Topic: All Wise [Last update: 6/11/2012]  (Read 3713 times)

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Joveus Molai

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All Wise [Last update: 6/11/2012]
« on: March 04, 2012, 06:40:24 am »
Table of Contents
I. Introduction
II. Verse 1: The Last Journey of Vafthrudnir
III. Verse 2: The Sayings of Witches
IV. Verse 3: The Sayings of Crows
V. Verse 4: The Sayings of Sages [under construction]

Alternate fanfiction.net link.


Library Catalogue entry:
Name: All Wise
Author: Joveus Molai
Genre: Adventure, Slice of Life
Summary: Moments before the end of his life, the frost giant Vafthrudnir arrives in Gensokyo. Desperate to find a way to not be forced back home, he travels across Gensokyo, searching for a solution, and on the way he learns not just about this land of illusions but also about learning itself.


Note: Criticism, no matter how harsh or nitpicky, is not only welcomed but encouraged. If you feel that something is wrong or incorrect, please do not hesitate to point it out!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 05:56:01 pm by JoveusMolai »

Joveus Molai

  • Bear the Word, and the Word will bear you.
  • *
  • LOOK AT ME
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Re: All Wise [Touhou fanfic] [thread is under construction]
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2012, 06:44:19 am »
|Introduction|

This...this is not a very good piece of writing.

All Wise started off as an idea I was kicking around for a potential submission to a certain Weekly Writing Challenge. But because I'm slow, fat, lazy, and prone to procrastination, the idea remained a soccer ball in my head, until fairly recently.

I decided to use my favorite character from Norse Mythology: Vafthrudnir. I probably like his character because his story is a bit unusual for one from Norse Mythology, largely because it doesn't really involve any violence except until the very very end. Most other tales involve blood, slaughter, combat, violence, or at the very least Mjolnir being used to smack things, but here, in Vafthrudnismal, the contest is between wits and knowledge, not swords or fists. (Of course, being Norse Mythology, someone still dies in the end, but hey, this was the sort of stuff the Vikings believed in, the same stuff where “heaven” was reserved only for those who killed lots of the right people at the right time.)

Likewise, when I started planning out this story, I figured that I'd try for one without any real action or violence; just one guy wandering through Gensokyo, learning what he could about his strange new world and about learning itself, a bit like Kino's Journey or Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro. Problem is, this sort of story depends very heavily on the strength of the writer, since now there's no cheap spectacle or drama to liven things up...and, uh, this is the second story I've ever written, and the first beyond a crappy short story I threw together once. Compounding this is the fact that I've never taken a formal creative writing class before.

As I said, this is not a very good piece of writing.  :ohdear:

But at the very least, I wanted to get this story out there, if only because I felt that Vafthrudnir deserved at least one goddamn piece of fanfiction, no matter how bad it is.  :colbert:

Joveus Molai

  • Bear the Word, and the Word will bear you.
  • *
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Blood Spider
Re: All Wise [Touhou fanfic] [thread is under construction]
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2012, 06:49:26 am »
| Verse 1: The Last Journey of Vafthrudnir|

Sealed was my fate. Lost was my life, upon the black blade of death.

I said, “I doomed myself when I dared to tell what fate will befall the gods, and staked my wit against the wit of Odin, ever the wisest of all.”

So did Odin One-Eye, All-Father of the Aesir, reach forth to claim my head, his face a countenance of triumph. In my arrogance I bet my head, in my pride I wagered my life, on a game of wits, a contest of wisdom. For who could stand before Vafthrudnir, Mighty Weaver, the All-Wise, greatest of frost giants? Surely not Gagnrath, that weather-beaten wanderer who sought hospitality in my halls.

Surely not Gagnrath, who was but Odin in guise.
 
Defeat. Humiliation. Despair.

Death.

Odin said nothing. He only smiled, one terrible to behold. I wondered for how many other sons of Ymir this sight was what bade them farewell from life.

Should I have fled? Or struck him down where he stood? Or pleaded for my life, or any other thing but to embrace my dark fate? But a wager I made, and though my pride had been reduced to near nothing, what little is left I shall honor alongside the wager.

And so there I sat, helpless for all my vaunted wisdom. All that I knew, from the names of the nine worlds to the fate of the gods at the world's ending...worthless, all worthless.

Odin's hand came closer, grasped my head about the crown. Battle-scarred fingers dug in, to tear my head away.

Then the world slipped away from me.

-----

Stars wheeled over my head, and I felt like someone had thrown me across the Nine Worlds. I looked down and saw Jotunheim, land of the frost giants; Midgard, the home of Men;  Alfheim, the home of the elves; and other lands I'd never seen before, but I didn't even have time to marvel at these things before my feet found solid ground again.

*Thump*

It  took me a moment to find my bearings again. When I did, I opened my eyes to see where I was.

I first noticed that I was in a room, but one much bigger and much more different than any I'd ever seen. It easily dwarfed my own house, and I wouldn't have been surprised if even Valhalla itself were smaller than this colossal chamber, but what really made it stand out were the furnishings. Chairs, candles, tables; I could recognize each of them, but they were made in a style I'd never seen before.

Then I noticed that everything seemed...alien. Odd. Unfamiliar. From the taste of the air to the sights and sounds...even my own thoughts didn't quite feel like my own.

Before I could really make sense of anything, I heard a voice.

“Ah, there we are. So as I was saying, it's entirely possible to summon something from far beyond Gensokyo, you just need to modify the original spell, following Voladarsky's own instructions...”

I saw what appeared to be a young woman, with purple hair and striped, lavender robes. A golden, crescent moon bedecked one side of her cap. Just from her eyes I could tell that she had much of the same knowledge and wisdom as Odin himself.

I said, “Tell me, stranger, of your name and why I am here.”

She blinked, surprised that I'd said something. After a moment, she shrugged and waved her hand. “Pointless. I changed the summoning spell so that you'll only be here for another second. Now, as I was saying...”

Another girl, this one wearing black and white and with straw-colored hair, spoke up. “Oh yeah, about that—when you weren't looking I tweaked the spell's duration. He'll be here for, uh...about a month, I think.”

The silence that followed was most awkward.

The first girl sighed heavily and rested her face in her palm. “...and why did you do something like that?”

The second girl just scratched her head and grinned. “Well, you said it yourself—you can only really understand a spell once you've messed around with it. And the summoning spell looked kinda neat—”

“You weren't supposed to mess with this one!” She waved her hand at me as she said, “What am I supposed to do with this now—”

“Ahem.”

I saw a third girl, also with golden hair, but she wore clothes that were a variety of colors. She sat at a large round table, drinking something from a small cup. She looked at the other two, then at me, and said,

“I think we're being rude to our guest here.”

