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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:06 pm 
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:shifty:

Story spoilers


What, me, mean?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:45 pm 
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Poor Yissva... believe it or not, he is part of the reason why Sharaka is a viashino, of all things. Love that piece to bits.

For how short it is, this is a surprisingly influential story.

This piece is, after all, indirectly responsible for The War of the Wheel. I've probably told this story elsewhere, but since we're talking about "Yissva's First Walk," I'll repeat it. Ruwin posted this story quite early in my time with the M:EM. In fact, at the time this was voted into the Archive, I had only written three stories for the project ("Planes of the Dual-Walkers," "Allo's Fortnight," and "The Butcher's Cleaver, for anyone who's curious). Anyway, when Ruwin first posted this, Yxoque said something to the effect that we could use more stories like this, which I took to mean stories about planeswalkers dying because that's the kind of terrible person I am.

That, of course, led me to write "Dead Man 'Walking," which created the Amphiseum. And, at the end of that story, the Dual-Walkers make a cameo appearance. At the time, this was meant to be a one-off nod to my only story up to that point not written for the Innistrad Anthology, but it got me thinking about Syl and Chardis and what their backstory was, since it was now apparently tied to the Amphiseum. This led to "Deals and Devils," (and Ruwin's continuation thereof "How to Trade a Planeswalker") and eventually The War of the Wheel.

Needless to say, I really like this story. You can't help but feel for Yissva as literally everything is taken from him: his freedom, his father, even his world. And the tie-in to Innistrad was nicely done for several reasons, not least of which was that the M:EM was in the middle of the Seasons of Dusk build at the time, and we pretty much all had Innistrad on the brain. But I also just like the effect, sad as it is, that Yissva is a perpetual victim of circumstance just because of who and what he is. It's a very unfortunate statement, but an affecting one.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:02 pm 
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I forgot that I was responsible for this little smudge of sadness.

I can't remember why I wrote this, and I can't even remember the act of writing it very well. Having read it again, however, I do remember how I felt - vindictive.

While many of my stories are laced with optimism (a product of my worldview), I remember stepping back and thinking, "Well, things don't always work out. Just because people are innocent or recognize beauty in the world around them doesn't mean they can't be victimized." Sometimes, inherent goodness is treated as a sort of unassailable armor against predation, and that if you believe in the power of some nebulous force - friendship, love, loyalty - you can wear that belief like a cloak and be invincible. It's a good story, certainly, but not the only story, and not always the best story. Sometimes, innocence isn't enough to save the innocent.

I'm an optimist. I'll always be an optimist. Cynicism, in my opinion, is a character flaw. I try my best not to celebrate cynicism, and if there is ever and "I told you so" moment, I prefer not to capitalize, or turn it around on the cynic. People are good, kind, and worth more than we give them credit for. Just... not always. Prejudices get the better of them. Prejudices get the better of me. We're not perfect.

A lot of people in this story weren't perfect.

I'm not proud of this story, both academically and morally. But I'm glad I wrote it. Evidently, it was a story worth telling.

@Knight Otu: I'd play that card. It's got a weird stall vibe, which is the sort of thing you'd expect from blue or white, but it's red and green, which traditionally have the "lure" effects anyway... I like it!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:13 pm 
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How have I never read this story? MUST RECTIFY.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:21 am 
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Welcome, once again, to the Highlighted M:EMories!

For this week, we will be reMEMbering: "Homecoming," by Tevish Szat.

"Homecoming" was originally posted on the old boards, and was voted into the Archive on February 24th, 2011. It is Illarion Vale's second story, a follow-up to "Ordinary Day." In this story, we are introduced to the then-unnamed plane of Aralheim, Illarion's home, and to both Illarion's sister, Kyara Vale, and Illarion's friend and love interest, Marina Ells. This story leads more or less directly into Illarion's third story, "Corrosion."

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:41 am 
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Hello, friends, and welcome to our next Highlighted M:EMory! And between you and me, it's a special one!

The reason is that this week, we'll be reflecting on "Between Two Worlds," by OrcishLibrarian and RavenoftheBlack.

