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Saga - PT Sparks (Lasan Series OCs; OC Revolution Summer/Fall 2019 Challenge)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    That was majestic and solemn and beautifully detailed! =D= I enjoyed this glimpse into Shulma's shamanic origin. @};-
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  2. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Awww, what a lovely ending to this story! You write this sort of ritual and pageantry better than anyone, and once again you bring it to life in vivid detail. I recognize Shulma’s father and brothers in the audience, Ninqua strewing the flowers and how sweet to see Shulma’s grandmother and great-grandmother here. As I said, you have quite a knack for writing religious ceremonies; this reminds me in many ways of a first Communion or Confirmation service in the Catholic/Anglican tradition (and I love that the Lasat have their equivalent of “The Lord be with you” “And also with you”...or in the GFFA “May the Force be with you “). It is perhaps a bit more mystical than either of these services, with the chalk symbols and crystal staffs glowing and Shulma consumed with ecstasy (though of course, that’s not unknown, either—Saint Theresa, for example). And now our heroine is sealed to the path we know she will continue faithfully on all her life, and that will sustain her even through the worst possible circumstances. [face_love]

    Bravo on this look at a formative event in Shulma’s youth. So wonderful to see the story come to fruition in such a beautiful way!
  3. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you so much! I must say I love writing a good ritual scene, and I figured it would be a good way to wrap up a story about how Shulma first discovers her powers. I'm so glad you enjoyed this story and so thankful to have you as a faithful reader and supporter! @};-

    Thank you so much, I appreciate that! I rather enjoy writing ritual scenes like this, and I must say this one has owed a lot to your feedback. <3 It seemed an ideal way to bring Shulma's whole family, as well as her mine supervisors and friends, together to celebrate this big new stage in her life. I had various Earth ceremonies in my mind when I was putting this together—ones like those you mention combined with ordination-type servicesand other coming-of-age ceremonies, and you'll be pleased to know I also consulted another Theresa, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who talks a bit in her autobiography about her "clothing ceremony" (for becoming a Carmelite nun). And of course there is an antiphonal ritual greeting! That just seemed to fit as naturally as the chalked glyphs and beaucoup de lightning bolts. :D Shulma's mystical experience within the column of light is very much her "first day of the rest of her life": she will always be one from whom the hand of the Ashla draws sparks, in both good times and bad.

    Thank you so much, and once again many thanks for all your help and input, which helped make it what it is! @};-
  4. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    This is lovely! What amazing world building! I love your use of color here, too; how the light shines with jewel tones throughout.

    That's beautiful. How precious is it to find such purity of spirit and such strength of power together. Shulma truly is the gem in the diadem, the flower in the garden, the star first to appear in the evening sky.
    I like that it's the moms who are the presenters here. You had mentioned that the Lasat society is matriarchal, and this is a great representation of it. Are you thinking that the Ashla is a feminine force, and it appears mainly in feminine forms?

    Again, the play of the light. I love how the light is part of the building, part of the ceremony, and part of the Ashla itself.

    Oh, she's going all St. Teresa there...

    A wonderful ceremony that marks the beginning of a spiritual journey unlike any other for Shulma. Thank you for writing this backstory. It shows us how much the Ashla has literally lit the way for her, from a spark in the dark to the full blaze of color, light and glory.
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you so much, and I'm glad you enjoyed that touch—I see Lasan as a pretty colorful place, not in a garish and gaudy way but in an elemental and natural way.

    Aw, thanks. <3 That combination of power and purity is something I've always hoped to portray in Shulma, so I'm so glad it came through.

    The Lasat shamanic tradition is definitely female-dominated in my fanon, and yes, part of that is related to the fact that, in my fanon at least, the Ashla has strong feminine attributes (among many, of course) and feminine forms are considered to be most tuned in to its power. (Sort of like what Hildegard of Bingen says: "ideo est summa benedictio in feminea forma"—"therefore the highest blessing is in feminine form.") And in Shulma's particular case her Ashla ability has descended to her on the matrilineal side: her great-great-grandmother Shatha, who was the last person in her family tree to have that ability (and who was the owner of that little healers' book from the earlier chapter), was the mother of the great-grandmother who is one of her presenters here. (Lasats live longer than we humans do, which is part of why the great-grandmother is still alive.)

    Thank you again! I guess the "light of Lasan" in its various forms has become by way of a motif throughout this series of stories. It's in the people, the places, the whole planet, and of course its guiding force—another way those things are all bound up with each other.

