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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:29 pm 
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Allo's fortnight is an interesting one for me, in that while it does have its own character, I remember it as the platonic ideal of a story: the "Game of Mafia"/"Kill them all one by one" arc done perfectly, but done as just that. It's not that it's true, that's just how my brain has categorized it. I do remember it very strongly for that reason, though.

"Getting Ahead" on the other hand, I had forgotten entirely. I suspect I shall do so again shortly.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:05 pm 
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Allo's fortnight is an interesting one for me, in that while it does have its own character, I remember it as the platonic ideal of a story: the "Game of Mafia"/"Kill them all one by one" arc done perfectly, but done as just that. It's not that it's true, that's just how my brain has categorized it. I do remember it very strongly for that reason, though.

"Getting Ahead" on the other hand, I had forgotten entirely. I suspect I shall do so again shortly.

What's particularly funny to me is that, while I played Mafia several times in college, I actually wasn't even aware of the game "Werewolf" until considerably after I wrote this story. And considering the entire point of this story is to figure out who the werewolf is before it kills all of the ordinary people, it's funny to me how much it is an interpretation of the game.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:50 am 
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"Night Watch" by Rembrandt is considered one of the greatest paintings by the Dutch Masters. Famous for its size, shadow, and movement, this painting...

...hold on...

I'm sorry, there's been some sort of misunderstanding. Let me start over.

"Night Watch" by Tevish Szat is the story of two childhood friends, Daniel Lehrer and Nathaniel Strauss. Yeah, that's better. Daniel, a bookish young man given to certain eccentricities and known to pal around with the wrong crowd, visits his friend Nathaniel, a parish-blade Cathar and respected soldier in the fight against the darkness of the world. Earlier that day, the town had been visited by Thalia of Thraben herself, and Nathan is distracted by the visit for a few different reasons. But things escalate quickly when danger comes knocking on the gate.

This is another of those stories where the Lovecraftian undertones begin to bubble up, particularly in the initial scene-setting with the descriptions of Dan and Nathan. I found it interesting that so much time was spent on Dan's association with less-than-savory types, but that it really didn't have anything to do with this story. This is more of Tevish's inter-connectedness of the stories in the Anthology (I'm presuming this Dan is the same one Jonathan Blake name-drops in "The Cellar Door") but it does make the intro work better in this anthology setting than I think it would have had the story been released alone.

As I mentioned in my discussion of "Dear and Decorations," I'm not overly fond of bringing in canon characters to our stories, but Thalia herself is only in this story very briefly, and I really like the way Nathan just sort of pines over her, obviously smitten. Daniel Lehrer, if my recollections are correct, will make an encore appearance a bit later on.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:40 am 
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The keynote card for this story was Loyal Cathar/Unhallowed Cathar, which incidentally mentions Thalia in the flavor text. That may have informed her presence, but it was really Deckhopper's masterpiece examining the "Real McCoy" brand of summoning, "Thalia takes a Bath", that determined my inclination to include her in this story. Or perhaps it was the flavor text, but her "Dripping wet and pissed off" status was 100% thanks to Deckhopper setting the scene. By the time we were writing new pieces to fill out the anthology (and this was one such) we had kind of set our negative view on Canon characters that didn't exist for the Short Story contest (I think the last real M:EM story to feature anything of substance for a canon character was "The Last Troll")... but I did figure that this was essentially a cameo for Thalia, a random day she wouldn't really remember and that wouldn't really shape her.

It's interesting that you bring up Lovecraft for the narration, as what happened from my point of view was that I aimed for Washington Irving (specifically his description of Ichabod Crane), but hit Rod Serling introducing an episode of The Twilight Zone. Of all my works for the Anthology, this one... I don't know if it's my least favorite, but it certainly isn't the one that I look back on and think "This is the one. This is where I did something cool and new and good."

Dan was indeed name-dropped back in "The Cellar Door", being roped into the Mana Mine scheme. He'll be back for "The Fateful Hour", where that connection is at least a little clarified.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:36 am 
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"The Maid and the Gentleman," by mUrielw, is a poem about a young maid who has lost her love and with it, her will to live. She therefore surrenders herself willing to the "Gentleman," a local vampire lord who, we learn, is also the cause of her love's demise. The young woman, named Gretel, wishes to once more be with her Hans, and believes that only in death, and perhaps only death by the same means, can accomplish that. The vampire lord, not one to refuse a willing meal, agrees.

