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Saga - PT The Sad, Sad Story of Porfozald Marballees! (Pre-Rebels; mostly OCs) | Calm after the Storm

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Author: Findswoman
    Title: The Sad, Sad Story of Porfozald Marballees!
    Era: Saga—PT; about 25 or 24 BBY
    Characters: OCs from the Lasan Series, plus an EC cameo (three guesses who)
    Genre: Short multichapter. Unsympathetic protagonist; a certain amount of humor but also not really
    Contents: One (below) | Two | Outtake: Calm after the Storm
    Summary: The titular character, a Lasat shaman initiate, attempts very unsuccessfully to court one of his fellow initiates.
    Notes: Part of the Lasan Series. The titular character is an expansion on a background character mentioned in chapter 2 of @Raissa Baiard ’s The Beginning of Honor, and a few events from that story will be referenced here. See the spoiler for the relevant excerpt:

    A few older males looking to beat their previous records were mixed in among the aspirants, and straggling at the back of the crowd was a cluster of Shaman-types, including one nervous, weedy-looking fellow who looked like he’d break in half in a strong wind. But like all the others waiting to climb, Master Weedy was darting hopeful looks at the girls. . . .

    The lanky young lieutenant who’d managed to climb higher than anyone that season had at least three admiring females trailing him as he swaggered up the trail, while the weedy-looking shaman passed out from a combination of the heat and nerves and had to be carried back ignominiously by a pair of his fellows.

    Most of this story is cast as a diary or journal of sorts, but please note that it is not actually part of the DDC 2018. There is a significant shift of viewpoint at one point within chapter two, which will be indicated by a change to italics.

    Content advisory: Like “Graceful As Water,” this is another attempt on my part at writing a story with an unsympathetic, unsavory protagonist. This story is by no means as extreme and violent as that one—but just by way of warning, there is a scene of mild harassment in chapter two.

    And as always, my deepest thanks to @Raissa Baiard and @Ewok Poet for beta reading, encouragement, and feedback. @};-

    * * *​

    One


    This journal is the property of
    PORFOZALD RUDIBLAD MARBALLEES,
    Initiate, 2nd Ordinary, Royal Lasat Academy of Shamans.
    He acquired it as a gift from his father,
    His Rev’ce RUFOZALD KENTIGORN MARBALLEES,
    1st Prime, Consistory of the Royal Lasat Academy of Shamans,
    on the occasion of the completion of his twentieth dust season,
    10th 19.7 3252.
    Hereby let it be known that all those who attempt to steal
    this valuable and important document
    will be struck down by the lightning of the Ashla.​

    10th 23.5 3252 Boring day of studying for the 2nd Degree examination, which is in three days.

    10th 24.8 Another boring day of studying for the 2nd Degree examination, which is in two days.

    10th 25.7 Yet another boring day of studying. Exam tomorrow.

    10th 26.9 A momentous day. On this day, I, Porfozald Rudiblad Marballees, have ascended at last—Ashla be praised!—to the second shamanic degree. (No thanks to all the silly, futile bickering about my knowledge of ancient writings; the Consistory should know by now that there is more to the calling of shaman than the memorization and recitation of tired old texts and the inconsequential minutiae associated therewith. It’s a good thing Pa set them straight on that point.)

    And now that I have attained to this new position of eminence, I feel I must needs turn my attention to the question of finding a suitable mate. Regretfully, the vast majority of females among the 2nds are of a flighty, superficial nature, caring only about hairpins and dresses. I have seen only one of my fellows who would make a fitting mate for a talented shaman of Lasan such as myself. She is but an initiate, but I have seen her immerse herself in her tomes and prayers as meekly and as studiously as any of the sage-maidens of old. (I make sure to pass by her study chamber every day. Neither Shaman Rokseth nor Wise Chava know this.)

    Now, anyone who knows me knows I have never set much store by mere physical beauty. Stone-green eyes and wine-colored stripes are beguiling, in truth, but worth nothing if not accompanied by virtue. It is essential to me, however, that any future mate of mine be able to bear fine, healthy kits, and be able to nurse them. And it is clear from a single glance that this young maiden has those capabilities.

    Oh yes. I believe her name is Shumla, or something like that.

    10th 29.0 I passed by the girl’s study chamber this morning. I think she was reading the Second Tractate of Prophecy (they all say the same things over and over and I can never keep them all straight). Then she took her chalk in hand and began sketching meditation glyphs on the floorboards of the chamber. I lingered for some time, watching her. Karabast upon karabast, such pious fervor, such grace, in one so young…

    As she finished the final glyph, the consecration glyph, she happened to look up and noticed me at the window. Being a naturally affable sort, I smiled at her. She blushed and gasped and turned away. Ah, such modesty! Now I know that my suit will not be in vain.

    And I was close. It’s Shulma. (It was on the door of the room.)

    10th 30.8 Her shades were down when I passed by this morning. I was devastated. But perhaps she merely wishes to carry out her rituals in the privacy befitting a female of her age and rank. I must continue to tell myself this.

    10th 31.1 Her shades were down again, but I saw her briefly in the reading room. Ah, how quickly those stone-green eyes turned downward when they met mine! A true sign that she does not wish to display her feelings all too quickly. (And we of the Marballees lineage have always had handsome eyes.)

    I should not fear, then. My suit is secure.

    10th 32.6 Storms’ End is tomorrow. There will of course be the thanksgiving rituals at dawn, followed by the usual fair on the Parade Grounds and the games in the canyons. I generally stick with the thanksgiving rituals, for my own part. I have always abhorred the empty glorification of physical prowess, and I by no means condone competition for its own sake.

    That said—it is also the season, of course, when males of my age flock to the cliffs outside Lira Zel to climb that big spire or formation or whatever it is up near there. The Warrior, I think it’s called, or some such banal name. Concern for my safety has kept me from attempting this in the past, though Niff and Chukwu have pointed out that the spire is a popular gathering place for young females. I cannot think why they decided to mention that fact to me at that particular moment (or why Chukwu elbowed me in the ribs; I think I may need a bacta pad now). But I suppose there is something to it: females, being intellectually and morally inferior by nature, are easily impressed by such displays of skill. And I must remember that the object of my interest is, ultimately, a member of her sex. If there is any small chance that she will be there, since I so rarely see her in the reading room anymore…

    So I shall steel myself, for the honor of the Academy. In any case, with the proper equipment and precautions I should be all right. (Niff managed to secure a couple of grappling hooks. I shall tuck one into my belt satchel.)

    1st 1.5 3253 Storms’ End was today. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete my climb of the Warrior, as I was taken ill with heat exhaustion soon after approaching the spire. (Chukwu has been spreading some kind of nonsense about how it was because I was scared. That is completely untrue.)

    Ah, well. It’s just a silly ritual glorifying toxic bravado anyhow, and in any event I don’t think the girl Shulma was even there. She no doubt would be much too prudent and modest to waste her time with such trifles. For my own part, I went back to the fair and treated myself to a medium cider. Naturally I did not give a second thought to any of the disgusting deep-fried pastries. Except, of course, for the konculor ears. Konculor ears are konculor ears.

    Oh, and a dust storm blew up. Yes, a dust storm blew up on Storm’s End. There is probably something about that somewhere in one of the Tractates of Prophecy, but I can’t be bothered to look it up just now.

    1st 13.3 Back to studying, I guess. Nothing of interest has happened the last several weeks, which is why I haven’t written anything for the last several weeks. I sometimes see Shulma in the reading room, but she has said nothing to me beyond hasty hellos, then goes off to look for books or whatever. I am going to have to consider this further.

    1st 16.2 An extremely worrisome development has presented itself.

