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: Spoiler 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 Spoiler: Notes 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.