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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:33 pm 
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Fisco really is the Lou Grant of the M:EM, isn't he? :D

"Who can turn the world on with her smile?"

- Shows Daneera, frowning deeply. -

"Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?"

- Shows Daneera, arms covered in blood, skinning a rabbit. -

"Well, it's you, girl, and you should know it..."

- Shows Daneera scratching her head, as small twigs fall out of her hair. -

"With each glance and every little movement you show it."

- Shows Daneera in a tree, her eyes darting around, and then she jumps out, knife first, and dives onto a boar. -

"Love is all around, no need to waste it..."

- Shows Kerik, in werewolf form, slashing his claws as Daneera leaps away. -

"You can never tell, why don't you take it..."

- Shows Daneera robbing a grave, specifically the Murkwisp crypt from "Title" -

"You're gonna make it after all..."

- Daneera reluctantly puts the Fae Crown on, slumps her shoulders, and frowns. -

"You're gonna make it after all."

- Daneera changes her mind, grabs the crown, and throws it up in the air in disgust. It freezes there, and Daneera just stares at it, sighs heavily, grabs it again, and walks off screen. -

OK, first of all, it's not even okay how perfect this is. I can imagine the whole thing, complete with song, and I absolutely lose it every time at the part where the twigs fall out of her hair. :D

(Also, on a semi-unrelated note, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts covered this song when the played here in Boston a while back, and it was *killer*.)


Death of a Sailsman, Act 1

Death of a Sailsman, Act 2

Speaking of things which are so perfect that it's just not okay, I can't get over how much I love this. For the sake of argument, let's just pick ten reasons!

1) When Antony tells Kahr no more comedy, I laughed out loud.
2) This Gale line is PERFECT: “The sea, and the wind, and the rain. A sturdy ship beneath me and a storm-kissed sky above. The waves rocking against the hull, and the sails vibrating in the breeze.”
3) I love Kahr's chronic need to be shirtless, and Tryst pointing out that she's perfectly OK with that.
4) Of course Aloise would be Happy. :D
5) Of course Beryl catches on fire. (This school's extinguisher budget must be through the roof!)
6) I love Aloise and Beryl's non-diegetic excursion over to the "Ask Raven" thread. As Mr. Peanutbutter would say, "Is this a crossover episode?"
7) I love the inside joke about Nasperge disappearing.
8) Raiker's comment about the time skip practically killed me.
9) Heavens help us all if Tryst ever decides to mount her own production... ("Heh," Tryst said, and snickered. "You said 'mount.'")
10) Ironically, Antony got the tragic ending he was after, didn't he? :D

Anyway, that is a rather arbitrary attempt to pick out specific things that I liked, because, honestly, the whole thing had me in stitches. Like I said, it's basically perfect.

Thank you so much, Raven!

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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:31 pm 
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OK, first of all, it's not even okay how perfect this is. I can imagine the whole thing, complete with song, and I absolutely lose it every time at the part where the twigs fall out of her hair. :D

Daneera needs her own sitcom, clearly. I think my favorite part is the Fae crown freezing in mid-air, just like in the inspiration, but unlike the inspiration, Daneera herself does not. That image cracks me up.

(Also, on a semi-unrelated note, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts covered this song when the played here in Boston a while back, and it was *killer*.)

Well, now I'm picturing Daneera as Joan Jett, which is just all kinds of great. Also, here's a thing for everyone:

I Love to Hunt and Prowl



Speaking of things which are so perfect that it's just not okay, I can't get over how much I love this. For the sake of argument, let's just pick ten reasons!

1) When Antony tells Kahr no more comedy, I laughed out loud.

Can't you just imagine Kahr's face as Antony says that? Priceless.

2) This Gale line is PERFECT: “The sea, and the wind, and the rain. A sturdy ship beneath me and a storm-kissed sky above. The waves rocking against the hull, and the sails vibrating in the breeze.”

I miss writing for Gale...

3) I love Kahr's chronic need to be shirtless, and Tryst pointing out that she's perfectly OK with that.

And I love that Kahr is apparently just endlessly posing as the others are talking. :D

4) Of course Aloise would be Happy. :D

Yeah, I couldn't pass that up.

5) Of course Beryl catches on fire. (This school's extinguisher budget must be through the roof!)

"Beryl burst into flames." might be my favorite line in the piece. High School Beryl is just all kinds of fun!

6) I love Aloise and Beryl's non-diegetic excursion over to the "Ask Raven" thread. As Mr. Peanutbutter would say, "Is this a crossover episode?"

