I do not see why we should not rise above our basest nature.
~my reply to Adolf Hitler
Ruby the Otter - http://www.redwallslegacy.com/SMF/index.php?topic=450.msg9173#msg9173
The next six days were a miserable combination of muggy heat and drizzle.
The Gawbtrybe squirrels seemed to prefer staying in the orchard and ranging about the cliffs behind the village. After the villagers had ganged up on a couple lone squirrels the first few days, they rarely ranged directly into the village, except in occasional groups looking to cause mischief. Working the orchard was a mandatory, miserable ordeal, as the villagers were forced to range through the huts the squirrels had either built themselves (those high in the trees) or had built themselves. Harrassment from all sort of spontaneous 'games' could come from above or below at any time.
The villagers still didn't have a firm leader, though it was obvious that the confused meekness over the situation was beginning to fade and a cold hard determination was beginning to take its place. And the rebellious influence of the stranger Frey and Nyim were beginning to spark a greater rebellion and order among the villagers in general.
The game was played several times each day and many more villagers had entered the pit. Most of the original prisoners in the pit had won their way out. Roor had been one of the first selected to bring out, so that his injuries could be seen to. A couple had elected to remain in the pit, organizing and taking care of those below. And there were more every day, because the Gawbtrybe would rarely let them win. Constant rule changes by the savage outsiders came to be expected by the villagers.
But what really changed the game for the Gawtrybe, was when mousemaid Lilliana the healer (unassigned chara) had volunteered to play on the sixth day. The Gabtrybe had been delighted by the obviously meager competition she offered and expected a hilariously bad performance. They had been sorely disappointed by the result. When the rope had been released, she had dropped and quickly, carefully let herself slide into the pit, pulled by the rock. A second villager immediately followed the same way. Both had been wearing packs. That was such a disappointment to the Gawbtrybe, it had ended the games for the day. No fun, no fun at all. The game, it seemed, was beginning to lose its charm.
When the seventh day dawned in the earliest hours of the morning, the light that broke the morning came, not from the sun, but from savage flashes of lightening, tearing through the sky. A cosmic tantrum wild enough to cow even the Gawbtrybe into staying indoors. The only ones out to see the full fury were the three poor villagers unlucky enough to have the drawn that watch for lookout duty, ready to warn the villagers if any Gawbtrybe packs were to come looking for mischief.
The storm raged. The wind whipped at the grass and tore at the trees. Rain slashed with indiscriminate fury. And lightening left momentary, brilliant tears in the sky, again and again.
Peter was unlucky enough to be on watch again. He and the others had managed to find a wall that halfway covered them from the wind, but still allowed a view across the field that separated the village from the crevice and orchard, with a mature stand of forest that ranged closer on one side. It was the trees they were trying to watch, since that is where any trouble would most likely approach from. But, in the intermittent flashes, it was difficult to keep his eyes away from the dark line, barely visible from here, that represented the pit. Peter couldn't help but wonder how the poor souls down there were weathering the storm. There was at least one mole down there now, he knew. So at least they should have managed to arrange some shelter from the storm.
A particularly fierce bolt pierced through the sky close by and Peter saw it land somewhere in the forested area. The next flash of lightening, close behind, illuminated a breathtaking scene. One of the giants of the forest, an enormouse lodgepole pine, was careening downward. Perhaps as tall as 100 feet, the smaller, younger growth on the edge was no match for the weight of the tree. The next flash of lightening showed it down, and at least partway across the pit.
"Come on." Peter screamed to be heard over the wind, and pounded toward the pit. The other two sentries were right behind him.
As they reached the edge of the pit, they could see that the tree was mostly down. It nearly crossed the pit, the tips of the topmost branches just brushing the closest edge. The tree had stood tall and narrow, so narrow that despite it's height, Peter was relieved to see that access to the pit would not be prevented by the sparse growth of the upper tree branched. The top pointed slightly downward toward the inside of the pit, the bottom end held higher by the trees lower unbroken boughs and some of the other smaller trees it had fallen across. As precarious as it looked, at the size the tree was, it was unlikely anyone would be budging it.
