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Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Secret Art: Toxic Crotch Whirlwind!

I’m torn. Would it be more beneficial and forthright to tend to the living first, and see the dead off afterwards?

But that is the conflict here so there you go.

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Chatrapati
Nov 6, 2012


2 Let's do our job on the first day while Brianna is busy, maybe she can be helpful at a later date.
1 & 4 On the second day, we can fill in where the other Shepard failed, and also take the opportunity to talk to people.

HiHo ChiRho
Oct 23, 2010

Then you remember. You have a message to send.

Something everyone must know.

You have the power. You have the means.

Let it be known.




mcclay posted:

Day 1: Treat the dead
Day 2: Heal the wounded and Talk with the Locals (Seek Trouble 4.)

This

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Secret Art: Toxic Crotch Whirlwind!

mcclay posted:

Day 1: Treat the dead
Day 2: Heal the wounded and Talk with the Locals (Seek Trouble 4.)

Upon second reading, I agree with this.

It doesn’t sound like the horse-injured boy is going to die immediately, but the dead have been left to linger for weeks and are a pressing threat.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002



Chatrapati posted:

2 Let's do our job on the first day while Brianna is busy, maybe she can be helpful at a later date.
1 & 4 On the second day, we can fill in where the other Shepard failed, and also take the opportunity to talk to people.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


Treat the dead. It's what we do.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Okay, it looks like Roy is going to treat the dead. I'm also going to move his priorities towards dealing with the dead over helping the living, though this can change and we'll also add nuance as time goes by. We'll flesh out where those priorities more or less lie with time.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Apr 25, 2018 around 20:14

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


Oh good, the course of action I wanted to vote for won, sweet.

Pre-emptively, Roy, eat the meat.

Can't wait for Roy to have his first experience with Mexican Old Clan cuisine.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

Upon it sat a cup of last night's rabbit soup, a boiled egg, two warm sausages and a large piece of corn bread. He stared uncomprehendingly at the plate for a time.

Roy, if you don't marry this woman, I will.

Ice Phisherman posted:

What struck him then was that she was no longer in her red and white checkered top and skirt. Instead she wore something brown from head to ankles, along with brown boots.

Huh. Interesting, when I imagined the Horse Clans, my head went to Mongolians and Eurasian horse cultures.

Spanish old world courtly customs in the 'New World' fits just fine though.

Ice Phisherman posted:

The men are called a "vaquero" or "vaqueros" if there are more than one. At first I didn't understand what that meant, but Brianna knows. Apparently it is a word from the Horse Clan's largely forgotten language, called "old clan".

Now I get it. Between the references to 'After Empire' and 'Forgotten Languages', I think I understand the vibe, tone, and setting you're going for.

We're on the post-collapse side of Punk; I can dig it.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Clear tequila for men if you want a drink. Not the red."

Gift giving, hospitality, clear gender roles, blood feuds; check, check, and check.

These are my kind of people; plus, they have sipping tequila!

Ice Phisherman posted:

"I'll make a request for some water," she said, and then more teasingly. "Need me to scrub your back?"

Woman, there better be a hot dinner and bath waiting for me when I get home!


Looks like I missed the vote.

However, for the record:

Vote: 1 and 4

Tend to the Living, before you have to judge them as The Dead.

This would be my mantra if I were to be a Shepherd in this setting.

RickVoid posted:

Oh good, the course of action I wanted to vote for won, sweet.

Pre-emptively, Roy, eat the meat.

Can't wait for Roy to have his first experience with Mexican Old Clan cuisine.

I'll do you one better; Roy, don't eat the worm/scorpion at the bottom of the bottle!

Also, I'd like to see folks busting out the Mezcal once Roy does some good.

Oh, one more thing, Roy saves a gumdrop for Brianna, because he took her lessons to heart and he hasn't traded gifts with her yet.

JUST MAKING CHILI
Feb 14, 2008


I think we're off to a good start, I'm getting a very Outer Barony/Mejis feel in this story.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Secret Art: Toxic Crotch Whirlwind!

CourValant posted:

Oh, one more thing, Roy saves a gumdrop for Brianna, because he took her lessons to heart and he hasn't traded gifts with her yet.

I like this quite a lot.

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


Yeah, sweeties for a sweetie sounds good.

And may trigger a trouble for her of she doesn't have a gift in exchange.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Secret Art: Toxic Crotch Whirlwind!

RickVoid posted:

Yeah, sweeties for a sweetie sounds good.

And may trigger a trouble for her of she doesn't have a gift in exchange.

How could you do this to my heart.

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


Green Intern posted:

How could you do this to my heart.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

CourValant posted:

Spanish old world courtly customs in the 'New World' fits just fine though.

Interesting fact. Cowboy culture comes in part from Spain. That culture went to the Americas when the Spanish conquered it and what's known as cowboys in the modern sense comes directly from that tradition.

quote:

Now I get it. Between the references to 'After Empire' and 'Forgotten Languages', I think I understand the vibe, tone, and setting you're going for.

We're on the post-collapse side of Punk; I can dig it.

One of the tones, yeah. Less a total post-apocalyptic thing. More a decline, Roman Empire style. And now society is back on the upswing, though they can't make a lot of what was common back in those days. The rise and collapse of society used to be very, very common in human history.

quote:

Oh, one more thing, Roy saves a gumdrop for Brianna, because he took her lessons to heart and he hasn't traded gifts with her yet.

I really love this.

