the english major in me is still fucked up over deciding that in my campaign, Mystra is a Macbeth figure, Kelemvor is a Hamlet figure, and Cyric is a Brutus (Julius Caesar) figure. Cyric stabbing his dearest friend to death in the last moment ‘because I loved Rome more,’ Mystra seeing the meaninglessness of life and craving immortality and committing unholy murder to achieve glory and godhood, Kelemvor well-meaning and devoted and losing everything through inaction;
I kinda wanna kidnap someone but only actually take over like…the majority of their life I guess? I know that sounds stupid but I’d love to kidnap someone in college and keep them in my house but still let them out to go to class and maintain a steady future. Like I did kidnap them, I stole them walking back from class and I keep them in my house, forcing them to do whatever I want. They wear only what I allow them, they have a collar on 24/7, I treat them like my private fuck toy and force them to worship me. It’s just that one of the things I also want for them is to keep their bright future so I also take over paying their tuition, I make sure they’re studying and doing all their homework, I bring over their old wardrobe and allow them to pick outfits from it to wear to class, I make sure they’re taking care of themselves and their future. All I really did was cut them off from their toxic family, took the stress of a job out of their life by keeping them at home, and wiped out their stress by taking over all of their financial responsibilities. They try to ask me about tuition or a early cancellation fee for breaking their contract on their dorm/apartment since they live here now, but all I tell them is that’s not their job to worry about anymore. Just make sure they suck my cock well and keep learning and studying like my good smart little pet and it’ll all be okay.
So, uh, Imogen’s playlist, aka, Imogen’s entire life really got fucked by her powers.
tl;dr: purple haired psychic anxiety sorcerers can have a little "let go, be absolutely unhinged", as a treat.
“When the voices started – Imogen didn’t know what was happening.”
"Before she developed the tools to shut out the noise, she was flooded with the thoughts and desires of those around her."
she didn't have the tools to keep everyone out at the start. she was being inundated with thoughts and feelings and desires of everyone around her, no way to stop it, no idea what was happening.
(did she even have a good way to know what thoughts were hers? were there early days where she was awash in a sea of sound and feelings and thoughts and felt like she was dissolving in them, unable to know what was hers, and what was everyone elses?)
Could she even confide in anyone? If their presence alone could still be overwhelming, and that's even if they weren't already driven away, disgusted or horrified or scared or anything else that she would know, whether they wanted to her or not.
Everything about her previous life, ripped to shreds, drowned out by horrible noise.
And on top of that, constantly, unwillingly being exposed to the worst of people, to the things people think but don't say, to the casual cruelties of humanity and passer-by. Seeing people be kind and hearing them be cruel. Hearing people be awful and knowing they're thinking even worse. Awful words, awful thoughts, like shrapnel into her mind, day in, day out.
“She understands the innate selfishness of humanity and had almost lost hope for everything before running into the beautiful soul that is Laudna. “
(except for Laudna).
And on top of that, the nightmares. Can't sleep, didn't want to sleep, because every time she gives in its a chance for another nightmare. Exhausted and overstimulated and overwhelmed in the day and exhausted and wracked with nightmares at night.
“Between the fear of sleep and the constant buzz of everyone around her, she’s always a few steps away from losing herself. A thin mask of control is what keeps her together sometimes, and when she can feel the ties of that mask begin to slip, Imogen doesn’t know what to do.”
Sleep deprived, stressed, white-knuckling it to keep her brain in one piece, intimately aware of an awful world that is constantly beating down her defenses and causing her physical pain in the process, filled to the brim with anxiety.
All this, with a crackling storm in her veins, unbelievable power at her fingertips-
“Sometimes Imogen just wants to give in to it all. Let the rain fall, let the mental walls come down – what’s the worst that could happen?”