I really enjoy playing around with these sorts of meta elements of fiction. Using a medium like a forum for our writing, while in some ways similar to paper and ink writing, there are differences that we can play around with. I sort of did that with "Nesting Dolls," with the "glowing page," but I think this was the most meta I've gotten on these boards.

7) I love the inside joke about Nasperge disappearing.

:)

8) Raiker's comment about the time skip practically killed me.

Leave it to Raiker…

9) Heavens help us all if Tryst ever decides to mount her own production... ("Heh," Tryst said, and snickered. "You said 'mount.'")

I now see her saying that when Antony introduces himself, which Antony of course immediately corrects, and Tryst just says, "close enough."

10) Ironically, Antony got the tragic ending he was after, didn't he? :D

When your final grade for your senior project is in the hands of Raiker Venn, tragedy awaits. :D

Anyway, that is a rather arbitrary attempt to pick out specific things that I liked, because, honestly, the whole thing had me in stitches. Like I said, it's basically perfect.

Thank you so much, Raven!

Glad you liked it! Thanks for reading.


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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:56 am 
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Did we ever decide who's the janitor at the school? Whoever it is, someone needs to call them. There's a huge crack in the fourth wall, and it needs to be fixed.

Thank you Raven for making my day better with this inanity!

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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:23 pm 
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Aaarrrgh wrote:
Did we ever decide who's the janitor at the school? Whoever it is, someone needs to call them. There's a huge crack in the fourth wall, and it needs to be fixed.

I nominate Bobber. He's the one who usually cleans up my messes around here.

:lol:

Aaarrrgh wrote:
Thank you Raven for making my day better with this inanity!

:hattip:

Always glad to help! Thanks for reading!


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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:44 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:05 pm 
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Heh, that was funny :D Raiker will do and forgo anything in the name of poetry. Thanks for sharing!

I feel like this AU has so much potential but unfortunately can't come up with anything myself :/

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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:27 am 
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Heh, that was funny :D Raiker will do and forgo anything in the name of poetry. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for reading! This started because I was trying to think of a Valentine's day story, which led to me thinking of Kerik trying to write a Valentine's Day poem for Daneera, which, of course, led me to Raiker making a stand for "good poetry." I love the thought of Kerik having a typical high school age boy's room with stinky socks and dust under the bed and elsewhere. And, of course, the callback to Orcish's "Kerik's fine axe" joke from the Double Date series makes me smile.

I feel like this AU has so much potential but unfortunately can't come up with anything myself :/

I go in streaks where I don't really have anything in mind for this, but when I do have ideas for it, they tend to amuse me greatly. The big thing, I think, is to just have fun with it. Think of some of those things that either tend to happen in high school or that we see in high school movies or tv shows. Then pick a couple of M:EM characters and run with the silliness of it.

For instance, you've established that Sharaka is in Shop, taught by Maral, and that Sharaka has infatuated with our sweaty giantess. So, what's a project Sharaka might work on in shop? What's something that can go disastrously wrong with said project? How would Maral react to so...enthusiastic a pupil to have said disastrous failure? Does Sharaka need some after-school tutoring from Elphimas, perhaps when she's in seeing Kala, the school nurse? So many options!


:D


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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:07 am 
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Hmm... I guess it would help if I had an idea of what classes each pupil takes? It'd give me the angle "X and Y have class together, how would they interact?" I mean, I don't even know how many classes is a High School student is supposed to take, if there's usually a low and/or high cap or mandatory courses, and what subjects might interest some students apart from the obvious. Just putting Daneera in Raiker's class and outside of Health was a leap in the dark, really.

EDIT: "Just improvise" doesn't work well with me, as you may have noticed :V

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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:10 am 
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Hmm... I guess it would help if I had an idea of what classes each pupil takes? It'd give me the angle "X and Y have class together, how would they interact?" I mean, I don't even know how many classes is a High School student is supposed to take, if there's usually a low and/or high cap or mandatory courses, and what subjects might interest some students apart from the obvious. Just putting Daneera in Raiker's class and outside of Health was a leap in the dark, really.

EDIT: "Just improvise" doesn't work well with me, as you may have noticed :V

To be fair, I think only two of my stories in this thread actually feature a class... :)

To answer your question, in my experience with American high school, students usually take anywhere from 5 to 8 class periods per day (same schedule all five days, classes about 50-55 minutes). At my high school, I believe we had 7, with the eighth "period" a shortened "Advisor/Advisee" period where students from different grades were assigned a faculty "advisor." Basically, it was to mingle the students a bit, I think, as no actual advising every really happened. At my school, you had to take a full load for Freshman and Sophomore years, but then Junior and Senior years, you could take a free period or two, which was great for me, because I ended up taking first and eighth periods off my Senior year, meaning I could show up late and leave early.