A brief thought of trying to rescue the prisoners under the cover of the storm crossed his mind, but Peter dismissed it immediately. They had supplies enough to keep them alright, the village had seen to that already. But anybeast trying to climb out of that treacherous, rainslashed mud-pit was simply going to get itself killed. Thoughts going back to the tree, Peter was still eyeing it when the next flash of lightening came. And within the tangled mess of boughs, was revealed a huge wet, feathery bundle.
Peter grabbed one of the other sentries who was racing around the edge of the pit, assessing the situation. Not sure he could be heard over the storm, he simply pointed. As the next flash of lightening came, Peter saw the other creature's eyes widen in recognition.
Peter thought he knew what was on the other beast's mind: they couldn't leave that poor thing out in this storm. And the squirrels wore bird feathers; if they found that bird still there and alive in the morning, it would be a dead beast.
They raced the short distance back to the village for help. A small crew of the better-built remaining villagers hurried back with a large canvas cloth, bundled the unconscious, bird into it. With the storm, the mud, and the dark, it was impossible to tell what kind of bird it was, except moderately big.
It took nearly half a nerve-wracking hour to drag the canvas tarp back into the village and behind the buildings. Partly out of the wind, they held a hurried conference. Where to put the bird so the Gawbtrybe wouldn't find it?
"The picnic cave." One of the villagers they had woken for help, grunted.
Peter looked at the others, checking for agreement.
The picnic cave was a small cave pocket, backed into the cliffs behind the village. About half a mile from the village, and a quarter mile from the waterfalls, it was a dangerous bet that the Gawbtrybe wouldn't find it. But where else was there for a bird this size? Even if there was a place large enough, they didn't know if they could trust it not to harm the villagers. And generally, the village had found birds to be highly independent. No, not in the village.
"The picnic cave then." Peter agreed. "But we'd better leave someone to keep an eye on him for when he wakes up."
It was nearly another two hours before the storm finished passing. By then, all signs of what had taken place the night before were lost in the muddy wash of the open plain. All that remained as evidence, was the tree. And a muddy, feathery bundle hiding in a cave, sleeping restlessly.
OOC note: The bird belongs to Dusk. No one else may use him.
The Gawbtrybe cheered (and jeered) loudly at the new contestant as two squirrels raced forward and dragged him toward his place at the crevice.
But Wakka wasn't cheering; his brow was wrinkled with concern. "Not likeit." The complaint was shouted loudly enough for most of the Gawbtrybe to hear and those by the crevice, though it may not have been possible for most of the villagers to hear.
The cheering died down immediately among the Gawbtrybe who had heard, and the rest hushed as chattering savage squirrels raced with the news toward their neighbors.
"Itsa game. Why you no like who cares who plays." Complained a particularly petulant squirrel close by.
Wakka's brow was scrunched with thinking. Jethri had been teaching him many things about what these silly other not-Gawbtrybes think. Jethri said it would make him a good leader. Wakka didn't care about being a good leader, he cared about having fun and being in charge. But Jethri had pointed out that they could not have fun if other not-Gawbtrybes came and took the village and orchard away. Gawbtrybe squirrels only recognized ownership in fact; if you were strong enough or clever enough to take it, it was yours. But learning about the rules of these silly other creatures made him realize there may be another easier way to take what they wanted and keep it. That was the biggest reason he came up with this particular game; if they won these things by the not-Gawbtrybe rules, other not-Gawbtrybes couldn't take them away. But they couldn't win it if the silly other creatures who played weren't the villagers.
"The waterfall no is his. We only play the villagers." Wakka announced.
"Who cares is his or not? We play, we win, is OURS." Whined another Gawbtrybe squirrel.
"Is BORING whose is. We play game NOW." Demanded a larger trouble-maker among the group.
Wakka shook his head commandingly. His power was dependent on making fun. But if the Gawbtrybe's started fighting for real, another larger stronger squirrel would end up being in charge and he would go back to being the runt with only two feathers and a wooden sword. "Only the villagers." He demanded loudly. But, needing to up the fun factor to make up for the disappoinment, he added in a quieter, wicked tone to those close by, "But now we lets them pick, and THEN we changes the rules."
