Sunday, June 27, 2004

Another Mavarin (several, actually)

As noted below, from time to time I check the word "Mavarin" in Google, partly to see which of my blogs and web pages and postings turn up, partly to see what real-world uses of my made-up place name may exist.

Major appearances of the word that don't come from my brain include:

A "Luxury" French Chalet near Mont Blanc.

A person named Marc-André Varin (M A Varin), marketing director of the Palais des congrès de Montréal (Montréal Convention Centre).

A cape that juts into the Bering Sea from (I think) Alaska.

An untranslated word in a bilingual poem in French and Mégevan patois. The Google translation of this page is quite wonderful nonsense. I originally posted two paragraphs of it here because I love it so much, but I think you should really follow the link and see for yourself. Best line: "Sometimes, of 1 small air rascal/She begins to move the Kidneys."

The untranslated original is attributed as "a 'bilingual' song created by the group 'Memories mégevans' in January 1999". © Jean-Marc Lord 1998-2004. The song mentions Megeve, the place in the French Alps where the Chalet Mavarin is.

It seems to me that a search used to turn up a non-English Harry Potter fanfic story also, but I don't see that now.

There's one more Mavarin I know about. My friend Sara Geer is working on a novel in which, as it happens:

"Mavarin is the daughter of Marlin, a pirate from the Island. ... She ends up running river trade on the mainland when she grows up due to some favors he does for Nia during this novel, and she's known as the Pirate Queen of the three rivers."

That's enough. Good night.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

Name change

I noticed on Google that the term "Otherworlds" (or OtherWorlds) is used extensively in gaming and other sf/fantasy communities. To avoid confusion, I've changed the name of this journal.

There is still an "otherworlds" spell used by characters in Mages of Mâvarin, which lends its name to the concept of these journal entries being mostly written by characters from other realities, usually the ones with Mâvarin in them.

In a related Google search, I see there is now a Mavarin chalet resort in France.


Otherworld Book Excerpt: from The Book of Alef

The following is a fictional excerpt from a nonexistent religious text, part of the beliefs of most Mâvarinû. It should not be construed as an endorsement or condemnation of any real-world belief or practice,except as a general parable about understanding vs. self-aggrandizing power. - KFB

Alef and Varshti were talking with Lokvanishmû.

"The Lord is eternal, but our lives are short," Varshti said. "By the time we get to know each other at all, our mortal lives are over."

"There is still the Afterworld," Alef said. "This is when we grow closer to the Lord."

"Why not just go there to start with, then?" Varshti asked.

"The Afterworld is not a place for beginnings," the Lord said. "Would you learn to farm and ride before you learn to walk and talk?"

"Will you tell us about the Afterworld, at least?" Alef asked.

"You cannot understand it until you are there," the Lord said.

"And once we are there, we cannot come back here," Varshti said.

"I did not say that," said the Lord.

"Let me have an immortal life, Lord," Varshti said. "Let me come and go between this world and the next, and never sicken or die. That way you will have a friend through all time."

"If I do as you say, will you indeed be my friend? Or will you decide you are a god yourself?" the Lord asked.

"I will be your friend and servant," Varshti promised.

"Let it be so," the Lord said. “And what of you, Alef? Do you wish to be immortal like your brother?"

"You have already promised immortality in the Afterworld, Lord," Alef said. "I am content that you have ordered things as they should be. I ask only to know and understand you and your creation better."

"Your desire shall also be granted," the Lord said. “Yours is the better request.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Otherworld Journal Entry #8: Rani Fost

Art by Sherlock

Moneldu, 5th Day of Dortem, 896 MMY

All week I've been having strange dreams, full of bright colors, odd smells and strange emotions. Maybe if I write about them, they'll leave me alone, or I can at least figure out what they mean. If I weren't already apprenticed, and if my mom would let me go--which she wouldn't--it would be time for me to travel to the holy mountains, to dream about what the Gods want me to do with my life. Maybe they've sent me the dream without my having to make the trip. If so, I sure don't know what they're trying to tell me.

