus smacks the fortress with his full force. Even if (Argus) doesn’t wreck the pillars he swings at, although he totally should, he will destroy the bridges running from the two sides of the fortress. So Barba’s taking real care not to totally ruin things.

And yet, if we look again at what Dormin says about Barba, he is known for trying to be intelligent and precise with his attacks. And truthfully, if you let Barba do it, he will beat the ever-loving snot out of you with nary a hesitation when some other Colossi stop and investigate Wander at first before trying to exterminate him. So perhaps that precision mixed with brute strength helped to give Barba his reputation for intelligence. Or it could just be that he likes to investigate the scaenae frons in the far back of the tomb with his big monster golem hand. Then again, Cenobia will knock down the pillars in his city and Argus will swing his weapon at you while you’re in the fortress.

Here's Wander clinging onto Barba's face. Note how the Magic Sigil is tilted onto the left side of his head- the left side of the brain is the one used for logical thought. 1.

Here’s Wander clinging onto Barba’s face. Note how the Magic Sigil is tilted onto the left side of his head- the left side of the brain is the one used for logical thought. 1.

So I guess Barba’s not that intelligent after all. Meaning, he simply must have an overly-long lore explanation for his supposed intelligence. Oh and I’m sure the Wiki (you know, that site that’s actually much better-constructed than what I’ve got ambling on here) will also tell you that Barba’s Magic Sigil on his head is on the left side of his head, that being the logical side of the brain.

The more you know (before a little mite of a man climbs up your head and stabs it out)!

But can we stop for a second to just talk about Barba’s door? What the heck is up with that thing? Firstly, it’s a door that’s intelligent enough to realize that there’s an intruder so it lowers itself to allow Barba out of it. So, the actual engineering skill of the craftsmen of the Forbidden Lands must have been quite impressive at that point if they made a fully operational door for Barba but poor Quadratus has to bash through a wall. And yet, I think his seclusion behind the wall has two-fold reasons for it. Like Cenobia, as we’ll see later, confining Barba behind a wall that only falls when an intruder enters could stop Barba from waking up and wrecking the place as he is front to do when you fight him. I chalk this up to another instance of the Shaman’s souls being at odds with Dormins’, causing a conflict in the Colossi’s personality.

Barba looking for Wander in the Frons. Instead of Argus and Cenobia who batter anything that gets in their way as they attempt to reach Wander, Barba will investigate first and then gently (relatively speaking) hit the Frons to try to scare Wander out. 1.

Barba looking for Wander in the Frons. Instead of Argus and Cenobia who batter anything that gets in their way as they attempt to reach Wander, Barba will investigate first and then gently (relatively speaking) hit the Frons to try to scare Wander out. 1.

I wanted to give this final section its own little place rather than spreading it out just so I can talk about it all at once— that being Dormin’s advice of, “It lusts for destruction.” Given that I’ve already established that Barba is likely some kind of tomb guardian, it really shouldn’t lust for destruction in its nature. And yet, it was locked behind its huge door in order (in theory) to keep itself from destroying out of rage what it was supposed to protect. But its intelligence should be able to keep those instincts in check unless somebody threatens the tomb as a whole or the safety of the seals keeping the piece of Dormin’s soul in Barba’s body. So what’s this “destruction” referring to?

Dormin may actually be referring to Barba’s role as a god, that being a god of death. If that’s the case though, Barba hardly seems like the kind of Colossus to “lust” for destruction. Instead he appears to just be more of a passive embodiment of it. So this may be Dormin’s own opinion here, adding a sideways insult at Barba’s expense due to his influence over the dead in the Forbidden Lands (at least from a religious/spiritual standpoint). Given that Dormin receives so much of Its power via death and rebirth, perhaps Dormin really is just letting a little bit of Its own anger show through here.

Then again, there is another Colossus that Dormin mentions having “a lust for destruction,” so we’ll examine that when we get there. A looooong time from now.

Because God knows I’ll be taking another two or three months to do another one of these! But hey, Hydrus is next! My 2nd favourite Colossus!

Like that helped me doing Avion after Phaedra.

 

 

Until we meet again (in the far future) Questers!

 


 

 

Hydrus is next, I swear! I might end up tackling Over the Garden Wall in a special November version of Lorequest. That show’s got more autumn in it than a room filled with pumpkin pies and maple leaves. So it’ll be a great way for me to close out autumn!

In theory But that’s just a theory.

A LORETHEORY.

Ha. Haha. Ugh. I’m so funny.

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer (and gamer) folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 


 

 

 

1. Images from the Team ICO wiki.

2. Image from Wikipedia- “scaenae frons”

 

Flash! Friday: “Boneyard.”

 

BEGIN TRANSMISSION.

 

I’m starting to re-discover my love for TV Tropes.com. Someone please send help.

