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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:05 am 
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It seems odd to pick a "favorite element" from one of my own pieces,

Are you kidding? I do this ALL the time. I love picking out my favorite parts of my own work. Hell, I love just reading my own work! Maybe I'm a literary narcissist, but I enjoy a good story, even if it did come from me. :D

Don't get me wrong, there are some things I've written that I don't particularly like anymore, and one or two poems that I downright despise (though not many), but I do honestly feel like I've done some good stuff with writing, and I think it's perfectly alright to be proud of that. And so have you, so so should you!

:)

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Incidentally, Tevish, do you happen to have a date, accurate or approximate, that this story was written? It's not really important, but I'm curious.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:42 am 
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"Blessed Be My Guilt" by Heliosphoros is a short, first-person narration of the tortured existence of an amnesiac being trying to do right on Innistrad. This, of course, begs the question both for the reader and for the narrator of what, exactly, the right thing to do is.

This story is a good example of an unreliable narrator, as not only does the character not remember who they were or what they have done, they are also not entirely sure what they are doing. I've never been entirely clear on what the narrator is, either. I've always presumed the narrator was some sort of geist, but the closest analog in the Innistrad spirits I could find from a quick search would be Chapel Geist, which doesn't seem a perfect match, but does fit the flavor of atonement. Lantern Spirit is also a potential inspiration, especially with the fire imagery in this story, but again, not a perfect fit. Helio would be better able to answer that question than I.

Enjoy "Blessed Be My Guilt!"


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:38 am 
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This one is interesting, it's very much microfiction, but it's a good window into Innistrad.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:46 am 
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"Creatures of the Night" by Tevish Szat is the story of a simple man named Hugo Baker, who is walking alone on an Innistrad night (not always the wisest of pastimes, perhaps) when he encounters a congenial woman at the crossroads, Allison. Allison, always the friendly and helpful sort, invites Hugo to her nearby home, and of course, what could possibly happen on Innistrad when a mysterious stranger invites you to her secluded home? Things are rarely as they seem on Innistrad, and this story explores the depths of meaning of that particular axiom.

I don't have a whole lot to say about this story. I like it, particularly the way it leads the reader to what is probably a pretty obvious conclusion (don't trust strangers on and Innistradian night!) but subverts that conclusion in an interesting way. I appreciate, for instance, that the twist was not the predictable one of "Hugo was the bad guy all along!" but rather explores the interesting question of how the various horror trope creatures of Innistrad interact with one another in their own ways.

Allison and Hugo, like many of the Tevish characters, will be seen again later in the Anthology.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:49 am 
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"Dear and Decorations" by Heliosphoros is a story about Mikaeus, Innistrad Lunarch, and a battle with the undead. Zombies and vampires, as they are wont to do on Innistrad, are encroaching on the lands of the living, and humans, as they are wont to do, turn to their faith as the last shield, the last bastion, the last desperate thread of hope. If the Lunarch cannot save them, after all who can?

If I'm being brutally honest, and meaning no disrespect to Helio, this is one of my least favorite pieces in the anthology. I do not remember the voting well enough to say what I voted on this thread at the time, but I suspect it was Nay, for the primary reason that I don't like involving specific, legendary figures in works like this. I'm also not entirely convinced that this story belongs in the first section rather than the second, but I suppose that can be explained away by what ends up happening to Mikaeus, understanding that things do, in fact, get worse for Innistrad from here. I've also never understood the title of this piece.

Anyway, that's only my opinion on this piece. Read it and form your own!

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:09 am 
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Creatures of the Night: Allison and Hugo will be back in "Falkenrath's Seat". The keynote cards for this story were Crossway Vampire and Reckless Waif, the two "natural" conclusions which are, in an odd way, sort of both taken. I'll have to say that I've always liked Reckless Waif. I liked the darn thing so much that when doing an NGA constructed set for Aralheim I "reprinted" it. Of all the "Stories" told by the werewolf cards, the Waif seems oddly one of the most really human, like she's an ordinarily good person (OK, a thief according to the flavor text on Merciless Predator) who's managing and even thriving because of the normally horrific and monster-out-of-you-making condition of Lycanthropy. She isn't someone who wants to be cured, but neither is she exactly someone who's just all in for wanton murderous beast mode.

This story also had the "Werewolf Moon" Edit between its Contest form (for which it was an 'extra' entry not to be voted on) and its Anthology form: Werewolves aren't transformed by direct moonlight, and originally Allison just opened the drapes. They do shift thanks at least in part to strong emotions, though...