    This evening, it so happened that I was able to board the funicular transport at the same time as Shulma. There were only a few others aboard. Naturally I sat beside her. Her natural modesty made her shift a little to one side and turn her face away. It was quite charming.

    “Hello,” I said.

    “Hello,” she said.

    “I hope you are well,” I said.

    “I am well,” she said.

    “You know,” I said.

    “Yes?” she said.

    And I told her the truth: that I have been meaning to tell her for some time that I find her sympathetic, and asked if I could treat her to tea or cider, perhaps at the Aspyn Room in town. (We of the Marballees lineage have impeccable taste.)

    She said she had other plans.

    “Then maybe some other time,” I said.

    “Mmm,” she said.

    And there was silence as the car clanked on.

    As we approached the station at the bottom of the mountain, I happened to glance out the window. There was someone pacing on the platform: some kind of big, burly military type. At the time I wondered to myself what business an Honor Guard brute like that thought he had in the vicinity of our holy Mount Straga. Alas, now I know.

    As soon as the funicular car halted at the station, Shulma alighted… and made a beeline for the burly soldier. And then she placed her hand in his… and he picked it up and kissed it!

    And they walked away together! Holding hands!!

    Honestly, I am so stunned I can barely set stylus to flimsi. A young female of her worth and perspicacity—a shaman of the Royal Academy, by the Ashla’s light!—taking up with some oafish soldier?! When there is no shortage of eligible males on her own level for her to choose from?! I mean, really!

    And yet: I must remember that females, even the best of them, are not very good at thinking these things through on their own. When it comes to such delicate matters, they require guidance. Otherwise their emotions tend to get the better of them and cause them to make decisions that they regret.

    So I shall offer her such guidance at the earliest possible opportunity. It is for her own good, after all.

    1st 25.9 I saw Shulma walking with that soldier again at the funicular station. I got a closer look at him this time. Of course, nothing I saw surprised me. He has the typical dull, empty facial expression of a military grunt. As well as the most frightful facial hair. Those scraggly sideburns, that doltish goatee! A modest soul patch or some subdued bantha chops would have been much more tasteful—not to mention more appropriate to someone in his unenviable station. And that ungainly lumbering gait…

    Ugh, karabast’aka, I can’t stand it! The whole matter disgusts me so much I can barely concentrate on my studies. The very thought of her in the company of that thing… it is simply too dreadful to contemplate.

    I think I shall go have another medium cider.

    2nd 3.8 I have made some inquiries concerning this brutish interloper. His name is Orrelios—Garazeb Orrelios—and he is a cadet in the High Honor Guard. Apparently he is one of the best cadets in his class, but really, what does that mean when one is talking about mindless grunts? Niff says his mother used to be captain of the Honor Guard or some such thing (I can never keep all their silly ranks straight). Honestly, that’s probably the only reason he got into the military academy to begin with.

    And he has been courting Shulma (if so noble an expression can be used with reference to such a creature) since shortly after Storms’ End.

    Regrettably, I have still not had the chance to approach the girl on the subject. I did see her briefly as the morning rituals were letting out, but then I remembered that I had an urgent appointment with Wise Chava. (I later remembered that said appointment was actually for 4.2 and not 3.2, though that is immaterial.)

    But I shall bide my time. When the opportunity arrives, I shall take it. And I hold out hope that she will see reason.

    to be continued
    A note on the calendar: The dates of the diary entries follow an original system that I still am in the process of working out. The ordinal number (10th, 1st, etc.) represents a month or a monthlike unit, the integer part of the number following represents a day, and the decimal part of that number represents the time of day (though again, I’m still in the process of working out details). Storms’ End is the beginning of Lasan’s new year, so its date is 1st 1. The months so far have either 28 or 32 days (the use of multiples of four is intentional, as the Lasat have four fingers to a hand—cf. the ubiquity of multiples of 5 and 10 among GNFA Humans). The year numbers 3252 and 3253 are borrowed from the Lothal calendar (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Lothal_Calendar), according to which Zeb was born in 3233.

    Rufozald Marballees, Shaman Rokseth, Niff, and Chukwu are OCs. Chukwu is named after the sovereign deity in the Igbo pantheon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chukwu), and the name is also used syncretically by the Igbo to refer to the monotheistic Judeo-Christian God.

    The entries for 10th 32.6 3252 and 1st 1.5 3253, describing Porfozald’s plans to climb the rock formation known as the Warrior, reference lore and customs established by Raissa Baiard for chapter 2 of The Beginning of Honor. See my note at the beginning of the story.

    Wise Chava: In my fanon, Chava the Wise is the chief shaman of Lasan at this period. This is how she is addressed by the shamans of the Academy, her students and colleagues.

    Throughout this story, all details relating to the lore, practices, and hierarchy of Lasat shamanism are my own fanon (Royal Lasat Academy of Shamans, 2nd Degree examination, Tractates of Prophecy, etc.). Mount Straga is a fanon location on Lasan and the site of the Royal Lasat Academy of Shamans; see the Lasat fanon post under the heading “Shamanism.”

    The Aspyn Room (an homage to the Walnut Room at Macy’s—formerly Marshall Field’s—in downtown Chicago) is a fanon location.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    The dates on the entries lent this a very authentic touch of being a journal. =D= You have struck a perfect tone of arrogance and smug self-assurance. @};- Of course, he notices Shulma's fine qualities :) but he also disparages Zeb's! :p He hasn't become obnoxious physically yet :eek: but of course if he tries, Shulma will put him in his place in no time flat! =D=
     
  3. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Aaaaaaaaashlaaaaa, here comes a "nice guy". And the way you deconstruct that horrible, horrible stereotype makes me want to laugh until I'm out of breath. What a pathetic byproduct of copulation. Why didn't his parents use a goat skin or something? There are goats on Lasan and it's a FACT. Of course, chances are that his dad is a lot like him. Chances are that this delightful individual also read everything by Seegmon D'Fraud and that he can remember that crappola, while he can't remember the name of the girl he appears to be infatuated with and some of his own lessons. The Force is sure a jester to bless Porfozald with any kind of powers. Like, NOPE. WHYYYYYY?

    The fact that he has a diary with a funny introduction reminds me of my Doaba Ke'demii and the fact that he's infatuated with somebody that he cannot have reminds me of Luke in @Raissa Baiard's Teenage Rebellion. However, unlike Doria and Luke, who are just clueless, overly dramatic teenagers plagued with fear of abandonment, unhealthy forms of attachment and growing pains...he's the complete opposite. Instead of training for a shaman, he should be cleaning stables or something.

    For one, the way he writes and probably the way he speaks, he reminds me of, for example, this delightful individual who flirted with you and subtly attacked me. Unnecessary big words. Know-all attitude. And he also reminds me of this delightful individual I borrowed some characteristics from, especially when it comes to adoring own physical traits and apparently sampling an alcoholic drink. [Intimate hygiene product] much? Bleurgh!

