Initially released on Patreon over 7 months ago now, I've decided to share the full story of 'The Boy and The Stag', the fairy tale you can read in Chapter 3: Vasilisa and The Crowes if you choose to examine Islingcier and The Estates (and, subsequently, Dreamwalker). Please consider this as my thanks for your continued support, a celebration of now over 3.1k followers, and apologies once again for delays <3
... Once upon a time, in the heart of the deep, dark forest, there lived a boy whom many were afraid of. This boy was as quiet as a mouse and as small as one too—but even though he could hide all he would like in those deep, dark woods, the boy's golden eyes would always give him away. Villagers who ventured into the woods would be frightened by the sight of two golden lights watching them in the bushes and would always run away before the boy got to speak with them. So, instead of trying to reach out, the boy came to settle into his life alone and soon grew quite content in his solitude.
One day, when the boy was collecting berries from a bush, a great stag stepped onto the path before him. It had a crown of antlers that any hunter would desire, and it held its head high with a nobility that made the boy paused in his steps. When he did so, the great stag spoke in a low, rumbling voice that sounded as though the earth itself was speaking.
“Little sun, a cruel young prince intends to come into the woods today to kill me for my antlers. If you keep him away, I will reward you.”
“How may I help?” The boy replied, fear present in his quivering voice.
“The young prince will come with his brother and his sister on three great white steeds with three hunting dogs. Once he kills me, he will kill his steeds and his dogs and he will lie to his father about my death. He will ruin his brother and his sister so they cannot compete for the throne. Stop this, and your reward will be even greater.”
The boy's curiosity outweighed his freight over the great stag's appearance, and so he agreed to the beast's request. Upon this, the stag bowed deep to the boy before vanishing back to the woods, leaving the young boy to hide in wait for the cruel young prince.
Within little time, the prince appeared upon a great white steed. He wore expensive hunting dressage, carried a roster of sharp arrows on his back, and had three hunting dogs by his side. Accompanying him were his sister and his brother, who were dress fine and equipped for the hunt as well.
“Today we will find the stag,” the young prince declared, “and I shall kill it with my arrow to hang its head on my mantle.”
The boy watched on as the young prince and his siblings dismounted their horses and tied them to a nearby tree. When the three of them and the dogs left to a nearby stream to collect water, the boy crept out from his hiding place in the bushes and approached the horses.
“Fine steeds,” he whispered, resting one hand on the horse's back, “do you intend to let the prince kill the stag?”
“Why should we not?” One steed replied. “It is of no concern to us.”
“What will the prince do once he has killed the stag? He will no longer have use of you—he will take you back to the palace and hang your heads on his mantle just like he has promised of the stags. Will you let him do that?” The boy tugged on the rope holding the horses to the tree. “Will you let his arrow pierce your hearts too?”
Well, the steeds were not very fond of that idea, and when the boy untied them from the tree they took off running into the woods with all of the young prince's supplies on their backs. Once they were gone, the boy crept back into the bushes to watch on. When the young prince returned, he was enraged for a moment before unsheathing an arrow and shaking his head.
“We did not need them anyway,” he declared. “We shall carry the stag ourselves.”
The boy was disheartened until he saw one of the hunting dogs looking his way. When the young prince was not looking, the boy gestured for the dog to approach, which it did.
“Fine hound,” he whispered, leaning down so the dog could hear, “do you intend to let the prince kill the stag?”
“Why should we not?” The hound replied. “It is of no concern to us.”
“What will the prince do once he has killed the stag? When you have bit through its legs and rendered it unable to run, he will no longer have use of you. He will take you back to the palace and shoot you with arrows until you are dead, just like he has promised of the stag. Will you let him do that?” The boy pointed towards the arrows on the prince's back. “Will you let his arrow pierce your hearts too?”
Well, the hound was not very fond of that idea, and he told the other hounds of this as well. When the young prince and his siblings set the arrows down on the ground to load them easier, the three hounds snatched up the supplies in their mouths and ran into the woods. Once they were gone, the boy crouched lower to watch on. The young prince yelled, and shouted, and swore, but still, the hounds did not return, and he was left with only the arrow in his hand.