I like this poem. Written (for the most part) in iambic meter with lines alternating between tetrameter and trimeter, this poem has a very antiquated feel to it, something which is aided by much of the language used throughout, such as "I'd fain be dead," and "Her liege lord laughed, and spake at her." Very Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This poem runs very much along the lines of my tastes, as well, because while it is very rhythmic and sing-songy, it's also pretty grim in theme, as essentially this comes down to a vampire noble killing some guy, and then the girl who loved that guy ALSO wants to die, with nothing even approaching a consequence for the vampire. And that, of course, is why this piece is in the Hunter's Moon.

I do have one criticism of this poem, though, and it's the meter in the first few stanzas. In metered poetry, not evey line has to be perfect meter by any stretch of the imagination, and once you establish your pattern, you can occasionally through in lines that stretch the pattern a bit, or force people to pronounce words slightly differently than they ordinarily would in order to fit the meter. But in this poem, nearly all of the imperfect meter lines are right away in the beginning, before the meter had been well-established. The first line, for instance, is "The day the hoarfrost thick'd, to the" which is an ugly line, because it uses the word "the" three times, and iambic tetrameter really wants you to accent the final "the," a word that is rarely if ever emphasized in poetry. There's an unfortunate bit of s-alliteration in the second stanza "sighs soon stop," which is not always the easiest to say (and has potential accent problems with "soon"). And in the third stanza, the line "She addressed angrily" reads oddly in iambic.

Still, for all that I wish the meter was a bit more pure in the opening few stanzas, once this poem gets going a bit, I quite like it, and I'm very glad to have poems (one we'll see in just a few days) from people other than me!

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:58 am 
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Now, perhaps I'm misremembering, but I believe this was a late addition, slotted when Un Bon Vein Rouge (a vampire microfiction slated for the New Moon, forgive me if I've made a mistake with that title) was deemed Not As Is on quality concerns and clearly wasn't getting fixed. The Maid and the Gentelman, however, was deemed perfectly acceptable (if belonging to a different moon, resulting in a slight shuffle there) and was slotted in.

Of course, I could be thinking of something else. I just distinctly recall the tequila pair and Vein Rouge getting axed fairly late into the design of the anthology.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:37 pm 
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Now, perhaps I'm misremembering, but I believe this was a late addition, slotted when Un Bon Vein Rouge (a vampire microfiction slated for the New Moon, forgive me if I've made a mistake with that title) was deemed Not As Is on quality concerns and clearly wasn't getting fixed. The Maid and the Gentelman, however, was deemed perfectly acceptable (if belonging to a different moon, resulting in a slight shuffle there) and was slotted in.

Of course, I could be thinking of something else. I just distinctly recall the tequila pair and Vein Rouge getting axed fairly late into the design of the anthology.

From the digging I've been able to do, it seems like what happened was "Getting Ahead" was a late inclusion (I'm not sure how, because I thought Skibo was gone by then), and "Sublunary" was voted in, but somehow when we compiled our list of stories, it was left off. This left us with 40 stories for 39 spots, but included both of iamtequila's stories. We floated around the idea of including either my Endless Ranks of the Dead story from my "Flavor of the Week" thread, or Aaarrrgh's "The Unlife and Times of Gorin Halvarsson," which we eventually did.

TPman's "Un Bon Vein Rouge" was unpolished and, far more importantly, unfinished. I seem to recall that it sort of just stopped without any kind of a conclusion. When that story fell through, we were down to 38 stories and 39 slots. At that point, RuwinReborn, who was a M:EMber throughout the process but had not opted to write anything for the anthology, stepped up and wrote "Blessed," which we'll see in about a week and a half, and that filled out our numbers.

I do not remember this poem being used to fill in missing slots, but I don't remember anything really about the voting or submission process for this piece specifically, so I could well be wrong. For anybody interested, THIS is the thread I have been using to piece a lot of this together, in addition to my own scattershot memory. It is a thread that was started over here shortly after the migration to finish work on the planning stages. Of note is that the OP mentions a "Tibalt poem," of which I have no recollection.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:53 am 
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15 left.

"Consummare" by Jason Valdor is a story about Eristaf, a young man who is searching for purpose in a family that he feels has none. As Eristaf flees across the countryside, he reflects on his decision to leave his family in the most extreme way possible on his way to his destination.

Although this piece is a relatively short microfiction compared to other pieces in the anthology, its cold-hearted look at and inclusion of matricide, patricide, and fratricide make it, to me, one of the more grim pieces in the anthology. I quite like the construction of this piece, with the "Eristaf thought of..." motif juxtaposed against the one-at-a-time killings of his family, all culminating in what I believe is only the second mention of Griselbrand in this anthology (the other being "Ill Met by Moonlight").