I'm not quite certain, but I think it's all the same dream, or the same fragments of dreams, over and over. I don't know whether I dream every part of it every night, or in the same order, but it's all starting to seem pretty familiar.

Here's what I remember:

The first thing that usually happens is that I find a silver sword stuck in a tree along the river, almost as if the sword grew from the tree. It's a nice sword, sharp and shiny, only buried about an inch into the wood. I pull it out and put it in my pocket. (I know that's impossible, but that's what I do in the dream.) The tree comes crashing down into the river, and catches fire. Instead of putting out the fire, the whole river burns for a minute or so as flames spread through the water. While it lasts, it's very hot, and I worry that I'll burn, too.

Then I see a tengrem galloping toward me. It looks just the way I expect it to look, based on Shela's songs, except that it's wearing a green hat with a red feather in it. I pull the silver sword out of my pocket and kill the tengrem. It's easy--one stroke and its head comes off. I take the hat and put it on.

Suddenly I'm surrounded by all the people I know: Del and Crel and their uncle, Shela of course, Bil and Jord and my mother, Farni and his parents -- well, everybody. I hold up the tengrem's head to show them what I've done. Instead of praising my bravery, my skill or strength or even my good luck, they all start yelling at me, as if I did something terrible. I want to ask them why they're angry, but when I open my mouth no words come out. My mother shakes her head and turns away. The others turn their backs on me, too, and walk away muttering.

In the part of the dream that usually comes last, I'm standing alone, except that I'm surrounded by nature. I can actually smell fur and feathers, from the rabbits and squirrels on the ground and the birds in the bushes and trees. I hear the movement of water over rocks, the rustle of foraging animals, wind in the trees, and the songs of birds and insects. It all feels right to me, as if this is my world, and nothing else matters. Gradually I sink into the ground, until I'm part of everything I see and hear and smell, and I don't have a body of my own.

That's when I tend to wake up, just as I've become part of nature and discovered that I don't really mind no longer having hands and feet and so on. The last thing I see, looking out through the eyes of all those birds and animals and insects, is Del, walking to where my body used to be and calling my name.

No, it doesn't help. I still don't know what it means.

Otherworld Journal Entry #7: Shela Cados

Art by Sherlock

from the travel diary of Shela Cados

Sabedu, 14th Day of Dortem, 896 MMY

We have arrived at Tengremay, a refuge several hours' travel north of Mâshelamar. It is owned and maintained by Meligor, who is both a mage and a tengrem. Neither Lord Peli nor Albi knows of any tengrem mages other than our current host.

Within moments of our arrival, Meligor's divination talent compromised my current mission. Meligor publicly addressed my kinsman by his proper title, thus revealing his identity to anyone in our party who did not already know it. Lord Peli agrees with me that this is a dangerous turn of events, but Meligor seems unconcerned, as does Albi. Although he was initially discomfited, my kinsman rose to the situation, acknowledging Meligor's words with grace and honesty. Already I see in him the person he will become, if he survives both the ongoing political situation and our current troubles.

My personal relationship with Lord Peli grows more cordial and intimate each day. Charting our future together, if any, is problematic, both logistically and emotionally. However, neither of us is inclined to turn away. We each know our responsibilities, and we will discharge them; yet we will allow our romance to proceed to the extent that it does not interfere with those duties. It is a delicate balance to strike, especially at such a dangerous time. To employ the informal vernacular that Peli occasionally uses in private, I hope this isn't a mistake!

Monday, June 14, 2004

Otherworld Journal Entry #6: Baku Dener

Art by Sherlock
(Note: This entry goes with the second book.)

Excerpt from Baku Dener’s Business and Travel Diary

Thaledu, 9th Day of Ranosem, 897 MMY

Hired an amnesiac today for the first leg of the spring trip. Pay: 3 cr. / week. Duties: packing, lifting, firewood, dishes, guard, possible entertainment (singing, stories., etc.).

It’s not clear how he came to be in Cavern 14, but he thinks he’s from T’mar. He’s terrified of magic, which isn’t surprising. What else but magic would cause his abrupt dislocation and damaged memory? Tunli didn’t find any sign of a head injury.