    Sadly, those two are not fictional. Boy, am I glad that HE IS. I don't care if you're of noble origin, dude, Zeb is da man! :zeb:
     
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  4. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    [face_laugh] Oh, boy...what a piece of work is Porfozald! So smug, so self-absorbed...clearly he thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips, though I’m sure he’d prefer to word it more like Shelley’s Ozymandias: “Look on my works, ye mighty and despair!” The irony, of course, is he’s got no works to be proud of. He’s an indifferent scholar at best, whose father has to intercede to get him through his exams, he’s a chauvinist who can’t even remember the name of his “beloved” until he sees it printed on her door, he has no physical prowess and contemplates cheating at one of the sacred rites of passage, and he’s a snobby class-conscious jerk who looks down on the men and women who keep Lasan safe as “grunts”. Yeah, way to go, Porfy, you’re an inspiration to us all. (Oh and his scintillating skills as a writer are best showcased in this exchange:
    His social skills are clearly the crowning achievement in this parade of virtues. He's clearly studied etiquette, he knows all the right things to say and do but the reasons behind and the kind feelings that should go with the pretty forms have escaped him entirely. He denies that physical attractiveness has any meaning to him, but he's quick enough to assess Shulma's ability "to bear fine, healthy kits...and nurse them." :rolleyes: He makes much out of her piety , comparing her to the sage-maidens of old, and simultaneously writes off the entire female gender as " intellectually and morally inferior by nature." He's so secure in his own desirability, that even when he sees Zeb and Shulma together, he's sure it's just a dreadful mistake that he can convince Shulma to rectify. As @Ewok Poet points out, he's a little like Luke in Teenage Rebellion in that respect, but he's got none of Luke's clueless mooka-pup eagerness or innocence, and somehow I doubt he'll ever truly realize what he's doing is wrong, he way Luke eventually does, because deep down Luke has a good heart while Porfy has a heart of slime.

    And that shows in the way he criticizes everything about Zeb, from his "dull, empty facial expression" and "ungainly lumbering gait" to his " frightful facial hair." He is vastly superior to Zeb (in his own mind!) and he's sure Shulma can be made to see reason...with his excellent guidance of course! :p What Porfy doesn't realize is that Shulma is far more than the idealized creature he sees. She really is like one of the sage-maidens he compares her to, with true piety and a discerning heart, and she sees beyond the surface. She sees Zeb for who he truly is--a man of honor and compassion who treats her as his equal, with unfailing respect. Likewise, she sees past Porfozald's cultured exterior and sees what he is--a shallow, preening, strutting egotist who sees her only as an ornament. Her choice is obvious...because Zeb really is "da man".

    You've done a stellar job fleshing out that weedy shaman who appears so briefly in "The Beginning of Honor" =D= Yes, he's completely unsympathetic, but in a "love-to-hate-him" way. I can't wait to see him get his comeuppance, because he truly and richly deserves it!
     
  5. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    There are not enough "like" buttons for this. So fabulous! This young man(er, male being?) is really riding for a fall. He has convinced himself of his irresistability, and Shulma will fit into his "ideal" of what a wife for someone "in his position" should be. She is trying hard to be "nice" and polite, and simply avoid him, but he has it in his head that somehow he's 'earned' her. Of course he can't complete the competition or do military service because, um... heat. Yeah, that's it. Heat exhaustion. Anything rather than admit he has a single flaw. (I am wondering what his parents were like). If he weren't so obnoxious, I'd almost feel sorry for him. Until I read:

    Yup. Not sorry for him anymore. Take him down, Shulma! We'll hold your margarita!
     
  6. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Just remembered that Porky was assessing Doria's body as well, because hips = GIVING BIRTH TO HIS YOUNGLING, dumping the j*** into a suitable hole, because that's what women are for, right?

    These two need to burn in the Netherworld. Antonio could join, but he's just a serial womanizer, he didn't reach the "insert A into B and form me a babby" stage yet...
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you all so much for reading and commenting. :)

    Thanks, Ny! I felt the first-person, journal-like format would help project the character’s arrogant smugness all the more, giving him the chance to engage in a good bit of “I-I-I” and "me-me-me.” I’ll say it wasn’t always easy for me to write either his negging of Shulma or his dissing of Zeb. But indeed, you’re right that he will be put in his place, in not too long.

    Yep, Porfozald pretty much epitomizes the "nice guy" stereotype. His dad will appear in a future story, and without giving too much away, I’ll say that your guess about him is pretty much spot on. And I totally bet both father and son would DEVOUR D’Fraud! Agreed that the Force and its sense of humor definitely venture into SMH territory sometimes… though of course its gifts are only one half of the equation. One has to cultivate them with study and training—and, as we see, Porfozald is totally phoning it in in terms of his shamanic studies.

    Both those stories have been inspirations to me along the way on several counts, so I could certainly see where I might end up channeling aspects of them here and there. :) And yes, the darker, more twisted side of that kind of teen cluelessness was basically what I was going for. In a lot of cases out there, the cluelessness improves with time; for Luke and Doria it does. For this fellow, not so much (or at least that’s my thinking), and it will escalate somewhat in the next chapter.

    I think I may know who you mean by at least one of those two people, and yes, it fits. I had several mental exemplars in mind while creating Porfozald, from various places. Is the alcoholic drink you’re referring to is the cider mentioned in the story? I didn’t mean for that to necessarily be alcoholic—just a sort of comfort drink of sorts—though some versions of it certainly could be mildly so.

    Can’t disagree with that at all! :D Thanks again, as always, for your wonderful comments. :)

    All spot on—good on you for picking up on those details! :D Little things like that can speak volumes about a person, and I tried to make them all add up in a way that made sense—and would some red flags to anyone with half a brain. And, as you note below, Shulma sees those red flags immediately.

    Oh yes, isn’t he quite the literary talent? :p I was inspired by some similar sequences in P. G. Wodehouse for this exchange, and once again, it wasn’t easy to bring the writing style of the cheeriest, happiest, and funniest of Anglophone writers into this slightly twisted and unpleasant place. I guess one of the points is that the line between just clueless social bungling and more sinister motives can sometimes be quite a fine one.

    Oh yes, hypocrites absolutely 'r’ us (meaning him). And he’s one of the worse kinds, constantly bragging about his perceived moral superiority and constantly dissing anything he imagines doesn’t measure up. It’s a way of objectifying Shulma, in the end. Compare Porfozald's skeezy expostulations about Shulma's body to the way Zeb, in Raissa’s “Purple Prose,” felt cautious about praising even just her stripes too much! :eek:

    All this is right on target. A good heart is key to being able to turn this kind of cluelessness around, and that’s what allows Luke to do so in Teenage Rebellion. This fellow, absolutely not so much.

    Again, it wasn’t easy for me to write all his contumely and disdain toward Zeb, nor to write his puffed-up chauvinism toward Shulma. But I guess it must have come off effectively, and that makes me glad! :D And of course I would never let that kind of thing go unpunished...

    Oh yes, she has Porfozald absolutely figured out, even from an early stage when she sees him basically trying to stalk her. She is a true scholar and shaman and isn’t going to let the likes of him distract her from that path in anyway. That same true devotion to her calling is precisely what allows her to perceive that devotion (or lack thereof) in others. Zeb has it in spades, with his commitment to the Honor Guard and the way he has distinguished himself in its ranks; that, and his impeccable sense of honor toward those he cares for, are among the things Shulma admires most about him. <3

    Thanks so much, and thank you for first bringing Master Weedy to the public notice—even in that brief description he seemed like such an absolute opposite to Zeb that I just couldn’t pass the chance to try out the “unsympathetic protagonist” on him, too. And never fear, comeuppance is around the corner…!

    Thanks so much, and it's wonderful to see you here! :) Yes, he’s the picture of arrogant entitlement, isn’t he, projecting all his ridiculous, overidealized expectations onto her rather than respecting her for who she is. That struggle of trying to be “nice” but firm at the same time, of trying to communicate the vibe of disapproval while not rocking the boat socially, is a real one (especially for a lot of women in this galaxy too…)—I’ve been there too—and it's a big part of Shulma’s unease with the whole thing.