Also regarding this story, the song that got me really working on it:


Dear and Decorations: This one was part of Skibo's story contest, so I think it kind of got a free pass into the Anthology because that's the stage we were at with Anthologies back then. All two of them, NPH never really got off the ground. I... didn't super care for it then, and I don't love it now. I think it's the kind of story we'd never do now in the M:EM and I think we're stronger for it. It's not truly bad but it just doesn't quite hold up

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:16 am 
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Dear and Decorations: This one was part of Skibo's story contest, so I think it kind of got a free pass into the Anthology because that's the stage we were at with Anthologies back then. All two of them, NPH never really got off the ground. I... didn't super care for it then, and I don't love it now. I think it's the kind of story we'd never do now in the M:EM and I think we're stronger for it. It's not truly bad but it just doesn't quite hold up

Yeah, I think that's a good way of putting my feelings for this story, too. There's really nothing inherently wrong with the story, it just doesn't really speak to me.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:19 pm 
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"Through Darkness" by Tevish Szat is the story of a young man, lowest born of the highborn lords, and his struggles to find a love and a live. Son to a disinherited father, our narrator finds himself the unlikely successor to his distant relative's manor, and in doing so, finds himself in the unlikely position of a finally-worthy suitor to the woman he loves. But making a home is rarely as simple as two young lovers think, and all the more so on Innistrad.

I mentioned a few days ago about Lovecraftian style in this anthology, and this piece seems very much of the same tradition. It has the same sort of contortions of the language that I always associate with Lovecraft's work, as well as that strange sense of detachment from the action that causes, to me, a very interesting sense of alienation in a piece. The horror is more cerebral than immediate, more diffused than sudden, if that makes sense. I think it works for this piece fairly well.

Tevish, does this piece circle back into the other stories at all? I honestly can't remember if anything from this one shows up again in your later stories in Seasons.

I should also mention that, as a person who wrote a story called "Search through the Darkness," I had completely forgotten about this story when I named that one...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:09 pm 
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Thank you for doing this! Although I was involved in the anthology (in fact, it was what got me my M:EMbership), I never actually got around to reading everything. So I am now, and thoroughly enjoying it!

Thought about Through Darkness: could the sheet geist be one of the dead relatives trying to warn the protagonist of the demon?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:09 pm 
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This DOES cycle back -- Klarsch Manor is the locale for the much later "Occurrence at a Moorlands Manor", and you might even claim some character recurrence. Because of the connection between the ending of this story and that one, I think the main action of this story might be the earliest events, chronologically, in the entire anthology, and it's only challenged by "Danse Macabre" if I recall because we don't know just how old Lur is in "The Cellar Door" -- he could be anywhere from sixty to a hundred. Narrator Klarsch, on the other hand, was a young man a-courting (so probably in his early 20s at the latest) here in "Through Darkness" and is a man of extremely advanced age and dying when he's writing down or recounting the story. By "Occurrence", Klarsch Manor has been abandoned two decades. In my mind, with newer details, that means the main action of "Through Darkness" is firmly pre-Mending. Not that it matters because no Planeswalkers appear, but that's a thing.

The keynote card here is an odd duck, because it only informs a tiny bit of the story: it was Lost in the Mist. That said, there was also some influence from Reaper from the Abyss. Other than that, general bedsheet-looking geists and sneaky rat-tailed devils (though do any devils actually have long rat-like tails in art?)

Aaarrrgh wrote:
Thought about Through Darkness: could the sheet geist be one of the dead relatives trying to warn the protagonist of the demon?

Almost certainly. Remember: The Geists that look like Bedsheets were primarily the white aligned individuals like Chapel Geist.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:32 pm 
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Aaarrrgh wrote:
Thank you for doing this! Although I was involved in the anthology (in fact, it was what got me my M:EMbership), I never actually got around to reading everything. So I am now, and thoroughly enjoying it!

You're welcome! I'm glad people are enjoying revisiting this.

This DOES cycle back -- Klarsch Manor is the locale for the much later "Occurrence at a Moorlands Manor", and you might even claim some character recurrence.

I figured it did, as I was pretty sure everything of yours in this anthology connects to at least one other thing, but it's been a long time since I've read these, and I couldn't remember the connection.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:33 am 
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"Blasphemous Act" by me is a poem exploring the card Blasphemous Act. This poem is, I believe, the only piece of mine in the anthology that was not written specifically for the anthology, although I could be wrong about that. This poem was actually the first thing I submitted for approval to the M:EM, and the thing that made me a M:EMber.

I may have more to say about this later, but in the meantime, here's a dramatic reading of this poem for you to enjoy:

Blasphemous Act


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:49 am 
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I do like how this one seems to express the card. They fit together amazingly well!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:17 pm 
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"Dear Namior" by chinkeeyong is a story told in the form of a letter from a man who had set out to brave the forests of Kessig to the titular Namior, someone from his former home town. It details the journey the narrator takes through life, from his early days as a woodsman living off the land and braving the dangers of the wild places of Innistrad to the founding of his own bastion of civilization carved out from the heart of the woods.