If you want to make up a schedule for one/several/all of the students, go right ahead! I won't stop you. Typically, again in American high schools, every year students would take at least an English class, a History class, a Science class, and a Math class, and then some electives.

But I think for most people, high school was more about the social interactions than the actual schooling, which, you know, probably says a lot about the education system in this country...


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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:36 pm 
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(I noticed I picked the info Daneera attends English with Venn and that Sharaka attends Health from your starting piece; honestly, such a degree of initiative was OOC for me :D)

Between your post and what I could scrounge up on Google I gathered that every institute basically does whatever the heck it wants. :D Some schedule templates really hurt my eyes. The concept of AP classes is interesting tho.

To be fair, I think only two of my stories in this thread actually feature a class... :)

Sure, but not every M:EM kid is necessarily supposed to know each other, and knowing who could meet who during classes can be interesting, especially people that for some reason might behave very differently than outside that class (like seeing Sharaka drooling after Maral, for example)

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At my school, you had to take a full load for Freshman and Sophomore years, but then Junior and Senior years, you could take a free period or two, which was great for me, because I ended up taking first and eighth periods off my Senior year, meaning I could show up late and leave early.[...]

Typically, again in American high schools, every year students would take at least an English class, a History class, a Science class, and a Math class, and then some electives.

So we can have 4 somewhat mandatory classes and a bunch of electives. I'd say that the average student has from 2 to, what, 4 electives? Are those sensible numbers? Probably Jackie has dropped any non-mandatory ones by now, and Denner and Lumina have an almost full load, with maybe one free period for Lumina to have time for the Newspaper Club.

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But I think for most people, high school was more about the social interactions than the actual schooling, which, you know, probably says a lot about the education system in this country...

In Italy the choice of the equivalent of high school (the last 5 years of public formation) is rather important, since every one of them has a general focus on a certain area (in my city there's at least one each for humanities, science, art and a variety of professions from turism-related ones to teaching to areonautics) and little room to change the schedule (in my school we had 1600 students and 5 types of schedules, with the option of taking extracurricular activities and courses that usually ranged from 2 to 4 weekly hours.). So the choice is relevant to whether you're planning to attend an university, though most students pick their schools for the subjects they prefer with varying degrees of pressure from the parents.

In the more general sense, many "kids" become quickly aware that some of those subjects (like Art History in a scientific high school, or Physics in a humanities one) won't be very useful in their foreseeable future, so not every class is attended with the same dedication :D The fact that basically every high school has at least a couple mandatory subjects external to its main focus means many kids feel like they're studying them just to advance in what interests them, or just to get out of school with passing grades.

But enough with comparative schooling, I had an idea...

Warning: foul language; I wrote this piece as I imagined and let the filter sort its own. Surprisingly, something got past.

Spoiler

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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:57 pm 
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Spoiler

Teen Sharaka's angsty, huh? :D

I love her attitude here, and I especially love the way Nasina just sort of stays cool about the whole thing while making little notes and observations to herself about Sharaka. This also made me wonder what Sharaka and Morgezka would think of one another in this school. There is also something vaguely sinister about Nasina's claim of influence in the school. It's all perfectly innocent, but there's just a hint that her webs (ha!) go a bit deeper than they might at first appear. Which, I suppose, is a bit reminiscent of canon Lady Nasina…

:D

Thanks for posting, Huey!


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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:21 pm 
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Teen Sharaka's angsty, huh? :D

I mean, canon Sharaka is 17/18 so that's just a consistent character trait :D I'm sorry to only provide rather heavy pieces for the thread, but I felt I needed to address the casual violence Sharaka wields. Probably more for my own sake than for any reader's :V

Quote:
I love her attitude here, and I especially love the way Nasina just sort of stays cool about the whole thing while making little notes and observations to herself about Sharaka.

I tried to put myself in the seat of a psychologist for that one, getting inspired by some of the things my own therapist does. And I'm also always glad to get some Sharaka snark in :D

Quote:
This also made me wonder what Sharaka and Morgezka would think of one another in this school.

Time to overanalyze stuff!