    Exactly, you nailed it! :D Same sort of ecstasy (I see I misspelled it the first time, karabast!), same sort of deep, thrilling union with the Divine. I have to say, I wish there were more St. Teresa-like figures in my own RL faith tradition—which I think is why I was so insistent on making them part of this fanon tradition. ;)

    Oh, you are so welcome, diva, and thank you again as always for being here to read and appreciate—I'm so glad to have you along on Shulma's journey, too! @};-
  6. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh golly, but I fell much further behind in this story than I first realized! And to think that I first thought that I was only an update or two behind. So, my most sincere apologies as I go about rectifying that now. I really have been enjoying every chapter of this story. [face_love]

    And, in particular . . .

    Yep, I had to go all the way back to chapter two. My apologies again!

    But oi, didn't it push my buttons when I realized that Novalos' only reaction to finding Shulma was annoyance and censure. I definitely first thought that he'd have compassion - and no doubt a few questions about How and Why this happened - rather than such grudging concern! He really isn't the type I'd have molding young minds, to put it lightly. ;) o_O

    I much more appreciated her father's gentle care when he arrived to pick her up. He's a Lasat of few words, but he clearly adores his daughter, and knows she's not the slacker she's being painted as. And he wisely gets her brothers to leave her be; the dear little cheeky brats. I know they care, but they are such boys here. :p

    Her mother took the cake on compassion and knowing just what her kit needs, though! Which is certainly no surprise at all. [face_love] (I too adored the nickname of 'little gem.' [face_love] )

    Oh dear Shulma! Her soft humility is as endearing here as it ever is. She imost certainly not just a regular ol' twelve dust seasons old girl-kit. Instead, she's just taken her first step into a much larger world, which her mother very cannily guesses and understands!

    Oh, the endearing logic of youth! It must be that pesky lilac fur. :p But I appreciate that Shulma has found such a sweet friend and accomplice, who is a foil to her more quiet ways. They really do work well together, in more ways than one.

    Until . . .

    Really?? If the brute would just take two seconds to ask questions and use his head instead of his temper here he'd spare himself all sorts of trouble! I was just incredulous as to his insensitivity, and then to actually grab her?? :mad: [face_phbbbbt] [face_waiting]

    Don't mess with Mama Yokheva! [face_mischief] I have to admit that I cheered here, just a little bit. :p

    Ha! I appreciate how he is the one stammering and cowed in front of authority here now. It's not a good feeling in the slightest, isn't it? [face_waiting]

    Such grace, such class! I really appreciated this little bit with Shulma's apology. And it seems like she even softened the gruff foreman and won a friend in the end. Of course she did. [face_love]

    Jenthai really is a beautiful addition to your rich cast of OCs, both inside and out! I adored every bit of this chapter, and savored each word. The trip up the mountain, the description of the academy, and the particulars of Shulma's testing! No detail was left out, and it made for a rich reading experience. It really had a warmth and sense of nurturing that was far and beyond, say, Anakin's testing to be a Jedi. And, indeed, the Shamans' reaction to her clear talent and potential power, as well was quite different - and rightly so. :p :rolleyes: That's how you guide and mold young minds!

    Such a dear, brave girl is our Shulma! [face_love]

    You are indeed a silly little one, Shulma! :p But her clear reverence for a respected elder and her humility do her credit. [face_love]

    I just adored your depiction of their first meeting! Of course Chava is just as awed as Shulma is, in her own way. Her clear respect for her powers, and for the Ashla binding them both together, was so touching. As was the advent of Shulma's lifelong journey as a storm-dreamer. I just had such a smile on my face to read this entire scene, I hope I'm adequately putting into words! [face_love]

    Yep, all of the warm and happy feelings here on our young heroine's behalf, which she rightly is experiencing too! [face_love]

    I just ADORE how Shulma won an ally in the grumpy ol' foreman. It's good to know that his bark is worse than his bite, again. :p

    Others have already so eloquently mentioned, so I will just happily add my voice to theirs: you have a gift for writing ritual and pageantry. All of the details were so carefully included and the ceremony was so thoughtfully built up; I commend your world-building, again! Chava's speech here was especially touching, and her words were so fittingly poetic and warmly welcoming. Just perfect. [face_love]

    I LOVED the bit about her being the stone that the Ashla throws sparks from!!! What a beautiful image, and all too accurate. That line really brought your title and your theme and Shulma's origins as a Shaman full circle. Bravo, bravo on this most excellent tale, and thank you so very much again for sharing! I, as always, can't wait to see what you have next to show us next from this most magnificent world. [face_love] =D=
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Thanks so much, Mira! :) I'm glad you enjoyed this, and no worries at all—I know too well how RL can get, and as you can see I'm a bit tardy in responding, too.

