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[EM Fiction] At the Margins

Discussion in 'UO Atlantic' started by EMTiberies, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. EMTiberies

    EMTiberies Journeyman

    Nov 14, 2011
    Likes Received:
    [[This is fiction to give a glimpse of day to day life in Britannia. Some of this may be reflected in-game at some point, for example you may see some of these characters show up in an event or two or three. Please feel free to contribute your own stories of day-to-day life in Britannia, either here or elsewhere.]]


    Adventurers' knowledge of Britannia, it could be fairly stated, was often wide, but not often deep. Adventurers saw a lot of their land. They saw something of the local color, they even occasionally could learn the local dialects, local patterns of dress, and could fit in if they wished to. For awhile, at least.

    But, that's a lot different than living on the ground with the common folk. Many of those who fretted about artifact prices, and the size of the plots for their fancy houses, and who has the better suit of armor, may have once upon a time had to worry about where the next meal was coming from, but some never did at all, and even those who once had to, had to no longer.

    For most Britannians, however, those worries never left.

    And it was those people who truly suffered without a strong central government. To the adventurers, whose whose stories we read and celebrate, those were the people at the margins. But even those at the margins have their own cares, their own responsibilities, their own stories.
  2. EMTiberies

    EMTiberies Journeyman

    Nov 14, 2011
    Likes Received:
    In Vesper

    Take, for example, Jared, the Bank Guard of Vesper, and this incident from his life which took place just before the rioting began.

    Day in, day out, he watched the adventurers fill million gold checks, so casually. They would complain about how little a million gold was these days. “Give some to me,” he'd think to himself. “That's still enough to feed my family for years! It's about 5 years' pay! And a Bank Guard is skilled work!”

    He'd think this, but he'd never say it. And he'd surely never do anything about it, or so he thought.

    But Jared's old friend, Jasper, wasn't like Jared. Jasper did stuff. Bad stuff. And it'd been getting worse. Jasper fancied himself a criminal, but he was none-too-successful at it. Fortunately he was better at running away than he was at the actual crime. Jasper hadn't hurt anyone yet but it was only a matter of time. The other day he'd robbed a family near the bank and the family's young son was nearly cut down in the ensuing struggle with the Town Guards. Jasper had escaped.

    “Hey, Jared!” Jasper whispered to his friend from the shadows. Jared's shift had just ended. He was tired. He wanted to get home. His wife was baking pie. His armor, which sometimes the adventurers found it necessary to laugh at, felt heavy.

    “What is it, Jasper.” Jared sounded about as tired as he was; from working, and of Jasper's increasingly dangerous antics. Sooner or later, Jared knew, his friendship with Jasper would be discovered, and Jared'd be in trouble.

    “Not out there!”

    Jared sighed and followed his friend into shadows of Vesper. Under a bridge, Jasper emerged from the shadows.

    “This better be good, Jasper.”

    “Oh, it is. I guess they don't value these things as much as they used to,” said Jasper, and he showed his wrist to Jared. On Jasper's wrist was a bracelet. There was no mistaking it: It was a brand new, unused, undyed, uncursed, Ornament of the Magician.

    “Jasper! That's millions! At least twenty, even now! They'll notice that missing!”

    “Oh, hush, Jared. This was a rich fellow, he could replace it, or better it, easily. You should see some of the stuff they're pulling out of Shame these days!”

    Neither Jasper nor Jared knew that this Ornament was the only significant possession of the wearer; he had been intending on selling it to buy a good suit of armor, which he needed infinitely more than any specific bracelet. He'd been wearing it to feel good; when he saw it had been stolen he felt good no longer.

    “But it's still wrong to steal!” exclaimed Jared.

    Isn't it funny how easily people fall back onto false moral questions when they don't know the right answers to the practical questions they should be asking? Jared, unthinkingly, had agreed with Jasper that the Ornament was nothing, could be easily replaced, when neither was true.

    Jasper laughed at his old friend. “Oh come on Jared. Haven't you figured it out yet?”