The purple-haired girl made another exasperated sigh, running a hand down her face and pacing around in thought. After a moment, she stopped and turned to me.

“Fine. I'm Patchouli Knowledge, and you're here because I summoned you  through a customized summoning spell.”

Summoning? What was she talking about? I suppose my confusion was visible, because one of the other girls said, “I don't think he knows what summoning is—from what I remember, Norse magic doesn't have anything like that.”

“Huh? Oh, right. Hrm...” The Patchouli girl took a moment to think, then threw a stream of words that me that made absolutely no sense. I managed to pick out things like “planar boundaries” and “space-time editation”, but what they meant I had no idea.

After some time, the girl in black and white snickered. “You're going right over his head, Patchouli.”

Patchouli grunted in irritation. “Well, how else am I supposed to explain it?” she said, throwing her hands up in defeat.

The other blonde sighed and stood from her chair. “That's enough, miss One-Week, I'll take over.” She walked over to me and politely bowed.

“A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Vafthrudnir. I am Alice Margatroid, the black-white one over there is Marisa Kirisame, and you're here because my purple colleague over there brought you from your world to ours. As for where you are...you are in Gensokyo.”

Gensokyo...the word sounded completely foreign to my ears. I found myself also wondering how I understood their language, and especially how I could talk to them.

Alice continued. “As you might have heard, you weren't supposed to stay here for much longer than a few moments, but, well...” She glared at Marisa, who showed no hint of shame or remorse.

I said, “And once this sorcery's time runs out? What then?”

Marisa replied, “You're automatically sent back home, right where and when you left it. Handy, huh?”

I thought for a moment, and images of a worn, weathered hand, its owner eager for his prize, appeared in my mind. I said, “Could you not summon me once more, when my time here is run out? I do not wish to leave.”

Patchouli shook her head. “Not possible. It took me six months of reagent gathering and preparation for this.” She sat down at a table and began reading a sheet of parchment, while she motioned for a winged servant to begin cleaning the floor. “It'd take at the very least another five months after you go back home to bring you here again.”

Marisa spoke up. “But why don't you wanna leave? Don't ya miss home?”

Alice shook her head. “Marisa...haven't you ever read The Sayings of Vafthrudnir?

“I think so, yeah. Kourin read it to me one time when I was a kid. About how Vafthrudnir and Odin—oh. Oh. Huh. Geez, that really sucks, man.”

As they talked about what to do with me, I looked at the three of them, then at the chamber I was in.

There I was, in a land I didn' know, brought at the whims of some girl, with just one moon's turnings to shelter me from death. I knew nothing of this place, or of what I could do to escape my predicament. 

Did Odin carry this burden too? The knowledge that no amount of strength or wisdom can withstand death once it's foretold? Odin traveled far, sacrificed much, for just one more rune, a scrap of advice, to avoid the jaws of Fenris, the Mad Wolf of the Fens, and save his kinfolk...but the wisest knew that this was pointless, and Odin was the wisest of all. Odin, son of Borr, is to die at Ragnarok. His family are to die with him.

Would I die as well? Was my own Ragnarok destined to strike in one month's time?

I've traveled to many places, walked leagues and leagues in my lifetime. By now I must have traveled the length of Jormungand several times.

But I've never before felt so tired.

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 :wikipedia: Author's notes:  :wikipedia:

I tried a little experiment at the beginning of the chapter, where I switch from an old-school style prose to a more modern one. This was designed to both reference the age of Vafthrudnismal and create a noticeable distinction between Vafthrudnir's world and Gensokyo. He's in an unfamiliar place, and to highlight this I tried to see if suddenly switching prose styles would create this sense of unfamiliarity.

Jotunheim, Midgard, Alfheim: These are, of course, three of the nine worlds that make up Norse cosmology. It was believed that the roots of the World Tree, Yggdrasil, connected all of them. Midgard, Asgard, and maybe Nifelheim are sufficiently important in Norse Mythology that they often appear in modern popular works that feature or reference Norse Mythology.

Voladarsky: is an entirely fictional fellow. Don't worry about it.

The Sayings of Vafthrudnir: This is the translated version of the title Vafthrudnismal.

Fenris, Jormungand: Two of Loki's most terrible children. Fenris is quite famous; pick any named notable wolf in modern fantasy and there's a good chance that he's named Fenris, or something like it. During Ragnarok, the Norse end-times, Fenris was destined to make the first kill in the epic battle between the gods and their enemies. That first kill was Odin. As for Jormungand, he was the giant serpent who was so long that he could encircle all of Midgard (aka Earth) at its widest and still be able to bite his own tail. He was destined to kill Thor. The point about Jormungand, of course, was to highlight how far Vafthrudnir has traveled. Speaking of which...

As far as I know, there's no reference in Vafthrudnismal to Vafthrudnir ever wandering around. But, to better draw the analogy between him and Odin, I retooled his backstory a bit so that, like Odin, Vafthrudnir had to travel far and wide to gain the knowledge he has by the time he dies. To my credit, in most of the Norse myths I know of, the protagonist must often travel far or even go on a quest if he wants to gain knowledge.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 04:10:12 pm by JoveusMolai »

Joveus Molai

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  • *
  • LOOK AT ME
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Re: All Wise [Touhou fanfic] [thread is under construction]
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 06:52:22 am »
| Verse 2: The Sayings of Witches |

Since I didn't really have anywhere else to go, I stayed at what I quickly learned was the “library” of Patchouli Knowledge.

It was something I'd never seen before. They had these sheaves and sheaves of parchment bound in leather, which they called “books”, placed on wooden furnishings almost as tall as the room itself, stretching out into a vast sea of knowledge. I had heard of things like this in distant lands, but I'd thought they were just stories. But, as much as I would have liked to peruse some of these books, I found that I couldn't read them. Patchouli told me that, since these were special runes that were encoded to contain information on magic, they'd take months or even years of dedicated study for someone like me to read them.

So in those first three days since my summoning, I had little to do; I explored the mansion that the library was in, but I didn't find much of interest there, just a child who fancied herself a noble, a servant who was always busy, and a gate guard who knew about fighting and not much else. In my own halls I often played games of wit against those who sought my wisdom, who were many, but not surprisingly I no longer had much of an appetite for such things. Patchouli herself made for poor company, as she always seemed annoyed whenever I distracted her from her reading.

Luckily, on the fourth day the two other women, Alice and Marisa, visited the library.

“Still around, Vafthrudnir? Didn't think ya'd stay cooped up with Patchouli here. How are ya?”