Bora thinks our new employee and overnight house guest is one of the Heroes of the R. It’s hard to say for sure. The name he gave me--which he’s since forgotten—doesn’t match any of the names in the ballads. Still, he referred to the Queen by her old name, as if he knew her. Besides, if he were nobody important, why would anyone do this to him?

He’ll be coming with us as far as Hemlarbeth, where, we hope, selmûn healers will be able to help him. It’s a little embarrassing how grateful he is for our assistance. After all, he’s going to be paying his way in labor, and possibly in entertainment value. It will be good to have someone different to talk to on the long trip, someone who hasn’t heard all our stories before. He’s a nice enough fellow, what there is of him. It’s hard to say exactly what he’s like as a person, when he doesn’t know himself. We’ll have to see how things develop on the road, but I doubt very much that we’ll regret bringing him along.

Otherworld Journal Entry #5: King Jor

Art by Sherlock

From The Memoirs of King Jor:
Chapter 12: My New Home

It wasn’t really a palace. I knew that as soon as I saw it. I never quite forgot that bitter truth--almost, toward the end, but not quite.

The less-than-palatial building before me was made of wood, probably oak, not stone or brick. The single tower on top was short and boxy, and tilted a little to the left. Worst of all, Calezundi had ordered some tengremen to paint the whole thing an unnatural bright pink. I could tell that tengremen had done the work, because several of them had left tufts of blond and brown and black fur in the paint.

To be honest, I didn’t really care that the fake castle in the middle of Gathmak was meant to mock me. The important thing was that it was a building, with walls and a roof and not so much getting wet if it rained. After many weeks on the back roads of Mâvarin, my hands tied together, the only full human in the company of tengremen, a roof and walls represented a definite improvement.

It was true that I would still be a prisoner, but what of it? I had nowhere else to go, not any more. My wife was dead. My children (so I thought) were dead. My cousin Richi had died of a fever three years before, and his sister, Bete, had married the king of Fãrnet at a time when Mâvarin’s order of succession had been less in doubt. Now there was only me, and I no longer deserved to rule Mâvarin. Why not stay here, I thought, and let Nishi Awer rule in my place? He would do no worse than I at the job.

My captors laid a foot-wide wooden board across a sludgy green moat. I started across it alone. Strange eyes peered up at me from the moat. The eyes lay atop the head of a twenty-foot-long green monster I later came to know as Monte the alligator. I walked to the end of the board as steadily as possible, until I came to a wooden platform in front of an unpainted door with crooked hinges. I stepped off the board, and the tengremen pulled it away. (Years later, Canda and Cort built me a real drawbridge for my birthday. It wasn’t terribly big or especially well-made, but it was better than the board.)

I opened the door. It was rather dark inside, but I saw an armchair and a bed, and a small bit of brown that was probably a rug. The chair was on a little platform, like my old throne in Thâlemar, nowhere near as nice-looking but, I hoped, more comfortable than the real seat of power.

Well, I guess I’m home, I thought, and went inside.

Otherworld Journal Entry #4: Prince Talber

Art by Sherlock

Excerpt from Prince Talber’s Mâvarin Journal
(translated from the original Londran by Li Ramet)
(Note: This entry goes with the second book.)

At last I am on dry land, but it is a strange land I never expected to visit: Mâvarin. My people have all but forgotten there is such a place, but it is very real, and very different from home. Everything seems a bit primitive here. There is no outdoor lighting, there are no printed books except for woodcuts, and the clothes are rough by Londran standards. Also, there are mages here, doing their magic openly. Two of them, Fayubi and Rutana, rescued me from the ocean when I was still many miles from shore. Rutana has welcomed me into her home, and is teaching me Mâvarinû.

I thought for a moment when I met Rutana’s son, Li, that Londran and Mâvarinû were similar languages, but alas, this is not so. Still, I am determined to learn their language as quickly as possible. Only then will I be able to stand on my own in this new world--once my ankle heals, that is!