 

Have fun~

 


 

 

Title: Boneyard

Setting: The Middle of the Ocean

Theme: Power of Nature

Word Count: 125

 

My father told me that there used to be an ocean here, beneath our feet. But I don’t believe him. Oceans just seem so impossible. All that water and all that life taking up so much space. Where did all the people live before the salt-soaked Endless Land formed in its stead?

I ask if oceans ever existed. This makes my father sad for a reason I can’t figure out. He bends down and picks up one tiny bone. A fish bone, he tells me.

“There’s still more?” I say. “I thought I got them all.”

My father pats the huge ribs of the whale’s skeleton that’s become our house.

“That’s what we thought when the oceans were still around. That there’d always be more.”

 

 

THE OTHERS

 


 

 

I really am starting to think that TV Tropes is so brilliant because it’s like Confirmation Bias, the website. It makes you realize how not-insane you are for thinking that something was just soul-crushingly sad on TV when none of your friends think so.

But the internet knows better. It always does.

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 

Daily Prompt 2: “The New School”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The New School.”

 

BEGIN TRANSMISSION (I actually left this out during the first publishing. The shame!)

 

I guess we’re doing another one of these Daily Post prompts again. I didn’t do the one yesterday because I didn’t feel like it and I thought the prompt was poop. That’s not true, I just wasn’t feeling it like I am with this one. With THIS prompt I can unleash my mass conjecture in the hopes that spilling my guts out now will help later when I decide to actually take these ideas into the real world to be read by REAL PEOPLE.

 

None of you reading this are real. You’re all just in my imagination.

 

But have fun anyway~

 


 

Title: The New School

 

Prompt: “You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

 

So this is a whole can of worms in and of itself. I hated so much of my pre-college school career but I think I’ve done a decent job reigning in my dislike and tempering it with actual ideas instead of just passionate hatred. We shall see.

 

So firstly, school needs to expand outside of just being a school. That is to say, it needs to become less of a place to be taught things and more of a place to learn things. Starting with the teachers, they should be people judged by the quality of their personage as well as their education. There are plenty of teachers with good education and training but they lack the personality to interact with children or the initiative to stimulate their minds. Teachers are, in our ever-faster world (another gripe of mine), are becoming the source for more and more guidance and information in children’s lives.

 

From now on, when I mention “school,” assume I’m talking about Kindergarten through High School.

 

So, teachers must be mentors and, in a way, parents as well as simple educators. As a young man who firmly does not fit in with what could be considered Millennial pop culture, I can see that traits such as narcissism, self-entitlement, hedonism, apathy, nepotism, cynicism, and egotism have gripped a shockingly high number of the youth of my age. I reason this to be because a certain level of self-awareness must come when one is not only educated but after one has internalized said education and looked critically at themselves.

 

I know it’s highly controversial for me as a young person to say this, but I don’t think people should ever turn to drugs, alcohol, or any kind of forced escape from reality because yes, reality is hard to deal with and the weight of our lives is heavy indeed, but if we hide from it, we only do extreme disservices to ourselves and the world at large. We play into the hands of those who would milk our money and time from us like cows and we hide from problems rampant in life that we all seem doomed to repeat.

 

Speaking of which, back on the subject of, you know, SCHOOL, History should be MUCH more emphasized. What’s the use of teaching a child business and government if they don’t know how many times both of those subjects have utterly skullfrucked our species and planet in the past when they were poorly controlled?

 

History is important to make us better PEOPLE. Sure, English and science and math all helps us become better students, but we need to look at the past to know where we’re going as PEOPLE.

 

In other words, schools should cultivate a kind of reputation of reverence, of secular spiritualism where students can expand their minds intellectually but also socially, culturally, inwardly, and outwardly. Punishments should be used very sparingly. Instead, the two (or more) students having issues with each other should be sat down and allowed (with gentle reinforcement so they don’t just stop caring as children are wont to do) to work out their problems. Or at least talk them out so there’s tangible evidence behind each and every issue- as there always is. There’s never just “good” and “evil” to a situation. The truth will always lay somewhere in-between.

 

Another good lesson to be taught in history, early and often. And again and again until we stop pigeonholing people into a freakish moral monochrome.

 

The quicker our youth figure that out, the quicker they’ll stop listening to the older folks who tell them to be arsehats to other people “just because they’re different.” Or even worse, they’ll learn to think morally and intelligently for themselves without anybody telling them what to do or what not to do.

 

Hey, that’d be a fun final exam in High School. An entire day run completely by the students to see if they can control themselves and have worked up the strength of character necessary to live in a world that will feel each and every one of their decisions, even in some small (Butterfly Effect) way. But the teachers shouldn’t tell them it’d be happening, though. Otherwise they’d just behave for the grade.

 

Oh and to hell with standardized tests. John Oliver will tell you about that better than I ever could care to.

 

And more time for recess and the arts. Again, this comes from expanding the consciousness and creativity of a person beyond themselves and yet deeply inside themselves at the same time in order to give a more comprehensive understanding of the world and all of its intricacies outside of facts and figures.