Marisa and Alice were there at the door, Marisa with a cheerful hello and Alice with a polite bow. They didn't waste any time unpacking their things at Patchouli's table; books, parchment scribbled with runes, and in the case of Alice, dolls. I remembered Patchouli mentioning this the day before; every few days or so, she, Marisa, and Alice would meet here at the library to talk about magic.

Marisa fished a jar out of her skirt pocket and shook it. It was filled with a thick, dark brown  liquid, though I could swear that it changed color from time to time. “Check it out! Found another mushroom the other day around Youkai Mountain, so I made it into a reagent.”

“It's always mushrooms with you,” said Patchouli as she waved to a servant for tea and snacks. “You're never going to try anything less bizarre, are you?” Marisa just made a big smile.

“Nope!”

Behind her, Alice just chuckled and shook her head.

-----

Patchouli soon started the discussion for the day: something called astrology.

“Now, we've discussed this once in the past, but I still think that Western astrology is the most accurate form of divination due to its consideration of the sun and lunar nodes in its horoscopic calculations—”

Alice cut in, “—While I said that the Babylonian style was better because, according to Rammanu-sumausar's theory that—”   

“—What, good ol' Chinese stuff not good enough for you guys? Didn't think the One-Week Mage woulda gone with Western horoscopic theory over the Wu Xing—”

I was surprised how little time it took their conversation to go from comprehensible to complete gibberish.

So I sat there, listening to them talk, and since I didn't have much else to do I figured that I'd study the girls a bit. It was something I used to do often, back in Jotunheim: observing people, seeing what they were like, why they did the things they did. There wasn't a single person, god, man, dwarf, or giant, whom I couldn't read like a well-carved rune-stone.

Except...

“Hail, friend! From afar I have come to visit you, Vafţrúđnir...”

...except for him.

For a moment, an image of a weathered, one-eyed man in traveling clothes flashed before me. I shuddered, and to keep my mind off of things I started observing the three witches before me.

There was Patchouli, animatedly discussing the finer points of a book called Tetrabiblos. I could see a fire in her eyes that wasn't there those other times when she was talking to person. She quoted extensively and eloquently from a variety of different texts.

There was Alice, who stumbled over her words often and constantly looked either confused about what Patchouli was saying or uncertain over her own words. I didn't know much about this astrology, but from what I could tell Patchouli was talking circles around her. I glanced at some of the papers she brought, and saw that most of them were diagrams of what looked like dolls.

And there was Marisa, who gazed empty-eyed into space, or flipped through a book she'd brought, or  doodle mushrooms on some parchment while the others talked. Several times Alice or Patchouli had to shout her name or throw something at her to get her attention, and even then Marisa would only give a half-hearted reply.

After some time (around when Marisa fell asleep and landed face-first into that reagent jar), the girls adjourned and went off to do their own things. Patchouli remained at the table.

-------

The library had fallen quiet again. Alice and Marisa were perusing the library's contents for their own reasons, while Patchouli remained at her table, reading a great tome. Yet, somehow Patchouli seemed less into her book than usual. I asked her what was wrong.

She sighed, setting aside her book and rubbing the bridge of her nose. “I honestly don't know why we have these meetings. Most of the time I feel like I'm the only one who ever bothers to do the research for our discussions.”  She sipped some tea, and grimaced when she found that it was cold.

Sakuya, more tea please. Alice is out of her league. She's too focused on those dolls of hers. It's a shame, since she's good at what she does, but she doesn't have the right mindset to be a proper magician. And don't get me started with the black-white over there.” She waved her hand at Marisa, who was furtively looking around near a bookshelf, a large sack in her hand.

“And what,” I asked, “do you have to do to be a 'proper magician'?”

“Study magic, of course.”

I raised an eyebrow, so she continued.

“To be a proper magician, you must study all forms of magic worth studying. I'm best at Chinese Wu Xing elemental magic, but I'm also quite knowledgeable in various styles of summoning, necromancy, alchemy, astrology, geomancy, and many other forms of sorcery.”

The mansion's silver-haired servant arrived with a tray of tea and snacks.

Thank you, Sakuya. As for the other two...as I said, Alice focuses mostly on dolls. Most of her magic is about giving them autonomous movement. In fact, her dream is to make a doll that can move and think all on its own: which, I admit, is pretty interesting, and to her credit she's not bad at things outside her field.” She picked up a pastry and began munching on it thoughtfully. “But recently she's become obsessed with dolls, to the point where she's been ignoring her other talents. It's really too bad, since I think she had potential.”

I glanced over at Alice; sure enough, she was rummaging through a shelf that I was told to contain various texts on the animation of objects.

Patchouli continued. “But where Alice disappoints me, Marisa irks me. Aside from her constantly stealing my books—and I don't care how she spins it, it's stealing—she doesn't treat magic as something to be studied, but a crude hammer to be used to smash things. She works hard, maybe harder than anyone, I'll give her that...but I don't like her attitude towards magic.”

I became curious about what the others thought, so I decided to ask Alice first.

“Patchouli?” said Alice with a pained smile. “She's definitely better at magic than I am. You saw me at the table just before, right? I'm not sure how much you know about astrology, but I'm sure you could tell that I was pretty outmatched. Yet...”

She put back the book she was holding back in its place in the shelf. Her eyes fixed on the worn leather spine of the book, she said, “The way she goes about studying this wondrous phenomenon is just so...restricted. I'll admit, I used to be like her; I used to know a bit of everything about everything, and the making and animation of dolls just happened to be what I liked to use in battle. But now?”

Alice twitched a finger, and the doll that floated silently by her side moved to face me. “This is Hourai, one of my favorite dolls. My mother made her for me when I was little.” Alice's fingers moved once more, flicking and weaving like spider legs, and the Hourai doll began dancing in a clumsy fashion.

“Then I moved here, and I studied magic and got better at it. At the time, doll manufacture and animation was just a hobby I had.” The doll's movements became more clear, more precise, until its movements became so lifelike that Hourai seemed to become a small girl, floating there, dancing in the dim light of the library. “But one day I decided to throw everything aside and pursue my study of dolls, and this is the result. I can even do this:”

There was a sound like the quiet ringing of a bell as Alice began muttering words of power. In a few moments it was over, and I began to wonder what just happened when...

“Hello. My name is Hourai. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

The doll spoke! By the Nine Worlds, that took me by surprise. My face must have shown it, since Alice giggled. “That was a spell I recently finished. It not only allows me to say things through my dolls without using ventriloquism, but it also makes them look even more lifelike.” Indeed, a closer look revealed that the artificial joints and the glassy eyes became like real flesh and blood. If Hourai were the size of a normal human, and I didn't know already that it was a doll, I would easily have mistaken it for being human.

