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YES! It is the final installment of Scatterstone! I told you I'd get it up before the Sun became a red giant! I just barely made it!

It's been fun, it really has. I'm hoping to come back and revisit these little guys at some point, too, somewhere, somehow. But in the meantime, enjoy your closure!


So! Where did we leave off? )
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Hey, look! A Scatterstone Index! Does this mean ... ?

Yes! I missed posting a Good Thing yesterday, but here's a doozy to make up for it. Almost to the end of this darn thing! I should have one more to go after this. With luck I'll get it written before the sun swells into its red giant phase. Don't want to leave Largo hanging where he is for too long, now, do I?

For now, though, enjoy!


With Special Guest Star Admiral Ackbar )
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HOLY SHIT, AMELIA, IS THIS A SCATTERSTONE POST? YES IT IS! Forgot everything that's happened? That's okay, you can go back and read it using the index here!

Oh, Nolly thinks Alricshire is much more straightforward about who's male and who's female, but I suspect there are a few hobbits even in Birchdale that might surprise her.

Fodzi's character wasn't supposed to be quite so talkative. I wanted to just hint that there are different cultures and, for lack of a better word, races of dwarves in this world, because it always bugs me when nonhuman species seem to have their own monoculture (although both of these particular cultures do seem to share gender attitudes). But it was only going to be a suggestion of a bigger world. Then somewhere along the way [ profile] westrider and I started talking about counterculture dwarves (I still love the idea of greaser dwarves with studded leather jackets and blue jeans and big elaborately-carved combs for their gelled-up beards), and suddenly here was this Triple Peak dwarf with a speech style like that pretentious hipster with a thesaurus in his back pocket carrying on about souls and poetry. I love this guy.

The story of Manjusha's castle is a long one that might not make it into this narrative, but if it doesn't I promise I'll put it somewhere.



Counterculture Dwarves And Disappointed Dragons )

What's this? A Part 13? Better read it!
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Woo! Still doing this! If you're wondering where the hell to start, enjoy this handy index!

Fairy wings serve two main purposes. Of course, they help fairies fly--but not in the way you might expect. The wings are too small to do the job of flight by mere physics, though they do use them for balance. Rather, fairy wings have evolved a natural spell matrix into their structure. Unlike other species, where magic is a rare phenomenon, fairies all have some natural magic (though some, like Terwu'arie, have more than others). They use this magic to fly--although using straight magic is tiring, so when they can they usually apply it in combination with their more prosaic, but still impressive, acrobatic abilities.

The primary purpose of fairy wings, however, is as solar panels. Fairy wings are leaves. While fairies do have full digestive systems, they supplement their food intake with photosynthesis. While it is not crucial to her survival, a fairy who has been out of direct sunlight for a while will become sluggish, irritable, and unable to focus.

Biologists are divided about whether to call fairies hibernatory or deciduous. The fact is that in the late autumn fairy wings will change color, dry out, and eventually fall off. This coincides with a period of subtantially increased appetite, after which the fairy will go into hibernation for a few months. In fairy communities, the wing loss and initiation of hibernation is marked with a huge, days-long feast before everyone goes off to their respective winter dens. They emerge in early spring with new wings budding out of their backs.

None of this has much to do with the story, but I thought you'd be interested in some of Arie's background.



Impromptu Dwarf Lessons )


Finally1 It's Part 12!
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Has it been so long you've forgotten what happened before? Don't worry! You can catch up using the index!

Dwarves have words for physics concepts like "mass," "force," "gravity," and "momentum," but the Common Speech doesn't do much with math and physics. Thus, dwarves have to get creative when translating. "Earthpull," for example, is one term for gravitational force.

Dwarves have a generational kinship system even more simple than the Hawaiian one since it does not distinguish genders. Everyone in a dwarf's parents' generation (including parents) is addressed with a term that is usually translated as "uncle"; in his own generation as "cousin"; and in his children's generation as "nephew."* While specialized terms distinguish biological relationships, in casual conversation nobody uses them; they're considered clinical and dry. Thus Orlof and Hruldar's use of "Dhul," which literally means "nephew," is rather akin to addressing him as "son."

They also seem to have the same casual prejudice against left-handed people (or trolls, at any rate) that humans do.