“We do not need them anyway,” he declared. “I shall kill the stag in a single blow.”
Once more, the boy was disheartened, until he saw the young prince's brother looking his way. The boy thought the brother would run away like so many others before him—but he did not. While the young prince and his sister tried to map where the great stag was, the brother approached the boy with curiosity in his gaze.
“Did you frighten the horses and the hounds?” The brother asked. The boy, unsure of how to answer, simply stared up at the brother in silence. The brother smiled at this and crouched down to see the boy better. “Why did you do that?”
“Fine sir,” the boy whispered, “do you intend to let the prince kill the stag?”
“Why should I not?” The brother replied. “It is of no concern to my sister and I.”
“What will the prince do once he has killed the stag? When he stands over its body in victory and declares himself to be the one to end it? Will he share in the spoils, or will he keep them all to himself? Fine sir, I do believe he will no longer have use of you once it is done. He will lie to your father about what has happened and ruin you both. Will you let him do that?” The boy pointed to the young prince. “Will you let him hunt you like the very stag he seeks?”
For a moment, the brother did not reply. He looked at the boy with an unreadable expression before a smile appeared on his face.
“I like your eyes,” is all he whispered back before rising to his feet. The boy watched as the brother approached the young prince and their sister. The brother whispered something into his sister's ear.
“Dear brother,” the sister declared, “pray to tell, what do you intend to do once the stag has been killed?”
“I will hang its head on my mantle and tell father of what I have done,” the young prince proudly declared.
“And what will you say of us, who have ventured into these woods with you to hunt this great beast?”
The young prince did not reply. A silence fell between the three, and the boy watched as the brother carefully removed something from his back pocket.
“I believe,” the brother finally said, “I saw the great stag in those woods over there.”
The brother pointed to an area that was dark, and gloomy, and soon the three vanished out of sight. The boy remained hidden until he saw only the brother and the sister emerge from those woods. The two of them soon walked onto the path and vanished into the forest. The boy stayed in his spot until he heard another sound, and the great stag stepped back onto the path before him.
“Little sun, you have not only kept me safe, but you have kept the others safe as well. For this, you shall be rewarded. Leave these woods and head to the palace, for no longer will you need to live in the shadows.”
Following the great stag's advice, the boy left the woods and approached the palace in the nearby village. Rather than have people run away from him, he was confused to find people welcoming him instead, as if he had always belonged among them. When he reached the palace, he was greeted by the brother, who wore the same mysterious smile the boy saw in the woods.
“I had a dream,” the brother confided, “of a boy with eyes like the sun who told me of a great tragedy that would befall my sister and I. I did not believe it to be true—until I saw you in those bushes.”
The boy was taken aback, and yet the brother continued.
“For your services, you shall be rewarded an Estate to call your own. No longer shall you be treated like a pariah—from now on, you are as welcome as any villager here, little sun.”
And so the boy was given his Estate, and he grew to become a fair and benevolent lord to his people.
And if he has not died, he is living happily today.
Sometimes I like to point out how often Raubahn delegated secret operations and investigations to Pipin. How before you even met Pipin, he was already in Ala Mhigo playing spy duty and how he's sent first and foremost into enemy bases for infiltration and capturing efforts (Such as the Castrums/Paglth'an)
He's not just a powerhouse, but uses his smarts and wits where few could see. Raubahn might have been the big face of the Flames, but Pipin was also hard at work in the background of things and taking lead when necessary.
Bonus Points: You ever wonder how in the midst of the bloody banquet how he happened to get past all of those Brass Blades and saved Alphinaud from his gaol? AND snuck him outside the city during the chaos of them being everywhere searching for Scions? Then later on investigated and found out about the “poison” sleeping potion they had given Nanamo?
