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Blast from the past

The Demon of Eilieah, acrylic on canvas, 16"x12", Dec 08
(Stop. No fly,) Ua'sha repeated.

Shawmus landed on top of a nearby boulder, his massive wings folding around him.

(No hurt Fiona/Mother,) UaSha sent.

Fiona, sprawled amongst the rocks, tried to scramble to her feet, but her shaking arms slipped from underneath her. The little boy threw himself over her, growling deep in his throat. In another time and place she would have been shocked to hear that noise coming from a four year old child.

(Ua'sha - run - get away!) Fiona sent.

It wasn't a little boy then, but a wolf-cub, his paws braced awkwardly on the rock. A shadow fell over them both as Shawmus opened his beak to seize UaSha by the scruff.

Instead, a panicked streak of fur launched itself at him. His head arching back, Shawmus shrieked into the sky.

- The Water Song

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yonjuunana
Apr. 21st, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
Hahahaha, okay, this recent stuff in dekantown is messing with my head in interesting ways. I am probably too tired to write this super coherently, but I'll try.

I've got the potential for a lot of weird to happen whenever I myself go into imaginary places. It was only recently that I started giving myself more permission to go into the dreaming, instead of trying (not entirely successfully) to just watch stories take place from a distance. Before, with the self-as-alien-robot thing, it wasn't just me wandering around in real life and pretending I was an alien, it was a pretty epic story that had two major jiko in it other than me. I spent a whole lot of time talking with them. And then I left that story very suddenly with a lot of stuff unresolved.

The thing is, one of those jiko continued to pop in every now and then. Maybe once every two years, and with only a few words when he did. Surprised me every time. I couldn't talk back to him, though. The last time he did it was last summer. Jim somehow saw it, and has been asking me "Who's the lizardman?" ever since. :P I always thought he looked more like a dinosaur...

Anyway, after I mentioned the name of the alien planet in dekantown (and that really was the first time I'd mentioned it to anyone), then got asked about the "lizardman", he contacts me again. But this time, he wants to talk. I ended up going out for a walk and spending about two hours having a conversation with him, getting filled in on things I'd missed out on since I'd left that world, discussing some of the recent no-fourth-wall stuff, and it was all very strange and interesting. He ended the conversation with "I was glad when you left but I'm happy that you're back" and said that he'd try leave the communication link open although the signal isn't very good. But... yeah, I can talk to him again, and he's just like he's always been, even though I've barely heard from him in nearly 10 years. Kind of boggled that it can still work, and I have no idea where this will go. Maybe he'll show up in Yumeza sometime, although he's sort of a cryptic and unpredictable guy so I'm not sure. He just told me to send you his regards. "No, wait. A cryptic and unpredictable lizardman sends his regards." Maybe he's just sick of being called a lizardman. "Guilty as charged. Eh. Except not." Hahaha, seriously, one of the first things he said was "So I'm the lizardman, now?".
pyraxis
Apr. 22nd, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)
Wow. That is awesome.

(Fiona: Oh yeah, I never got the chance to thank you for that! Dunno what happened on your world but if's anything like what happened on mine, I can understand not wanting to say the name.)

Back to me. Tell the cryptic and unpredictable lizardman heya ho, from me and all his distant cousins here.

Damn. Now I want to tell you all about Javik, or Ua'vic, or Hsavik, or /=. His name's slightly different in different languages. And I'm also thinking of the way I wouldn't even think of Karn for years at a time, and then there would be some brilliant flash of insight about some event there, and then it would be back to silence. All that's different now, but the portal was closed for a long time.

But yeah. I'm definitely curious about this lizardman, and getting odd echoes of familiarity about him. (Incidentally, and probably totally unrelated, but you never know, I dreamed vividly about you and your dad the past two nights, enough so that I woke up thinking I was in a bed at your place, visiting you guys, and it took a few seconds to realize wtf was going on.) Anyway. Is there something other than lizardman he'd rather I called him? :P
yonjuunana
Apr. 22nd, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)
Let me see, I've got a very quickly-drawn picture of the "lizardman" here: http://yonjuunana.livejournal.com/248114.html. Hahaha, it still feels SO weird for me to be letting this stuff out of my head, after having it be a big part of my life that I never talked about for so long. Anyway, I'll let him talk. He's a bit different from other jiko in that I don't usually talk to him in person. He usually stays on his planet and talks to me through... sort of a radio in my head. :P Although he's got some cameras set up in his room that I can look through, so I can see him. That's how I'm used to dealing with him (And again, I'm happy to have somebody that I can talk to about this stuff without having to worry about sounding completely insane, hahahaha). So he'll have to talk through me unless he decides to try and come visit. I'll just write what he says:

Introducing myself feels as strange to me as it does to Margaret. I am far, far out of familiar territory. I hope you will forgive me if it takes a while to adjust to this way of thinking.