Originally posted September 14th, 2014, and voted into the Archive on March 23rd, 2015, this story stars Beryl the Heart-Scarred as she continues her saga of trying to find her place in her family, her place in Aliavelli, and her place in the Multiverse. "Between Two Worlds" picks up from where Beryl's previous story, "Complications," leaves off. Alessa Rehn, Astria, Nasperge, and Hepthia all make guest appearances, leading up to what is perhaps one of the most important encounters of Beryl's life. This story is followed in Beryl's chronology by "A Name in a Book," "The Fire," "Climb Every Mountain," and "Paid in Full."

Please enjoy this journey Between Two Worlds!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:38 pm 
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God, I love this story. It's hard to say that about something I worked on without sounding like a total goof, but I really do.

This story never would have happened if Raven hadn't planted the seed, by just writing half of it, and sending it to me out of the blue. And that's kind of hard for me to get my head around, because, today, I can't image Beryl without it. I think that so much of who she has become comes back to "Between Two Worlds."

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:27 am 
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This story never would have happened if Raven hadn't planted the seed, by just writing half of it, and sending it to me out of the blue. And that's kind of hard for me to get my head around, because, today, I can't image Beryl without it. I think that so much of who she has become comes back to "Between Two Worlds."

So, I think I'm going to talk (probably at length) about how my part of this story came about. I'll put it in a spoiler block, for length if for no other reason.

Spoiler


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:15 pm 
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Wow. It's kind of weird for me to think that this story was written almost three years ago. Somehow, it doesn't feel like that long, and yet, at the same time, it feels like forever, if that makes any sense?

It's funny -- one of the things I remember very clearly was that, after Raven shared "The Magician's Crossroads," he dropped a hint in my direction that the reading Nasperge performs at the end of that story was relevant to one of my characters. And, when I re-read the story with that context, and noticed that one of the cards in that reading was The Orphan, my mind immediately went, "A-ha! Jackie!" For some (inexplicable!) reason, the glaring fact that Beryl is also an orphan never even crossed my mind.

So, when Raven's PM landed in my inbox, and I saw Beryl's name there in the first sentence, it was honestly kind of a shock. And, in a weird sort of way, I think that maybe put me into the right state of mind for thinking about Nasperge. Because a lot of the magician's art is getting people to not notice something which is right in front of their nose the whole time. So that's sort of where I started out when this collaboration suddenly appeared before me, and started to take shape. :)

My vague recollection -- and, given the sieve-like quality of my memory, I'd be inclined to take Raven's version of events over mine, in any cases where the two don't quite dovetail -- is that Raven had maybe written his beginning to this story just *before* I posted "Complications," and that he sent it to me just *after* that story went up. Because I vaguely remember that he sort of caveated his draft by saying that he wasn't sure how well it fit anymore, either in tone or in plot, with where I'd left Beryl at the end of that story. And I remember my own acute sense of anxiety over that same question, because Barinellos and I had already sort of sketched out the broad arc which was going to take Beryl through "The Fire," and -- initially, at least -- I couldn't for the life of me figure out how this episode with Nasperge would fit into that series of events.

On the one hand, it couldn't really have taken place *before*, in the past, because it seemed way too important to have already happened, and for it to not have shaped Beryl in ways which should have been felt in her earlier stories. On the other hand, I couldn't really see it taking place *after* "The Fire," either, because I knew how broken Beryl was going to be at the end of that story, how shaken. So I think I sort of hand-waved initially at Raven, and said, "I'll find a way to make it work after this arc," even if, privately, I don't think I had any idea how I would have managed to do that.

And I think that, maybe, I kind of stewed on that for a few days, or maybe a week, or something like that? At which point -- and I don't remember where this breakthrough came from -- I sort of asked myself what, in retrospect, should have been the obvious question: Well, if this story can't have happened in the past, and it can't happen in the future, either, then why can't it happen right now? I think I'd just sort of ruled that idea out without really thinking about it properly, and, once I did start to think about it properly, I realized that it actually worked better than I'd ever dared to hope.