.....anyway, all I'm saying is, if Imogen wants to go apeshit, if she wants to go absolutely unhinged. I think she's earned it. :)
i know i know, i keep writing posts about Stories and Diversity of Narratives, i know it's all very abstract, i know most of my posts boil down to the same kernel of thought. but the community of this site was built on love for stories and flinging thoughts into the void and that's a tradition i'm willing to honor any hour of the day. only i can stop me.
i've been bringing up my own story preferences and habits a lot recently, such as what videogames i won't play, or how i don't want to be stuck only reading books from the same single author for too long at a time. anyway i think there's a lot of overlap between story habits and food habits. i am aware food as an analogy have been done so many times, but we all have a relationship to food in some way or other, so it keeps being a useful one. i think stories, in whatever form they may come, are a presence in everyone's lives as well. maybe your physical vessel won't die of story starvation, but it's important to feed your soul too, you know?
here's what i believe about food: nobody has a right to dictate what you eat.
(yes, yes, if you want to be contrarian about that statement you could make an argument for doctors only letting you eat jello and soup after a surgery or something. exceptions are a rule of the world. i'll let that one pass.)
there's many factors that contribute to our eating habits. what we like and don't like, allergies and other dietary restrictions, textures, time to cook, time to consume, resources, availability, ability, knowledge, culture, disorders, personal ethics. the list goes ON. other people looove to tell you what you 'should' or 'shouldn't' eat, looove to tell you about what you should do with your body and your time. but they have no right to. they don't know your own body better than yourself. they don't know your history. they might not know what eating disorders you have struggled with, what textures make you gag, where you can afford to shop, if you were never taught how to cook, if you work long hours with almost no left over time and energy to meal prep, or if you're confined to a space where all the tools at your disposal is a microwave and an electric kettle. we live in a society, huh.
what works for one human being among seven billion will not work the same for everyone else. i'm not saying you should never change your habits, or that a licensed dietician can't give you good tools and advice, or that you can't learn cooking skills from youtube! what i'm saying is that it's a very individual journey. even at larger events where the dinner is communal - it may open up with "so here's the regular food. here is the vegetarian alternative. here is the vegetarian alternative to the vegetarian who is allergic to soy AND ONLY THAT ONE PERSON IS ALLOWED TO TAKE ANY OF THAT, MIND THE LABELS. here are the gluten free burger buns. please enjoy the meal" and even then i help someone next to me in the queue with scooping salad onto their plate because their sensory issues make it hard for them to touch metal cutlery.
you don't actually owe anyone the performance of "health". eating something is always, always ALWAYS going to be better than eathing nothing. it's infinitely more important to eat what you are able to eat than whatever reasons someone (even you) might have for denying your body the sustenance and resources it needs. and if eating what you Can is step one, eating what you Enjoy is step two. you're allowed to eat things you like actually. you are allowed to take joy in meals. you're alive and you are keeping yourself alive and you are alive right now. you don't deserve to punish yourself over it.
... i was talking about stories, right?
when it comes to food, it IS generally agreed upon that the most advantageous thing to do is to eat a variety of foods. your body needs many different nutrients, after all, and you will most often obtain these just by Eating Stuff. i think the same goes for Stories. stories come in so many different forms and do so many different things for us. they entertain, make us laugh, make us cry,
bring us catharsis, bring us understanding, bring us perspective, bring us joy. not every story can do all of this for every person, nor should it. some forms of stories are like popcorn for the brain, tasty and easy to consume. some are like a comforting burger, it's not haute cousine, but it's good and uncomplicated and fills you up just right. some stories are a full three course meal and you will remember the experience for a long time afterwards. some meals are best enjoyed with company.
i'm sure we've all seen the phrase "read another book"/"watch another show" by now. i guess i'm of two minds on it - because variety in soul food is a good thing, but also, as i've spent like five paragraphs establishing - i don't know your dietary restrictions. i can't know what sustains you better than you do. but also, i DO think a lot of people are trying to draw specific nutrients out of a meal that does not have them. because it can't have all of them. it's not reasonable to expect one story to contain every trope and respectful representation in the world. you can cook the same ingredient a thousand ways, i'm sure, and if that's what you want - go for it! your homecooking sounds delicious. but if you find that the steakhouse you frequent has a lousy vegetarian menu, maybe it's time to try a new place. god i know going to a new place is so intimidating sometimes, and it's always so hard to know what you'll like before you try - i don't want to disclose how many times i've spent leafing through a menu for thirty minutes before ordering something that turns out to be too spicy for me. it's a curse, i think.