“I don't want to sound like I'm full of myself,” said Alice, “But, for all her skill in magic, even in Wu Xing elementalism, I don't think Patchouli could do something as wonderful as that. Oh, she could blow up this entire mansion with just a wave of her hand, I've no doubt about that.” She took out another book from the shelf and opened it, drinking in every word. “But for all her knowledge and all her skill, I wonder if she's ever studied something to the point where she's completely mastered it, where she's learned everything that could be learned, where she's truly understood it.”

Before I left, I asked her about Marisa.

“Marisa?” She sighed and shook her head. “She mostly—no, only—looks for spells that will make her more powerful. She used to dabble a lot, but nowadays she just looks for specific bits of magic. To her, magic's just a way to make up for the fact that she's not a magician, but only human.”

Alice shrugged her shoulders and glanced over at Patchouli's table, where Marisa was talking to Patchouli about something while wolfing down tea snacks. “She's very good with experimentation and application, though; given how little time she's been studying magic, the rate at which she gets results is amazing.”

And at last...

“I'm a practical girl.” Marisa was poring over a musty, yellowed tome. The diagrams in its pages involved a lot of what looked like stars and light. “Magic's fun and all, but I'm also just a human, ya see? There's a ton to learn and not a lot of time for me to do that. Not to mention, if I did things the way Miss Shut-in and Miss Seven-Colored did, I'd get outclassed in a hurry.”

She sighed and closed the book with a loud thump. “The world's always changing. Folks get stronger, new spells and spellcards pop up like weeds, and who knows what's gonna happen next. I can't sit around and not grab every little thing I can get my hands on. Else I'd lose my spot as the Number Two strongest in Gensokyo, see?” After putting the tome aside, she took a sip of tea while she looked me in the eyes.

“I don't care what the others do. If they wanna study magic like that, then whatever. But I don't have time to study something that I think is pointless. I mean, astrology's fine and all, but knowing what the stars up there are doing doesn't mean squat when I'm facing down a big nasty monster a million times bigger and stronger than me. It's irrelevant. No use for it. That's what useless means, right? No. Use.”

Marisa stood up shuffled over to the shelf, taking the finished book with her. “Learn what you can, use what you learn. And if that's not what a proper magician does, then screw it, I'm not a proper magician. I don't need to be a proper magician.”

-----

Three witches, each studying magic. Three witches, each with their own views on how to best go about it.

Marisa, Alice, and Patchouli were gathered at the table again. They were talking about my situation and how to fix it.

“But if we were to try extending the length of the summoning with—”

“I already know what you're going to say, and it's not going to work. Trust me, there's nothing we can do.”

“How do you know that? You're good at summoning, but how do you know we haven't exhausted every option?”

“Do you have any other ideas?”

“No, I...I don't.”

Alice sighed as she looked at me, sorrow in her eyes. “I'm really sorry, Mr. Vafthrudnir.”

Patchouli sat hunched in her chair, her chin in her hand and her face a mask of concentration. “I...hmm. Come to think of it, there might, just might be a way to fix this, but...no. No. I can't give you any false hope.”

“What is it?” asked Marisa.

“Well,” said Patchouli, “I based the summoning ritual off of Voladarsky's theory...”

“And?”

“...and according to one commentary that I read a long time ago, it's possible that his ideas on planar binding were flawed. Now, the author of this commentary didn't provide any evidence to back his claims up, but now that I think about it, he might have been on to something...”

“So we have a solution?” asked Alice.

Patchouli shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not. I'd have to do a lot of research on Voladarsky's theory, then run a bunch of experiments with it. Plus I'd have to find that commentary again. I can't guarantee that I can even come up with a definite answer, not in less than a month.”

We were all silent for a moment.

“All this knowledge here right at our fingertips,” said Marisa, “and not a single answer around.”

There it was again, that feeling of the cold claws of death grasping at my throat. One month, one month in this alien world, with the shadow of Hel at my heels. And there wasn't a single thing I could do about it.

I felt as though I were tied to an immovable stone, while a sword slowly, ever so slowly, came down to cut my head into pieces, all while my eyes could see the glint of light off the steel blade, the razor edge that hungered for my flesh and blood.

There was a loud crack. Everyone, including me, jumped in their chair. I looked down, and saw that I'd crushed a part of the table with my right hand. My apology shook Patchouli out of shock.

“Huh? Oh, yes, the table. Erm, don't worry about it, I'll have the gateguard fix it later.”

“Perhaps,” said Alice, “We should start leaving.” The other two nodded in agreement.

As they were packing their things, Marisa perked up as if she'd just remembered something.

“Oh, Vaffy, I just realized. We don't know how to fix yer problem, but...it might be worth a shot to ask around, see what else you can find. The three of us learned a lot from books and stuff, but there's lots of things, even spells, that I got from things outside of grimoires.” She shrugged and continued. “So, yeah. Try asking around outside. There's lots of smart folks around in Gensokyo: maybe they'll know something we don't.”

“She's got a point,” said Patchouli. “In fact, you might want to ask someone named Yukari Yakumo. Her...powers might just be the thing you need. Now, the problem is finding her...”

-----

The next day, I left the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and the Library of Voile that lay within it. I had on a worn traveling cloak, a wide-brimmed hat, a walking staff, and a map of Gensokyo. This wasn't the first time I'd gone journeying, and so waves of nostalgia struck me as I felt the soft earth beneath my feet.

It was time to set off on what may very well be my last journey, to find this strange woman who can only be found when you least wish for her.

Long will I fare and much will I find.


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Next Verse: The Sayings of Crows

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:wikipedia: Author's Notes: :wikipedia:

Solar/Lunar nodes, Rammanu-sumausar, Wu Xing, Tetrabiblos: These are references to western horoscopic astrology, Babylonian astrology,  Chinese astrology, and western astrology again, respectively. A few minutes on Wikipedia Intense research and study into ancient astrological techniques were required to bring you these pointless references.

“Hail, friend! From afar I have come to visit you, Vafţrúđnir...”: This is the first thing Odin says to Vaftrudnir in Vafthrudnismal, in the guise of Gagnrath.

« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 04:10:00 pm by JoveusMolai »

Iced Fairy

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Re: All Wise [Touhou fanfic] [Last update: 3/4/2012]
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2012, 01:44:52 am »
Hm...  This here is interesting.  I like the concept, and the characters so far have been well thought out.  I hope you continue it.

My main critique would be we don't hear the viewpoint characters thoughts enough.  Your comparisons of the three magicians was interesting, but I felt Vafthrudnir should have added his own thoughts.