    Yep, in that as in pretty much everything (even his studies and exams in what is ostensibly his main calling), he has an excuse for why he Can’t Even—and, as you can see with the Storms’ End rock climb, even some of his friends can see right through it. Again, I have his dad set to appear in a future story, and much of the origin of those attitudes will become clear. :p

    Oh yeah, there’s no way a smart, strong-willed young woman like Shulma is going to stand for that kind of poodoo! And she could see it coming miles off, of course, even when he was first trying to lavish his attentions on her. Stay tuned, and you’ll see how things pan out…

    Yep, I remember that part of Doaba, which I guess I was partly channeling when I wrote this—intertextuality, I guess! :p Chauvinist porcines of that sort are to be found all over the Galaxy, unfortunately, but they get theirs in the end. [face_devil]

    Thank you all once again for reading and for your insightful comments. If all goes well, chapter 2 should be inbound in not too long. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  8. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    This creep. [face_waiting] He's genuinely disturbing. I have to admit I laughed out loud at the "Shumla" part. But also just no, mister. Eww.
     
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thanks so much for commenting! I will take this as a compliment of sorts, since a genuinely disturbing creep is exactly what I was going for, and I rolled into the mix various real-life creeps I've encountered at various times. But his creepiness will absolutely not go unpunished, as you'll see in the very next chapter, soon to come. [face_peace]
     
  10. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    How about right now? :p
     
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Ask and thou shalt receive. Here 'tis. And again, just by way of warning, this is the chapter that features a scene of harassment.

    * * *​

    Two

    2nd 7.4 Ashla be thanked! The perfect opportunity has presented itself. A week from tomorrow is the Initiates’ and 2nd Ordinaries’ retreat to the tomb of Osthi the Storm-Dreamer in Feldspar Falls. We shall spend a week immersed in prayer and contemplation in the Ashla-permeated final resting place of one of Lasan’s greatest prophetesses. For a full week, then, the girl Shulma will be safely away from that clodlike suitor of hers. One can hope that the distance will cause her to forget him entirely. Indeed, for females, with their short attention spans and constant hunger for new sensations, “out of sight” very often translates to “out of mind.”

    2nd 16.9 Arrived this morning in Feldspar Falls with the others and checked into the pilgrimage houses near Osthi’s tomb. Colder here than I expected; the tomb and its shrine complex are just outside the town, by a lake in the foothills of the mountains.

    I suppose I should describe the place; it is really quite charming in its way, even if it’s drafty at times. The main crypt is a rectangular space about the size of the downstairs meditation enclave back at the Academy, made all of stone, with a vaulted ceiling of moderate height. In the center, encircled by the customary stands for lightning torches, is the tomb itself: a sarcophagus of carved stone atop which rests a recumbent statue of the prophetess. One of her hands rests directly below her heart, which has been pierced by the blade of the Ashla. The other hangs down at her side, holding a quill stylus, and there is a book lying open on her lap. The sculptor gave her a great deal of flowing hair and drapery and such; too much unnecessary emphasis on appearances and sensory appeal, if you ask me, though it is not badly done. Anyway, each of the walls has a small colored-glass window in it, and they each show some kind of figure from one her prophecies; I can’t remember exactly which, but I think it was one of the ones that was declared deuterocanonical anyway.

    The girls are all excited, of course. They love those stormy prophetess types. Osthi is all well and good, but for my own part, I would have preferred a site associated with a more robust, sensible figure—say, the house of Rossalmus the Scribe on Shale Ridge. I feel that the Ashla would vibrate more fully and less erratically in such a place. And their refectory has better cider. But I shall take what I can get.

    Off to the evening ritual now. She’ll be there, of course; will have to keep my eyes open for any possible opportunity…

    2nd 18.5 Day three of the retreat. So far it is much like other retreats: morning and evening rituals beside the tomb, study and meditation throughout the day (which is why I haven’t been able to write much before now). The shrine complex has a decent reading room, though it’s nowhere close to the one back at Mount Straga. (Endowed by my Great-Gran Virguna Torgvall-Marballees, no less.)

    I have not yet spoken to Shulma, but I have, in the meantime, been keeping a close watch on her. How can I not? She excels the other shaman-girls as much as a neebray a thranta soars above the stars on a clear night a prongbok doe towers over a flock of goats. (I bet that oafish beau of hers has never come up with anything as poetic as that! Yet another reason why she should choose me instead.)

    2nd 21.4 I have a plan.

    I have observed that, after the evening ritual, as the fires of the lightning-torches are dying down, Shulma likes to spend some time alone in prayer beside Osthi’s tomb. All I have to do is stay out of sight till she finishes, then approach her as she walks back to the pilgrimage houses. (I’ve already stayed behind a few times to watch her—just for a few minutes at a time, of course. Ah, karabast’aka, she really is just like the sage-maidens of old!)

    I told Niff and Chukwu of my plan. Niff seemed to approve, but Chukwu looked at me as though I had four heads and gave me all sorts of nonsense about how it was never going to work. Naturally I asked him why he thought it was never going to work. His response: “Because I don’t think she likes you. She likes that Orrelios fellow.”

    I almost slapped him.

    Ah, well, some beings will persist in their fatalistic attitudes, I suppose. I think he’s just jealous, anyway.

    2nd 22.1 Tonight shall be the night. I quiver in anticipation. I have to get this right tonight because we go back on 2nd 24. May the Ashla guide me! (Very strange, the lights just flickered as I wrote that. But the energy service in these ancient mountain outposts can be frotzy sometimes, so…)

    2nd 23.9
    I shall attempt to record here in some detail the events of last night, which have shaken me to my very core. Truly, the sheer breadth and depth of female irrationality never cease to amaze me.

    Shulma was there as usual, kneeling beside the tomb and leaning over it in what probably was a level-three trance (the girls like level-three trances because they allow them to flop their hair and dresses around in a dramatic manner). I waited in the entrance alcove until I saw her stir and open her eyes (oh, those eyes!). Then I went up to her and called her name. She jumped.

    “I apologize for startling you,” I said (though I would gladly do it again just to hear one of those charming gasps). “I simply wished to ask whether you’ve had time to consider my suggestion.”

    “Consider what suggestion?” she said.

    Well, of course, with their limited mental capacity, females can’t necessarily be expected to remember everything, so I gently reminded her. “Cider and tea in the Aspyn Room. When we’re back. I would welcome the opportunity to… converse with you.”

    She stood up. “That will not be possible,” she said. “I am already seeing someone else. Now, if you please—”

    She began to make for the door, but I put my foot down on hers to stop her (we of the Marballees lineage have superlative reflexes).

    “Well, now, you see, that was precisely the other thing I wished to speak with you about,” I said.

    “Oh?” She tried to move toward the door again, and again I stopped her foot with mine, pressing down harder this time.

    “Yes. I beg you to reconsider your attachment to this… soldier.” She opened her mouth to object, but I continued—most slowly and gently, because she was a female, after all. “Now, I realize that a man like that is naturally very attractive to a young female such as yourself, but what you have to remember about these physical types—”

    “Porfozald—”

    “—is that they have no finer sensibilities! All they think about is their own, er, bodily appetites! And the first chance they get—”

    “Please stop this, Porfozald.”

    “—they’re likely to, er, take what they want! By force! And you—you’re too lovely and too delicate to be manhandled by some uncivilized—Hey! Where are you going?!”

    She had freed her foot and was heading for the door. “I have already made my choice,” she said (so much ice in that sweet voice...). But I followed her out into the courtyard, extending my arms toward her.

    “But, Shulma! Don’t you understand?” And here—O success!—I managed to take hold of her hand! Her own graceful, striped hand! “Don’t you understand the nature of my feelings for you? Don’t you understand how much I—”

    “Let go of me! Now!

    “—I adore you! I think of you all the time! I dream of you every night!” (All true!) “And it just pains me to my very heart to see—”

    “OH, STOW IT, PORFOZALD!” So saying, she pulled her hand away most discourteously. I was shocked. Not least because I don’t know where she learned an expression like that. Probably from that Orrelios oaf.