Of course I can't pass up the opportunity for another first contact. Second contact? No, first contact. This is new. Leave it to Margaret to disappear, only to find a whole new domain to explore. I feel like I've been given a second chance. May I manage to stay conscious through this one.

I am mission control. I was mission control. More specifically, my name is Sh-San. And despite what everyone seems to enjoy saying, I am not a lizardman. Or a dinosaur. If anything, I think I'd make a good dragon.

Me: No, you're totally a dinosaur. You can't fly or breathe fire.

Sh-San: Spaceship will be my wings. Fire-breath will be... Eh. A simple, if pointless, engineering challenge.

(Me: Oh man, I hope he's joking...)

Sh-San: And of course I will come visit. Give me a few days to prepare.
pyraxis
Apr. 23rd, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
@Sh-San: Oh, wow. You have to meet Suakh. She is - hm, how to relay. A woman from one of the worlds Margaret has discovered. Who would love to get in touch with you, fire breath or not, simply because you are similar to her own kind. But if you do engineer fire breath, it would be the way to win respect. Fire is a cultural symbol like - hm. Like wings.

You say second contact like this is new. Are you unfamiliar with connecting to alien life forms? Let me tell you, there is brilliance upon brilliance out here, sentients of kinds I never would have dreamed of coming in touch with myself, until they were flesh and blood in front of me.

At any rate, I'm honored to contact you. My name is Pyraxis. I'm a storyteller and artist, and also a kind of interworld diplomat.

I'm curious how this way of thinking is different from your native way. Of course you're forgiven. And I am glad to be a part of this second chance.
yonjuunana
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:41 am (UTC)
Sh-San: I am not sure if you understand... I will not do the fire-breath, then. I am not looking to win respect.

I am the one who is honored to meet you. Interworld diplomat? That's... What you're saying is... I have no words.

It is not that I have no familiarity with contacting alien life. I am unfamiliar and all too familiar. My life's work has centered around contact with Earth. It is the only other sentient life we have found. As I said, I was mission control. The mission failed, and in failing it succeeded, and in succeeding it failed again. I have spent the last ten years sitting on my ass while politicians from our two planets talk. It wasn't supposed to be this way.

And now you are saying you have found other worlds and met others. Actually met others. Not just politics from afar.

Margaret was right to leave. I no longer think there is any hope in our universe of achieving what we wanted to achieve. Not for many, many years. But you two... you have found it.

When I say I am not used to this way of thinking... Here, an example. You say you have met other sentient life. And I marvel that I have been contacted by a race so further advanced than my own, wonder about the scope of the technology you must have... Then I remind myself that things work differently here. On some level, I understand, and I have always understood. But I am used to only dealing with technology. I am far out of my league.

Me: It's weird hearing you talk like this. You were always the one far ahead of me.

Sh-San: You grew up.
pyraxis
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
I did misunderstand. I am sorry. And... thank you. It's not often I'm known for what I do.

Does "come" mean that you are going to make the journey despite the politicians? Do we need to prepare a landing field for you? What conditions do you need in order to be comfortable when you get here?

I have indeed met others. What was it you'd wanted to achieve? A true first contact, face to face?

I think you're right that things work differently there, even though I don't yet understand the scope of your technology. Your spaceships, did they have the range to reach Earth? How far away are you? How did you first come into contact with Margaret?

I'm actually not used to dealing with a race advanced enough to build starships. Most of the ones I've dealt with see no distinction between technology and magic. There's a man on Earth who once said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," and when it comes to dealing with sentients from other worlds, I've found it's so. There are cultures that haven't even figured out how to forge steel, or know that worlds are round, but they are capable of things that are only dreams from Earth. Most of the time I operate without really knowing how the things around me work, and rely on the nuances of others' reactions to them to guide my behavior. So I may also stumble here until I've seen how things are where you come from.
yonjuunana
Apr. 23rd, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
Sh-San: By "come", I mean that I am wanting to learn whatever it is that you do. Screw the politicians. Politics would kill me someday. I won't be telling anyone here. And if I did, it wouldn't matter. I am well aware that my universe is... It's a story written by a child. It has no future. The mission failed. What happens to a story if the heroes fail?