RickVoid posted:

Oh good, the course of action I wanted to vote for won, sweet.

Pre-emptively, Roy, eat the meat.

Can't wait for Roy to have his first experience with Mexican Old Clan cuisine.

Hope you like meat!

Green Intern posted:

How could you do this to my heart.

So fair warning, I'm pretty good at working with strong emotions. My specialties as a writer aren't guns and blood and violence or grammar. It's evoking strong emotions, creating tension, creating believable characters and making interesting settings. This is going to be a very, very non-traditional kind of Western.

Also, as it turns out, getting a bunch of cool people to feed me ideas to make the work better.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

RickVoid posted:

Yeah, sweeties for a sweetie sounds good.

And may trigger a trouble for her of she doesn't have a gift in exchange.

Green Intern posted:

How could you do this to my heart.

You guys just had to make it weird, didn't ya?

This is why I don't get to have nice things (like ribbons in hair).

Ice Phisherman posted:

Cowboy culture comes in part from Spain. That culture went to the Americas when the Spanish conquered it and what's known as cowboys in the modern sense comes directly from that tradition.

Yep. Without getting too 'Zorro' about this, I would be speaking Castilian Spanish out here in La La Land, if not for some odd turns of History; Spain at one point literally owned the entire Pacific coastline from Terra de Fuego to Anchorage.

Feels like you're aiming for Argentine Gauchos more than American/Mexican Vaqueros.

Ice Phisherman posted:

The rise and collapse of society used to be very, very common in human history.

Well, let's see your version of 'sword in the stone' then.

Ice Phisherman posted:

I really love this.



Ice Phisherman posted:

This is going to be a very, very non-traditional kind of Western.

You'd think so, except if Star Trek, Firefly, and Kung-Fu were all 'Westerns' anyways, then I would suggest that everything in essence can be adapted to a western setting.

All of which to say, back to the word-mines with you!

cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


Ice Phisherman posted:

Roy
[...]grabbed a heavy piece of cloth near the kettle to pour the coffee so he didn't burn his hand, for it was all metal. He put a nearby metal plate over the stove to smother the flame and began to dig in to his breakfast.
Dude's got a perfectly serviceable Terminator arm to grab hot coffee pots with.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Roy looked over at Brianna whose face was obscured by the hood with the horse ears. The ears were laid back flat on the hide hood and there was even a little black hair on top, like a horse's mane.
Let me get this straight, she's got loose-fitting hide overalls with a hood upon which are attached horse ears? I cannot get the image of Brianna dressed in a ghetto Mad-Max Eeyore onesie out of my head.

Why the hell does she need to dress like that to trade? Theories are too horrifying to even consider.

Ice Phisherman posted:

I am resolved to like these people.

- Maureen Mathers, October 29th, 486 AE
I loke Mo.

----------------------
I was going to vote 1, but that ship has sailed.

I will instead preemptively vote eat the meat, beware the tequila.

CourValant posted:

Oh, one more thing, Roy saves a gumdrop for Brianna, because he took her lessons to heart and he hasn't traded gifts with her yet.
Agreed!

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Secret Art: Toxic Crotch Whirlwind!

Even after the decline of the Great Civilization, Kigurumis are still in fashion.

cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


Green Intern posted:

Even after the decline of the Great Civilization, Kigurumis are still in fashion.
I had to google that, but yes.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Green Intern posted:

Even after the decline of the Great Civilization, Kigurumis are still in fashion.

That is without a doubt what Brianna is wearing.

Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


Hey Ice, I have a rare criticism. The first two paragraphs feel very... clunky. They didn't flow as naturally as most of your work.

Edit: And I know in most arid societies salt is extremely valuable. How is it viewed in the badlands?

Deadmeat5150 fucked around with this message at Apr 26, 2018 around 02:58

cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


jagadaishio posted:

That is without a doubt what Brianna is wearing.

This is Brianna.



This is now canon.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Deadmeat5150 posted:

Hey Ice, I have a rare criticism. The first two paragraphs feel very... clunky. They didn't flow as naturally as most of your work.

Edit: And I know in most arid societies salt is extremely valuable. How is it viewed in the badlands?

Maybe there are salt flats out in them badlands?

cigaw posted:

This is Brianna.



This is now canon.

She's a durid (yes, durid, that's how I'm spelling it from now on), so, there needs to be a horn; Brianna is in fact a unicorn.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

cigaw posted:

Dude's got a perfectly serviceable Terminator arm to grab hot coffee pots with.

Welp, that's getting changed now. Thanks for that.

Deadmeat5150 posted:

Hey Ice, I have a rare criticism. The first two paragraphs feel very... clunky. They didn't flow as naturally as most of your work.

Edit: And I know in most arid societies salt is extremely valuable. How is it viewed in the badlands?

I'll see to them. Thanks for letting me know.

As for salt, about as much as normal. So very. For the Horse Clan however, I'm lifting a meat curing recipe straight from the Mongols. Pieces of meat just go under the saddle and the salty sweat of the horse and the pressure of the rider on top will eventually cure the meat. It'll taste awful, but food is food, and they're hard people. Not everyone can afford to cook meat every night and the further that they can stretch their salt, and therefor stay more self-sufficient, the better.

cigaw posted:

Let me get this straight, she's got loose-fitting hide overalls with a hood upon which are attached horse ears? I cannot get the image of Brianna dressed in a ghetto Mad-Max Eeyore onesie out of my head.

Why the hell does she need to dress like that to trade? Theories are too horrifying to even consider.