    But with females one sometimes has to be firm, of course. So I took her hand again, and this time pulled it to my lips and pressed it there. And pressed it there again! And again! Ah, bliss!

    And how did she respond to this gesture of my affection? She yanked her hand away with a most ungracious snarl, struck me violently on the ear (I swear I felt a few Ashla sparks from the impact), and ran off. I followed, of course, calling after her, but she had already reentered the women’s pilgrimage house. Not to be deterred, I went up to the door and knocked several times, but the stubborn little fool didn’t answer. Finally the door opened to reveal Wise Chava, who fixed on me an eye like a convor on the hunt and said something like, “I believe you have the wrong pilgrimage house, my child.”

    And that, more or less, is what transpired. I am still reeling. My left ear is still sore. I do not understand it at all. I was doing nothing different from what that… that beast did to her that time. She enjoyed it then; why not now? Aren’t females supposed to like tender little gestures like that? It makes no sense. Females make no sense.

    In any event, I went to get myself a cider from the refectory, but the pot had already gone cold. Figures.

    * * *​

    2nd 24.8, Royal Lasat Academy of Shamans, Mount Straga

    Porfozald Marballees, Second Regular of the Royal Academy, gasped in horror as the door of his study chamber flew open. The hulking figure that stormed in towered over him by at least a head and was wearing the uniform and armor of the High Honor Guard—as well as an expression of ferocious anger.

    “You’re Marballees, arent’cha?”

    “Y-y-yes? A-and?”

    The newcomer loomed closer and jabbed Porfozald in the chest with an enormous purple clawed finger. “I hear you’ve been givin’ Shulma trouble.”

    “It’s—it’s considered good f-form to, er, um, s-state your name and b-business, you—you interloper, you!”

    “Right. Only fair. Second Corporal Garazeb Orrelios, of the Lasan High Honor Guard, and I’ve come to tell you”—here he grabbed the shaman by the collar of his tunic—“that if you don’t leave Shulma alone I’m gonna pound your worthless posterior to a BLOODY PULP and FEED IT TO THE CONVOREES!”

    “GURRK!” exclaimed Porfozald, or something of that general import. “Un-unhand me, y-you ruffian!”

    Second Corporal Orrelios tightened his grip. “You didn’t unhand Shulma, did ya?! After she told you to! MORE THAN ONCE!”

    “Wh-wh-what’s it to you?” Porfozald whimpered, now quaking like an aspyn in a high wind. “Sh-she doesn’t b-belong to you!”

    “What’s it to me?! What’s it to ME?!” The soldier punctuated this utterance by shoving the hapless shaman against a wall. “I’LL TELL YOU WHAT IT IS TO ME! Shulma is my lady and my love and I will DEFEND HER WITH MY LIFE FROM THE LIKES OF YOU!!”

    “I—I REPEAT, UNHAND ME!” Porfozald was fairly screeching now. “I ch-challenge you to an hon-honorable bout of f-fisticuffs, you—you—!”

    Just then, with a sound like a rock goat in pain, he crumpled downward in a nervous faint. Second Corporal Garazeb Orrelios, of the Lasan High Honor Guard, snickered to himself as he dumped the shaman’s unconscious form into the desk chair, brushed the dust from his wrist bracers, and left.


    * * *​

    2nd 27.3 Another boring day of studying.

    2nd 28.4 And another.

    3rd 1.5 Ditto.





    end, sort of... postscript to come


    * * *​

    “I bet that oafish beau of hers has never come up with anything as poetic as that!”: Well, actually, he has: see @Raissa Baiard ’s lovely “Purple Prose.” :p

    Porfozald’s Great-Gran Virguna Torgvall-Marballees is an OC.

    Feldspar Falls and Shale Ridge are fanon locations, and Osthi the Storm-Dreamer, and Rossalmus the Scribe are fanon personages from the history of Lasat shamanism.
     
  12. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Oh, Porfo. Sweetie. You really didn't say that, did you? I mean, we know you're a few scrolls short of a scriptorium, but REALLY?

    And stepping on her foot? He'd better hope his parents arrange a marriage for him, because if the courtship is left up to him, it is clearly going to be the end of his honorable family line. Well done, Zeb, for straightening him out! Poor Shulma. She did her best, with "no" and "go away," and even smacking him, but that was never going to be enough. He'd never listen to the likes of a simple female.

    The REAL reason comes out!!! [face_laugh]

    Well done, @Findswoman! An entertaining look at Lasat and a nice extension of fanon, not to mention a very fun character study of a very unpleasant person! And he's not actually evil, which is kind of refreshing. No Sith types here.
     
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    She excels the other shaman-girls as much as a neebray a thranta soars above the stars on a clear night a prongbok doe towers over a flock of goats. (I bet that oafish beau of hers has never come up with anything as poetic as that! Yet another reason why she should choose me instead.)
    Yeah right.
    :p

    “But, Shulma! Don’t you understand?” And here—O success!—I managed to take hold of her hand! Her own graceful, striped hand! “Don’t you understand the nature of my feelings for you? Don’t you understand how much I—”

    “Let go of me! Now!”

    “—I adore you! I think of you all the time! I dream of you every night!” (All true!) “And it just pains me to my very heart to see—”

    “OH, STOW IT, PORFOZALD!”


    Shulma, you go girl! =D= =D= =D=
    The newcomer loomed closer and jabbed Porfozald in the chest with an enormous purple clawed finger. “I hear you’ve been givin’ Shulma trouble.”

    “It’s—it’s considered good f-form to, er, um, s-state your name and b-business, you—you interloper, you!”

    “Right. Only fair. Second Corporal Garazeb Orrelios, of the Lasan High Honor Guard, and I’ve come to tell you”—here he grabbed the shaman by the collar of his tunic—“that if you don’t leave Shulma alone I’m gonna pound your worthless posterior to a BLOODY PULP and FEED IT TO THE CONVOREES!”

    “GURRK!” exclaimed Porfozald, or something of that general import. “Un-unhand me, y-you ruffian!”

    Second Corporal Orrelios tightened his grip. “You didn’t unhand Shulma, did ya?! After she told you to! MORE THAN ONCE!”

    “Wh-wh-what’s it to you?” Porfozald whimpered, now quaking like an aspyn in a high wind. “Sh-she doesn’t b-belong to you!”

    “What’s it to me?! What’s it to ME?!” The soldier punctuated this utterance by shoving the hapless shaman against a wall. “I’LL TELL YOU WHAT IT IS TO ME! Shulma is my lady and my love and I will DEFEND HER WITH MY LIFE FROM THE LIKES OF YOU!!”

    “I—I REPEAT, UNHAND ME!” Porfozald was fairly screeching now. “I ch-challenge you to an hon-honorable bout of f-fisticuffs, you—you—!”

    Just then, with a sound like a rock goat in pain, he crumpled downward in a nervous faint. Second Corporal Garazeb Orrelios, of the Lasan High Honor Guard, snickered to himself as he dumped the shaman’s unconscious form into the desk chair, brushed the dust from his wrist bracers, and left.


    That was the tops! :zeb: [face_love] :D
    A very gratifying read!!!!!!
     
  14. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Porfy, Porfy, Porfy.... *headdesk* *facepalm* Wow, just wow...he really is a chauvinist. Women have “short attention spans and constant cravings for new sensations”, do we? Yes, that explains why Shulma is the one meditating and praying at Osthi’s tomb, while you’re whining about the quality of cider in the refectory and watching girls while on pilgrimage.:p He really has a terribly paternalistic (in the worst sense of the word) attitude towards women, with all his talk of offering guidance and being firm. To assume that a grown woman who is capable of studying to be a shaman will just forget her boyfriend while she’s away from him for a week... And he thinks women are irrational!