Joveus Molai

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Re: All Wise [Touhou fanfic] [Last update: 3/4/2012]
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2012, 03:01:13 am »
Hm...  This here is interesting.  I like the concept, and the characters so far have been well thought out.  I hope you continue it.

My main critique would be we don't hear the viewpoint characters thoughts enough.  Your comparisons of the three magicians was interesting, but I felt Vafthrudnir should have added his own thoughts.

Interesting...I'll fix it later once the story's finished, so that others can see All Wise as it is right now in case they think differently.

Meanwhile, while writing up Verse 3 I realized that I needed to change how long Vafthrudnir had in Gensokyo. Vafthrudnir now has 1 month before the summoning spell ends and he's sent back, not 3 months as it was in the original. Verses1 and 2 have been changed accordingly. I need to think these sort of things through better, it seems. :fail:
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 03:05:07 am by JoveusMolai »

Joveus Molai

  • Bear the Word, and the Word will bear you.
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  • Nickname: Blood Spider
Re: All Wise [Touhou fanfic] [Last update: 3/4/2012]
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2012, 04:07:28 pm »
| Verse 3: The Sayings of Crows |


According to Patchouli's instructions, I was to travel to a place called the “Hakurei Shrine”—I was told the priestess there was my best hope for finding this Yukari Yakumo. If the map I was given was correct, then it was to be a four day's journey, passing through the Human Village.

Normally when I travel, I tend to contemplate on whatever is on my mind at the time—the mind makes for fantastic company when there is none otherwise available. The thing on today's mental menu, however, was something that surprised yet pleased me:

Gensokyo has very good weather.

It seems silly to be occupied by such a mundane notion, yet every time I felt the warm touch of the spring wind on my face I couldn't help but compare the weather here to my own home in Jotunheim. We frost giants like to boast how our land's biting cold builds character, toughens the body and the mind, but I suspect that that was just my people being bitter at having been allotted some of the worst territory among the Nine Worlds. Though, come to think of it, even most places in Midgard weren't this nice.

And so my thoughts were on the weather when a voice interrupted me.

“Ooh! So the rumors were true! A real giant at the Scarlet Devil's Mansion...”

I looked up, and I saw a girl flying in the sky. She wore a white shirt and black skirt, with a small red hat adorning her head and a leaf-shaped fan in her hand. Her other hand held to her eye a small black box that was aimed at me as she flitted about. The box made incessant clicking noises and bright flashes of light.

If I seemed bewildered or perturbed, she must not have noticed, since she continued to do this for some time, muttering questions about my appearance and origins under her breath. I started to wonder if she thought I was just something interesting to study.

Eventually, I decided to put an end to this and asked her for her name. She started, as if she only just realized that I was actually there. 

“Ayayaya...sorry about that, I get a little distracted whenever I see something new and interesting,” she said as she rubbed the back of her head in embarrassment.

“I'm Aya Shameimaru,” she said, as she threw up a smart salute and a cheerful smile, “intrepid tengu reporter and editor-in-chief of Gensokyo's most reliable and fantastic newspaper, Bunbunmaru!”  She dramatically pointed a finger at me. “And you are Gensokyo's hottest rumor!”

Bunbunmaru? I remembered the mistress of the mansion mentioning that name, something about hunting down that “damn crow” and permanently shutting her up. I was also curious about my apparent fame.

She nodded. “Yep! News travels fast in Gensokyo. Especially when it's crow tengu like me bearing it.”

A tengu?

“That's right,” said Aya. “I'm a tengu, and my people divide our society based on what subspecies we are. Crow tengu like me specialize in collecting info and ferrying news to the rest of our society. I also happen to run a newspaper.”

I had to keep myself from laughing. So even here, in this strange new world, the blackbirds were still the messengers.

-----

“...and you were brought here because of Ms. Knowledge's spell, but you're staying longer than expected because of Kirisame's sabotage...mhmm, mhmm—”

Clunk

“Ow! *ahem* anyways; now you're heading to the Hakurei Shrine to see if you can find Yukari Yakumo?”

“That is correct.”

After our introduction, Aya decided to travel with me, to “interview” me, as she put it. She constantly wore a frown of concentration as she asked her questions, flying backwards while remaining ahead of me so that we were face to face as we traveled forward.

Regrettably, this meant that she kept flying into things on the road.

“So how long has it been since you—”

Whunk

“Oof!”

“Woah, woah! Watch it lady, these things are fragile!”

The human carrying what looked like ceramic plates cursed as he almost dropped his brittle load, but Aya paid him no mind, not even bothering to apologize.

“Perhaps you should just walk beside me?” I said. “That was the fourth time today.”

Aya shook her head. “A proper interview has to be done face-to-face. The subject's facial expressions and body language contain valuable information, and I didn't get to being Gensokyo's top reporter by being sloppy.”

She didn't seem to mind that the road sign we just passed nearly brained her, so I kept quiet.

Once I told her all about my coming here and what I was planning on doing, she moved on to ask me about myself and the world I came from.

Nine worlds? And they're all different from one another? Amazing! And the sun and moon are actually carts pulled by horses instead of just being gods? Keep going, keep going!” The air was filled with sounds of a pen furiously scribbling on parchment.

So I continued. I regaled her with what I saw in old journeys, the things I'd seen traveling from the lowest roots of Yggdrasil to its topmost branches...

The river Ifing, broad and deep, untouched by winter's breath; there at its waters gods and giants stood apart

The Well of Mimir, the clear spring bubbling with wisdom and knowledge; there at its banks the All-Father traded his eye for the world's secrets

The depths of Niflheim, the land of the dishonored; there in its mists the dead wept even as the serpent Nidhogg gnawed their flesh

The Norns, who sat at the Well of Fates; there among them lay the doom of all, both quick and dead


And all the other wonders I'd beheld, under the boughs of the World-Tree.

When I finished, Aya was still writing on her piece of parchment, muttering things under her breath again. I caught her saying, “This is just amazing, nothing like it at all around here...”

I said, “But aren't there wonders here, in Gensokyo? The very weather is under the power of small fairy-creatures, and all manners of monsters and Men dwell here in this land of plenty.”

Aya shrugged, though her pen never left the parchment. “Eh, I've already seen pretty much everything Gensokyo has to offer. I might not look it, but I'm actually more than a thousand years old.”

She started nibbling on her pen. Her eyes were running down the parchment as she talked, perhaps checking to see if what she had gotten everything she needed down.

“Gensokyo's such a small place—as the fastest in Gensokyo, I could fly the whole length of it starting in the morning and still be home in time for lunch. And that's on a slow day. By the time I was here for just a few decades, I'd seen everything there was to see in the land itself: every mountain, every valley, ever river and lake and waterfall, the works.”

