Friday, November 15, 2013

It's :EL

This is the story of two cultures coming together, told by one of them. It's the story of one proud and old culture, making the most of everything on their land, and so using precious little of it to get by. And it's the story of a bustling, revitalizing culture that couldn't get enough of the world, and so bridged its rivers and sailed its oceans.

Let's call the proud and old culture _____. They were the first to discover government, and chart the seasons and subvert the rain to feed all. _____ barely recognize what they live on top of. This is a story of _____ staring gratefully from their shores as the bustling, revitalizing culture proves to them that they are not alone under this endless and unfeeling sky. It's the greatest moment in their history. Sure their ignorance causes some _____ to die off from a disease or accidental dispute, but they're ecstatic.

Let's call the bustling, revitalizing culture *****. ***** are as ecstatic as _____ are about not being alone on this cold planet, and to find a people who live on such rich mineral deposits and resources. Rich mineral deposits and resources that _____ barely know are there, the very sorts of stuff ***** had to leave their homes abroad due to scarcity of. ***** generously assist _____ in mining and harvesting their resources, teaching them how to do it quickly, hastily, even riskily, because _____ are so happy to help their new neighbors from across the ocean. Soon _____ perform nearly all the labor out of love for *****, who they see as brothers. ***** say that _____ always saw them as brothers.

This is a story about a bond that lasts a hundred lifetimes. Harvesting the minerals is caustic to the human body, and so the healthiest and youngest ***** become sicker, and the _____ have to find ways to comfort and motivate them. _____ use their superior education to tell ***** when to eat, and where to live, and which customs are best to keep following as their cultures move forward. ***** are grateful for ______’s lessons in government, but take governing over for them, and subvert the rain to feed all who need feeding rather than carelessly feeding all.

Soon ***** live in the highest towers ever built, and more of their people sail hither to enjoy the spoils of _____’s minerals, and to watch _____ at labor, even if _____’s productivity has fallen behind for reasons that don't bear recording.

Soon _____'s numbers dwindle until they are difficult to record, too.

This is the story about a culture that embraced another, and worked itself to the bone of its own accord, and when it died, it did so thanking the outsiders for having shown it how to live. ***** will never forget the people who used to live here, even if they can't remember their names.

17 comments:

  1. Hmm it's a story about progress and expansion isn't it? ^_^ Very clever writing John!

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  2. I like it, especially since it's so appropriately seasonal without actually being a "Thanksgiving story". Did you switch around _______ and ****** in the last three paragraphs though? Or is my brain just slow because it's morning?

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    1. I did indeed, and have since fixed it. Sorry about the ridiculous error. Sort of ruins the gimmick!

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  3. Inventive if a little challenging for me to read early in the morning. It seems like there's a reversal of _____ and ***** from 3rd paragraph, but I could be confused.

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  4. I have always had a difficult time reading symbols instead of words in such work but this one seemed much easier - I just called _____ blank and ****** star. :) I like the idea of the form though as it shows how little it matters what either of them are called (which I presume was your intention). Good job John!

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    1. I endorse that nomenclature for these cultures! I was hoping the symbols being so different would help guide the gimmick a little bit.

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  5. The "*****" and "_____" reminds me of some 19th century lit, where the authors blotted out place names. "The vicar of B--- did this and that, and a few other things besides." I suppose it was a way to, as you've done here, deliver the message without getting bogged down in international politics. ;-) It's difficult to avoid substituting certain names in here, though!

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  6. Oh, and I just got the significance of ":EL" --- very clever!

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    1. It was one of those things I just had to use.

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  7. Well done. Maybe I'm just biased, but that seems like a sad story to me.

    The Warrior Muse

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  8. Saddened me did this one John, I can't help but take the side of the exploited.

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  9. Even as a cautionary tale, this has a creepy feel to it.

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  10. This is like a happy version of a Lovecraft story of the Great Old Ones. The symbols were like shorthand for the names we were Not Meant to Know.

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