-We can suppose that in this world viashino lacked the bloody hystory the Bloodspine has, but still viashino are often depicted as servants or descendants of dragons; I can imagine some sort of systematic racism that put viashino under the influence of dragons, so Sharaka's take on the whole thing would be "we are our own people, **** you."
-Sharaka has a tendency to associate size with worth, which is also a reason why she often develops crushes on bigger people (see Maral). This dynamic, coupled with the race issue I just mentioned, would probably turn into an inferiority complex if she has something resembling a friendship with Morgezka, which as we saw tends to evolve into a reflexive confrontational behavior.
-That said, the sorrow the Rulus have brought them would make them rather scary, if uneasy on Sharaka's part, allies, as Sharaka has enough self-control to avoid the more obvious traps even when on quasi-berserk and her empathic abilities could weaponize the immense anger Morgezka can muster. Now that I think of it, if Sharaka got past her issues an empathic bond with a dragon would make her a force even some of our heavy hitters should be wary of. (that's the reason why I have had contemplated to write about a Sharaka powered by the draconic pendant in Maral's vault for quite some time) To know more about Morgezka's side I'd have to refresh my memory about her ideas and behavior related to human-sized people, and viashino in particular (though I guess that's not an issue that gets explicitly tackled in shared pieces).

Quote:
There is also something vaguely sinister about Nasina's claim of influence in the school. It's all perfectly innocent, but there's just a hint that her webs (ha!) go a bit deeper than they might at first appear. Which, I suppose, is a bit reminiscent of canon Lady Nasina…

Again, I'd have to refresh my memory about her first appearance to explore the similarities in full, but I didn't thought much of it; it was just a small jab to Sharaka's somewhat laughable bravado. Rereading the piece there's the grounds to say Nasina might be Elphimas' therapist, or she maybe just likes to informally take care of the staff in addition to tending to the kids.

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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:06 pm 
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It's weird to write dialogues with teachers that have no last name.

seeing through (510 words)

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To anybody reading this, including my future selves: have a good life!

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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:39 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:21 am 
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Johann the Bard (The Adventure Zone) wrote:

To anybody reading this, including my future selves: have a good life!

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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:27 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:40 am 
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Really nice! The "explaining things you still have to understand yourself" is something that hit very close to home. If Beryl's supposition is real, is interesting how this came to be, misinformation making things better for a change. Just don't let Raiker hear about it...

Thank you for sharing!

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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:28 am 
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Really nice! The "explaining things you still have to understand yourself" is something that hit very close to home. If Beryl's supposition is real, is interesting how this came to be, misinformation making things better for a change.

I really liked playing around with perception here. We know that Beryl struggles with self-esteem and self-perception issues, in canon and especially in High School, so I thought it would be interesting to give her a glimpse of how an even younger character with similar issues might see her. As usual, we see some differences between HS Scar and canon Scar, but this very much seems like Scarlet before Jackie has really managed to get her standing on her own four hooves. And it was fun to see Beryl sort of taking on that mentor role for a bit.

Also, here's a meaningless tidbit: This story marks the first time in the M:EM I've used the word "foyer!" Technically, I've posted that word once before, in the story "Breaking Form," but it was Keeper who wrote it.

So that's fun.

Just don't let Raiker hear about it...

Raiker Venn wrote:
Hmm? What was that? I am sorry, but I was busy trying to find a rhyme for "dumped her." Hmm. I fear I shall have to try to convince the Principle to arrange a field trip to Fort Sumpter...


Thank you for sharing!

And thank you for reading!


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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:09 pm 
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This thread has produced some of my favorite fiction in the entirety of the M:EM, and this latest little scene is very much in keeping with that trend. Thank you so much, Raven, for sharing this moment.

It's funny, because this is a pair of characters who I both love dearly, and yet I don't think I would have made this connection between the two of them in my head. For whatever reason, the Beryl stream and the Jackie stream mostly don't cross over within my mind, despite the obvious fact that Beryl and Scar would have a lot to talk about. So that's another one of the things I like so much about the M:EM High School setting -- it creates a mixing bowl for these sorts of encounters to happen. And the results -- even though we're talking about non-canon variations on all the characters -- can still be really illuminating, and carry insights of their own.

