talonkarrde: (young wizards)

For Rose

---


Nita said the five words and took a careful step, and then another, dodging the breakers and running over the water towards the Made Rocks. Kit had said something about investigating a hotspot before she fell asleep, she thought, but
she didn't quite remember why she had to be there.

As she got closer, though, she realized that it was getting a bit lighter with every step she took. The sun wasn’t getting brighter, exactly – it was more than everywhere was getting brighter. And once she she realized what it was, she smiled and doubled her efforts to get to the old fishing platform. She hadn’t been here in awhile – but the trip, when the Powers granted it, was always worth it.


In the distance, on the platform, she would’ve sworn that something was even brighter yet, even though everything was reaching a level of luminescence that would have made the sun dim – and Nita would know, having been up close and personal with it more than once. After experiencing Timeheart a few times, Nita had learned to stare into the brightness instead of away from it. But this brightness was something else – it kept moving, for one, which is not something most lights did.

Nita suddenly realized who it was and broke into a run, sliding a bit on the water but ignoring that, grinning madly and shouting a greeting, almost tempted to try and hug the spark, the white hole that accompanied her first journey as a wizard.

“Fred!”

(Dear Artificer,) Fred said, doing a figure eight in midair, the equivalent of a grin. (I've blown my quanta and gone to the Good Place!)

“Freddd!” Nita said again, drawing the name out in response to the teasing as the white hole bobbed a tight spiral in what was a big smile.

(You're here too soon again, you know,) he said kindly to her, the words coming across as light, dancing across her skin in a way that was almost ticklish.

"I know, Fred. I’m just visiting; something Kit said last night drew me here. Remembering, I guess, what I used to be. Maybe it will be important tomorrow?”

(There are no accidents, you know. Even back then – you were so young and eager. And you cared very much - about that pen, about doing the right thing, about Kit too. You’re older now, but no less caring.) Fred wove tight circles around her, pulsing happily against her skin.

She blushed a bit, not sure what to say about that, and then looked around them. She could see for miles under the sea and across the sky; in the distance, Manhattan was a pristine crystal palace. Then she looked back at him and frowned a bit, remembering all of their losses and repeating her question from the first meeting. “Was it worth it, Fred? You told me to find out, and we’ve…we’ve changed things for the better. But was it worth it?"

He laughed and emitted light that went across through the entire electromagnetic spectrum, a pure whoop of joy. Nita felt her hair stand up and grinned; he always did forget about the high frequency radiation, though it didn’t matter here.

(It's always worth it, Nita. Look.) And Fred bobbed towards the surface of water, where a sharp grey fin much larger than normal was making a wave more commonly seen behind motorboats.

Normally, Nita would've started saying in her mind the three word spell that would've created a physical wall, protecting herself from the mindless hunger of the shark, but this was Timeheart, after all. And even if it hadn’t been, she knew this particular shark very well, and dove into the water without second thought, canceling her water-walking spell as she went. She wasn't surprised to find that it took only a thought and she had transformed into a humpback again; the eyes on opposite sides of her head, her binocular vision reduced to a couple degrees.

But humpbacks didn’t need to see: Nita didn’t dally as she sang an effusive hello to Ed, rolling on her back and offering her belly in a greeting that only held for a few seconds before she surged forward, singing constantly in her giddiness.

"Hello, Sprat," his voice came, dry as always, his eyes still as dark as night and yet alive with the light that was all around them.

"Ed! What’s it like, Ed?" She even nudged him a bit in her mix of relief and worry, feeling the rough shark skin against the her smooth
rubber of a humpback like the handshake of an old friend. "Did we do right? Do you ever regret-"

"Sprat, you almost sound distressed." His sandpaper voice against her skin was a feeling Nita hadn't felt for years, a feeling that she desperately missed. "You've been here many times now, and you still ask?"

"Well," she fluked backwards rapidly, a whale's embarrassed gesture. "I'm just...asking, Ed. I'm…worried."

Ed bumped her in the snout then, harder than Kit would have, a reminder as to who he was. Timeheart or not, the Master Shark still had and performed his duties. He swam in a circle around Nita, his passionless eyes reminding her that he never changed. And yet…"Before we sang, Sprat, I remarked that I would never hear that which the Blues sing of - the Voices of the Ocean, the Tranquility of the Seas. Now I have."

"Did we-" she started to ask. But this was Timeheart, and she was thinking it so hard, so desperately, that he opened his jaw, showing her the teeth that could have ripped her apart and reminding her again of his creed. "The Sea tells me the price was paid by willing substitution, Sprat. And willing it was. You, young and now loving; I, old and now loved. I am not sorry for what happened." He swam under her and nudged her again, upwards. "Timeheart waits, Nita. But there is still distress out there, distress to be cured."

"Thank you, Ed." She said, singing gently and quietly. She fluked downwards, once, twice, to brush against him one more time, to remind herself of the price - and the reward - of serving the Powers That Be. Ed drew away and then stopped, rolling to display his belly to her - only
for a second, of course, but it was done. And then, calmly as always, he turned and swam away, a dark shadow that grew lighter every moment as he returned to the Sea.

When she could no longer see him, she swam for the light above, heading towards the surface as it got brighter, and brighter still, and finally woke up to the morning sun on her face and the sound of her dad and Dairine downstairs, arguing about what soil composition would be best for Filif.

She smiled, grabbed her manual, and paged through it, feeling the buzz and already knowing what she'd find.

Delayed Temporalspatial Message from Rodriguez, K. Accept?

Yes, she thought, and the notice cleared, replaced with two lines.

Hey, Neets, I was thinking we'd go over some of the undersea samples again -
There's weird power signature in it. Maybe get a chance to talk to S’reee again?”