    “Figured what out!”

    “The Virtues are dead. They died a long time ago and the government made it seem like they were alive when they weren't. Like....Like a fake necromancy. They didn't keep the Virtues alive, just kept their image up. Sure, Dawn believed the lie, like those Fellowship Knights or the Crux Anasta Knights seem to, and Casca didn't believe it, but it's the same thing. Both just kept up the lie. But now, guess what? No government. So no Virtues, no illusion. Now we can see things how they really are. Honesty's one of the Virtues, isn't it? Seeing things as they really are?”

    What frightened Jared was that he didn't know how to respond. He felt there was no refutation to his friend's words.

    Jasper continued. “No Virtues, no Kings. All that matters now is us. Us here on the ground, us here, living at the margins, and how we're going to survive. That's Honesty, right there. Honesty to admit that. A bunch of us have been talking.”

    “Who? And talking about what?”

    Jared suddenly seemed all guard-like again to Jasper, he'd sounded almost human for a few minutes, and Jasper laughed again. “You sure you want to hear about this old friend?”


    “A bunch of us have been talking.....About a new way to be. A new way to survive. A new way to prosper. A new way to get what we need, what we want.”

    Jared didn't know the specifics yet, but he knew he wanted to know more, and he knew that in the wanting, he'd already made his choice.

    Jared came home very late and ate his pie cold.
  3. Bon Iver

    Bon Iver Rares Fest Host | Atl Sept 2011 & June 2013

    Jan 17, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Sorry but whatever happened to the event Bennu was supposed to have this week??
  4. Faeryl

    Faeryl Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Alumni

    May 23, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Have patience! *pokes with a stick*
  5. EMTiberies

    EMTiberies Journeyman

    Nov 14, 2011
    Likes Received:
    In Moonglow

    Or like this story, which took place in Moonglow, more recently. After the rioting had begun.

    The whole point of the city-based Virtues system was that none of the cities could fairly claim supremacy. Not in Virtue, not in independence, not in economy, not in anything. They all needed each other's uniqueness, and the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.

    Every city had something, more often than not several somethings, to contribute to the whole. Moonglow, among other things, had the Lycaeum, the most-famous school of everything, including both magic and Virtue. Moonglow, therefore, should have especially-known that it was but one of many, part of a whole, and neither greater nor less than any other parts.

    But, without a center the margins could cluster around, even Moonglow, even the faculty of the Lycaeum, had started to forget that they were part of something. And, it seemed, their new curriculum was tailored to making sure that future generations of students would also forget.

    The faculty's intent in instituting the new curriculum, or so they said, was to ensure that unity, through Virtue, survived as the realm broke apart.

    But the content of that curriculum would have raised many eyebrows in the capital, had there been enough of a central government left, beyond petty and squabbling nobles, to pay much attention. The new curriculum flatly declared the supremacy of Moonglow, as the home of knowledge of the Virtues and of pretty much everything, over the other cities. It declared the supremacy of Honesty over the other Virtues. Indeed, Honesty was to be taught as the cornerstone of the Virtue System. This was a near-heresy to how the Virtues had been taught hitherto, which had Humility as the cornerstone, lest one take Pride in Virtue, and thus lose Virtue.

    And Lord Blackthorn's Chaos was to be no longer taught at the Lycaeum at all. Erased from official history.

    “This,” the one dissenter among the faculty complained in at the curriculum meeting, “is taking Pride in our Virtue. And that is the the worst Sin there is.” Professor Yusef Ad-Din agreed; this was Pride at best, madness at worst.

    “It is written that one should take no Pride in one's Virtue,” said Professor Ad-Din, “lest one lose it.”

    “Oh nonsense,” one of the other Professors said, condescendingly. It didn't matter which one it was; to the dissenters, to Professor Ad-Din and his colleague, the majority all seemed to have one voice on this. One voice was as good as another. “You can still teach what you want in your own classrooms, of course. But collectively we must speak with Honesty!” A direct but exceedingly polite assault on the dissenters' Virtue. “Honesty is respect for Truth. And this? This is Truth.”