I've been wrestling with how to tastefully tackle this part of the story and think that I finally have since there's this sort of strange sexual connotation to the costume which I didn't realize when I created it. This is after all, a rough draft, and I'm experimenting.

She looks silly because it's not meant for her. It's sort of like wearing your parent's shoes. More on that when I do the write-up.

edit: The revised version.

quote:

Roy

Roy was rousted out of sleep by smell. Something good, which he couldn't immediately place. Sound came next. Something bubbled. He realized what the smell and sound meant. He groaned happily in response.

He first opened one eye and then the other as his conscious mind was followed his senses. It had lagged only a few seconds behind his sense of smell. Just within reach was a plate of food. Beyond that he spied a steaming kettle containing what he assumed was coffee. It percolated on the portable alcohol stove. Roy yawned, stretched and sat up. With his real hand he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and with his steel hand, he picked up the plate. Upon it sat a cup of last night's rabbit soup, a boiled egg, two fat, warm sausages and a large piece of corn bread. He stared uncomprehendingly at the plate for a time, for he wasn't used to food that he didn't make for himself. There was a moment of panic as he thought he was touching someone else's food, but no, this was meant for him. After all, he'd helped prepare the rabbit so he'd done his part last night. That was the rational part of him which meant that he was fully awake. Brianna must have fixed him breakfast. The small act of service touched his heart. No one had cooked for him since his mother died. The unexpected kindness threatened to make his day.

He looked up and saw Brianna making the horses ready for travel. What struck him then was that she was no longer in her red and white checkered top and skirt. Instead she wore something brown from head to ankles, along with brown boots. It looked like loose fitting hide of some sort. It was obviously too big for her as much of it was loose. He could see what looked like a hood, though it wasn't pulled up. Her straight, black hair was tucked into the outfit instead of hanging free. Roy couldn't help but stare as it looked a little comical.

Strange clothing aside, she was in the process of unhooking the horses from the steel fastenings that were embedded in the canyon walls some ways away. Each horse was fed, watered, brushed and talked to. There seemed to be a sort of ritual to the acts mixed with care as she gave each horse a few minutes of her time. After some deliberation he decided to leave her be. There was something about that ritual that looked too personal to interrupt, or so he thought. It struck him strangely that he thought this way, but that thought slipped away. It was replaced by thoughts of the gnawing hunger in his belly and the nearby meal.

Roy combed his thick, brown hair with his fingers and realized that on top of that bath his hair needed a trim as well. He'd been hoping to get that bath in Iron Hill but that hadn't been in the cards. However, the meal he'd been hoping for was right here in front of him. He set his bowler hat back on his head, folded his thin blanket and bedroll and spied a cloth to pick up the kettle with. Instead of using it, he picked up scalding hot handle of the kettle with his steel hand and poured himself a cup of strong smelling coffee. He put a nearby metal plate over the stove to smother the flame and began to dig in to his breakfast.

He cracked the shell of the egg and picked off the pieces. Upon some thought, reached into his Shepherd's pack and used a bit of his salt. It was normally for weakening hostile spirits, but otherwise it was just plain old salt and a little on the egg to flavor it wouldn't do any harm to his stocks so long as he only used a little. The sausages were warm, meaty and succulent. He wished that there were more. The cornbread was cold, but sweet. He didn't eat it all at once. Instead he drank the last of the soup from the cup, which was cold. Strangely it tasted better when cold despite thinking it was pretty good yesterday. He used the cornbread to clean the bowl of the soup and the plate of the sausage grease. Each of the two tastes complimented one another, meat and sweet.

Now that he was fed, the coffee was cool enough to drink. It was strong, black and warmed his belly and bones as he partook of it. Now that his attention was off his breakfast plate, his gaze traveled out further. He stared up at the rock walls of the badlands. Their brown and red striations were fascinating. He'd seen them only as scenery before, but now he really looked at them. He'd never seen such things out east as the part of the country where he was from was largely flat. A sense of smallness settled upon him, like he was in the presence of something great and uncaring. For the briefest of instants It helped put his life in perspective. Here he was at the edge of the known world surrounded by tall hills and mountains, eating good food and traveling with someone who treated him decently.

"Somehow banishment doesn't seem so bad," he whispered, to himself.

He sipped his coffee, stood up and approached Brianna. He felt like ritual was now complete and so approaching no longer felt wrong. She turned and smiled at him.

"Thank you for the meal," he said.

"You're very welcome," she replied. "We'll switch off on cooking duties if that sounds fair to you."

Roy nodded.

"It does, though I'm not the best. I'll break camp," he said.

"Normally that sounds fair, though I'll show you where everything goes today," she said. "I'm particular about where everything is. Otherwise I'd have a hard time finding anything in my wagon."

Roy nodded again and he looked at her brown clothing. He saw what looked like white beads strung around her neck. Again he stared at her and this time she noticed that he was staring. After some fumbling with what to say, he asked a question.

"Are those some sort of pajamas?" he asked, awkwardly.

Brianna cleared her throat. Her cheeks turned a shade of pink.

"No. This is...Uh..." she began, her voice just as awkward. "Trading outfit. Look, it's just weird."

Unable to stop himself, Roy asked another question.

"Doesn't that get hot?" he asked.

She snorted indelicately and nodded.

"Yeah, it really does," she said, honestly. "Which is why I want to get to Esfuerzo before high sun. I don't feel like sweating in this thing. It gets itchy. But it also takes some time to get into. Again, it's weird."

