Inuyasha and Koga

The Diary of Prince Rupert von Landbeck

The diary of Prince Rupert von Landbeck is a thin volume made of cheap paper, bound with twine, and is kept hidden between the prince’s mattress and his bedframe, the only place which the servants do not regularly clean. It does not bear his name or any other identifying marks on the cover, and it is kept in a barely legible scrawl, which is not made more decipherable by the Prince’s decision to write his diary with a lead pencil rather than using a pen and ink.

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Here's the plain text, for those who prefer it

(no subject)

In Of Other Worlds, C.S. Lewis argues that a science-fictional "leap into the future" is only justified if a writer is writing about a situation which could-not be illustrated in a contemporary setting, and where a historical setting would be either impossible or awkward. Lewis gives the example of the short story "Tom's A-Cold" as an illustration of a story that could have been set in the past, rather then the future- in the dark ages after the collapse of the Roman Empire rather then after the collapse of our present western civilization, but not without taking space from the plot to explain historical events and various Roman household conveniences.

However, I would argue that a story which could have been set in the here and now can profit from a leap into the future if the author intends to explore the ramifications technological change will have for the ordinary life of humanity. I am thinking of A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold in particular. The story itself could be set in the present or recent past quite easily. A decorated covert-ops officer has been discharged from the military for medical reasons but has found a high position in the civilian beaurocracy of his nation's autocratic government. He falls in love with a woman, a widow with an eight year old son, courts her, deals with multiple misadventures as his friends and relitives hatch their own plots, foils and a determined but repulsive rival, sees that his sovereign marries his fiancee without incident, and eventually wins his lady's consent to marriage. The basic plot could have been set in the USSR before the fall of Communism, or in any state with an autocratic government. Indeed, A Civil Campaign is primarily about taking the tropes of a Regency romance novel and putting them into a space-opera setting.

However, the story goes into great detail about how the technological changes Bujold has forseen affect things like courtship, marriage, and inheritience. For instance, uterine replicators have, in the Vorkossigan universe, made it possible to completely divorce reproduction and sex. The fact that this has allowed for people to essentially make disigner babies, and even clone themselves is explored.

A FtM person in this universe can be made into a fully functional man - one who can reproduce as a man- and ends up inheriting lands because of male primogenture. At the end of the novel he gets engaged to a demure young maiden and will soon be siring his own (male) heirs. Has he transcended sexism or reinforced it by forcing everyone in his society to give him male privalage?

In short, while A Civil Campaign could have been set in the present or the past, its future setting makes it distinctive and allows the author to take the plot in directions it could not go in a present day setting- it explores the ramifications technological development will have for everyday life. CS Lewis seems to have missed the exsistance of this sort of story, perhaps because it was not very well developed in Lewis' lifetime. He noted that he was so out of sympathy with stories which were all about some technological triumph that he could not judge their literary merit objectively, and in the 1950s stories about the effects of future technology on human life tended to be of this triumphal sort. In addition, science-fiction of the 1950s tended to assume that technology would improve but social mores would remain the same- later writers have not made this foolish assumption. In fact, Bujold almost seems to believe that technology determines morality. The Barryarans are a sexist, militaristic, feudal society because they got closed off from the rest of the galaxy and technology decayed to a medieval level. Therefore, they had to adopt a mideval society, and, while they've gotten the technology back, their society hasn't caught up with their tech level yet.

One wonders what Lewis would have made of cyberpunk? I suspect that he would have considered it depressing but accurate.
Inuyasha and Koga

The Journal of Johnathan Hakkon, Part 1

The Journal of Johnathan Hakkon is a black, leather-bound volume, with parchment pages. Its title is embossed on the front cover beneath the Hakkon coat of arms, a skeletal arm argent clutching a saber argent on a field noir. The book is locked with a small padlock, and sits proudly on the boy’s desk.