i love my mother's cooking and she's always been surprisingly accomodating of my food preferences. ever since i've moved out, i love to come over for dinner - it's always a good meal by someone who has honed that skill for years and has access to a fully stocked kitchen. being responsible for my own meals can be sucky sometimes, food costs so much money and i have to do so much planning, but it's also been incredibly empowering. i can eat what i want! i don't HAVE to eat foods i don't like! i can try foods i've always been interested in but never gotten to try before! i can spend a little extra on the fancy bread from the bougie store because life is too short to eat shitty bread that i never look forward to eating!! THE INDEPENDENCE IS GOING TO MY HEAD. i haven't felt such a rush of power since i realized i don't have to finish books or shows that aren't enjoyable for me anymore. i don't want to namedrop any specific franchises but just as life is too short to eat bland bread, i don't HAVE to go watch the big blockbusters if i'm not axctually interested. maybe i'm sick of toast actually. i crave some rye. i can get some rye instead.
maybe the analogy isn't perfect. maybe stories aren't food. but i fully believe nobody but you gets to dictate what stories sustain the skeleton of your souls.
(ch40 snippet bc im lovely and also procrastinating again <3 this scene is set in the past when they're teens in the south pole btw)
It was that patience that led to Kanut’s misstep. He relaxed, he grew sloppy, and Bato didn’t miss anything, didn’t miss the day they were messing around in the snowbanks, drawing increasingly crude things in the soft snow and saying they resembled one another. They were laughing, and then they were called back for food. It was an old argument by now, one they had daily and would continue to have well into adulthood.
“I got it last time.” Bato said immediately upon hearing Kanna’s call.
“My mom doesn’t like us eating outside of the village anyway.” Hakoda scowled, shoving Bato into the snow. “Why can’t we just go eat with the others instead of bringing it out here? I'm always the one who gets chewed out for it at the end of the day.”
“And we all note your worthy sacrifice.” Kanut said with a sharp grin. Surprisingly, despite his usually sensible nature, this was something he agreed with Bato on. He liked eating out on the snowbanks, not out of sight of the village lest Kanna come chasing after them, but still in their own little corner of the world. Kanut often did anything he could to stay as far from home for as long as possible.
“Why are you siding with him?” Hakoda cried in dismay, proceeding to try and push Kanut into the snow right next to Bato, earning a barked laugh and a thump to the side from the other boy, who had taken to using his smaller size to his advantage. “It’s your turn to go get it if you’re going to insist we eat here.”
While they scuffled, a now familiar green book fell out of Kanut’s pocket. He didn’t notice. Bato didn’t say anything.
“He’s right, Kanut. Run along now.” Bato shooed him away. “I want sea prunes.”
Hakoda perked up. “Oh! Get me some arctic hen! But don’t touch the five flavour soup; I heard Aput’s learning to make it and I don’t trust him.”
“Don’t trust him, or don’t trust the way Kya swoons around him?” Bato asked innocently, and this time, Hakoda shoved him so hard that he knocked his head.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Kanut huffed, stomping away. “Don’t kill each other while I'm gone.”
hi i'd die for them
ive recently been wearing sunglasses and a very deep hooded sweatshirt to try and stop as much light from getting into my eyes as possible (bc chronic intractable migraines all day every day baybee) and at this point i think i should just accept the aesthetic and do full plague doctor get-up. full face mask so light can’t sneak in around my temples and cheekbones. deep hood so there’s less environmental light overall. big pokey stick for obvious reasons, also potentially modified to be used as a cane. thick robes bc cold. long beak full of like cotton or something to filter out strong smells bc that’s a migraine trigger for me
only historically anachronistic addition i can think of is a pair of very big thick headphones to block out sounds. which actually i think would look cool as hell on a plague doctor. so.