"Why do you wear it then?" he asked.

"It's traditional," she explained, her tone long suffering. "Look, you have all sorts of questions and I'll answer what I can, but how about we break camp and talk on the way? The town isn't getting any closer."

"Okay," he said.

She turned around, paused and then turned back to face him.

"I look really dumb, don't I?" she asked, slowly.

Roy carefully weighed his words, but saw a smile playing on her lips. The laughter that he'd been suppressing bubbled out of her, and her lighter, more musical laughter joined his own.

"Yeah, just a bit," said Roy, honestly.

Brianna hummed happily.

"Really dumb," said Brianna. "Thanks for being honest with me."

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Apr 26, 2018 around 09:01

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Brianna

Brianna sat in the shadow of the stone building near her wagon. The horses were all stabled save for one, who she'd loaned to Roy and so she was left with her cart. She pulled out a dyed red rug made some years ago by a master artisan of this very village, now deceased. Next she pulled out a number of sticks of incense which came in wooden mugs. Though the sticks were thin, they were still made from wood and therefore still precious. She pulled out many glass bottles of dark red tequila. These were perhaps the most important for the work today. Finally, she found her wooden broom. A broom is deceptively useful on the trail if there’s enough space for it. One Tree County had no shortage of dust or small rocks. A broom made a campsite far more livable.

The implements ready, she took the broom in her hand, swept the ground around her with a ritual air, placed the rug on the ground, positioned the bottles of tequila, laid out the sticks of incense and their stone censers which would hold the incense. Each one was made from the red and brown canyon stone and shaped like an animal that was sacred to the Horse Clan. Each of the stone animals, no more than a few inches tall, had several places to put the sticks of incense. Each animal was significant as was the type of incense. Placement of the sticks was significant as well as there were places to hold the sticks. The incense could be placed either before, behind, beside, over the figurines. There were also several different holes inside of each stone beast representing vital organs and the emotions associated with them.

Carefully she sat down and folded her legs. She stared at the incense sticks, each in their brown, lacquered wooden mugs. The tips were color coded and every woman of the Horse Clan knew what they meant. Brianna stalled for a while. She didn't like doing this. Mugs were rearranged based on what she expected people would want. She placed the strawberry incense in a place of prominence as those were for fertility. Cloves as well as they were for family. Cinnamon was used to inflame passions and create personal power. There was lemon for happiness, evergreen for prosperity, lavender for healing, sandalwood for peace, horse musk for marriage, vanilla for luck, resin for protection, on and on. There were others and someone could burn more than one, but these were the most popular in the town of Esfuerzo.

She waited for just a while longer as Roy left with someone on horseback, though Brianna couldn’t tell who. Though she and Roy met only yesterday, Brianna wanted to enjoy at least a few more days of normalcy with someone who saw her for her and not for what she could do. It was a rare treat to be seen and appreciated. It wouldn’t last, but she wanted to hold onto the feeling of normalcy for as long as she could. However, as he left, she’d run out of excuses.

"I guess it's show time," whispered Brianna, her tone resigned.

She shakily reached for the hood of her clothing. This was the regalia of the Horse Maiden. When she spoke with Roy earlier, she could feel the Horse Maiden calling to her. The Horse Maiden tugged at her identity which had never stopped being uncomfortable. Brianna was reluctant to let the Horse Maiden suppress her identity, but she did because that was what was expected of her. Becoming the Horse Maiden was like falling asleep, but fully being awake and conscious of the fact at the same time. Brianna's last thoughts before losing herself for a time were fearful as they always were. She was never quite sure if she would wake up.

One moment, Brianna Kendler, Steward of the One Tree sat in her ill-fitting regalia. The next moment, a much larger woman sat comfortably in the now skin tight horse hide regalia. Brianna was gone for the moment. In her place was the Horse Maiden. She was thirsty.

The Horse Maiden

“Oh! My favorite!” said a far deeper, but still feminine voice.

She lifted the bottle, set her large, horse-like teeth on the cork and pulled. She spat out the cork like it wasn’t more expensive than both the bottle and the liquor inside. The Horse Maiden pressed the mouth of the bottle to wide lips, closed her large, brown eyes, tipped it back, and in a long, single pull she downed the entire fifth of dark red tequila. The horse ears on top of the regalia, only for show when Brianna wore it, fluttered in delight. Those large lips, once brown, were now dark and red as heart’s blood. This signified the power of the women’s tequila, called Tequila Carmine. That color was enough to catch the eye or stir the heart of any man. The more a woman drank, the more powerful she became. At least if she could hold her liquor, which many women couldn’t, though the Horse Maiden could. She could drink bottle after bottle and only increase in power while other women would lose themselves to the liquor. If that happened the woman would lose her power and transfer it to a man, and not always the right one. The balance was delicate and women who reached for too much power paid for it with bad husbands and poorly run households. One could literally become drunk with power, and anyone with any sense knows how well that can turn out.

The Horse Maiden waited patiently for the first of the Esfuerzo's women to approach her, for today she was only working blessings for women. Tomorrow, upon the return of the men, she would help them with their problems. The large figured young woman sat serenely, listened to the wind and enjoyed the burn of alcohol on her lips and in her belly. Minutes later she smiled as the women of Esfuerzo began to approach her. A young woman clad in simple clothing, heavy with child, sat down awkwardly in front of her with the help of another woman. The pregnant woman placed a hand over her belly.