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:41 am 
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14 to go!

Finishing off Hunter's Moon is "Through the Eyes of the Specter of Might-Have-Been" by KeeperofManyNames. This is the story of Cynthia Scalwode and her attempt (or is it attempts?) to escape her town, which is beset by ghouls and ghoulcallers. To do this, Cynthia enlists the aid of one of the more grisly methods of precognition available to the Multiverse: the Jar of Eyeballs. Using these, Cynthia embarks on a trippy, almost surrealist flight through multiple futures as she searches for the perfect combination of luck and planning to escape unharmed.

If I remember right, Keeper, regarding this story, said something to the effect that "this anthology could use a splatterpunk story." I remember reading it and, despite the overall theme of the anthology being fairly dark, this one did stand out for the graphic violence, particularly when it came to Grutus and the way Cynthia deals with him. Usually I do not like time shenanigans in stories, but playing around with seeing/experiencing the future, the way Cynthia does here or Alessa Rehn does, is something I find very interesting, and I think Keeper did an excellent job of working with these strange timelines, particularly the "futures within futures" concept.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:01 am 
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Regarding Consummare... I wonder if I've read the Hunter's Moon less than the other two sections, because while I did remember this, I didn't remember quite how humanly grim it actually got.

By contrast, I remembered "Through the Eyes of the Specter of Might-Have-Been" fairly well. I'm a sucker for the kind of time/reality manipulation that's going on in this story with the Jar-simulated time and futures within futures. Out of all the stories in the anthology, "Through the Eyes" is the biggest "wait, what?!" moment. And I mean that in a good way -- you're left potentially confused, but generally pleased with the experience.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:05 am 
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By contrast, I remembered "Through the Eyes of the Specter of Might-Have-Been" fairly well. I'm a sucker for the kind of time/reality manipulation that's going on in this story with the Jar-simulated time and futures within futures. Out of all the stories in the anthology, "Through the Eyes" is the biggest "wait, what?!" moment. And I mean that in a good way -- you're left potentially confused, but generally pleased with the experience.

This is a great way of putting it, and I completely agree. I remember being very impressed by how it played out, particularly the eyeball miscounting. This was my favorite thing Keeper had written until "Breaking Form" came along, and I'm obviously biased about that piece.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:32 am 
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13.

"Therapy" by Deckhopper kicks off New Moon, the final section of the Innistrad Anthology. It is the story of Norin, a Church Inquisitor, as he hunts down a renegade skaaberen and tries to expel him from a potentially cursed mansion. After being captured expediently, Norin is questioned by the skaaberen, and he tells the story of himself and his wife, Ayla, who happens to be a werewolf. The story explores the rather complicated relationship between the two as Norin tries to escape from the skaaberen's clutches.

This story is notable for the use of illustrations, taken from Innistrad cards, to tie in with the overarching plot of the story. Despite the fact that many of our stories were based on cards, as Tevish has pointed out, none of use really utilized the artwork from those cards in the actual stories the way that Deckhopper did here. The story itself is pretty interesting, too, as the initial plot of Norin and the Skaaberen serves primarily as a framing device for the story of Norin and Ayla in the minutes, days, and months following Battle of Thraben and the sundering of the Helvault. I like Norin and Ayla as characters. While I was not thinking about this story when I created Kerik for Daneera, having reread this story, I can see a lot of these characters in those.

Personally, I think this is a really strong story to lead off the New Moon section, as it is both chronologically fitting and tonally fitting, and just a fun story in general.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:22 am 
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This one generally gets the memory slot of "The Illustrated story" (though I did remember the story itself quite fondly as well), but more than that I think it does tap into a slight theme of several new moon stories that Wizards seemed to take note of for Shadow Over Innistrad: People were not satisfied with the Wolfir supplanting werewolves. I know we're just a tiny slice of the overall Vorthos community, much less the M:tG playing audience, but the rolling back of the Cursemute was probably the most welcome element of canon's revisit to the plane. It's exactly for stories like this, that rely on the human element of werewolves, and the fact that they can be normal people a good portion of the time, that the Wolfir, as extremely beastly beast-people, were so unfulfilling.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:21 am 
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Yeah, I really never understood the Wolfir decision. The most identifiable and, in my opinion, greatest aspect of werewolves in general and not just in MTG was the element of moving back and forth between human and beast, and all of the various explorations that come with that. I mean, Magic essentially created an entirely new type of card, the transform double-faced cards, to play into that aspect of change. It seems silly, after having identified the value and appeal of that element, to just throw it away.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:09 am 
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"Tongue of Frog, and Eye of Newt" by Skibo is a poem about a particularly nasty recipe involving any number of odd items associated with witchcraft, alchemy, and superstition.