I think the thing about Beryl is that she was never able to carry her scars lightly. As much as she always tried to minimize them, with the way she combed her hair, for example, and the way she held her head -- always down a little, and too one side, almost never looking right at you -- she has scars that she can't hide. "Disfigured" is not the word I would use these days, but I'm sure it's a word that Beryl would have used about herself in the past. Beryl can't forget about her scars. They're the first thing which everybody who meets her notices, and she KNOWS that. She knows that people look at her. She knows that people stare. She knows that they want to know what happened to her. She sees the looks on their faces when they don't think she will notice. She sees children staring in open fascination. It's a theme I've come back to a couple of times in a couple of different stories, and it's an important part of the person who Beryl was. She's someone who grew into adulthood thinking that she was ugly -- KNOWING that she was ugly -- and believing that it was all her own fault. There was a part of Beryl -- the monster that grows when you're trapped alone, in the darkness -- the monster that Astria worked so hard to inculcate and to feed, and that the rest of the world only amplified -- that thought she deserved what had happened to her, that thought that those scars were a deserved punishment, that thought -- no, that KNEW -- that no one else could ever look at her, and fall in love with her, because she couldn't even look at herself and feel that way. There was that terrible certainly in Beryl's beliefs about herself: She knew that she was ugly. She knew that she was unlovable. She knew that she was undeserving.

And then friendship changes all that. Love changes all that. Beryl meets someone who looks at her, and doesn't look away. Someone who looks at her, and who sees the scars, and who sees them for what they are -- they're a part of her. They're a part of who Beryl is. Those scars are her story, and it's not the story she would have chosen for herself, but it's hers, and it brought her to where she is now: with someone who looks at her with love.

And that changes everything. Because, for the first time in her adult life, Beryl is happy to be looked at. Beryl likes to be looked at. Aloise looks at Beryl, and Beryl feels good.

There's a moment in a little story where Aloise remarks that Beryl has changed how she combs her hair -- that she's no longer trying to conceal so much of her scar -- and I think that's honestly one of the most telling moments between the two. That's the magic that Aloise has given to Beryl. She's made Beryl feel OK about herself. Better than OK, even. Lovable. Desirable. Deserving.

(I'm talking mainly about Aloise here, but Beryl has an important moment with Alessa, too, along these lines, which I don't want to gloss over. The fact that Alessa regards Beryl as desirable -- and openly tells her as much -- that matters, too. I think that matters a lot. That is probably the first time in her adult life in which Beryl has been made to feel like an object of desire, and I think the seed of thought that plants in her mind matters a lot in helping her to get to the place where she's willing to believe that Aloise, too, might possibly think about her in that same way.)

Anyway, that's a lot of talking, but I think that -- even here, in the M:EM High School -- it sort of gives us some sense of where Beryl is coming from. High school Beryl is still a little more self-conscious, a little more insecure -- in high school, who isn't? -- but the common thread here is Aloise, and the effect that loving Aloise, and being loved by Aloise, has on her. Aloise makes Beryl feel comfortable with herself. It doesn't mean that people don't still stare -- they do -- and it doesn't mean that Beryl doesn't still feel them staring -- she does. But there's that little bird in Beryl's soul now that says: "It doesn't matter. None of it matters. Aloise loves you. You are loved. You are not loved in spite of who you are, but because of who you are." And that gives her a little courage, a little confidence, a little warmth.

Not a lot, mind you. (High school, again.) But a little. And that makes all the difference.

Which is why this moment in the story resonates with me so much:

Quote:

“Please don’t be offended!” Scar hurried to get out. “It’s just that, I mean, I have my share of scars, too!” Beryl looked at the freshman, really looked at her, and saw what she meant. She had noticed the scars along the other girl’s face and neck, of course, but she had not thought a whole lot about them. “It’s just, I see you walking in the halls, and you always look so happy, so confident.”


“Confident?” Beryl asked. She must only see me walking with Aloise! “I don’t think I look particularly confident in the halls…”



That feels incredibly true to me. The Beryl who is around Aloise is a different person from the Beryl who is by herself. That's true in the main M:EM to some extent, but, for high school Beryl, my guess is that it's especially true. It's like there's a light inside Beryl which only switches on when Aloise is around. Call if confidence, call it self-possession, call it spirit -- call it whatever you want. And maybe Beryl doesn't quite notice it, because she's on the inside looking out, instead of the outside looking in. But I guarantee you that other people notice it, and OF COURSE Scar would notice it, too. And what a lodestar that light must seem like for the freshman Scar.

So OF COURSE she's going to want to ask Beryl about it. If she can get up the courage to do it, that is.