“Hello big sister,” said the young woman with a ritual air.

“Hello Sofia,” said the Horse Maiden, sweetly. “You’re coming along well.”

Sofia smiled prettily and nodded.

“Thank you,” she said. “I was hoping for some advice.”

“Of course,” said the Horse Maiden. “What can your big sister do for you?”

“It’s Javier. His father says that he takes too many risks when he shows off. I worry that he might hurt himself and leave me alone to raise our child,” she said, quietly.

The Horse Maiden patted Sofia on the knee in a reassuring manner and such was her power that Sofia was indeed reassured. However, reassurance would only last for so long. It was merely the comfort of one's big sister.

“Your first child if I remember,” said the Horse Maiden.

“Yes, big sister,” said Sofia, anxiously.

“I see. These feelings are normal. Men are wild before their first child. He will calm down,” said the Horse Maiden.

Sofia bit her lip and looked down.

“But what if he doesn’t?” she asked, fretfully.

The Horse Maiden made an expansive gesture towards the sticks of incense and stone animals.

“What animal is your husband, Sofia?” asked the Horse Maiden.

Sofia’s cheeks flushed and her eyes turned towards one of the horses. The Horse Maiden scooped it up and placed it in front of Sofia.

“So your Javier is a stallion, yes? All the best men are,” cooed the Horse Maiden.

Sofia said nothing, but she did smile as she rubbed her belly.

“Well I can suggest one of two ways, though you may think of others. You can keep your husband’s wildness and protect him or you can give him peace,” offered the Horse Maiden.

Sofia’s hand darted towards the sandalwood incense, which offered peace. However, the Horse Maiden placed a large, pudgy hand over Sofia’s smaller one.

“Remember why you fell in love with him, Sofia,” she warned. “If you changed his nature, would he still be the same man?”

Sofia looked down, suddenly ashamed. She sniffled once and shook her head. The two hands retreated from one another and Sofia picked two sticks of resin for protection. She placed the first one in a place that signified a spot over the tiny, stone horse and placed a second stick before it.

“A good choice,” said the Horse Maiden. “I offer my protection over your husband, Javier, now and in the future. However, I can tell that this isn’t enough for you.”

Sofia bit her lip and nodded reluctantly. The Horse Maiden placed a stick of lavender before him as well for healing, and turned two sticks of vanilla upside down to each side of the horse. Vanilla was for luck, but by turning them upside down, she inverted that luck to make it bad.

“If his heart does not calm with the birth of his first child, if he risks leaving you through his wildness, I consider that to be straying from his duties as a man,” said the Horse Maiden, seriously. “If he shows off it shall be on his horse. He shall fall off and he shall break his leg. He will come home. He will see your tears and hear the cries of his child. He will be reminded of his responsibility as a husband and father. His leg will heal quickly and true, but he will understand that his wildness should not endanger the ones he loves.”

Sofia burst into tears. One hand wiped at her eyes while the other pressed to her bump where her unborn child slumbered. Again, the Horse Maiden reached out and comforted Sofia with a touch, and just like that, she was comforted.

“Children can change the nature of a man. No blessings needed,” said the Horse Maiden, reassuringly. “This is just in case.”

“Thank you, big sister!” exclaimed Sofia.

Sofia sniffled and smiled. In that instant, the Horse Maiden felt Sofia’s simple and honest faith. It filled the Horse Maiden’s belly with warmth that was far better than any alcohol. She used some of that faith to empower the blessing and kept the rest for herself. That power sent the incense smoking to seal the bargain. This was the trade of gods, even very small ones like the Horse Maiden. Brianna’s cart was full of food and useful items that she would sell for a profit or give to those in need, but those were small trades. Faith was the Horse Maiden’s currency, as it was for what few gods were left in this world.

One of the other women helped Sofia to her feet. Seconds later another woman sat down. She was far harder looking than sweet Sofia. Her skin was tan, the sinews in her arms lithe with muscle and she did not look happy.

“Hello big sister,” said the annoyed woman, though she still spoke with ritual significance despite being annoyed.

“Hello Valeria,” said the Horse Maiden. “Pablo again?”

“Pablo!” seethed Valeria, like his name was a curse. “He presses on me. He tries to touch me. He wants me to be his. I do not want him. I have had it with him. I need your help, big sister.”

The Horse Maiden’s ears lay flat on her head in anger, but then she smirked in wicked delight. Once again her horse ears fluttered.

“Tomorrow the men shall castrate the calves before the festival,” said the Horse Maiden, contemplatively. “It’s traditional for men who want sons to eat of the leavings, though this is silly superstition. Men will convince themselves of much to keep from throwing good meat away."

A few women tittered in response, though Valeria was still angry. The Horse Maiden continued.

"The women who want those sons with them cook and offer them this to show their interest," she said. "I want you to bring him the largest one you can find, cook it for him and bring it to him in front of all of his friends and family to see.”

Valeria’s head rocked back like she'd been slapped and she made a face of open disgust. Her eyes narrowed.

“I am not having children with that son of a goat,” said Valeria, angrily.

The Horse Maiden smirked and winked at her.

“I’m not saying that you should,” said the Horse Maiden. “Take it before him and bring the biggest knife you have. I do not want you to slice the meat neatly. I want you to whack it to pieces in front of him, his friends and his family. Be angry and show him your anger.”