I like this story. As a fan of the gothic tradition of Dracula and Frankenstein and so forth, I do have at least some appreciation for stories told in the form of letters, and I like Erderic's voice in this letter. This story, I think, it an interesting imagining of the backstory behind Mayor of Avabruck, and I like the way the name of the town derived from his brother. I believe (and somebody correct me if I'm wrong) that for a portion of the voting process on this, the title was "The Mayor of Avabruck," which may have given away that reveal, but CKY corrected it to "Dear Namior."

One interesting thing that I wanted to bring up, less about this story and more about the ordering of stories in general, is that this story was not the original choice to finish off the Harvest Moon section of the anthology. Originally, we had a set of two stories by someone named iamtequila that, if M:EMory serves, was a paired story revolving around a girl becoming a werewolf. The first story was going to end the Harvest Moon section, and the second was to begin Hunter's Moon. Unfortunately, the stories needed some minor revisions (centering around the same "werewolf's bite" misconception that Tevish mentioned in the discussion of "Creatures of the Night") and iamtequila either never made those revisions, or got lost in the shuffle as we transitioned over to NGA

This caused us to scramble a bit to get another story or two written, and caused us to rearrange the order of the pieces, moving "Dear Namior" to the conclusion of Harvest Moon. And for that purpose, I think this story works well. Perhaps because of the letter feel to the story, and the fact that the letter recaps a span of time of some fourteen years, it sort of has this interesting closure to it that I like when rounding out this section of the anthology. I am sorry to have missed out on iamtequila's stories, because I remember liking them, but I'm glad this worked out so well.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:49 pm 
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iamtequila never got back to us on the revisions. It... really is a shame that we didn't take a more "We can be editors" approach with anthology submissions, because those were REALLY good stories and it's a shame they've been pretty much lost to the Æther because of an issue that could have been solved fairly trivially.

I do like this story, and that we got an epistolary story in the Anthology when such represents much old gothic horror. I did and still do have a qualm that the introduction seems too casual for the time separation and the depth of the situation, but that really is very minor

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:12 pm 
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I like this story, and its format. However, it bugs me slightly that this implies that Mayor of Avabruck is the town's founder, because my understanding of the lore was that Avabruck was a town with a fairly long history before it was destroyed. But on the other hand, the card isn't legendary, so maybe the werewolves corrupted every mayor the town had for generations before they finally closed the deal.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:38 pm 
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Aaarrrgh wrote:
I like this story, and its format. However, it bugs me slightly that this implies that Mayor of Avabruck is the town's founder, because my understanding of the lore was that Avabruck was a town with a fairly long history before it was destroyed. But on the other hand, the card isn't legendary, so maybe the werewolves corrupted every mayor the town had for generations before they finally closed the deal.

Yeah, the issue with canon would be my major issue with the story, too, as it establishes something specific about a specific canon location that has a high probability of being false. If this story had just been submitted to the M:EM, not the anthology, I would have objected to it on canon grounds, but then again, I basically don't like any story to do anything with canon locations more than touch on canon planes, or other geographic locations large enough to not be specified too much. For an anthology piece, though, I was fine with the inclusion of Avabruck.

I do like this story, and that we got an epistolary story in the Anthology when such represents much old gothic horror. I did and still do have a qualm that the introduction seems too casual for the time separation and the depth of the situation, but that really is very minor

I had forgotten about that until rereading this story this morning, and it took me a little aback at first, too. But thinking about it, I sort of view this less as a letter between a man and his old lover/friend/whatever, and more as a sort of cry for help/confession sort of thing, almost like he expected his letter to fall into, say, Cathar hands. The reveal at the end suggests to me that the mayor strongly suspects what is going on, and perhaps wants something to be done about it. Because, if it's been fourteen years since he's seen or even contacted Namior, can he really, even in his own mind, expect his secret to be kept?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:09 am 
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The second section of the Innistrad Anthology, Hunter's Moon, begins with a microfiction called "Requiem for an Angel" by Cai-ann.

This story looks at the absence of Avacyn, the primary hook behind the original Innistrad block, from the point of view of an unnamed angel, presumably from the Flight of Goldnight. It is a brief but interesting look at the sense of confusion and loss that the angels feel for their missing leader. I do not have a great deal to say about this piece apart from two quick points. I like that this story comes from the angels' point of view, because we typically would see this sort of thing from the humans' perspective, which almost invariably comes down to a matter of faith. That's perfectly fine, of course, but I really like how this one seems to merge faith and personal grief, like the loss of a close friend or sister, which the angels' point of view allows for.

