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A Little Something

 
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Tigermark
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 6:42 am    Post subject: A Little Something Reply with quote

I enjoyed reading and proofing this one for Aslaug. The isses of faith, friendship, tolerance, and the nature of things are well represented, and the story is really great. Enjoy folks! I know I did!


Tigermark

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AmigaDragon
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*Raises a thumbs-up to the filly* After reading ALN and having that to compare ALS with, I find her portrayal of the Amigos' faith pretty fair (especially for a self-professed non-Christian). Fewer "special effects" described than in ALN, but who really needs to see a green (red, blue, yellow, etc.) energy glow described in a supernatural healing (whether "magic" or devine)? I'm enjoying both stories (except for the wait for more chapters Wink ).
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The Silver Coyote
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to stay somewhat on the periphery of conversations regarding our Filly's work. As a proofreader I usually know what's happening a chapter or two before it appears in the stories on her site, and therefore feel like i should keep a low profile lest i become a "spoiler" accidentally.

Too, I suppose I am, or rather my character is, a part of the crew around which ALS and ALN are written, and as such I guess I don't want to sound like I'm full of myself by commenting too much upon the content of the story. Then again, my character is an extension of me, so perhaps I'm afraid of what I may see of myself in other's opinions and critique.

All this, Amiga, by way of explaining that in spite of my reservations about saying so, I will say that I was deeply moved by our Filly's story as it appears on Tigermark's site. For me it was an awesome, moving piece that left me convicted about some things and with many questions about others. I suppose I'll be annoying the socks off of our Filly's hoves in e-mail with those questions, then, but that's a different thread...

SC

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Tigermark
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are several follow-on stories to this one. Two posted at Silver Coyote's site. (see my links page on my site) and now a new one on my site. Go read "A Little Something: Thouroughly Modern Filly". The link to it is on my main page.

Tigermark(Woo hoo, creativity abounds!)

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Teric
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just had the pleasure of reading A Little Something for the first time.

Hot... dang... goooooooood stuff. Had me sitting here at work, completely unproductive, just staring and the screen and not typing a single line of code. If I get fired, I'll blame the four of you. Wink

What a fascinating treatment on the subject of faith, in the midst of a gripping story. I've always looked down on the crusades and christian fanaticism during the dark ages, but I've never seen it treated like this before, never seen it from the Danes' point of view. I've seen the mock trials, the raging superstition and ridiculous suspicions, forced conversions, burning at the stake, etc. But those have always been in movies or TV shows, certainly blown a bit up from the real thing.

But this... this feels real. Despite the story being told from a furry point of view and involving magic and time travel and generally a bunch of factors that would make it completely unbelievable... it feels real. The doubt and questioning that the three go through as they come to understand and eventually befriend these 'heathens' is very well portrayed.

Yes, these crusaders did indeed call themselves 'Christians', but they stood against nearly everything that Christ taught. And while the Danes did indeed raid and pillage, you portrayed them as simply doing what they know, and still treating their enemy with respect. (Whether that truly was the case, or they truly were barbaric heathen, or somewhere in between, I don't know for sure.) But I do know that they were living beings just like us, with relationships, aspirations, families, children, and deep-rooted beliefs.

I am a Christian myself, though I don't claim to be perfect by any means. I'd like to share two tenets of my beliefs that I feel apply here:

Quote:
I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

Faith was never intended to be given blindly or to simply exist without question. Our faith is meant to be tried, and through that trial it can be strengthened and matured. It felt good to see the three amigos go through this process, each experiencing their own doubts and misgivings, then finally coming to a conclusion that gave them the strength to do what was right.

Quote:
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

It is a privelege to worship Deity according to our own conscience. As such, that privelege should be revered and treasured, and we should always keep present in our minds the suffering of those who do not enjoy that privelege. No man or woman anywhere ever has the right to remove that privelege from anyone. PERIOD.

The forced conversions in the name of Christ were a sick, twisted abomination, a mockery of His gospel, and it churns my stomach to think that such things actually happened in Christian history.

Thank you, guys, for bringing this subject to the surface for me, and opening my eyes just a bit more.

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Aslaug
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My goodness gracious, Teric...that's very high praise indeed.

I wrote A Little Something on my own, before writing my first section for ALN. I did it because I realized that there would be a need for an explanation of who Aslaug was, where she came from and how her beliefs differed from those of the Amigos.

Aslaug's faith...the heathen faith...(and yes, we do call ourselves that, since the word 'Heathen' stems from an old norse word meaning 'the people from the heath')...still exists today. Despite having a small following in Scandinavia, we are still here and we are vocal about it.