There was a moment of stunned silence before Valeria and the crowd of women who were listening in on their conversation suddenly burst into laughter. The Horse Maiden laughed as well, almost a whinny as she tossed back her head. The dark mane of the regalia blew in the wind. Minutes later when everyone settled down, Valeria spoke again.

“Thank you, big sister,” said Valeria, who was now smiling. “I want to drive the point home. He is prideful. If I don’t break his will he will only try harder.”

The Horse Maiden made an expansive gesture towards the stone animals. Valeria’s eyes flicked to a goat and the Horse Maiden picked it up and placed it before her.

“Just a horny little goat, eh?” joked the Horse Maiden.

There as more laughter, but it was short lived. Valeria didn’t join in.

“Hardly even that, big sister,” said Valeria, disdainfully.

There was more laughter as Valeria reached for cinnamon incense and unlike with Sofia, the Horse Maiden didn’t stop her. Cinnamon was used to inflame passion and create personal power. However, when turned upside down, which Valeria did, it would cool those passions and rob a person of their power. Valeria roughly jammed the stick of incense into the goat’s back where its heart would be as well as in front of it and both sides.

“Very well,” said the Horse Maiden. “I offer you protection from Pablo’s passion. His heart shall cool. However, if he does anything save for back away from you, he shall rob himself of his power, for you have made it clear that you do not want him. You will tell him of this.”

Valeria nodded and smiled gratefully.

“Thank you, big sister,” said Valeria.

Valeria looked for more relaxed now. For an instant, she allowed her shoulders to slump in relief.

“You’re welcome, Valeria,” said the Horse Maiden, who then smirked wickedly. “Remember, cook it well. Make him think you’ve submitted to him. Bring him high. Appeal to his pride. That way the fall will be harder. Cut it up in front of him. Really whack it to pieces. Bring friends. It’ll be funny.”

There was more laughter from the crowd of women. The sticks of incense lit as faith flowed into her not just from Valeria this time, but from many of the women which was a pleasant surprise for the Horse Maiden. Free faith is good faith. The bargain was struck.

Passions calmed down after that. The Horse Maiden increased her power with the help of both the faith of her followers and the Tequila Carmine. She’d finish another bottle now and again until there were more empty bottles than full. There were smaller blessings and smaller trades. The Horse Maiden would offer practical advice and if the woman still wanted a blessing afterwards, which was almost always the case; she could have it if her faith was sufficient. It almost always was. Some women wanted luck and they could have it. Some wanted healing for this or that person. They could have that too. Some women wanted a favorable marriage, love or to catch with child. The horse maiden could help with all of these things. Curses were not forbidden, but frowned upon. Curses needed to serve justice, not spite. Also, someone really needed to want to do one as all blessings and curses were in front of all of the other women. In small towns, everyone knows everyone else’s business.

Hours later when the women were gone, the Horse Maiden still sat. She was happy as she’d drank no less than ten bottles of tequila and had the faith of over fifty women in her belly. Happy, not drunk. The Horse Maiden was never drunk and therefore her power would only increase with the more alcohol she consumed and faith that she received.

The thoughts of the tiny goddess idly wandered to Roy Whittaker. She had Brianna’s memories just as Brianna had hers. He was new and she was bored. She liked him because Brianna liked him, at least so far. However, he was still a Shepherd and that meant he was a thief. She cast her eyes about at the stone figurines and sticks of incense. It was in that moment that she resolved to make his life interesting, though she could really go either way on how.

“Blessing or curse,” mused the Horse Maiden. “Blessing or curse…”

CYOA Time

What does the Horse Maiden burn for Roy? Which animal does she place it in? These animals can be pretty much any animal is herded or herds. The Horse Maiden is aware of Roy. Feel free to get creative. Though remember that she is a very tiny deity. Her power is limited. If she overreaches she’s more likely to fail. Failure still has consequences. The blessing or curse doesn’t just fizzle out.

Brianna can earn experience if the Horse Maiden decides to meddle with Roy’s life in a way that will screw with him in some way, even if well meant. This is Brianna’s identity crisis trouble. Big sister Horse Maiden knows best after all.

Welcome to god game. They’re teeny tiny gods though and therefore still as fragile as any person. Death magic is the only magic, but only in One Tree County, there are tiny gods. Their power is not magic. It’s divine.

--

The Horse Maiden rolls a 13 and easily surpasses the target number of 9. I rolled a 4 and 5 + her Horse Maiden bonus of 2 + her relationship of 2 with the Horse Clan.

The Horse Maiden bonus, which temporarily replaces the +4 Steward of the One Tree bonus is currently capped at +2 due to the lowish relationship with the Horse Clan (I'll get the stat sheets up today, sorry about the delay). So until the relationship is raised with the Horse Clan, her Horse Maiden power will always be capped at +2. When it raises up she can transfer more of her power from her Steward bonus to her Horse Maiden bonus. Each Clan has their own minor deity, and Brianna is a conduit for all of them.

She's done half the work of making the village happy which means we can raise the relationship with the Horse Clan up to 3 if she impresses the men when they come. This will cost 3 experience if we decide to raise it up.

Anyway, for you Godgame veterans out there, the cat is out of the bag. Brianna is a conduit. She is not divine. However, she can be possessed by those who are for a time. These goddesses are teeny, tiny, relatively new goddess. Brianna extremely uncomfortable with her place as a conduit. For the last thirty years she has been working on behalf of local deities. She is not a druid or a cleric or a wizard or a sorceress. She does not control magic. She does not cast magic. She is the divine equivalent of a sock puppet. And again, she is extremely uncomfortable with her role. There are some fringe benefits, like being functionally immortal, but otherwise she’s just a normal person when not possessed.