I did not expect to have this much fun coming up with the dwarven bits. Dwarves were never my thing, especially since they always seemed so one-dimensional in fantasy. And then my determination to go beneath the gold and the maille takes over, and you get Mighty Dwarven Knitting and those darn dwarven kids being all punk with their beardstyles and Twilight-style stupid teenager love triangles and, of course, rollercoasters. Hot damn, I love it when writing goes like that.

*I propose we refer to this as the Duckburgian Kinship Model, since complicated Duck family trees might (okay, do) exist, but the uncle-nephew dynamic does seem to be how kinship works on a cursory examination of the Duckverse.


Part 10 - Mine Cart Carnage!  )


Hey, everyone! I hear Part 11 is up!
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You want an index? Oh, I'll GIVE you an index!

The Fyan system of pollution avoidance here is loosely based on a number of similar systems you find in real-world cultures: Hawaiian kapu, Romani marime, Hua nu, and of course good old American cooties. Hell, even germ avoidance takes on a less scientific and more ritualistic aspect at times. (And I might argue that we have another one in America--"testosterone" vs. "estrogen." Sure they're real hormones, but quite a bit of the assumptions surrounding their functions get pretty fanciful. They're often useful shorthand for longer concepts.)

I'm always intrigued by the systems' internal consistency. If you know the premise--even if you don't accept it--of one of these systems, then somebody abiding by it may seem perfectly rational. If you don't know the premise, their actions make no sense.

I'm also intrigued by how gosh darn often these systems suggest a weird sort of male anxiety. Whichever men came up with the rules seemed to live in constant terror of somehow getting LADYNESS all over their manhoods. And not in a fun way. No, it's in a way that makes it clear that the most horrible fate these rule-makers could imagine was to BECOME MORE LIKE A GIRL. Darlin, I'm living the horror and it's not really that big a deal.

Any rumors that I spent the entire day wandering around humming "Caravanserai" to the tune of "Qué Será, Será" are completely unfounded.


Part 9: Meanwhile, Back At The Caravan ... )


Tune in for Part 10!
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BUT AMELIA WHERE IS THE--oh, never mind, here's Part 1 and the index.

The guy who informed Arie that she doesn't swear was ¾ wrong. He was all the way wrong about ladies having no need for some good cuss words. Everybody stubs their toes, after all. But his assertion that all fairies are female is subject to variable levels of truth. Woodfairies have a complicated life cycle, but the upshot is that they grow on trees. As such, they have no reproductive organs and are not male or female (or, given how their chromosomes work, they could be considered both). However, as they have high voices, delicate features, slim bodies, a love of frilly dresses and sparkles, and names that sound like they were chosen out of a Bath & Body Works catalog (Terwu'arie literally means "Shadowrose"), humans and other such species generally automatically assume they are female. As such, the common speech refers to them using female-gendered terminology. Following convention, I am using it that way here.

In contrast, dwarves do come with the more recognizable binary reproductive systems. But aside from the primary sex characteristics, dwarves have no visible sexual dimorphism. All dwarves, male and female, have blocky builds, big muscles, and swathes of face and chest hair. And as the gender-free Dwarvish language offers no clues, and nosy questions about their reproductive systems mostly just annoy them, figuring out a dwarf's sex is only possible after the third date (or, for more traditional dwarves, after the wedding).

Fortunately for speakers of languages where gender is a required bit of coding, dwarves also don't seem to give two shits about how other species perceive them. They are perfectly content to all be referred to as "he" in the common speech, and where nouns come in masculine/feminine pairs, they always go with masculine. I'm using that convention here. To be honest, I have no idea what sex either Orlof or Hruldar might be. They refer to each other as 'husband,' but they could just as easily one male and one female, or two females, as two males. It doesn't actually matter, but it's an interesting bit of trivia.

In completely unrelated annotation, the thing Orlof refers to as an "oven" is actually a cast-iron Dutch oven set over a large earthenware brazier. For some reason, I feel it is important that you know this.


Heavyweight Knitting Champion )


Nextward to Part 9!
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Looking for Part 1? It's here, along with an index!

I've been holding off on posting this one. I wanted to have the next installment at least roughed in, too, because it would be mean to leave y'all with the way this one ends for too long. I am so considerate!

I like how the big thing Nolly wants to talk about is her discovery of seafood. Hobbits must be hilarious tourists. They'd go to France and buy postcards with images of Versailles and the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and whatnot, but all they'd write on them would be details about the incredible coq au vin they had in this one restaurant and how they found a bakery that makes amazing profiteroles. The first draft of Bilbo's Red Book must have been twice as long with all the Redwallish food porn. If Elizabeth Gilbert had been a hobbit, her book would have just been titled Eat.