Because, at the end of "Complications," Alessa wants to leave. But Beryl -- of course -- *can't* leave. I had sort of assumed that Beryl would find a way to persuade Alessa, that the two of them would stick together. But what if she didn't? What if -- temporarily, at least -- the two of them parted ways? What would Beryl do then?

Well, she'd probably go back to her shop, right? If only just for a moment. And that was where I needed her to be -- if only just for a moment.

So that sort of unlocked the first piece of the puzzle, and I think that's when I wrote the bridging scenes -- Beryl and Aless'a argument, followed by Beryl and Astria's argument, followed by Nasperge's arrival. And I remember feeling an acute sense of trepidation about all of that, because I needed Barin to look at the first scene, to make sure that it worked, and I needed Raven to look at the changes I'd made to his first scene, to make sure that they worked, too. And there were a lot of places where it all could have fallen apart, as a consequence.

But, somehow -- mercifully! -- everyone seemed okay with the new direction. And so I sort of nervously pressed forward from there.

I honestly don't remember at all where the Mirror World came from. I don't think it was really triggered or provoked by anything. I think I just tried to imagine what might have been on the other end of that bridge, and the Mirror World was what I saw. What I do remember is that, from the moment I realized that Moira would have been in that Mirror World, and would have left a reflection, and that Beryl would get the chance to talk to that reflection, that was when it all stopped being the ghost of an idea, and became something that I realized needed to happen, because I suddenly couldn't imagine it being any other way.

I think that I wrote Beryl's walk across the fire bridge in The Land of Weak Signals. I know that I wrote the first part of Beryl's journey into the Mirror World in the backseat of a car, travelling up I-75 to the Mackinac Bridge. (Bridges, it turns out, were important both inside and outside the story.) And I wrote the end of Beryl's encounter with her mother's reflection on Mackinac Island. Mrs. OL and I were supposed to be on vacation, but it rained cats and dogs the first day we were there, and we didn't really go out after dinner. Mrs. OL went to bed, and I stayed up, to finish the story. I needed to get it done.

Needed.

The next day, I think, I wrote the wrapper at the end, which got Beryl back to Alessa's hideout again, and, a couple days later, once we were back in a place that had fewer horses and more internet, I sent everything along to both Raven and Barin, to make sure that they were both okay with how everything tied together, and that I hadn't bollixed it all up.

They seemed to think it was okay, and that was that. :D

None of this would have happened if Barin's and Ruwin's characters hadn't sort of nudged Beryl into exactly the right spot, and if Raven's characters hadn't materialized from nowhere to guide her to that bridge. So I feel just incredibly blessed and lucky that they did, because I think that Beryl needed to cross that bridge, and needed to find what she found on the other side, for her to become the Beryl that I think she was always destined to be.

And that's very fitting, because that's exactly what this story ended up being about.

I love this story. I love it both for what it meant for Beryl, and for what it meant for me, by giving me the chance to work with Raven for the first time.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:56 pm 
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My vague recollection -- and, given the sieve-like quality of my memory, I'd be inclined to take Raven's version of events over mine, in any cases where the two don't quite dovetail -- is that Raven had maybe written his beginning to this story just *before* I posted "Complications," and that he sent it to me just *after* that story went up. Because I vaguely remember that he sort of caveated his draft by saying that he wasn't sure how well it fit anymore, either in tone or in plot, with where I'd left Beryl at the end of that story. And I remember my own acute sense of anxiety over that same question, because Barinellos and I had already sort of sketched out the broad arc which was going to take Beryl through "The Fire," and -- initially, at least -- I couldn't for the life of me figure out how this episode with Nasperge would fit into that series of events.

We've apparently both misremembered. You posted "Complications" on September 1st, precisely one week after I created the files for "The Magician's Crossroads" and my section of "Between Two Worlds," so you were right that I wrote my stuff before you posted "Complications." However, the PM I sent you (entitled "Nouveau Marcheur," because French) is dated August 27, which is before you posted "Complications." I'm pretty sure my statement of "I don't know if this will work anymore" was more of a blanket statement about not knowing your plans for Beryl rather than a specific reaction to "Complications."