 

This may just be the remnants of my hatred of math talking here, but when it’s abundantly clear that we will NOT be using Calculus in our normal lives, that we shouldn’t waste our time on it.

 

I take issue with the grading scale and the way that the classes are so sectioned out and yet I don’t feel as though I’m educated enough in those subjects to propose any real suggestions that could hold water. Except for maybe your classes should be re-arranged every once in a while or even daily. So your English class is at 9:00AM one day and then 1:30PM the next day.

 

And make High School start later! That crap was crazy!

 

Okay, I’m done now.

 

THE OTHER ENTRIES

 


 

I wonder why people would ever listen to me on matters such as this. Or rather, I WOULD if anybody ever has in the past. I’m just 22 years old, after all, and know nothing about life according to those with any real say in the world. I guess I’ve just been in a very realistic dream for the last 22 years and haven’t learned a gosh-darn thing.

 

There are good old/middle-aged/young people too! They just are being very quiet nowadays. Not a good climate for rational, deviant thought.

 

Pingback:

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/the-new-school/">The New School</a>

 

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer (and thinker) folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 

 

Daily Prompt 1: “Express Yourself!”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Express Yourself!.”

 


 

 

BEGIN TRANSMISSION.

 

Well this feels odd. I’m trying to write this post using the big button on the taskbar that says “Create a New Post.” I’m not used to this bright white landscape that I can carve my words into. It’s too… stark. And accepting. And kind of bright since I always write in darkness.

My sister claimed that habit was “creepy.”

Anyway, so I’m going to be starting on this The Daily Post thing called Daily Prompts. I might do more of the Daily Post things since they’ll force me to come onto WordPress more than once a week and since Five Sentence Fiction is out until 2016, I need something else to flood my servers since I still refuse to do more Lorequests because of reasons that are numerous and stupid.

Anyway, have fun~

 


 

Title: Express Yourself!

Question: “Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?

 

I think the answer to this one is rather obvious, don’t you? I mean, clearly I’m an interpretive dancer at heart.

But really, I’m a writer. Dur. But since that answer’s so obvious, I figure I should now dive into a diatribe about why I love it so.

And why that is is a bit of a complicated answer. Because i suppose I could say that as somebody with a hugely overactive imagination, sometimes going so far as to have lucid day/dreams that writing allows me to put my imagination down onto paper. But that’s actually wrong, for the most part. I mostly imagine things that I would consider to be either (oftentimes) poor reading or poor things to write about. That is, high fantasy with a sword-and-sorcery focus. Because I listen to a huge variety of music that must meet very strict “vibe” guidelines, meaning they need to be high-energy and charged with emotions through the lyrics beyond simply saying words. So a lot of thoughts cross my path that would follow that trend of high energy and even a kind of glorious violence.

Meanwhile my favourite thing to write about is the life of a person in a world that could really use a hero. But instead of using heroes as my protagonists, I turn to those regular people. I’d like to think that, beyond just toying with expectations, I can also speak to something greater and more universal to all of humanity. We all wish, at some points, that we were heroes with real power. Unfortunately though, none of us are or ever will be in the ways that we’d probably hope. Technology will help us fight our enemies but our “enemies” are merely other human beings trying to make their own ways in the world. There’s no “easy” enemies to fight that would free us from moral qualms like the Orcs, hordes of the undead, or other horrible beasts and hostile aliens of fantasy and science fiction. We are a species defined by our togetherness and strength when united, so a charismatic leader is the closest thing we’ll ever get to being a true hero. But will that help us when a loved one is in danger of falling off a cliff or stuck in the middle of some other cinematic-charged life-or-death situation? Eh, not really.

So while that might seem rather pessimistic of me to say, “none of us can be heroes,” there has been a lot of instances throughout history where people thought they were truly heroes and got themselves or others into a lot of trouble/pain. Haven’t those people heard of the phrase “don’t be a hero!”

This, of course, runs off of the entire idea that “heroics” are as dividing-ly subjective as good and evil. One person’s hero is another’s butcher. The world has never quite learned that lesson, elsewise we’d stop glorifying the things we as a species have done and will continue to do that bring destruction, oftentimes irreparable destruction, on the world and on others.

Follow that up with the idea that everybody who has ever been a hero in the eyes of anyone always has A: flaws, B: dark secrets, C: a laundry list of stupid decisions that run out the door.

Again, nobody’s quite figured out that we as human beings are human. One wrong can destroy a person forever and we expect a lifetime of perfection.

We all want to live in a world of heroes when none of us can be.

This got a lot more existential than I had expected to be.

And THAT is why I love writing.

It’s also why boring people can’t write.

 

 


 

Well, there you have it. My first entry into this new daily (? [probably not]) writing prompt. I don’t even know if I’m linking this correctly. Time will tell!

 

Pingback:

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/express-yourself-2/">Express Yourself!</a>

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.