    Again, no worries in the least—please don't feel bad!

    Yep, he isn't really at all the right type for that, is he? I imagine that he sees his young helpers as, well, tools at best, an annoying Extra Thing to Have to Deal With at worst. He helps her in the way that he does mainly because he has to and probably would have extra reports to fill out if he didn't. :p

    Ormgar is kind of a laconic, slightly crusty type, yes, but he really does care, even if he doesn't really know what's going on. And I agree, I think Chornogar and Chornozod ultimately care, too, but yeah... boys, and big brothers and all! :p (I would love to write more about them sometime—for example, what a meeting between them and Zeb might be like... [face_thinking] )

    Yep, mother definitely knows best here—more on that below.

    Shulma has been born into a world where in some ways she doesn't quite fit, with interests and skills that are a bit at odds with her environment. Yokheva is so readily able to support and advocate for her daughter because she remembers that she had an ancestor who was like that, too. She knows that what her daughter is experiencing is no isolated fluke but rather part of a longer chain that reaches way back.

    It was fun creating Ninqua! I've given Shulma some other friends—all fellow shamans from her years studying at the academy—but it's not bad for her to have a good muggle friend or two, either. And it makes a huge difference to her in this rather scary work situation just to have someone she can feel at ease around.

    Yes, he's definitely not clear on the concept that children can't just be thrown around like chunks of ore! (And of course some of it may be because he's rather scared of what's happening himself... this isn't something he's come across at the ore bench before.)

    Oh, I did too, if I do say so myself! :D

    Indeed not! [face_phbbbbt] I think, though, that he might be somewhat genuinely scared, too: not just about being confronted by a mining ministry official but also about the whole scene he's just seen—again, not every day do kits' hands spark at the ore bench.

    Thanks! This exchange came out of exchanges I've had with my own mom as a kid, where she encouraged me to do the classy thing even when it was hard or didn't seem quite right—and assured me that doing so didn't mean guilt in any way. And I find that even now in my adult years, that approach still can work and make an impression on people, just as it did on Novalos!

    Thanks! I'm so glad you liked Jenthai (she was created brand new for this story) and the settings and events of this chapter in general—I must say I'm a sucker for writing this kind kind of scene. I wanted Shulma's first view of what will become one of the most important places in her life to be full of beauty and awe, yes, but also full of love and encouragement, so I'm so glad that came off.

    Yes, and that will stand her in very good stead later on in her life, as we've seen!

    She's a little starstruck, isn't she—sparkstruck, even! :D She doesn't know yet that "Chava with the long, hard-to-pronounce last name" is going to become one of the most important people in her life, too; at this point she just knows her mainly as a Personage.

    Oh, thanks so much again! I really loved writing this meeting, too, and I liked the idea of their being in awe of each other a little. Chava may be a High Muckamuck where the Ashla and the shamans of Lasan are concerned, but she's still got that sense of wonder and amazement. She, too, has an inkling that the person she's meeting will become someone very important to her.

    After all the scariness and uncertainty that's led up to this moment, I figured she deserved some warm feelings! This is the beginning of something new and wonderful for her that she'll have the whole rest of her life—the scare was really just a fleeting, momentary setback.

    If I do say so myself, she's got that way of winning allies, just by being her own earnest, sweet self! Another characteristic that will stand her in good stead later.

    Thank you so much! Again, I really loved writing that whole scene. I felt like Shulma deserved a beautiful experience welcoming her to this new world, again especially after things being so scary and uncertain for a while there. This new world rejoices to have her as much as she rejoices to have it! [face_love]

    Thank you again, and I am so glad you enjoyed this origin story! And I know I am sounding like a broken record, but I mean it, utterly and sincerely, each time I say it. @};- She's the stone and the spark, all right—one of the sources of the Light of Lasan—and this is the beginning of more sparks (and stones, of a specific kind! [face_love] ) to come.
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  8. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Ch 3

    =D= Go Yokheva! It was definitely a relief to see her take care of the situation here (and undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on Trothidd's worst nightmares :p ). In spite of all the frightening things going on, Shulma has her mother on her side and that really makes such a difference in so many ways.