Further, if you said god, goddess or religion to anyone outside of One Tree County, you would get strange looks as only the most learned of historians would have any idea what you were talking about. Religion was almost completely stamped out by the Old Empire (we’ll talk about that much later). The stone building is a shrine. The women were praying and making offerings. Roy is completely in the dark that he's traveling with a conduit and even if he was told what Brianna was or about region or faith or gods or goddesses, he'd have no idea what any of that means. The old religions were almost completely extinguished.

So yeah. I'm going to make an honest to goodness stab at a god game with Western themes. I'm experimenting again.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at May 22, 2018 around 05:06

JesterOfAmerica
Sep 11, 2015


The Horse Maiden burns a lemon incense and chooses a dog to imbue loyalty in Roy

Horse Maiden is attempting to "reform" the shepherd.

sheep-dodger
Feb 21, 2013



The horse maiden burns a ton of love and fertility incense using the stallion figurine, Roy will be "blessed" with being a lot more attractive to everyone in the next few days. Let's mess with the loner.

ThatBasqueGuy
Feb 14, 2013

someone introduce jojo to lazyb




Functionally immortal as in protected from aging and minor disease?

malbogio
Jan 19, 2015


sheep-dodger posted:

The horse maiden burns a ton of love and fertility incense using the stallion figurine, Roy will be "blessed" with being a lot more attractive to everyone in the next few days. Let's mess with the loner.

+1. With an emphasis on attraction directed at Roy. We like him but he’s a spirit thief on our land so he deserves to be pranked.

mcclay
Jul 8, 2013

Oh dear oh gosh oh darn


Soiled Meat

JesterOfAmerica posted:

The Horse Maiden burns a lemon incense and chooses a dog to imbue loyalty in Roy

Horse Maiden is attempting to "reform" the shepherd.

+1, the Shepard is Our tool, not the eastern's government's and not anyone else's. He may be a thief, but We were given him. He is Our thief.

cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


Ice Phisherman posted:

Welp, that's getting changed now. Thanks for that.
I made a difference!

Ice Phisherman posted:

I've been wrestling with how to tastefully tackle this part of the story and think that I finally have since there's this sort of strange sexual connotation to the costume which I didn't realize when I created it. This is after all, a rough draft, and I'm experimenting.

She looks silly because it's not meant for her. It's sort of like wearing your parent's shoes. More on that when I do the write-up.
I wasn't really reading anything sexual to it really, more like debasement. Something along the lines of "silly foreigner must wear dumbass costume everyone will laugh and sneer at traditional foreigner horse-trader garb to trade with horse tribe."

I really like where this is going and the Horse Maiden completely came out of left field for me.
--------------------------
CYOA:

The obvious choice for a Shepherd would be something canine, that guides and enforces herding, but I think that'd be too obvious.

The Horse Maiden picks a small figurine no one even ever notices. It is a very dark stone, almost black, roughly carved in the semblance of a sheep. Part of the flock, but always apart. The same as everyone, but shunned nonetheless.

A curse must be performed in front of everyone and all the women would then know Big Sister wishes pain upon the man they just met, someone who just rode out to put the ignored dead to rest, to right a past wrong by another of his kind. Roy must at least prove himself before he earns anyone's actual ire.

So the Horse Maiden blesses the Shepherd, with lavender thorough the right hoof and sandalwood through the left hoof that he may bring healing and peace to those he helps. Resin around him will ensure Brianna teaches and guides him in this new land. Everything else - luck, happiness and success - he must make for himself.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


I don't know if I would call it a blessing or a curse, but Sheep for conformity.

Groetgaffel
Oct 30, 2011

Groetgaffel smacked the living shit out of himself doing 297 points of damage.

Nap Ghost

cigaw posted:

The Horse Maiden picks a small figurine no one even ever notices. It is a very dark stone, almost black, roughly carved in the semblance of a sheep. Part of the flock, but always apart. The same as everyone, but shunned nonetheless.

A curse must be performed in front of everyone and all the women would then know Big Sister wishes pain upon the man they just met, someone who just rode out to put the ignored dead to rest, to right a past wrong by another of his kind. Roy must at least prove himself before he earns anyone's actual ire.

So the Horse Maiden blesses the Shepherd, with lavender thorough the right hoof and sandalwood through the left hoof that he may bring healing and peace to those he helps. Resin around him will ensure Brianna teaches and guides him in this new land. Everything else - luck, happiness and success - he must make for himself.
While I do like this, to me this feels like a second blessing type deal, and not the first thing she'd do.
Or, a reward for passing, or at least enduring, a mischievous half prank half blessing.
As such:

sheep-dodger posted:

The horse maiden burns a ton of love and fertility incense using the stallion figurine, Roy will be "blessed" with being a lot more attractive to everyone in the next few days. Let's mess with the loner.

malbogio posted:

+1. With an emphasis on attraction directed at Roy. We like him but he’s a spirit thief on our land so he deserves to be pranked.
+1 for these.
Roy is lonely. He wants affection and appreciation from those around him. Let's find out how he deals with getting more of it than he had ever dreamt of.
As long as he doesn't majorly screw up, we can give him a proper blessing later, maybe even tomorrow when the Horse Maiden is doing the men.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


sheep-dodger posted:

The horse maiden burns a ton of love and fertility incense using the stallion figurine, Roy will be "blessed" with being a lot more attractive to everyone in the next few days. Let's mess with the loner.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

This signified the power of the women’s tequila, called Tequila Carmine.