Finals week has left me neither safe nor healthy and I haven't even taken most of my tests yet
Okay here’s baseline Mothman marvel oc lore (subject to change)
I simply love them and cannot stop thinking about them
They’re the real actual mothman of the marvel universe, all the mothman sightings still happened and it was them
Their “real” name is Emry Ermine but they mostly go by Em
They’re a lab experiment grown from moth and human dna by some evil group which i haven’t decided on rip
The lab they were made and raised in was busted by superheroes for evil crimes and they escaped in the chaos
They lived in the woods for a while after
Their abilities are flight (obvi), enhanced strength/durability, wall climbing, and precognition
Precognition means they can sense if something bad will happen in an area or too a person. They can sense severity and get minor insights on what it could be (sometimes), but mostly it’s just a bad feeling
This is why they get spotted places before disasters, they would try to stop whatever was gonna happen but often couldn’t. This is also why the general public is scared of them
Because they were basically rescued by superheros they’re a big superhero fanatic
Has a parasocial relationship with Spider-Man, and any other bug themed superhero but mostly Spider-Man
Thinks that the bug themed heroes could be actual bugs like them. They’re like 55% sure Spider-Man is an actual spider
Eventually got their shit together and now lives a relatively normal life, relatively
Works as a website programmer
Basically nocturnal, sunlight tends to hurt their eyes if they don’t wear thick glasses
Has a severe coffee addiction, literally always drinking an ice coffee
Made a superhero costume because they’re a huge nerd and started wearing it around for funsies at night
People started thinking they were a superhero so they just committed
Because of their precognition abilities they can sense where something bad will happen and usually just waits around to stop it
They can also get a bad feeling about a person either because something bad is going to happen to them or they’re gonna do something bad
Will then just spend the night following the person around, sometimes in secret and sometimes they’ll just hang out with them
Meets quite a few other heroes and villains doing this and is not chill in the slightest
They don’t particularly like fighting and prefer to talk to people or find some other solution
If they have to fight they prefer to backup someone else
They are on one hand extremely online but also pretty gullible and inexperienced with day to day things. They mostly spend their time on superhero forums, coding forums, and random Wikipedia articles
They love all bugs and will cry if you kill one in front of you
Tends to stay quiet but will talk nonstop when excited
Almost always goes outside in costume because people are a lot more comfortable with a superhero than with a big old moth creature
Is often spotted at the grocery store in costume
What was Teridax’s Damage?
So, I saw this post about Miserix’s characterisation earlier and it got me thinking.
I want to say that first off, I do not like the idea that all of the Makuta were just made to be evil, that they popped out of the antidermis already predisposed to be power-hungry bastards. That Miserix apparently only didn’t try to take over the universe because he had power, and considered aiming for more to be too risky to himself, is boring.
Shit like this is why I maintain that Bionicle is a much better story if you never read Greg’s forum posts and just make your own inferences based on what’s actually in the text.
Still, the notion of the ‘curse’ and some other Greg Canon got me thinking about how they intersect, and I landed more or less at this.
According to Greg Lore, Teridax was destined to take over the MU. This is a controversial element, a lot of the fandom really don’t like the idea that Destiny was so immutable that even the story’s main antagonist was ultimately just following the plotted line laid out by the Great Beings, but there’s a part of this that has the potential to make Teridax significantly more interesting.
There’s some lore floating around- I’m uncertain if it’s been confirmed or not, but I like it so I’m going to for it- that Teridax wasn’t just a Makuta. He was a Great Spirit AI, intended to be given control of a second Great Spirit Robot, but when it became apparent that the planet would blow up before they could even make headway on the construction of GSR 2, the Great Beings just crammed Teridax’s AI into the GSR 1 and hoped that he would absorb the same information as Mata Nui did on his travels throughout the galaxy.
This may have had something to do with Teridax being granted Metru Nui as his region. We don’t have the full details of Miserix’s selection process, and how he decided which Makuta got what, but I would not be surprised if he read it in the stars that Metru Nui was where Teridax belonged. Certainly makes it more interesting than “Terry gets the MU’s most important location because of nepotism.”