I thought I needed to stay here, but now that I see there is a place for me, I'd like to... jump ship, so to speak. If I am welcome to join all of you wherever you are.

No, Margaret, you shouldn't worry. As I said, I was glad when you left this world, and for many reasons. But you didn't abandon us. You kept trying while I didn't. After things went so badly for you and Jeff, you passed the ball to Tom, but he was too frightened and alone to do anything with it. Then you took a break to explore space for a while, see and learn new things, as you should. And now you're working on the same problem, elsewhere, in many places. That new child took the ball and he is running with it. You never really left.

Pyraxis, what we wanted to achieve... We did manage the first contact, face to face, but it was not what we thought it would be.

Me: I'll explain. The Ra-Has world is basically... they're like a planet full of cheerful mad-scientist types. They're really into building cool stuff and learning as much as they can just for the heck of it. And they like diversity. So when they discovered Earth, everybody was super excited, thinking everybody on Earth would be super excited as well. They weren't thinking about the complexity of dealing with politics between two planets, they weren't expecting anyone on Earth to not be completely comfortable with aliens visiting, they thought it was simply going to be a chance to mess around with cool technology and go get to meet and learn about new people.

Sh-San. Yes. It was supposed to be cool. We do have ships that can reach Earth, but we thought it would be a good idea to gather more information first to see how we should best go about making contact. Learn the language. Learn things from the inside. That's where Margaret came in. *flattens his ears back, wide grimace* I built her.

Me: *grin* He looks kinda scary when he does that, but he's smiling.

Sh-San: But now with this no-fourth wall stuff- and I must get used to thinking this way- she built me. Chicken and egg. Margaret. You know that mystery you were always bugging me to solve? ...I think I just solved it.

Me: HAHAHAHAHAHA! Um, wow. That's really not what I had in mind. (Man, I need to finish typing up the events that happened so I can explain what he's talking about.)

Sh-San: *flattened ears* See? Thinking outside the box is good. We are solving things already.
pyraxis
Apr. 24th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
I am Daria. I am linked to Pyraxis in the same way you are linked to Margaret.

I am from a world other than Earth. I am not genetically human.

I am glad to meet you.

I am well aware that my universe is... It's a story written by a child. It has no future. The mission failed. What happens to a story if the heroes fail?

Our world lived. Despite being written by a child. Shapeshifting is a painful trope. But we have no choice but to layer believability on it. Because our lives and stories are intertwined with the place. And because shapeshifting is a metaphor for DID switching.

Once upon a time nethik were unicorns. Now they are of deer and their horns are warped and brown. Once upon a time rsakk were dragons, and spelled "Rasakk". The child's world has been resurrected and fleshed out by two intelligent adult minds because the essence it contains must not die.

My mission also failed. The result was massacre. Not that the reader sees it. It is only loosely implied. Shapechangers the novel is a tragedy.

I admire you for jumping ship. I also at one point chose to live.
yonjuunana
Apr. 24th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
I had a long conversation with Sh-San the other day and one of the things I was really glad to hear from him, and glad that he pointed out to me... While I did abandon his world, I didn't abandon the essence of the story. It's basically mutated and matured into the world Jim is from. It's always been about trying to get different types of people to get along. I suppose robots make a good metaphor for autism or any kind of growing up similar but different from most people around you.

Later on in the story with Sh-San, things got way less focused on aliens and way more focused on robots. I would up back on Earth with a small group of experimental sentient robots created by humans. And... it turned out to be a situation we couldn't win. We ended up beaten down so badly the aliens had to come rescue us (and that's where the story ended for me). Meanwhile, in "real life", I actually had yet another robot story going on. I had a small group of goofy characters in middle school that I publicly wrote about, and I threw in an android as a way to let some of my other story out of my head, without actually letting it out of my head. But that robot also ended up in a situation he couldn't win, and I abandoned that story in high school because the universe was too nonsensical. Then I took a break to learn more about the "real" world, wrote Space Explorer (purposefully not letting any of the main characters be robots), learned a lot about people and autism and self-advocacy, and now I'm back and trying it again. I started off with Joseph as the main character, he started getting beaten down and I was worried this was going to be another failure, then Jim shows up out of nowhere and all of a sudden things pick up energy and start looking up.