    Again, Porfozald reminds me a bit of Luke in Teenage Rebellion, but where Luke tried to prove he was the better man by improving his scholarship and doing nice things for Mara (and sending horrible poetry), Porfy takes a much more direct approach, confronting Shulma at a holy site!!1!! He doesn’t just stop with giving her his “excellent guidance” either. He proves he's truly the irrational one, the way he goes on about "physical types" like Zeb only thinking about their own appetites and taking what they want by force, when he's the one who physically stops her from leaving and accosts her by grabbing her hand and kissing it. How dare she not like it when she liked Zeb kissing her? And then he has the gall to call Shulma "discourteous" for pulling her hand away and telling him to stow it. :eyeroll:

    I do not blame Shulma for slapping him (and Ashla sparks fly when she does! Go, Shulma!) And I do not blame Zeb for taking matters into his own hands to protect his beloved, though I wonder if it was necessary. Porfozald seems like such a craven that he might not pursue thing when she had the temerity to strike his person! Love how even then Porfy clings to the forms of etiquette demanding Zeb's name and business (and like the honorable man he is, Zeb provides it) and challenging Zeb to an "honorable bout of fisticuffs" [face_laugh] He's actually lucky that he passes out from fear at this point, because one blow from Zeb would drop him to the floor and probably put him whiny shebs in the infirmary for a month. : P

    It's too bad that Porfozald didn't listen to Chukwu, who seems to be the only one of the bunch with his head screwed on right. Or pay attention to the ASHLA ITSELF when it flickered as he gleefully recounted his plan in his journal. One can hope that Porfozald will learn something from this experience, but somehow I doubt he will :(

    Excellent job giving this thoroughly unpleasant character his just desserts!

    PS. @Mistress_Renata, this
    is a priceless, perfect metaphor here! :D
     
  15. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    As always, many thanks to all who read, liked, commented, or any combination of those things. It means a lot to me! @};-

    HAH! [face_rofl] [face_rofl] [face_rofl] Love that! I can only agree with @Raissa Baiard—what an absolutely perfect and priceless way to describe him! :D See below for more on the "fisticuffs" thing. ;)

    The Lasat have prehensile feet, of course, so by stepping on her foot he can grip it and stop her from moving, the same way that we Humans can grab another person’s hand to stop them from doing something. Yeah, he's going about this all kinds of wrong, isn't he? He does not have good models, though that is of course not much of an excuse. And he would never take an Irrational Female seriously, even if she did have to result to smacking him in self-defense.

    Oh, yeah. And he thinks women are sensation-hungry... :p

    Thank you so much, Renata, and I very much appreciate your reading and commenting! :) I'm so glad you enjoyed (!) this; writing this kind of character was an interesting exercise for me. He certainly isn't as out-and-out evil or violent as, say, my Tusken warrior in "Graceful as Water," and he's definitely not in the line of the Sith (he doesn't actually use his Ashla powers in the service of his unpleasant designs, for example); he's more like an unpleasant, chauvinistic bungler (not that his bungling makes things any less unpleasant for those around him).

    Yep, and good catch, because that "prongbok doe among the goats" image is the exact same one Zeb used first in his letter to Shulma in Raissa’s wonderful “Purple Prose." ;)

    Oh, she may be "like the sage-maidens of old," but that's not mutually exclusive with having gumption, for sure! :D

    Thank you so much, and I'm glad you enjoyed this! I simply couldn't pass up the chance to sic Zeb on Porfozald; there's no one who deserves it more. :D Shulma would naturally tell her young man all that had happened, and how could a man of honor like Zeb allow anything like that to happen to her with impunity? <3

    Oh, indeed, again, he is all wrong about many, many things. His chauvinistic, paternalistic attitude plus his lukewarm attitude toward his shamanic studies—the way he regards it only as a way to aggrandize himself and show off his family's influence—it all makes for an especially pernicious combination. Add hypocrisy in there, and it's all the more so! (I had Molière's classic hypocrite Tartuffe very much on the brain in the course of writing Porfozald.)

    Oh, but don't you know, he's A Man and she of course needs to do what he wants her to do, whenever he wants her to, no matter how he treats her! She is to do as he says, not as he does, that kind of thing. :p I did think about TR!Luke a lot while writing Porfy, too, and I remember consulting some of your chapters as I worked on this story. When TR!Luke stepped up his game to try to impress Mara, it at least had the ultimate effect of improving things for him, even if it didn't win him Mara's hand. But there's no way what Porfy's doing can possibly improve anything for him; he's just spiraling farther and farther down, and he doesn't really care about "stepping up his game" as a shaman, because he can coast on his father's and his family's influence (and again, I do plan to introduce his father in a future story).

    Again, I couldn't pass up the chance to sic both of them on Porfy—he so deserves it! Zeb would of course never let such a thing go unpunished, and it says a lot for his character that even in this wrathful mood he shows himself to be the more honorable man by far. The Ashla sparks are born from Shulma's own strong emotion, of course, though in a way I guess they're also a follow-up to the flickering lights earlier on—the Ashla's way of joining in and saying, "see, I told you so." I think you were the one who first suggested the "fisticuffs" thing in one of our conversations as I was planning this out, so I have you to thank for that—it really did sound exactly like the sort of ludicrously grandiose pronouncement this kind of character would make before passing out from sheer fear. And yes, I agree that that's punishment enough for him. :p

    Oh yes, Chukwu definitely knows what's what, and has since the beginning of the story; not all the male shamans are like Porfy. And ignoring a signal like that from the Ashla—that any other shaman worth his or her salt would have recognized as such—is always a very bad idea. I can't say yet whether Porfozald will learn anything for this either, though unfortunately it's often the case that these types never do. :(

    Thank you so much, and thank you for your important role in the genesis of the story! And of course for your invaluable collaboration on the Lasan Series in general; my stories in the series could not stand without yours. :zeb: @};-

    I must say, even though I very much enjoyed giving Porfy his just desserts in the end, it wasn't always easy getting to that point, writing all the negging and insulting and harassing that happened along the way. So even though the main body of the story is technically complete, I've written a couple of what one might call adjuncts to this story, just in the interest of not letting Porfy have the last word. :p One is kind of a "deleted scene" taking place in the middle of the story, one is sort of an epilogue that happens later, and both are short, so hopefully they won't be too much a burden on my already very patient readers—whom, again, I can't thank enough! @};- =D=
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
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  16. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Well, that first entry was quite engaging.

    Very good grasp of the shaman academy worldbuilding, and your protagonist's pursuit of his lady love.

    Nice thing with the Warrior feat, the alleged attraction to the fairer sex, and everything that happened.

    I feel for the dude, and have been there, though I would not recommend that he give her advice on her choices.
    Doubt that would go well.