I’ve seen it suggested that the purpose of the Ko-Matoran being astronomers and scholars was to make sure Mata Nui was studying the cultures of the galaxy and learning from them, that their observations of the stars and writing it down was how Mata Nui took on and processed that information. Shit just got a little scrambled when sentience was factored in.
Being close to the core processor, and having access to the information that Mata Nui was taking on board would certainly be benefits to giving Teridax Metru Nui.
Still, the whole “Teridax is MU 2 AI” thing does kinda contradict the established canon that Mata Nui created the Makuta within the MU, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not.
First of all, we have Vezon’s multiversal journey. In one of the AUs he lands on, he finds that Makuta is the GSR and Mata Nui is his scheming, ambitious brother. This shows that the Makuta name was something the GBs already had before Mata Nui ever made the species. The difference between this universe and the prime one isn’t just “The names are switched heehoo”, it’s that in this one, they decided to make Makuta the one in control of the GSR 1, and Mata Nui the passenger... and Mata Nui turned out just liked Teridax did in the main universe. Well, as much as we can tell from Vezon’s perspective, anyway.
This is the strongest evidence, IMO, that Teridax existed before the GSR was launched, and before the Makuta species was created.
Also, in this case he’s just called “Makuta”, and it’s not a species name. I’ll get to that later, for now we’re just going to look at Teridax the individual and not worry about his brothers and sisters. The Makuta species is an additional layer I’ll factor in after we’ve got the gist of how this changes Teridax himself.
Layer 1: Teridax the Individual
Here is my theory: Teridax was an AI before he was a Makuta, but he doesn’t remember it. He was crammed into Mata Nui’s brain, and when the Makuta were born, either Teridax slipped in himself, or Mata Nui intentionally tried to give his brother a body so that he could at least live as his own entity.
Still, downscaling from a GSR AI to a regular MU resident had... consequences, and Teridax lost most of his conscious memory of who he had been before. As far as he was aware, he was just a Makuta.
Still, there was a part of him that did remember. The thought that he should’ve been so much more than this would linger in the back of his head for millennia, gnawing away at him. He was a god forced to be small, for reasons he could no longer remember or understand.
Imagine if you were crammed in your entirety into a microbe and made to exist entirely within the body of another human. You weren’t able to understand why, but you knew you were meant to be more than this. Wouldn’t that just drive you crazy?
I don’t particularly like the idea of Destiny being this immutable force within the Bionicle story, I prefer to think of it as just “What the GBs made the characters for, and they’re somewhat predisposed to carrying that out, but post-awakening they’re fully capable of consciously going against it. That said, I have to admit that the idea of Teridax-the-diminished-Great-Spirit makes him way more interesting to me than Teridax-the-generic-evil-overlord-who-wants-power-for-power’s-sake.
It doesn’t really change his characterisation much, but it gives him a lot more depth and explains some of his actions, like styling himself as Mata Nui’s brother post-Cataclysm. There’s also the detail that the GSR AI in the AU Vezon visits is called Makuta, not Teridax. Which brings us neatly to the Makuta species.
Layer 2: The Brotherhood
As stated above, Pre-MU Teridax wasn’t called Teridax. He was just Makuta. Which raises a few questions, not all of which have answers.
Were the Makuta AI and the Makuta species linked before the former became one of the latter?
Did Mata Nui name the Makuta species after the Makuta AI, perhaps?
Are the Makuta species in the Great Spirit Makuta universe called the “Mata Nui species?”
My take on this is that... the Makuta species wasn’t an intentional creation on Mata Nui’s part. Makuta Teridax was intentional, but when his AI was put into the Antidermis pool, it was... refracted, and created 100 different individuals. They were given the purpose of maintaining order and stability within the Matoran Universe, because that was part of Mata Nui’s intent in giving Makuta a body within the MU to begin with: Makuta would take care of the inner workings of the MU while Mata Nui focused on his mission.
Having 100 of them rather than just one didn’t really stop the plan much, but what Mata Nui didn’t know was how badly Makuta’s AI had been shattered by the process.