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This is part of a paired set of fics, its counterpart being "The Diary of Prince Rupert von Landbeck", which I will link to when I have it written and posted. Time permitting, this only the first entry in young Johnathan's journal, which he will record through his sea voyage and beyond. Yes, it is in a script font. The other diary will, assuming you have all the nice Vista fonts, display in a different script font to simulate the other boy's handwriting. The plain text of the diary is here.
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Inuyasha and Koga

3- way MMO comparison

OK, so I've played the free trial of FFXI, and am now subscribed to both Warhammer Online and WOW, a situation that I know cannot continue indefinitely. I've cancelled automatic payments in WOW- my goal is to tie up Bia's plotlines, by the time my current payed time runs out, then move over to WAR full time. I'm going to post a side-by-side comparison of the games sometime.
Inuyasha and Koga

(no subject)

I know it's been a long time since I posted something here, but here goes. I've been playing a free trial of FFXI during this break week, along with my now usual WOW playing, and am pondering whether to keep playing FFXI after the break and the trial are over. I know I'd have to cut back WOW time severely if I do- I can't afford two of that sort of time-sink, though they do keep me out of other sorts of trouble!

Things that FFXI does better then WOW:
1. You can communicate, party, and cooperate with members of rival fractions- in fact you can even switch between fractions, and fractions and races aren't tied absolutely- Humes come from the Republic of Barstock normally, but if you want to play one who comes from the Federation of Windaria, you can- all you miss is a minor magic ring that you'll throw away as soon as you find something better. This allows for all sorts of unusual backgrounds and RPed backstabbing that WOW can't deal with.
2. Servers aren't limited to regions- people from the US, Japan, and Europe play on the same servers.
3. The community is actually helpful to newbies!
4. Conqest: Player actions actually have an effect on the game world- slay enough monsters in a particular area while under the buff "Signet" and the area comes under the control of your nation, which gives you both cosmetic and game play benefits.
5. Jobs are not restriced by race, and you can change jobs and keep the same toon.
6. FFXI's KO is a real consequince... you loose EXP, and can even go down a level! WOW's death is a slap on the wrist unless you do it too often. Also, I prefer "KO" to "death" in games as a consequince of losing fights... save death for a big, plot-related threat.

Things WOW does better then FFXI
1. The interface, oh man, the interface. WOW's interface is clean, customizable, and intuitive.... FFXI's is not, to say the least, especially on a laptop with a compact keyboard. Three points: WOW has a jump button, WOW allows add-ons, and WOW's action buttons are a lot easier to use then FFXI's menus.
2. WOW has dedicated RP servers for roleplayers to go to to avoid griefers and find an immersive fantasy environment- this doesn't always work, and some servers are better then others, but the ruleset is there. Girefing and stupid names see less common in FFXI then in WOW generally (though they're still there), but there are no RP servers, and server assignment used to be completely random unless you got a "world-pass" from a RL or online friend, so there's no one server which maintains a really immersive environment, and you have to work to find the RPers.
3. There are no in-game languages. Really, there should be a happy medium between WOW using in-game languages to cut off cross-fraction communication and FFXI's having everyone speak your native language... in my ideal MMO PCs would start off speaking their fraction's language and their race's language if it has one, but could learn to speak others.
4. Quests are very hard to find in FFXI, and there are relatively few of them- there are no quest icons above quest-giver NPCs heads, etc, and if you alt-tab FFXI to look up a quest online it quits you out of the game. All in all this is "fake difficulty" - making the game harder by ways that don't require the designers to make encounters more challenging, IMHO.
5. Graphically, WOW is light-years ahead of FFXI in terms of environments- the toons and monsters are about equally sophisticated, but the backgrounds in FFXI are a mess of pixils, WOW's are breathtakingly realistic.
6. WOW allows duels between players and true PVP between fractions- and in certain areas between members of the same fraction- FFXI doesn't have 'lethal' PVP anywhere, and only allows duels in the context of a mini-game. This limits RP possibilities...and conquest + true PVP would be an ultra-cool combination.

The Tale of Biancus

Beginnings of Biancus

Chapter 1: Beginnings

Biancus actually liked learning and thinking things through, just like his mom and dad did, but this did not make him popular with his peers.  Furthermore, while his pale hair and skin were regarded as a sign of the Loa’s blessing by his elders, they marked him as a freak to his peers.