Wonderful.

Ice Phisherman posted:

If that happened the woman would lose her power and transfer it to a man, and not always the right one. The balance was delicate and women who reached for too much power paid for it with bad husbands and poorly run households.

Are . . . are you injecting Ying Yang philosophy in this here Western??!

Ice Phisherman posted:

“Hello big sister,” said the young woman with a ritual air.

“Hello Sofia,” said the Horse Maiden, sweetly. “You’re coming along well.”

Lovely, just lovely. This checks so many boxes, once again its like you're writing comfort food for the soul.

You've essentially taken the themes of a small town, superstitious, community 'sewing circle' and empowered it with the local 'Kami', and in this case, the Kami is personified in front of you and can take your call, radio doctor style.

Marvelous.

The familial nature of the relationship is a nice touch.


Big Sister Horse Maiden burns sage for Roy, placed through the heart, in a sandstone camel.

"The path ahead of you is long and arduous, Shepherd, and you will be changed from this journey. And although you may be part of a herd, each camel nonetheless bears the pain of the desert alone, in their own way, oft in silence.

So I offer you this, Exile, Sage to cleanse the soul, to open a path to a new beginning, and to harden your resolve for the trials ahead."


I hear the dead, reaching out
The people suffer, ain't no doubt
I still care, I'm still me
You can't steal my Joy from me.


Ice Phisherman posted:

Religion was almost completely stamped out by the Old Empire (we’ll talk about that much later).

Of course it was.

You're mixing 'Book of Eli' into this, ain't you?

sheep-dodger posted:

The horse maiden burns a ton of love and fertility incense using the stallion figurine, Roy will be "blessed" with being a lot more attractive to everyone in the next few days. Let's mess with the loner.

Ya'll a bunch of mean jerks.

Groetgaffel
Oct 30, 2011

Groetgaffel smacked the living shit out of himself doing 297 points of damage.

Nap Ghost

CourValant posted:

Ya'll a bunch of mean jerks.
Hey now, Roy's always wanted some attention and appreciation. We're giving him what he wants.






In a very large dose.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

ThatBasqueGuy posted:

Functionally immortal as in protected from aging and minor disease?

Pretty much, yeah. Stuff also doesn't age in close proximity to her. Hence why she can keep all of that food without refrigeration.

This also included Maureen Mathers, who aged very little over thirty years. Though she did age some as they would spend days apart as Maureen did her job. As you can imagine, this lack of aging caused some problems.

cigaw posted:

I made a difference!

You did! Thank you! You helped make the story better.

quote:

I really like where this is going and the Horse Maiden completely came out of left field for me.

That was the point. I've been wanting to write a god game for about a decade, but it's hard. Games about gods, especially big ones, are very, very hard to write. People have a hard time imagining or connecting with what are essentially gods in the style of Greek gods, but people are interested in reading about the old mythology anyway. However, a small gods game seems like it's easier to write and easier for people to connect with. It's about people and the gods are smaller forces who mess with people.

Both Roy and Brianna are essential to the community for different reasons. Roy's position respected by the tribes and seen as necessary, but they won't touch him. He's isolated.

Brianna on the other hand is struggling with her identity. Few people see her for who she is and only for what she can do. One of the few people who saw Brianna for herself was Maureen, who died. This is not only Brianna's problem, but a larger women's issue as well. Some men too, but a sort of loss of identity, having one's identity being pressed you from outside instead of coming from within is a problem that women face. Especially women who are mothers. I'm trying to engage with that a bit. On top of that, Brianna regularly has to submerge her own identity so the minor deities can come out and do their jobs.

In fact, Brianna is perhaps the only person in the county who can touch Roy with no social repercussions. Her status in the social hierarchy is beyond honor and dishonor, because to dishonor Brianna is to dishonor their deities. On the flip side, to show Brianna too much honor may offend the deities.

As a result, Brianna and Roy are very lonely people.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

CourValant posted:

Are . . . are you injecting Ying Yang philosophy in this here Western??!

You just wait.

quote:

Lovely, just lovely. This checks so many boxes, once again its like you're writing comfort food for the soul.

I'm glad that you're enjoying yourself.

quote:

You've essentially taken the themes of a small town, superstitious, community 'sewing circle' and empowered it with the local 'Kami', and in this case, the Kami is personified in front of you and can take your call, radio doctor style.

Small gods games are basically games about kami, yeah. Everything has a spirit in this story, even little bitty bugs. Though insect and animal spirits fade while the spirits of humans do not. The connections that people form with small gods are more personal as the gods can literally appear before them.

quote:

You're mixing 'Book of Eli' into this, ain't you?

I haven't watched the Book of Eli, actually, though I know the premise. So I can't give you a specific answer on this one.

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


I like sheep, peace, and healing for game purposes, representing the Horse Maiden giving Roy a tiny nudge in the right direction.

But Stallion plus Fertility is loving hilarious, pushes on Roy's existing trouble, and well, Brianna is already missing Roy when he's not around, and it's not like she's gonna be immune... It's exactly the sort of thing a mildly capricious minor divinity would do.

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Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


I love the Animism aspect here, it's fantastic. And Ive been in a couple of godgames with Ice and he has good ideas in that direction.

+1 making the introvert incredibly noticable to the opposite sex.
Shenanigans will ensue.

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