This image from Bionicle: World always confused me as a kid. I wasn’t sure why the Makuta were being depicted as three Teridaxes. I mean I got that it was because the rest of them didn’t have designs yet, but now...
I think that this image represents them as they were originally formed. Originally, they all looked like this. When they were born, they were physically identical besides maybe masks. So Mata Nui didn’t realise that Makuta had been broken apart by the Antidermis, he just thought they were multiple incarnations of the same entity.
Still, the reason the Makuta are Like That, the only reasonable way to work in the supposed “Curse” of the Makuta species in my eyes, is that the Makuta species is actually the Makuta AI split across multiple individuals, fragments of the whole who forgot what they were meant to be and were left with a deep-rooted trauma spawned from being forced to be so much smaller than they were designed to be.
Some of them were affected more deeply than others. Miserix, and those that sided with him, were able to find purpose and satisfaction at their lot in life. But Teridax, who contained the largest portion of the original Makuta AI (I’ve always liked to think that he was the first one that emerged from the Antidermis Pool, personally), well, he didn’t take is so well.
And what’s the smoking gun?
This line from Destiny War.
"I... we are the essence of the Makuta species. We know what they were meant to know, but have forgotten. We see the error. The flaws. So much to repair; but it cannot be done. Spherus Magna, the Shattering. The three that must be one; the two that must make them one. He must remember, he must be made to see, or the journey of 100,000 years will be for nothing. He hides beneath, preparing to meet his destiny. We must go there, we must right the wrong. So many wrongs before the Shattering can end."
— Antidermis through Brutaka, Destiny War.
The memories of their purpose didn’t just disappear. They were left in the dregs of the pool, and when Brutaka absorbed it, he was possessed by the remainder of the Makuta AI, the parts that did know what they were supposed to be, and they in turn tried to remind Teridax before it was too late.
The “Curse of the Makuta” isn’t that they’re all power-hungry bastards from birth. It’s that them being fragmented and compressed, and losing the memories of their original purpose left them with an intense, unremitting need to try and regain their lost stature that grew and grew.
I desperately want to know your thoughts on the location and pronunciation of Lettenhove
AND I DESPERATELY WISH TO SHARE THEM.
Lettenhove is in LYRIA because it completes the origin country TRIFECTA between Geralt, Yennefer, and Jaskier. RIVIA, AEDIRN, and LYRA all share borders with one another and meet at a point.
Having Lettenhove be a small province or titled estate just outside or inside of the capital city JUST MAKES SENSE (I'm leaning towards titled estate just a coach ride away from town because lords like privacy like that).
IT JUST MAKES GOOD NARRATIVE SENSE!!!
And imagine: Jaskier, the famed bard, from a place called LYRIA. It's LYRICAL! That just makes good dramatic sense.
On to pronunciation.
'Let-en-hove' is probably how it's actually read. I don't know. I've never really heard it out loud. But I like 'Let-en-ho-VAH' because it sounds pretty and everything must be lovely when everything is lovely. It feels more complete in my brain and I'm sticking with it.
I have to go now because I'm five minutes away from being late to dinner, not dressed, stuck in a hammock, with a guitar and book in my lap and this is Very Bad for hungry bards.
So if magic can't do things permanently what does that mean? Is everything magic does temporary? Is there a way to do things permanently?
Referencing the scene under the cut in this post.
All magical effects are temporary or require some kind of maintenance where the magic is renewed. For example, a magic ritual to summon a demon only opens a portal for a limited time and requires material components, arcane knowledge, and other forms of spellcraft to work. But, even with all of that, the portal will close (and rather quickly). In order to keep that rift open, a magician would have to constantly be maintaining it and channeling power through themself into the portal (takes a physical toll over time, so it cannot be done by one person indefinitely).
In a way, arcane power is like an instrument and magic is music. You have to know how to play the instrument to make music and the quality of the music produced depends on the skill of the musician. But when the musician sets the instrument down, the music stops.