That's sort of what Sh-San was trying to explain in his previous post. But I think he's allergic to talking in a straightforward manner. :P

Sh-San: It is nice to meet you, Daria. And I am glad to hear that your world lived. But I do not want my world to live. If someone handed me a book, the story of how Sh-San and Margaret tried to get two planets to work together, failed because of politics, then Margaret got chased off the planet twice while Sh-San had to sit on his ass and deal with more politicians, I would say "What is this shit?" and throw it in the trash. That is not a story I want to hear. That is not in our spirit.

I want to hear the story of how the robots and humans on Earth start to get along. I know it can be done. I have seen it. I want to watch from the sidelines and cheer and maybe give advice. And I do have a personal investment in this story, beyond just knowing Margaret. I am also a robot.

Me: Where he's from, being a robot is a complete non-issue. If anything, they think it's cool.

Sh-San: But nobody wants to hear the story of how the Ra-Has built robots and thought they were cool, then they all went on together to build more things. Well, nobody on Earth. I very much like hearing that story.
pyraxis
May. 2nd, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
*nod* Heya again, Sh-San. I am back.

You know it can be done? Robots and humans getting along? What have you seen?

Your story of the Ra-Has. What else did they build?
pyraxis
Apr. 23rd, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
@Yonjuunana: Interesting, about talking to jiko in person. Me, it would rock my world if I were to come face to face with any of my jiko, or if some of them came face to face with each other. I know some of them have been in the same places at the same time, but they carefully avoid each other so they don't get sucked into their respective personal vortexes.
yonjuunana
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
Huh, interesting. How does it feel to you when you talk to your jiko, then? Aside from Sh-San, I guess I've got a couple different ways that I interact with them.

In places like Yumeza, it feels to me like I'm actually in the place, and so are they. I could also show up in their world and talk to them there, wander around, but all story events will be... sort of paused, I guess. Because I'm not supposed to be there. So I can't really interact with anything beyond talking to people a bit.

More often, they'll cross the fourth wall in the other direction, come interact with me wherever I am. It's pretty much the same thing in reverse. They can talk to me, but they can't really interact with much else (Hahaha, Jim got pissed off about this the other day. He tried to pick up one of my handknit sweaters in my room to take a look at it, then was very surprised when he couldn't).

When I have less brain free to use for this stuff (Gah, it's really hard to describe how I interact with my jiko without having to pull back and put up the fourth wall a bit. The easiest way to explain it is probably for me to say my brain makes a very good virtual reality engine. I can't explain it in the context of the story because it's impossible there. I'm used to dealing with worlds where there is no magic, so in some ways we all have to be okay with being like "yeah, this is fiction" around here because there's no other way to explain it. With Sh-San it's different because we've got a way to communicate that doesn't break any of the rules of the story), it's more like I just get a combination of meaning and their voice from them.

I've noticed that your jiko don't tend to interact with each other much here. I probably have an easier time with that because when I do get two characters from the same story in the same place here, it's likely to be Jim and Joseph (they're brothers, so they're used to being around each other and just sort of hanging out), or the characters are going to be from different stories and therefore not going to have a lot to interact about beyond talking with each other (Am I understanding the meaning of "respective personal vortexes" right? As in, if they meet they'd... wow, I have no idea how to put this into words right now. Lots of things would happen between them?).

It's trickier when I try to deal with multiple jiko at once myself, when there's no-fourth-wall stuff going on. Like, if I tried to have a conversation with two of them. It's way easier for me to talk to just one of them at a time. If there's more than one and they start talking to each other as well as me, I usually start feeling like my brain is getting overheated or something, or I immediately forget that I exist and fade out to just watch them. Then again, I tend to do the same thing when I'm in groups of real people. :P
pyraxis
Apr. 24th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
A lot of times it starts with emotion. Like I've been pretty mentally blasted for the past few days, with no clear reason, and then tonight I ended up just lying on my couch and couldn't move - except physically I felt perfectly fine. Then it occurred to me to ask out loud, "Dar?" and after the third call, I got this really vivid image of her collapsed at the base of some tree, alone in the middle of virgin forest. And it kind of tore at me because I could feel living warmth from her body, firm/yielding like muscles under skin. I asked her, "Poison?" and the impression that came back was "No, just exhaustion." And that made it dissipate far enough to get up and write this.

Normally I talk to them by writing out conversations on paper, though. Or typing like IM. It's like IRL, I'm much more fluent in text than I am verbally.