It's funny, because now I'm trying to think about how Beryl and Scar's backstories must differ in our alternative M:EM High School universe. I think it's safe to say that high school Beryl wasn't kept under house arrest until she was 18, and psychologically tortured by her older sister, but siblings can still be plenty mean without actually locking you in a room and stripping you of your family name, so I assume that high school Astria (my God, would she have been a terror...) would still have found plenty of ways to make Beryl feel worthless, ugly, and small. So the Beryl we know in high school maybe isn't quite as shaped by trauma as her main-canon counterpart, but I think it's safe to say that she still has a pretty serious self-image problem before high school Aloise enters into her life, and I think it's safe to assume that there's still a lot of emotional reconstruction which has to be done with the aid of love and positive affirmation.

And Scar's history, too, must be pretty different in the specifics, even if the general thrust is the same. I'm assuming that the abusive father and the missing mother are still there, in all their unique horror -- I still get chills thinking about some of Raven's stories, and the phrase "buckle down" will never be the same for me so long as I live -- but what about the countervailing influences which were there to try to help build main-canon Scar back up? What about Red's Ranch, and the runaways? What about Sage, and the Ridders? How does that version of Scar's experience fit into this universe?

My head canon -- which I'm making up on the fly -- is that high school Jackie, after growing up in an orphanage, emancipated herself legally while in her teens, and has been living more or less without adult supervision ever since. She's managed to scrape some money together -- better to not ask how -- and she's living more or less off-the-grid in some old, abandoned house which she has managed to make mostly livable. (It's probably a DIY nightmare -- be careful what you plug into the outlets.) My guess is that no one at the high school knows this -- she's got a fake address, fake parents, a whole fake history for herself. If anyone asks, her mom's in the army, and her dad's a travelling salesman. I bet she can produce the letters and postcards to prove it, complete with forged postmarks and foreign stamps. No one from high school is ever invited to her home, and no one has any idea.

And I'm going to say that, at this OSHA-nightmare house, Jackie collects other runaways like her. Kids who got kicked out of their homes, kids who had to split, kids who fell through the cracks in the system -- somehow, they find their way to her, and she takes them in. She lets them crash at her place, they live on cereal and Spaghetti-Os (although she does probably make everyone eat a vegetable once in a while), and they all sort of scrape by together. That new kid in the cafeteria who doesn't have money for lunch, and who doesn't have anyone pick them up at the end of school, and who hangs around the playground well after dark because they're afraid of going home to whatever it is they have to go home to -- Jackie's going to notice that kid. And she's going to sidle up to them, and she's going to disarm them (figuratively, in this case, as opposed to main-canon Jackie and the more literal kind) and, before the hour is out, she's going to know their story. And if that kid needs a place to sleep, where there's food in the pantry (even if it is cereal and Spaghetti-Os) and where no one's going to slap them around, then they're coming home with her. And Jackie -- who, being a fourth-year super-senior, is well over 18 -- is going to work to get them legally emancipated, too. (I have the feeling that 21-year-old Jackie is one hell of a pro se litigant, even if Trotter does have to read all the documents for her.) And so there is this sort of quasi M:EM High School parallel to Red's Ranch, and so maybe Scar is living there, but she probably hasn't been there for long, and so she, too, isn't quite so far along the journey towards self-acceptance -- towards living with her scars -- as her main-canon counterpart would be.

And so maybe that's the context in which Scar and Beryl cross paths, here. And I love the beautiful story which Raven has crafted out of that moment. And, for once, like Huey already observed, it's Beryl who finds herself in the odd position of somehow being asked to provide comfort and assurance to someone who's maybe even more damaged than she is, and who maybe isn't quite as far along the road to self-discovery. And that's the sort of really cool character interaction which we get in this thread which wasn't likely ever going to come about elsewhere.

Anyway, there are a ton of little moments in this story which I love, love, love. There's Beryl's almost frightening moment of self-insight, which I talked about earlier, when she realizes how different she must look from the outside when Aloise is around versus when she isn't. There's the little note about Aloise's gift to Beryl -- that red leather bookmark -- which is absolutely pitch-perfect for both characters, and which I am probably going to steal for a canon story someday. There's the way that Scar doesn't quite make eye contact, which is so reminiscent of the way that early-M:EM Beryl always looked in my mind -- never looking straight at you, but always a little down, and to one side. And there's that beautiful moment at the end when Beryl sort of completes the sentence which Scar leaves painfully unfinished earlier -- Scar was going to say that she doesn't have any friends, but that's not true any longer.

(Also, Beryl and Scarlet are both named after colors. So there's that!)

All of which is a very long-winded way of saying that I love, love, love this piece. <3

Thank you so much, Raven, for sharing!