She got dressed in a hurry and then opened her bedroom door to listen to the conversation - apparently they had moved on to the behavior of Spot...which meant they wouldn’t miss her anytime soon.

Nita smiled to herself, dropped her manual into the otherspace pocket, and disappeared in a clap of air.


talonkarrde: (Default)
‘Chat is either droughts of silence punctuated by moments of activity, or bouts of activity interspersed with undisturbed peace’. There's so much drama in chat - sometimes friendly drama, where we're all supportive of someone having problems with parent(s), and sometimes nasty fight drama, perhaps over a religious issue or someone’s relationship...or even just random play drama, because we don’t get enough of the real thing, we pretend it, and laugh as the newbies get scared.

And I wonder what we share in common that makes us gravitate to and participate in such a thing. Granted, some people dislike the drama that occurs. But even those that hate it have ways of dealing with it that don’t include leaving – perhaps they watch, perhaps they try and defuse the tension – but when a fight breaks out, it never ends with everyone but the fighters leaving; in fact, usually it’s the fighters who leave, and everyone else that remains commenting.

It’s not that drama is good, but rather that all of us have become accustomed to it in some way. But why is there such drama here, at youngwizards.net? I have been part of the Harry Potter fandom (please don’t crucify me) as well as a RP group and various other groups, but I never see this kind of activity.

In HP, posts would be arguments for or against various ships or meanings – here, it really doesn’t seem to be an issue, though I’ve never seen an up-to-date poll on who likes Kit or Ronan more. And as for other, smaller groups, they tend to be very morphable, finding and losing new members enough that almost everyone is unrecognizable in a few months. But we remain here – a group of twenty regulars who stay as boulders in a river and watch as the newbies float in and out around us, and occasionally get hooked and stay. I was one of those newbies…as were we all.

But the fact is that we don’t argue about the books – indeed, we hardly ever talk about the books. What we talk about is ourselves. A complete read-through of the ToGR thread could probably give any newbie a great deal of insight on the regulars – and past-regulars – here. Even the conversations with Diane Duane herself are punctuated, if not focused on, how regular life is going/has gone since the last chat. And sometimes, of course, chat becomes a part of regular life, and drama strikes.

Perhaps the drama is the cause of youth and immaturity? The average age seems rather low, with members as old as 10 or 12 frequenting chat(though some ten or thirteen year olds are more mature than those five years older…), but most of the members are in their teenage years. As such, much of the drama has been the usual teenage drama – but even that isn’t something I haven’t seen in communities.

There's been more than a few making and breaking of relationships between us, and many fights and then make-ups, something that I have not seen elsewhere. It was easy to leave a HP community because no one really cared who stayed or left; there were so many, and even easier to leave smaller communities because everyone was gone after two months. But this community holds its members, old and young, in age and membership.

And why? For those of you that stay, what compels you to stay? We all know that chat or the forum can be so wretchedly boring/annoying sometimes (and sometimes I contribute to those states)...and yet we stay. I’ve been told that ToGR used to get almost continual updates – and now it is updated perhaps once a day. And yet the oldbies stay. Even after long fights with someone else, even after temporary bannings and internet withholdings. We come back, we make up, and life goes on.

Why do I stay? For the people. I stay for the friends and the opponents, the drama and the silence, the sheer life we share. There is bad drama, yes, but there are moments of sheer giddiness, where you thank whatever deity that you do or don’t believe in that led you to brothers and sisters of the spirit.

Moments like when it’s really late and everyone helps one of us past a crisis and then collectively breathe a sigh of relief. Moments like when you typo something and fight to correct it before someone else does, just because you know them well enough to know that they will. Moments like when chat is scrolling faster than you can read and some newbie is going ‘what’s going on here?’ and you’re too busy to respond because you’re keeping it going except to say, ‘don’t worry’. Moments like when we all sit around to listen to the latest crush or funny story. And more moments, an infinite number of them.

While the newbies may be annoyingly newbieish sometimes, we have a community here that is as vibrant (and quirky) as anything I could dream of …and the foundation is that we were all newbies once, but we stayed, and learned, and gradually made the transition to the people we are now. And that is the advice I would give to any newbie that wants to join us in these hallowed cornerless rooms of chat. Stay and learn – don’t change yourself to whatever others want you to be, but keep an open mind and open ears. Oh, and spelling and grammar are always appreciated, if not required.

What has my tenure here held?

In these nine months I've made some friends (and perhaps an enemy or two), started a relationship, and caused a fair bit of drama on my own - but I think if I look back after five or ten years and someone asks me, "How did you become who you are today?" I would say many things.

But I would also say, "Because of a forum and a chatroom. Not completely changed because of them, nor changed only by them and no others. But I have been changed by bannings and break-ups, arguments and relationships. And it has been worth the while. I have talked with myths and argued with clones. I have philosophized with flowers and watched games of dragons made by young ones. I have helped them out, hopefully, because they have helped me.
A mathfreak taught me friendship, a painted bird taught me serenity, a clone taught me respect, a villikuka taught me empathy, and a mermaid has made all the difference.”

And then I would look at them and go, “And do you wish to meet them?” and introduce them to the site.

What does the future hold for us? If I knew, then it would no longer be surprising and unique; and that would take all the fun out of it. All that I know is that it will be dramatic, fun, and there truly will be an ErrantryCon con one day, and we will meet each other not as new faces, but as old friends.

A popular phrase goes, “Live for the nights you will never remember, and the friends you will never forget.” I disagree. I won’t forget the friends I’ve made here, but I also will never forget some of the nights.


---

I would appreciate it if you guys composed responses or similar memoirs of what you've taken away and the experiences you've had. I don't want this to just be a stand-alone piece.

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talonkarrde

March 2017

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