    And even though it was great to see Yokheva unleash her inner mama ursine in the oh-so-politest way, I was also really intrigued to find that she had Shulma go back and apologize. Shulma's right that she didn't do anything to harm anyone on purpose. But Yokheva has the perspective to understand that Novalos and the rest are confused and frightened, even though they aren't dealing with that as they should. This probably isn't the last time Shulma's sparks are going to startle people who have never seen anything like them. And it turns out that things are not so terrible with Novalos once he's had a moment to stop thinking and acting in panic.

    I really loved the journey to the Academy of Shamans, with the increasingly ominous weather and beautiful scenery -- and the funicular car, which was a bit new to me as a real thing! It all really captures that feeling that they are crossing from the everyday business of Lasan into a very different, sacred, and (for Shulma) intimidating world. The tests with all the rocks sound very tiring, what with the effects making her hands sore. Shulma does seem to have a real affinity for a certain kind of purple-red stone -- really liked that detail! :) Jenthai is a thankfully calming presence, and seems to have a feel for how to make the whole interviewing thing as easy as possible. Though she definitely doesn't foresee how intensely the dreaming trance will go!

    Even with all her nervousness and sense of being "a tiny, insignificant kit from Flowstone Vale", Shulma already has the determination and bravery that will serve her well in later years. And Yokheva is right there with her, which undoubtedly helps with that in this particular moment.

    The dream vision is both so different and so familiar to what Shulma has experienced so far; the serene, otherworldly remix of the same vision that so frightened her in the mine before is a really interesting note -- but then so is the fact that the Ashla is pulling out all these significant images to the point that it eventually becomes a torrent and too much for her. (Ouch!) Though there is something of a reason for that, as we find out with Chava's arrival. :)

    It's so fascinating that that would be what Shulma sees last -- definitely a chills moment, though not in a scary way.
    That eerie combination of her childhood and her distant future is fantastic!

    Ch 4

    Really enjoyed both Chava's theories and Shulma's bafflement here. :D And even if it doesn't all quite make sense to Shulma, some part of it does and that at least seems to help!

    The collection of Standard Shaman Form Letters for the Confused must be impressive! [face_laugh] It'll be quite the change for Shulma, going from things as they were to being an initiate at the Academy.

    Hmm, it's almost like something -- or someone -- was affecting the weather. :p It's good to see that things are starting to go pretty well with Shulma's shifts at the mine, with Novalos being not so antagonistic and Ninqua being welcoming as ever.

    Five (Epilogue)

    Wonderful ceremony; the involvement of Yokheva and the rest of the family was especially touching given how much they helped Shulma get through the early challenges of finding out about her gift. It was especially sweet that the "little gem" nickname Yokheva's been calling her daughter by all along seems to make an appearance.

    The idea of Shulma's own spark-making being a kind of microcosm for her whole storm-dreaming connection with the Ashla is fantastic. It gets a bit overwhelming, yes, but others are there to help Shulma out when the intensity of what she senses literally bowls her over. There's such a sense of wonder in the ceremony, and it draws from the love of her family and the welcome and caring from the Shamans. @};-
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Catching up—want to make sure I thank you properly for this wonderful, in-depth comment! :)

    Thanks! This is something my own mom used to insist that I do, in order to make that very point and to help me understand people's reactions to my actions. And even though it can be hard to do even now, it really does lead to increased understanding when one takes the plunge. I know now (even though it was hard at the time) that her insisting on that kind of thing really was a way of her being on my side, just as Yokheva is on her daughter's side.

    Thanks again! Yes, indeed, she's very literally entering a new world, and it's an awe-inspiring and intimidating experience even with all the caring and welcoming that come from Shaman Jenthai (that quality is why she's the Mistress of Initiates). And of course at this juncture Shulma doesn't realize that this new world someday will be her world! I'm not surprised you recognized that red-purple stone—
    it's kreposkolite, of course, the same crystal that her betrothal stone will later be made of.

    She's the sort who underestimates herself a lot (kind of like her author, really... :p )—she's much braver than she gives herself credit for. And she will indeed need every ounce of that determination and bravery later on her life!

    The barrage of visions and images of course has a lot to do with the fact that Shulma's connection to the Ashla is still untrained and uncontrolled, but of course that wild ride through the star cluster mine tunnel has no small prophetic import either! She's getting a taste of the way past, present, and future—all space and time—come together in the Force/Ashla. And at the same time she's beginning to be tuned in to other powerful Ashla presences, like Chava's, which is part of what draws Chava in.