            Once, when he had been swimming in the ocean, looking for clams, an older boy named Ieason had held him underwater until he nearly drowned.  Ieason had actually been caught that time; his father saw the bullying and pulled his son off the younger boy, but the severe spanking  Ieason received only served to make the bigger troll nastier when no grownups were around. 

After that, Biancus was very careful to stay away from other troll children as much as he could.  He listened to the elder’s tales, or he borrowed one of his father’s books, and spent the day reading about the glories of the lost troll empires.  He learned about the glories of the troll’s past civilization, and wept for his people’s present state.  He also learned that in the aincent Gruubashi tounge, his name meant ‘white’, a reference to his complexion, obviously.

The pale troll child, now about seven, was now sitting in the back of the a hut on , embarrassed by his father.   He was holding forth on the glories of the ancient troll civilization.  Young Biancus just wished that his father would stick with telling the old tales like a storyteller should, not trying to figure out the “truths behind them”.  That was boring, not exciting like a proper storyteller should be- he wanted them to learn things, and to think them through.   Right now, he was saying “and therefore, the legend of the Gruuubashi, while true in its outline, is obviously flawed, in that Hakkar”. Then he was interrupted, by a loud, quite adult, voice clearing his throat.  Standing at the hut’s entrance was the great witchdoctor, Sen’Jin! 

“May I talk to your son for a bit, Fan’ton?”, asked the witchdoctor. 

“De boy can speak for himself”, his father replied, and young Biancus’ heart swelled with pride. 

“Yes, I’ll go”, said Biancus.

The great witchdoctor took the pale boy outside the hut, and the two trolls walked along the beach for a while, before Sen’Jin spoke, saying “Young Biancus, we’ve always thought dat your white hair meant de blessing of some great loa. You’re smart, you tink a lot, an you know a lot ‘bout de history of our people. An I tink dat when you talk, people will listen. I’d like to take you on as a ‘printice houngan, teach you our magic an’ our ways o’ honoring de Loa for de good of de tribe.  But it’s up to you, you have ta say yes.” 

Biancus thought for only a moment before saying “yes, I want to become a houngan, for the good of de tribe.” From then on, his training in the ways of troll Voodoo began. 

And thus, Biancus grew in wisdom and in years, until he reached the age of twelve.  Then the humans and the murlocks arrived, and his people were under attack from all sides at once, it seemed.  And then the orcs came, led by the great green chieftain, Thrall.   Thrall led a reckless assault on the human base, got captured by the murlocks, and got Sen’Jin captured along with him. Thrall managed to escape from the Murlocks, but Sen’Jin, Biancus’ beloved mentor, was sacrificed to the murlock’s Sea Witch.  Not that Biancus learned this for some time, what with the volcanic eruption and all!

Biancus did take part in that battle, despite his few years and his half-trained status.  He healed everyone that the orcs sent him, blue furred spearmen, green-skinned grunts and shaman, and even a fellow witchdoctor, using magic when he could, bandages and herbs when he could not.  He was covered in blood and gore, yet the boy still managed to not throw up until the battle was over and he and the wounded orcs and trolls he cared for were safe in the hold of one of Thrall’s ships.

Inuyasha and Koga

Waly's Journal, Part 2

It has been a long time since I last wrote in this journal. I have done much, seen much, and learned much.  

I have abandoned my dream of revenge on the Scrouge and the restoration of Londeron for now.  I have joined a new guild, dedicated to exploring strange lands, in the hopes of founding a new haven for Londeronian culture. 

Well, that merchant of Ara’s turned out to be a pretty unpleasant character.  He will die in pain, of course.  I intend to instill fear in him, then curse him with agony until he dies.  Not the most efficient mode of combat, but a fitting end for a rapist.  I do suppose I may offer him a chance to surrender and face the King’s justice rather than my own, if Ara so wills it.    Of course, as Eoclastia reminded me, I cannot be certain that the merchant was responsible.  My beloved priestess (an unrequited love, I fear, and as yet an unconfesssed one)  was hurt by a fool who fears neither Light nor Man. He shall fear both when I am through.  Then I shall confess my love!


Alchemy! I spent years refusing to learn it and now I’’ve picked it up.