"Tongue of Frog, and Eye of Newt" is probably the silliest piece in the entire anthology. I like it, for the most part. The rhythm and rhyme scheme are pleasing, very child-like and nursery rhymey, although there are a few places that break rhythm in odd ways, and I dislike the "perfume/removed" end-rhyme, because while they have an assonance connection, they do not really rhyme. Still, the poem as a whole is fun and interesting, even if it's only real connection to Innistrad is the mention of "Kessig bark" and "Nephalia mud."

I do not remember how we came to a decision on the title. In the list that Tevish wrote and that Orcish reposted on April 2, this poem was listed as being untitled, and at some point, we as a whole or someone in particular made the call to title it by its first line. Sadly, I have no recollection of that specific process.

Enjoy.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:25 pm 
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This piece is one of my favorites in the Anthology. It is hard to write comedy for Innistrad (I should know), but the punchline here is brilliant.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:30 pm 
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I love the little "Twist" that turns this to a New Moon piece with some comedy. Also, I believe we decided to call it by its first line because that's what one typically does with untitled poems from a history/literature point of view.

Also, always reminds me of this

Also, Portal, for different and equally obvious reasons.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:37 pm 
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11 left to do.

"Occurance at a Moorlands Manor" by Tevish Szat continues the story of Helene Bormann, the Skirsdag cult leader from "Ill Met by Moonlight," as she leads the remnants of the cult to the ill-fated Klarsch Manor, from "Through Darkness." As the cultists attempt to make the manor their own, someone or something begins to hunt them down one by one. The result is a catastrophic battle for the manor between the demonic and the dead.

As is probably apparent from my having written "Allo's Fortnight," I am quite fond of concept of this sort of survival horror, and this story does it in a very interesting way. You see, usually in this type of story, those who are being systematically killed off are the "good guys," those whom the reader wants to see survive. By making them cultists, and by playing off the overall goodness and likability of the spirits (chiefly from their previous appearance in the Anthology) it creates this interesting sort of situation where we WANT the spooky spirits to succeed in killing off the living.

The one exception to that, at least for me, is Sara, who I actually feel pretty badly for in this story. Sara is a victim of some pretty severe social ostracism and feels genuinely helpless in this story, and you really can't feel too badly for her. Helene even makes note of her lack of real belief in the evil faith of the Skirsdag, so it's hard to lump her in with the other cultists, either. Bruno, being mentally deficient through no fault of his own, probably didn't deserve to die, but Sara's the only one I really feel badly for.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:33 pm 
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I like that you pointed out Sara, because she WAS different to the story -- of all the victims, she is the only one who is given a second chance... or an explicit chance for that matter. The geist talks to her and tries to convince her to turn away from the Skirsdag. We don't know about Bruno (he was offed by Helene, after all), but she at least didn't have to die. Somewhere in an alternate universe is the story of Sara Jung, who took a hint and got the hell out, and by Shadow over Innistrad is a canny and dangerous foe of the unnatural thanks to having seen the inside workings of the Skirsdag. It's still a bitter story, about redemption and whether or not it's really possible on a world like Innistrad, but it's not this story. In our universe, though, Sara's fear of being alone was stronger than her fear of the Geist of Narrator Klarsch's True Love, and it got her killed. I imagine the Geist did it with whatever equates to a heavy heart.

Today's keynote card was Moorland Haunt. This is the terminal story for all involved.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:13 am 
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"The Unlife and Times of Gorin Halvarsson" by Aaarrrgh is, as the title suggests, the story of Gorin Halvarsson, a particularly dimwitted Innistradian who does not lead the most charmed of lives, or unlives, as the story elucidates. It is a look at the existence of a ghoul after Avacyn returns.

As Aaarrrgh alluded to a couple of days ago, this is really the comedy piece of the anthology, along with "Tongue of Frog, and Eye of Newt." I really like the effect, especially with both pieces coming somewhat early in the New Moon section. It really sets the tone that things are improving on Innistrad, and levity is returning to the plane. I am particularly fond of the little digs the narrator of this piece makes at Gorin, especially the eggs joke.

I hadn't thought of it before rereading this piece, but this story reminds me a lot of what I did later with "Mel Odrum's Attic." Clearly, this anthology was a source of inspiration for me, even if I didn't realize it!

Enjoy!


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