_________________
"And remember, I'm pullin' for ya, 'cause we're all in this together." - Red Green


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 Post subject: Re: M:EM High School
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:10 pm 
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This thread has produced some of my favorite fiction in the entirety of the M:EM, and this latest little scene is very much in keeping with that trend. Thank you so much, Raven, for sharing this moment.

~offers a very Raven-y hug, which either means extending ominous black wings, or wolf-like paws. This explains why Raven doesn't offer hugs often...~

It's funny, because this is a pair of characters who I both love dearly, and yet I don't think I would have made this connection between the two of them in my head.

I honestly don't even remember when this particular idea popped into my head. I was reading some story with either Scar or Beryl in it, and some line or something made me think I wonder how those two would interact, which of course made me think of the M:EM High School, where, of course, they could! I then started thinking about how High School Scar would see High School Beryl, and I realized that the main reason Scar would take particular notice of Beryl (she's in a higher class than me! Am I even allowed to talk to her?) is that she would see her as the things she herself wants to be: happy, confident, and self-assured. The fact that she maybe always sees Beryl with Aloise, I suspect, wouldn't occur to Scar in this context, because it isn't Aloise she's looking at.

I also love how this plays around with one of Beryl's primary characteristics in these M:EM High School stories, which is her spontaneous combustions which seem to mostly result from moments of acute embarrassment. Putting Beryl in the position of the "confident" one was really interesting to me.

I think the thing about Beryl is that she was never able to carry her scars lightly. ...

Since we're in an AU anyway, here's a question: What would Beryl be like today without her scars? Maybe that means that the tragedy in her mother's garden never happened, or it did but Beryl wasn't burned, but I genuinely wonder if the Beryl we know is even possible without her scars. Some much of the person she's become relates to her backstory and the journey it set her on. I even wonder what her feelings for/reaction to Aloise is on the first meeting if Beryl hadn't lived that life.

Which is why this moment in the story resonates with me so much:

Quote:

“Please don’t be offended!” Scar hurried to get out. “It’s just that, I mean, I have my share of scars, too!” Beryl looked at the freshman, really looked at her, and saw what she meant. She had noticed the scars along the other girl’s face and neck, of course, but she had not thought a whole lot about them. “It’s just, I see you walking in the halls, and you always look so happy, so confident.”


“Confident?” Beryl asked. She must only see me walking with Aloise! “I don’t think I look particularly confident in the halls…”



That feels incredibly true to me. The Beryl who is around Aloise is a different person from the Beryl who is by herself. That's true in the main M:EM to some extent, but, for high school Beryl, my guess is that it's especially true. It's like there's a light inside Beryl which only switches on when Aloise is around. Call if confidence, call it self-possession, call it spirit -- call it whatever you want. And maybe Beryl doesn't quite notice it, because she's on the inside looking out, instead of the outside looking in. But I guarantee you that other people notice it, and OF COURSE Scar would notice it, too. And what a lodestar that light must seem like for the freshman Scar.

So OF COURSE she's going to want to ask Beryl about it. If she can get up the courage to do it, that is.

Yeah, that is basically what I came to. And I suspect that freshman Scar wasn't quite able to do it by herself, but more on that in a bit.

... so I assume that high school Astria (my God, would she have been a terror...)

~Nods in knowing agreement~

-- I still get chills thinking about some of Raven's stories, and the phrase "buckle down" will never be the same for me so long as I live --

I don't really think that such things can be quantified, but if I were trying to pick which of my stories I think is "best," "Scar's" would certainly at least get a nomination. To me, it's one of the most affecting stories I've written to date, and like you said, there are some parts of it that just stick like napalm. I know we've talked about this before around these parts, but it's always amazing to me where certain things come from. Scar, and all of her stories, ultimately came from one little story that resulted from a fairly off-handed remark on one your stories. Scar was never "meant" to be a thing, but from that one story, a character has grown that I have really come to love.

And yes, that phrase in particular has pretty radically transformed for me since that story was written, too.

My head canon -- which I'm making up on the fly -- is that high school Jackie, after growing up in an orphanage, emancipated herself legally while in her teens, and has been living more or less without adult supervision ever since. She's managed to scrape some money together -- better to not ask how -- and she's living more or less off-the-grid in some old, abandoned house which she has managed to make mostly livable. (It's probably a DIY nightmare -- be careful what you plug into the outlets.) My guess is that no one at the high school knows this -- she's got a fake address, fake parents, a whole fake history for herself. If anyone asks, her mom's in the army, and her dad's a travelling salesman. I bet she can produce the letters and postcards to prove it, complete with forged postmarks and foreign stamps. No one from high school is ever invited to her home, and no one has any idea.