    Excellent job. :xwing:
     
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  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thanks so much for reading and reviewing, Sith-I-5; great to have you here. :) I'm glad you enjoyed this; it went back and forth between being fun to write (for the worldbuilding, scenery, etc.) and being tough to write (for the viewpoint character's general disagreeableness). I agree, not much good is likely to come of any attempt on Porfozald's part to try to advise Shulma on her choice of men—and if you continue on to part two, you'll see just what happens when Porfozald tries that... [face_worried]

    * * *​

    Now, so, technically this story is complete with these two chapters. But I felt somewhat uneasy about letting a jerk like Porfozald have the last word, and wanted to make things up to Shulma somehow. To that end I've written two short adjuncts to this story in the form of brief vignettes; one is an "outtake" that takes place within the timeframe of chapter 2, and one is a postscript that takes place some time afterward. They're their own stories in that they have their own titles, etc., but since they're closely related to this one, I'll post them within this thread. As to how to classify them within the series, well, I'll figure that out in due time! :p In the meantime, though, do watch this space; the first of the two is coming soon. :)
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  18. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Author: Findswoman
    Title: Calm after the Storm
    Era: Within the action of chapter 2 of “The Sad, Sad Story of Porfozald Marballees!,” after the events of the entry dated 2nd 23.9.
    Characters: OCs; brief appearance by Chava the Wise; mention of Zeb
    Genre: Vignette, outtake
    Summary: Shulma receives comfort and support from her friends after Porfozald harasses her.
    Notes: An “outtake” of sorts from “The Sad, Sad Story of Porfozald Marballees!,” showing Shulma’s reaction to the happenings of the second chapter. Also, a contribution to the OC Revolution thread’s noncompetitive Introduce a New OC in 500–1500 Words Challenge, since it introduces two new OCs to the Lasan Series: Shulma’s friends and fellow shaman initiates Rishla and Yhazi.


    2nd 22.8, Tomb of Osthi the Storm-Dreamer, Feldspar Falls

    The evening silence of the women’s pilgrimage house was shattered as the door flew open. A red-cloaked female figure rushed in, washed her hands quickly and assiduously in the washing alcove, and then sank onto one of the nearby couches, burying her face in her hands.

    “Shulma! Are you all right?” Another female figure ran up and sat beside the first. She moved closer and embraced her friend as she noticed her trembling and weeping. “Oh no, Shulma, what’s wrong?”

    “Oh Rishla...” Shulma leaned on Rishla's shoulder, taking a moment to breathe and collect herself. “It was... it was absolutely horrible...”

    “What happened?”

    “Porfozald… out in the courtyard… he was unbearable...” Shulma took another deep breath and told Rishla all that had happened: how Porfozald had detained her after her meditation in the tomb-chamber, how he had foot-gripped her to keep her from getting away, how he had followed her out into the courtyard and all he had said and done there. “And then he grabbed my hand and kissed it... again and again... even though I’d already told him to leave me alone...”

    “That slimeface!” Rishla gnashed her teeth. “Just because his papa’s on the Consistory he thinks he can just do whatever he—Oh, Shulma, that’s just—I’m so sorry—he didn’t—hurt you, did he?”

    “No, thank the Ashla... I managed to pull free and smack him on the ear...” Her mouth curved for a moment into a sly smile. “Then I ran back here. But it was all so... I mean, to do such a thing in a holy place—” She signed the Triangle suddenly as the sound of loud knocking from the pilgrimage house door cut her off, punctuated by shouts of her name. “Oh sacred Ashla, that's him! Oh, my head... I feel so weak...” New tears overtook her as she hid her face in Rishla's shoulder.

    “There, now. Just ignore him. Let’s get you to the dormitory.” The knocking and shouting continued as Rishla led Shulma down a short hallway and through a door, which she closed behind them. They were now in a room with several beds, each in its own alcove against the wall. Rishla helped Shulma off with her cloak and eased her down onto one of the beds.

    "Right. You’re safe now. Let’s check your currents..." She placed two finger pads below Shulma’s ear, then ran them gently along her brow ridges. “Oh dear, the Ashla’s storming all around you… Here, close your eyes and breathe and see if you can get your currents calm… There, that’s good… keep breathing… think of something that comforts you and makes you happy…”

    “Zeb…”

    Rishla gave a little laugh. “Yes, he’s a good example.”

    “No, no, it’s just... I was thinking… well…”

    “Yes?”

    “You don’t think he’d be... angry with me?”

    “Why in the Ashla’s name would he be angry with you?”

    “Because... because I was incautious... because I shouldn’t have put myself in a position where some other male could accost me... I don’t know...”

    “Oh come on, Shulma. It’s not like you knew that sleemo was going to treat you that way. You made it clear that you didn’t like what he was doing. You did everything you could to get away from him. I bet Zeb will just be happy you’re safe. Hey…” She leaned closer with an encouraging smile. “Just another day and a half and you’ll get to see him again.”

    Shulma blushed and lowered her eyes. “Oh Rishla, listen to you…”

    “I mean it! Look, try not to worry, all right? It’s only going to ruffle your currents up again. Just focus on breathing and resting. I’ll go get Wise Chava.”

    “Thanks, Rishla,” breathed Shulma as she closed her eyes and relaxed. Rishla made for the doorway but stopped short with a murmured “Akh kara basta…” just as a third young woman—slightly shorter and with a mischievous, lopsided smile—entered and greeted her.

    “Hey there, Rishla.”

    “Er… hi, Yhazi.”

    The newcomer glanced over at Shulma’s bed, then lowered her voice to a whisper and continued. “So, what’s up with the Storm-Dreamer of Flowstone Vale? Her currents acting up again?”

    “Yes, afraid so—Yhazi—”

    “Aw, poor little thing, I can feel her storming from here. What’s going on?”

    “Porfozald was giving her trouble… right now she just needs to rest and she’ll—”

    “Porfozald?” Yhazi’s amber eyes widened. “Oh, was that him making all that noise at the door just now?”

    “Yes, I think so. Yhazi—”

    “Wise Chava just came by and told him off… so do tell, what was he doing? Was he flirting with her?”

    “If you call grabbing her hand and kissing it again and again against her will flirting…

    “Hey, I’d be flattered if it was me! I know she’s into that Guardsman right now—”

    “Yhazi—”

    “—and he’s got some fine stripes, for sure—”

    “Yhazi, please—”

    “—but she shouldn’t limit her options, y’know?”

    “Yhazi, now really isn’t the time.”

    “Sorry, sorry… just teasing... mostly. Anyway, where are you going? Why aren’t you staying with her?”

    “Well, I was going to go get Wise Chava—”

    “Yeah, but didn’t Wise Chava say we shouldn’t leave her alone when she gets all stirred up like this? Could lead to vision shock, remember? Hey, we could both stay with her and do one of those tandem calming rituals from the Book of the Four Protecting Cloaks… how about that?”

    Rishla sighed and shrugged. “Sure, I guess so… just keep the teasing down, all right? It’s not what she needs right now.”

    “Fine, fair enough… I’ll try, anyway. C’mon.”

    Together they went over to Shulma’s bed, positioning themselves each on either side. Their friend was much calmer now, breathing deeply and rhythmically but still shifting fitfully now and then. Her eyes flickered open as they approached.

    “Yhazi… that you...?”

    “Hey, lady. Go back to sleep. Rishla and I are gonna take care of you, all right?”

    “What are you going to—”

    “Just a little calming sequence. Don’t worry about a thing. Just close your eyes and focus on something pleasant. I bet I know who, too, heh heh, someone strong and stripey… sorry, sorry,” she added hastily as Rishla glared at her. “Yeah, just relax. You’re gonna be all right, all right?”

    “Um… all right…”

    Shulma exhaled, closed her eyes, and relaxed. Yhazi took a piece of ritual chalk from her dress pocket and began drawing a series of small, semi-abstract glyphs on the wall near the head of the bed. Rishla watched her for a moment, then took out her own chalk and began drawing a different series of small glyphs. Then both of them traced the Triangle on Shulma’s shoulders, closed their eyes, and began two simultaneous chants:

    Sovereign Ashla, source of the eight strengths, strengthen her…

    Gracious Ashla, restorer of the hidden and the revealed brightness, restore her…

    * * *​

    Later that night, Chava came through the women’s house as usual to check that all was well. Most of the female initiates were in bed and asleep by now; she signed the Triangle over each of them and now and then would chalk a protecting glyph on the wall. But two beds were empty: Rishla’s and Yhazi’s. Chava looked around and found them kneeling in a meditative trance beside the sleeping Shulma, resting their heads on their arms at her sides.