Tigermark and to some extent Aramis and Silver Coyote can attest that we've had long, very deep and very serious conversations and debates on issues of faith. We have, -amazingly-, managed to always keep this talks highly respectful of one another's beliefs and no one has ever tried to convert anyone else. I think the closest we came to that was very shortly after I came to know Tigermark, he once told me that he was quite sad that I wasn't Christian and he expressed a hope that I would one day 'see the light' as it were.

I told him, politely but firmly, exactly -why- that would never happen. It has not been an issue since then, and Tigermark and I have shared many profound and deep moments contemplating the differences and similarities of our beliefs since. It has been very enlightening...at least for me and I believe for him as well...and it has been an inroad to a fantastic friendship.

Based on mutual respect and a clear understanding of our differences.

When I wrote ALS, I took several historical issues into consideration. First of all, it is a known fact that Christians were allowed to settle amongst the heathens in Scandinavia, and that they were even allowed to set up churches. Many heathens traded with Christian peoples like the Irish and the North-English kingdoms like Northumbria and Jorvik (present day York, which was founded by the Vikings). They were traders as well as warriors. They were also the best shipbuilders in the world at that time, and they made outstanding use of this technological superiority to turn themselves into a fearsome and highly brutal force on the battlefield. However, they did live in a period of history where violence was, in fact, endemic to Europe.

I did a research paper at university several years ago about the development of the 'Just and Holy War' concept in Christianity. This is otherwise known as the 'Bellum Iustum'-concept, as originally thought out by the most important of the church-fathers, St. Augustine of Hippo (a city in present day Tunesia...not a bloated animal, folks). This concept eventually led to the first crusade in 1096, and I remember that one of the conclusions I came to, along with my group, was that Pope Urban II made possibly the single most brilliant move in the import-export business in history. He exported violence to the middle east and in return imported vast amounts of wealth and valuables (hmm...this sounds oddly familiar...).

This was done because by the end of the 11th century, Europe was literally on the verge of collapse. Not from external pressure but from internal fighting. Every man with a sword could carve himself a kingdom from whatever lands he felt he could attack, and any baron with a horse and a few armed serfs could make himself the terror of nations. It was a horrible time to live in. Violence was not only a part of life. It was the normal cause of death for most people. What makes the vikings stand out in all of this mess is that they were 1) better at it than almost anyone else, largely thanks to their superior weaponry and ships (more on this in a moment) and 2) they were intelligent.

To further illustrate point 1: The viking longship was clink-built and had a very shallow draft. A ship like the 'Long Serpent'...allegedly the most beautiful ship ever built during the viking ages...could, according to the sagas, take 80 fully armed warriors on board. And fully loaded it would have a draft of less than a yard. Something alogn the lines of 60-80 centimeters. This allowed the vikings to raid up and down any coast they wanted, with great speed (their ships could, under sail or oar, reach the astonishing speed of 11-13 knots), and they could go up any inlet or they came across, where enemy ships would run aground. The vikings could even draw their ships from one river to another. This was how they traversed the many russian rivers and attacked Constantinople (though they failed to take the city). When it came to weapons and armor, the vikings had a major advantage. First of all, they wisely traded for good iron for their weapons. Their blacksmiths were, at that time, some of the finest in Europe and the swords they created were of outstanding quality for their time. They were also longer than most swords used in Europe at the time. But what made them truly terrifying was the axe. The Dane-axe or Danish Longaxe, Aslaug's weapon of choice, is often described as the best infantry weapon on European battlefields until the advent of mounted cavalry, which is not entirely untrue. In the hands of a skilled warrior, it could split an man from head to groin. Moreover, every man had a large shield and this was used to form shield-castles, which was a formiddable battlefield obstacle. A high proportion of viking warriors had access to some form of personal armor, too. Not necessarily mail shirts (although it's generally thought that the number of viking warriors with chain-mail was higher than the number of enemy soldiers similarly equipped in almost any hostile army they faced), but at least some form of padded armor.

And about point 2: they were smart enough to attack enemies who were already fighting amongst themselves. They picked their battles extremely well, often helping out the weaker side in a local struggle, helping to defeat the stronger enemy...before then turning on their former allies, leaving them more or less helpless.