    You're right on—that is definitely a moment where
    past, present, and future come together!

    It's all new to her and will take time to absorb, but she's now motivated to in a very particular and personal way, and that will make all the difference!

    Oh yes, I figured this would not be the first time the Academy of Shamans has had to step in to explain some kind of baffling-to-muggles manifestation of mystical talent! She will of course have to complete her time working at the mine, just like all the other kits of her village do, but at least she will be doing so with understanding and acceptance from her superiors.

    I think something or someone definitely was at work there, and in a way the same someone or something is also at work in the new vibe of acceptance and understanding that Shulma is now going to receive at her mine work from here on out (not to mention the new friend she's made). Harmony has been restored!

    Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed this; these ceremonial scenes are a particular guilty pleasure of mine, I have to admit. It was important to me to have present everyone there who has been there for Shulma in some way, even including her teasy brothers and the mine foremen; it's all part of the restored harmony alluded to above. And I couldn't resist bringing in gem imagery here, for its resonances with the mining tradition of Shulma's home village, with the traditional Lasat meanings of stones (in my fanon, anyway), and with light and mutifaceted beauty in general.

    It's definitely a "mystical union" type of moment for both Shulma and the Ashla, a moment where the Ashla and its creature are one (and perhaps they always are—there could be some nondualism at work here, too.... [face_thinking] ) And those sorts of experiences are always so much sweeter, so much more of a balm to the soul—and so much closer to the Divine, I would say—when they're supported by love and caring. It all goes together!

    Thanks so much once again—as always—for this lovely comment and for being here to read! Always a daymaker for me. @};-
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2020
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  10. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Mar 18, 2002
    Glad I found this – some of the descriptions and events in Shaman, Traveler, Oracle make more sense now.

    Part of my mother’s side of the family were miners in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Luzerne area of PA, so a lot of this sounds familiar, including having whole families working in the mining business and getting young children involved as well. Obviously, not everyone is cut out for that kind of work….

    I really enjoy the world-building in each of your stories, either through character development or through the mentions of a history we have yet to see in full.
    We are actually going to get those stories in the future, right? [face_praying]

    One of my favorite themes is the exploration of spiritual practices, beliefs, and theology, so this story has a special appeal for me. Nice to see the shamans tend to be a matriarchy (as it should be), and that no one questions Shulma’s right to be tested. I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, where women are still turned away from the priesthood, which makes reading this all the more delightful. And having read of her further adventures, she is obviously going to be come an excellent spiritual leader.

    (And I really do have a review of Shaman, Traveler, Oracle in the works. There's just a lot to comment on, there....)
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Seldes, and what a wonderful and pleasant surprise to see you here! I’m so glad you enjoyed this. :)

    Oh, neat, and I’m glad (and relieved) to know things were more or less accurate! I was going on what I know about mining regions and mining culture in pre-industrial Germany (as in, Renaissance through 19th century or so, which has come up in connection with some of my research in musicology... yes, it’s a long story), and similar deal there: children were involved starting pretty young (and ore sorting was indeed one of the tasks they were given). As I’m sure was also the case in your family’s region of Pennsylvania, the idea definitely was to inculcate both the skills and culture of mining starting at a young age. But indeed, you’re right, not everyone has the same talents!

    Thank you so much! That means a lot to me coming from you, as I know that is

    Er, well, I hope I can! :D (In terms of the “origin of the heavenly bodies,” I actually do know someone on Tumblr who once wrote a very nice “How the suns and the moons came to be” Lasat myth!)

    Thanks so much! Religion and spiritual practice within the GFFA is a favorite area of mine, too, and I have an especial soft spot for the Force traditions outside the well-trodden path of the Jedi and Sith. (I’m Jewish and thus a member of a religious minority myself, so perhaps that’s why I gravitate Toward what one might call in-universe religious minorities.) I kind of extrapolated/headcanoned the matriarchal nature of the Lasat shaman tradition from the character of Chava the Wise, given that she was presented as a pretty big spiritual bigwig; I made her the head of the Academy of Shamans and the spiritual head of Lasan. And maybe some of it is that my own most supportive mentors and most respected authority figures have mostly been women, too.

    I saw that just yesterday—and wow, how awesome of you to read that whole long thing and comment on it! :eek: Thank you so much—I really, really appreciate it. As I appreciate the time you took to read and comment on this story, too! Thanks again, and always good to see you! @};-
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
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