There is a way to make things permanent and that is through alchemy. Magic bends the laws of reality, alchemy fully (and irreparably) breaks them. Alchemy is forbidden in most worlds and for good reason. It's uncontrollable and by its very nature unknowable. Skilled magicians know exactly what will happen when they cast a spell and why it happens. Even the most skilled alchemists rely entirely on guess work. There is no certainty with alchemy which makes it inherently dangerous and once something is done, it cannot be undone.
"No, uh uh. Get that shit out of here. I don't fuck with alchemy. You hear me?" - Harlow Mars
Spy doesn’t look away from his TV. “What do you want? Real Househusbands of New Mexico is on, I’m a bit busy.”
"What do you want from me, a hug?"
I made a video about the Qliphoth! It features translations from the DMC5 artbook and comparisons between the English and Japanese versions of the game.
An unbreakable bond; A start to a new future.
I legitimately do not understand the whole "FR is not the place for [insert rant about serious topic here]" argument. I fully support the recent mod post in Post Your Current Thought because hardly anyone was using trigger warnings and therefore not giving readers a chance to consent to their content. But the idea that Bad Things Happened to Me and I'm Upset is unacceptable because dragon Neopets should be 100% positive and happy all the time is absurd. Are the mods (and everyone else for that matter) not aware that video games, including FR, handle some serious topics? Is this site not filled with lore, both user-written and canon, about intense events that are more than likely traumatizing? How is that okay but a rant (WITH A PROPER TRIGGER WARNING) with the same content not okay? The no politics/religion rule makes sense as those are both extremely polarizing topics filled with misinformation and hate, but ranting isn't? I don't get it. The line between "trauma dumping" and ranting is horrendously fuzzy (IF TRIGGER WARNINGS ARE USED PROPERLY). How can you just deny people an outlet because of some constructed idea that games should be Happy Fun Times Only? "But kids-" kids need outlets too. The proper reaction should have been to add trigger warnings to the rules with clear explanations on how to use them and remove posts without them.
Hey gaz are you gonna try and help poor time loop zim and zib I love those guys
Do you want a muffin or a cockroach?
I had this thought: Homeworld considers the Black Pearl a dangerous beast that kept in a cage ( a special room) and used as an attaking lion, tiger. Is it so?
In Homeworld, she is a secret agent of Yellow Diamond so most gems on Homeworld doesn't even know she exist.
However, there is whispers around the Homeworld rumors about supposed "Pearl In The Shadow" hunting down rebels and doing horrible things. So she is basically an urban myth like a boogeyman on Homeworld.
To those who know of the Black Pearl's existance, yes, she is considered as a very capable but unreliable and unstable beast.
I thought my Hunter saying they want to be reassigned and seeing Lea's reaction was bad enough, but I looked through your older posts and the Hunter and Lea have worked together for almost FIVE YEARS? That makes everything worse, especially after Lea's previous situation. I'm shocked they didn't shed a tear or two when they heard the Hunter say those words, hoping desperately that this was going to work out... you, Author, you like your pain don't you?
hahaha, yes, it's about 4-5 years that you've been paired with Lea. i imagine a lot of that time was spent traveling alone together, working on jobs, with little actual time spent at the stronghold or in any kind of "casual" setting.
since the start of you being thrown together, Lea (and potentially the hunter, depending on your character) has been completely focused on holding the partnership together in any way they can. in the beginning that meant keeping their distance from the hunter & forcing a wall between you. this is a reaction due to the way their last partnership fell apart, and (obviously) hasn't really been working. it's just caused their bitterness to get worse as well as resentment on both sides, ultimately leading to where we are now in the game.
"I'll be frank. I don't like Cicero. To me, he feels like he became the Scrappy Doo of Skyrim. I couldn't deal with him for a full questline. I added the option to kill him in The Cure for Madness for a reason. Enough is enough. He has some funny moments, but nobody is laughing anymore."
- Todd Howard on his Reddit AMA.
There’s been a terrible accident at Mann Co. headquarters: the accidental release of the hazardous Entity 004. Not to worry, the situation is being handled by Miss Pauling and a few others. But be careful that you don’t run into this entity at any point…he can be quite persuasive and dangerous.