    The elder shaman stood and watched them for several moments, smiling to herself. It was such a relief to see Shulma resting so peacefully after all she had been through that evening. Lying there with one hand at her side and the other lying on her breast, with her long hair flowing about her, she looked so much like the recumbent sculpture of Osthi in the tomb-shrine. And her friends lingered in their trance beside her the same way Shulma herself had lingered so many times beside Osthi’s tomb...

    On the wall behind the head of the bed, between the two groups of smaller glyphs drawn by Rishla and Yhazi, Chava drew a large glyph of three flowers twined at their stems, intoning a quiet prayer as she did so. Just as she finished and turned to go, her eyes fell on a small flimsi card on the bedside table—a holoimage of a young male in military uniform. This she slipped gently into the hand that lay on Shulma’s breast, then left the room. ¶

    Date (2nd 22.8): Note that Porfozald’s entry for 2nd 23.9 states that the events recounted took place “last night.”

    “Storm-Dreamer of Flowstone Vale”: The pilgrimage site where this story takes palce is the tomb of the (fanon) ancient Lasat prophetess Osthi the Storm-Dreamer, in her home village of Feldspar Falls. Thus one of Osthi’s epithets is “the Storm-Dreamer of Feldspar Falls” (cf. RL saints’ epithets like “The Eagle of Patmos,” “The Little Flower of Lisieux,” etc.). This is Yhazi’s semi-teasing way of applying the same epithet to Shulma (Flowstone Vale being Shulma’s home village, as established in Raissa Baiard’s Purple Prose).

    Again, the Lasat shamanic rituals are all my fanon; the sign of the Triangle is Raissa Baiard’s creation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
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  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    @Findswoman - Rishla and Yhazi are fun and supportive friends. Rishla is more sympathetic while Yhazi is teasing and mischievous. Interestingly Yhazi doesn't seem to mind Porfozald, i.e. doesn't find him obnoxious :p :rolleyes:

    The "Four Protective Cloaks" & "Three Twined Flowers", lovely nuanced additions to the Lasat lore. =D=

    LOL The fact that Shulma's "currents" are frequently stirred up is indicative that she is a very emotive person. [face_love]
     
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  20. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    [:D] Aww...poor Shulma! Here we get to see just how much Porfozald's self-centered "flirting" has upset her. I can't blame her, though; I agree with Rishla; this wasn't flirting. Flirting is lighthearted and aimed at making a connection with another person. Porfy cared less about developing a relationship with Shulma than just having her accede to the wisdom of his counsel. :p And he goes several steps beyond flirting into harassment with his unwillingness to take no for an answer and willingness to physically accost her "if needs be".

    Luckily for Shulma, she has truly caring friends there to support her [face_love] Rishla's there to immediately comfort and reassure her, and of course she's absolutely right that Zeb would never fault Shulma for what happened. Someone like Porfy might think that way, but Zeb knows his beloved's heart and he would never blame her for being "incautious". Yhazi might be silly and teasing at times, but she is the one who suggests the calming ritual; it seems she's got a good heart underneath the fluffy exterior. ( I wonder if she's actually enamored of Porfy, per se, or it's just someone with his connections she wouldn't mind flirting with her?) And then there's Sulma's most powerful advocate of all, Wise Chava herself, who has a few choice words for Porfozald--and I sure withers him him a single look :D--and draws protective glyphs over the three friends. I like her reflections on the similarities between Shulma and the statue of Osthi--I thought the same from the description in the earlier chapter.

    You have a real talent for developing the ritual traditions of alien species =D= The ritual chants that Rishla and Yhazi begin sound like they come from sacred liturgy. It's lovely to see a sacred tradition created with such a sense of authenticity, not just coolness factor, and sincere believers and practitioners. Too often religion in fantasy/scifi is either secretly Teh Evil, a sham, or a deus ex machina (pardon the pun).so I also enjoy seeing that aspect handled with respect and sincerity. Bravo!

    Lovely addition to the story. Thanks to Shulma's friends, Porfozald doesn't get the final say. Friendship and caring triumph in the end.
     
  21. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you both for reading and commenting on this little "outtake." @};-

    Thanks, Ny! :) I'm glad you like Shulma's two very different friends and their two very different ways of showing their concern for her—even the teasy, mischievous type of friendship can play an important role. More below on what Yhazi thinks of Porfozald; my thinking was not so much that she’s into him personally as that she is kind of a flirtatious type who takes a “don’t knock it till you try it” approach toward men in general (hence the “she shouldn’t limit her options” bit).

    Thanks so much; I guess it's really close to high time I updated the Lasat fanon post that Raissa and I started. I made up the Book of the Four Protecting Cloaks for this story, and the idea is that it’s a compendium of these sort of healing and calming rituals. The three-flowers glyph is Chava's way of expressing her admiration of the friendship among these three students of hers, and of asking the Ashla's protection upon their friendship. @};-

    Yep—it's part of the fact that she too is a "storm-dreamer," just like the prophetess buried at the pilgrimage site where she's staying (that's why Yhazi teasingly refers to her as "the Storm-Dreamer of Flowstone Vale"). Her emotions and nerves do get stirred up easily, but visions and revelation can come out of it, too, so it's closely related to her talent as a shaman.

    Thanks so much, as always, for being such a faithful follower of these little stories of mine—it’s so much appreciated! @};-

    Yes, absolutely—I wrote this “outtake” precisely in order to show the full range of Shulma’s feelings: sure, she’s a strong, resolute woman who can defend herself, but that doesn’t mean an experience like this isn’t going to be a very upsetting one all the same, and I wanted to bring that side of things to notice too. Porfozald really does have it all wrong about how connections between beings really are supposed to work

    Oh, for sure! Shulma really has nothing to worry about there; of course Zeb would never get angry with her over this (though he sure does with Porfozald, and deservedly so!). It’s really Shulma’s own agitation and anxiety speaking at that point, rather than any kind of likely reality. Which is why Rishla’s reassurance at this moment is so valuable.

    Yhazi is a tease and a flirt who believes other people would do well to be teasy and flirty too; I guess she sort of belongs to that “flirty girlfriend” type. :p But she wouldn't be in the line of work she’s in if she were a dummy, and my idea is that these healing and calming rituals are kind of a specialty of hers within her people’s shamanic tradition. Again, her attitude to Porfy is not so much interest in him personally as just a feeling that any man is fair game to at least consider, though his connections and family prestige certainly don't hurt. :p

    Thanks! I loved Chava from the moment I first saw her in "Legends of the Lasat"; she of course is the reason I started developing fanon on Lasat shamanism to begin with, and part of the reason I made Shulma a shaman too, so that she could have such a strong, visionary mentor. You're of course right that the similarities between Shulma and the Osthi statue are not accidental; as a fellow stormy female mystic, Shulma has a particular admiration for her and views her as somewhat of a spiritual role model, and that's why she spends so much extra time praying and meditating beside the tomb.

    Thanks so much; I really appreciate that, both because that's kind of become one of my little "specialties" here in fanfic, and because I feel the same way about the portrayal of religious traditions within sci-fi and fantasy. Thinking of what Luke says to Rey in TLJ, it's not just supposed to be a means of Doing Kewl Stuff; it has to be an actual system of belief and practice, too, and I do like to go to real-life traditions and texts for inspiration. (And again, I know I need to update that fanon post! :p )

    Thanks again, and that was exactly my goal in writing and posting this: to show that jerks like Porfozald do not get the last word, to put the focus back on Shulma and her feelings, and to show just how important friendship and caring are during a tough time. @};- And of course my gratitude to you for all your input and support over the course of writing this story and others in the series! =D=