Yes, they were brutal but if one reads some of the descriptions of the ways Christian fuedal lords treated their serfs during those ages...*shudders*...at least the idea that in the viking world every freeborn male had the right to vote at 'ting'...a highly democratic institution for it's day and age. Even kings had to be elected at the 'alting'...the largest, annual event of it's kind. If the old king died, the alting would elect a new one the next time it convenced. It was often the old king's son but not always. Iceland never had a king. It was always ruled as a democracy, ruled by majority votes at the ting. The role of women in viking culture was one of extreme strength. Women could inherit, they carried the keys to the home (which was of great importance...the wife was in charge of the household...not the husband) and they while they did not have the vote on ting, they had equal legal status to men in court-cases. Women were not subservient, and strong women were praised in poetry, whereas the meek ones are generally ridiculed and thought of as weak. According to the sagas, for instance, King Ragnar Lothbrok, married a woman named Kraka. He had been visiting a powerful Jarl to see if his daughter was worth marrying, but she was a meek little humble thing and Ragnar thought she was a waste of time, so he sailed home. On the way home, he and his men had to go into an inlet to get fresh water supplies and there they came across a small farmstead where two old people...a man and a woman...lived and worked. A young woman, dressed in rags and covered in soot and dirt worked there as well. The old people claimed she was their daughter but Ragnar did not believe this, since they were very old and she was only about eighteen or twenty. He didn't take much notice of her, though. His men did, though, because they saw her bathing when they were getting water from the nearby stream, and they realized she was extremely beautiful when not covered in grime and dirt. The king, obviously, thought this was an interesting deception and sent for her, but gave her a challenge. That she had to come the next morning at daybreak, to visit him at his ship. She had to come naked, yet dressed. She had to be fasting, but she could not come on an empty stomach, and she had to come alone, yet bring company. The next morning, Kraka bit into an onion, wrapped herself in a fishing net and picked up the farmstead's old moggy and went down to visit the king.

He was sufficiently impressed to bring her along and marry her. She had brains and she pretty much told him that his power didn't impress her. What she wanted was a man who would listen to her council, respect her and give her a say in important matters.

And while she's one of the more famous examples, she's not the only one. Humility, for a heathen, can be well and good, but if it's humility for it's own sake, it's pointless. Turning the other cheek never made sense to a heathen.

The Christian notion of 'do onto others...' doesn't have an equal in the heathen faith either. We believe that if you show others respect, and treat them with dignity, there's a good chance they'll do the same to you. If they don't, you can freely disregard them as obvious idiots or honorless currs.

Anyway...that's some of the thinking behind ALS.

Long rant...but I hope it clarified a few things.
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Teric
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're very welcome, Aslaug. /bow You have earned my greater respect this day. Who knows... I will most likely start the long road that comprises a read of your 'Transitions' series (something I haven't gotten into quite yet).

I look forward to further conversations with you in the future.

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Aslaug
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I would be very happy to have you read those as well. I'd love to have another reader, who is an active commenter, take part. Smile

By the way, there are followups to A Little Something. I am in the process of getting them posted to my own homepage...one at a time, little by little, but they'll all come up. They're all short-stories though.

Anyway, thank you very much, once again, for your kind comments. I appreciate it a lot.
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Teric
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've gone ahead & read 'Nine Millimeters and a Million Miles', 'To Talk, Sit, Listen', 'Thoroughly Modern Filly', and 'Christ's Mass'. Read those during my lunch break at work today.

Fun reads, all of them shedding more light on Aslaug's transition into the modern world and the interesting (often humorous!) difficulties that she goes through trying to adapt.

I did get a kick out of the fact that a battle-hardened shieldmaiden had the patience to sit and watch Sesame Street (and enjoy it even!). Ah, the countless hours I spent watching that show when I was a kid. I completely agree, however, that it's a great way to come to understand English and even develop basic reading skills.

Hehe I've got this mental picture of a burly equine femme sitting on the couch, flanked by TM's two little Tinxes, all three of them glued to the TV screen watching The Count yelling, "THREE! THREE WONDERFUL CANDLES! AH AH AH!" (Forgive me, TM, if your Tinxes are already past the Sesame Street age.)

GADS I love good storytelling...!

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Tigermark
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, no problem, Teric. In the ALN/ALS universe..es, my tynxes are 8 and 10. IRL, my two cubs are now 12 and 15.

A bit old for Sesame Street, but I have caught them zoned out in front of Dora the Explorer in the not-too-distant past.

TM

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Kellan Meig'h
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:54 am    Post subject: Wow! Reply with quote

Well, now that I have pulled myself back together.....

I have never had a story such as this make me first question, then reaffirm my own religion before.

This is a highly inspired piece of writing! Kudos to you, Aslaug.

Never has a story shaken the foundation of this old warhorse stallion like this one has.

Still needing a tissue as I finish this post,

Kellan

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Aslaug
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Kellan Smile I've got to get Bastion to upload both ALN and ALS to my own site as well, but all the follow-up stories are there, both my own and Tigermark's 'Thoroughly Modern Filly'.
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Tigermark
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aramis and I made good and safe travel, at least as far as here in Kentucky. I haven't heard from him, but hopefully he's back at his home base and settled in for the rest of the week week. it was a fantastic con, and this was Ari's first Furry con, so he was a bit wide-eyed at times, but he seemed to enjoy himself immensely.

Mike, it was really great seeing you and Crystal again, Congratulations on the great sales.

*sighs* Now, to go put all the stuff from teh writing panels into practice!


Tigermark

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