“You've tired of this land, then?” I said.

She stopped reading her parchment and set it aside, her hand on her chin, her eyes deep in thought. It was subtle, but I could see her expression shifting as she debated on her answer. At last, she shook her head.

“...no. Not...entirely. The land itself? Yeah, it got boring a few centuries back, that's true. But there's one thing that will always keep me at least a little interested in Gensokyo.”

“And what would that be?”

She turned to me and winked.

“The people, of course!”

Before I could ask further, though, Aya pointed out that it was getting dark; indeed, the sky had already become a deep orange. A good traveling companion has a way of making time fly.

I made camp just off the road—for me, soft grass and my traveling cloak was a good a shelter as any. Aya, meanwhile, flew back home, swift as a thrown spear yet yawning all the while, and I believed her when she said that she was the fastest in Gensokyo. As she sped off into the setting sun, she promised that she would return tomorrow.

-----

I awoke the next morning with that familiar bodily chill one gets, when one sleeps outside with the only the sky as a roof. What Patchouli had told me before about Gensokyo being a somewhat safe place for travelers despite its seemingly dangerous denizens seemed to hold true—I'm a light sleeper when I travel, and I didn't wake even once in the night.

It wasn't long after I awoke when I spotted Aya flying in like a thunderbolt. I could have sworn that the very air shrieked when she came to a halt.

“Morning!” she said. On her face was a grin as bright as the morning sun. “Sleep well? I spent all last night thinking up more questions, and...”

We ate breakfast as we continued. It was much the same as yesterday, though today Aya was more curious about the many people I had met in my lifetime, gods and Men and giants all. I have to admit that I had more trouble answering today's questions; as a wanderer my eyes were ever drawn to locations and objects of wonder, and I cared little for people—even the Norns I sought for what they knew, not their company.

I started to realize that I'd rarely, if ever, talked to someone for the sake of conversation, or to get to know them. Idle talk was never really my thing, it was always for what information I could extract from them. Riddle games or contests of wit, but never anything about themselves. It never occurred to me to even bother; what was so interesting about people that I should waste time learning about them? There were too many interesting things in the worlds to waste time with the petty lives of those who lived in them. And besides, all of those I ever came across in my journeys who weren't all-wise were bloodthirsty brutes, short-sighted egomaniacs, or mind-numbingly mundane and dull.

No, it wasn't so much that I was afraid of speaking to people...I just wasn't one to make small talk, or seek out conversation when I didn't think it necessary.

Regardless, Aya continued to ask her questions throughout the morning. Her questions raised my own curiosity, so after a while I decided to ask her about the “one thing” that kept her interested in Gensokyo despite being bored of the land itself.

“Because for one thing, people change,” said Aya. “Youkai, humans, they're not like mountains and lakes and rivers...or at least, not like mountains and lakes and rivers in the short run. Give them a few years and it's like they're a whole new person. It's tough to predict how they'll turn out, too, or what they'll do.”

I wasn't quite convinced by her answer, but before I could ask any further Aya spotted the crude wooden gates that marked the entrance to the Human Village.

-----

The village itself was the same as any other one I'd seen before. The architecture was somewhat different, as expected, but in the end it was another clump of thatched roofs teeming with peasants going on about their daily lives. I tended to avoid these kinds of places, unless the weather was so terrible that I needed a place to stay, or I was lost and needed directs; even then, I never paid any mind to village dwellers. Aya seemed eager to enter, though, and I wondered what marvels these simple people held for her.

Near the gates I saw a young woman in a blue dress, her white hair tinged with sky-blue tones. Two men were listening to her as she spoke, their eyes fixed to the piece of parchment in her hands.

“...and as for you, Mr. Hayabashi, I'd like for you and your sons to start working on the northern fences. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me.” The men nodded and strode off, presumably to begin their work.

Aya called out to the woman. “Ah, Keine! Hello!”

The woman turned towards Aya, sighing when she recognized who it was. “Ms. Shameimaru,” she said, “I do not believe ourselves so familiar that we are on a first-name basis.”

Aya gave her a disarming laugh. “Oh, don't be so cold! I think we really got to know each other that one time last winter—”

“You ambushed me in my own bathroom!”

“Well, it's just that you're so busy all the time—”

“With a camera!”

“Look, I pressed the button before I realized you were coming in to take a bath, and I have to say, you have a lovely singing voice—”

“—You weren't supposed to hear that! Mokou wouldn't stop teasing me for weeks after you published that in your stupid—ugh!” She stopped herself from going too far, and instead rubbed her forehead and closed her eyes. “Happy thoughts, Keine, happy thoughts. If you can deal with schoolchildren, you can deal with this. *Sigh* Nevermind. Just...just don't bother the villagers this time, okay?”

Aya saluted smartly and gave her a broad grin, though it faltered at the sight of Keine's withering glare.

“And who might you be, sir?” said Keine as she turned to me. Her dark brown eyes, bearing just the slightest hint of caution, seemed to scour me for every scrap of information my appearance could tell her. I introduced myself, and told her why I was here and what I was looking for.   

“I see...wait, Vafthrudnir...Vafth—oh! From the Sayings of Vafthrudnir! I read the Codex Regius once, and I...but if you're here, then...” She shot Aya a look. “Was it that gap-demon again?”

“No, it was the witches this time.”

“Uh huh.” She shrugged and looked back to me.

“In any case, sir, I welcome you to Gensokyo and our humble village. I am Keine Kamishirasawa; teacher, historian, guardian.” She said this with a bow and smile, but then her eyes became hard. “And as this village's guardian, I must warn you to not cause any trouble while you are within its walls. If you do, then you will have to deal with me.”

I assured her of my good intentions. She stared at me for a moment, her gaze searching me again. But soon enough, she gave me a warm smile of welcome.

“I assumed as much. Please don't take any offense to my warning, sir, it's just something I say to every new face around here. If you'll excuse me, I'm afraid that I have business to attend to.” She parted from me with a wave, and from Aya with another glare.

“Well,” said Aya once Keine disappeared into a crowd. “Now that we're here, wanna look around?”

-----

And so we wandered through the village. I tried to keep an open mind about things, but I simply failed to find anything interesting about it all. Aside from the occasional trinket or novelty, there was nothing fascinating about the myriad shops, their customers, and their owners. Two people haggling over the price of fish here, another two arguing over land distribution there. Truly stimulating stuff.

It wasn't long until Aya took notice of my boredom. “Not having fun, huh? Well, I have an idea.” She suddenly went down a new path, beckoning me to hurry up and follow her. A series of turns and a few double-backs later, Aya came to a halt.

“We're here!”