Anyway, better get to writing the next installment. You're gonna want me to work fast after reading this ...


Part 7: Kuen Versus The World )


Quick! Better read Part 8!
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Hey, look! An index!

Well, FINALLY. Setting the stage takes a lot of work. Hopefully it's worth it, since this installment introduces all sorts of fun new characters for you to try to keep track of.

A couple of you might recognize the name of Kuen from my various doll posts. Yes, that's her--the doll was modeled after the character I'd thought up years earlier. The sprites have an extensive, multi-universal history, but Kuen herself has always lived here in this Playtime Universe. She seems to like it there, though she also seems to have an ability to dimension-hop. I could go on for hours about her.

The actual term for an overhand catch in juggling is "clawing the balls." I thought writing it that way might be distracting.



Part 6 - Strange People, Strange Fish, And A Very Helpful House )


Now! With Part 7!
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Lost? Part 1 and its index will put you right on track!

Their mother must have made Ron promise to look after Ed at some point long ago. Otherwise Ed seems like the kind of guy who might embarrass the other depraved cutthroats and murderers. I wouldn't let him into my band of hardened criminals, and I certainly wouldn't throw myself between him and a ravening beast.


Making New Friends As You Travel )


Part 6
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Part 1 also has an index!

Even if it's in character, it always bugs me when somebody tells a recently traumatized character "Don't think about [your recent trauma]." It is completely unhelpful.

Of course, with the lack of licensed therapists in most Standard Fantasyland trade caravans, I can sort of see where they wouldn't feel they had a lot of options.

For a shortish installment, this sure took a while to lay out. Still not sure why, but I'm eager to get going on the next installment. Largo's getting behind on real adventure. It's almost time for him to catch up on that front.


A Sudden Need To Leave, Proper Disposal Of Dead Bodies, And A Moral Dilemma )

Part 5
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Part 1 - With Index

All right, I think I got this set up right. I've been looking forward to this bit, so getting it formatted right wasn't too terrible. Menace is always fun to write!

It's a bit shorter this time. But hey, Nolly finally gets to see some magic, so that should be interesting ...


In Which Secrets Are Revealed, And Then Shit Gets Real )

On to Part 4!
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First, if you haven't read it yet, enjoy Part 1

I'd just like to say that this may be the first time the traditional Big Dumb Jock Rival has ever made fun of Our Hero for not being as big a reader as he himself is. Somebody ought to write that down.

Remember, kids, before inciting a mob, you should always make sure you have all the facts.


Scatterstone Part 2 - Cooking As Diplomacy, Realistic Dreams, Possible Trolls, And Mobs With Poor Senses Of Direction )
On to Part 3!
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Part 1 - You Are Here
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14 (Final)

Okay, y'all, I can't take it any more.

Since grade school I've had this fantasy world in my head. ---Well, actually , I have quite a few worlds in my head, but this one is my Playtime Universe. It tends to catch whatever random story critters don’t fit into my other worlds--plant-based fairies, volcanic pirates, hyper-religious trolls, cetacean merfolk, mind-melded dragons, and wingèd giants. Naturally, it wasn't long before a whole shireload of hobbits stumbled into it.

Having a bunch of little hobbits crashing around in your head is pretty entertaining, but their stories so far have only been fragments. AWESOME fragments, but still. Fragments.

And then suddenly my brain was all like DAMMIT LET US WRITE THE REST OF THIS DOWN. And that seemed like a good idea, so I obeyed my brain, and I am in fact writing them down.

Except now my brain has taken it a step further. Now it's hollering AND THEN YOU SHOULD POST IT ON YOUR BLOG.

So I think I will. And you lucky bastards get to put up with it.

Given that this is a perpetual work in progress and only done for my own entertainment, I'm not really sure if this'll go anywhere. But who am I to argue with the inscrutable exhortations of my soul? Not to mention all the darn hobbit feet stomping on my brain.

I would also just like to say that I now know more about the perilous, disaster-laced history of matches than I ever thought even existed. Good lord, the things you take for granted here in these modern times.

So anyway. Meet the hobbitses.


Scatterstone Part 1 - Caravans, Wanderlust, Witchcraft, And The Unexpected Saving Grace Of Apple Butter )

Part 2


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July 2016

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