And yeah, you're understanding right the bit about personal vortexes. Like take Dar and Fiona, they both have explosive tempers, and if they disagreed it might come to blows or worse, and I wouldn't want to splatter that all over your personal journal. Or Dar and Celesty - they started in the same story but even then they didn't get along, and now their lives have taken such divergent paths they can't even relate. They're both pretty intensely contemptuous of each other. Or Celesty and Fiona - they traveled together for a while in Water Song but disagreed about what to do, and Fiona started yelling, and Celesty just sat there and took it. That infuriated Fiona and she struck Celesty, and Celesty's too numbed out to even try to dodge. One of the other characters had to haul Fiona off by brute force. I don't want to facilitate that kind of abuse.

So yeah, lots of potential for conflict.

Daria and I - that one's harder to talk about, my respect for her. When I was a kid it was pure hero-worship. To come face to face and see her, and her see me, would only make me acutely aware of how much I've failed. I don't know what it would mean to her - oh. She's saying something about leadership and competition. For her it probably relates to this conundrum she's caught in, where she has the power to kill but not to make things better for her people.
yonjuunana
Apr. 24th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
Oh, I should clarify- When I say I talk with them, I'm not actually doing it out loud. It's more like I'm imagining myself talking to them, and I feel like I'm carrying on a normal conversation, but I deal with language differently in my head. Kind of difficult to explain how. It's like sentences are constantly repeating and revising themselves, sometimes it all falls apart into speech-sounds + meaning, sometimes the words come immediately with no changes needed. I'm used to thinking in this way, they all talk to me in this same way (writing helps me pin down language), but subjectively it feels to me like carrying on a normal conversation minus the difficulty of actually doing it out loud and in realtime.

I will be a bit weirded-out by meeting Sh-San face to face whenever he gets here. With the other Jiko it's pretty easy to meet them since they're... With people from the robot story, I've only known them for ~2 years and they're generally the sort of person that is easy to hang out with. I mean, we can sit around and watch movies and make dumb jokes together. Evan and I sort of have an understanding where we hardly ever talk to each other but both enjoy being around another person and not having to talk (btw, he's been watching everything in Yumeza but does not yet feel like interacting). But with Sh-San, I knew him when I was a kid, and it was definitely sort of hero-worship. Although we did interact a lot over the course of the story. Heck, I ended up living with him for several years at one point. But most of the time we were on different planets and just communicating through the technology he'd set up, and it was always very strange to actually encounter him in person. Opening up communication with him again has actually been pretty intense. He was my first jiko. And in a lot of ways it feels like getting back in touch with a family member I haven't seen in ages. It's even more intense to actually be letting any of this out of my head. It was never even supposed to be a story that was shown to anyone. I never tried to draw or write it when I was a kid because that would have been like admitting it was fictional and of course I knew, but I still didn't want to do it. Plus it felt too personal, because hey, it WAS since I was a character in it. Self-insert not so good for writing. Do I get Earth/Dreaming dual citizenship? :P
pyraxis
Apr. 28th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
And I should have said this days ago, but yes - I think you do very well qualify for Earth-Dreaming dual citizenship. :D Glad you jumped the border, rather than finagling the politics to get official proper passports.

I know what you mean about the intensity, and I agree. It's totally awesome and scary to be able to do this openly.

I realized you didn't mean talking out loud. I rarely talk out loud, only in scattered circumstances and only when alone.
yonjuunana
Apr. 24th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha, okay, I finally managed to get a good night's sleep last night and I dreamed I was visiting you and shashigai! All I remember is that I was sitting in the back seat of a large car, you two were in the front seats, he was driving, I couldn't actually see either of you from where I was sitting but I knew it was you. I also knew I was in Florida and we were all driving to wherever you live. It was night out and the sky was clear, and I was just sitting quietly and looking out the window at the stars and at the streetlights going by.
pyraxis
Apr. 25th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
Hahahaha wow, we're really making the rounds. Now we just have to get shashigai dreaming of the two of us, and maybe we'll all manage to get into the same space at the same time.
yonjuunana
Apr. 25th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
Hey, I was wondering if you or Daria or whoever has any tips about fronting. Hearing you guys talk about visiting each other, I was just thinking that... what if you do somehow meet again in the future? I keep picturing you all having fun together, and me stuck invisible and not able to talk to anybody and you don't even know that I'm there. It's freaking me out.

We've been trying to get me to front again but it's not working. It's not fair. That stupid thing with the bus, I wasn't even trying, and now I try and I can't do it.
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