    “No,” said Professor Ad-Din, “it is Pride. If there is one thing I know, my friends, it is Pride when I see it. I saw it in the mirror for years, and it kept me from fulfilling my fondest wishes.”

    “Nonsense,” said another colleague. The same dismissive word the other had used. “Of course we are superior. We possess, and pass on, the knowledge of the Virtues. None are greater than we. Honesty means we must, finally, admit that. The raiders are here because they are jealous of our knowledge and they wish to see it,”

    “The raiders are everywhere,” Professor Ad-Din countered. “Not just here.”

    None paid heed. Their minds were all made up. “We are the center,” someone else asserted. “The other Virtues, the other cities, they exist only at the margins. The center must be strong or the margins will fall away.”

    Professor Ad-Din and the other dissenter continued to protest, and a few other brave voices joined theirs, but they were clearly out-voted. The majority, it must be said, were more polite than one would expect as they quieted the dissenters down and voted in the curriculum. It did not pass unanimously, but it was not a close vote either.

    Ironically that first vocal dissenter was robbed and murdered by a raider not long after the curriculum vote. The raider got all of 50 gold pieces, enough for a few loaves of bread, out of the crime.

    His colleagues, in their memories, decided he had supported them all along.
  6. Queen Arya

    Queen Arya Rares Fest Host | Atl Sept 2011 & June 2013
    Governor Stratics Veteran

    Oct 30, 2009
    Likes Received:
    In Jhelom-The Seven Sisters

    Seems like just yesterday we took a holiday to visit the giving tree in skara.
    It was so festive, the crowds were laughing and cheering. Our moods were so light and hearty. We shared our best recipes and grog with the multitudes.

    Woken out of reverie from a loud noise outside in the streets of Jhelom, Macie ran to the shuttered windows to peak out the split in the wood and noticed yet again rioters throwing trash in the streets and yelling they cant make ends meet.

    This was always our signal to gather the pre made care baskets to share and comfort our neighbors.

    Mattie, Melise and Merle you grab those extra blankets, as Minda sprints past holding the bottles of milk and wine that were stowed near the door to head us off and chant our special prayer we recite upon every occurance of an up rising that seem to happen more frequent these days.

    Help us to understand and cope, give us the strength and the wisdom to bring sense and calm to these angered people.

    Misty and Marttie are the more athletic of the seven, they have the training to subdue the more wiley and stubborn rioters, who will be taken to jail for the night. As always they are well prepared with the ropes and weapons and are the first out the door to bring order on our streets.

    The word from the crowd tonight was concerning Moonglow and the Professors from the Lyceaum. It is almost hard to believe Adamu took his studies from these same professors.

    Looking back almost a year ago at Adamu's graduation, the seven of us all laughing at one of Adamu's magic tricks. Many of the towns people from every
    part of britainia were in attendance. With food a plenty and spirits high, of course with a promise of a King making all the difference in our moods.

    It saddens me to think of our Pa sharing cups and in deep discussions with Addie over the affairs of our country. I often wonder if Adamu had a sense back then of this coming dispair. It was he that gave us the idea to start our own bartering system.

    We call it the Seven Sisters Inn. Everyone seemed to think our family a little off, what with seven girls all with names starting with the letter "M". I often wonder what my parents were thinking. The Inn did seem to be the answer with this big ole house and all. Each sister being trained in one of the arts.

    I remember crying when it was my turn to take training as a Crux Knight. All said and done the seven of us are a force to be reckoned with. It did little tho when it came to saving our Pa's life during a bad trade with that Orcish caravan. A lesson well learned said the Sheriff and many of the towns people.

    Our bartering system is keeping the town of Jhelom somewhat healthier then many of our neighboring cities. Of course most of our trades are still done in secret and often times in the wee hours of the morning.

    I do believe a message does need to be sent to Adamu, with this next caravan due in a couple weeks, we will need his advice on how to proceed.
    We will all meet sometime soon I am sure of it.