Before us was a large wooden house. Its architecture was starkly different from that of the Scarlet Devil Mansion; it was low, with only one floor, and spacious and sprawling rather than tall and towering. Unlike Remilia's abode, it didn't try to project power and might, but instead seemed to earnestly do its best to serve as a home.

At the porch sat a young girl, with short purple hair and wearing robes of yellow and green. She was writing on a piece of parchment with a brush, but the way she wrote was profoundly different from the frantic scribblings of Aya; each movement seemed practiced, precise, yet flowing, like a sword in the hands of a master.

As we came closer, she looked up at us, and I noticed that her eyes were a deep purple, and somehow filled with wisdom I'd have expected from someone five times her age. Yet she herself couldn't have been more than seventeen winters old.

“Ah, Ms. Shameimaru,” said the girl as she set aside her writing tools. From her kneeling position she gave us a polite bow  and a smile. “Good to see you again. I see you have a guest with you this time. Please, sit down and have some tea.”

How odd—despite what I saw in her eyes, and the deftness of her brushwork, her voice and posture seemed unremarkable for a girl her apparent age. She spoke very formally, but I assumed that that was what all noble-born children did. From what I could gather, she wasn't an old crone in the guise of a young girl. 

Regardless of my musings, we exchanged greetings, and I discovered that the girl was named Hieda no Akyuu. We entered her home (which I had a little difficulty doing), into a large room for entertaining guests. A servant set three cups filled with steaming drink—tea, from the looks of it.

“So, Ms. Shameimaru,” said Akyuu, “What brings you and Mr. Vafthrudnir here?”

“Well, I was traveling with Vafthrudnir here—you've read about him, right? Vafthrudnismal and all that. We were heading towards the Hakurei shrine for some business, but he has a little time to kill so I figured I'd show him around town a little bit. He's a brainy guy so I thought you might like to meet him.”

“I see.” Akyuu turned to me. “Very well, Mr. Vafthrudnir. Again, I am Hieda no Akyuu, the Ninth Child of Miare. It is my duty to record Gensokyo's history, and...”

Ninth child? I paid only half attention to the rest of what Akyuu was saying as I considered this. So Akyuu had eight other siblings? The mansion seemed too quiet to house nine nobles and all their servants. Or was I missing something?

Akyuu noticed my confusion. “Ah, I must apologize,” she said with a polite smile. “My epithet 'Ninth Child' can be misleading; I am not the youngest of nine children, but the ninth reincarnation of the historian Hieda no Are. I also possess the memories of my predecessors that are relevant to my work.”

It took my host and Aya a little time to explain to me what reincarnation was, but the implications hit me immediately. How wondrous, I thought, that the spirits of the dead return to the world of the living! All the more so for Akyuu, since she remembered so much from past lives. It seemed like immortality to me, dying and being reborn again with one's knowledge and wisdom kept, an eternity's time to uncover the world's secrets.

“Reincarnation and memory retention are certainly very useful in this line of work,” said Akyuu, with a small smile. “I can better compare the Gensokyo of the present with the Gensokyo of the past, since in a way I was there for some of it. I also keep my brush skills, to a degree.”

Then a question appeared in my head, out of the blue. 

“How did I come to be Gensokyo's memory, you ask?” Across the table from her, Aya fidgeted, frowning, but I paid her no mind. “It's the duty of my house. As soon as a Child of Miare is born, she must prepare herself for a scribe's life. As soon as her work is done, she dies.”

The last bit startled me. I wondered how long it took to finish this work of hers.

“I believe I will be finished in about three year's time,” said Akyuu. She saw my expression and gave me a warm, disarming laugh. “Oh, no need to mourn for me sir, I enjoy what I do and I've made some very good friends in this life. I was born into this fate, and I've long since accepted it.”

I studied her, her expression, her posture, the subtlest narrowing of the eyes, the slightest clenching of her hand around her cup. Odin might have fooled me, but not this girl. She didn't completely accept her lot in life, that I was certain. But on the other hand, she never fought her fate, how futile it might have been.

I wasn't sure what to make of this. Should I have been angry, that she gave up so easily? That she resigned herself to her destiny, despite the echo of bitterness inside her that wanted to rail against it? Or was this well-mannered, purple-haired scribe in front of me an exemplar of one burdened with fate? Again, I was reminded of Odin, as I seemed to often do since I came here. His struggles seemed so pointless; so much sacrifice, so much effort, yet the Norns' decree remained the same—death.

To struggle against insurmountable fate, or to bear its burden quietly? To be a fool, or a coward? 

I had only questions, no answers. But seeing and talking to Akyuu here, who found comfort and happiness in resignation...

The journey to Hakurei Shrine suddenly seemed much longer.

-----


I had seen this before, not so long ago, when he was at my door, to take from me what I knew

Odin spake, “What shall bring the doom of death to Odin, when the gods to destruction go?”

Voice faltering, as though it had stumbled on a pebble, but only for a moment, a fleeting, fleeting moment, so small I did not notice

I spake, “The wolf shall fell the father of men, and this shall Vithar avenge; the terrible jaws shall he tear apart, and so the wolf he shall slay.”

I should have noticed it then; the subtlest narrowing of his one eye, the slightest clenching of his hand on his weathered old staff, telltale signs of anger and despair, but I wanted to show this pathetic manfool the  might of Vafthrudnir, Wisest of Ymir's Sons—


“What'd you think? Pretty interesting girl, huh?”

Aya's words broke me out of my reverie. Surprised, I blurted out my agreement; only then did I notice the meal before me, glistening in the candlelight.

Memory rushed back into me again: Akyuu had left to go visit a friend in the village, so it was only me and Aya at a modest dining table.

“Oh yeah, there was something I meant to tell you,” she said, as she fed herself with her twin eating sticks. “Every incarnation of hers has a different personality.” She glanced at my surprised reaction and continued.

“Yeah, reincarnation isn't quite that clean and easy. Everyone comes back different, especially the humans, even ones like her. Anyway, the Akyuu you saw today is pretty different from the one I saw about a hundred-and-twenty years ago, and that one was different from the one I saw two-hundred and eighty years ago. And so on.”

It what way, I wondered.

“Heh, I still remember the first time I ran into Hieda no Amu, the Sixth Child.” She rubbed nose absentmindedly, as though she were recalling an old wound she received there. “I'm the fastest in all of Gensokyo, but I'll be damned if Amu wasn't the fastest with a brush. Ink up the nose really stings, did you know? Anyway...”

She took a sip of drink, and made a delighted smile, muttering something about the quality of the tea.