Those close enough to hear the announcement, were generally tickled. They raced off giggling the news to other Gawbtrybes, "We changes the rules now. We changes the rules."
Because nothing is more fun than changing the rules in the middle.
The Gawbtrybe squirrels at the edge of the crevice weren't please to release the stranger, but did so. One shoved hard, attempting to push him away hard enough back toward the villagers that Frey would fall over in the mud, but failed.
It was raining the next morning. An unseasonable frigid misting of rain.
The drizzle had started late in the middle of the night. The hastily assigned sentries from the village had had a hard night of it. But the rest of the village had not slept well either. Except for Porin the village drunk (unassigned chara), who managed to sleep anywhere in any weather, so long as he had a little something in his bottle to help him escape the world.
After the unexpected attack in the orchard the afternoon before that had left one of their youngsters missing, the village had been a bevvy of confused activity. A brief attempt at parley had failed. So the village leader posted sentries with whatever threatening farming implements they could find and hastily erected makeshift barriers. Those who were not on sentry duty or in council through out the long night–trying to hash out a plan to rescue Jon and defend the village--had been busy making preparations.
The council argued all through the night. Brigands rarely considered them worth much trouble, so they were entirely unprepared. Should they send to Floret for help? Too far. And the savage squirrels had nearly already taken another villager who had gone out to scout. Ask them what they want and bargain for Jon? That was already tried. Try it again? On and on, it went.
But certainly, the sentries had the worst of it, standing in the cold night rain, waiting for word of what the village would do. And waiting.
It was still a very miserable and confused village next morning when the rainy gloom finally lightened slightly, all the indication there would be that day had arrived. Not even the sun would lighten today.
Clearly, the village needed a leader.
Here a song where the lyrics well describe the personal conflict which Ruby is stuck between. She can't go 'home' without surrendering a large part of herself and her beliefs of right and wrong, but she can't settle down anywhere because the trackers won't leave her alone. Besides, where does someone like her belong anyway?
The lyrics are awesome but the music is also amazing; you should check it out if you get the chance.
I’m not a stranger, no, I am yours
With crippled anger and tears that still drip sore
A fragile frame aged with misery
And when our eyes meet I know you’ll see
I do not wanna be afraid
I do not wanna die inside just to breate in
I’m tired of feeling so numb
Relief exists, I find it when I am cut
I may seem crazy or painfully shy
And these scars wouldn’t be so hidden
If you would just look me in the eye
I feel alone here and cold here
Though I don’t want to die inside just to breate in
I’m tired of feeling so numb
Relief exists, I find it when I am cut
Pain, I am not alone, I am not alone
Not a stranger, no, I am yours
With crippled anger
Tears that still drip sore
But I do not wanna be afraid
I do not wanna die inside just to breathe in
I’m tired of feeling so numb
Relief exists, I found it when I was cut
~From “Cut” by Plumb
I like the comments Namaste made about "winning should be painful" and she only lets her charas win if they really make a huge gut effort. I've admired several of your RP charas, Nam. You seem to be especially good with the bad guys.
If you DO have an exceptional chara, it is true that there are ways of 'neutralizing' some of their Sue-ness. Making them a neutral party to the main plotline that serves no one side is probably the most common tactic I've seen among professional authors (common examples in fiction: oracles, gods, weapons trainers). The charas then DO become more of a resource than the chara, though, so it probably wouldn't work too well with someone you passionately desire to carry with you throughout all parts of the forum.
Giving exceptional weaknesses is also another method often used. Probably why in so many stories you have witches that can't come in contact with water; creatures who can't cross running water, salt, you name it; charas who are clearly crazy and not totally in contact with the real world; immobile geniuses; etc.
One good way to AVOID creating a Mary-Sue in the first place is to not always use the same chara, and practice with disposable charas. It's okay to get attached to a chara, but getting too attached is where the trouble comes in. Spread out the coolness and awesome ideas among several charas. It's more fun for everybody.