I have not seen the woman in my Teacher’s drawing yet. When I do see her, what will I say? After all that has happened, it does not seem fair to ask her to share her life with me, regardless of what destiny says.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Otherworld Journal Entry #3 - Crel

Art by Sherlock

Crel Merden's Journal, entry #2
Comerdu, 6th Day of Dortem, 896 MMY

Del's gone. He galloped off into the forest tonight on Pandar, along with Shela the selmun Wanderer and the tengrem that supposedly killed Rani. I'm sure Del had a reason for doing it--not a good reason, maybe, but a reason. It's hard to figure out, though, what that reason could be. The note he left on Uncle Jamek's desk said that he and Shela were going to find Rani and help him. How are they going to do that, when Uncle Jamek and Jord and Bil and Shela and the others already looked everywhere, and found no trace of him except his pocket knife?

And why, in Thâle's name, would they keep company with a half-sentient monster? I would have thought that maybe Del and Shela were chasing the tengrem to try to make it tell them where Rani is or what happened to him, but it didn't look like that. The tengrem called to Del, and Del followed it. The tengrem wanted them to accompany it. Why? Did it promise to take them to Rani? If so, why didn't Del pause long enough to tell us that? Instead he just turned and galloped away, as if we were his enemy and the tengrem was his family!

Del's note said that he and Shela would probably be gone for several days, so I'm not surprised that he's not back yet. It's nearly dawn, so he's been gone all night, in dangerous company. Where did they go? Odamas? Thalemar? Some dark, secret place where the tengrem could kill them without the bodies ever being found?

If Del gets himself killed, I'll never speak to him again.

Otherworld Journal Entry #2 - Fayubi the Seer

Art by Sherlock

From Fayubi's Journal of Music and Prophecy:
Moneldu, 5th Day of Dortem, 896 MMY

Words spoken long ago to a lost King
Now are echoed by life - and that's a good thing.

[Automatic writing. Questions in brackets written in later for record-keeping purposes.]

[So I'm coming north because of Jor's children?]
[Will I meet them in Thâlemar?]
No. Before.
[Where am I going, then?]
[I won't be welcome there.]
Don't be Fayubi too soon.

Otherworld Journal Entry #1 - Crel Merden

Art by Sherlock

Moneldu, 5th Day of Dortem, 896 MMY (my birthday!)

I've been saying for years that I ought to start a journal, so today, in honor of our 16th birthday, I'm finally going to do it. I don't promise to write in it every day, but if something interesting happens I'll try to remember to get it on paper.

Maybe I should start by saying something about myself, not for the sake of anyone else who might read this (Del already knows who I am), but so that I can come back to it when I'm older and remember what it was like to be me at this age. My name is Crel Merden. I'm an orphan, but that doesn't matter. I live with my Uncle Jamek and my twin brother, Del. Uncle Jamek is a stablemaster and the part-time mayor of Liftlabeth, about three days south of Thalemar on horseback. Del and I help out in the stables, which makes us apprentice stablemasters, I suppose.

In a few minutes Uncle Jamek will give us our birthday horses. I'll be very surprised if I don't get Molin, and Del is counting on getting Pandar. I won't say he deserves the best horse Uncle Jamek has, but Del needs all the good news he can get today. His best friend, Rani Fost, has been missing since yesterday afternoon. Uncle Jamek thinks a tengrem killed him. I'm not sure that's true, but he definitely didn't come home yesterday, and at least one person was killed where Shela last saw Rani.

More later.


Saturday, June 12, 2004

I can't believe I'm doing this...!

This is as bad as Beta vs. VHS, or the two (or was it three?) different laserdisc formats. Blogspot doesn't want me to comment unless I'm one of them. Ditto that other blogging service where Sara and Sarah (hi there!) reside. Now I know why Shelly has multiple blogs.

I hate it.

So here's the bit. I will use Musings from Mavarin as my primary page. Anything I post here I'll link to there and vice versa. If later I decide that this one gets all the Mavarin journal entries and ther other one gets everything else, so be it.