And this is why I keep so many weird notes and records. So that I can bring out obscure and useless data that is interesting to perhaps four people. :D

Anyway, the timeline doesn't matter as much as the final product, and I am very proud of the result. I've very glad it all worked out!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:51 am 
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And this is why I keep so many weird notes and records. So that I can bring out obscure and useless data that is interesting to perhaps four people.

It works! :D


Anyway, the timeline doesn't matter as much as the final product, and I am very proud of the result. I've very glad it all worked out!

Me, too!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:45 am 
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Hello, everyone, and welcome to another week of Highlighted M:EMories!

This time, we will be looking at something a bit different from the norm, as we reM:EMber the dossier for Valjan, by Jedi and Yanmato.

Valjan was originally posted on the old boards and was voted into the Archive on January 12th, 2011, making it one of the earliest planes in the Expanded Multiverse, along with Siraus, Zent, Ihn Gallad, Ikass, Keter, and Aldis, all of which make up the initial push to populate the M:EM. Valjan is a world of strange and surreal landscapes, composed of shifting contradictions and contrasting mana. The dossier for this plane is fairly sparse, owing mostly to it being one of the earliest planes in the Archive and receiving little development since its initial inclusion. Thus far, only one story in the Archive, "To Call the World to Heel" by KeeperofManyNames, has used Valjan as a primary setting.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:06 am 
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I should do things like this more often. (Well, if they're welcome, of course.)

Obsidian Spires
Plane - Valjan
At the beginning of each upkeep, choose a target creature at random. Obsidian Spires deals 3 damage to that creature.
Whenever you roll :chaos:, each player reveals a card from his or her hand at random. You may create a token that’s a copy of a creature card revealed this way, except its colorless and is an artifact in addition to its types.

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Planeswalker Sharing Compendium entry - note to self: improve it.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:15 am 
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Knight Otu wrote:
I should do things like this more often. (Well, if they're welcome, of course.)

Speaking for myself, it's absolutely welcome!

Knight Otu wrote:
Obsidian Spires
Plane - Valjan
At the beginning of each upkeep, choose a target creature at random. Obsidian Spires deals 3 damage to that creature.
Whenever you roll :chaos:, each player reveals a card from his or her hand at random. You may create a token that’s a copy of a creature card revealed this way, except its colorless and is an artifact in addition to its types.

I like it. Very flavorful for Valjan and the Spires specifically, and it certainly makes sense as a Plane card. Thanks for posting!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:42 am 
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Thanks. It's good to know I've hit the mark. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:47 am 
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Hello again, and welcome to another week of our Highlighted M:EMories.

This week, we will be taking another look at "A Cold Shoulder," by RuwinReborn.

"A Cold Shoulder" was originally posted on May 25th, 2014, and was voted into the Archive on June 6th, 2014. The story features Fisco Vane as he darkly reflects on his life and everything that he had done, and was likely to continue to do. This story also features Diana, Fisco's eternal angelic companion, playing a role that is simultaneous the same as the one she always plays for Fisco, and yet still very different. This story is particularly interesting to revisit in light of "Paid in Full," another of Fisco Vane's stories in the Archive.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:55 pm 
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I had missed that one, and yes, it and "Paid in Full" explain each other in some sense.

I'm most amused by the phrase "soft, cold, and inviting," and the way it redefines the title.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:11 pm 
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This card doesn't live up to the story, but here it goes.

Story Ending

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Planeswalker Sharing Compendium entry - note to self: improve it.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:14 pm 
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Knight Otu wrote:
This card doesn't live up to the story, but here it goes.

Story Ending

I really like it!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:30 am 
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Hello, everyone! Time again to look at another Highlighted M:EMory!

This week, we will be reMEMbering: "Morgan's Notes: "Quiet Lia"," by Tevish Szat.

"Morgan's Notes: "Quiet Lia"" was originally posted on May 19th, 2014, and was voted into the Archive on May 30th, 2014. As the title suggests, it tells the story of Lia Xin from the third-hand account of Morgan of Voor, who, along with Larasa Fareth, happened upon Lia's home town. Morgan's account here tells the story of Lia's early life, and how it changed after a mysterious stranger came to town. Lia Xin's story continues in "Louder Than Words."

Enjoy!


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