The second thing I like about this piece is the overall tone, which is very somber, with a sort of desperation to it. I talked a bit about the change in ordering that occurred when iamtequila's stories got pulled, and that also allowed us to put this microfic at the beginning of Hunter's Moon. I personally think that, tonally, this is a fantastic way to kick off the section that was designed to be the most bleak.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:27 am 
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An excellent kickoff for the Hunter's Moon. I actually argued in favor of Butcher's Cleaver being the intro to Hunter's Moon back in the day, for pure shocking contrast with what came before, but I think now that the right decision was made to open instead with melancholy and desperation. After all, while "Humans are the real monsters" was largely avoided or played with in the Harvest Moon, it did still have its share of gruesome death; the change isn't one of violence or even wickedness, it's one of a mixed bag moving to loss and despair (and then primarily Hope in the New Moon)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:19 pm 
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"The Butcher's Cleaver" by Raven-something-or-other is the story of Mayri, the widow of the town Butcher. After her husband Thaddan's sudden death, Mayri's world comes crashing down. Not only has she lost the husband that she loved, but Thaddan's mysterious bequest leaves their home and land in the hands of Mayri's hateful sister-in-law, and their martial bed strangely in the possession of Lylla, a local beauty. Mayri is left with nothing but the titular Butcher's Cleaver, and she is left with nothing but time to dwell on the question of why.

On May 9, 2013, KeeperofManyNames posted a thread on the old boards called "Announcing: Seasons of Dusk, An Innistrad Anthology (An Open Call For Submissions)." While the M:EM had already been gathering pieces for the anthology beforehand, this was the opening of the anthology to outside contributors. At that time, I had already written "Blasphemous Act," "Rising Moon," and just four days earlier, "Allo's Fortnight," so my participation in the Anthology was already well underway, and I wasn't sure how much more I was going to write for it. But one thing that Keeper said was this:

KeeperofManyNames wrote:
Also, does anyone have a request for a card they want to see represented? Because I've got not clue where to even start writing.

To which mUrielw responded:

mUrielw wrote:
Butcher's Cleaver, baby.

And Keeper's response was:

KeeperofManyNames wrote:
Man, Butcher's Cleaver is tough. I feel like it could lend itself to a "humans as villains" kind of story, but that feels almost too on the nose... God knows this anthology needs more splatterpunk, though. So far things have definitely tended toward either the gothic horror or Twilight Zone style setups, for the most part. I really want to find something deeply messed up to write about.
...
Incidentally, if anyone else wants to grab one of the suggested cards, go for it. I'm just trying to get people thinking about options, I guess.

Now, when somebody indicates to me that a story would be difficult, or nearly impossible, to write, my first instinct is to think of a way to write it, so when I saw Keeper say it would be tough, I thought Let me see what I can do with this.

More than most of my stories, I remember where I was and what I was doing when I got the idea for this story. I was working at a relatively small hotel at the time, at the front desk. I worked the 3:00-11:00 shift, and the hotel was both somewhat small and very, very new, so I tended to have a lot of down time. I started my brainstorming for this story by pulling up the Butcher's Cleaver card on my computer screen and, as Mayri does in the beginning of the story, just staring at it. I tried to take in all the details of the card's art, from the blade to the blood to the way the light streamed in through the imperfect boards of the wall behind it.

At the same time, I started thinking about the mechanics of the card, and the thing that kept jumping out to me was Lifelink. Why would this card have lifelink, I asked myself? Well, butchers' cleavers are used for meat, right? And meat is food, and food sustains life. And, because this is Innistrad with all the various trappings of Horror, I started thinking about just what sort of meat that might be...

And so, this became a horrible little look at darkness, corruption, hatred, and cannibalism, with Mayri, sweet Mayri, following her late husband's dark path, just as he seemed to intend. This story went through a minor revision because initial feedback was that Thaddan did not seem to have a good reason for hating Lylla. In fact, the italicized portions of this story should not even be italicized. I did that in the original thread only to indicate the new, added or altered material.

I remember that this is one of Lord Luna's least favorite stories in this anthology, if not Luna's very least favorite. I believe he said something to the effect that this story encapsulates everything he dislikes about Innistrad, and I can see that. This is gruesome, and dark, and there is basically nothing redeeming about any of these people. Man, do I love this story. :D

One final note, as I have already gone on too long here, but for a time, I had strongly considered making Grisdolf, the small, misshapen man who provided Thaddan, and now provides Mayri, with meat, a planeswalker. In fact, during my planning phase of The War of the Wheel, Grisdolf was going to be a cohort of Syl and Chardis and was going to provide them with an army of skaabs. This was dropped, partly at the advice of Barinellos and partly because I already had plenty of 'walkers involved in that story. But Grisdolf remains a sentimental favorite of mine.


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