“That one, Hieda no Amu, wasn't...so comfortable with what she was: Gensokyo's chronicler, doomed to write a book from the day she could hold a brush till the day her short life ended. Hence the ink up my nose when I visited. But the one before her? Hieda no Ago? You couldn't find someone more pumped up to write a boring old history tome anywhere.” She looked down into her cup. I could see the glimmers of nostalgia in her eyes.  “Heh heh...I really miss her sometimes.”

Aya stared into her drink for a while longer, then cleared her throat.

“Ahem. Anyway. The point is, it feels like every time I come back here, both the Hieda mansion and the village, something come up. A new Child of Miare, a new incident, a new event. You can never really see it coming, and it's always something completely different. Great for the papers! Though you'd never have known it if you didn't do a bit of digging.” 

She at last finished her drink, and set aside the cup. Her smile was cheerful, her face seeming to shine despite the dim lamplight of the room.

“Andthat's my proper answer to your question from yesterday, Mr. Vafthrudnir. I'll never get bored of Gensokyo because you give the people around here a few years and they become so different. They're not like rivers or mountains or forests, where you look at them once and they stay the same for hundreds of years, shifting at a snail's pace. They change all the time, human and youkai, and for someone who's lived for a long time like me, that's always welcome. Digging up scoops about people and talking to them about it is like digging up treasure, except the shoveling is fun and what you find always surprises you at least a little.”

I heard the sound of a great bell being struck in the distance. As though that were a cue, Aya yawned and stretched her tired back.

“Whew! I'm sleepy. I don't feel like going all the way back home, so I'll be staying here for the night.”

So soon? It was past dinner time, true, but the night was still young.

“Funny you ask, actually. A doctor in the Bamboo Forest told me about that. Apparently, we crow tengu have fast, uh, what'd she call it, mebatosilm? Metasobilim? Point is, we eat more and burn out faster than most other people.”

I did notice that Aya was very much a big eater. Given the portions we were served, I suspected that the people of Gensokyo didn't indulge in overeating the way people in the Nine Worlds did.

She stood up, yawning once again, wider this time.

“Anyhow, I think I got everything I needed to know from you for my article, so tomorrow I'll be heading back home. I'm always traveling around Gensokyo, though, so I'll probably see you again before the month is up. Good night, Mr. Vafthrudnir!

I waved her goodnight, and I was left alone in the dim candlelight.

-----

I tried to fall asleep. No such luck; the day's events played in my mind, distracting me from the sweet bliss of slumber. So instead of meditating in my bed, I decided to go for a walk, and mull over things outside.

I left the Hieda mansion and stepped out into the village, into the cool night air. There were far fewer people there now, most having left for home after the day's labors, but from the lights and sounds and smells I could tell that some were in the shops, eating and drinking, making merry.

I have to admit that the merrymaking from the taverns were a little infectious. They reminded me of the grand feasting halls of home, those tables laden with food, drink, and rowdy guests. I wasn't much of a party goer, and I was never much of a conversationalist either, but even I could never help but absorb some of the cheer at a good feast.

As a result, I was in a good mood as I passed those taverns, enough so that I decided to put off the more morbid line of thought that involved Akyuu and turned towards what Aya had said to me earlier.

“Digging up scoops about people and talking to them is like digging up treasure, except the shoveling is fun and what you find always surprises you at least a little.”

A part of the old me protested against that philosophy, summoning the usual arguments of 'boring' and 'mundane' and 'pointless', but talking with that young purple-haired scholar today made me doubt myself. Aya had a point; if she hadn't brought me to Akyuu, there's no doubt I would have considered the Hieda house irrelevant and moved on.

Before I could think much further, though, I ran into Keini Kamishirasawa.

“Oh, Mr. Vafthrudnir! Good to see you again.”

Her left arm clutched a stack of parchment, and her right arm held a large sack teeming with foodstuffs. Given what she was carrying and how she kept glancing down the road, I guessed that she was on her way home.

Inspiration struck me. Perhaps I could practice Aya's philosophy here, with Keine?

I hesitated, trying my best to ignore Keine's stare that was slowly turning from polite expectation to confusion and impatience. The voice of scorn told me that she surely had nothing of importance. She knew history, or so she claimed, but who was this woman, that I should waste time speaking to her? My first impression of her wasn't nearly as striking as the one I had with Akyuu, either—it seemed doubtful that Keine had much of interest at all. 

But then a little crow alighted my shoulder: not one of flesh and feathers, but one of recent wisdom and memory. Give it a try, it whispered. You have nothing to lose but just a little time.

I noticed that Keine was starting to strain under her burdens. Sensing an opportunity, I asked her if I could help her carry something back home.

“Oh!” She made a pained smile and began shaking her head. “Erm, thank you, but I couldn't possibly ask you to...”

Suddenly, the bag of food slipped from her grasp and landed with a heavy *thud*. Luckily, the bag was tied up so nothing spilled out, but I winced at the sound of something inside breaking.

Keine looked at the bag, then looked at me, then at the bag again.

“On second thought...”

Eventually, we made our way to her house, where I did my best help her prepare her evening meal.

We talked late into the night.


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Next Verse: The Sayings of Sages

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 :wikipedia: Author's notes:  :wikipedia:

So even here, in this strange new world, the blackbirds were still the messengers. Reference to Huginn and Munnin, aka "Thought" and "Memory": the two ravens of Odin that flew around the world learning its secrets, then flying back home to tell them to Odin.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 04:09:45 pm by JoveusMolai »

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
  • *
  • I will set you on fire k'?
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: All Wise [Touhou fanfic] [Last update: 6/11/2012]
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2012, 04:50:13 pm »
Hm...  Is there a reason Vafthrudnir's speech is never written?  It's very noticeable.

Well anyway, I'm glad to see this updating.  It moves along well. 

Joveus Molai

  • Bear the Word, and the Word will bear you.
  • *
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Blood Spider
Re: All Wise [Touhou fanfic] [Last update: 6/11/2012]
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2012, 02:45:42 am »
Hm...  Is there a reason Vafthrudnir's speech is never written?  It's very noticeable.

I can't give any other explanation than that I was experimenting. My problem is that I don't know what sort of effect a lot of writing techniques will have on readers, so I gave the whole "only very rarely write Vafthrudnir's dialogue" a try largely to see what would happen.

Is it particularly distracting? Does it take away from the work? I can go back and fix it if need be.

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
  • *
  • I will set you on fire k'?
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: All Wise [Touhou fanfic] [Last update: 6/11/2012]
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2012, 03:07:06 am »
Is it particularly distracting? Does it take away from the work? I can go back and fix it if need be.
It does distract me a little.  I keep thinking "why narrate what he said, it's only a single line?"  I'm not sure what others have to say though.  Go beat a few more people for their thoughts before hacking away at your work.
 

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