And I'm going to say that, at this OSHA-nightmare house, Jackie collects other runaways like her. Kids who got kicked out of their homes, kids who had to split, kids who fell through the cracks in the system -- somehow, they find their way to her, and she takes them in. She lets them crash at her place, they live on cereal and Spaghetti-Os (although she does probably make everyone eat a vegetable once in a while), and they all sort of scrape by together. That new kid in the cafeteria who doesn't have money for lunch, and who doesn't have anyone pick them up at the end of school, and who hangs around the playground well after dark because they're afraid of going home to whatever it is they have to go home to -- Jackie's going to notice that kid. And she's going to sidle up to them, and she's going to disarm them (figuratively, in this case, as opposed to main-canon Jackie and the more literal kind) and, before the hour is out, she's going to know their story. And if that kid needs a place to sleep, where there's food in the pantry (even if it is cereal and Spaghetti-Os) and where no one's going to slap them around, then they're coming home with her. And Jackie -- who, being a fourth-year super-senior, is well over 18 -- is going to work to get them legally emancipated, too. (I have the feeling that 21-year-old Jackie is one hell of a pro se litigant, even if Trotter does have to read all the documents for her.) And so there is this sort of quasi M:EM High School parallel to Red's Ranch, and so maybe Scar is living there, but she probably hasn't been there for long, and so she, too, isn't quite so far along the journey towards self-acceptance -- towards living with her scars -- as her main-canon counterpart would be.

I like this image, and I definitely think that High School Jackie and High School Scar have the same sort of connection that the canon characters do (although Scar probably doesn't call her Miss Red...). I'm guessing that Scar can talk to Jackie in a way she can't talk to other people, and she's probably talked to Jackie about her scars and the way they make her feel. But I think in this environment, that's maybe the one thing that Jackie can't help Scar with, because while Jackie has more than her fair share of problems, and while she has her eyes to set her apart, I think that teenage, freshman Scar would always come back to "I know you mean well, but you just don't know what its like."

But Jackie, as a certain insightful Orc once pointed out, is a "Capital 'P' Planner," and while maybe she can't speak to being scarred, she knows one bitchin' little lady who does. There is a line in this story that says that the reason Beryl is waiting at school is because Jackie had "uncharacteristically" asked Aloise for help in tutoring after school. In my head, what's happening here is that Jackie is positioning Beryl so that Scar can work up the courage to approach her, because I can't really see Scar, at this point in her development, walking up to Beryl in a group of people. So maybe Jackie can't help her directly, but maybe she can find a way to set the stage.

And so maybe that's the context in which Scar and Beryl cross paths, here. And I love the beautiful story which Raven has crafted out of that moment. And, for once, like Huey already observed, it's Beryl who finds herself in the odd position of somehow being asked to provide comfort and assurance to someone who's maybe even more damaged than she is, and who maybe isn't quite as far along the road to self-discovery. And that's the sort of really cool character interaction which we get in this thread which wasn't likely ever going to come about elsewhere.

Anyway, there are a ton of little moments in this story which I love, love, love. There's Beryl's almost frightening moment of self-insight, which I talked about earlier, when she realizes how different she must look from the outside when Aloise is around versus when she isn't. There's the little note about Aloise's gift to Beryl -- that red leather bookmark -- which is absolutely pitch-perfect for both characters, and which I am probably going to steal for a canon story someday. There's the way that Scar doesn't quite make eye contact, which is so reminiscent of the way that early-M:EM Beryl always looked in my mind -- never looking straight at you, but always a little down, and to one side. And there's that beautiful moment at the end when Beryl sort of completes the sentence which Scar leaves painfully unfinished earlier -- Scar was going to say that she doesn't have any friends, but that's not true any longer.

I loved the little bookmark drop-in comment. It serves no real purpose, but there's pretty much no way this didn't happen. Scar's body language was fun here, too, and I even stole her little hoof stomp that you included in that piece you wrote about Jackie teaching Scar to shoot, because that was such a great moment.

(Also, Beryl and Scarlet are both named after colors. So there's that!)

I mean, that was the MAIN reason this story got written, naturally.

:D

All of which is a very long-winded way of saying that I love, love, love this piece. <3

Thank you so much, Raven, for sharing!

Well, I'm very glad that you liked it! I always love when I can give people a strong connection or something to think about. I suspected this story would be pertinent to your interests!


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